CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED and TWENTY-FIVE
Monday early morning — 1:27 A.M.
Like a thick blanket, the dark descended around Jacob. Everything light extinguished from his world. The horror and perversion of a thousand malevolent voices penetrated his mind. He collapsed to his knees.
Every horror flashed through his mind. Loving memory twisted with hate. Jill’s kind face contorted with hate when she looked at him. Before his eyes, precious Katy was hit by a bus. Her body was dragged for a block before the bus wheels stopped on her head. Valerie refused to even look at a ‘loser like him’. His mother despised the man he’d become. Delphie laughed at him behind his back.
He was alone and unloved. He couldn’t protect the ones he loved most. He’d lost everything that mattered to him. His mind spun awful tale after horrifying tale.
Rage boiled in his blood. How could this happen? How could they do this to him? How could they betray him like this? His shoulders collapsed forward in defeat.
He would have to die. They would have to die. Death was the only option, the only release from this tremendous pain.
Out of habit more than anything else, his right hand touched the tungsten wedding band Jill had slipped on his hand.
“We give you this ring as a symbol of our love for you,” Jill and Katy’s voice broke through the dark cloud. “As it circles your finger, let it always remind you of our eternal love, surrounding and enfolding you day and night.”
“Katy and I are here,” He heard Jill’s voice.
“Jill,” he whispered. “Katy.”
“Mom, Steve, Candy and Meg are here to help. We’re sending healing love to you. Val and Mike are on their way to get you. I know you can hear me.”
“Salt then blue fire,” Jill said.
“NOW!” Jacob heard a chorus of voices – Jill’s, her brothers’ and sisters’, her mother’s clear Russian accent, Celia’s voice, as well as the voices of the long forgotten dead.
Deep inside the entity, Jacob threw a handful of salt. Because the creature wasn’t in its diffuse form, the salt burned the entity from the inside. It screamed with rage. Moving quickly, Jacob’s fingers flew in practiced motion to light the propane torch. The blue flame began to finish what the salt had started.
Recoiling from around Jacob, the creature let out a bone chilling screech. It pulled all of its darkness with it itself, then expanded again. Jacob met it with another handful of salt and the torch. The creature recoiled.
It condensed into the serpent, human form.
Spinning in place, the entity ran from the kitchen. Jacob followed in pursuit. Tiny broken tendrils flew behind the creature. The creature flew through the Mansion’s back wall into the dark night. Jacob crashed through the back door.
He followed the entity across the dry land and up the hill toward the large pole barn. The entity flew around the barn to an open area behind the barn’s entrance. It gave Jacob one last look before seeping into the earth.
Jacob skid to a stop. The apparition of an ancient shaman appeared before him.
“Go back. Send the others home,” the shaman said.
“We will stand guard,” the shaman said.
A host of twenty shaman apparitions appeared around him. With a nod, Jacob turned and ran back toward the house. From his vantage point on the hill, he saw Valerie’s aged Mustang turn into the driveway. Valerie and Mike were here. He ran into the house and down the hallway. Sliding open the doors to the great room, he had to laugh.
Delphie was standing in the middle of a sea of apparitions. The ghosts were talking all at once. Hearing the doors, Delphie turned toward him.
“It’s time,” she said.
He nodded and opened a spirit door. Like the afternoon sun on a gorgeous summer day, a glorious golden light filled the room. Seeing loved ones who had been waiting all these years, the spirits flew toward the other side. The room began to clear. When the last of the children had retreated, one of the mothers came to thank them.
“We’ve been trapped here since getting sick,” she said. “Bless you for rescuing us.”
With a soft smile, she followed her children. Delphie positively beamed.
“It feels really good to help them,” Delphie said.
“Yeah,” Jacob nodded.
The seam began to slowly close.
“Shall we…?” Delphie started.
Delphie turned toward the door then stopped walking. A male and a female apparition floated near the door. They looked like they were teenagers. They were wearing bellbottoms and long hair of the 1970s.
“If you hurry, you can still…” Jacob said.
“We need to talk to Gary,” the girl said.
“Who?” Jacob asked.
“Aden,” Delphie said.
“Aden?” Jacob asked.
“He lived here,” the boy said. “We know him. We…”
“You’re the lovers,” Delphie gasped. “Jacob, this is the couple from under the Castle.”
“We need to talk to Gary,” the girl repeated.
“Why?” Jacob asked.
“He will know,” the boy said.
“He will know,” the girl said.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…