Twenty years came and went since that awful night my brother went missing. Oh, what an awful time it was. Thanks to Patrick, I escaped that dreaded house, but I was scarred for life. I couldn't get it all out of my head. The fear, the death, that roar. I still hear that roar every night when I lay down to go to sleep. That deep bellow, erupting from the mouth of what seemed to be a human, but was only a body-shaped demon. The worst were the eyes; those horrible, beady, pitch-black devil eyes. Believe me, I check my closet every night to see if they're there. I can't even hear the word "devil" mentioned at a church service without having a nervous breakdown. And by God whenever a friendly old man shows me an ounce of compassion or affection, I simply want to vomit, trying to shun out horrible memories.
But the one memory that I hate most of all, the one that I think of every single time I lay my head down on the pillow to go to sleep, is the photograph. The photograph that the police found at the Hoffmister home the night my brother went missing. That awful, black-and-white picture of poor Patrick, sitting on the filthy floor of that god-forsaken cellar, pitch black eyes staring up at the camera. My name is Nancy Williams, and I can tell you right now, things haven't gotten better.
The night Patrick and I were chased through the Hoffmister home by that awful witch, Eileen, I escaped. However, Patrick did not. Soon enough, he and Eileen, along with the rest of her possessed slaves (my parents and other brothers included) disappeared without a trace. I was left alone, my family gone. The police had no idea where Eileen was. All that was left at the house was Leo's dead body and a demonic statue. Oh, and that horrible photograph. Well, soon enough I was sent away to live with my aunt, Cynthia. Being the sister of my mother, she was also mourning. However, the two of us got through it together, and Cynthia helped get me through the sleepless nights and the bad dreams. Of course, I slept in aunt Cynthia's room until I was 12 years old, and even when I began sleeping in my own room, I slept with the door wide open and the light on. Since I was traumatized, I grew up as a pretty solitary child. I never had many friends in school, but I excelled in my studies. This is what got me into Harvard.
It was at Harvard that I met a graduate of the school, Jackson, who was visiting to give a speech. We hit it off quickly, and soon I was in love. After many dates with him, things got pretty serious. Graduation arrived, and before I knew it, I was living in California, just 30 minutes away from Jackson. The two of us dated for a couple of years, and for the first time since I was five years old, I was truly happy. I was almost able to forget about the night that my life was ruined. It was a wonderful time.
There was only one thing that was slightly wrong when I began dating Jackson. Of course, growing up traumatized, I always had nightmares. However, when my relationship with Jackson started, so did a recurring dream that I will never forget. It would always start in the exact same way. I would lay in a bed in the middle of the night, awake. However, it wasn't my bed. It was always one inside of a large house, the same one every time. The bedroom window always had the same view: a large field with some woods that lined the horizon. A full moon was in the sky in every one of these dreams. Perhaps that was the most peculiar part, that everything was the same every time I had the dream. In the dream, I would always sit up in the bed, before getting up and walking over to the door, which was always closed. Opening it, I stepped out into a dark hallway. At the end of the hallway was another bedroom door, mirroring mine.
Walking down the hallway, I would always walk past a staircase. However, the staircase would be barricaded by wooden boards, as if that part of the house was off-limits. All I could do was travel down the hallway, to the other bedroom. Walking over to the other bedroom door, I would always begin to hear the muffled sounds of music coming from inside the room. The music was almost like smooth, romantic jazz music. Stretching my hand forth, I would grasp the doorknob and open the door. As I opened the door, a bed came into view, sitting in the back of the room. However, the bed was not empty. A frail, naked, scrawny old woman always sat on the bed, her face hidden by the absence of light in the house. This woman faced away from me, and facing her, was a shadowy, humanoid, horned creature. The room was pitch-dark, so I simply could not make out the faces of either one of them. Finally, the woman and the horned being would begin to embrace one another, falling on to the bed in a sexual dance. Once they began to do this, I would wake up, dazed and confused. And yes, you'd better believe I kept in mind just who that scrawny woman from my dream reminded me of. But enough about my dream.
Soon enough, my 25th birthday came. I was just getting off of work when I looked down at my buzzing phone. Call from Jackson. What does he want, I thought. We agreed on meeting at his place at 7:00. Candle light dinner and everything. I picked up the phone.
"Hey Nancy," said Jackson, "it's me."
"What's up?" I replied.
"Listen," he said, "you're gonna kill me, but-"
"Oh, gosh, but what?" I said.
"I may be a little late, tonight," said Jackson.
As a typical girl, I became rather annoyed at this notion. It was my birthday, who did he think he was?
"Are you kidding me?" I replied, in a whiny voice.
"Listen," he said, "I'll be home by 8. Something just came up at work that I really need to take care of."
"Is it more important than our celebration?" I replied.
"Of course not," said Jackson, "but there's no way around it. Eight o'clock, I promise. There's a key under the mat at my front door."
"Alright," I said, "I'll wait for you. Love you."
"Alright, bye," he said, before hanging up.
Wow, we'd been dating three years and he couldn't even say the "L-word" yet. Unbelievable. I headed on down to Jackson's estate. Jackson had done well for himself, I'll give him that. Part of what attracted me to him was his success. Some may call me a "gold-digger", but humans always reach for the strongest branch. That was something I couldn't get out of my mind in church services. The animal instincts that, deep down, kept us from truly being what God seemed to want us to be.
Walking into Jackson's house, I soon made myself comfortable in his living room, flipping on the television and stoking his massive fireplace. It was about 6:30 when I got there, so I began the task of finding a TV show that would keep me entertained until Jackson's 8:00 arrival. Drifting in and out of sleep, I was awoken by a strange noise in his house. I shrugged it off the first time. That was something I always did. Hearing something in the house while being alone had always been a problem for me. But this time, I heard it again. And again. What the hell was going on? It was as if there was someone in the house, moving things around. There was no way my mind was just playing tricks on me, was there? I didn't think so. I got up to find the source of the noise. Walking down one of the halls, I began to hear the sound again. It was a weird squeaking noise, as if someone was playing with a mechanical pencil. Was it an animal? Beginning to hear grunting noises, I was convinced it was. That is, until I realized that the grunting noises were human.
I continued to walk down the hall until I got to the cellar door. Pressing my ear against the door, I began to hear the voice more clearly. It was female, definitely female. A raspy female voice. I was completely freaked out beyond belief. Now, I know what you're thinking. Did she go into the basement to look? Absolutely not. I pulled out my phone and immediately called Jackson. I told him about the strange noises coming from his basement. He immediately seemed taken back by this, and proceeded to frantically tell me not to go into the basement. That's when I saw it. That door was bolted shut. However, the screws were coming loose. That's what the squeaking noise was. Whoever was inside that basement was patiently picking at the other side of the door, pushing the screws out one at a time. I wondered who on earth had the strength to do that. And before I knew it, I was watching the last of the screws inch its way out of the side of the door, falling and joining the others in a pile on the hardwood floor. As Jackson frantically yelled my name over the phone, whoever was on the other side of the door yelled out:
The door flung open and slammed into me, knocking me to the ground. I knew I recognized that voice. Standing in the doorway was that scrawny, rotting, corpse-like witch named Eileen Hoffmister. She was shackled, but still (unfortunately) able to walk. It was like a nightmare. But it was one I couldn't wake up from, no matter how desperately I wished to. Eileen did not look happy to see me in the least. She looked even worse than she did the last time I had seen her, all those years ago. Her skin was decaying, sickly green in appearance. Her hair was thin and stringy, and her eyes were now a milky white. Most of her teeth had fallen out, and the ones that hadn't were crooked and rotten.
"E-E-Eileen?" I stammered out.
Eileen didn't even answer. That monstrosity of a woman lunged at me, throwing herself on my back. I desperately tried to crawl away from her, trying to escape. That rotting person smelled worse than any open sewer one could possibly imagine. Eileen began to attempt wrapping her chains around my throat. I used all the strength in my body to prevent this from happening.
"Now I'll take you to my world, Nancy!" said Eileen.
Eileen got up and began dragging me by my feet toward the basement. Her strength was incredible. It was because she fed off of the devil, just like any witch would. Before I knew it, I was being dragged down the stairs of the cellar. The witch flung me onto the hard, filthy floor. Looking up and coming to my senses, I immediately got a look at her living conditions. Bowls with food and water were put out for her, and the floor was littered with chicken bones and other rotting food items.
"I can't believe my luck!" shouted Eileen. "Looks like I'll be able to get you after all."
I looked up over my shoulder, just in time to see Eileen start to lunge at me again. However, this time, a pair of hands came up from behind her and grabbed her shoulders. It was Jackson. He grabbed her by the shoulders and threw her to the ground, throwing himself on top of her in an effort to restrain her.
"Mom, don't make me do this!" shouted Jackson.
Mom? I couldn't believe my ears. Jackson's last name was Haley, not Hoffmister. How could this be? Eileen continued to struggle and growl at Jackson, nipping at his hands in an attempt to get him off. After much wrestling between the two, I got up and began looking for a weapon. Anything to bash Eileen's brains in. I looked over to the side and spotted one of her food dishes. They were glass. Perfect. I ran for her bowl, quickly dumping out the gross, slimy, unrecognizable food inside of it. It might have been feces, I'm not even sure. I broke the bowl on the ground, creating a sharp hunk of glass that could be used to kill Eileen once and for all. I rushed toward Eileen, who was still pinned to the ground by Jackson. Jackson noticed me, and got up off of Eileen in an attempt to stop me.
"Stop!" he cried. "Nancy, don't do it!"
Eileen, now free from Jackson's restraint, got up and rushed at me as well. I reared back, and just as she got within my reach, I blindly swung at her with the shard of glass. For a moment, everything just seemed to freeze. The yelling stopped, Jackson stopped rushing at me, and so did Eileen. I then noticed Eileen's throat begin to drip blood, before the red liquid began gushing out like a river. She fell backward, and that was it. Just like that, the nightmare that had haunted me for years was defeated. Jackson fell to his knees, completely shocked. He had some explaining to do.
In short, Jackson told me that he was indeed Eileen's son. He was born into her household, but was immediately miserable. His parents constantly beat him and tried to force him to worship the devil. Of course, this lead to Jackson changing his name once he turned 18. He wanted nothing to do with them. However, after Eileen had ruined my life and ran off with Patrick and her possessed slaves, Jackson went looking for her after hearing police reports.
It turned out that Jackson knew exactly where to find her: at an old ritual site that she had always taken him to as a kid (against his will, of course). At that point, all of her possessed slaves had died off. Rather than turning her in to the police, Jackson suckered her in to his home, pretending that he would begin practicing witchcraft. Once he got Eileen into his home, he locked her up and began the process of trying to convert her to Christianity. He couldn't see his mother be damned to Hell, no matter how awful of a person she was. Of course, his attempts were in vein. Eileen was to stay a witch, no matter how great his efforts.
I explained my history with Eileen to Jackson. I told him of the kidnappings and everything else that horrible hag put me through. I also told him that I never wanted to see him again. How could I have? He was a freak, just like her. Keeping his own mother locked up in a basement, his murderous hag mother at that. In the middle of our argument, Eileen's dead body began to quiver. The two of us froze, terrified. Her body continued to quiver before beginning to violently shake. Orange light began to encircle her corpse. The two of us then watched in terror as a ghastly, slimy demon began to crawl out of the ground next to Eileen's body. Once it noticed us, its face lit up and it smiled. Its voice was surprisingly human-like.
"Hello, Jackson," it said.
Jackson didn't respond. The two of us stood there in fear. I began to turn away and walk toward the stairs, wanting to escape this madness. However, the basement door slammed by itself before I even got to the first step. I looked back at the demon.
"Won't you stay?" said the demon. "We don't get much company down there."
What else could I have done? All Jackson and I could do was stand there and look at this filthy little creature on the floor, which began examining Eileen's body. It proceeded to look back up at Jackson.
"Oh, how disappointing," exclaimed the demon.
"W-W-What's disappointing?" replied Jackson.
"You don't have your father's eyes," said the demon.
Jackson immediately developed an expression that was filled with disgust.
"Leo's eyes?" he said. "Yeah, I'm happy I don't have those. That rotten creep can-"
"No," said the demon. "Not Leo's. Your father's."
Jackson looked confused.
"Excuse me?" said Jackson, now more perplexed than afraid.
"You don't know?" said the demon, surprised. "Old Nick always had a thing for your mother."
Jackson's face went completely white. Old Nick. That's when it hit me. That dream I used to have, it was Eileen. Eileen and... Old Nick. The devil. In my dream, Eileen and the devil embraced one another in courtship, but the dream never showed me the offspring. I was looking at the offspring right now. The demon continued his work, examining Eileen's corpse before dragging it down the rabbit hole with him. He then popped back up one last time, giving us a smile and a wink, before descending down into Hell.
Jackson's legs began to wobble before he fell backward, landing on the hard basement floor. The pain he must have felt from that fall didn't seem to affect him in the least. He just stared up at the ceiling, mouth gaping open, as if the whole world had just crashed down on him. And in a way, that's exactly what the case was. The questions that must have raced through his mind. Mine, too.
How is he the devil's son? He doesn't look like a demon. Jackson is a nice man, how could this be? Jackson simply would not respond to me, so I left. I never went back to that house, nor did I ever talk to him. Not when I couldn't sleep. Not when I began having nightmares. Not even when I began to get depressed and lonely. And not when I found out I was pregnant.
The only person I had ever had sex with in my entire life was Jackson, son of the devil. My heart sank as I realized this. I was pregnant with Jackson's child, and Jackson was the devil's child. He was also Eileen's child. That meant that not only was Eileen the grandmother of my child, but the devil was the grandfather. Eileen was my mother-in-law, and the devil was my father-in-law. These thoughts were the only thoughts left in my mind, racing around a million miles per hour. I sank to my knees as I stared at the pregnancy test, and I felt my stomach. Through my fear, it was almost like I could feel my stomach get bigger. I dreaded the day I could feel that little angelface in there kick. What could I do? Would the devil do something awful to me for getting an abortion? Could I just commit suicide? If I committed suicide, would I go to Hell for it? If I gave birth to the baby, would I be the mother of a demon? That last question was the only one I knew the answer to. The answer was yes. A demon was growing inside my womb.
Old Nick's grandchild was growing inside of my belly. Eileen's grandchild was growing inside of my belly. We were all just one big, happy family.
Written by Jake Wick