Babler State Park
“You have a phone call downstairs,” a young woman shouted through Batresh’s dorm room door.
“Who is it?”
She didn’t answer.
Batresh sighed, not wanting to go downstairs to answer the phone. Reluctantly, she made her way down.
“Yes?” she asked into the receiver.
“Miriam, it’s time,” the voice said excitedly.
“Who is this?”
“I never trusted them,” the voice added nervously.
Raising his voice, he continued, “They’ve gone to a park, west of the city. How can we find them?”
“Bob, calm down. Who?”
“They took Denny,” he said, panting, as if he had been running. “How can we find them?”
“Come over here. Come to get me,” she said hurriedly. Hanging up the phone, she ran upstairs and walked to a chest of drawers. She opened the top drawer and pressed a control. A blue square of light hovered above the chest.
“Show me Denny,” she ordered.
She gasped. An image of a scene inside a car, hovered above the dresser. Inside, she saw Denny siting near the passenger door. Around him was a transparent red fluctuating form. Dimming and brightening, it was there, pumping hormones into the young man. A beast, the Potacas had attached a beast to Denny. Batresh brought her hands to her forehead. She turned to the window, as if looking for a solution. How could they remove the beast without killing him? She looked back at the screen quickly. Victor sat in the middle of the bench seat. Buzzy was driving. Victor held a pitcher of Bloody Mary in his hand. They were laughing loudly. In the back seat were three people she didn’t know. Moving the sensor around, she saw they had blonde hair and large heads. They were Potacas hybrids.
Batresh brought her hand to her mouth.
She ran to the door, and down the stairs. She saw Sister Ahatu and Mary in the station wagon. The engine was running. They were backing out.
Batresh waved her hands. Mary pointed towards her. Sister Ahatu stopped the car. Running to the driver’s side, Batresh yelled, “They’ve got him, there’s a beast. They’re going to a park.”
Sister Ahatu turned to Mary calmly, “Go get Sister Diotima, it’s time.”
Mary looked panicked and fumbled for the door handle.
“How do you know?” Sister Ahatu asked Batresh.
“Bob, Bob called.”
“Get in the backseat,” the elderly Nun ordered her.
“Bob’s on his way,” Batresh answered. “I saw it. They put a beast on him.”
“Slow down,” the elderly nun said. “Put a beast on who?”
Batresh leaned forward, grabbing Sister Ahatu’s arm. “They put a beast on Denny.”
Ahatu turned around, looking through the windshield at the red brick dormitory. “We will have to remove it.”
“We can’t,” Batresh responded.
“It will kill him,” she answered again.
Ahatu looked down at her lap. “We will find a way,” she whispered.
Looking forward they saw an elderly man wearing what looked like a forest ranger’s uniform. Mary was running ahead of him towards the car.
“Good, she’s dressed,” Sister Ahatu responded.
The forest ranger opened the door and sat down heavily. Batresh thought he looked familiar.
“Do you have the gun?” Sister Ahatu asked.
“Right here,” the forest ranger said, lifting the pistol into the air in front of him.
“Keep that down,” Ahatu ordered.
The ranger looked back at Batresh in the backseat. “Are you OK, hunny?”
Batresh gasped, realizing it was Sister Diotima dressed as a forest ranger.
“Are you OK? She asked again.
“They put a beast on Denny,” Ahatu answered for Batresh.
“Utukku,” Sister Diotima said, using the ancient Tayamni word for monster.
“We should have protected him,” Batresh continued.
“There was no way,” Ahatu responded. “He is human. We have no way to protect them.”
“First things first,” Diotima said. “Let’s save his life,” she said, emphasizing the word life, “then strategize. We should get going.”
“We’re waiting for Bob,” Ahatu responded. She looked up in the rearview mirror and saw Batresh was looking at the parking lot entrance frantically.
“Well, what do you think?” Diotima asked, tapping Ahatu on the leg. She smiled teasingly.
Ahatu looked at her elderly friend incredulously. “Now is not the time.”
“But, do I look the part?” Diotima laughed, ignoring Ahatu’s suggestion.
Ahatu frowned at her and turned to look at the entrance to the parking lot.
Mary sat against the passenger side back door, “What do you mean you can’t protect humans?”
“Here he comes,” Ahatu said.
They all looked at the weathered Peugeot pulling into the lot.
“You are human?” Batresh asked Mary.
“I sit next to Denny in New Testament Studies,” she responded.
“She’s an initiate,” Ahatu said.
Ahatu yelled out her window, “Get in, we don’t have long!”
Bob opened the back door. “Why are you all here?” he asked.
“Get in,” Ahatu ordered.
“Do you know where they went?” Batresh asked.
“I don’t know, West of the City,” Bob responded.
“Show me Denny,” Batresh said opening her purse.
A blue screen materialized above her bag, resolving into the image inside the car. Bob gasped.
The screen resolved into an image inside Buzzy’s car. They were laughing and talking so fast it was hard to understand. Denny held a small cup up to Victor.
“We’re getting low,” Victor said, pouring the spiked tomato juice into Denny’s glass.
“That’s OK, I brought four gallons,” Buzzy laughed.
“Show map of target,” Batresh commanded. They could still hear the conversation inside Buzzy’s car, but the image resolved to a map showing a red blinking dot for Buzzy’s vehicle and a green one for the station wagon.
“They’re on Highway 40 going west,” Batresh said.
Ahatu pushed the gas pedal closer to the floor as the station wagon jumped over a small rise on Big Bend Boulevard.
They heard Denny’s voice, “So, where are we going?”
“Don’t worry about that, we’re just going to have a good time,” Buzzy responded, turning up the disco playing on the radio.
“The hybrids aren’t drunk, just Victor and Denny,” Batresh observed.
“What’s going on here?” Bob asked again. “Who is the forest ranger?” He turned to face Mary, “Who are you?”
Batresh took his hand, “Bob,” she gestured to the front seat, “Sister Ahatu is driving, and Sister Diotima is the ranger.”
“What?” he looked at Sister Diotima who turned around and winked at him. “You’re Nuns?”
“After a fashion,” Sister Ahatu responded.
Sister Diotima, turned around and winked at him again, “We’ve had our eye on you since you were at St. Mark’s elementary, little Bobby.”
Bob drew his brows together with concern.
“Bob,” Batresh interjected, “The Sisters of Hypatia are an order founded by my people, the Tayamni.”
Bob’s eyes widened.
“Denny is important to our mission here,” she continued.
“And Mary is human, Bobby,” Ahatu offered.
Bob looked at the young woman who looked away from them through the window.
“What do you mean you can’t protect humans?” Mary asked again. “I’m human, do I need to worry?”
“You are nuns but you are not human?” Bob asked, ignoring Mary.
“Bingo,” Sister Diotima responded, looking around with a goofy grin.
Bob sighed as Ahatu sped up. “Denny’s been acting strange,” he said, sitting back for the first time.
Batresh looked at him with concern, “How strange?”
“He gets so angry, flying into rages. I came home the other night and found him in bed with another man. We had a fight.”
Batresh shook her head. “That doesn’t sound like Denny.”
“He tore a mirror off the wall in the hallway,” he continued.
“Did you know the man?” Batresh asked.
“No, but he was tall and muscular, just Denny’s type,” his eyes widened as he realized. “Like that guy in the Chorus.”
Batresh looked forward to the rear-view mirror and saw that Ahatu was looking at her. “The beast,” Sister Ahatu said.
“What’s a beast?” Bob asked.
Batresh took Bob’s hand in hers. “The Potacas created a biological weapon we call beasts. They attached one to Denny.”
Tears sprang to Bob’s eyes.
“First things first,” Sister Diotima barked.
“How are two old nuns, two women and a gay man going to save Denny from aliens?” Bob asked.
Sister Diotima held up the gun.
“Don’t wave that thing around,” Ahatu cautioned.
Batresh squeezed Bob’s hand, “I have a few things in here.” She patted her bag.
“They are driving to Babler State Park,” Batresh said to Ahatu.
“It will be hard to find them,” Ahatu responded.
“Denny is wearing sensors, we can locate him on viewers,” Batresh responded.
“You got yours?” Ahatu asked Sister Diotima.
The tall, manly nun raised her wrist, showing a wrist watch.
“Why can’t you protect humans?” Mary asked again, this time more urgently.
“We have tried. Removing the beast kills its human host,” Batresh replied.
Mary wrinkled her young face and looked back through the window.
“Changing human DNA so that the beasts won’t attach, has negative side-effects. We are still working on it,” Batresh offered to Mary.
The young woman shrugged her shoulders.
“Why is Mary here?” Bob asked.
Mary continued looking out the window, ignoring their conversation.
“She’s an initiate,” Ahatu responded.
“You’re an alien Catholic order of nuns, but you have human members?” Bob asked incredulously.
“It’s complicated,” Sister Ahatu responded.
“We should have foreseen the possibility that they would attack a beast to him,” Batresh said pleadingly.
“We did,” Diotima responded. “Nothing we can do about that. Hybrids are everywhere, even at Fontainebleau.”
“Hybrids?” Bob asked.
“In ancient times, they found a way to mix their DNA with humans,” Batresh responded.
“And Tayamni,” Diotima added, looking around at them.
“They’re getting out of the car,” Batresh said, seeing Denny stand wavering in a parking lot. “Victor and Denny are very drunk.”
Bob and Batresh watched the display as Denny, Victor and Buzzy walked towards the woods.
“Here’s the path. Come on, girls!” Buzzy yelled.
“They’re walking into the woods,” Bob said.
“Watching on my display,” Diotima responded.
“We’re getting close,” Ahatu added.
“Who are those men in the parking lot?” Bob asked, noticing three large men get out of a car. They opened the trunk.
“Oh no,” Batresh responded.
“What’s going on?” Ahatu asked.
Mary leaned over to look at the display.
Diotima looked back at Batresh, “Give me your disk, hunny.”
Batresh fumbled in her purse.
“Who are those men?” Bob asked again, his voice louder.
Batresh gave her weapons disk to Sister Diotima.
“Bob, they are Tlalocs,” Batresh answered.
Bob gasped, “They’re taking tire tools into the woods!”
“This is it,” Ahatu responded, exiting off the highway.
“Step on it,” Diotima urged Ahatu.
“Bob, we have to remain in the car, hidden. Diotima can handle it,” Batresh offered.
“What are they going to do?” Bob asked panicked.
“Looks like they plan to kill them,” Mary offered calmly. “We need to kick the hybrids out of Fontainebleau.”
“Are you sure you can handle this?” Bob asked Diotima.
“She is faster and stronger than she looks, Bob,” Ahatu responded. “Don’t worry.”
The station wagon sped over a bumpy road towards the parking lot.
“There, park across from them,” Diotima ordered, reaching to put the weapons disk in her pants pocket. “I’ll have to drive our drunk, young friends back. Should I use this car?”
“Render the Potacas unconscious with the disk. Carry Buzzy back to his car and drive them all back to the school. Leave the other 2 hybrids unconscious in the woods. They won’t get paid for this mistake.”
“Paid?” Bob asked.
“Oh hunny,” Diotima looked back with a grin, “Those Potacas don’t do anything without getting’ paid.”
Bob looked at Batresh with worry.
“They are mercenary, Bob. Their reason for existing is to acquire wealth,” Batresh responded.
Ahatu pulled into the parking lot.
“Drop me off close to the path. Watch your displays,” Diotima ordered.
After parking, Ahatu, Batresh, Bob and Mary watched the display closely. They saw a scene with the young men standing in a clearing, down a short hill.
“Now, I think the path leading to the cave is over here. Denny and Victor, you stay, we’ll go look for it,” Buzzy offered.
Buzzy and the two hybrids walked away, deeper into the woods.
“I wish a hot man would suddenly appear,” Victor laughed, dropping his Bloody Mary on the ground. “Dammit,” he said reaching down.
“What in the hell would you do with a hot man, faggot?” They heard a low rough voice to the right.
Looking in that direction, three large men carrying tile tools were walking towards them.
“I thank this is gonna be tha last hot man you see,” another one said.
The men walked closer to Victor and Denny.
Denny’s eyes widened. Victor moved away towards the path.
“Hold it,” another voice shouted from the pathway. “Hold it right there.”
Sister Diotima, the tall, manly forest ranger walked towards the clearing. “You boys better get back to your car,” she yelled roughly.
The men looked at her with surprise.
She held the pistol up, pointed towards them. “You better leave, or you will be spending the night in jail.”
Reaching into her pocket, she pressed the disk. They heard muffled cries from just behind a group of trees, as all three hybrids collapsed.
Diotima looked in the direction of the cries, then back to the men. “Do you want to end up like them? If not, you better turn around and go back.”
The three men, looked at her with fear.
“Oh, and leave your tire tools right here,” she said, raising the pistol up, aiming directly at them.
The three men dropped the tools, turned and hurriedly left.
Victor and Denny looked stunned.
“Come over here and show me which one drove you,” Diotima ordered.
Shyly, fearfully, Denny walked over to the group of trees, pointing towards Buzzy.
Diotima walked over and effortlessly reached down, picking the thin hybrid off the ground, throwing him over her shoulder. “I don’t want to catch either of you hangin’ around with these trouble makers again. You hear me?”
Victor and Denny nodded, following Diotima up the pathway to the parking lot.