Cinco de Mayo, and I was walking towards a ghost hunt of all things, with a man I barely knew.
Granted, this guy had the best ass I’d ever seen, but still. What would my mother say? I know what she’d say. “Pamela! How dare you let the devil in your heart like that. He’ll cut off your limbs and burn your body.”
Because she had an active imagination like that. Tommy nudged me with his elbow.
“What are you thinking about?”
“Nothing,” I replied with a smile. “How much farther is this place?”
“Just around the corner.” But instead of turning towards the hopping downtown district, we turned onto a deserted side street. Ahead loomed a building, the walls sagging with age, windows broken, and graffiti lining the aged bricks. I swallowed. “There she is,” Tommy said, a note of reverence in his voice.
“We’re going…in there?” He nodded and I pursed my lips. “Ah…Is it safe?”
“Yeah, sure. Come on.” He dragged me a little quicker towards the side of the building. I looked to the front door and noticed a chain around the handle and a nice long sticker with the word “Condemned” splashed across the front.
Tommy shoved open a door in the back corner of the building with his shoulder. I jumped at the bang and dust settled across the entry.
“Tommy, I thought you said a group was coming on this.”
“They’ll be here. Come on, I want to show you something.” His eyes glistened with youthful energy, and I swallowed and followed him in.
Darkness engulfed us at once as the moonlight outside was sealed out with a creak of the door. I stood still, waiting for Tommy to find my hand. He clicked a flashlight on and shone the beam down the hall before taking my hand.
A little thrill shocked me, but I hardly noticed as I took in the building. The wavering light illuminated closed doors or partially open ones, and peeling wallpaper reached towards us from the ceiling. I glanced into an open room and the moonlight shone in past the torn curtains hanging loose from their rod to expose medical tools. Sharp scissors and rusted scalpels glared at me before Tommy tugged me further down the hall.
“Watch your step,” he said, leading me to the edge of a stairwell. The stairs were in surprisingly good condition compared to the rest of the building, and I gripped the dusty rail as we began to ascend the steps.
“Okay,” I whispered. “This is kind of weird.”
“Just wait. You’re about to see what I needed to show you.”
What he needed to show me? I let my inhibitions slide to the pit of my stomach and pushed on, trying to ignore the creeping shadows along the wall. My heart pounded as we moved along, Tommy’s sure footsteps guiding me behind him, until the world opened up.
The entire floor had no ceiling, nothing to hide the bright moonlight. My breath frosted in the cool air and Tommy turned to smile at me.
“Isn’t it beautiful? They call this the stairway to heaven.”
The stars seemed so close I could reach out and grab one. “It’s stunning.” I wrenched my eyes back to his face. “It didn’t seem like we climbed that long.”
“Never does.” He stepped a little closer and brushed a stray hair from my cheek. “You’re beautiful, you know that?”
I blushed and looked away. “Thanks.” Something in a corner caught my eye and I turned to look in the direction so fast my neck hurt. But the only thing I saw were shadows. Hand to my heart, I looked back at Tommy. “Did you see that?”
“What?” He had been facing the full moon.
“Something moved in the corner there.” A bang surprised me and I jumped with a little gasp. “What was that?”
Tommy pulled my arm until I hovered at his shoulder and stared into the darkness. He began murmuring words I didn’t understand, though they reached my ears clear as day, and then a shadow rose from the corner.
I screamed and stumbled backwards, but Tommy kept chanting his phrase. The shadow formed into a somewhat human shape and its black holes for eyes stared into my very soul before it opened its mouth and released a horrifying and high pitched scream. Everything bad I’d ever done flew before my eyes and every bad memory I held was laid out for display against the wall. My mother beating me into submission to rid me of the demons, my uncle raping me, my first time trying heroin.
As I stared at the monster in the corner, his shape began to fold into itself and the scream died away until a soft pop was heard and then silence.
Sweet, blessed silence.
The Briefing Crew:
Lily Sawyer m/m
Sara York m/m
Julie Lynn Hayes m/m