The Watch Part 5
Keres leaned close to her, a disturbing grin taking over the bottom half of his rust-colored face. In the crevices of his thick skin, there was a dark substance that looked like soot. His whole head was enormous, and his face stretched long, with a tuft of matted black hair at the end of his chin. His eyes were orange and diamond-shaped, with thin black slits in the center. On his head sat two giant curling horns.
With one large hand, Keres grabbed Veronica by her neck and pulled her to her feet. She never felt so small until that moment. At his full height, Veronica guessed he was about nine feet tall. Her eyes were level with his bare chest, and a thick layer of filthy coarse hair covered his front, down his groin, and over his satyr-like legs.
“It is time,” he growled, his rank breath flooding her nostrils once more.
Veronica tried to speak but his grip was cutting off her air. She felt lightheaded from his stench and the lack of oxygen. He carried her up the stairs like a child dragging a ragdoll. Veronica looked around for the man in black who had tried in vain to protect her, but he was nowhere.
As if he read her mind, Keres laughed his throaty cackle and said, “He’s gone, child. Don’t bother.”
At the top of the steps, Keres dropped Veronica to her feet, but he didn’t let go of her completely. Instead of dragging her by the throat, he took one large hand and twisted it in her hair. Pulling her close to his chest, he continued to walk with her in tow down the hallway she knew so well. This was her house, her childhood home. She knew every dent and crack in the walls, every pulled thread in the carpet. But today it was different. Today it was Hell.
The hallway seemed to close in on them and change form as they moved. It grew longer, and Veronica was positive her house was never this large. At the end of the hall was a door she didn’t recognize made of solid wood, but around the perimeter, there was a faint yellow glow.
“I don’t know what he did all these years to stop this,” Keres began. “But debts must be paid. After all, I am only doing my job.” Veronica looked up at him. He returned her gaze and laughed deep in his chest.
“What…” Veronica began. “I don’t…”
“You’ll understand soon enough, child,” Keres stated as they approached the door. He reached out one massive hand and let it hover over the wood. Slowly the door opened and the glow behind it flooded the hallway. Veronica closed her eyes to filter out the piercing light.
On the other side of the door was an empty room. The paneling looked to be from 1975 as did the shag carpet on the creaking floor. On the opposite wall was a dirty window and next to that was a framed photo of Veronica’s family.
Keres was no longer holding tight on her hair. He now stood casually at her side, his arms folded across his chest as if waiting for her to comment. The demon watched her from the corner of his orange eye, and his lips parted in excited anticipation.
“You have no idea, do you?” he laughed.
Veronica looked up at him. “No.”
Keres tipped his head toward the window, gesturing for Veronica to get closer. Her eyebrows crinkled in confusion as she looked from the demon to the opposite wall. After a moment, she took a tentative step forward. She expected Keres to grab her again and drag her back, like a puppy playing with a toy, but he let her walk away from him toward the dirty window. Every so often she turned back to look at him, but he stood still with his arms folded and a knowing smirk on his frightening face.
As she approached the picture of her family, it began to change.