I watched the town burn. The horses were falling backwards. People layed face down on the sidewalk. The tables were inching off the ground. The asphalt was metamorphosing into dirt. The crows bit off the heads of mourning doves. The flowers whistled, and the crops turned to ash. I knew I had just caught myself in Limbo, and it was only a glimpse of what I thought was Hell. As the water covered me, and the world turned dark, I thought that I would live.
Part 1 of 3: Harvest Feast
July 3, 2008. The Cline family was a family of matter. It was family tree of gods. A Grandmother who loved giving out tough, but sweet, love. A sympathetic, caring mother. Three wild boys and two quiet girls. And a father who was nice and hard working. But, he had a demon on his shoulder that no other Cline knew about. A demon that would plague his crops, murder his livestock, and send ever Cline to eternal fiery Limbo.
The girls were strolling outside. Samantha was six, and Susan was thirteen. The boys were wrestling with the dogs. John was ten, Matthew was twelve, and Andrew Jr., was fifteen. Their enthusiasm was beyond question that they were all excited for the Harvest Feast. The 98th one as well. Grandma was sweating in the back seat of the car. Without patience she leaned up and honked the horn. In a hurry, the kids packed into the bright car sun-kissed car and the mom rushed out with fancy glass pitchers filled to the brim with lemonade.
The Grandma was not happy. “Allie, go back inside and get a cap on those pitchers.”
Allie, tired and sweating, replied, “No mom. It’s gonna be okay. Honk the horn again.” The horn was honked and Andrew finally comes out with four pies. Three apple. One was the special “Cline Spice Pumpkin Pie.”
As they pulled out for the thirty minute drive the father noticed a man in a black hoodie walking around the back of his house. He circled as if he had found what he pretended to be looking for. Wearing a mask of shiny plastic and red gloss he flicked his head up and looked dead on into the father’s eyes. Then vanished into the corn. The father let out a phew and drove out thinking to himself, Check the cellar when you get home. Check the cellar when you get home.
The day before Independence Day. A marvelous tradition for the small town it was. A day where everyone shares a bit of their beautiful food from the field. White plastic tables, the ones used for quick picnics, lined up all along main street. Food as far as the eye could stretch. It was a marvelous time. People got out of their regular clothing for this day to dress up as a farmer. In fact, everyone pretty much looked the same in their farm clothes with the black hair and hats. A beautiful day indeed until people drip away from the surrounding as the sun went down. The moon was refreshing to the hot day. The food was all gone. The tables were being put away until next year. Trash drifted away. Frisbees, footballs, and fireworks were scattered. This was the town’s Independence Day. Their fourth of July. However, there was one person that did not eat nor celebrate. Two in fact. The father, whispering to himself, “Get to the cellar, get to the cellar.” And a mysterious man watching the Cline family from a distance.
Part 2 of 3: The Crops are Wilting
It was colder. Nine people, all in black hoodies, had surrounded the house. Grandma, with her last kiss of fair luck, has created enough time to chase them away. The children watched from the attic window crying until their throats bleed. Grandma had run into the dark corn attempting to elude the hooded men away from her family. It was no use. Only two had gone after her. The kids let out a wail of palpable pain as they watched the corn line stop. The youngest one cried out, “Why didn’t she scream? Is gran dead?” Yes she is. The two that had followed her had come out of the corn. And in a terrifying matter, with plain masks, looked straight at the attic window making each son and daughter collapse in fear. The mother has been trying to call 911 but they cut the phone line. The father had attempted to get the cell phone but he saw them enter the house with guns. He whispered to himself, “Don’t got into the cellar.”
The mom had the cell phone. But she did not have her husband. She’s not stupid. Hearing two gun shots. One for the father, and one for the oldest son. Whom only tried to stop his father from risking his life. The youngest of them all was terrified. So much that she too had followed her older brother and father. Mother tried to stop her but it was way too late. From the attic window she watched her six-year-old daughter get shoved into the same spot where her grandmother lays, and get shaded with death by a hooded, masked man. But why? Was it the cellar? His final words. Before the first pistol shot that killed father. He yelled, “Don’t go into the cellar!” Bang. Dead. Another bang to the oldest son. The third to a six-year-old. The mother has threatened her children.
“Don’t you dare leave this attic. Whatever I do, do. The bad people are gonna try to come in. So take this.” She hands each remaining Cline a nail. On the border of the attic window is a sheet of oleander flowers. Growing up on the farm, they know that these flowers kill. Rubbing each nail with oleander juice the mother, two remaining sons, and one daughter, sneakily stab five of nine hooded men. All in the attempt of getting to the cellar.
In the cellar two truths are discovered. They know now why father had chained up this cellar. The first secret was hideous, chained to the wall but managing to viciously bite the one daughter. It had beady eyes and dreadful skin. It was more than human but less than humane with shadowed limbs not seeable unless with matches. The second secret was already fed. It was not hideous. It protected the remaining Clines from the hideous beast against the wall.
As dusk turned to dawn, the Clines had found some kind of peace. The damp, moldy concrete box they rested in gave them clear view of the two things. One was still hideous but not as much as last night. It seemed to have been tamed and create a connection with the Clines. The beautiful one was curled up resting along side them peacefully.
When they first catch a look of their house, it was totally flipped upside down. Everything was wrecked. The father and oldest son lay in glistening red blood dripping through the cracks of the floor. Outside, the animals have gotten a harsh taste of the grandma and daughter in the field. The Clines life was hell.
Part 3 of 3: When the Horses Fall and the Crows Bite
Months turned into years. Time plastered the Cline’s dreadful losses. Funeral after funeral for the family. Now it was all better. Now everything was at utter peace. It was only a scar on the face of history. The crops were growing, the neighbors were visiting, the sun was nice, everything was all good. Until…
July 3, 2013.
“Kids, get your guns now!” They knew something like this would happen again. They were ready. The kids, older and stronger. Tough as grandma used to be. They could take on anyone or anything.
Someone had broken through the screen door. The cellar door was also wide open. The mother was the first to investigate. She walked slowly down the stairs into the icy, dark room. The lights didn’t work. She could not hear or see the intruder, nor could she see the hideous beast or the lovely creature. *Bang.*
The two boys were frightened but ready. They told their sister to stay upstairs and kill the intruder if he or she came up. “Whatever you do. Don’t come downstairs with us.” *Bang.* *Bang.* It was up to the daughter she stood at the edge of the stairway to the cellar. Minutes dragged by and she got nervous. She turned her head slightly to the side and all of a sudden she saw a masked man jump right in front of her.
As the one last Cline came to her senses she could feel the icy tile ache her cheek. The blood on her forehead was shocking. At first she thought she was dead but she awoke to her attacker in the crimson glossed mask yanking her into the the tub. Drowning her in icy waves.
She thought and thought, ‘if I play dead, he’ll go away.’ And she did. Her lungs were on fire and her muscles blew up with every second. It was not bloody. It was not gruesome. It was clean. A clean way to die. After a while she lost her sense. The man had left and she forced herself to lift up.
Her lungs did not burn anymore, nor did her muscles ache. Her mother and brothers were not lying dead in the cellar. They were not there at all. The sun was in mid position, but it was not hot. The sky was an off orange. She could see smoke off in the distance. A mysterious force lead her through the corn, down the long road, and into the burning town. Little did she know, she was dead. Her body was still lying in that bathtub. Her eyes open filled with icy water. Her killer was circling the dead cellar beast with curiosity. The Clines were gone. All in their own little Limbo. Trapped for eternity in a privileged hell.
July 3, 2013. I watched the town burn. The horses were falling backwards. People layed face down on the sidewalk. The tables were inching off the ground. The asphalt was metamorphosing into dirt. The crows bit off the heads of mourning doves. The flowers whistled, and the crops turned to ash. I knew I had just caught myself in Limbo, and it was only a glimpse of what I thought was Hell. As the water covered me, and the world turned dark, I thought that I would live.