horror

The Outer Darkness – The Trailer

“Are you ready to begin?”

The trailer for the latest – filmed – project I’ve worked on is now available for your viewing delectation…

‘The Outer Darkness’ has had a long gestation period and a fairly interesting development process. It’s great to see footage from the project sliced together, I’m rather proud of the script I wrote for it and I’m sure you’ll dig it…

The Outer Darkness – From Script to Scream – Episode 1

The first episode of our exclusive insight into the making of The Outer Darkness is now live at the Kessler University website. The ‘Script to Scream’ series will show the development of our new short horror film throughout the whole film-making process.

This first slice focuses on pre-production – and includes some advice from my good self on writing for the short horror film.

For more info please check out The Outer Darkness, follow us on Twitter as @faithindarkness and like us on our Facebook page.

The Outer Darkness

The Outer Darkness Poster

Rising from the ashes of Bloody Cuts is a new short horror film from directors/producers Ben Franklin and Anthony Melton, with director of photography Jonny Franklin and with a screenplay by my good self.

What will the Outer Darkness bring?

On Friday evenings in the hall of St Barabbas’ Church meets a group led by Father Jonathan Crowe. Together they share their stories – tales of strange occurrences, horrific events and bizarre encounters that have scarred their lives. Tonight, a young woman called Jenny will share her story of her experience with a game of chance that sealed the fate of her family…

We’re in pre-production at the moment, but will releasing a series of behind-the-scenes videos showing the film develop from ‘Script to Scream’ on the KesslerU website, who are sponsoring the project.

The first in the Script to Scream series launches on September 1st – with some hints from myself on writing for short horror films.

To discover more about the film check out the website – www.theouterdarkness.co.uk, follow us on Twitter as @faithindarkness or visit our Facebook page.

Death Scenes Poster

Death Scenes Poster

Check out the official poster for Bloody Cuts 7th slice of short horror ‘Death Scenes’. This lovely work of art was created by Marc Schoenbach who’s provided us with the poster for all out films from ‘Prey’ onwards.

Be sure to visit his blog at Sadist Art !

Death Scenes – Bloody Cuts

It’s been out for a while but if you haven’t already, check out the 7th short horror film by Bloody Cuts – Death Scenes.

I had the great privilige of writing and directing this episode so I hope you enjoy it! A very big thank you to everyone involved in its production and to all those who’ve viewed, supported and shared it.

The Jade Junk

(Another short story begun a while back and recently completed. Another pastiche/mash-up, this time H.P. Lovecraft meets William Burroughs. This one contains drug use, violence and bad language. Please leave a comment!)

Dix is dying slowly on the mattress. Skin yellowing and covered in sores that resemble miniature volcanoes, pus seeping like lava across his skeletal frame. The track marks cover his flesh like strip mines into raped soil, his body clear of virgin veins. His feet are the only safe place to inject now, the gaps between his toes crusted with dried blood. Dix pauses to vomit into the tin bucket previously filled with sand and used as a fire precaution in the corridor.

            We’d sold the bed frame a few weeks previous, broken it down into rods and concealed it under our jackets so we could smuggle it past the landlady of the Mason Street flophouse that has been our bolthole since we left County. Like every other junky we came to The City – there’s nowhere to score in the dustbowl of farms and diners surrounding the prison where we’d been cell and needle-mates.

            The only other furniture is the chair I sit in, picking at the scab on my hand. Then there are the old newspapers and rags I use to ease Dix’s pain by wiping him clean of sweat and muck from time to time. Everything else has been pawned or sold to pay for fixes. Apart from the works and the needle I’m saving for Dix’s last hit.

            ‘I’ve got some money’ says Dix, rolling over to me. I can hear skin breaking and cracking like dried paper as he does so. He half opens his eyes and reaches a hand around to his ass. I knew he had a last reserve, but I hadn’t found it, even when Dix wasn’t bedridden and I had time to search the room when he was out. ‘Just a bit, but it’ll do for one last fix’. His last maybe, but not mine. He’s on his way out, corpus diseased, mind fucked. He kept me awake last night as he mumbled in his sleep, drowning out the street noise and cries from other rooms with tourettes-like ramblings.

            His hand moves and I can tell he’s sticking a finger into his ass-crack, the one place even a junk-crazed addict like me would never dare to pry into. He pulls it out – two ten dollar bills wrapped in plastic film. The green portrait of The President  is stained brown due to his imprisonment in Dix’s anus. Limply he throws the anally concealed rainy-day-fund at me, the bucks landing on the floor next to the spoon, candle, needle and ashtray. Do I dare pick it up?

            ‘We’re barred from the joint, you know that,’ I say as I cover my hand with my sleeve and pick the cash from up from the floorboards. Dix got physical with a broad there a few months back, before he got turned into a leprous scab from the sickness. Broad turned out to be a girlfriend of the owner – a man known to resolve such situations by weighting the other party down and throwing them into the river. With a touch of diplomacy I made sure he got away with a good beating and the loss of his wallet. Still, we’re barred from the joint, the closest place to score some junk or a reasonable substitute without prowling the City streets for a dealer.

            ‘Wharves’ croaks Dix, spitting a lump of his black lungs out of the open window he lies under.

            ‘What about them?’

            ‘Guy there deals. A nip or something’.

            ‘Fuck that.’

            ‘Anyone else?’

            ‘You think of anyone?’

The answer’s no. Billy Burger got caught last week dealing out of the local diner. Tried to peddle some goofballs to a chick who turned out to be Narco. Never got to finish his tenth cheeseburger of the day. Phil’s out – he’s doing a ten stretch for statch rape. Customer couldn’t pay for a big bag of the good shit, so he gave his nine-year old daughter to Phil as payment, knowing his proclivities for the younger female. Said customer then informed the pigs who busted Phil just as he was about to get his thing on. Fucker still managed to keep the bag though – shame it was cut with Drano. Every other source is either dry, out of The City or on rehab courtesy of law enforcement.

            I wash the bills under the tap, the cold brown water washing away most traces of Dix’s faecal matter. The Wharves it is then.

 

Trench coat’s on, autumn rain’s back, leaving the streets slick with an oily sheen. Ten bucks, seventy cents, a knife, three Lucky Strikes and a Zippo to keep me company. I dodge the landlady as I traverse the stairwell; we’re three weeks late on rent, not bad compared to the Blacks on the fifth landing who haven’t paid in four years according to Dix. Apparently they’re the reason the landlady now walks with a limp and lost an eye. Violence ain’t my style, and unless Dix croaks and has a couple of family heirlooms up his ass I’ll be out on the street soon enough.

            Mason Street doesn’t wake up till around ten at night, so the only people out are the scrawny urchins playing baseball with a frog and pissing in doorways. The Hobo who dwells in the alley scowls at me as I wait at the bus stop. Dix reckons he’s a Fed. I tell Dix I’ve never seen a F.B.I. Agent remain undercover for three months without having a least one bath. The Hobo drains his quart of piss-coloured booze from the bottle and hurls it at the three-legged cat that lives to annoy him. The cat doesn’t flinch, just rolls onto its side, cocks its remaining leg and sends a spray of feculence onto the Hobo. No Fed could stand that, I think as the Number 33 pulls up, spraying my worn-out brothel creepers with puddle-water.

            The bus driver’s high, there’d be no other way to do the job otherwise. His jaw clicks as he chews, the floor beneath a mass of myriad colours of dried gum and spittle, his breath a mix of peppermint and amphetamines, rotting teeth a sepia rainbow of plaque and decay. He grunts. I offer ten cents. He passes me a ticket. If only scoring were this easy. I take a seat near the front, one not ripped by knives or stained with food, drink and shit. Rain water dashes against the glass, forming rivers and deltas running down the pane and the drunk a few seats back sings an incomprehensible song known only to those who can stomach paint stripper for dinner.

            My guts knotting and I can feel the sweat staining my shirt as the junk oozes from my pores. Need a hit, need a hit, need a hit. Last one was yesterday, the boilings from the silver spoon originally stolen from the diner on the corner. Just enough to whet the appetite but not nearly enough to sate the monster that courses the veins. I light a Lucky to quell the taste of bile and vomit that sticks to the roof of my mouth. The Driver glances back, jittering, eyes wide. I blow smoke in his direction as I draw up my collar, watching the rain water seep through a crack in the window.

 

The 33 takes forty minutes to reach the Wharves, leisurely crawling through The City, along Dunwich and Jefferson, Arkham and Washington, through the centre where the stiffs in suits gather under umbrellas and fill the seats with the financial sections and leather briefcases.

            They get off at Central Station, leaving me with the other dregs heading for the riverside, looking for work, drugs, a warm body for the night or all three. I pick at the scab on my hand, the pink raw flesh giving up blood which I wipe on the seat. The drunk has stopped singing now; instead he dozes against the window with his bottle dangerously close to being dropped. I consider rolling him for pocket change, but it’s not worth it.

             The bus rattles as it comes to a halt by the kerb, the Driver muttering something under his breath as he takes out a snuff box and snorts its contents up his nostrils. It’s past dusk now, the moon and the streetlamps doing little to illuminate the dark hulks of warehouses, flophouses and whorehouses I can make out through the rain.

 

I exit, crossing the street, following the poor directions Dix gave to me before he passed out in a stupor. ‘The House of Jade’, he said. Fucks knows if it’s a restaurant or some Chinese drinking dive. All I know is it’s a source, and right now all I need is a damn source. Whores cackle from shadowy alleys, leathernecks on shore leave pass by with over-spilling pitchers of weak beer, hollering at each other and the girls they’ll be fucking later. As I wander the darkness of the bay is lit by the arc-lamp of the lighthouse, its beacon turning perhaps only to warn ships away from the harbour rather than to guide them to it. Sickly fish lie piled on the docks, caught by the fishermen who look as pale and out of place as their catch. The stench assaults the sense, rotting seafood, sewerage and the overwhelming scent of brine. Someone shouts my name and I turn to see Thommy Ricks, a whore on each arm, sipping from a bottle of bootleg gin. ‘You holding?’ he asks.

              ‘No man, I’m looking for a source.’

              ‘Shame. I got bennies and a few speedballs, but no H.’ he says, rustling inside his red leather jacket for a pick-me-up dose. ‘You in?’

               ‘Need the mainline hit, Dix’s got the sickness, he needs a last skinpop.’

               ‘Shit. Dix is okay. For a fucking junky, I mean.’ Coming from Thommy that’s as ironic as you can get. Pimp, burglar, sometimes rapist and all-times slave to the junk. ‘Well, if you score, gimme the nod. I need a new source man, this cities drying up.’ He waves adieu as Whore #2 frenches him and drags him into an alley, for some good times and the contents of his wallet. And I still can’t see ‘The House of Jade’.

 

It takes me a good hour of trawling back streets and warehouses before I find it, dodging sailors, drunks, hobos and the occasional pig looking to test out his nightstick on some poor unfortunate. I’m about to call it quits and try and hook up some speedballs from Thommy when I see it. A poorly painted sign of a dragon on the side of an alleyway between a bar and a porn shop. An arrow beneath with some Chinese letters mark the way. I’m not judging this as a good sign, I wish Doc. Cedric still made out prescriptions in exchange for sexual favours and the proceeds from burglaries, but the Doc.’s out of commission and this is a source. It’s a fucking freaky source, but shit, junkies can’t be choosers; we lost that the first time Big H came sniffing around and introduced itself to our naive and innocent bloodstreams.

               The alley’s full of trash and puddles of collected rainwater, but a trail leads through to a dimly lit door at I can just about make out. Stepping through I’m stopped as an arm lunges from the shadows. Its owner is short and Chinese, pockmarked face and no eyebrows, breath smelling of liquor. The lookout sizes me up, standing there in a wet green robe that was probably fine silk a few decades ago.

               ‘You want hit?’ he proffers, sensing my hunger like a bloodhound and the fact that my clothes are worse than your average undercover Narc. ‘Opium? Cocaine?’

                ‘Horse’ I clarify, ‘H, Heroin’.

                ‘Heroin, yes, good.’ His voice is soft, a smile raise revealing brown teeth. ‘Take the door.’

                 He shifts back into the shadows beneath a fire escape, waving me on. The door is wooden, another crude dragon painted on in dark green gloss. The spy hole slides open and an Oriental eye peers through, passing over me. A voice, cracked and broken, it’s accent also Chinese passes forth.

                 ‘You have money?’

                 ‘Yes’, but I’m not showing it, unsure if the lookout will sneak behind with a cut-throat. I glance back to make sure, it’s cool. The door creaks and deadbolts grate as the door opens. Another Chinaman stands there, taller than the look-out, skin pale and tight on his bones. He must be at least sixty, maybe more. His robe’s green like the lookout, silk shimmering in the light provided by a paper lantern hanging over the hallway. The walls damp and slick with mould, a rickety wooden staircase leading down. I can smell opium in the air and other scents in the haze that rises from beneath. Thank god. I’m close to the DT’s, skin clammy, vein in my temple pounding like the woman who lives downstairs at the flophouse who bangs the ceiling when Dix has a vomiting marathon.

                  ‘You want heroin?’ says the Old Man, treading delicately down the wooden staircase, ushering me to follow.

                  ‘Your man said you were holding.’ I sincerely fucking hope that’s the case is my unspoken second sentence. He just smiles and walks further, the staircase widening into a long cellar.

                    Dim green light oozes from paper lanterns, casting flickering shadows onto a dozen mattresses laid by the moist brick walls. I almost choke on opium and cigarette smoke, covering my mouth with my sleeve before my lungs catch up. Sailors, fisherman, junkies and the rest lie upon the mattresses and threadbare rugs, smoking from ornate wooden pipes lacquered with green, eyes either wide in rapture or half-closed as they inhale. Some giggle, some groan, many remain silent as they enjoy their ride. A curtain at the back twitches as another Chinese man wanders through with an ornate box carved from dark wood, heading through the narcotic fog towards us. Through the twisting haze I can make out a young couple fucking in the corner, either ignorant of or enjoying the stares of other patrons as they climax and collapse together.

                     ‘What do you wish?’ The Old Man looks at me, a glint in his eye as his companion steps up to us. I realize I’ve been staring at the mating couple, second-hand opium smoke tends not to improve my attention span. The Old Man takes the box, I notice for the first time his long, thin fingers, nails unclipped, like talons. The box he holds is ornately carved, a million times better than the carpentry I was forced to learn during my stay at the government’s pleasure. The lid shows an expanse of water writhing in turmoil, shapes twisting beneath, half-glimpsed; images of fish, snakes and ominous things that seem hard to define in the half-light and smoke. I wipe my eyes and peer closer, just as the Old Man lifts the lid to show me the treasure within. Small, neatly wrapped parcels of rice-paper, each marked in green ink with a dragon symbol.

                  ‘How much?’

                  ‘Five dollar.’ A damn good price, if this is H and not some Yen Pox shit, the ash of dried opium that’s only good to quell the slightest tinges of even a small habit.

                  ‘Can I check it?’

                  ‘Go ahead, brother.’ I take a parcel, fumbling the rice-paper. I can feel it dampening from the cold sweat running from my hands. It takes a few moments and then I see it. A sticky lump of heroin, brown and tacky. A good size lump, at least an eighth, ripe for more than a few days, a week maybe if Dix dies after a mercy hit like I think (and hope)  he will. I take a ten buck note from my pocket and make the deal. The Old Man already has a five in his hands, passing it to me.

                 ‘Good,’ he says, snapping closed the box and passing it to his companion who disappears into the opium haze. I wrap the lump up, not bothering with the origami shit.

                 ‘You wish to stay?’

                 ‘Nah. Take away,’ I reply, already inching to the staircase. He waves his hand, still smiling as I turn my back, tucking the parcel of horse into my left sock. I take the stairs two at a time, opening the unbolted door and stepping into the rain.

 

The journey back after scoring always takes far longer. The heroin seems to burn a hole in my sock, I shudder and ache for it as I sit aboard the bus, smoking my remaining cigarettes in quick succession. The rain beats down harder, the city becoming merely dark shapes seen through dark glass, refracted by the torrent falling from above. The bus is empty, save for a hooker who applies and re-applies cherry lipstick, using her hipflask as a mirror. I grip tightly to the seat in front, knowing that once I return I’ll be content in the warmth of a fresh needle.

 

Dix lies still on the mattress as I creep back in to our room, managing once again to dodge the landlady. I guess the practice I had avoiding my whisky-sodden father and his belt as I crept back to our failing farmhouse in my teens did me some good after all.

            I don’t bother to remove my wet coat or leaking shoes, heading straight for the shooting gear, lighting the candle stump with the last of the matches and getting ready for the cook up. I poke Dix – I don’t like to touch him now and surgical gear is a luxury I can’t afford. His eyes slowly open like a cellar door; he coughs dark phlegm as he adjusts to consciousness.

            ‘You get it?’ he asks. I nod as I unwrap the rice paper parcel, showing him my hard worn prize.

            ‘Yeah. Weird place that, Dix.’

            ‘Worked though. Just enough for one last hit.’

I break off a lump of the H, too much in fact. It’s a hotshot, Dix’s last ride, so I intend to make it a good one. I pour a little water into the corroded silver spoon, heating it over the candle until it boils, sprinkling the junk liberally, watching it dissolve. For a moment I think it gives off the scent of brackish seawater, a light green steam rising from the spoon. I put it down to DT’s as I rise, yanking off my threadbare belt and prepping Dix’s rake-thin ankle for the shot. I find the needle we’d be saving for this special occasion, it’s filthy despite being boiled a dozen times but I’m past caring at this point.

            I clean off some of the dried blood from Dix’s foot, lifting it with one hand while I try and spread his toes to find a vein. More chance of finding a pot of gold in a Denny’s mens room but somehow I find one, forcing the needle into Dix’s flesh and gently pressing the plunger until his veins are full of the wonderful poison.

            He gasps like a john being blown, eyes rolling back, gentle spasms running through his body. I grip his emaciated hand, giving him some human contact before he departs for pastures new. God knows if they have heroin in Heaven. Not that Dix is going anywhere near there. Perhaps Hell is a detox clinic full of bull-dyke nurses and no hope of recovery or relapse.

            I consider these things as I wrap the belt around my upper arm and cook up another hit, not using as much as I did for Dix. I may not have much to live for but I’d rather not be found dead on piss-stained mattress by an enraged landlady quite yet. I cook up, inject, again smelling seawater as the heroin washes over me like a tidal wave as it hits the bloodstream, catching me in a riptide and dragging me out into a warm ocean of opiate euphoria.

 

I float at first, the sound of seabirds in the distance, the eternal rhythm of the oceans waves in sync with my lethargic heartbeat, weightless in a supportive liquid like a foetus in the womb. I’m drawn down into the water, somehow able to breathe, no sense of panic or danger even though I should be drowning. I become wreathed in kelp and seaweed, drawn through clouds of green and blue algae, twisting and turning in the water, peaceful, at ease. I pass giant trees of kelp which rise like towering phalluses, fish of a thousand varieties swarming around them in worship as I begin to swim, pulling myself down into the depths with unexpected ease. It’s darker down here now, my eyes somehow adjusting, seeing shoals of millions of fish guiding my journey, their scales illuminated by pillars of bioluminescent rocks and coral jutting upwards from the sea floor. They speak to me in tongue our kind lost aeons ago, singing a song of welcome, a song of celebration and heritage, its vibrant notes and rhythm echoing within me, my body now fully adapted to the depths as I dive further feeling no fatigue. Vast pillars of living coral and towers of volcanic rock steer me to my destination, immense plumes of fire lighting my way like a vast landing strip to my ancestral home, to the arms of my kind, to the service of my master…

 

I wake, sticky with sweat. I’ve been out for hours thanks to the embrace of the ‘H’. My vision blurs, eyes stuck together with sleep, faint memories of a narcotic dream submerging back into my subconscious. I struggle to stand, my joints cracking, nearly stumbling over the works and small stash of heroin left on the floor, the candle long since extinguished. I look to the bed and double take, unsure of whether to trust my addled eyes. I’m not dreaming.

            Dix is gone. Which is fucking impossible as I gave him a hit so strong it could kill an elephant. But he’s not there, just a human stain of piss and faeces left upon the filthy bed sheets like the addict version of the Turin Shroud. How did he get up? He hasn’t had the energy to walk for weeks, even if his matchstick thin legs could support his meagre weight. Could the cops have taken him? Doubtful, they would have nabbed me too. Besides I doubt any pig would want to struggle carrying Dix’s rank body down a few flights of stairs to the wagon.

            ‘Dix?’ I call out, just for the sake of it. Then I notice the trail of footprints leading to the door which is open a crack. Footprints of blood, dirt and pus. Jesus. He rolled back the stone and did walk out of here…

            I creep to the door, peek out. No one on the landing. The dim clamour of TV’s and broken air conditioning the only sounds.  The footprints lead along the cigarette burnt floorboards to the end of the hall. I follow them to their destination, the bathroom, usually avoided by all but the bravest tenants.

            ‘You in there Dix?’ No reply. I push the flimsy door, ancient wood creaking as it swings slowly open. The chipped porcelain toilet stands there, cleaned maybe a few years back, the stench assaulting my nose. But the smell is more than backed up shit and piss. I peer in closer, craning to see the bathtub. It looks like an animal has been slaughtered inside it, blood, gore and viscera staining the tub and faucets. As if someone had torn off their skin with a razor or sharp talons, huge patches and swathes of flesh lying in an inch of crimson water. I know its Dix’s. I can see a thin slice of skin under the dripping faucet, covered in black hair. I know its Dix’s – he’s the only one stupid enough to get the words ‘100% Unreformed Junky’ inked onto his forearm by a prison tattoo artist.

            The scream jolts me from my state of hypnotic shock. A shrill, piercing scream from behind me. I duck back into the hallway, a Latino woman in a nightgown stands there shaking, cursing and praying in Spanish. Her door stands open, her room dim, illuminated by a few candles and a cigarette lying in an ashtray. A small child lies there on the floor, bleeding out onto a threadbare rug, his head bashed in, eyes wide with an expression of incomprehension at his fate. His mother’s still screaming, I make out a few words but I’m drawn to the open window whose tattered curtains flutter in the breeze, a heavy clanging noise reverberating from the iron fire escape outside.

            I call out Dix’s name, scrambling out onto the rusting iron platform, seeing a hulking shape dropping down into the alley below. It must be the thing that tore apart my one friend and just smashed in some poor kid’s skull. I’ve never been a brave man but something ignites inside me, I rush down the steps two at a time, searching my pockets for the small blade I carry as protection.

            I nearly slip on the piles of garbage, steadying myself against the wall, knife out, eyes searching the shadows. It comes for me then, bursting from the darkness with a speed that belies its bulky frame. It’s over six feet, broad and muscular, body slick with blood and mucus and the impression of greyish-green scales breaking through peeling and scabrous skin. It reaches for me with flexing hands, fingers webbed and ending in yellowed talons and I slip once again, falling back onto my ass, knife skittering from my grip as I bang my hand on the ground. The horror opens it wide mouth, tongue protruding, croaking out words I vaguely understand in a language I heard once in a dream, looking down at me with bulbous eyes set into its distorted face. For a moment I sense some kind of kinship behind its unblinking eyes before the creature mouths my name amidst the jumble of croaking, clicking noises.

            ‘Dix?’ I look up at my friend, my needle-mate, now this freakish mutated creature as his chest explodes, sickly green blood spraying from bullet wounds as he’s shot again and again. He stumbles back, clutching his fatal wounds as the gunshots cease, their report still ringing in my ears.

            ‘Get the hell away from it! Move back!’ I manage to get to my feet as Dix collapses, tongue lolling from the knife-wound that is his mouth, huge white eyes rolling back into his skull, a throaty final croak passing his lips. The Bum stands behind me, smoking revolver in one hand, FBI identification in the other. Jesus, Dix was right.

            ‘Back away from the creature!’ The creature? Dix, the man who taught me how to run short cons, taught me how to cook H, the man who protected me from the shivs and ass-rape of county prison. Now a, a … God knows what – lying in a stinking alley, green steam rising from his corpse, his flesh melting like a candle made of rancorous fat, stinking like a trawler …

            The Fed grabs me, twists one hand behind my back and rams me against the wall. He sticks his FBI identification in my face.

            ‘You know what this means asshole?’ I don’t look at it. I stare at my arm, eyes fixed at my fresh needle wound, a scab growing around the track mark, the infected flesh a shimmering jade colour like the scales of a fish…

©2009 Joel Morgan

The Bay of Goats

(A short story begun around a year ago and only just completed. This is a homage/pastiche/rip-off of the works of H.P. Lovecraft and James Ellroy, two of my favourite authors. It contains mature themes, violence and bad language. I invite you to the 1960’s and the world of Victor Rydell – racist, right-wing, xenophobe and C.I.A. agent who deals with ‘esoteric’ matters. Enjoy – and please leave a comment using the forms at the bottom of the post.)

October 29th, 1962 and yours truly is sitting on a cum-stained mattress in Six-Fingers-Ville, Louisiana watching a fat fucking surveillance expert eat his own weight in barbecued chicken wings. My eyes are still heavy from the drive in the company car (suspension fucked) and the bennies I’ve been popping since Fort Worth. Crotch is still sore. Bet I’ve got cock-rot from the stripper called Candy/Mandy/Sandy/Uncle fuckin’ Andy I screwed in the men’s room of the Carousel Club back in Dallas. Southern whores, lice infected every last one of ‘em. Gimme a DC fuckpig anytime.

            The motel room’s a joke. No air-con, no ice machine, TV on the fritz and a shitter backed up to Laos. I’ve been to Laos and the conditions for passing a bowel movement were better than the Copacabana Motel – Rooms for Rent at Cheap Prices. Mind you I can hardly hear my migraine over Denny Wallace sitting in his wife beater, ear to his headset, watching spools spin as he cracks barbecued wing after wing, breaking chicken bones like an Okie chuck rapist straight out of prison on a bestiality charge.

            ‘You want some?’ he says, thick hickory smoked sauce running down his chin and onto the recording equipment. I can’t be fucked to answer, wave my hand and light a Lucky Strike from the squashed pack I scored from some wetback outside a truck stop in Baton Rouge. Close my eyes. Look at the ceiling, a Cistene Chapel of nicotine, sweat and other assorted bodily fluids. Join the C.I.A., see the fuckin’ world.

            ‘Anything yet?’

            ‘Nope. He’s still humping’ says Denny, Boston accent modulated by the crack and chew of bird cartilage. Fucking typical. Ten minutes from the meet and Ramone is still boning the lil’ whore he picked up back in New Orleans, she’s fifteen at most, with so many track marks up her arms look like Grand Central Station. So much for national pride, the mother country and stiffin’ Castro with a few tonnes of black market armaments. All out the window when some skank street pussy lands on his freedom fighting dick.

            I can vaguely hear the sounds of Cuban coitus over Denny’s mastication and the whirring of the fucked air-con. Keep my eyes closed, tracing patterns in the constellations of the blood vessels. The lucky tastes like shit so I stub it in the empty Dr. Pepper bottle and swing my self over to the window. My old field glasses are propped on the Gideon bible, the pages slipping from the binding after being used as free skins for reefer. Unsteady on my feet, bennies still buzzing through the blood, I move back the curtain that looks like it held moth fuck-fest ’58 and take a look through the dirty pane into the parking lot.

            The reason I’m sharing temporary lodgings with the company’s most corpulent tape-man is Room 33 just across the lot. Mr. Hunt slid me the job as he usually does when I’m down south. I can make out a Cuban beast with two backs in the oppressive Louisiana haze that passes for air, a silhouette in the thin curtains. Ramone’s ride is parked just outside; a piece of shit with fake plates he assures me won’t be traced for at least a week. Knowing anti-Castro revolutionaries I figure he’s over-estimating but this is on company time so fuck it. If it goes down I’m just the case officer, I don’t oversee this shit.

            ‘They’re still fucking.’

            ‘I figure that, Wallace. I can see that from here.’

            ‘Figured I’d give you a sit-rep, s’all.’

            ‘I gather you’re still recording all this?’ I know Denny’s got the best collection of fuck-tapes in the northern hemisphere. JFK and Marilyn, Bobby and Marilyn, J. fuckin’ Edgar wearing silk panties with Clyde Tolson at a FBI convention.

            ‘If there’s tape, it’s fucking rolling Rydell. Don’t see this is worth much in resale terms, but shit …’. I’m bettin’ big if I go out to the Coke machine right now he’ll start whacking his johnson like LBJ sniffing the chance of the presidency. ‘What time’s this shit ‘sposed to go down? I got some mob cooze to record up in Atlantic City in a few days. Don’t want to be burned out or nothing.’ I bet even bigger Denny’s cock is like a leper’s tongue with all the ‘burning out’ he does but hey … join the C.I.A. see the fuckin’ world.

            I’m just about to lie down and fucking shoot myself with my army issue .45 when bald tires kick up gravel and a black Buick sedan rolls into the luxurious stop-off that makes up the Copacabana Motel.  Give ‘em one thing, the mob is punctual when money’s on the line. Three men, one goombah behind the wheel, another in the passenger side and the main man in the back. Tinted windows, freshly polish, cigar smoke trailing as Micky Demingo exits centre stage, flinging his five-hundred buck suit jacket around his shoulder like Batman’s cape. Eggplants’s about as covert as a black Jewish communist at a Republican convention. The Mafia – if you weren’t in deep with ‘em you’d fucking kill ‘em.

            Goombah One gets the door, Micky stubbing his cigar into the dirt with a steel tipped cowboy boot. The muscle’s your standard mob fuck, his physique earned by beating down on shopkeepers and punch bags that forgot to pay the vig. Micky’s a little bit smarter, figures himself a little bit special, like Frank Sinatra ran numbers in Orleans. Hair slicked back, rings that could make up the Ark of the Covenant if you melted them down for scrap. Eyes set deep, scar down one cheek. He won that in a prison duel against 6 niggers six years back if you believe the stories. If you know the facts Micky got pistol whipped by Carlos Marcello after leaving a cool quarter mil of skim money in a taxi after a night out on amaretto and uncut coke. Fuck why he’s not floating in a barrel of the Bay of Biscayne is anyone’s guess, but shit, I’m just a company man. A company man who has to deal with – what’s the word that fuckin’ commie professor from Arkham called it? ‘Esoteric’ … yeah, shit more ‘esoteric’ than most.

            So to set the scene, Micky Demingo walks into room 33 with Goombah One. Goombah Two’s still in the driver’s seat saying Hail Mary’s or some such shit. Inside 33 we’ve got an anti-Castro Cuban called Ramone who’s strung out on tequila and Quaaludes with some bitch he picked up. I’m guessing Ramone’s brother Jorge is in the bathroom jerking himself sore or filming it on cine-8.

            Some way for an exchange to go down. We set the deal up, ‘cept neither party knows it. Orleans Mob get a suitcase of top quality cocaine to get Mardi Gras goers itching at the gums and a Cuban training camp gets the key to a lock-up containing a fuck-load of rifles and ammo that fell off the back of a National Guard truck. Simple. Me and chicken-eater Denny are here to monitor the deal, tape it, send it back to MK-THETA and Bob’s the redneck who fucked yore uncles goat.

            ‘Cept I’m C.I.A. Agent Victor Rydell. I deal with the shit of the underworld, the dirty grease that lubricates Uncle Sam’s cock. The ‘esoteric’ shit. So when it all ends in gunfire a few minutes later it comes as no fuckin’     surprise …

 

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

            ‘Okay, it’s rolling.’

            ‘Mic’s are good?’ I say. Light another lucky and hope for the best.

            ‘My shit’s always good. I could tape God taking a crap and he’d never know.’

            ‘God worth blackmailing?’ Christ, these Luckies taste like shit …

            ‘Dunno.’ Denny adjusts some shit on his set-up; I shift along the cum-stained sheets and nestle as far as comfortable to hear what’s going down through his cupped headset. Minor introductory bullshit then —

 

RAMONE: Get your ass in there …

 

Sheets ruffle, an ass is smacked, a heroin-groan and the slam of a cheap plywood door.

 

MICKEY: Ramone Domingues, yeah?

RAMONE; Yeah. My brother Jorge, right here.

 

Movement, maybe handshakes, feet scraping carpet. Something heavy lands on a rickety table.

 

MICKEY: ‘S there.

RAMONE: You chicos down with the movement, yeah?

MICKEY: Fuck your movement. I got five percent in a casino that pig Castro turned into a fuckin’ shit sty. Thousand dollar rugs covered in spic shit.

JORGE: Means and ends, my friend. Means and ends.

MICKEY: Goods are in there. The key and something else like we arranged. Fuck knows what you gonna do with that, but shit …

 

Bed springs creak, footsteps. Muffled noises, something lands back on the bed. Click – Click, latches undone.

 

RAMONE: All there. Pure. You like?

MICKEY: The fuck I like.

 

Sounds like a switchblade pops, a pause and a snort.

 

MICKEY: I like a lot. Get your spic eyes around this.

 

More clicks. A longer pause.

 

GOOMBAH: The fuck is that we’re trading?

MICKEY: I look like I know? Jesus Christ …

 

The calm before the storm. The ground invasion before the air cover. Then comes a sound I’ve never heard being made by human vocal cords before and then …

RAMONE: Maderas negras de la cabra …

 

Denny jumps back as the initial shots ring out – one, two, three – falling onto the floor clutching his head phones, sending two dozen chicken bones hurtling, ashtray upended, lead jerked from the gear, spools falling, hitting the pissed stained carpet, smashed, unspooling like black eels, the report of fire in my ears bringing me back to Laos, I dive over the bed, multiple muzzle flashes piercing the torn curtains as Room 33 of the Copacabana turns into Dodge fucking City, across the lot the door bursts open, Ramone dashing out into the twilight and I fucking swear I can see vicious eyes reflecting under the bayou’s full moon, the shape dashes towards the mob car, barrel flare and the spray of arterial blood through the filthy window pane, key in the engine, wheels spin in dirt and gravel. I gather myself, still groggy from bennies and foul luckies, draw my .45 and leap across the bed, kicking Denny into the bathroom screaming ‘Draw your piece, stay in there and shut the fuck up’, I tear at the door, run into the lot as the car tears out and off onto the asphalt. Running to Room 33 barefoot I slide into a charnel house of cordite, blood and coke particles hanging in the air like slow moving clouds.

            Jorge twitching, three in the torso, one in the mouth, his jaw flapping as he spasms, blood pissing like the geyser at Yosemite. Goombah One, sliding down the wallpaper like a Francis Bacon painting affixed poorly with crimson glue, neck torn apart. Mickey face down on the bedspread, his left leg twitching, hole in the back of his skull size of a baseball.

            I survey the scene. Coke – most of it there. Keys and ‘something special’ – gone. Three corpses and a fuck of a lot for the spic maid to clean up tomorrow morning. I kick down the bathroom door and find the whore pinned like a knife throwers assistant against the john, piss running down her legs, a condom full of Cuban cum still poking out from her pox ridden cunt. I raise the .45 and blown her brains out before she has the chance to speak.

            Join the C.I.A. See the fuckin’ world.

 

I never liked New Orleans. Never liked the humidity. Or the melting pot of blacks, spics, hicks and dicks churning like a muddy swamp surrounded by a godforsaken gaggle of idiots tourists looking for drinking, fucking and a good robbing. But for someone who deals in black bag and wet ops it’s a pretty good place to get away with shit. Which is why I can interrogate a skinny anti-Castro Cuban called Jesus with a buck knife without having to resort to using a gag of any kind.

            The air-conditioning is going full blast, fan blades shaking, unit about to fall of the wall. Add to that the noise of screaming children from the apartment next door and the blind bluesman playing an out-of-tune slide guitar in the street below. All this means that no one is gonna hear Jesus’ pleading, whimpering and cursing as I gently pass my blade over his abdomen. ‘What the fuck was in the case Jesus?’ I ask for about the fifth time.

            ‘Amigo, please. I don’t know nuthin about shit.’

            ‘That’s probably true Jesus. But I’ll torture you anyway. Might even crucify you for the fun of it.’

            ‘Ah, for fuck’s sake man.’

            ‘There was something else in that fucking case apart from the keys to the lock-up. Something that sent your buddy Ramone bat shit. I need to know what it was and where the fuck he went.’

            Jesus has pissed himself twice so far, which is adding to the already foul aroma of his apartment. I’ve got him naked, tied to a wooden chair with his torn bed sheets which are now stained with blood and urine. I haven’t cut him deep yet, I’m not here to kill him. Just find out why a simple observation of a meet turned into a fucking shoot-out that I’ve had to spend two days cleaning up. The bodies went in the back of Micky’s Buick. Micky’s Buick went into a deep swamp never to be seen again (fingers fucking crossed). The Copacabana Motel’s wiring was obviously faulty as it burnt down at around 2am last night. The coke is already back with our Mafia contacts, along with a sincere apology regarding the shooting of its owners. That’s all covered, Denny’s on his way back to D.C. with the tapes. And me – I’m stuck down here drinking warm Bud with a Cuban with a bladder problem.

            ‘You contacted us Jesus. Said you needed guns. We arranged the meet and what do we get? We get butt-fucked by your friend Ramone. I’ve got to explain a bunch of dead mobsters and missing armaments to my superiors. So help me out here Jesus.’ I stab the knife into the seat of the chair, a hair away from his scrotal sac. ‘Or the next time you go to church you’ll be singing castrato with the choir.’

            ‘Ramone’s a fucking arsehole.’ He squirms as much as he can, looking down at the knife stabbed into the piss-soaked wood.

            ‘I concur.’

            ‘He’s into weird shit. But he fucking hates The Beard and he’s a good shot so we let it slide.’

            ‘What weird shit? He not a good Catholic?’

            ‘Nah. All that hoodoo shit, Santeria, Palo Mayombe.’ Brilliant news. Jesus trusted a cultist shit to carry out his dirty work. ‘He knows some shit, knows some people. Bad fucking people.’ Christ, don’t we all.

            ‘What kinda people?’

            ‘Fucked up kind. Hold black masses out in the swamps. I don’t wanna know any more about that. I’m a good Catholic.’ Sure. A good Catholic with a sheet that includes armed robbery and assault. ‘He meets up with these fuckers, some niggers, some sailors, some fuck knows who else. They do their shit, I don’t wanna know.’

            ‘Jesus’ I say as I cut him free from his bed sheet bondage ‘you just ruined my fucking week’. He lurches up from the chair and I cold-cock him with a fierce right hook that makes my knuckles sting. I make sure I wash my hands before I leave the apartment.

 

I’m booked in under an assumed name in a fleapit hotel on Bourbon Street. I consider my locale as I mix a Jack and Coke in a dirty tumbler and dial a Washington D.C. phone number.

            ‘Yes?’ Mr Hunt always answers this way, his Texan accent smoothed by Yale and years with The Company.

            ‘It’s Rydell’ I say, sipping my warm and sickly sweet beverage.

            ‘How are you faring?’

            ‘Ramone is still in the wind. His superior in the brigades reckons he’s into some weird shit.’

            ‘As in cult activity?’

            ‘As in cult activity. Palo mayombe, all that immigrant ancestor worship shit.’

            ‘I have some familiarity with it.’ Sure he does. Hunt’s a Skull and Bones alumni. Anyone who’s jerked off in a coffin overlooked by America’s richest and most powerful sons and partaken in ceremonies with Geronimo’s skull knows more than the average citizen about what’s behind the veiled curtain.

            ‘I’ve spoken to our organisation contact in New Orleans.’ He means Carlos Marcello, the local mob boss. Hunt would never mention a name over an unsecure line, not even with a gun to his head. ‘He has the merchandise and the issue regarding the collateral damage is resolved.’ I heard Micky had crossed a few fellow Cosa Nostra friends, so no surprise there. ‘He enlightened me as to the nature of the item which spooked our Cuban friend. One of his peripheral associates came by some artefacts procured from a source in New England.’ I heard the museum in Kingsport had been robbed a few months back … shit.

            ‘And one of them came into his possession.’

            ‘Yes. A piece of ornately carved petrified wood.’

            ‘Some kind of statue?’

            ‘Not exactly Victor. Our organisation contact described it as a fossilised dildo. It seems Ramone had done some smuggling work for our organisation friends and heard about the item on the grapevine. He made an offer for it which was accepted.’

            ‘And which no one told us about.’

            ‘Correct. I’m not concerned about an antique sex toy, Victor. I am concerned with the liquidation of our former Cuban associate.’

            ‘Consider it done, sir.’ Hunt hangs up; I light a lucky as I place the cracked Bakelite receiver back in its cradle. I lie back to the strains of jazz leaking in through the open window. This is my life – on the trail of a petrified dildo and its motherfucking Cuban scumbag owner.

            Join the C.I.A. See the fuckin’ world.

 

I hate New Orleans, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know its secrets. Mamma Fayette is one such secret. She works from basement beneath a guitar shop in the French Quarter, a few blocks down from the shithole I’ve been sleeping in. You can smell the place before you hit it, incense rising up from the doorway, thick clouds of smoke rolling out, the pungent acridity hitting my lungs like a pack of camels smoked at once.

            There’s no electricity, just swathes of candles dripping their wax across shelves and alcoves, their light dimly reflecting upon the jars, bottles, tomes and statues. I cough, less of a greeting, and more an involuntarily reaction to the caustic atmosphere swirling around the dungeon-like shop.

            ‘Mister Rydell. Back in the Big Easy.’ Mamma Fayette emerges from a bead curtain in the darkest recesses of the shop, shuffling forward, her skeletal frame supported by a gnarled ash walking stick.

            ‘Mamma.’ She adjusts her thick rimmed spectacles, running her hands through her long, tangled hair before sitting upon a stool behind a counter covered with herbs, roots and assorted other ingredients and fetishes.

            ‘Been a while, boy. That last thing I did for you worked out ok?’ The last thing was a curse. Two hundred bucks it cost, that and a small vial of my blood. My ex-wife had been fucking around with a car salesman. I couldn’t kill her or him – not enough plausible denial. So Mamma here helped me out. The curse was supposed to give him a serious, crotch-rotting STD. It didn’t. But he did get killed in a hit-and-run two weeks after I buried a poppet under his immaculate front lawn so I can’t complain.

            ‘Fine.’

            ‘So your misgivings about my power have been assuaged?’

            ‘You could say that.’ She laughs, a cackle mixed with a phlegmy cough. I’d be surprised if she didn’t cough up lung tissue five times daily breathing in this shit.

            ‘You’ve lost something. And someone.’

            ‘Correct.’

            ‘And what will you do once you find them?’ Get on the first fucking plane out of this shit-hole and spend a week in The Hamptons fishing and drinking single malts.

            ‘Solve a few problems.’

            ‘Problems is Mamma Fayette’s business.’ That and selling dirt from her backyard as magical grave dust and conning tourists into parting with fifty bucks for a love potion made from dog piss and Clorox.

            ‘I heard some things on the grapevine. A cult operating around here.’

            ‘Lots of cults dear. Those white boys in the chapels say my business is a cult. They say voodoo is Satan’s jive. My gods were here before some poor Jew boy got hisself crucified.’

            ‘They work out of the swamps. Nigge…negroes, sailors, other sorts.’

            ‘I hear about some folks who do their works out there. Me, I can’t move around as much as I like’ she says tapping her shrivelled leg. I remember what Ramone said on the tape –

            ‘Maderas negras de la cabra.’ That shocks her. Mamma tilts her head back, the folds of her wattle undulating as she shakes her head. ‘Heard that before?’ She slowly removes her glasses, pinching her nose as if in the grip of a migraine. Fucking old drama queen.

            ‘The Dark Mother of the Woods, Mister Rydell. Not good. This is a problem.’ And you’re a mistress of stating the fucking obvious I think, watching as she scrambles around on a shelf behind her, rifling through paperwork. ‘I’ve heard rumours. Whispers of a place in the bayou, a bay where the trees rot and the plants don’t grow as they should. Where even the gators fear to swim. That’s where they worship her.’

            Mamma Fayette finds what she’s looking for, an old map of the area smeared with dust and god-knows-what-else. She adjusts her glasses, grabbing a small crystal attached to a piece of string. She tips her head back, letting the crystal swing over the map, groaning in some untranslatable tongue, her face twitching, veins protruding from her paper-thin skin.

            She spasms suddenly, spittle running down her chin as she breaks from her trance state, grabbing a chewed biro and circling a location on the map. ‘This is the place.’ Rising from the chair Mamma grabs a small cloth bag from a nearby shelf and passes it to me with the map. She unwinds string from the brown cloth bag and hangs it around my neck.

            ‘This?’

            ‘Gris-gris. Protection. It brings good luck.’ I don’t know about good luck. It smells like dog turds and my mother’s burnt pot roast. Maybe it’ll keep the mosquitoes away. I reach into my pocket, picking twenty dollar bills from my calfskin wallet. She grabs my hand. ‘No payment Mister Rydell. Solve your problem.’

            ‘Thank you.’ I say, noticing a tear rolling down her sunken cheek.

            ‘I pray the loa help you with this Mister Rydell.’ I nod, turn and leave. I barely make out what she says as I exit the fug of smoke and incense – ‘But even they have their limitations …’

 

I take a long sip of bourbon from my hipflask as the boat glides in next to the coils of a long dead cypress tree. I pass the flask to the two Sheriff’s Deputies – Manners and Brushwood – who nurse their pump action shotguns like infants. They shake their heads. I’m guessing they are none too pleased at being dragged out into the swampland at midnight when they could be back in their trailer banging Mary-Sue or Bobby-Jane or whatever these crackers call their girlfriends.

            Mr Hunt pulled some strings, got Ramone flagged on a bogus robbery charge and an APB was put out. Lucky for me – or was it the gris gris ? – a trooper spotted him out in the country buying gas and supplies and called it in. So I’ve got Sheriff Mulroon – a podgy, tobacco chewing fuckwit with a line in Colonel Saunders facial hair – and his inbred men out here on false pretences.

            ‘So we figure he’s armed?’ The Sheriff spits a thick wad of tobacco into the stagnant water as he disembarks, pumping the slide on his shotgun.

            ‘Very likely. May have some company.’ I’ve sold him on the fact Ramone has a shack out here, probably a moonshine still as well. Poor sod. Hope he can handle this shit if anything goes down.

            I follow the Sheriff and his deputies up and onto dryish land, drawing my Colt .45, an M16 slung over my shoulder just in case. We’re about a quarter of a mile from the spot Mamma Fayette’s crystal went spastic over. I’m hoping her powers of divination haven’t gone completely wayward as we shine our electric torches into the darkness ahead, illuminating the twisted, gnarled hackberry trees and the hulking roots of aged water elms. There is none of sounds I’d expect – no bird noise, no scuttling of small beasts, just the swaying of branches and the sounds of our footfall as we push onward through the cordgrass and the saltwort.

            I spot it first, instinctively clicking off the safety on my .45 and popping one in the chamber. Around a hundred feet ahead, the illumination of a bonfire, surrounded by torches hanging from cypress branches.

            ‘Fuck is that?’ says Deputy Manners, bringin up his pump action. ‘This Cuban shit throwing a party or sumthin’?’ Not a party, I think.

            We push on, trying to manage some kind of stealthy approach, finding a vantage point behind the carcass of a fallen oak covered in rotting moss. Not a party.

            It’s a clearing, surrounding a huge rotting tree stump, so aged it looks fossilised. The trees that circle it are twisted and warped like crones with arthritis, oil lanterns hanging from finger-like branches. The bonfire glows with a sickly green flame as the silhouettes of naked figures dance around its heat, leaping and shaking in a contorted St. Vitus’ dance, flagellating each other with sticks, blood arcing into the air as they scream chorus-like in unison – ‘Iä! Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young! Iä! Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young!’

            ‘The fuck?’ Sheriff Mulroon looks at me as if he’d just stepped onto the surface of Mars. ‘This some voodoo shit? You never said fucking shit about this boy!’ No, I didn’t. Otherwise I’d be here on my own with a M16 and a gris-gris of grave dirt and garden herbs for protection.

            ‘I knew he had some weird beliefs. Didn’t know about this.’ It’s a bad lie, but I’m a convincing bullshit-artist so he buys it.

            The celebrant’s number about eight – niggers, Cubans and mulattoes –  too caught up in their orgiastic fervor to notice us peeking out from behind the rotting oak. No weapons I can make out which means if we have to slaughter all these darkie fucks it’ll be an easy job. It’s the American way – lesser races brandishing sticks and stones getting mown down by superior firepower.  

            Then Ramone emerges into sight, body smeared in blood, intricate sigils and glyphs cut into his dark flesh, hands held aloft, his fellow worshipper’s cries rising to a crescendo; ‘Iä! Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young! Iä! Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young!’

            He has the sacred dildo in his hand, waving it in the air as if it was the Vince Lombardi Trophy and he just won the sicko cultist Super Bowl. He kneels before the petrified stump, its nooks and crannies filled with candles and the carcasses of long dead sacrificial animals. One of the worshippers steps forward – an obese Haitian woman in her fifties, I could swear she had four titties but maybe it’s a trick of the light – grabbing the dildo from him as he raises his skinny ass in the air. I really don’t like the look of where this is going and by the reactions of the Sheriff and his pale-faced Deputies neither do they. No big surprise, I’ve busted pagan ceremonies in Texas, shot up Satanist’s in Upstate New York and killed a Cleveland sicko who made an altar from body parts so I’ve seen my share of fucked up shit. These boys bust speeding motorists and lynch coons for a living. Not really a decent preparation for ceremonial anal rape.

            The obese Haitian bitch screams as she holds the dildo high before ramming it straight into Ramone’s asshole, he bucks like a colt, emanating a scream of pain and passion. I wince. Sheriff Mulroon chokes on his chewing tobacco. Deputy Manners vomits undigested cornbread and deep fried prawns down his starched uniform.

            Believe me, I don’t want to look but I’m captivated as the carousel of dancing, screaming and whipping whirls like a maelstrom, Ramone convulsing and spasming, ass held high, the Haitian woman taking a knife to her breasts, slashing at her corpulent flesh, her blood spraying over his body.

            Deputy Brushwood starts reciting the Lord’s Prayer, stumbling over the words, Manners wipes sick from his shirt, Sheriff Mulroon clutching his shotgun with white knuckles. I vaguely notice them. I’m fixated on the altar where Ramone shakes and thrashes, the wooden cock in his ass expanding, warping and growing. From a six inch carved dick it sprouts from his anus, its twisted veins blossoming into tendrils that probe and curl under the moonlight. The fucking thing’s alive, bursting into life like a seed germinating, spreading Ramone’s ass cheeks, the wooden shaft expanding into a trunk, black blood pissing over it from the fat bitch’s wounds, writhing tentacles now five foot long clutching at her, wrapping around her face and chest, making hideous wet sounds as they slap at her skin.

            Ramone’s orgasmic, tortured screams are cut short as he explodes like a ripe water melon, torn in half by the unearthly thing grown from his bowels, his torso crumpling to the floor, his body a vessel now no longer needed. I hear his spine twisted and torn in two as the trunk-like body crowned by black, ropy tendrils stumbles forward on Ramone’s legs, their flesh breaking into open sores and wounds, growing in mass, feet and toes now changed into hooves.

            Deputy Manners emits and piercing wail and turns tail, fleeing into the woods. I should have known not to bring local law enforcement into this. Mind you – I’m not sure the Marines I’ve relied on so many times in the past could handle this. Sheriff Mulroon sides on the ‘fight’ side of the fight or flee debate and starts firing round after round of buckshot into the cavorting cultists, the shots echoing as cultists are blasted apart, their screams now of pain rather than insane celebration. I take aim, blowing the head of the fat Haitian whore as The Thing’s oozing, tentacled branches form a stranglehold around her head. Deputy Brushwood stands there, shotgun raised, shaking in fright, unable to fire, mumbled prayers passing his lips.

            The Cultists are fleeing, Mulroon’s shotgun blasts driving them into the darkness. I couldn’t give a shit about them. I’m concerned with The Thing lumbering towards us on two – now stumpy, hooved legs – mouths growing from the wounds in its legs, dozens of twelve foot tentacles glistening with green goo in the moonlight. It makes an undulating moaning sound that carries over screams, pleas for mercy and the incessant shotgun blasts. I swing the M16 from my shoulder, select full auto and let rip, round after round impacting its tentacles and flanks. All to no effect.

            The Thing advances unhurt, its tendrils grabbing the worshippers too wounded to flee, tearing them apart like damp newspaper, limbs and body parts flying around the clearing, internal organs and guts strewn across branches like Ed Gein’s Christmas decorations.

            I slam my second and last clip into the M16, spraying the entire magazine at The Thing as it grabs Mulroon by the waist, hurling him into the trunk of a cypress, a horrible wet cracking sound as he hits, ribs breaking. Some of the rounds hit home but do precisely fuck all. I need hand grenades. I need claymores. I need air support and napalm. I need the fucking atom bomb. All I’ve got is a .45 and a bladder about to burst.

            So I run, turning heel and sprinting over the moist wiregrass, not looking back, not even when I hear Deputy Brushwood’s screams mixed with frantic, unheard prayers to a God who surely isn’t listening.

            I run, lungs burning, legs like lead, past Deputy Manners who lies sprawled on the sodden swamp floor, broken ankle caught in a tree root. I ignore his pleas. He’ll slow The Thing down, maybe enough to get me to the boat. Enough to get me the fuck outta this place, The Bay of Goats. I grip the handle of my .45 tight, knowing that at least I have enough rounds to shoot myself.

            Join the C.I.A. See the fuckin’ world …

© Joel Morgan 2009