Mercy – Chapter 2

(continuation of ‘Mercy‘ chapter 1 s2iKoL-mercy )

Jessamine slept often, those first few days after her return. I was allowed to take her to the garden for one hour each day, where I read poetry to her and piled dozens of fresh picked flowers on her lap. The hail storm had laid waste to our vegetable garden, but the heartier flowers that lined the old house were spared its wrath.

“Do you remember how it felt when…” I couldn’t bring myself to finish the question. Father had told me to never mention the word exorcism again, especially in front of Jessamine.

She shook her head. “I don’t remember a thing. It just felt as if I’d disappeared, like sleeping without dreaming.”

“Please don’t go away again.”

“I promise, I won’t. Big sisters are supposed to take care of their little sisters, not the other way around. Thank heavens you had Lucy to watch over you while I was…gone.” She cradled Lucy in her hands, smoothing her thumb over the tiny fracture.

I had to say something that had puzzled me ever since her possession. “You’d think living in the Reverend’s house would have prevented something like this from happening. I mean, this is sacred ground of sorts. ”

Jessamine stares at the old stone manse, at its tall windows and gabled roof. Her eyes glazed over as if with fever. Her lips were dry and cracked and her voice was soft and distant when she replied, “Yes, you would think so.”

Despite father’s insistence that we put Jessamine’s episode behind us, lest we give the evil the power to creep back into our lives, it was hard for me to stay silent. I had so many questions.

I lay in my bed letting the questions twist round my brain. The moon was full and brilliant and cast silvery shafts of diaphaneity across our small bedroom.

How did the evil worm its way into Jessamine?

Why her?

Where did it go?

How did it go? Was it simply a matter of saying the right words by the Reverend, or was it something more, something that couldn’t be seen or heard?

“I’m sure it’s in hell, where it belongs,” my sister blurted from her sleep. It was if she had read my thoughts!

It gave me a terrible fright. I touched her lightly on the shoulder but her heavy exhalation told me she was in a deep state of sleep.

The house took on a preternatural silence and the radiance of the moon no longer seemed so gay. Sleep did not come easily.

I was awakened by Esther’s piercing scream. Jessamine and I threw off our blankets and rushed down the stairs.

Esther was still in her nightclothes. A wide, dark streak of blood marked the trail of her pained walk from her room by the kitchen to the dining room.

She reached out to us with shaking hands. “Help…me!”

It was awful. Her round face was red with strain and rivers of tears flowed from the corners of her eyes. Our charwoman had always been a source of invincibility in our home. She lay upon the floor like a helpless rabbit caught in a trap. Her leg was a mass of gore. With trembling hands she tried to stanch the flow of blood.

My father brushed past us and knelt by her side. He asked her how she had come to be hurt but poor Esther could only babble. The house was awash with our cries.

Mother had been given a prescription of laudanum to help her frayed nerves, so she remained oblivious to the commotion.

“Jessamine, fetch me that cloth over there,” he said.

When he turned to ask for her help, I saw the red, pulpy swath that had been carved into Esther’s leg. The edges of the wound were ragged, as if…

As if something had gnawed the flesh from her leg.

Esther’s moans died in her throat when she passed out, and I ran to the well to fill a basin with water.

The doctor arrived an hour later. He took Esther with him to the hospital. She awoke when Father and he lifted her from the floor and screamed like a madwoman all the way to the doctor’s carriage.

None of us ate that day. We couldn’t get the image of her gnawed-upon leg out of our brains.

“Father, what could do such a thing to Esther?” I asked. “Could it have been a wolf?”

He shook his head and smoothed the sides of his great, bushy mustache. “I’m not sure dear. Esther was in no state to tell us. Perhaps when she settles down at hospital, she’ll recall. I’d say it had to have been some animal she encountered in the yard. I want you girls to pray for her recovery and that it wasn’t…rabid.”

When mother awoke in the early afternoon, she shuffled throughout the house, calling for Esther, wondering about supper.

It seemed we couldn’t escape the madness.

~ Hunter Shea

© Copyright 2012 Hunter Shea. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 3 will be available on Halloween Day on Hunter’s blog, www.huntershea.com. To be concluded on Pen of the Damned in December!

Advertisements

Tags: , , , ,

About Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. His novels, Forest of Shadows, Evil Eternal , Swamp Monster Massacre , Sinister Entity, Hell Hole, The Waiting and Island of the Forbidden are published through Samhain Publishing’s horror line. Hell Hole was named Horror Novel Reviews #1 horror novel of 2014. His first thriller novel, The Montauk Monster, was released June, 2014 as a Pinnacle paperback, and was named by Publishers Weekly as one of the best reads of the summer. His follow up Pinnacle novel, Tortures of the Damned, a post apocalyptic thriller, will be out July, 2015. That will be followed up by his latest cryptid tale, The Dover Demon, in the fall through Samhain. His horror short story collection, Asylum Scrawls, is available as an e-book, straightjacket not included. Hunter is an amateur cryptozoologist, having written wild, fictional tales about Bigfoot, The Montauk Monster, The Dover Demon and many new creatures to come. A copy of his book, The Montauk Monster, is currently on display in the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME. He wrote his first novel with the express desire to work only with editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester (Leisure Horror). He submitted his novel to Don and only Don, unagented, placed on the slush pile. He is proof that dedicated writers can be rescued from no man’s land. He now works with Don, along with several other agents and publishers, having published over ten books in just four years. Hunter is proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with his partner in crime, Jack Campisi. It is one of the most watched horror video podcasts in the world. Monster Men is a light hearted approach to dark subjects. Hunter and Jack explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun. They often interview authors, cryptid and ghost hunters, directors and anyone else living in the horror lane. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits. His daughters have also gotten the horror bug, assisting him with research, story ideas and illustrations that can be seen in magazines such as Dark Dossier.

24 responses to “Mercy – Chapter 2”

  1. Thomas James Brown says :

    And so the stakes are raised! I went back and reread the first part before dipping into this one. The narrative is developing nicely (if nicely can also be read as unpleasantly!) You are still leaving us hooks too, in the form of unanswered questions, which keep the reader craving for part 3. As vivid and visceral as the last, always a pleasure to read, Hunter!

    Like

    • Hunter Shea says :

      Thank you so much. This is my first attempt at gothic horror and it’s been a real blast diving into that world. Things will amp up even more with chapter 3!

      Like

  2. Joseph Pinto says :

    You’ve got me hooked, Hunter. After reading this, I feel as if I’ve gone back in time – sitting in front of the radio, clinging to every word as it seeps from the speaker, & groaning in protest upon learning that I need to “tune in next week” for the next installment! lol

    It’s a challenge to write a serial story here on Pen of the Damned, but challenges exist to be met and conquered. You’re doing that thus far with ‘Mercy.’

    I’m also enjoying the smooth prose…and that cloying presence that seems to hover above each passage. Well done, my Squatchy friend!!

    Like

    • Hunter Shea says :

      Thanks oh task master. I remember sitting listening to re-runs of the old radio shows while my father and I used to put Universal Monster models together in the kitchen. Some of the best story telling was done on those shows.

      Like

  3. blazemcrob says :

    Gothic horror is such a challenge, Hunter, but you are mastering it. This is such a different way of telling a story than you did in your Alaska tale. Both are great! Bravo!

    Blaze

    Like

  4. Tyr Kieran says :

    Arghhh, more waiting. You’re a Damned pain in the ass, Shea! ha ha

    Like

  5. Adriana Noir says :

    Mmm, yes. I love the flavor of this story, the oppressive tone it conveys, and the fluid beauty of the words. Excellent craftsmanship, Hunter! I cannot wait to see what devils lurk in the passages ahead. You certainly do have us sitting on pins and needles over here!

    Another delicious installment on a story I am growing to love. *applauds* Bravo, Monster Man!

    Like

  6. Nina D'Arcangela says :

    Nicely spun Hunter! I’m enjoying the style of your Gothic tale very much… but, do you think you could pick up the pace a little? LOL – Well, I guess it wouldn’t be a Gothic tale then, would it? Very nicely written Hunter – very effective in the telling! ;}

    Like

  7. Daemonwulf says :

    Hunter, this is shaping up to be a great little tale! I look forward to the next installment…(*aaargh*)…on Halloween. Thank goodness (or badness, as it were…) it is only a couple weeks away as I can hardly wait to see what doom has befallen Esther. And what of the Reverend? What kind of nefarious deeds was this alleged man of cloth up to on this ‘sacred ground’ of his? We can only wait…and wonder…and hope for the most dreadful worst! *rubbing paws togther*

    Like

  8. zkullis says :

    I like the direction, Hunter. This tale a steady momentum, driven by hints of a coming horror, that promises to leave the frog quite boiled in its pot.

    *chomping at the bit for the next slice of gothic pie*

    Like

  9. The Other Side of Ugly says :

    Great story, kept me involved and makes me want more.

    Like

  10. moondustwriter says :

    Hunter wow
    Im caught and want to get out of the cage
    can you free this beast?
    chapter 3 plzzzz

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: