The Goat By D.I Jolly

As I sit down to write my account of the night, it still strikes me as unbelievable. If I had not witnessed it with my own eyes I would disregard it as the drunken ramblings of a madman. But I get ahead of myself. The evening had started as nothing remarkable. John Williamson and his family had come down into the town from the farm to have dinner at the local tavern, it was said that his cattle had acting up the last few nights but they’d settled that morning. Rev. Malcolm had been trying to tend to Old Lady Smith, who is not long for this world, but far too stubborn to know it. So he stepped into the tavern to have a well-deserved beer before heading back up the hill to the church.

In fact, the only remarkable thing about the start of that evening was that nothing remarkable was happening. Even Mad Frank McDonald was sitting quietly in the corner with his whiskey.

Then, just as the sun tipped over the horizon a storm blew in seemingly out of nowhere and before any of us realised it the heavens opened and it seemed like the ocean fell on us. Freak storms aren’t uncommon this time of year, but we could all feel it. There was something different about this one. Nothing tangible, nothing you could put your finger on, just something. It felt unnatural somehow. At first, I felt alone in this thought and I wouldn’t dare speak up, still not, but I could tell by the looks people were passing around the room that I wasn’t alone. That’s when the stranger walked in. We don’t get many visitors to our little town but we get the odd few and of course, they all come into the tavern. Sean O’Leary the barman and owner of the tavern greeted him politely served him a drink and watched as he found himself a table. Like the storm, there seemed something not normal about him. No reason behind it, just a feeling, like a shiver slowly creeping down your spine. His face was hidden under a large hat which he hadn’t remove and a long coat seemed to hide the rest of him. Most of the civilised people got back to their own business but Mad Frank wasn’t known for being civilised. He kept staring, to the point that we all noticed and started to worry. As he started to rise the Reverend stepped in and tried to distract him with conversation of scripture but Frank politely excused himself and went to sit with the stranger. At first, he didn’t’ speak but just continued to stare, like he was searching for something in the man’s face. Something he knew he’d find but not sure were, and the Stranger just stared right on back from under his hat.

Then a look crept over Mad Frank’s face as if he’d found what he was looking for. I’ve never in my life seen anyone go so pale as if all the blood had left his body. His hands began to shake and he fell backwards pointing a boney shaking finger at the man, his mouth flapping open and closed unable to find words to come out of it. The Reverend tried to help him up and eventually got him to his feet at which Frank started to scream as if what sanity he had left had finally shattered when it found what it was looking for in the man’s face. Sean O’Leary had also stepped forward to pick up the chair and apologise to the stranger but he apparently also saw what Frank had found and gasped, and grabbed at the mans’ hat pulling it off his head.

It was at that moment I realised that it wasn’t a man, but the face of a goat as if Satan himself was sitting in our tavern having a drink. His horns curled neatly on his head. O’Leary screamed and the Reverend crossed himself. John Williamson grabbed his smallest boy and wife and they ran clean out of the building. Frank dropped to his knees weeping and it was clear that his sanity had indeed left him. He began babbling strange words and phrases that almost sounded like an apology.

I tell no word of a lie what happened next will haunt my vision until my death, which I can feel coming ever closer even now. The Stanger stood up and let his coat fall and we could all see his body, the body of a man with the head of a goat. But his feet, his feet were cloven and at that moment I was sure I was staring at The Devil himself. Frank’s nerve broke along with his mind and his heart stopped dead. O’Leary, bless him, stood his ground, found his nerve and ordered the demon out while the Reverend held his holy book as a shield and started asking for the assistance of God. I … I just ran, knocking over chair and table as I did, I ran. As fast as I could down the street and back into my house on the far side of town. Although I knew He wasn’t following me I could feel a presence chance after me as I left. A presence I can still feel searching for me. I believe it means to kill me, and I fear it will succeed.

Wait, the floorboards outside my room are squeaking as if being walked on, but I know I am alone in this house. It has found me and should this ever be read I will surely be dead. It all started with that storm, it arrived on the storm!

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