The claim to fame for Texas may not be haunted history. The roads stretch on for miles, inspiring minds to conjure up ghostly sights on any given night. Pilar Lopez was on such a road traveling to her new home, but her mind was not visited by grisly images, at least none imaginary.
Sighing, Pilar tapped the steering wheel and willed her mind to focus on the road ahead. Both literally and for her own unsure future. The ice cold A/C kept her alert and the music was amped up enough to wake the dead. Having gotten a late start put her behind schedule, so she pushed herself to keep driving. The setting sun turned the sky a bruised purplish pink. She'd heard Texas was Big Sky country. That you could see the horizon touch the ground. She hadn't seen any buildings just fields with dry grass or empty lots for miles. So there was truth to that statement. It seemed like to could drive right up to the edge of the world if you stayed the course long enough. Finally, a welcoming sight ahead.
A sign that read Ciudad De La Muerte. City of the Dead.
"Well, it beats another minute of driving."
Pilar muttered. Finding the address was not that difficult. The city was shut down. The only signs life was the streetlamps burning. Pilar hoped there was more going on during the day. Within moments she was pulling off onto a rutted dirt road. The potholes causing her to have to swerve.
The death of a relative was a shock. Not the passing but finding out the person existed, that they had left her a home and the surrounding land. Coming to a new town with no family or friends was definitely a change from her life in a big city with her large family. Pulling up to 313 Garden Lane did inspire confidence. The house looked to be in good repair. The surrounding grounds well kept. Shutting off the engine and pulling the keys from the ignition. Pilar grabbed her purse and coffee cup. Opening the car door the first thing Pilar noticed was the air. A bit warm even though it was late evening and nothing stirred. Nothing. For country living it was quiet and that raised chills on her arms.
Reaching into the backseat for her overnight bag. The suitcases could wait until morning. She shut the door and locked up. Heading for the house and walking up a short bricked path. There were wooden steps leading up to wrap-a-round porch. The stairs creaked as she put her weight on them. When Pilar opened the screen door the tight spring caused then door to snap back against her foot. The dust cloud surrounding her head made her sneeze. When she had her eyes closed the porch light clicked on. Gasping Pilar dropped the keys. Quickly realizing, by the ticking sound, that it was set by an automatic timer. Bending to pick up the keys she went to open the front door. The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end and tingles raced across her skin. Turning she looked behind her. The night sky was black but clear. She could see the town lights twinkling and she knew there were neighbors not far from her. No one should be watching her though. Dismissing her nerves Pilar opened the door and made her way inside.
There was a light switch just inside the door. The staleness in the air was not unpleasant, but just noticeable. The furniture was left with instructions to do with whatever she felt necessary. Carefully making her way through the first floor and taking the protective sheets from everything Pilar was awe struck that all she surveyed, she now owned.
Perhaps her parents, God rest their souls, had favor with this relative. Heading upstairs Pilar heard a noise and stilled.
Shuff. Shuff. Shuff.
Pilar could not decipher the noise. It was faint, perhaps it was some vermin in the attic. She did not want to be defenseless, even against a rouge cat. Laughing gently Pilar brushed her long dark locks from her face and tucked them behind her ear. Heading for the kitchen which was located right off the entrance of the front door. Getting the can of pepper spray and her cell phone again she made her way to the second story landing.
Inspecting the bedrooms and such she found more beautiful hand carved furniture, some unique looking artifacts with the strangest looking symbols she'd never seen. Pilar's curiosity peaked she so she took the small statue and held on to it. Turning off the lights upstairs and focused on researching the artifact had taken Pilar's mind off the noise. Until a figure darkened the doorway across the hall.
Screaming Pilar dropped the statue and brought her hands to her mouth. With fear widened eyes her sight adjusted to the near darkness quickly. Warmth flooded her face and her heart thudded in her chest. Taking in a shuddered breath she realized was she not in any sudden danger. Pilar chided herself. The dressing mannequin would pose no threat. Lest it came to life with plans of malice.
Pilar bent to pick up the statue. "Ow." A piece had chipped off and she pricked her thumb. No matter. Pilar stuck her thumb in her mouth, tasting the slight coppery drip of blood bloom on her tongue, sucking to stop the bleeding. Still curious as to the origins of the statue Pilar made her way downstairs to the kitchen. Preparing a quick meal of noodles in the microwave she then sat in front of her laptop on the table. Realizing how tired she was getting once she sat Pilar thought, "Maybe I can wait to check this out." Already starting to cook her noodles though gave her time to kill anyway.
Pilar did her best to describe the statue in her search. The first few links went to scientific study sites that didn't make much sense. Then:
To view original archives visit the western branch of the School of Hieroglyphic Studies
On March 13th (3/13) of this year an astounding discovery was made, and lost. What many consider to be a quote previously unknown and possibly cursed end quote statue. Said to be used in rituals to bring prosperity to the bearer the statue was found to be missing from its exhibit upon opening the Sacred Rites and Blessed Arts museum. The curator, prided in sharing with the world not only rare artifacts but often re-enacting the actual rituals, is to say the least devastated at the lost of this one of a kind piece of history.
The microwave buzzed and Pilar went to get her meal. A stolen, no, rare one of a kind, and stolen artifact innocently sat on the kitchen counter. She may not know this deceased relative but stealing is stealing. At that moment the phone rang. Pilar slide her phone open and checked the ID.
"Hi Sis." Pilar grinned.
"Nice of you to call and say you made it. Nah, none of us are worried sick!"
Seki shrilly delivered her message of concern but Pilar knew she was not really that upset, it was just her nature.
"You know with me, no news is good news."
Pilar stirred her noodles, blowing to cool them.
"Pepe, you know that's not right. Your driving all the way-"
Pilar cut her triade short with a quick.
"Seki I am tired and I am fine. Love you and talk to you tomorrow k?"
Seki exhaled softly, resigning. Pilar smiled and knew that all was well in the world again.
"Love you Pepe. Night."
They hung up and Pilar continued with her meal. Glancing at the statue again she thought,
"Could this be a replica?" She'd find out in the morning. Right now it was eat, shower and bed.
The clock striking 3 AM should not have startled Pilar from a sound sleep, but it did. Considering she had spent the last 10 hours driving, was 10 hours of blissful oblivion to much to ask? Actually a noise besides the clock bothered Pilar.
Grabbing her robe and slipping her feet into her bedroom slippers, Pilar went to investigate.
Shuff. Shhhuff. Shuff. Shuff. Shuff.
Pilar had not found the source of the scuffling. No open windows or any way she could see for an animal to nest. Without visible proof to worry Pilar was not afraid.
The strange markings suddenly came to mind. The words Hi’fa. Ne’hee. Si’la. Echoed in her conscious, although Pilar never recalled hearing them, or even hearing their translation.
The clock read 10 after 3 AM. Pilar was just about done checking the upstairs and turning to head downstairs.
Shuff. Shuff. Shuff. Shuff. Shufffffff.
Now the sound seemed to vibrate the air. Something was going on and Pilar felt a heavy ball of ice form in the pit of her stomach.
Forgetting her search Pilar thought to just get her keys and leave. The flutter of air to her back made Pilar want to turn and see who was running their hand up her spine. Of course she was alone in the kitchen. The pitch black almost smothering her. Her only source of light was the dim glow of her cell. Why couldn’t she remember where the light switch was. Pilar felt panic splash into her veins. The warmth of adrenaline almost numbing her body.
Not even considering what possibly caused the sensation Pilar grabbed her purse and laptop, having no trouble remembering their location, the keys were in her hand ready to use. Turning for the door, Pilar stopped, and everything fell from her hands but did not make a sound. Her senses paralyzed in fear. She was rooted to the spot. From the corner of her eye the glowing numerals on her cell read 3:13 AM.
The first sign of life returning to him was the splash of blood. Even frozen in wood the coppery scent made his mouth water. Then as it soaked in his wooden torso he heard a incantation that brought him to his current state.
Hi’fa. Ne’hee. Si’la. Blood. Life. Soul.
He felt the wood he was encased in splitting as the flesh, bone and blood of his true self began to form. He sensed the human but she was safely entranced and would remain so as long as he was transforming. Once completed his tentative hold on the 2 worlds Between would snap and he would have to use his warrior-like brute force to subdue her. He needed her life force to remain in this world. He had a mission to complete that was interrupted the last time he was here. He grew and grew. Muscle forming over a frame that was too large to be anything but terribly frightening. He was blind until his eyes grew into his skull. Then he saw her. Through eyes designed to be able to hunt prey night or day. Human or other.
Terror etched her smooth wheat tinted skin. Her eyes wide and tears coursed freely down her cheeks. She feared the situation but was not afraid for her life. She feared being unable to fight back against the power holding her captive in the darkness. Oh yes. This Taking would be pleasing.
The cut on Pilar’s palm throbbed in time with her rapid heartbeat. Her breathing quickened. These two things she noticed, as feeling returned, right before a voice spoke to her. “You have given me the ability to perform Kura. I will be needing your Ne’hee Si’la sweet love. Fight, run, or submit. To me these things matter not.” Pilar felt her nerves tingling as if her body was awakening. “I will take your life and soul.” A light flashed that brought an ache to Pilar’s eyes and the proceeding boom caused Pilar to clap her hands over her ears and fall to the ground.
Perrick knew his first advantage would be his devastator attack. His lesser enemies simply disintegrated under its power but humans were a bit tougher. He picked out the name Pilar from her mind and went to her. His transformation was complete. He now only had physical power and a mild latent physic ability to track his prey. He moved silently and knew she felt him getting closer. The stink of terror burst from her and filled the air. He all but gagged. He did not revel in causing fear. Perhaps he could regress and make the Kura easier for Pilar. Perrick attempted to smooth out the bulk of muscle sculpting his massive body and harsh plane of his face. The elongated bones in his arms and legs shrunk to the size of an average human male. An easy glamour to disguise himself. For an Sursha his age he could hold this form and complete the Kura. It made him a bit wary that he cared how this human felt. It should only matter that he receive her Ne’hee Si’la. Take it by force if necessary.
Pilar was dizzy and deafened but far from unaware of her situation. Someone was approaching her in the darkened house that until a few minutes ago was empty. She wanted to scream, run to-”Shh. Sh. Sh. I have you now.” The smell of earth, forest and ozone surrounded her. Pilar felt herself lifted and pressed against a body made of pure muscle. Heat and power made her heartbeat pick up more speed and she felt she might faint. “You can open your eyes sweet love.” A voice akin to dark places and temptation drifted over her. Pilar cracked open her eyes, then widened them in shock. She was no longer in her home at 3 AM. Her home no longer even existed. The stranger that had carried her placed her on the ground. His devastatingly handsome features made her stomach flutter a moment.
“What. Where am I."
She turned her head slightly surveying her surroundings. A forest? Pilar inhaled the heavy scent of the vegetation that surrounded her.Insects buzzed through the hanging vines.
“The Between. My home. The Kura will take place shortly sweet love. You life and soul are mine to take.” Pilar turned back to the stranger, raised her hand and brought it swiftly towards his face.
She shouted as she soundly slapped him and he was stunned.
“Who do you think you are!”
His face transformed into a mask of fury. He grabbed the delicate wrist of Pilar and brought her in direct contact with the front of him, his face mere inches from hers.
“I am Perrick, your fate.”
All Pilar could do is gasp before she was thrown to the ground. Dead leaves and other organic matter padded her fall. Perrick was on top of her before she could kick, scream or protest. As if that would make a difference. She had infuriated a strange man that had transported her to the middle of a freaking jungle!
“Get off of me!” Pilar bucked her hips but barely managed to move. Perrick grunted and firmly held her down.
“Don’t be difficult sweet love. It’ll all be over soon.”
Perrick had no interest in interacting with Pilar other than performing the Kura and going on about his business. The feel of her under him, with his regressed humanoid form, was hard to ignore. The supple curve of her body as he held her to the ground. Her smell. He could no longer smell the acute stench of fear with his humanoid senses. He inhaled deeply and let out a groan.
“You are like the cacao plant. Bitter and sweet.”
“You are like the ex-boyfriend I once had. Controlling and bat shit crazy.”
Pilar used what leverage she had and brought her head up and connected solidly with Perrick’s nose. The spurt of blood her reward.
Perrick could not help but grasp his nose and Pilar took the chance and pushed at his chest. While he still had strength his focus was lost and she was able to move him enough to scoot her butt from under his hips. Pilar felt strange trying to leave Perrick. Her mind said run but her heart said stay. Pilar rolled and tucked her feet under her. Springing up she took off in a dead run.
Perrick was pissed. He let the little hell cat best him. Whatever spell she had him under was broken the moment she broke his damn nose. Crack! He set his nose back and jump to his feet. No more fooling around.
Pilar could not see but a foot in front of her. Dense foliage crisscrossed her path. She pulled at vines and branches but that only lasted a few seconds. She tucked her bloodied hands between her legs. The embedded thorns throbbed and caused her to moan in agony.
She sobbed and bent over in sheer defeat. Perrick would have her because he cheated, bringing her to the Between. How could she win here? Why did she feel for a man would wanted her Ne’hee Si’la. Life and Soul. She had some serious issues.
The voice caused her to tremble. Then she felt his hand slowly caressing her back. When he reached her neck she was all but ready to collapse.
“I-I’m yours OK. I can’t do this.” Pilar lost touch with reality and greeted the darkness with bliss.
Perrick was able to take Pilar back to the Altar Hall with ease. Perrick set up the tools he would need and walked over to where Pilar’s naked body lay chained to the stone table.
“Sweet love, awaken. The Kura must take place.”
Perrick ran his finger down one tanned cheek. His heart actually clenched in his chest. Why must he feel for this vessel? She only carried the life force he needed to carry on his duty.
He cursed. Perrick did not like not knowing his way. Confusion lead to mistakes. The wrong mistake..and things could end badly.
Returning his fiery stare to Pilar, Perrick decided he must begin the rites. He dipped the fingertips of his left hand in an oily liquid. Running one fingertip underneath Pilar’s nose letting the aroma drift into her system. Instantly relaxing her. He painted her lips softly her breathing coming out in small huffs but she never said a word. In fact Pilar stared blankly at the ceiling ahead. Perrick continued his work. His fingers trailed between the valley of her breasts, peaked with milk chocolate colored nipples. His fingers roamed over her slightly rounded belly and slid onto her shaved sex. Perrick did not have to touch her body but he was practically begging Pilar to react.
“Cha’taa, sweet love this will be you last time to experience life. Enjoy it fully.” Perrick could barely keep the plea from his voice. Slipping his finger between her folds to her clit, circling slowly, then applying pressure.
Pilar felt tears sting her eyes. She hated this man. No. She hated how she felt for this man. Now, she bit the inside of her cheek to keep from moaning as he used his thick, oiled fingers to pleasure her. To toy with her body, and mind. Pilar felt the tears begin to slide down cheeks.
“Is it wrong? Is it pain you want?”
Perrick reached above Pilar. He must have frightened Pilar because she reacted finally, gasping Pilar began sobbing softly but said nothing. Perrick somehow lowered the table she was laid upon. The height was about waist high. When it lowered enough Perrick took very little time jumping up and covering Pilar. “Your’jha ne campa tallna eff’ra. To relax you.” Pilar instantly felt herself release from the tension and dread that was filling her. She only felt the strange feelings of love for the man claiming he was going to take her life.
he never wanted anything other than to prepare the vessel. Her transition would be more fulfilling. Receiving her life force would be unforgettable. With the thought of releasing her bonds Perrick let the chains on her feet fall away. Moving one leg to the side and kneeling in between her thighs he expected her to squeeze her legs shut, to try and refuse him. He moved her other leg revealing her glistening sex, almost obscenely, to his view.
Pilar shivered with anticipation, not fright. What was wrong with her? That devil man must have put her in a daze. Saying something to make her submit. Spreading her like she was icing on cake. She should be screaming, cursing him. When he leaned forward pressing himself, hot and hard, against her. She could not longer resist his ministrations. “Oh,oh my-” The small, sharp prick to her neck was hardly noticeable. Perrick whispered a chant and place his mouth over the cut he made. Each time he drained the life from her, the sucking, spiraled her desire to the sky. He had not the strength of will to take Pilar by force but the slick heat of Pilar that wanted to envelope him made his eyes roll back in his head as he completed Kura. Pilar lay still, feeling her heartbeat slowing and an odd numb feeling radiate from where Perrick had placed his mouth on her neck. “Oh” Death carved into a statue. She had loved a devil man.