View Full Version : The Cemetery In The Forest!
10-31-2012, 08:04 PM
The Cemetery In The Forest!
I was one of 37 high school teenagers from a private Christian school spending ten days at a summer camp in the Olympic Mountains of Washington State. This was my first time camping and I was nervous. But the bus filled with chattering friends and teachers kept my mind off of my insecurity. Though it was a large bus, it was packed with everything but the kitchen sink, as it made its way up the winding steep sloped narrow country road.
Jokingly we yelled up to the driver asking him if he wanted us to get out and push. Also on the bus was a private nurse, Mrs. Beasley and four teachers. Mr. Delgo, a tall bearded black haired man, Mr. Strand, short in height with long black hair. Hair so black it shined and we nudged each other, wondering if he waxed it to make it shiny. Then there was Ms. Sinclair. She was the snooty one and we knew if anyone would ruin our fun it would be her.
Lastly, there was a red heavy set teacher we actually found no faults with. Mr. Clark gave respect, listened and showed we weren’t expected to be perfect. We actually believed that he had been a teenager once. When we weren't shouting over each other's voice to tell someone something, we were looking out the bus windows hoping to catch a glimpse of wildlife. I was the first to see a doe and her two fawns bedded down in the grass, beside a small mountain waterfall!
They held perfectly still as if to make believe we hadn't seen them, but I did. After that, it was a game to watch the forest on both sides of the road as we climbed higher and higher into the mountains, to see who could see wildlife first. I guess it took away some of the tension I was feeling. Though I was excited to some extent about this camping trip, I already missed much of what I had left behind in town. I missed seeing the city, houses and of course I missed my cell-phone.
None were allowed and I knew many of my friend’s bags and back packs had been searched too, before we had boarded the bus. It seemed, at least to me that we had been riding the bus for hours and hadn't even stopped once to eat or use a bathroom. But something more foreboding was prodding me in the back of my mind! As much as I tried to shake the foolish thought, I felt we were on a collision course with danger.
The more I tried to focus on what it was in my mind that made me feel shivers up and down my neck, the less I could make it clear. So I tried to distract myself by watching the scenery and wildlife. I had the feeling that something horrible was going to happen at summer camp. Perhaps it was just my paranoia of being so deep in the woods and away from city life. My instincts were pretty good and later I would remember this moment.
Little did I know at that moment that the bus was being watched. Something was watching us from the forest as intently as we too watched. Suddenly, we passed a desolate and lonely dirt road and the bus came to a stop. Everyone was thrown forward, off balance as we griped. But Sam the driver took it all in stride and I felt the bus backing up slowly.
When he reached the entrance to the dirt road, he stopped, looked at the map in his hand and then back at the road. Surely I thought to myself, this can't be the road we are going to drive down. It doesn't even look wide enough for our bus. The road looked like it hadn't been driven down for months and there wasn't even a sign saying Summer Camp.
"I'll bet Sam's lost." I whispered to Mellissa with a smirk and a wink. The bus was filled with quiet whispers as the teachers tried to calm and reassure us. Sam opened the door and got off the bus and walked over to the road. He was staring intently at the brush on both sides of the road. Then we watched Sam begin to walk into the brush, pushing limbs away as if he was searching for the camp sign.
Suddenly, the bus was filled with screams as about a dozen quail flew away in every direction. I don't know who was more scared, Sam or us kids. Finally the bus was filled with laughter realizing it had been just a bunch of birds. Sam was holding his chest as if he had a heart attack, but the grin on his face told us he had just been startled. We watched Sam continue to push and pull limbs this way and that until we too got a glimpse of the summer camp sign.
One limb at a time, he bent back and broke, until we clearly saw the sign. This was the road we were looking for. But the rains and nice weather had made the limbs grow and hide not just the sign but almost the road too. When Sam returned, he cautioned us to slide up our windows and keep all hands in because the limbs were gonna slap the sides of the bus.
He wasn't wrong. Even though he drove slowly, the tree branches slapped at the sides of the bus. Though he drove for only about 10 minutes, it seemed twice that long. Then the narrow road opened into a clearing and we could see about a dozen small buildings clustered around a grove of trees in the middle. Sam turned the bus around and parked, got off the bus and so did the other five adults.
They all huddled together talking, but we couldn't hear what was said. But in the end all of them nodded and Mr. Clark got back on the bus and told us to get off and meet at the back of the bus to unload things. At that moment the bus was filled with moans and groans. Slowly we got off the bus and did as we were told. Mr. Clark opened the large door at the back of the bus and in doing so supplies and bags fell to the ground.
We burst out laughing, but I didn't see him smiling. "Find your belongings and stand in two groups, one for guys and one for gals. That means all girls in one group and all boys in the other. Sorry to disappoint anyone Mr. Clark said, but these are not co-ed cabins." Laughter echoed through the mass of teens looking lost. As Mr. Clark watched us unload everything, the other adults made their way to the group of cabins and tried key after key until each door had been unlocked.
As luck would have it, by the time we had unloaded everything, we saw all the grownups returning to the bus. The snide voice of Ms. Sinclair pierced the silence with the comment, "Each adult has a list of names for each cabin. Those are where you will be staying for the next seven days. Please don't ask if you can switch cabins. We have a lot to do before the sun sets and it gets darker earlier in the mountains so please don't whine, just work together."
The word ‘whine’ really wasn't necessary and every expression on my friend’s faces told me they too felt the same way. The grownups formed a line about 10 feet apart from each other and began calling out names. Suddenly the hair stood up on the back of my neck. Someone or something was watching us from the woods. I could feel it clear to my soul. A cold and menacing stare. Something evil and hateful.
I couldn't shake the feeling no matter how hard I tried. Nervously, I turned around and looked at the trees and brush, but I saw nothing. I asked Jenny my best friend who stood next to me if she felt anything unusual and she smiled and nudged me hard. “Sure I do silly. I want to be in the same cabin as Benny." she said and she burst out laughing. That wasn't the answer I had hoped for and I continued to stare at the woods.
Suddenly I felt myself off balance, about to fall and realized Jenny had nudged me again. "Unless ya want to be the first on Ms. Sinclair's pissed off list, ya better answer, they called your name silly." she said and I answered up, feeling myself blush with embarrassment as everyone started laughing at me. "Let's go, we don't have all day." Ms. Sinclair shouted. Numbly I made my way to Ms. Sinclair and stood in line with the others. When everyone was accounted for, we were led to the cabin we were assigned to.
"Pick out your bed and set out your sleeping bag, then I need each cabin swept out. Those not sweeping can open the windows and air out the musty smell. Anyone left can pick up a rake from outside the cabin door and rake the area." she said. None of us here wanted to hear the word, work. That was when Debbie, a tall slender red haired girl blurted out, “I thought we were here to camp out and have fun?" Many of us girls echoed the same words.
But Ms. Sinclair drowned us out with her narrow, harsh and stubborn do it my way or else attitude and said, "Get to it everyone." Ms. Sinclair reminded me of what a drill instructor in the military would be like. Eventually we had raked and re-raked the area around the cabins good enough that we were told to stop. "There are a few rules that we’re setting down before everyone can check out the camp and the lake. First, don’t wander off.
There are coyotes, black bear and cougar in these woods. We are in their home and if you see one don’t run. Keep facing them but back away from them slowly the entire time. All of the teachers have a whistle and if they blow their whistle that is the signal there is danger. Whatever you’re doing you’re to return to where you are standing now. Most animals are more scared of us then we are of them.
Most important, don't try to pet any skunks." She said in a serious voice. We all burst out laughing at that comment. "We’ll be making lunch in about an hour so go ahead and look around, but don't wander away from camp please." she told us. Suddenly, everyone was headed in different directions with their friends, talking excitedly. As for me, I didn't immediately run off. I turned around in a circle slowly trying to sense and pin point what I had felt earlier. There was danger nearby and it wasn't any coyote, black bear or cougar.
It was something much worse. I should have followed my instincts and said something to someone, but I knew they would have just laughed at me. So I caught up to Mellissa as we walked down to the dock. Mellissa quickly caught on to my mood change and she stopped mid-way on the dock and turned to me. “Hey. What’s up? Something is bothering you; I can see it in your eyes. Tell me what it is please?” she asked. I tried to pretend that everything was just fine, but Mellissa persisted.
Finally, I gave in. “We’re being watched, I can feel it.” I said nervously. There, I had said it. Quickly Mellissa’s smile vanished and she looked behind me and then left to right before she turned to face me with a giggle. “Who’s watching us? I don’t see anyone. Show me who’s watching us.” Mellissa dared me. Slowly I turned around and with hesitation in my eyes, I looked at the woods. Not at the entire forest, just one specific part, a place where there lay a huge dead redwood cedar stump next to a large boulder.
I don’t know why or what made me look at the stump but whatever had been watching me earlier, was behind the stump, staring directly into my frightened eyes. I was held in a trance I couldn’t break. I was lost. I could feel his deathly sneer. I could feel him mocking me. He saw me as no threat. He was neither human nor animal. Mellissa pushed my shoulder to get my attention as she saw a tear begin to roll down my cheek, but I didn’t feel it.
Then she pushed me harder. Still, I stared. By now I was shaking and Mellissa began to become frightened. When she shouted my name, it was as if I had been held in a grip by something unseen and suddenly had broken free. I turned to Mellissa and hugged her as I trembled. “We’ve got to tell the counselor’s Mellissa, we have to warn them.” I said. As I looked at Mellissa for support, I saw that deer in the head lights look.
10-31-2012, 08:05 PM
“Tell them what? That we are all in danger, but we don’t know from what? Tell them we’re being watched, but haven’t seen anyone watching us? They’ll think we are on drugs. Think about it.” Mellissa told me. I shook my head in disbelief. I wasn’t making this up. “Come with me Mellissa, I’ll prove it.” Mellissa asked me how, but I didn’t have an answer. So I pulled at her arm to follow me as we began to walk away from the dock.
Perhaps Mellissa followed me because she was my friend or perhaps she followed because she wanted to humor me. But whatever her reason, we began walking toward the large stump nervously. Half way to the edge of the forest, Mellissa grabbed my hand. She looked more scared then I was. “Are you sure you want to go into the woods? Maybe we should get one of the boys?” she pleaded. I shook my head no adamantly. “It’s okay Mellissa. Whatever was watching us is gone now.
I just want to look around. Maybe we’ll find a clue or something that will show you I wasn’t imagining it. If we don’t find a thing, I’ll go back to the lake and go swimming with you Mellissa, I promise.” I said. That was enough for Mellissa and we began to make our way through waist high brush to get to the stump. Neither of us was dressed for struggling through brush and an occasional ouch was heard.
But finally we made it to the stump. That was when I saw a partially hidden boulder. I waited for Melissa to arrive beside me. Once together, we made a slow circle around the rock, while at the same time glancing nervously at the forest surrounding us. Then I stopped so suddenly that Mellissa bumped into me. Instead of asking why I had stopped, she noticed my eyes were looking down at the side of the boulder and her eyes looked to the same spot.
I felt shivers go up my spine as she also stared at the inverted pentagram carved in stone. I traced my fingers over the pentagram and as I did so, a biting cold feeling shot through my body. It was so cold that my knees began to buckle beneath me and Mellissa helped me keep my balance. When I looked into Mellissa’s frightened eyes, I whispered nervously. “Do you know what this is, Mellissa?”
She replied with innocence, “Sure, it’s just an old pentagram. I have a friend in my English class that has one on a necklace.” I shook my head and said, "She doesn’t have one like this one.” I took a finger and pointed to a part of the pentagram. “This one is an inverted pentagram, the sign of Satan worship. We have to tell one of the counselors. I can feel something evil in this place.
I don’t want to stay here. I want to go home.” I told Mellissa. As I broke down crying, Mellissa hugged me and tried to calm me down. “It’s just a carving Martha, a very old carving. Whoever etched it here has long since died.” She said in a reassuring voice. Just as we were about to make their way through the brush and back to camp, Mellissa noticed a path, a trail of sorts, much less difficult to walk on then the brush we fought our way through.
Against my better judgment, I gave in and followed Martha. But the further we walked along the trail, the more it seemed to take us away from the camp. Several times I urged Martha to go back to the rock with me, but Martha was adamant. She was sure the path would lead back to camp. As we made a turn in the trail, we began to see water and there was relief in our eyes because we felt we had found our way back to the lake.
Soon we would be back in camp. But we were mistaken. What we saw couldn’t be possible, yet ahead of us, there it was. It was the remains of a very old church made of stone. Only the front wall of the church remained, with a cross on top. The rest of the church looked like it had exploded, with large pieces of stone everywhere. The church steps descended into the edge of the small swamp. At that point, I was already tugging on Martha’s arm, trying to pull her back so we could leave, but Martha shook off my grip.
“What a cool place Melissa. We can’t leave now. This place must be hundreds of years old. I can’t leave without taking something back with me. Something that will prove we were here or else everyone will call us liars.” Martha said. I didn’t want to tag along and go to the church. But I didn’t want to go back to the rock alone so against my better judgment, I followed Martha. Something that I noticed right away was that all the trees surrounding the stone church were dead.
Yet the rest of the forest was green and full of life. Something kept clawing at my sanity. Why would someone build a church next to a swamp in the woods? Why were there no roads? Why were there no other buildings? How was this church destroyed and why?” Martha was getting too far ahead of me and I yelled at her to slow down. I guess she didn’t hear me so I made my way to her side more hurriedly, until we both stood on the steps facing the front of the church.
The sky was bright blue and the stone cross atop the church stood out so nice. There was absolute quietness. Not a sound could be heard. It was as if every creature in the forest held their breath at that moment. Not even the wind was heard. It was deathly quiet. For the oddest reason I felt that this place had waited all these centuries for me and Mellissa. I don’t know why I felt that way. The entrance of the church was shaped in an arch and the remains of the doors were scattered on the floor of the church in a million pieces.
Though the doors had been made of a thick heavy wood, what was left of the doors was scattered over a wide area and in small pieces. It was as if the doors had exploded. What was more astounding were the walls of the church and roof. They were gone. Well, not gone. They were here in heavy chunks everywhere. What could have caused such a church like this to be destroyed? It had to have been a horrible and powerful explosion I thought to myself.
That was when I realized that Martha had wandered through the entrance ahead of me and I found myself all alone. Quickly I made my way towards Martha, almost tripping and falling on debris. “What are you doing Martha? We have to leave. I have a very bad feeling about this place. Please. Let’s get back to the camp and tell the teachers.” I pleaded. Suddenly we both stopped dead in our tracks when we saw to the left, just a portion of a doorway that descended into darkness. It was a stairway leading to a basement I guess.
Beside the doorway was a statue of angry figure, which was holding a type of cane with the head of a skull on top of it. Don’t ask me why I wanted to go into the darkness. I didn’t have an answer as Mellissa began to pull me away. “What are you doing? You don’t even have a flashlight silly. Come on.” she said and I watched Mellissa walking toward the rear of the church. When we reached the back of the church, we could see an open field with at least 50 headstones, maybe 100.
It was a cemetery, a very old cemetery. Suddenly, there in the center appeared a bright glowing circle, like a globe. It was so bright; the bluish light hurt my eyes. I was petrified, no, hypnotized. I couldn’t move. I just stared. The ball of light appeared out of nowhere and hovered before slowly moving among the headstones as if it was looking for something. I wanted to back away slowly, I wanted to leave. My heart was pounding and each heart beat was as loud as thunder.
Suddenly, I began walking towards the cemetery fence. Mellissa cried out for me to stop, but I never heard the sound of her voice. She rushed to my side to stop me, but by the time she had reached me, we were both just a foot or two from the fence. It was a terrifying moment for Mellissa yet a fascinating moment for me. I wasn’t a strong believer in God, Angels or Satan like she was. I didn’t really buy into the go to church and fill the plate with money thing but then I wasn’t a disbeliever either.
At that moment, I felt overwhelmed. I was witnessing something that I knew nothing about. I didn’t know what it was or what it wanted, but there it was. I didn’t feel it was evil and I didn’t feel we were in danger. In truth, I was feeling sad. This was a very lonely place. Suddenly, the glowing object began to move closer to us. It was making a direct line to us. Neither of us said anything. We just stared and when it reached the fence it stopped.
Before Mellissa could speak, I was immersed and surrounded in a bright blue light. I had a warm feeling all over and no longer could see the cemetery, the forest or Mellissa. There were voices all around me. I could hear their cries, anguished and suffering voices. I didn’t understand what was happening. The blue lights were so beautiful. Then as suddenly as the blue lights appeared, they were gone. I found myself alone in a room with a small window.
I saw no door and realized that the window was far too small for me to crawl out of. I was about to go to the window and cry out for Mellissa when a small child appeared before me. His eyes were closed and he was kneeling in prayer with his hands clasped together. He looked like the most innocent and kind child I had ever seen. It was then that he opened his eyes and I saw such sadness, that my heart felt like it had literally been ripped out.
When he spoke, it was with kindness as he said, “I will pray for you Mellissa.” Then as suddenly as he had appeared, he vanished. Now I found myself along side of Martha, but this time the glowing ball of light was gone. I anxiously and impatiently told Martha what had happened to me and she gave me that am I on drugs look? “You’ve been next to me the whole time Mellissa. I didn’t see any blue light. Let’s get back to camp and tell everyone what we found.” she said.
She didn’t have to say that twice. We were walking quickly back towards the church. But as we got near the wall with the stairway going into the darkness, something made me stop. I can’t explain why. I turned my head and peered into the darkness and that is when I saw his face. The anguished face of a man, a terrified man, who cried out, “Take this crucifix. Take it and may God protect you.” I saw only his face and his hand thrusting the intricate silver crucifix at me.
But his eyes. I will never forget his eyes. They were pleading for me to take the crucifix and I did. Suddenly, I saw only darkness. Mellissa didn’t know I had stopped and when she had turned back she saw I was still in the church. She yelled frantically for me to follow her and I ran to her side. I put the crucifix in my pocket. “Are you crazy? I thought you were right behind me all the time. Why did you stop?” she asked.
Rather than tell her what had happened, I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “Come on, let’s get back to camp.” I never told her about the crucifix in my pocket. When we reached the rock neither of us slowed down or complained as we made our way through the brush to the other side. It was an unbelievable rush of relief to see the familiar cabins of the camp and our friends. But it wasn’t friends we were anxiously straining to see, it was a teacher.
Not just any teacher, but Mr. Jenkins, the one man we trusted to hear our tale. Once we made it to the camp we broke into a run as our hearts raced faster than our feet. Our eyes searched faces and places trying to locate Mr. Clark. Friends called out to us or waved, but we never heard them or saw the puzzled looks they gave us. Martha was just a few feet ahead of me as she veered to the right towards Cabin #4 and I saw why.
Mr. Clark was showing three boys how to split firewood with an axe. Martha began to slow down, allowing me to catch up to her and we reached Mr. Clark at the same time. Immediately both of us began desperately telling him what we had seen and encountered. But our voices over ran each other and with concern in his eyes, he raised up both of his hands and motioned for us to calm down. He could see the fear in our eyes and motioned for us to follow him.
10-31-2012, 08:06 PM
Others were being drawn into the confusion and this made matters worse. In a couple of minutes we had reached the camp office and he asked us to sit down. Then with a kindness in his voice he asked us each, one at a time to tell him what was going on. I let Martha go first as I tried to let my heart calm down. Sweat was running down my brow and the saltiness was stinging my eyes as I wiped the sweat with my shirt sleeve. As Martha continued, I saw both surprise and concern come across Mr. Clarks face.
When she had finished, she took a deep breath and looked at me and nodded as if to prod me to tell my version. What I told the teacher was close to what Martha had said with the exception of the eerie bluish light at the cemetery, the little boy and the ghostly figure of a man who desperately held out the silver crucifix to me. When I got to that part I hesitated, wondering if I should keep that part a secret or tell him. I chose to tell him.
Martha seemed as surprised as Mr. Clark almost disbelieving, until I reached into my pocked and placed the engraved cross on the table. All three of us stared at the crucifix. At that moment, you could have heard a pin drop. Mr. Clark reached over and picked up the heavy crucifix to examine it. Suddenly, Ms. Sinclair burst through the front door scaring all of us half to death. She was followed by two other teachers.
We didn’t want Ms. Sinclair involved with her snide judgmental attitude but we didn’t need to tell Mr. Clark. He knew. He stood up and met them at the door and told them everything was okay and that he was taking care of the problem. Suspicious eyes stared at us making us both squirm in our chairs until he motioned them back outside and shut the door behind him. He offered a “Don’t worry about them” smile and returned to the table.
“This is a very old crucifix Mellissa. The engraving is in Latin, and most unusual.” He said curiously. As he held the crucifix closer to his glasses, he read out loud what the inscription translated into English. “This side of the crucifix says, ‘We cast each of you out, every unclean spirit, every satanic power, every onslaught of the infernal adversary, every legion, every diabolical group and sect, in the name and by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.’ he said. Then we watched him turn over the crucifix and examine that message as well.
“In larger letters, this side says, ‘Be gone, Satan, father and master of lies.’ he said. Once more silence filled the room. Martha reached over and took my hand. We were both frightened. Suddenly I could smell something burning. I looked at the wall behind Mr. Clark and saw smoke rising towards the ceiling and screamed. As flames began to burn the wall all three of us jumped to our feet.
But Mr. Clark kept his cool and ran to the fire extinguisher box on the wall, broke the glass and put out the fire. White powder and smoke was everywhere and he opened the door to let smoke out and fresh air in. Before anyone could come in, all three of us saw something on the wall that truly terrified us. There burned into the wall was the perfect image of a black upside down cross, the sign of the Satan worship.
If there had been an ounce of doubt in Mr. Clark’s mind as to whether we had been making everything up, all doubt was gone now. However there wasn’t anyone on the office porch. The other teachers had taken everyone away I guess so they wouldn’t know there was a problem. Mr. Clark shut the door and went to the counter and opened up his laptop computer. I never saw anyone type as fast as his fingers typed.
I could see beads of sweat running down the sides of his head and he paused once or twice to wipe the sweat from his brow. There were no cell phones or regular phones at the camp. He had barely gotten off his E-mail when suddenly his battery pack burst into flames and he tossed the laptop to the floor. After he put the second fire out, he looked at us nervously. “I was able to get an E-mail off to Father Janovich just before my laptop caught fire.
When he gets my e-mail he’ll be headed up here. He will know what must be done. There is an evil presence here and it is making its presence known to us. It’s letting us know that it not us are in control. I’m going to ask something of you that you don’t have to agree to. You can say no and I will understand. I would like one of you to take me back to where you discovered the church ruins and this crucifix.
At least give me directions if you are too scared to return there.” Martha didn’t have to think twice. She instantly shook her head no. That left just me. “I’ll take you there Mr. Clark. I’m scared, but for some reason, I feel I’m here to do something. I just don’t know what it is” I said. Mr. Clark stood up and leaned towards me and asked me to open my hand. When I did, he placed the crucifix in my hand and whispered, “This was given to you for a reason Mellissa and so I entrust it back to you.
Never lay it down and don’t give it to anyone else no matter who you think they are” he said. His last words sounded so haunting to me, almost as if they were a warning. “No matter who I thought someone was?” I wanted to ask him to tell me what he meant, but he told us to stay in the room and that he’d be right back and he was gone. “You can’t be serious Mellissa? You can’t go back there. Just draw Mr. Clark a map and stay with me, please?” Martha pleaded.
There was such fear in Martha’s voice that her voice was scaring me. “I’ll be fine Martha. I can’t possibly be in any more danger there then I would be here. I have to find out what this all means. I want to find out why the souls of the people in the cemetery were surrounding me with their blue light, the light you couldn’t see. The voices you didn’t here. I want to know who the little boy was and I want to know who the man was who wanted me to take this crucifix so badly.
Martha, I don’t think any of us are going to leave this place alive. It won’t let us, I just feel it. We don’t have a choice but to fight it, here and now.” Mellissa said in a tearful voice. She was getting hysterical and she wasn’t hearing Martha’s pleas for her to calm down. Finally, Martha just slapped Mellissa. Suddenly she looked at me surprised and then her tears flowed like a river upon me as we hugged each other. “I’m sorry for slapping you Mellissa.”
As we hugged tightly to each other, I felt us both trembling, but somehow I knew inside she knew I wasn’t mad at her. I don’t know how long Mr. Clark was gone. It seemed like hours. It seemed like time itself had stopped. But finally the door opened and the sound of the door startled us so bad, we just about pee’d our pants. But we were relieved to see him. His smile was comforting. He told us he had spoken to the other teachers and that everyone was packing their things and leaving on the bus.
Martha was asked to gather my things with hers, while I took Mr. Clark to the old church. “As soon as we get back, Mellissa, we’re headed back to the school.” That was when I said, “But what about Father Janovich, Mr. Clark?” Without a moment’s hesitation, he replied, “He’ll know what to do Mellissa” He walked Martha to the door and she turned to me for just a second and whispered, “Don’t die Mellissa please. You’re my best friend.”
As I whispered goodbye tears fell from our eyes and she was gone. “We don’t have a moment to waste Mellissa, I told Mr. Strand that if we didn’t return in one hour to get the bus and the kids out of this place. Now, show me the way to that church” he said. When I reached the door he stopped me and asked me to promise him one thing. “Mellissa, I want you to promise me that if we’re confronted by anything evil, an evil spirit or entity, that if I tell you to run, that you’ll run back here to camp.
Promise me that.” he asked and I nodded and said, “I promise.” But something inside told me that I would break that promise. I took Mr. Clark to the large boulder and circled it until I found the inverted pentagram and showed it to him. We stopped for just a moment, before Mr. Clark urged me to continue down the trail. But before I took a step, he grabbed my shoulder and I turned around and looked into his eyes. “Everyone in camp is in danger Mellissa especially you and me.
One part of me says for us to rejoin the others and leave this place. The other part of me wants to see the place you described.” He said nervously. Time was indeed growing short. My senses were heightened and I could sense danger was near. “Come on, let’s get to the church.” Mr. Clark said and I headed down the trail as the crucifix in my pocket bounced against my leg. We hadn’t made it very far down the trail when suddenly I stopped. Mr. Clark was so close behind me he bumped right into me.
“What’s wrong Mellissa, why have we stopped?” he asked. I don’t remember hearing his question. The hair on the back of my neck was standing up at that moment. I could feel electricity in the air. That’s when I felt my shoulders being shaken and I turned my head around and whispered, “Shhhh! They’re all around us, can’t you hear them?” I said in a frightened voice. We both looked at the brush from left to right and then behind us and saw nothing, but they were there. I reached my hand into my pocket and gripped the crucifix tightly with both hands.
Suddenly the forest came alive and at least a half a dozen short hairy creatures began to appear. They had huge heads and their eyes told me all that they did not say. They were there to stop us or kill us and either way, I wasn’t going to let that happen. I the crucifix high in the air and moved my arm from left to right and I saw the fear in their eyes before they retreated into the brush and disappeared. Slowly we made our way farther down the trail oh so cautiously. My nerves on pins and needles.
Then it happened. We came to a fork in the trail I didn’t remember being there. As we stopped and stared at the second trail I could see a headstone just up ahead. Perhaps I should have stuck to the original trail, but I didn’t. I chose to follow the path to the headstone. In a few moments we were there, in a small clearing. What we found was a lone grave without a name on the headstone.
I wondered why this particular grave wasn’t located within the cemetery with the others. That question was about to be answered. It was as if the forest came alive at that moment as a creature have man and half brush stepped out of the forest. He was a hideous looking creature, with moss covering his body and his hands resembling thick branches. “I bring you a message from my master, one which you should heed child.”
He eyed the crucifix in my hand a moment before he continued. “If you leave the crucifix here, beside this grave and return to your friends and leave this place, you both shall live. If you refuse, you know he will kill both of you. I sense your strength young one, but even with the crucifix, you’re no match for the powers of darkness.” He said with a sneerful delight. He didn’t have to convince me of that. I already knew it. Yet I refused to surrender what was in my hand.
“And you?” he sneered. “You’re no priest! You think you can help this child?” the creature mocked. The haunting way he laughed at Mr. Clark make my knees want to buckle. I wanted to back away and return to the original trail and continue to the church when Mr. Clark, pushed me abruptly aside and stood in front of me. “Tell your master that a messenger from God is coming and that it is your master, not us who will lose that battle.
The lord’s angels will strike you all down. Mr. Clark shouted defiantly.” The creature’s face turned red with rage and in that split second, his branch like hands wrapped all over Mr. Clark’s body as both of them fell to the ground. Over and over the branch like vines wrapped around Mr. Clark’s throat in a death grip. The course vines were choking him to death. I rushed to his side and beat the creature with my hands but still, he didn’t stop.
10-31-2012, 08:07 PM
Mr. Clark’s face was dark red as he struggled for a breath of air. I don’t know why I did it, but I took the crucifix in my hand and shoved it against the creatures head and he screamed in anguish before he literally blew up. There were pieces of his body everywhere. Hurriedly I struggled to loosen the vines around Mr. Clark’s neck to save him but I was too late. As he lay there dying, his eyes looked up at me with relief and kindness.
“Be strong Mellissa. The enemy of the Lord cannot hurt you as long as you hold that crucifix. But you alone cannot defeat him.” He said as he struggled to take another breath. “Perhaps you and Father Janovich together can defeat the servant of Satan.” he said. I was holding his hand as I felt it weaken in my hand. “Off with you now.” he gasped, “Do what must be done. Find the church and the man who gave the crucifix to you.
I know he will help you. May God bless and protect you Mellissa.” Then as my tears fell upon him, he closed his eyes and let go of my hand. At that moment I felt totally lost. I didn’t feel I had the strength to fight the demon. All I was supposed to do was show him the church and cemetery and get back to the others and now, now Mr. Clark was dead. A part of me wanted to run back to the camp and get on the bus and leave this place.
But another part of me whispered this was a journey that was my destiny to make. I wasn’t sure what was waiting ahead for me at the church and cemetery. I wasn’t sure that I would see anything. I lost track of time and couldn’t remember how much time had passed. I knew the others would leave as instructed. I took a deep breath and decided that I wouldn’t run from the face of evil. I would stand my ground and believe in the Lord’s will.
I stood there for a moment, with my eyes closed with both hands clasped around the crucifix as I recited the Lord’s Prayer. Little did I know that things back at camp weren’t going as planned at all. Neither of us had noticed that Ms. Sinclair had been following us from a distance from the camp. That was when I heard her screams and I ran like the wind down the trail back to the fork in the road.
The sounds of her screams were nearby and I ran in the direction of the camp. Suddenly in the middle of what looked like brush was just the head of Ms. Sinclair peering at me helplessly. Her body was being jerked in every direction. Before I could take a step to save her, I heard an ear shattering scream as one of her arms was ripped off and tossed through the air. In a matter of seconds she was totally wrapped in vines and then the forest was absolutely silent.
Blood was everywhere and I knew she was dead. I never even tried to make my way to her body. My heart was pounding as I turned around and began to run down the path to the church. Only once or twice did I look back but I didn’t see anything. Soon, the swamp was coming into view and then I saw the church. I paused and tried to catch my breath. What was I to do now? That thought was racing through my mind at the speed of sound.
I wasn’t a priest. Meanwhile, the camp was in chaos. The teacher’s were trying to gather up the students and convince them they had to leave right away, yet they were also concerned because they couldn’t find Ms. Sinclair. That was when Mr. Delgo started the bus and once it was running he yelled with authority, “Everyone on the bus now.” Soon, the bus was filled with confused and frightened teenagers as the bus began the long drive back to the highway.
But half way to the asphalt road, a huge cedar tree crashed across the road, blocking the bus from leaving. As the bus filled with screams, Mr. Delgo put the bus in reverse and began to slowly back up. That was when a second cedar tree fell behind the bus trapping them. Panic filled the bus as the same forest creatures that killed Mr. Clark and Ms. Sinclair attacked the bus from every direction. Their branch like hands raced through the open bus windows and began killing everyone.
They were helpless. In those short minutes, I would like to think that they prayed up to the heavens for God to save them. Meanwhile, Father Janovich had finally checked his E-mail and had sent back an E-mail to Mr. Clark with no response. He took the message seriously and when his car reached the dirt road to the camp he found it blocked off by a tree. He would have to reach the camp on foot. As he stepped out of his car, he brought with him a silver crucifix, a bottle of Holy water and his Bible.
He had a long and tedious walk ahead of him even before he would reach the camp bus and find all my friends and the teachers dead. But just before he was about to climb his way through the first of many branches, he had a visitor. It was the small boy that I had seen earlier praying. When the Priest saw the boy appear from out of nowhere, he knew that he was a spirit. The Priest was not afraid. With kindness in his eyes, and a smile that only a child of innocence can show, he walked up to Father Janovich and stood mere feet away.
“Today Father, a battle will be fought between evil and good. The outcome even I don’t know. But I do know that you will not wage that battle. It is being fought this day between a servant of the devil and a young girl. She is strong of courage and spirit, but she alone will not close the doorway from hell. The Lord watches down from above. Everyone who came to this place with her has died. She is all alone now.” the small boy said with sadness.
The priest with tear filled eyes looked down at the little boy and asked, “What is the Lord’s will for me to do? I’ve come all this way and I’ve always known it was my destiny to serve the Lord and fight evil. Now you tell me that an entire bus filled with children has been killed and that a child is to face such evilness alone?” he said in a tearful voice. The little boy only shook his head. “I cannot explain God’s will or reasons. I’m but a messenger from God.
Before you reach the camp Priest, the battle will have already been fought and the outcome only then known.” The boy said with sadness. Suddenly there was a soft glow surrounding the boy and in the midst of tears, the child said. “Go to those who have died Priest.” and the little boy pointed down the road beyond the trees. As suddenly as the spirit had appeared, he was gone and Father Janovich was alone again.
It wasn’t an easy journey for the Priest to make with a heavy heart. Each step was filled with questions about his faith in the Lord and for his purpose for the job he chose to serve. After a while he saw a large tree across the road ahead of him and behind it he saw the White church bus. He wasn’t prepared for this type of scene though. He stood outside the bus door for almost 15 minutes reading from the Bible in his hand before he pried the door open and made his way inside.
He gave the last rights to each person who had died. The creatures were no longer at the bus. The demon had summoned them back to the church. Now Mellissa was less than 200 feet away from the church making her way to the steps. The demon was aware that she had killed the most powerful of his servants. Mellissa’s only thought at that moment was that the demon wouldn’t underestimate her. After she had composed herself, she weighed her options.
Should she return to the arch that led to the stairway to hopefully see the spirit who gave her the crucifix? Should she circle around the church to get to the cemetery and see if the spirits were there? Could they reveal to her what she had to do to not only save her life but set them free as well? There was no guarantee that she would see anyone. Then there was the unmistakable belief that somewhere between the church and the cemetery a servant of Satan was waiting to take her soul.
Before Mellissa made her choice she remembered what each spirit had told her. The spirit at the arch merely thrust the crucifix at her and said, “May God protect you.” She recalled the little boy praying had told her, “I will pray for you Mellissa.” But how did he know her name? Neither of them had given her a clue as to how she would or could defeat evil. She made the decision to avoid the church and make her way instead to the cemetery. Perhaps the spirits there would contact her again or maybe she would see the boy again.
Surely they would help her, to show her the way to fight the evilness that possessed this place. If not, she too would die here all alone. She wondered if her friends had left by now as they had been told to do. She thought of Martha and was sure she and the others were frightened. Mellissa didn’t know they all were dead. It was slow going fighting her way through the bushes and brambles in her effort to bypass the church.
It was like a jungle and with each step she took, she anxiously looked all around her. Her ears anxiously strained for the slightest sound of danger. Her senses were heightened to their fullest as she held the crucifix tightly in her hand and recited the Lord’s Prayer quietly. Slowly but surely the cemetery began to come into view though it was still quite a distance from Mellissa.
It seemed like an hour had passed before she stood outside the fence surrounding the group of headstones. It was still mid-afternoon and not a cloud was in the sky. Under any other circumstances it would have seemed like a beautiful day. As Mellissa stared at the quiet cemetery, she looked for a sign. A sign that the same bluish light of spirits would appear but they didn’t. Suddenly on top of a nearby fence post a jet black cat appeared. It was the largest cat Mellissa had ever seen.
Its eyes were piercing her soul. She didn’t feel frightened or in danger as much as surprised. When the cat jumped off the post, it wandered about six feet away, stopped and turned its head back towards her as if to say, ‘follow me!’ That was when Mellissa made the decision to follow the cat. The cat was leading her back to the arch, the place where she had seen the ghostly face of a Priest desperately thrusting a crucifix at her. The crucifix she now held in my hand.
Slowly, the cat began to walk down the steps into the blackness of the stairway. Mellissa was trembling as she looked into the darkness. She didn’t know what to do. Should she follow the cat or return to the cemetery? What if this was a trap? But she pushed that fear aside. If the demon wanted to attack her, he had plenty of chances to do so before now. So she chose to walk down into the blackness. With each step she took it felt so cold and lonely.
She felt her hand along the unseen walls, anxiously using her foot nervously to test if there was a next step or a bottomless pit. She counted 12 steps before she was standing on the floor. Then to her relief four torches became aglow with fire on the walls and she saw she was in a large but empty room. Suddenly in the far left corner the figure of a nun was seen. She was looking down at the floor with sadness. Then she raised her head and their eyes met.
The nun and Mellissa began walking towards each other almost at the same time. When they met, they both stopped, mere feet from each other. “There are so many things I don’t understand Sister. What am I to do? Why have I been chosen to battle evil? How can I possibly win the battle? I’m afraid.” Mellissa said in a trembling voice. There was such a gentleness seen in the nun’s face at that moment. She was a source of comfort to Mellissa at a time when she needed to find comfort.
“I wish I had the answers to your questions my child, but I don’t. I’m here to help you as best I can. Danger is approaching quickly and I fear for your life. At the same time I see hope in your spirit to defeat evil. Much is at stake. There is a doorway here that has let evil come into this world. You’re the chosen one who can not only defeat the demon, but close that door as well forever. You alone though cannot defeat him, nor can he take your life, but he will try with all his might.
For as long as you hold that crucifix your power is equal to his, but…” and her tone turned more nervous. “If he can take the crucifix away from you, the balance of power shifts and you will die like all of your friends have died!” the nun said. She saw the expression and tears forming in Mellissa’s eyes at that moment. “Yes, they’ve all been killed. You are the only one left.” The nun said. For a moment there was a deathly silence in the room before Mellissa spoke.
10-31-2012, 08:08 PM
“I don’t understand. If he can’t kill me nor I kill him, how can I defeat him? Can no one help me?” she asked. The nun contemplated her words and gave Mellissa the only clue which she might use to her advantage. “There is but one way that you can defeat all that is evil in this place but it means that you place your soul, your very life in great jeopardy. Should you fail, he will take your soul and the crucifix.
Evil will be unleashed upon the earth the likes that has not been seen in four centuries. He is coming for you now Mellissa, you must leave now. Return to the cemetery with haste. If you choose to fight the demon, fight in the name of the Lord. If by the grace of God you’re touching the fence of the cemetery at the same time the demon is holding you, your power, the power of the spirits and the power of the crucifix will send him back to hell and close the door forever.
Hurry my child, there is no more time left.” The nun said as she pointed to the steps before she vanished. As soon as she spoke those words she vanished and Mellissa turned and ran back up the steps and into the light. Hurriedly she ran towards the cemetery and when she stopped, her back was to the cemetery fence. Before she could worry how long she would have to wait, her question was answered. It was as if Mellissa was watching the forest come alive as the creatures that killed Mr. Clark and Ms. Sinclair stepped out of the forest into the open.
She had never been so afraid, but she stood my ground as they approached. Slowly they formed three lines of six. One row on her left, one row on her right and one row directly in front of her. Mellissa knew the significance of the numbers 666. They represented Satan. So there they were. 18 servants of Satan against one servant of God. No words were spoken and no one moved. It was as if they were waiting for their master to arrive and he did. There in the clearing, 100 feet from the row of hideous forest creatures he suddenly appeared.
He wore a velvet cape and the hood covered his head. When he looked up, his skin was purple and his eyes held a hateful deathly stare. His face was distorted with four fangs showing from his upper and lower jaw. He looked confident, powerful and unafraid. At that instant it seemed that time had stopped. Everything seemed so surreal. Confidently he walked toward his follower’s and when he reached the row of creatures in front of her, they stepped aside, bowing as he passed through as he approached her.
He never took his eyes off the crucifix she held with both hands at chest level in front of her. He stopped some twenty feet from her and smiled with a devilish sneer. “You’re no match for me child. I know you sense it too. Others far more powerful then you have battled me and good did not prevail. You’re all alone. No one will come to save you and no one will step forward to fight for you. I offer you a way out in which your life will be spared.
Do not refuse it. Leave the crucifix on the ground at your feet and return from whence you came. I promise no harm will come to you. But choose to stay, choose to fight and I will strike you down where you stand” he shouted. His voice was so cold, so final that Mellissa contemplated laying the crucifix down as he demanded. But just as she began to lay it down, she stood upright and shook her head defiantly at him. “If you could strike me down you would’ve done so already.
There will always be battles between good and evil and I place my life in the hands of the Lord!” Mellissa shouted. Suddenly the skies became filled with dark, ominous thunderclouds as it began to thunder. The wind grew strong, cold and the demon’s face had turned a bright red. Lightning crackled through the air so close to Mellissa that her hair felt the static. “So be it.” he screamed! With a wave of his hand all three rows of creatures ran towards her from every direction, screaming so loud her ears ached in pain.
The distance was closing rapidly and Mellissa felt herself trembling and her knees growing weaker as she gripped the crucifix tighter. Suddenly, the brightest, purest form of white light flashed from the crucifix in her hand in every direction and the power of the Lord destroyed every attacking creature. In seconds, horrible anguished screams filled the air and the stench of death all around her was horrible. When the smoke cleared, there were burned bodies everywhere.
Only Mellissa and the demon remained standing. Each determined, each defiant and each wondering what to do next. The demon knew he had to trick her into moving away from the cemetery fence. So, he walked closer towards her, approaching from her right side, forcing her to move to her left, then center. He now stood between her and the cemetery. As helpless as Mellissa felt at that moment she also realized there was only one possible way she could defeat him as the nun had whispered.
Mellissa remembered the nun saying that if she died, the crucifix was his and so was her soul. Evil would be unleashed upon the world like it had never known. Mellissa was startled when the demon shouted loudly, “Throw the crucifix down now.” The loudness of his voice nearly broke her ear drums, but still Mellissa refused. Then she said the last thing that the demon ever expected a 15 year old girl to do. “If you want this cross so bad stupid, come and take it from me!”
The demon became so enraged, he ran at Mellissa with his clawed hands stretched out to tear me to pieces. But she held her ground if for no other reason than sheer terror. Then at the last moment, she side stepped to his left and raced past the demon toward the cemetery fence. But the demon was no fool. He turned and was right behind her. Just when she thought she could make it to the fence, she felt his claws rip into her leg as she fell to the ground screaming in pain.
As her back hit the ground, she saw him approaching her with a mocking grin as blood dripped from each clawed cut. Though she still had the crucifix in her hand, she was still four feet from the cemetery fence, too far to have the spirits help destroy him. She lay there waiting helplessly as she felt blood running down her leg. She waited until the last possible moment and did a back flip towards the fence just as the demon desperately grabbed for her body.
The last thing she remembered was throwing her left hand over her head and holding onto the cemetery fence as the demon clawed hand dug into her leg again. Suddenly, everything became a blue blur as the spirits surrounded Mellissa and the demon. She heard a roar unlike any storm on earth so powerful Mellissa couldn’t even comprehend its power. The demon was lifted off of her and around and around the blue light spun him as his arms struck out menacingly.
Then he was thrown through the air and as she looked up and watched, she saw him being tossed into the darkened stairwell of the church. Then she watched as the last wall of the church crumbled and covered the opening. The cross, once on top of the church now lay on top of the rubble. When the blue light was gone so were the storm clouds and once more the sky was a bright blue. As she reached down to stop her leg from bleeding, she felt a hand on top of hers.
It was the spirit of the little boy. He was smiling down at her and when he removed his hand from her hand, Mellissa couldn’t feel pain in her leg anymore. As she moved her hand all that remained under her torn blood stained blue jeaned leg was five long healed scars. A few feet behind the little boy was the nun and the man who had given the crucifix to her. The little boy turned around and stood beside the others. “We can’t bring back those who have died today. For that, we’re truly sorry.
But your love for God and for your friends helped defeat the enemy of God and his followers. For your devotion to God, your strength and courage we can never show our gratitude. But we will always pray for you Mellissa. You will find Father Janovich waiting at your camp. Go to him. Tell him of all that has happened this day. God bless you Mellissa!” the little boy said. Tears were rolling down Mellissa’s face as she struggled to stand. She watched sadly as all three spirits waved goodbye and disappeared. Once again she was alone. But she wasn’t afraid anymore.
All the way back along the trail she walked with a heavy heart because she knew that everyone who had made the trip to summer camp were dead. But she also knew that Father Janovich was waiting for her back at camp and at that moment she needed him very badly. She found him waiting at the office staring at the upside down cross burned into the wall. When she walked through the door he was both startled and relieved to see her face.
Many a tear was shed at that moment before they made that long walk back to his car at the highway as she told him all that had happened that day.
©2006 Raymond Cook (All rights reserved)
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