Bloodwork by Nils Durban

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SUMMARY: Entry in the October 2009 flash fiction competition: Darkness

The rusted iron walkway vibrated and swayed harshly from side to side as Tarsus pounded purposefully along it. The creaking yawn of the ages old erection echoed about the cavernous and aphotic void across which it traversed. The inch weevils scurried swiftly for safety to avoid his heavy footfalls and the vampire flies darted anxiously away from the attractive dripping globules of rotting flesh that hung suspended from the grillage that he strode upon.

It was time once more. He had waited for what seemed like an eon, and yet only hours, mayhaps, had elapsed.

There would be pain. There would be suffering and there would be undescribable agony, both for the evil perpetrators that were now part of his dominion and for himself, he who revelled in the glorious anguish that would once more consume them all.

Only he, as ever, would survive. He would go on to relive the agonies of these unfortunate souls over and over again. And the souls that were yet to come, for there was a satisfyingly endless supply of mortal essence upon the face of the overworld. Torment and prolonged affliction for ever and ever, amen. A spluttering gargle escaped his ruptured bulbous lips, his tongue lolling thirstily to one side.

They would pray, these chosen ones, these vile and putrile wretches. They would beg for his mercy, for absoluion from hell. And he would listen. He would soak up every last tasty morsel of their resolve, their remorse, and every last dying drop of misery that would be the result of the afflictions that he would bring forth and thrust upon them.

It was his existence, his only purpose for being. They would scream at him, sometimes even make demands of him, as if they were in some position of power and that he, unbelievably, was their subject.

Tarsus was subject to no one. To no living being, at least. Only Moloch could determine his will or instruct him otherwise. It was Moloch who cradled him during his unwakeful hours, who re-set his glorious purpose time after time after time. And Tarsus was so grateful for the blessing of it. Pleasure upon pleasure was continually granted him in this unending paradise of distressed wretchedness. It was his domain to rule over. and his subjects awaited him eagerly. he could sense them, could even smell them now, as he reached the end of the gangway and began to descend the pock-marked rock-hewn spiral that wound its way down to the chamber below, lit sporadically by the flaming sconces that charted his fearful course. The glow and heat of fire rose magnificently to meet him as he descended, his pace quickening in step with his increasingly pounding chest. Almost overwhelmed was he by anticipation of the provocative prize that secreted itself within the dolorous woe that lay ahead, his to expropriate.

Eventually the expanse of The Bowl lay before Tarsus, its scarred and pitted floor streaked extravagantly with the blackness that remained from his previous visitation. The drain carved at its centre was still slick and resonant with the steady drip of the juices from that earlier depredation.

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