This story is by Erin Saucier and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
Rick sat peacefully on his front porch basking in the breezy air when his niece arrived.
“Renee. What brings you here?”
“We need to talk.” Renee uncharacteristically sounded bothered.
“What is it?” Rick felt apprehended.
Renee dropped a tabloid into Rick’s lap, cover facing upward. It read:
DEMON LIBERATES DACHAU
Rick’s heart fluttered. The picture was of a man triumphantly standing atop a pile of charred human remains, lightning striking behind him, with prisoners fleeing in terror.
“Where’d you get this?” Rick asked.
“Forget that! Why are you in a tabloid?” Renee demanded answers.
“How’d they find out?” Rick whispered. The comparison was unmistakable. Sweat appeared on his forehead.
“Find out what? What’s going on?” Renee’s anxiety intensified.
Rick quickly turned to page seven hoping at the very least they’d gotten the story right. Rick read:
“I’ll never forget the glimmer in the demon’s eyes as it pulled us out into the courtyard where we were tortured and beaten. We were nothing but ants to be stepped on. Nazi soldiers watched and laughed. They and the demon were obviously working together…”
Rick threw the newspaper in disgust.
“Is it true?! Are you a Nazi?!” Renee questioned, fighting back her tears.
Rick lit his pipe. “Please, sit. It’s time I told someone. Mid April, 1945, I was working as a chauffer…”
The clouds that day were a deep purple; threatening, looming. Rick raced his motorcycle down Rainey Street. Pulling into the car garage, he barely beat the storm by seconds.
“Hey, Lenny, you believe this weather? Hasn’t poured like this in years.” Rick stared out the window, ruing his day.
“Yea. Whatever.” Lenny said passively, handing Rick an envelope.
“Colonel Reyers?! Wow. What moron decided we’re suitable to transport a Colonel?”
“Don’t know. Don’t care. But this is your last chance. Get a bad review, and you’re fired.” Lenny slammed the door in Rick’s face.
Rick left the garage. The rain lightly drizzled. All seemed normal until he reached a nearby intersection. Looking through the windshield, anticipating the sky’s intentions, he noticed a man daring to jump from a ledge.
“The hell is that?!” Chills ran down Rick’s spine. The man was pushed.
“What’d you see?” Renee inquired.
“I don’t know how to say this, but what I do know is that I was, and still am, the only person that encountered it, and lived.”
Rick twitched at the memory.
“It was hideous: black, leathery skin with orange lacerations all over, lots of tentacles, huge, sharp jowls and glowing yellow eyes. It pointed directly at me, laughing.”
Renee grimaced. “What are you saying?”
“Let me finish…”
Rick fled in a cloud of smoke, car tires squealing. He pulled up to The Hilton where Colonel Reyers was staying. Standing in front of the sliding doors was the creature; waiting, grinning. Unable to speed off, he panicked.
The creature vanished, reappearing in the front passenger seat. Rick slammed himself against the driver door. The window cracked. He desperately pulled the door handle. He was trapped.
“Please, don’t hurt me!” Rick begged, trembling.
“I’m Gaewa! I am banished to your world until I collect enough souls to return to a dimension much higher than yours! You will aid me or I shall haunt you and your family for eternity!’
Gaewa’s voice was unbearable like a bomb echoing in a tunnel. The car filled with its putrid breath. Rick agreed without hesitation.
“What can I do? I’m just a regular person.”
“Provide me with souls to feast upon! I shall do the rest!”
“The hell does that mean?!”
Gaewa fell silent. Colonel Reyers entered the car. He was rambling. Rick’s anticipation of the Colonel’s comment on Gaewa’s presence was paralyzing. It never came. That pleasure was reserved for Rick.
The entire ride to the airport Colonel Reyers constantly talked about concentration camps. The army was planning an invasion soon. Gaewa sat silently in the front seat. Rick found his solution. Gaewa smiled sadistically, reading Rick’s thoughts.
Colonel Reyers got out and entered the airport.
“I’ll need to plan. How am I to contact you?” Rick asked.
A black candle materialized.
Burn this! Chant! I shall arise!”
Later that night, alone in his apartment, Rick lit the candle with shaky hands and chanted.
“Abadee! Nawabadey! Lawashkasam! I call upon thee, Gaewa, marauder of souls!” Lightning exploded.
“Dachau!” Rick felt proud and powerful in servitude.
“We go now!”
“What do you need, mortal?!”
“Invisibility,” Rick joked.
Rick snuck onto a plane scheduled for soldiers to parachute into Germany. It was all dream-like until he dove out the plane hoping Gaewa hadn’t tricked him into suicide.
Warmth enveloped him. There was a jolt, then dizziness. He vomited then looked up. ‘DACHAU.’
“No! We stay together!”
Gaewa’s tentacles held Rick gently like a newborn child. He ordered Gaewa to make him visible during their biddings. He wanted them to know their savior was human.
Guards shined spotlights and shouted aggressively in German. Knowing he was protected, their fear was intoxicating. Alarms summoned the prisoners to the courtyard.
The main building exploded. Fire raged. Guards fled, firing blindly. Gaewa lifted Nazis with hidden tentacles and ripped them to shreds.
Rick’s elation tethered with Gaewa’s fury was insanely euphoric. He felt like a madman.
Prisoners chanted fiendishly. Gaewa fed. No prisoners were harmed.
Approaching the prisoners, most of which dropped to their knees, crying, and praised Rick as their god. Others shouted, calling him a demon, condemning him to hell.
“They lived because of me!”
“Rick, this is crazy!” Renee proclaimed.
“I’m not lying, Renee, never again.” Rick’s eyes glossed.
A woman walking in front of the house froze and turned.
“Rick Daniels?!” She approached holding a gift.
“Yea? Who’s asking?” Rick asked suspiciously.
She ripped Rick from his chair, hugging him eagerly.
“My name is Dodie. This is your watch. Dachau! Remember?!”
Renee gasped. “It can’t be…”
Dodie noticed the tabloid.
“It’s true.” Dodie exposed her prison tattoo.