I don’t know how long I was trapped in the basement with it. It would menace me, but did not hurt me. I felt it get close and then withdraw when I screamed. There was no exit, but it refused to end my suffering. Each time I thought my terror could not get any worse, it found some new way to frighten me. It showed me scenes of death. It oozed something to cover my hands, to let me know it was near. And the sounds… I cannot describe the noises it made.
I begged it to stop. To let me go. To kill me. But nothing seemed to matter. Yet I could sense its glee at my torment. Finally, I hit upon something. I promised to find another. Someone else it could torment. I felt the creature recede and the door at the top of the stairs clicked open.
It had accepted my offer and let me go. Now I needed to find a substitute. I cannot say why I didn’t just leave. I guess I wasn’t thinking clearly. Or maybe I didn’t think I could get away that easily. Not after I had proposed the bargain. So I went out to find someone else to sacrifice in my stead.
I drove to the park by the river. It did not take long to find a homeless man who could be lured into coming home with me by the promise of food and a warm place to sleep. I brought him back to the house and shoved him into the basement. The screaming started immediately, but I didn’t stay to listen.
I came straight here to turn myself in. I am horrified at what I’ve done, but I hope you can understand why I did it.
* * *
The detective just looked at me for several moments before speaking. “That’s quite a story, Mr. Samuelson. So you kidnapped a homeless man to sacrifice him to a demonic presence in your basement.”
“Yes. I know it was wrong. But I had to save myself.”
“And yet, we’ve searched your house and found no evidence of this man, nor of any demonic presence.”
“But why would I lie about this? About doing something like this?”
“I don’t know. People occasionally confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Sometimes they do it to get attention. Sometimes they just aren’t right in the head. What I can tell you is that the next time you feel a demonic presence, come here before you go out to kidnap someone.”
“You’re not going to arrest me? Put me in jail?”
“For what? For wasting my time? I wish I could. Go home, Mr. Samuelson.”
I wanted to protest, to demand to be put behind bars. At least that would keep me from going back to that house. But the detective had already left. And they had found nothing. Maybe it had just been a dream.
With nothing else to do, I left the police station. Outside, sitting on a bench on the sidewalk, was the homeless man. He smiled when he saw me. It was a smile that turned my blood to ice.
“You did well to bring me this body, but don’t go running off to the police again. That would seem to violate the spirit of our agreement. You should go back home. I’ll find you when I need a new body.”