“Did you think we were unaware you were cowering among us, Abraham Bradford?”; The tribunal leader sneered. Pure venom flowed from his terrifying, spectral lips. Then the malevolent spirit drifted over and floated just inches from my trembling body. The coldness of his eyes made contact with mine for the first time. Every hair on my person stood on end; as if electrified by his steely, lifeless gaze. Each pore gasped with heart-stopping fright. I could smell the lingering stench of his long dead, decaying flesh. The surrounding air was permeated by an unnatural chill that froze me, to the very core.
“A spy for the living, lurking in our midst; but it’s just as well!”; He spat, dismissively to the others. “The sands of his hourglass are almost out. He will cross over the mortal coil and leave the realm of flesh before sundown, tomorrow. We already have a place for you in our sacred council, Mr. Bradford!”
The confrontational leader of the damned opened his gaping maw and laughed sadistically. “Quickly you will come to understand why we despise the clueless masses of humanity. They are oblivious to those of us who have passed away; and the astral world around them. We will not be denied our judgement day!”; He screeched angrily through rotting teeth. “We will no longer be ignored by a defiant Heaven that has become deaf to our pleas for salvation, or closure. Soon; all of the impatient souls wandering the Earth will exact their revenge for an eternity of limbo.”
A small void developed among them at the edge of the circle. (Presumably to demonstrate my eternal place among the deceased tribunal in the woods of Raven Mountain). My heart sank at the grim implication. Any dark omen delivered by a disembodied evil spirit was not one to be taken lightly but I still desired to escape his damning missive.
With whatever strength that remained in my terrified soul, I stood up and fled the unholy gathering like a man possessed by fire. Tree limbs gouged my flesh and cobwebs struck my face as I screamed through the predawn mist. The foothills echoed with howling laughter until I could no longer hear the mocking of my phantom tormentors. Inside this cottage of stone and hewn logs, I bolted the door and drew the shutters in a futile attempt to repel the un-repelable. The false illusion of safety was greater to me than no illusion at all.
I am unsure when the dead will come to claim me but I know too much about their diabolical plans to be spared. My time in this life is nigh. With this honest testimony, I seek to do my civic duty to humanity. I must warn those unaware that the restless souls who inhabit the deepest, hidden recesses of our world; hate the living. They are actively conspiring against us and biding their time to strike.
I hope you never see a series of unexplained flickering lights in the woods, as I did. If you ever have the misfortune to do so, do not seek out the answer or gaze upon the ethereal forms (of those who once lived). They are consumed by hate for what you still possess. Life.
If I am not immediately granted salvation in the afterlife, I may not be able to resist the same unpardonable resentment that holds them in its furious grip. Perhaps this stark warning will save some from their immanent, deadly assault on the living. Please say a prayer that my wandering soul may be spared this injustice and find immediate peace.
Your humble servant,
-Abraham James Bradford
7th of October, 1891