Somehow this got erased from my blog last week. For those of you who didn't read it on the Graveyard Group on Facebook, here it is, last week's Terror Tuesday. This week's will be up in a few minutes.
GHOST NO MORE
“Don't worry about your thoughts. Some things have to be done.”
A voice, talking to me again. At first, it scares the shit out of me. No more. The voice is calm; and good. The voice is from God's camp. Some times in the past, these voices have said horrible things, yet things that must be written. But they are always so calm- matter of fact even, as if it's a stroll in the park sort of thing, even though the stroll passes horrific things. Calm, good, horrific: such a paradox. How can something good be evil in its conceptuality? Do the ends justify the means? Is there a white bad?
“Trust me. You ponder too much. Evil must be destroyed. You must tell people. You are my prophet.”
"Then why does Satan show me these evil pictures of his? He never talks to me, but he shows me things; and he does things."
“Like with John?”
"Yes, like with John. And I was ...I was not the least bit saddened by it. I actually enjoyed watching it play out before my eyes. I should have been repulsed by the evil, and yet..."
“John was evil. It was fitting.”
"What about me?: my feelings."
“You're a good man. You have a lot of love in your heart. Look at how much you care for your children. They mean everything to you.You are walking a tough road. Both Lucifer and I want this story told. You know how it all unfolds, and today you have seen a larger view into what will be.”
"Then I shouldn't worry about my feelings?"
“No. Lucifer would not like it if you weren't a bit evil. By being somewhat evil in his eyes, you make him happy.”
"But I will be doing evil things."
“That's the way it must be. This is war. War is inherently evil. Both sides.”
Without having to say anything else, I know God has left the room. I am assured, but I'm not assured. I'm being used: by both sides; I'm a fucking pawn in this whole scheme. I had wanted to ask why the story had to be told, but either I am to be left in the dark or I'm supposed to figure everything out on my own. No matter, I guess. This is war; it's evil; but I don't have to worry myself. For some stupid reason, I am the chosen one: I am Moses crying out in the wilderness. If a Red Sea pops into my path, I guess it will be no big thing. All the bad bastards will drown behind me.
Regardless, this is not an easy thing to live with. One part of me says that I have to knock people over the head with this information, but they would lock me away for sure.
Shit! That's it. This is the only way to get the story out. Present it as fiction, blow some minds away, and make some people say:"What if?" And then...then when a few things from the novel actually start to happen, people will say:"What the fuck! How did he know?" And when the second novel comes out, it will be even bigger. People will want to know. They will feel they have to know, if for no other reason than to protect their own sorry asses.
Visions again. The dark bastard is showing me things again.
I go to my computer. Novel two. It's time.
* * * *
Morning arrives and the skies are much clearer than they were the day before. I was up until 3:00 A.M. writing, the words just pouring out onto the computer. I should be exhausted, but I'm not. This is the day to have my little chat with Jack. Jack will not be a happy camper.
I set up my usual morning routine with my coffee and ice. One of these days, just maybe, I'll wake and not have a headache. Of course, if that was to happen, I would have to think that perhaps I was no longer amongst the living. So, it will continue to be my ritual.
This morning is an especially bad one. I'm certain the events from yesterday have some fault here. Voices, pictures, and a full blown out 3D horror movie played out before my eyes. We add in the horrific storm and typing 'till the wee hours and wham! Big time mother fucker.
Jack will be a much easier sell than John. For one thing, he's a bit of a pussy. Actually, he's a big pussy. Penguin is always on him to spice up his stories a bit. Secondly, once he realizes that John was murdered in a rather horrific matter, the tide should turn. If that doesn't work, my little friends from the other side will most certainly give him an eyeful. He won't need any more than that I'm sure.
It's hard to figure the man out. For a horror writer, his credentials are lacking. He taught High School English and wrote a couple of non-fiction treatises on English Literature. Okay, Stephen King was an English teacher, as well, but he never dabbled in pussy writing. Full scale horror from day one. And his home life was so boring: Ivy League schools; marriage to a society lady; the whole weird fluffy set up of the privileged. Not horror at all, unless you want to say that his boring life was one of horror to anyone possessing a pair of balls. To top it all off, he never made it in the real world of commerce that his daddy was in. He couldn't handle it.
So, it was off to the High School for him; he wasn't even able to grab a College Professor's job.
But one day, he was a horror writer. Not a very good one, mind you, but a horror writer nonetheless. Without John, the editors at Penguin, and me, he would have never made it. Beginning and end of that story.
As soon as my head is ready for the trip, I'll take my trusty jeep and drive out to his place. It's a huge, rambling estate in the country, about an hour and a half's drive from the city. He finally has his society standing now. His wife came pretty close to leaving him, but then the first novel came along. Obviously a woman of noble character. Spread her legs for the big bucks, I guess. She's a gorgeous woman, but she sickens me. Nothing but a society slut.
Most people would feel the need to call Jack before they drove an hour and a half to see his sorry ass. But I'm not most people. I know he's going to be there, and I know the society slut is in Boston, and I know his kids are with her. They plan to be back in time for the debut of "his" book, but that isn't going to happen now. Sucks for Jack and the slut.
Anticipation starts helping to push the pain out of my head. This will be a great day.
My Willy's acts as if it wants to drive on its own. Obviously, it wasn't designed for highway driving, but it does pretty well, nonetheless. And if the roads become bad, covered in snow, or even heavy rain, there is no other vehicle I would rather be in. It handles extremely well, and because it's not heavy, it doesn't bog down when other vehicles do. The modern jeeps and such pale in comparison.
I'm out of the Big Apple easily enough and on the New Jersey highways, heading towards that fancy-schmancy neighborhood of Jack's. This section of New Jersey is home to many rich folk. Forbes lives here in his huge mansion, surrounded by an enormous estate. The gate work alone must have cost a huge fortune, but these people need their privacy, don't they? Jack's estate isn't as large as that, but it's substantial. His mansion has 36 rooms. The fucker only has two kids. He sure doesn't need all that room.
My old house in Franklin, a town of about 8,000 people in the north western part of New Jersey, has a total of eight rooms: a kitchen, two baths, living room, and four bedrooms. That's it. Not huge, but sufficient. I suppose that my ex wanted something larger, but that's just too bad. Her new guy can anty up for it. I can't even conceive of wanting anything the size of Jack's. I wouldn't want to heat it, that's for sure.
The drive is pleasant enough. Of course, knowing that my plan comes closer to fruition today, gives me the warm fuzzies. There I go again, thinking of gruesome shit and liking it and remembering what God had to say. It's...it's like getting carte blanche to do whatever I want. Will this always be the case, I wonder? When my job is done, what then? Will God change his mind?
C'mon, Bob, stop thinking about all of this negative shit. Think of the good things about to happen.
I pull into a Starbucks about a 20 minute drive from Jack's place and just sit for a while and watch all the pompous bastards that frequent this place. Fancy suits, manicures to match, and sleek, sporty cars in the parking lot. Yeah, right: a number of them stare at my jeep, some of them walking all around it, staring and gawking. One guy even takes a picture of it on his cell phone. Maybe these sissy boys of the financial world have some balls after all. They do look at me a bit strangely, though. Okay, I do look a little out of place here in my New Balance running shoes, jeans, and zombie shirt. But what the hell. If they only had an inkling about the knowledge I have, they would probably flee in an instant and run for cover. Poor delusional fuckers.
Enough of this shit! I grab my cup and leave. I'll finish it on the way.
Jack never bothered with the fancy fence at his place, so I just wheel up to it and park at the foot of his entry steps. There are about twenty of them and they're about 40 feet wide. He has these marble pillars supporting the overhang from the second story. The one thing that makes me laugh about this place is the set of huge sculpted mastiffs sitting at the top of the first layer of stars next to the pillars. The damned things are the size of lions. The reason they're so out of place is the fact that Jack has a pair of miniature toy poodles. Maybe looking at these makes him feel that he grew a pair.
He has these huge door knockers that I always use instead of the bells. They remind me of the ones in the movie YOUNG DOCTOR FRANKENSTEIN. I slam away with them until he comes running to the door and flings it open. He's doing a pretty decent job of pretending he's an Indian with that red, flushed look.
"What the hell is wrong with you?!" he shouts."I heard you. You didn't have to try to destroy my door."
"Wasn't sure you heard me. I wanted to make sure."
"What do you want?"
"You're a bad host, buddy. Aren't you going to invite me in?"
Obviously, he's in no hurry to let me in, but he doesn't have the balls to say anything."Yes, yes. Come in."
"How very kind of you."
He leads me into the middle level living room. He has another one on the top floor, and one in the basement level, as well. This is an interesting house he has. There's a movie theater room upstairs that seats 50 people, as well as a huge master bedroom. The divided staircase has elaborately polished banisters, and the stairs are imported marble. The downstairs master bedroom- yes, he has two- has a set of huge elephant tusks crossed over each other at the foot of the bed, and a set of African shields and spears hanging above the head board. I know this room well. His maid, Julie, and I have spent some rather tender moments in that bed when no one else was home. She is quite the man pleasing lady and knows how to make a man feel like a king. After my divorce, she was a most welcome tonic. When she's not working, she visits me at my loft, and we virtually spend the entire time in bed.
The living room we're in now, though, is a complete anomaly. It's like a plantation room, something from the south. There are pictures of little black kids everywhere, roaming around the cotton fields while the elders are working, the white plantation owners beaming down on what they see as if to say that they are God and these people belong to them. This room matches nothing else in the house, and, to my knowledge, no one has any kind of southern roots on either side of the family. I suppose the tusker bedroom doesn't match the rest either, but that's a play room with a door that can be shut. This living room is open.
"You know, Jack," I say,"this room sucks."
Completely floored by the statement, he says, "You came all the way out here to criticize my house?"
"No, I came over here to discuss my book."
"What do you mean, your book?"
"It's another one like all the rest you've written for me. You know the routine: we split the cash, the book goes out in my name, and everyone's happy."
"Not this time. this one is supposed to come out in my name."
"Don't be ridiculous. Nobody even knows that you exist."
"They will now."
"That's bull shit, Bob, and you know it. Penguin will never go for this. This is your best book ever. They won't want to chance losing money with an unknown."
"This novel will be my breakout novel. The hype is already out. Everything is in place. It can't fail."
"Why didn't John tell me about this then? You must have just decided to go this route. I always knew you were a crazy fucker. That's how you write the depraved shit you do. It's not imagination; it's from your whacko side."
"Don't get me riled up, Jack. It wouldn't be in your best interests."
"Is that a threat?"
"Take it as a friendly warning."
"Doesn't sound too friendly to me. I'm going to call John right now."
My laughter unsettles him, but he makes some calls anyway. Of course, he doesn't get to talk to John. "He's not answering his phones."
"And he won't. Never."
"What do you mean?"
"Damn it, man! Do you live in a cocoon, or what?"
"That back-stabbing son-of-a-bitch is fucking dead."
A look of shock crosses his face. His face turns vibrant red and his breathing becomes labored. He even starts wheezing; he backs away from me, looking for an escape route. "Did you kill him?" he asks.
I let him squirm for awhile, watching the panic spread from his face to his shaking limbs.
"No, I didn't kill him, but I was there when he died."
"Three nasty fucking demons came through a rift that formed in his office. The bastards literally ate him alive."
"You're crazy! I'm calling the cops!"
"Heh, heh. You're welcome to try."
I sit calmly, waiting for what I know is going to happen. Shock effect. Jack is going to need a little gentle persuasion. And he's going to get it. I know what to expect now. I can control things, keep these little grodies at bay this time. Yes, they're hungry, but they won't dare cross their master. And their master is on my side. I am the man with the magic pen. I am the teller of the grand story, that which both sides want to spread.
The Gospel as written by Robert Schantz. The Book of Demon Rift.
Just as before, there is a horrific tearing sound as the center of the room comes apart, the brilliant light once more pouring out. Jack tries to move, but he can't. It's as if he's glued to the floor. And then, the demons. Not the same as before: these are even bigger, almost as if the Nephilim had morphed into these monstrosities. Their faces are fuller, but no less hideous. They have decayed teeth and bleed from boil-like sores all over their faces and even extending down their necks.
"My god! This can't be happening!" Jack hollers out.
"But it is, Jack. Do you not remember these demons from the novel? The novel is not fiction; it is the truth. We are living it now, and we will continue to live it. I started writing the second tome last night. Worse things are going to happen."
These beasts approach Jack, four this time, their hands outstretched. From what I see, they all have six fingers on each hand. And the hands... the hands are strong and powerful looking. They are inches away from Jack's face when I give them an order to stop. Oh, they don't want to; they don't want to have to obey me, a mortal man, not close to possessing their strength, and certainly without any of the power of their master, but the Dark One has commanded them to obey, and so they do.
Jack stares at me, unsure of what to do, not believing what he just saw: me, in control of these monsters.
"Last chance, Jack. It's either go along with me or you're about to become lunch for these rather hungry guys. John became lunch."
"Okay, okay! Make them leave! Please!"
I can hear the sighs of discontent on the gross beasts lips. Their little prize is being taken away from them. They are not very happy with me, but Jack is part of my plan and I need him. He's just a dupe in this whole thing. Yes, he was perfectly willing to take the glory for the novel, but it's something he's become quite good at. And it was part of the plan: up 'till now, that is.
The six fingered ones enter the rift and it closes once more. Jack crashes into a chair, sweat pouring off his face, trembling. I can hear his pounding heart from where I sit, and his breathing...his breathing is really labored.
"Settle down, man. You're going to have an anxiety attack. I need your worthless ass to achieve my goals. This time, you're working for me. Your society slut bitch of a wife isn't going to like this, but she'll have to deal with it. To the rest of the world, you're going to look like a rather noble guy, a guy willing to go to extremes to help out a promising writer, a writer who you admire so much."
I spot the morning paper on the coffee table and toss it to him. "First page, buddy. John made the headlines."
With shaking hands, he takes the paper and starts reading. A look of dread turns his face into a rather morbid shade of white. Damn! How was he ever able to write anything relating to horror at all. What a pussy!
"They never found his body," Jack says. "How do I know he's really dead? All they know is that the place was a bloody mess. He could still be alive."
My eyes roll around in my head, not believing what I'm hearing. "You fucking Doubting Thomas! Do you want me to bring those demons back? Maybe you want to visit John in his new home. Oh, that could so easily be arranged. Then you would know. You'd never have to look at this ugly fucking room again."
Jack sits, shaking his head, visibly out of it. I give him a few moments. "Call Penguin. Ask them. I'm sure they know more than what the paper is divulging. Ask them about the security cameras that mysteriously melted, leaving any traces of who the perpetrator might be to total conjecture. I removed my files. I have all the evidence I need to present to them."
"Give me some time, man. I need to think this over."
"Don't think too long. You'll rattle that little brain of yours too much. I have an agenda. The book launch is coming up real soon. We can't waste much time. My readers have to see a strong hand at the helm. I look like the author of Demon Rift. You don't. This is a story that must be told. It must be spread out for everyone to be able to grasp its significance."
"Shit, Bob, it's fiction!"
"Was what happened just now fiction? The novel is unfolding. We have a job to do. Both sides of this fucking Armageddon battle are recruiting troops to wage the war. Demon Rift is going to show people this. It will be their chance to align themselves with the powers. If they choose the wrong side, that's their fault. Events will play out and more and more believers will join the fold."
"This is crazy!"
"Yes, it is. This whole damned existence is whacko. But we're not going to change it. We just have to do our jobs. What you have to do now is set up a meet with Penguin. Tomorrow. Their office at high noon. I won't take no for an answer. You have no choice in the matter, Jack. You know the consequences if you don't. It's not just my decision, either. I'm just a prophet."
"Tomorrow! Are you out of your mind? What if they say no? I don't think there's time to change things around for the book. It might be entirely out of my hands."
I get up from my chair and take one last look around at this room of depravity. "Tomorrow. High noon."
Without looking at him anymore, I leave his house, get into my jeep, and head back home.
* * * *.
I wheel into the parking garage and park my starred beauty. The city is up to its usual hustle and bustle. So true about the city that never sleeps saying. I remember running around in circles on that one mile loop in Flushing for hours on end. The sounds of traffic on the highways never abated. Someone was always going somewhere; someone was always on a mission; someone was always coming home from work or going to work: 24/7, that's the way it was. That's the way it is. How much of this will change? Sooner or later, recruits for the war will take a toll on the number of people still here on this planet. What then?
Homeless people are rummaging around the garage as I traipse down towards the street. Some fucking security system we have for this place. The boys are not watching their monitors again. Old Herb is on duty right now. He's probably sleeping. When Jimmy's working, sleep is usually not the problem: he's in his early 20's and has, shall we say, a number of lady admirers. On a number of occasions, I have caught him with his pants down; literally. One night, he had this blond face down on the desk and he was making her squeal with delight as he plowed into her from behind. I said nothing; just walked quietly away. Several other times, there were ladies pleasing him with their mouths, the joy on his face quite apparent. My jeep was never bothered, though.
I walk into my little haven; my little secure loft. After being at Jack's place, I appreciate it even more. Yes, in 'Nam I developed a claustrophobic fear after the camp and all, but even though my loft is relatively small, it's expansive enough for my needs, and it's rather cozy. I'm safe from the outside world and can sequester myself away from what I don't feel like dealing with. And I can write here. God, how I can write! Even before Demon Rift, the words just poured out up here. The whole design of my living room/ office is so conducive to putting my words down. I'm one of those people who paces around while he thinks, and I wear a pattern in my carpet from my constant ramblings. I have just enough wiggle room here. And,of course, that magnificent view of the streets below, allowing me to get more in touch with humanity.
No voices or pictures yet. This is a good time for me to grab a beer and relax for a bit. Soon enough, the muse will attack me. This muse I have now, though, is not exactly a gentle one. It's a kick-ass, put it down muse. Even God is not exactly overly benevolent when his voice tells me what to write. So much for any thoughts of a singing lady playing gentle music on a harp. Ain't gonna happen.
The ice-cold beer tastes ever so good. I don't actually feel the need to drink a beer today: it's just that I want to. I want to enjoy that taste and the slightly numbing affect on my mind. In short order, I'll be pounding away at the key-board, and while I might have another one or two then, for the most part, I don't drink and write. It stifles my creativity. Shit, I don't even listen to music when I write. I like to get deep inside the minds of all my characters. I breathe life into them. In a way, I become God and they become my people. And as with the real world, they have free will. They create their own stories. I merely wield the pen.
But then we have this gritty expose of truth presented in fictional format. I could write this stone-assed drunk. Not much thinking involved. Satan shows me everything in living color, a Dorian Gray portrait set to wide- screen movie format, 3D enhanced, with no need for the fancy glasses. Pure fucking filth in its most vile forms, the worst of man-kind and other horrible abominations battling against God so the Dark Prince can take over. In a way, it's fun to write this bombastic attack against the side of the light. Morality plays no part whatsoever. It's sheer, unbridled action with wave after wave of new characters brought into play, many of them thought to have been mere figments of fertile imaginations.
The Bible. Supposedly the blueprint for everything. The end times depicted so clearly. Not true. Men decided which books were to be included. They fucked up. Some books were left out because they didn't fit the mold of a particular belief or sect. The books of Enoch which dealt with the Nephilim in far more detail than anything else described in the St. James or Catholic versions were left out. The dead Sea Scrolls were left out. So many others. But they shed some serious light on what's happening now and what's about to happen.
Pictures race through my mind of witches, dark clad, conducting rituals in many houses, yanking babies from the wombs of women as their husbands stand idly by, not interfering, condoning everything that's happening. Blood pours everywhere, the women screaming in pain, but being forced to slowly drift away into death. The babies are wrapped carefully, revered by those who only moments before had cut them out of their mothers. A calm seems to come over the babies: no crying, no signs of pain or distress. These babies are among the special ones, the ones that Satan hopes to recruit for his own nefarious desires. He hasn't had much luck to this point. What he's hoping for now is that by taking them as babies, he will be able to teach them from the very beginning. By removing their mother, he hopes to implant his own weird form of maternal love into these babies. The witches had better do a good job, or their master will be angered.
A more vague picture litters the landscape of my mind. Something closer to home; something dear to me; something not well. Maybe I'm not as immune to all of this as I think. Down the line, I might be called upon to make a stand, to stop posturing from a position of neutrality. But not now. This is in the future. But it's a scary future.
Discontent furrows my brow as I sit in my Lazy Boy. Everything is set up just fine for tomorrow. Jack will do as he's been told. He's scared shitless. Penguin will have to agree. It's out of their hands now. The bastards will try to find a way of saving face in all of this, probably putting the bulk of the blame on John. Shit, they'll put all the blame on John. The missing John. But I still can't shake the feeling that the "prophet" is going to become a warrior in this mess.
I get up and get my second beer. It's been a long time since I've been a warrior. Forty three years. I was a lot younger then: I was in great shape before I was captured. That's what saved my ass. I'm older now: nowhere near my prime. And the body's been racked by disease. The good thing is that I think I have the disease on the run. That's why I'm in the gym every day. It's important to stay in shape for me. Now more than ever.
My children are very important to me. I'd do anything for them. That's why I put up with a bunch of the crap from my ex before the divorce, making certain that they would be taken care of no matter what. They're good kids and came through everything pretty good. That's why we both tried to settle everything before the divorce. It worked.
There's something strange about her new man, though. Can't quite put my finger on it, but some kind of evil lurks beneath the surface of that guy. Can't tell that to my ex, though. She'd just say I was jealous and still wanted her. That's a stretch. I wouldn't touch her now if she was the last woman on the planet. For the sake of my children, I'm watching him.
Demons, witches, Mongol hordes, and more are running across my window, beckoning to me to watch what they're up to. Blood splatters around the edges of the turned back curtains and flashes of light from explosives and burned out fields and buildings assuage my eyes. Once again, the forces of darkness are kicking ass. The good side battles back, but they are overwhelmed by the ferocity of the bastards from Hell.
I go to the computer and write of what I see.
Three beers later, I'm done. I turn off the lights, go back to my Lazy Boy, and lean back. When will the final chapter to this be written? When?
* * * *
My chin lifts from off my chest, and I sense I am not alone. Shit! Am I ever really alone any more? My window once more brings visions to me, ones that cavort in front of my eyes, telling me things, exposing the future to me.
Riona, my youngest daughter, is there, surrounded by many other children just like her. The special ones. They are standing before me, telling their story without the use of speech. I know their every thought. There is no need for words.
I understand now. Damn, do I understand! I am more than a Prophet. Though I never realized it before, it is all so clear.
Robert Schantz, author of Demon Rift, is one of the chosen ones!