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Confidential Report on the Disturbance at Big Echo-Fiction by William Squirrell
Dwight-Fiction by Anthony Lukas
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Of the Blood-Fiction by Lela Marie De La Garza
The Liars of the Laughing City-Fiction by Richard Godwin
The Bull-Fiction by Oliver Lodge
Scratch Off-Fiction by Colt Leasure
...til I Wake Up-Fiction by Denis Bushlatov
Therapist-Fiction by Robert Petyo
Visitors-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Three Shots for a Dollar-Flash Fiction by Matthew J. Hockey
A Nun's Smile-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
911-Flash Fiction by Karen Heslop
The Faint of Heart Work for a Living-Flash Fiction by Lester L. Weil
Another Day, Another Death-Flash Fiction by Sandor Kovacs
Jim Dandy-Poem by g emil reutter
Blind Man's Bluff-Poem by Marc Carver
Closed-Poem by David Mac
The Voice Within-Poem by Michael Keshigian
green shoots-Poem by Meg Baird
jack and jill-Poem by Meg Baird
An Outlaw in the Making-Poem by John D. Robinson
Often She Says-Poem by John D. Robinson
rogue dragonflies-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
rogue drones-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
wind through the evergreens-Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
My Phantoms Hang Neatly-Poem by A. J. Huffman
The Hour of the Cat-Poem by A. J. Huffman
Owlish Eyes in the Dark-Poem by A. J. Huffman
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
The Gazing Ball
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
ALAT
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

visitors.jpg
Art by Mike Kerins 2017

VISITORS

 

Roy Dorman

 

 

 “Come on, it’ll be an adventure,” Bill Zander said to his wife, Elena. “The forecast says it’s going to be sunny and warm this Saturday. I told Don I’d run it past you and let him know tomorrow at work. The guy’s lonely; he lives on an island, for chrissakes. He could use some company.”

 “Is it just going to be the three of us?” asked Elena. “I’ll feel like a third wheel if you guys start talking shop.”

“I promise I’ll keep the shoptalk to a minimum. Don’s a Native American folklore buff. He’s an interesting guy; I’m sure you’ll like him.”

“Okay, but if I give you the sign, you’ll start making the “gotta get going” noises, right? I don’t want to look like a nag in front of one of your office-mates.”

“Deal.”

***

Bill and Elena drove out of town about noon on Saturday, headed for Moosehead Lake. As had been predicted, the weather was fine. Summer was often a long time coming in Maine, but when it finally arrived, it was beautiful.

Bill had seen pictures of Don Penley’s house at work. It was a two-story log cabin with two small outbuildings. The island was about five acres, fairly circular, and had woods on everything that wasn’t house, outbuildings, a small beach, and the boat dock.

Moosehead Lake was only about 20 miles from Greenville and an easy commute for Don. It was a fairly large lake, but had only one inhabited island; Don’s island. 

Bill parked their car in the boat dock parking lot off the highway per Don’s instructions. There were two other cars and four pick-ups, all with boat trailers attached to them.

“I’ll call Don and let him know we’re here; he said it would only take him a few minutes to get here from his place.”

***

About ten minutes later, Don pulled up to the pier in a Johnson-powered fishing boat. After introductions, Bill and Elena put the stuff they had brought with them into the boat.

“It’s a good thing we didn’t bring anything more or there wouldn’t have been room for us,” joked Bill.

“Hey, no problem,” said Don. “I could’ve made two trips.”

“But then I’d have had to stay by myself either on this side or on the island,” said Elena.

Don started laughing shrilly at that. Then, seeming to catch himself, abruptly cut it off. He bent over in the boat and started to arrange things so that the boat would be balanced. 

Elena looked at Bill and mouthed the word “creepy.” Bill looked a little embarrassed for his friend and shrugged. He was thinking maybe this hadn’t been such a good idea; maybe he should have come alone.

Don started the engine and they headed for the island. He nodded and smiled as they bounced over the small waves, but all three of them knew that the mood had already been dampened.

***

Don started the coals in a huge Weber grill and there was a nice picnic table on the front lawn with a view of the lake.

“I’ll bring out the cooler and we can have drinks while the coals are getting hot.”

After he had gone inside, Bill and Elena turned to each other and both whispered at the same time.

“I shouldn’t have come,” said Elena.

“I shouldn’t have brought you,” said Bill.

“Shhh! Here he comes,” they both said together. Then they laughed crazily like naughty kids who have been caught by the grown-up.

Don at first looked puzzled and then relieved. Earlier it had looked like the visit may have been over before it had started. That wouldn’t have been good at all.

“I made a pitcher of sangria earlier,” he said, setting the dark red drink on the table.  “I hope you like it. I make it with more vodka and no gin. I find the gin masks the flavor of the wine too much. Try it and tell me what you think.”

   “Oh, it’s great,” said Elena, taking a sip. “I love it.”

“Yeah, this is pretty good, Don,” said Bill.  The ice is a nice touch on a warm day.”

“You two just sit in the lawn chairs, relax, and look at the lake. I’ll put some burgers and brats on the grill. I have some fresh-caught perch too; fish are great on the grill.”

Bill re-filled their glasses with sangria as Don walked back into the house to get the food.

“Thish stuff’s really tasty, but it’s kinda strong, ain’t it,” said Bill, slurring his words a little.

Elena took a long drink.  “Yeah, it’s strong, but delicious.  Hmm….  Ya know, I feel like I could take a nap right here in this chair….”

…. images of a wolf-like man swooping down from tall fir trees and carrying off a screaming Native American woman.  Villagers running from their tents and leans-tos yelling “Wendigo” and pointing at the sky…. 

…. pieces of bloody bodies, hanging in the branches of trees, savaged by an animal out of a nightmare….

  …. a Wendigo, standing in front of him, huge slavering tongue lolling on sharp teeth, Elena, unconscious, thrown casually over it’s shoulder….

Bill jerked awake and found the sun was setting across the lake. “Elena, wake up! Something’s not right; we got here a little after noon and now the sun’s setting.”

He looked at Elena’s empty chair and overturned his own chair struggling to get out of it. “Elena! Penley! Where are you?”

***

Bill followed the footprints of some sort of animal from Elena’s chair to where they abruptly ended in the sand forty feet from the water. He stood there and looked back and forth from where the tracks started and where they ended. There was nothing to show that whatever made these tracks had walked up from the lake to the chairs – just tracks from Elena’s chair to where they ended. And there were no signs of Elena’s tracks except with his and Don’s from the pier to the chairs.

“Penley! Don Penley! Where are you?”

“It has her…., I drugged the sangria…., it took her when you were both asleep….”

Bill turned to see an ashen-faced Don Penley looking at him with red-rimmed eyes.

“What are you talking about, Don? What has her?”

“I brought it here by calling its name in my sweat lodge,” said Don. “The smoke had produced visions other times and a voice in the visions kept telling me to bring a sacrifice. I’m so sorry, Bill, I thought I was only going through the motions of what I read in some old books.”

“But where is she, Don? What has Elena and how do we get her back?”

“I have no idea, Bill. I’m sorry, but I don’t have a clue as to what to do next.”

Then, from the tall old trees behind the house came a series of blood-curdling screams. The screams sounded like Elena, but didn’t. Bill had never heard screams like these in his life. 

The sound of rushing wind and the blur of something flying out of the trees directly at them caused both Bill and Don to hit the ground and cover their faces.  There was a deafening growl from just overhead and then the thump of something heavy landing in the sand twenty feet from them.

The Wendigo had returned with Elena. It threw her roughly onto the sand near the two men. Walking up to Bill, it kicked him sharply in the head, knocking him unconscious. It picked up Don and shook him like a ragdoll, its hot breath singeing his eyebrows. Then, giving him a level stare, it shook him once more and tossed him to the ground.

Running swiftly for about thirty feet, it leaped into the air and disappeared into the trees, leaving a charnel house stench in its wake.

***

On Elena’s orders, Don tied and gagged Bill before putting him in the boat.  Then, with Elena seated in the bow, her clothing singed and torn, he started across the lake to the boat dock parking lot and she and Bill’s car.

Don looked down at his co-worker, who still appeared to be unconscious on the bottom of the aluminum boat. He nudged Bill with his toe to see if he could get a response. Nothing.

When he looked up, he saw Elena staring at him. Her eyes momentarily took on a bright red color and she smiled at Don, showing all of her teeth. And then she screamed. And screamed again. There was an answering series of screams from back at the island and a flock of ducks rose from the lake and flew off in a rush toward the mainland. Bill moaned in his sleep but didn’t awaken. Elena sniffed the air and gave a guttural chuckle when she noticed that both Don and Bill had pissed their pants. 

Don turned in his seat a bit as if to adjust something on the boat’s engine. He wondered if he had the nerve to return to his home on the island. When he finished the adjusting charade, he didn’t look back at Elena. Instead, tears streaming down his cheeks, he kept his eyes on the boat dock in the distance, silently wishing it closer…..

***

 As Don continued to gaze trancelike at the shoreline, Elena bent down and slowly licked one of Bill’s forearms. Out of the corner of his eye Don then saw her tentatively bite the arm as if to test the sharpness of her teeth versus the toughness of Bill’s skin. 

This broke him out of his reverie and without thinking about it, he pulled the flare gun out from under his seat and shot Elena in the chest as she sat up from tasting Bill. The Wendigo Elena exploded into a raging inferno that burned wildly for a few seconds while she gave out with screams even louder than the previous calls.

Don heard one long answering howl come from behind him. Turning, he saw all of the buildings on his island were completely engulfed in flames, and the Wendigo, screaming and flying low across the water, was heading straight for him. In the next few seconds it reached him and with razor-sharp talons on massive forepaws, tore his head off, taking it as a trophy as it turned and headed back to the island. 

Blood spurting from the severed artery in his neck, Don slumped over into the bottom of the boat and landed on the still-unconscious Bill and a smoking Elena.  The boat continued toward the boat dock where a couple of fishermen had come from their trucks to the shoreline to see what was happening. The boat beached itself a bit off the mark and the police were called.

***

“What’s a Wendigo, Sarge?” asked Johnny Taylor, a recent recruit to the Greenville Police Department.

“Damned if I know,” said his sergeant, Ed Wilson. “That’s all the guy’ll say, but damned if I know what he means.

***

 

A year later, almost to the day, Bill Zander made arrangements to have a fisherman boat him out to the island. He carried Elena’s ashes in a copper urn and planned to scatter them among the ashes of the burned buildings. 

At the end, she may have been more Wendigo than wife and Bill felt this would be a sort of closure for Elena and the Wendigo. 

And for himself. He had been feigning unconsciousness during the last leg of the boat ride and still had nightmares of Elena ghoulishly tasting his arm and of Don’s headless torso falling on top of him in the boat. 

He wasn’t afraid the Wendigo might still be on the island. He actually hoped it was still there, rather than having gone back to where ever Don had called it from. 

While the guy he rented the boat ride from looked on in puzzlement, Bill made a paste from lake water and a little of Elena’s ashes and streaked it down his cheeks like war paint. He knew if the opportunity came up confronting the beast would be suicidal, but he figured to get in a few good licks with the new hunting knife he carried in the sheath at his side.





Roy Dorman is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and is the submissions editor of Yahara Prairie Lights.  He has had poetry and flash fiction published in One Sentence Poems, Near to the Knuckle, Yellow Mama, Shotgun Honey, Theme of Absence, Drunk Monkeys, The Flash Fiction Press, Black Petals, and a number of other online magazines.  



In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2017