Sheldon

This is a shorter post today. I was playing with the idea of an adult children’s book. simplistic, but creepy.

Enjoy.

Sheldon.

There is nothing to be afraid of. You didn’t actually hear anything crash through the security door at the bottom of the stairs. Pull your thin flannel sheet over your head so it can’t see you. You may have heard your neighbor scream, but that doesn’t mean the lumbering footsteps you hear in the hallway are going to stop at your door. Roll over and try not to breathe. It helps to sing a little song in your head, something from your childhood will calm your nerves as you wait out the monster that just snapped your door handle off with the ease of a child popping the head from a dandelion.

If you go down to the woods today you’re in for a big surprise.

If you go down to the woods today you’ll hardly believe your eyes.

It is helping, isn’t it? If you think very loudly it will drown out the sound of his breathing as he opens your bedroom door. Your muscles feel tight, don’t they? That is adrenalin. The sheet will protect you just keep it over your head.

The sound of its nail carving at the foot of your bed is distracting, but you just keep singing your song.

They’re in the trees where nobody sees.

They’ll laugh and play as long as they please.

Its hot breath is on your feet. You can feel it through the sheet. Don’t move. He may take you for a scrunched up blanket or a few pillows if you lay still.

There is nothing to be afraid of. It isn’t smelling your flesh beneath the cover. It most certainly hasn’t reached your head. You can ignore the thin talons gripping the top of your sheet, he didn’t actually touch your knuckle and is likely still fooled by your clever ruse. Don’t forget your song.

That’s they way the teddy bears have their picnic.

You can’t actually see the beast, because there is blood in your eyes, but at least you didn’t scream. The other tenants won’t be near as clever as you were.

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Ghost Dance

In Minneapolis, it is raining. The weather has cooled from the mid-nineties to the low sixties. I’m feeling a bit thoughtful today and have since last night when I started posting strange nonsequiturs on Instagram and Twitter. They read well but were symptomatic of the shift in my mood from aggressive pursuit of financial security to the more easy going thoughtfulness that comes with the achievement of my goals. I still have more work to do and not to rely on cliche, but I feel a weight has been lifted.

Today’s story is a piece of erotica I wrote in New Orleans around Halloween last year. It is short, strange and a lot of fun to write. Please enjoy Ghost Dance.

Sleeping_with_ghosts

“The house is haunted. That’s apparently a selling point.” My potential landlord said in a perky tone.

“Really?” I repeated.

“Surprisingly yes. A lot of people enjoy the thrill of living with a ghost. I don’t believe it myself, but it’s definitely been brought up by more than a few tenants.” she went on as she moved through the house.

“I’ll take it.” I found myself warming to the idea of a supernatural roommate. She smiled and brought me to the kitchen to fill out some paperwork and worked through the details of the lease. I nodded absently and found myself already looking for signs of a presence other than our own. I felt nothing. Saw nothing and felt hustled by the absurd pitch.

The apartment was definitely worn. The walls were painted spirit blue and the floors were hardwood. The bedroom and primary room had what looked like an ancient fireplace caked in decades old white paint. It had apparently never functioned as anything more than sound insulation according to the landlord. The apartment had a balcony, a fairly large kitchen, and a spacious bathroom. The place had the smell of age. I stood in the bedroom as she left waiting to see the mysterious wraith. I half expected the walls to bleed the moment she closed the door. Still nothing.

I wanted to believe. I wanted to see something of this hidden world others claimed to have experienced. My grandmother showed me pictures of fairies in the garden and ghosts in her hallway as I grew up. I believed, but only because I was a child. As a grown man, I saw nothing that supported her claims and those pictures never resurfaced in any photo albums and she never spoke of them.

I moved in. Days passed and still my specter refused to appear. I all but forgot about the dubious selling point.

I crept into bed on a chilly night. The sheets chilled me as pulled them over me. After the heat of the previous month, the drop was a welcome change, but it still sent a shiver down my spine. My mind was releasing the work of the day and shedding the last of my tension.

I felt something lightly catch on the hem of my sheet. I shifted and pulled the sheet closer to my chin. Again the sheet shifted and a breeze flowed down over my chest. I pulled it up again and settled onto my side gripping the covering. Something gently touched my cheek and I swatted at it. I opened my eyes to the darkness. The ceiling above was bare and there were no insects buzzing. I shifted upright and sat against the wall. A hand touched my shoulder from behind. I felt a thrill pass through me. My ghost. I let the touch linger tried to focus on it. Every detail. I wanted to remember and tell people later about my haunting.

The touch stayed and moved gingerly down my back and crept over my flank. I let the sheet fall from my chest. Another hand touched my chest and I felt pressure on my lap. A whisper touch on my lips and a flush warmth rose through me. I reached my hands out hoping to find something. I felt skin. The smooth slope of an ass and the crush of invisible breasts on my chest. The ghost’s hands moved down my torso and reached into my briefs.

I held my breath. The world stood still. Nothing in my life had prepared me for this meeting. My eyes opened and closed in rapid succession trying to find my unexpected lover. Feathery hands pulled my penis free. Hot and cold laced together as her phantom hands stroked me.

There was weight and mass, but no image. Nothing for my eyes to focus on, but the spirit blue walls and the foot of my bed. Whatever demon form she took I wanted to see her face. The image must’ve been absurd. My hands hanging in the thin air caressing curves that couldn’t be perceived. My mind filled in her form from the braille of her exquisite body. Sharp shoulder blades. The fan of her hair became clear with my eyes closed.

Her tongue swirled with mine. My hips were bucking against what felt like her thigh. Her hands guiding me into her and I felt the warmth engulf me. There was nothing in my world that could tear me from that moment. The traffic sounds outside dimmed. The dull monotone of the refrigerator. I was still in the waking world. This wasn’t a dream. Her weight shifted and pieces of my will evaporated and I began moaning. Making sounds I hadn’t made since I discovered and explored sex with Becky back in high school.

Spectral nails raked my back. I could hear the slapping sound of our thighs smacking each other over and over again until there was a shudder and the pace had to be started again. Her smell. Her moaning and finally her form materializing like a wash of watercolor in front of my eyes. Her eyes were such an absolute black that it pulled in all light. Her skin was alabaster. Her hair was black and stuck to her forehead from her exertion. She shuddered once more and she smiled before her weight was suddenly gone. Nothing remained.

“Now I believe.” I smiled and drifted off to sleep.

As always, thank you for reading. Please submit a story.

Kristopher Bishop 

note: Image was lifted from a Placebo album cover. I found it on a google search for public use images. I claim no rights to the image.

SunDance/Middle American Cults

I have a lot of unfinished material on my hard drive. This site is where I will put the material that I have been working with. A lot of it will be unfinished, some are scraps of other stories. I like to think that somewhere down the line it will lead to a novel or a short story collection, something so that whatever good parts aren’t wasted in the cobwebs of my crap computer.

Today I will present two pieces. The first is a vampire story I was working on. I hit a wall and haven’t been able to go further.

As before this material is the first draft and may be a bit raw.

SunDance

Monsters are real. Sometimes they’re men and women who do horrific things. They perpetrate torture, murder and rape. Sometimes they aren’t human, or maybe they were, but they were changed into something else. Werewolves were humans until they were bitten by another werewolf and like a virus the curse was transferred. Sometimes it was a gypsy curse or drinking water from a werewolves footprint. There were all kinds of ways to be changed into a monster. A vampire sucks your blood and you rise from your own grave another vampire. A bite from a zombie would transform you. Faeries steal babies and replace them with their own children who walk each day as a human until something alerts them to their nature. They hear faerie music or fall asleep in a toadstool ring. Suddenly they know they are no longer human and they do whatever it is faeries do, which isn’t always very nice. Redcaps would eat children and dye their caps in the leftover blood. Selkies would drown men and women by luring them into the water. Sidhe employed poisonous arrows. Demonic possession could change you as well. People have forgotten the old stories and forgotten why the dark is a terrifying place. We still fear darkness, but we never really know the reason. Here is my testimony that dark things exist in the world.

Continue reading

Once more into the breach

When I feel that I am not the man I am supposed to be, or the man I was meant to be I feel dread. Not as a slow creeping malignancy, but as this all consuming fire that swallows my rational mind. I am supposed to be a writer and when asked I tell people I am a writer, but I don’t write. I drive, work, clean, and philosophize, but I don’t write. I have this problem that I’m afraid of rejection and success simultaneously.

I have written sporadically over the last year. I have always written sporadically, but it is increasingly troubling as I am trying to move further along in an effort to become a professional writer. I enjoy writing, but often it becomes a slog where I feel an excitement and the words come easily and freely, but soon after comes anxiety and then boredom. This is the cycle. It is a cycle that I struggle with constantly so it is with this is in mind that I am writing now. I want to move forward and become a better writer in order to do that I have to force myself to write consistently. There are no awards. There is possibly no one reading, but it has to become a habit like brushing teeth or exercise.

I will write. I will move past this longstanding roadblock and progress.

This blog is designed to feature my creative writing and the creative process as a whole. I listened to a radio documentary about William S Burroughs presented by Iggy Pop. The documentary was entertaining, but what inspired me was the concept of the Cut Up process that he became involved in. I thought to try it out but didn’t have access to a newspaper so I instead turned to Twitter, lifted three phrases out of context and created a story around them. The story evolved naturally and despite the lifted phrases it is a completely original work.

Note: I do not condone violence towards women. The piece below is a work of fiction and not meant to display any politics on my part. I am proud of the piece. It has an underworld quality that reminds me of Tom Waits or Nick Cave in regard to subject matter.

He believes she’s a hooker, a reject from Hell returning to Earth for a life of depravity. He thinks about her, this hooker and wonders what Hell was like, wonders if he’ll ever see its shores. He believes what he wants to believe and he hears Dennis Hopper screaming “Feel my muscles. Feel it. You like that?” and all the old stereotypes resurface.
He believes she is a hooker, but he hasn’t asked her. He sits quietly in the cafe dreaming of her life of depravity, dreaming of her return to Earth to test his will. His will is a weak and flimsy thing and despite his knowledge of her demonic origins he knows if she were to approach he would let his soul be damned. He believes what he wants to believe, but his soul is weak. He can’t have it. Dinner with this hooker in his sight. To him, she becomes more the whore with each movement, each breath. Every second she is transforming trollop, harlot, adulteress. Where is her man? Where is the cop to arrest her indecency?
He wishes now, in the pit of his heart that he had read the scriptures more carefully. He wishes he were better defended. She is beautiful and he can see her leg from his vantage. She touched it lovingly as she drank her coffee. How could he not? Her skirt was so short and her skin was practically glowing in the florescent light of the cafe. There is a twist in his stomach, a slow churning that comes before vomit. He can’t stand the sight of her, but he also can’t look away and has become caught in her devilish spell.
He closes his eyes and hums to himself. Sixteen years sober today. He believes she’s a hooker. He picks up his coffee pot. Grips it tightly as he stands. “Feel my muscles.” the words sing to him. He walks to her table slowly, deliberately. Each step is a victory for heaven. He looks her in the eye. She stares up at him and smiles. He believes she’s a hooker, “You like that?” He says as he raises the pot. She can see what’s coming now, but it’s too late. She is going to feel pain. The coffee pot shatters on contact with her head. “You like that?” He screams and hits her again.
She was reading a book. He didn’t see the book before, but he sees it now. Its title is obscured by her blood. He keeps hitting because now the demon must know he is righteous and that he will not back down from Satan. He keeps hitting her until a waitress, a cook and three other customers pull him from on top of her. His eyes sting with tears as they lay him on the cold tile of the diner floor. His fingers feel the texture of grime beneath him and he cough and then laughs at his victory over the devil. He believes she’s a hooker.

Werewolf (revised)

I originally posted this story in May of 2013. I found the idea good, but its execution was clunky. I have since revised based in part on suggestions made by a fellow writer I had read it. This is the result. Second draft, probably still not finished, but in the interest of full disclosure I think it would be good to see the evolution of this story. The original can be viewed here. Let me know what you think.

Enjoy.

Louise Jacobs made the mistake of striking up a conversation with a man. He seemed nervous, but Louise was nervous too. She was going on a date and needed to talk to somebody about it. When her new friend opened his vest to reveal an impressive row of dynamite it was assumed by those on the bus that  she was also responsible. That is why after a three-hour stand-off involving the FBI, the ATF and the bomb squad Louise Jacobs was sitting in jail and furious. She had a dentist appointment to make and after that an optometrist and after that a date with Walter Bonner. Her watch was confiscated. Luckily there was a television set on just outside the holding cell so she was able to determine that since Jeopardy had just ended it must be five o’clock. Walter was due to arrive at her house in exactly two hours.

A man, tall and mohawked was thrown into the cell with her. She started screaming, asking why they put a guy in with her. The only reasonable thing to do was throw a tantrum and demand that she be put in the female holding cell where she belonged. They ignored her pleas. The mohawked guy hadn’t spoken yet. Upon entering the cell he found a bench and laid down. He was breathing. That much she could tell, but there was something else as well. He had his hand on the floor and he was slowly drawing something. It was tiny. She wouldn’t have noticed had she not been this close. He was tracing a geometric shape, a series of interlinked loops. It reminded her of Saint Patricks Day. She gasped when he turned his head to look at her. His eyes were brown, his skin tanned, tribal tattoos ran down the left side of his face. He put a finger to his lips then reached his hand out to her. “My name is Martin Key. My friends call me Key.” He had a nice voice, like a deep bass. She wasn’t sure, she couldn’t remember the ranges.

“Louise Jacobs.” She replied and shook his hand.

“What are you in for?” He asked.

“I got roped into a bomb scare. Shouldn’t be long now before they sort it out. You?”

“I’m a murder suspect.” Louise tensed in reaction. “I didn’t do it.” He reassured. He stood as the police came to get him and he was lead away. Louise tried to get comfortable on one of the benches.

She stared at the little symbol etched on the floor tracing its contours with her eyes. The activity was hypnotic and was slowly lulling her to a trance. Key’s return woke her.

“I wouldn’t stare at that too long.” He said as he sat down.

“Why not?”

“It’s a summoning spell. If you’re not trying to summon anything all it’ll do is give you a headache.” He sat down as he said the last part. “I don’t like to use magic. I almost never do, but right now I’ve got very few options.”

“What are you trying to summon?” Louise asked. She sat up.

“A werewolf.”

Miguel stood outside the police station. He should leave, he kept telling himself. Keep walking. The girl’s blood was still all over him, but he couldn’t move. He was frozen in front of the station.

The station was an old two story building. The jail cells were on the top floor and the first floor contained the interrogation rooms and general offices of the precinct. The basement had the old file rooms, locker room and the limited arsenal of the station.

Miguel walked up to the front door, each step felt more like falling then the last until he was at the door. He gripped the handle. Neurons were firing in his brain illuminating fantasies of gunfire and violence as soon as that door opened. He still didn’t understand the compulsion to be here, but the more he struggled the more drawn to it he felt. The feeling didn’t fade as he crossed the threshold. There was an officer behind a large desk reading. He was fat, balding, hadn’t been on the street in years. He looked up at Miguel, boredom had watered his instincts to non-existence. The cop stammered as he lifted himself off his chair. His mouth was moving like he was trying to say something forceful, but nothing came out. He drew his gun as he ascended.

There was a flash of red and Miguel felt the beast rising. His adrenalin was spiking. He knew the change would come soon. The officer had his gun trained on Miguel, “Stay right where you are.”

Everything moved in slow motion for Miguel. Miguel could’ve killed the desk sergeant in an instant. He had oceans of time between each languid movement, but the thrum of whatever drew him here still tugged at his mind. Officers flooded the lobby with guns raised.

Miguel could hear the pulse of every officer in the room. The dull throb of heartbeats rose to the sound of his voice. He had memorized the way human hearts beat and knew how to decipher each percussion. One cop was turned on. Three others were glad he wasn’t white. Most were scared to death of him. The smell of sweat, leather and gun oil hit him in uneasy waves.

Three cops moved him out of the lobby and through the station to the top floor. The pull ceased. This was where he was supposed to be. He looked at the man with the mohawk and knew from his pulse and his smell that he was calm. The trio collectively shoved him in the cell with Key and Louise.

Key and Miguel sat facing each other, Louise watched them both. Miguel had a shaved head and horns embedded under the skin of his forehead. He also sported a tribal tattoo just below his bottom lip that looked to Louise lie a blue black goatee. To top it off his eyes were blackened orbs. Key had his tall black mohawk and Maori tattoos down the left side of his body. Outside these walls Louise would’ve pegged them as members of the same gang.

“I’m here.” Miguel spoke first, there was an aggressive edge to his voice.

“You killed that girl.” Key stated. Miguel nodded. “This ends tonight. I can’t allow you to kill anyone else.” Key continued.

Miguel laughed at him. “What are you gonna do? I’m a fucking werewolf dude. You are dead meat.” Miguel rose from the bench. His body curved over Key’s like a gargoyle. “Every bitch in this joint is dead meat. You summoned me, so you’re the first bitch.”

Key sat unfazed, “I’m not threatening you. You have options.”

Miguel continued his bravado. “Fuck you.”

“Can you survive a gunshot? Can you survive a hundred gunshots? Not all legends are true.” Key saw Miguel blanch, a moment of dread. He could hear Key’s heartbeat and knew he was telling the truth. “You’re going to change soon whether you want to or not, but you have a decision to make here and now. Do you want to live through this night, because I can either help you escape or I can leave you to your death. Make a choice.”

Miguel hung his head, but kept his eyes on Key. He shouldn’t have come to town, but he had and now a woman was dead. He liked her. He wanted her. He loved smell of her skin and was entranced by the red speckled arousal on her chest and face. He heard her heartbeat and then he wasn’t in control anymore. A different kind of lust washed over him and he was the beast. Hunger overwhelmed him and nature did the rest. Maybe he should die. Maybe Key could kill him. He didn’t know. He thought he could hold it. It wasn’t the true full moon, that was tomorrow and he always had more control. He could feel Key’s scrutiny. The other woman in the room had been holding her breath. Miguel was still. For this perfect moment he was still and he had a choice.

A police officer opened the cage flanked by two other uniformed men. “Louise Jacobs.”

She nearly jumped out of her skin when they said her name. Then the excitement of the moment wore off and she was left with her previous anger at having sat for hours in a jail cell. “It’s about time.”

Miguel looked up at Key. “I made a choice.”

“No.” Key yelled as he rose. Miguel was too fast. He lunged at the police, Louise could see the change. His body was rippling, his hands were twice the size they had been by the time they reached the first officer’s throat.

The officer lifted his piece and fired. The bullets sunk into the werewolf’s flesh and exploded through his back. The first cop was dead before he hit the floor. His throat was eviscerated. The second was firing wildly into the cell.

Key grabbed Louise from behind and pulled her to the ground shielding her with his body. The second agent’s arm was pulled free from the shoulder and teeth ripped at his face, the final officer was still firing at the beast, round after round was erupting on the werewolf’s torso.

“Shoot the head!” Key yelled. He was too late. The officer was gutted as Miguel tore out his innards. The werewolf continued out the door, more gunfire rang out.

“I thought you said bullets could kill him.” Louise said, her body was shaking from the adrenalin.

“I lied. I needed time to think of a better plan.” He helped her up. He moved quickly to the dead cops. His hands were fast. He pulled a wrist watch free from one of the officer’s wrists. He kept his eyes on the door as he spoke “Silver is deadly to werewolves. Bullets will hurt them, but they heal so quickly that unless you get a head shot you’re really just pissing them off. Wolf’s bane does work. Fire is the most effective. Fire kills almost everything.” Key explained as he checked the gun. He moved to the open cell door.

Louise stood at the open cell trying not to look at the bodies. “What are we going to do?” Louise asked.

“This is silver.” Key held up a watch from one of the agents. “Hopefully I can get close enough to hit him, failing that I don’t know.” He shrugged, “Blow up the building.” He smiled for a split second, before he got serious again. “If he gets out to the street he’ll murder everything in his path. I can’t let that happen. Are you ready?”

She gulped and nodded.

“When we get to him I need you to head for the door. There won’t be a lot of time, but it’s important that you not run. Running will induce a predator response and he’ll go for you.” Very little made sense anymore and Louise didn’t feel the need to waste breath asking questions. Key picked things up along the way, aerosol deodorant, lighter and some flares. Louise stuck close to him. Her brain was on fire and her heart was ratcheting up in her chest. She just nodded as he spoke.

She heard gunfire when they left the cage, but it had stopped and she wondered if the monster had already gotten out into the world, distant sirens were approaching and the place, apart from the traffic sounds outside, seemed still.

They were close to the front now. She recognized the room. The desks were all overturned and bodies were scattered through the room. The lights flickered creating a strobe effect and in a lump of darkness she saw the matted fur of the werewolf. It was hunched next to a soda machine and she could hear the ripping and chewing sounds of the creature eating.

“Go now.” Key turned to Miguel and blocked his view of Louise as he addressed the beast. “Miguel!” He yelled as a flare burst to life.

The werewolf looked up from his supper, snarled at Key. He looked over to Louise then back at Key. His deep yellow eyes seemed to be working through the riddle attack the man or attack the woman. The bright light of the flare made him nervous, and the woman was easy prey, so the solution presented itself.

A Detective saw Key standing in front of the creature. Louise was walking towards him with her head down and her arms tense at her sides. The other officers were too shell shocked to do much of anything “Hands up!” The Detective yelled. The woman obeyed.

The Werewolf launched at her.

Key yelled at the beast and he shoved the flair into the creature’s flank, the fur lit instantly as a bullet tore into Key’s shoulder. Louise hit the ground and the beast was on Key. Key lifted the aerosol can and lit it like a torch, flame erupted against Miguel’s face. He whimpered and hit the ground smashing his singed face against the tiled floor. Through the pain of the gunshot Key let another burst loose lighting the monster’s back. The sprinkler system erupted dousing everything. Louise crawled for the barricade the Detective fired again at the werewolf but the clip was empty. Another officer lifted Louise up and pulled her over the broken chairs.

There was just Key and the monster, they circled each other. Blood was draining against the floor from Key’s arm but diluted as it hit the now watery floor. Key lit another flair a split second before the werewolf launched himself at Key. He managed to put his arm around the beast’s neck in a headlock and shoved the flair into his maw. With the now free hand he brought the silver watch down and beat Miguel’s wolfish face. Miguel bashed Key against every surface he could trying to knock him loose. Adrenaline fueled Key’s grip and he kept bringing the silver watch down again and again. Each punch burned the monster’s flesh until all his strength left him and they both lay there with water pouring down.

Miguel was made of wounds now. He felt his heart slowing. The blood that was rushing in his ears had died down and he was looking up at Key. “I’m sorry.” he said.

“Me too.” Key responded. “It’s over now.”

Miguel closed his eyes and let go.

Hotspur

Note: Another story about the exploits of Martin Tyrone Key, metaphysical detective. This one involves a sex cult with all the graphic detail you would expect from such a story.

Enjoy.

On a cracked and dusty asphalt street in a desert town Martin Tyrone Key ran his fingers through his mohawk as he looked at the picture of Elise her parents had given him. A decrepit building gaped at the boarded up houses that surrounded it. All told thirteen people had entered in the past two hours. Key perused the file; Elise Wilson disappeared two weeks ago with her boyfriend Cody Wilkes. The two had hooked with a sex cult called “Fornicatio Solemnitas” lead by a man called Hotspur.

Key waited until dark to get out of his car. He slipped casually to the side of the building, pulled a silver flask from his coat and took a long swig, capping the flask he took two deep breaths and headed in.

Incense billowed in a massive protean cloud over the congregation. The chamber was vast and candlelit, despite the heat from the thousand little flames a damp chill still hung on every atom of the room. The members of the congregation were all dressed in red robes and masks. Each mask was unique and represented something of the individual who wore it. Some had old plastic Halloween masks others had ornate filigreed treasures. Underneath the robes each celebrant was naked, flashes of genitalia were as common as handshakes and hugs among them.

The congregation swarmed around the altar at the center of the room, oblivious to everything but each other. Key perched himself on a massive boarded windowsill away from the reunion of worshippers. He winced as he took another swig of the sickly sweet Crème de Cocoa in his flask. The liquor did little to warm him against the chill so he stuffed his hands under his armpits and focused his attention on the simple concrete altar.

A young girl, no more than eighteen, stepped into the room while at the opposite side a teenage boy mirrored her entrance. The girl’s robe was red like the others but hers was shorter and only hung to her thigh, additionally it hung open to give a teasing look as to what lay beneath. A hint of breast, a shock of pubic hair, and a flash of muscle along her stomach as she walked. She wore a mask made in the image of a moon. The boy dressed identically save for the sun that adorned his face. The girl was the right age and height for Elise and she had a dirty blue party tattoo of a butterfly on the top of her foot, which fully identified her, leaving Key to surmise that the boy was Cody.

They strode across the floor towards the altar. Members of the congregation began groping each other as the teenagers passed. The congregation was shortly a symphony of hands jerking, kneading, and probing with hedonistic abandon. Some solitary souls merely masturbated as they watched the long journey to the altar.

Elise and Cody ascended the altar to a choir of carnality. The teenagers kneeled in front of each other with mere inches between them. Elise’s palms were sweaty, her mouth was dry, and she felt dizzy. She worried that she might fall into Cody, they were forbidden to touch at this part of the ceremony, and disrupt the proceedings.
The priest entered the room and quickly moved to the altar. He kissed the palms of his hands lightly and touched both of them on the forehead. Then he raised his hands to the ceiling and began chanting.

The congregation’s fervor amplified when he began chanting. One woman obscured by a baby doll mask straddled a man’s cock while she jerked another one off. Beads of cum shot at her like buckshot and she groaned ecstatically and bucked harder against the lover below her. On the opposite side of the altar a man thrust slowly into the ass of another man, both grunting softly with each long stroke. The altar was crackling with energy as the priest continued chanting.

Elise could feel the energy rising up through the altar and pulsing fiercely through her body. She could feel heat sweeping off of Cody. She wanted so badly to touch him, to feel his arms around her. Her arms would not obey; they were two pieces of lumber hanging stubbornly from her shoulders. Her breathing was becoming labored and she felt her muscles twitching as if in a spasm. Cody’s head was swaying lightly and his mouth was moving. His dick, which was exposed through his robe, was rigid and tall. Elise wanted to take it, to touch it, lick it, straddle it, she wanted to feed off of his cock. The impulse was already irresistible and growing more feverish with each moment, but her body was paralyzed by the spasms.

Key lifted himself off the windowsill and crouched behind a bundle of rusted pipes. He saw runes on the altar begin glowing around the lovers. They were arcane symbols whose origins had gone to time and tide. Key pulled a notebook from one of his many pockets and copied them down as best he could.

Elise saw the symbols too. They glowed a putrid blue color and made her head swoon when she tried to look at them. Sweat was pouring down Cody’s body. The priest was screaming and thin ribbons of blood pulsed from his eyes, nose, and ears. His tongue was swollen and splitting like a cooked sausage making the strange language he was speaking come out in wet sloppy consonants. Cody was reeling, his body was shaking and his eyes were rolled back in his head. The sound of sex was reverberating off the walls and it mixed with the low snarls that were coming from Cody. The cacophony was deafening.
Elise felt her need rising, the strain of it was unbearable. Cody, who was no more than twelve inches from her, was heaving and growing. His muscles were flexing and straining. Cody’s raw sexuality was hitting Elise in waves. She could see the fornication around her and she was cherry picking the positions she could try from the menu at her peripherals. She could feel an orgasm rising in her just from looking at him. Then as the cacophony became a din, it was all halted by a loud crack.
The force of Key’s blow sent ripples of force through the clouds of incense. The priest fell to the ground. His face was wet and pulpy from the ritual and slid against the concrete. “Enough!” Key bellowed to the celebrants. The tribal tattoos that gilded Key’s face all but glowed next to the pale blue of the altar and the yellow light of the candles. He stood over the priest with a gun drawn and pointed out in front of him.

“What have you done?” Yelled one worshipper. The group surrounded him boners pointing like spears.

Key fired a shot off into the ceiling. The crowd stood in silence as he grabbed Elise around the waist and eased her off the pedestal. The baby doll stepped forward, her breasts still heaving. “You shouldn’t be here. The rectory is sanctified and there will be retribution from Hotspur.”

Key put his gun in his waistband. “I don’t think he’ll be causing any trouble for me.” He kicked the priest lightly as he hefted Elise into his arms.

“That’s not Hotspur.” She retorted as she pointed at the altar.

Key turned to Cody. Cody fell forward his body steaming from the moisture in the air. His musculature was impressive and preternatural. His mask fell away from his face; his eyes beneath were crusted in blood and his lips were pulled back in a wicked snarl. His head cocked and he looked at Key leaving with his mate. Fury erupted in him, he howled and launched himself at Key.

Key moved as quickly as he could, but Cody become Hotspur was on him. Key and Elise went sprawling across the floor. Hotspur grabbed him by the ankle and pulled him back towards the altar. He threw Key into the concrete block like one would throw a child. Key’s head cracked against the hard altar, which sent flashes of pain through his skull. Hotspur pounced on Key and jammed his thumbs into Key’s eyes. Key’s face was throbbing in white-hot pain; he bellowed as his hands fumbled for his pockets. He gripped a small sack and smashed it against Hotspur’s face.

The pouch erupted in a crystalline cloud; Hotspur released his grip on Key and scratched at his burning face. Key pulled a lighter and a vial from another pocket, a small glass tube with thick reddish liquid, and quickly poured the contents into his mouth, flicked the lighter and spat the substance back at Hotspur in a ball of flame. He forced himself to his feet. Hotspur howled and rubbed his face into the grime-covered floor. Key fell against the altar and weakly pulled the gun from his waistband. His eyes were still pulsing from the attack and his head pounded with jackhammer force.

Key cocked the gun. Hotspur was recovering quickly from the salt and the flame. With sudden ferocity three of the masked celebrants tackled Key, knocking him against the altar again. Key pressed the gun against one of the reveler’s heads held the head firm with the off hand and yelled, “Back! Get back!” They stopped their assault and stepped away. Key pushed the hostage away with the barrel and turned his attention back to Hotspur. The Demon was up and on him. Key fired a shot, but Hotspur pushed his hand away and the shot went wild. The following punch knocked Key across the room. His shoulder hit the ground hard and he thought he felt something snap. Key rolled onto his back as Hotspur raced after him. He leveled the gun again and the barrel sang as a bullet ejected from the gun. The shot tore through Hotspur’s chest and exploded out the back in a spray of red gore.

The creature fell twitching on the ground. Key pulled himself up and staggered over to Elise. Key dropped the gun, kneeled next to Elise, then almost lovingly he lifted and cradled her; she was still unconscious. He pulled a small strange looking rattle from an inside pocket and began methodically rattling and chanting in a sing-songy voice. The congregation did nothing but watch.

The police arrived some time later. The worshippers stories varied wildly as the police questioned each of them about what had happened. The police didn’t charge Martin Tyrone Key with assault or murder. Cody’s body disappeared and the priest, one Harold Kasee, was assumed to be the leader of a vile sex cult that was trying to marry these teenagers in an orgiastic ritual with satanic overtones. He would be convicted of multiple sexual offenses. In prison two years later he would be murdered in the middle of the night by a white supremacist.

Key received medical attention for a dislocated shoulder and concussion, but was released of his own recognizance. He stiffly got into his car with Elise. She turned to him as he slid into the driver’s seat. “What happened?” She asked.

Key silently started the car and drove onto the highway. For thirty minutes he said nothing. He thought very long about what he was going to tell her. He thought about explaining everything that had happened, what the ritual was meant to accomplish, and how her boyfriend had been possessed and murdered by the demon that now inhabited him. Elise tried in vain to get him to answer her questions. Finally he said, “They conjured a demon. You were supposed to be its bride.” It seemed direct.

She mulled over his answer for a moment then retorted, “Bullshit.”
Key simply shrugged and drained the remnants of crème de cocoa from his flask. The ride was long and quiet after that.

Witch.

Note: Another story about Martin Key. this one is told in a first person perspective, a little more challenging, but I like it. It also ends a little abruptly, but again I felt like it worked for the story. let me know what you think.

Enjoy.

Witch.

I saw her through the window. Her glasses, too big for her face, slid down her nose as she worked. Her face was pleasant, but unremarkable. She grimaced as she worked the clay on the potter’s wheel. Dry grey coated her forearms with salt flat cracks. The room she was in was vast, it made her look smaller by comparison. there were two doors, the one I stood at and the large garage door to my right. The interior was sparsely furnished, shelves full of finished pottery, a small sitting area with a few chairs and a loveseat cotton wounds bursting at the edges, kitchenette and her workshop two wooden counters coated with clay, the potter’s wheel and her. I knocked as she removed the newest pot from the wheel. She moved to the door, hips, tiptoes lead by her chest everything flowed and she ushered me in. Her manner was relaxed, she didn’t look like she owned a pair of shoes. There were trails of bare footprints weaving the span of the room. Once inside I saw an additional door.
“My name is Martin, Martin Key. Most people just call me Key.” I offered.
“Pamela.” She smiled, crows feet pleasantly spread web-like from the corners of her eyes. She went to the kitchenette and motioned for me to sit, which I did. “My place is haunted.” she spoke with her back to me as she filled a teapot. Her shirt was loose as was her skirt. She had lost weight recently. I knew what came next, but I had to separate what was true from what was imagined. “My ex died recently, he stayed here, won’t leave.” she turned to me as she lit the burner on. “I tried everything I could think of, but he won’t let go. That’s why I contacted you.”
“I’m just a private investigator ma’am, mostly background checks and insurance fraud. Why me?” She smiled, most did, like they knew my secret.
“I heard you had experience with these sorts of things.”
“Some.” I acknowledged. I tried not to take these cases, but it was always like an addiction, I resisted, but the lure of the unknown drew me, what new thing will I discover. I always gave in, but someone always ended up hurt. I hoped she was a quack.
“You’re not exactly what I expected, don’t get me wrong I love the mohawk and the tattoos, but I pictured….”
“Max Von Sydow.” I offered.
“Yeah, I guess. Nothing so punk.” She looked me over
“I get that a lot.” She snickered and I smiled. She had a natural charisma that was already drawing me in, but I kept my distance. Allure was very often dangerous. “I’m still not sure why you emailed me.”
She continued. “It’s getting worse. He gives me the days, or can’t do his thing during the day, but last night I had to leave, went to a diner until the sun came up.” The kettle whistled, she finished making the tea and sat down. I waited, watched her and the room in equal parts. There was nothing to indicate the chaos she suggested, no broken pottery, banged cabinets, the room seemed serene as the wind outside yawned in.
“Why don’t you just move.” I asked.
“I don’t want him to win. This is my place, not his, but if you can’t make it stop I will leave, this is the end for me by hook or by crook.” she sat down, placed a mug of tea in front of me.
“Nothing is broken.” I said as he blew on my tea.
“No.”
“What made you leave?” She didn’t answer, I continued. “There’s a layer of dust on some of those shelves months old, you haven’t moved anything around recently, even your demeanor it seems peaceful, no trauma.”
“I’m not lying.” she defended.
“I didn’t say you were. I’m just confused, what precisely is he haunting?” The tea had cooled enough to take a sip.
“Me.” she answered. “He’s trying to possess me and last night he almost succeeded.”
I arched an eyebrow, set down my mug. “Tell me everything.” I said.

Before.

I’ve been Wiccan since high school. I fell in with this group that did rituals and danced around fires, the whole nine yards. The supposed high priestess turned out to be a fraud, but there was some truth in what she said and I wasn’t done with it. I went to classes at a new age bookstore and learned everything I could about it ritual magic, herbalism, meditation, reiki, divination all of it just soaked it in like a sponge. I started doing the pottery and worked a dozen different jobs, but the pagan thing stayed with me, I attended every ritual that came along, every holiday, every drum circle it was my life for years and I had lovers, but about five years ago Wade came into my life.
Wade was Wiccan too and he had this bad boy gypsy quality that was like chocolate to me and I couldn’t get enough. I centered my life around him, unhealthy, but I couldn’t see the forest for the trees at that point. After four years together he was getting restless, we still did the rituals, but he wasn’t satisfied with them. He got obsessed with what he called “true magic.” He got despondent and he lived here with me, but I barely saw him he’d cloister himself away in the basement.
I remember the athame on the floor next to him. “I saw the devil today.” That’s the first thing he said the day he died. That’s the first thing he said in almost a month to me. I remember he was tapping his heel, his hands were clenched in his lap, he wasn’t looking at me until he said that. Something about the way he looked at me freaked me out so I got up, I went for the door and he yelled “Stop.” I froze. His voice was like, it was like a physical thing. He stepped behind me and started circling me, looking me up and down. The athame was in his hand, he held it limply. My eyes were closed or I was crying I can’t remember, but I couldn’t see him, just felt his breath on me, he was getting more excited and I still couldn’t move.
“I did it.” he whispered. “I brought him here.” He started talking about the power the devil had given him and he was yelling. His hands all over me as he was ranting. I was still trying to move. “sold my soul.” he kept on. “He gave me power. True ritual. True magic.” His hand slid to my throat and tightened. He raised that knife and I looked him in the eye. There was a moment one shimmering brief moment where the hate in his eyes dimmed. It was all in slow motion I remember the knife coming down the glimpse of humanity, the fabric of his shirt was damp from sweat. I smelled a clay pot in the kiln, a robin landed on the windowsill, each moment lived and I pushed hard, I could move and I ran.
The athame, he fell back and collapsed, the blade impaled him under the ribs. I heard him gurgling and turned back, he was bleeding all over the floor, the blood was filling his lungs and he was still trying to strike at me.
He was dead by the time the police and the ambulance arrived. It was deemed self defense.

Key.

She burned sage as she talked. The room was blustery as wind blew in through the open garage door. I was watching her and the room in equal measure, she believed what she was saying, a call to the local precinct would confirm her story. I stood and started walking towards the door. “you’re not going to help me, are you?”
“Yes I am, I need some things from my car. Holy water, sea salt, palo santo, night is coming soon and he’s not going to like that I’m here.”
“I already tried holy water. I blessed it myself, it didn’t do anything.”
“That’s because he doesn’t recognize your divinity, he thinks you’re inferior to him. That’s the problem with spirits they bring their prejudices with them. He doesn’t know my holy water it should work better. I’ll be right back.” she made a displeased sound with her throat, but didn’t say anything else. I grabbed the heavy old medical bag from my trunk, holy symbols from hundreds of religions rattled around the interior, holy water, salt these things were just foci for the power of the will, spirits once dead are creatures of belief and if Wade believed them in life at all he would trust they would work in spite of himself. It’s easy to con spirits because all they have is their id, their passions everything else was taken away when they died.
The set up was simple, but laborious, salt circled around her bed, doused the entire place with holy water, burned palo santo, sage and incense and laid mirrors on all the windows, none of these things would deter him completely, but they would make the place wildly uncomfortable and force him to go for Pamela. I marked her face arms back and chest with totemic symbols.
The night fell in quietly and we sat on her bed playing card games, she suggested a tarot reading, but I wasn’t in the mood for divination, never much cared for what the cards said. The wind was growing colder she moved to close her garage door, but I stopped her. “Stay in the circle.” The studio was silent. A block away a woman was arguing with her boyfriend, he was yelling back. Traffic lights lit the room green, yellow, red. An SUV trundled by her alley. Somewhere a cat yowled, a car alarm went off three streets over. I closed the door and felt a shift to my right. I moved to catch a glimpse, but all I saw was the girl. She stood in her earth tone skirt and thin top. “Get back in the circle, everything is fine here.”
“No it’s not.” She answered. “He’s here.” She ran to me, hugged me. I tried to pull back, but she roped her leg around mine calf to calf. “Stay close.” She whispered.
I put my hand on the small of her back. “We need to get back to the circle.” She kissed me, I didn’t resist, I should’ve, I felt the cold metal against my skin. The athame was against my back, she raised it up. “Wade.” I pushed against her, the point caught my shoulder blade. She fell against the floor. “Listen Pamela, he’s inside you, you’ve got one chance. All these things the holy water the symbols, they just focus your will, push him out.”
“Fuck you.” the words came from her mouth they were guttural, the sound of a ghost forcing a larynx to work. “She’s not cut out for it, candle magic and tarot cards don’t mean shit to me.”
“Pamela, fight him, you’re not inferior, prove it to him. Think of a song, think of a picture trace the lines in your mind, work it through, fight him.” I was watching him/her stand up, the knife was gleaming, her face was red from the traffic light. She stood swaying, her face now green she burst at me, the knife over her head. I stepped to the side tripped her. “A prayer, a song, your pottery look at it all, this is your place, this is your body.”
“Kill her Key, kill her or she’s gonna kill you.” Wade spoke through her his voice becoming more clear. I lit a chunk of palo santo as she stood again the effect was like someone getting hit by mace she hit the floor rubbed her face against the cold concrete. “You can’t touch me Wade. She’s stronger then you. She talked to him too, I showed her how, she made a better deal, signed a better contract, she’s still alive Wade and you’re dead.” I was trying to keep him off balance, hoping he believed what I was saying, belief is the key, prejudice.
“No, that’s impossible. She couldn’t, didn’t know how.” The voice was guttural again.
“You didn’t throw anything away, it was all down there in the basement the notes the incantations. You died and she had time to study, and with my help she learned how to do it, true ritual, true magic.” She dropped to her knees.
“Blessed Be!” Pamela yelled out in her own voice. A black plume flew from her mouth.
“You’re dead Wade, and you are banished from this place.” The smoke writhed and slithered folding in on itself. Wind burst through the windows smashing the glass showering us both with tiny shards. Pottery burst as the spirit tried to hold on gripping at the metaphysical edges of the room. “Blessed be.” I said almost in a whisper and then he was gone.
The room was silent again, the wind died down and the athame clanked against the floor. Pamela was in a heap on the floor. She was breathing, so I got the glass off of her as best I could and laid her in the bed. I stayed for the rest of the night and left just after sunrise.

End.