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!”