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Horror Fantasy

Sorcha

Everyone is a monster on Halloween. I am a monster every day. On Halloween, I don’t have to hide.


I was human once, cursed after death for my supposed sins, condemned to an eternity of insatiable hunger for human flesh—living is delicious, succulent, but dead will suffice. We are the Jikininki, widely known in the US as wendigos. We retain our basic humanoid, bipedal structure, but our facial features are grotesquely distorted. Deep-set glowing silver eyes shelter under a prominent, hairless brow ridge of early humans, homo erectus. A flat, diamond shaped nose gapes, dominated with wide nostrils for hunting. Rows of jagged, serrated barbs fill our blood-smeared mouths, which stretch wide and are strong enough to snap through a human skull. Pointed, twisted ears extrude from our hairless white skin.


Tonight, our faces are discounted as “really cool masks.” Halloween merriment overrides the appearance of our skeletal bodies, held together by sinuous tendons, and our disproportionately long arms, perpetually stained with the blood of the consumed.      


I remember Halloweens of my youth, decades ago. Costumes were planned during the summer, seeing many changes of childish minds between July and October. Acquiring candy was a competitive sport based on knowledge of which houses were the best, most generous, and strategy to hit the highest number of lucrative houses in a short period of time.


Transferrable skills for this afterlife as a wendigo. All I see now is prey—large, small, and tiny. The tiny are too closely guarded and provide little satiation. The large ones are ideal, enough to ease the ravenousness, but they are noisier as they are subdued, still alive and screaming when I pierce their skin, carving bloody flesh from them. The small ones are easier to lure away, quieter, easier to control, and they taste orgasmicly pure. Finding just the right victim in the right timing is the key to the delectable meal. But small ones, as exquisitely savory as they are, seem to intensify the craving for more.


Eleri

Not everyone is a monster on Halloween. I am not. Trick or Treaters are not—they are innocents: robots, ballerinas, superheroes, butterflies, kittens, dinosaurs, and princesses.


I am a descendent of the great Anasazi, centuries old enemies of the wendigo. As settlers encroached on Navaho, Apache, and Comanche land, the Great Spirit created Cheveyo as invisible spirit warriors of the air. We hunt wendigo in the forests and wildernesses untouched in the northwest. When many people fill the streets of villages, small towns and large cities, the aroma of flesh is impossible for the wendigo to resist. We must leave the sanctuary of the countryside to pursue them—hunt them as they hunt their human prey.


We bear swords of pure silver with Anasazi Death Symbols carved into them with the blood of our ancestors. We can also conjure nitchi’I faiere to reduce the remains to ash. The ashes must them be collected and bles’ ide’ to prevent them from rising again.


Tonight Khionee, my Cheveyo partner, and I will hunt in Multnoma, a small county outside Portland.


Sorcha

The small one shrieks—first in laughter, thinking I wear a costume and chase her in jest. Then, realization sinking through her angel costume, her voice rises in a hideous high-pitched wail. My anamorphic, blood-stained arms seize her fragile body, feeling her ribs give way in my grasp, popping and crunching. Her headband and golden halo tumble to the dank forest floor. Delicate gauzy wings that will not allow her to soar heavenward, her soul remaining in earthbound purgatory, are as broken as she is. Lifting her slight weight, I engulf her pink cupid’s bow lips with my bloody jaws, sucking the screams from her mouth.


My Wendigo speed carries us swiftly from the neighborhood of Trick or Treaters—away from the parents she will never see again—to a distant copse of trees. Her heart beats frantically, fluttering like a defenseless bird against my bony chest, reminding me of when mine pulsated inside my living flesh. She ceases to struggle, mute and still in her terror, as I begin to feast.


I start by gouging out her marble blue eyes, biting each one in half and sucking the succulent vitreous fluid out before gobbling the eyes’ grape-like skin. I sever nose, ears, and lips in turn, reveling in the crispy cartilage and amphibian-slimy texture of her lips. I move to extremities next—wanting to keep her alive, her heart pumping luscious blood as long as possible. Moving to her miniature torso, I feast on liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, and stomach. Her dilated eyes are open, watching, paralyzed, as I slash her intestines from her body and slurping the twelve feet of piquant delicacy like a spaghetti noodle. I scoop out her lungs, devouring them quickly before her heart gives out, shred her puny neck, and excavate her pumping heart.

I take my time savoring her luscious heart.


Eleri

She has already taken one—I feel the child die, sense her terror and the despair of her ruined soul.


What Sorcha doesn’t know is that the act allows us to track her location. Khionee and I fly, racing with the determination of our purpose, to the site of the slaughter.


But Sorcha is already gone, hunting for her next feast.


All that remains here are shredded remnants of a small white dress and wings. Even the child’s bones have been ingested, leaving scattered powdery crumbs. Blood soaks the grass.

Khionee, Shaman of the Cheveyo, places her hands on the sanguinary site. She intones the Navaho prayer for the dead as I sink respectfully to earth beside her.

“Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind,

Whose breath gives life to all the world,

Let her walk in beauty, and make her eyes ever

behold the red and purple sunset.

Help her to remain calm and strong in

the face of death of her body.

Help her seek pure thoughts,

Help her find compassion.

I seek strength to make her ready to come to You

with clean hands and upwards-turned eyes.

Now life fades, as the fading sunset,

her spirit may come to You without shame.”


We remain silent until we feel the child’s soul escape from Sorcha’s binding to the earth and rejoice as she ascends to walk in harmony with the Great Spirit.


Sorcha

The first one has left me ravenous, frantic for another.


My desperation makes me careless. I lunge for a Minnie Mouse who has fallen behind Mickey, Donald and Goofy as she struggles to balance in the heeled shoes. I miss as she falls onto the sidewalk, screaming. The entire Mickey Mouse Clubhouse rushes to scoop her up and comfort her, wiping her snotty face and kissing her boo boos.


I choose another hunting ground, fearing that the commotion will heighten the vigilance of the parents.


I perch atop a three story Victorian “Painted Lady” to choose my next target. My hunger makes it difficult to focus on anything but my need. From my discrete aerial roost, I notice a group of teenagers breaking away from the younger Trick or Treaters, cutting through backyards and climbing fences. They join a trio passing around bongs and bottles. Cigarettes, joints, and other bottles are circulated as more teens gather. I have enough experience with this scenario to know what will inevitably happen next.


One of the boys rises unsteadily and mutters indistinctly to the others, who ignore him. I follow him away from the group, predictably finding a tree to piss on. I seize him by the shoulders and yank him backward to me, prepared to tow him away to a deserted area, but he is stronger and louder than I expected. He struggles, aiming elbows toward my head, feet searching for mine to sweep them out from under me while he shouts for help from his friends. With a final surge of energy, he throws himself backwards, landing on top of me as I am dumped abruptly in the dirt.

I hear the approach of his shrieking friends and roll the boy off me cursing him to perdition.


I am gone before they arrive.


Two fiascos, far too perilous. I need to find a fixed point and allow my victims to come to me.


Eleri

I experience the emotions of the little girl and the teenage boy. Luck is not on Sorcha’s side this All Hallow’s Eve.


Khionee and I migrate to the scene of the attack in the woods, awaiting his next venture, hoping we will arrive in time to end this.


Sorcha

I decide upon a derelict bathroom in the well-lit park where a group of costumed parents have designed a Halloween party, complete with balloons, candy, cake, apple cider and hot chocolate, a bouncy castle, bobbing for apples, bean bag toss and other classic party games. I pry open the high window to the men’s room, squatting on the sill.


I hear a woman’s voice from outside the bathroom telling her son she will be right outside the door waiting for him. The boy mutters under his breath about being too old for his mother to follow him to the bathroom. As he turns to the nearest urinal, I leap upon him. Determined not to waste time satiating my hunger, I snap his neck and drag his body up to the unlit side of the roof. I gorge myself on as much of him as I can while he is still fresh, warm. It is not as satisfying as the slow kill and the complete consumption to the small angel snack, but he is bulkier, more filling.


I flatten myself on the roof as his mother begins calling for him, and an outroar erupts at the party. I decide to wait out the aftermath before moving his body where it will not be found for days. After the furor abates and families scatter, I will return to the windowsill to await another. Perhaps a large one this time. I am ready for a decent meal.


Time passes slowly, my longing to fill the emptiness within me is excruciating.


As the field is cleared of people, party games and food abandoned, a homeless man wanders into the bathroom. I drag him to the roof quickly, still alive, but a mouthful of the boy’s congealing blood passed from me into his mouth silences him. He will not be missed, so I can relish this one, like the angel. I have finished obliterating his face and have moved on to his hands when a mighty impact knocks me away from the bodies, sending me tumbling to the ground below. I bound to my feet, searching, but I cannot see the source of this furious assault.


Eleri

She was foolish to remain in the same site for a second slaughter. Khionee and I remain invisible as we bombard her from all directions with our Cheveyo energy, tiring her, knowing she is not at full vitality without finishing her large victim.


We unsheathe our sacred blades. I strike for her head, but she ducks and swipes blindly, rending a furrow in Khionee’s abdomen. She falters, stumbling backwards.


Sensing that she has encountered an assailant, Sorcha advances on Khionee, wildly striking air, madly impetuous.


Despite her wound, Khionee raises her Anasazi sword in front of her.


The wendigo impales herself on it. She strains to free herself while a weakening Shaman endeavors to keep hold of her sword.

My blade decapitates Sorcha with one stroke. I summon nitchi’I faiere, reducing wendigo abomination to a cursed mass of cinders.


I rush to Khionee, but the Shaman has already moved on. The Great Spirit embraces her as one of Her Chosen. I will grieve and pray for her once I complete Sorcha’s destruction with the bles’ ide’ Khionee traditionally performs.

“Great Spirit, on this, the darkest of nights,

Witness the Casting Down of the anathema of the plagued wendigo,

Defeated, destroyed by the sanctified weapons of Your Blessing,

Burned in Your mighty, divine fires,

That Your Blessedness condemn the unnatural pneuma

To an eternal state of Unbeing,

Extinguished in a triumphant blaze of yellow, red, orange,

Depleted of all power, drawn to the earth’s core in perpetuum.”


The night hides one fewer monster.

It has also taken one of the Chosen to the Blessedness of the Great Spirit’s encircling.

I will continue to pursue wendigo scourge until I join Khionee and the Great Spirit.



October 30, 2021 01:39

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7 comments

Graham Kinross
12:26 Nov 09, 2021

This was really cool. It gave me the impression I was reading documentary somehow, or watching the set up for a really cool episode of X-files. Have you heard of Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse? It's had a similar feel to this.

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Elizabeth Fenley
01:52 Nov 10, 2021

Thank you. I haven't heard of it, but I'll check it out. Thanks for reading. You might also enjoy "Halloween Justice" and my two Blood Moon stories-- read "Blood Moon" first. I have some other supernatural stories on my page, in case you're interested. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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Graham Kinross
09:13 Nov 11, 2021

I’ll have a look for sure.

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Kayla Johnson
15:41 Nov 02, 2021

I think this short story is amazing and it felt like I was one with the characters. You did a wonderful job writing this. :)

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Elizabeth Fenley
23:37 Nov 02, 2021

Thank you. I enjoyed writing it. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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Jon Casper
10:20 Oct 30, 2021

Delightfully gory! The rich folklore is fascinating and getting inside the twisted mind of the Wendigo is very creepy. The action scenes are vivid and gripping. Another great piece! (One note -- It feels like Sorcha's first kill has a continuity issue. She started by eating the child's blue eyes, but then later in the feast she describes, "Her dilated eyes are open, watching, paralyzed....")

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Elizabeth Fenley
11:41 Oct 30, 2021

Oh, shit. Good point. I'll fix that- thank you!!!

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