It has been said we are all born good. Does the EVIL we do come from within? Is it a reflection of our surroundings or society? Perhaps it comes from a far more malevolent source of EVIL few see, hear of or speak about, but has a profound effect on us all!
– The 4th EVIL
As the sun dissolved behind the horizon and darkness began to blanket the small town of Kavanaugh, the full moon shed a hint of illumination over the Ferguson house on the burgeoning autumn night. The rustling leaves stirred around Halloween decor beneath the old barren walnut tree in the front yard. The wind had a chill in it to make for an eerie atmosphere on All Hallow’s Eve.
Inside the house thirty-seven-year-old Jill prepared her children for the evening’s outting.
“Come on you guys,” she said as she gathered their jackets. “We gotta go! If we don’t leave now trick-or-treat will be over and nobody gets any goodies!”
Five-year-old Katie ran into the room wearing her homemade white-sheet ghost costume with eye holes cut out.
“BOO! I’m ready!” she shrilled.
“Okay Casper. Now where’s my other two little goblins?” Jill asked with a laugh.
Upstairs eight-year-old Daniel stood in his bedroom gazing silently out the window at the moonlit sky. His older sister, Jen, rushed into the room.
“Let’s go Daniel. Mom’s waiting for us. It’s time for some spooky fun!” she said as she slid his Wolfman mask over his head.
Jen walked Daniel down the stairs with one hand on his shoulder, while she threw her witch’s hat on with the other. They walked into the kitchen to meet their mother and Katie.
“Okay, we’re ready,” she said. “Oh, let me get Daniel’s flashlight.”
“I’ve got it right here,” Jill interjected, pulling the flashlight from under the jackets in her arm. “I’m already ahead of you.”
They laughed together as Jen turned out the kitchen light and the family went out the door.
As the front door at a neighborhood house closed behind them, Jen and Katie ran, looking at their fresh treats in their Halloween bags, toward Daniel and their mother watching them from the end of the driveway.
“Look Daniel,” Jen said. “See all the candy I got?”
Katie followed suit, showing them her tasty treasures.
“Just go up to the next door with us and you’ll get some, too,” Jen continued.
Jill turned her focus on Daniel.
“It’s okay. You don’t have to say a word to get candy. Just open your bag,” she said with a motherly smile. “Come on, let’s give it a try.”
They began to walk down the sidewalk, but Daniel didn’t move. He took off his mask and stared intently at something. Standing in the shadow of a tree beside the house across the street was a dark figure. He couldn’t make out any distinguishable features, but it didn’t really look like a person. It didn’t move, just stood facing toward him as if to be staring back.
Jill turned and saw Daniel still standing there with his concerned look.
“Come on sweetie,” she said as she began to walk back toward him. She went up, squatted down face to face with him, looking at him warmly.
“What do you say we go on home, watch some t.v. and eat ice cream? Just you and me.”
He nodded in approval, but glanced back across the street. The dark shadow was gone.
Jill looked down the street toward her daughters.
“Girls, we’re gonna go on back to the house. Just go to the end of the block and back up the other side. No more than an hour. Okay?”
They turned and looked back at her.
“Okay. No more than an hour,” Jen said in a disappointed voice.
“Love you Mom…Love you Daniel,” Katie added.
They turned to walk back home as a husky woman, a little chubby boy and a redheaded girl walked up to them.
“Hello, how are you?” the woman asked.
“Good. How are you?” Jill replied.
“Good. We just moved in a couple weeks ago on Hickory Street,” the newcomer explained.
“Oh, okay. Well, welcome to the neighborhood. You’ll like it here. I’m Jill,” the resident veteran said, extending her hand.
“Nice to meet you,” the woman said as she shook Jill’s hand. “I’m Sandy. Who’s this little guy?” She turned her focus to Daniel. “How are you?”
He glanced at her and turned away with his head down.
“This is Daniel,” his mother explained. “He has autism.”
“Autism?” Sandy asked halfway cutting her off. “I’m not very familiar with that.”
“It got worse after his father passed away,” Jill continued. “He hasn’t spoke to anyone since, but we try to work with him. He’s a good boy.”
“What’s wrong with him?” the chubby boy asked. “Look at him!” he blurted as he pointed at him.
“Honey! Now don’t be rude,” his mother said with an embarrassed look on her large round face. “Well, we better get on with trick-or-treat. Sorry.”
“That’s okay. Have fun,” Jill said, ignoring the portly kid’s comment.
“See you later,” Sandy added. “Hope you get better Daniel.”
“Bye,” Jill said slightly irritated as each group turned to go their separate ways.
2 INTRODUCTION TO EVIL
Back at the house just over an hour later, Jill looked up from washing dishes as the girls came through the door from trick-or-treating.
“Hey, how’d you guys do?” she asked.
“We did really good!” Jen replied.
“All kinds of candy,” her little sister added as she opened her bag to display her tasty treats.
“Wow!” Jill said as she looked in and acted amazed.
“Where’s Daniel?” Katie inquired. “I’ll give him some.”
“He’s watching wrestling,” her mom replied. “Don’t you guys eat too much. It’s almost bedtime.”
“Okay Mommy. We won’t!” the baby of the family proclaimed as she ran out of the kitchen to join her brother.
Jen stood with a hurtful upset look.
“Mom, I miss dad. He always loved this time of year,” she said holding back tears. “Remember how he used to hide and scare us?”
“Yeah honey, we always had so much fun,” Jill said with a consoling smile. “We had planned on taking all of you on a haunted house hunt before the accident.”
“Can we not talk about the accident?” Jen asked as a tear escaped, rolling down her cheek.
“I’m sorry sweetie,” her mother replied. “We don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.”
“I’m going to go see what Daniel and Katie are doing,” Jen said as she turned and walked away.
Jill watched her, feeling the sadness well up inside her. It had been rough on her since the passing of her husband a couple years earlier, but she was determined to raise her kids to the best of her ability and make there lives as normal as possible.
It was bedtime for everyone, but Daniel stood silently in his bedroom staring out his window. Jill stuck her head in the girls’ room, where Jen and Katie were sitting on their beds.
“Okay. Lights out ladies,” she said with her hand over the lightswitch.
“Oh, okay,” Katie said in her sad voice.
“Mom, will you sit with me for a second?” Jen asked.
“Sure honey,” she replied, then came in and sat down beside her.
“I’m sorry about earlier,” Jen confessed. “I know it’s hard on you, too. Sometimes it’s good for you to talk about it.”
“Oh Jen, don’t be sorry,” Jill said with a hint of a smile. “We just need to stick together and we’ll be just fine.”
“Yeah Mom, we’ll be just fine,” Jen said. “I love you.”
“I love you, too, Jenny baby,” Jill replied as she stood up and looked over at Katie. “I love you Katie Bug.”
“I love you, I love Jen, I love Daniel, and I love Daddy,” Katie said trying not to giggle.
“Goodnight girls,” Jill said as she walked over to the door and looked back.
“Goodnight!” Jen and Katie said in unison. Their mother flipped off the light and closed the door.
Jill walked across the hall into Daniel’s room and he was still standing, peering out the window.
“What’s my little man doing?” she asked. “You better get in bed.”
Daniel turned slowly with a distant look on his face.
“Come on. It’s bedtime,” his mother informed him.
He walked over, climbed in his bed and laid down, holding his favorite bean-bag teddybear. Jill pulled the cover over him.
“I hope you had a fun Halloween,” she said. “Tomorrow’s Saturday, so you can get up and watch some cartoons with Katie.”
Daniel looked at her, halfway smiled, then looked away.
“Goodnight sweetheart. Sleep tight,” Jill said as she kissed him on his forehead. She walked over to the door and as she turned out the light.
“Mama loves you Daniel.”
The door closed and it was complete darkness. His eyes adjusted to the dark room around him as a beam of the full moon slightly added illumination.
He lied in bed looking around at what the daylight presented as a whimsical childlike playland, but the night somehow transformed into a demonic structure of devilish shadows. A child’s imagination and fear of the dark can play tricks on their mind. A cute little stuffed clown can become a psycho from a sadistic circus! A group of heroic military action figures can morph into an army of flesh craving zombies!
The room became darkened as though a cloud was moving over the moonlight. Daniel’s eyes moved to the window and widened in surprise and a deeper fear. At his window was an ominous dark figure appearing to be staring him right in his eyes. He was frozen and frightened to new heights, but he shut his eyes tight as he held the covers and his teddy bear with a tight grip.
When he found the courage to open his eyes, the figure was standing at the foot of his bed gazing at him in the darkness. It had indistinguishable features, but was in the shape of what we would imagine a demon from Hell to look like. A disfigured muscular outline and adorned with bull-like horns. As it stood before him, Daniel could hear it breathing mixed in imperfect harmony with the quickened beat of his heart.
He stared back in silent fear as the figure creeped slowly around his bed, coming closer and closer. To Daniel’s astonishment, as it passed through a direct beam of moonlight, it appeared to have the face of his deceased father with a warm, caring look. It sat down beside him on his bed and began to talk to him in his familiar voice, but was more of a whispering rasp.
“Daniel, my son, I’ve missed you. I want you to know, you are going to grow up and do wonderful things. I am here to give you the gift to do so.I know you don’t understand now, but one day you will see me again and you will repay me.”
It put it’s large blackened hand on his head.
“Sleep now and wake up to a new world,” the Hellspawn said as it rubbed it’s hand down over his face closing his eyes.
“Sleep my son,” it continued as Daniel fell peacefully into slumber.
The demon stood up and began to walk away. The face of Daniel’s father began contorting into that of a hideous demonic being with sharp teeth, white eyes and overgrown chiseled features. It disappeared as it passed straight through the bedroom window.
3 DREAM OR DEMON?
Jill and Jen sat at the kitchen table early on Saturday morning. Jill was reading her section of the newspaper.
“Hmmm. A five letter word for An Evil Force,” Jen said, looking up from the crossword puzzle in her section.
“I don’t know, maybe devil,” her mother replied. “What about demon?”
Daniel walked into the kitchen with bright eyes and smiling. His mom and sister looked at him and then look at each other confused.
“I had a dream about Daddy,” Daniel said in a loud, clear voice.
Jill’s mouth dropped open in shock and she covered it with her hands as a huge smile came across her daughter’s face.
“Oh my God, Daniel!” Jen exclaimed. “You…you spoke!”
Jill jumped up quickly, with tears beginning to flow down her cheeks, and got on her knees in front of her son.
“Daniel, honey! What did you say?” she asked him. “Are you okay? Do you feel alright?”
“I’m fine Mom. I feel good today,” Daniel explained. “I just wanted to tell you that I had a dream about Daddy.”
“You did?” she asked. “Well, that’s good. Was it a good dream?”
“The Best!” he proclaimed. “He said I was going to do great things when I grow up.”
Jen walked over to Daniel and hugged him tight.
“I’m just glad you’re talking to us,” she said.
“Yeah sweetie. Do you feel any different?” Jill asked with a very concerned look.
“Yes, Mom. I do feel different,” he said. “I guess the difference is that I don’t feel different anymore. You know?”
“I know honey,” she responded as she began to cry again. “I know.”
Jen started to cry, too, but Daniel looked at them and smiled.
“It’s okay,” he let them know. “We’ll all be okay now.”
Katie came walking down the stairs, just waking up.
“What’s wrong?” she asked. “Is everybody okay?”
“We’re good, Katie,” Jen said. “Daniel’s talking!”
“It’s tears of joy,” her mother added.
“What?” Katie asked with a surprised look. “Daniel?”
“I had the greatest dream about Daddy last night,” he told her. “Now I feel good.”
“Wow!” Katie said with a big smile.
Jill was so happy with her son’s new found normality, but she was also very worried. She took him to the doctor to have some tests run just to make sure there wasn’t a cause that would effect his health.
“Well Jill, all of our tests came back negative,” Dr. Thompson told her. “I’ve never seen a case like this before, but you have a perfectly healthy young man here.”
“Oh, thank God,” she responded with her eyes tearing. “Daniel, you are fine!”
“I could have told you that Mom,” he said and laughed.
“Now if anything changes make sure you let us know,” Dr. Thompson insisted.
“Yes, of course Doctor,” Jill said. “Thank you so much.” She put her arm around Daniel as they walked out of the doctor’s office.
“Hey Mom, can we get a pizza on the way home?” he asked.
“Sure Sweetie. We can get two if you want!” she exclaimed with a giggle of relief. “It’s time to celebrate. We’ll get anything you want.”
Over the course of the next few weeks Daniel’s grades were perfect and the school suggested they put him in regular classes to see how he performed. After their Thanksgiving break he started attending class with the rest of the students. It was strange for him at first, but he soon got used to being around his classmates and his grades were excelling even more. By the time Christmas break came around, Daniel was making straight A’s and even had a couple of new friends.
It was Saturday, the day after Christmas and Daniel had asked to have his buddies Jimmy and Chuck come over and spend the night. The boys came over and they spent the day trading Hot Wheels, eating hamburgers and watching the occasional cartoon on television. It was getting late so Jill came into Daniel’s room to inform them it was bedtime.
“Okay you little rascals, it’s time for lights out,” she said with a laugh. “If you guys get up early enough I’ll make everybody chocolate chip pancakes.”
“Oh okay, Mom,” Daniel replied. “We were having alot of fun though.”
“You’ll have more fun tomorrow,” she said. “Get under the covers and tell each other scary stories until you fall asleep.”
“Yeah, I know some scary stories Daniel,” Jimmy said.
“I know the scariest ones!” Chuck proclaimed.
“Okay! This will be neat!” Daniel said, now excited for bedtime.
Jimmy and Daniel got into bed and Chuck snuggled into his sleeping bag beside them on the floor.
“Good night boys,” Jill said. “Sleep tight…Don’t let the monsters bite!”
The three friends snickered as she turned out the light and closed the door.
4 BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY
As the boys lied awake in the spooky dark room, Jimmy began to tell his scary story.
“My dad told me about when he was little, a demon came to visit him at night,” he said. “He thinks it was after his soul to give it to The Devil.”
“Demons aren’t real Jimmy,” Chuck interjected as he laughed. “That’s just stupid.”
“From what my dad said, it sounded real,” Jimmy continued. “A big red devil would stand over him as he tried to sleep and he could hear it breathing. He told me if I wasn’t good it might visit me, too.”
“Demons aren’t red, they’re solid black,” Daniel explained.
“How would you know?” Jimmy asked sarcastically.
“I don’t know, Jimmy,” Daniel responded. “I really don’t even know why I said that.”
At this point Chuck had dosed off to sleep. Daniel and Jimmy lied there for a few more minutes talking about the scariest movies they were allowed to watch, but soon gave in to their calling slumber. They slept for a few hours, but a few minutes before 3:00 a.m. Chuck woke up and went to the bathroom to relieve himself of the excess soda he drank through the evening.
When he returned to the bedroom and crawled into his sleeping bag, Daniel and Jimmy were still sleeping soundly. As he lied there blinking his eyes about to fall back asleep, he heard a scratching noise on the wall across the room. He quickly looked over and there it stood. The blackened demon that had visited Daniel from before.
Chuck was so startled he gasped his breath to scream, but before he could, the demon grabbed him by his ankle and forcefully dragged him, swinging him over to where he came to a thumping halt against the wall. It quickly snatched him by his hair, pulling his head back, looking him face-to-face.
“You fucking believe in demons now, you little fuck?” the demon growled in his ear.
He then began to cry out half in pain, half in terror. Daniel and Jimmy woke up as Jill rushed into the room and turned on the light. The demon was nowhere to be seen.
“What’s going on?” Jill asked. “Is everybody okay?”
Chuck lied there on the floor crying as Daniel and Jimmy jumped out of bed and rushed to his side.
“There was something in here and it grabbed me!” Chuck exclaimed, while sobbing and rubbing his injured ankle. “It threw me over here!”
“Honey, it’s okay. Just calm down,” Jill said, trying to console him. “Did you just have a bad dream?”
“No! It wasn’t a dream!” he shrilled and burst out crying even harder. “I want to go home. I want my mommy and daddy!”
“It was The Devil,” Jimmy said.
“Don’t make it worse, Jimmy,” Daniel added.
“No. No. It’s okay boys,” Jill said. “You two go back to bed and try and get some sleep. Chuck, do you want me to call your parents or do you want to try and go back to sleep, too? Can I see your ankle?”
“I just want to go home,” he said, still in shock over his experience.
“Okay Chuck, let’s go call your mom and dad,” Jill said as she helped the boy off the floor.
Jill tried calling Chuck’s parents a few times, but there was no answer. She ended up sitting up with him in the living room until sunrise, then she was finally able to get them. They came over to pick him up and Jill told them what took place the best she could.
“I’m sorry this happened,” she explained. “He was really scared, so I sat up with him until you came.”
“Oh, he’s just being a crybaby,” his dad blurted.
“It’s okay, Chucky,” his mom said, “We can talk about it when we get home.”
“I just don’t want to talk about it ever again,” Chuck said as his eyes were welling up with tears again. “Never ever again.”
As Chuck and his parents were pulling out of the driveway Daniel and Jimmy came downstairs from just waking up.
“Chuck just left guys,” Jill said. “It was a long night. Do you two want pancakes or do you want to just head home, Jimmy?”
“I guess I’ll just go on home,” Jimmy responded.
“Are you sure?” Daniel asked. “Mom makes really good pancakes.”
“That’s okay,” he replied. “I not really hungry.”
5 THE DAY AFTER
Jill dropped Daniel and Katie off at the elementary school for the first day back after Christmas break. They waved goodbye to her and Jen, who were on their way to the next stop at the middle school. Katie ran over to her little group of kindergarten classmates waiting for the bell to ring. Daniel spotted Jimmy and Chuck’s twin sister, Beth, standing by the office door. He walked over to him, but they didn’t have the smiles on their faces as usual.
“Hey you guys, everything okay?” Daniel inquired. “You look kinda sad or something.”
“I’m okay,” Jimmy responded.
“It’s Chuck,” Beth said. “He had to go to a hospital of some kind. Mom and Dad said he probably won’t be coming back anytime soon. They won’t let me go with them to see him and they won’t tell me anything about him.”
“What happened?” Daniel asked. “Is he sick or hurt?”
“I think he kinda went crazy or something,” she replied.
“I know he seemed really messed up that night at your house, Daniel,” Jimmy explained. They stood looking at each other confused and concerned.
The school bell rang and they headed to class. A few of the other students asked Beth about Chuck, but she said she didn’t know exactly what happened and she would rather not talk about it. The the school day went by very slow and there was a somber mood in the air with everyone worried about the well-being of their classmate.
When the final bell of the day rang and everyone went their separate ways, Daniel got into the car where Jill and Katie were waiting on him.
“Mom, Chuck is in the hospital,” he said as they pulled out of the parking lot.
“I know, honey,” Jill replied. “I talked to his parents today.”
“I don’t like Chuck,” Katie blurted out. “He’s kinda weird.”
“Be nice, Katie,” her mother warned. “He’s sick.”
“What did they say?” Daniel asked.
“Chuck is really sick, sweetie,” she explained. “They are moving to Indiana so he can stay in a better hospital that specializes in caring for people in his condition. They’re leaving tomorrow.”
“His condition?” Daniel inquired. “What kind of condition?”
“They’re not sure yet,” Jill said. “I just hope he gets better soon.”
“Yeah, I hope so to,” he said sadly. “I’m not going to see Beth anymore either.”
As they were getting out of the car at home, the school bus stopped and Jen got off to meet them. The family went into the house together. Daniel was really quite that night and just sat in his room till bedtime…………..to be continued.
Copyright © 2014 Emory Slone. All Rights Reserved.