by Vincent Daemon
Drinking Up Christmas
Cautiously they made their way through the maze of rank human detritus left in the wake of the bizarre gargoyle from space. Bodies were piled torso high upon one another, some still bellowing in agony as their innards sluiced out from the spots of gnarled flesh sloppily torn open by both claw and pinpointed maw. Others let out pleading whimpers of confused shock, going catatonic or rocking. Some howled to a god that was not there. Withered children who now looked as if they suffered from progeria cried out for their dead parents. All were as good as dead. Even if they had managed to survive the attack, their minds, their lives, would never return to any form of normal. They were doomed to this existence of sheer madness.
Chorn, Julie, and John had their coats pulled up over their faces, just below the eyes, to try and filter as much of the putrescence as possible from their nasal cavities. John had to ask, “Chorn, is this a regular thing for you or something?” Dr. Chorn did not answer. The stink was potent, eye-watering, retch-inducing. Blood, feces, piss, and whatever vile odors that thing was leaving behind it had completely overpowered any molecule of clean, fresh, winter-crisp breathable air.
The fresh falling snow was heavier now, the sky a dark slate gray storm color. That same fresh snow was beginning to layer up on the gaped and gashed and dying, creating an odd quivering mass of ever-reddening snow mounds that shivered and shuddered with the moribund wailing of young and old alike.
Julie looked straight ahead, ignoring her peripheral vision, as this felt like it was all too much for her to take in at once. She thought back to the times as a late teen she would watch Christiane Amanpour on CNN, during the Afghan War, and wish she could be that ballsy war correspondent broad who seemed to have a limitless, almost dangerous lack of fear, who could see and hear and withstand every atrocity she’d report upon. But Amanpour never dealt with this, and in the back of Julie’s mind it made her feel weak, like all the dreams of her high school and college years were shattering at once, along with everything else she thought she’d ever accomplished, or at this point, understood about this world, this universe.
A sudden chill shook her violently, but not a chill from the cold. It was the realization that we, as sentient creatures, may never have been alone in those vast reaches of time and space and hostile, unlivable planetary environments. Obviously, something thrived, and it now occurred to her once agnostic beliefs that there really was not a God as such, just horrible things that dwelled in the furthest edges of our, and all other, galaxies. And that to those things, we essentially meant nothing.
John, through their connection, feeling that one harsh convulsion of revulsion and repulsion and deep questioning of Julia’s self, pulled her tighter to him, a firm grip of loving protection and calming...until they hit the dead end of the charnel maze.
Its back was to the three of them, and they could both hear and smell the roaring upchucks and suckling back of human cud. Its deep crimson-brown wings shielded them from its view. The ghastly sounds of its incessant vomiting and suckling kept the creature deaf to their ever-so-slight sounds and movements.
Chorn looked back, huddled with John and Julie and whispered almost inaudibly, “We gotta get outta here now. If it turns, DO NOT look at it, just run. Until then, we are going to silently crawl over these...people, and get to that bar right over there. We’ll figure a plan out from there. It’s obviously open.”
John said nothing, but the idea of going into the HOMEFIELD A GO-GO, where his cruel, sneaky hell-spawn ex-girlfriend Joan worked, churned his stomach worse than the ripped and leaking, slippery blood-slushed, half-alive mound of bodies they had to crawl over to get to the tacky strip joint. In all reality, he found his ex scarier than the fiendish aberration suckling guts which stood like a winged, statuesque wall before him. The monster would only kill him. His ex would make him suffer worse than anything this creature could do, and she knew how to make it last forever.
Julie merely put her notebook in her pocket and forcibly accepted this as the only option for escape. She mustered the inner strength to shut a part of herself down, to be able to do this. She wondered if this was what Amanpour did, how she handled her scenarios of suffering. Julie did not like this shutting down of a portion of her mind and soul; it felt unnatural, inhuman. Now the desensitization bothered her.
They climbed the bodies carefully, slowly, constantly looking over their shoulders to make sure the feeding thing was still into its own personal holiday buffet.
At the very least this thing was most definitely caught up in its activities. Until John’s foot slipped through the slashed crevice of a semi-living woman’s sizable belly and right into her intestines. His foot stuck, he kept trying with all his force to dislodge his boot from her ribs, where it had gotten caught on some spur of cracked bone. The woman let out a shriek so loud that it echoed into Diabolos Hills, and definitely caught the cosmic monstrosity’s attention.
“Don’t look, Johnny—just fucking run!” Chorn bellowed, John losing his boot to the woman’s broken ribs, his guts aching with the sickness of having to do this, of not being able to just help her. But he did indeed haul ass. Julie somehow was already at the bar’s door, Chorn staying behind to extend his hand to John and help pull him up and over the heap of bodies sheened in slime.
The beast was now angrier and quite befuddled, facing them, trying to roar at them through its projectile spewing of now wasted human sustenance. It began to finally start ripping another swath through the human heap with a mere four or five swipes. It was obviously tiring, and rasping horribly with every inhale and exhale of air. It charged at them, straight toward the door. Chorn and the others made it into the nefarious strip joint by the skin of their teeth, slamming the door shut in the nick of time.
The beast bounced back, full and reeking and furious, yet dazed from how hard it had been hit by the slamming door. It sat for a moment, clutching its head, having never experienced this particular agony before.
Click Below to read
the conclusion of
A SILENT NIGHT
(FOR A DEMI-GHOUL)
by Vincent Daemon
by Vincent Daemon