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Chapter 2

     The Story The Authors
Officer Hickey paused with a flaming habenero half way to his bearded maw when he saw Geraldine and Adam take off back into the cemetary. Wiping his burning lips on the cuff of his uniform he sighed deeply and grabbed at the police radio with hairy sausage like fingers.
"Code blue Sector seven." he huffed heavily into the mike. "Roger, that"
Now some fun, he thought as he pulled out his heavy flashlight from his utility belt. As he strolled into the cemetary he whistled a spritely tune. And as if all the other stuff tonight hadn't been enough excitement.
He took up his gun and aimed... Not that he meant to shoot; he wasn't an evil man. Just a bit ticked off. Having been burnt, that was understandable. A little to the left... just graze Adam... give him something to think about... Steven
And, think he did. Because he knew deep in his heart that six years ago he made a deal with the local mob boss. His end of the deal was due. Salvitor would not be so forgiven, and niether would Juan Luca, not to mention Vince the Knife, or Tony the Big Toe. So he did what he had to do. Paul
Oh the scenarios Officer Hickey played in his mind as he sauntered into the depths of the boneyard in search of the errant teens. If things had worked out differently he could've been on the other side of the law, a tried and true mafioso. It certainly would be more exciting than his life up to now. At least until what was going down tonight. But of course, no one could know about that. Being a small town new England cop was so fucking boring. Graffiti, vandalism, truancy and the occasional drunk or speeding driver were about all he had to get him out of bed in the morning, and sometimes not even that much. Now as Summer waned into Fall he wouldn't even have a weekend backyard kegger or two to bust up. Once tonight's activities were concluded it'd be a life of too much coffee and clock watching for a long while. But Assistant Principal Hadley was right. There were some things going on that not everyone should know about.
No matter what that took.
He Followed Geraldine And Adam Into The Old Section Of The Graveyard, Making No Sound Even On The Crunchy Leaves As He'd Learned To Do When He Was A Boy In The Boy Scouts. He Saw Them Open The Door Of A Crypt Set Into The Hillside And Enter It. He Heard The Scrapy Sound Of Metal On Metal. Jesse

....Meawhile, at the opposite end of the cemetery, down along the banks of Black Creek, Assistant Principal Hadley was overseeing a most unnnatural nocturnal excavation.
He lit yet another Lucky and tried to hold the flashlight a steady as he could with shakey hands. Listening intently to the shuuk of the shovel in the soft earth along the banks. They'd been at it for nearly an hour now and the hole was already four feet deep. It had to be the right spot though. Almost three hundred and fifty years changes a lot of landscape but this place fit the description to a "t".

"It lies buryd in thee deepe earthe nie ov thee Blaque Streeme downe thee dirte thee lengt ov one mair's knee. Walk ye two hunderd places du east of Lars Ginchels mortal remanes to thee Blaque Streeme and mark ye a spot where Balde Mountane lines with thee steeple and a great stone is cloven by God. Digge ye there if ye must. Maye Gods benevolant Mercy falle upon ye
Phergus Saarg 1673

he'd done the research himself. He'd studied the maps and measured the lengths. Plotted the old town from contemporary accounts. He'd done the surveying. Mapped the coordinates of where the first church in Tollisville had stood. It had to be here.

His lust for riches has ever been recalcitrant. This quest would finally quench his eternal thirst. It has been a long time since the Melbourne incident had taken his wife. In some sick way he felt this would set things right. Paul
Well, maybe not totaly right, but it would at least make it easier to replace her. He watched Joe the school janitor heave another shovelfull of dark earth out of the hole. His silence was guaranteed. spackle
Geraldine and Adam watched the Assistant Principal from behind two headstones.

Rebecca Fitzgibbons
Beloved Wife
1683 - 1725

Homer Fitzgibbons
Devoted Husband
1680 - 1730

"What are they doing?" Adam whispered.
"Digging a whole." Geraldine answered flatly.
"Well that much I can see."
Geraldine held her hand up to Adam, indicating that he should be quiet now. The two teenagers were unaware that they were also being watched from the shadows behind them.
"Can't you dig any faster?" Hadley demanded of Joe and just as Joe was about to let Hadley know what he could do with his shovel, the shovel struck something hard in the hole with a loud thump.

Hadley cried out, "That's my foot you moron!. Keep digging, and watch my feet. I knew I should have done this myself. Why would I ever bring you along. Idiot!" Adam could not contain the laughter. Hadley quickly muffled his laughs with an open palm. They both ducked down, for fear of being caught. Geraldine whispered, "If they hear us, they'll make us drink tea again." The moron looked up. Paul
"Tea again?" He always secretly liked having tea, but dare not share it with Geraldine. She was the toughest, stongest girl he knew. She would even stick up to the Mad Man Max, ruler of the haunted house. Andrea
"Do you have any cream, perchance?" he asked hesitantly. Geraldine fixed her steely glare on him and said, "I'll be right back." As he sat in silence, a raucous lowing and the sound of jingling bells erupted from the kitchen. Suddenly, the door opened, revealing Geraldine carrying a cow, upside down, legs flailing in the air. She slammed the cow down on the table with a resounding thud. "Ya gotta milk 'em upside down to get the cream to rise to the top." she grunted. The cow looked up dumbly at him as if to say, "You know, it really sucks being me." Geraldine grabbed his cup, gripped one of the cow's teats in her other hand, and not too gently, squeezed a few teaspoonfulls of unpasteurized dairy product into his cup. Hoisting the cow back up on her shoulders, Geraldine made her way to the door. As she did, he sipped the tea, thought about it for a moment, and called after her, "Would it be too much trouble to ask for sugar?" It was then that he realized why not even Mad Man Max messed with Geraldine. As she levitated two feet off of the ground, her hair changing to a tangled mass of writhing snakes, eyes flashing a murderous orange, a forked purple tongue stabbing the air, he made his final, fatal mistake. "Could you bring me back a biscotte or two?" Abe Frohman
Suddenly SNAP!!! Geraldine and Adam were back in the graveyard. "What happened to the men digging a hole?" asked Geraldine. "What men?" said Adam surprisedly. Geraldine realized she had been (hallucinating, getting visions, or WHATEVER she was doing). Well at least that explained why Geraldine was not a monster anymore. She had never been a monster after all. Just when Geraldine decided things couldn't get any stranger, Carolyn
"My name is Geraldine," she whispered fiercely to herself. "So don't call me Frankenstein." Philip
Asst. Pricipal Hadley was growing impatient. "Can't you dig any faster? We don't have all night you know." Joe looked up at him with rhuemy eyes, "You're welcome to give it a try yourself if you can do it any better."
They glared at each other. From someplace behind where Geraldine and Adam were hiding came the sound of rustling leaves and soft hoarse singing. Asst. Principal Hadley jumped. "Oh relax Hadley, it's just Muff Potter. He'll be too drunk to remember anything. And if he does who's gonna believe the town drunk." Hadley wasn't about to be soothed. "Well, how the fuck did he get in here? That's Hickey's job. the incompetent boob."
"Well, why don't you go find Hickey and tell him to get Potter out of here and let me dig this fucking hole!" Joe said, gritting his teeth and trying not to shout.
"Yeah, that's just what I'm going to do."

"He's headed this way!" Geraldine whispered.
"Stay low," said Adam. "It's dark enough that he probably won't see us."

"Hey!" yelled Assistant Principal Hadley. "There's two kids here!"
"Oops," said Adam, "I was wrong."
Geraldine decided to run for it. She ran - straight into Joe's legs. "Whooah!" said Joe, and he fell into the hole he had been digging. Suddenly there was a strange scream. Geraldine rushed to the hole.
There was nothing there. Not even Joe.
Geraldine was very surprised. "My name is Geraldine so don't call me magician," she mumbled. "I can't make people disappear. So what the heck is going on here?"
Adam suddenly bumped into Geraldine and they both fell into the hole. That wasn't too weird. The weird part was that they were still falling quickly after ten seconds. And the hole had appeared to be only six feet deep.
"Fucking idiots!" cursed Assistant Principal Hadley. "No matter what you do, someone can be trusted to come along and fuck it up!"
He lit a cigarette and exhaled savagely into the damp night air, then peered over the edge of the hole and looked hard at the illusory dirt bottom, hard as he'd ever looked at anything, as if his eyes might through sheer force and intent tear through the mysterious veil to see what lay on the other side. They'd thrown ten test subjects in already, one a night for the last ten nights but they'd all been human fodder, a bunch of Sonoran wetbacks Officer Hickey had found working the fields over on the Barr plantation for a dollar fifty a day. He'd worked out a deal with Old Man Barr... You don't say nothin', neither do we... Anyway, not a one of them had emerged from the hole alive, but well, no one was going to come looking for them when they didn't appear at the breakfast table tomorrow morning before school. Adam and Geraldine, of all the ! And even Joe had a wife and kid...
Assistant Principal Hadley, on the other hand, was a confirmed bachelor with a good many skeletons in his closet, and the last thing he wanted was to be around in the event questions began to be asked. There was really only one thing for him to do, then. One chance to avert total ruin...
He flung his cigarette into the gurgling, oily ribbon of Black Creek, rolled up his sleeves with a great, slow deliberation, and jumped into the hole.
The first thing he saw was the bottom of the hole giving way just before he hit it, to a seemingly endless hole. The sides changed to a strange white wood that Assistant Principal Hadley had never seen before. After about five minutes he landed on a surprisingly soft mat. He saw some writing in the wood stuff.

Terry Sjalk was here, October 19, 1999

Vandalism! thought the shocked Assistant Principal Hadley. But there was more so he read on.

Wandis Alga was here, October 20
Gideon Logg, October 21
Carvey Gissel, October 22
Ofilia Algakad, October 23
Nola L., October 24
Leopoldo Liss, October 25
Tecla Lakk, October 26
Nestor Lagak, October 27
Halbert Skla, October 28
Joe, October 29

Assistant Principal Hadley was shocked. These were all the people he had thrown into the pit! He looked around. They must have gone through the small corridor to his right. He was about to follow when he noticed two seventeen-year-olds writing:

Geraldine Gombrowicz, October 29
Adam Aokagakkle, October 29

Beads of perspiration were rapidly forming on his balding pate. They're all here, he thought, every last one of them. Hands quivering, he reached into the inside of his suit jacket and withdrew the time-beaten leather book that had been his written memory for so many years. Opening the worn pages, he read the names and matched them with those inscribed upon the walls. The same. Each one. Fear gripped him in its icy vise. If they are here, then so must be the others. All the others. He must stop them before it was too late, before the world learned the truth. About Amelia Earhardt. Glenn Miller. Elvis. D.B. Cooper. Jimmy Hoffa. Abe Frohman
Wait a minute, thought Assistant Principal Hadley. Amelia Earhardt, Glen Miller, Elvis, DB Cooper, and Jimmy Hoffa had never lived in this city. Why would I think they would be down here? He decided that he had been confused and it was just him, Geraldine, Adam, Joe, and those ten other people who had written their names on the wall.
He experimentally put his finger on the wall. It was surprisingly soft, probably not wood at all. When he lifted his finger, there was a dark spot on the wall. He checked his finger. It was normal. Not dirty at all. Hmmmmm..........
Geraldine and Adam, having finished writing their names, looked up. "Oh hi," said Geraldine, "we didn't notice you were here. Want to come with us?"
"Oh all right," said Assistant Principal Hadley. He didn't want to be alone, and since there was only one way to go, it seemed the logical thing to do.
Retrieving a sack of bagels from his left pants pocket he offered a bagel to each of them. vanblah
Susie said that she didn't want one, and then a vicious alien leaped out of his nose and bit off her finger. George said he didn't want one and an alien leaped out of the bagel bag and slowly ate his big toe. Bob said he wanted one and another alien went after him for lying. Sue
Geraldine's visions had been continuing subconsciously, only occasionally they would bubble to the surface. While concentrating on her calligraphic technique the sound of Hadley's footsteps had no doubt made the slightest impression on her ear drums. She was slightly hungry after all. Dinner had been a long time ago. The prospect of Hadley approaching and congenially offering some nourishment and then releasing flesh eating aliens when rebuffed was definately a plausible theme in the psychoanalysis of this young woman. But then, what would Freud have said about Hadley offering bagels instead of, say, cucumbers? Her temporary reverie was immediatlely broken by the arrogant, self satisfied sound of a familiar voice. Chris
"Well, well, well," said Assistant Principal Hadley. "And what have we here?"
Adam and Geraldine looked up suddenly from the wall they were tagging, saw the Assistant Principal, and simultaneously dropped their magic markers, sprang up, and raced on down the gloaming darkness of one of the tunnels which Assistant Principal Hadley saw, as his eyes adjusted to the rather peculiar lighting of the place, ran out of the chamber he stood in, seemingly in all directions.
"Wait!" he called. "You pesky little shits! Don't make me chase you! Don't you fucking dare." He shook his fist in the air as their footsteps faded away.
moaned the unfortunate Muff Potter. Officer Hickey had him by the legs dangling him into the hole. "What do you see Potter? Are they down there? Answer me you stupid fuck!"
"Shut the fuck up, and tell me what you see."
"Nothiiiiiing. An' all the blood's rushin' to mah haid. AAAARUUUU
"Well, go and find them then." And Hickey let him go.
Hadley sniffed the air for the juicy scent of adolescent and lit up a Lucky. Damn, he only had about four left. He'd have to conserve and god help those kids when he ran out.
Brandishing his heavy flashlight like a club he started down the corridor. In the distance he could hear the echoey clack of teenage footfalls scampering away. let the little shits run. He'd find them. Or something else would. Saarg had been rather unclear of what exactly was in the hole. Something "evile and wikked" and something "ov grate valu" were all his research had unearthed. But whatever it was it was his to claim. And no meddling kids were gonna deprive him of his glory.
Geraldine and Adam slowed their pace to a jog, then a walk. Then they stopped. They had come to a huge door. Strange noises came from the other side.
"Should we go in?" asked Geraldine.
Adam was in some kind of trance. "Ordella Giraldalulie Ferrelargus Serilda Hadwin," he said dazedly.
"What?" asked Geraldine.
Adam said nothing. Geraldine could only hear the strange noises. When she listened closely they sounded like voices. "Ordella Geraldalulie Ferrelargus Serilda Hadwin..."
Geraldine suddenly realized she was whispering to herself, "Ordella Geral -" She stopped herself. "My name is Geraldine so don't call me Ferplargius. Or whatever that was." Something very strange was going on here...
Muff Potter landed with a resounding thud on the soft mat. He shook his head brought his vision back to the singular. That Wild Turkey still had a grip on him. As he gathered his wits about him, he noticed Assistant Principal Hadley stuffing something back into a bagel bag and then stuffing the bagel bag back into his coat pocket.
"Oh," he said, clearing his throat. "What are you doing here?" he asked in the way that a man of Hadley's social status would speak to a town drunk.
"I came to find the kids." Muff Potter answered, clamboring to his feet.
"Well, good, you can help me then. They went down that passageway. Go get them and bring them back here."
Muff gazed down the passageway. "What's that wierd light coming from?"
"You're already a stinking drunk, don't be a coward as well!" Hadley admonished.
Muff hestitated, still gazing down the spooky passageway.
"What's all that wierd chanting?"
"For God's sake, man! Can't you even perform a simple task? Go and get them before you feel my boot!"
Muff heaved a desperate sigh and set off down the passageway, after all a man of his social position had nothing to lose.
Muff suddenly came to a door. There was chanting behind it. Adam was chanting too. And Geraldine was resisting, but losing ground fast. "My Ordel - no, my name is Ordella Gir - no, name is Geraldine Ordella Giralda - no, Geraldine so don't Ordella Giraldalulie - no, so don't call Ordella Giraldalulie Ferrel - no, don't call me Ordella Giraldalulie Ferrelargus - no, don't call me hypmotized by Ordella Giraldalulie Ferrelargus Seril - no, hypmotized by all this Ordella Giraldalulie Ferrelargus Serilda Had - no, all this weird Ordella Giraldalulie Ferrelargus Serilda Hadwin..." and with that her eyes glazed over and she started chanting along with Adam, "Ordella Giraldalulie Ferrelargus Serilda Hadwin, Ordella Giraldalulie Ferrelargus Serilda Hadwin..." Carolyn
Full stop, paragraph. The cadence of the chanting caused Muff no small anxiety, as he or she was susceptible to the mesmerizing drone to the point of true anguish. Nostradorkus
Fortunately for Muff Potter, the Wild Turkey was still in coursing through his veins and made him immune to the hypnotic effect of the chanting.
"Hey, you two kids gotta come with me." He said, taking them both by an arm. But the two teenagers stood fast and continued chanting. "I mean it, c'mon." He said, yanking at their arms. But they held their ground. Muff stopped to think for a moment and decided he'd better remove them one at a time. He scooped up Geraldine first and slinging her over his shoulder he carried back to where Hadley was waiting. He dropped her at Hadley's feet and returned for Adam. But when he got back to the door the chanting had stopped and Adam was nowhere to be seen.
Where on earth could he be? Muff began to run around helplessly. Then he heard a fine whispering voice: "Fly and flee - then you will see". He stopped running and tried to understand. Oskar
Above him the sky was turning a sick shade of green, but he did not notice until Buster
much later on. He tried the door and it was unlocked so he opened it and entered the next room. It was dark and dank. He could hear water dripping in the distance. The ground felt slimey beneath his feet. Muff Potter extracted a flask of Wild Turkey from his hip pocket and took a long draught. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve and replaced the flask in his pocket. There seemed to be a spotlight shining in the center of the room. Muff made his way towards the light. When he was close enough, he saw that the light was shining on a small object on the slimey floor. Muff got down on his knees to get a better look at the object in the light. He rubbed his eyes to bring them into sharp focus and saw that the object was a large cockroach with a wooden leg. It was wearing a black silk top hat and carrying a cane. Muff pulled out his flask again and poured every last drop down his throat. cuddles
"My name iz Gregor, und I vill be your maitre'de dis effenink. Vould sir like a table?" hissed the dapper cockroach, "Ze floorshow, she is about to be beginink."
Muff dropped the flask which hit the floor with loud clank. Gregor's antennae waggled a bit and snapped with the end of one of his forelegs. The empty flask was immediately picked up and carted off into the darkeness by several large dungbeetles in aprons. "Pardon me sir, but no outside bever-ages allowed." Gregor hissed. Muff with slack jawed fear allowed himself to be led to a small table next to the kitchen door. All around him he could make out in the dimmness other tables and vague dark multilimbed patrons. The air was alive with conversations carried out in clicks, hisses and shrill cicada whines.
The band began a vamp. The floorshow was about to start.
A tiny spotlight illuminated a mousehole along the grimy baseboards. Out of this hole emerged a shape a form not quite yet distinct, a wisp of smoke of a form accompanied by a voice, high and keening, which took up the aprons-strings of the song the orchestra was playing and tied them into the incomprehensible knots of Chinese sailors:

Oh I could en-fold you
In the arc of my forelegs
And I've always got more legs
If one happen to break (break, break)

Some come gently sub-mit
To the whims of my thorax
Taste what your human core lacks
That unbearable ache (break, break)

And when I've got you pinned and wriggling in the nude
I'll treat you to the kisses of my man-di-bles
You'll know the ec-stacy of shared insectitude
(In no time flat we'll work off those love-handibles!)

I'll be your insect queen
And while you toil at your live-li-hood
I'll fill our home sweet hive-li-hood
With endless litters of larvae...

Potter stared at the chanteuse in horror, frantically mopping his sweat-beglistened brow with a handkerchief. He had always had a horror of insects, ever since he was a lad; those invisible empires, more numerous than mankind, ants with their language of scents, cockroaches none-too-meekly awaiting their Biblical inheritance, mosquitoes latticing the planet with malaria, feisty tapeworms, stink-bugs, ticks everywhere, and ever-threatening your house, your vegetables, your health... And now, this one, singing to him, swaying on that slender, segmented length of body like a cobra, her hundred pairs of legs wriggling in time with the languid ooze of the music... He thought he might be sick.
"Bon Appetit, Monsieur..." With a bow and a flourish, Gregor placed a covered dish on the table before him as the emcee a tuxedo'd aphid stepped up to the stage. "Ladies, gentlemen, and drones a warm round of applause for Miss Sylvia Centipede!" Gregor removed the lid of the dish. Potter stared at the stage, horror-struck. His booze-sodden stomach growled in hunger at the fragrant steam rising from the dish. Without taking his eyes from the stage he placed a forkful of the dish's contents in his mouth and began to chew... At least they could cook here, even if they did know how to ruin a guy's appetite before he even got started, with this freakshow business up there... God, I hate bugs... And, lost in thought as he was, with Sylvia launched into a sultry new number up on stage, it wasn't until he'd consumed nearly the entire dish of food that he thought to look down and see just what the sumptuous fare he'd been eating was. And there were still an even dozen grubs left on the plate to greet his goggle-eyed stare with their moist, segmented bodies, still steaming just a bit...