The Devil Inside

The vestments were always a bit tight, heavy. With each attack upon my faith, they burned my skin and made bitter my memory. They were, however, my duty. The Vatican, my employer. No matter how many times I’d been spit at, violated, and broken, my goal was to cleanse the colors of evil from man’s palette.

“Father, oh Father. Thank God you have arrived. The boy, he’s grown worse.”

“Your name?” I had little time for pleasantries, but knowing the names of those that would serve as my assistants made the rites and rituals far easier.

“I am terribly sorry. My name is Isobelle. I am the Abbess of St. Belle’s Orphanage.”

“Do you know the Rite of Exorcism?”

The sister gave pause, looked at the cracked and aged hardwood floor at her feet. “I must apologize, Father, I do not.”

“Ignorance of the Rite was one of the hurdles of having such a secretive arm of the Holy See. It is not a problem, Sister, I will guide you.”

As I was taking off my rain-soaked jacket, a low, creaking moan filled the air. The ambient temperature noticeably dropped.

“We have carefully examined the files and recordings you sent. Have there been any changes?”

Sister Isobelle stopped. The look on her face was drawn and hollow. “Yes.”

I stared, waiting for the thought to be completed. The Sister remained silent. The low moan was joined by a chorus of hideous screams. As the retched sounds reached a fevered pitch, Sister Isobelle slapped her hands to her ears. Tears flooded her mottled cheeks.

“Sister, you must be strong. Now, take me to the boy.”

Isobelle pulled out a handkerchief, blotted her eyes, and blew her nose. The simple act was an island of genuine humility.

“This way.”

Sister Isobelle placed one nervous foot in front of another. At the end of the candlelit hall, Isobelle opened a flimsy wooden door. The creak of the hinges only served to add another layer of macabre to the horrific scene I was about to witness.

Halfway down the cellar steps, I could feel the change. It wasn’t just another drop in temperature; the air felt heavy, corrupt.

“He’s in this room.” Isobelle’s shaky hand reached out and unlocked the door. For some odd reason, I expected the heavy wood to be blown to bits as the demon-infected child sensed the presence of a holy champion.

Instead, there was only low, arrogant laughter. The laugh insisted itself upon me, made sure I knew whatever unclean spirit existed within the room had no fear of the Cloth of God.

“Please, won’t you come in Father.”

The voice was simple – but not that of a child. When I glanced at the boy bound to the bed, the laughter stopped. His oil-black eyes addressed me.

“Did you expect me to speak in tongues? Latin? Something older? I can see the disappointment in your eyes Father. This isn’t the movies. My head will not spin ’round, nor will I spew pea soup. But if it so please you, I can begin afresh the theatrics.”

I sat my bag down and began to pull out the tools of my trade.

“Ahh yes, the weapons of holy war. Sprinkle me with God’s water Father. Speak your clean words into the ears of this infested child. Fight me. Force me to begone. By the power of Christ, compel me! By the power of Christ, compel me!” The boy writhed on the bed as he mocked me and my position.

“Father… ” Isobella started to speak. I held up a hand to stop her.

“Sister, you should know better than to interrupt a man of the cloth when he is near a young boy.” When the last of the demon’s vile words spat from his mouth, the door to the room slammed shut, nearly splintering the wood.

“I can smell it on you Father. Delicious corruption. It was only a matter of time – ”

“From all evil, deliver us, O Lord. From all sin, your wrath.” I began the chant. The sister recited back the words.

The beast roared me to silence and, with little more than a glance, flung the sister across the room. The woman’s head roughly smacked the floor; she lay motionless.

“Sorry, Father. She was weak, and I wanted to have you to myself.” A vile smile slithered its way across the monster’s lips. “It was only a matter of time before the blinded Holy See would send to me a man with such a tenuous grasp on his faith.”

I continued my chant. “From sudden and unprovided death, from the snares of the devil, from anger, hatred, and all ill will, from all lewdness, from lightning and tempest, from the scourge of earthquakes, from plague, famine, and war, from everlasting death.”

“From child-molesting priests, from bigotry, from young men gunning down innocent children, from mothers beating their babies, from hatred, from homophobia, from lust of the flesh and the coin… Shall I continue Father?”

The look on the vile demon’s face was painted with arrogance as he tore his hands free from his bonds and sat up.

“Father, it’s time the truth be set free. I am that truth. I am The Way.”

“Lord, have mercy!” I called out.

“Lord, have mercy!” The demon replied with a laugh. “How can the Lord hand you mercy when he’s none to give? The Lord is a lie. In the beginning was The Word and the The Word was a lie.”

A splash of holy water danced across the flesh of the beast’s face. The demon licked his tongue around his lips.

“The taste of your Lord’s tears is sweet.”

“Do not keep in mind, O Lord, our offenses or those of our parents, nor take vengeance on our sins.”

“Silence Priest!” The demon raised a hand. A gentle calm overcame me. “Please, have a seat. I want to tell you a story.”

From my pack came the written word – the holiest of holies, entrusted to me by my Cardinal.

“Hide that book of filth and shame from my sight or I will burn you Priest.”

Waves of heat rose from the skin of the boy. I assumed the threat honest and tucked my Bible back inside my case.

“Everything you know is a lie. The words in your tomes are little more than trickery to blind you to the greater truth – that some day your kind will be nothing more than fodder for God’s cannon. Once upon a long lost time, God and Lucifer stood side by side. It wasn’t until God realized that all within his dominion saw he and Lucifer as equals, that he decided to cast the loveliest of Angels aside. The Great Fall was tragic and God knew he’d made a grievous error. The Light of Perfection, however, could not admit to his wrong doing, else his power be lost. And so, since that great gaffe, your God has been amassing souls in preparation for Lucifer’s return to the heavenly dominion.”

The lilt and melody of the voice held me fast. I wanted to weep, to fall at the feet of the demon, and beg for some mercy I’d never receive.

“Had I not found you, Priest, your never-ending soul would have joined the Army of God. That is not to be now. Instead, you will fight for the truest truth. My God has been waiting for this chance since before you were nothing more than a shot of sperm from the prick of a self-righteous, ego-maniacal man of the soiled cloth.”

“I don’t understand. Why do you need me to fight your unholy war?”

A great puff of sulfuric smoke spilled from the nostrils of the boy.

“You are going to help me into the Vatican. From within the Holy See, I will gain access to a very special tome. The ‘Santus Bellum’ – or ‘Holy War’. Within that book is the very plan for God’s war to be waged against Lucifer and the dominion of Hell.”

I stood, a righteous fury fueling my voice. “You will never gain access to the Holiest of Holies.”

The demon released a moan, his eyes rolled to gaze within. As the temperature in the room dropped, the boy floated from the bed and into a crucifixion position. Wind howled through the room and ripped pages from the Bible I had stowed away. The gilded paper lashed about the air, slashing the tiniest of paper cuts over my exposed skin. With each slice I could feel my strength drain. I had never experienced such power, such raw emotion.

As an atonal chorus sang an unholy psalm, I felt the demon attempt to enter me, to take root within my spirit, give succor to a wanton soul. The blessed core of my conscience fought back, until a singular memory boiled up from the recesses of my mind.

I was young, innocent, lost in my ways. Until I was found by Father Stephenson, my life was little more than thievery and corruption. The Father took me in, cured me of my indecent ways, and taught me… Taught me love.

The simple memory shattered my trust, my faith. Stirring at the core of my being, my spirit was released from The Way. As the memory was released, a peace I hadn’t known for such a long time encompassed my heart.

“I welcome you demon. I embrace your light. I pledge my fealty to your cause.”

My proclamation brought stillness to the room. The boy’s body dropped back to the bed, his countenance returned to innocence. Isobella roused from the floor, rushed to the boy’s side, and held him in her frail arms.

“You did it Father. You’ve saved the child.”

As I placed my hand on the handle of the door, the wood fell to dust. I left the room and my holy relics behind. My cause was clear. I was to serve the true King of Kings. It was time to arm the Lord of Loss and tilt the scales of righteousness back to the side of truth.

~ Jack Wallen

© Copyright 2013 Jack Wallen. All Rights Reserved.

Chewing

Ripping, rending, tearing at me, everyfuckingnight!

Why does it always have to be this way? This thing over and over again? It wasn’t supposed to be like this, not for me. I was always a good girl; I excelled at everything! What did I do to deserve this? Why did he choose me?

I swear to God there is no reason it should have been me! Not that I wish it on some other girl, I mean, I’m not like that – that’s not right, right?

Do you have to chew so fucking loud?

Isn’t it enough that he took what he did? Isn’t it enough that I have to live it every fucking night when he comes home? Do I really have to hear it again and again? I swear I’ll puke if he starts slurping! Whom I kidding, does he ever not slurp? He always fucking slurps; he rips, he tears, he chews, he slurps! I mean seriously, fuck me!

I just wanted to see the kittens, that’s all. I wanted to see their cute little faces all snuggled up and hear them making tiny little mewling sounds. That’s what he said… how was I supposed to know he was a complete douche bag? Jay said he was cool, we’d hung with him a few times – I mean, sure, we all knew he was lying about his age, but he was so fucking hot and didn’t mind pick up beer for us, maybe I flirted a little… Why didn’t I just stay outside and fucking wait for Jay like he told me to?

Maybe no one will ever know; maybe no one will ever find out; maybe no one will ever smell it… Oh God, why me? I’m not the one this was supposed to happen to! I’m not, god-damn it! Fuck him, fuck his apartment, fuck his blonde hair and fuck his blue eyes! I knew better, I know I did. I just didn’t think it would happen to me…

Ugh, chew with your mouth closed PLEASE!

How did I let this happen? I was just hanging out on the porch waiting for Jay when jerk-off drove up and asked if I wanted to see his kittens. Of course I wanted to see his kittens, what girl wouldn’t want to see his kittens? It was kinda weird the way he asked me to come around the back to go upstairs, but we’d hung out at his place before… it seemed cool.

Ah, crap, he’s friggin slurping again… dude, really?

Like I said, I’d been to his place before, Jay wasn’t gonna be back for at least another half hour, so why not go see the kittens, right?

So I walk around to the back and go upstairs with him ‘cause he doesn’t want to bother coming around front to let me in – yeah, I’m a friggin idiot, I know, you really don’t have to say it. We get up to his apartment and he’s holding a bag of groceries and asks me…

Come On… more chewing? Doesn’t this guy ever get sick of it?

I say sure when he asks me to hold his sack (yeah, he’s real fucking funny, this one) as he opens the door to let me step in. Okay kiddies, time to pay attention because this is where the ride gets interesting.

The door closing behind me takes place in a sane and still perfect world; but as the sound of the deadbolt being thrown begins to echo softly through the darkened living room; time begins to ebb away from me in a way I’ve never experienced before. It slows down; not the slowness of an extended moment when a bottle crashes to the tile floor, but the acute awareness of an animal that instinctively senses a predator nearby; heart racing, hearing razor sharp, eyes dilating to fix on the impending threat.

As the deadbolt is thrown, I begin to turn wondering why lock the door? In the span of a heartbeat that last 7, 8, maybe 9 seconds in my distorted time frame; he locks, I turn; he smiles, I drop …the bag hits the floor. Before the scream can escape my lips, he reaches out and yanks me back into a vise-like grip. This is wrong; every fiber of my being is screaming it, my brain is trying to process it, my body is in shock – utterly immobile. What’s happening? Oh God, I know what’s happening…

That’s when I hear the crack.

It’s odd really, in movies or on TV, when you see someone get their neck broken, there’s always a sigh followed by a pregnant pause, then the body falls to the floor and…. cut! that’s a wrap folks; thank you very much – the Craft food cart is set up in the lot! Well, it doesn’t go down that way for me.

In a single fluid motion he snaps my neck to the side and begins dragging my body through the double doors into his bedroom. I’m not supposed to be able to feel anything at this point, right? Then again, this wasn’t supposed to happen to me, remember?

Every one of my senses is in overdrive. I feel the fibers of the carpet scrape my bare legs; I feel the overly indulgent sheets that this low-life piece of shit sleeps on hit the side of my face as I’m tossed on the bed; I feel his disgusting fetid breath on my neck tainting my skin with its rotting odor. I’m pulsing with terror as he rips my sundress off with one swift yank from behind. I’m desperate to protect myself; desperate to get away; desperate to strike back – but I can’t, my limbs won’t move! My quivering flesh responds only to his septic touch. The pain is excruciating; my broken and abused body lies there waiting for the release that only death will bring it.

…I must have passed out…

Ripping – rending – tearing – slurping; what the fuck is that noise? I can hear the sheets on the bed as they wrinkle beneath me, I can smell how green the pistachio paint is on the walls, I can taste the blood of the small man nailed to the cross that hangs above his dresser, I can even count the change laying on the bedside table; but I can’t feel a fucking thing – and have no clue what that noise is! Then he grants me a view by shifting so I can see him in the mirror, and what I see is him carving slices of meat off my now paralytic back while he chews them in ecstasy. Sticky red blood mixed with fatty globules slide over his chin and down his grotesquely malformed chest – he’s eating me! First he used my body like I was an extra in a grindhouse flick, now he’s fucking eating me?

Oh God… Am I awake again?

Why am I still here? Why must I lay on this bed day after day, waiting for it to end? Why didn’t I just die like I should have?

Dude, really? Do you have to fucking slurp when you eat me?

~ Nina D’Arcangela

© Copyright 2012 Nina D’Arcangela. All Rights Reserved.

Skeleton Key

Hank was finding it difficult to keep his balance as he thrust his hips between Silvana’s long, parted legs. She moaned in delight as each drop of sweat splashed onto her taut belly. Normally, such erotic groans, coupled with the warm tug of her deliciously wet sex and the steady bounce of her perfect, soft breasts would have been enough to send him over the edge, but he was so busy trying to keep himself from falling onto his side that he ended up grinding away like a porn star, which, in this case, was not a bad thing.

Maybe there was an advantage to losing a leg.

It had been six months since his motorcycle had tipped over on that tight curve as he exited the highway to his house. Unlike the Gretchen Wilson song that they had played several times at the pig roast that night, he was not one Bud Wiser when he hopped on his Harley. By the time he and the bike had stopped their skid (with a bone rending crash against a tree that stopped him from going over a cliff), his left leg was nothing more than a few strips of flesh and a stump of exposed, splintered bone.

Every aspect of his life from that moment on had been pure hell, with one exception.

Silvana.

She’d been his nurse right from the moment he’d been brought unconscious into the ER. When he needed pain meds, she was there. When he woke up crying or freaking out, she was at his side, holding his hand.

Now here he was, two days out of the hospital with the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, his comforter and healer, Silvana. Amazing how he had managed to step up in his class of women exactly when taking any physical step up was a journey that usually led back to square one.

“Oh God, I’m gonna come,” Silvana squealed. She grabbed his ass and pulled him deeper inside, shaking with the wildest orgasm Hank had ever seen, heard or felt. It was like riding Space Mountain and Splash Mountain at the same time! And Jesus, did he love her mountains.

Before he could take a breath, she had managed to switch positions. Her breasts swayed across his face, her dark nipples brushing across his lips. “Now it’s your turn,” she whispered.

Between her full, tan breasts dangled a long white key held around her neck by a thin gold chain. If she moved down any closer the key was bound to smack into his nose or worse yet, poke one of his eyes.

Silvana shifted her weight and he winced.

“I’m sorry baby, did I hurt you?”

“It’s okay,” he stammered. Pain and pleasure were now conjoined twins and he didn’t know whether to come or scream. It only took seconds for the former while he did his best to hold back the latter. She remained straddled across his hips while he grew limp inside her.

“Wow,” she huffed, out of breath.

“That’s putting it mildly.”

Hank’s eyes roved up and down her flawless body, covered in a delicious sheen of sweat. “Pinch me, I must be dreaming,” he said.

To his surprise, she reached down and tweaked the flesh of the stump that was once his leg. He recoiled in pain.

“Hey, that fucking hurt!”

“Can you forgive me?” she cooed. She massaged her breasts together, smothering the strange white key between her cleavage. As much as he hated to admit it, because the woman had just intentionally hurt him, he was helplessly hypnotized.

When the key reemerged, he said, “That’s an interesting necklace. Where’d you get it?”

Tracing her finger across its ivory edges, she said, “Someplace very special. It’s a real working key, you know.”

It was about two times the size of a normal house key with a considerably sharp point.

“Must open a pretty big door.”

“The biggest,” she replied with a husky giggle.

It suddenly dawned on Hank that even though they had spent a ton of time together during his recovery in the hospital, he really didn’t know much about her. In the hospital, she was a competent, caring nurse. In her apartment, she was a barely contained erotic hurricane. And now she was giggling over this strange key like a little child who knew a secret that no adult could ever understand.

“You know, you’re not my first,” she said, inching up to rest on his stomach. At least she was further away from his wounded leg.

“I kind of got that feeling.”

Again with the giggling. “Not that. My first, you know…” She tilted her head to look down at the spot where his leg should be.

“You mean amputee?” he said, a cold prickle of doubt inching up his spine.

“I guess you could say it’s like a fetish of mine. You’d think they’d be grateful, but they never are. I mean, look at me!

She removed the necklace and held the key in her hand.

A bilious swarm of dread made Hank’s flesh grow cold. He tried to move out from under Silvana but was as weak and defenseless as a baby.

“When they brought you in that night, no one told you that your leg came in thirty minutes later, or what was left of it.”

“What are you saying? They could have reattached my leg?”

She shook her head. “But I saved it. The thing about a leg is there’s so much bone to work with.”

She brought the alabaster key to her cherry lips and kissed it.

“It helped me make the key to your heart, baby.”

“No, no, no!” Hank struggled to move out from under her.

“And now that I have the key, I’m going to lock you up nice and tight.”

Silvana raised the key above her head and plunged it into his chest, expertly finding the gap between his ribs and puncturing his heart. It beat wildly for a moment and the world spun.

“Silvana,” he whispered.

His heart slowed, and the pain that had been his constant companion ebbed into the ether.

Her face slipped out of focus. The sound of her labored breathing grew distant, fading as he hurtled into the unknown.

Hank felt the blood grow still in his body and his life seep into the musky sheets.

“Now you’re mine forever,” she whispered, and twisted the key.

~ Hunter Shea

© Copyright 2012 Hunter Shea. All Rights Reserved.