Location: Langdon Ski Resort, abandoned in 1985. Mt. Baker, Whatcom County, Washington, USA
The dilapidated building sat on the mountain, untouched regularly by society for decades. The once lovely structure a shadow of its former decadence. Now, it served two purposes… one, the reminder of a time of frolic and youthful good-natured fun well since passed… and two, a location where the punishment of such frivolity would keep the world safe and secure.
In the early eighties, the Langdon Ski Resort had become a happening place. Hordes of young skiers arrived upon the Koma Kulshan, without even a second thought about the dangers inherent in skiing on an active supervolcano. What did these young people care? They were untouchable. The power in the mind of the young adults stated that they could not be hurt, injured or killed. The arrogance of youth would disappear soon enough as the customers of the Langdon embraced the world of denial with open arms, strapping skis upon their feet.
Little did any of them know that the days of carefree fun at the Langdon Ski Resort were coming to a close.
A bad snowstorm stranded a group of skiers one weekend at the Langdon, a situation that was not that uncommon nor considerably unfortunate. There were plenty of supplies, good company… it was the recipe for an excursion that had everything but skiing. No one was complaining.
Then from out of the snowy night she arrived.
Her name was Constance. And, with her, she brought something that had never been seen at the Langdon Ski Resort. She brought evil. The rumors over the years have painted the picture of Constance as anywhere from wickedly evil to completely psychotic. Stories of her cruelty and viciousness became stuff of legend and myth around Whatcom County. Even today, it was difficult to believe the bloody horrors that had occurred at the ski resort at the hands of this attractive woman. Of the entire crew stranded at the Langdon, only one sturdy young female, Heather White, had survived. She had been able to survive by abandoning the ski resort and taking up refuge in the wilderness of Mount Baker. It was a desperate ploy, but one that eventually saved Heather’s life. She had believed that Constance had seen her leaving the ski resort. And yet, she did not follow. It was as if Constance did not care if the girl lived or died. It was the rest of the stranded skiers about which she cared. And it was those skiers who would become Constance’s final victims.
The body of Constance was recovered along with the other skiers. She had been impaled by a ski pole, the dying vengeance of one of the young lads at the resort. It was a body that disappeared from the police later that evening, without any plausible explanation. She had vanished as quickly as she had appeared. Her motives forever a mystery, lost in the lore of the mountain. Even speculation couldn’t provide suitable answers. That was because no one knew the hidden secret. No one knew how close the apocalyptic dangers were to rising and ending civilization. They never knew.
When word of the slayings at the Langdon Ski Resort spread, the escapist fun of the ski resort ended. Instead of a great place to have fun, this was now an urban legend. It had become a place of death and darkness instead. The resort could not survive the bad press and closed its doors for good just a few months after the Constance slaughter.
However, the Langdon was not torn down. It survived. It thrived. In fact, it became a perfect site for the continued saving of the world. Isolated. Easy to trap unsuspecting skiers. And a local legend to keep unwanted aid from preventing what had to be done. The Langdon was ideal. With the fact that curiosity was a symptom of youth, the story of the dark history of the ski resort would draw them like flies. Opportunity would continue to prosper and the entertainment of the Ancient Ones would be secured.
Or would it?
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Monster#1: The Peacock Family (X-Files, “Home”)
Way to summon the Peacocks: A record player with the record “Wonderful, Wonderful” by Johnny Mathis
The puppeteers met as they did every day. Their lives were routine. They had to be. It was the only way that they could get through the day. They could easily justify what they did. The “good of the many…” argument was something that every puppeteer had drilled into their psyche. That excuse worked fine as long as too much thought did not go into it. The weight of what they had to do always pressured them and the pretending helped. It was good to pretend to be detached…isolated… from the horrors. They survived how they could.
“It’s almost time again, Phil.”
“I know,” Phil said. They all knew, but they had to go through the motions. Phil had known other puppet masters who thrived on the challenge and some that burned out quickly. In fact, his previous partner had flamed out quicker than most. Being a puppeteer was a difficult task and his old partner’s response was a shotgun blast to the head.
“What do you think fate will have in store for this batch of kids?” asked Don. Phil had not been a huge fan of his new partner. He seemed too bloodthirsty. Too eager. This was just his second sacrifice, and Phil couldn’t help but wonder if that would change with time. Phil had been doing this for too many years. The challenge had long since faded and was replaced only with a desire to prevent the rising of the Ancient Ones. Phil sometimes daydreamed about what would happen if the Ancient Ones actually did return. Would that be worse than this?
“I don’t know, Don. The Peacocks?” Phil said.
“Oh… that would mean we hear Wonderful, Wonderful. That song is so creepy,” said Don. Phil couldn’t argue with that. For a love song sung by Johnny Mathis, there was something eerie about it. Almost otherworldly. “Say, I hear we are getting a celebrity among the youths.”
Phil cocked his head to the side. He had not heard this. A celebrity would cause more of a problem. Attract unwanted attention to the set-up here. Why would they choose a celebrity?
“It’s the daughter of Heather White,” Don said.
Now it made sense. Phil didn’t mean a celebrity that the world would know. Only the puppeteers. Heather White was the virgin from the 1980s who survived the initial sacrifice at the Langdon Ski Resort. When the virgins survive, they become a type of celebrity among the staff. They are worth rooting for…
“So she had a daughter, you say?” said Phil.
“Yup…and get this… the Virgin’s daughter is coming as the Whore. Ironic, huh?” Don laughed. Phil nodded softly. That means she must be first, he thought. Phil shivered at the thought of the Peacock family and what those inbred yokels might have in store for the Whore.
Phil sat at his desk, knowing that the time for the ritual approached quickly. The word that Heather White’s daughter had spread through the office like a rapid-fire and her presence would surely bring attention from the higher ups in the puppeteer’s hierarchy. Everyone would want to see what was going to happen, and that only added more pressure upon a difficult situation. Phil had been through the pressure grinder many times, but this one felt different. He couldn’t put his finger on the reason. It was not a good feeling.
The information on the ritual sacrifices would slowly slip into the office scuttlebutt as the time for the next sacrifice grew nearer. Word had it that the daughter would be bringing her college roommate with her on the ski trip. A girl who was a star soccer player for their alma mater. She would fill the athlete archetype. The athlete was typically a male. The Virgin Heather White’s daughter was cast as the Whore and the Athlete was female. The stereotypes were being played with and that made Phil even more nervous. These things are stereotypes for a reason. Why change them now? he thought.
The buzz from the intercom on his desk interrupted his internal monologue as Phil pressed the button.
“Phil,” said Don, Phil’s new partner, “We have an alert from containment cell #L4215. The higher ups would like you to go and make sure everything is kosher.”
That did not sound right to Phil. He was sure that Don was just passing the buck because he did not want to go check on the monsters himself. It wasn’t one of Phil’s favorite jobs either. Any security breach could be devastating for many reasons.
” `K…I’ll head down right now,” said Phil. There was no sense in arguing with him. Even with his seniority, Phil knew that Don was sneaky. He had covered his tracks. Fine, Phil thought. No problem. What is in #L4215?
Checking the inventory list, the blood rushed from Phil’s face creating an unnatural pasty hue.
“Just f*@^ing great. The Gentlemen.”
None of the monsters on site were fun to deal with, but the Gentlemen creeped Phil out as more than just about any of them. Carving the heart out of their victims as silent cries and screams revealed the futility of the situation. And those footmen… wrapped in straightjackets… a complete juxtaposition to the elegantly smooth, floating, fairy tale ghoul. And those smiles… a perpetual shine of metallic teeth from a withered head consisting of a deathly paler.
Phil tried to put those frightening images from his head as he moved through the hallways of the underground complex. Cell #L4215 was on the other side of the grounds and Phil wanted…needed to make sure that those smiling demons were not floating around free…at least not unless it was inside the Langdon Ski Resort. Before Phil entered the elevator that would take him to the proper level, he took a deep breath steadying himself. What would he find when these elevator doors opened? After all these years, would he be up to the task?
The sliding open elevator door eased Phil’s worries. One of the Gentlemen’s footmen had a strap caught. That happened on a regular basis and was an easy fix. With a few quick codes typed into the security computer, the problem had been solved. Phil looked through the glass at the wicked creatures. One of the Gentlemen flowed across to the glass to exchange the glance with the new visitor. Phil couldn’t help but think how graceful these creatures were. How could something so elegant and graceful be so evil? he thought. The smiles never left their faces. Those smiles… that was what made these hairless creatures as horrifying as they were. Silent mimes with a deadly motive.
Phil turned to return to his desk. This was closer than he ever wanted to be to these monstrosities.
He spoke a silent prayer for the souls of the sacrifices on their way.
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Victim #1: Angel White
Archetype: “The Whore”
Played by: Hayden Panettiere
Back story: Angel White is a sophomore at the University of Washington. She is roommates with Husky female soccer star Maya Williams and she is currently dating Dr. Christopher Richard. Angel is the daughter of Heather White. The relationship between Angel and Heather was strained and Angel acted out by seeking a good time, being extremely promiscuous and sexually active as a high school student. The behavior did not change when she left their home in Aberdeen for the campus of the University of Washington. Heather died six months into her freshman year without having made peace with her estranged daughter. This caused much problems for Angel. At the funeral, Angel discovered her mother’s secret that had influenced her entire adult life. Heather had survived a bloody slaughter at a ski resort during the 80s. That experience had changed Heather dramatically and would affect every relationship she had from that day forward, including the one with her daughter.
Posing as a relaxing ski trip, Angel decided that she needed to go to the Langdon Ski Resort to confront the demons of her mother’s past. With some research, Angel had discovered that the ski resort had closed not too long after the slaughter that her mother had survived, but that the building itself was still standing. Not wanting to burden Maya or Christopher, Angel hid the true motive for the vacation.
Staring at the monitors before him, Phil watched as the beautiful young blonde packed her suitcase in her dorm room at the University. Phil was always amazed at the Big Brother-esque reach TPTB showed with these videos. Nothing was left to chance. It couldn’t be…not if they wanted to save the world.
Angel White hummed to herself. She had always loved music, and she had a stunning voice. But she was never one to sing in front of other people. She was far too shy for that. Another irony that shyness was a trouble for the person dubbed “The Whore” in the ritualistic sacrifice that was intended to bring her troubled life to a close.
Angel never understood why her mother was the way she was. Heather had been controlling and overbearing and she tried to smother Angel with an over-protectness that only served to drive the young teen even further away. Heather loved her daughter. That was not a question, but she had always been afraid of becoming too attached in relationships. Even the relationship that had led to Angel’s conception was kept at arms length emotionally. Heather was never the same.
She did the best she could, but emotionally, she had been beaten. She survived and she had always wondered why. Her friends…why did they have to die? A question that plagued Heather until her dying day. She had told anyone that the cancer was eating her away from inside and had been for awhile now. She could not bring people close. Even the one person she loved completely…her Angel…. she just could not forget. And that pain destroyed her.
And Angel wanted to know why. The funeral had been quite revealing. Family members described the two different Heathers. The Heather that went on the ski trip and the one who had returned. Angel knew that whatever happened at the Langdon Ski Resort happened years before she was born and that there would be nothing but a desolate, rundown facade where once stood a bustling, thriving business, but that was not going to stop her. She had to see the location. She had to see where her mother’s life was so drastically altered forever. It was part of the healing process…or so Angel thought. She had no idea that the trip had less to do with healing and more to do with punishing…sacrificing… saving.
Angel had invited her roommate to come along. Maya was her best friend and the two girls had bonded, despite the differences that they shared. Maya was never much of a party girl, and Angel was never without one. It was too easy to hide the loneliness in a group, though it was never truly gone. Maya had made her feel safe, and so she wanted Maya to join her. Maya was in her off season as she was a star forward for the University of Washington women’s soccer team. Maya had invited her brother and his new boyfriend to join them as well. Angel didn’t mind… Bradley was a sweet boy.
Christopher was going to be driving the five of them to Whatcom County. Skiing on Mount Baker was a fun excuse, but Angel knew what she had to do…where she had to go. It was what had been driving her since the funeral. She knew that her life would not be complete until she moved past this darkness that had clouded her life, and she knew that the only place that she could find the light of the future was at the Langdon Ski Resort.
She was so wrong.
Phil wiped the tear from his eye. The sadness of the ritual would overtake him every time. He couldn’t show it. Everyone had to know that what they were doing was the right thing. It had to be. Otherwise, how could they justify it? So Phil would never show the emotion unless he knew no one would see. Don walked into the staging area.
“Hey, is that the Whore?” he callously asked. “She’s a babe. I can’t wait to see her goods.”
Phil tried to fight back the vitriolic taste in his mouth. This was Don’s first time… literally a virgin of the sacrifice. His grandiose, cavalier attitude could be excused. Either that or Don was a real douche. Phil hadn’t decided yet.
Angel had a strange feeling. She looked around her. No one was there. But it felt as if there was. Stop being paranoid, she told herself. Everything was about to change.
Victim #2: Dr. Christopher Richard
Portrayed by: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Archetype: The Scholar
Back Story: A real-life “Doogie Howser”, Richard graduated from his high school as a 13 year old, and became one of the youngster graduates of John Hopkins University. Dr. Richard is one of the country’s up and coming neurosurgeons at 23 years old. However, Dr. Richard had turned down more prestigious hospitals in the country to accept a position at Seattle’s University of Washington Medical Center. Arrogant and full of himself, Dr. Richard knows he’s great and isn’t afraid to share that opinion with anyone. Still, he can back it up.
Angel waited for Christopher in the Hospital’s waiting room, anxious to see her boyfriend. The life of a doctor was not an easy one for relationships, with the constant hectic lifestyle and the cockiness. And Dr. Christopher Richard had cockiness in spades. But Angel loved that in him. She didn’t care that he considered himself God’s gift to medicine. In fact, it was that supreme self-confidence that drew her to him in the first place.
It was in this very hospital where the pair met. Angel had been indulging in an evening of alcohol and frivolity when she had fallen from the second floor balcony at her sorority. Angel had been known as a party girl for a long time, but this was the actually the first time that the party had taken an unfortunate turn on her. But she had been grateful for the fall, since she came in contact with Christopher.
Dr. Richard was not happy being assigned to ER. He considered it below him, a man as skilled with a scalpel as he should not be wasted on minor accidents and human stupidity. The real cases were what he strove for… the challenge… the cases that made him feel like a God. His bedside manner was not wonderful that night, but the evening’s events picked up when the beautiful blonde crossed his path.
He was taken with her immediately. Her smile brought a spark to the boredom of the night. This woman was someone that he needed to know.
Angel was struck by Dr. Richard’s boyish good looks and the arrogance of someone who can carve into another human’s brain. What some saw as arrogance, Angel saw as confidence, and she was hooked.
They had been dating now for the last eight months, and their relationship was strong. Both challenged the other.
So when Angel decided that she needed to go see the location where her mother’s life had been irrevocably changed, she knew that she wanted her lover near. His support was vital. Angel immediately invited him, and he was able to adjust his schedule. She had not told him the reason for the trip, but he could tell that it was an important trip for her. He did not know why… but he was certainly perceptible enough to see.
When Christopher entered the waiting room, Angel practically jumped into his arms. The kiss was passionate and deep.
“Wow, I’ve missed you too,” said Christopher. “I have one more patient to see and then I’m all yours. I can’t wait for our trip.”
Angel smiled and kissed him again.
“I’ll be here when you’re done, Doc,” she said, with a wink. “I love you.”
“I love you too, Angel,” he said, exiting the room. Thoughts filled his head of what the night might bring. Digging around someone’s brain was a rush, without a doubt, but Angel White… she was the ultimate high.
But Dr. Richard didn’t know that the high would lead to a crushing fall.
Monster #3: Bigfoot (from the movie Abominable)
Way to Summon: Burning a Native American herbal tobacco
Don walked over to Phil, who was watching Angel closely. The lovely young woman was amazing and Phil had become quite taken with her. Not that his personal feelings would matter. She had to be first. The ritual demanded that the Whore was the first sacrificed, and there was no way around it. But he was still in awe of the beauty of Gos’ creatures.
“Say Phil,” said Don. “Have you got your money down for the pool yet?”
“I haven’t gotten around to it yet,” Phil answered.
He knew of the custom. Placing bets on which of the monstrous creatures would be unwittingly summoned by the kids, bringing about their ultimate doom. Bidding on the fate of the kids.
“I would love to win the pool on my first try,” he said.
“Maintenance always wins,” said Phil.
“Not this year, friend. This year, the prize will go to me. I have already gotten my choice in,” Don said.
Phil watched the monitors as Angel met her boyfriend, the Scholar. The Whore and the Scholar dating. Another strange twist to the norm. Usually, the Whore and the Athlete are the ones together. There were so many non-typical facts on this sacrifice. Phil wasn’t sure if that was a good thing.
“Don’t you want to know which monster I chose?” Don said, feeling a little irritated at Phil ignoring him.
“Sure,” said Phil, in a less than enthusiastic manner.
“I’m picking the Sasquatch… the Bigfoot… What better monster to summon than that one? Why these forests are full of Bigfoot, what better,” a proud Don said.
“That’s a good one,” said Phil.
“You know, I saw a Bigfoot once. It walked across my path…stared at me with those ape-like eyes. It must have been eight feet tall. I don’t remember being that afraid of anything, anywhere,” said Don. “You ever seen one?”
“Yeah, there are several in cell L1623,” said Phil.
“No…no…no,” said Don, “I mean in the real world. Not safe and secure inside the cubicles here. Have you ever run across a free Squatch?”
“No,” said Phil.
“Consider yourself lucky, my friend,” said Don. “It’s really frightening.”
“I’m sure it is.”
Phil could not believe how inane this conversation was. And this was a typical conversation for the puppeteers. How they passed the time… between the moments of bloodshed…. almost too normal. Phil wasn’t sure if this should be as normal as it was. One thing was true…
Bigfoot would be a cool monster.
Victim #3: Maya Williams
Archetype: The Athlete
Played by: Sherilyn Fenn
Back Story: Maya Williams is one of the stars of the University of Washington Huskies Female Soccer team. She is a forward, and has been playing regularly since she was a highly recruited freshman. She was assigned to room with Angel White and the pair hit it off immediately. Angel was everything that Maya was not. The soccer field was the only place Maya felt comfortable being aggressive and forward, so the party girl Angel helped break Maya out of her cocoon. She is the half-sister of Bradley, and she has been fiercely protective of him. When he came out of the closet with his first homosexual relationship with Jesse, Maya was the first one to stand up and support him. She was very grateful that Angel was able to help her become more outgoing because she was able to use that to support Bradley.
Maya was looking forward to the trip ever since Angel had asked her to go. She had no clue that Angel had ulterior motives in the trip up Mount Baker. She only thought it was a ski trip. Maya loved to ski, and. since it was off season for the Lady Huskies Soccer team, Maya was going to take advantage of the chance.
She was also excited to see her half-brother again. She had not seen Bradley since the night he came out. He had faced their parents bravely and spoke with great confidence. Knowing Maya had his back made Bradley all the more confident. He had had relationships with other girls, but he had always felt uncomfortable. When he met Jesse, he could finally admit the truth.
Maya finished packing her bag, full of ski apparel that she had just bought on a spending spree with Angel. Angel knew how to spend money… and how to enjoy life. Maya thanked God every night that she had the good fortune to be assigned Angel as a roommate.
The door to the dorm room flew open and Angel entered, followed by her boyfriend. Maya liked him…. he was a doctor… and he was good for Angel. Despite her positive influence on Maya’s confidence, Maya worried about Angel’s lifestyle. She worried that Angel was too much of a party girl…and that she would pay for it eventually. The world was a dark place and there were monsters out there ready to take advantage of a beautiful girl who just looked to have fun. With Christopher, Maya hoped that Angel would be calming down some, while maintaining the fire that had inspired her so much.
“Are you about ready, Maya?” Angel asked.
“Yes. We’re picking up Bradley and Jesse, right?” she said.
“For the seventh time, yes,” said Angel. “It is so sweet how you worry about him, Maya. We will remember your brother.”
“Good,” she said. This felt so good. Friends. Family. Fun. She loved skiing.
Nothing could go wrong with this trip.
#5: Doppelganger (D & D)
Summoned by: molding the clay on the Potter’s wheel
Phil was walking back from releasing some pigs into the Blutbaden cage when Don came running over to him. The excitement was obviously written across his face. The sweat revealed his attempt at running had taken a toll upon his frame. Or perhaps he was just over dressed for the activity. Catching his breath, Don looked at Phil with a huge Cheshire Cat grin.
“What?” Phil said, not wanting to wait. He knew this news was going to be big. Don took a couple more deep breaths before finally speaking.
“I just got word that we have a new monster in place for this possible sacrifice,” Don said, between wheezes. Phil wondered how someone as apparently out of shape passed the physical to be a puppeteer. Maybe Don had some inisder knowledge. A little blackmail…
“Yeah,’ said Phil, not as interested as he thought he would be. “What one.”
“You remember Constance…”
“A Doppelganger?” Phil said in disbelief.
This was big news. The very first sacrifice that took place at the Langdon Ski Resort, the one in which Heather White survived, was a Doppelganger. The shape shifter had taken the form of Constance, a weary traveler who slaughtered the party of skiers. “Constance” had been killed in the confrontation, thus allowing the Virgin Heather White to live. That had been the only Doppelganger in the stable. With its death, the model clay and the Potter’s Wheel had been removed from the ski resort. There was no sense in summoning a creature that was not available to be summoned.
“Where did they find a Doppelganger?” Phil asked.
“I don’t know,” said Don, “but this could be an awesomely entertaining ritual. The shape shifting monster infiltrates the group of victims and turns them against each other. They could even end up killing themselves. Oh, the excitement!”
“Not to mention the irony. On the time when Heather White’s only daughter comes to the ski resort to see where her mother had died, there is a chance that these youths could summon the same type of creature that killed her mother,” said Phil. Normally he did not thrive on this part of the job, but even he had to admit that this made the story all the more compelling.
“How much longer before the five kids get to Langdon?” asked Don.
“Shouldn’t be too much longer. Angel, Maya and Christopher are looking to pick up Maya’s brother and his boyfriend. They should be on the mountain by early tomorrow morning,” said Phil.
“And the plan is to strand them in the abandoned ski resort with a blizzard from out of nowhere?”
“That’s right. Once they find the Langdon Ski Resort, the snows will come up quickly. It shouldn’t take too long to strand them inside the building,” said Phil.
“And then it is just a matter of time before they find their way into the store room and they are able to summon their fate, correct?” asked Don.
“Yes,” said Phil. “We have the controls to help lead them to the store room where the things are kept. I assume the Potter’s Wheel has been returned from storage.”
“That’s what they told me,” said Don. “What happens if they don’t mess around with one of the artifacts?”
“They always do,” said Phil. “Curiosity always gets the better of them. And even if they don’t, we can …nudge them… in a direction. We just cannot choose for them.”
“This is very exciting. I can’t wait for tomorrow,” said Don.
Phil nodded. This was more interesting than he had remembered. But so many things felt wrong. Felt different. Phil wasn’t sure if that was a good thing… or if it meant the unthinkable was preparing to happen. They had never failed before. But there were so many new variables. Irony had inserted its hand into the ritual, a place where it had never been before.
What was going to happen?
Victim #4: Bradley Holden
Played by: Dave DeHaan
Archetype: The Virgin
Back Story: Bradley is Maya’s 17-year old step brother. For years, Bradley would bounce from one relationship to another, but never became close to anyone. He was very shy, and he recoiled when anyone became too close. Many of the other students in his high school teased Bradley for his withdrawn nature. Things changed when he met Jesse Shea. Jesse was a new teen who moved into his high school, and Jesse was a confident and humorous young man. Bradley found himself drawn to him in ways that he did not expect. He never thought of himself as homosexual, but the feelings he had for Jesse could not be denied. Jesse was outwardly gay, unapologetic and unafraid to show it. Jesse was involved in the school play, and he had dreams of playing Broadway. Bradley and Jesse hit it off immediately. Jesse knew that Bradley was gay before he did, and he was very kind and caring helping Bradley realize it. Still very shy, Bradley wanted to take the relationship slowly, but he was outed at a football game. Maya came to her brother’s rescue, standing up to the hatred and bigotry being shown by the high school students. She claimed to have always known about Bradley’s orientation, which surprised Bradley.
Victim #5: Jesse Shea
Portrayed by: Evan Peters
Archetype: The Fool
Back Story: Jesse was a new student at the high school, but his confidence and strength was apparent for anyone who would meet him. Openly gay, Jesse was unafraid of anyone’s bigotry or hatred. That amount of sureness in himself and the humor of his personality, made him easy to accept for the student body of the school. Jesse joined the school drama team, debate team and improv groups, where he was able to show off his natural wit and deeply comedic disposition. Jesse believed that anything, even the most horrible things, could be overcome with laughter. He loved the escapism of the stage, and his dream was to perform on Broadway. Jesse did not fit into the stereotypical mold of a gay man, and he fought against those stereotypes since he came out. He met Bradley in class and immediately hit it off with him. His innocence attracted Jesse to him. The couple became close, and Jesse helped Bradley realize his true nature. When Bradley was outed at a football game, Jesse stood beside Bradley’s half-sister Maya in defense of him. They have decided to take their relationship slowly, to see where it might go. For now, they are enjoying one another’s company.
Phil watched the monitors. Something about this ritual was off… and it was concerning him. He continued to watch as the victims finally all came together. Maya and Angel, the roommates, along with Angel’s boyfriend, the doctor, arrived to pick up the boyfriends. Bradley was Maya’s step brother. Jesse was his boyfriend. He helped Bradley realize what he was.
Phil didn’t mind the fact that they were a couple, but he just couldn’t shake the one feeling of jealousy eating away at his heart. These two boys, one of which was the Virgin, had found each other, and he was still alone. Puppeteer was a tough job to handle, especially with the personality that Phil had. He had never had a relationship that lasted for more than a few months. The job always got in the way. So he felt a twinge when looking at these two boys who were so clearly taken with each other. You could tell just by watching them…even without any displays of affection, it was apparent. They were in love.
And the Whore was happy with her relationship too. In fact, this relationship was a driving force for her trip to Langdon Ski Resort. She wanted to put the sadness of her mother and her mother’s failures as a parent behind her, so she could move on with her life. She wanted to be able to commit completely to the handsome young doctor. And this was her way of putting the ghosts to rest. Even they were happy. Phil did not understand how both the Virgin and the Whore could have committed, happy relationships. It just flew in the face of every genre specific tome he was used to. And all of this fed into the uncertainty swamping his heart.
But Phil was confused by Maya. The China doll like features of this raven-haired beauty did not correspond with what he would consider an athlete, and, even more surprising, she was alone. How could someone like Maya Williams be alone…without a special someone in her life? How could she go to sleep each night, with no one’s body warmth beside her? She could not be lovelier. And her dedication to her step brother was painfully obvious. This woman was special. She was a keeper. So why was she alone?
That question plagued Phil as he continued to watch the five young people climb aboard the van they had rented. The cameras were all over the van. Every possible nook was covered, because, as Phil knew, nothing could be left to chance… outside of the choice… the summoning. They were not allowed to interfere in that. They could push them for their actions, but they could not make the decision for them.
Which of these five would make the choice, he wondered, and which of the monstrosities would be brought forth to finish them off. Watching the slightly pale features of Maya, Phil could hardly bare to think about it. But he couldn’t stop himself. The horrors that the Peacock Family could unleash on these kids. The silence of the Gentlemen. The wild sasquatches from out of the woods. The huffing and puffing of the Blutbaden. The irony of the shape shifting doppelganger, the same creature that killed Angel’s mother’s friends so many years before. Among the other possibilities.
Phil continued to watch the beautiful soccer player. Why could she not have been cast as the Virgin. She may not necessarily fit the archetype, but it could have worked. In that way, she could have a chance of survival, but as the Athlete… Maya had to die. Anything else could conceivably doom the planet to destruction at the hands of the Ancient Ones. Wrath and damnation… apocalyptic devastation…even prior to the prediction of the Mayans.
He looked at the girl again. Maya… it was very close to Mayan….another ironic twist. Again, everything felt different than before. The kids were on their way to Mount Baker, so Phil moved away from the monitors. He was sure that Don was watching as well. He was way too excited about what was to come. Phil needed a break, but no matter where he went in the compound, all he could see was the face of the Athlete. The round and soft cheeks. The ebony colored hair. Her deep, soulful blue eyes. He had never been as distracted by a sacrifice before. He knew that Rule #1 for all puppeteers said, “Don’t get attached to the victims!” And that had never been a problem.
Oh God, Phil thought. What am I gonna do?
Bottom of Form
The whip of the wind across their faces, the coldness of the snow smacking against their cheeks, the thrill of succumbing to gravity was amazing for the five young people. The skiing on Mount Baker had always been fantastic, but it seemed as if each feeling…each sensation was that much more amplified this time.
Phil knew why.
The five youths had arrived and had immediately took to the slopes. Angel knew where she had to go, and she used every bit of her womanly wiles to get them near. She was just not sure how to convince her comrades to head over to investigate the mysterious ski resort just over the ridge. Then, she guessed that fate took over.
Little did she know that fate had nothing to do with it.
The snowstorm came up from nowhere. None of the weather reports had indicated even a slight dusting, and now the storm was of blizzard proportions. The sudden appearance of the abandoned ski resort was a Godsend to the kids, who wanted nothing more than to get themselves out of the elements and to hunker down until the snowstorm had passed.
“This was really easy,’ said Don, who had joined Phil at the control center. “The main event is on its way!”
Don’s cavalier attitude had really been rubbing Phil the wrong way. Especially since Phil’s… conscience, perhaps…libido… heart… something was screaming at him that this was not the way things had to be. Phil was afraid that he had broken puppeteer rule number one. He was afraid that he had fallen in love.
The shivers of Maya filled Phil’s heart with joy…as did each simple movement. He had been watching her for quite a while now… and he knew that there was no chance of anything more than the stalking … because he knew that she had to die. She had to die for the rest of the world to live. And he could barely stand it.
Angel looked cautiously around the interior of the dilapidated building. She knew a secret about this place. Her mother had survived a terrible bloody slaughter her years ago… many years before Angel had been born. It had colored her relationship with her mother, and her mother’s relationships with everyone. Angel rebelled against her mom. It was all she knew. She had become a party girl… extremely promiscuous… everything that Heather White was not. But Angel had not known about this deadly picture in time of her mother’s torture… not until her mother had died. And she did not want the good thing she had found with Christopher to be spoiled by it. She needed closure. So she had to come.
But Angel did not want to be alone when she faced her mother’s demons. So she had invited her lover, as well as her best friend and roommate, Maya. Maya had invited her step brother and his new boyfriend. Suddenly, it was a party. It kind of spiraled out of control for Angel, but she could not stop that now. She had to be here. She had to be here to move on.
“Those two women are babes,” said Don, and Phil had to stop himself from snapping at him. He could not show his partner that he had developed feeling for Maya. That would be the kiss of death for him. And Don would never understand. He was a real ass.
“This place is scary,” said Jesse. “Just like those places in a horror movie.”
“What did he say?” Don said, at the innocent comment. Jesse loved movies, and was constantly comparing real life to the silver screen.
“You know,” said Jesse, continuing, “that place where a group of kids find themselves stranded and have to fight off some monster from the woods… or a serial killer who had taken up residence at the…”
“What are you saying?” Angel exploded. There were tears streaming down her face. She had responded with such anger at the kid. He didn’t know what he was saying. Yet, it was too close to home.
“Angel…” Maya said, “what’s wrong?” The roommate moved into a comforting mode at the unexpected outburst. She even beat Christopher. Phil was amazed at her. She was something special.
“I’m sorry,” said Jesse, not sure what had happened. “Did I say something wrong?”
“N-no,” stuttered Angel. “It’s me.”
She got quiet. Phil could not take his eyes off of Maya. What he wouldn’t give to have her arms wrapped around him, providing the comfort and caress as she was providing to Angel now. Someone to share the load of his conscience. Someone to help him get through… and to love him despite of what he did.
“We’d better get them heading to the store room,” said Don, “before they do something stupid.”
Phil knew Don was right. The sooner one of them chose the artifact, the sooner this ritual would be over. And maybe then things would get back to normal. Why was he having a hard time believing that?
The sound from above them was loud, but not too loud to scare them away. It was just enough to stoke their curiosity response… not their flight response.
“What was that?” asked Christopher, looking up the stairwell to the upper levels of the ski resort.
“It’s just the wind,” said Bradley, as he held Jesse’s hand.
“I’m going to check it out,” said Christopher.
“No…” Angel said, bursting out form Maya’s arms. “You can’t go alone. I’m coming with you.”
“I’ll be back in a minute, Angel,’ said Christopher.
“No… we stay together,” she insisted. She did not know why she felt that way. The gas that was being pumped into the room was not distinguishable by any of them. But, it was manipulating them just the same.
“Angel’s right,” said Maya. “It is safer in numbers. We should stick together.”
“For now…heh heh heh,” laughed Don as he and Phil watched the kids move up the stairs. Soon, they found the source of the noise. A trap door that lead to an attic had blown down and hit the floor. The pathway into the attic was open and beckoning to them. None of them wanted to continue up. It was seriously creepy.
“Let’s see what’s up there,” said Christopher. Everyone agreed, though no one knew why. Each of them dreaded the next step on the ladder, but they continued up anyway. There was so many different things in the attic… a variety of junk… and it all was so very magnetic. They felt drawn to the stuff.
Phil held his breath as the moment of truth had arrived… and there was nothing that he could do about it.
The randomness of the chaos in the hidden attic storage drew the five youths into its web, promising nothing to them but pain and anguish, although none of them knew of this ultimate fate. The red cloak which hung upon the coat rack in the corner stood out from the darkness, and drew Angel toward it.
“Is this a record player?” said Christopher. “My Grandma had one like this.” Reaching down to remove the record, he looked at the label of the 45. “Wonderful, Wonderful? Never heard of it.” Christopher said, returning the single to the player.
Maya picked up the music box from the table. She wondered to herself what tune played once it opened. She was about to open it up when she heard Jesse call out.
“Look at that!” he said. Maya set the music box down. They had plenty of time to hear that tune.
Jesse spotted an old potter’s wheel with some molding clay still on it. He was surprised at the look of the clay. He had expected it to be all dried out, but this clay would still work.
“Too bad there is no electricity here,” said Jesse, straddling the bench, “I could be Demi Moore in Ghost…”
The flood of light was a surprise. They had not checked for electricity. There was no reason to…surely there was no electricity in this old building. So when the lights sprung to life when Angel threw the light switch, they all stood for a moment in amazement.
“How unlikely…” said Christopher, turning back to Jess. “So go ahead, young man.”
As Jesse reached for the switch, he stopped, sniffing the air.
“What is that I smell?” he asked. There was a definite aroma waffling through the attic…it was an odor that was not there when they had arrived. Bradley came from the shadows of the attic, holding a small ceramic bowl, smoke rolling from it. Bradley had a lighter in his hand as he allowed the smoke to caress the air around them all.
“Hey, look, I found some kind of incense. It has a great smell, doesn’t it?” asked Bradley.
“YES!” Don exclaimed, watching the monitors. He knew the Peacocks and the Gentlemen were close, and if they had check for lights earlier, it would have been the doppelganger. But this development pleased Don.
“First Embassy sacrifice and I win the pool! Ha…told you the woods were perfect for the Sasquatch.”
Phil ran his tongue across his teeth, clearing the remaining salt from his lunch. “Yeah, you’re a genius.”
“You are just jealous, Phil. You ain’t never won one of these pools and I win on my first chance.”
That did kind of stick in Phil’s craw, but he was still too busy watching HER. Maya Williams had found her way into his mind, and he was afraid that she was going to continue into his heart. And he was not looking forward to the pain of witnessing her eventual death. He imagined her soft, delicate skin pressed against his lips, stroking the ebony hair from her face. The thoughts were just too much to bear. He had been lonely for as long as he could remember. In fact, he could not recall the last time his heart was filled with such a light joy.
And it was all for naught. He knew she had to die. Reports of other Embassies failing with their rituals had begun to come in, only serving to ramp up the pressure…even though this Embassy had never failed before. Failure was not an option.
Or was it?
“I have a surprise for you, Phil,” Don said, looking like the cat with the proverbial canary in its mouth. “I prepared something special for the sacrifices.”
“What is it?” Phil said. He hated to be surprised.
“It wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you about it,” said Don.
That gave Phil something else to fret about as he turned his attention back to the monitors. The group continued to scrounge around the attic at the assembled junk when a loud crash struck the building. The sound of breaking glass filled the lower floors.
“What now?” asked Christopher, his natural curiosity overwhelmed himself. He headed back to the ladder to see what the crash was.
“Shouldn’t we stay here?” asked Angel. “It may be safer.”
“I want to see what that sound is?” said Christopher as the barrage continued. Some of the crashes were loud enough to shake the walls.
“Yeah, come on Angel,” said Bradley, displaying an uncommon aggression. “We’ve got to find out what that is.”
So without any further arguments, the four followed the doctor down the ladder, and down to the ground level of the ski resort. The glass was scattered across the floor, as was several large rocks that were shown as the culprit.
“Was there an avalanche?” asked Maya.
Christopher opened the door. The snowstorm continued to drop precipitation on the mountain, but there was no sign that there was any avalanche. Maya walked out, standing beside the doctor. Angel followed out, wrapping her arm around his shoulder.
“Come on Chris, let’s go inside.” She said, pulling him along. A soft kiss on the cheek brought her the wanted attention from her boyfriend, and they left Maya staring out at toward woods, and at the large footprints at the edge of the trees…footprints that were being filled in by the falling snow with each passing second. Her brother walked over to her. He could tell something was scaring her.
“”What is it, sis?” Bradley asked. She paused before speaking. It’s just my imagination, she thought.
“It’s nothing, Bradley. Let’s go inside,” Maya said. As hey turned, they failed to see the dark shape move through the trees.
Back inside the ski resort, Jesse had begun trying to plug the holes caused by the rocks.
“Geez,” said Jesse, “some of these rocks are more like boulders. How does this happen?”
“What does it matter,” said Angel, continuing to sensually rub her body against Christopher. “It’s over now, and everyone is safe. Come on, Christopher…let’s find some privacy.”
Angel was not sure why she was feeling so overcome by her hormones. She could not focus on her real reason for being at Langdon Ski Resort. All she could think of was being with Christopher.
“Why don’t you two get a room,” said Jesse.
“He is reading my mind,” said Angel, pulling Christopher away.
“All right!” exclaimed Don, knowing what was coming. He had been anticipating the money shot since he found out that Angel White would be one of the sacrifices. As the Whore, one of the key moments of the ritual was when she bared herself to the world. This could not be skipped. Too much was riding on it. And Don was glued to the screen.
Phil, on the other hand, had seen plenty of breasts in his years, and Angel did not excite him. There was nothing against her. She was a beautiful girl, but his mind could not escape from the grasp of Maya.
Angel was all over Christopher as the pair made their way to the first bedroom they could find. The mustiness was like an aphrodisiac to the couple and made their excitement all the more profound. It had not taken much to get the doctor as excited as his girlfriend was and they fell onto the bed, wrapped in each other’s arms.
“This trip is going so much better than I had ever expected,” said Christopher. “I love you.”
Those three words froze Angel in her tracks. She had not expected the words, let alone the words with so much tenderness and meaning behind them. She sat beside him, head down, a soft tear rolled down her cheek.
“Are you alright, Angel?” Christopher asked, not sure what had happened. Don was yelling so loudly at the monitor that Phil was afraid the couple might hear him.
“I…yes… I am…fine. I just…didn’t realize…how much… I love you too…so much,” she said, dropping her top to the floor.
“Yeah, baby,’ said Don. Phil said nothing. This was turning out to be more than he could stomach. The love between these two kids was obvious and this scene was a beautiful moment. One that would be destroyed sooner rather than later.
“Ok…time for your surprise,” said Don, reaching down for the phone. After requesting the special effects department, Don said, “Start the specter program.”
Specter program? Phil thought. What did that mean?
The passion in the bedroom stopped abruptly as Angel’s eyes grew wide. She could not believe what she saw. The swirling mist in the room began to form into a shape… and it was a shape that Angel knew.
It was her mother.
Angel’s scream completely broke the mood, causing Christopher to fall from the bed. He spotted the apparition floating in the air above the bed. His brilliant mind could not grasp what was happening. He was a man of science… and this was everything that he dismissed.
“Angel…” the ghost muttered, “you have arrived… you are a good daughter…”
“Daughter?” Christopher said, looking at Angel’s horrified expression.
“Your…your answers… you will find… the answers….” The ghost said. Christopher recognized the apparition. He had seen pictures… and despite never actually having met Heather White, he knew this was her.
“M-mom?” Angel said.
“I-I am sorry, Angel…but…history is…doomed to be …repeated.” ‘Heather’ said. “There…is no…escape.”
“No…no… that can’t be,” Angel said, tears freely flowing now.
“What’s she talking about, Angel?” asked Christopher.
“You will all die here …” she said, “just like they did. “
“They?” Christopher said. “They who?”
Angel grabbed her clothes, and ran from the room as the spirit disappeared.
“Angel…wait!” Christopher said, running after her.
Don laughed loudly as the entire thing unfolded on their screen.
“That was cruel,” said Phil. He could hardly believe the callous emotional brutality shown by the new puppeteer.
“Cruel? Are you kidding me? We are putting on a show for the Ancient Ones. And what a show,” he said. “I mean… they are all gonna die anyway… we may as well make it enjoyable.”
Phil did not see anything enjoyable about what he had just seen.
Angel ran down the stairs to the room, her clothes barely covering herself. The tears were from the pain and from the embarrassment and the trauma of the situation. How could this be happening? Maya saw her roommate’s anguish, and she immediately was by her side. Phil admired her strength.
“Angel, what‘s wrong?” Maya said, embracing her friend.
“I-it can’t be..” the shaking girl said.
“What is it?” asked Maya. Bradley and Jesse stood in the background, intensely concerned about the sudden switch in the mood. Bradley reached down and took Jesse’s hand. The comforting squeeze his boyfriend gave in response helped ease his fears of the Virgin.
Angel trembled and shook. Maya had only seen her upset once. That was when she found out that her mother had died. Maya could not understand what had sent her friend over the edge now. Christopher came running into the room, seeing Angel being comforted by her friend.
“What did she mean?” he said, his concern replaced by anger. “What did she mean by that?”
“She?” said Maya. “She who?”
“We were just interrupted by the ghost of Angel’s mother,” said Christopher.
“What?” Maya exclaimed.
“Uh… Doc,” said Jesse, “have you been smoking that weed we found upstairs?”
“We saw her.” Christopher said, coldly.
“Angel?” asked Maya.
“I-it’s true,” she said.
“What did she mean?” Christopher asked. “What did she mean when she said that we would all die here… like they did?”
“She said what?” said Maya.
Angel’s guilt-ridden face told Maya that there was something to the accusations being levied by the doctor. She softly stroked her friend’s back, speaking with a supportive tone.
“What is going on, Angel?”
Angel met her friend’s eyes. If what her mother said was true, she had brought her into this… her and her innocent brother. It would be her fault. They had a right to know.
Everything came pouring out. The truth about the ski trip. The slaughter from her mother’s past. The unresolved issues with their relationship. The way she manipulated them all. She spared nothing. It felt good to get it off her chest.
“You bitch,” said Christopher.
Pulling away from Maya, Angel bolted for the door out of the Langdon Ski Resort. Maya looked over to Christopher.
“Nice…asshole,” she said, turning away and heading out to follow Angel. Phil saw another example of her strength. She wasn’t mad at her friend. She wanted to help her. Even the inconvenience of the ski trip and the reputed danger could shake her resolve. The bravery of the girl showed Christopher how he was acting. Instantly ashamed of himself, he called out to Angel and also followed the two girls into the snowstorm.
“Here we go…”Don said.
The snow pelted across Angel’s face, instantly freezing the tears to her cheeks, but she could not face her friends any more. What if her mother was right? How could she have brought them here? This was something she should have done alone.
“Angel!” Maya screamed, the snow making it difficult to see. She couldn’t believe it but the snow had picked up since the last time they were outside. Christopher caught up to Maya. She could tell immediately that he was sorry for his callousness. Maya nodded. The most important thing right now was to find Angel.
A roar that chilled them worse than the weather cut through the mountainside, and it was followed by a female scream.
“Angel!” Christopher yelled, following the sound of the scream. Maya held close to him so they would not be separated in the blizzard. It was not much more than fifty feet, but it felt like miles. Angel was on the ground, the crimson pool radiated from the white snow.
“Angel?” Maya said, dropping to her knees. The blood was warm against her skin. Maya saw the large wound… it nearly cut her in half.
“Let me see her,” said Christopher, the doctor in him taking over, but it didn’t take him long to realize that there would be nothing he could do. Maya held Angel tightly in her arms.
Angel’s eyes began to blur as she gazed on the face of her best friend for the last time.
“I-I,” she stuttered.
“Keep your strength, Angel…we’re going to get help,” Maya begged, breaking Phil’s heart. Over the years, he was a glorified stalker, but this moment reduced him to a quivering mass…but he kept it inside. He had to.
“I— I’m sorry,” Angel said, the final words across her lips. She was gone. Maya cried, screaming at the top of her voice.
But she did not have time. The blow to the back of the doctor’s head was unexpected and instantly fatal. Christopher fell beside her. Focusing through the tears, Maya saw the behemoth standing before her. The fur was matted against its muscular frame from the snow. The creature howled a blood curdling howl, and Maya closed her eyes and said a silent prayer.
The Sasquatch was knocked off balance by the sudden and unexpected cross body block from Jesse. It was out of nowhere and it staggered the beast. Bradley put his arms around his sister’s shoulders.
“Maya… get up…” Bradley yelled. “We’ve got to get inside!”
A glancing claw scraped across Jesse’s shoulder, drawing his blood. Bradley grabbed his boyfriend before he fell to the snow covered ground. He knew landing in the drifts would be death.
“Maya! Get up! Help me!” screamed Bradley. Hearing the fear in her step-brother’s voice was all Maya needed to snap out of her grief-filled trance. She leaped to her feet, avoiding the monster’s next strike, and grabbed the other side of Jesse.
“Let’s move,” ordered Maya, as they rushed toward the ski resort. The hot breath of the monster was right behind them, and the terror spurred them on. Maya was a natural athlete, and she took the brunt of Jesse’s weight. She knew Bradley wouldn’t leave him out here. He wasn’t wired that way. So she had to make sure they were both safe.
The door slammed behind them just in time, as the force of the Sasquatch drilled into it. The door buckled, but held fast. The three gasped for air inside the ski resort, hoping that their shelter would be enough of a sanctuary to prevent the Bigfoot from entering. The wall shaking pounding on the door told them that their hopes were foolish.
And then they realized something even worse. There was more than one beast pounding.
“This is awesome,” said Don. Phil had to turn away again. But it was now with a purpose.
“Take it easy, Jesse,” said Bradley, kissing him gently. “You’re going to be alright.”
“Bradley,” said Maya,” put pressure on that wound. Wrap it up.”
The pounding got louder, as chips began to fly from the door. The breath of the monster came through the holes, and the screeching was a war cry. Maya knew that door would not be holding those monsters for long.
“We’ve got to separate them… just to make sure that the Virgin is the last one to…ugh”
The thud of Don hitting the cold concrete floor was replaced by the slapping of feet down the hall. Phil had not believed what he had done, despite the distinct pleasure it gave him to blast that douche in the back of the head with the phone, it all felt like it was happening to someone else. Phil had not run like this in years, the pounding of his heart proved to him that he was still alive. Alive… and on a mission.
With his injuries bound, Jesse was helped to his feet by both Bradley and Maya, but she was not sure where they could go to escape the assault and the storm. She knew the beasts were not going to be held back much longer.
“What are we going to do, Maya?” Bradley desperately said.
“I’m… I don’t know,” she said, her life passing before her eyes.
“Jesse, are you okay?” Bradley said.
“Yeah… I’m okay…” he said, standing on his own. He looked weak, but the danger of the situation was activating his survival instincts, not to mention his adrenalin.
Down the hall, the secret passage opened to the underground complex and Phil stepped into the Langdon Ski Resort. How many years had he spent beneath this place without ever stepping foot into it? All that was over now… as was everything else in his life, but he did not care. He could not accept the death of someone so noble, so loving, so amazing as Maya. He would not permit it, no matter the consequences.
Phil ran down the hall to where the three kids waited.
“Maya, this way!” Phil said. The arrival of the stranger from nowhere startled the threesome. Maya swung at Phil, striking his solidly on the chin.
“Stay away from us!” she screamed. Phil steadied himself and moved around her, putting his back to the door of the ski resort.
“Listen to me. There is a complex beneath this ski resort. You’ll be safe there. There is an elevator down the hall. We don’t have time to waste,” Phil yelled.
As if on cue, the door splintered away, and the Sasquatch lashed out at the first person it saw. The blood drained from Phil’s face and the pain of the deep slice across his back ripped through his body.
“Please..go…” Phil weakly said, “Go to Level 42… wait until morning…you’ll be safe there.”
As the life drained from his body, with his final energy, Phil turned to face the ravenous Sasquatch and flung himself into its waiting arms. The beast’s savagery loosed on the puppeteer, but the freedom the monster provided was surprisingly welcome.
Maya, Jesse and Bradley ran down the hall. They did not know where the mysterious man had come from, but that now realized that he was not their enemy. His selfless sacrifice had saved them… if only for the moment. The Sasquatch tossed aside the lifeless husk and began lunging down the hall behind them. They could see the open elevator in front of them, but it seemed to be miles away. And Sasquatch after Sasquatch poured into the building, following the first one.
And they had one instinct… the hunt… the kill.
Maya pulled over a table on the way, hoping that it would slow them down just enough. It was not likely, but she had to try something because it looked as if they were not going to make it.
Jesse knew it too.
“I love you,” he said, between breaths. And the young man tossed himself back toward the oncoming monsters
“NO!” screamed Bradley, but Maya barreled into his frame, keeping him moving forward. She would not allow Jesse and that mystery man’s sacrifices to be for naught. The two of them reached the elevator and she pressed the button for level 42. Bradley’s tortured screams echoed through the aisle as he looked back on Jesse’s final fate. As the doors slid closed, Bradley collapsed onto the elevator floor. Maya sank to her knees and hugged him. They had lost so much today, but they were still together.
And they were going to survive.
Phil had made sure of that. While Don had been engrossed in his handiwork and the thrill of the slaughter, Phil had set up his own illusion. The powers that be were unaware of the events. Phil had diverted security camera and he had secured Level 42. No one would know that the sacrifice had failed…until it was too late. And Maya was safe.
Phil had hoped that this was not the end of everything. And it was not. One Embassy had succeeded. The Ancient Ones had been satisfied again.
The snowstorm ended. And the siblings found their way back to the Ski resort. Phil was right. They had been safe and the Sasquatch threat disappeared with the sun. Maya and Bradley mourned their friends… but they were grateful for their lives. But there was anger inside. Something that had to be quenched.
A fire of revenge… retribution… burned in their hearts. And Maya and Bradley made sure that the flames were more than symbolic. The old ski resort went up like a tinder box. The brother and sister stood together watching the ultimate cleanser burn away the evidence of their night of horror… and that no one would ever suffer inside that damned ski resort again.