by Laurie Razor
Screams Contest Entry. ~1336 Words.
|Like a goldfish flopping against the desert sands, Karina was drowning in daylight.
Heartless wasp-women came knocking in droves to gather gobbets of gossip about her recent divorce, to deliver to their hives with outlandish fabricated embellishments.
As her only friend, the duty was thrust upon me to drag her to a new ocean.
Though at first she was reluctant, eventually she agreed to come with me to a little soiree at the infamous Jom Flobach's palatial homestead.
At the edge of town, obscured by a thick pine forest, stands a large three-story manor; its painted exterior completely black save for a few garish purple accents.
Roaming security keeps the undesirables outside of the perimeter, hired mercenaries at the whim of an affluent eccentric.
I park my car before we reach the trees.
"Why are we stopping here?"
"Jom doesn't allow our cars inside, someone will be along shortly to pick us up."
As I answer, a black limousine pulls up alongside us; the driver's empty hand extends outwards; I hand him my invitation and we enter the back-seat.
My friend turns to me as we start to pass the towering pines.
"I still don't know what you've wrangled me into."
"And you won't until we get there."
"Come on Sophia, couldn't you give me a hint? Is it just a bondage club, because you know I'm not into that kind of thing."
"There might be a little bondage, but no, I wouldn't describe it as a bondage club. Just clear your mind of everything, and let what happens next happen."
The concrete steps creeps into view, we are almost there.
"Okay. you are right. Tonight's about new discoveries, not old anxieties."
The car stops; Jom opens our door.
"Ah! Sophia. It is always a pleasure to be graced by your company."
Without provocation, the well-dressed gent took my hand and aids me out of the car as he always does.
"Likewise Jom. I'd like to introduce you to my dear friend, Karina Porter."
Ever graceful, he kisses the back of her hand before aiding her out as well.
"Charmed. I am Jom Flobach. You are the last to arrive. Come along, the others are waiting."
He nearly pulls our arms out of there sockets as he drags us inside; the last of his help depart, locking us in for the night.
After passing his sparse foyer, he leads us to the grand ballroom, where four unruly looking miscreants slothfully lie on overtly lavish furnishings.
"My fellow ascendants, we have a guest, Please give a warm welcome to Karina Porter."
We all clap in unison; I skip over to a couch between the others.
Jom stands at the front of the room, he takes Karina's hands, and turns to face her.
"Show yourself to us. Reveal to us every part of yourself."
A quiet takes hold of us, a silent vortex of unquestionable power.
Karina looks at me, I nod reassuringly.
She quickly removes her clothes with the ineptitude of a duck hammering a nail.
"Marvelous, simply marvelous."
Jom takes her hands again; we get to our feet.
I know what's coming, a pang of guilt surfaces before receding; our host plasters on a wide smile.
"How do you feel Karina?"
Jom's body obscures our vision of much of her bared flesh.
"A bit nervous, a little embarrassed, but also, for some reason, I feel safe."
His fingertips sensually trace up her arms, down her sides, and back again; we watch as he produces two three-inch hidden blades from his sleeves.
Karina winces as her skin is tenderly sliced beneath her breasts; shallow cuts, deep enough to draw a trickle of blood.
She flinches but doesn't cower.
"I had to check that you were one of us. Pain can be the only thing to let you know that you're still alive..."
"Still, a bit of warning wouldn't have hurt."
"If I were to have told you first, would you have let me cut you at all?"
"Alright, I see your point. What's next?"
I knew she'd have it in her.
"Are you ready to become a transgressor? To surpass your drab existence and become something more than you were born to be? A being more alive than alive."
"Does this mean that you are going to cut me some more?"
He shakes his head.
"No. For your initiation, I'll only ask you to join us in the cellar for your enlightening. Ascendants, undress!"
We get up and remove our clothes; we have done this ritual so many times that the act has lost its sexual thrill.
Karina gasps as she sees that we all share the same scars under our breasts.
Jom places the bloodied blades on a table before also getting undressed.
"Now none of us have anything to hide, physically. Our carnality reflects our spirit."
Karina grips our naked host's hand once more; they lead us in a single file procession to the cellar's entrance.
The stone walls, the winding staircase, lit only by flaming torches in archaic sconces, the thick cobwebs, they remind me of a set from one of those old Vincent Price pictures.
"What broke you recently, Karina?"
"I've been going through a nasty divorce."
"I don't know. My husband woke up about ten moths ago and decided that he didn't love me anymore."
"Only a fool falls out of love."
A thick plume of pungent white smoke billows up the long staircase; its scent is as unfamiliar as always.
Karina's legs almost buckle underneath her, Jom steadies her.
"Just a few steps more."
The usually reserved Ashton Caine steps to the front of the procession, turns, then bursts into splendid flame, before turning back around and running off.
My terrified friend huddles against Jom.
"Fear not Karina. This won't be the last surprise of the night, I promise you that."
My sense of touch begins to fold in on itself, a sensational numbness extends out past my body, and into the space between spaces; I can feel more now than I ever have and yet I can not.
Our descent ends in a dark chamber so large that it's hard to see the far wall.
"What was your husband's name?"
Without moving her mouth, Karina speaks.
As she speaks his name, my friend's ex-husband appears in front of us; we form a small circle around him.
Our hands outstretch and interlock, forming a human chain before our inhumanity appears, and our unification begins; our hands merge together, mutating us into a misshapen creature until then unthought.
Six minds now one, our memories intertwine; six souls weaving within; six bodies bound in solitude.
We step closer, our faces erode; Gregory stands uncomfortably still.
Gregory's body begins to change too; his hands start spouting fine white hairs, his body grows smaller.
Meanwhile, our genitals slip away, our features turn featureless; his face contorts in animalistic agony, and his knees bend back.
Our eyes drip out of their sockets like melting candle-wax.
The blindness overwhelms us.
We fall inwards, amorphously assembling our being into an ungodly mass beyond creation's purpose.
So illuminated are we in that moment that darkness is our all and we are all the darkness is.
At one asleep and waking, as if omniscient in euphoric ignorance.
Reality beckons once more and the fleshy blob explodes into pieces; our bodies rebuild as they were before.
I open my eyes, we are standing in the cellar, holding hands in a circle.
Within the circle sleeps a little white cat; a fully dressed Ashton Caine walks into the room carrying a refreshment platter.
Our hands unclasp.
Jom picks up the cat, slips it under his arm and faces Karina.
"You have ascended. Such was the transgressor's way, and so shall it be again."
A silent Karina firmly grips behind the ears of the docile feline and viciously pulls back, audibly breaking the creature's neck.
New life begins with its passing.