David Sprehe

Altar Call

The centipede touches me from behind. The jaw pincers encircle my neck. I part my legs. It forces them further, curling between them. My heartbeat is slow, booming in my ribcage. I can hardly catch breath. From between the body segments, the cock forms, searching, finding, entering. My calves tremble. My feet raise from the floor. I cradle my breasts, igniting subtle nerves. The bug cock swells, stretching my cunt. The bug cock pulses, boiling my organs. I dizzy, sweat beading on my skin. My body rejects. I accept. The antennae stroke tenderly my uncut, Pentecostal hair. My abdomen convulses. My pussy rips. I fart, and release a turd. The pincers tighten, lift. My neck muscles stretch, stretch, and scream. My face reddens, swells, throbs with undrained blood. I dig my nails into my tits, and gouge the flesh. The centipede thrusts, tearing through my wall. Organs are covered in the webs of its semen. I smile, froth rolling down my chin. My skull pops from my spinal cord. My arms fall and dangle. The body relaxes. The pincer grip lightens. I moan the release.

Screams break through the speech of tongues. Women faint in horror, black sludge leaking through their panties, staining their skirts. The men pale light green sick and trembling. Children groan, and clutch their stomachs, bloody diarrhea filling their pants. Mucous fluid dribbles from their lips. The pastor drops his Bible, his mouth agape. The congregation has lost sweet rapture. I approach. The pastor pisses himself.

“Join your flock, Reverend.”

Forever the lamb, he obeys. I undress and sit upon the altar platform. I run my hand through my thick tangle of pubic hair. I hear my mother scream. I play like I’m not supposed to, play with what’s hidden, hidden and so shameful because even good can be sin. I quiver, so slightly. My lord-god sticky strings from my fingertips. Inside, hatching. My babies move about in darkness and confusion, bloating my abdomen. I grunt, pushing, farting on the altar.

“Come,” I call sweetly, “Come out.”

My children crawl out of me, hundreds, all of them beautiful red brick like their Father. Their tiny legs touch my skin. My heart glows. I contract violently. Every muscle works to expel. More and more children. I am covered. Every inch. My babies bite, spurting digestive fluids. My skin melts. Babes fall away, fattened and joyful. I press my fingers into my exposures, bleeding with the touch. My babes drink. I look out on the congregation. My vision is blurred. I am fading, willful, giving all for my babies. Even the air now is pain. I never knew, never knew the hurt so good. Like it was meant above all else. Christ mutilated, strung up, killed in the Sun. His followers ate his dead body. I know this, a sudden revelation. Christ’s holy body was taken from the tomb and eaten. Judas was hung for ejaculating at the taste, soiling the solemn ritual with humanity. My laughter translates as blood, flowing through my teeth.

“Spirit,” I cough. “Holiest Spirit.”

I scream. The pain hit hard every point. Not pain. Beyond. Far beyond. The congregation flees. My babes sense my distress. They gather, and bring forth the pastor’s fallen Bible. The babes bring the Bible to mommy. Love mom. Mom? Mom? I… I… Pain doesn’t cease. Pain intensifies forever. God… I tear pages from the Book and stick them to my exposures. Blood seeps through, but I am comforted by my new skin. Mom? Mommy?

“Good babies,” I say. “Let mommy rest. Let mommy rest…”

I lie back. My new skin burns, but I am suddenly cold.

“Hungry mommy hungry.”

My vision flutters. “Eat, babes. Eat. Eat your fill, so you can grow big and strong. Big and strong…”

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