THE BARN OF GATHERINGS
|submitted by "Twitcher" as told to Vernon Trollinger|
(Note: the barn in question stood for many, many years literally at the eastern edge of Iowa
City and was widely rumored to be a place for "meetings". When the barn became unuseable-it
may have collapsed-a corn crib associtated with the barn also was rumored to be a gathering place for some of Iowa City's Satanic cultists. Both were razed in
the late 1980's to make room for apartments...)
I grew up in Iowa City. In the fall of 1975, I was fifteen. My girl friend was "Amanda". She was 25 and attended the University majoring in Art. She was kinda pudgy, freckled, with a strawberry complexion. I met her when I walked up to her apartment and told her I had been watchin' her undress from the alley. It kinda turned her on. She invited me in.
She said she was a witch-she wore lots of purple and reddish orange stuff and a big black poncho-like thing and was always reading tarot cards. She always smelled of incense; a musky, sweet, stale odor hung around her all the time. It was kinda sickening, but the sex and the dope was good. She even taught me how to drive-in a Pinto with a stick. I guess I liked her pretty much despite the tarot cards and the incense, but I was fifteen an' I didn't love her. She didn't love me. But we had some good times together, I guess. You gotta remember this was years ago. I remember her always pulling out tarot cards-and that big black poncho of hers. She took me to dinner once and did tarot cards on the table.
Well, she asked me to go to a party one night around Halloween. I had myself a 1954 Chevy by then, so I drove us out to the end of Washington where it met Scott Boulevard. There was a farm with an old barn there, then. It had been painted red, once, but it was pretty well weathered. It wasn't dark yet, but pretty late in the day. There was a gravel drive right opposite where Washington ended and it went up to bottom doors of the barn. There were lots of cars and motorcylces-lots of motocycles-parked there then. There was a path leading around to the side. It went up a bank to the second floor where the big double doors were open. The place was dingy and dusty; full of stuff you'd expect in a barn-lots of odds and ends. I heard voices coming from the hay loft and so we climbed this ladder up through a trap door. It was good sized room, but dark. I remember flame, but I couldn't tell you if the place was lit by laterns or candles. Probably candles. There wasn't any hay left there, but you could still smell it. I could see a raised platform at the other end of the room, but not much else. It was dark.
Amanda started saying hello to everyone, she was wearing that black poncho thing. There were 20 or 30 people up there, and I thought that was real, real strange. And all of them were older than me. All the men had little beards and wore those banded-collar shirts that buttoned all the way down; the women all wore lots of beads. I started feeling a bit weird about being there and then I saw a chalice being handed around-a bronzish gold thing that looked like it was stolen from a church. Somebody said something about a cat and then handed the cup to me and I looked in it. It was full of blood.
I got really scared then. And I think I was scared that they were going to kill me and eat me or something worse. I told Amanda I wanted to leave.
"I wanna stay,"she answered, disappointed, "it hasn't even started yet!"
I didn't want to know what 'it' was that hadn't started. I climbed back down the ladder, and ran back to my car. I didn't know what they were up to in that loft, but anything with drinking blood out of gold chalices in old barns at the edge of town spooked the crap out of me. I went straight home. Afterwards, I never went to see Amanda again, nor did I ever try and find her. And I'm glad I never did.
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