by Wayne Summers
Parker hovered over the kitchen sink with her back to the lounge room.
reflection in the window showed a plain, middle-aged woman with her
hair piled on top of her head in a haphazard bun and held in place with
she’d purloined from the Golden Pagoda Chinese restaurant.
Her body was slim,
more or less straight up and down, thanks to her having no hips and a
like two cherries on an ironing board. Her expression was serious.
husband, Stan, ate his dinner in front of the television, Lorraine
liked to sit
at the kitchen table and peruse the evening newspaper while enjoying a
cigarette. This invariably meant she had a lot to say when it came time
the dishes. She’d stand there, as she was now, scrubbing
dirty plates and
talking, mostly to herself, about whatever headline had got her gander
given up listening many years
she began, still imagining that
Stan might one day join her in something approaching an intellectual
conversation. “This is bloody life?! This is drudgery;
earning enough money to
afford just a small slice of happiness.”
just read an article on the
proliferation of computer games and electronic entertainment.
day these big multi-nationals push
their latest gadgets onto the market and by the time the average Joe
them, they’re obsolete. This isn’t living. This is
balding, Stan usually let his wife’s monologues from the
kitchen sink wash over
him while he did his best to concentrate on the television news.
came from out of nowhere and
made Stan jump. It was as if whoever had said it was standing right
him, and not in his head. His heart skipped a beat and for a moment he
did ya say?” he called out in a bid
to distract himself.
said it’s all just an endless cycle of
work and bills. We’re fodder. We help other people get
the voice more clearly only it
was more like a combination of voices. He thought he was going mad.
had happened – she’d driven him to the loony bin.
sighed and let her hands fall
limply into the warm, foamy dishwater. The dirty water felt good,
gazed through the window, into the dark night, and let her mind go
tear formed in her eye, welled up and spilled over onto a lightly
cheek. It tickled as it slithered down the loose skin and dropped off
of her jaw.
isn’t how I saw my life,” she
whispered to herself. She took a deep breath, swallowed her tears and
recommenced washing the dishes. “And your butcher’s
are ya on about now?” he barked,
frowning at the television.
many times have I told you that you
need to do something different to get your customers back? The ones
bloody supermarket has stolen. You can’t hope to match their
prices so you’re
gonna have to give them something they can’t get
You have to kill her!
voices in his head and
Lorraine’s constant nagging Stan felt about ready to explode.
There was a
throbbing in his temples and suddenly he became aware that he was
back teeth. He crushed the empty beer can in his fist and flung the
ball of aluminium to the floor.
you listening to me, Stan? You need
to get off that fat arse and do something!”
She hates you. Kill her
right. He did have to do
something. After two and half decades of marriage it was definitely
time to do
as his wife slept, sprawled out
on her back, mouth open and snoring, Stan crept into the bedroom with a
brass statuette of Michelangelo’s ‘David’
clenched firmly in his right hand.
now. Before she wakes. Kill the
his arm high into the air as he
looked upon his sleeping wife. He had stopped loving her years ago. She
nothing to him now. Her complaining, her criticising and the
she talked down to him had turned his heart to ice. Kill her!
He’d worked hard
for them both to have a better life, but nothing was ever good enough
Kill her! He would not miss her. Kill her!
statuette hit Lorraine’s head with a
dull thud. She moaned and her eyes opened slowly, but before they
silhouette of her husband standing beside her, he’d brought
the statuette down
again, smashing it into her face. Bits of skin and hair which had
temporarily glued to the brass ornament flew off as he continued to
front of her face. He split an eyeball, which popped inaudibly; the
inside oozing out into the cavity he had created in her skull. She was
unrecognisable, just a body with a bloody mess above its neck.
as he continued to smash the
bone and brain into the pillow, stopping only when he was too exhausted
continue. He staggered back from the bed and surveyed the results of
as he wiped his brow with the sleeve of his shirt. He raised an eyebrow
then walked calmly into the en suite bathroom and rinsed the statuette
He dried it on his wife’s towel then went into the kitchen to
clean it properly
with Brasso. When he was satisfied that ‘David’ was
as clean as he could humanly
get it, he replaced it in the cabinet beside the television and
returned to the
kitchen. Taking a small hacksaw that Lorraine used for cutting through
bones, he strolled calmly back into the bedroom and set about
woman he’d been married to for twenty-five years.
had fallen silent.
skilled in the art of butchery,
Stan worked on his wife’s body until she was no more than a
pile of flesh and
meat and bone on the bed. Thanks to years of smoking
Lorraine’s body was thin
and lean; the hacksaw cut through her limbs like a knife through a
steak. Finally, with a grunt and a singlet soaked through with sweat,
severed the final limb, sawing it in half so it would fit into the
garbage bags he had on the floor beside him.
The red LCD
numbers on the bedside clock
showed eleven o’clock. There was only a faint sliver of moon
in the sky and his
neighbours had long since been in bed, but just to make sure Stan
onto the lawn of his front garden and checked. Every house was dark.
his. In the distance a dog began to bark, though it settled soon after.
street was once again bathed in silence and shadows, and Stan could
hauling the thick green garbage bags out to his station wagon, parked
wasn’t unusual for Stan to be unlocking
the door to his butcher’s shop so late at night; occasionally
he left things
behind. Sometimes he went in just to escape Lorraine and her constant
He’d go in and make up a tray of sausages or slice up some
steaks, anything to
get out of the house. Why should that night be any different?
each garbage bag into his
shop, half lifting and half dragging them. It was strange, but as he
door to the walk-in freezer and slid one bag after the other onto the
rack at the back of the freezer, he felt no differently than if the
contained sides of beef. There was a calmness about him that struck him
being odd. He wondered why he didn’t feel guilty about what
he had done.
body safely stashed in his
butcher’s shop freezer Stan returned home. As he entered the
bedroom he sighed.
There was blood everywhere. It was going to take him at least a couple
to clean it all up, but it was a task that had to be done. Setting to
threw his wife’s pillow onto the dwindling open fire in the
pushing and prodding it into the dying embers until the whole thing
flames. He then fed one sheet after the other into the fire knowing
that no one
would be awake to see the sudden cloud of smoke pouring from the
smell the biting odour of burning polyester and feathers.
the blanket into the laundry
sink and turned the tap on. Then taking a bottle of bleach from the
Lorraine kept it, he poured the contents over the woollen blanket and
soak. Later he’d wash it then put it in the dryer. By morning
it would be as
good as new.
mattress was another matter. The
blood had soaked deep into the padding. With plenty of cold, soapy
elbow grease, Stan scrubbed the surface fabric like a dynamo, sponging
pink foam and saturating the padding at the same time. For almost an
worked on the stain until finally it was no more than a large,
which at a glance could easily have been a wine stain. Finally,
the result, he stood the mattress up. When it had dried he would turn
down on the bed and continue to use it until he could be bothered
buying a new
exertion, Stan went into the
kitchen and made himself a cup of tea. He added the usual two heaped
of sugar and a splash of milk then sat down at the table.
‘How quiet everything
is,’ he thought to himself as he sipped the steaming, sugary
tea. Only the
tick-tock of the ten dollar clock Lorraine had bought at the markets
the silence. It was peaceful. A feeling of complete calmness settled
and for a few seconds he felt suspended in time; complete bliss. He
tension in his shoulders drain away and melt into the night. He felt
next morning the sun rose over
the oak trees in Elmsford Park. It shone brilliantly in a blue spring
greet the band of early morning joggers and dog walkers who were making
way around the two ornamental lakes at the very heart of the park. The
still glistening on the grass and a small covey of ducks waddled
leaf litter, scrounging for succulent worms. Children all over the
were being ushered out of front doors by flustered parents on their way
work. Everyone was going about their business as usual.
The drama of
the previous night had left
him exhausted and for the first time in many years he had slept in.
blocks away Mrs Tonkins, seventy-three years old and a stickler for
punctuality, glanced at her wristwatch.
morning Mrs Tonkins,” came a cheery
hello from behind her.
It was Val,
the woman who ran the video
store next door to Stan’s butcher shop.
are you doing standing out here?”
clicked her teeth and shook
late, isn’t he?” she replied,
annoyance stamped clearly on every croaky syllable.
“Him. In there.”
must be something wrong at home
then,” Val explained as she stepped over to the door and
tried it for herself.
“He’s never been late in all the time
I’ve known him.”
I suppose you’re right there, dear.”
maybe you should come into the video
store and wait for him there. I can find you a nice comfy chair and you
Val was a
woman for whom the Sixties had
never quite ended. She still wore her bleached-blonde hair teased to
inch of its life and moulded into a giant beehive perched on the top of
head. Her blue eyes were permanently ringed with kohl, sometimes with
and sometimes without. Luckily she had retained her figure, despite
forty-eight and having had two children, so she could just about get
wearing the skin-tight ski pants and the brightly coloured twin-sets
Mrs Tonkins into her store,
gave her a seat in front of one of the televisions and slipped a copy
Green Tomatoes” into the shop video player. Mrs Tonkins, who
wasn’t sure what
was about to happen, relaxed and waited for something to appear on the
in front of her.
at the butcher’s shop an hour
and a half later. By that time Mrs Tonkins had grown bored with the
had gone to get her meat at the new supermarket further down the road.
hadn’t been the only one. Business was slow all morning.
Ordinarily the lack of
customers would have concerned Stan, but the extra free time provided
an ideal opportunity to dispose of his wife’s body.
thawing and de-boning Lorrain’s
arms, he placed the flesh into a vat of cranberry juice and left them
marinate. When they were done, he fed the meat through a mincer, added
aromatic herbs then fed the mixture into some sausage skins. The result
more than Stan could have hoped for. Stacked on a tray and garnished
parsley, his new ‘Pork and Cranberry’ sausages
looked perfectly delicious.
his work on Lorraine’s arms,
Stan returned to the freezer and removed her torso. He dropped it onto
wooden chopping block and with a keen blade he sliced through the
opening her chest cavity and removing her organs. He would mince those
and sell them as dog food, as he would her bones.
smell of human flesh was filling
the room, wafting over the counter and out through the flywire door at
front of the shop. Undetectable to human noses the smell had other
twitching in delight. In another, darker, place, the pungent stink was
low, guttural growls and slurping sounds of delight from the
inhabitants of the
abyss. Eager to get closer, there was a general movement upwards
light of the upper world.
business did pick up after lunch,
Stan’s new Pork and Cranberry sausages sat on their tray
No matter where Stan positioned them in the refrigerated display
customers would not give them a second look. They were quite content to
their regular cuts of meat. So much for Lorraine’s suggestion.
That voice again, but was it
one voice or many? Where was it
coming from? Stan shivered and busied himself with crumbing some lamb
though the sense of impending doom stayed with him at the back of his
o’clock drew nearer Stan began to
clear away the meat from the display cabinet. Any meat remaining was
with plastic and taken to the refrigerator which stood beside the
freezer at the back of the shop. Empty trays were washed and stacked
use the following day, then the display cabinet was washed thoroughly
warm, soapy water.
It was while
he was performing this
onerous task that a small boy of about ten slipped into the shop. The
dark-haired lad stood at the cash register but did not speak. It was by
that Stan noticed him.
there, young man. I didn’t see ya
standin’ there. What can I do for ya?”
could see immediately that there was something odd about the boy. While
waited for an answer he tried to ascertain what is was that so
The lad was of average height and weight, had pleasant enough features
well dressed. There was nothing noticeably out of the ordinary about
then he looked again at the boy’s eyes. Yes, the eyes. They
looked old. The
sclera had a yellow tinge and there were faint wrinkles in the skin
and bags beneath them.
boy opened his mouth to speak.
Stan cocked his head in anticipation of the boy’s answer.
What he heard was not
what he had expected to hear. A hissing sound, like gas escaping, came
boy’s mouth. The boy looked embarrassed and promptly closed
his mouth tight.
Stan noticed him swallow and open his mouth again. He pointed at the
only just visible through the doorway separating the two spaces, and
was deep, too deep for a boy of
his tender years. Stan furrowed his brow and stood staring at the boy
idiot. Where had he heard that voice before?
the boy said again, snapping
Stan out of his temporary daze.
Stan shook his head.
course,” he said and then disappeared
into the back room.
with a tray of traditional
beef sausages, but the boy merely shook his head, pointed again at the
room and repeated, “Sausages.”
bewildered. The boy’s voice
was unbelievably deep.
not a man of many words, are ya?” he
stated as he returned to the refrigerator.
struck him to try and offload some
of the new Pork and Cranberry sausages onto the boy. There was
something a little odd about the lad and maybe he wouldn’t
many, mate?” Stan asked with the
silver tongs in his hand.
the boy replied.
shrugged his shoulders and emptied
the tray into a large plastic bag, then wrapped the bag in white
paper. He rang up the sale and the child paid him, disappearing through
door without even a ‘thank you’. Stan waited for
the door to swing shut before
dashing over to the window to watch the boy unwrap the package, put his
inside the bag and tear off two sausages. Stan almost choked as he
boy shove them into his mouth and devour them raw. Then, when he had
those two, he tore off another two sausages and disappeared around the
feeding the raw sausages into his mouth as he went.
shocked. His jaw dropped like a
door that had come off its hinge. Only after he’d had time to
think did he
realise he was now that much closer to disposing of Lorraine for good;
the evidence permanently in the stomachs of those unsuspecting
were game enough to try something new.
Stan worked back late,
de-boning Lorraine’s legs and putting the flesh into the vat
of cranberry juice
to absorb the sweet berry flavour. By nine o’clock he had
produced three trays
of new ‘Pork and Cranberry’ sausages, eight dozen
next morning he had barely enough
time to turn the faded cardboard sign on his shop door from
‘Closed’ to ‘Open’
before an elderly lady stepped into the shop. She looked remarkably
Tonkins, though it wasn’t her.
ma’am,” he smiled, greeting her as
warmly as he did all his customers.
and returned his smile, yet
there was something odd about this new customer as well. Her skin
hang off her body as though it were three sizes too big, especially
eyes where the skin hung down exposing the lower edge of her eyeballs
displaying the pinkish-red inner tissue. Her bottom lip flopped over
almost touched her chin, displaying the lower halves of her long,
teeth and her red, inflamed gums. When she pointed to the
‘Pork and Cranberry’
sausages, the skin at the tip of her finger sagged downwards as though
wearing a glove too large for her hand.
many can I get ya?” he asked,
deliberately not looking at the woman for fear that she would catch him
she stated in a voice as deep and
guttural as the boy’s voice yesterday had been.
eerie feeling came over Stan.
The voice was beginning to sound familiar. He carefully emptied a tray
sausages into a plastic bag, wrapped it in butcher’s paper
and handed it to the
old woman. She paid him and then left the shop. The door
hadn’t even swung shut
behind her when suddenly the boy from yesterday appeared.
me guess,” said Stan, “Sausages.”
nodded, a serious expression on
his old face.
the second tray of sausages
into a plastic bag, wrapped it and handed it to the boy, who received
such delight that his eyes lit up and for the first time he smiled; a
Stan wished he hadn’t seen. The boy’s idiot grin
revealed long, needle-like
teeth and caught between them was the meat from yesterday’s
sausages; the meat
that had once been his wife. Stan swallowed back the breakfast he could
rising in his throat and did his best to smile back. He finished the
transaction and retired for a few minutes to the back room where he
large bottle of whiskey. He had time to take one swig and wipe his brow
he heard the bell on the front door tinkle.
he cursed. He couldn’t deal with
another freak. Two a day was his absolute limit. Reluctantly he put the
back in his desk drawer and entered the shop.
It was Val
from next door.
Stan,” she chirped.
Val. How’s everything?”
Val was wearing blue jeans and a
navy and white striped t-shirt. Her blonde hair looked like a helmet
fairy floss, and dangling from her ears were a pair of white hoop
thanks, Darl. Life is
life so you can’t complain. How about yourself?”
she asked as she investigated
the selection of meat on display.
thanks,” Stan replied, hovering on the other side of the
Lorraine? What’s the old girl up to? I haven’t seen
to visit her mother,” Stan answered without missing a beat.
that must be wonderful
for her,” Val beamed. “Give her a bit of a break I
suppose. Oh, pork and
cranberry. That’s unusual, isn’t it? Be a love and
save me some. I’ll pop in
after work and pay you then.”
The thought of Val dining on
one of her best friends was incomprehensible. He simply
couldn’t let it happen.
It had been okay for complete strangers to buy the sausages, they had
freaky enough as it was, but he couldn’t let Val eat them.
was out the door with a wave
goodbye before he could say anything. At least now he would have time
of a way out of selling her the sausages.
mid-morning an extremely tall man
reeking of stale body odour ambled in. Stan could not help but screw
up as the vile stench reached his nostrils and this was how he appeared
tall stranger. Strangely, the tall man was not offended by the look of
etched on Stan’s face; he merely pointed at the last tray of
didn’t bother to ask him what he
wanted. He sighed and emptied the tray of sausages into a bag, wrapped
butcher’s paper and sold them to the man. There was a sudden
blast of odour as
the man lifted his arm to take the parcel and Stan gagged, but at least
offloaded the last piece of dearly departed wife.
Stan called into the local pub
for a beer and counter meal to celebrate. Things couldn’t
have gone better if
he had planned them. Val had been slightly perturbed at having missed
trying Stan’s new delicacy, but had been contented with some
beef and onion
sausages instead and a promise that if he ever made any more Pork and
sausages she would be first in line to buy them.
How could he know what the
following week would hold in store?
the weekend spring cleaning and
for one who had never ever touched the vacuum cleaner, he was doing a
Guilt was a tough taskmaster and ensured the house was more thoroughly
than it had ever been before. Even the blood stained mattress was taken
to the local
tip and replaced by a new inner spring, purchased on a payment plan. To
seemed as though he’d got away with the perfect murder.
morning he walked the three
blocks to work with a spring in his step. He hadn’t felt this
his youth, a distant memory now since so much of his life had ebbed
opened the shop, set up the display cabinet and began mixing up some
for a dozen free-range chickens laying legs up in two rows on the
As he spooned the moist stuffing mixture into each chicken in turn, the
door opened. Stan looked up, though the smile melted from his face like
snowflake in summer.
It was the
old woman with the loose skin
and this time she was accompanied by the boy with the old eyes. They
to the counter and then looked at each other when they
couldn’t find what they
had come for.
watching, bewildered, from the
I help you?” he stuttered.
at the selection of sausages
he had but the duo shook their heads.
don’t have any of the other sausages,”
he admitted sheepishly.
woman and the boy continued to
stare at him for a few, very long seconds; their gaze piercing as
were examining his very soul. He was mesmerised by the way they stared
and he could do nothing about the tiny beads of perspiration that were
on his forehead. He could not even swallow the lump that had formed in
throat. But then they just turned and walked out of the shop, breaking
spell they had cast over him. Only then did he dare to breathe,
audibly and bringing his navy and white striped butcher’s
apron up to wipe his
face. They may have gone but Stan certainly didn’t feel
relieved. If it hadn’t
been for the fact he needed the business, he would’ve shut
the shop up and gone
home. As it was many of his regular customers were now buying their
the new supermarket. He hadn’t even seen Mrs Tonkins for over
a week and if
anyone was going to be loyal he would have put money on it being her.
At half past
four Stan began to count the
daily takings. The sky outside was turning a velvety-purple colour and
bank of dark grey cloud was building on the horizon. There was a storm
The flyscreen door at the front of the shop was flapping like the wing
injured bird, banging unsettlingly against the wall. Finally Stan could
no longer. He marched around the counter, the soles of his shoes
the debris blown in by the strong winds. Squinting and with his face
he reached out into the gale for the door. Suddenly, seemingly from out
nowhere, three figures appeared. The sight of the old woman, the boy
tall man with the body odour sent shivers of terror through him.
stepped forward, pushing past Stan and entering the shop.
explained that he had no more ‘Pork
and Cranberry’ sausages and while he was glad they had
enjoyed his special
sausages, he would no longer be stocking them. The small group looked
other, emitting gurgles and grunts of displeasure while Stan inched his
around to the other side of the counter. One of them shrieked, causing
stumble backwards. The
boy leapt onto
the counter and squatted there, snarling and baring his long,
teeth. Thick, mucousy saliva dripped from each razor-sharp fang, ran
quivering bottom lip and fell into a growing pool on the counter. The
eyes were ablaze, pupils burning red hot. Stan felt a tightening in his
Then the old
woman began to grow taller
and taller, her loose skin becoming taut before ripping open to reveal
blue skin underneath. As her old skin fell in a crumpled heap to the
loomed over the counter at him, staring with eyes like hot coals and
her jagged fangs just inches from his face. Her head was covered in a
banded quills which rattled each time she lunged forward.
remaining creature then revealed its
true face; its skin similarly falling to the ground. The tall, smelly
skin was shed to reveal a long, narrow beak, lined on the inside with
row of tiny teeth. He had large, owl-like eyes and two horns curving
from his forehead. Although he was covered in delicate, blood-red
had human-looking hands, bare on the palms and armed with long, pointed
at the tips of each finger. As it looked up, raising its enormous beak
where it had sat nestled in its chest feathers, it released a screech
blood-chilling that Stan felt his stomach muscles suddenly relax and he
nightmare unfolding around him,
Stan heard the bell on the front door tinkle. Did he dare believe that
at hand, that someone had come to rescue him? Like a scolded child he
his eyes in the direction of the sound. It was hard to see. The day had
dark and the dust cloud from outside had found its way to the front
making it difficult to identify the figure that stood there. Then more
appeared, surging in like a swarm of bees and filling Stan with dread.
Each of the
demons was unique. Some had
similar traits but no two were exactly alike. Some had long tails while
had large, bat-like wings tucked up neatly behind them. Most of the
were blue or purple, although a few of them were red. Most had scales
of skin whereas some had feathers. All were able to emit both shrill
and deep, guttural growls. All had an aura of evil and the
sickly-sweet stench of decay.
vomited. Great streams of chunky
liquid erupted from his mouth and covered both the tall bird-man and
The demons, excited by the pungent odour, fell upon Stan, licking at
mess with long, purple tongues, snapping and snarling at each other in
feverish feeding frenzy.
his eyes roll back into head.
Everything went black. He slipped amongst the swirling orgy of demons,
unconscious and at their mercy. Whatever his fate was to be, he was now
It was pitch
black when he came to. Only
the fluorescent light from the cabinet and that of the street light
the room, giving it a ghostly and other-wordly feel. At first he was
disorientated and had to take a few moments to remember how he had come
laying on the floor of his shop. As everything came rushing back to him
bolt upright, flinging himself against the railing of the back counter,
eyes wide with terror. He became aware of the sound of rain, torrents
and then of the howling wind, tearing down the main street, taking
roof tiles with it.
Stan peered into the dim room.
His nerves were as guitar strings that had been tightened too much
– taut and
ready to snap. He explored every shape, not feeling satisfied until he
recognised it. Then, he began to crawl, very slowly and very quietly,
the darkness. His senses were on full alert.
to the front of the counter and
peeked around it towards the front door. In the faint light he could
the front of the shop was clear. He closed his eyes and thanked God.
about the back room where there were a dozen places to hide? He could
himself to rest completely until he had thoroughly explored the area
shop. So sucking in a great gulp of air, Stan put one hand and one knee
and crawled into the darkness saturating the back room.
from its position, squatting on
the counter top, was the smallest of the creatures. The boy. Its eyes,
glowing embers, watched his every move with interest. Silently it
licked it slips
as the smell of living human flesh continued to tantalise its nostrils.
this human was not for eating. They had other uses for this human.
his way into the back room and
slid up the wall into a standing position. Fumbling about in the
managed to find the light switch and flick it on. He held his breath as
room was flooded with electric light. With eyes, darting from corner to
Stan investigated every inch of the back room. Between the walk-in
the cool room. Nothing. Behind the chopping block. Nothing. Behind the
of spices and cling wrap. Nothing. He sighed. He was alone.
He slid back
around the door jamb and into
Like a teenage girl, he
screamed. The creature on the counter hissed, then leapt off and landed
in front of him. He panicked and fell backwards against the wall. The
demon smiled, satisfied. The human was his. It slid over to where Stan
dazed on the floor and lowered its face so that it was millimetres from
breathed in, savouring the smell of live flesh so close yet
licked its lips. Saliva dribbled over its lips and fell in strings
Stan’s face and head, coating it and gelling Stan’s
thinning hair to his scalp.
sausages,” he heard its voice say
inside his head. “Make more sausages!”
licked Stan’s face, the
saliva stinking of rotting flesh, before it bounded over the counter
the front door; its hideous laugh carried away on the wind as Stan
passed out a
It was four
o’clock in the morning when he
came to. The storm had abated somewhat though traces of it remained in
gusts and showery rain. Stan stumbled home. He felt like a zombie,
leg in front of the other automatically as he tried frantically to
figure a way
out of the mess he had created for himself. There was no more Lorraine
certain. What was also certain was that the demons would be back. He
to find a way to feed their appetite and therefore keep them from
The first thing he saw as he
turned the corner into his street was
the old Holden. Without thinking, Stan opened the door and got in. For
he sat there, staring blankly ahead at the aluminium garage door,
inspiration. And then it came. Despite teetering on the verge of
despite his stomach rumbling since it hadn’t been fed since
lunchtime, Stan had
thought of a way out of his dilemma.
There was an
area of town called Lakeside.
By day it was a picnic area, with public toilets, barbeques and a
playground. By night it became something else. Well after dark the area
a beat where men could get off with other men or find themselves a
Whatever you wanted you could usually find it down at Lakeside. And
a hooker. Nobody would miss a hooker. It was genius. It
didn’t take him long to
pick one up either.
a large girl with a pretty
face. Her ample curves had been forced into a dress that was doing its
contain them. Her voluminous breasts were more out than in and the
her cheap stilettos dug into the skin of her foot. She fell into the
with a grunt and a smile. Stan asked her to close the door. He drove
her to a
secluded area by a thicket of pine trees at the edge of the park and
handed her fifty dollars.
do it outside,” he said.
it’s wet out there. It’s been pouring
was high and whiney, and seemed
at odds with her large frame.
swallowed. Tickles had a point. But
he was paying.
don’t care. I like to get a bit dirty.
It turns me on. Besides, we can do it up against a tree or
inspected him by the faint light
of the dashboard. Assessing the risk.
it’s your money,” she sighed
finally. “Done a lot worse for a lot less. C’mon
They got out
of the car and trudged
through the mud to a nearby pine. The ground was covered with dead pine
and so was soft beneath their feet. Tickles manoeuvred herself out of
dress, revealing she hadn’t been wearing any panties, and
threw the garment
over a low branch.
what’s it gonna be, baby?” she asked,
cupping her breasts with her hands and rubbing them tantalisingly.
despite himself, felt his cock
swelling inside the confines of his underpants and for a few seconds
actually fucking her. But he couldn’t think about his own
needs now. He moved
slowly towards her, his hand inside his well-worn vinyl jacket. He
her. She smiled back thinking that she knew what was on his mind.
was just inches from her pale, overweight body. In a flash he pulled
out from beneath his jacket and lunged at her. The knife struck her in
throat. She screamed, but as the steel blade was dragged across the
of her oesophagus, the sound became a series of gurgles then died
She slumped back against the rough bark of the trunk. Blood poured from
wound, running in a great black sheet down her pale white skin,
staining it, until
it reached her pubic hair. There the blood collected before finding its
along the mass of hairs to the tips, dribbling off into the pine
and taking her life with it. The weight of the red flood, black in the
seemed to drag her downwards until she dropped onto the pine needles,
her where she had fallen to wait
for the blood to drain and to give him enough time to consider how he
to move her massive bulk into the car. The first thing he did was
reverse the car
up to the tree. With all the wind and rain, he concluded, both the
the tyre tracks would be gone by the morning, removing all evidence of
having been there.
It took a
lot of effort but he managed to
get Tickles’ body into the trunk of his car. It took the same
amount of effort
to close the trunk. He could feel it squashing down on her until the
finally caught. Remembering her clothing, he went back up to the tree
snatched the dress off the branch where it had been hanging. He could
and her boots at home later.
into the car and as he turned
the key in the ignition the heavens opened and released a heavy
made Stan smile.
love that rain,” he chuckled to
himself as he pulled off the dirt track and back onto the main road.
By the next
morning Stan had enough ‘Pork
and Cranberry’ sausages to keep all the freaks happy and
hopefully off his
back. But as the days melted one into another, more of the demons,
ill-fitting skins, lined up at the counter demanding sausages. It
before Stan had to kill almost every night in order to satisfy their
unquenchable thirst for human flesh. Twice he had tried to convince
he could not kill any more. He had pleaded with them. The men and women
disappearing from the downtown area were starting to attract the
the police. The last time he had gone down to Lakeside he had spotted
patrol cars and a foot patrol. God only knew how many undercover cops
lurking in the shadows.
Val had also
informed him that Mrs Tonkins
had been found skinned in her rocker. And she hadn’t been the
only one. Others
had been found skinned, some still clinging onto the last threads of
they were found, only to die soon after. Val could hardly believe it.
been crying an hour before she could stop long enough to tell Stan.
she kept sobbing before
bursting into a renewed fit of tears.
did not care for Stan’s pleas.
For all their strength and black powers, they were fundamentally simple
creatures who were used to living in dark, damp places where nothing
survive. They dwelt beneath the earth, constantly tormented by the
sounds of those animals above them that they liked to feed on, but
could not kill themselves. None of them were about to let an
as the one they had slip easily from their grasp.
to trick them out of the hold
they had over him, asked them that if they were not allowed to kill how
that they had come to be wearing the skins of dead people. They had
laughed their maniacal cackles at his attempts to outwit them, and
two- and three-word growls that they hadn’t killed those
people at all. They
had just borrowed their skins. Their victims had been alive when they
them. Bleeding and screaming, but alive.
the fact you skinned them alive and
that they died from their wounds means that you killed them!”
he tried to
False!” they snarled. “Liar!”
not hope to win by using logic
on them. These were creatures of pure instinct. He would have to think
time Stan killed it was a male.
He met Adrian in the toilet of the local hotel. Stan was now a regular
there since he needed the aid of a few pints to help him with the kill
to provide an alibi. He caught Adrian sneaking a look at him while they
the urinal together. His first reaction had been annoyance.
mate, I’m not…”
you wouldn’t be interested in coming
back to the shop with me?” he asked. “I work just
over the road.”
man’s eyes lit up like a Christmas
he’d manoeuvred Adrian into
the back room he could smell the horde as they waited in the shadows.
them hung out there at night now, waiting to get the pick of the kill.
Stan’s advantage, at least he didn’t have to go
through the process of turning
the meat into sausages any more.
do you want to do it?” Adrian asked,
rubbing his hands over Stan’s broad, chubby chest.
there on the chopping block.”
A look of
disgust shadowed Adrian’s face.
the, er, chopping block?” he echoed.
immediately, surprised at the
calibre of his response.
kink of mine, ya know, with me being a
butcher and all.”
still unsure. He supposed that
it was harmless. He began to tentatively unbutton his shirt.
me, mate. Nature calls,” Stan
mumbled as he shuffled towards the back door.
Adrian asked in a surprised tone.
He was beginning to suspect that something was up. He
couldn’t quite put his
finger on it, but there was something…
much beer,” Stan called back. “Get ya
gear off and I’ll be back in a minute.”
that instruction he left the
room. He could sense the horde becoming impatient to be fed. He saw
glowing in the shadows as he returned from outside with the axe in his
hear their slurps and sighs of
pleasure. They were like children in their anticipation of
what was to
come. Adrian, who now had his back to Stan, heard him come in from the
was in the process of turning when Stan brought the axe crashing down
skull, splitting the forehead wide open. The man died instantly, his
falling back against the chopping block and bouncing forwards towards
Stan stepped back, twisting the axe out of Adrian’s skull
where it had become
lodged, and moved back as far as he could from the body, though it
didn’t stop one
of the demons from crashing into him and sending him flying in its
taste the freshly killed flesh.
wasted no time in swarming over
the dead man, tearing at his flesh with their razor-sharp fangs and
it with iron-hard claws. Within seconds they were covered in the
and amidst the frenzy they began biting chunks off each other.
warning someone yelled
‘Police!’. The demons looked up from
Adrian’s half-eaten corpse and fled to the
shadows, leaving in their wake a mess of blood and human flesh. Stan
to his feet but was dizzy from the fall. He skidded on a piece of
and fell down again. Two policemen charged in waving guns. First they
the human remains on the floor and then they saw Stan.
up!” yelled one of the officers, a
sergeant, who was pointing his gun directly at Stan.
one arm slowly into the air
and used the other one to hoist himself into a standing position.
around and keep your hands where I
can see them,” shouted the sergeant.
Stan did as
he was ordered. He began to
sob. He knew this was the end. The long arm of the law had finally
with him and was going to get what was coming to him. He
considered being caught before. Everything had seemed so surreal, like
within a dream. Having a gun waved at him soon woke him up to the fact
had committed a real crime and that he was going to be punished
By now two
other officers had arrived on
the scene. One approached him with a set of cuffs at the ready while
men covered him. Unfortunately for Stan that was the moment he chose to
what had been happening. He lowered his hands. One of the officers saw
bloody axe by his feet and assumed Stan was reaching for it. A shot
your fire!” the sergeant called out.
But it was
too late. A bullet meant for
Stan’s thigh, pierced him through the chest. He dropped to
the floor like a
sack of potatoes, noticing as he fell a mass movement behind the
the horde poured from the shadows in readiness to devour the very
had been feeding them all these weeks. He could smell their hot breath,
the stink of their last meal, as the room slowly grew darker and life
officers, scared witless of the
approaching menagerie, began firing indiscriminately. One officer went
shot clean through the neck and again in the stomach. The demons were
on him in
an instant, tearing into him and savouring every morsel of warm flesh.
attacked Stan’s body, ripping at it and peeling long strips
of fatty meat from
his bones. The three remaining officers tried to get clear shots at the
creatures that swarmed around them, but it was close to impossible;
were a writhing mass.
commotion another officer sustained
a serious injury and fearful of being devoured alive put the gun to his
and pulled the trigger. Flesh was being torn from his frame before he
ground. Soon the whole room was in chaos, alive with the smells and
remaining two officers tried to make
their way through the throng of feeding demons, stepping over shapes
about in the blood and filth of the concrete floor, but one of them
slipped in the
me out of here!” he screamed. “Get me
surviving policeman, a young man just
out of the academy, snapped. He backed up towards the door adjoining
front as two of the demons came sniffing around him. He held his breath
gnashed their needle-like teeth and flicked their long purple tongues
him. In a mixture of fear and desperation he put his pistol to his
are you doing!” yelled the other
officer. “What the fuck do you think you’re
stared at his colleague, his
eyes wide and crazed; his ears filled with the sound of flesh being
bone and the sound of gnashing teeth.
gonna get us, Jake. They’re gonna
kill both of us.”
removed the gun from his temple
and aimed it at his buddy.
mate!” cried Jake. “No…”
squeezed the trigger. The
bullet entered Jake’s heart, killing him instantly. The
rookie then returned
the barrel of the gun to his temple and squeezed again. One of the
up into the air, caught a chunk of his brain in mid-air and swallowed
the street there was a flurry
of activity. The commanding officer, who had sent his men in ahead, was
arranging for some dynamite to be delivered. He had glimpsed the
inside, had witnessed his men being torn apart and feverishly devoured,
decided to take drastic measures. As precious time slipped by and the
sounds of the butcher’s shop filtered out, he began pacing.
Of course there
would be damage to public property but what else could he do? Whatever
things in there killing his men were, they had to be destroyed.
With no time
to lose the police captain
smashed a hole in one of the back room windows and Laurie, the
expert, lit the fuse and lobbed two sticks through it. The explosion
instantaneous. The captain and Laurie had run only a few metres from
building when the whole shop was blown into the heavens.
Val’s video shop was
completely levelled, as was the shop on the other side of it. Both men
thrown several metres across the street and the whole area was littered
blobs of burning wood and blackened demon flesh.
streets lights came on at a
rapid rate as people dressed in their pyjamas and nightgowns came
the footpaths. A group of concerned citizens even made their way to the
blast site, completely under-dressed and shouting their questions at
gathered police force who were still shaking the ringing from their
their questions remained unanswered until the following morning when
of the night’s events was splashed across the front pages of
newspapers. Although there had been no mention of demons, rather the
had been told the explosion had been caused by a faulty gas bottle
The story seemed more plausible and the general public accepted it as
the surface, down in the
abyss, there was a vast population of demon creatures who had been
lesson they were not soon going to forget. Though their number was
knew what had transpired in the world of light. They had felt the death
began the long wait. With
senses honed, they waited for another mind to capture. In the darkness
© 2007 Wayne Summers
Wayne Summers currently has a story in Issue 5 of The Ethereal Gazette, Issue 19 of Theaker's Quarterly Fiction, Demon Minds and Volume 1, Number 6 of Art&Prose Magazine. He has other stories about to be published in On The Night Highways, Night To Dawn, The Willows and as the cover story in Issue Two of Niteblade Fantasy and Horror Magazine.
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