Discover more from Sketchy Scoops
An Unexpected Detour
And an Unexpected Meeting
Welcome to the tenth issue of Sketchy Scoops! You’re number one source for the most spurious content on the internet.
Gossip, Hearsay, and Scuttlebutt
What We’re Trying to Pass as Reporting. Not Guaranteed to be Factually Accurate— or even true.
How Will You Spend Eternity?
Sources have reported that shortly after publishing the post (linked below),received an unexpected knock at her door late in the evening. Despite her reservations, she opened the door and was greeted warmly by a sharply dressed young man wearing a knit tie.
He quickly introduced himself. She didn’t quite catch his name, but thought it sounded Slavic. Maybe Romanian? European languages had never been her strong suit. Most notably, he inquired about her interest in eternal life.
She was outraged and began to express her dismay at this late-hour attempt at evangelization, but he cut her off with an endearing smile. That was when she saw his fangs and realized that his offer was of a more predatory nature and not really the type of ‘life’ she’d initially considered.
“If you’d just invite me inside…”
She held up a hand to forestall his approach and asked, “And what would I do for all eternity?”
The man held out his intricately woven tie so she could inspect how tightly the various threads were bound together and asked, “Do you know how to knit? It’s the most wonderful of pastimes.”
Patricia J.L. writes Twisting the Myths. Even a cursory glance at her profile on Notes will reveal an expressed interest in stories about paranormal monsters and vampires specifically. She also has a deep and abiding love for knitting. If those topics interest you, you should consider following her Notes and checking out her newsletter.
Scoop Reports: An Unexpected Detour
I glanced at my watch and noticed that Shelly was late. Anyone who knows anything about Shelly knows that she’s not the type of person to be late. The entire time I’ve known her she’s never been late.
She’s been a good contact and source over the years. She rarely reaches out to me, but any time she does it’s always been because she has something big to share. Two of my most high-profile reports began as investigations because of information I’d sourced from her.
It really is unlike her to not be here. It makes me wonder if this is the time that she went too far. Is her failure to appear sending me a message? Is it telling me that she’s finally gotten too close to the wrong secrets. Have I? That’s a disturbing thought and it leads to another one.
The sun has recently set, and everything has taken on that hazy nimbus of twilight where reality softens at the edges and forms bleed together. I’m sitting on a bench next to the parking lot. The small building used for the bathrooms and the solitary vending machine is behind me.
We’ve always used these out of the way places like this to meet. It’s more secure and there’s less chance of being overheard. These types of locations also make it easy to tell if you’re being followed because so few people come to these out of the way spots. Traffic here is a novelty.
However, locations like these also offer a very real downside. And oddly enough, that same privacy that attracts us to these locations also presents an element of uncontrolled danger… simply because you really are on your own out here. No witnesses. No police or municipal assistance to come to your aid. It’s just you and the solitude you deliberately sought out.
Immediately outside of this rest area is a long stretch of abandoned highway that will eventually take you to Lexington, Kentucky, but not before you drive past miles and miles of abandoned homes and small towns that have seen better days. For the most part, there’s nothing but trees and lonely roads for miles and miles in every direction.
This is the kind of place where people get disappeared.
No sooner had I had that realization than a bag was pushed down over my head. My world went dark. Rough hands grabbed me and jerked me upright. Then, someone grabbed my arms from behind and twisted them so hard it felt like they were going to dislocate from my shoulders. That pressure let up when I felt the restraints being clamped down across my wrists. They were tightened until it felt like the coarse metal was grinding into my bones.
“Walk,” a low voice grated into my ear, and I was led across the parking lot.
I know where this is going. I’m about to be shoved into some unmarked van and driven deeper into the hills. That’s where my body will be dumped, and some shadowy cabal’s problems will be solved by forever silencing my voice.
I notice when we leave the pavement and the ground changes to grass. Two dozen steps further and we’re walking on the soft dirt of the forest. Are they leading me into the woods behind the rest area? It feels right. I’m pulled from one side to the other as we walk. I assume it’s to avoid trees, rocks, or some other hazard that would slow our progress. After what feels like an hour, someone announces, “It’s enough.”
A different voice begins speaking softly. I can’t make out the words, but there’s a cadence to it. A rhythm that almost sounds like singing. It’s a chant in a language that I don’t understand. The crickets and cicada have gone quiet. The utter stillness of these woods is eerie and terrifying in a way that I can’t adequately describe. The only sound is the modulated intonations of that horrible chant that fills my ears.
The atmosphere around me shifts palpably. I feel the air growing warmer and somehow it exudes an aura of untapped energy. The chanting grows lower, and that latent force only grows in intensity. It felt like an electrical storm, teetering on the brink of violent release.
The mask is ripped away from my face and I’m blinded by an intense, blazing halo suspended midair. It’s a window whose edges are framed with a revolving ring of flame. Beyond the fiery threshold, I can see multiple figures bathed in a soft, warm glow. They sit pensively, their focus squarely on me. I want to run, to hide, to do anything to avoid their scrutiny, but that feeling doesn’t last long.
Strong hands grab my arms, and I’m led closer to that warmth. That was when I realized this wasn’t a window at all. It was a portal. Someone shoved me from behind. I stumble ahead a couple of steps and struggle to keep on my footing, but it’s pointless. I fall forward. I fall through the portal and land roughly on the other side. With my hands bound behind me, I’m unable to control my fall and go skittering across the floor face first.
I feel the blood pooling under my face. I can’t tell if it’s just scrapes and scratches or if my nose has started to bleed. I roll over onto my back and attempt to get up, but someone pushes me down. The seated figures mutter something among themselves and then, I’m pulled to my feet.
Someone grabs me and spins me around, so I am facing this council or whatever they are. That’s when I see her. It’s when I know I’ve been betrayed.
“I trusted you!” I shout. I can immediately tell it’s the wrong move.
Their demeanor communicates their feelings well enough. I was supposed to be deferential and respectful, but I don’t care. “How could you do this? You! Of all people. I never expected this from you.”
At first, she doesn’t respond. I was about to speak again, but some decision had quietly been reached among the council. One of the figures looked in her direction and gave a slight nod. She leaned forward in her chair and spoke. “I tried to warn you, Sam. I didn’t want things to come to this, but you refused to be deterred. You can’t be allowed to continue to upset the balance. You are revealing truths the world isn’t ready to hear.”
“But, Bessie, you’re family…”
A Note from the Editor
Ten issues in! Thank you for allowing me to be part of your week. I enjoy interacting with so many of you folks in the comments here and on Notes. We really are forming quite the little community here and I am so happy to be part of it. More than that, I’m happy to see that community growing beyond this newsletter as people strike up friendships and connect over our shared interests.
I appreciate all of the excitement and encouragement you folks have expressed and sent my way. If you know someone who would enjoy Sketchy Scoops, please tell them about the newsletter. Until next week remember the Citizen Journalist’s creed: If you see something, say something.