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It rained in Jupiter, Florida. A blue Mercedes-Benz parked in an empty lot. It was past midnight when Kasey Matthews shut off the engine; he leaned back in his seat, closed his eyes, and exhaled. The muscles in Kasey’s body started to relax as he savored this one moment to himself. He listened to the storm for several minutes, hoping it would clear his mind of such dreadful thoughts.
The things he had seen would never leave him be. Kasey stared at the rear-view mirror and scratched his scruffy beard, since he hadn’t shaved in weeks. He didn’t recognize himself––he was an absolute mess. There was a large gash on his forehead where some dried blood remained. His red hair wasn’t neatly combed, looking matted and untamed; he smelled of strong alcohol and hadn’t showered in days.
Kasey massaged his temples and then rubbed the weariness out from his bloodshot eyes. He’d driven on the highway for nearly four hours nonstop, without a single restroom break. Since Kasey was determined to reach his destination, he hadn’t stopped to eat nor rest at any of the interstate service stations in towns. Not even to wash his face. He stared at the digital clock on the dashboard in silence.
It suddenly changed to 2:30 A.M. Kasey’s sweaty hands gripped the steering wheel tight as he peered outside. He lifted his coat sleeve and quickly wiped the foggy windshield while the rain pitter-pattered on the glass in heavy clumps. The scent of the ocean, of salt water made his nostrils flare. A lingering presence hovered above Kasey’s car, despite the towering lampposts nearby; elongated shadows gave him a creepy vibe.
Like peaceful giants they stood forever motionless; their light guiding the path to enlightenment or to death. However, the closer he looked at these tall structures the more he saw. A silent, ominous threat. In the dark, these inanimate lights appeared to be staring down at any trespasser from above. Kasey noticed a beam flash over his car, brighter than all the others.
From below, as water cascaded over the concrete lighthouse, it resembled a Cyclops with its white eye glaring. Huge droplets of rain came down in sheets. Kasey could barely see through the perspiration that fogged the windows. When he was driving on the slippery roads, his wiper blades had been turned on at full speed, yet he still had low visibility.
Now that the car had stopped, he could see through the blurry windows. The beach was just a few yards away. Kasey knew nobody would be out and about at this time, especially with ongoing reports of severe thunderstorms in the area. Maybe somewhere a lone surfer might be crazy enough to ride a ferocious wave. But Kasey had his doubts. No one in their right mind would dare risk it.
Lightning streaked across the sky, in an array of displays. After all, Florida was known as the Lightning Capital of the World and no one was that foolish to disprove it. Kasey unlocked the door; he didn’t care that it was raining. Something had a strong hold over him––it compelled Kasey to step in to the cold, morning air. Fear had not kept him at bay, even though the danger was clearly there.
Kasey tried every logical reasoning to explain what he had seen, but nothing made a lick of sense. He had too many questions and safety was the last thing on his mind. Kasey had to step outside or he’d implode.
Suffering from some kind of mental break down, he couldn’t control himself. Was Kasey going to do something he’d regret?
Maybe, in some way, he wanted to end his life. No amount of rain could wash away the blood from his hands. He was unclean—the guilt he felt would never leave him.
The hell am I doing? he thought, curiously.
This was a mistake from the start. Kasey sighed. What had brought him here? Exactly what was he planning to do at a deserted beach, for that matter? But Kasey had to see it for himself.
It was the main reason why he was speeding on the road, on the Florida Turnpike, just to get to this spot. Someone once told him that this place was like no other. Thunder boomed overhead. Stepping out of the vehicle completely, he took his time. One foot after the other, Kasey ruined his shoes in a puddle of muddy water.
He checked his surroundings, and then grabbed his hat from inside. Kasey slammed the door shut, so the leather seats wouldn’t get wet. How odd he cared more about the condition of his vehicle than his own well being. Without any umbrella, not that it would’ve helped with all the wind, Kasey walked toward a large sign that had a map of the Blowing Rocks Preserve. It described the layout of the land in perfect detail.
Kasey couldn’t read the small letters nor the symbols, which showed him where to go. He decided that sticking to a path would be much easier for him. Kasey figured if he stayed along the coast, he wouldn’t get lost. His long, unkempt hair was hidden underneath his brownish hat. Overlooking the view, he maintained a safe distance from the water’s edge and watched the white waves crash against the jagged rocks.
The tide came in, hitting the twisted formations before him. Kasey saw what looked like soapy foam nearly six feet high. He noticed a red and white striped lighthouse not far from where he was standing. The bright light couldn’t perpetrate through the darkness, almost as if it were engulfed by the dark clouds itself. As Kasey lowered his gaze, he tried to heal the gaping hole in his chest, and yet he couldn’t repair his shattered heart.
He couldn’t remember what made him come to the beach in the first place. A soft voice called out to him. He didn’t know who or what it was. A strange feeling came over Kasey—one of sadness, of dread. It made him quite uneasy as he slogged through the sand, in the middle of a violent storm.
In perpetual thought, Kasey struggled to keep it together; he shoved both hands into his coat pockets. The images of red––a blood soaked petal. A bouquet of roses on a table, of bloody footsteps on the floorboards raced on. His fingers touched a hard, icy surface. It was entirely metal. Kasey took out a pistol, a .44 Magnum.
He felt somewhat at ease whenever he went to the beach; it was what Kasey did if he ever had a bad day at work. However, this moment in his life, things were very different––he was not the same person, who he used to be. His entire outlook had changed. Now, Kasey wanted nothing more than to stop these ongoing migraines, the frequent pounding in his head. He closed his eyes and thought about how it would feel to die.
It will be a quick, painless death, he thought, trying to rationalize it.
A strong gust of air blew his hat clean off, and Kasey turned around, watching it disappear into the black sky. He slowly lifted the gun, putting the barrel inside his mouth; the memories of the past made him relive the agony all over again. Everything he visualized was static, but vivid with color. Kasey imagined an orange sunset as it descended beyond the horizon.
The cool, calm waves on his bare feet as they walked together on the sunny beach. Her wide smile could brighten any time of day. Kasey recalled the red sunhat she always wore and her long, wavy brunette hair. The warm breeze blew gently against their skin; they watched the waters sparkle with such light.
In a split second, the roses he’d bought––the ones she had in her favorite vase, fell to the floor. It smashed to pieces like his fragmented mind. The blood on the walls. Abrupt static once more. Kasey drifted off, floating in space, the memories of a long corridor.
A hallway full of doors and blue pastel walls. He leaned over toward a hospital bed—sunlight came through the curtains, covering everything in white. An old woman lay motionless before him with big, wide eyes. Her lips trembled. He saw the tears rolling down her sunken cheeks, the pain on her wrinkled face. This woman had no name and was the only witness to an unusual case. She blinked once at Kasey, but she couldn’t move any part of her body.
She was paralyzed from the waist down, and as he moved toward her, she became more frightened. Kasey didn’t understand what she was mumbling about, but it didn’t sound good. The old woman’s soft voice looped in his ears, giving him no peace of mind.
“It started on the brink. It was utterly dark. The light shined bright on to me, but I could not turn. I could not turn…” She closed her eyes and never opened them again.
Back at the beach, his wife’s snowy skin touched his; her complexion was not much lighter than his. Hand-in-hand they were happily married––a new beginning for them both. The darkness returned. Their life was short lived. The redness burned Kasey’s eyes. The Volkswagen collided head on into a speeding train.
The metal crumbled inward and tore it to bits. The streets flashed red and blue lights; police, paramedics, and firefighters were everywhere. Parts of her were left on the side of the road. Kasey soon heard faint singing and realized he wasn’t alone. Someone else was with him, lurking within the depths of the ocean.
It waited and watched over him. Kasey removed the .44 Magnum from his mouth, lowering his hand; he quickly concealed it in his pocket. A reddish, glowing light caught his eye. Dots of red emerged from beneath the turbulent currents. It glided across the water with such speed and accuracy as if it was riding on the waves.
The lights in the sky merged as one; it was unbelievably radiant, almost blinding Kasey. He partially covered his face. Then, it dissipated. A figure was standing on top of a cliff to his left side. Initially, Kasey didn’t think any of this was real.
Was it an illusion? Maybe a dream of some kind? Kasey took his hands out of his pockets and ran toward the angelic being, who was so close to the edge of those rolling, black waves. They resembled the jaws of a shark that would swallow anyone who ventured too close to the edge. Once Kasey stepped closer, his feet were stuck in place.
He noticed a little girl in a red dress. Both her arms were outstretched before her as if she would jump. She gazed at the water with such keen interest. Was she thinking of diving in?
“Hey, little girl,” he shouted, waving wildly at her.
She put down her hands and turned to face Kasey––looked him straight in the eye. At that moment, he knew something was not right with her. Her youthful appearance and red eyes made her quite beautiful, even enigmatic. Kasey sensed the sadness deep in his heart. Something was very wrong, and yet he couldn’t make out what he truly felt.
Was it fear? Anxiety? He swallowed and approached her just the same.
“Don’t do it. Whatever you’re thinking…whatever you’re going through, it will be all right,” Kasey yelled, trying to speak through the howling wind and rain. “I can help you.”
She didn’t move and continued staring at him with a blank expression on her doll-like face.
“Don’t be afraid. I’m a cop,” he stated, quite loudly.
He climbed over on one of the rocks, but then slipped and fell backwards hard. His right hand was now covered in blood; the inside of his palm had been sliced open. Kasey’s trench coat was drenched and covered in sand. He winced in pain, but he got up—he wouldn’t dilly-dally again.
Kasey tore the side of his coat with all this strength and wrapped the fabric tightly around his hand. He attempted a second try and carefully watched where he positioned his hands. Taking baby steps on top of a boulder, he staggered around and tried to maintain his balance. Kasey cursed himself for not being quick enough.
I’m getting too old for this shit.
He was only thirty-nine. Kasey was sweating profusely under his clothes, despite the rain beating down on his face. There came a point where there was a breach in the rock. He was too afraid to jump, so he stretched his left hand to her instead.
“Here, take my hand,” Kasey said.
The girl backed away from him, on the verge of jumping in.
“What’s your name?” he asked her.
She looked as if she didn’t understand a word he said. Kasey spoke to her in Spanish, hoping that she’d respond.
“Stay right there. I’ll come to you,” he shouted.
Kasey stepped back, held his breath, and then hopped over the large rift that separated them from the ocean. He almost got hit by a moving wave as it came toward him; mist sprayed Kasey’s face, stinging his eyes with salt water. He shook his face as best as he could, struggling not to give in.
Even in the dark, he paid close attention to where his footing was. His black crew socks and the one-hundred dollar leather slip-on shoes from KENT COLES were soaked to the bone. At least he kept his balance as he made his way forward. Kasey leaned over so close to the girl, and yet she wouldn’t grab his hand.
“I have many names,” she stated, sounding somewhat annoyed by him.
The weather wouldn’t let up; it seemed as if it didn’t want to stop. A sickening feeling came to Kasey, in the pit of his stomach, as he soon realized that the girl’s dress was the color of blood. However, she wasn’t soaked to the bone, like Kasey was. She had not a drop on her. Despite the fact that the girl’s feet were caked in mud, her tanned skin gave off an unnatural eerie glow.
Kasey stared down at her bare toes and wondered why the mud wasn’t washing away. She stood there in a calmly frigid manner, gazing at him. She didn’t blink whatsoever. Lightning struck the ocean, not far from where they were standing.
“I’d give anything for this storm to go away,” Kasey hollered, not knowing what else to say. “Just so we can talk.”
“As you wish,” she whispered.
In that instant, it stopped pouring. The cumulonimbus clouds rolled backward as the thunderstorm died down; it passed above them and tiny streaks of lightning diminished across the sky. Moonlight shined through the scattered remnants and her dress shimmered with such a heavenly light.
Kasey smiled nervously. “Okay. So is there a name you prefer?” he asked.
“They call me Sin,” Sin said as she looked over her shoulder.
That’s an odd name for a girl, he thought.
“You don’t have to do this, Sin.” Kasey offered his left hand to her, the one that wasn’t injured, hoping that she’d eventually take it. If only she would step away from the ledge and come with him, where it was safer.
“Don’t kill yourself,” he said.
Sin smiled and then giggled. “I don’t exist. I’m not part of your world.”
“Where are you from?” Kasey asked.
Sin pointed upward, using her index finger. “We live all around you, Detective Kasey. In the sky, in the ocean…even beneath your feet.”
“How do you know my name?”
“I know everything about this planet, including men like you.”
Kasey shook his head in frustration. “What are you doing here? Don’t you know how late it is? You shouldn’t be by yourself––wait, have we met before?”
“How many times have you wept, Detective?”
“Do you remember me when you close your eyes?”
“Listen, I’ve never seen you in my life. You’re coming with me, okay?”
“I was born in the deepest, darkest part of your subconscious mind, Detective. I am hatred––the coldness that sweeps over you. I have no boundaries. The apprehension you feel is your own selfish guilt. Perception is the rose-colored glasses you wear. Your mere existence is a lie—try and hide as much as you like, Detective. Concealing yourself brings you closer to the edge. Even now, the darkness still follows you.”
“The darkness? Little girl, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Don’t you feel it, Detective? Can’t you see them? We haunt you every night––we prey and feed on your soft flesh. You’re the one who considers us an illusion. Is your reality the only truth you seek? Such a foolish man. You have little faith in me––still don’t believe in what you see? Not unless you can prove it otherwise. In due course, the self-deception within yourself will gradually tear you and your world apart.”
“What the hell do you want from me, little girl?”
“To take back what is rightfully mine—what was stolen from me,” Sin explained. “The Earth you know is coming to an end. It will be no more. Like the sand moving under your feet, it will soon give way. On the night of the blood moon, you will hear the sirens of death. The trumpets of fallen angels—they’ll call out to you. Don’t you see the signals in the sky? Humanity is nearing the final stage. Everyone here will soon disappear.”
When the moon turns red? Kasey was completely out of it.
“Near the last days, you will have to pick a side, Detective. Choose wisely. For there are no second chances. What is right and wrong when the lines are blurred together? Will you bow down to me?”
“Come again?” Kasey slowly backed away from her as if he was trying to avoid a bite from a venomous snake. “You want me to worship you? Not on your life.”
“Those who are loyal and follow me shall turn. Those who don’t comply will be destroyed. We eat the ones we kill. That is the law.”
“What the hell…?” Kasey said, in utter shock.
Sin grabbed his injured hand and squeezed it tenderly; her touch cold as ice. She spoke to Kasey, but not in her usual sweet tone. Sin’s voice became garbled, deeper than a man’s, and yet creepier than any little girl Kasey had ever heard.
“CoMe aNd PlAy WiTh Me, DeTeCtIvE. I’lL mAkE yOu sTrOnG.”
Holy fuck! Beads of sweat poured down Kasey’s face as his entire body trembled in horror. Sin removed the fabric around his bloodied hand and showed him the truth.
Kasey held his right hand close to his face, seeing no such wound. “This can’t be…”
Sin’s tone reverted back to normal—that of an innocent angel. “Shall I bring back the one you loved so dearly? Fifteen years. Your wife’s birthday is on the 23rd of May, the day she took her last breath. Her name was Yolanda, wasn’t it?
How tragic her loyalty wasn’t with you. Never faithful, always cheating. I ate her soul as she passed through the threshold––she reeked of infidelity, and somehow you knew. Wasn’t it you, Detective, who had wished for her untimely death?”
“No, no. That’s not true. This can’t be real––you’re not real!”
“I’ll grant you any wish you desire, if you give me what I want. Her essence may still survive in that hellish abyss. That fatal accident will cease to exist. Maybe her love will ring true once more. You and her may have kids. Don’t you want to grow old together?”
“Leave me alone. I don’t know you.”
Kasey clutched onto his .44 Magnum, inside his pocket, and then took it out. He held it up to Sin’s forehead.
Sin beamed with joy. “Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted, Detective? A family of your very own? All you have to do is take my hand. Everything you’ve ever wanted, anything you’ve ever dreamed of will be yours for the taking.
Trust in me. Have faith and you will be greatly rewarded. No more suffering. All your sorrows will be reversed. No need for bullets. Besides, you don’t have any left.”
Kasey pulled the trigger, but the chamber was empty. “Why are you doing this to me? WHAT ARE YOU?”
Sin revealed what was hiding behind her back; Kasey watched as she extended her small hand out to him, which was in a tight fist. She slowly opened it. Sin giggled, dropping three bullets from the palm of her hand.
“You already know the answer, Detective. I’m the monster that lies under your bed—the one that lives inside your head. I’ll never leave you until you’re dead.”
The images of his wife’s corpse returned with terrifying results. Kasey saw the blue blouse she wore that day—it was covered in blood. Her torso had been ripped in half, including her face. She was lying face down on the road with her intestines, spilling over. Kasey struggled to block out the past, but he ultimately gave in.
He couldn’t take it anymore. Sin’s smile grew wider as her nose, mouth, and eyes started to overflow with black blood. Kasey dropped the Magnum and fell to his knees; the gun bounced off the rocks, falling right in the ocean. It sunk like a rock. Kasey’s screams could be heard for miles.
He was hysterical as Sin skipped by him, singing a cheerful tune. Lost in a hellish nightmare, he soon heard music playing in the background. It sounded like an organ. Along with flutes, bells, and pipes. He looked up and saw an abandoned carnival beside them.
Lights flashed on brightly from the old, amusement park and lit up the night sky with colorful arrangements. There were shops, empty booths, and dirty stuffed animals. A Ferris wheel was crooked and tilted, leaning on one side. It was entirely covered in rust as it made screeching metallic noises. The park literally rose from out of the ocean.
Portions of it fell in decay, crashing onto the coast with a thunderous sound. Kasey tried to protect his face as large pieces of twisted metal came tumbling all around him. Gigantic waves splashed him from every angle and the ground shook beneath him. The shore drastically changed into a maze, a distorted junkyard. After everything settled down, there was nothing but dead silence.
Kasey opened one eye and felt a sharp, stinging sensation in his left arm. Blood seeped through Kasey’s coat and that was when he noticed a rod sticking out of his chest. Kasey collapsed to his knees, unable to cope with what he had seen. It became harder for Kasey to breath. The atmosphere felt different here; it seemed to be crushing his lungs altogether.
The oxygen burned his skin like fire and it intensified as if electricity was in the air. Kasey glanced over his shoulder nervously, hoping to find the red and white lighthouse behind him; the one that had shined so radiant before. But it was nowhere in sight. He was near a mountainous terrain covered with enormous, red thorns that seemed to reach for the sky.
This couldn’t be Florida, he thought. The climate was much colder than he realized, dropping nearly fifty degrees. Even the sand on the beach had turned red; the environment had altered itself right before his very eyes. It wasn’t familiar anymore. Once he looked upward, he spotted six red moons above him.
It was a strange and foreign landscape. Kasey had a feeling he was nowhere on Earth and when he turned his head, Sin disappeared. Kasey leaned over the edge, thinking she had fallen in, and yet there were no signs she was there at all. No indication that Sin had even jumped into the ocean, which was now blood red. He had heard no loud sounds of splashing.
Only the echoes of shrieks and howls from bizarre, alien life forms. As the wind died down, so too did the carnival music in the background. The dim lights on the Ferris wheel died out. Trapped by fallen debris, the amusement park vanished within the fog, leaving Kasey alone to his suffer his eternal fate.
Copyright © 2001-2017 by W.D. Lady