Conor O’Brien Barnes
When he awoke, Darren Addison had a headache that felt like an iron maiden was crushing his skull, stabbing its sharp points into his brain in a dozen places. He rolled over and sat on the edge of the bed rubbing his temples with his eyes closed. The last thing he recalled was having a Bloody Mary with Angelique, the beautiful model he met at Dr. Bickerstaff’s party. That was on Friday evening and he had no idea what today was.
Opening his eyes and glancing around, he saw nothing familiar in the empty white room. When he cast his gaze down at his own body, his heart seized in horror, for he was naked and dried blood caked his torso, loins, and legs.
Where’d the blood come from?
Turning his head and looking at the bed behind him, he got his answer. A little black boy, perhaps nine or ten, laid naked in a pool of blood with his throat cut. His cheeks had been slashed from ear to ear, making him appear to be smiling in a ghastly, satanical way.
Addison heaved and vomited at the edge of the bed. Panic seized him and he frantically paced around the room, wondering what to do. He opened the closet and every drawer in search of something to wear, but he found nothing to cover his bloody body. Knowing he had to get out at once, he went to the door and twisted the knob, but it was locked! He pulled on it harder and harder but it wouldn’t budge!
Addison felt as though his thumping heart would explode and he’d drop dead on the floor. Mortified by the dead kid, he sat on the edge of the bed and nearly fainted. He heard footsteps coming up the stairs to the locked door. Keys rattled and the knob twisted. Two tall and muscular men in dark suits burst in and approached Addison on the bed. “Don’t hurt me, please!” he screamed. “I swear, I didn’t do anything!” One of the men had a syringe in his hand and the other man seized him by the neck and wrestled him to the floor. Addison felt the sharp prick of the needle in his arm and he soon went limp.
When he came to some time later, he found himself lying next to the dead boy on the bed. He sat up with a start and saw the two dark-suited men standing to his left. Between them, Dr. Bickerstaff was sitting on a wooden chair examining the iPhone he held in his hand. Groggy and dizzy, Addison wondered if he was dreaming.
“Are you hoping you’re dreaming?” Dr. Bickerstaff said.
“I just want to know what’s happening?” Addison gasped. “Why are you doing this? What did I do to anger you?”
“I’m not angry at you, Darren.”
“Who’s this poor kid?”
“The kid’s dead. Don’t worry about him.”
“Please, Dr. Bickerstaff, tell me what you’re doing!”
“I’m giving you an opportunity, Darren, a chance to join the organization.”
“What’s the organization? A hive of child-killing Satanists!”
“Don’t be so medieval, Darren. There’s no such thing as Satan.”
“Then what’s the organization?”
“Only about one person in a million is invited to join the organization, Darren, so you should be delighted you’ve been recruited. You know you want wealth and power more than anything, just like most people; the organization is uniquely positioned to make that happen for you.”
“What if I don’t want to join it?”
“You have two choices, Darren.” Dr. Bickerstaff said. “You can either join the organization, or you can spend your life in prison.”
Dr. Bickerstaff handed the iPhone to one of the dark-suited men who went to Addison and showed him pictures of him lying naked with the butchered boy in compromising positions.
“But I didn’t do anything to this poor kid!” Addison protested.
“Of course, you didn’t!” Dr. Bickerstaff said with a laugh. “But the organization did! And we have the pictures to prove you were with him. They were masterfully staged as you can see. You could try to explain them away, of course, but I warn you, the organization has great sway over the courts.”
“What’s the name of the organization?”
“The name of the organization is the organization,”
“I tell you right now, Dr. Bickerstaff,” Addison said knowing he was caught in a trap, “I’ll do whatever you want. You have me over a barrel. I don’t want to be blamed for killing the kid!”
“That’s excellent, Darren. I knew when I met you that you had the potential to be an asset to the organization.”
“What do you want me to do for it?”
“Join it. Your initiation ceremony will be in Haiti.” Dr. Bickerstaff said rising from the wooden chair. “But don’t worry about that now, let’s get you cleaned up. Go have a shower.”
One of the dark-suited men disappeared from the room and came back up the stairs with a towel and the suit Addison had been wearing Friday night at Dr. Bickerstaff’s party. He now realized that the beautiful model who flirted with him in the marble hall of Dr. Bickerstaff’s stately Georgetown home had to have been an agent of the organization who’d slipped a drug into his Bloody Mary as she stared amorously into his lustful eyes.
As he showered with his body trembling with fear, Addison couldn’t believe what was happening. He was a young Foreign Service Officer and Dr. Bickerstaff was his superior. Who would believe him if he accused Dr. Bickerstaff of child-murder? He couldn’t dare point the finger of accusation, for Dr. Bickerstaff had the pictures that would send him to prison. He knew that he was fatally compromised, and had no choice but to join the organization.
When the blood of the slaughtered boy was washed clean from his body, he put on his suit, still feeling groggy, and was led out of the room by the tall and muscular men and down the stairs and out of the house (which he saw was Dr. Bickerstaff’s Georgetown estate) to an Escalade waiting in the driveway. The men in dark suits got in the front and he climbed in the back with Dr. Bickerstaff. As they drove to his apartment in Dupont Circle, Addison thought of the little dead boy he woke up next to.
“What are you going to do with that little boy’s body?” he asked Dr. Bickerstaff.
“It doesn’t matter. Throw it away.”
“Who was he?”
“Nobody. An orphan.”
“How do I know you won’t betray me, Dr. Bickerstaff? How do I know you won’t show the pictures you have of me with the boy to the police?”
“The pictures are merely an insurance policy, Darren. Don’t worry, they’ll never be revealed as long as you’re loyal. The organization has pictures of everyone in compromising situations, even me. That’s how it recruits its members and assures their loyalty.”
When the escalade arrived outside his apartment, one of the dark-suited men jumped out and opened the back door for him. Addison went into his apartment and found a stack of cash totaling fifty grand on his dining room table. Next to the money was a first-class ticket to Miami.
When he stepped off the plane in Miami the next day, Addison was greeted by one of the dark-suited men from Georgetown. He followed him to the other end of the airport where a private plane was waiting. When they walked out to the Learjet on the tarmac, Dr. Bickerstaff waved to them from the open door with a Bloody Mary in his hand.
“Guess where we’re going, Darren?” Dr. Bickerstaff said leading Addison and the dark-suited man into the cabin.
“It could only be Haiti.”
“It could only be Haiti indeed!” Dr. Bickerstaff said with a laugh.
Addison saw the other tall and muscular man sitting at the rear of the empty plane and his partner went to him. Addison sat at the front of the plane with Dr. Bickerstaff and enjoyed a couple of Bloody Mary’s as the plane took off and they watched Miami’s skyline disappear beyond the horizon through the little square windows.
“What does my initiation ceremony involve in Haiti?” Addison asked Dr. Bickerstaff swallowing the last of the salty red liquid and putting the glass on the table.
“It involves going to the organization’s orphanage, Heal the Precious Children, and doing some work there with the orphans,” Dr. Bickerstaff said putting down his Bloody Mary.
“What does the organization do with the orphans?”
“They get passed around quite a bit before they reach puberty,” Dr. Bickerstaff said, “and the prettier girls are kept after that to be breeders for the sanguinary feeders–the organization’s elite members–while the less attractive children serve the organization in some other way, like the little boy you woke up next to yesterday.”
“The organization’s elite members are vampires?”
“They’re not really vampires, Darren. They’re just pretending. They have sumptuous parties at their palaces and castles where the blood of children is consumed. All of the organization’s leaders are sanguinary feeders. If you’re not willing to drink the blood of the little ones there’s no chance of rising in the organization.”
“My God, what a bunch of sick fucks!”
“Some would consider them sick, others, just eccentric; but I tell you, they’re untouchable. The world’s most powerful people–princes, prime ministers and presidents–are all under their control.”
“I know I have no choice but to obey the organization faithfully, Dr. Bickerstaff. Like I said, you have me over a barrel because of those pictures, but I fear that if I have a soul, I’m putting it in peril. The organization is pure evil.”
“I felt the same way when I was first recruited and learned of the organization’s eccentricities, Darren, but I eventually came to accept them. If you really believe that medieval nonsense about you having a soul, you can heroically resist the organization and go to prison, I suppose, but you’ll never defeat it, or even put a dent in it. The organization is invincible–the only God there is in this world, and it takes care of its own. I have three lovely homes, Darren, all with the mortgages paid off, and my estate in Georgetown, opulent as it is, can’t compare to my Park Avenue penthouse or my mansion in Malibu. And the organization also takes care of my family, all four of my children have been accepted into Ivy’s, including Yale, the Alma Mater of some of the organization’s most powerful people!”
“I have no intention of ever disobeying the organization, Dr. Bickerstaff, I already told you that.”
“Excellent, Darren! I know you’ll be a great asset to the organization!” Dr. Bickerstaff said taking out a phone from the leather console and dialing a number. “Hello Rebecca, Dr. Bickerstaff here, please get me the Secretary of State,” he said into the receiver. A minute later, the Secretary of State came on the other end, and Dr. Bickerstaff greeted him. “Hello, Mr. Secretary, I have great news. Our latest recruit, Darren Addison, is eager to join the organization!” Dr. Bickerstaff listened for a few seconds, nodding silently. “The Secretary wants to speak to you,” he said handing the phone to Addison.
“So, you’re eager to join the organization, eh?” said the Secretary.
“Yes sir, I certainly am, Mr. Secretary.” Addison answered into the phone.
“Wonderful! I’ll see you at your initiation ceremony! May the blessings of Baphomet be upon you, Addison, now put Dr. Bickerstaff back on the phone.”
“Yes sir!” Addison said giving the phone back to his boss.
As Dr. Bickerstaff listened quietly to the Secretary, he put his hand over the receiver and whispered, “I think he’s well pleased with you, Darren.”
While Dr. Bickerstaff finished his conversation with the Secretary, Addison looked out the window to the sun-splashed sea and smiled to himself, for he knew membership in the organization would afford him excellent opportunities to improve his social standing. If the Secretary of State was himself a member, there was no telling what the possibilities were for his future career advancement.
When the jet touched down in Port Au Prince, a convoy of military trucks escorted Dr. Bickerstaff, Addison, and the two tall and muscular men through the choked and dirty streets to the Karibe Hotel, an oasis of opulence on the city’s outskirts. Addison followed the other men into the lobby of the Karibe where he saw Angelique, the beautiful model he met on Friday at Dr. Bickerstaff’s party, smiling at him in a bright red bikini.
“Hello Angelique,” Dr. Bickerstaff said. “I think you know our friend Darren.”
“We’ve met,” Angelique said making eyes at Addison. “It’s nice to see you again.”
“Do me a favor, my dear,” Dr. Bickerstaff said to her. “Wait for Darren in your room. I’m sure you two would love to get reacquainted. We have some professional issues to discuss first, however, private business–I’m sure you understand; Darren will join you shortly.”
“Of course,” Angelique said glancing over her shoulder at Darren as she elegantly ambled off. “My room’s number 210.”
“We’re in Port Au Prince for just one night, Darren,” Dr. Bickerstaff said as the two tall and muscular men went to the front desk, “tomorrow we’re off to Jacmel, a city to the south. That’s where the orphanage is, and that’s where your initiation ceremony will take place.”
“What’s the ceremony?”
“You’ll soon see,” Dr. Bickerstaff said stroking his gray beard with his long white fingers, “but there’s something you must know. Those who don’t go through with their initiation are utterly ruined by the organization, so be strong and do what you have to.”
“What does the organization do to those who don’t go through with their initiation?”
“It depends. Some are slaughtered on the spot, sacrificed for their organs, while others have their pictures exposed, and are presented to the public as child-killers and pedophiles.”
“I’ll do anything to prevent that.”
“That’s a good attitude to have, Darren.”
The tall and muscular men gave Dr. Bickerstaff his key and Addison held out his hand expecting them to give him one as well. “Oh, they don’t have your key,” Dr. Bickerstaff said with a laugh. “Tonight, you’ll be staying with Angelique. Go on Darren, go to Angelique in room 210. I’m sure she’s eagerly awaiting your arrival.”
Addison went to room 210 and saw that the door was open. He went in and saw Angelique lying on the bed rubbing lotion on her soft tan skin.
“Hello Darren,” she said with a sultry smile.
“Hello Angelique,” he replied sitting down on the bed by her side. She bit her coral lip and slid over to him, rubbing her palm on his thigh. She smelled like Clive Christian perfume and coconuts and he got as hard as a rock. “I’ll take care of that,” she said bending down and unzipping his fly. Her mouth swirled around the tip of his cock like a hurricane and his heart began racing. He pulled her back on to the bed by the string of her bikini bottoms and tore them off her lustrous flesh. Spreading her legs and sliding his dick into her pussy, he thrust in and out of her like a piston in a well-oiled cylinder.
When morning dawned Dr. Bickerstaff knocked on the door of room 210. “Come along, Darren, our convoy has arrived!” he called out, and Darren kissed Angelique goodbye and hurried down to the lobby. The same convoy of military trucks that had escorted them to the Karibe now escorted Dr. Bickerstaff, Addison, and the two tall and muscular men back to the airport where a helicopter awaited.
It took the whirlybird about twenty minutes to reach the city of Jacmel where a bright white, well-maintained building sat at the center of a sprawling slum. The building, which Addison thought resembled an American school or hospital, had Heal the Precious Children scrawled across its face in big blue block letters. A field of clean green grass surrounded the structure and the helicopter hovered down and landed on it.
When Addison followed Dr. Bickerstaff out of the helicopter they were greeted by a gaggle of children in tidy uniforms–scarlet polos and navy shorts–who smiled and called out “Bonjour! Bonjour!”
Dr. Bickerstaff patted the children on their heads and shook their hands as the two men in dark suits helped the youngsters into the chopper. “Today’s shipment,” Dr. Bickerstaff said to Addison as they strode toward the immaculate white building, “they think they’re going to their new families in America, but they’re really going to be passed around by members of the organization.”
A group of about twenty children, also in scarlet polos and navy shorts, were standing in a semi-circle in the lobby smiling and waving at Dr. Bickerstaff and Addison as they came in. Behind the happy children, a handful of Haitian army men were stationed to supervise.
A buxom, olive-skinned beauty with light brown eyes and dark black hair moved across the lobby to where Dr. Bickerstaff and Addison were standing. “Hello, Mr. Addison, I’m Rebecca Rabello,” she said, “President of Heal the Precious Children here in Jacmel, are you excited about your initiation?”
“I’m looking forward to it, Rebecca,” Addison said admiring her busty form. “When can we get started?”
“As soon as Dr. Bickerstaff selects the right kid,” Rebecca said smiling and flashing the bright white teeth beneath her plump red lips.
Dr. Bickerstaff separated a darling little girl, perhaps six or seven, from the rest of the group and presented her to Rebecca. “I think this child will do, Ms. Rabello,” he said. “Take Darren to your office and get him ready for his initiation.”
Darren leaned down to the especially pretty girl Dr. Bickerstaff had selected, and said, “Bonjour, petite enfant. Comment allez-vous?” and she smiled and shouted “Bien! Bien!” before answering in English, “I’m so happy to be going to America to be with my new family!”
Rebecca led Addison down the corridor and the tall and muscular men followed behind with the little girl between them. When Rebecca and Addison entered a door that had Bureau du President etched into its frosted glass the dark-suited men continued past them and disappeared with the child down the hall.
“Take off your clothes,” Rebecca said leading Addison by the hand to a sofa by the wall. “For your initiation you’ll be wearing a ceremonial robe.”
Addison removed his shirt and Rebecca took off her egg-white blouse. He got erect when she unhooked her black satin bra, freeing her huge, maroon-nippled breasts. Addison took off his trousers and Rebecca tore off her skirt. Her pubic hair was shaved to resemble the curling horns of a ram and she pushed Addison down on the sofa and straddled him. “Don’t cum inside me,” she said as he thrust into her and her tits slapped against his face, “we need your seed for the ceremony.” When she felt by its insistent throbbing that the champagne bottle was about to pop, she removed it from her sheath, got on her knees, and put her plump red lips around its spongey purple top. After he got off, Rebecca went to her desk, removed a golden bowl from a drawer, and spat out the nut she held in her cheeks like a chipmunk. “We have all the seed we’ll need,” she said looking at the ejaculate in the gleaming bowl. She licked the remaining semen off her lips and teeth and winked at Addison still sprawled on the sofa.
Going to the mahogany closet in the corner and removing two silky black robes with long pointy hoods, she threw one of the garments to Addison and pulled the other one over her buxom form. With the hood hanging over her head her pretty face could no longer be seen. “Put on your robe and follow me,” she said, and Addison rose from the sofa and put on the shiny robe. Rebecca grabbed the golden bowl from the desk and led Addison to a bookcase that was really a hidden door concealing a stairwell. After she closed the bookcase behind them, she led Addison down the stairs into the impenetrable darkness. When they reached the bottom of the steps, Rebecca swung open another door and she and Addison entered a dimly illuminated chamber.
Four figures in black robes stood against the far wall where fetters and thick chains were hanging and a red pentagram was painted on the black bricks. Between the four figures, standing at the center of the pentagram, a man wearing a goat-head helmet with grooved curling horns protruding from it held a silver dagger in his leather-gloved hand. Scrutinizing the man in the dim light, Addison realized he was the Secretary of State. The four figures pulled back their black hoods and Addison saw by the light of the torches on the walls that Angelique, Dr. Bickerstaff, and the two tall and muscular men were standing before him.
“Are you ready to submit to the power of Baphomet, and join the organization?” Dr. Bickerstaff solemnly asked.
“Baphomet…? What the fuck, Dr. Bickerstaff? I thought you said the organization wasn’t a hive of Satanists,” Addison said as Rebecca went to the Secretary of State and gave him the semen-splashed bowl.
“We’re not Satanists, Darren, we’re just pretending. Satan’s not a real being, he’s just a symbol for infinite freedom. The same’s true of Baphomet.”
“What are you going to do to me?”
“Don’t be afraid,” said Dr. Bickerstaff, “and don’t resist; now’s your chance to prove you’re one of us!”
“Is this a black mass?” Darren asked as the two tall and muscular men moved over to him and took him firmly by the elbows.
“It’s all just a test,” Dr. Bickerstaff said, “an opportunity to show that you have the mettle to be one of us.”
Remembering what Dr. Bickerstaff said about the organization ruining those who don’t go through with their initiations, Addison allowed the men to chain him spread-eagle with his back against the pentagram on the wall.
Rebecca and Angelique tore off their robes and began dancing and ululating wildly as Dr. Bickerstaff lifted Addison’s robe and exposed his genitals.
“This is a satanic ritual, isn’t it!” Addison exclaimed.
“Of course not, Darren,” said Dr. Bickerstaff, “we’re just pretending!”
The Secretary of State bowed before Addison, almost scraping him with the horns of his helmet, and gave Dr. Bickerstaff the golden bowl. “Hail Baphomet!” he cried nicking the tip of Addison’s dick with the silver dagger he held in his leather-gloved hand. A stream of blood flowed into the bowl Dr. Bickerstaff was holding and Rebecca and Angelique ceased dancing and ululating and took turns sucking the blood from Addison’s slit cock. The Secretary of State used his dagger to mix the blood with the semen in the bowl, lifted it solemnly above his horned head, and drank from it before giving it back to Dr. Bickerstaff, who drank from it as well and passed it to the two tall and muscular men who also imbibed the salty red liquid.
Rebecca and Angelique sucked out all the blood that would flow from Addison’s wound and took the bowl from the tall and muscular men and licked it clean like tigresses.
“Bring forth the sacrifice!” the Secretary of State said to one of the two tall and muscular men, who disappeared into the dark stairwell Rebecca had led Addison down. The remaining tall and muscular man released him from the fetters on the wall and Rebecca and Angelique put their robes back on and ululated again. “The nick on your dick will heal, but it’ll leave a nice little scar to always remind you who you are–one of us, a member of the organization,” the Secretary of State said placing his hand on Addison’s shoulder and smiling.
“Thank you for giving it to me, sir,” Addison said meekly.
“But one more thing remains to be done before you can complete your initiation… Do you know what that is?”
“Do I have to kill a kid?”
“We like to think of it as offering a sacrifice to Baphomet,” Dr. Bickerstaff said, “a chance to pledge your eternal allegiance to Satan, the master of the organization.”
“But you said you weren’t Satanists!”
“We’re not, Darren, we’re just pretending.”
“Satan just symbolizes the potentialities inside us,” the Secretary of State said, “he reminds us that we can do whatever we want because we’re the soul and center of the universe, not God.”
“By offering a sacrifice to Baphomet,” Dr. Bickerstaff said, “you’re proving you’re willing to do anything for the organization, and the organization rules the world, Darren, I’m telling you. If you serve it faithfully there’s nothing the organization won’t do for you. It even got me my penthouse in Manhattan and my mansion in Malibu.”
“I told you I’d always be loyal to the organization, Dr. Bickerstaff, you have my word on that.”
“You’re a fine man, Addison!” the Secretary of State said patting his back.
The tall and muscular man who’d disappeared into the stairwell returned with the especially pretty girl slung over his shoulder and brought her over to the black wall where he clapped the fetters on her tiny wrists and ankles. Hanging naked and spread-eagle where the red pentagram was painted with her eyelids drooping heavily over her eyeballs, the drugged and groggy little girl began to weep faintly.
“Praise Baphomet!” the Secretary of State said giving Addison the bloody silver dagger he still held in his leather-gloved hand.
“Hail Satan!” Dr. Bickerstaff exclaimed, and the ululating women cried, “Cut her open! Cut her open!”
As Addison approached the doomed girl, her tearful eyes opened wide, “Porquoi es-tu si cruel? Etes-vous un diable?” she said, and Addison stopped in his tracks, not wanting to harm her.
“Cut her open! Cut her open!” cried the ululating women, and Dr. Bickerstaff nodded at Addison, indicating that it was best for him to complete the initiation. With a swift lunge he slashed the girl’s abdomen and her guts spilled out from the gash like jelly from the sides of a sandwich.
“Why are you so cruel? Are you a devil?” the victim screamed.
Addison stabbed her again and again, hoping to kill her quickly, but she lingered on in agony. After the dagger punctured her lungs, the girl’s dreadful screams went on and off, like a siren beeping in high-pitched tones. Addison closed his eyes so as not to see the ghastly sight of the child dying, but the desperate, terrified bleating just got worse and he knew he had to cut the girl’s throat to shut her up. When he opened his eyes to slice her vocal chords, he saw he was no longer in the basement of the orphanage in Haiti, but in the bedroom of his apartment in Washington, D.C. The alarm clock by his bedside table was beeping loudly, and he struck the device with the side of his fist to turn it off. Sitting up with his heart racing and his flesh coated in sweat, he breathed in deeply to catch his breath. It took some time for the fear to dissipate, for the nightmare had seemed so real, but when he calmed down and realized it was all just a dream he laughed at himself, for he knew his nightmare had been entirely fantastical, and that the things he’d dreamed don’t really happen in the world.
Conor O’Brien Barnes has recently had stories published in or accepted by Mobius: A Journal of Social Thought, Datura, Down in the Dirt, and Bull: Men’s Fiction.