I was a freelance photographer, freelance portrait artist, freelance writer, and a professional gamer. Well, I was actually rolling in money, but still lived a private and secluded life, loved by many, friend to none, and it just had to be that way if I still wanted to cohabit peacefully with others.
I was born with a curse, one that some call a ‘unique gift’, where the normal human sense would pick up the strange smell of burning rubber and sulphur in unusual places, I could see the demon itself, yeah! I could see and hear angels, demons, and ghosts, the good thing about it all, was that for some unknown reason, I was untouchable by these things, and I had grown so used to seeing them every second, that it no longer bothered me. If people knew just what was happening in the spiritual realm, and the demons some people walked with, they would be more conscious and deliberate with their actions. As a child, I thought seeing things was a natural thing for everybody, but I grew up to realize it wasn’t and that realization made me decide to live a very private life, free from the inquisitiveness and prying eyes of the world, and so far, it had helped a great deal. My parents thought it best that I left Nigeria, and that was the best decision, because we- Nigerians are a very religious people, and there was no telling what trouble my supposedly unique gift could attract, especially in the Nigerian environment where every occurrence always got tagged with some spiritual influence.
There I was at the diner as usual, minding my business as usual, when I saw a pretty lady seated alone, rather than have demons about her, she had a beautiful and radiant angel by her, the sight was just beautiful to behold, and immediately set to work drawing the portrait of the lady and the angel. As I drew, I looked around the diner, so many demons tempting their humans to go talk to the pretty lady, but for some unknown reason the guys couldn’t make the move. I put my head on the table for a while
“Hey Danny” Someone called me. I looked up to find Cara, my neighbor next door
“Hi Cara” I responded
“Our photographer bailed on us at the last minute, and tomorrow we have this amazing road trip to Ohio, em, you’re my last hope Danny” She said. I was still pondering whether it would be a good idea to join them or not, when Joe joined us.
“Hey Danny Yo! Has Cara filled you in? Yo bro, you need to be on that trip man, it’s gonn’ be fun yo” Joe said as he patted my back and went on to the table where the pretty lady was, and I could hear Joe tell her.
“Yo pretty Mamacita, ya know your pretty ass ain’t turning up late for the road trip to Ohio tomorrow” Joe said, and she laughed. I turned to Cara
“I’m in” I told her.
“Wow! Danny you’re a lifesaver” Cara said as she hugged me. Oh well! Remember when I said I was loved by many, but friend to none, yeah! This was one of those situations.
That night, as I packed my photography gear, I sat back and took some time to ponder, and there was this premonition that the road trip would not end well, but when I slept, I had the strangest dream, I saw the pretty lady from the diner, telling me she would protect me, and it felt so assuring.
The next day, ten of us was on the bus taking us to Ohio, and of the ten, I only knew the faces of Joe, Cara, and the pretty lady from the diner. It wasn’t a pretty sight on the bus, I just wondered the scene if the occupants of the bus could just get a glimpse of the demons that filled the bus, it was a really terrible sight looking at the restless and ugly monsters trying to bring unbalance and irrationality to the seemingly peaceful but noisy bus. The demons were subdued perhaps because the pretty lady’s angel was also on the bus, and she was right by my side.
“You don’t talk much, do you?” She asked me.
“I try” I said with a smile.
“Oh well, I’m Charlotte” She said, as she offered a handshake
“Danny” I said
“You are different from the rest”
“And how do you know that?” I asked.
“I have the gift of seeing people’s energies, among other gifts” She said.
“And you feel comfortable telling me?” I asked, because I had never felt comfortable telling people what I could see.
“Oh sure, because you are different, take my hand, and I’ll let you see through my eyes” Charlotte said. I took her hand, and there was something that felt like a glitch effect and I saw differently, in place of demons, I saw auras, all negative auras, it felt better than seeing fang baring ugly demons. Charlotte left my hand abruptly.
“Oh my God!” She exclaimed, while gasping for air.
“What’s the matter?” I asked
“I – I was able to also see through your eyes too” She answered
“Not a pretty sight, right?”
“How do you cope?” She asked.
“Well, I’ve become used to it, so it doesn’t bother me anymore” I answered.
“Wow! now I see why you don’t talk much” She said, and I shrugged.
“Yo Danny! What’s up? Hey Charlotte, how’s ya doing?” Joe asked from across the aisle, we nodded with smiles.
The rest of the journey was filled with weird conversations with Charlotte, and by weird, I mean we were not having the usual conversations a lady and guy meeting the first time would have. It was a long drive, and for some unknown reason, the driver had made a wrong turn and ended in Helltown, Ohio. It was 11pm and we had a lost a tyre, it was unanimously agreed to camp in Helltown till the next day. I did not like the new development one bit, and I had every reason to, not just because the demons were having a filled day, but because we were in Helltown. Helltown was a ghost town with so many spine-chilling, blood-curdling, scary stories about Satanists and their human rituals, a chemical accident that created undeads, a chemically mutated python, and ghosts. It seemed like I was the only one among the group who had heard stories about Helltown, because they all seemed unbothered.
“Are y’all sure about chilling here? I ain’t seen a soul here, looking like a freaking ghost town” Joe said as he looked around.
“That’s because it is really a ghost town” I replied
“Yo man, you’re kidding right? don’t be playing with my feelings bro” Joe said as he looked around frantically, and I could see the demon of fear tormenting him. I looked around, and saw the demons of the others were in a frenzy, it was going to be a long night.
“Quit the bullcrap, there’s nothing like a ghost town, or ghosts or spirits and all that balderdash” a Goth-dressed guy called Goethe said. I thought Goth people didn’t speak. One thing I never did was argue with people who didn’t believe there was any other realm aside the physical. In no time there was a heated argument about the existence of spiritualism, ghosts, angels and demons. Some were of the opinion that there was a spiritual side to our existence, even if their premise for believing was somewhat warped, and the others were the ‘unbelievers’. Oh well, both the believers and unbelievers individually had a lot of demons surrounding them.
“Alright guys, let’s get some wood to start a fire, so we don’t freeze to death out here” Cara said
“Or get eaten by wolves” Another member of the group said with a laugh.
“I’ll wager Brandon will get eaten first, dude’s so fat, whatever’s out there will start with him, and be too full to come after us” A lady said.
“Screw you Anny, if I get eaten, you’re so skinny you’ll be used as the toothpick, or maybe, just maybe you’ll be the skewer” Brandon retorted.
“Ohhhh shots fired! I repeat shots fired!!” Joe cheered Brandon on. Another argument broke out, and it was beginning to look like a fight would happen. Two howls from a distance, and everyone became quiet.
“There’s so much negative energy here” Charlotte whispered in my ear.
“So many demons at work” I whispered back, then I looked at her angel looking as radiant as ever. You see in there are a lot of things about the spiritual world that can never be explained with science, science could not explain how it was possible that I was seeing what I was seeing, it all felt like some augmented reality stuff. For instance, I could see Charlotte’s angel, and she was so bright, but in the real world, there was pitch darkness.
“Did y’all hear that?” Joe asked. No one responded.
“Wolves are scared of fire, I saw this in a movie, we need a fire” Someone whispered.
“We need to get some wood to start a fire” Cara added
“Where?” Joe asked
“The woods, dude” Brandon said, as he stood up and went in the direction of the woods.
“Damn! Brandon, where are you going?” Joe asked
“To get some wood from the woods” Brandon said.
“Oh and get yourself killed in the process. Well done Brandon, well done” Anny added.
“I’ll go with you Brandon” I said
“I’m coming with you” Charlotte added
“Y’all ain’t gonn’ leave a brother out here yo, where you go I go mehn, I ain’t staying with those horny homosapiens o’er there” Joe said, pointing at two members of the group making out, while another looked on with rapt attention.
“Urgh! I’m coming too” Anny said
“Perfect, whatever’s out there will have Anny and I for dinner, the rest of you can escape” Brandon joked.
“Oh please fatso” Anny replied
“Guess I’ll come along too, I don’t feel so safe with only these people” Goethe said, pointing at the three others who were already at the mercy of the demons of lust.
“Thought you didn’t believe in them ghost shit?” Joe asked Goethe
“This isn’t about ghosts, it’s about wolves and survival” Goethe answered
“Nah Bro, you’re just scared, but you’re welcome to enlist in our army of wood fetchers” Joe said with a laugh. I looked all around me, If only these people knew what I was seeing, it felt like the demons were getting stronger, and they were just all over the place, I looked at Charlotte, her angel was right by her, and no demon could get close, then I wondered if I had an angel or demons on my side, because I couldn’t see myself. We headed for the woods with our flashlights, and the closer we got, the more demons I saw, and they were not the usual demons I saw every day, these were more terrifying than those ones, and even though I knew I was untouchable, for some unknown reason, I was a little terrified at their sight, and at some point I had to stop to look around. I noticed what looked like a chapel near by.
“Can I see?” Charlotte whispered in my ears, and I knew what she meant.
“As long as you don’t freak out” I whispered back.
“No I won’t”
“Alright, let me know if I’ve got an angel or demon with me, ‘cause there’s a beautiful but fierce angel with you.” I whispered.
“Yeah I know, she’s my bestie” Charlotte whispered
“What are you two whispering about?” Anny asked
“About angels and demons” I answered.
“Yo Bro, not here man, we’re in the woods, ya ain’t gonn’ start some scary movie ghosts’n’demon stuff in here, if y’all don’t wanna carry a passed out Joe with your wood” Joe said.
“And I’m the scared one” Goethe said with a chuckle
“Hey Goethe, I ain’t scared, I’m a black man, being scared ain’t in my genes, we just need to control the energy here” Joe defended
“Guys it’d be best if we split up, gather what we can and head out of here” Brandon said.
“Say what? Yo Brandon, what ya say? We gonn’ do what? I don seen a movie like this, is you tryna set us up for some sacrifice or something? We split up and get hacked and impaled, I don knew you was outta ya mind when you made this move” Joe added, obviously scared.
As we continued into the woods, I had this strong feeling that terrible things would happen, not to me, but members of the group, I wasn’t sure whether to tell them what I was seeing or not, we were surrounded by a legion of demons, and it was 12 am- their hour.
“We are not alone here” Charlotte whispered to me
“Yeah, ready to see?” I asked in a hushed tone
“Yeah” She said. We held hands, and I could see through her eyes, there were only black and red energies, not just from the other 5 people, but from around us, like there were more people in the woods with us. We stopped holding hands and I knew I just had to tell the group.
“Guys, let’s just go back and everyone stays in the bus” I said
“Why?” Cara asked
“’Cause terrible things are about to happen” Charlotte answered.
“And how do you know this?” Brandon had barely asked the question when we heard terrifying screams coming from the direction of the bus- it had begun!
“Shit! Shit!! Shit!!! Brandon you brought us in here, Brandon? Brandon?” Joe called frantically. We all turned our flashlights to where Brandon had been standing some moments ago.
“Oh my God! The hell happened to Brandon? I’m calling 911” Anny said, she got her phone out, and there was no cell coverage, same thing on all of our phones.
“What do we do? Search for Brandon or go check on the others? Cara asked
“Are y’all kidding me? A 220 pound dude just suddenly disappears, like disappears suddenly, and y’all ain’t bothered about how illogical it is, the coincidence with Danny asking us to go back, plus the screams of our eaten friends, it all makes no sense!” Joe said.
“What’s the plan? How do we fight wolves?” Anny asked.
“Wolves? It’s more than just wolves” I said.
“What do you mean?” Goethe asked
“Yeah, what do you mean?” Anny asked
“Well if I explained to you. You would not believe me” I explained
“If it’s about demons and all that nonsense, I ain’t buying it” Goethe said
“Yo Bro, tell me”
“Well, wolves didn’t just make Brandon disappear, and that explains a lot” I said. We heard rustling and heavy breathing coming from a direction, and turned with our flashlights, and right there was Brandon running towards us with his shirt in pieces, and a gash on his belly.
“The hell! Brandon?” Joe
“We go-tt-a get out-out of here now” Brandon said while gasping for breath and not stopping.
“What the hell happened to you?, how did you sneak away from us so quickly?” Anny asked.
“I-I didn’t, one minute I was here, the next-next minute you all seemed to-to disappear in an instant” Brandon answered.
“Some things big and fierce are coming, I can sense it, we’ve got to get out of here now!” Charlotte said, and she was right, the demons were on rampage, and these ones coming were not the usual.
“Quick, I saw a chapel near” I said.
“Brandon, we need to apply pressure to that wound, did a wolf do that to you?” Goethe asked
“No-no, no wolf, this place is haunted” Brandon answered.
“Damn! Damn!! I ain’t gonna die here man, I’m black, this is some white people shit” Joe said.
“Danny and Charlotte, you’ve been whispering while we were coming, and you both seem calm, is there something you’re not telling us?” Anny asked. No sooner had she asked when a force picked Anny, and tossed her into the sky, she let out a high pitched scream, and was torn in two from her midriff.
“oh Shit! Oh Shit!! How on earth did that happen?” Joe screamed. I had never seen anything like it, the demon that did it was a very unusual one, and it began to retreat into darkness. Anny let out a very weak “help me” but, right before our eyes, a mutated python slithered out from nowhere, talk about a two headed python, each head taking the two halves of Anny.
“Now’s the time-time to-to run to the chapel” Brandon said.
We ran to the chapel, and as we ran, I looked towards the bus, and there was a fire by the bus, and it looked like the 3 people we left were alive and having fun, because there was movement. I didn’t understand what was going on.
“See, there’s a fire there, I’m going to stay there” Goethe said
“Dude is you insane?” Joe asked
“how did they start the fire, and the screams we heard?” Cara said
“Well, only one way to find out, I’m going there” Goethe insisted.
“Joe will you go with him?” Cara asked
“Hell No, the hell would I do that for? You white people are crazy in a stupidly brave way. Damn! I just wanna get in the chapel and sing me some kumbaya, confess my sins, and pray I don’t end up like Anny. It’s stupid to run into known unknowns, I ain’t down for dumb shit like that” Joe said as he headed for the chapel
“I don’t need anyone to come with me, I’ll go alone, and prove you wrong and be back at the chapel to let you know” Goethe said as he began. I looked again at the spectacle in the distance, something was not right, if only my camera and telephoto lens were not on the bus, I would have been able to get a better view from the distance.
“Bless your soul Goethe” Joe said.
“If you go, I’m coming too” Charlotte said to me.
“Hey brother, you’s a black man, don’t be doing no white man stuff, man, us black brothers gotta stick together man” Joe said
“My camera equipment is there” I said. I knew that didn’t sound reasonable, but I was curious to know what was happening at the bus.
“Danny, are you insane?” Joe asked.
“I’ll get your gear for you” Goethe said, as he turned and headed towards the bus, and we continued to the chapel.
A lot of weird things were going on, I had never seen demons this excited, I had seen demons take physical forms of their hosts, but the demon that attacked Anny, that was new, and so were the demons I saw surrounding the chapel, they were huge, and reeked of burning rubber and sulphur. Interestingly, the demons that came with Joe, Brandon, and Cara cowered as we approached the chapel, like they were afraid. Charlotte’s angel had two flaming swords. I wondered if I had demons on angels on my side, then remembered I had asked Charlotte to check for me when we held hands in the woods.
“Danny if you can hear this, then you’re telepathic too” I heard Charlotte’s voice in my head. I had never thought about telepathy, and I didn’t know I had the gift.
“Oh, how come it’s so easy for me, since it’s the first time?” I telepathically asked Charlotte
“You’re a natural, this may be our weapon against these forces” She added
“I see your angel with two flaming swords, what do I have, angels or demons?” I asked
“Two huge angels” She answered. Now I understood why I was untouchable by the demons.
We got into the chapel, and shut the door behind us. There was the pungent smell of organic decay, yet everything looked very clean, but on the other side, I could see ghosts and demons, and that was unusual for a church, a church was supposed to be a safe haven, but this church didn’t feel anything like a safe haven, if the others could see what I was seeing, they would run out.
With our flashlights, we looked around the church, we could see flashes of lightning through the windows and hear the rumble of thunder, out of curiosity, I opened the door of the church and stepped outside, and there was nothing but pitch darkness and deathly silence. Weird! I stepped into the church again, the lightning and thunder continued, and it gave the interior of the chapel an eerie feel.
“Urgh! What’s that smell?” Cara asked, as she inspected Brandon’s wound.
“Like some dead stuff” Joe added.
The thunder and lightning continued, and suddenly we began to hear chants and hums, the type one only heard in voodoo and occult gatherings. We looked around, looking for where the sound was coming from.
“Dear Lord, I know I’ve been a bad person, I shagged Ron’s mother and Mrs. Hooper last week, I called old Williams an old fool this morning, the that one time I put weed in Reagan’s food, oh Lord –sobs- I’m so-sorry for my life of sin, for all the times I cheated on my girlfriends –sobs- all the lies I told, big man up there please forgive me. If I make it out of here alive, I ain’t ever sinning again” Joe prayed, while sobbing heavily. He was scared, as was Brandon and Cara.
The hums had gotten louder, and mixed with the thunder and lightning, and it all stopped abruptly- no chants, no hums, no thunder, no lightning, just the lights from our flashlights, and the sounds of our breathing. Three knocks on the door behind us made Joe, Brandon, and Cara jump with fright, three knocks again, I went to door.
“Oh no, ya ain’t opening that shit, are you?” Joe asked.
“It could be Goethe” I answered.
“Ask before opening” A scared Cara suggested. The demons within the chapel were feeding off the fear from Joe, Cara and Brandon.
“Goethe is that you?” I asked at the door.
“Ye-yes, you-you were rig-ht, I-I was bitten by undeads, I bro-ught your-your gear” Goethe said, his voice growing faint and coarse. I could sense what he was saying, and letting him in could put the others in trouble.
“Is it Goethe?” Joe asked
“Yes” I answered.
“Why aren’t you letting him in?” Cara asked
“Goethe, are you there?” I asked.
“I-I can’t be wi-with you gu-uys again, I’ll-I’ll hurt you, I-I killed them for-for making me this-this way, I-I fixed the-the tyre, you-you need to-to get out qui-quickly, they-they are-com-coming” Goethe said, each word becoming more coarse than the previous. He was transforming into an undead, I wondered how he was able to turn against the other undeads and kill them, then it struck me, his unbelief in stuff like that must have given him extra strength.
“Okay Goethe, thank you” I answered. I could hear grunts, and receding footsteps, I opened the door and picked my gear.
“What’s wrong? Where’s Goethe?” Joe asked
“He’s turned” I answered
“Turned?” Cara asked
“Yeah, he’s a zombie now” I replied
“Damn!” Joe exclaimed
“Oh my God”
“There’s a lot of crazy stuff going on here” Brandon said
“Goethe said he fixed the tyres, and he asked us to leave quickly, because they are coming” I added.
“Hell No! Hell No!! I ain’t leaving here and stepping outside this church, it’s a church man, safe spot” Joe said.
“Joe, this isn’t the usual church” I said as I directed the beam of my flashlight to the cross at the pulpit.
“What do you mean?” Joe asked
“Yeah, what do you mean?” Brandon asked
“Look at the cross, it’s upside down” I said
“Shit! Church for satanism” Brandon said
“Could it get any worse? I ain’t dying in Helltown” Joe said
“Guys, we are dealing with demons of different classes here, we have undeads out there, and a mutated python, we have a bus that can get us out of here” I said.
“Something is about to happen” Charlotte began to communicate with me telepathically
“I know, I sense it too” I responded
“I have an idea, I have never tried it before, but it may work…” She was saying, when the thunder, lightning, chants, and hums suddenly started, louder than before. There was a scream from Cara as she was hurled by a force across the aisle and placed on what looked like an altar at.
“Oh no, not in here too, not Cara too” Joe said hysterically. I ran to the altar and met Cara sprawled on the altar, she seemed in a trance-like state, and surprisingly her hands were tied to four posts.
“We need to get out of here now!” Brandon said
“Oh Lord have mercy, I don’t know no more if this is some dream that I’ll wake up from, I just want to go back to a normal life, dear Lord, I ain’t never gonn’ tell a soul what I don seen here, I promise, just take me back home, and let it all be a dream, kumbaya Lord, kumbaya Lord, kumbaya” Joe.
“I’m not staying in here one bit, I’m going to the bus” Brandon said.
“Hold on a minute, we can’t leave Cara here” Charlotte said.
“Have you seen the markings on the floor near the, see the downward pointing pentagram? See the goat of mendes? Cara has been chosen to be the sacrifice, and we can’t get in the way” Brandon.
“Sacrifice? By whom?” Joe asked
“That” Brandon said as he pointed at a 10 foot huge figure with the head of a goat wearing a long black robe and holding a staff slowly making its way to where we were. Brandon didn’t wait and made for the door, Joe was too petrified to make a move. Something had to be done, but I did not know what to do, Charlotte’s angel was prepared, I wondered what mine were doing. Brandon got to the door alright, but he never made it out, the same force that pulled Cara, also sent Brandon to a stake, and as he shouted for help, and struggled to be free, flames began to burn him, his screams of agony filled the air. We watched in horror as Brandon got burned at stake, the smell of burning flesh filled the air.
“Joe hold my hand, Danny hold Joe’s hand, let’s form a chain with Cara’s hand” Charlotte instructed, and there was a bright flash, whatever held Cara bound released her.
“Holy Molly! Oh my God! Oh my G, this is some next level shit, Y’all got them Harry Potter powers since, and y’all ain’t say nothing damn…my oh my, this shit scary, see all them Angels and Demons, hey yo, is that Angel Michael, Gabriel? Them angels be popping weights mehn, see them biceps! ohhh” Joe, probably seeing stuff.
Still holding hands, we walked out of the chapel, and no demon or entity dared come close, I didn’t really understand what was going on, but it was a big relief to know there was a solution, the perfect solution! We held hands together till we got to the boss, and Joe drove us back home.
“Hey Danny” Someone called me. I looked up to find Cara, my neighbor next door. Wait! What just happened?
“Hi Cara, Your photographer bailed on you, and you want me to go with you to Ohio, Joe is going to come in a few seconds and say Hey Danny Yo! Has Cara filled you in? Yo bro, you need to be on that trip man, it’s gonn’ be fun yo, and he’ll pat my back and move over to Charlotte over there” I responded to a bewildered Cara who had no idea what I was saying
“Hey Danny Yo! Has Cara filled you in? Yo bro, you need to be on that trip man, it’s gonn’ be fun yo” Joe came in and said, and as expected, patted me on the back and moved on to Charlotte. Cara was dazed
“How did-did you know that?” Cara asked.
“Well I have gifts, cancel the trip or take another route but not Helltown, or Brandon, Anny, Goethe and three others may die” I added.
“Oh no, how did you know they…are you some psychic?” Cara asked.
“I’ve got to go” I said. I looked at Charlotte, she winked
“How did you do that?” I asked Charlotte telepathically
“Do what?” She asked.
“Make it look like I was dreaming” I responded
“Well, I told you I had gifts, and you have them too. Dinner tonight?” She asked