Richard Rodriguez

Fools Gold

  Prologue Jason's silent scream reverberated throughout his mind and threatened the fragile wall that separated him from insanity. His shorten life reduced to a perverse version of the movie Ground Hog Day; in that Every painful sensation echoed repeatedly with no respite as his organs were gradually consumed by the hatchlings. His Swan Song having the serendipitous twist of his foolishness and greed which led him to his slaughter.  Chapter 1  48 hours earlier Jason thought nothing but notability before him. He couldn't believe what his eyes told him. He Glanced about making sure no one detected him as he peeped into the house, which belonged to his associate at the Syracuse Institute of Paranormal Psychology who he thought acted atypical of late. He surveilled him as he went about the lab stealing equipment, so tonight, he resolved on finding out why. Seeing this was by far beyond anything he expected.  Inside, at the far end of the room, stood a cage, not unlike those used by go-go dancers in the sixties, holding what resembled a little man three feet tall. With skin almost translucent, eyes huge and fish-like. All on a head too large, with a mouth and flat nose too small. The ears, Spock like in nature. The man/creature was connected to various machines and monitors. Just as Jason pried open the window the door at the top of the stairs opened. Dr. Chambers walked down to the creature. "Now my little friend, how are you this evening?" "Please, I make you richer than before." Jason's attentiveness peaked at this and strained harder to understand.  Chambers laughed. "My discovery of you will put me on the academic map. I am talking on the level of Curie and Salk. No, my little friend, you're all I need. Now relax, while I extract some more samples." He drew some blood and saliva and retreated up the stairs, locking the door behind him. Jason replayed what he witnessed, focusing on what the little thing said. "Richer than before, well I think I just hit the mother load." Jason reflected himself as he let himself in. His eyes acclimating as he cautiously navigated the room, but upon closer inspection of the thing, he started thinking himself a victim of a joke. Its appearance comical, like an attempt of a novice cartoonist to draw a person. He was about to leave when the Creature's eyes opened. His blood ran cold as it started speaking.  "This my savior be? Please help I to go home cannot be gone long I." It spoke like an immigrant new to the country. After several attempts Jason got his mouth to work. "Who?... What are you?" Jason asked "Kay-tar name, a Nilmerg are us, us live long with humans, one time your month when harvest moon gate opens, allows us to come to your world we Only twenty-four of your day keepers can stay I, if no go home, must stay here." Jason listened to an almost hypnotic quality in Kay-tar's voice. Jason shook his head "Nilmerg?" Why does that sound familiar? Pushing aside the thought he asked "So how did you end up stuck here?" "Gatherer am I" Kay-tar explained. "Come here, take things interest us to home. In your learn place, open some bottles one I did, head spins and go dark, wake up here... What means ether?" This led Jason to snicker, then to giggle, then to a burst of all-out explosive laughter. Kay-tar stared wide-eyed at him. "Why laugh you?" Kay-tar asked Jason regained control. Wiping a tear away he said. "No reason." He groaned to himself, not only does he speak like Tonto, he's sensitive as well. Dismissing the thought he asked. "What does the doctor want with you?" "He says he become famous for finding I. I tell you please help I. To my people I need go. Make you rich will I." Jason thought for a moment. "How can you make me money? You're not able to leave your cage." "My home, many of your stones of value, you help I, many you take." " Which ones?" "The one like sun." "The Sun? You mean gold?" "Yes, that is name by you." Kay-tar confirmed Jason rubbed his chin in thought. "How can I tell you're on the up and up, and that there really is a reward is waiting for me?" "I tell you, aware you the water by the music place?" Kay-tar asked "You mean the Syracuse amphitheater on Onondaga Lake? Yeah, I've been to the place?" "Follow water flow to grandfather tree. Dig on the side of sun, find you riches." Kay-tar said "Grandfather Tree? How the hell will I know which tree is which?" "Feel you, you will, upon it". "All right I'll go, and if what you say is true, I'll help you, if not, you're rotting here ." He turned and exited through the window. Kay-tar stared after him... Once outside, he jumped into his car and sped away. Chapter 2  After two hours of trudging, Jason was getting tired and beginning to think himself on a snipe hunt, but as he rounded the next bend, silhouetted in the moonlit night, stood a huge sinister shape, it branches ending in long spidery fingers, the trunk knotted and brutish with roots that seem to go endless in all directions. "Woe!" Was all he could say. He stared in awe as he neared, but something other than awe started welling deep within his core. At first, he thought it nervous anticipation, but as he neared, he realized it was more like trepidation as he vied it a dark foreboding place, causing him to almost turn back, but greed shored up his resolve, so he pressed on. He went to the Westside and started digging until he uncovered a metal box, with a growing eagerness he removed the container s he found no opening. "Well, Kay-tar, looks like your Nilmerg ass is going to rot."  Without warning the box started illuminating, building in intensity and brightness. "What the hell!" Startled, Jason tossed his prize down and averted his eyes. After a popping sound and a flash, everything's back to normal. Jason approached the now opened box which was now emanating a green glow and held stones. Jason inspected one. Though oddly shaped and highly polished he saw no value in them. "What the hell is this?" he said while placing them in a bag. CHAPTER 3  Upon returning to the house, he climbed through the window, with his flashlight retraced his way through the room whispering. "Kay-tar?" " Kay-tar is glad his savior is returned." " You can cut the crap you little shit! I went through four hours a round trip of hell, and all I found were some stupid looking rocks." Jason fumed "Not yell at Kay-tar, Kay-tar tell truth. This is valuable rock, man always seeks." Kay-tar insisted "I recognize gold, and this green shit" Jason lifted one for emphasis. "IS NOT GOLD!" "Yet is not, but you can make a change". "What, like Alchemy? What are you saying?" "You must first mix with warm blood," Kay-tar said. "BLOOD! You... mean like pig blood or chicken blood?" A dark chill passed through Jason, gleaning the answer before Kay-tar spoke. "No... Human" "Are you crazy, where will I obtain blood from?" As if on cue, the door opened. "Hello, is someone there?" Chambers asked as he started down the stairs. Backing himself into a darkened corner, Jason smiled as he pulled out his Knife.  CHAPTER 4  With Kay-tar in the back seat, he hurried home, he wanted to take a shower and wash the blood from his treasure. Jason smiled to himself, he couldn't believe the ease of the kill. Almost like someone else performed the act. Jason liked watching Chambers dying.  "Why not free Kay-tar. Kay-tar keep word. Please help Kay-tar to..." Jason cut him off.  "Yeah, yeah, Kay-tar go home, but understand, you're my ticket to the high life, so I am going to keep you close and in that pen until my rewards in hand." Jason continued the rest of the drive home humming while fondling his gold. CHAPTER 5  Getting up early, Jason Googled precious metal dealer's, and saw that it would be two hours until any of them opened. He decided to work out and eat breakfast. He noticed Kay-tar watching him and wondered if Kay-tar was hungry or ate the same food humans did. Shrugging he realized that he really didn't care, instead said. " Kay-tar, if everything checks out, we are going to be set." "need not your money. You take me home." Jason rolled his eyes "Yeah, yeah, no problem, but remember you promised me more when I got you home." "How much more need you?" YKay-tar asked Jason laughed "You're kidding me right, I want to be at a point where nothing would be impossible. Do you realize where I can end up ?" he asked Kay-tar stared at Jason. Jason shrugged and waved a dismissive hand at Kay-tar "You'll never understand?" After getting dressed Jason put a sheet over Kay-tar, he smiled to himself. "Like a parrot, I wonder if he will go to sleep." CHAPTER 6  He left for the jewelers. Being one of those ritzy places. Jason worried about going inside with good reason as the proprietor eyed him with obvious distaste as he entered. Jason walked up to him wearing a smile and offering a hand. "How are you doing partner?" Jason asked with his best Texan imitation voice. The man returned his shake as if touching garbage. "Are you sure you are in the right place? The second-hand establishment is down the block." He said in a snooty voice. After counting to ten under his breath, Jason applied his best winter smile as he asked: "Are you going to assist me or what?" The proprietor rolled his eyes. "How may I help you, sir?" " I have some family treasures I would like appraised..." One of the shopkeeper's eyes arched. "I am afraid... sir... we are not a pawnshop... nor do we traffic in... Shall we say borrowed items." "I said... these belonged to my family. I just want them appraised." Jason said as he emptied the sack on the counter, becoming quite content with the salesman's reaction as his jaw dropped. After a few force starts." May I?" He asked as he reached for one of the nuggets. He allowed the merchant to hold one for a closer inspection. After a moment, Jason asked, "So... How much do you think they are worth?" "Two ounces I will give forty-five hundred, for this one, and any others you have?" Jason, unable to contain himself stammered. "FOR ONE?" "Yes, and you can be paid now. Tell me, where did your family heirlooms come from" the clerk asked "Never you mind." Jason took back the nugget and added, "Maybe later." He grabbed Jason's arm. "Please, will you at least take my card, and give me a call later if you change your mind, my home phone number is also on the back." Jason smirked" I guess a little money makes one important " He left whistling. CHAPTER 7  He drove home ecstatic. "Forty-five hundred times twenty... Shit... Ninety thousand dollars... Kay-tar you sweet little...whatever you are" When he got home, Jason ran into the apartment. "Kay-tar... you're right, those nuggets are worth a fortune..." Kay-tar stared. "You take Kay-tar home now?" "Yes, I will, now what do we do? You said next moon, you need to go home tonight?" Jason asked "Yes, you take Kay-tar to home door." A cold chill ran through Jason as he thought about that place. The area emanated an eeriness that made his butt pucker. "You must bring warm blood to grandfather tree, so we can enter." Kay-tar continuned "How... How much more blood damn you? How much more blood do you need" Jason asked on a point of hysterics. Kay-tar shared no emotion as he spoke. "We will need two more of your people." "TWO? Are you nuts ?... Why Two?..." Jason shouted. "One is needed for entrance into my home. Other needed for your gold." Kay-tar stated. Jason started thinking out loud. "Where will I get two bodies from?" "Blood must be warm," Kay-tar added in the same tone Jason gazed at Kay-tar as he spoke. " I swear you're enjoying this." "Not like, need to go home. I..." "Yeah, yeah E. T. go home, Jason finished for Kay-tar, but thought; where am I going to find one person, let alone two. And how will I persuade them to come with me to the woods? I mean..." Abruptly the ringing of the phone interrupted Jason's thoughts. He glanced at the screen. "Work" he cursed beneath his breath as he acknowledged the call. "Hello?" "Jason?" A Familiar female voice responded. "Yeah, this is him" he confirmed. "Jason, this is Silvia, Are you coming to work today?" Jason signed inwardly, how he hated this bitch, but instead of hanging up he grinned as an idea struck him. "Yes, I am coming in, but Silvia, I think I found something you'll be interested in, can you come out to the apartment?" "Jason, I've no patience for any of your games, and I am not up to fighting off your advances, Now you promised me the last time that if I did not report you, it will end. Are you breaking the promise now Jason?"  You witch, Jason thought, but he responded: "Silvia, I think I found something that your department handles, but I am not sure... you're the guru, so please, if what I show you, does not impress you as soon as you arrive, you can leave, but I guarantee you will be impressed." " ... All right, what time do you want me to come over?"  Jason thought for a moment. "How about two-thirty?"  "Okay, I'll come out, but what you show me better be what you say "  Jason thought other choice words but settled with "Yeah I understand." " Oh before I forget, Chambers did not show up for work this morning, we've been calling his home. Have..." Jason hung up on her before she ended. "Don't worry you'll be seeing Dr. Chamber's soon enough." To Kay-tar, "We got one."  Kay-tar stared back at Jason "We go soon?" "Yeah, we go soon. I figure we will leave around dark." Jason said  Kay-tar added "You strong man" he stated matter-of-factly  Jason; confused and uneasy "Well, yeah, I guess."  "Strong men are always good," Kay-tar said.  Now Kay-tar's being downright spooky. "Why do you say that?" He asked  Kay-tar did not reply, he just sat and closed his eyes. Jason tried to shake off the willies he got from Kay-tar, and continued with his previous thought." Now Who else can I get?" Then a smile breached his lips as he remembered the shop keeper, he fished out his business card from his wallet. John Boyar. "Jeweler At Large." Jason rolled his eyes. "What an ass, but if I know anything, he'll sell his mother for the right price. He'll do fine." Jason dialed the number. After the third ring, he answered. " John Boyar, here"  "Yes, this is Jason Feltworth, the man with the gold, do you remember me?"  " Yes, oh yes sir, how can I help you, sir? "Boyar replied  "Stop booth licking for a moment," Jason said. "How would you like to own that nugget plus twenty more? How would you like to find out where they came from?" "Yes... oh yes I would. Please, sir, I would..."  "Well, it is going to cost you..." " Yes anything, I'll pay you twenty-five thousand and..." Jason cut him off "NO! Not money, the price of admission for this ride is a favor." " What do you need of me? "Boyer asked  "Well, let's say that I am going to need some help with something. Why don't you come over, and I'll explain everything?" " Yeah, I'll come now." "OK, I'll text you the address, be here in thirty minutes."  To Kay-tar "We got two. Now we wait." To Jason's frustration, Kay-tar just stared.  CHAPTER 8  The doorbell rang a few times, before Jason answered it. He wanted John to wait in nervousness for a bit. John's anxiousness was apparent as he opened the door.  "Sir... I came as soon as possible." He said almost out of breath.  Jason smiled. "I am sure you did, well come in and close the door behind you." John entered the apartment and closed the door behind him. "What is this favor you need of me?" John asked  " Straight to the point, aren't we? Well, good I like that. Now, what would you say if I told you thousands of gold pieces, like the one I showed you earlier, are waiting for someone to collect them." Jason noted with satisfaction the way Johns's mouth dropped open, as he continued "And Suppose I told you we can go this evening and retrieve them?" Jason smiled as John's knee buckled forcing him to take a seat.  John swallowed before he spoke "Thousands?" he asked  "You bet Johnny boy, thousands waiting for you and me to pick them like flowers, and you know what?" Speechless John shook his head no. "Half can be yours." Jason ended with a flourish  John blinked his eyes "Half? What do I have to do?" "Here is a list of items we are going to need. I want you to round them up, and be back here by seven. Oh, and one more thing, NO QUESTIONS ASKED!" John scanned the list. "Jason?" "Yeah"  "We are not going to break any laws or anything are we?"  "Remember; no questions asked." Jason put his arm around John's shoulder and led him to the door. "Don't worry, we are going to be in the money," Jason said as John went out the door, and scurried to his car. "Douche bag," Jason said after him as he closed the door. He then went about setting up the apartment for Silvia's visit, he wanted everything to be just right...  CHAPTER 9  Silvia rang the doorbell. Impatiently she was about to ring again when the door was opened, by Jason.  "Silvia how are..." "Fine," Silvia said cutting him off while pushing past him. "Now, what is so important youth drag me out here to this... dump?" She said looking around in pure disgust.  Jason kept a tight smile on his face as he closed the door and followed Silvia into the apartment. "Fine if you will step into the living room I can promise you all questions will be answered." Silvia walked to the living room where she stopped and scanned the room, her eyes opening with both surprise and amazement as they settled on the thing in the center of the room. Kay-tar stared at her. "My God! Jason, what is it? Is this a joke?" She said as she approached it; Kay-tar stood as she approached. If not for the confusion of seeing Kay-tar, Silvia would've perceived Jason coming up behind her, planting the ether moisten cloth over her nose and mouth. She struggled briefly before she resigned herself to her fate...  Jason lowered Silvia to the floor; Kay-tar watching asked " Ether?"  This Brought on another uncontrollable, almost maniacal round of giggling, in Jason. After a few minutes, he regained control, and replied, "Yes, it is ."  Jason secured her with duct tape. Once done, he glanced over his handy work. "Not so snooty now." he mused "I go home now?" Kay-tar interrupted  Jason signed "Yes, as soon as the jerk gets here. I tell you what; you're not one for patience are you?"  Kay-tar stared absently. CHAPTER 10  Jason did not need to look at the clock to know it was seven, and that it was John at the front door. Jason opened the door, John entered struggling with a box he was carrying. Jason thought better about giving him a hand... Let the little shit do it himself, Instead, he asked: "So any problems getting the items?" "No, I didn't" John responded out of breath. Jason pointed to the box and asked: "and the rest of the items? "Out in the car"  "Good," Jason said  "Do you mind me asking why you had me purchase these items?" John asked  "Well Johnny boy we are going out by the lake," Jason said  A distastefulness flashed across John's face.  Jason smiled and threw John a pair of coveralls. "Go change, unless you're going for the best-dressed woodsman award?" Jason asked  John caught the overalls as if catching a cold and went to the bathroom to change, Jason took some other items out of the box and retreated into the bedroom. He pulled out a leather case and inspected it. "It will do." He went over to Kay-tar. " I am going to cover you for a while, and you'll need to be quiet." He said  Kay-tar stared at Jason. "We go now?" Jason signed. "Yeah, we go home now." Jason put the cover on and adjusted the straps so the cover would stay on . "Why put Kay-tar in darkness?" " I can't let the geek see you now. It's bad enough trying to get him to go along with doing the broad," Jason explained  "Geek?"  "Yeah geek, I cannot have him freaking out on me. Do you understand?"  "We go home now?" "Yes, yes you little shit, we go home now. Now hush." Jason left the room, John was changed and waiting for him. Jason thought him out of his element with those clothes on. "Are you ready?" "Yes, I am," John answered.  " Go down to the car and open the trunk."  John started to say something but Jason cut him off. "Now, now no questions asked remember?" He reminded John  John closed his mouth and left the apartment. Jason went to the closet and dragged Silvia out, he checked to make sure her binds were still secured, then started putting her into a duffle bag. Once done he hefted her upon his shoulder and took her out to the waiting car, the color drained from John's face as he realized what Jason carried. Jason approached the car and deposited Silvia into the trunk. The shock on John's face, caused him to smile as he walked up to John and put his hand on his shoulder. "What's the matter Johnny boy? You look like you saw a ghost."  "You... you said nothing about murder. "BBB Women they love this is the public to women love definitely go pick up that he's doing just gonna be App but then we don't but stopping in stock you became a bed and women to go on the date stock me that the R videos hideousJohn stammered  Jason released John's shoulder. " I told you they'll be a heavy price. Breaking omelets and all that shit, or do you want to call it quits?" He asked glaring at John  John stood silent and stared at the trunk.  "Well? Answer me, do we go or do we forget it?"  John glanced once more at the trunk before making his decision. John licked his lips before answering, "We...go." He said  "Good choice," Jason said grinning to himself as he closed the knife thinking how he would have hated to put him in the trunk as well. Jason went back to the apartment and got Kay-tar and put him in the back seat.  John stared questionably at the covered cage "What's" he started, caught himself, instead said. "Never mind ." John got in on the passenger's side.  CHAPTER 11  In about an hour, Jason and John found themselves on a raft trolling along the lake bank. Jason patted himself on the back for the idea of employing the raft instead of plodding through the bush hauling both Silvia and Kay-tar, making it there in a quarter of the time it took him before.  "Kill the motor " Jason ordered John, as he shined the light at the shore. Jason felt the same creepy feeling when he first came upon the place. Jason shot a glance at John, he knew John experienced the same uneasiness. He refused to let it spook him. They drifted a little until Jason pointed to a spot.  John started the raft again steering in the direction Jason pointed to.  "Jason this place does not feel right."  "Yeah... I know what you mean," Jason whispered to himself, to John he put on a brave face as he replied. "Well, don't think about it keep your mind on the prize Johnny boy." Jason put on a headlamp as John switched off the engine, letting the raft drift the rest of the way to the embankment. Jason jumped out and tied the raft to a fallen branch. He picked up Silvia and carried her to the hole. Jason returned to the raft and got Kay-tar, when he returned, John was there adjusting the light on his head. Jason waited a moment until he finished, before speaking "John, I guess we're ready." Jason removed the cover with a flourish revealing Kay-tar, taking John a minute for John to understand what he was seeing. "Is this some sort of joke?" He approached the coop for a better look. Unfazed, Kay-tar stared, at him.  Jason pulled out the bottle of ether from his pack and poured some on a cloth, and with stealth contradicting his size, Jason crept up behind John. John's nose crinkled as he caught a whiff of the odorous fumes.  Jason was right behind John when he spoke. "Oh, you can believe it all right. I want to thank you for helping me get my gold."  Stunned at the closeness of Jason's voice, John jumped, And started to speak, but all he got out, "Your." His sentence, cut off, as Jason used the cloth on John's mouth and nose. John tried in vain to remove Jason's hand, but his eyes started fogging over, as his head starting to spin, and in a couple of seconds; he did not care... "Now what do we do?" He asked releasing Kay-tar. CHAPTER 12  "AHH... Good to walk free again, door is hole " Kay-tar said pointing to the same spot where Jason dug up the gold. "Must put warm blood." Jason went to Silvia. "Well, ladies first I always say." He opened the sack and dragged Silvia out, taking her to the door, and laid her face down, over the spot he made before. He pulled out his knife from its sheath.  "Well, babe, I'll name my first yacht after you." He brought the blade across her throat going from ear to ear. The whole started filling with blood. Jason stood wiping his hands on his pant legs. He looked at Kay-tar, Kay-tar returned his all to familiar emotionless stare, not seeming to care about what transpired. Jason shrugged "What now Kay-tar? What happens now?" Jason asked.  Kay-tar walked up to where Silvia laid and peered down the glistening opening. "Need more blood."  "Now wait a minute, what about my gold?"  "More blood to go home and for your gold," Kay-tar explained.  Jason sighed. "This deal is getting worse by the minute." He held John by his shirt collar and dragged him over, he swapped out Silvia for John. He took a handful of hair, exposing his neck he took his knife and slashed him from ear to ear. Jason stayed keeling over John watching as his lifeblood flowed from his body. "There Kay-tar you wanted more blood, you got more blood. Now, what about my gold you promised?" "Do not worry Jason, we are going to make sure you get everything you deserve." With spine-tingling clarity, Jason noticed two things at once, a strange rumbling coming from the ground, and two; for the first time since they met, Kay-tar talked normal, and not the broken English he spoke before. Jason started to turn around when something jumped on his back. Jason knew it to be Kay-tar, using the same Ether soaked cloth he used on John. The last thing Jason heard before the darkness overtook him, was Kay-tar saying. "Ether."And despite his precarious situation jason had the impulse to giggle." CHAPTER 13  Jason started awakening. His eyes opened, sight clearing, I as if a dissipating fog. His mouth, parched, and he had difficulties swallowing. As his vision cleared, as he took in his surroundings, at first he thought himself seeing doubles. Two Kay-tar's looking down at him, two others were going about on some unknown task. One of the Kay-tar's approached him and spoke. "Good, you're awake. You are surprised I speak so clear." Jason wanted to answer but could neither speak nor move, as well as being absent of clothing. "You are wondering what is happening, let me enlighten you; I have not been truthful, we do not cross into your reality to collect things. We collect humans, strong humans, who we will make a host."  "Oh, and the things you thought to be gold, they are from our reality, we call them Mesmo. Humans who touch them are suggestible to our promptings. In your case, I mentioned gold, and your greedy eyes saw gold. You transferred the suggestibility to John so the same applied to him."  Our queen fills the combs in the birthing chamber three days later when they burst through the waxed seal, the larva needs a host to feed on. They grow well when oxytocin and endomorphin are present, the more the better. Which is why you will be kept awake, and you will sense everything, every bit of pain, shall be yours to explore. And do not worry, you're not alone Kay-tar waved his hand around pointing out the other Nilmerg in the room taking care of their captures.  "Now, where was I ...oh yes, as your body is digested, the pain will be as you never thought possible. Sorry, you'll not be able to pass out, and you will never go hungry. You will be nourished, thank you for supplying your own food." Jason's mind raced as he tried to comprehend Kay-tar's meaning, his eyes opened wide as the meaning dawned on him.  Kay-tar smiled as understanding set in. "We hope you will enjoy the 'Bitch' and the 'Geek,' we found they make the most nutritious meals, and they will help keep your strength up. You will not die until they eat the last of your vital organs. You've got a healthy strong body. Fortunate for us, unfortunate for you I am afraid." Jason winced as they placed the larva on him. They crawled until each chose a spot to enter, causing a sharp pain as they bored into him using some sort of excreted acid. Hundreds bored, each seeming to author its excruciating signature pain. And through this horror, a thought pierced his pain laden brain... He finally recognized why Nilmerg was familiar... Its Gremlin spelled backward... Jason accepted his faith acknowledging the painful realization his situation was bought on by his own greed... The end                 

All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Richard Rodriguez.
Published on on 10/13/2018.


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