Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Barrow

   “We write these tales so the world is prepared, so it has a reference point for when things do begin to happen. We write these tales so that instead of screaming in the face of horror; future generations will act, and by acting, survive.”
-E. F. Votive

     I am fairly confident that, after you read this manuscript, you will believe none of it. I would not believe it myself if not for the facts having been something I endured personally.  I am a 35 year old man who, for all purposes to this date would be considered of sound mind and although I am admittedly over weight fairly of sound body with some notable exceptions. I am a professional and have a taste for history and the fantastic. As such, I am not a believer in the supernatural though I have always found the idea of cryptozoology and the pursuit of the unexplainable exciting. Also I am a religious and spiritual person and my faith while not perfect, is strong enough and I find that all I am and all I have built my life on has been shaken to the core by what happened.
     Three months ago, on the 20th of August I had gone out to walk. The only exercise I get and I walk different places to try t keep the venue fresh and encourage a desire to return to the exercise. I was walking in a local cemetery named Grandview for its placement atop the hill that overlooks the entire town. There are several small mausoleums and a small civil war cemetery; there is also a strange structure that I have always assumed was a tractor shed but it greatly resembles a barrow mound, instead of a small stone door though it has a large grated door. The grating is unusual, and always reminded me of decorative work you’d see in a Russian monastery. I have looked through that grating several times and never seen a tractor so I’m not sure what gives me the impression it should house one but there is always a stack of concrete mix bags, scraps of wood, and a few lawn tools. It has always given me a creepy feeling when I look through that grate. It is always pitch black because the door did not face either east or west so the sunlight did not penetrate it and there has always been a sense that something more should be inside.
     On that August day I stopped to peer into the room beyond the grate as I have done dozens of times before and as I stood peering into that dark room I began to feel I might see something, or someone, and I my observation became more intense. Suddenly a man called to me from a dozen yards away and so loudly and insistent was his call it startled me. I turned to see a groundskeeper and he repeated his call, “Get away from there!” His look was mixed anger and fear and it confused me. “Come away from there right now! You are not allowed in there!” He waved me towards him as if I were standing in a mine field and feared for my life while he raged at my stupidity.
     “I wasn’t doing anything, just looking in.” I turned to move towards him and felt as if I was moving through a thick mist and my feet were heavy. It occurred to me that the light didn’t seem right and as I moved towards the caretaker he approached me and took my arm.
     “Buddy, you shouldn’t be here.” It was dark; I realized suddenly and was shocked. I had come to the cemetery in the afternoon and I pulled out my cell phone. “Buddy, are you hearing me?” My cell phone showed it was after 9 and there were a dozen missed calls, all from my wife probably wandering where I had been for six hours. On my drive home I was very confused and all that night I could not reconcile the events of the afternoon and that night my dreams were troubled. I had dreams I was moving through my house looking for an intruder but couldn’t find them. All the next day I thought of the cemetery and that dark barrow room.
     For the next three days my mind would swing back to the room and at night I would wander my house in dreams looking for an intruder that I could never find. On the forth night, August the 25th, I caught the home intruder of my dreams. As I passed through the house of my dream I caught site of a shadow and pursued it. The chase exploded through the entire home smashing chairs and destroying book shelves before I caught the intruder. Leaping on their shadowy form a titanic struggle that seemed to last forever ensued. Finally my sustained aggression spun about my quarry and I saw it had my own face! The face, my face, was distorted and bloated and in the dream it was as if my head, the intruders head, was like a bag filled with snakes and the eyes began to bulge. I woke up screaming and my wife jumped out of the bed. Later I put the dream event down to a reoccurrence of the night terrors from my child hood. With the dream passed my life seemed to return to normal.
     A week or so later I found myself back at the cemetery walking again, this time with my wife. As we made our way around the paths amongst the various grave markers we struck up a conversation about the odder ones and about the strange names some bore. We moved by the barrow and my wife made a comment on the oddity of the structure. She made her way to the chamber and looked in much as I had and squinted as if seeing something, I had ceased walking and suddenly felt paralyzed. The sky seemed to darken and suddenly I was subjected to the most terrible and intense pain I had ever felt. It rolled in waves through my face starting at the outer edge then moving inward very suddenly. This pain rolled over my head and through my face in wave after wave almost overcoming me and I felt as if I might pass out.
     Then, I saw something terrible, so terrible that my body was electrified through the pain and to something akin to numbness. The gate, the grated door, was gone! Though my wife stood as if peering through the oddly cut iron there was truly nothing to peer through. But it was not the suddenly missing gate but that which stood hulking within; a great dark mass, indescribable in form lurked within the barrow when there was nothing there before. Its form shifted and transmuted seemingly to always change and my misery wracked eyes and throbbing face could focus on no part before it would shift from beyond the ability to be seen. I felt as if I had ever sought its face, like an eternity groping through a deep cavern with out light or hope! I feared to lock eyes with it and I feared not to find them so as to orient myself.
     Even as I watched and sought to move towards my wife, towards removing her from danger, it reached for her. I could not tell you how, could not describe what kind of unnatural appendage reached from the dark within that man constructed cave but the woman I love could not see it reaching for her and in an instant I burst free of my paralysis. Stumbling and swaying towards my wife I was trying to shout, scream a warning or do anything to move her from that reaching creeping thing in the barrow. My strength of will must have drawn the thing to me for suddenly I felt its gaze upon me. A greater maliciousness I have never felt in my life and although I could discern no face I felt the gaze of its anger.
     I felt the will of this being malevolent and intelligent begin to assert itself on me. I understood immediately it was trying to kill me and it could do so with its alien mind. I was sure my assailant was not human, or super natural, but other natural and utterly without the morals and ethics that our society imposes and our world debates. I felt icy tendrils of decay creeping into the essential being within myself seeking to unravel and destroy. I fought violently, with the desperation of a confused animal. I was in foreign lands fighting for my life and the life of my loved one. I felt as if I was whirling around reaching out, striking out, biting with my mind and flailing with my will all at the same time.
     The connection between the mind of this being and my own gave me a glimpse of the assailant’s memory and thought. I saw a door that had angles all askew and to see them was to feel nauseous. I saw a window of a form to not be perceived by a mind as weak as mine. Beyond the window I saw a world without description or explanation and my mind could not and would never grasp what it saw beyond. And as my consciousness began to collapse upon itself and I knew death was coming for me on swift alien wings when something happened. I felt as if my mind was rapidly reassembled and I blacked as a fast forward assembly of a model, and I blacked out.
     Later my wife told me she looked over from the tractor shed and saw me convulsing in a seizure. She had called an ambulance and I spent five days in and out of consciousness in a hospital bed. Since that day what is left of my life has changed drastically. The inoperable tumor has given the life insurance company sufficient reason to pay out the contract. I also visit the cemetery daily, for long periods, looking into that barrow. The tumor has done something to me and I can see where the thing should be as others could see a missing piece of a puzzle as viewed through a kaleidoscope. I feel as if that fight is unfinished and I am looking for my opponent. I feel as if I have to finish it, I feel that if I do not that something terrible will happen, something utterly horrible that should not happen. Something that now only I can cease or reset after setting it in motion. Something the tumor has put a terribly brief window of opportunity on.

     I know it is waiting but I think it cannot wait until I am dead.

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