Marc Carver

Memories

I took all my sports stuff to the car
by mistake I picked up a pair of her knickers.

One of the few clean pairs
then I forgot all about them.

A few days later I came out of the gym
and there they were still on the floor of the car.

I grabbed them and hung them on the mirror
they sway back and forth as I drive around.

If she asks me I can say I wanted something
to remind me of you

Talking Shit and Doing The Funky Chicken

Marcel Herms talking shit cover

Holy&Intoxicated Publications is pleased to announce “Talking Shit and Doing The Funky Chicken”, the latest from John D. Robinson and Catfish McDaris!

Cover art by Marcel Herms

Kindly PayPal £5 or 5€ plus £2/2€ p&p (North America: $5 plus $3 p&p) to: johndrobinson@yahoo.co.uk for your copy.

 

Big Asshole
Catfish McDaris

Porterhouse waited for Toni to get
Her first wax job, she finally drove up.
“How did it go?”
“It wasn’t too bad, feel my face.”
“Nice and smooth, how much?”
“$32 plus a $7 tip.”
“Damn, $39. How often are you suppose
to go? Every other month. They should
do your entire body for that price.”
Toni threw her hands up in the air
exacerbated. She gave Port the mean
eye, then grabbed the phone. “Is this
The Wax Hive? Do you do assholes,
because my man is a big one?”

*

Not Wanted
John D. Robinson

We arrived at the police station,
we stank of a 4 day riot of booze,
hash and assorted outlawed
drugs and we were in no mood
to be fucked-about with:
‘Let me see now’ said the
front-desk officer, looking
down at some paperwork:
‘And who are you in relation?’
he asked:
‘I’m his son’ I replied, my
friend was still incapable
of speech and stood smiling:
‘Okay and you’re going to
take him home, out of our
town and back to his
own town’ he asked:
‘Yes sir’ I barked:
15 minutes later he was
released without charge,
he was singing lines from
‘Folsom Prison’ as he
shadow-boxed his way
into the streets of a
town he wasn’t
wanted in.

Joseph VanBuren

She Visits When I Am Vulnerable

In moonless night
I feel her
mounting me,
straddling me with warm thighs,
laying her sex upon mine.
Hands on my chest.
I expand in the places she touches,
breathing deeper,
heart beating faster
under her stroke.
Both hands reach out
into the darkness
and contour her curves
until I have two handfuls of ass.
She begins to grind
against my diamond shaft.
I exhale my pleasure,
leaning my head back.
My hands slide up her back
and eventually find her
wings.
She bites,
teeth sinking into the meat of my neck.
Despite the lack of pain
I try to scream,
but my mouth opens so slowly
no sound comes out. Only blood,
pouring from the wound,
coating me with warmth,
drowning me in the ecstasy
of inescapable agony,
a slow-motion symphony,
tantric in this lucid limbo.
And finally,
after four lifetimes of impending doom,
I open my eyes and
explode.

Gwil James Thomas

Dishing The Dirt

One thing Fernando and Carla González had shared over the years of marriage was their love of gossiping. From friends, to work colleagues, to shop assistants, to barflies, there were few that the couple wouldn’t pry, or spy on – eagerly waiting to meet the other so that they could dish the dirt. Yes dear reader – the boring fucks really didn’t have anything better to do with their time on earth! Though it was arguable that it had saved their marriage.

Over the years, the González’s had found themselves leaving their flat much less. Not that this had stopped their appetite for hearsay. Instead, they simply intensified their gossiping to the residents and visitors in their block of flats. But it was their neighbours – the Rodriguez’s that’d be the source of most conversations for the duo.

The Rodriguez’s had moved in over a decade ago. They’d been younger than the González’s and had almost seemed the perfect couple, still full of life and hope for the future. Fernando and Carla both hated bumping into them. There seemed very little to fault. Then there were the evenings that Carla and Fernando would sit at their kitchen table eating dinner, as the walls would shake and ladles fell from their hooks. Which was accompanied by the loud groans and banging of bedposts through the paper-thin walls from the sexual olympics that were going on in the Rodriguez’s adjacent bedroom. As Carla and Fernando continued to sit there in front of their meals with a rare silence.

However, over time those evenings of passion were soon replaced with sobs and the dominating shouts of Ignacio Rodriguez coming through the wall. Which Carla and Fernando quickly took notice of over their food, as if it was some sort of soap opera. Carla and Fernando would rarely see them together either and if they did they’d remark on how unhappy and worn down the other couple looked.

This went on for sometime, until one day there was a noticeable change. Suddenly the neighbouring flat went very quiet – despite the odd rustle, or knock. It was as if Fernando and Carla’s favourite TV show had just been cancelled with no explanation, or finale. It’d also felt like a long time since they’d seen Ignacio and even longer since they’d seen Martha. Fernando and Carla would sit in their kitchen waiting for the next instalment from their neighbours – yet there was nothing.

Underwhelmed, it’d soon got to the couple and eventually Carla had come up with an idea. Instead of standing there with a glass to the kitchen wall, she’d invite the Rodriguez’s over for coffee.

The following morning, Carla rang their bell and got no response. Yet, not one to quit easily, she soon gave them a call and after a while the someone finally picked up. It was Martha. She sounded almost elated on the phone with the prospect of socialising. However, Martha said that she was just cooking something and that they’d bring over some lunch later instead.

Come lunchtime Carla and Fernando eagerly opened the door to Martha – surprised to see her on her own – when Martha had then told Carla that Ignacio couldn’t make it sadly. But what had caught the González’s attention more than anything else was the mad and dreamlike fashion that Martha had about her and her smile, her incredible smileplastered from one side of her face to the other. The table was already set when Martha placed a large Tupperware on it and pulled off the lid as steam rose from the stew along with a rich aroma.

The three of them soon sat down as Fernando grabbed a ladle and served up the stew. Martha’s grin was now starting to get a little creepy and Carla tried initiating conversation, but Martha was far too interested in asking them about the stew. Which was surprisingly good, so good in fact that Fernando had reached for a second helping. Before he soon bit into something and discovered a fingernail attached to a chunk of finger. Fernando buried the rest of it, under some more stew and played ignorant.

As Carla tried again to quiz Martha on anything and everything between licking her lips, Fernando quietly went off to the toilet and vomited up the cannibal carne, wiped part of it off his shirt and reached for his phone. Aware that they’d all have a lot to talk about very soon. Too much to talk about. But before he did anything else he stared at his reflection in the mirror, released a deep sigh and for the first time in decades he took a good hard look at himself.

James Babbs

Some Bright Morning

The gun feels warm. I keep pulling it from the bottom drawer of the desk and holding it in my hand. Wrapped inside a plastic bag. I wrapped the gun in the bag because I didn’t want to see it just lying there exposed. I didn’t want it looking like a dead body every time I opened the drawer. The gun belonged to my father. He was a policeman before I was born. Somewhere I have a photograph of him standing out in the front yard wearing his uniform. I keep looking out the window. The sun’s brightly shining and there are countless birds scattered all over the lawn.

Last night I was at the Grand Palace eating egg rolls. I mixed sweet and sour sauce and hot mustard together. I didn’t go into the restaurant but just sat in the bar eating my egg rolls and drinking some beers. I kept watching this dark-haired waitress and I wanted to get her number. She seemed to smile at me whenever I looked at her. I asked the bartender what he knew about her and he kind of chuckled. He told me I should forget about her. When I asked him why he told me because she had a boyfriend and he was a very large man. I thanked the bartender for the heads-up and ordered another beer.

When I was ready to leave the dark-haired waitress came over to me and slipped me a piece of paper. I opened my hand and looked at the paper. It had a phone number written on it along with the name Iris. I glanced at the bartender but his back was turned and he was mixing someone a drink. I caught up to the waitress and waved the paper at her. I said, hey, I don’t think I want this. I saw the look on her face. I said, I heard you had a boyfriend. Who told you that, she asked me. I told her what the bartender had said. Oh god, she said, he thinks I’m going to go out with him. He keeps asking me but I keep turning him down. I see, I said, then I followed it up with an, okay. I told her thanks and she gave me another smile. This one I quickly snatched away from her and put into my pocket. I wanted to keep it there until I got home. Then, when everything was quiet, I’d pull it out and hold it in my hand and look at it, over and over, again.

***

The gun feels heavy. The light falling through the window hurting my eyes because I had too much to drink last night. The birds screaming in my ears. Last night I called Iris and she told me she had to work but, if I wanted to, I could meet her at the restaurant around eight. When I got there I took a seat at the bar. It was the same bartender and he smiled at me and asked me if I was here for more egg rolls. I told him I was meeting someone and I saw the look in his eyes.

I heard Iris behind me and when I turned to face her she made a point of giving me a big hug and laughing loud enough so that everybody could hear her. She turned to the bartender and gave him a smile. Mike, can I get a margarita, she said. The bartender looked at me. I couldn’t read his face completely but he didn’t seem happy. What about you, he said. I told him, a beer, I guess.

We moved over to one of the tables and Mike, the bartender, brought us our drinks. I said, so where do you want to go. Iris sipped her margarita and looked at me over the rim of her glass. She said, I thought we could just stay here, if that’s alright. I took a drink of my beer. What about Mike, I said. Iris put her hand on my arm and laughed. I glanced over at the bartender. He was behind the bar watching us but trying not to make it look so obvious. When Iris waved him over to order another drink she leaned closer to me and smiled. I didn’t like where this was going so I just decided I was going to get drunk. I ordered two shots and another beer and I told Mike to keep them coming.

Later on I grabbed Iris and pulled her to me giving her a rough kiss. Hey, she said, easy. When Mike brought us more drinks he slammed them down on the table. I threw back the shot and chased it with some beer. Then I jumped up and jerked Iris by the arm trying to make her stand but she broke loose with a pained squeal and slumped back in her chair. I said, Mike, and he turned around. I gave him a big grin. I said, hey, buddy, she’s all yours, and I turned without looking back at them and walked out the door.

I drove around for awhile trying to find something good on the radio. It was a clear night and the air was cool and inviting, especially, if you had some place to go. But if you were alone it was just like all those other nights, struggling against some inner restlessness you could never quite define until your mind and your body, finally, surrendered themselves to sleep. When I pulled into my driveway I turned off the car and just sat there in the darkness and the silence. Felt the waves of warmth rolling through my head and I began to laugh. I laughed as I got out of the car and I kept on laughing as I stumbled my way into the house.

***

The gun feels like a bird fluttering in my hand. Sometimes, when I’m away from home, I think about the gun. I imagine it sleeping in the darkness all alone. The bottom drawer of the desk silent as a tomb. I had cap guns when I was young and I remember the smell of the smoke. The taste of it in my mouth when I absently sucked on the end of the barrel. I remember when my friends and I played with guns. How we made up this rule you had to count to ten whenever you got shot before you could get back up again. It was funny how all day long we kept dying and returning from the dead, over and over, again.

I remember buying rolls of caps. I think there were five rolls to a box and you could get five boxes in one package. Sometimes, instead of loading them in my guns I just rolled the caps out on the sidewalk and used a hammer to hit them. Sometimes, I’d take a whole roll of caps and hit them with the hammer. It made a loud blast that left a ringing in my ears. I remember taking ants crawling past me on the walk and putting them under the caps and blowing their tiny bodies apart. One time I caught this big black ant as it was trying to climb up my arm and when I put it under the caps the explosion blew off its head.

I never felt like I was a terrible person for doing this. I never thought I was doing anything wrong. I remember all the summer evenings, when it would start to get dark, and we would run around catching lightning bugs. I don’t know what we wanted them for. I guess we thought there was something magical about their blinking lights. Maybe we longed for something bright like that shining from inside our own bodies. I don’t know. Some people liked to kill them and smear the light across your arm. The pieces of light sticking to you, glowing on your skin, but only for a moment. Sometimes, we caught the lightning bugs and put them in glass jars. We always made sure we poked holes in the lids. We stuck pieces of grass in there and, sometimes, leaves, thinking that’s what they wanted. But the next morning we always found them dead, lying in the bottom of the jar, their lights no longer shining.

***

The gun feels sticky against my skin. I can sense the gun’s desperation and that’s why it keeps trying to cling to me. I keep moving it back and forth from one hand to the other but it doesn’t seem to help. Sometimes, the gun spends endless days inside the drawer waiting for me to return. The gun waiting for me to bring it out into the light, again. Sometimes, the gun catches the light just right and the metal of the gun seems to shine. I often wonder how the gun feels having to wait for so long. Does the gun ever get afraid and think I’m not coming back at all? I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything at all. I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life for something good to happen.

Sometimes, I like to pretend I’m a lone gunman taking a group of people hostage. I find myself in the middle of some big city, suddenly, robbing a bank. I’m waving the gun in the air and telling everyone to get down on the floor. I keep screaming at them and telling them to move faster. It’s like something from out of a movie and when one guy tries to move I hit him in the face with the gun. The blood runs out of his nose and covers the floor. I can hear some of the women crying. I tell them, it’s going to be alright, as long as they do what I say, no one will get hurt. I listen to the sounds of their breathing and I know they’re afraid.

When you hold a gun in your hand you can make people do things they wouldn’t normally do. And I wonder how it feels having someone stick a gun in your face and not knowing whether you’re going to live or die. Sometimes, fear can make you collapse or it can spur you on to do something great. I’m trying to recall some moment in my life when I felt the most afraid but nothing comes to mind. Then, the birds start chirping, louder and louder, right outside my window. And I wonder if there’s any way for me to tell from the sounds they’re making whether or not they’re happy or sad.

Sometimes, when I go to bed at night I hold a pillow close to me like I’m holding the body of my lover. And I float there in the darkness thinking about other places and times. But when I move, again, my lover disappears and it’s only a pillow I’m holding. And I toss the pillow away and rollover, turning, my back on it, before trying to fall into sleep. And I hear the radio playing jazz, softly, in the dark, above my head.

There have often been times when I was convinced there must be something wrong with me because I had no other explanation for the way my life was going. Now, it doesn’t seem to matter so much anymore. I guess you just get older and things no longer seem as important as they once were. Or, maybe, something inside you, finally, decides to quit struggling after so many years of futility and it crawls softly in to some dark corner where it can curl up and die.

***

The gun feels nothing. I know it doesn’t care whether I live or I die. I lift up the gun and hold it loosely in my hand. I shiver and the sun comes through the window trying to make me warm. I see the bullets in the bottom of the drawer. I don’t remember when I put them there but, now, when I pull the drawer open they roll around bouncing against one another. Sometimes, I see colors and I don’t know whether they’re inside my head or just floating in the air in front of my eyes. Pieces of red and blue and, sometimes, yellow and green. I have no idea what any of them mean. Maybe they were some kind of warning arriving much too late.

Sometimes, I think about what would’ve happened if I had gotten everything I wanted. Would that have really been such a good thing? And I wonder, sometimes, how long it takes before something starts to make sense. Maybe for some people it never does. And I think about my father working hard his entire life and, in the end, what did he have to show for it? His heart wearing out and, finally, giving up. He died, one morning, in his sleep.

I gaze out the window on a Sunday morning and witness two blackbirds fighting. I watch them as they tumble through the air all tangled together before hitting the ground and separating. They rush toward each other then a noise frightens them and they disappear into the sky. I open the chamber of the gun and touch it with my fingers. I spin it around, slowly, a couple of times before picking the bullets up, one by one, and slipping them, silently, inside.

The phone starts ringing. The phone’s in the bedroom so I can’t look at the caller ID and see who’s calling me. But I don’t feel like talking to anyone, anyway. After the fourth ring it stops and, I know, the answering machine’s picking it up. The answering machine’s down in the basement too far away for me to hear whether or not the person calling leaves me a message. I look out the window again and, this time, I see a robin standing in the grass close to the house. There’s a worm hanging from its beak struggling to get free but it’s too late. As I watch the robin cocks its head as if it’s listening to something. It waits there for just a moment and I wonder what it is the robin, finally, hears before deciding to fly away.

THE END

A. Theist

For Mother

I think my mother is mad at me.

I mean,
I get it,
I suppose.
I am the biggest she ever had.

She took all 9 pounds and
18 inches of me.
The room was full of men
and women
wearing masks
and rubber gloves.
They watched on
as I assaulted
her hole
for 20 hours straight,
no break.

Afterwards,
I sucked her tits,
and she fingered.

We continued
with the tits and
the fingering
for a few years,
but that was it.
I never fucked her again.
Just the one time.

Nowadays,
I don’t even answer the phone
when she calls.

Gary D. Morton

The Pig Man, Sleeps

Everyone called him The Pig Man, but no one really knew the truth. His misshapen face, distorted by hate with that unsettling smile curling downwards, disturbed even the jaded, embattled warhorses. His scarred skull, shaven and pock-marked by blurred memories of bar fights and all those shattered, drunken knuckles.

On D Block, we all assumed it was because he was missing some of the fingers on his right hand and it looked like a pig trotter, but I suppose it could be anything. In here, there are no definitive answers, just rumours, and half-truths: like the time they found his ex-wife ritualistically executed in the bathroom, wrapped in lace and fairy lights, crucified, with her cunt pulled inside out. No one knew how he lost his fingers, but most of us were convinced that the truth was far more devastating than anything we could fabricate or conjecture during scraping hours, encased in concrete.

Once, while protectively hunched over his lunch tray, cradling it like it was a newborn, a guy in B Block told me it was because of his depraved sexual obsessions, deriving sordid gratification from exploiting and coercing underage girls to perform lewd and libidinous acts on each other with domestic kitchenware.

He would wrap them round and round in black electrical tape, recording their screams and playing them endlessly to the little pink ones waiting in the room next door, with the sparkly white walls, faces all painted, nervously twisting at the ends of their hair, twiddling their little toes in the luxurious, red carpets.

There are so many whispered myths circulating the halls of this place, involving his increasingly graphic and pornographic acts involving screwdrivers and sensitive, fleshy orifices. There were those whispers that he abducted a teenager who cut him up at the lights. Rumour has it; he cut off his eyelids and tied him to a chair for eight straight nights, with a halogen bulb burning each eyeball. We can only speculate about what other seditious horrors the poor kid was subjected to, but we are told it involved battery acid and perpetual hours of sharpened objects.

Even the screws stay out of his way. It is now a matter of Rec yard folklore, when one misguided, shiny-shoed prisonguard made the grave mistake of disrespecting him in the mess hall. He was found the next morning, mysteriously impaled with a piece of sharpened wood ripped from the floor, dangling from the ceiling, with his intestines torn out and wrapped around his neck like a grotesque talismanic necklace. No one will maintain eye contact with him for any longer than is necessary, even the seasoned ones, who have to similarly maintain their fearful reputation within these walls.

You would smell him before you saw him, the curiously enchanting scent of ingrained sweat and cherry liquorice. He smelled intoxicating, lethal. Always chewing on the end of an elaborately inscribed fountain pen that he insisted on carrying around with him, some suspected to make him look intellectual, but the truth was that it constituted a proficient piece of weaponry for puncturing jugulars. Instead of exercising in the yard, he would sit and read tattered books of poetry, smuggled from the paltry stocks of the prison library. He would quote from them regularly and that was when you knew that someone was going to get cut. Recitation always preceded violence.

One morning, with the sun casting an incandescent halo around his radiating cranium, he cast a shadow across the book that I had clutched in my desperate fist and he softly whispered “There is no greater sorrow than to recall our times of joy in wretchedness”.

His voice was deceptively high-pitched, an almost breathy lisp; with no intonation or timbre. Cold, and unforgiving; sharpness personified. That was the day before he was found in his cell at headcount with the remains of one of his sycophantic disciples, who had been repeatedly raped and disembowelled with the plastic edge of a strip light.

Recently, he has taken to walking around with both of his thumbs tucked under his chin, ostensibly to avoid the inevitable onslaught of makeshift blades from reaching the pungent, moist folds of his neck.

Everyone became a target when their lib date was coming up, but for him, there was always a frantic successor lurking with intent and ambition, waiting for the emperor to fall. He was never getting out of here, there was no chance he would ever leave this place, these walls would eventually be his coffin.

Frequently, he would be found, perambulating around the halls of his hallowed temple, in the dark hours, standing in doorways, watching the other inmates sleep, with his weapons concealed, gently caressing his pulsating, weeping erection. Silently, he hates their chests rising and falling, counting the breaths entering and leaving their lungs, quietly resenting the inconceivable audacity to continue their wretched existence, counting the breaths until their eventual liberation.

Then there was that night, years from the twisting agony of those monotonous walls, after one too many filthy, finger-marked glasses of venomous bourbon in a piss-soaked bar, and one too many squalid bathroom finger fucks, he catches a glimpse, of that self same poisonous smile, in the reflection on the surface of a fractured mirror.

The girl was so hopelessly inebriated, that she didn’t even know she was dying, even as she stumbled on precarious high heels, blood seeping from under her sluttish cerise vest. This snivelling creature didn’t realise that her throat was sliced, and as the cum runs down her legs, the icy, metallic dread begins to slip into her stomach. And, he smiles.

They call him The Pig Man, but no one really knows why. But he lives inside the mirror, staring back at you, with his fatal, infinite eyes, pleading with you to release him, to just let him out. He is a prisoner on the other side of your face, on the inside: and he is watching everything you do, and the protective meat mask that you have built, cannot last forever.

He is called The Pig Man, and he likes the way that you kill

and kill and kill.

Patrick Winters

Sympathy for the Demoness

Cedric Dingle sat lounging in his recliner, scarfing down a bag of Fritos and watching reruns of Two and a Half Men. As the kid on TV made yet another fart joke, Cedric started cracking up, holding his bulbous belly and spewing half-chewed chips from his mouth.

Ashra sneered in disgust at her master’s ever-piggish behavior. She scooted a little away from where she knelt beside the recliner, trying to avoid the flinging Fritos. The hardwood floor was starting to hurt her knees again, her master’s laughter was giving her a headache, and all the while she’d been thinking to herself: There’s Hell, and then there’s hell.And she so yearned to go back to the former.

Ashra still didn’t know what was more inconceivable: the fact that this tubby, greasy, robe-sporting oaf was actually a well-versed sorcerer, or that she had allowed herself to be enslaved by him.

In the pits of Hell, she had been renowned for two things, above all else: her dark, demonic beauty, and her knack for dragging souls down into the underworld for their everlasting punishment. She had clawed her way up to Earth thousands of times in as many years and never once failed to collect her quarry—until Cedric Dingle became the soul in question.

She’d been told by the head of her host that he was damned, but not that it was for his practice of the dark arts; instead, she found it out in the worst way imaginable. No sooner had she popped up in his New Jersey apartment than he bound her with his black magic, and all because he had managed to learn her name. In searching for ways to save his imperiled soul, the scummy little worm had found it mentioned in some ancient book of lore; and any mortal with knowledge of a demon’s true name could make that demon into their slave, with the proper spells. With that nugget in mind, he’d waited for her arrival. And so, by the laws of the universe laid down by Heaven and its accursed Creator, Dingle was given complete power over her the moment he said a little spell and proclaimed her name.

Since that time, he had used her to his every possible benefit. He’d sent her after those he considered his enemies, to kill and maim them in various fashions. She’d flambéed his ex-wife, decapitated an old boss of his, and ripped the heart out of a guy who always got Dingle’s order wrong at the local taco truck.

After that, he’d started demanding her to do menial tasks about his apartment, like his laundry, his cleaning, and the cooking. And, of course, there were his repeated lustful demands. He’d defiled her smooth scarlet skin with the sausages he called fingers, had made her kneel before him as he laid hands to her wonderfully long horns, forcing her to . . .

She wanted to wretch, remembering it all—and to sever his genitals with her nails and stick them where he kept stuffing those damned, disgusting Fritos.

Dingle crumpled up the emptied chip bag and tossed it to the floor. “I’m still hungry,” he said to her with a smug smile. “Make me a sandwich.”

Ashra bowed her head, picked up the trash, and stood, heading off into the kitchen and silently fuming.

“Oh,” he called back to her, “and after I’m done eating, whadaya say I plunge myself into the fires of your hell-holes for a while?”

He giggled as she ignored him. She opened the fridge and pulled out the rest of the ham she’d cooked for him the night before. She grabbed a kitchen knife and started slicing into the meat to make his sandwich, pretending it was his gut she was carving up, instead.

She was nearly done with her lowly task when she heard an explosion sound out in the living room, followed by Dingle’s high-pitched scream. She bolted back into the room to see what the matter was, knife still in hand.

Dingle’s TV had been demolished, its pieces scattered everywhere, and in its place—and to Ashra’s amazement—stood the Devil himself, wafting away the smoke stirred up from his hellish portal.

Dingle cowered at the sight of him, sinking into his recliner as the Dark One looked them over with a haughty stare. His seven foot, dark-suited frame towered over them. A thin tail flicked about behind him, weaving and twirling like a playful viper. His horns were extravagantly lengthy, sharp, and pitch black, their tips almost scratching the ceiling.

Dingle started making wordless, pathetic noises, holding his hands out to the red giant before him in either defense or reverence.

“Quiet, slug,” the Devil ordered with a smooth, bass voice. “I’m not here for you. But I think I’ll have your soul soon enough.” He flashed the man a knowing smile.

The King of the Pits turned to Ashra. “I’ve come for you. The failure.”

“My Lord . . .” Ashra spoke up, her voice fluttering with dread. “Forgive me for my failure! But it wasn’t my fault! The mortal –“

“Made you look like a fool,” the Devil cut in with a hiss. “And because of it, you’ve forced me to personally step in on the matter. Your ineptitude and enslavement to this meat-sack is a stain upon the name of the Hosts. My chasms echo with cackling, and it is you who they laugh at! You’ve shamed your unholy duty, and I will not let that go unpunished.”

“Please, my Lord!” Ashra implored. “I’ve served you well –“

“And you shall never again serve the glorious cause of Hell. From here on out, you’re an outcast to Perdition. If you ever see Hell again, you will be at the mercy of its many pains—not one of its heroes. Until that time, you’ll spend the remainder of your days here, on Earth. And if you’re going to live among the mortals, we can’t have you looking like that.”

The Devil snapped his fingers and a tremor went through Ashra’s body, making her double over. As her face started to tingle with the sensation, she turned and looked into a mirror upon the wall. She was mortified to see that her reflection was quickly changing. Her luscious red skin was turning waxy and white. Her glorious and cherished horns were sinking into her skull, becoming feeble nubs before disappearing entirely. And her straight-black hair was turning . . . blonde!

In seconds, every hint of her lovely and demonic self was gone, leaving her looking like a wannabe GAP model, instead. She screamed at the horrible thing she’d become.

“You’re human, now,” her former lord said, taking her in with a sadistic satisfaction. “And as such, you have no title, no power . . . and no name.” At this last part, the Devil had glanced to Dingle, a smirk on his red face. “Ashra is no more.”

He gave a chuckle and another snap of his fingers. A pyre rose up and enveloped the Devil one instant, and in the next, both it and the Dark One were gone.

The former demoness spun about, staring in wide-eyed despair at the spot where he’d stood, the floorboards now bearing a slight scorch mark. A veil of smoke hung in the air; she looked through it to where Dingle sat, sweating and dumbfounded.

It was then that she remembered the knife in her hand. Her grip on it tightened as she began to step towards Dingle, who gazed at her like a cornered mouse to a hungry cat.

“Hey! Hey now! I command you to stop and put that down!”

But neither his words nor his will had an effect on her. His power over her was gone, and she kept coming towards him.

“You did this to me, you worm!” She extended the knife, letting it dance in Dingle’s view. He stared at it, trying to back away in his recliner.

She looked down to his crotch, remembering all her violent little fantasies under her servitude. She had a pretty good idea of where to start getting her revenge.

“I’m gonna feed you something after all, “master,”” she giggled maniacally. “It’s just a quick, tiny snack; we have so much else to do before the night is through, after all . . .”

She leapt at him and started cutting. Before the night was through, she learned something that made her new existence the littlest bit more bearable: just because she was no longer a demon, it didn’t mean that she couldn’t send someone screaming to Hell.

Daniel Ortiz

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Daniel Ortiz is a self taught artist from Albuquerque, New Mexico…a beautiful place where saints jack off in the sky and history hangs from the walls like quiet screams.

He lives to make art, but it’s not what he does for a living. He’s a slave to the eight hour day, like most of us are…but he’s hoping for a way out, in more ways than one.

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If you like what you see, more of his work can be seen on Instagram.

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Mike Zone

the white noise of dead strangers

ascending particles
mad dog raindrops screaming
the unknown vault amiss
double-bond chemical trail broken
drop the torch
in perfect gardens
deer hunting with Jesus
plucking strange fruit
inhabiting odd yet familiar places
which didn’t quite fit
but we lived it
anyway, our havens
more an exile
going back to the spherical music
of it all
is a wonder, a short-term lease
from outside the void
spitting on a quasar?