Entry # B11
Excerpt from Red
Based on a true story.
The brief introduction was taken from "Fables, Fairies & Folklore of Newfoundland" by Alice Lannon and Michael McCarthy.
How The Devil Came To Red Island
Today, Red Island, Placentia Bay is uninhabited - just one of the many communities that disappeared during the Smallwood Resettlement Program. However, for more than two centuries Red Island was a vibrant Placentia Bay fishing community with its own unique body of local history, recorded both in song and story.
Among the stories passed down from one generation of Red Islanders to another was the legend of how a rock on one of the highest peaks overlooking the community came to have the imprint of a cloven hoof.
The incident leading up to this curious imprint happened sometime during the early days of the nineteenth century. This was a time when Red Island was an important stopover for fishing schooners taking on bait for a new voyage to the Grand Banks.
The events detailed below where inspired by the folklore noted above.
Red Island, April 15, 1812.
Red Island Town Hall.
Jigs and reels vibrated and highlight the gayety that all those present at this anticipated celebration.
Couples talked jovially as they ate the delicious banquet laid before them and drank the liquors, wine and juices set at the centre table; while the children all ran around playing games of catch while their parents attempted to feed them supper.
Vibrant colours illuminate the atmosphere with the fresh cut flowers, paint and the material of the brand new Easter clothing the women had spent all winter making.
Once all stomachs were full, the food was immediately cleaned up, the tables rearranged and the dance began.
Immediately, the hall filled with the joyous tones of accordion and fiddle music.
Laughter rang out as everyone in the entire hall sang old Celtic favourites while they danced.
While Sam and Bertha Malone were waltzing, Bertha bumped into somebody.
Turning to apologize, Bertha found herself staring into a pair of the clearest blue eyes she had ever seen.
The stranger took her hand and kissed her fingers and in a deep husky voice offered up his apologizes instead.
"Madame; it is I that should be expressing my regret to you for my awkwardness, please receive my humble apologizes.”
Bertha dropped her embrace from her husband to stand and do what every other female was doing, staring at the stranger, whom was a breathtaking sight to behold.
Standing well above six feet, the stranger’s appearance and poise spoke of pure elegance that was conspicuous amongst the common people present.
He wore a fine silk white shirt which adhered to his chiselled chest muscles, black velvet pants with a red sash and long black leather boots that housed powerful legs.
Noting that the music had stopped playing and that the spotlight had suddenly shifted to him, he urged the town's people to continue.
“Please ladies and gentlemen, continue with the festivities. My name is Damian Saul and I am the captain of the Mona Lisa en route to New York to deliver fabrics when my vessel failed to maintain course in the fog and I was forced to dock ashore. I wandered into this establishment with the hope that you allow me and my crew to stay dockside until morning.”
“Of course you all may stay, in fact, why don’t you all join us?” Tom Moore, Red Island’s mayor offered.
“That is very generous of you all, and while my crew are all resting after a long day and night’s journey, I would love to stay.”
The music began again, and soon the hall was once again filled with joviality.
Damian danced with every female, married and single, young and old, until they were breathless at his feet.
Afterwards, he approached the stage and asked to be granted the privilege to play the violin and treat his hosts to some of his homeland music.
Once Damian put bow to the instrument, the music he played was soft, melodious and haunting.
Soon, the tune cast a spell over the entire gathering and when the music began to pick up everyone began to dance.
The patrons continued until they eventually lost the ability to stop, and people dropped dead from exhaustion or heart attacks.
Tremors from the movements had knocked down several lit kerosene lamps, swiftly catching the centre on fire.
Smoke filled their lungs as the people desperately tried to escape from the carnage, while the children screamed for their parents in vain.
The last thing that the dying saw was Damian's smooth tanned and chiseled features and body melting away into horns, forked tail and animal hoofs.
His piercing blue eyes reflecting the true identity of his soul; bloody, burning and black.
The devil continued to play, laughing at the massacre that lay before him, as the notes shrieked his name.
"Lucifer, Satan, Prince of Darkness!"
Finally, when he was sure that everyone laid dead and burning, poof! He was gone, leaving a blazing hoof imprint on the spot where the building once stood.
He was mistaken though, because, there, watching in horror as the structure that served as their community centre, turned to ash and the bodies of their friends burned within, were three couples.
These three couples, pushed their anguish, anger and despair deep down, placed a memorial of black granite with the names of the souls that perished engraved and then set to work to rebuild the island back to its former glory.
Yet, the memorial site forever remained haunted.
It is said to steal the souls of those who stand over it and dare read the words, locking their memories in a time where they have committed horrific acts against humanity, doomed to relive them repeatedly until they either fall into the arms of screaming insanity or savagely end their lives giving their remaining selves over to will of the demon for all eternity.