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Something Wicked 2.0 - STORY THREAD


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At School….


MC gave Jo a non-committal shrug as her way of accepting the apology, “Yeah I can be a bitch sometimes too.” She hoisted her bag and nodded to the two girls, “Come on, lets go find your bear.”


She led them out to the student parking lot which was already mostly empty to a metallic gray Subaru SUV. Roach whistled, “This looks almost brand new.”  “Yeah my parents got it for me just before school started since I got my license over the summer.”


Jo looked the SUV over it wasn’t fancy, but it was nice, and it was new. Most every kid in the county with a car or truck, drove a used one, sometime third or fourth hand and some even older. She couldn’t remember ever seeing a kid with a new car. “Yer folks bought you a new car.” Jo didn’t know what to say, her mom had spoken of the Blairs on more than one occasion and not fondly called them hippies and new age weirdos, but all Jo really knew about them was that they did a lot of charity stuff. “What do they do fer a livin?”


MC smirked and press the key-fob unlocking the door, “They sell drugs. Y’all can fight over shotgun.”



Blairsville Dental…


Hank had been in the reception area with his siters when his mom arrived and freed him from further brotherly duties. She took over with the twins and he said his byes and went out to his truck. He had just gotten outside when he saw that the hood of his truck was open and there was a man he didn’t know poking around in the engine. “Hey…”

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"Excuse Me sir, is there something I can help you with?"  Hank's tone had a forced cordiality, imitating the voice his mother used at work.  He was alarmed, but he wasn't about to start something right away.  He was still a scout, but he was fairly picky about just who messed with his truck.    He was happy his mother had taken over and he didn't have his sisters with him, because he knew that would only cause further problems.


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MC had barely finished speaking before Roach crowed, "Shoooooooooooooooootgun!" and darted around the SUV to fling the passenger side door open and jump inside.


"Don't worry, Jo!" she called out as she pulled the seatbelt down over herself. "You can just...stretch out on the backseats. It'll be fiiiiiiiine!"


She tilted the seat back and sighed. "Comfy."


MC slid into her seat and gave Roach a contemplative smile.


"Okay though." Digging out her phone, Roach called up a googlemap of their area. "Where are we going?"

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Jo gave Roach a disgruntled frown when she claimed the front seat before she even opened her mouth, then returned MC's smirk with a teeth-baring obviously fake smile. The Johanssons weren't poor, but it wasn't like being a foreman at the steel mill payed huge, nor whatever stuff mom did on the computer, and there were five Johansson kids, though Aiden had moved out. And all the sports equipment, coaches, and stuff for Jo added up, the few endorsements she had only offsetting the costs somewhat. Jo wasn't sure if MC was joking or not, drugs seemed to make as much sense as anything else why MC had a new car.


"Ah'm claiming shotgun on the way back!" Jo asserted, grunting as she squeezed herself into the back. It wasn't the worse she'd ever been in, but she still had to sit partially sideways so her knees weren't being shoved into her chest. She may have liked being big, overall, but it did come with awkward drawbacks at times.


The huge blonde leaned forward, poking her head between the seats to look at Roach's phone. She snaked an arm through to point. "Ah was running the harder trail here, the one that heads up to the mountain, just past the cul-de-sac. Ah think the fallen tree and the other path weren't no more than a mile down the trail. Dunno if we all ken git closer than that in the car, not without missin' it. Still easier than backtrackin' from 'round behind the Clairburn place."

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Bear Hunting


MC followed Jo’s pointing finger and also watch the Bigger girls profile only inches away. Suddenly she moved, slipping off her belt and getting out of the car, she stepped back to the rear door and opened it. “Can you drive? I’ll never find that and you know where we’re going.”


Jo hoped the shock didn’t show but she just nodded and scrambled out and into the drivers seat while MC climbed into the back, while Roach just looked at the both of them and shrugged, “Okay guess we don’t need the map.”



(the drive will take about half an hour so talk like girls do)


Blairsville dentistry


The man was still leaning over the engine and mumble with out straightning, “Sure Don’t make em like they should still, eh.” Suddenly he straightened and faced Hank who had closed the distance and was trying hard not to let his disgust show.


The man smelled like he hadn’t bathed in months and his look was about the same. His age was indeterminate but probably on the far side of fifty, he was dirty and bearded, his clothing was old, worn, ill-fitting, and again dirty. His eyes though were full of madness.


“Why you usin gas? Not efficient at all. Trucks got to go, got to go go go go. Needs power. You got power, truck needs the power to go.” He takes a stumbling step toward Hank and stretches out and arm as if to grab the young boy, “He’s coming Hank, coming for you and yer friends, yer friends and you and then the world, he’s a comin Hank!”

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Hank instinctively stepped back when the the strange man reached out for him, avoiding stumbling and bringing his hands up, not as fists but as if to say to hold on.

"Who's coming?" He had no idea what this crazy guy was talking about.   He definitely wanted the guy to leave, this was all too strange for him.   "I don't want any trouble sir."

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Blairsville dentistry Parkinglot


The man stopped and stared at his hand as if seeing it for the first time then he turns back and points at the truck, "It's all wrong Hank, all wrong, It's in the book. You need the power to make it go. It says so in the book.' He turns back to face Hank, "He is coming Hank, coming to burn You, burn you all..."



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Blairsville Dentistry


The man looked crazily at Hank and opened his mouth to speak, probably more nonsense but just then a burst from a siren sounded loudly as a Blairsevill department cruiser pulled into the parking lot with flashing lights.


Officer Jan Michaels, a short sturdy female in her mid twenties and her partner, Officer Stuart Bikes, Tall broad shouldered but showing a tendency for enjoying donuts a little too much in middle, a 15 year veteran of the department. The two police quickly exited thier car and flank the crazy starnger. 


"Hank, Step away slowly," said Officer Michaels, her hand on her still holstered pistol. Meanwhile Bikes had addressed the old man , "Sir,I want you to turn around slowly and place your hands on the front of the truck." 


The old man looks at Hank, "Remember what i told you boy." And then he darts to the side and faster than it seems possible charges toward Michales who surprised steps back and draws her gun but the old man rushes right past and dives into the police cruiser!

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Hank was surprised to see the officers show up, wondering if they were just cruising by or if they were called by someone.  He remained still watching the cops react to him jumping into the cruiser, before backing away towards the building. He didn't want to be in their way.   Leaving wasn't going to be something that he could just do, though he didn't think they'd force him to stay too long.  He'd definitely have to tell Jo and Roach about this.

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Jo ducked her head as she fiddled with seat, moving it back all the way to make room for her legs, hiding her uncertainty. She'd just gotten her driver's permit, but still wanted more practice, and most of the experience she'd gotten was in her brothers' and father's pickups. MC's SUV was much newer and had a great deal more options than she was used to - having a touchscreen instead of knobs was weird.

Tentatively at first - Jo didn't want to mess up and scratch or do something worse to the SUV that she'd have to pay MC back for, somehow - the big girl drove towards the spot closest she could reach to where she'd seen the bear, growing more comfortable as she got used to the difference in how the SUV handled compared to pickups. It wasn't so bad, though the SUV was a good deal quieter and smoother than what she was used to.

The three very different girls were silent at first, no immediate common interest brooking conversation. Even Jo and Roach were friends more due to long-time proximity than from shared interests.

"So you really saw a bear in the woods? And y'all think is was in the school," MC, her brow furrowed, asked?

"Fur was stuck in the lock," Roach says, settling back in the seat and closing her eyes. "I didn't say it made sense. My theory was that it was the mascot. All we're really doing is seeing if the bear fur matches. If it doesn't, we have to figure out what does match it. If not, well there's only one conclusion."

"That fur ain't from the mascot," Jo reasserted firmly. She glanced at the rear-view mirror, catching MC's eye. "And yeah, Ah saw a bear. Ah wasn't expectin' it, fer sure. Banner growlin' at it gave me such a fright." She flicked a glance at Roach before turning gaze back on the road, one fair brow arching up. "If it don't match, then what? Hells, what if it does?"

Roach opens her eyes and widens them in mock terror. "Werebears."

Jo blew some blond hair from her face and gave Roach a smack on the shoulder. "That's stupid. There ain't no such thing."

"Wait, wait, wait, wait." MC shook her head, "The bear was alive? Just how, exactly, are we supposed to compare that hair to a live bear?"

"I figure they shed fur, right? Like cats? Probably find some around."

"Don't they rub up 'gainst trees and the like? Maybe find some caught on branches they walk through or something, Ah reckon."

Roach nodded at that. "That. Right. See? We got this. The terror of the werebear plague will be ended by sundown... or, alternatively, we'll be made into werebears too. Which I am okay with."

MC looked out the window and wondered what in the world she had gotten herself into, just to try to make some friends.

"Well fuck this, then. If we're going to die at least we should be high."  She fumbled a tightly rolled joint out of her cigarette pack lit it and took a long toke before offering it to Roach.

Fumbling trying to find the turn signal, Jo gave Roach a sidelong glance. Jo had seen the bear, Roach hadn't. There was worse than being turned into a werebear. Like being turned into meat. Jo snorted as the smoke from the joint tickled her nose and she immediately rolled down the windows.

"We ain't gonna die. But if we do see the bear, stay behind me and we back up slowly, 'kay?"

"Or...you back up slowly, we back up quickly," chortled Roach as she took the offered joint. "You only have to outrun the slowest friend."

Jo's hands tightened on the wheel, "That's the idea," Jordan growled, less amused than Roach was. She was by far the biggest. She'd have the better chance of making the bear back down, or failing that, enduring a mauling. "Ah can outrun ya both, but Ah'll give ya a good head start."

Roach blew a puff of smoke out the window, then handed the joint back to MC. "It's cool, MC. I have absorbed the total of human knowledge about bears. We make tons of noise walking around so we don't startle one. Bears almost always run from people if they know they're around. Especially groups of people. We'll be fiiiiiiiiiine."

Jo snorted again, dubious of Roach's claims, as she turned off the road onto the section of packed dirt and gravel used as a makeshift parking lot for those who ran or biked on the trails and lived far enough away to not make it on foot (or didn't want to). It had enough for five or six cars maybe, but Jo had never seen more than two. The SUV idled for a moment before Jo pushed the button to shut it off. It was still weird to her, a vehicle without a key.

"We're here. It ain't so far from here."

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Roach opened the door and waved a hand around to fan some of the smoke that had started to accumulate out of the car along with herself. She hadn't had enough of the joint to feel much more than the beginnings of a mellow; a sort of warm fluffy feeling that she visualized as snuggling into a blanket fresh out of the dryer, except inside her skull.


"Okay," she said, looking around. There were a lot of trees around. And no paths. It all kind of just looked the same in every direction. "Okay. I figure...we go to where Jo saw it. Find some bearclaw prints. Follow them. Sooner or later it'll have shed on like...a thorn bush or something. Boom. Done. We can get outta 'Nam."


"Take it away, Jo."

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Blairsville Dentist Parking Lot


Hank stepped back wide eyed as Michaels and Bikes both started yelling at the man, who sat up in the police car hands on the wheel, but he made no move to close the door or to drive away. The police officers had their guns out, Hank was surprised at the looks of fear on their faces. Cops were supposed to be brave and fearless they were supposed to protect and serve.


 Hank backed into the side of his truck and time seemed to slow and stop. Shouldn’t I do something? Of course not, I’m just a boy. Just a boy? Is that all you are? All you want to be?


Hanks eyes locked onto the mans who grinned at him as his hand moved to put the car into drive, both cops were screaming, and their fingers were tightening on the triggers…



The Woods


It wasn’t yet four thirty but under the roof of leaves and branches it was twilight, full of shadows that moved, and sounds made by the wind and creatures unseen.

The three girls made their way along the trails, Jo in the lead with Roach and MC following in that order. There was an unusual heaviness in the air, they had made small talk at first, but as the forest grew close around them the desire to talk fled.


After what seemed like hours but was only about twenty minutes they found the stream and after a few more minutes Jo located her and Banners tracks yet try as they might searching the other side reveled no sign of the bear or even evidence that a bear had been there.



Need int checks from each of the girls recon or survival can be used 


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Of course I want to be more.   This isn't right, and it needs to stop.   Hank answered whatever voice he heard inside his head, and then he spoke, putting a hand up, clearly showing his wasn't armed.  

"Let's all tone it down just notch or three, okay?  Nobody wants to shoot anyone, and nobody wants to get shot.  There's kids inside the office, and I'd really rather they not see whatever this is happen. "

He looked at the crazy guy behind the wheel, and nodded.  "Come out of the vehicle slowly, and they won't shoot.   We can talk this out, and nobody has to be hurt, or see anyone hurt."

He looked to the officers, "Please, lower your guns, show him you're willing to talk.   This is probably all getting recorded, and you know it will end up on youtube, or tmz.   Let's all calm down, and not do anything we're going to regret."  There was a calm certainty in his voice, he wanted to end this peacefully, and he hoped this time he'd be able to make it happen.

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The air under the interwoven branches was unexpectedly thick and oppressive. It felt like sweat was sticking to Jo's skin rather than evaporating. Hands knotted into fists as she looked around for any sign of the bear, the oversized girl breathed deeply, forcing herself to keep a steady rhythm. She glanced over a broad shoulder down at Roach, frowning at the doubtful look growing on the smaller girl's face.

"Ah swear, there was a bear hereabouts," Jo assured the other girls. "The other, uh, woman -" Jo sounded oddly unsure about that, " - warned Banner and me 'bout crossin'-Ow!"


Jo's head smacked into a low-spreading branch. She grunted, turning to look forward again as she rubbed her forehead. "We shoulda brought Hank and his boyscout ways out here."



Jo: Int Roll
[1:33 AM]
!roll 2d6

Asarasa Roll: [3, 1] Result: 4


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Rochelle wasn't much of a hiker, or outdoorsman. There were a lot of things she just didn't like about being out in nature. It made her feel kind of small, kind of vulnerable, and there wasn't an easy fix for it. You couldn't warp reality by learning to code it, which had been her solution to computers and the internet. Learning about nature didn't give you a lot of power over it. You could know everything there was to know about a cougar...and still get ambushed from behind. The thought was uncomfortable and made her want to stress eat a whole can of pretzels.


So she was tense, and nervous, even in the fading buzz of the joint she'd smoked. Otherwise she might not have noticed when she felt an oddly cool breeze waft over her arms, giving her little goosebumps. Another little gust ruffled her hair, making her scalp tingle from the chill of it.


That wasn't all that was wrong though; not the only thing raising the hair on the back of her neck. Something felt off. Roach didn't know forest trails very well, but she was no stranger at all to being places she wasn't supposed to be. There was a reckless thrill to it, but sometimes that thrill collapsed into a sudden need to sit still, stay quiet. Sometimes you knew when someone else was watching, and right now Rochelle felt it.


She looked back over her shoulder, trying to reassure herself that she was being paranoid. First munchies, now this. It was no biggie... Except back up the little brook that wound its way through the woods nearby there was a thin white fog starting to rise from the water. It was slowly spreading downstream and to the sides, staying low to the ground and gradually swallowing the low-lying shrubs and grass in an inky pearlescent mist.


Condensation, Roach thought, trying to ignore the hammering in her chest. It's normal. Temperature change. The air over the water's got water vapor in it, when it gets cold the vapor...condenses... Totally normal.


But why then the cold? So sudden and sharp? She had no explanation for that beyond, 'sometimes weather be like that,' and that didn't feel like enough.


"Hey Jo," Roach said in a too-casual tone, trying not to look or sound as spooked as she was. "MC. Check it out. We're in a music video from the eighties."


She gestured towards the murky fog rolling down the river and edged over to one of the larger trees to put her back to it. That feeling of being watched was still hanging over her, and it was too easy to imagine something pouncing from behind.


"MC, you do the synth, Jo you take the didgeridoo."

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In the Woods…


MC and Jo looked where Roach’s pointing finger indicated the odd mist. It was still only about six inches or so off the surface of the creek but it seemed  thicker and only a few yards away from where they were but more importantly it had spilled out of the creek’ low banks and flowed into the woods on both sides.


“What the fuck,” MC sounded scared. The wind blew softly. She moved to the same tree as Roach while Jo stood her ground fists clenched.


Jo slowly turned in a circle, she felt the eyes on her and her friends, but she couldn’t see anyone, or hear anything. No birds, no animals, not even insects. Even the breeze was silent, the water in the creek muffled.


The mist had flowed past them and was licking at their ankles, cold and damp. It had risen it was over a foot high now and obscured the ground.


“Hey! Look.” Jo had called softly to Roach and MC as she spotted and pointed out a break in the mist, a clear path through the woods…



Blairsville Dentist Parking Lot


It shouldn’t have worked.


Hank was just a kid, the police were surging on fear and adrenaline, they shouldn’t have even notice Hank.


But they did.


Guns still pointed at the old man the two police officers had turned their heads and looked at Hank. He stood his back against his truck one hand raised, the other touching the fender of his truck, fingers splayed, caressing the machine, drawing strength from its familiar lines. He hadn’t even consciously touched the truck, he just did it out of instinct.


His words calmed them, disarmed them. They lowered their guns, holstered them as the old man got out of the police car and let himself be cuffed and then put back into the rear seat of the cruiser. The cops gave Hank a glance but didn’t meet his eyes. And they to got into the cruiser and drove away.


No one said a word to Hank.



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Hank just watched the event unfold, exactly as he'd asked.  When the cops left, with the crazy old man intact, cuffed in the back of the cruiser, he took a deep breath, and realized that he still had his hand on the hood of his truck.  "Well that happened."

Inwardly, he was surprised almost beyond rational thought, and found himself immensely glad no one died, or was even hurt.  It was all so surreal.   "I need to call Jo, Roach, and Ben, right now.   That was too strange not to.  Something's got to be going on."  He was unsure about leaving, but since the cops had, and they hadn't said anything to him, he figured he could.  It wasn't like they couldn't come find him later.

He opened the door of his truck and climbed in, as he dialed, closing the door for a modicum of privacy.

Edited by Shameless
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Jo was no boy scout or girl guide or nothing, but she ran forest and hill trails often enough, mornings, afternoons, and evening. This wasn't right, the sheer quiet, the weird, cold mist, though she couldn't tell you why. Maybe Hank could. The sense of being watched raise goosebumps on her skin. The big, powerfully built young woman was used to having eyes turned her way, but this wasn't the same, this wasn't the same at all.


She'd been warned about crossing the creek, but she had thought it was just because of the bear. But she didn't intend to just wait for whatever was out there to show itself, themselves, when it or they were good and ready. Jo tromped over to where MC and Roach were huddling with backs to the tree. She reached over their heads and grabbed a solid branch.

Hand tightened on the rough, dry bark, then she pulled down with brute strength and her considerable mass. There was a splintering sound, then a crack, ominously loud and sharp in the silence. Jo quickly stripped off the leaves and smaller twigs and branches, then gave her improvised club a few practice swings. It wasn't quite a baseball bat, but it had a good heft, and gave her some reach and something to interpose between herself and anything with teeth out there.

"C'mon, girls," Jo said softly, nodding towards the path through the mist and woods, then striding purposefully forward. "This way. Better to keep movin' than standin' all still like and waitin' fer whatever comes."


Jo wasn't sure that was actually right, but it felt right to her.

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"Yeah, but we could move back," Roach pointed out. "We do not have to follow the creepy fog thing into the equally creepy forest. Which, I might add, definitely has at least one bear in it."


Both MC and Jo looked back at Roach, and it was hard to tell if they were weighing her words, or judging her. She held her hands up, palms out.


"Look, we didn't come out here to follow the misty fuck road, okay?" she protested. "We came out here to...to find some bear hair or whatever. On a bush. A shrub. This is waaaaaay outside our mission objectives here."


Even as she said it though, Rochelle realized the fatal flaw in her argument. The why. They'd been looking for bear hair to find out what had happened to their friend. This wasn't the first creepy thing that she'd discovered after all. The creepy website and the creepy email...they'd come first. They'd just been elements that she'd been comfortable with. Computers were absolutely her jam. Forests, not so much. That was really the only thing that had changed.


"I just..." Roach stammered for a second, then covered her forehead with a hand. "...okay. I would have brought more stuff if I'd known we were going on the fucking greatest adventure coming out here, but...okay. No stuff. Jo has a stick. MC has weed. We're good. Lets go kill a dragon...or a bear...or whatever's taking people and sending weird emails."


She absolutely let Jo go first though.

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Hank called Ben first but it went to voice mail. He left a message for Ben to call when he felt up to it. Then he called Roach, figuring she could do her electronic magic and turn it into conference call with Jo. He got no answer there either, just voice mail.


That was unusual. Roach always answered her phone even when she was already talking to someone else. He hit Jo's speed dial, and it ended up at voicemail as well. Hank pulled over and called all three again. Voice mail.



Jo pushed through the path through the mist that was becoming a thick fog filling the woods to either side and rolling into the path behind them. The three girls were being led, no herded to some mysterious destination. Roach and MC were totally lost and MC had moved close to Roach and was clutching her arm.


Jo shouldn't be lost she had been running in this woods and hills all her life. She knew them like she knew her own body, but right now she was completely at a loss they were going up the path they were on was gently slopped and she was sure that she knew what direction they were going and that should have been down toward their neighborhood.


Suddenly they broke through the foggy wood and found themselves on top of a hill, twilight was fading to night and the fog was rolling off on all sides drifting into the woods below. The hill top was barren except for a tall stone at its center a stone with strange markings.




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Roach wasn't Jo, or Hank. She didn't know the area around their houses like the back of her hand, but she wasn't blind. She knew the basic layout...the overall topography. So she knew there was no way this was anywhere near them.


"Jo?" she asked, looking around. "Where the hell is this? Tell us you can get us home, please?"


Even though she was genuinely worried, she couldn't help but move towards that big boulder. The marks on it looked weird...too regular not to be man-made, but obviously not letters. What was it? Graffiti? Futhark runes? Klingon cuneiform? She really wanted to see.

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Jo's arms went slack, her branch dragging a thin, shallow line through the dirt as she stalked up the hill towards the boulder, glancing all about her, wary and disconcerted. She had no clue where they were. Familiar enough with the area, even if she turned off some place she'd never been before, she still had a vague sense of how to get back to some place she knew.

Not now. Maybe it was the fog, maybe not, but they might as well have been in another county, another country, for all she could tell.

"Ah think Ah may have gotten turned all about, what with the fog and whatnot," Jo admitted, trying to make light of it to hide a bubbling worry. She didn't sound terribly convincing. "Ah never been hereabouts 'fore. Nor heard tell of its like."

It was a might big rock, and strange. She'd remember if she'd ever seen it before. Reaching the summit of the hill, bare save for the uncanny boulder, Jo peered about, looking over the trees and thick mist, trying to spot a landmark she recognized, something she could heads towards to get them back home.

"Sorry. But leastwise, we didn't bumble into no bear."

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Reaching no one, Hank did the only thing he could.  He went home.  It was a miracle no one had died, and that his sisters and mother hadn't seen anything.   If they had, he was sure they'd have come out running as soon as it was over.

As he drove home he thought about the incident, wondering if they hadn't seen anything, then just who called the cops?   he hadn't seen anyone else around to be sure, and he got home and made himself a couple sandwiches, grabbed a coke and head up to his room.  Taking his backpack, he set it on his bed, and took out the book setting it on his desk.  

He ate the first sandwich and drank about half his coke before putting his hand on it. "Just what is this book?" he asked no one in particular.  Ever since they found it, their lives had been filled with craziness.

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The click was barely audible but still Hank heard it and his head snapped away from his plate to the book his hand still rested on. He was sure he heard it, he moved his hand and saw that the locked latch was open.


The book was unlocked!


“Bears are very unpredictable,” the voice startled all of them, MC even fell on her butt backing away from the stone, “One minute they wat to eat the honey the next they want to eat you.” it was English, but with an accent that could have been European or middle eastern. The diction was perfect but spoken slowly, unnaturally.


The being that stepped out from behind the stone was as tall as Jo but rail thin. Both its legs and arms seemed too long, and their hands were slender also with too long fingers and nails. The girls couldn’t be sure if they were male or female, but the face had an unearthly beauty about it. They wore their hair oddly coifed in a style unlike any they had seen before. The clothes the being wore was old fashioned, archaic even, but elegant and sophisticated. Very out of place on the top a hill.


The being looked at each girl and raised its hand pointing a finger at each in turn and counting, “One, two, three, not enough for me. Should there not be, one or two more?”



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