I wish to say I do not remember clearly, because I am an old man and more than thirty years have passed. But it is sin to lie and I cannot forget, so I will say: I remember, though the memory slay me.
When we saw the flare of light we were in the hills above Bethlehem, Micah and Ishmael and I; it was early autumn, the air just becoming crisp, and the ewes we tended were fat and tempting. Micah had killed a wolf with a stone from his sling; I stood watch while he and Ishmael skinned it.
And the sky caught fire.
I can call it nothing else. A great curtain of green light, bright as the sun, licked up from horizon to zenith in an instant; and in the same instant it coalesced to a single point, sickly and flickering, hovering over the mouth of a cave. We stared, bloody wolf forgotten. Ishmael was young then, and trembled. I trembled; I will not lie.
Then we heard the wings.
There were hundreds of them, perhaps thousands, lanky black things with great tattered bat-like wings that blotted out the stars and the strange green light. They hovered over us, and spoke; and their speech was not the speech of men, but a low evil buzz that twisted up words in my mind.
The one you were promised has come. Come. See. We take you.
One of the creatures snatched me up in thin cold hands; it had claws that pierced my robe and pricked my flesh. Then I was lifted; and if others seized Micah and Ishmael I did not see. I saw the ground rush under me, and closed my eyes against the nausea of movement, against the sight of my bearer’s shallow, featureless face.
Then I was set down.
I opened my eyes. I was at the mouth of the cave. The pale green light streamed down, hanging over the opening like a door, made my skin appear leprous in its wake. Then the creature shoved my shoulder with one clawed freezing hand and pushed me through.
Passing through that green glow was like passing through stagnant water: I gagged and retched at its stinking viscosity, and stumbled beyond feeling coated with contagion. Inside was dark except for a far dimmer light; my eyes took a long moment to adjust to the simple oil lamps. I smelled copper, sweat, decay.
And I saw the woman and her child.
She was a young thing, at a closer look, and panting still; the straw between her feet was clotted with copious blood, as though her labor had been precipitous and difficult. An older man, perhaps her husband or father, stood well back from her and raised wild eyes to me, his chin dripping saliva beneath his slack, working mouth. She had the glazed look of the exhausted unto death, and in the whiteness of her face I saw the clean stark lines of the skull beneath, yet through some strength she held the child to her.
Then the woman took the child and laid it in the manger: but the stone trough was lined with raw meat instead of clean straw, and flies buzzed over a butchered lamb in an empty stall. I saw then that the skin of her breast was flayed into fine strands, showing glistening red flesh underneath, and the liquid that dripped from her suckled nipple was not milk but blood.
She spoke in a croaky, breathless whisper: “Behold the son of God.”
Then the child moved: and for the first time I saw its slick black skin, tiny claw-tipped limbs, thin bat wings beginning to unfurl and fan. It gurgled, and its infant mouth showed needle teeth, ringed with tendrils like the barbels of a catfish. They spread out, twisting, tasting the air, perhaps sensing me, and I knew this was not my promised one.
Someone else came into the cave then, slipping effortlessly through the barrier of sick green light and wearing the shape of a man, if a man could be soot black and spider-thin. He was arrayed in tawny silks and bedecked in gold, his face covered below onyx eyes, and he trailed the fragrance of myrrh from the tips of long writhing fingers. He knelt: and as he knelt, his yellow silk veil slipped, and when I saw what lay beneath I ran from the cave screaming.
I screamed until I reached the top of the hill, and there I fell, breathing the sweet cool air, clutching fistfuls of long wholesome grass. Only when I came to myself did I see that the flock had scattered, and that of Ishmael and Micah and the dead wolf there was no sign, save a few tufts of gray fur and a patch of sticky crimson across the grass.
I left the hill country that night, and have not returned. In the thirty years since I have heard that the peculiar babe grew to manhood of a sort, gathered followers and wandered the countryside, preaching a new kingdom and performing strange miracles: giving the lame to walk on ropy tentacle legs, restoring sight to the blind to show them things no man should bear, raising men from the grave to show them crueler forms of death.
I was glad when I heard he had been crucified in Jerusalem. Such a blasphemy should only be put to death. But then I heard the tomb had been found empty three days later, its Roman guards devoured, and I could not be glad for that.
Those who followed him walk still, and they are much changed from men. One I met yesterday, on the road to Beersheba: he said his master had gone to his kingdom, under stone, under sea, to dream a new world and wait for stars to turn. The madman said his king will return to bring his glory.
May it be a glory I do not live to see.
~ Scarlett R. Algee
© Copyright Scarlett R. Algee. All Rights Reserved.
When will it end?
Struggling to catch my breath, I stop for a moment, hands on my knees. The door to my left is shut, I haven’t been in there yet. Could that be a way out?
It always changes.
“Daadddeee…” My daughter’s voice echoes through the halls, distant and menacing. “Where are you?” She giggles, and my skin crawls. The voice is my daughter’s but the words are not her own.
They belong to the Sinister.
Bursting through the door, it quickly becomes obvious that I’ve misjudged. It’s not the exit but another classroom. Like the others I’ve seen, the desks are overturned, strewn about. The floor’s covered with debris. Even in the dark, I can see the walls are splattered and smeared with gore.
I thought I knew my way around her school after months of dropping her off every morning. For fuck’s sake, the building is essentially one giant corridor with rooms branching off it; how hard could this be?
“Daadddeee… I’m going to find you!”
She’s closer…its closer.
I thought I’d put enough distance between us to buy time. Creeping back to the door I peer out. The corridor is lit only by the flicker of flames burning sporadically within the building. Screams erupt from somewhere mixing with childish laughter.
I dash out into the corridor, avoiding a lick of the flame, continuing my search for the way out.
My daughter said… the Sinister said… there’s a way out, and if I find it, it’ll let us leave.
I slow my pace as the corridor begins to quake.
Oh god, it’s happening again.
Walls crack and splinter while steel beams groan as they rip from their foundation. The ceiling and floor shifts position, altering the layout like a Rubik’s Cube. The horror is indescribable; the confusion maddening.
The Sinister said we can leave; but I doubt it will let us.
I jog toward one of the freshly formed corners and my feet slide out from under me; I slip on the entrails of what looks like one of the school’s administrators. Hitting the floor beside the lifeless torso, I see eyes frozen open in terror, they stare blankly at the ceiling. The lower half is nowhere to be seen.
“Daadddeee… you can’t hide forever!”
Holy fuck she’s…it’s close.
Scrambling back to my feet I continue down the unfamiliar hallway. I don’t know how long it’s been since the nightmare began; the Sinister gave me a head start what seems like ages ago. Here and there I’ve seen other parents as desperate as I am to find their children and make it out.
I’ve also seen some that didn’t make it. What of their kids?
Then all other thoughts are eradicated: I see it.
Barely visible, in the orange dancing glow of the flames, is an Exit sign above a heavy door.
Oh my god, a way out. My heart races.
With a new sense of urgency, I use every ounce of strength to propel myself toward the door.
Almost there…the ceiling shatters above me.
In a deafening crack, ceiling tiles, duct work and dust rain down on me, along with my daughter. I collapse under her and the debris, hitting the floor just a few feet from the exit.
“I found you, Daddy,” she says.
Gripping me with inhuman strength, she flips me onto my back and my heart breaks.
Her arms are gone, ripped out of their sockets and replaced by greyish-pink appendages with six oversize claws protruding from stumpy, inhuman hands. She still has her own legs but has sprouted elongated talons that tear through her tiny Mary Jane’s. Her face is still that of my little girl, but her mouth is permanently etched into an unrelenting grin.
Worst of all; her eyes. Her beautiful blue eyes have been torn out leaving empty sockets.
“Baby girl,” my voice cracks with emotion. “The exit is right here.”
“You almost made it, Daddy,” she says and her voice softens. “…almost…”
“It’s right here, honey. Let’s leave… me and you…” Even I don’t believe my words.
The Sinister creeps back into her voice. “But then the fun would end. You don’t want the fun to end, do you, Daddy?”
“What the hell happened here?”
She giggles, digging her talons deep into my chest. I feel them scrape between my ribs.
“Oh, my dear Daddy,” she squats, pressing her full weight into my chest. “You just answered your own question: Hell happened here.” She twists her talons deeper, nearly piercing one of my lungs. “Besides, how can you leave something that’s already everywhere?”
Tossing her head back, she erupts into a shrieking laugh.
∼ Jon Olson
© Copyright Jon Olson. All Rights Reserved.
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.
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.
Shadows on the wall so eerie, made the little girl grow teary,
Watching shapes of hideous evils casting their disturbing gloom.
As she shuddered , nearly crying, all at once she heard a prying,
Much like someone trying, trying to get in the room.
“T’was some evil thing,” she figured, prying to get in her room.
“More than this, it’s bringing doom.”
Oh, so clearly she remembered, all was safe when first she slumbered,
Yet ‘twas every scary trembler brought it’s fear into the room.
Thus it went she longed for freedom, away from all the bad to come,
In her spread, patchwork of welcome, welcome for the coming doom.
But the scared and ominous youngster felt the wrath from evil’s womb.
Much noise now within the room.
Thus the sunken fears around her, tearing at the edge of horror
Scared her, brought her awful angst that ‘round her head did loom.
So she took to calm the pounding in her chest; she tried retreating
From the gruesome evil sounds, gaining entry to the room.
Yes, the gruesome evil sounds, gaining entry to the room.
This it was, and so much doom.
Who is there, or what, she wondered, wanting now to enter room.
But the fact was, she was frightened, feelings of her fears so heightened,
That her heart was oh so tightened, tightened deep within her room.
So deep inside her frightened mind, she tried to run from the doom.
Deep angst there, inside the room.
List’ning to the scary prying, as she shuddered, thinking, crying,
Fretting, fearing fears no children ever had to face in room.
But the horrors were so eerie, and the darkness made her teary,
And the only thing she wanted was a happy place, ‘nought doom.
This she wanted, and her mind repeated of a place, ‘nought doom.
Merely this, inside her room.
She returned to blankets hiding, all the fears inside her chiding,
But this time the sound was grating, closer , closer to her room.
“I’m scared,” said she, “I’m scared about the things that lurk inside this place,
What could there be the fear to chase, and so much more ‘tis gloom?”
Why could her soul be yet so torn, and drawn to fears of doom?
‘Tis the angst, inside the room.
And no more fear could she handle, her heart aflame just like a candle.
Inside the room a scream so loud, brought her mother to the room,
And when the lights were turned on full, Demonic Dolls did on her pull.
With the force of dolls so awful, so many now inside the room,
Sat upon a floor so shiny, in the middle of the room.
Sat and sat, in room of doom.
Twins on toybox top were sitting, evil faces, twisted smiling,
Blond haired boy with knife so handy welcomed Mom into the room.
His bright white eyes were rimmed in black, and stared at her, all set to hack.
Her body not would he let back, for now this room would be her tomb.
And so the boy advanced to her, and blood tipped knife t’was spelling doom.
Said the child, “This is your tomb.”
She tried to run but was stopped short, for other dolls came to abort
Her effort now turned to failing, dolls swept o’er her like a broom.
Dolls with her were not agreeing with her plan of capture fleeing
And now from her was much weeping as she faced her final doom.
Many dolls did come to anchor her to floor of daughter’s room.
Anchor her in her new tomb.
And so the boy did end her life, no more for her to feel its strife.
With one move, he finished her, and no more would she feel the boom
Of all hardships she had suffered, and no more pain need be buffered,
For all the dolls ‘round her muttered, “No more will you feel the gloom,
Your life upon the floor will stay, incumbent not on the gloom.
Welcome now in to your tomb.”
And so more dolls from toybox came, involved for now in their new game.
Former playmate now did hover close to entry of her room.
Trapped by those now giddy dollies, intent upon newfound follies,
Licking lips ahead of jollies, thinking of the young girl’s doom.
Time it was, for her gloom.
Thus the dollies’ lips were smiling, inside their minds so beguiling,
Set upon the girl so fragile, blocking her from leaving room.
And before her eyes were blinking, the dolls had all started thinking,
Others on the floor were drinking, her mother’s blood inside the room.
All this now, unholy, ghastly, scant and horrible place of doom.
‘Twas the horror in the room.
As they came intent on stopping all the effort from her leaving,
Knowing now their thoughts had changed concerning changes in the room.
So now they planned on her having, a life in here everlasting,
As their playmate, keen on staying, lightened mood inside the room,
Yes their playmate, keen on staying, lightened mood inside the room.
Change from doom, though still a tomb.
They dragged her next to teddy bears, upon the floor they had no cares,
Though their innards had been torn by knife of evil boy in room.
Twin girl did jump from off her perch, on top of toybox did
She lurch. Horror—horror and regret from the girl t’was trapped in gloom.
Damn, oh damn this harsh regret, still within this horrid room.
Place of gloom, and still a tomb.
Twin girl in white upon the child, did force her face down mean and wild,
Into the blood of her dead mom, the evil girl with blood did groom.
And twin’s white dress, once so flaunted, dripped with blood, now undaunted.
In this place of horror haunted, much was kept within this room.
Nothing—nothing more of horror —kept here —kept here in this room.
Place of gloom, and still a tomb.
“A part of us you now will be, and never more will you be free.
Demonic Dolls surround you now, and all of us will share this room.
Become a part of what we are, and never will we wander far.
And so embrace what now you are, forget about impending doom.
For you will never go too far, forget about impending doom,”
Place of gloom, and still a tomb.
“Heed you now our words of greeting, friend or foe can be so fleeting.
So stay with us and be our friend, and we will have fun in this room.
And those against us who will come, will feel our wrath much more than some.
And all who rail that we are one, shall feel the strength within the room.
Together we shall conquer all, and ’round the rest our hate will bloom.”
Place of gloom, and still a tomb.
And so the girl, now is sitting, still is sitting, still is sitting,
On the shiny floor of horror, deep inside the room of gloom.
And her eyes have all the knowing of the dolls around her showing,
And the knowledge still is growing deep within this eerie room.
And her mind becomes as eerie as the others in the room.
No place of gloom, or a tomb.
~ Blaze McRob
© Copyright 2012 Blaze McRob. All Rights Reserved.