It all started the day my grandmother died. She was 98 years old, but her age was no factor in her death, like we all assumed it was when we got the call. I had been sitting with my beautiful wife, Christine, and my three children, Anna, Sophie, and Joseph, who were all in their preteen or teenage years, Sophie being the youngest at eleven and Anna being the oldest at fifteen. It was a seemingly ordinary morning in Florida with the bright sun shining through the open windows and the birds chirping happily through our acre of land. Then the phone rang.
"Hello?" I answered.
"John, is that you?" I heard my sister Amanda ask sadly.
"Yeah, it's me. What's going on?'
"Grandma's dead, John, I found her this morning. It was just so awful," My sister explained between sobs.
I was quiet, unsure of what to say. The awkward silence settled over me and my family, their eyes resting on my face as if they were questioning me already.
"You there? Shit, I don't know what to do, just come by, please. Help me get her things together." Amanda begged.
"Alright. Be there in a few," I replied.
"Oh, and John? Don't bring Christine or the kids," she warned, hanging up the phone seconds after.
Her last request was said in a quite unnerving tone, leaving me worried about what I was about to see.
"What's going on, dear?" Christine asked, sounding concerned.
"Well, I'm afraid I've got some bad news. Grandma June has passed away."
Christine and Joseph sighed sadly as Sophie burst into tears.
"Shut up, Sophie, everyone dies. It was about time, too, she was so fucking old," Anna snapped disgustedly.
"Watch your language, young lady!" I yelled at her.
She rolled her eyes and sighed theatrically, storming off to her room, screaming "You're so damn uptight!" as she slammed the door loudly. Not wanting to deal with her, I said goodbye to my family and started driving toward my grandmother's house.
When I got there, Amanda was sitting on the porch, her face sickly green. A sharp smell reached my nose as I walked up the steps. When I opened the door, the view shocked me.
My grandmother's mangled corpse was strewn across the floor in grotesque pieces. Her legs were clawed, the skin hanging off of the flesh, the bones broken like someone had twisted them, small shards stuck in the bloody muscle. Her arms looked similar, except with an odd symbol, like a skull with a rattlesnake twisting through its eye sockets with the tail hanging out of the mouth. And her torso, oh god, I don't know if I can describe it without getting sick. The stomach looked as if it had been torn out by some creature with large, sharp claws. Her heart had been cut out and sewn to the outside of her ribcage, and the skin had been burned off of her back in the same pattern that had been carved into her arm. The head was sitting on the coffee table facing the large mirror in the living room. Her blank eyes caught my eyes in the mirror; her gaze seemed to follow me wherever I went. Her jaw had been torn out and left on the floor. Shocked, I tried to leave the room, but something caught my eye as I stepped over the deformed torso.
In the gaping hole in my grandmother's stomach, I found a letter folded into a neat square, unfolding it carefully, afraid of what may have been written on the paper. As I looked down at it, I saw the words "Read my diary if you dare." in my grandmother's handwriting, except the letters were a rusty red color. Blood.
I stepped back onto the porch, nervously handing the paper to Amanda silently. She read it aloud in a weak, quavering voice, and then started crying again. I walked back inside, headed toward her room.
The room was a pale green with soft, grey blankets with pastel flowers printed on them neatly folded on the bed, and a large mahogany bookshelf on the back wall. I went to the bookshelf, and after maybe half an hour, found a thick blue notebook with the name June Henderson and the dates 1930-1931 written in silver.
The first month or so chronicled in the diary was normal for a seventeen year old girl, but then things started getting darker. The first entry that had really grabbed my attention was slightly disturbing.
It read as:
Today I saw the most charming man. He had black hair and eyes, and pale, radiant skin. Those eyes really seemed to stare straight into my soul when they met my own eyes in the grocery store. I had this feeling, real strange for me, having never been in a rush to be in a relationship, which told me that I would do whatever I could to be with him, even if it destroys the other girls I'm up against.
Weirded out, I kept flipping through the book.
The man talked to me! I mean he really talked to me. And he even asked me on a date! Oh, I can't wait to go out tonight, it'll be great, I'm so glad no other girls had tried to get in my way, it would've been awful for them, with what I would've done...
The date was wonderful! His name is Alexander, isn't that an interesting name? He seemed to understand me, to really know almost everything about me. He seemed strangely interested in me. He even asked me to sign over my soul to him, I couldn't help but feel happy, so of course I signed it over! The contract just said that I was his and his alone, and there would be severe consequences if I broke the contract, which I found to be a bit odd, considering I didn't really know what he was talking about.
I felt sickened as I read those particular entries; they really stuck in my mind. Why would my grandmother sign over her soul?
Today, I met another man, and we are very similar. He seems great. I'm just a little afraid to break the news to Alexander. Maybe I don't have to, though. He wouldn't know as long as I'm careful, right? I don't think so. The man I met today had eyes the color of the summer sky and hair the color of golden wheat. His skin is tanned to perfection. I really like Henry.
I was caught by Alexander today. I was writing a letter to my Henry, and he saw it. I had this unexplainable fear when he read it, like I was in some real danger. It made me think back to that silly little contract.
I'm scared. I've been staying with Henry now, but Alexander's words still haunt me. "Just wait, woman, just wait until you've near forgotten me, and you think I'm gone out of your life. I'm gonna come back, June, and the day I come back, you'll be sorry.
I scanned some of her other entries, but they were just normal things about her life with Henry, who was my grandfather. When I was about to close the book, I noticed some writing on the back cover. It was some writing from last night.
I think he's back. I saw his eyes in the mirror. I saw him standing outside my window. I've been seeing him everywhere. I think I signed my soul over to the devil. He made me kill my cat, as if my soul had been in his control. It was so horrible. I buried her in the back yard. I know the devil has found me, and I know I'm not safe. I just wonder why he's come back now of all times, after 81 years. What will he do to me?
I dropped the book in shock, and then picked it up carefully, sitting it on the shelf, when my eye caught something on the wall. There were words carved onto the wall so lightly I had to squint to see them.
The wall read "I told you I'd come back, June. Your soul will stay with me forever, in hell.”