I continue with the Mists Of Papoose Pond for my Friday Frights this week. Our theme this month is Bloody Beach Parties. New evil entities arrive on the scene . . .
In all my trips to Papoose Pond, I have never heard a wailing such as this. Can they be wolves, coming down from the northern parts of the state, or even from Canada? I don't think so; they sound more like dogs: big, throaty dogs.
"Shit!"Louise hollers. "The bastards are coming! To the main house! We have to get to the big house now!"
We put our clothes on and bolt out the front door, running for all we're worth, not even looking around us. Damn! we're almost to the big house before I realize I still don't have a clue about all of this. Louise knows, that's pretty obvious. Why is it now imperative to run out the door when it wasn't a few hours before?
Reaching the door to the big central building, a huge lodge made of enormous hewn logs, I see others waiting to get inside and even more campers coming from all the surrounding areas. This is going to be one packed place.
Louise grabs a key from her pants pocket and unlocks the door. People start streaming in and the lodge is full in no time. Looking around to make sure no one else is coming, she locks the door and sets a row of dead bolts into action. Unlike the place I was in, the lodge is a veritable fortress.
The log walls are thick and secure with caulking in all the right places. Whoever built this place used only the finest materials and had an ulterior motive in mind. Okay: that would be Louise's father, but where is he?
"George! John!" she shouts out, "Secure the windows! They'll be here any second now."
They quickly push floor to ceiling walls, constructed over special rollers, in front of the windows, effectively sealing them from becoming an entry point into the lodge.
A fort! Louise's father built a fort, camouflaged to appear as a huge focal point for the campers to meet for special occasions, but it is so much more. Soon, I am afraid, I will find out what all this is intended to keep out.
Why is it that now is the"coming out party" for whatever is out there? The pond and camp have been here for so many years. Yes, there was always an essence of something out of the ordinary here, but I never felt threatened by anything: just drawn to the mystique of it all.
Louise is back to her self-assured, confident persona, taking complete charge, knowing exactly what to do. George and John are obviously people she knows and trusts. They too must know what's here.
I no longer fear whatever is out there, not for the moment anyway. Following Louise's example, I follow her loyal circle of friends and try to secure the building and settle the campers down. John and I usher some of the people to a basement below, which if anything, rivals the upstairs for its security; cement walls and floors; no windows; and even a huge overhead door suspended from a ceiling composed of thick wooden beams, ready to slide into place if needed.
Cots and beds are set up everywhere, with plenty of canned goods and water stored in the old-time green containers used back in the days when people were afraid the Ruskies were going to drop the bomb on us. They never did, but a place like this would have been a neat place to sit everything out.
I return upstairs to the sound of screaming from outside. Louise looks through specially designed peep holes, thinks for only a second and opens the door quickly, allowing five people frightened out of their minds to rush inside. Once they're in, she re-bolts the door.
Just in time!
Horrid scratching sounds force their way into the lodge, and a stench of unbelievable proportions makes me gag! Whatever is out there bangs on the door and the walls of the building, but are repulsed by their strength.
For hours on end, the moaning of these beasts can be heard as they try to get inside. Shuffling sounds pierce my ears, coming from the porch, before moving away as the creatures appear to be leaving.
Voices, human voices, shout out excitedly as they near the lodge, but their sounds of hope fade to fear in a hurry when the beasts return once more. I hear the demons between us and the once hopeful people, knowing that something bad is about to happen. Exactly what, I'm not sure of.
I can't stay inside any longer! I must try to save them!
Bolting towards the door, I'm stopped by George and John before I even get the first deadbolt loosened.
"Damn it, man!" George hollers. "It's too fucking late! By the time it would take you to open the door,those people would already be dead. Trust me. I've seen these things in action. Once they're on you, there's no stopping them."
He's right. The sounds of the struggle end quickly.
"Stop what!" I holler. "It's about time I was let in on what's happening around here."
A murmur spreads from the people gathered inside, and I realize I'm not the only one who doesn't know whats going on. Shit! Maybe I should have kept my big mouth shut. Inciting fear among the campers is not what I intended to do.
"You're right, Ed," Louise says. "Everyone needs to know what's happening so we can better prepare for what's ahead. George, John, and I brought everyone to the lodge because it is the only safe place around. You can tell it was built to withstand a war, and for good reason: one is about to begin."
People stare at each other, trying to read emotions which, for the most part, are common with all of them. Let's face facts; things are not exactly normal when giant leeches attack and kill people; and it doesn't appear that's the worst of it.
"My Dad is down at the other end of the pond, where the lily pads are, trying to set up a line of defense with the only allies we have around here. I hate to tell you this, but we're cut off from the rest of the world."
"You're crazy!" a big, burly guy in his middle thirties hollers out. "As soon as morning comes, and I can see what I'm doing, I'm getting the hell out of here. There are weapons in this joint. I'm taking some and leaving. I drove in; I'll drive out. Whoever wants to join me can."
Louise laughs. "First of all, buster, the weapons don't belong to you. They're my dad's. Secondly, the roads will be torn up by morning. You can bet on that. Third, you can leave if you want. I'm not stopping you. It's your ass."
"You can't stop me from taking some rifles and ammo, missy! If something is out there, I need a way to defend myself. Sending me out unarmed would not be right: I could be a sitting duck."
"My allegiance is to those who stay here. I'll do anything to protect them. If you choose to leave, you're on your own."
The guy turns bright red, wanting to say something else but not knowing exactly what. Nervous, agitated sweat runs the length of his body, and he takes the back of his hand to wipe the briny taste from his mouth as little rivulets carrying the salt from within his pores come down his cheeks. He knows all eyes are on him and this is not the best time to do or say anything more. Rest assured, this guy will be trouble: if not tomorrow, at some point.
Once this hot-head is quiet, Louise gets back to things. "Okay, the truth of the matter is, I don't have all the answers. Not yet. You saw the leeches; you heard what was happening outside. Some of you have seen other things," she says, glancing at me. " What I do know is that when the hounds start howling, these creatures come, and they kill. When the hounds howl a second time, they leave. Twice before I have seen it. Before, it happened at the other end of the pond."
"These . . .these creatures are awful!" one of the five people, a woman, let in before these things arrived for the first time at the door, hollers. "They move about as if in a trance. All of them were covered in blood and looked like parts of their bodies were torn apart. They were hideous!"
"Yes!" a man shouts out. "I was there too! They look like lepers almost: huge boils all over their exposed flesh and stripped away pieces of their heads and hands."
"And some of them were missing eyes or had dangling ones that looked as if they would fall to the ground at any moment!" another woman screams.
I run to the door and peer into the special telescopic like peep hole. They're still out there, all over the porch and yard, every bit as disgusting as what the three witnesses just described.
Looking at Louise, she hangs her head for a mere second, regrouping for what she wants to say next.
"Yes, Ed, they are zombies."