The Last Half of Darkness: The Shadow of The ServantsPonderings on a Tale of Horror
This story is about a strange family who resided on a vast estate near the outskirts of New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Muretta Johnson a well known anthropologist and scholar in the field of Witchcraft and the Voodoo Arts of her region, leaves her stately home in the fall of 1945 for a number of expeditions to the jungles of South America; the Rain Forests of Brazil in particular to search for the rare "Riobi Stone". Because of her expertise in the "Dark Arts" she concentrates her search for the artifact with the local tribes hoping that if she gets close enough her efforts will yield this prize. While on one of these excursions, Muretta befriends a small precocious "Spider Monkey" whom she takes as a pet, and names "Jaja". Unfortunately, as the saying goes, "Curiosity killed the cat..." yet no one ever mentions what it can do to an adorable little Spider Monkey who errs on the side of inquisitiveness and adventure.Ah, well.... kids will be kids and occasionally so will monkeys, I guess.
One day Jaja decides to separate from the rest of the expedition and wanders off through the dense underbrush to an Ancient Temple hidden deep within the Rain Forest. (This is what comes from not following the local leash laws...)
Apparently a terrible situation arises when the sweet little Jaja takes up with the wrong sort in the mandrill social hierarchy and is viciously attacked by an unfamiliar primate group that hangs out at this Ancient Temple. Where IS Jane Goodall when you need her? I'll tell you where... not here! Janie would know better than to let any of her pets near this temple and that primate group of wackos.
They were immensely powerful hairy beasts, with large lifeless eyes, black as thick pools of oil and protruding long pointedly razor sharp fangs stained red with the blood of who knows how many victims. Didn't her team of scholars, scientists, and men in shorts with machetes get the clue when they couldn't find anyone home at the tribal hut they passed on their way???
Distraught over the assault of her little darling, Dr Johnson binds up Jaja's wounds as best she can an makes for New Orleans and the safety of her humble home. However, some where along the way she decides that it would be a really neat idea to bring back that temple with her. So, in 1949 the "Ancient Temple" was transferred stone by stone from the Rain Forests of South America to the Swamps of the Johnson Estate.What was she thinking? Turning it into a monkey house?? I don't know... maybe it's me, but in my most humble opinion she's committing some grand scale hubris here, not to mention setting her family up for disaster.
As she nurses the little spider monkey back to health she comes to the horrifying realization that while the physical wounds were healing nicely. The wounds were bites around Jaja's neck... can anyone tell where I'm going with this one?
His entire demeanor and temperament was changing. Guess, he just couldn't say "NO" to the drugs the "Monkey Gang" were pushing on him, huh? Peer pressure...it gets everyone these days...
Changing for the worse, Jaja was becoming more and more aggressive and menacing. After the few attacks that she was subjected to, Dr. Johnson had no choice but to destroy her beloved pet. After all she had to think of her two little girls... About time, I say...
"Mira" and "Mira's Sister" ... funny thing about little girls... they need to be loved and they need to be named. Mira was three when all of this was going on... She was the pretty one. I guess that is why she got the name "Mira" and Mira's sister got the name, "Mira's Sister".
Anyway, Muretta noticed that Mira began acting strangely and became addicted to painting strange haunting pictures of ghostly faces. She also became quite well versed in the "Dark Arts" of Witchcraft and Voodoo as she grew... like mother, like daughter. And what of Jaja?
Well, like all good well-bred horror stories, Dr. Muretta Johnson destroyed Jaja, the Spider Monkey. Although it was never mentioned exactly how... I imagine that it must have been by lethal injection... I think that's what they still use in Louisiana, if memory serves.
But he decided to be like the cat in Pet Sematary
and return from the grave... Dr. Johnson figured it would be a great idea to burn his remains.... obviously the poor woman never read Stephen King, because Jaja still came back and now his evil spirit haunts the Johnson Estate to this day, his fate seemingly sealed forever to walk the night.Or should I say, "swing from the trees"?
Especially now that he has no earthly remains to lay to rest. Fast forward to 1987.
Forty odd years have come and gone, and Jaja's still up to his “ole’ haunts”erh...uhm ...sorry.
So what does the intrepid good doctor do? She finds a partially charred bone of Jaja's and decides to extract the DNA and clone her pet... You know, this really didn't work too well for that sheep doctor over in Scotland either...
This was so that she could kill the clone of Jaja properly thereby releasing his spirit.... Must not have worked to well however, because as the weeks turned into months and months turned into years we realize that Dr. Johnson last subject was #732. That's a lot of monkeys! You see, I think that what Muretta didn't count on was that the bone she was using was the bone from "Bad Jaja" and as each one of the clones matured they all became "Bad Jajas" as well and then she had to kill these monkeys off and then they became the evil "Shadows of the Servants" and then.... well, you get the picture.
The year is now 1993, Dr. Johnson, in a wheelchair and probably a babbling fool by now at age 106, is killed-(Thank God, I'm sorry, but this woman just needed to be kicked to the curb long ago!)
-by the Shadows before her experiments could reach their fruition. Knowing that she is near her death, she breaks the faceplates off of her Laboratory door, removes some gears in the basement and swallows a key. She tells Mira that she's doomed and that she fears that the "Servants" will take her by the end of the week. She makes Mira promise that in the event of her demise, Mira will cremate her body and destroy all the evidence. Ah... but Mira has other ideas of her own, for you see... Mira cannot bring herself to destroy everything, so as sure as Bob's your uncle and Mom's a ghost, Mira becomes entrapped by the Shadows of the Servants as well.
Now, "Mira" and "Mira's Sister" must have been still alive in 1993... but since Mira was 3 when Dr. Muretta Johnson went to Brazil and found Jaja in 1945, according to my calculations Mira should be 51 years old in 1993. The point here being, why does she look and sound so young? Ah....yes.... Witchcraft...that explains it. So now, sometime between 1993 and the present both Mira and Mira's Sister will die. Mira's Sister was probably a suicide, I would hazard a guess. While it is unclear-Notice that most of this story is unclear... but that's ok, ghost stories are supposed to be unclear. It leaves room for conjecture...
-exactly how this takes place, I believe that Mira's Sister took her own life in her mother's bathtub because she just couldn't come to terms with the fact that her mother was just too busy naming her sister "Mira" and that stupid monkey "Jaja" ... and forgot to give this miserable girl a name other than "Mira's Sister". And we won’t even mention the fact that Mira got the nicer room and that neat mirror to play with. Little wonder why she guards the door in the West Hall. ... Don’t understand? Well, you'll just have to play the game to the end and then check upstairs, now won't you?
Mira on the other hand was taken out by the Shadows of the Servants sometime after her 55th birthday. But because she is so well versed in "The Craft", that and the fact that her spirit cannot rest either, her ghost can still perform the summoning charm:“…while silent are the eight voices who carry her soul to the gate.”
Who does she summon?
Why.... you, of course...
…and so the adventure begins...inferno