Friday, 18 December 2009
A PATH OF FLAMES By Lee Hughes
The scream was real, though it sounded well practiced, to the point of being pitch-perfect. Masakra tipped back the bulk of his head and joined in. The noise the large man emitted sounded like the something a deaf-'n'-dumb might make at the point of orgasm.
Masakra released the mush that was now the remains of the man's genitals. The screaming morphed into desperate groaning. Masakra gripped the man by his jaw and yanked down on it, opening it as wide as it would go. He started to push a meaty fist into the open maw. He had to yank on the jaw some more until it dislocated and then he could fit in the rest of his hand. The tortured man resembled a Boa Constrictor that was attempting to swallow a calf whole.
"Masakra." A voice interrupted.
The seven-foot tall brute aired a puzzled grunt and looked around. A slight man stood in the arched doorway. His face was thin, calm, and scarred. The newcomer didn't move any deeper into the room. He looked to the badly abused man that was choking on Masakra's ham-sized fist.
"The Master has new work for you."
Masakra looked back into the face of the man he was about to empty the insides of. His ugly face disappointed. He looked to the newcomer with a forlorn, pleading look.
Masakra vented his frustration by opening up the fist that was lodged inside the man's mouth. That act tore open the corners of the mouth. The tear worked all the way back to just before his ears. Masakra took back his fist that now had a bracelet of teeth around it and lumbered towards the doorway.
Rupert Lodwicke grinned. "Did you know that if you slice just there, just below the spleen then it will relieve earache?"
The man looked at him as though he were mad. Lodwicke just kept on grinning and nodding. "Go on, try it!"
"I decide on how to torture you." The man said as he went about picking his own spot to start with the cutting.
Lodwicke sighed and muttered, "Amateurs."
The torturer made a cut. Lodwicke grinned and giggled. "Deeper, cut deeper!"
The torturer took a step back, annoyance spread over his face. "Would you just shut the fuck up? I'm trying to work."
Lodwicke looked down at the fresh cut the man had made in his abdomen and shook his head. "You call that work? I wouldn't even give you a job gutting fish."
"Gentlemen." Came a voice over by the doorway.
The torturer looked over and nodded respectfully.
Lodwicke flashed the man a smile and said, "Charles, good to see you again."
The man, Charles shook his head not knowing whether to laugh or be angry at the blatant familiarity. "Lodwicke, enjoying yourself?"
"I would be if you had some half competent cutters about."
"The Master has a job for you."
"Lodwicke's eyes lit up. "Do I get to do some cutty-cutty?"
"As much as you like." Charles said, nodding to the torturer to let Lodwicke down from where he was hanging, shackled by his wrists.
Billy crawled out of the embers to the noise of jubilation. He was dizzied still from the transition of being alive to being dead, then rising like a broken phoenix from the flames. The noise that greeted him was a louder, more prominent version of the chorus that had filled his head all those nights ago when he had bashed in the skull of the man in the townhouse and given himself over to the Devil.
He stood and looked around. The galleries were filled with obscene looking well-wishers and those that just wanted to rubber-neck at the man that had managed to break open The Osseous Box and bring them all closer to a freedom they'd been eagerly awaiting.
Billy began to feel self conscious as he realised he was standing there naked with everything a-dangling.
The throng ahead of Billy parted to permit a slight man with a latticework of scars upon his face an unhindered passage. The man reached out with his palms open and facing upwards. He gestured all about himself. “Welcome Billy!”
More shouting erupted.
The man tipped his head in the direction he'd come, turned and retraced his steps. Billy hoped he'd interpreted the nod correctly and followed after the man.
Billy followed him down a hallway and into an ante-chamber.
“There's a selection of clothes hanging upon the wall, you should fine something that both fits, and is suitable.”
Billy went to work freeing this and that from pegs that had been driven into the wall.
The man stood quietly, waiting until Billy was fully dressed and said, “Billy, the Master wishes to meet you.”
Billy felt butterflies in his gut, they weren't fluttering they were having epileptic fits. He could remember how the Master had showed his displeasure. The echoes of his own legs snapping had a rebirth and rampaged through his head.
“You ready?” The man asked.
Billy took a deep breath and gave a nod. He had no clue what to expect. A few moments ago he had seen some of the inhabitants of damnation and they had been a mixture of the monstrous and the loathsome, whilst others had looked pretty much human, apart from the visible wages of their sins.
The man moved over to a set of large doors and pushed them open with the theatrics of a well versed showman. “The Master will receive you now.”
Billy felt a fear like he had never known before. He noticed the man grinning at him with a malign mirth. He didn't relish being the source of the man's amusement so forced himself forward with what he hoped looked like sure and confident strides.
The slick grin never let the man's mug. Billy did his best to ignore it.
Once he was through the doors they swung closed removing any option of retreat.
The hall was cavernous. Fire pits were dotted about the floor and spewed forth fountain like flames. The heat instantly brought a layer of sweat to the back of his neck.
At the far end of the hall was a high-backed wooden chair. A shadow spilled from is across the floor at an impossible angle.
A voice came from everywhere in the hall. Bombarding Billy's senses from every which way.
"Congratulations are in order. As you know I punish without mercy, but also reward when it is due. And it is most certainly due in your case." An arm reached out from the chair. Its surface lumpy, ending in a gnarled fist. Billy looked in the direction that the Master was motioning.
Billy saw someone in the far corner. He was sure they hadn't been there when he'd entered. He knew in this place, this world of the diabolical that he shouldn't take anything for granted, so he kept his questions unvoiced.
The figure left the trappings of shadows that hung in the corner.
Billy recognised her immediately. It had only been days since he had seen her but with everything that had happened it felt like a lifetime.
She smiled, and carried on with her practiced and sultry walk.
Billy was glad she didn't look the same as when he'd last saw her. Laying in death upon the floor, her cunt ruined by a half-born demon's paltry excuse for escape. She was wearing a gossamer robe that hugged her in all the good places.
Billy remembered the twisted things they'd done together in such a short space of time. He grinned remembering how much of a dirty bitch she was.
Her smile worked its voodoo just like the last time. Billy grinned and she said softly, "I knew you'd do it Billy, that's why I vouched for you. Now I'm yours again." She finished her sentence by pulling open her robe.
Billy remembered each and every puckered scar. He did however forget where he was, and what company he was keeping. He was unabashed by his erection. He reached out to touch her scar patterned breasts.
Her grin widened. "You've still to add some markings, remember?"
"I remember, yes, I remember."
The voice interfered from all directions. "That reunion will have to wait. There is work to be done."
The slight man with his face smitten with scars grinned some more as the large doors closed behind Billy and Carol.
"Have fun?" The man asked.
Billy didn't smile back. "Yeah," he said as he started to bend his body into that of a back-water, inbred, attic secret.
The man was more intrigued than shocked as he watched Billy contort into the shape of an ugly hound.
Carol seemed unperturbed as she reached down and patted the flank of the cursed hound. She purred and cooed, "Good boy!"
Billy howled as she stroked him and became eager to get away. Carol followed after Billy. The galleries were emptying as the monsters and the sinners headed out into the labyrinthine hallways from which the Beast had once escaped.
Lee Hughes's short fiction has appeared on or in, Cern Zoo: Nemonymous 9, Thrillers, Killers 'N' Chillers, Microhorror, A Twist of Noir, Every Day Fiction, New Flesh Magazine, The Daily Tourniquet, Powder Burn Flash, Blink-Ink and FlashShots. Find out more at: