A quick word of introduction, recall that I do not write DARK stories.
Jocelyn fretted as she climbed the hill alone towards the meeting place.
They had planned it perfectly; a light fog, no moon and dark enough to badly want a forbidden flashlight.
This club was so exclusive, so well placed that they could make or break someone’s college career. So, she’d carefully considered her invitation but fretted because the cost of joining was so high.
It only added to her indignity that only pretty girls were invited by the all-male membership committee. Everyone knew that guys paid a different price to join. Her anger grew deeper with each step up the trail she’d previously visited in the daylight so she would know the way.
The last glimmers of the setting sun were disappearing and the forest closed in. Only the scarce white stones distinguished the path leading her to where she heard the murmurs from the gathered council but could not see the gathering place with its log seating and one special chair reserved for her, the chosen inductee.
The white stones suddenly spread out, so she paused to wait as instructed. Someone whispered, “She’s here.”
She set her large paper bag down which caused the bottles inside to clink. They broke a fragile silence but certified to those waiting for her that she’d met their requirements. She bit her lip to think of the gall and temerity it took to require a woman to bring beer for those gathered just to humiliate her.
She straightened the ill-fitting clothing they’d given her, the skirt and vest all covered by a belted robe – all crudely made of white bed linens, and mentally recalled the order that she was to remove them as someone said, “Proceed.”
She picked up the bag as four committee members uncovered four simple cans with dying embers, lighting the meeting place in a dim orange glow, enough for those present to see what they came to see.
Jocelyn, walked through a gap in the log seating, set her bag down in the center of the group and walked to her assigned seat. Then she sat down to wait.
One by one, the members began to grunt approvingly. She kept her face neutral as she thought, They sound anxious, even hungry.
Their grunting died down and the voice repeated, “Proceed,” but this time there was a tone of satisfaction or gloating in his voice.
Jocelyn stood up, spread her arms as she’d been instructed to do, then dropped her arms and untied the cloth belt holding the robe together. It opened and she pulled both sides off her shoulders and paused.
The hungry grunting resumed but she kept her face free of expression. Defiant but complying, she tightly closed her eyes as if in shame. As the robe dropped to the ground it pulled a thin wire which removed a shield from between two connectors and a simple electric circuit was completed.
Her solution went live.
First, the batteries sewn into the vest ignited an array of piercingly brilliant LEDs which blinded all the wide-open eyes around the circle who were so anxious to see what she would not be revealing. Their gasps of distress were her queue to repeat a move she’d practiced during her earlier visit.
She stepped to the side of the chair and backed up 10 steps which pulled a second wire to trigger a device hidden in the bag back in the center of the meeting. Jocelyn knew the flash would be short so she opened her eyes to enjoy the misery she’d just delivered and she smiled as she watched her mechanism deploy.
She was safely out of range as her device began to whine loudly as a fly-wheel spun up to speed. At the same time, a selenoid fired,raising a spinning plastic pipe above the rim of the bag so two pepper spray canisters could void themselves into the faces of the blind boys who immediately screamed in distress. They doubled over as their sinus’ and tear ducts exploded with fluid leaving them unharmed, but miserable as the device continue to run.
Next came two cans of fart-spray that were sprayed out onto the boys, soaking each member with the reeking, sticky goo.
Her favorite stage was the last. The fart cans ceased their attack, but a canister of compressed air exploded from beneath the pipe to blow two waves of glitter onto the line of the exalted members – all in less than six seconds.
Jocelyn looked out to the crumpled, writhing assembly. She walked to the center and lifted her device out from the bag. “Sorry boys, but you’ve been pepper sprayed, fart-scented and coated in glitter. None of it will be permanent but it’s the only show you’ll be getting tonight. In the future, you might want to be a bit more careful with engineering students. But, as a consolation, I’ll leave the beer for you to enjoy when you can.”
She enjoyed their moans and swearing as she strolled back down the trail, smiling because her device had worked so well. I do hope they enjoy the beers, she thought.
Earlier, she’d carefully opened each beer bottle and tainted the contents with ipecac syrup, the medication used to induce vomiting, then resealed each bottle.
Humph, she thought. I might get lucky with those beers. I’ll pick up the infrared animal cameras tomorrow after class. I may have a video that would be sure to go viral.
Inspired by KL Caley’s #WRITEPHOTO Challenge to write a
short story about her Sept. 9, 2022, photo: Meeting