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The Dread That Stained Kalos
by Nikki Isaak © 2008


The Dread That Stained KalosIt was Halloween—or Samhain, as the pagans called it—the night when the veil between the physical and the metaphysical was immaterial, allowing the filth of the spirit realm to permeate the physical, if only briefly.

Chuck hated Halloween. It led children and fools to dabble in the occult, and deny the faith and exclusivity that Christ demanded and deserved. How anyone could fail to see that was beyond Chuck’s ken.

Chuck got up. The fall leaves, yellowing and bronzed, crackled beneath his dirty work boots as he passed Jack Kalos’ tomb. Kalos’ tomb, fashioned by his business partner, Russell Musides, dominated the graveyard with its size and its mischievous seraphim. A tree—shaped like a gnarled, shrieking man, if one looked at it the right way—had imbedded itself into the tomb, actually lifting a portion of it an inch out of the earth.

For years, many townspeople, noting the tree’s strange formation, had believed that it was Kalos’ restless spirit (the Greek-born sculptor and town founder had died of a mysterious illness) crying out for his death to be avenged. They avoided it whenever possible.

Musides, who’d died three years after Kalos, never said one way or the other what he believed about the curious tree. He did, however, declare Kalos’ birthday (February fourth) a town holiday, a decision that the townspeople whole-heartedly embraced. Kalos had been an energetic and popular man.

The grave digger thought the town looked strange tonight. All the lights were off, and there was a bonfire in the town square. In spite of his solitary nature, Chuck was curious. In all of his thirty-four years, he’d never seen a bonfire—let alone a Halloween bonfire—in Kalos. It was worth investigating.

Chuck knew that most, if not all, of the townspeople considered him “simple” because of his profession, and the fact that he rarely spoke to anyone. He didn’t even speak to Rainbow Jones, the flirtatious twenty-six year old who checked all his library books out to him. For Jones, it was pro forma teasing; she flirted with all the men, he guessed.

The books he checked out dealt with religion or its lack. The Bertrand Russells, Friedrich Nietsches and Helen Ellerbes, with their logic, superhuman philosophies and political histories, were mistaken in their cold assertations. God existed, whether they chose to acknowledge Him or not. To Chuck’s knowledge, two of them already had acknowledged God—in the afterlife.

Chuck was near his shack now, the shedding pines and elms casting weird shadows all about him. Rather than be frightened by this, Chuck was comforted. Nothing would happen to him while he was in this place. Besides, God was watching over him.

Jingling his keys, he unlocked the driver’s side door of his lemon yellow Pinto. When he’d bought it seven years back, Martin, his boss had warned him it was a death trap: “You so much as tap them, they blow up. Don’t you read the news?” No, he didn’t, Chuck had replied, thinking: I don’t need any newspaper to tell me the world’s going to hell in a hand-basket.

The sputtering Pinto entered the downtown area five minutes later. What Chuck saw made him stomp on his brakes in shock. The car immediately screeched to a halt, the smell of burnt rubber heavy in the air.

The town square was a nightmare.

A huge bonfire had been built in the emptied fountain where the statue of Jack Kalos stood. Flames licked and blackened the base of the statue while an orgy took place around it.

It looked as if the entirety of Kalos’ adult population—approximately four hundred people—were a part of it. Chuck’s heart pounded wildly as he viewed this, simultaneously wanting to throw up and do violence to those who would dare flaunt the rules of God and society in such an unconscionable manner.

He turned off the Pinto and got out.

"What are you doing?” he screamed at the copulating people, who ignored him as they bucked, bit and rode each other’s flesh in various states of undress, their mad frenzied gasps and cries mingling with the heavy smoke emanating from the bonfire.

Even the estimable Reverend Wilson was taking part in this debauch, giving oral pleasure to two men, Trey Fitzpatrick, the town mechanic, and Rob Turnbull, co-owner of Turnbull’s Bar. Behind Wilson, Turnbull’s bosomy wife, Olivia, was plunging a crucifix-handled phallus into his butt.

Their eyes were as bright and wide as a full moon. They snarled like beasts and rose towards him.

As Chuck stumbled away, he realized that all activity around him had surceased. They were all staring at him, hundreds of glowing, profligate eyes spearing him with their merciless, collective gaze.

He ran for the church, two blocks away. The church had always afforded him comfort and protection before; surely, nothing evil could harm him there.

He heard their footsteps, some naked and slapping, others hard and solid, as he ran through the lightly-misted streets. The growls and high-pitched cries of his pursuers complemented their footfalls.

Questions competed with his fear. What had made the townspeople go bad? And where were their children? As far as he’d seen, no children had been present at that abominable gathering—did that mean they were sleeping? Were they dead? Horrified at the latter possibility, he diverted his thoughts. There was a phone in the church; he could call the authorities and wait for them to arrive

The church, a small stone building with bemused angels over the main entrance (a Jack Kalos trademark) and a crucifix steeple rising high above the mist, lay ahead.

Reverend Wilson, who had quarters in the back of the church, usually left the doors open for anyone who needed shelter or guidance—a trusting soul was he, much more trusting than Chuck, who locked up everything.

The solid oak doors were locked. No way he’d be able to kick them open.

Chuck looked back. They were almost upon him.

Breathing hard, Chuck ran to the side of the church and leapt through one of its first-story windows. A shower of glass rained down on him, leaving minor cuts on his hands, head and face.

Ignoring his blood and stinging pain, he dragged a pew towards the broken window. A wiry man of no small strength, it tested, but did not break him. He was attempting to lift the edge of the second pew onto the armrest of the first pew when the sound of a key being turned echoed throughout the moon-drenched building.

Before he could do anything, they swarmed through the doors, Reverend Wilson in the lead. Dropping the pew, Chuck tried to fend them off, but it was no use.

Their hands clutched, scraped and stripped him as they carried him towards the altar. A closed book, reeking of a sickly sweetness, lay upon it. When the lights came on, Chuck’s eyes widened: it was made from charred human skin.

The cursed thing pulsed—literally pulsed—with iniquity. From whence it had come, he did not know; but he guessed it had started this lascivious insanity.

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not—” Mark 16:16, one of the first verses Mama taught him, profluent on his lips in times of trouble, was doing nothing to still his rising terror.

Chuck’s captors half-sang, half-susurrated a foreign psalmody that made his head spin. His eyes burned when Rainbow, the coquette from the library, opened the book. An invisible fire, contained in the exotic legends scarring the pages, shot through him; he jerked wildly for a few seconds as his eyes rolled and closed. He went still.

They set him on the ground and resumed their copulations in the cleared-away church, thrusting, biting, lapping, gouging skin and cloth, staining the carpet with fluids, inguinal and red.

Chuck’s moon-bright eyes opened a minute later, his cock hard as the church walls. He immediately grabbed Rainbow away from Barbara Fitzpatrick and slipped inside her semen-dripping sex, digging his nails viciously into her snowy thighs. Her candied walls clenched and expanded around him, her unappeasable mouth dominating his virgin kisses.

© 2008 Nikki Isaak. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

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