Copyright (c) 2017 by Randall R. Peterson ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This is a work of fiction. All persons, locations and actions are from the author's imagination or have been used in a fictitious manner.
By R. Peterson
Mayor Otter looked everywhere for her missing daughter Joanie. By the time she called an emergency meeting of the PTA Ladies for Student Development (LSD) in the library she was frantic. “I don’t know where my daughter is and our city is under attack by an army of ants! You’ve got to help me find her!”
“I saw Joanie and some of her strange friends hitchhiking north on Vineyard Road earlier this evening,” Madeline Bird said taking off her pink cowgirl hat and slapping it on her bulging thigh. “The ashes from these damn fires in town are getting into everything … I’ll bet they were headed to Black Rose Cemetery.”
“Why would my daughter want to spend Saturday night in a graveyard?” The mayor looked as if Mattie’s answer was the dumbest thing she’d ever heard of.
“I don’t know …” Madeline grinned. “… run around naked, smoke grass, have group sex … kids are wild these days. Why do we sit down here consulting an Ouija Board every Tuesday night?”
“I’m too upset to get behind a wheel,” the mayor said. “Can someone drive me to the cemetery to see if Joanie’s okay?”
“Sheriff Walker has Vineyard Road blocked off,” Ermine Crane opened a box of powdered donuts and set them on the table - taking three for herself. “He ain’t letting nobody down that road cause that’s where the killer-ants went.”
“He’ll let me through!” Margaret was indignant. “I’m the mayor and I’m his boss. He works for me!”
“Sheriff Walker don’t work for the city, he works for Comanche County like his dad, his grandpa and his dad’s grandpa. A Walker has always been sheriff of this valley for a hundred and fifty years … ever since our first sheriff Thomas Lang ran off and left Elisabeth Walker back in 1886,” Doris Hicks said. “It’s all a matter of public record … look at my files if you don’t believe me.”
“If anyone knows the history of Cloverdale, you do Doris, and if you say the records are in your library we believe you,” Mattie was trying to make peace. “Why don’t we ask Hermie where Joanie is?”
“You want to consult an Ouija Board right here … right now?” Mary Martin looked scared … but then she always did. “Reverend White told me Hermie is just another name for the Devil and we’ll all pay the price if we continue to yield to his temptations.”
“Old split-hoof hasn’t tempted me yet,” Sally McBride said reaching for another donut. “But if he did, I’d be sure to yield … probably even stop and back up!” Most of the ladies laughed.
“With everything going on tonight, I just have to know my daughter is okay!” The mayor followed the other ladies into the basement of the library. “It’s awful cold down here maybe we should start the coal furnace.” Ermine Crane agreed, and she and Lucille Morgan started the fire. “If Hermie don’t know what has happened to her then we’re going out there okay?” Everyone agreed.
The ladies lit nine candles in the room and then turned out the lights.
“Hermie knows everything,” Madeline said. “He told me about Bill shacking up with that bitch who works at the Red Rooster even when I didn’t want to hear it.” She sat with the others after they’d placed the Ouija board on the table and placed her fingers on the Planchette. “I’m all for doing this Margie; I know what Joanie means to you … but I’m warning you that you might find out some things that you don’t want to know!” A sudden silence filled the room almost like a funeral of mourners just before a family prayer.
“Hermie, are you here?” The mayor asked. The ladies watched as the pointer slowly moved to YES.
“Can you tell us where Joanie Otter is?” Madeline blurted. They all watched in frustration as the pointer once again moved to YES.
“Tell me where my daughter is … show us the damn place,” the mayor demanded.
All of the ladies gasped after the pointer slowly spelled out D E A T H.
Mary Martin was the first to shriek as smoke from one of the candles spread outward forming a black and white hologram against the far wall. The horrible flickering image showed Joanie sprawled naked on withered grass. Bloody iron spikes had been driven through her outstretched hands and legs. Mayor Otter screamed along with the rest, and then fainted.
“Never again,” Ermine bawled. “I’ll never tempt Satan again … I swear.”
“I should have listened to God and Reverend White!” Mary sobbed as she held her head in her hands.
“Get rid of that thing NOW!” Three of the ladies screamed.
Madeline put on a pair of garden gloves before she picked up the Ouija board and the Planchette. Sally McBride held the hatch to the coal furnace open while Madeline tossed the oracle inside. A collective sigh of relief swept the room as through the opening they could see the board catch fire and begin to burn.
“Let’s hope Hermie was wrong, Joanie comes home and that now our troubles are over,” Madeline said taking off the gloves and tossing them on the flames also. “I know I promised, but I really don’t want to have to go to Black Rose Cemetery tonight.” Then she slammed shut the furnace door.
The ground shook and a ball of fire rose from the flat stone where Marsha (Baby Bat) had sketched-in the Ouija Board markings with chalk. The homemade wooden pointer spun upward into the air just missing Ham’s 1938 Adler Damenrad ladies’ bicycle circling overhead. An invisible white-hot laser appeared to be burning the symbols into the rock. “What’s the meaning of this?” Ham was furious.
“It means Týr continuare,” Marsha said. “The battle isn’t over … and you haven’t won yet!”
“Cloverbone is no more,” Ham said. “You all belong to me and we will not wait forever for doom to arrive. It will take more than words written in stone to stop me!” She leaped from her perch at the top of the gravestone and pranced toward where a naked Joanie lay stretched out on the grass. Four Blowfish armed with sharpened railroad spikes and wooden mallets were ready to crucify her on the ground. “When you hear her screams you’ll know the battle is over!”
Suddenly every Goth face in the cemetery stared toward the stone that the Ouija Board image had burned into. A dark shadow, so black it glowed in the night, rose from the grave and hovered over the stone. There were no visible features, but the image of a woman wearing long robes was unmistakable. “Prepare again for sudden death,” a low voice moaned.
“Rose? Is that you?” Baby Bat could not contain her astonishment.
“Hush child!” the voice said, “and close your eyes for some things were not meant to be seem by the living.”
“Close your eyes,” Marsha called out. “Everyone close your eyes.”
The new order was picked up and repeated by all the captured former Cloverbone members.
“Crucify her now!” Ham screeched as she stood over Joanie’s body. “We’ve come too far to fall for dark smoke and a few blind tricks.” She looked at the captured spoons and the new matching rings on her fingers. “After Cloverbone dies, we might have to do some thinning in our new ranks.”
No one noticed the homemade wooden pointer spinning in the air as it plunked back down onto the still hot stone and began to move across the smoking letters and symbols. Heat from the rock charred the edges of the wood as it spelled out T Y R E.
One of the blowfish, a husky fork named Scratch positioned a railroad spike of Joanie’s left palm and lifted the wooden mallet high over his head. He licked his lips as he stared at her naked body. “I might have a little fun with you once you’re pinned … and before you bleed out,” he leaned close to her ear and whispered.
Joanie moaned and closed her eyes. “I’m so sorry,” she shouted to her friends. “I’ve ruined everything and placed everyone in danger.”
Scratch had just started a vicious downward thrust when thousands of ants swarmed up his arm and caused him to drop the mallet. In seconds, all the flesh on his arm was stripped to bone. The other members of Abra Cadaver holding Joanie’s arms and legs screamed as millions of insects swarmed over them like a blanket. Black Rose Cemetery had suddenly become a battleground.
Ham was aware of a light glowing from the entrance to the cemetery. A dark figure stood holding a glowing crystal high above its head. “Who are you?” Ham demanded above the agonized cries of Abra Cadaver.
“I am doom,” the voice replied.
Sherriff Walker and a deputy responded to a call of screams coming from a house just outside Cloverdale. At first they thought it might be another case of ants terrorizing people, but as they neared the property there seemed to be no sign of the devastation always present in the insect attacks. The electricity was off to the house and the sheriff thought it strange since the power had been restored to the rest of the city and county residences.
They entered the house using flashlights and found two teenage boys unconscious but apparently unharmed on the kitchen floor along with a bloody butcher-knife and a video camera. There were definite signs of a struggle and blood was on the floor. “She attacked us and took the crystal!” Kent Lopez blurted when the deputy woke them up with water splashed on their faces. Scotty held up a cut finger that didn’t match the amount of blood pooled on the floor.
“Who did?” Alarms were going off in Sheriff Walker’s head.
“Sheryl Bliss,” Scotty said. “We thought she was going to kill us!”
The sheriff looked at the address on the report … this was the Bliss residence. He pointed to the camera lying on the floor. “Is that yours?”
“My dad’s,” Scotty said, and then he added sheepishly. “We were only having a little fun!”
“Well then let’s see what your fun looks like shall we?” Sheriff Walker picked up the camera, looked at the three-inch screen built into the viewfinder and then pressed rewind and play.
“My God!” Sheriff Walker put handcuffs on both boys when the video was only half finished. “How many times did you stab her?”
“I lost count,” Scotty said. “She grabbed ahold of the crystal hanging around my neck and instead of dying like we planned, she seemed to get stronger and stronger.”
“She forced us to tell her about the movie, about the initiation into Cloverbone and everything,” Kent sobbed.
“What the hell is Cloverbone?” The deputy jerked Kent to his feet.
“You boys been shooting a little LSD?” the sheriff joked as he dragged them outside.
“We only smoked a couple of joints,” Kent explained.
“Soaked in PCP,” Scotty added.
“But we ain’t messed up any at all,” Kent insisted.
“You will be when the DA gets through with you!” the sheriff told them as he tossed them into the backseat of his car. “So you’d better tell us what you did with her body right now!”
“This is a closed fight!” Ham screamed when the dark hooded figure moved toward her. “I know that you are not from Abra Cadaver and if you’re not a member of Cloverbone … get out now!”
“I’m here for a Black Wedding,” the figure said. “And I plan to dip my tongue in Cloverbone tar … if they will allow me!”
Babybat helped Joanie to her feet while the Blowfish were busy battling the ants … and losing.
“I know you from school and I’ve seen that crystal before,” Joanie said walking toward the figure. “Sheryl Bliss isn’t it … what are you doing here?”
Sheryl pulled back the hood showing shoulder length hair that had been dyed midnight black. With a sweep of her hand the ants stopped their attack and moved beyond the fence surrounding Black Rose. “Kent Lopez and Scotty Target tried to kill me tonight in order to make a movie and get blood for one of your rituals,” she said. “I had to torture them both but I think I know what’s going on here. They were going to join Cloverbone and needed a little virgin blood smeared on a crystal in order to take the vows. Their plan wouldn’t have worked … unfortunately I’m far from a virgin but I’m almost certain Scotty Target is.” Sheryl handed the blood smeared crystal to Joanie. “I’ve been researching Goth culture for the past year and I’d like to be your newest member if you will allow it!”
“There is no more Cloverbone! I have destroyed it!” Ham insisted.
Joanie and Babybat both looked at each other. “If the two unconquered members will agree!” All of the former Cloverbone cult members looked toward the large flat rock covered Black Rose’s grave. The ghostly figure of Rose appeared to loom over the stone. With an eerie screeching sound the wooden pointed moved to YES. “Done!” they both shouted at the same time. “Joanie handed the crystal back to Sheryl. “Defend our sanctuary!” she ordered.
“I demand a Blood Battle!” Sheryl yelled. “Al di là di qualsiasi dubbio!”
“You are but one and we are more than forty,” Ham hissed. “There are no prisoners in a Blood Battle … only corpses!”
“Bring it on!” Sheryl told the reigning Doom Queen from Salt Lake City.
All forty Blowfish brandished sharpened forks and charged Sheryl from all sides. She held the crystal high above her head and closed her eyes. With a flash of ethereal power all of the attackers were blown outward, tumbling head over heels in a mass of flaying arms and legs. A horrified Ham gaped as her antique bicycle plunged from the sky and landed on her head.
All the members of a reinstated Cloverbone turned their back on Sheryl and hissed to let her know she was now one of them. The important rituals would come later. “I’ll dip my tongue in tar when I return,” Sheryl promised. “These creatures…” she gestured toward the ants. “Don’t belong here. Their realm of power is on the western side of Crystal Mountain and I must restore order to all things.”
“Are you going to let them go?” Babybat asked Joanie as they watched the surviving Blowfish push a shrieking Ham out of the cemetery on her damaged bicycle. One pedal was twisted and bent like a pretzel.
“I almost have to,” Joanie said. “If we want to have Týr next moon phase. We are so strong now we might have to challenge the covens in London or San Diego.”
“So what do we call you?” Babybat asked Sheryl as she gathered her army of insects and prepared to leave the cemetery.
“I’m only a year older than you but why don’t you call me … Aunty!” Sheryl laughed.
It had been a week since the city of Cloverdale had been attacked by the ants. It was Tuesday night and the PTA Ladies for Student Development were once again meeting in the Comanche County Library. Mayor Margaret Otter was just banging a gavel to bring the group to order when Madeline Bird rushed in with a box of powdered donuts. “Sorry I’m late,” she stammered. “But I just drove past the Red Rooster and I saw Bill’s truck parked next to that slut JoAnn Blowjob’s camp trailer. With Joanie home safe now and everything … I’m sorry now that we burned your daughter’s Ouija Board. Hermie may be from Hell, but you have to admit he did help us keep our husbands and boyfriends in line.”
“I thought about that too,” Ermine Crane said. “That’s why I drove to Missoula and picked up another.” Mary Martin looked ready to faint as Ermine slid the Parker’s Brother’s Mystifying Oracle out of the cardboard box. The rest of the ladies clapped. “And look! This new Planchette glows in the dark!”
“Bill has a box of condoms that does that!” Madeline laughed, then she remembered JoAnn Swartz the new waitress at Spare-A-Dime and her face grew determined and ugly.
The ladies were just tromping down the stairs, two of them dragging Mary, when the lights suddenly went out. Ten seconds later Mayor Otter had a candle lit and the wide-eyed and nervous ladies followed her down the stairs. They all heard what sounded like large animal breathing coming from the dark corners. “Don’t worry,’ Madeline said as they moved toward the dusty round table. “I’m sure it’s just Hermie … you know how that little devil likes to make our time together exciting and special!”
THE END ?