SunDance/Middle American Cults

I have a lot of unfinished material on my hard drive. This site is where I will put the material that I have been working with. A lot of it will be unfinished, some are scraps of other stories. I like to think that somewhere down the line it will lead to a novel or a short story collection, something so that whatever good parts aren’t wasted in the cobwebs of my crap computer.

Today I will present two pieces. The first is a vampire story I was working on. I hit a wall and haven’t been able to go further.

As before this material is the first draft and may be a bit raw.

SunDance

Monsters are real. Sometimes they’re men and women who do horrific things. They perpetrate torture, murder and rape. Sometimes they aren’t human, or maybe they were, but they were changed into something else. Werewolves were humans until they were bitten by another werewolf and like a virus the curse was transferred. Sometimes it was a gypsy curse or drinking water from a werewolves footprint. There were all kinds of ways to be changed into a monster. A vampire sucks your blood and you rise from your own grave another vampire. A bite from a zombie would transform you. Faeries steal babies and replace them with their own children who walk each day as a human until something alerts them to their nature. They hear faerie music or fall asleep in a toadstool ring. Suddenly they know they are no longer human and they do whatever it is faeries do, which isn’t always very nice. Redcaps would eat children and dye their caps in the leftover blood. Selkies would drown men and women by luring them into the water. Sidhe employed poisonous arrows. Demonic possession could change you as well. People have forgotten the old stories and forgotten why the dark is a terrifying place. We still fear darkness, but we never really know the reason. Here is my testimony that dark things exist in the world.

“I’ll be your driver today. Name’s Dale and you must be Cheyenne.” That’s how the story starts. It’s always simple. Dale smiled warmly and shook my hand vigorously. His perfect white teeth almost glowed in contrast to his dark skin. I nodded. “You’re bag?” He asked and grabbed it from me.

I sat in front with Dale. Behind me the other passengers started bonding quickly. There was Marjorie, a lawyer, Sarah, a drug counselor, a man named Abner who mostly slept and his trophy wife Clara. I tried to take a nap, but the constant chatter behind me left the sleep fitful. The ride took longer than expected. The other passengers were getting restless as well “Are we going to stop soon?” Someone asked.

“Did we pass the exit already?” Asked another.

Both questions were evaded by Dale. He laughed it off as a trick of Arizona highways. “Everything seems further away.” He smiled. And started into a story about driving a greyhound through Nebraska and the wide open country.

Abner started coughing and Clara started yelling at Dale, “We need to stop my husband needs to use the restroom. He needs to take his medicine.”

The old man simply grumbled that he was fine and shushed his wife. I checked my phone.

The passengers were yelling at him and demanding that he pull over. Sarah threatened to jump from the car. She didn’t and Dale just continued down the highway. There was no signal and we had been on the road for three hours. I looked over at Dale, the air conditioner was on, but he was clearly sweating. Perspiration was beading at his forehead and dripping into the crevices of his neck. The gas gauge was getting close to the E, “Dale?” I asked. His face had an expression that was a mixture of dread and anger. He stopped looking at the road. The van went into the scrub and he let it.

“Get your seat belt on.” He said to me and I could see the tears rolling down his face. His eyes darted to me, “I’m sorry.” He mouthed. Everyone was screaming. Sarah was actively hitting Dale. He just took it in and let the car go.

The van flew. We caught air and then rolled when the vehicle hit the ground. I don’t remember it stopping. I blacked out and when I came to again the adults were outside the shuttle cursing and yelling while Dale stood with his head hung low on his shoulders. I crawled out of the van and looked over the environment. It was all cracked earth, like a dry lake bed. The area was huge and was walled in on all sides. The sunset was creeping below the western wall of the crater.

“There’s nothing I can do.” He said. His tone was weak. “They got my girls. They said all I had to do was come here and they’d let them go.”

“They told you to roll the car?” Sarah spat.

“Yes!” He answered and fell to his knees. Marjorie, Sarah, and Clara circled him like vultures. “It was for my girls. You understand.” He was pleading. The women weren’t letting up. Abner was rubbing the back of his neck. I could almost taste their anger. They wanted blood.

“Leave him alone,” I said. I was still groggy.

“It’s his fault we’re in this mess,” someone said, but I didn’t look up to see who it was. Their voices all sounded alike to me.

The sun lowered in the sky and I could see darker hues of the night sky rising in the east. “It’s gonna be dark and cold soon, we should get inside.” I said as gently as I could. I crawled inside the overturned van and pulled my luggage free. Unzipped the front and pulled a small box out and some bottled water. “I have food. Please.” I held the box of Pop Tarts out as a peace offering and took a swallow of water. One by one they left Dale to his conscience.

We shared the little food we had and that elevated the mood. Dale stayed away, for the most part, but he offered a few smiles in my direction. The night crept in quickly and the temperature dropped.

Along the walls of the crater, three sets of headlights pulled up and stopped. Sarah and Marjorie stood up. Dale looked as if he was trying to make himself smaller as he pushed his back against the van. He was visibly shivering.

Eight figures were silhouetted in the headlights and then disappeared as they descended into the crater. I heard a screech. Clara turned and stood with the other women. “Hello!” She yelled out. Her voice echoed off the walls repeating her “Hello!” Clara waved her arms at the vehicles. Another screech. She moved ahead of Marjorie and Sarah waving her arms wildly as she ran. She hooted with joy. “We’re a bit stuck.” She said to the darkness. The walls repeated, “…bit stuck.” I heard another screech and Clara abruptly stopped shouting.

Dale was shaking his head. He stood and grabbed Sarah and pushed her back towards the van “Go. Hide!” He yelled, “I gotta try to make this right.” He strode forward and started running towards the headlights. I heard him gurgle and that’s when the chewing sounds started.

The night was dark. Darker than any I had ever experienced and I couldn’t see anything. I heard dragging sounds and the yelling and the click of the handcuffs. A raspy voice said, “Stay.”

I felt at hand on my wrist and jerked it back, but the grip was too strong. The handcuff was clasped around my wrist. I could feel a face near mine. Its skin was as cold as the night air and it took a deep sniff at my ear. Its chin touched my cheek and left a dollop of sticky moisture behind. Another voice further away spoke, “If you leave we will know. We will find you.” The voice was coarse, but smoother than the previous voice. We watched the headlights leave and everything was quiet after that. Nobody dared speak. At some point I fell asleep.

I woke from thirst. The sun cracked my lips. The overturned van provided just enough shade to keep the four of us out of the sun’s direct rays, but it did nothing to stave off the heat. To my left my fellow prisoners lay still. Whatever they were they left us handcuffed not just to our living compatriots, but also to the dead ones. The combined dead weight made escape possible, but difficult. They were sure to come back for us, to slit our throats and to feed. I tried to look around. It was difficult to move handcuffed to the others and I didn’t want to disturb them. “Don’t go out there.” Marjorie said. She was immediately next to me, but unlike me she didn’t have a hand free, both were cuffed. One to me and the other to Abner, who was sleeping. Marjorie was a thicker girl and she was sweating profusely. The combined smell of her and the dead was starting to get to me.

“I wasn’t going to.” I said. I was going to see my father. I’m sure he was already looking for me. I was supposed to arrive yesterday. “What are we gonna do?” I asked.

“Nothing.” Marjorie responded.

“Don’t tell her that.” Sarah hissed from the other side of Dale’s lifeless body. She turned her attention to me, “We’re gonna get out of here.” Sarah smiled. It was not a reassuring smile, it was a lying smile. I had seen that smile when my parents got divorced.

“They’ll be back tonight.” I said, “Maybe we can climb one of those walls and get to a road. It would be better than waiting.”

“Nobody is going anywhere.” Marjorie said, “They’ll find us and they’ll do worse than they’ve already done.”

I looked over to the other two. The two that were dead now. I remembered the chattering and snapping of teeth. Then the slurping when they drank the blood. The memory brought a shiver with it despite the heat. I leaned back against glass which was only slightly cooler than everything else and let my mind wander.

I had a friend at school. Her name was Krista and she had a habit of getting in teachers’ faces. She would curse, she would scream and she would occasionally punch at the objects of her oppression. The most prominent teacher she fought with was Ms. Poltiske. Ms. Poltiske was a small woman. Krista towered over her, but Ms. P, as she was called by her students, never backed down.

I hung out with Krista because she was a blast. We never had a boring time when we hung out. One time she had gotten in a fight at school and was suspended for the week. She convinced me to skip and we went on an adventure. We walked around the city. Dodged truancy officers and once school was out we found ourselves in a section of town I wasn’t familiar with. “What are we doing here?” I asked.

“Nothing.” She responded, but she was scanning the street for something.

I was still confused, but I crossed the street with her and she looked over a car. It was a silver civic and there was a small dent on the driver’s side door. It was parked in front of an apartment building. Krista smiled as she approached the car and yanked on the door. It didn’t open. Frustrated she moved to the apartment building. Something in my gut told me I shouldn’t be there. It told me I should go home, but I ignored my feelings. She spotted what she wanted and still I had no idea what we were doing there. “Why are we here?” I asked a little more exasperated.

“Pay back.” She lead me around the back of the building. There were several balconies. Krista took a running leap and pushed herself further up the wall with her foot. Her hand caught the bottom of the balcony. Once she stabilized herself she shimmied the rest of the way up and awkwardly pulled herself over the railing. “Come on.” She whisper yelled back at me.

I jumped and did a much clumsier version of Krista’s ascent. I bashed my elbow against the railing and I felt like I twisted my knee as I plopped over the railing. There were several hanging planters on the balcony and a white metal table surrounded by three ornate patio chairs. Krista scanned the balcony and grabbed a green handled trowel from a bag of soil. “Krista. What are you going to do?”

The balcony was separated from the apartment by a set of french doors they hung open into the apartment. I could smell curry cooking in the kitchen and her a twill feminine voice singing to herself. Krista strode into the apartment. “Hey Miss P.”

Ms. Poltiske turned from the kitchen. Her face turned from pleasant to livid instantly. “Krista.” She said in an authoritative tone. “What are you doing here?”

I was still in the doorway to the balcony. Krista raised the trowel. “I thought we could talk about extra credit Ms. P.”

My teacher raised her hands defensively. She backed further into the kitchen and Krista’s body blocked my view. What I could see was that trowel raising over her head and coming down again and again. I can’t remember if I screamed.

Krista wasn’t put in jail. She was sent to a hospital and they said she had borderline personality disorder. She was a psychopath according to the article I read. What does that say about me? My best friend was a psychopath who could’ve killed me at any moment and not felt remotely bad about it. After she killed Ms. P she asked if I wanted to go see a movie with her after she took a shower. I said I had to do homework. She shrugged and went to take a shower in Ms. P’s bathroom.

I looked at her, Ms. Poltiske. She didn’t look real. Her face was covered in blood and her eyes were open and seemed to be looking at a wedding invitation on the fridge. Her brother, or someone who shared her last name was going to get married in the summer. She was not going to make the wedding. I don’t know if I was in shock, maybe I was because I felt numb all over.

I left Krista. I walked out the front door and found a bus home. She was all over the news, they didn’t put her name out because she was a minor, but I knew it was her. Nobody ever questioned me, nobody knew I was even there and Krista never brought it up. I guess that was lucky. I still felt responsible, because I didn’t try to stop her. I still don’t sleep through the night. All I can see is Ms. Poltiske’s pristine eyes looking at the future she would never see.

Marjorie was crying. “Abner’s dead.” She said quietly. She shook and sobbed, her face was runny with tears and snot.

“We have to get out of here.” I said.

“No!” She screeched. “We are staying here.”

“Why!” I yelled. “They’re going to kill us anyway. I’m going.”

Marjorie shifted her weight and managed to pull the dead weight of Abner far enough up to grab me by the throat. “You aren’t going anywhere! I swear to God I will kill you myself. They’ll know, they’ll find us.”

“Stop it!” Sarah yelled from the other side of the line. “Look at yourself.” Marjorie took her hand off my throat and looked at Sarah. “Cheyenne is right. we can’t stay here. The highway isn’t far, we could hitch a ride.”

She was already shaking her head before she spoke. “Did you see them?”

“No.” Sarah answered.

She looked at me, “You?” I shook my head. “I did. I saw them. They were drinking her blood. Do you understand? They killed two people in the time it takes you to blow your nose. Just imagine what they could do if we angered them. We’re already dead, the only choice we’re getting is how quickly we want to die.”

Sarah was on the opposite side of the line from me so she also had a hand free. She took Dale’s dead hand and pushed it into the corner where the seat met the floor. It looked awkward from where I was sitting. She positioned her body so she could kick Dale’s hand with her heel.

“What are you doing?” Marjorie asked.

“I’ve had it with you Marjorie.” Bash. The heel struck the hand, but it twisted funny and didn’t take much of the force “Whatever came here last night can go fuck itself and you too for all I care.” She readjusted the hand and struck it again. Bash. “You want to die, be my guest.” Bash. I heard the crunch of carpels and I winced. “There is no way you’re going to convince me that sitting here and waiting for it to happen is going to make it somehow better.” Bash, bash, bash. The hand looked unnaturally soft. She pulled Dale’s hand through the handcuff chafing skin off as she pulled it.

“No.” Marjorie’s eyes went wide.

Sarah started crawling through the van past Marjorie. Marjorie grabbed her leg and jerked it back. Sarah kicked, but Marjorie managed to tuck Sarah’s leg under her armpit and trap it. “You’re not leaving.” Her teeth were gritted as she spoke.

“Stop it.” Sarah pulled at her leg with both hands, but Abner’s body was acting as a barrier. Sarah punched at Marjorie’s face and pulled her leg free, but her ankle was twisted in the process and she landed hard just outside the van. I pulled as far away as possible to avoid getting hit. Marjorie looked over at me and said, “Don’t you dare.”

“I wasn’t.”

Sarah tried to stand, but as soon as she put weight on her ankle she stumbled again. Her face was twisted in pain as she rubbed at the rapidly swelling ankle. The exertion left Marjorie winded. Perspiration was pouring down her face. She looked over to Sarah who was still tenderly massaging her ankle. Marjorie relaxed and closed her eyes. My luggage was next to my head so I reached inside and pulled a pocket knife from the front pouch. The pocket knife had a screwdriver, a pick, a bottle cap opener and a knife folded into its handle. I pulled a silver pick free with my mouth and as quietly and delicately as I could worked at the lock. I had to stop several times as Marjorie would spontaneously open her eyes look over to Sarah and close them again.

I finally heard a click and the latch lifted from my hand. The skin below was tender from the tight cuff, but it was a small price to pay for freedom. I moved out of the van and crawled next to Sarah whose eyes were closed. I tapped her on the shoulder. “I’m going to the highway.” I whispered. She opened her eyes and nodded. “I’ll bring help.”

“Be careful.” She said as I stood and started walking. I wanted to run, to get as far from that van as possible, but I hadn’t had water since the previous night and I felt very weak.

I heard a howl from the van, “Cheyenne!” Marjorie screamed, “Please! They’ll hurt us. Cheyenne!” With difficulty I doubled my pace.

I got to the edge of the crater and climbed the thirty feet to the top. My legs felt like they would give out at any moment. I looked to the east and I saw the dimmed edge of night through the cloudy haze. I was right. The road wasn’t difficult to find, it was only a mile or so from the crater. The road was empty, with the flat road stretching out both ways I didn’t see anything at all in the way of traffic. Once I saw nightfall approaching it was impossible not to see it creeping ever closer.

I was walking west away from the darkness as if that would hold it off just a little longer. Through the heat mirage I saw a vehicle parked on the side of the road. I prayed that it was real. The trunk and hood were both open. A man stood at the front working under the hood. I smiled in spite of myself and hooted as I got closer. “Hello!” I ran up to the car.

The man startled as I got to the front, “Whoah.” He reared up, but just as quickly softened when he saw me. He was a tall man with short dark hair and sunglasses on his face. Sweat bled through his buttoned shirt. “You scared me.” He straightened and stretched his back. “What are you doing out here?”

“We sort of broke down. My name is Cheyenne.” I stuck my hand out. He smiled uneasily and shook my outstretched hand. “Do you have some water?”

He nodded, “In the car there.”

The second piece is something of an origin story for my character Martin Tyrone Key. I was trying to write a missive and made some headway. The characterization of Jolene was a little two-dimensional, the action happened way too quickly and there were huge gaps between journal entries that left me frustrated. Currently it reads as a good outline.

Middle American Cults

Martin Key Journal June 15th, 1988

My name is Martin Tyrone Key. I am a student at North High School. I have been court ordered to write a journal. I don’t want to do this. The stupid counselor, Mr Darwin, had the judge add it on to my sentence. He said I need to articulate my thoughts better. I have no idea what this has to do with shoplifting a pack of Marlboro Red Cigarettes. Tonight my Father made fish. I hate fish. He throws it in the oven and leaves it until it is dry and tasteless, I have heard rumor of fish that didn’t taste like leather, but I disbelieve. Is this what you wanted Mr. Darwin?

Jolene’s Diary

Summer is here, really and truly. The solstice is soon, but I can feel the grass in my toes and the heat on my skin. It’s delicious after such a long winter. My little scuttlebutt caught a mouse today and brought it into the house. He was batting at the poor thing. I know he’s a hunter, but I felt bad for the little guy so I managed to corner it and put it in a glass. The mouse was terrified, but I got him outside before Margo knew what had happened. She was still looking for the mouse when I got back in.

I met a boy today. He’s a little older, but he is marvelous. Dusky. His name is Lucas and we are going on a date.

Marty is calling me again. Really that marks the summer. He is usually so worked up over his little revolts that he really can’t relax during the school year. When we do finally hang out it’s marvelous. He is absolutely the most kind and considerate friend I’ve ever had. He has a beautiful soul and I hope he meets someone who can lift him up and help him reach the stars.

I think he should cut his hair. It’s always in his eyes and he has such beautiful eyes. He slouches and breathes a little too loud in class, but I love him. He’s like a brother to me.

*No dates were listed in Jolene’s diary.

Martin Key Journal June 17th, 1988

I don’t know what to write in this stupid thing. I went to the old Soo Line building last night. I probably shouldn’t put that in here. There were no signs, but I was probably trespassing. Jolene Dwyer showed up at my house around sundown, she said she was going to perform a ritual. She’s super into this Wicca stuff. It’s kind of cool. She talks about the horned God and the old crone and how Christianity ripped off a bunch of stuff from pagan religions. We went to the Soo building, and in the basement we found some leftover stuff from a beer party. I didn’t drink any. It was there and Jolene thought she might know who was partying there. We hung out for a while, like maybe two hours. She “called the corners” and lit some candles. It was interesting for a minute, but it got boring pretty quick. I got home, my parents were zoned out on the TV and I hung out in my room.

Jolene’s Diary

What a wonderous day. I saw a wasp in my windowsill. It was on the outside of the glass and I watched it for fifteen minutes. Its stinger was just ready to dig into whatever angered it. It reminds me of Marty. Always ready to lash out.

Martin Key Journal June 18th, 1988

I went back to the Soo Line building. I like it in there. It’s quiet and sometimes it helps me think. I wasn’t doing anything, just wandering around and exploring. I found this old black and white comic book from the sixties. The story was about this antique dealer who accidentally summoned a demon. The demon ended up taking the form of his wife and killing him at the end of the comic. It freaked me out because right after I was done reading it I heard this banging upstairs. I swear to God I heard somebody talking. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but it sounding like a deep voice. I thought it was a cop so I ran out of there. Jolene was outside with a guy named Luke. I have never met Luke before, he was dressed all in black and had black fingernail polish on and eyeliner. She laughed when she saw the look on my face. I told them I thought somebody was in there. Luke wasn’t laughing, but he thought it was a ghost. She and Luke went in to look, but I was too freaked out. It felt like my heart was in my throat. They came out a little while later laughing and told me that didn’t see or hear anybody in there. I figure it was my imagination, but it sure sounded pretty real.

Jolene’s Diary

Lucas is almost six feet tall. He’s got deep dark eyes and a poet’s soul. I think he might be my soul mate. He gave me a katana with a rose wrapped around the handle for our second date. We didn’t have any money so we went to the Soo building. He had a flask of peach schnapps and some clove cigarettes. We saw Marty there. He was scared of something inside, but he really lets his imagination run away with him. He said he heard somebody in there, but the place was empty. Lucas and I walked through the building holding hands and talking. After that, we left Marty and the Soo and went on a long walk. It was daylight when we started and by the time we stopped and had some more schnapps it was dark. He asked me if he could buy my soul. He wanted my soul. I said I’d sell it to him for a kiss.

I have never felt a better kiss. My knees went weak. He walked me home and gave me one more exquisite kiss. My parents saw, but I didn’t even care I was in bliss. I dreamed of him.

Martin Key Journal June 20th, 1988

Fuck you very much Mr. Darwin! Sixty hours of community service because you told my probation officer I went into the Soo Line building. Patient confidentiality still exists and I wasn’t hurting anybody. So fuck you, Mr. Darwin. I’m probably going to get another sixty hours or juvie hall.

Jolene’s Diary

There are things Luke is showing me that I’ve never seen before. He is teaching me so much in such a small amount of time. He cut his wrist and fed his blood to me. It tasted like wisdom. His soul is so incredibly old. I am in awe of him.

Martin Key Journal June 25th, 1988

I haven’t written in awhile. It’s so hot, the air conditioner is broken and I’ve been doing community service.

I’m sorry about the last entry. I was really upset, but the community service is kind of fun, I’m working at Goodwill sorting clothes. There is another kid there, His name is Geoffrey. He got community service for trying to steal a keg of beer. He pulled it right off a truck and threw it over his shoulder. He ran almost two blocks with that keg before he had to drop it. He would have gotten away, but the police caught up with him on Cameron Street as he was walking home.

Jolene is now dating Luke. She died her hair black and has taken to wearing black lipstick. I’m a little angry about it because we don’t hang out alone anymore. Luke is always around and she does everything he tells her to do. She told me the other day that he bought her soul so she has to obey him. It freaked me out so I went home.

Martin Key Journal June 28th, 1988

I am angry all the time. Luke told Jolene she couldn’t hang out with me anymore. I don’t want see her now that they’re dating, she keeps saying weird dark things like, “We’re all just shells.” or “There is a dark fever in me.” or my personal favorite, “Pain is holy.” She cuts herself now. She takes a razor to her arms because she says she feels numb inside. It’s so stupid.

Martin Key Journal June 29th, 1988

Luke and I had a heart to heart. He said he felt threatened by me and stuff. I told him I didn’t want to date Jolene. I lied. I would like to go with Jolene. I had a crush on her when we went to Sherman Elementary together, but we never went together or anything. He said he didn’t care if we kissed and that if I wanted he could make that happen since he owned her. The conversation got freaky, but I went along with it because I am kind of scared of Luke and I am worried about Jolene.

I almost asked her parents about it, but they don’t really like me.

Jolene’s Diary

I cut my arm and watched the blood well up around the wound. I saw the reflection of myself in the bead of blood. There was no pain. I sucked the blood from the wound and sprawled over my bed. I felt spirits all around me and they were filling me. I felt myself being consumed by each new spirit. I was a man. I was an old woman. I was a harlot. I was a black man. I was evil. I was so good. Each soul left a piece of themselves behind and when I finally sat up from my bed and looked in the mirror I didn’t recognize the girl there. Minutes past and I couldn’t find my name in my memory. My parents were gone. My past was gone. My sweet Lucas was gone and there was something else inside, a new person.

I like this beast inside me, it is not man or woman and it is so old and beautiful and horrible. I stripped naked in front of the mirror and looked at my body. It felt so young. It felt like it had been eons since I felt so good. I had just woken from a million year sleep. The thought crept into my mind, ‘How could this being be from Hell?’ I knew in that moment that the being inside me was an angel sent from God and that I should welcome it into my heart.

I said “Yes.” I spoke the word out loud. I said it again, “Yes.” and then I collapsed. I woke up on the floor. Fresh sunlight poured into my room. My father was banging on the door asking if I was alright. I told him I was perfect. I recognized myself again. I knew my own name. I smiled at the mirror and got dressed for the day.

Martin Key Journal July 1st, 1988

Luke wants to make me part of his coven. He says I can be a witch. He said Jolene is already a witch and that he initiated her. I told him I would think about it. He didn’t like that answer and told me that there wasn’t much time. I asked him, “time for what?” Jolene walked in and he changed the subject. She is dressing different. She started wearing revealing skin tight things. She looks a little slutty.

Geoffrey suggested I ditch them both because he read about satanism and for initiation you get a brand of a pentagram over your heart. It never comes off and you will be cursed.

Martin Key Journal July 2nd, 1988

I was initiated. Jolene convinced me. It wasn’t what I imagined it to be. I was branded like Geoffrey suggested, but it wasn’t on my chest it was on my forearm and it wasn’t a pentagram it was a “V” pointing towards my hand. Both he and Jolene said some things. She kissed me on the mouth. Luke held a knife to my chest and asked me to come into the circle with perfect love and perfect trust. I said yes.

The rest of the night was a blur. We all drank this tea and my head felt like it was spinning. I remember seeing a tall man with a mohawk looking at me, but when I asked about it later Luke and Jolene didn’t know what I was talking about.

When Luke dropped me off at home he said, “I’m not trying to scare you, but if you betray us I will kill you.” He had his hand around the back of my neck when he said it. Our foreheads were touching. I really want to trust Luke.

Martin Key Journal July 4th, 1988

Shit hit the fan Mr. Darwin. I don’t want anymore community service and I’m not trying to get in trouble, but he forced my hand. I went to the fireworks at Carson Park and I met with Jolene and Luke there. Jolene acted weird and spacey and when I asked Luke about it he just said she was in a higher place. I tried to ask what that meant, but the fireworks started and Jolene started moaning and laughing. She was grabbing me and then Luke. She kissed him. It seemed like they were making out for a long time and I was getting uncomfortable watching them.

I said. “I’m gonna go.” and started walking away. I bought a soda from a machine and stayed at the machine for a moment. I was hot from the night and I was struggling to keep my temper.

Luke came up behind me, “What are you doing?”

I said, “Nothing, I’m leaving.” I started walking away.

He grabbed me by the shoulder and pulled me around to face him. “Is it Jolene? You can have her. Just stay.”

I saw the crowd funneling out of Carson park. I saw men women and children walking by me. All of them were staring at me and I felt my face getting red. I yelled at him, and it was really sudden, my emotions just couldn’t be restrained I just yelled it out. “No! I do not care about Jolene. You are a piece of shit and I want nothing to do with you anymore!” I didn’t have to see it, I knew my face was beat red, I could feel my pulse in my neck.

He was calm as shit, “I’m sorry you feel that way Marty.”

Luke was taller than me. I was maybe five foot four inches and Luke pretty much felt like he towered over me. I launched at him before my brain knew what my body was doing. The can of soda was in my hand, but it didn’t matter it was going to hit him. It did. I hit him so hard the soda burst and sprayed all over me. Luke was on the ground unconscious and I was suddenly aware that Jolene was there and had been there since he grabbed me.

“What did you do?” She screamed. Her face was red from making out, but the tears made her face glow red.

I ran away Mr. Darwin. I ran until I couldn’t feel my legs anymore. I ran until my lungs wanted to explode. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to hit him and I’m not trying to get in trouble. I want to be good, but Luke has this way about him. I can’t even put it down in writing, it’s like magic.

Martin Key Journal July 5th, 1988

I stayed at home all day. I called in sick to Goodwill. I only have a few hours left until my community service is clear anyway. I did nothing. I watched MTV. I am not sure this is important, but I received seven phone calls and no one answered when I picked up. I think it was Luke.

Martin Key Journal July 6th, 1988

I found a chicken foot with a feather tied to it underneath my pillow. I knew it was from Luke and it terrified me. I didn’t leave for a second day.

Gregory Fitzpatrick Darwin, MA Licensed Professional Counselor July 6th, 1988

I am a Mental Health Professional. I began seeing Martin Tyrone Key as a client on April 23rd, 1988. His parents had growing concerns about his behavior. He was defiant and unruly in class and was having issues with several teachers at North High School. Recently I was appointed his counselor by court order and have been observing his progress by way of regular journal keeping. Recently it has come to my attention that Martin has been colluding with a man who is a self proclaimed Satanist. Lucas Millard has been in and out of mental health facilities here in Eau Claire county as well as in Dane County. This record was acquired through due diligence. His juvenile records have been sealed, but in the last eight months since he turned eighteen he has been released from state care.

In my opinion Martin Key poses a threat to the community and himself and he should be deferred to a mental health facility to ascertain his ongoing treatment. Please notify me with any questions pertaining to his case. I will comply within reasonable legal parameters.

Martin Key Journal July 8th, 1988

Luke showed up at my house. I answered the door. I asked what he wanted. He said he wanted to apologize. I said, “For what? I hit you.”

“For leaving you out.” He was leaning against the door. It was like he was confessing.

“I’m sorry for hitting you.” I wasn’t, but I wanted him to go away.

He told me he wanted to take me somewhere and it took some convincing, but I agreed.

Martin Key Journal July 15th, 1988

I’m sorry. I don’t have a lot of time Mr. Darwin. I’m writing as much as I can, but I don’t have a lot of time.

Luke took me to his house. I had never been there before. It was a squat house, there were fourteen or fifteen people that lived there. There was running water and electricity, but the ground floor was a room full of garbage with planks set out for them to walk through. A ladder lead to the living area. Jolene was there lounging on a couch and there were other people floating in and out. “I cursed you.” Luke told me as we sat down in their make-shift kitchen.

“Why?” I asked.

“You hit me and you are going to pay for that.” He sat a glass of cloudy liquid in front of me. “Drink.” He said.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Salvation.” He said.

Jolene sat down next to me and held me as she pulled the drink closer. I looked at him. He was calm, she was drugged or something. I barely recognized Jolene anymore. I wished things could go back to the way they were. I drank. He smiled and shook my hand. Jolene purred next to me.

I was walking in the living room and I fell over. I couldn’t move, but I saw everything. Hours went by and people in the house asked if they should call 911. Luke ordered them not to. At dark Luke took me, put me into a van and drove me out to the middle of nowhere. Luke and Jolene laid me in a little wooden casket. They buried me Mr Darwin. I was in the ground. I heard them putting the dirt on me. I don’t know how long I was in there. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breath. I felt like I was suffocating the entire time. It felt like days. It felt like months had passed. When I heard them digging again I was out of my mind. The world was terrifying. The thought of seeing Luke, or even Jolene filled me with dread. Then I saw their faces. Jolene and Luke hovering over me. I screamed and tried to run, but my limbs wouldn’t move properly. Luke pulled me out of the casket and beat the shit out of me. He kicked me so hard that I spat blood. Finally after a hour or more he sat next to me and rubbed my back. “Your soul isn’t in you anymore.” He said in a gentle tone. “You’re my zombie now Marty. I own you.” I cried. I cried because I could move again. I cried because I was a zombie. I cried because the world is frightening and I am so small.

Mr Darwin I am scared.

Eau Claire County Police Report – Officer Lawton Menard

On Tuesday July 19th Martin Key a minor of Eau Claire, WI was arrested for curfew violation. I found Martin Key wandering Dewey Street at 3:17 am. He refused to answer any of my questions. I detained the minor at 3:27 am. Upon placing him in the vehicle the suspect said his name, “Martin Key” He did specify his place of residence and was remanded to custody at 3:42 am at the Eau Claire County Juvenile Detention Facility. Finger prints verified his identity.

Martin Key Journal August 20th, 1988

Thank you for your patience Mr Darwin. My time in Juvenile Hall was educational. It is not a place I want to return.

I have found these journals to be helpful and I plan on continuing after my court order is complete.

I have not had any contact with Luke Millard or Jolene Dwyer. I have heard Jolene is living with her parents, but I haven’t contacted her. I did ask about Luke, but no one has heard from him recently and the squat he took me too was empty. If I do hear anything I will let you know.

Jolene’s Diary

I know I’ve changed since the beginning of the summer. I was so naïve. In the few weeks I have known Lucas I have tapped into forces that I didn’t even know existed. Tonight we are going to do something I would never have dreamed before this summer. We are going to summon a demon. I believe he can do it. Lucas is brilliant and perfect. He made Marty a zombie. He made me into so many things since we met. I am one with the universe and soon I will see a demon’s face on this plane. I am giddy with anticipation. I can hear Lucas preparing in the other room. If I sit up right now I can see the edge of the protective circle he’s made. His shirt is off. His hair is covering his face.

I am so in love with him.

*This is the last entry in Jolene’s diary.

Martin Key Journal August 23rd, 1988

I need to write this down. I called 911 and I saw Jolene before she left, but I want to be very clear about what happened.

I went to her house on a lark. It was a beautiful day and school is starting soon so I thought I would see if Jolene was home. Part of me hoped that I could find out what happened on those last days. A lot of it is a blur to me.

I walked up to her house like any other day. I knocked on the door and waited for an answer. I could hear the television set and I saw her father’s leg. The rest of him was blocked from my view, by the entertainment center. I knocked again and the door opened. It was unlocked. I stepped through and yelled hello. No response. I moved forward and saw Jolene’s parents sitting on the couch engrossed in whatever show they were watching I said I was there for Jolene and made my way to the stairs. Jolene was at the top of the stairs. She wasn’t moving, She was just standing there.

I waved and was heading towards her when I saw the blade at her side. It was half a pair of scissors. It was coated in blood. I stepped back and I almost threw up when I realized there was blood up to her elbow. She left drippings all the way up the stairs. I moved to the living room with her parents. That’s when I saw their slashed throats. Their necks had been severed almost completely. Blood had seeped down the front of their clothes and onto the couch and was dripping on the floor. Jolene was at the bottom of the stairs. She smiled at me. “Hello Marty.” She pronounced my name like it was a foreign word.

“What’s happening?” I asked.

She turned her head like a dog when its curious and said, “I like this beast inside me. It is not man or woman. It is so old and beautiful and horrible.” She accentuated each syllable as if English wasn’t her first language and let each word hang on the air. The metal in her hand was coated and gummy.

“Where is Luke?” I asked as I backed away from her.

“In my room.” She raised the blade as she spoke.

She lunged at me and the scissor caught me in the shoulder. I felt the blade scrape bone before she raised it again and brought it down into my chest. I yelped. The pain was immense and I remember saying, “please,” and grabbed her hand before she was able to bring the blade down again. I don’t remember when I started crying, but I was and I was getting woozy and we struggled. I only just managed to press forward enough to trip her. I ran away. I left the house and ran home. I was a blubbery mess by the time I called the police. I didn’t see Luke’s body in the bedroom upstairs and I haven’t seen Jolene since she ran away. The twenty or so stitches I have in my shoulder and chest did not appear by magic and I am not guilty of anything apart from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I wish I could tell you more.

Thank you for reading…

Kristopher Bishop

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