Horror and Thriller Fiction posted April 28, 2013


Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Resurrected love has soul wrenching consequences

Blood Covenant

by amahra




A ravishing hot August, and the rain fell against the windows like warm pee. The moon was not full, yet still menacing as crawling shadows passed over the peeling roof. The night appeared no different from any other; Mildred, as usual, had fallen asleep drunk on the sofa, leaving Lisa, five and Danny, seven to fend for themselves in their tacky, two bedroom, old brown shack just outside of town. Now, if Mildred could only stay sober long enough to keep that rotting corpse from entering the house and taking the boy......



Four years to the day, Frank Middleton was crushed to death under his eighteen-wheeler on I-295 coming from Washington DC after delivering a load of merchandise. He was the passion of her being. They met on a blind date twelve years before his death and married six months into their dating. Two children quickly followed and his insistence that she stay home and take care of him and the kids met with her ultimate approval. Now her heart vanished and with it, her soul. Nothing mattered anymore, not even the children, a constant reminder of the man she lost, constant burden of want for food, clean clothes, nurturing, love. She hated their whining, their constant battle for her attention.

"When's Daddy coming home?"

"Shut up, you little bastards!" She'd say; then the children would scrape around for scraps to eat while Mildred had her liquid bacon and eggs in bed.

Time had run out; she sold everything, the beautiful home Frank bought her, with its organic vegetable gardens and swimming pool, nice furniture and clothes, all her husband had given her just from owning his own rigs. But her former housekeeper, Belinda, who dabbled in the Dark Arts, had taken her to a midnight meeting with all the money she'd raised for the spell; the housekeeper never told her the name of what she did until it was too late for Mildred to reverse what she thought was, bringing Frank back to her.

It backfired. He was not her husband, but some ghastly thing dug up from the grave. He possessed beastly eyes that glittered from beneath ash rubbery skin that drew back in a hideous demonic grin. When he stretched forth to kiss her, the smell nearly cost her the insides of her gut. The scream that leaped from her lips nearly shattered the walls as it echoed up to the children's room. They ran to see what had so frightened their mother and her screeching commands to stay back startled them even more. She forced it out of the house. The children never saw the thing.

The baby she promised them, the third child she was carrying, the extra boy Frank was so excited about, died suddenly after his birth. But they insisted that she still owed them a son.

"I owe you nothing," Mildred shouted to the old woman with the tattooed snake on her forehead.

"You will give us the child," she said in a gravel voice.

"The child I offered is dead; the man you promised me was not my Frank, but some fiendish thing you conjured up from the depths of hell. My other son was never the bargain," she said firmly through tight lips.

"You will give us the man-child," the old witch said; but the strangeness of her saying it made Mildred shrink backward. The old woman's lips surely moved. In fact, they were in sync with several inhuman voices that bellowed in unison from beyond the walls; it was as if an invisible ventriloquist was in the room and the old woman, its over-size dummy. Mildred's heart pounded, like a fist hitting the arm of a stuffed chair. She tried not to appear to be frightened but stood there hoping nothing more strange would happen. Then she drew from her reserve courage and demanded that the old geezer allow her to withdraw her commitment.

"You do not understand, my dear, this is not a simple deal, but a covenant that cannot be broken, not even by me. Whatever bargain is forged in blood, my dear, not even the gods can undo." Her milky white eyes widened under crusty eye lids as she spoke. Her wrinkled hands showed so many raised veins, that any junky would have considered it a treasure chest. She pointed her boney finger at the door without actually looking at it.

"You know the way out, my dear?"

Mildred walked to the door and turned. "You stay away from my child," she said, her lips quivering, "or I'll go to Matilda."

The woman threw her head back. "Ha ha ha ha," she guffawed. "Matilda, that fake witch is no match for a covenant forged in blood. She couldn't pull a rabbit out of a briar patch let alone a magician's hat; ha ha ha ha, Matilda indeed!"

Disgusted, Mildred left the woman laughing. But was Matilda-the-witch a fake or was the old woman just bashing a rival? Only time would tell, she thought.

************
That was last year and the last time she had contact with the old woman. Mildred knew she had to get hold of herself-get her act together and protect her child. The old woman had given her several months and those months were up at tomorrow's mid-day. After tomorrow afternoon, the countdown to madness would begin. She didn't really hate the children. It had been the liquor and the pressure that had taken her down that abusive road. But now she was back on course and with her mothering claws extracted, ready to do battle with whatever form of darkness that old witch would send. But first, she needed to seek help.

Matilda lived, not in a deep wooded area outside of town like the old woman, but right bang in the middle of it. People went to her for small favors, such as remedies for illness, prosperity readings, minor hex removals, love potions. No one ever said the old woman's name and she never gave it. Some said just to speak it was a curse itself. It was also said that when Matilda refused a request, her customers would then go to the old woman with results of either jovial satisfaction or dismal regret. Mildred could so vividly testify to the regret. Now if only Matilda could come through for her, she could save her son.

It had been days since she'd met with the old woman, when she knocked on the red door. It had all kinds of strange markings and things hanging above it. Matilda was adamant about protection against evil spirits and good fortune for guests who entered her dwelling. The markings were ancient Hebrew verses and prayers; the ones that were encased and affixed diagonally onto the door post were called a Mezuzah; nailed above the door were: horseshoes, Indian wind bells, arrowheads, Ofuda, and a cross made from the branches of a rowan tree. Once inside, Mildred thought to ask what they all meant.

"Oh, come in please," Matilda said, ushering Mildred inside. The rooms were dim and grey. The carpets appeared and smelled as if not cleaned in months. There were cats everywhere and the dog looked like a scared oversize pup as the cats were clearly in charge. They hissed at the dog whenever he poked his head out of the corner to take a drink from his own water bowl. The name Lucky was scribbled in red letters on the side of it. Lucky, she thought, he'd have to be, living in this hell hole and with so many cats. They could easily hop on him and scratch him to death. She wanted to snatch him under her arm and run out the door; put him where he'd be safe.

"Now, my dear, just sit here while I go and fetch the tea. I'll only be a moment." She motioned Mildred to an old chair that looked like plastered pictures on a 1950's carnival fun house. The pillowed seats had patterns of faded clown faces with sinister big teeth smiles. As soon as Matilda left the room, Mildred gently kicked away one of the menacing cats and slid the bowl in front of the dog. Lucky gulped the bowl dry; he proceeded to lick the tiny drops that had dribbled down the side of it-then he looked up at her with sad eyes. She looked around and spotted a small watering can next to a potted plant and poured water to the rim of the bowl. The dog's loud, rapid laps filled the room.

"Now, my dear, shall we begin? I always like to start my little meetings with a hot cup of my special teas." She handed a tiny saucer and cup to Mildred and set hers down.

"May I have some sugar?"

"No, my dear, my teas are best drunk as it tis."

"Very well," Mildred said trying not to make a face at the bitter taste.

After both had their fill of tea, Mildred broke the dismal silence.

"I hope you'll forgive me if I say that I'm a little distrustful of the fact that you're willing to do this for free. What's the catch? I...I mean, this is not a small matter, undoing such a spell. I'm not giving up another child, or...or..."

"Relax, my dear. Nothing...and I mean...nothing would give me more pleasure than to see the look on Tetnema's face when I reverse this so-called covenant of hers; that alone will be my payment. The old crone. It's high time someone took her down a peg."

"Tet-ne-ma? That's her name? But I thought just the mere mentioning of it was a curse."

"Oh it tis," she said with a wide grin, "but not in this house." Then she leaned forward, looking most seriously, "Take care, my dear, never to mention it out side of this house and even here, only if I say the name first."

Mildred's eyes grew wide. "Why, what will happen?"

"You don't want to know, my dear."

"Then, all that stuff you have hanging on your door, that's why we can say the name here?"

"Oh, that's for other protections. No, my Maus are the reason. You see, Mau is Egyptian for cat; the one thing Tetnema and her kind have no power against. One scratch from a Mau is sudden death to Tetnema."

"I've read about the Egyptian cats during the days of the pharaohs, they were said to have possessed supernatural powers. That's why they were used as royal guards," Mildred said.

"You're exactly right. But they were more than just guards, my dear. Every cat known to mankind was and still is used by the underworld for evil mischief. Nobody has ever known why, but only the Egyptian Maus, who are more intelligent than other domestic felines, are resistant to evil practices."

"You mean no one can make them do evil?"

"Exactly. And evil won't stay where there is more than a dozen gathered in one place."

"And you have how many...?"

"Fifty-five, my dear."

"So all I have to do is get two dozen of these Maus and I'm safe?"

"Oh no; it isn't that simple. They have to want to stay with you. What you do is bring one home and if it likes you, it calls another to come, and that one calls another, and so on and so forth; you see?"

"I see. So each of your fifty-five Maus called another Mau."

"Yes."

"And that took how long?"

"Ten years and several months."

"Where did they come from?"

"I've never asked them, my dear."

"They talk to you?"

"Not with language, but I am quite fluent in the way they do communicate."

"I'm not even going to ask what that is," she said after scratching her forehead as if all of what she just heard was a little too unbelievable. "Now, this name Tetnema, does it mean something?"

"Not the name itself. But when you spell it backwards, it is Amentet, the goddess of the dead. Those who worship the dead are given special names. The old woman took the name of her goddess and anyone who says it backwards is better off riding the back of the devil."

"Then as long as I don't say her name, I'm safe. Right?"

"I didn't finish, my dear."

"I was afraid of that," Mildred huffed.

"If she says her own name along with yours', some demonic thing will stalk you and performs whatever black deed she gives it, followed by an unspeakable end."

Mildred buried her face in her hands. She looked up from them, almost folding them as if to pray. "Can you help me?"

"Yes. Isn't that why you came," she said with a smile.

Exhaling hard, she grabbed the woman's hand. "Oh thank you. When do we start?"

"We already have, my dear. That tea I gave you was a very special brew. When you..."

"You're saying there was something in the tea....?"

"Listen, my dear, time is everything-don't talk. When you go home, something strange will happen. You'll notice you'll have to urinate a lot, and I do mean a lot. Whatever you do, don't pee in the toilet; find buckets, jars, bowls whatever you have, and don't spill one drop; this is very important; every drop is crucial for your son's safety. Keep the urine covered. If even a piece of lint falls into it, the spell will be broken. You are to stay in the house."

"What if I have to go out, one of the kids gets sick, or...?"

"My dear, we can't risk you pissing on yourself on the street. I told you every drop is crucial for the spell to work."

"Oh, "this" better work," she said shaking her head. This agitated Matilda.

"Do you believe in me or not? Or perhaps you'd rather take your chances with Tetnema."

"No. No, of course not, I didn't mean to upset you. It's just a bit much to take in...how am I going to do this and how much urine is necessary?"

"When the urine has clumps of blood in it..."

"Clumps of blood!?" Mildred blurted out.

Impatient, Matilda continued. "It means the flow has ended and the spell is ready to begin. Call me when you see the blood. I will instruct you from there, and good fortune my dear, you must go. The first flow is due in the next hour."

"An hour? Oh My God! Why didn't you tell me? It'll take me at least forty minutes to pick up the children and get home." Mildred bolted out of the door, into her car-on the accelerator and through a stop sign.

On the ride home, made short by her mad driving, she instructed the children but without the torrid details. Reaching the door of the house, Mildred turned every which way, looking over her shoulders, before pushing the kids inside.

Once settled in, with the children safely in their bedroom, and out of the way, she pulled out every bowl, pan and bucket she could find and waited for the first flow to begin. How stupid she felt waiting for a spell of piss. She'd hoped she wasn't making a fool of herself; what would she say to the kids about the odor that was sure to be permeating the house; and what if the old woman was right about Matilda not being much of a witch? All of these things piled against her mind like a pounding fist.

Lisa and Danny called out to her that they were hungry. She was afraid to budge from the spot where she'd be sure to catch the first flow. The children hit the staircase fast and Mildred had to scramble to get her panties and jeans up before they barged into the room. She quickly made cold cuts, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and gave them crackers, fruit cups, milk and bananas and loads of candy, potato chips and other snacks for them to take up to their room. It was enough to keep them occupied and fed for hours. Then she went back to sitting over the large bucket like a perched hen on a tin nest.

No sooner had she done so, a sharp pain that nearly knocked her over and a flow of urine sprang from her loins like a garden hose. The flow seemed endless and she feared it would overflow but couldn't get off to replace the bucket in case a drop hit the floor; just as panic set in, the flow stopped. Then another sharp pain and the flow, again and again this happened from buckets to pans to bowls until finally she heard several loud plops. When she lifted herself and looked into the large green bowl, there were blood clots the size of silver dollars swimming in the urine. She wiped herself dry, then ran to the phone and called Matilda.

"Who's speaking?"

"It's me. Mildred. I did exactly what you said. I was careful, I'm sure I didn't spill a drop, but there are blood clots and you said to call you when...."

"You did well, my dear. Now take the urine and make a complete circle around your house."

"Okay."

"You're sure you didn't spill any?"

"I was very careful."

"Good. The one with the blood clots is very important. Don't pour that one around the house."

"Got it."

"Disregard the urine but scoop the blood from it and smear it over the door post and around the door. Do the same for the back entrance, if there is one. If not, smear all of the blood over the front door post and sides."

"That's it?"

"Yes, my dear, that's it."

"But what will that do?"

"Goodbye, my dear and good fortune."

"But, what should I expect to happen? Hello. Matilda....hello! .......Jesus Christ!"
Mildred clicked off and shoved her face into her hands. Her eyes filled as she thought of her son. But quickly and carefully, she began grabbing up pans, buckets and bowls of urine. She poked her head outside the front door, and looked around. It was dark and a chill held the air. Seeing no one stirring about, she started at the steps and poured each container of the concoction. But just minutes into the task, there came a rustling sound and movement in the shadows. Mildred froze. As she stood perfectly still, her brain screamed-Run! But running would spill the urine and ruin the spell. It would all be for nothing, she thought. Her mind blank-her legs wobbling as the sounds in the shadow came closer and closer until she forgot to breathe. "Jesus," she said, almost fainting. Finally, it moved into a spot of light and she could clearly make out its dark form. "God damn raccoon," she whispered, "nearly scared me to death." Its eyes looked like tiny headlights on a toy car as it scurried back into the dark. She blew a breath of relief and completed the circle around the house.

She rushed back and grabbed up the bowl with the blood clots; she picked into the urine and fingered the blood, but the red slime kept slipping off her fingers. Once gained, she smeared it over the door post and the sides and did the same for the back door. Her heart was pounding, wondering if Matilda was some kind of crack pot and that she'd done all of this for nothing. All she could do was hope. Mildred thought of how much she had wanted to take the children and run. But she remembered the old woman saying that whatever she sent would find them.

The task completed, Mildred went back inside and scrubbed every bucket, bowl and pan she used for the spell with hot soapy water and bleach. She checked on the children and found the TV blasting with animated characters firing laser weapons at one another, candy wrappers, half-eaten sandwiches and banana peelings spread over the beds, with the children right in the middle of the chaos, fast asleep.

That night, she was a timorous wreck. Her time was up for giving her son to the old woman. "This just has to work," she said to herself. Locking all the doors and windows, she decided to sleep in the children's room on the small cot with a heavy dresser pushed against the door. She slept in intervals...taking fifteen minute naps at a time.

The night was long and eerie. The dark covered the house with a thick blanket of fear. The small clock radio Mildred usually left on in the kid's room was turned off; in case of any unusual sounds, she'd be ready to spring into blood-spilling action if need-be. As she lay there in a soft sleep, Mildred knew she could make any distinction between normal house sounds and those of an intruder. In the ghostly silence, the house spoke in gentle floor cracks, stair squeaks, water drips and clock ticks. The rain fell against the windows, like the drumming of a thousand fingers.

During one of her cat naps, Mildred woke and flicked on the light as she had done routinely for hours, but shot straight up to the horror of two empty beds. "The children," she said loudly. Mildred hit the floor and dashed to the closed door, flung it open and sped down the hallway.

"Danny! Lisa!" She screamed. "Danny! Lisa, where are you!" she bellowed while fast turning the corner and hitting the stairs. She ran to the living room-they weren't there. She bolted to the dining area...nothing, then the den...screaming their names.

"Here we are, Mom!" Danny yelled. Mildred ran to the back of the house and into the kitchen to find the children fixing peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches. "Oh God, don't ever do that again," she said grabbing the t-shirt over her pounding heart. "We didn't mean to scare you Mommy," Lisa said with a jelly beard. "We were hungry and didn't want to wake you," Danny said. "No sweetie...you must wake Mommy if you want something. Please don't leave the room without me again," she said kissing Danny on the top of his head. "Okay, Mom," Danny said taking a big bite of his sandwich.

Mildred cleaned up the mess and took the children back up to bed. But this time she lay beside them in one bed with her arm strung across their backs; when one stirred, she woke immediately. As Mildred began to snuggle once more into her warm spot, a disturbing thought came to her; her eyes flashed wide open and terror hit her brain like a hammer. Careful not to disturb the children, she eased up into a sitting position on the side of the bed and a cold gripped her when she looked at the door. Mildred threw her hands up to her mouth. "Jesus," she whispered loudly, "how did the children get out of the room? Who moved the heavy dresser from the door?" The children didn't, I could barely move it myself, she thought. "Oh God, something's in the house," she said, her voice screeching up.

She didn't want to leave the children alone, but knew she had to check. Grabbing the wooden cross off the wall, she eased out of the door-glancing over her shoulder once, before quietly closing it behind her. Her fear ran as icy fingers up and down her neck. She crept through the dark until she knew she wasn't alone. The air reeked of an ungodly stench as it did the night that thing that was supposed to be her husband had come to her. With every step, she prayed. The old woman was right; Matilda was a fake witch, she thought as she moved quietly along the hallway. As she moved closer and closer to the stairs, the stench became unbearable. But she was too frightened to be sick.

As she stood at the top of the stairs staring down, a freezing cold gripped her, as she felt a presence behind her. She slowly turned, her heart pounding in her chest so fast, she could barely take a breath. At just ninety degrees, she could see something strange from the corner of her eye; she broke out in a sweat and her whole body shook. She slowly turned another ninety degrees and there, floating just a few feet from her-a transparent, shadowy figure. Its fiery, red eyes-hypnotic and blazing in the middle of a dark decaying face, stared right at her. She couldn't move-couldn't breathe. She attempted to raise her arm with the wooden cross, when suddenly it leaped on her, lifted her ten feet off the floor and hurled her down the staircase. It happened so fast, there was no time to scream.

At the bottom of the stairs, with every limb yelling in pain, she looked up to find it staring and growling at her. Mildred froze as its blazing eyes seemed to burn right through to her soul. She snatched her head down, trying not to look at it. When she looked back, it was gone. She pulled herself off the floor and attempted a desperate dash up the stairs, but the staircase seemed bewitched. Every step she took produced another step that took her nowhere. She tried to leap two to three steps at a time, but it was as if she was running in place. No matter what she did, she couldn't get to the top of the stairs and the children were alone.

Suddenly, Lisa screamed. "Mommy! Mommy!"

"No!" She yelled at the top of her voice. "Don't touch my babies." Then, Danny's voice and it sounded as if he was fighting for his life. "Let me go! Let me go!"

"GOD HELP ME!" Mildred's scream was so loud, it nearly shattered the windows.

She collapsed on the floor in utter defeat, when suddenly, the front door flew open with such force, she thought it was a terrible wind; but instead, there in the doorway, stood a tall thin man with dark eyes and a determined look on his face, draped in a black cape. He picked Mildred up off the floor and dashed up the staircase, with a puzzled and bewildered Mildred right on his heels.

The mystery man reached the children first, just in time to confront the horrible thing that had knocked a bloody Lisa to the floor and had an unconscious Danny by the throat sucking the life out of him. Mildred reached the door a few seconds later, and her eyes widened with terror. She screamed, "Don't hurt him. Take me-please, take me," she sobbed. But the demon just stood there as if paralyzed. She turned her head towards the man and saw what had so paralyzed the thing; the man was holding a shiny metal cross in his hand and was speaking words from the Bible. First, he spoke so low, only the demon could hear. Then with more intensity, he said loudly....

"Satan, the Lord rebukes you. I heap this Word of the Lord upon your foul head like buckets of hot coals. I command you to unhand this child, and leave this house- in Jesus' Name."

The force of his words knocked the demon into the wall and it dropped the child. The cross glowed more and more as the man spoke the Word. The glare of it lit up the room and forced the ungodly figure to squat cowardly in a corner. It hissed and growled like a charging lion as it tried to shield itself from the glare of the cross. The glow seemed to tear at it as it appeared to melt into the floor. Then it formed itself into a blinding ball of red light. A black hole appeared and a transparent huge red, clawed hand, dripping with blood, reached out and pulled it through the hole as if it took back what belonged to it. The black hole slowly shrunk to the size of a golf ball and disappeared, leaving the room in a light fog. The man picked Lisa up as Mildred ran to Danny who was still unconscious.

"Danny! Danny!" she called frantically. Danny opened his eyes and thinking he was still fighting for his life, began to fight the air. "It's okay, baby. It's gone. It's Mommy." Danny pushed himself into his mother's arms, his heart pounding against her chest. Mildred rocked him then turned to the mystery hero.

"Who are you?"

"That doesn't matter; you and the children have to leave-now!"

"Thank you," she said misty eyed.

She and the children didn't pack but took what they could carry in their hands, each a few clothes and a favorite toy. The man drove them to a safe place where people were familiar with what he did, and he left them there. As it turned out, Matilda wasn't a witch at all, but a kindly woman who used to practice the Black Arts, but changed her heart and decided to devote her life fighting against the Evil One. The man with no name was one of many demon hunters. And the spell had alerted him that Mildred was in danger. The demons couldn't see it, but the patrolling hunters had special equipment. The spell made a glowing rainbow around her house that appeared as a kind of SOS on their mobile screens.

Mildred and the children moved far away and free from the old woman and her spells. They didn't live happily-ever-after the way children's books end; they just lived, which was all Mildred wanted. And Mildred Middleton never dabbled in witchcraft-again.
The End>>






Horror Story Writing Contest contest entry

Recognized


This story seems a bit long, but that's only because I put a lot of dialogue on separate lines. It's really a quick read. I used simple language and took you right to the heart of the story as quickly as my little arthritic fingers could type; and I believe you'll enjoy it.
Suggestion: read half and don't comment; then come back and read the other half and leave me a review. Thanks guys. Love you.

This wonderful art work is called, "CrEaTuRe FeaTuRe" by Catherine 1970
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