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Authors: Edwin Page

Blood Cult (21 page)

BOOK: Blood Cult
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38

I stood on the
interstate and watched as the Falcon disappeared from view, the sound of its V8
lingering for long, tortuous moments afterwards. ‘Chrissie,’ I whispered.

Glancing back, I stared at the auto with its hood raised. It was likely
the hijacker’s car and had clearly broken down. Looking around the forecourt, I
desperately tried to think of what I should do.

An idea suddenly struck me and I turned on my heels, sprinting back to
the broken window of the station. Running in, I went straight to the driver’s
door of the pickup, negotiating my way around the disrupted shelving.

I opened it and through the gun onto the double passenger seat. Grabbing
the body behind the wheel, I tugged it out and let it thump to the floor as I
climbed in. My nose flared at the foul odour, dried blood on the side of the
seat and a couple of maggots crawling on the material.

I turned the key and the engine spluttered and died. Trying again, I
pressed my foot down and the motor roared into life. The needle on the fuel
gauge climbed to almost halfway as I put the pickup in reverse and began to
back out of the store.

A loud bang on the hood made me jump and I turned to see that the light
fixture that had been partially resting on the roof had fallen. My heart racing
thanks to the shock, I looked back over my shoulder and took the vehicle out of
the broken window.

Pulling to a stop once the front bumper had cleared the store enough for
me to shift into first and pull away, I stared at Bob’s body as it lay beside
the entry to the forecourt. The cover fluttered softly as if beckoning me to
him.

I shook my head, tears in my eyes as I prepared to head after Chrissie.
‘The living before the dead,’ I stated, tearing my gaze away, determining to
come back once my daughter was safely returned to me.

The rear tyres screeched as I set off. I gunned the pickup out of the
station’s exit and joined the highway, pressing my foot hard to the floor and
blinking away my tears.

Something tickled my neck as the pickup raced down the central lane. I
quickly brushed at the irritation and felt the soft body of a maggot against my
fingers, seeing its pale body fall down beside the seat in the periphery of my
vision.

I shivered in disgust as I scanned the road ahead. I knew that thanks to
the limited amount of fuel left in the Falcon it wouldn’t get far. There was no
doubt that I’d catch up with the hijackers sooner or later, but quite what I’d
do when that time came evaded me.

Taking a long bend to the right, I saw the car parked at the side of the
interstate. Both doors on its passenger side were wide open, but there was no
sign of Chrissie or the couple.

I slowed the pickup, the light fitting still resting on its hood. I
scanned the trees to the right of the Falcon, knowing that they must be hiding
somewhere in their concealment.

The pickup crawled closer and I reached over for the rifle without taking
my gaze from the woods. I pressed on the brakes and brought it to a halt twenty
yards from the Falcon and waited a moment to see if they would reveal
themselves.

There was no movement other than the branches waving in the light wind.

Turning off the engine and making sure to slip the key into my pocket, I
then slowly climbed out. I stood and stared over at the trees, resting the
rifle on the roof.

‘Step out where I can see you,’ I called. ‘I know you’re in there.’

Still nothing.

‘I want my daughter back,’ I stated with growing frustration.

There was rustling in the trees beyond the tailgate of the Falcon. The
man appeared, Chrissie held against him with a pistol to her temple.

‘We want your pickup,’ he stated, voice thick with phlegm, face ghostly
and hollow.

‘Take the gun from my daughter’s head,’ I demanded, pointing the rifle at
him.

‘Shoot me and the girl dies.’ He added pressure to the barrel and
Chrissie moaned. ‘Put the rifle down and step away from the vehicle.’

I looked to Chrissie, who was staring at me in terror, eyes wide and
glistening with tears. Letting the rifle rest on the roof, I raised my hands in
the air and stepped back.

‘Further,’ he stated, waving the gun to the side.

I moved back towards the central reservation, coming to a stop when I
reached the grass. ‘Now let my daughter go.’

He glanced over his shoulder and nodded towards the pickup. The woman
rose from behind some bushes and began to hurriedly make her way over to the
vehicle, the baby clutched to her chest. It was wrapped in pale blue swaddling,
but made no sound or movement.

‘My daughter,’ I insisted, jaw clenched and heart pounding.

The woman reached the passenger side of the pickup and looked in. Turning
back to her partner, she shook her head.

‘The keys,’ he growled, gagging momentarily.

I reached into my pocket and retrieved them. ‘Not until you release my
daughter,’ I said as I held them up.

‘Either you throw them over to my wife or I shoot you and then your
girl,’ he threatened.

‘Mommy!’ exclaimed Chrissie fearfully.

‘Shut your mouth,’ he barked, putting the gun back to her temple.

‘Okay, okay. Just leave her be,’ I pleaded, tossing the keys over to the
pickup, the sound of them hitting the roof soon following.

The woman snatched them up with the rifle and climbed into the passenger
seat, reaching over to put the key in the ignition and starting the pickup. Her
partner moved forward warily, Chrissie gripped firmly at his side with the gun
unwavering against her forehead.

He moved around the hood to the open driver’s door. Moving Chrissie to
stand in front of him, he backed onto the seat.

‘What about my gun?’ I asked.

‘It’s ours now,’ he replied as he shifted into first.

‘How am I supposed to defend myself?’

He gave a shrug before bending towards Chrissie. ‘Go, kid,’ he hissed.

Chrissie hesitated, glancing over her shoulder with wide eyes. She then
sprinted towards me as the man slammed the driver’s door and the pickup’s rear
wheels spun before it set off along the highway.

I went to Chrissie and she flung her arms about me, bursting into
heart-rending sobs. I stroked her hair as I stared after the pickup, the threat
of tears being replaced by growing anger. The world had always been unfair to a
degree, but now it was also cruel. The injustice of our situation was
infuriating and I found myself trembling as the rage built.

Chrissie looked up at me curiously.

I pulled my sleeve over my right hand and wiped the tears from her
cheeks. ‘We’ve got to be tough now, Honey. It’s the only way we’ll make it to Montreal.’

‘But there’s no gas in the Interceptor.’

‘I know, Honey, so we’re just going to have to set out on foot and hope
our luck changes.’ I drew the front of her red coat together. ‘At least they
didn’t take our supplies,’ I stated as I fastened the toggles, the couple’s
state of health and desperation clearly affecting their judgement and possibly being
the reason they hadn’t thought to take the pickup from the gas station.

‘We can’t carry all of it,’ she sniffed.

‘No, so we’ll just have to carry what we can.’

She stared up at me for a moment. ‘I think the baby was dead,’ she said
softly.

I looked back to the north, the highway empty. Recalling the sight of the
woman making her way to the vehicle, I nodded to myself and sighed. The world
had indeed become a cruel and harsh place.

39

‘Hell’s Kitchen
is a crazy place, I ain’t never coming back now. Hell’s Kitchen is a DMZ, I ain’t
neverrr, neverrr…’ I sang along with The Cult, the heavy guitar riff and rapid
beat of drums rocking the stage.

The crowd were jumping, bathed in blood and eyes wide, pupils dilated.

‘New York City. Well now, New York City.’

The audience pulsed to the tune as I relished every moment. People
regularly moved to the containers beneath the corpses strung from the fire
truck ladders. Most were empty and they were forced to scrape the last dregs.

‘I’m shooting from the hip now. I’m shooting from the hip now, baby. I’m
shooting from the hip now. New York City.’

The song came to an end and I stood breathless before my flock. My head
was pounding, but even that telltale ache couldn’t dampen my spirits as the
next tune began.

The guitar and high-hat built. He drums kicked in, building, building. Heavy
guitar riff. Drums deepening. Always building. The crowd leaping and whooping
before the float, hands in the air, heads banging.


Say your prayers, little one. Don’t forget, my son, to include
everyone. Tuck you in, warm within, keep you free from sin, till the Sandman he
comes
.’ The Metallica tune issued from the speakers.


Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight
.’

I took hold of the microphone in readiness to sing along, bobbing my head
and my body filled with the trembling vibrations of
Enter Sandman
.

‘Exit light, enter night. Take my hand, we’re off to never never land,’ I
roared.

The crowd went crazy. Two people broke from the bloodied, heaving mass
and ripped at one of the bodies hanging to the right with claw-like hands. They
tore at the corpse’s clothes, pulling them away and then biting at the exposed
flesh, savaging the body like feral dogs.

A man wrestled the chainsaw from Neil’s hands, the young gangly youth
relinquishing his grasp after a brief struggle. The man staggered over to the
nearest corpse, his eyes painfully wide as he tugged on the cord with gritted
teeth. The saw roared and he swung it at the body before him, the teeth chewing
into the wide waistline of the woman hanging from the rung. Tissue and fat
sprayed over the people nearby and they began to smear themselves with its
glistening slickness.


Now I lay me down to sleep, pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I die
before I wake, pray the Lord my soul to take
,’ came the lyrics of the song,
the voice of a boy repeating them.

Others began to attack the corpses, desperate for more, fuelled by the
drugs, music, lights and their desire to survive. I stood motionless, watching
in shock. I could never have dreamed of such a glorious sight and I briefly
offered a prayer of thanks to God.


Hush little baby, don’t say a word, and never mind that noise you
heard, it’s just the beasts under your bed, in your closet, in your head
.’

I raised my hands out to the side, filled with the glory of His presence.
‘For the wages of sin are death,’ I quoted to myself as the bodies were ripped
to shreds by hands, teeth and the chainsaw. The sins of humanity were coming
home to roost. Judgement Day was close at hand.

I turned to the Chief with an expression of divine exultation and found
him looking upon the mania in horror. ‘Isn’t it glorious?’ I called as the song
continued towards its end.

‘It’s hideous,’ he replied.

‘It’s the true face of our species, Brody. This is humanity’s truth, the
beast that has always resided within simply waiting for its chance, for its
release.’

He shook his head in disgust. ‘This is sick.’

‘Yes,’ I replied with excited volume, ‘the sickness that has always been,
the sin that had always been.’

I raised my hands high as the song came to and end. ‘PRAISE BE TO GOD! I
yelled at the top of my voice, facing the crazed people before the stage as
their fervour began to calm now that the music had come to an end.

‘You’ve had your fill thanks to His grace. You’ve been cured by the blood
and flesh of the pure and by our merciful Lord. We’ll give thanks for His
glory.’ I bowed my head and placed my hands together in prayer.

The audience followed suit, most standing in the bloodied arena upon the
highway, others kneeling around the corpses as they fed. They were all stained
with the drying evidence of their debauchery, their eyes filled with madness.

‘We thank thee, oh Lord, for this bounty with which you’ve blessed us. We
ask that you continue to guide, provide and protect as we head north to do your
Will. We are your faithful servants and thy Will we be done. Amen.’

Many in the audience echoed the last word as David turned off the disco
lights and the atmosphere took on a reverential atmosphere. People began to
sit, the energy of the occasion having drained them and finding weariness
coming over them, the marijuana adding to their need to find rest. Many looked
dazed, as if starting to wake from a dream as they looked around the arena.

‘Please make your way to your vehicles. Once everyone is ready, we will
head north,’ I called, drawing everyone’s attention.

‘Tonight we reach Montreal.’

There were a few nods and mumbled words of approval, but most stayed
still and silent as they came to terms with what had happened in the heat of
the moment. There was a distinct sense of shock becoming evident amongst the
thousand strong crowd and I knew they were in need of my words, of God’s
guidance.

‘Fear not what’s come to pass,’ I called, moving to the front of the
stage. ‘You’ve acted in God’s name, and that should be no cause for fear or
doubt. Know that He’s guided your actions and rest easy, my friends. Always
remember, you’re the chosen ones.’

The people looked to me and I could see some of the anxiety lifting.

‘How do you all feel? Have the aches and pains subsided? Has much of the
sickness gone?’

Most of the audience nodded their confirmation.

‘Then what more proof do you need that this is God’s way, the path He is
showing us, the path to salvation? I tell you, my friends, we’re on His path
and are blessed by His healing hand.

‘If you doubt my words, then listen well, for this is what the book of Revelation
itself says; “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you
may eat the flesh of kings, generals and mighty men, of horses and their
riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great,”’ I
quoted, choosing to ignore the preceding words that revealed the instruction
was given to the birds and not to people.

‘I say again, you are the chosen ones and your actions are sanctified by
God Himself.’

The tension that had been building was dissipated by words, the Biblical
quote helping greatly. A few people still looked unsettled by what had
happened, but the majority had heeded my words, finding comfort and security in
them. They clung to what I’d said out of need, out of a wish to believe that
their actions were divinely inspired rather than debased and barbaric.

I smiled and crouched at the edge of the float. ‘You are God’s chosen,’ I
reiterated softly, nodding my head to add weight to my words, ‘and the healing
is His sign that this is so.’

Straightening, I scanned the faces, finding most relaxed, though still
showing signs of the sickness that was merely masked by the drugs. ‘Now, we
must head north to fulfil the quest that’s been entrusted to us.

‘To your vehicles,’ I instructed, knowing it was best to get the audience
scattered, that by dividing I could conquer any doubts or fears that may still
be residing in the people. Once their attention was turned away from what had
happened, they would soon force themselves to forget or accept it as part of
God’s plan.

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