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The Devil in You By Eric J.

Millar

1. Lou hunched a pile. Put the horses on. next race. I got some bread riding on the In the dim light Lous skin looked like tanned Burma over sat while at his the bar in The Nickel with a and Dime

nursing a piss warm glass of beer. hands

His wide shoulders were coaster,

fiddled

tearing it into little pieces then collecting them up into

leather; his wrinkled face peppered with pock marks and the palms of his hands were armored with calluses. Whered you find money to bet on the horses? bartender poured himself a shot of whisky. Turn the damn TV on. Cant. The tubes on the blink and I dont want to The bartender spend the green to get the thing fixed. slammed the shot back and quivered. Get me another beer then. blink too? pity beer. Lou said. The one you got is a If your damn TV The bartender Next ones gotta be cash up front. Or are the taps on the The

Not till your tabs paid off.

You know I dont got any cash. worked I could see if I had it coming. Well, thats just too damn bad.

poured himself another whisky when trouble stepped through 1

the doors of The Nickel and Dime wearing a red satin dress and black pumps. with his eyes, She walked quickly to the bar and put her Lou followed her lean arm up She gave him a nervous Her voice was like Lou stared into his Cuts past her supple young breasts, and then hand down on the counter.

stared into her bright, green eyes. glance then looked to the bartender.

Do you have a phone in here? sweetened wine made bitter with panic. glass of beer and smiled.

Havent had a phone in here for five years. down on the freeloaders. beer mug. How about a pay phone? between the bartender and Lou. Nope. set down the glass

The bartender wiped out a dirty She looked back and forth Anything? The bartender

You going to order anything?

he was holding and grabbed another,

holding it up to the light to find the filth in it. She put her hand on Lous shoulder and grasped with her petite fingers. Lou looked at her slowly as she sat He down on the stool next to his, not letting go of him. took a sip of beer without looking away from her. Do you have a car? She asked. Lou said, his voice I dont care if open out a and the Yeah, but I wouldnt count on it for a fast getaway, if thats what youre thinking about. like a shoe scraping pavement. I need to get out of here right now. its fast or not, I just need to go. As sleigh jingle. slicked she bells finished, hanging the from door the was knob flung let violent

Three men walked through, smooth as shadows, and The lead man jet black hair was shining under the fluorescent 2 back, the grease

gathered just inside.

light. He wore a fine black suit with a white tie. a cigarillo between his lips and lit it. behind him, one by each of his shoulders. up to hide their faces.

He put

Two men stood They both wore

grey derbies and long black coats with their collars pulled The man in front smoothed out his pencil thin mustache with his finger. What do you think youre doing here, little sis? The man hissed, his letting two tendrils of grey smoke out lips. come in The for womans one last grip on Lous She between I here. Gentleman? The man said. for help. Looks more like a trained ape to me. Lou turned his head and glared him. crooked Id

shoulder tightened. thought drink. stammered. I thought Id have it with this fine gentleman

The girl glanced into Lous eyes, silently pleading Quietly she whispered, Help me, as if the look Hell, you better make it Lou stood from his You get too had not been enough. Give me a shot of Jack. two. You never know with groups.

stool, the womans hand sliding off his shoulder as he rose. You know how you are with drinks, Lou. damn slap happy. his bestial eyes. Lou burned through the bartender with He put the two shot glasses on the bar The man in the suit laughed. You never know, with these old He smiled

and poured with reluctance. Whats that for? Its for the pain.

joints of mine, how much busting skulls is going to hurt. I have to take care of myself in my old age. and closed his right hand into his left, the crack of his knuckles sounding like the trunk of a tree splitting open on a cold night. 3

The other two men moved forward and began speaking an inhuman language. black oil Lou got a glimpse of their faces, seeing and shimmering. He sized up their pulsating

gloved mitts and saw that they werent gloves at all, but their actual skin turned to leather and shining the same black as their faces. Not in here. joint. Lou moved in closer. The bartender shouted, the sound of a

fresh shell being pumped into a shotgun echoing through the I just got this place remodeled. No need for He The man in the suit threw up his hands and smiled, his two goons backing away slowly behind him. that, Pops. Were just having a nice conversation.

eyed the girl, Now, if my sweet sister would just come along nicely, well be on our way. I think Ill be staying here. Just run on home, boy. of here. Lou said. Youll be wishing you The man waved for his They peered at The The girl wrapped her arm around Lous and drew her slender body in close to his. Your sisters well taken care

Fine, well do it this way. hadnt but well do it this way. Lou and the girl as they walked out. Damn it all, Lou. behind the ground coffee. Nope.

men to follow as he left through the door.

Dont you got any manners?

bartender said as he tucked the shotgun back into its nest He looked at the girl; she was shivering and You want me to take you someplace? Can you take me back to your place?

staring at the door. Your place. She said.

Her arm was tight around his and her eyes still Lou said.

begged for any kind of help that Lou could give. Damn your eyes.

Lou waved to the bartender as they slipped through the back entrance. The night air was crisp, bringing goose Lous black Mustang was He bumps out on the girls skin.

parked in the back alley, just behind the dumpsters. himself.

unlocked the doors and opened the girls before climbing in The tires squealed as he stepped on the pedal and they disappeared into the night. 2. So, why dont you tell me whats going on. said. Lou

They sat in his dive apartment, a tumbler full of My father and brother are after

Wild Turkey on the coffee table in front of each of them. Theyre after me. me. way down her throat. That was your brother back in the bar? Lou asked. He tightened the fingers on his right hand into a fist then released, repeating it again and again as he listened. Yeah, theyve been chasing me for the past week. guess they finally caught up. So why are they after you? them? No. You done something to She took Run away with the family jewels? Its really hard to explain why. I She took a quick drink and shivered as it burned its

another drink. Try me. You wouldnt believe me. thought I was crazy. So I aint the first then. and lit it. Lou pulled out a Lucky Maybe it was a team He was getting aggravated; he was thinking Nobody does. Every ones

maybe the girl was just playing games.

job,

milking No.

gullible

saps

out

of

everything

they

had.

Maybe it was his turn as the mark. Ive told the story to plenty of people before you and it hasnt done me any good. So why dont you lay this crazy story of yours on me? Maybe Ill think youre crazy but it aint like Im going to throw you out. Okay, okay. for a ceremony. What kind of ceremony? Nothing that youd understand. They need me for this She pulled a ceremony and theyre going to sacrifice me. match. Sacrifice? you for? What the hell are they going to sacrifice They trying to summon the devil or something? The girl didnt need a hero, And Not a pretty girl like you. Lou smiled and let out a lungful of smoke. Theyre after me because they need me

thin menthol cigarette from her purse and lit it with a

Lou laughed and ground out his cigarette in the small glass ashtray on the coffee table. See? she needed a shrink, he thought. I told you that youd think I was crazy. its not the devil; its something much older and much more powerful than that. gripping crazy. her purse She shook her head and stood up, with white knuckles and holding the Everybody thinks Im

cigarette tight between her lips. You think Im crazy.

Lou walked to the girl and put his warm hand on her thin, trembling shoulder. rolled. had a rough night. He let out a sigh while his eyes I just think youve I dont think youre crazy.

You just need some rest and itll all

be good in the morning.

Youre

wrong.

It

wont

be

good

in

the

morning.

Theyll still be after me in the morning. want to kill me in the morning.

Theyll still Theyll

Her voice became frantic The tears flowed

and she put her head against Lous massive chest. still want to kill me in the morning. and her breasts heaved with each heavy sob. Dont worry.

You can stay here tonight and in the She cried, her I cant let a

morning well get you out of Dodge. Youll let me stay here tonight? voice muffled by Lous shirt. Yeah, you can stay here tonight. pretty girl like you be left all alone. mooks after you. I dont know how to thank you. I really dont. She pushed away from his chest and looked up into his eyes. Her full red lips parted slightly, revealing pearly white teeth. As long as youre with me you dont have to worry about them anymore. to you. sleep. Im not going to let anything happen He pointed toward the open Just go get some Its a bit of a mess, but She smiled, Lou hated Not a goddamn thing. The beds in there. Not with those

door to the side of the living room. itll have to do for now.

Arent you coming in there with me? making Lous heart skip a beat. Nope. Im bunking on the couch tonight. himself for the words coming from his mouth. anything just give me a holler. Oh, okay. She looked toward the

If you need floor with a

shyness that Lou hadnt seen in her before. behind her.

She walked

into the bedroom, turned on the light, and closed the door

Lou fell onto the empty couch and put one arm behind his head. He pictured the girl in his bedroom getting undressed and curling up, all lonely and cold, in his bed. Then he thought about how young she was. The light went out in the bedroom. Lou sat up and pulled out another Lucky and lit it, taking the first drag deep into his lungs. He exhaled the cloud of smoke and took the last swig from her glass of Wild Turkey. He thought of the girl in the bedroom and let the idea of what they could be doing roll through his head. didnt have to push them hard. The pretty girls always knew how to push Lous buttons and they All it took was one wayward When glance or a purse of their lips and Lou was theirs.

Lou took the last puff of his cigarette he dropped the butt into his tumbler; the coals went out with a low hiss in the dribbling of ice and Wild Turkey left in the bottom. let his head back down onto the pillow. and his eyes began to shut. girl in his mind, he quietly dozed off. With blurred vision, Lous eyes opened to the sound of the bedroom doorknob turning. as the door slowly opened. The rusted hinges squealed He rubbed his eyes and noticed He His mind wandered

As Lou fell in love with the

that the lights had been left on when he had fallen asleep. Lou sat up on the couch and scooted his back against the armrest. His hands went to his face as he yawned. Lous throat was thick with The Is everything alright? girl didnt answer. couch.

phlegm and made his already deep voice even deeper. Hey, is everything okay?

He heard the sound of footsteps growing closer to the He heard a match strike, the scrape of the head His eyes still were not 8 against the box and the hiss of the head flaming out was deafening in the quiet apartment.

focused but knew that the girls matches were in her purse. The purse was still in the living room, sitting next to the chair where she had left it. You cautiously. have a nightmare His neck began to tingle as or something? Lou said the person behind him took another step and then stopped. He was too groggy for a fight and needed to Lou figured that if he He

keep the man behind him occupied.

acted like he still thought it was the girl, they might just keep up the silent act while he got his bearings. figured wrong. My brother. nightmares over, old man, said the girls Lou listened to the mans hand rummaging through He heard the sound of the blackjack slamming As the sharp pain at

his pocket.

against his skull before he felt it. was going out like a light.

the base of his neck sunk in, his eyes rolled back and he He heard the man laugh and through the fading light could see his face. Your nightmares just beginning. 3. Tag! Youre it. Lou stared at the words on his The The

wall and rubbed the lump on the back of his head. message was sprayed on the wall in bright yellow. wall and collecting in puddles at the edge of the wall. There goes my deposit. been torn apart. of his chair. He sighed.

paint was wet, thin yellow streams still crawling down the The room had

White stuffing sat piled on what was left The blinds on the living room had been

ripped from the wall and sat in a bundle on the floor, sunlight pouring into the room through the now bare window. Everything that was made of glass in his kitchen sat 9

shattered on the floor. pulled one out.

Lou found his pack of smokes and

As he lit it he noticed the knife stabbed

into drywall next to the big yellow insult. A note and a pair of pink panties were stuck to the wall, pierced clean through with the steel blade. the note off and unfolded it. every letter. He tore The note was scribbled in

thick black marker; the ink bled into the paper blurred Lou got a headache from reading it:

If you want to tag me back and maybe save the girl, meet me at Rodericks Piers at 11 tonight. Ill be waiting at number 7. I left you a nice little keepsake if you dont feel up to it. Lou knew the address; he had worked there once, before it closed down. He crushed the paper in his hand and threw it and his spent cigarette in the ashtray. Lou staggered into the bedroom and found his mattress split open and tossed on the floor. His clothes lay scattered all over the carpet, white shirts and jeans cut to pieces and left for dead. light bulb shattered. it. The girls red dress sat in a pile on the floor near a broken lamp, its shade twisted and He picked the dress up and smelled The scent of vanilla and roses filled his nostrils.

He held it tight in his hand and walked to the window. They busted in through here, he though as he inspected it. The glass was still intact but the boards on the outer window frame were splintered and cracked as if someone had taken a crowbar and pried the sliding pane open. as the boards slid together. Lou took the bottom of the window and closed it, the wood screaming

10

Why didnt she hear it? why didnt she say

Lou thought. or yell

And if she did, out to me? He

something,

gripped the dress in his fist and walked back into the living room, kicking through the debris of his destroyed home as he went. He grabbed the knife and pulled it from He looked at on the the wall, pieces of drywall falling away in small chunks. Lou watched the panties tumble to the floor. the gut. He pictured the man and his two goons dragging that poor, defenseless girl out into the night, naked and frightened. Lou picked up the girls underwear and rubbed He put them in the knife blade and saw dried blood stainless steel. crusted

A great lump of anger was growing in his

it with his calloused fingertips, feeling the silk and lace as it folded and twisted in his grip. The girl wasnt helpless. help, for protection. He had hand that held the dress and shook his head. She had come to him for failed her. His mouth

opened, a little at first, and a howl formed in his throat. His lips spread wider, the skin stretching beyond the point of pain. A bestial sound filled the apartment as Lou threw his head back and released his anger. Lou threw the dress and panties at the wall and made a beeline to the bedroom door. stretching he had. fell. and tightening shoulder hunched. His fist closed, his muscles as his elbow bent and his

He punched the doorframe with everything His chest heaved and his shoulders

The wood exploded, splinters of it flying around Lightening bolts of pain shot through his knuckles Lou rubbed his sore hand and was thankful for the

like a swarm of wasps. and arm.

pain; it distracted him from the girl and let him focus on what he had to do. 11

The

revolver

was

still

tucked

away

in

his

bureau

drawer, wrapped with a loose, brown chamois. chamber and found all six cylinders empty.

He opened the He pulled out a

box of shells, the copper and lead rattling as it moved. Lou found ten bullets, pulling six of them out and loading them one by one into the empty gun. bullets he tucked into his pocket. his hands, as if he were born to use it. The four remaining The wood grip was He The gun felt light in

cold in Lous palm as he leveled the gun at the window. hammer grip. back with a trembling thumb.

aimed at a pigeon sitting on the fire escape, pulling the His breath became shallow and his hand was tense, the gun shivering in his He slowly let the hammer back into the safe position He said He saw and slammed it on top of the bureau. Youre getting too old for this shit, man. to himself. the thought of how insane the whole situation was. Lou glared at the gun and his head filled with

the girls face in his mind, crying and pleading for help. Lou gritted his teeth and stowed the gun in the waist of his pants. Lou wandered back into the living room and sat down on the couch, his hands holding his knees in a death grip. The clock on the wall said that it was only noon. He had Lou eleven hours to wait, eleven grueling hours before he had his one last chance to make everything right again. growing with each passing second. would be ready for anything. said a silent prayer. 4. sat on the couch and watched the time tick by, his anger At eleven oclock Lou His fingers tightened and he

12

The

full

moon

cast

strange

shadows

across

the

abandoned buildings near the pier.

The pavement and the Like He

immense brick walls of warehouses looked pale and dead, surrounding him with the loneliness of times gone by. the buildings, Lou was old and far past his usefulness.

looked at the flaking mortar and boarded up windows, hoping that he could do this one last thing and then maybe the world would give him his peace. the rest he deserved. Lou walked slowly and watched as the buildings around him became shorter and then disappeared entirely, leaving only the white capped waves coming to shore and hitting the beach, the water turning to mist and twinkling like the stars in the sky above him. Lou shivered as a cold wind He Lou put his nothing, he ripped through his jacket and ran across his skin. looked at his watch; it was quarter to eleven. hoping walking. You made it! in his voice. flood lights The man yelled, happiness overflowing He stood with his legs wide, bright yellow clicking on behind him and forming a halo Two goons stood by his sides and began to Lou stopped, putting his hand in His other for some strength. When he felt All he wanted was to be like one of those buildings, ignored and finally getting

hand on the gun in the back of his pants, feeling it and pictured the girls face. His teeth set and he continued

around his body.

speak in strange gibberish with low, guttural voices. Wheres the girl? front of his eyes to block some of the light. to twitch.

hand lay flat against his thigh and his index finger began

13

Hell, boot!

not

only

are

you

here

but

youre

early

to

The man walked toward Lou, his wingtips clicking on Lou yelled. Wheres

the wooden planks with each footstep. Answer the goddamn question. the girl? Shes fine for now. little game of tag. Right now we get to finish our I hope you dont I The man laughed.

mind but my two friends here want to play. Lous hand reached back and gripped the gun tight. dont know. mans head. You think they know the rules? He pulled the trigger two more times and the The man yelled as he ducked behind into the darkness beyond them.

Lou pulled out his rod and fired, aiming it at the shots echoed around them like church bells. Jesus Christ! the lights, disappearing

Lou couldnt get another shot at him but the other two men were fair game. He looked down the barrel of the gun, He swaying it back and forth, scanning for the two goons.

lowered the gun and started running toward the light, its brightness reaching into his brain and twisting a screw in it. gun. human. smelled He heard a low chattering beside him and raised his A thick black club knocked it from his hand. One of

the goons slithered from the shadows, his shape no longer The thing looked like a pile of rotten garbage and twice as bad. It closed in on Lou, who was

crouched and ready to attack. What the hell are you? where he though its face was. and then sinking in. stumbled closer. He growled and pasted it It felt like hitting raw

hamburger; his hand slapping against the black oily surface The thing tugged at his arm and Lou Lou heard what he thought was 14 He lashed out with his free hand but the

only got further ensnared.

laughter as the creature formed a web around his chest and began to squeeze, one of his ribs crackled and then snapped. He groaned in pain and kicked his legs but the Sweat poured into his eyes,

thing only gripped tighter. pressure.

making his vision blur as two more ribs gave under the His shirt ripped away and got swallowed into the The other goon said as it emerged from the moved across It the dock towards louder. them. The It thing black muck that made up the things body. Alive. darkness and

stopped two feet away, its black oil body shimmering in the moonlight. Alive. repeated loosened its grip on Lou. Lou saw his opportunity and took it, tearing his right arm free from the goon and ripping away the web of tendrils around his chest. Adrenalin coursed through Lous veins as He dropped to the ground with a The and back into their human shapes he tore apart each new tentacle that formed to replace the ones that he destroyed. two creatures changed loud thud and rolled away, free of the inhuman thing. looked at him crookedly. Lou scrambled to his feet, his broken ribs sending bolts of pain throughout his body. the pain, it made him feel young. and grabbing it. Lou smiled; he liked He spotted his gun on

the ground nearby and went for it, scooping his hand down He started running toward the lights. He made a blind shot and took His boots hit the ground like a steady tribal drumbeat as he came closer and closer. the wooden planks. and took his aim. There was a crack and a flash, the report of a gun filling the silence. Lous knee exploded and sent him to 15 out one of the lamps, glass exploding and showering down on Lou could see a shadow in the distance

the ground.

He hit the dock face first with a wet, bloody He

slap, his gun coming loose from his hand and skidded away. Lou could feel his ribs clawing away at his insides. sending him back to the ground. his feet. tried to stand but put too much weight on his bad leg, He tried again and got to He saw a figure walk He heard footsteps behind him and made little

hops on his good leg, turning around. louder.

closer, the clatter of hard soled shoes getting louder and Lous fingers closed, forming two tight fists. Cant fight like a Lou hopped closer with his bad leg hanging His eyes adjusted just as the gun Is that how were playing this? real man? lifeless beneath him. back to the ground. Whod want to? The figure walked into the light. Lou He The woman stood over Lous sprawled body and laughed. gritted his teeth and tears began forming in his eyes. legs. W-why? Lou stared up at her beautiful face. She If The wore a long black robe that covered her slender figure. His heart beat faster and his breathing became heavy. the gun against his cheek. It was all for fun, honey. you petering out on us yet. begin. The goons arms flowered and spread onto the ground, connecting and forming what looked like a gurney beneath him. They lifted him up effortlessly and moved swiftly 16 She motioned to the two Now, we cant have goons, who moved quickly to her sides.

went off again, blowing out his other knee and sending him

started getting dizzy from the blood pouring out of his

not for her green eyes Lou wouldnt have recognized her. woman crouched beside him and ran the still hot barrel of

The real funs just about to

toward the light. robes billowing in

The girl followed closely behind, her the wind. She lit a cigarette and

tossed the still smoking match on Lous chest. Ill tell you something, Lou. the best of help. your life. but theyre strong as an ox. At least for now. Shoggoths dont make Theyre ugly as sin and none too sharp These two are going to save

Lous eyes went feral and he glared back at the woman. Youre going to have to kill me, you two-timing little bitch. When all of this is over. He coughed and blood oozed from the side of his mouth. If you dont, Im going

to kill each and every one of you with my bare hands. Hell, even if you do kill me, I might just come back from the grave, just so I can take care of you. Isnt that thoughtful. cigarette creatures. out on Lous The girl laughed and put her the skin sizzling and She looked at the two Lou arm,

blistering beneath the hot ash. Ill kill you all.

Lets get a move on, we dont have all night. Each and every one of you. He took

said, his head going limp and turning to the side. one last deep breath before blacking out. 5. Good passed morning, sunshine. beneath

The old man said as he Lous nose. Lous eyes He started coughing, He turned his He was groggy As things began

smelling

salts

opened and he took a deep breath.

each hack working more blood from his lungs. head and spit some of it out on the ground. adjusted to the torch light on the pier.

and hurt all over; the world around him a blur as his eyes to clear, Lou could see who was standing in front of him. 17

The old man was a tower, standing nearly seven feet tall and his long shadow smothered Lous limp body. wearing. His face He was wide and his fat gut filled out the black robe he was The hood hung behind his neck, giving his aged was like a roadmap of old age, deep canyons He face a dark halo and accented his salt and pepper hair. resembling wrinkles digging through sun cooked skin. spread his dry lips and showed Lou his rotten teeth. Weve put tourniquets on those legs of yours, son. We dont want you losing any more of those precious bodily fluids. spoke. chair. broken The old man said. Lou said, his head bobbing as he He found himself sitting up and bound to a rickety Rope dug into the skin of his arms and squeezed the bones in his chest. Over the old mans broad Whats going on?

shoulders Lou could see a large opal shrine being erected by the shoggoths. Were having a party and youre the guest of honor. The old man looked back at his son. The man with greasy hair nodded and began spreading white face grease was paint across with his naked chest, in void running black of his His that clear fingers into every crevasse in his chiseled muscles. painted vines intricate designs a looked like creeping through

sterility. Times like this and the boy gets downright creepy. Hes really into this stuff. more into it than I am. Magic? Devils? Devils? Id have to say hes even The old man laughed. Lou croaked. Those things are childs In the oldest,

You kidding me?

play compared to the forces we deal with.

sickest books you can find the names of things that you 18

cant even comprehend with your little neanderthal brain. Yug-Siturath has more power than God or the Devil! What are you talking about, Daddy? The girl walked She She up to the old man wearing a see through red nightgown. stepped around him and sat seductively on his lap.

went in for a kiss and her lips were received by his, their mouths connecting in a way that no fathers and daughters should. whipping Lou turned his head after seeing their tongues at each other like scorpion tails through the

openings between their lips. Just business, honey. The old man said as they parted, a string of saliva glistening between their mouths. So what was I saying? You were talking about Yug-Siturath. The girl smiled and put her hands between her legs, the palms flat against each other. Thank you, my dear. him The Soul Consuming Fog. The old man said. They call Ive used all the years Ive Two years youth.

been lucky enough to get just studying up on the beast, figuring out how to summon him up and use him. Yug-Siturath into yourself will give you ago I found an old tome that said that drawing the power of eternal Can you believe that? The Soul Consuming Fog is just like Lou asked. Im

the fountain of goddamn youth! Why the sacrifice? deal. either. I guess you could call that the catch-22 of the whole To summon up Yug-Siturath you need a sacrifice. not talking about some run of the mill kind of sacrifice To get Yug-Siturath, I need to sacrifice my own flesh and blood, my one and only daughter.

19

The girl smiled and looked at Lou. deal. too.

But its no big

According to Daddys books I get to live forever The old

So its really a win-win kind of situation. man said. Why me? glee. Lou asked. Let me tell him! Let me tell him! Ill let you tell him. Fine, fine. said with a smile.

The girl squealed with childlike The old man

We figured that since were all going to live forever we should have some fun so we made up this game. them about Daddys plans. I went out looking for chivalrous men, just like you, and told We wanted to see if anyone would My brother got a little You should consider be stupid enough to fall for it. they had a chance to see this.

too ambitious with the first couple and killed them before yourself lucky. the end. Inside his head, Lou was kicking himself. played him like a cheap piano. The old man pulled back the sleeve of his robe and looked at the gold watch around his wrist. Damn it anyways, time sure flies when youre having fun. back and enjoy the show. The old man and the girl walked toward the altar. Her brother Once there, the girl climbed on top of it. up at him with a smile on her face. Just sit They had Were letting you live long enough to see

strapped her down with thick leather straps and she looked The man looked down at He climbed her, the paint on his naked skin glistening. the altar.

down and took his place next to the old man at the head of The old man opened a large book bound in black 20

cloth and flipped through the pages. it on the altars surface. Trgnthlp-Rgthblktlp. The

He stopped and placed old mans voice had

He began reading.

deepened and no longer sounded human as he read out loud. Ythpsh-plgstrso, plkrslwptrntlplk, grth-plktrnsplk! The old man grew louder as he read more of the inhuman words from the book. gold handled dagger After minutes of chanting he drew a from underneath his robe. Reality He couldnt take

throbbed and Lous head throbbed with it. for the strength to break free.

his eyes off the old man, his anger boiled up and he prayed The old man stopped for a moment and drew the blade across his hand, covering the clean steel blade with his blood. well. another He read another passage and passed the dagger to The young mans eyes were wild and bestial, looking The old man read climbed onto the passage while the younger one the young man, who dragged the blade across his hand as at his bound sister with animal lust.

altar and readied his body to thrust the blade into the girls heart, his arms raised high above his head, both hands gripping the handle tight. Yght-vplstlk! SITURATH! The young mans arms came down and the blade thrust into the girls breast. The sky became alive with dark energy and swirled above their heads with great ferocity. Black fog swelled from the sea, swirling around each of them and kissing them with cold darkness. swallowed by the black. bugs. The young man looked at his body and saw the white paint slowly being The paint seemed alive and he began thrashing violently and scratching, as if covered by He yowled and fell to the floor. 21 Yug-Siturath! Yug-Siturath! YUG-

Somethings wrong. noise.

The old man yelled through the

Something isnt right!

He fell silent as the whirlwind of fog enveloped him. Lou watched as the old mans skin peeled away and left only dried bones that dropped to the floor like a puppet with its strings cut. The girls back arched and her dead eyes opened; they had turned totally black and shined like marbles in her face. The dagger slowly slid out of her chest and flew off The fog swirled around above her, the It began flowing into the shadows.

tornado like tail focusing at her wound. thrash.

into her lifeless corpse, causing the body to twitch and More and more of the fog disappeared into her. The dock began to smolder and Lou Lou struggled with the ropes; the pain in his chest no longer mattered to him. could feel it through his shoes. The dock surged beneath his feet and the area where the altar stood fell into the sea. Lou was thrown onto his back and he stared into the stars, the surf crashing to the shore and the full moon shining in his eyes. 6. The paramedics wrapped bandages around Lous chest and put splints on his knees. They replaced the tourniquets on his legs and told him how he probably wasnt going to be able to keep them, as if they were just rentals and they were due back in the shop for the next customer. men and a gentle woman placed him on a gurney. mother. Two kind They put an

oxygen mask over his mouth and held his hand like a kind He would have thanked them if he could, but all that came out of his mouth was gibberish. 22

Yug-Siturath.

Yug-Siturath.

Yug-Siturath, was all

that he could say and he repeated it again and again. As they wheeled him to the ambulance a beautiful woman in a red dress approached. She took each step with grace It looks like a bomb went and poise, walking like any good woman should. What happened, officer? off or something. The womans voice was sweet like honey. All weve got is ruble and

Lou perked up as she spoke to the policeman. Were not really sure. dead bodies. look right for it. scratched his head. It couldve been a bomb but this dont really The policeman took off his hat and Looks more like an earthquake or some

kind of force of nature. She walked to Lou and put her hand on his shoulder. The policeman blocked Lous view of the woman. this unfortunate soul? Were not really sure. But I tell you what. He aint got any ID on him. He has got to be the luckiest son of Who is

a bitch in the world to survive whatever the hell this was. The woman pushed the policeman aside and looked at Lou. He stared at the womans face and his mouth opened in The woman in red was the girl, good as new and Lou snapped, lunging for He began screaming and terror.

looking more beautiful than ever. lifted his back from the gurney. the paramedics held him down. He sure is lucky. Youre dead! isnt right! Jesus Christ!

the girl with all the strength he could muster but barely

She smiled and looked at him with I saw you dead! This

dark eyes, deep and black as the abyss of night. Lou screamed. Its the devil! Youve got the devil in you! Give him

The policeman jumped back.

a morphine shot or something. 23

The paramedics pushed the needle into his arm and he calmed. His eyes closed slowly as he chanted. Yug-Siturath, Yug-Siturath, Yug-Siturath.

24

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