Devil Is In The Details

Her eyes speak volumes, assuring him it will be as it was; it will be alright. He knows it won’t be—it can’t be.

Nothing escapes the scrutiny of the incandescent lighting above their heads. No dark space exists for him in which to hide. He scrubs the stubble along his chin. “It’s coming out amazing, honey.”

He watches the artist deliver life to his daughter with thoughtful strokes, imbuing pallid skin with a fresh blush. He pushes a smile to his lips, watching his little girl watch him. She knows his nuances; the flutter of his lashes gives him away every time. She is his blood, after all.

Statuesque, she sits quietly for her portrait. It crushes his heart. Her beautiful lips, once so full like those of her mother, stretch like crinkled strips of weathered jerky now, the music silenced from her dancing eyes. She is tired, so tired, draining slowly from the inside. He scrubs his chin, weary as well, weary and broken witnessing the erosion of his child.

The artist half speaks, half clears this throat. “Sir… Sir?”

“Yes, I’m sorry,” he croaks.

The artist nods politely, aware he has trespassed across guarded domain. Brush hovering atop the canvas, he motions to a specific area of the portrait, then repositions himself atop his stool, respectfully waiting.

“What is it, Daddy?” his little girl inquires; the harsh lighting does nothing to conceal the flutter of his lashes. Quickly, realization dawns; she is his blood, after all. “Daddy, he can paint me as I was that day, it’s okay.”

The artist reaches forward, pats her knee, resumes painting once again. Before long, the canvas depicts wavy locks where no hair has existed for some time. It flows in luxurious strokes; the toe of the artist’s brush a mere whisper in the sea of her chestnut mane. At long last, the final touch—soft pinpricks of white to lend the gleam back into her eyes. The artist lowers his arm. “I believe I am done, sir.”

His vision blurs; he cannot quite make out the deft details of the artist’s conception, not yet. He wipes at his tears. “Baby, you look…”

“Yes, Daddy?”

He wishes to say beautiful, but the word fails to find his lips. Instead, her portrait seizes his attention, unwelcome details pulling his eye. Flustered, he swings his gaze toward the artist.

The man has already packed his tools, cleaned his brush. With a dispassionate tone, the artist states, “The devil is in the details, sir.”

Open mouthed he stares, beyond the depiction of her soft countenance, beyond the eternal capture of her cherubic innocence, he gapes at the jarring angle of her neck; the angry bruises that ring it, marring what should be a masterpiece. “She was terminal,” he barely mutters. “The disease, it was taking her.”

The painter turns to him. “Yes it was, and had you left well enough alone, I would have no need to take you, too.”

His hands flutter about his neck. The incandescent lighting above reveals long slits along his forearms; nothing escapes its scrutiny. “This isn’t… It was a mercy, she was suffering,” he pleads.

“Daddy, no one understands it was an act of love,” her gentle, childish voice intones. By the time he faces her, she is gone. A ghost of her ghost.

He lunges for the painting, but the artist seizes him by the neck. “Take a long, last look at her. She finds her peace in the form I have painted. As for you, peace will be but a memory where we are going.”

Slowly, the painter drags him away, until the incandescent glow no longer reveals a thing, and the pitch is all he will ever know.

~ Joseph A. Pinto

© Copyright 2017 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Pure

Screams filled the tiny cabin as winter’s first snow blanketed the surrounding forest.

The contractions were coming on top of each other now, each wave stronger than the last, as Meredith struggled to keep Agatha calm.

An almost inhuman cry escaped Agatha’s throat as she writhed on the bed, pain biting at her abdomen.

Wiping the young woman’s brow with a damp cloth, Meredith spoke in the low, hushed tone of a midwife. “Dr. Thompson will be here soon, Agatha.”

Meredith placed her experienced hands on Agatha’s swollen belly, feeling the child roll beneath the relentless waves of uterine contractions. “Your baby’s breech. You must wait until the doctor arrives before pushing.”

The request fell upon deaf ears as searing pain radiated through the young girl’s malnourished body and she shivered on the bed, her fever raging out of control.

The door blew open and frigid winter air ransacked the space, extinguishing all but one of the flickering candles and knocking tiny heirlooms from their perches. A strange man shoved the door closed with his shoulder, set his bag on the floor and removed his coat as Agatha screamed out with an intensity that shocked both the midwife and the stranger before succumbing to unconsciousness.

“Who are you?” Meredith asked.

“Dr. Brennan.”

Confusion swept over Meredith. “But where’s Dr. Thompson?”

Dr. Brennan only rolled up his sleeves, ignoring the inquiry. “How long has she been in labor?”

Though he had not answered her question, the urgency of the situation gave Meredith no time to gauge the stranger’s true intentions. “At least four hours. I came to check on her and it had already started.”

He placed his hands on the girl’s abdomen and glanced at Meredith. “The baby’s breech and post-term. Where’s the husband?”

Meredith simply shook her head.

“The father then, where is he?”

“She does not know the name of the father.”

Meredith dabbed the young girl’s forehead as the doctor lowered accusing eyes to Agatha.

“And her parents?”

“They died two years ago, when she was sixteen. She’s been alone since.”

“Obviously not completely alone, my dear.” He motioned toward Agatha as she lay on her back, her knees bent and legs splayed open.

Meredith sensed a sharp edge to his tone, which made her uneasy. “I’ll ask you again, where is Dr. Thompson?”

The doctor looked up, his eyes narrowed atop a hooked nose. “He’s unavailable this evening. He sent me in his place.”

Dr. Brennan was a slight man, yet his demeanor was anything but. With his coat removed and sleeves rolled up, his gangly frame became quite apparent. Meredith’s eyes studied his skin, fair and paper thin, bluish-green veins mapping his forehead.

The door had been closed for several minutes, plenty of time for the fire in the corner of the room to bring the temperature of the small room up again, yet it somehow seemed to have grown colder.

Suddenly, Agatha became coherent again, just in time for another crack of pain. The baby’s appendages pressed against her abdomen, causing her taut skin to ripple. More primal screams forced Meredith to cover her ears and the doctor to pause.

Brennan placed his medical bag at the foot of the bed, shouting over Agatha’s cries. “The baby’s in danger, we have to take it through cesarean. Boil as much water as you can.”

Meredith hesitated for a moment. She’d never assisted with the surgical procedure, but Agatha’s screams, still echoing in the small cabin, were enough to command her obedience and she rushed to the stove.

Brennan reached into his bag, removed a thick roll of material and placed it on the bed. The instruments clanged as he unrolled the fabric, revealing an archaic assortment of surgical instruments, many of them scarred with badges of rust. Agatha remained still, though her breaths were short and ragged, while the doctor pulled back the blanket that had covered her from the waist down. Dr. Brennan donned a pair of gloves and proceeded to examine the girl.

Meredith returned to the room with a pot of boiling water and nearly dropped it when she saw Brennan. Surely he would discover Agatha’s secret. She cleared her throat, hoping to draw his attention away. He looked up, yet continued his work, a malevolent grin etched into his features.

Meredith’s skin crawled at the sight of Brennan as he probed the young girl. The look on his face was not one of a physician examining a patient; it was the expression of someone enjoying something he clearly should not.

After a few prolonged seconds, he removed the gloves, stood up from between the girl’s legs and motioned to the nightstand beside the bed. “Set the water there.”

Grabbing several straps from his bag, he proceeded to secure the girl’s wrists and ankles to the bedposts. Meredith stood near the head of the bed, again tending to the girl’s sweat-laden brow with a moist rag.

Meredith hadn’t noticed before, but a persistent, uncomfortable scent now hung in the air, a putrid combination of mildew and scorched hair.

Writhing in agony, Agatha thrashed against the bindings as Meredith watched the doctor prepare his instruments. Using a colander-like apparatus, he lowered a handful of instruments into the water. “Boil this for 5 minutes,” he said, handing the pot to Meredith.

Meredith scurried to the stove with the heavy load.

Brennan lowered his gaze to the wailing girl sprawled out before him. The blanket had fallen to the floor, leaving Agatha naked and exposed. Each new contraction brought her pain to a crescendo, the thick veins of her neck bulging like ropes buried beneath her skin as she cried out.

The doctor prepared a cleansing solution and applied it to Agatha’s abdomen, covering the stretched skin of her belly. The fire still burned in the corner of the room, yet the temperature in the cabin continued to drop.

Meredith returned with the instruments to find Dr. Brennan feeling Agatha’s abdomen, calculating his plan for the procedure.

“Put them there.” He motioned to the bedside table.

Brennan held up a syringe in the candlelight and applied pressure on the plunger to clear the air from the contents. A drop of medicine escaped the tip and traced its way toward the hub.

The doctor plunged the needle into the girl’s thigh and within seconds, the writhing ceased and Agatha lay still, vacant eyes fixed on the orange light as it danced across the ceiling.

“How long will she be out?” Meredith asked.

“Long enough for me to remove the baby. Now, gather all the towels and blankets we have.”

Meredith left the bedside, returning seconds later with several blankets and towels.

Brennan readied the scalpel and pressed it to Agatha’s flesh, her fair skin splitting to reveal a thin layer of glistening, yellow fat. Blood pooled in the wound before running in streams down the girl’s sides, pitter-pattering to the floor. Meredith’s knees nearly unhinged but she managed to lock them tight. Bile rose in her gullet and she swallowed it, droplets of sweat sprouting on her brow. She’d never seen so much blood. She moved to Agatha’s head, focusing on the dilated pupils of the mother-to-be, dabbing sweat as it beaded on her skin.

Brennan worked fastidiously to expose the girl’s uterus, stuffing towels into the wound as he progressed, attempting to ebb the flow of crimson fluid as it seeped from the girl’s sedate body.

“Who else knows of the girl’s pregnancy?” Brennan broke the palpable tension as plumes of his breath escaped into the ever-colder room.

Caught off guard by the question, Meredith hesitated before answering. “No one. She has no family and very few friends, none of whom have seen her since she began to show.”

“Very good.” He brought another blanket onto the bed next to where he was working. “You’ve examined her, have you not?”

“Of course.” Meredith turned to face the doctor.

“Then you and I both know this is a rather unusual pregnancy.”

Meredith’s mind whirled, searching for a response. “I’m not sure I…”

“Don’t lie to me. You know as well as I, this girl has never been with a man. She’s as pure as the newly fallen snow.” Brennan waved a bloodied hand towards the window.

Brennan peered up from the task at hand, snaring Meredith’s gaze with his own. The doctor raised a blood soaked finger to the tip of his tongue. His eyes closed and he exhaled a devious breath, sending Meredith’s pulse pounding. Brennan’s mouth twisted into a wicked smile, as if it had been etched into his skin with a knife, and he opened his eyes, now inky black pools of malicious intent. “There’s nothing so sweet as the blood of a virgin.”

Meredith sprang to her feet and grabbed one of the sharp implements from the bed. “Who are you?”

Brennan set his instrument down and cocked his head to one side. Agatha continued to bleed as the doctor ceased his efforts to stem the copious amounts of blood from hitting the floor, shimmering silhouettes of spilled life pooled on the wood.

“I am a friend of the baby’s father.” He stood and drew a finger through Agatha’s blood covered abdomen leaving an S-like pattern in its wake. “He has sent me here to deliver his son.”

Meredith backed away, keeping the instrument between Brennan and herself. “He? What are you doing here?” Her body trembled from the cold and adrenaline coursing through her veins.

Agatha convulsed on the bed, thrashing in the bindings, blood more free flowing than ever.

“Help her! She’s going to die!”

Brennan looked over his shoulder. “Oh yes, she is going to die. It’s too late to help her even if I wanted to. And besides, that was never the plan.”

In the corner of the room, the fire matured, heat finally radiating through the space, as the stench settled into the room, even more rancid than before.

On the bed, Agatha ripped an arm free from the bindings and clawed at her protruding womb. Amniotic fluid gushed from her abdomen as her other hand broke free and dug at the gaping wound.

Meredith screamed and darted for the door but Brennan lurched at her and grabbed her by the hair, pulling her to him while her hands whirled in the air. His other arm wrapped around her chest and squeezed until she struggled to breathe. Brennan nuzzled his nose behind her ear and inhaled, holding it for a few seconds before releasing it in a deep, noxious breath.

The front door burst open and a silhouette loomed in the opening. “Enough, Abaddon,” a calm, yet booming voice spoke from the doorway. “Let me see her face.”

Abaddon or Brennan, whoever he was, obeyed as Meredith’s legs nearly gave out at the sight of the ominous figure that whirled into view, her head swimming in confusion.

Stepping into the light, revealing his true self, the towering intruder strode towards the bed, cloven hooves pressing into the age-marred floors. Agatha, reeling in shock, looked into the malevolent face of the father of her child. Reaching his massive hands into the yawning belly of the young girl, he tore into the exposed womb and retrieved his son, hoisting the newborn into the air, admiring him from all angles. “You are your father’s son, seedling, and you shall carry out my every desire as your own.”

With those words, the devil left the cabin with his son and vanished into the surrounding snow-covered woods, leaving Abaddon alone with the women.

Screams filled the tiny cabin.

~ Craig McGray 

© Copyright 2014 Craig McGray. All Rights Reserved.

Talk of the Devil

darkmonk

The house was always cold.  It didn’t matter what the temperature said on the thermostat.  Troy begrudgingly took his coat off and put it away.  For years he had assumed his house was simply cold, but it had been getting worse over time.  Now he knew why.

Floor boards moaned and squeaked as he walked down the hall.  He could hear noises from the boy’s room.  It sounded like the television as usual.  Troy slowed his pace until he stood outside of their closed door.  He could hear the chilling voice in the movie perfectly.

“Your mother is in here, Karras.  Would you like to leave a message?  I’ll see that she gets it.”

He was about to knock on the door when Mary called to him as she walked through the front door.  “Troy, are you home?”

He went to her and pulled her into the kitchen.  “Mary, we need to talk about the boys.  I think they’re getting mixed up in something horrible.”

Troy pulled a handful of pages out of his case and placed them on the granite counter top.  “Do you know how many times they’ve seen that movie in there?  Do we know what else they do while we are at work?  Carson is only 9 and Scott is 7 for hell’s sake!”

Mary looked at him skeptically.  “Troy, they are just boys watching movies.  What harm can come of that?  I think you are blowing this out of proportion.”

“Oh yeah?” Troy asked as he pointed to his papers.  “I’ve spent the past few weeks reading and studying at work.  ‘Talk of the Devil and he is presently at your elbow.’  Have you ever heard that expression?”

“No I haven’t,” replied Mary with growing concern.

“It’s an old English proverb.  Did you know that there are similar phrases in over 50 different cultures?  This shit is real, and I think the boys are inviting the devil into our home.”

Mary picked up the papers and glanced through them.  “Just what are you saying, Troy?”

“Have you taken a good look at them lately?” He asked.  “Have you heard them talk?  Watched them eat?  I’ve looked at dozens of cases of possession and exorcism, and I’m telling you that we have a problem.  If you don’t call a priest, then I will.”

Mary placed a hand on Troy’s shoulder.  “I can’t stand to see the family torn apart like this.  There is a group of priests that have been close to my family for generations.  I’ll call them.”

Troy sat down as Mary walked away and talked in hushed tones on her cell phone.  He could only hear bits and pieces of her side of the conversation.

“… so tired of this.”

“… need this exorcism so we can be a family again.”

“Come tonight.  Bring them all.”

Mary finished the call and stepped back into the kitchen.  “They will be here tonight.”

Troy grabbed her hand, surprised at how quickly she believed what he had been talking about.  “I’m so glad.  I didn’t know if you were going to believe me or not.”

“Don’t worry, everything will be okay,” she said as she placed a hand on his chest and traced wary circles around the crucifix under his shirt.

***

He had fallen asleep on the couch.  Troy opened his eyes and couldn’t see.  It was completely dark.  Fear pressed him against the soft couch.  Strange sounds and hushed whispers had woken him up.  “Mary?” he called out.

There was no response.  He started to see faint outlines of furniture when he heard the footsteps.  Mary came around the corner with a candle in her hand.  “Ah, you woke up.  The power has been out for a while so I let you sleep.  It’s sure nice to see you boys together,” she said with a smile.

Troy turned his head and jumped off the couch.  Scott and Carson had been sitting on either side of him the whole time.  They sat on the couch and looked at him with vacant eyes.  Carson looked like he was barely breathing.  His lips were torn and bleeding, and a ghastly smile threatened to tear his lips even farther.

Scott sat on the other side of the couch and simply looked at his father.  The little 7 year-old’s chest moved quickly as if the boy were hyperventilating.  Scott’s face was as blank as his eyes.

“What about the priests?” asked Troy as he stood next to Mary.

“They should be here any time.  I want you to sit down in this chair and try to relax, okay?  It will be okay soon enough.”

Troy sat in the chair across from his boys.  Mary turned around and walked down the hall, casting the room into darkness.  Troy tried to see his boys through the darkness.  He gripped the edge of the chair as he hissed a threat to whatever had possessed his children.  “The exorcists are coming for you.”

“They are already here,” Carson said in a voice that wasn’t his.  “We are ready for the exorcism, Troy.  Are you?”

The front door opened and people wearing long black robes came into the house.  Troy relaxed a little as he watched the hooded priests carry in various items.  A few of the priests lit large, white candles and began to place them around the room.  Carson and Scott just looked at Troy from the couch.  Their faces occasionally flashed with the ugly images of the heinous things inside of them.

Priests positioned themselves around the room.  Troy felt the tension build when the priests started to chant.  The temperature of the room plummeted as Carson began to speak in another language.

Troy stood up and yelled.  “Shut up and get out of my boys!”

Scott got off the couch and held up a small hand.  Everything in the room became quiet.  Scott looked at Troy and an ugly sneer spread across the small boy’s face.  “Don’t interrupt the exorcism.”

Troy was confused.  It was as if the demons wanted the exorcism.  Deep laughter rolled out of Scott’s little mouth and shook the walls of the house.  “Yes, we want this exorcism.  But it’s not the kind of exorcism you are thinking of.”

Mary came around the corner.  She was wearing black robes.  “The boys need a father that can accept his unique role, Troy.  This exorcism was never for the boys.  It’s for you.”

Troy looked around the room.  The priests each pulled off their hoods, revealing beautiful and grotesque masks.  The white candles burned, showing the black wax underneath the white façade.  The horror of it all was too much to understand.

“Let’s begin,” said Scott.  The little boy stepped in front of his dad.  “Sit,” he commanded in an infernal voice.

Troy sat in the chair and grabbed the crucifix under his shirt.  Mary flinched and looked worriedly at her sons.  Scott chuckled before he spoke to his father.  “That artifact only works for those with faith.  Let me show you something easier to believe in.”

The priests began to chant again.  “Veni, omnipotens aeternae diabolus.”

Troy’s wife stepped closer and spoke softly.  “Don’t fight it, Troy.”

“Agios o Satanas,” chanted the priests.

Carson stepped closer to his dad.  His voice returned to normal as he pleaded.  “Please, dad, join us.”

Troy was sweating, but his crucifix felt cold in his tight grip.  He watched as his little Scott held out his hands.  The priests around the room started to chant more quietly.  Doubts festered in his mind.  He should be with his family.  Scott’s eyes turned completely black as he spoke in a loud, demonic voice.

“Dies irae, sovlet saeclum in favilla.”

Carson stood next to his father and translated.  “The Day of Wrath, will desolve the world in ashes.”

Troy felt conflicted as he listened to his sons.

Teste cecidurent, quantos tremor est futures, quando Vindex est venturus.”

Carson translated again.  “As foretold by the Fallen, how many tremors will there be when the Defender will come?”

Scott’s voice became thunderous and deep.  “Tui sunt caeli et terra.”

“Yours are the heavens and the earth.”

Troy was in a daze.  His mind had grown cloudy.  He needed a sign to tell him what to do.

“Oriens splendor lucis aeternae, Lucifer veni, illumine sedentes in tenebris!” screamed Scott.

Carson took out a knife and cut his palm, then spread the blood on his father’s face as he translated again.  “East of eternal light, come Lucifer, illuminate the dark!”

Unlit candles that had been placed all over the room burst to life, their flames a deep purple.  Scott put his hands down and looked at his father.  His voice echoed across the room and the walls shook again.  “Is that enough of a sign?”

Most of Troy was ready to give in, ready for peace, ready to do what needed to be done to have his family back.  But a small part of him stood relatively firm.  He couldn’t do it while he had even of a sliver of faith.  Troy shook his head wearily.

Carson and Scott began to speak in unison, the demonic and false cherubic voices sounded like a choir of the damned.  Troy closed his eyes and began to squeeze his crucifix as he heard and felt what his boys were saying.

“Open to us, accept what we offer.”

Troy squeezed harder, unsure of what he wanted, but aware that he had made up his mind.  He pushed his fury into his trembling hand.  The boy’s voices filled the house.  “As this emblem is changed…”

Silence filled the room.  There was no movement.  If felt like he was falling through a dark hole.  A single voice spoke clearly.

“… etiam muta cor meum.”

It had been his voice.  He spoke those words.  He knew those words, and he translated them himself with a hoarse whisper.  “… so change my heart.”

Troy lifted his head and looked at his wife and children.  They had never looked so perfect.  Troy stood up, pulled the broken cross off his neck and embraced his new family.

~ Zack Kullis

© Copyright 2014 Zack Kullis. All Rights Reserved.

The Roommate from Hell

Day 3

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.


Day 4

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.


Day 7

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.


Day 12

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.


Day 15

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.


Day 21

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.


Day 25

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.


Day 27

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.


Day 30

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.


Day 35

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.


Day 36

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.


Day 39

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.


Day 40

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.

~ Daemonwulf

© Copyright 2013 DaemonwulfTM. All Rights Reserved.

Wretched Harvest

A stale wind blew through the Appalachian woods, sending the branches of the trees into a frenzied dance and driving a flock of birds from their nighttime perch.

As they took flight, she coughed. And when she did, she coughed up blood.

Bitter warmth streamed into her mouth, pooling thick at the back of her throat, choking her struggling breath.

Behind teeth that ached with the pain from gums swollen by repeated blows to the skull, her bloated tongue tried desperately to form a sound. Willing her vocal cords to act — to speak, to scream, to do anything — all she could muster was a small whimper as her body ignored her pleas.

She was naked, bathed in fear. The threads of rope that secured her hands over her head burned, turning her wrists to pulp. A fallen tree branch stabbed into her side as the humid tongue of autumn licked at her exposed flesh and wet, blood-soaked soil sucked her backside and buttocks into its hungry mouth.

Amid the renewed hammering of her heart and the gurgle of blood and saliva bubbling over her lips, she thought about how her pathetic existence had brought her to this moment. She had despised her life in this small, North Georgia town. It had been one consumed with brutal drudgery and unbearable insignificance. But, somehow, it never seemed more precious to her than now as she lay on the ground dying.

Her body ached; bruises welling up on her legs. On her back. And on her arms. A swollen cheek squeezed closed her right eye, and a broken jawbone obscured what little view she had left of the world from which she’d spent so much time planning escape.

Through dwindling sight, she looked up into the face of her killer.

And he stared back.

His striking features no longer embodied the big-city charm and grace that had drawn her to him in the bar and later successfully encouraged her to his side as they left arm-in-arm. This man that she, for a moment, had thought could be her savior from small-town agony was now little more than a fluid silhouette fumbling in the shadows above, the faint glow of moonlight creating a shimmering halo around his dark frame.

His eyes gleamed from deep sockets, and gore-smeared lips smiled at her as he did little more than grunt, assessing her with as much significance as would a butcher to a hog.

Repulsed by the sight of her own fluids coating his face, she looked helplessly into the night sky. As a child she’d been fascinated by the stars – always a source of hope and the promise of far-off places. And there as usual, the bears – major and minor — glimmered in the dark expanse. Crouching nearby was Orion the Hunter, leading his rag-tag band of gods into battle with lesser creatures.

Her murderer breathed into her face, stealing away any thought of rescue from above. His was little more than a cruel wheeze, accompanied by the falling leaves that glided silently through the air, intermittently obscuring her view of the heavens. Several of them clung to his bare torso; her own blood serving as the glue that kept them in place.

Through tear-filled eyes, she noticed pieces of her self clinging to his chin. She thought he must have bathed in her, smearing her essence in great swathes across his body. Bloody handprints, like those of a child artist with bedroom wall as canvas, crisscrossed his chest and shoulders.

Squatting over her, his weight was immense. His powerful thighs rested on her own. He said nothing. Oddly observing. Burning menacing holes into her brain. Her would-be knight, was no longer the man he had appeared to be. He was, instead, an animal wearing the skin of her Lancelot.

Perhaps it was shock, or impending death playing a dirty trick on her mind, but behind him the darkness seemed to part; as the curtain of night was silently drawn back. A void appeared where there had once been only shadows, and through it stepped a small boy. His skin was smooth with youth, surely no more than 10 years old, and dark, unruly hair poked playfully from beneath the brim of a ragged baseball cap. The child’s shocking blue eyes glimmered from behind his caramel-colored features.

She felt an odd sense of calm in the young boy’s face.

In his right hand he carried a large coin, flipping it over and over, its silver guilding glinting in the moonlight.

First heads, then tails.

He let the coin fall to the ground. It landed with a dull thud that silenced the voices of the forest.

Tails.

Once again his eyes met her’s, and he calmly said, “Last call… Looks like this time you’ve won.”

With the boy’s words, her killer plunged his hands into her body. The horror in her midsection was like a brush fire through dead wood. Flames of pain spread through her as his sharpness sunk deep inside her bowels. His was a penetration that was never deeper, a violation never more extreme. Oily pieces of her slipped through his fingers, and she shuddered as his rough hands snapped a rib.

She fought the urge to look down at her abdomen. Instinct told her to grab at the coils that now burst from her stomach like meat from an over-ripe melon and shove them back into her vented cavity. But the rope held her instincts in check.

An audible smack accompanied her intestines as they sloshed onto the soggy ground beside her. From the exposed mass, he retrieved an unrecognizable piece of her, something that vaguely resembled a photo she’d once seen in a schoolbook.

Vomit urged her throat open while the bears looked down from the sky. They snarled, ravenously. All of nature, it seemed, had turned against her.

He shoved the bile-coated organ into his mouth. And just before her eyes closed forever, she saw him flash a set of perilous razors as he bit off a section of raw meat, her juices spilling over his lips and dripping onto his chest as he chewed.

The boy standing beside her looked on quietly as the Liberator completed his task.

And somewhere in the distance, from the grainy speaker of a jukebox in a roadside bar, Charlie Daniels played a vicious, dueling fiddle.

~ Daemonwulf

© Copyright 2012 DaemonwulfTM. All Rights Reserved.