The Angry Hourglass
He stroked the skull. The last film of skin clinging determinedly to bone, defying the man whose hands now caressed its surface so possessively. A flesh mask serving no purpose. Noah suddenly felt lonely; longed to see a smiling face again. It had been an age since anyone had smiled at him. Normally they turned away in revulsion, even this one, his latest visitor. But such things could be rectified. His scalpel delicately traced the outline of a grin up from the corner of the man’s mouth towards his cheek. That was better. A smile never hurt anyone.
The man groaned in response. Cursing, Noah realised he would have to work quickly before the drugs wore off completely. He picked up the blade again only to be disturbed by something rubbing against his leg. It was Kitty waiting expectantly for her tea. He cut swiftly, dropped the tongue onto the floor. He loved his pets. They just took a bit of house-training. This new one though, did he have the patience? He gazed down at Kitty, the faceless creature had devoured her treat and had turned her blind eyes expectantly back in his direction.
“Shall we keep him?” asked Noah, looking across at the other members of his little menagerie. “Time for new blood?”
They stirred restlessly at the sound of his voice, chains shifting, clanking against the side of their cages whilst Kitty, tired of waiting, crawled back to her basket. Noah noticed the goosebumps on her arms, went over and tucked a blanket around her, stroked the blonde hair, feeling her shrink back from his touch as he did so. Out of all of them, she knew who was master. The others, sensing his nearness, had sat up, fingers gripping the bars of their prison.
“You’d like company, wouldn’t you,” he said.
Unable to stand, they shuffled back and forth on all fours, knuckles dragging on the ground, just like their ancestors had done. And he had space. There was one more cage to be filled. Nor was food a problem, there was plenty in the basement … and there was always the occasional visitor.
Hell on Earth
Microcosms 68 HM
Stained glass made the rain look purple, a Boschian nightmare of a landscape, the garden of earthly delights turning into the last judgement. Luke savoured the violence of the storm outside, defied the lightning as it knifed its reflection down the aisle to sink its blade into the hanging man. He looked up at the carved figure, quickly pulling off his hat in a long-buried act of enforced respect, the beret twisting easily between his fingers as they too remembered.
“Luke?” Lightning flashed again, revealing the face of his priest. “It’s been a long time. I’d heard you’d been released. I prayed for your recovery, your restoration to our community.”
Luke knelt … gestured towards the altar.
The priest followed his gaze. “Ah, you have brought an offering. Come. Let us give thanks.”
Luke allowed himself to be led to the foot of the altar where the priest raised a cup, made the sign of his cross above it, offered it to Luke. Then the body too was offered and received.
“He looks cold,” said Luke, eyes once more on the crucifixion.
“Flesh of your flesh, blood of your blood,” said the priest, handing Luke a box of matches. “Let him burn.”
“Let them all burn,” said Luke as the storm continued to rage. He struck a match.
“Tonight He is with us,” said the priest.
“And will be tomorrow,” said Luke, visions of other fires, other fathers, other meat, burning in his head. It felt good to be free, unmedicated, blessed.
The minister watched him go, dark eyes turning red, a jagged-tooth grin spreading across his face. The night was still young and there were so many more madmen already dancing to his tune. It was hell on earth but he was in heaven.
A writer - I think that says it all.