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“The boundaries which divide Life
from Death are best shadowy
and vague. Who shall say where
the one ends, and where the other
—Edgar Allan Poe
Lightning strikes filled the night sky illuminating the old house on the hill. Thunder made an unsettling groan afterward. Jonathan longed for such a night and this house was a ghost hunter’s paradise. The camera crew had been here a few hours, setting things up. They’d already reported crazy shit happening inside. Things staring through the window; a couple of items falling and crashing to the ground. Your typical haunted house nonsense. But he knew there would be more. This was the house Madame Trudeau haunted. The same lady who hacked up about a hundred people after inviting them in for wild orgies. Jonathan planned to have a séance tonight. What fun that’s gonna be! The crazy old broad would be sure to show her face. Maybe she’ll be holding the knife she carved them up with? If he could get that on film, he’d be famous. But he wouldn’t go it alone, oh no. He had invited some friends. He smiled, as headlights shined from behind him.
“Right on time,” he said under his breath. The car came to a stop. A priest and a woman stepped out.
“Padre, Jose! How’s my favorite drunken priest?” he said, as the two men embraced.
“I’m fine, but I gave up drink for Lent. Well, after Mardi Gras that is.”
“I’ll bet. And who do we have here?” staring at a striking brunette.
“Oh, this is Evelyn Chambers, the…”
“Chicago Medium,” Jonathan finished. “Jose said he was bringing a guest, but I had no idea it would be you. I’ve watched your show and I have to say, I’m impressed, skeptical, but impressed.”
“Well I do have a large following. My ratings are through the roof.”
“Yes, they are,” Jonathan said, looking at her legs and ample bosom. He assumed people were tuning in for more than her medium abilities.
“So, this is the house, hunh? I’ve heard a lot about it.”
“The Trudeau Mansion. Madame Antoinette Trudeau to be exact,” he said.
“Didn’t she kill hundreds of men and women by luring them in under false pretenses? Made them think she was their lover, then murdered them?” Evelyn said.
“They weren’t false. She delivered the goods. After a night of every sexual desire possible, bondage and whips to be precise, they were given as sacrifice to the demons. Who knows?”
“Sounds interesting, perhaps many demons have possessed the place, as it would be a welcome harbinger of evil,” Jose said.
“Well, tonight my friend we will find out! My film crew is already set up inside. Shall we?” Jonathan said, motioning toward the mansion.
A lightning strike filled the sky. The façade of the house lit up revealing the balcony on the second floor. A figure stood there, a woman, looking to be in her thirties. She had pallid skin and a powder blue dress with ruffled ends on the sleeves and collar. Her hair was pinned up giving her a formal look.
“Did you see her?” Evelyn said.
“Who?” Jonathan replied.
“On the balcony. When the lightning struck, I saw a woman there. Very formal, eighteen hundred’s dress.”
Jonathan looked over at Jose and chuckled. “You have done well, my friend. Very well indeed.”
Jose and Evelyn followed Jonathan up a cobblestone walkway, leading to a massive porch. In front of them, there were a series of stone steps leading to the entrance doors of the house. They were impressive oak doors, at least ten feet high, with a stone arch at the top.
“Welcome to Trudeau Mansion,” Jonathan said.
The door opened with a groan as lightning flashed again, illuminating the foyer inside the house.
“God is restless tonight,” Jose said.
A large room stretched out before them with ceilings vaulting to oak beams, also in an arch design. The place looked like a large cathedral. There were paintings on the ceiling of angels and demons in battle. Innocent humans were in between them, wearing hoods over their heads; their bodies naked. A herd of pigs were on the opposite side of the ceiling with a painting of Christ, directing the cloaked people toward them. On the other side of the room was a large throne; ornate and beautiful with jewels on the outer edge and red cushions in the seat and back.
“Interesting décor. What’s with the throne?” Evelyn said.
“Oh yeah. It was said, the Madame would sit there and watch the people engage in the orgies. Afterward she would pick the one she wanted. She had sex with them, slaughtered the poor asshole, and offered them as a sacrificial lamb. Pretty crazy shit.”
Evelyn grinned at Jonathan. She looked away and shuddered.
“I’m not sure. I’m getting weird vibes about this place. I mean, it’s haunted, I assume, so I would think the spirits within are trying to talk to me. Their usually curious of my presence, but it’s different this time, almost like they want me to leave.”
“Some pretty nasty atrocities were committed here, so it wouldn’t surprise me if you had misgivings.”
“It’s not like that. I feel like someone is trying to talk to me.”
“The work of the Devil. He roams the Earth like a lion, waiting to devour the innocent soul,” Jose said.
“You may be right. There is something evil here. Maybe some of the good spirits are trying to warn me?” Evelyn said.
Jonathan considered her and gave her a skeptical look, thinking: with a body like hers, I’m sure the ghosts here are more than turned on.
They continued down a hallway until they came to a room off the main corridor. There were three men and two women behind tables with equipment set up around them. Three of them had cameras of varying size. The other two had laptop computers set up on tables.
“This is my crew. Ruby, Beth, Jimmy, Seth, and Will. They make the magic happen around here.”
“I’m not sure if we need any more magic in this house. We seem to have all bases covered,” Jose said.
“If we are to get some scientific proof, these are the people who will help. We have a table set up with candles.”
“A séance? I’m intrigued. I thought you didn’t know I was coming?” Evelyn said, smiling at Jonathan.
“Well, let’s say I expected a medium, but not one as lovely as you.”
Evelyn continued to smile, clearly pleased by the compliment.
“Now if you are all ready, let’s get started. Evelyn? Can you do the honors?”
Jonathan escorted them to the table. They all sat down and held hands. Evelyn began to meditate. She flipped her head back and her raven black hair fell onto her shoulders and across her cleavage and Jonathan was instantly aroused.
“Those from another past. Can you show us your presence?” Evelyn said.
The candles went out, as the room was plunged into darkness. A low hum permeated the air and an energy rippled from all around. Lightning flashed through the windows and thunder crashed with a loud boom.
“Where are you? Can you hear us?” Jonathan said.
The noise from the hum got louder. A candle lit from the middle of the table shining on Evelyn’s face. The noise was coming from her.
“What do you want? Why do you bother me?” Evelyn said in a low gravelly voice.
Jonathan and Jose looked at each other, and then back at her. Their eyes widened.
“Why do you haunt this house?” Jonathan said.
“I do not haunt, only control the entities who live here.” Evelyn’s eyes rolled back.
“And who are they?”
“You fool, you do not know what you deal with! I am the taker of souls, the one who answers to the Dark Lord!” her head snapped to the side in a disjointed fashion. Her shirt ripped open, the buttons flying off. A lacy bra was the only thing holding her breasts in place. Her hair levitated out and suspended in air, as if caught in a high wind.
“What are you?” Jose said.
“I am the leader of the swine, the pigs who worshipped me!” she said.
Jose and Jonathan looked at each other in puzzlement.
“What do you mean?”
Evelyn looked straight at him with her mouth open wide and her eyes white. “I am the harbinger of pain, my pleasure to bring it and yours to receive!”
The ceiling began to crawl, as faces started to appear. Hundreds of souls, reaching and pawing, seemingly held back by an invisible force. Evelyn’s bra popped open and her breasts fell out in front of Jonathan and Jose. Blood poured from the ceiling and down her chest. Jonathan started to squirm, as his pants became tighter. To his surprise, he was more turned on by the blood than the exposure of her breasts. Although they were supple, and he longed to touch them.
“Come to me, my lover,” Evelyn said with a deep voice, looking at Jonathan. He started for her, as he was unable to resist. Jose jumped between them and shouted,
“I cast you out in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!”
Evelyn shrieked and fell back into her seat. Lightning flashed from outside, as the air rippled with energy. The seats and the table shook violently, then all stopped, and the room went dark, except for the glow of the cameras. Evelyn looked down at her chest and grabbed her shirt, pulling it together.
“Where did all this blood come from and why was my shirt open?” she said, looking toward Jonathan and Jose. But before they could answer, she saw a woman sitting beside Jonathan. She was covered in shadow. The woman’s head turned toward her. Then the light from the candle lit by itself. He noticed Evelyn looking beside him at the empty chair.
“Evelyn? What do you see?”
“I…I’m not sure,” she said.
The woman’s face was hovering over the candle. She looked as though she were melting, her skin sloughed off, revealing striations of black, necrotic muscle on her cheeks. Her teeth were black and eyes glassy. Evelyn was frozen, as the creature came closer to her face. A long black tongue shot out of the hag’s mouth and licked Evelyn on the face.
“This vessel will do,” the lady said. Evelyn screamed, grabbing for her face. The candle went out, plunging the room back into darkness. The chair beside Jonathan fell back on the floor with a smack and he jumped to his feet.
“Evelyn? What’s happening?” Jonathan said.
“Aagh!” Seth called out from the other side of the room. He was clutching the headphones over his ears. The laptops and cameras flashed on and the screens began to fluctuate. A steady stream of static came across the view screen and one of the cameras popped and sizzled, as smoke trailed out the top. Beth and Will were grabbing for fire extinguishers. Jimmy was scrambling, trying to save as much equipment as possible. A loud hum resonated from the electronic equipment.
“Shut everything down!” Ruby cried out.
Another quick burst of lightning filled the room, as all went silent. Seth flipped the switch and the overhead lights came on.
“What happened?” Jose said.
“I don’t know, but I’m hoping we got it on camera,” Jonathan said.
“I have a feeling your ghosts are demons.”
“Right now, I don’t know what to think! Let’s check out the tape and see.”
Evelyn hadn’t got up yet, she was clearly woozy, rubbing her temples. Jose brought her a blanket and covered her with it. She nodded to him in appreciation.
“How are you doing Evelyn?”
“Better, Jonathan. But I’m not sure what happened.”
“Something must have invaded your body,” he said, as he helped Evelyn to her feet. “Roll the footage team. I want to see what we caught.”
Ruby opened her laptop with one hand and waved the electrical-smelling smoke from the air around her head with the other. The other computers were ruined, but hers was still operable. She rewound the recording to where the séance started. Jonathan could see himself, Jose, and Evelyn. They all looked normal, except for Evelyn. She had small orbs of light over her head, hanging in the air like fireflies, only in a tight cluster. The orbs had tendrils dangling from them in a spiral pattern that encircled her. A naked woman materialized and walked over to Evelyn. She caressed Evelyn’s hair and pulled her shirt open and a moment later opened her bra. The woman spit blood from her mouth and onto Evelyn’s chest. She caressed Evelyn’s naked bosom, licking the skin up to her neck. Other people surrounded the table and started dancing. They all had cloaks covering their heads, but no clothing on their bodies. They all ran behind Jonathan and started pushing him toward Evelyn. Jonathan stepped back and put his arms up in a victory wave.
“Do you know what this means? We have actual proof of a paranormal encounter!”
“Easy for you to say. I feel like I’m the star of a low-grade porno movie,” Evelyn said indignantly. Jonathan looked at her blushing. He wanted to ask if she enjoyed it as much as he did, but thought better of it.
“Jonathan, wait. There’s more,” Ruby said.
The digital recording continued, as they watched. The people surrounding the table began to turn to pigs and ran into the wall, disappearing. After this, the recording went to static.
“What happened? Why did it go blank? I didn’t see the faces in the ceiling! Where did the pigs go?!” Jonathan cried.
“I’m not sure. Everything looks fine, maybe the camera in the hall caught something. I’ll take the crew and check it out. Come on, guys,” Ruby said. They left the room for the hall leading to the entrance door. Jonathan turned to Jose and Evelyn.
“While their checking for problems, let’s discuss what happened, especially you Evelyn. I want to know what you felt. Those things were all around you, did you know they were there?”
Evelyn considered him and looked to the ceiling. The paint rippled like a wave of water.
“Did you see it?” she said.
“See what?” Jose said.
“The ceiling is moving. There is something behind it.”
“I don’t see anything,” Jonathan said.
Suddenly, there was a scream from the hallway.
“Jose? Who the Hell was that?”
“It sounded like Ruby.”
They ran to the door. Jonathan was two steps ahead of him, as Ruby came running up. She was covered in blood and crying.
“What’s wrong? Where is the rest of the crew?”
“They…they, didn’t make it,” she said.
“What do you mean? Where are they?”
Ruby was crying so hard she couldn’t make a coherent sentence. The lights began to flicker and went out, plunging the hall into darkness. Lightning flashed, lighting up the hallway and the room ahead.
“Jose, Evelyn? Where’s Evelyn?” Jonathan said
“I’m not sure, she was behind me,” Jose said.
“Take Ruby back to the séance room, I’m going ahead to see what’s going on.”
“No…no, don’t go in there,” Ruby said.
“It’s okay, I’ll only be a second,” Jonathan reassured her.
Jonathan rushed to the end of the hall and into the main room. The lights were out, so he flipped the switch, nothing happened. Lightning illuminated the room and he shuddered from the ensuing thunder rumble. He saw a red hue coming from behind the murals on the ceiling. Did he see the demons moving? He did. They ripped the flesh from the humans they were holding, blood dripped from the inflicted wounds. Jonathan noticed the pigs were missing from the mural and the angels were huddled in a corner. They turned their heads to look away. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Worse yet, he didn’t know if there was a camera on this.
Then blood began to fall around him, pouring from every corner of the room; in his hair, on his face. He felt his dinner in his throat, as he wiped it away.
“Where is my crew? Guys you should be recording this!” Frustrated, he stepped into the large room. He pulled up hard with his foot, making a popping sound, like a suction cup releasing. There was something thick and sticky on the floor. The next step caused him to trip over something. What he saw made him wretch. It was the camera crew; their bodies were laid out on the floor; arms outstretched, and feet pinned together spread out in a circular pattern like spokes on a wheel. They were disemboweled with entrails hanging out in all directions. Body parts were strewn out everywhere, some human, but others were…pigs? Jonathan jumped back landing on a pigs head.
The swine parts were in a random pattern around the bodies of the camera crew. He remembered what he saw in the mural earlier. The bodies being cast into the pigs by Christ.
Blood soaked the floor and every other area of the room. Jonathan peddled backward, trying to get to his feet. He rolled over onto his hands and knees and slipped into the blood and muck, face first. He choked as the blood was now in his mouth. He started spitting and heaving. A wave of nausea overtook him, and he lost the contents of his stomach.
Jonathan managed to get a hand on the wall and steady himself. With weak legs, he rose and stumbled along the hallway.
“Jose? Jose, where are you? Ruby?” he said.
Lightning illuminated the room up ahead, casting a shadow on the wall for a moment. It looked like Evelyn’s outline, but something else was there too. The thunder rocked the house along with Jonathan’s resolve. He fell against the wall; his body shook with fear. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could stand.
“Jose, Ruby, Evelyn? What the Hell is happening? Would somebody please answer!?” he begged.
“I’ll answer if you want to listen,” Evelyn said.
Jonathan turned his head and rested it against the wall. He was afraid to move any further.
“Jonathan, I’m waiting, come join me,” Evelyn said.
He found the strength to lumber forward, his legs, gelatinous, not wanting to cooperate. Grabbing the door facing to steady himself, he walked into the room. A flash of lightning lit up the horrifying scene. Jose and Ruby were pinned to the wall, arms wide apart and feet nailed together, crucified to some makeshift cross. Evelyn stood below them. She was naked and covered in blood. A pig’s head adorned the top of her head. It was attached to a cloak that flowed over her shoulders.
“There you are. I’ve been waiting. Lay down on the table.”
He did as she said, he felt as though he had no power to resist. She undressed him, massaging his penis until it was erect. She straddled him and took him inside her. Evelyn put her hands on Jonathan’s chest. She worked up and down, grinding her pelvis into his middle in a rhythmic motion, moaning in a low drone. Her cadence intensified, and Jonathan groaned with pleasure. Evelyn reached down beside her, producing a large knife. She raised her arms and brought the knife down into Jonathan’s chest.
The blood erupted from him, as Jonathan, trembling, released his seed into her. She plunged the knife into his chest again and again until his sternum collapsed. She cried out in pleasure as she came.
Evelyn got down from the table and drug Jonathan’s body to the hallway and down to the main room. Then she gathered the other bodies, bringing them to the same place. She raised her hands into the air and a blue fire came from the floor, swirling about the bodies. A demon gathered them, laughing as he did so. They all rose to the ceiling and disappeared.
Evelyn walked across the room and sat in the throne. With the knife still in her hands, she slit both of her wrists. Blood flowed from the self-inflicted wounds, as she began to drift off to sleep. She looked around the room and to the ceiling. She saw Jonathan, Jose, and the rest of the film crew; cloaks around their heads. She smiled. The Madame was pleased.