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The Totem People This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "I'm home!" Logan announced to the house. He dropped his radiation green O'NEILL bodyboard bag on the floor of the beach house where he and his mother now lived. His bag was loaded down with wet towels, fins and his Mach Twenty RS bodyboard. As Logan Sayer looked around, he saw no one to greet him, but a note left by his mother, which read:



Logan, I've got some things to do after work so I'll be home late, around 8: 30. While I'm gone pack what you want to take tonight. There's leftover pizza in the fridge.



Logan is five feet eight, well built and sixteen years old, with blonde, almost white hair. "Tonight" meant what would probably be the most boring experience of his life. Robyn Sayer, his mother, who was the newest surgeon in the Daytona Beach area, had told him that going on the overnight trip would be a good chance to make friends. Since mid-May, when they moved here, he had not established a solid friendship, and it was now near the end of June. She said it might be interesting to see something from "home." They had moved from Vermont. As Logan made his way to the shower to get the saltwater off, he remembered when his mom came home with the news about "tonight" not a week ago.

"Logan," she had said as she entered the house, "come here, I've signed you up for something."

"For what?" came his indifferent reply.

"A Wampanog Indian touring the southern part of the eastern seaboard telling old Indian legends and stories." she answered.

"Oh boy, I can hardly wait. Where did you find out about such wonderful news?" Logan replied with heavy sarcasm.

"Jeez, cut it out, I just thought it would be good for you, you know, it being something related to our old home and ... "

"I'd rather forget the life I led before Dad ..." Logan interjected and left it hanging.

"Well, anyway," his mother continued, "I found it on the hospital bulletin board for up-coming events. It's being held at a campground a few miles from here."

"To add to the suspense of the stories, right?" Logan answered a bit smugly.

"Look," his mother almost shouted, losing patience, "since Dad died in that crash coming back to M.I.T., you've been a recluse. Snap out of it, it's time to move on. Get back on your feet."

A little ashamed for giving his only parent a hard time, he agreed. "Okay, I'll go and I'll try not to be a troublemaker and have a good attitude."

So he agreed. He did it to make his mother happy and because his father would have wanted him to go. His father's name was Michael Sayer, certified genius, and a nuclear physicist, professor at M.I.T. He died in a jet crash on the way home from visiting the University of Utah, when his Lear 35 crashed into the Rockies just 25 minutes after departure. In the time it took him to recall all that, he had taken a shower, changed, eaten dinner and packed his things. It was now 9: 00; his mother was late.

Logan was in his room gazing at the ocean. His room had a balcony which overlooked the Atlantic where the waves were breaking perfectly. As he let out a sigh of longing and regret he picked up his bag and headed to the door just as the car pulled up and his mom came through.

"I'm home," she said, "and it is time to go."

"Okay, I'm ready," Logan replied.

"Good. Sorry I'm late, I got held up by an R.N."

"Yeah. Nice. Tell me in the car, okay?"

Once there, Logan got out of the car, said goodbye, and carried his things to the cabin he would be sharing with four others. When he walked in he ignored everyone and took a bunk near a window. Logan set his bag on the top bunk when something touched his shoulder. He spun around, almost too fast for the eye to follow, grabbed at the collar of the owner of the hand and cocked back his other arm, ready to deliver a devastating punch. Logan's gray eyes flared with madness then softened when he saw the terrified look on the kid's face. Logan let go of the collar and dropped his fist. For a moment he'd looked ready to kill.

"Sorry about that, I've been on edge lately," Logan apologized, even though he always acted like this in a foreign environment. He managed a smile, "Name's Logan Sayer, you got a name?"

"H-Hi I'm Dan, Dan Thomas," he replied with hesitation. "And hey, no problem with that little incident, honest mistake, really," Dan added as he walked away shakily.

Possessing a semi-violent/mad persona, Logan had a natural affinity for weaponry. In his bag he had four boot knives, two for each foot, a sheath knife with a six-inch blade that went on his belt, and his favorite pair of throwing knives that were held in one breast holster each under his coat. After he unloaded all these "toys", he put them on in his own pre-arranged concealed areas. His mother never wholeheartedly disapproved of his comfort with violence since he disabled a mugger in Montpelier with the knife his mother forbade him to use. Since then it was okay as long as he didn't use them for intimidation or attack.

Upon exiting the cabin, Logan looked at his watch: it read 9: 50. He thought Well might as well go get a seat for the camp-wide bedtime story. At 9: 55 Logan reached the end of the road which opened to a huge natural amphitheater. Logan went down to the middle row, middle seat and took a good close look at the stage. A pole about twenty feet high with an unknown diameter, due to its being covered up by a red cloth tarp, stood in the center. Next to the pole were the makings of what would be a bonfire.

By 10: 00, people started filling the seats around Logan. Somewhere from behind the pole, a match was thrown and the fire burst into life casting flickering shadows on the tarped pole. The crowd, a little startled by this, jumped, then turned its attention to the stage. The tarp was pulled off, revealing inch by inch a totem pole of such intricate design, it looked like the demonic carvings were ready to jump out. An old man stepped into the light. He was short, with straight black hair, dark skin, and wore loose brown leather. He introduced himself as the ancestor of an ancient shaman, Chenoweth, and had since taken the name as his own.

And so Chenoweth's story began: . "Thousands of years ago, monstrous beasts that can only be classified as demons ravaged the land that now is New England." Mentioning New England, Logan winced with the pain of remembrance. "The demons," Chenoweth continued, "would come at night when no one expected and kill the women and children, attempting to wipe us out and seek the world that they knew under their domination. Few survived. Groups of Shamans from other tribes that didn't get obliterated heard the news and got together to form an alliance to rid themselves of their common enemy. They had to resort to magic, for they saw their mundane weapons had no real effect. The alliance met for months, by modern standards, trying different spells, none worked. Then a brilliant young one brought forth an old spell long since forgotten, that would not kill, but entrap a demon. The spell took life force for energy, so each of the alliance sacrificed part of their own life to rid the land of this foul scourge. Once cast, the demons were placed in a dead tree. Immediately, the bark metamorphosed to the form of the demons' faces.

"The alliance thought the trouble was over until they found out that the spell had a shelf life: every 500 years the demons would be free. But in the 500 years since the first "parole," the descendants of the alliance made powerful amulets that destroyed supernatural evil entities."

Chenoweth pulled out a circular object made of granite with a four pointed star of quartz from under his shirt. "The problem seemed solved until they found out that the demons had managed to breed a stronger demon hord, and some of these were too powerful for the obliteration spell and the incarceration spell. The alliance had nowhere to turn for the answer, but to ask for volunteers to contribute more life force to strengthen the poles and amulets to retake the offspring. It took six poles to contain the offspring. The parent demons were put away easily and their poles were burnt in a mystic fire enchanted by the same enchantments as the amulets. But when they tried to burn the Six, the pulsating evil was still too powerful to be eliminated. So here standing before you is one of the Six. It was in 1492 that the Six were captured, five hundred years ago. Keep your amulets close when they are given to you, for you never know when they'll be freed. It could be tonight or it could not." So Chenoweth's story ended.

As they left, each was given an amulet. Logan looked over his carefully, thinking I wonder if there's any truth to it. That would explain why the pole looked so real. Ah well, guess I'll slip it on even though I've never been the superstitious type. When Logan got back to the cabin, it was empty and he was so tired he didn't bother to disarm himself and just dropped on the bunk unceremoniously. Logan woke with a start and looked around the room. His roommates were here. Some were sleeping soundly, others fitfully as if having a nightmare. Logan glanced at his watch, then went back to sleep.

A little later, Logan was being shook by his roommates. Dan was yelling, "Hey Logan, get up. Didn't you hear or see it."

"What are talking about?" Logan asked drowsily.

"That horrible crack and the freakish blue and green flash," another replied.

"No, we better go see what it is," Logan commanded.

They arrived at the amphitheater. The pole looked charred and was smoking from all sides. Seeing that made Logan and his group nervous enough without seeing the faces on the pole split open.

"Spread out and see what we can find," Logan said, breaking the tension.

As Logan stepped up to the pole for a closer look, he heard a rush of air three times and then three thumps. He ran around to where the others should have been, but instead found three headless bodies. Logan looked where the necks should have been, but did not find the amulets. Then he looked farther and found the amulets scattered on the ground. Logan picked up the three amulets. He armed himself with the remaining amulets, draping one over his back, and tying the other two to each palm of his hands. Logan ran back toward the administration cabin, but when he got there all the cars were gone, meaning he was alone. He saw a red flash behind him. Logan spun around and was face to face with a writhing demon lying on the ground. Logan panicked and on impulse drew one of his throwing knives and let it fly with grim accuracy, forgetting completely about the amulet. As he opened his palm, a red beam fired from the amulet's crystal passing through the knife, magnifying the deadly power of the crystal, and leaving the demon very dead. From behind, he felt something pass through his back. His rear amulet had swung around to the front! He was unprotected. He collapsed, he guessed that his spinal cord had been severed. He could not move! He felt something slimy cut the thong around his neck. He was rolled over. All he saw was a shadow, then a claw rise up like a guillotine, a drop of blood , Logan's blood , dropped on his face when the claw came down and ...

Logan jumped, opened his eyes and nearly fell out of the top bunk. His clothes were damp and he was sweating profusely. He laughed to himself about his overactive dream and lay back down to go to sleep. Then as soon as his head hit the pillow, an earth-shattering crack, louder than thunder, sliced through the silence like a knife. Through the window, Logan saw blue and green light in the distance. Logan turned his head, closed his eyes and let out a tortured "Nooooooo!" n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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