The Gypsy Man
The night of June, 1883, was cold. That bone chilling cold that leaves the streets covered in misty ice sheeting. The moon was full behind the thin clouds and the street lights flickered as electricity struggled to work its way through their circuits. The residents of the small town we all sleeping, happily and contented, because they were not struggling, homeless or depressed, they all had good paying jobs and they all had perfectly boring lives. That is; all but one. The Smith family was exciting, ever changing and unexpected. With them reality and fantasy intertwine until no one knows what is real and what is not.
"Julie, sweetie, are you seeing things again? Is your head okay?" Herman Smith asked as he sat beside his daughter's bed, she was breathing erratically and crying as she coughed bits of blood, which sprayed into her hands. Herman placed a damp cloth on her head and passed her a cool glass of water.
"Don't worry, Julie, I've found a doctor who might be able to help, it's a far drive but you have to hang in there."
The following days were spent gathering up their things and preparing for the road. On the odd occasion Julie would help slowly packing clothes into a suitcase. Once they were on the road things for the most part when nicely, they stopped every now and then for food and a rest. However, Julie was getting worse; she was now having nightmares every night and was scared of everything, even her own shadow. She jumped as cars passed them on the highway and screamed as her own mind fooled her into thinking people were running into the car or acid was melting away the window shield and dripping all over her body, burning her skin.
"We are almost there." Herman smiled at his daughter as the car hobbled over sandy rocks.
"And where is 'there'?" she asked looking out at the desert like surroundings, there was no sign of life within the next mile, there was no sign of anything, just rocks and the odd dead tree.
Eventually, there was something strange on the horizon, so much that Julie thought she was seeing things again. She could have sworn she saw trees and not just trees but the whole forest too!
"Dad?" She questioned rubbing her brown eyes.
"Yes, we are there" He grinned.
The forest was thick and cluttered with trees and shrubs of all kinds, so much that they had to get out of their Ford and walk.
"Now. To find him!" Herman proclaimed as he walked deeper into the forest.
But Herman didn't listen to his daughter he just continued to walk.
"I think we are lost." Julie said before suddenly stopping in her tracks, there was a man if you can call it a man, standing by a bush beckoning her towards him, his fingernails were a green moss like colour that curled at the tip, whilst he's face resembled an old tribal warrior, and the smell! It was like being hit by a truck.
It called her, with a wave of his hand before running off into the forest. Without a second thought or glance at her confused father, she followed. Julie's legs were weak under her weight but they managed to carry her steadily over the roots and under the low hanging braches of trees, as she followed the mysterious person, almost as if in a trance. The woods around her swirled as suddenly she was surrounded by faces of the dead, men of the old Indian tribe, they studied her for a fleeting moment before chanting, throwing their arms around preparing to fight. They calmed as on stepped forward holding her father, he produced a rusted knife and decapitated him, right before her eyes.
With a screeching horror-struck gasp she ran towards the leader, she had no weapon so she clawed at his face with her nails, soon she the others we forming a tight circle round her pushing her and stabbing her with their blunt weapons. She could hear their battle cries as they circled the area and feel her own warm blood upon her lips. One held her father's head above her head and as she lost consciousness his lifeless eyes were the last thing she could remember.
"Your daughter is very sick." An old man, with long stretched ears and brown bony fingers flipped a card over on his cluttered table; it was a queen of spades.
"I know, that's why I'm here. I've heard that you can help." Herman stroked his daughter's long pale hair as she slept.
"I heard you have a cure." He looked up longingly, he had already lost his beautiful wife, he couldn't bear to lose Julie too.
"I do, but I can't help you."
"WHAT! You must! You saw her out there, she needs help, she needs you. I need you." He begged.
"The cure is not something most people would consider, I'd think wisely before you chose this way. It might favour your conscious to just let her leave this world" He held his hands to the air then focused his blackened gaze on Herman.
"What do I need to do? I'll do anything to help her."
"The devil within her cannot be cured, but I can transfer it, bring me another one, to take her place."
"What do you mean?" Herman questioned.
"Bring me another body, and I will transfer her evil to them." He demonstrated this by holding two voodoo dolls side by side, showing the flow of evil from one to the other with a swish of his hand.
"But you have to hurry, she is fighting an evil power within her, one that is winning, I predict she has a week, then... I suggest you make the most of your time now."
He stood up and crossed the room, gathering spices and setting up a stove.
"Well, what are you waiting for? GET OUT! I'm about to make lunch and there's not enough for you." He turned back to his ingredients, before realising that the Smith family had no intention of moving. He raised an eyebrow at Herman. Would he really trade another sole another family to this kind of torture to get his daughter back?
"Herman do you have another sole?" He questioned.
"I-I-I can find another." He nodded.
Over the next few days Herman made his way back to civilization, he began working at a hospital, portending everything was fine, perving on nurses and helping those who were sick. With one night to spare he found the one, an old lady with terminal cancer. She was dying already, there was nothing he nor the other doctors could do.
He brought the old lady up to the cottage.
"You wish to fool the devil do you? Want him to leave a perfectly healthy body for what? THAT? THIS WILL NOT WORK! GET OUT! GET OUT! AND TAKE HER WITH YOU!"
"LISTEN! I'M NOT LEAVING TIL SHE IS CURED! NOW I BROUGHT YOU A SOLE! MAKE THE SWAP!" Herman yelled with all the force he could muster.
"Fine, but this will not work, and when this goes horribly wrong, the devil will find you." The old man said darkly. Producing some power from his cabinet, he sat up the transformation ritual, placing rocks in an infinity symbol with the bodies inside.
He began to muddle something unexplainable or understandable by Herman, the room when dark and then suddenly lights flashed everywhere as if they were in the middle of a fireworks show.
"Daddy, Please Daddy, wake up." Julie cried, as the machines in the hospital beeped steadily.
"Maybe one day, Daddy will wake up, and when that day comes, we'll be here waiting to greet him." Julies mother, Kara smiled holding her daughter in her thin arms and smiling down at her brave husband.