On any smartphone or any computer, make a profile on a dating site. The holder of your heart will find you. In a few days, you will receive a call or a text and you will answer back. The answers will become conversations that will span for days.
In any restaurant or movie, in any town or city, you will meet the Holder of Your Heart. You will dine with them, speak with them, and hang on to their every word. They will be the most beautiful person you have ever met.
Eventually, after weeks of meals, they will come into your life. You will start feeling drained and tired in their presence. They will blame you for the reason and ask you for more of your time. You will want to say no, but they are the Holder of Your Heart. The Holder will cut you off from your friends and family, control your finances and threaten violence. You will do everything to please the Holder, and it will never be enough.
The only escape is to leave. When you talk to them and ask to be let go, they will twist your words until you agree with them. Wait until the Holder is out of sight and leave quickly and silently. If the Holder finds you while you are leaving, they will kill you or spread so many lies to ruin you, you will wish you were dead.
However, if you succeed, you will receive item 2539, a small, silver, heart-shaped locket. It must never touch the other items. You will wear the locket to Hold Your Own Heart. Years will pass before you find it beating.
My snow-white hands touch her cold, broken body. My mother is bent and twisted around at angles that no human should be capable of, around a pillar of stone. The creature, Yog-Sothoth, cries in frustration and falls back into the mist.
My father pulls the hood off his cloak and stares at me with cold, dead eyes. I wrap my cloak tight around me to protect myself from the icy wind on the mountaintop.
“It din’ take, Vinny,” said my father as he looks disappointed at my mother’s twisted frame.
“Yog-Sothoth, I offer you my daughter if you don’ wan’ me wife!” shouts my father as he shoves me into the middle of the stone circle. But the porthole has closed and there is nothing left but cold.
My father scowls at me in disgust as I pick up the giant tomb at my feet. We walk in silence back to the farmhouse. Scoliosis twisted my frame and I hobble behind him.
He locked himself up in the top room of the house to pour over the ancient tombs that lay in our house. My mother was supposed to be a vessel for Yog-Sothoth, to carry his seed. My brother was to be the savior for the beings outside of space and time, but they did not want her. They didn’t want me either, but at least they didn’t hurt me.
The next day, I went up the mountain and buried my mother. The whippoorwills sang loudly in the trees, so much so I couldn’t think. I said a prayer to Yog-Sothoth. Perhaps if he did not want her body, her spirit would serve him.
Hobbling back home through Dunwich, the villagers whisper words like witch and albino. My pale, tangled hair lies against my cloak as I go to the general store and buy bread.
Home is through a path of patchwork houses, old and dilapidated, barely standing against the bright blue sky. Even though this town is falling apart, the hills surrounding it are full of life. I must clear this life to serve the elder gods, and I will be the one to serve them. I will be their vessel.
Over the passing years, my father studied the books from tombs from the elder gods. I ran wild through the mountains and forest. These wild places are my home. Every year on Hallowmass and Walpurgis we would back up to Sentinel hill, light a bonfire in the stone circle, and dance.
Father says I am never to marry, that I must be pure for Yog-Sothoth, to be a vessel. None of the men in Dunwich want me, anyway. I keep house and farm; I study the old ways and I run wild and gather herbs and hunt.
In my twenties, I became rather ill with consumption and it took me years to recover. At thirty-five, my father said that I was ready to become the vessel for Yog-Sothoth. Although I was still sickly, my form was going to be too old to carry children soon.
My father took me to the top of the hill and stripped me naked. He tied me to the stone circle, just as he had with my mother. He opened the tomb, and we both chanted the prayer to Yog-Sothoth.
I remember pain; it felt as though my body was being split in two. I cried out by the fires in sentinel hill as the unseen force wreaked havoc on my body. I bled for weeks after and became with child.
The children grew in my womb at an extraordinary rate. My belly became huge within four months. My father carried me back to Sentinel hill on Imbolic of 1913. My body was ripped in half again as the Messenger and Savior were born. The savior to clear a path for the Old Gods and the Messenger was to call him forth.
I named the messenger Wilbur, but we would keep the savior’s existence silent. The human tongue could not speak the Savior’s true name. A family friend, Mamie Bishop, moved in to help me care for young Wilbur and the Savior.
We had built another barn and hollowed it out for our Savior to come forth. Yog-Sothoth gifted us with gold to feed our son cattle. He would occasionally nurse my blood and the blood of my father like a child nurse’s milk, leaving red welts on our bodies.
Our Messenger grew tall and strong, though the simple townfolk of Dunwich feared him. They trained their dogs to attack him and my Wilbur did not know peace as he went into Dunwich. Their close-minded ways would call him Lavinny’s black brat. But my son grows fast and strong. Village girls of Dunwich would go missing, fed to both my sons’ appetites, along with the cattle.
At three years old, he looked like a boy of ten and my father took him under his wing. They became inseparable, the Messenger and my father. He would read him all the lessons and teach him the old ways. Ways that he never taught me.
Then my father died. He became ill with a fever and whippoorwills became ever so loud again. My father whispered 751 of the complete edition to call Yog-Sothoth and end this world forever before fading into nothing.
After my father’s passing, Wilber would not speak to me. Everything I said he despised. I didn’t know what he wanted or what he was planning. On Hallowmass, he called me to go with him to Hallowmas on Sentinel Hill. It would be the last time the old ones would ever call me.
Once again I saw the stone circle, and once again I prayed to Yog-Sothoth to take this world away.
“He won’t take the world without a sacrifice,” Wilbur croaked.
A porthole opened above me, my spine twisted around the stone until it cracked. It would be over soon. My sons, find the book and call the end. I could feel Yog-Sothoth twisting my body until my spine snapped. The pain stopped and the only sound I heard was the screaming of the whippoorwills.
A witch battles with an evil sheriff in this fast-paced occult thriller.
I woke up with the worst stomach ache of my life. It was probably something I ate from the raw bar, a mixture of bad oysters and cheap beer. Dialing work, I listened to the automated message and picked the option for a full day absence, and left a voicemail for my boss. Today was going to suck, but at least I had sick time to sleep it off.
I was walking to the bathroom and threw up yesterday’s dinner. I washed my face and looked in the mirror.
My skin had a greenish tint with grey patches. Great, I would have to call the doctor about this. I had food poisoning. I dialed my doctor’s office and waited on hold, but after twenty minutes, no one answered. Shaking with a river of sweat pouring from me, I hung up the phone and wrapped myself back in bed, and fell into a deep sleep.
I woke up a few hours later and felt much better. I felt great, light, and effervescent. I went to the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee, but my hand floated through my coffee cup. Desperately I tried to grasp the cylinder full of Folgers only to have it slip through my fingers. I had to be dreaming; I had some hangover, and this was all a twisted fever dream.
A moan came from my living room. I tried to grab a knife from the kitchen, but my hand refused to grasp it. I crept carefully to see myself groaning and running into the back patio window. Perplexed, I observed the situation. Whoever this person was, they were pretty intoxicated. They were stumbling about the room and kept slamming into the window with a single-minded purpose.
I went to the patio window and floated to the other side. The person looked exactly like me but had greenish skin. It rolled its eyes back, so only the whites were showing.
The person glanced up at me, sniffing the air, and cocked its head like a confused dog.Well, if this was a dream, at least I had some control over the creature.
“Use the handle,” I said.
The creature stared in my direction with the same confused expression. I passed my hand over the patio window’s handle. My hand passed through, but the latch wiggled a little. The creature grunted and pounded on the latch. My body slammed the sliding window so hard all the glass shattered, and it sauntered through to the other side.
“Damn it! There goes my security deposit,” I muttered as I followed the creature outside the door. The glass had cut my body’s arm to ribbons, black blood dripped to the ground. The zombie groaned, nonplussed.
The cul-de-sac nearby had groups of people milling around, all sniffing the air, ticking with confused expressions. I floated around, wondering what on earth happened? I remembered movies such as Night of the Living Dead and Twenty-Eight Days Later. This couldn’t be a zombie apocalypse? There was a horror marathon at the bar last night. This all had to be a hallucination. Yet there my body was, stumbling around with the rest of the zombies.
I’m sure if I wasn’t corporeally challenged, I’d get a headache from frustration. I floated over to my body.
“Over here!”It grunted and stumbled in my general direction. In the distance, a black door stood. I headed toward the door, calling my body along the way as it stumbled after me. I could touch the door handle. It was cool and made of polished brass. The door swung open with a bright light on the other end. A pull to go through on the other side and fade away forever.I glared back at my body stumbling around.
Then, reluctantly, I shut the door. I couldn’t leave this poor creature to fend for itself. It was utterly clueless without me. My body stumbled down the street as a man in military fatigues walked down the road. The man spoke into a radio and ran in the other direction. My body and the other zombies rushed after him at full speed.
“STOP!” I screamed.My body stopped and pouted in my direction.“We don’t eat people!”
The rest of the zombies rushed past us. The soldier screamed as the crowd tore him to pieces, his arms and legs being tossed high into the air. A portion rolled over to where my body was. The creature reached down and picked up the leg like a drumstick.
“No! Bad zombie!”
My body pouted at me.
The zombie frowned and chucked the leg aside, and shuffled after the rest of the zombies. I floated behind. A tank rolled down the suburban street, its cannon aimed at the crowd.
“Duck!”My body grunted and cocked its head.
I floated over and downward. Finally, my body nodded and lay flat on the ground as the cannon fired, leaving the ground littered with limbs.
Floating over to the side of the road, I called, “Over here!”My body followed me into a drainage ditch.
The zombie lie flat as a fleet of tanks roared past, and planes and helicopters flew past us. Finally, after what seemed like hours, the caravan ended. My body stood and sniffed the air. It shuffled forward past the carnage. My once bland, suburban neighborhood was a war zone. Blood and body parts littered the streets. Heads separated from their bodies groaned mindlessly toward the sky.
I wanted to wake up to a blaring alarm. Yesterday the worst thing I had to worry about was being late for work, and now there was nothing. The world was dying, and my body was content to shuffle through it.
After half a day of stumbling under my frustrated commands, we came to a gas station. People huddled in the shop’s corner. A little girl huddled in her mother’s embrace. My body groaned and slammed against the glass of the store.
“No! Bad!” I said, but my body ceased to listen.The little girl screamed. A hoard of zombies joined and slammed up against the glass.
“Y’all need to stop!” I pleaded, but not one head turned.
I took off as fast as I could float toward the caravan; I caught up to them at a surprising speed. I found the tank at the front of the line and concentrated on the engine. The lights inside flickered, and I could hear the soldier yell. I pressed buttons of the GPS to show them the coordinates of the shop. Both the soldier and the tank driver nodded at each other. The color drained from their face.The tank turned course, and by the time they reached the shop, the mother and child were fighting off the zombies on the roof of the gas station. The tank driver sounded commands through his radio, and soon a helicopter flew overhead, dropping a ladder.
The little girl clung piggyback on her mother as they both climbed up the ladder into the helicopter. Zombies soon overran the connivance store. My body was indistinguishable from the rest of the herd. A tank rolled up to the store, firing its cannon into the hoard. The store exploded, limbs once again scattered in the sky. A zombie head rolled out into the street, muttering dumbly before the tank rolled over it, squashing it into a pile of gore and grey matter.
My body said nothing. The tank aimed and fired into the store. My body ducked and lay flat. Relived, I floated over it.
Groaning, it followed the sound of my voice until it was well away from the crowd. The store was now set ablaze. Another zombie rolled into the street as a military tank unceremoniously crushed it, leaving a film of black rot and ooze on the road.
The black door once again appeared in front of me. I shrugged and turned away. I could save that little girl and her family by being here. Who knows, perhaps I can train my body to be useful to me, even though right now it was a bit of an idiot. For now I would keep on shambling on.