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The Blackness Over Burrillville

The Blackness Over Burrillville

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Published by Eniena

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Published by: Eniena on Oct 24, 2008
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06/16/2009

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The Blackness Over Burrillvilleby Arthur M. Levesque -- bs@boog.org -- http://boog.org(c)1991, all rights reserved, yadda yadda yadda"I can call up spirits from the vasty deep.""Why, so can I, or so can any man,But do they come when you do call them?"William ShakespeareKing Henry IV, Part I(Act III, scene I)The sun was out, and its rays reflected over the reservoir like liquidgold. Trees swayed in the breeze, and the joyous shouts of children swimmingand playing filled the air. The scene could have been a Norman Rockwellpainting, except for the three guys under a tree on the other side."Hey, Jim," John yelled, "forget about that stupid garbage and hand meanother beer...""Can't," Jim replied, looking up from the papers he had found and wasattempting to read. "Arthur just drank the last one." He flipped over a page."I write better than this.""Spell just about as well, though."Arthur belched. Unaware that what happened to them today would eventuallylead to insanity or death, the three young men were wandering through the woodsnear the reservoir enjoying the first beautiful, sunny day of summer. It was apeaceful day, and they were making the most of a day when all of them were freefrom any responsibilities."Listen to this," Jim said. "'Mglw'nafh Yanoth-Yith mhifoe fhtagn!Ktarr'n rgan zhafh'l trakh-n'k!!' Have you ever heard anything like thatbefore?""At the zoo, maybe," John suggested unhelpfully. "Why don't you put thatthing down? Do you have to read everything you find?""Jim can never ignore something new and interesting," Arthur told John.To Jim, he said, "It doesn't sound like any language I know of. Is there anEnglish translation? Or any pictures?""There are a couple of sketches, like this star with the eye in it, butall of the text is just more gibberish.""Are there any immigrants in this area that don't speak English?" Arthurspoke pensively."Not really," Jim replied. "If this were Woonsocket or Providence I mightthink it was Vietnamese.""My mother teaches English to Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians,"Arthur replied. "They don't sound anything like that.""It's probably some sort of Satanic bible," John suggested as he climbedup the crooked oak tree. "You know that that sort of thing has been in thenews a lot lately. Satanic symbols spray-painted on gravestones, mutilatedanimal corpses found in the woods... Why, I read yesterday that in California--""That hasn't really been a problem around here, though..." Jiminterrupted. "I've heard losers telling stories about finding slaughteredanimals, but the carcasses are never there when people go to check. Anyway,wouldn't a Satanic bible be in Hebrew, Latin, English, or something else we'drecognize?""Just put it away..." Arthur said. "If you haven't figured it out by nextweek, and if you're still interested, I can bring it with me to school when Iget my grades and have a foreign-language professor look at it.""Besides," John said, swinging down from a low branch, "we have a muchmore pressing problem. We need more beer."
 
"And since Artie here drank the last one," Jim drawled, "I nominate him togo back and get more."Arthur thought for a moment. "That's OK, I guess," he told them. "Hand mea few dead presidents."John and Jim each reached into their pockets and pulled out portraits ofthe late Abraham Lincoln and the late George Washington, tastefully done inEmpire Green. After transferring the bills, the three of them performed an oddhandshake involving swinging elbows, "L" signs, and head patting.From a distance, side by side, Arthur and Jim would have been almostindistinguishable. Each was large, but not to the point of obesity, and hadlong, dark hair. They each had a taste for dark, casual clothes. They likedto refer to each other as their evil twins, and were often almost able to readeach other's minds. It was their minds that distinguished them most from eachother. Although both of them had the same tastes and strange senses of humor,Jim was tended to be more emotional and curious while Arthur was more of alaid-back but serious thinker. Arthur had a tested IQ well into the geniusrange, but he normally tried hard not to use his brains and appear toointelligent since that had caused him so much trouble when he was younger. Jimwas more daring and happy-go-lucky, and the schemes they had hatched togetherhad made them infamous at their school.John had known each of them long before they met each other, but oftenfelt like they were communicating on a wavelength he couldn't receive. Theycould talk in half- sentences and gestures, and understand each other while allaround looked at them in confusion. Occasionally, John was able to pick uptheir frequency (such as the famous "Mickey Mouse" incident), but was oftenjust as confused by them as everyone else. He was thinner and less muscularthan they were, but also had fashionably long hair. He wore glasses forreading and driving, and long-sleeved shirts to hide his skinny arms. Johnlaughed as he watched Arthur slide down the hill (just narrowly avoiding anunwanted swim in the reservoir) and start ambling towards the nearest liquorstore, about a fifteen minute walk away. He then turned to Jim and struck up aconversation about how his last girlfriend had asked him to choose between herand his new CD player. "It is one hell of a CD player," John said.Arthur staggered back up the hill about half an hour later and found Johnand Jim in the company of a strangely beautiful woman whom he wished he couldsay he had seen before. She looked about nineteen and had green eyes that heldhis attention and made everything else seem to fade away. Arthur had to make aconcentrated effort to look away and ask Jim for an introduction orexplanation. However, both of them had immediately descended on the case ofbeer like vultures."We gave you enough for four six-packs of beer, but there are only threehere," John cleverly observed, pausing to count them again. "Why didn't youbuy four?""I did," Arthur replied, dropping to the ground. "It was a long walkback." Lacking any subtlety at this point, he merely gestured in the generaldirection of the girl and asked "who's she?""She followed us here," John said, handing her a beer. "If I promise tofeed her, can I keep her?" John drank his beer and continued staring at thegirl.She stepped forward and offered Arthur her hand. "I'm Janet Withers," shesaid. "Any friend of John's...""...is obviously mentally deficient," Arthur completed. He kissed her handand muttered something in French. "Don't worry, Jim and I aren't always thisbad, at least."She laughed lightly at that. Arthur laughed back and soon was joined byJim and John. It was a beautiful day. A cool breeze came up and they just laythere, reveling in it.
 
John soon left with Janet. After they staggered off, Arthur asked Jimwhere he and John had found her. "It's kind of odd," Jim began, "but we werejust walking around because we knew it would take you a while to get back. Wesnuck up behind that big, gray house on the hill... you know, the one thatAustin Levy used to live in. It was just sold recently, I guess to Janet'sfamily."Anyway, as we watched the house, a cloud moved over the sun. Did youever notice how scary that house looks when it's dark? Yeah, me too; that'swhat I thought of when the shadow fell over it. So, we looked at each otherand then looked back at the house. One of the windows in the back opened and awoman climbed out. She looked both ways, and then ran into the woods. Johninsisted that we follow her (you know how John is), but he made so muchnoise... well, yeah, I made a lot of noise too... she turned and saw us. Atfirst she looked frightened, then she ran to us and told us to get away fromthe house, and not to make so much noise."We came back here, to wait for you. You and the beer. Right. Shewouldn't tell us what was wrong or why she slipped out like that. Nope, noteven after I used all the powers of persuasion I had. She did tell us that shecouldn't go back... John is going to see what he can do about finding her aplace to stay. What? Yes, of course we're planning on checking things out.Maybe even tomorrow. Anybody who would abuse a girl like that... Um, will yoube busy? No? Good, we'll meet at my house then, call first. I gotta go, it'spretty late. Hand me that last six-pack, OK? Thanks. Well, I'll see youlater, drive carefully..."Arthur returned to his car, a Chevy Malibu parked behind the theater."Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down," he thought, watching Jim waddle offinto the sunset. After taking three aspirin from a bottle in the glovecompartment, Arthur stretched out on the back seat and fell asleep. Later,after a sufficient recovery period, he drove home and went straight to bed.The next morning Arthur awoke with the worst hangover that he'd ever hadin his life. He felt so bad that he made an immediate pledge: He would neverdrink beer under an oak tree near a reservoir again. He called Jim, andguessed that Jim had an equally horrid hangover. Jim's mother answered andexplained that Jim couldn't come to the phone, he'd caught some sort of a badbug. They had to put off checking out the Withers house for a week or so untilthey all had a simultaneous day off again. Arthur later found out that Janetwas staying in the guest room at John's, and that he had had (if this waspossible) a worse hangover than Jim or Arthur had.About a week later Arthur went down to Rhode Island College in Providenceto get his grades for the spring semester. He did about as well as he usuallydid, nothing bad but nothing spectacular either. He could have been an honorsstudent if he expended the effort, but he was singularly unmotivated. Beforeleaving, he walked across campus to Rosetta Hall, which housed the ForeignLanguages Department.He showed the partial manuscript that Jim had found to Professor JeanSaquoi, the head of the department. "Very interesting," the professor said,looking over the arcane script and consulting one of the books on his desk."This doesn't resemble any language which I've ever come across. It could be avery ancient language, one unrelated to any modern tongues and spoken only byisolated peoples somewhere." He took a pipe out of his desk drawer, filled itfrom a pouch in his suit pocket, and lit it. "Maybe Doctor Peters or someoneover at the History Department could help you." Arthur thanked him and got upto leave. "Please tell me if you find anything out," Professor Saquoi asked asArthur left his office.Dr. Ahmed Peters examined the pages with great interest. "I've seen words

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