Chapter I. The Shadow on the Wall
Upon the evening of 2014, where tides rushed in and out along the barren beach, a young woman walked bearing a forlorn stare. The sand brushed against the woman's feet as she finally halted at the cold water's edge. Entranced by the liquid's reflection she moved forward, descending into the bay.
It was this statement that cautious investigators were tentative to argue against, for the witness claimed that Sophia Langley, a solicitor, attempted to commit suicide in the waters of Alki Beach. There is the truth that a red bruise was upon her neck, showing probable attempts of asphyxiation, but signs of bare footprints in the sand following hers gave rise to other speculations. Overall, this find contributed to the secrets unearthed by Alexander Rhys, a wholesome teenager; whose following account got noted in therapies to express the events from his perspective.
Seven-year-old Alexander and his mother had moved to Alki Point from Texas, in the spring of 2006, obtaining a two-story house southwest off Hobart Avenue, beside Alki Beach where one can get views of Puget Sound. It was an attractive place, in an oasis town where osprey’s perch on convenient balconies. The tetragonal Pacific Northwest house they moved into had a cedar exterior with tiled roof and slab granite. Inside were profusions of wide-panned windows and skylights along with oak floors, dual paneled doors and iron railings.
Alexander’s bedroom, a large northwest space, overlooked the backyard on one side, while its west windows faced down the hill, passed the vibrant trees. It absorbed a grand view of the endless glittering bay, where sunsets blazed behind the far horizon. Against these features, a few blocks ahead stretched the sands of Alki Beach, erect with bungalows and eateries. Alexander often fancied that he was looking at some dreamlike place.
To his mid-teens, he would often go to the beach, look out at the bay with his green eyes and then gaze off to the west – the rock-strewn shore of the beach’s peak; the red-crowned gambrels of Pacific Northwest beach houses and the pathway that curves around inside the headland so provoked his daydreaming. From living in Alki Point, he learned that the headland was a vast area of vacant houses. Often he and his close friend Emilia would train their visits there. He felt comfortable around her, as they picked out houses and snuck looks inside to see the mysteries they held.
Of all the distant objects on that headland, a two-story, cream-colored lighthouse most intrigued him. It stood out with distinctness, and at dusk the light tower loomed ghostly against the skies. The slightly soiled disguise and shadowed rectangular windows, rose boldly above the slanted roofs. In all, it appeared old; for soon after the Viser family took co-ownership, the lighthouse went through alterations, becoming masonry with the Pacific Northwest feature.
For months Alexander watched the structure with a mounting interest on his fresh face. He knew, from the darkened windows, it was only occupied during the daylight tours. When he talked up the lighthouse to others, everyone spoke well of it, disclosing their different insights. Most varied, yet all agreed that the structure got built in 1913, and the Viser family acquired co-ownership in the 1930s after they moved into Seattle a century ago from the Netherlands.
In the spring of 2014, an impatience plagued Alexander. Working on his project for the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, to qualify for an internship there, he stalled at citing the Viser family’s ownership of the lighthouse. Gazing at the TV across from him, where several electronic devices lay, and at the clothes strewn around the bed, he remembered something dismal. Three years ago, where some students had mocked his stuttering in the school hall and removed his pants, he recalled his friend Ethan Viser, viewing the scene with different eye colors and then helping him. Away from his memory now, a rising agitation grew – the need to escape became too great to ignore.
Alexander spent time seated on a bench at Alki Beach. He leaned forward facing the ground, letting his progressing layers of blonde hair, of cheekbone length, fall partly over his eyes, as a different poignant memory surfaced. It was of Ethan’s death a year earlier, images of that day were incessant from seeing his friend’s lifeless body bound in duct tape on the shore. Then his thoughts alternated as he gripped his hair. The breakup he had a year ago led him to be more reserved about sharing private things about himself with others. Likewise, he cursed the idea of his therapy, especially since nothing helped lessen his stuttering. Soon he noticed a vehicle drive into the parking lot behind him. Having caught the sound of shoes hitting the concrete, he would then hear his mother speak out to him with relief.
“So, here you are. The therapist called and said you were absent from two sessions.”
Alexander turned his head away while his eyes planned an escape from the topic. When he stood, his eyebrows lowered. “It was only two, it d-doesn't matter,” he barked.
As her voice became stern, “What has gotten into you? Why are you shouting at me like this?”
Alexander leaned on his left hip, attempting to understand her side, “The t-treatment just isn’t working, and my s-stuttering hasn’t stopped.”
“If you honestly feel that way, then I’ll call the therapist and cancel,” she said, putting her right hand on the left of his face. Alexander wanted to agree, but could not muster the confidence to say it. “Don’t forget, in July you’re going to visit your father in London.”
Numbly he diverted his gaze, “I know.”
Early the following day, Alexander was casually attired in a white t-shirt, a light blue partially buttoned up dress shirt and slim fit low-rise jeans. Passing the kitchen, the sounds of water drops caught his attention, which allowed him to discover a leak in the kitchen ceiling’s corner. His eyes soon fell toward the microwave clock showing 8:36 a.m., which gave him a sense of urgency. Knowing that his class starts in nine minutes, he left out for high school. The student trudged through the day distracted by thoughts of Ethan and barely gave attention to his classes. Having recalled how Ethan was quiet and emotionally fickle, which swung like a pendulum between the devaluation and idealization of others, he would see Ethan show himself as confident when they intruded into the vacant houses or snuck away from school.
As school ended, Alexander sat in Emilia’s car while she was in the driver’s seat. Upon this, he noticed someone come to them with messy, brown hair and faded clothing. Alexander knew the student as Arnold, a person who enticed several incidents upon him. Despite Alexander’s silent protest, Emilia let the teen inside, making the ride an uncomfortable silence. However, the silence waned, as the student remembered, after what Emilia said. “So any ideas on the history project, for Mr. Langley?”
Alexander thought about his presentation on the lighthouse for the historical society and smiled assuredly at the question. “We should d-do it on the lighthouse. Since I already h-have some work on it.”
Soon, though, Arnold cracked a smile and made a comment on the project choice. “Why’d you pick that of all places? You know who owns that, right?”
Alexander, knowing Arnold referred to the rumors about Ilse Viser and her children, recalled the stories of the unhallowed rites practiced in their home. To him, though, they were just excuses used to justify a fearful subjection about a Dutch family, which he would not let deter him. “It has a lot of history. B-Besides, the Viser family aren’t some Alki scandal.”
That afternoon, Alexander went to the affluent area of his neighborhood to visit the Viser family home and request entry into the lighthouse. Along the puddled streets, he held himself going up the soaring avenue of weeping foliage, where thundering winds made the branches hiss and rain disperse into a mist around the looming structure. With its dark tiled roof and dreary masonry, Ravenwood was an old estate. So he rapped, strongly, at the front door and waited near the garden.
Before long, the door opened to Ilse Viser; a rather captivating, fair woman with a piece of wavy, raven-black hair hanging over her left shoulder. Despite Ethan’s death, her first son’s leave and being a widow, she carried herself well enough. Ilse, he reflected, must have had a reason to live in such an isolated area. When she invited him inside, his attention soon was roused. She retrieved his jacket and hung it on the coat hook, as Alexander gathered the Dutch accent in her voice. However, it soon was eclipsed by a mellow voice from the hall. With the voice, came the tapping of crisp shoes. Greeted by the dark haired young man, Alexander recognized his teacher. While the man left beaming a boyish grin at them, Ilse stated, “Jack has been helping me outline the lighthouse tour, but I'm sure you’re not here to hear that.”
“I-I came to ask for access to the lighthouse.” His words, he soon saw, produced a soft denial on her face. Alexander then moved a few steps closer to impress as if his physical presence portrayed his seriousness and recalled saying, “Normally I wouldn’t ask this, b-but I need t-the information to obtain the credits to intern at the historical society.”
At the time he noticed Ilse look oddly at him, the student heard her answer. “I suppose a visit can get arranged by the 27th.” The date seemed opportune, yet he did wonder about it being so late in April. Before it could get addressed, though, he got caught off-guard while Ilse said something peculiar. “You’ve always been like another son to me.” Her words felt endearing, yet unsettling, as the inference they produced was a disquiet he could not decipher.
Later, as the day went to evening, Alexander worked on his part of the history project in his room when he got an email from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, requesting an oral presentation of his project. Dread besieged him, for images of stuttering in the presentation filled his mind. He considered using his prescription, but the Xanax he took years prior caused an addiction that he never wanted to experience again. Distraught by this, it took time before the broadcast on the TV, showing the Channel 4 King Five News, broke through his stupor.
The news, it seems, oddly spoke of growing concerns in Alki Point. Two events happened in the general area showing signs of drowning or asphyxiation, and this news followed with the discovery of Sophia Langley’s unconscious body in the waters of Alki Beach. The police gave some comment on the investigations. For a reporter was noted to have asked Lt. Xavier Moss, a hearty brusque man, if this was related to the death of Sophia’s partner found dead in front of a building, days earlier. However, the answer given was that not enough evidence of the incidents distinctly connected.
Alexander sat back, for he knew Sophia as a neighbor. Wedded to Ken Langley, Jack’s older brother, he recalled that she cared for him when needed. Additionally, she was also one of the few people that knew of his break up with Ethan’s older brother a year ago, due to the secret of his therapies getting told around the school. Imagining Ken with grief, he felt indebted to visit him.
While visiting Ken, Alexander rang the doorbell and called out his name. A voice spoke through the door about a restraining order. Soon, it opened to a robust man who mistook him for Jack. After apologizing, Alexander got let inside. As Ken stood at the picture case, staring longingly at Sophia’s image, the student surveyed the dimly lit area and stopped at a framed picture, on the table, of Sophia embracing Ken. Alexander lifted it and saw a red mark on her neck as well as bloodshot eyes, which made him cock an eyebrow. Placing the frame down, he worried for Ken’s mentality and suggested the man spend time at his home, which Ken hesitantly accepted.
Back in the Rhys's house, they both sat on the sofa. Alexander held from invoking Sophia's name due to the fragile state Ken exhibited. Though it was Ken who complained to Alexander of his remorse, as the rhythmic tap of his foot gradually increased. “I should have listened to her more,” he muttered half aloud to himself. “It’s just been hard handling this with barely any sleep... Do you think if I paid more attention to what she said, this wouldn’t have happened?”
Unable to answer with certainty, Alexander found himself inquiring, “What d-did she say?”
“After her partner’s death, she heard voices whispering something unlike regular speech,” the man said, holding his head. Trying to calm him, Alexander saw sweat on the man's brow and noticed the same red bruise on his neck. Any reply, however, got stalled by a question of the restroom’s location, to which he told Ken.
Alone, minutes passed, and Alexander sat from eleven fifty-four to midnight. In spite of the leak in the kitchen, he felt drowsy at wondering why Ken was taking so long. Past midnight he dropped asleep, but it was an indescribable chaos that caused his mind to leap at the hideous sounds of slow but sure low and throaty growls, much like a canine making guttural sounds in water. Alexander awoke to a clatter of noises from upstairs. The moaning whispers fled like a wisp while the thought of Ken horrified him. He cautiously rushed upstairs oblivious to what awaited.
Finding the door locked he called out to the troubled man, but with no answer, he set his ear to the egress. The sink water was running, but Alexander feared Ken took his life and rammed his shoulder into the door before entering. Inside, his eyes found the cabinet mirror in the floor’s corner surrounded by broken glass and scattered contents, as if ripped off the hinges and thrown. An anomalous terror began to swell, for realizing Ken was nowhere to be found made it worse as finding his body would account for something tangible occurring.
Stepping in carefully, he found pairs of bare, dirty footsteps leading out of the bathroom. Soon, unexpected flickers of the light caused Alexander’s mind to leap. In the flashes, he saw his shadow on the wall as the glare threw another one vividly on the wall, which his gaze never left. Alexander could not understand it, for the shadows were nearly alike. Viewing to the right, the contours of something not wholly human got discerned while water dripped from its open maw letting out guttural growls. As he looked back, the light settled, and nothing was there but wet footprints on the floor. In shaken haste, he followed them out of the bathroom.
Downstairs, the footprints led into the kitchen. Alexander tracked the path, feeling the taste of cold sweat at the corner of his mouth, only to return to the leak. Wiping his eyes, he saw the trail had gone, though, one thing stayed true that night. Ken Langley left no trace of himself behind, and no apparent departure from the house. In fact, he was never heard from again.
Chapter II. The Terror Incarnate
The day of April 27th was sodden, as the tides on Alki Beach gushed forth on the shore. The silver linings were dim as the clouds grew thick. A noise of deep reverberation went through the sky. On this day, Alexander was in the car with Emilia heading for the beach. It felt like the darkness was creeping upon him, for the nights he endured, succeeding April 13th, harassed him with haunting thoughts of Ken being taken by a sinister force.
Some darkening impression also caused his dissonance, if I didn’t force Ken over, would he still be here? Brooding on the insidious figure, he hoped this trip would help him forget the experience. In a short time, he realized he should tell someone, and conveying to Emilia seemed right. When he explained the event at his house, details of the shadow got omitted, as he wanted to forget about it. Alexander thought her advice was practical; for after brushing her auburn hair aside, she advised him to tell the police and his mother.
As the car went toward the beach’s headland, Alexander looked upon the homes and their wood paneled decks. There were dingy, red roofs and he noted the dark windows on white, century-weathered walls. Nowhere could he locate the aspects he had seen from afar; so he imagined the headland of that distant view was a fantasy never to be entered by outsiders.
Then a white spire stood out against the rain to his right, over the red roofs and hillside backstreets. Alexander instantly knew what it was and mentally prepared himself for the arrival. While exiting the car, though he has seen the tower before, there was something about this visit that seemed irregular. Now he stood near Emilia on a wood-railed grassland plateau, where there stood in view a colossus whose identity was beyond argument.
It was evident that the lighthouse got conserved, as the windows were dark and shrouded much, yet was unbroken with little blemishes. Alexander wondered how they could have upheld so long, considering the habits of others. A path going from the berm to the building was ashen, leading to a slanted roof over the porch. To him, obscurity was like a pall over this area, and with the ghostly walls capped with a cluster of red tiles, he felt a touch of the faintly sinister now.
On the path, Alexander saw two people conversing at the entrance. It was a dull ache to find Arnold talking with Ilse. At the ingress, Arnold greeted them, which seemed sardonic to Alexander. Before he could protest and call him a phony, Emilia interrupted, “Arnold and his younger brother have been staying at my house so they could get some safe nights away from their home. Besides, he is in our group.” Not wanting to look ungrateful before Ilse and believing he might stutter, Alexander fixed himself to tolerate the situation, and soon followed the others into the structure.
Inside the lighthouse, Alexander beheld the comfortable interior while Ilse locked the door behind them with a key. Their coats got put on golden hooks that clung to worn white walls. As she showed them around the ground level, Alexander took mental note of what he saw. The interior doors were unlocked, which he guessed was part of their tour, and the black and white linoleum floor was faded. Around them, the main room was almost peculiar with its eerie and cold tables, Georgian chairs, oak shelves, and worn wall hangings. Then came the doorways: the left led into the foyer, the right led into the kitchen, and the one ahead went into the den.
During the tour, Alexander had taken pictures with his smartphone, until he paused from overhearing a rasping whisper. The sounds brought on a foreboding atmosphere, for the verses seemed incoherent as if spoken backward and smothered by water. Becoming wary of the noise he stepped back; for the whispers resurfaced that hellish night in his house. Before long, he hastened his steps to rejoin the others further ahead.
Having come to rest in the foyer, Alexander could not remove the hideous sound from his mind. Every diverging thought would end up hindered by a terror under the rasping whisper. Suddenly, a brilliant light sent its traces through the gray framed windows. Those windows were so obscured that Alexander could hardly discern the marks on the window’s base. From what he could tell, he felt a nagging unease; for the marks appeared on the inside, and from the outline, it revealed a partial handprint. The few distinctions were open to criticism, as it could not get defined what made them. By the time Alexander asked about it, the prints had disappeared.
Suddenly powerful winds hit the lighthouse causing the windows to rattle. A booming slam resonated from the upper floor, subsequently causing the fragile lights to malfunction. At the time it was heard, Ilse quickly lessened their concerns, claiming it was a windblast opening the windows and left the students for a time to deal with the matter. Upon the wait, Emilia and Arnold took notes on the lighthouse interior as well as the assets while Alexander thought over the happenings that befell Ken and his wife and found himself reading the news stories on his smartphone. The alleged suicide of Sophia’s partner gave him a macabre curiosity. Searching for details, he learned that her partner’s body got found with bloodshot eyes, and the wet-stained footprints discovered on top of the apartment building gave other theories behind the death. Despite the open head injury, the details reminded him of Sophia’s incident.
Sitting back for a moment to take in what he read, a gradual smell of mildew invaded the room, which exhibited an ill feature for the salubriousness of the place. For minutes the smell continued before Emilia covered her nose. The odor also caused Arnold’s eyes to narrow as he retreated to the threshold. “I don’t know about you guys, but that smell’s awful enough to make me leave.”
“We can’t just break the lock, how would we explain that,” she stated in a muffled voice. “I wish Mrs. Viser would hurry back, though.”
Unwilling to sojourn longer, Alexander would do anything to escape the odor. “I’ll go see what’s t-taking her,” he said.
Glancing back toward Arnold, she then faced Alexander, "Alright, we'll stay here and finish gathering information for the project."
Retracing the steps from earlier, now that the storm disabled the light fixtures, Alexander found a door and staircase leading up to the upper level. Climbing was eerie since the darkness had done its worst in this close area. The staircase was spiral with high, narrow steps and occasionally Alexander passed a window looking out over the town. Reaching the top level he hoped to find a facet of illumination. Here he was doomed to disappointment; as the only light came from the window down the hall. Going toward that window, he found it was locked. At first guess, it would have appeared Ilse closed it, yet he could not see any sign of water on the inside of it.
Moving to the room nearest him, believing Ilse would be in there, he went inside. In the study, two windows let in segments of light, where Alexander could see a desk and high shelves full of books. Here he got a jolt of intrigue, for the name of the books told him much. They were dark, illicit things that most people knew of through furtive gossips. He had read a few, though – the planetary manual Heptameron of Peter de Abano and the erudite Three Books of Occult Philosophy. The other he heard of – the Munich Manual of Demonic Magic. From this, it was evident how the rumors of the Viser family came to be.
Examining the desk for further content, he found a thin cardboard record-book scribed with Germanic entries. The writings contained symbols used in astronomy and astrology as well as demonology. Further pages suggested that each formula answered to some letter in the alphabet. Hoping to apply the cryptogram to the project, Alexander raised his orange shirt and tucked part of the record-book under the back of his jeans. He wondered why Ilse stored these books in the damp lighthouse, was she suspicious of the historical society?
Once the study got explored, Alexander ventured back to the entry. As he went to the door, the air began to chill over. During this, the light coming in produced trails of falling water that created a small, transparent screen onto the wall near the doorway. Alexander backed away, reminded of his ghastly encounter in his house, as wax-like hands began to extend out from the water’s reflection, dripping. A mixture of guilt and fear encumbered him; stopping, he lacked the thoughts to retreat. His mind was in as much chaos as the thunderstorm outside.
Ignorance to that demonic figure's capabilities petrified him. In the midst of his turmoil, a brilliant lightning bolt went by the window, which curiously made the whole terror collapse as water. The disappearance of the fear prompted Alexander to leave the study. Going down the corridor, he dashed through the darkness but could hear saturated footsteps pursuing him from behind. He reached the other end of the hall and saw a chamber to his left that seemed to invite with an open door, which he hid behind until the chasing sounds diminished.
Within the chamber, about seventeen feet squared, were tall candleholders around the floor’s center, aligned symmetrically in a triangle. At the center rose a curiously angled marble altar about five feet in height and three feet in diameter, covered on each side with strange, roughly incised runes. Amongst all of this, a Victorian armoire jutted a few inches away from the corner of the room. On top of the altar, though, rested an aged open black book. Using the phone's light to illuminate it, he saw that the book revealed a series of interlocking triangles with a shadowed mass at the page's center; it was all caged in a circle of old Germanic text.
The minute he did pull himself away, it was to notice a slight pile of dust in the corner near the armoire. Something about its shape made his mind receive a message of attention. Making his way there, he saw it was small enough to hold. Brushes of the hand revealed a notebook, to where the cover was blank. The pages had penciled notes, though, several of them were dangling out. Alexander moved fringes of his hair aside to examine them and saw that each one held a perplexing nature. As he read them, their disjointed text bared the following:
Ilse Viser begins an affair with Jack Langley, March 2009 – her knowledge and studies in the occult well recognized.
July 5th, Ken warns of Ilse indulging his brother’s witchcraft interest.
Ken learned that his house got used for the affair near the end 2011.
Restraining order filed against Jack by Ken Feb. 2nd, 2012.
Similar order filed against Ken by Jack the following year.
2013 – 2 disappearances occurred June 26-27th – first mention of Woordenboek.
Six disappearances and two deaths August – stories of serial murders start.
Inquiries Nov. 2nd amounts to nothing – rumors of noises circulate.
Ken tells of meeting in the lighthouse with a black book from the Czech Republic – says they call up something that hates great light. It retreats briefly from near lightning flashes. Details obtained from Jack’s papers. Scripts say the book shows the world below and the entity is its herald.
Late 2013, concerned citizens call on Lt. Moss – nothing found that links to incidents.
Dec. 1st, Ken has become quiet – just talks to self – speaks of vivid nightmares.
Dec. 2nd, Ken talks of Lucius and Alecia, a couple from old Salem Massachusetts – used the Woordenboek to cast spells on accusers after a girl got blamed for witchcraft.
With Alecia’s hanging in 1692, Lucius swore retribution. Nightmares will befall the accusers ‘till driven mad – the curse will devour two in that person's kindred as the fated couple met their end.
Feb. 3rd, ghost stories about lighthouse begin – try to get the truth of Viser family’s past in 1692.
April 1st, request a copy of Ken’s findings.
Placing the papers in his jeans pocket, Alexander looked at the altar. The implication of the notes was clear, and there was no doubt that someone, possibly Sophia, came to the lighthouse to find out what Ilse knew. No one likely noticed her come in here or known of her plan.
Suddenly, his thoughts were broken by a mild anxiety. Alexander became aware of some insidious form viewing him with unnerving focus. There was a sensation of being close to something – a something that looked at him through the darkness. However, the secrets of this room still haunted his thoughts, what was the image in that book? What did the notes mean about a Woordenboek? Exactly, what happened in this place?
Before fear could recklessly move him, Alexander caught footsteps in the hallway and quickly left the chamber for the stairs. Reaching the turn, he hid behind the corner as he heard the steps get loud. Glancing around the junction, he saw Ilse stop at the chamber door and reach into her pocket. She took out, what looked like, a dark key. Behind the wall, he deadened his breaths as she closed the door and began reciting a phrase, “... the two-faced and innocent.”
At the sharp click of the door, a stirring commenced from inside the chamber. Thoughts of the imagined stare and that stirring startled Alexander horribly. He rushed through the gloom almost wildly down the stairs and back into the foyer, where he rested before being questioned. At best Alexander could say he stumbled into a room with a strange book, while looking for Ilse, and the noises he heard in that chamber raised an unconscious fear that drove him to an intuitive retreat. However, between breaths he tried to stammer out his account. “Upstairs... I-I saw something in the s-study.” Here he faltered and seemed to notice the odd looks coming toward him.
Having sat by him, Emilia spoke in a warm voice. “Arnold and I talked, and agreed that if you need it, you could have a break for a few days.”
“Trust us,” Arnold said. “Get some sleep before you drive yourself insane.”
The student tried to force a smile, but could not disregard what he saw. “Ignoring it w-won’t help.”
She took his hand, “You’re not ignoring it. Ken’s disappearance isn’t your fault.”
Trying to consider their words, Alexander abruptly moved away from them, as he believed they were rejecting his accounts. Before he could contest their dismissal, his phone vibrated. Taking it from his pants pocket, the student saw a voicemail from his therapist. Hearing the message bewildered him, for the speech-language pathologist agreed to continue with the therapy. By that time Ilse returned, they all asked to leave. Without delay, she seemed rushed to let them out as the depth of nightfall filled in the sky.
Having returned home, Alexander bypassed his mother who stood, looking over the mail. As she inquired on his late return, he gave a brief answer, and then brought up the voicemail. The moment her eyes softened he realized the answer and crossed his arms. “Great, you d-did call him,” he said with marked bitterness.
“Alex, calm down. If you give it another chance with some effort, it could help you,” she said.
After hearing that and shrugging, his hands fell to his sides, “Do whatever you w-want.” A storming upstairs came, for he believed she alluded to his suicide attempt three years ago to escape the anxiety. His bedroom door then slammed. Secluding himself in the room, his head was in his hands, for recollection of the event caused him to sink to the bed.
That night Alexander had a strangely vivid dream. He seemed to be viewing down from an enormous height at a distorted Alki Beach. Blue and gray firefly-like orbs hovered to the twilight above, as obsidian sands covered the landscape of a ruined lighthouse and black and green waters. A shrouded spectral woman sat in a worn chamber, reading an aged book as gross moans sound in the background, yet she did not seem to adhere. Then the room abruptly changed from its worn state to the ritual room aligned with candlesticks. Immediately, the room returns to its original form, but in its altered state, Alexander saw a figure in a casually dressed gray and blue attire. The woman looks to where the figure stood and contently smiles.
Now his view became darkened as if he were in an underground vault. A grim sound like a throaty croak accompanied the obscurity. Before long, the sense of being intently watched from beyond the bleeding nebulous took him, as the guttural cries grew. His sight soon came to alien-like eyes within the gloom. Among the eyes was a melting darkness over a grimy exterior, as thick blue veins swelled through the wax-like skin. The being’s eyes were as empty as the void it arose from and stared through dangling copper strands, which resembled the red of dusk.
Alexander then sat up from the dream, feeling physically drained. Recalling a shaky slump forward, a rumble of the thunderstorm roused his attention. The darkness in the room caused him to reach for his cellphone on the nightstand to check the time. At doing so, he glanced at his TV screen as if his mind got pulled by some present anomaly. He sees, reflected, a figure of his size in bedraggled, worn-and-torn gray and blue attire standing at the end of his room. As the figure steadily cocked its head to the side, making a grating pop sound, Alexander breathed in and looked in that direction. Seeing his room vacant gave him relief. However, viewing his phone’s screen show 2:41 a.m., he grew anxious and left his room. Looking into his mother’s room, he found her asleep and then went back to bed.
That daybreak, Alexander awoke distressed by his dream. All he wanted was a release from the anxiety. Knowing his mother would be awake and going downstairs, a sense of staleness in the air gathered. He wanted to apologize and explain things to her, but an unusual odor persisted. Hearing the leak from before, he glanced into the kitchen and felt a malignant horror creep its tentacles around him. For his mother now hung from the ceiling fan by a wire. This sight upset his stomach as his chest felt like it was in a vice grip. It was only hours ago, they argued, but now she was dead with bare, stained footprints around her.
Chapter III. Behind the Black Glare
The 3rd of May was the day of the funeral for Alexander’s mother. Having dressed in a black suit, Emilia had driven them to the cemetery on Capitol Hill. With several days of being housebound, venturing outside tightened his skin. Still, this did nothing to lessen his mental anguish. Everything seemed so surreal now that he wished his flesh could melt away into a vapor. However, he soon recalled in this stupor, what led him to the promise about never taking his life.
Remembering it was in the fifth grade when he learned of his speech dysfunction, he thought of his desperation toward trying to speak like others his age. As the mockery worsened, his grades began to show a decline. In 2006, the separation of his parents devastated him to the point he blamed himself. Set on a spiral of self-hate and jealousy, he was exhausted; moreover, thinking of his failures and that he was a one. Nearing 2012, he stood on a desk chair in his room and stepped off it. His mother soon found him with a cord around his neck, which she quickly removed. While holding him, she tearfully made him swear never to attempt suicide again.
Soon his memory ceased as they came into the cemetery, where the trees cast wraith-like shadows upon the cold grave markers, and where the dark, iron gate squealed on its hinges. Passing by the gravestones, Alexander saw the writings were old and faded, yet some were discernable as one spelled out Ethan Viser. Many people attended the funeral inside the church and offered their sympathies. Jack, being one of the attendants, also did the same, and gave him his contact information if the student needed to talk. Despite this, terrible thoughts and images still plagued him.
Grieving in silence, the constant memory of his mother’s death, seemed to always draw his mind to that whitened structure and its darkened chamber. The cold air of the church soon took him from these thoughts to notice an obscure figure standing at the back of the nave. When he asked Emilia who that figure was, it had vanished. Emilia then addressed the red mark on the front of his neck, stating its resemblance to Arnold’s bruise. Alexander could not recall a recent injury, but as he looked into his likeness at the window and beheld the bruise, he caressed it in steady shudders. Soon, the time came to get seated in the pew for the mass, and a fresh note of terror began to gradually build in him as his mind ran riot in strange ways.
Haunted by everything that transpired, he thought about his life and wondered if it was worth anything. In an instant, sensations of rage, helplessness, and fantasies of reversing time swirled grossly in his mind as the second-guessing, and resentment at himself boiled over. The unreality of it all and numbness alternated, with agonizing gloom. His sight blurred before he went outside and sunk to the ground. Before long, he found himself in the car again heading home.
During the following days, Alexander referred to no one about his experiences. Instead, he researched on his laptop occult languages to understand the content in the record-book, comparing them to the notes found in the chamber. The code, he soon sighted, was complex; for he began to assume it was not a modern Germanic language. Such knowledge led him to all but abandon his project to focus on these matters, and try to ascertain the reasons of the occurrences.
On the day Alexander attended class on May 26th, he learned two things. The first was through email that his father was coming next month to sell the house. Second was the disappearance of Arnold days after the funeral. Learning of these aspects left him with an empty sensation that broke the minute he got called down to the principal’s office, to give his statement on Arnold’s vanishing. In the room, he listened to Xavier talk about the vanishings, yet when asked about it, Alexander mockingly replied, “You don’t have to d-dance around it. I know why you’re here. You’re d-desperate to put the b-blame on someone since you screwed up Ethan’s murder.” The principle tried to dissolve the remark, but the student continued to mock them, which caused his dismissal.
For some days Alexander became fraught for answers to the happenings around him. He went to see a doctor, to divulge what he witnessed in April, and his suspicion of something having killed his mother. It was surprising to hear of his good physical health, and despite the bruise on his neck got advised to see a therapist. Then, he went to visit Ilse at Ravenwood, yet when he did there only came silence. Peering through a window his heart sunk at finding it nearly empty and learned from neighbors of her move. Disheartened by the lack of support, he glanced at the beach, to try and obtain the view that once gave him solace. At doing so, there was the sight of the birds in flight near the lighthouse. Examining them, he thought they avoided the structure as never before.
At home, deciphering the record-book became an obsession to add facts to the hauntings he believes engulfs his life. His efforts were fruitful, though, few pages were missing. The writings, he uncovered, were in the Elder Futhark language, an old form of the runic alphabet used by Germanic groups. As for the translation, there were references to an entity, called through a triangular glyph with three circles arranged in a trilateral pattern and a candle at each corner made from corpse-fat. Afterward, summoned by cutting a few hair strands from that corpse, and then burning it over a black candle. Sections of the world below also were seen in the text along with a being said to have power over sleep and enslaving dreams.
The translation left Alexander awed and unsettled. Fear of this knowledge indicated much. He believed something had been summoned in that darkened chamber and now stalks abroad in the lighthouse. Within this disclosure, a wave of cold swept over his body. After taking a shower, he went to bed, but sleep was difficult, as an odd weight came upon him.
While sleeping, he found his exhaustion occasionally mixed with half-formed dreams. These dreams were horrible mixtures, for he again saw the distorted Alki Beach, the spectral woman, and the gray and blue clothed figure. Though, this time, as the ghostly woman faces where the figure stood and then smiles, his view changed to an angled hallway; a pair of incessant footsteps was in sight as sounds like grating moans accompany them. Abruptly, the scene shifted to an infested view of beach sand. The sight was a dense sea of grainy blurs and water, yet this soon became engulfed by the nebulous darkness of the vaulted chamber.
Within the transmundane, though, Alexander’s confusion became thwarted by a primal chanting.
Ze hebben ons verteld dat hier,
Uw zonen en dochters stijgen in huis Bylands.
Terrible ululations then came from somewhere nearby, mixing into the hideous chants as a grim wax hand reached to him.
Around four in the morning, Alexander awoke from his dream with a fretful scream, as beads of sweat were present on his brow. It all felt like he was on a sinking ship, where none knew his feeling. Now he would barely dress unless it were to go outside on occasions.
By May 28th, a news story aired around West Seattle that strangely produced attention from some citizens. It appears that in the passing storms, a fear grew in Alki in recent weeks. Citizens gossiped about the taps on wet floors in the lighthouse and called the police several times to investigate it, but nothing came of it. Still, this story did not eclipse the brief news of Sophia Langley regaining consciousness from her suicide attempt.
The stories gave Alexander a concern over the whispers she heard and the red mark on her neck, but his thoughts then diverged to the content of his nightmares. He noticed the visions were always the same, and would gradually add more aspects, believing a hidden message was in them. All of this was soon interrupted by knocks at the front door. Answering the door, it was with callous regard he saw Emilia.
She came to ask about Alexander’s absences and was astonished by the aspects he acquired. There was a touch of paleness to his complexion, and the cold indifference in his stare only alluded to some mental conflict that the student must be facing. At that point, an expression of his suspension from school came, as he then spoke of his inference about the news. “People around Alki are t-talking about the tap sounds in the lighthouse... P-Police didn’t find anything, but something is wrong in that place.” Stepping closer, he leaned on his hip, “D-Did you ever see or feel anything odd at night?”
“Not entirely... Although, Arnold had thrown up some water and his eyes were bloodshot,” she muttered. “I know you’ve been through a lot, but I want to help you get through this.”
Hand on his hip he remarked, “Get through what, nothing will change? If you’re upset t-then admit something took Arnold.”
“Do you realize Arnold’s been missing?” I’ve searched all over for him,” she protested.
Turning his back to her, “You act l-like I should care about that.”
“How the hell can you say that?” she confronted him face-to-face. “Besides, I know you, Alex, and if I say something took Arnold you might–”
“So, I’m t-too much of a wreck to be believable,” rolling his eyes. Suddenly, he reached for Emilia's collar and pulled it down to find a red mark on her neck like his. “S-Stop being idiotic and admit something’s doing this.” The attack on her character caused her to push him back and storm out. By that moment, he slammed the door and only thought of her as being phony and nauseating.
That late afternoon, Alexander went to the Evergreen Health Medical Center by taxi. At the medical center, staff escorted patients to or from rooms. Some moans plagued the corridor as he got directed through it by a doctor, learning that Sophia’s room was just ahead. Informed that the prolonged exposure from her near drowning led to a severe brain injury, Alexander got told that she barely spoke, and the visit must be short.
In a hospital room, as Sophia sat in a wheelchair under a blanket by a window, Alexander sat across from her while the doctor stayed to monitor. She stared into space, seemingly remote. Alexander broke the silence by asking, “Sophia, d-do you remember anything before the night you entered the bay? D-Do you remember the whispers?” The response he got was a concerned moan, which surprised the student and doctor. Alexander then leaned forward with his hands cupped, “I know t-that... you heard something. Whatever you say you heard, I’ll believe it. So, will you t-tell me what those whispers meant?”
Then dry murmurs slipped from her lips, “You will know.”
“Know w-what, what will I–” Before he could finish, however, it was time to leave.
Departing with the doctor, Alexander looked back at Sophia as he turned at the threshold. He felt tremendously sorry for her condition, yet it was a haunting experience to hear her say, “It will show.” The horrific tone of her voice was so hateful and pitiful it caused the cry in his throat to get caught, for the hoarse pitch reminded him of the entity.
Back at his house, Alexander began to unravel himself. Sensations of being in a stagnant pool filled him, for the information from Sophia and the record-book were useless. Then he recalled the reference made to Jack by the notebook. Using the information Jack gave him, he unsteadily called it and left a message that he would be over tomorrow. Soon, he moved about his room as if expecting an occurrence, all while recalling what Emilia said about Arnold vomiting water and bloodshot eyes. By night, flashes tore through the clouds as he slept.
His dream, as he explained it, had him finding an empty gasoline can in Ravenwood manor’s great hall and bending over to inspect it. Suddenly, someone assaulted him from behind, dropping his unlit match on the floor. Alexander recognized the person constraining him from behind as Ken and noticed the man seemed troubled. Hostility soon arose as the student broke free and tried to leave. Ken quickly took hold and threw Alexander toward a desk, making the teenager lose balance, fall and hit the front of his neck on its edge.
Subsequently, Alexander hit the floor and could only see Ken’s feet. Ken began muttering and pacing around as if blaming something for Jack’s behavior. Desperate, he bound Alexander in duct tape. Then the scene shifted to a darkened landscape, where Ken carried the student to the beach with gloved hands. He tossed the body face down onto the shore and let it lay there in the sand. Uneasy, Ken apologized and confessed that Ilse was meant to die that night.
As the bedroom window violently shuddered, the nightmare ceased. Alexander moaned as the image of being murdered assailed him. The dream, he could not stomach, for not only was this vision different and appeared disturbingly genuine but the words Ken spoke gravely troubled him. Did Ken hate Ilse so much that he wanted to kill her, if so, then did he kill Ethan, and why did I see it? His psyche racked at the maddening possibility of Ken being Ethan’s murderer. Languidly opening his eyes, he felt a familiar weight upon his chest, and through a blurred vision, claimed to have seen something over him, looking down at his face. From this view, he saw its face, eyes, hair and skin resembling the eldritch being in his dreams. Alexander then managed to sit up, but the entity had already vanished.
Unable to breathe, he felt water come up in his throat. Gagging, he covered his mouth and then slumped forward. Removing his hand and holding his stomach, he vomited water over the bed. Shaken, he placed his left hand on the side of the bedspread and felt a damp spot. Having looked at it, he found a partial lower leg print. Tentatively, he viewed to his right and located another lower leg print. He glanced down at his bare torso and saw a red mark on it as if the entity forcibly sat on top of him for a prolonged period. Concerned, he ended up making abrupt calls to Jack until he got through, and begged to meet with him.
Following the terrible night, Alexander shuddered at his vomiting episode and moved his phone up to his face to take a picture. With the picture taken, he looked at it and discovered his eyes were bloodshot. Horrified at developing Arnold’s symptoms, he called ahead to tell the teacher of his expected arrival and numbly went to meet Jack at his Uptown house.
On the city bus, he saw a person who looked a few years younger than him approach. By the medium, shaggy blond hair, Alexander knew it was Arnold’s brother. With the brief exchange, Alexander learned that Arnold soon was found in the bay under Duwamish Head. The bruise on Arnold’s neck and fear in his bloodshot eyes validated his suspicion that the hateful being was responsible. However, hearing this, he grew suspicious of the other students there. He hid under his hoodie believing they blamed him for the death and alighted from the bus to walk the remaining way.
The rains poured as Alexander approached the two-story home of the teacher, and took down his hoodie. Before long, he went to the porch and pushed the doorbell, to where Jack then let the student inside. Jack paused in the living area and inquired on the student’s state, but Alexander stood with crossed arms and averted his eyes from him. In his words, Alexander recalled saying, “I-I’ve seen t-things... A lot of messed-up t-things.” He then described the figure, yet this only got him a quiet look.
Once Alexander brought up the record-book and the notes from the lighthouse, it appeared to concern his teacher as his name was in them. Jack then said, “Ilse’s ancestors wrote the cryptogram. I learned the ritual from her and the books she gave me. You know, Ilse’s very protective to those she loves, especially her sons. If anything happened to them, she’d ensure it would never happen again.” The moment Alexander told his belief that something is haunting him, he heard a speech that delved into how things spiraled to this point.
“The entity came from their practices – the Ones from His Distant Land,” Jack said. “Lucius and Alecia Viser were part of that outlaw sect, which likely caused Alecia’s hanging and Lucius’ drowning... But they were just the start.
“When Ilse’s eldest son left to study abroad, I began helping her manage the lighthouse. With one son leaving and the other dead, I gradually saw her deteriorate emotionally and grew sorry about her fragility. So, I comforted her, which likely drew us closer together. The police’s release of a suspect in Ethan's murder, though, produced Ilse’s terrible anger and she pressed them. So, the police turned their investigation toward me, seeing how she and I were sleeping together.
“The police suspected me of the murder as they uncovered my research on the Witch’s Sabbath. However, they could not physically connect me to the crime and released me. The people of Alki thought otherwise, however, and after learning of my questioning gave the police more suspicion with their unfounded rumors. The stories became so bad that I got dismissed from the historical society. Ilse helped me keep the teaching position, but it did little. So, I drank for a while until she propositioned a way for us to get vindicated.”
Shortly, Jack explained what he and Ilse did, restating the ritual exactly in the record-book, and divulging the purpose of the spell was to find and destroy Ethan’s murderer. He also admitted that anyone who entered the lighthouse would bring the curse onto them. First nightmares would assault the person, then a red bruise forms on the neck, following this water is regurgitated, afterward, the eyes turn bloodshot before it comes to claim the individual. Learning of this made the student clench his jaw. “S-So everything d-done to me was because of that,” Alexander scowled.
“Calm down, do you think I wanted–”
“Shut up”–his fists tight–“I j-just want this to be over.”
“Listen, the curse is a loathing that will not cease unless you or two people close to you die,” Jack stated.
Those words produced a sensation in Alexander that something was going to happen soon. He recalled walking away from Jack, and staggering around the room, with near childlike fright. As a manic sensation began to overtake him, the student nervously laughed, “It w-wants me to know something... I have t-to know something...” The moment Jack grabbed the student to calm him, Alexander stared fearfully across the room and saw a murky darkness pool up from the floor crevice. A hand wrenched from the pool, dragging up a mass cloaked in a black liquid. Clawing to the surface, lurching, it crawled low toward them until the head, hands, and feet of the entity soon were revealed.
As Alexander frantically told Jack what he saw, horror filled him. He remembered saying, “He’s right there... H-He wants t-to take me away.”
Through his terror, he could still hear Jack at his side. “If the entity takes you, it’ll devour you in malice…it’ll claim you forever.”
“By now I’ve ruined my life. I-I don’t care anymore.”
“You’ll survive this, Alexander. I swear the curse won’t devour you. Just let me help.” Struggling to believe Jack, as the entity took jerky saturated steps to them, Alexander closed his eyes, praying the figure would vanish. The moment he looked again, the being was gone. Jack then insisted he stay the night, in case it returned.
Agreeing to stay over for an indefinite period, they sojourned downstairs. As Alexander stood near the dining area railing, a growing urge to seek clarity spiraled amongst his thoughts. He asked if the curse was stoppable, but learned that Ilse never disclosed it. Hoping to gain some solution, he then described the nightmares to his teacher. As the student confessed his belief that Ken killed Ethan by accident, and then set it up to look like a random murder, it could get seen that Jack got affected by the claim, yet remained silent. Alexander, however, did recall Jack gazing downward, following the information he shared about the dark vaulted room.
Wondering if the crypt in his dream was related to the ritual, Alexander asked, “I thought the lighthouse chamber was the place for the spell?”
“It was, but other elements were necessary too. The hair strands obtained to burn over the candle, and the corpse-fat used to blend into the candles were from the same body.” Having prior knowledge of that, Alexander felt it did little to eliminate the mystery of the miserable vault in his dreams. However, it was only after Jack’s request to follow him into the basement that Alexander felt his skin tighten.
Absolutely nothing untoward became seen, as they descended, from the student’s perceptive, although he could not repress the tense familiarity of the situation. Jack walked them to western end were antiquities piled against sections of masonry. As his teacher removed a pile away from a portion of the wall, astonishment at the knowledge that a basement vault existed seized Alexander. Every arch and support were exact to his vision – not debased in any way by the dim light upon it. Its appearance sent a feeling of cold spiders crawling down the student’s back. Trying to interpret what could lie behind its constraints, he could only hope it was nothing. As his teacher opened it, Alexander started to realize the vault’s content at seeing a sealed coffin, “You k-kept it here...”
“Ilse requested I hide it here in case investigators search the estate or lighthouse. It was the best place at the time.”
As Alexander walked into the vault, a sense of eeriness registered in him, believing the visions were a message for those cursed to find the entity's body and return it to its burial site. He guessed that Ilse likely wanted it buried if it grew out of control. The surmise did not produce denial, though, a belief of the hauntings continuity remained. A plan soon was set to rebury the body in its original grave at night, and removing the wrapped body from the sealed box ensued.
Exhausted from the day, Alexander sat in the guest bedroom upstairs as the fully wrapped corpse lay on the bed. Waiting for nightfall, he became curious if the corpse was Lucius or Alecia, and a nagging urge to peer under the cloth flew into him. As it did, he heard Jack convey that the curse may have ended its purpose. So, it should have stopped, but some indignation must be driving it. With periods of eerie silence and rain, Jack occasionally watched Alexander, but as the time reached 12:17 a.m. they started to prepare for their macabre venture. Then from their account, a sudden stale air entered the bedroom.
Soon the sound of saturated taps against wood was then heard, and the lights around the house wildly blinked. Following this was a precipitous noise resembling an agonized, throaty growl. Jack pursued the sound outside the room and beheld a phantasmal form trailing handprints and lower leg prints down the hall. As it neared, he saw it manifest aspects into a figure of sinister amalgamation, possessing sentient and corpse-like qualities within tattered gray and blue bedraggled clothing.
Seeing it steadily crawl to the room, Jack quickly fastened the door and alerted Alexander. Thin water trails poured from the doors crown while wet crawling imprints began to gradually come down it, summoning mad memories for the student. As Jack lifted the rear window, the trail neared, yet of the thing that bore them Alexander only saw the water. Stirred by his teacher’s urging, they climbed out of the window and into the storm. Jack went out, carrying the sheeted corpse over his shoulder before Alexander would climb next. Midway out, Alexander paused and stared at the entity, whose eyes glared with vacuous viciousness behind damp ear-length copper hair. The entity was on hands and knees, facing the student, with only its chest toward the floor almost like a beast poised to pounce.
Suddenly, a sharp wrench at his wrist from its hand roused Alexander to the unspeakable horror of his position, “E-Ethan...” Whatever strength the entity had to conquer his struggling, he did not know. He soon yelled, and felt Jack grab his legs and try to pull him. It was an ear-splitting crash of light ripping by the house that caused Alexander’s release. He dropped from the window and stumbled blindly across the obscured grass of an almost lightless neighborhood.
Shaken, he did know where he was, yet plunged through the cascade, tripping and bruising himself at every turn. There was a nightmare flight through a darkness of ghostly workings, and a race passed roofs to a grim iron gate. Then came the sound of wet steps and rasping breaths. If not for his teacher placing him in the car, there was a belief that he may have collapsed in feverish exhaustion in-between his house and the cemetery on Capitol Hill.
Chapter IV. Madness in the Dark
It was the night after May 29th when the next thing Alexander knew he was lying on a couch in a den. Jack was leaning over him as the student tried to sit up yet found it difficult, for most of the previous night assaulted him in fragments. He recalled saying, “The s-steps and breaths.”
Seeing a smile, he heard Jack say, “That was us taking the corpse back to the cemetery and reburying it.”
Alexander then realized Jack brought him to rest in Ravenwood, likely because it was the nearest refuge for them. Since Jack had a key to the place, Alexander assumed that they would be leaving soon as staying may invoke horrible thoughts. For moments the student said nothing, remembering what happened to him. He knew in all its abhorrence that Ethan was the entity – the crawling terror of blasphemous constitution, cradled by the strange twilight. However, he cogitated on, why did it keep haunting? What keeps him going on?
Once Alexander thanked Jack for his help, he wondered about the hauntings and recalled the cryptogram’s missing pages. “In the cryptogram, some p-pages were missing... Did those p-pages explain the effects of the spell?”
“The missing pages only addressed that the Ones from His Distant Land were a witch’s cult.”
“T-That’s all it said?” Receiving no answer, and agitated by his teacher’s bypass of the topic, he swore in his mind never to go back to the estate or lighthouse again.
Beginning to get an ill sensation, he and Jack left the manor and got into the car. His teacher stayed silent, but Alexander suspected he knew something more, but would not say it. Then they drove away from the structure. Driving by the beach with the lighthouse in view, everything was dreary and quiet to his perceptions. There was no color or sound as he looked back at the construct. Nothing made a noise inside rather it just stood there ghostlike and silent. As they left the beachside, he turned his eyes from the terrible place.
Jack suggested that they sojourn at the student’s home for a few days, to monitor any horrific activities. Alexander rubbed his arm, though, believing it was not over. At the student’s home, as his teacher stayed in the guest bedroom downstairs, Alexander laid in his bed. There was no hint of saturated taps or moans, yet he still felt some insidious loathing was with him. Against this, he eventually found himself asleep.
For two days, everything seemed unknown to Alexander as if displaced, believing this was not his life. During a meal with Jack, things were silent before a talk ensued. Holding and turning his fork on the plate, the student began to tell his experiences. After the story, Jack expressed his sympathies, but Alexander, just coldly asked, “I need to know... What m-made him hate so much?”
Jack said nothing and looked downcast. The look on his teacher’s face drew a sickening jolt in Alexander's stomach. At last, Jack began to confess something he heard from Ilse. “Not all hate perhaps,” he said slowly. “He hated, but there was something it did want.”
Alexander stopped moving his fork and looked worriedly at him, “Want what? What d-did it want?”
“The people here had more to fear than being Ethan’s victim. Ilse told me that if Ethan ever made attachments outside of his brother and her, everything would be about maintaining it. Did you ever wonder why he agreed to do most anything with you or others?
“You saw it, the entity was more than Ethan’s form – it was Ethan, trying to satiate his abandonment and resentment. That’s why any person would do. You might think it’s a stretch, but that’s what I believe.”
Alexander never disregarded his words. For he recalled Ethan’s fear of abandonment, which followed his father’s passing, but never saw it as unusual. However, he could fathom Ethan's desire to quell his insecurities even in death.
That night Alexander, as he described it, slept horribly. He woke up over and over again, having atrocious visions. By morning, there were sensations of weakness and illness. It was for six days he felt nausea, and during it, terrifying dreams came. In these dreams, Ethan stood spaces from him and in each one drew closer until he pushed his dreadful face near Alexander. Then he sat on his body, watching. Sometimes in the throes of these nightmares, sounds of Ethan’s suffocated breaths incessantly came.
In a matter of time, the student got better, and within four days the illness ceased. The following day was a late summer sunshine, as Alexander sat downstairs watching TV. He heard footsteps outside and then the front door opened. A voice he recognized greeted him, it was the student’s father who came to finish up loose ends before taking Alexander from Alki. Already knowing why his father was there, it relieved him to hear it.
The following days, Alexander’s father completed the sale of their house and was setting up for their move to Europe in fourteen days. For these days, Alexander spent his remaining time at Emilia’s two story house in the Uptown area, trying to reestablish things between them. In five days, he did what he could to suppress his anxiousness by participating in various activities, yet found himself untrusting and trusting others more and more.
As days progressed, he began expressing strange sensations. Curious fancies and confessions to hearing an inner morbid longing to stay with Emilia ensued. Alexander then accounted for his realization of time loss. Recalling Emilia talking of an upset stomach and vomiting, he believed they talked for hours even though it got revealed to be only for a few minutes. By the time he would try and attend school, a condition of choking would occur until he returned to his friend’s house. These things continued at random intervals until the day of a tempest.
On June 2nd the storm came before the late evening. The rain was torrential, while streaks of lightning went throughout the town, causing three incredible flashes. All the rain and thunder brought on the sleeplessness of the citizens. Alexander was quiet for most of the night. When he would respond, it was with murmurs or direct questions to Emilia. Eerily asking, “D-Do you know what it’s like to suffocate? Your lungs b-burning for air it can’t get, head pounds as spots d-dance in your eyes,” he then smiles at her.
Time passed as the storm pressed on, the lighting system around Alki began weakening. Alexander grew frantic saying, “I’m s-sorry for what I said. P-Please, just stay with me.”
“Alex, I’m not going anywhere. Besides you didn’t say anything, why would I leave?” Despite her attempt to understand him, he gave little reply as the power continued dimming. The house ended up illuminated by candles, but Alexander soon found that her eyes were bloodshot.
Then Alki Point had its blackout around 1:00 a.m. according to the official’s account. Twenty-three minutes later there are testimonies from Jack Langley, Xavier Moss, and some of the citizens who lived near Uptown. Granted there was nothing said that could prove otherwise to common perception and belief, but all agreed to a loud window crash followed by an alarming shriek. Any possible cause to the event has become subject to several opinions, yet no one could say for certain what triggered the incident. The horrendous act, though, took only eleven minutes at best, according to the call made from Emilia’s house and Alexander’s answers.
At 1:17 a.m., Alexander sat on the guest bed. The lull from some distant voice seemed to make him drowsy. He listened while nodding to the murmurs that welled up, akin to the demonic chants in his dream. Before long, he became aware of what was gathering, for it felt as if his awareness slipped near a horribly yawning threshold, which gave him ecstatic fear. He believed he was in the grips of madness, for nothing could get seen but Emilia. Then came a descent into the nebula. There was no doubt it was the eldritch stirring of that world, determined to lead him into those grinning hollows of the nightmare’s heart where Ethan cries in the darkness.
The sense of his reality expired, but still, his mind ran fast. Gathering echoes, he heard above all others a soft rise of the impious intoning. It rose as black and green rivers flow into the sea of the nightmare beach. Then something jerked into Alexander – something familiar, yet wrong. He believed it was Ethan’s gaze, the hateful gaze that condemns. These causes excited his emotional confusion, which prompted the following statements that he would also repeat during the sessions:
“They d-don’t care about me... How was I to know if I could t-trust her? Something was trying to – n-no, he was influencing me. S-She was not there. No one was there for me.”
“B-But I d-did not die... Ethan died that night, n-not me. I c-could see with an otherworldly s-sight – death was life, and l-life was d-death.”
“I saw the dark chamber. B-Barely breathing, water in my throat.”
“H-He was c-coming... Hate them – hate t-them.”
“...I-It's their fault. F-For not helping me...”
All is what Jack heard after he came to the house at 1:23 a.m. Following a call made by Emilia's parents, the police arrived at their home. Jack then stated that he came over once the storm passed, which was the time Alexander called him. Upon arrival, Jack went upstairs to check on Alexander and Emilia and found the male student sitting back against the door in a daze. He noted on the condition of Alexander's clothes and how scratches were on his arms and face as if made by someone defending against him.
With no response from the student he went into the guestroom finding the broken window, and then looked out of it discovering Emilia’s lifeless body on the ground below. Her body appeared to have been attacked bestially before being sent through a window. Alexander eventually answered in manic tones, “I’m n-not you... I’m me – I’m me.”
The next day’s news broadcast gave these matters plenty of coverage with the storm reports. It took place in Emilia’s house, where the shrieks awoke the citizens and led to confused opinions. For the ones already awake, some saw the incident in the second floor’s guestroom. Onlookers across from Emilia’s house, whose windows look into the guestroom, noticed a pale face at her window that night and wondered about the youth’s state before the event. As they saw the same face with voided eyes, following the death, they were further shocked by the presence.
Once the examination of the scene finished, Alexander sat in the police car, as if numbed by the whole event. Weeks succeeding his detainment, a psychiatrist evaluated him, and despite Alexander’s awareness stated a present borderline personality disorder brought on by traumas. The claims of Ethan were ignored, saying it was born of the distress Alexander faced joined with his free-floating anxiety. He deduced this from the youth’s history and answers in the session. Due to this, investigators drew their conclusions on the matter.
Now Alexander’s house has been sold, and the student sojourns at a juvenile mental institution. Though he barely speaks, he believes a malevolent pall still hangs over and chokes the lighthouse. A malevolence of witchcraft and adolescent enraged venom that stalks any confine and seeps into every refuge. When the topic of Emilia surfaces, the student disputes their claim of the cruel act. The following is what he says as accusations emerge:
“It was Ethan, not me. I survived... b-because of my m-mother and Emilia’s sacrifice. T-That must be it. They will hear that hellish wind, t-the moment they stir the terror below that lighthouse.”
Written by A-3 Loki