And here is the second part to Chapter 7 of Marcello’s Revenge. For all previous installments please go here:
“For one thing,” Francine began, “the bank did not go down to the storm drain as you said. If you went all the way down the hill you would have found a dry creek bed. But it curves away from the Periwinkle’s and the storm drain area. It does, however, end at the lake emptying in a small ravine with a lot of rocks and tall standing weeds. Luckily, the weather has been dry, or it would have been really miserable and muddy.
“And it was dark. Terribly dark. And you sent me out there without a flashlight. With what little light the moon provided, though, I was able to make it down to the water. But Julie would not go in. I told her to just go out and splash around a bit, and if she was in her right mind she may have. She wasn’t though. Just as you said, she was completely incoherent, and just stood looking out over the inky black water.
“So then I had to make a decision. To go back up the hill and trust my luck, or to lead her into the lake and get her washed up. I decided on the latter, but was concerned about my clothes getting wet. How would I explain that when I got back to the house? I thought of texting you, but wasn’t sure if that would be a good idea. So I didn’t. Instead I removed my dress and hose and placed them in as clean and as dry a place that I could manage to find. And then took her by the hand and went out into the lake.
“The water was frigid. And I am afraid I cursed you quite nastily. Sorry dearest, but I was pretty upset. Anyway, I got a little more than knee-deep, and tried to have her dunk herself in the water. But again she refused. Acting like she did not understand. So I took both her hands in mine and went out until we were a little more than waist deep. Then I submerged to my neck, dragging her down and having her kneel with me so that all of her clothes were under water. I placed my hands on her shoulders to keep her in that position down in the water while I rose up. That way I was able to wash out her hair and clean off her face. I scooped the water in my hands and splashed it over her head as if I were performing some sort of twisted midnight baptism.
“And then suddenly I felt her hands on my rear. I am sure it was to keep her balance as I was scrubbing her face pretty aggressively, but it was all the same very uncomfortable. I quickly finished up, and had her stand up and cleaned up her arms and hands as well. Back on the shore, we were both very cold. It may not feel bad out, with only a light cool breeze, but being wet we were both freezing. I could not wear my underwear, since they were soaking and would have seeped through my dress, so I took them off, placing them in my purse. When I was done drying myself off, I put back on my dress, and cleaned her a bit more with the towel as I was drying her off. Thinking I was getting pressed for time at this point, I hurriedly wrapped it around her and walked back up the hill.
“There were some people on the streets going back to their cars, but no one seemed to take notice of us. They all appeared to be engrossed in the sudden end of the party. Gossiping about possible causes. The poor girl was shivering pretty badly though. Once we were back at the car I took the blanket we have in the trunk and threw it over us to, as discreetly as possible, remove her skirt and blouse to get the wet clothes off of her. I left her laying down covered and asleep in the back seat.
“Fortunately, there was a sweater in the car, and I put that on in order to hide my braless situation. I could do nothing about the other area, though. But as it is less conspicuous, and I have hose on, I am not too concerned. After that, I grabbed the cigarettes like you said, and the police cars roared by while I was walking back. Arriving back here, I slipped through the back entrance by the pool and started to fix some coffee. That is when you came up. And so, my love, do you have any other requests?”
“You did beautifully,” I said, kissing her forehead. She smiled at me and slapped my arm.
Back inside, I met with a police officer who took my report. He had a cold and sneezed often, wiping his nose continuously as he jotted down my story. Finally we managed to leave around three or three-thirty in the morning, getting back to the car where Julie was still asleep. It was on the drive home that I told Francine the whole story of what happened, the strange wall symbol, being pulled into it, and how Julie suddenly appeared and the entire scene had changed. As I did when she told me her story, she in turn listened patiently, taking it all in and not interrupting me as I spoke.
“That is very…interesting,” she said after I had finished. “But isn’t it possible for you to have imagined the whole thing?”
“I have thought of that, but it was too real.”
“Well, yes, but you did have a bit to drink. And your headache. And those pain killers you took. Couldn’t they have been the cause.”
“It is possible,” I said turning to look out the passenger window. It was quiet for a few seconds, and I must have looked a little dejected as she skillfully shifted the direction of the conversation.
“So, then, it was like a magic circle? On the wall, I mean.”
“What was that? A magic circle?”
“Oh, love, I am sure you have seen them. They are in movies and television programs. There was an anime I saw a long time ago which had used them to conjure items. But mostly they are to summon wicked things, like demons or angles, or some such thing. A portal, I suppose, would be the best way to describe them.”
“Like a door to another dimension?”
“Right! But you are supposed to be protected by the circle. The thing that you summon cannot break through it, and is supposed to be at your command. If you are strong enough, or something. I am not really sure what that means, though. It does not really make sense when you think of it, does it love, being strong enough? And come to think of it, I believe they usually are on the floor. I am not sure why someone would have put it on a wall, or if it makes any difference. Oh, and then you entered it. Which, I think, is a no no.”
“Oh, dearest, I have no idea. Something bad happens, I guess. Like, maybe, you visiting wall people. But I am not any authority on the occult, and only know this much from TV.”
When we made it home, Francine took Julie to the bathroom where she bathed and dressed her before putting her to bed. I cleaned up afterward, scrubbing down the tub and putting the clothes into the washer. Once finished, it was five thirty in the morning, and we both went to bed and fell asleep immediately only to wake up few hours later when the alarm clock went off.