Friday the 13th: the series
"The Left-handed Path"
Standing inside a pentagram drawn with branches, behind an altar made of hollowed out tree-trunks, the man allowed a small smile. He removed the hood of his cloak so he could feel the moonlight bathe his face; and the hour had arrived. He picked up the wax figure from the altar and held it out in front of him, the tall trees surrounding him cast dark shadows beneath him, and he could feel the trembling of revenge rising from his own soul.
"Prince of all power and darkness, I offer this symbol of your servant fallen as a sacrifice of my own love and loyalty to your will and evil works." He reached into a black silk pouch hanging from the rope tied around his black robe, extracting human hair. "I give this emblem identity with this hair removed from his head so that I may work the dark magick to do your will."
He secured the human hair to the wax figurine with a straight pin before continuing. "May the man that this symbol represents experience all of your great wrath and fire with each strike of flame to his belly and sharp prick to his head. May he reap what he has sown by turning from the true father toward the white light of cowards; for having forsaken the power granted to him by Lucifer and taking up with the light, may he slowly and painfully dissolve away into the depths of hell awaiting him."
He struck a match and held it under the mid-section of the wax figure. "So mote it be."
He awoke with a frightful start, almost falling from his bed. As his eyes focused in the dark, he glanced around, but there was no cause for concern; everything was as it should have been. Taking a deep, calming breath, he lay back down slowly, assuring himself that his fitful sleep was due to the rigor of the evening's activities. A slow smile pulled at his lips: the cursed sword had been retrieved before it had a chance to cause any permanent damage to anyone, although he had certainly suffered a bit of an ordeal as its target. Ryan and Micki barely saved him from becoming another statistic of one of Lewis' objects.
Jack let out a long sigh of air and closed his eyes, trying to relax, but a moment later, his eyes snapped open as an intense nausea gripped him hard. His stomach pitched and roiled as though it had been doused with acid and lit on fire. He bolted quickly toward the bathroom, barely arriving in time to catch the contents of his violently ill stomach. After an assault that could have knocked down an elephant, Jack leaned against the cabinet, holding his stomach. He moaned as another wave of nausea hit him, once again causing him to kneel in front of the toilet, this time coughing up only bile.
Exhausted from the excruciating and sudden onslaught, he fell to his side, curling up as the cramps and pain increased. It was the last thing he remembered before blackness engulfed him.
The sunlight streaming through the window in her bedroom slowly aroused her from a restful sleep. Micki rolled over lazily, sighing as she stretched her arms over her head. Her stomach growled, reminding her she hadn't eaten since yesterday afternoon. Bacon and eggs, or possibly pancakes…. She thought for a moment. No, bacon and eggs sounded best. She threw back the covers, pulled her robe around her and headed for the bathroom. The door was closed: one of the lovable yet irritating men she lived with beat her to it. She sighed and waited, but she heard nothing from within. She knocked lightly.
"Ryan? Jack? Whichever one of you is in there, let's get a move on!"
There was no answer. Micki tried the doorknob and found that it was unlocked. She opened the door cautiously and felt her throat tighten at the sight before her.
"Jack!" She rushed to him, gently shaking him. "Jack? Can you hear me?" But he neither answered nor moved. She yelled toward the open door, "Ryan! Ryan, come quickly!"
A moment later Ryan, still drowsy from sleep, entered. "Why are you screaming so loudly at this—" He spotted Marshak on the floor. "Jack! What happened?"
"I don't know," Micki answered. "I found him in here like this. I've no idea how long he's been down."
Ryan put his hand on Jack's chest. "He's breathin'... Maybe he just passed out."
Micki then noticed the contents of the unflushed toilet bowl. "He's been really sick." She flushed the offending bowl and put her hand on Marshak's forehead. "He doesn't feel feverish," she commented to Ryan.
"Maybe it was something he ate."
"Must be," Micki agreed with her cousin. "Come on and help me, let's get him back to bed."
With some effort, the two of them lifted the larger man. "Let's put him in your room," Ryan suggested through clenched teeth, "He's too heavy to carry all the way back downstairs."
As gently as they could, Micki and Ryan carried Jack to Micki's bed, placing him carefully on it. Micki pulled the covers over him and sat on the edge.
"Ryan, can you bring me a cold compress? Maybe we can rouse him."
A moment later, Dallion handed her a wet washcloth, and Micki brushed it over Marshak's face.
"Jack? Jack, come on," she coaxed. "Wake up, Jack."
After a minute or so, Marshak groaned and his eyes fluttered open. "Micki?"
"Yeah," she said, running her hand over his balding head, "What happened?"
He shook his head. "Last thing I remember was feeling violently ill." He looked at her in alarm. "How long have I been out?"
"I don't know," she confessed. "I found you this morning, passed out on the bathroom floor."
Ryan sat on the other side of the bed. "Did you hit your head or anything, Jack?"
He shook his head slightly. "Don't think so."
"How do you feel now?" Micki asked.
"A little queasy, I guess, and my head feels like a symphony's being played in it."
"How about a nice hot cup of tea?" Micki inquired, "Will that help a little?"
Jack shrugged slightly. "Maybe."
"Micki," Ryan said, "you stay here with him, I'll fix the tea."
"Thanks, Ryan," she replied. Marshak shivered suddenly, and Micki pulled the covers tighter around him. "I think you've got the flu, Jack."
"Yeah," he responded weakly, "feels like it."
She took one of his hands in hers, squeezing it lightly. "Just relax, Ryan and I will take care of everything. You need to just lie quietly and rest for a few days. It was a tough week, and almost being run through with that cursed sword last night didn't help." He smiled slightly at her, and she brushed her hand over his forehead. "Close your eyes, Jack. I'll be right here……"
After a minute or so, Marshak fell into a deep sleep, unaware of any impending danger.