The story so far:
I’m driving down a slim two lane paved road fumbling with the radio. Country ****. 80s ****. Rap ****. Doesn’t anyone play good ol’ fashion rock and roll anymore? I turn it off. The wipers are pushing and pulling, back and forth at full force. It’s raining hard and I wonder, ‘What am I doing out here?’
I look up and realize that I have swerved across the median. So I swerve back.
I take it I’ve been drinking? Some introspection confirms this.
I look at my watch and its eleven minutes after midnight. What the hell am I doing on the road, drunk, after midnight…especially on a night like this?
LOUD honking. I look up just in time to swerve back over into my lane again as a set of bright headlights blazes by me.
“DAMMIT!” Both hands on the steering wheel. Concentrate.
My cell phone rings. Where is it? I look quickly to the seat next to me. Not there.
I listen for it again. Muffled. Inside my jacket? I slowly remove one hand from the wheel and insert it into my inside jacket pocket. There it is. I manage to pull it out with two fingers. I look at the ID. It’s Sissy. I smile. She must be worried about me. I fumble the phone open and place it to my ear…
“Hey Sissy baby.”
“I just wanted to let you know that we’re on our…” she pauses. “John…”
“Are you in a car?”
“Yea baby, I’m on my way home. I’m on…” ****, where am I?
“You’re driving? God Dammit John, you were supposed to stay at the Lanes with Dan until I got there!”
“Okay…okay, calm down baby. I’m sorry. I’ll just turn around and…”
“Honestly John, I can’t believe you! You wake me up all drunk needing a ride. You know I’ll have to get the kids up too and dress them! What else can I do, leave ‘em at home alone? Seriously! And on a night like this too!”
Damn, I feel like ****. I’m such a bad husband. I need to stop drinking.
“Baby, I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have called…”
“No John, you shouldn’t have gotten **** faced…again! And you shouldn’t be driving. Dammit, what’s wrong with you? You have to start acting more responsible! What would I do if something happened to you John? Huh? You know I can’t support two kids on my own.”
My eyes well up with tears. Two kids. Crystal and Jake. And a wife. I can’t ever leave them. They need me.
(A deep sigh) “Where are you John?”
“I’m…” I crane my head and strain my eyes, to see through my tears, past the wipers, through the beating rain, to a green street sign up in the distance. It looks familiar.
“I’m coming up on…” Eerily familiar.
“Coming up on what John? Did you say South Tacoma Way?”
Why does this feel so wrong?
As the blurry sign zips quickly by, I follow it with my head. Trying to figure out why…?
What is it about ‘South Tacoma Way’ that’s making me feel so uneasy?’
Another Honk. Another swerve.
And then impact.
I opened my eyes, leaving one nightmare behind and returning to another.
I propped myself up unto my knees and looked at the bed. The girl was still tied there, in Krystal’s clothes.
Why was this happening to me?
I noticed she was now awake. Staring at me. Silently pleading to me. I raised my finger to my lips to try and keep her quiet. The Preacher found great strength and joy in the sounds of fear. How did I know that?
I took inventory of the room. It was dark, except for a number of candles that had been strategically placed behind certain objects. A teddy bear. A letter opener shaped like a crucifix. A Christmas angel. The candle flames danced, casting ominous shadows upon the surrounding walls. To my left, the teddy bears paws flexed up and down, its claws razor sharp and threatening. To my right, the crucifix shuddered while images of false prophets lived and died upon it. Over the bed, directly above the little girl…the silhouette of an angel. Her wings shuddering and spread wide. Her face serene and promising. Her sex exposed and dripping.
I tried to suppress my revulsion. I knew he was watching. He’s always watching.
“**** YOU!” I lost control and bellowed.
The little girl started crying: “I’m so sorry…please, I just wanna go home paahaaleeze.”
I knew there was no use trying to calm her again, so I rose up to my feet. And I saw him. Rather, I saw his shadow…vibrating against the back wall beyond the bed. I hadn’t been able to see it from the floor. He’s behind me.
I turned quickly toward him and stepped slowly away from the bed so my body drowned out the Angel silhouette coming from the dresser at my back.
His eyes shone deep emerald in the gloom of darkness that surrounded him. His body recognizable only as a faint outline, deep dark black against dark black.
“Six months you’ve been neglecting me Johnathon.”
I risked a glance toward the door, however it no longer existed. So the time had finally come for me to face it. My fears. My anxieties. My, responsibility?
Had it been six months?
“You understand what I’m talking about don’t you my dear boy?” He continued as his voice rose and fell like the flick and pinch of the candle flames.
Catching a glimpse of him the little girl began to cry out again.
“SILENCE WRETCH!” He commanded and I saw the shadow of his arm appear over her bed as he held it out toward her, finger pointed in accusation. Only, she wasn’t looking at him anymore. Her terror was directed toward me. And as I looked down…I realized it was I who was holding my arm out toward her. It was I who had yelled at her.
The Preacher laughed.
I rounded on him, fists cocked, ready to fight in my confusion.
“Oh Johnny.” He sighed. “I understand you have had a wonderful vacation from reality. Six months of, hheeem…lets say, slacking.” He rolled his fiendish eyes. “However it’s time to get back to work lad. I had hoped experiencing a little of the old ‘kidnap and chase’ would light the fire back under your nut sack…but I guess I’m going to have to hold your **** hand through the whole she-bang.” He sighed, looked at his watch…and mumbled, “Gods just not making them like he used to.”
Then directed back toward me:
“Do you not remember a thing?”
I didn’t say a word. I darted my eyes around the room, looking for a weapon.
“You wanted to live son. You begged! Oh, how pathetically you begged for your life. ‘Help me dear god. Please…please…I cannot die…I’ll do anything’”
“I was thinking about my wife and kids GOD DAMN YOU!” I spat at him.
Laughter rolled through the room like thunder.
“You were thinking about yourself you **** ingrate. You were willing to make a deal with the Devil…and it just so happened that I was there to accommodate you.”
“Oh, but yes.” More laughter. “Your wish was granted dear Johnny. And now, it’s time to get back to fulfilling the, ‘I’ll do anything’ part of our bargain. Your six month vaca is over.”
I rushed him, head down, fists flailing. But he was suddenly gone. I struck the wall, and once again passed out.
I smell gas. Oil. Alcohol. My head is splitting. Literally, I can feel the skin and bone separating like the cracked and peeling shell of a pistachio. The pain is much more intense than I ever imagined it could be. I try to open my eyes and look around me…
Muddy pools of rain water, shattered glass and skittles. ‘Jakes favorites.’
I try and clear the cobwebs…I’ve obviously been in an accident. I hit another car. I am drunk. It is my fault. And the pain is so brutal…I know I am going to die.
“Oh Gawd…NO. I can’t die. I can’t. I have to live for Sissy and the kids.”
I hear screams from somewhere. Pained screams. Must be the people from the other car. I feel so bad for them. My fault.
“Or is it?”
An unrecognizable voice. Must be my subconscious? I hold my hand up to my head and I shudder as my fingers slide through into my skull. More screams from beyond. Pained, almost sexual?
“Do you want to live John?”
‘Yes, of course I want to **** live.’ I say to myself. Fine time to lose my mind.
I hear an explosion and feel heat rise before me. So close. My skin sizzles and pops, like butter in a frying pan.
“I said, Do you want to live you pathetic maggot?”
“Yes…yes…I want to live.” Am I hallucinating?
“I will let you live John. I truly mean that. I will take away your pain. I will make this accident not your fault. Is that what you want John?”
“Yes, GOD PLEASE….please, it hurts so bad. I’ll do anything…”
“Ahhh, that’s what I wanted to hear. But do you really mean it John. Will you do anything?”
Instantly the pain disappears and I’m lifted to my feet. I feel my head. It is fine. No crack. No split. No blood.
“Your fine now Son.”
I look up, and there is death. Smiling at me. He holds his hand out and I take it. He leads me around the side of the wreckage. Familiar metal. Tires. Car seat. Flames tease with their heat. Around the vehicle my senses are assaulted by a group of…beasts? Their bodies morphing back and forth between shadow and human form. They are surrounding something on the ground. And there are screams.
I feel an urge…I want to join in. I stagger forward, led by deaths hand. As I near the group they slowly turn and stare at me. Some smile. Some sneer. But they all step aside as I am urged forward. As the last two slowly part, I look down on the ground…
And there is my Sissy. Naked legs spread wide open. Blood and glass and mud cover her torso.
I let out a pained moan.
“Anytime the Grigori strike a bargain John, and let someone live, unfortunately, someone else has to die. Nature has a delicate balance. And in this case, well…we got three for one.”
He motions to my left and I see pieces of my Jake, scattered around. Mixed together with a piece of bumper, a gear shift and a Backyardigans sippy cup.
“Oh God…what have I done?”
And further away still, my Krystal. Her body a tangle of flesh and bone and nuts and bolts.
“Get used to it my boy. This is who you are now.”
Hands on my back push me forward. More hands reach down and work my zipper, then my button. Still more hands on my sex: stroking, lubing, flicking. I’m forced down on my knees, between the legs of my dying wife. I want to tell her I’m sorry. That I made a mistake. That I did it for her…not knowing I was being tricked. She just stares up at me, her eyes lifeless, yet, she is still alive. I lean my head down and kiss her cheek. I hear her whisper:
“Take their balls and you take their souls.”
Then I’m in her and all the pain in the world cannot hurt me anymore. I’m so worthy. Unearthly. I can hear the sinister laughter all around me. Dirty Demons. As I climax I lean back down into her face. Her breath is on me and I know…it’s her last one.
“Save us John. Whatever it takes…you bring us back.”
I feel hands on me and I am yanked away. I watch in horror as another one mounts her and begins stabbing his immortality into her. A hand slaps my back:
“This is nothing boy. Wait til she gets to Hell and Cagnazzo gets the crocodile shears into her!”
Laughter and madness and ecstasy envelope me…
I woke up again and the room was full of shadows. Five…ten…a dozen. They stood in a single file line, forming at the closet door and wrapping around the room, ending at the foot of the bed. First in line was a creature of hideous form, shadow black even in his nakedness. He was teasing the child tied to the bed. Her screams only excited him further. He became aware of my wakefulness and turned to smile at me.
“You go last this time John. Seeing as how you’ve been off on vacation for so **** long.”
And I know him. He is Penemue. And behind him, Azezel. And then Kokabiel and Sariel and Baraqel. And still more behind them. I know these…dark, evil souls. Because I have become one of them.
I nodded at him in agreement. But a thought stayed with me, ‘Whatever it takes…you have to bring us back.’
The Preacher moved toward me and his name suddenly became clear: Samyaza. Not the highest in command for sure, but he was the leader of this clan.
I must have just blocked it all out somehow. The last six months are all I can really remember.
“It’s the booze John. We demons can’t handle it. Gives us memory loss.”
I stared. He stretched his wings out, embraced me and pulled me tight.
My face, resting just beneath his ear, as the first pained cries of a penetrated by evil little girl rang out around me.
“You are the first modern day Grigori John, and that makes you very special. We are no longer relegated to just observing these pitiful humans. Now we are in charge of damaging their souls. I know it will take some time for you to fully understand and accept your role. But I am patient.”
His embrace was warm. Erotic. I felt myself slipping…losing control.
Then I heard the demanding cries of the young girl again, begging, pleading, and I thought about my Krystal.
And my Sissy. And my Jake. All in Hell. All because of me and my selfishness.
‘Take their balls and you take their soul.’
I eased my left arm up into Samyaza’s mid section and I gently caressed his genitals with my hand. He moaned. He had always wanted me.
I cupped him in the palm of my hand and I stroked…back and forth, up and down. I felt his knees weaken. I reached behind me to the crucifix I had earlier seen on the bookcase. The one with the candle behind it. The one that was actually a letter opener. I grasped it in my hand. I knew this was my only chance. I had to take out their leader. Cripple the foundation. Hopefully it would buy me enough time to escape.
I massaged Samyaza’s ridiculously large and erect member as I gently slid the crucifix up under his robe. It was time. The year and a half after the accident had come flooding back to me. And I knew it was all true. I was one of them now. A deviant. A child molester. A killer of men. A rapist of women. A Demon on Earth. A fallen Angel of the new times.
And it was unacceptable!
I opened my mouth, extended my teeth…and as I savagely bit into his ear, I drove the letter opener up hard, underneath his sack and I began shredding.
The pained throaty howl of their master shocked all the Demons into confusion. Just as I hoped. By the time they figured out what was happening…it was too late. I had his left nut already off, in my hand. His ear still locked in my mouth. His blood, surging down my throat. I had no idea the blood would give me such strength!
When I finally let go, his balls were mine.
He collapsed to the floor in a heap of swirling shadows, his body slowly dissolving into the carpet. As his faced melted off he raised his mouth to me and vowed, “I am yours forever…” And then he was gone.
The Grigori stared at me. Their former leader’s demonic testicles squished in the flexing fist of my left hand.
Azezel finally spoke, “What…what have you done John?”
I just wanted to be free. To be ‘good’ again. To save my family from the torments of everlasting Hell. I looked toward the door, ready to run…but I couldn’t. My body, it was changing. I had never felt so powerful before.
Then it happened. Starting with Azezel. He looked at me with a hateful glare, then he dropped to his knees and he bowed. Then it was Sariel, and then Baraqel and then one by one, each of them followed.
They chanted, “All hail John…ruler of the Grigori. All hail John…ruler of the Grigori.”
The only one who did not bow was Penemue. On his knees, he tilted his wrinkly and horned dark skinned bald head down low and sneered at me:
“Well John, you are now our master. It is up to you to lead us unseen through the darkness of this Earth. Into the bodies of mortal men and woman so that we may steal their immortal souls. Think you can handle it boy?”
Could I handle it? Of course not. Nor did I want to. But I had a purpose. I had to find Sissy and the kids. I had to save them.
“Of course I can. But first, untie that child and let her go.” Groans from the Demons.
“Silence! You will obey me or I’ll have your sacks too.” I roared.
They exchanged glances. I could tell no one knew exactly what I was capable of, having Samyaza’s balls in my hand, his soul in my command and his blood in my body.
Penemue slowly got to his feet and untied the girl. She bolted through the door and was gone.
“Now what…master.” Penemue hissed at me.
I knew what I had to do.
“Now...we go to Hell.”