Archive | July 2014

Dissections 3

DISSECTIONS 3

wolf_rule_full_sat

Dried Glue

Your frown seems longer in the shadows
and your eyes flutter like the autumn leaves
that seek solace at my feet
between us the empty shell of something once we’d born
my fingers so clumsy
trying to glue it back.
Laughter fades in the rearview
a ghost of broken promise all that remains in the street
seemingly typical when you wish to be lost in a crowd
and closed signs stop you at doors.
It’s okay, we’ll talk, won’t we?
Of times when the air rushed through our hair
the open road a cherished child.
We played favorites, didn’t we?
Always the same marker until we reached a place our own
but today your eyes signal a storm on the horizon
and your lips flutter like the autumn leaves
that seek compassion at my feet.
We held that empty shell of something once, didn’t we?
My fingers ever so clumsy
trying to glue it back.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Loose Lips

I‘m appreciative of your compassion;
ice cube cold but not quite as clean as
the Scotch waiting before me

which, incidentally, will serve to warm my
belly just fine—thanks for nothing, though
that is hard for you to understand

a concept foreign to you. Not the understanding
part, mind you, but the simple thanks. Perhaps
you should resort to drinking the hard stuff.

It will make you say things I’m sure you would never mean.

wolf_rule_full_sat

To Take What You Don’t Want To Own

This box no longer yours
becomes a useful place
for all the things
that once remained of me
eviscerated
stripped clean to bone
once corporeal
now just memory
upon another’s exhale.
The compartments you govern
belong in potter’s field
frivolous as the things
that still burden you with need.
If only my soul a warehouse
you could store
all your needless needless boxes
and rid yourself of its waste.
If only I could free you
of your needless needless boxes
make them mine
this box no longer yours.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Vinyl

Still waiting on that sign
You got shit on instead
Still can’t ruin that sweet music in your head
No one told you, baby, that vinyl is long dead
You remain sheltered, surrounded by your flock
Ignoring this stray vulture dishing you advice
You never turn your back on me though
My deception the sugar you crave
Think you’re so squeaky clean
Darling, the shit dried on me long ago
And you’re not so used to that new smell
You…still waiting on your sign
What could be worse anyway?
Taint I peddle you
Or the lies in my veins?

wolf_rule_full_sat

Mouth

And your mouth
forever wordless
still rends a hole
I can drown in.

wolf_rule_full_sat

These Words

Like these words I write
I go unseen
Strained imploring from my lips equally ignored
You’ve flattened me
Compressed me enough to fit into your one-dimensional world
Not even worthy of your rose-colored glasses
The grey wash you’ve stained me slowly fading
A hurricane once could not stir me
Now the slightest breeze leads me astray
You still haven’t the sense to figure
The smile taped to my face this morning
Is the crumpled one from yesterday
Staring into this candle, I wish you knew
I dream of flickering. If only to flicker.
My flame long dead.

wolf_rule_full_sat

What I Should Not Know

First date
Don’t be so coy
You know you’ve been blowing him out in the parking lot
Leaving your half eaten panini beside me
Leaving me sick in the mouth
Remembering
How he stroked that fleshy thigh of yours
It’s none of my business, of course
But you’ve intruded all the same
With that yuppie glass of Pinot Grigio of yours
Beside my sterile snifter of Scotch
Tell me
Don’t be so shy
Did you let him cum in your mouth the first time out?
The residue of days old coleslaw beside me
Leaving me sick on the tongue
Stupid girl
He’ll only admire another next week
Muck like the half eaten panini beside me
You’ll grow cold and forgotten.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Just Not Here

On this darkened night I hold you
Arms empty. Your memory my solitary light
Wind raps at the pane, sneaks under door
The only thing ever to cross this threshold again
Sandwich on the counter grows old with mold
Milk sour. Spoiled.
None of it matters; this candle flickers
And ghosts, they creep along the floor
Sounding so much the way your footfalls once did
When you’d kiss my cheek standing in the hall.
I’d walk somewhere if it wasn’t raining so hard
These clothes already stuck to my skin
The weight of everything
The wait for anything…
I’ll sit here then
Because somewhere, you are there
Somewhere. Just not here.
On this darkened night I hold you
Somewhere. Just not here.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Gentleman Johnnie

Johnnie
You’re back in black
And isn’t it fitting that we sit here again
Conversation smooth as ever
A welcome reprieve.
The longer we sit
The more I’ll indulge
Ever stoic
You never judge
You never turn away
Listening
As I share silent heartbreak
Choices hindered
Dreams asunder.
But you won’t stray far
Will you, dear Johnnie?
For you bring calm to the storm
Still the fire in my veins
Until these burdens
Fade into blurry edges
The pain a bit dulled
A welcome reprieve.
Thank you, Johnnie
Together we are back in black
Selfless gentleman.

wolf_rule_full_sat

A Final Toast With Death

I await you
My bravado more resolute than ever
This snifter in my hand unwavering
These drops of Scotch delivered faithfully to my lips.
So come to me, Sir Reaper
You whose work never done
You’ve stolen a good man from this world
Left behind his only son.
I have no fear of you this day
Not while my veins run hot
Coward!
A good man seeks retribution
His weapon his only son.
I await you
Be a gentleman and share this final Scotch
Drink with me, Sir Reaper
I have work not nearly done.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Skin and Bones

And all this time I thought I’d hidden the cancer from my skin
Never realizing it had eaten me throughout
But you noticed I was much emptier than I’d ever been
And still you loved me in my metastasized state.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Clueless

The shepherd of the Damned
I’ll lead you astray
I’ll lead you to ruin
Be sure to praise me
Even as I taint you.
You have no direction
I’ll lead you astray
I’ll lead you to ruin
Be sure to curse me
Even as I raise you.
Without me you are free
Without me you are bound
An endless contradiction
A meaningless benediction
Admit it
You’ve never been so alive
With me pulling your strings
That subtle jerk of thread
That soft imploring in your ear.
The shepherd of the Lost
I’ll lead you astray
I’ll lead you to ruin.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Monstrosities

Come
don your spider silk trousseau, indulge me
a jig—
funeral hymn and devil’s perfume—
Blackened, our matrimony
Miasma, our vows
Ever faithful I’ll be to
rust-mouthed promises
while you cherish my slack penis
against your thigh.
In honey light our shadows creep
as we fuck in this church van
spawn a slit-eyed bastard
meant to rule gravy train slugs
Leave it steaming—
glistening under dashboard’s light—
saw-toothed smile crooked and pure
And murder cherubs with our rubber gloves on.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Warning

I wish I’d warn you that the Reaper rode in
but the cowl blew from my head
exposing more than just my intent
and all the evil things your momma warned you of
and all the things that scratched beneath your bed
were merely me on a better day
warning you that soon an ill wind shall blow
exposing all you hoped to hide from
exposing all you hid throughout.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Need

You believed me gone, did you not?
Gone
Relic; forlorn by Lords of Depravity
Keepsake plucked from dregs of gutter whores and
impoverished mimes
Gone
Raped; whisper of promise
Possession, tarnished and forgotten atop
your bureau
Fool—
I have bred within you all the while
Gratifying your need
sucking you dry
You sang of me maggot’s lament
begged of me torturer’s divine
So I tell you now
I am your Molester of Truths
I—
Your Addict of Lies

wolf_rule_full_sat

You

In a trick of light I found you
pouring venom from callous hands
ripping faith from gibbous moon
I loved you ever since.
Your cruel grace dampens
even the coldest of grey Januaries and
even as the sun goes to die
you speak to me the foulest nothings
whispered from your alligator snout.
You poured acid in my ears to
quell my methods of thinking when
you knew full well
I hardly think at all.
Oh, chant me a new birth song of
turpitude
Blasphemous act
I loved you ever since.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Pseudo Cerulean Queen

Pseudo Cerulean Queen, I can see the storm come loping across your eyes,
your darkness a dead giveaway that the only thing blue about you is your soul.
Drench me in sorrow;
open the deluge of your being.
I wish to reach out, cup your pain,
feel it dribble from between my fingers.
As the puddle at my feet grows,
I’ll watch your reflection shimmer,
the lightning above dividing us always.

~ Joseph A. Pinto

© Copyright 2012, 2013, 2014 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

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Pointed Ends

“9-1-1? I am calling about three, maybe four people who have been abducted. I can tell you where they are.”

“Let me get your name, number you are calling from and location.”

“Oh okay.” I tried to take large gulps of air to still the panic. “It’s my daughter. They…he took her. One of them had a gun at my head.” I trembled as I remembered cold metal pressed against my temple.

“Ma’am calmly give me your name, your number, the closest address.” I could sense rising impatience in the operator.

“Address? I dont’ know. I’m in the part of the psychiatric facility that’s under renovation. Does the address matter? Some of the buildings are unstable. That bastard is putting my child in harm’s way. I’m her mom. She would be a famous actress if he would let her live. There’s no number on this plastic hull of a land line. I killed him, I think.  The man who held a gun to my head. I always carry a knife…I work night shift.  I’m not sure if the blood is mine or his. Get a damned squad car here now!” I threw the receiver; it ricocheted off the wall.

Great, now they will wonder who the psycho is, I chastised myself.

“No!” I heard her familiar scream. But this was no stage scream; there was too much blood curdling. Running in the direction of her voice, I gave up any hope that the police or paramedics could make it in time.

I saw his face. He was so placid and had such a kind smile when we had him on psychotropics. I told my colleague that it was too bad he couldn’t stay in a permanent, happy drugged state.  “That could adversely affect recovery,” came his reply.

“Who is being adversely affected now?” I shook my fist at a blank hollow window.

I heard vibrations, then the recognizable sound of shattering glass.

“The building is going to cave in before help arrives.” I looked toward the empty shadows behind which were the monsters of my past and present. Focus, they can’t hurt you unless you allow them access. FOCUS!

Taking assessment of my situation, I knew that time was against me. What resources do I have that this madman does not?

Drugs.  I had lots of drugs in the double locked cabinet just outside my office. “There’s no one to help me check them out on the RAND.” My medical bearing was trying to take hold. “Screw regulations. This guy is going to kill people.”

I hurled myself loudly up the stairs, never thinking about stealth.

I had to fiddle with the combination three times before I was steady enough to catch the combination;  I pulled the key from around my neck.

Click

CLICK

There was the man with the kind smile. With him was my estranged husband, my ‘almost famous’ daughter, and her friend (my husband’s current lover.)

“We pulled off quite the performance. Ehm mother? Too bad you’ll never see me on Broadway!”

I felt a painful jab in my arm. “Don’t worry darling, this will calm you down.” Even though I had been married to him, I had never liked his smile.

******

Lost, liquidy blue eyes looked at the attending doctor who had once been her (my) colleague.

“Why did you go killing that innocent man, locking your family and friends up, and misleading the authorities? They are only waylaying the electric chair because I have them convinced that you are crazy and have been going crazy for some time. I had to add stuff into your personnel files. Think of all the trouble I could get into.” A smile rose in his eyes.

“Thank you” spilled over lips as drool pooled about her (my) chin.

******

“It would have been enough to buy the role I needed to set my fame in stone.”

“It should have paid off my debts and given me a comfy retirement.”

“I’m just a blood-sucking bimbo with nothing more than I started with.” The girl pouted and shrugged her shoulders.

“She should have gotten the chair,” the man smiled broadly.  “Who could have predicted a psychiatric break? Well I’ll have to do without my cut of the inheritance. Too bad for all of you. You have less now than when you were skimming a sizable lot off her salary. She really does have beautiful eyes.”

******

He shook the paper to dry (my signature was still fresh) before he slid his release from the facility into his medical records.

I smiled knowing he had my key; it’s the least I could do. I realized some monsters should be allowed to roam free.

~ Leslie Moon

© Copyright 2014 Leslie Moon. All Rights Reserved

All These Voices

The sound of the tape slides soothingly into Nicholas’ ears. Not the music itself, although that is certainly pleasant, but the mechanical whir of the reels as the tape’s innards wind through the machine. He doubts if he could write so well without the quiet whirring. He doubts if he could write at all with the noise of the world at his window and under the soles of his feet.

The pub beneath his bedsit is busy tonight. Voices slice through the floorboards as though the wooden planks do not exist. He might be sitting at the bar himself, submerged in the chorus of cries and thoughtless laughter: the White Ship on stormy, booze-wracked seas. Pouring a glass of wine he sits back in his chair and drinks.

Sometimes he can make out word-for-word the different conversations at the bar. Drunkenness seems only to increase people’s volume, as though for a few hours the fugue imparts a sixth-sense: a glimpse of more than just the pub, the street, the city, the entire world as it really is. So the patrons below shout and scream, laughing madly into their drinks, looking anywhere but the frightened whites of their friends’ eyes, the hollow blackness of their mouths; the window panes, dewy with the cold empty night.

The unmistakable pop of breaking glass shatters his reverie, followed by a collective cheer. A bottle or a pint glass, perhaps, caught by an elbow or dropped from careless fingers. Putting his feet up on the desk, he breathes in deeply through his nose. Air inflates his lungs, his chest, the narrow curves of his ribs, forcing everything else out of him and away, except for the pinkish blur behind his lowered eyelids and the gentle flutter of the cassette in the player. Exhaling, he concentrates on the sound.

It was a week after he’d moved in before he discovered the tapes, in a locked drawer under the desk. There was no key that he could find but the wood gave easily enough when forced. The drawer has not been the same since.

He found other things in the drawer, besides the tapes: yellowing sheet music scratched with skeletal notes, a ragged doll with faded red hair, a desert of seashells still coated with grit. When he had finished inspecting these things, he let the drawer keep them. As much as he loves music, he cannot read it. If he was in the doll’s place, he would not like to be brought from out of the shadows looking so sad. The shells are sharp, and he finds them repellent in the way all things decayed seem to repulse. Mostly, the drawer tells a story, and he respects that. A hundred possibilities might have led to these cast-offs finding their way into the locked confines of the desk. Who is he to disturb their tale, their private narrative?

Finishing his glass, he pours a second. The wine is cheap but not altogether unpleasant. Downstairs, the party continues to bloom.

When the noise reached new heights one evening last year, he left his room to complain to the owner. Screams echoed up the stairs and down the hallway. Shrieks ricocheted from the walls, laughter bouncing into his ears, over and over. As he moved down the corridor, he heard chanting and a count-down; a human rite reaching completion, a spell to keep another day at bay, or to guide it in, like a pale boat coming to moor. The owner – his landlord – had laughed in his face. He can still remember the bite of the sound in his chest, the cold spittle as it sprayed his cheeks. The argument had been short and one-sided. As ever, Nicholas had not won.

“Why take a room above a pub if you don’t like noise, or a drink now and then?”

“I like a drink,” he had replied. “I drink often. But there’s no excusing the disturbance tonight.”

“It’s a pub,” repeated the landlord, “and it’s New Year’s Eve, for Christ’s sake. This is where people come to make noise. If you don’t like it, you can bloody well leave.”

It is true that he likes a drink while he writes. Sometimes he celebrates a moment’s peace with a finger or two of single malt. On the nights when he cannot hope to hear himself think, let alone lift pen to paper, he knocks back whole bottles of wine; crisp, heady reds that stain his lips and dazzle his tongue before soaring to his stomach and his head. Sometimes, when he is two bottles down, he returns to the broken drawer. He imagines that he can read the music sheets, and that they are the same dulcet sounds drifting from the cassette player. If he is especially drunk, he imagines their script tells of a different sound; the last, sonorous cry of a world beset, heard by some lonely composer, a man not unlike himself, and recorded here in ink where those who chance across it might read of its agony; its submarine moans.

He did not leave, that night on New Year’s Eve, because there was nowhere else for him to go. There is nowhere else when he hears every ragged wheeze, wherever he is; the shuddering breaths of a world on the brink of expiration. As best he can remember he has always heard these sounds. He did not always know what they were, or what it meant to hear the death-rattle of the stones and the trees and the earth, but he felt them all the same, and stood slightly apart from everyone else because of this, while the others ran laughing after one another, or played hopscotch, or made daisy-chains in the grass, oblivious.

A rare few people are not quite so blind. He read about them in newspapers and on the internet, when he still wasted his time with such trivial things. These men and women scrabble through the soil, digging the earth, scattering seeds, which they hope might germinate, take root, become trees and so heal the world that other men and women have made sick. Give a dying man a cushion, feed him painkillers, sit at his bedside and pray for his soul – he will die all the same, trembling alone as the last of his sorry life departs from his veins.

Sometime after midnight the pub falls quiet enough that he can hear his tapes and write. There will always be noise, but at times like this he is not really aware of it; lost in the depths of his literature. Some men and women write to create. Others write from personal angst, or to entertain a crowd, or perhaps to remember who they are, or were at another time. Nicholas does not know much about these things except that he writes to feel.

On paper, darkness shines. Words convey savagery with the finesse of bright bouquets. Language illuminates the broken back of the world, its atrophied limbs, its eyeless face: a rotten leviathan floating in space, quivering with parasites while it sings its last whale-song through an ocean of distant stars, almost inscrutable except by those who dare to pause in their furious lives and, for a moment, listen.

The tapes whir, his pencil scratches, and something not quite happiness but more like contentment simmers in his chest, until he can write no more and, with a slight smile on his wine-stained lips, he climbs into bed, and dreams of sweet oblivion.

~ Thomas Brown

© Copyright 2014 Thomas Brown. All Rights Reserved

Damned Words 8

window

Nothing Lives
Jon Olson

Reflections in windows tease and haunt, showing what was, and what is no longer. Do not look at the glass! Damn, too late. Reflected before me is a tree. Its trunk, branches, and leaves, all on display. I want it to be real. I roam these empty streets. Searching, hoping, and praying to find someone; something; anything. People, animals, and plants are all gone. Concrete, steel and glass remain. I call out and listen, but only my echo replies. This city is dead; nothing lives. The sky is grey; no sun or clouds. Life has abandoned this place; abandoned me.


In Everything
Zack Kullis

They watch and wait in everything. I can feel their hungry eyes and thrusting glares, pulling for the acknowledgement that would seal my fate. Stupid therapist called it Pareidolia.

Demons, creatures, faces and things of terror live in almost everything. Seeing them draws them into your head where they eat your soul. I avoided them until today, overcome by a single glance at a building, a window holding the tree and cloudy sky – all of them full. I heard them coming. Two ice picks saved me, one for each eye. With the windows to my soul ruined, I was free.


Apparition
Magenta Nero

It reflects her suffering, an enticing apparition. “Ease the regret, press your fingertips to mine. I can take from you the memories, I can turn back time.” Its huge empty eyes drip in black streaks, it twists and sighs evocatively. She reaches for its ghostly hand but she pauses, her fingertips tremble, hovering just above the glass. The apparition buckles with rage, the glass rattles as it slams against the surface, begging for release.

“Not yet.” she says and turns away. She wraps on her coat and scarf and heads quickly out the door; she is late for work again.


The Hill
Craig McGray

Neighborhood kids told stories about The Hill, regurgitating false truths that their parents told them. Tall tales about what really went on behind the mirrored glass and towering brick walls, but I learned early on that most parents were full of shit, mine included.

My father told me they did ‘things’ to bad people on The Hill and I should stay away from there. My dad was an asshole, but he wasn’t full of shit.

He should have taken his own advice because they, I mean WE, really did some horrific things to him when he came to The Hill.


The Mill
Nina D’Arcangela

I look out upon all that is left. Sunlight scorches this land; with morning comes heat, an assault upon existence. With evening, a frigid wind; though still a brief respite. I squint as I glare down among those who wallow at my feet. My stone begins its grind, my furnace stokes; a rival to the blistering rays without, but only barely. Their faces turn up, beseeching. I watch as they enter my opening maw; again as they depart in concert with the tenors screech from my bowels. Stragglers dally, grubbing for scraps. Something needs fill the stone on the ‘morrow.


Looking Out
Leslie Moon

curtains brown, tattered and torn

reflections were once welcome

swatting away evening’s flies

light, life, color, have been exiled

I wonder to where they have fled

***

Dark shadows of night interpose

greedily they suck the last drop of day

beating away the memories of her, of us

“futile” I murmur

there is nothing left to hold dear

***

In response the fluttering starts to sneer

night’s sinister incessant chuckle

It loves to remind me

there may still be bloodied remnants

in swiss dotted fabric that the flies have missed

white now turned rusty

I tell myself “better not to remember”


Nothing
Joseph A. Pinto

Nothing will stand between us; nothing will keep me away. The cruelty, locked in your silent world. All you hear is nothing, even as I shout your name. What see of you beyond the reflection of spirit-churned skies? What know of you within that haunted heart? I shall shatter your glass; recover your incarcerated soul. The cruelty, shackled in your listless words. All you think is nothing, even as I cry your name. What suffer of you behind bricked walls? You wait eternally; I say wait no more. Nothing will deny sky from its horizon. Angels of their fall. Nothing.


The Conductor
Thomas Brown

Fingers clutch at the crumbling windowsill. Outside, light spills across the apartment blocks and the gardens beneath.

He calls it a garden but it is little more than paving slabs on which she reclines and smokes and dies a little death each night. She loves cigars. Fat, Cuban things in her slim hands. The whole of her is slim. When she stretches out he imagines taking a stick to her ribs, beating them, making music with her bones. It is not enough, just to see. Beneath his practised hands, her bones could sing. A symphony of human sound, in harmony!


Glass Portrait
Blaze McRob

A picture forms in the panes of glass as it does every day before dusk becomes night. Clouds and trees tonight. Maybe an impending storm. Yes, that’s what I need. Evil must be displayed!

Even now the clouds twist and turn as they darken, and the trees are blown away from the glass portrait. The tranquil scene changes before me. An evil face forms in the glass, hideous in its deformity, mocking the world with its visual display of arrogant intent.

I walk inside and look in the vestibule mirror. “Dorian Gray, you look as young as ever,” I say.


Tainted View
Tyr Kieran

I used to love the view. I’d sit by the sill, mindlessly picking at the cracked paint and I’d watch life happening on the street below; the hasty flow of businessmen scattering off to hard-earned paychecks, health nuts jogging in tight clothes with their leashed, oversized dogs, even the filthy down-trodden vagabonds that stumble from meter to meter—all symptoms of life’s intricate dance; of life’s beauty. Oh, how wrong I was! Now, I see the gritty reality. Ever since my wife hung herself in that goddamn tree, I’ve realized that the window shows the truth. It only shows pain.


A Trip to the Old Country
Hunter Shea

“That’s it right there,” Donal said, pointing at a four-paned window on the second floor. It was one of the few that still had glass in the barren building. The clouds had begun to darken and the air smelled like spring rain.

Finoula pressed her hand against his cheek. “If it’s too hard, we can go back.”

“No, I’m fine.” He kissed her palm. “Professors aren’t supposed to diddle their students, but some do anyway.”

“Bastard,” Finoula said, her gaze locked on the cloud-swept window.

Donal grinned. “You’re standing on him right now.”

He gave the soft earth a stomp.


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

Mergers and Acquisitions

“Demosthenes, bring my drink.”

His voice was a command. His words an edict. This was how he ruled his business, and business was pretty damned good. Beleth relaxed in his large chair and held out his hand expectantly. The drink had better be in his hand before he grew tired of waiting or there would be hell to pay.

The telltale sound of his servant approaching was music to his ears. Demosthenes was exceptional and would have been hard to replace. Wiry fingers carefully placed the cup in Beleth’s hand. He took a sip of the scalding liquid. It was perfect.

Demosthenes waited for his master to savor the drink before he spoke. “Sire, your next appointment is in 30 minutes.”

Beleth relished the time he had to relax, but understood that some mergers and acquisitions required his presence. Not everybody was okay with dealing with his underlings. Some were pompous enough to demand a visit with the big dog himself. What those idiots didn’t understand was the extra cost incurred when dealing with the person at the top.

Demosthenes was nearly out of the office when he stopped abruptly. He turned apprehensively and spoke in a tone riddled with fear. “Master, your appointment has arrived early and requests your presence.”

Beleth almost spilled the rest of his drink with sudden fury. “What? Early!”

He stood quickly, his tall form moving with a predator’s agility. This new acquisition was not going to go well for somebody. Beleth strode over to Demosthenes and handed him the drink.

“I will finish this later,” Beleth growled. He started to walk towards the door when he stopped and turned. A sinister smile curled the sides of his lips. “Domesthenes, I will call for my drink in a few minutes. I will have need of you in the appointment.”

Domesthenes bowed excitedly – he knew what this meant.

A long, dark corridor lead from Beleth’s office to the place where the meetings were held. There was no light between here and there. Only darkness. It made it possible for Beleth to approach his next acquisition unnoticed and see what the man was going to try to use as leverage in the negotiation.

Beleth stood at the end of the meeting place, concealed in the thick shadows, and watched the man who was waiting. This one was perhaps forty-five. He kept himself in good shape, was obviously wealthy, and appeared to be extremely confident in himself. Beleth looked around to see what the man had brought for the negotiation and soon found what he was looking for. There were papers, offerings both symbolic and literal, but the man seemed most dependent upon what he had in his hand. This was going to be easy.

Beleth stepped out into the dim light and stood motionless in front of the surprised man. An oddly cold wind played around the above ground graves and ‘oven’ vaults, moaning as it whipped at Beleth’s pants and buffeted his silk suit jacket. The man stumbled backwards a few steps as the Louisiana night strangled the air. Beleth looked into the mind of his newest acquisition. His name was Steven.

“Steven. You look shocked. Is my appearance not what you were expecting?”

The man tried unsuccessfully to regain some composure. “Maybe this will help.” Beleth twitched his hand and the expensive suit he had been wearing drifted away like smoke. He stood before Steven with clawed hands, a large horn growing out of either side of his head, and wings folded behind his back.

“Is this what you wanted to see? I think it’s a little cliché. My form is what I want it to be and I don’t give a shit about your expectations. Let’s get to it and talk about the deal you want to make with me.”

Steven quickly shoved his left hand forward and displayed the silver ring he had purchased at great expense. He stuttered hopelessly for a few seconds before he regained enough composure to speak.

“Beleth, I have summoned you. You are compelled to make a deal.”

Beleth raised his left hand and showed an identical silver ring. “You are a fool. I was already willing to make a deal. But you insult me when you bring such feeble talismans and spells. You are treating with a prince of Hell, not a simple imp or lesser demon.”

Steven looked down at his hand and toyed with the ring that had done nothing for him. He opened his mouth to speak but only swallowed his words when Beleth approached him.

“You had the balls to start this early because you thought you held all of the cards.” Beleth stood tall over the doomed business mogul and spoke in gritty tones. “This is my business deal.”

His voice boomed and tombs shook as Beleth called over his back. “Demosthenes, bring my drink.” There was a stirring in the shadows deep within a large tomb and Demosthenes emerged from the depths of the vault. The old man carried the cup and slowly walked towards his master, but his eyes were bright with vicious hunger as they locked onto Steven.

Beleth took the cup and drank deeply. Steven’s eyes shined with horror-derived lunacy. With the cup empty, Beleth gave it back to Demosthenes and looked at Steven.

“You are wealthy and powerful, yet here you are, ready to ask for more. This is what will happen instead. You will destroy this precious life you have made for yourself. Once you are done, you will be mine.”

Steven’s face twisted with the warring emotions of fear and fury.  “Never!” he screamed.

Beleth stepped to the side as he spoke, allowing Demosthenes to get closer to Steven. “You can either die now, or you allow Demosthenes to manage this deal for me. You will answer to him. What do you say?”

The prince of Hell held out his left hand for Steven. Steven looked at it, then looked at the seemingly fragile Demosthenes. The business mogul shook the infernal hand in front of him. Beleth smiled as he pulled away, taking Steven’s ring along with him.

“Smart man,” said Beleth. The demon turned to his elderly servant. “Demosthenes, it is time for you to walk in this world again. Are you ready for the merger?”

Demosthenes chuckled with malicious delight and slowly approached Steven. “Yes,” he croaked, “I am. It has been far too long.” He stopped in front of Steven and reached for the businessman’s chest. Steven tried to knock Demosthenes to the side but was stopped with a simple command from the old man.

“Invocato potestas…”

Steven’s hand stopped. Demosthenes lifted frail fingers and slipped them inside of Steven’s hand. The business mogul shrieked like a scolded child, then howled with horror when he realized the old man was inside of him.

Demosthenes sighed and his eyes fluttered with nearly orgasmic pleasure. He hobbled to Steven’s side and slipped his entire right arm into Steven’s right arm. The hand started to jerk as if in the middle of a seizure, but soon relaxed and began to flex and turn. Steven watched his right hand in horror, his eyes wide and unblinking with the realization that he was no longer in control of that hand.

The old man began to whisper into Steven’s ear. “Your body is mine. You will sit in the back of your mind, aware of everything around you, helpless to do or say anything. I will ravage your family, your wife, and will do all of those things that hell has kept from me. I will ruin the dynasty you have so carefully built, and I will use and consume your body with unbridled passion and lust. When all is done, all is gone, and you have witnessed the shame of it all, you will die a horrible death and I will drag you down to see your master.”

Screams of profanity turned into unintelligible shouts and verbal fits that bounced off the cemetery vaults. Beleth watched with demonic glee, tasting Steven’s torment and drinking in his frenzied terror. Demosthenes slowly shuffled behind Steven and began to merge into his new body. Steven’s shouting began to diminish; the screams of dread slowly turned to moans, and then faded to pleasant laughter. It was done. Demosthenes smiled with his new lips, displayed his perfect teeth, and laughed as Steven wailed from deep within.

Beleth walked up to the businessman who calmly dusted off his clothing. “You look good, Demosthenes. Have some fun.” Beleth grinned as his new acquisition walked back towards the city.

Business was good.

~ Zack Kullis

© Copyright 2014 Zack Kullis. All Rights Reserved

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