“Tales of the Roaring Hill”

Tales of the Roaring Hill

Abraham Guo, Contributor

 

Abraham Guo won Honorable Mention for this short story.

Part 1

*

On Roaring Hill (the reason why it was called the Roaring Hill was because of the special structure it had. There were two rocks that formed a special angle that whenever the wind blew, it would create the sound of an animal roaring), there was a house. It was originally built by Mr. Petersen, who was a Soviet contract killer. Throughout his life, hundreds of lives were taken by him, using all different kinds of ways— from being assassinated to being tourtured to death. At the age of 38, he retired from his career. He became a smuggler of rum, whisky and all kinds of cigarettes from Cuba. He had made quite the fortune from that when, at the age of 47, he married Isabella Watson. They built a house on Roaring Hill and spent the rest of their lives there, before that fateful day came. On the rainy night of June 4th, 1998, Mr. Petersen died after suffering from heart failure.

But he didn’t stay dead.

On the second morning, his wife was killed in her bedroom while sleeping. A knife cut through her throat— no fights took place that night, and no one ever broke into the house. Mr. Petersen was found lying in the basement with all different kinds of scars on his body. His and his wife’s bodies were buried in the local cemetery.

But that wasn’t the end of it— Mr. Petersen’s body was found missing two days after— the coffin was broken from inside and footprints led towards Roaring Hill.

*

George was an athlete from a local high school. He was so good that he earned most of the trophies for the school. He was called a jock because he spent almost all his time playing sports and almost no time studying, which left him with a C average. He hated his classmates because he believed that everyone called him a jock because he was too handsome and everyone was simply jealous.

It was a normal day after practice. George took his dog, Penny, out for a jog. The best place in town for both jogging and sightseeing in town was Roaring Hill.

It was sunny when George left his house. Penny was a little naughty today, which wasn’t usually how she behaved. But when George got to the middle of the hill, a strong wind blew through the rocks, and the roaring sound was so loud that Penny was scared. She ran away from George, all the way into the forest. Then for some unknown reason, the sky started to rain. The rain soon became so hard that George could barely see the things in front of him. After fifteen minutes, he was all wet and there, in front of him, stood a ruined house. He believed that Penny had gotten into the house to hide from the rain, so he walked inside. It was a pretty big house, but it had been vacant for years. Everything was covered by dust and spider webs. Strangely, many important things like sofas and beds and pots were still left in the house— it seemed like the house had been abandoned suddenly.

He then heard some noises from the basement. It was like something walking down there. Without another thought, he walked down into the basement. George didn’t know what was waiting for him in the darkness.

*

In western Massachusetts, you will find a small town called Charlemont. There were only a thousand people in it. It was quite a small place for living, but people living there had strong superstition in monsters. In the downtown, there is house right by Hawks Road. It is a 400 square foot house with two floors. The house had been built in 1840. It was around 100 years old. Walls and heating systems were refined tons of times already but wind still could blow through the walls and the radiators seldom worked. The family that lived here was the Petersens. They had a son, a strange boy called Philip. He was born on a windy night in 1947.

Everything went peacefully for seven years, until people believed they’d found out some secrets about the Petersens. It was a night in late November when everything was covered in snow. Horses were running outside— people were holding torches and spears— shouts and curses were all over the place. Local villagers surrounded that little house because they believe the Pertersens were monsters. Philip’s father was defending the people from coming in, but the villagers started throwing torches into the house. The Petersens were begging and explaining, but that would not help. Angry people rushed into the house and Mr. Petersen used his last breath to stop them— with his body. Marie who was Philip’s mother, was later captured by the villagers and was burnt to death the next day. seven-year-old Philip escaped this massacre of his family and watched everything happening.

He spent the next six years in the forest around Chalemont; each night, he suffered from the same nightmare of his family being killed and he himself watching by the corner— until one of the most important people in his life found him.

Maximus was traveling through the forest when he first saw this wild boy. Philip was not able to speak clearly after 6 years without seeing a single man. Max took him back to the Soviet Union to give him education. He knew the rage for Americans inside this kid could be used as an effective weapon against Soviet’s biggest enemy—America. He brought this boy to KGB, where Max was working for. They taught Mr. Petersen all the arts of taking lives. The agency brainwashed him that every American is an evil and demon. The Americans killed his family because he was a perfect boy, and people hate others that are better than themselves. The next three years spent in the training made him a scholarly and deadly man. He was able to speak four foreign languages fluently. Mr. Petersen was sent out into the rest of the world to eliminate enemies of the Soviet Union.

His first target was the US President John F. Kennedy. He landed in Texas on November 21, 1963. He was all prepared for the task. The gun shot next day showed that his rage was eventually released. At this point when his first victim was killed, the monster started to become real.

*

After 22 years serving the Soviet Union, he retired from his formal career. By that time, the only thing in his mind was killing and murdering. For some unknown reason, he disappeared for nine years. Some said he became a smuggler of precious items, some said he was secretly assassinated by the Soviet Union, because he held too many secrets. The third rumor was that he went to Shambhala, the mysterious place of immortality and curse. No one actually knew where he had been in those nine long years. To everyone’s surprise, Mr. Petersen reappeared in Chalemont, his hometown, in 1994. He was found living in a house on Roaring Hill. No one had ever seen a house on that hill even two days before Mr. Petersen’s appearance. The origin of that house, himself and his young beautiful wife were all secrets that no one would ever know.

There was no background information about Isabella at all. She was like someone who just showed up from nowhere, just to make Mr Petersen’s story even more mysterious.

After that night when Mr. Petersen died, she was killed. All the secrets and information she held were taken to the other world.

Part 2

*

With the sound of rain hitting the roof of this old house, George walked down to the basement. There were three floors in the house (including the basement). The basement wasn’t like a normal basement. It was even better decorated than the upper two levels. The entire basement was made of wood, probably the main support of the house. It was mostly underground but lights could still come through the little windows close to the ceiling. The entire basement, surprisingly, still had a heating system; it was way warmer downstairs than on the at first floor. With the dim light coming from the window, George could see some opened cans and a rumpled quilt. The entire basement was brand new compared to the ruined upper level. “My God, is someone still living here?” George whispered to himself. Maybe the creature heard his whispering because the sound of walking appeared, and this time, it was closer. “P— Penny? I—Is that you?” George said, trembling. The sound appeared again, just behind George. “Ahhhhhhhh!” shouted George. He ran all the way into the basement and the door closed heavily behind him.

“Oh no, what have I done!” George said. “Penny, where the hell are you!!!!”

“She is not here. Go back, kid, I don’t want to hurt you, couhhhh,” a mysterious voice came from the darkness.

“Who—o the hell are you?”George was scared badly.

“I am the owner of his ho— couhhhhh— use. I am Philip Petersen! Now get the hell out of the house!!!”  shouted the vioce.

“Are—aren— aren’t you the dead man?” George was scared even worse.

This time no more responses were heard. George could feel someone walking around him. It was like a wolf stalking its prey before eating it, but the prey cannot see the wolf. George curled up by the dim light from the window. He wished the window was big enough to climb out of.

As he was crawling towards the light, his hand landed on something wet, something sticky. He searched his mind to figure out what would be wet and sticky and could be found in a basement? But with the pressure of the unknown Mr. Petersen around his mind, he really couldn’t come up with any useful examples. Finally he made it to the light, and the moment he put his hand beneath the light, what he saw made him sick and dizzy. It was blood! It was so bright and red that it looked like someone had just died in the house. He tried to shout; he knew there were many tourists around this region, but no matter how hard he tried— his throat seemed to be jammed. He couldn’t even say one word.

George started to feel dizzy in the increasingly hot air in the basement. He wished he could open the window, but he was not tall enough to reach. It felt like whenever he tried to reach it, the window flew further up. After all this, he had totally lost his sense of direction. In the dim sun light, everything else he could see was pure darkness.

He didn’t know how much time had passed when he started to feel something licking his leg. It was a little brown, furry thing. The sun started to go down. If he still couldn’t get out of the basement, in no more than 30 minutes, he would find himself in pure darkness which whatever else was in the darkness. He used his hand to get rid of the brown thing, but it came back. George suddenly realized that it was Penny.

With Penny by his side, George finally got the courage to walk towards wherever he thought the door would be. Luckily, it was the correct direction. He opened the door and felt the cool air rush into the basement in front of him. With the thought of  Mr. Petersen inside the basement, he rapidly closed the door and locked it behind him. The rain had stopped for quite a while. The first floor was wet because of rain leaking from the roof. He ran out of the house without thinking and ran all the way back to his house. He decided to have a bath. In the warm water, with steam spiraling upward, he felt asleep.

*

The bath took him another 20 minutes until he felt so hot in the steam, so he got out and went to bed. “Where are Mum and Dad?” wondering George. He was too hungry to wait for his mother, so he went downstairs and made an omelet for himself. Penny was barking in the living room. The sun outside was already down into the horizon. After that short dinner he made for himself, George went back to bed.

He woke up in a dark place, with hot air around. Some lights came in from the window. He felt dizzy after awakening. Everywhere felt so familiar! Then this is when he felt the licking on his leg again! Then a sound whispering in the darkness“Here is your dinner, son.” Then a sudden pain came from his leg to his brain; he was bitten, by something. He was still in the basement!

Epilogue

George’s body was found, incomplete, lying on one of the jogging paths. I was almost scared to death when I first saw his leg lying on the path. I didn’t even try to look for the rest of his body before I threw up. I am a writer from New York City. I was working on my book: “The Night He Came”. It wasn’t a thick book— about a poor young man seeking a resting place at midnight after a car accident. The young man has lost his memory due to the accident, but before that, he was serious killer, who loves dismembering the bodies he killed. Even though he lost his memory, deep down in his conscience— he was a murderer. He went to a house with only five people living there. One person was killed each night, cruelly, and the rest started trying to find out the real killer.

I didn’t have the idea about that book until I heard about Mr. Petersen’s legend. I didn’t know what happened to George and what he had encountered in the last hour of his life.

Local police arrived within five minutes after I called them. It took them two days to find all the body parts of that poor teenager. According to the blood and footprints, the police have narrowed down the crime scene—Mr. Petersen’s house.

The basement was full of dead bodies and bones and extremely unbearable odor of decayed bodies. Police confirmed that all the bodies found in the house were missing tourists for the past 10 years— there were almost 20 of them! Mr. Petersen wasn’t spotted in the basement; however angry, villagers of Charlement gathered together that night.

It was late November when I first saw flames rising from the hill. Angry people had surrounded the house, just like what they did decades ago. I quickly got changed and ran to Roaring Hill. It wasn’t far away from my rented apartment. When I arrived there, the house was already on fire. I could see a figure standing in front of the door stopping people from coming in. The fire quickly engulfed Mr. Petersen’s body, but he stopped us from coming in for 5 minutes before he was totally burnt to death. I didn’t know what he was thinking in the last moment of his mysterious life. But I did have an idea when I saw a little figure ran quickly into the forest. I believe that was his son, or maybe the second generation of Mr. Petersen. I soon realized that the only thing supported Mr. Petersen was love. Just like his father, protesting his family. Later that day, when I was walking in the ashes of Mr. Petersen’s house, trying to find something useful for my book and to know better about his life; I found a diary. The diary was written in Russian, which was the first language Mr. Petersen learnt, so I have to wait till I get back to New York to figure out that indeed happened to him.

I don’t know why Mr. Petersen went back to his hometown. But I believe it was the power of destiny and love. I didn’t know about his feeling until I became a father. Mr. Petersen thought people might have changed over time; he thought people might have grown old and wise enough to accept people better, but he was wrong. Sometimes, people never change—we believe what we think is true. That’s why Mr. Petersen came back to his hometown, and why the villagers murdered his family.

We consider other species that are more intelligent than us to be monsters. So we killed the heresy. But who is indeed the monster? Even a “monster” like Mr. Petersen has love, why can’t we accept them?

I felt so ironic about the entire thing when I was on my plane back to New York City. We said the reason why we study history is to prevent the same misery from happening again. But isn’t it ironic, that all history is actually a circle, either we learn from it or not— destiny still arrives.

I decided to write the story of Mr. Petersen down to show everyone that we can stop the wheel of history together, but not by ourselves.

——— Davis, an unknown New York writer