Sorry the story is up so late today! Had an essay due in college and a presentation. Still, all done! Freedom now! No more classes this year, just have to hand in two essays next week and then have 4 exams and bam. Done till next year/semester.
I’m really mostly looking forward to sleep at the moment, I won’t have to get up early for anything and I can sleep as much as I want, yay! Also, comin up to Christmas, which is pretty insane, time moves too quickly by far. Have to figure out what I’m going to get people for Christmas, don’t know what to get for anyone at all.
Will also have to apply for my MA courses soon, all I have to do is figure out how to do that, I have not a single clue, so it should be interesting if a little stressful. How awful would it be to be turned down because I forgot something stupid or I misspelled my name.
Both by the way are perfectly possible. I don’t know why but lately when signing keogh I leave out the O.
Ok, wordpress seems to have screwed me over slightly here. I wrote more but I don’t really remember it, I do know I hoped people were looking forward to Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Time off work & or school.
I didn’t realise the short story didn’t post, the page was taking a long time to load and it could have been a problem with my internet connection, either way, I’m really sorry this happened. Here’s the short story for reals this time!
Also, Thanks to Lee for pointing it out below! Don’t know how long this would have been up without me knowing otherwise!
Dustin didn’t really notice it at first. Why would he? He lived alone and didn’t really interact much with the townsfolk. Heaven Falls, a small town based around a shitty tourist attraction of a waterfall that had worn away the rock into a natural water slide that could be ridden on plastic sheets. It had been popular for a while, but then people realised that a water park with only one water slide wasn’t much fun and stopped coming. They still got the occasional visitor but there were no longer queues or charging for the privilege of sliding down a rock face. The insurance cost of it alone almost made the idea itself worthless, especially after some kid refused to use something between him and the rocks and jumped for it during the argument. The rocks were pretty smooth but there were still a few jagged edges that the plastic protected from, he ended up with a few nasty gashes and a large amount of blood lost. Being a small town the nearest hospital was about half an hour away. The kid’s parents had tried to sue but failed miserably, when it was pointed out that management took no responsibility for any accidents cause through improper use of the slide. They probably could have made a big deal of it and if the town had let them, it would have brought them some more publicity, mostly negative, but people liked to try strange things.
Dustin had moved there with Janice, when they were still together, thinking the small quaint town would be perfect, they would get married and have 2.5 kids and maybe a dog and everyone knew everyone in the small town, how could that be bad?
Rumours spread quickly about the newcomers, the freshest blood the town had seen in a long time. People had children of course, but the kids went to college or moved away and never returned, it was rare to have people move in, most wanted to move out. Janice had always been a little flirty with other guys, Dustin knew and accepted that. He trusted her. Then she went off and fucked some random guy passing through. The whole town knew about it for a month before he heard a word of it. Even then it was only because Janice herself felt guilty. She claimed it was her conscience, that she had to do the right thing, but Dustin knew it was the accusing stares of the townspeople. They broke up soon afterward and Janice had moved on, moved upwards, but not Dustin. He didn’t have the money to get another place or move away. He was a writer, a mid lister who made enough to survive here but with Janice gone, not enough to move on. He could get another job, build up some cash, maybe write a few articles but since the break up he didn’t feel much like writing anymore. Everything seemed kinda pointless. He spent his days and nights in the house, only leaving to go shopping. He had a good view here, of both the town and the waterfall, it was large, and when the sun hit it right, the spray kicked up produced hundreds of shimmering rainbows.
So it came as a shock to him when he noticed the town was emptying. Slowly of course, but emptying none the less. He wondered if maybe some developer was buying up the land, but it didn’t appear that way. No one really mentioned the people disappearing and over the course of weeks and months their houses fell into ruin. After three months, the town of Heaven Falls was down from three hundred, to about seventy or so souls. The shop, for there only was one shop, was still open and seemed that it wouldn’t close anytime soon. Despite the loss of customers it seemed to plug on just fine. He tried to figure out what was happening, going to the bar at night to see what the word was, but they excluded him, as they always had. It was Janice who fit in, who got along with everyone and he just happened to be with her and because of her acceptance, he had to be accepted too. Now when he tried to strike up a conversation they ignored him at best, or threatened him at worst. Though those were only the drunks and most of the time someone shouted out for them to settle down. A few times he would enter the shop, or the post office, or the bar and each time there would be a small group of people, huddled together talking and as soon as he entered, they would stop talking and disperse. A few times they continued, talking in whispers and glancing at him constantly.
The town had never been particularly welcoming to him but it had never been menacing either. Now he felt unsafe and uncomfortable. He had stopped locking his doors, a habit he had brought with him and one Janice got him to break, but now he locked them and each night made sure they were secure. Something was happening in the town but he didn’t know what. The streets became emptier, but they were never very full to begin with. He began to wonder if maybe the town was just stage dressing. After all, despite the mass exodus the towns shop and bar all remained open, including the tiny post office which still opened a few hours each day, None of them closed their doors or shut down due to lack of business. It was obvious the town was dying but something seemed to be breathing life into those establishments.
The area around the town was heavily wooded and not one for walks in the forest, Dustin had never really explored the area around the town, it just never seemed that important. He knew where everything he needed was and that was enough. But as restlessness set in and the writers block got worse, he began to walk. He remembered it helping in the past and hope that it would help this time. He found that after a block, he got a flood of ideas and he hoped that his would prove no different. He needed to get started on something soon, he would have to start eating into his savings as the royalty cheques arriving kept getting smaller and smaller. Still, he would make it work. He always had before.
It was during one of these walks that he found the church. It was old and slightly rundown but clearly still in use. There windows were unbroken and clean, the doors themselves opened easily without protest. The inside was clean with a few candles burning still in an alcove. There was a small church in the town itself and most people went there or drove to another place for their worship. Neither he nor Janice were particularly religious and had never bothered going to the church. It was odd and slightly creepy but it didn’t concern him too much. It looked like a typical church, if slightly worse for wear. He wasn’t sure what denomination worshipped there, but figured that had he been religious he would have heard about it. He continued his walk and promptly forgot about it, after all, it wasn’t important.
Looking out the window that night he could see a line of people moving through the town, all carrying candles, it appeared as though the entire town were there, including those who had already left. He wasn’t too sure what was happening as he had never seen or heard anything about it. Perhaps it was some kind of town celebration that residents returned for. After a few moments of watching them he decided to thrown on a jacket and see what they were doing.
The crowd were weaving through the streets and after a few moments of watching, Dustin moved in and joined the back of the crowd, wondering where they were going. The walk continued through the town before going into the woods, eventually leading to the old church. It was full and, hanging back slightly, Dustin could see that there was barely any room for people inside, most were standing and those who were sitting were old. The crowd jostled and shuffled though not as much as he expected, they were surprisingly still though obviously waiting for something. The entire crowd were silent, no one said a word as they waited. Dustin began to feel a little nervous, he felt as though he was spying on secret rituals that should not be witnessed. It was getting colder and soon he found his jacket was not enough to stop the cold. He considered trying to join the crowd in the church but quickly decided against it, it would be almost sacreligious. He was about to turn and leave, after all, it was cold and he was getting bored, when the crowd seemed to push forward slightly. He looked at the altar and saw a man had come out. He recognised the face but he was not sure from where. After a moment he realised it was the man Janice had cheated with. Despite the cold and his nervousness, he moved closer to hear what the man was saying. “Brothers and Sisters, this is a very special day, one of the most important days we will ever experience and you all know why.” He gestured to the side. Something was wheeled onto the altar, the crowds cheer drowned out Dustin’s gasp. Janice was tied to a table, she was heavily pregnant. “Tonight, is the night that Heaven. Will. FALL!” As he shouted the crowd began to drum their feet, stamping up and down in a rapid rhythm.
Dustin stood at the entrance, unsure what to do. He had to help Janice, he had given up on her long ago but he couldn’t let them do what ever they had planned. Besides, she was pregnant, what if the baby was his? He couldn’t allow anything to happen to them. “I have sired a child, born of a stranger in the moment of a great betrayal. Oh yes, I have followed everything exactly, and soon, soon my friends the world will be ours. The ritual is almost complete, only a few more steps and we shall begin our divine war.” Dustin was trying to decide if he should call the police or go in and try to save her himself. The police probably wouldn’t believe him and it would be at least half an hour before they got here. The town was pretty much crime free so the police stayed away, ignoring the town. He stepped back, there was no way he could fight over almost three hundred people. He turned and saw two men standing behind him. “Oh, I was just-” They moved forward and grabbed him, each taking an arm. “What are you doing? Let me go!” they dragged him towards the church, despite his struggles, the crowd parted to let him through. “Soon, we shall anoint the sacred vessel with the blood of the abandoned and then the glorious time will be upon us.” Hearing the mans speech Dustin struggled harder, knowing it was his blood they meant to spill. The grip on his arms was tight, their fingers sinking into his flesh. He had to get away from this crazy cult. That was the only explanation, the entire town was insane. “Janice, we have to get out of here-” She looked at him, her eyes dead. She never struggled in her bonds, she didn’t try to escape. They had done something to her, broken something inside her. She looked at Dustin blankly, then smiled tentatively. “I’m going to change the world.” “No, Janice, you’re not, they’re crazy, they tricked you” The towns peoples cries grew louder as he was dragged onto the altar, he writhed and kicked but was unable to escape. Something lay on the altar, wrapped in cloth. Carefully the man unwrapped it, revealing an ornate, but deadly, knife. He walked to Janice and made a long slit down her dress, peeling it from her body, leaving her naked and still tied down. They didn’t want her to have any sudden ideas. The man approached Dustin and cut open his t-shirt, careful to avoid his flesh. Dustin felt his stomach clench and retract, trying to stay away from the blade. The man lifted the knife and rested the tip between Dustin’s chest. The knife was cold against his skin. It rested there for a moment before the man pushed it in, cutting through Dustin’s flesh. He dragged the knife down slowly, Dustin screams of agony rose to the ceiling and joined the ecstatic shouts of the towns people. The pain was unbearable, a horrible, hot burning. He could feel the blood running down his body, first in thin rivulets, then in a great torrent. The man finished his incision, then laid the knife back on the cloth, bright drops of blood stained it, harsh against the white cloth. He took his hand after he pushed it into the large wound, coating his hand in gore. He moved toward Janice who was looking around, that confused smile still on her lips. The man pressed his bloody hand to her belly, leaving a handprint in the centre, then began to draw lines and shapes. After a moment he stood and turned to the crowd. A silence fell over them, the only noise, the dripping of Dustin’s blood, as it landed on the stone floor. He had finally, mercifully passed out. Deep within, Janice felt something give, then a pain ripped through her, she cried out in agony. The man lifted his hands in the air and screamed, “It has begun.” The crowd went wild again, screaming and shouting, stamping their feet. Their saviour would arrive soon and he would lead them to victory.