Monday, September 21, 2015

The Holy Mountain Saga: The Parade of Blood and Teeth, part 1

Mathew heard of Mount Vernon on one of those list websites, you know the ones right? They meter out “articles” featuring top ten lists of out-there government conspiracy theories, first hand accounts of alien abduction and haunted places. All covered in blinking adverts for gold and emergency food stores. It had been weeks since he'd written anything for the admittedly low-rent, buzzy, website of my own and was getting desperate looking for anything that might get more traffic to his blog about the curious and mysterious. Then there it was; “The Ten most mysterious disappearances in small town history.” Not surprisingly, this click-bait misrepresented how “Mysterious” these disappearances were, though still remarkable in their own way, anything but mysterious. Then there was the haunting story of the vanishing town of Mount Vernon.
Local legend has it that during the depression all the towns people marched like a parade into the thick forest surrounding the secluded hamlet. Whilst singing, dancing and beating drums all 800 men, women and children left what they were doing at the time and followed holy mountain road; the main thoroughfare until it became a dark, winding forest trail. None of them were ever seen alive again. When folks from the neighboring towns got curious why Mount Vernon became silent over night they came to investigate. Confetti and red white and blue banners littered the streets, and the more the search party went up the forest trail, the less debris of a manically impromptu parade they found. Instead they started to discover blood splattered liberally across the forest and little white teeth gleaming among the rocks and the sand of the trail. The posse that came looking for the missing towns people were so shaken by this discovery that they declined to go further along the holy mountain trail. They reasoned that whatever happened to them, they were gone and going any further to find out why would only make them gone too. They reasoned there was no use dwelling on it.
 Meanwhile there was an immaculate, if somewhat eerie abandoned town for them to use. Mount Vernon was a beautiful little town on fertile land in a serene woodland setting. The people who now occupy Mt.Vernon do their best to keep the parade of blood and teeth a secret, but there will always be whispers.
Or so the article told Mathew. Needless to say his bullshit alarm was going off as hard as it could. If all 800 people left the town in an ecstatic parade ending in violence disappearance, how do they know they were singing and dancing while they did it? Why did this gang of real estate opportunists follow the trail until the point when this possessed 800 started pulling out their own teeth and not go further? And if they were so spooked, why did they stay? Obviously he was incredulous. But the story was too weird to not keep him interested.
As it turns out, there are Mount Vernon's all over America but the one in question was in my own backyard. Funny, he thought, I've never heard any of this before. Resolute, he packed himself some food and got into his beat up step-side. Holy mountain road forks off from a nearby interstate after about an hour and Mathew figured by the end of the day he'd be close to cracking the most exciting story he's ever done. About 40 minutes into his drive, as his exhilaration was at fever pitch, he began to sing the first song that came to mind. He usually did this when he was excited, but this time was different. The song that was coming out of his mouth had an ominous, maybe even sinister under tone to it. “Road to Nowhere” by the Talking Heads. Mathew thought it was more and more fitting considering what he was going to investigate, and when he got to to “Maybe they'll wonder where you are, I don't care” he could imagine the entire town dancing in rows, pliers in their hands, singing we're on a road to nowhere! We're on a road to nowhere! We're on a road to nowhere! Soon, they'd get too tired to sing, as the road gave way to a dark, dirt path. And soon after that they'd start pulling their own teeth out. The ones strong enough to anyway. I imagine the children needed help. The thought was sickening but he couldn't stop singing this song, There's a city in my mind, come along and take that ride, It's very far away but it's growing day by day.
Mathew nearly missed his turn off onto Holy Mountain road zoning on the empy highway infront of him and by the rain now falling heavily on his windshield. Gladly after I saw the little sign he was transfixed. The woods walled the narrow two lane country road like two green, moss filled curtains, too thick to see more than a few yards into. the road shot straight for what seemed like miles and miles, up to a mountain that he hadn't noticed before. Picturesque in it's luscious green surroundings, the mountain stood plump and flat at the top. You must be Holy Mountain Mathew pondered to himself. I wonder where you've been hiding all this time.
The rain got heavier as he drove down the road. his hands tingled, pins and needles on his steering wheel and as he glanced at the ever thickening tree cover on the sides of the narrow road Mathew was brought back to his childhood. He could remember going on road trips with his mom and step dad and he'd watch the green rush by, he'd wonder what was on the other side of those woods, what was just out of sight. Mathew thought there must have been fairies, trolls and monsters living their enchanted lives just far enough away from his step father's sedan to stay out of sight. Mathew could remember looking at my step dad. He had that look on his face staring at the rearview mirror. The one he could almost mistake for him concentrating on what was behind us, but he knew. His brow was furrowed, his nostrils flared, he would look right at Mathew. Mathew knew his step father hated him, resented that Mathew was part of his marriage. The feeling of guilt and unfairness was bubbling in Mathew's gut when he noticed the shape in the road. He had been distracted, but he could have sworn in the split second decision to swerve out of the way that it wasn't running from the treeline to in front of his truck, but had just appeared there. Whatever the shape was, whether man or animal, wherever it came from, Mathew managed to not hit it, instead putting his truck in the ditch and slamming the bridge of his nose into my steering wheel.

Mathew must have only been out a couple minutes, but when he came to the near torrential rainfall had all but ceased. He spun his wheels in vain and decided to get out. The road was empty in both directions for miles. There was nothing but the road and the trees that loomed foreboding over it. He walked on the asphalt under the oppressively overcast sky for a while, maybe half a mile or so before he saw a trail running off the road. Mathew looked again at the direction he was headed originally, and saw nothing leading to the flat mountain looming in the distance. No sign that Mount Vernon was even close, and this scenic route into the woods seemed traveled enough that it might have been a locally known shortcut, at least it would lead to a house he thought. Mathew began to walk down a few hundred yards before he felt it. A weird feeling, an unsettling energy about the woods. It felt like a vacuum. Instead of raining, it felt as if water was being sucked up into the sky. The further he got the more it felt like water was being wicked off of him. Mathew wasn't getting any drier, in fact he was as wet and cold as he could ever remember being then the uneasiness gave way to a horrible feeling in his stomach as he failed to reconcile being dry before the crash and being so inexplicably wet and miserable. Mathew instinctively checked his watch as if he was waiting on something, and saw that it had stopped at 6:30. He looked up and what he saw was an affront to all of his senses. Seemingly out of nowhere was a clearing in the trees, something Mathew couldn't have missed walking up towards, and yet there it was as if it was dropped in front of him as he checked his watch. In the clearing of evergreen pines and firs was a perfect circle of these ghastly bare branch monstrosities. They didn't even really look like trees. They looked more like giant skeletons reaching towards the sky, writhing, screaming in pain, imitating trees. The leafless bark was black as burnt motor oil. Mathew counted them in their perfect symmetry, each one uglier and more offensive then the last. 18.
In the dead center was a well. Even though the smell of rotting meat had Mathew gagging, he couldn't help but move towards it. An uncontrollable, morbid curiosity possessed him to look inside it. At first it looked black, like paint. He couldn't see his reflection in the putrid water. He caught the reflection of the moon which shined red in his face. It's blood! he screamed silently in my skull, It's fucking blood! He threw himself away from the well only to feel a fresh sickening disorientation as his surroundings changed without warning again. Where there was a trail behind him and nothing but trees surrounding; Mathew now saw over the well, past the line of horror-trees an A-frame cabin.
The A-frame was built with logs, like a cabin, but the wood exterior was pitch black like it was built out of those nightmare shaped trees. In the one window an eerie red light shone onto to the circle of trees. Mathew squinted, and could see more clearly the shape from the road, now bathed in alien red light. It was human, or at least vaguely human shaped, it had it's scoliosis warped back to him as it inhumanly climbed the steps up to the black cabin. He could see it's warped, ghoulish form underneath a cloak of barely opaque cloth jerk its far-too-long, far-too-skinny limbs in insect like spasms as it climbed on all fours towards the doorway of the cabin. The door opened of its own volition, the horrible red light nearly blindingly bright and the creature twitched in. The door slammed behind it, loud as a gun shot.
Mathew wanted nothing more to turn around and run, to go back to the muddy ditch my truck was in, but he couldn't. He couldn't summon the will power to even move his head. He knew there wouldn't even be a path anymore behind me anymore. He rationalized, pleaded with himself to make sense of what he was doing. He was following the path up to the red and sinister windows of the black cabin. He felt lighter and lighter the closer he got to it, and after a while it felt as if he wasn't even moving his feet. If only he could have looked away from the glaring red light, he'd surely see he was floating. As it was, Mathew was mere feet away from the entrance. He could hear skittering and scuttling from behind the black door. He couldn't see anything through the oppressively bright red light coming from the two windows on either side of the door. 
They were two infinity scrutinizing eyes, with the gravity, power and malice of dying stars. Mathew knew at once the windows weren't meant to show him what was inside, but to look inside him. The eyes beckoned Mathew to climb inside it's mouth. He reached for the door handle.

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Part 2

Well, wasn't that fun? That was the first part of what I hope will be many involving our intrepid blogger as he uncovers the horrifying secrets of Mount Vernon, a seemingly quiet town in the middle of a deep dark forest.

So, for you wondering just what the fuck I've been doing for the last few years: I'd been living in a mist of bong smoke and sadness, trying to live a meager existence within meager means I've been too angry at myself to feel creative. Now my situation has changed and my juices are yet again flowing. I'm ready to bottle my juices, and hand the moist bottles to you.

And on that note, I shouldn't promise anything but I'd like to add to this story every two weeks and do little things here and there in between. One day, I hope to record this all as a bitchin' free audio book (or podcast) and make you hard copy worthy of your book shelves.

Another thing I've done is got on twitter, by all means bug me at @BigMikeMcCormah

Big Mike.  

NOTICE OF CHANGES - I edited this chapter to be in the third person instead of the first because I decided to tell the story through multiple perspectives. It would make me feel icky if I wrote one character in first and the others in third even if he might be the main character.

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