- From: FaThrMyFlock
- Cc: PeteyGoatGruff; LoDwnLeo; BruteOxTOx
- To: MattyB4
- Sent: Mon 8/03/2015 11:26 PM
- Dear Matthew,
- Let me first say how proud I am to see the man you have become, but prouder of the fact that I can still see such innocence burning in your eyes. It is such a rare and special attribute that my line of work often prevents me from fully appreciating. Even as a man of faith, I must say, I have never encountered one with such tenacity, let alone the ability to maintain its intensity into adulthood.
- My children, my deacons have all been special to me. They were my messengers to the world, embodiments of the holy symbols: the Lion, the Ox, and the Goat. They were beacons of good tidings that transcended into realities far beyond the primitive senses of mere sight and touch. However, Matthew, you hold a very special place in my heart. You are unique amongst a sea of automatons. You far exceed your fellow man’s ability to acknowledge the limitless possibilities that exist beyond their simple and mundane lives. That is what brought you to me so many years ago. I see great things in you. Oh, the wonders I could show you.
- Perhaps that is why I lost you for a while; you needed time to ripen and mature. But sadly, in the end, the simple truth is that all who come to my congregation eventually return to my congregation. You of all people know that to be the truth. It is inevitable. It is where you belong. You have run and you have hidden, but that only delayed the inevitable conclusion of the fate I thrust upon you, for which I have the distinct privilege of executing to completion. I only needed to wait. But as they say, all good things come to those who wait. And I have waited. Oh, have I waited for so very long! I have waited with a perpetual patience that held at bay an insatiable craving to see those eyes once again, those eyes that shimmer with such life. I wonder. Will they still sparkle when I pluck them from your skull and hold them in my hands? I certainly hope so.
- Your friend in spirit and mind,
- – The Father
The email I received seven days ago was the message I knew would eventually come. I read and re-read the email over and over again. It had been thirteen years since the Father and his congregation entered my life, and eight years since their last confirmed activity. Now after all this time, I received this email from him. I was beginning to believe that he was gone for good. I considered the possibility that he was dead and his followers went their own ways, or they all met a painful death from following his wicked ways. But deep down I knew he was too smart for that. I looked into those eyes. There was no insanity in there, at least none that would impair judgment or reason. There was only cold, calculating intelligence fueled by blind faith to savage pagan gods.
In the summer of 1984, the residents from communities that sprinkled southern Oregon were living under a canopy of terror from a group that later came to be known as the Eyes of the Horn. The terror only escalated as one child disappeared after another. Within a ten-day period, six children from the ages of six to fourteen had been taken. They were abducted from their homes, from playgrounds or simply right off of the streets. The kidnappings were done with such perfectly executed stealth that not one person witnessed any of the crimes. No stone was left unturned as the people scoured the land searching for those kids, nothing was found. After three months, the bodies of the children were discovered. The conditions of the corpses were withheld from the public, and for a good reason.
In 2000, the children from Washington State started disappearing just like its sister state. There were six more abductions, each one taken with ease in spite precautions taken to protect their young ones. Playgrounds normally full of laughter stood empty, schools became like militant police states. No child could be seen in public view that wasn’t close to their guardian. Despite all the extra security and precautions, the first child was taken, then the second, then the third, fourth, and fifth. I was the sixth.
It was like any other night. I had school the next morning, so I went to bed at my normal time. My mom and dad were separated, so it was just her and me. I was upstairs, having just brushed my teeth; I absently walked towards my bedroom. All my attention was completely directed at the Gameboy in my hands. I entered my room, flipping the light switch on without even looking up from the small screen. I walked past my bed to my desk, and suddenly I realized something was wrong. I distinctly remembered leaving the lights on when I changed into my pajamas not five minutes ago. From behind me, the door closed shut, and the light switch was flipped off. Heavy booted steps quickly approached me in the darkness-thunk, thunk, and thunk. I turned only to be shoved hard against my desk by a large dark shape of a man. He covered my mouth and effortlessly lifted me off of the ground and slammed my body into my bed. With one hand still covering my mouth and pressing down with such force that he was capable of restraining my entire body, he reached around behind him with his free hand. I heard the ripping of Velcro as he removed something from a pouch on his belt.
The door to my bedroom slowly began to open, and my mom poked her head into my room. She had a warm smile she always had and said, “What on Earth is going on in…” Her eyes widened in terror as the light from the open door revealed the scene. I was in bed staring back at her with a large man pinning me down and holding a syringe. With almost inhuman speed, he charged my mom and with one hand grabbed her by the back of the head and smashed her face into the wall. He did this over and over and over again. I screamed “Stop!”, And ran at the man, pounding my small fists against his rock-hard backside. He grabbed the collar of my shirt and lifted me up to my tip toes. I grabbed at his arm and pushed up the sleeve to his jacket revealing a small tattoo on his forearm below his wrist. I bit down as hard as I could until he slapped me off with a sharp backhand that sent me flying across the room. For the first time, the man’s face moved into the light from the hallway so I could see him clearly. He was wearing a mask. It was a grotesque white mask of a goat. Dark, cold, eyes peered from the holes in the mask. Encircled on top of his forehead, a crop of six, black, marbled eyes decorated the masked.
He let go of my mom’s limp body, opening the palm of his hand in a mocking and exaggerated way. The goat-faced man then leaped from where he stood and landed on top of me, straddling my small body. The force of his body weight landing on my chest expelled all the air from my lungs. Loud heavy gasps came out of my mouth as I tried to catch my breath, but all the man did was press down harder. Once again he lowered the syringe and roughly jabbed it into my neck. The drug quickly took effect and the world came in and out of focus. My mind was fuzzy and filled with surreal shadows and shapes. The man then got off of me and headed towards my window. A rope was tossed up to him by someone outside of the house. He began pulling up his bag of supplies.
I made an attempt to stand but fell hard on the floor from disorientation. With my face pressed against the floor, I saw a blurry black marker on the floor next to my desk. I clumsily grabbed it out of the spinning world it sat in. I heard the man struggling to fit his supply bag through the window frame.
With all my concentration, I drew on the floor. I drew the tattoo I saw on the man’s arm. I drew the three sixes in a circle, each with a horizon dash on the top of the number making it look like both the number six and seven. With only seconds to spare, I used the last bit of control I had over my hand to grab a shirt left on the floor. I quickly covered my drawing from view and slumped down. When the man returned, he was only a shape standing over me. I barely felt the scissors cutting off my pajama tops and bottoms leaving only my underwear intact. For a brief moment, the haze cleared and I saw my mom slumped on the floor staring into nothing before I was stuffed into a thick duffle bag.
It was the vibration of the moving vehicle that aroused me into consciousness. I was still in the duffle bag, but he must have pulled my head out while I slept so I wouldn’t suffocate. My body remained paralyzed from the injected drug. With great effort, I looked up and saw a pair of frightened eyes looking back at me. A young girl, about my age, was lying next to me. Her head was protruding from a duffle bag similar to mine. It appeared I wasn’t the only one visited by the man with the six-eyed goat mask. I tried to move my non-functional body. My screams of terror only came out as feeble grunts. The fear gradually started to overpower the effects of the drug coursing through my veins and my movements became more pronounced and the grunts transformed into words. Then the vehicle slowed and came to a stop. The rear doors suddenly opened, and the face of the goat with many eyes appeared. He stared silently at us. He held his hand out, and a younger teenaged boy walked up to him. The man with the goat mask raised his hand and gestured to “hurry up.” The teenager handed his larger companion a syringe with a single drop of fluid suspended from the tip of the needle and said, “It’s ready, Dad.”
What happened next are only small and broken fragments of my memory. I was kept in a wooden crate and sedated the entire time. The only remember brief flashes of awareness with the crying in the background, the crying of children. After an undetermined amount of time, the six of the children were taken to the Father. The bright lights from behind him and my dizziness made it impossible to see him clearly, but I could tell he was an elderly man. Although older, there was undeniable strength and intimidation in his voice and tall body.
I was restrained by the taller man, wearing the mask of the goat. The smaller teenage boy held firmly on to the girl from the van. Also in the room, there were two other pairs of men, each with two children held before them. There was a man with the mask of a lion with six eyes on its forehead. He stood next to a younger and smaller companion and presented their two captives to the Father. The Father nodded and told them to prepare for tonight’s ritual to honor and pay tribute to the Lion. Next was a man with a mask like an ox. It too had six eyes on its forehead, and a smaller and younger companion stood by his side. They proceeded to present their two young children to the Father. He nodded and told them to prepare for the ritual the night after next in honor and tribute to the Ox. The girl and I were the last to be presented to the Father by the Goat and his young companion.
The Father nodded and told our abductors to prepare us for our ritual, which will occur in two night’s time.
The Father concluded that once the tributes had been accepted, our flesh and bones would be added to the altar. He bellowed that “the passing of the masks” approached. He called it a day of rejoicing when the father witnesses the son become a man, and the son becomes a deacon of the Horn. He promised that our flesh would seal the pact that guaranteed their bloodline another generation of prosperity and power. He concluded his rant with a profound and menacing utterance of the word “Amen.”
The night of the Lion and the Ox came and went; silence fell upon the dark room. There were no more children left to cry. The girl must have been unconscious; I heard nothing from her. By this point, my body was shutting down. Any movement caused massive waves of nausea and painful dry heaves from lack of food and only having chemicals forced into my body. I used the last bit of my strength to bring my knees to my chest. Taking the fetal position was my way of accepting the end of my life. I lay in my pen wondering if the sun had gone down yet. A part of me wished it was time, and it would all be over.
A barrage of approaching gunfire grew in the distance
There was a loud crash of a door being kicked in and yells of “Clear! Clear!” “Clear!” They found me in my crate: emaciated, dehydrated, and malnourished. The top of the wooden box was pried open, and a woman’s face peered in and looked at me. The woman had a natural beauty and a voice that spoke with both authority and soft femininity. In my delusional state, I thought I was being rescued by that woman from those old alien movies I enjoyed so much. She lifted me out of my cage and carried me towards the light saying, “It’s over now, honey. You’re safe now.” She rushed me out of the area through a crowd of armed men, all wearing jackets with the letters FBI on their backs. As we reached the doorway that exited the room, I caught a brief glimpse of four small shapes suspended within the shadows. It was a hellish diorama of deformed and unnatural shapes made from the human form. It was the altar. Seconds before exiting the room, one of the agents flipped on the lights, and the horrific structure was revealed. For one split second, I saw it. I saw the wood. I saw the nails. I saw the incisions on the burnt and branded flesh held in position with spools of large and rusty barbed wire. I saw mutilated faces. I saw how innocence is paid to primitive and barbaric deities.
I screamed when I saw there were two empty spots among the entanglement of skin and razors.
The raid was partially successful. In the firefight, eight of the cultists were killed. Three of which were the teenage sons of a wealthy family from the South. They were the sons of three brothers who were the legacy of a family that had generations of power and prosperity in its history. The brothers, along with their fathers vanished and could not be located, but not before their assets were frozen and seized by the authorities. In the coming days, the family’s dynasty came crashing down as more connections to the cult were discovered. The family’s future died that day with the death of those three young men. It was just blind luck that the FBI found them, a remote compound about 250 miles from where I was taken. It was the tattoo I drew that saved me. The Goat’s son foolishly put a full sized tattoo on his back with the same symbols at a public tattoo parlor. It was the clue that saved my life.
Only the little girl and I were pulled out from that hell hole. Our survival only attributed to the mere fact that our night of tribute was the last of the three. We were taken to the hospital and reunited with our families. I learned what I already knew in my heart; my mom was dead. My dad tried his hardest to rebuild our lives again, but the experience had scarred me too deeply to recover entirely and regain any ability to trust or establish any emotional ties. I lived in constant fear. My dad lived in another kind of fear; the fear of losing his child again. My protection consumed him to such extremes; the stress began to take him a little at a time.
I tried to stay in contact with Jaime, the little girl who was also rescued, but I think she felt the same as I did. We were both reminders to one another of that man with a goat mask with many eyes. We eventually stopped messaging each other and went about our lives as best as we could. It was seven years later until I heard anything about her. When I was fourteen, my dad received a call from Agent Barrett, the agent and lead investigator who rescued me. Jaime was missing. She had been taken again. They suspected it was the same man as before. They never found a body. They never knew what became of her other than a note from a man claiming to be the Goat. My dad had no doubt she was dead.
It was around this time when strange things began happening here. Lights for outdoor motion sensors were triggered at night, and strange men were reported outside the gates of my private school. One night, I awoke to gunshots and my dad swearing at someone and promising to kill them if they came back. That’s when dad brought home Artemis, a beautiful mixed German shepherd puppy to be my protector and companion, but she was so much more than that. In actuality, she was the only thing that could get past all the damage and reach the small part of me that remained. She was the only one who could nurture the bonds between my father and me for us to grow closer once again. When the news of Jamie had reached my dad, he came to me and explained the situation. He said it was time to go. We were going to a place he had been preparing for a long time; a place where I would be safe. With the help of Agent Barrett and the FBI, we left to start our new lives under a new identity in a new town in a remote area of Alaska.
When I reminisce, it is still so vivid in my mind. I read the email message again and again. I mouth the words silently as I read the words. Suddenly my phone chimes softly to alert me of a new message. This time, it is a text message. It’s from him, the Father. He found my phone number. The message is more b******t about not being capable of hiding and my uniqueness and sparkly eyes. A minute later, a second text is delivered.
- Caller: Unknown.
- Message: I say unto thee, my disciples of the Horn, blessed are those who keep thy covenant and pay tribute to thy God, for their faith will be rewarded both here and in the afterlife. Thou shall see only wealth and prosperity for thy house. Thou shall reap great harvests from the sweat of thy neighbor and the blood of thy enemies. Honor my commandments and pay tribute to the god of air, land, and soil. Strike down all who impede and defile my offerings and I will show the unbeliever that I am thy lord and god!
- – The Book of the Hoof 5:16
- I spoke those words to the girl before I repaid my tribute with her screams. However, my debt is not yet absolved. When I next speak those words, I will be bathed in your blood. Only then will I offer up your flesh to the Lord of my clan; only then will my debt be paid. Only then will it be finished
- MY daddy has a fascination with you eyes. I personally don’t see it. I am more interested in your screams. Will you scream for me, Matthew? Will you scream nice and loud for me? I think you will. I will be soon you real soon, Matthew.”
- – The Goat
I stared at the message and smiled to myself.
When I turned seventeen, my dad died from a sudden massive stroke. As the years went by, I saw his strength and health deplete itself from exhaustion and worry. I loved my dad very much, but it was difficult to reciprocate any affection or emotion after my abduction, but those last years were good. He passed away knowing he had done everything possible to make me safe. Now alone and with three months left of high school, I needed to make a choice. Do I live my life in fear, hiding from the world or do I honor my father and take back my life? I made my decision on what to do and used that time to get my affairs in order. Come graduation day, I had sold everything I owned, including the house. Shortly after that, I was standing on the doorstep of Agent Barrett’s home with Artemis. I explained my plan and asked if she could keep Artemis for me, for which she happily agreed, but strongly questioned my decision as she scanned my weak and boyish frame. I was undeterred in my plans, and eventually, she accepted my decision. I knelt down and put my forehead against Artemis’ and wept as I said goodbye.
Six months later, I enlisted in the United States Army. Within those four years, I grew into a man. My body grew in strength, not merely physical but of the mind and heart. I became a warrior and soldier. I had feared, but I was gaining the courage to be able to act in spite of the fear. At the end of my enlistment, I returned to the hometown from my childhood. I made a public Facebook account under my former name. Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter; anything that could be used to give me visibility; I had joined. It was my announcement to anyone who might be listening that I was here. If they were still out there, it would only be a matter of time before they took the bait.
I read the email once again and zipped my jacket up a little higher to protect my face against the bitterly cold breeze of the autumn night. I am concealed in the thick brush of woods overlooking an isolated luxurious ranch style house., I see headlights from a van peek from around the bend and drive up to the house I have been watching for the past three hours. I lift the night vision binoculars to my eyes to get a better look. A large man emerges from the vehicle and goes to the rear doors and then walks into the house carrying a large duffle bag. I pull out another piece of paper that contains my list. With an old marker, I have kept safe for a very long time; I cross out the first line written on the paper that reads:
- 1. The Goat
- 2. The Lion.
- 3. The Ox.
- 4. The Father.
I put the papers away with care and check to make sure I have all my equipment before I move out. As I stand, Artemis snaps to attention and takes her place at my side.
I breathe the cold air deeply and remind myself there is no turning back now. I don’t know if what I am going to do is right, but one thing is sure. It begins tonight. My time in the desert revealed so much to me. It showed me how violent man could be to one another. It showed me how powerful evil could become. It showed me that right and wrong are not always clear, and the ends can justify the means. Most importantly, it taught me that just learning to live with the fear of the wicked is not enough for me. Evil men and their evil deeds cannot be tolerated; they need to be stopped by any means necessary! Yes, in the desert, I found the answer to ending this darkness and maybe a way to take back the parts of my soul that were stolen.
The answer was so simple. When evil becomes so immense, goodness may not be enough to stop it. Sometimes, the only way to defeat this kind of evil is with another kind of evil.
The blood from five children cries out for revenge; it will be answered by another kind of evil. I am that evil, and it fills my heart with murder and rage! Tonight, I deliver a message to a false prophet and his false gods! A message with the killing of the first of his apostles. His screams will announce to all, “I am the bringer of death and destruction to your congregation! I am the destroyer of the Goat, of the Lion, and of the Ox!
I am coming for you. I will hunt you down, and I will find you. And when I do, I am going to kill each and every last one of you!”