As the lightening flashed the road ahead lit up like a chandelier, the thunder crashed making Susie jump out of her skin.
Susie was on her way to her Sister’s house and no storm was going to stop her getting there. Susie had found out something she needed to talk over with her Sister urgently. She could have phoned, but it seemed too important, to be using the phone, this had to be told to her face.
(Ding, ding, ding) The petrol light started flashing at her. “Blast!” she thought. It was about 10kilometres to the next Petrol Station, so she hoped she would make it there.
It was only 10am, and she was driving in the middle of a very big storm, but she had to get to her Sister, as soon as possible.
The lightening flashed again and Susie could see the Petrol Station coming into view. She pulled in under the canopy, turned the car off and hopped out. The Station owner came out to help. “Shocking weather!” he said. “What can I do for you, which way are you headed?” “Fill it up please, I’m on my way to my Sister’s in Highboro.” Susie answered. “I hope you aren’t taking the Main Highway then.” He said. “It’s blocked for miles.” “This storm has been twice as bad out that way, trees down everywhere, probably won’t be open for a couple of days.” Susie looked at him incredulous. “Really?” “What on earth will I do now?” “If you are stuck there’s a nice Bed and Breakfast at the end of the Main Street.” “Sure she wouldn’t mind putting you up for a couple of nights.” “Just tell her Sam sent you!”
Susie realised she had no choice, she couldn’t go on and she couldn’t go back, as she needed to get there, as soon as possible.
Reluctantly, she thanked Sam and headed towards the Bed and Breakfast. He was right, Martha was a lovely woman (Sam’s wife.) the room was warm and cosy, and her breakfast was delicious. When she got back to her room, she called her Sister Jenny. “I am so sorry Jenny, I expected to be almost there by now, but this storm has caused havoc on the roads.” The Main Highway will be blocked for at least a few days.” Jenny laughed. “Don’t worry sis, it will do you good to get a little rest, away from everyone.” Susie knew she was right, but she also knew she had to speak to her urgently, but not on the phone.
Jenny was about to get married in a weeks time, to a man she met while on holiday in Zealand.
Susie had met Lanza a couple of times and he seemed to be really nice, he also seemed to care deeply for Jenny, it showed in his eyes whenever he spoke to her.
The last time Susie had stayed at her Sister’s she had been walking past the bathroom as Lanza was pulling on his t-shirt. Susie had seen the most bizarre tattoo of a large bird on his back, something she had never seen before.
He turned and saw her looking, and in that moment he had a very hard and cruel look in his eyes. Then just as suddenly he had given her the most beautiful of smiles, and winked at her.
The vision of that tattoo had stayed in her mind. Susie had asked Jenny about the tattoos. “Aren’t his tattoos glorious?” “I just love them all!” “Did you know they are all stylized flora and fauna of Zealand?” “Every one means something and has a legend to go with it!” Jenny was so excited about getting married, that Susie thought it better to just let it go.
Susie decided to look up the tattoo on her computer when she got home. It took a lot of nights of searching, and digging deeper into the origins of Zealand tattoos. Jenny seemed to be right, most of them were stylized native flora and fauna. Then late one night she came across what she had been searching for, a photo of the large stylized bird. It was an emblem of a secret society, The Secret Society of the Roc.
It was only mentioned once, over thousands of pages, but it was there. Susie went to the library and ordered in a special edition of a book called Emblems of Secret Societies.
Apparently, this Secret Society went back many generations to a time before the lands were divided. As Susie kept reading, it was fascinating, but nothing too unusual about it.
She turned the next page, the painting of the bizarre bird (which she now realised was a roc.) stood out in its bright red, yellow and black colours. As she read on, she became more and more worried. Apparently whoever wore this tattoo was called a “trainer.” They trained men and women, to become slaves of the Society, The slaves were bought along to the meetings and shared between Members. Whoever rolled the right number, took the slave home for a week, and from there nobody knows what happened to them. The slaves were not only hypnotised, but were given a drug which kept them in a trance-like state. According to the article, a lot of men and women who had gone missing were probably taken by this Society, but there was never enough evidence to convict anyone. The Society had gone undercover a few years ago, so the Police had lost the trail.
Susie had frantically rang Jenny. “Has Lanza ever taken you to a meeting, at his work maybe?” she asked. “No, I’ve never been to any meetings with him.” “The only place he goes is to the Gym one night a week, everywhere else I go with him.” “What is this about Susie?” Susie didn’t want to say anymore over the phone. “Oh, it’s nothing, just your little sis being suspicious, as usual,” Jenny laughed. “Well stop being suspicious Suse, Lanza is a wonderful man and he loves me very much!” “Of course he does.” Susie said.
Susie couldn’t let it go. There were only 3 Gyms in Highboro and if you attended every week, you had to sign in. Susie rang all three Gyms and enquired if they had a well-built man from Zealand on their books, or a man calling himself Lanza. She explained she was looking for her Brother.
None of the Gyms had a Zealand man attending or a man calling himself Lanza. Now she was extremely worried, and decided she needed to speak to Jenny face to face.
Susie thought about all this as she tried to go to sleep on her second night at the Bed and Breakfast.
That same night that Susie was trying to get to sleep, was the night Lanza said he was going to the Gym.
He gave Jenny a kiss and a cuddle. “I shouldn’t be long sweetie, a quick work-out and I’ll be back in your arms.” He chuckled. Jenny giggled as she shut the front door behind him, and he headed for the garage.
Jenny’s smile faded just as quick. She had been thinking about what Susie had asked, the other day. She didn’t like not trusting Lanza, but she had to be sure, before the weding. Jenny had asked a very good friend to follow Lanza, someone Lanza didn’t know. Jenny wanted to be sure Lanza was really going to the Gym. Jenny’s friend from High School, Barry, had never met Lanza, though Jenny had told him a lot about her fiancé. Barry had known Jenny for ten years and she was like a sister to him, so when she asked him to do this, he had no hesitation.
Barry drove behind Lanza, keeping a discreet distance between them, even letting other cars get in between.
Lanza drove through the main street then turned left onto a main Highway. By now, Barry knew Lanza wasn’t going to a Gym.
Lanza drove for around five kilometres then stopped at a blackened sign on the side of the road. Barry recognised the old sign he used to laugh at as a child. Pirates Path was an old abandoned Bed & Breakfast, set way back among the trees, so you would hardly notice it was there. Lanza pulled up into the courtyard, with about twelve other cars. Barry turned off his headlights, then used the moonlight to follow Lanza’s car, but stopped several hundred metres away from the house. Barry turned off his engine, hopped out and snuck closer.
Lanza knocked at the door, which opened a crack, then he entered the dimly lit house. Barry snuck around the side of the house and saw an open window. He could hear hushed voices coming from inside, so he crouched down in the grass under the window. His heart stopped as an arm came out and flicked a cigarette butt onto the ground.
Barry listened carefully to the conversations coming from inside, and also made sure his recorder was working. As he listened he became more and more frightened for his friend Jenny. Barry couldn’t believe this Secret Society still existed and hadn’t been caught.
“I’ll fix that, right now!” he thought. Barry stealthily made his way back into the bushes behind his car. He sent an email to his detective friend at the Police Station, explaining what he was doing, what he had found out, and where he was. He didn’t have to wait long. There were no sirens wailing, no blue lights flicking, but several cars with no lights on, pulled up and blocked the driveway.
Barry raced over to his detective friend and told him what was going on. “They are planning to abduct several people as slaves, one of them being my friend Jenny, who unwittingly was about to marry the ring-leader.”
Silently and stealthily the Police broke into the old house and arrested 15 Zealand men, most of who already had a list of convictions, including Lanza. They now had a witness to the Secret Society meetings, so they could possibly pin some of the disappearances on them.
Barry drove back to jenny’s house and told her Lanza wouldn’t be back, he had been arrested. Jenny broke down and cried. She realized she was lucky she had found out in time, but she had really liked Lanza. When Barry told her what he had overheard outside the window, Jenny almost fainted.
When she had recovered her senses, she rang her Sister. When Susie answered, half asleep, jenny yelled into the phone. After explaining what had happened, she said “How can I ever thank you!” “If you hadn’t asked about Lanza going to a meeting, I wouldn’t have become suspicious and had him followed.!” “Oh Suse, I may have been a missing person by this time next month!”
Susie replied. “No you wouldn’t sis, not if I had anything to do with it!” “I was on my way to stop you from making a terrible mistake.” “There was no way I was going to let you marry that creep!” The sisters spoke on the phone, far into the night, as Susie went over the whole thing again explaining how she had got Barry to follow Lanza, and he had called the Police. The next day Susie arrived in Highboro. They greeted each other with a hug, as tears of joy ran down their faces.
The following day it was all over the News about the Secret Society being uncovered, and several of the men had admitted to abducting men and women, then sending them overseas to be slaves.
Unfortunately they couldn’t be traced, but the Society members would be going to jail for several lifetimes.
Barry came around to see Jenny, to find out how she was coping. When he opened the door she wrapped her arms around him. “How can I ever thank you Barry!” “You probably saved my life!” Barry looked a little embarrassed. “Jenny you are my best friend, have been for a long time, I would do anything for you, you know that.” “If you really want to thank me though, how about you come to the movies with me tomorrow night, then we could maybe visit that new Restaurant “Reno’s.”
Jenny looked at him and smiled. “Are you asking me out on a date Barry?” “Yeah, guess I am.” He said.
Susie and jenny smiled at one another. “When one door closes, another one opens.” Susie said.
“This could be the start of a beautiful friendship, and who knows where that could lead!” “You don’t belong to any Secret Societies, do you Barry?”