The Night Force: Book of Evil, Chapter 4: The Cabin in the Woods

by Frank G. Murdock, partially adapted from Evil Dead II, screenplay by Sam Raimi and Scott Spiegel

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The hills of Tennessee, November 6, 1988:

A stretch of highway curved along the base of a mountain. The road wound off into oblivion beyond other peaks. From a distance the rumble of an engine could be heard, that of a large logging truck headed south. Moving away, the truck became smaller until finally it disappeared in the distance.

A dark and brooding force stopped atop a forest ridge to peer downward. From where the truck emerged, a blue and gray Chevy minivan came into view, and the darkness focused upon the minivan speeding along the narrow highway below.

Inside were six people — Zadok Grimm, Victoria Von Frankenstein, Jack Gold, Vanessa Van Helsing, and Adam and Julia Kadmon. Zadok was driving, and Victoria sat next to him up front. Adam, Julia, Jack, and Vanessa were in back.

“Mr. Kadmon, where are we?” asked Zadok.

“Let me see… we’re still on seventy-five just past the county border.” Adam traced a route on the map with his finger.

Jack, sitting in the back of the minivan with Vanessa and craving a cigarette, grew impatient.

“Which would put us…” Adam zeroed in on the map with his finger. “…right…”

Jack snarled, “Yes?”

“Here!” exclaimed Adam, jabbing his finger into the map.

Suddenly, the steering wheel jerked from Zadok’s hand. The car screeched out of control into the opposite lane. An oncoming large logging truck with its horn screaming raced toward the car on a collision course.

“Zadok, watch out!” yelled Victoria.

But as the truck raced closer, Zadok found that the steering wheel was locked.

Jack gripped his seat and yelled, “Turn!”

Zadok grunted with frustration as he tried to turn the wheel. At the last possible instant, he found that the wheel could once again be controlled, and he swerved the car sharply back into the right lane. The truck sped harmlessly past them, its horn blaring.

“Damn it, Zadok, what the hell was that? You trying to kill us?” spat Jack.

Zadok looked into the rearview mirror and scowled. Maintaining his civility, he replied, “Don’t yell at me, Mr. Gold. It was the steering wheel. It jerked right out of my hands.”

Vanessa Van Helsing held herself, a chill overcoming her. “It’s watching us.”

Julia turned to look at the younger woman. “Who’s watching us, hon?”

Vanessa squeezed her eyes shut and slowly shook her head. “The evil.”

Julia looked out the window of the minivan as she patted the girl’s knee.

The car approached an exit along the highway. Adam glanced at the map again. “Hey, I think this is where we get off.”

The minivan turned off the main highway and followed several back roads until it approached a narrow dirt lane that wound upward along a twin set of mountains. The sun was now resting on the horizon as the woods on either side of the road began to darken, and a thin fog began to take form.

For several minutes, the vehicle traveled toward its destination before it finally slowed and pulled to a halt.

Zadok stepped quietly from the car and looked out at the sight in front of him. Victoria Von Frankenstein gasped as she opened her door and began to climb out, her amazement at the scene before her bringing the countess pause.

“What’s up?” asked Julia as the two exited the vehicle.

“What the hell now?” said Jack Gold irritably. “For Christ’s sake, let me out so I can have a smoke, at least!”

Adam opened the sliding door and stepped out. The others followed, Jack grumbling as he climbed out last. Jack instantly lit up a cigarette.

“Oh, my,” said Julia as she grasped her husband’s arm. “What could have done this?

“Done what?” spat Jack venomously. Looking over at the Kadmons, he saw Vanessa pointing sixty feet in front of them. Jack’s eyes grew wide, his cigarette almost falling from his slackened jaw. “What in the hell–?”

All stood in the bright glare of the lights as the fog swirled about them. Adam and Julia gaped in frightened wonder at what they saw.

The piercing beams of light from the minivan illuminated a road sign that read:

DANGEROUS BRIDGE — 2 TON WEIGHT LIMIT — CROSS AT OWN RISK

Behind the sign, a giant steel hand loomed toward the weary travelers, the twisted remains of the steel and wood bridge that once crossed the great mountain chasm beyond.

Zadok peered at the uncrossable chasm. Reaching into a pocket inside his jacket, he pulled out a piece of folded paper. Opening it, he let his eyes pour over its contents before rifling through some bushes to the left of the bridge. He looked over his shoulder and said to the others, “Unpack the vehicle and get ready to hike. The rest of our journey is going to be on foot.”

He looked to the west. The sun was now resting on the horizon, lower than it was before and blood red. A scowl of worry was etched upon his face.

Zadok led the Night Force down the narrow cliffside of the chasm. The map given to him by a townsperson where they had stopped for one final gas fill-up had provided them information readily enough when asked.

“Used ta be a favorite huntin’ ground for local folk for generations, but the place is plumb empty o’ life fer the past six or so years, as if somethin’ evil was in those woods preying on the very life o’ the forest itself!” The man had paused before taking on a more angry tone. “I ‘spect it has more to do with the gov’ment, though. Probably messin’ ’round wit some o’ dat radiation stuff. Dern’t give a damned if’n they kill us all, if’n you knows what I mean.”

Zadok had been happy for the man that he believed the latter; the truth would have horrified him.

Using his sword to cut back extra growth through the deserted hunting path in order for the others to easily follow, Zadok contemplated the mission ahead of them and to what ends they would come to serve his master. And as his eyes continued to watch to the west, he secretly worried whether he and the others would find out before they found themselves trapped in the forest after the sun set.

Behind Zadok followed Jack Gold. With backpack in place and a Remington 12-gauge shotgun in hand and loaded with slugs, the reporter was ready to shoot first and ask questions later.

Behind Jack followed Vanessa Van Helsing. Clad in a black ensemble of turtleneck shirt and jeans, the young woman followed closely after Jack. She wasn’t a lover of guns, and as such did not know how to use one safely. “I sense we are getting closer… the evil is almost tangible.”

Victoria Von Frankenstein walked behind Vanessa. She was garbed in modern safari gear. With her backpack securely fastened in place, she, too, held firmly to a shotgun loaded with slugs. She had faced big enemies before.

In the rear of the group followed the Kadmons, Adam and Julia. Adam held a .44 Magnum in his hands. He wished he felt safer with the weapon, but he knew it was his backpack that held the real weapons of which he was an expert.

Julia also held a pistol in her hand. She was rather good at using a handgun, since she tended to spend time at the firing range once or twice a week. She had wished Adam would do the same, but he was more into reading and studying other aspects of their experience, such as the natural sciences and ritual casting. She prayed that both their skills would not be put to the test.

The journey from the road down the chasm and then back up to the other side took roughly an hour. Another twenty minutes later, they found themselves standing before a small, dark cabin in the woods.

The structure looked run down, and the land around it was eerily alive with overgrowth. Around Baron Winters’ Night Force, a maddening silence hung in the darkness rising from the dim of the setting sun.

“We’re here,” said Jack in a throated whisper. “What now?”

“It’s too late,” said Vanessa as she looked around frantically. “They’re all around us.”

Who’s all around us?” asked Julia Kadmon as she placed a hand on the girl’s shoulder.

Zadok looked around and drew in a deep breath. “By the right hand of the eternal!”

As the rest of the Night Force turned to look at Zadok, they were instantly drawn to the man’s dilemma.

A flurry of snake-like vines lifted up from the ground and came to life about the ancient warrior. Two living vines wound their way toward his legs and coiled around his ankles tightly. Before Zadok could hack at the animated growths, he found himself further ensnared by the living vines, which wound around his torso and chest in a furious coiling motion.

Jack Gold started toward Zadok to assist but found himself captured by a living vine as it wrapped around his throat and pulled him to the ground.

Then, all at once, the entire forest came alive in a flurry of chaotic noises and movement. Snake-like vines wrapped around the other members of the Night Force, starting with their ankles and quickly slithering up their legs. Tree branches nearby began to claw and rake at them.

“It’s too late!” cried Vanessa. “It’s too late!” She screamed before the living vines wrapped around her face and began to pull her away toward the dilapidated cabin.

Adam Kadmon pulled at the vines around his throat to cry out to the girl, but was unable to say anything under the powerful grip of the animated foliage. His eyes widened in horror as he witnessed an animated tree beat its branches furiously upon the exterior wall of the cabin. It ripped apart the cabin’s stone chimney, giving him a view of the distorted face it now bore.

Victoria Von Frankenstein found herself being violated by finger-like vines. A terrifying tree face on the surface of a giant oak was revealed as it leered at her with sinister intent. She screamed. She turned toward her left at a loud thumping sound. There she saw a second gnarled tree slamming its trunk against the rear door of the cabin. She was struck with fear as it revealed an even more horrific tree face. Victoria tried to scream out but found herself succumbing to the power of the vines as they wrapped around her head and dragged her writhing body toward the cabin.

The cabin was surrounded by a group of lumbering oaks, all working to destroy what was left of the old building. As the possessed trees continued their assault, other members of the Night Force were ensnared by the forest growth. Vanessa, Jack, Zadok, Victoria, Adam — all were pulled, cocooned in vines, into the center of the quickly defunct structure.

As the trees continued their assault, a bubbling smoke appeared, then flame, through a break in the earth beneath the cabin. Red mists jutted upward as if something deep within the ground was groaning, as if suddenly awakened from some dark and eternal sleep.

The leaves and other loose matter of the forest began to move as the wind picked up. Through the smoke, the beginnings of a winding spiral of the red mists took form.

Julia watched through horror-filled wide eyes as a giant rift appeared from nowhere. Her heart pumped violently as she heard the terrifying roar of the vacuum being created by the mystical whirlpool that pulled her toward its center.

She felt the rift grow more powerful as it pulled in the boulders and trees that surrounded the cabin. Julia Kadmon screamed as she plummeted into the center of the rift. She spun wildly into the darkness of the vortex.

And through the sounds of the rushing winds — she could have sworn that she could make out laughter.

To Be Continued in Blue Devil: Night of the Evil Dead

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