THE SUPERMARKET TABLOID
FACT OR FICTION
“I knew it! Halloween night is when they fly. The man-eating gargoyles that prey on unsuspecting girls.” My ten-year-old brother Tommy said in earnest.
I laughed. “Don’t be stupid, gargoyles don’t exist.”
“Yes, they do!” He insisted.
I shrugged my shoulders.
“Witch. I’m telling mom you called me stupid! They do exist, and this proves it. He threw the paper at me and stormed off.
“Tattletale!” Younger brothers can be so silly. I picked up the supermarket tabloid that he’d left behind and read.
“Footprints in the snow are all that remain of thirteen-year-old Martha Belkin. On Halloween night her parents claim they heard her scream and swear they saw a large bird carry off their one-hundred-pound daughter. Police are investigating …”
I stopped reading. Chilled as though a winter breeze were blowing. I stared at the photograph. Footprints in the snow ended several feet from the barn. I could only imagine Martha’s terror. Was there a flying creature capable of carrying off children? I stared at the deepening darkness above the trees outside. I was sixteen when my brother warned me to beware of the monsters, that haunt the night sky …”
“I’m sorry, Jenna,” my boyfriend Rafe interrupted. Although a great story. My question had to do with how you decided to find a cure for hemophilia.”
“I was getting there.” I playfully punched Rafe, on the shoulder. It’s Halloween, and that is where it all began.” I studied the faces of our dinner guests.
“Please go on, Jenna. I’m curious as hell now. How did a story in the National Enquirer influence your goals?” Greg, my chief lab technician, said.
“Yes, please tell us. I’ve got goosebumps. Did they find little Martha?” Jane, my assistant, asked.
“No. Never. Nor have they found the other children that disappeared under similar circumstances.”
Whispers of shock circled the table. “You actually investigated?” Greg asked. I could hear the doubt in his voice.
“I researched every story, as well as the mystery and mythology of the gargoyle. I found an old text that claimed the gargoyle kidnapped and farmed adolescent children for their blood. And an inordinately high number of these abductions were of children afflicted with hemophilia. The ancient theory is that gargoyles needed the hemophiliac’s blood for infusions to keep their blood from crystalizing and turning them into stone.”
“Awesome. I love it. So due to your childhood phobia and this ancient mythology you wanted to cure hemophilia to save children from being carried off by gargoyles.”
“Odd isn’t it, almost laughable but I’m proud to say, we’re getting close to a real breakthrough.”
Powerful winds blew us down the mountain. “Thank you for driving me into the city. I’m sorry, but Jane said they’d found the solution. I have to be there for the final test. If she’s right, we’ve cured hemophilia.”
“With this storm, I couldn’t let you go alone,” Rafe insisted. Besides, I’m funding this research, and if you’ve found the cure, I’ve got work to do too. Just imagine the future, the most extravagant wedding and honeymoon in the world.”
“Mr. Romantic,” I said and cuddled close. Thrilled with his trust, admiration, and love, I watched my fiancée skillfully maneuver through the blizzard to my lab.
When we arrived, I jumped out, excited to see the achievement of a lifetime to fruition, but an eerie silence greeted me. Something was wrong. I’d barely closed the truck door when I saw blood in the snow and then Greg’s dismembered body. His torso lay across the picture window sill, stuck on a large shard of glass, but his head and legs lay on the ground below him. Inside the lab, an orgy of blood and body parts adorned the clinical white of the once sterile environment. The only thing I recognized of Jane was her long blonde hair. Now streaked with blood her scalp hung from the overhead light. I heard Raphe screaming my name, right before his head sailed past spraying me with blood. His body dropped at my feet as the sound of growling, and the rustle of wings grew intense.
Before I could articulate a scream, bloody talons grasped me by the shoulders. I was lifted from the ground, into the snowfall, above the clouds, and into darkness.
The castle they’re holding me in sits high in the Andes’ but has a state of the art laboratory. Still, I’ve not made much progress. Without my team, I’m struggling to find the right formula. The gargoyles want me to keep their blood from crystallizing. I might have cured hemophilia, but the world isn’t aware because these monsters destroyed the records.
The worst part is that they continue to abduct adolescent children and farm them for their blood.
I’m hoping to kill the entire brood, but the gargoyles working beside me watch too closely. My only chance is to cure the children they’ve captured. My clotting agent should turn these child killers to stone, permanently …
~~ The End ~~
Yolanda Renee © 2017
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