Episode 1: Welcome to Demon Veil

DEMON VEIL HIGH SCHOOL SAGA

ARC #1: WELCOME TO DEMON VEIL

EPISODE 1: WELCOME TO DEMON VEIL

Late Sunday night, a group of people in black hoods descended the stairs that led to the Little Theatre in the Main Building basement. The people murmured excitedly about what was going to happen. If everything went as planned, the world would be very different when they ascended the stairs. The tension was palpable as the fifteen people followed each other down.

The leader unlocked the theatre doors that had been locked for the last six months due to the death of the theatre program. The doors creaked loudly as they were opened, as if they were greeting the hoods, thanking them for letting them be of service again.

The hoods entered slowly in a single file line until they reached the threshold. Once inside, they all gathered on the small, black stage, and created a circle around a small red X in the center. Once everyone was inside, the leader closed the doors and allowed them to slam. He chuckled when he heard some of them exclaim loudly in shock.

The leader made his way to the circle and joined it. He took a small sheet of neon orange paper out of his pocket and brandished it dramatically before him. “Steve, could you hit the lights please?” He pointed to the area offstage left. A person left the circle and disappeared into the area indicated. A moment later, a bright white light shone down onto the red X. The leader was now able to read what was on the paper. “Thanks, Steve.” Steve mumbled a response as he rejoined the circle.

“Tonight, sisters and brothers, we embark upon a journey to create a new world order! We will be the first to usher in a new age of chaos and mayhem! Tonight, we make history…”

“Man, Chris, can you cut the theatrics?” asked a woman to the leader’s right. “It’s 11:30 and we’ve got to be up in the morning. We don’t have time for this!”

While his face was not visible, everyone could tell what look Chris had on his face as he turned his head toward her. “Fine, Margaret. Some people just have no appreciation for momentous occasions.” He cleared his throat and shook the paper before he began reading the printed words aloud.

As he read the non-English words, he could feel a chill travel from the bottoms of his feet all the way to the top of his head. The power that came from the words he spoke was flowing through him, cooling him. Soon, it would flow from him and into his fellow hoods. He knew immediately when this happened as they began to shiver. He tried to contain his excitement as he recited the spell.

The hoods began to utter the words of the spell after Chris finished the first iteration. They chanted in a haunting manner as the power of the words continued to consume them. As the power intensified, they could feel the air around them chill. A small silver cloud began to manifest in the center of the circle. The hoods’ excitement amplified at the sight of their progress. It was really happening! This spurred them onward.

The cloud grew larger with each passing second until it reached the confines of the circle. Then it throbbed furiously, as if irritated by the barrier. This was their cue to put the finishing inflections on the spell, signaling their intent. The hoods recited the final words that would trigger the end result with gusto. They all held their breaths as they watched the cloud cease its throbbing. Still, it hovered menacingly. Had it worked?

After what seemed like forty minutes, the cloud gave one final pulse before it dissipated into nothing. The hoods released their breath and waited for a sign of their success. It did not come. They all groaned in disappointment. No one was more crushed than Chris.

“We didn’t have enough power,” Chris muttered to himself.

“We’ll just have to try again next month,” Margaret said sadly. “We will never run out of full moons.”

With that, the hoods began to disperse. Steve turned off the light, leaving Chris alone on the stage in the dark. Chris sighed as he admitted defeat, and left the stage. He made his way to the doors and locked them once he was on the other side. He tried to hold in his disappointment as he made his way back up the stairs. How could have things gone wrong? Maybe he didn’t grab the right spell from Google. It was back to the drawing board.

He gazed up at the full moon and thanked it for its power, then headed to his car. He wondered what tomorrow was going to be like for the folks who would arrive in the morning. He started his car and drove out of the parking lot belonging to Desert Vale High School.

What Chris didn’t know was that their ritual had worked, just not how he thought it would. Right above the red X, a small fissure formed. An eerie light purple glow streamed from it. A tear in the fabric of reality, an opening to something beyond this world. The veil had been broken. It sat alone, festering in the dark, waiting…

***

On Monday morning, Jamesh Kamar approached the tall, rusted red gates of Desert Vale High School. They looked like they had been standing there since the dawn of time and would disintegrate with one soft touch. He wondered if he had his tetanus shots up to date. He waved at the monitor who sat in the small box office by the parking lot. The monitor waved at him and allowed him on campus.

Today was his first day at DVHS. His family had moved to Desert Vale, Arizona last week. His parents had gotten new jobs here and within a day, all of their belongings were packed and they were on the road from Washington State. He had not been looking forward to moving to Arizona. He heard it was hot and uncomfortable. So far, it did not disappoint on those fronts. While there was no humidity, the heat was intense. He missed the constant rain and cloud cover of Washington. He felt dry and exposed. This did not sit well with him. His parents assured him that he’d eventually acclimate to the weather, and he hoped that would happen soon.

The first building he saw reminded him of the Lincoln Memorial. It was a large white building with pillars resting at the top of an expanse  stairway. Near the top of the building was a display reading “100” in red letters. It was hard for Jamesh to imagine that this was a school building and not some kind of bank transported from New York City. It looked old enough to have been built in the 1920s. He surmised that’s what the 100 stood for: 100 years in the making. From the tour he took the Friday previous, he knew that was called the Main Building because it was the first one built. There was a gym building on the far South side of the campus, a building called The V Building, V standing for Vocation, which looked older than the Main Building. There was also the newest building called the Tech Building, which was attached to the Main Building. It was a small campus compared to the high school he had left in Washington. He hoped that it meant that it was just cozy.

Jamesh made his way toward the Main Building, and it was then that he felt a chill run throughout his entire body. His arms were covered in goosebumps. He rubbed them attempting to warm up. It was only 7:40 in the morning, the sun was not too intense yet, so it was possible he was just cold, but he doubted it. Something was wrong, and he wanted to get to the bottom of it.

He opened one of the many doors leading inside and took in the immensity of the spacious lobby. There were two offices on either side of him, and large double doors in front of him that led to the auditorium. Other than that, there was a lot of empty space. No fire hazards here.

He stood there and tried to pinpoint the source of his discomfort. There was an odd energy in the air. He was familiar with this energy: there was something supernatural nearby. He wanted to find it to determine what needed to be done.

Jamesh didn’t know how he got this power to divine the supernatural, but he always had it for as long as he could remember. It was because of this power that he and his family were inspired to become paranormal investigators. He supposed that it was inevitable that he would eventually run into the supernatural here in Desert Vale, but he hadn’t expected to do it on his very first day of school, certainly not within five minutes of stepping foot on campus. Some guys got all the luck.

He closed his eyes and allowed his senses to guide him. He felt something tug him to his right, past the office, toward the hallway with the staircase leading to the second floor. He made his way through that hallway and was guided to take a left at the stairway. He traveled this way until he reached the south entrance of the Main Building. There was a stairway leading down to a stoop, which lead outside. There was also another stairway that led to the basement. He was being drawn there.

“Of course there’s a basement,” Jamesh said to himself. He took a deep breath and headed down the stairs. He noticed that the air got cooler the further down he went. This was never a good sign. He gripped the straps of his Steven Universe hamburger backpack as he continued his descent.

He reached the bottom of the steps and found that the small area consisted of a door directly ahead of him; a small office space to his left, and two double doors. He approached the double doors and saw the sign denoting that the Little Theatre laid behind them. Whatever was calling to him was also behind those doors. He gripped the door handles and found them locked. He smirked because he knew that this was not going to stop him.

Jamesh took his backpack off and rummaged through it. He found a small plastic box and pulled it out. His lock pick set was the best birthday present he got from his Uncle Terrance. Uncle Terrance wasn’t cheap, so Jamesh knew that this was pure quality. He opened the box and went to work. Within a few seconds, the lock was popped and one of the doors creaked open.

Jamesh replaced his lock pick set back into the burger bag and entered the dark theatre. He felt the strange energy even more now. This was definitely the spot. He slowly walked down the side of the room, admiring the empty rows of chairs. Judging by the plastic sheets on them, it was clear that they hadn’t been used in a long time. It was too bad, he loved theatre.

A flicker of purple light on the stage caught his attention. This had to be it. He approached the stage with caution, while his eyes focused on the light. What was it? As he got closer, he saw that it was a crack that was floating in mid-air. A tear? Jamesh was intrigued but worried. He had heard of these kinds of things happening, but had never actually seen one. This was mostly because his parents didn’t let him help with their cases too often due to his only being sixteen, but he had studied a lot. The tear in reality would need to be sealed, and he was sure that he could do it.

Just as he was about to reach into his bag for the materials he needed, he heard someone cough behind him. He gasped and spun around to see who had discovered him. There was a girl and boy standing behind him, staring at him in a bemused manner.

The girl was short, but so was everyone compared to his six feet. She had long black hair that flowed down to her shoulders, tan skin, and she was wearing white shorts with a pink tank top that had some kind of My Little Pony on it. The boy had the same tan skin, and was wearing long black pants and a matching black V-neck shirt. His black hair was short, yet fluffy with curls. If Jamesh didn’t know any better, the boy might have been checking him out.

“I’m sorry, I know I’m not supposed to be down here, but…” Jamesh started, but stopped when the girl started to grin. “What?”

“You’re cute,” she said.

“I know, right?!” the boy added.

Jamesh’s face turned hot. He was blushing, but thankfully due to his dark brown skin, no one could tell. Also, the lack of light also aided with this.

“You must be new here,” the girl said. This was an accusation more than a question.

“H-how do you know that?” Jamesh asked. Was she psychic?

“You must be, otherwise you’d know better than to come down here alone.”

“The theatre is haunted,” the boy said. “Or so they say. The school shut it down last semester after a body was found here.”

Jamesh raised an eyebrow at this news. Could that death be the source of this tear?

“Well, I guess I should thank you for looking out for me, then.” Jamesh chuckled. He extended his hand to the girl. “I’m Jamesh Kamar, the new kid.”

The girl shook his hand gently and smiled. “I’m Caridad Montes De Oca, but you can call me Cari if you want. Call me “Daddy” and you die!”

“I’m Danilo Montes De Oca. You can call me Daddy if you want.” He shook Jamesh’s hand as well, but not as gently.

“Nice to meet you,” Jamesh said, rubbing his hand. Danilo had a big grip for a small boy. “What brings you by?”

“We were going to ask you the same question,” Caridad said, folding her arms.

Jamesh debated whether he should tell them the truth or make up something. He wanted to tell them the truth, but he didn’t want to gain the reputation of being ‘the weird kid’ on his first day here. But he also didn’t have the energy to make up lies either. He took a deep breath and hoped they liked what he was going to say.

“I’m investigating paranormal phenomena. I was drawn here by this tear in reality. I’m going to seal it.” Jamesh studied their eyes as they studied his. He couldn’t tell if they believed him or thought he was blowing smoke. Either way, he hoped to avoid the weird kid title for at least another month.

Caridad blinked and looked at the purple light just over Jamesh’s shoulder. “Is that the tear?” Jamesh nodded. “Cool. I didn’t think that stuff really existed.”

“Really?” Jamesh asked. “Then why were you concerned about me being in a haunted theatre by myself?”

“I mean, there was a dead body in here!” Danilo said excitedly. “If anyplace on campus is going to be haunted AF, it’s this place. We wouldn’t want you to be next.”

Jamesh smiled at Danilo’s sincerity. “I appreciate it. Good looking out.”

“No problem, Spooky.” Danilo winked at him.

“Okay, stand back while I try to seal this.” Caridad and Danilo did as they were told. Jamesh reached into his bag and pulled out a bag of crystals. He set a purple one and a red one down at the base of the tear. He was sure those would have enough power to do the trick.

Jamesh closed his eyes and began to utter the sealing spell he had learned over the summer. He felt the power raise up to his head as he spoke. He reached his energy out to the tear and let it flow inside. He felt the spell working. Then he felt lightheaded. That was not a good sign. He had pushed himself too much too soon. Or maybe he wasn’t as awake as he thought. Whatever the reason, he knew he had to withdraw. He pulled his power back and ended the recitation. He opened his eyes and saw spots for a brief moment.

“Did you do it?” Caridad asked. “It’s not glowing anymore.”

Once the spots faded away, Jamesh saw that the purple light had disappeared. Maybe he had sealed it anyway. He felt proud of himself for doing such a great job.

“I guess I did.” Jamesh reached out his hand in the space where the tear had been and didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary. “This house is sealed!” he said in his best Zelda Rubinstein voice.

Jamesh was about to celebrate until he felt something pull on his hand. Before he could draw it back, he was gripped and yanked. And then he was gone, leaving Caridad and Danilo alone in the theatre, wondering what just happened.

To Be Continued…

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