The Injection 012

The Injection

The following is an excerpt from VERMiN:

“Don’t move,” he heard and Isaac looked around frantically. “Stop it. Keep your eye still. You’re really going to want me to get this right.”

Isaac opened his mouth to yell, but a roll of leather was shoved between his teeth.

Then he saw the needle.

“Look right at the tip. Injection on three. One…”

Isaac tried to push the sweaty tasting leather out of his mouth but it was stuck behind his teeth.

“Two…”

He stared at the tip as it lowered toward him recognizing it as a syringe. All his muscles went taut and he pushed with all his might outward until his eye became blind with the puncture at his pupil. The metallic point went deep into the middle of his eyeball and his throat lurched to hold his sickness.

“There we go,” said Rat. He depressed the back of the needle and an ice cold fluid flooded the inside of Isaac’s eye.

Rat pulled it back, but there was no relief as he closed Isaac’s eyelid with his dirty fingers. He held the skin shut until he secured it with tape in an X shape.

“Good,” said Rat.

Isaac’s heart thumped desperately. His nostrils flared with each inhale and exhale. His hands were fists and his toes curled in the musty air. He only then sensed he was naked as the fingers pulled apart his other eyelid.

“One more and you’re done,” said Rat and before the horror repeated, Isaac felt the liquid, so cold it burned, traveling through his face. Rat didn’t count for the second shot and by the time his other eye was filled with ice too, the other injection had traveled to the middle of his brain, turning the spot behind the middle of his eyebrows into a molten orb. “Pay attention. You’re going to want to remember this.”

The words were hardly there and by the time the needle left his second eye, tape crossed in an X over his eyelid, the heat in the middle of his head was spreading. He pictured his entire brain melting and then bubbling up through his nose and out of his ears.

It was then that Isaac dreamt his first dream in almost twenty years.

The Sacrifice 011

The Sacrifice

The following is an excerpt from VERMyN:

“You must worship our Gods with a gift of sacrifice to gain Their holy understanding.”

Syd laughed over him and every head turned.

“He dares to mock the Holies?” asked another in complete shock and disgust.

“I worship no one,” said Syd as he clicked his cane tip against the marble floor to walk closer, “because I myself am worshipped. If these ‘holies’ have a problem with that, I encourage them to say so themselves.”

“The mortal dares to mock our Gods. He is unworthy.”

“Cut the bullshit. I’m here to close a deal, not to play Sunday school with you children.”

“The time is nigh!” yelled one of the shrouded men. “Bring us the sacrifice!”

The curtain opened again with the same python wrapped nude now holding a baby swaddled in burlap.

“Repent your blasphemy with the gift of pure soul to our Devil Lords!”

The nude laid the baby down in the middle of the circle of black hoods. Syd stepped forward as she grabbed the head of the snake suddenly from her shoulder. She unwound the reptile and it cracked its jaw open to snap into her forearm. Its teeth were hidden within her and she hardly started from the pain. The snake held for a moment, wriggling its fangs under her skin until she pulled on him to release. He let go only to snap back on to create a fresh wound. Blood collected and ran down her arm.

The first drops landed a foot away from the child and the nude traced a square around it. Her blood ran quickly and once she met its start she traced diagonally from the corners, creating an X of blood over it.

It’s the shape of a pyramid, thought Syd. The view from above.

“Present the tool of sacrifice,” bellowed the leader as the nude left weakly back through the curtain. The shrouded man across from Syd stepped forward presenting a large knife, the blade, guard and handle in the shape of a cross. The gold of it glowed with the candles and Syd took it by the handle over the blood spattered child on the floor. It wiggled and spat at the hot fluid on its face and hands. He bent to a knee and rested his mammoth cane flat to the ground. With one arm he reached under to cradle it.

“With this sinless death we glorify You our Lords,” boomed the deep voice behind Syd. “Let this soul be an offering of allegiance and willing slavery to our Masters.”

Syd looked into its eyes. The baby, so calm and oblivious, spattered at the blood in its face and smeared it in worse with its hands. Syd smirked and rose to his feet.

“This baby,” he said, “is more intelligent than all of you combined.”

The group scoffed.

“Every one of you is pathetic and every one of you deserves death far more than this child. You all sicken me. Wasting your brain on bullshit. Worshipping your invisible man. Use a little common sense and realize you are all delusional. The only sacrifice I’m willing to make tonight is on you. Every one of you.”

“Blasphemer! He is unworthy! Remove him from Their temple of worship!”

Syd remained calm as always. Though usually surrounded by security, usually they weren’t necessary. This was one of those occasions.

The first of Syd’s victims approached from behind and Syd sidestepped and spun, slicing the surprised man’s throat straight through to where his spine met his skull. As others jumped in, he danced around them, slicing their vitals while cradling the baby close. The knife ended up in someone’s stomach and Syd knelt to retrieve his cane. He batted away at their heads, sending one after the other to the ground either unconscious or dazed. Some scrambled away in retreat, but those that didn’t found death quick as Syd stomped them, tainting his albino alligator scaled shoes while crushing the skulls of the rest with the silver mammoth head.

The square and X pattern disappeared beneath the cloaked bodies and their escaping blood turned the aerial view of a pyramid into a red flooded wasteland.

The room was silent besides the steady breathing of the baby in Syd’s arms. All were inanimate except for one. The leader of the group pulled the knife from his stomach. A pained grunt turned into a cackling laugh. He stumbled toward Syd who spun out of the way, landing the swinging head of the silver mammoth cane into the side of the doomed man’s knee. The joints dislodged and cords snapped before his body hit the ground.

Syd used his now crimson red shoe to flip him over. He placed his heel into the leader’s stomach and rested the end of the cane in the socket of his eye. He hoped this might have been J.P. or at least one of the council, but there was no recognition from Syd. Just another nobody.

“Tell me, fool. Where are your gods now?”

“My Gods are everywhere,” he spurted in a manic calm. “And whether you believe in Them or not, They like you!”

The Library Labyrinth 010

The Library Labyrinth

The following is an excerpt from Book 4 of LIVEONNOEVIL entitled Master Reset:

Arms put his palms together around the neck of the bottle and pulled it from his chest without sound or hint of pain. “So,” said Arms as he set the bottle inside an open wooden chest, “you’ve met our Disloyal Games.” He laughed again until seeing Gordo’s look of bewilderment. “I’m sorry,” he said getting his giggle under control. “It’s just…of all of us, you meet him first. It’s funny. Good to see Sahasa hasn’t lost their sense of humor.”

Gordo tried to smile at that, but couldn’t. The bottle had cut through Arms’ cloak in only a crescent and Gordo had yet to see blood. Arms pulled out a dustpan and cleaned the broken bits from the ground.

“I’m sure you have questions but let’s save those for after you meet the rest of the group. They’re all going to be real excited to see that you’ve arrived. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had anyone new to the library. Oh and just to clarify, this is most definitely not a labyrinth. A labyrinth only has one path with a beginning and an end. There are no choices in a labyrinth. You don’t get lost in a labyrinth, you get lost in a maze. Have you been lost yet?”

Gordo was transfixed on Loyal Arms’ hands and their single fingers. “Umm…yes,” he said. “I mean, I’m lost now.”

“Lost but found. You’re lucky Games brought you here. You’d have been taken prisoner if they thought you were in league with him. You aren’t, I assume. Games is about as clever as he is see through.”

“No, I’m not. He tried to kill me,” said Gordo just after realizing it was exactly what he’d attempted on Arms.

“As you can see,” said Arms lifting up his cloak to show his chest wound. As much as Gordo could tell, it was right over the heart, but where the skin tore there was only darkness and nothing coming from it. “Life is not so easily extinguished here. Death, in fact, is harder to attain than sanity is to retain. That’ll be your concern soon enough though. No reason to concentrate on the ‘could’s or ‘would’s. What you should concentrate on though above anything else is how you’re going to get out of here. Everyone thinks they know, but the only person that can know is you. Remember that and follow it above anything.”

“But I don’t even know where we are.”

Arms laughed. “None of us do.”

The Rooms 009

The Rooms

The following is an excerpt from Book 4 of LIVEONNOEVIL entitled Master Reset:

Gordo followed the sound until he came upon its source. In the corner of the last dead end, a mound of mushrooms as big as furniture supported the weight of a man laid atop them, his body sunk into their fungal flesh. 

His face was covered by long dark hair and only his nose and lips parted the thin strands. He exhaled a long trail of smoke and then brought the hose of an ornate hookah to his mouth. Everything about the man was slow and Gordo watched him take his time, humming again with the smoke inside his lungs and pausing his song only to inhale or exhale.

It’d been maybe a minute, which meant maybe a year for Arms and the rest. He was at the end and this one was obviously stoned out his mind. He turned, but in response the man sat up into crossed legs on his mushroom stool.

“Who are you?” he said, his words slow and his hair still covering his eyes.

“I’m Gordo.” Any other answer than that just seemed unnecessary.

“You are…hmm…I meet you now for the first. Our next will be the last…” He drew deep from the hookah, his lungs expanding, rib cage flexing, and then sent the cloud for Gordo who backed away and tripped over a blossoming mushroom behind him. “They want you to sit…they want you to breathe…” He took another puff and laid the hose down on an orange spotted bulb head that grew to let it fall and be caught by the next, each mushroom passing to another until it was at Gordo’s fingertips. They rose to fill his weight and Gordo felt comfort in a way he had not in a millennium.

“Who does?” he asked picking up the hose. The mouthpiece was gold and Gordo wanted to try it. He tried to smoke weed once with Jamie, but it didn’t work and she teased him for not inhaling.

“The Rooms, Gordo…they want you.”

Gordo looked down the hose and saw the smoke snaking from the hole. “What is your name?”

“I am Loyal Languid.”

“I haven’t heard of you. Loyal to whom?” The mushrooms rose, possibly sensing his defiance, and pulled the hose out of his hand, cushioning it in a wave of mushroom heads back to Languid.

“The Rooms. Only the Rooms.”