Raccourci Island, LA
Schools were in full swing but the friends made a decision, albeit Tommy begrudgingly, to take a respite for a while to finally fix up the plantation. Sarah sat down lifted her legs and crossed them on a dusty chaise lounge. She envisioned her great-grandmother sitting on this very chair. She had no electricity, only the light filtering through the dusty panes of glass. She strained her eyes enough to see the words on the page pacifying her curiosity from the worn-out pages of her found diary.
Sarah flips the well-worn pages, page after page in sequence. She looks outside for a moment to see what some of the others are doing before looking down at the diary again. She blew off the fact that she found the diary from a magic rock after it disintegrated. She reasoned the magic rock wasn’t magic at all; dust and the elements from many years of neglect concealed the diary but Sarah somehow disturbed the settlement revealing the diary. But she couldn’t shake the fact that the diary had been hidden in Alicia’s room lying hidden even after her family had fled. She scanned the yellow sheets before periodically looking out at the world again.
Sarah closed the pages of her ancestors’ journal letting out a yawn and stretching her numb, tingling legs then stood up. Her eyes hurt from reading in the dim light and her legs were still wobbly from immobility as she listened for movement upstairs. She couldn’t take the chance on waking her other friends. The girls, Roxy and Tequila, dead set to go to the legendary French Quarter took the opportunity to go to New Orleans and see the sights last night. Staying out all night they staggered into the room at the hotel at three o’clock they then reluctantly drove over to Sarah’s new house but now they were sleeping off their fun in Alicia’s room.
The others were out in the yard; Desiree, Tina, A.J., Garrett, Jac and Tommy who reluctantly worked on his knees trying to landscape the huge, neglected garden by the right side of the manor. She could go back to her book in a moment, she thought, for now her throat felt dry and parched and she needed to get a drink from the shared cooler. As she stood with her soda she looked out on the yard where Jac and Tina were shamelessly flirting with each other while they worked.
“Tsk, tsk…” Sarah shook her head, finished her soda and smiled before plopping down on the chaise lounge again to read her precious diary.
Jac whipped his head around fist full of weeds in his hands and sheepishly smiley at Tina, “what do you think? Is it time for a break?”
Tina wiped the sweat from her forehead and as she did thick dirt smudged her cheeks making Jac laugh hysterically.
“Um, you have something,” Jac gestured at Tina’s cheeks “on your face...”
Tina’s mud smeared cheeks brightened to a reddish hue of embarrassment; Tina stood up and dusted off her faded jeans with a rip strategically placed to show the knee.
A peaceful cone of silence in the living room broke as the dusty screen door slammed closed sending particles swirling about this way and that startling Sarah. She slammed the diary shut and clutched the diary with a death grip as she pressed it to her person like a little boy getting caught with his father’s stack of porno magazines.
“Tina, you scared the hell out of me!” Sarah managed a smile, “what do you need?”
“I just wanted you to know that Jac and I are gonna run off towards the stables.” She smiled a mischievous smile that told Sarah she shouldn’t go anywhere near the area, “I’m just warning you.”
“Oh. Okay,” Sarah couldn’t help but laugh, smiling, “well I need to stretch out my legs a little and read more in the sunlight. I assure you I will not disturb you two.”
Sarah saw Jac and Tina walk over and open the van door. With a small can-am side-by-side 4x4 secured inside they had had to take out several seats in the van, which made for a cramped ride. He grabbed the handle bars and pulled out the newly rented four- wheeler as he pointed at the stables and the abandon tow truck with a bug in the field far off in the distance.
“I don’t remember there being a tow truck on Sarah’s property.” Jac mused to himself before getting sidetracked by Tina as she jumped up and hugged him.
She watched the pair tear off in the direction of the stables. Needing direct sunlight for her eyes and to stretch her legs Sarah set off after the couple until she got within twenty five feet of the stables entrance careful not to wander too close so as to interrupt the love birds. With the stables blocking her view she could not see the tow truck gathering weeds. Satisfied she had enough light to read by she took a gulp from another soda pop and plopped her butt against a willow tree turning her attention back to the book,
“I vanished into the sugarcane fields today; it is a wonderful day and if I am seen I’ll be forced to go inside. Sucking on a cane I entered into the forest. I could smell the sweet and succulent honeysuckle near me and I could hear the river’s fast-moving waters in the background. I thought I saw movement in the corner of my eye. I twirled around and what I saw took my breath away. Feet away a stunning black Wolf with emerald eyes stared at me. My heart quickened, I could see the ivory of its fangs, but it didn’t attack me it just gazed into my eyes. I reached out and carefully placed a palm on the Wolf’s head. Slowly I rubbed his muzzle counter clockwise then his soft fur on the top of his head and scratched his ears, his tail wagging with excitement. But then growing skittish, it burst off into the brush and was gone from site.”
This passage took her breath away. She pulled out a cigarette from her pack and striking the lighter put flame to it. She pulled in a few more drags then went back to read a little more, captivated and mesmerized now.
“I tried to make an excuse every day to go outside into the woods again to the same exact spot that I saw the majestic wonder. My patience working for me when I saw it again… a huge, beautiful male and he did not seem to see me. Oblivious to the world he rolled on the tall grass like he had no care in the world, wagging his tail about. Suddenly his ears twitched and turned to an inaudible sound. He wrinkled his muzzle sniffing the air all around him. He set up on his haunches turning around to see me. The majestic wolf bowed his head, his forelimbs bent down like compressed strings about to explode. My blood ran cold and I close my eyes as the inevitable attack drew near.”
Sarah paused for a moment to get a drink of her pop, unaware of the imminent danger inside the mystically concealed barn. The van’s stereo blared heavy metal music which melded into the back ground noises of the forest. Sarah licked her tongue on her pointer finger, flipped a page, unconsciously tapped her foot and ignorantly read on.
“I kept my eyes closed as a rush of air threatened to knock me over and briefly I felt the wolf’s soft fur. I heard snarling, growling, hissing and splashing… signs of conflict coming from behind me; still I did not turned around. I turned my head slightly just glancing from the split of my eyelids, a chaotic blur of intermittent green and black splashing about before submerging to the murky depths. The Brown waters giving way to a Crimson tide. I couldn’t help but peek and what happened next took my breath away… The tail of the alligator whipped about as the alligator went into a death spiral. Then I blinked two, three times not believing what I saw. A human arm burst out of the water in an arc making a fist and struck the alligator on the top of his head! Eventually the disruption over the rough waters smoothed out. All was calm but the wolf that wrestled the alligator did not surface. Nervous, I bit my nails until they were all but bleeding…”
Sarah paused for a moment before reading the passage from Alicia again, “The Wolf soon emerged from the water with the dead alligator in his jaws. He looked at me then dropped the limp alligator in the mud. Before I knew it I dropped down on one knee. I opened my palm and timidly reached out for the drenched wolf.”
No sooner than Jac had open the wooden gates Tina embraced him enthusiastically, her anxious lips trying to find his lips, the weeks’ worth of stubble tickling her cheeks. Jac grasped onto Tina’s backside and twirled her around until her body rested against the termite ridden boards. She crossed and locked her legs against Jac’s back, putting all her weight against him suspended off the dirt floor pelvis to pelvis.
“I love you,” Tina let slip out in the heat of the moment. No sooner than she said those words she hesitated looking for a sign in Jac’s eyes that validated her.
The validation came when Jac looked devotedly, compassionately and fervently into her loving eyes and countered, “I love you too, of course.”
In the throngs of a passionate kiss they didn’t notice the others so tantalizingly, dangerously close but hidden from sight, watching their every move in the stables. The music had slowed down, a song appropriately called “I’ll Stand by You” by The Pretenders. They could hear it from inside the barn so they swayed together a happenstance of sorts keeping time to the music.
Jac twirled a half circle when a human figure caught Jac’s and Tina’s eyes making them involuntarily gasp. The figure melded into the darkness of the corner glowing eyes burning in the darkness like a predator’s eyes caught in headlights. Tina could tell they were human, but she could not make out anything more than that.
Instantly Tina’s hands clutched Jac’s shoulders, “Jac, look!”
She frantically shook Jac’s shoulder to get his attention pointing into the darkness. Jac adjusted his eyes to find two nude and pale men in the middle the stable.
“What are they doing here?” Tina shrieked, as she pointed to the figures in the stall.
“Why are they in there?” He echoed Tina’s cries, “Get out of here, Tina.” Jac yelled, shaking Tina within an inch of her life.
Sarah’s bare legs curled up in a ball, chin to her knees, resting her back against the side of the tree. In her younger years she always felt safe curled up as she read her latest Harlequin novel while her latest foster family beat the hell out of each other. Now she was lost in the pages of a real-life romance unaware of the conflict starting just a few yards away.
“Several minutes went by as the Wolf stood still a caw from a crane in the distance startled the black Wolf, he jumped off into the sheltering of the forest. Still reeling in the moment I suddenly heard a rumbling in the dense Cyprus. I imagined the black wolf had returned. The wolf could not pass such an easy meal rending my tender flesh to pieces so easily like an alligator. I closed my eyes braced myself and began to pray. However, it was not fangs or the claws of an animal; I felt delicate warm human hands upon me… wearing only a loincloth to conceal his nakedness, His kind green eyes glinting from the sun’s bright warming light. He had a bizarre wildness about him that allured me so. With his blatant nakedness on display I should have been afraid and horrified; forgive me my blasphemy dear lord, but… in the seclusion of the forest his body looked like a God had come to life. I could not help but to admire his solid statuesque form. No fat could be seen anywhere, flawless from head to toe save for the faint pink scars crisscrossing his figure; but they were barely noticeable on his otherwise perfect physique. The stranger made me melt, made me weak in the knees. Encroaching uncomfortably close to my body but I didn’t move. The angels sang when he spoke…
“Excuse me, but I must know, are you okay?”
His voice so soft, smooth and comforting with an accent that I could not place and his dark green eyes… something about his green eyes which were so comfortably familiar.
“I was wandering through the woods and I saw you oblivious to the crocodile about to strike.”
I could only shake my head to say yes, everything was fine... If it wasn’t for the black wolf saving me...
I would surely be dead. It seemed like forever staring at his eyes. Exhilaration went through me something electric when I touched him.
“Like I said, I saw the struggle, I’m glad you’re all right...
My name is Aticus… forgive me for saying this, but you are beautiful.”
Alicia’s voice echoed softly in Sarah’s mind,” suddenly this Aticus had become a drug and I had become addicted. I had to be careful sneaking out at night lest I incur Poppa’s wrath, but I had to see Aticus.”
Sarah paused; she thought she heard a muffled sound from far away. She grew still a moment, but she heard nothing only the music coming from the van. She hummed along with the vocals of a song by Jonathan Davis and a band called “Korn”.
Jac and Tina broke their embrace staring at two figures one with amputated legs standing with the help of crutches by the stall, still no aggressive movements at all. But another figure emerged from the darkness and quickly blocked their exit. Assured they had no escape a tan figure with long-haired dreadlocks progressed toward the terrified couple making them back up.
Jac and Tina, both finally inquired after they had the courage to spit the words out, “Who, who are you?”
Tomas seized Tina’s face, “lovers I bet and Aticus has a soft spot for love… a diehard romantic, too. That’s too bad; you’re going to die!”
The figure came uncomfortably close to Jac’s face. He saw Tomas’ lupine eyes, his twisted lips in an evil smile; his lips looked a bright red like he had sucked on a red Popsicle. His sharp Navajo cheekbones rose equally he could see his sharp canines that protruded out from behind his lips.
“I’m Tomas,” Tomas Growled at Jac spittle flung at his face.
Tina clung close to Jac her arms shaking in fear Tomas’ hands still clutching her cheeks, “what’s going on, Jac?”
“I don’t know!” a frightened Jac answered.
Montezu had heard a commotion and ran out of the barn into the stable interrupting Jac and Tina, his bleached almost opaque hair in his face as he barked, “Let’s just kill them immediately so they don’t escape; besides in the barn the greedy children are starving!”
Jac summoned his courage and attempted to swing out at Tomas with a closed fist. Like lightning without ever blinking Tomas lashed out and blocked his puny punch, slamming Jac’s windpipe, knocking him flat on his back. The soft hay buffered the sound of him landing.
Tina’s whole face shook and squirmed until she broke Tomas’ grip. She turned to run but Montezu silenced her coming scream with his huge palm then shoved her with his shoulder. His uncanny power surprised her; her feet lifted off the ground and into a wall shattering her lower spine effectively paralyzing her and stealing her breath away.
From the upstairs girders in the darkness there appeared a huge coal black canine. His large pointed ears twitched, one ear misshapen, one green eye trained on Tina who remained standing but restrained. The huge misshapen Wolf jumped down from the rafters a folded up robe snugly in its muzzle. With one fluid motion he altered and dressed before he headed to the human laying on the hay.
“I must be dreaming,” Tina said in her hazy mind, she couldn’t believe her eyes watching the strange events, her mouth still restrained by Montezu’s huge hand.
Tina observed the one eyed stranger’s commanding gestures and she assumed she had come face-to-face with the leader of the gang.
“What are you doing, this is Sarah’s property!” Tina’s shrieked.
Aticus answered her question, “Oh, my dear, it isn’t Sarah’s property. I was here long before you, and I will still be here long after you’re gone.” Jac started to stir, which started a horrid chain of events that sunk Tina into madness. Jac lifted his knees and put his arms on his forehead to shake off his dizziness. A rush of air made Tina instinctively turn her eyes to see the commotion. She squinted and strained her eyes, but she could only see a furry blur.
Tomas who used to be a man now a brown wolf with dreadlocks, the wolf’s forelimbs trapped Jac’s arms, its furry brown chest pressed down on Jac’s sternum squeezing the life out of him.
The wolf’s muzzle bore down on Jac’s exposed neck. He tried to scream but the wolf twisted his head back and forth until Jac’s windpipe tore free. Every time he tried to speak pink bubbles swelled out and popped, sticky liquid traveling toward his neck and dripping down into the hay.
Tina’s eyes widened in fright, tears welled up in her eyes at the loss of her love, Jac. Montezu released his huge hand against Tina’s mouth and put a finger to his lips, “Ssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”
Tina obeyed; she didn’t make a sound, wasn’t sure she would have been able to anyways as Montezu transformed into a Wolf with beautiful white fur as well and fell upon Jac’s leg. She heard the sound of fabric tearing as fangs tore through skin. The Brown Wolf shredded Jac’s neck while the white Wolf feasted upon his leg until the only movement Jac made, a sick twitch while the wolves dug into the fresh meat.
“I’m sorry, about all this…” Aticus said, fangs emerging from his mouth, “but I can’t let you leave!”
He fell upon Tina before she could react. His unusually large arms and hands smashed the stable walls and trapped her trembling body. She instinctively tried to curl up in a fetal position and close her eyes. A sudden pressure in her neck then numbness, in fact no pain anywhere in her body at all. She couldn’t breathe as warm thick fluid ran down the back of her throat, darkness over-taking her.
The brown Wolf had finished sucking the marrow out of Jac’s spine and now the bloody Wolf sauntered over to the white Wolf. The pair latched onto Jac’s lacerated leg and shook it in opposite directions until the knee fell off at the joint.
“Come!” Aticus gathered the corpses, “Let’s go to the barn. The kiddies need to eat.”
The barn doors opened to reveal Aticus, So-seti, Tomas, Montezu and lastly, James consciously trying to give a wide berth to Aticus. Inexplicably irritable when they interacted. Even mated with his matriarch James glanced at Aticus’ eye full of an untrustworthiness hate and murder. James made his way towards his friend Matt as if there would be safety in numbers. Matt timidly climbed down off the girders by the ladder. While Aticus headed off in the corner shrouded in shadows and converted to a human again. He threw Tina and James’ fresh corpses to the undulating mass with their glowing eager eyes. A tidal wave of greedy arms grabbed the corpse and pulled it into the shadows.
Two figures sat motionless by the wall. Oung with his ability to materialize his Wolf-thing anywhere around the world when he was in a trance and O-Kami who could materialize a ghost wolf pack anywhere around the world was in a trance as well proved invaluable to Aticus. They sat still, unmovable like a tree rooted to the Earth.
Oung opened his eyes and immediately threw up the heart and glands of another dissident while O-Kami’s eyes remained closed in meditation looking for even more rebels. Aticus was upon it instantly, devouring the heart and gland whole. His eye dilated and his headaches subsided as his body mended on the nourishing juices, the pack turning a blind eye to the taboo of assimilation. Aticus wiped the blood from his lips with his forearm.
“The perigee moon, the Super-Moon, will once again soon be upon us, at its brightest and closest to the Earth. I know a ritual that will summon the great shaman, Aisos- the first of our kind. She has the power to heal my wounds,” So-seti informed Aticus looking at her pale and shaken, her grandson’s one green eye gleaming, looking desperately upon her, “and your wounds as well.”
“It’s just a myth that people are personally affected by the full Moon so it stands to reason the super Moon is just a celestial event!” Matt said meekly, reasoning scientifically from out of the darkness.
“How can you actually believe that, Matt, working where you work? The powers that be made it a myth so that people do not have an excuse when they do something bad! But when there is an approaching full Moon it has an effect on water. The tides rise, even the earth quakes, as opposing magnetic poles increased. People are made up of about 65-70% water, ironically the Earth is too. So it’s only natural that each of our own tides rise, we’re more prone to feel angry, pressured, irritated, frustrated over the little things at this time. If it feels overwhelming, breathe and breathe again after the full moon the pressure will stabilize and you will go back to feeling like yourself. So whatever ritual So-seti knows the super Moon could be a substantial help in raising Aisos.”
“Good, good.” Aticus smirked, picking up a stack of papers that he had ordered one of the mindless automatons to replicate, “Tomas pass out those flyers for the Wolf’s Den at the motel, quickly!”
Tomas skinned Tina’s scalp and carefully placed it on his own.
Sarah stopped reading and listened for a moment, did she hear a noise coming from the stables? Maybe Jac and Tina need help, she reasoned. She got up off the ground dusting herself off she peered at the stables. The gates suddenly burst open and the can-am roared out with two occupants.
Sarah could see the long blonde curly locks coming from the back, Tina’s hair.
“Jac, Tina! Guys, wait!” Sarah yelled, but they were gone, obscured by weeds and branches.