To use a cliché or maybe four,
I am full of them you will see for sure.
As a true master of disguise,
It’s within the shadows I spin lies.
As has been and so shall be,
I always stand right here with thee.
As you walk I’m beside you now,
As the sweat runs down your brow.
It is my breath that warms your neck,
While in the mirror you do check.
All the lines down your face that stretch,
Across your flesh that once was fresh.
I’m the eternal conquistador,
As is now and forevermore.
It’s with me you begin the fight,
Your body tries with all its might.
So the battle for you begins,
As I struggle for your sins.
And upon this stallion’s rigid back,
There is stealth in my attack.
It’s the war you attempt to wage,
Your soul locked in its fleshly cage.
But there is no way for you to fight,
And of that you know I am right.
You succumb to my every pain,
As I ravage body and brain.
And with the first stage now being won,
Soon the second shall be done.
And then the third it will commence,
With only the slightest of your defense.
As my misery closes in,
It is your bowels that begin to spin.
Because within your guts I dwell,
Home to this dark carousel.
With rot and ruin they decay,
As they eat themselves away.
Without a thing left to digest,
Comes a weakening in your chest.
As hunger flees your deadened throat,
Your organs they do twist and bloat.
With no longer a want for food,
The next stage has thus ensued.
And thus the time is now at hand,
For the warriors to disband.
As filth runs thickly from your bowels,
To the chorus of our beastly howls.
Your soiled life stains virgin sheets,
As the refuse of your God retreats.
There is only but decay,
As your flesh cage rots away.
And somewhere in the distant sky,
Through darkness angels they do cry.
But in the land below our feet,
The demons grin and gnash and bleat.
As they plan their greatest feast,
Wherein they swallow your sweetmeats.
And now your world has met its end,
While you believe it is godsend.
But you question at what cost,
Humanity has again lost.
And so from the dirt it now begins,
The struggle between the heinous twins.
To one above and one below,
You are only a mere tableau.
In this never-ending play,
To make the horses stay away.
© Copyright 2013 DaemonwulfTM. All Rights Reserved.
A hot night. Damn hot! Even during the monsoon season over here it never got cold. But now the rain is far behind us, and the moonless evening drips with heat and humidity. Shit!
My fatigues cling to me, and my GI issue boxers are giving me one hell of a wedgie, threatening to strangle my balls. Some of the guys have taken to not wearing the boxers to prevent this, but I tried it once and the jewels looked like someone had taken a meat pulverizer to them. It’s a no win deal. Wearing the boxers is a better option for me.
There is no resting tonight. Charlie is just the other side of the hills. If our intelligence is right, they have no idea we’re in the area. Yeah, right! How many times have I been told that, only to wind up in the middle of a bloody ambush? Who tips these damn Cong off? If I only knew . . .
The sounds of the jungle, the myriad forms of wildlife scattered everywhere, add a buffer to the sounds of our feet plodding through the dense underbrush. There is not much of a trail here. In terrain such as this with optimal conditions for forest rejuvenation, paths can vanish rapidly, replaced by new growth.
However, it means the enemy has not been through this area too recently. Not even here could the jungle put up a fence of vegetation to deter interlopers that rapidly.
It’s rough going through this terrain without light, but the darkness is our friend for now. If we can’t see, neither can our enemy. That makes us even. At least for the moment.
A weird odor attaches itself to the moist air, strangling me with the very obscenity of its foulness. Something tells me not to go in the direction of its source, but that’s not possible: the Cong are in that direction, and we have to strike while the irons are hot.
The air circulates more and more the closer we get to the hills, and the stench builds. I have smelled it before. It is the odor of death and rotting flesh. Human flesh.
Wondering if something is wrong with me since the others appear not to notice anything out of the ordinary, I say nothing about my increasing fears of death closing in on us. This goes far beyond any battle experience I have encountered up ’til now. And I’m not certain war has anything to do with this. Not this war; not a war between humans.
Jesus, I’m suffering some kind of sensory hallucinations reaching beyond my ability to fight them off! I appear to be rational, but rationality is an abstract concept, one not readily agreed upon.
“Straighten up, man!” I say to myself. “Something’s going down. You know it, even if the others don’t. You have to be alert.”
The night gets darker; the stench gets worse; and the comforting sounds from before lessen the farther we go. We are thrust into a vortex of darkness so deep that it seems no light has ever existed here before. Darker and darker, the closer we get to the center the more we are drawn to whatever mystery resides within.
The center explodes outwards, enveloping us in an unbelievable cloak of invisibility, forcing us to use our other senses to navigate, touch being the dominant one because taste and smell are too intertwined with what lies ahead, and we need to be concerned with what is here. In order to forge ahead, we need to conquer the present.
Hairs on my neck signal that a power resides here that is all around, sizing us up before it acts against us. For the moment we are safe, but that will change. Our acquaintance with what looms ahead will not be pleasant.
The enemy has shifted from the Cong to whatever is waiting for us, drawing us into its realm: a place where no prisoners are taken. My mind is telling me these things, but how could I possibly know? I can’t fucking see, damn it ! But I feel it . . .I feel it watching, eyes everywhere, knowing we are to come in to its lair.
Still, the others are unaware, walking along as if nothing is wrong. To them it is another day in the jungle looking for Charlie, waiting for a chance to come out on top in this topsy-turvy war.
But I am aware.
The spinning orb, totally bereft of any light, draws them to the right. Fools! They are being drawn into a trap, one from which there is no escape.
“No! No!” I shout. “Don’t go there! That’s what they want.”
No reaction. It’s as if they don’t even hear me, yet I know they’re still here. Their footsteps surround me as they steadfastly march towards their impending demise. Darker and darker; quieter and quieter. That’s why no one reacted to my warning yells! All sound no longer exists. Along with the sense of sight, we can not hear either. It is almost as if we are in another dimension, another plane of existence playing tag with our own.
My skin crawls, the stench becomes worse, and the taste in my mouth becomes a smorgasbord of filth and decay. Close. We are close now.
The air around me shakes from my comrades struggling, but struggling against what? And then I know! A sticky, rope-like substance grabs me, and the more I attempt to break free, the more entangled I become. The . . .the web, a very thick one, is increasing its mastery over my every move. I am powerless to escape. It has me in its grip. What the fuck has a hold of me?
Gagging from the odor of whatever else is trapped within the morass of servitude I’m stuck in, I feel them coming. They move quickly, and there are many of them. At this moment I’m glad I can’t hear or see anything. The frenetic shaking of our gooey prison tells me all I need to know. My fellow warriors are under attack, and they’re going down.
Within moments, they’re on me! Long fangs tear into me, some kind of liquid flowing into my body, numbing me but not doing a complete job. I struggle against all they do, even managing to grab a hold of one, feeling long, sharp body hairs, and I’m able to gouge out some of its eyes. This thing has more than two eyes. I feel them rubbing against my hands and arms. The creature goes berserk and tears huge chunks of my flesh out of my carcass with its strong jaws.
The others respond to the pain their comrade is in by upping the attack on me. They bite, chew, and drag their many legs across my wounds, twisting as they go, as if attempting to teach me a lesson.
Pushed against the web even more from the brutal assault of my adversaries, I’m totally trapped, unable to move, as bit by bit they tear into me, feasting on my flesh as if there is no food left for them or ever will be.
Even as my limbs separate from the rest of me due to the incessant, never-ending attack from their jaws, I refuse to give in, figuring and hoping that something will stem the tide, and maybe, just maybe, there will be a way . . .
Blood gushes out of me as the demons once more inject something into my body, the numbing more complete now, but putting me into a whole new hell as I am still alive, just barely perhaps, but still able to feel my body for what it is: a buffet table for my antagonists to come by and suck out what juices and eat what flesh they want, long after I’m dead. Soon, very soon, I am to join and become one with the stench from the earlier assault on my nostrils.
I don’t need sight or hearing to know that I have become fodder for entities so many humans have become accustomed to stomping on.
Who is doing the stomping now?
The giant spiders attack what is left of my body and eat their fill. The Black becomes blacker as I fade into a state of semi-awareness.
At the moment my genitals are ripped off and devoured, my spirit leaves my body. I hover over the monsters and can see them for what they are now. But it matters not to me anymore.
They can’t hurt me any longer . . .
~ Blaze McRob
© Copyright 2013 Blaze McRob. All Rights Reserved.
Folks ask all the time how I came to be raising my brothers and sisters. I tell them that my Mama and Daddy, they just run off. Guess they tired of having us kids. I tell folks that. It’s much easier than the truth of things.
We was poor back then. We still poor right now, but we was piss poor then. My brothers and sisters, we ate oatmeal from the same bowl. Notice I didn’t say shared cause when it come to five hungry children, well, five hungry children they don’t share. Five hungry children bite and scratch when food comes near. Mama, she gave up getting between us early on, on account that we needed to learn to fend for ourselves. I ain’t raising no babies, Mama would say, even if we was only babies in our own right. My brothers and sisters and me, make no mistake, we all loved the other, but we learned right quick to eat that oatmeal the second Mama ladled it into the bowl.
Now Daddy, he be out working all day long. Sometime I hear him rustling around when the sun still down and then the whoosh of the front door as he left. If he was lucky, he’d come home just in time for dinner, all us still round the table. We ate that oatmeal for dinner, too. That’s the only time we did share, ’cause Mama always ate first. Daddy too, if he was home in time. He’d scoop it right up from that bowl, right up onto his plate with those black hands of his. Daddy scrubbed his hands all the time with that bristle brush atop the slop sink, but Mama said when you work so hard sometime the dirt, it just curl up inside your skin.
Daddy worked real hard, I know that. He was never no lazy man. Sometime when you work construction, the money, well it just ain’t there to be found, I remember Daddy saying. “Ain’t no money to be found,” he’d tell Mama and me and my brothers and sisters as we ate our oatmeal. “Still ain’t no reason for me to ever stop looking.” I was always proud of my Daddy. Proud of him and his black hands.
I eventually learnt that being hungry and poor does funny things to grownups. Us kids, we made do, mostly ’cause we didn’t know any better. Us kids, we forgot we was poor until oatmeal time rolled round, mostly. After awhile Mama and Daddy though, they started grumbling under their breath about it. Time went by, their talking got louder and louder. Sometime us kids was sleeping, but other times, Mama and Daddy kept us up at night bickering about it. All that shouting. Cabinet banging, too.
Mama, she got real quiet round Daddy when we was all together. She got jittery-like. That made me nervous. And Daddy, we noticed the change come down over his face. He started coming home earlier and earlier every day. His hands not so black any more. Heard him whispering to Mama how the construction was nearly dried up. When Mama told him forceful like that he’s got to look harder for the money, he turned around, face all swollen and red like he just got himself stung by a bee.
I remember real clear the time Daddy told me he was gonna rob the Tooth Fairy.
I was hanging laundry on the line for Mama. Daddy come around the corner of the house, wringing his hands worse than Mama wringing the washcloths. He called my name. When I see how wild his face looked, I nearly spilled my clothespin bucket. “How long that front tooth of yours been loose, girl?” Daddy asked me, voice all strangled like.
“Week or two,” I say.
“Should fall out soon then. Real soon. Don’t you think?”
“Yes, sir. I reckon it should.”
He nodded, but it wasn’t a nod like a man agreeing to something. Daddy nodded like he was sentenced to death. I ain’t never been so scared in all my life. “Good,” he said, but he ain’t talking to me no more, he’s talking to himself. “Good, cause that tooth meant to fall any day now. Maybe any minute. I’ll be ready. Sure as shit, I’ll be ready.” My Daddy, he realized he never used cuss words in front of us kids, and it snapped him back to the here and now. “Listen, honeysuckle,” he said, ’cause that’s what he called me, honeysuckle. “Daddy found a way to make money. I ain’t proud ’bout it, but it’s a way. Now you keep this secret from your Mama, and brothers and sisters too, you hear? I’m gonna take the money from the Tooth Fairy when it come for your tooth, you understand? Don’t look scared now, girl. You know Daddy ain’t never find no reason to stop looking for the money. Well, I been looking, and I been thinking, and I found us something real good.”
“Stealing ain’t never good. You taught us that, Daddy,” I said, close to tears.
Daddy brings his face real close to mine, and my tummy hurt when I realize I don’t know this man no more. “That’s right, honeysuckle. But I know that Tooth Fairy gonna have more than enough of what we need.”
I slept with my hands stuffed in my mouth, terrified about that tooth falling out of my head, pressing just as strong as I could press to keep it up inside my gums. I remember waking that morning, waking with my arms down along my sides. I scraped my tongue all around inside my mouth ’till I felt that horrible hole where that tooth should have been.
Daddy stood, just waiting there in the doorway, body all slumped like the air’d been sucked from his chest. His eyes was wilder than any animal I’d ever seen. He brung a hand to his lips and shushed me real gentle like. Leaving me trying to decide what terrified me more…the fact that the black was gone from his hands, or that he was rolling my tooth between his fingers.
“Don’t go waking your brothers and sisters now,” he says to me, ’cause we all crammed into the same room, our mattresses squeezed up one against the other. “I’m gonna lay this tooth ‘neath your pillow tonight, honeysuckle, and come the morn I wager we’ll be set just a little bit better.” And with that, he just slipped away like a ghost in the stories me and my brothers and sisters scare each other with at night.
I did as Daddy said; I didn’t say nothing to nobody. Didn’t feel much like eating oatmeal that day either. I guess it was ’cause of keeping that hole in my mouth a secret.
Mama tucked us all in that night, and Daddy came in after. He kissed me last. I wrapped my arms round him like he was the teddy bear I wished he and Mama could buy me. His lips were tender on my cheek. Then I felt him fumbling under my pillow. He pulled away, and I wish I could of said Daddy don’t do it, Daddy there’s got to be better way! But he swore me to a secret, and I ain’t never disobeyed my Daddy. It was late by the time I fell asleep, that tooth beneath my pillow giving me dreams something wicked.
I’m still not sure what time it was when that window started sliding upward. Mama kept it locked come autumn, but the draft still found its way in and the nip, it always got right down to your bones. But somehow that night, that window come unlocked and sliding upward. Sure enough, the wind start moaning through the room. I squeezed my eyes real tight and did my best to make-believe I was sleeping. The window, it just keep creaking open. I started praying to the baby Jesus that the wind howling through our room was the worst thing I’d hear. But it wasn’t.
I heard it. It was a whole lot raspier than my brothers’ and sisters’ breathing. Real harsh, like nails dragged across shingles. I straight near piddled my panties when something meaty dragged itself over the windowsill. I sensed something hovering over me, its shadow darker than the dark of my closed eyes. It snorted, its stinky breath wetting my cheek. Next thing I know, my pillow done lifted straight from the bed, then settled down again. Coins start rattling in my ear.
Our bedroom door suddenly banged open, and I heard a big tussle. Groans and grunts and screaming… god-awful screaming. Then a shotgun blast. Something splattered all over my face. When I opened my eyes, Mama was sliding down the wall, but she ain’t got a head no more. And my Daddy, he be choking on a knife stuck straight through his throat. I grabbed my brothers and sisters and dragged them half-asleep from the room quick as I could. We ain’t never slept back in there again.
Since then, I ain’t never had the chance to stop looking for the money. My hands are black now, just like Daddy’s used to be. And those folks, they ask all the time how I came to be raising my brothers and sisters. No one’s gonna believe the truth. The truth of how my Mama and Daddy really done killed each other. The truth of how I saw the Tooth Fairy leaving through the window. Crooked finger at its yellowy lips, shushing me real gentle into yet another secret. I don’t tell no secrets, never have, never will.
We still eat that oatmeal. Got to—especially since I used Daddy’s old pliers to pull out every last one of our teeth.
~ Joseph A. Pinto
© Copyright 2013 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.
I’ve never had a pure thought in my life. At least none I can remember. I can live amongst the usual sinners, but I have a darkness that I can’t shed. It started when I was young, perhaps an infant, and long before any of you were born. The minister at our church was arrested for raping and murdering children when I was eleven. He was also my uncle, William. I often wonder if he is the root of my evil. He baptised me.
If one can bless water and make it holy…can one also curse water to make it wicked? If so, I think that may be what he did. A wise man, his death was a shame, and I do miss the times we spent together, at least those I haven’t forgotten.
There are bits and pieces of things I can remember. Now, I would call them rituals. At the time, I don’t think I had words for what they were. I can’t describe them thoroughly, but they involved blood, skulls, and the pitiful cries of animals. The room was always dark when things carried on the way they often did. The only light came from candles, black themselves aside from the flickering flames. Then they would extinguish, and the smell of hot wax and smoke from the wick would fill my nose. If my eyes adjusted quickly enough, I could watch that last faint ember go dead cold from its living, molten orange.
I still know right from wrong, but choose wrong more often than not. People will tell you that evil is the easy path, that it’s more difficult to be righteous in the eyes of God. I’ll tell you that is bullshit, and those people have never tried to cover up a triple homicide. They have never looked into the face of a loved one as the knife slid in and watched as betrayal became horror and then acceptance and then a lifeless hunk of meat. They’ve never tried to choke down a piece of undercooked human thigh. These are difficult things.
It is the meat I crave…the source is inconsequential.
I’ve been called a demon, an angel of death, a monster, a madman, a psychopath, and a murderer. All of those things are true. I deny none of it. I have solidified my position in hell, and I will be upset if anything less than a throne and full-time position are waiting for me upon my arrival.
And so here I sit, at what should be the end of my life, and instead look to the future. The past hundred years have been a learning experience, but my needs have waned. I wonder what violence might reinvigorate my soul, might bring me back again to my prime and excite the jagged things within me long ground smooth. I’ve sipped from war and famine, I have feasted on disease and I’ve starved myself of affection and affectation. Love is a made up emotion, a primal need based upon hormonal imbalance.
I do miss these things. A belief in love gave me many pleasures. Pleasures of the flesh, pleasures of disappointing others, watching them suffer, watching them die at my hand…there was a rush of adrenaline that used to come with each sin, the anxiety of being caught, the ironic disappointment when I wasn’t, when I realized that getting away with it was easy…it was corralling the nerve in the first place that most lack.
There is truly nothing left under the sun for me. You might wonder, even aloud, if under the sun is where I dwell, and it might shock you to know that I do indeed. That I live everywhere you are, in your home, next door and at your office and those places you shop and in the people you trust. It takes very little to bring me to the surface, but so much effort to put me back once I am there. Remember that above all else.
~ Dan Dillard
© Copyright 2013 Dan Dillard. All Rights Reserved.