The Evils of Beef
By Rouillie Wilkerson
“They walk among us!” she bellowed, the tininess of her body accentuated by the step-up stool she stood on. She was wearing a thin, light blue cotton dress smothered with flower buds painted in blue with pips of yellow at their centers.
“Preach it Lindy girl,” hummed the resident minister along with the congregation. “They are an abomination unto the lord,” she said pointing to the mass of animals tromping past her. “Show them the light then show them the door to salvation so that their eyes will see the futility of their olden ways and surrender to the new ones set forth by god most high!” The minister then focused her intensity to the sky, her steepled hands pressing against an old wound concealed behind her blouse; heart surgery from a battle with heart disease, eighteen years prior.
“True!” bellowed a fat man with yellow coveralls holding tight to a pitch fork that he kept poking the cattle with as their flesh crackled and bubbled in the flames. The cattle had been anesthetized, to some degree, before being led into the fiery furnace. The Ones of the Way didn’t want to be cruel and mutually agreed that evil incarnate that tempted the great wooly flocks anointed by heaven most high must be held accountable for their dirty deeds and sent to judgment wide-eyed and awake.
The cows stumbled sleepily to the roaring furnace, which was a rental generally used for recycling all large manners of trash, like old busted-up wooden pallets and heavy duty cardboard via incineration. It had been set up with a cattle ramp, for just this occasion.
If there was any anxiety present in the doomed herd as they approached the flames, they didn’t let on, but seemed more aware, despite their anesthetized stupor, of the pitch fork piercing through singed hides that they couldn’t feel.
“Into the fire with sin!” chanted the motley of congregants.
“Let this be for everyone that has fallen before us in god’s country from cancer,” added the frail little girl with a swish of stringy blonde hair.
“Call the demon by name child!” bounced a young woman with an elaborate crown of corn-rows; she sported a tee-shirt that read, ‘SAVED’ in big red and white letters in a wave formation beneath a picture of a life vest.
A foreign transplant from Germany with a sickly disposition mumbled tearfully, “tank you lawd…send za evil avay.” He too wore a tee-shirt, it read ‘Cancer Survivor.’ His transparent skin was pulled tightly across his frame beneath long, white hair that hung straight along the curve of his head, missing the patterned baldness on top.
And the gathering continued this way late into the night until the entire pasture of stumbling, drooling, somewhat anesthetized cattle had met a flame-broiled end, saving the population in this small, sanctified, town from the temptations there in. No more fat, swollen figures, heart disease, and colon cancer to contend with, now that the evils of beef had been expunged from their midst.
Today, a harbinger of hell had been hung high from a tree, before being the first to be tossed into the furnace joined by his abominable cattle. Today a small town in a deep southern state has taken a stand against the evils that turned some of the residents own bodies against them. Taking the lives of their loved ones; forcing them to endure surgeries that sliced away and hacked off diseased breasts and scrotums; mortifying those stricken to suffer helplessly, as chemo treatments led to total hair loss and feeble bodies. Not to mention a fortune to contend with as bills mounted up that could never be paid off in a single lifetime; why the evils of beef just went on and on.
Yes, today a small town had triumphed, but tomorrow they will march to neighboring fast-food joints, slaughterhouses, ranches and factories armed with the will of god, a few weapons and tools to carry out their purpose, and a numbing injectable for evil incarnate and those that would perpetuate it. The Ones of the Way, though intolerant of malevolence, would deliver justice with mercy. “Purge them all!” chanted the congregation in unison with linked arms and clasped hands, as the deliciously evil scent of Barbecued name-your-favorite-cut wafted through the air, “Purge them all!”
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I’m a writer of fiction, poetry, and I’m working on a couple of novels (scifi and fantasy). I currently make my home in Anchorage, Alaska.
The Evils of Beef
Posted by E.S. Wynn
By Jack Colton and Amos Damroth
Philly nights, Philly lights, it all seems the same to those of us who have braved the depths, and come back to the surface to put our musical talents on display for the separately persuaded denizens of one of America’s greatest cities.
My name is Hagog. I, talon by talon, crawled my way up the cracks of this plate tectonic global lobular nothingness. Sharpie marks tally the scrapes and scars that mark my body’s ascent to civilization. Upon reaching open air the blades from my back bloomed to immense bat wings and I flew, for first time. Lights, in colors I had not perceived for eons, peered out to me from their nesting places. Before me Americana expanded. I landed first in Philadelphia.
This place reminded me closely of homeland depths. I could recall the scent of sulfuric acid pools and the nightly smog hovering with scent of alcoholic bile water spilled from digestive tubes, gargle, splash, homeland memories. Stalking the back streets of this illuminated man-home, I found brethren. Their stench called to me from miles across the urban sprawl, the stench of fried-fat, blood gullies, and both parts-transfused. Both A-and-B sexuality hum.
Father danced in their eyes. Reflection of body hip sway in cigar smoke atmosphere, dropped slugs on dance floor tap tap boom bass shake. Our instruments are flesh, unbound. Torn from the mold of latter-age serum-tasters, we ass-shook and hand-clapped ad infinitum.
From afar a man with cinder black singed skin puffed through tail end of brass serpent, flowing from esophagus gulch trough. We shook ideas, we spoke violently, sermonized silence when man-folk wandered through. He said the name of his tongue was “saxophone”. My feet cried with desirous movement, urination.
Who was this kindred death warden? Friar Phallus, and yet not. So appeared the language that he bespoke. Sudden memories of black plague village crumbling under falling ash and shook by the dirt of a thousand dead peasantry. Screams of yellow skinned boil bellied women and pus washed former artisans. I began to laugh.
Cinder man responds in similar manner. Who is this brother fellow?
I speak, “allow me to sing as you”
He speaks, “Hey man, show me how you groove”
I reserve that the cat’s got moves. Moves of ancient rituals calling back the tattered frames of Tartarus, I remember them. Impressed yet? Hell yes.
“But can you fill the building?”
“Both types right?”
“One type, swings both ways”
I shimmy over to the song receptacle and exempt myself from haggard silence. Devil’s plume winglets shake in step with polyrhythmic symphonic sexual bluegrass quiver out the end of my extension.
Breathe deep. Stick tail to tongue and blow. Sounds of bipedal hellhound disco corrupted with former decades delirious dead, so does it seem. But here, here I see many, what do you call, men. Shaking in black leather slick reflecting jackets with hats covering (what would be there?) horns? They let members hang, dismembering the tension that floated pre-performance. Pre-existence. We shout, we slap, we beat, we pluck. We exist.
All beings dance around artificial dance-fire, saliva flies, hands are dry, and these not-men wring each other out.
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Jack Colton and Amos Damroth reach into the depths of their depraved minds and pull out an incredible amount of screwed-up word wisdom. Help them get better.
Posted by E.S. Wynn
By Yves Kobina
Living in New York, there is rarely anything that surprises me anymore. Reading the New York Times or even the Post is an exercise in despair- to paraphrase Bret Easton Ellis by way of Timothy Price, “In one issue, strangled people, babies thrown from rooftops, Mafia boss wiped out, Nazis, various maniacs, surrogate mothers, the Yankees losing again…” When I moved here from Greece, where the most we have issues with is an immigrant doing some crazy thing late at night, it was definitely a surprise. But those times had passed, and I’d go so far as to say that I’m almost an honorary New Yorker now. Nothing could shock me.
Page MM32 did it. May 13, 2012. This has just happened, yeah, but it feels less like days ago and more like minutes ago. When you’re reading the Times, bored because your roommate left to the Rangers game, what can you really expect?
So I see the headline Trouble, Age 9 and really can’t even muster up the courage… To care. Seems like some article about crappy kids, the screaming brats you see more and more often in the markets; the horrible youth that seems to be a staple of the newest generation. “For years, Anne and Miguel have struggled to understand their eldest son, an elegant boy with high-planed cheeks, wide eyes and curly light brown hair, whose periodic rages alternate with moments of chilly detachment.”
I shrugged. It seemed to be something about a bipolar child or something? I recall saying out loud, “slow news day”, and reaching for the remote control to turn on the television when I looked down at another page of the article- and an excerpt stopped me cold.
Shrieking, Michael ran to the bathroom and began slamming the toilet seat down repeatedly. Dragged out and ordered to bed, he sobbed pitifully. “Daddy! Daddy! Why are you doing this to me?” he begged, as Miguel carried him to his room. “No, Daddy! I have a greater bond with you than I do with Mommy!” For the next hour, Michael sobbed and screamed, while Miguel tried to calm him. In the hall outside his room, Miguel apologized, adding that it was “an unusually bad night.”
From the bedroom, Michael called out: “He knows the consequences, so I don’t know why he does it. I will hurt him.”
Miguel: “No you won’t.”
Michael: “I’m coming for you, Allan.”
To explain just what “stopped” me about that exchange, I’m going to have to go back to a part of my life that I’ve spent many years trying to forget.
There is a significant part of my childhood that I am not proud of. When I was around six or seven, still in Greece, I used to have a nameless imaginary friend. Actually, that would be an incorrect start to this little bit of exposition- she did have a name, but one forgotten to me thanks to the sands of time. She was taller than I, but appeared to be the same age, very pale, long black hair.
Her sclera was black, and her eyes, gold. I don’t know what I called her, but I do remember a picture I proudly hung on the refrigerator- a portrait of us, done in crayon with all the artistic ability of a grade school student. Above me, my name- Antonis. Above her, ∆.
I guess that was her “name.” Whatever she went by, she told me to do a lot of things. We were inseparable- I never stopped to question her suggestions for a new adventure. Eventually I was labeled as the problem child, the bad kid, the kid who stirred the pot. Did I really care? No, because ∆ was there for me. I don’t know half of the terrible things I did and the grief I caused my parents, but I do remember one evening, clear as day. I had been made fun of in school the previous week- some kid had called me a headcase, and it was probably true. But I was inconsolable for a couple of days- then she was there. Spoke to me. She never talked any louder than a whisper, but to me, it was like a train whistle, all I could focus on.
“Why are you crying?” ∆ asked me.
I told her about what had happened, and she wrapped her arms around me and told me just exactly what had to be done.
During that conversation, she stopped, and looked me in the eye. “Do you know about the devil?”
Of course I did. Even as bad as a child I was, I was inherently frightened by him, just like any other kid.
She said, “You have to be careful around him. He did a trick and fooled a whole lot of people.”
And I asked ∆, what?
“Making you believe there was only one of him.”
After what happened the next day in school, we moved to America and I was immediately sent to a psychologist.
Long story short, I took medication for a while, and ∆ eventually disappeared. By the time I was 12, I was essentially “fine” again. But I’m not completely fine. You can see that clearly. I wrote this down to explain how a news article almost caused me a nervous breakdown, and I’m going back into childhood memories I forgot I had.
What scared me so much is that kid in the article, Michael, reminded me of myself. I knew exactly how he worked, what made him tick. Initially, I had thought it was ∆ herself, whatever name she was under now, but I remembered what she said.
There are a lot of devils out there.
- - -
I am sixteen years old. Yves Kobina is a pseudonym- I have been writing "creepypasta", or horror stories for some time but never sought to get them published. Getting them featured anywhere would be a gigantic honor to me.
Posted by E.S. Wynn
On the Run
By Crystal Stuvland
As a child you ran everywhere you went. Running was your only speed, your only means of communication. Fighting meant a footrace, so did friending. Hi-my-name-is _____. Wanna race?
You raced outside of church in the gravel parking lot; you raced at the county fair, through the sheep pens; you raced on trails in the woods and from the fence to the barn, the barn to the house. You met untrustworthy boys in jean jackets; you raced them and sometimes you won, but never because they let you win.
Now that you are grown, you shuffle places—you amble. You have your earphones. No one challenges you to a race. You make friends somehow, by being polite and interested in roughly the same things, but you don’t want to compete with these people. You don’t play or fight—you exist somewhere separately.
The only way you use your body to communicate now is by fucking, which you do quietly and infrequently because it’s often not worth the trouble of being real. You are afraid of someone knowing your body better than you, afraid that it will make you competitive, that sex will become a race.
So you run.
- - -
Crystal recently graduated with a B.A. in English and is now making her way to Latin America to teach English. She lives in a storage closet and is scared of getting stuck in any one place. Writing is how she thinks.
Posted by E.S. Wynn
By: Chantal Beaulne
There was a stranger leaning over the cradle. I should have been frightened. I should have cried out for John to phone the police, or flown at him myself with the first blunt object at hand. If I’d had a baby in the cradle, I would have. But there was no baby. There was just my deflating belly, a blankly staring array of unloved toys and a stranger. He spun the crib’s mobile. The wooden fish swam in clockwork motion on his puff of breath.
“It would have kept me out.” His lips twinned about the words as a snake twines through fingers. “Not forever, but even the inference of running water has its powers.”
Gingerly, he plucked the mobile from the ceiling and threw it out the open window. The stranger wandered about the dark room, picking up the toys and arranging them in mock battle, tearing out buttons and stuffing for realism. He turned the Mickey Mouse clock back by three and a half days and had a whispered conversation with an elephant on the wallpaper before rearranging the bookshelf chronologically by the authors’ death. As he worked, he sang, the only break in the silence apart from John’s erratic snores. The tune was familiar, but the lyrics jarred against those known to me.
“Good morning to you,
Good morning to you
Good morning, dear children,
Good morning to all.”
Horrible long fingers snatched a photo of a sunset down from the wall. When he replaced it, the colour had leeched out, leaving a giant blind eye glaring above a burnt world.
He faced me. I recognized him at once as my husband, as my estranged uncle, as the sister I hadn’t known I’d had until I found the grave in the garden, as the old man in the park who talked about Death like she was an old lover. But there was also something of an ugly painting I’d hated, a crookedness to nose that recalled a boorish chemistry professor. The ears were those of a monster made up to keep my secrets, and his teeth were the knives my best friend and I had used to make us siblings. But it was still a stranger’s face, made up of familiar things I’d never seen before, or hadn’t wanted to see. He had dark pits where his eyes should have been, deep as the graves of stars; lightless, cold and so very very old.
He clambered into the cradle, flexing his too-long fingers about the bars and scraping the backboard with his horns. I looked at him one last time, an ugly thing with writhing lips and too much of my father about his cheekbones.
“Sing me a lullaby,” he commanded in a voice I kept for my thoughts. As I sung, his teeth softened and and his eyelids drooped, concealing the black pits beneath.
“ Good morning to you,
Good morning to you,
Good morning, dear children,
Good morning to all.
Good morning the sun
Good morning the light
Good morning to you-oo
Good bye to the night.”
Sunshine glinted in the spirals of mist spilling from the window. A ray of light struck the cradle. A wail went up and small pink hands swatted the air, as if hoping to knock the blaze away. Standing, I let my shadow fall over the crib.
The creature had vanished. The stranger remained, but would not speak again for several years. Shielded from the brightness, eyes of a blue I’d only seen in mirrors blinked up at me.
The light in the sky grew stronger, and as I watched dawn become day I realized I had my sun back.
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Chantal Beaulne was exposed to high levels of fiction in her youth, causing severe abnormalities in her reality preceptors. She can pass as normal until she sees a blinking cursor or an unattended pen. Vancouver, Canada grudgingly lets her live there while she attends Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
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