An ancient evil desires to return to the mortal realm to resurrect The Unnamed. The only force standing between the Master of the Dark and his demonic horde are five teenagers unaware of the power they possess...
The smooth slab of marble was cold against his bare skin and his arms ached from being stretched above his head. He looked around but could not see much beyond the circle of torches that surrounded the altar he woke up on. He did not need to see where he was to know; it smelled old, ancient and was a scent he had grown to know too well.
He could also feel something in there with him, something that was sliding inside of him. He knew what it was and knew that by sunrise, he would fulfill the destiny thrust upon him.
He was scared but not for himself; his entire existence had been filled with nothing more than preparation for the night’s ritual. He was scared for everyone outside the castle’s walls; the innocent lives that would be lost once the ageless evil took full possession of his body before it ripped its way out.
If he had the option, he would have run long ago but there had always been someone there, watching him. As the day approached, he even considered killing himself – without his body as a host, the darkness coming would have had no place to go. But though he was willing to make the sacrifice, he never had a free moment to drag the blade across his wrist.
For thirteen years, since the day he was born, he had been a prisoner of an extremist cult who worshipped something so dangerous legend claimed its return would mark the end of all there is. Given only minimal care to ensure his survival, he was just a thing kept locked away in the tower.
- - - -
Kellan sighed as he stepped across the threshold, very near miserable over his forced relocation to what he considered just left of the middle of nowhere. The two story house was over a hundred and twenty years old and had a creepy old manor vibe that made it scream for a central role in one of the demonic possession films he hated but could not get enough of. And it was a thousand miles away from the life he knew and loved, including Evan, the one person who knew his deepest secret and still did not reject him. He was in a new place without his best, possibly only, friend and hated the idea of starting again.
“Did we really have to move here? Our last place was perfect. And, y’know, there were neighbors.”
“I told you, Kel, this is our family’s ancestral home and with Grandma gone, it’s up to us to take care of it.” Deidre, his mother, squeezed past him with a box labeled MOM’S and placed it at the foot of the stairs. “There’s no one else, hon.”
“I know. But I didn’t want to move here.” He slumped his shoulders and sighed again.
“Oh,” she put on her best mom-smile, “don’t worry. I’m sure in a few days, you’ll love it here.”
“That’s what you said about that ballet class and now we’re barred from three halls and one middle school. Oh, and don’t forget that old folks’ home.”
Deidre shook her head. “This is different; this is family.”
“Also,” Tabitha, his older sister, said as she pushed him aside while carrying a stack of boxes toward the stairs, “no tights.”
“Be nice to him, Tabby.”
“Yeah, nice, if you can manage.”
“Shut up, Kel.”
“What’d I just say?” Deidre glared at them both. “Y’know what? If you two are just going to bicker, then-”
“’kay, bye.” Kellan spun around and ran out the door before his annoyed mother could correct him.
Deidre groaned. “Go make sure he doesn’t get into too much trouble. And be back by sunset.”
- - - -
The smell of sage and thyme filled the room and he could hear the low hum of chanting just outside the room. The acolytes were making their final arrangements for the ceremony and soon their Dark Lord and Master would be freed to pave the way for the Nameless One’s return from Helmagatton, the Place of Evil’s Evil. The Master they honored would take over his body and for one lunar cycle, would gestate inside him before tearing him apart as it ripped its way into the world, fully matured and hungry to fulfill its destiny.
There was nothing he could do to stop it; he was helpless, strapped down and at the mercy of those who did not believe in such a thing. No one among the demon-god’s worshippers cared what would happen to him; none even knew what his mother, who had disappeared long ago, named him.
He closed his eyes and hoped it would all be over quickly.
- - - -
The old house was set near the back of a five acre plot, most of which was covered with even older trees that blocked it from all sides. Kellan, needing fresh air and time alone, disappeared into the small forest.
It had been over a decade since his family last visited his grandmother; they had traveled there for her wedding to her much younger boyfriend – a thought that, once he understood the mechanics of a relationship, creeped him out. The house had not changed much since; aside from a fresh coat of paint and a new roof, everything looked exactly the same. Boring. Detached. Forsaken.
He had not wanted to abandon his old life; he was just about to enter his freshman year of high school and wanted to experience it with friends, not total strangers. So much had begun changing since he graduated eighth grade, so much had been discovered, that figuring it all out without Evan to help him scared him to death.
He was so lost in his own thoughts that he never noticed the trail veer off and he slammed right into one of the old trees and dropped onto his rear end.
“Ow. Not cool.”
“Try paying attention next time.” Tabitha looked down at him and smirked. “How could you miss that? Too busy daydreaming again?”
“Explains the burnt smell.”
“Shut up.” He pushed himself to his knees and used the tree trunk to climb to his feet. “I’ve got a lot on m mind, okay?”
Tabitha crossed her arms and gave her the I know you’re hiding something big look.“Alright, I’ll bite; what’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” Hi kicked the ground, very much not wanting to tell her his deep, dark and scary secret. “Just stuff, I guess.”
Tabitha’s expression softened and she draped and arm over his shoulders. “Calm down, alright? Maybe it won’t be so bad here. I mean, it might be boring as hell but-”
Laughter caught the attention of both siblings and they looked at the line of trees that bordered the back end of the property.
“Is that… fun? Here?” Kellan pulled away from her. “No fair, I want some, too.”
“So…” Tabitha said as she grabbed his hand and pulled him with her. “Let’s go find it.”
- - - -
Cernin, self-appointed leader of the cult, stood beside the altar, hands held above the boy’s chest as fresh blood dripped down from the ceiling. He was chanting in the tongue of the Forgotten Ones, those that gave rise to the gods no one could name anymore. He was crying out for He Who makes the way for the Unnamed One who shall remake all of creation on Their bloodied and brutal glory and image as the others, in a circle on the other side of the torches, whispered the name of the Dark Warrior who promised to free them from their mortal coils.
“N’Caad N’rikk, the Master of That Which Lies in the Darkness, Keeper of the Buried Secrets Within and Seeker of the Unilluminated Way, your servants call for Your Glory to return to us and make ready this cursed world for Their triumphant return.”
The temperature spiked and the boy cried out in pain; Cernin knew well what he suffered and praised the Forgotten Ones for their wisdom to create their way back into the mortal plane so many eons before. He was proud of this moment, of all he had done to see it come to pass, and smiled wickedly as tears began to fall down the boy’s face.
“Return to us, oh, Dark One, and bring with you the way of our Immaculate Evil’s resurrection.”
He could feel the demon-god all around him and knew it was only a matter of moments before he spoke through the boy and ushered in the End of All That Was. There was no going back to the way things were; very soon, Cernin would see the world become what he had always dreamed it could be.
Then, the torches extinguished.
- TO BE CONTINUED -