Flavio Cruz

Demons of Alabama

Samuel sat upon the horse's saddle on that distant spring morning, his figure enveloped in an otherworldly mist. The people around him shouted with excitement, insults, curses, and other improprieties. Samuel's mind, obscured and veiled, struggled to grasp the unfurling enigma, sensing the foreboding undercurrents that saturated the air. A rope, tethered around his neck, reached upward, vanishing into the brown branches of an ancient tree. It was the mid-19th century, in an isolated village nestled in the heart of rural Alabama, and Samuel awaited his fateful execution by hanging. The townsfolk harbored an unsettling fixation on the gallows, their collective fascination drawn to the somber spectacle unfolding in the small square. The executioner and the authorities stood in restless vigil, awaiting the arrival of an enigmatic figure, one of profound authority who would preside over this macabre rite. Impatience thrived among the throngs; their impulsive yearnings stirred by an unseen force.

All his life Samuel had been cursed because of the color of his skin. If this was not enough, he had to carry the burden of mental affliction and wandered as a nomad, homeless and desolate, driven by an insatiable quest for sustenance. His visage and physique bore pronounced deformities, rendering him a haunting presence, a specter that provoked both revulsion and dread. None concealed their relief at witnessing the expulsion of this grotesque creature from their local realm. Whispers circulated in the darkest corners, asserting that he was no ordinary mortal but rather the embodiment of the devil, a malevolent spirit clad in human guise.

Yet, Samuel remained ensnared within a labyrinth of bewildered thoughts, unable to fully fathom the tumultuous cascade of events. Hunger consumed him, an unrelenting hunger that transcended the physical dimension, tormenting his very essence. He had languished within the confines of the local jail for three interminable days, receiving meager sustenance. His existence had never known prosperity or solace; instead, it had perpetually dwelled beneath the level of abject misery. But just a few days prior, his world had plummeted into an even more unfathomable abyss. On a fateful Saturday afternoon, while scavenging for nourishment behind a dimly lit tavern, he stumbled upon a lifeless body sprawled upon the ground. Dark red blood cascaded from the unfortunate man's chest, evidence of a violent demise inflicted by either bullet or blade. Samuel knelt beside the fallen soul, seeking signs of life, when he started to hear the accusatory voices coming from behind him, shouting "murderer, murderer." Swiftly, they apprehended him, dragging him away to a desolate cell. Fleeting fragments of memory lingered, fragments that accused him of extinguishing that man's life and condemned him to face the wrath of death. And thus, he found himself here.

The moment of reckoning loomed, poised to strike with merciless swiftness.

The missing personality had arrived, unleashing a symphony of feral exultations from the gathered multitude. The executioner, his face concealed by a nebulous veil, poised his whip, a harbinger of unyielding finality. The horse, spurred by the lash, would surge forward, destined to propel Samuel into a descent, his body relinquishing its mortal tether, severing the delicate thread between life and death. There was a chorus of desperation for revenge laced with dark excitement.

However, it was not time for Samuel’s last breath yet. His hands, bound by a loosely fastened rope, finally unveiled their dormant strength. With a surge of otherworldly power, he liberated himself from his earthly fetters, his trembling hands reaching upward, ensnaring the very filament that connected him to the spectral bough above. In a display of unforeseen might, akin to a feline predator, he ascended the towering tree, vanishing within the leafy shroud.

The once-riotous crowd now succumbed to an oppressive silence, their voices muted by an encroaching dread. The profane curses metamorphosed into desperate supplications, as the echoes of their prayers intertwined with the distant whispers of the wind. Most people fled in terror, casting fleeting glances at Samuel's crouched form, concealed amidst the gnarled branches. Instinctively, he began to howl, his primal voice reverberating through the stillness of the air. A spark of self-preservation ignited within him, endowing him with extraordinary fortitude. His cries pierced the veil of fear, shattering the vestiges of resolve among the remaining witnesses. They dispersed; their flight punctuated by desperate gestures of divine protection. Even the authorities and the executioner succumbed to the all-consuming dread. In their eyes, Samuel had transmuted into the devil himself. When he sensed the cloak of safety enshrouding him, he descended from his lofty perch, merging seamlessly into the embracing shadows of the nearby forest, where the dense foliage concealed untold secrets.

The legend took root, permeating the soil of that forsaken town. The hamlet, thwarted in its attempt to condemn the demon, was left to grapple with the actual devil inside them. From that day forward, on moonless nights veiled in enigmatic splendor, many claimed to catch glimpses of the devil's figure, to hear his haunting wails resonating through the depths of their souls.

However, concealed beneath the shroud of darkness, Samuel embodied an angelic essence, his spirit untainted by malevolence. He had transcended the shackles of that forsaken town, seeking solace in a distant refuge, far beyond its grasp. Yet, the echoes of his presence lingered, haunting the depths of the collective memory, as the inhabitants were left to confront their own inner demons, forever bound to the cryptic legacy of that otherworldly encounter.

All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Flavio Cruz.
Published on e-Stories.org on 06/24/2023.

 
 

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