The Beltane Massacre
By Robin Renee Ray
“I have to go to town. Come on, go with me,” Gram said as he walk up to Lilith.
“I can’t babe. Everyone’s showing up, and we have a feast going in the kitchen.”
“Please, Lil,” he took her hands. “Go with me. We’ll be back in no time.”
“Your grandmother needs you in the house, Lilith,” Martha said, as she walked past. “It is time to ready the field. The children will be ready to play.”
“Why don’t you go help Gran…?”
“Gram!” Lilith interjected, smiling at her aunt as she went inside.
“Your aunt doesn’t like me and the feelings are mutual,” he grabbed Lilith’s arm and walked her out back by the garden. “Something’s not right with those two, Lil. I can feel it.”
“They’re just set in their ways, Gram.”
“I found something…in the barn. My family and your family have met time and time again, Lil and soon after, one of the males in my family dies, right here on this land.”
“Oh Gram, what are you talking about?”
“Lilith!” her grandmother called out, while several preteens ran out the back door past her.
“Coming!” she called back. “What do you want me to do?”
“Nothing, never mind,” he said pulling her into a hug. “You go do whatever it is you have to do. I have to run to my office then I’ll be back to help you.”
“What about this book, Gram.”
“Forget about it, and please, keep it to yourself. It’s probably just a coincident.”
“I’m worried about you.”
“You just worry about this little one in here,” he placed his hand over her lower abdomen. “I’ll take care of everything else.”
“I love you, Gram Simms.”
“And I love you Mrs. Lilith Simms,” he kissed her then looked toward the house, seeing the aunt on the back porch, looking back at him. “You better go. The old crow is waiting.”
Lilith turned to see her aunt, and then giggled into his chest. “You’re so bad.”
“But honest huh?
Gram looked back at Martha whose looks, if they had been blades, would have slashed his flesh like cutting through warm butter. Leaning down he planted a long passionate kiss on his wife. Lilith swooned under his embrace and Martha stormed back into the house. “Why, Mr. Simms, you have not done that in a long time!” Two of the young girls that had been running around the yard, stopped to snicker and giggle, like the school girls they were, then they ran off toward the new cars driving in.
“It’s the eve of Beltane baby, haven’t you heard that it’s the time of the male God’s to make whoopee with the female Goddess so they can make little baby Goddesses,” he laughed, bending her backwards, then spinning her around into the air.
“You have been paying attention…in a weird sort of way,” she laughed.
Gram set her down gently and the two parted their ways at the back yard. He shook hands with what few men climbed out of the cars, and Lilith met the young and old women alike with cheer. All females in the crowd wore bright vibrant colored dresses made of soft cotton. Every girl had wild flowers, either braided into her hair, or had it tied into their ponytails. The older women either wore them stuck into the buns on their heads, or in clips in the hair that was hanging free down their backs. The men just wore jeans and random shirts of western styles. Not more than six men in all, three past the age of fifty, and three under. The rest of the males were preteen and teens that were already running out into the wooded area of the property.
After the evening meal was served all the younger people would attach the ribbons to the tip of the poll and the older men would help stand it on end. Some of the others would finish bringing in wood to the already lit bonfire that Gram had built the week prior, when he drug the pole out to the middle of the field. He had painted it white, using the sidewalk in front of the house, then drug it behind the old farm truck. He had enjoyed the idea of this new thing that Lilith referred to as a gathering of her coven, right up until the dreams and the meeting of her family.
It was well known that the Giles family coven celebrated the Holiday of Beltane with a twist that had come down from generations in their family. Ways that the new covens in the faith knew nothing about, or had only read about in the historical annuals of the Beltane line, taking it all the way back to the Celtic people. Few read the book of Gilbert Simms and lived to tell about it. It was a book that could explain why the Giles coven and the Simms land were so different and only a select few knew who ruled the whole show.
The first stop that Gram made was at the hardware store. He beat on the locked door, knowing that the owner, Henry Lambert, lived in the apartment at the back. “Henry! Open the door, or I swear I’ll bust this window!” Gram yelled, beating on the glass so hard it vibrated. Henry came around the corner of the hall and turned on the light. When he saw Gram, he turned it back off and turned to walk away. “Henry, please!” Silence filled the cool evening air as Gram waited on the elderly man to do more than just stand there. He prayed the old man wouldn’t drop dead, like the last one. “I need your help.” Gram pleaded.
“They’ll kill me, just like old Hank,” Henry looked back, with pure sorrow gracing his face.
“And they’ll kill me if you don’t open this door. You know what’s going on, don’t you, Henry?”
“Hold your tongue, boy,” Henry rushed over and unlocked the door.
After ushering Gram through, Henry searched the streets with his head swinging both ways. “That old woman scares me half to death son. You should remember that. She has ears where ears don’t belong.” Henry babbled as he locked the door. “You get what ya need then get out the back way. Stay out of that field. You best be for gettin’ as far out of Hells Valley as ya can.”
“The book said this use to be Hellsfire,” Gram whispered as his hand slid over a brand new sickle. The curved blade sparkled with the new shine on its edge.
“How’d you know that?” Henry backed into the glass door so hard he hit his head.
“I found it in one of the old barns on the farm. It called this place Hellsfire, and said my name use to be Simmons. Ever heard any of that, Henry?” Gram asked, already knowing he had.
“You have to kill the beast,” Henry rushed over and took the sickle down. “Plant the rods and trap the evil…but you stay out of that field, you stay to the sides while you plant them rods, boy, or you’ll be trapped with it.”
“What about this?” he took the small book out of his back pocket.
“The book of the ancients,” Henry took off toward his apartment.
“Hey, where you going?”
“Come with me.”
“I need more weapons,” Gram was feeling the rush.
“You need magic, boy,” Henry declared, and opened a cabinet in the kitchen portion of his one room apartment area. “This is brick dust. You’ll need it to draw the symbols after they step into the field for the ceremony, after the sun goes down. That’s when you plant the last golden rod, and draw the last symbol to seal them in. Only then can you cross and raise the needs of the earth.”
“What the hell are you talking about, old man?”
“Ya read the book, didn’t ya?”
“Some of it, but I don’t understand these things. I don’t even know if I can take a human life.”
“She ain’t no human, boy. She’s been here since before time. Them there bodies are just a vessel to the demon that uses `em. Make a coven with the devil to keep a good harvest with blood, you pay for life with a demon on your back, and the poor souls they use… they pay for life as well,” Henry looked back at Gram with his brows pulled together.
“This is mad. How can all of you know about it and do nothing?”
“Cause only the blood line can end it…for all of us. Those that believe have no idea that they’re under a spell when the sun sets. They all eat and drink it right up without a care in the world.”
“That’s why they kept trying to get me to drink that damn tea.”
“That, and other reasons. They want your blood to be ready to feed the earth,” Henry looked away. “Don’t mean to be so blunt, but you’re running out of time.”
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