Hell to Pay: Chapter 7
The blood flowed into the back of his mouth. The room was cold, but the blood was warm. It tasted rancid. The fur tickled his throat and he promptly spit the skull out on the ground in front of him. More blood dripped from his lips, and the decapitated body was grasped tightly in his fist.
Blood trickled from the neck. It was on his hands, and it streaked down his own neck and into his collar. He played with the slick sensation between his fingertips. It was quickly going cold, like the body of the mouse would once discarded. The heart of such a small animal beats much faster than that of a human. Its metabolism is much higher as a result. If it doesn’t eat often, it would become catatonic from lack of energy. This thing had been feeding off the scraps left behind when Teivel and his parents had left. It’s stomach was fat with grains of rice, full of potential energy, life power.
The lines in coal dust on the ground remained inactive. When Teivel closed his eyes, the same image was pulled from his memory. Yet the one he had drawn before was crimson, not dull and grey. It had produced, as it seems, pure darkness, pure evil. Had it been a dream?
He pulled back his sleeve, revealing the scar, healed but still buried deep in his flesh. It was real. His bloody hands traced the charcoal lines, the porous dust sucking up the moisture. A draft of wind was pulled in through the chimney flue, blowing some of the dust gently across the floor. Teivel continued to trace the shapes. A sharp pain returned to the six-pointed star carved in his arm. He felt weak, bending over the ground, he placed both hands down for support. The dead mouse tumbled from his grasp. Each breath he took drew air into his lungs, cold, they burned.
Dark wisps of smoke seemed to arise from the fresh lines of blood. They curled gently in the air, dancing among the coal dust in the rays of light coming in the window. The center of the pentagram produced more smoke, heavy and black as the Rabbi’s robes. It slowly spread across the floor, like a bucket of pitch that had been overturned.
Teivel pushed himself up, and crept back against the wall. The uneven stones prodded him in the spine. The darkness continued to flow outwards, reaching the walls. It engulfed the area he was sitting, engorging his veins with an icy sensation.
It crept up the walls. Teivel held his breath, so as to not breath it in. He wanted to cry out. It danced around the panes of the windows and crept up the trim like morning glory vines. The rays of light shattered as it obscured the glass, taking the remaining light with it. Teivel exhaled a large cloud of fog. It was deathly silent.
A scuffle of feet outside broke the cold silence. A pounding on the door. “It was here, I think!” The door was pounded upon a second time, louder. Teivel heard the wood against the hinges crack and start to splinter. The darkness had engulfed him. He closed his eyes tight. His teeth clenched. They had found out where he was, possibly by chance, or by process of elimination. A third impact upon the door. The door frame gave way. Tievel opened his eyes a crack.
The man was wearing a dark uniform, complete with armband displaying the bent cross he had seen before. His heart burned with hatred. They were once again trying to force him out of his home. The man stood, startled by the state of the room, engulfed in blackness. He attempted to step backwards; one foot, the next being caught among the darkness that shot at him almost out of reflex.
The darkness moved as one entity. It lifted itself from the back wall where Teivel rested. The officer’s leg became engulfed. A pair of arms grabbed to pull him back, but could not get him to budge out the door. The well-tailored sleeve of the jacket became his downfall, as it slipped easily from the grasps of the other men. They attempted to close the door, seeming to have abandoned hope for their fellow man.
The darkness, now mobile in its grotesque shapeless form, became agitated. It produced a low growl. The other men outside were yelling, loudly. Teivel could not understand them. The blob mashed itself against the exterior wall, writhing in the few remaining light rays. It lashed out dark tentacles, searching for a way out. The growl continued, higher pitched. The window panes shook in their frames. The thing lurched back, then forwards, slamming into the window that shattered on impact. Teivel ducked back into the fireplace, dodging shards of glass. The other men outside yelped, as the blob flooded outside. As it exited, the bright sunlight ate away at its edges.
Teivel waited until he could no longer hear any commotion. He crawled out from the fireplace, covered in ashes. Outside, there was no sign of any more guards or the blob of darkness. Slumped up against the splintered door jamb was the first guard, pale as could be. The pentagram was still present on the floor, but the blood had faded and dried to a dingy brown color. Teivel brushed himself off.