Ghost stories from hell, p.11

Ghost Stories from Hell, page 11

 

Ghost Stories from Hell
 



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  “Well,” he said, smiling at her. “I’m ready.”

  Julie laughed and stood up. “That’s it?”

  “That’s it,” he smiled, glad to see her relaxing a little. If the two men were up to something that involved the Boylan House, she was going to need to be on top of her game. He couldn’t have her distracted and worried.

  It never helped.

  Julie stood up and reached into her jacket pocket, pulling out her car keys.

  Harold opened the door and held it for her.

  “Do you need your wallet or house keys?” she asked him.

  “No,” he smiled. “I’ve got cash in my pocket and who the hell is going to rob an old man who still has a rotary phone?”

  She opened her mouth to say something, closed it and gave a shrug. “You’re probably right,” she said.

  Harold smiled at her again.

  “Thank you,” she said, opening the screen door as she stepped out into the driveway. Harold stepped down after her, pulling the door closed behind him. Julie’s black sedan was parked on his driveway, and she used an electric key to unlock it.

  Harold walked steadily to the passenger side door, opening it and easing himself into the car. He felt the cold in his joints, and it settled into his bones. But it felt good to be doing something. He wasn’t angry with the men for not involving him, yet he couldn’t help feeling a little useless.

  With a grunt, he pulled the door closed as Julie got in.

  After she closed her door and started the car, she looked over at him. “Meeting House Road?”

  “Yes,” Harold said. “Meeting House Road.”

  Chapter 34: The Whispering in the Woods

  Once the graveyard had disappeared, blocked by the ancient trees of Liam Boylan’s forest, and James along with the corpse of Father Moran had slipped into shadow, the whispering started.

  At first, Mason thought he was the only one who heard the whispers, but one of the natives suddenly glanced around, and Mason saw the fear on the man’s face. Looking back to Father Alexander, Mason saw beads of sweat on the priest’s forehead. Mason wondered what the priest heard because he knew what he heard himself was different.

  Mason heard his mother whispering about how she was molested as a girl by her uncle.

  Her uncle telling him how wonderful it was.

  A man, who claimed to be his father, saying he left because he couldn’t stand the sight of Mason.

  His best friend having driven off of the pier in Connecticut, but changing his mind almost at the end, when it was too late.

  The last, rattling breath of his Grandmother, telling him that it was all lies and that there was nothing but this world. Nothing next, for there was no next.

  And the voices whispered all at once, each one disturbingly clear in Mason’s head. They spoke of things he knew were true. Things he remembered hearing, things he remembered seeing.

  The whispers that were of combat were the worst, though.

  Mason had never been a lover of war. Had never, as they say, fallen in love with the brutality and the camaraderie of it. The bond was tight, of course, between men who fought together, but Mason remembered the horrors of it, as well. Iraqi roads filled with burning cars, the stench of seared rubber and flesh ruining his clothes and his dreams for years.

  The discovery of rape squads in Bosnia.

  Of killing those men by gutting them and letting them bleed out, zip-tied to the steering wheels of abandoned vehicles.

  Mason tried to ignore the whispering, to push it back. Yet all he could do was muffle the voices. Some words slipped through. Occasional sentences, but that was all.

  He breathed a little easier even as they stepped out into a small glade, a wide stream running through it, twisting away beneath thick bushes. The stream was silent. The howls of agony from the two natives were not.

  Chapter 35: Father Stathi Alexander in the Glade of the Dead

  Stathi’s mind was in a fog as he stepped into the glade behind Mason. He had spent the short time that they traveled through the woods praying fiercely. He had prayed to the Holy Mother, to God, to the Son, to the Saints and the Martyrs. He had prayed to them all in an attempt to silence the horrific sounds which had assaulted him.

  Terrible sounds.

  Sounds much like the ones torn from the mouths of the two natives.

  Blinking away the daze, Stathi looked about the glade and stumbled.

  Crucified between many of the trees were young, teenage boys. They were all natives. All of them eviscerated. Each wore an expression of absolute terror upon their young faces. Each too, had been neatly scalped, the job expertly done. Yet perhaps the most disturbing was the fact that the genitals of each were missing.

  Devoured, quite literally, by Liam Boylan.

  With a final, combined voice filled with pure rage, the two native men raced across the stream, following the trail and vanished from view.

  And then Mason’s hand was on Stathi’s bicep.

  “Come, Father,” Mason said gently. “This is no place to stay. We need to follow the trail.”

  Stathi hesitated for a moment, and then he nodded. “Yes. Of course. Liam Boylan.”

  “Yes,” Mason nodded, turning Stathi away from the dead.

  Mason let go of Stathi’s arm and led the way to the stream. Stathi followed, trying not to allow the numbness that he was feeling, sweep over him.

  He watched Mason cross the stream, the water instantly soaking the man’s pants. Mason held the shotgun high, the water just below the hem of his jacket. When he had crossed to the other side, he stood there at the trail, waiting for Stathi.

  Stathi nodded and walked to the stream. For a moment, he looked at the running water, remembering such streams in his youth, playing in the woods around Lowell. Smiling, Stathi stepped into the stream.

  Something brushed against his calves and Stathi took another step forward through the water, only to feel something wrap around his left leg, then his right. Stathi stopped and looked down at the moving water.

  “Are you alright?” Mason asked.

  Looking through the rippling filter of the water, in the darkness of the night, Stathi glimpsed a pair of white hands upon his calves. The hands were joined to wrists, wrists to forearms, forearms to elbows, elbows to biceps and the arms disappeared into shadow.

  Stathi looked up to Mason.

  ***

  Mason held the shotgun in both hands as Father Alexander stepped into the stream, a tired smile upon the old priest’s face.

  The man took only two steps in, however, and stopped. He looked down at his legs in the water. Father Alexander seemed lost in thought as he stared down.

  “Are you alright?” Mason asked, slipping his finger onto the trigger.

  Father Alexander looked up to Mason, opened his mouth and was jerked down and into the stream.

  He was gone.

  Not even a swirl. No hint of robes. No floating prayer beads.

  Nothing.

  The priest was gone.

  Both priests were gone, and James was still by the graveyard with Father Moran’s corpse. And the natives had run ahead for their vengeance. Evidently, Liam Boylan had never shown them that little trick before.

  Mason stood alone on the path in the forest. He looked, for a moment longer, at the swiftly moving stream. All traces of Father Alexander having ever existed, now gone.

  Mason nodded once, turned and started up the path, following it as the natives had done.

  Chapter 36: Harold and Julie at the Boylan House

  Harold saw James’ truck as soon as Julie turned her car onto Meeting House Road.

  The big black vehicle was parked across from the Boylan House, and all of the shutters on the House were closed.

  “Why would they close the shutters?” Julie asked, as she pulled in behind her brother’s car.

  “They didn’t,” Harold answered softly. “They would never have blocked the light of the sun out of the house. The house c
losed the shutters.”

  “Is it that bad?” Julie asked.

  Harold looked over at the woman. She was young, but he could see that she was strong and determined. He couldn’t lie to her. “It’s worse than any of that.”

  Julie turned the car off.

  She opened her door and looked over at him. “Are you coming up to the house with me?”

  “I am indeed,” Harold chuckled. He unbuckled and unlocked his door, opening it carefully. He walked slowly around the front end of the car to meet her, then together they crossed the road and started up the gentle incline. She had to help him the last few feet to the door, but he made it.

  “I’m certain it’s unlocked,” Harold said.

  Julie reached out, tried the latch, and the door was indeed unlocked.

  Harold took his .45 out of his holster and followed Julie into the house. “Let’s try upstairs,” Harold said.

  “Are you sure?” she whispered.

  He nodded. “There’s no sign of anyone here, but someone must have been. We need to check out everything we can.”

  “Okay,” she said.

  Harold took the lead and proceeded slowly and cautiously. Something was in the House, and he could feel it. A raw feeling clawed at his stomach. Harold ignored it as he entered the second floor, which was an identical copy of the first floor.

  Except for the chimney. This chimney had some sort of false door built into it, and the door was open. He and Julie approached it carefully.

  Skulls gleamed and shined upon neat shelves, and Harold sighed as he looked at them. His breath hitched for a moment and then he cleared his throat.

  “Julie, do you think, that you could help me?” he asked her.

  She looked at him, concern displayed on her face. “Sure. What is it?”

  “Up there, the skull that has ‘Michael, 1945’ on it, could you take it down for me, please?”

  He saw her swallow nervously before reaching up and gently taking the small skull down. Harold holstered the pistol and accepted the skull from her.

  He smiled sadly at it and felt tears well up. He tried to blink them away.

  “Your son?” Julie asked gently.

  Harold could only nod.

  She turned and looked back at the skulls. “They were all someone’s son.”

  For a moment longer, she looked at the skulls in their tidy rows. The first ones were labeled simply, ‘Indian, 1669’ and the last two, Harold saw, were the Verranault boys.

  He watched as she took off her jacket, bent over and spread it out on the floor. Without a word, she started to slowly and reverently remove each skull and place it on her jacket.

  Harold was silent as she worked, cradling the skull of his only child.

  Chapter 37: Mason Philips and Liam Boylan

  Mason moved steadily along the path.

  He could hear nothing except the sound of his own footsteps and his breathing.

  And that was fine.

  His hands were cool and calm upon the shotgun. Each step was smooth. His thoughts were focused.

  Soon, he found himself stepping into another opening in the woods, yet this one hid the sparse sky. The branches of fir trees were interwoven high above his head. A small fire burned harshly off to the right while Liam Boylan sat on a throne of deadwood. Short pillars of polished wood lined the opening, each with a single skull upon it.

  Liam Boylan looked at Mason and sneered.

  “If you had been a bit older,” the beast said, “then I would have taken you instead of that other boy. That would, I think, have been quite for the best.”

  Mason came to a stop only a half a dozen yards from the throne.

  “Your family has plagued me for centuries,” Boylan said, straightening up slightly. “They hunted me in Ireland. Followed me here to the colonies. Found me out shortly before this country’s revolution and have generally harassed my business for far too long. I had hoped that with the death of Michael Philips, it would have been done. Yet instead, it has continued.”

  “And what is your business,” Mason asked, looking about him. “The murder of children?”

  Boylan chuckled. “That’s simply a pleasure. An indulgence, if you will. No, Mason Philips, there are other things at which I work. That is none of your concern, however. You are simply a pest. Like all of your family has been.”

  “This won’t work, will it,” Mason said, glancing down at the shotgun.

  “Well,” Boylan said with a slight hint of admiration, “you are at least smarter than your predecessors. And you are correct. That weapon won’t work. Not by itself. Perhaps if you had a priest with you,” the thing smiled, “but alas, they’re both dead, aren’t they?”

  Mason nodded, yet he didn’t let go of the weapon.

  What else would the weapon work with? He thought.

  “And now,” Liam Boylan said, looking at Mason, “what are we going to do here?”

  “I don’t know,” Mason said honestly. “But I’ve had just about enough of you, as well.”

  “Oh?” Boylan asked, grinning.

  “You’ve been in my nightmares for too many years,” Mason said. “I want it to stop.”

  “I truly wish to help it stop,” Boylan said. “I think death would be a sweet release for you. I won’t deny that I would enjoy your death, tremendously,” the thing said, “but I do believe it is the best option for you.” he said.

  Gesturing at the woods around him, “Trapped here,” “well, if there were any Indians left, they could tell you it’s a rather unpleasant experience.”

  Mason opened his mouth to respond when Boylan twitched suddenly on his deadwood throne. The thing looked down at itself as if surprised. Then it doubled over, vomiting black bile onto the dark grass.

  “What?” Boylan gasped, looking up at Mason.

  Mason really couldn’t answer. He stepped back, bringing the shotgun up and focusing it upon the thing on the throne. He scanned the trees, and about halfway around, he stopped. To the left, one of the pillars near Boylan was empty.

  The skull was gone.

  A soft step sounded beside Mason, and he looked down.

  A young boy wearing jeans and a sweater stood beside him. The boy had the classic 1940’s haircut.

  Boylan started vomiting again.

  Another pillar stood empty.

  Another youth appeared, and Mason knew exactly who it was.

  Kevin Peacock, wearing his Darth Vader costume and stepping up to stand upon Mason’s left.

  “Hello Kevin,” Mason said softly.

  Kevin looked up at him and smiled.

  Boylan threw up again and again.

  Soon, most of the pillars were empty. Liam Boylan lay curled upon the forest floor, vomiting still, in the middle of a giant pool of black bile.

  Dozens of teenage boys stood around him, all of them staring at Boylan. All of them waiting to see what would happen next.

  Mason looked at the pillars. They were all empty. None of them bore any skulls.

  Everyone, whom Boylan had killed, stood once more, staring dispassionately down upon their murderer.

  Mason walked up to Boylan, who still vomiting, and looked down upon him and the thing that tormented Monson for centuries looked up at him.

  Sighting along the barrel of the shotgun Mason said, “I suppose that this will work now?”

  Boylan’s eyes widened with fear and rage.

  “Well,” Mason said, “that’s about as close to a yes as I’m going to get, isn’t it?”

  He pulled the trigger.

  With the blast of the shotgun ringing in his ears, Mason barely heard the shrieks coming from what was left of Boylan’s mouth. Mason fired four more times. He reloaded with five more shells and fired all of those as well.

  The thing at his feet finally stopped shrieking.

  It stopped moving.

  It was nothing more than a smoking pile of clothes. Whatever Boylan had been, it was gone.

  Chapter 38: Harold, Jul
ie, and the Zippo

  Julie put the skulls in the back of her car while Harold stood at the door to the Boylan House. He took a cigarette out, lit it, and took a long drag. Before taking the skulls out of the house, they had searched the structure from top to bottom. And that hadn’t been particularly hard since there were only two rooms and absolutely nothing in them.

  The two men were missing, and where they were, he had no idea.

  Mason and James were simply another pair of men who had vanished into the wilderness around the Boylan House.

  Just another pair of names to add to the long list which already existed.

  After a minute, Julie walked up to stand beside him. “Is everything okay?” she asked.

  “No,” Harold said. “I wish I knew where the two of them were.”

  “Me too,” she agreed. “What are we going to do about the house?”

  “What do you mean?” Harold asked, exhaling through his nose.

  “Do we tell anyone about the skulls?”

  He looked at her and then shook his head. “No, Julie, we’re not going to do that.”

  “Why not?” she asked.

  “Because no one would believe us,” Harold answered. “Even if we had a forensic artist work with the skulls and everyone of them matched a person they had a picture for, they would only think it was some sick, freak occurrence. They wouldn’t believe something like Liam Boylan could actually exist.”

  “Oh,” she said.

  “Just because we believe,” he added, “doesn’t mean anyone else will.”

  She nodded.

  “Now, since those two boys have disappeared,” Harold said, “I’m going to burn this son of a bitch to the ground.”

  “Do you think you can?” she asked.

  “Of course,” Harold said. “It’s ready to burn.”

 
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