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Hell's Fires

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Twofacepapelv

A few years ago I began renting a house in a pleasant Atlanta suburb. It was an easy commute, and it seemed to be in a nice neighborhood.

The house seemed to be in good shape, with only a few minor defects. The basement had only a dirt floor, although I couldn't see it because of darkness, and the first floor hallway seemed to stretch on endlessly. There seemed to be a peculiar smell, almost like gasoline, but the landlord said that he would fix it immediately. The outside yard was also scruffy, but as a gardener, I saw it as an opportunity to personalize my home.

After talking it over, my girlfriend Allison and I began moving in. We arrived on a bright and cheery Friday morning, and our stuff was unloaded by noon. All through the afternoon we unpacked boxes, until about 6PM. We still had to unpack the den, but we had earned a break and wanted dinner. Upon returning to the home, we began unpacking the den belongings. As I unloaded a lamp, I plugged it into the wall. Who doesn't like some light eh? Things were just jolly until the lamp quickly blew out. Upon examining the light bulb, I saw that it had not simply blown out. The insides had completely exploded, and the charred remains still smoked a little. "Now that was strange!" I thought to myself, but we simply chalked it up as a blown bulb and continued unpacking.

As we got more settled over the next few days, we began noticing the gassy smell once more. A call to the landlord got him and a utility man, but a full-blown search of the gas system yielded no results. We did, however, notice that a few of the gas lines had strange markings on them. These markings were small and numerous, almost like claw marks. I asked the landlord about any mole or bug problems, but he had no idea if any existed. In any case, they didn't harm the gas lines and were not the cause of the smell. We would have to get used to it, it seemed.

As days turned into weeks, we began facing more unexplained phenomena. During the day, things would go missing unexplainably, in completely random locations. Allison complained about a feeling of paranoia when she sat in the den; someone or something was watching her. We also noticed an unexplainable coldness in several spots, most notably the center of that long hallway. Sometimes, I would swear that I had seen something out of the corner of my eye, but nothing was ever there when I turned around to look. Meanwhile the gas stench was stronger than ever, and it would appear more frequently. We chalked this up to overactive imaginations (we both suffered from this) and tried to overcome it.

One Saturday morning, I began some yard work. I had a good sized windmill palm to plant, and so I dug quite a large hole. I ran into some roots (of course) and tried chopping them up with the shovel. There was a lot of them, and they seemed to be making a terrible crunching noise. When I scooped them out I noticed their unusual shapes. I stopped to sweep some dirt off of them and then realized exactly what they were. Bones. Charred bones. Of a human hand. I stood paralyzed, until, somehow, I ran away far and fast.

"Jesus Christ, what did I just see?" I asked myself.

I called Allison immediately after. She had just gotten home and said that she'd go check it out.

"There's nothing but a hole in the yard hun," she said.

"Look at the damn roots I swear that they were bones!"

"You must be crazy, there's nothing here but dirt, and there's nothing in there." I was beside myself. I know that I had seen a human hand in that dirt.

Later that night, as I laid in bed I saw something that nearly scared me to death. There, on the dresser, was that exact bony hand that I had dug up earlier. As the hand scampered away, down the dresser and through the window, I could hear an inhuman laughing. When I looked up I saw a huge pair of glowing red eyes, staring through my very soul.

I awoke paralyzed and in a cold sweat. I heard the shower running; Allison was already awake and getting ready. Meanwhile, I stared at the dresser, going over the dream in my mind. It all seemed so real, so lifelike. Then I noticed something. The air smelled heavily of gas. "This house is killing me," I thought. All I could do was go to work and try to get out of there for as long as possible.

As I pulled into the driveway that afternoon, I managed to meet the postman right as he was delivering my mail. After a quick conversation, he proceeded to hand me my mail.

"Strange," he muttered, "I've never seen this address before. It's 333 Edgeville Drive."

"Is there something wrong with there?" I asked.

"No, but maybe I should let you go on in and read that letter. Good day!" With that, the postman was off and I was heading inside.

I waited till Allison got home before I opened the mail. After all, I didn't want to throw away some giant stack of junkmail that she ended up caring a lot about. Dear God no...

When we opened the letter, we immediately noticed that it seemed very old and tattered. A bit odd, I thought, and I began reading it.

"Welcome to our house. You've found us and now you can never escape us..." It cut off there. After re-reading the letter and spewing a few f-bombs, I checked the address once more. "There's no way this can be right!" I yelled. The sender address read 3088 Forest Park RD. Our house address.

Suddenly a huge crash came from the basement, along with the gassy smell. As I peered into the abyssal darkness from that basement door, I faced dread like never before. I just knew that something bad was going to happen. While Allison stood at the top of the stairs, I marched down the stairs, armed with only a flashlight. As I descended those stairs, I felt like I was being eaten up into the earth. I felt like I was sinking. The gas stench down here was almost unbearable.

After checking around the bottom of the basement, I called to Allison. "Nothing here, whatever made that noise is gone now."

As I began to move back to the stairs I felt something against my foot. After jumping three feet and screaming like a girl, I noticed a small mound of dirt near my feet. What's more, there were quite a few of them appearing around all over the basement floor. That's when I shone the flashlight over the floor, revealing it for the first time since moving in. I saw a huge pentagram, painted with a mix of blood and ashes. That's when I realized that somebody had sacrificed bodies here. They doused them with gasoline before burning them up as an offering.

At this point I was just shitting my pants, and I sprinted back up the stairs. What I saw as I shined the flashlight at the basement remains with me to this day. Over a dozen charred human hands burst forth from the ground, writhing towards me and the stairs.

I didn't stick around to see what happened next. As we flew out of the door, I decided to light a match. This place was a gate to Hell and it needed to be destroyed. As we flew out of the door we didn't even turn around; fueled by all of the gas, the house exploded behind us. Fire and debris flew through the air, and I heard that same inhuman laugh from behind. That night, we stayed at a hotel far far away. Neither of us slept a wink. One thing kept coming back to us though. We had to revisit the house.

As we pulled into the neighborhood, we were such a mess of emotions that you might call us insane. But as we drove down the street, there was no debris, no destruction, and no remains of the house. Instead, we found the house standing perfectly still, completely unharmed. Incredulous, we asked some of our neighbors about the last night. They looked at us like we were crazy. Nothing had happened, they just saw us drive up then figured that we had gone to bed. It was like it was an alternate reality. My burn marks from the night before, however, reminded me that it was all too real.

"That's it," I thought. We were done with that house. Allison's mom offered us a place at her house, and we weren't gonna pass that up.

Her first words were "Welcome to our home." Right then I swear I smelled gas one last time.

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