Copyright 2013, by Jeffrey G. Roberts
I think it was the autumn of the year, when everyone in the village turned into cannibals. Yes, I believe it was indeed autumn. I distinctly remember my Evelyn saying she thought the foliage this year was particularly enchanting.
And as I gaze about me at the town I was born in, this blessed hamlet of New Camdentown, Massachusetts, I am filled with diverse emotions. I look upon Father Emerson’s Lutheran House of Worship, I behold the King’s Tavern, the Government Meeting House, and the stables beyond. And as I survey all before me, I must ponder the events of the past four months, and ask myself- yea, search my soul: how did this all come about? What dark force infected our homes and families? And one can not answer such a question without bringing up- the red dot. All the townsfolk would concur with me. This I know to be so. Yet they are all dead now, and so cannot. I know not whether the red dot was a curse of the devil, or a judgment from God. But I, Mordecai Daitch, in this, the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy, am His humble servant. I must accept that His will be done. It is not mine to question His design or motives. I should not, even if I were so inclined. His mind is beyond human comprehension. And I must obey.
The change came slowly, and with it came a rotting of the spirit, a hemorrhaging of the soul. But let the record speak for itself, and history judge us as it may. I shall not soon forget the events in New Camdentown. How could I? How could anyone? Well, if there remained anyone. Thus, allow me, your humble servant, Mordecai Daitch, to unfold the events to you, from the very beginning. Then you will know.
James Daitch, 7, and William Daitch, 10, were the first to see it, while playing in the fields just outside of town, one fine summer day. They tried to make sense of it, but their minds were not configured to comprehend the incomprehensible.
“James, what strange thing is that?” he said, pointing skyward nervously.
But his younger brother was dumbstruck with both fear and wonderment. And as they both stood there, craning their necks- as if by looking harder at it they could make even an iota of sense of it- the sun caressed their faces, the breeze tousled their hair, and somehow they knew that things would never be the same again here. It was an unknown foreboding that gripped them- that an ill wind had now visited New Camdentown- and it filled their young hearts with dread.
For there, approximately one hundred feet above their heads, floating silently, motionless, against all logic- was the red dot. Like a wound in the firmament, it appeared as an opening in the sky; a circular aberration perhaps forty feet in diameter, and parallel to the ground. Nothing could be seen within it, yet there was clearly a depth and dimension to its sinister form.
They stared up at it until their neck muscles were sore. They soon realized the inordinate length of time they had been gazing at this impossible intruder into their lives.
“We must tell father, James! He will know what this is. He will know what to do.”
And they ran; with a sense of purpose, with a sense of dread, and with a spirit of fear they had never known before.
Their parents were waiting outside their small hand-built house.
“Papa! Momma!” the younger boy began yelling, before he even reached his home.
“Father!” the elder William cried out. “What we have seen! Oh, what James and I have seen!”
But the boy’s parents did not directly answer. Their attention was instead riveted on the clear blue sky. The “thing”, this intruder, this interloper in the affairs of Colonial men, had appeared high enough overhead, so that most people in town noticed it at the same time William and James had. And it filled their hearts with dread, as well.
“Oh Papa, what is it?” James asked fearfully, as he clung closer to his mother’s side.
“I know not, son.”
“Come children. In the house,” their mother ordered. Who knew what this phenomenon was capable of? At least their household would offer a measure of safety, if only psychologically.
“It looks like the maw of hell itself, if you ask me,” their mother said.
“Evelyn, please. You’ll alarm the children. No doubt our fears are unfounded. Perhaps it is just a phenomenon of the clouds and weather we have not seen before. Yes, that surely is it. I should not be surprised if we wake on the morrow, to see the odd thing gone.”
“And good riddance,” she added.
But it was not gone the next day. And it was still there the day after that. And the day after that. It remained, immutable, like a blot in the sky, like an unwanted sentinel- right through New Camdentown’s harvest time, which was the worst anyone could recall. And no one knew why. The beans were like stones, and inedible. The meager corn crop yielded ears that were misshapen and stunted, their kernels a sickly black. The cabbages were a quarter their normal size, and blighted. A few townsfolk came down with horrid maladies soon after eating them- their bones becoming like rubber, their teeth bleeding, and eventually falling out. A few of the elderly actually died.
A month after the red dot appeared, most of the well water began to exude a strange sulfurous odor. It did not help the citizen’s outlook for the future, when rivulets of it began to glow a sickly yellow upon the ground. New wells had to be dug, but most potable water had to be brought in from the next town over. Its citizens were wary, deeply concerned and apprehensive- that the insidious pestilence that had New Camdentown in its icy grip might soon infect their hamlet as well.
By now the town fathers had had enough. Something had to be done. Determining precisely what the insidious red dot was- this was paramount. The very life of the village now depended on it. Thus, with the Mayor leading the way, a teacher, a land surveyor, the minister, and two militiamen rode into the clearing just outside of town, determined to find an explanation, and hopefully a solution, concerning the thing most of those in town were now referring to as unholy.
They could see it from far off, and the closer they came to the spot where young William and James had first observed it, they were understandably filled with trepidation. The air had an almost palpable dread about it. All could feel it, which only increased their uneasiness. The conspicuous absence of the sound of birds or wildlife was unnerving as well. Someone could be heard murmuring the word “abomination.”
And when they arrived at the spot, all froze in their tracks. Minister Emerson knelt down, closed his eyes, and quietly began prayers and supplications to God. The silence was deafening.
For there, directly under the glare of the red dot, laid the skeletal remains of hundreds of birds, of all species. They lay in a mound, like a macabre abscess. The bones alone would have been an upsetting find, if not for one singular- and horrid- observation: all of them had become horribly deformed- grossly misshapen skulls, the remains of fang-like teeth in their jaws, and horn-like projections atop some of the heads.
“May God have mercy on our souls,” the Mayor said quietly. And a brisk wind blew in from the east. And though it was the middle of summer, it chilled them to the bone. And it wasn’t the temperature.
“This blasphemy will not stand!” one of the militiamen shouted. And he raised his musket, aiming it directly at the red dot high overhead.
“No Captain, no!” the Mayor shouted. But it was too late. The soldier fired a musket ball directly into the circular opening in the sky. Almost immediately a greenish cloud of energy came out of the red dot and hit its mark, completely enveloping him. Within seconds, before the very eyes of his friends, his body- began to melt! His screams were unholy, as his arms and legs shriveled into masses of bubbling green ooze. The hissing sound the transformation made was now seared into the brains of those watching, helplessly. And the final horror they witnessed, before his body was turned into a melting mound of pus, was of his head exploding in a shower of gore.
This was simply too much for their minds to accept, and their senses to endure. They ran in stark terror, in a blind panic, back to the village. In their horror they did not even take the time to saddle up their horses, which scattered in terror, as if even they sensed this was something dark and unholy; something to be avoided at all costs.
Eventually, the cross of their salvation beckoned them; the only spiritual bulwark that their hearts could now turn to as a defense against this profane darkness. They raced into Pastor Emerson’s church, certain their hearts would burst, and their lungs explode. They slammed the oaken doors shut, and all collapsed on the floor, save for the Pastor, who could be seen embracing the cross by the pulpit with a holy grip of iron, in a desperate entreaty to God. But this was way beyond what their 18th century minds could grasp; beyond their science; beyond their most horrific nightmares- and they knew it.
It was about this time that ten-year old William Daitch went blind. The pupil and irises of both eyes simply disappeared. All that remained were ghostly white orbs in his head. They had to keep him at home, for when he went out with his parents to church or to the general store, poor William was shunned- through no fault of his own. Townsfolk cruelly called him the spawn of the devil. That is, townsfolk that were still normal, still in possession of their senses, and who had not already transformed into- something else. And those numbers were increasing.
At the end of July, Zebediah Gwinnett, a blacksmith, claimed to have seen, by the light of a full moon, a thing he could only describe as a denizen from hell. He claimed it had the vague appearance of a giant crab- but the size of a dog. Gwinnett reported it had two glowing red eyes, and hissed as it slowly walked down the main street that moonlit night, as if daring any human to confront it. Yet when he looked straight at it, his heart frozen in abject horror, the demonic creature vanished before his terrified eyes, in a flash of red smoke.
By now the town fathers decided that they had to do something, anything, to stop the soul of the town from being sucked dry by that unholy thing in the sky. Perhaps if they erected a massive circular brick wall directly underneath it, it might prevent whatever invisible denizens were pouring out of it, from continuing their carnage. They had to take the chance- small as those chances might be. And so it was done, though workers were hard to come by. Outsiders were reluctant to enter New Camdentown. But they managed to accomplish the odd construction project somehow, in record time. The wall was fifty feet in diameter and ten feet high. They hoped, by the grace of God, that they could stop, or at least slow down this invading abomination, before their township became a colony of the hell that spawned it. But no one had any illusions about the possibilities for such success. Now, it was just a matter- of survival.
But this latest attempt to forestall doom indeed did not succeed. The loathsome disintegration of the town had by now, if anything, accelerated. If hell had a graveyard, New Camdentown was what it looked like. Residents dared not contemplate where this would all end; what would the rotting corpse of the village look like when the insidious red dot completed its demonic “mission”? It was enough just to stay alive, though the term “living” was becoming increasingly questionable.
In early September residents in town were awakened out of their restless sleep at 2:00 AM by a sound they later concurred could not have been of this Earth. It was a shriek which rent the air, and froze their hearts. Those that did not faint outright described it as sounding like a combination of a soul in torment, and a howling wolf. Many would have fled to church, but were too terrified to leave the ostensible safety of their homes. But those brave enough to peer out of their windows were met with a fearsome sight: the red dot was now glowing brighter, and dripping something phosphorescent onto the ground. This surely did not bode well.
And as if the devil himself overheard their worst fears, he gleefully answered the citizens- by making them manifest. And it began on the Bowker farm, with an incident that redefined the word “horror” for all time, as word spread throughout the Massachusetts colony. The end was coming. And they all knew it. At least those that still remained alive.
The Bowker farm consisted of German immigrants Eva and Otto Bowker, and their 13-year old son Hans. The boy had come down with a strange fever two weeks earlier. And it would not break. Nothing helped- not poultices, nor bleeding, nor even supplications to the Almighty. His strange sickness only worsened. And as his fever lingered on and on, and he became weaker and weaker, he would utter strange words in a language no one had ever heard before, and in a voice clearly not his own! How was this possible?
By now, no one thought the red dot was a divine judgment from God, any longer. Indeed, most townsfolk were convinced that God had abandoned the citizens of New Camdentown. It seemed that hell reigned supreme in their village now. And what happened next to 13-year old Hans only reinforced this belief. It was the middle of October. The population of the town had dwindled precariously by now; through unnatural deaths, through heart attacks brought on by sheer terror, by malnutrition, and by those who had the wherewithal and resources to leave their once pleasant hamlet- which they now were convinced was cursed. And they would be correct. For at the stroke of midnight, near the time of All Hallows Eve, the wind was blowing hard. The trees, now stripped of all leaves and color, looked like giant skeletons, pointing their branches at residents’ homes, like accusatory bony fingers. And on that night, Eva and Otto Bowker were awakened by bizarre sounds. They feared the worst, and ran to their boy’s room. He was not there! How could this be, they wondered? He was clearly too weak to walk, having been unable and unwilling to take all but the most meager of nourishment. But if the strange sounds were not coming from Hans’ room, where were they coming from? They soon had their answer, though they wished to Almighty God that they hadn’t. For the profane and hellish shrieks sent them running outside to the barn. And what they saw instantly took Eva Bowker’s sight, with hysterical blindness, and caused her husband to retch his guts onto the dusty wooden floor. For there, inside the horse stall, was Hans. They knew this by his size, hair, and his bed clothes. Little else of their son was recognizable. He was by now almost a living skeleton, and his face had altered to such an extent that he barely resembled the strapping young boy he once was. And his pallor was a ghostly white. But why was he covered in blood? And where were the ungodly screams coming from? The answer was soon apparent: the Bowker’s horse was on its side, and was transforming and altering, even as the Bowker’s watched. It was thrashing and beginning to grow a second head! And its neck was elongating, like a serpent’s. And it was beginning to grow scales on its back, as well. This metamorphosis would be terrifying enough for the poor beast. But its screams were those of agony- as the younger Bowker was consuming its flesh, alive! The creature was now too weak to fight back against the boy’s new found demonic strength.
Upon seeing this, Otto grabbed his son with all his strength and threw him to the ground and away from the horse. He then grabbed his musket against the wall, quickly primed it- and put the beast out of its misery.
They kept Hans locked away in his room, his appetite for living flesh uncontrollable, his alien screams intolerable. His mother remained blind. Word quickly spread throughout the small community, of bizarre and similar incidents- some involving human flesh!
On the 31st of October a solar eclipse blotted out the sun, and plunged the town into an unnatural darkness. Learned men of astronomy had known by now the causes of a solar eclipse- when the sun’s light is blotted out by the moon’s interposition between the sun and the Earth. No longer were men frightened by superstition and the strange darkness of such an explainable event. But in New Camdentown, Massachusetts, this eclipse was a portent of something far more horrible than a mere understood astronomical phenomenon. This occurrence signaled- the beginning of the end. For on this night, unholy screams and howling could be heard reverberating throughout the village. Hell had come to Earth. Fires and shootings could be heard during the long night. The sounds of breaking glass and tormented souls could almost be heard in neighboring hamlets. But no one would dare go into New Camdentown to investigate, or offer to help. No one would ever come to the site of the town any longer. The demonic malignancy had consumed it.
By dawn it was all over. The hamlet known as New Camdentown, Massachusetts was no more. Because its residents were no more. Everyone was dead. Shot, stabbed, or cannibalized by one of their own. It was bloody carnage on a scale unfathomable to the normal human mind. In time the dead were buried in unmarked graves, the ground was sown with salt, and Holy Bibles were scattered everywhere, as a silent guardian and deterrent against such an unholy horror ever revisiting the New World again. Or so they hoped. Oh, they most fervently hoped.
Yes, all were dead. Except one.
Such were the events of the last four months, as chronicled by me, your humble servant, Mordecai Daitch. You may ask why I was spared the carnage. I know not. All I know is that I see and hear, walk God’s Earth, and feel the sun on my face as I greet each new day. Surely it must have been God’s will. But Evelyn was indeed correct: beyond New Camdentown I don’t think I have ever seen such lovely fall foliage.
True, I am a bit lonely at times. But at least I shall never go hungry. As such, I must be on my way. The hour is late. Stratford Village is the next hamlet over, and I shan’t miss my dinner. So much to choose from!
I hope my Evelyn did not suffer too much. How I admired and loved her. Those beautiful blue eyes. Delicious.
New Camdentown was now a rotting cemetery. No one ever went near the area again. All gave the former hamlet a wide berth, reciting prayers even when quite a distance away. Even birds never flew over it any longer.
But not quite everything was still. One night in November, a month after the carnage, when the moon was full, and played eerie shadows on the dead land below what had been New Camdentown, something was stirring, something was moving. It was the makeshift grave of 10-year old William Daitch. The earth began to crumble around it. After a few minutes a “thing” emerged. It was the remains of the poor boy! Yet he was not quite alone in his grave. Something was moving around- inside him! It began gnawing its way out, until all of poor William had been consumed, and something new emerged out of him- something dark, malignant, and blasphemous. It was not from this world- nor any other; but a realm beyond worlds. This “thing” then emerged from the grave, stood up on its cloven hoofs, and turned toward the desecrated town. It was very pleased by what it saw, as a sardonic smile crossed its unearthly face. It then turned back and looked up at the red dot. Shutting its red eyes, the creature suddenly disappeared in a flash of luminous energy, and rocketed straight into the red dot- which then closed up- and vanished!
(Footnote: six months later, residents of Mexico City woke up one morning to the strangest sight: an odd red circular phenomenon, hanging motionless one hundred feet in the sky. Learned men from the Universidad assured nervous citizens that the phenomenon was no doubt meteorological in nature, and would most likely dissipate within forty-eight hours.)