Into the Pit - FREE Story

Into the Pit

Nikki Noir



“How often do you wash the balls?”


“Huh?” Kelly broke from her daze of wiping down the table.


“The balls…in the pit?” The man gestured to the enclosed playground attached to Hungry Hefer’s dining room. “I’m asking how often you sanitize the equipment? ”


Kelly burned with embarrassment. She’d been zoning out more and more during her shifts.


“Back off, Chester.” Renee joined them at the table.


“Chester? My name is Don Wilcox. I’m with the Department of Health.” He pointed to an embroidered logo on his shirt, his name in cursive below it.


“Not impressed. I’ve got a shirt claiming I’m FBI.”


“Is there a manager I can speak with. I just have some questions about recent activity—”


“Everything all right?” It was Ruddy. He was smiling, but Kelly knew he was fuming inside. Why did Renee have to be so loud. And why did so always have to swoop in and ‘help’ her?


“Says he’s with D.O.H.,” Renee said. “But I doubt it. Second pedo this week, if you ask me.”


“Renee! That’s quite uncalled for.” Rudy turned to the sanitation worker. “Sir, I’m sure I can assist you.”


“Don Wilcox.” The man extended a hand. “Just had some questions about the ball pit—”


“Off course, of course,” Rudy said. “Let’s go back to my office. Happy to answer anything you need.” Rudy glared at Renee before they departed.


Renee rolled her eyes.


“You didn’t have to do that,” Kelly said once the men were gone. “I can handle myself.”


“You never do.”


“He wasn’t being rude—”


“How often do you wash balls? Please. You need to grow up and see the world for what it is.”


“I’m sure he said something else before. I just zoned out. He wasn’t being rude.”


“Trust me, I know a perv when I see one. Same as last week. Remember the creep staring at the ball pit for like thirty minutes while kids played? Wasn’t even eating?”


Kelly nodded. That guy had been pretty weird. Renee had railed him too. What she didn’t know was that the customer had come back the next night and ordered two burgers and fries, while he stared at the playground again. Renee had been off that night and Kelly never told her. Maybe she should have.


“It’s a sad fact, but when you work a fast food joint with a playground, you get pedos. Like flies on shit.”


Kelly cringed. They headed toward to the kitchen and Kelly hoped none of the customers in earshot would complain about her to Rudy. She always managed to get dragged into Renee’s messes.


“Dwayne’s one too. You know that right?” She was referring to the night manager. “They flock to you, because you’re a cute kid.”


At eighteen, Renee was only one year older. Kelly wasn’t sure how that made her a kid? But she did have a feeling that Dwayne was a creeper. Just not sure that made him a pedo.


“Thanks, I guess.”


“Don’t thank me. Just find your voice. Men are gonna step all over you, if you don’t grow a spine. And keep away from Dwayne.”


Kelly thought of Renee’s boyfriend Mike but held her tongue. He was at least twenty-one because she knew he had bought Renee alcohol before. She also knew that Renee had given him a blowjob out by the dumpsters. How grownup and romantic.

****

Kelly was outside collecting the trays from the patio tables, when the Department of Health guy emerged front the front entrance.


He gave a slight wave. “Sorry, if I made you uncomfortable earlier. That was not my intention.”


“It’s okay,” Kelly said. “I’ve been… zoning out a lot lately, I guess.”


“Does that often happen while you’re looking at the playground?”


Kelly shrugged. “I don’t really keep track.”


An awkward gap spread between them. Maybe Renee was right. Kelly felt like there was something else the guy wanted to say.


“Here’s my card.” The man with Don stitched on his shirt extended a white square. “There’s been a lot of issues with playground equipment recently. If you hear anything strange, please let me know.”


Not wanting to be rude, Kelly took the card and shoved it in her pocket. “Strange? Like what?”


“Oh, you know. Something out of the ordinary.”


Like guys watching the ball pit two nights in a row. “Sure. Okay.”


“Thanks.” Don smiled and left.


*****

“I’m getting tired of this crap, Renee.” It was the same thing Rudy said at least every three weeks, since Kelly had started at Hungry Hefer’s for her summer job. And like always, Renee listened with a blank expression. Nodded and mumbled she understood, and once Rudy turned to leave, she flicked him off.


Also like clockwork, was Mike, who showed up thirty minutes after Rudy left for the night. Kelly was at the register when he came in.


“Hey, Kel.”


“Hi.” With his slicked-back rockabilly hair and dickies, Kelly had to admit he was hot. But his attitude… Just like Renee. The IDGAF attitude was an okay trait in friends, but not in boyfriends.


“Let me get a number five,” he said.


“Sure. What size drink?”


“Extra large.” He put his shades on his head as he said it, fixing her with his eyes.


Kelly punched it in, ignoring the suggestive tone of voice. Everyone’s a creep, she thought.


“Hey, babe,” Mike said when Renee came up to the counter with his food.


“I got your order, big boy.”


They giggled and Renee felt uncomfortable again.


The two chatted while Mike ate at the far side of the register, pausing whenever a new approached. Renee shared the ball pit story and afterward, Mike’s face lit up.


“Department of Health, huh? Wanna create a biohazard in the pit tonight?”


“Guys,” Kelly hissed. "The customers..."


“Relax,” Mike said. “There’s like three people here. No one can hear us but you.”


“Fucking on the playground," Renee said. "Now that would really piss Rudy off.”


“I cannot believe what I’m hearing.”


“Then plug those virgin ears,” Mike said.


Renee giggled. “It’ll be after hours, Kelly. No kids in sight. What’s the problem?”


“Yeah, but tomorrow when kids go to play…”


“Okay,” Mike conceded. “I’ll just hide in the ball pit and once everyone leaves, we’ll do it anywhere you want.”


Kelly pulled out her phone. Ten minutes and she could clock off. Hot or not, she hoped her future boyfriend would never want to have sex in a ball pit or anywhere else in a fast food restaurant.

****

The following day, Kelly clocked in and saw Rudy racing around the kitchen, attempting to help an overwhelmed staff and barely holding it together in front of customers.


“Thank god, you’re here,” Rudy said, noticing her. “You’re on drive through. Oh, and if you have any influence over your little friend, tell her to get her butt down here. No call, no show during a lunch rush. I can fire her for that.”


“Renee?”


“Who else?” He hustled off, while Kelly clocked in and got the headset. Before she turned on the mic, she texted Renee but got no answer.


Renee never showed for her shift and the following day, the police came to ask questions.

***

“Were you friends with Renee Tram?”


They were sitting in Rudy’s office. The officer had asked if she’d wanted her parents present when they spoke. You have that right as a minor, but really, I just want to ask a few questions about Renee. Kelly had agreed. Anytime where she could avoid involving her parents, she would.


“Not really,” Kelly said. “We chill at work, but I’ve never gotten together with her outside of Hefer’s.”


“So you’re not sure of where she might have gone? Any friends she may be visiting?"


“Did you ask her boyfriend?”


“We can’t seem to locate him either. They wouldn’t have run off together? An elopement, perhaps?”


“What’s that?”


“Getting married in secret.”


“They never talked about it with me.”


“They were happy together though?”


I’ll hide in the ball pit and then we can do it wherever you want.


“Yeah, they seemed happy.”


“How about customers? Did Renee have any problems with customers?”


There was an unending list of customers who were probably offended by the crap Renee said, her lip and nose piercings, and who knew what else. “I don’t know. I don’t think so.”


“You’re not gonna get her in any trouble. I promise.” The police officer smiled. “Her parents just want to find her.”


It was hard to imagine a girl like Renee having parents. “Renee can be…in your face sometimes.”


“Can you give me an example?”


“Like two weeks ago. Some older guy was sitting by the playground and Renee called him a…she told him to leave.”


“You don’t feel comfortable saying the name she called him?”


“She called him a ‘chomo’ or something. Maybe a ‘Chester’,” Kelly muttered unable to look at the cop.


“Why do you think she called him that?”


“Cause he wasn’t eating anything. Just staring at the playground.”


The officer made some notes. “What happened after that?”


“The guy left.”


“That’s all?”


“Well… the customer came back the next day. Renee wasn’t here that night.” Then she quickly added, “But this time he ate something.”


“Was he still staring at the playground?”


“Yeah, I guess he was.”


“Did anyone say anything to him?”


Kelly shrugged. "I don’t think so. When we started to close up, he was just gone—”


A scream erupted from the dining room and Kelly jumped in her seat. The cop was already up at the door when a second scream rang out.


The cop swung open the door to Rudy’s office, and Kelly heard a female voice: “Jesse! Where’s my son?” The door slowly closed on the hysterical women and Kelly remained rooted to her chair with fear.

***

“It’s only two more weeks.” Her father reminder Kelly when he dropped her off for a Friday shift. Kelly hadn’t told him about Renee or Jesse, the five-year-old who went missing yesterday, but her face must have looked troubled.


“I know,” Kelly said getting out of the car. She wasn’t truthfully that worried about something happening to her. Renee had probably run off with Mike. And the poor kid was only five, he could have left with a stranger. It was tragic, but it wasn’t like Kelly was gonna get kidnapped from work. She just dreaded having to deal with Rudy. He was more and more tense each day.


Inside Hungry Hefer’s, a taped sign on the playground door read: 'Closed for Cleaning.' Through the glass, Kelly could see the pit had been drained and all the multi-colored balls were secured in a cargo net off to the corner of the play area by the jungle gym.


“The cops emptied the ball pit late last night,” Duncan said as he loaded the dishwasher. “They didn’t find that kid. Know what they did find?”


“What?”


“Some satanic symbol. Dig it?” Duncan wiped his hands on his apron and pulled out his cell phone. “Snuck in and took a pic this morning.”


Kelly leaned in and looked at the screen. The picture showed the bottom of the ball pit where a red design had been painted. It wasn’t an upside-down pentagram or three sixes which was what she expected to see when Duncan said satanic. Instead, it was a circle with intricate designs of dots, lines, and swirls within and coming off its edges.

“What is that?”

“It’s a cult thing.” Duncan put the phone away. “Like how gangs mark their territory with tags. This is like tagging for satanic gangs. See it in movies all the time.”


Kelly swallowed hard. “Did you tell the police?”


“That it’s satanic?” He laughed. “I’m sure the cops know all about that shit.” He returned to spraying down trays.


Kelly felt uneasy as she put on the drive-thru headset. Relax, she told herself. Duncan was an idiot who smoked weed all day and washed dishes. Still, she was glad she was on drive-thru today. Anything to keep her away from that playground…just in case.

***


Two hours into her shift a familiar face pulled up to the drive-thru window.


“I need to talk with you.”


“It’s you…” Kelly froze.


“Don Wilcox. Yes. I know what’s going on.”


“Do you want me to get Rudy?”


“No.” Don shook his head. “That won’t work. I need your help.”


His bag of food began to tremble in her hands. “I don’t have anything to do with the health stuff—”


“Never mind that. I’m talking about your friend who disappeared. And that young boy. I know what happened.”


“Maybe you should talk to the police—”


“They won’t believe me.” Don glanced out the rear window at the line of cars. “Please. Five minutes of your time.”


“Why would I believe you if the cops won’t?”


Don pulled a sketch from a folder in his passenger seat. “I know what they found in that ball pit. Have you seen it? Something like this perhaps?” Don held up a red design that was nearly identical to what she had seen on Duncan’s phone. “There is something evil happening at Hungry Hefer’s and the police simply don’t understand.”


It’s a satanic cult


“I… I really don’t want to get involved.” Kelly looked down at the bag and thrust it out the window. “Here’s your food. Okay?”


“Five minutes,” he said, taking the bag. “Please. We can talk in public. Right in front.”


A car honked and she looked at the door to Rudy’s office. “You’re gonna get me in trouble.”


“This could save your life!”


“My life?” Her heart was thrashing now. Renee was right, she didn’t have a spine. She should tell Don off—

But what if something evil was happening.


“Please, you could be in danger.”


What would Renee do? What would an adult do?

Fine. Five minutes,” she said. “Right in front. And if I don’t come back, Rudy calls the cops.”


“Agreed.”


***

Don was sitting outside at the patio table when Kelly came out of the restaurant. She took a deep breath and reminded herself that she was just as tough as Renee.

“Five minutes ain’t long,” she said, proud that she had the guts to be so blunt.


“Yes. Let’s see…how to best explain this. Have you seen Ghostbusters?”


“Ghostbusters? No. Never seen it.”


“Oh.” His face fell a bit. “Well, guess we’ll go the more direct pace. The earth, you see, has an electromagnetic grid around it. Same as the human body. Like power lines feeding the planet energy. They’re called ley-lines.”


“Ley lines? What are you talking about?”


“It’s an energy grid that powers the earth. If you don’t believe me, please look them up. I’m down to four minutes. Now, the places where these lines criss-cross each other, are sites of immense energetic power. And the surrounding area is often filled with strange, unexplained phenomenon. The Bermuda triangle is an intersection of ley-lines. The pyramid of Giza is another example.”


“I think I better go—"


“Three minutes, please. Hefer’s is built on a set of converging ley-lines. More specifically, the ball pit and playground are the exact point of convergence.” David opened the folder that he’d kept the sketch in and produced a photo. “Have you seen this man before?”


Kelly had every intention of walking away. This Don guy was crazy. She’d tried to listen, but it was non-sense. She’d gave him a chance, for Renee and that boy. But when she saw the face in the picture, Kelly couldn’t leave. It was the 'pedo' who had watched the pit two nights in a row.


“You’ve seen him, yes?”


“Maybe, once or twice.”


“He’s the culprit. He’s has manipulated the power here to unleash something evil. And unless you help me close the doorway he opened, more people are going to die.”


Kelly’s head was hot and fuzzy. Die? Missing was bad enough. Were Renee and Mike and that poor five-year-old dead?

“Can’t the Department of Health help you?”


Don laughed. “They wouldn’t have the first clue of what to do with this. And truthfully, I’m sorry, but that story was a cover. I had to speak to the manager. I’ve been studying Hungry Hefer’s for a while. So has this dark magician, whoever he is.” Don pointed to the photograph.


“Great. So you lied to us and you believe something evil is living in our ball pit. Oh, and there’s some kind of dark wizard responsible for all the problems. Did I miss anything?”


“I know how crazy this all sounds, but just get me inside after everyone leaves. I can perform a ritual to close the gateway.”


“A ritual! No flipping way am I—”


“Please! The symbol draw on the bottom of the ball pit is the sigil of Átahsaia. Devourer of flesh. He is a demonic god who will feed on more poor souls until his essences gains enough strength to take a physical form. Once that happens, he will move from the astral realm and exist fully in our world.”


“You’re crazy.” Kelly got to her feet, shaking her head.


“Please. Search yourself. You complained of zoning out. That’s the hypnotizing power of Átahsaia. After consuming these three souls, he will be stronger and that hypnotizing effect will grow to influence all in its vicinity. The weak will be especially vulnerable to possessed by his influence.”


“I wish I could help."


"Please."


"Really, I can’t—” Kelly turned fast and rushed back inside.

***

“Here’s what I don’t get,” Duncan said after Kelly shared Don’s story. “Why would someone summon a demon god, or a Cthulhu kind of creature? These gods goal is always to kill and enslave humanity. Destroy worlds.”


“I think you’re missing the point,” Kelly said. They were inside the walk-in freezer so he could hit his vape, but now he was off on some stoner tangent and Kelly was getting cold.


“Hear me out. Villains are always doing this kind of shit in movies. They make some pact to summon a demonic force bent on destroying the world… for what? Do they think the destroyer god will kill everyone but them? And even if they did, what’s the point of being the last human on earth? There’s no one to be in charge over. It really makes no sense.”


“I can’t tell if you’re kidding or not.”


“I can't either.” Duncan blew out a THC cloud in the freezer.


“Jesus, Duncan. What the hell? I came to you for advice.”


“In that case, I say help the guy. If it’s true—"


“How can it be true? You just said summoning destroyer gods or whatever, makes no sense.”


“Yeah, but people do all sorts of shit that doesn’t make sense. What does he want you to do anyway?”


“Let him in after hours. To close the…portal.”


“Ha!” Duncan snorted. “I bet he wants to open your portal.”


“Gross. He’s like forty. You’re the one who doesn’t make any sense, Duncan. First you say it’s a satanic cult. Then I tell you, some guy agrees with you, and you go changing your mind. Fuck off!”


Duncan’s jaw dropped and even Kelly couldn’t believe she’d said that word. Duncan burst out laughing. “That was awesome! You never say shit like that. I love it.”


“Ugh.” She pushed open the door and stormed back into the kitchen, his stoned laughter following her.


“Kelly, come here.” It was Stephen at the register.


What now?

“Yeah,” she said.


“Look at the guy at table three.”


“Okay?”


“See all that food on his plate?” Stephen asked. “That’s his fifth order. Watch him eat.”


The man’s head was hung low and his shoulders were hitching as if he was crying. If he was though, that didn’t stop him from shoveling food into his mouth. When nothing but empty wrappers were left, he slowly rose to his feet. He faltered and bent over, releasing a painful groan. It took a minute to compose himself, then he staggered toward them.


Soon the whole restaurant was watching him moaning and walking. Kelly stepped back as the man doubled over and rested his shaking frame against the counter top.

He looked up at Stephen, tears in his eyes. “More. I…need…more.”


“Uh…What, can I get you, sir?” Stephen asked.


“Aggghh!” The man cried out and fell over backward.

****

“Are you kidding me! Two days after a kid goes missing and now we got some guy overdosing on hamburger patties?” Rudy had Stephen and Kelly in his office, even though she hadn’t done anything except be standing next to Stephen when it happened. Same as with Renee. “Why the hell didn’t you cut him off?”

“I didn’t know,” Stephen said. “He wasn’t doing anything wrong. How do I not serve—”


“He. Ate—” Rudy looked at the receipt. “Twenty hamburgers! Customers said he was talking to himself and crying.”


“He coulda had the munchies,” Stephen said. “That’s all.”


“Well, now he could be a little dead. Jesus Christ!” Rudy took a deep breath and looked at the floor. “I’m doomed. There is no coming back from this.”


Kelly wondered if she could survive her last two weeks after all.


Strange phenomenon happen where ley-lines intersect. Everyone will be at risk as the power grows.


When he finished is tirade, Rudy left Dwayne in charge and said Stephen and Kelly could have the rest of the shift off. He then informed the remaining staff that the store would be closing early tonight. 8pm.


Kelly had no desire to work with Dwayne, but she didn’t really want to go home either. Instead she took a seat on the patio and thought about the strange incident. Four people now in only a few days. She did feel odd around the playground, but did that prove Don’s claims?


“I saw the ambulances.” It was Don’s voice that broke her thoughts.


“You again?”


“What happened this time?” he asked, keeping his distance from her spot.


“Some guy ate too many burgers. Hurt himself.”


“How many burgers?”


She shrugged. “Twenty….and some fries, I guess.”


“A man eats until his stomach bursts and you still don’t believe me. This is Átahsaia’s doing. That man was possessed, forced to eat.”


“Okay,” she said, thinking of Duncan. “Let’s say I do believe you. Why would someone want to summon this Átahsaia demon to destroy the world?”


“I never said he’d destroy the world.”


“Oh.” Kelly felt stupid, listening to Duncan the pot head.


“Clearly this dark magician, whoever he is, has made a pact with the entity. He’s getting something in return, but nobody except Átahsaia and the summoner would know the terms of that agreement. Unless the portal is closed, more pain and death will befall this place.”


“I should just quit.”


“That won’t help the next young lady who works here. Or anyone who dines at this establishment.”


“Let’s say I believe you, what could I possibly do to stop a demon?”


“I have the ability to close the doorway. I just need one night inside. Please help me get in.”


“You really can’t go to the cops?”


“They’d believe me even less than you. Only youth and those with open minds can see truth.”


“Yeah, well, they don’t give store keys to youth.”


“Could we get them somehow?”


Four people possibly dead and it was up to her to stop the madness. “Maybe. But I’d really be putting myself out there.”


“Is there anything I could do to help?”


She thought about Dwayne. She could get the keys from him. But to do so, she’d need a cover story.

Total pedo, Kel. Stay away from him.

“You had better be right about this demon,” Kelly said, then she shared her idea.

***

“Hi, Dwayne.” Kelly was at the doorway to the office and mustering all the courage she had. “I uh…Do you think we could maybe talk tonight. You know…after you close up early.”


Dwayne turned, giving her his full attention. “Of course, is something wrong?”


Oh, how she hated this guy.

“I guess a lot has been going on and I could really use…someone to talk to. You know. About private stuff.”


Dwayne was out of his chair, sympathy on his face. “Of course.” He put his hand on her shoulder and she felt sick. “There’s no one else who can help?”


When Kelly saw the excitement under his faux concern, it got easier to lie. “No. No one. I need someone like you. Someone with experience. I can trust you right?”


“Of course. I’m here to help my co-workers any way I can. I’ll do anything you need. Just say the word.”


“Can we talk tonight?" Every word felt like a struggle to get past her lips. "Once everyone is gone and you close up?”


“Of course. You feel more comfortable if we’re alone?”


“I do. I think we need to be alone for this.” It took effort to keep the bile from rising into her throat. God, Don had better be right about all this demon stuff.


“Of course.” The way Dwayne said the words was making her iller. Renee was so right about him. “I can’t wait—to help you, that is. How about I meet you out front at 8:15? We’re closing early as you know. Once everyone is gone, you and I can head back inside.”

*****

Kelly didn’t bother going home. She text her parents that she was going to her friend Tara’s house after work. Their only response was to let them know when she was there safely. Then she walked around the strip mall near Hungry Hefer’s and played on her phone, trying not to worry about tonight. She had a plan, but she didn’t have complete faith it would work.


She was back by eight but didn’t see any sign of Don in the parking lot. The summer sun was starting to fade and more of her confidence was going with it.


Dwayne came out five minutes early. “You’re here.” He sounded surprised.


She forced a smile. “Yep. Really need that...talk.”


“I understand. Glad you didn't change your mind. I think I can help." He gestured to the door. "Shall we?"


Kelly gave a quick glance around. Where was Don? “Yes...”


Dwayne led her to the door, then paused. “You didn’t happen to see a guy all in black leave the store, did you?”


“No.”


Dwayne looked around. “Strange. I thought I saw someone inside, but then he was gone.”


Please let it have been Don.


Dwayne shrugged and took hold of the handle, holding the door open. “After you.”


Kelly’s body pumped adrenaline like never before. Each step was like lifting concrete shoes, and when she had to turn her back on him and walk inside, she almost couldn’t do it. Somehow she passed by him, into Hefer's, her breath held.

“Oof.”


Kelly heard the crack of something heavy and jumped as Dwayne fell on the entryway behind her.


“Inside, inside," a voice said.


She recognized it as Don's and breathed a sigh of relief.


They managed to drag the unconscious manager into the store and closed the door.

The relief was short lived. As she looked at Dwayne unconscious on the floor, she started to freak again. “Oh, God, what have I done?”


“It’s okay. You can leave. I’ll handle everything. Thank you for your help, Kelly. You’ve done a great service for humanity.”


She watched Don walk toward the caution tape and into the playground area, noticing that he had a white robe on, with a purple sash.

****

Don stood in front of the ball pit. He could feel the wrongness of the air, it crackled with evil intent and energy. He closed his eyes and began his meditative breathing. Producing a small wand from within his robe, he traced the first pentagram. Once it was charged, he turned to the south and repeated the process—


“A white wizard. As I live and breathe.”


Don’s eyes shot open and he turned. Behind him was the man in black. “You monster! This ends tonight.”


“For you it does.” The unknown figure laughed and raised a gun. “Magick is fun, but bullets are so much quicker.”


The smashing glass and sizzling flesh was barely audible over a feminine scream.

****

Kelly jumped backward after striking the dark magician, screaming and letting the shattered coffee pot handle drop from her hand.


Don lunged forward, grabbed up the weapon and began striking the dark magician with the gun butt. When it was clear the man was out for the count, Don finally looked up. “You come back?”


Kelly was against the glass door of the enclosed playground, breathing hard. “Dwayne…he mentioned some guy in black. That chomo—magician, whatever…he always wore black when he was here…I knew it was him.”


“Thank you,” Don said. “You saved me. I am in your debt.”


“I can’t believe it’s real.”


“It’s real all right.”


“What do we do now?” she asked.


“We tie them both up and close the portal.” Don smiled.

****

The Next Morning

After all the excitement, Kelly had gotten maybe two hours of sleep. But that didn’t stop her from getting to Hungry Hefer’s as early as she could. She wasn’t surprised to see police inside and the morning shift, including Duncan, standing around the outside of the front door gossiping.


“What’s up?” Kelly asked.


“Rudy came in this morning and found Dwayne and some other guy tied up and gagged. It’s so wild!”


Kelly couldn’t suppress her smile. “Oh yeah?”


“Yeah! And whoever did it stapled a note to them. Dwayne’s says—get this: I’m a pedophile.” Duncan burst out laughing.


“What did the other guy’s say?”


“I’m a black magician who manipulates people’s minds.” Something must have clicked in his perma-stoned brain. “Holy shit! Is that the satanic guy who wanted your help?”


“I doubt it," Kelly said with a slight grin.


Rudy pushed the door open, came outside, and looked at the employees. “We’re living in the fucking twilight zone, people. The security footage is a garbled mess going back a month. Does anyone know what the hell happened here?”


No one said a word until Kelly decided to step forward. “Have you heard of ley lines, sir?”


“Ley lines? What the hell is a ley line?”


Kelly smiled. “Never mind. I have a feeling things are gonna start getting better around here.



Nikki Noir writes erotic thrillers, extreme horror, and bizarre plotlines. She enjoys interviewing authors and reviewing all forms of dark fiction at her website: RedRumReviews. Nikki is featured in The Splatter Club's newest anthology and her occult horror series Black Planet is available for 50% off for a limited time.


This story is brought to you in part by Robert Essig and Chew On This!





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