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Sin and Darkness
I leaned back in my chair and stared at the florescent lights above. Work was just as boring as ever, no customers had come to question there insurance at all that day. And what annoyed me even more was the Haunted Game Cartridge story had moved to hiatus and so the forums had died. The Haunted Cartridge ARG was something I had been following for a long time, it was a story about a boy named Ben. Ben was a young man who drowned, why he drowned we still don’t know, but he now haunts a video game cartridge, in the form a creepy statue copy of the main character, claiming victims through twisting their minds until they kill themselves out of need to escape their insanity.
The hiatus was quite frustrating to say the least, cause it stopped me from discovering more about the death of my wife. She died about a year ago, and the day we discovered the body, one of the neighborhood teenagers commented on the similarity to her body’s state and Ben from the ARG. I’ve studied the story non-stop since then, keeping an eye on all the members wondering if any were psychotic enough to kill to become part of the story.
I glanced up at the digital clock on the bland, white, office wall. It was almost ten, the last train bound for home would be arriving soon. I stood up, stretched my arms, and went to log off my computer. I thought I glanced something in the reflection of the screen, a face watching over my shoulder. It was only there for a split second, I needed to stop staying up so late.
The subway was crowded with teenagers, I always hated Friday nights because of this. Couples were making-out on the benches, girls smoking against one wall, guys smoking against the wall opposite. All the adults shuffled nervously at the gangs huddling in the corners whispering and laughing. I flashed my subway pass to the gate guard and he let me through. The train hadn’t arrived and the platform was packed, it was going to be a very crowded ride home. I shuffled over to a, surprisingly, vacant bench, sat down and glanced around the crowds.
My eyes fell upon a group of shifty teens, smoking and laughing away. But among their booted legs, stood a child. He stood like a statue and stared at me with wide, dead eyes, and a creepy smile. He reminded me of the Elegy Statue from the story and a chill ran up my spine.
“Excuse me, sir? May I sit here?” I jumped startled and broke eye contact with the child. I looked over to see a goth teen. He was coated in piercings and wore a black trench coat, fedora, and combat boots. A cigarette was gently gripped between two, yellowing fingers.
“Of course, just please put that out, I can’t stand the smell.”
“Certainly,” he threw his smoke into a nearby ash tray and sat down. He stared at me, his eyes confused and concerned.
“What?” I asked a bit weirded out.
“You’ve done something and it burdens you.”
“Really?” I mumbled sarcastically.
“Yes,” the boy glanced over at the group I looked at earlier and frowned, “whatever you did, you shouldn’t have done it.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I didn’t like this kid, he was beginning to get on my nerves. The curious boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a small leather pouch; he reached his fingers inside and pulled out some strange powder. He mumbled some strange incantation and flicked the powder at my face. I shielded my eyes but sadly breathed in the strange substance.
“What the hell was that?” I coughed.
“A blessing,” the kid smiled patting my shoulder, making me cough harder.
“You part of some cult or something?” I wheezed as I swept the powder off my suit.
“I wouldn’t call it a cult, sir, it’s a faith,” he smiled, the same eerie smile the child from earlier had, but it was more disturbing. His face seemed familiar, but I didn’t know why.
The screech of brakes returned me from my thoughts as I spotted the subway pulling into the station. “I’ll see you around?” The goth held out his hand. I accepted it so as not to be rude, and the boy smiled that same disturbing smile. As I began to stand the boy slipped a flier into my pocket. He nodded to me and melted into the moving crowd.
I sat down in my usual seat and pulled out the flier.
Sessions every night of the full moon.
Join us and be forgiven of your sins.
Yep, that kid was part of some cult alright. The flier went on but I crumpled it up promptly and shoved it back into my pocket.
The ride under the city was quite boring really, like any other day. But what happened next I didn’t expect. Suddenly the train lurched forward. Passengers screamed, and I yelped, as we were all sent forward. My flight was cut short my a metal pole in the middle of the walkway, my head made impact with a bang. Everything blurred and muffled as I fell unconscious.
I opened my eyes to a horrible sight, the walls of the car were scrunched up like an accordion, glass littered the twisted floor, and blood coated everything. The smell of burning corpses hung in the air, and I could see suitcases burst open everywhere, their contents surrounding them. I examined myself over, no broken bones but a gash ran across my forehead. The wound probably came from the impact with the pole, I took off my suit jacket and ripped a strip off it for a makeshift bandage. My head hurt, I was shaking violently, I felt sick to my stomach at the smell of the bodies, I needed out. Walking over bodies, glass, and belongings I exited the train through a broken window.
The tunnel was lit up by one of the nearby burning cars and some of the still operating lights. Torched corpses littered the tracks and hung out of windows. I walked slowly away from the train in a daze. Was I the only survivor? Were the people further up the train dead? As I got farther from the train, the darkness began to consume me, I had to start feeling along the brick wall to avoid hurting myself on the tracks. After a while I sat down of the rough gravel to catch my breath. There had to be an exit or station close by. My head throbbed, I ripped my dress shirt and changed the bandage on my head with it.
Pebbles clicked in the distance. I froze and looked deep into the darkness toward the noise. I stood and walked towards it. People, or a person! I’m saved! I began shouting down the tunnel, “Hello? Is someone there? I need help!” I turned a corner and stopped. A red light flickered above a maintenance door. Next to the door stood the child from earlier. The light twisted his features, his eyes were more sunken and unnatural, his smile was demonic. Though he didn’t look angry or mad, his eyes carried a sinister light. The light flicked off then on, and the boys appearance was different. His eyes were black holes and it seemed blood oozed from the emptiness, his teeth were sharper, and a strange wail exited his mouth. The light flickered again and he returned to normal. What was this thing before me? The light flickered once again and the boy was gone. I hadn’t heard him move, no disturbance on the floor, he had just vanished. I backed away searching the darkness frantically for the demon. My leg bumped into something, I turned and cold hands clawed my leg. The grotesque demon screamed as he broke through the skin. I kicked it off screaming, and it wailed like a child and it landed hard on the ground. Not taking a second thought I sprinted for the door, wrestled it open and ran into the florescent hallway. My leg burned as the blood ran down it, it would probably hurt more if adrenaline wasn’t running through my veins. I could hear something following behind me in a spastic manner, like a rabid wild animal. I didn’t dare look behind me to see if it was the demon following me, it was obviously out for blood. I turned down a side hall to metal mesh stairs. I scrambled up them, but my injured leg gave way from under me. The mesh scrapped my body as I slid down several steps. I got to my hands and knees panting, the sound of my pursuer had vanished. I got to my feet and looked behind me, nothing, was it waiting around the corner? Did it want me to run? To enjoy the chase and the hunt? I turned back and calmly climbed the step.
At the top was a room with a ladder leading further up, possibly to the surface. It went about ten feet into the air and ended at a platform. I walked to the ladder, wincing as I went, and began to climb. The metal was cold against my sweaty palms and it took a lot of effort to keep my grip, and my injured leg wasn’t making my ascension any easier.
Finally, just a few rungs below the platform, I hooked my arm to the ladder and rested. I listened to my surroundings wondering if the monster had followed and was climbing the ladder after me. A dripping noise met my ears. A liquid hitting metal, and it was a thick liquid. A drop hit my hand, it was dark red, blood. I swung my head up and was greeted by a pipe falling toward me. It made impact with my head and I lost my grip on the ladder and fell. I smacked into the concrete, bone snapped and I screamed in pain as I looked back up to see my attacker. My blood froze, how had it gotten up there? The monster child smiled down at me. It’s eyes had changed once again, they were yellow with red pupil and instead white sclera, it was black. And strange cracks covered his face.
“What are you?” I croaked, my throat dry from pain and fear. The child vanished and reappeared about five feet away. His expression was hateful, but also empty. The demon didn’t move, but I began to hear footsteps, I struggled to turn toward the noise. Up the steps walked the teen from earlier, or I thought it was. He had lost all his piercings, his clothes were exchanged with a white robe, and he was carrying a mask. His head was tilted down and his hair was shielding his eyes as he stalked closer to us. When he reached the child he leaned over putting his ear next to its sharp mouth. The demon’s mouth didn’t move, but the boy nodded as if agreeing with its unheard words. Then he laughed, a very haunting chuckle that stays in a mans soul for eternity. Finally he lifted his head, his hair swishing away from his eyes as he stared at me. His face was twisted in a mad smile, his eyes were wide and filled with the thoughts of the insane. His chuckle soon became a wail of laughter. This boy was lost, to some unknown madness. The statue child suddenly moved its arm and took the mask from the hysterical teen.
“James Johnson! A sin has been recognized by Luna!” The teen shouted, his eyes begging for blood. The demon could now move all its limbs, “a sin that is unforgivable. Ascending someone before their time!” The teens face contorted in rage. Ascending? Sin? What had I done? I was a regular business man, what crime had I committed? The monster had reached me and grabbed my broken arm, it forced it straight against my side. I screamed, the monster and teen smiled in delight, “and punishment for this crime,” he whispered. The demon had placed my legs together and my arms against my side, and placed the mask to my face, “is torture till death!” The teen began laughing again. I felt something sharp enter my arm and something smooth slip through. They were stitching me up, into the same position as the demon, statue like! I began to hear things as I dabbled in unconsciousness, it was my wife’s voice, Katherine's voice.
“My eyes! Please, I’m sorry! No more!” She wailed and cried in my mind. “Please, I won’t do it again! It was--” She screamed, I felt blood on my hands, how many stitches had they completed? “Stop! James stop!” What? No, she lied. I never hurt her! The statue, and that mad man. They were imprinting these lies! Adrenaline surged through me, I sat up and ripped my arms from my sides. The stitches breaking as more blood sprinkled me and the floor. I removed the mask from my face and broke it against the stained floor. Both villains knelled on the floor shocked, but their laughter continued. My wife's screams mixed among the noise.
“Stop imprinting these lies in my head!” I shouted, standing up and kicking the child across the room.
“I have done nothing,” The teen giggled standing up as well, “you are just remembering.”
“Lies! I never touched Katherine!”
“That is the lie, you just couldn’t handle it! You are a coward!” Next to me was the pipe from before, it was broken and sharp, “you are the saint,” he continued, “she was the sinner. She had the fling, how dare she. She told you she’d end it, but she didn’t. You hated her.”
“You despised her.”
“You wanted her dead!”
“You killed her!” I grabbed the pipe and lunged at him. He laughed harder, louder. The pipe pierced his chest, and he still laughed. Blood running out of his mouth from a pierced lung. He laughed wildly, so I stabbed him again. He laughed, I stabbed him. His laugh weakened, I stabbed him. His laugh all but died, I stabbed him. His laughter stopped, I stabbed him. His body collapsed, I stabbed him. I couldn’t stop, I was beginning to enjoy it, his laugh left my lips. The statue stood in the distance watching as I let the boys blood coat my arms, it was warm and inviting. I looked up at the boy, it wasn’t afraid. It didn’t think I’d hurt it. I dragged the bloody pipe and stalked toward it. It didn’t move, just like she had, it thought I was bluffing. I wasn’t. I stabbed into their shoulder, I smacked their head, I stabbed their eyes, I stabbed their frail body. My rage and hate fueling me.
“You loved him and not me! You don’t deserve me, but I loved you!”
“James!” They wailed.
“It’s too late! You should have thought more about this Katherine!”
“James! I’m sorry!”
“Shut up! You’ll just go back to him!”
“James! Please...” She was dying.
“If I can’t have you, no one will!” I jabbed the pipe into her heart. It felt good, she was dead, I was free. I panted as I knelled into the pool of mixed blood. From the teen, the statue, and Katherine.
“Freeze!” I turned around grasping my weapon tight. It was an officer, his gun was pointed at me. The room looked different too. The teen was back in his black attire, and the statue had been replaced by a security guard, “Put the pipe down!” The officer shouted, he was shaking, probably not used to the sight of blood.
I looked at my predicament and decided I was too tired, and I didn’t want to try and beat a gun with a simple pipe. Letting out a large sigh I dropped the pipe and raised my hands in the air.
“So here I am now, locked away with no chance of parole. Any questions, ma’am?” A reporter sat on the other side of the visiting glass taking notes for a story about me. Her hand was shaking as she tried to keep a strong face.
“So it was all in your head?” She asked looking at her notes avoiding eye contact.
“That’s what the court psychologist said. The train never really crashed, it just broke down. And the two I killed were trying to help me get back to the train.”
“Do you believe you were, subconsciously, getting yourself to confess for the crime of killing Katherine Johnson?”
“Oh coarse, but what my subconscious didn’t expect, is for me to enjoy my sin. I just gave up cause I couldn’t fight back. I’d rather live a little longer, thank you.”
“Do you regret it? Killing those people?”
“No, as I said before, I enjoyed it.”
“But your first victim was your wife, no regrets at all?”
“She was a... she was the greater sinner.”
“I find murder to be more severe than adultery.”
“But she’s a killer too. She killed James, the sane James anyway. She just left a killing shell.”
“I... I see. One last question Mr. Johnson... what was the thing chasing you supposedly?”
I paused and thought back to the strange obsession my old self had. That weird ARG.
“Remember that ARG I discussed before. I think it was that. That strange statue thing. I believe it was an anchor for... me when I was first hit with the shock I killed someone. Some fictional thing to keep me sane and focused on my life. But really, it was all a ruse, to disguise myself.” She sat there pondering, then she finally made eye contact. There was no pity in her eyes. It was a welcome sight. I saw a touch of hate, a sliver of admiration, but mostly curiosity. She wanted more, but she was out of time. Visiting hours were up.
“Thank you for your time, Mr. Johnson.” She stood up out of her chair and began to walk out the door, she seemed so innocent.
“Wait,” She stopped and looked at me, “What is your name?” She looked me in the eyes, debating on telling me or not.
“Susan, Susan Fey,”
“There is one thing I regret, Susan,” she looked at me, raising an eyebrow in doubt. “I regret telling such an innocent girl this horrible truth.” I didn’t wait to see her reaction. I stood and let my guard escort me back to my cell. I could imagine Susan, standing where I left her, looking back over her notes then back to the empty chair where I once sat. Then she would let a smile cross her face, not a smile of relief, but a smile of new born curiosity. She would turn back through the door, leave the visitors center, and make her way to her office building to type up her article. An article discussing my interesting death. The death of James Johnson, a man of naivety, and stupidity.