Ghost stories from hell, p.14

Ghost Stories from Hell, page 14


Ghost Stories from Hell

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  The three men looked at him with utter surprise. Shocked, unable to take their eyes away from the barrel of the huge automatic in Harold’s hands.

  Harold put a single round into the wall between Frederick and Charles. The crash of the shot rang out off the walls, and the men fell to their knees. The third man’s trousers went dark with spilled piss.

  “I have seven more rounds,” Harold said calmly, looking at the men and positioning himself several feet away and facing them. “And I will use them to get some answers from you.”

  “Answers about what?” Frederick asked. His voice was strained, and the fear was thick in his eyes.

  “Why isn’t there a fence around this place?” Harold asked.

  Charles glanced at O’Connor and Frederick swallowed nervously. “We really can’t answer that question.”

  “I don’t accept that answer,” Harold said calmly. “I’m going to blow your knee off. Your right knee. Answer the question.”

  O’Connor straightened up. “The house must be free.”

  “The house?” Harold asked.

  All three of the men nodded.

  “Free to do what?” Harold asked.

  No one responded.

  Harold sighed and gave them a tight smile. “Gentlemen,” he said, “my son disappeared in this house. In this shitty house. I hope that you understand that.”

  The men were unmoved. And they were not surprised by his statement.

  “Free to do what?” Harold asked again.

  The three men straightened up and remained silent.

  Harold pulled the trigger and put a round into O’Connor’s head. The man’s head snapped backward before he collapsed. His blood, brains and skull splattered across the wall.

  “Jesus Christ!” Frederick screamed.

  Charles opened his mouth to say something but ended up vomiting, instead.

  “Free for the hunter to hunt!” Frederick screamed at him. “Free for the hunter to hunt!”

  “Who’s the hunter?”

  “The greatest of us,” Frederick said as Charles wiped the remnants of vomit from his mouth with the back of his hand.

  “He has his needs,” Charles said, glaring at Harold. “He must be allowed to hunt when the time is right.”

  “When is the time right?” Harold asked.

  “October, the end of the month,” Frederick hissed at him. “Then is the time right, the youth approaches and hears the call of the hunter.”

  “And they all answer,” Charles said, smiling viciously at Harold. “They all answer, don’t they, Sheriff?”

  Harold put a round into the man’s stomach.

  The scream that was ripped out of Charles’ mouth brought a grim smile to Harold’s face. He looked at Frederick, whose face was white, sweat breaking out across his forehead.

  “Don’t worry,” Harold said, keeping his voice just above Charles’ screams, “he’ll be dead in ten minutes. Fifteen at the most. Painfully, too. Gut wounds are terrible,” Harold continued. “I’ve seen men beg to be put out of their misery after being shot in the gut.”

  Harold looked at Charles. “That won’t be the case here, though. That son of a bitch will die slow.” Now, Harold smiled, turning his attention back to Frederick, “let’s talk about the hunter.”

  “What about him?” Frederick asked. There were droplets of blood on the side of his face, and he looked too afraid to try and clean himself off.

  “How can I kill the son of a bitch?” Harold asked, trying to keep himself calm.

  “You can’t,” Frederick grinned. “He’s too strong? That’s why he’s the hunter. He leads us to glory.”

  “Hmm, well,” Harold said, “that’s fine. What is he?”

  “He is the spirit made flesh, and the flesh made spirit,” Frederick said. “He is the eater of flesh. The devourer of youth.”

  “A spirit?” Harold asked.

  “Yes, but so much more. He is—”

  Harold cut him off. “No, no. That’s enough of that. I just want to know for certain, is he a spirit?”

  “Yes,” Frederick snarled. “A spirit that you cannot defeat.”

  “I can’t defeat?” Harold asked.

  “You cannot.”

  “But somebody can,” Harold said.

  Frederick’s eyes widened silently, but he remained silent.

  “Well,” Harold said, “I guess I need to find somebody who can.”

  He pulled the trigger for the fourth time and the slug tore out Frederick’s throat. Blood sprayed out across the room and the dying Charles.

  Harold calmly walked around, picking up his spent shell casings. Waste not, want not, he thought.

  Putting the casings in his jacket pocket he stepped over to Charles, who was still weeping from the pain, blood pumping out of the hole in his stomach.

  “Not much longer now, Charles,” Harold said in a conversational tone. “You’ll be dead soon.”

  “Will you kill me?” Charles gasped. “Please?”

  “I already have,” Harold said. He squatted down in the blood beside Charles.

  “Please?” Charles moaned.

  “I’ve already done that,” Harold reiterated, “so I’m going to simply sit here and watch you die.”

  And with that, Harold held his .45 in his hands, and he watched.

  And he waited.

  * * *

  Blood Contract

  Prologue: Ignorance is No Excuse

  “Then the motion carries,” Alderman Williams said, fairly glowing with his pleasure at the board’s decision.

  Hollis Blood took his hat off of his knee and stood faster than his old body was used to. He thumped loudly on the chamber’s floor with his cane until the cheerful prattle of the alderman stopped. They all looked at him with undisguised displeasure and unease.

  Hollis pointed his cane at them. “This, Aldermen, is a poor decision. You’ve violated the agreement that my family had with the town.”

  No one responded. And why should they, Hollis thought. They’ve already made their decision.

  “Hollis,” Alderman Nadeau started, then stopped, swallowing nervously. “Um, Mr. Blood, the agreement was made with the belief that there would never be a need for Thorne to expand.”

  “I’ve no issue with expansion,” Hollis snapped. “The town needs it. I have issue with you choosing my family lands.” Without waiting for another response, Hollis put his hat on his head and left the small aldermanic chamber.

  He navigated the long granite steps, ignoring the newly installed handicap ramp. All about him were signs of the town of Thorne moving steadily into the future—or at least playing catch up with the present.

  His cane thumped loudly on the old brick sidewalk and the early autumn sun set behind the small, wooden First Congregationalist Church. Hollis moved at a surprisingly fast pace for someone of his age and physical ability, and kept it up until he was well outside of town and came to his own driveway.

  The drive was of dirt, the trees heavy around the borders of the property. They were tall and old and angry. Hollis slowed his pace as he walked up the drive, the trees’ boughs interlocking a scarce fifteen feet above his head. A long, dark tunnel formed before him, curving slowly up and to the left.

  Soon he came to a narrow path, hardly visible even to him.

  It had been a long time since Hollis had found it necessary to travel to this part of the family land.

  The path ran at a sharp angle from the drive. Beneath the leaf litter Hollis’s cane thumped loudly upon cobblestones which had been set in place by his grandfather’s father.

  Hollis pushed through thin branches, ignoring the occasional sting of an insect and the cold air that thickened around him.

  In a moment, he stood before the wrought iron gate to the family graveyard.

  The gate was pure black, untouched by rust or age. The matching hinges were set into a tall granite post, the lock for the gate set into the post’s mate standing opposite. A large fieldstone
wall, nearly six feet in height, wrapped around the entire graveyard, making a perfect box.

  Hollis put his hand on the lock, felt a short, powerful surge, and the lock clicked open. The gate swung in silently.

  Hollis walked into the graveyard.

  The grass was neat, not rising more than four inches above the ground. The headstones were laid out in even rows, one close to the other. The Blood dead were orderly even in their final repose.

  Seventy-one family graves.

  Five rows of twelve, one row of eleven.

  At the end of the last row, on the far right, was a marker with his name and birth date carved into it. The terminal date had not been set—or if it had, the information had not been shared with him.

  Hollis looked at the graves for a moment.

  “They’ve broken the contract,” he said simply.

  And with that he turned and walked out of the graveyard, leaving the gate open to the coming night.

  Chapter 1: Playing Security Guard

  Mike and Tom walked among the various pieces of equipment, checking the fuel tanks and the hydraulic reservoirs on everything from the JCB mini-loader to the CAT excavator. It took them nearly twenty minutes to check every piece and to make sure keys weren’t in the ignitions.

  “Looks good,” Tom said, walking with the foreman back to the office trailer that had been set up on the side of Blood Road.

  “It does,” Mike agreed.

  “Do I really have to pull this shift?” Tom asked as they walked into the trailer, the small heater warming up the interior and feeding off of the propane tank outside.

  “We’ve been over this shit,” Mike sighed, walking around his desk. He sat down in his chair, pulled a pint of whiskey out of a drawer and uncapped it. Mike took a long pull from it and didn’t offer any to Tom.

  Tom had been sober for three years, and Mike knew it.

  Still, the sight of it made Tom’s throat dry.

  Mike saw the look, capped the pint and slipped it into the inner pocket of his jacket. “Sorry Tommy,” Mike said.

  “No problem, Bossman,” Tom said, dropping into a beat-up recliner set against the wall.

  “I don’t know who’s screwing with the equipment,” Mike said, “but I can’t have another morning of dry hydraulic tanks. Somebody managed to pump all of that shit out. I don’t see why they’d have to steal hydraulic oil in the first place, but if it’s someone who’s just screwing around with us, they may decide to move on to bigger and better things.”

  Tom nodded.

  They’d wasted nearly an hour of the workday just filling the tanks and checking out the rest of the rigs before starting them up. Then it was another forty-five minutes before the hydraulic oil was warm enough for the equipment to actually be usable—nearly two hours down the shitter.

  “We can’t afford another day like today,” Mike said.

  Tom nodded.

  “Winter’s coming fast this year,” Mike continued.

  “I know, Mike,” Tom sighed, taking his hat off and rolling the brim for a minute. “I know that another day will screw us on the schedule. I just don’t want to have to sit here until, what, eleven?”

  “Yeah,” Mike said apologetically. “Eleven. That’s when the hired security guard is going to come in. I’m paying you time and a half on this, Tom. Eight hours.”

  “And I appreciate that,” Tom said, putting his hat back on his head, “but I want to be home.”

  Mike nodded.

  Tom sighed.

  Standing up, Mike put on his own hat and looked at Tom. “Just keep an eye out, kid. And an ear. Let’s hope that this was just a one-time deal.”

  “Yeah,” Tom said, “I will.”

  Mike nodded and left the trailer. A minute later, Tom heard Mike’s diesel start, and a moment after that, the big red Dodge went rumbling out of the lot.

  Tom was alone.

  He dug his phone out of his pocket, checked his emails, his Facebook page, and played a couple of rounds of Candy Crush.

  It was four o’clock.

  “You’ve got to be shitting me,” he groaned, dropping his phone to his lap. “Seven more goddamn hours.”

  His stomach rumbled, and Tom suddenly realized that he didn’t have anything to eat. He had finished his lunch later than usual, but they had a hell of a time ripping out a stand of pine trees right near the day’s end and he was hungry as hell now.

  “This sucks,” he groaned.

  Picking up his phone again, he brought up Google and started searching for any place that would deliver. Thorne, New Hampshire wasn’t exactly a hot place to be.

  Hell, they had only just had a Dunkin Donuts move into the town and that was because there was going to be construction going on for the next year and a half with all the new developments that were about to be built.

  Shaking his head at his miserable situation, Tom scrolled down until he found a pizza place in a nearby town called Monson.

  He tapped on the number and hit call.

  “Conroy’s Pizza,” a young girl said, “is this pick-up or delivery?”

  “Delivery, I hope,” Tom said.

  The girl paused for a moment, “Um, what do you mean?”

  “Well,” he said, straightening up in the chair, “do you guys deliver out to Thorne?”

  “Yup,” she said.

  “There’s a new worksite out here, do you know it?”

  “Yeah,” she answered. “It’s on Blood Road.”

  “Yes,” Tom said. “I’m working here. I drive a blue Chevy extended cab, and it’s parked right next to the trailer. I can’t leave, but if I pay over the phone can you guys send a large pepperoni and a two-liter bottle of Coke out to me?”

  “Yeah,” the girl said, “that’s not a problem. Should the delivery guy go to your truck or the trailer?”

  “The trailer, please,” Tom answered.

  “Okay, that’ll be sixteen even then,” she said.

  “Fantastic,” Tom grinned to himself. He read off his debit card information to her, and a moment later he was up and out of the chair, plugging his phone into the extension cord so it could charge.

  Beyond the thin walls of the trailer the day was getting darker and the air colder. He pulled his gloves out of his jacket’s pockets and put them on.

  Need to start the generator for the lights, he thought, opening the door and stepping out into the cold. He walked to the where the generator was chained to the back of the excavator for the night. Tom double checked the fuel, hit the ignition and fired up the generator.

  The lights which were suspended from tall, temporary, steel frames flickered into life. Cones of bright, harsh light appeared around the gathered pieces of equipment and Tom nodded to himself. He turned and started to walk back to the trailer and then stopped.

  What the hell? he thought, turning back towards the generator.

  Standing just inside the tree line, just inside the very edge of the light was a young boy. Maybe six or seven, no older than Tom’s youngest brother.

  The boy’s skin was pale and seemed sickly. He had short, black hair, and he wore a black suit and a white shirt with a black tie. On his feet were battered canvas All-Stars. The suit coat that he wore hung strangely, as if it was too wide in the back, or torn up the center.

  Tom took a cautious step towards the boy.

  They were out in the middle of nowhere, as far as Tom was concerned, and the only person that he knew of living in the area was the old man who lived up the dirt drive. And that was half a mile farther up the road.

  “Are you okay?” Tom asked.

  The boy nodded.

  A little bit of relief slipped into Tom—but only a little.

  “Are you lost?”

  The boy shook his head.

  “Are you with someone else?” Tom asked.

  Again the boy shook his head.

  “Are you cold?”

  The boy nodded.

  “Well,” Tom said, “do you have a phone?

  The boy nodded.

  “Did you call anyone?”

  The boy looked at him, confused for a moment, then shook his head.

  Maybe it’s not charged, Tom thought, or bad reception.

  “I’ve got a phone inside if you want to use it,” Tom said, “or I can grab you a blanket out of my truck if you want to wrap up in it. I’ve got pizza on the way, and I can call someone for you too.”

  The boy looked at him, hardly blinking.

  “Um,” Tom said, rubbing the back of his head. “Do you want to come inside and warm up and use the phone?”

  The boy smiled and nodded.

  “Cool,” Tom said, relieved. He didn’t want the kid to think that he was some kind of pervert or anything, but he didn’t want the kid out in the cold either. Tom would sit at Mike’s desk and let the kid sit in the recliner. Then Tom could call the police. That is, if Thorne even had a police department.

  He shook his head and then stumbled back.

  The boy was right beside him.

  “Jesus Christ!” Tom said, his heart thundering in his chest. “I never even heard you!”

  The boy smiled happily.

  Yeah, Tom thought, shaking his head. This kid is exactly Matthew. Must be the age, he thought, remembering some of the shit that his youngest brother liked to do.

  “Okay, kid,” Tom said, “come on with me. I’m Tom, by the way,” he said, extending his hand.

  The boy shook the offered hand, the boy’s own small hand was deathly cold to the touch. “I’m Morgan,” he said.

  “Nice to meet you, Morgan,” Tom said, letting go of the boy’s hand quickly. He led the boy to the trailer and up the three steps that took them inside.

  The boy smiled and walked over to the heater, holding his hands out to it. Tom sat down at Mike’s desk and saw that Morgan’s suit coat was indeed ripped up to nearly the center of his shoulder blades.

  “Does someone know where you are?” Tom asked, reaching for his phone.

  “Yes,” Morgan answered.

  Tom disconnected his phone and saw that the battery was nearly dead. What the hell?

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