The second horror story of the month! 🙂 Hope you all enjoy! Feel free to comment and share!! More stories coming soon!
“What terrifies you?”
“What? That’s a strange blind date question,” Emilia mused. She pushed her romaine leaves around with her fork as she pondered the answer she’d give. Should she say something sweet like, “my biggest fear is leaving this date without asking to see you again” or be utterly honest. Only a half hour into dinner at Mona Lisa’s and she couldn’t stop staring at her date. His email was so last minute, had she not changed her sound notifications earlier she may have even missed it.
“Everyone has something they’re terrified of. I’m just wondering what could make a beautiful woman like you shudder at the mere thought of it,” Lucius said softly as he leaned in to pick up his glass of Merlot. Dressed in a suit and tie, he oozed sensual sophistication and spoke slowly, as if he had eternity to form a sentence. If Lucius Fehr was a food, he would have been a warm dark chocolate souffle with a hint of cinnamon, and every woman in the dimly lit restaurant looked at him like they wanted a taste.
“I would have to say being buried alive, I guess. I mean, it’s not a legitimate fear since people haven’t been buried alive for ages, but just the thought of being trapped and screaming at the top of your lungs, but no one can hear you because you’re six feet under. Even if you were to break free from a coffin like the movies, you might suffocate from the dirt crashing in on you. Just the feeling of being completely hopeless and helpless is terrifying to me.” Emilia suddenly snapped out of the graphic imagery that held her mind captive for a moment. She looked up into the eyes of her date and noticed that he seemed incredibly invested in her. For once, after years of failed relationships, a man that looked this good had never given her the time of day and now the epitome of masculine beauty was sitting across from her, and only looking at her, no matter how many of the supermodel caliber women there that were undressing them with their eyes. Watching the small table’s candlelight flicker reflections in his deep green eyes, Emilia didn’t care about anything else.
“Interesting that I fear being buried alive?”
“No, interesting that you don’t think it still happens. People get buried alive today, Emilia. Actually, a gentleman named Ethan Cooke was buried alive just last night,” Lucius said very matter of fact as he slid back for the waiter to place their entrees in front of them. Before he took the first bite, he noticed Emilia fidgeting with the bottom of her chestnut curls. He offered a soft grin, slightly curling the corner of his lips. She dropped her hands, realizing that he’d seen her tell and smiled back before tasting her steaming shrimp scampi. Her eyes squinted instantly when she’d noticed the temperature of her dinner.
“Wow, hot” was all Emilia could mutter. She swallowed the bite more whole than she normally would and felt it uncomfortably roll down her throat into her chest. Lucius seemed to heed the warning and waited to try his. She watched as the steam from his rare steak danced around his chiseled chin and jawline, making him look like the personification of sin. He was the kind of man that could make anything effortlessly seductive, and did so with a grin that looked as though it hid a thousand lies, but at the moment, Emilia didn’t care. She watched him slice into his steak, his eyes devouring the blood red meat before it touched his lips. Lucius let out a soft sigh.
“Delicious. How’s yours?” He asked while slicing another bite of the barely deceased animal on his fine china.
“Wonderful, thank you. So, what was it you said you do?” Emilia questioned, desperately trying to remember the questions she’d already asked to avoid her most common first date foul. He paused to swallow his bite; Emilia watched it ripple past his Adam’s apple beneath the collar of his crisply starched charcoal shirt.
“I work in acquisitions. I see things I want, and then I…acquire them.”
“Oh, that sounds much more interesting than my job. I’m just a secretary at my church,” Emilia muttered.
“So you said, Emilia,” Lucius replied as he grinned, noticing that her cheeks flushed a warm pink with embarrassment.
“Great, I’m sorry. I meant, why did you choose acquisitions?”
“I like a challenge. Anyone can have anything they want, they just have to want it enough to get it. Tell me, what do you want?” He dabbed the sides of his lips with the black cloth napkin before another bite, intensely awaiting her response.
“Anything I want? I’d say probably to win the lottery so I could have enough money to live happily and buy my sister a house; maybe put her through grad school too,” Emilia pondered aloud. The ease of financial freedom that only an elite experienced left her wondering what it would be like.
“So if you could have anything in the world, you’d want the money to take care of yourself and your sister. Do your parents not have the means to provide that for you both?” Lucius asked fearlessly. Her eyes widened, surprised he was asking such a personal question the first time they’d ever met. Something about it was unnerving, but Emilia couldn’t bring herself to avoid giving him everything he asked for.
“My dad passed away when we were kids, and my mom lives alone in an apartment. She’s trying to stay sober, but it’s off and on. She wants to, I know she does. She hasn’t had a drink in years. She really is doing the best she can, and I honestly don’t know why I’m just telling you all this,” she nervously laughed into her almost empty glass of Merlot.
“Well, I’d say if you wish for something, maybe it will come true. Here, blow out one of our candles right here.” Lucius slid one of the candle holders closer to Emilia, giving her a soft innocent glow. She smiled at the childlike spontaneity of her handsome stranger.
“Just wish and blow this candle out? I’ve only done this on a birthday.”
“You can wish any time. Someone is always listening, right?”
Emilia closed her eyes and concentrated. Images of her living in a beautiful condo and spending her days reading and volunteering flooded her mind, followed by what her sister would look like if she could actually enjoy her life instead of work multiple jobs to just barely pay for her education. Tears threatened to sneak in, so she squeezed her eyes even tighter. Inhaling a deep breath, she exhaled, extinguishing the candlelight with all of her hopes and wishes. Opening her eyes, she could have sworn she saw black smoke around her date, but after blinking it was gone. Counting it as a simple light adjustment, they enjoyed the remainder of the blind date and made plans to see each other again in a few days.
Walking towards her car with his well manicured hand gently on the small of her back, she could feel a magnetic desire begging her to take home more than the thin slice of chocolate French silk pie he’d insisted upon ordering for her as dessert. Holding her keys in her hand, she mentally reminded her wavering moral compass where true North was, and that was waiting until she was in a monogamous relationship to consent to ravenous sex. She couldn’t bend the rules for someone she’d only just met hours ago, but something about Lucius seemed eerily familiar, and oddly comforting at the same time. He was like someone that had always been there, but that she’d only just begun to notice.
Emilia’s hands shook slightly as she slid the key in, just as she felt Lucius softly turn her. It may have been dark, but the full moonlight made him look unearthly beautiful. Her head tilted up, inviting a goodnight kiss, but instead he looked deep into her eyes sending a chill straight through her. It was as if he slipped past the massive guard she’d had up since her father died, and went straight into her soul.
“Sweet dreams, dear Emilia,” he whispered. She gasped softly, inhaling his warm breath on her lips. Just as mysterious as he arrived, he slipped into the back of a black limousine that must have been waiting on him all night. Spiraling from the whirlwind that was Mr. Fehr, she sat in her car for a moment to catch her breath before turning the key to begin her short trip home.
That night, Emilia’s dreams were lucid and flooded with visions of fire and snakes with multiple heads lashing out from the floorboards to sink their long fangs into her legs. She screamed out and willed herself to awaken, only to be met with the laughter and mockery of goblin-sounding voices in the shadows of her eyes’ blind spots. Trapped in this helpless state of subconsciousness, she pleaded with her mind to release her from this torment, but the little scaled lizard creatures continued to jump upon her body, holding her hands down to cackle as they pulled and pulled to rip her fingernails off at the beds. Unable to make it stop, she submitted to the pain and screamed until she couldn’t remember how long she’d been screaming.
At the ring of her cell phone, Emilia shot straight up in bed, shivering in a cold damp sweat, scared and angry that her night terrors had followed her into adulthood. She quickly examined her fingers, legs, and toes to ensure they were intact. Glancing next at the morning light seeping through her slightly uneven blinds, she reassured herself, and her heartbeat, that everything was fine and that those reoccurring nightmares were only getting more graphic. The cell’s ring tone stopped to signal she’d missed the call and then began again, sounding more persistent. Emilia stumbled out of bed, almost losing her footing on the heels she’d kicked off from her date with Lucius the night before, and picked up the phone as it rang for the third time.
“What?” Emilia could have been more courteous, but seeing as it was her younger sister, Marie, she knew a formal greeting wasn’t customary, or necessary for that matter.
“Em, where the hell have you been? I’ve been calling you all morning, I-”
“-What so you’re the only one who’s allowed to have a life? I’m not trying to snap at you, I’m just…I don’t know, I just had another dream is all,” Emilia sighed. It was the closest to an apology Marie was going to get this morning. She looked at her wall clock and blinked a few times to verify the time. Afternoon already? She thought to herself.
“There was an accident last night. Mom was drinking again and she slipped in the bathroom. Em, she’s…gone,” Marie barely muttered before crying into the receiver.
“What? That’s impossible. I talked to her yesterday morning!”
“She bled out on the floor, too drunk to get up. Beth came to pick her up for their meeting and she was just there in her t-shirt…just gone.”
“Marie, she was sober. We both know that. This has to be an accident, or a mistake. This isn’t real,” Emilia stuttered through the hysterical sobs she was holding back. She had to be strong for her little sister always, but this didn’t seem to make any sense. Her mother had given up drinking five years ago when she was arrested for a DUI, after wrapping her SUV around a light pole. She had always said it was a near death experience that she said showed her she wasn’t going to see a shining white light at the end of this life if she continued on the same wicked path. Shortly after the accident, Emilia started having reoccurring nightmares of the hellish, torturous dimension her mother spoke of seeing in that brief three minutes of being rendered unconscious.
“There’s something else, and it’s really weird…I got a phone call from someone claiming to be handling mom’s estate. She left us everything, Em, all of it.”
“Estate? Marie, there’s no way she has anything left from dad’s settlement; that was decades ago. How would there be any money? And how could someone have called so quickly?” It didn’t make sense to her. Emilia knew that her mother had received a considerably large settlement, but after all of the drinking and rehab, it was just an unspoken family assumption that the money was long gone.
“He said it was ours. That you’d have enough money to live comfortably and just read and volunteer, and that I could-”
“-pay for school…” Emilia finished her sister’s words, lost in the familiarity of them, as they’d just been spoken. She repeated it to herself in her mind, drowning out her sister’s words, when she instantly remembered the gorgeous Mr. Lucius Fehr asking her to make a wish over candlelight the night before. How could she have forgotten?
“Em!” Marie shouted when she realized her sister was no longer hanging on her every word.
“Wait, what was the guy’s name that called you? It’s really important, Marie!”
“Mr…umm…Luke, or Lucas? How am I supposed to remember that?” Marie answered with an unsure tone. Truth was, she was so upset about the death of her mother and the overwhelmingly guilty feeling of being relieved at the news of financial freedom that she didn’t completely catch the man’s full name.
“Lucius Fehr?” Emilia questioned threateningly.
“Yes! That was it! Lucius! Why?”
“You wouldn’t believe it if I told you, but promise me, Marie, if that guy calls, don’t answer. I’m going to see what’s going on.” Emilia hung up the phone with a determination she hadn’t felt in years. Something about his eyes and the way he smiled when he spoke. She blamed herself for trusting someone she’d never met, but no matter how angry she became, she still couldn’t get the way he felt around her small frame out of her mind. Reaching for her clothes, she decided she’d call him and try to meet up to talk about everything in person. Nodding to herself at the logical plan she’d created, she knew a public place would hide the shaking in her hands. Turning the corner to the long hallway, there was a sudden spark of electricity before the lights in her apartment went out, leaving her in the darkness, the bedroom door loudly slamming shut behind her.
Emilia gasped and felt an undeniable chill creep up her spine. For it being midday, the hallway was darker than midnight. She could barely see the end of the hall, but there was an unmistakeable shape of someone…or something…else in her apartment. Out of habit, she blindly fumbled for the light switch on the wall and violently flicked it up and down as the figure remained motionless. Unable to slow her breathing, she yelled out.
“Whoever you are, I’m calling the police!” Verbal threats were the only viable weapon she had, so she did her best to sound like she wasn’t completely and utterly petrified. She was only met with a deep laugh that seemed to come from all around her and echo through the hall. That laugh. She knew that laugh. “L…Lucius?”
“Yesss” the deep disembodied voice hissed.
“What are you? What do you want with me?” Emilia cried out. The shock from her mother’s tragic passing and this psychotic display of fatal attraction had hit her like a semi. She couldn’t bear any more pain, and decided to face her former date head on.
“You know me, Emilia. You wished for me. I only do what you asssked me to do, my dear,” the voice spoke. Although the tone was low and smooth, it was the most eerie sound she’d ever heard – until she remembered where she’d heard it from – her nightmares.
“Is…Is this hell?” She asked with tears staining her cheeks.
“Not for you, but your mother is here with us. You sent here there with your wish. Princess Emilia all holy and right chooses money over mother. You made her force that liquor down her throat. She didn’t want to. Greedy girl. She cried out for you, drowning in liquor, begging for her life. Her last thoughts were pathetic, but oh dear, she is angry with you. She knows what you did to her. Tisk tisk,” the voice taunted. It laughed loudly as she screamed out to stop and go away, waiting for her to realize it was futile, as were all attempts to move. He had trapped her in this moment of agony of realization, and just watching her writhe in mental torment was like reaching the center of a tootsie pop – long awaited and delicious.
“Take it back! I want to take it back! Lucius, let me have her back, please! I’ll give you whatever you want!”
“Lucius, I swear, I will give you anything you want to give me back my mother,” Emilia sobbed as she fell to her knees.
“I want something I cannot take, but you must offer willingly.”
“What is it? Just tell me and it’s yours, please! My car, or money, or anything!” She begged with words she hadn’t contemplated and hoped beyond comprehension that she could undo the terrible wish he’d tricked her into making the night before.
“I seek to acquire…your soul, Emilia” Lucius spoke in a more demanding tone, expressing his true desire. Seeing Emilia’s face turn white in sheer terror made his long lips curl at the ends into a smile.
“You mean…I’d go to Hell?”
“I give you your mother, your sister, and your life until your body is old and no longer useful to a man. At the moment you breathe your last breath, I’ll be there waiting to take you with me. You will be mine. Your soul will be mine.” Sensing she may disagree, the shadowy figure at the end of the hall raised it’s hands to the sky, and suddenly dirt began to fall from the ceiling. Emilia screamed out loud as her greatest fear began to become a reality in her own home. Fresh dirt was already up to her stomach, when she could feel the worms and bugs moving around her legs. In an attempt to escape her fate, she clawed at her walls, digging her nails into the wallpaper to pull herself up, but it was useless. The dirt had reached her neck and she was beginning to lose the fighting light in her eyes. She knew her choices were limited, but in a moment, her decision was made.
“Lucius! Stop!” Emilia screamed. Instantly the shadowy figure’s hands dropped and the dirt, which had already reached the bottom of her chin, ceased.
“Yessssss, Emilia?” The serpent hissed. “Ssssay it.”
“Ok. If it’s to save my mother, I’ll give it to you!”
“You have to say my name,” that coy voice taunted maliciously, waiting for her to see the truth.
Emilia’s moment of discovery was only met with silence, and she knew. Maybe she always knew. The shadows in her peripheral vision, the nightmares, or the sinking feeling of nihilism in her gut must have always been telling her. The devil was real, and he was coming for her.
“Lucius…no, Lucifer, is it? Fine, I give you my soul, Lucifer. I denounce my faith in God and I give myself to you, Lucifer, in exchange for what you’ve promised me! Now give me back my mother, you son of a bitch!” Emilia screamed desperately through her tears. She knew she had been defeated and that her decision was sound. She chose her mother over herself, and that’s what she would tell herself for all of eternity.
“It is done, dear Emilia, sweet dreams.” The voice dissipated as the sound of laughter echoed once more through the hallway before the silence. When the lights flickered on, Emilia was standing in a clean carpeted and well-lit apartment with the sound of traffic to interrupt her thoughts. Was it real? She thought to herself. Was I dreaming? Unable to shake what had just occurred, she quickly called her sister and asked if they’d spoken today since her recent calls had been erased mysteriously. Her very confused sister asked if she was hungover or drinking still. Laughing it off nervously, she ended the call abruptly.
With one more call, she phoned her mother and fell to her knees when she heard her voice. Everything was fine. She reassured herself that it couldn’t have been real, and it must have been a result of sleepwalking, or her night terrors. Laying back in bed, she decided she’d take the rest of her day off to catch up on some sleep. After all, she had to rest up for her date with Lucius tomorrow night, and she’d have to make a solid effort not to scare him away with the creepy dream she’d just let him become the star of. Wanting to put the whole delusion behind her, she called the work number he’d given her at dinner, only to have a woman answer.
“Hello?” Emilia asked confused.
“Yes, ma’am can I help you?” the kind female voice asked.
“I’m so sorry, I must have the wrong number. I’m looking for a Mr. Lucius Fehr? He gave me this number.”
“Fehr? I’m sorry, but there’s never been anyone here under that name.”
“You have all of the names of the acquisitions department?” Emilia inquired, trying to help the operator narrow down the number.
“Acquisitions? Ma’am, this is Sunset Funeral Parlor, we don’t have an acquisitions department. It’s just us. I’m sorry for the incon-”
Emilia hung up, shaking from the realization that her terrifying encounter with the darkest being the world has ever known was fact, and her soul belonged to him. Sinking into her bed, she pulled the covers over her head and tried her best not to dream. That reoccurring nightmare was more than just an occasional cause of cold sweats, it was her fate. She’d try her best not to dream…at least not tonight.
Across town, a waitress smiled at a gentleman sipping a glass of Merlot. His date had yet to arrive, but by the looks of it, she’d have a flood of willing understudies. With a swift smile and tilt of a head, the waitress let down her fiery red hair and walked over to his table to fill the position.
“Hi, I’m Rose,” she said flirtatiously while offering her painted nails to shake his hand.
“Lucius. Mr. Lucius Fehr.”
“Well, Lucius, you got me here. What do you think?” She teased. “What are you just dying to know about me?”
He already knew his question. The same ritual he’d ask with a devilish smile, waiting on the next soul to present itself on a silver platter. Liking the rarity of her more than his steak, he waited and listened, breathing in her innocence like a decadent perfume. It was always the most fun on this plane of existence; how easily people trade their souls like currency for material things that will only matter for a minute blink in eternity. With a deep sensual tone, he leaned in while the candlelight caught the hint of fire in his eyes.
“What terrifies you?”