Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Truth of the Rituals

Let me explain this strange mess and you will understand. It is a bit of a long story, but I have to start at the beginning.

You see I met Adam, Officer Rollins to you, about a year ago. I had just moved into the apartment building. At that time I only knew him in passing. It was not until a month later that I got to really know him. That was when he was put on leave following the Charles Street Case.

I am sure you know all about the case. Everyone does. It was the only thing on the news for weeks. Horrible as it was, I would not have paid it much mind if I had not realized that my new neighbor had been the man to expose that...that evil. Whatever details you might think you know, I know far more deeply thanks to him.

So you were not involved with that? Consider yourself lucky. Adam was messed up by it and I hear he wasn’t the only one. I wasn’t even there and look at what has happened to my life. The whole damn thing corrupts anyone touched by it. I don’t want to talk about it, to pass on whatever curse he infected me with, but you are the one that wants answers.

I work from home so I am about the building a lot. Adam spent more time at work than home, and when he was home he was in bed or doing research. Being put on leave changed that. They claimed it was for his own well being, but frankly I think that is what drove him over the deep end. He didn’t know what to do with himself and his free time I think.

We started talking, first in the hallway and then later at the park. Neither of us really had anyone else for company. I haven’t had a chance to make friends in this city. His wife and daughter were busy with their lives which had evolved without him. His only friends were the guys on the force, and now he was largely cut off from them. So we made an unlikely pair.

Yes, yes, I am getting to that. I want you to understand how I got drawn into it. I don't want you thinking I was involved from the get go.

So, as I was saying, he and I started to talk regularly. I told him about my trading business. He told me about his work as a detective. He was peculiar, but I had chalked it up to some kind of police work PTSD. I want to be sympathetic to my new friend. Be a friendly ear. He did not bring up Charles Street at first. That was my damn fault. I put two and two together and realized he must have been working on that.

I had him over to my place for some after dinner beers. We had been friends around two months by then. It was a Friday I think. His wife was taking his daughter to gymnastics lessons. Maybe he should have been doing that. Might have taken his mind in a better direction. Connected him better with his family. She liked gossiping with the other moms the way he explained it though. It made enough sense at the time. I think that might have been a lie in hindsight. I think by then, his wife and kid had just developed an aversion to him.

Ok, I am a bit off topic, but I think you will see the importance later. Anyway, beers and dinner. I finally asked the big question. I asked him if he had worked the case.

He smiled at me and said yes. He figured I would not be interested. No one else was. They didn’t want to hear about something that gruesome. He didn’t mind talking about it though. He seemed almost eager. I figured I would humor him though.

He started by telling me how he was assigned when the first disappearances started. First it was one child, then another. People were starting to panic. Some kind of serial kidnapper was on the loose so far as anyone could tell. He got involved after the second kid went missing. He knew right away that there was a pattern though.

You see, all the others were looking for standard pedophiles and nutjobs. He tapped the side of his head as he told me though. He said he noticed right away that there was a pattern. It was subtle. Observation is the key to good detective work he said. You have to keep your eyes and your mind open.

He explained to me, leaning in close, what none of the others had noticed. There were patterns in the blood. They were not just random spills. The kids had been grabbed without a fight. The blood had come after. While everyone was fretting about the safety of the kids, he was trying to look at the bigger picture. It wouldn’t be until the fourth child was taken that he could really start to see it though.

I was surprised by some of his disgust with his fellow officers. It answered a question though. I had wondered why he didn’t spend more time with them. I know there is a cop bar in town. Till then, I had figured maybe he just didn’t like mixing his private and professional life. He seemed good company to me so I could not imagine that they were shunning him as some kind of jerk. As he told me the truth of it though, I could easily see it his way.

It was something occult. He started diving into researching old manuscripts and spell books. He talked to anyone that might know a bit about symbols. Professors of history. Some geeks that like to pretend they are wizards. Even those pretenders that shout, “hail Satan” to scare old women. The others laughed at him. Can you believe it? While they had their thumbs up their asses waiting for a body to show up, he was doing real work to put it all together. If they hadn’t acted like he was some idiot lunatic...well, they are the ones that helped make him into what he became.

Well of course I get worked up about this. Damnit, they have part of the blame! Don’t look at me like that. If they had seen the truth about him, none of this would have happened. Let’s not get fighting about this. You will see the truth by the end. That is what this all about after all, truth. Truth no one wants to know. Should know.

Well, his theory proved right and when the fifth kid went missing he put it all together. He helped lead the team to Charles Street and personally kicked in the door. He led the way down into the cellar. They burst inside just in time to stop what was happening.

No, what was really happening. They were too late to save the children, but they stopped the real goal. He was the only one that realized it though. The others just saw the room painted with blood and a diagram made out of entrails. To them the occultists were just muttering gibberish. He told me that it was an Officer Thornton that opened fire. The claim is that the cultists had knives and were ready to attack. Everyone else fired after the first shot. I don’t think anyone believes that the cultists were about to attack. No one cares though.

The problem for Adam was that with all the cultists dead, no one could corroborate his theories and ideas. He tried to claim that they had stopped something bigger than a few murders. People just waved him off though. Some even said he was a bit sick for trying to make it out like it was a victory. That was how he ended up on permanent leave; unrecognized, pitied, and ridiculed.

I felt bad for him. He was my buddy after all. I didn’t really buy all the occult stuff at the time. I figured that was his way of dealing with things. If it helped him, then I was all for it. I wish that was all it had been.

A few days later he told me something I had not really expected. He confessed that he was still researching the occult rituals. He figured if he could decipher it all then maybe he could prove he was right and they would let him off leave. From that point on he would always tell me just a bit of his newest findings when we spent time together. He was growing excited by it as it pulled him in. Truth is, his energy was contagious. I wanted him to succeed and paid attention. I encouraged him. If I deserve blame, it is for that.

He started to show me some of his research. It was fascinating in a way. I helped him with a few translations. I took latin in high school and was pretty good at it. He showed me old books and drawings he dug up on the internet. He was creating his own little library of old texts.

The whole time this was going on he started to grow more eccentric. He stopped brushing his hair and polishing his shoes. His family grew more distant, or maybe he grew more distant from them. For a while he would fight with his wife. Then it just turned into her yelling at him. He had tuned out the world in his tireless pursuit.

Then came the beginning of the end. He woke me up late one night. He told me had made his big breakthrough. He led me to his place. In the room he used as his office and study we talked in hushed whispers to not wake his wife and daughter. He explained that the cultists had figured it out. The secret to turning all this occultic writing into something with real power.

He called it the unveiling. He explained that you had to tear away the veil that separates the mundane from the other side. You had to be able to see reality fully. It required an individual to meditate and perform rituals. He did exactly that and now he could lift the veil. Not just for himself though. He could lift it for others. He said he could even lift it for me. He could let me see truth.

I was still half asleep, but his fervor swept me up. I did not think unveiling could really work, but was willing to humor him. He gave me this knowing smirk. He knew it would and that I would have to eat my doubts. He sat me back in a chair and placed his hands over my eyes. He chanted something I didn’t fully understand, but I felt something. Like static coursing through me.

When he removed his hands, my world was changed. Forever. For worse. I could see shadows superimposed on everything. They were wavy and indistinct. It was as though everything existed twice, with the second version out of focus. That was unsettling. He had to clamp a hand over my mouth when the true horror was revealed. I wanted to scream when the creature came into view. It swam through the wall like it wasn’t even there. Maybe to it, the wall wasn’t there.

The thing, because I dare not call it a creature, is almost beyond description. Its body, for lack of a better word, was a long, amorphous mass. It's slime surface was transparent and I could see inside the vile thing. It had gaping openings that I think we're mouths. Long tentacle feelers stretched out from it. They started to come for me and I was on the verge of panic.

He told me to hold still, not to let it know that I could see it. As long as it did not think it was detected we would be fine. The caress of the tentacle as it found my skin was revolting on an instinctual level. I felt violated in the deepest ways possible. This thing was abhorrent to my very nature. I fought down the urge to shudder from the sensual touch that explored my body. The cold touch chilled my soul, but somehow I found the will to endure it and not flee in a blind panic.

After a minute it passed on and Adam let me go. He laughed and slapped me on the back. He gloated more than a little about his own success and how I could not doubt him now. That was true. I doubted not a word he said. I would have believed the man had he told me that the moon was made of cheese and ocean filled with blueberry jelly. He poured me a shot of something stout and told me what had happened.

He had unveiled me so that I could see beyond our pitiful corner of reality. We could see truth now. We were true masters of destiny now. The cultists had figured that out. They had intended to use the ritual as a way to summon a “creature” to our part of reality. They had hopped to harness it. They were not smart enough for that though. Adam had not only dissected their plan, but realized just how sloppy it was. Summoning with the kids blood was fine and all, but to bind such a thing required a better sacrifice. Something closer and more personal.

I asked him what he would do now. He gave me a grim smile and his hands balled into fists. Prove himself. He would make them reinstate him and give him the credit that he deserved. He would make them recognize how poorly they had treated him and make them pay for it.

I was scared by his words. I knew that he had a deep resentment, but it had never manifested quite like this. I dismissed myself, saying that I wanted back to bed. I needed to sleep on all that I had learned. He nodded and said he understood. I don't think he really did.

Over the next few days I did not see much of him. I just tried to avoid seeing those horrible “creatures.” I was starting to have a nervous breakdown. I tried to ask him about it, but he largely brushed it off. He said that I would adjust and be better for it. He would help me understand just how amazing this was in a few days after he finished his final work. He was closed lipped about that though. All he said was that he had figured out exactly how to set things right.

Then came the screams. It was late at night. I was right next door so I must have been the first to hear. It was his wife, I think. It was the most horrible scream I could imagine. Terror beyond belief. He must have unveiled her. I was not sure what to do, but I rushed to his apartment. I knew where the spare key was hidden. As I unlocked the door the scream came to a sudden end. I ran through the apartment to his study. I heard his voice, but could not understand what was being said. When I threw open the door I saw the worse thing I could imagine.

Please, let me rest for a second. Hand me that water. I need a drink before I can tell you the rest.

What I saw was a Hellish scene. The floor was painted with blood. At the center of a blood circle was his daughter’s head. With my damned sight I could see an evil light leaking out of her eyes and mouth. Floating above the severed head was a rip in reality. A rip that was like an open doorway to those things.

Adam was standing in the corner with his wife’s corpse. Her throat was slit and the blood was flowing freely from the wound. It was not puddling on the floor though. Instead it was drifting through the air up to the horrid portal. Adam chanted some foul verse from a book he held in his hand. He did not even notice me. His attention was focused purely on the rip, through which a tentacle was curiously probing.

I had to act. My bowls felt loose and I could taste bible in my throat, but my horror at the bloody sight was nothing compared to the terror of facing one of those abominations. I grabbed the knife from the floor and attacked Adam. I don't think I could have taken him if he had not been distracted. He was, though, and I plunged the blade into his chest.

The rip was still there. The thing was still coming through. I had to act. There was only one course of action. I had been privy to Adams research. I had helped him translate it. So with a glance at the book I knew what to do. I gutted him. I cut him open and pulled out his organs. I spread them in the proper pattern across the room as I chanted the sinful verses. Slowly, the rip sealed itself. It cut off a piece of the tentacle that was still trying to force its way through to outside.

I was watching as the slimy thing flopped around on the floor when the police finally arrived. Someone else had called them when the screaming started. They found me there covered in blood and gore. I think they may have collected that wicked flesh that flopped around the floor. I hope they burn it.

So that is what happened. Do you understand now? Do you see that I am not some murder? Let me go. I cannot be confined to a room or cell. I need to be able to leave when the things float by. You cannot see them, but I can. They haunt me and I can only manage if I can at least run away. Don’t force me to be trapped where they can come for me. Please?