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Don’t bother trying to find it. You won’t find anything about the name of the town or what happened here. This manuscript will be found long after the events that transpired in this place, but I hope against everything else that you’re someone in a position of power. I pray to God himself that you can prevent this from ever happening again, but I don’t want to give you too much credit. Like me, you are only human, after all. They are not. They’ve been around for a very, very long time.
Fat chance, really. You probably don’t want that responsibility, and even if you did take it upon your shoulders to track them down, you can’t single-handedly stop the children. Their manipulators are not “on the grid.” Whoever engineered this is in control of the world on a very disturbing level.
This is what I want you to do. Read these pages, if they’re still legible, and take what you will from them. Don’t go on a wild goose chase, and realize that when you find this book that it will not be in the place where I left it. They’ll move it somewhere else, to deceive you. I’ve left my mark on a tree there. Only then, when you see my name, will you know, “this is the place.” You may have even heard of it in the history books, but be assured, any rumors on Wikipedia or Google pages that you pull up will be guesswork at best.
None of them are even close to the truth. When you find the place, there may already be another town just like it. That’s what I’m trying to stop. If we’re not successful, then just realize, above all things, that evil exists. I’m not talking about bad people, or tragic accidents. I’m talking real, intelligent, ancient evil. It is calculated, and it is always one step ahead of you. Should you decide to take my place and become the paragon to prevent the corruption of the hearts and minds of children, I thank you in advance.
I told you that I’m human. I lied. I used to be, before All Hallow’s Eve on that fateful night. I’ve been alive since then, far longer than any human being, and the reason is because I love children. I’ve always loved them in their purity and their innocence. That’s why I was taken in by their ruse. That’s why I’ve finally decided to put all this down, centuries later. I won’t be here much longer, and someone has to take up the burden.
I’ve waited… until I saw them return. They’ll be back this year. They’re planning the same thing again, and I can’t stop them. Again, I can’t expect that much from you, but I’m only giving you all this so you’ll believe me. I have to be believable. If you think I’m crazy, you’ll throw this in a garbage can, and more people will disappear. It’s time to tell you what happened. I’m rambling.
Back then, All Hallow’s Eve was the time for evil’s ascension. You’ve all forgotten. If you left your house on that night in the old country, you were a devil worshiper. “Halloween” was not the term we used. We fled to the shores of this country because we were persecuted for our lifestyle choices. We worshiped nature, the changing of the seasons, the solstice of spring, autumn, winter, and summer. In the purest sense of the word, we were druids. Our names and accents were English, but we were servants of the earth.
We were some of the first to celebrate it as a holiday. The natives here were puzzled by our behavior, but also frightened by it, and so they left us alone. They misunderstood. We were not the ones to be afraid of. At the time, I was relieved. They’d attacked us in our settlements, time and time again, but as it drew closer to the end of October, they stayed away. Maybe in their own noble bonds with the earth and soil, they knew something terrible was on the horizon.
They were right. John Hunter’s little boy wanted to be a native, with a bow and arrow and a real headdress. Little Mary Taylor made a dress that was crafted after the local schoolhouse teacher’s prettiest outfit. She idolized her educator, of course. They all had their get-ups; they were the first trick-or-treaters in what was to become the United States of America, one hundred and fifty years later.
We sent them out to frolic about the settlement, collecting apples and tarts and other sweet things into their burlap goody bags. There were no Snickers or Milky Ways, and yet, the magic of this “holiday” held no less sway over them than it does the youth of our current time. They dress up as the Joker, the Power Rangers, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. These children were their predecessors.
I sent my daughter with Mary and John Hunter junior. Despite our mistrust and wariness of the Anglican church and the monarchs that presided over it, my little girl was dressed as the queen of England. I refused to crush her fantasy world, and so I simply indulged her. We heard promises to return after sundown, to say yes ma’am and no sir, and not to linger too long if they were invited inside the households of our community.
We didn’t realize that the house on the edge of the settlement existed until we saw the children go inside. There were no lanterns or sources of light in the windows, no fire or harvest dolls on the outside of the dwelling. As we sat in the middle of the town hall, imbibing in the pleasures of distilled moonshine (none of you will ever make it as potent as we did in those days) amongst our brethren, we watched our young ones gravitate across the middle of our town, to the foreboding household that had seemingly been constructed overnight.
When we gazed upon it, it seemed as though the place was “shimmering.” It pained my vision to look upon the building, as if my senses were being forced and propelled in another direction. Such a thing is difficult to put into words, but I seemed to be the only one who realized that our kids were all heading to the same place. When I questioned John Hunter as if something was odd about their actions, he stared at me as if I was insane.
“What do you mean?” he asked. “There’s no house there. They’re going to play by the stockades.”
The sun had set by that point, but as I said before, none of them were concerned. The natives hadn’t shown up for weeks. I decided to walk to the phantom dwelling that only I and the children could see, to peer inside and see who these new settlers were, and why it called to the youths as if it was a black hole in a sea of stars.
I tried to stand outside, to look through the window, but when I saw what was happening, it was too late. I breached the doorway with my buck-knife drawn, but there was nothing about the things inside that I could harm with a weapon.
There’s something deep inside of us, something embedded within the human spirit, that’s perfectly aware when we encounter something truly terrible. Fear, horror, evil, revulsion… it all hits you in a spastic wave, like a fierce exploding bullet that shatters the innermost parts of your soul with a relentless and powerful fury. I saw it in that moment, standing in that darkened doorway. They weren’t people, and they weren’t spirits. They were halfway there, lingering over the unconscious bodies of my daughter and her peers in their hooded black robes of half-existence.
There was one, in particular, who made me feel as though my eyes would pop like ripened cherries when I stared at it. It was the leader, the source of that tug, that pull… and it was slowly fading, disappearing like a gaseous black cloud of death, through my little girl’s nostrils and mouth. She was gasping for air, as if every breath after the one that preceded it was filled with acid… as if she were hungry for real, fresh air in her small lungs. With every breath, the figure faded deeper into her, along with the rest of them.
I wish I could say that I was a hero, and that I hacked them all to bits; I wish I could say that I saved the day and made Halloween a night when the worst thing that children have to worry about is poisoned candy. It didn’t happen. There was one of them left, floating toward me on elongated, blackened tendrils of shimmering nothingness. By all real means of my imagination, it shouldn’t have been there, but it was, and soon, it was going inside of me. The last thing I saw were their little feet, scurrying out of the phantom-house and into the town. I felt that something terrible was about to happen. I had no idea. Everything went black, and then, I was outside of myself. I was conscious, but observing my feet, my hands, doing things beyond my own scope of physical control.
They led me and our children into our meeting hall, where, of course, the kids were embraced by the open, loving arms of their parents. I witnessed the betrayal, the brutal moments in which the truth instilled by the love for family and offspring would transform into a cause for the destruction of our village.
They absorbed them. There’s no better adjective for what happened. One moment, they were there, and seconds later, they were nothing but dark essence, filtering in through the eyes and noses and mouths of their devil-children. It was over in minutes. A night that should have been a celebration of nature, of the seasons, had turned into the end of everything that we knew and loved here in our new land.
I started to fight it. The kids knew. The moment I began to resist, to try and reclaim my limbs and mind from the corrupting influence within, their heads snapped back from their feast of souls to survey me in my struggle. My daughter’s eyes were sunken, black pools of the abyss, devoid of any emotion, any semblance of the bright-eyed stare that she once held for me in all her love and adoration for father. I miss that the most, really. The way she’d run to me when I came in from the fields every evening as the sun went down. I lived for that. What reason do I have to live now, other than to find her and stop them? I’m incapable. That falls on you, my friend.
They took the part of my daughter that counts, the part that I loved and cherished, and turned her into a servant. You ask me why I’m still alive, and again, it’s because I love her, so very, very much. Her body is a hollow shell, filled with the malefice and blackness of evils beyond our world.
The black-robed things have grown as centuries have passed. They are from some place that is not of this world, but their urgency, their hunger, to devour and destroy, is insatiable. It’s an exponential, amplifying contagion on mankind, and All Hallow’s Eve is their pinnacle, their Christmas.
I’ve done my best to warn you throughout history, to leave my mark in places where their desolation has left nothing but dust on the wind and empty houses. A deserted football field in a Texas ghost town. A card room in the back of a nightclub in Chicago, right under the nose of civilization. Roanoke Island, North Carolina, before Johne Rolfe found it in the aftermath.
The thing that I expelled through sheer force of will alone has left me with an unusually long and empty life, devoid of anything but my desire for revenge. I have failed. I’m pleading with you. October thirty-first is not long away. My little girl, or what’s left of her, is going to lead them to the same place. It’s been re-founded, except now, it hums with sport utility vehicles and cell phones. I don’t want this to happen to your child.
Go to Roanoke, and stop them from repeating the ritual. Those bodies they inhabit now are frail, on their way out. It’s been almost five hundred years. They’ll need new ones on this Halloween. Look for a building that appears as though it shouldn’t be there. It will be across from that very tree where I signed my name, where I made my mark. I changed my title, named myself after the tribe of natives who knew it was coming… who, perhaps, tried to warn us, but for some reason, we failed to heed or recognize their warnings. They were more closely attuned to the earth than us, and yet, they were still wiped out, eventually.
Trick or treat?
Go now. You don’t have much time.
Credited to Violent Harvest