The Passenger

The stranger got in and didn't say a word. "Hey, I'm real sorry about what happened to you back there, in town. You alright?...They didn't break anything? Did they?" Harold asked his passenger.  "I read a book once. It said that man can not serve two masters. One master called himself, "God." the other called himself, "Mammon." Who is this master called, "Mammon?" he asked me, and he was serious. "Well, I think the book that you read was, "The Bible." and Jesus said that when he entered God's Temple in Jerusalem." I told him, "Mammon means money."  He then went on to say,  "What you have in your pocket is called, "mammon."  I can manifest, "mammon." when ever I chose too." He said to me. "You are very good at that, Indeed!...Thanks, Friend!" I said back to him, holding my hand on my pocket, where I'd always kept my wallet, then patting it!"  " It serves me. Therefore, I am God!"  he announced. "What?....What's that you say?... Where are you from anyhow?"   I made the mistake of asking him. "I fell!" he said, with a straight face. "What?..Did you hit your head and can't remember?" I asked. "No, we did not. We fell." he said again.   "Buddy?...You alright?" He turned and looked at me, with an expression-less,  blank stare. "You'd just say, Your God? and, We fell? .From where?" I asked. By this time, I had sobered up.  He told me that he doesn't remember the year, or place, he and the others had fallen. He only recalls memories from the lives of the dead. He's acquired, and nothing of his arrival.   He pointed out of the window and towards the sky. I looked over at him. It!..and it was that thing from the barn. Sittin in my truck!..I slammed on the brakes, left the truck on the road, while it was still running, and got the hell out of there!"

   When I'd finally made it,back to the farmhouse to your mother, I didn't know what to say. I reached into my wallet to hand her my winnings and my pay, it was gone!  All of it!  Well, she took off with you, on foot pulling you behind her, in a wagon. I knew that thing was out there, somewhere. I tried to make her stop, but she wouldn't listen. Then out of the blackness, it showed up!..It was standing right next to you by the wagon. I ran inside and got my rifle and shot at it. Your mother thought I was shooting at you and her, but I was aiming at IT!

That thing! he continued. "I never told anyone that before. I don't know why I'm telling you now. But, this - "Thing! Whatever it is?...Can shape shift..into anything it choose's to be. It has no form, not of it's own. It claimed to be, "God!"  he ranted. "What?...God!..That thing? God?...No, it's not!...Why is it after you?..You said, it needed something from you?..What does it need?" Eli's head was in a whizzy. "Come on Dad, Your making me nervous? Please!" Eli pleaded with his father. "Dad?...Let's go inside?.. My head!..It's still bleeding!" 

Eli's father snapped out of his frazzled state of mind, and focused on Eli's need for medical treatment. "Your head!..Right!..Right!..Let's get inside." he apologized for his irrational behavior.  "Here, Sit down. Let me have a look." Harold pushed back the sticky fibrous blood , that was drying into his scalp and hair, to assess the depth of the gash. "Doesn't look like you need any stitches, but it sure did bleed -out alot?...You weren't drinking tonight? Were you, Son?" he relucted asked. "No. No, Dad I didn't." he assured him. Eli's father went over to the medicine cabinet for some antiseptic cleanser and some gauze.  He cleaned away the dried blood from the wound, and applied the ointment to the injury site. "Geez, Dad!..That really stings!" he exclaimed. "I know! I know!..But, it's got to be sterilized." he offered. "There, that outa do it." he said, aloud. He took a deep breath and leaned back onto the counter-top ledge.

"Eli?..What I told you out there is the God's honest truth. The truth as I understand it to be. ..I don't know what this, "thing." is?  But, I do know this. It became part of that serial killer! That drifter, in the barn. The one who burned alive, or it became a part of him. I'm not sure which?" shaking his head, in disbelief from the words that were leaving his mouth. Insanity! "Have you ever seen it?" he asked his son. His tone was both fear and shame. He blamed himself for going into that barn, as a young man, and then unknowingly, inviting it into his vehicle that night.    Now, his past actions and bad judgement, somehow brought this, "Thing" to him, and his family.  It's refusal to cease haunting him, until he surrendered the "one thing."  It needed - Only he didn't know what it needed. It never revealed that too him. 

Eli's was careful not to reveal the truth about his encounter with the entity, months ago. Folie a deux was not something, he'd wanted to entertain right now. These mountains are filled with stories of the paranormal that have taken on a life of their own, over the years. Murderous scarecrows, ghostly stage coaches with stallions as black as night, leading it  through the valley's floor, and now this, "Thing." Eli understood now why he had seen this dark entity on his farm. It had followed his father from the barn. But, What remains a mystery?  Is it's connection to his father? And, What it needed, and desired from him. The answers would come soon enough.

"I believe you, Dad! Your an honest man." he affirmed.  "Your the most logical man I know!..I'm not saying that because your my father. I'm telling you this, so you can get a better understanding of what your confessing. If you say It's out there. Then, It's out there!" Eli confirmed. "So, What can we do to send it away?  Let's find out what it wants from you." Eli broached the possibility with his father. "No. I won't do that!" he strongly disagreed. "Why Not? Eli questioned his father's response. "I said, No, Eli!"  Dad's face muscles tightened,and his forehead crimped, with a hard look about him. "Alright, Bad idea. So, Whata we do?" Eli waited for his father's answer. "Nothing!  Absolutely Nothing!" he said. And, his prescriptive tone ended the conversation, once and for all. They never discussed it again.

Eli spent the Summer months helping out around the farm, and kept his mind busy with everyday things. But, even that proved to be useless. Every now and then, Eli would see that, "thing" appear on the farm.  It often disguised itself, in the form of an animal . Eli knew better. He knew what to look for.  They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. And, that was the way Eli could always tell, that he wasn't really gazing at a real animal.  A real animal would display apprehension, some sort of fear towards a human. Not this thing!  It would become very aggressive. No matter what form it took.

One day Eli had been in the back repairing the barbed-wire fencing, near the tree line. He looked up and saw a large raven standing on the post, he'd been repairing.  He starred at the raven for a few seconds, then returned to his labors. It then began a ceaseless harangue of loud screeches and squawking, as both it's wings stretched out, and began flogging  He soon realized that the bird, or entity was now on-the-ready. To do what?  Eli guarded his face and head with his arms, closed tightly over them, and took a few steps back. That's when he caught a glimpse of the entity for the first time. The outer edges of the raven's plumage, undulated. The bird had been a hologram that had manifested inside of the torso of this entity. While the rest of it, remained hidden and blended into the background.   It would have been astonishing, had it not been so dammed terrifying.

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