Cacophony of Hell
  

Cacophony of Hell

 

 

 

 

 

A wonder of sound landed sweetly on his ears.  To most, the odd mixture of noise would be too much, but to him, it was a symphony.  He sipped his rum and cola as the crackle of the fire sent ember fairies dancing up the chimney.  As he watched, the patter of the rain was playing an ominous beat on his walls, windows, and rooftop.  The frequent roar of thunder and howl of wind added to the concerto.  The final crescendo was the bellow of the sea, as angry waves pounded the rocks of the cliff face that sat only a hundred yards out the large bay window of which he now viewed.

Steve Chadwick retired young, only forty-eight, but it is what his wife would have wanted.  The aspiring inventor cashed out of his family business, he no longer had the desire to deal with medical equipment.  Carol’s wish, the one regret--well there was two--was they never truly through up their hands, sold everything and bought a seaside bed and breakfast in England.  So, now he honored her.  He lifted his glass, watching the torrent outside. One year ago, she died of cancer, and three months later, they owned the beautiful Sandbur Manor, outside a small city in Wales.

There was plenty of work yet to do in the centuries old home, but tonight, his first night, was just his and hers.  No staff, no workers, no repairmen.  No. This evening was for just him, the beautiful display of nature outside, his rum, and her, or rather the memories of her.  Nothing was going to interfere with this simple, emotional ritual.

He thought too soon.  Lightning struck nearby and the windows rattled as the sound of the torn and excited air rippled throughout the house.  The lighting dimmed, briefly, then returned to normal.  He realized that his shirt was now soaked, his glass also half-full.  He assumed that he jumped, slightly, if that at the most.

As he scanned the large sitting room, all seemed well.  He took a deep breath, but before he could finish, another rumble rolled through the house.  The darkness illuminated a cold blue as the lights flickered again.  No; they pulsed, as if they were a heartbeat of someone being pulled back to life.  They throbbed on and off for several seconds, then again stayed on.

A scratching sound in the wall caused him to turn, examining the paneled partition.  He tilted his head, focusing, and thinking.  It sound like rats or mice running amok.

Crack.

Another bolt struck.

Darkness…

Light…

Darkness…

Light…

Click - click - click

Again darkness, then light. The pulse continued for nearly ten seconds.  Steven shivered. His drinking glass was shattered on the floor.  The noise ran up the wall--in the wall--another rapidly behind him, across the floor.  His heart was racing. He felt dizzy and flushed, but he stood, and then turned.

Nothing. The room was empty.  He turned, doing a three-sixty.  He was scared. He tried to think rationally, but he was nearing panic.  He clenched his fist a few times, closed his eyes and breathed.  Opening them, he focused on the flames of the fire, relaxing him, calming him to a state he could act rationally. 

Slow down heart, he thought, slow down.  His breathing grew deeper, slower.

Then it happened again.  The thunder shook the house and the room cast in an odd blue hue, the smell of electricity crackling in the air.  The lights beat in rhythm, and then stayed dark.  The fire smiled at him; it smiled and winked.  The face was as clear s the storm outside. 

Something scurried past him. He felt it brush his leg and heard it trample through the broken glass.  Another must have leapt from the mantle, but he could not see or identify it.  It his shoulder and bounced off, tearing cloth and flesh with it.  He heard it hit the floor behind him. He turned and saw the shadow run into the foyer before it stopped.

He bent his head, staring.

What the fuck? he rolled his eyes. How cliché.

He shook his head. Thoughts of acting in his own horror movie passed through his mind. It was a storm, he was drinking, and he had  rats or cats running through his house.  It was time he took over this situation.  He felt his right shoulder and could see blood soaking through his shirt in the firelight.

Another scamper. This one ran and darted between his legs, slashing his calf in the process.  It appeared as if it was running on two legs, not like a cat, but the slice felt like that of a cat’s scratch. 

Son of a bitch. What in the hell is this? 

The little creature skidded to a stop on the wood floor in the foyer, and then ran to the stairs.  He blinked as crimson eyes winked at him, then watched the hellcat disappear up the steps.

“Okay, you little fuckers,” he said. 

A shotgun and flashlight where in his bedroom, somewhat packed, but accessible. If these critters wanted a fight, a fight it would be. 

He walked out of the sitting room and into the foyer.  Scurrying and scampering could be heard on the floor above him. They had to be cats, wild frigging cats.

 As he ascended the flight of stairs, the noise moved up to the third level.

They were leading him.

He took a left, running down the hall.  He felt stupid, childish even, but he couldn’t help it.  It was not fear now it was anger.  As he reached his bedroom, the door slammed shut, nearly hitting him. A hideous crackle of a laugh followed.  He followed the clicking sound up the wall, then as it crossed the room above him. 

“How in the hell?” he uttered.

He did not know; he was past the point of caring.

Steven tried the door. The critter locked it, so he slammed his left shoulder into it.  Bad idea. His shoulder throbbed in pain.  He backed up, charged, and kicked with everything he had.  The heavy oak door held, but the door mechanism did not.  The door flung open, bouncing on the wall and swinging back, nearly hitting him again.

He pushed it aside and ran in, knowing which box to rip open.  Throwing various items out of the box, he hunted for two things.  His hand found one.  It was a giant black metal flashlight.  He pulled it out, twisted the cap, sighing as the room illuminated from the narrow beam.  He angled it into the box, and grabbed the shotgun shells.  He turned, spied the large chest that sat at the end of his bed.  Placing the shells on the bed, he fumbled with his keys.  Finding the key, he turned the lock on the chest.  Flipping it open, the shotgun revealed itself instantly.

Tossing the light on the bed, he opened the box of shells, picked up the shotgun and quickly inserted five shells into the shotgun.  He shoved five more shells into his pocket.  Satisfied, he flung the shotgun over his right shoulder, wincing slightly, picked up the flashlight and turned to the door of the room. 

“Okay you sons of bitches,” he said, almost maniacally. “Here I come!”

He marched into the hall and rounded the stairs to the third floor.  Steve looked up and saw the beady eyes glaring at him, almost like they were laughing.  He lowered the weapon and aimed up the flight of stairs.  He swore he heard a high squealing.

“Oh Shit.” He was losing it.  He shook his head, holding the gun in one hand, the flashlight in the other.  He flashed the beam up the stairs, stopping at the shredded top.  Nothing. No blood. He missed the bastard.  The clicking and scurry continued.  He jogged up the stairs and turned.

The light caught a few little creatures; Leprechauns came to mind, vanishing up another set of stairs.  This flight went up the tower, coming out on the Widow’s Walk.  Steve moved to the door, cautiously opened it, and quickly scanned the narrow staircase.  He saw nothing, but heard the damn critter scamper out of the light.  The upper door must have been open, as wind and rain struck him in the face when he entered the slender tower stairs.

The storm hit him with all its might as he exited the tower.  There was a walk along the roof and around the tower and menacing wrought-iron railing traversed both sides of what was commonly referred to as the Widow’s Walk.  The gothic design held the vertical bars with the devastating pointed tips.  He looked down the walkway that ran across the top of the roof. 

He could see something jump up and down. The lightning did not offer much light, but it was enough to see his target.  Steve started his trek toward them.  The weather was fighting him every step, and the wind was pushing him toward the right railing, the rain blinding him.  He was soaked to the flesh.  He lowered his head, lifted his left hand to protect his face and trudged onward.

He was about halfway to the chimney when another bolt of lightning struck the chimney‘s lightning rod.  A blue arc ran its way down the shaft, sparked, roared, then flared down the wrought-iron railings.  Sparks crackled around him, the house pulsating in and out.  He looked up.  The chimney itself was moving, as if it were breathing, swelling and contracting.  Without warning, it stopped and two imps emerged with a pop at the end of the widow’s walk on the ell.

He looked back from where he came and then peered out at the south wing on the other side of the mansion.  Two imps jumped gleefully there.  He shivered, a combination of the cold rain and witnessing something that wasn’t real.  Was he going insane?  He only had one glass of rum and cola.  He was not drunk, but he was insane, standing here, fighting God knows what.  His shotgun felt useless.  No. It was time to retreat.  He looked down at the front of the house; his car sat there, safe.

Steven turned and faced the square tower from which he had previously emerged.  Two imps--what else would he call them?--were standing there, glaring and hissing at him.  He took a couple of steps and fired.  Black ichor, goo, and guts flew everywhere as the blast erupted them both. 

Three shots, then empty, he reminded himself as he continued to move to the tower.

Four more rounded the tower and charged toward him.  Again, the retort of the blast echoed out over the sound of the sea and storm.  The first two exploded instantly, splattering the other two behind them.  Steve pumped the weapon again and pulled the trigger as they moved closer.  The effect was the same; ichor, guts, and goo.  He laughed and screamed, “Take that you mothers!”

He stepped forward. Something pulled his leg out from under him and he fell face-first on the walk.  The shotgun slid to the tower door.  Steve rolled over and reached for his ankle, but something tugged at it.  He found a steel cable wrapped tightly around it, much as a lasso used to catch cattle.  He tried to loosen it, but something pulled it tight.  He followed it back to the chimney.  Several imps giggled and snickered as they held the line that ended at the lightning rod.

Steven tried to back away, but the little sons of bitches were strong. They pulled the cable taut and he cried out as it tore through his flesh.  He turned, looking back. Two more had appeared where he decimated the other six.  One held the shotgun, looking at it curiously, the other was growling at him, moving closer.  That one did not worry him; the weapon-wielding one, however, did.  The creature pointed the shotgun toward him and his friend, his long skinny fingers flinching around the trigger.  Steve watched closely, and then as the shot rang out, he lifted himself up and over the railing.

The second little creature burst into pieces and the other easily flung off the rooftop with an ear-piercing scream.  Steve slid down the roof, pivoting around the steel cable.  He nearly made it to the edge of the slate when the imps managed to catch hold of the cable.  He was in the crease between two of the angled rooftops, where the wing and the main roof met.  His head dangled next to the gutter, the water rushing.

He reached out and grabbed both sides of the roof with each hand.  He bent his free leg under him, then, with both arms and one leg, pushed off the roof, pulling at the steel cable with the other.  His plan worked, but what did it accomplish? Now he was hanging upside down like the hanged man in those tarot cards, thirty feet in the air.  Luckily, for him however, this is when the lightning struck again.

The electricity acted as it did before; it ran down the railing, where the steel cable had crossed it, down the gutters and into the ground.  There was no path to ground through him. 

“Yes,” he yelled, “beat that you stupid...”

The house roared again. Yes, it was the fucking house.  He sensed this thing wanted him, for some reason.  It groaned and shifted ever so slightly. It desired him, and it needed him.  Pain tore through his free calf, and it was yanked back toward the roof.

He looked up to see that one of those devious things make its way to him. It shoved a ground rod through his leg.  The rod held another steel cable, which was now pulling him up.  Steve cried out in pain as the cable on his left leg dug into the shredded flesh around his ankle, the rod, which had a barbed tip, pulled tightly at his calf muscle.  It felt as if they were tearing off his leg as it hit the gutter at the rooftop.  He was crying now, nearly passing out from pain.  He doubled over, reaching up to the gutter. He needed to get over it.  Those vile creatures kept tugging and tearing, the pain was intolerable.  Steve managed to catch hold and he somehow assisted the imps in their devilish task.  He could now see that the other cable stretched to the far chimney on the other side of the tower.  It too ended at the other lightning rod.

As he laid there, almost in defeat, two more creatures bounced to him, each carrying steel cables.  Where the fuck did they get those?  Why did he care? 

The ugly little creatures lined the rooftop walkway, about fifteen or so, all hopping up and down like depraved bobble-heads.  He almost laughed at the thought.  Both imps looped the cable around his arms and pulled it tight, just like the one that held his left foot.  They took off down the side of the roof. They each headed for the Widow’s Walk that ended at the extensions, overlooking the sea.  As they reached their respective destinations, they yanked the cable tight, pulling his arms out with a jerk.  As those two accomplished that, the others maneuvered the cables that held his legs, wrenching his legs apart.  They pulled and played with the cables amidst the storm until he hung over the roof, each appendage pointing to a corner of the Widow’s Walk.

There was no way out of his, he knew he was going to die, but for what reason.  Was his immortal soul about to be stolen by some demonic or devilish force that lived in the manor?  If that was the case, then he would never see his lovely wife again; he would be lost, and she would be waiting for eternity.  That could not happen; he would not loose his soul hanging here off some Widow’s Walk. 

No.

He wanted to be with his wife more than anything.

With the strength that came from deep in his soul, he drew hard on his right leg, pulling on the cable.  The barbed tip of the rod cut deep into his tissue, tearing as he twisted and jerked his leg.  It was all he could do to remain conscious, but as he worked his leg, he began to bend his right wrist around the cable that held it.  He pulled, bent, and contorted each appendage. Pain pulsated constantly through out his body.  The yard below was becoming blood red as he slowly freed himself.

He heard the imps shriek as his leg fell free of its line.  It dropped awkwardly, dangling beneath him.  It would never work right again, he knew that, and he knew it would never have too.  Finally he heard and felt the tell tale signs of the bones in his right wrist breaking.  Steve cried out as loud as he could as his hand went limp and the cable sheared off his fingers as the weight of his body pulled him downward.

Lightning struck the rods on the chimneys as he swung back down toward the manor.  He let his head fall limp as he watched a bay window grow closer as he plunged toward it.  The blue crackling bolt of electricity was racing his way, down the cables; it was going to be close.  Steve closed his eyes as he smashed through the glass barrier, the sharp edges piercing his body.

He felt no pain.

It was over.

Did he win?

He found himself standing on the Widow’s Walk, staring at the imps.  Flames shot from the chimneys as the house roared at the loss.  He felt a touch on his shoulder. 

Carol was standing there, more beautiful than she had ever been.  She smiled and held out her hand.  He won. He beat this demon, he was happy.  All he felt now was love and comfort.  He was home.  He moved to the edge of the Widow’s Walk and looked down at his body.

His body was no longer hanging there; it was lying on the ground.  However, it was not still, as it should be; it was moving.  His body removed its bonds that had previously constrained him.  The damaged parts were healing, regenerating as he stood there watching.  Then it turned and looked up at him with a grin.  What? He won, didn’t he?

Red lightning flashed, the sky now was a dark crimson hue.  Carol screamed. He turned, and then stepped back.  Cancerous growths plagued her pale skin, vile ichor oozed forth from the sores.  Then he realized that this was not her spirit, but a distorted twisted vision of her that this place created.  He turned and looked down at the yard, his stolen body.

The house was fading, as if he was standing in a doorway then pulled away from it. 

He cried out as the cacophony of Hell played around him.

 


Comments:
 
justwrite   justwrite wrote
on 4/21/2008 11:31:02 AM
Very well written story of a man's fight for his soul. Downright scary. Great descriptions. Grabbed my attention then held it to the end. Good Job!

debby   debby wrote
on 4/12/2008 7:02:35 PM
Erie!

Michael Robinson
Short Story
Super-natural
writing Michael Robinson
"I believe in a world of angels and demons, ghosts and ghouls, zombies and vampires. I love a world of elfs and dragons, heroes and villians. Evil and not so evil. I enjoy walking that line of shadow between evil and good, light and darkness."
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Rating: 10.0/10

Synopsis
Steve Chadwick bought his dream home after his wife's death with plans to continue their dream. The current residences however had other diabolical schemes of their own.
Published Date
2/3/2008 12:00:00 AM
Published In
Shadowed Silence Magazine Issue 1
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