Eddie turned from his band mates, saw the Sears—

and was stunned.

Ice swept the ground around the blocky retailer, thick as a Minnesota lake in winter, with bodies stuck in it.  Faces emerged from the ice, hundreds of them dotting the frozen plain like geese on a pond.  Blue lips moaned soundlessly, and a bitter wind ripped through and around the heads, tearing at their ears and noses and ripping away bits of flesh.

“Damn,” Eddie shuddered and looked away, rubbing his eyes.

“Where do I turn?” Mike asked, and Eddie had to look back.  “There’s only a parking lot.”

He still saw the sheet of ice and the tortured heads.  The sight of it hurt Eddie, and it frightened him.  His glimpses of Hell were constant, but they were rarely sustained.  He saw a person or a small knot of people being tortured by Azazel’s minions and then his vision passed on.  He never saw this many, and he never held a vision this long.

“Am I the only one seeing this?” he asked.

Mike shrugged.  “What, the crappy run down Sears with the dirt parking lot and no right turn?” he asked, and then he understood.  “Oh.”

“I’m the only one,” Eddie said.

Jim pointed past Eddie’s shoulder.  Out his Infernal Eye, Eddie saw only the glacier of the damned and the wind that gnawed at their heads, but if he concentrated on the other eye, he thought he saw a dirt road exiting the parking lot at its far end.

“I see it,” Mike said, and turned the van into the lot.

The heads stared at Eddie as he drove through.  His vision was silent, but the frost-furred lips and bluing flesh were so vivid, he imagined he could hear the crumbling, terrified moans of the damned souls.  Eyes sunk deep into black pits, their lashes ripped away by the frozen wind, rolled in their sockets to stare at him as the Dodge trundled across the parking lot.  They were so close, and so many, and had been there so long, that Eddie began to feel cold.

And then they were gone, and the van was back in the griddle-hot and griddle-flat desert of the Oklahoma panhandle, rattling along a dirt road between two fields of burnt-brown wheat stalks.

Eddie sucked in a deep breath and let it out slowly.

“What the hell is wrong with that Sears?” he asked.

About David

I'm a writer. This is my blog.
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