Friday 29 June 2012

Dark Fiction - Ritual

Dark Fiction Image


By Casey Douglass

As part of #fridayflash

Kenneth felt the plate crack in his hands, the noise itself muffled by the sudsy water.
‘Bloody hell!’ he shouted.
He held on to both pieces and lifted them from the water. They chinked as he pressed one on top of the other and headed across to the kitchen bin. He stomped on the peddle, the tiny mechanism launching the lid into the wall with a metallic clang. He dropped the two halves inside, swearing as one malicious corner scraped along his thumb. The lid closed with a thump as he assessed the damage.
‘Good afternoon Sir.’
Kenneth spun around to face the voice behind him. He let his hand fall to his side, his dripping blood forgotten. A stout fat red thing sat on the draining board, for all the world looking like a demon.
‘Correct! Bravo!’ Two taloned hands clapped rapidly, like the sound of someone popping lots of bubble wrap.
‘Who would be more polite my dear boy but I’ll excuse your ignorance of etiquette, you look a bit frazzled.’
Kenneth moved nearer, a slight whiff of sulphur and scorched flesh hung in the air, the demon giving off the faintest shimmer of heat haze. He watched it lift a wrist and gaze at a small heavy looking watch.
‘What do you want?’
The demon prodded the watch with a long finger and clucked.
‘Too much heat! Oh cut a long story short, from the moment of your birth, your every action, thought, desire and chance happening was preordained to form part of a ritual, known as the Great Completion. When it is finished, in...oh around five minutes, my master will achieve his desired result and the world will change to his will. Do you follow?’
Kenneth shook his head slowly but the colour draining from his face showed that he did, at least partly.
‘Everything I’ve done?’
‘Everything I’ve said...will say?’
‘Yes, including that!’
‘What will happen?’
‘And that! Oh I do apologise...the truth is I don’t know, I’m just here to play my part, to watch out for “the other side” if you know what I mean.’
‘Could be. Could be Angels, could be any “being of a higher frequency.” That’s how we have to refer to them now, political correctness and all that. I still call them robe lifters though, if I’m honest.’ He gave a wry smile and winked.
‘What now then? What will-’ Kenneth dropped to his knees, a trembling convulsion shaking his body as his mind cottoned on to some stimulus that his conscious mind refused to recognise.
‘Don’t worry, its almost time.’
A white feather fluttered down from the ceiling and landed on Kenneth’s head. The demon jumped down to the floor furiously waving his claws.
‘No no no! Bugger off!’ He snatched the feather and shoved it inside his mouth, chewing thoughtfully as he gazed upwards. ‘They don’t learn!’
Kenneth’s vision began to blur, his head pounded like an anvil being smashed with a lump hammer. He cried out as the pain shot down his spine, causing him to fall flat out at the demons feet, consciousness and life drifting away with every passing moment.
‘That’s a good lad.’ The demon patted the back of his head tenderly.
Another white feather floated past the demon’s head, and another, then another. Within seconds the room was stuffed full of the slow drifting pillow stuffers. The demon opened his mouth to yell but inadvertently sucked in a great swathe of them, choking and tickling his fangs. He coughed and spluttered, his red cheeks now tinged with blue. The ground began to rumble, the cutlery in the drawers rat-a-tatting along with the bass beat.
‘Master!’ he shouted, ‘It’s not my fault!’
A wrenching force rippled the carpet tiled floor, a gaping tear slowly widening to the size of a small car. A flame lanced up from the hole, incinerating the snow of feathers in seconds, their blackened skeletal remains turning to dust as they hit the ground. The demon coughed out the last few that were lodged in his throat and sat down heavily, the rumbling beginning to subside.
A black figure slowly rose from the hole, levitating on a cloud of dark boiling ether. It spoke, it’s voice was whispered and slick like the lichen on a damp grave.
‘Drumax return! There was a problem with the ritual.’
Drumax nodded nervously.
‘My fault?’
‘Then what happened?’
‘A miscalculation by the overseer. All enforcers are being recalled to the circles for a full debrief.’
‘I thought the other side-,’
‘No! Part of the working was off by a fraction. There is now a chicken factory in Kiev with a few thousand bald chickens.’
Drumax let his mouth fall open, it was either that or smile, and he didn’t dare do that with the Reclaimer in front of him. He looked down at Kenneth, the body was beginning to stiffen. He shrugged, no point feeling sorry for him, occupational hazard, being a sacrifice and all.
He slowly got to his feet and joined the Reclaimer on his black cloud. As they sank slowly from view, the rumbling returned, slowly pinching the hole in the floor back together again. Just as it almost met in the middle, their conversation began again.
‘Fancy making a mistake like that!’ Drumax said. There was a slight pause before the other replied.
‘The devil is always in the detail.’
The sound of Drumax’s laugh was cut short by a loud slapping noise and a small whimper. The floor met with a thump, the ash covered kitchen and body looking like a picture in some ghoulish catalogue for zombie home improvements. The window was slightly open to the outside world, but all the neighbours would detect was the slight aroma of some strange barbecue lingering in the frazzled air. It was Summer, after all.


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