The Thing In The Room…
His bedroom door exploded off its hinges as if it had been hit by a runaway freight train.
It knocked me to the floor and something huge and dark-colored burst into the room, bolted across the floor, and pounced on Charlie like a wild animal as he tried to flee from the confines of the tangled bedcovers. It seemed half man from the waist up and half beast from the waist down with ‘hooves’ instead of feet.
For a moment, I was overwhelmed by the smell of raw animal musk, and the rank scent of half human sweat and fur. Charlie fought with the beast like his life depended on it and judging by the way they struggled, it did.
During their struggle the huge canopy over Charlie’s bed broke, tore, then fell like a giant shroud and covered them both, Charlie and the, the ‘thing’ what ever it was, fought like mad under it.
“Charlie!” I scrambled off the floor and grabbed a poker from the fireplace as I dove for the bed and the two bodies struggling up underneath the covers and canopy.
“Help me Thomaaaaaasssssssssss!!!…”
I heard his voice trailing off under the covers as if he had fallen into a great well. I hurriedly snatched the covers and canopy off the bed, indeed I threw them on the floor and raised the poker high ready to strike. But Charlie and his mysterious attacker were gone...”
“Come now Thomas, please. You don’t expect me to believe that a grown man and his so-called ‘attacker’ just ‘disappeared’ right before your very eyes! Come on. I asked you if you had ever seen a miracle, not how well you could tell me some ‘trumped up’ fairy tale. What do you take me for, a fool?” Jonathan exclaimed.
“You asked for it, and I am telling you exactly what I saw. You believe what you want, but I’m telling you everything I saw, exactly as it occurred that night. But that’s not the strangest thing I saw that night.”
Jonathan growled his discontent then questioned as to the nature of the ‘creature’, and curious nonetheless, he grudgingly let the Priest continue.
I spread the sheets, bedcovers, and canopy flat on the floor, got down on my hands and knees and smoothed out every square inch of it.
There was nothing tangled up with in them, and nothing was in the bed, it was now stripped bare down to the very mattress and box spring.
And when I glanced at the box spring, I did a double-take. I rubbed my eyes because I thought it was an illusion. My eyes playing tricks, but no. They were real.
“What was real?” Jonathan said quickly.
“’Hoof’ marks on the mattress.” Said the Priest, “Hooves...”
“Thomas. Please…” retorted Jonathan, again in rank disgust.
“I swear it.” Came the Priests’ serious reply, “Then, I almost panicked.”
“Dear God! Where are they!”
And I called out to him, “Charley! Charley! Where are you!!” I searched the bedroom, and the entire top floor for the better part of an hour.
I then searched the rest of the house until finally, I came to the basement. It was pitch black and a flick of the light switch didn’t make it any better. The bulb was out. I decided to venture into the nether region any way, when just then, I heard a huge thump upstairs and a voice. A voice calling my name.
I raced and pounded my way up the stairs to the top floor, by the time I arrived I was winded and my heart was telling me that it had been years since I had ran to anything, and that either I had to quit running, or it would...
I stumbled my way breathlessly to his bedroom with no idea of what I would find..
“Charlie!!” I pushed open the huge bedroom door. Wait! That door had been on the floor an hour earlier! Knocked off the hinges by the creature that had invaded the room and I still had the bloody scar on my forehead to prove it!
“Charlie! Where are you!!” I said pushing the door open wider with my left hand as I held what had become my best friend—the fireplace poker—tightly in my right. What was going on here!
In the room, the covers and canopy were back in place on the bed as if nothing had ever happened. And there, lying in the bed was Charlie, curled up into a fetal ball, trembling, terrified and as white as the sheet he lay on...
“Charlie!” I said rushing to his bedside.
He looked up at me slowly, unsure of where he was, his pupils were odd, huge, and dilated as he looked at me, just now beginning to adjust to the light in the room. They were huge as if he had just come from a room that was pitch black.
“Thomas? Is that you, Thomas?” He said in a dry whisper.
“Yes, Charlie, it’s me. Are-are you alright? Where did you go? Where have you been the past hour—and what’s that smell? It smells like something rotten has been burning.”
“Something rotten has been burning…” he whispered in his now raspy voice. And removed his right arm from the under the covers so that I could see,
His whole right arm had horrific third degree burns from the tip of his middle finger completely up his right arm to his shoulder.
“What is this Charles? Where’d it come from, and how did you get so badly burned??!”
He laid his head back down on the pillow and stared off into space, then said,
“Some people don’t know where they’re going to go when they die, Thomas.”
He then turned his head and locked his eyes into mine, “But I know where I’m going…
“Don't talk like that Charlie. Ho-how could you possibly know that..”
He turned his head and stared off into space again, then said,
“Because I’ve just been there,” he said slowly,
“And they want me back…”
I picked up the phone to dial 911 and found the line was completely dead.
I went into his bathroom and found a First Aide Kit there, I brought it out and started using it to try and dress his wounds.
“Don’t bother,” he said, trance like. And the fatalistic tone in his voice caused me to pause for a moment.
“What do you mean, why not?” I queried.
“Because the creature who attacked me said that his name is ‘Thullus’,” here he looked at me again with his sad and doomed filled eyes,
“And he said that he’ll be back for me in exactly 30 mintues…”
I glanced quickly at a clock on the mantle. It was 11:30 pm. The thing said it would be back at 12:00, midnight.
“…And he said ‘this time’, that I wouldn’t be coming back here, Thomas. Thomas. Help me …”
“Where were you, where did you go Charlie?”
“I just told you already. Hell. I was wrong Thomas. I was wrong in everything I thought, and everything I said.”
He sat up suddenly, whencing from the burn marks on his arm. As he finished speaking, I finished my first aide job on his arm.
“After my mother died, I refused to believe in God, the devil, Heaven and Hell. But Thomas,” He looked at me with the most earnest look one man has ever given another,
“But I went there tonight. I mean it, I really went to Hell. It-it was the most horrendous thing I’ve ever seen, and was the most horrific place I have ever been…
“There were miles and miles of land, rocks and low craggy hills. It looked like a desert lit by fire light. And Thomas?”
“Everything was on fire--everything… As far as the eye could see, the land, the rocky hills, the valleys, and even the few low level mountains, they were all on fire. Even the dirt, and what would pass for a ‘sky’ was on fire…
“There was constant moaning from all the people all around me. The people… Even the people were on fire. And the fire, though it burned—you could see it, you could smell it, you could feel it—it never burned anything ‘up’. It just continually burned, nothing was ‘consumed’. Things could burn forever, but the fire would never stop. It-it was like being covered with Napalm which just continually burned, but never burned up, never burned out…
“I met a man there who had been burning from the beginning of time. He said his name was Nufti. He had been part of the Egyptian Army that had been ordered by Pharaoh to pursue the Israelites into the Red Sea. He said that his wife had warned him not to go. Not to respond to the Pharaohs’ call for soldiers that morning. But he had refused her pleas and regarded them as no more than the superstitious cries of a weak-minded woman infected with the false religion of the Jews.
“He asked me what day it was and what year. I told him and he wept. He said that he never knew that the world would remain this long and wondered aloud of how many more centuries he had to live, burning, before the End finally came…
“Even the light there was dark, brooding and evil. A kind of permanent ‘twilight’. Barely enough light to see by, yet perpetually dark enough to constantly play tricks on the eyes and the mind. A stick on the ground by your foot gives you a start for a moment because you think it looks like a snake in the dim light. You relax and continue on and as you walk by it. It’s just a stick. Then, it bites you, because as you pass by it, it actually changes into a snake and bites you. Because here, all of your greatest fears actually and immediately become what you imagined them to be…
“Bodies and body parts are everywhere. The basest animal instincts dominate within all who are there. I have seen some of the most obscene things that I cannot even dare to speak of to you. People looking as dead as dead can be, eating the limbs of other people, and even, eating themselves. Feeling the pain, and yet compelled, by raw instincts, to continue without ceasing, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, millennium after millennium. The smoke, the fire, the moans, the groans, the pain. Because as you stumble around in the horrific surroundings you feel a terrible itch and a tremendous burning sensation as you look around you at all these doomed souls on fire.
Then you look at yourself, your arm, your leg or your torso and then suddenly you realize.
“That you are on fire too with no way in Hell—literally, to put it out…