Staring out at the city of death, an exhausted Hannah sat sucking into her lungs the humidity that drifted in through the empty windowpane. On a side table, her dinner plate of raw meat was brimming with life as a cadre of beetles enjoyed her ignored meal.
With an appetite for only one thing, Hannah remembered her hunger. Sipping from a goblet of wine, she watched the fire burn in the distance.
Without anyone in the city concerned about extinguishing the blaze, the fire made an easy feast of the abandoned building. Its shuttered windows and splintered timbers providing the right fuel for the eager flames.
Smoke billowed up into the night sky as a series of new explosions rocketed skyward, sending fingers of death boiling through the surrounding streets. The silhouettes of a hundred riderless horses stood before the blaze, their black shapes stomping at the ground as if they themselves were enraged.
Raising her glass, Hannah finished with a long swallow as the entire city block was consumed in red hatred.
Standing, she removed her stained blouse and soiled leather pants, dropping them on the floor beside the bed. Her clothing made the room smell of smoke.
The girl labored among the rubbish, moving across the mounds of filth with the deftness of an accomplished thief rather than that of the young child she actually was. Her ability to scamper nimbly up and over the detritus spoke to her eternity of slavery.
No more than nine years old, she had the gait of a woman whose body had seen far more years of labor than it otherwise should have. A dull haze coated once-bright blue eyes revealing her truth — that of having been broken long ago.
Working among the acres of rot, her bared legs and shoeless feet were sucked deep into the mouth of death with each step she took. Navigating the piles of dismembered bodies, the child retrieved one bone after another, scraping into a gore-soaked bucket the remaining meat that clung to each discarded limb.
Paying little attention to the itching on her arms, she continued about her tasks, ignoring the hordes of maggots that swarmed her flesh, turning it into a writhing mass. Such was the nature of her work for the Prince’s harvest in the killing fields.
Hannah walked into the bathroom and flicked on the light switch. The dim bulb set the floor into motion as cockroaches scattered.
Stepping into the shower, the cold stones lining the compartment providing the slightest hint of relief to her aching feet, she turned the faucet with a rusty creak, and a baptismal spray of rank water stung her skin.
Subconsciously, she scratched at the droplets as they beat against her body. As broken fingernails rubbed her arms raw, all she could think of was maggots.
“GIRL!” The deep voice boomed across the field as two sharp cracks from a whip opened red gashes on the child’s bare shoulders.
Cowering, the pain like a slice of ragged glass across flesh, she fell to her knees in the abattoir.
Again, the voice.
“Are you not listening, you insolent little bitch?” More statement than question.
The blade of the dressing knife in her left hand dribbled unknown fluids onto the ground as a swarm of flies buzzed the cage of small human ribs she held in her grime-caked right hand. Hesitantly, she looked up to meet the gaze of her attacker.
Xaphan, the harvest commander and one of the Prince’s recent conscripts stared down at her with serpentine eyes that were the color of jade. He sat atop an armor-clad steed that belched cold mist from its nostrils and kicked at the ground, snapping human remains under its feet.
“Why is it you ignore me, you filthy abomination? Do you somehow think yourself of far more importance than to listen when the Commander of the Harvest addresses you?” Xaphan snarled.
“Forgive me, but I was simply busying myself with the tasks that have been selected for me,” the young Hannah responded, her voice tentative, a single tear clearing a path through the human grime that smeared her face.
Xaphan studied the girl, an air of superiority evident on his face. For an instant, he thought he noticed the familiar spark of hatred in her otherwise darkened eyes. Sure he was correct, he flashed a gratified smile.
“Come here, you little gutter pig,” he ordered, the whip snapping again, striking Hannah’s bare legs where they poked out beneath a tattered dress. “I’ve been instructed to find you among this filth and deliver you to the Great Hall. By the death of me I don’t know what the Prince wants with shit such as you. But you must come. And somehow find some way to clean yourself up!”
Hannah dropped the carcass of the human child from which she’d been scavenging. It landed atop the pile of cleaned bones with a hollow clatter. Retrieving the bucket of harvested meat, she cautiously edged her way toward Xaphan and his steed. Both of the monsters stared down at her – two pairs of matching green eyes.
“But, it’s not for me to question His motives, only to do as He asks. Follow me, girl!”
With that, Xaphan jerked the reins of the great beast, steering him through the human debris. Hannah fell in behind, following them from the killing fields. It would become her last time working Satan’s Harvest.
Running wet fingers through her filthy blonde hair, Hannah massaged her scalp under the blood-tinged spray. The water sluiced off her bare skin, sweeping away the coating of death that was her normal state of being. Hell worked its way into each and every of her pores until she, now, had almost become one with it.
Almost, Hannah thought as she watched the drain at her feet swallow the shit of her existence.
Rubbing the muscles of her arms, Hannah thought about how much she hated the Prince; and how much she despised even more his disciple, Xaphan.
Even freedom following an eternity of torture is incapable of removing the pain inflicted during captivity. Nor does it absolve the actions of one’s tormentors. By now, Hannah knew this all too well, which is why she had spent an age searching Hell for the soul of the murderous human known as the Hunter. She ultimately found him in the last place she wanted to look – the killing fields.
Himself having suffered at the hand of Xaphan when he’d foolishly bargained with his own soul in the human world, the Hunter had spent far more years trolling the boneyard than even Hannah herself. If there was a single one of Hell’s denizens that would be able to get her what she needed, she knew it was him.
Confident in the knowledge that the Hunter was unaware that the shadows following him contained anything more than darkness, Hannah was able to hide within the murk with ease. After years of practiced invisibility living within the Prince’s dominion, she had become highly skilled at navigating the streets of Hell unseen. She now watched as the Hunter, a bag slung over his shoulder, entered the abandoned structure. And, as expected, a few moments later, a dark figure flashing green eyes slipped from the shadows, following him inside.
The time has come, Hannah thought, as she followed them into the building.
From deep within the gloom of the warehouse, Hannah saw the flash of those familiar serpentine eyes. And then she heard the booming voice of Xaphan for the first time in uncounted ages.
“Why you ungrateful murderous deviant, we had a deal,” Xaphan spat the words into the Hunter’s face. “Don’t you remember? In that special spot of yours where you realized so many desires of the flesh?”
“That was then. This is now. And this time, Xaphan, I hold the cards.” The Hunter responded, shaking the sack in front of him, the wound that Xaphan had long-ago sliced into his bare chest visible in the dim light.
“But that’s where you’re wrong, fool. As long as your soul exists, you’re mine. I carry the collateral within me always,” the demon said, patting his stomach.
“But, as we know Xaphan, deals made between liars are likely to be broken. It just depends on which liar strikes first.”
“Give me what’s rightfully mine,” Xaphan ordered, reaching a taloned hand towards the bag.
“Not this time, oh great commander of the Harvest,” said Hannah, stepping from her hiding place.
“Ah, do my ears and eyes deceive, or is it my little scavenging pig?” Xaphan asked, turning in Hannah’s direction.
As planned, the Hunter turned the bag upside down, spilling the contents onto the floor with a clatter. Inside the bag was a pile of bones. Each one meticulously stripped clean, the flesh long ago having been harvested, consumed and then shat out by the denizens of Hell.
Reaching into the deepest pocket of her overcoat, Hannah removed a flare, striking the end and lighting the flame. Sparks flew through the air and bounced along the floor where they landed. For the first time that she could remember, she saw fear in Xaphan’s eyes.
“Go, Hunter. Your work is done,” Hannah ordered.
Having maintained his end of the bargain to locate the demon’s human remains in Hell’s boneyard, the Hunter ran from the building, his footfalls echoing through the void.
Once again alone and facing her demon torturer, Hannah spoke evenly, sure of her every word.
“Funny it is that how an eternity in Hell can change everything, and yet nothing at all…”
The flare in her hand illuminated all that remained of the human man who’d become the demon Xaphan after his own millennia of torture.
Refusing to beg, the demon explained, “Oh Hannah, even with all your years, what you still do not yet know about the ways of existence. It never actually ever ends. Once one is over, the next begins and so we experience yet another in a series of painful paths.”
“Well, if that’s the case, commander of lies, it appears it’s now time for your soul to find that new path. As it’s said: ashes to ashes…”
With those words, Hannah dropped the flare onto the pile of Xaphan’s brittle bones. At first they hissed and then burst into blue flame.
The demon let loose his last blasphemous cry. It was a scream that echoed throughout the city of death. As the last vestiges of his humanity burned, Xaphan’s demonic soul began to melt, pieces of it slapping onto the floor at his feet.
Hannah took a few steps backward as flame consumed the human bones, bringing an end to the demon. Fire licked upward, sparking the rafters and spreading through the building. Hannah turned, walking out the doorway and out into the perpetual darkness.
Far off in the distance, from the direction of Pandemonium, she heard the sound of a hundred sets of hooves as the horses thundered through Hell. The Prince’s dark forces were on their way.
Hannah merged into the shadows and walked away unseen by the lost souls who now gathered on the street to watch the death of one of Abbadon’s greatest angels.
Refreshed from her shower of blood, Hannah poured herself another glass of wine. Surveying her handiwork, she watched as Hell burned. The landscape of decay, bathed in the blood of tortured souls, spread as far as she could see until it melted into the eastern horizon.
Somewhere outside, within the city of death, she knew that a Hunter was running for his life. Perhaps he would find a place to hide. Or maybe he would simply return to the familiarity of the killing fields. To Hannah, it didn’t matter either way. She knew that the angels of death would pursue him far beyond the fields and for time without end, sure that it was he who had been responsible for bringing about the destruction of one of the Prince’s own.
Confident with her plan now in motion, Hannah sat and consumed her victory. One glorious day, she would take her rightful place. It would be the day she re-entered the Great Hall of Castle Pandemonium and claimed the throne of Hell after finally defeating Prince Abbadon himself.
This post is dedicated to Hannah Sears, our own Angel of Death and Damnation and winner of the Pen of the Damned anniversary sweepstakes
© Copyright 2013 DaemonwulfTM. All Rights Reserved.
Little bitch. Thought I’d never find out. I found out all right. Oh yeah, I found out. Knew it from day one. Just kept my mouth shut. Knew it all along. Six months and counting now. Kept my trap shut about it. Sealed my lips. Think I’m crazy, don’t you? Think I’m pretty sad for sticking around. Keeping her. Hey, I know what I’m doing, man. Been waiting it out. That’s right. Patience is the best revenge. Fucking hard to do, man. But I been waiting it out. My girl’s been playing a game.
Too bad by my rules.
You know the best part? My girl’s been coming home late at night. Shit, the wee hours of the morn. Me all in bed like I’m sleeping when I’m not. Watching her in the dark, eyes squinty and all. Watching her peel her clothes off. Feeling those titties I’ve had in my mouth a thousand times brush against my arm as she gets into bed. I make believe like I’m waking up and all. Run my hands over her tight little body even though I know she been worked over by other hands not too long before. Course, she’s gotta lay there and take it. Then my prick gets hard and we fuck. I fuck her hard too, cause she can’t deny me. Can’t make me suspicious. I fuck her hard. There’s a nasty grin on my face. It’s too dark in the room for her to see it, and I laugh to myself when I whisper all sweet shit into her ear.
I know what her guy looks like. Passed him a few times out on the street. Once in a bar. He don’t know who I am. Don’t know me from Adam. Besides, I blend with the crowd. That’s my way. None too special on the outside. Just special on the inside. That’s what momma always told me. I was special on the inside. Nobody else quite like me. Took me awhile, but momma set me right. Told the truth. If she was still around, she’d be proud.
I know where my girl’s guy calls home. Some apartment. East side of town. Where trouble lives, at least that’s what they say. Gotta laugh when I hear that. See, I was born on the west side and made trouble too shit scared to stick around. That’s the only reason trouble lives there nowadays. On account of me.
I told you, patience is the best revenge. Been biding my time like a big old dog slobbering over a bone. Never get too tired of gnawing on it. Oh no. Not at all. Tastes sweeter the longer you work it over. Understand what I’m getting at now?
Paid her guy a visit today. Don’t look at me like that. I had to do it. Only so long you carry a charade. Look at me, using big words now and all. Yeah, momma would be proud. All grown up and I finally know what I want to be.
A better man.
Yeah, had a nice face to face with her guy and all. Told him the way I see things. Good thing to talk your grief out with another man. Real good being social. Separates us from the animals. Told him I didn’t appreciate him fucking my girl. He understood. Told him I didn’t appreciate him getting my girl home late at night. Not safe. Plus it ruins my night’s sleep, especially when I get up early and all to open the machine shop. Boss depends on me. Got to give a good example. Can’t do that with eyes half shut. He understood that, too. Real good being social, I told him. We’re getting somewhere.
Then I slugged him with the claw hammer I had under my coat.
Gonna leave a nasty mark. But you never know. He’s got long hair and all. Might just cover up the dent. I apologized to him. I have a conscious, you know. Yeah, I apologized. Except he couldn’t hear cause I knocked him cold. Hey, I tried. Counts for something, doesn’t it?
Dragged him into his bedroom. Spread him on the floor at the foot of his bed. Yeah, the same bed he been fucking my girl on. Gotta make that right somehow. Gotta balance things out. So I strip the pillowcase off a pillow. Maybe the same pillow my girl’s head been on? Maybe. Probably. Don’t matter anymore. Drop the pillowcase at my feet. Close my eyes and jerk off across it. Think of my girl as I do it. Feel closer to her somehow. Like we just had…what do you call it… a menash ah trah, or something like that. A three-way, for Christ sakes, is what I’m saying. When I’m all done, I shove the pillowcase into his mouth and gag him.
He’s stirring a bit. Coming around. See, I didn’t hurt him all that bad. I slam the claw hammer across his knee. Just to make sure he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Eyes damn near pop from his head. I grab his throat good and tight. Just getting his attention. I think I got it. Tell him if he wants to walk again, he best stop flapping his arms and leg around. He listens. Good. I pull pliers from my back pocket. A box cutter from inside my boot. Then give him his choice. Your fucking fingernails come off one by one. Or I cut your dick off and shove it through your fucking eye socket.
I find a Heineken inside his fridge. Import shit. But it’s beer. And it’s cold. Bites the back of my throat a bit, and that’s all I want. I scrub my hands real good. Pulp going down the drain makes me laugh. That poor fucker never had no choices.
It’s gonna be a long night. But I can’t wait to see my girl later. Gonna fuck her. Kiss her hard. Look into her eyes. Tell her I love her. I really, really love her.
There’ll be a nasty grin on my face. It’s always too dark in the room for her to see it, and I’ll laugh to myself when I whisper all sweet shit into her ear.
~ Joseph A. Pinto
© Copyright 2013 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.
Heed the Tale Weaver: A year of decrepitude we have suffered at the clawing hands of our Damnlings; now the punishment is upon us. Come forth from the shadows, “WANDERER”, and claim from us our Damned souls as your prize!
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The beast he calls to me. Gnawing about far below.
It spells voracious hunger. Of defense I little know.
Scraping out of need; I struggle to resist.
“I am too young you fiend,”
“…but this you shouldn’t miss.”
Vile whisper through the crack manipulates my head,
“I’d like to taste the young…. sweet, succulently fed.
Your peaches and cream skin. A place lips and teeth can run”
A growl from his throat slips.
I scowl, “This for you so characteristically fun.”
“What give you to me in exchange?”
I reply a restraining of my voice.
A strength I do not know.
I’ve changed with little choice.
“I can the rest set free. Upon my word, I’ll leave.
When I am happy, well, and sated. I promise I will flee.”
My family at liberty from this nightly terror. What I could not think.
What happens had I made an error?
For who would trust a beast who feasts on others’ fears?
But bravely I trod on, thinking not of memories dear.
“You will wait then beast. While I do prepare. For my final hour, I’ll dress in finest fare.
The gown in which I’m dressed. Of beauty I’ll be proud. When you take my life, wrap me in crimson’s shroud.”
Joan of Arc awakened as a dream. She a flaming star.
To death’s halls marching as one it seemed. Taking from life’s chalice, one courage filled draught.
So easily it slips. A golden fragrant drop which hangs upon my lips.
He snarled. I grabbed his snout,
“This will be civilized.”
Pleasure struck a laugh that I could only but despise.
“for me this sense it is quite new.” He said between his teeth.
The smile that it drew he’d wish that he could keep.
I licked gold from her lips. She bit into my neck.
I tore her fragrant arm. Never renting crimson, lest I forget.
She ripped open my belly, spat out balls of flesh and fur.
I realized before her gold and velvet, I was a miserable cur.
“I will this not to end,” of course he’d want his way.
“Were we to continue a price you’d have to pay.”
He snarled of foulish pleasure.
“and your promise beast will it ensue?”
“I’ve never kept a promise. I assure you that is true.”
“Then I will finish what you started. Your promise will be won.
Here’s a revelation I’m no longer a mere woman.”
Fire leaped into her eyes, swords unveiled and forged of steel.
I’d failed to see her disguise. She brandished some foul light.
I should have known somehow, as she carved me with delight.
The floorboards gave a howl. They folded pulled me down.
Into my lake as ghoul, I’d forever, never drown.
What happened on that night. I never will forget.
A turning tide when crimson replaced the soul I’d let.
~ Leslie Moon
© Copyright 2013 Leslie Moon. All Rights Reserved.
Heed the Tale Weaver: The one-year anniversary of the Damned draws to a close…but the celebration of the Damned shall never end. The winner of our comment contest shall be named May 21; your package of ghoulish goodies awaits. In the meantime, revel weekly in our angst and taint. We thank you, Damned Nation, for together we shall redefine horror. Now, go Damn yourself…
“So, am I correct in assuming that you only go for our white women?” Richard asked, spearing the slice of grilled pork with his fork and jabbing the meat into his eager mouth.
Here it was. The moment of truth that Nathan had been dreading since before he arrived. The question, delivered with such revulsion that his many hours of mental gymnastics had proven inadequate preparation for the sting once the words finally sliced through the tenuous air.
He shot a sly glance across the table at his host.
“Richard, it’s obvious you and I come from different worlds, but we’re not all that different,” Nathan responded, the frozen eyes from the faces of so many dead animal heads mounted on the walls staring down at him, urging him to continue. “In Philly, questions like that don’t get asked. It doesn’t matter how others live their lives. My guess is that if you look deeper into the well, you’ll find what you’re looking for.”
“You got that liberal north in you…boy,” Richard spat the last word.
Inside, Nathan’s stomach churned.
“It’s a simple question, with an equally simple answer,” the older man continued. “Let me show you how easy it is, Nathan.” Pausing. “Without a shadow of a doubt, I’ve never had any interest in any woman that wasn’t a white woman. My crayon box has no colors. So, I guess I can understand your particular…shall we say…fetish?” He finished, chewing on his words as much as the food in his mouth.
It had probably been a mistake to visit Christine’s father. Not to mention taking the 800-mile trip to southern Indiana without her knowledge. But, against his better judgment, Nathan had done just that. And he now found himself sitting at the dining room table with the man from whom Christine had spent so many of her own years running away from.
“For the most part, Christine and I feel it’s not what’s on the outside that makes us different. We also don’t necessarily agree about what’s on the inside,” Nathan said, thinking about the girlfriend he’d lied to about a last-minute business trip to L.A.
“That Christine… Always a bit of a wild hare. Gotta give ‘er that one! No matter how we tried, her mother and I never could seem to get her to understand the importance of tradition. Ever since she was little she went her own way. Even becoming a vegetarian; can you imagine?” Richard said, popping another bite of meat into his mouth. The trophy heads hanging on the walls of the room listened in silence. “Never raised her that way. Just up and changed — was the darndest thing. I blame the liberal colleges she attended.”
Nathan remained silent, non-committal.
“So, I take it you’re a hunter, Nathan. How does that square with Christine?” Richard asked, changing the subject.
Christine had shared many tales of her father’s exploits. Had explained how he prided his ability to track down and kill any type of game — the wilder or more exotic the better. The mounted heads of antelope, buffalo, kangaroo, and boar, along with the more mundane deer and moose that lined the walls of the dining room were testaments to her tales. From just above his own head, Richard’s pride and joy, a massive grizzly bear, growled down at Nathan.
“Why else would I be here, Richard?” Nathan responded, rhetorically.
“One time…many years ago, Christine brought home a Chinese boy she’d been dating. Again…back in college…the root of all her problems, I’m convinced. Didn’t raise her to associate with the others, but the free-willed person she was, she went on and did it anyway,” he finished, pointing his empty fork at Nathan, punctuating his words.
“I believe Jon was Vietnamese,” Nathan corrected him, remembering Christine’s account of her first boyfriend meeting her father. According to her, it hadn’t gone well. Nathan now understood why.
“Is there any difference? All Orientals…” Richard stated, matter-of-factly. “Did you see my oriental rug?” Pointing at the floor beneath the table. “It came from Japan. In the Orient.
“Anyway, that one, he didn’t last very long. Didn’t have the right stuff, I guess,” he continued. “Too much of the same color in his crayon box. Yellow, ya might say. That’s when I started questioning my daughter’s choices. So what makes you think you’ll fare better than he did?” He asked, sucking the meat from a rib, his lips smacking obscenely.
“Growing up in eastern P.A., I spent a great deal of time in the Poconos,” Nathan explained. “I know a thing or two about the hunt. I’d like to think I’m pretty capable with a gun…or a knife… Or anything else, for that matter,” he said, throwing a smirk at the older man, who refused the bait.
“That so…?” Richard stated, more than asked. “Guess we find out tomorrow. I believe maybe you think you’re gonna show me a thing or two. I can smell it on ya. Just a warning though, sometimes I don’t play fair…” Richard said, his voice all sincerity. “So, wake-up call’s 4:00am. We’ll see what you’ve got, City Boy. And, remember, winner takes all.”
“Winner takes all,” Nathan agreed.
They had driven to a location about 50 miles outside of town to a spot Richard claimed offered the best hunting around. Most importantly, it was far enough from the prying eyes of the law, he had explained on the trip into the country.
With the morning sun bleeding into the sky, the two men walked as quietly as possible through the dense forest. Each armed with their own Browning auto-loader, more than a few field dressing knives and enough ammunition to take down a whole herd if need be. Their meandering path through the woods kept them off the well-worn trails but close enough to see any movement on them. Speaking very little during the hour or so hike, they left all the talking to their footfalls — an ominous reminder to each why the other was there.
Richard broke the silence, his hand shooting into the air to halt Nathan who followed a few steps behind. Whispering, he pointed. “There, ‘bout 20 yards to the east, just beyond that copse of trees.”
In the distance, Nathan saw movement behind the brush — flashes of white, brown and tan among a sea of green.
“Looks like we got us a couple,” Richard said. “See there, a beautiful white-tailed doe out for an early morning stroll, with her magnificent buck in tow. No inter-species mingling goin’ on there,” he chided, almost chuckling at his own bad joke.
“Indeed, she’s a beauty. And what’s he, about a 4- or 5-pointer?”
Richard ignored the question.
Raising his rifle to peer through the scope, Nathan watched the magnificent creatures step from behind a stand of trees. He thought he noticed a slight twitch in the buck’s head, potentially signaling the hunters’ undoing. The moment passed, and they trotted on.
“We’re ‘bout to see what you’re made of, Mr. City Boy,” Richard said. “You got one shot. And remember, all or nuthin’.” The look in his eyes almost a gleam.
Nathan could almost hear the smirk in the old man’s voice.
“Gotta do this together, if we aim to bag ‘em both.”
“I’m with ya, old man,” Nathan said, aware that the shots, if not almost simultaneous, would spook one of the animals into bolting. And, considering he’d come this far, he wasn’t about to make a mistake, knowing full well the repercussions.
“You take the female. I’ll get the male. Okay?”
“Just as I’d prefer,” Nathan said.
“On three,” Richard’s voice barely above a whisper.
Nathan steadied the butt of the rifle against his shoulder and peered through the scope, positioning his magnified crosshairs on the animal’s chest.
Richard stared into the face of the buck whose brown eye blinked once before turning his head directly into the hunter’s sights, inadvertently lining up the shot on his own forehead.
The bullets flew from their chambers.
An explosion of red burst from the doe’s chest as Nathan’s shot entered just above her heart. The buck’s skull splintered as Richard’s bullet drove its way home. The female wobbled on unsure legs before bouncing into a tree and falling to the ground. The male collapsed where he stood, Richard’s aim point blank.
“Looks like you ain’t half bad with that rifle after all,” Richard said, almost congratulatory.
The hunters shambled to where their kill now lay on the ground. The male had died instantly. Richard grabbed his legs, flopping him unceremoniously onto his back. His head, lolling awkwardly from a lifeless neck, was a shattered mass where the exit wound had blown out the back of his skull. Nothing that taxidermy couldn’t fix.
Nathan’s female was drowning in a pool of blood, struggling for life. A few labored breaths bubbled red out of her nostrils and from between her lips. Unsheathing his dressing blade, he mercifully jabbed the sharpened steel into her stomach. With a motion more precarious than planned, he slid the blade through her rib cage and up to her gullet, splaying open her chest cavity and emptying its contents onto the ground. With the blood-stained point of his blade, he flipped aside her jogging bra, sending a spray of red into her blonde hair. Her porcelain flesh now exposed, Nathan sliced a large section of flesh from her breast and popped it into his greedy mouth, the areola bouncing between his teeth.
“Well, Nathan, even if you do look a bit like a raisin in the sun,” Richard said, “seems like we’ve got more in common than I thought. Guess it’s true what they say about a daddy’s girl. No matter what, she always finds someone who’s just like her dear old pa.”
For the first time that weekend, Richard Morgan smiled.
© Copyright 2013 DaemonwulfTM. All Rights Reserved.
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Nails grate across stone; she comes for me. Hellish echoes impaling the frailty of my senses through the back of my skull. Scratch, ssssscratch. Blistering pants herald her arrival from somewhere deep within my institution of darkness. Blistering, born sodden with covet, sin. I am unsure to whom those breaths belong.
She comes for me. My sex-starved thing.
Limbs twist; these cords bite into wrists, offering little freedom, holding fast my famished body to this chilled limestone. So chilled. I strain to see her; this dark surrenders nothing. I shudder with the callousness of a desperate want. So desperate. Nails grate across stone; ever closer she slinks.
“Choke me,” into obscurity, I gasp.
Nether’s inviting ledge…always upon which I teeter. A void exists below, an oblivion so familiar; I will be lost should I fall. Much the same as this thing…this thing the light of sun has never licked. “Choke me,” mouth too careless, eager. My dick throbs, pulsing with a life I wish I myself had known.
I will taste you first
Toes curl; shadows shift so subtly beyond blind eyes. Fingers clench; shadows shift so subtly beyond screaming senses. She is all around me, shifting so subtly beyond wildest imagination.
My sex-starved thing I never disobey. Mouth parts; beads of moisture tease my lips. I arch against my bed of gypsum, slam inhibitions atop stone, aching for her to break me. Delirious, this wait. I swallow dank air, the fester of her home; finally, her tongue fills my mouth with the sweetest taste I could ever despise. Swirling, swirling over teeth, probing, probing deep into ragged throat.
Fire, raging through my head. I gag; her tongue clogs my passage. I desire more. Always more. “Choke…me…” I bite down upon pulsing meat in my mouth. Chew upon festering wretchedness. Deeper her tongue thrusts, sealing pharynx, sealing remains of wasted breath within my gut. Endearing, her plague, burying my last wail deep into chest…snuffing life as I asked…interring me with the usual disclosure: she will never belong to me.
I have found the perfect end. She was born to make me hurt.
Nether’s inviting edge beckons; body numbs, stars bursting behind my lids the only light mine. From the cusp of unconsciousness, she gently rouses me. I cannot see. I am blind. Her leer fondles; the skin crackles over her jaws. Somewhere from deep within, the dissonant scuttling of things bloated with far worse than abandon. She nuzzles my cheek; her tender, moist lips nuzzle my own, grazing so softly the diseased affection left unspoken. With razor teeth, my sex-starved thing rends flesh from my face.
Sweet agony. Howling…so desperate for her tease. Fingers rake my heaving chest—Heaven. Hades burns beneath her nails. Squirm squirm squirm I do—her little slug. These cords do not yield; in turn, she yields no hope. Into my abdomen, sink her nails. I spit the contagion of my devotion from reverent mouth, screaming for more.
Within the deadened, inky blanket of her lair, the fervor of her gaze singes my engorged organ.
“Consume me,” I offer.
My sex-starved thing snorts cruelly over my body; the chill she illicits delicious. Breath swirls across pelvis.
Those bloated things, they scurry away. Reverberating between the stalagmites, feelers seeking some other form of rot. Done with me before even they start. My beautiful destroyer, she has only begun. “Consume me!” A challenge from bloody lips.
“Please…” Terribly deft fingers wedge a spreader bar between my legs. “Consume…” Cuffs snap, bite into ankle, nearly to bone. “Me!”
I am numb to her affliction.
A chortle, repulsive beyond limits of known sanity. Brutal, pitiless—a stony palm seizes my shaft, squeezing as her sadist mouth engulfs, razor blade tongue sucking, lapping. Shredding skin from my dick, shredding as she bobs. Coarse hair pricking my stomach, shredding shredding until I erupt; an orgasm of blood. My essence, it escapes in rhythmic pulses, filling her mouth—the seed of all my sin. Slowly I bleed out, for me, for her. Body stiffening; this sensation of depletion exquisite, my only regret that no longer do I die virgin deaths for my sex-starved thing. She has murdered me more times than I can count.
“Now steal me…” Mouth betraying me always.
My sex-starved thing lies atop me, my death rattle commencing beneath her jaded eyes. She laughs, the sweet music of all gone wrong. Lowers her head. Tears my throat apart. She eats, she snickers; spits blood, semen back into the wheezing hole in my neck. Taunts some more. The joke is always on me; I love my sex-starved thing.
She slides along my body. Nipples graze skin. The stone, it chews spine. I remain mutilated beneath her—an emasculated piece of nothing, a chunk of meat detained by her lure. Broken, so willing for her promise. Ruined, left yearning for more.
Blistering, the tortured pants between us. Still unsure to whom those breaths belong.
“Steal me,” pleading to the worst of all I am.
She obliges; it is what she does. My curse the blessing she delivers. Fist deep she plunges into my chest, twisting, tearing at my very corruption. Her brutality unmatched, rending my heart free of its cage. The lump of flesh now my dick twitches.
It belongs to me
She devours my heart.
The gagging nearly immediate.
The gurgling incessant from her mouth.
Somewhere in the dark, she collapses.
“Never,” voice oily in her lair. I wait until silence clots my ears, shred wrists free of her knots. For all the Devil in me, I love my sex-starved thing. I could never tell her of the poison within my heart.
~ Joseph A. Pinto
© Copyright 2013 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.
Projected light flickered through the dark; each burst momentarily painting the shadowed surfaces with brilliant light as if a welder was hard at work in the corner. A muscular but overweight man lounged in a reclining chair at the center of the small living room. His callused hands held the remote control and a cold drink with equal care. He had cast aside his dusty work boots and was watching the flat screen between his grimy sock-covered feet.
After taking another swig of beer, he smiled and repeated a line in sync with the movie, copying the actor’s sing-song sarcasm, “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs…”
Jeremy Kolski was happy with his life. It was simple, but that’s the way he wanted it—steady contractor’s job, detached house, beautiful wife and daughter, and big ass TV. He’d worked hard to put all the pieces in place, and he believed a strict routine would keep the status-quo-machine running. Facing the unexpected at work was inevitable but at home, things were always in order. He even ate the same meals everyday: medium-rare steak and eggs in the morning, brown-bagged sandwich for lunch, and thick oatmeal with a side of bacon for dinner. His wife Mora had it all down to a science, like that baby bear’s porridge—just right.
A harsh light flooded Mora’s face. She stared blindly into the glow, momentarily unaware of the blood-red mask it gave her, like some masquerade villain from the mind of Edgar Allen Poe. She stared out the port-hole window above the sink, pausing with pan and soap sponge dripping in her hands. In the small, dimly lit kitchen her vibrant sundress looked drab and unflattering despite the youthfulness of her petite frame. Even the golden tresses of her wavy hair seemed flat and frayed, but a quaint smile played at the edges of her lips, defying the depressive scene the room’s lighting had imbued.
The pulsing red beams faded as a police cruiser rolled past their house in the pursuit of evildoers elsewhere. Mora returned to washing the dishes and a thought—appropriate to the moment—found its way to her lips. She recited the line to herself, “For the uninvited, there is much to fear.”
Her life was forged in routine. Her father and his military background made an impression on her family, and living with her husband was much the same. She always found comfort in knowing what needed to be done and what each day would bring. She spent her time tending to Jeremy, raising little Samantha, and keeping up with the household chores. Change used to frighten Mora, but over the last few days the thought of it had begun to look different to her. In small doses, change could be manageable, and over time, big strides could be made through cumulative steps. With that in mind tonight, she didn’t rush to clean up the dinner table.
Jeremy was entranced by the screen. He only tore his eyes away long enough to pour another shot of the amber liquid and toss it back. This time, however, he was forced to look down as sharp pain stabbed through his abdomen causing him to flinch and dribble whiskey onto his twill work shirt.
A few months ago when the discomfort started, Jeremy increased his drinking from occasional to maintenance. Concerned coworkers had asked him about the pain and he’d always replied, “It might be stomach ulcers or goddam colon cancer, who knows.” When he told this to a buddy of his with such indifference, the man’s lunch nearly fell out of his mouth. The inquiry always ended with Jeremy adding, “Na, I ain’t going to see a Doctor. I don’t trust them. They ask too many damn questions and then diagnose you with what’s best to fatten their own wallets. In my house, we’re better off taking the pain and fixing our own problems.”
“Goddamnit,” Jeremy cursed, wiping at the drops that seeped down into the material. Then, setting his eyes back on the TV, he shouted sidelong toward the kitchen. “Mora, get your wide ass moving and bring me a wet rag… and another beer from the garage, but make it quick, he’s about to walk barefoot across the broken glass.” Jeremy poured another shot as he mumbled to himself, “best part of the movie if you ask me.”
The man’s chair was flanked by tray tables burdened with empty cans of Yuengling and a half drunk fifth of Johnnie Walker. He sucked the alcohol from his fingers, unconcerned with the dust caked to his cuticles and knuckle creases. It was a common residual from his job, either by hanging drywall or mixing concrete for sidewalks or patios.
Jeremy cleared his throat and poured another shot.
A diminutive woman entered the room with the requested items. Keeping her head down, she placed them carefully on the nearest tray table, scooped up the empty beer cans and backed away. Passing under the lights in the dining room, Jeremy caught sight of the shine under her eyes. A purple butterfly bruise had spread its wings across the bridge of her newly curved nose. He nodded, agreeing with his punishment for her recent change in the routine. But he stopped abruptly after noticing a dirty bowl still sitting on the supper table.
“Hey, Woman! Better finish cleaning up supper before the movie’s over.”
Mora tossed the empty cans into a recycling bin that sat in the garage amid all his tools and leftover work supplies. She stood there for a moment, calming herself and pulling in deep breaths with her sore eyes closed. Tears squeezed free and trailed down her cheeks, their wet tracks leaving a brighter sheen on her bruise that was looking more and more like some kind of hero mask.
She didn’t feel very super right now. In fact, she hadn’t been in this much pain since falling out of a tree at the age of seven. Her father was helping her learn how to climb. Eventually, he gave up trying to mold her into the son he never received, but not before she broke both wrists when an upper bough gave way. The fractures healed, but the pain from his disappointment would not.
Now, trying to center herself in the garage, she was suffering from not only a bruised face and a broken nose, but also the mental anguish of waking up to a six-year nightmare.
She was locked into a routine, again—chained down by psychological assaults and kept productive with physical punishment. How could she have been blind to it for all these years? ‘Because Jeremy wasn’t always like this, it… progressed,’ she realized. Any change, no matter how appalling, if introduced gradually enough, could be accepted with unanimous approval—just ask Austria.
It took undying love and a cold knuckle connection to her nose for Mora to see the change. Jeremy raised his hand to their daughter for the first time and Mora’s intervention—her deviation from the routine—cost her a fractured face.
His wife wasn’t doing her job. It’s been ten minutes and she still didn’t come back to clean up that bowl. It was his oatmeal dish from dinner and the longer it sits the harder that shit gets.
Jeremy grunted and cursed as another slash of pain dug into his guts, “Ah, fuck!” Hunched over, he clutched at his stomach and waited for the agony to back off. It was getting worse by the hour, now. The wave passed, but the constant ache went up another notch.
He stood up, kicked over one of the tray tables, and sucked down another shot or two straight out of the bottle. It was time his woman learned that she needed to finish her chores and follow the rules.
Mora, bolstered by the need to protect her daughter, was fed up with the routine. Change was inevitable and she welcomed it.
Beads of sweat formed on Jeremy’s forehead as he moved toward the dinning room. His legs felt weak. Each footstep was torture, as if they were pulling the ignition lever on a blowtorch inside his gullet—frying his organs and searing nerves. After four paces, breathing heavy and grinding his teeth, Jeremy reached the table. He picked up the bowl and even that felt heavy. Staggering another few steps, Jeremy crossed into the kitchen and fell to his knees. The bowl slipped from his fingers and hit the floor with a loud thunk.
A pair of white sneakers stepped into Jeremy’s view. His eyes labored their way up Mora’s body to meet her glare.
She stood over her husband, pouring hatred down upon him. “You don’t look so good, dear. You sure I shouldn’t call a doctor?”
Tears welled in his eyes and he grunted out the word, “Call!”
“But you told me not to, they ask too many questions and I better not go against your will, right?” She waited for a reply but he was busy moaning. Then she noticed the bowl next to him on the floor.
“Oh, look at that. I must’ve left a dirty dish on the table.” Mora picked it up and knocked it against the floor. It made a solid cluck.
“You do love your oatmeal thick, huh? I’ve added a new ingredient to make it extra thick for you. The cement dust from the garage takes a while to harden, but I usually get all the dishes cleaned up by then. I only used a little at first, but the last couple nights have called for a hefty helping.”
A siren screamed past the kitchen window, bathing Mora in vibrant red light.
Jeremy managed to rasp two more words before passing out. “You… bitch!”
Mora smiled. “Yes, payback usually is. But I took the pain and now, I fixed the problem.”
~ Tyr Kieran
© Copyright 2013 Tyr Kieran. All Rights Reserved.
I have a new roommate. And he’s the roommate from hell.
I realize that phrase is thrown around a lot, usually to describe housemates whose behaviors range from the mildly annoying peccadillo to acts of full-blown psychosis. You know the type. We’ve all had them. But this is different. I’m now completely convinced there’s a demon living in my apartment.
While no beauty by any measure, he’s not as repulsive as you might think. But he does have a slight odor, like a wet blanket left out too long in the rain.
His skin is nearly translucent — much like watered-down milk, and you can almost see the veins crisscrossing his body beneath. He appears cold to the touch, mainly smooth, but with a few wrinkles here and there, especially where his skin hangs loose on his bones. It flaps around as he moves — an altogether unpleasant sight.
He’s much shorter than I imagined a demon would be, and has a small, wide nose that’s almost squashed. Perhaps broken in some hellish brawl. His eyes are big and round. They’re slightly recessed and stare out at me from beneath an overly large forehead. A chubby belly jiggles when he waddles around the room on fat little legs that are out of proportion to the rest of his body. It’s amazing how quickly they can move, and he with them. Oh, and he wears short, yellow pants.
I’ve come to the conclusion that he believes I can’t see him. I know this because he engages in a host of activities that would normally be reserved for times of personal isolation. He frequently gnaws on his long nails, whittling them down so the nubs of his fingers are raw and then spitting the remains all over the floor. He also picks his nose and flicks the dried clumps of mucus through the air. And I have to say I was quite shocked the first time I saw him pull his little pecker from his pants and happily go to work on it.
When the demon isn’t gnawing at, picking in or jerking off his own parts, he can be found sitting calmly in the chair behind me — waiting and watching. Watching television. Watching me. Sometimes he’ll stare almost wistfully out the window, even though there’s little to see — buildings stretching to the horizon, their smokestacks belching exhaust into the haze-filled skies. He’s there right now, staring at me. Something tells me he has no plans to leave.
My demon’s started jogging. For the last three nights I’ve lain in bed listening to the patter of fast little feet as he runs the length of the apartment. He starts in the kitchen, races down the hallway to the front door, gleefully slides on the polished wood floor, spins and runs back again. When he passes the open doorway to my bedroom he’s little more than a blur. Only a few days ago I would’ve thought it odd for a demon to be jogging around my home. Now it’s become routine. His initial runs lasted for only a few minutes, but now he keeps it up for most of the night. He may be trying to drive me mad from lack of sleep.
Today when I came home from work, the front door was locked — from the inside. It took some doing before I’d succeeded in breaking the door frame and forcing my way into the house. Once I’d made it inside, the demon ignored me. He sat, nonchalantly rocking back and forth and swinging his short legs to and fro like a recalcitrant child. The half smile on his pale face was almost a sneer, and his mouth flashed rotting teeth. I have to admit, he’s beginning to frighten me.
I haven’t been outside in days for fear the demon won’t let me back in. Work stopped calling long ago. I’m sure I’ve been fired. And the food is running out. He has a voracious appetite, eating everything in sight. First it was the sweets — cookies, candies, cakes and all the sodas are long gone. Then he started in on the meats. He’s made the kitchen a filthy mess — countertops cluttered with unwashed pans, walls spattered with grease and foodstuff littering the floor from his failed attempts at frying, boiling, stewing and simmering everything in the house. I’m beginning to wonder how long I can take this.
Last night, while I was asleep, he took a bite out of my thigh. I don’t know how he accomplished it without my knowledge, but he did. What do I know about the anesthetizing powers of the supernatural otherworld? Whatever it was, it worked, and I woke up this morning missing a large chunk of my flesh that, I must say, I’d become quite fond of. I realize he’s not likely to go away on his own; I must do something.
Fever has wracked my body from the infection caused by his bite. I can’t even sit up to type. I think I’ll rest a bit longer today.
This morning I cut off my leg. Unable to control the spread of the infection, I had no other choice. I wrapped it in a dirty sheet and hid it beneath my bed. I hope he doesn’t sneak in while I’m asleep and make a meal of it. I want to keep my body parts as far away from his as possible. I hear him on the other side of the door. He’s giggling.
Yesterday my fever finally broke. And with my strength slowly returning, I started planning. After so many days locked in my room I’m badly undernourished. The flesh from my amputated leg will only sustain me for so long.
I finally did it! Last night I struck! With a knife I’d secreted from the foul-smelling kitchen, I fashioned a spear by duct taping the blade to the remains of my tattered leg.
Once the demon had completed several laps down the hallway, I went for it. As he passed the doorway, I thrust my makeshift weapon into his path. The blade caught him mid-stride, severing his Achilles tendon, causing him to scream in pain and sending him tumbling head over heels into the front door where he crashed with such a noise it startled me.
I warily crawled to his side. And when I was sure he was out cold I grabbed his fat leg and sunk my teeth deep into the meat of his upper thigh. I have to say he tasted a bit like chicken. When I bit down, I felt his bone splinter between my jaws.
My bite shocked him back into consciousness with a keening wail that I was sure would wake the dead. I didn’t care if it had, choosing instead to relish watching him scamper away, groaning in agony.
Things have been quiet. I haven’t seen the demon for more than 24 hours. Two days ago I heard the sound of breaking glass. I want to imagine he jumped through the window, meeting his death on the street below. But without the strength to check, I just lay here reveling in the fantasy. All that’s left for me to eat are the few remaining pieces of meat on my souring leg, and the horde of flies and maggots that have found a home there. I can only take a couple bites at a time, barely able to choke down the rotting pieces of my own flesh.
He wasn’t dead after all. Last night he started the fire.
The flames made quick work of my cheap bedroom door, allowing him to break through. When he crawled across the threshold, I could tell he was in bad shape. The infection from my bite had taken its toll. As he dragged himself through the flames I realized the source of the crash I’d heard. In his crippled and feverish state, he must’ve fallen onto the dining room table. Shards of glass were now embedded in his cheeks and protruded from his forehead, creating dangerous spiked horns where there had been none.
To an outsider we must have looked quite the pair. Two crippled souls laying on the floor of a rancid, smoke-filled apartment that smelled of waste and death. He slowly dragged his body forward through the filth. But due to his lack of nails, he was unable to gain much purchase on the slippery wood floor, the manicured nubs of his fingers offering little traction.
I saw the desperation in his eyes as he pulled himself toward me. That’s when I realized he was far too weak and broken. During my self-imposed isolation, I’d been preparing, sharpening my own talons. My clawed fingers, combined with the scales that undulate in waves across my body ensured that I’d be more effective at dragging myself along the floor and plucking those hideous blue eyes from his skull before he could get hold of my own beautiful fiery reds.
© Copyright 2013 DaemonwulfTM. All Rights Reserved.
The breeze, gentle at first, carries the voice to my mind. “No, not again!” I think, cupping my hands over my ears, trying to keep from hearing its taunting, knowing that I can handle only so much of this.
Night after night it comes, and even though I expect it to surround me, it finds a way to sneak in when my guard is down. I’m leveled by its assault, barely able to think, and unable to retain any semblance of vertigo. I fall to the carpet, writhing in pain, and my mind gets ever so close to the abyss separating sanity from insanity. Nearer and nearer I approach the gash dividing reality from what does not exist. And the drop from the precipice to what lies below is long and deep. Yes, it is like a bottomless well, devoid of water and waiting to fill itself with whatever it can.
“No, you can’t have me!” I shout. “Go away! Leave me alone!”
Laughter . . . laughter joins in with the whispered words, knowing I will crack, that it is only a matter of time. If anything, the laughter is worse, forcing its way on my entire body, its vibrations rubbing against my flesh, working along the distraught hairs on the back of my neck and radiating outward from there. I retch from the sensations of thousands of bugs crawling over me, knowing they will bite, but not sure when. The remembrance of biting bed bugs from a long ago place and time reach my mind, and I fear that they are here in my study and attacking me with their taunting presence before they bite and suck out my precious life-giving fluid.
Slapping wildly against the onslaught, I know I have stepped over the line when their teeth find their mark and my body convulses in the agony.
Just enough biting; just enough blood removed; and just enough crawling. Always the push is ever so close, enough to push me to the brink, but not all the way over. Yes, the voice knows; it always knows. Enough of the voice! I must defeat it.
“You cannot ignore me forever, you know,” the voice whispers in my ear, the words moving the bugs to the side. “You will listen to me; you have no choice.”
“No! Leave me!” I holler. “You don’t exist.”
Silence . . . blessed silence, but it does not last.
“Ah, but I do exist. I existed before, I exist now, and I will exist in the future.”
The present; the future. I must not allow this creature access to these two-time continuums. If I do . . . No, I cannot even think of what might happen.
I force myself up, working against the vertigo problems, not wanting to subject myself to attacks from above. No more can I grovel before the beast. It must be dealt with from a position of strength. Heh, heh. This is how I will defeat it.
A clap of thunder encapsulates my room, and a rumbling beneath me rises up and splits it in two. One of my feet is left on one side, and the other one struggles to maintain balance on the opposite side of the tearing. The chasm becomes wider, and I push off with my right leg, attempting to propel my body to the other side, but my efforts are not enough. My hands grasp the far side as I slip and slide back, reaching for a secure hand-hold but not finding one. Ever closer I get to losing my grip and falling into the darkness below. My body flails against the side of the abyss, looking for a place where I can gain a foothold.
None is to be found.
Blood pours from my hands as I pull myself up ever so slowly, getting away from the forces waiting below. Every hand hold comes with a price attached, my body wracked in pain from the physical assault and the tearing inflicted on me. Finally, with a last heave, my entire body is out, and I am secure under my desk. The two sides slam together in defiance, as if to show me the power still resides within the room.
This time I’m not in any hurry to get back up. My body is beaten down, and I need to recoup. There is more to come; there is always more to come.
The breeze switches to a gale-force wind and blows a dense fog into the room. This is no ordinary fog: I’ve experienced it before. Now! Now is the time to get up.
My head demands release from the torment, but my body is not cooperating. I bob and weave like a punch-drunk boxer having gone one fight too many. Yes, I can’t conceive of fighting even one more round.
The fog is up to my chest, concealing what lies beneath. More suspense; more agony.
Serpentine entities wrap themselves around my legs, squeezing, relaxing their grip then repeating their torture. The veins and arteries in my already pummeled legs scream out in pain, not knowing what the next moment will hold.
“I take it you’re not enjoying the massage the vipers are affording you?”
Staring into the coal-black eyes of the horned beast speaking to me, his prominent brow and deeply creased face glaring at me, the hairs on my body once more tingle. All the stops are being pulled out tonight.
“I’m talking to you, boy” he says, “And I don’t like to be ignored.”
Rage replaces my fear. “Fuck you! Your presence is unwelcome here.”
Lightning and thunder reverberate through the room, being the outlet for his anger.
“Not welcome here? You have no choice in the matter. You don’t dictate what happens. I do.”
Scenes from days gone by play like a panorama of horror against the walls, ceilings, and floors of my room. And then . . . and then they become alive once more, the dancing, naked bodies and their conjuration circle; the altar with a frightened virgin laid out upon it, her virginity attacked mercilessly as demon after demon take her and inject their seed into her, so many of them that the blood from her womb flows out onto the altar and then to the floor, the rivers formed from the confluence of blood and juices beating a horrid staccato against the floor.
And they come to me, tearing my clothes off and leading me to the altar. As before, I am always the last one to penetrate the woman lying before me. I cannot fight it. The forces against me are too strong. How I am able to rise up and perform as a man is a mystery. I am disgusted at what I am forced to do, and yet, at the same time, excitement bursts from my loins and I do what is demanded of me.
She stares at me, still in shock at what has transpired, but her eyes tell me she understands.
“You are weak,” the horned one says. You have always been weak. But that doesn’t matter. You were not conceived for the purpose of your own strength. Yours is another facet of birth.”
His words fly into my mind, knocking my mental stability down even lower, but the anger in me from what he has implied – no, more than implied – keeps me from going over the edge. What is he saying? I must know.
He laughs. “No need for you to speak to me. I know your thoughts. Ah, it is not for me to answer your questions tonight. She . . . she will answer them.”
My mind swirls from all I have seen and done, my eyes closing, attempting to refocus. When they open again, my study is as it was before anything happened, and I am clothed once more. It is as if everything that happened was only present in my mind.
But I know better.
The voice returns to me again, this time more insistent, not attempting to convince me now. Demands are hollered into my ears, my head shaken by the impact.
No more can I hide in my study. It is time to confront my demons.
I follow the voice to the cemetery. Yes, I know where it is coming from. As much as I have feared this moment, I realize it is necessary for me to attack the demons running rampant through my mind.
The mist, the same fog as before, has settled over the grave, but it parts when I arrive, exposing a shovel resting against the headstone. Trembling with fear, I take it into my hands and start digging.
With each pass through the dirt, the voice gets louder, telling me to dig faster, echoing its need for release. Sweat pours off me, my confusion and fear melding together. What do I do when the source from which the voice emanates is laid out before me? Releasing the demon cannot be a good thing but, then again, how do I silence the voice forever?
Shovel after shovel removes the dirt until I hit the top of the coffin. Instead of an increased volume from the voice, there is silence. A trick! Yes, this is a ploy. I am supposed to be lulled into a sense of false security, but that won’t work. I can’t be tricked that easily.
But what do I do now! I need to open the coffin and satisfy my curiosity once and for all. If nothing is here to worry about, then I can put my mind at ease.
Then again, the possibility exists that maybe all of this does reside entirely in me. Am I losing it? Is my mind going?
I must find out! I must!
With a vengeance, I tear the shovel into the coffin, not caring about any damage I might incur. What difference does that make? She is already dead. When I’m done, I’ll cover everything back up again.
I grasp at the last remnants of the lid and tear it off. I must see her now!
Looking down, a bright moon at my back, I stare at her and smile.
There’s nothing here to worry about,” I think. “She’s dead. As dead as they come.”
Starting to shovel the dirt back in on top of the coffin, I stop as soon as I start. She sits up, pieces of flesh dangling down from areas on her skeleton, teasing me with their very presence. The musky odor surrounding her almost forces me to pass out, and her eye sockets, long ago remaindered to empty holes, take on a red glow and stare at me. A smile breaks out on her skull, flashing those perfect teeth she always had when she was alive.
“I knew you would come, my son,” she says. “It took you a while, but my faith in you never wavered.”
My heart beats faster than it has ever beaten before. Never have I been so afraid. All the things happening around me when I was growing up are nothing compared to this. My mother, dead for five years, is still alive: if you can call her condition anything close to normal. All these years, she has called to me, imploring me to come to her, but I refused. Until tonight. My supposed closure is anything but.
“I gave you life years ago,” she says. “Now . . . now it is your turn to reciprocate. You will give me life.”
My mind reaches for an answer to what she is saying, but none is forthcoming.
“You are confused, my son. Don’t be. I pushed you out into the world forty years ago, and now you will do the same for me.”
Horror burns through every fiber of my being as she grabs me and pulls my body into what remains of her vagina. She and I both convulse as my adult persona is totally absorbed into her birth canal. She writhes in pain as the size of me works past her vaginal opening and rejuvenates her long dead body, bringing life back to her once more. My blood pours out of me and into her, supplying her with the precious liquid she so needs to live once more.
I scream out in pain, the sounds muffled between her thighs and that part of her expelling me so many years before.
She lies in the coffin a little longer, waiting for the pain to subside and the transformation to become complete. Five years is a long time to wait for a second coming.
“He was such a good son,” she says . . .
~ Blaze McRob
© Copyright 2013 Blaze McRob. All Rights Reserved.
A run; a run no different from any other morning that had come before. The sun groped with lazy fingers the mounds littering the reed-choked hills. Above the slickened grass, the evening gasped its last breath in wispy tendrils of fog. Boots pounded broken road; dew kicked up against sodden pants. A run; a run with the dirt-laden shovel cradled in his arms. The mounds forgotten at his back.
But on this morning the old-timer sat. Waiting.
He froze, keen to the presence of another set of eyes, sweat in long strands down his cheeks. Tongue darted corner to corner along his mouth, tasting, swallowing. He enjoyed the tang of his toil. Eventually he cocked his head. Saw the old-timer slumped within a rocker, set up on a sunken porch just off the lane. He stared the old-timer down. The old-timer stared back.
“Ayup,” old-timer grimaced, lips pinched by unseen fingers.
Gravel crunched beneath boots; slowly the shovel lowered from his arms. “What are you doing out here?” he uttered, stoic in the middle of the backwoods road.
Old-timer: “Naw much. Jus joyin anotha morn.”
Chest heaved despite his calm; he took a step closer to the old-timer’s ruined cabin. He had run past it a dozen times. Always seemed deserted. He regretted that he never checked. Never bothered to force his way inside. “Too chilly for your bones, don’t you think? A fellow your age should keep inside. Stay warm.”
“Wutha-man says gonna warm soon nuff. I believe in wut tha wutha-man says. Don’t ya?”
He looked around. Chewed at the bottom of his lip until it oozed coppery satisfaction. From the road: “I don’t believe in much at all.”
Old-timer: “Nope, I s’pose ya don’t. I s’pose ya don’t look tha type ta believe in anythin tha wutha-man might have ta say. Ya look a different type ta me.”
“And what type might that be?” The blade of the shovel tapped his boot; fingers squeezed upon its hilt.
Old-timer laughed; a warbled thing like a frog caught in death throes. “Type tha takes mattas into his own hans.”
He propped the shovel against his side, studied his hands. Nails chewed and rimmed with dirt, calloused palms caked black. Intrigued, he looked back up. “Never seen you before.”
“Were ya s’posed ta? Ya do nuthin but run. Run is all ya do.”
His eyes narrowed into slits. “So you’ve watched me.”
Old-timer: “Ayup. Lotsa times.”
He clutched the shovel again, scraped it along gravel in the road. “I enjoy my runs,” hissed through clenched teeth.
“Course ya do. Yer fit as a fiddle. I wus like tha once. Long time ago… long time.” Old-timer shook his head, jostling sparse white hair. “But things change afta long times go by, ayup.”
He stepped closer to the cabin’s decayed porch. “Time changes everything.” No bother taken to disguise the rattlesnake in his tone.
Old-timer, squinting: “Yer him, I’m sure ya are,” then swatted at ghosts circling his skull. “People been talkin bout ya ‘fore tha wutha-man comes on at night. Yer him, yessir ya are. Tha runner.”
Eyes drifted to his boots, laces awash in mud. “I told you, I enjoy my runs.”
Old-timer nodded, pleased. “Ayup, tha runner. Knew it was ya. Just knew all tha time. So tell me, runner, where ya runnin to?”
He stalked deliberately, leaning against the old-timer’s fence post, rotted and crooked as a hag’s nose. Shovel tap-tapped atop his boot. “I’m not running from a thing.”
“Nah, ya wasn’t hearin me. Ya wasn’t listenin careful nuff. Didn’t say ya was runnin from somethin. Asked what ya runnin to.“
Doubt lit his eyes. He always had answers.
“Man runnin from somethin is a man in fear. Man runnin toward somethin is a man ta fear. Ayup.”
Tongue slithered inside his mouth, toyed with a pulpy strip caught between molars. He had eaten not too long before; suddenly the urge to eat again seized him. He licked at his lips. “You have something to fear, old man? Maybe something like me?”
Old-timer quipped: “Fear ya? Not t’all.”
He always had answers. Now he searched for one.
Old-timer jerked his head. “Lemme see em.”
“Yer hands, course.”
Hesitation. Eventually he raised one above the fence. Old-timer, eyes sparkling a shade below madness, rose from his creaky chair. Head crooked atop stooped shoulders, old-timer hobbled down the porch steps, across the front path, alongside the fence. “Ayup, tha runner alright.”
“I’m getting tired of this,” he hissed, the shovel slowly ascending above his head.
With deceptive speed, the old-timer sprang over the fence, seized his free hand. “Tha runnerrrrr…” he cooed.
They remained that way, runner and old-timer, hands interlocked like lost brothers now found, eyes fixed and steely. The runner blinked first, noticing the old-timer’s chewed nails, crusty black around the beds, grime etched into wrinkled skin. The shovel lowered.
Old-timer’s hands. So much like his own.
He always had answers. Always, his victims spoke to him. Now he had none.
“I wus fit like ya once. Long time ago… long time ago.”
He jerked his hand back, but old-timer would not let go.
He glanced over old-timer’s shoulder.
“Somethin ya should know. Somethin ya should learn right quick.”
He looked beyond old-timer’s cabin. Glimpsed what had been hidden from his sight for so many runs. Glimpsed for the first time the uneven rows, the shovels pitched crookedly into the dirt, marking each grave.
Mounds littered the hills, both new and old.
“Ya see, I wus tha runner long before ya came ta town, son,” old-timer sang quietly. “And I gots no fear of ya t’all.”
He broke the old-timer’s grasp; shovel clanged to the road. For the first time, the runner ran from something. Ran, boots stumbling across divots in the backwoods road, rising sun looming large in his frantic eyes. Ran from old-timer and his dirty, chewed nails. Ran from old-timer and all the ghosts that kept pace at his side.
“Wus a runner long ‘fore ya came ta town,” old-timer continued to sing. He turned and hobbled back atop his porch. Hobbled into his chair. Sat. Waited. He had plenty of time. Even more shovels. “Be tha runner long after yer gone. Ayup.”
~ Joseph A. Pinto
© Copyright 2013 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.