Samaritan Road

November 24, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Samaritan Road by Spinsomniac

On the outskirts of some small nameless town in West Virginia lies a miles-long, straight strip of asphalt known as Samaritan Road. The road is nestled in it’s peaceful surroundings of trees and an endless landscape of forests on both sides of it.

The road itself would appear to be just your average country drive, except for the urban legend it holds. The back story to the legend does not actually exist; whether the reason is due to an uncreative author, a lack of historical information or just country folk too traumatized to verbalize whatever happened there. Whatever the case, what happens on that road to unsuspecting travelers is most certainly known by locals.
The urban legend goes like this.

If you drive down Samaritan Road past midnight, about half way down the road (at least a 5 mile drive,) you will start to feel a bit sick. The sickness itself starts off as a bit of a stomach ache which makes you wonder if you ate something wrong or something inside you didn’t settle right.
Let me warn you right now: Ride out this feeling of nausea by keeping your eyes on the road, ignoring the pain and driving all the way through Samaritan Road at all costs. This is important.

If you listen to my warning, you will be making the best choice of your life. If not… well, I guess it’s only fair for me to explain what will probably become of you.

If you are feeling the nausea and mentally harp on the pain long enough, the sickness itself will feed on your reaction and cause the pain to grow exponentially. You will feel as though you ate scalpels, pins, needles, scissors, knives, you name it. It WILL hurt like all hell. Eventually, one thought will float through your brain that will seal your fate.

“I need some fresh air.”

In your mind, for some reason or another, you will not feel as though this means you should just open a window for some air. You will feel as though you should pull over and step out of the car to let the fresh forest air nestle you from your car’s processed atmosphere. Hell, even if your window was open the whole time you were driving, you will feel as though the sickness itself has been caused by the you sitting in that somehow cursed car of yours.

This is what she wants you to think.

As you get out, you will notice how that first rush of fresh air into your lungs feels as though you are breathing for the first time. Such a breath of life being delivered to you. Not in your wildest dreams has the process of breathing seemed so naturally joyous. As you begin to enjoy the surroundings, you may look off into the trees to see if someone is out there.

Don’t worry. No one is out there in the trees. This I can promise you.

You may spend a minute or two gazing out into the forestscape or checking the bottom of your car to find the source of your past case of nausea. Was there some gas leakage that you subconsciously breathed in? A bumpiness in the road you forgot that rattled your intestines? No, that can’t be it.
As you finally gaze back towards the road, your heart will suddenly skip a beat. In the road will be the figure of a young woman in a white night gown and long black hair facing away from you. It’s common knowledge to the legend that she will always face away from you. You may call to her, but she will not respond. You may try to startle her to get her attention or even throw a rock at her but I guarantee that she will stay as still as a gargoyle.

You will make the choice to confront her. It is always how it works.

You may be saying to yourself, “Why? What if I decide to lock myself in my car.”

You won’t. Believe me. Samaritan Road brings out this sort of natural human feeling in you that you always have to help your fellow man. Such a place of legend actually uses your positive human instincts against you.

You will decide to go and confront the woman. But as you do, you will see the headlights of a large vehicle heading your way and moving at breakneck speed towards the woman. You may warn hear to get out of the road, but as before, she will ignore your words and actions. Don’t try to stop the vehicle either. If anyone even is driving it, I doubt they would listen to little old you.

At this point, you have two options. One will save your life and one will bring it to a horrific end.

Option 1: As the truck heads your way, run into the road a few feet in front of the girl and yell to the truck “Heed my innocence, sibling of existence.” If you did this right, the headlights will disappear and the vehicle will vanish. If not, I cannot say that the gods of large automobiles will be kind to you.
That is Option 1. The smart option.

Option 2: This is the stupid mistake many that do not know how Samaritan Road works tend to make. As the truck comes, you will run towards the young woman and attempt to push her out of the way. As you reach her, she will reveal herself by turning around. Her skin is white and wrinkled, resembling worn, aging leather. She has large, inhuman black eyes and rotting yellow teeth that look like chipped corn cobs. She has no nose, but only two slits that looked as though they were cut into the middle of her face. She will scream an ungodly scream that will seem to impale your eardrums and you sill be paralyzed in fear. As you do, she will hover to the side of the road to safety and allow the gigantic vehicle to run you over. You will die on impact as many before you have.

If you happen to make it out of the predicament in Option 1, the woman will be gone and you are free to leave. Your good deed on Samaritan Road has been accomplished. Get in your car and drive. For the love of God, just drive. Leave the cursed place and never look back. A million good deeds are not worth the pure hell surrounding the one you have just accomplished.

As you leave Samaritan Road, just make sure to keep yourself calm and don’t lose focus of your driving. It is customary as you leave the area to hear a young woman’s voice whisper to you in the darkness, “Thank you.”

Credit To – Spinsomniac

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Recipe

October 30, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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“Swallow something, canned, frozen,
Ungodly festering source.
Dragging and kicking and screaming for more,
That burns, burns, burns, burns.”

– Made Out Of Babies, “Cooker.”

“I’m not going to sleep well,” thought Olas to himself. He was sweating through his shirt to the point where peeling it off would take more effort than was worth the discomfort. He stumbled through the darkness of his warping apartment, arms alternating between leaning on the impossibly distorted walls for support and clutching his abdomen in pain. His skull felt like it was full of butterflies; his stomach filled with hornets. With every step towards his bedroom Olas became more and more delirious, until at last he fell face first into his mattress with only the vaguest of memory as to what had even occurred to make him feel so nauseous to begin with. Olas inhaled deeply, and in the vortex of his mind, the stupor got the best of him. A moment later, all thoughts faded.

It wasn’t the sound that woke him, but rather the smell. The scent of bile assaulting his olfactory nerves as the excess vomit climbed through his nasopharynx startled Olas awake before his own retching entered consciousness. He pushed himself to his knees, spitting gastric juices and wiping his sleeve across his mouth for maybe a full minute before he even noticed his new location. Olas blinked twice, not sure if he was hallucinating or if he was really even awake, but regardless, the sight was unsettling.

It looked almost if someone had attempted to decorate an abandoned subway maintenance tunnel with wallpaper and antique furniture, but never bothered to care about the issue of mold or termites. The tunnel seemed to continue like this infinitely in both directions, lit only by the periodic industrial bulbs and tacky lamps that blended with the steam leaking from a few of the copper pipes that lined the walls as far as the corridor would take them. Olas lifted himself to his feet cautiously and justifiably nervous given the circumstances. He began to walk, not sure as to where or what he was expecting to find. An exit perhaps? Or possibly a sign indicating what this strange place was supposed to be or where. “I’m still dreaming.” He told himself, only partially believing his own words.

Olas walked for what felt like an hour before he began to hear something besides the slow hiss of steam or the ambient hum of the lamps. A meaningless echo of something at first, becoming the distinct noise of a laugh, or what was ostensibly a laugh. Actually, more like two. One the soft giggle of a young woman, the other a deep metallic growl of a large animal. The sounds steadily increased in volume and clarity as Olas continued along his route until finally a door unexpectedly halted his progress. It was a wooden door, the kind found on the interior of a house and juxtaposed to the concrete exposed beneath the peeling wallpaper that had been a constant until now. At eye level, there was a sign that read “Café Eµclid”. The queasy feeling in Olas’s stomach returned, but he shrugged to himself before knocking. As soon as his knuckles connected to the wood, the giggles ceased.

The door creaked open, and Olas couldn’t stop himself from falling backwards in fright. The occupant was an odd sight to be sure, warranting a second glance from Olas. Standing on the precipice of the tunnel and the room behind, stood a small girl, no older than fourteen, with white-blonde hair and wearing a brown cardigan beneath a pine green apron. Unusual, but not inherently disturbing. What had caused Olas to stumble was the fact that this otherwise ordinary girl had eyes of pure black, wide and whiteless like two balls of polished obsidian. The second distinguishing feature was her number of limbs. There were eight in total; two legs, six arms. She smiled down on Olas, reaching out one of her numerous hands towards him.

“Hello there Nicholas!” She greeted in a two toned voice, a doubling effect of entirely separate individuals speaking in harmony. It became painfully clear to Olas that there was only one source for the noises heard earlier. “I’ve been expecting your company for quite a while. Please come in, we have much to prepare before the feast.”

Olas hesitated to respond, needing a moment to recite his mantra that this was all just a dream, a very lucid dream brought on by experimenting with far too many foreign ingredients, the thought of which brought some sense to his current situation. The memory returned suddenly of what had brought him to this nightmarish world. The “Novum Saporem” it was called, or more commonly “Strange Taste,” and to the few who have ever read its pages, it was the Necronomicon of cook books, containing ancient recipes of Egyptian barbeque, to special chemical notations seemingly written in the distant future, to preparation techniques for aquatic species unknown to Earth’s biosphere. Part alchemy, part el Celler de Can Roca, it was occultist cuisine at its finest. The ancient and mysterious grimoire itself was written in 2006 by Josh Wriggly, the mad fry cook of Dino’s Diner, during a state of hysterical vision brought on by huffing too much paint thinner. The resulting hallucination was of arcane glyphs ascending from a vat of chicken gravy.

Olas purchased it for seventy five cents at a Quaker book sale the previous Tuesday. The last recipe he had attempted translated from an alien language had called for a crystal of bismuth, a nine volt battery, a pentagram drawn in snake blood, and one liter of Dr. Pepper. The title of this particular cocktail translated to “A sleepless dream.”

“What are you waiting for silly?” The arachnoid girl asked Olas’s blank face lost in thought. Olas stood up on his own, rubbing his forehead in a futile attempt to relieve his throbbing headache.

“I’m sorry, who are you?” He asked, not sure what else to do.
“My apologies Nicholas, my name is Abigail Von Strudelherst, the demon guardian of esoteric foodstuffs and chief saucier of the Domain of Krivbeknih. You did summon me, did you not?”
“I guess so?” Olas didn’t know how else to respond, and figured it best to simply agree noncommittally until he knew for sure what was happening.
“Oh you guess so?” Abigail continued. “Nobody ionizes that much Dr. Pepper inside of the sigil of pagan nonsense by accident you know.”

Olas shrugged, and beginning to feel oddly relaxed in the demon’s presence, followed her into the atrium of yet an even larger chamber. The atrium itself resembled something between a hip downtown coffee house and a gothic cathedral; pillars of charcoal dark stone lined in gargoyle carvings and comfortable looking upholstery, as well as countless glass counters displaying exquisitely designed cakes and pastries. All of this was secondary however to the Escher esque geometries of the architecture itself, which oscillated with an emphasis on vertical development, the arches and stain glass windows set at angles too impossible to comprehend outside a realm of pure mind. The sheer force of cognitive vertigo elevated Olas to a state of irresoluble awe.

“This can’t all be in my head. Where am I really?” Olas asked in an involuntarily loud voice. Abigail turned to Olas with all six hands planted firmly on her hips and wearing an expression of discontentment. Her twin voices proceeded with an emphasis on the deeper variant.

“I know you’re not illiterate. The sign said Café Eµclid, so that’s where you are. If you mean temporally, then I suppose we’re somewhere outside of the central finite curvature of space. If you wanted an address, we’re just beneath the city of Dis.” The malevolence left her tone, shifting back to an equilibrium of sorts. She jumped excitedly. “We’re going to cook some food! It’ll be great, follow me!” One of her hands grabbed Olas’s right as she began to enthusiastically lead Olas through the labyrinth of tea shelves and altars. Together, they made their way to the double stainless steel doors, passing through into the kitchen of the immense structure.

For the most part, it was a kitchen, the kind found in most standard restaurants with a minimal degree of dimensional anomalies: There were racks of spices, meats, vegetables, and cookware. There were ovens and stoves, blenders and juicers and strainers and mixers, sacks of grains stacked high to the ceiling, sinks and pots and knives polished to a mirrors shine. Typical eatery goods, but also not lacking in the unusual items of interest, such as a device that may have been the product of a fever dream construction between a steam engine and a French press with the aesthetic influence of Nikola Tesla. Also some of the smoked meat appeared to be derived from primate. Olas barely had a moment to let it all sink in before Abigail clapped her hands in anticipation.

“Now, onto the formal introductions in the manner to which I am accustomed.” She began, handing Olas a spotless white toque. “Tradition dictates that the visitor prepares a meal for the host. I will observe your technique and return the gesture in kind.” She stated very matter-of-factly. “You are welcome to any and all resources available, and to a few which are not. Tick tock, I’ve grown quite famished since your… arrival.” She licked her lips and released a single hollow growl.

Olas worked at a hurried pace, tossing selected ingredients into a large brass cooking pot as they crossed his path. A head of cactus from the crisper, a brick of goat cheese, a dozen eggs, badger milk, a sack of flour, baking powder, olive oil, other oil, jalapeno peppers, tequila, bacon, a handful of live scorpions, and million other little things that caught his eye. Taking his supplies to a counter, he expertly began to mix a batter while scooping out the innards of the cactus before tossing it into a bowl of tequila. When the batter was good and thick, the next step was to heat the oil to a low boil while keeping time with which item needed chopping in what order. He started with the scorpions for the simple convenience of preventing them from crawling away, moving on to frying the bacon and peppers once the creature were fully immobilized. After perhaps an hour had passed, Olas wiped sweat from his brow and finally presented his culinary creation to the childish abomination.

“Wonderful,” She exclaimed, “I was beginning to grow impatient.” She inspected the meal briefly, sniffing the deep fried exterior before nodding approvingly. In one fluid motion, she devoured the fire stuffed cactus in a single jaw detaching bite, belching loudly immediately afterwards.

“My turn.”

Abigail raised her arms abruptly, crossing them over into imaginary lines, symbols of chaos and magic. Like the director of a psychotic orchestra in the midst of a lynch mob, she conjured flames and sharpened blades to fulfill her unreal wishes. The kitchen exploded in mad energies around Olas, who fell to the tiled floor in an attempt to avoid the flying hazards that spun wildly through the air. Abigail cackled in her joyous lunacy, turning her attention towards the strange piston device, the very same whose purpose, until now, remained obscured.

“Behold my omnipotence!” She screamed, hands waving in every direction as floating nonsense arranged her prep work.
“Behold my boiler!” The steam gauge assembly groaned as Abigail revved its diesel engine. Pistons blasted heat, compartments and hoppers filled with grains and fruits while tubes pumped miscellaneous fluids past grinding gears and meats that roasted over open flames produced a gyrating prism.
“Behold my flavors!” She demanded, as the finished product was dressed and plated for Olas. It had been a mere twenty seconds since she had started her absurd performance, and the dish served would, under any other circumstance, require a dozen men and at least three months of elaborate planning.

“Frittata?” Olas inquired, hesitant to ingest a single bite after having witnessed the process firsthand. He was fairly certain that ectoplasm may have been used as a dairy substitute.

“Portabella lobster frittata with two ounces of silver-baked caviar, garnished with Phobian whitegrass, seasoned with quadsodiumthantrite and served with a driveling of sauce béchamel, which I altered with addition of basil and ectoplasm as the thickening agent. Also I threw in some leeks just for the hell of it.” Her gaze insisted on her own masterpiece.

Olas took a bite and nearly died of existential ecstasy.
“It’s like there’s a party in mouth and everyone’s a cannibal! This is the greatest thing I have or will ever taste if I live for a hundred billion years!” Olas realized that he was talking instead of eating and almost punched himself for his own stupidity. Abigail waited silently as Olas made alternating sounds of chewing, sobbing, and laughing. A few minutes later, Abigail snapped her fingers, sending the dinning wares off to autonomously cleanse themselves.

“Now that the customary pleasantries have come to pass, we may continue with plans of this fine evening.” The kitchen lights where suddenly darkened, replaced violently with stove flames, throwing shadows across the tiled walls. The mood shifted as abruptly as the lighting. Olas’s face began to crack a look of concern despite the remaining taste in his mouth, but just barely. “You have arrived at a very opportune time young Nicholas. A once in a millennium event actually; The Feast of Beast it is called in your peanut brained language.” She giggled coyly, before noticing the expression of apprehension on Olas’s face.

“Oh don’t give me that look mister. You knew what you were getting yourself into when you opened that dusty old tome. Apocryphal knowledge comes at a price obviously.” A disturbingly wide grin stretched across the little girl’s face. “Plus a twenty percent tip, if you’re classy that is.”

“What does this feast involve?” Asked Olas, quite sure that he wouldn’t enjoy the answer. Abigail maintained her smile.

“Oh, just a bit of garlic, a few chopped carrots, a mortal sacrifice, and a scalloped zucchini or two. You can handle that right?” Olas’s eyes widened, backing away, slowly at first as the image sunk into his mind’s eye, then turning for a run. Before he could even reach the kitchen doors he was caught; ensnared in a roll of cheesecloth in a way befitting Abigail’s arachnidan appearance. He was dragged screaming in fear across the floor back towards the meat locker.

“Stop, please don’t do this!” He cried. “You can take it back, the book. I don’t need it anymore!”
Abigail just laughed in her dueling sinister voice. In her eyes, Olas was nothing more than a slab of meat to be tenderized.
“I will rend your fat human. And it will be delicious.” She stripped Olas of cheesecloth and clothing, throwing him onto a hook as though he were weightless. Olas panted through a clenched jaw as the cold steel pierced his thorax. His breath was dampened by the strain of a collapsed lung.
“Good, very good.” Abigail said, poking at Olas’s abdomen. “Organs fresh as these will cover tonight’s dinner rush.” Olas coughed blood onto her face. She happily licked it from her chin.
“I promise… I promise I won’t cook anymore. For anyone, just let me go.” He begged.
“Ha! I’ll be getting that either way stupid. Now shut up and accept your slaughter little lamb. You’re dying for art. Or gluttony. Whatever.”
Becoming uninterested in the young chef’s pleas, she focused her attention on a rack of utensils.

“Hmm, cleaver…or mallet? Or perhaps something pronged. Serrated? Souffle torch maybe? Rakshasa does enjoy a crispy skin.” She paused a moment in thought. “Ah, of course, the melon baller! How could I forget? Those eyes aren’t going to scoop themselves…and yet…you know what, let’s try them all!” Selecting a different tool for each hand, she returned to face Olas, eager to resume the butchering. Olas knew it was useless to bargain, but tried his best anyway.

“Please, I… I can help you.” He stammered.
“Help me? It took your species two hundred and fifty thousand years just to figure out how to boil water. You’re not even good enough to stir the soup.” A serrated knife embedded itself just below Olas’s diaphragm, twisted, then extracted as quickly as it had entered. Olas’s body convulsed in agony.
“Hey look at that, frittata!” Abigail grabbed a handful of the acid soaked omelet from Olas’s open stomach, shoving it by the fist load into her mouth, unfazed by blood or enzymes.
“Bu… but…” Olas was experiencing such obscene feelings of burning pain that speaking was almost entirely out of the question. No choice but to abandon all hope.
Abigail twirled the melon baller between her fingers.
“Don’t blink now, wouldn’t want those eyelashes getting everywhere.” With a twitch, the blades darted towards Olas’s soft flesh.

“BUT YOU ATE IT!” He screamed as the metal tools approached his face in his final, labored effort to save himself. A knife froze midair, no more than a centimeter from his trachea.
“Y… you ate it. I made it and you swallowed.”
Abigail blinked.
“Yes… and your point is what exactly?”
Olas caught what little breath he could.
“Did you like it?” He managed to ask, after a short respite.
Abigail furrowed her brow.
“Of course I liked it. I would have spat it out if I didn’t. In fact, it was probably the best tequila pepper bomb that I’ve had since Senor Diablo himself graced my kitchen with his cloven pezunas.” She paused once she realized the words she spoke. Olas had managed to prove himself useful, albeit in a small, easily disposable sort of way. She growled in resentment.
“Fine. I’ll grant you a favor. Make it count.”

Olas sighed painfully in relief, and made the obvious request to be returned home, back to a world he could be sure was not part of some elaborate nightmare or metaphysical plane of reality. He expressed his desire, and it was done. Abigail nodded in agreement, set aside the blades and torches, procuring a single onion it their place. She held it up to Olas’s nostrils.

“Peel the onion, and smell the ether. Layer by layer, to taste something deeper.” She chanted as she removed dry skin of pale violet. Olas’s eyes shuddered, his body numbed, and the meat locker faded to black.

Olas awoke in a gasp of terror, still sweating thick rolling beads that soaked his mattress. But it was his mattress, and his bedroom. He blinked once, twice, just be sure that everything was back to the way it should be. He checked his watch, and confirmed the hands by the first rays of dawn that passed through his window. Hardly believing it, Olas took his time standing to his feet, making his way to the bathroom to wash the sweat from his face.

Not knowing what to do after splashing cool water over his head and neck, Olas noticed how the pain in his stomach had been replaced with hunger. He walked to the kitchen.

The sight of cabinets and tile caused his heart to skip a beat, but after a moment of cautious inspection, Olas relaxed. There was no pentagram, or bismuth, or cheesecloth. There was no Novum Saporem: the only book to be found was a tattered copy of Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Plenty”. Nothing supernatural or horrible whatsoever. It was just a kitchen, a simple, familiar kitchen. Olas chuckled to himself in relief. Clearly it was all just a bad dream brought on by spoiled produce, nothing more. He could kick himself for letting it get to him so early in the day. Olas went along and opened his refrigerator to figure out what he should have for breakfast.

At first, Olas was confused. He was certain that he had stocked the shelves of his fridge the previous day, but it was almost entirely empty, save for a single…

His face froze, ice raced through his veins at the sight of a single, half peeled onion. To its side, a small florid note. “Welcome home.” It read. Olas realized his flaw, asking only to be returned back to his apartment, a request fulfilled to the letter. And to add insult to injury, she used the loophole to steal all of his groceries.

He didn’t even have time to scream before the hands grabbed him from behind.

Credit To – Stephan D. Harris

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The Lord of the Scarecrows

October 28, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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In this place, where tales of terror draw forth the most loathsome of emotions, stop for a moment, dear seeker, and reflect. Is there someone that you really and truly hate? Someone who has worsened your life by their influence? A person with whom you can never hope to get even?

Perhaps a former friend, turned to betrayal. An ex-lover, whose wanton heart left yours in pieces. Perchance an employer? A family member? A stranger who inflicted the barest of slights? Think hard, and if you come up with an answer, then know this:

You can have you revenge.

In an isolated field, in a place where civilization has worn thin into the whelming green of nature, you will find the thing you seek. It will not be an easy journey, and there is no guarantee you will emerge from this ordeal unscathed, but if you are truly serious about this hatred, if your heart burns with unslakeable vengeance, then, my child, arise one morning at dawn, and steel your will. You will need every once of determination you can draw from your reservoir of hate.

When you are sufficiently ready, go and procure a vehicle, one you won’t mind taking through rough and open country. Ensure that it is well fueled and well-maintained. You will not have the luxury of pit stops on this trip. Ideally, you should bring with you any vittles you feel you will need to sustain yourself, but if nothing else, bring with you a map or some form of location device. Becoming lost is an integral part of this process, and, presumably, you’ll want to find your way back.

After you have prepared, arise the next morning just before dawn. Enter your vehicle, and begin to drive. The general direction in which you travel is of little consequence, but you can greatly expedite this process by moving away from any urban or civic areas. The more rural your location, the closer you will be. As you drive, you must stay alert. Keep your eyes open for the signs that others do not see.

My child, you must follow the crows. Seek out the roads where they nest upon the powerlines. Turn down streets where you see them fly. You will likely become lost, and doubtless you will find yourself driving in circles, but take heart, as this is only bringing you closer to your goal.

Crows are intelligent creatures, you see. They are capable of recalling faces, using tools, and complex communication. When they see you following them, they will know what it is you seek. After a time, if you are patient, they will begin to lead you. If you happen to lose sight of them, or if, indeed, they do not appear for you at all, then the time is not yet right for your pilgrimage, and you must return home at once. You may attempt the trip again at a later date, so do not worry overmuch. True revenge knows the meaning of patience.

As the day wears on, and the crows lead you forward, you will doubtless begin to notice a shift in your surrounding area. You will find yourself in places you never knew existed, in towns ancient and forgotten, overgrown by the festering wilds. There will be no other cars at this point, no signs of life save for the crows guiding you. At this point, you have crossed over into Its domain. You are a trespasser here, and return to your world is impossible. You must persist now, whatever should come your way.

Very soon after your transition, the crows will begin to take you off the roads themselves. You will have to travel across open fields and treacherous terrain. If you were careful in your selection, your vehicle should be able to navigate most of these challenges, but eventually, there will come a point at which you can drive no further. At times, a rocky outcropping will impede your progress. At others, a roaring stream will prevent passage. Whatever form this impediment takes, you must thereafter proceed on foot.

Exit your vehicle quickly, but make not of its location. Bring nothing with you. You a pilgrim in a sacred space, the luxury of the material is no longer yours to possess. The crows will slow when they see you on foot, but they will, themselves, continue to progress. They are called here just the same as you, so be swift. No matter what, you must return to your vehicle before the sun sets. Night in this place is not hospitable to intruders, and the seething things that skitter and click in the dark places of this world are always hungry.

It may be a short distance, or it may be miles, but eventually, you will come across a thick glade of ancient trees. There will be no mistaking this location. Crows will fill the air, gathering from all directions and converging upon the blighted wood. As you pass through the trees, you will see a greater multitude of the dark fowl than you have ever seen before. They will line every branch, cover every root and patch of land. Yet in spite of their preternatural numbers, there will be a whelming quiet over the area, with the only sounds being the faint rustles of the wings of new arrivals, each eager to take its place in the arboreal auditorium.

As you reach the edge of the wood, you will find it open into a large, rectangular field, surrounded on all sides by the forest. The ground itself will be withered and barren, ringed by the blighted remains of plants that foolishly grew too close to this sanctuary. The air here will be cold and acrid, and you will likely begin to feel weak as the very ground you stand on repels the life burning impiously inside you.

It is here, in the center of this place, that you will find the Lord of Scarecrows. It will be erected on an iron cross, Its form made of hide and bone, stitched with sinew and decorated with the limbs and adornments of the local fauna. Amidst this twisting aberration, you will, however, be able to make out the distinct form of a human body, rising up in mock crucifixion, Its flesh all rotted out and dried. Over Its head, It will wear a hood made of stitched-together skin, and Its face will be completely obscured to you.

This is an ancient and sacred thing, an altar and effigy to a thing older than the ground upon which you stand. It will not do to dwell upon its nature, as this is something far beyond mortal comprehension, and to glimpse upon It would be to see into the very primordial ether of creation itself.

Steel your nerve, and approach, but be reverent. This is a church of greater magnitude than the grandest of basilica, and you will not wish to anger this idol. In Its right hand, you will see, clutched tight, a knife of blackest obsidian, wickedly sharp, with a handle carved from bone. In the other, It will bear a roll of coarse cloth. Take both, gently and humbly. It will yield them to you.

Kneel before it, and state that you wish to make an offering of a sinner, then, using the knife, make an incision somewhere upon your body. The bite of the blade will be sharp and swift, and you will bleed quite profusely. Be careful not to wound yourself fatally, lest all this effort be wasted. Gathering the blood pouring from your rent flesh, scrawl the name of your intended target upon the cloth. As you write, think upon the sins this person has committed. Every act of cruelty, ever bitterly unfair word or deed. It does not matter how trivial, all that matters now is the hate that burns in you.

It will likely surprise you with how much blood it takes to write the full name of your sacrifice, but you must persevere. When you have finished, roll the cloth tightly up, and, carefully, peel the hood up just far enough to reveal the skeletal mouth of the effigy. Insert the cloth between its parted teeth, then return the hood to its original position.

Now, slather the knife with your blood, so that the blade is completely coated. Once it drips with crimson life, plunge it into the heart of the idol, and speak these words: “My sacrifice is made.”

You are free to go, but make haste. Doubtless you will have little time left before the dying sun sets beyond the horizon. As you make your way back out through the forest, you will no longer hear the tranquil silence. The air will be filled with whispers, with the recitations of sins and wicked deeds. Do not linger here.

When you return to your vehicle, begin driving until you reach the road, then go as fast as you can toward the direction of the setting sun. The shadows of this place will begin to grow and shift, but if you have followed these directions perfectly, just as the sun sinks down, a blinding flash should consume the horizon, and when it fades, you should be back in the world of the living, your car idling on an empty, but otherwise normal street. Find your way back home, and rest. You have earned your reward.

Over the next year, the victim whose name you offered will begin to wither. All goodness and fortune will quit their lives, and every endeavor will bring to them only bitter tragedy. When, at last, they finally die, one year from the moment you completed the ritual, they will be broken thoroughly, in mind, body, and spirit. At last, your vengeance will be satisfied.

From that day forward, however, you will always be unsettled by the sight of crows, and the hushed whispers they bring beneath their ebony wings. You will feel as if they watch you, keeping track of every vice, of every sin and misstep, and not just of you, of everyone, of everything. Almost as if they existed only to observe, and to relay the wickedness of man to It that waits, with silent anticipation, to serve as its ultimate executioner.

Credit To – brahesTheorem

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Child of God

October 25, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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August 1st marks the tenth anniversary of the day the hunters came, though none of my family celebrates this anniversary. I’m only telling this story because I owe it to those men who saved us that day.

I’ll be honest. It was my fault. It was all my fault.

Ten years ago I was a sadly unpopular, unattractive, loner girl in my high school. I had no friends growing up in rural Montana and no extended family to visit. I was raised by a single mother all of my life and together we both took care of my younger brother, Matthew.

My mother took us to a small Catholic church every Sunday for mass even though I never really believed in any religion. Apparently she baptized me as a Catholic but I don’t consider myself beholden to the church.

So, being a sixteen year old girl with no friends and no boyfriend, I desperately wanted someone to talk to. My mother was always working and my brother was only twelve which made it hard for us to relate to one another. One day on my way home from school, I stopped by the local bookstore and started looking for books about witchcraft. I (stupidly) thought that I could “summon” a ghost or supernatural entity which could eventually become my friend. I imagined befriending a ghost of a girl who died around my age so at least I could have someone who would understand the girl problems I was dealing with then.

I know, when I look back, I was naïve; but I was desperate for a companion and confidant.

I started reading into this pagan belief system called Wicca and though I thought the idea of practicing “white magic” (or what is considered benign magic) was cool, it didn’t offer me any solution to finding a friend. About two weeks after delving into Wicca, I went back to the bookstore to find a book about “black magic” (or what is considered malign magic) because I learned that black magic and necromancy are the schools of sorcery that would help me conjure a spirit.

All the while my mother had no idea, mainly because she was busy, but also because I didn’t tell her so she wouldn’t throw away my books because she was a devout Catholic. Although, when I look back now, I almost wish she found out and stopped me before I went to far.

So there I was, a teenage girl learning about the devil’s arts to raise the ghost of a dead girl in order to have a friend.

I was actually scared at first when learning these rituals and spells. Some seemed so silly that I almost didn’t believe they would work, but other spells had a feeling of absolute seriousness such as the ones involving animal sacrifices and self-mutilation.

I did my best to research before trying anything out because I didn’t want to slit my hands or arms for no reason, but when I found the spell that I was looking for, I was more than horrified.

Before I had to make the sacrifice, I had to pledge my faith to “The Darkness” and had to chant every night for hours on end using pentagram symbols and candles. I lived in a small home but in Montana we had five acres of wooded land behind us, so I would go into the woods at night to do my chanting. It was difficult at first because I was afraid of every sound I heard coming from the shadows, but after a month of performing my minor rituals, I became more in tune with the darkness.

I started to feel more depressed, but comfortable in my depression, and I would constantly think about morbid things. I would draw pentagrams in class when I was supposed to be taking notes and my whole being really changed. People started to notice me at school for the wrong reasons. I didn’t dress like a stereotypical gothic person, but I did wear darker colors and had some kind of malevolent energy always about me. I stopped smiling and laughing and I became more reclusive than I already was. But when I was in the midst of all this, I didn’t really notice.

Eventually it came time for me to summon my spectral friend. I went to the graveyard on a Friday night and had found the headstone of a girl who died when she was seventeen years old. I won’t give her full name out for the sake of respect for the dead, but I knew her as Jezebel.

It was a terribly gruesome rite I had to perform, but by that time, I had undergone such a transformation of character that I didn’t even feel remorse. On Jezebel’s gravesite, I chalked a pentagram, lit my candles, and slit the palms of my hands. Then I took the stray kitten which I found wandering around the outskirts of town (this was common for stray cats and dogs to loiter in the boondocks of my town) and I slit her throat. My blood and the kitten’s blood mingled on the soil of Jezebel’s grave and after reciting certain incantations, her shadowy form rose from the earth.

I was shocked that it worked but even more frightened of her. I expected to see a whitish or bluish spectral image of the girl whose grave I had defiled, but I never saw Jezebel that way. She was always just a black shadow; she had the shape of a teenage girl, she had the voice of one too, but never had a face. It was as if she was a perpetual silhouette which made it slightly difficult to befriend her. She had no eyes that I could look into and see a reflection of my own sorrow, nor did she have hair I could braid or a smile that I could find solace in; she was just pure darkness.

Despite her off-putting essence, she was kind to me. She followed me back home and found peace inside of our one story house. Jezebel liked to stay in my closet and would only come out at night and follow me to the woods to watch me continue performing rituals to confess my ever growing faith in the darkness that had brought her to me.

All was well for a few months until I began to notice her increasing affection toward my younger brother. I told her that Matthew was only twelve years old, but she took a weird liking to him anyway. Eventually she would leave the closet in which she slept only to stare at my brother while he was laying in bed. I asked her to stop, but she wouldn’t. She kept telling me that there was something “special” about his soul that she found so endearing.

Soon enough, Matthew began to hear something follow him around the house during the evening hours and he would complain to my mother who only blamed his young imagination. I can’t remember how many times he told my mother about feeling something following and watching him, but it seemed like far too many times to be ignored.

Despite all this, I stayed quiet, not wanting to reveal my secret involvement with necromancy and Jezebel. I tried to comfort my brother by telling him there was nothing to worry about, but he refused to believe me.

I had another talk with Jezebel about staying away from Matthew, but she didn’t take my words seriously. Instead, she became violent and knocked my nightstand over along with the pictures and glass of water that were on top of it. Now I had started to fear Jezebel, but sadly, it was much too late.

That very night, around three o’clock in the morning, Matthew woke my mother and I up with a hysterical scream. My mother rushed into his room not knowing what to expect, but I stayed in mine, not wanting to see what had happened.

According to my mother, she saw a black shadowy form grasping onto Matthew’s arm as he tried to leave his bed. At that instant, she threw a book from his desk at Jezebel and she relented her hold on my brother. Then I heard Jezebel speaking some strange language (which I later found out was Latin) and when I finally left my room, I saw my mother laying in the fetal position weeping incessantly. I began to cry too from the shock of seeing my mother so defeated. Jezebel left Matthew’s room and began to run to every door in the house; opening and shutting each door six times before moving on to the next one. As she did this, her voice morphed from the teenage girl’s to what can only be described as a voice of a demon. Jezebel kept repeating something in Latin which to this day I do not know what it was (nor do I want to know) and finally I grabbed the keys to the car and dragged my mother and brother outside the house and just started driving no sooner had the last car door closed.

Since I had no friends nor family to retreat to for safety, I just kept driving until my mother regained enough of her composure to instruct me to drive to the church. Once we got to the small church, my mother pounded on the door like she was about to be murdered. Soon enough, Father Preston opened the doors and took us all in.

My mother explained what had happened between sobs and our priest allowed us to stay the night in the church. We all slept on the pews until we had sufficient rest and when we awoke, Father Preston had a talk with all of us.

“I know Mary (my mother’s name), that you believe you saw a demon, but to be sure, we will all go to your home after you’ve had breakfast and I will perform a blessing.”

Father Preston decided to fast since he intended to bless our house, so after my mother, Matthew and I ate food, we drove our separate cars and arrived back home together. My mother was noticeably disturbed and Matthew was unusually cautious, but I was nervous that the priest would find out why Jezebel was there in the first place.

So Father Preston entered first and we all followed, and the house seemed normal then. There was an air of “heaviness” he said, but I didn’t notice it because of how involved I was with the darkness at that point. Nothing was out of order beside the beds not being made since we left them in a disheveled state the night before and Jezebel was no where to be found. I was smart enough to hide my chalk, candles, knife, and book outside in the woods where no one would find the evidence of what I was doing, but even still, Father Preston looked visibly bothered by my bedroom and closet, but he said nothing. He blessed the house in its entirety and gave my mother what would be only a fleeting sense of relief.

After the ceremony was finished, we all talked outside by his car and he told us what he thought.

“I did feel as if there was some being that was lurking around the house, but I couldn’t discern any evil that would mark this entity as being demonic in nature.”

My mother then replied,

“Well, I appreciate everything you’ve done for us Father, I hope we haven’t been too much of a bother on you.”

He then replied once more before he left.

“Nonsense Mary, looking after my children of the church is never a bother to me. Please, don’t be afraid to come to me again if you ever need help.”

Then he left, and my mother and brother did feel slightly relieved after the event. Yet I was still unnerved at the way Jezebel acted the night of the incident. Soon enough evening arrived and when I realized Jezebel wasn’t in my closet, I snuck out my bedroom window and went to my ritual spot in the woods. Sure enough, I found Jezebel and now her voice was again that of a teenage girl’s. She told me how disappointed she was with me and she accused me of being a terrible friend because I didn’t want her around my brother. Needless to say, her words cut me to the core because she was the only friend I had and I had let her down. After an hour of talking and me asking her forgiveness, I finally gave Jezebel permission to be around my brother.

If only I knew what this permission actually meant to her and what it would mean for Matthew, I never would have allowed it. That was the last restful night any of us would have in that house until the hunters came.

The next night, my mother and I again woke to the dreadful screams of my brother, only this time I reacted sooner. I almost wish I hadn’t left my room because I saw something I wish I could forget. Matthew’s body was lifted twelve inches in the air, hovering over his bed and all the while, Jezebel in the deeper demonic voice told my mother and I to leave the room.

“Leave Mary! Leave my room! Marissa gave him to me! She gave him to me!”

After we heard those words, my mother instantly fainted and I could do nothing to help her. I knew I couldn’t help my brother because Jezebel was right, I had given her permission to be around my brother and I could only cry after knowing what I had actually done. The only action I could take was to drive to the church and get Father Preston so he could save us from the horror that was Jezebel.

I drove maniacally fast even though I still only had my learner’s permit at the time and when Father Preston opened the church doors to see me standing there alone, without me having to say a word, he knew something was wrong. He grabbed his Holy Bible, holy water, his crucifix, and a coat and drove us in his car.

It was the most awkward car ride I’ve ever had and probably will ever have. Neither of us spoke the entire seven minute drive and I felt so disgusted with myself because I was bringing our old town priest into a situation that he didn’t know I created.

I have many regrets in regards to this entire experience, but this had to have been the biggest regret. I didn’t tell Father Preston about Jezebel, didn’t tell him how she came to be in our house, nor did I tell him how she had rightful control over my brother. I wish I told him before he learned it all from Jezebel herself.

So we walked into the house and at the end of the hallway we could see my mother’s legs around the corner where she had fainted and we heard the deafening noise of a door constantly opening and slamming. It was dark, but I could plainly see fear in Father Preston’s eyes when he became immersed in the nightmare with us.

Father Preston was a kind, old priest who had lived in our town for two decades and it was clear to see that he had never dealt with any evil of this magnitude before. I struggle to find words that could fitly describe the fear that I felt when I realized that our priest was physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually incapable of defending us against this monster.

After he endured the initial shock of entering the house to the sight and sounds that greeted us, with shaking hands, he opened his Bible and began to recite verses with an equally shaken voice. After only a few minutes of reading select passages from the Bible, Jezebel became irritated and decided to confront us, only this time, we were not facing her shadow.

Matthew was crawling on his hands and feet toward us from the hallway and growling the entire time. As he came nearer, we could see from the scanty light of our nightlight plugged into the wall that his eyes were pitch black and his face was unnaturally contorted in a way that barely resembled my younger brother.

Finally I broke down. I couldn’t hide my secret any longer because of the harm she was causing us. So I fell to my knees and started to cry out to Jezebel, pleading for her to leave us alone.

“Please Jezebel, please don’t hurt us! Please leave us alone! Please don’t hurt my brother!”

Jezebel, now using her girl voice, I assume to mock me, said,

“But Marissa, you gave him to me. Remember Marissa? You gave him to me.”

At such words Father Preston stopped praying and looked down at me. He put his hand over his face as if he was ashamed for what evil I had invoked. With faint words muffled even further by my weeping, I pleaded with our priest,

“Please Father, please help us.”

He found the strength to open the bottle of holy water and he cast the blessed liquid upon my brother while reciting more prayers. His body began to flail about and he growled even more until Jezebel finally had enough. Still in my brother’s body, she left through the back door, but not before opening and shutting it six times before she left. I knew she had fled to the safety of my ritual grounds but I also knew that she was not going to be gone for long. After Jezebel departed for the night, before checking up on my mother, Father Preston knelt to the ground in front of me and roughly grabbed my shoulders. With tears pouring down his face, he shook me with what strength he had left and chastised me saying,

“What have you done girl?! What have you done?!”

I could only reply while looking away from his face,

“I’m sorry Father, I’m sorry.”

Then we attended to my mother and when she conscious again, he drove us back to the church and spoke to us.

“Mary, I am sorry for doubting you, but I am now certain that your home is plagued by a demon. This demon was summoned by your daughter Marissa for reasons only she could tell us.”

He then looked at me demanding a reason for my sacrilegious actions and with my mother looking while now crying, I told them the truth.

“I wanted a friend. I performed a ritual to summon the ghost of a teenage girl so I could finally have someone to talk to.”

I then cast my head down, refusing to look at their harsh disproval and what words I heard next I don’t quite remember. I think I’ve done well enough to forget the chastising words of my mother and our priest. All I remember after that was the conversation about a solution to the problem.

“Mary, I’m terribly sorry, but I am too old and unpracticed in the workings of demons to rid this hell spawn from your home by myself.”

My mother then replied,

“What about the Bishop? Can you call him and ask him to do it for us?”

Then Father Preston continued,

“I could contact the Bishop of our diocese and tell him what has happened, but without more and substantial physical evidence, he would not be able to come out here to deal with this demon. It could be months before the church approves of any considerable action in regards to this problem.”

Now my mother in dire straights, pleaded with our priest and asked,

“Can you please call him anyway? There has to be something he can do. You saw that demon, Father. We can’t go back home, we just can’t.”

Father Preston took a deep sigh and relented saying,

“I will call him.”

We left his office and sat in the pews again for at least half an hour before he called my mother and I back in to tell us what could be done.

“I called the Bishop and I expressed to him the urgency of our matter and the lack of force we have in order to deal with such a malignant entity. What advice I am about to offer you is advice that is not officially sanctioned by the Catholic Church in any way. In fact, the Catholic Church does not condone the advice I am about to give you, Mary, but I see no other choice. I am the only Catholic priest in our area of Montana for three hundred miles and even the closest ones to us would still not be able to fight the evil that your daughter has allowed into our world. However, there are two men who can save your family from this demon and after I tell you about them, you have the choice to call upon them or not. But if you do decide to call upon these men, know that I cannot help you any further until this is all over.”

We were taken aback by what we had heard, but finally, my mother agreed to hear of these men who could possibly be our saviors.

“Our Bishop knows of two men, brothers even, who “hunt” demons with motives unclear to everyone who has heard about them. The younger brother is a practitioner of the witchcraft called Wicca which is forbidden and condemned by the church. He has no affiliation with us, but his older brother used to be affiliated with the church. Our Bishop went to seminary with the elder of the brothers whose name no one speaks any longer and whose records no longer exist in the church, but according to our Bishop, this man was different. He isn’t even quite sure how he was accepted into seminary because he was so quiet and indifferent to preaching. Though he did exceedingly well in his studies, he never seemed fit to lead a parish or even assist in one for that matter. He also had no friends the entire time he was in school. People tried to talk to him, tried to befriend him, but he would never allow anyone to get close to him. No one was quite sure what his reason for being in seminary was, but he stayed the course. Only until the last year of seminary did people start talking poorly of him, saying he shouldn’t be there and he couldn’t offer anything to the church, and he was consequently spoken to by the elders. Now, our Bishop didn’t see what had happened, but the rumor was that after so many warnings by the elders of the seminary, this man apparently mutilated himself and possibly tried to commit suicide. Someone found his unconscious body in the men’s restroom and he was carried to the hospital by paramedics. Shortly thereafter, he was expelled from the seminary and excommunicated from the Catholic church because of his reasoning for his behavior. Some also say that he was actually pronounced dead on the school grounds but was later revived without the intervention of any medical equipment or personnel. Though this man no longer has any record or affiliation with the church, our Bishop says that some still call upon him and his brother to hunt demons that they would be unable to exorcise due to the rigorous constraints of our protocol. In all the twenty years I’ve been here working with our Bishop, this is the first I’ve heard of these men. But because they were recommended to me by one who exceeds me in wisdom, I grant you the choice Mary, to call upon these men to hunt this demon, or to wait as long as you can until we gather sufficient evidence for the Catholic church to become heavily involved.”

My mother looked at me and then to Father Preston and said,

“I’m sorry Father, but we are not strong enough to wait. We can’t wait.”

Father Preston then replied,

“I understand Mary, I was witness to the horror that now lives in your home and I am glad you have done this for your family’s sake. Give me some more time to contact our Bishop who will then contact these men for us.”

So we left the priest again but only for ten minutes this time and with a look of uncertain happiness, he told us more when we returned to his office.

“The men are flying out tonight. They are on their way to the airport as we speak, but before I let you two rest, I must tell you more about these men. The younger brother, the witchcraft practitioner, is named Marcus. I am told he is an amiable fellow who knows much about his craft, much more than a man ought to know about sorcery, and his elder brother doesn’t have a name. The Bishop claims that no one speaks his real name any longer, but instead, to those that know about him, he is known only as “Child of God.” Apparently he keeps his faith in our God, but because he is not officially ordained, he cannot be a priest; thus, he uses a title that we all bear since we are all children of God. Not much else is known about these brothers, but the advice I can give is that you leave them to their own devices. Don’t get involved with them and stay out of their way. There is a reason why our Bishop says that they are called upon in times of great trouble and urgency and it is because they can overcome these evil forces. When they arrive, they know better than to step into this church, thus, they will be waiting for you at your house tomorrow morning. Now, get some rest before the night is spent and when our Bishop calls, I will wake you up for they will have arrived.”

After he gave us all the information we needed, we were able again to rest in the safety of our church knowing that we were getting help.

Father Preston woke us up at ten o’clock in the morning and gave my mother a copy of the Holy Bible in case she wouldn’t be able to get to hers at home. He also said prayers for us all and wished us safety in the coming trials.

Finally we left and had breakfast at a local diner. We were the only ones there and neither of us said a word the entire time. After our morning meal, we drove home to find a rental car in our driveway and there waiting for us was a man in a black robe. He was holding a tome of what was presumably spells and over his shoulder he had a satchel full of his materials, ingredients, and trinkets. My mother then asked sheepishly as she had never encountered a real life witch before,

“Are you Marcus?”

He replied without a smile, but with a warm face,

“Yes I am.”

I then asked,

“Where is your brother?”

Marcus gave reply,

“He is praying somewhere. He should be done any moment.”

No sooner had he finished his sentence did we see his brother come from the side of the house. From afar he looked like Marcus as he too was wearing a black robe, but as he drew nearer, I understood why the church doesn’t speak about him. His entire body was covered; he wore a black robe, black gloves, black boots, and a black hood. He carried with him a tome which wasn’t a Holy Bible as well as a walking staff. But the most disturbing part of him was his face, or lack thereof. His head was covered by a hood and his face was covered by what seemed to be an iron mask. It was an expressionless, genderless face mask and over the eyes was wrapped a fresh strip of gauze. I could only assume that he looked somewhat like Marcus if they were indeed brothers related by blood, but the iron mask was so vexing to look at that I could never truly imagine what “Child of God” actually looked like.

We were bothered by his brother, but to be kind, my mother extended her hand to “Child of God” as if to introduce herself, but with that blank, blind face, he stared at her and didn’t say a word. Marcus then asked to go inside in order to prepare and instead of opening the door, my mother gave him the key to the house. We intended to stay outside far out of their way, but Marcus insisted that we be a part of it, or at least be inside the house while they did what is was they were infamous for doing.

As soon as we entered our home, Jezebel began to slam doors and run in front of us through the hallway. Neither Marcus nor “Child of God” were bothered in the slightest by her outrage and their calm demeanors only seemed to frighten my mother more for some reason. To ease her fear, Marcus began to ask my mother questions.

“How did this demon get here and why has it possessed your son?”

My mother reluctantly looked at me and said,

“You explain to them Marissa.”

So I had the attention of both Marcus and his brother and I told them the story of Jezebel and Matthew. As I neared the end of my story, Marcus began flipping through his tome and when he found the page he was seeking, he reached into his satchel and retrieved a vial of powder and a flask of liquid of which I didn’t ask the names or purposes. Then I heard “Child of God” speak for the first time. His voice was soft and barely audible behind his metal mask and even then I couldn’t understand what he had said because he was speaking in Latin. He said something to Marcus and then he retreated in front of the fire place where he opened his book and began to pray.

All the while Marcus and “Child of God” were preparing themselves, Jezebel, began to taunt the brothers using Matthew’s voice, her female voice, and her demonic voice. Neither of them were fazed in any way by the taunts and they kept praying and preparing in silence. Their silence was broken when Marcus finally stood up with some blue powdery mixture in his hands and called to “Child of God”.

“Okay brother, I am ready.”

As he said this, “Child of God” stood up from in front of the fire place with his book and staff in hand and turned in our direction. The gauze wrapped around the eye holes of his mask were spotted red with blood and some began to drip onto the mask itself. At that point, I’m not sure who frightened me more, “Child of God” or Jezebel. But as he stood up, he began speaking to Jezebel in Latin and apparently said things which irked her immensely. They continued conversing with each other in their dead language until the demon finally charged toward the man in front of the fireplace. As she did this, Marcus stood in front and pushed his hands onto Matthew’s chest. A blast of powder filled the air and my brother was laying supine on the ground after having had the wind knocked out of him. Then “Child of God” took a chair and together they sat my brother’s body on it and Marcus then used some kind of white twine to bind his hands around the backrest and his feet around the chair legs. When he was able to breathe again, Matthew started to flail about, trying to break free, but the thin twine seemed to hold him in place as if they were metal handcuffs.

After they had contained Jezebel by chaining my brother to the chair, “Child of God” spoke again to Marcus in his hauntingly soft voice and Marcus translated for us.

“Do you have a garden?”

My mother looked at him curiously and with a feeble voice answered,

“Yes?”

Marcus then looked at me and gave me a command,

“You, girl, take my brother to the garden.”

I was too afraid to ask why, so I looked at “Child of God” staring at me through the bloody gauze and I just started to walk to the garden. He followed close behind me and when we reached the garden outside, he immediately walked to the rose bushes. I stood behind him as he set down his book and staff and I watched him pull out a massive hunting knife. He started to cut some of the stems off the bush and when I saw him destroy my mother’s garden, I called him out.

“Hey, what are you doing?!”

The instant I said that, he turned around and glared at me through the now bloodier gauze tape. He then pointed his finger at the door as if to tell me to go back inside. I was upset that he was killing our rose bushes, but I was too intimidated to argue with him.

A short while later he came back in the house with a tiara made from our best roses. It was actually very beautiful and well put together, it looked like something I would have liked to wear if not for the thorns in the stems. When Marcus saw this floral fillet, he just mysteriously stated his approval,

“Ah, roses. Even better.”

My mother, just as confounded as me, asked why he spent precious time making a crown of roses and Marcus told us why.

“This demon, though strong enough to possess your son, does not exude an aura that defiles all life in this house. Your roses are proof that goodness still exists midst this darkness that now has whelmed your home.”

He then took the crown from “Child of God” and then looked at me and said,

“Because this demon is spiritually linked to you, it is you who will help us destroy this demon. With your blood was this abomination released, and with your blood shall it be soon contained.”

He then quickly grasped my right hand and before I could react, punctured my palm with a thorn from the stem of the tiara. I recoiled in pain and my mother pulled me close to her to protect me from any more harm. Then Marcus took the crown of roses and gently put it on my brother’s head. My mother tried to stop him saying that the rose thorns would cut his skin, but as she said that, I think just to spite her, he jammed the fillet with great force onto Matthew’s head and then caused Jezebel in her girl voice to scream in pain. My mother was too afraid to do anything after this cruel display of disregard for my brother’s life. Then again, “Child of God” spoke to his brother and Marcus translated by asking me,

“Where do you conduct your rituals, girl?”

I said timidly,

“Outside in the woods.”

Marcus continued asking questions.

“Where are your books and tools of this devilish trade?”

So I answered again with my mother looking highly disappointed in me.

“They are all outside.”

Then his said,

“Lead the way.”

As I started to walk outside, Marcus held his brother’s book while “Child of God” dragged the chair Matthew was tied to as everyone started to follow me. All the while, Jezebel was trying to manipulate us by using Matthew’s voice to plea for help, then using her girl voice to shame me, and finally using the demonic voice to frighten us. My mother was nervous but “Child of God” tried to reassure her by saying something in Latin. Needless to say, his soft spoken words didn’t do much to calm my mother. Finally we reached the woods and my ritual site. When my mother saw the chalked pentagram, she nearly swooned and sighed,

“O goodness Marissa, how could you do this?”

I didn’t answer but instead retrieved my treasure chest that had all my candles, my chalk, my knife, and my books in it. Marcus looked inside, moved things around, and then closed the lid. Then he motioned to his brother and “Child of God” lifted Matthew and the chair and placed him in the center of the pentagram. The demon inside of him was furious and again began to flail to no avail. Now standing just on the outside of the circle, “Child of God” had his book again and began to recite prayers in Latin. As he was doing this, Marcus took a large jar of green powder and started to carefully pour it over the chalk pentagram. My mother was startled and quickly asked,

“What are you doing? What is that? It smells like gun powder!”

Marcus, without turning to look at my mother, in an annoyed voice, commanded her,

“Quiet woman!”

As each of these men were preparing for whatever rite they had planned, I noticed the gauze wrap of “Child of God” was soaking wet with blood and it seemed as he prayed longer and longer, more tears of blood dripped onto the mask. Finally Marcus had covered the entire circle and star with a thin layer of green powder and then he set my box of necromancy supplies underneath Matthew’s chair. He then took a lighter out of his satchel and lit the edge of the ring on fire. I don’t really know if that was green colored gun powder, but it smelled and burned like it. At the instant he kindled the flames, my mother tried to rush toward Matthew, but Marcus pushed his hands into her chest and knocked her flat on her back. She was heaving for air as her wind had been knocked out and I stooped beside her holding her in my arms.

Soon enough the entire pentagram shape went ablaze and then the box underneath my brother caught on fire. As this happened, my mother finally fainted from what I assume was pure panic and a lack of oxygen. I tried to turn away but I couldn’t help but look. Now in a frighteningly deep and loud voice, “Child of God” began to chant even more and it seemed like his words were some kind of acid being poured on Jezebel. Now using only her demonic voice, I couldn’t tell what she was saying to him, but it sounded like she was trying to reason with him, almost like someone tries to reason with their murderer before they are slain.

Then I watched as Marcus pulled out a small box from his satchel and walked behind the pentagram, facing his brother on the other side. “Child of God” slowly lifted his hands while still holding his staff and book, and as he did this, the fire rose higher as if he was a puppeteer pulling on the strings of the flames. Then I remember blinking because he shut the book which made a loud thud and then he held his staff over his head while walking through the fire to my brother. As “Child of God” walked toward the center of the circle, Marcus did the same from the other end. He continued to pray a little more until finally he drove the uplift staff straight into Matthew’s chest where his heart would be. Then I saw the shadowy Jezebel leave through my brother’s gaping mouth and as she finally left his body, Marcus held the small box over his face and captured her essence.

He quickly left the circle and wrapped the box in the white twine and he poured a vial of liquid over it once it was tied shut. After he doused the box in the liquid, the fire was extinguished and I saw only a circle and star of ashes where the pentagram was, a pile of ashes underneath Matthew where my box was, and ashes covering his face and head where the rose crown was. All the noise and fervor had ceased and Matthew was fast asleep. My mother was still unconscious as the hunters prepared their belongings and cleaned up the mess. Both Marcus and “Child of God” gave me their books and staff to carry for them while Marcus dragged Matthew in his chair and “Child of God” carried my mother in his arms like a dead body.

When we got back inside the house, “Child of God” laid my mother on her bed while Marcus untied Matthew and laid him on his bed. They then took their books and staff from me and without a word, began to walk outside. I followed them close behind and as I realized they had no intention of saying goodbye, I decided to give a farewell.

“Thank you for saving us.”

Marcus continued walking, just completely ignoring me while his brother, “Child of God” turned around one last time and stared at me. Through the blood stained gauze over his iron mask, I could feel him looking into my soul, and he said to me,

“I pray that I may never see you again.”

That was the first time I heard him speak English and the last. I will always remember those words he said to me because at first it stung, it felt like he hated me, but when I think about it now, when I look at my two year old daughter, I realize the sentiment is mutual. I also pray that my daughter doesn’t make the same mistake I made growing up and I pray that I may never have a reason see those men again.

Credit To – Marissa D.

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Invoking Aziuth

October 24, 2014 at 12:00 PM
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I lifted my eyes for only a moment. His form was unspeakable. An insidious darkness, a void opened to reality. My body lost all its strength, I fell to the floor, loosing my bladder.

“Speak, slave.” The demon’s voice was sharp, metallic.
I strained to lift my head again, to behold the horrifying shape of Aziuth. My flesh wanted flee the utter awfulness of the moment. My voice failed me.

The demon made a deep, almost purring noise. Like a satisfied lion about to eviscerate his prey.

“O great Aziuth, dread prince of spoiled flesh and broken slaves. Favor me now. Favor me with one request.”
“Speak.”

I’ve always admired the Devil. Not so much for all the genocide and misery he’s instigated, but because Satan is the original freethinker. It says somewhere in the Bible that Lucifer was once one of God’s highest and most beautiful of angels, but one day he decided he’d had enough of serving God and was ready to start taking care of himself. I like that.

I’ve tried to live out that attitude in my own life. I’ve blazed my own path and searched out my own knowledge. It’s led to some unexpected turns…

Children with No Hearts

In the summer of 2013 I ran across a curious news story out Rosenberg, Ohio, a small town in the southeast end of the state. In the course of 3 days, four teenage boys were found dead in two separate incidents. The first pair was found dead in a cemetery. The second in the sanctuary of a Methodist church. Both times there was no sign of struggle, distress, or cause of death. Later autopsies, however, revealed missing hearts in each victim. The story ran for about a day before disappearing. As a connoisseur of the bizarre and grotesque stories, I was intrigued, but with so little to go on, I thought little of it.

When later that October, three new cases were reported, my interest was peaked. The stories were from across the country: Raleigh, North Carolina; Davenport, Arizona; and New Salem, California, totaling seven victims that Fall. In each incident, the victims were teenagers, found in cemeteries or churches, no signs of foul play, but each was missing their heart. Again, the stories ran for about a day or two before being removed.

A little extra digging into the cases (side note: you’d be surprised at how little cyber security most police departments utilize), added some details to cases: First, peculiar items were found at each crime scene. At the first two candles and a broken mirror were found. The third, about a pint of spilled feline blood and rose petals. The final two: a broken mirror, five smooth black stones, and broken bird and hamster cages (respectively). Second, the teenagers had reputation for being “weird” and/or “into witchcraft.” Third, there was no sign of cutting or removal of the hearts. It was as though they simply had never been there. Fourth, police were utterly baffled as to the identity of the assailant, means, or motive. Authorities, of course, deduced the victims were doing something occult-related but were stumped otherwise.

After my research, the situation became plain to me. These imbeciles had tried to invoke a spirit—and failed.

Infernal Conversation

They weren’t the first to have the notion. Honestly, any half-wit with a Ouija board, or even Scrabble tiles, can make contact with spirits. I’m pretty sure there’s a Wikipedia article about it. It’s not that hard.
What these morons were attempting was something much more daring and perilous: they were attempting to summon a demon for conversation.

In all my years of exploring the occult, I’ve never intentionally tried to contact a demon. Why? Demons are prickly by nature (to say the least). They are pitiless, deceptive, and unwaveringly sadistic. They are almost unendingly brilliant and unfathomably powerful. They also hate being bothered or bored.

As the kids with missing hearts found out, pissing off a demon can have dire consequences.

That’s not to say demons don’t like to talk. That’s their weakness. Like their Father Below, dark spirits have enormous egos and they love to show off. A well-performed invocation ritual can stir a demon’s pride enough to share all sorts of chthonian secrets.

Can you imagine what could be learned by speaking with a being who has existed for eons? Who watched while the Almighty Himself wove time and matter into existence with a word? What puzzles of Reality could be solved for the first time! Or the honor of standing with the great occultic masters who themselves had personal demonic encounters and lived to tell of it?

As I considered these things, my chest ached. I wondered if I could succeed where others had failed. Could I stand with the masters? Could I learn the ancient and marvelous secrets others have longed for? I’ve always had an insatiable hunger for knowledge and I felt that appetite whetted.

Exploring the Sulphurous Order

Initiating a tête-à-tête with one of the Fallen requires intense planning, skill, and not a little luck. If I didn’t want to end up like those lackwits with the missing hearts, I’d first need to see where they’d gone wrong. It didn’t take long.

The fact that seven people from across the country suddenly decided to attempt an invoking ritual with disastrous results indicated to me that they didn’t get this out of a book. They’d been on the internet.

I found the link with relative ease. The ritual described was meant to call Aziuth, a demon who allegedly specialized in riddles. The ritual itself was a little awkward but essentially right, I knew. All the elements were there: an act of service to get the spirit’s attention, a gift to honor it, proper words of invitation to speak to it. The description of the encounter itself though was something else though.

According to the guide, if successfully performed, the mortal interlocutor could ask one question to which the demon was bound to answer honestly. In return, the malevolent spirit was allowed to ask one riddle which must be solved. Failure to correctly solve the riddle would have devastating consequences, but these could be warded off by using a mirror to trick the demon.

No wonder those kids died.

For the next two weeks, I spent each night after work feverishly reading and studying late into the night. My own research into Aziuth revealed he was worshipped for a short while by the early Hittites and Chaldeans as a minor deity. He was known for exchanging knowledge and solving riddles in exchange for the hearts of slaves sacrificed to him. He remains one of the only dark spirits thought to tell the truth 100% of the time, apparently seeing lying to a human as debasing himself. Aziuth worship continued throughout history but only among obscure cults with fetishes for knowledge of the Other.

According to die dunkel Metaphysik, Aziuth’s primary motivation is gaining slaves for himself in the spiritual realm, “Unlike others in the Sulphurous Order who exchange favors with mortals for the sake of influence and power in the human realm, Aziuth only wants souls.”

Maleficent beings often attempt to collect followers, but in the case of Aziuth, he has no desire to gain living, human followers. Instead, he collects slaves for the spiritual realm. To what specific end, I don’t care to speculate. À travers le voile d’or confirms the same, observing, “Aziuth appears to condescend to answer human questions only in hopes of ensnaring souls. Above all, Aziuth craves more servants to absorb.”

Practically, this meant that Aziuth would be one of the most dangerous spirits to try to invoke. Unlike other devils, he likely wouldn’t be looking to write a contract, answer questions for the sake of showing off, or try to convince me to assist him to more nefarious ends. Aziuth would be hungry to add me immediately to his menagerie of eternally anguished slaves.

The key to escape would be the question. I needed something that would allow me to glimpse the Other without forfeiting my soul.

Filling the Bucket

At this point either cowardice or sanity should have broken in to give me pause. What was I doing? Risking my eternal soul to what end? What question could be worth such danger?

But it never happened. In my feverish state of mind, I could only see the glory of triumphing over the demon. I set to work on my preparations which I knew would require at least another month. To begin I would need an empty paint bucket.

As I mentioned before, contacting spirits is truly not difficult. Ghosts and other lesser spectral beings tend to be accessible – even chatty. This is why some have glimpsed the other side by just casually experimenting with even mere playing cards.

Demons, on the other hand, have a much higher opinion of themselves, and are thus much harder to provoke to conversation. This is where the Invoking Ritual comes into play.

(Granted, occasionally a person will speak with an infernal spirit through a Ouija board, but I don’t recommend it. Such spirits have a tendency to be even more unpredictably violent and compulsively cruel than even your average Fallen. These are the kinds of spirits who won’t hesitate to take that first contact as an invitation to enter your home/life and start tearing things apart just for kicks. Even Satan’s army has a few thrill-seeking psychotics.)

At its heart, the Invoking Ritual is an invitation to a spirit to appear to you. Depending on the level of or specific demon you’re calling, the ritual itself can be long, complex, and costly (in more than one way). A poorly done Invocation will usually mean that nothing happens. Sometimes though, a ham-fisted attempt will be interpreted as an insult to the demon. In Aziuth’s case, he might collect my heart before I could even ask my question.

First, an act of service must be performed. Usually the act of service is meant to be a sign or foretaste of later favors to be offered. Almost inevitably, the act of service involves the desecration of a holy or sacred place. This is why all of the 2013 deaths took place in graveyards and churches. The older or more significant the location, the better.

Sometimes the act of desecration is not only about swimming naked in your local baptistery or Holy Font or turning all the crosses upside down. For those higher up in the Sulphurous Order, they require an act of personal desecration. I won’t get into what that means other than to say, they want to see you mar the imago Dei found in your own soul…or another person’s.

For my own act of service, I chose Philip Road Baptist Church. A small, countrified house of worship with no security system beyond the deadbolt on the front door. The church has stood for almost 70 years, and if the attendance board at the front of the sanctuary is right, they boast almost 120 on Sunday morning. It took me almost two weeks to find it.

I’d really have rather performed the ritual in a Catholic church, if for no other reason than the sense of tradition and ritual is stronger (have you ever been to a Catholic wedding? How about spill some of the communion wine?!) Unfortunately, Our Lady of Fatima is much more distrustful and had invested in ADT security.

For the act of service itself, I was able to buy a liter of fresh pig blood from a local butcher. I told him I was making blood sausage and pudding.

“You don’t look the chef-type,” said the coarse old man.
“Yeah, I’m branching out a bit. Would fifty do?”
I had to pay him a hundred bucks for it and he made me wait a week and half for it. He eyeballed me the entire time like he was memorizing my face for later, probably “just in case.”

After the act of service, a gift is usually expected. This was the part I dreaded most. For my gift, I found a hyper Lab-mix awaiting execution at the pound. His name was Edgar. The worker warned me it was considered a “problem dog.” Not sure what to say, I mumbled a response and left to shop for kibble.

Having all of this in place, I spent the next three days putting the final touches on my preparations. I planned my route, purchased my extra candles, and other odds and ends.

I scoured the old texts for the right words of invocation. Again, invocations are more like an invitation than a summons. Summoning a spirit suggests you have a measure of control over it. When it comes to infernal powers, you have zero ability to compel or coerce. Thus, the words of the invocation are a special plea for their favor; an appeal for them to demonstrate their power. Demons aren’t looking for the poetry of Milton or Tennyson, but they do respond to a well-turned phrase.

Toward the end of my preparation, I began a six day fast. Spirits are attuned to our physical states (probably as a means of better manipulating us). By fasting before the ritual, I hoped that Aziuth would see how committed and desperate to speak with him.

As a further step to prove my utter meekness, I filled the paint bucket during my days of fasting, just in case Aziuth demanded a final proof my humility.

A Rusted Edge

The month of preparation had passed in a blur. My hunger to know had turned into an obsessive quest, especially toward the end. I stopped returning missed calls and answering emails. Unpaid bills piled up by front door. I exhausted all my sick time and started using vacation days at work. The concerned calls from friends and odd looks from neighbors didn’t faze me. When the utility company turned off the power, I simply started working by candlelight.

Wednesday, the night before I planned to perform the Invoking, I had a terrifying moment of clarity. I was standing in my tool shed, looking at the various garden tools searching for my metal grinder so I could sharpen my hunting knife. Eddie was in the yard chasing his own tail. An old garden spade caught my eye for some reason. In particular the dull, rusted edge.

Between all the obsessive reading and planning and thinking and the endless damn fasting, I’d forgotten to sleep. At that point, I think I’d been awake for almost 40 hours. I stood staring at that rusted edge for nearly five minutes, completely blank.

That’s when finally, my moment of clear-thinking arrived to my great horror. In all the obsessive reading and planning and thinking and the damn endless fasting, I’d forgotten to come up with a question. THE QUESTION!

I began to tremble. The shed blurred and spun. I heard myself laughing—or maybe sobbing.

A voice spoke from the darkness of my backyard.

“Paige County PD,” the voice announced, “Sir, are you all right?”
The world swam back into focus. My hand was throbbing. I cleared my throat, trying to gain composure.
“What? No. What, what’s going on?” I heard myself whine. I couldn’t control my voice. My hand throbbed insistently.
“Neighbors reported—” a beam of light, “Hey, what’s that in your hand?”
“Oh,” I looked down, saw the rusted spade fall from my hand with a gout of livid blood. The world faded again.

I lay devastated in the hospital bed. My injured left hand felt heavy and numb. Gripped by both rage and despair, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to scream or throw up. My fantasies of glory lay ruined in my tool shed. How could I have been so stupid! So short-sighted! Now I waited to hear what fresh humiliation was awaiting me.

Apparently in my terrible moment of lucidity, I started laughing (or crying, there are conflicting reports) so loudly I woke the neighbors and scared their kids. I had carried on like this in my dimly lit tool shed for about fifteen minutes before the responding officer arrived. During that intervening fifteen minutes I also apparently had grabbed hold of the rusty and surprisingly sharp edge of the hand spade I had earlier been studying and sliced open my hand. That’s how the officer found me, laughing (or sobbing) uncontrollably in my backyard, holding the bloody garden spade.

Two hours and ten stitches later, I came around. I spent the next two hours trying to convince the cop, the ER doc, and the attending physician from the psych floor that no, I wasn’t suicidal or having psychotic thoughts, I was just overworked, over-stressed, and sleep-deprived. They each listened with a mixture of polite indulgence and skepticism; their antennae specially attuned to detect BS.

While I knew I didn’t have any fear from a legal standpoint, I was afraid they would try to keep me on a 72-hour psych hold as a safety precaution. I wasn’t sure if I could suffer the indignity.

I lay quietly on the bed, replaying my answers to the doctor from the psych floor over and over again, preparing myself when a pretty, auburn-haired nurse came in.

“Hey there, how’re we feeling?”
“Not bad. Pride hurts a bit,” I tried to chuckle, but came up dry.
“Hm. Well, Dr. Francisco is writing your discharge papers, so you’re about go home.” She pulled the IV as she spoke. I tried not to wince as the sting as she withdrew the needle.
“Great. I’m ready to get home.”
“I bet. You need to rest. The doctor is writing you a prescription for some medicine to help you sleep. I hear you were awake for almost 40 hours? What is it that’s kept you up so long?” She asked as she busied herself preparing my departure.
“Oh, uh, I’ve just been trying to work on a problem. Kind of untangling a riddle.” I said, sitting up and swinging my legs over the bed.
“I’ve never really cared for riddles. I prefer things to just be straightforward. Be as they are,” she observed, “Well, here’s your bag of clothes if you want to change out of that gown. Someone will be back to walk you out once the papers are signed.”

I stumbled into my house exhausted, aching, and defeated. The idiot dog met me at the door, wagging his tail, happy to see me. Ignoring Edgar and shedding clothes along the way, I willed myself down the hallway and to my bedroom. I fell into the crumpled sheets expecting to sleep a few hours.

Edgar urged me awake Saturday morning: his cold wet nose pressing into my bare chest, his rough tongue dragging across my face. I shooed him away, but my aching bladder coaxed me out of bed. It would be another hour before I realized I had slept two whole days.
As I relieved myself I heard the pretty nurse’s voice echo in my mind. I almost pitied her.

I never really cared for puzzles.
Just another person who doesn’t like to think.
I prefer things to be just straightforward.
Just another sheep.
Be as they are.
I knew the solution to my problem.

Calling the Unspeakable

I felt like a man resurrected. Lazarus himself probably didn’t feel as alive as I. Feeling fresh and rested, I attacked the final preparations with a near-giddiness. By the afternoon, everything was organized and ready. Each step of the ritual meticulously planned and prepared. No more delays. No mistakes.

Edgar and I set out a little after midnight. I regretted losing the two previous days but hoped the demon would take special pleasure in seeing the desecrating ritual on the Sabbath.

Driving the church, I remembered a passage from the Dürr-i Meknûn, a 15th century Turkish text, which warns that when mortals encounter the Other, there is inevitable metamorphosis. I wondered what my own change would be like.

The dark sanctuary felt preternaturally still. A thunderous quiet. Dappled moonlight splashed across the wooden pews and glinted off the gold-leafed pages of the open Bible on the pulpit. There were no statues of saints or portraits of biblical figures in the church, but I felt the heavy gaze of many disapproving eyes.

I stripped my clothes, leaving them at the threshold between the sanctuary and the foyer of the small church. Aziuth would not suffer such pride.

After tying Edgar to a pew a few rows back from the front, I walked the aisle alone with my duffel bag of supplies. I hoped that I wouldn’t have to offer Edgar. My stitched hand throbbed.

To begin, I used the liter of pig’s blood to christen the two symbols of renewal: the baptistery and the pulpit, smearing them both with the dark and sticky liquid. Using my finger, I drew pagan symbols in the blood. The remainder I used to draw a large pentagram on the floor in front of the altar. Next I drew out five tall, black candles and placing them on the perimeter of the pentagram. Moving counter-clockwise, I lit each candle while muttering a blasphemy. My act of desecration.
I set back on my knees, naked and smeared in gore. I whispered the words of invitation to the unhallowed silence.
The quiet persisted.

I repeated the invitation, louder, begging the honor of putrid and awful presence of Aziuth.
The quiet persisted.

Stretching prone on the floor, I strained my voice repeating the invocation.
The quiet persisted.

Drawing myself up again, I reached for the hunting knife and let it glide in an arc across my chest. The wound wept scarlet. I screamed the words again.
Silence.

In desperation, I reached for the paint bucket of excrement that I had filled during my week of fasting. Picking up the sloshing pail, about to pour it over myself as a final demonstration of humility, I heard a soft whine.

I turned my head slightly, I saw Edgar at the end of his leash, backing away, whining softly. I lowered the pail carefully and scanned the darkness. Nothing. Was it –

It was the odor that announced his arrival. The most awful, putrescent stink I’ve ever known. It smelled like the church was filled with thousands of bloated, sun-baked corpses. I dry-heaved at the stench, my stomach roiling and violently twisting in revolt.
The stitches of my injured hand burst.

I lifted my eyes for only a moment. His form was unspeakable. An insidious darkness, a void opened to reality.
Aziuth had come!

My body lost all its strength, I fell to the floor loosing my bladder.
“Speak, slave.” The demon’s voice was sharp, metallic.
I strained to lift my head again, to behold the horrifying shape of Aziuth. My flesh wanted flee the utter awfulness of the moment. My voice failed me.

The demon made a deep, almost purring noise. Like a satisfied lion about to eviscerate his prey.

“O great Aziuth, dread prince of spoiled flesh and broken slaves. Favor me now. Favor me with one request.”
“Speak.” He commanded, impatient.
“Show me your true form,” I managed before my forehead hit the ground again.

The awful purring stopped. The air grew hot and dense. I could feel the floor vibrating beneath me.

I heard a wet, choking noise. I lifted my head, my limbs suddenly feeling weightless. In front of me, I saw what looked like the moldering corpse of a malformed fetus. The torso was frightful: pale and rubbery, with a twisted and exposed spine. The limbs were shrunken, useless. The head was enormous and misshapen with an open cavity for a nose and long, jagged teeth. The Thing seemed to struggle to breathe and wallowed uselessly on the floor.

I got to my feet and looked in utter shock at the creature.
“Aziuth?” I said in dumbstruck.
It coughed in response.
I stood a moment. Was this a trap? Some deception? No, I realized, Aziuth does not deceive. He only gives naked truth.
“You’re pathetic,” I approached slowly, “I crapped more frightening things than you in that bucket over there.”

The monster’s pale body turned rosy, it tried to kick a withered leg.

“I could crush you right now, couldn’t I?” I put my foot on its enormous and nauseating head, “That’s what a worm like you deserves, isn’t it?”

Edgar suddenly appeared. Having chewed through his leash, he approached the monster, curious. He sniffed it, licked the rubbery form, and then lifted his leg.

A laugh burst from my lips. The great and terrible Aziuth had just been pissed on by a dog who was going to be his sacrifice.

“Are you really so pitiful, Aziuth?”
The tiny demon’s body shook with rage.

The Metamorphosis

I don’t remember what happened next beyond a deafening clap of thunder. When I woke, I was back in the hospital. The same pretty, auburn-haired nurse tending to me though I don’t know if she recognizes me. Aziuth aided my metamorphosis.

Two things to know about demons: First, before their Fall, demons were magnificently beautiful creatures. If we could see angels in their pure form, we’d probably mistake them for gods or goddesses. Demons, however, lost that when they lost Heaven. Thus, they often change their form when appearing to humans (all the better to deceive or overwhelm us). Second, like I said before, demons have huge egos. Martin Luther once said if you can’t drive the devil away with scripture, jeer him. Satan can’t stand to be made fun of.

That’s how I figured out how to defeat Aziuth. There would be no way I could outwit him on his own terms, asking and answering riddles. The only means of defeating him would be to force him to show me his true form and then humiliate him. The only thing I hadn’t taken into account was what Aziuth would do in retaliation.

My once slender frame is now bloated to about four-hundred pounds. My legs and right arm have shrunken to useless appendages. My mouth is stretched into a permanent and frightening half-grin and my right eye-socket has drifted down next to my nose.

Thankfully, despite all of this, I can still speak and my left hand can still write.

The doctors and police are baffled. No one knows how I could have ended up in this condition, or how I ended up in a small Baptist church, covered in blood with a dog.

Knowing comes with a cost. It’s steeper than I would have imagined, but I don’t regret it. I always admired the Devil, so it’s fitting that I probably look a bit like him.

Credit To – Anselm

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The Gatekeeper

October 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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If you’re reading this, you probably think that it is just another fake story. Well, it could be. But if you wish, you can take a risk. Follow my instructions. See what happens and maybe have your life become so much better. Or so much worse. It’s really up to you.

First, you must go to the mountains. It doesn’t matter where you live. Any set of mountains will work, as long as you can find a cave. Big or small, unknown or well-explored, vibrant or dead, it doesn’t matter as long as it extends further than the sun’s light at sunset. The darkness is important.
Sunset is an important time, when the bonds between worlds weaken as the Earth sinks into twilight. This band of weakness allows one to exploit the natural weak points in the fabric of space and time. I’ve learned this by experience, as have many others. Not many of them are still where they could even be contacted, however.

You must stand at the mouth of the cave as the world sinks into darkness. The timing here needn’t be perfect: as long as you begin at sunset, you will not encounter any complications. You must not have any technology or religious paraphernalia on you. The technology will stop you from beginning the process. Religious paraphernalia…well they simply don’t like it when you go in there with protection of that sort. It won’t help, so don’t even try.

When the time is right, take off your shoes. This is a sign of respect. They like that. Then close your eyes and begin to walk forward. Don’t worry about falling; they will keep you moving. If the cave you chose was short, you may notice that you don’t hit the end. If this happens, the floor will seem to level out regardless of the cave’s layout. You’ve been set on a path to the same place, and it is vital that you not open your eyes. If this doesn’t happen, don’t worry. If you had no technology and followed the previous instructions, the ritual is not for you. The fates have another destiny in mind for you, one that cannot be altered by a ritual such as this.

You might hear whispering around you, may feel cool digits trailing across your back and chest. It will be so cold that it burns when they touch your bare skin. Do not react. They are simply curious to see one of bound flesh crossing through their realm. Unless you offend them, they will not do any intentional harm. Stay silent, keep your eyes closed, and continue moving forward. The whispers will grow louder as you go, angry voices rising above their whispered words, almost recognizable as English. It is especially important here that you do not react. This voices’ owners do not belong there. They are the poor souls who lost themselves in this realm, straying from the path yet not offending the hosts before they were beyond harm. That is why you must continue in a straight line. Stepping off the path will sever your soul, binding it eternally to a realm of shadow where the denizens do not want you.

My own experience has shown that this walking seems to last for an eternity. But as long as you stay on path and ignore the distractions, you will be alright. When the smooth, level ground that you have been walking on suddenly becomes the sloped and gritty floor of a cave again, you can open your eyes. In front of you is a tunnel. The floor covered in grit. It will be lit by four sets of torches attached to the walls by wooden sconces. Crystals, even precious gemstones, will dot the walls every few feet. Feel free to touch them; they are not cursed, though you will not be able to separate them from the walls. At the end of the hall will be a door. Its appearance will vary, but it will always be out of place in the underground place you find yourself in.

While it will not explicitly harm you, I do not recommend turning around. You adventurous souls who might actually do this will find it hard to resist the temptation to follow the glow you will see. The path you arrived through will be gone, replaced by two branching pathways. The effects inside them will vary, but the glow will remain. If you do feel tempted to go down them, do so at your own risk. The torch-lit tunnel is the only exit once you have made it this far, and it is not going to be there when you come back. And, if you see a shadow across the wall in either tunnel, run. For the love of God, turn tail and flee to the door. Unlike the natives of the twilight realm, these creatures are entirely intent on bringing harm to you. Only he can protect you.

The he whom I speak of will become apparent as you pass the third set of torches. A seemingly-human male will just pop into existence against the door, hands clasped in front of him like an attendant at a hotel. It will be like he was always there. When you pass the fourth, he will see you and smile. Not one of those ‘I wonder what your insides will look like sprayed across the wall’ kind of smiles, but a genuine ‘Ah, it’s good to see you’ smile.

He will note your missing shoes with a polite nod, and offer his hand for you to shake. If he has a glove on, feel free to do so. If not, don’t. Touching his skin will have you take his place. This only happens when you have offended him in some way, such as by speaking before he is ready. He won’t take offense to you not shaking his hand even if he is wearing a glove.

He will greet you with a few simple words. The phrase he uses will vary depending on your nationality, though it will always be polite. It bears no significance on what follows. He will ask two questions, one will be simple. “Where do you wish to go?”

Think long and hard on your answer. Because, if you do not offend him through lies or simply being impolite, that is where you will be when the door is opened. Specify the time frame as well, for that will make a difference. No matter what you have in mind, he will not do what you suggest unless you are specific. It’s a monkey’s paw effect, really. If you aren’t specific, you may end up in a bad situation. Such as being deposited in that spot, during the Jurassic or Cretaceous periods. Or after all life on Earth has died.

You could specify an area in a fictional universe, or a different real world. You will be taken there, such is the power and benefit of this ritual. But remember: you will not be changed in the transit. Suddenly showing up on an alien planet with no record of ever existing tends to be bad for your health.

The second question will be the most dangerous part of this ritual. He will ask a question, a personal one. Your answer must be the truth. Do not be hasty; the question may seem simple, but it is not. You might think you know the answer, but make sure. Odds are it might be on something that you have lied to yourself about for years, or that you only half remember. If you answer correctly, he will happily deposit you in the position of your choice. If you lie, whether intentionally or not, he will happily open the door for you still.

Unfortunately, this time the destination will be much less pleasant. This gatekeeper has access to places so much worse than you can imagine. And if you lie to him…well, he can put you in any fictional world that he so desires. I’m sure you people are creative, so must I really spell out the result for you?

Credit To – Ozymandeos

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