Elect II—20 Underground, part 3 of 3

Roland rubbed his hands together and something like fire appeared in his hands.  He dropped the flame and it illuminated the shaft all the way down, about twenty feet,

“Here’s a rope,” Jessica said and brought one end to Latasha.  She went back and tied the other end to a steel column that held up the ceiling.

“Me first,” Roland said and grabbed the rope from Latasha.

Officer Dickenson spoke while Roland went down, slowly and quietly.  “Science teacher?”

“Biology,” Boston said.  “I’m thinking of letting Latasha do her project on arachnids.”

ac-jessica-2Officer Dickenson nodded.  Jessica had a comment.

“I never had cool teachers like you.  My science teachers in high school were all dorks.”

Roland directed his speech up as he got some kind of lights in place that stayed on.  “Come down quietly.”

Fiona came next, but she looked first at Jessica and spoke to Harmony.  “You did say these were not spiritual creatures.”   Boston made Harmony call her troop so they could guard the opening while they went exploring.

Boston was the last to reach the bottom of the hole.  She saw a cavern made of natural limestone and granite.  There was an old cot along a wall with a couple of moldy woolen blankets folded on top.  Several boxes held World War II ration packs and there was a rifle and a rusty revolver in one corner.

“Fallout shelter,” Harmony named the place.

“Nineteen-fifties, I would guess,” Boston agreed.

“Wow,” Latasha was curious about it all.  “People used to think they were going to get bombs dropped on their heads?”  She did not understand the thinking behind bomb shelters in America.  Boston at least understood the history.

ac-roland“Over here,” Roland called, and he showed them an opening at the back of the cavern.  It was a perfect archway, like a door, framed in metal.  “Looks like someone uncovered this more recently.”  He pointed to the rocks and rubble pushed aside.

“Or some slight earthquake revealed it, and someone recently dug it out,” Jessica, the California girl suggested.

“Possible,” Boston agreed.  She stood in the opening, tried to pierce the darkness of the long hallway and made a decision.  “Roland and I.  The rest of you wait here.  Latasha, you have to guard our escape hatch.”

“But I—.”  Latasha saw the look in her teacher’s eye and amended her words.  “Yes Ma’am.”

Roland had another globe in a hidden pocket which glowed with a silver light that he could increase or dim with a word.  It was like the three globes he left floating around the cavern with no visual means of support.  Roland went first and Boston followed with a hand on his back.  She immediately spoke.

“I have to call Lockhart.”  They had entered a hallway of some kind of ship—no doubt an alien ship.  There were small chambers on either side of the hall that glowed ever so slightly with a sickly green light.  Each one held a spider, unmoving, and the hall looked like it led to a huge central room that gave off a green glow from hundreds if not thousands of such chambers.

“They appear to be in suspension, some kind of cryogenics,” Roland said, touching the outside of one of the chambers.

“I wonder how long,” Boston thought out loud.

boston-4b“No telling.  I don’t recognize the writing.”  Roland pointed at the scribbles over each chamber which appeared to be a numbering system

“So wait.”  Boston tapped her head and paced in the hallway while she talked.  “Latasha’s enemy, Carlos the drug dealer finds this place to hide out from the police.  He finds a partially uncovered door and manages to open it.  After a time, he manages to revive a spider.  A stupid thing to do, but it turns out to be a not so smart male with whom he can make a deal to kill off his rival drug dealers.  All is well but he does not know that secretly the male has revived a female which he keeps hidden while she is busy laying eggs.  When the babies are born, Carlos finds through the male he can have some control over the babies.  He thinks this is even better, but when he meets Mama, he has to make a new deal, especially after Jessica and Latasha slice up the male.  Mama goes along with it while she gets the lay of the land, but terminates Carlos as soon as she realizes she will do better without him.”

“That is correct.”  Roland and Boston heard the voice.  The big spider was clinging to the ceiling of the hallway looking down at them with multi-faceted eyes and snapping jaws.  Roland and Boston wore a glamour that made them appear human, but they were not human.  The spider shot her web to trap them, but they vanished at elf speed and were already in the cavern yelling by the time the webbing struck the empty hallway floor.

“Get out!  Get out!”

ab-spider-web-5A strand of webbing shot from the darkened hole before the Mama appeared.  It wrapped around Latasha’s leg and yanked her feet from beneath her.  A whip of the spider’s head and Latasha shot across the room to crash into the cavern wall.  That hurt, but mostly it made Latasha angry, and she still had her ax gripped tightly in her hand.

Harmony rushed up the rope first to prepare her troop for what she expected might be an invasion of spiders.  Officer Dickenson was right behind her, but not elf fast.  He stopped at the hole.  He swore mightily, turned, pulled his revolver and fired on the giant spider.  Jessica and Fiona both fired their arrows as well.  Officer Dickenson did not have the best aim, but both arrows struck the spider.  The spider did not seem bothered by two arrows.  Jessica and Fiona escaped up the rope without a word.

Mama spider tried to fire her webbing several times, but Boston had her wand up and the webbing went astray.  Officer Dickenson ran out of bullets as Roland had his bow out and fired a flaming arrow.  It struck the back end of the spider and exploded even as Latasha arrived.  The spider was already leaking guts from the back when Latasha brought her ax down on the head and ended it.  And there was silence for a moment before they heard the clickity-clack sound of spider feet in the hallway.

“Babies!” Officer Dickenson shouted.  He about had his revolver reloaded.

“Get out!” Roland said again and Boston repeated it as she held her hands and her wand up.

ac-ash-dickersonDickenson grabbed Latasha by the arm and also repeated the words, but softly, “Get out.”  Latasha looked like she wanted to argue, but she did not.  She went ahead of the police officer and jumped almost the entire way to the top.  Dickenson followed more slowly.

Roland grabbed Boston around the middle and brought her to the base of the hole, even as the babies came pouring into the room and stopped at the magical barrier Boston put up.  Roland tied the bottom of the rope in a harness around Boston so she could be pulled up, then he raced to the top.

Boston was straining against the pressure of the spiders trying to break through when the rope tightened and she began to move.  Immediately, she pulled her barrier back to cover only the bottom of the hole, and then she tried to do something she did not know if she could do.  As she went up, she sucked the air out of the hole to create a vacuum.  The rocks around the hole collapsed into the vacuum to seal the exit.  No doubt some babies were crushed at the bottom when the rocks settled, but it was more magic than Boston could handle and she arrived at the top of the sealed hole, dizzy and incoherent.

Roland kissed her quickly and stole her phone.  “I have to call Lockhart,” he said without explaining for the uninformed.  But even as he started through Boston’s interminable contact list, Jessica interrupted.

ac-jessica-2“Wait,” Jessica turned off her phone.  “The ghouls have taken over city hall.  Sara is trapped.  We have to go.”

“Ghouls?” Officer Dickenson asked in a shaky voice.  Latasha could only nod

Jessica stared for a second at her phone before she asked.  “Ghouls in city hall?  Why is that unusual?”

Elect II—20 Underground, part 1 of 3

Emily was still in bed three days later when Jessica and Fiona the hunter joined forces and found Carlos in an unused warehouse meat locker.  He was completely drained of blood and stank.  Fiona guessed he had been hanging for two or three days.  They all kept quiet as they looked around the main room for Mama spider.  Officer Dickenson spoke first.

“I imagine the big spider is long gone,” he said.  He knew it was wishful thinking when the others contradicted him.

aa-warehouse-dock-1“She is near,” Jessica said.

“I can sense something, not far,” Latasha agreed.

Harmony called her troop for backup with a word.  “There may be more babies as well.”

“Not what I want to hear,” Dickenson said.  “But if there are more, we get out, call Schromer and get extra back-up.”  It took some convincing, but eventually the women agreed.


At that same time, Sara was in the city hall, waiting outside the courthouse for Paul.  She had come to realize if she did not go see him at work, she might never see him at all.

Lisa came out from testifying against one of the drug dealers Latasha got her mixed up with.  “Off with time served,” she said as she sat beside Sara on the bench outside the courtroom.  She expected Sara to say something about the lack of justice and how the streets will never be safe if the bad guys keep getting off so easy, but that was not what she heard.

“How do you do it?”  Sara looked at Lisa with questions written all over her face.  “With Josh and the kids, I mean.  The only place I see Paul these days is here or over in City Hall where he is working in the Mayor’s office.”

Sara got quiet and Lisa paused for a moment to think.

“I got lucky.  Josh knew what he was getting, police and all.  He knew about my election, not all the details, but that my life would never be normal.  He sent me flowers anyway.  He said his programming job was the kind he could work from home most of the time, and he did not mind being a house husband and doing child care if we should have children.  He said he would always a-trenton-court-hallbe there for me.  How could I say no?”  Lisa smiled and then added a serious note.  “Honestly, I don’t do it very well.  I struggle with guilt the way most women do these days, I suppose.  The days of wife and mother staying home with the kids are pretty much over.  Women work these days because they have to, and the idea that a woman can have it all is a croc.  Either work or Josh and the children are always getting gypped.”

“Not so,” Ashish said.  He had come out of the courtroom in the middle of the conversation, but heard enough of it.  “I think Lisa does a remarkable job of balancing things.”

Lisa gave her partner a brief smile but turned straight back to Sara who looked so serious. Lisa’s intuition was acting up.  “You haven’t told Paul about you and the girls, have you?”

“I have, but not in detail, and I haven’t taken him to meet them yet.  I’m afraid.”

Lisa reached for her hand.  “Complete honesty.  That is the only way to know if he is right.  You don’t have the luxury of picking just any old husband.”

Sara opened her mouth and shut it just as quick.  “When I met the girls I thought I stumbled into a band of superheroes, like the X-Men.  I discovered it isn’t just Emily, you and Latasha.  Each of the girls, in her own way, can do things no human being ought to be able to do.”  Sara stopped and Lisa encouraged her.

“And then?”

Sara took a deep breath.  “And then I found out I could do things that defied nature.  Not big things, but subtle things.”  She looked up at Lisa and let out the smallest grin.  “I can glow in the dark.”

ac-riverbend-3Lisa patted Sara’s hand and stood.  “My pastor says we all have our crosses to bear.”  She returned the slight grin and added the word, “Priestess.”  Then she raised her voice.  “Aurora.”

A young girl stepped around the corner, or more likely appeared from somewhere else.  Sara was not fooled.  She knew this was an elf in disguise.  It was confirmed when Aurora stopped at the bench, looked at Sara, gave a little bow and said, “Priestess,” in echo of Lisa’s word.  She turned to Lisa, nodded her head again and said, “Lady.”

“Anything?” Lisa asked.

“There have been ghouls here, but not here now.”

“Ha,” Ashish interrupted.  “She hasn’t seen the lawyers.”


It was on a Saturday, around sundown, two weeks’ shy of finals, when Jessica and Fiona found their way back to that same warehouse.  Latasha, Harmony and Officer Dickenson followed, and all said they knew the trails would return to this place.

“I about have this old warehouse memorized,” Officer Dickenson said while his eyes continued to search every corner for signs of spiders.

“We have been over this place,” Harmony admitted.

“And we found nothing,” Fiona agreed.

“But all the signs point here,” Jessica looked frustrated.

“Maybe we missed something.”  Fiona began to second guess.

boston-5“At least the place is not full of webbing this time,” Officer Dickenson remarked.

“In here.”  Latasha was by the door and everyone looked in her direction.  A young man and a young woman came in.  “That is why I asked for a second set of eyes.  This is my science teacher, Ms. Riley.”

Jessica opened her mouth but said nothing.  The absurdity of Latasha asking her high school science teacher for help was beyond even Jessica’s ability for quick remarks.  Harmony and Fiona were not fooled by the glamours.  Both heads dipped and Harmony spoke.

“Lord Roland.  Lady Boston.”

Boston responded while Roland took a long look around the big room.  “From the way Latasha described things, I am guessing a secret door.”  Boston sat down in the middle of the floor and opened her purse.  She took out a Jar of dust and a stick, which was her wand.

“Your wife is sitting down to find a secret door?”  Officer Dickenson thought they should be tapping the walls and looking for signs on the floor, but in part he wanted to know who these strangers were.  It was police curiosity.

“Yes,” Roland spoke openly to the police officer.  “My wife was a witch before she became an elf.”  Officer Dickerson just shut his mouth like it served him right for asking.  “Like your Melissa,” Roland added for Jessica who nodded that she understood and stepped back to let the woman work.

Boston chanted very softly and waved her wand several times in between her chants.  Jessica could see the orange colored swirl of the magic that surrounded Boston like a fine mist of fire.  Every time she swirled the wand, the mist expanded to cover more of the warehouse floor.  Officer Dickenson asked his question before it reached the walls.

“What is happening?” he whispered.  “I don’t see anything.”

“Hush,” Latasha quieted him.  “It is like a red-orange mist, and it looks like she found something.”

boston-1The mist began to pull together over one round spot on the floor.  Boston got up slowly and brought her jar of dust to the spot.  She sprinkled the dust and spoke, and the round spot glowed with a sparkling golden tint that everyone could see.  Then she spoke.

“This is not a magical door.  It seems mechanical in some way and that may be why our elves did not find it, because they were not looking with the right set of eyes.”

“You did say at first they were not spiritual creatures,” Fiona reminded Latasha who simply nodded and unwrapped her ax.

“Here, give me a hand with this,” Roland said to Officer Dickenson.  Latasha also got down to apply her strength to what for all practical purposes was like a manhole cover cut smoothly out of the concrete floor.  When it was open, all they could see was down into the dark.

Elect II—15 Spiders and Webs, part 3 of 3

Latasha, Harmony and officer Dickenson spent the morning doing some hunting of their own.  Latasha cradled her axe the whole way as they tried to follow the trail back to the spider lair from Latasha’s house.  It petered out on the back streets by the University.

“Pavement is very difficult,” Harmony admitted, and the others agreed.

ac-dickenson-homeThey went to officer Dickenson’s lodgings.  He was broken up about his landlady, but there was nothing he could do.  When they found the house empty, apart from webbing everywhere, he called Mitzy back at the station.  The investigators had already been there and found nothing, and for the record they told the news reporters it was an ordinary break-in.  Dickenson had no doubt the investigators would catch up with him when he got back on duty.  He hoped the news reporters would leave him alone.  He asked Mitzy to continue to try and get in touch with detectives Schromer and Moussad and hung up.  He was not expected back on duty until evening.  He worked the graveyard shift, but he knew he would not sleep until this matter got settled.

Curiously, the big police officer felt much safer with this skinny high school girl around.  He was not entirely comfortable with this Harmony girl, but thus far she had been a help.  She was certainly a better hunter than he was.  She said the trail from the house should be fresher and it should lead them right back to the lair.  They would not have to try and follow it backwards.  He had not considered that.

“I would feel better if Fiona was here.  She is our hunter.”  Harmony spoke to Latasha and it appeared as if she was asking permission.  Latasha took a long look at officer Dickenson before she agreed.

“She will have to have a glamour to look human,” Latasha said, and the officer took one step back.

ac-harmony-4“I will tell her.”  Harmony pulled a small flute from some unknown pocket in her coat.  The tune was nothing to speak of, but at once, a shimmering of light appeared beside them.  Latasha barely had time to think it was a good thing they were in the back yard and mostly hidden by bushes before the light became a hole between there and somewhere else.  A half-dozen elves jumped out with their bows in hand, ready for action.

“I need Fiona, and she needs a glamour to appear human.”  Harmony spoke right away with her own glance at officer Dickenson’s amazed face.

The elves straightened up and the one who spoke might as well have saluted.  “Yes, mum.  I will fetch her.”  They went back into the hole and a moment later one came out looking like she was ready to go to a seventies disco to dance the night away.  As the hole or light snapped shut, Harmony helped Fiona shape her clothes into a more sensible soft T, Jeans, running shoes, and a plain winter coat.

“What are we hunting?” Fiona asked with a flip of her long blonde locks and a not entirely innocent look at officer Dickenson.

“You will have to excuse her,” Harmony apologized.  “Her last visit to earth was a few decades ago.”

ac-fiona-1Fiona looked at Harmony, clicked her tongue, made a face, and repeated her question.

“Spiders,” Latasha answered and used her hands to show the approximate size of the things.

“Spiders?”  Fiona asked with a look at Harmony.

“Not spiritual creatures,” Harmony answered.

“Not native to earth,” Officer Dickenson interjected.

“A mystery,” Fiona genuinely smiled and began to look around.  It took a moment before she started off.  The others followed and only stopped now and then when Fiona squatted down to check something close to the ground.

By three, even as Lisa sat down on her attic step, and Jessica assigned the Amazons their various tasks, Fiona brought them to the same warehouse Latasha and Dickenson had visited before.

“I guessed,” Officer Dickenson admitted.

Latasha just nodded her agreement.  “But this time we go in more carefully.”  The door was still unlocked.  Latasha opened it a mere crack and they listened.  They heard a voice, and it did not sound human.

“I was just getting ready to eat him.  Males can be very tasty.”

“Okay, but look.  We got a deal.”  Latasha recognized the voice of Carlos.

ab-spider-web-5“So you say,” the other voice responded, and Latasha heard enough.  Harmony and Fiona had their bows out and ready and Dickenson had his gun out when Latasha kicked the door wide open.  They saw the spider.  It looked enormous, being a good three feet from mouth to abdomen.  Given its bulk, though not quite as tall, it appeared to dwarf Carlos.  But it was Carlos who saw them and yelled.

“Get them!”

Some thirty or forty little ones began to run toward them.  Both people and elves froze for a second.  It took long enough to hear a shout come from a walkway above their heads.

“Get out!  Get out!”

They heard the gunfire before Latasha got the warehouse door closed.  She did not recognize the rapid fire sound, but officer Dickenson had heard an AK-47 before.  Latasha heard the voice of Bobby Thompson before.

Harmony got out her flute and in short order there were a dozen elves at their backs.  Arrows were notched and knives were ready to come to hand when they went back in.  The gunfire had ab-spider-8stopped.  Twenty-seven spiders littered the floor, but a dozen still needed killing, including the five that drained Bobby Thompson dry.  The big spider, the one Latasha now guessed was the mother, was not there.  Latasha and Jessica had killed the father, the tasty male.  She hoped the babies were now all dead, but there was no telling.  Some spiders produced huge egg sacks.

“Carlos is gone,” Latasha said out loud.

“The drug dealer?”  Officer Dickenson wanted to be sure.  She said yes even as one of the elf troop found the back door.


Next Monday brings us to a showdown.  Don’t miss the Elect II-16, Night Creatures.  Happy Reading


Elect II—15 Spiders and Webs, part 2 of 3

Across town, Latasha’s little sister Leah, the early riser, saw the spiders in the pre-light of dawn and screamed.  Latasha rushed to the closet and got out her ax while Leah woke the family.  Mother corralled the two little ones in the kitchen at the back of the house while Latasha stepped out on to the front porch to face the threat.  She dared not send her family out the back door for fear they might have the house surrounded.

ac-carlos-1The spiders were at the edge of the property and looked like they were waiting for something.  It turned out to be someone.  It was Carlos, the last person in the world she expected to see.

“I just wanted you to know.”  Carlos spoke with a real swagger in his voice.  “They are young, but I figure one of them will bite you.  I doubt even you can kill them all when they swarm.  All right,” Carlos waved to the spiders and laughed as he walked away.  The spiders came rushing in.  They were certainly smaller than the one she killed in the warehouse, but there were so many of them, Latasha also doubted she could kill them all.

Latasha split the lead spider easily enough, but wished she had a gun, or something.  The second also got split and the third lost its front limbs and fell back.  The fourth got some webbing on the ax and prevented Latasha from lifting it right away while the fifth jumped.

Latasha heard nothing, but saw an arrow enter the spider’s body and throw it into another one that was about to leap.  Then the air was full of arrows, and in only the short time it took Latasha to wrench her ax free of the webbing, the rest of the spiders were dead, full of holes.

“Show yourselves,” Latasha shouted.  “I mean it.  Show me who you are.”  She paused for a second before she shouted the only name she knew and what she knew.  “Ms. Riley!  Elf!”

There was a rustling in the bushes and one female elf stepped clear of cover.  To Latasha’s surprise, the elf went to one knee.  “Elect,” the elf said before she rose again.  “We were always counted as good luck by the Amazons for just this sort of reason.  Lady Boston, Ms Riley, asked me to keep an eye on you.”

Latasha looked around at the dead spiders.  “Thanks,” she said as she heard shuffling inside the house.  She jumped.  “Quick, can you make an illusion?”  She had to think of the word Ms Riley used.  “A glamour.”  The elf grinned a very elfish grin and waved her hand just before Latasha’s mother opened the door.

“Honey?  Are you alright?”

“Yes,” Latasha responded.  “All over.  I had help.”  She pointed to a simple girl dressed in human looking clothes.  The girl looked Asian in human form.

ac-lat-mama-1“Lieutenant Harmony.  Pleased to meet you.”  She stuck out her hand and Latasha’s mother shook it after only a brief pause.  Harmony whispered to Latasha as if Latasha’s mother was not there.  “My Captain taught me the human tradition of hand-shaking.”  She grinned again.  Fortunately, Latasha’s mother had something else in mind.

“Honey.  I don’t care if you got elected.  This club of yours is too dangerous.  You need to quit that club.”  That was when Officer Dickenson roared up in front of the house.


When Lisa, Josh and the children pulled up in front of the house, Josh paused to stare at the rope that was strung from the top of the open attic window to a tree on the edge of the neighbor’s yard.  It looked like a steeply slanted laundry line.  “Christmas movie,” was all Lisa said as she unlocked the door and let the children run wild inside the house.  It had been a while since they had been home.

Lisa and Josh made holes in the side yard all morning and Josh kept trying to talk her out of it.  “We can’t just move,” she said.  “They are hunters.  They would find us.”  Eventually, he gave up and they had lunch.

Lisa sent the children upstairs after lunch so they could pack a few things for the night.  The dirty laundry stayed on their beds and Bobby in particular complained about having to wear his cruddy old clothes.  “No,” Lisa told him.  “I am not doing the laundry.  They need to smell your presence strongly in the house to believe you might still be here.”  At least she hoped that was true.

ac-lisa-1While the children got ready, Lisa set a few traps downstairs and then called for the helicopter.  It dropped a rope ladder to the attic window opposite the one with the clothesline.  Bobby and Adam, with their backpacks, enjoyed the climb.  Josh and Lisa took a deep breath when they were safe.  They dropped a rope for Megan, to secure her in case she slipped on the ladder.  She never slipped, but Josh almost did.

When the helicopter finally took off, Lisa got her book.  She opened a romance novel she had been meaning to read for some time.  She sat at the bottom of the stairs to the attic, though the light was not the best.  She knew the night creatures would have to break into the house and she would no doubt hear that, but she did not want to be too far away from her means of escape.  That would not be until after dark, and that would not be for a while, so she read and sipped from her thermos of coffee.

Elect II—14 Creatures Strike Back, part 3 of 3

The kids were in the seventh floor rooms getting ready for bed.  Josh stepped down to the hotel lobby for a coffee and a moment of quiet.  He imagined Bobby and Adam were likely watching some action movie on the television, but eight-year-old Megan needed a bath.  He sighed and wished Lisa was there.  He pushed the button for the elevator, waited, and sipped his coffee slowly because it was hot.

The window behind him cracked, and as the elevator doors opened, the window shattered.  People screamed as something like a lion bounded into the room.  He watched as a woman stood in the ab-elevator-buttonswrong place at the wrong time.  The night creature tore the woman’s arm off like a person might bite off the arm of a gingerbread man.  Two other creatures followed the first through the broken window and the elevator doors closed.

Josh pushed the buttons for the seventh floor and the top floor and got out his phone.

“What?” Lisa yelled into his ear.  “Get the children to the roof.  I’ll call you back.”

The elevator stopped at the seventh floor and Josh stuffed his shoe into the door so it would not close.  They had this planned, but he feared the creatures would be on them before they could execute the plan.  He banged on the door to the boy’s room and yelled.  Bobby came to the hall.  Adam followed.  Josh told them to hold the elevator while he slid his card in the lock and rushed into the room he and Lisa shared with Megan.  She was being a big girl.  She was already in the tub.

A moment later, he ran to the elevator with a very upset Megan wrapped in a towel.  The elevator doors closed, but not before they heard roars in the stairwell.  Once on the top floor, Josh rushed his little troop to the door that gave access to the roof.  It was only a wood door, but it opened into the hall so unless the creatures could turn the knob, they would be slowed breaking down the door, he hoped.

Megan looked over her father’s shoulder as Bobby reached for the doorknob.  She screamed as the door to the stairwell crashed open.  The creature roared.  They got in, slammed the roof door behind them, and began to climb the ladder to the roof even as there was a different sort of crash on the door at their backs.  It cracked the door on the first bang.  Adam had seen something.  He went up the ladder like a rabbit.  Bobby was motivated by the splintering door behind him.  Megan balked.  She had no clothes on, but Josh threw her to his back like a backpack and threw the towel over his shoulders to cover her.  She strangled his neck with her small arms, but he was too scared to care.  Even as they slammed the roof hatch shut, the creatures burst into the small room below.  He hoped they could not climb ladders.

ab-copter-on-roofThe police helicopter was just landing and Bobby and Adam knew enough to get down.  The helicopter door swung open as they heard a tentative clunk on the roof hatch.  No one waited for the blades to stop.  Indeed, the pilot never turned them off.  They barely got in when the roof hatch sprang open and the first creature emerged.  They went up.  The beast leapt, but missed by inches and fell off the edge of the roof.  Josh prayed the fall would kill the beast, but it was never proved.  The body was not found.


Officer Tom Dickenson pulled his patrol car into the driveway and stopped the engine.  He just sat there for a while.  He had spiders on the mind and he was afraid he might have that nightmare again.  He hated feeling helpless.  The problem was he did not understand what was going on.  He only understood enough to be scared.  He got out slowly.

Three years ago, back in the academy, even a year ago, he would have shut his eyes and his mouth and done his job.  He was not a snitch, and he always found it safer to not know in the first place.  They called it plausible deniability.  Five years ago a man died.  He might have been able to stop it before it went that far.  Now?  He put his hand to the front door knob and got out his key.  Now, he was not sure.  He unlocked the door and went in.

ac-bernie-1This time he felt certain there was far more than one man’s life at stake.  He felt afraid to imagine what the consequences of his inaction might be.  “Hell.”  He said that out loud as he shut the door behind him and turned on the light.  He went straight to the kitchen.  He got hungry, even if he could not sleep.

Dickenson got out the cereal and milk.  The clock said 6 AM, on Saturday.  The sun rested on the edge of the horizon.  Why not breakfast?  “Hell.”  He said it again.  He was going to have to see Detectives Schromer and Moussad.  They would know what was going on.  They always seemed to be at the center of spooky things.  He would ask.  He would ask how he might help.  Maybe knowing what was happening might at least get rid of the nightmares.  Then again, actually knowing might make them worse.  He paused.  He heard a scratching noise above his head.

Dickenson drew his gun without making any sudden move.  When he finally managed to convince his eyes to look up, he sighed.  Whoever or whatever it was, it was upstairs.

“Ms Hartman!”  He called out to his landlady, a sweet old woman.  The scratching sound stopped.  “Ms Hartman!”  He called again, but no one answered.  He became concerned.  If the woman was trying to move the furniture or something, why wouldn’t she answer.  He pictured her on the floor, face down because of a stroke or something, unable to move more than to scratch with her nails.

He started up the stairs one at a time, carefully.  “Ms Hartman.  Mildred?”  He took the last few steps two at a time and yanked open the door to her room.  Spiders had covered the room with webbing.  Ms Hartman lay there, mostly shriveled looking, dead eyes staring at the ceiling.  He saw one spider and fired his gun.  It let out a high pitched shriek and fell to its back on the floor.  The ab-spider-web-4spider legs wiggled in the air.  There was another, and a third.  He emptied his revolver and slammed the door shut.  The stairs proved no obstacle, and neither did the front door.  He slammed that door as well and ran for his patrol car.  As his tires squealed on the driveway, he saw a spider crash through the living room picture window.  Several more followed, but by then he was gone.


Next Monday, The Elect II-15 brings us to Spiders and Webs.  Until then, Happy Reading.


Charmed: Part 7 of 11, A Disney-Like Halloween Story (Without the Singing)

Chapter 7

Cinnamon sat quietly on Jessica’s shoulder until they came to a place where the forest began to thin. The path they walked on petered out as the ways opened up and the forest kindly let them walk around any number of trees. Jake looked back, curious. There was no sign of the wall or the cemetery and he wondered how it might have vanished so instantly and completely. Jessica did not notice. Cinnamon began to talk quietly in her ear.

“Are you and Jake loving each other?” Jessica looked. Jake had his hand on the cutlass, to keep it from swinging wildly in the woods. He kept looking all around, a wise precaution since this place was so full of surprises.hween cinnamon 6

“I don’t know,” Jessica said. “We might be. We could be, I think, but it is complicated.”

“Why is it complicated? That is a big word so it must be a big reason.”

“Not really complicated. I had a boyfriend before. But Jake is different. I don’t know. I think he is real nice, but I don’t know what he thinks. He hardly talks to me, and I don’t know what to say to him, either. I don’t know what to think?”

“That’s the problem. You are using your thinker instead of your thumper.”

“What do you mean?”

“For fairies it is easy. We don’t have room in our little brains for all of that foolish human stuff. When a fairy likes another fairy, she simply says, “I am liking you.” Then he says, “I am liking you, too,” and they become friends. When a fairy falls in love, she goes right up to him and says, “I am loving you,” and he says, “I am loving you too,” and they become lovers.

“But what if he isn’t loving her?”

“That is very sad, and the fairy goes away and cries, sometimes for a whole day, before she can have fun again.” Cinnamon adjusted her seat to whisper very soft. “When a fairy truly falls in love, she says, “You are my heart.” That is when the thumper takes over and the thinker can’t think of anything or anyone else. And if she is his heart, they become a family.”

hween night forest 2“That sounds so simple.”

“Why shouldn’t it be simple?”

“But what if she isn’t his heart?”

“Very saddest of all. We don’t like to think about that. But then, when a fairy says someone is her heart, it can be a father or mother or sister or brother or best friend forever, so it means lots of things.”

“I wish people were that easy. Human people, I mean.”

“Aha!” Cinnamon jumped up and Jessica felt the breeze from the fairy’s wings. They tickled her ear. “I know where Greely Putterwig lives from here.” She got excited, lifted into the air and spun around several times until she almost made herself dizzy.

Jessica looked where Jake was looking. A lovely cottage sat some ways off, down in a hollow in the woods. It had a warm and cozy glow about it in the night, and smoke rising from the chimney. There appeared to be roses out front, and a stone walkway that ended at the front door. Cinnamon ruined the lovely vision with what she said.

“The witch’s house. Wait here this time. I’ll be right back.” The fairy flitted off, again with such speed neither Jake not Jessica had a chance to protest.

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Jake looked at Jessica and she smiled. He did not know what to say. “Some Halloween, huh?” It sounded stupid to his ears.

“I know.” Jessica took it well. “A real fairy.”

“And goblins.” He could go with this for a while.

“Real Pirates.” She pointed to the cutlass.

“Zombie Pirates,” he corrected her.

“And Indians.”

“And skeletons.”

“Oh, and an ogre.”

“And a real live ghost.”

“A real dead ghost,” Jessica offered a correction. “I feel sorry for Thackery.”hween spider 1

Jake nodded in agreement, but then he ran out of things to say. Jessica merely looked at him until he felt a little uncomfortable. He looked away, and this time, it was his turn to scream first. Jessica turned from her own thoughts to join him in the scream. Spiders came over the horizon. They looked big, at least two feet long not counting the eight hairy legs. There appeared to be plenty of them. Jake and Jessica got surrounded.

Jake carefully pulled out the cutlass, though he almost cut himself. “Put your back to the tree,” he yelled. Jessica just screamed again. Jake began to swing the cutlass, wildly. The spiders did not care or seem to notice until the one in the lead got cut through the head. Blood and guts squirted, and then dribbled out.

“Over here,” Jessica yelled and Jake went to stand in front of her, while the spiders slipped into the long, moon-made shadows of the trees. They could hear the click-click of their jaws all around. Jake cut two more when they came close, but there were too many of them.

Jessica felt something drip on her shoulder and looked up. She screamed again. One hovered in the tree, over their heads, and drooled. Jake could not reach it with the cutlass. Jessica tore off her orange hween spider 2vest and tried to slap it out of the tree, She could not reach it either, but a green light came from just down in the hallow. It struck the spider, and the spider fell to the side, rolled to its back and curled up dead. Jessica screamed again before they heard a woman’s voice.

“I heard ye the first time.” The woman sounded annoyed. She had gray hair, looked a bit plump from age, and lifted her plain brown dress and apron as she struggled up the hill. She had a stick of some sort in her hand, and the green light was emanating from the stick. Three more spiders got zapped, like with green lightning, and the spiders decided to retreat. When the old woman came to stand in front of Jake and Jessica, she took a deep breath, like she was winded from the climb. Then she raised her arms and shouted something unintelligible. The green light formed in a circle around the three of them and their tree before it shot out like a wave made by a pebble in a still pond. No telling how many spiders suddenly keeled over and curled up.

“Okay. They won’t be back this Halloween night, but you don’t belong out here. You better come inside.” Neither Jake nor Jessica had to say “this is the witch from the cottage.” The circumstantial evidence made that crystal clear. Jake tried to wipe the cutlass clean and put it back in his belt. Jessica ventured a small question.

“Your house wouldn’t happen to be made of gingerbread, would it?”hween cat 2

The witch laughed, a healthy human laugh and not the cackle they expected. What is more, the witch showed a kind little twinkle in her eyes that helped them relax. “Wrong season for gingerbread.” The witch almost stumbled on a root, but Jessica reached out to steady the old woman. “My name is Mary,” the witch said.

“I’m Jessica and that is Jake.”

“Don’t tell me, you are following a little girl named Elizabeth.”

“My sister,” Jake perked up. “Do you know where she is?”

“Up on the mountainside with Greely Putterwig, the hobgob. Don’t worry, she should probably be just fine. I’ll take you there, but after I catch my breath if you don’t mind.”

“Are you psychic?” Jessica wondered how the witch knew all this.

“No. Tom the cat came by and told me. Please, come in and have some tea. I don’t do much magic these days, at my age. It takes so much out of you.”

hween jack 1Jessica caught some movement out of the corner of her eye. It was a perfectly black cat, sitting on the lawn, washing a paw. Jake had his eyes focused on the jack-o-lantern on the front stoop. He was just admiring the intricately, beautifully carved features of a very frightening goblin-like face when the face moved.

“Boo!” The pumpkin face crossed its eyes and stuck its tongue out. Jake, and Jessica, attracted by the movement, both let out a shriek. “Did I scare ya?” the pumpkin asked. Jake and Jessica nodded. “Good, cause the old witch put me here to guard the front door, but if I had a body I could guard it so much BETTER.”hween Jack 3

“Oh, Jack. You are just fine the way you are,” the witch said with a kind smile as she opened the thick oak door,. The inside of the house let out a warm light and inviting smell. “Come in,” she said. “Chamomile tea I think for this time of night,” and the entered the house, together.


Charmed is either a very small book or a long story offered in eleven parts over this October, 2015, leading up to Halloween. The posts will be put up on the blog on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, October 5, 6 and 7; 12, 13, and 14; 19, 20, and 21; 26, 27, and an extra note on the 28th. If you miss a post, or want to go back to the beginning, they are easy enough to find. Just click on the archives and hween scarecrow 2select October 2015. Charmed is the only posting for the month … So after the 28th, I say to you all, Happy Halloween, you know, like scarecrows coming to life.

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