Hunter: Minneapolis

Week 5

Multiple Gut Wounds

Part I: Ken Returns…

Speeding on their way to the prison for their interview with Belphagor, the group is contacted by Ken, who has returned from his sojourn in Canada. He is all better now (though his occult knowledge has increased tenfold). They tell Ken to meet them at the prison.

Terry drives with Tony and his lawyer, and Erin is driving with Joanna and Thora, while Ken is driving solo. In the car, Terry tries to engage Tony in conversation, but not much interesting comes up (he only talks briefly about his film career). The lawyer is driving erratically, and Terry sends a handful of frightened texts to Joanna when Tony tells him they are taking a shortcut, plowing through dirt roads that look completely abandoned…

When they arrive at the prison they are at the Service Entrance. BEHIND the prison. This is odd, everyone thinks. Ken is directed over the phone how to get there, and fifteen minutes later he arrives as the rest of the group is unpacking.

While Terry films the scene, he pans in on the lawyer, who is on his cellphone. He holds his hands up and tells Terry he signed no agreement to be on camera. Terry re-adjusts to a nice shot of the rear of the prison, and the dark woods beyond it.

Ken’s homecoming is short, as a few moments later, Tony knocks on a loading dock gate, and a man identifying himself as Steve, the Cook, opens the gate and gestures for the group to come inside. Everyone follows Tony’s lead, except for the lawyer, who stays outside where there is better reception.

Part II: Mario’s Interview

The crew descend into the bowels of the prison, single-file, moving through locked doors that inexplicably Tony is able to navigate through. As Steve, the cook, leaves them, he tells the group to return to the kitchen after the interview for some grub. Hamburgers, whatever. “I make a mean chili,” he says with a knowing smile (this didn’t really happen, but some in the group might remember it that way upon retelling).

For some reason, Tony has a whole set of keys.

He moves through the prison like he owns the joint, nodding to inmates, passing out smokes, smoothly entering each new corridor like it is a hallway in his own home.

When they reach Mario, they find him to be slightly different than his photo in the paper. His long hair has been shaved. And he is quick to show off a new tattoo by an inmate by the name of Mobius, who the group soon learns, is the only other member of the Church of Satan in the prison.

Before the interview, Tony leaves them, saying he has other business, and disappears among the cellblocks.

After settling in with their equipment and asking a few cursory questions, Thora gets down to business. She asks about every known associate she can recall (and even consulting her notepad for those she cannot). Mario denies knowing everyone, except for the occasional, “Sure, I might have seen her around…maybe…”

He right away admits to the murder of Heather. When pressed why it was he proclaimed innocence, and then confessed later, he tells the group that he was tired of it all. Tired of the lawyers, the interviews. He wanted it over with. Yeah, he killed her. He even describes the scene in vivid detail. They had never met before. He was dealing cocaine that day. He saw her and wanted her. Cracked her upside the head.

Thora presses him about the drugs. He says it was common for members of the Church of Satan to sell drugs to people, get ‘em high, involve them in the rituals. After being pressed, he describes several such rituals that could have aired on Nick at Night. Thora sighs and demands he explain the “real” rituals. He talks a bit about some more rated R events, but doesn’t go much into detail. He continues to stonewall any question in regards to his associates. Photos come out of the mysterious blonde, and Ben, and he denies knowing them. He denies knowing the Church of the Resurrection or of any of their members. He doesn’t flinch.

During a break, Aaron and Thora sit down next to Mario and chat him up. Joanna innocently asks about a specific rite [insert here]. Mario says he has seen it done. Might have been done to Phil. It was done to him (Mario) a year and a half ago. He knows nothing of the flying pig monster, and doesn’t even flinch as Ken and Terry discuss in loud tones the horror of last week’s encounter.

The interview resumes, and Mario has begun to get testy. Things seem to be ending poorly, until Aaron remembers something. He presses Mario, telling him that he KNOWS for a fact that he knew Heather before. People are talking. There are pictures.

Finally, Mario breaks. He says they were together in high school. But teachers and her parents made it end – told him to stay away…

He says he didn’t kill her.

Ken flips through his notebook and describes the missing girls. Shows photos. This time, Mario stops at the picture of Melodee (the blonde). He knows her. He begins to lose it. Melodee is the same blonde, he says. Don’t they know that? He tells them the interview is over. He is done. He is obviously afraid.

As the group packs up, Ken wanders around looking to talk with other inmates. When Terry tries to stop him, fearing he might be putting Mario’s life in danger, Ken says, “He’s dead already,” and continues on. No crisis of conscience there, he plays it off as a bad joke. But he gets nothing from the inmates, including Mobius, a dopey hippy with nothing to say other than elucidate on his fabulous tattoo job.

The group exit the cellblock. Before they leave, Aaron tosses some menthols to Mario, who thanks him. Tony says he will exit from the front, that he still has some things to do. The group turns south, heading for the service exit.

The group exit the cellblock. Before they leave, Aaron tosses some menthols to Mario, who thanks him. Tony says he will exit from the front, that he still has some things to do. The group turns south, heading for the service exit.

Part III: Assault Rifles? Really?

The group exits the cellblock and returns through narrow passageways on to the kitchen.

Before they reach the kitchen door, however, Terry is overcome with dread. “Guys,” he says, “Stop a sec. Hold on.”

Dropping his bag, Terry begins to feel pins and needles all over his body. “Let’s go,” Thora says, and Terry pushes through the door, leaving his bag behind. He moves into the center of the room and sees nothing.

Thora follows close behind, and gets within a few feet of Terry when the first bullet whizzes past her head. More bullets fly, and Ken is hit in the shoulder hard, sending him back against the wall. Two men emerge in jeans and white t-shirts from the freezer, bullets a-blazing from assault rifles. Thora throws the camera bag at the assailants, but only succeeds in smashing it on the floor. Joanna dashes into the room and tries to run out, and Terry attempts to slip the hardrive from the video camera into her pocket, but misses, and then dives behind a counertop. Joanna grabs a pot of chili, splashing it on the floor in front of the assailants, just as Aaron grabs Ken and attempts to pull him towards the door. One of the men runs forward and slips on the chili, cracking his head on the side of the counter. The other approaches cautiously and fires again.

Aaron takes a shot to the gut, as Ken stands up, screaming bloody murder and charges the first assailant, cracking him upside the head with his heavy flashlight. Aaron stands up, clutching his stomach, and runs over to the table, grabbing a butcher knife and taking a stab at the man, missing wildly. Joanna rushes the one on the floor, and takes a shot in the hip. Crying out, she kicks him hard, takes the gun and fires into his stomach.

Terry rushes around the counter and takes a swing, also missing wildly. Thora races to the gate, but as she opens it, is surprised to find two more armed assailants, who fire, catching her in the shoulder. Quickly, she slams the door shut and braces herself from the impact.

After several missed blows, Ken, Terry, and Aaron succeed in disarming the man in front, and Ken lands one more on his head, knocking him cold. Aaron grabs the gun and fires at the one on the floor, but misses. He runs over to him just as he is about to grab his gun, and plants a foot on his ribcage. “Don’t even think about it,” he says.

Then there is an explosion.

Thora dives to the side of the gate as it is blown wide.

A woman steps through. Then a man. “What are you doing? Come on, let’s go!” she shouts angrily, walking over to the man on the floor who is still twitching and blasting him away without a thought.

Part IV: The Yoga Teacher Strikes Back

They have been rescued by a yoga instructor and an intern.

They all hobble into a van, parked just outside the perimeter of the prison. And as they peel away, an explanation begins to unfold…

THUS SPEAKETH THE VOICE OF THE DUNGEON KEEPER

“Thank you, swine flu,” says the man known only as Ben Shulz.

Vanessa Chen drives her white Dodge minivan down 35E southbound at a steady 65 miles per hour, away from the Lino Lakes correctional facility and towards the city of St. Paul. With one hand on the wheel she struggles to get her right arm into a white sweatshirt with blue stripes, over top of her tactical bodysuit. She wears a navy scarf covering her black hair; her face is dotted with flecks of blood and ash. In the back of the van Aaron holds a roll of paper towels against his abdomen while Thora, Joanna, Terry and Ken clutch their wounds and stare off quietly, ghost-faced. Ben unzips his black suit.

“You might want to explain that one to them, Liam,” says Vanessa, concentrating on the road.

Ben/Liam strips off the outer layer of his black armor, down to his Fruit of the Loom. He leans over Aaron into the hatch of the minivan and tugs on a pair of jeans underneath a pair of rattling firearms. Ben/Liam is silent for a moment and looks at Ken as he slides on the blue jeans and buckles the belt.

“Well,” starts Ben/Liam, “Our guy on the inside wasn’t supposed to be at work today, but the normal security tech came down with H1N1 a couple days ago, so our guy filled in for him. Whenever these guys disable the cameras in the back corridors, our guy steps out for a smoke and fires me a text message. Good thing he was there today. Unless we were one-hundred percent positive that there were going to be no cameras on us, we wouldn’t have come. So, say your thanks to the swine flu.”

“Who are these people and why do they want to kill us?” asks Joanna.

“You don’t want to know who they are,” says Ben/Liam, “And they want to kill you because they think you know too much already.”

“No, actually, we DO want to know who they are,” says Thora, “And we’re done listening to people say we shouldn’t. They mother FUCKING shot us! So why don’t you tell us before we turn you in to the police.”

“There is still a certain level of non-understanding here,” says Vanessa.

Vanessa flips on the minivan’s right turn signal and changes lanes to the right. She slides off the interstate at the next exit. Turning at the first light, Vanessa pulls into a BP station and parks the minivan well away from the pumps or the store. She turns around and looks straight at Thora, the minivan still idling.

“If I let you all out here, you have to call an ambulance to take you to the hospital,” says Vanessa, “If you go to the hospital, they will examine you. When they find your gunshot wounds, they will report it to the police. As soon as it is reported to the police, they are going to know where you are, and they are going to try to kill you again. You were just attacked by four men within the perimeter of a medium-security state prison. If they can get you there, they can get you just about anywhere.”

“So you’re saying that these, I don’t know, these Satan-worshippers are in control of the police, the prisons, the hospital, the government, the world,” says Thora, “And nobody knows who they are, even you. Whatever. It’s bullshit. I don’t buy it.”

“Look,” says Ben/Liam, “Do you like Harry Potter?”

“I fucking love Harry Potter,” says Thora, “So what?”

“You know how Dumbledore talks about He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named, and stuff like that?” asks Ben/Liam, “These wizards have a big taboo about saying the name of the Dark Lord? It’s kind of like that, but worse. You don’t just go around yelling the true names of devils from the abyss, at least not unless you want to meet them in person.”

“Again with this voodoo shit,” says Thora, “Try me.”

“He’s right,” says Joanna, “I think I see what you’re saying… what is it, Liam?”

“Liam Canning,” says Liam, “Sorry for the identity switch. Please forgive me?”

“Absolutely,” says Joanna, “If I’m piecing this together correctly, Liam, what you’re saying is that ‘these guys’ that shot us, that have these different cover organizations like Resurrection Baptist and the Church of Satan, they’re not a mortal organization but rather members of the Hierarchy of the Damned, and as such really have no name other than those unspeakable names of their demon princes. And that, demons being consummate liars, any such organization that we discovered would only serve to throw us off the trail of our actual antagonists. Something like that, right?”

“I couldn’t have said it better,” says Liam, “You just pieced this together now?”

“She’s been talking this nonsense for weeks,” says Thora, “Don’t encourage it.”

“Let’s get back on the road before you guys bleed to death,” says Vanessa, “I assume none of you are going to object to that?”

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