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Haunting Naomi – Chapter 25

 Chapter 25

The wheelchair bound old gray-haired woman with the same scar on her face that I had on my hand, never acknowledged any of my questions or pleas to help her. Todd was in his own God-like trance flying around the main room’s ceiling. I was left with no other option than to investigate the scurrying sound from the final upstairs bedroom. Whatever it was, it sounded like it had moved a large dresser and toppled it over onto the floor and then hustled off to avoid lessening the sound of the frightening crash.

The old woman did not flinch one bit when the crash occurred, and I still was not sure if she could hear or if she were completely deaf. I did notice, however, that when the terribly large sound occurred, her pupils dilated as wide as a cat that was about to pounce on an unsuspecting bird searching for earthworms at the surface of the soil after a light rain the night before.

Her senses were alerted and that meant one of two things.

I was walking into a trap and my life was about to be ended. Or I was going to stumble across Mrs. Tannell who had finally found a way to get my attention and she would know what to do in this chaotic moment.

I said, “I need you to blink if you can hear me, please. I am going to go check and see what that noise was, but I will be right back. You have my word.”

Waiting a decent amount of time, just enough time for me to almost give up hope that the old woman could not hear me, she blinked and then blinked again to ensure I got the message. Did she know what was in the other room? Was she able to help me even though she was two feet in the grave with the soil raining down on her? As I was about to exit the dust filled room, the old woman released her most agonizing moan yet.

I turned around and went right back to her, face to face. Her inscription burn was glowing red and black just like mine had started doing. They matched in font size, color hue, size of the circle, everything. I took my hand and aligned the inscription with hers. Quietly, I hummed a little prayer and wished myself luck. Without permission and without a care given, I placed my in scripted hand directly in line and on the inscription that was burned into the old woman’s cheek.

Immediately and without warning, the old woman floated from the ground, wheelchair, and all. My hand burned like the blue flames from a lighter, roasting, and tempting me to remove my hand from the old woman’s cheek. That was not going to happen, not at all, the journey was just getting started and to get to this point was a horrifying experience. If I was going to defeat the demon boy from the pits of hell, I needed all the allies I could get.

All the dust in the room, hovering around the air on its own little track to nowhere, turned to shimmering pieces of matter. My broken right hand, the burning, the lacerations on my neck, they were all pain free and healing rapidly. My lungs were revitalized, breathing in more oxygen than they have ever held since my birth. I was in a euphoric state watching the grey-haired old woman float just within my reach while my hand was still attached to her face.

“What in the world is happening?” I said.

Looking at the old woman’s wrinkled face, a lot of significant things were happening right before my eyes. Stitch by painful stitch, the dark thick threads began to unravel themselves, slowly and precisely. The threads worked themselves in and out of the elongated holes that traced the old woman’s mouth and held her silence in check. As each thread backed out of the hole it had inhabited for God knows how long, the mangled holes began to seal themselves up as if they never existed.

As her mouth began to free itself and her hardened lips parted open, her rotten teeth showed their ugly faces. Remarkably she had a full set of teeth but each one was riddled with black fur appearing plaque and deep cavernous cavities. The more the threads retraced their steps to freedom, more of her diseased mouth became visible. Then some more wild events happened. Each tooth, each and every single tooth, began to fill in the large holes covering each tooth and erase the moldy fur plaque.

Her mouth, pristine and looking like the mouth of a teenager, opened widely, stretching her cheeks to the maximum it could without tearing any flesh or muscles. A sort of vacuum was created from her breathing in. All the shimmering dust floating throughout the room began to enter her mouth. Each single solitary spec of shimmering dust floated whimsically into her open mouth and down her esophagus. Life was reentering her body, revitalizing her life, and instilling her soul.

The braided rope bindings holding her tattered wrists and limp ankles started to vibrate, sawing back and forth, freeing itself from the union it had made with the old woman for however long she was strapped down to the wheelchair. As the rope sawed itself free, large amounts of dead blackened skin began to leave the old woman’s body releasing large droplets of vivid red blood into the air.

The shimmering dust seemed to never end and continued to flow into the floating old woman’s open mouth. With the shimmering dust, the dead skin released by the loosening rope from her wrists followed suit. From death comes life. Her ankles had already been freed filling the air with the same bodily content as the wrists. The most remarkable part, the now fresh wrist and ankle wounds began to close themselves, covering the trench wounds with fresh flesh, new skin, and filled itself back with blood. The old woman’s wheelchair dropped to the floor, clattering down throwing more shimmering dust into the air and it flowed down the old woman’s throat.

I never removed my hand from her face, inscriptions still aligned, as her transformation continued on. Each wrinkle on her face stretched itself back to leave a smooth fresh surface. The bags under eyes, packed and ready to leave for some European vacation, unpacked and sucked back into place. Her skin began to glow but glow like a set of young skin, not a magical glow.

After a few more minutes, the transformation was complete. The grey-haired old woman was standing in front of me as a teenager with silky blonde hair and glossy manicured nails. She widely smiled at me and removed my hand from her face. Both of our inscriptions were glowing brighter than ever. The only thing that remained from the desolate state I found her in was her eyes, they were glorious, sharp, and decisive. They also still contained the pupils of a feline and I liked that, I truly liked that.

She said, “Naomi, I had been trapped here for sixteen decades. The only way I was able to survive was the fact that I knew, one day, you would be here to rescue me. The day you were born, I placed in this hell. Now, we are together. I am forever in your debt.”

Her voice struck my ears drums with the softness of fresh cotton, spiraling into my ears, touching the ear drums, and feeding an intoxicating feeling to my brain. I should not have to say this, but she made me feel whole again. There was not an ounce of fear in my body, no pain, no discomfort, I was changed into a person that could do anything, survive anything, and make it look natural and cool. I did not have a care in the world.

“Do you know where Mrs. Tannell is? She was not at school today and she had never missed a day of school in her entire career. She was helping me deal with a demon problem I have. I need her to help me but more importantly, I need her to be alive and well,” I said.

She did not answer right away. Her body was vibrant and full of life once again, perhaps she was revealing in it. Her ratty clothes had dropped from her body and in their place, a gorgeous sparkling gown wrapped her fantastic form. To top it off, a pair of three-inch stiletto heels shrouded her feet in a remarkable vibrant pink. She was fully complete; her transformation was finished, and it was all because we had a connection through the inscriptions.

Staring deeply into my eyes, a single tear dropped to the ground from the formerly old woman’s face. She embraced my head in her hands and brushed my hair back from my face. It was as if she were inspecting me, looking for something maybe. The blonde-haired teenage woman that just transformed from an old woman on her last breath was about to drop a bombshell on me.

Even retelling it now, it still gives me the chills.

“Wolves and those who see them are shot on sight.”

― Peter Straub, Shadowland

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