The Cult

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The story is about a war time passing, the truth of what power may holds, and the power upon any source that deems corrupt on any measure, big or small.

Submitted: August 15, 2017

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Submitted: August 15, 2017

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“There are a lot of people missing lately.” Mackie Harrison looked at his best friend that is sitting across the aisle to the right of him.

Mrs. Bernice’s class is bustling with the ordinary business as usual while she kept on with the different subjects of pronouns, nouns, verbs, and adjectives. The white board got a little narrower as Mackie and Dustin continued on with their private conversation that is getting higher than just the two of them.

A bird fluttered to the window and perched on the sill outside of a day that is almost halfway over. The bird is a Cardinal, birthing the sign of spring that is within its wake.

“Yeah, I heard that the Bourner Family couldn’t be found one morning when one of the relatives came by. The house was empty and all their clothes were gone, like they sprung up and left overnight. I wonder if Marcel got into trouble someway.” Dustin dotted the notebook that is on a page that is not even written into yet.

Dustin and Mackie never took notes in any of their classes. They were the ones that were going to run on their family’s money for the rest of their lives.

Noah Walker heard all of this with his greasy hair swooned over his ears. He hadn’t had a haircut in a very long time with his clothes that are starting to stink. Momma doesn’t have the laundry money to do that. Momma hadn’t had a job in over a year and had to wind up living on Social Security Disability that is little next to nothing with just enough money to pay the bills and set food on the table.

None of the people in town wanted to hire momma for she is the meek of this town now, the trailer park trash brigade that the better folk would not bat an eye at when they went about their business getting into debt for the next twenty to thirty years.

Noah knew what they are thinking about.

“I thought this place could be safe.” Mackie shrugged, rubbing his stubble on his chin.

“Me too; my dad is talking about leaving town at the end of the month.” Mackie didn’t look at Dustin with his pencil still sitting on the notebook.

“What? And you told me this now?” Dustin sneered in whispering protest, leering over his desk.

“I’m losing friends left and right and now you want to l…?” Mackie eyed over his shoulder, looking at Noah Walker that is eying the both of them with no harm in his eyes, just interest that is winding behind Noah’s head.

“What the hell you looking at, Kenny?” Dustin frowned in distaste for the trailer park boy.

Kenny is the nickname they gave to Noah Walker, who is some no one in school. He is the person they kick the can upon, the snake they step on, the thing slithering in the mud that they want to steak with the biggest skewer that is ever assembled. He is Kenny…the bastard of the world.

“Yeah, Noah; mind your own damn business, toothless wonder.” They steamed in whispers.

Noah had all of his teeth but it is another extension to kick his heritage down the gutter, another name that makes him snarling with rage behind that mask that he wears so well.

“Boys,” Mrs. Bernice stormed over her shoulder.

“What is all the fuss?”

“Nothing Mrs. Bernice,” Mackie replied in normal tone, acting like he was not in conversation at all from the moments before they shot Noah down again.

Mrs. Bernice continued to watch them before turning her head with her face being plain, being close to the point where that plainness is going to break her face to full bore rage. Dustin and Mackie kept their silence about the happenings around town as English class still went on. Noah Walker kept his silence as well when he felt the hole in his boot with his big toe going through it.

Through all of this the American Flag outside continue to sway with the wind pushing it back and forth with the turning of the world creating the winds. Noah Walker didn’t mind as he looked at the problematic sentences that are upon the board. Noah didn’t mind as the world continued to turn.

In a blink of an eye, the last school bell chimed off to let the people go on their merry way of freedom. Some of these children had extra-curricular activities while other went to detention to bore themselves on the problems from various assignments that they are intent to fail. The rest poured out into the real world again as Noah Walker kept to him, going through the double doors with his filthy pants shining all the stains into the light.

No one looked at Noah Walker, for he is a walking sentiment of no one caring what he is, who he is, or what he is. He went onto his spectrum of knowing this all of his school life when he went to the spot on the other side of town where the lesser people reside. The town is made up like Hinton’s The Outsiders with the most prestigious people living on one side of town and the lesser profitable people living on the other side of town.

When Noah got to a quarter of the way home, he sees the newer vehicles sitting next to the sidewalks with their interior decorations all untouched with no grease stains that tempered with ill-abuse. When Noah got halfway home, the houses got less and less kept up with the roofs sagging and the porches close to the point that they are about to break off from the foundation of the wood that makes a home. Noah got three quarters of the way home when he realized that he is looking at the rusty hulk of a 1982 Dodge Ram and the rusty hulk of a 1978 Chevy Monte Carlo that are sitting in their respected drive-ways of people that he knows. One person that he knows is Sam Hill, sitting on the porch with his double-barreled stage coach gun resting along his lap with his bloodhound Fancy heeling next to his feet, looking at the other side of town like an infection that should be pulled immediately.

“Well time,” Sam Hill spoke in a whisper, whistling through his broken teeth that are planted in the front of his jaw.

“Well time.”

Noah Walker bothered not to look at him anymore when he sauntered on home, feeling that hotness of the day creep up upon him like a cloud that is encircling him, infecting him with this sweat that is pouring all from his body as his big toe came from the front of his boot again.

“Goddammit,” He stammered when he picked up a pebble with his toe, hurting him when the pebble dug into the sensitive part of his skin.

He stumbled a little when he hunkered down, remembering the duct-tape that is in the shed when he felt for his big toe to still be there when h felt it, wishing it well as he continued to walk down the sidewalk of the poor side of town. When he got home he saw the 1952 Chevy pick-up truck that is rusting in the drive-way with the windshield wipers stuck up upon the windshield like tar. The pebbles along the driveway are plentiful with the side window on the house cracked in many places, creating a broken reflection when Noah didn’t see it as he walked to the bottom steps of the porch that leads upward to the porch screen that is two screws to the point that it is about to come off from the hinges.

An embodiment came to the threshold of the door, poking its dark face through the dark scenes of the house when it answered.

“Noah, I need to talk to you for a moment.” His mother spoke through the rutted screen of the door as Noah answered the call.

Inside the house, his mother turned her butt around, hovering over the couch before sitting down. Noah came to her like the obedient son that he is, waiting for her words to come out of her mouth. The only light on in the house is sitting in the corner of the room, casting an odd shadow in the limelight around it all.

“What do you know about the other bout in town?” His mother says, showering her weak voice across the room like a crypt that opened after a long time.

“Still on the lead, they haven’t zeroed in on it yet.” Noah replied, feeling the tug of something foul in the air. He wondered if the ancient furnace in the corner kicked on or is it something that got in the basement that died there a few days before.

Noah didn’t know when he tried to keep a level head upon it all.

“That’s good. That’s real swell.” His mother fetched a cigarette from the side of the couch.

“What is on the course for the reckoning tonight, someone valuable in the midst of all their confusion or is it spontaneous again?”

Noah walker looked at the portrait of dad, mom, him, and the three children that got far away from this mess before it ever began. They knew of this long before they started getting older. They knew of the cause for which the people on this side of the town keep.

“There might be a card in the deck, one boy by the name of Mackie Sorenson. He doesn’t have any friends and he could easily be forgotten by the end of the week.” Noah Walker looked at the hole in his boot, trying not let his big toe come out when he considered the possibility, being that for one person by the name of Mackie Sorenson.

What will It think for a little boy like that? What will It think when Noah Walker considered the moment of all the people that they encountered, kidnapped, gagged, and sent them in that pit that is older than the cosmos. Then he thought of the conviction of Heaven and Hell. He thought where he is going to go when the time comes.

“After this, I’m taking Nomad. I’m leaving town. I don’t know where I am going but consider this – I’ll give you some money through the mail when I get my head above water.” Noah stood there, smiling in weak protest as his mother started to smoke with the cigarette mindlessly dangling in her hand. The only sound in the dank house is the house of the fan running over the gas range. The cracks of the windows settled from points of a long time ago when Noah tried to remember why in the hell does all the windows in the house have to be broken?

Noah tried to remember as the sound of the paper mill whistle blew, sounding the end of first shift when Noah jumped at the sound of the whistle blowing in the distance. From this distance, it sounded like a Mourning Dove calling its song.

***

That night, the circles of various names are intertwined in the backyard of the Keegan’s place. The Tiki Torches burned bright in the circles of it all as they encountered the vestal of what is to become. The cars are all set en tow and the crickets are chirping in the high grass that is distanced in the fields. There is little conversation to be had when the Grand Measter steps up on the wooden stage that is planted center in the backyard.

They all look up to the old woman with her white hair blowing in the wind.

“Tonight, it will be the last of the one hundred. This is what It commands of thee.” The old woman looked at the many faces that are in the crowd.

“I know we kept it hidden from the people that don’t know of Its power, we cantor light when the forgiveness is due. The baskets are all woven in stow and the people know what its spells.”

“PEACE, PEACE, PEACE!!!” All the people chanted in the crowd of many faces. They are all white from young and old with many of them plain faced and dirty. The Tiki Torches continued to burn.

“We have tried to burden this deed many of many years ago but what cannot be alive is not living and cannot be killed in Its nature.”

“PEACE, PEACE, PEACE!!!” The crowd chanted louder. The only people that hear of their chants are on the poor side of town where the rich crowds do not utter wander into.

“You, Father Christenson; do you know where your loyalties lie?” The old lady pointed at the chappie fellow that is past his point of being a full congregated Father in the middle of this foray.

“I lie in the loyalties of the burden of which we do not speak of Its name.” The Father’s voice is wheezy and rasped, like digging on the bottom of a breather for life that is almost short with nothing left living through it.

“Praise for thee, Father Gabriel for we have seen the light!” The old lady agreed.

The rest of the crowd nodded their heads. Most of them didn’t have enough teeth in their heads. Most of them didn’t have enough hair on their heads either when most of the men wore corduroys or most of the women wore Sunday dresses. The flames of spring continued to burn like embers when it is the time for the Cleansing, the time for the beast of burden to thirst for blood again.

“What have you? We are the many and the meek of this earth.  What have you to do?” The old lady poked her eyes that are as dark as midnight winter snow. They looked at her in silent responses as she stood up straight, being a sentry to all of this when the old lady turned her head to the left and spoke for the one to come up on the stage that is planted center on the backyard common.

“What is your name, boy?” The old lady planted her hand upon his shoulder.

“Noah Walker.” His boot still has the hole on the front of it, trying not to poke his big toe out the front of it.

“What is your purpose in this community?” The old lady asked him.

“I’m the one that corrals the people to It that is at the beginning of the mine.” Noah croaked, trying not to see all the faces that are in the glow of his mind that is going array, not being innocent anymore.

“What is at the beginning of the mine, Noah?”

“What I cannot speak its name of, the forbidden fruit that I cannot see in the dark.”

“Why did it not get you?”

Noah hampered the meaning of what she is construing. He remembered what It said to him when he tried to choke back the tears.

“It didn’t get me – for we have a pact.” Noah looked at the surprised faces in the crowd when one little girl in pigtails hid her face in her mother’s own bosom.

“What is the pact that he procured for you?” The old lady asked him.

“It knew of my father’s grandfather during the days of the six gun, of horse and rope, of sinner and saint.”

“What does It know?”

“It knows that It used to ride along with my grandfather in those times when it was wild and free – before the world moved on and the people became more civilized for the fact of leaving their roots of murderous plea behind. It was the ruler of the green lands before the towns are built.”

The old lady nodded her head, placing her wrinkled hand upon Noah Walker’s back.

“Who is chosen for the next sacrifice, being that of the hundredth before it sleeps for the next ten years?”

Noah knew when he tried to bit back his tongue. The Tiki Torches continued to burn as the Canola Oil hit the bottom of the wick. The light did not burn out for the longest time as they came together for a night that is so long. Noah knew what his intentions are next.

***

Mackie is sitting in his home with his assorted posters tacked up on the wall. The posters are signed in their respected places when Mackie is busy typing something on his computer, a late night project that is due in three days’ time. The book that is assigned to him is already finished when he started in on the body of his essay. Mackie is writing a 5,000 word paper on his personal opinion of the assignment when he misspelled something and realized it after he was three sentences past his mistake.

“Shit on a wheat cracker.” He spoke in the silence of the room when he cantered up to the mistake and re-typed the correction.

The window in his room is opened a crack when he continued to type like an obsession that he cannot kick, a force that he cannot reconcile when he tried in desperate attempt to get this job done. The window to his room is still open. A slight cold in the breeze is coming through. Mackie didn’t realize that a door opened and closed through that window when continued to type like a meth head in need of another fix. He is lost in his translation of thought for a project that is needed to be done in three days’ time.

A star fell in the atmosphere when he continued to do his work, needing to pee when he felt it like a sharp pain in his stomach as he tried not to, holding his legs together. Three minutes later, his body sufficed.

“Son of a bitching bladder,” He scoured at the screen when he got up, leaving his room with his heels clocking on the wood that is hurting his feet something awful.

The bathroom is just down the hallway when he felt the hallway being longer than sorts, scampering down the hallway with his imagining horrors of influence getting to him as he got to the end of the hall, flicking on the light with the light showering the room like a crystal that is cutting the light in a million pieces. He closed the door behind him when he dropped the lid of the toilet down carefully, hoping not to wake his mother.

His mother thinks he is sleeping – which he is not when he plopped down the chair and did his business with both of his prospects doing their business. He looked at the dispensary that is next to him and noticed that the toilet paper is stocked with the spool fully loaded. He sighed his sense of relief when he glared at the wall in front of him of the many cracks that is in the wall, wondering how in the hell did it get there the first place when he finished, wiping himself and getting up off of the toilet, flushing it when he waited for her voice to call down the hall.

He realized he kept the monitor on upon his computer when he closed his eyes, hoping and praying for her not to wake up when he pulled his pants up and locked it through the loop. He opened the door and slid through, keeping the door open with the light on as he sighted his vision through the hallway for any discrepancies. There is nothing out of place when he turned off the light and sauntered down the halls again, keeping his sense of response up when he felt something breath upon his shoulder, stopping in his tracks as he sighted his eyes upon the mask that is upon the wall that is colored and disfigured.

He wondered if his mother had bought the mask as he scanned it for the longest time, seeing the whites over the reds and the blues over the blacks. He gleamed at the mask when it appeared that there are eyes in that mask that are watching him, sighting him as Mackie felt his heart hit the bottom of his feet. He felt his blood run cold as his left hand twitched, retreating backwards when the mask came forward and greeted him with a clenched hand that ensued over his throat. Mackie swept the hand aside and kicked his foot below the mask as the mask doubled over with its moaning in pain.

“Mom, someone’s in the house. Call the police!” Mackie screamed when he stumbled over his own feet, dropping upon the floor of the kitchen as the mask bounded and hovered over the room, arriving over him when Mackie kicked again and got nothing but wind. The mask clutched his foot when something came down upon his knee that felt like the bluntness of a hammer, shattering his kneecap when the pain erupted like a billion needles crawling his way up his leg as he howled in pain.

“NOOO!!!” Mackie screamed when something soft hit him on the temple, knocking him out as the stars drove out of his sense of consciousness upon the pitch of darkness that placed him there, being nothing more but what may come when he wakes up.

***

When he woke up, he felt the ping of water dripping in his ear when he jumped his head up and dug his index finger in his ear canal, wiping the water away before he even knew that it is water. The air is cool and damp as his breathing became an echo in the enlargement that is larger than a room, bigger than spaces that he knows in normal clarity as he sat up in the pitch darkness of a big room.

He sat there for more than 40 seconds when something jumped him on his feet, making him almost bump his head in something that is harder than a football helmet.

He reached up and touched the formation that is there when he measured the texture that is dancing upon his fingers. He crafted the answer that is dwindling in his mind when he answered what he is thinking:

Limestone…Is this I’m touching?

“Are you awake, Mackie Harrison; we are all glad that you are well.”

“What is this?” Then he remembered the pain in his leg that is no more.

“How…How can this be? It felt like it was broken?”

“We have our ways, Mackie.” The giant voice echoed through the vessels of some inclusion of where he is.

Am I in a mine? Is this where I am? Mackie couldn’t see anything when he tried his hardest to look through the pitch blackness.

“Do you know why you are here?” The giant voice spoke like god through a canyon that echoed.

“I don’t know. Why though? Why?” He felt like he is about to cry, needing for his mother.

“You’re well off…you and your family. We don’t give a damn about you. This has been a long time coming now. Ever since the past, there is a reckoning that is coming for you all.”

“What?” He spoke to the giant voice that sounded like a man. He didn’t know who it is.

“A long time ago - during the time of the pioneers and the long guns, the town has settled here with a population of little. There were morals here…people knew everyone…everyone went to church. It was a nice place to live. That is before the people of the east came and killed the founding father that is named Jebidiah Cobbs.”

“Who…Don’t give me shit on that? The founding father is Henry Durant.”

“Oh no, history does lie to the little children. The true founder is Jebidiah Cobbs who founded the town in 1751 and not Durant in 1754. When they lie, they lie in print. Henry Durant was more prosperous with him being in capital in the underground trading expedition that King George was commanding under the cloak of his personal matters of finding wealth more than King George could ever imagine. You know what Henry Durant founded here when the people were just settlers and farmers, no meaning in harm to their finding in good faith. You know what Durant found upon this ground?”

“No, I’m not really that swell in history.” Mackie felt his knee being complacent, not hurt at all.

“They found something better than gold, something better than iron that started the Industrial Revolution in the 1760’s. What they found is peace within the deep earth that is far more than colorful. What they found is the Garden of Zulva. I was the shepherd in the garden when Henry Durant found me in the tunnels where I was working diligently with no thought of harming anyone. Jebidiah promised me to be a peace when Henry Durant came into my lair with twenty or more trappers and highwaymen that are getting a pretty penny with their work.

“They we’re not gentle with them being here and they were rude to speak to me with them prodding me, pecking at me, and wondering what in the hell I am? You know what they did to my garden?” The voice in the inclusion came forward when Mackie got up on his feet, moving his feet onto something that is level when a torch erupted like a volcano in front of him.

The thing came alive from the darkness, looking like a man that hasn’t aged for centuries with his blonde hair flowering in bangs down upon his forehead. His eyes are scathed in darkness with no pupils, no corneas, and no color in these eyes that are nothing but darkness when he looked at the boy that is plain with mere or no reason on his calculating face.

“Welcome to my garden? Do you see the Garden of Zulva around here?” The thing looked around, arching its long shoulders as he turned his head from the left to the right before looking at the boy that is wincing with his hands trying not to show submissiveness.

“It is the corruption of Henry Durant that did it. He was the one that brought pain among these ancestors that have helped me for so long that I do not remember their Ser Names anymore. Your people are the ones that have killed my garden.” The thing with the blacked colored eyes smiled in crazed contempt when it came forward, ever so slowly. Mackie realized that he is slithering towards him with Mackie realized that his lower legs is not legs at all, but the legs of a worm, a slug, and a snake.

“You know what Henry did to the people? He signed a ‘contract’ with the natives here to extract my garden. If he did it, the world would change. It would change into the world of monsters and horrors upon anything imagined. Jebidiah revolved but with the lack of progress of getting his own hands dirty – you know what happened. After it happened, I rose up and did something that I dare not ever wanted to do. I burned the garden and the seeds of ever coming back. That caused me to go into a lapse of deep depression, never to come back when I did all the necessities of evil that acquires me to become something other than the shepherd that will bring upon the change of the world that will dim yours forever.” The thing kept the torch close as Mackie tried not to touch the beast that is within this…cave. That is what it is. The cave of where he is.

“I don’t understand I really don’t…” Mackie tried to get his words together when the thing raised his hand in the air.

“It will come together in due time.” The slug thing says as he started in on the tale of the Garden of Zulva.

***

The Garden of Zulva is a garden that has been around as long as me. It is a mineral that is grown from the ground that I procured from many years of my devices that I mastered from something that I cannot recall. What I can recall are the steps that I can number from forwards to backwards when I started in, churning and making, churning and making with nothing but failure for so long that the amphibians came from the waters and evolved into the land creatures that you have never even seen before in this existence, even the fossils that can no longer be unburied from the ground.

I was devastated for a long time when I forgot something that I didn’t ever think before. I think you know what it is when you put it altogether.

What I concocted in my experiments on my first premise is a reptilian creature that came scurrying about. I was ever so nimble when I did it without hesitation. As I bleed out the creature, I noticed that there was a slight change in the developments that I have not seen before. It was something that was new to me as the world slowly changed, became infatuated with my immortality.

When you’re immortal – ten years will pass like two thousand years. That is what mortals are afraid of. Life will pass by like a rainstorm and before you know it, you will notice that your hair will fall out. You will become fat, more forgetful, and eventually you will not have control of your bowels anymore. Then you will die into a place that will not be known to me as I continue on, watching the world evolve as I too will continue my research.

I will die eventually, that I can be sure. I will not live forever in this cave. Everything will come to an end. Like all of this.

I digress, I know. I will begin again with the tale of my research. The blood that came from the reptilian is something different than I’ve ever experienced before when I placed it upon the minerals that reacted immediately. My eyes became amazed by the sight of it when something came from the minerals, flowering out of the garden like a fragrant that I can see when it flowered around me, encircling the cave that swirled around to the threshold that flowed outside onto the outside world.

What I found in the mist is the dream of sufficient confidence as I noticed that it became the intelligence of the beings that evolved for over millions of years. It is great before the time of the Great Murder happened that caused me to hinder back in the shadows of what intelligence can do to all creatures that possess it. The stress is more than I can bear.

Here, let’s change the stance of my wormy lower half into the legs that I work from time to time…There, that’s better.

The research is logged in over millions of files that are stored in my brain. My memory is not like your human memory but I can refurbish – word for word of the ascension of the mist that changed the phase of the world of what is seen now today. My work didn’t meet full circle until the time of Jebidiah Cobbs and Henry Durant and the burning of the garden that I’ve done under my own premise. You have to understand. If those minerals are brought out of the cave, the world would be in great peril and the end would be near for all humans.

That is the price of preserving the kind that I brought intelligence too.

I’m tired boy. So tired that I don’t want to do what is needed for it to be done anymore. I’m sorry, so very sorry.

***

The eyes are vague in dark when Mackie Harrison clung to something that is around him, trying not to make a move until due time.

“What are you? What do they call you?” Mackie asked the slug person that has legs that appeared like a magic trick during its brief course of what existence it holds.

“They used to call me Mortunia. Before that they used to call me Tolkna Ra. Before that I had to name that nothing would call me in the time of the primates.  I was so alone at that time when the only obsession that I had is the obsession of my work.” Mortunia overlooked Mackie, trying to cast something in the darkness where the torch is the only light that is within the cave.

“I will have to burn more torches in this matter.” Mortunia brought forth light, being more comfortable with the limestone cave being more aware to the eyes of Mackie that is wondering what this is going to conclude.

He will know soon enough.

“Blood breeds life.” Mortunia looked at Mackie before closing his eyes, starting to walk forward with Mackie feeling uncomfortable in this whole matter.

“Life breeds change and change breeds chaos.” Mortunia kept walking forward like in a trance when Mackie back up, retreating up against the limestone wall with his erythematic breathing starting to give out.

“Chaos breeds a light anew.” Mortunia kept coming closer when out of nowhere, a straight razor appeared in his hand like a lightning bolt.

Mackie felt threatened as his mind ran a million miles an hour, trying to think when he is grabbed before he came up with an answer. When Mortunia grabbed him, Mortunia’s eyes casted some glimpse of light and color brought from that pitch darkness as Mortunia let him go like fire, placing his hands to his temples as the straight razor dropped from his spindly fingers.

“No…you are!!! You have the blood line of a saint! How can this be?” Mortunia rapped his hands on his temples when he ripped his head up from the chin resting on his chest, raising his eyes to the ceiling of the cave above as he started to spasm of what infection that is gripping him.

“You have Jebidiah’s blood. I can feel it in your sweat. You have the blood of a saint.” He fought back with his head twitching and fighting with something that is trying to fight him back in consciousness.

“You have to leave. NOW!!! My body cannot hold the truth of what this world is suffering upon me. My mind is breaking in two, becoming fours, eights, sixteens’, and thirty-twos.” My body is breaking. My mind is ripping to shreds!!!” Mortunia whipped his head from side to side when his appearances started to shift into people that were missing from the town in a span of months.

The appearance made Mackie wonder what he is seeing, what he believes when he turned and ran out of the cave as the roar became louder, louder, louder, and louder still. He didn’t know where he was going when the roar became louder, like bloody murder.

***

Terry McAllister stood on his porch on the well-off side of town when he felt the earth beneath him make a sound, like a blasting cap blowing up underneath his feet when he wondered what in the hell it was. The SUV in his driveway blared off the alarm when he cursed, roving into his house to collect the keys off of the hook to shut the alarm off; when he did that, another boom happened louder now when other alarms blared off in the neighborhood.

 “What in the name of god?” Terry bellowed across the neighborhood as the porch lights came on and people came out of their houses, wondering what is happening when Terry remembered the Triton II crisis that was going on in Arkansas in the 1980’s. The damn missile blew in the silo but it didn’t blow up the warhead that shook other towns many miles away when Terry was living there, wondering if Little Rock is going to be leveled by a nuclear device that is meant for mass destruction of the world.

Terry knew after the fact. Those made him think for some time when he also thought why would they have a silo in the middle of Michigan? That he couldn’t wrap his head around it. Another boom happened under his feet when he thought about the sewer pipes in town breaking when he winced at the thought of smelling shit for a very long time coming now. He went inside his house and started making calls around town.

***

Mackie Harrison ran in circles before he found the air that he is feeling. He felt the wind outside the hole from the mine when the screams stopped and a rupture happened that felt like a bundle of dynamite that exploded behind him when he felt the hot air touch his back. He looked behind him, trying to get his bearings straight of believing what he is seeing and believing what has happened in time that he cannot measure.

He also wondered who kidnapped him when another boom happened, shaking his feet on the ground as he felt like falling down, not wanting to when he started on getting as far as the mine that he can get when the ground met pebbles and the pebbles met the grass, getting away from the cave as he sees the tree line in the distance that felt like the moon in the distance that is so far away. His jog turned into a run as his adrenalin kicked in, meeting the tree line as he scuffed into it as Mackie heard the sound of crickets, not knowing where in the hell he is going as he tried to place his feet on even ground. He kept going when he met a ravine, feeling nothing underneath his feet when he dropped onto the ground with his back rolling, trying to bring his knees out to stop when he continued to tumble down the ravine that felt like forever. The only thing that stopped him is the stump that squeezed his nuts when he felt like a watery rush of hurt moving up his body.

“Ohhhh!” Mackie wheezed, grabbing his nuts with his face clenching.

“Ohhhh!” He moaned again as he thought about running no more. He laid there for the longest time before even realizing that he went to sleep in that ravine.

That morning, he woke up before the dawn when he realized that there was a spider on his hand. He flinch his hand, removing the spider as he jumped up to the sound of birds playing their tunes. He jumped up on his butt when he sees the light before the sun came up, probably realizing that it is 5:30 in the morning, more or less. He didn’t have his cell phone, there is probably no reception out here in the middle of the boonies as he got up, feeling the pain in his back as he tried to remember the woods that he is in.

He looked to the south and saw nothing but woods. He looked at the north and sees the same result. He veered to the east and sees a glint of something in the distance when he started for it, seeing his feet upon the ground as he got further and further towards the glint of what he is seeing. When he arrived to it, he sees a soda can resting upon a stick that is poking about four feet out of the ground with a couple of shredded holes through it.

Mackie knew what it is when he rose up from the can, looking around for any sign of life in the middle of the woods when he thought wanly of any eyes watching him. Mackie stood there for the longest time as the light came over the east, getting lighter and lighter in the sky of a new day that is beginning. The pop can sat there like a totem pole when Mackie looked in the entire view of 360, seeing nothing but a couple of Nutty Bar wrappers that is laying in the weeds of trees that are so many and life that is so dismissive of being where he is. He continued east when he heard the sound of a twig breaking, making Mackie jump when he stopped, trying to get his breathing under control for any other sound that will erupt in the woods.

Nothing happened when he continued on, feeling the eyes watching him as he walked towards the east. Another twig broke when Mackie stopped. That is when something came out from the trees on the right of him with a knife in his hand.

“You done just fucked up, boy.” The voice of Sam Hill came from the trees when Mackie waived his hands in the air.

“What?” Mackie blubbered out as Sam Hill came closer with a menacing look of death in his eyes.

Sam Hill clutched the Buck Knife in his hand when he dropped upon Mackie.

“I’ve been waiting for this day since I was a boy, younger than you.” Sam Grabbed him by the scalp of his hair as Mackie grabbed his forearm with the knife that is in his hand. Sam Hill whipped that hand away when he told him to stop squirming.

“My dad was murdered by you bastards, now it’s my turn!” Sam Hill chuckled when he brought the knife down on Mackie.

Mackie kicked him in the nuts when Sam Hill dropped his free hand onto his frank and beans. He kept the knife in his hand when Mackie rolled to the side like a dog trick and brought himself up to his feet, running for dear life from the toothless hick that is regaining fast with the knife still held diligently in his hand.

The sun came over the horizon now as Mackie raced past the trees with Sam Hill following behind him, hunting him like a pack of wild game as Sam Hill humped over the brush. He is familiar with this territory, he knows it too well.

“Here I come, bastard! I will drink to your bones!” Sam Hill graced a laugh as he continued to track Mackie Harrison down with his hair dangled in many places, trying to find a way out, trying to find a clearing past the woods.

Mackie came to a ravine again when he dropped into it, trying to camouflage with the leaves burying him as Sam Hill paced slowly behind him, giving enough time to hide before he is in a line of sight again. When Sam Hill came to the ravine, he looked at the ground. His tracking abilities are not what they are supposed to be. He hasn’t done anything like this since he was hunting that big whitetail in ’83. Sam Hill looked at the leaves that are upon the ground, seeing if they are pounded in when he looked at it for the longest time. He scanned the ground of the woods as Mackie kept still, like a dead person in a buried crypt with his breathing in complete control. Sam Hill stood there for the longest time before he snorted and jigged around the ravine, hoping of seeing something out of the ordinary.

“You’re not going to get away! You’re in my playground now, boy!” Sam Hill wondered off in the woods as Mackie stayed for the longest time.

He waited for what felt like ten minutes before he scuffed the leaves off of him. He got up, wondering if there is something that crawled up his ears or his nostrils while laying down there in the ravine. There is no sign of Sam Hill anywhere, thank god when he kept silent, walking from the ravine with his feet being easy over the brush. The sun is clearly up now with various clouds in the sky. Mackie didn’t know what the temperatures are going to be today. He didn’t care about the temperatures. All he wanted to do is get out of this area so he knows where in the hell he is? It is only a matter of time before seeing the guy with the toothless grin plastered on his face, unfurling that buck knife from his sheath again. Mackie continued to walk east with the sweat collaring his shirt. Mackie didn’t know where he was going. All he knew is that he was going east when he realized that one of his shoelaces is untied when he looked down, noticing that one of the ends of his shoelaces has the plastic cup absent from the rest of the threads.

Mackie knelt down just the same to tie his shoes when a shadow came down upon him, flicking his head to the body that is towering behind him. What he saw now is the face of the boy that sits behind him in school, a hick kid that goes by the name of…what was it…oh yeah and he goes by the name of Noah Walker. He wore the same clothes that he always wore with those corduroy pants and that messy dirt that is upon his face. He was not smiling on this day. No, he didn’t look like he is here for good graces at all.

“I had you in that cave? What happened to Mortunia? What did you do to him?” Noah spurred that heinous anger that is growing in his eyes.

“Why is Mortunia dead? What did he see in you?” Noah straddled over him now when Mackie Harrison felt like he is going to be pinned down by him – literally with nine inch nails in each of his hands and one in between both of his feet.

“Mortunia was the bastion of our innocence from your corruption that flows in your veins. It was the sense of belonging that you have washed out in our piousness. Mortunia kills all with blood so he can find the one to make his garden flow again.” Noah reached down and grabbed him by the hair.

“What happened in that cave?”

“I don’t know what you want? And why would I tell you? For all I know, your people threw me in there.” Mackie winced when he felt a cold flow around him.

“You people – kidnapping others? For what; just to feel good at night? We never laughed at you. We just left well enough alone.”

“Well enough alone? I’ve been alone all my life! Have you been alone so long that you want to kill everyone in sight just to feel good? What the hell do you know about me? Do you want to know my pain!?” Noah clenched on the scalp of his hair as Mackie winced the pain away as hard as he could.

“That power was for me and me alone. What It was growing in the Garden of Zulva is the minerals produced by the ones that we do not know its name. When it grows again, we were going to rise up against you people and become one again. We will eradicate you and then we will become one.”

Mackie continued to fight the pain as he saw something flew across the sky. When he eyed it, the sky became clear to him as he sighted the bird that he swore was on the windowsill as the day of the school. It had to be the same bird. It had to be the bird that signals the coming growth of spring. The Cardinal flew overall when Mackie remembered what Mortunia said to him.

“It said before this that I was the bloodline of Jebidiah Cobbs.” Mackie looked into the eyes of Noah Walker as Noah Walker kept looking at him like he just found his lasting ends of sanity in Mackie’s eyes.

“You lie?” Noah kept clenching him by the hair as Mackie Harrison shook his head strenuously.

“You’re a liar! Jebidiah Cobbs never had any children. Unless…Wait?” Noah stopped whatever he was doing when he looked over the clearing with his eyes dreading over all.

“No, if he had a son and other children. That would have meant that…Oh god, oh god in heaven. It’s true. I heard about this from two other people and they were exiled, never to return. When you say that and you heard that from Mortunia before he perished, I knew that you are not lying. You would never say something like that, not from a person like you from the rich side of town.”

Noah Walker let go of his hair as Mackie raised his hands in submission, still lying there when Noah humbled away from him before sitting down with his mind going in many possibilities.

“If it’s true that – Jebidiah Cobbs bed with girls against their will then I know that they are true. The rest are lying if they are keeping it a secret. Oh god. Where do I go from here? Wait?” Noah continued to look at the clearing with his eyes moving in all directions.

“Am I being used? Is this the ultimate price of my family?” Noah ceased communications when he continued to look in the clearing, trying to piece all of this together.

“Go. You must leave this clearing. You are in the Apple Gloom Woods near Sapling Springs. Go to the bus depot and take the third bus from the last for the night. Do not take the second to the last or the last. They will know.” Noah veered in his eyes like a snake waiting to bite.

“Get out of here! Go!”

Mackie swooned up and ran out of the woods.

“Go west!” Noah blared into the woods.

“What did you do, Noah?” someone walked up behind him as he knew who it is.

“Do you have any idea what you have done? He has to die!” Sam Hill sneered as he started trailing him.

“No! Leave him alone!” Noah Walker grabbed him by the ankle when Sam Hill turned and brought the knife out of his sheath.

He brought the knife down on Noah Walker’s throat as Noah flew back as blood flew down his throat and over his mouth, trying to moan but only coming up with a guttural gurgling that frightening Sam Hill to the point that he brought the knife down to his heart to cease his death spasm.

“You did this against all that stands. Not me, you!” Sam Hill pointed at the knife of Noah who is now dead in the woods with blood flowing over his messy hair.

“Oh god; you made me do this, what am I going to tell your mother now?” Sam Hill started blubbering; walking all over the woods with his hands planted both on his head.

“Why did you make me do this? Why?” Sam Hill dropped to his knees as the day started not to get young anymore but old as the minutes passed by.

***

Mackie Harrison felt ten years older as he made it to the end of the clearing, seeing the road that is standing in front of him with no cars going up or down the road. The sign that is planted to the right of the road signals all the points where they need to go. Mackie looked at the sign when he got his energy up again, going towards the sign of the road before walking past the sign to a town that he has never been before. He wondered if the people are nice in this town as he continued to walk towards some destiny that is getting further and further by every step as he felt the warmth on his shoulders getting hotter with the sweat burning his skin.

Most towns are never the same, no matter how small the world is. Most towns are never the same as all he could think about getting home with his mother already calling the cops, wondering where her precious boy is. He thought about the project for some absurd reason that he was working on the computer. Why would he be thinking about it as he continued to walk towards a town that he has never been before when Mackie felt the sun on his head, wondering if there is water that someone could give him when he reaches town in the foreseeable future.

Then he thought about the Garden of Zulva, wondering what Mortunia is when he heard the sound of an engine behind him as he turned his head.

END


© Copyright 2017 Adam Steele. All rights reserved.

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