Thankful for the sun that now shone above his head, he made way for his home. He knew what to do. He stepped inside and found the poster still hanging there, quite innocently, appearing once again like the masterpiece it was.
He came closer to it, intending to remove it from the wall. He moved his fingers around its edges, trying to find that one unpasted end from where he could rip it apart. But further shock awaited him—the poster was not just pasted on the door; it had become a part of the door.
He heard the laugh, and this time it was a mocking laugh.
However, he had made up his mind to rid himself of this evil. Lonnie had warned him; she had seen something in her that he hadn’t. Perhaps because she was a woman she had seen her true form? But there was no way he could ask Lonnie about it now. She had disappeared from his life, leaving no trace.
He came back with the strongest screwdriver that he could find. It did not matter if the poster had become a part of the door; he could remove the door itself. He began to work with the lower hinge. The door was old and the hinges had rusted; and it took him a great deal of effort to find the fulcrum. He used his muscle power to rotate the screwdriver. And when it did, a wail emanated from the poster above.
He saw the movement in the poster. The background had started to dissolve. Smoke now surrounded the face in the poster, and it began to squeal like a pig being castrated. He accelerated the pace of his task.
The lower hinge was free, and he began to work on the middle one. The door had now begun to wobble very slightly, and that was heightened by the movement within the poster. He saw that the eyes had begun to turn their sickly pallor of red. It was coming alive.
At one point, his back was turned to the poster and he was focusing on getting a grip on the handle. He chipped away the age-old paint that had hidden the screws and began to rotate the tool he held. At the same time, the hand in the poster began to move. Unknown to him, behind his back, the hand wedged itself out of the poster. And it shook and shook until it popped out of the poster and became real.
It flailed this side and that, trying to get a hold of the man. But, just in the nick of time, the screw suddenly came loose and his screwdriver turned and he lost his balance. Even as he fell on the floor, he saw, with a rapidly beating heart, how narrowly he had missed the talon-ended nails from tearing him to shreds.
With only one hinge left to go, the door shook precariously. He did not have the strength to hold it again, and so he stood up, full length, and gave the door a powerful kick right at its center.
The entire door came off, with its hinge breaking off its screws, and its splinters flying in different directions. The poster, which fell to the floor, face down along with the door, gave a last yelp as a puppy being kicked.
Sporting a mischievous smile that his work was accomplished, he proceeded to hack the door with an ax he had in his frugal apartment. He had made up his mind to take the poster back on the beach, to the mother. He had never believed much in the supernatural, but the occurrences of the past few days had changed his mind. He did not want to take any chances now. He would get rid of the poster once and for all, and that was his only hope of being done with it. He did not want a curse or a hex to be on his head for not doing the dead woman’s bidding.
He hacked at the door in a neat manner, just as a creative mind would, but even so it left several jagged edges around the poster, which had by now considerably sunk into the door. And at one point, the ax hacked at the poster itself, at one of the fingers. At that, there was a most terrible groan from the fallen poster, like that of someone in deep pain; and when he peered closer to look, he saw blood oozing out of the broken region.
Orson then proceeded to wrap the poster in a bath towel, and tucking it under his arm, he proceeded to the beach where Annette would be waiting; at least he hoped she would.
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