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Bonus Story

Katherine Sanger

You know how we do love Bubba stories. Well, here's one worthy of the name. Bubba fishing with a twist leads to temptation mayhem in Devil Women from Satin's Lair.

Katherine Sanger was a Jersey Girl before getting smart and moving to Texas. She's been published in various e-zines and print, including Baen's Universe, Black Chaos, Wandering Weeds, Spacesports & Spidersilk, Black Petals, Star*Line, Anotherealm, Lost in the Dark, Bewildering Stories, Aphelion, and RevolutionSF, and edited From the Asylum, an e-zine of fiction and poetry, and Serial Flasher, a flash fiction e-zine. She’s a member of HWA and SFWA. She taught English for over 10 years at various online and local community and technical colleges.

You can check out links to her many, many blogs at http://fromtheasylum.com or find her at Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/katherine.sanger.5) or twitter @KatherineSanger).

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.
– Robert A. Heinlein
 

  

The Devil Women from Satan’s Lair

 Katherine Sanger

 

            The best place for fishing was the creek, so that’s where Big Jimmy, Ray Ray, Cooter, Bubba, and Little Mike were headed that hot, hazy summer afternoon. Ray Ray had been the one to suggest it.

            “Howzabout we catch us sum dinner?” he’d asked the assembled group as they lazed around in Big Jimmy’s backyard. “Big Mike said he heard there’s some catfish there as big as an arm.”

            “What, a baby’s arm?” Bubba guffawed as only Bubbas could. “Them catfish don’t grow to proper size there. It’s all that pole-lution what stunts ‘em. But it does make ‘em awful tasty.”

            They all nodded agreement on that point. Sure, purple water could be hard to get used to, but the fish that came out of it had a special kind of tang that none of their wives could ever quite replicate. And it made it more sporting to fish out of the creek, since you couldn’t actually see whatever it was you were catching until you caught it and hauled it up. It made it more of a contest to find the best and most attractive lures. Seeing as how they had very little going on in their lives -- other than hunting, tinkering with old pick-ups that never moved from the driveway, working at the plant that produced the purple water, and bragging about how well they could service their wives -- fishing lures had become quite a focal point for all of them.

            They all went home to grab their tackle boxes and lures, agreeing to meet up again at the field that bordered both Big Jimmy’s and the creek. But when Cooter arrived last, instead of the usual complaints and comparisons between Cooter and women (both of which, according to the rest of the group, took far too long to get ready to go anywhere), he found all the guys clustered around in a circle. He couldn’t quite see what they were looking at, but figured it had to be good.

            “You guys found a’nuther dead body?” He tried to sidle his way into the circle but was blocked by Big Jimmy’s girth.

            “Nah, this here’s better’n a body,” Bubba said. “It’s a hole.”

            “What kinda hole?” He pushed into the group and looked down. Instead of letting his jaw drop, he spit tobacco.

            “Do you reckon it’s like that hole the guy found down in Meh-hee-co? The one what turned into a whole volcano?” Cooter asked.

            The guys looked at Cooter, forgetting about the hole for a minute.

            “You serious? Some wetback grew himself a volcano?” Big Jimmy hadn’t ever heard the terms politically correct or offensive.

            “Don’t know that he grew it himself, but he found it growin’,” Cooter said.

            “But Cooter,” Ray Ray said, shifting the chaw from one cheek to the other, which gave him a nice, dramatic pause, “if this was growing into a volcano, wouldn’t it need to grow up ‘stead of down?”

            Bubba nodded. “That does make sense. Volcanoes are tall.”

            It was deep thinking for Bubba.

            They all went back to staring at the hole.

            It looked deep. The edges were ragged, making it look more like a crack had formed after an earthquake than a cave-in or sinkhole. This red glow came from it, sort of like when you accidentally lit a pile of gasoline-soaked rags on fire after working on a truck all afternoon and then fired up a cigar to celebrate the fact that while the truck still didn’t run, by the sheer law of probability, it had to be getting closer. Like that gasoline-fed fire, there were shapes in the flames. But these shapes weren’t just the rags popping and burning themselves out. These shapes seemed… deliberate. In fact, the longer Cooter stared at them, the more he thought they weren’t just shapes – they were shadows. Shadows that belonged to shapes of their own.

            “Hey, guys,” Cooter whispered, suddenly aware of something momentous. “I think I know what we found.”

            The guys looked at him. The last time they thought they had found something this interesting, they’d all thought it was one of those unborn babies that the clinic in town took out until Cooter pointed out that it was just one of Little Mike’s daughter’s dolls that had been out in the mud for a few days. Now there was an expectant pause.

            “This here…”. Cooter lowered his voice. “This here is one of them portals to hell.”

            Shocked silence surrounded him for a minute.

            Big Jimmy broke it.

            “Oh, is that all?”

            “Whaddaya mean is that all?” Cooter asked.

            “Well,” Big Jimmy said, “It’s just that the preacher mentioned those at church and all. I just didn’t know there were any of them local like this.”

            “Wait, wait, wait.” Bubba lifted his ball cap with one hand and scratched his mostly bald head with the other. “This here’s a hole into hell?”

            Cooter and Big Jimmy both nodded, each trying to claim credit for the discovery like a modern day Lewis and Clark.

            “So ain’t some of them demons female? Those succ-on-us?” Bubba asked.

            “No, they’re called suck-u-bus,” Cooter corrected.

            “Yeah, but don’t they live down there?” Bubba acted like a cat with a cockroach, refusing to let it die while he was still interested in chasing it.

            “Well, yeah,” Cooter said.

            “And if we caught ‘em, we could do things with ‘em? And it wouldn’t be cheating or nuthin’ because they’re demons.” Bubba lived in well-justified fear of his wife.

            All the men stared down into the crack with renewed interest. There were a number of “hmmms” and “mmmms” from them. No one said anything for a few minutes.

            “But how would we get ‘em out?” Big Jimmy asked. He was practical. He figured going into hell wouldn’t be a healthy proposition for them.

            Silence reigned again while they tried to think through the problem. Finally, Bubba leaned down closer to the crevice.

            “Alli-alli-oxen free! Come out, come out where-ever ya are!” He took a step backwards eagerly.

            The shadows below kept moving in the red light, but nothing came closer.

            Big Jimmy shrugged. “It could’of worked.”

            There was some chaw spitting.

            Once again, Cooter figured it out.

            “Guys, let’s go fishin’.”

            “But I don’t want fish! I want a succ-u-biss…a succ-u-bris…a demon woman!” Bubba said.

            “That’s what I mean,” Cooter said. “We go fishin’ for ‘em. All we gotta do is figure out what to use as bait.”

            Crafty expressions stole over each face slowly as the men realized what this meant. A fishin’ competiton. And this prize would be worth winning!

###

            They prepared for the fishing competition of their life and met four hours later at the crack, each carrying gear. Bubba brought two newly purchased nets, meant for deep sea fishing. Everyone else was far more secretive, hiding their purchases in plain brown paper or wrapped in flannel shirts. Each found a spot by the edge and quietly put together their lures in the gathering dusk. They dropped them down in the crevice, careful to shield their new lures while still in public view. Then they began staring at each other – hoping, waiting – for someone else to break and either offer up the secret of what they were fishing with or accidentally show off what they’d brought.

            They were all sadly disappointed.

            Of course, it was fishing. So time passed while absolutely nothing happened. No one spoke. They tried not to move, but Ray Ray shifted uncomfortably, afraid it might be time to call the clinic again.

            And, of course, since it was fishing, boredom soon set in, and they started talking amongst themselves. It began with Bubba.

            “Cooter,” he whispered in a voice too loud to actually be a whisper. “Pssst! Cooter!”

            Cooter turned to him with a look of long-suffering patience, borne from constantly hearing “Hey, Cooter, look at this!” followed by giving Bubba a ride to the emergency room.

            “Yeah, Bubba?”

            “What did ya bait your hook wit?”

            There was a sharp intake of breath. Some questions you just didn’t ask in public. It was worse than asking what a duvet was.

            Cooter didn’t respond, and eventually Bubba blushed and dropped his head, knocking off his baseball cap, which he gamely retrieved from the ground.

“I was jes askin’ cause I thought, what if we all used the same thing? Then we might not catch ‘nything, and how will we know what to try tomorrow?” Bubba asked.

            Cooter stared at him. Then a smile worked its way across his face.

            “That’s a good ideer, Bubba! We should do this all scientifical, an’ figger out what doesn’t work so we ain’t wasting our time.” Even Cooter would admit they had very little else to do with their time other than waste it, but none of them liked to admit that out loud. That would be like admitting that their wives were right and that deodorant should be used daily and not just for fancy company.

            “But who’s gonna go first?” Ray Ray asked. “Cause I don’t want all you figgerin’ out what I’m usin’.”

            “Uh, Ray Ray?” Cooter said. “We don’t need to figger it out. The idea is that you tell us.”

            “Oh.” Ray Ray let it sink in for a minute, the way you had to wait for the balloon to fill to let you know the balloon wine was ready for drinking. “I don’t think I like that idea.”

            “Cooter liked it,” Bubba said. He glared at Ray Ray. Bubba had done amazing things with his glare. Kept a sheep farmer from pressing charges, for instance.

            Ray Ray nodded. “Well, I s’pose that if Cooter likes it, it’s okay with me.”

            “Then you go first,” Bubba said.

            Ray Ray bobbed his head a little, trying to think of a way to avoid spilling his guts at the head of the line.

            “Well,” Ray Ray said, then used his brilliant evasive maneuver of accidentally swallowing a mouthful of chaw. He coughed and spit and carried on quite a bit, but none of the other guys were worried. Ray Ray regularly ate as much chaw as he spit, and he never seemed worse for the wear. So they just waited patiently as he harrumped and ha-rawwed his throat. “Well,” he repeated, “I got me one of them gold coins my grand-pappy found all them years ago in that abandoned well.”

            “But Ray Ray,” Cooter said. “Don’t gold melt in the heat?”

            “What?” Ray Ray reeled in his hook to find it empty, but gold-plated. “Those basterd devil-wimmin!”

            “Leastways now you got a good Christmas present for Bobbie Sue,” Cooter said, always looking on the bright side. “How ‘bout you, Bubba? What you got?”

            “Worms.”

            “Worms?” It sounded like a very drunk and Southern Greek chorus.

            “Yes, worms. What don't eat worms?”

            There was more muttering and head scratching, but everyone agreed that Bubba was right. Almost anything took the bait.

            Before anyone else could weigh in with the benefits of their own tempting choices, one of the lines began to play out. Not a whole lot at first, but the sound of it was as familiar as a hound dog’s bark, and all heads turned to see who was the lucky man.

            It was Cooter.

            He had a grin on his face like the time that cable guy fell off the pole in the middle of an install, and it turned out the whole town got free adult channels for a month and a half before they would get another tech out to fix it. (Of course, the best part for Cooter was that they’d never actually turned his free channels off. He didn’t tell that to anyone, though, or it might have been the end of his free “Playboy” days, which he was terribly afraid would happen sooner or later.)

            The men watched, awestruck, as Cooter reeled it in. He let the line go slack twice, just for show, but soon enough he had a bit of a fight on his end and he had to put his weight into it, tugging up something he guessed was 125 pounds if it was an ounce. Not that he actually understood what that meant. He just repeated it since he heard it on the television.

            A thin, red and somehow sexy hand appeared at the edge of the crack, followed by another. Then a head, covered by a mass of curly black hair. The body that followed was tinged red, but svelte and well-formed. And completely naked.

            Bubba’s jaw dropped and brown liquid slowly coursed in a thin stream from one corner of his open mouth. “She’s – she’s nekkid!” He gasped. Then he saw the triangle-tipped tail hanging down between her legs. “And she’s a devil woman!”

            The devil woman slowly turned to him and smiled, then slowly and seductively removed the fish hook from her mouth. She followed the line it was attached to, reeling herself in until she’d come to the end of the line and rested a fishing-pole length away from Cooter.

            Her lips were a deep red, and her forked tongue darted out to lick them. She looked him up and down, then just stood and stared.

            “Cooter,” Bubba whispered, showing once again that he didn’t really understand what a whisper was. “What did you bait your hook with?”

            Cooter’s eyes didn’t leave the form in front of him as he answered. “McDonalds.”

            “What?” Bubba knew he hadn’t heard that right, but the she-demon’s smile got bigger.

            “Do you know the last time I had a Big Mac?” She asked.

            Cooter smiled back at her. “Do you want another one? I know jes the place.”

            He held out his arm, ready to escort his date. The sound of her agreement was almost drowned out by the thunder of workboot-clad feet rushing through the high grass and weeds to get back to their trucks. They had all been struck by a Big Mac Attack.

            In their haste, they didn’t notice the slight red glow to Cooter’s eyes in the gathering dark or the pointed tail finally working its way through his back pocket.

            The End

                       

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