|Posted on April 6, 2019 at 11:00 AM|
“Turn around and go home, Chief,” said Cliff. I don’t want any trouble.”
“So keep your hands away from that shotgun,” said Chief Kowalski, “and there won’t be any.”
Cliff glowered at the two interlopers.
“Tell your friend to lower his rifle and come out,” said Chief. “I’m not here to arrest you. We just want to talk.”
“Think about it,” said Father Frank. “If he wanted to arrest you, why would he bring a priest?”
“I’m also about a thousand miles out of my jurisdiction,” said Chief.
Cliff looked at the tall, silver haired Chief and then at the younger, redheaded priest.
“Hey Harper, come on out.” A tall, lanky man came out of the cabin’s doorway. He stood a head taller than Cliff and had long brown hair. His face showed scars similar to his friend. He looked nervous. “Fuck it,” said Cliff. “You guys want a beer or something? You came a long way.” His sarcasm was palpable.
“Do you have any coffee?” asked Frank.
“Sure,” said Cliff. “Hey Nicole?”
A young, heavyset girl with mouse brown hair peeped around the doorway of the cabin. She looked barely old enough to be out of college. “Is everything OK?”
“Yeah,” said Cliff. “Can you put some coffee on for our guests?”
Nicole came out and looked at the cop and the priest. “I’m Nicole,” she said. “This is my place.”
“We know,” said Kowalski. The Chief reached into his motorcycle jacket and pulled out a book. “Father Frank and I just read a really interesting bit of fiction. It was so realistic, that we decided to come up here and see if the author would sign our copy.” Kowalski displayed the book’s front cover. The title read, the Acolytes by Nicole N. Volta, and the cover art depicted a hooded face with a burning building in the background.
Nicole’s hands began to tremble slightly. Cliff noticed and took one of them, guiding it to his shoulder, holding it there.
“It’s OK, babe,” Cliff said. “Just get them some coffee.”
“Black, please,” said Chief.
“Likewise,” said Frank.
Nicole quickly disappeared back into the cabin. “So that’s how you found us?” Cliff directed his attention back to the priest and the Chief.
“If you want to stay hidden,” said Chief, “you should make sure all the personnel records are destroyed before you leave. We identified most of the bodies; including ones, we found in common graves. You two just seemed to fall off the face of the planet. Then by chance, I see an ad for this bestselling book,” Chief turned the novel in his hands. “The theme struck me as familiar. You see, I was there.”
Cliff’s partial remaining eyebrow went up.
“I saw what was left of the place after the fight," said Chief. "You and your friend here were very lucky.”
“Not lucky,” said Cliff. “Smart.”
“So you know it was really werewolves?” Harper interjected.
“It was werewolves,” nodded Father Frank, “and a vampire, and a trio of demons you really don’t want on your bad side. Your so-called prophet messed with something he didn’t understand.”
“You really believe it!” Harper exclaimed. “You know the Pr- uh, Howe really came back from the dead!”
“I do,” said Frank. “I also got up close and personal with the ones who sent him back.”
Nicole brought out two cups of coffee and handed them to Frank and the Chief. Both nodded their thanks.
“So while I’m going through this book,” Chief smiled. “Father Frank here gets a phone call from a preacher friend in Flathead telling him that some people went missing. They found partially eaten remains and one living person who was acting bat shit insane! ”
Cliff and Harper looked at each other and back at Chief. Despite the disfigurement, Father Frank saw nervousness reflect on their faces.
“So I go online and look up Ms. Volta’s author bio,” Chief continued, “and sure enough!” Chief opened his arms to their surroundings.
Nicole began to cry and buried her head into Cliff’s shoulder. “I’m sorry,” she sobbed.
Cliff shushed her, “It’s OK,” he said, glaring at Chief Kowalski. “It’s not your fault. It was gonna happen at some point. I just wasn’t expecting it so soon.”
“Don’t worry,” Father Frank said to Nicole. “We aren’t here to hurt you.”
“We needed to make sure your friends here,” Chief, indicated Cliff, and Harper “aren’t up here trying to start SDS Chapter two.”
Father Frank shot a glare at Chief. Damn it, Chief! This was not supposed to be an interrogation! He thought.
“Oh holy fuck!” Cliff growled, slamming his beer down on the table. “Are you kidding me? Harp and I came up here to get away from that shit! We wanted to be as far away from ‘prophets’, demons, werewolves, and all that other shit as we could! We wrote the fucking book because our faces look like modern art masterpieces and getting a damned job in customer service is pretty much a no-go!”
“Yeah, man,” Harper nodded, his eyes far away as if watching a distant movie. “We saw those...things come over the wall. It was the most terrifying shit I ever saw! We are glad Victor Howe got sent back to Hell! We want nothing to do with any of that! We would never go back to that life!”
“Then I have some bad news,” said Father Frank. “You don’t have to go back to it. It’s coming here.”
Cliff and Harper’s faces went pale.