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The Initiation

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Blurb

While trying to get into a sorority, Suzie is attacked during her initiation. Suddenly, she is having strange experiences. What is it that attacked her and is it the same creature that is attacking other girls on campus?

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Chapter One
         I cringed as the rusty iron gates leading to the cemetery swung open, giving an eerie screech as they did. Why do the gates to any cemetery have to do that? It’s like something out of a horror movie, and that was the last thing I wanted to be in at this moment. I glanced up at the sky and saw it was a full moon, too. Just the icing on the cake. At least it wasn’t thundering and lightning. That would be too much over the top.      “Suzie Quartermaine, what have you gotten yourself into?” I whispered to myself.        After looking around to make sure no one was going to come running after me, I slipped between the gates. I was thankful to be wearing my long leather coat as the gates didn’t want to open very far, so I had to squeeze through. The rust scraped off onto the back of my coat rather than the shirt I’d just bought the other day. It was a tight squeeze to get through the gates, and I was thankful I hadn’t put on the dreaded “Freshman Fifteen,”… at least not yet.   A few feet away from the gates, I stopped to read the directions I’d been given. I wanted to see exactly what the sisters of the sorority I was trying to join had in mind for my initiation. I didn’t want to take the chance someone would see the light from my cell phone, so I ducked behind the nearest bush and crouched down, reaching into my jacket pocket to pull it out and turn it on.   Unlocking it, I looked around and thought the cemetery was pretty creepy at night. Then again, it was pretty creepy in the daylight too.      I could see the path ahead forked, and right in the middle of the fork stood a large headstone with a stone angel statue on top of it. Pretty grand, if you ask me. It must belong to an old and wealthy family to be able to afford such a large monument to their ancestors. Trees and bushes scattered throughout the grounds, and at this time of year, the trees were losing their leaves, taking on a skeletal appearance. Appropriate for a cemetery, I thought. I could see the outlines of the various headstones across the grounds, and all was quiet except for the buzzing of some early autumn insects getting ready to die.       I sighed. Why did I have to be the one who had gotten assigned to this challenge? Why couldn’t it have been Sara, the perky brunette who was a shoo-in to get into the sorority, no matter what challenge she’d been assigned? Or Jessica, who looked badass enough to take on any challenge and not be afraid? Or even Veronica? No, not Veronica. Even I couldn’t put my best friend through this.      The phone vibrated in my hand, jerking me back to reality and making me aware of my surroundings once more. I had one new text message. These would be my instructions on where to go from here. I opened the text and read.      Seventeen steps to the left you must To walk through all these years of dust. Forward go twenty feet Pray no evil creatures you meet. Right this time you will turn Toward the witch that did burn. Find her barren grave and sit An hour’s time in Hell’s pit. Leave the rose upon her grave This will prove that you were brave.  At the gates, we will then meet. A Delta Phi sister we will greet.      I groaned at the poem and realized what it meant. I was going to have to find the grave of the alleged witch, Allison Moody, and sit there for an hour, then leave a rose on her grave to prove I’d been there. That explained why I found the rose on my desk in my dorm room with a note telling me to bring it for my challenge. I’d been hoping it was something easier, like giving the rose to a hot guy and having him go out with me, but no, that’s not my luck.       Sudden darkness enveloped me, making me gasp and look up at the sky. The cemetery seemed so much darker now, and it took me a second to realize the moon had gone behind a cloud. Great. Now I had to find my way to the witch’s grave in the darkness. Could this night get any worse?      I thought I heard a rustle in the bushes close by and whirled around to see if anyone was there. Holding my breath as I scanned the area, I saw no one and heard nothing. Suddenly, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, and it felt like I should get the heck out of Dodge, but I shook it off. It was just the creepy scenery playing tricks on me. Just because I was in an old cemetery in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night on the night of the full moon meant nothing, though I suspected more than one person would be weirded out by this.       I faced forward again and read through my instructions once more. Seventeen steps to the left, it read. That must mean the left fork. I took the seventeen steps and reached the fork just as the directions said. I was to go forward twenty feet, so I carefully counted out twenty feet and came to a crossroads. There, I turned right per my instructions and saw a line of graves. I was to look for a barren one.        According to the legend, when Allison Moody died, she was so evil, the grass wouldn’t grow over her grave, no matter how much grass seed the town sowed in the soil. As the legend goes, her grave was so tampered with over the years, they took the headstone down, but because the rectangle of brown grass remained, everyone knew where she was buried.       I stepped on the grass to look for her grave when I felt a shiver go up my spine. It felt like someone was watching me. I froze for a moment, then slowly looked around. I saw headstones in the grass and random bushes and trees. It was still dark, as the moon was still hiding behind the clouds, but my eyes had grown used to the dimness. I saw nothing that shouldn’t be in a cemetery, but still, the feeling remained.       I looked around once more but still saw nothing. I stepped further onto the grass and focused my attention on the graves in front of me. All of those had headstones. I figured I’d have to make my way deeper into the cemetery to find hers.       I was only half paying attention to the graves, as I still felt as if I was being watched. I tried to listen for any strange sounds but heard nothing. Stepping as lightly as I could, I listened for the sounds of another set of footsteps.      Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move. It looked like a figure darted from behind one headstone to another. I gasped and took a step back from where the figure may have gone. I froze in fear and stared at the headstone that I thought someone was behind.      I realized it must be one of the sisters from the sorority or possibly someone they’d convinced to play a prank on me and called out, “Ha, ha! Very funny! I see you over there, so you might as well come out.”     I waited, my hands on my hips, but no one stepped out from behind the headstone.       “I said I saw you,” I called out and took a couple of steps toward where I knew them to be.      A low growl came from the bush to my right, and I whirled toward it, gasping, my hand going to my throat.       “What the hell?” I asked, breathless with fear.     The bush remained still. I stared as hard as I could into the leaves but saw nothing. I held my breath and took a step back.     As I did, I saw more movement from the headstone and jerked my head toward it. I saw what I thought was a dog running behind another headstone and felt a jolt of fear. I didn’t care for dogs, especially large ones. They scared me, and the last thing I wanted was to be here in this cemetery alone with one or more dogs on the loose with me.    I turned back to the bush just as the clouds uncovered the moon and saw two red eyes staring at me. I gasped again and took another step back. I ended up tripping on a low gravestone and fell backward just as a large dog leaped out of the bush at me.        I put my left arm up to protect my face and screamed in fear as it jumped on me. I could feel its jaws clamp down on my arm and screamed in pain this time. I brought my right arm up to punch at its head, hoping it would let me go, but my blows did nothing. It growled, and it felt like it was trying to rip my arm out of my socket as it shook its head from side to side. I screamed again, and it dug its back legs into my stomach as if to get more traction. I screamed once more in pain as its claws dug deeper into my skin. I could feel the blood well up and lashed out at its head again, trying to get it to release me.       Suddenly, it was off of me, as if someone or something pushed it off. I heard what sounded like a shot, then heard someone yelling, “Get out of here! I said, get!”     Looking around wildly, I didn’t see the dog anymore. I turned over and crawled on my hands and knees toward the road, crying in fear and pain. My left arm hurt like hell, and my stomach was throbbing in pain, but I didn’t care. I just wanted out of there.       I screamed as someone grabbed my right shoulder, and I lashed out with my arm, trying not to get attacked again.     “Whoa there, girlie,” a man’s voice said, the same voice I heard earlier. “Take it easy. I’m not going to hurt you.”     I stopped trying to fight him off and rolled over to see an older man carrying a shotgun and dressed in overalls. I almost started laughing hysterically at the fact he looked like a stereotypical cemetery caretaker but swallowed my laughter when I realized he’d probably just saved my life.     “You ok?” he asked me, holding out a hand to help me up.     I nodded, then gasped in pain as I reached out with my left arm. It felt like fire shot through it as I tried to lift my arm.       “Hey now,” he said, kneeling down next to me, “take it easy there. Let me take you somewhere safer and take a look at you. You’re covered in blood.”     “No,” I said, slowly getting to my feet and cradling my arm close to my body, feeling the wetness of my blood-soaked shirt. “I’ll be fine. I’ve got friends meeting me at the gates, and I’ll be fine with them.”      For some reason, the thought of going anywhere with him really had me uneasy, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. I just knew I had to get out of there.       “Don’t be silly, girlie,” he said, reaching for me once more, “you’re hurt and need help.”      I backed away, holding out my right arm to ward him off, and shook my head. “No, I’m ok,” I told him. “Really. I don’t need your help.”     He started toward me again, but I turned and started running for the gates. He didn’t follow.       I made it back to the gates with no further incident and wasn’t surprised no one was there waiting for me. I wasn’t sure if they were planning on meeting me after the hour or just not planning to show in the first place, and right now, I just didn’t care.       I walked back to the school. It was a long walk and took me about an hour. I was thankful it was an uneventful walk, except for the throbbing pain in my arm and the gouges in my stomach, which had thankfully stopped bleeding. I was sure my new shirt was now ruined, what with being ripped and blood stained after all. I sighed and rued the fact I’d only been able to wear it once. What a waste and I had such high hopes for this shirt and what I thought it might do to my confidence level.     I was so glad when the lights of the school came into view and couldn’t wait to get back to my dorm room. I just hoped Veronica wasn’t there. This wasn’t something I felt like discussing with her right now. For the moment, I just wanted to get into a hot shower, wash off the blood and dirt, and try to deal with what had happened to me.

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