Please Help Support CTTA By Checking Out Our Sponsers Products

Nothing like meeting the parents of your newly beloved to discover all of those interesting little family secrets…


White Whale, Golden Gloves


H. Dusendschon


            David Corey woke with a start from his recurring dream this time.  The dream was always the same, Moby Dick and Captain Ahab in their final struggle.  This time the face of Ahab wasn’t that of an enraged Gregory Peck, as in the movie.  The face of Ahab appeared as a twisted, horned, demon-like monster.  It smiled as it drove the harpoon deep into the whale’s body.


            He jumped out of bed and soon forgot the dream.  The thermometer outside the window read minus ten, a normal winter day at Minnesota State.  Dressed and ready to run in five minutes, Dave ran down the stairs to meet the rest of the boxing team.  Three miles every morning had become a way of life for the fighters.  After that it would be a shower, a full day of classes, and that night a match with the boxing team from North Dakota.  Maybe I should have joined the Marines”, Dave thought.


            Later, after the match, the team marched into Clayton’s, a popular student hangout.  Davey Corey had scored another knockout in the first seconds of the second round.  He remained the only undefeated middleweight in the conference.  Lars and Hector, the two heavyweights, brought six pitchers of beer to the team’s tables.  The coach had exempted them from the morning workout the next day.


            Shouting a toast to their team, they all sat down to celebrate. At that moment Davey Corey saw Abigail Winslow for the first time.  She sat at the bar, deep in conversation with another girl.  Her brown hair had red highlights, and she talked in an animated way using her hands.  She had a perfect, petite body, and her face had been carved from a translucent marble.  Very little makeup had been applied around lively gray eyes and just a light lipstick on the heart shaped lips.


            She and a friend sat with the hockey team, but Dave had to meet her.  He rose from his chair and headed for the bar.  “Where’s he going?” he heard Hector ask.  He shouldered his way to a spot next to her asking the bartender for a shot of Irish whiskey.  “Excuse me for butting in but I’m Davey Corey and I would kill to know your name,” he said.


            She turned toward him, her face more breathtaking up close.  “My name’s Abigail, but don’t you think it’s rude to try to pick up a girl with her date standing right there?”  She nodded at Paul Loretti, the center for the hockey team.


            “I just asked your name,” Dave said.  “I wasn’t trying to pick you up.”  He turned around and walked back to his table.


            When he sat down he noticed a heated conversation between her and Loretti.  Oh, Oh.  She told him I put a move on her”, Dave thought.  Loretti and two teammates started walking their way.  Loretti’s face reddened and contorted in anger.


            “You hitting on my date, Corey?” were the first words out of his mouth.  His companions stood behind him with clinched fists.


            “No, Loretti, I only asked her name,” Dave replied.  “Now that you mention it, she is much too pretty for an ape like you.”


            Loretti responded by taking off his jacket.  “Stand up, you little puke.  I’m going to kick the crap out of you.”


            Davey got to his feet, and so did the rest of the team.  Lars, the heavyweight, spoke up.  “If there’s going to be a fight, it’s between those two.”  He stared at the other hockey players.  “Understood?”  They backed away from the table and the big Norwegian.


            Dave looked Loretti over.  The hockey player had at least forty pounds and four inches on him.  No problem, Davey thought.  The other fighters moved the table aside while Jimmy, the lightweight, whispered, “I’m timing you, Davey.”


            Davey raised his fists above the waist, and the big center swung a roundhouse right.  Just the kind of punch one would expect from a hockey player.  Ducking under the clumsy right and following left, Davey hit the boy with three left jabs in the face.  The last jab broke the guy’s nose, and he began to flail.  Davey blocked two punches, closed an eye with another jab, and delivered the payload.  The uppercut to the chin snapped the student’s head back and left him unconscious on the floor.


            “Yet another one for Davey Corey’s locker,” Jimmy shouted, as the two hockey players dragged their comrade’s body away.  “It took a little longer than I expected, Davey.”  Jimmy put a beer in Davey’s hand, and the other fighters sat down as though nothing had happened.


            A half hour later the hockey player emerged from the men’s room, cleaned up, with his chip back on his shoulder.  He began to scream at the girl Davey had spoken to.  She shouted back, and soon the whole bar heard them.


            The fight culminated when she grabbed her coat and stomped out of the bar.  She turned at the door, and a weird thing happened.  She nodded her head in a fierce manner toward the hockey player, and he poured the pitcher of beer he had in his hand down his shirt.

            Davey grabbed his coat and ran after her.  “He’s got it bad,” Hector said, and poured another round for the boxing team.

            He had no problem catching up, and he called out, “I hope your argument wasn’t because of the stupid fight.  I didn’t mean for you to get into trouble with your boyfriend.”


            She spun around to face him.  “Of course it was the fight, you moron.  He accused me of leading you on.  Why didn’t you talk your way out of it?”


            Davey took a quick step back, away from the anger, and rebounded with his own.  “I tried to talk him out of it and couldn’t.  He challenged me, and I’m an Irish kid from Boston who’s had to fight for everything I’ve got.  I don’t back down.”  He turned and started back to the bar.  He heard her call out but kept walking.


            The boxing team struggled through the following day.  Davey almost fell asleep in two classes, one being marine biology his major.  Training in the late afternoon turned into torture, and it was dark when he got to his dorm room.  He wanted to collapse into bed and sleep.


            The room ringed in candlelight stopped Davey dead in the doorway.  He tried the light switch, but it failed.  “What the hell?” he said out loud, and his eyes adjusted to the flickering lights.  She sat in the midst of the bed looking lovely, her legs tucked under her while she rested on one elbow.  “Close the door, you’re letting in the bad light,” she said.


            Closing the door gently, he said, “What’s going on and how did you get in here?”


            She sat up straight and smiled.  Her face glowed beautiful beyond belief in the candlelight.  “How I got in is unimportant.  I’ve filled the room with the light of warmth and good feelings, and electric light is unnatural and generic.  It spoils the mood.  Sit next to me.”


            Dropping his bag and jacket, he complied without knowing why.  She began to rub his shoulders saying, “You are tensed up and need to relax.  You train too hard and worry too much, but I can help you if you let me.”


            “What about your boyfriend, the hockey player who can’t take a punch?”  Dave began to feel relaxed and weak from Abigail’s magic fingers.


            “We broke up.  He turned out to be a jealous, self-centered jackass.”

            “Why me?  I got the impression you didn’t even like me.”


            “To the contrary, you frightened me a little with your temper and determination.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought it an admirable trait.”  He found himself half dozing then felt her lips nibble on his ear.  A surge of desire shot through him.

            He turned to face her.  “Now you’re trying to seduce me?”


            “No I’m not,” Abigail said, and wrapped her arms around his neck.  “I already have.”


            When Dave woke up the following morning, he stared at Abigail for five minutes.  He couldn’t believe how beautiful she looked.  He also remembered what a tiger she had been in bed.  Abigail fit the description, angel in the morning, devil at night.


            Hurrying into his sweats for his morning run, he left a note on the pillow.  They met for lunch at the cafeteria, making small talk about classes, professors, friends, trying to get to know each other a little better.  She kissed his cheek and pressed a note into his hand when she left.  It read, last night was nothing compared to what I’m going to do to you tonight.


            Abigail became the darling and honorary mother of the boxing team.  She’d heal cuts, loosen sore and torn muscles, and repair self-confidence.  While she sat at ringside the team went undefeated.  Once when Lars considered throwing in the towel, she touched his gloves and he won the match.  He told Davey afterward he felt a renewed surge of power when she touched him.


            They dated until Spring break.  Dave insisted he couldn’t afford to take a trip, but Abigail, through the generosity of her father, had plenty of money.  They went to Florida, rented a suite in a luxury hotel, and didn’t come out for a week.  They swam in the pool, ate at the hotel restaurant, and ordered room service.  It resembled a honeymoon.


            “What are we going to do this summer?” Abigail asked, when they got back to Minnesota.


            “New Bedford isn’t that far from Boston,” Dave replied.  “Do we have to plan that far ahead?”


            “I always plan ahead.  I think we should spend half our vacation at your house and half at mine.  That way we can get to know each other’s families.”


            Dave struggled out of the sweats.  He’d put on a couple of pounds due to their decadent vacation.  He was lucky he still made middleweight.  “So you’re going to trade half your vacation in your father’s, I mean Attorney Winslow’s, mansion for the slums of South Boston?”


            “Don’t be that way.”  Her lovely face saddened.  “If we let our stations in life get between us we won’t make it, and I love you too much to let it happen.”  Her face brightened and mischief lit her eyes.  “Besides I love the slums.  Can I get a slice of pizza and an Italian sub right off the street there?  Do they still have those little, narrow brick streets?”


            Dave had to laugh.  He decided to take her offer and damn the consequences.  Maybe it was a good idea after all.  He’d have to meet the Winslows sooner or later, and his family asked about Abigail in every letter.


            The Winslow house said, the people living here are wealthy and influential.  The three story, multi-gabled mansion sat in a ring of trees at the end of a long driveway.  Dave felt uneasy the moment he entered the front door.


            Mr. Winslow acted cordial while asking Dave about himself.  He seemed impressed with Dave’s boxing career and aspirations in academics, but after twenty minutes he excused himself to make some important phone calls.  Abby’s mother, a nervous woman, wore too much makeup and had a drink in her hand as she hugged her daughter.


            The only life in the house seemed to be Priscilla, Abigail’s sixteen-year-old sister.  From the time they arrived she ignored Abigail to lavish attention on Davey.  He had to admit he enjoyed having someone who appeared glad to see him, but he would have petted a friendly dog.


            After dinner, a feast in Davey’s opinion, Abigail suggested a walk in the woods behind the house.  “This is where I used to play as a child.  I could escape from the house and my parent’s stuffy friends here.”  She had never mentioned an unhappy childhood before.


            Through the trees, just beginning to grow spring leaves, Dave spotted a small stone structure.  “What is the little building?”  He pointed at the square structure.


            Abigail grabbed his arm.  “Forget that building, and don’t mention it to my parents.  Pretend you never saw it.”  Her voice contained a little panic and a lot of concern.  This peaked his curiosity so he asked Priscilla.  She waved her hand in dismissal.  “It’s just an old mission chapel.  I guess the missionaries used it to convert Indians.  It’s empty now, nothing but an old dirt floor and ready to fall down.”


            Dave could see in her eyes she lied.  The following morning he put on his road gear and left a note under Abby’s door.  It said, training on the road, back soon, love, Dave.  He took off down the driveway, doubled back behind the house, and headed for the stone structure.  Surprised to find it unlocked, he pushed the heavy wooden door open.


            A waist high stone slab stood in the center of the room, surrounded by candleholders.  A cross hung on the far wall upside down, and a small table beneath it held a golden cup, kriss blade knife, and plastic tubing.  Dave backed away from the scene and noticed iron chains with manacles attached to the stone slab.  He backed against the door, and a loud voice boomed.  Get Out!


            Davey broke all records getting away from that structure and back to the house. 

He walked in on breakfast, took a quick shower, and joined Abby and her family.  He said nothing to Abigail regarding the stone structure.  She’d told him to leave it alone.


            Abigail’s mother had insisted they sleep in separate rooms which was considered proper.  That night Davey awoke to a soft body crawling under the covers with him.  “I couldn’t stand one more night without you,” Abby’s voice whispered in his ear.  The sentence ended in a passionate kiss taking his breath away.  He returned the kiss, and his brain activated.  The kiss wasn’t Abigail’s.


            The lights snapped on to reveal two Abigails.  One lay in bed with him the other stood in the doorway, face livid with anger.  “Get out, you little bitch!”  The Abigail in the doorway yelled, grabbing the other’s wrist and tugging her from the room.


            Dave followed as far as the door where he could hear shouting in the hallway.  “What did you think you were doing?” he heard Abigail shout.


            “I just thought the poor guy should have some action.  God knows you weren’t giving him any.”  Priscilla’s voice sounded sassy and spiteful.


            “I’m still older than you and have twice your power.”  Abigail spoke in a lower voice.  “If you try anything like that again I’ll give you enough zits to last all summer and top it off with a case of clap.”  She stomped back down the hall and hit Dave with the door entering the room.  “You were eavesdropping,” she said.


            Dave headed back to the bed.  “I’m a little confused.  What the hell is going on, and how did she do that?  I thought she was you but for one thing.”


            “What was it?”


            “The kiss felt all wrong.  Nobody kisses like you.”


            Abby laughed then pushed him back on the bed.  “Tomorrow we’re going to my grandmother’s.  She’ll explain things much better than I can.  In the meantime scoot over, I’m sleeping here tonight.”


            “But your mother....”


            “My mother be damned.”  She wrapped her arms around his neck.  “I’m protecting my territory.”


            Abigail and her mother had a screaming fight the next morning as Dave packed the car for their departure.  He tried not to listen but caught a few key words like coven and sacred altar.  Abigail steamed as they drove her BMW down the highway, and Dave kept quiet.  She broke the ice.


            “Okay, come clean.  You went back to the stone house after I told you not to, didn’t you?”


            Dave felt his face turn red while he mumbled, “Yeah, I guess my curiosity got the better of me.”


            “Now that you know we’re all a pack of witches, you’d might as well know that your curiosity put us in deep shit.  Did you see or hear anything in there?”


            “Other than the altar and cross, no.  I did think I heard a voice shout, get out, but nobody was there.  It must have been my imagination.”


            Abigail’s voice shook.  “It wasn’t your imagination, and we have to get to Grandmother’s as fast as we can.”  She stepped on the gas and seemed to ignore the speed limit.


            Abby’s Grandmother Cornwall was a tall, well-dressed, graceful woman with the wrinkles of age but the step and alert blue eyes of a twenty year old.  She hugged a tearful Abigail and then Dave, with a hug that could break your ribs.  “I felt the danger since yesterday, Abby, and prayed you would get here safely.”  She turned to Dave.  “Don’t worry, the Goddess will protect you here and they have no power.”


            Dave wondered who they were and got all the answers at supper.  “It all began with my daughters love for her husband.  She was promised riches and success for him if she committed herself and daughters to Lucifer.  Needless to say she accepted the offer.”  Tears ran down her cheeks showing remorse for her daughter’s decision.


            “Our people have always practiced Wicca dating back to the ancient Druids.  It has just been in the latter centuries that many have crossed to the dark path, and decided to worship the Prince of Darkness.  It is always done for earthly rewards.”


            “Greed, Avarice, Lust, are some of the seven sins I can think of,” Abigail interrupted.  “Why did my mother think my father couldn’t be successful without help from the devil?”  Abby was getting herself worked up again but Grandmother Cornwall’s voice seemed to calm her.


            “Even the Goddess herself can not figure out the human mind, dear.  Don’t you agree David?”


            “I agree.”  Dave was glad to be included.  “I personally have problems with the minds of women.”


            Abby glared at him, but Grandmother Cornwall laughed heartily.  “It is just the kind of answer your grandfather would give, Abby, but on with the history.”  She paused for a drink of wine.  “Priscilla took to her power like a drunkard to ale.  Her mother had to pull in the reins a couple of times.  Abby, on the other hand, resisted.  She finally left home, came here to live with me, and made a wonderful Wiccan.  The Goddess loves Abby.”


            “So do I,” Dave said and covered her hand with his.  Her eyes welled with tears.


            “I’m still promised,” Abby said through tears cascading down her cheeks.  “I’m to be handed over on my twenty-first birthday.  If I refuse my mother will be punished and I will become a human sacrifice to Satan.”  She dropped her napkin on her plate, and running from the table, bounded up the stairs.  Dave stood to follow, but Grandmother Cornwall grabbed his arm.


            “Give her time to cry it out,” she said.  “The poor thing is scared and doesn’t want to show weakness.  Her twenty-first birthday is in October, a month when Satan is powerful.  She believes this to be her last summer.”


            “Isn’t there anything we can do?  There must a way your people can protect her.  I’m not a religious person and haven’t been to confession forever, but I’d lay down my life for her.  If you have all these sights and senses you’d know I speak the truth.”

            Mrs. Cornwall stared at him and nodded.  “There may be something you can do although Abby would never ask you to.  Come with me.”


            Dave followed, out the back door to a large shed.  It had wood siding and looked in good shape with a fresh coat of white paint and portholes for windows.  She opened the heavy wooden door to reveal a workshop containing many woodworking tools, a heavy workbench, and piles of unused lumber.


            “My husband was a seafaring man, and after his retirement took up woodworking as a hobby.  His work became well known, and he even sold some pieces.”  She opened a large chest, inviting Dave to look inside.  “This was his pride and joy, his scrimshaw.  He used to say the carpentry was work, but scrimshaw was art.”


            The work, beautiful yet hearty, seemed to emanate a sense of the sea to Dave as he held it in his hands.  He picked up piece after piece examining the carvings and scenes depicted, from sailors hauling lines to creatures living in the sea.


            “Your favorite book is Moby Dick, am I right?” Mrs. Cornwall asked, and snapped him out of his reverie.


            “Yes, I’ve read it three times, but how did you...?”


            “I have the sight, boy.  The look of the sea is all over you.  Isn’t that why you chose marine biology as your major?”


            “I love the sea and studying it.  I firmly believe one day we will be able to communicate with whales and dolphins.  I also think we will discover they are the wisest beings on the planet.  I know it sounds a little far out.”  Davey laughed nervously.


            “Not at all,” Mrs. Cornwall replied.  “They are the oldest beings on the earth.  Oh, the marvelous tales they could tell.  The Continental Drift, the Ice Age, the fall of Atlantis, they would have this knowledge.  You might like to have this.”  She held up a white whale attached to a silver chain so life-like it looked as though it could swim.


            “I couldn’t, it’s priceless.”


            “I insist my husband would want you to have it.  It contains the power of the sea.”  She slipped the chain around Davey’s neck.  “When the time comes, and it will, you will see what I mean.  Trying times are coming for my Abby.  She will insist that you not get involved, but you are her champion.  You must not listen to her rejection but stand firm.  I trust you to do that, David Corey.”


            Abigail waited for them in the house.  Her tears had been replaced with smiles and good spirits.  “I see Grandmother has had you in Grandfather’s workshop.  He did wonderful work.  I swear she’s as proud of it as he was.”


            Dave and Abby slept in the same room that night.  Grandmother Cornwall insisted otherwise they’d sneak around and disturb her sleep.  Dave felt safe and had no trouble falling asleep, but awoke at midnight to an empty bed.  He looked out the window and saw Abby and Mrs. Cornwall, in white robes, dancing and gyrating in the yard.  Some Wiccan ritual”, Davey thought, and went back to bed.  He lay awake trying to make sense out of what Mrs. Cornwall had told him in the workshop.


            They stayed at Grandmother Cornwall’s for two weeks and thoroughly enjoyed it.  What Dave saw in the yard that night, Abby said, involved the casting of a binding spell on the coven of the Satan worshippers.  It would serve to protect them from Dave’s desecration of their temple.  The day before they departed for Boston, while walking on the shore, Dave could swear he saw a great white whale far out to sea.  Abigail insisted it was a cloud.


            They had a great time at Davey’s folks in Boston.  His family loved Abigail, and she returned that love.  She played with Davey’s brothers, taught his teenage sister how to apply makeup, and helped Mrs. Corey with the housework.  She seemed to thrive on the hectic lives of the busy, noisy household.  Dave was convinced Abby could fit in anywhere.


            Abby seemed to have forgotten the frightening things at the Winslow house, but Davey didn’t.  He went to see Father Grogan one day to see what his old priest knew on the subject.  The priest wasn’t much help only he did relate one story.


            “There’s a story claiming the Devil made a bargain with the Knights Templar at one point.  Legend says that the Knights could furnish a champion to fight for a lost soul against a champion picked by Satan.  If the Knight won the soul was saved.  The story says the ground of Europe is filled with dead champions.”  Davey found nothing comforting in that story.


            His Uncle Jimmy had another take on the subject.  “Satan, witches and the like are better left to women and the clergy.  Ireland was and still is full of witches, and the best thing a man can do is give them a wide berth.  A good Irishman should only have dealings with one kind of spirits, the kind you get at the pub.”  Davey was frustrated.


            He took Abigail on tours of Boston.  They walked through the Commons, Gardens, and watched the boats on the Charles River.  He showed her the grounds at Harvard, they climbed Breed’s Hill, and spent a couple of weekends at the Cape.


            Summer neared its end and Dave had to leave two weeks early for training.  Abby drove him to the airport, and decided to spend the remainder of her summer with Grandmother Cornwall.  “Take care of yourself,” he said, as they kissed good-bye.  “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”  He boarded the plane knowing he’d worry until she rested safely in his arms again.


            Dave trained hard those two weeks.  Life without Abby, he found, seemed almost impossible.  He called every day to make sure she was okay and tell her he loved her.  His life returned when she arrived at college and threw herself into his arms.  The boxing team even bought her a “welcome back” present, a small pair of golden boxing gloves.  “Now I’m a Golden Gloves winner too,” she told Dave, as she hung them next to the trophies he’d won in high school.


            Abby began to withdraw as the leaves changed.  Her twenty-first birthday landed on October twenty-fifth, the day of the full moon.  When Dave held her at night, he could tell she was afraid.  He tried to bolster her spirits, but it was a half-hearted effort.  He was also afraid and most of his fear concerned the unknown.  Would he wake up one morning and find her gone?  Would Satan come for her in a blaze of fire and brimstone?  Would the Winslows show up and take her?  It all came to a head the previous weekend.


            As they lay in bed, she propped her head up on one hand.  “I know my grandmother told you about my birthday.  I also know you want to protect me, but you can’t.  I want you to stay away from me on the twenty-fifth.  I want your promise.”


            “How can you ask me to do that?” Dave asked, taken by surprise.  “I love you more than life itself.”  The hurt showed in his voice.


            “I feel the same way.  How would I feel if something happened to you?  You have to promise me or it’s over.  I mean it Davey, I’ll leave you.”


            “I figure you’ll dump me anyway after you join the new coven so what’s the difference?”  Dave spoke from anger now.  He got out of bed and struggled into his sweats.


            She was crying now.  “Nothing will change, Davey.  I’ll still be your girl.  They won’t interfere with us.”


            “They’ve already interfered with us!” Dave shouted.  He opened the door and said, “I’m going for a run.  I have to think.”


            While running he knew what he had to do.  It wouldn’t be easy but neither was winning the Massachusetts Golden Gloves title.  He had to fight for his girl even if it meant deceiving her.  He shook her shoulder when he returned.  “If you want me to stay away for the day on your birthday I’ll honor your wishes.  I’d rather do that than loose you.  I’ll love you no matter what your affiliation.”


            They concluded the night holding each other tight.  Dave hoped he could convince her that what he said was true.  Every now and then he’d feel her breath catch as if in a sob.  He just held her close and steeled his heart to the pain.


            At eleven o’clock the night preceding Abigail’s birthday, Dave got off the edge of the bed and got dressed.  “I can’t take this anymore.  I’m going to run and go to my place.”


            “Whatever you do, don’t come back until I call you,” Abigail said, eyes full of tears.


            “I promised didn’t I?”  Dave slammed the door as he left.  He didn’t even kiss her good-bye.


            He ran for two hours then circled back to Abby’s room.  A strange orange glow came from her window.  Creeping up the stairs, he stood before her door.  It’s now or never”, he thought and kicked the door in.


            Abby knelt in front of a table full of candles, wearing a black robe.  A tall man stood on the other side holding a goblet with both hands.  It resembled a mock communion.  They both jerked around when Dave exploded into the room.  I claim the right given to the Knights Templar to champion this girl’s soul,” Dave shouted.


            “Davey, you promised,” Abby shouted.


            “I lied,” he replied in a strong voice.  He was no longer ashamed of the deception.


            The man pushed back his cowl.  He was surprisingly handsome.  “You are not a Knight of the Temple or any kind of knight,” he said in a soft voice.  “I have been expecting you though Davey Corey.  You are a tenacious Irishman.  My boss has given approval to your foolish request because he wants your soul as well as the girl’s.  You realize that’s the deal, don’t you?”


            Dave nodded, and they were no longer in Abby’s room.  They stood in the middle of a boxing ring, and Davey wore his robe and shorts.  He glanced at Abby.  Her face mirrored anger and fear.  She whispered to him.  “Stop this foolishness, Davey, please.  You’re going to be killed.”  He just shook his head.


            The tall man had shed the robe for a black tux.  “I’m Belial, by the way, I will act as your referee and time-keeper.  Here is my champion.”


            A stocky, Latino man leaped into the ring wearing boxing gear.  Davey knew him immediately, Coreo Zapata.  He had been gunned down outside a New York nightclub four years before for taking a dive.  He had been a cruel fighter, and four of his opponents had ended up vegetables or dead.  He’d fought in the heavyweight division and had at least sixty pounds on Davey.


            The fighters met in center ring, and Davey could see the cruelty in Zapata’s eyes.  “Let us begin,” Belial said.  A beautiful girl, wearing almost nothing but long black hair, held up a card reading Round One.


            Davey turned to Abby and asked, “Lace me up?”  She shook her head and climbed out of the ring, sitting on a chair in the first row.  “I’ll lace your gloves,” the girl with the long black hair said.


            “I have an idea,” Belial said.  “I will trade you Magda for the child.  Magda is Turkish and a wonderful lover.  She knows thousands of ways to pleasure a man, and her beauty is evident.”  She was beautiful, but Davey shook his head.


            “Too bad,” the demon shook his head.  “Okay, the rounds will be regulation, but there will be no limit.  A ten count is an immediate loss, and the loser will die.  Since Mr. Zapata is already dead, I have another punishment awaiting him should he loose.  I take your soul, Mr. Corey, and the girl’s.”


            He walked to the side of the ring and rang the bell.  The two fighters advanced.  Davey figured he could take Zapata with his speed, but it proved untrue.  Zapata lowered his head, took the punishment, and kept coming.  Davey cut the heavyweight’s face until it was a mass of blood while Zapata hammered his arms and torso.  After four rounds Davey could hardly lift his arms.


            He decided to use his legs and jab at the Latino.  Avoiding Zapata’s hammer-like punches, he pounded his face some more along with his soft stomach.  Zapata only landed one punch to Davey’s jaw during the next four rounds, but the jaw felt dislocated or broken.


            Abigail still seethed, and Magda tended to him between rounds.  She spoke soothing words suggesting if he surrendered they could be together.  Davey had to fight to keep from giving in to the girl’s seduction which sounded pretty good after the seventh round.


            When he sat down after eight rounds a knot of fear crept into his stomach.  Was he going to loose?  Had all this been for nothing?  Abby stood next to his ear.  “You’re going to die, Davey.  Surrender and maybe we can make a deal.  You can’t stop this monster.”


            Davey considered it, and inadvertently touched the whale pendant around his neck.  A strange thing happened.  He heard the whale’s songs penetrating the air.  They were like the sounds he had on a recording, but he knew they called to him.


            “What is that infernal noise?” Belial shouted.  “No sounds can penetrate these walls.”


            Davey got to his feet.  He felt a new surge of power, as if he was fresh.  “It is the death knell of your champion, demon,” he said.  His gloves began to glow white and gold, and he advanced toward Zapata.


            “Finish him!” Belial screamed, sensing something wrong.  He and Davey Corey seemed the only ones that heard the whale’s song.


            The boy stepped inside Zapata’s guard and hit him with all his strength in the soft abdomen.  The heavyweight took two steps back, but Davey pursued with two more of the same.  Two more steps back, and Zapata did what Davey hoped he’d do.  He dropped the gloves.  Davey summoned up all the power in his body and landed his patented uppercut.  The big Latino’s head snapped back, his eyes glazed, and he landed flat on his back, a felled tree.


            Abby, Belial, and even Magda stared with open mouths at the downed fighter.  “Count, Demon!” Davey shouted.  Belial didn’t count, he changed.  His face turned red and contorted with hate and rage.  Horns grew from his head and fangs from his lower mouth.  Black wings sprouted from his shoulders.  “Count,” Davey said again.  “Your true self is showing.”


            Belial lifted his arms and disappeared in a blaze of orange fire along with Magda and the fighter on the mat.  Davey turned to Abigail who ran toward him.  “I guess that means we won,” he said, and collapsed on the mat.


            Dave felt a freezing cold around his head and neck as he stared at the ceiling in Abigail’s room.  Her face came into view.  “How do you feel?” she asked.


            “Like I’ve been flash frozen and packed in ice,” he replied, and sat up with a groan.  Every inch of his body hurt, and his face felt numb.  He discovered his torso had been wrapped with tape and his knuckles had bandages.  The numbness faded from his face which felt twice its size.


            “I put ice packs on your face to take the swelling down, and the bruises on your ribs and arms should heal in a couple of days.  Grandmother says you should be right as rain in a week.”  Her composure broke down, and she started to cry.  “When I think you went through all this for me....”


            “Shhh,” he said, and hugged her though it hurt like hell.  “It’s all over.  We’re free.  We can think about our future and forget all this.”


            “Grandmother’s coven was casting a binding spell during your fight, and she said they all heard the songs.  She also said you had a power that none of us do.  Do you know what she’s talking about?  I didn’t hear any songs.”


            Davey Corey nodded.  “I know what she meant, and I’ll explain it to you when I figure it out.  All I can tell you is it has something to do with your grandfather.”


            She gave him a curious look, but he put his arm around her shoulders pulling her closer.  Grandfather Cornwall subscribed to his own theology, and had given him the power of the sea and friendship of its denizens.  He gazed out the window at the blue sky.  One cloud was visible in the distance cast in the perfect shape of the great white whale.