|It's Kill Jack Haringa in Your Blog Day
||[Mar. 7th, 2008|10:51 am]
International Bon Vivant and Raconteur
"Jack," he whispered in the dark, and I could swear I saw the mist coming from his mouth in the cold of the cave, even if I couldn't see anything else. Then he said, "Madison," and he said, "Haringa," and I realized he was murmuring his own name over and over like a calming mantra.|
"It's not much farther now," I said. I wished I could see him better, maybe put a comforting arm around his shoulder.
"Why are we doing this?" he demanded.
"Because she has commanded it," I say.
"We don't question her."
Silence, then the whispers again, "Jack...Madison...Haringa..."
We reached the back of the cave, where the air was so cold it felt like ice rubbing against our skin. But there was light too, phosphorescent microbes in the wall that gave the rocks a greenish-reddish glow. And beyond, the midnight nook where she waited, little more than a lupine shadow pacing against the dark. Two glowing red eyes pierced the blackness.
"Touch her," I said.
"No, no." Jack shook his head, over and over. I'd never seen him so frightened.
I grabbed his arm, pulled his hand toward the dark. "Touch her," I repeated. "Touch the dark wolf."
"NO!" Jack broke from my grasp and ran for the cave mouth.
"Follow him," she whispered to me, her breath hot in my ear and smelling of carrion. "Bring him back to me."
I followed. I followed Jack all through the tiny western town we'd come to and, hours later, found him wandering the sidestreets and gibbering madly. I grabbed his shoulder, spun him to face me, and the madness in his eyes drew a shiver along my spine.
I begged him to return with me to the cave, but he repeated, "No, no, not the dark wolf!"
It was then that I realized where we were, what building we had by sheer chance paused before. "Dear God," I said. "Jack...it's an orphanage." He turned to face the building, eyes wide with terror, but his feet remained frozen in place. "An orphanage, Jack! We have to get out of here!"
Suddenly the orphanage's door burst open, and a flood of zombie orphans overwhelmed us. By some miracle -- perhaps the dark wolf protected me -- they left me untouched. But Jack wasn't so lucky. They clubbed him with tiny objects that, in my panic, I thought resembled bricks, then devoured his dead body. Finally, the zombie children, their hunger sated, shambled back to their orphanage.
I looked down at Jack's bones. My poor friend. If only he had touched the dark wolf. Then I noticed the objects lying beside his remains, covered in grue. The objects I had assumed were bricks. I bent down and picked one up. Not a brick, I discovered, but a book. A curious volume of terror and romance called Succubus in the City.
The zombie orphans were mindless beasts of hunger, I realized. They couldn't help what they did. But this book, this was what had killed Jack Madison Haringa!