DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 3.2//EN"> Discarnate

DISCARNATE ENTITY by Jim Garrison

One day an acquaintance suggested that I search for my favorite authors in some of the Hollywood bookstores, so the next morning, after driving over the Cahuenga Pass and dropping onto Highland Avenue, from which I swung onto Hollywood Blvd., my eyes were drawn to a garish, red banner strung in front of a shop which proclaimed that the bookstore within specialized in science fiction and fantasy - exactly what I was looking for.

And it was not until after parking my car and approaching the business that I saw that it also dealt in witchcraft and the occult.

A girl was behind a counter bagging a purchase for a customer when I walked into the small, rather unkempt place, and I had to worm my way through several overstacked shelves before reaching her.

As she lifted her head and smiled faintly in my direction, I probably overreacted, for I have never before, or since, seen anyone as lovely. Rich auburn hair fell to her shoulders, and her eyes, the color of peridot, caught and reflected a small light which hung immediately above the cash register. And she obviously wasn't the type who spent her spare time reposing in the sun, for her complexion was flawlessly textured and delicate in its lightness.

Responding to my fixed stare, her expression suddenly froze, and she turned away to search for another customer. Realizing my rudeness and not wishing to offend her, I approached the counter and spoke rapidly, explaining that I was searching for books by Lovecraft, Arthur C. Clark and others.

#

My initial infatuation with this girl was overwhelming and I found myself telling her my name. Suddenly, she touched her forehead and laughed in utter delight. Then fixing her fantastic eyes on mine, she let me know that she was interested in me.

Things progressed rapidly after that. She assisted in locating the books that I had requested, and then accepted my invitation to lunch, but insisted that we dine above the shop where she resided.

Locking the store from the inside, after placing a closed sign in the window, she guided me through the back of it to stairs which led up to an attractive apartment. And while we ate lunch, I discovered that her reading interests paralleled mine, but that she was also involved in parapsychology and the occult.

Appearing pleased that I held no prejudices against either subject, she explained that she occasionally indulged in these activities. And as we talked and discussed our mutual interests, we also shared in our mutual attraction for each other.

After that, most of my nights were spent at her apartment until early one morning, she invited me to share it with her. I eagerly accepted.

Living together proved convenient for both of us. In due time I was busily engaged assisting her in running the bookstore, while she gradually returned to her interest in the occult and parapsychology.

One evening she appeared to be especially excited, and asked if I would join her in attending a meeting which involved a new group of people she had met, people who were also interested in parapsychology.

Explaining that the leaders were a retired mortician and an active psychic married couple, she immediately noted my skepticism.

"You must understand that some people view death not as the end of life, but as the beginning of a new experience we all will share," she elucidated. "And these same people believe that we all possess the power to survive death!"

"That's only wishful thinking!" I replied, ready to dismiss the subject. But she persisted.

"This couple is unique! They are not only psychical investigators by profession, but she has prophetic dreams and telepathic flashes. You must always remain totally open minded and never skeptical, because many bizarre things do happen, you know!"

I found myself reluctant to disagree further because her agitated manner suggested that she was reconsidering her feelings for me.

"Honey," I told her," if you want me to attend this meeting with you, fine! And I agree to keep an open mind." Kissing me soundly, she smiled, and as we drove over the pass to the valley, she explained further.

"Less than a century ago people were unwilling to discuss personal psychic experiences in fear that they would be called liars or even insane. Today parapsychology, or the scientific study of psychic phenomena, is becoming fully recognized. And ESP, mind over matter, and out-of-body travel are being studied at many universities here and in Great Britain. Some people even claim that they have received phone calls from the dead."

Watching for my reaction, she continued quickly, "And this group you will meet tonight is convinced that they have communicated with the deceased by placing tape recorders over their graves."

Breathing deeply in order to hold back laughter which threatened to erupt after her last remark, I managed to retain a semblance of seriousness as I asked why they were convinced that this had occurred.

"Because," she answered decisively,"they already have tapes with voices on them. And they are planning on developing a society whose goal will be to provide a service to assist those who have lost loved ones. The dead members will be able to leave messages. Our leader holds seances and is an open line to the spirits. You know, similar to a divining rod."

Carried away by her own recitation, she continued, "Her spiritual powers are magnificent, and she is drawn to those graves which respond to her gifts."

Despite my limited knowledge as to what her conversation implied, I readily understood that she was completely serious. And by the time we reached our destination, my sense of humor had disappeared.

Six people greeted us upon our arrival and rapidly introduced themselves to me, anxious to activate the taping equipment that was spread out on the table before them. Assuming that I was a believer also, they immediately included me in their conversation, but I remained mute, for the terminology they used evaded my understanding. Finally the mortician seemed to realize that I was either deaf or not comprehending what the tape they had put into a cassette recorder was playing, for while the others emanated sounds of triumph and joy as it emitted guttural and indistinct noises, I remained silent.

Eventually he approached me, sayi ng, "Don't you find these messages interesting? You know we are fortunate in obtaining any mode of communciation whatsoever from this discarnate entity. And this one was taken from a grave recommended by your girlfriend. My wife is especially thrilled that this departed one would want to communicate with us so freely through a mechanical device. Now she is most anxious for a psychic impression to come through."

The man was so infectiously pleasant that I responded to his information with a smile.

"We are returning there again tonight!" he brightened, taking me by surprise, and my smile quickly vanished.

Observing my obvious discomfort, he assured me, "You will enjoy this experience! We are fortunate in being given permission to whose goal will be to provide a service to assist those who have lost loved ones. The dead members will be able to leave messages. Our leader holds seances and is an open line to the spirits. You know, similar to a divining rod."

Carried away by her own recitation, she continued, "Her spiritual powers are magnificent, and she is drawn to those graves which respond to her gifts."

Despite my limited knowledge as to what her conversation implied, I readily understood that she was completely serious. And by the time we reached our destination, my sense of humor had disappeared.

Six people greeted us upon our arrival and rapidly introduced themselves to me, anxious to activate the taping equipment that was spread out on the table before them. Assuming that I was a believer also, they immediately included me in their conversation, but I remained mute, for the terminology they used evaded my understanding. Finally the mortician seemed to realize that I was either deaf or not comprehending what the tape they had put into a cassette recorder was playing, for while the others emanated sounds of triumph and joy as it emitted gutteral and indistinct noises, I remained silent.

Eventually he approached me, saying, "Don't you find these messages interesting? You know we are fortunate in obtaining any mode of communciation whatsoever from this discarnate entity. And this one was taken from a grave recommended by your girlfriend. My wife is especially thrilled that this departed one would want to communicate with us so freely through a mechanical device. Now she is most anxious for a psychic impression to come through."

The man was so infectiously pleasant that I responded to his information with a smile.

"We are returning there again tonight!" he brightened, taking me by surprise, and my smile quickly vanished. Observing my obvious discomfort, he assured me, "You will enjoy this experience! We are fortunate in being given permission to visit this cemetery which holds many who departed before the turn of the century. As a matter of fact, some of them have been disinterred by their families back east and reburied here."

Turning back to the others, I saw that two of them were donning sweatsuits over their regular clothing, ski boots, wool socks and bread bags over the boots.

Catching my inquisitive stare, one smiled knowingly. "These will keep demons out of our system in case any are present."

Feeling my girl's hand suddenly clutch mine, I looked down into her shining eyes.

"Darling ," she said soothingly,"those two are overly superstitious."

Getting into our cars, we headed for the cemetery which lay on the edge of the foothills. By now I was completely convinced that the group was thoroughly mad, after having seen them first load several shovels, as well as tape recorders, into the back of the van which the mortician drove. But I was in love with one of them, and was afraid of losing her.

As I drove, following her instructions on how to get to our destination, she told me that the tape we had heard carried the voice of someone crying for help. And because I was biased against it, I had not understood its momentary and fragmented conversation.

Despite the truth of her accusation, I readily disagreed and assured her that the phantom voice was a new experience for me, and one I would try to learn to accept. Pleased by my answer, she leaned her head against my shoulder.

"This is a force that needs to be reckoned with,"she said. "And through electronic contact with this entity, we have found that it desires to communicate. It's really not much different than taking a message by Ouija or automatic writing. Of course, it takes a gifted medium to contact the dead, and our spiritualist and psychc is one of the best."

Upon arriving at a nondescriptive location which was covered with fallen leaves from nearby foliage, and scraps of paper blown in by previous winds, everyone hurriedly disembarked from their automobiles.

Removing the shovels and tape equipment, and after turning on several flashlights and lanterns, they commenced to walk toward a chosen spot several yards from the parked cars.

But before reaching it, the mortician sought out and steadied his wife who had suddenly commenced to tremble and moan. Speaking in a low, rasping voice, she insisted on holding a seance exactly where we stood. And ignoring me, the others quickly clasped their hands together as they encircled the woman.

Responding almost instantly, the medium began to sway back and forth while clutching her head as if in great pain. Babbling that it needed help, and that she must be released from the agony she was suffering, she implored the group to free the deceased.

Her husband moved swiftly, handing out shovels to the others as they broke the circle, and then rushed forward to uncover a gravemarker which had been camouflaged by leaves and debris. It was quite large, and as my curiosity overcame my caution, I stepped close enough to see that it was inscribed with a strange scripture and an engraving of a death's angel.

Approaching the grave from behind me, the medium suddenly issued a piercing scream and pitched forward onto the ground. Thrashing in a convulsive manner, her voice noticeably deepened as she gasped in distress again and again. "Let me out! Let me out!"

Her husband tossed the tape recorder he had been carrying to one side and ordered the others to start digging. I stood apart from the group, watching in disbelief as they began to remove shovelfuls of earth from the grave and fling it aside. And as the psychic's condition worsened, their frenzied efforts increased.

The hole they dug quickly deepened until I heard the sound of their shovels strike something solid. Suddenly the mortician noticed my immobility and heaved a shovel in my direction, shouting, "Dig, damn it!"

Aware that his wife was in obvious torment as her body twisted and bent as if being struck by some unknown force, I complied with his request. And as I had surmised, the group had already exposed a metal coffin. As I jumped into the hole and bent forward to scoop away some remaining dirt from its top, one of their shovels neatly sliced open my forearm. Blood from the wound quickly flowed down my jacket- sleeve, but they appeared to be impervious to it. Their attention was riveted on the task of pacifying the now outrageously profane mortician whose language had become more vulgar as his wife's agony increased.

Pushing us aside, as the remaining earth was .swept from the coffin, he anxiously pounded on its lid with a shovel, hoping to dislodge it.- Finally, the others joined in his crazed efforts until the lid gave way.

When it was raised they stood back quietly, for the interior, of the coffin was empty except for a pile of insignificant, reddish brown dust and a ring. And as I leaned forward to examine the ring, some of the blood which was soaking my sleeve splashed upon it.

Instantly, the dust gathered around the blood and took shape.

And within seconds, a skeletal-like finger, covered by near trans¬parent skin which exposed digital bones, appeared wearing the ring.

Except for ocassional moans issuing from the psychic above us, a stunned silence fell over the group, until the mortician grabbed my arm and shook it vigorously over the remaining dust.

Resisting the madman, I jerked back, but not before he had torn open my jacket revealing the wound, and had pried his fingers into it until he had managed to open it further. My blood began to spurt freely into the casket, before I was able to stem its flow with a handkerchief.

After this was accomplished, I realized that I was standing quite apart from the others, for they were oblivious to my discomfort, and once again staring into the coffin.

Following their gaze, I remained completely still as I watched an unbelievable sight. A transformation was taking place within the casket whereby a male, nude body was being created. A tall, lean skeleton covered by paper thin, white skin stretched over it, so taut that every contour of bone was visible, was forming rapidly. And as it slowly moved, its eyes momentarily opened, revealing red irises.

Suddenly it reared itself up out of the coffin, vibrating with force. The swiftness of its movement and the energy it radiated caused me to draw back and hover near the edge of the hole. And it was then that I realized that the others had remained stationary, as though mesmerized.

An impregnanting, foul scent assailed my nostrils, and I was aware of a sonorous voice roaring from above us as the spiritualist transmitted a robust, masculine, European accented voice from her own lips.

Simultaniously the metamorphising creature reached towards her, dragging her against him, and with a glint of canines and incisor teeth, commenced to tear out her throat. Nearly decapitizing her, he drank until her blood sated his hunger.

Watching his actions in stunned horror, I could neither react nor move, for the phenomenon that was occurring left me unable to reason. It was difficult to believe my own senses as I saw the creature's veins and arteries, through its transparent skin, fill and pulsate with blood.

Finished with the dead psychic, he next feasted ravishingly on the blood of the others until he had completed a final cycle of change. His muscles formed and attached to his bones, while the brain developed in the cranium as a dark mass until his head covered with white hair which rapidly darkened.

Finally, as his skin became flesh colored, he emerged as an exceptionally handsome man bearing an outstanding feature: one strip of white hair zigzagged like streaked lightening from his right temple to the back of his head through his raven black hair.

As he raised his face from his latest victim, I realized that there were only two of us remaining. The girl I loved stood facing him as he slowly approached her, but I was. unable to move. Screaming inside, I stood motionless as he bent his head and covered her lips with his own.

Then, unexpectedly, he left her and turned his attention to me. And suddenly, I felt his powerful fingers dig into my throat as he lifted me from the ground and held me at arms length.

Gasping for air, I felt his malevolent eyes penetrate mine, and as an odd tingling sensation coursed through my scalp, their overpowering force seemed to stimulate the nerve endings inside my head.

I heard him chuckle as he threw me to the ground. And before I passed out, he spoke to me.

"I will be back," he said.

#

The masculine voice faded away as the psychiatrist switched off the recorder. He had listened to the story several times, but still found it difficult to believe that the patient relating it was under a truth serum. In most cases, despite a severe mental shock, a disturbed person of this type usually did not hallucinate to this extent under the drug. But obviously, whatever this man had witnessed, it had severely damaged his mind.

Leaving his office, the doctor walked through a narrow passage-way before reaching a wider hallway' which was hemmed in by identical doors bearing 'small, barred windows.

And upon reaching the last door, he opened it with one of the keys which were attached to a ring on his belt.

After entering the room and locking the door, he stepped inside where a man, in his late twenties, sat crouched in the cornier of the padded cell. A vacuous expression covered his face as his staring eyes remained fixed on a jagged scar which curved up his forearm. Afraid that he might attempt to rip it open again with his fingernails, which he had previously managed to do, the doctor contemplated on whether he should be put in a straightjacket. But the psychiatrist disliked doing this to someone who had witnessed such gruesome multiple murders.

Perhaps no one would ever learn what had happened at the old gravesite, the doctor mused, for when the police had arrived, only this man had been still alive, babbling incoherently. And it was not until after he had been hypnotized several times and drugged as well with several types of serums, that he was capable of relating his story. And the final version, a composite of taped segments, exposed the rambling half truths and delusions of an insane man.

Snapping his fingers suddenly before his patient's vacant eyes, the psychiatrist barked, "Come on, fellow, wake up!"

Reacting slowly, the man blinked several times before responding to the doctor. Then he screamed, "The master is at hand!" Whereupon, he immediately lapsed back into a stupor and stared at his arm.

Accustomed to his repeated phrase about the master and his lethargic behavior, the doctor waited patiently, leaning back against the wall, until he heard a knock on the door. Before he opened it, he glanced down at his watch and saw that it was nearly half past six and he realized that it was probably already dark outside.

The police had phoned while ne was listening to the tape, requesting permission to visit his patient. Apologizing for the lateness of the hour, the officer calling had told him that a psychic investigator they had hired to help on the case had been delayed, but would arrive shortly. The doctor knew that all leads on the investigation had been exhausted, and in desperation the police had sought out the assistance of the psychic. Understanding their dilemma, and anxious to assist in the case, the psychiatrist had readily agreed to wait with the patient until the investigators arrival.

Now as he unlocked the door and introduced himself to the psychic and his assistant, and ushered them into the room, he was surprised to see his patient reacting favorably.

"He seems to be taken by your lovely assistant," the doctor remarked, noticing that she was a beautiful girl except for the pallor of her skin which suggested illness. Her peridot colored eyes filled with desire as she looked at the young man, and the psychiatrist watched in amazement as his patient reached out and gently stroked her lovely auburn hair.

"What is the young man's name?" inquired the psychic investigator in a deep, rich voice.

Surprised by the question since the police already knew the answer, the doctor, nonetheless, answered, "Why, R. M. Renfield, the Third, of course."

It was then that he noticed the unusual streak of white hair which ran from the forehead of the handsome psychic to the back of his head.

CONTENTS


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