Sunday, Bloody Sunday
By: Jim Bates
"Okay. For our last song, we're going to do something by U2. You'll probably recognize it." Kari grinned as the crowd cheered. The fans of her band Hammerhead knew what was coming, but it was always a thrill to hear the crowd's raucous response.
On the drums Mary counted down with her sticks, one, two, three, four, while Eve did a finger roll on her base guitar. Then Kari hit a series of power chords on her faded red Stratocaster before screaming into the microphone the first words to Sunday, Bloody Sunday, "I can't believe the news today. Oh, I can't believe my eyes." She watched with glee as the crowd in the small club in Des Moines went wild, jumping and bumping into each other, dancing with reckless abandon.
Off to the side of the small stage Mary's sister and roadie Jan surveyed the sweating mass of fervent young men hoping around and going nuts while most of the young women stood quietly and watched the band. The guys sported a variety of tattoos and wore modified biker gear, black jeans and leather. The young women were tattooed and wore dark eye shadow, tight jeans and revealing blouses. All and all the crowd dressed and acted the same as pretty much every other show the popular underground band played.
Jan looked the guys over with interest because tonight was special. Tonight, was Saturday night, soon to be Sunday morning, and she would have to chose a guy for the after the concert party. Like the name of the song they were playing, it would soon be Sunday, bloody Sunday, the favorite day of the week for the band, and she had tonight's after concert victim already picked out.
As the last chords died away and cheers filled the club wanting, "More, more, more," Jan worked her way through the euphoric mass of humanity. Hammerhead had some of the most devoted fans in the upper Midwest and she almost felt sorry for the guy for what was going to happen later that night. Almost but not quite. Let's face it, Jan though to herself, muscling a guy with a face full of piercings aside. These guys deserve what they get, and tonight's guy will be no different.
She gave him the once over as she approached. He was in his early twenties, a short, thin skinhead with a skull tattooed on his neck. He wore black jeans, a black sleeveless Metallica tee-shirt and scuffed motor cycle boots. He had a silver bone piercing his nose and a thick bicycle chain wrapped around his left wrist.
He was also wobbly on his feet, laughing and high-fiving with two friends, a tall skinny guy and a short fat one, all three of them well on the way to being falling down passed out drunk. Good. It'll make things all that much easier.
She cozied up and put her arm around his shoulder, choking down a gag reflex due to his rank odor. She put the body stink out of her mind because flirting with the guy she'd chosen was all part of the game. "Hey there buddy," she smiled and licked his ear, "Want to come and party with the band?" She kissed him quick on the lips, looked at his friends and winked, then rubbed up against his thigh, grinning, "How about it? Think you can handle Hammerhead?" His friends hooted and howled, clinked their beer bottles and high-fived each other.
"Go for it, Frankie," the tall one yelled.
"You be the man," added the fat one.
Frankie looked Jan over with licentious, but blurry eyes."Sure, babe," he smiled a drunken smile and reached for her chest. She stepped aside as he burped, "Anytime."
His two companions grinned at each other, thinking how easy it was going to be for their friend to get laid tonight, a fantasy that made them both happy for him and jealous at the same time.
The skinny one said, "Hey sweetheart. Got room for two more. Me and Sid are up for it. The more the merrier you know."
"I'll just bet you are," Jan said, trying not to puke in disgust. "But you two cool your jets and take a chill-pill. I'll have to ask the band first." Then she caressed Frankie's bicep before squeezing his crotch. "You stick around and wait right here, hot-stuff. You're going to have the time of your life tonight."
Nearly salivating, he started to weave toward the stage where the rest of the band was putting their equipment away. Jan grabbed his shirt and stopped him. "Hold on there, speedy. We've got to tear down, first. Go get another beer. I'll come and get you when we're done."
He stumbled back and leaned against the bar to regain his balance. "I'll be waitin' beautiful," he slurred. "Don't be long." His friends grinned and high-five amongst themselves some more as Jan left and walked toward the stage. Idiots, is what she was thinking. Complete morons.
When Kari, Eve and Mary finished the last song they hung around the stage like they usually did, talking to fans and signing autographs. After the crowd dispersed they began putting their equipment away. When Jan returned all four of them finished breaking down the set and then began the half hour process of hauling the equipment; the guitars, drums, amps and electrical cords, outside to where they stowed it in the back of the big RV they used as their tour bus.
When the last of it was packed away they returned to the club and stood at the back of the stage. Mary asked her sister, "Hey, Jan. That guy still out there?"
Jan looked toward the bar where the three guys had sat drinking beer since she had left them."Oh, yeah," she nodded her head emphatically. "You can believe it. He and his two buddies are hanging around like dogs in heat. You sure you three don't want to try both of his friends, too? Just for something different?"
Mary turned to her band mates, "You want to do a couple more? All three? Might be fun."
Kari and Eve looked at each other. They were lovers and monogamous with each other, but the thought of getting more than what just one little skinhead had to offer was appealing. Besides, last Sunday had been a bust. The crowd had been small and the choices slim. In the end, they'd passed. Tonight? Tonight, was a good sized crowd with a lot to choose from. Tonight, it was going to be a different story.
Kari had long blond hair and a thin build. Eve cut her auburn hair close to her skull on one side and was a few inches shorter than her lover. They looked at each other and grinned.
"What the hell? Sure, why not," Kari said.
"Yeah, I'm game if she is," Eve added.
"Then it's agreed," Jan said. "Three guys coming right up. You ladies get ready. I'll go get them."
Jan was a large boned woman, five-ten and nearly two hundred pounds. She had an air of authority about her with her short brown hair and no-nonsense lumberjack shirt, bib overalls and doc martins. She jumped down from the stage and sauntered over to where the guys were standing, the three guys she now thought of as The Victims.
"Hi there," she said walking up to them and smiling. "I talked to the band and I've got a proposition for you: they want to meet all three of you." She watched as three sets of eyes grew wide. Bingo, she thought to herself. That was easy. "What do you all think about that?"
"Yeah!" They said in unison. "Bring 'em on."
The three guys were nearly drooling they were so excited. God, Jan thought, what a bunch of horny bastards. Well, they're going to get what they deserve. "Okay, then, boys, come on. Time's-a-wasting. The girls are waiting for you."
"Yea!" They screamed, and nearly tripped over each other in their drunken excitement.
Jan took them out the back exit of the club, the three guys laughing and pounding on each other with excitement. They were so drunk they could hardly stand and had to hold each other up as they walked. Jan lead the way to the RV, herding the young men along thinking, Man, it shouldn't be so easy. But tonight, was no different from all the other times. It was always this easy.
Back at the RV Kari, Eve and Mary had been getting ready. There was a set of bunk beds on one wall with another set on the opposite wall. Each girl had their own private space for sleeping separated from the others by a curtain. A table used for meals and everything else you could use a table for was in between. The space was so cramped they had to sit on the edge of the bed on either side to eat. But tonight, they weren't eating. At least not food. Tonight, they were going to drink blood.
"I'll get our instruments," Mary said, going to her storage truck. While she set out her needles and rubber tubing and clamps and bandages, Kari and Eve took a quick shower together in preparation for the night's events. After they dried off, they rubbed each other down with scented oil and each dressed in flowing white cotton gowns.
Then Mary did the same thing: shower, oil, gown. When they were all ready they sat at the table and talked and smoked a water pipe of Blue Dream while waiting for Jan to show up.
"What do you think about the show?" Kari asked. They played hard rock and roll similar to Joan Jett and loved making music together. "I thought it was kick-ass."
"Yeah, I loved the crowd," Eve said.
"Me, too," Mary added. "I think our new songs went over great."
All three were in their early twenties. They'd met in Aiken County junior high school, a small school in central Minnesota, and were drawn together by their love of music and hatred of authority. To say they were problem students was putting it mildly. Music was their saving grace. Most girls from that area either got pregnant and became single mothers, or got pregnant and had a shotgun marriage. In both cases, the end result was the same: a dead end life.
Mary, Kari and Eve wanted more than that. So did Jan. They wanted no part of small town life and a road to nowhere existence. They swore a oath early on to get out of town and away from the rural farmland of that part of the state as soon as they could.
They made it happen by forming a band when they were in ninth grade. They practiced after school until they were finally good enough to start playing at local dances. They were immediately a hit. Guys liked that all three of them were good looking and not bad musicians. Girls looked at them as role models - females that could accomplish something with their lives other than making babies. When they were eighteen and right out of high school, a recording company in Minneapolis produced a vinyl record of four of their original songs and they got a hit on Spotify with one of them, "Bloody Bad."
That was three years ago and now they were going strong. They could travel the country, make music, make some money and live out their dream. Most people would say that they owed their success all to hard work, and the band would not disagree. But privately they'd say, "Yeah, hard work and our special little cocktail." And they weren't talking about alcohol, or drugs. The band never drank and their drug of choice was the occasional use of some high end weed from California.
No, Hammerhead's beverage and drug of choice was one and the same: blood. Human blood to be exact. They believed it gave them the power and the skill to be not only great musicians, but also brought out their powers as song writers. In short, blood was their creative life force.
Back in junior high school when they'd first met, Kari and Eve were already heavily into witches and witchcraft and brought their knowledge of incantations and ceremony to the newly formed band. Mary and Jan grew up on a hog farm. They knew their way around knifes and were comfortable butchering pigs, and, needless to say, they were not squeamish around blood. The four of them used their combined knowledge to come up with what they called their Blood Ceremony, which became a weekly event, especially at times like these when they were touring and on the road.
"Man, I'm looking forward to this," Mary said, rubbing her hands together as talk turned to the what was going to happen with the guys later that night.
"I know," Kari added. "I'm bummed we missed last Sunday. I guess that's what we get for playing Cheyenne."
"Yeah," Eve said. "They weren't too hip out there."
"Good crowd, though," Kari said, "Just not many of them."
Mary drummed her hands on the table, "I'm getting pretty thirsty," she said and grinned, making a ongoing joke.
"Get a brewskie then," Kari said, joking. They all hated beer.
Mary and Eve were grinning at each other just as there was a knock on the door and Jan called, "Safe to come in?"
"Just a second," Mary said.
Each of the girls picked up the paraphernalia they'd need later and put it in their sleep compartments. When they were all set, Mary pulled Kari and Eve to her side and they stood by the door ginning, "All ready. Come on in."
Jan opened the door and led the three guys in, their eyes wide with wonder and excitement. She was right when she'd told them earlier that it'd be a night they'd never forget. Unfortunately, they'd never remember it.
Over the next hour Mary and Kari and Eve plied the three guys with glasses of Jägermeister laced with sleeping tablets dissolved in them - drinks made by Jan - while the girls entertained the guys, fooling around with them and sometimes even taking one of them behind one of the curtains, for what they called, "A little one on one time." The guys were in seventh heaven.
In less than an hour, though, each of the three, Frankie and then Mr. Skinny and then Mr. Fatty, the girls never did learn the other two names, passed out. With the guys unconscious, the girls got them laying with their backs flat on the floor and began the first part of the ceremony: The Preparation.
First they then inserted a needle into the each of the guy's arm, draining out about an eighth of a cup of blood each into a silver bowl. Jan then mixed it all together with some distilled water. Part of the ceremony was that each of the girls had their own vessel to drink from. Mary's was a small crystal goblet of her grandmother's. Kari had a silver cup with tiny flower etched in it she'd purchased at an antique store. Eve's was a small earthen ware piece of pottery Kari had made for her in art class when they were in high school.
With all the blood mixed together Jan poured it into each of their special cups and set them aside for later. They then put away their equipment, cleaned up any bloody spillage and dragged the three guys to the back of the RV out of the way. Then they moved on to the next phase of the ceremony: The Chanting.
Jan set three white tapered candles in golden candle stick holders on the table and lit them. Then Mary, Kari and Eve stood in a circle, held hands, bowed their heads and began to chant: "Hear now the words of the us, The secrets we hide in the night. The oldest of gods are invoked here, the great work of magic is sought. In this night and in this hour, we call upon the ancient powers. Bring your power to we sisters three."
When they were done, they each chanted the chorus one more time alone before drinking the blood from their own cup. When all three were finished, Jan took the cups while the girls observed a moment of silence, holding hands with heads bowed, feeling the power of the blood they'd consumed flowing through bodies. Each of them truly believed that the blood ritual gave them an almost mystical power: the strength and energy to perform their shows and the wisdom and creativity to play their instruments way they did.
After a minute's silence, Jan took over and blew out the candles, lit some sandalwood incense and turned on a light. They used alcohol to clean the blood from their hands and wash out their cups. They put away all of the blood draining instruments and then embraced each other in a passionate hug, all four of them, Jan included. The RV was quiet, the ceremony drawing all four of the girls close together, reinforcing their belief in each other and the music they were making; the life they were leading made ever stronger from not only consuming blood, but by sharing the ceremony with each other.
Suddenly, breaking the silence was moan, at first so soft they could barely hear it. Then it got louder. Jan was the first to react, "Holy shit. One of them's waking up!"
It took only a moment for them all to spring into action.
The one who was moaning was Frankie so Mary sat next to him, cradled his head in her lap and gave him some more of the Jägermeister mixture. He drank a little, looked at her with blurry eyes and said, "I luv you." Then he passed out.
The Fat One began throwing up so Kari and Eve dragged him into the tiny bathroom and Eve held his head over the toilet.
While Eve took care of him, Kari checked on The Skinny One. He was out like a light so she left him alone and went back to help Eve. The Fat One had quit vomiting and passed out again. They dragged him out of the bathroom, lay him on the floor next to the other two and took inventory. It was obvious that all three of the guys were unconscious and wouldn't be any more trouble.
"God, what a bunch of losers," Kari said, going to the closet to get a bucket and rags to clean up the bathroom.
"No kidding," Eve said, rubbing her lover's shoulder. "Here, let me help."
While Kari and Eve were cleaned up, Mary changed out of her grown into her jeans and an old Go-Go's tee-shirt. Jan started the RV and got the vehicle rolling out of the parking lot into the warm Iowa night. The club was located in an out-of-the-way part of downtown and the plan all along had been to dump whoever gave up their blood on the outskirts of the city near the Des Moines River. That's where they headed, Jan driving and Mary navigating.
The night was pleasant for the end of summer. Not too hot. No thunder storms on the way. A perfect night for what they planned on doing.
Mary pointed, "There, up ahead, there's the entrance."
Jan slowed, turned into Riverside Park and followed the narrow paved road. The map was clearly marked and soon they were at a picnic site overlooking a slow moving river about fifty feet wide and edged with tall trees. It would have been a pretty place to park, have a picnic and spend a quiet summer afternoon, but that wasn't going to happen. Not tonight.
Jan rolled to a stopped and turned around. "How's it going back there?"
"Fine," Kari said. "They're all still passed out.
Eve had grabbed a leg and started pulling, "Let's get them out of here and get on our way."
It took the effort of all four of them to pull the guys outside and drag them away from the RV and onto a grassy area near a picnic table. The park was poorly lit so they used their headlights to help them see. Jan arranged the guys on their backs while Mary sprayed mosquito spray over them. "No sense making it worse for them than those Jägermeister hangovers are going to be," she grinned.
Kari and Eve both laughed and joked, "You're so sweet."
Mary and Jan laughed along with them, all of them still wired on an adrenalin rush from the blood ceremony.
"Okay," Jan finally said, checking her watch. "It's nearly four in the morning. We should hit the road before a fisherman shows up or something."
"Good idea," Mary said. "I'm going to ride up front with Jan.
"Me and Kari are going to crash in back," Eve said, feeling a sudden urge to be with her lover. "Okay with you sweetheart?"
Kari and Eve settled onto Eve's bed and pulled the privacy curtain closed. In less than a minute both of their gowns were dropped to the floor. Jan and Mary grinned at each other as Jan drove out of the park. In a few minutes there were on a quiet country road heading east toward Davenport and their next gig. Mary sat next to her sister keeping her company, not saying anything, just being a quiet companion.
The night was deep and dark with millions of stars shining. Up ahead on the horizon a sliver of blood red began to appear. In a little while the sun would start to rise and a new day would dawn. Sunday. Mary reached into the glove box and pulled out a pack of clove cigarettes and lit one for herself and one for Jan.
They smoked for a minute and then Jan asked, "Okay sweet little sister of mine. What's on your mind?"
Mary answered immediately, "That damn Uncle Henry. Every time we do our blood ceremony I think of him. I think of draining his blood for a change instead of some poor drunken guy." She took a drag and exhaled."It usually doesn't get to me, but tonight it did." She shook her head and took a deep drag. "God, I still hate him. The bastard," she said, blowing out smoke.
"Yeah, I hear you," Jan reached over and patted her sister on the shoulder. "The creep was a fuckin' pervert."
"What he did to you and me...us. God I wish we'd of killed him early on when we had the chance."
"We were only kids you know. I was eight and you were six when it started."
Mary shook her head. "Over three years it lasted. Way too long."
"Yeah, but it's over with now," Jan took a drag and exhaled. "We took care of the guy. You did, anyway. That's the important thing."
"Thanks for doing it."
Mary leaned over, hugged Jan and kissed her cheek. Then she snubbed out her cigarette, took Jan's and snubbed hers out as well and said, "I'll be right back."
"Where you going?"
"Nowhere. Just a second."
Mary went to her trunk, opened it and took out a knife wrapped in a silk sheath. It was a treasured possession, one of the knives they'd once used for butchering hogs back on the farm. It held a special place in her heart because it was the knife she'd used on her uncle the night she caught him molesting Jan. While their uncle was attaching her, Mary had run to the workshop to grab the knife and then ran back into the barn just as the bastard was trying to thrust himself into her sister. But before he could, Mary leaped on him from behind and cut his throat in one swift swipe, just like they did with the pigs. He'd streamed a gusher of blood that had drowned out his screams.
Jan told Mary afterward that as the blood drained from their uncle's neck she truly believed he knew it was Mary who'd cut his throat, and that knowledge to this day still made them both happy.
Jan didn't even mind getting bathed in his blood that night. In fact, she kind of liked it. As their uncle squirmed on the barn floor, writhing and dying, she smeared his warm blood all over herself and then stood up and smeared it all over Mary. Then they hugged each other as they watched him die.
When he was dead, they hosed down the barn floor, washing all the blood away. Then the sisters cut him up with a saw and fed him to the hogs who ate hungrily, leaving no trace, not even a bone.
Mary sat down in the passenger's seat and took the knife out of its sheath.
Jan knew what was coming and she smiled. "Blood sisters?" she asked.
"Forever and ever," Mary said.
Then she cut her left palm watched the blood appear and smiled. Then she cut Jan's right palm and they both watched the blood form. Then they pressed their palms together tight, their blood mingling. It felt good. The way it was meant to be.
And that's how they drove to the east, two blood sisters together, holding hands and watching the sun rise on a brand new day. It was going to be a good one. Maybe even a great one. It was Sunday, bloody Sunday, and they were together, living their dream. They'd never been happier.