Poodle had the pedal to the metal, or whatever the equivalent is for boats, and had the guys heading home as quickly as possible. As they made their way back to Tappahannock, two swarms followed the boat. The first was a cloud of gnats. The flying insects could never quite catch the boat, but they were so thick that their presence cast a shadow on the speeding boat. The second was a swarm of eels who wriggled behind the boat like a Natural Geographic video of snakes mating in a slithering orgy of reptilian delight. Rory saw the masses as signs and worried that the evil spirits had already been freed.
“Do you think we’re too late,” he asked Allen.
“I don’t know. Maybe you’re still asleep.”
“Stop it. We are hustling back to shore in Poodle’s boat with clouds of gnats and what appears to be eel porn following us and you think I’m asleep? I just hope we can do something before the evil is too strong.”
“Don’t worry,” said Allen, “We’re angry at Hell and we’re not going to take it anymore. Sing with me, “We’re not gonna take it, no we’re not gonna take it…”
Rory had to smile, “Twisted Sister now? You’re not right.”
Their drive back to Williamsburg took Rory and Allen back to the peanut farm. Rory grabbed his computer and found that the dock had been moved. “Damn updates,” he said. He noticed that he had a Facebook message from an old teammate, Carl Bannister. The message said that there was something weird going on at 18th and Columbia in Washington, D.C. and that Rory should call.
“Since when did I become a guy concerned with everything weird?” mumbled Rory as he dialed Carl’s number. Carl was one cool dude. He had been part of the Smurfs in high school, a tandem of shorter athletes whose symmetry made life very difficult for tall wide receivers and taller point guards. After graduation, he made a career of the military and followed events in the District as a hobby.
“Hello, this is Carl Bannister.”
“Carl, Rory. What’s going on?”
“I’m glad you called. There is an intersection in Washington with a bank. People think it’s haunted because lately people come out of it mad.”
Rory said, “It sounds like most banks. Why is that weird.”
“Because these people go out and commit crimes afterwards. They have no respect for other cultures, they burn churches, and they claim to worship a god called ‘Chupacabra.’ The lot where the bank is has a dark history, too. It’s the site of the Knickerbocker Theater.”
“Oh, no, Carl, I’ve got to go. I need more information on Chupacabra.”
“Alright, Rory. Let me know if you need help.”
The Knickerbocker Theater collapsed under the weight of a freak snowstorm in 1922. Ninety-eight people were killed in the collapse and both the architect and theater’s owner committed suicide after the tragedy. The appearance of bones around Tangier Island and the freaky crimes being committed around the old theater site was enough to convince Allen that something was happening.
“Do you know what a chupacabra is?” asked Allen.
“It’s a goat-sucker.”
Rory and Allen looked at each other with panic. Allen’s goats represented the “Greatest of All Time” and they were in danger. There was the bearded one, the bald one, the one from the desert, the one shot in Memphis, the one shot in Ford’s Theater, and countless other goats that were nothing but good. Some were black, some white, some tan, but each goat in Allen’s heard was special.
“What do these chupacabras do?” asked Rory.
“They bite the goats and suck the blood out of them. Scientists think its an urban legend, though. Why are you asking?”
Rory explained what Carl told him. But he had more, “Remember how the voice said to save the island because more horrors would be coming? What if the horrors are these goat suckers. Tangier is in dire straights and it might already be too late. Maybe these crimes in D.C. are part of evil’s coming.”
“Why now, Rory? Tangier is still there. Something has got to be driving all this. Wildfires, police shootings, police being shot, the election, Britain, the Middle East, the environment, it’s all madness, man.”
“That’s what the voices said. Remember, they said that “Man” was the problem. Think of the damage we’ve already done. Chernobyl, the surface water there is contaminated. This is crazy, but that water has to go somewhere with its radioactivity. How are those isotopes rearranging what this world is all about? And relatively speaking, that’s a small part of the world. Stuff is going on all over the place.”
“Rory, we have to save the goats. They are goodness and if evil gets to them we might as well just stay asleep.”
Rory’s phone rang, “Carl…You don’t say. That’s good to know. Thanks.”
“Who was that?” asked Allen.
“Carl, again. He said that the people worshipping this Chupacabra are being described by the police up there as tenacious.”
“Is that all?”
“No, they vowed to cause a spiritual sterility across the entire world. They want a valueless society that is hellbent on destroying itself.”
“It sounds like they’re here already,” said Allen.
“Exactly. You get the goats and meet me at Poodle’s boat.”
“Where are you headed?”
“We are going Dick Proenneke on Tangier Island. I’m going to get the stuff to make some custom concrete. This island will not be swallowed into the sea. The goats will survive and men will learn how to act.”
“Rory, you’re dramatic, dude.”
Poodle and Allen were waiting with the goats when Rory got there. He was riding with a guy named Chuck.
“I don’t know if it will work, Rory, but this red bag mix might do the trick.”
“Thanks, Chuck, say hello to your sister. We’ve got to go,” said Rory.
They would need a miracle to save the goats.