RATING: Adult for language and content
DISCLAIMER: The Bee has no rights or claim on any
of the characters or products named in this story and makes
no profit from them.
SUMMARY: This is the third story in the Rosebud/verse.
Tara has been abducted and the police rush to find her.
The other members of the Circle decide that they can do
a better job and begin their own investigation.
Who will find her first and will it be in time?
Praise and thanks to the wonderful Petxnd for the amazing banner
The sound that escaped Tara's lips was less a scream than a horrified
whimper. The tone that might come from a small rabbit when it has
suddenly found itself cornered, it's back against a rock with a snarling,
slobbering, wolf closing in fast.
It was a sound of finality. A recognition of evil so twisted and
unimaginable that the rational mind simply can't accept and process it.
Unable to tear her eyes away from the corpse of rotting, peeling
flesh that was propped up comically in the corner rocking chair, Tara's
brain stepped outside her body.
She no longer felt the ache or numbness in her arms and legs.
She stopped twisting to try to relieve the pressure points from
her hips and back.
She was completely unaware of the wet warmth running between her
legs when her bladder released.
Leaving the bed, Rita strolled casually to the remains of her mentor.
She smiled coyly, swishing her hips in front of him.
"Tara, this is Jim. Jim, this is Tara. She is the one I have been telling
Tara watched as Rita lovingly brushed the dark hair off what was left
of the forehead. She saw her lean down, placing her ear to the loose,
floppy lips as though he were whispering the love poems of Byron or
Shelly to her.
A realization was starting to dawn on Tara. Rita was insane. She
had to be. Stark raving, round the bend bonkers. There was no other
Previously, she had thought that her salvation would be her friends,
the Circle, or probably Spike, but now she was beginning to take a new
perspective in her quest for self preservation.
She knew that begging and trying to reason with an unreasonable
person was not possible. She had to try to buy time. She had to
throw her saddle on a different pony and ride a whole new road.
"Sssoo, um, you told him aaabout me?"
Rita spun around, seemingly startled at Tara's question as though
she had forgotten she was there. Now her eyes lit up, excited to be
able to share Jim Jones with her new friend.
"Yes. I told him that's why we were coming here. Just to see you.
There were others, before, but they didn't work out. They failed.
We were told they were right, but they never were."
"Wwhat hhappened to them?"
"Oh, I don't know. They were sacrificed. Disposed of. Whatever.
Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Nevada, we have traveled all
over looking for the one."
So much of what Rita was saying didn't make sense, yet there seemed
to be some logic woven through the fabric of her insanity. If only
Tara could unravel it, pick apart the threads, she might understand.
"Why me? How could you know about me?"
Reluctantly taking her hands from her dead leader, Rita crossed her
arms over her chest and faced her prisoner.
"You must think we are stupid. Some rinky dink little band of goofballs.
Is that it? Well let me tell you something. The Vision is world wide.
There are over 300,000 members in this country alone and more
on every continent. People you would never guess. People you would
pass on the street and not suspect. People who understand that Satan is
the way. The true God. The one who can fulfill our lives. As soon as
the word of our leader's death went out, our members searched for a
medium to fulfill the prophecy. Several were sought out but they all failed.
All fell short of the glory of our God."
That still didn't answer Tara's question, so she tried again.
"Who gave you my name?"
Rita was quickly tiring of this whole conversation. The ritual would
start soon and there was so much to prepare.
"We have priests all over. Men who lead the groups and keep the
laws of the Vision intact. Lots of them submitted names of women,
mediums that they felt could be usable and Richard and I checked
them out. Four times we thought we had it, but they either didn't
know the word or they just bled out before they were able to make
A deep shudder of fear ran through Tara's body and rolled like a
plate of bad Mexican food in her stomach.
Rita sighed. After a brief moment's consideration she decided
that it might work in their favor for Tara to know exactly what was
expected of her. It could even give her a heads up.
Excitedly, she ran back over and sat down close to her captive.
"O.k, here's how it works. We all recognize that Jim was more than
human. As Satan's emissary on earth, he was given the power of life
Tara scowled and glanced back over to the nasty blob of roadkill,
thinking he looked pretty dead to her, but held her tongue as Rita
"So what happens is that at daybreak you go into one of your little
trances to contact the dead. When I first came here a couple months
ago I had my doubts but my priest here in L.A. convinced me of your
abilities. I sat in on the group for a few weeks and was amazed! I
mean, you are really good! That's why I joined. To keep a close
eye on you and send for Richard and Jim."
Tara waited then realized that Rita didn't even notice that she had
slid off track again.
"Oh, yeah, silly me. Well, all the members of the local church of
Vision will gather around when you go into the trance. As I told you,
the power is in the blood so we will cut you and hold your arm over
Jim's head. It will feed the connection between you, sort of boost your
antenna. Jim will call to you from his throne in hell. He will give you
the password. The word only I know. When he does, he will tell
you who is his chosen one to rule the Vision. To take the church of the
demon into the future. Hopefully, you won't bleed out before you get
the password like the others did, but hey, I'm pullin' for ya."
Rita emphasized the last sentence with a wink and her thumb and
forefinger pointed like a gun.
"Now, I gotta go help Richard set up the cellar. You know, pentagrams
to draw, candles to position, robes to iron. Rituals can be so much work.
Tell you what, while I'm gone why don't you try to read him and maybe
get an early start on that pesky password?"
With that, Rita rose and headed to the door.
Quickly Tara stopped her. She just had one more question.
"What will you do if I fail?"
Rita looked crestfallen, like the weight of the world sat on her shoulders.
"We keep looking. There is a woman in Cleveland and one in Rapid City,
South Dakota. If it isn't you, we move on."
Rita and Tara locked eyes and a sparked snapped in Tara's mind.