An Invitation To Murder!
Comments: In the room was Southern Soul ... white as a sheet, shaking like a leaf ... with her back against the wall. She had a heavy brass lamp in her hand. Her room was in total chaos. The luggage that she had been unpacking was strewn all over, night table over turned, no doubt some fight took place here.
When the officer went to Southern Soul she promptly lifted the lamp....she seemed none too sure she wanted him near her. Looking at her closer, her clothes were askew, there were buttons missing from her blouse, sleeves torn and her arms bore scratch marks and were bleeding. She had certainly been in a fight....
Southern Soul sat on the bed, and slowly started to tell her story. From the moment she had arrived at the motel, she had the eerie feeling that she was being watched. She said she tried to shake off the feeling but couldn't.
Southern Soul pulled up in the parking lot and parked her car. Looking around she saw other cars and knew that others were here already. She felt excited as she anticipated actually meeting everyone that she had been speaking to for so long . Her mind wandered about what OW was really like, a small giggle escaped her lips as she thought of how dinner might be with A.T., cck, Rachel, Pauligirl and the others from the Board all in the same room eating together....the thought made the giggle turn into an uncontrolled laugh...
She closed the trunk of the car, and the laugh stopped as quickly as it began with an awareness that eyes were boring deeply through her. Looking around she could see no one...but couldn't shake the feeling of them. She tried to shake it off and carried her luggage to the lobby.
As she entered the lobby she was met by OW who warmly hugged her. She couldn't believe he was very much as she expected him to be. He took one of her bags and showed her to the room. As they were walking to the room, OW said that most everyone was here already, save for a few.
Hey S.S....when you get yourself settled, come on down to the coffee shop and meet up with everyone ... relax a bit, said OW as he headed for the door. See you in a while, said OW as he closed the door and started up the hallway.
Southern Soul said she started to unpack when she was grabbed from behind. She fought them off and her luggage went flying in the battle...she clawed and was clawed, and when the night stand went over she said she grabbed the lamp and swung it at them. She missed but swung again and this time connected. They screamed.... they had a blood chilling scream she said almost removed from herself..... like she was speaking from somewhere else.... her eyes seeing into another place... as if forcing herself to come back to us ... S.S. looked at us .. with vacant questioning eyes and said....
"I am not sure it was human............"
Name: Southern Soul
Monday 04/16/2001 9:47:27am
Southern sat on the edge of the bed for several moments...trembling...fearful. She then looked up at the officers hovering above her. She was 'amused', yet 'angered' to see the look of doubt in their eyes. "Ma'am...what do you mean you don't think it was human?" one asked.
Southern looked at them and tried to speak...but her words came out as quivering jibberish. About that time someone...ItBme she thought...handed her a glass of brandy. Southern doesn't drink...but she gulped it down eagerly and held the glass out as if asking for more. Someone...cck or A.T. (she wasn't sure it was so crowded) filled it for her. This time she slowly sipped it while trying to compose herself. She realized at this point her blouse had been ripped open...blushing...she reached around to find something to cover herself. A.T. came to her rescue and covered her shoulders with his jacket. She smiled and thanked him.
By this time everyone was wanting to hear what happened. So she drew in a deep breath and slowly began to tell them what happened. She told them of her unease in the parking lot...and how OW had brought her up to the room and then left. She then said, "I started to unpack...was going to change clothes before going down...then...then..." dropping her head and sobbing...trembling...visibly afraid.
After a moment she continued with her tale. "As I was unpacking...someone OR 'something'...grabbed me from behind.
I struggled and my blouse was torn...he or 'it' threw me against the dresser, knocking the lamp over and it was dark...and I was terrified. I grabbed the lamp and stood there waiting..."
She took a big swallow of the brandy and wiped her mouth on the back of her hand. She noticed everyone was staring at her. Curious looks on their faces. She thought to herself..."Yea, they probably all think I've flipped out and gone over the edge. I whine enough about it on the BBS... yea, they probably DO think I'm dingy now." She took another swallow of brandy and continued her story.
"Whoever or 'whatever' was large...strong...but it was so dark after the lamp broke that I couldn't see their face. But...but...there was a strong scent of coffee." She looked at them all again before going on. "It charged at me again and I hit it with the lamp. Next thing I remember...you're all racing into the room..."
She looked around at all of them...they were just staring at her...And that's when she noticed something, and an excited gasp escaped her throat. They all looked at her questionly...but she was going to keep this to herself. For there WAS something foul at the motel, and perhaps she could help solve it...or better yet...prove her innocence...
Monday 04/16/2001 3:22:31pm
"Humpff -- " thought Wildrose as she closed the door to her room, " -- what a mess this weekend is going to be! All these people are delusional... first of all, CCK thinks OW has been murdered... just because there was that screaming and blood spattered all over that room that supposedly was OW's bedroom.... but then others seem to have seen him alive and well? Hmm, that is until that incidence in Southern Soul's bedroom! Well, everyone knows she and ITBme are very emotional, I think it must be that mass hysteria stuff .. UNLESS...".
Wildrose's musings were interrupted when she suddenly noticed that she was hearing the sound of eerie organ music.. which she realized had been playing softly in her room since she got there, and was now increasingly noticeable.. it was strangely compelling... she found herself languidly removing her traveling clothes, slipping into a flimsy, yet somehow virginal looking peignoir set; brushing out her long, fiery red locks to settle cascading down her back and then slowly advancing towards the bookcase from from whence the sound was coming.
Sure enough, as she touched the
edge of the bookcase, it suddenly and soundlessly swivelled open
to reveal a dark passageway. Wildrose almost absently picked up
the dagger she found just inside the panel, picked up the lighted
candle, and trance like, she silently glided into the passageway;
following the music... down, down and down into the bowels of the
motel.. "Oh, dear, she thought.. what in the world am I
doing?" But she couldn't seem to help herself and she
hurried forward, to her fate..
And then, just before she could change her mind and hurry back up the passageway, there appeared a dim glow somewhere ahead... and she hurried forward, suddenly stumbling into the dim underground grotto, lit by hundreds of candles... and containing the source of the music.. the shrouded figure playing the huge pipe organ didn't seem to hear her gasp of wonder? terror?
She didn't know which she felt until... there in the dim music filled room, she finally saw the sprawled bodies of CCK, OW, Southern Soul, and ITBme... "OH no!!!" wildrose wailed.. "I had wanted to meet these people.... but NOT LIKE THIS"!! and as her voice shrieked above the eerie suddenly VERY loud Organ music...
Wildrose saw a movement from the
corner of her eye.. "it couldn't be, she thought" her
mind scabbling with the reality of the slow and clinking approach
of the Armoured Knight... the eye holes of the helm glowing redly
and evilly, and the hatchet in his mail covered fingers slowly
being raised by the arm aiming at her... "I've waited all my
life for my knight in shining armour to appear, but NEVER like
this", were her last conscious thoughts as she gracefully
sank to the floor in a dead faint...
Wildrose slowly opened her
eyes, still groggy and shaken from what she had just seen.
Suddenly she realized there was someone bending over her.
Who are you? she uttered.
Im Old Timer™. I just got here, whats happened?
Theyre all dead - -dead - - look! Wildrose was pointing towards the large pipe organ.
No ones here, the room is empty, answered Old Timer. Whos dead?.
Looking around the room,
it was just as OWs invitation had said. The game room was
decorated like a great hall out of a medieval castle. Suits of
armor stood around the room, shields and battle-axes on the
walls. Walking to the huge pipe organ, Old Timer seemed unusually
interested in it. By the flickering light from the candles he
noticed it was a player organ, the roll of music had apparently
finished playing recently as it was still flapping where it had
come loose from its cylinder. Reading it he saw it was
called The Unholy-a requiem for the undead.
Wildrose had walked up
beside him and asked, Did you find anything?
No, nothing responded Old Timer, folding the music and putting it in his pocket.
We had better see if we can find anyone, follow me, urged Old Timer.
Without waiting for an answer, he started up the stairs leading to the lobby. Hesitantly Wildrose followed thinking, I dont like this.
Reaching the lobby, Old Timer went to the registration book lying open on the counter.
Reading it he said,
CCK, ItBme, SS, A.T., Snapdragon, Wildrose and myself, Old
Timer. Seven names-seven people but there are eight
keys missing from the board.
Room thirteens keys are gone but no name on the register.
Old Timer, I dont like this at all, where are they? They said we would all meet in the coffee shop. Said Wildrose nervously.
Oh, did they? Then follow me, its this way.
Entering the coffee shop,
they found it deserted. Only the sound of the large urn sizzling
greeted them. Old Timer opened the lid and found only residue
cooking. It emitted a smell almost like medicine. Looking around
he noticed in the trashcan, mixed with the empty cups, a small
green bottle. Picking it up he sniffed carefully. The same
answer, Wildrose, spoke Old Timer; Someone put a
knockout potion in the coffee. That explains why you thought you
found bodies in the game room.
Who ever was wearing that suit of armor wasnt asleep! answered Wildrose.
What did you say? asked Old Timer, suddenly very interested.
Wildrose told the story of
the person in the suit of armor coming at her with the raised
Now I understand. Quick follow me, I know where they are! responded Old Timer.
Without waiting to see if she was behind him, he quickly went outside.
Hurriedly following Wildrose asked, What what are you saying? Where - -?.
Leading her to the boat dock, he explained, When I first got here I decided to walk the grounds, my legs and back were stiff from the long drive. I walked down to the boat dock and saw through the mist a long skiff with someone standing at the rear poling it towards the island in the middle of the lake. There was a small yellow light on the island and just as I was about to call out the clouds broke and the moonlight seemed to glint on his back. Now I know why, it was reflecting off the armor.
It was just then I
heard organ music coming from inside the boat house so I went in
it and found a passage that led me to the game room where I found
Wildrose suddenly realized that if Old Timer had just arrived and entered through the boathouse how did he know he way around the motel so well? Just as she started to confront him with this there came across the water a low moaning howl rising to a high pitch then suddenly stopping.
Old Timer, what was
that? nervously asked Wildrose, turning to face him. At
that moment the moon broke through the clouds revealing a empty
dock. Old Timer was gone.
Oh - -no no sobbed Wildrose as the moon disappeared behind the clouds leaving her surrounded in darkness. All was quiet and still.
Snapdragon stood in the empty Coffee Shop, bewildered, looking about her in jerky sweeps of her head. She was confused and disoriented, stepping into the shop right through the wall. Hell, she couldnt even remember what happened after reading OWs invitation for the weekend. She turned to look at her favorite corner in the shop, the one tucked in the back, and was startled to see strings of color still webbing her to the floral wallpaper behind the small table and chair. Waving her arms about in a nervous effort to break free, she began to laugh.
Oh, for heavens sake, Ive been the proverbial wallflower most of my life, but this is ridiculous! The webbing snapped easily, retreating into the full-length, sleeve-less robe she now wore from neck to bare feet. Puzzled, she ran her hands along the fabric, and gasped as she jerked her hands before her eyes, splaying her fingers. Whoa, what a nail job, she hissed softly, admiring the long curving fingernails glittering in pearly white. What gives here? Ive never been able to grow nails this long
Shouting in the distance broke her absorption in the physical change and Snapdragon walked quickly from the shop into the motel, craning her head about in an effort to take in as much as she could as she trotted toward the escalating commotion. She arrived at the room full of people milling about two women who were sitting on the bed.
Without a clue as to who was who, Snapdragon stood quietly to one side of the door, watching as one of the women quietly took charge of the other. Everyone was firmly told to leave as a washcloth was dampened and pressed to a terrified, pale face of the one who was very disheveled, wrapped in a mans jacket.
Suppositions and wild ideas were flying in the waves of conversations that Snapdragon could catch as individuals passed her. Geez, plainly there was considerable mayhem afoot already. What blood-soaked room? The condition of the clothing on the panicked soul still in the room had been alarming enough. The last to leave was plainly a policeman who eyed the florid robe inquiringly as he shut the door behind him. Excuse me, I dont believe I saw you when I arrived.
Ah, well, I just I, er, sorta arrived myself just now, officer.
Oh really. If you please, mam, Id like you to join the others in the lobby. We need to question everyone in an effort to make heads or tails of whats going on here.
Fine. Sure. Ill follow you since Ive no idea where anything is yet.
As the officer nodded and walked away, Snapdragon froze in mid-step as she caught the faint strains of organ music. Oh dear. Things were becoming curiouser and curiouser. She felt dizzy, peculiar, as she turned and stepped across the corridor to the door opposite. The music was obviously coming from within the room. She raised a hand to knock and emitted a small squeak upon clapping eyes on her still-changing digits. The tips of her fingers had swollen into fat, bulbous knobs with growing scimitars extruding from sheaths where her fingernails had once been. A pink flush now flooded across her skin, rapidly deepening into lavender-blue. Mercy, what if the officer turned to witness this metamorphosis how would she explain this, this change! Snapdragon seized the doorknob, twisted, and stepped quickly out of sight.
Leaning against the closed door, she found herself panting as she thrust her hands forward in amazement, staring wild-eyed as her skin softly crackled into scales! Pearly blue scales.. Reptilian scales...
There was a sense of squeezing pressure as the morphing moved inward and her head seemed to leave her shoulders below, under a unsettling billow of flowered fabric. A moan of fright escaped as she shut her eyes tight and tried to hold her head. It didnt improve her spirits when it took several seconds of groping and curling of an elongated neck for her to grip a long muzzle. Muzzle?!
Eyes flying open, she staggered toward the mirror to stare, owlishly blinking at the reflected image. A dragon! She had turned into a freaking dragon! Damn that handle of hers! What had possessed her to take on the new handle anyway? No, no, wait wait, the name couldnt possibly have anything to do with this bizarre turn of events. Something else was dangerously afoot. Organ music squalled from the opening behind the bookcase set ajar. Before lunging at the stairs beyond, she took a swift look around the room, wondering sourly if there might be some plate discreetly presenting a choice of a red pill or a blue pill. Damnation, there was none.
Lumbering downward, long toe-claws encompassing several steps at a time, Snapdragon found herself moving with increasing urgency, a bubble of inexplicable delight warming her limbs as the awkwardness dissipated with each stride. Her proportions now filled the arched doorway as she arrived in the candle-lit room in time to see a scantily clad woman collapse daintily to the floor, a huge dagger clattering from her grasp. Fierce joy exploded in within the draconic heart as Snapdragon locked her green eyes on her armored nemesis. A single swoop and the wriggling clatter of metal parts were caged in one set of claws as she flicked the axe away to ping sharply off the far wall. A fiery chortle erupted before she neatly nipped off the head and spat it to one side, ricocheting off the floor and walls. A blast of red light shot from the beheaded knight and spotlighted wildly across the stone ceiling. Snapdragon! Thats ee-nough!
Her scaly head swung about to stare coldly at the figure standing beside the organ. She stiffened, shrinking slightly. The metamorphosis was reversing. She hissed violently in protest.
Snatching at the robe still trailing from one foreleg, she angrily wrapped it about her as her large bulk rubber-banded back into its original form. As human reason took hold once again, Snapdragon glanced at the four recumbent forms and wondered what was strapped to their heads. Virtual headgear perhaps. It would explain much of this Wonderland twisted adventure. Where was she then?
There was a moan close and filmy fabric fluttered as the woman beside her wobbled upright. Snapdragon snorted a wisp of smoke. Ha. Back to the real world, are we? Maybe real, maybe not. A throaty laugh. By the way, nice swoon you have there. The only time I ever fainted I went down like a sack a
The head swiveled to affix eyes upon the source of the indignant voice. Metallic green had not yet retreated from the whites of her narrowed eyes. The man stepped forward as he reached up and swept away the phantom mask from his face.
Snapdragons eyes flew wide, rings of white pressing around shrinking pupils. Oh my. Its you. Why whatever are YOU doing here Snapdragons voice trailed off as she took a cautious step backwards
"Why did I have to get lost? Why did I have to run my car off the road trying to avoid hitting what I SWEAR was a Knight in Glowing Armor!? Why did I even agree to join the party at Spirit Lake Motel?" Her voice sounded surprisingly loud in the twilight descending around her. She thought again of trying to explain the accident.
In her best Marilyn Monroe imitation, she said, "HONEST, Officer! He came out of nowhere! Stepped right in front of me! I swerved to miss him, hit a tree, and got STUCK, and then I couldn't find him anywhere! HONEST, Officer! It was a Knight in Glowing Armor! No, not SHINING - but GLOWING - like glowing from within!!!" She sighed heavily. Nope, not even with a breathy voice was anyone likely to believe that story.
She'd been walking along the road for about a mile after realizing her car would need a wrecker, when she spotted some flickering yellow lights through the trees off the side of the road. "Maybe that's the Motel!" she thought, "Or at least a phone, or help, or something!" She made her way among the trees trying to keep the light in sight. Working her way down the gentle slope and through the trees, she lost sight of the light several times, but it would reappear again as she rounded a tree or rocky outcropping.
When she got out from under the trees, she saw that she was standing on the shore of a lake. Misty wisps of fog were rising from the surface of the black water. The flickering yellow lights were coming from an island in the middle of the lake, but she could see no bridges to it. She decided to follow the shoreline of the lake around. Somebody had to be out there making that light glow, and she was determined to discover who or what it was.
Walking as close to the lake water as possible and avoiding the darkness under the trees, she came around the trunk of a particularly gnarled tree and saw the end of what appeared to be a boat almost hidden by the low branches. She stopped and stood there quietly, listening. Willing her senses to make her aware of anyone else nearby, she felt and heard nothing. Stepping cautiously around the tree, she got a clear view of a long skiff, one end pulled up onto the muddy bank. She could see a long pole resting against a bundle in the boat. Again she paused and listened, tense and cautious.
Curiosity overcame her caution, and coupled with what appeared to be a solution to reaching the lights and/or assistance, she stepped into the boat. "Whoa!" she said, when the boat moved easily under her unsteady feet. Quickly squatting and flinging her arms to the sides of the boat, she managed to restore balance before pitching over into what appeared to be very nasty water or cracking her skull on an overhanging branch. "Whoa!" she said again, more quietly this time, and took some deep breaths to slow her racing heart.
Standing carefully and taking a couple of tentative steps, she discovered that if she stayed toward the center of the boat, she could manage. She picked up the end of the pole where it rested against the bundle. The end had been worn smooth with use. It seemed to fit her hands perfectly. The far end of the pole was hanging over the stern of the boat and had slimy looking moss still dripping from it. "Hasn't been parked for long, apparently." she thought to herself. Reaching down, she felt the surface of the bundle lying on a crossmember of the boat. It was leather, but didn't feel particularly warm to the touch. She reminded herself that the mist rising from the lake had cooled the temperature, therefore the surface leather would cool more quickly than the surfaces on the inside. Carefully putting the smooth end of the pole into the slip of rope that seemed provided for that purpose, she picked up the bundle to check for warmth on the inside.
As the bundle unfolded, she discovered that the leather was actually sewn from many different sized pieces like a crazy quilt, and it seemed to be a cloak of some kind. Turning it around to see the other side, she was flabbergasted to find it completely covered with FEATHERS! Good grief! And there was a hood attached, too. The feathered side had been folded to the inside just like she'd seen women fold a fur coat with the silk lining out and fur to the inside. The silvery grey feathers were so closely placed they completely covered the surface, but still left the inner lining smooth. Amazing work! She could not resist slipping it over her shoulders..... Naturally, it fit like it had been made for her. She pulled up the hood and found it to be just as comfortable. "Hey, this is NICE!" she said and wished she had a mirror....
She figured if she was borrowing the boat, she could borrow the cape as well, and she reached down, slipped the pole from the restraint and walked back with it toward the back of the boat. As the weight shifted, the bow lifted and turned gently away from the bank. "Whoa!" she said again, but got the pole into the water and against the lake bottom. The cape hung easily from her shoulders, and opened to permit her hands to hold the pole securely. In less than a minute, she found her balance and confidence in handling the skiff.
Poling out away from the shadowy bank toward the middle of the lake, she finally spotted what must be the Spirit Lake Motel. Ahead and to her left was a much brighter glow than the flickering yellow she'd seen several times this evening from the small island to her right. Yes, that HAD to be the Motel, but what were all those flashing lights there? Shadowy forms directed flashlight beams through the trees and among other shadowy forms. Some of those shadowy forms appeared to have the flashing blue strobes of Police vehicles...... "Looks like OW's got some major trouble over there!" she said softly, and started to pole toward the Motel.
Suddenly, she heard a sharp cry from the island behind her. Turning quickly toward the sound, she saw those same yellow lights, again from that island in the middle of the lake. The yellow light was flashing frantically now. Looking back, the boat dock appeared to be deserted, and the Motel appeared to be occupied with trouble, so she turned and poled toward the yellow lights on the island. She was determined to have her curiosity satisfied! Did someone need her help?
The periodic moonlight made judging distance difficult, but she was more than halfway to the island when she thought she heard some strange organ music drifting over the water all around. She could not determine the source of the music, but she thought "It doesn't sound like music I would roller-skate to.... What kind of games has OW got planned for this weekend?" But she continued to pole her way across the lake, the feathered cape catching glints of moonlight and keeping her comfortably protected against the chilling mist.
A quick step back and a last hard push sent the bow of the boat up hard against the other side. "Hey, how did I know how to do that?" she wondered. Just another mystery on this weird night. She scrambled forward, stopping to slip the end of the pole through the rope near the bow, then jumped out onto the bank. Scrambling upward, she managed to avoid the worst of the muddy spots, and looked around to get her bearings.
She could still see the glow of the lights from the Motel across the lake. She could see one small dim light from what must be the boathouse since it was at the water's edge, but as the mist thickened, that would become more difficult to see. Was that someone standing near the end of the pier? Or was that just another piece of mist rising up from the water? Difficult to tell from the distance. The way the moonlight broke through periodically to glint off the rippled surface, made it easy to see monsters in that lake. She shook off her imaginings....
Several steps from where she'd landed the skiff, she discovered another landing. Something much bigger than the little boat she'd just abandoned had been hauled up and down the bank, leaving great gouges in the mud. Something much, much bigger. Something very big and very heavy had slithered and slid up and down this bank multiple times to leave such tracks behind. Again, she had to stop herself from imagining the worst.
Taking a deep breath, determined not to let fear rule her, she turned toward the center of the island and spotted the source of the light. Centered in a clearing on a gentle rise only a few yards away was a beautiful gazebo style building. Columns supported an open framework dome. Between the columns was a low wall of similar lacy framework. The whole place seemed to glow with that flickering yellow light.
As she took a cautious step forward, she heard the weird organ music begin again. As she turned her head, she believed the music to be coming from the gazebo. She took another step, and the music got a bit louder, and the light pulsed a bit brighter. A few more steps and there was no longer any doubt. The music and light were pulsing out from the gazebo! "Terrific! First a Glowing Knight! Now a Glowing Gazebo! What kind of games is OW playing around here?" she whispered, eyes wide, as she stood at the bottom step.
Just as her hand touched the column beside the entrance to the gazebo, something grabbed her arm. She twisted free and turning, began a howling shriek that was suddenly cut off......
Name: Lesley¹ E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday 04/27/2001 3:02:11pm
"Late!" Lesley muttered under her breath, "I hate being late". Everything seemed to go wrong today, it was as though something didn't want her to get to the motel. First, the rental company didn't have the car she had reserved and she ended up with "The company truck", some crappy old Ford with no radio, rips in the seats and rust.....it can't be legal to rent this thing she thought. Then, losing the directions to the lake and getting lost! "Well I'm here now" she thought as she pulled around the corner and saw the motel for the first time.
It was dark now, it had been for about an hour, and the moonlight gave the whole place an eerie glow. It was hard to say exactly what is was about the Spirit Motel, but something about it gave Lesley the creeps. "The Bates Motel" Lesley thought, not the way it looked exactly, it more like a feeling, a strange, unsettling feeling that makes you feel like you need to look over your shoulder.
"Well, by the looks of all the cars parked in front it would seem that everyone else has already arrived" Lesley thought as she opened the truck door and stepped out. Grabbing her bags from the back of the truck she began to make her way up the narrow path to the front door of the motel when she stopped in her tracks. What was that sound? Was that organ music?
What in the world was OW
up to? Organ music is alright for church and hocky games, but it
was definately NOT Lesley's idea of "easy listening".
Tilting her head slightly to try and determine where the sound
was coming from she caught a glimpse of something in the
direction of the lake. Lesley stood for a moment trying to let
her eyes adjust to the darkness but couldn't see anything.
"I'm positive I saw the glow from a light" she thought,
but now there was nothing, just moonlight on the lake and that
damn organ music.
Shrugging, Lesley continued to the door marked "Welcome to Spirit Lake Motel". Finally, now I get to meet everyone face to face she thought. Lesley had been looking forward to this for a very long time and was actually a little nervous. What would everyone be like? The pictures in your mind never matched the way people actually looked.
"Well....here it goes" thought Lesley as she opened the door and stepped into the motel. It was quiet, too quiet, where the hell was everybody? Setting her bags on the floor Lesley began to walk towards what obviously the coffee shop.
"Hello, helloooooo". Nothing,not a sound, even the organ music had stopped. Stepping into the dimly lit coffee shop Lesley noticed a coffee pot on a burner that was almost empty and sizzling way. Lesley moved to the burner to remove the pot and something through the window caught her eye. The window was steamed up, and as Lesley moved her hand towards it to wipe it off she froze in her tracks.
On the steamy window, lines began to form. It was as though an invisible finger was writing a message in the steam. Unable to move or even breathe, Lesley watched as letters began to form on the window.
A .... L ..... L
D .... E .... A .... D
All dead......all dead?
Nothing was making any sense. Lesley turned to run, a scream caught in her throat, but something grabbed her leg and she fell to the ground hitting her head on the table as she went.
Darkness overcame her as she drifted into unconsiousness.........
It was just getting dark
when Pauligirl wheeled into the parking lot of the Spirit Lake.
She was not particularly a happy camper right now. She had gotten
stuck behind a crappy old truck for miles on the way up and had a
headache from the nasty fumes it was belching out, strangest
thing, when she finally passed it, the woman driving it had
looked familiar, like someone she had seem in a photograph. She
looked at the ramshackle building and thought "yeah, this is
the place for a murder and mayhem weekend". She grabbed her
bag out of the back seat and charged into the lobby, expecting to
find host OW and all the merrymakers. Empty. Not a sign of life,
not a sound. Just the tantalizing aroma of coffee from the café
off the lobby. She tossed her bag behind the check-in counter and
went into the coffee shop, poured a cup and sat down figuring
somebody would show up sooner or later. Nobody did. "Well, I
just guess I'll get another cup and nosey around til I find
She fixed another cup, went back outside and studied the parking lot. There were plenty of cars, most everybody should be here somewhere. Suddenly there was a commotion in the bushes at the end of the porch-she walked towards it thinking maybe everybody was hiding, planning to jump out and scare her. By the time she got to the end of the porch, the rustling had stopped, but under the trees a distance away stood an odd-shaped shadow- sort of like a suit of armor with no helmet, with really rusty looking stains down the front of it. It appeared to be holding some kind of large battleaxe. "Oh, man, gotta talk to OW about his taste in garden statutes. That thing's enough to give you the willies." With twilight coming on and the wind blowing the branches, the thing almost appeared to move. She shuddered slightly and backed away from edge of the porch, not really wanting to turn her back on it.
"Hey, maybe they're all out on the pier for the sunset." She stepped off the porch and crossed the parking lot and started towards the pier when she heard faint music. "Dang, they started the party without me." Strange, there was no one here either and the music seemed to be coming from across the water, from a small island. She heard soft splashing noises and squinted through the faint wisps of rising fog. "WHAT the hell is that?" She rubbed her eyes and squinted again. "That looks like a six foot tall owl rowing a boat. Naw, can't be. Birds can't row." She eyed the coffee cup accusingly. Would OW have done something......naw, he's a joker, but ...now cck, that's another story! She figured what the hell and drained the cup, this was supposed to be a party weekend after all. "Nobody out here but us big birds, I'm going in before the racoons start to tap dance. She leaned over the railing, looking at the island, when something below in the water caught her eye-a sodden white mass hooked on the end of the dock. She reached down and fished it out. It was a woman's robe, silky white. That was strange, but even stranger-it seemed to have big blue scales stuck to it. "My, but the trout around here have weird mating rituals." She pulled one of the scales off and looked at it closer. The thing was about the size of a silver dollar and pearly looking. "I don't know what this came off and I don't think I want to know."
Coming back up to the porch Pauligirl glanced over to the end of the porch-the suit of armor had moved. It wasn't under the trees anymore. She whirled around, afraid it would be behind her. It wasn't. She could feel the hair on the back of her neck trying to stand up. Suddenly, this didn't seem like a fun weekend. She was throughly creeped out
She pushed the door of lobby open and stepped on something that crunched. It was another one of those scales. "What the ..??" She looked up-just in time to see the butt end of scaley blue dragon disappear into the wall near the café door. " That's it-I have flipped" She was too scared to yell, afraid that dragon would turn around and come back, or even worse, that headless thing with the battle axe. "I'm getting my bag and getting out of this place-this may be somebody's idea of a practical joke-but I don't want to play anymore."
She somehow crossed the lobby back to the counter intending to retrieve her bag. She was afraid to look away from the spot where the dragon had disappeared so she groped around in the dark behind the counter on the floor, but what her hand found was not her bag!!
It was a knife, a very long knife and it was standing straight up and for a very good reason. It was deeply embedded in the body underneath. Oh, no-it looked the principal from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It was......A.T. , the ultimate punster, done in like a shish-ko-bob. And even stranger-as if things could get stranger, he was clad only in a woman's white silky nightgown, one of those peignoir things, a match for the robe she found on the dock, and it was soaking wet. And strangest-he was wearing socks-knee socks, garish orange and blue argyle socks. Knee socks...with garters... and they were dry.
She didn't know how long she had stood there, shaking-but her horrified trance was broken when headlights flashed through the lobby. It was that same rattletrap Ford she had passed the road. Thankful not to be alone, she was stumbling towards the door to get out and warn the driver when she realized that the headlights also showed what was standing in the corner of the room. The headless suit of armor, with a raised battleaxe.. She froze and then backpedaled back behind the counter, falling backwards over A.T.'s outstretched body...........knocking what little air was left in her lungs out with a whomp..........
Feeling the pressure of her lifeless form across him, A.T.'s eyes opened ever so slightly... his hand slowly raising to her forehead. Beads of sweat met his touch. She was out cold, but alive. Listening intently for any sound which might signal the presence of others, he strained to listen... the familiar ringing in his ears the only sound.
Raising his head slightly, A.T. smiled as he looked upon Pauligirl's beautiful smile... perhaps another time... perhaps another place... he may never know. Reaching for the knife embedded in his chest, A.T. removed it effortless with a pop. This trick knife served it's purpose well. Edging his way from under Pauligirl, A.T. laid her head gently on the floor... "it is not her time to die", he thought to himself.
Exiting the room he made his way towards the lake... I am home, he thought to himself as he walked to the end of the dock. Throwing the dagger into the water, the splash broke the deadly silence of the night. He sat at the end of the dock, dangling his feet into the water. Minutes passed as he gazed into the silent depths. From the corner of his eye he could see the familiar ripple beginning about twenty out... the increasing bubbles told him that his dear friend was nearby.
Closing his eyes, A.T. remembered back to his childhood days, when Spirit Lake had been wild and free... before the "settlers"... the Beforetime when it was just him and Nes. Leaning his head back and breathing in the dampness of the night air, he remembered the first time he had met Nes. He had wandered away from his parent's camp, exploring the unknown of the forest. Minutes turned into hours as he wandered and took in all that nature offered. A.T. was nine years old this vacation, a precocious nine. He knew it all, as do most nine year olds. That was until that day in 1962... a day that changed his life forever. The day he met Nes.
Why was he doing these things this night? To protect Nes? Or was it to protect that which he felt should be? Sighing deeply, his concentration broken by the faint sound of water.Opening his eyes he stared before him, a form had emerged from the depths... and hovered inches from his face.
A smile broke out as A.T. reached forward to pet his dear friend... Nes. Nes gave a small sound as A.T. caressed the side of his head... you could almost see the smile on Nes' face as A.T. began to speak."Nobody will ever hurt you Nes... I will die before I let that happen". "We have been friends for years, ever since that first day you saved my life here in this very lake." "Do you remember Nes?" "Walking along the ledge over there", A.T. continued as he pointed into the darkness at the far side of the lake. "All I remember is slipping into the water and the next thing I remember is opening my eyes to see you". "Do you remember how I screamed?" You scared the heck out of me, but from the moment you touched me with your flipper, I realized that you were good..." A tear began to form in the corner of A.T.'s eye... Petting Nes on the nose, A.T. said, "nobody will hurt you Nes... NOBODY!"
"All I wanted to do was scare these people away... to protect you... and now see the mess I have made... but I didn't meant to hurt anyone Nes... honest... you believe me don't you?Suddenly there was a scream from behind him, turning quickly he saw Pauligirl faint and tumble into the water...
"Dammit Nes... I don't want anyone to find you... but I can't let Pauligirl drown"... with that A.T. bolted and dove into the water, franticlly trying to reach her before she could drown. The water was shallow but Pauligirl was nowhere to be found... how could she disappear like that? A.T. thought as he searched under the dock... how could this be? Coming up for air A.T. could hear the scrabble of feet coming down the path... low voices grew louder with the approach of the others... A.T. took a gulp of air and began to swim under water towards Nes...
As jumpy as everyone was, we were again startled by unusual sounds before we saw anything. First a piercing scream echoed thru the trees, then came a blood-curdling howl. By then we were all standing on the lakeshore, peering anxiously over the dark water into the fog. Finally a faroff rolling growl that sounded like a chopper steadily approached, rounding a bend into open water, then as it neared we heard the hissing stacatto of a bow wave --- it was indeed a returning fisherman --- and had probably been one of OW's morbid jokes.
With Ingrid's help, a grateful Suzn had emailed the invitations. (where DOES that woman learn this stuff?) This was to have been OW's surprise birthday party, but knowing the cagey old fella would probably guess that, she had purposely baked a nice cake on his birthday and arranged the REAL party on a later date. And that part seemed to have worked - he had sneaked off before anyone arrived, and had been peacefully fishing downriver all afternoon.
But almost from the start, the party had gone horribly wrong. As the guests settled in, they each had been terrified by something or reported something dreadful. Suzn naturally called the cops. Not having achieved any quick resolution, the overwhelmed local police had recruited help from every surrounding town and were now awaiting the K9 unit.
And now a weary Suzn could only wait ankiously on the dock for her companion. She felt responsible for all this, and had no idea how she would tell him, but she was confident that his presence would somehow help her find a way.
The guests had been invited to gather in the conference room where, despite the incidents, they had managed to decorate the place with swaying crepe-paper streamers and bright balloon clusters. Now they huddled in a group in the picnic area, near the bonfire overlooking the beach. They had been tolerating the mosquitoes and comparing notes amongst themselves for nearly an hour, remaining as cheerful as possible under the circumstances, and awaiting the OW's return.
As darkness closed they gradually became immersed in their thoughts. Ingrid stood by, silent but seething as ever, mentally condemning the fog, the whole sordid afternoon, and the fact that now she might never know if Niles and Daphne got together....... she had rarely missed an episode of Frasier!
Adding to everyones anxiety was the surprising revelation about Suzn's co-host: He had long been known by the guests simply as cck, but Suzn patiently explained that he was much more than that. Guests learned that cck was the only simultaneous holder of Lambethany degrees in Divinity, Law, Arts, Literature, Medicine and Music, and that his proper worldly title is The Right Reverend Charles Keiser, Primate of all Spirit Lake. How does one kid around with an "Archbishop" Keiser?
The Reverend's earlier words in the conference room still echoed though their minds.His face drawn and pale as if he wore the burden of mankind, he had rested a shaky hand on the podium, sighed deepy and spoken slowly -- "Dearly beloved --- I stand before you under the watchful eye of our glorious Creator and with the assurance of eternal life --- if I understand correctly, on this day there has been an unfortunate incident of some sort. At this point it appears to have culminated in the demise of a precious member of our cyber-family. I share your loss but rejoice in the life thus lived, and you all have my assurance and deepest sympathy -- " How could he be so -- generic?
As the fishing boat broke free of the mist and gently swung thru the darkness toward the beach, all breathed a sigh of relief as they recognized OW's bright yellow raincoat seated at the stern. Suzn snuffed her cigarette in the sand-filled coffee can and arose to help as the boat approached.It was the first nervous smile she had managed all afternoon.
The huge outboard thundered, holding the boat's bow proudly in the air. It was very close now, he should be throttling back and letting it settle - but the boat bore on -- coming in exceedingly fast ---- something was wrong! Everyone gasped and scattered! A second later the boat landed with a sickening thud and slewed up the beach, carving a groove in the sand, the motor abruptly stopped, oars and buckets flying and bouncing everywhere, and everything finally came to rest against the stone-covered embankment. As the dust settled, OW could be seen still gripping the throttle, leaning back as if grotesquely enjoying the moment. His dirt-spattered raincoat finally sagged and slumped forward -- then came the shocking realization that the Old Warrior had arrived home -- headless ..............
"How embarrassing" he thought as the people started addressing him as the "Right Reverend." Suzn must have told them, and he wished she hadnt. It would only get in the way of what he must do.
What did he care about degrees anyway? It was never about attaining honors or accolades, it was, and is, only about the search. The search for the truth is all that really mattered. It was the one driving force in his life; the search for the answers.
It was while following this quest as a young man that he first stumbled across the beginning of what would become his lifes obsession -- to solve the Mystery of Spirit Lake.
It was back in 62 as a young Divinity student on Retreat that he was drawn to Spirit Lake. Back in 62 it was the perfect location for meditation and soul-searching. The seclusion was just what he needed to come to grips with himself and his ever increasing loss of faith. He had joined the Order in the search for answers, but the more he studied the more questions arose for which he could find no answers. "It is a matter of Faith my son." he was told in reply to his queries. It was always a "Matter of Faith."
But all that changed with what he saw on that day. The events of that one day would forever change his journey just as it had changed him.
Sitting sequestered in a small alcove by the Lake, his contemplations were interrupted by the scream of a young child. Peering through the undergrowth he witnessed a young boy of about 9 or 10 emerging from lake assisted by what could only be described as nothing less than a Monster! A Monster so grotesque in appearance it stifled the shout in his throat. The sight of it petrified him in place for just an instant as he attempted to hasten to the young boys rescue.
But before he could gain any momentum it became quite apparent the lad was in no need of deliverance from this beast. To all appearances the boy and the beast were friends. The pantomime being played between them was fascinating to behold. Though in no imminent danger from the monster the boy was obviously under its spell. For smiling and giggling the boy would stroke and hug the air surrounding the beast, but never really touch the Beast itself. After watching this pantomime for a short time an uneasiness began to over take the young priest, but before he could make his way to their location, they both were gone. The boy returned back to his camp site, and the monster back to the depths of Spirit Lake.
What unholy alliance had been forged between the two was a mystery that would consume him for the rest of his life. It set into motion a never ending investigation into everything and anything that might bear evidence to the nature of the Beast of Spirit Lake.
It lead him to travel many paths and to study many things to unravel the twisted trail that the clues lead him to. The Arts, Literature, Medicine and Music were but a few that were needed in his search for the Beast. These were all hinted at by the Legends of the Native Chippewas, Sioux and Menominee people who trapped and settled around the area long before the white man came to this area.. It was from their songs and legends that he began to get a clue about the creature that haunted his existence. A creature that was both feared and revered by the Native Americans, who originally gave the Spirit Lake its name.
For forty years he traveled to whereever the trail of evidence lead, but he always returned to Spirit Lake - watching the Lake and all who lived or visited. Always on the lookout for the Monster or any sign of his presence. From time to time he would get a glimpse of the Beast in all his guises, but nothing more. He began to learn the ways and the secrets of this creature and soon would know the creature itself. The time was near, very near, for the Beast to show itself again, and this time would be the climax to a life long quest. For I now know the source of the Beasts power!
Everyone at the Spirit Lake Motel had been here before! Sometime in their past over the last forty years they had been in the vicinity of the Spirit Lake, even if they could not remember it. They had been here and have been Marked by the Beast. They had been Marked as belonging to Him, and he was about to call in his markers.
I had prepared myself to confront this Demon. Knowing who he was and knowing his secret, I was about to spring my trap on the Spirit of Spirit Lake. Having watched from a distance for all these years I was finally about to confront the Creature in his Den. I would have power over the power of the Beast, and learn its every secret and with it the secrets to all the Mysteries of the Universe.
I knew it was about to happen, but just when I wasnt sure. I would have to wait for the Beast to make his first move, to be away from his Holy Place, to set my plan into action. It didnt take long. I had barely unpacked my bag of potions before he claimed his first victim and appropriated their appearance. He would work his way through them all one by one if I didnt make my way to his source of power and put a stop to it, but the police where getting in my way, and keeping me from leaving.
It was the Creature itself who afforded me the opportunity. Within only a few minutes he struck again, and in the confusion I managed to work my way to the Lake. I donned the Ceremonial Robe the Menominee Medicine Man had given me and poled my way to the Island in the middle of Spirit Lake. That is where the Beast would keep is Holy Place and the source of his power. Once I was in the middle of his Holy Place he could not touch me, and I would control his power with the potions. Without his power source he was helpless and would transform back into the appearance of the Beast that he was, the apparition that I first witness forty years ago.
"Oh what fools we mortals be!" Forty years of learning, forty years in turning over ever rock and searching behind every bush, and I had learned Nothing! I had not learned anything he didnt wish me to learn. I had not been a secret observer hidden from his view. I had been marked from the very first. All my searching and study was orchestrated by the Beast himself. It was all his game from the beginning, and I was merely another pawn for him to play. I had only come within arms length of his Holy Place when I found him waiting for me. This was his plan for me all along, to come within a whisker of my hearts desire only to be denied. To learn that all that I believed was but a sham, an illusion conjured to entrap me. It was the one thing that would shake me to my very soul.
Somewhere off in the distance the muffled echo of a cocks crow could be heard just as the dawn was braking over the mist on Spirit Lake. Was there still an island in the middle of that mist? One could not be sure even from a birds eye view of the lake and the motel nestled along its shore.
The soft light of the morning sun only gave evidence of a peaceful sleepy corner of the world. It gave no indication of the insane drama which played itself out to its inevitable outcome only a few short hours before.
All was quiet and serene except for the occasional soundless flashes of red and blue keeping vigil around the perimeter of the motel. All was too quiet, too eerily quiet. As if in response to this surreal uneasiness, just as the last reverberation of the cocks crow was fading, in the distance a new sound was adding to the disquiet. The sounds of sirens from another score of flashing red and blue lights. No doubt summoned to investigate the absence of any word from their comrades.
What was to greet them would baffle even the best of their minds and forever remain a mystery unsolved. For descending from above the mist to inspect in better detail, it was all to evident the bucolic scene first assumed from a distance was anything but. The fading mist unveiled a spectacle of murder and mayhem of the most heinous kind, with not a single soul alive to give witness to the madness.
Strewn all about the motel and its grounds, inside and out and even to the lake itself, lay the gruesome evidence of a night of holy terror. Once close friends, who delighted in each others company, and joyful to come together, one after another in quick succession, turn on each other with bloodthirsty persistence and with such bewildering variety, that no rhyme nor reason could ever be fathomed.
Each and every victim suffering a different atrocity, so diabolical in nature as to numb the senses with its fiendishness. And not a single witness to give an accounting.
That was the most puzzling phenomenon of all, no one, not guest or guard left alive to tell the tale! No evidence of any departure from the confines of the police barricade! Armed and alert officers both inside and out, all suffered different but eventually the same fate! And no perpetrator to be found!
What agent could have been the source for such Insanity? Nothing but a few common hallucinogens and some cannabis where ever found, and from the evidence, not a sufficient quantity was missing to have been the cause. Search as they might, in every nook and cranny of the motel, under every rock and behind every bush and blade of grass of the grounds, the island and surrounding area, nothing was ever found to lend knowledge to the events of that one fateful night.
What had happened there was nothing less than Nightmarish. And to be sure, was in the nightmares of everyone who worked on that case. If only they had set aside their instruments and listened more to their dreams, they might have got a glimpse, a peek, a shadow, of the true nature of beast from that night.
For that is where the creature dwells; that is from where he was first conceived and from where he was unleashed to haunt and hunt his pray from this world. He and his kind came from the "DreamTime", "The Beforetime", the time when the Old Gods were still fashioning the Earth. They were the Old Gods of Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire; the Gods of the four elements. The Old Gods, now all but forgotten except by a few. A few who still honor the old ways and remember the enchantment of the Time Before.
Every race and tribe have their memories and legends of the Beforetime and of him and his kind that passed though the curtain that separated the DreamTime from the world of man. Some called him Vampire; not the Dracula of the movies, but the real Vampire. Some called him Chupacabra the Blood Sucker. The Native Americans know him as the Shape Shifter and the Shaman. The Eskimos called him Angakoks.
Different tongues, different places, different names, but all the same creature. It is the creature that lived and lives by capturing the soul from the living. It is not the blood he is after, it is the soul. It is the power of the spirit, the essence, the soul of the creatures he feeds on, that has allowed him to live down the centuries and transform himself into the likeness of all that he has fed on.
He sucks the soul from his victims, whether man or beast, and stores it away to enable his transformations. He can appear as anyone or anything. He can be that bird outside your window, the wild creature only half seen in the wilderness, or the lovable house cat that snuggles against you late at night. Once he has marked you, he watches your every move and learns your every thought.
He cannot die; he cannot be killed, his spirit will only pass from one entity to another, or if he has the power from enough souls he can re-materialize from thin air. He is the ghost on the stairway, the shadow just seen from the corner of your eye. He is that thing that goes bump in the night. He is your visions and your nightmares.
He was fashioned by the Old Gods from the four elements to aid them in fabricating the Earth in the Beforetime, but he learned a trick or two from them, and passed through the shroud that separates the Place of Making from our world. He can travel anywhere, but being born of the four elements his sanctuary will always be where the four elements meet, in a fire on land surrounded by water. This is his Holy Place, where he keeps the Sacred Fire, the fire that keeps his stolen souls. The Fire of Making which burns with a greenish flame and is his doorway through the veil into the DreamTime. He guards his Sacred Fire well, for if it should ever be extinguished, all his stolen souls would be set free and he would transform back into the incarnation of the beast he entered this world as. He would turn back into the Chupacabra!
Down through the ages he always built his lodgings near his Holy Place. And down through the ages his lodgings have always attracted his human prey. From camp grounds to settlements; from forts to towns, his lodgings grew to house the souls he needs to keep his powers. Like a sirens song, humans are drawn to dwell in the house of the Necromancer.
"He who the Gods wish to destroy, they first make Mad!" That is his way, to first drive insane the target of his hunger. To shake his victim to their very soul! It is what he must do to extract the spirit from the prey with his bite. He can be charming and witty to put you off guard. He will find out as much as he can about you, to find out what it is that you fear the most, and use it against you when he is ready to suck your soul. He will use any means necessary to achieve this end, and many a victim has suffered through torture and evisceration to loosen their soul.
It was this Chupacabra that stalked TinFoil, It was this same Necromancer that first founded the Spirit Lake Motel, and the very same Shape Shifter that attended it until that night. But his Den was in danger, and he was drawing too much attention, it was time for him to enter his Sacred Fire and find a new Holy Place. To build another lodging to enchant new humans for his supply of souls. But before he goes he will harvest the spirits of all the victims he has been stalking and marked as his prey. All the creatures he has been beguiling with his wit and charm. Every one of them recorded in his scrapbook and slowly driven insane!
Somewhere out in the world there is a new fire burning with a greenish flame. And somewhere inside the circle there is a scrapbook containing the names of all his victims, and beside their names is a ticket stub ever so neatly stamped "Paid in Full."
Comments: Names may have been changed to protect the innocent. Please rest assured -- No animals were harmed during the writing of this episode. No people either.....
blood sausage, anyone? until next Time then ..