“I’ve got a feeling that someone, or something is watching us.”
Aunt Belle handed them a sack lunch each and said, “I packed a little something for you boys, be real careful out there.”
They thanked her and told Floyd that they would see him in the morning.
“They’re heading out in the opposite direction of the stairs,” he told his wife when she came out and handed Floyd a glass of ice tea.
They were walking slowly, being cautious on the rough terrain. They had flashlights, but they did not intend to use them. They brought the flashlights to make Floyd think they were going to spotlight skunks with the lights.
Both men were dressed in dark clothes and wearing brown beanies. On their last trip to the stairs, they found the perfect location on a knoll, overlooking the stairs. They moved slowly and carefully. When they got into position the long wait began.
Freddy had a wrist watch that glowed in the dark, and after three hours without any activity, the boys began to whisper about heading on out. Jim Bob started to stand up, but he had a strange feeling that sent a chill through his spine.
“You feel that,” he whispered to Freddy.
“Feel it hell, I see it.”
They both looked towards the stairs and saw people moving slowly towards the stairs. The boys didn’t move as the people wearing dark robes with hoods moved about the stairs chanting while one robed person lite a bonfire. They both wondered why they had not seen the wood stacked up for a fire, but it was hard to see at night.
They watched for about twenty minutes while the seven or eight people at the bonfire chanted and walked slowly around the fire.
“I think they’re devil worshipers, or some kind of pagans,” Freddy said.
They both heard dogs moving through the Bo-jacks and they assumed that the dogs were with the people at the bonfire. The dogs sounded as if they were getting close to Jim Bob and Freddy.
“It’s time to bug out, this is getting real creepy,” Jim Bob told his friend.
“Somethings going to happen,” Freddy replied just seconds before a coon dog ran up to him and yipped, while someone kicked the bottom of his boot.
A voice said “Don’t move,” while another person placed the twin barrels of a shotgun against Jim Bob’s neck and said, “Nobody moves. Keep your faces on the ground and take your hands off them guns.”
Freddy felt someone ram the barrel of what he was sure was a pistol into the back of his head, while another person grabbed his arms, and held them behind his back while someone else tied his hands together.
“You don’t need to do this. Let us go and we’ll get the hell out of here and never tell anyone about this.”
“Shut the hell up Yankee. We’re gonna take you boys down to the fire. When we help you up, don’t try to look at nobody’s face and don’t ask no questions,” the man with the shotgun said.
One of the men took their weapons while the other two men took Jim Bob and Freddy by an arm each, told them to look at the ground and headed them to the bonfire.
“What have we here,” a man asked as they entered the circle of robed people.
Jim Bob thought he recognized the voice from the domino parlor. The men behind them made sure that Jim Bob and Freddy did not look at anyone’s face. It was too dark and the fire might have distorted things, but the men behind them pushed their heads down to make sure Jim Bob and Freddy didn’t see too much.
The people in robes danced around the fire as they chanted. A cheer broke out as one of the men brought a large battle-ax that looked like it was out of the middle ages into the circle of dancers.
He yelled, “Hail Satan,” as he held the big blade above his head.
They chanted and watched the man ascend the stairs. There were large torches lighting up the top of the stairs, giving the robed people on the ground a good view of the top of the staircase. He raised the battle-ax in the air, and let out a blood curdling scream as he stepped onto the little ledge at the end of the flagstone platform.
“Let’s do it,” the man who appeared to be in charge yelled.
With one man on each side holding his arms and another holding his head down, they began to march Freddy up the stairs.
When they got Freddy to the top, three men brought Jim Bob to the top landing of the first thirteen stairs. The man in charge said something in what appeared to be a foreign language to Freddy, and the men placed Freddy on top of the stairs, with his head hanging over the edge of the platform.
The man in charge yelled in that strange language they used and the man with the big ax said, “This is a special night. We ain’t never sacrificed a French Canadian before.”
“Hey, hold up. Let’s talk about this. I’ve got some money in the bank, I’ll give it all to you people.”
Jim Bob heard the blade as it sliced through Freddy’s neck and then he heard a sickening thud as the head bounced on the rocks below.
His guards didn’t say anything as they walked Jim Bob up the stairs. “How did they know Freddy was a French Canadian,” he asked himself. He did not tell anyone except his uncle Floyd that Freddy was French Canadian.
When they were at the top of the stairs, one of his guards bent his legs by kneeing Jim Bob in the back of his knees, making Jim Bob fall forward. As his chest hit the platform, he looked to his right and saw Uncle Floyd’s going to town cowboy boots.
Another person was pushing his left shoulder, trying to get his face closer to the edge of the flagstone platform. He moved his head to the left and saw that the person had both hands on his shoulder, pushing it down. He cried out in shock when he recognized the Idaho shaped birthmark on his aunt’s hand.
“Uncle Floyd, Aunt Belle, why are you doing this?”
“We told you to stay away from the stairs Jim Bob,” his uncle answered.
Suddenly, he heard a swishing sound, felt something hot on the back of his neck and realized that his head was slamming into the rocks below, next to Freddy’s head.
About The Author
Leroy B. Vaughn’s short stories and essays have been published in print, e-zines, anthologies and podcasts.