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Sometimes a small pneumatic combustion cannon is the right tool for the job. At least when the job is spraying blood and gore into a fine mist, anyways.

FUNK brs @FUNKbrs

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The Cutting Garden: Chapter 19

Posted by FUNKbrs - July 15th, 2008


Chapter 19

There are things known as dust devils, tiny tornados that are the phenomena of greater, world spinning forces. An individual dust devil is easily destroyed; it has no sense of self-preservation. It doesn't have to. It is the result of a greater force, the Coriolis effect. It could be said quite accurately in the terms of the supernatural that Coriolis is a demon, and each individual dust devil is one of its avatars.

To destroy an individual dust devil, then, is pointless. Another will appear as long as the air is moving in such a way as to bring the Coriolis effect into play. No matter how many times the wind currents of a dust devil are interrupted and destroyed, the Coriolis effect remains a true principle of physics. Such acts of destruction, then, are futile.
There are many dust devils all over the world at any given time, but only one Coriolis effect, only one planet rotating to cause the curvature in what would otherwise be a straight-line wind. Similarly, beings like Nate and The Glass may have many avatars all over the world wherever the situation is right, but they are still single forces. Somewhere else, there is another avatar of Dom collecting the souls of the dead wherever he is called. The avatars of a demon may emulate human thought, but the demon itself is still a single, basic force of nature. Only the most powerful and complex demons are capable of forming fully individual physical avatars, only the most intrinsic forces of reality are easily personified.

There is only one Sun, but cultures all over the world have different Sun gods. There is only one harvest, but this too has a deity in every farming culture. The form of the idol is unimportant. Every statue of Buddha may be smashed, but the principals of Buddhism will live on, and eventually, more statues will be made.

To fight a demon, then, is to try to stop the Sun, to hold back the tide, to jam yourself into the gears of the engine that spins the stars into space every night. The oceans are filled with the ground remains of mountains that stood in the path of the tides, now sand. The ground is filled with the carbonized remains of ancient forests, now coal, that dared defy the changing of the seasons.

The nature of a human, however, is to defy nature. The Sun is not defied through violence; a man left in the sun will burn, go into shock, and die. Instead, to fight the Sun, a man invokes darkness. To fight the fire, a man invokes water. Human kind survives by being the fulcrum at which the destructive forces of nature are balanced.

And if Caroline Parker had ever been an apprentice, she would already know this.

The inside of Todd's mind was a clean place, a place of deep reflections. Todd's mind was a place where a beam of thought could enter and bounce off the brilliant surfaces, its luminescence added to and combined with Todd's own to exit the mouth greater and with more clarity than when it entered.

Thus, it was the perfect home for The Glass.

Berry's soulless body had been a functional tool, but only just barely. Having no internal focus, it fought control like a car with a bent rim, skittering back and forth and pulling to one side or another. Todd's mind was much more disciplined, and as his would withered, The Glass's influence grew fat inside him, growing cozy in it opulent surroundings.

If The Glass were capable of sympathy, capable of emotions, it would have felt sorry for Todd's withering, miserable soul. However, given the circumstances, given it's nature, The Glass found it much easier to watch and wait. Todd's soul could be used as a valuable hostage in the right situation.

Caroline was a soft target. She'd barely survived being a bystander in The Glass's last escapade; there was no chance she could survive a direct assault. If anything, The Glass was a creature of finesse, and it could blur as well as focus. Should Caroline merely go missing, or The Glass somehow regain control of her mind, it would have much greater effect than Thug merely finding her mangled corpse in the kitchen floor.

The light glinted off of the Glass's crystalline surface. It was almost time.

Todd sat in his tiny one-bedroom apartment, staring at his soft, uncalloused hands in the dark. Somehow the light felt wrong to him; it fed something alien inside. There was something missing in him, too, as though some part of his brain was suffering from palsy. He'd tried drinking more water, eating more green vegetables, but he felt more and more abstract every day, as though he were becoming a mere shell of himself.

He was having strange urges, too, like some sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder. He found himself polishing the cheap stainless steel cutlery he'd bout at the dollar store when he'd first moved into his apartment, washing his windows meticulously, buffing up a shine on just about every surface he could, right down to the kitchen sink. He felt so... focused, like he did when he was writing lesson plans, only in a strange, alien direction.

What made it worse was that at first there had been more conflict to it, like his old self was fighting back, but it seemed like the more time passed, the more the old him seemed to fade away. He couldn't help but think that recent events had done something to him, like some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder or something.

It was like when Straight Mike had called with the news about Raz, a piece of him had died, but something new was growing in its place. However at the very least it was making him a better housekeeper. He couldn't help but think there was something horribly wrong, but he couldn't seem to focus on it either, some OCD distraction always cropping up right before he could get a grip on what was happening.

He kept thinking about Caroline, too, but not in the warm way he once did. Things were so blurry...

Caroling had developed a habit of inspecting things since the dreams had started. The world she lived in now was full of concrete things she had to focus on to learn about, as opposed to the attention grabbing insanity that had filled it such a short time ago.

She petted the material of the velvet bag that held Marcia M'buto's preserved, skull-less head. It was so deceptively luxurious, like a mousetrap baited with gourmet cheese. This was a bag for jewelry, liquor, or antique coins, but inside instead were Marcia M'buto's shriveled lips, sewn shut possibly before she died.

Caroline had lost her squeamishness since the incident with Lucille, and had no qualms about holding the desiccated shrunken head in her bare hands. It was only a ball of leather in the end, albeit leather made from human flesh. If she could see a human placenta as meat, certainly she could see human skin as taxidermy.

She relaxed her breathing, for once noticing how it instantly increased her calm and focus. It was so much easier to breathe with her back straight and her head held high. No wonder Mrs. Black had always seemed so poised; familiarity with the trance state had yogic benefits as well as its benefits to perception.

It was the pan-spectrum snowstorm of the trance state, a state she almost defaulted to whenever she wanted to be at her best, that revealed the disturbing secret of the head.

It contained the light of souls.

She couldn't believe the smooth, whirling lavender core of the object, a mix-mosh of soul energy from male and female, clan and tribe, blood and blood. Despite its macabre origin, the severed head gave her a strange sense of comfort, like the antique wallet of a deceased grandparent. The mixture, the conglomerate, the diverse, it felt like a reflection of herself, like a piece of art she would have made if only she had the skill.

There was a puff of dust as a rotten stitch popped in the center or M'buto's jawless, toothless mouth. Caroline's inner vision and outer view split for a second, maintaining the trance while no longer ignoring mundane vision. The souls inside... they were alive, bound to this remnant, this zombie avatar. Did Mama Agnes know about this? Surely she would have mentioned it. Since Mrs. Black's potion, Caroline knew better than to take such a gift for granted.

Perhaps this was a thing of mixed blood, or some ability Mama Agnes's family didn't have that was a part of her own heritage. That could explain why Mama Agnes had been so eager to give it to her. Then again, perhaps it was also a way of being rid of it so that she would no longer be responsible for the souls trapped inside.

The dry lips tried to move once more, to do what, Caroline had no idea. Before she could inspect further, the trance went black, and she felt a shock like ice-cold water as once again Death, Dom, or whatever it was calling itself murdered her connection to the trance state.

What were they trying to make her do, that she should be kept ignorant?! Caroline's jaw set in steel reserve. Whatever it was, she was going to be ready this time.

Todd felt something break inside him, his body suddenly going numb to his commands, but not his senses. His eyes darted around in their sockets until the left one froze and focused a short moment before the right eye went perfectly still.

At first, Todd was paralyzed, his right arm going completely numb. Was he having a heart attack? He felt he should react, knew these were the symptoms of a stroke or a blockage, but the dead space inside him allowed no room for fear. The anesthetic haze lent a certain sense of detachment as his right eye watched his left arm drunkenly, surprised to find it lacked the spasmodic twitching of a stroke-induced seizure. There was a snake-like grace to it, the grace of an old man still too young to shake, but too old to shudder, a grace Todd had yet to achieve in his own lifetime.

The possession crept down the left side, stealing it's way through his torso, trickling past his pelvis and down into his left leg, there too taking control and enforcing an unnatural peace. The numbness in his right side gave way to passivity. The Glass wasted no time savoring its dominance, immediately pulling its new meat puppet up on marionette strings older than written language.

There was little left of Todd capable of fighting back, a mere pittance of himself left to watch was The Glass took his body for its own. This body was lithe and supple, eager to be at the command of a spirit with strength once more. The left hand deftly reached into Todd's right pocket across his body in a way Todd would never normally do, pulling his phone out. The left thumb dialed the numbers 877-7777, the universal code for a yellow cab he would normally never dream of affording on his meager salary. The voice of The Glass was greasy and smooth as it ordered a pickup.

The Glass knew that for this body, such material possessions as money would soon be pointless regardless of the success or failure of its current mission. The value of such a body was in its expendability. This face alone carried enough psychological charge to render its intended victim confused.

Confusion and mock-enlightenment were the favored tools of The Glass, having made such things useful against this victim in the past. The fog of war that could turn allied guns into friendly fire was the perfect weapon of the unarmed, although in this case The Glass had no intention to be.

The left hand slipped a small but razor sharp paring knife into its left pocket, and calmly waited for the friendly beep of the smiling and soon to be well-tipped driver to its final destination.

The Glass was evident in force, and a plate would only be needed after its intended butchery. The blood could come first. Such niceties as fine china could be arranged later.

Thug parked his black Cadillac at a gas station two blocks away from Caroline's apartment, his mind desolate and cold with the knowledge Mrs. Black had forced on him. He envied Caroline's ignorance of the situation, and steeled for what he knew was coming. He had to be careful not to be seen in case he tipped her off.

It was vitally important she react with her heart and not her mind. She didn't have the strength of will to do what was best for everyone; she still didn't understand the inevitable end, the choice would be just too painful for her to make.

Thug settled into the shadow of the stairway up to Caroline's second floor apartment, pulling out a chrome Zippo lighter and a smuggled Cuban cigar he'd saved from the days back before Pedro had gone crazy. He snapped the Zippo to a flame, blazing the blunt rolled tobacco to a dime-sized cherry. It would be a long time before he could enjoy a smoke again.

The yellow cab pulled up to the entrance of the complex with reckless speed, eager to be on its next commission. The Glass handed over Todd's last twenty-dollar bill to the driver, wordlessly thanking him in the only way a cabbie cared about.

The Glass slinked his way towards the stairway to Caroline's shabby second floor apartment, smiling eagerly with his human face in anticipation. Human forms had their shortsighted flaws, but their faces had a certain expressive allure in the reflections of the eyes. In only a few short moments...

WHAM! Thug's hammy fist made meaty contact with Todd's right ear, knocking him face first from behind into the steps in front of him. Todd's front teeth and nose shattered with the impact with the sharp corner of the steps, instantly blossoming into a flower of blood.

The Glass responded with inhuman reflexes, summoning inhuman strength to bounce back up with the impact, pulling the small knife out all in one motion. The demon endured the pain silently, still hoping to dispatch his enemy quickly so he could have the element of surprise against his main target.

Todd's human mind, however intelligent, hindered The Glass from anticipating the strategy Mrs. Black had armed her enforcer with. Thug's left hand jammed the smoldering cherry of the cigar hard into Todd's left eye, dragging the ember across the bridge of his nose and spraying hot coals into his right eye, viciously and callously blinding him.

The Glass took advantage of Thug's raised hands to slice with wicked force across Thug's tubby midsection, leaving a long gas that would have eviscerated a thinner man. Not waiting for his opponent to react to the cut, The Glass used the momentum of the slash to re-cock his arm and go for an intestine rupturing stab before Thug could dance out of his way. Without his eyes, The Glass had no chance of dragging Thug down before he had a chance to warn his mistress and help her escape.

Before The Glass could extend the knife into Thug's belly, however, Thug charged forward oblivious to the danger and pinned Todd's knife hand to his side, slamming Todd's head backwards into the hard concrete steps once more. The maneuver would have knocked even the toughest prize-fighter unconscious, however a body possessed by a demon as powerful as The Glass, with a demon's force of will is almost as invulnerable as the undead. Even with a cracked skull, The Glass was able to fight his way back up to his feet as though it had hardly been damaged.

The Glass's iron grip on Todd's body gave it access to every drop of adrenaline that body could muster, making the two men equals in strength despite Thug's deceptively muscular bulk. It was all Thug could do to maintain his hand's grip on one another behind Todd's back as the demon within him struggled to free his knife hand and finish off Caroline's only protector.

Thug kept his head low, his legs spread wide to keep from being whipped off of his feet and thrown to the ground. Todd's head slammed down into Thug's, every muscle in his neck snapping together to pummel Thug with his bony skull.

Thug's head, however, was tucked down enough to avoid serious damage, the attack only managing to further batter what was left of Todd's face. The Glass shifted tactics, using its uncanny strength to push Todd's head sideways into Thug's, pushing it out of position and exposing Thug's vulnerable neck.

"Caroline!" Thug screamed, having waited until this moment to make a sound according to Mrs. Black's orders, her voice of command reaching past the grave to struggle with every nerve in Thug's bleeding stomach to still win out.

Before he could bellow again, The Glass sank his teeth deep into the leathery skin of Thug's neck pinching for his jugular. The Glass's strength wasn't enough to overcome the weak engineering of Todd's blunt human jaws, but it was only a matter of time before he gnawed his way through Thug's bull-neck and finished him off.

"Caroline!"

The cry penetrated the chintzy doors of the discount apartment complex, and Caroline recognized it immediately as one of her own.

"One of her own": that was how she thought about it now in this split second. The Black family was the only people who cared about her anymore. Her own parent's divorce, bitterness, and anger had long ago made talking to them much too painful, and she'd been an only child. For a while she'd shared that closeness with Jaleesa, but since she'd been fired that too had been lost.

These lightening quick thoughts were incongruous with Caroline's gritty lock-jawed reaction to them. She snatched up a three-holed brick she'd been using as a doorstop and rushed out towards her baby's scream, instinctively knowing Thug would never cry her name out for anything less than bloody murder. The Black blood that flowed through her veins required nothing less, her reaction as reflexive and undeniable as disgustedly snatching a leech from the leg of a child, or yanking a toddler back by its tiny hand from traipsing into the freeway.

She flung open her door and ran down the stairs to Thug's face contorted in pain: her child's face. Fear turned to anger and disgust as some sicko bit her poor baby like a wild animal, like a rabid dog begging by its very existence to be put down.

Caroline hopped down the stairs holding her body weight up on the rail with her left hand and letting gravity pull her down to the disgusting vermin that dared touch the flesh of her flesh, bone of her bone. She skipped the last four stairs, slipping her fingers into the holes in the brick with her right hand, angling the chipped corner of the red ceramic point-first into the human cockroach that would sully her grandson with it's filthy touch.

Both men stumbled away from the stairs as Caroline's full weight dropped behind the blow, knocking Thug onto his back. The Glass's knife clattered to the concrete, doubling Caroline's fury. How dare this blood-sucking tick try to deprive her of her child!

The Glass continued gnawing at Thug's throat, intent on drawing Caroline closer now that it sensed her presence. The foolish girl had come within arm's reach, a mistake she would pay for with her life once she realized whose body it was attacking Thug. The Glass battered at Thug with his left hand, hoping the added impact combined with the shock and blood loss would be enough to incapacitate Caroline's only protector, giving The Glass time to finish its task before the swelling in Todd's skull shut down his brain and rendered this body useless.

Blood spattered the ground, making Caroline desperate. How hurt was Thug? Had that maggot already bitten through his poor neck? She brought the brick down again, raising it high behind the attacker's head with both hands, using ever muscle in her arms, back, stomach and thighs to drive it deep into the fracture Thug had already caused.

This time Todd's head was too badly damaged for even The Glass to maintain its grip on Thug's throat, rocking hard to Caroline's left. Thug lay on the ground breathing heavily as the pain from his sliced belly finally screamed through the adrenaline into his brain. Caroline struck again, rolling Todd's body completely off of Thug with almost demonic strength of her own as her labored breathing drove her into the edges of the trance state. The smooth grooves of her now well trained mind slipping there almost accidentally, just as how it had all began, just how The Glass planned it.

Fish tails of rainbow static filled the edges of Caroline's vision as Todd's face turned up towards her, mangled by the multiple impacts and rendered unrecognizable by a mask of blood and swollen face meat. What Caroline could recognize were the telltale traces of green aura that revealed the true identity of Thug's assailant: The Glass.

Caroline drove the brick down again into Todd's unprotected cheekbone as her anger at what The Glass had stolen from her took hold.

THUNK

The Glass had stolen her old life.

THUNK

The Glass had stolen her old job.

THUNK

The Glass had...

The green aura drained from Todd's mangled head, this body no longer being any use to it anymore. The Glass had possessed it only as long as it had value and opportunity, just as the devil winds only spin where the warm flows towards the Earth's poles, the pure fatness of the planet and its big round belly turned under the wind that was too ethereal to move with the rest of the planet.

Caroline paused, for once recognizing Todd's slim attractive frame, the stubbly once-shaven hair on his arms, his fuzzy light blue aura...

NO! But it was too late. Already, black hole of Death had formed instantaneously, just as Death can appear with no warning in even the most tranquil of lives. Death sucked the pitiful remnant of Todd's soul out into oblivion forever before she even had a chance to save him.

For once, the old Caroline returned, and she lay holding both Dom's living body and Todd's dead on weeping until the police and ambulances arrived.


Comments

YES YES YES!

Perfect. :-)

Hurry up, I wanna see what happens when the police get there.

zomfg!

I just finished chapter 20.

I'M A WINNER.

tldr

What part of "novel" didn't you understand?

The "IT'S REALLY LONG" part or the "JESUS THIS THING IS THICK!" part?

Read long enough, though, and you'll find the lesbian blood sex. It's pretty early on, and it happens a couple of different times.