Monday, May 7, 2018

Della Goes to Hell by Samuel Edgar



Della Goes to Hell

June 6th

She sat on a cheap foldable stool hiding in the forestry overlooking the bridge. A pair of binoculars were glued to her eyes, and she held them with such tightness, blood escaped from her hands leaving bony, white remains. June sixth, it was every June sixth, she told herself. Della had been doing this for two years now, and tonight was the night to end seven hundred and thirty days of misery, of determination, of having nothing and everything all together. She’d remembered the day two years back.

Hells Gate. She’d heard of it but never really felt the need to visit during her twenty eight years on earth; the dilapidated bridge with rustic blood awnings, and a huge concrete slab that stopped cars from driving on it, a precaution of safety she was told by one old lady while she served her at the Chicken Salad Chick . She’d heard the stories, the old folk-tales of times living in Alabama—the dead couple dying on their wedding night, falling off the edge—the wet seat trick where if you looked back in your car, you’d see the patches of where somebody once resided, and of course, where the entire place earned its name; to look back and see Hell. Inevitably she’d already been there.

It was two long years of preparation, of sitting and waiting. After the first, with constant police calls, she was blacklisted as a nuisance and her reports of cultists around the area were simply ignored. Whenever police arrived at the bridge, they would be gone; scrambling into the dark whence they came, but cockroaches always came back. The heathens would always return. She knew it was every three months they’d come back. June sixth was the next date, and this time, she wasn’t going to allow them to run this time. They’d have no time, they’d have nowhere to go.

She’d prepared in advance. Every time they came, they’d light their candles, do their chants, and would begin to do sexual acts on each other, sacrificing small animals. She’d become so consumed with watching them that she felt like it was now or never, or she’d never get her life back.

They appeared slowly in her view, walking onto the bridge silently. She took off from her camp and kept to the shadows as she watched the black-hooded figures walk to the end of Hells Gate. Strapped on her back was her father’s Winchester Model 70, bolt action. Between working the monotonous, robotic routine of Salad Chick to fund this obsession and living rough, she’d spent all her time at the range practicing, making sure she’d never miss a shot when it came to it. But two years of bitterness whittled away and she’d told herself that she wanted an overkill. She snuck closer to the rusted underside of the bridge until she could hear their voices chiming together, singing something in a language she did not care to understand.

Underneath the bridge pylon out on the far end of the bridge, leading to nothing but a drop in a lake, was the thermite she’d spent months creating. She’d wrapped fusewire around it to keep the burning heat hot enough to ignite. She was under them now, hearing their footsteps creaking against the ancient wood; dust falling onto her dirty blond hair and staying there. She grabbed the coil of fuse-wire and slowly went up the side of the bridge. Each footstep was light, and she made sure to not be in view until the last second. To her left was the huge concrete slab and as she moved to it, she caught a glimpse of the hooded figures sat in a circle, three of them chanting away, unknowing. Their huge, black hoods covered each of them like blankets.

She jumped the concrete slab and slid the Winchester off. Its aim was upon the hooded figures who jumped up quickly and froze. “Don’t y’all move now,” she screamed, bitter hatred cruising in her voice.

“What is—she fixin’ to shoot us?“ said the short one on the left.

She slid back the bolt and it went loud. Silence hung in the air. For a moment the familiar sounds she’d once heard here came back to her, but she would be strong, for herself, and for Evan. She moved closer but kept her aim steady.

“Take off ya damn hoods. Now.”

The three of them proceeded to lower the black clothes and the three faces ahead of her weren’t recognizable. One of them was skinny, his face covered in acne with patchy red hair and glasses. The one on the left was an attractive girl with a shaved head and dark brown eyes. The one in the middle, however, didn’t lower the hood.

“I told y’all to lower your hood. ”

“Holds your horns, girl,” said the hooded one. He leaned toward the girl and said: “she ain’t gonna shoot us, she doesn’t know what it’s like to take a li—“

The sound of the gunshot roared out. The bullet ricocheted and hit the wood mere inches from their feet, splinters of rotting wood went up and sprayed. The three of them jumped back and the one in the middle raised his hands in defense. “Okay, okay—okay just wait, here...I’mma lower it.” The hood slipped off the man and a very tanned, bald-headed man with a grey goatee stared back at Della. He crossed his arms.

“Do you remember me? Huh?” Della raised the rifle.

“Nope. Don’t reckon I do,” replied the man. He was very cool under the circumstances. “Should I?”

She lowered the rifle a little and let out a gasp, out of exasperation, out of disbelief. “Evan. Bartlett.”

The bald-headed man smiled. “Oh, him, yeah well, of course, we remember him. He was supposed to be with us.”

“What?” Della’s eyes widened.

Baldie rubbed at his temple as he spoke. “Evan Bartlett. That must make you...Della Burton. Yeah, yeah—y’all were his lady, I remember you. Feisty bitch.”

“You don’t know me,” she said more to herself.

The bald-man took a step forward. Della aimed straight. “Move again and you’re gone, fucko.”

Baldie’s two friends were rooted to the spot, shaking and not moving an inch but he was smiling at her. He lowered his arms and sighed.

“Chunk that rifle, Della,” he said but Della remained like a pillar, aiming, unwavering. Baldie shrugged, creasing his hoody. “I guess it’s you been callin’ the feds on us then. I don’t blame you, I’d be pissed too if my boy’s innards were lookin’ like pulled pork,” he said with a sly smile. He knew what he was doing.

She lowered her aim and pulled the trigger. The gun roared. Baldie let out a yelp of pain and slammed backward onto the bridge flood with a shrill scream that clawed its way out of his lungs. He held his cloak which poured with blood, thickening but not taking any color in the light until rustic liquid dropped onto the floor beneath. Della looked at the other two. “Sit down,” she said through gritted teeth. “Don’t make me put ya all down now.”

“You crazy bitch—you crazy bit—you don’t even know, do you?” Baldie leaned on his front and screamed at her, fresh saliva dripping from his dirt-ridden face.

Della looked back to the coil which was yet to be lit and stormed over to Baldie. She swung the Winchester, held it like a bat, and swiftly smashed the butt down on his face. The deafening crack of bone was almost as loud as the bullet before and Della immediately smiled as if weights had fallen from her with every tooth she had just broken, hopefully. Baldie keeled over, holding his bloody face. He let out muffled cries as Della walked back to the coil and watched the two sitting cronies stare in disbelief. “Come on, guys, what’s a lil assault to what y’all’ve done? Huh?”

The girl’s face contorted into a grimace, one that spelled out I’m gonna kill you.  “He’s gonna come for you, Della.”

“Who? Satan? No thanks, I’ve already been in Hell.”

Acne-boy chimed in. “You think so, just cause you saw Evan’s body all over the place. Ya so stupid,” he said with his nasal voice, sending daggers through Della as she sat down and aimed the rifle lazily. Acne-boy yelled to Baldie, “Hey, hey, Lou—tell her the truth, go on.”

Lou. So that was his name. She watched as he scrambled to get up. Fresh blood poured from his mouth and nose and he got to his knees and took a deep breath before he spoke:

“Evan, ya precious boyfriend, was gonna kill you with us, whore. He was in on it.”

“You’re a liar.” Della gritted her teeth and looked towards the coiled fuse-wire. It would be soon.

“Evan Bartlett was gonna sacrifice you, we need fresh blood in order to make this work. We need to evoke Baphomet—evoke the spirits for—“

“Evan wasn’t in no cult, no brain-dead, hick-fuck cult killing people because they’re pieces of shit and watched The Exorcist too many times.”

“He was gonna,” said Lou.

“He backed out,” replied the girl with a shrug, “so we needed a yearly sacrifice. He was a prime candidate,” she added with another shrug. She dead-eyed Della who was staring in disbelief and with an impassive face she simply said: “Now we got you.”

“You think you’re comin’ near me, bitch?”

“We won’t, but he will,” the girl replied.

“Who?”

“You’ll see when ya look back.”

Della slowly craned her head to the left and looked back to the concrete block. The sound of padded feet on wood went out and she felt the vibration beneath her. Turning back, she shot her eyes to see the girl was up, running towards her with a shimmering curled blade high in the air. Della aimed up, fast and pulled the trigger again. The bullet whizzed, and she fell back with a drop of her arms, the blade hitting the floor. She gripped her stomach then and looked to Della, her eyes wide with confusion or shock. Tears fell from her eyes and she suddenly fell down and folded her legs up, going full fetal. “Save me, Light-One, save me,” she chanted again and again as she held her stomach; fresh crimson pouring onto her hands, onto the bridge that had already seen so much blood.

Images of Evan poured into her brain. His organs laid out, the pentagram painted in his blood. His face pale and twisted into an open scream, his eyes towards the cement block.

“That’s it,” said Della as she got to her feet and moved back to the coil. She reached into her pocket and pulled out Evan’s Zippo. With a metallic flick, the flame burst to life.

“What are you doin’?” yelled Lou over the sound of the girl’s pleas.

“Ending this place.”

“You stupid bitch! Ya don’t get it. He was gonna kill ya anyway!” Lou yelled.

“And then he didn’t,” she replied with a shrug.

She held the flame to the wire and a spark burst out, moving along rapidly, blackening along the way. Lou stared, transfixed. Acne-Boy laid down and covered his head, praying to his favorite deity Della reckoned. The girl began to claw her way towards Acne-boy. She weakly clamped her hands on him and he held onto her, their lips mashing together. Lou looked at them with pure hatred and then lunged for the boy. “IAN—CASS IS MINE.” Della pulled the bolt on her rifle –click clack— and Lou stopped dead. Beneath them was a raging amount of heat and brightness that spread out across the water. Della stepped back and climbed the concrete block. She saw Lou pounce on Ian as they all argue amongst one another.

She looked up. The sound of straining metal went out like a whale’s call. The wooden floor rumbled and the three murderers fell back and looked around as fire spread up and then everything happened fast. The bridge fell, smashing into the water with a huge splash, sending old, dirty water upwards, looking like a log flume ride. The concrete slab, with nothing to hold it back, slid down the Hells Ramp, barrelling towards the cultists which had gone silent over the sound of crashing metal. The block rolled, and suddenly a deafening scream of Ian and the girl went out, and their screams were cut short. Della moved towards the bridge, swatting away dust from the old wood which was suffocating. The sounds of straining metal could only be heard now, and the raw smell of rustic iron burning filled her nostrils as she looked to where the concrete block was half submerged in water.

She had to be sure. She had to know it was done, that this was all done before the police showed up and arrested her. She slid down the bridge which creaked loudly and put her rifle back behind her. She slid slowly, making her way to the slab. As her feet stood at an angle, she could make out two of them. Ian was quickly drowning, pinned under the water where his hands thrashed as his lower body was under the slab but Cass had suffered a quick end, half her body was in the water, half of it was under the block. Fresh blood seeped into the river. Lou.

Water sprayed her; Lou scrambled to the surface; clawed his way forward towards Della with wild, mad eyes. “I’ll kill you, you stupid bitch!”

She reached for her rifle but it was too late. He was on her. His hands clawed at her feet and his eyes were red with rage. Her legs went tight with his grip and she slid from her stance, slamming her back against the concrete block with a loud thud. Pain went up her back and she let out a gasp as Lou clawed his way on top of her and wrapped his hands around her throat. Her clenched fists slapped his face, reddening his skin but his yellowish teeth and bulging jaw seemed frozen as his fingers grew tighter around her throat. “You stupid bitch. He’s not gonna be happy when he finds you’ve killed two of his disciples. No problem. I’ll make him proud of me,” he said through gritted teeth. “Just like Evan was gonna make us proud until he got his little cold feet. Tell him I said hi.”

Hands were upon him. Darkness was clawing its way into Della’s vision, blood escaped and she wanted to shut her eyelids. Her eyes flickered but then she saw it, another hand wrapping around Lou’s neck; one that seemed to be wearing a tuxedo of some kind. Another pair of arms wearing laced white gloves. Lou let out shrill screams as the hands tore away at him and dragged him back. Della leaned to her side and watched as half of Lou’s body was already under the water. He let a final scream escape as Della watched, barely conscious, as the blurry shapes of a man in black and a woman in white thrashed and struggled to pull Lou downwards.

As air seeped back into her lungs, she focused and saw the mangled corpses of the woman, her eyeless sockets staring at her as she slipped under the water. The skeletal remains against rotting flesh of the man in the tuxedo shot through her as fresh waves of terror took over anger. She trembled. Lou was sucked under the water as if a vacuum was beneath him and then there was silence. Della coughed hard and let fresh air seep into her. Eventually, she got the energy to climb to her feet and ran up the once-working bridge of Hells Gate.

She climbed to the top, and slid, looking back to see two floating heads in the water staring at her. She climbed to the top and stumbled, crashing forward with rushing gasps of air. Her hands scratched against the gravel of the floor, but she didn’t care. She ran and then she made the mistake.

She looked back. As if all light had suddenly escaped, only a black hole seemed to be behind her, growing and engulfing the remnants of Hells Gate. Pure heat burned from it. Then she fell forward, landing on her side, air barely escaping. In front of her was the black hole, gaping and blowing the stench of rotting chicken and sulfur. As her vision cleared, the shapes came into view against a low-ember color of red. Twisted, contorted remains of things clawed their way towards her on all fours. Screams of the dead, screams of her name.

There in the dark hole toward her was Evan, tall and stretched; his torso an empty shell giving way to the deep reddish skeletal remains beneath. His jaw stretched low and with wide, hollow eyesockets he hobbled towards Della and screamed out “It should have been you, not me.”

Fire poured out, flowing with streams of contorted naked bodies which crawled across the floor. Each shape screamed out, and against the back of the hole she could see a red haze, and against it stood something tall. Its height was too tall for a human, and it was as if a cape flowed down whatever it was. It seemed to have a thin, bald head with horns poking out of its head. He’s real. Am I real?

Della let out a bloodcurdling scream as she looked towards him, approaching with a million faces of anguish behind him, and the roars of fire blowing out. She stared at the beast which looked at her silently, looking over his domain and two years melted away into a mishmash of looking through broken glass. She turned and ran, screaming wildly into the night, seeing herself run as if she wasn’t in control. She ran and ran and ran with thudded steps behind her and with each thud, she ran harder and harder, until her lungs burned and the heat behind her lessened. Blood poured from her arms and as she ran it sprayed across her.

She could feel the Beasts eyes on her until finally she fell and looked back, only to see the road behind her empty and quiet. There was nothing behind her but the road, the fields, and silence. She laid there, bloody, broken, and beaten. Tears fell from her and she couldn’t stop them. She didn’t want to move. The blaring light of a streetlamp kept her safe from whatever she’d seen.

She roared and wailed not in control anymore. Not knowing what to do except cry until she could do no more. She’d never return to that place she told herself between the wailings, and finally when she could do no more. Her manic tears gave way to laughter, and she screamed on into the night, imagining the thing staring at her; Satan. He was real, was he real? There was nothing left in her. She slammed her head to the floor, and quickly the black hole from before followed her and she remained still, frozen in fear knowing she’d hopefully cut off Hell Gates from ever coming back again. Or maybe, she thought, maybe she’d been engulfed and this was her Hell.

-End-

Bio Samuel Edgar runs a nightclub and spends his days writing. 

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