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The Preacher Man

The heat of the fire burned and sweat began to drip down Jenna’s face as she stared in horror at the chaos that surrounded her. People ran around Jenna; men, women and children screamed and cried. They were dressed in animal skins and feathers. Their long black hair blew out behind them as they ran around for their lives.

Jenna watched as pale men took tomahawks and plunged it deep into the Indians skulls. She wondered what was happening all around her, why she could feel the heat radiating off the burning tents. Jenna looked up into the night sky, not one star twinkled back but the moon was full and glowing brightly.

She looked around once again, the Indians tried to run away from the white men that looked like they enjoyed the massacre that they pursued. The killers would laugh as their tomahawks ripped into the dark hair that soon turned red.

Then he caught Jenna’s eyes, everything around her seemed frozen as she stared at this one man who stood out against the black, burning night. He was dressed all in black, including his hat; he looked like a preacher of older times. The man was old but looked quite agile and stood solid as he watched the slaughter, a smile on his worn face.

Jenna heard loud chanting that seemed to echo off the mountains that surrounded them, drowning out the screams of the suffering. She looked around and saw high on the mountain another man. The bright moon shined down on him, casting him in a brilliant light.

She saw him clearly, though he was a distance away. He was tall, muscular and his brown skin glistened with sweat. The man wore animal skins and had a tall feathered headdress. His face was painted red and his eyes were as black as the sky. His handsome features were distorted with rage and it frightened Jenna. She assumed he was the shaman of the tribe being slaughtered and that he was the only hope for his people.

The screaming and dying surrounded her but Jenna’s attention was to the man on the mountain. He was chanting in some unknown language and danced around as he called for the spirits to come and rescue his tribe. She was mesmerized by the ritual before her eyes.

Jenna was grabbed from behind; she turned and saw a handsome, dark skin man with pleading eyes. Before he could utter a word, the man jerked forward and loosened his grip on Jenna’s arm. He fell onto the ground, a tomahawk stuck in his head. Jenna looked away, tears glistened in her eyes. She looked back up to the shaman, silently pleaded with him to hurry.

Lightening came down from the sky and struck next to the Indian; he flew back and landed on the hard ground. A shadow came from the ground where the bolt hit the earth. Jenna looked to the man on the ground, his face held great fear.

She watched as the shadow moved closer to him, then suddenly he was engulfed into the black mist. The shaman’s scream echoed off the surrounding mountains and drowned out the cries of the ones being butchered.

The shadow moved away from its prey and began to float down the mountain, toward her. Jenna looked to where the shaman laid and he was gone. Her eyes went back to the black shadow that came closer, until it was right before her. She stepped back but could not look away; it was not just a shadow anymore.

A form began to take shape, although it was not solid. Jenna looked into what would be a face and quickly regretted her curiosity. The face was skeletal with pieces of rotted flesh hanging off. It was not human but had the likeness of one. What frightened Jenna more was what was or should have been its eyes, they were dark marble. She saw the surrounding fire reflected in them or was it hell’s fire. Jenna felt sick to her stomach and a chill swept throughout her body, she felt as if her life force was being drained away. It then turned away and the iciness left her.

The shadowed demon floated toward the preacher man; Jenna watched as the darkness entered the man. He shook as if having a seizure and then the preacher looked toward the heavens with a look of pure pleasure on his enlightened face. The preacher was not engulfed like the shaman on the mountain had been. It dawned on her that she had just witnessed the demon enter the preacher.

Jenna watched the possessed man, his eyes were like black onyx with flames reflected inside them. He began to walk toward her, long strides moving ever so close; his eyes stared intently into hers and then he spoke. It was not loud, he spoke softly but Jenna heard every word.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

He walked closer towards her, the preacher’s eyes bore into Jenna’s very soul; she could not look away.

The preacher man continued to walk toward her and spoke, “he maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.”

They were almost face to face, Jenna could see his skin flaking; it was rotting right before her eyes.

He continued to walk and speak to Jenna, “he restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake.”

The preacher stood before her, Jenna was frozen with fear. She could not run away and could not look away. He smiled as his ebony eyes stared into hers.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”

He grabbed Jenna’s shoulders and pulled her toward him, the preacher smelled like a rotted corpse; his eyes flared red.

“I will fear no evil.”

A piercing scream rang out into the night and Jenna quickly sat up in bed.

“Are you ok?”

Jenna looked over at her husband and said, “yeah, just a bad dream.”

“Same one?”

“Yeah, the same one,” Jenna told him.

“You really need to do something about it.”

Jenna said, “I know, Troy, I just don’t want to.”

“You like those dreams?”

She answered, “no, I just don’t want to do what I need to do.”

“Well, you need to do something quick; I need to sleep at night.” Troy turned over and was soon back asleep.

Jenna looked at him for a few moments, stuck out her tongue at his back and looked at the digital clock on the dresser. The red numbers read 5:20 in the morning. She pulled back the blankets and stood up, “might as well stay awake.”

She walked out of the room, went into the kitchen and made coffee. After her coffee stopped brewing, Jenna sat at the table with her cup and lit a cigarette. It was the same nightmare every night, since her and Troy’s walk at Laurel Creek. Jenna knew that it was connected but how, she also knew what she had to do.

Jenna was psychic and she hid it very well. The only people to know about her gift were her husband; best friend and her mother. Jenna did not want anyone to know that she could talk to ghosts, for obvious reasons.

The nightmares began when she and Troy went for a walk in Laurel Creek. It was an old Indian trail that his family owned in Virginia. The walk was beautiful and peaceful but Jenna had a feeling of being watched. No other human were around, they were alone. That night was the first nightmare and it was the same for two weeks. She would always wake up screaming.

“I’m gonna have to go back to Laurel Creek and find out what is going on,” Jenna said aloud to the empty kitchen.

Later that day, Jenna and Troy went to Laurel Creek. He parked the truck at the entrance and they began to walk on the trail. “How far are we going in?” He asked.

“Just far enough where I first felt something,” Jenna told him.

“Ok, where was that?” Troy asked.

She answered him, “I don’t really know.”

“That’s helpful.”

Jenna smiled and continued to walk further into the wooded mountains. They walked for only a few minutes when she stopped abruptly. The strange sensation of being watched sent shivers down her spine. Jenna looked around; they were standing next to the creek. The water flowed soundlessly as a great vacuum descended on the area.

She saw them in the distance up the mountain; Jenna knew right away that they were not human anymore. Their long black hair and the bronze skin showed her that it was Indians. They wore skins as clothing and carried simple weapons; Jenna knew that they were not from the present. She was looking at the spirits of two dead Indians.

Before Jenna or the two Indians could speak, an eerie sensation penetrated her soul. The two Indians disappeared. She quickly looked behind her, a shadow moved closer. Jenna heard him before she saw the preacher.

He said, “for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

“Oh, God, no,” Jenna whispered, but her prayer went unanswered.

The old man appeared before her terrified eyes. That supposedly, harmless aged person whom recited a psalm; scared Jenna like no other ghost had ever did. He looked as he did in her dreams, the look of evil gleamed in the preacher’s eyes. She wanted to run but could not; Jenna closed her eyes and pleaded to have the vision removed from her sight. After a few moments, she opened her eyes; the preacher was gone. Jenna looked at Troy, he stood beside her and the look of horror was etched into his face. “Did you see him?”

He slowly shook his head and said, “felt, felt something, something evil, I never wanna feel that way again. What did you see?”

“A demon in possession of a preacher.”

“What?” Troy asked.

“The nightmare, remember, I saw the demon go into the preacher man even though I think he was evil before then; the way he smiled about the way the Indians were killed. I think he was the reason for the slaughter. He is here too.”

Troy shook his head again, with more forcefulness; trying to shake the feeling he just had off. He asked Jenna, “why is he here, what does he want?”

“I don’t know, let’s ask them.” Jenna pointed to a spot up the mountain where she last saw the two Indians.

Troy looked where she had pointed and said, “I don’t see anyone.”

“They disappeared when the preacher showed up,” Jenna said and began to climb the mountain. “Not that you could see them anyway.”

Troy stared at her a moment, shook his head and reluctantly followed Jenna up the mountain.

They reached the top and Jenna looked around her. She saw the two Indians waiting for her. Jenna walked up to them, Troy followed her silently. “Why are you following me?” She asked them.

One of the men answered her, “our tribe was killed, killed by the preacher named Isaac.”

“Why?” Jenna asked.

The other man said, “we would not convert to his way.”

Jenna looked at Troy, he listened to her conversation with confusion; he could not see or hear the Indians. She filled him in on what was said so far.

Troy said when Jenna finished, “that preacher man killed a whole tribe just because they wouldn’t convert to his religion.”

“That’s what they said and the preacher’s name is Isaac,” Jenna told him.

The first Indian spoke again, “the night Isaac killed us, our shaman tried to conjure a spirit to help us. It went wrong, a demon was conjured; it took our shaman.”

Jenna told them, “then it went into Isaac.”

Both men nodded and the first Indian said, “he is still with us, still trying to convert; his evil is holding us here, our spirits cannot leave this place.”

“Why are you here? It all happened up Sinking Waters, not here,” Jenna asked.

He answered, “some of us escaped and came here to hide; he found us and killed us all.”

Jenna nodded and asked, “why are you showing yourself to me?”

“We felt you, we felt your abilities; we need your help, you can help us.”

Jenna asked him, “what could I do?”

The second one joined the conversation, “bring back our shaman and he will destroy the preacher.”

She stared at him for a moment then said, “you want me to bring back the shaman?”

They both nodded.

Jenna looked at Troy, he shrugged and smiled at her. She turned back toward the two tall dark men. “How the hell am I supposed to do that?”

The first Indian told her, “go to the place he left, you will find the way.”

The other Indian said, “leave now, Isaac is coming.”

They disappeared and then Jenna felt her soul being smothered; Isaac appeared and began to walk toward her. “Oh shit, let’s go now!” She grabbed Troy’s hand; they ran down the mountain and out of Laurel Creek.

“How the hell are you going to bring back the shaman?” Troy asked once they were in the truck and driving home.

“I don’t know, he told me to go to the place the shaman left,” Jenna said.

“How are you going to get there? That mountain is all fenced in, remember,” he said.

Jenna said to him, “there is an opening down the road; we hop the gate and walk all the way back to that spot.”

“Yeah and hope we don’t get caught.”

She smiled and said, “we all been up there before when we lived at Agnes house and we never got caught.”

“There is always a first time,” Troy said.

“Fine, we won’t go, I won’t bring back the shaman and the whole tribe will never be at peace and Isaac the evil preacher will haunt my nightmares for eternity.”

“Ok, ok, we’ll go tomorrow,” Troy said and smiled.

That night Jenna was a little nervous about falling asleep. She was afraid to see the Indians being massacred and the demon entering the preacher; also Isaac coming toward her.

“Don’t worry about it, maybe you won’t have it now that you know what is going on,” Troy told her.

“I hope so; I don’t want to see that nightmare again.”

Jenna went to bed that night, still fearful. It was not the same nightmare that evaded her dreams; it was more of a premonition. She stood on the mountain where the shaman conjured the demon. In her dream, Jenna recited a mantra she did not know.

She then lit the place where he had disappeared on fire. Blue flames shot out from the ground and the shaman appeared. Then the dream turned into a nightmare. Jenna heard his crackling, raspy voice behind her. She turned and out of the distance, Isaac emerged and began to walk toward her. She watched in horror as he came nearer.

He was saying, “the Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

Jenna could see the old man’s decayed face, his nose sunken in and he was more skeletal than when she saw him in the previous nightmare. His eyes were that clear, black onyx that the hell fire’s deep within his soul burned. Isaac was right in front of her.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” he recited.

Isaac grabbed Jenna’s shoulders and pulled her close to him, she could smell his rotted breath. A shiver ran down her spine. His fingers dug deep into her skin, Jenna winced at the pain. He pulled her even closer.

“I will fear no evil.”

The pain in her shoulders grew in intensity and the rotting stench revolted her; Jenna began to scream.

“I didn’t think the nightmare could get worse,” Jenna said to Troy after she had calmed down. She told him what happened.

“Damn, do you think that is how to bring the shaman back?”

Jenna told him, “yes and Isaac was not very happy about it either.”

Troy put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer to him. She screamed and pulled away. “That hurt, oh no, turn on the light.”

He stood up, walked to the switch and turned on the light.

Jenna slowly took off her t-shirt, wincing at the pain in her shoulders. Troy’s gasp of surprise told her everything. She got off the bed and looked into the mirror. There were five deep cuts in both her shoulders; the blood had begun to dry. Jenna looked at her shirt, it was ripped and blood soaked the shoulders.

Troy cleaned up the gouges and bandaged her shoulders.

“I think I’m staying up now,” Jenna said.

Troy said to her, “I don’t blame you; first thing in the morning we will go and bring back the shaman.”

In the morning, Troy and Jenna walked up the road to the gate. After a quick look around, they jumped the gate and walked back up the mountain. The two came to the place where Jenna saw the shaman disappear. She began the mantra from her dream; Jenna was quite surprised she remembered it.

“Shaman of this hallowed ground

he who conjured demon from hell

fell from shadow

rise again from the depths

to make right the wrong you done.”

Jenna lit the place the shaman had disappeared on fire, blue flames shot out of the earth and the shaman appeared. She remembered her dream and looked behind her; the preacher walked slowly toward Jenna. She screamed, Troy turned and he saw Isaac too.

“Oh, shit!” Troy said as he grabbed Jenna’s arm and pulled her away.

Isaac’s smile faded quickly when he noticed the shaman standing before him. The preacher stopped and stood frozen as he stared at the tall, bronze man in front of him. He could only utter one word, “you!”

The shaman raised his arm and pointed to the old preacher man, a red streak of lightening shot out of his hand.

Isaac began to shake uncontrollably and a dark shadow issued out of his wide mouth. Troy and Jenna watched in amazement as the rest of the preacher’s skin began to tear off his white bones. His face began to deteriorate and his skull appeared when the rest of his flesh was stripped off; Isaac’s wide, shocked eyes that looked like dark onyx fell out of their sockets and landed on the ground. The eyes burst open and a reddish gray fluid sprayed the green grass. The two watched in horror as Isaac’s bones turned to dust and blew away with the soft breeze.

Jenna and Troy looked at each other and then turned to the shaman. He and the demon were locked together in a battle of strength. The shaman grabbed the dark shadow, which appeared to be solid and held tight while repeating some words that Jenna did not understand.

The gentle breeze turned into a raging gale, Troy and Jenna held each other up as the wind blew all around them. They could barely see what was happening before them.

A loud, piercing screech reverberated inside their heads; Jenna and Troy put up their hands to cover the ears to dull the sound. Then an explosion of air that blew them off their feet.

All became silent, the wind settled to a breeze again; the two of them got to their feet and looked around. The shadowed demon was gone. Troy and Jenna looked at the shaman; he nodded toward them and disappeared into a blinding light.

“That was intriguing,” Troy said shakily.

“Well, at least you got to see them,” Jenna said.

A soft, warm glowing mist surrounded them both and began to rise toward the bright blue sky. Another glowing mist swept close by them and disappeared toward the heavens. Troy and Jenna looked around them, hundreds of shimmering mists floated around them before heading towards the sky.

“Has the tribe been set free?” Troy asked, his face lit with excitement.

Tears glistened in Jenna’s eyes as she turned and watched all the glimmering souls going home finally. “Yes, they are free now.”

Troy and Jenna stood on the mountain, holding hands and watched all the spirits finally at peace, disappear into the beautiful sun filled, azure sky.

After the tribe had disappeared, the two of them turned to leave. A loud crackling, raspy voice echoed around them. Jenna and Troy was frozen in their tracks; they looked at each other, with horror filled eyes. “Oh no, it can’t be,” Jenna said and she slowly turned back around and screamed.

The preacher man was dressed all in black, including his hat. The man was old but looked quite agile with a smile on his wrinkled face; he began to walk toward them.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death; I will fear no evil.”

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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