Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Sad Story of Holley Weane

The Sad Story of Holley Weane
by Ronald Joseph Rossmann Jr.
An original story told in 8 Acts


Act 1:
Holley Weane was the ultimate mean girl.

Mommy and Daddy bought her anything she wanted, mostly to keep her and her whiny voice as far away from them as possible.  By the ripe old age of eighteen, she was imbued with more silicone than the entire Kardashian clan combined.  She dated the captain of the football team, Dirk Derringer, drove a brand new Ferrari, and was the fashion guru of that little town called Eerie.

Holley’s father was the king of coffins.  His company holding the monopoly on making the most ornate and elegant death boxes in the world, crafted especially for the rich and shameless.   Much to his parent’s dismay, he had started his business out of his parents' garage and, by the ripe old age of twenty-five, had turned it into a Fortune 500 company.

Holley's mom was a former beauty queen.

Shocker!

In the past, she had won the Miss Eerie Pageant ten years in a row, more than any other spoiled debutante in the area.   Of course, time and a hefty adoration for certain libations had taken their toll.  You see, mommy dearest had many loves above her darling daughter, but none more than her friend, Jack Daniels.

Holley had no brothers or sisters.  Instead, six annoying Pekingese dominated her mother’s attention. Between Daddy’s preoccupation with the business of death and competing with the team of pampered flea bags and liters of distilled whiskey, it’s no wonder Holley had such a festering resentment for anyone which who could achieve a contentment in life so void from hers.  So, to relieve a secretly broken heart, she and her troop of Stepford friends would perpetually torture anyone that didn't measure up to their Gold MasterCard standards.

Their favorite victim was Gertrude, the resident nerdette, who Holley mercilessly picked on for the past three years now, every day without relief or good reason.  You see, Gertie had the nerve to value her school work and integrity over Pandora bracelets, obscenely bejeweled iPhones and the religion of Designershoeism.  She dressed plainly because her mom worked hard for everything they had, what little that was.  She actually had to shop at Goodwill for regular attire, not to dress trashy chic like her mindless, hipster peers.

How dare she!

Holley had committed the remainder of her High School senior year to tormenting Gertrude until she could break her completely.


Act 2:
The fall dance was coming soon.

It had been a crisp October.  The fallen leaves left a thick covering on the school’s grounds.  Holley was going to be crowned the Autumn Princess and had just purchased the most expensive frock her pre-inheritance could buy.  It was a pearl white lace dress, with green satin piping, custom made just for her.  She would be the absolute belle of the ball yet again.  As she was discussing all the ways she was going to run up her parent’s credit cards with her dippy disciples, Gertrude made the unfortunate mistake of walking by the stone bench where they were sitting.

“Was the thrift store closed today?”  Holley mocked. “Did you finally resort to outright dumpster diving?”

Gertrude continued to walk by, acting as if she couldn't hear them.

“I was talking to you, freak!”  Holley springs up and growls, blocking any hope of escape.  “You can’t be as deaf as you are fashion blind!"

Gertie looks down at her feet, and figures, they'll talk their crap, mock me, and get bored…I can take it.

 “Look at me, you mutant!”  Holley demands.

Now there were dozens of students in the quad that day.  Do you know not one of them stopped; despite the fact Holley's voice could strip the marble off of a tombstone.  

Gertie involuntarily looks up, staring into Holley’s soulless eyes.

“When I speak, you listen!  Get me, Skank?”  Holley bitterly scolds.  “Now give me your shoes!  If you want to look like a homeless person, we need to complete the ensemble!"

Gertie was dumbstruck.  Did she really just ask that?  I mean, she’s evil, but this is some next-level shit.

She frantically searches the quad hoping to make eye contact with one person who might actually care but is predictably left wanting.

“No, I won’t!” Gertie mutters, barely able to conjure the courage to resist her adversary.

“Oh really!” Holley counters, her attitude so thick you could serve it in a bowl with oyster crackers! “Girls…”

Like mindless robots, the three debutantes rise, surrounding her.

My God, they must communicate telepathically.  Gertie anxiously ponders.

“I’m going to ask one more time…give me your freaking shoes!”  Holley barks.

Gertie refuses again, stifling any hint of a tremble through sheer will.

“Fine!”  Holley sighs.  “We will do this the hard way!”

Suddenly Gertie is off her feet.  The girls quickly, in precision unison, flip her up, ripping off her shoes and socks.

What, do they train for this?  Gertie's mind races.

Within a fraction of a moment, she is mercilessly thrown to the grass, landing face first.  

"That is what happens to little creeps who don’t obey the laws of my jungle!"  Holley mocks, callously laughing.

Her girl droids quickly chime in.  They walk off, continuing their maddening giggling as they disappear from view.  
And still, no one stops to intercede!  Apparently, they were all texted on the whole law of the jungle thing!

Gertie gets up, futilely attempting to dust herself off.  It is then she realizes she has had the unfortunate displeasure of being dumped in a spot where a dog had dumped earlier.

I am sure that was pure coincidence. Gertie mentally sighs.

Picking her glasses off the ground, she immediately notices the sizable scratch on the left lens.  Despite her aching physique and unadulterated shame, she will not let them see her cry, shed a single tear.  No, she won't give them a single, solitary moment of gratification.  

Well, it has to get better from here!  She muses, limping to class.

Despite her stoic exterior, she is weeping so hard inside, it shakes her essence.

Is there any justice in the world, anymore?

Do girls like Holley ever get what they deserve?


Act 3:
She faced the entire day barefoot.

Not a single teacher noticed because then they would have had to ask questions.  When the school day finally ended, Gertrude trudged home.  She arrived at her trailer.  Her mother was still at work, another double shift at the diner.  As for her father, well only God knows where he is.   He left to get milk and bread about twelve years ago.  Now, we all know there are some long lines at the grocery stores, but that’s a tab bit ridiculous.

However, all of that is little concern to Miss Holley; admiring herself in a mirror in the comfort of her plush, million dollar mansion accompanied by her dopey disciples.  Something is distracting her from herself, and it must be pretty important as that is a rarity.   Suddenly one of her mindless minions pipes up.

“What a pathetic mistake that Gertie is…girls like that just take up space,” she giggles, tossing back her peroxide laden locks from her recently redone face.

That's it!   Holley realizes.  That ridiculous girl is sucking all the fun out of being me!

No matter how she tortures Gertie, makes her the mock-fest of Eerie High, she still keeps coming back, like a roach or bad acne.  

How can she remove this thorn from her perfectly toned and tanned flesh?

She has little mind to work with, but she pushes it to its very limits.  You can see the veins pulsating in her neck and forehead as she forces concentrated thought.   Her flock seems clueless to her struggle, but they would be of no help anyway.  Besides they are too busy admiring Holley to care for anything or anyone else, as it should be.

If she can't be shamed away…maybe she can be scared away!  She silently considers.  But what could she do to scare such a pathetic creature?  I mean her normal life is frightening enough as it is.

Then it comes to her. Only one thing has truly terrified the children of Eerie, a tale that is the last resort of discipline among the quaint cookie cutter families in this miserable little town.  As much as they try to deny it as teens, it still gives them a major case of the willies.   That horrific fable of the monster that hunts and haunts Eerie Cemetery.  If she can pull it off, make that story come to real, believable life, her enemy's annoying resolve would have to falter.   There is no way she could come back from that.

 However, she must do it alone.  Her gal pals don't exactly do well with secrets.  There is no governor between their ears and mouth, much less anything else.  

Could she really pull it off?

Well, if evil were dollars, Holley would be one rich little princess.  Come to think of it; Holley is one rich, little princess.


Act 4:
The monster of Eerie Cemetary.

Every town has its myths and legends.  Some are grander than others.  Eerie had one of the creepiest.  It was the story of a poor unfortunate soul, bitten by a mysterious and murky beast.  

John Hester was the cemetery’s groundskeeper, a solitary man, with a lonelier job.   He had lost his wife in childbirth, a tragic rarity.  Never remarrying, or seeking any companionship at all, Hester became a recluse, living in a small shed on those hallowed grounds.    There he stayed for two decades, carrying for the departed as if they were the only family he knew or cared for.

The story, however, does not begin with him; rather that is where it ends.  You see, there were a series of grisly murders over a five-year span.   Bodies found in the swamp and field that surrounded the cemetery, fresh corpses, torn apart as if caught in a maniacal thresher.   The police had no leads, no witnesses, just a vile mess without explanation.  That’s when the rumors arose.  They started as insane whispers, but then, thanks to conspiracy and frequency, found their voice, strong and sure.   People talk until they find a purpose in what they say.   Soon, a lunatic’s theory became a matter of considerable reason.

It started with Ben Golling, the town drunk, who swore he saw a horrid beastie carry off a Ms. Abigail Peterson, a lady of ill repute.   Her body had gone missing late that summer, without any rhyme or reason.  Golling confessed to the police, after a night in the tank sleeping off the prior day’s celebrations, that he saw a creature abduct the mistress out of her car in the local bar’s parking lot.    He described the ghoul as a serpent who walked like a man, covered in green and gray scales.   Standing eight feet tall, with enormous claws, and a muzzle like a deformed gator, it attacked Abigail, tearing out her throat and then vamoosed with her lifeless form into the darkness of the eve.   Most peculiar about his description was that the behemoth was wearing the ragged remains of a three piece suit.  An expensive ensemble, as well, he intently noted, one that would have cost a pretty penny, as he adamantly put it.

The officers, desperate for any shred of evidence and under the pressure of a community in abject fear, decided to search the lot in the hopes of finding something, anything to validate the lush’s tale.   They came across a single patch of fabric matching the color and texture of the apparel Golling had lucidly described.   It matched the material used in making a very specific type of jacket, a very expensive, imported overcoat.   A style of clothing that could only belong to one man in the tiny hamlet, Thomas Weane, the wealthiest patriarch in Eerie.

Thomas was a notorious playboy and vicious businessman.  He owned the paper, bank, and most of the politicians and lawmakers in Eerie, which gave him near full control of the town.   His reputation for crushing his opponents, placing money above all else, and being salaciously promiscuous, made him a monster in his own right.  However, none would consider him capable of murder, let alone, being a snake monster.   Of course, the police interrogated him but garnered nothing from their brief and rather abusive encounter.   So, for the time, Golling’s story was chalked up to the ramblings and delusions of a drunkard.  

Then that frigid October dusk happened, the night when a tortured hermit met a terrifying entity.    At least, that is how the legend evolved.   While finishing up a fresh grave, working far too late into the evening, Hester heard a strange howl.  It was barely noticeable, at first, against the moaning of the fall winds.   By the time, the sound became definable, it was already too late.  Hester was attacked by what he thought was the biggest alligator he had ever seen.  That was until the giant reptile stood up on two legs and towered above him.   He had heard the rumors, Golling’s tall tale, so once the abomination came into the moonlight, he recognized what was about to devour him.

Grabbing his shovel, he swung at the creatures midsection, slicing a deep gash into its scaly torso.  Black ooze spewed forward, covering him.  It roared in pain, but Hester's best efforts at injury only angered the fiend, who leapt onto the aging caretaker, pinning him to the ground.    Showering Hester’s abdomen and waist in its oily fluids, the beast dug its razor sharp nails deep into the flesh of Hester’s wrists.   Every bone snaps, like dried twigs, under the vice of the talons.  Hester wails in agony as the demon bites down on his shoulder, shredding it between the myriad of jagged teeth.   After consuming a large mass of tissue and bone, the creature’s head rises, snout covered in a thick ruby coating of Hester’s blood.

“I am tired,” the monster growls, much to the caretaker’s surprise.  “It’s time to pass this on to another.”

Hester can barely maintain consciousness; he can feel the life literally leaking from his wounds.

“Time to die!”  The creature sighs and ascends, leaving his quarry broken and befuddled.

It sprints off into the bleakness of the continuing dark, screeching as it disappears from view.   The night falls silent as Hester watches the stars dance in the brisk sky.  The memories of his wife, the plans they made for their new child, all of the abandon hopes that torture him, flash in broken pieces across his mind’s eye.  As they drift into oblivion, he senses something growing inside him.  

“I will not let it own me like it owned him,” he sputters.  “I won’t hunt the innocent!”

He can see decades of isolation laid in front of him, a vision of a warped animal hunting vermin for sustenance.  A lost and mutated soul, waiting, patiently for a moment in which it can find an escape, trapped in a living hell.  This deformed wanderer will dissolve into a ghost story, until the time when a legacy will pass to its rightful heir.

That is the last he can conjure as the void of finality visits him.

Death arrives…but it is not for Hester!


Act 5:
Fast forward to the night of the Fall Ball.

Holley's plan was working flawlessly.  Gertie had accepted Brad's invitation to the dance.  She was hesitant at first, even suspicious, but Brad poured it on thick and won her over.  It was the Cornerback’s best performance ever; off the field, that is.   Gertie would be clueless to Holley and her suitor's collusion.  In fact, she was so, utterly smitten with her new admirer; Gertie bought herself a dress from the Mall just for the occasion.  It was dark crimson red with spaghetti straps, hemmed up high enough to show off her stunning legs.  A visual that made Holley cringe.

Savannah, Holley’s best friend and art major had come through.  She eagerly showed Holley the illustrations of what her creature would look like carefully sculpted on Dirk.  Savannah wasn’t like the other dimwits; she actually possessed sentience, evil sentience, but sentience none the less.

Hours before the dance, Holley donned her eloquent gown and made a quick call to her blond squad, to gather them to her side.  Soon after their arrival, Holley finally unveiled her plans.   They snickered as she revealed each gruesome detail.  Dirk arrived minutes later in his massive Hummer to escort the well manicured motley crew to their destination.

At the Cemetery, Savannah put the finishing touches on her fabricated freak with only minutes before Gertie and Brad were supposed to arrive.  Dirk looked as horrendous as Holley had conceived. Taking his spot among the tall grass and thickening fog, Holley safely concealed herself behind the Hallow's old, abandoned shed.  Waiting in absolute comfort, in Dirk’s vehicular overcompensation, she had the best seat in the house. The rest of her crew flocked to the other edge of the field, hidden by the mist but still able to see from their distance.  Savannah pulled away, quite satisfied in her craftsmanship.  All that was left was the waiting.

Brad should be here by now!  Holley annoyingly stirs.

The cold begins to make its way down Holley's spine, plaguing her skin with thousands of goose bumps.   The wind howls, battering the high grass over and over again.  The fog continues to thicken; visibility slowly decays to total darkness.

 “Now ten minutes have passed!”  She scolds her diamond encrusted watch.

Holley doesn't know what is more prevalent, the chill of the night or the ire in her gut.  The wet wind dampens her obscenely expensive gown.  She finally exits her royal chariot, standing in the grass as her pristine satin heels are mercilessly corrupted by dirt and dew.

Where the hell could they be!

Just then a slow growl swims among the gales.  Turning quickly, Holley scans her surroundings, but the line of sight is limited to mere inches.  The bulky mist has consumed her.  The growl gets louder.  She frantically looks around drenched in the aggressively dank whipping drafts.  Fear has replaced frustration, crumbling her seemingly indestructible pretentiousness.  She moves closer to the shed.  The growl is now immense, filling the atmosphere and gnawing at her resolve.  She feels her way to the entrance of the haggard structure.  Finally finding the door, she opens it, swiftly but clumsily sliding inside. The growl shakes the dilapidated building.  She can barely see inside her makeshift sanctuary but somehow identifies a shovel lying on the dirt floor.  Her breath quickens, as does her heartbeat.  She retrieves the antique spade, holding it up above her soaked and soiled mane.  The growl thunders once more.

Suddenly the shack shakes violently, and the boards begin to vibrate loose.  Rusted nails break free, raining to the ground.  The mist invades through the gaps in the derelict structure.  It drowns Holley’s feet as it carpets what little flooring there is.  The growl reverberates endlessly, assaulting her ears and infecting her mind with terror.

 Then, just as it seems the chaotic Aria will rise to a horrific crescendo, it all stops.  Silence intercedes, muting the darkness.   The world abruptly becomes motionless with air stale and stagnate.  Only her labored breathing and pounding heart can be heard.   This inappropriate peace offers no comfort as she begins to violently weep.  Her grieving callously interrupted by the growl’s return.  It is slow and subtle at first, but this time, the direction is acute.

It is coming from behind her!


Act 6:
She can feel an arid breath on the back of her neck.

It has been inside with her the whole time.  She didn't run from it; she ran into it.  Tightly gripping the wooden handle of the shovel, its splinters dig deep into the palms of her hands.  

“Hello, Holley, you look absolutely delicious this evening!”  The growl unbelievably mutates into a menacing voice.

How does it know her name?

A scaly hand begins to graze her arm rising to her shoulder and back down to her wrist.  Her bare skin recoils at its touch.   She can't turn around.  The sheer horror has completely paralyzed her.

“I have waited for such a long time!”  It chuckles with a laugh that would beleaguer death itself.

             She musters all of her strength, preparing to turn around until she feels a sharp pain in her wrists.  The spade slips from her feral grip.   Looking down, she beholds both her hands, laying on the ground still clenching the garden tool.   She can't scream; the pain is outweighed by numbing panic.   Blood spews onto her dress, leaving random cardinal patterns starkly contrasted against its snow white lace.

            Her neck is jaggedly pierced, flesh torn like saturated tissue.  A chunk of skin and muscle is violently pulled free.  She screams, still frozen in terror, her howls echoing throughout the neglected shed.  It only excites her attacker who drags its talons across her cheek just below her eye.  Blood and tears stream down her face, mingling with the life gushing from the wound wrapped around her neck.

           Suddenly, she is lifted off the ground.  Her battered form silhouetted against the peeking moonlight visiting through the few rotting boards that compose the ceiling.  It roars with delight as she is viciously spun around and then dropped to the musty ground.  Her stomach and face impact the hard dirt simultaneously.

          Its muzzle bites down into the mid of her back, burrowing deep as rows of teeth engulf her spine.  She can feel the bone snap in its monstrous jaws.  It jerks back up as a fountain of blood, and shredded anatomy ascends into the air, glistening in the fading moonlight.   Awash in a gruesome mix of fluids, Holley lays there, unable to comprehend which has more dominance, the abject dread or inexplicable agony.  The creature roars in sanctimonious gratification.
Holley gargles in her own fluids.

             It bends down, hovering above her.  What little starlight is able to transcend the bleakness illuminates its abominable features.   A man with the face of a serpent, opal eyes, and tarlike hair.  Holley’s blood stains a protruding snout.  It’s long, spear-like fangs peer out and mock her.  A forked tongue blissfully runs the length of its blood-soaked muzzle, savoring every drop.  He is wearing rags for clothes, barely covering his reptilian body.  Holley gargles in her own fluids.

         “Now, you will know what it is like to be a monster!”  It snarls.  “A fate that isn’t too far from what you already are.”

         Holley fades into unconsciousness, the mixture of pain and horror are too much to bear.  It finds the shovel by Holley’s broken form.

       “And now, I can be free of the curse your family bestowed upon me!”  It growls. “Before you sleep, know this, the monster that murdered all those people years ago, was not me.  It was your Grandfather!”

        It finds the shovel by Holley’s broken form.  Lifting the spade, it rams the blade into its chest with astounding force.  The rusted metal rips through, savagely exiting out the back.  The creature slumps forward collapsing onto a wall as it takes its last horrendous breath.   Holley falls into darkness, no longer breathing, or aware of anything.   The world fades to black and time stops.  

          Death arrives…but not for her!


Act 7:
She wakes standing in the middle of the cemetery.

       Holley has no memory of where she is or how much time has passed. All that remains is an unmistakable hunger.  Darkness flows effortlessly through her veins, a pulsating evil warming her like a soft down blanket.  She smiles with a sense of satisfaction, never experienced before, her long, sharp fangs scraping against the sides of her mouth.  Peering through the still night, the fog retreats from her presence, unveiling the remnants of her beloved beneath her.

       He has been torn apart, pieces everywhere.  Holley can sense his blood in her mouth. She steps back momentarily startled but absent of any substantial fret.  Strewn all about are every one of her fembots, disemboweled and dismembered in the most gruesome of fashions.   Instead of panic, shame, or sorrow, she is filled with a great sense of horrific pleasure. She giggles in gratification and then roars loudly.  The curse amplifies evil, beyond comprehension.  It has not transformed Holley, rather, exposed the monster she always was.  

       She lurks through the tall grass, using the fog and darkness as a cloak, unaware of what she has fully become. Even if she was, I don't think it would matter.   Her brittle hair flies free in the air, intertwined with mud and cobwebs.  Green eyes glow with the anticipation of her next kill.  This time, she will remember it in all of its gloriously gruesome detail.  

        Her missing appendages have returned, now covered in slimy scales leading to loathsome claws. Skin transformed from a silky pale to a rough and leathery, emerald hide.  Her face is infected with the same reptilian pattern etched deep into her expression.
           
       She is beautifully terrifying!

       Suddenly a truck rolls up and Holley spins around.

       Brad and the little geek have finally arrived!

       Moving silently closer to the truck, she sees a flashlight's luminescence pierce the darkness and refract off the mist.  Heavy steps follow, but not of two people, just one.  It is a man.

       He smells so delectable.

       Who could this hors d'oeuvre before the main course be?

       His steps quicken as he moves towards the shed.  He passes by Holley, she is huddled in the weeds, masked by the fog, waiting, watching.   The light shines on the massacre before him.  His heart beats faster.  She peaks up, still unseen.  It's Officer Nest.

       He must have just come off duty, still in his uniform but no patrol car, just his old beat up truck.  She growls with delight.  He spins around drawing his gun, trying to make out details through the thick fog.  She growls again, toying with him.   He scans his surroundings lost in the mist.  She slowly rises behind him, and before he sees her, she pounces, catapulting him, head first into a large headstone.  His face shatters on it upon impact and his neck snaps under the force of the blow.  He lays there limp, his gun caught in the tightly woven cobwebs that engulf the marker.

     “Oh shoot, that was way too quick!”  She sighs. “Apparently, I do not know my own strength.”

       Her cackles fill the air.   She thrusts her new found claw into Nest’s back, shredding the spine until finding his dead heart.   Pulling it from his back, she greedily devours it.  The blood spews from her mouth, refreshing her like an Autumn rain.  She howls and then licks every finger to savor any last ounces of his delicious fluids.   Just then she sees another set of headlights approaching.

      Appetizer finished, here comes dinner!


Act 8:
Little did she know, Holley’s plan was already exposed to Gertie.

       She didn't know Brad had a crush on Gertie since the sixth grade.  He had been waiting for the moment to admit it but never had the confidence.  Holley's plan finally provided his in.  When they met at her door, he immediately confessed his admiration and then Holley's evil plan.

       They arrived ready for Holley's elaborate trick.  Brad pulls in about twenty to thirty feet from the shed.  He'll play along to throw Holley and her goon squad off.  Gertie has already slipped out of her dress into her jeans and leather jacket. She tucks a can of pepper spray into her pocket.

       Nice girls can play dirty too!  She plots.

       Brad leaves the vehicle and heads toward the shed to meet his pretend demise.

      “The truck has stalled let me see if there are any tools in the shed out here!”  He calls out to Gertie, ensuring it is loud enough for all to hear.

      “I'll wait by the truck, but be quick; it’s epic-ally creepy out here!”  Gertie shouts.

      Their act is well rehearsed.  Brad quietly calls out to Holley, but there is no answer.  Then some of the ground fog clears and he sees the gory remains surrounding his feet.  Startled, he stumbles backward, tripping over a fresh corpse.

     “Oh my God!”  He gasps.

      Before he can say another word, a sharp pain encircles his neck.  He looks down as blood pours from his throat down his freshly pressed tuxedo shirt.  His head rolls off its neck, plopping onto the ground.  The rest slumps to the dirt.

       He never even knew what hit him!

       Holley licks her elongated talons and giggles, stomping on his skull with full force, crushing it between her toes.

      “Ooooh, that feels nice!”  She coos.

      Gertie is still waiting by the truck becoming increasingly impatient.  She glances over the hood but doesn't see Brad.  Moving towards the front of the vehicle, she wants to call out his name, but that will ruin the payback.  Suddenly something hurtles towards her, smashing on the hood, soaking her in a warm liquid.  She steps back to realize she is drenched in blood.  Brad's severed head lies oozing on the hood of the vehicle.  Before she can scream, Holley cackles loudly, standing proudly in the middle of the field.  

     “Way to get a head, Gertie!”  She giddily mocks.

      Gertie spins around to see her nemesis only yards in front of her.  Holley jumps, sailing through the air and landing on the top of the truck.  The roof buckles under the impact, windows shattering, showering Gertie with glass.  She tries to shield the barrage with her arms, but the fragments shred her jacket, down to the flesh.  Holley jumps down.

      “Don't make 'em like they used to, huh Gert!”  She scoffs.

       Holley grabs Gertie and with one fluid movement casts her into the air.  She lands hard among the decrepit monuments.    Covered in a second skin of blood and muck, she tries to push herself up.

      “It's been one hell of a day, Gert, I gotta tell ya!” Holley chides, sprinting towards her.  “Friends have been dropping in all over the place!”

       She tackles Gertie, sitting on her chest and gingerly moving the hair from the horror of her face.

      “Well Gertie, here we are again,” Holley sighs.  “You looking up to me and me looking down on you.”

      “What the hell happened to you?” Gertie gasps, trying to break free, trapped under Holley’s weight.

       “Well, Gert, I had a bit of a makeover,” she casually explains.  “Do you like the new look?”

       “It's definitely an improvement,” Gertie mocks, trying to catch her breath!

        Holley laughs.  “Cute, I wonder if you taste as funny!”

       “Your jokes are getting worse,” Gertie struggles.

       “Funny, so is your day,” Holley chuckles.

       “Bite me, you freak!” Gertie snaps.

        Probably not the best choice of words at the moment.

       “My pleasure, Pet,” Holley coos, quickly sinking her teeth into the side of Gertie's face.

         She snaps back ripping off a sizable hunk of flesh and muscle.  Gertie screams as the pain shakes her to the core.

        “Now, now,” Holley explains as she chews, “after all, you asked me to.”

        Gertie's fear and pain mutate to anger.

        “Try that again, Bitch, and you will wish you were dead!”  Gertie roars through the anguish.

         “Been there, done that!”  Holley interrupts.

         Holley strikes again, embedding her teeth into Gertie’s throat.   She chews on it like a cow masticating fresh grass.  

“Seconds are even better,”  Holley mumbles through her meal, winking.

            Holley pulls up, swallowing hard.  Gertie tenses in pain.  She turns her head and sees a broken piece of tombstone lying on the ground, the top half of a granite cross.  Her hand finds away to her jacket pocket, trying to desperately find the spray.

“Now, I have enjoyed our time together, Gert, but…”  Holley explains, “…I do literally have to eat and run.”

  Gertie finds the can with her fingers as Holley raises her right arm to deliver the final blow.

“This will only hurt for a second, I promise!”

Gertie pulls the mace from her pocket.  She swings it up, closing her eyes and releasing a full stream directly into Holley's face.  Holley screams, falling backward.  Gertie rolls her off with all of her remaining strength and reaches for the broken marker.  Holley falls on to her slide, clutching her head, violently rubbing her eyes.  Gertie grabs the stone, lifting and spinning it around.  Holley writhes on the ground kicking up dirt and debris.

“You are about to get stoned, Bitch!”   Gertie screams.

Holley looks up long enough to see the large piece of granite looming over her head.  Gertie drops the stone onto Holley's head, following it down.  The weight violently fractures Holley's skull.  Gertie raises the stone again exposing the vulgar mess beneath her.

“One more time!” Gertie yells; dropping the stone again until Holley's cranium crushes nearly flat.

The sound is horrific.  Blood spews from all sides.   Holley's hands jerk as the last moments of her life brutally slips away.   The air around them suddenly falls still.  Gertie collapses on top of the body, the loss of blood, relentless pain, and exhaustion have finally overwhelmed her.   She rolls onto her back and takes a deep breath.  Life is fleeing from her.  She begins to weep, not for her condition but for Brad.   She looks up into the sky. It begins to finally clear.  The moon and stars are bright, more radiant than she has ever seen.  The fog rolls away as if being called.  

At least she's dead!  She reflects, unable to speak.

Gertie closes her eyes; a rush of peace fills her.  Her arms and legs warm and then grow very cold.

I wish I could have done more with my life!

She drifts off into oblivion, all thought, and memory cease.   The wind rolls over her body, but she is unaware of it.  The field is silent, still, as a cemetery should be.  

             And so the sad story of Holley Weane ends...

        Death arrives…but not for Gertie.


Epilogue:

A tall man walks into a large, cold room.   It's sterilized stainless steel walls surround and haunt its emptiness like a tomb, only interrupted by a lone surgical table in its center, covered by a blood stained, white sheet.  The man approaches the table slowly; his stare is stoic, unfeeling.    He reaches the table, hovering over it for a strong silent moment.   A second man joins him, wearing medical scrubs, adjusting his latex gloves.  The tall man’s attention fixed on the veiled body below him.

             The second man clears his throat while his quiet companion remains unaffected, lost in covert contemplation.  He clears his throat again.  The tall man signs deeply in annoyance.

"Yes, Aster," he finally speaks, "let's have it."

"I cannot do what you are asking me to do!" Aster answers rather abruptly.

"Yes, you can." The tall man persists.  “You certainly have been paid enough too."

"This is not about money, Rawlings!" Aster angrily replies.  “You are asking the impossible!"

"Nothing is impossible when money is involved," Rawlings scoffs.

               Rawlings slowly circles the table.

"You will do this!"  He commands.  "Even with what I have paid you, you won’t afford the cost if you don’t!”

"She is dead!" Aster argues. "What you are suggesting is ludicrous!"

Rawlings shakes his head.

"No Aster, what I am suggesting is non-negotiable."

He grabs the sheet and jerks it back, as a stream of fresh blood pours onto the floor, showering his black leather shoes.  Aster steps back, the color, rushes from his face.

"It is just not possible!"  Aster insists.

"It is!” Rawlings affirms.  “I have given you all the tools, resources, and technology to make it happen!”

He walks away from the table and to the end of the room until he comes to a mammoth steel door.

"It is all in here," he begins, "where you will make history."

Aster looks down at the body and back at Rawlings.

"There is too much damage for what is required." He counters.   “My experiments only work when the body is in better condition."

Rawlings pulls a square, flat metallic key from his vest pocket and smiles, a grim smile.  Holding it up as it glistens in the fluorescent lighting flickering down from the ceiling.

"I have taken care of that," he eerily replies.

He places the key in the electronic lock; its panel comes alive in a myriad of brightly lit primary colors.  The door ascends until it is removed entirely.  Aster walks forward just enough to see inside.

"Are those what I think they are?”  Aster gasps.
"Yes, they are the resources you will use to make this the greatest achievement of your pathetic little life."   Rawlings demands.

Aster approaches and peers in deeper.

"You realize if we do this, we will open other doors that will never close again!" Aster anxiously informs.

              "Precisely!"  Rawlings muses.

Aster looks back at him.  Rawlings face is dark, foreboding, and inhuman.   Aster looks back at the body.

"She will live!" Rawlings announces.  “No matter what the cost!"

              Aster walks back towards the body, stepping over the pool of blood forming on the white tiled floor.  He moves to its side and gently takes its arm in his hand, lifting it as his eyes widen.  Its talon like nails and green scaled skin are like nothing he has ever seen before.

How could this creature even have existed?

This is not the child that had played in the halls above years before?

The thing before him now was a monster, unrecognizable.  This is utter madness.  

He had no choice; Rawlings owned him.

Aster grabs the ends of the table and begins to roll it towards the newly opened door.  He enters the cold room; Rawling’s lab assistants are prepping several tables.  

More extorted minions!

The body parts are carefully cleaned.  They must be the remains of the other victims.   Although exposed to the elements, tattered and torn, they will have to do.   Aster stops in the middle of the room as Rawlings steps in and closes the door behind him.

"Gentleman," he proclaims, "today is the day we change the rules of life and death!"

Aster feels a cold shiver ride his spine as the others applaud mindlessly.  He leaves the table, approaching the long counters lining the wall.   In the middle sits the racks containing the many test tubes containing his serum.  A concoction he has worked on his entire life.  

Now he can finally use it without restriction or condemnation!

He fills one syringe, then another.

"Prep the main body," he begins, "we have much work to do."

              The men begin their work as Aster slides in a CD and powers on the player.  The room fills with melodious strands of classical music.

             "All right, Holley," he takes a deep breath, "let's begin your greatest makeover."




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