Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lilith's Revenge at the Sawtooth Farm, Sanley, Idaho

   I killed her here in this deserted and isolated farm house. And, standing at the foot of the steps leading to the attic where I’d hidden her body, I could feel her presence. She had lured me here; I was sure of it. I should not have come, but…here I was anyway.
   Just as she’d had given me no choice the day I’d killed her; now that I had come, she had no choice. I was here and I would, once and for all, extinguish the memory of her…exorcise the unforgiving thoughts of her. I wanted to be rid of her, thus I had to kill her once more.
    The lonely house on the Sawtooth Plain had been deserted for years and a wicked wind whistled through a broken window, the jagged pane giving it a nasty crooked smile. I pulled my coat tighter at my throat and peered once again up the attic steps. It was dark in the house and the stairway was cloaked in shadow, but I didn’t need to see to know that she was up there. Still, I hesitated.
    Not long before, I’d been determined to have this thing done. Now that I stood in the house where I ended the life of a young girl that I had first thought was sweet and innocent my determination wavered. I didn’t like the way it felt to be afraid. I was used to wielding the power, being the cause of the fear-laced sweat that beaded a victim’s brow and dampened armpits.
    I wish I could say that I was here only to satisfy a morbid curiosity, but I was in this house for one simple reason--- she called me here. She had been a lovely girl, no denying that, but then she had gone after Karl, my fiance. Karl lived alone and she visited him at night, draining him until he was so weakened that Karl, a young and vigorous man, was struck with pneumonia. Karl died and I knew it was Lilith. I lost my reasoning and made Lilith pay for her sin.
    In recent months, I had begun to see and hear her; Lilith was in my dreams, haunting me. At night, I trembled and whimpered, fearing for my life. In the last dream she told me that she awaited me in the same house where she’d lost her life. I tried but couldn’t convince myself to stay away. There was her pull, a force unseen, a power pulling me back.
    I had driven straight from the Oregon border to the plain leading to the Sawtooth Nation Park, south of remote Stanley, Idaho. No sleep, just napping now and then. I had to get here and confront my demon. I planned to destroy all traces of Lilith.
   Shaking my head, I again drew my coat tighter and took a step upward. The first step into the unknown is always the hardest or at least it seemed so now. My legs felt rubbery and leaden; ascending the steps was difficult and it seemed to me as if my legs moved in slow motion. Dead leaves littered the narrow attic steps and crunched beneath my feet, sounding too loud inside my muddled mind.
   I was only a handful of steps away from the closed door and I stopped, trying to slow my breathing. I raked my arm across my forehead to clear the sweat before huddling deeper into my coat in an attempt to ward off  bone chilling dampness of the old house. I could not remember a time when I’d been so cold, yet sweating as my body shook from the bitter chill. One more step and I saw the door; it’s peeling red paint more pink now that time had aged it. I remembered how brightly colored it had once been and how it’s deep crimson so appropriately matched the blood that had soaked my clothing.
    I was on the landing without realizing I’d reached it until I saw my hand moving toward the doorknob. I wanted to stop, but couldn’t seem to control it and my mind screamed for a time out…a chance to regroup.  The door made no sound as it swung open. I had not even touched the handle and I pulled my hand back quickly as if I’d been burned. It was gloomy beyond the threshold of the doorway. The arctic-like cold stung my cheeks and burned my throat as I sucked in a quivering breath. The room looked exactly as it had the day I’d brought my sweet girl here on the ruse of a hike in the Sawtooth Mountains. Then we had found the old farm house and agreed to explore together.
   I was transported back in time, clearly seeing myself five years younger and stronger, carrying her body across the planked flooring. It had been warm that day and the attic room was overly hot and stuffy. I remember removing my shirt and using it as a sweat rag only to end up with streaks of red running across my forehead.
   The musty attic still reeked of her blood, hitting me forcefully. I dropped to one knee, inhaling sharply and painfully. How could I still smell her after all these years? It was impossible, of course. This entire ugly business was impossible. The time for disbelief had passed and I had to finish Lilith, get her out of my life forever. I finally found my voice, thinking it appropriate to ask what was expected of me.
   “What do you want from me, Lilith? Why have you brought me here?”
   Taking hold of a table’s edge, I hauled myself up. “You’re dead, Lilith. I killed you. You can’t change that and so I want you to leave me alone…stop coming to me in my dreams, stop making yourself a part of my thoughts. It’s time for you to leave this place. This time, Lilith, I will burn your corpse and cast your ashes to the wind. It is time for you to stay dead.”
   The words tumbled from my mouth without forethought, but they sounded right to me: commanding and authoritative. Behind me the door closed, quietly and softly, the click echoed loudly inside my head. I feared that door wouldn’t be easily opened now that I was alone in the place where I’d hidden Lilith’s body.
   “You brought me here; tell me what you want…is it my life? My life for yours…is that it, Lilith?”  My words echoed in the icy, empty room, the words overlapping like waves, as if I were ranting. Too late I realized I was panicked, my breath coming in cold mists that puffed from my burning lungs. I heard a creaking and saw a shadow and I felt powerless. I looked and there it was…the trunk where I’d placed her body, broken and battered. That large handsome trunk was her tomb these past years. And now the trunk lid was open.
  The house had been empty since I had sealed Lilith in that old trunk. Those who rented the place quickly moved out. Rumors were so rampant that there hadn’t been a tenant or buyer in years. It’s mostly a shell now, but Lilith is here, bound by her anger and hatred for me, her killer. I’ve known it for some time but resisted coming here until I could no longer stay away.
   Now I had brought a can of gasoline and I planned to drag the trunk with her body down the steps and out behind the house. I would set her tomb afire, ridding me of my nemesis forever. I would cast her ashes to the wind; let Lilith's remains dance across the Sawtooth Plain. But I hesitated, as doubt seeped into me that I could carry out such a deed. Was I strong enough? Yet, Lilith had taken my beloved Karl. Lilith had to pay.
   Reluctantly, I went forward and saw Lilith’s strangely mummified body in the open trunk, her blank eyes staring, and her mouth wide open. I wanted to shut the lid and seal it; as I hesitated Lilith slowly rose from the trunk where I had so carefully placed her. As she moved, her appearance began to change, looking as she had the day I’d killed her…young and strong, just beginning to bloom. I backed away even before I knew I was moving. My heart sank; I could not win, but I didn’t want her victory to be so easy.
    Lilith hovered above the floor, and she floated toward me. She was wearing the same clothes and I was stunned by the sudden image of that day, the day I had beaten and strangled her and I could smell her fear again. For a moment I was intoxicated by the memory of my triumph that day. Lilith was truly evil and justice had been served.
   She came silently until she was just inches from me, her mouth opened hideously wide in a scream of pain and anger and utter anguish. I backed away again, my hands pressed to my ears. Outside a storm arose, the sky darkened and a gusting wind whipped through the broken windows. Sharp pieces of glass were picked up from the floor and propelled throughout the room. They were merciless in their pattern of flight. I panicked and ran for the door, scared and stung by the flying glass. I pulled frantically at the door trying my best to avoid flying shards. With a ferocious tug on the door, I was surprised to feel it come loose. I swung it wide with all my might and prepared for flight.
    Lilith stood on the other side at the landing, her head hanging, crooked and pathetic on her broken neck. Her mouth still gaped from that horrific grind of her strangling and her scream was endless. My head felt as if it might burst. There was no where for me to go; I backed away, yelling at her to leave me alone. My own screams went unheard for the violent wind drowned my words. I turned, but Lilith was there, so I spun again only to find her at every turn, again and again.
    My mind snapped a second before a jagged piece of glass pierced my throat. I choked and gagged, then felt the sudden gushing of my blood. I wanted to explain to Lilith, but the dimness closed to blackness and I realized that final sweet lifting. I relented and welcomed the relief of my endless sleep.


   The Medical Examiner and the Sheriff stood silently in the old farm attic. The ME looked at the Sheriff and shrugged. “Odd, it must have been that storm last week. Quick pressure change, a strong wind and it could send all this glass on the floor flying. That large, jagged chunk in her throat severed her artery, causing her to bleed out. I think she was dead before she hit the floor.”
   The Sheriff nodded and looked over to a corner in the attic where the Deputy was gently tapping a trunk with his foot. “Check that trunk, Tim. See what’s in it.” The Sheriff ordered.
   Tim carefully opened the trunk lid and peered in. He leaned over holding the lid with his left hand and reached into the trunk with his right hand.
   “Well?” The Sheriff asked.
   “Nothing here.” Tim replied. “The trunk is empty.”

Contributor, Cindy Baker

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