The Order of the Count [Short Story]

He traveled through the abyss and down the darkened halls. Through the steel bordered door which had been adorn with crystal jewels and the like and, when he turned that knob cautiously, a half-hearted push set forth a rather ominous moan from the antique door. Inside his eyes were struck with astonishment, but, before we move into the details surrounding such a discovery, allow me to take give you some insights to help prepare your mind for the inevitable.

  This particular young man was only a senior in high school, and just a few weeks back he had got into a rather deep conversation in regards to the secrets of the room he was now trespassing. That last week was the best week of his life. The spring months were ending and with it, the school year. He sent in many applications, and was accepted into the most prestigious colleges. One could say fortune, at that moment, looked upon this young man with kind and merciful eyes. Granted him his desires; a stable relationship with his freshman sweetheart, Laura, who had been named valedictorian. She was the purest form of beauty, her bone structure close to symmetrical with only minute flaws that the philosophers would ascribe to ‘true beauty’, and truly she was.  There were no signs of turbulence from the two.

But we shall return your mind’s eye to that fateful day just outside 7th period class. Take you to those columned charcoal gray lockers, upon which the young man rested his left shoulder, his eyes settled on his best friend, Tommy. In Tommy’s eyes there was a look of mischief, and if one had the time to be further acquainted with Tommy, one would know he was the type to revel in mischief. Moreover, he had been a lover of the unknown. He was a man of a conspiratorial nature, spending most his nights browsing the internet and looking for the latest paranormal myths. And during one lonely night of browsing came across something delightful… to him at least.

“Ay, Jermaine… I’m tellin’ you, it’s real!” said Tommy with exuberance

“You and your crazy stories,”

“It ain’t crazy man. Sacrifices. Blood sacrifices. Man,” Tommy banged his hand against the locker, its sound drowned out by the constant chatter from the crowded hallways. The banging was hard enough to put an added level of persuasion for Jermaine who had not been impressed.

“You tellin’ me, at the next full moon, this…. ‘Order of The Count Chocolate—‘“

“Nah, Order of the Count man. The Order of the Count,” interrupted Tommy. On his second correction, he sharpened his tone.

“Alright, the Order of the Count, whatever they are… are sacrificing humans? In this small town?” Jermaine said.

Tommy retrieved a few books from inside the locker and closed it with deliberateness.

“Yes,” said Tommy with the kind of finality of one being called to pick up a prescription from the pharmacy.

“Where?”

“That old house over on Mayberry Blvd. The one that looks like it’s been here since the Salem Witch hunt,”

Jermaine thought about the rather antiquated house. As a child he remembered walking by the house and that intuitive antenna perking up. Of course these were childish intuitions and when puberty takes hold of the mind, one tends to discard these notions, preferring logic over anything else. And so, with logic, Jermaine offered a solution. He used his right hand to push himself off the locker, and set his black book-bag over his shoulder. The school bell cried out with those three reverberating rings, and on the third ring he said,

“Alright. Next full moon. We’ll go up to MayBerry Blvd. You and me… and we’ll see if this Count Chocolate is real,”

“Man, not Count Choc–“

“Not… Chocolate, I know I know,” said Jermaine in a dismissive tone.

Now as you can see, Jermaine had many doubts, but like many humans, it is the inner-child that fans our flames of curiosity, and so was the case with Jermaine.  This particular case though, was one that could have easily been avoided, but alas, we now find this fortunate man, under the doorway of the mysterious room and laid before those frightened and surprised eyes was his friend Tommy. He was tied with metal wiring to a table which had been shaped in the form of a pentagram, and he was close to unconscious. Surrounding the pentagram were rows of candles which had been lit offering only a faint light, tinged with orange, and flickering a-synchronically, adjusting the lighting.

There were twelve of them. Twelve robes falling just past the shins showing the legs of ‘The Order’.  But these legs were not blessed with youth. The sheen that had dominated the face of the young had not been prominent in these beings. Their legs were white, and pale, shriveled right at the ankle, and they had not been fitted with any shoes. Their bare feet which were equally unkempt and afflicted with all the signs of homeliness, lifted in unison, and dropped into the aged wooden floors, which looked to have pieces of its wood poking out at random spots. If they were not careful, one piece of the wood could pierce them, and for some this was the case, but they did not flinch at the pain. Instead, each foot dropped in unison and they cried out,

“Oh-Leh-Me-Ya,” the chant was monotonous, with only the last syllable rising in pitch. The collective tenor, baritone and bass voices echoing through the circular room.

“Oh-Leh-Me-Ya,” a louder voice pierced through the unified chants, and soon a taller figure stood over Tommy. He had within his hand, a small silver-tipped dagger that had symbolism on it. As he reached the head of Tommy, he lifted the dagger with both hands. The chants grew in volume and intensity, and the sharpness of the tones cut through Jermaine’s body. He had to do something.

As that dagger past the elder’s forehead, Tommy turned those disoriented blue eyes to the dagger. Why had he been so curious? Why had he been the cat, lured by the frantic and flighty mouse? And why did he bring that poor Jermaine into this? These would be his last thoughts if not for the interruptive Jermaine, who, right when the point of the blade had reached Tommy’s temple, shouted out with authority.

“No!” was all he could say at the moment. And in that moment the twelve heads turned in unison, the abrupt movement causing a portion of their hoods to leave their heads. Those brown eyes of Jermaine widened and a fear came over him. These beings were not… human… at all. Their eyes were not white and filled with a black or brown iris, instead it was the opposite and the shape of the eye was more oval like, than almond. Their brow bones had been over-exaggerated, and elevated just under where the hairline of a normal human would be. The teeth were numerous, with fangs poking out the uneven cheek bones. Their skin, as previously stated, was pale, but on their faces were symbols of pentagrams, and other unintelligible shapes.

As soon as those inhuman eyes made contact with him, their mouths all opened, in unison once more, and a grinding and high growl exited their mouths. Almost instantly the group took for Jermaine, leaving poor Tommy alone. Even the elder joined in. Jermaine backed away from the door, not expecting such a savage reaction. While some barreled towards Jermaine with a bloodlust, others dropped to all fours, and in very sharp and abrupt movements, began crawling towards him, their necks twisting and turning with each stride; their joints contorting every so often. The heat rose within Jermaine, and his heart raced. He almost tripped over his back foot, but when this occurred, he managed to balance his fall by pushing against the doorway. He turned and made a mad dash towards the exit. He did not lose one stride, and with each one, he increased his distance from the group.

“Oh-Meh-Ya-Deyah!” The group began chanting as they chased the poor teenager through the long crimson carpeted hallway. Each of those running shoes grinded into the carpet, and snapped off the material. Each arm extending outward and flinging back with panic. Every so often, Jermaine would twist his neck to the left to look back but the mere sight of the beings would set forth an even greater feeling of fear.

The feeling of what they might do to him if they were to catch him. The feeling of what Tommy had endured. The feeling that he has yet to endure; oh it pained Mr. Jermaine, but the desire for self-preservation ruled over him and when he had seen the exit, he offered one last burst of energy. That hand extended outwards preparing to immediately shift the knob and when that palm reached it, he did just so, allowing himself a smooth exit out the door.

But the steps leading down the front residence did not allow him such a smooth exit, for he had missed one and went into a tumble. As he cleared that last step, that head hit against the concrete, and he laid there. Those eyes peered into the bright sky, his panting prominent, expecting these beings to surround him and bring him back into that dreaded room. But this did not occur. There were only the sounds of the chirping blue-jays in the afternoon, and the occasional barking dog in the distance. The isolated clouds of the sunny day moved across his line of vision quite lazily, and when he lifted his head to look back at the door, it had been closed and locked.

One could guess why The Order did not retrieve him. It is said that The Order were not too friendly to sunlight, and just a few seconds in it could age them thirty years. Some say once The Order has found its victim, they may feast on him for months at a time, often reviving the unfortunate victim with dark magic unknown to humans, only to repeat the feast. According to myth some would say, but to Jermaine, this was no longer a myth. This was history. This was reality. This was The Order of The Count.

 

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