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Short Story - The Spirit of the Movie



Trevor Lang Carter

Copyright©2023 Trevor Lang Carter

All Rights Reserved.

“I don’t know, Nate. If we get caught…” Luke Griffen said.

“Who’s going to catch us? The house is abandoned. No one goes within a hundred yards of that old dump,” Nate Tanner argued. He cocked his head to the side. “You’re afraid. That’s what it is. You—”

“I’m not afraid. But that old house could be dangerous. It’s probably so structurally degraded at this point…”

Nate turned his attention to his other friend, Thad Morrison. “What about you?”

“I’m game,” Thad replied. He nudged Luke’s arm. “Come on, man. Don’t puss out.”

Luke sighed. “All right. But I think you’re going to be disappointed. Hell. The floors are probably rotted out by now. We might be walking into a death trap.”

“It’s settled then. I’m bringing Anne. See if your women are up for it,” said Nate.

“Uh… What the hell are we going to do once we get in the house?” asked Luke.

“I’m bringing my generator. We’re going to watch horror movies, eat some popcorn, and have a few beers,” replied Nate.

“Hell yeah,” Thad said enthusiastically.

Luke cocked one brow. “Ooh. Sounds like so much fun.”

“We’ll see how long it takes for your ass to run out of there,” Nate said and then grinned at Luke.

The citizens of Black Hills, Virginia, had deemed the house haunted. After Karl Weber, the former owner, died ten years before, people reported seeing his ghost roaming the grounds. They would sometimes see him in an upstairs window. But it wasn’t only the legend of Karl’s ghost that spooked the citizens of Black Hills. It was the fact that Karl had murdered six young women in that house before the police caught on. When they went to arrest him, Karl put up a fight using a Glock 9mm. One officer was injured before they finally took him out. After they searched the house, they discovered occult paraphernalia in the basement. It appeared that Karl had been conducting rituals. For what reason? That was anyone’s guess. But they did discover that he had used the young women in his rituals; Karl had recorded his nefarious activities.

Thad and Luke convinced their girlfriends to join them on their retreat to the old weathered Victorian home, despite its reputation for being haunted.

Come Friday night, Nate was geared up. He had a small gas generator, a selection of horror movies he thought were fitting for the occasion, and a DVD player.


Nate’s Ford F-150 turned onto Cave Road. His girlfriend, Milly, sat in the passenger seat. Thad and his girlfriend, Amy, sat in the back seat. Luke was following Nate in his Chevy Blazer. His girlfriend elected not to attend the tawdry gathering. The dilapidated Victorian house was about a quarter of a mile down Cave Road. There were no other houses close by. The nearest one was over a mile away.

Dark phantoms hung silently in the sky. One pale shaft of moonlight trickled through a crack in the clouds, striking the top of the turret on the old Victorian home; ominous.

“We’re here,” Nate said and grinned, looking over at Milly.

Milly cringed when she looked at the rickety old house.

Nate pulled up in front of the house.

“Are you sure it’s safe to go in there?” asked Milly, looking at Nate.

“Yeah. It’s just a little run down. It’ll be okay,” Nate replied and touched Milly’s hand.

Luke pulled up beside Nate and jumped out. He opened the driver’s side back door and brought out two cases of beer.

Luke and Amy got out of Nate’s vehicle. They both had two large Tupperware containers of popcorn.

Nate unloaded the generator from the back of his truck and set it on the front porch of the house. He looked at Milly and said, “Grab the DVD player and movies.”

“I brought a couple of lanterns and a flashlight,” Luke said. “The flatscreen is in the back of my truck.

“Good man,” said Nate. “I think I have a flashlight in the truck.”

Thad’s eyes swept over the front of the house. “Creepy.”

“I bet it was a beautiful house at one time,” Amy said.

Nate went back to his truck and grabbed a flashlight from his glove compartment. He was the first one inside the house. He moved his light across the foyer and then up the stairs which were to the right of the foyer.

Luke moved past Nate and moved his flashlight into the living room on the left. There was an old Victorian couch laden with cobwebs and dust. He could see a fireplace on the back wall. There were two candleholders on the mantel, one on each end. He walked up closer to the fireplace to get a better look. The base of the candleholders had two snakes coiling around one another, their unhinged jaws supported the circular platform at the top that held withering red candles.

Nate and the others had moved down the hall toward the kitchen.

Luke walked out of the living room and turned his light to the staircase. At the top of the stairs was an old picture depicting a bald man with a long gray beard. He had an obstinate look on his face—unyielding. He wore a dark suit with a red tie. I bet that’s him. That evil piece of…

Nate and the others came back down the hall.

“Anything interesting?” asked Luke.

“Nah. Just a cruddy old stove and an old kitchen table and chairs,” Nate replied. He looked at the stairs. “Let’s check it out.” He proceeded over to the stairs and started to ascend.

Milly followed close behind Nate.

Luke, Thad, and Amy followed Nate and Milly upstairs.

Nate stopped at the picture. “That’s him. Karl Weber.”

“How do you know that?” asked Thad.

“I saw an article on the internet about the murders. There was a picture of him,” Nate replied.

“He looks like an evil bastard,” Thad commented.

They continued to explore the upstairs, going into the bedrooms and bathroom. Then they proceeded back downstairs.

“Where’s the basement?” asked Thad.

Nate swept his light back down the hall. He could see a railing on the right. “I bet that’s it.” He looked back at the others and said, “Let’s check it out.”

Milly and Amy both shook their heads.

“Oh no. I’m not going down there,” Milly said. “That’s where he killed those young girls.”

Nate looked at Thad and Luke with his brows raised.

“Lead the way,” Luke said.

“Hold up,” Amy blurted out. “You’re not leaving us up here by ourselves.”

“Nothing’s going to bother you,” Nate said, looking at Amy and Milly.

“I’ll stay,” Thad offered.

“Come on, Luke.” Nate proceeded back down the hall.

Luke shook his head and followed behind Nate.

Nate’s flashlight moved across the basement. “This place is desolate.”

“Yeah,” Luke agreed. He turned his light toward the back wall. “Hey. There’s a door.”

Nate’s eyes followed Luke’s beam. He grinned. “Come on.” He walked up to the door and opened it, shining his light inside. His eyes bugged. “Holy shit.”

Luke stepped inside the room, looking in the direction of Nate’s light. “What the hell is that?”

In the center of the room was a round, concrete structure that appeared to be six feet in diameter. There were four metal clamps bolted into the concrete, each with an old rusty chain attached. There were red stains scattered on the top of the round block.

“This must be where he killed those women,” Nate said, sweeping his light across the surface of the concrete.

Luke moved his light to the back wall. There was a long wooden table resting up against the wall. He walked over to it. The table was laden with red stains. He moved his light to the floor and followed trickles of red up to the concrete block. “How did he kill those women?”

“The papers never gave any details about what he did. But my dad knows one of the officers who arrived on the scene when they came to arrest him. He was one of the first to see the basement. He told my dad that Karl tortured the women first before he killed them. He used different tools. He called one of them a choke pear. The top of it is shaped like a pear. It’s an old torture device used sometime in the Middle Ages. They would put the pear piece inside the mouth, anus, or vagina. Then they would crank it open. I’m sure you can imagine what happened next.”

“That’s sick, man,” Luke said and grimaced.

“After he killed them, he cut them up. He kept the heads. He buried the other pieces of their bodies in his backyard,” said Nate.

Luke’s face turned wan. He felt his stomach knotting up. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Wait. Let me get some pictures.” Nate brought out his cell phone and snapped pictures of the concrete block and table.

When Nate and Luke returned to the foyer, Thad had already hooked up the television and DVD player. He set them on top of the fireplace mantel.

Nate grabbed the bag of DVDs. “Let’s see what we have here,” he said, setting each one on the old dusty couch. There were four DVDs: Headless Harry, The Gory Ghoul, Bloody Nails, and Hell’s Magician. “What’s it gonna be?”

Thad picked up the Hell’s Magician DVD. “This one is supposed to be scary as Hell. Has anyone seen it?”

The others shook their heads.

“I guess we’re watching Hell’s Magician,” Nate said and grinned. He went outside and plugged a one-hundred-foot extension cord into the generator and then added a power strip to the end of it. He hooked up the television and DVD player to the power strip and started the generator.

Thad turned the television and DVD player on and popped in the DVD.

“I’m not sitting on that thing,” Milly said.

“Yeah. It’s nasty,” Amy added.

“I have a tarp in the back of my blazer,” Luke said.

“I brought some camping chairs,” said Nate. “Let’s just move this couch out of the way. We’ll sit in the chairs.”

A few minutes later, they were all plopped down in camping chairs waiting for the movie to begin. The couples sat beside each other. Luke sat on the end beside Thad.

The screen went dark for a moment and then resolved into the opening scene. A figure cloaked in a dark hood walked down a flight of stairs. He opened an old wretched door that led into a large open room with concrete floors.

Nate squinted his eyes at the screen and then leaned over to look at Luke.

Luke had a vacant expression on his face. He turned and looked at Nate.

The man on the screen slogged across the floor toward a circular platform where a young woman lay naked, chained to the surface of the concrete protrusion. He circled around the woman until his hooded face looked down at her. He then walked over to an old wooden table where there was a pair of pliers, a ball peen hammer, a scalpel, a metal device shaped like a pear, and several sewing needles. He picked up one of the needles and walked back over to the woman. He began sliding the needle into the flesh of her face, over and over again.

The young woman screamed and writhed about.

“This is just a blood fest,” Amy said, hiding her eyes with her hand.

The television screen became static momentarily. The air in the room turned cold.

Nate skulked over to the television.

The screen darkened. When he lit back up, the hooded figure was staring directly into the camera. He pushed his hood back and walked closer to it.

Nate backed away from the television.

The man on the screen had a pale, gaunt face with two dark moons for eyes. His wispy white beard fell to his chest. His bald head had two rows of horns, each roughly an inch long. “I do hate uninvited guests. So rude of you to just barge into my house unannounced. Well… You’re here now. Perhaps we can have a little fun.” He cackled.

Nate and the others were now backed up against the opposite wall.

“Let’s get out of here,” Amy yelled. She started to exit the room and froze.

Thad moved up beside her. He turned to see what it was that was stopping her from leaving.

There was a tall, lanky shadowy form standing just outside the room. The only visible part of it was its eyes; they were two flickering flames.

Thad pulled Amy back away from the doorway.

The lanky shadow moved a couple of feet into the room.

“You’re not leaving so soon, are you?” the man on the screen said.

Luke looked to his left. He nudged Nate and nodded toward another door.

Nate whispered to Milly.

Milly whispered to Amy.

Thad looked and saw the door.

They all took off running.

Luke slammed into the door like a sledgehammer, knocking it open.

They all ran through the door and circled around to the hall and stopped.

The shadow creature was blocking their way.

“Into the basement,” Nate screamed.

They all took off down the steps.

Nate locked the basement door behind him using the security bolt lock.

The others moved behind Nate. They could see the silhouette of the shadow being through the frosted glass on the basement door. It then disappeared.

“So glad you could join me,” a voice sounded behind them—the same raspy voice they had heard coming out of the bald man on the television.

They all turned to look.

Standing behind the circular concrete block was the gaunt man. His haggard face shone like a death mask under the faint yellowish light of a single bulb dangling from above. He brought his hands up, each was holding a knife with eight-inch serrated blades; they glinted dread at Nate and the others.

“You’re him. You’re Karl Weber,” Nate said, pointing at the pale man.

“Am I? Oh, I have many forms. Karl was just one of them. My true form… Well. Let me show you.” The pale man took the knives and sawed the skin off his face. Underneath the faux flesh was the face of a horrid creature with two slanted black eyes, slits for nostrils, and a mouth full of jagged yellowish-red teeth. It sneered at Nate.

Amy and Milly screamed.

Luke ran back to the door and tried to open it but the shadowy creature was back, waiting on the outside.

In a deep, gruff voice, the black-eyed creature said, “Let the party begin.”

The basement darkened. In the darkness, there were screams, guttural moans, and the zinging of blades against flesh and bone.

The television in the living room showed the horror of the aftermath of what had just transpired in the basement. There were pieces of human flesh strewn about across the room. The heads of Nate and the others were placed in a circle around the concrete block. A single red candle sat in the middle of the heads. The dark-eyed creature leaned its head back, sucking in the essence of each head in the circle. Wispy white vapors emitted from the heads and wafted into the creature’s mouth. The creature sighed.

Darkness filled the screen as the candlelight died.

The last words on the television before it faded to black: The End.

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