Disclaimers: This is yet another uber tale of my making. Technically the characters of Xena and Gabrielle belong to MCA/Universal, but since it's not REALLY X&G here... well anyway, these uber characters belong to me, me memememe....so, copyright 1999 Tragedy88 and all that.
Violence/language: Um, some violence, some bad language... maybe a pg-13 so far?
Subtext: You betcha! Oh, if it's illegal where you live or love between members of the same sex offends you please read elsewhere.
And last but not least: How, you ask, can so many of my characters exist within the same timeline? Easy, I write what I know. In this case I know farms, horses, and the hardships of being alone. In anycase it's a divergence from my usual cops, gangs, lusty/evil uber Callistos' etc., etc. etc... :)
Feedback is very welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
"Summoned or not, the god will come."- From the inscription carved above the door of Carl Gustav Jung's house.
"Should we go inside?" Alex ran a paint covered hand over the rusted doorknob. A shiver went up her spine and she stepped reluctantly backwards.
Dusty raised an eyebrow at Alex. "It could be a quarantine."
"Then I would have been infected a long time ago. These old walls aren't air tight. Who do you think covered it up? Painted on the sign?" Alex asked.
Dusty didn't touch the blood sign, just cast her eyes over it thoughtfully. "I've seen it before, or something similiar. Down South, New Orleans and the like. It's voodoo, I think. Behind this plaster the walls are probably covered in protection signs..." Her voice trailed off thoughtfully. She was no expert in the area, and had only come across it once in a murder case.
"That fits. One of the maids was from Africa or Jamaica. " Alex touched the knob again, twisting it with trepidation. "It's locked."
"Then leave it that way."
"Dusty. Don't you have any sense of adventure?"
"Nope, not an adventuresome bone in my body." Dusty began to clean up the paint, pouring it back into the bucket and capping it off.
Alex still stood by the door, as if drawn by some magnetic force. She had to get in there... had to know... it was like an unfinished puzzle, taunting her.
"I'll be right back," and Alex raced out of the room, back downstairs. She returned a few minutes later with a flashlight and a long kitchen knife.
"What's that for?" Dusty raised an eyebrow at the butcher knife.
"Um, for whatever might be in there?" Alex replied, a little sheepishly. Not that I expect whatever's in there to be living anymore, but ya never know.
"Bound and determined aren't cha?" Dusty let the paint be and crossed to the old wooden door. Ya know she's going in there. So don't let her go by herself, a little voice chided. "Come on." Dusty took a step back and raised her leg experimentally. She lowered it, then brought it up with enough force to send the door flying back against the inside wall with a resounding thud.
Alex's mouth gaped open at the show of strength, but she quickly wiped it off and tried to step around Dusty to be the first one into the murky blackness.
Oh no you don't, Dusty thought as she snatched the flashlight and gently put Alex behind her.
Dusty flicked the flashlight on and shone it into the darkness. The beam was too small to delve more then a foot inside. She squared her shoulders and stepped forward. The air was chilly, not unusual, but it crept into her bones, like a spirit seeking refuge. She shivered and walked farther into the charged air.
The electricity raised the hairs on Alex's arms and neck, her breathing became ragged and her heart raced double time. It was if she was unsealing the past, merging it with the present.
As she completely crossed the door's threshold there was a sudden snap and she whirled to face the door, raising the knife instinctively. It was still open.
Fear snaked through her veins. "Dusty, let's go back," she whispered urgently.
"You're not going to chicken out on me now, are you?" But Dusty reached a hand back and grasped Alex's hand firmly within hers.
Alex scooted forward, till she was inches from Dusty's back and peered around her side. "What do you see?"
"Not much," Dusty whispered, shining the light around, "looks like some book cases, sofa... fireplace... a library or a den?"
Alex cast her eyes around the darkness, the flashlight's beam sending shadows dancing merrily around the room. "Candles." She pointed, retrieving the lighter from her pocket and handing it to Dusty.
They made their way over to a small table with a large candelabra. With shaky hands Dusty lit the cobweb covered candles.
As they flicked and sputtered to life Alex turned her back on Dusty and faced the room as a faint breath played across the back of her neck. "Oh god..." The shadows swayed and settled. The knife clattered to the floor.
Dusty turned. "Ah, shit..." She looked where Alex's eyes were riveted. Instinctively she drew Alex closer to her, surrounding her with her free arm. "Don't look, Alex." She turned Alex away from the ghastly sight, and pulled her firmly against her chest. Dusty could feel Alex's heart beating erratically through her shirt.
But Alex couldn't turn her back on it, felt the empty eye sockets burning into her back. "Can we take him down?" She whispered as she turned, but stayed supported against Dusty's chest. "Please."
Dusty's glance traveled over the body that hung from the ceiling. From the old leather boots, up the old fashioned suit and finally the rope twisted around the surprising well intact, though decimated body. My god, I don't want to touch him. "Who do you think it is?"
"Samuel Jacobson," Alex whispered. "I- I... God, he's been hanging in here... since... shit." She felt the nausea welling up inside her stomach and fought to keep it down.
"Shhh. Go outside, get some fresh air. I'll take care of it." Dusty's voice was solid and brave, even though she was shaking inside.
"O-ok," They made a wide arc around the body, leaving the knife, and back to the door. Alex rushed out and down the stairs to stand on the front porch, sucking in great gulps of fresh, cold air. Dusty made sure she was ok before going back up to the small den to take care of the body.
Alex had regained her composure a few minutes later and traveled across the snow covered yard to the blackened pile of wood a distance from the barn. She took more of the boards and junk from inside the barn and built up around it. Then she got the can of kerosene and doused the wood.
Alex went back to the porch and stuck her head inside the front door. She could hear Dusty struggling down the stairs. "Bring him out here." As she yelled it up the stairs she stepped back and off the porch.
Dusty came outside a few minutes later, a bundled sheet thrown over her back.
Alex waggled her hand in the direction of the make shift pyre, her voice caught in her throat.
Dusty threw the bundle on top, unconsciously mumbling an apology, then flicked the lighter at the base of the wood pile. She stepped back as a small flame ignited, caught, and raced up to consume the body.
They stood side by side before the raging fire.
"Should we say something?" Alex asked.
"You're the writer..." Dusty mumbled.
"Ok." Alex fumbled for words as she had the night Jo and the filly died. "May you find peace, and may your spirit finally rest."
The fire snapped and popped and Alex jumped in her skin. Goddamn, too much death... Her eyes stung with unexpected tears. May we all find peace. A warm arm encircled her shoulders and she sagged gratefully into Dusty's side.
"Let's go inside. I think I found something you'll be interested in." Dusty gently kissed the top of Alex's head, then titled Alex's face up to look into her eyes. "Are you all right?"
Alex nodded mutely. Just remembering, but she didn't say it. Just smiled bravely into Dusty's brilliant blue eyes. "Think I need a shower now, though."
"Me too," Dusty's eyes sparkled, "care to join me?"
"Mmmm," A genuine smile crossed Alex's face, "I think I can be... persuaded..."
"Oh really?" Dusty grinned as they walked back to the house.
Two pairs of eyes followed them from the shadows of the woods.
"Do you see?" One of the men asked.
"Yeah," was the dark response as the other man shifted his sights from the fire to the women walking back to the house.
"Pure evil," the first man mumbled, "they should be stopped."
"They will be," the second replied, convinced that God would not want such abomination in the peaceful little town of Bluerock, and if he had to he would personally see to stopping the fornicators.
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