FICTIONAL FRIGHTS: Garet Payne’s SIGNATURE OF EVIL

Hello fright fanatics! Now that that 4th of July hangover has faded into a memory and the fireworks are all over and done with, this July 5th FICTIONAL FRIGHTS story comes at you, right from our most recent submission, courtesy of Garet Payne.

A story of child actors, fanatic fans and something that may or may not be even more sinister, this short story is called, “Signature of Evil“, and for good reason. Read on! -Jerry


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Sarah slept soundly as the footsteps of her cousin, Easton, who was a few years older than her, crept up to her room. He stood over her and watched her angelic face as she continued to sleep a deep slumber. Her angelic face smiled as she dreamt angelic dreams. Easton was disgusted to see such happiness. A bitter hatred consumed him as he was eager to destroy the little girl. Her expression was to turn into a look of unadulterated terror in a matter of minutes, as Easton had a plan. He took the corpse of her missing dog, whose throat he had slit, and placed it in the bed right next to his cousin. Then he turned on the lamp to make sure the grotesque sight could be seen clearly. Afterwards, he walked to the other side of the bed and shook Sarah to wake her up. She looked over at the dog and shrieked in alarm as she saw the young boy’s handiwork. While Sarah stared in shock at the dead animal, her cousin lifted the dagger above her head….

“And…. cut!” Shouted Edgar Hopewell, a nationally famous film director “That’s a wrap on Child of the Devil III. Great performances, Laura and Joseph.”

“Thanks,” the young, dark haired boy responded as he smiled and walked away. A crew member walked up to the set and carried away the fake dog. After filming was over there was a brief wrap party and then the cast and crew went their separate ways. Joseph climbed into the backseat of his parents’ car and stared out the window.

“Did you have a good day filming?” His father asked.

“Yeah,” Joseph responded.

“Do you think it’ll turn out good?”

“The best one yet.” Joseph said and smiled.

“Don’t forget your Dad and I are going on a business trip right after we drop you off at home. We’ll be gone overnight but we’ll be back late tomorrow afternoon. Are you sure you’ll be okay home alone that long?” His mother asked, staring into the backseat through the rearview mirror.

“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” Joseph responded. As soon as they got home they stayed long enough to say “I love you” and then left their son home alone. As fun as it was to make movies he enjoyed being at home in the country away from all the lights and cameras. He was only 13-years-old but had already been in 16 movies and TV shows, most of which had posters and stills covering the walls of the family’s modestly sized home. He was most recognized for playing the wicked child, Easton Yates, who is sent to live with his relatives after a house fire (which he was told himself to set by the voice of Satan) in the Child of the Devil series. He was the complete opposite of his character in real life in that he was kind, gentle, polite, and loving. He didn’t really care for many of the wicked things he had to say and do onscreen but it was all part of the job. Now that the job was over there was time to relax until the next project, whatever that may turn out to be. He sat down and played some video games for a while when he heard the doorbell ring.

“I wonder who that could be,” he thought as he walked over to the door. It was a clean cut man who appeared to be in his late 30s or early 40s wearing a dark gray sweater and black jeans. Joseph didn’t recognize the man so he thought perhaps it wasn’t a good idea to answer even though he looked relatively harmless. The knocks went ignored as he went back to playing video games. About 10 minutes later the doorbell rang again. It was the same man.

“I better go see what he wants,” Joseph thought. Maybe he was here for his parents. He opened the door and said “hello” nervously.

“Hello. You’re Joseph Landon aren’t you? You played Easton Yates in Child of the Devil, right?” The man asked.

“Yes, I am. But who are you?” Joseph asked, trying to gauge exactly what this man wanted.

“Oh, my name is Elliot. I’m a big fan of your movies,” the man said, staring into the child’s innocent, brown, puppy dog eyes, “I know this might seem weird and all, but I wondered if I might have an autograph for my collection. You see, I came a long way.”

“Okay, sure. But first can I ask how you found out where I live?” Joseph asked, regretting opening the door. He couldn’t figure why but something about this man gave him a bad feeling.

“On the Internet. I wasn’t sure if the address was accurate or not, but I wanted your autograph so much I decided to take the risk. I could’ve contacted your agency I suppose but it’s better this way, don’t you think? I get to meet you in person.”

“Yeah,” Joseph said, “I’ll go inside and get a picture to sign for you but then you have to go, okay? My parents wouldn’t like me opening the door for a stranger but since you said you traveled far… Just wait here.”

Joseph grabbed a picture out of a stack from Child of the Devil II which showed him trying to drown a classmate in his family pool. He signed the picture with a black marker. As soon as he turned around to take the picture outside he saw Elliot standing there, a sinister looking grin on his face.
“This is a nice house you have. Out in the country away from all the Hollywood crap. I like that,” he said.

“You were supposed to wait outside,” Joseph responded nervously.

“I’m sorry. I just wanted to see where one of my favorite actors lives,” Elliot said. He looked at the pictures on the wall and nodded as though he recognized them all.

“It’s okay. Well, here’s your picture. I wish I could talk to you longer but you have to leave now,” Joseph told him. He put the picture in the man’s hand and waited for him to leave but he just stood there staring with his wicked grin, his eyes looking almost pitch black.

“I mean it. My parents are going to be back in half an hour,” he said, “now leave or else I’ll have to call the cops.”

“I don’t think so. You see, I know your parents won’t be home until tomorrow afternoon. You can’t lie to me; I work for the Prince of Lies. And you won’t be calling anybody.” Elliot said.

“W-what?” Joseph asked, visibly upset. Tears welled up in his eyes.

“My master is the father of all things dark, the epitome of all things wicked and insidious. He wants to claim you as his own. You see, you’ve done such a fine job playing the child of the devil all these years that you’ve been chosen to transcend the small world of cinema and exist with him in a world far more eternal than that.”

“No,” Joseph said crying, “I’m not like Easton. I don’t want to be evil. You’re crazy! Get out of here and leave me alone!”

“You cannot resist. It is already written on your soul.” Elliot said and tried to grab Joseph who kicked him in the shin and ran upstairs.

“You’ll pay for that, you little bastard. I’m coming for you.”
Joseph hid under the bed in the guest room and hyperventilated, scared of the crazy man who was trying to find him. He listened to the footsteps and wept; knowing it was only a matter of time before Elliot came to the guest room, looked under the bed, and found him cowering in fear. He still heard him screaming “I’ll get you, little boy!” repeatedly as he opened and closed every door of the house. His voice became more and more frustrated as he became increasingly irritated at not being able to find the child.

After Joseph cowered in fear for about 20 minutes he could no longer hear the footsteps or the voice screaming, but it may have been a trick to make him feel safe so he would come out of hiding. He decided to stay under he bed just a little longer when he heard his father calling his name. He ran into his father’s arms crying about the traumatic experience he’d just been a victim of and told his parents exactly what just happened.

“Thank goodness you’re alright,” his mother said, also crying. “I had a bad feeling something was wrong so I told your father to turn the car around. I’m glad I did now.”

Both parents embraced their child and then quickly backed away.

“You can come in now,” the father said. Elliot, Edgar Hopewell, and a group of strangers all walked in. Joseph screamed and sobbed uncontrollably.

“I’m sorry, son,” his mother said “We lied to you. We weren’t on a business trip but really a cult meeting. It’s going to be hard but we have to give you up. It’s for the best, it’s for our master.”

“Yes, Joe,” Edgar said, “the movies we made together were in order to pay tribute to our Lord Satan, and now you’re going to be sacrificed to him. We’re losing a pretty good child actor, but we’ll find a replacement. Besides, it’ll make for good promotion. Elliot here works for the media and will break the news of your so called ‘car accident.'”

“Yes, I will.” Elliot continued, “and since I’m such a fan they’re letting me do the honors. I really am a fan you know. I’ll always treasure the autograph. It sucks we have to lose such a big star at such a young age but what’s done will have to be done.”

Joseph’s parents held him in place, while Elliot walked over to him; carrying the same dagger that was used as a prop in the film. He screamed and screamed while trying to escape, but there was no escape.


 

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