Authors: Jeremy Bennett
It’s not like I’m just making shit up
. This shit happened.
Cover Art by the same guy
Copyright 2013 Jeremy
About the Author
Jeremy Bennett once watched five days worth of horror movies in a row without the aid of drugs. He graduated collage, barely, with a BA in anthropology. He has been charged by a bear on more than one occasion, and has fallen off more than one roof while working construction. He doesn’t like to admit it but he likes the New Wave artist Blondie. No word on whether this has anything to do with falling off the roofs. Jeremy Bennett worked hard on this book so please give it a review if you liked it. He also likes Tom and Jerry more than a grown man should, but he can’t stand pickles. They’re gross and taint everything.
He also wants you to buy this book. Jeremy Bennett has nothing left to say about himself.
Mr. Donavan rummaged through the stack of worm
-eaten old romance books with tawdry covers that lay haphazardly on the card table. Brawny pirates clutching nubile girls and knights on horseback getting sultry looks from fair maidens were a persistent motif. Mr. Donavan had never been a fan of book burning, but if this pile went up, the world of literature would probably be better off.
ed that the ninety-year-old lady who owned this estate was quite a randy one. It’s probably what kept her alive so long. He didn’t mind rummaging through trash if he found a treasure, and it was that possibility that kept him searching every estate sale he could find.
Today he would find such treasure in t
he old southern mansion just outside of Jasper, but little did he know it would cost him his business. He owned a small New Age shop at the edge of town called the Black Crystal, and part of the reason he came to these sales was to look for anything that he could pass off as mystical. Mr. Donavan didn’t believe in powers beyond this world, unless the patrons of the Black Crystal asked, and then they got a resounding yes.
Yes, I’ve seen ghosts, aliens, and the beyond. I am your local authority on all things bullshit,” he would tell his wife.
As his chubby paws swished through the books
, something flopped off the table and hit the floor with a thud. Looking down, he saw it:
The Book of Eddiss
—a tome sought by every high-end book collector that was worth his weight in velum. He snatched the book from the floor and feverishly thumbed through it. On page thirty-two he found the printing error, and on the back cover, he found the vollolly mark. It was real, and even in its deteriorated condition, it was worth a small fortune, water stains and all. If it wasn’t for the piercing sense of dread that came over him when he touched the book, he would swear that fate had finally decided to stop being a jerk to him.
However, it wasn’t fate that had placed the book in his hands. It was something far more nefarious, and it was out for blood, gore
, and carnage on an unimaginable level.
She chewed and chewed thirty
-two times. It was always best to play it safe, as selling your soul to the devil for phenomenal powers would still not prevent you from choking to death. Besides children these days had a surprising amount of gristle that was just waiting to get stuck in your throat.
Beth Hegel had long forgotten how old she was. She had forgotten many things in her terrible life, but this was only because she had lived for so long. She watched the world change
tremendously. For example, at one time women didn’t shave anything. Not their legs, not their armpits, and certainly not their bushes.
Holding this tradition was one of the many ways that Beth kept it old school. She was
adamant about things like that, but one of the things that she was most adamant about was refusing to call Wiccans “witches.” That was made-up bullshit that sent her into an instant rage. One could say a lot about Hegel, but she would have no accusations of being religiously tolerant leveled at her. That is, unless it suited her needs at the moment. After all, she was a satanic witch and thus not above telling anyone anything that helped her achieve her ends.
Little bitches!” she would scream whenever she passed the magic shop in town. She spat out a few splinters of femur from her midafternoon snack as she fantasized about what she would do if she ever got into a fight with one of those little girl posers. She didn’t know exactly what would happen, but she knew it would end with their eyes being chewed from their sockets. However, that’s how almost all of her fights ended, as she always found the rich pocket of fat behind eyeballs to be the most delicious part of the human body.
Old Nick, the light b
earer, Mr. Scratch, or the devil—whatever names you call him—was out tonight. Her old bones could feel him, and the feeling sent small electrical charges up and down her muscles. She was still hungry, but food would have to wait as there was too much to be done. Being an agent of the devil had many perks, but being called out in the middle of the night was not one of them.
It was a
Black Sabbath, and she couldn’t be late. Why, all the witches from the greater tri-county area would be there, and it would be unseemly to be late. She pushed her long silver hair into a bun, tossed on her old wool coat, and headed out the door of her Victorian-style house.
It was her job to find the sacrifices for the evening festivities. She had
had the Jenkins family picked out from down the street. That snooty little bitch May was always flaunting her new Cadillac like she was something special, and they had two wonderful fat kids that, quite frankly, the world would be better off without. However, yesterday they had decided to take a trip Savanna. That had left her in kind of a bind. She had already delivered five or so homeless people, but drunks were never more than filler at these events. She needed more, much more. She needed young believers and virgins, and she needed them fast. Witches could be an unruly lot when hungry.
Ann hopped down the sidewalk
, nearly skipping and occasionally tripping over her own oversized feet. Being eighteen, she was far too old for such behavior, but she knew that it bothered Beverly, so she insisted that it was the only way to travel.
Ann believed that it was a moral imperative that she be in a good mood. When someone gets depressed
, the bad mood makes others depressed, and thus the world becomes a more depressed place. This isn’t to say that she would force herself to be happy, as if following some kind of compulsion, but when she had a shot to look on the bright side, she took it.
Her face was soft and youthful
, and it gave the perfect impression of a doe-eyed innocent, an impression not altogether wrong. Ann swished her shoulder-length blond hair out of her eyes as she gave Beverly the goofiest look she could, while flailing her slender arms for the best effect.
” Beverly said with a sneer. She craned her neck to glare at Ann, causing her black hair with natural brown highlights to flow off her shoulders like a gentle waterfall. She wished it was more raven, but nature was not always kind. She was always trying to give it that perfect bounce that she saw on shampoo commercials, but it never seemed to work out. Her face had the same innocent, doe-eyed look that Ann's had. The only difference was that Beverly hated it and strived to make herself look older than she was. Half the time she thought this meant smoking a cigarette.
“Why? Because it embarrasses
?” Ann said with a full-lipped smile as she began to skip circles around Beverly.
. Now please stop being such a dork and just walk normally, would you?”
’s feet slapped the pavement as she came to an abrupt halt. “You’re no fun; you know that?”
. Yes, I do,” Beverly said with a smirk. “Please don’t be like this when we see Nick.”
So that’s his name, is it? Also, be like what?”
“All weird and Jesus
-freaky.” Ann was rather religious in her leanings, and for some reason it bothered Beverly. She didn’t seem to mind people banging their heads and acting like fools at a concert, but when the act wasn’t a frivolous show of teen devotion to a pop star, it made her skin crawl. Aside from that Ann could also be annoying when it came to having fun. Her idea of a good time was still a sleepover and too much ice cream, but Beverly had moved past that stage a long time ago. If there wasn’t beer and weed involved, she wasn't interested. Ann seemed to Beverly to still be about twelve years old in an eighteen-year-old’s body. She loved Ann, but she would still rather Ann not be around in some situations, and going to see the boy she had a crush on was one of them. However, Beverly could find no polite way to tell Ann to get lost when she had come over to Beverly's house that afternoon, and so Ann hopped along beside her.
“I can be anything I want. Also, my name is Beverly, and I’m sooo full of angst. I read Nietzsche this one time, and now I’m so much smarter than everyone. I’m in love with a boy who has more than one piercing and wears skinny jeans, so he must know how the world works. Bah, you sicken me,” Ann said with a smirk and mocking tone.
It was clear to
Beverly she was far deeper than Ann on almost every level, and for her this meant being skeptical and cynical. She had no reason to be either of those. She had a loving, lower-middle-class family that went out of its way to help her, and she had a small but tight group of friends who did the same. However, being jaded seemed more adult to her, and so that’s what she was.
we’ve been friends since kindergarten, don’t think for a second that I won’t kill you,” Beverly growled.
? I’m like twice your size.” Ann did tower over Beverly, measuring nearly six and a half feet tall, and as thin as she was she was quite the sight as she plodded down the street. Beverly’s red shoes made barely a sound as she stepped, but Ann moved like a giraffe with cinderblocks tied to her feet.
you’re ten foot four and two hundred forty pounds?”
“Shut up,” Ann
said. “So how old is he?”
-three! You’re eighteen. What is he, a pedophile?”
didn’t respond for a moment. “No, he’s smart, cute, and not a pedophile at all, so just drop it.”
e few lights that lined the road were just starting to come to life as they rounded the last corner before they hit the thickly wooded street that led to the New Age shop called the Black Crystal. The change from the city-maintained pavement to the unkempt private drive was abrupt. Tufts of brown grass burst from the road like ingrown hairs finally ripping free from skin, and black worm-like streaks of tar squirmed up and down its length. It seemed as if the hastily made patches were all that was holding the aging street together.
The girls walked the two hu
ndred or so yards down the street, passing through black pine trees that lined the road. They were thin, sickly things that were packed so close together that a rabbit would have trouble hopping through them. This being the deep fall, the scent of the pines was ever present on the crisp air.
Ann and Beverly rounded the last stretch of woods, they could see the old porn shop that stood in front and to the right of the Black Crystal by about fifty yards. Its windows had been blacked out, and a few of them had even been busted and carelessly duct-taped back together. It was a light
gray building whose paint had been so baked by the sun that it was starting to peel off in big sheets
that littered the weed-covered ground around the building. It stood like a drunken, leering old man and like sin in all forms.
the outside of the place looked unwholesome, the inside was even worse. At least that’s what Beverly’s older brother Mike said. He knew because he worked there, and Beverly thought it was creepy, but she adored learning about her supposedly upright neighbor’s perversions, like Mr. Hume, the principal of their high school. He had a strange lust for both teen girls and S&M, and every time she saw his balding melon, all she could think about was him in black leather, trying to entice her classmates into a van. It was an unpleasant thought, but that’s the image she always got.
If porn wasn’t involved, t
he place would have been just too out of the way to drive for people whose idea of excitement was playing Ping-Pong in the family rec room. Other than the porn shop, it was just the Black Crystal that stood it’s silent vigil in the name of the odd.
A few of the old
pervs hurried out of the sex shop with nondescript brown paper bags clutched tightly in their clammy fists. They weren’t ready to see two young girls pointing and smiling at them as they rushed to their cars.
“We know what you’re up to
, sickos,” Ann yelled at one. The old man blushed as he rushed to resecure his anonymity by ducking into his car.
’re going to get us killed, dork,” Beverly nagged as she fiddled with the zipper on her red hoodie, trying to hold back her smile.
“Yes, you are, and then as creepy as those people are, they’ll probably do stuff to us…butt stuff,” Beverly said with a devilish smile. Ann couldn’t hold back and started laughing uncontrollably as they hit the final stretch.
The girls could see
the Black Crystal as they plodded down the road, still trying to lose their smiles before they entered. The building had a cabin-like feel to its architecture and a small wooden porch that constantly seeped pine sap. Stepping up onto the rickety porch, Ann grabbed the heavy wrought iron handle of the front door as she slapped the horseshoe that hung over the doorjamb. Beverly could see Ann’s fingertips slide off the cold iron of the horseshoe as she entered. Beverly followed Ann into the store. Greeting her was a blast of at least three of the one trillion kinds of incense that the establishment carried. Cinnamon, frankincense, and sandalwood were the only ones that Beverly could pick out, but there were so many it nearly cut her breath off. It shocked her every time she set foot in the place.
walked through the open center of the store, half glancing at the maze of overflowing bookshelves to her right and left. Toward the back wall the checkout counter was located so that it could be seen from the entrance through the middle of the store. On either side of the counter were glass display cases filled with the most expensive, or the most dangerous, items. Behind one of those counters sat her crush.
Nick was thin. Some said too thin. He was pale. Some said too pale. Last but not least, he was effeminate. Even his mother would say that he was too effeminate. She mostly blamed it on his vegan diet. Not eating meat substantially lowers a man's testosterone level. Testosterone is far too complex a chemical to be made on a strictly vegetable diet and requires all kinds of amino acids that can be found only in properly balanced meals. Nick's mother knew this kind of thing because she was a nutritionist, and let’s just say it was always a point of contention between them. However, Nick just couldn’t see the point of killing something if he had no cause, and it was a point on which he would not bend.
up his short, dyed-black hair and fiddled with his red shirt, which had printed on it whatever pop culture reference he thought was most relevant that day. He was hunched over the counter, peering into the pages of a musty old book that the owner had just purchased. His eyes darted from line to line as if he was a child looking at a
he had stolen. It was a strange work, hand-copied from before the Civil War; however, even at that age it was still just a poor English translation of a much older work. It was often whispered about by some of the people who entered the store as if it were the Necronomicon, and it had a strange air of the forbidden to it.
The text was about the size of a phone book and twice as thick. The backing on the black l
eather book could barely shut, due to the density of the velum pages. It looked as if the pages themselves were trying to break the binding so that they could force themselves out into the world. One glance at the thing told you that it was old and most likely a mischievous work. It smelled of mold and rot, and it felt as if it was not necessarily the binding or the pages that produced the smell. It likely could be coming from the work itself.