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Phantom’s Key
Prologue

           Hi, my name’s Cade Walker. I would have been twenty-three today if I hadn’t died when I was nineteen. Yeah, that’s right. I’m dead. For some reason, though, I have a good bit of suppressed power in me. At least, that’s what the guy who reaped my soul told me. I’m not going to lie, being dead and living in the world between Heaven and Hell is so boring. For entertainment, I go down to Hell and play tricks on the demons. For crying out loud, I have to have lava-drinking contests with them to keep myself from dying of boredom, oh wait I can’t because I’m already dead! Seriously, being dead sucks, but it has its benefits. I can’t die again; I can’t get sick from mortal diseases; I don’t age; and since I live in Limbo I can travel to pretty much whatever plane of existence I want in the afterlife. I’ve tried going to the human world before, but it’s incredibly hard.

           Anyway, as I said I died when I was nineteen. I can still remember how I died. I had just finished my last day of my freshman year of college. I had been about the average student, the only difference being that I hadn’t had a girlfriend at any point in my life. I had decided to head back to my apartment and see if there were any new movies that I could go see, and then let summer vacation roll by like I did in high school. I didn’t want to go home since I had no home to go to. My parents had died in a car accident when I was twelve, my grandparents were horrible, and the only other member of my family had died last year. I was brought up by my uncle Phil until I moved out, and he died not long after. He was sixty-five years old, so he died of natural causes. Getting back to my death, I was walking down the street to the parking garage about three blocks away, when something weird happened. As I was walking, the air seemed to get thick and hot, like the inside of an oven. The further down I went, the hotter it got. Then I saw something that scared me so bad that I was paralyzed. There, right in front of me, was a set of giant double doors. Only, the doors had no walls around them, and the surface was carved like a demon in the exact center, with horrible images around it. They were of people standing in flames, naked, screaming; some were drowning in a river of blood; and still others were being tortured in ways that I never could have, and never want to, imagine. What terrified me beyond that was that the doors started to open. They opened inward, and as they did, the heat coming from them increased, but also dropped a little. When they had opened only partway though, they stopped.

           They didn’t need to open all the way though. As soon as the doors had begun to crack, awful creatures started to spring out. Some looked like humans, but with grey skin and awful deformities all over them. Others looked like creatures from the works of H.P. Lovecraft. I didn’t know what they were, but I didn’t care. My legs unfroze, and I ran for it. The creatures gave chase, but I kept running blindly. Then, I was out in the street, and an eighteen wheeler truck was barreling at me, horn blaring. It happened in less than a second. One moment I was standing there, the next I was lying on the road, covered in my own blood. This has probably been said before, but when I saw my life flash before my eyes, I was bored. Then, I felt a strange slicing sensation go through me, like a blade passing through my body. It didn’t hurt though. When I opened my eyes, I saw a guy about my age standing next to my body, holding a large scythe. He was about five foot nine in height, and had on a red dress shirt, black tie, khakis, and black shoes. He had untidy red hair, and from what I could see, blue eyes.
“So,” I said, causing the guy to turn toward me. “I guess that this means I’m dead.” The guy nodded. I let out a sigh, and then asked, “So, where am I going, Heaven or Hell?” The guy just answered with, “That depends. I’ll have to consult your file.”

           I raised my eyebrow at that, but then he pulled a manila folder out of the air, and started to read its contents. When he was done, he turned back to me again.
“The higher ups have sentenced you to neither folder out of the air, and started to read its contents. When he was done, he turned back to me again.
“The higher ups can’t decide until they’ve seen you,” he told me. He put the folder away, and motioned for me to follow him. I did, and he made a motion as if he was grabbing a doorknob. For a moment, I thought this was some kind of joke, but then I looked back at my body, definitely not a joke. I turned back to the reaper who had come to take my soul, and saw a bright light coming from a rectangle of space in the air.
“Go on,” he said. I just stood there, and then went through the door. I had to shield my eyes because it was so bright. When my eyes finally adjusted, I saw a desk in front of me, and sitting behind it was an old man in a white suit, with long white hair, and a very long white beard. I read the plaque on his desk. It had only one word on it, GOD. I gulped. I was standing in front of the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. He looked at me, and seemed to smile.
“Have a seat, Cade,” he said, motioning to the chair in front of his desk. I sat down, and was surprised at how comfortable it was. God looked at me, and I was shocked to see that his eyes kept changing color. One moment they were dark green, the next electric blue. At that moment, another man came in. He was dressed in a grey suit with long brown hair and a thick brown beard and moustache, but nowhere near as thick as God’s. God looked up at him, and said to me, “Oh yes, Cade this is my son, Jesus Christ. Jesus, this is our newest case.” Jesus looked at me, and I was relieved to see that his eyes were only one color, cloudy grey. He seemed to be assessing me. God spoke again, “He’s my assistant in cases such as this. He has read your file and is trying to use his excellent judgment of character to tell where you should go.” I didn’t know what to say to that, so I stayed quiet. Jesus then turned to God, and said, “He hasn’t done enough evil to be sent to Satan, and yet not enough good to join the others in Heaven. At least, he hasn’t yet.” God seemed confused, but then nodded. He waved his hand towards the reaper, and said, “George, since we have nothing that directly points him to Heaven or Hell, send him to the point in between.” George nodded, and sliced the air open with his scythe. I turned towards God, and asked, “What’s the point in between? And what do you mean I haven’t done enough good yet?” God looked at me, and answered, “My son, living people see death as the end of their journey, but the author J.R.R Tolkien got it right in his books. Death is merely another path that all mortals must take. You have more opportunities to do good in your afterlife than you did alive. Use them wisely. As for where you are going, it is known as Limbo.”

           After he said that, the reaper known as George grabbed my hand, and pulled me towards the portal. He gestured through with his scythe, and I entered. On the other side, it was mostly dark. I looked around, and saw skeletal trees all around. In addition to that, I saw lots of people around. Some were weeping, and some were joking around, but most just looked bored. At the time I had wondered why, but now I understand. I had been in Limbo for four years Earth time, and I had already been bored out of my skull for three-and-a-half of them. That is, until the day the door opened.
The chapters will be posted here.
Hello to the (very) few people that keep up with my page, I am writing this journal to say that one of my favorite authors on this site GabrielRaven has agreed to write a story with me. It will be called Phantom's Key. We still need to work out where the chapters will be posted, but as soon as we have it figured out, you will all be the first ones to know.

-Ciao (that actually means Hello in Italian, but I can't spell their word for Goodbye)
The Howl of the Wolf
           by geno1312

          It was a day like any other in the town of Hillcrest, Virginia. The fall season had come at last, and the leaves had started to turn from the monotony of green to a multitude of red, brown, and gold. This illusion of tranquility was far from the reality of the current state the town was in, however. If one were to ask any inhabitant of the town, they would have been informed of the true nature of the town. Until a few months previously, the town had indeed been peaceful. Then the situation took an abrupt turn. A traveler that had stopped through the town on his way to another city had apparently strolled into the forest late in the night, and was found near the river the next morning, torn nearly apart. The investigators couldn’t find any evidence that a human had killed him. A few weeks later, another traveler was found dead in the forest. It kept happening again and again over the next few months, and every inhabitant of the town was now too afraid to enter the forest, for fear of being the next victim. However, some believed that it was some kind of monster, because of one constant detail. It was always the same, the night before each victim was found, all of the townspeople claimed to have heard the same sound resonating over the trees: the howling of a wolf.
           As it happened, another traveler was heading towards the town. Her name was Sarah Williams, and she was a journalist as well as a self-taught investigator from New York City. She had come to Hillcrest hoping to discover who or what was causing these deaths and-if she was very lucky-put a stop to it. As she walked down the road to the town’s entrance, she passed next to a small part of the very forest that so terrified the locals. She stopped for a moment to gaze at the trees, which in the day looked like they would be great for just sitting down and relaxing. However, she had a feeling that at night, they would look much different, at least until everyone could be sure that the “beast” or whatever it was that lived in those woods was no longer a concern.
           When she arrived at the town, she decided to head to the local inn. She looked around, hoping to get directions from someone, but they all seemed busy and eager to get where they were going. Then, she heard a voice behind her.
“I haven’t seen your face around here. Looking for the inn?” it said. She whipped around to see a man dressed in a long brown coat wearing round spectacles. He looked to be in his mid-twenties, and appeared to be the local doctor. Sarah smiled at him and nodded.
“Yes. I’m here trying to get an understanding of what’s been happening here,” she explained to the doctor. When he heard that, his face turned grim. He looked around to see if anyone was watching-which they weren’t-and turned back to Sarah. His voice took on a strange quality as he said, “Listen closely to me miss. The inn is only five minutes’ walk straight east of here, but if you take my advice, you’ll get out of here before nightfall. If you’re smart, you’ll leave right this minute.” And so saying, he turned and headed off as fast as he could without running or appearing to be up to anything suspicious. She wondered for a minute what he was referring to, but then decided that it was the air of fear and paranoia in the air. The murders had terrified everyone-as she knew full well, but she didn’t think it was this bad. Nevertheless, she followed the doctor’s directions, and sure enough found herself at the inn in five minutes.
           She entered and was immediately hit with a wave of warm air. After the chill of the autumn weather all over her for thirty minutes down an old dirt road, any amount of warmth was welcome. She walked inside, and shut the door behind her. She looked around, seeing rickety tables and chairs all around. More than one of such tables was currently playing host to a passed out tenant. She went to the bar and sat down. She asked the bartender for a coffee, and he just nodded. The bartender was a big man with filthy brown hair. He was barrel-chested and looked slightly intimidating. He asked why she was in town, and she gave the same explanation to him as she had the doctor. When he heard that she was investigating what was causing the murders, he got a strange, knowing look in his eye. He set down his glass, and fixed his gaze at Sarah.
“If ye need answers abou’ it,” he began, his deep, slightly grunting voice becoming rather sage-like, “ye can get them from me. I know full well what’s killin’ them travelers that come through here.” She stared at him for a few moments, and then decided to take his bait.
“All right then. What do you believe is killing every traveler that comes here?” she asked. The bartender, who introduced himself as Mister Zachary Dale, gave a grin. Then he began, “It definitely ain’t a man, but it ain’t no animal neither. I seen it, ya see, right before the firs’ murder. It was black as the night itself, it was. Its eyes were red as blood, an’ it looked a’ me as if I were its next meal. Tha’s why it’s killin’ ‘em: food.” Sarah was definitely interested now. She had already pulled out a notepad and was writing down everything he said. She got all of the details, including his description of the beast, and left, after paying for the coffee, of course.
She decided to go through the forest the next day, and she got out of bed just after sunrise to do so. She threw on the thickest coat she had, since it had gotten even colder through the night, and wrapped her scarf twice around her neck. As she headed off, she saw the doctor-Jonathan Niles was his name-and decided to get more information as to the murder victims. She got his attention, and when he saw that she hadn’t heeded his advice, he frowned but said nothing. It wasn’t until she was right in front of him that she asked to see the bodies. He just nodded, and led her in.
“They’re all in the same condition: scarred, torn, and shredded. I just can’t understand it,” he explained, muttering the last part to himself in the hopes that she wouldn’t hear. She did though, and asked, “What exactly don’t you understand?” He sighed, and explained, “All of the evidence suggests a wolf attack, but it was one wolf, and the teeth and claw marks are much too large. I don’t believe a word of old Dale’s stories, but I’m starting to think he’s right.”
After that little interview, she bid the doctor good-day, and left for the forest once again. When she finally got there, the sun was setting, so she headed off to find the spot where the first victim was found, the river. When she got there, she saw a young man there. He was of average height, and rather skinny, wearing only a long pair of green plaid pants and a white shirt with four or five patches in it. He looked up at her, and his gaze held hints of fear, to her confusion.
“You shouldn’t be here. You must leave quickly, or you’ll end up like the rest of those poor travelers.” She was surprised at first, but shook it off. Then she said to him, “I need to ask you some questions first. What’s your name?” He hesitated for a moment, and then answered, “Herrick.” Herrick then looked up at the sky, and looked horrified. Then he turned back to Sarah, and his eyes screamed one word to her, “Run!” Then, the moon shone down on them, and Herrick started to scream. He screamed so loud that the sound could only be rivaled by someone in the worst pain possible.
When he stopped screaming, he looked up at her, and she gasped. His eyes were blood red! He opened his mouth to reveal all of his teeth had become pointed, and his canines had grown into two-inch long fangs. He groaned out, “Run, now!” but she couldn’t move. Then, she heard it: the creaking, and snapping, of bones. Herrick’s screams started again, but they had become deeper, less human. He continued to scream, and his bones started to rearrange themselves, becoming bigger and longer. His hands had doubled in size, and his fingernails had become long, black claws. His legs gained an extra joint, right below the knees, and the heels of his feet moved up so that when he stood, he was on the balls of his feet. Now they resembled the hind legs of a wolf, only much larger. In contrast to his now lean lower body, his upper body was bulging with muscle. Then, dark hair began to sprout all over his body, and he tore his clothes off with his claws. He was now completely covered in a layer of black fur. As for Sarah, she tried to run, but her legs wouldn’t move. She was too terrified to do anything but watch as the base of Herrick’s spine grew, and a foot long, bushy tail sprang into existence.
The most terrifying part of all was what was happening to his head. Herrick’s screams continued to become less like a human, and more like the growls and snarls of a wolf. This was no doubt due to the fact that his jaws had stretched out from his face, and formed into a muzzle, with a black snout at the end. His head then became covered in the same layer of fur, only more sleek. His ears then became pointed, and moved upwards on his head. It ended with a final snarl, and snapping of his blood coated fangs.
The werewolf was now on all fours. It was looking right at Sarah, and she stared back at it. Then, it rose up on its powerful legs, and stared up at the source of its transformation: the bright, silver moon. Then, opening its jaws wide, it let out a sound that echoed over the trees for miles around; a sound that shook Sarah to the core with fear; the sound that the townspeople had heard before, and associated with death: a long, loud howl.
The chapters will be posted here.

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geno1312
I am known by many names... well, two
United States
I like to call myself the Hatman
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:iconmanymasksmanyfaces:
manymasksmanyfaces Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
thanks for the watch!
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:iconmanymasksmanyfaces:
manymasksmanyfaces Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Happy birthday!
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:icon64supernintendo:
64SuperNintendo Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Happy birthday!
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:iconwolfsbanewolfen:
WolfsbaneWolfen Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Hey I read your prologue not half bad. I too actually have a story I made on DA. It's still not finished yet I'd say maybe 3 more chapters left. Not to be a critic or anything but you can feel free to look at mine to give you pointers. I'm not saying your bad at it I thought I could help. Between you and me I don't have any feedback on my work which may take a hell of a long time. Bro Hug  
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:icongeno1312:
geno1312 Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013
Read the other two chapters, they're in my gallery
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:iconwolfsbanewolfen:
WolfsbaneWolfen Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
When I get a chance I'll have a look.
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:icongeno1312:
geno1312 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
Sorry about the silence. I've been busy with school and homework and other things
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:iconask-obsidian-aster:
Ask-Obsidian-Aster Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2012  Hobbyist
((You gonna reply? ._.))
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:icongeno1312:
geno1312 Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2012
Yeah, I've just been busy. I'm in the Big Apple right now.
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:iconask-obsidian-aster:
Ask-Obsidian-Aster Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2012  Hobbyist
Aster: Oh look! A friend of Stormy!

Obsidian: *shrug* what's up?
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