The Harbinger – Chapter 4

CHAPTER 4 – CONSEQUENCES

The property was enormous and completely fenced off with old wrought iron bars.  The statues at the front gate were elaborate and eerily lifelike lions.  Their faces were etched in permanent snarls with their teeth exposed but they sat calmly and poised.  This was their territory.  Jeff could read it on their faces.  “Enter at your own risk, but watch your step”.

The gate was mostly rusted and while it still looked pretty imposing, it practically fell off the hinges when Jeff pushed it open.  The chapel looked like it was in rough shape, like it could collapse at any moment, but he could hear the sound of police sirens wailing in the distance and the faint thud of the helicopter propeller getting closer from somewhere so he raced to the door.

He knew he was going to get caught.  How could he not get caught?  But at least if he could wait it out, let the drugs and alcohol clear his system… Jeff laughed out loud again as he realized he was screwed either way, but he’d been in this situation before.

Nearby there were large square foundations with rubble and debris scattered about.  Those were probably homes at one point which would mean the chapel had been at the far edge of a small village. Jeff imagined that the little area would have been fairly prosperous in its time. It looked like shit now.  Most of everything had been rusted or rotted and Jeff debated whether he was safer outside the chapel, considering the entire thing could collapse on him at any moment if he sneezed or something.

He opened the door and headed inside, swiping at the air to clear the mass of cobwebs he hit with every step.  The old furniture was covered in white drapes, or what had probably started off as white drapes.  The place was rank with mould and mildew and it gave everything a sort of green glowing aura that made Jeff wish he had some more shrooms with him.   The room was quite well-lit considering it was only from the star and moonlight coming in the windows.

Jeff continued further inside, intrigued by everything he passed.  Maybe there was something in here worth a fortune.  He could take it on one of those antique shows and sell it to cover his lawyer costs.  Jeff was tickled at the thought of having Johnny Cochran representing him at his trial.  Then he spotted an oil lamp on a nearby table with a fairly new looking lighter beside it.

“Hell yeah, that’s what I’m talking about” Jeff mumbled and grabbed the lighter and lit the lamp.  With the full light, he could see that he wasn’t the only one that stumbled onto this old shithole.  There was a sleeping bag on the floor next to some duffel bags and empty water bottles.  On the table beside him was an old book, a journal, a pen and a bottle of scotch.

“Hell yeah, again!” he cheered and grabbed the bottle and started downing what felt like liquid fire.  The scotch burned so good in his throat and his body momentarily convulsed with joy.  Jeff collapsed into the chair beside the table and started looking over the journal.  The words basically swam across the page but he managed to make out some of them.  The title was easy;  “Admirable History.

To Jeff it seemed like a renaissance type book, probably having to do with the village that once stood here.  The old book beside it was written in another language; Jeff could make out the words but had no idea what they meant.  “Histoire admirable de la possession d’une penitente“.  The book’s parchment was old and coarse and it appeared that someone had been translating the book, by hand, into the journal.  They weren’t finished yet as there were still empty pages at the back.

The floorboards somewhere close by squeaked as something passed over them.  The sound nearly made Jeff’s heart literally burst in his chest as he was paralyzed with anxiety.  That’s when he made out the word “demon” on the first page of the journal.  Jeff’s eyes bulged and his mouth gaped open as fear seized control of his mind.  Deep down he knew that it was just a book and it was silly to be afraid, but his sanity was being overruled by his paranoia.

Another squeak and then another.  Up above on the second floor a wooden window shutter crashed open and closed several times in the wind.  Jeff looked around and saw that in the corner of the room, someone had broken apart a couple of chairs, apparently for fire wood.  One of the legs broke off in the shape of a stake.  He ran for it, grabbed it and held it out in front of him.

The adrenaline coursing through his body was making him shake as if he were freezing.  The rattling of his own teeth scared him as much as any of the noises circling him.  Wooden shutters crashed, floorboards creaked and squeaked and small animals scurried about.  Jeff grabbed the lamp and held it out in front of him as he circled round and round.  The wind whisked through the broken windows, making the sheets on the old furniture waft about slightly.

Jeff swatted a table with the makeshift stake.  A cloud of dust kicked up and Jeff swore it formed a face midair before vanishing.

“Hey mister” a deep voice called out from directly behind him.

Jeff didn’t realize it yet, but the next move he made both saved and cost him his life.  He spun quickly, dropping the lamp in the process.  When it hit the ground the light bounced, distorting the imagines around him.  With Jeff’s mind already impaired and working in survival mode, he quickly stabbed at whatever had been coming after him.

The broken end of the chair leg pierced through its chest and it fell to the ground beside the lamp.  It was a young kid, maybe in his mid-twenties at the latest.  Blood was pouring out from his mouth as his body slightly convulsed on the ground.  Jeff went through a full gamut of emotions.  He was embarrassed that he actually thought the kid was demon.  He was annoyed that the kid scared him and he was worried that he would have to explain this to the cops when they finally found him.  Not even Johnny Cochran wasn’t going to save his ass now.

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