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Poltergeist of Galway
“Man,” Patrick said. “This place is freaking creepy at night.”
Walking through the West Galway cemetery entrance, I said tauntingly, “C’mon, cemeteries are the most sacred places in the world to be in. Nothing bad is going to happen.”
The West Galway cemetery isn’t huge. It has small headstones, no mausoleum, none of those big fancy statues that some rich family paid to have set there. The only living, breathing people you’ll really ever find there is some guy doing an extremely poor job on mowing the lawn, every now and then. And, in this case, a couple of teenagers on Halloween. Otherwise, it’s just like any other cemetery.
As we entered through the entrance, a dog next door started barking. “Shut your flashlight off, before someone comes out to check out what’s going on,” I said to Pat. “People sometimes get arrested for being in here at night.”
We quickly rushed to an open patch in the back of the cemetery, where no passing car could see us. Patrick turned his flashlight back on, and began looking at some of the headstones, as I laid on my back to look at the stars.
“Is that why you wanted to come here?” Dan asked critically. “To look at the stars?”
“No better place to do so, my friend.”
“True, true. But I ain’t gonna wander around without you. I don’t want to get attacked by something.”
“For the last time,” I said, sitting up. “Unless you had previously disturbed a spirit, nothing is going to attack you! Just relax, and enjoy the piece and quiet.”
Dan continued looking at some of the headstones, occasionally reading them aloud. He did this for maybe a half hour, before stopping at a partially fenced-in area. Then he called me over, his flashlight on one particularly large headstone.
“Hey James, why’s this part roped off?”
“I have no clue,” I said. “Let’s check some of these out, though. Hand me your flashlight.”
As soon as I stepped over the rope, I felt an immediate chill. I suddenly had second thoughts about going to the cemetery. Dan stepped over the rope right next to me, but did not show any negative reaction like what I had felt.
“Do you feel that?”
“That chill,” I said. “It's cold in this spot right here.”
“Dude,” Patrick said. “It's the end of October. It's supposed to be a little chilly outside.”
“I know, but it's colder in this spot than anywhere else in this cemetery.” I was getting nervous. “I don't like this. We should go to another part of the cemetery.”
“Oh, don't be such a wimp.” Patrick walked over to the large headstone he was looking at. “You're the one who said that nothing in this cemetery would hurt us.”
“Unless we disturb an evil spirit, or something like that,” I warned.
“Chill, will you? We can leave in a few minutes.”
Disgruntled, I turned around and stepped out of the roped area and across the path. As I walked, I heard a soft thud. I turned back to find Patrick on the ground, and a piece of the large headstone in front of him had broken off.
“What happened?” I asked, jumping over the rope.
“Just fell, is all.”
Patrick got up, and grabbed the piece of headstone that broke off. It was a clean cut, as if someone had taken a cutting tool to it. It was jet black, and smooth to the touch. All of the sudden, it flew out of Patrick’s hand, and straight into the ground.
“What the f----?!” Patrick and I yelled out.
The words had barely left my mouth when I felt a searing pain in my leg. I looked down to find my jeans torn and soaking wet. Seconds later, Patrick yelled out in agony. We didn’t have to think twice. We ran out of that cemetery as if an army of demons were chasing us.
I ran as far as I could, with a bum leg. Patrick was a little ways behind me, dragging himself up the hill. I looked back down the hill at the cemetery. With the fool moon shining now, it looked undisturbed, peaceful. The only out of the ordinary thing we saw was our flashlights still lit upon the ground. But I learned that that was just a false sense of security. And whether Patrick knew it or not, we had definitely upset something in there, and it was able to harm us.
An hour later, we practically crawled onto my front porch. Using the light from the porch light, we checked ourselves. Folding up my jean leg, I saw an open gash in my left leg, blood slowly seeping out of it. When Patrick pulled up the back of his shirt, I saw three separate scratch marks; each of them had to have been three or four inches long.
“This isn’t good, man,” I said, holding my leg gingerly.
“No crap,” Patrick said, letting his shirt down. “Our parents are gonna freak when they find out about these cuts.”
“Hell,” I said. “They won’t even believe us when we tell them how it happened. I can see it now…. ‘Kevin! How did you hurt your leg like that?’ Oh… yeh know. We disturbed an evil spirit, and it somehow was able to put gashes into us. Same old, same old.”
“Look,” Patrick said, leaning up against the porch railing. “Let’s just tell our parents that we were walking in a bit of woods, we fell and got beat up a bit, because of it.”
“Tell our parents and the school that. We don’t need all of Galway High School thinking we’re a couple of freaks,” I stated. “But right now, let’s get inside, and get these cuts taken care of.”
After receiving an expensive and rushed visit to the hospital to get our cuts cleaned and stitched, the next few days were fine. Patrick and I went through our days like they usually were, even though I had a slight limp, and Patrick was aching from the cuts on his back he had received from the evil entity. When my parents were around, I did my best to walk normal, and winced whenever they weren’t looking. Patrick and I passed each other in the hallways at school, but we never talked, because we knew what was on the other’s mind: what was that thing?
Two weeks went by, before anything strange happened. Patrick and I were walking through the hall outside the boy’s locker room, when suddenly a trash can flew out from a corner towards us. It smacked Patrick in the side of the head, causing him to fall on top of me. Unfortunately, someone had decided pour some kind of liquid in it, making every piece of trash on us sopping wet. And of course, to make things worse, the hallway was full of people, who started cracking up laughing at the sight of us. Angry and embarrassed, we went to go change, everyone watching, laughing, and pointing at us.
“Damn it!” I said, once we had gotten inside the locker room. “Just my f---ing luck. Two weeks nothing goes wrong, and then this happens.”
“Someone had to have thrown it at us,” Patrick said, once we had finished changing. “And when I find them, I’m gonna freaking kill them. The FBI isn’t even going to find the body.”
“I’m with you, on that one,” I said. “The only problem is, did you see who threw it? Because I couldn’t; there were too many people in the hallway at the time.”
“No, I didn’t.”
By the end of the day, the entire high school knew about Patrick and I being covered in garbage. Everywhere I went, people set up constant reminders of it. Taunts such as “James, I dropped some garbage, wanna pick it up for me?” and “You must enjoy bathing in garbage.” I even had a new nickname, before fourth period: Garbage Boy. Joy! Just what I freaking needed.
After school the very same day, Patrick and I, along with two of our other friends Mike and Amanda, were hanging around by the Galway Central School sign. Patrick and I decided to tell them how we really got our injuries on Halloween.
“Dude, that’s messed up,” Mike said.
“And uncommon,” Amanda interrupted. “Cemeteries are supposed to be some of the most sacred places in the world. What else did you do, before you went to the cemetery?”
“We did what everyone else does on Halloween,” I said. “We were trick-or-treating. Nothing that would tick off anything of the ‘supernatural variety.’”
“Well,” Mike said, “I say we try to take it down, before it hurts anyone else.”
“Yeah, good luck with that,” Patrick said. “I think that thing’s been following us; things have been falling or being thrown at me from nowhere all day!”
“Same here,” I said. “A branch as thick as my leg fell out of a tree and, if I hadn’t jumped out of the way, would have crushed me to death. And it was from a random tree, too. That thing’s trying to kill us!”
“Sounds like you need some help, James,” Amanda said. “And I know just the person who can help; there’s a Wiccan exorcist on the edge of Galway. Her name’s Raven. I’ll take you guys to her tomorrow.”
The next day, Patrick and I followed Amanda to what looked to be an abandoned and decrepit house about half a mile outside of Galway. The building should be noted as condemned. The roof was at a downward slant, because the back wall to the house and caved in. The paint which looked almost white was peeling in sheets off the sides, and ivy was beginning to cover the windows. What looked to be a door was hanging off of one hinge, and had a faded pentacle painted onto it. The brush surrounding the hut was extremely overgrown; the shortest of it was still above my knee.
“Is this it?” I asked quizzically.
“Yeah,” Amanda said, marching forward. “C’mon. Hopefully we won’t be disturbing her.”
“I don’t like the looks of this, man,” Patrick whispered. “Do we even know if this witch is really a good one?”
“Do we have much of a choice?” I responded, following Amanda into the hut.
The inside of the exorcist’s hut wasn’t much better than the outside. The one room was dark and musty, with a strong odor coming from the back. The walls were bare, save for an overloaded bookcase. On the ceiling, what looked like strange symbols or runes had been carved into spiraling circles everywhere. Bits and pieces of the floor had moss growing, and ivy was starting to creep in through the windows. In the back, the silhouette of a table with some small objects on it could be seen.
“It doesn’t look like she’s here,” Amanda said, looking around in the dark.
“Let’s wait, then. I’ve got nothing better, to do,” I said.
After maybe an hour, the exorcist had yet to show up. Patrick had gone outside, where he could breath and look around for the exorcist better, while Amanda and I decided to check out some of the stuff inside.
After closer examination, the bookcase was filled with books on spells, ingredients, astrology, and, of course, the paranormal. There was one particularly large book on the altar that caught my eye. It had dark leather binding, and had a pentagram on the cover. The pages were yellowing, and there were what looked like post-it notes in the side. Inside the book was numerous symbols, drawings, notes, spells, and other writings.
“Can I help you?”
Startled, I dropped the book and whipped around, to find a tall woman standing in the doorway, holding Patrick by his ear. Amanda nearly knocked over the bookcase, but saved it after nearly falling over herself.
“I said, can I help you?” she said, barely hiding the anger in her voice.
“Um…Yes,” I said. “At least, I hope you can.”
“We have some ghost issues,” Patrick groaned (the exorcist still had a hold of his ear). “We figured you could get rid of it, for us.”
“It was my idea to come see you,” Amanda said. “We didn’t mean to intrude.”
“I may be able to help, depending on this ‘ghost,’ as you called it,” the exorcist said, letting go of Patrick’s ear.
“What about ones that attack people?” I asked. “’Cause that would be the case.”
“What kind of attacks?” she asked.
“Well, let’s see,” Patrick said. “A car nearly fell on my head when I was working underneath it, and tools have flown across the room at me.”
“And a dead tree nearly fell onto me while I was on a felling crew,” I said. “Not to mention that garbage can that flew at us from nowhere.”
“Coincidental accidents,” the exorcist stated critically. “It doesn’t prove…“
“There’s more,” I interrupted. “It physically attacked us on Halloween.”
“We have the scars to prove it,” Patrick said, both of us showing our barely healed cuts. “Do you have enough proof, now?”
While we were talking, behind us something terrible was unfolding. Candles all along the hut were lighting of their own accord, catching the vines that hung all over. Before we knew it, the hut was filled with smoke, and the fire was starting to creep close to us. Without a word, we all moved simultaneously; the exorcist towards her altar, reaching for the old book laid out on top of it, Amanda, Patrick and I to the door. The ceiling could be heard giving way.
“C’mon! Forget the book!” I yelled after the exorcist. “It’s not worth it.”
Patrick was in the doorway waiting for the exorcist, rushing her out just before the building gave way. Right on top of his head. That half-second felt like an hour. Patrick began his step to safety, not noticing his death being pulled down onto him by gravity and flames. This entity must have felt accomplished.
“Patrick!” Amanda and I yelled, running towards the flame-engulfed rubble.
“No!” The exorcist grabbed us both by our collars, pulling us back to her side, away from the flames. “By the time it’s even safe for you, there’ll be nothing left...”
“Get off! Pat’s my best friend,” I shrugged her off, running towards where I last saw Patrick. “He ain’t leaving that easy!”
“You fool! Get back here!”
Falling to my knees, I tried to remove some of the rubble from the pile, but I ended my search quickly, burning my hands immediately from the hot embers and flame. So I just sat there, in agonizing physical and emotional pain, for maybe a half an hour. I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Amanda.
“Let’s go, James,” she whispered. “The exorcist will help you, as best as she can.”
“Whatever,” I said, getting up and shaking off tears. “Let’s just get this over with.”
“Call me Silver,” the Exorcist said, emotionless. “Alright, take me to where you first encountered the entity. There we will find our answers.”
“What about calling the police and fire department?” I asked. “I mean, someone has died in a fire.”
“They’re on their way,” Silver explained. “I already called them. If you want to lose all credibility by telling them about an evil entity killing your friend, stay. If you want to finish this before anyone else dies, we must hurry.”
And so, I led Amanda and Silver away from Silver’s hut. Minutes afterwards, I believe the police arrived. I wonder what they thought of seeing a blackened, bloodstained hand sticking out of the charcoal, lifeless and alone. Later on I read that the police suspected arson. I suppose they’re right. I don’t think they ever locked anyone up for it, though. I guess they did their best.
Silver prepared for an exorcism immediately. On our way to the cemetery, she searched through a pouch she carried with her at all times, supposedly. Every now and then, she would randomly go off among the trees to collect more herbs.
“How’s this going to go down, anyways,” I asked Silver after one of her excursions.
“You must do exactly as I say, exactly when I say it,” Silver said sternly. “For your own safety, and for this exorcism to work. I should warn you; it’s going to be a wild ride, for all of us.”
We reached the cemetery at sunset; we walked, you see. The silhouettes of the trees and headstones stood in front of us, backed by (quite ironically) by probably the most beautiful sunset I’ve yet to see in my life. Taking a deep breath, I stepped through the gate.
“Alright, we need to hurry with this,” Amanda said. “I have huge chills; the spirit knows we’re hear for a reason.”
And so we gathered around the roped-off area that started everything. The headstone that Patrick had broken was jet-black, and old. So old, in fact, that all writing had disappeared from the face from weathering. I stared at the headstone for what felt like forever, until I noticed something: it was hollow.
“What’s with this?” I looked at the gap quizzically.
Silver’s eyes widened with realization. “This is no headstone; it’s a prison for an entity. How that’s even possible, I do not know, but that’s what it appears to be.”
“Let’s get this over with,” Amanda said nervously. “I hate this.”
“She’s right,” Silver said, beginning to walk around us in a large circle. “Whatever you do, do not leave this circle, understand me? You will be safe as long as you are in it.”
Next door, a dog began to bark. I felt a large drop in temperature, then something brush against my leg. I looked down on the ground to find nothing there; the entity had decided to pay a visit. Who would be its next victim? All three of us knew about it. All three of us will die.
I looked up to find Silver paralyzed in her place, a horrified expression on her face. Amanda let out a small gasp. Sticking out of her chest was the piece of headstone that had broken off on Halloween. Dark red blood was beginning to seep out of the corner of her mouth. Then with a loud and grueling crack, her knees were forced backward, and she fell to the ground, pushing the headstone through so that a small point shown out her back. She never moved again. She never even completed the circle.
Amanda looked at me with a mixture of nausea and fear on her face. We ran from the cemetery, never looking back at the dark, deformed body of the exorcist. We ran and ran, until we couldn’t run anymore. The gods just couldn’t give us just a bit more energy.
A speeding pick-up came around the bend, and over the spot where I had just been. Amanda was right next to me. The truck collided with her, and she flew up and over the cab and into the bed. The truck spun out, then flipped over the side rail inot a rock face. The truck righted itself once it touched the ground. The truck’s collision with the rock face caused some boulders above to come loose and plummet towards the truck, and they crushed what was left of it.
I wonder to myself sometimes, “why? Why not me? Why my best friends?” To this day, I have been welcoming death, but it will not come soon enough. It’s been two years. I have never been back in Galway since that night, nor do I ever plan on it. I still get the paper, though, despite the fact that I never stop moving. I read everyday of these horrifying and random deaths, and wonder how any being would let this happen, mortal or not.
I right to you now, from the desk at a cheap, smelly motel I decided to spend a night at. I sense death on my horizon, and I decided that if it’ll happen unnaturally, maybe if I’m lucky the entity will end it in my sleep. But, something tells me~