The house is old, abandoned and in the middle of nowhere. Perfect for my plans. It’s almost too easy to set up; a few flyers around town and the vague promise of free beer is all it takes.
New Year’s Eve. One year to the day. The timing is right, the moon full in the sky. I wear his name like a talisman. This has to work.
I watch them arrive from my vantage point in the bushes. The smell of the earth is wet in my nostrils. I inhale deeply, allowing the stink of mulch to center me. The teenagers cannot see me. I made sure of that. I can hear them though. From the snippets of conversation I can hear I know that none of them know who really set the party up. Most of them are assuming one of the cooler kids organized it.
I was never one of the cooler kids, but the assumption suits me just fine.
The sounds of the party in full swing drift over; loud music with a thumping bass-line, the roar of dozens of voices trying to be heard at once and the occasional muffled thump of some piece of furniture being destroyed. I wait until there are no more new arrivals and then I make my move.
My first is a girl I find on the rotting porch. She’s crying, presumably having been dumped or humiliated or otherwise betrayed by her so called friends. I use her sadness to my advantage and she comes willingly into the woods with me. Her neck snaps satisfyingly in my hands. I cover the body loosely with damp dirt, ready for later. It wouldn’t do to be discovered too early.
My second is one of the jocks. He’s drunk off his face and far too easily manipulated. He’s not sure why I want him to go into the woods but he’s enthusiastic about it in a way only drunk people can be. Keeping him quiet is the hardest part. He’s gets the same treatment as the girl.
With two now missing from the party people have started to notice. No one missed the girl until the jock disappeared too. I mingle with the crowds, seeding suggestions that they might have gone into the woods. I’m met with the crudest of suggestions and the party seems to relax.
I can go about my business again.
The third and fourth I stumble upon out almost by accident. They are outside the house, not too far from my hiding place, doing exactly what the two missing teenagers were suspected of doing; an opportunity not to be missed. I don’t give them the chance to scream.
The fifth I find passed out in a pool of his own vomit, half dead already. I finish the job and put him with the rest.
Now the real work can begin.
I arrange the five bodies at each point of a pentagram, myself in the middle. I cut the throats and let the torrent of blood wash over me. I can feel the power. I glory in it. The rest of the rite seems to flow from me, and then there is only blackness.
When I come to I am lying in something sticky. Gingerly I lift my throbbing head and realize it’s blood. There’s so much blood.
I’m back in the house and it’s littered with bodies and viscera. There’s blood everywhere and the scent of damp and rot is overwhelmed by the stench of death. Some poor souls are still alive; I can hear some screaming still, others groaning quietly. They won’t last long.
There’s no doubt that I’m the one who killed all these teenagers, though I have no memory of it. Did the rite go wrong somehow?
I pry myself from the floorboards and start searching. The ritual circle is intact, but there’s no sign of him. I can’t find him anywhere in the house or the woods. There’s no sign I managed to resurrect him at all.
Sirens fade into my awareness, getting closer; someone must have gotten away. I don’t care. It was all for nothing.
The rite was supposed to bring my brother back. Five souls in exchange for his. That was the deal.
I fall to my knees, screaming his name to the sky, willing him to come back to me. Wishing I could take it all back, make it right again.
I’m still screaming when the sirens arrive.
Rachel Tonks Hill is an eldritch abomination from deep within the Stygian abyss known as “Yorkshire”. She craves sleep, tea and the souls of the damned. She can usually be found in bed, writing feverishly, or over on Twitter crying about the faces of fictional people. Further ramblings can be found at her blog. Her self-published fiction can be found on Amazon or at Smashwords.
Image by TORLEY