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As a child I had a terrible fear of talking trees that people would put up as a decoration during Christmas. They were so frightening that they made me panic and cry. They were everywhere and if they were possessed by a person it would be even more terrifying!
It was two months after Christmas and the office for the Autism Society of Michigan was taking down the Christmas decorations and setting up the bears, cupids and hearts for Valentine’s Day. Mr. Berry was typing away on his dissertation for his degree in psychology about the effects of the exposure of massive amounts of moving and talking stimuli on children with Autism and its many forms. He was working on the section about how Rain forest Café’s sales plummeted because of its denial of knowledge of how these people have a hard time distinguishing what is real and what is mechanical. In addition, when a person with this cognitive impairment enters the place, they are frightened because of the massive amount of stimuli that is always constant and moving. He was typing away with his findings until he got a call from a property owner in Saginaw, “Mr. Berry we got a serious problem in this one neighborhood” he said as if he had seen a monster. “You may think I’m a loon if I tell you this, but I saw these stuffed animals that sang and talk coming out of the trash cans to this dark green house at a dead end of the subdivision.” “Anyone living in this particular house?” he asked, “No, every kid on my property never comes to that house and only a few of them have…” “Autism?” “Yes, they are all afraid of that house, even the people who tried to condemn the house never dared to go inside. We need your insight into why the kids hate this place so that we can make them feel safe”. Mr. Berry agreed to the plan, but wondered why would the stuffed animals be attracted to a place with a fearful presence? He thought, of movies like Toy Story and Whine the Pooh. In which the toys preferred to be around children and wanted to make them happy and have a bond with the children that liked them. However, this was the total opposite and he knew something was wrong. The first thing he would do would be not to interview the adults, but the children.
During the same time he was working on the interview, the children who lived on the subdivision noticed that their piggy banks and savings jars were gone and instead found notes that said, “Thank you for donating to the Church of The Pure Ones Sincerely, Douglas Fir.” Their parents thought it were a burglary but found no evidence of a person who broke into their homes, and wondered who Douglas Fir was and why he became affiliated with a cult church in the first place. Sure, there was the rumor that Douglas Fir could be Tom Cruse’s code name for the church after he called psychology a “pseudo science” and tried to funnel money from various people, but it still could not explain how they disappeared. Then the next day Mr. Berry had gotten permission to interview the children at an elementary school after the incident happened. First, he interviewed the regular kids in a small room, “Why is the green house so scary” “I don’t know, mom says it’s just a house” said one kid, “I don’t go to that house, and dad says it’s rude to enter other people’s houses.” Said a young girl with a haughty look on her face. Then he asked, “Yesterday night, why did your piggy banks disappear” “Maybe our parents took it” “My little brother who’s mental” said one kid with a sassy tone, “He’s in the room with all the crazies” then he said to her “Are you talking about the special needs kids?” “What’s so special about them, their crazy?” Mr. Berry paused for a moment and then said, “They are special because they have the ability to understand and know many things even though they cannot learn like everyone else” “So there really smart but have trouble learning like we do?” “Yes”.
He then said his goodbye to the regular kids and headed towards the special needs room. When he entered the room it was quiet, a little too quiet, a kind of quiet that made some people feel nervous. He noticed that the stuffed animals were covered with a blanket, and the shades on the windows were pulled down. The teacher Mrs. Deering said to Mr. Berry, “I do not know what happened, they were making wonderful valentines yesterday for their parents; and now they are acting very defensive and reclusive towards playing with the puppets and going outside” then he saw a chubby young boy drawing spirals of different colors. Mr. Berry sat down next to him but looked sideways so that he would not look like he was disrupting his work, “Hello Charles, I’m Mr. Berry, I do not mean to interrupt you but why are the shades pulled down?”The boy then tried to look at him, “Charles, please put the cap back on your maker, this man wants to talk to you” and he did. Then he looked down at the table nervously, “They are closed because the trees want to stare at us” “what kind of trees are they, and why do you think they stare at you” Charles trembled nervously but was very descriptive. “They’re Christmas trees and their eyes are large and fallow us everywhere around that green house, it’s the same color as them”. “Do they have mouths” “Yes, they do and their always asking for money”.
Mr. Berry wondered if this could connect to the burglary of the children’s savings jars. Then Victoria, a young girl reading Arthur’s Valentine’s Day looked at both of them and said, “It’s not just those trees, the wreath on the door talks too.” “A wreath? Hardly anyone goes by that house, besides my dad says it’s rude to knock on doors of houses you don’t know about.” “No, I did not knock on the door; my friends had a snowball fight and one of them thought it was a good idea to throw snowballs at this wreath, and latter the police came in and took him back home for property invasion and said the call was from Douglas Fir”.“Who’s Douglas Fir” Mrs. Deering asked as if the children had monsters under their bed, “It’s not just a tree” replied Mr. Berry, “It was once a holiday novelty item popular during the 90’s, a small singing tree with a mouth, glowing green eyes, and a Santa hat. The same company that made various signing game animals like Billy Bass made it; they also made a Wreath of the same design.” Then an eerie feeling settled in the room when a voice whispered, “They do it because they hate us, they hate all people because we don’t like them” it came out of a small bathroom with a sink and a toilet. Mr. Berry wondered about who was in the bathroom so he asked, “Ronald, some boys beat him up near that house,” said Victoria. Mr. Berry came close to the bathroom door in a way to prevent Ronald from feeling intrusion, “Ronald, please tell me what happened, I want to know so I can help your friends, I will not beat you up like those boys did ok?” Ronald admitted very quietly, “It was not them, but they knew that house was possessed so they left me there, buried in a snow bank and said they were getting their sleds and then I saw them”. “Who” “This group of gophers, they were caring wooden bats and had rocks in their hands and they beat me up until it got dark. Then when I woke up, I heard my dad yelling at those boys, I was afraid to tell him it was those gophers because he wouldn't believe me”. Mr. Berry paused for a moment and then he told Ronald, “I know how you feel, but, do you know what the best way to concur any fear is?” “Fighting it?” “Sometimes and sometimes not, the best way to concur your fears and for other’s to concur them by being honest, even if some fears cannot be understood by some people”. Then Ronald came out of the small bathroom and told Mr. Berry, “Wear a costume when you go in Mr. Berry, that way they don’t hurt you” and when the other kids heard what Ronald said, they all thought it was a good idea.
After he wrote down all the interviews, he began questioning himself about whether he believed in possession and the paranormal he wondered if this could be the answer why such inanimate objects would gain such violent and supernatural power over one place. Confused, he decided to turn on the radio and listened intently to NPR, but when he did so he heard something that caught his attention. “In a subdivision in Saginaw County, police and investigators have found the Limousine of Republican Tea Party leader Ruddy Macke underneath a row of pine trees days after he took government money to fund the Christian Super-pack Families for Freedom, but no evidence yet of him and the money have been found…” When he turned off the radio, he came to the realization that this fit the description of what Charles told him the day he interviewed him and realized that Ronald’s advice to him had to be but to the test. Therefore, he drove to Great Lake Crossing and passed though every distraction to find Spencer’s gifts and novelties to find a good a plausible costume to enter the house. He ignored the funny tee shirts and other thing that made the customers laugh, and many other things with ungodly and naughty humor.
“That guy’s a serious downer,” said one customer under her breath holding a Pillsbury Dough-boy doll that gave people the so-called, “dirty-bird” when you squeezed him. He headed to the counter and asked a very large man with a Bob Marley wig if he could have a gorilla suit, “it’s for a promotion at Home Depot” he cleverly lied but even that did not protect him from the ridicule of the employees. “Shut up you jerks!” said a young woman with red died pony-tales and a Fraggle Rock shirt, and then, they went quiet. “Sorry but we do not have the Gorilla suits in stock, but we do have Ted the Bear” “I’ll take Ted the Bear,” he said. Then after she gave him the costume, she noticed that on the cuff of Mr. Berry’s jacket was a ribbon with many colored puzzle-pieces. “Do you work for the Autism Society?” “Why do you ask?” he said and the he looked at it too and replied, “Yes I do, this costume is for a study I’m working on”. She gave him a look of interest and said, “Really, I don’t think so” she paused for a moment and then she knew, she knew immediately but said very quietly, “You’re going to do a paranormal investigation on the Knotty Cedar House?” “Yes, but why is there paranormal activity, do you believe in spiritualism?” “Yes, but do not tell the boy’s. They are not very acceptable about such things. Speaking of which, I know of something that might help you. Do you know the doctrine of the Shinto religion?” “It’s a religious sect of Taoism from Japan it has naturalistic principles about action and well-being.” “Yes but, it also involves the possession of objects by a human or living spirit, sometimes as an act of redemption and sometimes an act of revenge”. Then she wrote down on a sticky-note a phone number, “My friend is an expert in the form of possession in that house you’re investigating and he’s part of the Japanese Cultural Society in Saginaw too.” Mr. Berry thanked her and felt a sense of courage inside him that he never felt before and too, a sense that someone was on his side.
The next morning while Mr. Berry was researching on Shinto legends and various gods and kami, he was listening to his radio trying to block out the vacuum that was as loud as an engine rumbling up and down the hallway near his room. He looked at article upon article and tried to find every source imaginable; Baku, the eater of nightmares, Kirin, a unicorn with immortal power, Kitsume, the nine-tailed fox, and even Tezuka’s Phoenix but nothing he found matched the descriptions and eyewitnesses he interviewed at the school. “All these forms of possession involve animals, and ghost, how can any inanimate object become possessed unless there demonic” he thought. Until on his radio, he heard another report about the house. “A sudden disappearance of several protesters and demolition experts has shocked residents of a subdivision near the notorious Knotty Cedar House, one witness claims that when they and their equipment disappeared the house got to be about the size of a mansion and decorated it’s self with large holiday decorations and lights. Another witness claims that he saw two large green eyes about the mass of a baseball spinning around the top window.”
He turned off his radio in fear, he remembered the Steven King book Red Rose that had similar problems, and the thought about what would happen if that house kept eating and growing in size and in his conscious-mind, he knew the result would be terrifying. He knew he did not want to panic by calling authorities or the police after all, if a serious authority cannot explain the unknown to him, then he would be in trouble. He final found the card the woman at the store gave him and dialed it nervously, “Hello this is the Japanese Culture center do you have any reservations?” “No thank you, but I need to talk to someone about the Knotty Cedar House, the house where all those people disappeared.” There was a nervous pause in the woman’s voice and then she said, “All right, I’ll tell Mr. Shun he’s an expert on Shinto belief and knows someone that used to live near the house” “OK, that will be fine, what is a good time to see him?” “In the Tea room near the Zen garden park at four-o-clock, by the way what is your last name?” “Berry, I work for the Autism Society.” “May courage be with you sir…” she finally said then hung up.
The next day he came to the Tea Room on time and finally met Mr. Shun, “Welcome Mr. Berry it is good that you came here. Please leave your shoes near the door; we do not want any Bakezori to steal your shoes now do we.” “Oh, sorry…” said Mr. Berry. He took his shoes off but did not know that in Japan, what he was doing was a sign of respect to a very sacred place; and if he did not do so, the Bakezori mentioned by Mr. Shun would take his shoes away and never give them back. “I hear you are going to the Knotty Cedar House for investigation” “Yes, I have interviewed the children near that house, and it is growing in size. Whatever is active in that house is very detrimental to their neighborhood and to them as well”. Mr. Shun bowed to him and said to him, “Ah! Very brave man that you are Mr. Berry, how will you do this?” “In a bear suit, one child told me that they hate people, especially children.” He then paused and agreed with him about his plan and then, he became very concerned and his hands trembled. “Oh…That house is possessed by very demonic Tsukumogami; this is very rare that such spirits have that much power over one single place. My father told me that some are benevolent and kind, and only trick others when they are not fairly treated” “What are these spirits you mentioned?”
“Well, I guess you need to know these things before you enter…tell me, whom you pray to?” “The Father, Son, and Holly Spirit sir.” Replied Mr. Berry who knew because he was Lutheran. Mr. Shun looked at him curiously then said, “Ah! A Catholic, very unusual religion with many conflicts; God against Man, Babylonians against Hebrews, Good against Evil, and even Life against Death. You see Berry, not one single thing is just good or bad, everything lives together, all with the same mind and spirit just like you and I have, and when that spirit leaves us, it takes a new form in another place on this Earth whether it is good or bad. However, these spirits are made and are created by us so it takes them even longer to gain a soul and a mind of its own. They have to reach the age of one-hundred to even gain a soul and a mind, and that’s why your risk can turn on its head if you do not know this about the nature of such spirits.”
Then he pulled out of a file a group of photos and on the file was written THE FUYUNG TSUKUMOGAMI, Mr. Berry finally knew that this had to be proof of their existence so he refrained asking him if they were Photo-Shopped. “These were taken by a family who lived near that house; they tried to report it to authorities and ended up with ridicule, so they came to me.” The first photo was in winter with children sledding up and down a large hill but one child in the background was being pushed by a large figure that looked like Homer Simpson dressed as Santa Claus and clamping on to his toboggan. “That child being pushed was told by this Homer Simpson figure that no one could sled on the hill because it was resort property even though the property owner said they could sled on it”. The next photo was another season; it was a photo of an Easter-egg Hunt with the property owner Dressed as a Pink Elephant with a pastel-yellow tutu but Mr. Berry knew the difference between a costume and a toy and asked Mr. Shun about the two dolls with three Easter baskets being carried by them. “Yes, that photo was the brought to me the first day I met the Fuyungs. it was one of their son’s and his sister that first spotted the two dolls stealing the children’s baskets, the dolls told them that they were stealing the baskets as a gift for their friend Douglas Fir and that they would soon celebrate his one-hundredth birthday from October to February and make every toy come to life. “Don’t you want that, then your toys will be friends. Do you want friends?”; “I don’t want friends that steal Tsukumogami! Give them back!” he cried but then they became aggressive and turned from dolls to two wolfs whose fur was the same color as the clothing they were wearing. When they were tranquilized by the DNR latter on, they turned back into dolls again. It is not normal for such a spirit to transform itself to something else that quickly, and when they hired a Shinto priest to cleanse the house, he never came back. Since those instances, the Fuyungs took more photos for me and told me to keep them to show to a Guji (High Priest) in Tokyo, no one knows why the house is so cruel and this is where you come in Berry. You must test yourself with your costume on a turn yourself into one of them but remember that you are deeply good and more powerful than they are and if you already know how kind, brave, and compassionate you are; you will be the death on their doorstep.” “Is death really what we want, how can you make a spirit that is not dead die? I thought death was bad…” “Oh but Berry, death is really a door that all things must pass though and sometimes it seems disheartening, but when things die they bring a new beginning for all things. You are that new beginning I’m very thankful for you, good luck.”
Finally, it was time for Mr. Berry to investigate the house, with all the information he got from the children at the school and Mr. Shun he finally knew what he was ready. However, he remembered what he said after his meeting with him, that he had to be like one of them in order to get in the house. Therefore, a day before he donned on the suit, he practiced on his bear voice, which sounded like a vocal mixture of Jeff Dumam’s Walter and Mr. McGruff the Crime Dog. “Hi welcome to Home Depot, take your crap and leave!” and he thought up other phrases to a number of twenty. This is a common number for many toys to have twenty phrases when you pressed their hand or tummy. Then he had to think of an occupation he had to take on; pest control was a terrible choice, painting would make his suit a complete mess, therefore he went with interior design and party planning which he thought would be the safest route. Knowing that no Taxi driver would ever think about going to such a dangerous place, he drove his car near the edge of the property and stuffed his pencil, paper, video camera, and car keys in a small children’s backpack that was orange. It was about dusk when he came to the subdivision, when dusk turned into evening, he hid behind a trashcan, and when he did, he pulled out his video camera, and placed it on top of a lid to face the house, what he saw was very frightening.
A Green light at the top of the hose emitted a beam of light like a lighthouse and from the light appeared two hovering Muppet-like eyes about the size of two tennis balls. They looked down upon every trashcan and when it did so every one of them rattled, Mr. Berry then heard a small voice the trashcan next to him say, “Hey friends, it’s time to go outside and come to Douglas’s house!”. What came out of the trashcan was what looked like an Arthur doll but this time its eyes were a shinning emerald green and the other thrown away toys fallowed him too. There was only one thing he could do and that was to fallow them. when he got to the house, he heard a voice coming from the door welcoming all of the toys coming in. “Don’t worry Furbies you’ll feel safer in a bed than a cold wooden closet!” it said to a group of large Furbies hopping their way and the door opened. When the door closed, Mr. Berry knew that the wreath Victoria told him about was real and had the same glowing green eyes as the larger trees. “Hello Big Bear my name is Walter, are you here for donations or are you a solicitor?” “No I’m here to get a job I was left on the street!” he said in his bear voice, “That’s good; we had to fire our decorator do you want to take his place?” “Sure, by the way my name is Griffins.”
Then he finally entered the house and, when he did so he was baffled by the massive amounts of Christmas trees that were decorated and were in various colors. To him the house was as large as a mansion but looked as if it were Broners in Frankenmuth and the MGM Grand Hotel combined into one building. He saw some toys that hoped around, some were men and woman with fine dresses and suits, and some of the toys had both human and toy-like bodies, which made it hard for him to judge the difference, if there was any. Unnoticed, a sparkling red go-cart whizzed by him; it was a large Homer Simpson dressed as Santa but when he spoke it sounded nothing like Homer Simpson, “So, Walter says you came for a job” “Yes Mr.…” “Call me Curt buddy that is what everyone calls me here your Griffins right!” “Yeah, that’s right I’m here to take over the decorator’s job” “Yeah that Walter, he always finds a way…hop on the scooter bud I’ll take you to one of our workers, he’s too small to do anything but you might be able to help him.” He drove him over to a storage room and brought him in; there he saw a dog that looked like Blue from Blue’s Clues as he was trying his hardest to screw a glass flame on a fake candlestick, “Hey bubs!” “Yes Mr. Grace…” “This fellow’s name is Griffins he is here to give you an extra hand bubs.” He drove away and made a small snicker as he did so.
“He’s not that nice isn't he.” said the dog and in his bear voice he admitted, “Yah, I hate snickering too. Here, let me help you with that candle-flame.” while the dog hold the candlestick in his hands Mr. Berry screwed the glass flame, “Thank you so much Mr. Griffins, by the way my name is Michel” “Oh your welcome, so, how long have you been here?” “As long as the founders, one-hundred but my real age is ten.” Mr. Berry wondered about if he was a human once, after all if his age is ten, then he need not ask so he asked him who he was when he was human. “I was an altar boy after my mother met my father at the church, I got schooled and we played outside but then I met these kids that were not allowed to play with us. I felt bad for them so I tossed a ball over the fence and this other boy tossed the ball back.” While they worked, together Michel told him everything about the mysterious ways of the church and about his friendship with the boy over the fence and was even brave enough to tell him the things he was afraid to tell anyone that worked and lived at the grand house.
“Then one day they decided to build a brick wall but instead they made it concrete I could not understand why they hated those kids. Until there was a sermon held by the Reverend who said that all of the kids in the church lived in Angel Houses for Angels and that the kids behind the fence were possessed by Demons and deserved to live in the Hell Houses because they where a threat to all the Angel Children. He said that there were people wanted them out and that they needed to be punished. When we got out everyone was happy and singing but behind the wall there were flames but I wondered…why, why would they be happy for burning those buildings that they lived in?” Then Mr. Berry responded very gruffly “Well…hate makes you do things you don’t understand, it messes with your mind and your feelings, and when you are filled with it you’re not yourself anymore but someone else.” Michel then realized that those people who left the church that day forgot who they truly were, and had ignored and forgot about the reality and suffering behind that wall because the Reverend diluted them with so much hatred and judgment he made them blind. When their work was done they heard a fish on the wall say, “Attention all residents! Tonight’s theme for our 64th anniversary is Be Our Guest and for dinner, there will be roast-beef, French onion soup, fresh peas, and a wide selection of sweets. In addition, the Ruxspin Theater Company will perform their production of Beauty and the Beast and we have a special announcement from Douglas Fir. So please be our guest and thank you for staying with us!” Mr. Berry asked Michel if he could sit next to him at dinner, “Sure but the lounge is too far away for me” “Well, then I will take you there myself” and he picked him up and gave him a piggyback ride to the lounge.
When they got to the lounge every one of the residents were there including the Furbies who changed from toys to young boys and girls in furry pajamas with pointy cat-like ears. At the entrance was a man with the head of a chimpanzee with a clipboard and a pen dressed in a tuxedo, “Good evening Mr. Griffins, we are, quite pleased to see you” “Yes, can we get a table for myself and my friend?” The man looked at him quite suspiciously staring into his eyes and then said, “I’m quite sorry but he belongs with the younger residents” “Listen bud I worked with him and no one was there to help us!” he said angry and gruffly, “But I do have some new members who would like to meet you! But children go to the children section, that is our policy” said the man and so Mr. Berry told Michel to sit near a spot where he could see him. When they entered, they noticed the hall was surrounded by chandeliers with the exact same candles they worked on with the same light bulbs they worked hard to screw on in the back room. Mr. Berry felt a sense of suspicion even though the room was full of joy and celebration, but he was not the only one filled with such questionable curiosity. A large old man in an elegant gray coat with a barbell like mustache and thick sunglasses was questionably looking at Mr. Berry’s back. When he was shown his table his guest were a loud obnoxious white bunny in an Easter dress and bright pink bonnet named Halley, the rest of her friends looked like young woman with large hats . With her was man in a blue leather jacket with the head of a plastic shark who told jokes that only sharks could make.
Then he felt a tap on the shoulder, “Care for some clothing, you look like you need some.” He turned around and there was the man, the same man that was looking at him, “I already know your name, but my name is Sergeant Cullen and I will get you a fine suit for your size”. He took him to a wardrobe where there was a tiny coat with orange and green stripes and when he pulled it sleeve to sleeve, it became his size and put it on Mr. Berry and some tiny leather shoes became larger so that he could wear them. However the shoes did something he did not expect, they whispered to him, “Please sir, I will help you… but be warned …this is a trap!” and finally he knew who was speaking to him, a Bakezori that seemed distressing and desperate to be free. After the sergeant donned a large metallic copper bow tie around his neck, he sent him off to sit with Halley’s friends and Bruce the shark but the sergeant noticed some things that told him that Griffins was not a Tsukumogami. When he sat down, he noticed other clues while on the stage a ballet of Lamb Chop dolls danced around Belle, “But she won’t discover that it’s him, till chapter three!” she sang and every one sighed except for Michel who was worried about Mr. Berry and saw him take his food to a hidden room.
Luckily, he found a table and turned on the light in the room but on the table was a something that startled him. It was a picture on the table called The Tree of Life; Hell was at the roots with people tortured and burned and then there was Earth with a green valley guarded by a wall with buildings labeled HELL ON EARTH. Then angels rising from the earth going finally to Heaven to the top of the trees where there grew fruit, animals roamed and different saints looked down except for Peter who was looking up to the sky. He put his food on the table, took off the costume’s bear head and began to eat and found the food very flavorful and delightful; in Japan, it is said that food made by spirits has been said to be the best-cooked and addictive food there is. However he refrained from eating anymore of the food, and then he saw Michel and asked him if he would have the rest. “If I were you I would not eat in this room…that table has heard and seen too many terrible plans” and just as he said this the rest of Mr. Berry’s food burst into red flames, “Put the mask on your head…or else you will soon be dead!” cried the Bakezori. so he put on the bear head grabbed Michel and ran with him in his arms so fast it was like running on the wind. “Where did you find those shoes were going so fast!” “I did not find them they were given to me.”
They continued to run until they came to a shoe closet and the door shut as they hid in the very back, when they were in the shoes were moaning and crying, “Hide in the dark he is coming!” Behind the door Sergeant Cullen was in a very intense argument with one of the guards, “We can’t open the door sir it’s locked!” “Fine, Then I will open the door myself Large-mouth!” and he tore the door with his bare hands as if it were cardboard off the wall. His head was that of a large catfish with huge teeth staring at him with dark black eyes, “There he is, grab that spy by the neck!” he shouted and the guards grabbed him and Michel and threw them on the floor, “Strip his costume off and take that dog to the cider house!” “Mr. Griffins! Rub your feet on the carpet! NOW!” when he did his hands made a snapping sound, he rose up and pushed both his hands on Sergeant Cullen’s head, and he screamed in pain. “My eyes, it burns!” he cried his head steaming like a sizzling fish, “It’s those shoes, hand me those shoes!” he said with his fist clenched tightly and then there was cries of pain from the guards from touching the shoes, “No, he is my master now and I won’t allow you to hurt him!” cried the shoes. “OK master…” he pulled a spray bottle with a clear liquid out of pocket, “Time for you to burn in hell!” and sprayed him with low amount Hydrochloric acid, which made his skin burn all over and then it became dark. Among the darkness he heard Michel crying in fear, “We’ll let Old-Red Peeler do the ripping for us and him; we’ll take him to the cellar!”Deep inside Mr. Berry’s heart he was angry and furious, for he could not save Michel from Old-Red Peeler; an old cider machine that would tear his body until only his soul was left. However, he also could not bear the pain of the burns all over his body he could not see where he was until he heard the voices of young children saying, “Heal him” and a voice chanting very low and slowly in Japanese.
Then he woke up in a dark room and felt relieved that the pain of the burns were gone, “My children it seems we have company” a voice said and when he looked around he saw the Shinto priest that Mr. Shun told him about, ghostly and pale. “I ‘am the guardian of the voiceless children whose souls are trapped in here with me and the poor man in the corner” in the room where the ghost of many children who were staggering and pacing, “Who are these children” “Don’t you know us? We were taken to the White Towers never to see our mothers and fathers again…,” they all cried and Mr. Berry knew what they were talking about, he knew that in the fifties many children who had mental and cognitive impairments were taken away to be institutionalized and in the intuitions, terrible things happened to the children inside. Many years latter, there was conflict over whether to close them down because of the abuse, but there were many people who wanted to keep them going because they wanted normalcy. Normal children without problems learned that all the problem children went to the intuitions while the normal children were told to go to school and church every day and were taught not question authority even if it was not for their own good. “Who is the man in the corner?” he asked the children. “That is the man who got burned in the church along with the White Towers. He tried to free our souls but then the Reverend trapped us…” when Mr. Berry came close to him, he was enclosed in a giant flame as if it were a cage, “So, it seems your investigation led you here too” he said sadly and emphatically. “This is how he punishes my soul constantly burning all over; I guess he punished you by leaving you here alive but it’s a good thing my friend healed you”. Mr. Berry then asked, “Who are you, and why did you come?”
“Well, I came here to investigate as well; but things looked different then. This place was once the basement for the church and the Knotty Cedar house where the locals said many so-called miracles took place. It was said Reverend. Peter Knock could cure people’s mental and physical ailments, and see visions of both heaven and hell, but the only thing I knew he was good at was torture and deception, and yet people still believed him. People who believed him were known as pure and their goal was to show that devils and hell existed on earth and that his miracles, tactics, and words were the only way out…however, there were reports of children with their faces branded with a demonic symbol because they did not know about what happens in hell. That’s when they sent me, but little did I know, that their church was oddly positioned near a Mental Intuition that had been there for a long time. The Reverend had secret meetings that he called Judgment Days where it was said he would climb up to a room where they said he would talk to god… Then he would go to back down have a sermon all about the Rapture, and about how god gives people limitless power if they are pure, but the things he did were anything but pure.
One night I found a large folder on the desk labeled Project Purge, at first, I thought it was his rules and laws but instead it was a planed arson on the mental intuition by manipulating the gas and propane to burn every building with the children inside. It was riddled with quotes from the book of Revelations and harsh religious jargon about the mentally impaired so I had to take it to the court as evidence of a throng of premeditated arson on the Institutions. What I did not know was he had a huge congregation to distract his members from the burning towers and brought in parents who brought their problem children with them so that they could be cured or brand them again. They gave out toys and comic books to the incoming crowd, “Once this is done, we’ll eventually let the Diocese of Saginaw cover it up. After all their just non-exorcised children that will eventually be possessed.” said one of the ministers. “The Diocese does not protect me” the reverend said, “Nor do they know about the existence of the heavenly and demonic only I know about them because god has shown them to me! God has shown me purity in its own form and you know that Mr. Grace” I finally knew I had to send this plan the State authorities and if they saw me I would be in deep trouble until I heard a soft sob in a closet. It was a young girl crying while she was drawing clouds and a sky with animals and birds, “Mommy and Daddy say if I act strange I will go to hell…why?” and laying on the ground was a booklet that had list of Angel Behavior and Devil Behavior. I calmed her down and told her we should take what I found to the police together so it would not happen again. I got her out of the closet and we tried to find the back door but it was locked with all the rest of the doors and then, before we could find a key we were surrounded in flames…” and when the man cried his tears tried to put out the flames that surrounded him.
“I really wanted to free that girl from all the hate those people were deluded with…” the Shinto Priest reassured him and told Mr. Berry, “We are trapped by a Ungaikyo, the most fearful and unforgiving of all Tsukumogami. A mirror, which deludes the mind and gives anyone who sees it unnatural power. Do you know in any way something that could help us?” “Yes, my friend Michel told me before I was imprisoned to rub my feet on the carpet and when I did a flash of light came out of my hands and burned the guard’s eyes” Then when there was a small hint of silence, the shoes on Mr. Berry’s feet began to glow in flashes of blue and white static. The priest was astonished by the power of the Bakezori’s light and even heard the shoes say, “Freedom will come in the form of peace and light” “Their summoning freedom, very rare for Bakezori to summon anything that strong!” he said. When the light dimmed, the walls began to crack like a broken mirror then they shattered to reveal a large light blue wolf with not one but six tales and around his neck a collar that held the Japanese symbol of freedom. “Michel…is that you?” Mr. Berry asked. “Yes, it’s me Mr. Griffins; I’m here to help everyone”. The ghost of the children changed into many animals with incredible powers, the priest changed into a white wolf, and the man in the corner was finally free of the flames that imprisoned him. “We have to get to the top of the tower; there too is a similar mirror that must be destroyed. If not they will use their human form to control everything including other human beings” he said and when they escaped from their prison it shattered like glass.
Meanwhile Douglas Fir set up a meeting with a huge counsel of his cohorts and workers, but this time they were all humans with glowing green eyes, “Our plan to take over the election in Lansing will soon be ready, now that we finally have the power to imitate their spinning image.” He then laid out photos of every resent member of the super pack Families for Freedom including one of their victims Ruddy Macke, and in a second, they changed from their own form to the people in the photos. However only one was still wearing dark shades, “Serge, why do you still have your shades on” and when he took the shades off his eyes were still burnt very badly, “That man in the bear suit who called himself Mr. Griffins, he burnt my eyes with his hands and the shoes I gave him have way too much power”. “So he knows our little secret from that stupid blue dog that Old Red shredded up and fed to the devil…” “You mean Michel?” “I knew we should have erased his memory like every other item that comes through Walter’s door because once you come here no one should know pain isn't that right Walter?” “Yes sir” said Walter who was not a wreath anymore but a lanky young man with a red bow-tie, which finally changed to black when Douglas gazed at him. “why did you still keep your tie red Walter…and don’t lie to me…you know what happens if you lie and betray me” “I like it that color, why did you change it?” “Cause in order to go on this operation you have to be like the person in the picture not yourself and if you don’t…” he gazed at Sergeant Cullen with a vicious glare and a smile with malicious intent. The Sergeant’s skin began to twist and crack in a horrible and uncomfortable way, “MY BODY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY BODY!” he cried and when all the skin peeled off of his form there was only one sound that could be heard. “B-B-B-Bad, Bad to the Bone!” sang a electronic voice, it was a singing catfish on a plank of wood and when Douglas pressed his hand on the singing fish it melted like a burning candle, “He’ll be the one that will get hung right next to you!” and threw the plank at Walter. “Our red limo is coming and if anyone asks why say it’s for the Children’s Hospital and that Ruddy Macke recovered from the incident,” he said to the group as they went down the stairs little did they know that they were about to be outnumbered.
When they got out the door, Douglas noticed something about the pine trees that shocked him, all of their eyes and mouths were missing, and no other sounds were heard. “Walter! Go check the limo, there is something wrong here.” He said and Walter obediently turned into a dog and trotted to the limo and when he got there it almost ran him over moving at a fast speed. When he ran back, the car crashed into a large Cedar tree with burls of immense size and shape; Douglas was aghast with anger and rage when he saw the car and the tree in flames. “Idiots! They burned Big Paul and the limo, those gophers must been drinking too much of that Woodchuck Cider in the garage!” and when he got to the sight he saw the gophers fur melt while singing I’m All Right. “Let them burn they have learned their lesson!” and when he turned back out of the tree emerged a large golden bird with the tail of a peacock emerged from the burning tree and took off Douglas in her talons. She then flew up to the tower and shoved him through the window, “Bird if you are fighting with a Saint I’ll create an army!” he cried as his eyes glowed green and floated away from his sockets. “That will not work with you…,” said the bird as she flew off. when Douglas looked down an army of many animals from below were destroying every building he had created and from below, he saw his fate, a white wolf, a blue fox, and a man in a bear suit with a large hammer were headed towards the tower. “Mighty Lord, give me the power to destroy them with the heavens!” he asked a large mirror. “Hold my hand and I will give you power” said a voice in the mirror that sounded god-like and when he touched the mirror his entire body glowed green and when he walked down the stairs with that same smile he had when he destroyed Sergeant Cullen.
Mr. Berry and his friends final came to the tower, the final building to be destroyed with everything else. He slowly went to the door of the tower and when he did, he said to himself, “I will never be afraid of that man” and when he opened the door, he was face to face with Douglas. “Well Mr. Griffins you finally don’t see me in my real form…BUT THIS IS TIME YOU SAW ME AS THE REVEREND!” he cried and grabbed him with his hand that felt like a layer of wires with plastic flecks of green wrapping around him, “God has given me great power and you should not destroy it Lutheran!”. Then swiftly Michel ran up the stairs and attacked Douglas by ripping off the arm that was wrapping around him with his jaws; he was finally free. Michel gave him the hammer back to Mr. Berry and told him to shatter the mirror and when he came to the mirror an angel appeared saying, “Don’t be afraid I’m Gabriel” “Ignore it!” cried the white wolf, “That is the Ungaikyo trying to dilute your mind!”. He finally had the courage to throw the hammer at the mirror and when it hit the mirror, it shattered to reveal a dark tunnel, when he grabbed the mirror and threw it out of the tower so no other delusion could ever come out of it. When he did Douglas’s body was being destroyed by both fire and electricity and turned into nothing. When Mr. Berry looked down the tower at the mirror and realized that this mirror was the real cause of the evil and hate, that deluded the mind of young Peter Knock and gave him too much power, he was not just a monster, he was a normal human. There were many questions on Mr. Berry’s mind that never pondered before in his head, “Why…Why did no one warn him about this mirror, why did they let it go on and not know the danger?” he asked himself and while he wondered he began to cry. “All people on this earth face a delusion of some kind that takes on many forms,” said a familiar voice “but now, you have the gift of knowing and revealing the truth behind the delusions that haunt and harm all of us. You have gained enlightenment!” He looked up and saw the priest in white holding hands with a beautiful woman in white with black hair and blue eyes they walked up a line of clouds that looked like stairs and fallowing them were all the children along with Michel entering a cloud filled with the song and laughter of many children. Little did he know that guiding the priest and all the children was a woman who looked like the Japanese goddess of mercy and compassion. However, she was not just a Japanese god but to Mr. Berry, he saw her face in every religion and that notion was the most enlightening of all.
After having a restful sleep at a hotel in Saginaw, Mr. Berry had another meeting with Mr. Shun and told him everything he saw and about the Ungaikyo that he destroyed, “If I did not destroy the mirror first, then I too would have been too powerful and deluded like the reverend”. “So Douglas Fir was really a human who gained power through an Ungaikyo?” “Yes” “And the priest?” “He is finally gone with all the children to a place of peace…and without the help of Michel and my Bakezori. I could not survive in that place along with all those children that were trapped and a man who told me about an arson caused by Peter Knock and the leaders of his church, the Church of the Pure Ones.” Mr. Shun was surprised of all the strength and knowledge Mr. Berry had gained and when their meeting was done, he thought about his goal of proving the existence of Tsukumogami but then he decided something, he accepted that it was not his job but Mr. Berry’s existence and experience that was true proof of what had happened.
Heated was the debate over whether the ground of the Knotty Cedar house should be a historical site or another business plaza. There had to be a Town Hall meeting in Saginaw about the issue with people of many races and backgrounds debating especially the members of Rudy Macke’s super pac. That was until a man stood up, “Sir, I have a friend who is proof of what happened and has even braved whatever activity was in this area. I know because I sent him to investigate the area which I now know was once a mental institution and the center of a religious cult that started at the infamous Knotty Cedar house”. “Can I have your name sir?” said a person on the council “Donald Filltem, I’am a property owner of this area and if you ever come to me with plans of building on the property you have to deal with me”. Then a silence fell and then someone asked, “Who is Douglas Fir?” and Donald said looking back, “He’s not a tree, He is the reverend Peter Knock and he is responsible for the church and, a planed arson that he called Project Purge. It killed thousands of children that were in a mental intuition all in the name of his religion. If you ignore the fact that these children were taken because our ill-fated mental health system fellow council members, then you are a prisoner of ignorance and delusion just like him” “We want an explanation for this!” cried another person in the crowd. “I do, there is a demonic mirror frame on the property that I have hidden and if you don’t think that’s enough proof go ahead, take it, but if you do you too will have a curse to deal with”. Then he walked away knowing that some people would not fallow his warning, but the only person who did was his son who was diagnosed with Autism who locked the doors with a special code, the address to the old Knotty Cedar house and his age, ten-years-old. When his job was done, he was proud that he locked the door so that no other person would be cursed.