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Second Saturday Stories Presents The Wraith Final Chapter: Revelations

The sound of the boy's scream mingled with his own as he rose higher, his legs cramping from the tension. In the darkness behind him Ester’s necklace glowed, the light from it casting a sickly orange light across the floor. Clark opened his mouth, but his voice was lost in the spewing demonic rant that filled the empty darkness. 
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Chapter 11: Revelations

Clark doesn't hear the scream, he doesn't hear much of anything after the floor gives out beneath him. He has one fatal moment when he thinks he's going to feel the tugging plummet of death, and in that last moment he feels a raw and unbridled hatred for Merfey Davis. All he wanted to do was enjoy the final days of his summer at home, and maybe try for second base with Esther. Merfey and his stupid little comic book had screwed that all up, and now it looked like Clark was going to die for it. 

Except he didn’t. 

He floated among the falling cinder blocks and bricks as if an angle cradled him, and eased him down to the cold concrete below among the massive shards of ruin, rat shit, and reget. 

He wasn’t sure how long he lay there. He felt like he was in a dream, one where you feel like you are floating just a little bit above your body. One where you wake up feeling drained and exhausted. 

He must have been hurt because he couldn’t move, not at first, but no sooner did he realize this than there was a doctor bending over him. Part of him was trying to understand how another living person could be down here, in his head distant alarm bells were sounding but they were soon smothered by the Doctor’s easy smile and sing song tone. 

“Good afternoon Clark, how are you feeling.” 

“-m hurt.” When Clark spoke he tasted blood. The handsome doctor only nodded

“I can see that son.” He confided “It’s not looking good. Would you like something for the pain?” Clark began to nod until he realized he was alone again. The darkness of the sub basement seemed like a presence all in itself. It closed around him like a shroud magnifying his thoughts and multiplying his fear. Clark started to feel better and tried to roll to his side, but his head pounded so hard he could only lay back and wince into the tomb like air. 

He drowsed again, feeling as if he would lay there among the rubble for eternity, maybe decades later they would find his skeleton among these broken slabs of flooring, probably when they went to bulldoze the place. Clark let out a feeble laugh that echoed off the walls before dying in the darkness. He shut his eyes. 

He heard someone calling his name. It sounded like Esther but it couldn't be. He thought he was imagining it but suddenly he could smell her. A mixture of lavender, sweat, and fear. He opened his eyes as beams of light danced around the room. He saw a few workplace hazard posters on the wall, along with a flaking colour coded breakdown of emergency codes. Clark followed the beam to Merfey who stood looking smaller than ever clutching some kind of ratty doll. Clark didn’t know why, but that doll was bad news. Merfey only stood there, his eyes as wide as dinner plates. 

“Clark, buddy, can you move?” his voice was wavering and the beam of the flashlight wouldn’t stop trembling. 

“I’m not your damn buddy, Metal Mouth. You think that, you’ve got another thing coming.” Clark felt an absolute rage building inside of him when he looked at that kid, if Metal Mouth wasn’t careful Clark was going to bury him among the old loonies in this place. 

Ester leaned over him into his field of vision and Clark felt his brow soften. 

“Hi sweetie, you get finished making it with nerdlinger over there?” Clark thought that was the funniest shit he’d ever heard and threw back his head to let a long and lazy laugh escape from him and climb amongst the ghosts. 

He saw the doctor then. He appeared over Esther’s shoulder and waved his right hand passively. Her necklace flew from its clasp and clattered into the darkness, leaving behind nothing but a glowing orb in the darkness. 

“Hey!” Esther cried, reaching for it. Before he knew what was happening Clark was on his feet. He closed the distance between Ester and her necklace with a breakneck pace. He reached the necklace just as she did and slapped her away, hitting her so hard she spun away and landed in a heap next to Merfey, who was trying desperately to keep the beam of his flashlight lit, hitting the side of it with the meat of his palm. Esther’s eyes flared. Clark watched confusion cloud them and felt a warmth spread through him. 

Esther let Merfey help her up. Her eyes trained on Clark. Something was very wrong. His body was scraped and cut, he was filthy, but somehow he didn’t seem to be …well, HIM. In the darkness behind Clark she could hear an almost wet panting noise. The slow breathing of whatever had been sitting on her bed that night. 

It followed her, and now it was taking over her boyfriend. Merfey was white as a sheet, even she could see that. He wasn’t going to be a help, not right now. Esther needed to do something, quick. 

Clark began to rise, his Keds hanging over the dusty concrete and his arms outstretched like some bastardized crucifixion. He couldn’t see, eyes blinded, his head filled with the wrenching screams of the damned. All thoughts were drowned out as he was transported to a clearing where he stood over a child with a fire ax poised to sever the child’s arm. Clark felt a momentary hesitation before all the rage and sorrow gathered on him like a weight. The little brat earned what was coming, he thought, slamming the ax head into the punky stump beneath the squirming boy. The sound of the boy's scream mingled with his own as he rose higher, his legs cramping from the tension. In the darkness behind him Ester’s necklace glowed, the light from it casting a sickly orange light across the floor. Clark opened his mouth, but his voice was lost in the spewing demonic rant that filled the empty darkness. 

Merfey clawed through his duffle bag until he came up with two road flares. He snapped them to life and threw them in the darkness illuminating the wall beyond Clark. He looked up at the makeshift rope he and Esther made from bedding. He was sure they could climb back up, but Clark was stronger than any of them, if they tried to leave now he could just yank them back down. Merfey was sure the place was doing something to Clark, that the energy was perverting him in some way. Merfey wasn’t positive, but if it kept up, Clark would likely die. 

Merfey looked at the monster that used to be his friend and shuddered. He never in a million years would have guessed the supernatural capable of this, energy collection was one thing but this was beyond anything Merfey could even have fathomed. Alternative energy be damned, he just wanted to get away with his friends. Even if they never talked to him again, he just wanted to get them out. That was why, as a last ditch effort, he decided to throw one of his meters at Clark, maybe the electronic interference could snap him out of it. The device spun in the air before slamming to a halt in the air in front of Clark. It began to spin in a wide arc around his body. Suddenly bits of rock and debris did the same as Clark’s eyes rolled back in his head. Beyond him Ester’s necklace glowed, the ember of it now expanding to the size of a dinner plate. When Merfey looked into the translucent lens of it he began to see horrors take shape that he never could have imagined. 

That’s when Ester began chanting.

Esther felt parylized without her necklace, but what's worse is that she felt powerless. She took a deep breath, and despite the horror she was immersed in, she forced herself to slow down. She slowed her breath and awareness, connecting with her deeper self, with the elder ones that dwelt within her body.  Eter began performing her grandmother’s prayer from the night of Atrox Mal, but wasn’t sure how well it would work. In the flash of one of Merfey’s road flares she saw a woman’s silhouette float by carrying an ax. From the darkness beside the road flare a woman with straight black hair charged Esther, her eyes wild and her skin a pale white that reminded Ester of the grave stones of her parents. Esther rolled out of the way in time, breaking the chant as she caught her breath. Something in the woman’s face stuck with Esther and as she made for a second pass Esther shouted at Merfey to throw her the doll. He only stood dumbfounded for a few minutes. 

“Come on you numb metal mouth THROW.” Ester bellowed at Merfey, who seemed to shake off his paralysis in time to slide the rag doll across the floor. When Esther touched it everything went white. 

Lucinda caught the boy as he fell. The doctor needed him intact and Lucinda needed the portal to open. That’s why she’s infuriated to see the girl trying to close the portal. That must not happen. He doctor has told her she has allies on the other side. He has opened the door for her. He is the one who will make her world quiet again. 

The girl is suddenly holding Molly.  

She sees her like a shining beacon in the dark, like a lighthouse calling her. When she sees her Lucinda feels something inside her break. Something she forgot she had while she crossed the Atlantic Ocean in tears. Her heart. 

She takes in what’s happening, glimpses the hellscape evolving in front of her. The girl’s necklace is a conduit, the doctor is protecting it as he works through the older boy hovering over the ground. Lucinda sees the molten lakes, the tortured souls, but she feels the actual pain in her soul the longer she stares into the abyss. She feels the eternity of torture she is about to endure if she goes through with this, but most of all, she feels the weight of her misguided anger crash down on her like gravity.

Hell was real, and hell was hot, a blistering inferno that will swallow her whole. In that moment Lucinda realizes how wrong she had been in the life boat, and that Hell, a tangible, biblical Hell, was real. All she really wanted was her daughter back, and she would never find her daughter in that twisted, gaping maw. If this went on she would turn into a lost soul, forever trapped among screaming and burning ghouls. The last shred of her humanity singed away with the completion of the ritual. 

She moves through space. The doctor tries to stop her, his face contorting into a twisted devil's mask of rage and hate. She buries the ax in his chest and his physical form crumbles into a pile of moth eaten clothing and blood stains. She picks the girl's necklace up, cups it in her hands, and moves towards the wall where the small flare rages. Above her the building is falling apart, severed from its otherworldly connection with the evil that was Doctor Smith. She turns to see the girl trying to save the older boy, who has crumpled into a heap on floor. The one with glasses simply stares as she moves through the wall and into the beyond. 

Ester helped Clark to his feet while the building fell apart around them. Merfey watched the woman leave, not even a little interested or able to stop what was happening. The bed sheets they used to climb down coil at his feet uselessly. Merfey watches the wall explode outward that the Butcher of Oak Patch disappeared into, beyond it a sewer tunnel stretches into darkness. 

Merfey turns to Ester who has Clarks arm thrown over one shoulder. Merfey hurries to get the other one under his and both rush towards the crumbling wall. Merfey slides out from under Clark and tries to move some of the stones blocking the way. He can do the small pieces no probem but there are 2 or three full stones that he just cant move. Tears sting his eyes. God damn his frail frame. The rest of the floor above falls behind them. Merfey screams in frustration. Ester is kneeling over Clark whispering something, his eyes flutter like he’s in a coma and Merfey watches the pupils chase the whites until he opens his eyes. He looks absolutely horrified. He starts screaming as he hears the world falling down around him. Merfey watches Esther comfort him and, in a last ditch effort, slap him. 

Clark moves shakily to his feet as a steel gurney falls only feet away from where he was laying. He joins Merfey at the wall. 

“On three ok?” Merfey screams, grabbing one side of the closest stone. Clark nods. Merfey counts down and the two boys throw the heavy brick aside. When they reach the next one Ester is there and the three of them heave the block aside. It takes one last block to open up the space fully. Merfey’s arms are screaming and his legs shake as he climbs over the rubble into the darkness and stench of the sewer.  He ushers Esther further in first followed by Clark, who looks about as dead on his feet as Merfey feels. Merfey casts a last look at Marshwood Institution for the Mentally Incapacitated. He sees a slender man in a lab coat standing in the falling ruins. His head has been replaced by a snarling demon, and an ax is buried in his chest. Behind him ranks of ghoulish apparitions flank like his own private army. Merfey spies whatever he saw upstairs that mimicked his brother standing just beyond the doctor’s shoulder. He shuts his eyes against it and scrambles after his friends. Behind him the wall crumbled in on itself. Any proof of their expedition lost in the decaying collapse of the fondation. 

Lucinda follows the light, warm on her skin. In her hands Annistasia’s warmth radiates. She steps into the light of day and sees she is in a prairie patch of grass. Behind her the god awful hospital, crumbles into itself. Wildflowers grow on the edge of a forest glen, and it’s there she sees the figure of a little girl. The girl wears a green dress and has ringlets of hair the same colour as Lucindas. Her skin no longer flaming red, her eyes no longer sunllen, she is far and away a different little girl than that who beat upon her mothers shoulders in the street during the dead of winter. 

The girl turns, and in her gaze Lucinda finally feels at home.




Merfey stood on the platform listening to the train whistle, the conductor shouting for all aboard that’s going. His gaze is down the tracks, his mind still in the sewer as they climb out in a derelict pump house yards away from Marshwood. His thoughts are on Clark, laid up in a hospital bed, his body seeming to shut down as they hitch hiked back to town. 

He spied Esther checking her luggage one last time before handing it to a Porter. She walked over to him, her eyes as apprehensive as his. 

“This is it, I guess.” She smiles, brushing her hair behind her ear. 

“Don’t worry about a thing, ok?” Merfey tries to sound encouraging. “I’m on my way back to the hospital after this, but call me when you get to McMaster. I told my mom to accept the charges.” 

“Don’t be silly, have her reverse them.” 

She gives him a hug and Mefrey lingers in it for as long as he can. He knows in some way her heart still belongs to Clark, but it doesn’t matter. Merfey would give anything to have his friend ok, to be saying goodbye to both of them right now.” 

“If anything changes I’ll tell you, ok? I’ll call even if it’s the dead of night. He’ll get through this.” The resolve is unwavering even as Merfey’s voice breaks. Esther squeezes his shoulder. 

“Thank you. You’re a good friend, Miles.”

Merfey smiles, a sigh escaping him as the train huffs out steam. Esther turns to leave. He calls her name after she’s walked a few steps. she turns back, her grey skirt twirling around her strong legs. 

He looks at her, trying to commit this moment to memory with as much clarity as he can. 

“Call me Merfey.” He finally says