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Iniquities

Iniquities

A story of innocence lost.

1

Horror


Author Image

Bobby W Lee (United States)


Some things are best left alone. I had been told this but it never quite sank in until now, when the lesson is too late to learn. I should have listened. I should have paid attention.

It started innocently enough, my cousin had a Ouija board he'd gotten as a Christmas present. It sat collecting dust in the corner of his closet before in a state of pre-teen boredom, we decided to give it a whirl. Me and my bright ideas, I had dug it out and dared him to try it.

Always one to take things to another level, I cajoled him into not only trying it out, but in a graveyard at midnight. Not the smartest idea, but I was going for total scare factor. I had always loved to see abject terror displayed on people's faces.

In fact I got a perverse thrill from it even as a young child and would jump out of closets or grab my Mom's foot from under a bed as she vacuumed just to elicit a blood-curdling scream. I was just wired that way. And this was back when kids still got their asses beat for stunts like that instead of getting therapy and anti-depressants. I carried my share of stripes from a hickory, believe me.

So we waited until my Aunt and Uncle (I was spending the weekend) went to sleep at their regular time of ten o'clock and we took a flashlight and the Ouija board still in it's plastic wrapper, and lit out for the graveyard that was a little more than a mile down the road.

I remember Cuz trying to talk me out of it just at time to go, but he might as well have been talking to the wall; I was going to not only satisfy my curiosity, but to see his smug little face frozen in a scream of terror. Careful what we wish for, eh.

The night air wasn't cold but it was cool and damp. One of those nights when the moon is full and everything in the woods is stirring. A 'possum nearly gave him a heart attack half way there when it scampered from it's hiding spot and fled from the bottom of an old oak tree. Whip-'or-Wills lent their voices to dissuade our foolish endeavor.

Owls hooted to warn deaf ears of the dangers involved with provoking things that are not of this world but to no avail. We were just dumb kids, too afraid of seeming scared to use good sense and go home. No turning back now.

Always trying to be the clever one, I counted thirteen headstones across, then thirteen headstones down. This put us at a headstone that was beside a crossroads in the vast cemetary. The name on the stone read Lucas Oliver Ramone, born 1829, died 1859, May His Soul Be At Final Peace.

Turns out, his soul was not at peace and most likely never would be. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Cuz tore the wrapper from the cardboard box containing the Ouija board. I lit a candle that I had stole from my Aunt's kitchen drawer especially for this event. After three kitchen matches were snuffed by the slight breeze, I managed to light it. I placed it in front of Lucas's stone where it guttered, but stayed lit.

I pulled out the box of rock salt also stolen, and made a protective circle for us to jump into just in case something bad was to come along. Not that I believed in that junk; but one must be always prepared don't you think?

Clouds scudded across the moon and the air smelled of honeysuckle and sourweed. Leaves rustled and the owls were really getting cranked up as I placed the board on top of Lucas' marker. Cuz had gotten unnaturally quiet. Nothing smart to say or even a crude swear word passed his tight drawn lips. I anticipated a total meltdown followed by girly screaming to follow and secretly grinned inside.

His face was ashen in the dim moonlight. I had him on the ropes now and no way was I going to back off without hearing him scream pathetically. I wanted my pound of flesh. I wanted to scare him into a babbling mess.

Kids get the craziest notions, and mine were crazier than most. It occurred to me that this would be the perfect time to invoke a demon. I didn't know the names of any, but one popped into my mind just before I started to abandon the notion. Abaddon.

Just like that it came to me. So I walked backward around the headstone of Lucas Oliver Ramone three times and chanted the name Abaddon. Then I put my hand on the plechette and placed it on the board. Cuz gave a keening sound and shook violently.

I was thinking that he would haul tail and run at any given second. I figured he was about to piss his pants. Boy was I ever wrong.

His eyes seemed to change color, right then and there. They turned a milky white. My blood ran cold but that was nothing.

He opened his mouth and the voice that came out was not his. It was a man's voice, not the squeaky voice of my cousin. I about pissed my pants.

"Why do you call him. I served him once and thought maybe I was free of him for a time. Why boy?"

My mouth could have swallowed an owl so wide as it was open. My knees shook but my hand was stuck fast to that damned board. I couldn't move.

A voice, raspy like lace dragged across rough wood, whispered in my mind. "Ignore him, he's nothing. Say it boy, call me here. Do it now."

Cuz's face had a slack expression. A mournful sad look that scared me worse than those milk white eyes. I couldn't help myself.

"I call upon you Abaddon. Hear me from your haunt afar and come. I beckon you to this place of my own free will."

I was shocked by the words that had tumbled from my throat as easy as falling down. Lightning split the sky and raced down a nearby oak followed by an ear-splitting clap of thunder. The night turned orange for the briefest of seconds but I saw him, at the base of that oak.

My hand moved of it's own accord. It raced the plechette across he board and spelled his name, Abaddon. I looked up as the thing that had been my cousin groaned. Straight into the soul-less black eyes of the shape I had seen under the oak. Abaddon.

"Yes, that would be me boy." The thing chuckled. I would say man, but there was nothing human about the thing that resembled a man, standing kissing distance from my face. I only thought I had been scared times before, now my heart was even afraid to beat.


Competition: The Pen Factor 2016, Round 1

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Read Reviews

Review 1:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Attention to mechanics
  • You demonstrate a professional quality of writing throughout the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • Your story struck a good balance between narration and authentic dialogue.
Characterization
  • Your characters were multidimensional. I found them believable and engaging and they genuinely responded to the events of the story.
Character conflict
  • Your characters drew me into their world from the very beginning. Their goals, conflicts and purpose were clearly introduced and I wanted to find out more about them.
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. Your story makes compelling reading.
Atmosphere and description
  • Your story was a feast for the senses. The atmosphere wrapped itself around me and transported me onto the page alongside your characters.
General comments from your fellow writer 1:
Wow, spooky! Made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! Loved some of your colloquial expressions like 'the words tumbled from my throat as easy as falling down'. 'My mouth could have swallowed an owl'. I want to read the next instalment! I feel like the pacing of your story could be better in that we got to the 'action' of the story so late that it feels like it ended abruptly. Perhaps cut the beginning or middle shorter and get to the action quicker. I love the feel of your writing, sort of old-fashioned (I mean that in a good way!) and sinister. Keep up the excellent writing!

Review 2:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Attention to mechanics
  • The grammar, typography, sentence structure and punctuation would benefit from a further round of editing to avoid distracting from the quality of the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • Your story struck a good balance between narration and authentic dialogue.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • The protagonist didn’t always respond believably against the backdrop of the story. Ask yourself if people would really answer to a situation in that way. Think about whether the characters’ voices could be more convincing for their age, background, gender, time period, genre, gender and ethnicity. Dialogue should be natural and consistent throughout the story.
Characterization
  • Make sure your characters are multidimensional. Do they have strengths and weaknesses? Mere mortals make the most interesting stories because they are like you and me and we are able to empathize with their journey. That’s how the connection with a character is formed.
Main character
  • Your protagonist exhibited a unique voice and had original characteristics. Their actions and dialogue were convincing!
Character conflict
  • The reader’s experience of the story is heightened when the characters’ goals, conflicts and purpose are clear. Perhaps giving this aspect of the story further attention could be worthwhile.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a difficult balancing act. Are you sure all the material is relevant to the plot, setting and atmosphere? Make sure each sentence makes sense to the reader, and each paragraph moves their experience forward.
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. Your story makes compelling reading.
Technique and tight writing
  • The writing was tight and economical and each word had purpose. This enabled the plot to unravel clearly. Your writing exhibits technical proficiency.
Point of view
  • The story successfully solicited the reader’s empathy through the clever use of the narrator's point of view. You show great deftness in handling point of view.
Style and originality
  • Creating a unique writing style while maintaining quality of prose is tricky. As writers, we face the daunting task of making sure we are not being predictable. Can you find a way to give the content and characters more of a unique edge? Perhaps say something boldly, something fresh or show an unorthodox approach to a topic?
Atmosphere and description
  • A writer’s ability to create mood and atmosphere through evocative description is vital to the reader’s experience. It’s a real skill to craft out how the characters react to the setting and atmosphere and perhaps your story could go further in its description. The reader wants to experience the same sensory and poignant journey as the characters.
Authentic and vivid setting
  • The setting was realistic and vivid. The characters’ mood and emotions were conveyed successfully through the believable setting.
Opening line and hook
  • Great books, nowadays, start with a powerful opening and compelling hook in order to keep the reader engaged. Have you baited the reader enough?

Review 3:


Compelling hook?

Fresh?

Strong characters?

Entertaining?

Attention to mechanics
  • The grammar, typography, sentence structure and punctuation would benefit from a further round of editing to avoid distracting from the quality of the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • Your story struck a good balance between narration and authentic dialogue.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • Your characters’ voices were convincing and authentic.
Characterization
  • Your characters were multidimensional. I found them believable and engaging and they genuinely responded to the events of the story.
Main character
  • Your protagonist exhibited a unique voice and had original characteristics. Their actions and dialogue were convincing!
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a challenging balancing act. The story had a clear and coherent progression with a structured plot.
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. Your story makes compelling reading.
Technique and tight writing
  • The writing was tight and economical and each word had purpose. This enabled the plot to unravel clearly. Your writing exhibits technical proficiency.
Atmosphere and description
  • Your story was a feast for the senses. The atmosphere wrapped itself around me and transported me onto the page alongside your characters.
Authentic and vivid setting
  • The scene needs to be vivid and realistic in order to hold the reader’s attention. Being concise and plausible at the same time is tricky. Giving this further attention could perhaps be worthwhile.
Opening line and hook
  • Great books, nowadays, start with a powerful opening and compelling hook in order to keep the reader engaged. Have you baited the reader enough?
General comments from your fellow writer 3:
Great story, it creeped me out. I'm not exactly sure what happened to Cuz, it's a little unclear. Did he become Abaddon? Or did Abaddon take him? Or something else? You could develop both characters a little more. I think the story would benefit from less first person commentary. eg. phrases like "Careful what we wish for, eh" and "Kids get the craziest notions" are a bit too talkative and friendly and read like you're telling a light joke in a conversation with your neighbour rather than depicting the horror of that night. Removing these sentences and focusing on the action of the night would make your story stronger and scarier. Also including more descriptive language. Describing things in detail bring the story to life - a fantastic example where you did this: "A voice, raspy like lace dragged across rough wood, brilliant! Keep up the good work, keen to read more!