A loose whistling came from the room with the instruments and the bone spirals. It was a low and lonesome dirge, the kind of tune you might hear from an old ghoul scavenging an abandoned graveyard. Curious, I crawled over, and found the bone spirals to be glowing with a strange luminescence. This strange light shined through the remaining layer of the ruined instruments, coming from the base of the bone spirals. Grasping one of the spirals, I lifted, and a horse skull came up from the instruments. The spirals were connected to the skull, suture lines around the base as natural as the sutures connecting the individual pieces of the skull itself. Shocked to hear the whistling coming from the equine death’s-head, I put my hand to its mouth, surprised to find warm breath coming from between the large yellowed teeth.
I tried to drop the thing, but my fingers were fastened, I couldn’t force the muscles in my hand to loosen. Then the skull pulled me toward the door, and in a period of mild insanity I begged the weird piece of bone not to take me out where the strange five-legged beast was likely waiting. I had no luck, and the skull dragged me forward, and the door opened. The cool of the night air entered, and the contrast of the dark forest outside made the skull’s glow seem unearthly, a luminescence similar to the gas station sign in my dreams.
The skull’s jaw creaked open, and from somewhere among the thousands of trees, the voice from my dreams, the voice made from countless finely tuned musical instruments, spoke. The voice filled my senses, but on the periphery of my hearing, I could hear the sound of wood creaking, and as my eyes darted here and there, I saw the tops of the pine trees cluster together as they bent forward toward where I stood with the skull, blocking out the silver moonlight. Even with the light gone, the skull’s light was eerily strong.
* * *
It’s full dark, it’s raining, and I’m on the side of the road looking at the headlights coming toward me, and I know that’s the car I’m supposed to wait for. I look over my shoulder at the woods I walked out of not too long ago, and I remember what the demon inside the skull, who called itself Amduscias, said to me. He said he needed someone to see other people’s misery and private horrors, to record it in my brain for him to feed off of, for him to have material to inspire the evil music that makes the reason for his existence. I can’t tell him no. I told him no when he first talked to me in the forest, but he made my heart stop, and he said he could do it again whenever he wanted.
The headlights are coming closer, and I can hear the music of Amduscias playing far away in the forest. It’s a concert of fiddles playing, both sinister and celebratory, playing like the Devil’s own five piece band. With that same kind of music, he told me that the person behind those headlights would be the perfect place to start.
Now the headlights hurt my eyes, now I can see the front of the large truck they belong to. It stops next to me and the passenger door opens. The man in the driver’s seat introduces himself as Brett Ricardio, a smiling man with a perfect set of teeth and a faint smell of body odor. He asks if I need a ride back to town, and I say yes. On the ride back he talks like somebody who hasn’t had the opportunity for a long while, and the whole time he gives off a vibe that feels like a special kind of wrong. He likes to talk about his “friends” back at his house, if I want to have a warm drink to warm up after standing in the rain. And considering my own life was at stake, how could I refuse?