Monday, May 30, 2011
Preview for Evil's Door
Copyrighted Elizabeth Parker 2011
Chapter 1 - The Legend of Helga
Under the barren branches of the enormous trees, the street was just starting to become visible once again, and the snow from the series of relentless snowstorms had finally begun to melt. It was almost possible to walk a full block without slipping on the white powder that covered hidden sheets of black ice.
The crimson rays of the winter sun were doing their best to shine, giving a sense of false hope that heat would soon blanket the solid ground.
Ryan hurried home from school, kicking scattered debris and sand all around him, his fingers stiff and freezing from the frigid February air. Without fail, he took the same route and encountered the same humdrum routine each and every day.
As he departed the school grounds, he headed East on Willow Street, and passed the identical school bus that transported the portentous teenagers back to their homes. Like clockwork, he could count on them to exercise their immaturity by making obnoxious faces through the filthy, elongated windows.
He then cut through the path as a shortcut to Belladonna Drive, the same path that his overbearing parents forbade him to tread through. As always, he picked up the pace as he passed the dwelling that everybody feared, otherwise known as the supposed witch’s haunted house.
In truth, it had never actually been proven that the woman was a witch or that the house was even haunted for that matter. Ever since he was young, however, walking this identical route, no one in their right mind would be brave enough to simply take a leisurely stroll past her house.
This myth not only pertained to young children, but to ostensibly logical adults, as well.
As they approached ten feet of its horrid appearance, their slow stride increased to a rapid sprint, until they were a good enough distance past it. Once it was deemed safe, they continued at their regular snail’s pace.
Though probably a rumor that a silly imaginative boy conjured up, the story stuck with Ryan and almost every other student that traveled this road home.
Now, as a mature senior in high school, Ryan tried to act cool and courageous as he strode past, not exactly running, but picking up the pace just enough to coincide with his increased heartbeat.
The dilapidated house in itself was an eyesore. Its exterior shutters were painted slate blue, the kind of opaque color you would find coating the inner walls of an abandoned building.
In the front yard stood a wooden, garden-variety archway, painted chalk-white with wood chipping off every inch of its unstable structure.
The archway itself was covered with pale green vines that crawled over a generous portion of its sides. Topping off the appalling structure was an indistinguishable plant that clearly succumbed to its demise well before its expected age.
In the summertime, when grass was expected to be a vivacious shade of hunter green on Long Island, hers was nothing but a thin layer of crackling hay. A faded rust-colored shed leaned against the crumbling fence, both ready to collapse to the ground at any given moment.
As for the supposed witch, whom kids nicknamed Helga, some stated that she merely possessed the same qualities of a normal, cranky old lady. Though, she wasn't that old, to children and most high school students, she was beyond ancient.
She was grand in stature, probably close to 5'9 weighing about 230 pounds. Her hair was always dyed onyx black and pulled back in a tight bun with tiny curls framing the front of her face.
Some days she could be seen wearing granny glasses, but that was only once in a while. When you were close enough to see her eyes, they appeared ice blue, the kind of eyes that could kill you with one piercing glance.
One of them was a glass eye. No one knew how that came about and no one dared to ask.
Her face was not yet abundant with wrinkles, however, a generous portion of crow's feet surrounded her darkened eyes. A repulsive scar that looked as though it never fully healed crossed just underneath her chin, adding to the wickedness of her unique appearance.
Granted she was not pretty by any sense of the word, but in truth, that had never been considered enough to constitute anyone as a witch.
Each household in the neighborhood had at least one family member who could recite a story that they had heard, and could also supply witnesses that could back it up.
Those who had tried to befriend her were only met with hostility, which then caused them to back off.
It was safe to say that she had no friends, and no one questioned why.
Some claimed to have witnessed her partake in evil activities, while several declare that she has been known to cast various spells.
As rumor has it, once she focused her evil eyes upon a much scouted-out individual, horrendous tragedies were declared to have plagued that very person.
The growing list of embellished stories was seemingly endless.
Chapter 2- Life Cut Short
Jimmy Garia was a typical ten year-old boy, sweet, innocent and outwardly invincible. He had a wide variety of friends in their close-knit neighborhood, and none of them were ever permitted to wander off on their own, under any circumstances.
For the most part, the kids on the block obeyed their parents' strict rules and without fail, did whatever they were told.
On an average day, a clan of nine and ten year-old boys could be found playing their little-league version of baseball, football or hockey in the vicinity of the quiet street. Their parents made sure to keep watch from the kitchen window or from a lounge chair strategically positioned on the front lawn.
Though that was considered their normal routine, one Saturday morning things were a little different. The regular clan of kids was not available to play. Since Jimmy and his friend were temporarily alone, and boys will be boys, they decided to explore just a little.
Being adventurous as young children frequently are, when they were certain no one was looking, they meandered off of their street. They were confident that they would return back before anybody noticed, and it would be well worth the risk. Once they made the turn around the corner, they hustled onto the prohibited road, keeping a close lookout for anyone that might follow them.
Their parents had always cautioned them to stay off of the street due to the congested traffic, claiming that they did not want them to risk crossing the road, but the two boys believed otherwise.
The real reason was that their mistrustful parents were afraid that their innocent children would venture past Helga's house and pay awful consequences.
To Jimmy and his best friend Jared, this was one opportunity they did not dare pass up. They were three houses away from Helga's and were curious to see what all of the hype was about.
Both kids tip-toed up to it, as if that would make them invisible. At first, they simply stared at the shambled roof, as well as other sections of the diminished dwelling.
Not fully believing the diabolical stories they had heard, they were somewhat hesitant, but were also having an exhilarant time.
They couldn't wait to brag to their friends about how they escaped their customary tranquil block and freed themselves to visit the notorious witch.
A bit nervous that they would get into trouble with their parents, they wanted to make this visit rather fast, but also categorically memorable.
While building up a good portion of adrenalin and fear based on the circulating rumors, they psyched themselves up to be brave and do something outrageous.
After gathering the courage, their plan took a shocking turn for the worse, and neither one would have been able to predict the grievous events that ensued.
Through neighborhood chatter, it had been said that on an adolescent dare from Jared, Jimmy snuck onto the witch's private property in an attempt to only cross the boundary that separated the road from her driveway.
Just lingering by her house was enough to get “oohs” and “ahhs” from the neighborhood boys once they got wind of the story.
Jared watched from the curb as Helga stormed out of her house the moment his friend’s foot crossed over the invisible threshold and onto her property. Unable to even warn his friend, he froze still, terrified at what she might do next.
She allegedly stared at Jimmy with a seething glare for what seemed like a full five minutes, though in actuality, it was probably no more than thirty seconds.
Upon being noticed, little Jimmy was so frightened that once he convinced his legs to move, he started to run and tripped over his own feet. Once he scrambled back up, he darted off of her property as fast as his little legs could take him. Without looking to see if the coast was clear, he bolted directly off of her driveway and right into oncoming traffic.
A cherry-red sports car was approaching from the opposite direction, with the vibrating thump of rap music blasting from its speakers. Though the driver did try his best to bring the vehicle to a stop, there was no possible way that he could do so in time.
The deathly pitch of squealing brakes could be heard from blocks away, and for a moment it looked like he was close to avoiding disaster, but unfortunately, it was just too late.
In a flash, Jimmy's young body was hit with such impact, and there was nothing the driver could do.
Jared was left feeling helpless. He watched as his friend’s body tumbled underneath the screeching tires, the unmistakable sound of flesh getting caught between the road and the car's undercarriage.
Crash! Thud! Clunk!
His agonizing scream lasted all of five seconds, until his unfinished life was literally squeezed out of him.
When Jared couldn’t bring himself to watch his best friend die any longer, he turned away in a horrified stupor, only to find Helga staring at the scene with a self-satisfied expression. He screamed for her to help, but she just nodded smugly and slipped back into her humble abode.
Jared was bombarded with an influx of emotions, not knowing what he should do, but terrified that Helga would try to kill him, as well. He was ultimately convinced that this was all part of her pernicious plan.
He was old enough to know that his friend was dead. There was no way that he survived that awful crash.
The driver wept as he got out of his car, screaming on the top of his lungs at the horrid devastation he had caused.
No one questioned who had called the cops, but before Jared could run back to his house and get his parents, the ambulances and police cars were there with their bright lights flashing and their sirens blaring.
Jared ran up to the medics begging them to help his friend, even though deep in his heart, he knew it was pointless. The EMT’s rushed over to Jimmy, while the cops walked over to the driver who was sitting on the curb.
He was in a state of shock, with his head pushed down into his crossed arms and his body slumped over his wobbly legs.
Helga watched the entire scene from her kitchen window. Jared caught eyes with her and she slowly shook her head, before walking out of sight.