You know how this game works: take out the master, and the puppets go ragdoll. So you charge straight for the jock, pushing aside one alumni to do so. As you advance, the jock takes a few steps backward, yet plants their feet, getting ready.
‘Vivikesh Ne’gulafal,’ the jock hisses, and for a second you expect your legs to go limp or pain to shoot through your nerves, but nothing happens. The jock seemed to expect something to happen, as well, which is why he’s shocked when you successfully deliver your foot to the bottom of his jaw in a powerful kick (yes, you still work legs once a week), knocking him out.
Once the jock falls to the floor, so do the puppets, just as you’d expected. Cautious, yet feeling unmistakably heroic, you rush over to one – a man in his 40s, you’d wager – and tear the tape off his mouth.
‘Damn it!’ he cries, wincing as he struggles with the ropes.
As you begin to undo the ropes, you adopt an apologetic tone. ‘I’m sorry, I’d heard the cry from outside and –’
‘And you figure’d you’d save the day, huh? I get it,’ he sighs, as you free him from the ropes, ‘but you’re a fool to come here. You don’t know the black magic they have at play here.’
‘He’s right,’ the older gent you just freed (?) adds, as he helps a woman of a certain age from her ropes. ‘We’re all hostages of history now, moving towards its one end – the manifestation of God.’
Rest assured, you’re thoroughly weirded out. ‘Hold on, what? I thought this was a – umm – a theatre reunion?’ You laugh, all too hollowly. ‘Is this, like, some sort of theatre trick?’
‘Unfortunately, no,’ the older woman sneers, ‘this isn’t a trick – this is real. Really real. Like, as real as real gets.’
You’re alarmed. ‘Really? What do you mean?’
Twin #1 turns to you. ‘The Board of Trustees dug up an Indian burial mound on school grounds to start fracking underneath it, they weren’t opposed when a group of alumni calling themselves The Nine promised funding if they could set up a so-called participatory theatre experience at the next reunion, and now the alumni are secretly enacting a blood ritual to resurrect the corpse of Erich von Straussheim himself.’
‘The school founder?’ you gasp. ‘They want to resurrect him? And, wait, he wasn’t Native American, was he?’
‘No, but he was buried with the local tribesmen,’ the woman of a certain age nods, ‘after a lifetime of religious proselytizing. But he wasn’t preaching some Judeo-Christian religion, as our school’s brochures attest…’
‘But what does this have to do with fracking, and blood magic?’ you ask, academically.
‘It’s a long story. Do you wanna hear it?’