I should not have done what I have. On the most frigid night in January (only a month ago to be exact), my dastardly cousin and I carried out a horrendous deed in the name of a false, dead prophet. Not only were the authorities alerted to our inadmissable actions, but something much worse, between our world and the next, stirred in its slumber and began to wake. We skipped town, bringing with us meager nothing. Through the icy foothills we fled, through the ravaged wasteland thought abandoned by life. Yet it was there that we first observed the ghoul we had unleashed.

I escaped, but only just. My cousin (bless his soul and wish him the holiest of fates even after his sins committed) went mad at the sight of the ghoul, and I think I nearly may have too, if not for my hasty eyes and my quick thoughts. The nightmarish sounds I endured as I fled will haunt me for the short remainder of my life. The rending of flesh and the crushing of bone, and the screams that were not, can not, and could never be human. The only thing keeping me bound to sane existence was the distant whirring of police sirens and the faintly visible flashing red and blue lights on the horizon.

Next was a ruin of some town, where the roofs were dyed fading red, shutters hanging broken at the hinges from windows lacking glass panes, brick streets crumbling with the relentless elements, and terrible sights to be beheld in the surrounding forests. I dared not linger long, for the sirens grew in volume and an unsettling feeling within my gut worsened with every passing second. I ducked into the woods without question or thought, understanding that I was at least out of range of the authorities for now. As for the ghoul though, I knew that I could never be safe regardless of how far I ran, no matter how well-disguised or hidden I could ever be, and whether or not I righted my unforgivable sins.

The woods were a mistake, for immediately an appalling silence fell upon me. Not even my feet against the frosty ground created sound. My labored and heavy breaths, suffering by cause of the airborne chill, were eerily mute as well and even the sirens fell dead behind me. Adding to my anxiety was the undeniable sense of being watched and followed by a dreadful thing. I moved forward worriedly, my chest rumbling with troubled breaths and uneasy coughs.

Sound returned instantly, accompanied by a blinding bluish light, horrific and clashing to my eye. The forest was dyed a sickening turquoise and the trees around me shook inexplicably. All at once, every tree within an approximate thirty foot radius was uprooted and hurled into the air inexplicably, by some unseen super force. There they floated, dozens of feet above me, while the horrible feeling within me peaked, and an ear-shattering shriek came from all directions. I dropped to the ground, clutching my sure-to-be bleeding ears, and was then thrown into the air. As I ascended, every tree that had previously been raised crashed to the ground with tremendous force, throwing up a massive cloud of soil and frost.

I was suspended in the air when a ghoul appeared before me. Its body was black and haphazardly decorated with pulsating blue veins, which seemed to be the origin of the vomit-inducing light. The ghoul, although inhuman to the extreme, had on its face a single humanoid eyeball, below which was a sneering set of wretched jaws lined with innumerable uneven teeth. A set of charred wings, decayed and dead, sprouted from its back. Two pairs of arms terminating in several dozen fingers dangled limp from its sides, spattered with a deep red fluid. The rest of its body, serpentine, hung slack in the air.

I went mad then.

Mad as I was though, I went madder when its face began to shift grotesquely, its single eye vanishing as the meaty black substance that composed the thing bubbled disgustingly and morphed horrificially. The jaws were swallowed by the blackness, and then the center of its face quivered and shrank to a single point — and then a mass of soaked hair slipped out from the point, followed by pale flesh and two eyes, a nose, ears, and a mouth.

It was my cousin's face.