by Rune Cutter
Fred a homeless veteran is taken in by a couple; are they benevolent or something darker?
| "There is no rescue." I mumbled to myself. "But there must be!" I reeled at the phrase, unbelieving. There had to be a rescue.
They were all I had. They had taken me into their home, cared for me, befriended me. I had nothing before them. I was just another bit of human flotsam on the street. English major one day, starving dreg of society the next. Begging the price of a carton of milk and some bread, living under bridges and in alleys. There had to be a rescue!
"Homebase, this is Fred, I need some assistance here."
Dead silence, nothing, not even static.
"Uh, Homebase I've got a real problem here." I stilled myself and listened intently for any answer from the radio. Nothing.
"Home Base this is Fred, come in!"
I checked the radio to make sure it was on and the battery was good. I checked the frequency, and watched as the little red lights indicated my signal strength when I keyed the mic.
"Homebase, this is Fred, I've got a real problem here. My rope seems to have come untied. If you can just lower me another one that would be great, over."
I didn't even know where I was. Happy bum Fred had partied his ass off for a month. They took me into their home, cleaned me up, got me new clothes and made sure I was well. I even fattened up a bit. I kept waiting for the hook. Sex, running drugs, something, but it didn't come. No hook. They were just good people who wanted to take care of their fellow human. I didn't have to do anything. I had been willing to help anyway I could, but they didn't even need me to walk the dog.
"Homebase, it's kind of creepy down here. I think there is something down here with me."
A stone broke free for no reason and rattled down the stepped sides of the structure. Why the hell had they built a temple in a sink hole? Why the hell was I in a sink hole?! 'Hey, Fred we're going to go earn our money, we've got a job in Belize. There's some ruins down there that we work during the dry season. You can't even get to it any other time cause it's under water. You wanna go?' 'Yeah I'll go, what do you need from me?' Oh we'll figure out something. Maybe we'll offer you as a sacrifice." Everybody laughed. I laughed.
There was a sound like a thousand pounds of oatmeal oozing down steps.
That didn't sound like laughter did it, Fred? No it didn't.
"Homebase, please, please get me out of here."
There had been a party when we got to the plantation. It was in the middle of no where. Three hours drive into the country. There had been a series of checks, not official, but like thugs with machine guns. They had stopped the van and then smiled at my benefactors, looked at me and laughed. Everybody had been so happy to see me, and so friendly.
"Homebase, I really need you to get me out of here."
The plantation had been strangely decorated with relics and masks. Everyone was happy to see me, they kept getting me drinks.
"Hey! Get me the Hell out of here!"
The next morning we had a great breakfast. There had been talk about the upcoming eclipse, it was too bad we would miss it but the ruins had just dried out and no one knew how long it would be before the temple was again covered with water. I was there as a pack horse to help carry things out.
Something dark slid along the ground toward me. It oozed along without definable shape or appendage.
I was the first to go down, everybody told me it was the tradition that the new guy went in first. They clipped me into a harness and tied a rope to it from a winch that looked like a giant fishing reel.
My benefactor yelled 'Ia! Shub Niggurath!' and said it over and over again until I repeated with him, my elation reflecting his own, then he smiled and clapped me on the back. The others guided me to the edge and I stepped over. I was lowered for hundreds of feet and I laughed my elation all the way down 'Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!. I loved the cavernous echoes and the feeling of hanging in space.
I was a lure on a giant fishing line, this was the hook.
The thing was upon me I could feel it even though I couldn't see it. Suddenly it was pitch black. 'The eclipse', I thought.
I ran but my feet became twisted in what I thought were vines. Reaching down I found that it was layers of rope in various states of decay. My feet wouldn't come loose, there was something like tar holding them down. Then I felt the tar move, holding my hands in it's mire, and I began to scream.
When the screaming stopped the man who had brought Fred turned to a woman standing next to him. "So Martha, did you say that you have one that you've been keeping?"
The man standing next the Martha chimed in, "Yes, we've been fattening him for a couple of weeks now. He'll be ready for the full moon next month."