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Two Hundred Years Later

short story

Two hundred years ago, in an Irish village, an entire village dragged Jessica Allen out of her house and beat her senseless.

“Kill the witch!” Laramie Storm shouted. He was the father of the infant Jessica had killed, sacrificing it to Satan. While bloodied and panting, she cursed Laramie Storm.

“Your descendant will bear two children: one will be a monster and the other a goat-man.” Shall you kill the deformed one, the normal one will die as well. While she was clutching to life, Laramie and the rest of the villagers strung her up in a tree and hanged her. Curious black ash appeared on the tree after Jessica died. Over the next two hundred years, anyone foolish enough to touch the ash on the tree suffered catastrophe: incarceration, famine, disease, madness, suicide, even torment by demonic possession.

Two hundred years later a descendant of Laramie storm witnessed the birth of his two children. One was a normal child named Abel. The other was a goat child promised by the witch two hundred years ago. One night Brian, holding an ax, snuck into the infants’ room, intending to kill the deformed child. He found Cain and Abel holding hands as they slept. A knot formed in his throat. Then he knew he could not bring himself to harm the child. At thirteen years old Cain ran away. Abel spent all night searching for his missing brother, but he found nothing. Brian found Abel, curled up, and asleep in a field; he brought his son home.

In the same village on the other side of it, lived the descendants of Jessica Allen, Mark, Heather, and Cody, their daughter. It was a sunny day. Cody age seventeen stepped out of her cottage and headed to school. She wore blue jeans and a light blue sweater. She whistled a tune as she walked. She knew who she was, a descendant of Jessica Allen. She knew about Jessica being a witch, and how the villagers murdered her. Cody’s friend Rose caught up to Cody.

“Hey, are you going to go through with it?” Cody ran her fingers through her shiny red hair.

“Do what?” Cody asked playing innocent. Rose playfully punched her friend in the arm.

“It’s October 30th and you’re going to touch the tree.”

“Curses aren’t real!” Cody said.

“I know you are just doing this to get a date with Greg Reed, but he isn’t even that cute. I heard he got an STD anyway,” said Rose. Cody chuckled.

“You’re worrying over nothing,” said Rose. Then Rose bit her lip and the two girls continued walking. They met up with Greg at the tree. He was clad in denim; his blue eyes sparkled in the sunlight. Cody stepped forward; the wind began to blow her hair as she got closer to the tree. Oddly, there had been no wind previously. She reached out her hand and touched the ash. She showed her grimy hand to Greg.

“You did it,” Greg said. “You risked your life, sanity, and general well-being to get me to go out with you. I’m very flattered. Where shall we go out on our date?”

“I would like you to escort me to the Halloween Dance on Friday,” said Cody. Tomorrow was going to be the real Halloween, but the dance would fall on her birthday, November 2nd. Over the next few nights, Cody heard the wails of a banshee. This was an omen of death in Irish folklore. She would hear it at midnight and dawn, waking her up both times. She tried her best to convince herself it was just a coyote she had heard, much in the same way Cody had tried washing off the ash, but it would not come off. It was soot from Hell. It damned anyone who touched it to a terrible fate and an eternity in Hell.

Cody wore long pink gloves on the night of her dance. Greg and Cody spent most of the night dancing.

“KILL!” the voices in her head shouted at her. Invisible hands scratched at her eyes, hands, cheeks, and breasts. She heard the voice of Jessica Allen in her skull.

“Go ahead child, end your suffering.” Cody ran screaming from the gymnasium. The music stopped and dancing ceased. Greg was left to yell a meaningless:

“Cody!” amidst whispering. Cody peered into the mirror to find Jessica Allen’s face leering back at her. The scratching grew more aggressive, causing her to bleed from the affected areas. The voices were deafening. She punched the mirror, glass raining everywhere. Cody picked up a shard of broken glass and slit her own throat.

The wind shrieked, the front door blew open, and Cain came clomping into the room. Abel leaped up from the table he had been doing homework at, raced over to him, and hugged Cain.

“Welcome back dear brother!” said Abel. “Father said you would not return, but I knew you would!” Cain let out a howl, similar to that of a banshee