Outside, a thunderclap startled Carmella as the storm built in intensity. She had just started to drift off and was almost ready to cry as she pulled the Afghan over her legs and curled herself into a fetal position on the sofa, trying desperately to sleep in spite of the fact that the lights were on. For many nights, she tried to sleep in her bed, with the lights off, but couldn't manage since the nightmares started. As the wind howled and the rain beat against the window, she slowly breathed in and out, hoping to drift off, and trying to remember less complicated times.
It was less than a month ago that Carmella had thought that she had landed on her feet. She was twenty-three years old, with strawberry blond hair and striking ocean-blue eyes. She was straight out of college with an honors degree. She was fortunate and walked directly into her dream job and found her new home. It was situated in a prime location, fully furnished, and at a rent so affordable that she could scarcely believe it. Similar properties, she knew through research, were usually rented for twice the price that was paying for this one. So, it was an easy decision that made her sign a lease on the spot after walking through it. She had obligated herself to a twelve-month lease that didn't seem too bad in her next-to-nothing experience as a renter and started moving in. The first few days had been wonderful, unpacking boxes, getting things ‘just so.' Then, on that first weekend when she had moved the furniture around so that it agreed with her Feng Sui harmonization, she found the book beneath her favorite chair.
The book was dusty and seemed to be leather-bound. It was obviously old, based on the outward appearance. There was no title that Carmella could see, so she opened the cover to see what kind of find this book was. To her surprise, it was a journal. The inscription read,
For my darling Edgar and my perfect twins.
The first page began with the following passage.
If you find yourself in a position that demands revenge, demands blood, how are you supposed to react? How much punishment is enough for the ones who made my life a living Hell for so long? The ones who cost me everything? Even death is too good for them, too sudden and too easy. I need to remember every step that I took to become the hand of justice, so that one day, my story will be told.
She remembered the chill that ran cold through her veins when she read that opening page. She didn't know what any of this meant, of course. Who was Edgar? Who was the author? And what could have happened to them to talk about such a ‘punishment'? Carmella had naturally been intrigued, and so had begun to leaf through the pages, but to her surprise what followed made no sense. There were pages upon pages of strange ink drawings – symbols and motifs that she could not recognize. And the writing became a scratchy, handwritten script and in a language that was not recognizable. Carmella could vocalize these words that she read, but they were not recognized and made no sense to her. So, she tried reading some of the passages aloud, thinking the sounds of these words would provoke some form of familiarity. Unknown to her, this would prove to be one of the worst decisions that she would ever make.
Almost immediately following her attempts to speak the words, the visions started. These were visions of a freakishly large shadowy figure. Unknowingly, she had only needed to recite the written words just once, just to try them out, and her bedroom became a place of nightly visits from this figure.
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