Oddly enough, with the monsters gone the place seemed less foreboding, and wondrous like visiting Niagara falls or the Redwoods. A wonder rather than a terror. Like the beasts were squating on holy ground. Designating it to their own disgusting devices. Might have just been Bohdan getting all poetic again, but he confirmed the feeling with Karl as they waited for Mr. Richard’s to find the original blood trail leading into the trees from the mess of ligaments and blood they’d just made.
After a time the now blood splattered posse stumbled upon a strange sight. At the center of the grove was a pond of solid turquoise color that rippled from a dozen drips coming from stalactites high above on the cavern roof. This was the only place where the water and cave formations dripped. The rest of the cavern walls and roof were smooth as river stones. There on the red clay mud shores was a church.
The construction was a very out of place oldschool victorian looking chapel with a rotted roof and rank smell. A single steeple rose out of the main hall to the cavern ceiling with its bell fallen and half buried on the shores of the odd pond. Shattered stained glass windows made the light within the decrepit building as surreal as the impossible wood surrounding the desecrated sanctuary. Inside the ruined church the posse found signs of a nest, a recent nest but a nest nonetheless. This was where the beasts had been roosting for sure.
Bohdan felt a wave of revulsion as he passed the threshold, and it wasn’t just the smell. The freaks had urinated and dedicated all over the cross and pulpit at the head church. Their purpose was obvious. This once hallow ground was theirs now. God’s property stolen and claimed by abominations, and the descendants of his rebellious sons. The thought threatened to sour Blood’s mood with his adrenaline wearing off after the scuffle at the cave till he remembered the purging of the monsters. Their statement, like all statements of evil, was more fleeting than they could’ve imagined. God’s wrath had come at them fast this time. Now if only Washington could start feeling some of that fire things might get interesting around here.
“Prez! We got a live one!” Shouted John from behind a pillar turned into a makeshift teepee out of the rosewood benches. He bent inside the odd construction, and helped a haggard looking girl out and into the light. She was latina with blood splattered bronze skin that was covered in muck and bruises. She was pretty enough you could still see her nine out ten status through the mess. Bohdan couldn’t help noticing she was not Sally, and he wasn’t seeing signs of other captives. The President’s instincts screamed in protest at the scene. Something was off here.
“Where are the diablos?” She asked in a weak but sweet sing songy voice that could lull a man on speed to sleep. Bohdan narrowed his eyes. Her voice was weak, sure, but by choice. Bohdan had enough experience around his sisters growing up to know the sound of a member of the fairer sex being manipulative. Still, he hesitated. A force came upon his mind, and strove against his will. With each word the girl purred the attack on his soul grew stronger.
“They’re dead ma'am. You don’t need to worry about them anymore,” said Mr. Richards as the jock went into sweet talking mode. That was odd too. Sure the football star was known to go after babes, but Bohdan hadn’t thought him the type to hit on a girl fresh out of captivity like that. Gone was the desire to find Sally whenever Bohdan caught the deep brown eyes of the petite latina with floral tattoos on her shoulders. There were skulls at the center of those flowers etched into her skin. Another red flag that Bohdan’s slowing brain just didn’t seem to care about.
A swooning voice entered his mind as he lost himself in those eyes,” Big strong men should help a woman. Listen well young warrior. She’ll be very grateful. She has ways of thanking good men.” The voice was foreign and sweet like the nectar of a carnivorous plant.
Suddenly Hiedi’s face slapped him in his mental faculties, and Bohdan shook himself. What did this hag have that Hiedi couldn’t give him?
“Where is Sally, she’d be a girl about Randal’s age here,” Blood said with a growl on his lips. The sound Bohdan’s voice was harsh and jarring in his own ears thanks to the spell flowing through the air. All the men looked at him with hostility and outrage. Protective looks were in their eyes like the President had slapped a favorite puppy or kicked their toddler granddaughter. Bohdan ignored them. He was having enough of a hard time keeping his head clear. The President didn’t have time for theirs yet.
Rage filled the girl's face for the briefest of moments before the sweet, innocent, and damaged look came back over her features. Pointing a dainty hand toward an alcove with a shattered rotting door the mystery girl looked away with crocodile tears in her eyes. Or at least Bohdan was pretty sure they were fake. The President could feel that tug to believe her and protect her return with that second of hesitation. Grimacing Bohdan shook it off as he stomped forward to look at a truly horrific sight.