Please Help Set Us Free!
As an entrepreneur, I look for ways to buy and sell distressed properties through on-line auctions. I can pick the state, city and many times the street for just the right property that shows potential. Sometimes I made an excellent profit, while other times I was lucky to break even. I always try to do a quick turnover. So when I saw the photos of one particular property in Lodi, California, the lot size and true market value, including delinquent taxes owed, I chose to bid on it.
On-line auctions for properties are peculiar. On the one hand, one might think few would be interested and 15 place bids. On the other hand, you feel many will try to buy a particular parcel and no one does. In my case on that hot summer afternoon, I was one of three bidders for the condemned house on a narrow lot in a nice neighborhood. In the end, my bid turned out the highest. Within 10 days, all the escrow documents had been faxed to a title company in Lodi and I initialed or signed as usual, like a movie star signing autographs.
Prior to escrow, I drove to 946 Pine Avenue and parked. I got out and walked to the middle of the street and looked directly at the boarded up house. Then I stood on the sidewalk to the left and then to the right of the house. I had an eye for visually being able to see what such a lot could look like once cleared. There was a huge green shrub by the sidewalk and two smaller ones to the right of the porch. As I walked around the house, I observed that all of the windows and doors had been boarded up.
What I thought was peculiar though was the thickness of the plywood and size of nails. The plywood was thick and the nails, well, they were way too large. I wondered why they had gone to the unnecessary expense to board the house up. Later, I would find the answers to that question and many more, in the basement of the house. I’d embark on a quest to save the souls of children stolen and killed by a demonic spirit from another world.
I would not only fight to save their souls, but fight for my own soul as well. Finally, I got a call on my cell-phone from the Placer Title Company, informing me the documents were ready to be signed. I stopped at my bank and got the Cashier’s check and drove to their office. As I left the realty office with the folder of documents, I felt good. The property was in a good location to build a house or duplex. I wasn’t one to be greedy or charge a fortune for what I bought, quite the contrary.
I offered a good lot for a fair price, allowing families to have what they once dreamed was not within their reach. I drove over to Pine Avenue to take a look at the property more closely this time. I made sure I brought a large hammer, a flash light and a crow bar to gain entry to see what was inside. When I got there, I parked in front of the house, locked the car door and opened the trunk and picked up the crow bar.
I looked at nearby houses as I stood on the sidewalk to get an idea of the size and style of houses in this neighborhood. That’s when I saw a woman staring at me from her window. Her eyes were angry, yet sad as I watched her close the white curtain. Then, to my surprise, she stepped out onto her front porch, closing her door behind her. She was a tall but thin woman in her 70’s with long flowing white hair.
She walked hurriedly toward me, but with a limp. The cane in her right hand tapping the concrete as she came closer, told me that she must have had a fall sometime in the past. When she was about six feet from me, she stopped as I looked into her deep blue eyes. Her voice had an Irish accent and a foreboding warning. “Excuse me sir, you aren’t going to work on that old place are you?” she asked. “No m’am. I’m not here to do any work, I just bought this property and I plan to tear it down.
I’m just going to see what shape it’s in inside.” I told her. “No, you mustn’t.” she said frantically. “You mustn’t! Death and misery lingers in that house. You mustn’t disturb the evil that lives within its walls.” she pleaded, almost hysterical. Her comments were so off the wall and unexpected, I almost laughed. “Evil, death, what are you talking about? You’ve got me more than confused.” I told her. She motioned me to follow her as she backed up further away from the house.
“I’m telling you the gospel truth sir. I tell you there’s a demon’s spirit in that house and with him he keeps the souls of the children he has killed.” she said in a frightened voice. The look on my face was one of total astonishment. “How do you know that? Where did you read that?” I asked her. Suddenly her face grew white and very pale as she fought to take in a breath. Her hand holding her cane was shaking and I thought she was about to fall to the ground.
But she didn’t fall. She gave me a look of determination and replied, “I know things that no one knows. Things that would make you go insane, if only you knew. Please I beg you, if you value your life, don’t enter that house. If you do, I fear you’ll not come back out alive. Leave this place now.” she said. With those words, she turned and hurriedly limped back to her house and closed the door behind her.
I don't know how long I just stood there, looking at the old lady's window, wondering if she’d return to it, to see what I would do. Finally, I looked down and picked up my flashlight. I closed the trunk and made my way to the front of the boarded up house. After setting down my flashlight, I jammed the crow bar between the wall and the plywood and pushed hard. It wasn't a surprise to see that the nails didn't budge, not a bit. Again and again I tried to no avail. With sweat running off my face, I finally gave up and went to the back of the house, to pry open the rear door.
If that too failed, I’d just have to try each window. Something kept knawing at the back of my mind. Why would someone use such heavy wood to board up an old house? What were they trying to keep out? Then my thoughts turned to what the white haired lady I encountered. Was there any truth that something evil was lurking inside? Was the plywood meant to keep something in not keep someone out?
I wasn't one to buy into ghosts and the supernatural, that's for Hollywood director's to entertain us, but not in real life. Demons per se simply don't exist. Towards the bottom corner of the door, the nail began to pull away from the wall as I strained with the crow bar. Once loose, it was just a matter of working my way up the plywood, a little at a time. Finally, with my shirt soaked in sweat, I tossed the crowbar to the ground.
With both hands, I put my muscles to work and pulled and pulled. As the plywood broke free I stumbled backwards and almost fell to the ground. As the sheet of plywood fell to the ground, a horrible smell of something rotting filled my senses. I felt my knees buckle as I reached out to hold the door frame. I had never smelled such a sickening smell in my life. I couldn't even describe it. There must be a dead animal inside I told myself. What else could it be?
I moved away from the door way to take a breath of fresh air. All I could see from a distance was darkness beyond the doorway. Looking back, I realize now that I shouldn’t have gone inside, but my curiosity got the best of me. I wanted to know. I wanted to know what was causing that awful smell. I wanted to know why the lady next door was afraid and why she didn’t want me to go inside. What did she know and how did she know?
Or was she just an old woman’s delusions? Perhaps she had mental problems. In any event, I pulled my T-shirt over my nose and mouth, took in a deep breath and with flash light in hand, walked towards the doorway. I can't say if the open door allowed fresh air inside or the odor out, but for me, the smell seemed more tolerable. I turned the flashlight on and stepped inside. It was black, the blackest black I had ever known or sensed.
I was standing in the kitchen portion of the house. Everything was in chaos, as if someone had gone on a rampage. Everything was torn off the walls. Pieces of cabinet lay everywhere on the floor shattered. The green metal dining table was twisted and chairs were missing legs. The pipe that went to the sink was thrust into the wall next to a boarded up window. There was a heavy layer of dust everywhere.
The smell of musty mold was strong. I made my way carefully through the debris, leaving the comfort of the outside daylight, and entered the world of darkness. Suddenly everything became darker and darker. It was as if the darkness was choking the light from my flashlight. I now stood in what I felt was the large living room. The brown carpet was crumpled up, as if someone or something had been trying to rip it up, to get under the floor.
The walls had marks, claw like marks I swear. I moved closer and held my flashlight close to the wall and put my hand to the wall. They were so eerie to look at. Something had been clawing at the wall; there couldn’t be any other explanation. But whatever hand clawed the wall had much larger hands then I did. Suddenly, I heard a noise to my right. Behind me footsteps were kicking debris out of the way. My heart was racing like the wind and the hair was standing up on the back of my neck.
I turned around and faced the doorway leading outside and to my horror I heard a thunderous roar. It was if something had exploded and there was total darkness. Shivers went up and down my spine as I realized that the plywood was now back across the door way. The sounds of footsteps were growing closer and anxiously I faced the direction of the sounds and aimed my flashlight into the darkness to see what I could see.
It was at that moment that I dropped my flashlight when I saw him or rather it. It was a hideous creature with blue skin and crooked teeth, wearing a velvet cloak. Suddenly, I realized that he was what the old woman had warned me about. This was what was sealed within these walls. I screamed as I put my hands to my face. Above the demon swirled the tortured faces of children as they screamed in anguish, "Please help set us free!"
I was afraid. Too afraid to speak or run. Before I knew what was happening, the cloaked creature stood before me. There was confidence in his eyes and I felt totally helpless and he knew it. With the swish of one hand, I felt claws rip across my chest, tearing into my skin as I cried out in pain. I clutched my chest as blood spurted between my fingers and I felt my knees buckle. Suddenly, the demon was struck with a bolt of light that illuminated the room.
He shuddered, turned and faced the woman who I had spoken with at the sidewalk. In one hand she held a sort of staff and the tip glowed a fiery red. Her other hand was held up as if it was meant to stop him from attacking me. She spoke in a language I didn’t understand and before I could look back, he uttered a savage growl and raced down the hall in front of me, back into the darkness. The spirits of the children began to fade into the blackness, but not before they begged me once again to help them.
Blackness was now closing all around me when I felt someone pull my arm up and lead me out of the house. It was the old woman and as we walked, with fear in her voice, she spoke. "We must leave this place of evil. We must step out into the light!" she said desperately. Once outside, she helped me to her house and we walked through her back door. She took me to a room that was looked like a scene out of a Lord Of The Rings movie.
She sat me down in the only chair in the room, its arms carved in the shape of eagle’s claws. I looked up at shelves made from very old wood, lined with jars large and small of potions, creatures and herbs. Her back was to me as she opened a book with yellowed, fragile pages. When she found the page she sought, I heard her say, "There it is." Then she went to the shelves and approached me with some sort of stone.
She leaned me farther back in the chair and placed the stone on my wounds and placed my hand upon the stone. "Keep the stone against the cuts!" she said urgently. Then she recited things I had never known or heard of before." When she was finished, she looked down at me with kind, but tired eyes and her hand removed my hand from the stone. She held the stone in her hand and with her other hand, she moved my torn shirt. To my astonishment, my injuries had healed.
Besides my torn, blood stained shirt, only five long scars remained on my chest from the creatures claws. She walked away and placed the stone back on the shelf, turned and with hesitation in her voice asked me a question. "I’ve done what I can to save your life. Now I must ask you a question. Do you have the courage to save the souls of untold children from centuries past, or do you have the fear to leave and never return?” she asked in a compassioned voice.
“Before you answer, let me tell you a story. Long ago in another world, there was a powerful demon who ruled the underworld. He grew so powerful; he nearly took over this world. He found a way to create a doorway into your world. I’m the last of the ancient ones, who stands guard at this place. I’m the only thing standing between him and the death of your world. But I’ve grown old and so weary. It’s only a matter of time before he fears me no more and confronts me.
When that time comes, I know, I too shall die. No one will be left to maintain that balance between good and evil. You’re the first to enter the darkness of his world. For the moment, he can’t leave the prison he is contained in. He can’t leave that house, but I don't know for how much longer I can hold him back. As you were attacked, the souls of children cried out to you, to help release them. If you choose to leave now, I will not stop you.
But if you choose to join me and send him back to the world of the undead, I will prepare you to overcome things you dared to believe could exist. I will tell you what must be done and I will protect you as best I can. The rest will be up to you." she said with sadness. Everything in this room told me, this was no dream, no illusion. "If you can’t defeat that demon, how can I?” I asked the old woman. “I will help you, but I don’t know what I can do." I told her.
I saw a look of hope within her eyes at that moment. "You’re strong of spirit, of kindness and the light within you shines brightly. I can see the light. Evil will always fear the light and seek to destroy it. I can make a potion for you to drink that will allow you to be as strong as I once was. I can also give to you a special amulet called, The Magic Circle Of Solomon. It will protect you from evil. I will bless you with the shadow spell that will allow you to travel in his world unnoticed by his dark warriors.” she told me.
She walked over to a long intricately carved wood staff and upon it was a beautiful red stone with many facets. “This staff has an ancient amulet on it and is called the Circle of Protection. If you’re confronted by evil on your journey, make a circle around you with the end of the staff. Evil will not be able to harm you as long as you remain within the circle. In the demon's world are the remains of a church in a ghostly swamp.
You will find among the ruins an archway with a wooden box there. To release the souls of the children he has killed, you must remove and bring back the stone amulet you find inside. You must return to the doorway on this side of his world and destroy the doorway, forever trapping him in his world. By destroying the wall, you will also have released all those souls he has held captive in darkness, forever tortured.
Walk with me and I will show you the doorway." she said. She lit a torch and we went back to the boarded up house. When we reached the basement doorway, I saw the door had been shattered into tooth pick size splinters. With her staff in the other hand, we walked down the steps. The basement was totally empty and I saw no doorway, only a stone wall. The stones looked as old as time itself and were the color of black and grey.
She stopped in front of the wall and placed her hand through the stone, to show me that is was indeed, a type of doorway. "This is where you must pass to enter his world. Come, we must leave and go back upstairs, to prepare you for what must be done. I fear we don’t have much time." she told me with nervousness. I saw her take a deep breath and with tired eyes, she turned and I followed her back upstairs. She returned to her book, a book of spells I guess it was called.