Great stories about good people caught in difficult situations.

Chapter Three Hundred and Thirty : The serpent returns

Looking for the beginning? Download your free copy of Denver Cereal Volume 1


Tuesday evening — 8:45 p.m.

Phoenix, Arizona

“Dionne,” Yvonne whispered.

Dionne turned her head to look at Yvonne from her position near the door. The overhead sprinklers continued to shower them with frigid water. Dionne was somewhat shielded from the onslaught by the ornate door molding. Yvonne was sitting under a folding chair from the supply closet. They had arranged folding chairs over Agent Angie. Those horrible men came in right after Yvonne hung up the phone. They told them to get ready because a helicopter on its way.

“She’s waking up,” Yvonne pointed to Agent Angie.

Dionne belly-crawled to the spot behind the table where Agent Angie lay. She shooed Yvonne away and Yvonne leaned back. Dionne took Agent Angie’s hand and leaned over her.

“What happened?” Agent Angie asked.

“You were shot,” Dionne said. “Just under your vest.”

“Through the girl,” Agent Angie nodded. “And she’s …?”

“Dead,” Dionne said.

“How bad am I?” Agent Angie asked.

“Depends,” Dionne said.

“On?” Agent Angie asked.

“When you get to the hospital,” Dionne said. “And what these so and so’s do.”

Agent Angie didn’t say anything. Dionne leaned into Yvonne.

“Aren’t you supposed to call again?” Dionne asked.

“In one more minute,” Yvonne said.

“Who …calling?” Agent Angie asked.

“Seth O’Malley,” Yvonne said.

“Why?” Agent Angie’s voice was more air than sound.

“It’s the only number we know,” Dionne said. “Now shush, you need to save your strength.”

They heard a noise in the hallway and Dionne peered around the corner.

“They’re coming,” Dionne said. She looked at Yvonne. “You’d better call.”

Yvonne picked up the phone and dialed Seth again. The phone clicked and clicked again.

“Yvie?” Rodney’s voice came on the line.

“Rodney?” Yvonne felt a surge of power just hearing his voice.

“Ne Ne is here, honey,” Rodney said. “She came to help save you.”

“Ne Ne …” Yvonne said under her breath. “But what can she do?”

“She’s helping Miss T,” Rodney said. “Seth gave the police the information you told him.”

“About the helicopter?” Yvonne asked.

“Exactly,” Rodney said.

“Can I talk to her?” Tanesha asked.

“Here’s Miss T,” Rodney said. “I love you.”

His words made her glow all over, but he was gone before she could reply.

“Mom,” Tanesha said. “Listen to me very closely.”

“Yes, Tannie,” Yvonne said.

“They are not going by helicopter,” Tanesha said.

“What?” Yvonne said.

“They told you that to trick the police.”

“Tannie says no helicopter,” Yvonne said.

“Figures,” Dionne said.

“Agent Angie has a taser,” Tanesha said.

“I have her gun, Tannie,” Yvonne said.

“Let them find the gun,” Tanesha said.

“Hide the taser,” Yvonne said. She nodded to Dionne and pointed to Agent Angie.

“Do you have a taser?” Dionne asked.

“I’m lying on it,” Agent Angie said.

“They’re going to go down the stairs with you,” Tanesha said. “It’s protected from the police. When you reach the fifth floor, something will happen and you’ll be able to use the taser.”

“And get away?” Yvonne asked.

“Go through the door,” Tanesha said. “Ne Ne and Dad will be waiting for you on the other side of the fifth floor door.”

“Really?” Yvonne asked. “That’s nice.”

“Mom!” Tanesha said. “Focus up.”

“Yes, Tannie,” Yvonne said.

“They are going to want some … uh …”

“Sugar?” Yvonne asked.

“Right, sugar, before they go,” Tanesha said. “You remember how to stall?”

“We can do that,” Yvonne said. “Dionne’s good at it.”

“What?” Dionne asked in a whisper.

“Making men wait for sex,” Yvonne said. “We have to tease them into waiting. You up for that?”

“And it will save us?”

“Tannie thinks so,” Yvonne said.

“I’ll do it,” Dionne nodded. “But, how does Tannie know?”

“How do you know?” Yvonne asked.

“Turns out knowing everything and being bossy is my fairy power,” Tanesha said with a snort. “Jeraine is not surprised.”

Yvonne laughed.

“Mom,” Tanesha said. “Listen.”

“Yes, Tannie,” Yvonne said.

“You can have anything you want,” Tannie said. “You just have to want it badly enough. Ne Ne can’t get Dad there without your help. Can you help?”

“Rodney’s waiting for me on the fifth floor, just behind the stairs door,” Yvonne said.

“Exactly,” Tannie said. “You’ll remember?”

“Trick them into delaying sex, but get them all flustered and impatient,” Yvonne said. “Let them find the gun, but not the taser.”

Dionne held up Agent Angie’s taser.

“What’s next?” Tanesha asked.

“Go with them down the stairs,” Yvonne said. “Taser them on the fifth floor landing of the stairs. Go through and find Rodney and Ne Ne. Did I miss anything?”

“You have to want Dad to be on the fifth floor,” Tanesha said.

“That’s a given,” Yvonne said. “Anything else?”

“Don’t think a negative thought,” Tanesha said. “Your fairy power is high now. You could blow up the whole building or whatever. Hold your power in like you used to do with your keeper.”

“Got it,” Yvonne said.

“And Mom?”

“Yes, Tannie?”

“Good luck,” Tanesha said.

“They’re coming,” Yvonne said. “Love you, Tannie.”

Yvonne hung up the phone. She looked at Dionne.

“Ready?” Yvonne asked.

Dionne nodded. She hid the taser in her bra. Yvonne moved it so you couldn’t see it.

“I see you ladies are ready for us,” a man’s voice came from the front of the room.

Yvonne put on a bright smile. Dionne mimicked her expression and they stood up.

“Just for you, sugar pea,” Yvonne said.


Tuesday night — 8:58 p.m.

Denver, Colorado

“She was down here?” Sandy asked Tanesha as they walked down the basement stairs.

“When time stopped,” Tanesha said.

“And you made that happen?” Jill asked. She walking down the steps behind them.

“That’s what she said,” Tanesha said.

“Do we believe her?” Sandy asked. “I mean, Maresol hates her.”

“That’s because she didn’t save Mom,” Tanesha said.

“Good reason, I think,” Sandy said.

“What did she want down here?” Jill asked.

“She wanted to know where the serpent was killed.”

“Saint Jude?” Jill asked.

“No, I thought that too,” Tanesha said. “She wanted to know where the creature inside Saint Jude exploded.”

Tanesha pointed to the rafters.

“She held her hands out like this,” Tanesha said. “And …”

A mist like liquid came off the beams.

“Oh creepy,” Heather said.

“I washed that!” Sandy said. “Myself! Jill even decontaminated it and …”

“Quick,” Tanesha said. “Do you have a clean container?”

Jill ran to the recycling bin in the corner and found an empty plastic juice bottle. Sandy took it from her and washed it in the sink in the hidden room.

“Did she ask about in here?” Sandy asked as she came back with the bottle.

“No.” Tanesha held the bottle up to the mist and it went inside. “She didn’t ask about the babies either.”

“Maybe she doesn’t know about them,” Heather said.

“Maybe,” Tanesha said. “She said this space was infamous. I didn’t ask her but I got the impression it was famous because of us killing the serpent. She said that everyone was in the amber because of Delphie and that it had to do with all of this.”

Her friends gave her skeptical looks.

“I know!” Tanesha said. “It all sounds like bullshit.”

“We should ask Edie,” Jill said.

“Where is Edie?” Heather asked.

“She’s on a date with James Kelly.” Jill rubbed her hands together. “She was really excited.”

The women smiled at the idea that Edie and James Kelly would start a relationship.

“What do I do with this?” Tanesha asked.

She held up the sludge from the beam. The girlfriends shrugged.

“What if you …” Heather started. Tanesha turned to look at her. “Nah …”

“What?” Tanesha asked.

“What if you did that, you know, with your hands on the floor where we killed the babies?” Heather asked.

“Why?” Jill asked.

“I don’t know,” Heather shrugged. “Maybe something will happen.”

“Like the mist?” Tanesha said.

“Yeah,” Sandy said. “If it’s so important, we should get more from the babies. Don’t you think?”

Jill and Heather nodded.

“Ok, but stand back,” Tanesha said.

“What are you guys doing?” Honey asked from the top landing of the basement stairs.

Sandy ran up the stairs to her. Honey was so tiny that even Sandy could carry her down the stairs. Jill grabbed Honey’s chair and carried it down.

“The fairy came down here and got some juju from the serpent,” Heather said while Honey got settled.

“She said it would help get everyone out of the sea of amber,” Tanesha said. “I did what she did and I got …”

Tanesha held up the juice bottle with the sludge in it.

“And that’s supposed to do anything?” Honey asked.

Tanesha shrugged.

“It looks like tobacco spit,” Honey said. “You know from chewing.”

“Ew,” the women said in unison and made disgusted faces.

“She said this serpent juice would save everyone,” Tanesha said.

“What about the babies?” Honey asked.

“That’s what we said,” Jill nodded.

“Don’t you think we should ask your dad, Jill?” Heather asked. “He’s just back from there and …”

“We can ask him,” Jill said. “I want to ask Edie too. But if this juice is key, we should get as much as possible.”

“Before the fairy figures out there’s more stuff to get,” Sandy said.

“She’s right,” Tanesha said.

“I think we should be careful,” Jill said. “This creature wanted to infect us so it could take us over. There’s no reason to believe this stuff doesn’t have the same desire.”

“Or do the same thing,” Tanesha said.

“Right,” Honey said. “Good point. Should we get some hairspray?”

“Good thinking,” Sandy said.

She jogged to the room hidden by the paneling and came back with hairspray cans.

“Lighters?” Tanesha asked.

“Oh yeah,” Sandy ran back to the room and got out the lighters they had used before.

Honey laughed when she could click her own lighter, and the women cheered. While the party continued upstairs, they lit their hairspray.

“We’re ready,” Sandy said.

“Start over here,” Heather said. “We killed a whole bunch over here.”

Tanesha held her hands out over the place where they’d killed the baby serpents.

And nothing happened.

“Try over here!” Jill said. She pointed to the burn marks from where they’d killed five or six of them.

Nothing happened.

“I’m going to try all of them,” Tanesha said.

She ran from spot to spot. A slight hissing sound started when she had waved her hands over five or six spots.

“Keep going!” Jill said.

Tanesha went from spot to spot. She was so focused on what she was doing that she didn’t notice the room was getting foggy. The fog began to swirl around them.

“Tanesha!” Heather yelled.

“Get behind me,” Tanesha said.

“No,” Honey said. “We have our flame throwers. We need to protect each other, not have you sacrifice yourself for us.”

As the tornado took form, the women moved against the wall. The places where the baby serpents had died continued to give off steam and the steam swirled with ever greater intensity. There was a snapping sound. The fog joined together to create the shape of a female serpent. The fog-serpent hissed at the women.


Tuesday night — 9:05 p.m.

Phoenix, Arizona

“How did you do that?” Dionne asked in a low voice as she pushed the bathroom door open.

Yvonne followed her in the room and made a beeline to a stall. Dionne waited to see if Yvonne would answer. When she didn’t, Dionne went into the stall next to Yvonne’s. After a few minutes, Yvonne flushed the toilet and went out into the main area.

“Sorry,” Yvonne said. “I really had to go.”

“Me too,” Dionne said. She flushed the toilet in her stall and came out. “How did you get them to let us come in here?”

“Tannie said that I could have anything I wanted,” Yvonne said.

“And your fairy power is high,” Dionne nodded.

“It worked,” Yvonne said.

“And now?” Dionne asked.

She looked at Yvonne in the mirror. Yvonne smiled.

“Don’t worry,” Yvonne said.

“What do you want now?” Dionne asked.

“A warm bed and a handsome man,” Yvonne said. She washed her face and took a paper towel from the dispenser. “Warm bed. Handsome man.”

“You think that will work?” Dionne asked. “They were pretty …”

“No,” Yvonne said. “I don’t think it will work.”

“Then what?” Dionne asked.

Yvonne leaned into the mirror to use the paper towel to wipe the mascara from under her eyes. She kept working and didn’t say a word. Dionne touched her shoulder.

“What do you think, Yvie?” Dionne asked.

Yvonne sighed. Dionne scowled.

“What is it?” Dionne asked.

“Rodney’s not coming,” Yvonne put her hand on her heart. “I know it in my heart.”

“But Tanesha…”

“She was tricked,” Yvonne said.

“What are we going to do?” Dionne asked.

“We’re going to have to kill them,” Yvonne said.

“We have to?” Dionne asked.

Yvonne nodded.

“There’s no way around it?” Dionne asked.

“No,” Yvonne said.

“If there’s no way around it,” Dionne sniffed. “Can we kill them before…”

She nodded and threw the towel away. There was a knock on the door and one of the men leaned in.

“You girls ready to party?” he asked.

Yvonne stuck a bright smile on her face and followed him out of the bathroom. Dionne stood there for a moment, gathering her courage. Yvonne turned at the door and smiled. Dionne returned her smile and followed Yvonne out of the bathroom.


Tuesday evening — 9:08 p.m.

Denver, Colorado

“You know what?” Tanesha asked. “I don’t have time for this.”

The fog-serpent laughed at her words.

“No, she’s right,” Honey said. “I don’t have time for this shit, either.”

“Speak your mind,” Tanesha said.

“I don’t take orders from you,” the fog-serpent said in a subtly deep voice that seemed to resonate through their bones.

“Whatever,” Tanesha said.

She pointed toward the door. Honey started rolling toward the stairs. Heather and Jill followed her. Sandy stayed by Tanesha’s side.

“You’ll never see your father again,” the fog-serpent said.

“My father?” Tanesha spun to face the fog-serpent. “What the hell are you talking about?”

The fog-serpent laughed.

“Tell us!” Jill demanded.

“Yeesss,” the fog-serpent hissed. “The little murderous Titan makes demands.”

The fog-serpent rolled the “r” to make it sound like he was talking about something true, awful, and amusing.

“What are the rules of that place?” Sandy asked Heather in a low tone. Honey was seated between them so Sandy had to lean over her.

“Sea of amber?” Heather asked.

Sandy nodded. Jill lit her hairspray flame thrower and took a step forward to the fog-serpent. Honey looked up at Heather for an answer.

“I can find it, you can go there. Otherwise…” Heather shrugged. “Not much is known about the sea of amber because it traps everyone who’s there.”

“Except Jill’s dad,” Sandy said.

The fog-serpent laughed at Jill but moved away from the flame. Tanesha opened her mouth, but Sandy put her hand on Tanesha’s arm.

“The fairy world is rotten from the inside,” Sandy said in a low voice.

Tanesha reeled back from Sandy and Sandy nodded.

“Yeeessss,” the fog-serpent hissed. “Now you understand.”

“Understand what?” Heather asked.

“That either wasn’t Ne Ne or she’s been perverted by…” Tanesha gestured to the serpent.

The fog-serpent laughed.

“And you did this because?” Heather asked the fog-serpent.

When Heather spoke the fog-serpent shifted away from her and moved to attack Honey. Jill jumped in front of Honey with her hairspray-flamethrower. The fog-serpent moved back.

“Human… Titan… Fairy…” Tanesha’s voice was low as if she was talking to herself. She looked at Heather. “It’s afraid of your voice.”

Heather turned her head to look at Tanesha.

“Ask about Rodney,” Sandy said in a low voice.

“And Ne Ne,” Honey said.

“Yes,” Heather took a step toward the fog-serpent. “Tell me about Rodney Smith.”

The fog-serpent looked as if it didn’t want to respond.

“Tell me!” Heather demanded.

“He is with the others in the sea of amber,” the fog-serpent said.

“And Ne Ne,” Heather demanded.

“Something is rotten at the core of fairydom,” the fog-serpent said.

“And that means?” Heather asked.

The fog-serpent hissed at Heather. Much to her friends’ amazement, Heather seemed to grow in size. She began to glow with a kind of golden radiance.

“You will tell me,” Heather said. The fog-serpent weaved as if it was woozy. “Now!”

“All fairies are vulnerable now,” the fog-serpent said. “The prize is almost at hand, and the queendom will fall.”

“The prize?” Heather asked.

“He means my mother,” Tanesha said.

“And the sea of amber?” Heather demanded.

“The sea of amber is the domain of the serpent,” the fog-serpent said.

The fog-serpent fell silent.

“To?” Heather demanded. “What do you do with the sea of amber?”

“It doesn’t know,” Tanesha said.

“Why us?” Honey asked. “Why did you steal our family?”

Heather repeated the question.

“You started this war,” the fog-serpent said. “We only engaged after you killed two of our kind and all of their progeny.”

“And Yvonne?” Heather asked.

“Capture the prize and all of fairydom will fall,” the fog-serpent said.

“Yvonne is the prize?” Heather asked.

“Yessss,” the fog-serpent said.

“How do we release our loved ones?” Jill asked.

“You can’t,” the fog-serpent said. “No one has ever escaped the sea of amber.”

“My father did,” Jill said.

“We replaced him soon enough,” the fog-serpent said.

“With Rodney?” Heather demanded.

“Yesssss,” the fog-serpent said. “His loss will tear the heart out of the prize and fairydom will fall.”

“And Ne Ne?” Heather demanded.

The fog-serpent laughed.

“Tell me know!” Heather demanded.

“Ne Ne no more,” the fog-serpent laughed.

Heather glanced at the disgust on Sandy’s face, the rage on Tanesha’s, the sly-anger on Jill’s face, and the quiet power on Honey’s face.

“You’re a liar,” Heather said. “I will cast you out of this world.”

“You don’t have the power half-breed,” the fog-serpent said.

“Hera,” Heather said in a low voice. “Near me now.”

The air filled with electricity and the fog-serpent’s continence radiate fear.

“There is nothing wrong with fairydom, is there?” Heather asked.

“No,” the fog-serpent said.

“Ne Ne doesn’t even know you replaced her here,” Heather said.

“She does not,” the fog-serpent said.

“And Abi? Fin?” Heather asked.

“Prince Finegal and his mate are resting in the palace of the Queen and King,” the fog-serpent said. “The Queen is expecting a grandchild.”

The air cackled.

“We will get the prize,” the fog-serpent said. “We will destroy them like you destroyed…”

Heather clapped her hands together and the fog-serpent exploded with a loud “Boom.” The women turned their backs to the barrage of tiny water particles and fog.

“What the hell?” Jeraine’s voice came from upstairs.

The music turned off and everyone was suddenly standing on the landing of the basement stairs.

“Your mom’s in terrible danger,” Heather said.

Tanesha nodded.

“There’s something you need to know,” Heather said.

“Mom?” Tink asked. She hesitated for a moment before running down the stairs.

“She’s not the prize,” Tanesha said.

“You know,” Heather said.

“Miss T, are you all right?” Jeraine said at the same time Jabari said, “Mommy?”

“Ne Ne or whoever that was said something about it,” Tanesha said.

“What is she talking about?” Sandy asked.

“I’m the prize,” Tanesha said under her breath. She gave Sandy a nod and went to greet Jeraine.

Denver Cereal continues next week…


Support Stories by Claudia

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.