Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Ritual Part 6

They all switched on the flashlights Sol had provided them. He’d stolen them from the back room at Rex’s Hardware on Main Street. He’d worked there the previous summer before being fired for stealing screwdrivers. They walked for what seemed like hours, days, weeks, who could tell?

At length Sol noticed a tree. Its gnarled shape twisted visibly before his eyes like wisps of cigarette smoke, quickly changing from one animal form to another. First he saw a lion, then a bear. Then a snake writhed and struck at him before sprouting wings to fly away.

“Look at this,” he said, his cracking voice barely escaping him. He looked around, but saw no signs of Shane, Hal or their flashlights.

“Goddamn! Where ya’ll at?” he hollered frantically. He left the tree and ran around the tiny patch of forest aiming his flashlight in all directions. Panic had almost fully seized him when he tripped over a root and tumbled down a steep embankment into a gulley, which was luckily not very deep.

Shane stood before him with his back turned. In his left hand was his flashlight. His right hand passed slowly back and forth in front of his face.
“Hey Weed! I heard you come in. There’s about a million of my hand!” he proclaimed with complete and sincere awe.
“You just got tracers you nit-wit. Now c’mon and help me find Hal.”

They aimed their flashlights into the pitch-black wilderness only to see the white streak of Hal’s further down the gulley. When they came up to him, he was standing frozen before a large spider web. His flashlight slowly wove its way around the intricate gossamer patterns, reflecting brilliant, prismatic colors. The three cousins stood entranced by the web for some time before Sol urged them to keep going.

The woods were calm when they found their way to the appointed place at almost the right time. “It’s about twenty ‘til midnight,” Sol announced in his most authoritative voice, “let’s make the preparations.”

* * *

Only two more installments.