tagErotic HorrorThe Weeping Thing Ch. 04

The Weeping Thing Ch. 04


Chapter Four


"They are Amity, Hepzibah, Lydia, Remember, and Tabitha." Emelina motioned toward the quintet of young women.

Matt looked to a clearing that was free of trees and plagued with thriving, calf-high bullgrass, where he saw the women drifting about. All of them were dressed in the same sort of thin and transparent gossamer wrap Emelina wore. They were evenly spaced in a wide circle and stepping around its perimeter. The women were swaying their arms in long, languid motions, and taking excessively long strides.

"What are they doing?" Matt asked.

"They have prepared a dance for Pan." Emelina stated, when she suddenly sounded shy. "It is our way of providing the god with worship."

Matt looked at her in shock.

"It is not in the way that you think it to be!" The girl strongly defended her statement. "You will understand why we do this once you know the full of my story!"

"I don't think so." Matt shook his head. "That's some pagan bullshit you guys are doing out there."

"Will you give me small quarter to speak of it?"

Matt crossed his arms and sighed. His reality was such a slippery thing, as of late. "Okay. I'll hear you out but I'm not going along with any of this."

Emelina stepped past him. "Sisters! Shall you join me and bless Mathew's ears with a song?"

The five young ladies paused from their strange dance and came together as a group.

"Who shall sing first?" Emelina asked.

"I shall!" One volunteered. "We will sing Lavender's Blue!"

"Then we will all stand in a line and each sing a verse." Emelina instructed. "Are we all in agreement?"

Once the six women stood ready, the first began to croon. Each of them took up a verse after her, with Emelina going second.

The song went like this:

Lavender's blue, diddle diddle,

Lavender's green,

When I am king, diddle diddle,

You shall be queen.

Lavender's green, diddle diddle,

Lavender's blue,

You must love me, diddle diddle,

'Cause I love you.

Down in the vale, diddle diddle,

Where flowers grow,

And the birds sing, diddle diddle,

All in a row.

A brisk young man, diddle diddle,

Met with a maid,

And laid her down, diddle diddle,

Under the shade.

There they did play, diddle diddle,

And kiss and court.

All the fine day, diddle diddle,

Making good sport.

I've heard them say, diddle diddle,

Since I came hither,

That you and I, diddle diddle,

Might lie together.

For you and I, diddle diddle,

Now all are one,

And we will lie, diddle diddle,

No more alone.

One of the women turned to the last one to sing, and complained, "Tabitha, you dunce! You missed a verse!"

"Oh, did I?" The girl asked, only to set several of the others to giggling.

Tabitha frowned. "Well, Lavender's Blue was never one of my favorites. "Ask me about The Bailiff's Daughter Of Islington, or about The Bold Pedlar And Robin Hood, and I'll sing brighter than the entire lot of you!"

"You sing of adventures," One of the others teased. "But you are as adventurous as an old cow with a hobbled leg."

At this several of the women giggled, before they turned toward Emelina.

"Enough." Emelina said. "Go on with your dance while I entertain my Mathew. Unless one of you would like to entertain him instead."

Matt noticed a couple of the girls blushing, but they were more than ready to reform their pagan circle and resume their bizarre walking dance. All of them drifted off save for one. This last girl was gazing at Matt with a little more than passing curiosity.

"He is handsome!" She said, before she turned abruptly and went off to join the others.

Matt found himself grinning. "What's her name again?"

"That is Remember." Emelina teased him. "Will you be able to remember her name? Have you forgotten of me so quickly, Mathew?"

"Oh, no." Matt shook his head. "I was just asking, that's all. She's very pretty. All of your friends are very pretty. And you, you're very pretty also. What were you were saying about this clearing? You were headed here back in my world, right, when the crows attacked you?"

"I will remember to tell Remember that you are fond of her." Emelina gaily laughed, as she caught the pleased look in Matt's eyes and the nervousness in his response. "But yes, this is the spot of land I wanted to set eyes upon in your world. I would have been content to see what has become of it after so many years. It must look so unlike the land that you see here."

Matt took a good look around. He shrugged. "It doesn't look all that different to me. Trees are still trees, where I come from."

Emelina reached out to snag Matt's wrist. She led him into the shade trees at the edge of the clearing. From this new vantage point, they could still see the five other women dancing, but Emelina and Matt were now far enough that they would no longer be in the way. The five had taken up a gentle, melodious chant, Matt observed.

"We found this place when we were only young girls." Emelina wistfully revealed. "The six of us would come here in all of our finery after our Sabbath mass. We wore small linen caps of white under our hooded scarlet cloaks, and long dresses of linseywooley (a coarse fabric made of both linen and wool) colored in dark blue, green or brown. By law, we were prohibited from wearing the clothing of the wealthy, but we always fancied our dresses made of cotton or silk. They were bright with color and with trimmings of golden or white lace. My sisters would play here and we would tease one another. We would tell one another fanciful stories wishing we'd been born as duchesses or princesses.

"Even then, Pan watched over us. We would see him at times, standing beside one of those trees there. He appeared to us as a kindly old man with long hair and a beard, both the color of pepper and salt. He wore a wool cap and a tunic of a rich brown color, unlike any we had ever seen. He used a long, gnarled stick to amble about from one tree to another. We would see him from afar and playfully hide from him. When we set off to approach Pan, he would always vanish and be gone from our sights. Pan was attracted to our stories and our songs, you see.

"As we grew older, we would still gather here to sing or to dance. When we began to grow fond of boys, we would dance with one another while we pretended to dance with a boy we liked. We taught one another how to kiss while we were in this very clearing."

Emelina sighed, taking a few moments before she spoke again. "We were all so innocent back then. Even after we were all married, we would still come here to talk and to share gossip, and we..."

"You were married?" Matt cut in.

"Of course we were!" Emelina laughed. "My sisters and I were betrothed in our thirteenth and fourteenth years, as was the custom in that age. All of us were married, save for Tabitha. Her mother and father held out the hope that she would dedicate herself to the Lord." She laughed again. "As you have seen, she has turned out as unruly as a bad stitch!

"I myself was married twice. Both of my husbands met untimely and unexpected deaths. The people of my town assumed that a curse had been placed upon my head. They had good reason to think this, as it turns out. At the time none of us was the wiser as to what precisely was hanging over my head, or who the culprit behind the stage was. Walk with me, Mathew, that I may show you the way to our town."

"There's a town here?" Matt asked. "Just how big is this dream place?"

"Oh, for the people of my time it was an adequate enough land." Emelina replied, as they trudged over a path so narrow it could only be managed in single file.

Matt could not help but take in the soft sway of Emelina's hips.

"Donald tells us that your people can travel through the air like birds." She mused. "And that your wagons can carry your people past a dozen towns in a single day. Compared to that, I suppose that a man such as you would find my town a very small place in the world."

"I'm ready to leave my world behind." Matt replied to her. "I'm ready to lose myself in the mountains somewhere and never, ever come back. I just don't know if I want to end up in a place like this where I may not even exist anymore. And this whole worshipping Pan thing, I am definitely not liking that either."

"It was a necessary act for us." Emelina said. "Had we not done this our souls may have been condemned to Purgatory for all time. This even though my sisters and I were innocent of the crimes we were accused of."

"I can't believe that." Matt rebutted. "God would have done something to prevent that."

"In my day, this world belonged to Satan." She replied. "Tell me this is not the same in your world."

"I don't..." Matt began to retort, but he stopped himself. He'd seen enough evil in his life to know the true answer to this. "Well, you girls were all having a grand old time doing your thing there in the clearing. What happened to change all that?"

"It was a man that proved our undoing." Emelina divulged. "His name was Solomon Cabot. It was unbeknownst to us then, but he had lusted after my sisters and I ever since we were very young girls. I was the one he lusted after the most, of all of us. I was the one he cursed with the worst evil.

"The lust would become inflamed in his heart, whenever he saw any of us walking through town. He would watch us when we gathered together, and he would observe which path we took when we came out to the clearing. His lust for us grew heavier, as he observed our bodies ripen from those of mere girls into those of maturing young women.

"Pan was a wandering god then. He held no real power, as it had been many ages since he had received the attention and worship of his followers. He had grown attached and protective of my sisters and I, as he was pleased with our simple songs and dances. It was these very things that Pan lorded over in his distant past. He also watched as we made the transition between girls and women. In his own fatherly manner, he wished us the best of fortune.

"Pan knew what went on in the mind of Solomon Cabot. He sought to warn us when Solomon would come to the edge of the woods to hide and watch us. Pan would frighten the crows from their perches in the trees, or cause us to turn in the direction where Solomon hid. After a time, we would know when Solomon stood nearby or when he first approached us. We fled from him. Of course, this maddened Solomon. This is when he began to resort to more wicked measures to snare us."

Emelina stepped to one side once the narrow path widened out. As it did, a small assortment of rough buildings came into view. Most of the dwellings were simple lean-tos supported at the corners by trees, with three walls made of old cloth, or branches and mud, and one large open section. There were quite a few structures that resembled actual houses, however. These were one or two room homes built with interior walls made of wide vertical boards, and the exterior surrounded on all sides by dilapidated clapboard. The roofs were covered in thatch. As for the tiny windows, Matt later found out were made of oiled paper, or pieces of cow horn cut so thin they were nearly transparent.

As Matt took up a stride next to Emelina, she led them toward one of the more presentable of the structures, which boasted one of the few chimneys in town. A lean and sweaty man sat on a very short stool. He used a crude iron sickle to cut down the bullgrass encroaching the edges of the building. The man wore a doublet of faded red and rather plain corduroy breeches in brown. On his head was a dark brown felt hat. On his feet rested a very modern pair of brown thong sandals. The man paused from his task to examine them both.

"This is where Lydia's family lived." Emelina gestured toward the house. "In your world, Lydia's father and her husband built a lean-to at the back of the house. This is where she lived with her husband. In Pan's world, no lean-to is necessary. My sisters and I together share this single house."

The lean man left his stool, apparently welcoming a break from his hard toil. He dropped his sickle on the ground beside it. Next, he started the short walk toward them.

"I must go now, Mathew, to join my sisters." Emelina said. "Any time that you wish to return to your world, all that is required is that you walk back to Margo's house and enter her second bedroom. Focus your will on returning to your world, and after a few moments of time you will be there. You will not be able to come here to Pan's world, unless one of us comes to retrieve you. That is the way it must always be."

"Okay." Matt said.

Emelina turned to go, but before she did, she leaned toward Matt and planted a good kiss on his lips.

"Hey, I saw that!" The man in the red doublet pointed an accusing finger at them.

Emelina giggled, after which she ran down the path they'd arrived from.

Matt watched her go with a slight unease, for he was left without a guide in this strange new world. He turned to face the man in the doublet, finding that a welcome hand was stretched out in his direction.

"I'm glad you were able to get Emelina back in time, Mathew." The man said, as they shook hands. "We haven't officially met yet. I'm Donald."

"You were the man in the woods?" Matt recalled. "You were the voice that told me to carry her back into the house?"

"And I'm glad you listened to my voice." Donald smiled. "She wouldn't have lasted much longer out there, Mathew. You saved her life."

The gravity of those words sunk into the short silence between the two men.

"You can just call me Matt. Mathew always sounded too formal for me. So, you're the guy that used to rent a room from Margaret?"

"That's right." Donald nodded. "It would be best if you called her Margo from now on, instead of Margaret. Margo has decided to start over in this place. She doesn't like to be reminded of the last twenty years of her life, when she was so bitter and unhappy. So new life, new name. Try and keep that in mind, will you?"

"Yeah, sure." Matt replied. "Hey, listen. I don't want to come across like a dick, but are you guys... are you guys all dead?"

"Well, that depends on how you look at it." Donald rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "If you're going by the old standards, I'd say that the short answer is yes. If you're going by the standards of this place, then that's a whole new ballgame." He glanced back at the grass he'd been cutting. "I think I've done enough of that for one day, don't you? Let's take a walk over to the brook to freshen up. I'll try to explain some of this as we go along."

Donald motioned them forward through the motley assortment of buildings. They both started off in that direction.

"Okay, I'll try to put this in a nutshell for you, and without all that ridiculous dogma that people try and attach to what they don't really understand." Donald told him. "The human soul does not die. It merely transitions from one physical body to another. Second, there are other dimensions besides the single one that we modern people know. If a soul is happy after its physical life, it is able to travel between one dimension and another, and to experience new things and new places. If a soul is unhappy, it gets stuck in a rut and its doomed to be reborn again and again in the same place until it shakes all the negative energy off."

"That's some deep shit." Matt commented.

"That's not the worst of it." The other man replied. "Magic is a very real thing, Mattie-boy. People can use it in a good way or they can use it in a bad way. It will affect you all the same, whether you believe in it or not. There are people in our modern, technological world, Mattie, that use witchcraft to keep souls depressed and locked into a state of fear. Their symbols are everywhere, on our government buildings, on our bank and car company logos, just to name a few. Take a look at the one-dollar bill the next time you have one handy. You've got your all-seeing eye, your pyramids and all sorts of numerology all over that single bill."

"I consider myself to be somewhat awakened." Matt mentioned. "I have seen ghosts and demons up close. I don't like telling people this, but I think I was abducted by aliens when I was a little boy."

"All of those things are beings that can pierce through from other dimensions, according to Pan. They have been summoned by the people of our world to keep us confused and to keep us looking outside for answers. The real answers already lie within our minds and hearts, if we only knew how to look for them."

"But what does that have to do with this place?"

"Well, everything." Donald answered. "Belief becomes power, and power can change reality. The ancient Greeks believed in their pantheon of gods. For a time, their pantheon actually existed. The more belief was given over to these gods, the more they could influence real events. When the popularity of these gods waned, their power faded. Eventually the old gods were forgotten and replaced by new ones. This is the way it has worked for all religions throughout history."

Donald paused from their stroll. He pointed at two men who were applying what looked like wattle and daub to the side of another fairly competent structure.

To Matt, Donald said, "They're doing weatherproofing on our place. Even this version of heaven has its chores to attend to, like chopping wood to keep warm at night and keeping the blasted mosquitoes outdoors where they belong." Donald called out to the two men. "Hey, there! I've brought a new friend with me!"

The two men turned from their chore and waved back at them.

"Hello, Mathew!" One said. "It's nice to finally meet you."

The second man said something similar.

"Does everybody know who I am?" Matt asked.

"Well, yes, when you consider that the population of this place is a total of eleven people and one revitalized Greek god." Donald chuckled. "Emelina does keep us abreast of all the current developments, you know. Anyway, that lean guy is Steve, and the heftier sort has decided he wants to be known as Bear. The town you're standing in now, in the case that you're wondering and if Emelina has forgotten to enlighten you, was once known as Burcher's Ford. We've taken to calling it Burch for short. This place hasn't existed for centuries in our modern time. Say hello to the guys, will you, Mattie?"

Matt lifted his arm in an uncertain greeting.

"Where do you guys thing you're going?" Bear asked.

Donald grinned like a wolf. "Oh, maybe out to see Jenny and Margo."

"You lucky bastard." The stocky man scolded. "Just like you, ain't it? To leave us out here doing all the hard work while you're out there schmoozing with the ladies."

"I wasn't planning on staying out there." Donald replied. "I'm just showing Matt where the ladies are. I'll be headed back this way once I drop him off."

"You'd better." Bear threatened, but it was clear he was joking. "If I still had a watch, I'd time your ass."

Donald chuckled and waved, before he and Matt started off again.

"It's not a bad arrangement." Donald said. "Six colonial chicks, plus Jenny and Margo for a total of eight attractive women. All of them are starved for attention, by the way. Put that up against the four of us men, if you care to join in, and you have four men who the world has cast aside and neglected far too long. You'll have some pretty good odds of finding happiness here."

They reached the end of town and were now trudging down a new path.

"I forgot to mention," Donald said. "You had a pretty good showing back in the real world, with that little shovel of yours. I had a hard enough time beating back three of those wild crows with a stick, and here you took on a whole damned army of them."

"I was trying to save Emelina." Matt downplayed his heroic actions. "Any other guy would have done the same thing."

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