Demon Moon: a Slaughter Chronicles short story can be downloaded as a FREE ebook at these lovely locations
Or, if you don’t have an e-reader you can read it here, under the cut. But if you get the ebook edition you will get a sneak peek of Havoc’s Moon, The Slaughter Chronicles Book One (still on schedule to come out October 2019 🙂 )
The year is 2003 and Caleb Grimmet, high school senior and football superstar, is going to make all his dreams come true. Or so he thinks. All he has to do is catch and tame a demon.
When Caleb and his friends gather together to open up the abyss, they learn a painful lesson: dreams don’t always manifest the way you want them to.
And the abyss, once looked into, does more than look back out at you.
This story contains strong language and descriptions of gore. Reader discretion is advised.
A Slaughter Chronicles Short Story
by Jessica Halsey
The year was 2003 and Caleb Grimmet was going to make all his dreams come true.
He drew the circle in blood. It’s circumference was 18.84 feet exactly, with a six foot diameter. That meant he needed at least five drops of blood per foot to the edge and at least twice as many drops—liberal spills, really—of whiskey around the perimeter. To him, whiskey and blood sounded more like a cocktail recipe from a 1950s vampire frat party but the math and his great-grandfather’s book—hidden away from prying eyes in the attic all these years—didn’t lie. Or at least they hadn’t so far.
This was going to be the biggest thing Caleb had ever done. Bigger than setting the school on fire. Granted, it hadn’t been a very big fire and the administration had conveniently blamed the “accident” on a gas leak but whatever. He knew he’d done it, his friends knew he’d done it. That was enough for him.
He slid a folding knife from his back pocket and, with a quick flourish, cut his palm open just like he’d seen in the movies. Pain shot through his fingers and up his wrist. He whimpered and bit his lip. He shook his wounded hand to dissipate the pain and sent blood flying everywhere before he realized what he was doing. Determined not to waste any more of his precious bodily fluids he began to walk the circle. The cut hurt. Really hurt. More than he thought it would.
Once protective barrier Number One was in place, he crossed to the deer head mounted above the entertainment system and untied the bandana that covered its glossy, glass eyes. He clenched his fist and tried to tie a knot over his knuckles when the doorbell rang.
Caleb flew up the basement stairs and yanked open the front door. There they were, his comrades in arms. Jen with her overstuffed messenger bag bursting with composition notebooks and a legion of sharpies, Jeff with the pizza and shitty lager tucked away in his backpack, and lovely Abigail; so insecure, so indecisive, so innocent in her puffy pink jacket. And so incredibly close to her father’s out of town “business friends” that cocaine poured from her tiny Chanel bag like she was the Morton salt girl.
“Hi Caleb,” Abigail said shyly. “You okay?” She glanced at the damp bandana tied loosely around his hand.
Jen pushed past her into the house and stomped down to the basement, the sleeves of her oversized Cradle of Filth hoodie flapping behind her like black wings.
“Forgive her,” Jeff said, also nudging past. “She ran out of black lipstick today.”
“I’m much better now,” Caleb grinned at her, his eyes memorizing her face like it was a priceless painting. “You brought the stuff, right?”
“Sure did,” her teeth flashed in a wide smile before she ducked her head again, hiding behind the chamomile fall of her hair. He ushered her inside with an arm around her shoulders.
Caleb understood her shyness. Everyone else in class thought she was stuck up, that she didn’t want to talk to anybody because she thought she was better than them, as if it were possible to be better than the beloved offspring of the tiny southern town’s elite. Her parents weren’t even from here, they were from Florida. And Florida wasn’t really part of “The South” anyway.
But Caleb knew better. Caleb had a complete grasp of basic geography and Caleb knew, for a fact, that Abigail was better than everyone else. In fact, they were practically the same, she and him.
Like Caleb, she had to deal with the pressures of high expectations and following on in the family business. The only difference was her family business wasn’t making star quarterback or landing in law school.
Her family business was making sure very specific trade routes stayed open. And killing anyone else who tried to control them.
That was something Caleb knew about Abigail that their other friends didn’t: Abigail had actually killed someone before.
The night Matt and the rest of the guys got together at the bonfire pit, Abigail never showed. Jen called her a pussy for not sneaking out but Abigail’s drug pushing dad was also a single dad and, while he would never give himself the title of Father of the Year, he knew it wasn’t a good idea to let his teenage daughter hang out with unsupervised boys. Especially when many of those boys were clients in one way or another. So instead of locking her in her room he decided to get Abigail more involved with his business.
Caleb wasn’t sure if popping your murder cherry was better than popping your sex cherry but he wasn’t going to argue with a man who told his daughter to take this nice machete and cut that bad man’s head off.
He wasn’t going to argue with his daughter either.
She had told him the next day when he finally got her alone and asked, in a less judge mental way than Jen, why she had not come to the party. She said it took three cuts to go through the spine and make the head fly. Like swinging a baseball bat, she said.
Three strikes and you’re out.
What Abigail didn’t tell Caleb was that her dad had showed her the proper technique on a tree limb afterward. He said watching her inflict psychological damage with her school-girl “flailing” was hilarious but she needed to learn how to do it properly, with one stroke. He also told her that if she needed to throw up she should hide behind the dumpsters where no one would see, hear, or smell her. He said it was important that she keep up a brave face in front of the men and not look like a complete idiot.
Abigail reached into her pink glitter Chanel bag and pulled out a Smuckers jam jar filled with white powder.
“For the gods,” she whispered.
Caleb took the jar then pushed her up against the wall and shoved his tongue in her mouth. She tasted like sour gummies. He felt her lips move under his and her hands gently push at his shoulders.
“Are we going to do this or not?” she asked, shakily, when she got her mouth back. Her eyes glittered with a fierce delight and it took everything Caleb had to not kiss her again.
“Yes, we are,” he leaned over her again and put a gentle, restrained kiss on her forehead. That would have to do until they were alone again after everything was over.
In their absence Jen and Jeff had torn into the pizza. Jeff tossed a beer in Caleb’s direction and Jen moved towards the stereo.
“Can we listen to Bowie?” Abigail asked. Jen pulled her favorite album, Lovecraft and Witch Hearts, out of her backpack.
“No,” she said, “Bowie’s lame.”
“And bondage pants aren’t? Fuck you,” Abigail said, cheeks red. Caleb moved behind her and squeezed her hand.
“Dani Filth is an artist,” Jen said, as if talking to a three-year-old.
“With a lovely singing voice,” Abigale said in her best Pirate Johnny Depp impression.
“Hey, you could put on Jack off Jill instead,” Jeff said with mock seriousness.
“Juvenile,” Jen hissed, popping the CD into the stereo’s mouth and cranked the volume.
“There’ll be plenty of time for Bowie later,” Caleb whispered underneath the symphonic screeching of the metal band’s front man. She looked up into his clear blue eyes and kissed the edge of his lips. He turned his head slightly so that their mouths met again and over Abigail’s head he saw Jen’s face darken with rage and she glowered at him through her long, black lashes. He smiled into Abigail’s mouth.
“Nice circle,” Jeff said to the pizza.
“You didn’t step on it or anything, did you?” Caleb asked, pulling away from Abigail.
“No,” Jeff said defensively, mouth full.
“We know what we’re doing,” Jen growled. “Do you?”
“Of course I do,” Caleb smiled lazily.
“When do we get the sacrifice ready?” Jeff asked, a slight tremor in his voice.
“Soon,” Caleb said, winking at Abigail. “Have another beer, Jeff.”
Jen and Jeff exchanged secretive glances, Jen’s glare melted and her lipstick-less mouth curled into a cruel smile.
“Sure thing, Caleb,” she said. “And what will you ask the Great Demon Lord when we’ve bent him to our will?”
“The same thing you’ll ask for I suppose,” Caleb said. Jen poked her tongue out at him and turned slowly away.
Abigail didn’t like the way Jen said his name. Abigail didn’t like the way Jen looked at him. Sure, she knew they used to date. Everyone in town knew they used to date. But even though they weren’t dating anymore, Jen still skulked around in Caleb’s shadow like a lamprey and had been very successful in scaring off any perspective new girlfriends. So far.
Abigail didn’t scare easily.
She watched Jen watching Caleb as he crossed to the pool table and picked up his predecessor’s ancient, leather bound diary and a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label. He flipped the book open to a well-loved, dog-eared page and whispered the secret words as he poured the whiskey around the outside of the circle, over the first layer of sticky blood drops. Protective barrier Number Two was in place.
Abigail didn’t know what she would ask the Great Demon Lord for. She had ideas but she wasn’t confident they were good enough. First, she wanted to wish for something that would help her dad. She didn’t mind what he did, at first she was squeamish about it but then she came to the horrible realization that the people who were using Mr. Nameless’s product were weak and selfish; they’d spend their money on something equally stupid and self-gratifying if they didn’t spend it on drugs.
Then she thought about just wishing everyone in the world was dead but then she wouldn’t have anybody to sleep with and she didn’t want to die a virgin. She thought about wishing for something for herself next but she didn’t really want anything.
Well that wasn’t really true. She wanted out of this shit hole town and she wanted a penthouse apartment in New York, but those were all things she could get on her own if she worked hard enough. That was her problem, she couldn’t think of anything she wanted that she couldn’t get herself.
She didn’t care what Jen and Jeff wanted. They were just as selfish as her dad’s clients and the whores on the street. But she did care about what Caleb wanted.
Caleb wanted security, wealth, and power. Again, all things he could get on his own if he put his mind to it but the demon would give him a safety net. What if he didn’t get into Harvard, didn’t pass the bar? What would happen to him? He couldn’t just change his life plan like flipping a switch. He needed the Great Demon Lord to ensure his success.
Maybe she could give her wish to him and then she could live with him when he set up his law firm in New York. He’d probably like the penthouse idea. The Honorable Judge Grimmet had a scintillating ring to it. Mrs. Abigail Grimmet did too.
Jen began to dance a slow, wavy armed dance around the outside of Caleb’s circle that reminded Abigail of Peter Griffin dancing the dance of life. Jen slid across the floor and circled her hips in a way that was probably supposed to be seductive but was, in reality, like a drunken moose trying to hump a tree. Abigail’s fingers itched for something long and sharp.
“Alright,” Caleb said, ignoring Jen’s gyrations. “Let’s get this show on the road.”
Jen flounced to her spot across from Jeff, East and West. Caleb took his place at North and gestured for Abigail to stand across from him.
Caleb began to read from his grandfather’s diary, all the secrets of the universe in one hand and the jar of cocaine in the other. As he spoke, the words harsh and guttural, the concrete inside the circle dissolved and a bottomless, lightless pit opened in the empty space between them.
‘It’s working!’ Abigail thought. ‘I can’t believe it! It’s working!’
Caleb’s voice pitched high as a harsh wind spiraled up from the pit inside the circle and the death metal music was drowned by a thousand hissing, growling, squealing, shrieking voices rising up from the abyss.
“The time of sacrifice is nigh!” he screamed over the roar of inexorable horrors that thrashed and struggled to break free of the circle. He opened the jar and dumped it out into the the writhing mass of shadows. Tentacles thrashed at the whiskey soaked edges of the circle, claws tore at the air. A multitude of mouths bit and gnashed razor teeth in a frenzy of agony and hunger, desperate need.
Jen looked at Abigail, Abigail looked at Jen. The two girls lunged at each other, Jen reaching out with black manicured claws to tangle in Abigail’s hair. Abigail stepped in close instead of pulling away.
‘Fucking idiot,’ Abigail thought as she pulled the slender, fixed blade from the hidden sheath strapped to her forearm. She let Jen grab her, waited until the smile curled across Jen’s pudgy little face and the laughter light up her eyes like fireworks before she raised her hand between them and dragged the blade across Jen’s throat.
Jen stumbled back and coughed, trying to clear her throat. Blood bubbled up into her mouth as she took in a ragged, gurgling breath, unsure of what had just happened and why Abigail wasn’t dead yet. She sank to her knees, sobbing as blood soaked her black lace dress. Abigail stabbed her in the eye, pushed the blade in until the hilt of the slender knife met the edge of the socket and she felt the tip scrape against the inside of her skull.
Then she pulled her knife free and kicked Jen’s body across the lines of blood and whiskey into the circle. Tentacles wrapped around Jen’s arms and legs, snaked around her hips and across her face. Large mouths bit into her ribs and claws made wet ribbons of her black Cradle of Filth hoodie as the thrashing tangle of trapped demons dragged her lifeless body down.
‘No eyes,’ Abigail thought as she watched all those mouths eating, tearing, crying. ‘No eyes to see what they’re reaching for. No eyes to know what they’re eating.’
But they wouldn’t need eyes, would they? Not with their sophisticated palates.
Abigail looked across to Caleb. He had dispatched Jeff in a similar fashion but he used his dad’s Smith and Wesson. Caleb rolled Jeff into the pit, he was still alive and screaming with three bullet holes in his stomach. Abigail knew that if the demons weren’t there to eat him it would have taken him a long time to die.
Caleb picked up his grandfather’s diary from where it had fallen on the floor and began to read again. As his mouth formed the words the blood of the circle glowed with black fire and the edges rippled like heat rising off the highway. Abigail thought of shingles peeling off a roof in a storm as the reality inside the circle wavered and stretched. The moaning from within became more panicked, urgent.
Lightning crackled all around the circumference of the circle and the black fire spat up and arched through the air, engulfing the space above the pit in a shadowy, flickering bubble. Then, suddenly, the tentacles receded, the claws pulled back into the deep and the screaming maelstrom faded from the pandemonious cacophony to a soft, almost inaudible wheezing.
As the black flames dimmed, as the room became more of a basement again and less of a portal to another dimension Abigail and Caleb saw hovering in the center of their circle—
The jellyfish, a pink and red blob almost the size of a softball with fleshy tentacles dripping down, wheezed again. It turned in the air and a solitary, pink-irised eye swiveled into view on top of the pink dome of its floating body. The jellyfish raised its tentacles, they rippled in the air almost gracefully for a moment. Then—
—SPLAT—the jellyfish hit the floor.
A noise like air escaping a balloon squeaked out from the flesh dome and the once graceful tentacles flopped uselessly on the concrete. The dome shuddered and jiggled like flan as an opening near the bottom expanded and sucked in air. Another deflated balloon noise squeak-hissed out from somewhere and the dome rose up about a foot in the air, tentacles twitching, experimenting with—
—SPLAT. The jellyfish fell again.
“What the—” Caleb gasped in disbelief. “Is this the Great Demon Lord that’s going to make all our dre—”
A tentacle struck out and wrapped around Caleb’s throat, chocking off his words. He thrashed and fought as the fleshy rope tightened around his neck. With a surge of strength, tentacles sprayed from the demon’s underside and wrapped around Caleb’s arms and legs, wrapped around his chest as he fell, struggling, to the floor.
The jellyfish demon pulled its gelatinous pink body up onto the fallen boy. It latched on and squeezed the life out of him, more tentacles, sprouting from nowhere and everywhere at once, wrapped around its prey and held fast.
Abigail ran at the demon. She stabbed into the rolling pink eye. She stabbed the rubbery, slick dome. She slashed and sawed at the tentacles around Caleb’s neck. Nothing worked. The blade bounced off the demon’s flesh as if she were scratching it with a feather.
The bulbous dome slid on top of Caleb and its invincible flesh undulated as it hunkered down in the center of his chest. Caleb’s face was purple and his eyes were wide and bulging. One of the tentacles snaked up his neck, across his jaw, and down into his gasping, gaping mouth.
Caleb thrashed for a moment but then the tentacles squeezed tighter. Abigail heard something snap and his body went rigid.
“No! No! No!” Abigail screamed. She threw her useless knife on the floor and wrapped her hands around the jelly dome, trying to pull it off.
A soft groan slid past the tentacle in Caleb’s mouth and Abigail felt something warm and wet on her hands where they touched the demon’s underside. Then she heard a crunch and Caleb’s body spasmed. Then she heard gurgling, sucking sounds coming from underneath the demon.
She didn’t realize she was crying until the tentacles released Caleb. She didn’t realize she was still pulling at the demon body until it let go of Caleb and she fell back with a SPLAT. The demon landed on top of her. She couldn’t see the hole in Caleb’s chest, the carnage that was his rib cage, or the glistening, bony spikes that suddenly sprouted from the tentacles like porcupine quills. Beneath the big, pink eye was a mouth like fishhooks rolling around in a blender.
Abigail screamed and as the tentacles wrapped around her neck and pulled that terrible mouth closer. The mouth touched her cheeks; the dripping mandibles kissed her and her flesh was reduced to pulpy ribbons. She stopped screaming when her nose and chin were ground down to a soggy, red ruin and she lost consciousness.
As the demon finished its meal of girl brains, its dome body began to swell. Tentacles lengthened, thickened, and an air jet syphon opened on the underside of the dome behind the mouth. The spiny tentacles released the girl and with a painful sucking sound, it took in air.
If its thoughts could be translated into human words, they would have been: ‘UP! FLY!’
The demon wheeze-farted in annoyance and its dome body rippled with displeasure. It didn’t know why its body wasn’t working properly. It didn’t, at that point, really understand the concept of body or realized that it had one. What it did know was that it was on the ground and it didn’t like it. Ground was a new thing, a bad new thing.
The demon wheezed again as its tentacles slide-hovered across the two bodies and over the ground. It dug into the new thing that was the ground and discovered it could pull itself. It pull-wiggled farther and farther, tentacles reaching around the room and testing the ground and the edges of the walls, the furniture. One of the tentacles brushed the front of the stereo and Cradle of Filth filled the silence.
The demon inhaled, filled its air bladder, and launched itself at the stereo. It slammed into the machine with all it’s strength. The slimy, red stained dome body bounced off the display and the music stopped momentarily as the CD tray turned. From the floor, the demon’s pink eye looked up at the humming machine, tentacles coiling, and readied itself for a second attack. The demon sucked in more air.
“Ground Control to Major Tom. Ground Control to Major Tom,” the stereo crooned. The blood splattered monstrosity deflated noisily.
Soaking up the sound, it rested for a few minutes. Then, as Major Tom floated around his tin can, the demon puffed itself up and tried, once again, to fly.
Demon Moon Copyright 2019 Jessica Halsey
Lyrics from David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”
Thank you for reading this free story 🙂 All rights reserved. This ebook is for your personal use only. Demon Moon and Havoc’s Moon are works of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.