For Part 1 click here; Part 2, here; Part 3, here; Part 4, here,
Part 5 here.
Mrs. Ramsey came up beside Netta, tears falling from her eyes. “Those must be our babies,” she wailed. “They’ve consumed our ability to bear children, and now they must be using our babies’ souls to do whatever they’re doing to Eva and Peyton.”
Anguished mutterings sounded throughout the cave. “We’ve got the get those things off of them!” someone yelled.
The mournful crying ended, and the residual echo was overtaken by the sounds of the angry mob.
“Silence! Let there be silence!” Mrs. Ramsey yelled. She could hear running footsteps coming through the pathway from the City Hall. “I think the council members are coming.”
Someone in the back called out, “We can get them back here. You guys get those things off of Mrs. Bennet and Eva!”
“Alright,” Mrs. Ramsey said, “but don’t hurt them too much. They’ve got questions to answer!”
Half of the group stared down at Eva and Peyton, unsure whether they should pull the things off. Netta gave it no thought and grabbed a handful in each hand. She threw them to the ground and stomped them. Sparks flew out from the smashed things as she did so. The bare section of Eva’s skin looked deathly pale.
Mrs. Ramsey said, “She’s still breathing,” and everyone within reach yanked the things off both Eva and Peyton, throwing them to the ground for the others to crush underfoot. For a while, the darkened cave glowed with the numerous sparks as each thing was crushed. Immediately, the things clinging on the walls moved toward the mother and daughter to take over the vacant spots.
“Look out! More are coming!” They all grabbed rocks and smashed the remaining things. Eva and Peyton’s bare legs and arms had a marshy pallor. “They’re okay,” Mrs. Ramsey said without confidence.
The old town doctor pushed his way up to the front and checked their vitals. “Take them to my clinic right away! I can barely make out a pulse and their temperature is too low.”
Several people carried them around the captured council members and up the path, with the doctor and Netta following close behind.
“You’ve ruined it! You’ve destroyed them!” Dara Winstle said, balling while being held by two men. “And now we’re all ruined.”
Mrs. Ramsey looked to each of the council members, and said through clenched teeth, “What have we destroyed, and how are we ruined?”
“We were financially ruined… and we are all sick. Every last one of us. Why do you think we moved the City Hall? For a better view?”
“You told us it was to be closer to the source. You said there were jewels down here, but that it was a radioactive area, enough to cause any child born to be horribly deformed and die painfully. You showed us what happened to Candice White’s baby and said that’s why she died during childbirth.”
“You believed that story because you wanted to believe it,” Marcus exclaimed, unable to control his self-righteous anger. “Candice was a drug addict. That’s why she and her baby died. You knew that. She didn’t die in a hospital!” he said indignantly. “She died trying to give birth on her own in the Baring Woods. I’m the one who happened across her and discovered them.” He tried to yank free from the burly men holding him, then gave up. “There were only a few of them then, and they were feeding on her. They communicated with me, saying if I would get more life force for them so their population could grow, we could get some of their ‘runts’ each month to sell. You see, when they die intact, they turn into gold – at least no one on this planet could ever tell the difference.”
Marcus looked at his cohorts, then continued, “At first I thought all I had to do was get them some animals to feed on. But no, they need human life force to grow and flourish. Embryonic life force sustains them and allows them to grow at a much slower rate, which is more beneficial to us. They promised our town would always be safe, but we didn’t want them to grow too fast and get too much for us to control. They came up with the idea of harvesting your reproductive systems so they could ‘grow their own food.’”
Mrs. Ramsey lifted her hand and slapped Marcus hard across the face, leaving his cheek burning red. He would have fallen to the floor if he wasn’t still being held by some of the townsfolk. “You never told us you took our reproductive organs out, just that you’d fix them so we couldn’t have children,” Mrs. Ramsey seethed. “If I weren’t a Christian, I’d kill all of you.”
“I’m a Christian and I still may kill them!” someone in the crowd yelled. “They convinced us we were going bankrupt and would lose our way of life, and that we would all die without these things’ help. But they were just greedy!”
“We were going bankrupt!” Dara cried. “We saved this town. We were lucky to have come across this life form. They gave us a second chance. But now it’s all ruined. We are all ruined!”
“No, we won’t be ruined, Mrs. Winstle,” Mrs. Ramsey said. “We have evidence here and plenty of witnesses of your crimes. You’re all going to jail for the rest of your lives! And I’m sure, with the right media attention, someone will really come to our rescue and save the good people of this town.”
Before walking out of the cave, Mrs. Ramsey called back, “Make sure they stay in jail until we can get the Attorney General out here!”
~ ~ ~
In the town clinic, Eva and Peyton received fluids supplied through IVs, and blood transfusions. They came out of their stupors, and their skin and vitals were nearly back to normal. Netta went back and forth between Eva’s bed and her momma’s, giving hugs and telling jokes to get them laughing. Glad to be alive, they didn’t want to think about what they’d gone through, or why.
Moments later, the old doctor entered the room, beaming. “You know, Mrs. Bennet, the council members said we couldn’t have anymore children, but what do they know? One particular test has proven otherwise. I’m not judging you, as your husband died too many years ago in Iraq, but a test of your hormone levels shows you’re pregnant!”
“That’s impossible,” Peyton exclaimed, concern covering her face. “I haven’t been with anyone….”
The doctor looked at her, baffled. “You’ve not been with anyone, even in say, the last four or five months?”
“More like the last four or five years,” she said. Terror filled Peyton’s eyes as she looked down at her stomach. “What if they did something to me? What if I’m not pregnant with child, but… with one of them?”
Just then, she felt movement in her stomach. When Peyton lifted her gown, she, Eva, Netta and the doctor stared in silent horror as a wavering reddish-orange light glowed from within her belly.
Return next Thursday for another of my blog posts.