Subcutaneous Magazine Issue 1 - Page 18

Roast Beef by Caroline Field I used to be a medium. Or, I should say, I was training to be a medium. I was well on my way to understanding a world the average person can’t see. After several…incidents…I have strayed from that world, though my experiences still haunt me. This story is just one of many that made me realize I was experimenting with some things that are not just parlor tricks. This story is the first time I realized I was dealing with something that could kill me. My friend’s mother is a medium and she trained me in the art of listening to what isn’t there. Through her, one of the greatest lessons I learned was that demonic possession occurs when we are at our weakest physically. If you’ve ever felt tired or sad or mad for no explanation, then a demon has probably possessed you. She spoke about dreams frequently, and said that if I pray to God, I can be safe when traveling between dream-state and consciousness. She said sometimes our souls travel to ‘the other side’ when we dream, where demons and lost spirits reside, and we need God to show us the way. At the time, I had a huge crush on my friend who always sat by my side while his mother taught me all she knew. One day, after a lesson, we were cleaning up when I initiated a sponge fight with him. We were laughing and throwing soap at each other. We took the ‘fight’ outside while I jokingly punched at him. After a few minutes, he accidentally hit me on my leg with his hand. Something flared inside me. I continued to ‘fight,’ but I was pissed off. How dare he hit me! He was laughing, which pissed me off even further. Then he hit me again. At that moment all of the romantic feelings I had for him vanished. Immediately, without thinking, I brought him in close and kicked him in the balls. watched him stop breathing from the pain as he sunk down into the ground. I watched him stop breathing from the pain as he sunk down into the ground. “Why did you do that?!” He gasped. “I don’t know.” I said blankly, watching him in anger. “You hit me.” My blood boiled at the sight of him. I wanted to kill him, I was so angry. “What the hell is your problem, Caroline?!” He rolled over, wincing in agony. “I’m leaving.” I said. I stormed into the house and grabbed my bag. I slammed the door behind me. I didn’t say goodbye to his mother, who was watching me from the living room window as I started my car. That night I went to sleep, still feeling that same irrational anger. But when I dreamed, my anger turned to terror. In my dream, I was in a strange town. For miles around there were run-down houses replete with holes in the windows and a steel taste on my lips from the air. Children, young children, clamored around me, scared out of their minds. I remember reading a news article with them, the headline saying: ‘Killings Increase as Vanishings Occur.’ The children kept saying they needed to catch the killer before anyone else was murdered, and that they already knew who it was - the mayor. We went to house to house, but found nothing there that could help us prosecute the mayor. The entire time, no adult was in sight. I could feel the wind on my skin but no sound other than the cries of the kids at my side. Finally, we came to a house where the inside was perfectly intact; everything from the kitchen to the living room was dusted and cleaned to perfection. Two children went in with me to search for evidence. They both had blonde hair and the same build. The boy had glasses, while the girl had braids with red ribbons looped around her head. We wandered around the house, which seemed to be abandoned, although every room we came across seemed to be spotless. We came to a study, where the girl and I immediately started to go through the files hidden inside the polished brown desk. The boy called from the dining room. I told the girl to stay in the study to keep searching while I went into the other room. When I got there, he was pointing at a strange object at the edge of the long, dark table that was sitting in the middle of the large room. A crystal chandelier was poised just above it, but the room itself had a blue aura surrounding it. “Let’s play it!” He said. As he toyed with the contraption, the boy discovered it to be a wind-up music box that lit up and showed different shapes as it played a song. I felt like he shouldn’t, that something extremely bad would happen should he turn the crank, but before I could say anything, he was already doing it. All of a sudden, the girl was standing in the doorway and the boy was sitting in one of the chairs at the table. An eerie song began to play, while lights reflected off the chandelier as the crank turned on its own. The three of us froze as we listened to the tune drift through our ears. It was then that she appeared. She was a thin woman with glittering eyes as black as night and smooth skin as white as chalk. She was sitting in the chair directly across from the boy. She wore a tight, red lace dress with long sleeves. Her hair was done up in a neat bun at the back of her head. Everyone in the room remained motionless. She opened her mouth. Her black, black mouth. Bottomless. A paralyzing sound began to join in with the music. It took me a moment to realize she was singing. Her jaw unhinged and the room began spinning. The woman distorted and twisted as the music grew louder. Her voice cut into my ears like glass. Just as suddenly, the noise stopped. No longer paralyzed, I looked to where the boy was sitting. The woman stood over him, chewing viciously at his neck. His eyes, vacant and lost, stared off into