Photos. Margot almost asked Mrs. Stoughnt if she knew what they meant. Tamara volunteered her idea before Margot asked.

"I think it was the devil," the old woman gushed.

"Please, go on." Mrs. Stoughnt’s comment dissuaded Margot from asking about the feathers, and it appeared she couldn’t get into the building to look. A tour of the crime scene wasn’t necessary. Besides, Margot realized the blood

Matthew Sawyer 67

Would still be there with feathers. That stomach — turning vision and resulting sleepless nights, could be happily avoided.

"I wanted to run home, but I used the phone in the church. Then I went outside and called for help. The patrol was right there. A little while after that, an ambulance came. Then the flies." The old woman took a breath and moved her hand to cross herself shoulder to hip. She appeared very orthodox. "They were big, and black and white like bees, but their stripes went the wrong way."

Mrs. Stoughnt motioned up and down with the hand she used to cross herself. "They came for the blood. I swear, I heard them lap it up."

The description made Margot ill. She battled against conjuring the sound. Her imagination could disquiet her at times. The hot weather proved an adequate distraction. Margot dabbed at perspiration on her face with a tissue from her purse.

"The little monsters bit me and the photographer, as if the blood on the floor wasn’t fresh enough for them. They wanted living blood, right from the vein!"

"Mrs. Stoughnt, please." "I’m sorry, honey. But that’s what

Happened. Well, the men from the ambulance put on their coats and wrapped up their faces. They pulled the remains of Reverend Arnett out and stuck him into a bag right outside. Then they left. I

68 Pazuzu — Manifestation

Told the patrol what I saw and they let me go home. I told them I was coming home from work. I’m not as quick as I was when I was your age. That is why I was out after dark."

Margot had enough. She would omit the quotes and submit the story as written in the summary. The report would be accepted, since it already read exactly as the military wanted.

"Thank you, Mrs. Stoughnt. I’ll need to get back to military headquarters."

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