By Chef Nickbotic
//Original Title “There are people outside my windows during blackouts – Part 6” Changed for brevity.
To clear it up for people, I was at my wits end. This entire situation has been literally driving me crazy. I can’t fight these things, I can hardly defend myself against them. I’d been essentially condemned by the de facto matriarch of what I thought was mine and my family’s home. I didn’t know what else to do.
Father John blessed our house numerous times throughout the day, and prayed with my family and I as we mourned the loss of Paul, who gave his life trying to protect us. I will never, ever forget the sight of the swarm enveloping Paul. I’m still not sure what exactly they did to him, whether they ate him, or tore him apart, or what, but whatever it was, it was painful. For as much as I’ll never be able to forget the visual aspect of the attack, it’s the auditory terror of his pained screams that will truly haunt me until the end of my days.
We disconnected the main power source to the house. And then, we salted all the windows and doors again, this time not forgetting the window in the attic, or any in the basement. We had a plan for what we were going to do, and it required some finesse.
Father John got a collection of holy relics and set them up around the house in various places, and set jars of salt up on predetermined posts. We then armed ourselves with multiple toilet paper roll-sized tubes of salt which we holstered in our pockets. My wife remained practically silent through everything. I could tell this was taking a severe emotional toll on her. All I wanted was to do was protect her and my daughter.
The gas tanks were sitting idly by in our kitchen, I still wasn’t sure what the plan was with those. I mean, I had an idea, but like I said, it was going to take some grace to pull off what we wanted to do. We waited in the dark, lighting only a few solitary candles in the living room in which we twiddled our thumbs, quite possibly waiting to meet our demise.
The smilers wasted no time this round. The entire street went black, including all street lights and houses. It seemed darker than usual though. Even though the moon was out, it was as though the darkness was overtaking the light. One by one, sets of glowing eyes appeared down the street in either direction. As usual, we kept all the curtains closed except one set, which was for sight purposes. We had to see when they were coming.
The glowing eyes grew brighter as the smilers flailed towards us, until their silhouettes appeared in a visage I wish I had never laid eyes on. There must have been 50-60 smilers in the street, only not a single one of them was smiling. Each one sported a foul grimace, one that said they were now beyond the apparent pleasantries they had initially approached us with. How they thought their initial appearance was in any way welcoming is beyond me.
From the left, I saw one smiler in particular being, followed, in a way, by the others. In my infinite wisdom on the beings I was dealing with, I took this to mean that this smiler in particular was the Lady Ruechell. Then all of the sudden, behind the group that was paraded around her, was, as far as I could tell from a distance, a male smiler, bigger than I’d ever seen before, who, while still somewhat lazily flailing about as he moved, seemed to have a much smoother and more connected way of movement about him. While the smilers I had seen up to this point had such an exaggerated way of getting to where they needed to go, as if they were being controlled by a marionette, this bigger fellow moved about as though he were a stumbling drunk. I know those don’t sound too different, but trust me, there is a large one.
I immediately made the connection, and alerted Father John that I was relatively sure that Lee Ruechell himself was joining the show. We got ourselves armed with holy relics and approached the spot where my front door was propped up against the doorframe, having been broken off it’s hinges the night before. It felt like an eternity as they made their way down the street. Once they were finally nearing our property, Georgia let out a screeching, howling laughter. As they continued approaching, they spoke.
“I must say, I’m quite surprised to see you here! Though, we would have found you anywhere!”
Before I could even process what was being said, Father John spoke up.
“We wish to come to an agreement!” He hollered at the top of his lungs.
Georgia retorted by mimicking her first laugh, and was joined by a new, much deeper laugh.
“My husband wants to meet the man who denied his extended hand.” Georgia announced.
“I didn’t mean to disrespect anyone! I didn’t know what you wanted! All I was trying to do was protect my family! We will happily leave!” I yelled, hoping to come to some kind of understanding.
I was met with no reply. I stood there, breathing heavily, anxiously awaiting a response. After about 30 seconds of silence, I took a peek through a crack between the propped up door and the frame. I jumped back when I was met with a stare from both Georgia and Lee Ruechell. There was something about the smilers eyes that always absolutely captivated me the moment I first looked into them. I broke my gaze and stepped back, moving the door away from the frame, confronting the enemy once and for all.
“We will leave. Please.” I pleaded.
“I find your resilience inspiring. I can’t simply end your existence. I would require you to become a member of my group. Move the salt.”
“This family has done nothing to you.” Father John explained. “They were simply frightened by your abrupt appearance and–”
He was cut off by a low pitched yet very loud growl by Lee Ruechell. I’m assuming this was because he didn’t particularly care for a holy man to be speaking to him.
“I have made my decision. Now remove this salt. There is nowhere for you to go that I will not send my subordinates to find you.”
There was a tense silence for what seemed like an eternity. I looked over at my cowering wife and daughter in the living room as tears filled my eyes. This was it.
“May I have a private moment with my wife and child?” I politely asked.
“Remove the salt and put down the crosses you’ve armed yourselves with. Then you may do as you wish.”
I reluctantly slid my foot over the salt, brushing it away in every direction. Each of the four of us slid our holy relics across the floor, away from the Ruechells.
Lee, Georgia, and a third smiler that hadn’t yet spoken and I hadn’t yet seen hobbled in. I presumed this to be Carrie Anne.
“Home sweet home.” said Lee, in a repulsively smug tone. “You will take your moment here, in front of us. Then we will commence the evening.” The Ruechells took a look around at their new old house, while being sure to not get too far away from us.
“Father, pray with us.” I all but demanded. The four of us huddled mere feet away from our soon to be…killers…I guess I could say, I didn’t know what they were going to do to us, but I knew it wasn’t going to go or end well. I only hoped it would be fast. I couldn’t bear thinking my sweet daughter could potentially be moments away from suffering the same ambiguous fate as Paul.
I whispered to everyone. “I just saw Brian go past the back door. As soon as he makes it to the front, we go.”
Father John whispered a prayer as I kept my eyes focused on the side window of the house, waiting to see a shadow rush past. It seemed like it took forever, but it happened. I waited about another two seconds, before I whispered “GO.”
We began what felt like a slow motion dash through the hallway and into the kitchen. Behind us, I heard a roar from who I assumed was Lee. None of us hesitated. We reached the kitchen, which contained the back door. I had left the caps loose on the gas containers, and as quick as I could, tipped all five over, flooding the kitchen and the hallway with the pungent substance.
Father John flung the back door open and we tumbled outside. The Ruechells were quickly behind us, but stopped at the doorline and stumbling back into the kitchen.
“What have you done?” Lee demanded to know.
I didn’t even think to answer him before I lit a book of matches on fire and tossed it into the kitchen, setting home ablaze. We ran around to the front yard, avoiding smilers that seemed to just be standing there, mesmerized by something we couldn’t see. We reached the front yard to meet Brian, Paul’s brother. As the fire raged through the house, a small explosion lit up the sky towards the back of the house. While I was talking to the Ruechells, my wife had gone back and started the stove. It wasn’t enough to cause an instant detonation like we’d hoped, but it had certainly help spread the fire quicker than it would have naturally.
Brian’s part in our plan was integral. While I talked to the Ruechells in the house and took a “moment” with my family and Father John, Brian ran around the house, pouring out two gallons worth of blessed saltwater Father John had provided him with earlier in the day. That’s what trapped the Ruechells in the house.
As I heard roars and ear shattering screams from within the house, the rest of the smilers just stood there. And before we could even blink, all but maybe three or four of them were gone. The remaining smilers then simply turned around and flailed in directions, all away from us. We are not sure who these lucky “survivors” were or why they didn’t disappear with the rest, but my guess is that they were ones that were not directly connected to the Ruechells and their mission. Again, strictly conjecture, I don’t know if I’ll ever know for sure. Without waiting to see the rest of the house go down in flames, but not before the roars and screams from within subsided, we all got in our cars and drove away.
I am now in a town about 80 miles from our house. We received a call alerting us that our house was on fire. I explained that we were currently on vacation, and that this was a surprise to us. I had only hoped that none of my neighbors saw us drive away, but I’m sure I’m not that lucky. I have an idea of what I’m going to tell the police regarding why there was an obviously gasoline fueled fire that occurred at my home.
To all of you, continue to help those in need. You will never be forgotten.
From the bottom of my heart,
And for good measure, wish me luck!