Aphelion Issue 281, Volume 27
March 2023
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Lilith's Visit

by Luís Ferreira

The winter's afternoon is windy. It isn't raining, but the sky is covered in dark clouds.

The street is deserted. Between the leaves filling the sidewalk, appears a pair of high-heeled black boots--similar to those worn by soldiers. They cross the street. It appears to be a blond woman, apathetic and with a nose piercing. Her natural beauty is shattered by the enormous and excessively noticeable dark circles below her eyes. After a few meters, she stops in front of a house. Seconds later she walks towards the entrance and rings the bell.

The door is opened by a man in his thirties. He wears black jeans and tie, and a white shirt.

"Hello, good evening. You should be Isabel Ferrell, correct?" asks the man.

She nods apathetically.

"It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Dr. Robert Vasquez, but you can call me Robert," he says while going for a handshake. Isabel looks at Robert's hand and looks up again. Robert closes his hand and backs it, putting it in his pocket.

"Well... Come in," he says.

Isabel gets inside Robert's house. He's a psychologist.

While walking around, she doesn't look at her surroundings; she just follows the doctor to the office.

Robert's office has a minimalist presentation. The walls are white and the decoration is in tones of brown and beige. The space is filled by a desk, a bookcase, an armchair, and a couch. On top of the desk, besides a vast number of accessories for the office--like a pencil case; a lamp; a stapler; a paper punch; and a laptop--there's also a small frame with a photo of Robert accompanied by Anabel and John.

* * *

Anabel is Robert's spouse. They married about four year ago in a farm full of flowers and by a beautiful lake. The ceremony was simple with only the closest family and friends. A year later, fruit of their great romance John was born, a beautiful boy with blue eyes. His features were angelical, a joyful and a very well-behaved boy.

About 14 months ago, Anabel and John went to pick up Robert from a lunch that he had with his friends. Robert was already in the exterior of the restaurant when he saw Anabel's car approaching. John smiled happily when he saw his father and waved. The moment Anabel turns the restaurant's parking lot, a car violently crashes against Anabel's.

The accident gravely wounded little John and, a minute later, Robert felt his miniscule heart stop while he held him in his arms. Anabel, however, had a swift and painless death.

* * *

Robert and Isabel go into the office. The rhythmic sound of an old clock that is in the bookshelf draws the patient's attention.

The psychologist sits in the armchair while he asks Isabel to put herself comfortable in the couch.

"Well then, tell me what brings you here?!" Robert asks.

"Hallucinations. I have hallucinations."

"What kind of hallucinations?"

Isabel, apathetic and frightened, leans over and whispers

"The bad kind of hallucinations..."

"Bad? What do you mean by bad?"

"Bad. I see black angels... and demons. Demons... They visit me constantly. They whisper me things... They ask me to do things. I don't know what to do. In addition, I see people that I don't want to see... people that don't exist. That's why I am here. My parents say that I am insane. The other doctors say that it is schizophrenia, but I don't think so."

Robert is awed by what Isabel just said and asks:

"And what do you think it is?"

"I have been reading a book..." Isabel says while she looks at the clock. "I read a book. I think that it is the book... I know that it is the book," she says with a firmer voice.

The psychologist, in his rational way of thinking, tries to dissuade her.

"How are you so sure? You know that it is highly unlikely, if not impossible, for an object to have any power over a person."

"It's the book. I am sure. Do you know "Book of Saint Cyprian?" Isabel asks while she reaches for her backpack on the floor and takes a book with a black cover. She extends her arm and hands it to Robert "This is the book."

Robert grabs the book and looks at the cover. "I've never read it, but I've heard a little about it..."

"Then do you know the power that it has and that it has over people?!"

"Yes I have heard about the legends that exist about it."

Isabel looks at the clock that continues the rhythmic sound.

"But this isn't the book that is for sale, it's the original... "The Great Book of Saint Cyprian." The legend says that a person who starts reading THIS book and does not finish it, dies."

The psychologist takes the opportunity:

"Then you agree with me that it's nothing more than a legend, right?!"

With a more comprehensive tone Robert adds:

"Look, Isabel, I think that there is nothing wrong with reading this kind of literature, but I see that this is shaking you and making you confused. I think that you can't give so much importance to what is written here. Just like you said, it's a 'LEGEND.'"

The rhythmic sound of the clock stops at that moment but Robert doesn't even notice. Isabel's eyes react to the clock and she becomes restless. Even a little more nervous.

Robert continues:

"I don't think that you are insane and much less that you suffer from schizophrenia. However, I advise that you should start looking for other kind of activities; things that you like to do. Actually, on our next appointment I want you to bring me a list of hobbies that you enjoy doing, deal?"

Isabel looks at Robert for a few seconds with the same apathetic expression that she is known for, but focuses her eyes on the medic's eyes "Okay. Then we'll continue... in the next session. I have to leave..." she says with a forced smile.

The psychologist becomes slightly confused with this sudden attitude.

"Yes, of course. If you have to leave... We'll see each other next week. At the same day and hour, all right?"

Without any answer to Robert's question, Isabel stands up, picks up her backpack, and looks one last time at the clock that is stopped. She then looks at Robert "See you next week!" she says, and leaves in a rush from Robert's house.

After closing the entrance door, Robert returns to his office and notices that Isabel forgot the book. He picks it up and runs to the entrance in order to give it back to her, but she's already out of sight. Still outside, when he turns to go into his house he finds something on the entrance floor. He closes in, intrigued, and picks up serpent skin. After looking around in a failed attempt to see the reptile, he puts the skin in a trash container by the fence and goes inside the house.

The night comes and it is raining a lot.

Lightning lights Robert's living room. He's in the living room's couch sleeping.

He's wearing white boxers with blue stripes and a white t-shirt.

The sound of a stronger thunder wakes him up. As soon Robert wakes up he picks up the "The Great Book of Saint Cyprian," which was open over his belly--he was reading it the moment he fell asleep. He marks the page, closes it, and puts it in the table by the couch.

Robert, sleepy, stands up and walks to his bedroom. He hears a sound coming from his bathroom. He goes in and turns the light on. He's astonished when he sees that the sink's mirror was shattered. Without trying to understand what had happened, he goes to his bedroom.

After lying on his bed and turning off the light, he hears a low creak of a door opening. Robert turns on the light. The wardrobe door is opened. He gets up and closes it. He goes back to bed and turns off the light again.

There's total silence in his bedroom. Moments later the door to his bedroom opens. The light from the living room brightens the bedroom as the door opens. Robert realizes it and in the exact moment that a loud thunder is heard, he turns the light of the lamp on again. ALL OF THE DOORS AND DRAWERS OF THE WARDROBES ARE OPEN.

Robert is scared. The psychologist leans on the bed and looks through the bedroom's door, as if trying to see if there is anyone in the living room. Suddenly, the bed starts shaking violently, and at the same time, frightening noises are heard. The screams and voices heard throughout all that noise are terrifying. He jumps out of the bed and looks at it frightened. He became desperate has was watching the bed swinging and the sounds coming from everywhere was frightful.

A few moments later, he looks at the book that lays on the living room's couch and runs towards it but, in the exact moment that he crosses the bedroom's door he is violently projected forward, as if someone with superhuman strength had pushed him. At the same time, all the lights of the house go off with a great lightning.

Robert is unconscious lying on the floor. The silence reigns again in the house that is as dark as pitch black.

Little by little, Robert starts coming to his senses. He raises his head, looks to the bedroom's door and yells:

"Is someone there?"

The silence and darkness make him quite uncomfortable.

The light comes back and the entire living room becomes illuminated.

Robert gets up and, without having realized, he has two enormous marks on his back. Two enormous marks of hands "painted" in blood in his white t-shirt.

A noise, coming from the window behind the psychologist draws his attention. He closes, divers the curtains and looks to the outside. The street is dark. A middle-aged man and too invalid to be able to walk, crosses the sidewalk accompanied by a dog. He is hideous. He smiles and waves at Robert. His mouth is full of rotten and broken teeth. Robert, still a little bothered with what he sees, waves back. Something is moving in the outer garden. The psychologist, getting more and more frightened, fixates on the bushes and sees a snake sneak through the vegetation. Shaken by the reptile, he closes the curtain.

The psychologist gets back inside and, in the bedroom's door, sees his son.

"John... My son," Robert says, "I missed you so much."

Robert doesn't know how to react to what his eyes are seeing, for he is perfectly aware of the impossibility of the situation. Regardless, his heart is filled with hope when he sees John but his rational side knows that what he sees is impossible and fruit of his imagination. It must be from the fall, he thinks.

Robert, trying to make the image of his son disappear, closes his eyes. He opens them again but the silhouette of the child continues in the bedroom's door.

The psychologist runs to the couch and picks the book up, since he starts realizing that what is happening to him coincides with Isabel's statements. While he continues to read it, hurriedly, he looks to the bedroom's door. John extends his hand and from his eyes, tears of blood start falling. Robert, frightened, continues reading the book. He briefly closes his eyes and then opens them again; he looks to the door. John is gone.

For moments Robert seems to be getting calmer, up until the moment the TV in the living room turns on. The sound is too loud. He looks at the TV. It suddenly starts changing the channel. The channels are changing faster and the sounds from all the channels that keep appearing become increasingly unbearable. Robert looks hastily for the TV remote. After some time he finds it and turns it off.

Robert, even more confused and frightened, looks to the book that is in the couch.

The cry of a child makes him raise his head. His face returns to an expression of pain and horror.

"John, don't do this to me."

"Daddy..." is heard in the middle of the crying child.

The sound echoes in the hound as if it came from the walls, the ceiling, and the floor. From the bathroom comes a stronger sound. He goes there. He turns on the light. The cry comes from the toilet. He approaches it slowly and opens the lid. The water that is in the siphon vibrates simultaneously with the crying. Robert closes in even more and flushes. The cry vanishes with the water being drained.

The psychologist continues to look at the toilet and after closing its white lid, a drop of blood falls. Another drop of blood starts running down his nose. He puts his hand in his face and after seeing the blood runs to the sink and bathes the nose in water.

The blood falls with more and more intensity. He starts feeling blood in his mouth as well. The blood makes him vomit. While he cleans his face, he feels something in his mouth, looks to the shattered mirror and starts pulling a strand of hair. The vomits become more constant while he pulls more hair from his mouth. There is more and more hair. Robert starts feeling suffocated with the strands of hair and the blood that do not stop emerging. His vision starts being blurred and, simultaneously his heart races with panic. Breathing becomes harder and harder. His throat and mouth are full of bloodied hair. The psychologist falls on the floor.

* * *

There is total silence in the living room. Only the thunders from the outside are heard. Between the bathroom door, in the floor, appears Robert's bloodied hand. The twitching is very light, which makes it seem that the psychologist is becoming inanimate. A line of blood, ever more abundant, emerges over the tiles. The hand stops trembling indicating his death.

* * *

It stopped raining. In the outside, between the darkness of the night, there is a dark figure in front of the psychologist's house. The person appears to be motionless looking to the window of Robert's living room, with the head slightly inclined to the left.

A lightning reveals Isabel's apathetic face. She's wet and with the "The Great Book of Saint Cyprian" in her hand against her chest.


© 2014 Luís Ferreira

Bio: Mr. Ferreira, in his own words, describes himself as, "...just a Portuguese architect, an amateur 'writer' who has a twisted love for horror stories."

E-mail: Luís Ferreira

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