Entrance to the HellmouthDecember 5, 2010
In Chapter 9 Grace and Supplication, of Pazuzu – Emergence, Pazuzu has found a permanent host and now opens the doors to Saint Erasmus. Reporters and the mother of a possessed boy, Davey, enter the Hellmouth of Saint Erasmus.
*** I didn’t write a feel-good story. The Pazuzu Trilogy is bleak and frustrated horror, set in a dystopic fantasy world – imagine a militaristic theocracy in nineteen-eighty. You may not like the story, you may not like it in the end, but when you read it, you won’t set aside the Pazuzu Trilogy. ***
Mark knocked on the doors. The coincidence in which he spotted the same model sedan as his wife’s car seemed equally frivolous. Some skinny UnChosen managed to skip enough meals to save for a respectable automobile – congratulations. Without a garage, the sun will roast the paint off the chassis in a few years. That is, if the prized vehicle was not first stolen. This neighborhood was no place to keep a car such as this. The knock went unanswered.
“I’ve tried all morning,” Tamara repeated. “Maybe the reverend is downtown. He knows the killer. He might have something to tell the military.”
Mark and Margot could either wait or find coffee for Margot. Food would do them both good. The problem, besides the delay to submit the story, was to find a suitable eatery in this bitter Capital parish. Mark swore there was no telling what was served by a business run by UnChosen.
Coffee seemed the safest bet. Mark steered Margot by her elbow and promised to return after they found caffeine. Margot did not object. A forlorn expression drained Tamara’s face. She feared finding herself alone and helpless again. Because of caste and income, Tamara lacked a voice to plead with the Church.
Unexpected, a pealing howl thundered from the second story of the church. Someone cried in agony, as if from a tortured a man. Mark wheeled around and pounded against the wooden doors. The blows echoed from the breezeways at either side of the building. The dislocated sound disoriented all three. Mark shouted and heard his voice echo from either side of his head.
“Open these doors or I’m calling the military,” Mark threatened. More screams and pounding followed. “A patrol is on the way!”
“Maybe there’s another way inside,” Margot suggested.
“That doesn’t sound like Davey,” Tamara added. “Maybe the other man is hurting the Reverend!”
Mark led the way down the stairs. The three staggered a sprint toward the breezeway. At that moment, the front doors swung open. The smell of burnt meat and seared wood gusted out. A haggard priest looked at the visitors with bloodshot eyes. He appeared mottled with patches of red and was the pallor of dead peeling skin. The sleeves of his sweat-stained collarless shirt were rolled past flagging biceps.
“Oh, Reverend,” Margot gasped. “What is happening?”
Mark bolted up the stairs again. He weighed rushing past the priest. Before Mark made an impulsive decision, the priest invited the group inside.
“Come in,” Ben said in a cold tone. “He said you all should be witnesses.” The open church doorway sucked everyone inward. Ben balanced on the lips of a wide black maw. The two women refused to budge. Mark drifted backwards to the sidewalk as his heroic ambition receded. The invitation smelled perilous.
“What’s going on in there?” Mark asked again. The priest stepped back inside, swallowed by the shadows. The question went ignored.
“Come inside, pretty lady,” sang a boy’s voice. The tone sounded flat and merely mimicked youth’s innocence. The deception took Tamara. In hope, she recognized the voice.
“Davey?” the old woman’s voice shivered. She hustled up the stairs as quickly as her body, wearied by worry, allowed. As she climbed, a man’s sobbing rolled through the open doorway. The pained lamentation crawled closer. Tamara either ignored the noise, or no longer heard the distress.
“Mrs. Stoughnt, wait,” warned Margot. Tamara remained deaf to everything except her son’s voice. The church drew in the old woman. Margot looked at Mark, whose mouth wedged open.
“Mark, lets go.” Margot nodded toward the entrance. Her heart told Margot she really did not want to go inside, but her head pointed that direction. The old woman and her retarded son were either brave, or foolish, to trust the priest. Mark and Margot, one modestly fit and both far from being decrepit, could muster the courage. They were reporters, after all. Before either realized their action, they mounted the stairs and passed the threshold.
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