The Promise

Gus Lockett, Guest Author

It was a dark, and rainy night. The thunder was echoing across the small town like mortar shells, and the lighting struck with ferocity. All you could hear in between the claps of thunder were townsfolk screaming, and then a screech so high pitched it shattered glass, and felt like something was impaling your soul.

As my parents and I were hiding in my room I could hear them whispering about an old lady who lived in the town a hundred years ago, and the stories they have heard about her, and the promise she made on her last breath.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door, and a guy yelling, “Tom! Open the door!” My father seemed to trust the voice and went downstairs to open the door. Right before he left he looked at me with such worry in his eyes, and said, “Son, you stay here with your mother. You are safer up here.” He ran out of the dark bedroom and down the stairs. I ran after him, but my mom grabbed my ankle, “John, your father said stay here.” She whispered with a harsh tone of voice. I shook her off and ran to the stairs. I could overhear my dad talking with the mysterious man. What they were talking about was so terrifying that I started to cry. My dad was talking to his brother who had disappeared twenty five years ago.

My uncle was talking about the mysterious creature that was terrorizing the town. My uncle told my father he knew what was going on and how to stop it “You know those old stories grandpa told us?” my uncle asked my dad with a quiet voice The ones about the old lady great grandpa killed?” my father responded with a puzzling look on his face. “Yes those ones. They weren’t just stories Tom. They are real.” my uncle returned with a little fear in his voice. “ The witch is back for our blood.” My mind started to race, and I couldn’t hear them anymore. All I heard was my name, and something about our family history. I ran downstairs and gave my uncle a hug, and told my dad to let me help. My dad yelled at me and told me to go back to my room.

Out of nowhere the air got so cold that the moisture started to freeze, and my skin started to burn. As I turned around my uncle slammed the door shut, and my dad yelled with such fear in his voice, “Everybody to the basement. NOW!” I only caught a glimpse of the creature, but a glimpse was still too much. I froze right where I was standing. I don’t know what happened next, but when I came to my senses I was in a part of the house I had never been in before. I looked around and was shocked. There were ancient weapons everywhere. When I noticed my mother wasn’t there I asked, “Hey, dad, where is mom?” With a tear about to roll down my cheek, I looked at my father’s solemn face. With a tear in his eye and a shaky breath, he said, “She,” he choked, “She didn’t make it.” I put my hands over my face, and started to cry. My father leaned over to hug me, and I pushed him away, and yelled, “If you didn’t make us stay upstairs she would still be alive!”

Up above I could hear the creature tearing through the house like a bull in a China shop. I could tell it was looking for us. Finally, I gained the courage to ask what the fuck is going on!? My uncle pulled up a chair and told me to sit. He explained how a hundred years ago my great great grandfather was in charge of executing people suspected of having supernatural powers. Well, one of the people he executed actually did. They dropped her in the lake about five miles out of town, and let her sink to the bottom. The next day she came walking back into town. My great great grandfather captured her again and hanged her from the giant decrepit maple in the center of town. She still would not die, so he took her and burned her at the stake. While she was burning she laughed hysterically, and said, “John Thompson, I will kill your entire family when I return!” After she said that her body went up in flames, and my great great grandfather took his sword and cut her head clean off.

“So here she is a hundred years later, coming to kill us?” I replied with fear, and anger in my voice. I turned to my father and asked, “Is this why you had me take all of those martial art, and fencing classes?” I didn’t notice, but while I was yelling at my father my uncle had gotten up, and walked over to the corner of the room where a sword hung. He took it down, and handed it to my father who shook shook his head and handed the sword to me. It had a golden handle with what looked like a diamond on one side, and a ruby on the other. The blade was made out of a dark metal only made for one sword. It was titanium and steel combined, and then encrusted with diamonds.

My dad looked at me, and sternly stated, “Son, this sword is your great great grandfather’s sword. This is the sword used to decapitate that bewitched bitch in the beginning, and that is the same sword she must be slaughtered with now.” I looked into his eyes, and there was so much fury in them I started to get scared. My uncle told me the plan and how she needed to be killed. I had to first strike her at the giant, decrepit maple in the center of town, then at the hill where she finally died. They would protect me, and make sure I would be able to strike her.

“She knows we’re here,” my dad quietly whispered. He opened up a hatch on the wall that entered into a tunnel. “We’ll go through here,” he told us. We came out in our neighbors garage. My uncle led us out into the street. I could hear the the creature rampaging through the house like a wild bull. The rampaging suddenly stopped. My uncle, and father both looked at me with fear in there eyes.

“Whatever you do don’t look into its eyes, or you will freeze, and it’ll kill you!” Shouted my father.

With no warning at all my room wall exploded upstairs, and this demon-looking ghoul flew out of my room, and came tearing at us as fast as a cheetah and as ferocious as a lion. My dad swung his mace and struck it right in the head. The demon flew into our neighbor’s house, and through the wall. My uncle yelled, “Get to the tree!”

We raced off towards the tree as fast as we could, and the demon came flying out of the house. It was right on our heels. My uncle tripped and fell. The demon leaped right on top of him, but was bashed in the ribs by my dad, and smashed with a shield in the head by my uncle. He got up, and ran to the tree. My dad sprinted to the tree with the demon right behind him. The demon leapt on top of my dad and ripped his head right off of his body. Blood splattered the dirt road and his body. The demon threw the head and dropped the body to its knees.

I was so angry, and sad that without thinking I charged the demon, and thrusted the sword through the demon’s stomach and through its ribs. It screeched so loud that I dropped the sword, and buckled to my knees with my hands clasped over my ears. When it finally stopped I picked the sword up and raced away from it. With the demon still clenching its side we were able to get a good lead on it.

We were headed towards the hill with the demon closing in fast. My uncle turned and stopped.

“Get to the top of the hill!” He screamed as he was grabbing a lighter and a can of Axe out of his backpack. He lit the demon up like the fourth of July. The demon screeched out in pain and swiped at my uncle with its massive paws that caught him in the ribs. It was almost sunrise, and I finally got a look at the entire town. People were running like crazy, not knowing what to do, houses burning, propane tanks and gas stations exploding leaving fire in its wake, and causing fire to rain down from the sky. For a minute I thought I was looking at Hell. People were ignited in flames, while others were trying to help them. For a second I forgot about the demon until I heard something sprinting up the hill. It was so loud it shook the ground. I turned and sprinted up to the top, and waited for destiny to decide if I would survive, or perish. In the rising sun I saw the demon for the first time trampling up the hill towards me.

It was easily seven feet tall with claws, as long as toothpicks, and as wide as a bottle cap. Its face was the hardest part to look at. It had eyes as fiery as the deepest parts of hell, and a face that was half burnt off. It took a swing at my head as it leapt ten feet towards me. I jabbed with my sword and stabbed it in the arm. It bellowed out in pain as blood flooded down its arm.

Without warning I was immobilized as it caught my gaze, and I looked directly into its eyes. The last thing I saw before I blacked out was the demon leaping toward me from my front, and my uncle sprinting up the hill towards the demon from its left. I guess he must have been fast enough because as I regained consciousness my uncle was screaming, “John! John! Get up John! You have to finish this!” I got up slowly still shaking from being so near death. I looked at my uncle who had cuts up and down his body. His face was covered in blood, and his clothes were torn to pieces.

Out of nowhere I felt something running down my face, and chest. I looked at my chest and there were three giant gashes that led right up to my face. I took my hand and felt the left side of my face. I felt two gashes. One going from my chin to the corner of my eye, and one from my jaw bone to my ear. I felt my ear, and I had no more earlobe on my left ear. I must’ve only been out for a few minutes because the sun was still about where I last remember seeing it.

“I barely made it,” my uncle said with a solemn voice. I looked behind my uncle, and saw the demon coming up the hill. My uncle turned and said with anger in his voice, “You have to decapitate this spawn of hell before it decapitates you.”

I stepped forward, and went to engage the demon when it leapt. I charged and slashed its stomach while it was in mid air. It landed and screamed out in pain. It turned and charged at me, and I charged it. I dodged the first strike and slid right between its legs. I stood and turned a second too late. The demon was already turned and swiping its massive paw right into my legs flipping me through the air. I landed about ten yards down the hill on my back. I looked and the demon had started towards my uncle. My uncle was fast, he dodged its attacks and countered faster. He looked at me for a second, and I knew he couldn’t do it for long. I struggled to the top of the hill where I charged the demon and stabbed it through the back and out the gut. It buckled and as I drew my sword out of the monster it hit the ground with such a loud thud that the ground shook and cracked. I swung my sword straight through the demons neck, and its head fell to the ground.

Covered in blood, my uncle and I poured gasoline on the demon in the center of town and ignited the bastard so everyone could see. After burying my mother and father at the top of the hill where the demon was slaughtered my uncle took me in. School started in three weeks. We tried to live our lives like normal, but it was impossible.

Everywhere I looked I saw the battle. My uncle said he saw the same things, but I think he said that to make it so I didn’t feel completely insane because he seemed calm. I was no longer the John everybody knew, but I was a new person. I was always looking over my shoulder for the demon to come back, and finish what it promised all of those years ago. People called me a hero, but just felt like a scared boy who lost his parents.