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And here we are, still in the middle of Hell Week... it sure is living up to its name!

Here is the second of my five entries for the week. As always, may the Idol gods be kind and generous...




Whatever you do, don’t leave this spot,” Todd said. “Don’t move a muscle and whatever you do, don’t say a single world. Don’t make a single noise. If they can’t hear you or see you, they can’t find you.”

I nod. “What about you?”

We took shelter in the middle of a pile of massive stone boulders we’d come across. They are large enough that nobody would be able to see us. Unless they walk around the stones and find the entrance to the “cave.”

“I’m going for the highway,” he says. “I’m going to get us some help and bring them back here for you.”

“Todd no,” I say. “Don’t leave me here. What if they come back.”

“They can’t see you here, Des,” he says. “You’re invisible.”

“Let’s go together.”

He shakes his head. “We can’t,” he says. “I’m faster than you. But I won’t be able to run full out if I’m having to stop to make sure you’re keeping up.”

“Please don’t leave me here, Todd,” warm tears spill down my face. I’m so fucking scared. He grabs me and hugs me tight.

“It’s the only way we’re going to get out of this, babe,” he said.

“What if they find me?”

“They won’t.”

“You can’t know that.”

“Once I start running, I’ll make enough noise to draw their attention,” he says. “They’ll be so busy chasing me that you’ll be safe. The highway is only a couple of miles from here. I can make it.”

I shake my head but his plan made sense. But that doesn’t stop the feeling of terror from flooding my body anyway.

“You’re going to be okay,” Todd says “We’re going to be okay. I’m bringing the cops back with me and we’re getting you out of here.”

My heart lurches in my chest and I feel sick to my stomach but I simply nod. He gives me another hug and a kiss on the forehead, tilting my head up so I can look him in the eye.

“We’re going to get out of this, honey,” he says.

“Be careful,” I say. “Please.”

He gives me a quick kiss on the lips and then I watch him squeeze his way between the rocks, leaving me hidden in the concealed cavity and disappears into the forest that lay beyond. The moon hangs full high in the sky and the world around me is cast in a shimmering, silvery light. I pray to whoever might be listening that he would make it to the highway safely and gets his ass back here soon.

*******


I sat in the passenger seat watching as Todd raised the hood on the car. Steam billowed out and drifted into the night sky.

“Shit,” I heard Todd say.

He walked back around and leaned in through the driver’s side window shaking his head.
“It’s fried,” he said. “Better call Auto Club.”

I pulled my cellphone out and turned it on. I looked at it and wanted to scream in frustration.

“No reception,” I said.

“Dammit,” he slams his hand down on the door.

“I’m pretty sure I saw a house back that way a little ways,” I said. “Let’s hike back and use their phone.”

We locked up the car and headed back down the road the way we’d come.

“It is sort of romantic out tonight, isn’t it?” I said, interlacing my fingers with his.
We walked along the two-lane highway, a cool evening breeze ruffling our hair. High overhead, the full moon shined down on us and the tress that lined the highway pressed close.

He laughed and squeezed my hand. “Way to find the silver lining.”

“I do what I can.”

After we’d walked a couple of miles, we found a dirt road that led up a small hill. A large house sat atop the hill and lights shone from all of the windows.

“Let’s call the cavalry,” I said.

“Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of bad movies that start this way,” Todd said.

I punched him playfully in the arm and we walked up the hill and to the front door. I rapped on the door and stepped back, linking my arm with Todd’s. After a few moments, nobody had come to the door so I stepped up and knocked again.

“Wait,” Todd said as he cocked his head. “Do you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

“Ssshhhh,” he said. “Listen.”

I strained my ears and listened, finally hearing what Todd had heard. It was faint but it sounded like chanting of some sort.

“Maybe we found some New Age retreat?” I asked.

“Maybe.”

We walked off the porch and around the house. We followed a path that led from the back door out into the woods beyond. The canopy overhead was thick and allowed very little moonlight through. But in a clearing up ahead, we saw what looked like a roaring bonfire.

“Hope we’re not messing with their chakra centers or anything,” Todd said, drawing a giggle out of me.

We stepped into the clearing and stopped, the smile dropping off of my face almost immediately. It took a moment to process what I was seeing but when I did, fear and adrenaline shot through me at the speed of light.

Twelve people in thick, dark robes with hoods pulled up over their heads stood around a raging bonfire. Beneath the hoods, the firelight glinted off of white, featureless and androgynous masks. In the center of the bonfire were the remains of what looked to have once been a woman, tied to a large poll. The body was smoking and charred beyond all recognition. On a large rock next to the fire, another woman had been tied in a spread eagle position. She’d been sliced open from pelvis to throat. The blood that saturated the rock gleamed in the firelight.

“What the fuck is going on?” Todd asked.

All twelve heads turned in our direction sending cold chills down my spine.

“Todd, we need to get out of hear.”

Moving nearly as one, all twelve masked people drew long, wicked looking knives from the folds of their robes and advanced on us.

“Run!” Todd pushed me ahead of him and we ran back down the path we’d come from.

The sound of voices yelling and cursing as well as the sound of footsteps crashing through the undergrowth.

“Run, Des,” Todd said. “Keep going, don’t stop.”

We made it back down the hill but rather than head back for the car, Todd urged me to cross the road and down a small embankment and into the forest. The voices were still behind us though they seemed somewhat more distant. We kept running. And running. And running some more. I was exhausted, breathing heavily and sweating profusely.

I stopped next to a massive rockpile, leaned against the stones and tried to catch my breath. Todd was winded but not nearly as bad as I was.

“I can’t keep going,” I gasped.

Todd disappeared around the rocks and came back to me. Without a word, he pulled me along with him around the rocks and pushed me toward a small, concealed crevice.

“Go,” he said. “In there. We can hide in there.”

We squeezed through the rocks and found ourselves in a small cavity in between them all. It was a bit of a tight fit but we were practically invisible. We’d just sat down when we heard footsteps crunching through the undergrowth around us. Todd clamped his hand over my face and put his finger to his lips. I nodded and held my breath as best as I could.

We sat there, huddled together for I don’t know how long. Eventually, the voices and the footsteps faded away, leaving us in the cold night air alone. I was beat. My legs were cramping and my chest hurt. I didn’t know what I was going to do if we were forced to run again. I didn’t think I could.

But Todd looked me in the eye and I knew he had a plan.

Whatever you do, don’t leave this spot,” Todd said. “Don’t move a muscle and whatever you do, don’t say a single world. Don’t make a single noise. If they can’t hear you or see you, they can’t find you.”



*******



Todd has been gone for more than two hours. I’m scared out of my mind and just know that something bad happened to him. I choke back my tears and try to make myself think.

“Get ahold of yourself,” I whisper.

It’s then that I feel the hairs on the back of my neck standing up on end. I feel eyes on me. I look up and there they are. Three of them, still in their robes and masks standing on the rocks above me. I scream and squeeze myself out of the rocks and plunge into the night once again. My feet crunch over branches and rocks and I almost tumble several times. I can hear them behind me but I can also hear that they are fading. I’m putting some distance between us.

I run and keep running. My breathing is labored and I don’t know how much longer I can go on when I burst through the forest and on to the highway, pinned in a pair of headlights. I scream and try to duck to the side but the truck swerves and misses me. I move fast and open the passenger side door.

“Please, mister,” I gasp. “There are people after me. You have to help me.”

He nods and I close the door. He guns the engine and we rocket down the highway. Eventually my breathing evens out and my heart slows a beat or two.

“Thank you,” I say. “You saved my life.”

And that’s when I notice that on the seat between us lay a white, featureless, androgynous mask. He looks over at me and smiles.

“Lady, this just ain’t your lucky night.”




This has been my entry for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol Season 8, Topic 36B: Artifice. Thank you guys so freaking much for keeping me in the game this long. I have no idea what to expect this week so I guess you'll find out right along with me! Thank you SO much for your support over these crazy months!!!

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October 2012

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