My Friend Created His Own Religion

I haven’t heard from my friend in days, so I’ve decided to check in on him. Dean lives in a small two-story place, all by himself. He’s pretty weird, which is okay. I like weird, but recently he’s gotten much stranger than I’ve given him credit for. Dean’s really into studying various religions, both ancient and modern. Right now, he’s on an ancient Egyptian kick. Especially the Set and Osiris myths. Set, the usurper. This deity mutilated and killed his brother Osiris.

Dean has been going on about the Set/Osiris thing for weeks. He’d leave me bizarre messages, one after another, so I just started ignoring the calls. Then I stopped getting them completely. I was relieved at first, but after a week, I didn’t hear from Dean at all. I kept calling, nothing. I knew I couldn’t ignore the fact that I hadn’t heard from him. I got in my car and drove over there, ignoring the stop lights and heavy rain. Seemed like a dangerous thing to do, but all of a sudden, I felt a surge of courage.

I’m over at Dean’s place now, that courage a rapidly deflating balloon. All the lights are off, and the windows seem to be emanating a suffocating blackness. I don’t really want to go inside, and, no matter how weird Dean has gotten, he’s still my friend.

But is he a friend worth dying over? Because you’re not heading into Mary Poppin’s Bouncing Castle. It looks eerie in there, and deserted. Clearly there’s a reason for that. These are the thoughts running through my head right now. I’m debating just leaving, but Dean has been a great friend to me over the years.

The front door just swung open, quickly, violently. I’m walking up the stairs. They’re slippery from the rain. The sagging front porch has a wasp’s nest in the corner, and I’m doing my best to avoid it. I just opened the front door. It was unlocked.

The living room is a fucking mess. Clothes on the furniture, a carton of milk is on its side, a white puddle covering much of the floor in an odd shape that looks deliberate and not accidental, except I can’t quite place it. More clothes in a pile just barely missing the milk puddle.

“Fuck, Dean, you’re even more disgusting than I remember,” I said. I figure it’s best to record even the seemingly inconsequential things that I say.

I’m looking around. There’s not much of interest in the living room. The dining area is right across from it, and I just flipped on the big overhead lights. I feel better now, knowing that there is some light in the room. I’m going to turn on the kitchen lights too.

Fuck. Big mistake. I stumbled across a dead body. It reeks pretty badly, way more than the rotten milk puddle in the living room. The dead body is wearing what looks like an Osiris mask, if I’m remembering the pictures Dean sent me via phone message correctly. Chunks of his body are missing, I’m guessing this is in reference to the myth itself? Damn.

I peeled the mask away, and at least it wasn’t Dean. Not sure about the identity of the dead man. He reminds me of one of Dean’s neighbors. I turned around and, facing the basement door, caught a glimpse of a tall, pale man wearing a Set mask. He disappeared into the basement. I heard the weird amalgam sound of aardvarks and foxes.

I’m still deciding whether or not to go down there. I guess I’ve come this far, right? I’ve turned on all the lights I can, made everything somewhat less creepy.

There’s some writing on the kitchen wall. It reads: “I’ve created my own religion. Don’t try and stop me from transforming.”

I’m taking a knife from the kitchen drawer, since I will probably need protection from whatever is down there. It seems obvious that Dean is behind the Set mask. Who else would it be? And the “I’ve created my own religion” line makes the implication pretty clear.

More corpses wearing Osiris masks down here. They radiate a horrible smell. I can see the man in the Set mask, lurking by the small brick room housing the water heater. I can see the eyes behind the mask glowing a deep red.

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