Many of GeekaChicas’ contributors are writers. One of our newest Chicas, Oberonia, has jumped into the spirit of things this Halloween by offering up one of her horror stories in two parts. 

 

 

 

Her delicate fingers twisted the brush tool lightly.  Lara had to be careful. If she ruined another sample, the site director, Dr. Lloyd, would be furious and she would be sent home for sure.  Brush, brush, twist. She watched the brush and sample closely. The remnants were mostly shards of clay, probably a pot or bowl that predated all of the nonexistent findings she had made thus far.  As a single lock of perfectly timed hair fell over her left eye, a gust of wind swept the dirt upward, a dose of nature that was mostly absorbed by the hair hanging in her face and her glasses.  Unfortunately for her other eye, a small piece of silt found its way in and forced her to abandon the cleaning.

 

She found her way into the nearest trailer to wash out her eye.  This was her second week on the small dig in Peru and she had done nothing but stumble her way through one mistake after another.  Lara Berk, even through her lack of grace, was beautiful. She had a vintage feel about her with her perfectly swept up blonde hair, a handsome and angular face, and dark rimmed glasses framing her sky blue eyes.  She looked like someone that had stepped out of a 1930’s German edition of Archaeology Now.  All she lacked was a German accent and a riding crop. Lara, however, was neither German nor happy at the moment.  She knew she should have been cleaning the clay remnants inside the research tent, but she didn’t want to move them for fear of shattering.  She had already cleaned the biggest piece enough to see the bottom half of an animal, or maybe it was something like the Peruvian dinosaur pottery she had read about in Nasca.  Claws were clearly visible, at any rate.

 

Feeling her way to the sink, she held her eye in one hand and her glasses in the other.

 

“Here, use the eye wash cup. It’s easier,” said Brian, who had been the voice of comfort to Lara since her arrival. He was normally stuck inside the trailer cataloging finds by those digging in the dirt and tagging outside.  As usual, there was an array of objects all over his desk, his countertops, and some parts of the floor where no one would bother them.

 

“I feel like I’ve washed my eyes out of my head.  I’m surprised there’s still something left for the dirt to stick to.” Lara smirked as she took the small cup.

 

“You could use the goggles, you know,” Brian added with a sniff and a grin in his charming, if not smart ass way.  He was smart, tall, decently built with the sunburned complexion of most of the students on the dig.  The “Sniff-n-Grin” usually made the girls swoon, though he had no clue that it did.

 

“They would give me a headache and then you would have me in here anyway whining for aspirin,” she countered.  Had Lara spent a little more time with her head in the real world instead of in her books, she’d have recognized the flirtations of her admirer.  As it was, she never noticed his advances, nor anyone else’s for that matter, not even Dr. Lloyd’s. Once, the venerable professor had tried to make the move in the back of the main tent late one night.  Lara’s allergies had set her free as a massive sneezing fit temporarily delayed her mentor’s lecherous intentions.

 

Brian turned back to the daily tagging and Lara studiously went back to her findings.  Lunch time came and went with the news that some of the field students had unearthed the remains of an unidentified species near the east edge of the dig.  They would be studied more closely after the lunch break, and the photography, excavation, and tagging would become their main focus over all other projects by everyone either physically or by research.

 

Dusk settled over the camp as everyone retired for the evening.  Morning would come a lot earlier than anyone wanted.  The darkness fell.

 

Days and evenings began to blur together for Lara.  She had been having a few odd dreams lately that had grown continually worse, and her old pal insomnia had made its way back. Against the wishes of Dr. Lloyd, and mostly out of resentment for being stuck on the research detail, Lara had thrown her attentions in the way of local legends and myths for the day.  She had even conducted a quite pleasant interview with one of the hired village men.  There were still no leads as to the species of the find, which Dr. Lloyd had affectionately named ‘Sheldon.’ No one really cared why.

 

A small group, that did not include Lara, had already begun the first of the excavations as one Dr. John R. Levi landed his helicopter on the far side of camp.  Dr. Levi had long funded numerous digs for the good of history.  As usual, his large, black Brazilian Mastiff, Piaui, exited first and bolted across the dig site.  Piaui was named after the doctor’s very first dig site, and he could do no wrong.  It was best if you felt the same.  Piaui had just about bounded his way, snarling and drooling, to the students working on the still unknown remains.  So far, five full bones had been unearthed, and as the sixth bone was being lifted from the dirt, Piaui cleared the top of the hill, nearly scaring the students to death.

 

 

 

 

As usual, the dig employed a small handful of men from the surrounding villages.  They rarely spoke unless asked a direct question or if a large, drooling troublemaker was pestering them for food.  Piaui, even in the first few hours of his visit, became a camp nuisance to everyone, except Dr. Levi, of course. Lara was the one person on site who warmed up to the Mastiff.  She figured, with Piaui around, maybe she could get some work done without a nosy professor checking up on her.

 

“Come back here,” Barry, a slightly overweight student with a sweating problem, shouted as he lumbered after the dog, “Professor! Stop him! He’s got one of the samples!”

 

A loud whistle startled the Professor almost as much as Barry had.  Levi laughed as Piaui came toward him, with a large dusty bone hanging out of his jaw.

 

“You mischievous little man,” he said, grinning from ear to ear.  He took the bone gently from the dog’s mouth and handed it over to Brian, who had come up the path with him. “Take this for tagging, won’t you.  I’m sure that slightly damp gentleman there can help you with the location.”

 

Brian took the slobbery sample back to the trailer while Barry stopped to catch his breath.

 

That night, Dr. Levi threw a small party in the main tent, to celebrate the find.  His reputation had preceded him, and as most of the students expected, alcohol was in abundance. Lara allowed herself a moment or two of inebriation.  Looking around for a kind face, she spotted Brian and smiled at him. He appeared to be stuck talking to Barry about ‘Sheldon,’ but quickly excused himself and made his way over to her.  Feeling a little more comfortable than normal, Lara continued to drink, and even began to flirt.  The last thing she remembered was stumbling forward into Brian’s arms after tripping over her own feet.

 

The next morning, the poor girl felt as if an anvil had been resting slightly askew on her head all night.

 

“At least I got some sleep. Ow,” she whined as she sat up, a little too quickly, and decided it best to remain horizontal for at least a few more minutes.

 

“Ah, rise and shine Sleeping Beauty,” said Brian gently, with that little grin creeping to the corners of his mouth.

 

It took a moment for her to realize that she was not in her bed at all, but on the couch in Brian’s trailer.

 

“Why? Did? Um, huh?”  That was her incoherent way of articulating, “Why am I on your couch? Did anything happen? I don’t understand the current situation as I am very hung over at this particular juncture.”

 

Brian must have understood. “I brought you here when you passed out last night so I could keep an eye on you. You slept through the night, though I think you were having some wicked nightmares.  Drink this and take these,” he said, handing over a cup of coffee and some aspirin. “See? You’re in here bellyaching about a headache anyways.”

 

Had she not been severely tossed, she might have found him amusing, but not so much.

 

A loud pounding on the door prompted Brian to leave his patient for the moment. It was Barry, only slightly less damp than the day before, but the day was still young. 

 

“I think the damn dog took another of the samples. Dr. Lloyd told me that you and I are on the search team.  I mean, you and I are the search team.  He wants it back before lunch.”

 

Brian agreed, and then turned, rolling his eyes at Lara. Barry the kiss-ass could never do anything on his own.  Lara waved him off as she felt a nice shade of green occurring in the vicinity of her face.

 

“I’ll be back in a bit.  You rest until you feel better,” he said as he headed out the door.

 

The need to “sleep it off” came all too soon as she lay back down on the sofa and nodded off.

 

She woke with a jolt and searched for a clock.  It was well after lunch time and Brian didn’t seem to have made it back yet.  She quickly washed her face and tried to settle her stomach before she grabbed her back pack and headed outside. The sun, she decided, was far too bright. 

 

A large group had formed down the slope from Sheldon’s remains.  Two of the village men had already packed their bags and she could see them walking in the distance.  As she walked forward, Brian rushed toward her, blocking the way.

 

“You don’t want to see this, trust me.”

 

“What’s going on, Brian? What happened?” She was beginning to understand that whatever it was, it wasn’t good.

 

Indeed, Piaui had snagged another of the samples. Brian had found the tagged end of the bone, broken, just before he looked forward at the bush in front of him.  He not only found a shredded mass that could barely be identified as Piaui, but he had also found the mangled body of Dr. Levi.  The man’s throat had been ripped open and his chest had three large gashes running completely across it. Even in the horror of the entire scene, not one drop of blood was present. 

 

The village men were furiously arguing with the man that Lara had interviewed earlier.  It was obvious that he was trying to at least calm down the group, but was unnerved himself.  The man turned to Dr. Lloyd and, for the first time that Lara had seen, he spoke without being prompted to do so.

 

“What did he say,” Dr. Lloyd asked their interpreter, the one villager who spoke all the dialects and quite good English. He had helped Lara with her interview since the man spoke no English at all.  Had the villager spoken Spanish, the Professor could have interpreted on his own, but there was one word he did recognize, “He said Chupacabra.  You can’t think he means that stupid little fanged rat story.”  Dr. Lloyd had long since abandoned any inclination to believe myth and legend.  He was a man of hard fact. Lara, on the other hand, had actually been studying about the Chupacabra.  She remembered from her research that the story is an unpleasant little legend of a creature that drinks the blood of goats and other small prey. The story had been told and documented in several locations of this area not to mention abroad, especially in South America and even in parts of Middle America and the Southwest region of the U.S.

 

The frightened man rattled off his story in a dialect of Quechua, the language spoken by the majority of Peruvians in the area. The interpreter spoke for him.

 

“He says that the legend of the Chupacabra that you have heard was made easy for the ears of children at bed time.  He said the real story has been handed down by the elders in his village for generations.  This was told to him by his father because his mother would not tell him.  From the time before, the time long before ten generations had herded their goats, a cursed birth took place.   

 

“They called him Ujyay Sangra, which, I think, means something like Blood Drinker in the dialect of his village.  When Ujyay Sangra was born, it was said that his curse began as his umbilical cord was cut with a knife of black metal.  The metal made him thirsty in a way that no child should thirst. The creature did indeed drink the blood of goats and other animals, but he also drank the blood of humans as easily as any other prey.  In time, he took a liking to the blood of our people.  He was the only creature of his kind that any of the villages knew.  He killed several of the women before he took to the mountainside alone.  More and more, the villagers began to tell tales of the creature.  He was half man and half beast with fangs that ripped the throat from the neck and then drained the blood. The old seer woman in his village sent her daughter forth to lay the beast to rest 20 years after he had fled the village.  She had been given knowledge of these things and set off to find the beast.  They battled by the caves near the village for three days and three nights.  Finally, the daughter of the seer held the beast with magic and cursed his bones to rest in the ground.  Our people called this place Saqracalle, which means ‘where the demon dwells,’” the interpreter finished the story with a nod and a thank you to the villager.

 

Silence fell over the small group.  “Where,” came Lara’s hesitant question from the back. “Where is his village?” she asked finally, hoping beyond hope that he actually lived in Chili or somewhere even more distant.

 

“He says that his village is a day’s climb from here.The village man looked over at Lara with a knowing glance.  “He says he knows why you ask.  You should leave this place now before the cursed finds you too.The Interpreter shifted uneasily as he watched the man, still staring at Lara, get up and slowly walk away from the group, adding one last thought before leaving.  The Interpreter stood there for a moment before turning to the Professor. “He said you should never have disturbed him.”

 

 

To be continued. Watch for The Resting Bones, Part Two later this week.