Scene Thirteen

“Nice move,” Bernie said to Lonnie.

Lonnie stammered. “What I want to know is, why are you even holding a gun on us? I mean, we just live around the neighborhood here. We're not a threat, and we don't hold any claims to this land. I don't see what good it does to threaten us.”

“What?” The large man seemed confused.

Donald looked over to the former clown, and his eyes grew larger as if he had just noticed the man was holding a revolver. “Put that away, Marko,” he told him.

Marko shrugged, and shoved the gun into his inside jacket pocket.

“I'm sorry about that,” said Donald earnestly.

“Yeah, sorry,” Marko said. “But there were government spooks earlier that picked up some kids down the block.”

The three Lafayettens looked at each other, and exchanged a bit of non-verbal communication.

Lonnie's eyebrows: (translated): What kids?

Bernie's eyebrows: (translated): Those weird military boys?

Lonnie's eyebrows, and crinkled nose: (translated): Maybe, but what would the FBI want with them?

Bernie's eyebrows and shoulders: (translated): Who knows what those kids are up to. I've never trusted them. I've seen them going through people's garbage as if for evidence.

Mr. Roger's rigid, knitted brow: (translated): Are they able to communicate with each other telepathically or something?

Lonnie turned to Donald. “What is it that you want, Mr...? Donald?”

“Your hole!” he exclaimed, after struggling to find some words. He seemed suddenly exasperated and out of breath.

Lonnie’s eyes softened. “I beg your pardon,” she said, slowly and dispassionately.

Mr. Roger raised an eyebrow. “Our hole?”

“The WELL”, he said. “...Under our feet.” He seemed desperate and began scratching at the dirt with his feet, like a chicken for a meal.

Lonnie held up her hands as though she were attempting to stop a locomotive from running over a tied-up damsel. “You're going to have to be more specific,” she told him.

Donald pointed at Bernie. “Yes,” he said, tears forming in his eyes. “Your husband mentioned it last night. I believe the direct quote, after pointing at my article was: 'That looks like the well buried across the...'”

Bernie jumped in quickly. “’...way that my father drank from when he was a kid,’ is the full quote.”

Lonnie shook her head. “My husband says a lot of dumb things. Usually for effect or at attempted humor. It's completely pointless to....”

Donald sighed and retrieved some documents from his satchel. He shoved these into Lonnie's face. “Here,” he said. “This is how I know.”

Lonnie delicately freed the papers from Donald's quivering hand. She uncrumpled three or four pages of handwritten notes on browning parchment. In the top corner of each, was a triangular symbol of interlocking rings.

“What is this?”

“That, young lady,” Donald told her, “Is thirty years of research.”

Lonnie flipped through the scant pages again, and raised an eyebrow. "Seems a tad slim."

“It's an elusive subject," Donald said with a shrug. "In my process of attempting to locate Goreg's hole, I have uncovered a history of similar such mysterious holes all over this state. All of which have gone missing over the passage of time.”

“It's just a well,” she said. “What...?”

“They're not just water wells,” he jumped in. “They are bottomless, and not in the traditional sense. Goreg told tales of him and his neighbors endlessly dumping in garbage and never getting close to filling it. He even lowered five miles of a weighted fishing line and never found the bottom.”

Mr. Rogers snorted at this. "Probably got hung up someplace."

“My point is this, it's not a normal, run of the mill, dip in your bucket and haul up some water, type of well. It was here before man. The indigenous people say it was here before they settled here. And there appears to be a sect...a cult...some secret society who is hiding these wells. For what purpose, I don't know.”

“Again,” Lonnie reiterated. “It's just a hole the ground.”

“Yes,” Donald agreed. “A hole, but not just. Goreg used to tell tale of a strange, black light escaping from the hole on a summer night.”

“Black light?”

Donald eyed Bernie suspiciously. “Not like the kind like you shine on your posters. But a black beam, blacker than the night sky. Maybe something natural like spent fuel from the Earth's core, or maybe even some type of communication? I have no idea. The light emanated from the hole and shot into the sky.

“And maybe,” Melody said, coming up behind them. “There's a reason these things are capped off. Something dangerous. Maybe this secret society was formed just for that very reason...”

“...Of keeping something from coming out of it?” Donald finished. “Perhaps.” He pointed to the small building. “What is that structure?”

Lonnie spoke up. “It's a weather station.”

Melody snorted.

“Oh, that this is a monitoring station, I have no doubt,” Donald said, snidely, “But that it's only surveying the weather I find suspect. Let me show you something,” Donald stuck his hand inside his pockets and rattled around some keys. He then retrieved a small, felt pouch. “When I was a child, I actually visited Goreg's hole. It used to be one of those roadside 'mystery spots'. Goreg himself would drive a truckload of tourists, blindfolded, over some rough terrain. I suppose these days you couldn't do that because people would immediately track the location with their GPS and that would be the end of the mystery. Anyway, he'd have one of his ranch hands in the back, too, to make sure no one peeked and pulled down their masks. It was all very shady and inscrutable, and people would probably now worry they were going to be taken off to be murdered.

“Anyway, one of the tales Goreg used to tell along the way was about his prized pig, Gloria. He used to joke that he named it after his wife.”

“Funny stuff,” Lonnie broke in.

“It was a different time. Anyway, Gloria was born an albino. She was all white except for a strange birthmark on its hindquarters. A very distinctive one.” He pointed to the symbol in the corner of his research.

“No way,” Lonnie said, shaking her head.

Melody came over and snatched the documents away. “That's a fairly detailed birthmark,” she said.

“It apparently wasn't quite as defined as that, but it was enough to arouse interest in a certain group.” Donald went on to explain how the local paper had picked up the story on the pig's strange birthmark, and the story had been syndicated in papers worldwide. He looked at Melody and winked. “What you would probably call 'going viral' today.”

“I wouldn't ever say that,” Melody informed him.

“Actually,” he said. “I believe that you wouldn't. Anyway, the pig was now famous and had caught the attention of the Society of the Celtic Knot – that's what I call them anyway. I don't know if anyone knows their true name.

“Works for me,” said Bernie.

“Now this Celtic Knot group,” Mr. Rogers said, after taking a careful study of the situation. “Well this former house that we're standing on, the Jackson's say burned down in the Nineteen-thirties?

“Thirty-three,” Melody corrected.

Mr. Roger's repeated the number. “So when did this pig story come out? I mean I guess what I'm getting at it is, what came first? The pig or the society?”

“Oh, most definitely the society did, That's what made the pig so special to them. You see several cowled and faceless men from the sect came calling on Goreg a few days after the story hit, and they at first offered to buy Gloria. The offer must not have been too high, because he wouldn't sell. He was making a nickel a view. People from all around wanted to get a glimpse of that famous pig.

“Well, they went away, and he thought that was going to be that, but later that night he heard some rustling in his barn. He went out with his shotgun to investigate. It was then he heard a terrible squealing off in the valley. Gloria was not in the barn, of course, so old Goreg got on his horse and followed the squealing. And there he found them. In a freshly cleared area of brush and rocks stood two cloaked figures. They were raising up poor Gloria by a rope tied to a hand-made winch above this massive well."

Melody shook her head. “You mean to tell me this is the first he had seen the well?

Donald nodded. “Yes. He had lived on that land for forty years, and never knew it was there. Apparently it was covered in some manner. Overgrown, or with rocks. I don't have that information.”

“How did these knotty guys know about it?” Bernie said, smiling at his pun.

“Dad,” Melody said, rolling her eyes. “The room.”

“I assumed they had some ancient catalog of the locations. But now I'm starting to wonder.”

“The pig!” Lonnie said, excitedly, smacking her forehead with the palm of her hand. “What happened to the pig?!”

“I don't know what you're getting so excited about,” Melody said. “I doubt it ends well.”

“As I was saying, Goreg now found Gloria suspended just above the center of the hole of this large well, just a'screaming as loud as you please. Animals, he discovered later, can't stand to be anywhere near the well. They start to panic on approach...”

“Also,” Melody interject, “Pigs aren’t really fond of being tied up.”

Donald ignored her. “So, ol' Goreg fires his shotgun into the air, and the cloaked men don't even get startled. Next thing he knew, he wakes up, lying prostrate and staring up at three figures sitting silently on a log. The rope, Gloria now apparently fully descended into the well, tied off to a mooring post.”

“So, the pig was in the hole?” Bernie looked worried.

“Obviously,” Melody told her father.

“Just clarifying,” Bernie said.

“So, they clearly didn't kill Goreg,” Lonnie said, impatiently. Under her breath, she added, "which I guess makes sense, since later on he was giving tours a bunch."

“No,” Donald said. “Apparently they were just sitting idle like they were waiting for a cake to finish baking. One of the hooded folk was wearing a wristwatch. They sat there, all four of them, soundlessly for what he felt in his heart was fifteen minutes – he of course had no idea how long he was out. Suddenly a beeper went off on the wrist watch of the one fellow, and then all three stood up and started pulling on the rope.”

Melody rubbed her hands together. "A beeping wrist watch," she said, excitedly. When no one acknowledged the statement, she added, "What? It's an anachronism."

Lonnie shushed her daughter. “Any more squealing?” Lonnie's expressions betrayed her concerns.

“No,” he said, scowling. “Let me finish. They pulled the pig from the hole, and her body was simply lifeless. No more sounds came from the pig, for sadly Gloria had passed on. I don't know if it was from stress or fear, or just the forces in the hole itself – whatever they may be – but her life had taken her nonetheless. It was what happened next, however, that was the most disturbing.”

"Good,” Bernie said, "the vibe around here was getting way too calm."

“One of the men spread out a blanket on the ground, while the other two placed the dead pig on the ground next to it. They then begin to cut open the abdomen of the pig as though they were giving the thing an autopsy right then and there. Goreg seemed to struggle with this part of the story. We could tell that he was pretty broken up about it, and not just because he lost a good source of income.

“It seems that the pig’s insides had been replaced with a large bladder of some sort. Black and coated with mucus, like a slimy balloon. Anyway, the men retrieved this thing from the pig and placed it on the blanket. And they were real careful with it like it was precious cargo.

“Then one of the men looked up at Goreg, and seemed shocked that he was still lying there. 'Go,' the man told him, while the other man began to delicately cut open the sack. Old Goreg said you didn't have to tell him twice. He took off running. However, he paused to look back and saw that they had pulled some kind of creature out of the bladder.”

“Creature?” Melody raised her other eyebrow.

“Yes,” Donald said, swallowing with some difficulty. “This is the crazy part. The creature looked very much like a human baby.”

Lonnie gasped at this, and cupped her hand over her mouth. “Oh my god,” she said.

“Obviously, Goreg couldn't make out any details, but the thing began to wail. It was not like any baby he had ever heard in his life. He said it was a shriek like some giant bird, or something from your nightmares. He said it would haunt him the rest of his days.

“The men quickly wrapped this 'baby' in the blanket, and took it with them into the darkness. Goreg turned and ran and ran until he got to his house and locked the door behind him. It was almost a year later, mostly because he was destitute, when he opened up the well to public tours.”

The Jacksons were silent for a while after that, but Melody was the first to speak.

“So,” she said. “Granted that's a fairly creepy story – probably the creepiest I've heard in my life – but I mean that's really what some of these attractions are based on, right? A creepy story to bring the tourists.”

“Normally,” Donald said, nodding, “I would think the same as you, but for something Goreg showed me. You see, while he was lying on the ground, his hand felt a small pouch half buried in the ground. Later, he realized that the pouch contained some coins. Some of these were plain gold coins – and he lived on these for quite a while. But the bag also contained some oddities. One he showed me, and allowed me to make a rubbing."

Donald pulled a small folded piece of paper from the protective leather pouch he had retrieved from his pocket earlier.

“It was minted in “C” in two-thousand and twelve, with a rather odd looking president. For years, I thought someone must just be playing a practical joke on him – this was the forties, after all.” He showed the coin rubbing to Melody and the rest of them. Even Marko leaned over to get a good look. “It wasn’t until the early Sixties, when this man's face first appeared, that I became obsessed.”

“Richard Nixon?" Lonnie exclaimed. "Who would put him on a quarter?”

“That's a very good question. And what mint is C? Cincinnati, Concord?”

Mr. Roger's spoke up. “Cuba?”

“So you're proposing that the well, also might be a part of a different timeline?” Melody took the coin rubbing into her possession and eyed it suspiciously.

Donald sighed. “I don't really know what to think, and I don't know what's real. But now that I've possibly located another well, maybe I can finally get some answers.”

It Happened on Lafayette Street

Season One: Episode Four

Melody Jackson

vs. The Creeping Terror

by BMB Johnson

Scene Thirteen

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