My name is Jake. I guess I really don’t know where to begin, where to start telling this story that I’d take as sign of my own slipping insanity if I didn’t have proof I was still very much in my right mind scattered all around this makeshift work area I’ve turned my bedroom into, and in my living room. Photocopies of journal pages, birth records, death records, news clippings, old books of urban legends, letters. printed web-pages.
I guess I’ll start with saying that I’m what some people might call a crackpot-in-training. I’ve always been fascinated with what humanity can’t explain. Ghosts, hauntings, monster sightings, urban legends, I could bury myself for hours in old books and websites about things some people would write off as insanity or old campfire stories gone wild.
As a result of this, 18 year-old me wound up with a degree in parapsychology that meant all of jack until now, five years later when I got into this mess, the mess I intend to detail in this journal of my own.
I figured I better do that at least that much to keep my thoughts in order. I guess I also figure that this book might just as much wind up being the next chapter in her story, the next step in her unfolding destiny just it’s the first step in mine.
I guess I should explain who “she” is, that seems like the next logical step now that I’ve opened this can of worms that i can’t exactly seal back up and forget about. I guess that would be the ultimate in a pointless endeavor, wouldn’t it? To stop here and keep rambling about myself to put off facing this mess and writing about it.
The thing is, though, I feel as though I should ease you, (you being the possible future owner of this book) into this mess slowly or you might dismiss me as crazy and write this off as some elaborate hoax intended to get another modern urban legend like the ones permeating the annals of the internet off the ground.
I could fully understand how anyone reading this might assume that, when you consider how so many of those stories born on random image boards and sub-reddits came from a shred of some far older legend, or the primal fear of what we can’t explain and were reborn for the new age. The story I’m about to tell you bled through into modern myth in it’s own little misrepresented and twisted form in much the same way.
Come to think of it, I guess that often dangerous fear of the unexplained is why this story I’ve watched unfold across dreams and the dusty old pages of a young girl’s journal was so far buried, distorted, and rendered unrecognizable by time.
It would explain how a creature of the light, a potential hero has been so vilified in past and present pop-culture.
I guess much of that is something that I’ll explain later though, I should instead start with the first nightmare, the beginning of it all.
I woke up to a cold draft and cursed my trashy apartment for the poor weather-sealing around the doors and windows that the landlord refused to fix. I thought nothing of it for the moment because this was a normal occurrence I generally had to live with in the colder months.
That feeling quickly faded as I remembered it was the middle of June and should have been a muggy summer night with only the most faint and pleasant cool breezes, not a near-freezing draft like it was still January after a harsh winter.
I also quickly noticed that I was laying on a hard floor, and not my marginally softer bed. Feeling around I concluded that it was hardwood, rough and unfinished like you might find in one of the out buildings scattered about a farm.
I couldn’t really make out my surroundings in the near pitch-black room with any amount of real certainty, but I willed myself up off the floor and began to feeling around anyway. As I stumbled into the nearest solid object I ran my hands over it’s dry and rough surface in an attempt to identify what I was leaning on.
A bail of hay, I knew at that point that I wasn’t to far off about my assumption of where. That was a nice piece of information to have, but it still didn’t explain HOW I got here and where this building was actually located. I could’ve been in the middle of Africa for all I knew because “in a barn somewhere” was a very vague and near-useless description of my location.
To make matters worse, the sound of the door creaking open broke the silence before I could further attempt to process any of this information (or rather, lack of information would be more apt). I quickly hopped over the makeshift wall of bails and crouched down, pressing my back up against the rough surface.
Not pleasant when you’re wearing nothing but a thing undershirt and boxer-shorts.
Hey, what do you expect me to sleep in? You’re lucky I was wearing clothes at all.
As I sat there trying my best to remain silent, I could hear light footsteps making their way past me and towards the opposite corner of the structure. I decided to risk a peek over my cover as curiosity got the best of me. It certainly didn’t sound like the kind of hulking thug that I would picture abducting and dumping me here as I slept.
As my eyes adjusted to the light I could make out a figure in the corner with their back to me, now sitting on something I can assume was either yet another bail of hay or a crate. A figure whose face I couldn’t make out under a heavy brown cloak and hood. I could, however make out the familiar sound of ruffling paper and someone beginning to write, the tip of their chosen writing implement scraping against the paper
As I watched her movements closely, the sound of heavy footsteps broke the silence and I heard her almost whisper “Is that you, John?”
It was a young women, I would have to guess late teens by the youthful sound of her voice. I assumed the heavy footsteps were male and that it wasn’t the person she was expecting when there was no answer back. I was unfortunately right.
Her hood still shrouded her face from view as she glanced over her shoulder and bolted to her feet as the sight of whoever had entered the room with her, letting something heavy drop to the floor with a dull thud. She must have been writing in some sort of book “No, it’s you! Leave me alone!” she cried at the figure. She must have been familiar with him to have such a horrified reaction to his presence. She’d had to have known something that made her deathly afraid of him.
I followed her apparent gaze to a tall, dark figure in what appeared to be a long, flowing coat. His voice chilled me to the bone as he spoke. It was cold as death and yet still somehow held a certain fire and venom that sounded as if took a certain joy in her fear.
“You’ve been quite a thorn in the side of my master, you and that meddlesome hunter that seems to have taken a fancy to you.” My breath caught in my throat as he withdrew something from his coat and my eye was drawn to the unmistakable gleam of steel.
I couldn’t make out much of his face, but I could almost picture the smile creeping across it as he idly ran his fingers along the edge of the blade. “That reminds me, kid. He was indisposed and couldn’t make it tonight, so I figured I’d be a gentleman and keep you company in his stead”
At this point that I didn’t even know who this guy was, but he had a certain “aura” about him, a presence in the room that even had me just as scared of him as she was. It was almost as if the The Devil himself had entered the room.
I watched in shock as she whimpered and did the only she could do and backed away further, drawing her hands closer to her face in some desperate attempt to shield herself and barely choked out the words “No, he can’t be. He can’t be dead.”
The figure merely stepped forward, closing the distance between them and giving a chuckle as his answer. In what i assumed to be either a trick of the light or my own imagination I saw a gleam of red from his eyes, a subtle glow of deep and bright red in his irises reflected against the whites of his sclera.
Her back was now against the wall as he stopped at an arms length. I could hear her almost panting, each breath slow and shaking with fear as she fought back the urge to sob. I tried to will myself to move and do something, to do anything to stop him and save her from whatever horrible fate he obviously had planned, but I couldn’t move. I was frozen with a cold fear that weighed me down like iron shackles and chains.
Before I knew what was happening he struck in one fluid movement and I could see the crimson stains on his blade as he hand stopped. I watched in horror as she grabbed her throat and slid to the ground, choking and gagging for air.
Once she stopped moving he kicked her square in the ribs, she didn’t respond with anything other than the crack of bone. Satisfied that she was dead, he tossed his weapon aside and leaned down to her level. He reached out and grabbed her face in one hand, looking into her eyes. I hear him give a quiet laugh as studied her still obscured face.
I felt my stomach churn as he spoke. “Beautiful, if she isn’t our kind. it’s a shame that she had to be disposed is such a hurry before I could enjoy her company’
I turned away as he threw the body over his shoulder, still in shock from the violent murder I had just witnessed and the implication of her killers words. Words spoken in a voice that concealed the evil of his actions by treated them as no different than throwing a damaged painting, regret befitting a broken piece of art and not a life taken in it’s youth.
It was the heavy wooden door slamming shut that jarred me to reality and punctuated the fact that I was now alone with my thoughts. I let my head fall back against the rough hay and mentally kicked myself for just watching something so horrible happen and not even attempting to intervene. I was no more than 10, maybe 20 feet from them, and still just watched her die like it was a scene in a horror movie.
After wallowing in my own self-pity for what felt like ages, I decided that sitting there sulking was of no use to me OR her and forced myself to climb over bail of hay that had once been my personal barricade and shield from the scene in front of me.
As I made my way to where she had be sitting, my foot bumped into something cold, hard, and wet. I swallowed and looked down, knowing exactly what it was.
The weapon at feet was just as intimidating as it’s wielder. It’s blade still glistened with blood as a grim reminder of the roll it had played and the life it had ended. I had to will myself to look away from it and keep moving before I seized up again, I had find out what was going on and who that woman was. I figured I owed her that much, to at least know what she died for and I thought the book she had been writing in might hold those answers.
It didn’t take me long to find it on the ground a few feet from where I stood. I hesitated as I leaned down and wrapped my hands around it’s spine. I ran my fingers over it’s leather cover and stared into the deep black it had been stained as I stood and brought it closer to my face. It was obviously something of fine craftsmanship and not a cheap notebook, and likely a gift.
I carefully opened the book and ran my fingers over the almost cloth-like paper and felt it’s rough-texture beneath my fingertips. Although it was dark, the pages seemed subtly illuminated as if I was meant to read them, to see the story they told. I could make out text written in an unpracticed hand on the first page.
“With all my love, to my Daughter. I hope this journal serves you well to record memories that will last a lifetime.”
My heart sunk, and despite not even knowing this woman's name or anything else about her I felt a deep sorrow. I could almost feel the tears welling-up in my eyes as the cold emptiness the ageing structure around me finally set in. The darkness around me was sombre and quiet, almost as if the night itself mourned for her as I willed myself to hold back the tears and continue reading.
I turned my eyes to next page, noticing a name written in a much neater and more feminine hand.
No, I didn’t miswrite that name and I’m sure you can put two and two together and know that name as well I do.
Before I could flip the page I felt a strong, cold hand grab my shoulder and jolted awake before I could turn around.
I sat there in bed, drenched in a cold sweat as I tried to process all the information from what I now knew had been a dream. I could hazard a guess about Mary that I think we all know was correct, but who was John? Who, or what was the man that killed her and what did he mean when he called John a hunter? He said it like it was something significant.
The most chilling question in my mind was the final one to surface. Who was his “master”? What kind of monster could order around a cold-blooded beast like that and have his full allegiance? He was obviously little more than an animal hiding behind a human visage and sly words
I glanced at the clock by my bed, 6:30AM. I might as well get up and get dressed. I certainly didn’t feel like sleeping after that.