Here it comes. The next chapter of the haunting asylum story...oh boy.

And now, it begins! And it shall start...now!

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Journey into the Dark Woods

by Green Phantom Queen

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Chapter 4-An Evening Amongst the Spirits

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"Let me go!" John cried, thrashing and kicking and screaming as he was being pulled toward the altar. "I don't want to do this! This isn't right!"

"Shut up, brat!" Kane barked at him. "You'll be praising their names soon enough!"

"Those hypocrites? They're the ones who are locking up innocent people in that asylum! They've been trapped there for who knows how long and lost their sanity and all they want to do is..."

"SILENCE!" Boomed a voice. Soon, the church was a lit with the flickering glow of candles, illuminating the hooded druids surrounding the figure amongst the altar. The Undertaker...a man known for his haunting presence amongst the village despite looking as if he had never aged past 40. Known for being a speaker for the dead at funerals, and also for being the main messenger for both Adam and Eve, he was respected and feared by the town. Children teased each other to stare into the eyes of the Deadman for three seconds as dares, and even older teens would know not to cross his path. But seeing him...John felt shivers fall down his spine.

Kane tossed John onto the ground, before getting on one knee.

"He is here, my brother." He announced. "He is ready for the ceremony."

"Excellent..." Undertaker hissed. "And now, we shall begin..."

"Begin what?" John whimpered. "W-what are you going to do to me?"

"I'm going to show you the truth." said the Undertaker. "You are a disgrace to Adam and Eve and to our community!"

"I sort of realized that." John muttered under his breath. "What with the mark and all..."

"Silence!." was the reply. "You are cursed...playing and goofing off with those freaks. They tainted and brainwashed you...so tonight, we'll be having a cleansing ceremony!"

"W-what?" John whispered. "What's that?"

"Why not ask your friends?" asked the Undertaker, pointing to the Church doors. John turned around, seeing his best friends standing at the entrance way, their eyes glowing with shades of yellow.

"Mike? Phil? Johnny? Chris?" Cena gasped out. "W-what's wrong with your eyes?"

"It's a little trick that this night gives them." Kane replied with a smirk. "They've been our spies for quite some time. Ever since you were a little boy, something had been 'off' about you. And from what we heard about last night, it only proves our theories about you. Thanks for letting them go free."

"You guys are insane!" John exclaimed. "What's next?"

"...Your conversion into a Son of Adam." Undertaker replied, motioning to the hooded figures behind him. They removed their hoods, revealing the blank looks of the council...three of them being John's father, mother and older brother. Each of them staring at John, each of them telling him 'You're next.'

"I don't want to be a Son of Adam!" John cried. "I don't want to be some sort of monster that goes around convicting innocent people of their rights to live and hauls them off into an asylum forever and ever. I don't want to be that sort of person that has to be guilty of causing at least 108 people to die there...please don't..."

John was interrupted by Kane grasping onto his throat with a hand, squeezing all of the oxygen out of him. He gasped and sputtered, trying his hardest to say something, but it was all for naught.

"We are wasting precious time." said Undertaker. "It is time for the ceremony to begin."

Kane released his grip on john, the young teenager gasping for air with a hand near his throat. John looked around...the windows were boarded, the front door had his friends blocking it, and he was up against at least 13 to 1. There was no escape...

Or was there?

John winced as a memory came into his head. A figure finding a secret door behind the church and running through an underground cavern to the Dark Woods and ending up in the asylum. There, the figure climbed up the walls and hid inside the building, meeting up with some of the inmates who sheltered him. Then...there was nothing. But where did it come from?

I have to get out of here... John said to himself, seeing Undertaker chanting in Latin, a dagger in hand. And fast...

Out of compulsion, John ran. He bolted toward one of the stained glass windows and jumped through it, his arms and legs cut by the jagged edges of the glass. Everyone stared in shock as John made his way to the back of the church.

Undertaker growled, clenching his fists deep enough so that his nails were drawing blood.

"AFTER HIM!" He roared.

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John ran, finding a simple well behind the church with a bucket tied to a rope to draw water. He turned around, seeing a hooded figure coming toward him, eyes glowing in the pale moonlight.

"Come back..." the figure hissed. "You belong to Adam and Eve."

"NEVER!" John screamed as he grasped onto the rope of the well and jumped down, descending deeper and deeper underground. With a small splash, he found himself knee deep in water. He winced a bit when the cold water was lapped amongst the cuts on his body, but he ignored it as he began to swim past the rushing water to the underground tunnel in his vision.

But why did I even have that vision in the first place? John asked himself. I don't recall doing such a thing like that...at least I think I don't recall doing such a thing like that. Either way, I have no other choice...there's something going on in this village, and I have to find out what.

John continued to swim, being glad that all the time he spent at the river paid off. He continued to push back the water until he found a rope ladder at the bottom of another well. Cena sighed in relief as he got out of the water and grasped onto the ladder, climbing up to see the moonlit sky.

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"Mattie..." Jeff whined, pointing to an apple tree on the other side of the asylum. "I wanna apple."

"I know you do." Matt replied, placing a hand on his brother's shoulder. "But...you know the rules. Even if our hand goes past the asylum walls, it becomes old. Even though we don't need to eat, we're dying."

"But I want one!" Jeff cried. "Remember? Every year before momma died, we'd get an apple dipped with honey and share it. But ever since that incident..."

"We all remember that 'incident'." Christian replied, sitting upon an old swing. "The incident that changed our lives...we may have lived in different time periods, but we all were taken for one reason or another. Adam and I went because our father was abusing us and the people running the asylum said they would protect us from him."

"Mattie and I had dreams of being performers, and some mean man made us this way." Jeff whimpered.

"I wanted to make myself beautiful so a certain man would love me." Ashley moaned, sitting amongst a patch of grass. "A strange man comes by and promises me to get the attention of everyone I met...and it happened. In fact, I burned my eyes out so I could never see myself ever again for my foolish intention."

"We never wanted to be apart." said Paul as he and Brian were resting against the wall of the asylum. "We were best friends, and when I was about to die, Brian ran to the forest to find a cure for me. Instead, someone gave him a potion and told him to make a wish and then split the potion between us."

"I wished that I would never be apart from my best friend." Brian continued. "We both drank the potion and fell asleep from how powerful it was. By morning...we became this...and our parents threw us out of the house for it."

"And we all know Gangrel's story." said Adam, motioning to the elder man who was staring at the night sky with curiosity. "Something inside him snapped when his wife died and so he ate her, immediately branding him as a cannibal. He's actually the most normal inmate out of all of us left...if one doesn't count for the fact that he's bound by chains and has that creepy smile on his face as if he's about to kill someone."

"Last is Randy." said Ashley, stretching her arm out to pet the young boy who was asleep in her lap. "All we know is that he's got a demon inside of him that wants to help us...but the poor boy just calls him his imaginary friend. His parents forced him in here and the kid has become a wreck. Tonight's one of those nights when he hasn't cried and screamed in his sleep."

Suddenly, an item fell on Brian's head.

"Ow!" He cried. "What the?"

Three more items flew overhead—one of them hitting Paul on the head—and rolled amongst the grass. They were apples. Paul picked one up and inspected it with his hand.

"These look like the ones growing from the tree on the other side of the wall." He murmured. "But who would do such a thing?"

"I would."

Everyone looked up to see John climb the vine of ivy and wave a hand toward them. He slid down the opposite side, landing in the tall grass.

"Did I hit anyone with the apples?" asked John. "Sorry...I was getting hungry."

"At least give us a warning before you throw fruit toward our heads." said Brian, rubbing the bump on his head.

Jeff stared at the apples with sadness, seeing John wiping one onto his shirt and then breathing onto it. He let out a whimper, similar to one of a puppy dog as John was about to bite into one of the red orbs.

"Please..." said Jeff. "Can I...have one?"

John paused and stared at the apple before turning to Jeff. He then smiled and lifted the apple as far as he could.

"Sure." John replied. "I have three more on me anyway."

"Thank you..." Jeff cried, tenderly taking the apple into his hand. "Thank you so much..."

Tears fell down the young boy's eyes as he took a bite out of the apple. With a loud crunch, Jeff began to eat his treat as if he had not eaten in hundreds of years.

"What are you doing here?" asked Christian with some anger. "I thought you had to become a Son of Adam."

"I was going to...but I ran and escape." John answered. "My friends betrayed me; apparently the council has them under their control and I was probably going to end up like them if it happened. They're insane...and they won't give me any answers as to why you guys are chained up in here...but it might have to do with a mysterious person, right?"

"You eavesdropped on us?" Matt exclaimed. "How could you?"

"How else am I going to help you? Clearly this mysterious person affected all of you one way or another, right? Well, maybe if we can find this person, we could figure out a way to save you from your fate."

"And what good will that do?" asked Ashley. "That man lived in Adam and Christian's time at least 200 years ago, and Randy came to us around 50 years ago. Do we even know if he's still alive?"

"If he lived throughout all your times and caused you to be this way, then he should be around. I'm going to find him...and make this tragedy end once and for all."

"That's great and all." Gangrel grunted. "But you're being hunted by the Council. No one is safe—from young Randy, to the orphans Christian and Adam and even me. We all got locked up here for one reason or another. We were all innocent before then...and years of insults, mistreatment, torture...we've all snapped. We're the unfortunate ones...anyone who has died are living peacefully and away from this crap."

"It's going to change." said John. "I swear, on my own name of John Felix Anthony Cena, I will free you. I know that means you'll die...but...but it's better than living in a town who's twisted and crazy!

"And, there's something wrong about me too. I recall going into the asylum when I was younger, but I don't recall seeing you here before. And that mark on my chest..."

He looked down, seeing the black spider mark appear.

"I don't know why, but this has to do with you, the mysterious man, my mark, and this whole Adam and Eve business. Something in Asmodes...is a secret...something so horrible that my family and friends are being brainwashed and controlled by it. That church must be in relation to all of it...no one ever goes to that church except the Seraphim...or people who are about to be Seraphim."

"Wait..." Christian announced suddenly. "I remember something..." The younger of the twins placed a hand on his forehead. "It's been so long, but now it's as clear as day..."

"What is it?" asked Adam.

"...Something about two figure sin the forest...we were picking berries...and we saw something. A murder...and then we ran back home and fell asleep. Then...nothing."

"Great..." Paul muttered sarcastically. "Aside from what Johnny boy gave us, we only have a murder. That's just nice..." He sighed and bowed his head. "We're never going to leave, aren't we?"

"At least we have something to go with." said Brian, piping up. "If this memory is before Christian and Adam entering the asylum, then it could be part of the solution in freeing us."

"See?" said John. "We have something in our favor; something that the Seraphim probably don't know."

"Speaking of the Seraphim, what kind of crappy story did they give the town?" asked Adam. "It's been a while since we've been there."

"It's said to be one past down from the first settlers of Asmodes. They were being attacked by demonic snakes and spiders...then they met up with these beings called Adam and Eve who destroyed them and poof! The village was born. Adam and Eve were said to be witches or at least some sort of evil supernatural being...but no one ever had the audacity to consider Adam and Eve's history. Then there were the rumor of their sons."

"What sons?" asked Ashley. "I never recall Adam and Eve having sons."

"That's why I said it was a rumor. Although, it may not be a rumor anymore once I get my hands on this."

"How are you going to do that?" asked Matt. "You're going to be caught by someone in the village and then...then you'll probably become one of us."

"Exactly."

Everyone stared at John as if he had grown an eye on his forehead.

"What did you say?" Adam gasped. "You want to become a freak just like us?"

"I'm protected by this asylum, aren't I?" said John. "So whatever curse they plan to put on me, won't effect me."

"You do know that means you won't be eternal when you enter the facility." said Ashley, cradling Randy in her arms. "You'll still be mortal."

"So be it." John spat out. "I said this to Phylegyas and I'll say it again...I'm going to save you no matter what."

He stared at two of his apples and gave them to Matt.

"For your brother." he stated, noticing Jeff had finished devouring his apple while everyone was talking. "If you want, I'll sneak some honeycomb into the asylum next time I visit."

"You're a good friend, John Felix Anthony Cena." said Matt, taking the apples into his hands. "Thank you."

"...I have to get going." said John. "This will probably be the first place they'll look for me..."

"Good luck." said Gangrel. "We're all counting on you..."

"I know." John answered, climbing on the ivy vine once more, apple in hand. "I know..."

He shifted his body to go past the wall and landed on the ground. Taking one last look at the asylum, and seeing Jeff eat his second apple, John then walked off.

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A murder between two brothers...a mysterious man who warped everyone's wishes...a demon possessing a little boy and claiming to be his imaginary friend...a secret society that's keeping one heck of a secret...a mark that's blessed me...

John ran these thoughts in his mind as he walked out of the woods and back into the village. Things weren't quiet...hooded figures were asking the villagers what was going on. There were the sounds of yelling, children screaming, and carts and other things being destroyed. It was all because of him...he was responsible for this.

"Oh man..." Cena whispered, eyes widening at the site of his village being destroyed. "No..."

Ignoring the consequences of him returning, John ran toward the village, using the darkness to camouflage himself from the Seraphim. He paused as he stood near the side of the house; his friends knew all of his usual hiding places...he had to think outside of the box.

Then, he remembered...the church. No one ever went into the church, except for the Seraphim. He remembered the route and, most likely, it was empty, what with the search and all.The teenager, turned his head, seeing if the coast was clear. It was. And he soon bolted for the church. Once in a while, he would hear threats and whispers and he immediately hid at the closest thing he could find.

"DAMN IT!" John heard Kane's voice roar (Cena hiding behind a fruit cart) . "Where is that kid?"

"He should be in one of his usual hiding spots." Undertaker remarked. "I sent his little friends out to find him and they should return in a while. That kid has something on him...he's not one of us."

"That kid's never been one of us." Kane corrected. "I sense it...he has none of their traits...could he be...?"

"Don't you dare mention that name." Undertaker growled. "We best find his friends...maybe one of them had seen him."

Kane grunted in agreement, the two walking off to the river. John saw them walk by, knowing that it would be the first place they would look. Then, it would just be a game of cat and mouse before those two realized that he was long gone.

John stayed in his hiding place before taking in a deep breath and standing up. He stared at his chest, seeing the spider mark glowing...then, he ran toward the church.

It was the only place right now that didn't want him killed, after all.