Sunday, May 19, 2019
Night World : Daughters of Darkness Chapter 8
She waited some other hour after he set off down theroad, heading east-doing what, she had no idea. thitherwas energy that way except two creeks andlots of trees. And her house. She hoped he was goingto tryto walk into town, and that he didnt realize how far it was. every live(predicate) right, hes g wholeness, now forget ab issue him. Youvegot a job to do, remember? A s aeri bothy dangerous one.And hes non involved. I dont believe he knows boththing ab come in what happened to Mrs. B.She got the spadeful and started down the road west.As she walked she found that she was able to define alter out of her understanding completely. Because every last(predicate) she could think of was what was waiting ahead.Im non s perplexityd to do it Im non scared, Im notscared. OfcourseIm scared. still being scared was good, it would make her careful. She would do this job quickly and quietly. Inthrough the cracking in the hedge, a little fast work with the shovel, out again before anyb ody sawing machine her.She time-tested not to picture what she was going to findwith that shovel if she was right.She approachedBurdock Farm conservatively, going north and then doubling screen southeast to come inthrough the back property. The farmland had gone wild here, taken oer by poison oak, beargrass, anddodder, besides the inevitable blackberry bushes and gorse. Tan oaks and chinquapins were abject in.Sometime soon these pastures would be forest.Im not sure I believe Im doing this, MaryLynnette thought as she stretched the hedge that surrounded thegarden. But the grotesque thing was that she didbelieve it. She was going to vandalize a neighbors propertyand probably picture at a gone bodyand she was surprisingly cool about it. Scared but not panicked.mayhap there was more secret at heart her than she realized.I may not be who Ive endlessly thought I am.The garden was phantasm and fragrant. It wasnt theirises and daffodils Mrs. B. had planted it wasnt thefireweed and bleeding heart that were growing wild. It was the bums.Mary-Lynnette stuck to the perimeter of the hedge,eyes on the tall, upright silhouette of the farmhouse.There were only two windows lit.Please dont let them understand me and please dont letme make a noise.Still feel at the house, she walked slowly, taking careful baby tinctures to the place where the earth wasdisturbed. The first couple of swipes with the shovel only locomote the soil.Okay. Put a little conviction in it. And dont watch the house theres no point. If they look out, theyregoing to enamor you, and theres nothing you can do about it.Just as she tack together her foot on the shovel, somethingwent hooshin the rhododendrons behind her.Crouched everywhere her shovel,Mary-Lynnette froze.Stop worrying, she told herself. Thats not the sisters. Its not Ash coming back. Thats an animal.She listened. A mournful maaaa came from the goat shed.It wasnt anything. It was a rabbit. DigShe got out a spadeful of dirt-and then she heardit again.Hoosh.A sniffly sound. thus a rustling. Definitely an animal. But if it was a rabbit, it was an awfully loud one.Who cares what it is? Mary-Lynnette told herself.There arent any dangerous animalsout here. And Imnot afraid of the dark. Its my natural habitat. I love the night.But tonight, somehow, she felt differently. Maybe it was just the scene with Ash that had shaken her,made her feel confused and discontented. But just now she felt almost as if something was trying to tellher that the dark wasnt any humans natural habitat. That she wasnt built for it, with her weak eyes andher insensitive ears and stifle nose. That she didnt be enormous.Hoosh.I may hold back rotten hearing, but I can hearthatjustfine. And its big. Something bigs sniffing around inbushes.What material body of big animal could be out here? Itwasnt a deer deer went snort-wheeze. It sounded largerthan a coyote, taller. A bear?Then she heard a different sound the vigorousshaking of dry, l eathery rhododendron leaves. In the film overlight from the house she couldseethe branches churning as something tried to emerge.its coming out.Mary-Lynnette clutched her shovel and ran. Nottoward the gap in the hedge, not toward the housetheywere both in like manner dangerous. She ran to the goat shed.I can defend myself in here-keep it outhit itwith the shovel.The problem was that she couldnt see from in here.There were two windows in the shed, but betweendirt on the fruitcake and the darkness outside, Mary-Lynnette couldnt make out anything. She couldntevensee the goats, although she could hear them.Dont turn on the penlight. Itll just give awayyour position. safekeeping absolutely still, she strained tohear any thing from outside.Nothing.Her nostrils were full of goat. The layers of oat straw and decomposing droppings on the floor weresmelly, and they unplowed the shed too warm. Her palms were sweating as she gripped the shovel.Ive never hit anybody not since dent and Iwer e kids fighting but, heck, I kicked a strangerthismorning .She hoped the potential for violence would comeout now when she driveed it.A goat nudged her shoulder.Mary-Lynnette shrugged it away. The other goat bleated suddenlyand shebit her lip.Oh, God-I heard something out there. The goatheard it, too.She could taste her bitten lip. It was wish well sucking on a penny. Blood tasted like copper, which, sherealizedsuddenly, tasted like apprehension.Something turn outed the shed door.What happened then was that Mary-Lynnette Something unholy was after her. Something thatsniffed like an animal but could open doors like ahuman.She couldnt see what it was-just a shadowdarkness against darkness. She didnt think ofturning on thepenlight-her only impulse was to smash out with the shovel now, to get ft before ft could get her. She wastingling with the instinct forpure, primordial violence.Instead, she managed to hiss, Who is ft? Whosthere?A familiar voice said,Iknew you were going to do t his. Ive been lookingeverywherefor you.Oh,God, soft touch. Mary-Lynnette sagged against wall of the shed, letting go of the shovel.The goats were both bleating. Mary-Lynnettes earswere ringing. augury shuffled far in.Jeez, this place smells. What are you doing inhere?Youjerk,Mary-Lynnette said. I almost brained you0You said you were forgetting all this crazy stuff. You be to me.Mark, you dont We can talk later. Did you hearanything out there? She was trying togather her thoughts.Like what? He was so calm. It made MaryLynnette feel vaguely foolish. Then his voicesharpened. Like a yowling?No. Like a snuffling. Mary-Lynnettes breath was slowing.I didnt hear anything. Wed better get out ofhere. What are we supposed to say if don comesout?Mary-Lynnette didnt know how to answer that. Mark was in a different earthly concern, a happy, shiny worldwhere the worst that could happen tonight was embarrassment.Finally she said Mark, listen to me. Im your sister. I dont have any priming coa t to lie to you, or playtrickson you, or enjoin down somebody you like. AndI dont just jump to conclusions I dont imagine things. ButIm telling you, absolutely seriously,that there is something weird going on with these lady friends.Mark undetermined his mouth, but she went on relentlessly. So now there are only two things you canbelieve, and one is that Im completely out of mymind, and the other is that its true. Do you really thinkIm crazy?She was thinking of the past as she said it, of allthe nights theyd held on to each other when their motherwassick, of the books shed read out loud tohim, of the times shed put Band-Aids on his scrapes andextra cookies in his lunch. And somehow, even though it was dark, she could sense that Mark wasremembering, too. Theyd shared so much. They would always be connected.Finally Mark said quietly, Youre not crazy.Thank you.But I dont know what to think. bear wouldnt hurtanybody. I justknow that. And since I met her, .Hepaused. Mare, its like now I know why Im alive.Shes different from any girl Ive ever known.Shes ____ shes so brave, and so funny, and so herself.And I thought it was the blond hair, MaryLynnette thought. Shows how shallow I am.She was moved and surprised by the change in Mark-but mostly she was frightened. Frightenedsick.Her cranky, cynical brother had found somebody to care about at last and the girl was probablydescended from Lucrezia Borgia.And now, even though she couldnt see him, shecould hear yearning appeal in his voice. Mare, cant wejust go home?Mary-Lynnette felt sicker.She broke off and they both snapped their heads to look at the shed window. Outside a light had goneon.Shut the door, Mary-Lynnette hissed, in a looking that made Mark dose the door to the shedinstantly.And be quiet,- she added, grabbing his arm and pulling him next to the wall. She lookedcautiously out the window.Rowan came out of the back door first, followedbyjade,followed by kestrel. sparrow hawk had a shovel.Oh. My. God.Wha ts happening? Mark said, trying to get alook. Mary-Lynnette damped a hand over hismouth.What was happening was that the girls were digging up the garden again.She didnt see anything wrapped in garbage bags this time. So what were they doing? Destroying theevidence? Were they going to take it into the houseand burn it, chop it up?Her heart was pounding madly.Mark had scooted up and was looking out. MaryLynnette heard him take a breath-and then choke.Maybe he was trying to think of an innocent explanation for this. She squeezed his shoulder.They both watched as the girls took turns with theshovel. Mary-Lynnette was impressed all over againathow strong they were. Jade looked so fragile. all(prenominal) time one of the sisters glanced around the garden, Mary-Lynnettes heart skipped a beat. Dontsee us, dont hear us, dont catch us, she thought.When a respectable mound of dirt had piled up, Rowan and kestrel reached into the hole. They liftedout the long garbage-bagged bundle Mary-Lynnett ehad seen before. It seemed to be stiff-and surprisingly light.For the first time, Mary-Lynnette wondered if it was too light to be a body. Or too stiff how longdidrigor mortis last?Marks living was irregular, almost wheezing.The girls were carrying the bundle to the gap inthehedge.Mark cursed. Mary-Lynnettes brain was racing. She hissed,Mark, stick here. Im going to follow them-Im going with youYou have to tell Dad if anything happens tome-Im going withyou.There wasnt time to argue. And something inside Mary-Lynnette was glad to have Marks strength toback her.She gasped, Come on, then. And dont make asound.She was worried they might have already lost the sistersit was such a dark night. But when she andMark squeezed through the gap in the rhododendron bushes, she saw a light ahead. A tiny, bobbingwhite light. The sisters were using a flashlight.Keep quiet, move carefully. Mary-Lynnette didntdare say it out loud to Mark, but she kept thinking itover and over, like a mantra. Her w hole consciousness was stock-still on the little shaft of light that wasleading them, like a comets tail in the darkness.The light took them south, into a stand of Douglasfir. It wasnt long before they were walking into forest.Where are they going? Mary-Lynnette thought. She could feel fine tremors in her muscles as she tried tomove as quickly as possible without making a sound. They were well-to-dothe floor of this forest wascarpeted with needles from Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine. The needles were fragrant and slightly dampand they muffled footsteps. Mary-Lynnette could hardly hear Mark walking behind her except when hehurt himself.They went on for what seemed like forever. It was be given dark and Mary-Lynnette very quickly lost anysense of where they were. Or how they were going to get back.Oh, God, I was crazy to do this-and to sustain Markalong, too. Were out in the middle of the woodswiththree crazy girls.The light had stopped.Mary-Lynnette stopped, holding out an arm th atMark immediately ran into. She was staring at thelight,trying to make sure it really wasnt moving away.No. It was steady. It was pointed at the ground.Lets get loser, Mark whispered, putt his lips against Mary-Lynnettes ear. She nodded andbegan to creep toward the light, as slowly and silently asshe knew how. Every few steps she paused andstood absolutely still, waiting to see if the light was going to turn her way.It didnt. She got down and crawled the last ten feet to the edge of the clearing where the girls hadstopped. Once there, she had a good view of what they were doing.Digging. Kestrel had shoveled the pine needles out and was working on a hole.Mary-Lynnette felt Mark crawl up beside her,crushing sword fern and woodfem. She could feel hischest heaving. She knew he saw what she saw.Im so sorry. Oh, Mark, Im so sorry.There was no way to deny it now. Mary-Lynnetteknew. She didnt even need to look in the bag.How am I going to find this place again? When I bring the sheriff ba ck, how am I going to remember it?Its like a maze in one of those ready reckoner fantasy games-Mixed Evergreen Forest in every direction,andnothing to distinguish any bit of it from any other bit.She chewed her lip. The bed of moist needles she was lying on was soft and springy-actuallycomfortable. They could wait here for a long time, until the sisters left, and then mark the trees somehow.Takephotographs. Tie their socks to branches.In the clearing the flashlight circulate showed a hand putting down the shovel. Then Rowan and Kestrelliftedthe garbage-bagged bundle-Jade must beholding the flashlight, Mary-Lynnette thought-and lowered itinto the hole.Good. Now cover it up and leave.The beam showed Rowan bending to pick up the shovel again. She began quickly covering the hole withdirt. Mary-Lynnette was happy. Over soon, she thought, and let out a soft breath of relief.And in that instant everything in the clearingchanged.The flashlight beam swung wildly. Mary-Lynnette shape herse lf, feeling her eyes widen. She could seea silhouette against the light-golden hair haloed around the face. Kestrel. Kestrel was standing, facingMark and Mary-Lynnette, her body tense and still. Listening. Listening.Mary-Lynnette lay absolutely motionless, mouthopen, trying to breathe without making a soundTherewere things crawling in the soft, springy needlebed under her. Centipedes and millipedes. She didntdaremove even when she felt something tickle acrossher back under her shirt.Her own ears rang from listening. But the forest was silent eerily dent. All Mary-Lynnette couldhearwas her own heart pounding wildly in herchest-although ft felt as if it were in her throat, too.It made herhead bob with its rhythm.She was afraid.And it wasnt just fear. It was something shecouldnt remember experiencing since she was nineor ten.Ghost fear. The fear of something youre not even sure exists.Somehow, watching Kestrels silhouette In the dark woods, Mary-Lynnette was afraid of monsters.Shehad aterrible,terrible feeling.Oh, pleaseI shouldnt have brought Mark here.It was then that she realized that Marks breathing was making a noise. Just a unclouded sound, not a whistling,more like a cat purring. It was the sound hed made as a kid when his lungs were bad.Kestrel stiffened, her head turning, as if to locate a noise.Oh, Mark, no. Dont breathe. Hold your breath-Everything happened very fast.Kestrel sprang forward. Mary-Lynnette saw her silhouette come running and jumping with unbelievablespeed. Toofast-nobody moves thatfast .. .nobody human.What are these girls?Her sight came in flashes,as if she were under a strobe light. Kestrel jumping. Dark trees all around. Amoth caught in the beam.Kestrel coming down.Protect markA deer. Kestrel was coming down on a deer. Mary-Lynnettes mind was fill up with jumbled, careeningimages. Images that didnt make sense. She had a wild thought that it wasnt Kestrel at all, but one ofthose bird of prey dinosaurs shed seen at the movies. Beca use Kestrel moved like that.Or maybe ftwasnt a deer-but Mary-Lynnette could seethe white at its throat, as pure as a lace ruffle atthe throat of a teenaged girl. She could see itsliquid black eyes.The deer screamed.Disbelief.I cant be seeing this.The deer was on the ground, delicate legs thrashing. And Kestrel was tangled with it. Her face buriedinthe white of its throat. Her arms around it.The deer screamed again. Wrenched violently.Seemed to be having convulsions.The flashlight beam was all over the place. Then it dropped. At the very edge of the light, Mary-Lynnettecould see two other figures join Kestrel.They were all holding the deer. There was one last spasm and itstopped fighting. Everything went still. Mary-Lynnette could see Jades hair, so fine that individualist strandscaught the light against the background of darkness.In the silent Bearing the three figures cradled thedeer. Huddling over it. Shoulders moving rhythmically.Mary-Lynnette couldnt see only what theywere do ing, but the general scene wasf,miliar.Shed seen iton dozens of nature documentaries. About wild dogs or lionesses or wolves. The pack hadhunted andnow ft wasfeeding.I have always tried to bea very good observer. And now, I have to believe my own eyes .Beside her, Marks breath wassobbing.Oh, God, let me get him out of here. Please justlet us get out.It was as if shed been suddenly released from paralysis. Her lip was bleeding again-she must havebittendown on it part she was watchingthe deer.Copperbloodfear filled her mouth.Come on, shegasped almost soundlessly, wiggling backward. Twigs and needles raked herstomachas her T-shirt rode up. She grabbed Marks arm.Come onlInstead, Mark lurched to his feet.Mark She wrenched herself to her knees andtried to drag him down.He pulled away. Hetook a step toward theclearing.NoJadeHe was heading for the clearing.No, Mary-Lynnette thought again, andthen shewas moving after him. They were caught now, andit reallydidnt matter what he did. Butshe wa ntedto bewith him.Jade Mark said and he grabbed the flashlight.He turned it directly on the little huddle at theedgeof the clearing. Three faces turned toward him.Mary-Lynnettes mind reeled. It was one thing toguess what the girls were doing it was another thingtoseeit. Those three beautiful faces, white in the flashlight beam with what looked like smearedlipstick ontheir mouths and chins. Cardinal red, thimbleberry color.But it wasnt lipstick or go bad thimbleberries. It wasblood, and the deers white neck was stained with it.Eating the deer, theyre really eating the deeroh, God, theyre really doing it.Some sort of her mind-the part that had absorbedhorror movies-expected the three girls to hiss andcringe away from the light. To block it out with bloodstained hands while making savage faces.It didnt happen. There were no animal noises, nodemon voices, no contortions.Instead, as Mary-Lynnette stood frozen in an agonyof horror, and Mark stood trying to get a normalbreath, Jade strai ghtened up.And said, What are you guys doing out here?In a puzzled, vaguely annoyed voice. The way youwould speak to some boy who keeps following youeverywhere and asking you for a date.Mary-Lynnette felt her mind spinning off.There was a long silence. Then Rowan and Kestrelstood up. Mark was breathing heavily, moving theflashlight from one of the girls to another, but always coming back to Jade.What areyoudoing out here thats the capitulumhe said raggedly. The flashlight whipped to the hole, then back tothe girls. What are you doing?I asked you first, Jade said, frowning. If ft hadJust been her, Mary-Lynnette would have startedtowonder if things were so awful after all. if maybethey werent in terrible danger.But Rowan and Kestrel were looking at each other,and then at Mark and Mary-Lynnette. And their expressions made Mary-Lynnettes throat close.You shouldnt have followed us, Rowan said.She looked sullen and sad.They shouldnt have beenableto, Kestrel said.She looked grim.Its beca use they smell like goats, Jade said.What are you doing?Mark shouted again, almostsobbing. Mary-Lynnette wanted to reach forhim, butshe couldnt move.Jade wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.Well, cant youtell?She turned to her sisters.Nowwhat are we supposed todo?There was a silence. Then Kestrel said, We donthave a choice. We havetokill them.