Chapter 5: Deguello pt 5

It was obvious we had to go to the house where Artie found himself materialized.

I rang the doorbell and a blond woman in her early thirties was placing a shoe on her foot and opened the door. “I’m glad you’re here, Mindy is driving me—-” The woman straightened herself, stared blankly at Artie and I.

I smiled at her and said, “Hello…” I started to give her a line, maybe say we were geek patrol here to fix your laptop. But she gave me a stern look. I was at a loss for words.

“What’s he doing here?!” The woman screamed.

“Uh…Mrs….?”

“Parson. And he,” She pointed at Artie. “Is supposed to be in jail! The creep would have stolen my little girl—”

“Wait…Mrs… Parson….I don’t think Artie would do such a thing—”

“Who the hell are you? His lawyer?”

“Uh…no. I’m Artie’s brother, Pete. Can we come inside and talk?”

“No. I’m not letting two strange men—”

“Please, Mrs. Parson. Artie….my brother…he’s not all…Artie is…special,” I told her, giving a pained look, hoping to break that icy shell.

Mrs. Parson gave Artie a long look over. Artie was doing his job by just smiling for no reason. He looked clueless, and it was no act.

She relented, offered us to step foot across her threshold. “I’m sorry,” She whispered to me. “I didn’t know anything was different about him.”

“It’s okay,” I whispered back. “It’s not noticeable at first.”

“Please,” She flashed a smile at us. “Have a seat.”

Artie sat beside me on the couch, Mrs. Parson sat in a green lounge chair across from us. The house looked the typical middle class, all the furniture was new. I asked what she did for a living and Mrs. Parson said she was a lawyer. That could come in handy someday, with my luck. I told her I was a fraud investigator. I thought that would be somewhat humorous, but only to me. I saw a picture in a frame of Mrs. Parson and a dark-haired man in a turtleneck. I took a shot and asked what her husband did for a living.

“I’m separated,” She said, making a face. I guess I hit a raw nerve. Her demeanor changed. “He is a lawyer as well. Look, I’m late for an appointment, could we get on with this?  I’m just waiting for my babysitter. What do you want?”

“I wanted to discuss….the uh….charges…..”

I was scanning the room when she caught me off guard. A little girl entered the living room carrying a large, tattered book, the yellowing pages falling to the floor. The little girl was just six or seven. She brought the book to Mrs. Parson, climbed in her lap.

“Mommy, will you read this book to me?” The little girl said.

“Marnie, where did you get this?” Mrs. Parson held up the book, looked at the plain softcover.

“Mindy had it.”

I recognized the book. It was a Spellcaster.

“Did you read from that book?” I asked Marnie. She nodded to me. “You can read well?”

“Marnie has been able to read since she was four. What’s this have to do—?”

“Can you show me those pages, Marnie? Where did you last read?”

She took the Spellcaster from her mother’s hands and brought it to me. I noticed Artie wasn’t sitting beside me anymore. He was at the window, looking out at the front yard. Marnie flipped the crumbling pages haphazardly until she came to an image of a naked man with claw-like fingers and red eyes. Horns protruded from both sides of his forehead. The cation on top of the printed words read HOW TO CALL FORTH A DEMON.

That was it. I looked over my shoulders at Artie. “I think I know how you got here, Artie,” I said.

Artie was still staring out the window, only his eyes grew bigger. His hands were twitching. I saw fear cross his face. Artie backed up slowly from the window.

“He’s here,” Artie said.

“What’s he going on about?” Mrs. Parson snapped.

“Who, Artie?” I stood, helped Marnie on the couch.

“Deguello…..” Artie whispered.

The doorbell rang. Mrs. Parson was already standing, with her hands on her hips, went to the door.

“Don’t answer the door!” I screamed. I remembered if you don’t invite a demon inside, it can’t enter your home. Of course, a demon is not going to ring a doorbell.

“It’s my babysitter,” Mrs. Parson stamped her feet and screamed in frustration. She opened the door to a young woman in a flowery dress and beads backpack over her shoulder. “Mindy! I’m glad you are here. I might have to call the police—”

“I’m sorry I’m late, Mrs. Parson. Traffic from the campus was dreadful.”

There was a low growl from behind Mindy.  She set one foot inside the house and a large black dog leaped into the air, grabbed Mindy by the nape of her neck, and pulled her to the floor of the living room.

Mindy screamed, tried to roll away from the dog, who pounced on her. The dog’s powerful jaws bit down hard on Mindy’s face and tore a huge chunk of flesh from her cheek to her mouth. Mrs. Parson screamed, kicking off a shoe. She picked up the high heel, buried the sharply curved heel into the back of the dog’s neck, causing it to rear back, screaming a blood-curdling yelp. As it fell on its back, rolled toward Artie, it was no longer the red-eyed hound. It had become Deguello once more.

Deguello stood slowly, pulled the tip of the high heel from the back of his neck. A large fleshy gap was open, the skin raised up and collided into each other. His wound was healed. A curved twelve-inch blade with pointed teeth on one side encircled handle, appeared in his right hand.

Deguello smiled. It looked like a razor had gone across both sides of his face to create that bloody, horrible smile. He stepped toward Artie.

I rushed him. It was no good. He caught me by the throat with his left hand, squeezed slightly, and lifted me in the air, high above everyone. I struggled for breath, kicked my legs. In mere moments, I felt light-headed. My vision became blurry. I saw Mindy whispering, her torn mouth bleeding badly.

Deguello carried me with him as he raised the blade up and came down in angle towards Artie’s chest. Artie screamed, threw his hands up instinctively. I heard a rumble grow to growl from Deguello’s clenched spiraling teeth.

Everything went black.

A few minutes later I came to. I was on the floor, beside a puddle of burning flesh. I looked at everyone, stunned. “What happened?” I asked.

Artie was hiding behind the couch, peaking from a corner. A mound of salt surrounded the hunk of blackened skin, which was still sizzling.

Mrs. Parson was kneeling, holding Marnie close to her and sobbing loudly. A canister of salt lay at their feet. “Marnie….of all things…threw salt on ….that….that…thing…..I’m so confused…..I don’t understand anything anymore. I don’t even know how Marnie knew what to do—”

“I,” Mindy said slowly, her face showing agonizing pain. “I told her too…..”

I ran to Mindy, having already called an ambulance from Mrs. Parson’s cell phone, and wrapped a kitchen towel gently around her face to stop the bleeding. “I ….cast a ….spell….on Marnie… It’s not dead,” Mindy barely managed. “It’s only banished…..it will be….back…..”

“Shhh,” I told her, stroking Mindy’s hair. “Try not to talk. Everything will be alright.”

I was at home, in the bungalow Maggie had left me in her will. I was in my bedroom, Artie was in the guest room, hopefully resting. I laid in the bed Maggie and I once shared together, holding that locket in my hands.

“It’s been a while,” I heard Maggie say. Then I felt her body against mine, her arms caressing me. She softly kissed me on the lips. “I’ve missed you.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’ve been grieving for you.”

“No need to,” Maggie said. “I’m here. I’ll be with you forever.”

I closed my eyes and believed that, because I hadn’t believed it before. I will never doubt her again. Never.

Hellspeak DEGUELLO 5

All Chapters from Hellspeak

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Next Tuesday, Chapter 6: Chicken Scratch pts 1-3

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