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Gothic Beauty Magazine

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Willow Creek Chapter 12


Anna sat up straight, looking around in the shocked silence. “Andrew?” she asked the empty apartment, slowly getting up on her knees. Only silence answered her; even the flies that had rushed so loudly from Sean’s mouth sat on the ceiling, totally still. She got up on her feet, staring at the once liveable apartment. In a circle on the floor, where Andrew had been standing, two holes in the shape of his feet has burned through the linoleum. The paintings were burned, scorched; the closest looked as if they had been in a house fire. Suddenly, the crockery dish that had sat on the back of the stove exploded; the resulting CRASH sent Anna running down the hallway, shaking hard.
“Sean?!” she screamed out, rushing for the bedroom, hoping they were there; but they weren’t. The room stood empty, and she passed it, running out into the hallway- stopping dead in her tracks, face to face with Roger. She stared at him, and he stared at her; a can of pop held in his hand. After a long moment of silence, he held it up. “Andrew dropped this,” he said uncertainly. Anna burst into tears, sliding slowly down to the floor. Roger stood there confused, looking left and right. Suddenly, the door to the apartment next door whipped open.
“What’s going on?” an older man grunted, sliding sideways through the door- holding it shut as well he could. Behind the door, something scrabbled. “Get back, Couda!” he shouted, and slammed the door shut. He stopped quickly, bending down to see Anna eye to eye. “Ah,” he said a wheeze in his voice. “A little lost human, eh?” he smiled at her, trying to be reassuring. Anna stared at him, the mere proximity of his existence unnerving. He was even bigger, his energy even blacker, than Andrew; even back in the apartment, where he had lost control. “Come on then, girl.” His hands suddenly encircled her arms, dragging her up to her feet. She let her body follow, her mind snapping back to the present situation. She was trapped, in a place full of monsters, all on her own. Anna began to sob in earnest, unsure of what to do. Should she scream, call for Andrew? Could he hear her? Was he even safe? And where was Sean? Should she have done as Sean asked, and left? Was this all her fault?
Before she even knew what was going on, the older man was half dragging her back into the apartment she had just left. As they made their way down the hallway, the old man nodded at the wagon, shoved into the closet. “Andrew got her food, so bring it in here.” He ordered Roger over his shoulder. Roger grabbed the handle, pulling it out. He followed the two down the hallway. As they rounded the corner, the old man snorted- Anna couldn’t tell if that meant he was surprised, or happy, or what. “Sit down there,” he directed her to the couch. She sat down gratefully, although she was too on edge to show the two strange demons her back. They studiously ignored this, though the energy she was giving off grated on their nerves.
The old man turned to the four corners of the apartment, inspecting the damage. “Oh,” he said, giving Anna a wide smile, “this is easy to fix.” Anna stared at him as if he had lost his mind. The old man winked, and suddenly, everything was back to the way it had been. Anna leapt up, her whole body set on edge. The hair stood up on the back of her neck, and a long, shivering feeling of horror slid its way up her spine. “All right,” the old man clapped his hands, smiling widely. “Roger, bring me some of that food, let’s put it away.” Roger, looking back and forth between the human and the stronger demon, chose to comply. He began to lift bags over to him, placing the pizzas gently on the table. Anna stood there, uncertain. Slowly, she sank back down onto the couch. Suddenly, the old man was right beside her, a plate and a pizza box held in his hands. Anna jumped, screaming in spite of herself. The old man laughed out loud, but kindly. “Don’t worry,” he chortled, putting the box and plate gently down on the coffee table in front of her. “I don’t bite!” making the effort to be unintimidating this time, he physically walked back to the kitchen. Anna sat there tensely, too nervous to eat. “Where’s Sean?” she asked quietly, her voice almost inaudible to the human ear. The demons, however, heard her loud and clear. Roger turned back, looking at her with an expression of worry. Just for a second- then his head snapped around, and he studiously went back to helping the old man put the food away. “Andrew has probably taken him to the doctor.” The old man said, as if this was the most obvious thing in the world. “How can Andrew get to a doctor?” she demanded, her voice rising a bit. “He told me we had to go searching for an opening to get out!” The old man stopped short, glancing over his shoulder at her as if she had lost her mind. “No,” he said, his tone of voice suggesting she was absolutely mad, “you can leave any time you want.” “No!” Anna cried, shaking her head hard. “Andrew told me…” “Andrew seems to have told you a lot.” The man cut her off, slamming a pot down on the counter. Anna jumped hard at the sound, her words dying on her lips. He turned to the human, a nasty smile spread across his face. Roger stood quietly, his head bowed. Slowly, he moved away from the stronger Demon. “Obviously not everything,” she said her voice louder, firmer this time. In her mind’s eye, she envisioned a suit of armour appearing around her body. The old man straightened up suddenly, staring at her with a new expression in his eyes- respect? “Good job!” he crowed, a grin spreading across his face- and this time, it was genuine. “You just cut me right off, didn’t you?”