These Things Are Never Simple

In a decaying neighborhood in a dying part of town huddled an ancient looking and decrepit house with the windows knocked out like cracked and broken teeth.  This was the street’s worst crack house which was saying something given the number of crack houses in the area.  The soulless denizens that haunted the place had long since replaced crack with methamphetamine, but everybody still called it a crack house out of some sort of perverted sense of tradition.  Even the thugs steered clear of the building and overgrown yard.

 

A lone man picked his way through the tangled bushes and assorted trash along the side of the house with a small flashlight in one hand and a pistol in the other.  Brother Justin normally wore the robes of a monk, but when he was out beyond the gates of the monastery he favored more practical attire; In this case that meant jeans, flannel shirt, and a battered leather overcoat.  He gingerly stepped through the broken frame of an empty window and entered the horrific house.

 

The stench hitting him in the face like a hammer, Justin covered his mouth with his arm until he grew more accustomed to the foul odor.  The place was the site of numerous terrible and violent acts, and the darkness pervading the atmosphere was almost palpable.  He gagged slightly when he lowered his arm again, but forced himself to continue on.  He held the flashlight and pistol with the ease of expertise and moved cautiously through the rotting rooms.  He realized quickly that none of the usual druggies were lurking around the house.  Like animals in a forest they instinctively knew when danger was around and cleared out for safer crack houses.  This made the hairs stand up on the back of Justin’s neck.

 

“This is sacred ground, monk,” a harsh voice growled from the shadows of a neighboring room.  “I expect you will respect that.”

 

“Damn,” Justin muttered.  He hadn’t expected the flesh minion to be waiting for him.  Somehow the fiend knew he was coming and had time to prepare.

 

A hideous shape moved through the shadows within.  “Yes, Justin, I knew you were coming.  You had to know I wouldn’t give up the sacrifice so easily.”

 

“Leave her out of this,” the monk demanded as he raised his pistol.  “She’s an innocent, and has nothing to do with any of it.”

 

The creature chuckled dryly.  “Her innocence has everything to do with it.  That’s why I chose her.  Most people don’t get to her age with their innocence intact.  The girl is the perfect sacrifice.”

 

With that Justin heard movement around him and spun to see what looked to be transients and junkies staring darkly at him through holes in the wall and shattered windows.  The child they’d kidnapped earlier that day was nowhere to be seen.  “Where is she?” he asked the hidden creature.

 

“You don’t really think I would tell you, do you?”

 

Justin shrugged.  “Nothing to lose by asking.  I can’t let you have another one.”  He’d been tracking the flesh minion for weeks through various hidden places in both the spirit world and the real.  It’d already devoured three children, and the fourth was nearby.  Justin could almost sense her.

 

The demon’s thralls started moving in towards the monk, their skin mutilated and torn at the beginnings of their own transformations into flesh minions.  Of all of the many different kinds of menaces he’d faced over the years Justin hated flesh minions the most.  The result of demonic possession, flesh minions always slashed and deformed their bodies in an attempt to replicate the chaos of the possessing spirit’s true form.  They also liked to crudely sew the limbs and organs of the dead onto themselves.  In the final stages of the transformation even these gruesome attachments become animated.

 

“I’m done discussing this with you,” the formerly human creature growled.  “Kill him.”

 

Justin didn’t wait for the minion’s cult to close in on him to start shooting.  He dropped three of them with three shots and dove into the dark room with the hideous monster to escape the grasping claws of the remaining four.  He shot blindly into their bodies through the door, and there was soon only one left standing when the pistol clicked ominously.  “Bring it, you son of a bitch,” Justin hissed.  He savagely pistol whipped the slave when it charged mindlessly at him, cracking its skull wide open in a shower of blood.  He hit it a few more times to make sure the damned thing stayed down.

 

“Beautifully done,” the flesh minion whispered into the monk’s ear.  He felt its rancid breath across the back of his neck as it switched to the other ear.  “You’ll make a good host when I’m done with you.”

 

Suppressing a shudder, Justin’s fingers slowly and stealthily wrapped around the handle of a long knife in his coat while he spoke.  “That’s never going to happen.  I’ve got you right where I want you.”

 

The creature stopped and pulled back.  “How do you mean?” it asked incredulously.

 

Justin spun around and shoved the tip of the blade into the flesh minion’s throat.  He felt the metal grind as it slid past vertebrate.  At the same time the monk bashed the flashlight against the grotesque skull and threw himself backwards to escape numerous flailing limbs.

 

The flesh minion shrieked in rage and lunged into the pale light of the outside streetlamps in pursuit.  It wasn’t until that moment that Justin caught a clear look at the thing he’d been chasing.  It’d peeled back strips of skin from muscle and bone and pinned them back to its skull with screws and nails.  The teeth were filed to jagged points, and its nose was completely removed leaving a gruesome hole in the middle of the face.

 

Justin danced agilely away from grasping claws and tentacles and slashed out brutally with the gleaming blade.  Rotting fingers flew across room, severed cruelly from the flesh minion’s hand.  Justin slashed again and pushed the appalling monster back into the shadows in a flurry of attacks.  Both seemed to pause for a breath and squared off against each other in the darkness.

 

“You can’t have her,” the flesh minion screeched.

 

“Shut up and die,” Justin replied as he leapt in to hack away at the god-awful limbs, chopping and cutting into dead and dying flesh.  Using his momentum the monk bowled the possessed over and fell on top, pinning its thrashing limbs to the floor.  He stabbed the knife into its chest and face over and over, rage blinding him to its snapping jaws.

 

When the flesh minion finally stopped twitching Justin set about the terrible business of completely dismembering the wretched corpse.  The thing had managed to even attach octopus tentacles to its body, as well as other animal parts.  They all came away under the ruthless cutting of the knife.

 

After torching the bloody remains Justin dropped into a filthy couch against a water-stained and moldy wall and dropped the knife to the floor in exhaustion.  He sobbed hoarsely and drew a ragged breath.

 

“I’m not done with you yet,” a hideous voice whispered from the darkness.  The missing girl peeked at the monk from around the door frame and grinned evilly.  She’d already started mutilating her own face with vicious gashes.  “The sacrifice was ready when you got here.  Now it’s just you and me.”

 

Justin shuddered as he picked the bloody knife back up.

 

These things are never simple.

 

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