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Short story By: Keith Katsikas

I wrote this short tale about two years ago and I just today read it again. Wow! I'm not sure where this came from. It's like reading someone else's work.

It's been called the sickest thing I've ever written. I think I agree...

You be the judge. This is so much different from what I've been writing lately, though I do have some great ideas for horror novels, one of which I have a detailed outline drawn up for. Perhaps soon.

Submitted:Feb 28, 2008    Reads: 228    Comments: 6    Likes: 4   

Is there really any harm in killing? It's not easy, cleansing the world of its filth--all that festering rubbish corroding the souls of our youth. Who else is there? Who else cares enough to make the stand?--to make the change? I fear, no one. I and I alone stand in my efforts to make the world right.

Here I stand, in the heart of my lair, cleaning the tools of my trade for the fifth time this week--and it's only Wednesday. The Misses, who spends most of her time cleaning the pens and feeding the pigs, pretends not to notice the good I've done, but she does see. Who in their right mind wouldn't? And I'm far from finished. My work may never end. There's so much filth, so much darkness, so much insanity.

Those poor fools, living day-to-day, hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck; they don't love their work as I do. I'm one of the lucky ones. I awaken each morning to the sound of my inner alarm clock; jump from my bed to a list of jobs waiting to be done, eager to conquer each one with the same zeal as the last. Who else can say this with such pride, with as much honor and dignity as I? Not you, I'm afraid.

Still, so many call me crazy--a mad man. You should be calling me a saint! You just don't understand; you don't see--you can't! I'm a gift of God. I have the power to see the good and the bad in everything. My list grows quickly, but not by my hand, for it's the hand of God that does the deed. Call me what you will, just pray you're name never appears on my list.

So much to be done. Will it never end? I must hurry along, pick up the pace. Some think they're blessed with the gift of sight, but I am the only one truly gifted, graced by the rock-solid hand of the Lord. No one can do as I do, no one can see as I see, no one, no where.

The Lord guides my feet as I walk the path, it is the path of righteousness, the path of valor. Disappearing into the shadows, I watch as the dark aura steps from the idle car unto the wet sidewalk. There it waits for another. This aura is charred--blackened to the core--it burns at my retinas, etching away at my brain. I veil my eyes with the shades of the Lord and ready my mind for the act of the cleansing. Patiently I await the signal. The timing is entirely beyond me, and if not preceded with the utmost perfection, the risk of damnation is eminent. I mustn't fail. I fear that, which gives me strength.

It's dark. The moon cast its heavenly glow upon the street. I'm ready Lord, on your mark. Into the darkness I blend, disappearing into the shadows. With God's hands I forged this--my suit of darkness. I am but a shadow within a shadow, guided by God's will, unseen by man.

For three days it has poured upon this wretched town, but now, at this very moment, the rain has stopped. This is God's will. His signal. It is time. The traffic is nonexistent, just it, the aura of darkness, the sin to be cleansed stands waiting. The street lamps are dim, one flickers uncontrollably, casting a strobe effect upon the reflective surface of the wet street. I emerge from the darkness without a sound.

The puddles lay silently in the calming of the storm. I tiptoe cautiously closer. It leans upon a lamppost, waiting for another to stop and offer sinful lute. The smell emanating from the beast is rancid. My stomach begins to dry-heave. I creep from behind. It's hauntingly silent. I pull a cloth from a pouch and reach from behind, forcing it into its vile maw.

It quickly falls unconscious.

I pull it into the shadows. There waits a special vehicle. Designed by God, this is a vehicle like no other. The cleansing starts here. I raise the hatch and toss the beast inside.

"The highways the quickest way," daddy would say; but I like country roads--ones less traveled. It's back in the woods off the old 101, where the Lord told me to build it. Not as nice as the shop back home, but it's away from town. I don't ask questions of the Lord; he has his reasons.

Once cleansed the waste must be disposed of precisely as the Lord has ordered, otherwise the souls of the cleansed will be lost forever. That's where the Misses comes in. She plays a vital, yet unwitting role in the cleansing process.

The Lord's message is clear. The spirit must be cleansed, the body is to be left to them. Send them into the swine so that they may enter them, and the demons shall drown within the heavenly waters of a cleansed earth and the world of man shall be saved, and you will be graced with the gift of eternal life.

I reach over, keeping my eye on the road and open the glove box. I flip up the first switch. The pump powers on. The cleansing fluid pumps into the tub and the beast screams. They always scream at this point. The act of cleansing is far from painless. Listen to those demons stir.

After two minutes, I flip the next switch. Another pump fires and more fluid rushes into the tub. There is less screaming. But if you listen closely, you can hear them--there! There's one ... see? Everything is going as planned. Suddenly a sucking sound fills the cab and the fluid is drained from the tub. The monitor on the dash assures me that all is well. The body's still alive. It mustn't die. It's vital to the success of the cleansing. If the body dies too soon, the demons pass on to another soul--possibly mine. This can never happen.

The rain has started again, but that's no problem, no problem at all. We're almost there. I pull off the road into a patch of heavy overgrowth. It's nearly impossible to see, even with the headlights on high. The brush is thick, the road is narrow; it's more like a path. At the end, the road splits. A quick right, through another patch of overgrowth, then into a small clearing, and there it is ... the Lord's shop.

The back door is open and waiting. As I open the hatch I see everything appears to be perfect. The first stage is complete. The outer shell of the beast has been cleared away. It's a beautiful thing, the human body, once the filthy top layers have been stripped away. Skin is a lustful organ.

I lift the body from the tub--it's shaking and weeping blood and pus--and place it in a wheel barrel and cart it into the center of the concrete room and dump it on the floor. It releases a harsh guttural sigh then groans--eerily mournful. Its eyes gawk upon me, they're dry, bloodshot. The lids are gone, cleansed away with the rest of the filth. It is now, when I often must remind myself of the duty I am fulfilling for God. It's all too easy, to look into those eyes and question the task. Don't be foolish. God is my master, my witness.

I place a sack over its head. It tries to speak to me, though the words are meaningless. Demonic tongues--a language unknown to my ears. I grab my tools and ready for phase two. I roll a metal table toward the body and place the tools in order, then I go to the basin and turn it on. The pump fires. The basin begins to fill with a new batch of fluid.

The body lays spasmodic on the floor. I grab the knife--it's very long and heavy--and lift it high above my head. With one stroke I remove the right leg. Horrific screams fill the concrete room. Tainted blood expels from the beast. The demons know what's coming. The body twitches. The screams are dreadful. I know within my heart, it's with good cause.

I raise the knife again and sever the remaining leg. Again the screams howl. The blood spills even more quickly now; collecting in a pool around my feet. The demon's hold is lifting. The cleansing is working!

I grab the disengaged legs and toss them into the basin, which is now flowing over with fluid. I flip the switch, stopping the pump, then gaze at the body. It twitches, but the screaming has stopped. I must work more quickly.

I rush toward the body and remove both arms with haste, tossing them into the basin one after the other, then I sever the head carefully with the hacksaw. Every piece is thoroughly washed and rinsed in the fluid, then hung on hooks where they must dry before the final phase.

My job here is nearly finished. Soon I will move on to the next name on the list. But for now I send the thoroughly dried remains into the grinder behind the shop. Oh how the pigs love the feasts the Misses blesses upon them.

There are so many names on my list and it keeps growing. Every day new names appear upon the page. I can't catch up and wouldn't want to if I could. For what would I do--what would I be--if not for my job? My divine job, graced me by God.


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