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I have always enjoyed dialogue. I like hearing the variances in individual voices so this series of shorts is all about voices. The first two stories are told in first person perspective and the last is an epistle using twitter as a format. The formatting didn’t translate well into WordPress, so please forgive me for not wanting to spend an hour re-spacing the story.

These are essentially sketches that may become something bigger down the line, but for now enjoy the experiment for what it is.

Please enjoy.

Kermit.

I was on the porch. Music was playing in the living room. It sounded like something from the 80s, synth heavy and vaguely punk in its orchestration. I felt the need to lay down on the matted couch. Diamond strike on back matches caught my eye on the small end table among a garden of liquor bottles and cigarette butts. At the far end of the porch there was a rusty collection of gardening tools set on a gurney from a Hearse. The gurney was held up by cinder blocks and made into a kind of low table that also housed a collection of bottles and a ripped white parasol along with the garden equipment. A cool breeze swept through the porch lifting the lighter ash from the end table. The ash swirled in the air like a dancing ghost and I was swept up in the jig for a heavenly moment before the breeze caught my skin and raised goose flesh on my arms and chest. I felt the effects of the hallucinogenic mushrooms at this point. I knew I was no longer sober.

th

The house was suddenly foreboding so I couldn’t go back, but the street was dangerous and fraught with unknown perils. I chose the street. I walked out shirtless and barefoot into the yard and was instantly struck by the way the light and shadows lay on the lawn. It looked like a light made in the shape of a large snowflake. I was barely ten feet from the porch and I was already stalled by the heavenly lights pouring through the trees. I ripped my eyes away from the snowflakes and stopped myself from giggling at the surreal humor mundane things hold when you are not sober.

I was away from the house on the sidewalk and walking in an unknown direction. “Aren’t you cold?”

A voice behind me spoke and I was instantly terrified. I became suddenly rigid and willed myself not to look at whatever beast was behind me. I didn’t answer the question, but now that it was asked I couldn’t trust my senses to give me accurate information. I tried to focus on whether or not I felt cold. I was I decided, my skin felt cold to the touch, but I wasn’t sure if I was touching my own arm or someone else’s so I turned to look and saw that it was my arm. I didn’t feel particularly cold on the inside, I felt warm in my chest and in my head which felt as though it was pulsing from fever. “Yes and no,” I answered.

“Are you sure?” The voice said and followed the new question with a giggle.

“No.” I answered.

“You should go inside.”

“That’s impossible.” The voice behind giggled again. I wondered for a moment whether I was imagining the voice. The shrooms were very clearly doing their job and I was fantasy prone and could be having a conversation with myself. I tried to predict the next thing the voice would say. I couldn’t think of a phrase and for a brief agonizing moment forgot how to speak English. I hoped that I would be able to understand the next question. I made myself speak, “Please help me.” I pushed out what I guessed was an English phrase and had a moment of lucidity, “I shouldn’t be outside on my own.”

“What did you take?” The owner of the voice came into view. It was a woman, young, but her hair looked white under the streetlights.

“Mushrooms of some kind.” I answered and my eyes suddenly became very focused on her lips. They looked thick and had some kind of lipstick on them. Her tongue darted out and curled over her perfect white teeth.

She took my hand. Her heat warmed every part of me. There was no sexual attraction at that moment. I was completely incapable of fucking so I pushed it from my mind, but I was suddenly filled with what I could only assume unconditional love feels like. I wasn’t sure if she was black or white. She could have been transgendered, but none of that mattered at that moment I was like a baby chick and this was my mother. “Where do you live?”

I shrugged and turned my head around to see if I could spot my house. It was right there in front of me looming like an ancient God. Bright and barely twenty paces from where I stood. “There it is. I can’t go alone.” My eyes pleaded with her.

“I’ll walk you up.” She smiled and lead my up the small stoop and back onto the porch. She sat me on the couch and kissed me on the lips. “You stay here until I get back.” She gently ordered.

“When will that be?” I asked my voice had taken on a child-like quality that I hated, but couldn’t stop.

“Soon, but you stay on the porch.” She pulled a blanket from the back of the couch and wrapped it around me before she turned and left. I watched the door as she left.

One of my housemates inside turned off the porch light and I didn’t have the strength to tell them I was there so I swam in the darkness of the porch and drifted between the vast darkness in my mind and the finite dark of the porch. I knew there was light inside I just needed to make the journey. It was not an obstacle I could overcome in my state. I revisited the dark in my head and let it take me. I saw colorful fractals and the psychological homunculus of my body was distorted beyond recognition I changed my mental shape like Play Doh. I transformed myself into a woman for several seconds before the shape lost its solvency, but that was as far as my body experiments went because the drug was slowly tapering off by that time. My savior never returned so I went inside and went to bed.

Jennifer.

I pulled a chilled lowball from the cooler, poured a thin line of absinthe into the glass and swirled it. The sazerac is one of my favorite drinks to make. It takes a level of preparation I appreciate. Next I grabbed a pint glass and filled it with rye, simple syrup and bitters. Capped the pint glass with a Boston shaker and shook it rigorously trying to break up the ice enough to dilute it slightly and release the flavors, but not so much that it emasculates the rye. Swirled the lowball one more time before dumping out the excess absinthe and then strain the rye into the glass. Shaved off some lemon zest for garnish and put it on the well for the tiniest waitress I had ever met, Carla, to pick it up. All night every night I mixed sazeracs, manhattans, cosmopolitans and martinis for the rich fucks that drink at my bar. Despite the fancy swagger of the décor and the jazz piped in when we don’t have live music we are still just a bar.

I had a few idle minutes so I washed glasses while keeping an eye on the customers faces. It was a slow night and I wasn’t making much in tips so I wanted desperately to leave. The guy at the end of the bar kept watching my ass and usually that doesn’t bother me, but I was feeling ready to jump down his throat. He was a thick guy with that five o’clock shadow that comes with a guy who has to shave every day, like it never really goes away. He also had some kind of aftershave or cologne floating off of him. It wasn’t too heavy, but I was always pretty sensitive to smells and his was bugging me.

A few hours later I took a smoke break. The customers left and it was just me and Carla waiting for our shifts to end. I stood to head back inside when the ass watcher appeared in front of me, “Could I get a light?” He smirked.

I forced a smile and nodded. I reached for my back pocket and pulled the lighter flicking it as I lifted it when he reached for my wrist. I jerked my hand back and let out a ‘no’ before I could stop myself.

“Sorry, you’ve got a wrist brace. How’d you hurt it?”

I shook my head and left him without a light. I could still see his stupid smirk in my mind’s eye. He followed me into the bar. “Listen,” I started in, “I’m going to need you to leave sir.”

“I’m sorry,” He raised his hands and dropped the smirk. “I got off on the wrong foot with you. I shouldn’t have touched you and I apologize for that.”

“I accept your apology, now please leave.”

The apologetic face was replaced with an angry expression. He lowered his head and I could feel how empty the bar was. I didn’t see the Carla anywhere and I felt suddenly aware of how much bigger this guy was than me. “Do you know who I am?” It was a phrase I had become accustomed to at this bar anytime I told my clientele ‘no’. I got really good at staring them down when I was backed by a full staff and large number of customers, now it was just him and me and I felt scared. “I do not, but I am currently feeling threatened and I will ask you one more time to leave or I will have to call the police.”

The air felt really heavy and I made sure to keep my eyes on him the whole time and prayed that my expression was more stoic than it felt. He finally nodded and left the bar.

I got on the other side of the bar and called my boss instantly. While I was on the phone the waitress sauntered in and answered automatically, “I had to use the bathroom.” She could tell I was livid from my expression alone. I felt a little bad at how much I enjoyed instilling fear into my coworkers, but I was feeling selfish.

Marlon.

th

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 31 Aug

I saw something tonight that I can’t explain. There were a bunch of people singing, but it was super creepy. I think they were Satanists!

Drew Haskell @bropocalypse 01 Sep

@TechPagon Yo, they were just hippies!!! LOL

Sheri Powell @SheriPowell 01 Sep

@bropocalypse @TechPagon You’re both jumping to conclusions. Go talk to them and maybe you won’t have to make assumptions. #checkyourprivilege

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 01 Sep

@SheriPowell I went back today and there was a big circle with a pentagram and I think there was blood in the center of the circle.

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 01 Sep

@SheriPowell zero assumptions. #checkyourprivilege

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 03 Sep

there was a dead cat on my front porch today.

Sheri Powell @SheriPowell 03 Sep

@TechPagon It was probably just a stray.

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 03 Sep

@SheriPowell It was nailed to the door in an upside down crucifix.

Drew Haskell @bropocalypse 03 Sep

@TechPagon Dude that was me. Found him next to the dumpster yesterday.

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 03 Sep

@bropocalypse You are such a bitch!

Drew Haskell @bropocalypse 03 Sep

@TechPagon Bwahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 04 Sep

I am seriously getting freaked out! I’m going to keep tweeting so there is a record if anything happens to me. Twitter is forever. Right?

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

Before anybody starts commenting let me get this out. I went to the woods and they were there again. I know about the occult and thought I might try talking.

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

There were fifteen people dressed in red robes. Mostly women, the man at the center was saying a prayer in a language I nev

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

Er heard before. It drew me in, like music even though they weren’t singing. They smiled as I approached, some of them

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

Patted me on the shoulder. The man at the center kept speaking, but his eyes were on me. I could feel them even with my eyes shut. I saw the

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

Sky open up like a black opal surrounded by a golden ring and I wept. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I swear angels w

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

Ith trumpets descended towards me and suddenly I felt a fever come on me like a wave across my soul. This was a dark fever and it was a

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

T that point I understood I was no longer Marlon. I wasn’t a man or a woman, nor even a beast. I was a God. I have never felt such peace as I d

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

Id in that moment. I murdered the congregation of course. My hunger demands blood. I do feel some small pity for Marlon’s parents, but they

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 05 Sep

Would have stood in my way.

Drew Haskell @bropocalypse 06 Sep

@TechPagon That’s a pretty creepy story bro. You should have put that on Creepy pasta, seriously I’m getting chills.

Marlon S. Baker @TechPagon 04 Sep

@bropocalypse Thank you Drew. Say, I wonder who that is at your door?

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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

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.