Friday, November 30, 2018

Impact

Impact
by
Bobby Derie

"Lots of people talk about 'impact.'" Her voiced echoed oddly through the empty warehouse. "'This person had such an impact on me,' and all that. Metaphors."

His wrists and ankles twisted and pulled at the zip ties, mouth chewing at the knotted sock she had crammed into his mouth...wiggling, worrying, trying to get free, get away...but he stopped when he heard the distinct tap of metal against concrete.

The head of the sledgehammer was only a few inches away from his foot.


"I hate metaphors."

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Friday, November 23, 2018

Yule Error

Yule Error
by
Bobby Derie

"Where's the mistletoe?"

Joe blinked, wheels turning in his head. Terrible visions ran past his mind's eye as he replayed the events of the last hour.

"One of the elves crushed it and snorted it."

Mary blinked twice.


"Joe," she sighed. "Were you the elf?"

Shuddering, Joe sagged into his costume, the fake red and white fur suddenly a lot less warming than it had been a few drinks ago.

"It's okay, Joe." Mary tugged playfully at his beard. "But seriously, mistletoe is toxic if ingested. I'm not even sure if you can handle it, big guy."

She rearranged his hat...revealing a livid line on his scalp, black stitches poking through the skin. Mary was taken aback.

"What..."

"Reindeer." Joe muttered, carefully pulling the cap back down over the wound. "I told the kid not to ride it, but..."

Mary shook her head, and Joe didn't finish. He watched her legs, covered in those tight green stockings, and heard the bells on her shoes jingle jangle as she peeked outside.

"No one in line yet. Stores open in an hour." She turned back. "Are you going to be okay? Want some coffee or anything?"

"It's too late for coffee," Joe found a peppermint stick and began sucking on it. There was always something clean and cool about peppermint.

Mary jingled her way over, hips swaying. She sat in his lap, warm ass pressed up against his crotch.

"What am I going to do with you Joe? You can't go on like this."

He popped the candy out of his mouth for a second, the ivory stick already being worn down like a prison shank. "It's just the season, Mary. Once the spring comes, I'll be fine. Get some sun, a little exercise. Dry out."

"But you come back," she ground her booty into him, just enough so that they could feel each other. "Every year."

She didn't add: and it'll start again.

Somewhere, an angel got its wings. Mary pushed herself up off of his lap. "Looks like we're on. You really ready, Joe?"

"How's my breath?"

The kiss was short and full, leaving behind the taste of Mary's lipstick, the warm memory of a small tongue slipping quickly into and out of his mouth.

"Good enough."

###

Friday, November 16, 2018

Victory On Her Terms

Victory On Her Terms
by
Bobby Derie

"Okay, so you've turned off the space race victory...and the diplomatic victory...the only thing left is victory by conquest." Her father said.

"Yes," Lilly pushed the glasses up her nose. "The world will burn as my armies march through the fallen cities of my enemies." Her fingers wiggled, hands itching for the keyboard. The young girl's voice dropped to a whisper. "This world will burn...at my order."

"Okay, but don't stay up too late." He leaned down to give her a quick peck on the forehead. "You've got school tomorrow."

"Knowledge is power." The lights of the opening animation played across her glasses as her father left her to the game. "Archery will be the first technology I research."

###

Friday, November 9, 2018

Where The Shadow Lies

Where The Shadow Lies
by
Bobby Derie

There was blood on the bedsheet, knotted and clenched between her teeth. Blood on the twisted sheets that tied her wrists to the bedposts. A spreading brown stain beneath her, dried foam at the corner of lips and mouth. Dried vomit mixed with blood on her shift. The small, fragile chest beneath did not move.

Beside the bed, the priest knelt, held his head in his hands and did not pray. The bible and censor lay on the floor where he had tossed them.

Somewhere, as far away as the next room, a rosary clicked. The old woman moving through her hails, dry lips whispering the words.

"There was supposed to be a demon," he managed, unable to look at his handiwork. "What in the name of God have I done?"

###

Friday, November 2, 2018

Blood in the Streets

Blood in the Streets
by
Bobby Derie

Bob the Knob was dead. There would be blood in the streets.

The witches of the Thirteenth Street Coven circled their cauldrons and sharpened their athames. On Rune Street, the warlocks put up their wards and oiled their tommyguns. Down by the docks, the Kraken Tong raised black flags, and lowered them to half mast. Ahead of the funeral, the Daughters of Mina cleaned out a mausoleum and installed fresh caskets. They were ready to go to the mattresses.

The cream of society did not arrive to see Bob the Knob's black casket lowered into the earth, but the scum of the darkworld came to pay their respects. The succubi and incubi the Knob had favored worked the edges of the crowd, lifting black skirts to comfort the bereaved at a discount—and no-one doubted its what Bob would have wanted. Each ex-wife stuck a silver pin into the skin over his heart, looking at his face for any sign, and more than one went away red-eyed when the corpse remained unmoved. They were not his widows, but they had shared something of his life, and now they shared something of his death, congregating a little and swapping old memories, little of the venom left for each other now.

A low priest served as master of ceremonies, a defrocked Dagonite who had bowed before any number of altars. Most of the crowd made their signs against the evil eye as the thin balding man with a friendly face made the opening invocation, only gently slurring the pronunciation of the Knob's patron deities.

The casket was barely lowered when the long white hearse swung past the grave...the window rolled down... No one knew who was the first to scream, but the word rang out shrill among the quiet graves.

"Hellfire!"

Don L'ambrusco melted down to his bones in the opening barrage, though no-one knew if he was the one they were after—the Knob's funeral was a target-rich environment. Yet this was a crowd that did not duck and cover when the infernal flames burst out and wilted the green grass and scorched the earth.

The wands came out, and pocket pistols. Curses pinged off the limo's wards, but the bullets cracked the unarmored glass, smudged the sigils, and struck into the darkness from where the hellfire had emerged. Some fool had failed to ward the tires, and the black rubber popped and shrank, the limo dipping precipitously, unable to speed off or steer. Blasts of lightning scraped along the weakened wards as the soldatos moved in for the kill, and the limo knocked over couple of tombstones and ended up crashing into a tree.

The driver tried to flee. She got about three steps before being hit by multiple curses. The thing that fell on the grass, squirming horribly, looked somewhere between a frog and a squirrel, twitching limbs clawing at the suit suddenly three sizes too big for it. One of the ogres stomped it flat, sometime later.

Blood rained from the sky, as the survivors turned on each other...but this was only the beginning.

Bob the Knob was dead, and the truce was broken.



Friday, October 26, 2018

There Is A Troll

There Is A Troll
by
Bobby Derie


"...Aarvak, who has teeth like shovels, and digs among the roots of trees. But Aarvak hates garlic, which is why you should always spread garlic juice around your trees."


Nnad tapped his teeth wisely after this pronouncement, and drew in a puff of smoke from his long-stemmed pipe.


"And there is a troll..." he began again after a moment's thought, but I had already put him out of my mind. There was always a troll, with Nnad.


To him, the world was full of trolls, gliding through the mossy woods at night and in pale misty mornings; trolls throwing rocks at one another from the heights of mountains, building up islands and scooping fish out of rivers with their bare hands to eat them whole. Trolls hid behind and beneath rocks, they lived below the earth and in castles on clouds above the sky; and never once had I seen a single one of Nnad's trolls, for they were always on the other side of the mountain, or asleep within their hidden houses.


When Morda was found headless in the remains of her summer kitchen, Nnad in shaking voice said that the troll Morkar had returned, and for weeks after wore an onion on a string about his neck. When we had run the varg to earth, dirty and half-starved, with Morda's head in one bag and her summer sausages in another, Nnad had claimed he was a thief of Morkar's treasures - but the varg had died anyway, confusion in his eyes as the old man laid the onion-string around his neck.


When the children of Mellion were found in the woods, their livers picked out, Nnad had claimed the troll responsible was Galgost, who preferred such treats above all others, and warned mothers in the neighborhood to cut a rune on the left hand of each of their children. Some of them did, and the wee ones cried as the blood flowed. After Sven Bloody-Hand was found, digging into a tomb, and confessed, Nnad claimed the poor boy must have learnt the hunger from Galgost, and asked how many caves Sven had visited.


When the girl Alamm fled from his farm, blood streaming between her legs, Nnad claimed there was a troll between his legs, one that he kept calm only with regular dips in the glacier-stream that ran through his pasturage, and by judicious cuts with the little knife he always kept at his left hand.


I asked him, as I led him to the woodblock, where Alamm stood with the sword between her hands, what the name of the troll was.


"Nnad." He smiled sadly at me. "It's name is Nnad."


###

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Confession

The Confession
by
Bobby Derie

"I was a profiteer," the voice was a watery croak "in the war of souls."

There was a gurgle and a smacking of wet lips.

"Do not bless me, for I could not stand it. I do not come to be shriven. I come because if I do not confess, then my sins will consume me. Perhaps it is already too late."

The night was silent for a moment, save for heavy breathing. Then a long pause.

"Every war has its profiteers. If you cast the conflict between Heaven and Hell into such a frame...but it is not quite a war of nations. Every church and sect has their truth, and all of them think their purpose is to save souls...to draft sinners onto the side of God...and they each work in their own way. Such confusion always creates opportunities."

A wheeze, wet and phlegmy, paused the speech.

"A war of souls...there is no territory. There are no soldiers. The ranks of the clergy, all they are is recruiters. They work to sell you on the good word. Sometimes they scare you, sometimes they entice you, but it's all to get you to sign yourself over to them. Like two used car salesmen, trying to get you over to their lot. In such a war, weapons aren't swords and bombs...they're ideas...pitches...marketing." Another gurgle. "Well, I made weapons. And I sold them to both sides."

Another cough, ragged and pained.

"Both sides. Hell. I was at Gutenberg's elbow when he set the type, and steadied the hand of the scribe as Muhammad dictated; I showed Smith those golden pages, and lent LaVey the typewriter to pound out his first draft...and ah, the rewards, as the Bibles flowed forth, texts holy and unholy, and how the souls flowed in...and me with my percentage. Well, it kept me in girls, I'll tell you that."

The cough racked into something like a sob.

"That was my sin, really. I had forgotten...forgotten my purpose. Then one day I turned on the news. I watched. And I didn't stop watching, for a long time. Till the dust settled on me, and the lights went out because I hadn't paid the bill. Then I crawled into a bottle. Because that's what I was supposed to do: watch. Watch over them, help them, guide them...and all I did was mislead."

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