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Blood Red Roses

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Nemesis was as beautiful as Aphrodite and attracted the unwanted attention of Zeus. It is told that when Zeus attempted to seduce Nemesis, she changed into a fish and other dread creatures in order to escape him. But when she turned into a goose, the god, after turning himself into a swan, seduced her. She became pregnant and as a goose, she laid an egg that was found by a shepherd who in return gave it to Leda. From this egg, Helen (the princess who was the cause of Troy going to war) was hatched in due time and brought up as Leda's daughter.

Nemesis punished those who broke the moral code, were excessively proud or arrogant, or refused to acknowledge the gods or the blessings given to them by the gods. Nemesis also helped to avenge those who were wronged and was the personification of moral indignation… (http://www.elfwood.com/~azurylipfe/Nemesis_goddess_of_Revenge.2554909.html)

“Pl-please-” Tears streaming, the girl bit back a scream of pain.

A strong hand gripped her chin and turned her head until she was facing blazing eyes.

“Hush chile, I tol’ you that man be no good for you. Now where he be?”

A contraction hit.

“Push,” ordered the woman.

‘Ben,’ the woman thought as she bore down…

“… and do you know what happened next?”

The teens sat around the blazing campfire. The storyteller held the flashlight under her chin but tilted forward so that her features were cast in shadow. She was the prettiest of the group--blue-eyed and blond-haired--and the most popular.

“No, Cindy…” Her boyfriend Todd snaked an arm around her slender waist and splayed the fingers with the tips caressing the bottom of her breast.

“…tell us what happened.”

She pushed him away. “Todd.” She frowned.

“Ah… come on.”

Cindy tossed her head. “You are such a horn dog.”

“Yeah.” He grabbed her and started tickling her, making her drop the flashlight. “But you knew that when you started going out with me.”

“Dude… cut it out,” his best friend Leon complained, “We wanna hear the end of the story.” He picked up the flashlight and shone it in the other boy’s face.

Todd sighed as he batted at the boy. “Alright.” Sitting back, he put his hand in his lap. “Better?”

Cindy tossed her head. “Much.”

“Duuude…” whined Leon.

Taking the flashlight, Cindy hunched over. Her face contorted and her lips stretched, covering her teeth.

“Well dearies…

The boy threw his head back, the amber liquid burning down his throat. As he set the glass down, he looked around at his friends.

‘They know what I need.’ He waved his hand. As the bartender looked up into the mirror, he pointed to his glass; the other man nodded. ‘Being saddled with her kind would ruin everything dad wants for me.’ His visions blurred as the bartender set the half-full glass in front of him.

“Make it a double,” the boy said. When the glass was full, he picked it up.

“Past the lips and over the gums, look out stomach, here it comes.” Just as he set the glass down, a blow between his shoulder blades, almost sent him tumbling from the stool.

“Bobby, my man, what are you doing here? Why aren’t you with that gal of yours?”

Bobby righted himself on the bench and looked into the twinkling eyes of his friend. It wasn’t the first time that he noted that they were complete opposites. He was blond, blue-eyed, tall, thin and tended to be studious, while his friend Gary was red-haired, brown-eyed, built like a Sherman tank and, as far as he could tell, never cracked open a book in his whole life. He snorted.

“Dad was right; she’d only bring me down.”

Gary slapped him on the back, caught the bartender’s eye, pointed to his friend’s glass and held up two fingers. The man nodded. “Damn straight.”

He laughed and picked up his drink. “To doing the right thing-”

Bobby picked up the glass. “Yeah… the right thing…”

 

Fire lit the sky as tears rolled down the old woman’s cheeks. She looked down in the brown face of the screaming baby, now cradled to her breast.
The night sky reflected the red and oranges as the burning hut seemed to groan, and then collapse in upon itself. She stood, a guardian, watching… waiting. When the structure was nothing more than smoldering sticks, she turned away.

“You will be avenged my little one…” Her ambling steps took her away from this place of life and death. “…both of you.”

Cindy switched off the flashlight.

“Booooo,” one of the boys lowed.

“Nathan, you sound like a cow,” one of the girls said. The others laughed.

Nathan sniffed. “You gotta admit, that was a pretty bad ghost story.”

“Yeah,” the others said.

Cindy stood up and brushed leaves from her pants. “That’s because you didn’t hear the ending.”

Kathy laughed. “You mean there’s more?”

Cindy nodded.

Lee cocked her head to the side. “Well?”

Cindy walked towards the woods. Stopped, gazing into their depth, and listening to the cree-kit, cree-kit of the crickets.

The old woman took the baby, and walked to a stream.

“You will have your revenge,” she said.

Raising her arms, she dropped the baby into the dirty water. The little girl didn’t cry, or even flounder, she simply stared with trusting brown eyes at the old woman as she sank beneath the murky surface.

“It’s said, that if you get some water, even a teaspoon is enough, and say the baby’s name seven times, she’ll appear and avenge her wronged mother.”

Nathan cleared his throat. “What’s her name?”

“Mary.”

Nathan scoffed. “Bloody Mary, I presume.”

Cindy smiled. “Drowned Baby Mary.”

Nathan pretended to gag.

“Think we should try it?” Angie asked.

“Naw,” Nathan replied.

“What’s wrong? Scared?” Challenged Cindy.

“Nope.” Nathan shrugged a shoulder. “Give me a cup.” Todd reached for the canteen, poured some water into a cup, and handed it to him. “Okay… here goes.”

He stared into the cup and murmured, “Drowned Baby Mary, Drowned Baby Mary, Drowned Baby Mary, Drowned Baby Mary, Drowned Baby Mary, Drowned Baby Mary, Drowned Baby Mary, Drowned Baby Mary, Drowned Baby Mary…” He took a deep breath. “Drowned. Baby. Mary.”

The group breathed out. Callie fidgeted while Seth laughed.

“Guess it was a bust.” Nathan began to pour out the water. The cup dropped from his hand. “What was that?” He looked around.

Callie slapped Nathan’s shoulder. “Stop it, Nathan. There’s nothing there.”

But Nathan put a finger to his lips. “Yes there is. I know I heard something.”

“All right, the joke’s over,” Todd interjected, “Nathan…”

Nathan grinned. “Sorry, couldn’t help it.”

Todd walked towards his girlfriend. “Cindy, you okay?”

A rough voice said, “I’m fine,” as a knife flashed in and out of Todd’s chest.

Todd’s mouth fell open as he stumbled, then fell. “Cindy,” he choked out, his limbs spasming as if an electrical current was running through his body until finally, he was still.

Cindy bent, a sucking sound announced the pulling free of the knife, as she stood to face the others.

Lee was crying.

“Run,” someone yelled. They scattered.

Saliva, thick and viscous dribbled down Cindy’s chin as her lips pulled back over her teeth. “Not…okay…at all.”