“Imp!” My master’s voice rumbled with the comforting malice of a thousand forges. “What the Heaven is this?”
I leaned forward hoping to appear sufficiently inquisitive and peered at the Soul List. Created from the flayed skin of the eternally damned, the scroll unfurled across his obsidian desk. Smoke trailed from the blackened rim of the hole he’d made with his stiletto-like finger. Around the hole the remaining letters of a name faded from view.
Blinking once, I blinked again. Even by the bastardized physics of Hell, something like that should have been impossible. But my master demanded an answer and I made a great show of pinching my features in pensive repose, heeding the first lesson upon my servitude that ignorance was an undesirable virtue. Continue reading
Nell watched a beetle trundle past her shoe. The white lady gurgled like a backed-up sewer, and then she was quiet and there were only the wet smacking sounds of Grandmother eating.
The white lady’s gun lay in the dirt. Nell thought about taking it, but it was too heavy and too long–at least twice as long as the rifle Mama was teaching her to shoot. Instead she dragged it into the shadows and hid it beneath some scrap wood. The spyglass on top looked valuable, but Nell didn’t have time to salvage it. Continue reading
The McClemen’s residence looked like an abscessed tooth jutting out of the earth, three stories high, flaccid and diseased. It was surrounded by a sea of cornfields of green presently bending lightly to a south-westerly wind. There was an aged sycamore at the end of the driveway, chained to it, a dog and a goat, and Lawrence Shoemaker at last rolled his Cadillac to a stop in the tree’s accompanying shade.
The stink of shit and animal parlayed with a cloud of dust, rising up and through the opened windows of the Cadillac. Lawrence cursed, reached for a handkerchief and covered his nose. When the dust settled, he grabbed his clipboard and stepped outside, shielding his eyes against the rays of a setting sun. Continue reading