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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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Grass in the Roses: Chapter 2

Posted by FUNKbrs - September 2nd, 2008


Chapter 2

For centuries, purple was considered the color of royalty, purple dye being the most difficult of all to produce, due to the rarity of the sea creatures that release it. Of all the natural dyes in ancient times, it had the longest lasting hue, and was said to never fade but that its color only grew deeper with time, like fine blown glass.

And on the top shelf of Caroline's wardrobe, tucked back in the corner, was a forgotten purple velvet string bag, the kind in which a witch-queen might have kept a prized crystal ball, or a particularly sacred collection of polished relic-bones. And inside, is in fact, a truly rare and valuable object with the ability to foresee the future. Wisely, its previous owners had stitched its mouth shut to keep it from revealing whatever it was it saw.

In the very strictest sense, Marcia M'buto is human. Certainly every component of her mental and physical aspects came from humans, and originally she too was born from a mother's womb, grew up as a child, and became an adult. She knew all about a mother's love, a father's discipline, and what it felt like to belong to a group. She knew the meaning of having siblings, and neighbors, and friends. She knew of love, of the strength of love, of the lengths to which love will go for the objects of its affections.

At the core of what Marcia M'buto was was a devout belief in choice, that no goal is unattainable with sufficient sacrifice. When it all began, she'd been very young, barely sixty years old. Her close friend and mentor, her only friend since she'd inherited the M'buto tribe from her mistress, Ma, was on her deathbed.

Ma was a raisin of a woman, almost a thousand years old; her skin was as black and as ancient as coal. She'd never found an apprentice worthy in all that time, she'd explained in a breathy whisper. She said she'd found the key to earthly immortality, she'd explained that if two pieces of a soul could become one during sex to make a new, weaker child soul, then why shouldn't a weak and dying soul be able to fuse with that of a young living one, the two souls combining and feeding off of one another eternally?

It made a sick kind of sense at the time. A person eats the flesh of an animal, and it nourishes the body for a short time. How much more, then, would the body be nourished by human flesh? The flesh of un-souled humans would be no better than that of an animal, but the flesh of a witch...

Ma had been the first. She was dying anyway, and it was also a symbolic way of unifying the Taotao tribe Ma served with the strong M'buto tribe. The main reason Marcia had agreed to eat Ma's heart; though was curiosity. Was what Ma said true? Could a human soul be absorbed through such a simple means?

It was Ma who had the last laugh on that one, however, as her consciousness crept into Marcia's through her digestive tract and into her mind, mixing their blood together to create something slightly more than human, a being with the guile of over a thousand years of applied witchcraft. In the end, Marcia and Ma became one, the old entities now mixed indeterminately in a single conglomerate.

The cycle had continued, more and more, willing and unwilling, the neighboring tribes falling one by one to the cannibal warriors of the M'buto Empire. The recruitment of soldiers was easy; who could resist all the meat they could eat in a world where one bad crop meant starving to death? To the hungry young men of various tribes, whose only other option was a slow death by hunger pains, the answer was easy. In the span of fifty years, M'buto had conquered most of southern and eastern Africa, long before the Egyptians had raised their first pyramid.

That was until Mama Greta of the A'santi tribe and a hit squad of allied witch woman soldiers cloaked themselves in darkness and brought her to justice. With no trial, they abducted her from the very center of her war camp, the refugee blood heirs of countless defeated tribes. They'd dodged the cook pots of her soldiers for decades, and they took sweet revenge, sundering her body and empire in a single night. She was drawn and quartered between four oxen, her heart removed and burned like a rancid leper's bandage.

The power in M'buto was too great, and even in pieces her limbs still scrabbled to be together again, like the twitching limbs of a dead insect. It was then that the rest of her body was burned, her head skinned and stuffed with the ashes of her body, her skull ceremonially smashed in front of cheering crowds of her one-time victims. Her shrunken head was kept, its lips sewn shut to keep her silent as a reminder of the fate of any witch who would absorb the power of another.

And now here she laid, in her mocking purple velvet bag, a crown of thorns for who was once an empress, heir of the M'buto and Taotao tribes. For thousands of years now she'd been relegated to the bottom of sacks, the corners of trunks, and the forgotten spaces where relics are stored. What was once a proud woman of monumental power was now a shrunken head in a bag originally made for a bottle of liquor. The new owner, a mixed blood witch herself, would soon know just how potent a spirit this bag truly contained.

Thug looked at his watch, waiting for the tell tale thunder of Zag's Pakistani made motorcycle as he waited outside of a cheap twenty-four hour breakfast joint for his old friend. They'd both met at a tactical self-defense school Mrs. Black had sent him to after he'd had his nose bloodied by a smaller boy in the schoolyard, and had been friends ever since. .

They'd been the same age and weight class, although Zag was considerably brighter. It was hard for the wealthy South American boy to make friends in their mainly black and white neighborhood, but Thug was happy to finally have a friend who wasn't scared of him and his association with his great grandmother Mrs. Black. The stories of the boy who'd bloodied his nose's warts were enough to stop any further incidents, although it stopped most further friendships as well.

Zag's square bodied chrome-less matte black bike cruised comparatively quietly into the parking lot, its huge V-twin engine hidden behind a panel of insulated fiberglass. The bike, like the man, was built for function and not style.

"Hey Zag, long time no see!" Thug welcomed his childhood friend warmly.
"Why didn't you call me?" Zag said suspiciously, his multiple accents putting a strange tint on his words, not quite Urdu, not quite European as he swung his booted foot over the seat of his bike.
"What are you talking about? I DID call you. To come down here for lunch," Thug answered quizzically.
"No, no, about Senora Maya. About Pedro."

Zag wasn't angry, but spacey, his eyes opened a little too wide, his gaze a little too intent.

"What number was I supposed to call? You were on assignment in Cashmere." Thug replied simply, having nothing to hide.
"I'm sorry. I ... I went to see Senora Maya about my problem, and that's how I found out. Nobody will give me a straight answer. It's vexing." Again, he was spacey, washed-out and pre-occupied. The right side of his face developed a nervous tic.
"Did you know Mrs. Black died too? It was pretty bad. We were having problems with one of Nate's people..."

A waitress with a sullen expression wordlessly guided them to a greasy, hard-seated booth and handed them menus. Zag ordered water, Thug ordered orange juice, and both thick men sat down.

"Nate? I haven't talked to Pedro yet, but Horacio told me Pedro thinks he killed Senora Maya." Zag was cold, tactical, his shaved head belying his years in the military.

Thug was relieved to see his old friend acting like himself again. "Nate's been really active lately. He had one of his guy's get Berry and another guy you didn't know, Todd."
"Is Berry ok? I haven't seen her or Raz since the Velvet Glove closed." Zag said this wistfully, having once worked with Thug as security at the old bawdy strip club.
"I don't know. She cracked me over the head with a Molotov cocktail and tried to kill Mrs. Black after Nate's guy got her. Mrs. Black and Caroline handled it and kicked the guy out, but Mrs. Black got real hurt and died." Thug explained, rushing towards the end to get it all out.

Zag sipped his water, well acquainted with the code terms Thug was using. "Nate's people" meant demon, and "got" meant possessed. But to "kick out" one of Nate's demons? That was nearly impossible!

"Senora Maya used to get along with Nate and his people, though. When I was a kid, it was some of Nate's guys helping us across the border. Seeing that guy sticks with you."

"I know. Nate's normally not so aggressive. I mean, people normally come to HIM, not the other way around. Then again, Caroline popped up out of nowhere, too. Did you know Mrs. Black left the family to Caroline, not Lucille?"

The waitress lit a smoke off of the grill. It was that kind of breakfast joint.

Zag's eyes watched the slovenly waitress as he talked. "Yeah, they say Pedro's running things in our camp too, I mean, Pedro was a cool uncle and all, but he was always just one of the family. It should have been aunt Charlita or something."
"But Pedro killed most of his sisters. She's probably dead." Thug informed him gravely, as if he didn't already know.
"Yeah, I heard that too. Still, if they were working with Nate against Senora Maya, they deserved to be executed. You have to make examples." Zag said pointedly, his eyes darting to a round scar on his forearm for a fraction of a second, a permanent reminder of the results of trusting traitors.

Finally the waitress took their orders: a grease-ball burger and hash browns for Thug, a club sandwich for Zag.

"So what brings you back into town, anyway? Did your assignment in Cashmere end?" Thug opened, tired of talking family business and wanting to reconnect with his old friend.
"Nah, man, I got real messed up out there. Our convoy got hit with some Claymore style roadside bombs, and we lost the first two cars. I rode right past it, but the concussion knocked me off my bike from behind, it was so big. A squad of irregulars popped out of nowhere, wiped out EVERY body. I was unconscious; they thought the bomb had gotten me, too."

"Oh shi... are you ok?" Thug wondered, almost cursing.
"Nah, man, I got all messed up. I broke my wrist, but mainly I've got PTSD real bad. I had to get out of that country before I exploded, you know?"

Thug had no idea. He'd never been in the military, although he'd had his fair share of discipline and life-or-death conflict. But to be in a foreign country fighting people who didn't even speak the same language?

"Wow, that's really messed up. I got gut stabbed two years ago, but Caroline fixed me right up. Do you want me to pull some strings...?" Thug let the question hang, knowing a Maya would never accept help from another family.
"Ha, no, I've just gotta hunt down Pedro and see what he can do for me. The military shrinks are a joke. They just try to hook you on a bunch of meds and then drum you out as a druggie." Zag explained.

"Man, that's sick and twisted. Have you seen the new MMA fights?" Thug changed the subject.

"Yeah, I saw..."

After all, the conversation couldn't be ALL business.

Berry idly watched Japanese cartoons in her new boyfriend's opulent suburban home. His name was Mark, and it had only taken her one weekend to get her things moved in. He was a sucker like that, but then again, all men were. Show them a good time, and they want to make it last forever. They'd lock you up like a bird in a cage if they could, hoping you'll never change, not even knowing who they THINK you are is who you're only pretending to be.

She'd changed, though, changed though she hadn't wanted it. She'd met that girl that killed Todd, that delicious murderess Caroline, witch-queen of the Black family. At the time, she'd thought the girl was a green mark, a fresh piece of ass tumbling through the club scene, soon to be shipped off back to her mother's with a pregnant belly and a dead-beat daddy. That wasn't the way things had turned out, though.

Caroline was an enabler, who allowed Berry to be the sick twisted bitch she'd always wanted to be, but never had the chance. It was Caroline who'd tricked her into draining the blood from her then-boyfriend's arm and pouring the slick, savory ooze all over each other, licking it off like strawberry syrup. She did it with that innocent act, too, that "I've never done this before, I swear" squeak, but when the blood came out, she was all business.

The proof in the pudding had been the way she'd taken everything she'd wanted, from Mrs. Black's cottage all the way down to Todd's life. Todd had cheated on her with Raz, Berry's long-term boyfriend at the time, and she'd bashed his head in with a brick. A BRICK! Berry could barely contain the shiver of pleasure at the thought of Caroline's vicious retribution. She thought about it sometimes when she masturbated, or when she was having rough sex. Sometimes she'd punch a guy as she rode him, pretending to have a brick in her hand, or smash a brick onto the ground as she touched herself, just to get a taste of that pleasure.

It was never enough, though. Nothing matched that raw sexuality she'd felt, breaking the bonds of the leather straps that Mrs. Black had so lovingly tied her to the chair with. It had been so intense, right up until they'd yanked the demon out of her. She knew it was a demon now, now that she'd done her research. She wanted so desperately to find one, to have it inside her, controlling her, making her more than herself.

To live, even in Mark's affluent home, wasn't really living without it. She felt almost like a turned-out junkie, chasing the dragon of that night. Even with the random sorostitute she'd dragged home, a sexually confused rich girl pilled out on Xanax that she let Mark watch as she strapped down and played with, it never felt like enough.

She listlessly flipped through the channels, random images popping up with no relation to one another until finally she turned off the cable to stare randomly at the fuzz of channel 66, hoping for something, anything, even some stupid scrambled porn or Spanish language soap-opera.

She didn't even think about Raz, that weak idiot she'd played as a sucker for a handful of years, which Caroline had somehow managed to get to attempt suicide. The rumors of what exactly had happened to him were fuzzy, although she'd heard he'd finally broken his depressive streak and now had a successful contracting business with an older but still attractive boyfriend. She'd never cared about him anyway; he'd been just a place to live, a car to drive, just like Mark was.

She had no idea every thing she wanted was just barely out of her grasp.

In the beginning was The Void, and The Void was empty, and lonely, and it made a space in itself, a space that was beyond it, and it called this non-void Father. Father saw The Void, and saw that by creating time, things could exist within The Void, provided they eventually came to an end. And Father was infinitely wise, and loved The Void. Therefore, He decided within Himself to serve as a background to her beauty.

To this end, Father created Lucifer, to bring The Light, to exist as a reflection of Himself within time to create the world as it is seen. But Lucifer was not perfect as his Father was, and hated The Void, because it absorbed all light in its existence outside of time. And Lucifer's creations rebelled as well, creating as they themselves had been created, filling the universe beyond its capacity within time.

So Father created Death, who loved The Void as Father did, who's purpose was to bring to an end all of Lucifer's creation that it might fit within the bounds of time. But creation rebelled again, and cried out to Father, for it had been created with feeling by Lucifer, and suffered for lack of freewill to choose its own Death.

To this purpose, Father took pity on them, and created The Right and The Left, twins and brothers to Lucifer and Death, naming them Famine and Pestilence. And Famine was the path unto Death by failing to consume, and Pestilence was the path unto Death by being consumed.

After this Father rested, leaving the realm of time to co-exist with The Void and contemplate Her beauty. And in his leaving, he left a prophecy:

"In the last day shall the four Brothers unite, and Pestilence and Famine shall turn to serve Lucifer, and betray Death. On that day shall the end of time be, for Death shall send all of creation into The Void, that she may taste life. This shall be the bitter end, for in this, Death himself shall be consumed."

The truth is not kind. The ground we walk is made of decomposed animal excrement and grit, the oxygen we breathe the ethers ejected from the gangrenous infection that tinges what should be brilliant blue waters of the ocean a dingy green. There is no hope, only the freedom of the knowledge of eventual death after which the body merely joins in the earth's orgy of rot and fecophilia.

Perhaps this is the reason such seemingly pure metaphysical forces such as Lucifer, Death, Famine, and Pestilence would prefer to be known as Nathan Task, Dominick Borden, Peter Stallings and Rodney Cunningham. Perhaps this is why they choose to play such petty games with human lives, treating them as children might treat the ants they find in their sandbox. Perhaps, even, the concept of an ultimate mortality for those who are otherwise immortal is so disgusting, so aversive, it drives them insane, forcing them to waste what time they do have studying the process of lesser beings destruction in hopes of manipulating their own.

Whatever the core reason for this state of affairs, there are two forces with comparable power to that of Nate and Dom quietly in operation outside of Caroline's sphere of influence, a circle that is quickly expanding, whether she knows it or not.


Comments

I dare you to ban me for 1 minute.

sounds like work. How about...

No.

you should try to write short sotries and sell them

Sell'em to who? Who buys short stories anymore? You can get all you want of that kind of stuff on the intarnets for free, ergo, why I'm trying to write novels. Please note I only post rough drafts on NG; the revised versions are much better, and have a healthy bit more content.

If I COULD sell'em, I totally would, though. I'm one broke NGer.

wows... that's deep

your stories are amazing

Thank you. My writing to some extent is a venue for my philosophy; I try to use it to expose people to a deeper way of understanding human relationships and interactions. The plot/action is a little secondary to that, which is why I doubt my writing would ever make good screenplays.

To some extent I'm scared my writing is a little TOO deep, maybe even borderline pretentious. Some readers just can't stand stuff that isn't all ACTION ACTION ACTION even though I find what's going on inside the characters heads to be 10 bajillion times more interesting than what's actually physically going on.

I just finished Ch 3, btw, where you get to see a little deeper into Pedro's head and his family organization.

wow thats some good stuff. very deep