By Joseph Johnson
Adam Price woke once again from a fitful night of sleep. He looked over at the clock by his bedside and saw it was two o’clock in the morning. His head ached mercilessly, a throb that pounded on his temple, so he got up to wash his face. A picture of his wife caught his eye, the moonlight streamed in a single ray that rested on her picture. Adam was by no means a romantic, but he couldn’t help feeling butterflies in his stomach when he saw her with that gleaming smile on her face. He could even remember the first time he met her; Adam was a volcano of passion and Tiffany was a cyclone of emotion. The event that ensued afterward cannot be seen as anything less than disastrous. They were a true terror of nature; although on the outside they were a normal couple, inside they were writhing in a beautiful pain. Life, however, would never be worth living without that pain.
His house was quiet other than the heavy rain that pelted the roof, and he still found that calming and serene. He could barely open his eyes when he climbed into bed and felt for his wife Tiffany. His hand sliced through the air and Adam came back to consciousness. He found the light switch and turned it on. The room was empty besides him and two bedside tables with lamps and a book on each. Immediately he began calling her name, but heard nothing in return. Adam ran to the window and saw Tiffany’s car sitting on the street corner beside their apartment.
As he looked out into the darkness a figure appeared on the roof of the building across the street, and just as quickly it vanished. He played it off as a trick of the darkness and resumed his search. The only place left for her to be was in her office. When he entered the room he fell to his knees. Papers were scattered about the room and her work lamp lit up a symbol on the wall; a massive beast sat within a circle that bore a language Adam had never seen, it was a grotesque sight. He saw this symbol once before in an installment of five articles Tiffany was writing on a very violent and aggressive satanic cult. She was in the process of writing her last article the night before. In previous articles she explained in detail the victims, place, and consistency of the rituals. As Adam picked up the only paper left on her desk he discovered a rough draft of the final installment, where she actually pinpointed the time and place of the next ritual by using her other installments as a formula. The place was a catholic church just outside of the city roughly fifteen miles away, the time was five o’clock this morning. A knot filled his throat and tears formed in his eyes.
Joseph Johnson is currently attending Georgia Southern University, majoring in English with a minor in writing. He previously attended East Georgia College, where he published works for a literary journal called the Wiregrass. You can contact Johnson at email@example.com.
Adam saw the wireless phone on the floor and did the first thing any concerned husband would do, he called the police.
“This is the dispatcher,” said a woman on the other end of the line “what is your emergency?”
“My wife has been kidnapped; please you have to help me.”
“Did you witness this with your own eyes sir?”
“How long has she been missing?”
“Well, for at least an hour.”
“She has to be missing at least twenty four hours before we can begin a formal search; this is Indianapolis, go check a bar.” And the woman hung up leaving Adam in disbelief and sheer terror. He searched his mind for some way to get her back, but he found none. The clock read two thirty now and he decided he would have to go himself. Adam quickly slipped on a pair of jeans and a solid black t-shirt, and headed for the door.
He came to his car and tried to start the engine, but nothing happened. He had filled it up the day before; this was impossible. A million scenarios made their way through Adam’s mind, but still he never expected to see three men in hoods walking toward his car. They had planned every detail, including the faithful husband waking up to find his wife missing. As the men approached they let their hoods fall showing their bald heads which all bore a tattoo of the same insignia on his wife’s wall. Adam began to panic. He backed into the car and breathed heavily; anxiety had never been an issue for Adam, but fear gripped him with a fiery passion as the men’s intent became clear. The rain washed over his eyes and he wiped his face. As soon as his eyes cleared he saw all three cultists face down on the ground and a man stood over their bodies, wearing only a pair of jeans and a makeshift blindfold out of black cloth.
Puzzled, Adam called to him. “Sir?” The enigmatic man made no reply. “Thank you, they were going to kill me. If you have a phone could you call the police?”
Without speaking the man ran into an alley and disappeared. The alley was dark, no light or sound escaped, the man was truly gone. Adam walked to the men that now lay on the ground and checked their pulse, all were dead. A terrible voice then sounded inside one of the men’s pocket.
“Jonathon this is Edward give me a status report.” Static sounded for three seconds, “Jonathon pick up.”
Adam felt rage build inside him while listened to the man, who was currently doing god only knows what to his wife only to kill her in a few short hours. With this new rage building inside himself and a newfound determination to face his enemy, he picked up the radio. “Jonathon is dead.”
Edward hesitated on the other line confused. “I am assuming this is Adam.” His voice sounded arrogant and strong, an obvious intimidation method. “Your wife should really watch what she sells to the press; there are some really bad people out there who wouldn’t think twice about hurting her or worse.”
“I’ll do anything you want just don’t hurt her.”
“Well since Tiffany is what I want we really have no chance of compromising.”
“Please stop, I’ll give you anything you want.”
“You have nothing I want, not anymore.”
She was an object to him, just a pawn in some sick game he intended on playing. Adam was supposed to be dead, he had the advantage. So we newfound confidence, he expressed his thoughts to Edward. “I’m coming for you.”
“I look forward to it, oh and say hello to our city’s finest for me. I heard there was a murder in the area.” The radio went silent and despite Adam’s aggression, no answer was returned from Edward.
Within seconds Adam heard sirens from five blocks away. He knew he couldn’t stay, one suspect and three dead bodies was enough for the police to keep him overnight. So he ran as fast as he could toward the east part of town.
While running he saw something above him; a blurred figure that flew past him at an alarming speed. Adam stopped and saw the blind man running across the rooftops toward the church, and so he decided to follow the strange man. This was no easy task though; at the blind man’s pace Adam’s legs felt like they were on fire, but the sirens that screamed behind him fueled that fire from street to street.
Adam became worried about the time, due to the adrenaline now coursing through his veins. He checked his watch and it read four o’clock; now he was only a few miles from the city limits, and then another five miles to the church that held his love. Adam looked for his guide after assuring himself of the time, but the rooftops were now empty.
As he reached the next street corner he turned and saw blue lights flash on both ends of the street. Adam stopped and stared at them wide eyed until the cars turned around, and that was when he realized that they saw him. He ran into the next ally with fresh rain dropping on his skin. Puddles riddled the potholes along the street, as Adam ran along the street he lost focus on his footing and tripped. Before he could stand two cop cars pulled into the ends of the street, blocking his path. The officers got out of their cars with guns drawn.
“Stop right now; Adam get on the ground.” Edward had even given them his name, so now he was running from a murder charge. This was an unexpected turn of events that frightened Adam.
“I can’t do that.” Adam only saw one way out so he turned quickly running toward the other end of the ally. Two more officers had already blocked his path and were coming to intercept him. Adam tried to fight as they came toward him, but he was quickly overpowered and left in cuffs on the wet ground. All hope was lost, so he tried to reason with them as they read him his rights. Not too many cops are willing to let a man who is wanted for three counts of murder go free for any reason. They towed him away, and a deep depression set in. they made it all the way to the car when everything changed.
The blind man jumped from a fire escape and landed on the cop furthest away. The man took advantage of their confusion, and like a flash unarmed the other three cops, landed a swift kick that left one unconscious, then a fist to the throat that left one dead. The final officer ran in horror from the power of the blind man, and he was abruptly shot by Adam. The blind man grabbed the keys off one of the cops and unlocked Adam’s handcuffs. He immediately turned and walked away as if he were scared to show his face.
“Please, tell me who you are?” Adam said to him as the blind man faced Adam in the cover of darkness. Adam searched his face but in the shadows the only distinguishable characteristic was the black cloth covering his eyes.
He just threw Adam a set of keys and pointed to the police car. “You don’t have much time.” Then he walked into the dark saying, “remember who you are, you can stop this; you can save her.”
Did this enigmatic man actually know his wife? In any other situation Adam would be baffled by these turn of events, but only one truth plagued his mind; his wife would die if he didn’t find her in time. So without hesitation Adam got into the car and drove as sirens blared behind him; he turned on his own to effectively blend in until he was safe. After all was clear he pushed the car to its limits. He looked at the clock that read four fifty as he pulled into a field a few blocks away from the church. In a panic Adam opened the door, and it was at this time the danger of his current situation dawned on him. He was an unarmed man, walking into a building filled with dangerous murderers. Adam quickly searched the car and found a twelve gauge shotgun and a standard issue nine millimeter Glock.
He climbed out of the car, and ran through the field toward the church that lit up the darkness in the damp night. The rain had stopped, but the air was still thick with moisture. He crouched at the edge of the high wheat stalks nearly twenty five feet away from the church. Three men armed with handguns stood by the doorway under a tin shelter. Adam ran to the side of the church, thinking of how to fire three shots with deadly precision before they could fire one. Just as he thought his situation could not be any more dire, an angel delivered him a gift. From the side door a man stepped out and Adam ducked into the darkness.
“I have to smoke before we kill this whore.” A muffled voice answered him and he laughed, “don’t worry I’ll be there in a minute.”
Adam quickly stepped in the shadows of the building until he was within five feet from the thug’s back. Adam’s feet hit pavement, and before the thug could turn around Adam jumped forward and twisted his neck until it snapped. He quickly took the man’s hoody and threw it on. Shotgun in hand he walked toward the front. He tilted his head so the three couldn’t see his face.
“Where the hell did you get a shotgun?” Before the three came to their senses he fired three shots from about seven feet in the matter of a second. Knowing the others heard the shots he hid next to the door with the Glock extended a foot in front of the door. Within five seconds a man walked out and Adam immediately shot, leaving him lifeless with the other three. He checked his watch and it read five o’clock. Adam ran inside but found no one. He ran along the corridors of the large church until he heard a man scream, a guttural cry that made his skin crawl. Adam then ran toward the sound that led to a large sanctuary. Behind the altar he saw his wife naked and stiff on a table.
As he searched the room only one man was standing. The blind man stood with a knife inside a man pinned to a pillar. “You are scum.” the blind man said through gritted teeth.
“You have no idea what power he can give you.” Adam recognized the voice from the radio. The blind man twisted the knife out of Edward Stone and pulled it across his throat. To spite the ruthless death of his enemy, Adam began running toward the altar and stopped short after seeing Tiffany on the table. Her ears and tongue had been cut from her, and the pieces had been laid on the altar. He was sick and angry; these were amongst other emotions indescribable to man.
The blind man turned to him; the blindfold had been ripped from his eyes and fresh cuts bled from all over his body. He stared into the empty sockets and found a hate as deep as his own. “You can’t!” The man screamed, “Not this time!” He then sprinted toward Adam, but he put four bullets into his chest, and this blind man who had somehow led him here and out of harm’s way was dead.
He didn’t care that he recognized the man he killed, or even how a man with no eyes managed to kill the ten men scattered around the room. Adam only saw Tiffany, so he ran to his wife and clutched her hair as he wept. A voice entered his mind telling him that if he had faith he would see her again, but these were things that he didn’t want to hear. Adam cursed the taunting voice that spoke of a paradise where his love lived. As quickly as it began the calming voice stopped and a more dominant voice called saying you can save her, finish what was started and you will be given the power to see her again.
Understanding filled his mind and Adam reached for the book that lay at Tiffany’s feet. The ritual of harboring evil was spelled out for him. The three vessels of evil; the ears, the tongue, and the eyes were to be stripped. He had to finish this ritual; he had to believe he could see her again.
Adam grabbed the ceremonial knife from the blind man’s lifeless hand, and slowly walked toward his wife. He struggled as he put the knife to her face and stopped. He couldn’t do this, not to her. Adam dropped the knife and shook from head to toe with loud sobs. The voice came to him again like a snake in his mind sacrifice from yourself. Adam then picked up the knife and cried out in agony as he dug his eyes from their sockets. The bloody knife fell to the floor and Adam fell to his knees.
Although darkness now consumed him he felt everything as it changed, and as he drifted back to the beginning he lost himself, he lost his soul. This blind man stood atop a roof in darkness feeling every drop of rain on his skin. The water rolled in his empty sockets, and he hated the feeling. Adam then ripped the shirt from his body and tied it around his head covering his eyes.
A shell of his former self now trapped in the evil a snake led him to. He destroyed everything he ever loved and worse he sacrificed the one he tried so desperately to save. But the snake kept his promise; a bright light shone through the darkness, although little by little that light was being stripped away as she was being taken by the man named Edward Stone. He saw her again even if it was just for a second as the brilliant light he loved so dear, and in the apartment across the street from him was the only man who could change it, and the only one that would allow evil to consume them all.