• Jeepers Creepers
    Sacred Ground

    " .... On a dark dirt road so suspicious just trees and ditches
    Headlights flicker and it's got you turnin switches
    Now you so damn scared you bout to s**t in your britches .... "
    - "Seven" - Boondox


    He woke as he normally did. Hungry. He stretched, hearing his back, arms, legs, all his joints pretty much, pop and crack. For twenty-three years he slept. Twenty-three years. The Creeper needed to eat.
    His wings spread behind him as he walked around his House of Pain, examining himself. His vision was blurred and his breathing labored. He placed a hand on his chest and felt around. His heart was slowed. It seemed, to him, that he was always in need of another heart.
    He stretched once more, and started to gather his things. Soon, it would be midnight, and his twenty-three day human buffet would start.

    The Creeper dressed quickly and walked to the pipe that shot up to the surface. He was greeted, as he looked up, by a low rumble of thunder and rain water splashing down on him. He frowned, removed his hat, and turned around. "Damn spring storms," he muttered darkly. He shook his head, his tangled mass of white hair flinging water droplets everywhere.
    He replaced his hat and looked around. "Where did I ... Oh, right." He had fallen asleep before he had been able to put up his knife and throwing stars. The Creeper moved his instruments around, gathering paper and organizing them. It didn't take long to find his handmade weapons.

    As he returned to the pipe, the Creeper prepared himself. He stopped and looked up, inhaling the damp night air.
    On the air, came another smell. It was an unmistakable smell. He breathed again, his third nostril taking in the damp smell. The smell of fear. And it was close. He grinned, replaced his hat and, with a powerful jump, sailed through the pipe and landed next to his truck.
    The Creeper inhaled again and spun around. Whatever he liked, it was inside the church. He grinned, flashing his sharp, yellowed teeth and walked towards the church doors.

    Inside, the church was even darker than outside. Cobwebs hung from pew to the ground, one held a large black spider winding up it's prey. The stained glass windows that once held glorious works of religious art were broken by vandals long ago. Only one glass window, depicting the Virgin mary, remained in tact. The large crucifix holding Christ lay still and dark, looking more menacing than anything. The ceiling hung low, cobwebs and dust in every corner and on every light fixture. The house of worship was now in ruins.
    The Creeper kept his head bowed low and walked carefully. The smell of fear was gone, but he knew the person still lingered. He just had to find him.

    A sudden movement made him tense. His eyes darted towards the sound of scurrying. A small black mouse raced from pew to pew. The Creeper started to look away when he saw it.
    Huddled in a corner was a dark green mass. His features settled into a curious expression as he walked towards the figure. As he drew closer, he saw it was a young woman under a blanket. Her hair was pulled into low pigtails, under a black baseball cap, and was of a dark brown coloration.
    She was fast asleep.

    The Creeper start to walk closer, but a shard of glass crunched under his boot. The girl woke with a start and saw him. He was grateful for being so far back.
    "F-father?" the girl asked timidly. He sighed. She thought he was a priest. "Yes, child?" he said softly. The quick smell of fear left before he had the chance to inhale. The girl smiled and sat up. "I'm sorry to intrude, Father," the Creeper shook his head. "It's quite alright."
    "I'll only stay until the storm leaves," she explained, "You see, my car broke down and my cell phone's dead. I promise, I won't trouble you." The Creeper laughed quietly. "No need to explain yourself." he comforted.

    "My name is Erika, by the way," she said, "Erika Gracie."
    "Pleasure to meet you, Miss Gracie," he said. Erika shifted and stood, wrapping the blanket around her small frame. "It's so sad." she whispered. The Creeper looked at her. "What do you mean?" He walked towards the front.
    "The church," Erika explained, following him, "I can't believe anyone could be so cruel."
    The Creeper bowed his head, his large-rimmed cowboy hat covering his face. "The world is full of cruelty." he whispered. "Nobody, it seems, goes to church anymore."
    "You do." Erika whispered with a slight air of admiration, making the Creeper smile. "How come the highway is deserted?" she asked. "The monster." he spoke the word with as little pride as possible. "Monster?"
    "Every twenty-third spring it wakes up. And for twenty-three days it gets to eat."
    "Eat what?" the Creeper smiled. "Whatever it needs." Fear filled his nostrils. He breathed the scent and smelled it.

    "What do you mean?" the young woman asked softly. "Eyes, so it can see," another breath, not her eyes, "Lungs, so he can breathe," he nearly shuttered with another breath. Erika hugged herself, her fear filled the room. The smell was intoxicating, but he still couldn't find out what he liked in her. "That's just a story. A-a legend. Right?" she asked quietly. The Creeper grinned.

    "All stories have some truth to them, Miss Gracie." he said softly, "Even the scary ones." Erika raised her head to the crucifix. "I guess that's true." she whispered. She was still scared, but was doing an admirable job of keeping it hidden from view.

    The Creeper's third nostril flared. Erika turned to him. "Father? Are you alright?" he tensed slightly. "What do you mean?"
    "You're breathing seems to have changed." Fear gripped her, and the smell made him dizzy. "I am fine, child. My lungs aren't what they used to be." Erika looked away from him. Her fear hung in the air. The Creeper breathed it in.
    "Even broken, a church is beautiful." she whispered. "Sacred ground. No evil can enter." He could smell her fear leaving and it frustrated him. He needed her heart to pound in her chest with terror. He wanted her to be afraid. The last scent of her fear faded, and he took in one more breath. A heart.

    "Not all evil can be stopped." he spoke carefully. "Some evil is immune to sacred ground." A sharp fear shot through Erika's body and the Creeper confirmed his suspicion. He liked her heart. "My mother always told me a church is the safest place to be." Erika stated, trying to calm her fear. The Creeper gave a hallow laughter, and raised his head to look at her, smiling.
    "Not from me, it's not."