The Malediction of Llewyn Glass
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.”
The Crossroads Pub is the U.S.’s oldest pub. Situated in the Town of Fenway which is on the outskirts of Boston close to the Charles River. The Crossroads Pub has an eerie history even before it was erected in 1723. Before Boston was colonized, the Massachusett tribe once respected and feared the land the Crossroads Pub would one day sit on. Stories were passed down from generation to generation of the mysterious land and strange events which took place there. Tribal leaders would go there seeking wisdom during the day and come back with their black hair turned gray and with their once tanned skin now ghostly white, with knowledge so overwhelming that they could not repeat it. The tribes most honorable and bravest warriors would go hunting on this land and would return babbling uncontrollably of horrifying creatures which can only come from nightmares.
After the colonization of Boston, the land was left forgotten until 1692 when the Salem Witch Trials took place. 13 women of free thought, fled south of Salem to escape the unjust and heinous persecution of witchcraft. They were only guilty of trying to enlighten themselves through curing ailments with herbs and expressing creativity through dance and chanting, but closeminded settlers had seen this as the work of the devil. The 13 women fled to Boston for safety with a hunting party following suit, when they came across the Massachusett’s cursed land. The women, exhausted from their escape to Boston rested on the cursed ground and hoped to use the cover of night to conceal them from the hunting party; but despite the blackness of night from the cycle of the new moon, the hunters had found them. The 13 women were ruthlessly flogged as the hunters repeated verses from the Bible in the hopes of cleansing their souls.
After they were savagely beaten, the hunters wrapped nooses around their necks and hung them slightly from the tree as they were able to stand on the tips of their toes. Piles of kindle and wood were placed at their feet; they were to be burned as they were hanged. 12 of the women begged and cried for their life except for one who was silent. One of the hunters brought a torch close enough to her face to make the dried blood sizzle and pop from the heat, but she did not move but only gave a cold, stalwart gaze into the woods which slowly became darker and colder. One hunter slammed the butt of his rifle into her pelvis, but she stood back up and stared back into the woods with a terrified look before saying in an otherworldly voice, “I accept your offer.” The torches of all the hunters simultaneously went out, and then the bloodcurdling screams of the hunters filled the air.
The morning sun soon came, and all 13 walked out of the woods, pale from fright and unable to utter a word from shock. The woods they left were littered with the detached limbs and ravaged torsos of the hunters as the trees were painted with their blood. The 13th women who accepted the offer only kept whispering herself, “what have I done?”
In 1721, a Puritan named Jacob Martus and his family sailed to the New World to start a new life. He came across the land while hunting and was bewitched by the beauty of the forest. Jacob told his family that he felt an urge, a need to settle on the ground. The family agreed and cleared the land and built their home and farm on top of it, not knowing the disturbing history of the woods. Jacob became a successful fur trader and saw the need to establish a Pub so other fur traders could relax and conduct business before going into the wilderness to hunt for their pelts. By 1723 the Pub was built and was christened the Crossroads Pub for it was where fur traders, explorers, and other settlers would come to as they were entering the wilderness or heading back to Boston. There was no unusual activity of any sort as the family prospered and a small town was built around the Crossroads Pub until Fall of 1732. It was a jovial night where the fur pelters were celebrating a good hunt with the local farmers who also celebrated a good crop.
Everyone was drunk and merry except an old haggard woman who sat by herself at a table. She wept loudly at which Mrs. Martus went to comfort her and asked her what happened with only thing the woman said was, “I have to pay him back tonight.” The Pub went silent over the strange statement; the woman slowly stood up and walked out the door into the woods. Everyone watched from the windows as she stood at the wood line and a large dark figure came and loomed over her. Everyone felt a cold chill of fright go through their spine as the old woman talked with the terrifying figure. The conversation could not be heard, but the noise the creature made can only be described as bones cracking with a snake’s hiss in the background. But suddenly there was silence and no movement from the two. The patrons and the Martus’s watched in suspense as the world went still around the two. In what can only be described as an unholy act of mutilation, the creature tore the woman’s torso from her legs and dragged the halves with him into the woods. The patrons collectively gasped, and some went into shock, but all did not speak until dawn and none had moved from their spots inside the Crossroads Pub.
The hunters and the militia went into the woods the following morning and went searching for the lady’s corpse and the creature. They only found a plot of scorched earth a dozen yards from where the massacre happened, with the trees surrounding the plot had their bark burnt to a crisp with a putrid, rotting smell lingered in the air. Whispers traveled through the colony of the creepy event which brought forth the curious and the bold to hunt for the creature while the Martus’s and those who witnessed the incident had known not to trifle with the beast or with the woods.
Years went by as the Crossroads Pub kept flourishing from the travelers and the fur hunters. Jacob Martus had died, and his son Samuel Martus had taken over the Crossroads Pub. The town grew larger and was named Fenway for it was close to the swamp. There were prosperity and peace in the town of Fenway until 1776. The British had taken over Boston, and the refugees had taken refuge in Fenway; with the rooms of the Crossroads Pub filled to the max. Samuel gladly fed and housed the refugees as the Colonial Army tried to take back Boston. Fenway felt safe until the night of March 13th when a platoon of Redcoats had covertly rowed up the Charles River and landed at Fenway. They initially were trying to land behind the Colonial Army in Boston, but they got lost and found Fenway. A firefight broke out, and Fenway’s militia was able to rage a fierce battle causing the retreat of the Redcoats but not before bystanders, and other militia members were killed in the process. Samuel Jacobs had abhorred the brutality of war and wished to only do right by the dead. He had the land outside the pub cleared, and a cemetery was made where all of the bodies, even the fallen Redcoats, were buried. It wasn’t until 1779 did the Martus family started to notice strange occurrences in the cemetery. At first, they thought it was their drunken guests who were walking among the graves at night, but they began finding strange sets of tracks in the land and were hearing strange, horrifying noises of creature’s unknown. The Martus family and their guest would sometimes catch a glimpse of silhouettes of people moving through the woods and among the graves at night and found archaic symbols with the bones of animals set up as altars in the morning.
This occasionally happened throughout the years, but nothing sinister has happened until the year 1852. Fenway had flourished into a small trading and fishing town while the citizens have grown accustomed, even amused by the ghost stories of their infamous pub/cemetery. But at the time, the Crossroads Pub was secretly being used as a station in the Underground Railroad by Jabidah Martus. He was secretly housing runaway slaves and covertly ferrying them across the Charles River. Jabidah and the Martus family were using hidden crevices in the Pub to keep the runaways from being found and using the lore of the haunted grounds of the Crossroads Pub as a cover story of citizens seeing figures moving across the cemetery at night or unsettling noises coming from the walls of the Pub. Jabidah was able to ferry hundreds of slaves and was able to do so without anyone in the town taking notice until the night of May 4th, 1852. Jabidah was about lead a small band of runaways to the ferry from the Pub when they were ambushed by Slave Hunters in the cemetery. Not respecting the laws nor life, the Slave Hunters beat the slaves and whipped Jabidah until the brink of death. They barricaded the doors to the pub with the Martus’s inside and began lighting torches to set fire to the place; they wanted to send a message to the slaves and to whoever was helping them that death and misery will only follow. Jabidah helplessly lied as he was about to watch is family burn until he heard gut-wrenching screams coming from behind him. He heard a loud thud as something landed next to him and stopped rolling when it hit the tombstone in front of him. Jabidah slowly looked up and saw the severed head of a Slave Hunter staring back at him. The head was ripped from the jaw with its tongue was hanging out. Jabidah went into shock and could not control his body, but he can hear the screams of the slaves yelling for whatever was in the graveyard to keep away as the Slave Hunters shot their guns into the woods. Jabidah could not move and only kept looking into the eyes of the disembodied head with a pool of blood and torn flesh at the bottom of it. He wished he could have run, but his body would not listen but only evacuated his bladder into the lush green grass on the old graves. He heard screams of the Slaves Hunters and the wet tearing off their limbs from their bodies as a rain of blood fell upon his back, but he could not move until something grabbed him. He was hauled up until his legs and was being dragged back to the pub by the slaves. They unbarricaded the door and ran inside and then shut it. Jabidah was left standing in front of the window as he watched underneath the silhouette of the night the Slave Hunters being torn to shreds by creatures he could not see in the dark. He tried to adjust his eyes, but then a torn arm hit the window smearing the Glass with blood, at which he fainted. When he came to he had been asleep for two days from the shock and the slaves had left in the early morning but not before burying the bodies of the Hunters so the Underground Railroad line should not close. Jabidah asked his wife what did the Runaways see and she said it was creatures, not even hell could produce.
Years went by and then generations. Every once in a while, you’ll hear stories of strange things happening on the Crossroads Pub property; unexplained sightings of creatures, ghosts, and monsters; all dismissed as lore. During the early 1900’s people obsessed with the occult took trips to the Crossroads Pub with some leaving disappointed while others were wishing they never found what they were looking for. But the eyewitness tales of the supernatural had died down with the tales become urban legends while the Crossroads Pub itself had slowly become a vacation and tourist destination as it was declared the oldest Pub in America in 1999 and the longest family owned business in 2014 which has always been run by a member of the Martus family. In 2004, an annual Halloween Event for the Pub which became wildly successful as thousands flock to the town of Fenway each year to take part in the celebration and the mystery of the Crossroads Pub. Everything was going well until the night of October 30th, 2015 when the myth became a reality once again.
The Night of October 30th, 2015
I wasn’t much for believing in scary stories about witches, monsters or things that go bump in the night. My father, William Martus, would tell me the many legends of our family’s famous property every night before bed. I would never believe him, even as a child because I always believed in the rational. My father would laugh when I would try to find a way to explain what really happened without out the urban legends; he would laugh then gave a forced smile when he would tell me that I got my skepticism from my mother. She passed away from an aneurysm when I was 6. I don’t remember much of her anymore, but what I did remember was the confusion of her with me one moment and then gone forever in the next moment.
My father had a rough few decades with drinking after my mom’s death. It didn’t help that he owned one of America’s beloved pubs, but he never let the drinking interfere with his role as a father or a business owner; if anything, he was a highly functional alcoholic, but I would still hear him cry at the end of his drunken stupors for my mother on some nights. He would moan and curse God for taking the love of his wife away and cry himself asleep. But every morning he would clean himself up, hide his sorrow with a mask of a believable smile and always had me ready for school.
He raised me the best he could by himself, but he often had help from the local patrons of the bar or his bartenders. I learned so much from the Pub; I learned how to gamble, how to make any cocktail in the world; first aid from a few bar fights we had. Since my dad did not know how to take care of a daughter going through puberty, he had one the bartenders, Missy-Jo, taught me about menstruation, make-up and how to be a young woman. Missy-Jo was an Irish-Puerto Rican from Tennessee who was fascinated with the lore behind my family’s property, and when she came to visit the Crossroads Pub, she fell in love with Pub itself and hasn’t left. Call it female intuition or as she called it “a bitch’s itch” but I could tell she stayed for my dad. Either out of pity or love but Missy-Jo had always taken care of him and helped run the Pub when his drinking became too much for him. My father gave her creative freedom with the Pub, and she was able to renovate it to its former glory, have history tours during the day and ghost tours at night, and created the Crossroads Pub Annual Halloween festival. She brought beauty and love into our lives, but I couldn’t tell Dad felt the same way, but he was just grateful to have her as a surrogate mother for me; I was glad she was able to fit the role for the few years she was with us. It wasn’t until I was a senior in High School when tragedy had struck again. Missy-Jo was found dead in the woods outside the Pub. The Police told the press they thought a wild boar attacked her but they did not want to spook town with the truth, she was killed ritualistically. Her organs were ripped out and hung across the branches of the tree she was found under. Her eyes were missing, and she had strange claw marks on her body which the police could never identify the animal. I remembered the stories my father and his father would tell him about the monsters and the evil that would haunt our woods.
I cried for months for her, but it was my father who took it the hardest. He became overwhelmed with grief and took his drinking to a new level when he was found choking on his vomit in the Pub one night by one of the bartenders. He was rushed to the hospital, and the doctors were able to revive him, but he remains in a coma still to this day. Overcome by grief, I locked myself in my bedroom for days, unable to get out of bed or even eat I lied there only wanting to sleep so I could not feel the pain anymore.
My Uncle Ulysses reluctantly took over managing the Pub after my father was hospitalized. He was always sweet to me and would tell me stories of not only of the family’s history with the Pub but of his adventures from escaping the family business. He was a well-known bar manager across the U.S.; he would be hired across the states to manage upscale bars and help them increase their profits. He loved the business end of it, but he never wanted to manage the Crossroads Pub; as he stated, “the responsibility of bearing witness is too much.” When I asked what he meant by that he told me that since the time our family has settled on this mysterious and haunted land it seems like whatever eerie or creepy occurrences happen on this land, our family’s role was to bear witness to it. Then he would look into my eyes with heavy guilt and say “You will be the first lady Martus to manage the business when you come of age, and you will have to bear witness, this is our family’s curse.”
Those words still strike a new chord every time I think of them. I tried to play coy in what Uncle Ulysses meant, but the denial was a cheap facade whenever I went to visit my lifeless father in the hospital. I would sit there in the cold and sterile room with my fathers respirator whooshing to every breath, wondering to myself if the stories were true? Are we cursed to see unspeakable things and into what end? Why is my family cursed to the land of the mystic and fear? Why witness the terrifying events? Why keep us at the Pub? I did not have the answers, but I resolved to get as far away as I could from the Crossroads Pub and not to let some twisted fate keep on that land.
My Uncle Ulysses continued with Missy-Jo’s ideas and was able to make the Pub most profitable it has been since it’s creation by creating a micro-brewery which has garnered national recognition. But, I was not content in staying so I snuck off after graduating high school and became a United States Marine, a title I loved dearly. I loved being in the Corps. I loved the pride, the adventure and the new family I had made within my unit; but I found out during my second year that my family curse cared not where I went for it will always follow. It was in my second year which my unit was deployed to Afghanistan to help train the new Afghan Army. We were a highly decorated Military Police unit who was selected to be an example to the liberated soldiers. It was a challenge I looked forward to, and I was excited to finally being deployed because I wouldn’t have felt like I was a full Marine until I have been in war. I wish now my naivety didn’t lead me blindly into the horrifying event which had destroyed my life.
It was the 31st of October 2014, and we were halfway through our deployment. We had completed training the Afghan soldiers, and now it was time for them to perform in the field. A squad of us accompanied a unit of the Afghan soldiers to see how they do and provide support for them. We were given a mission to village 15 miles from the base to help them investigate a possible opium ring which was funding the Taliban. The sad thing was the beauty of the day, the weather wasn’t too hot, and the landscape itself was beautiful to drive across once you forgot we were in a war zone. We came to the village and let the Afghan unit take charge as we followed behind. We scoured each house and found the town to be vacant, which was strange because our intel told us that the village was occupied. The last house we searched was at the far end of the village. The overwhelming smell of death saturated the air as we approached it. I usually had a cautious feeling whenever we conducted a, but this one made my heart race. The Afghan’s kicked the door down and cleared the house halfway until they suddenly stopped with one of them turning around and vomited violently. The smell was so pungent that it felt like I was walking into a slaughterhouse. I felt my boots stick to the floor as if I was stepping in puddles of syrup, but when I looked down, I saw the floor was flooded with blood. We made our way to where the Afghan’s stopped and what I saw I couldn’t possibly imagine war could have depicted. The entire house was filled with the butchered remains of the villagers. Their mangled corpses, limbs torn from torsos and the bodies positioned in repulsive sexual positions. I nearly cried when I saw children were also among the dead. Before our Gunny could give an order, we were fired upon from outside. We took cover around the house and went to the windows to see the enemy. It was a caravan of fighters in their speeding towards us.
The Afghan’s saw this and immediately abandoned the house, and cowardly ran away in the opposite direction. As if he wasn’t surprised, the Gunny got on the radio and started to call for immediate support. We had 15 minutes to hold off the fighters, 15 minutes in hell, so we did what Marine’s always do in an ambush; kill. We raised hell to the fighters and took out as many as we could but they had the numbers, and they surrounded us. One by one my friends, my Marines were gunned down until I was shot in both my legs and vest. I lied in agony on the ground, next to the dying Gunny as blood gushed out from his neck. I went to help him but then the gunfire suddenly stopped, and the multiple thuds of running feet came to our building. I looked into his eyes, and his last look wasn’t of fear but out of grave concern. I was the only woman in the squad, and with the last ounces of life, he realized that raping me and killing me was the least these men were going to do to me once captured. He took his pistol from his holster and aimed at my head as we both began to cry, and I gave a quick nod. He pulled the trigger, but the bullet did not fire. He dropped the gun as he took his final breath. I cried for death to take me also as I realized what torture these men were going to do to me.
The thuds of boots stopped, and gunfire erupted from all around us then it suddenly stopped. The front door was suddenly kicked open and in came rushing the Marine support unit. They had overtaken the caravan when I was on the floor. The Corpsmen checked on us and found only myself still alive. I was evacuated to the base and then to Germany to recover. I spent days doing therapy and the nights screaming in my sleep. To my disgust, I had found out that the Politicians back at homespun the truth to say that the Afghans soldiers were not cowards but only left to take a position before we were ambushed. The lie didn’t make any sense, and I was given a stern warning by some General who visited me in therapy that I am to not disclose what happened for the sake of the war. I didn’t know what was more disgusting: the cowards who ran or the people who protected them, but I am sadly now one of the reluctant people who must protect the cowards and live with a lie. I could never look at the families of my Marines in the eyes because I knew that I told them a lie and if I told them the truth then I could find myself in Leavenworth.
I was medically discharged, and I came home to Crossroads Pub where Uncle Ulysses had remodeled my room and did his best to make me feel better, but I couldn’t be reached. I reverted inside myself and did not leave my room for weeks when I got home. Uncle Ulysses was patient with me and did the best to help me heal from the trauma. He paid for therapy, got me a moped to get around town and called my old high school friends to keep me company, but I couldn’t break out of my depression. Even when I started to leave my room and go back to working in the Pub, I would feel immense dread and hopelessness. I couldn’t stop having flashbacks of the bodies and the Gunny attempting to mercy kill me. I couldn’t stop grieving and feeling guilty that I knew the truth but couldn’t tell the families of my Marines.
Halloween was approaching, and I remembered the stories of the monsters my father would tell me as a kid. No, the terrifying creatures my father painted in my imagination were gentle compared to the horrors humanity can perform. Thoughts began to race in my head, “I don’t think we should survive as a species because there is no good left. Where have the good men gone? Can we even save ourselves from our demise? Is there justice? Do we deserve to live on?” The questions were manic and draining, all of which were answered with a sober but nihilistic answer; I don’t think there is any good left in the world.
Tonight, is October 30th, over a year after witnessing the deep depth of the horrors of humanity; I have decided to bring myself peace and not live to see November 1st.
October 30th, 2015, 10:17 pm
Tomorrow is the infamous Crossroads Pub Halloween party, and Uncle Ulysses had to go out of town for the night, so I was stuck watching over the Pub. Most of the tourist won’t start partying until tomorrow night, so the Pub was filled with the locals. Locals like our handsome Sheriff who unwinds his nerves by drinking a Hot Toddy and playing Texas hold’em with the towns over the hill Doctor, Mayor, and mechanic. The Sheriff was always polite to me, and I knew he fancied me, as I fancied him, but I didn’t want him to see me damaged. A couple of the local school teachers were here drinking and playing darts to calm their nerves for the upcoming week of dealing with their raspy students. Then there’s the local ambulance chaser and Fenway’s District Attorney sharing a meal together and making deals for their upcoming case’s for the week. Everyone here was great folk to share the town with, and all knew about my battle, and they did the best they could to show me some courtesy, but I can tell by their mannerisms that they don’t know how to talk to me. They beat around the bush and overly polite when they do see me outside on the seldom occasion I leave my room, but they were respectful which I appreciated.
Lenny, the Pub’s brewmaster, was taking care of the final preparations for the Halloween Party while I was serving the patrons their drinks. I looked at the clock and every minute closer to midnight feels me with dread. I try not to think about the bodies or the lie but the memories keep invading my consciousness, and I can’t stop it. I hold a good poker face as I served the Sheriff his Hot Toddy, but I wanted to go into my room and take all of my sleeping medication and fall into an endless, blissful sleep where there would be no more pain for me; I badly want to end the suffering. To end the panic attacks whenever I hear a loud noise. To stop rushing myself to bed so I can escape the burdening guilt but to only have dreams of Gunny’s last act on this planet was an attempt to kill his friend mercifully. I wanted the pain to end desperately, and I don’t want to live a life tormented by these images and the burden of living with them.
The sound of thunder in the distance and the rapping of raindrops falling on the roof snapped me out of my morbid thoughts. I walked behind the bar to mix another Martini when the front door suddenly flings open. We all looked towards it as a gust of strong wind blew foliage onto the bar floor. One of the teachers began to walk over to close the door but hesitated when a dark figure was walking from the parking lot to the door. I didn’t know why but at that moment I felt my stomach turn upside down as if I felt the dread of an unavoidable catastrophe approaching and I could not avoid it.
The figure emerged from the darkness dressed in a well-tailored black suit, a French-cuffed dress shirt with the top button unbuttoned with a loosened black tie; and a stoic demeanor underneath the smoke that surrounded his face as he exhaled the smoke from his cigarette. The man grabbed the attention of everyone in the bar as he walked in, stood momentarily as he looked briefly looked around the bar as if he was scoping out the place. I stared at his face which looked like a young man who aged fast from terrors untold, but the creases of the sides of lips say he used to smile a lot. His hair was jet black but had the sprinkles of gray in it. He was ethnic from his tanned complexion, but I couldn’t tell what his nationality was. I looked into his eyes briefly as he looked at the bar I was behind, and I saw underneath his stoic face, and his confident posture was fear, grief, and exhaustion; a man close to his end. But, there was something about him that was off. I did not know what to make of it without sounding like a superstitious nut case, but there was a darkness that followed him that was tangible but couldn’t be explained. The door swung shut behind him which shocked the teacher because he wasn’t the one who closed it. The man walked slowly towards the vacant corner table as everyone watched in perplexity as they saw what I saw too. He sat on the corner facing the bar and slid the astray close to him and put out the cigarette he was smoking as he came into the Pub.
I walked over to him as he stared me down as if he knew me. “What can I get you, Mister?”
He reached into his breast pocket of his suit and gave me $200. “Get me the most expensive bottle of bourbon you have. Keep the change; I am going to be here for a while.”
“Are you expecting someone?” I asked
“I have a date with the Devil,” he said with a little smirk.
I smirked back at the minor lightheartedness he shown as I walked over and grabbed an unopened bottle of Pappy Van Winkle and two rock Glasses. I came back as he started another cigarette and he motioned for me to sit down. He was mysterious, but his demeanor was hypnotic; he somehow made me feel comfortable. I sat, and I poured the bourbon into the rock Glasses. He grabbed one and pushed the other one towards me.
He took a drag than a gulp of the fine bourbon, and he took his time enjoying the taste. He then smiled at me and asked, “What’s your name?”
“Lorelai Martus. What’s yours?”
He took another drag of his cigarette and let the smoke and the question linger in the air.
“Llewyn Glass. So, you’re a member of the famous Martus family?”
“Yeah…next in line to run the place,” I forcibly said as I tried to mask the dreary of it.
“Not only that but doesn’t your family have a history…a myth of being around strange things, witnessing the unexplainable?”
“That’s what the legend says.”
“Good,” Llewyn said with a small glee. “Did you know that your last name is Greek?”
“No, I never gave it too much thought.”
“It means to witness. And if the legends are right…” as he took another swig of the bourbon, “then tonight you’re going to add another story to your family's line.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked bemusedly.
The sounds of thunder grew louder as the raindrops began to barrage the roof. He took a long swig from his bourbon and looked me straight in the eyes with deadly seriousness, “Tonight you will tell your children how you met the Devil.”
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