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When the Message Came

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It was two in the morning. The sound pierced my ears as it echoed the walls of my house. I grinded my teeth as I opened my eyes. Who the hell is ringing the doorbell at this time? If it was that dumbass neighbor again...

Another ring. There goes that theory. My neighbor is too stupid to remember what he's doing at my door to ring again. So who on earth...

Three knocks. They sounded impatient, and very urgent. If I the knocks hadn't happened, I would've thought it was my imagination, that I was still dreaming. But the knocks proved I wasn't.

I dragged myself out of bed, and put on my slippers. I reached the door when I heard three more knocks. God, this person was freaking impatient. I grabbed the door handle, and trudged myself into the hall. My dog laid in the middle of the hall, and I nearly tripped over her. I cursed under my breath and quietly walked down the steps. The door sat directly at the bottom of the stairs, which filled me with dread. I don't know why I was scared, why I was beginning to sweat on the back of my neck, why my legs were shaking. I just figured that there was nothing good on the other side of the door.

As the man outside began to knock again, I opened the door. The man was very tall, and had a muscular build to him. He was balding, but had a black goatee. He wore a UPS uniform, and had a name-tag above his breast pocket that read, "Sam Hedrick." The same moment I opened the door, he handed me a package and gave me a clipboard and a pen.

"Sign your name, please." His voice was deep, much deeper than I would have imagined, but it was rushed. He must busy.

I signed my name on the clipboard, and he hurried away with it. I closed the door.

My thoughts turned toward the package. There was no sticker on it; just a small cardboard box with tape. I decided to open it now; I was curious. I couldn't help it. But I wish I could have. Because curiosity killed the cat. In that scenario, I was the cat.

In the kitchen, I took a knife from the rack, and opened the box. Stereo phone engulfed the box, all but for the two pieces of marble. I took them out, and was immediately frightened.

It was a cross broken into two symmetrical pieces. My first thought was, "How could any cut marble so perfectly?" I knew for sure that shipping wouldn't have done this, no matter how bumpy the ride was. Then, "Who sent me this?"

An icy gush of air passed me. I was scared.

Maybe that's why Sam left so fast. He was scared, too.

I was overreacting. Maybe it was just nothing, which it probably was. I'm a dedicated Christian, and if anything bad happened to me, God would be here to cast it away. But I was still scared as hell.

I decided to go back to sleep and forget about it until morning. I couldn't sleep, though. Whenever I would begin to doze off, I would see the most frightening images under my eyelids. Slaughtered kids, gutted animals, hanged men, crucifixions. I just needed to relax; that would calm my mind down. It was just a cross split in two. I don't have any logical reasoning for it, but I doubt any harm could come from it.

Oh, how I wished I could believe myself.

After a restless night, I trudge down the steps and into my living room. Something catches my eye immediately: the marble cross had been moved. But to where? What the hell is-

Three more knocks.

I get up and open the door

Sam Hedrick stands there with a package, and he pulls me outside. His face is crudely twisted, as if he had just eaten something sour. His goatee is shaved off, and his eyes are filled with terror. "Burn the package I gave to you. You must not open it."

I was quiet.

"Tell me you did not open."

Still, I stood there, quiet.

"FOR GOD'S SAKE, TELL ME YOU DIDN'T OPEN IT!" Sam was panicked. He looked this way and that, as if something was watching him. "Please..."

"I'm sorry..."

His eyes drained. His whole body limped away without emotion. When he was at the end of the driveway, he said, "You will now remorse in the crucifixion of Jesus' death, and be haunted by the Satanic worship for the rest of your days. I can not help you; no body can help you. You are stuck in the pits of Hell, and you are within his grasp. God cannot save you, for you are too unclean."

I smiled. "You can not be too unclean to be forgiven of sins, my good sir. For this is non-sense you speak of. Now be gone." I chuckled as he walked away. I'm sarcastic by nature. I can't help it.

"Sooner or later, you will know the truth! Of what is going on!" And at that, he ran away.

As I walk back into the house, I smelled something rotten. It wasn't unbearable, no, but it was wretched. Like rotten meat.

Right where I had been sitting when I went downstairs, my dog hung from the ceiling by a rope, gutted. The chair held all of her innards, bloody and disgusting. A Hex was drawn—no, not drawn, carved—into the ceiling around where she hung. And hanging from the body itself, were the two pieces of cross.

I sit in my cabin, sipping tea. It's not a masculine drink, but I don't mind. It's wonderful. I look out into the woods, recalling how it all began. My whole story began when the message came, that I was a doubter, just like anyone else. I thought doubting was a natural part of religion, just like Peter was still a disciple after he doubted his Lord. But I guess not everyone can live in the path of God forever. It's just a matter of time.

After my dog had died last year, I began to see carvings on the walls. They were in a different tongue, most likely Satanic. I became obsessed with death, and was visited by many demons. I slept with a cross many times, to no avail. They just kept coming. I had dreams of Hell and Satan. I lost my Christian religion (but who can truly loose a religion?) and am now in Satanism. I learned just recently that the man who had sent me the broken cross was sent the same cross by a man (or shall I say thing) unknown. He was told the demons wouldn't leave him until he gave it to me specifically. Why me? Who knows? I am one out of millions, but someone had to be chosen. I was told to never give it away, or I would be cursed to death immediately. So I kept it. I keep it now next to my bed.

But... I feel as if I'm getting ready to die soon. Not of age, but of spite. Do not ask me. It's just a feeling.

I am trying to find my way back to Christianity. I am trying.

I'm going to start by giving this broken cross to someone....

You know what?

Here you go.

And a year from now, when your dog or your cat has been hung and gutted, and you sit in the middle of the woods at a cabin you spent much time building, you will think, "It all began when the message came..."

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