Warning: violence, gore, sexual innuendos, also some religious satire.
Forced to spend every summer at Bible Camp Leviticus, four teenage boys formed a secret group on account of a common curiosity: the female anatomy. Knowing the camp’s doctrine focused entirely on obliterating sexual desire from the loins of the attendees, the boys planned ahead and came prepared with their own countermeasures. Each member of the group, Malachi, Lazarus, Ezekiel, and Solomon, raided his father’s “secret” nudie magazine collection and smuggled one into the hyper-vigilant camp. Covertly referring to their group as, “The Four Horsemen”, they met under the veil of night in a dark corner of their cabin, with flashlights and a healthy dose of adolescent curiosity.
“Wow. They put that part of her right in the magazine crease.”
“Do you think it really looks like that?”
Solomon ran his finger down the shiny surface of the centerfold; his eyes wide with wonder.
“They are so round.”
Malachi rubbed the peach fuzz on his chin and cleared his throat. He cuddled the picture he cherished most, close to his heart.
“Wait till you see the one I brought.” With the grace and reverence of a priest displaying the holy sacrament, he gingerly placed the magazine down—centerfold open. “Guys…meet, Eden Storm.”
“SHHHHH! You’ll wake up the whole camp ground!” Malachi hissed.
“I didn’t know those came in pink!”
“That looks like our garden after my dad mows the lawn.”
Lazarus, who suffered from narcolepsy, carelessly shoved his contribution toward Solomon before dozing off. Solomon flipped through the pages of Lazarus’s nudie magazine, admiring the glossy, feminine peaks and valleys until…
“Hey look! This is the same chic! Eden Storm.”
“Let me see that.” Malachi scoffed; offended that Eden dared to commit adultery with a different magazine.
“Nope. I don’t believe it. See? The left one is bigger in Lazarus’s picture; but the right one is bigger in the real Eden’s picture.”
“Yeah, but everything is perfect in both pictures,” Ezekiel crooned and pushed snoring Lazarus off his shoulder. Lazarus stirred and picked right up with the conversation as if he’d been wide awake the whole time.
“Too bad we will never see her in real life.” Lazarus shook his head and yawned.
Solomon narrowed his eyes and twisted his mouth as an idea occurred to him. He poked at his phone, which he wasn’t supposed to have. Gasping with sudden excitement, he tugged Lazarus’s sleeve while frantically gesturing at his phone.
“Guys! Guys…look at this!”
“I’d rather look at her. Her skin looks like cotton candy.” Ezekiel leaned toward the centerfold with his tongue out.
“Ew. Don’t lick my magazine, doofus.” Malachi snatched the picture, holding it protectively away from Ezekiel’s tongue.
“GUYS! I know where she lives!” Solomon whispered loud enough to get the group’s attention.
“What? No way!”
“Probably a fake address.”
“Even if it was her real address, what are we gonna do with it?”
“I dunno. Maybe I want to see something in real life…something that most people only get to see in pictures.” Solomon shrugged. His friends blinked back at him—speechless. Slowly, each boy nodded in agreement; solidifying the group’s bond and commitment toward their common goal.
A not-so-distant screen door interrupted their meeting.
“That’s Old Edna making her rounds.”
“She’s at Cabin Genesis, next door!”
The boys scrambled to hide the evidence and rush to their bunks before Old Edna made it through their door to Cabin Exodus.
The next morning at breakfast in the Manna Mess Hall, Solomon proposed a pact.
“Next year, for our high school graduation road trip, we go to find her, Eden Storm.”
“We need a code name for our mission,” a bit of scrambled egg flew out of Ezekiel’s mouth when he spoke.
“Let’s call it: The Search for the Garden of Eden.” Malachi grinned and sipped coffee.
To confirm their covenant and commitment to the mission, The Four Horsemen performed the most sacred and binding of all ritualistic handshakes: they spit-shook on it.
Later that day, at the Righteous Anger Rifle Range, Lazarus yawned and wearily aimed his rifle at the target marked, “fornication is the devil”. Unfortunately, Lazarus’s narcolepsy often occurred at the most inconvenient moments. For example, when engaged in the use of a firearm. It happened so fast. He pulled the trigger and dropped like a sack of potatoes; jerking the rifle sideways and sending lead directly into Old Edna’s noggin. It was a horrifically bloody and tragic event that paused rifle practice and provided the perfect time for a snack break.
The campers sat at nearby picnic tables, enjoying cookies and juice while forensics investigated the scene. Alas, Dead Old Edna was immediately replaced by Just Steve, so the violent attack on fornication continued without a hitch. Rifle practice continued, but Solomon, Ezekiel and Malachi waited for Lazarus to regain consciousness while discussing plans to find, Eden Storm.
“It’ll be a long trip.”
“We’ll take turns driving.”
“Except for Lazarus.”
(One Year Later…)
“I’m so proud of you for your persistence in seeking, The Garden of Eden.” Ezekiel’s mother dabbed tears from her eyes and helped load the minivan for her son. Ezekiel kissed his mother and drove off to pick up the rest of the crew.
The other mothers followed their boys out to the van, too.
“Did you pack protection, dear?” Malachi’s mother handed him his graduation present, a SIG Sauer P229 Legion, and ruffled his hair playfully.
“We don’t care who or what you kill, son. As long as you protect your virginity.” Lazarus’s mom brought out his pillow and stashed a machete by the passenger side door.
Solomon, the group’s organizer, gave a riveting pep talk from the front seat.
“Eden Storm allegedly lives in Arizona, near Las Vegas, Nevada. Our cross-country drive should take us approximately two point five days…less if we don’t stop.” Valedictorian of his high school class, Solomon planned every detail of the trip. He pushed up his glasses and handed printed itineraries to each of The Four Horsemen.
“I say we don’t stop until we run out of gas!”
“Yeah! We drive straight through!”
“Stopping is for weaklings and losers!”
Twenty miles and Mountain Dews later, Ezekiel pulled over for a unanimously requested bathroom break. He cleaned candy wrappers and soda cans out of the van while the others were in the restroom. On his third trip to the trashcan, he noticed a girl with long, blonde braids; writing words on a cardboard sign: Arizona or Bust
Mesmerized by the mere proximity of the female, Ezekiel’s mouth dropped open as he watched her. He recognized the “Arizona” part of her sign. Plus, he was pretty sure that, “bust” meant, “boobs”, so he approached the young lass with a solution and a smile.
“We’re headed to Arizona. Wanna join us?”
“Sure! I’m Beth.”
When everyone returned to the van, Ezekiel handed the driving responsibility over to Solomon and moved to the backseat where he got better acquainted with Beth. She livened up the atmosphere with sing-a-longs and stories of her travels across the country.
“I’ve been on my own for a while. Saved up money from modeling gigs and set off to see the world.”
In the driver’s seat, Solomon fumed with hostility. This was supposed to be a guy’s trip. They’d planned it for a whole year: The Four Horsemen’s quest to find the woman of their dreams and finally see, Eden Storm, in the flesh. This random, “Beth”, chic, was absolutely NOT in the plans. But, no one else seemed bothered— Lazarus slept in the very back and Malachi played the harmonica for the girl.
“You know, hitchhiking is dangerous. What if we were mass murderers?” Ezekiel felt protective of the defenseless girl.
Beth giggled and twirled her braid; pretending to be just as innocent as the boys wanted her to be.
“Oh, I know you’re right. There are some crazy people out there. That’s why I’m hoping I can talk you boys into picking up my twin sister over in, Baton Rouge.”
“Did you say, ‘twin’?” Solomon repeated, his interest piqued. Even geeky Solomon tossed a years worth of plans aside for a chance to be with twins. He emitted the appropriate, “Beavis and Butthead” laugh, floored the accelerator, and got them to Baton Rouge in record time.
“You have reached your destination.” Siri’s voice announced at the last minute. Solomon swerved and slammed on breaks, nearly causing a multi-car pile up as he pulled into the Conoco where Beth’s twin awaited.
Clara looked exactly like Beth, as identical twins often do. They even dressed alike, with identical blonde braids and tattered backpacks. Lazarus stirred long enough to acknowledge the clones.
“Huh. Two Beths. That’s something you don’t see every day.” A quick swap of seats put Malachi in the driver’s seat while Lazarus snoozed beside him in the passenger side. The other half of the Four Horsemen schmoozed with the twins, who were impossible to tell apart.
“Identical twins, eh? So, everything about you is exactly the same?”
“Pretty much. Except we are also, mirror-image twins. She’s left-handed and I’m right-handed.”
Aside from the unventilated reek of body odor and an obnoxious accumulation of candy wrappers, the rest of the road trip was pleasant, but uneventful. That is, until things got weird. The group was a mere twenty minutes from Eden Snow’s alleged lair when the trouble started.
“You said you were a model. Like, for clothes or some department store?” Ezekiel walked his fingers over Beth’s hand.
“She’s a nude model. Just like me, right Sis?” Clara leaned forward to join the conversation from the very back seat.
“Your skin looks like cotton candy,” Ezekiel pushed aside Beth’s braid and stared longingly at her exposed neck.
“We’re from Arizona. Went all the way to the East Coast to deal with a bunch of stalkers.”
“Yep. My sister’s a pretty decent hacker. She located the creeps and we hunted them down.”
“So pretty,” Solomon caressed Clara’s braid; too preoccupied to listen to the words spoken by the twins.
“Took care of at least a dozen each. Most we handled individually.”
“Yep. Clara just finished off that jerk in Louisiana.”
“But we joined back up because this last group is special.”
“You’re special, too,” cooed Ezekiel, smelling Beth’s hair.
-That’s when things went from weird to shocking.
Beth unbuckled her seatbelt and stood up. Right as she aimed a switchblade at Ezekiel’s jugular, Lazarus sprang out of his seat like a coiled cobra and chopped off her hand with a machete. Still twitching and gripping the switchblade, her well-manicured, severed hand thumped to the floor board.
Like a king fu master, Lazarus leaped again and disarmed (dis-handed) Clara milliseconds before she sliced Solomon’s carotid with a toothbrush-shiv. Shiny, bangle bracelets clinked off her jagged stump and rolled like rogue wagon wheels; leaving a bloody trail down the van’s floor.
The twin nubs sprayed sticky, thick blood that coated the driver’s side of the front window; obscuring Malachi’s vision. Tires shrieked and smoked when he slammed on brakes, adding the stench of burnt rubber to the metallic smell of blood.
A back tire couldn’t handle the pressure and exploded, sending the van into a tailspin. Lazarus helped Malachi steady the wheel. Ezekiel mistakenly turned his face toward the spurting stumps and received a face full of bone-chip-infested plasma. It totally ruined his contacts. (And his taste for red meat.)
Lazarus and Malachi guided the van as it lumped along to the side of the road. Without looking, Beth, bolted from the van, screaming about her hand and ran directly into oncoming traffic. Bits of Beth splattered onto five different vehicles. A suburban punted her severed head into a nearby pine tree where it perched like a raven with bloody blonde braids dripping onto the branches below. In a panicked rage, Clara launched herself toward her sister’s leg, still twitching on the highway and was met,( literally), head on by an eighteen wheeler that never even slowed down. (Thirty miles later, at the next weigh in, the driver discovered a mess on the front of his beloved truck: pink and gray brain matter speckled with insect carcasses, and a blue eye’s optic nerve twisted into the grill.)
The boys in the van sat dumbfounded, shivering with shock. Lazarus handed his friends juice boxes to lift their spirits. After changing his contacts and the tire, Ezekiel drove the van to the nearest car wash. The Four Horsemen worked together to cleanse the van of every bit of flesh, bone, and blood.
There, at the car wash, wrinkling in the breeze, they saw a flier taped precariously to a pole:
Clara and Beth Bundy
“The Cross-Country Murderers”
Identical twins, who took turns posing as alias “Eden Storm” in porn magazines, are wanted for the brutal murders of at least 36 men across the US.
“I knew it wasn’t her in both photos,” said Malachi.
“At least we got to see her in person.”
“Well, guys, mission accomplished.”