Protégé

The front gates of your fortress are tall, ornate and heavily guarded, much like I imagine the gates of Heaven to be. I easily make it through security when they realize who I am. Your protégé has returned at last. I walk slowly up the long winding road admiring the impeccable and wonderful gardens that surround your mansion.

On the marble steps of the entrance I stand like a crucified god, both arms outstretched as your bodyguards search me, and I smile at the irony. I step into the great hall where a devotee bows to me then requests that I remove my shoes. I am given a white robe and led into a change room. I have not worn the robe for so long that I feel and look like another person. I glance at my reflection for a long time, the memories swell and churn. I lived many years in your ashram. I let the memories come and go. I feel nothing.

When I emerge from the change room the devotee bows to me again.

“The Guru is expecting you. He is most pleased that you have come,” purrs the man with a polite smile. He gestures, inviting me to proceed.

I walk deeper into the large entrance hall, marveling at the decadence. The floor is fine, white granite. It is cold and smooth under my feet. A beautiful fountain is in the centre of the hall. Its crystal clear water fills the air with a fine, refreshing mist. Light streams in from the domed glass ceiling. A huge winding staircase of glistening mahogany stands ahead. The staircase is laid with plush red carpet. The carpet seems to melt beneath my feet; warm and soft, a striking contrast to the granite floor. With careful slow steps I begin the ascent.

I walk the pristine white halls, passing the silent sentinels who stare ahead although they observe me carefully. Within large rooms the elite of your followers are seated softly chanting your mantra. Fresh bouquets of extravagant blooms line the walls. The altars are large and overflowing with more flowers, adorning huge portraits of you. Streaming brass bowls thicken the air with the intoxicating scent of sandalwood. I keep climbing, to the very pinnacle of your mansion, to a small room lined with windows that offer exhilarating views of the coast.

I stand before the white raw silk curtains that line the doorway, the veil between you and I. In this room you live, rarely leaving; you no longer travel to teach anymore. From the peak of your ivory tower you look down at the world you have left behind. In this room you receive the most select and gifted of your followers. Very few are granted entrance. I sat in this room with you often, the two of us on orange cushions gazing down at the ocean.

The silk brushes my face as I pass through; there is no turning back. I have not returned to embrace you my beloved Guru, I have come to say goodbye. You were a kind and generous Guru, you gave me everything. Except the key. Except what I wanted.

I find you as I remember you, seated on your cushion, gazing out of the window, as if you have not moved in all these years. The sharp morning light that pours in is overpowering, it seems as if we are standing amongst clouds.

I wait silently. After a few moments you finally rise and turn to me. Your skin glistens like polished bronze, your eyes are orbs of bottomless black. You are an enigma, oozing mystique. I approach you and our eyes meet. A sensation sweeps over me, is it love? It is nothing but a distraction; I will not be deterred. I know I must act instantly. With a swift and powerful motion I plunge my fist deep into your belly. You do not struggle, you do not make a sound. You hold my gaze, expressionless, but deep down I can see the surprise, the shock. Your protégé has surpassed you in skill. The pain must be excruciating as I push my hand in deeper; you drool from the mouth, tears seep from your eyes. I withdraw and blood gushes from the wound. You drop to your knees and I follow, diving my hand in deeper again. I need it while you are still alive. You begin to convulse as I scoop out your intestines. I can feel it with the very tip of my fingers, smooth and hard, deep within you. A small curved thing, the most sacred of bones. The seat of the soul, the seat of power, the sacrum. I have come to collect yours, my Guru.

~ Magenta Nero

© Copyright 2016 Magenta Nero. All Rights Reserved.

The Mortician’s Angst

There was an audible twang. Turning back, he wrinkled his brow in disgust. Four! Four perfectly placed stitches had torn loose so far. He was baffled and more than a bit annoyed. Peering at the remainder of the skein, he examined it for defects; it looked perfectly fine. He wrapped a short length around his fingers and gave a hard tug. He received nothing but resistance for his effort. A bit perplexed, his fingers slipped between her lips to remove the defective stitch; he inspected it thoroughly with a loop before discarding it with the others.

Making his way to the old apothecary cabinet his grandfather had used many years ago, he opened each draw until he finally found what he was looking for – catgut. Sometimes the old-fashioned way was the only way. Threading the much thicker needle with the coarse sinew, he finished the sutures. He stood and stared in consternation for a good ten minutes willing them to stay fast yet daring them to break free. Finally satisfied, he turned to reach for the clay and began the final stages of reconstruction.

Two hours later, after finishing the cosmetic details, he gazed down upon the face he had just rebuilt and was pleased with his efforts. He’d done a fine job of reconstructing her crushed bones and concealing the bruised tissue. She looked peaceful, almost angelic, but the sedative would soon wear off. After a brief wait, a slight murmur reached his ears; one eye began to tear open. As his grandfather used to say, ‘death was just around the corner, one should always be prepared,’ though he doubted his grandfather had meant it in quite the same manner.

With a deep sigh, he inserted a trocar into the femoral vein to drain the body, then moved to insert another into her brachial artery to introduce the chemical mixture. The art of embalming was one so few had the opportunity to experience, to appreciate. Apparently, she was not in an appreciative mood.

~ Nina D’Arcangela

© Copyright Nina D’Arcangela. All Rights Reserved.

All The World’s A Stage

“You have been dogged in your pursuit for an exclusive, so here it is—contrary to popular belief, I owe my new-found stardom to her. She, my biggest fan. But before all that, there are facts you need to understand about me, as well my recent rise to fame.

“I had to adapt a different persona, you see, one that would allow me reintegration back into society. I had grown stale, my message old, ineffective. I had lost my edge, and I admit now, for all your viewers, that I was too proud to see it. As an artist, I committed a grave mistake—I failed miserably in keeping with the changing times.

“So I went back underground. I played the small circuits and as I did so, I painstakingly recast myself. Gone was the haughtiness that once defined me. A humble thing, I developed a greater sense of self. Who I was. Who I was supposed to be. Slowly, dependent only upon word of mouth, I attracted a new following. One by one, they came to me. They came to see my performance.

“Excuse me, water? Ah, thank you. I was quite parched. Where was I? Yes. My performance…

“My act had grown dull, my song repetitious and as such, people had become blind and deaf to me. I realized I needed to restore their senses. So I worked diligently in those early days of my rebranding. How was my experience? Well, I very much cherished playing to the midnight crowds of those speakeasies in New York and LA and all their sordid elements. The sharpness of booze in the air, the apparitions the haze of nicotine induced, and the scores the martini shakers orchestrated in the background. It became a breeding ground for inspiration.

“I began gaining notice then, as you know. I became the new thing. I emerged from the underground. Reinvigorated. Restored. The decision was made for me to tour.

“Do I remember the first time I saw her? How could I not? New Zealand. The very first night of my tour,  my very first tour. There she swayed…first row…the crush of a thousand bodies at her back. I found her easily. Her eyes spoke to me. Those wayward eyes, longing to be saved. She attended every show, I later discovered; all  of them, worldwide. Wait, please, I will stop you right there—she was not among my groupies. That was beneath her.

“As time progressed, and my prominence flourished once more, her affinity for me became very public knowledge. Yes, yes, of course she cultivated it. She grew it into an unabashed thing, so much so that even I read about it in the tabloids long before we met. It was only a matter of time. Much like everything else about her, she hardly kept it secret. The money she had spent following me became a media sensation, partly due to individuals such as yourself who payed heed and partially embellished the reports to enliven them a bit, eh? Perhaps she had been irresponsibly flippant, the way she spent her inheritance, but mind you, she chose her cards from the deck, no one else. A socialite, a celebrity, she wanted for nothing. Nothing, save for what she craved. And what she craved was…well, that is where my story leads, does it not?

“I sought the grandeur of celebrity status too, don’t misunderstand me; coveted it actually. But after time, I realized it was not enough on its own. I required an additional outlet. A vessel. And so it happened that she became the one. My verse then was one of twisted tongues. I was still feeling my way through the obscurity, struggling in my acclimation as I climbed up fame’s ladder, and yet, she understood me, my language. She clung to my every word. Through my notes, I gave her meaning but through her, I found reason. Together, we adopted a purpose.

“As a result, I manipulated the lottery to choose a deserving fan. You seem so surprised, but what else was I to do? The time had come to expand my reach. The time had come to mainstream my call. She presented my quickest avenue, and she knew it as well. Rest assured, my management team frowned upon this exploit. ‘Twas bad enough I plucked followers from the crowd, they reasoned, but this? I took it all under consideration. I did my due diligence. Earlier in my existence, I had been too proud, but I learned my lesson well. This was a necessary thing.

“She knew the contest was hers alone to win, and she rejoiced. Soon after the formalities of the announcement, the photo opps were arranged, the talk show circuits scheduled. She was always one for smooth talking. In fact, I fondly recall her first press conference. Silently, I stood in the shadows at the back of the room, my disguise a masterful getup. And I admired her, the way she commanded the attention of all, the perfect tilt of her chin, the exquisite swivel of her hips. I admired her for all her casual simplicities, a facade so carefully constructed. One society had lionized. My decision had been the right one, I realized at that moment. I had played my cards equally as well, and my time of canonization had come.

“Pardon me? You mention it seeming far too orchestrated on my part? Please, allow me to clear up an inaccuracy — I may have skewed the winning result, I may have bankrolled the cable networks to further promotion, but it was she who picked the moment, the venue. It all came together, a perfect storm of elements. Timing is everything in show business, is it not? Sequenced and sparkling, she took her hometown stage to thunderous applause. The house lights dimmed. The stage lights rose, and she shone. For a fleeting moment, I must admit, a pang of jealousy struck my bones. Indeed, she commanded their attention.

“But I commandeered their souls.

“Even you must remember how I emerged to the hush of that crowd…I certainly do. The air carried a charge, crackling and alive. It reminded me of the days I honed my skills in the many speakeasies; those dark basement bars where the patrons employed fake names and no one would be missed. I looked out over the rows, those endless, churning rows. I raised my hand. I have come for you, I said. Then dropped it to a roar. I never lost the knack to work my flock over. I always worked them to a froth.

“She turned to me, lips moving, but from which came no sound. I love you. In all honesty, I loved her as well. But she was never to know that. She had become my vessel, nothing more. Yes, some still accuse me of seducing her. To that, I respond she had merely succumbed of her own accord.

“She nodded toward the paparazzi, cognizant of her perfect, final pose. Those eyes…those crypt-pallid eyes…they fluttered. And as the flashbulbs burst, I drew my forefinger across her throat and listened as she sang the most rapturous of songs.

“So my stardom I indeed owe to her. She has allowed me to take residence in every home in America, across the world. My popularity has soared. I have never been more in vogue. Revered, as it were. Death, a rock star at last.

“Oh, you are quite welcome. No, this has not been a bother in the least. I do not often grant interviews, but you have been quite diligent in securing time with me. Strange, how much of her I glimpse in you. Are we still live? Good. Good.

“I would greatly love to hear your song.”

~ Joseph A. Pinto

© Copyright 2016 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Of Books and Men

Her feet made no sound as they padded across the cold stone floor.  She knew he was busy, but she had waited for such a long time.  Besides, what father could resist his only daughter?  He put down the tome as she approached and turned to face her.

“Father,” she said, “it’s time for a new book.”

He turned to his daughter and smiled.  Their library was one of the biggest around, and as such, adding new material was not a simple task.  She was too young to do it properly on her own, but he did enjoy helping her with it.  Besides, it had been far too long since their last acquisition.

“Of course.  Let me finish something here and I will be there shortly.”

Leila turned and hurried out of her father’s study. She ran down the central hallway, slowing only as she approached the large doors that led to the library.  Her eyes drifted upwards to the ageless brick in the barrel-vaulted ceiling, arched in ways that seemed to defy the laws of gravity.  The walls were lined with bright sconces and perfectly carved busts of the ancient ones.

She stopped in front of the large doors and waited, letting her mind wander to the joy of what lay ahead.  Leila felt his approach long before her father spoke.

“I trust you are ready to do this,” he questioned before attempting to open the door.  “The story will not unfold the way you would like if everything has not been prepared correctly.”

Leila turned to her father and smiled lovingly.  “Yes.  Everything is ready.”

Without saying another word, Seth placed his hand on the heavy door and opened the library for his daughter.  She stepped inside and walked down the aisle, her eyes lingered hungrily on dozens upon dozens of books.  The outer edge of the library held the oldest books – ancient things that smelled of parchment, strange leather and age.

She reached her hand out and ran her fingers across the tomes as they walked through her part of the library.  Leila had devoured every book in here, many of them multiple times.  Simply touching one of these was enough to tease her mind with the emotions and characters captured within the pages. A particularly strong wave of feelings shot through her as she touched one of her favorite books.  Leila stopped and ran a finger down the spine.

Seth stopped behind her and sighed audibly, knowing exactly how she felt.

“I remember helping you with that one.  It was the first story for your portion of the library.  I don’t think my first book was nearly that good.”

Leila closed her eyes and saw everything within those pages.  The faces were crystal clear, the emotions every bit as raw and savage as they were when it was penned, if not more so, and she almost decided to stop and simply enjoy it.  Almost.

Her hand fell from the book and she turned her face to the center of the library where the books were created.  A series of shapes and patterns had been laid into the floor, each with corresponding glyphs and symbols handed down from the ancient ones.  She stepped into the center of a group of markings and turned to her father.

Seth retrieved the book she had prepared and flipped through the pages, ensuring they were empty.  He nodded his head to his daughter and recited the unholy incantation as she waved her hand over the glyphs around her and initiated the ceremony.  The floor shimmered, the room darkened, and the realm of mankind opened before them.

She spoke the ancient command and the two worlds merged.  Leila looked at the room where a lone man was bent over geometric patterns of his own and was busily drawing lines upon the ground.

“Eric,” Leila said, “I have come for you.”

The man jumped with fright, smearing the lines.  He looked down, checked to be sure he was standing within his circle, then turned to face the demon he had been summoning for months.  “How…  But I…” he stammered as he tried to comprehend what happened.  “But I didn’t summon you yet, I never game you my name!”

Seth grinned wickedly as symbols around his daughter began to glow and one-by-one drift off the floor as vapors to etch themselves onto the pages of the book he held.

“Stupid little man,” Leila smirked as she watched the mortal squirm.  “Did you really think your preparations, chalk and lines of salt, could contain me?”

Leila stepped completely into the mortal world and stood within the man’s triangle of conjuring.  The last of the glyphs from the library floor etched itself into the new book.  The remainder would have to be done from the mortal realm.

The man faltered, knocking down his altar and candles as he pulled backward.  Composure regained, Eric stood up with the ceremonial dagger in his hand and faced his demon.  “Yes, I followed all of the steps.  You are mine to command, mine to summon, and mine to banish!”

Eric moved cautiously to the edge of the triangle where Leila stood, his confidence growing with each step.  He lifted the dagger and spoke with as much authority as he could muster.

“Through Alpha and Omega, and with Michael’s gate, I cast you to darkness where eternally you will wait.”

Leila waited for Eric’s hand to cross the line and grabbed him by the throat.  She caught the dagger as it fell from his hand and took him to the floor.  Eric watched in horror as the demon sat over him and pressed his own dagger to his neck.  He started to scream but she waved a hand and his mouth clamped shut.

“I know you are confused,” Leila said as the sharp blade easily cut through the soft flesh of Eric’s throat, “so let me explain.  The rites and rituals were never yours to command.  We fed them to your kind ages ago so that we may do as we please.  The words, the symbols, the incantations… all provided by us.  The only thing humanity offered was enough self-important cockiness to think they could control something immortal.”

Blood ran freely across the floor, flowed over the symbols, and opened a portal back to the demonic realm.  The ablated symbols etched themselves into the book still held by Seth.  With each mark that was transferred to the pages, Eric’s spirit became further embedded in the book, ensuring his damned soul would be eternally bound within.

Leila laughed as Eric released his last breath.  “You never even questioned what use a dagger would have when dealing with immortal beings. Silly man,” Leila said as she patted his cooling cheeks. “The dagger was always meant for you.”

~ Zack Kullis

© Copyright 2015 Zack Kullis. All Rights Reserved.

Human Prey

I had been single for nine years when I met Spider. The sky was overcast. I smelled fried onions, heard the sizzle of hot oil from the kebab van by the side of the road as I made my way to the park. My watch still sat on the bedside table; it could have been any time between five and seven. The last nine years could have passed between these hours; that halfway time after the evening but before nightfall, when clouds and shadow obscure the sky like muddied waters and the streetlights seem premature. As I approached the van, I found myself wondering if there was such a thing as any other time. It didn’t feel that way to me.

I visited the park often in the evenings, but rarely this van. It was the same park where I used to play with my friends as a small boy. I liked to watch for dragonflies in the spring, and pond skaters, and the fat worms that emerged from the soil when summer turned and it began to rain.

There was no rain that night. Three silhouettes huddled around the light from the counter. Stronger than the streetlights and nearer, the glow reminded me of a lamp, the people like fat moths in their vast overcoats. Two of them stood slightly apart, mouths close to their food, chewing slowly behind their collars. I can still remember the sound of their chewing, the gradual motion of their jaws, the grinding of pitta or grey doner meat between their teeth; a ceaseless mastication.

The third man stood by the serving hatch while the van’s occupants prepared his order. He didn’t turn, but stepped slightly to one side as I came up behind him. This close to the van, the aroma of vinegar, cheap aftershave, and hot Middle Eastern spices was almost overpowering. I ordered quickly, my mouth watering, eyes burning slightly from the onion and the cold.

I didn’t realise the man had spoken to me until I felt his hand on my shoulder. My flinch startled him, but his hand had startled me first. After nine years, the loneliness had become a part of me, and it wasn’t used to being touched.

“You dropped this.”

He wasn’t tall, but he had a couple of inches on me. He looked older, maybe mid-thirties to my twenty-nine. A thick crop of blonde hair gave him a youthful aspect, as did his smile, but his eyes were honest. I wondered if he was doing the same to me; reading my face, my mouth, my mother’s brown eyes. Still teary, cheeks flushed from the chill, I thought I must have looked one-hundred and nine.

“Here.”

He extended his hand again, and I realised he was holding a tenner. The note was crumpled between his finger and thumb. I took it quickly, careful not to brush his fingers with my own. Behind us, in one of the many tiny gardens squashed between the rows of terraced houses, a dog began howling.

We spoke while we waited for our food. Mostly it was he who spoke, but I replied when it was polite and, afterwards, when I wanted to. I learned he was Swedish, that he had moved here for work eight months ago and was missing his homeland dearly. The dog did not stop howling, but it was not unusual for dogs trapped in the small gardens here to sound off. I realised it was night. Even without my watch, we must have been speaking for hours. I had said very little, but the time had flown. I couldn’t have begun to imagine where it had gone.

We continued speaking at the park, and the week after in a coffee shop. One evening we visited the cinema where we caught a late showing of an indie film from his homeland. I didn’t – I don’t – understand the language. There were subtitles, but these paled in comparison to the sweeping panoramic shots of black lakes shining with starlight, and black cities lit up with little lights of their own; Stockholm, Malmö, Gothenburg, cities and the streets that made them up shivering like bright nests in the dark. I had not lived anywhere else than home, except for three brief years at university in Nottingham, and certainly not abroad. When the film was finished, he asked me whether I had enjoyed it. I told him I didn’t know what it had meant, but it was beautiful. He smiled.

I will never forget the day he met my parents. I think they had grown lonely in their own way from lack of any significant other in my life. It is a parent’s job to worry. Then they met him, and they seemed better. Though they had met him only briefly, that made me feel better, too.

It was summer when he asked me if I would visit Malmö with him. We were drinking red wine on the stained patio that amounted for my back garden. The paving slabs were cracked and hot. Weeds tickled the soles of my feet. He had not said how much he missed home, not since the first time we had met, but I caught him looking in the mirror sometimes. His was a pale face. I recognised guilt, and an emptiness that could have been my own. My Spider. Of course I said yes.

We flew that autumn, before the trees bared their branches and cobwebs glittered with more than flies. I had never flown before, but I was not afraid. I slept most of the way; the flight passed in the blink of an eye. The last six months had been a blur. After nine years of struggling like one of those flies trapped in silk, my life was speeding around me, and I was happy.

I couldn’t wait to explore the city; from what I could see as we navigated the roads, it actually shone. The night was black, the streetlamps tall, the buildings of a different sort to any I had ever seen before. I have never given much thought to heaven, or imagined what it might look like, but after last night, I would imagine it looks like this.

It did not take long to explore his apartment. One of the rooms was locked. The other two I surveyed in minutes: a main room, and a bathroom that doubled up as a storage cupboard. The main room featured a stove and several bare shelves. Dust coated the solitary windowsill like a second layer of paint. Looking back, he had seemed anxious, although I couldn’t tell why. We shared a futon and a heavy duvet to keep the draught at bay. Spiders fought over dust balls by the skirting boards. I fell asleep in his arms.

In the morning – this morning – I woke up to find myself gagged. The pain at my wrists told me they were bound, although I couldn’t see them from where I lay. I felt for Spider; his weight, his aftershave, the tap of his boots on the floor, anything to let me know he was still here. The house made sounds of its own, but none I could attribute to him. When I realised he had gone, I thought I was going to be sick. The back of my neck prickled, and my chest closed around my lungs so that every breath was small and tight. I felt a crushing sense of hollowness, like someone had reached inside of me and scooped everything out.

Outside was still black, but brightening, growing lighter with every passing hour. I am still lying here now, my face in the futon, knees tucked under my chest. I am on my side. The door that had yesterday been locked swings slightly ajar. A mattress spring buries uncomfortably into my naked hip.

I can’t hear the tap of Spider’s boots, but I can hear other things, moving behind the unlocked door. I have been listening to them for what feels like hours, scratching in the darkness, testing the stairs. The first I see of them is a white hand, fingers curling around the doorframe. The digits are long, skeletal. I think that whoever the hand belongs to must be very Nordic, or very ill.

The figures slink cautiously into the light. From where I lie, I can count three of them; I don’t know if they are his family, but there is a likeness in their arms, their slender legs, the long curvature of their necks as they scuttle closer. They too are naked. I don’t recognise their bald heads, or their mouths, except maybe to liken them to the mouthparts of newly-hatched dragonflies.

They move cautiously but with an eagerness that bears them quickly across the floor. Behind them, on the other side of the room, I can see the apartment’s sole window. Outside, the sky is grey, muddied with swirls of darker cloud, like gutter water run through with grime. I don’t know what time it is, or where my watch is, but I know that it is sometime between five and seven. I wonder if time ever sped up, if I ever escaped the spider’s web, or if that was just another illusion; the distorted perception of a thing struggling its last, trapped for months, years, almost a decade in a life from which there is no escape.

I am not struggling now. Somewhere outside, a dog begins barking. Perhaps it senses my fear, but I don’t think so. More likely it hears the wet chewing sounds that are filling the room; sucking, crunching, the roaring of blood in my ears. I think of two men, huddled around a van, nuzzling strips of grey meat, then a city doing likewise, then the world; for one moment billions of men, women, and children bent prostrate, heads bowed, mouths quick as they devour their hands.

I am not struggling, and I am not afraid. The mattress sinks around me as they shift, biting harder, bringing me to tears. My vision blurs. I think about last night, about the city streaming past me, and my place in it, tiny and awestruck. I remember the magnitude of the blackness, and the lights below, like golden pinpricks. I think about that first conversation with Spider, and the ensuing six months; the first and only time when I have ever been happy. It seems a small price to pay. As I drift away, I remind myself I am in heaven, foodstuff for angels with black eyes and butterfly’s skin.

~ Thomas Brown

© Copyright 2015 Thomas Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Damned Words 15

DamnedWords_15

Rusted Relics
Jon Olson

Are they gone? The Creepers I mean? Fuck that was close. Too close. Shit, they almost got me. Cold-blooded bastards. They’re most active in the sun, yet you ventured out in daylight. We can’t take any more chances; there are so few of us left now. At one time, we were many; powerful and dominant. Then the Creepers came. Their war with us was quick; brutal; unrelenting; genocidal. These old war machines, these rusted relics, once a source of pride in our dominance, now gravestones of a dying civilization. Grim reminders of what we were and of what we’ve become.


Delirium
Zack Kullis

Delirium from the dehydration twisted his worst memory to the sweetest- the blood.  The fall into the abandoned coal pulverizer broke his back and legs, but the compound fracture in his left leg covered his face with blood.  Warm, wet blood.  What had once been nausea was now thirst and desperation.

Upside down, he raised the jagged piece of iron with his last bit of strength and plunged it into his gut, and salvation flowed with damnation.  He gulped savagely until something plugged the wound.  His fury turned to gluttony, for he had found something meaty to eat as well.


Footsteps
Magenta Nero

I hear footsteps approaching with a dull, heavy thud. Always the same footsteps. Big boots with steel capped heels. I squeeze further back into the black corner. I shun the light that streaks through the bars in a fan of gleaming dust. The footsteps stop. There’s a rustle of paper. He hurls it into my cell; a sandwich.  Always the same; a thin slice of processed meat between heavily buttered white bread. It lands in a puddle of dirty water. I never touch them but the rats do. They will come during the night, squeaking as they crawl through the bars.


Laughter
Christopher A. Liccardi

The smelling salts brought him back to his situation and the clarity of the thing in front of him. His hands ached; pinned overhead with the dagger. His thick calf muscle screamed.  He was with the other woman, then…

“Rumor has it, you like to fuck. Me too.” His wife’s voice tittered as she stepped into the light. The thing’s steel finger bore down, tearing flesh from bone. Pain exploded in to him. He could see her in the gloom, licking her lips and laughing.

In the end, it wasn’t the agony, but her laughter escorting him to his death.


God-Given Seed
Thomas Brown

We tried everything but they kept coming. Nothing would drive them off except when Pa took to the fields. “Don’t play in the corn,” he’d say. We’d watch from the first-floor window, scythe bobbing, glinting in the light, scattering the birds like dark clouds into the sky.

When Pa died, there was no stopping them. We went hungry that year. The one afterwards we brought him back. Sticks and straw, all trussed up high, old scythe stitched to his paw. Now the birds are the least of our worries. “Don’t play in the corn,” he’d say. We keep well clear.


Of A New Age
Joseph A. Pinto

We are all as one, she said, and the great wheelwork spun behind her eyes.  It bore into me, that horrible flaking of rust, the anguished drumming of the mechanism she was, and still, I would have followed her anywhere.  Into the mouth of the machine, she said.  Yes, into the mouth of madness.  I cuffed my sleeves and exhaled, watching her shudder like an awakening beast as she gathered steam.  She was right.  We are all as one.  I closed my eyes and finally, surrendered.  Extending my hand, she took me, and shorn me as she had been shorn.


Sufferance
Nina D’Arcangela

It churned along, belching foul, oily smoke into the already smothered atmosphere. Where it roamed, nothing was left; not animal, nor tree, or blade of grass – it consumed all. Nothing could withstand the creature’s path. Many generations had passed since we’d lived without fear of this demon; it was a constant in our world. We’d heard rumor of its approach, rumors we’d heard before; this one proved itself true. Crouched in our burrow, we watched in terror as the gnashing iron teeth approached. Just a few feet more – the end so very near. Call me coward, but I welcomed it.


Chomp
Blaze McRob

Metal scrapes against metal, hastening the demise of the already deteriorating structure. From inside the darkened crevices they wake, ready to finish their job. Rust calls to them, sounding a dinner gong. Already, the transformation is happening. Not much of the infrastructure built by humans remains; not many of them remain. Chomp, chomp, chomp. Those who have eaten more than their share are now becoming the eaten. There is no place left for them to hide.

An unlucky one walks beneath the girder at the wrong time. The rust eaters have done their job. The flesh eaters now do theirs.


The Pit
Craig McGray

They’d done it for decades, maybe even centuries. Each full moon, the elders gathered the chosen and brought them to the pit. Eager and naïve, the chosen were led into the forest with hopes of a promising future, dreams of becoming one of the guardians to protect the clan from evil intruders who would dare take them from their home and destroy their way of life. However, true evil comes from within and the elders were pure evil, through and through. Once inside the pit, true intentions were revealed and the elders feasted on the pure innocence of the weak.


Relics of the Old World
Tyr Kieran

Massive machines moored in ancient soil, now unearthed to behold—such barbaric contraptions of whirring gears, sharp slicing appendages, and explosive, rotating turrets. Their victims’ screams and spilled blood now nothing more than faded memories and miniscule footnotes in historical annuals. Moving metal warriors left to rust. Their purpose of aligning world views and beliefs through slaughter, has been long forgotten. But, such effective devices they were! Nothing unifies like fear and power. These sleeping giants, abandoned in their finest hours, have endured. They lie silent… simply waiting for new marching orders. Well, I say, “Rise, and unify us again!”


Each piece of fiction is the copyright of its respective author
and may not be reproduced without prior consent. © Copyright 2015
Image © Copyright Dark Angel Photography. All Rights Reserved.

What’s Inside

“Did you do it, did you open that thing?” William asked. Shelly was sitting on a splintered tree that had fallen during the storm. She didn’t take her eyes off the box. She’d been holding on to it since the storm.

“Not yet, but I want to open it. Don’t you think I should? I want to see what’s inside,” she whimpered.

Shelly found the black box, with its weird writing and odd symbols while they were digging through the debris. What they found was this ancient relic Shelly had inherited from her mother.

From the second she touched the box, she’d been unable to do more than sit, cradling it like an injured child. She hadn’t eaten or slept much in days and wouldn’t leave it long enough to go with William to the shelter.

“Honey, you need to put that damn thing down and get some food. You’re gonna get sick. I can watch it for you so nothing happens to it.” William pleaded with her. He didn’t want to take it away, but he was getting nervous.

After the storm, the plan was to find a shelter that would take them in until they could move what little there was to his sister’s place. Then Shelly found the box and didn’t want to leave.

“I’m not very hungry. You can go without me, Will. I’ll be fine sitting here,” she said, her voice hollow and distant.

William felt the wind pick up but the moving air was no comfort. The temperature had gone up ten degrees and he feared another storm was on its way.

“Shelly, we should get inside somewhere before the weather kicks up again. Look at the clouds. What if we take it with us?”

Shelly answered, but not in words. She began cooing at the box and caressing it. She had her back turned and he couldn’t see the look on her face. William walked around to the front of the tree where she was sitting.  “I want to stay here, Willie. It wants me to stay here,” she finally moaned in an odd, baby doll voice.

Her eyes had a sunken-in look and her skin was gaunt on her diminished frame. Had it only been a few days since she’d eaten?  “Shelly?” He touched her arm, but she was a statue.

The wind picked up and it began to rain. William knew staying any longer was a bad idea. It might already be too late to get far enough away but he hadn’t heard the air raid siren go yet. Maybe the storm would be fast and blow itself out, but they wouldn’t survive without some cover. The debris from the last storm whirled, leaving cuts all over his exposed skin. He barely noticed.

“Baby, we need to get out of here, now!” he shouted. It had grown so dark that even the short space between them was like looking through black ink.

“I can’t leave yet. It’s about to open and show me what it’s been hiding,” she said, in that spooky baby doll voice again.  “You’re going to want to see this, Will.”

Her fingers stopped caressing the lid and began to lift one corner.  The light escaping the box was dim as Shelly wormed her finger deeper, making the space between the lid and the box bigger.

The light brightened and William realized that as the light intensified, so did the storm. Dawning recognition hit him. The storm hadn’t come from the plains; it was that damned box. Shelly was letting it out of the box.

“Shelly, no!” William shouted as he leapt forward. He was going to slam the lid back down on that thing before it killed them both. She might lose a finger, but…

He reached for her, grabbing for the box and trying to push the lid back in place. Shelly turned slightly at the sound of his voice and the box slipped from her lap. She began to shriek.

William tried to ignore the pain he heard and made for the box as it hit the ground. It skidded away in the mud. The lid popped up for a moment and the wind matched her screams. Then, it closed and the storm puffed out instantly.

He looked at Shelly to see if she was alright but she was sliding limply from her seat on to her knees.

“Shelly, are you okay? Oh my god, Shelly,” William cried out, trying to catch her. He didn’t want her to smash her head on any of the fallen debris. Everywhere he looked, he saw sharp gouging death winking up at him.

Shelly crumpled into a ball and collapsed before he could reach her. He screamed at the sound of her head and face slapping the wet earth. She twitched once, violently, then was still.

William lurched forward onto his knees, heedless of the glass cutting in to him. He reached under her wet hair, wanting to see if she was alive, but something bit into his hand.

William pulled his hand away, screaming and holding it to his chest. He had squeezed it shut instinctively, and now he could see blood pooling in the spaces where his last two fingers should have been.

Shelly lay forgotten for a moment as he held his hand to his face. The missing digits hadn’t registered just yet. It felt like hot iron was being poured over the place where his fingers had been. He clapped his other hand over the stumps and searing pain bolted down his arm. He thought he was going to vomit right there, watching the blood rush through his fingers.

When he realized she could have fallen on whatever just cut him, he snapped.

“Shelly!” he yelled. Was something gnawing at his wife while he knelt there nursing his own horrible injury? The shock of being bitten was almost too much.

He pulled his shirt over his head to wrap around his hand. When he looked down, she was no longer lying on the wet ground. It took him a moment to realize that she had moved a few feet away. He shook his head, trying to clear his vision.

She was sitting with the box in her lap again, caressing the lid. Her face had a twisted, horrified look that he had never seen on any human before.

“Shelly,” he asked, trying to keep his feet.

“You shouldn’t have taken it from me, Will. It doesn’t want you to touch it.” She looked up at William with a demented, hateful grin. William’s heart skipped a beat.

“What are you doing Shelly,” William asked.  He moved in closer to her.

“I can’t stop myself, Willie,” she said. He could see the outright terror on her face. The look stopped him in his tracks.

“Baby?”

For a long moment, Shelly sat, staring blankly back at her husband. Her fingers had stopped on one corner of the lid.

Finally, she smiled again. It was part Shelly and part whatever evil had taken hold of her in the last six days.

“I can’t, William…” She trailed off. William relaxed a bit. Then he watched in horror as she ripped the lid off the box all at once.

“SHELLY…” his voice ending in a blood-curdling scream.

Shelly laughed, in that spooky baby doll voice. She stood and stepped blindly into that darkness.

~ Christopher A. Liccardi

© Copyright 2015 Christopher A. Liccardi. All Rights Reserved.

The Game of Life

Beads of sweat emphasized the early night’s chill along his exposed neck and brow. The Policeman stood on their stoop, shifting his weight as much for warmth as from impatience. After a few brisk moments, a man answered the door.

“Oh… hello, Officer,” the homeowner said, greeting him with large, hesitant eyes. “Is there something I can do for you?”

“I’m terribly sorry to bother you, Sir,” the officer replied. “We have a criminal on the run in this neighborhood, so for everyone’s safety, we’re performing house to house searches. Would you mind?”

“No, not at all. Please, come in.” The man stepped back and ushered the policeman into his home.

The house was warm and full of light. Two faces peered at him from an adjoining dinning room. The officer could smell Christmas dinner before he saw the mouthwatering spread.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “We’re just taking precautions.”

Then, turning to the father, he asked in a hushed tone, “Is there anyone else in the house?”

The man shook his head, “No, no one.”

The officer nodded and turned back to the family, “Please carry on with your meal. I won’t be long.”

Wide eyes followed the officer as he stalked down the hall, hand on his pistol, weapon at the ready. Room by room, he searched and after a few moments, he confirmed the house was clear.

Returning to the dining area, Officer Mitcheltree stood for a moment. He watched the holiday scene—the small, happy family sharing home cooked food that clung to their souls, laughing as they created a memory for future cherishment; bad puns spoken over poured gravy and steaming roast turkey nestled snug against blended potatoes and acceptable gluttony.

Watching the interaction, hearing the high-pitched innocence of their young daughter, nearly caused the officer to flinch.

The mother was the first to notice the police officer standing there. “Is… everything alright, Officer?”

A silent moment passed, his non-reply thickening the tension in the air.

“W—would you like to join us for dinner?” the father asked.

Sweat collected along the cop’s chin and dripped to the floor. His gaze lingered on each member of the family, their kind offer drowned out by the hammering of his own heartbeat.

With each passing second, concern and confusion creased their expressions further.

Officer Mitcheltree raised his gun, pointing the weapon point blank at the father’s head. Half-lidded eyes unfurled into wide disbelieving orbs. Before any of them could do more than inhale, the officer pulled the trigger.

Blood, skull fragments, and gray matter splattered the table, desecrating the partially carved turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, holiday linens, and the terrified faces. A scream hurled free from the mother’s throat, but the gun’s second bullet deprived her lament of its longevity, jolting her head backward with such force that it dislocated vertebrae in her neck. Dangling, her head hung at an unnatural angle.

When the young girl’s gaze shifted from her dead mother back to the murderous police officer through the haze of fresh tears and fading gun smoke, she found the weapon pointed at her.

Her eyes climbed the barrel to meet his. Tears streamed down their cheeks in unison. The officer squeezed his eyes shut as he squeezed the trigger for the third time.

His face contorted as the hard-clamped humorless grin broke open under the pressure of raw emotion. A loud, guttural yell seemed to burst from every pore, reverberating throughout his body. He fell to his hands and knees and wept in oxygen-starved fits. Many minutes passed until he managed a semblance of composure.

Electronic music chimed from his waist.

He fished a cell phone from his pocket and looked down at the screen:‘Unknown. No Caller ID’.

Officer Mitcheltree touched the answer prompt and waited.

Neither party spoke. Soft sounds of calm breathing and a distant, continuous rumble came across the line – nothing else.

“It’s done,” the officer said, breaking the stalemate. Then, as he fought back another bought of emotion with gritted teeth, he added, “A life for a life.”

“Hmm… Show me.”

“Fuck you!”

“Now, now, Officer Mitcheltree. Be civil.”

“Civil? I did what you asked, now give me back my family, you son of a bitch!” the officer said, spitting into the phone.

“Of course, but first, I need proof of your efforts.”

The officer opened the camera app on his phone and snapped a photo of the morbid scene, then sent it to the number provided.

“I see,” the voice on the other end said. “A life for a life it shall be. We can finalize our exchange in the bowels of Reformation Chapel.”

The policeman’s eyes shifted back and forth as he dug through his memory.

“The abandoned chapel off Farmstead Road? That’s two hours outside of town!”

“And if you hurry, you’ll arrive just in time.”

“Just in time for what?” the officer shouted, but the call had already ended.

***

Officer Mitcheltree stalked down the steps of the old chapel. With the aid of flashing lights and a wailing siren, he was able to make the trek with six minutes to spare; the use of caution was now an option. Gun raised, he reached the bottom to find a narrow walk-through pantry that opened up to a larger room. He padded across the shelf-lined hallway, his eyes searching for movement.

Entering the main room, the officer stalked to the table at its center while twisting and turning to check for threats. The room was still, silent, hot.

He wiped sweat from his brow with a quick brush of his forearm.

“Where are you?” He shouted. “Where’s my family?”

No answer came except for the echo of his own desperate pleas and the clanking of mason jars as he bumped into the table.

Electronic music chimed from his hip.

Again, the screen read: ‘Unknown. No Caller ID’.

Officer Mitcheltree answered the call, “Where’s my family?”

“I have returned them to you in accordance with our arrangement.”

The cop whirled around, searching for his wife and daughter, but there was still no sign of them. “No more games! Where are they?”

“Your answer is on the table.”

Mitcheltree wiped the sweat from his eyes and inspected the items on the table. At first glance, they seemed nothing more than simple canning supplies left out from when the pantry was in operation many years ago, but focused attention revealed that they weren’t covered in dust. One large Mason jar was sealed and full of a gray powdered substance. The other was significantly smaller, open and empty—unused.

The policeman picked up the large jar, hoping to find a note or some kind of clue, but there was nothing else on the table but the two jars. As he brought the phone back up to his ear, prepared to unleash a flurry of threats, something caught his eye.

A piece of masking tape labeled the far side of the tall jar. He read the name as he turned it in his hands, “Mrs. Mitcheltree & Daughter.”

“What the Fuck is this?” he said, breathing the words into the phone—his chest suddenly feeling hotter than the rest of him, his throat tightening. He put the jar down with a loud thunk and backed away.

“A life for a life, Officer.” the kidnapper stated firmly. “I asked for life. A life to save a life. You misinterpreted and provided death.”

The cop’s head swam, the room began to spin; the heat not helping his focus. He stumbled further away from the table. That’s when he spotted the small metal door in the opposite wall. The source of all the heat—a crematory.

“You misunderstood my request, Officer Mitcheltree. You chose death. You killed your family.”

“Oh, God. No!” the policeman cried out; reeling. He fell backward into the shelves. Glass jars clanked together. He turned on instinct; looked with wavering vision at the objects before him.

“If it makes you feel better, you’re not the only one who’s made that mistake.”

Shelf after shelf carried large ash-filled Mason jars with masking tape labels. He couldn’t quite make out the letters, but he knew they were names. Then, he realized each one was paired with a smaller jar also filled and labeled.

“I have a lovely collection, don’t you think?”

This time, the voice echoed—sounding in both ears.

The policeman turned and the last thing he saw was a smiling face and a descending sledgehammer.

~ Tyr Kieran

© Copyright 2015 Tyr Kieran. All Rights Reserved.

Raw

I pound my torn fists against the sides of this box, but the effort is useless – there is no escaping oneself.  Scratching, clawing, chewing a splinter I manage to create in my mad scrambling does no good; I simply ravage myself further. Bloody and raw, I fill with a pressure that threatens to burst from my haggard being, further tainting this polluted soul.

There is no escape from the crushing weight of my prison. I beg to be saved from the anguish in which I languor; but there is no salvation, not for me; not for one so undeserving, uncherished, unloved. There is only the false glimmer of light, one my inner demon allows me to glimpse for his enjoyment and my unrelenting torture.

Scuffed, scrapped, tattered and torn, a thing not palatable to another, I slide to my knees; a pile of rent flesh brutalized by the walls surrounding me. I clutch at the only thing I have left, a scrap of sanity, but my fingers… they no longer close. A wail erupts from my stricken lungs; my raw throat bellows a croon no one will ever hear.

My demon laughs; he finds my anguish a great delight. I am a toy to be played with, a thing of distraction, a means to pass the eternity in which he will dwell within me.  I cannot escape him, though I try – all the more to his amusement. He watches me struggle in futility, basks in the restriction of breath that bands my burning lungs. He hears my silent shriek of agony, licks the salty tears that streak my filth-ridden face.  He is my tormentor, he is my keeper, he is my salvation – though he shall never grant it.

The walls of this box are by now a forest of splinters; it matters not where I lay for comfort, I find none – there is only jagged surface to be sought here. This prison so impenetrable, no other shall ever glimpse it, nor shall I ever be released from it. I have no false hope, only a fool would hope for mercy from such a thing.  Though I am a fool, I am not that fool…

Awash in a pool of my own shattered dreams, I find no blame other than mine to own. My demon chuckles as he reminds me this box is of my own design, made impregnable by my own failings.

Yet still, I rub my ragged and blood caked palm along the shreds of wall hoping to find the smallest fissure, a mere crack, any sign that can offer even the falsest of hope that someday I will break free – but there is none.  There never has been.

In this box, I see my deepest desires turn to dust; my most cherished dreams die; my fate sealed forever.  I find my demon observing my anguish, relishing the unending torture of my most exquisite pain.  Here, I am me – I am this quivering thing that lies upon the floor begging for a mercy that will never come; beseeching my demon for a small measure of what others are granted, but I shall never have. I am destined to scrape and scratch and gnaw at this unyielding pen that is minuscule in breadth, yet without end.

Why will it not swallow me and put to rest this pathetic shadow of my former self? Consume me, I beg of it, but it will not. What use am I to the box if it has no grief from which to feed; no pain left to color its darkened walls; no feather to pluck while my remnants jerk in concert?

My demon wants me locked in this box for an eternity, perhaps because it seeks the same as I do – a measure of level tolerance. It lives a lone existence, my demon, though I believe it was meant to, whereas I am meant for more. I am meant to be free from this punji-ridden hell of despair…

Another false hope I harbor; another path to mental decay I shall have to avoid for as long as I can. One more shattered reality in a world filled with tightly sealed boxes. Yet without these boxes, would I not be only an empty shell? Another harsh reality to be born on the back of so many others I wish were not mine. But the lie told that all is just, is just that – a lie. With each whispered falsehood the box containing my soul shrinks further, the desperate pitch of my moaning crescendos grander, the laughter of my demon grows stronger; a promise that one day, I will succumb to this crippling madness.

~ Nina D’Arcangela

© Copyright 2015 Nina D’Arcangela. All Rights Reserved

Payback

The afterbirth sits still in the bottom of the coffin, a mixture of bone and stale blood. Bolt after bolt of lightning rip through the evening sky, illuminating the scene, and casting an eerie pall upon the torn asunder remnants of what had, only moments before, been a resting place for a vile woman. Rats, drawn to the scene by the musty pungency of decayed clothing and fresh bones to gnaw on, frolic around, their whiskers twitching in delight. Not even the deafening roar of the thunder scares them off.

Mists weave through the graveyard and play their games of here one second, gone the next. They are on a search . . . a search of seeming randomness. Random to them perhaps, but there is cause and effect at work here.

At the edge of the cemetery, the house waits in eager anticipation of welcoming its new owner. Perhaps new is not the best choice of wordage. Five years is a long time. A lot can happen; a lot has happened. Renewal is approaching.

The old timbers sing a song of allegiance to the one who was the mistress of everything surrounding her, their oak cacophony of weathered groans added to the still settling of the house within the confines of the foundation, twisted and bent from many years of use.

Evil use.

Dust lingers everywhere in the basement, some entrapped within the spider webs dwelling in every corner and extending well out into the room, the masters of the web feeling safe when the son of the mistress was in residence here. He never ventured down to the dark, dank places where his mother had held court. Always . . . always, there was the fear of what was down there in his mind.

Screams implanted in the basement walls tell a story more vividly than any book possibly could. The still bloodied torture devices share the dried crimson with the rest of the room, the light produced from the storm above penetrating through the dingy windows and forcing a tapestry of visual elements, seamlessly interwoven in a constant state of flux. Creeping shadows waltz between the walls and the room proper, visiting everything, pulled along by memories of what transpired here. Only when the sky is dark and the lights are off do they jostle for some substance against the realities of what once were in this debased cavern of Satanic jurisdiction.

***

Blood pours from the gash giving life to her son many years ago, and her reincarnation of moments before, sliding down her legs and, hastened by the pouring rain, mixes with the wet soil, the mud becoming a churning mix of red and dark loam, the stench of copper pushing away the odor of ozone from the maelstrom of fury launched from the skies. Night crawlers slip through the mess in vain, either killed by the toxic mixture they wiggle through or by the crushing death delivered by the feet of the woman above them as she stumbles towards the house ahead of her.

“Every step is closer to my healing,” she thinks. “I can rest when I return home. I must. There is much to be done when the Master returns.”

There is electricity in the air, but it is not merely from the storm. Power surrounds everything for miles. Once again, the possession of control over all that dwells within this backwoods bastion of separation from the rest of the world is due to shift.

***

Foot falls plant themselves on the dark steps –  something of substance, but bereft of visual acuity – and trudge upstairs. A heavy door is opened, leading to a place well implanted in the conscious awareness of the house.

A fireplace springs to life on its own, like an entity of flame bearing reason and purpose, and spreads its light throughout the vast living room, one large enough to have held large gatherings of believers from the old days. Soon . . . soon, it will again.

Books are ripped from the shelves of the book cases in the study and tossed into the corner. Invisible hands replace them with new books, those with strange symbols on their old leather covers and covered with inscriptions like none of the books removed. The light from the fireplace in the other room finds its way through the open door and causes the casting of dancing shadows on the walls and ceilings.

The door slams shut and heavy feet walk across the rough-hewn wood floor. The cushions of the recliner sitting directly opposite the roaring fire take on a sunken appearance as the chair groans under a heavy weight. Still, nothing or no one can be seen in the room. Slowly, the chair reclines and a contented cackle emanates from the fabric covering of the worn recliner.

Spirals of flame dance about, high one second and lower the next. Orange and yellows intermix with the occasional red – his favorite. Always, the flames ignite thought in his mind, those not welcomed by the common rabble, those not part of the new path.

He sits and waits . . . waits for the next piece of his intricate plan to fall into place. Patience is his.

***

With each step taken, she gains strength, knowing deep within her dark soul that the last five years will not have been in vain. A test. To get stronger, one must suffer. She has done that, and more.

Dying vegetation spreads out from the path she takes towards the house. She is the center of a circle with an ever enlarging diameter, one of death and decay. Grass withers and dies, in spite of the nourishing rain beating down. Trees raise their branches in homage to a God above who is deaf to their supplications. Their leaves shrink and fall as the limbs look like skeletons picked apart by voracious bugs intent on consuming every tasty morsel available to them.

Silence from the animal life occurs as a migration of survival sets in, much like rats scurrying down a rope from a ship tied to a dock, knowing ahead of time that the vessel is doomed and will float no longer. If only humans had the good sense that these creatures have. But they don’t, do they?

At long last, she sees light coming from her house. Her son must have left the lights on for her. “How considerate,” she thinks.

Reaching the porch, she drags her naked body up the railing and is two steps from the top when all light vanishes from the house. Wicked laughter calls out to her . . .

***

The door is unlocked, and she pushes gently against it, hoping for the best but not knowing what’s going on. Not only is the interior of the house dark, but there is no light outside, as well. It is beyond dark: there are no shades of gray coming from the corners where the black resides; there are no shades of black even; there is only the darkest black.

Trying to recall where everything is arranged in the house, she hugs the wall when she gets inside and slowly navigates around the perimeter of the living room. Still not completely in charge of all her senses, her balance is off – enough to cause her to bump into things . . . things that are not placed where she remembers them to have been. Damn kid anyway!

Of course, what should she expect by now? He wouldn’t have left the house exactly the way it was. The way he felt about her, he certainly would not have wanted a shrine left in her house. Why had he stayed, anyway? He should have left, if not only for his sake.

The light switch she comes to just before the door to the study does nothing when she flicks it. Damn! The power went out. Now what? She can’t see a thing. Does she find a chair and wait it out? No, no! A bed would be better.

It’s not her bed she finds when she gets to the bedroom. Bob moved hers out when she died. Probably all her furniture too. She’ll find out once she wakes. Hopefully there will be some light by then.

Her son’s bed is king sized. The fucking weasel was never a king in her mind. He was always lacking: he never had the spunk to do what was expected of him. It matters not now; it never mattered. As in the predestination beliefs of Calvin and his followers, so did it apply to her son. Certainly not from any Christian viewpoint, but from that of the Master.

Bob’s life, and death , as well as hers, went according to plans. And now, everything will evolve to the next level.

She slides beneath the blankets, dragging the mud, raindrops still plastering her body, and the blood still pouring from her vagina, along with her. Cold . . . the cold from being buried for five years in the damp, chilling confines of her coffin, not even the waterproof wadding able to make things any more hospitable for her, is still deeply rooted within her bones. Every worm working through her body, tearing flesh away from bone, is felt as she tries to find a place of comfort. The blood and flesh of her son rejuvenated her, but the bones are still hers. And the bones are cold.

Shadows move about her, not visible within the dark, but they are there none-the-less. Pressure pushes out from the walls, the ceiling, and the floor. Especially the floor. The damned beings remaindered to their next incarnate still roam there, their souls refusing to leave.

And their souls are hungry . . . hungry for revenge.

Damn! If only I had the strength to repel these bastards. Force them down to the basement where they belong, she thinks.

But her strength is not what she needs to send them back. Soon enough. For now, she needs to rest.

Light floods her room, courtesy of the open door of the bedroom, coming from the living room. She slips her weary body from the bed to see what’s going on. She had heard nothing to indicate that anyone had entered the house. What . . . what is happening?

The flames in the fireplace dance about eerily, telling her a story, one without words. Shadows cavort around freely, their multi shades of blacks and grays, crawling throughout the entire room. Heavy pressure surrounds her, getting close then retreating, only to get closer and closer, the game not wanting to find closure.

Demonic laughter surrounds her from every corner, from behind every piece of furniture, causing her to drop to her knees from the pain coursing through her brain.

“Come on, Dottie. What’s wrong?” a voice shouts out. “You’ve been waiting five years for this moment to come. Surely a little mixture of dark and light can’t stay you from your zeal.”

“Master! Master! You have returned to me. I am ready to serve you.”

“Yes, Dottie, but what about that ingrate son of yours? His body, consumed by your soul and bones, has given you life eternal, but his soul. What about his soul?”

She stares at the Master and shakes in fear. Damn! His soul . . . his soul is still wandering. Even now, I can feel him.

“Yes, Dottie, his soul is still loose. It never entered my kingdom, and I know he wasn’t pure enough to walk through any Pearly Gates.”

He grabs her hand and drags her out the door, out once more into the pouring rain. The intensity of the lightning increases the closer they get to the cemetery.

“You will help me find his soul, Dottie. Then you can take your place at my side. Not a moment before. Call to him! Call to him now.”

Evil pleadings are carried through the moisture laden air, but nothing happens. There are no returned calls of longing or even acknowledgement. All that can be heard are the sounds of the storm all around her.

***

Bob relives the moment again; his mother drawing him back into her dead body; the incredible pain as his entire frame was forced through her vagina; the tearing apart of flesh and organs, everything going to supply new life for his mother at the same time his was forced out of him. The agony and pain remain within his soul, the torture embedded in his mind.

His mother and Satan get ever closer to where he sits on his mother’s tombstone. He raises his hands up to the sky and feels the power surrounding him.

“Payback’s a bitch!” he shouts . . .

~ Blaze McRob

© Copyright 2015 Blaze McRob. All Rights Reserved.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,441 other followers

%d bloggers like this: