The Devil’s Guitar

At the end of an old dirt road sits a cabin. Some say that the last person to enter the cabin died a horrible death. I for one knew  one of the previous intruders, and how he paid for his crime with his life.  I know what this place can do to you, I know it well. Maybe too well.

The cabin is located in the midst of the remains of a farm. There is nothing to show how rich this land must have been at one time, before he moved in; and other than the acres of farmland withering away, with nobody to cut the hay or to trim the grass, you would guess that this place was abandoned and nobody lived here. If you guessed that, you would be wrong, very wrong.

Directly across from the cabin sit rows of haystacks, long past their usefulness, cut sometime long ago to feed a horse, or maybe a herd of cattle or sheep. Now they are but a home to a few field mice and maybe the occasional squirrel or other rodent. Anthills have taken over much of the field as well, and walking across any of this land proves instant danger from the thistles and ivy that have taken over the once well cared for land. The place is silent now, but on the darkest nights, legend says that you can hear the sound of a guitar being played softly. Maybe it is the sound the wind makes as it blows through the old buildings, maybe it is the devil at work, luring those who wish to steal the treasures of the cabin.

Legend says that this place has been here for hundreds of years. Legend tells of a farmer who allowed the devil to enter the cabin, and that he traded his soul to play the guitar.  Legend also has it that once he entered, the devil never left. For some reason, the only building that still contains anything valuable is the cabin. I peeked in once and I noticed a few beautiful paintings, a couch, and hanging on the wall directly across from the window, a guitar. The instrument appeared to have strings of pure gold. I often wondered why the looters who visited the remote farm never broke into the cabin and stole these things, but with the legend that surrounds the cabin, maybe this mystery is left to the imagination.

They say that at night, the cabin changes. They say that at night, when the only light comes from a full moon that shines brightly over the ragged farmland, an evilness enters the cabin, protecting the rustic building from intruders, and searching for new souls to claim.

Legend also has it that one night, two visitors happened along the cabin. It was in the middle of a terrible snow storm. They say that in all the fury of the storm, the two  heard the sweet melody of a guitar, and that they followed the music and it led them to this God Forsaken place.  The two stragglers arrived at the cabin only to find its doors locked with heavy chains and a huge padlock. There was nobody around to play a guitar, let alone let them into the cabin. Desperate to enter the only available shelter and take advantage of the wood stove and the well stocked wood box that stood next to the cabin, they smashed the window that lay just above the sink. The shorter one was first to enter the cabin, figuring that once he was in, he could jump off the basin and open  the door for his partner. This would not be the case.

Legend says that his left foot was somehow swallowed by the sink, and that a trash compactor ground most of his foot away. His near frozen friend was able to pull him from the window, but not without first losing his entire left foot.  I know this to be true because it was I who turned the machine on. The two who tried to enter the building sit in town now; they still speak of their encounter with the devil, and how he almost got them. I know this because I was there, watching, waiting to decide whether either of them was worthy to play the guitar. Neither of them were interested in the guitar, they only wanted shelter and a bit of heat, that’s why they escaped with what was left of their sorry lives. People around here think the two of them are insane, and nobody heeds their warnings. They are the laughing stock of the house of the insane. This is why young Peter would later lose his mind, if not his entire soul. I know, I have seen it all.

Peter always wanted to play the guitar. As a child he would sit on his father’s knee and pretend to play his dad’s old flat top. Although his dad tried to teach him to play, Peter could never master the instrument.  Peter was the town underachiever. He was a kid who seemed to always follow the wrong crowd. Despite his family’s warnings, he ended up spending his sixteenth birthday in a youth correctional center, way across the island in a large city. One would wonder whether this would do anything to calm down this active child.

When Peter got out, he began to tag along with a few kids he had met in jail. He had told them about the legend of the farm cabin, and how he had always dreamed of playing the Devil’s Guitar, a name a few of the kids put on the guitar that hung on the wall of the cabin. His friends became intrigued by this story, and the four of them planned a scheme to break into the cabin. Peter warned them that the cabin is only safe during the daytime, but they ignored his warnings, calling it an urban legend that they planned to end.

The boys told nobody where they were going except for the town jokers, the two guys who had earlier tried to enter the cabin and ended up losing their minds and one of their feet. The boys spent all day talking to these guys, trying to gather any information they could before attempting to enter the cabin on their own. Billy, the older kid had his takings already bargained for. He knew a guy who was looking for a kitchen table, and maybe for a few of the paintings that hung on the wall. He was the cocky one who had talked Peter into doing most of the hard work, and into being the first into the cabin. Peter was only there for one thing, the guitar.

They arrived at the old farm around eight in the evening. The sun still shone on the land, and from a distance, the old place actually had a beautiful yet rustic appearance to it. The place looked as innocent as any farm, at least in this light it did.

The plan was a simple one. The boys brought along a large bolt cutter. They planned to cut the chain that held the door tightly locked, enter from the main door, unload everything outside, and then transport it across the field and into the trunk of an old car one of them had stolen  from town. Simple enough, should work. They chose to wait until the sun had set, in fear that someone would be out for a walk on this lovely evening. The last thing they needed was to end up back in jail, they couldn’t, wouldn’t take that chance.

When the sun had set, the land seemed to change. Not only due to the darkness, something else. You ever enter a room and have this feeling that someone is watching you? Did you ever feel a cold chill when you passed a cemetery? That is the feeling that the boys explained they felt just before it happened.Then they heard the music. It filled the entire valley, and the spooky melody played as faint as a gentle wind, and Peter was instantly lured towards the door of the cabin, he wanted the guitar so badly that at this point, he would have traded anything to play it, even his soul.

Not wanting to spend any more time in this horrible place than they had to, Billy and Tom urged Peter to get ready. I just watched as Peter foolishly grabbed the bolt cutters and commenced on cutting the chain. How he allowed the others to talk him into doing all the dirty work I will never know, but he was always the follower and he never questioned anything. Maybe that’s how they targeted him in the first place. Mike, the fourth boy, waited in the car, hovering his foot on the gas, ready to take off in a second’s notice.

As Peter cut through the last link on the chain, the heavy padlock fell to the ground. Before any of the boys had a chance to say anything, Peter was inside, playing the guitar. At last I was free.

Legend has it that the guitar once belonged to Satan himself. Legend also says that anyone who picks up the instrument plays it instantly; sadly, legend says that anyone who plays the guitar has to wait until he can lure another victim to the cabin before he can leave, and when he does leave, it is without his mind and without his soul.

The boys got scared when they seen Peter play. It was as if he were in a trance. I could not leave before I got rid of all evidence, and that included the three boys who had followed the music to the cabin, and whose greed caused an early end in their young lives. Did I mention that whoever plays the guitar loses his own persona, his own appearance, in trade for the one of the guitar player? Peter’s face is wrinkled now, covered with lines and cuts and places where the skin has already began to rot. Fear not though, as long as the guitar is in his hands, he will continue to survive this way, and when he finds a suitable guitar player, he can leave under the guise of that person. Until then he wears the face of Satan, and has all the talent in the world. The boys were easy to kill, Bill and Tom, greedy for a few worthless household items easily followed me into the old barn where they found that hell was just a few footsteps away. Mike was the hardest, attempting to drive away and leave the boys here for dead. He was so scared that he drove off a nearby cliff, his body left for the scavengers to feed on for all eternity.

I sit in the center of town, people wondering why I do not know them. I am not Peter, I may look like him, but I am free to do what I wish, soul less, but free. They wheel me out of the asylum on sunny days so that I may feel the sun on my skin. The evil one must have been pleased with my choice of the guitar player, for he allowed me to leave with the memories of this place, and with the talent of the greatest guitar player in the land, but my soul will forever be his. I am not alone though, those who have visited the cabin sit here with me, and I know that at some  point Peter will join me here as well, once he fulfills his destiny. After he watches over the cabin, and all who intrude.

Until then, if you ever hear music playing in the hills, follow it. If you have ever yearned to play the guitar, enter the cabin and give it a try, hell, you may even free the soul of the guitar player. He might enjoy a change of scenery…

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The inspiration for this tale came from a walk I took to an old abandoned farm just south of my home. The barn, and other buildings really are in shambles, and the cabin? The cabin sits in the middle of all the falling down buildings, but yet, it remains intact, still with the bright orange paint on the outside, still with all the windows in one piece (except for the window above the sink) and yes, there really is a guitar that hangs on the wall directly across from the living room window.  And just like in the story, everything of any value that was stored in the buildings have long been stolen, except for the guitar that is.

On my next bike ride, I plan to visit the farm once again, and provide pictures of the spooky old abandoned farm, and of course, of the cabin, complete with the treasures that still exist within the building. Maybe that will give you an idea of the horror that exists when you play the devil’s guitar

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