The Curse of Upper Englewood


Image via Flickr by mschellhase

Prompt: During a curse you definitely want to be an cultist.

The Benson’s did everything by the book. They went to college, got married, and moved to a small town called Upper Englewood. Their house was large and new. It had a foyer and a fireplace set off by bright wood floors and large windows. Everything was perfect…until someone knocked on the door.

The Benson’s, who’d been reading in bed, gave each other a look. It was 11:45 PM. Who on earth would come calling at this hour?

“I’d better go check it out,” Mr. James Benson said. “It might be the police.”

“Be careful.” Mrs. Kimberly Benson’s eyes were wide and bright as bedside lamps.

The stairs creaked as Mr. Benson descended and he frowned, thinking that perhaps wooden stairs had not been the wisest move if he were to make a habit of answering the door in the middle of the night. Flicking on the front porch light, Mr. Benson yawned and opened the door.

Two men in suits so old they looked more brown than black stood there, each clutching a book in their hands.

“Greetings, my living brother,” the taller of the two said, holding out one hand. “Have you heard the good word about our Lord and Savior?”

“Evangelists, are you?” Mr. Benson shook the proffered hand because that was what one did in such situations. The hand was cold, clammy, and, as Mr. Benson frowned down at it, faintly green. “Isn’t it a little late to be disturbing people?”

The shorter, stouter figure frowned. “It’s not even midnight, man. How much earlier could we be?”

“He’s new to the area, Reg. It is clear he has not heard the word.”

“About Jesus Christ?” Mr. Benson was getting a little annoyed now. Who did these people think they were? Knocking on his door in the middle of the night and then talking about him as if he weren’t even there – the nerve!

“No,” Reg said. “About Belzeneth’s Curse. You tell ‘im Arthur.”

Mr. Benson took a step back and prepared to shut the door. “What the bloody hell are you talking about?”

“Oh, so you have heard of the curse!” Arthur straightened his spine a little and beamed down at Mr. Benson. “Just as you say, ‘bloody hell’ has walked the streets of Upper Englewood every night for the last ten years. We are here to offer you and your wife a place of safety within the Church of Belzeneth.”

Mr. Benson’s mind was racing. This had to be some kind of joke or prank or…then something clicked into place. “Isn’t the Church of Belzeneth some kind of cult?”

“Precisely,” Arthur said, looking still more pleased that Mr. Benson was catching on so quickly.

Reg leaned through the doorway and placed a reassuring hand on Mr. Benson’s shoulder. “Trust us, during a curse you definitely want to be a cultist.”

A centipede crawled out of Reg’s sleeve.

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