Glass Grail 2nd Session

SESSION II (2P.M., Tuesday, Jan. 16th 2001)

The cemetery is north of O’Fallon Park at the site of one of The Street Phantom’s body dumps.  Here WIT members have just found a plastic (circa 1970s or 1980s) snow globe depicting, The Bissellstreet Water Tower, celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Louis is holding up Roxanne Garcia, preventing her from falling, after apparently passing out in The Bellefontain Cemetery.  She suddenly snaps out of it and says, “Okay.  I‘m okay Louis.  Let me go, please.  Thank you.”

“Are you sure you’re okay?”  Louis asks, releasing her .

“Yes, I’m sure.  I’m feeling fine now.  I’m okay.” Rocky responds.

“If you’re really sure.”  Louis replies.  “You had me concerned.”

A further search of the grounds reveals nothing.  With few options, Louis, Ralph and Rocky decide to visit the Water Tower and if there’s time, they plan to pay a visit to Venice, IL., later this afternoon, and check out Satan’s Chosen Temple.

The Bissellstreet Water Tower was built in the late 19th century and was somewhat restored in the 1960’s.  It has since, once again fallen victim to vandals and druggies.

Roxanne takes a few moments studying the outside stairs.  Being the lightest she’ll make the climb but she wants to make sure that their stable.  The stairs seem solid enough so, taking a deep breath, she begins the upward trek.  She reaches the third story without a problem.  Here she finds a wide open window large enough to fit through.  Waving to Louis and Ralph, below, she climbs through.

Leaves, small sticks and twigs litter the floor, and above she sees an old bird’s nest built near the ceiling.  A  blanket, wet and mildewed is balled up in the corner.  There is not much more to be observed here. 

A set of stairs lead down to the next level where she sees much the same as above.  Roxanne, alone now, wills the release of a bit of mojo and . . .she becomes aware of activity around her as she witnesses events in the past as if in “Slo-Mo”; the occasional couple screwing, mixed groups cooking and shooting up what looks like heroin,  various people passing through, and graffiti, she catches her breath, it looks to be scrawled in blood, and appears one letter at a time, seemingly out of nowhere, reading, “I WILL FIND YOU. . .”.

Surprised, she drops the spell.  The graffiti has disappeared.  The room is as it was prior to her vision. 

She pauses; composes herself.  Looks around a bit more, and then, taking another deep breath, descends the staircase to the ground floor.  Here she calls out, knocking loudly enough on the heavy wood door to get the attention of the two men outside.

When they respond, she tells them that she is fine and, with no way to unlock the door, tells them that she is going to ascend to the third floor and come back down via the outside stairs, which she does.

She, then, tells them through the door that she’s found nothing interesting beyond the evidence of sexual activity and drug abuse.  So . . . having arrived at this seeming dead end, they decide to travel to Venice, and check out Satan’s Chosen Temple.

En route, they receive a phone call from Gary, relaying some instructions from Selina.  He tells them that the video he shot last night was very disappointing.  Too dark to be of any future use, but the audio was good, catching the concerned voices of the homeless group, as well as the weird rant delivered by T-Joe.  Selina, because of the audio and what she heard on it from T-Joe about Satan’s Chosen Temple, wants the team to go to the SCT and see if there is some for them to establish any validity to the story and, if they feel they can,  get an interview with someone other than T-Joe, with the possibility of gaining film crew access.

“Could be a story here.” Gary says.

“Right.”, Ralph replies cynically. “From what I hear from Louis, that T-Joe fellow left a lot to be desired.  Sounds like a real loser.  But we’ll do what we can.  We’re already on it.  En route, as we speak.  ‘Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets’, you know.  We should be back at the motel this evening.  See you then.”

The Drive to Venice is only a couple of miles, over the Mississippi R, via the McKinley  Bridge to Cedar St, then Broadway to Venice  Then to Washington St., about ½ mi. ENE from The New Shining Light Church.  

“Probably further than that”, says Louis, “Cosmically speaking.”

A black-painted mailbox with red lettering, “SCT” sits on the left hand side of Washington St.  Beyond that is a good-sized yard, winter brown with patches of ice and snow behind which sits the “Temple”, a ramshackle, three-story, wood-framed, residential building in need of some paint.  A driveway sits on the right hand side of the property, leading to an unpaved area, now mostly mud and puddles, on which is parked a well-used ’82 Ford pick-up truck with SCT painted on the doors. 

There is a tarp covering the truck’s bed, under which are, what appears to be black, plastic bags of used clothing and a few small pieces of furniture.  The large backyard is more or less neglected, but contains a fenced in area for a garden of some kind, and a small shed.

Approaching the front door and large, open porch, a movie soundtrack can be heard coming from a room to the right of the front door.  On the door, in brass letters, is written, “Do What You Will Is the Whole of the Law.”  Above the door in nicely painted lettering is written, “Welcome to S.C.T. – Cool Shade from a Boiling Hot Sky”.  Sitting on the porch is an unpainted glider and a “pew bench”.  Off to the right of the porch, over the railing, sits evidence of, what appears to be, recent vomitus.  The porch, itself, however is clear of ice and snow and appears to have been recently swept.

Knocking on the door brings a very, quick response swinging open to reveal a young woman of color, about 18 years-old.  She’s in Jeans and a sweater, wearing an apron, belted, and with a good-sized hunting knife in a sheath at her hip.  From behind her and to the right, comes the sound of the movie.  The foyer, behind her is dimly lit.

The woman (Josie Reed) stares out at the visitors for a moment, and then greets them, “Hi.  Welcome to SCT.  My name is Josie.  How can I help you?”  The soundtrack stops suddenly.

Giving her his card, Ralph replies, “Hello.  My name is Ralph Schrodinger, and we’re from Whispers Reality Television.  These are my associates, Louis and Roxanne.  We’re hoping to speak with Ms. DeGhoule about your using our station to help publicize SCT’s message.  Is she available?”

Josie stares at Ralph for a moment, before answering, and then asks, “Did you have an appointment?”

“No I’m sorry, we didn’t make one.  We just happened to be in the area doing some research just north of here and, as we found ourselves in Venice, we thought that we would take a chance and see if she were in.”, answers Ralph, “Is there someone else that we could talk to?”

Josie answers, “No, I’m sorry, you’ll have to speak directly with her.  But come in.  It’s cold out there.”

You enter into the small foyer with a coatrack, a mirror, and a door in every wall.  The house smells of soup being prepared somewhere in the house, beyond the foyer.  The Door on the right is open and you see a small lounge in which sit three young men (Rick, Dionysus and Wes), ranging in age from about 16 to 18 years of age on a couple of beat-up couches, in front of which is a large, oval coffee table littered with several used paper luncheon plates, cups and a now-empty, coffee pot.

  There’s a small bookcase filled with soft-cover graphic novels, Sandman and other comics, popular UFO books (what you’d expect), The Necronomicon, plus other popular, occult titles.  Over the bookcase is a “Buffy” poster.  On the VCR, which has been paused, is a shot from “Angel Heart”, showing an immaculately dressed DeNiro, holding a hardboiled egg, which he is peeling with his immaculately, manicured, thumb nail.

Roxanne asks, “Is it possible for us to get a look at your space?”

After staring at her for a moment, Josie replies, “Do you plan on leaving a donation?”

The three investigators look a around at one another and Louis says, “I’m sure that we can give you something.  Perhaps there’s a way you could arrange an appointment for us?”
She stands a moment in thought and then says, “I’ll check her calendar.  The office is right through here.”  Josie opens the door opposite the lounge and the team follows her into the large, darkened, room beyond, its’ large windows blocked by heavy, hanging curtains.  Josie explains, as she flips on a light switch, “This room is used as a lecture hall and also for Temple events.  “When nothing is scheduled Rebecca uses it as an office.” 

Facing you is a large stone fireplace with a mantle, displaying interesting primitive carvings and various other small sculptures, above which, hangs a very nice, but disturbing, framed, print of Hell, the right wing leaf of the triptych, Garden of Earthly Delights by, Hieronymus  Bosch.  Flanking this and the fire place are two large, inverted crucifixes.  On the wall, opposite, sits a large narrow table holding assorted handouts and a large donation fishbowl.   Over the table is another nicely framed print, Dulle Griet by, Pieter Brueghel, the Elder.  In the far corner is an office space, now covered with plastic sheeting, holding Rebecca’s desk, file cabinets, computer, and ink jet printer.

Josie pulls the sheeting aside to expose the desk and retrieves a desk calendar which she thumbs through.  “Here’s an opening for this Thursday, the day after tomorrow.  I can pencil you in for now, but you understand, I can’t confirm this until I speak with Rebecca.   Leave me your cell phone number and I’ll call and confirm as soon as I am able to meet with her.”  Ralph gives her his number and Louis drops a twenty into the donation bowl. 

In the course of their brief tour, Ralph asks Josie if she knows of, or has heard anything regarding the reported Werewolf in College Hill or any news of a Phantom Stalker.  She has heard rumors, she says, but nothing specific. 

“How about a Mr. Glass?”  Ralph asks.

“A Mr. Glass?  No, not that I remember.” she replies.

From there the conversation turns to the opening of a movie,  Unbreakable, for some reason, and then other recent releases, including, The Ring, The Sixth Sense, The Blair Witch Project, and especially, Angel Heart.

Josie lets on that she doesn’t consider herself a Satanist.  She acts as the house mother, is paid a pittance, given a food allowance and keeps the place up with housework and cooking.  The donation is greatly appreciated.  Those three guys are living here, upstairs, and there’s a young woman, also upstairs named, Rachel. 

Josie attends the services and rituals but has never taken an active role in any of them.  “Look, man, it’s a crib.  It’s better than home.  And some of these kids would be homeless or worse if it weren’t for this place.”  She reassures the team that she will give them a call regarding the meeting with Rebecca deGhoule.

Saying their good-byes, the team loads up for the return trip to their motel, feeling that, all in all, some progress has been made.  On the return trip Rocky ruminates, “That angle that Josie mentioned, you know, the thing about the young people living there?  That might be a good angle to pursue as a way to get a story out of those people.”  The men agree, but they both had really wanted to see the SCT center of worship, wherever that is.

When they get back to the motel, they wash up, meet with Willa and Gary and then put their heads together over wonderful supper at Angela’s Soul Food.  Here they decide to focus their efforts on Jimi and Suzanna, not ignoring the others, but those two seem to be the most forthcoming.   They also order a large sack, to go, of Po’ Boy sandwiches, sweet potato Fries, and “too sweet” coffee, then head out to O’Fallon Park to see what’s shaking at the “hangout”.

As they approach the camp they hear the sound of crying and it becomes apparent, that they’re witnessing a scene of mourning.  They wait a short, respectful, distance away.  They see Jimi, Pat, another man (a stranger), and a couple of women whom they haven’t met before.

Before approaching closer, they gather that one of their friends, Ronnie, who Pat and Wang Ho had referred to last night, was found murdered early this morning by the Police.

“Ronnie’s body was ripped up bad.  Just cut up all to hell.  When they called me in to identify her they wouldn’t let me see whole body.  Just her face.” states Elizabeth, an older woman who is a tad inebriated.  She adds, “But, what I saw didn’t look sexual, just horrible and vicious.”

“I wonder if Ho knows? Pat asks.

“It was the bugs!  Yeah/NO . . . Wait! . . . Wait a minute . . . Wait a minute. . . . (Wait).  Blind ‘til Xmas.  Blind!”, Interjects Elijah, a fat, bearded, old coot, wearing sunglasses, and surrounded by the stench of alcoholism.  “You gotta warn ‘em about the bugs.  The bugs!  Bite the wax tadpole.  No. Th, th, the, The female Horse stuffed with wax.  The Mare.  The Mayor!  Yes!  Kill him, too.  And the bugs, some would say.  SOME I said!  Blind ‘til Xmas.  Damn Chinese.  Damn Chinese and their dialects!  Now it’s Happiness! (he chuckles), (happiness).  Happiness in the MOUTH!  That’s what I’m talking about.  Happy!  Happy in MY mouth, sonny!  Happy . . .(he laughs) happy . . . (continues chuckling) . . . (happy) . . .”  He wanders off.

The team looks at one another.  “Don’t mind him.” says Pat.  “That’s just Elijah.  He’s crazy, but harmless.”  There is a silence.

“I can’t believe that she’s dead.”, says Kandy, whose name was mentioned last night as being a survivor of a Street Phantom’s attack,  like Suzanna.  “She was doin’ so good . . . had quit the Junk.  And now . . . she’s just gone.”  She weeps.

Jimi is here, inebriated, quiet, but responsive.  Ralph and Willa approach him, as part of the plan discussed earlier at Angela’s Soul Food.  Together they manage to convince him to come and stay at the College Hill Motel with them because they are concerned for his safety.  They explain that they have come to believe that those who have drunk of The Angel of Mercy’s “elixir”, are the ones that the Phantom is stalking.  He asks if they’ll buy him a pint if he agrees to come, but Willa says, “No booze. But you’ll have your own bed and your own room.”  She continues to reinforce the team’s concern for his well-being, and Ralph excuses himself.  He knows that Willa has an amazing way with people and has no further need of his assistance. , .     “. . . It’ll give us a chance to talk and get to know one another, better, too.”  Jimi agrees.

Meanwhile, Louis introduces himself to Kandy, tells her that he is aware of what happened to her, and, without going into detail, if she wouldn’t mind, to please tell him about the attack and how she survived.  She pauses, looking into the fire.  Looks up, back down again.  Takes a deep breath, and tells him her story,

“Well . . . I guess I should tell you that I work the streets.  It’s always been a risky business, but with all the weirdness going down, it has become even more so.  About ten days ago I was working De Soto Ave. when I scored a John. 

He was kewl.  It was kewl, . . . at first, but when he got me alone he attacked me.  Broke my ribs and left me in an alley.  I managed to get myself together and began walking back up into the neighborhood, when I collapsed again. 

Somehow, she found me and bending over me she said, ‘Drink, and heal yourself.’  Within an incredibly short time I was feeling better.  She was gone.  I got up and began to walk towards the ‘camp’ because I wanted to tell everybody what had happened. 

It was coming on to dusk when I was attacked for the 2nd time that day by a John who referred to himself as, Mr. Glass.  He abducted and, drugged me.  I passed out.  I awoke in a small room, manacled to a chair.  I don’t know how long I had been out.  He tortured me, threatened me.  Screamed and kept slapping and punching me.  Kept demanding to know more about the Angel and where he could find her, until I was unconscious.  

I awoke for the 2nd time that day in a dumpster in the Trans Chemical parking lot.  It was night.  He must’ve carried me there and then left me for dead.” 

Louis offers her some cash to thank her for her story.  She refuses it.   “No.  Come on.  Take it.”, he says.  “Get yourself something decent to eat.”

She stares at him.  “Okay I will.”  She replies, surprised that he didn’t try to come on to her.

During this interaction, Ralph, who had left Willa and Jimi talking, walks over to the fire drinking coffee.  There he is approached by a man he hasn’t met before, but whom Jimi had just pointed out to him  about ten minutes ago, saying that he was known, simply, as “Teach”, and that no one really knew who he was or where he had come from.

“He’s real quiet and has been coming around every now and then, for about a week or so.”, he had told him.    

They stand together, not speaking, just looking into the fire.  Then, Ralph offers the man a Po’ Boy sandwich, which is gratefully accepted.  The man eats.  Ralph drinks his coffee.  Ralph introduces himself and the man replies that people just call him, “Teach”.

The man speaks in riddles, or so it seems to Ralph.  Although, grizzled he seems to be a compassionate man, he thinks.  Probably a dreamer; a left over hippy from the 70’s, he thinks. Sounds like one.  Can see how he got that nick-name.

“These ‘r good people.”, Teach says.  “Poor and destitute they may be, the dispossessed,” He calls them, “Dispossessed, and yet they experience a real sense of community.  I know.  Seen the same sorta thing in other cities ‘n towns.  Tight-knit folk in a hell of a fix.   I’ve traveled this country.  I’ve seen a whole lot.  Rode the rails for 25 years, I did.  This thing they’re facing, this outsider, this evil incarnate,

is  just one more trial for them to overcome in their hard and desperate lives.  Be aware.  But know this is a good thing you’re doin’.  It’s a greater thing than you know.  It’s not just a way to earn money.  But you gotta be keerful, for yourselves, too.  It’s a dangerous thing, but it’s a good thing, too.”

“Who are you?” Ralph asks.

Ohhh, I’m nobody.  Just another Knight of the Road.”, Teach replies.  He begins to gather his things.

Watching, Ralph says, “I hope we get a chance to talk again.”

“Doubtful”, Teach replies.

“Why?” asks Ralph.  “Where are you going?”

“Out Seattle way, I reckon”, says Teach, shouldering his bindle.  “I feel a wind a blowin’ me that way.  No sense in denyin’ it.  Never have, never will.  Good luck to ye.  Good luck to all of ye.  May the wind always be at yer back.  And . . . take keer of these people.  You gotta take keer.  This could just be a beginnin’.”

‘The beginning’, Ralph thinks, as he reaches out and offers his hand. “We’ll do the best we can.  You have my word.  And Good luck to you, friend.” he says.  Teach takes his hand and they shake.  Ralph stands and watches him as he disappears into the cold and dark.  Just the beginning (?) . . . he thinks.

Shortly thereafter, Suzanna arrives, “Oh my God!  I just heard about Ronnie!  What happened?  Tell me, please.” and the mourning begins anew. 

Time passes.  She and Jimi talk quietly to one another as the team cleans up the waste and paper from the meal.  They wait until everyone else is gone.  Then they give Suzanna a ride to her “crib”, and drive back to the motel, with Jimi. 

Ralph hangs outside with Louis as Willa sits with Jimi and slowly brings him out of his funk.  Gary is working in the bathroom, setting up an audio recording system in the room’s one back window to listen for any possible intrusion.

When Willa feels that Jimi has calmed and is truly relaxed, she and Gary pack up and gather in Louis’ room with him and Ralph and Rocky to decide on tomorrow’s agenda and plan their meeting with Jimi over tomorrow’s breakfast at the Sunrise Diner. 

The next morning at around 9:30 A.M. they arrive, en masse at the Diner, are seated, receive their menus and order.  Jimi is a little under the weather from his drinking last night, and is less animated than usual, so the talk is quiet.  (It’s nobody else’s business, anyway). 

The thrust of the conversation is around Jimi’s drinking and the necessity for him to be sober vigilant due to the danger imposed upon him by the Street Phantom.  They’re concerned because they all really care for him.  Just as they appear to be making some headway, Jimi jumps up and calling over his shoulder says, “Hold on.  I’ll be right back!”, and he runs right out of the diner.

Craning their necks they follow his progress out of diner and see Jimi running across the street to engage Suzanna, who just happens to be checking the sidewalks for “loot.”,as it’s trash pick-up day.  They watch as the two friends speak to one another and as Jimi gestures to the diner, and appears to be pleading with her to come across the street with him. 

“You know,” says Willa, “this could be serendipitous.  The two of them share experience and appear to genuinely care for each other.  They are both sympathetic people and deserve a better hand than they’ve been dealt.  Be ready to lean to the light.”  Around the table there is silent agreement.

The two enter the diner and as they approach the table, Gary gets up and offers his seat to Suzanna, and then sits as near as he can to them at the counter.  They encourage Suzanna to order something and then bring her up to speed with what they’ve been discussing.

Suzanna agrees to try and support Jimi as much as she can, in avoiding alcohol.  As a victim, herself, of the Phantom’s viciousness, she doesn’t want him to go through that, too.  The team expresses their belief that those who have drunk of the Angel of Mercy’s “elixir” are all in danger of becoming victims.  This puts Pat, Michelle and Abdul (if he, himself, isn’t the Phantom) at risk.  Hopefully, because they have both been attacked by the Phantom, Suzanna and Kandy are no longer prime targets.  In any case, these are the ones who are most vulnerable. 

The team invites the two of them to stay in the motel while Roxanne and Ralph return to the studio office and turn in their stories and make their reports.  They’ll spend the night away and return tomorrow morning.  Gary and Willa will remain at the motel and Louis will keep watch at O’Fallon Park from the Whispers van.

The next day, Willa spends doing research on line and with Minerva’s occult library aboard the Winnebago looking for ideas and hints as to how best understand Jimi’s behavior and motivations regarding his perception of self and his situation, being threatened by, what she can only describe as the supernatural.

Gary spends his time in the diner, wanders around this section of College Hill.  Visits the McDonald’s a couple of blocks away.  Has a coffee.  Watches people come and go.  Shoots a roll of film with his  Nikon.  Returns to the motel and writes a letter to his mom, living in the Wells-Goodfellow Neighborhood and another to his sister living in Arkansas.

Jimi spends the day in the vicinity of the motel and hanging out with Gary.  Suzanna returns to the motel around 4 P.M.

Later after supper, Willa rents some VHS tapes and buys several bags of popcorn and chips quart bottles of Coke, Dr. Pepper and Orangina and Joined by Gary, they all settle down to a fun and relaxing night.

The next morning, Wed., the 17th, Ralph and Roxanne hear a news report about sightings and rumors of unprovoked attacks by what witnesses are calling a “Werewolf” on local radio in transit to College Hill.  This is the first mention of the story that either of them have heard on Vanilla Media.  They return to the motel to check in with everyone.  Louis has called in to report that all seems quiet at the Park.  All is good at the motel, so the two of them grab some coffee and Danish to go and, head out to research the origin of this morning’s broadcast.  Later, they come across a small vague article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, referencing the “Werewolf” story, on the bottom of page 3, but lacking in specifics and reading more tongue in cheek than like a serious news story. 

After several hours of driving, interviewing, and what almost felt like planned chaos, confusion and ineptitude, they return to the motel to try and grab a short nap before supper, in preparation for another visit to the hangout.

It is chilly tonight – somewhere in the mid-twenties, with some flurries predicted to amount to ½ to 1” of ground cover.  They can see, as they approach the fire, that the gathering is more energized than usual, and hear the conversation, which is louder and more agitated. They note that aside from the regular attendees there is a woman, better dressed than the others, whom they don’t recognize.  She is talking with Wang Ho.

As they arrive beneath underpass Jimi calls out to them, “We saw it!”

Immediately Michelle joins in, “It was f****in’ crazy!  Glowin’ red eyes.  I was so skeered.  I was!  Don’t know why it ignored us.  Not here, we saw it up N. Broadway a bit.”

The stranger, who had been watching you come in, turns to them and  asks, ”What?  Where was this?   What did you see?”

Over her questions you hear Elizabeth wail, “What the hell have we done to deserve this?”

Jimi continues to all, “The Werewolf!”

The stranger, in a mocking laugh says, “Yeah.  Right!  (Werewolf.)  What are you?  You’re both f****n’ crazy!  F****n Wild Dog!”  She shoves a note pad into her large, shoulder bag.  Shoots a glance over at the newcomers, and walks out into the dark and weather.

Gary hangs back a bit as the team crosses in to talk with Jimi and Michelle, while Willa moves to calm and console Elizabeth.

Unseen, Gary jogs off in the direction taken by the mocking woman, as the questions and responses meld into a dull, hubbub behind him.  He soon spots her and as he comes up to her she turns – her hand in her bag. 

“Can I help you?”, she asks, sternly.

Gary replies, ”Oh well . . .You took off so fast, I didn’t get a chance to make introductions.

Her hand remaining in her bag, she says, “My name is Myrna, and I came here tonight to ask these people if they knew a man named Vince Jenkins.  That was my sole purpose in being here tonight.  They didn’t know of him.  I was leaving, anyway.  Perhaps I should ask you.  Do you know of a Vince Jenkins?”

“Hi.  My name is Gary, and I’m a technician with Whispers Reality Television, and no, I don’t know anyone named Vince Jenkins.”

She stares at him as if evaluating and says, “Well.  I guess my work here is done.”  She removes her hand from her purse and hands Gary her card.  “Call me, please, if you do hear anything, will you?  I’m sorry, Gary.  I’ve really got to run.”  And she is off. 

He watches as she arrives in the vicinity of a street light and climbs into the blue, Dodge SUV parked there, and as she drives away, he looks at the card that she handed him.  It reads, “Key Life Trust Insurance, Myrna Malloy, Claims investigator.”

Alone, he walks back to the camp.  The park, now dark and foreboding with the snow sifting down, seems quiet and other.  His pace quickens.  Then, he sees the gathering and the fire, and with a short prayer of relief he rejoins the circle, catching up with Willa.  Responding to her inquiries, he explains that he had followed Myrna to her van in the hopes of learning more about her.  “Dating possibilities, you know, but she seems hard.” He pauses in thought.   “Mmmm, perhaps not.  I’m pretty sure she had a gun.”

“Niiice.”, Responds Willa, “I guess you were successful in learning more about her, huh?  She smiles.

Barely five minutes after his return a loud, panicked voice is heard, shouting out of the darkness, from off in O’Fallon Park. “Help!  Heeeelp!  Oh, God.  Someone help me please!  Oh God!”  It sounds like Pat, accompanied by a loud barking and vicious snarling.  His cries are cut off and replaced only by loud shrieking and screaming.

Louis draws his gun and heads for the noise.  Gary grabs his portable lighting unit and power pack.  Ralph follows after Louis, also drawing his gun, and Rocky, desperate to help, but unarmed, also begins running.

It is dark and the snow makes the footing treacherous.  Gary, running now, illuminates the grounds as well as he can. As he runs, the light bounces up and down, and here and there, but the whiteness of the snow proves helpful in increasing the effectiveness of the range of the light, chaotic as it appears.

As Rocky reaches Pat’s body, she cries out, “Oh, Angel of Mercy, help us.  Come to his aid.”  She dives to the ground to see to Pat, ‘(Yes, it is Pat.)’, to see to Pat’s wounds.  She calls the police to dispatch an ambulance and calls Henry Watts to briefly explain the situation, and plead with him to get his ass over to the park.  Then, using her scarf she begins applying a tourniquet.

Louis, in the lead, passes Pat’s body, going right after ‘The Werewolf’, which turns and stands facing him, its head raised in focused intelligence.  It’s not a werewolf.  It’s a large dog, perhaps a Rottie/Shepard cross, and that’s f****n’ dangerous enough.  On top of that, its jaws are slathering, Pat’s red blood and flesh, dripping from them.  The horror of its’ jowls emphasized by the other-worldly, growling howl emitting from them.  Over all are the blazing eyes, fiery, blazing eyes, now focused on Louis.

The creature leaps at him as he fires his Magnum.  It’s a great shot, impossible to miss.  He knows he hit it.  But the monster fails to react.  Somehow he manages to dodge the airborne beast, as he turns and fires a second time.  The creature lets out an ear-splitting howl lands on the snowy ground, tumbles, regains it’ footing, and suddenly Louis is shrouded in darkness as the beast turns and flees.

Gary, having heard two shots, catches up and passes, Ralph, due to his “impossible to run in the snow with” shoes.  Ralph stops and stands over Pat and Rocky. 

Sliding to a stop, Gary finds himself facing a wall of impenetrable darkness.  What the F***!  This is weird, he thinks, and drawing his pistol, calls out. ”Louis!  Are you there?”

“Louis replies, “Yeah, Gary.  I’m okay.”  And using Gary’s voice as a guide, he emerges from the wall of darkness. 

Attention is immediately turned to Pat, who is in really bad shape.   They do what they can to staunch the bleeding.  Then, wait and hope.  

The wall fades after a few minutes, and they are able to see the tracks and blood trail left by the wounded animal.  Louis with a flashlight and Gary, juggling a small handheld camera, his battery pack and lighting bar, feel that it is imperative to act quickly.  They head out to follow the trail as far as they can, and though armed, they promising to be sensible and await backup before taking any foolish chances.

Ralph and Rocky wait with Pat for the arrival of the Police and the ambulance.  And while they are awaiting the arrival of Henry and his dogs, call out to the people back at the fire and give them an update on Pat and the two other men.   Meanwhile, Willa has been back at the camp all the while, keeping people calm and ensuring that they all remain together.

The Police and Ambulance arrive together, their lights flashing, illuminating the falling snow.  The EMTs are still tending to Pat when Henry pulls up, his lights flashing, too, while his dogs, loudly barking, add another surreal element to the nature of this night’s events. 

He leaps from his van, his radio blaring, he looks around and calls out, “Where’s Louis and the boy?”  The Drive-by Truckers fill the air with Bulldozers and Dirt, as the snow swirls in the gusting wind.


It is  . . . 11 P.M. on Wednesday, 01.17.2001 in O’Fallon Park

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