When Gods Come Calling

Posted on September 3, 2011

When Gods Come Calling

“Of all the fucking luck! “, cursed the alcoholic through exhausted breath as he stared up at the two figures impaled at various angles upon the old wrought-iron fence that surrounded the abandoned cathedral. Both squirming to free themselves unsuccessfully and both screeching and howling like a cat with a lit sparkler tied to its tail by mischevious children. Bob was the only person within earshot of the ruckus these two were creating. His head shook back and forth vigorously in disbelief while the sweat on his brow from the evening’s chase blended in with the filth of the cityscape that he had been stranded in for so long.
“Yep, ol’ Bob’s luck stays bad no matter what. “, he muttered following his sudden outburst a few moments before. The two paid no attention to him lost within their own predicament. Their struggles consuming all actions at that moment. One, the shorter one, impaled through the left lung and upper right thigh near the hip joint stared downward at the debris of the deserted street. The other, pierced through the lower spine and right shoulder faced upward toward the waning moon. The spiked bars of the blackened fence that the creatures had the misfortune of falling upon stood a good foot or so above and beyond their torn and tattered torsos. Their struggles were intense, painful, and futile.
Bob had followed the individuals throughout the night after his first encounter with the shorter one. He had had a difficult time doing so through the darkened back alleys and streets of this delapidated section of the city he had learned to call home many years ago when his life (and luck) had gone to shit. If it had not been for the cacophony of their epic battle throughout the night and the fact that he had not had his usual evening dosage of liquid splendor, he probably would have lost them the moment their conflict began. A conflict that had taken the two combatants across the roof tops of this wasteland of a city while he had struggled to keep up running along the ground below between the buildings that had become combat zones. Catching a glimpse here and there in the dimly lit darkness, but mostly following the epic sounds of the battle throughout the evening, his chase had become all consuming. This conflict, he had felt, found its fruition over his worthless carcass.
He recalled that first encounter.
He had been staggering through the shadow of a deserted tenement in search of the evening’s fix. He knew the place well, frequenting the area as he had for so long, and was sure he could find some of the trappings discarded by the evening “johns ” of the crack whores that worked the area who would do anything for their own condemnable salvation. Their customers would often leave half-empty bottles of whatever liquor they had been consuming lying around while getting their “necessities ” taken care of cheaply. He hated himself and how his life had turned out. His only solution for the easement of the pain of the daily reminder was the same sickness that had capitulated him into this position. A sickness that had cost him everything.
Dignity and self-respect.
He remembered often the day that life went from a line with points of reference comparitive to most people’s lives to a descending spiral of self-abuse and agony. Of course, he had done his bit like everyone else.
Got the degree.
Got the job.
Got the girl.
Got the kids.
Got the whole package.
Then came the promotion within a job that he had dreamed of his whole life. A promotion with more responsibility. More pressure. More demands. Something he thought he could handle, but sometimes dreams have a way of growing teeth and biting one in the ass. It soon became more than he could bear and it was showing. He was failing to meet deadlines. Failing to meet contractual obligations. Failing to live up to his responsibilities within the firm. Those failures found their way into his personal life as well. His wife could sense something was wrong and began to “nag ” him as he called it. Arguments soon ensued. He became more abrupt with her and that in turn found its way into his interactions with the kids. They began to cringe and tip-toe around him whenever he was home. All was not well within Bob’s household. A rift had formed and it was growing. He had become a desolate and dissolute stranger to all that knew him. His soul knew no peace as it slowly fell to pieces.
He soon found comfort in a dismal mistress. A mistress that many throughout the encompassment of a dark moment reached for. Alcohol. A temptress that has a seductive way of acting as a life preserver even while drowning those that embrace her. He took to the drink and it slowly took everything from him. Everything.
Bob knew it was his own damned fault, but never could gain the strength to beat down the demons that quenched and fueled his thirst in this maddeningly aloof reality of his own making. Because of it, he always wished he would die, but Bob couldn’t bring himself to write the final ending. Often prayed to God (or any god that would listen) to help end this torment. None seemed to listen. If so, none answered. So, once again, he hunted the elixir that would bring an easement of the pain and dissappointment. Both being a hand-in-hand constant.
It was within tonight’s hunt that his wish was almost granted. Almost. But, once again, his luck failed him.
Shuffling within that tenement’s shadow, the shorter one had appeared quite unexpectedly. Bob had not seen the figure approach. Even though it was dark, the few ill-kept streetlights in the area gave off enough light that even Bob’s aged and alcoholic decayed eyes should have seen the silhoutte moving toward him. The mannish figure stood in front of Bob, leaned forward and grinned the grin of a predator savoring the moment before the kill. The figure stood slightly taller than Bob, but much thinner and lithesome. His dress seemed of a time gone by. Perhaps centuries at that. A dark suit, in ill repair, framed the creature loosely, but menacingly at the same time. Holes, caused by age and abuse, lined the outfit as if they had been acquired like accessories for a formal gathering. It was obvious that it had been many moons since the suit had seen the crafted hands of a tailor. The humanoid had no shoes upon its pale, abnormally long feet. Bob could see the claw-like structures that protruded from what passed as the figure’s toes. “More like talons “, the drunkard thought. Its unshod and unscathed feet seemed to mock the broken glass and other debris found littered about the filthy, abandoned street. The bum could not see the creature’s hands. It held them behind its back. Bob was not sure he really wanted to know what it was that he could not see. He turned his attention back to the stranger’s face. Strangely enough, Bob felt nothing. No fear. No panic. Nothing. The creature’s grin widened enough for Bob to glimpse, with the aid of the dim streetlight, its canines protruding past the normal length of any human he had known. Seemingly sharpened to very fine tips as well.
Bob suddenly realized what he was bearing witness to. A legend. A myth. A god. One that could help end this nightmare that he struggled through endlessly.
He, almost trance like, reached up and pulled back the tattered and stained collar of the old army jacket he had found discarded somewhere he couldn’t remember. His unwashed neck was exposed. He was waiting.
The creature, drawn by the drunkard’s erratic pulse, moved in for the feast. Bob felt elation for a moment and then the moment was gone.
The figure suddenly spun to its left as something out of the shadows slammed into it with incredible force. Its arms flailed about trying to find a grip upon its assailant. Legs straining to find a foothold on anything that would give it balance and perhaps secure a better position to withstand this onslaught. Both, the creature and assailant, slammed into the tenement wall, collapsing in upon itself the section struck. Bob stood with hand still holding back his collar transfixed at what was taking place. Through the darkness and dust of the broken wall, the two creatures both found their footing. Both stood in aggressive postures. Ready to strike. Ready to defend. The new creature, the taller of the two, screeched at the other in high-pitched aggressive short bursts as if conveying a message to it. The shorter one howled back at its attacker defiantly. Bob could not comprehend the language that the beasts were communicating in, but he had an idea what was being said.
He had seen similiar displays amongst the winos and whores that he frequented the area with. The whores, with their breasts thrust outward and necks whipping back and forth like cobras with some kind of palsy, giving each other the “where to ” and “what for ” while striving for dominance of whatever they happened to be arguing over. The winos grunting and groaning while grappling with each other to establish a heirarchy of the lowly hoping against all hope that they didn’t get hurt in the process themselves unless they were just to damn drunk at that moment to care. Both sets of combatants looking for the same thing. Something or someplace to call their own. He had been involved with a few of those displays himself.
Lots of chest thumping.
Lots of aggression.
It was nothing more than a territorial dispute. A pissing contest, so to speak. Apparently, from what Bob could deduce, the shorter one was the newcomer and had infiltrated the hunting grounds of the taller one. The taller one, dressed and groomed as someone who has seen much success in this world and knew how to flaunt it (albiet slightly dusty and disheveled now from this encounter), was not amused. It moved toward the other with malice in its demonic eyes. The hair on the back of its neck was actually standing on end. The shorter one kicked a large cinder block from the collapsed wall at the aggressor and fled up the staircase behind him within the delapidated building. The aggressor bashed aside the block and then followed upward into the darkness of the building.
Bob, seeing his chance at salvation fleeing, screamed aloud and pursued. His ancient, pickled legs carried him up the stairs as well. Quicker than he would have imagined a few minutes before his brief encounter with the strange fellow he thought of as a saviour.
He could hear the two wailing and flailing about as they progressed through the upper levels of the building. Lots of thunderous crashing. Lots of cursing in some unknown tongue. He followed further into the darkness hoping to find the creatures, or at least the victor, and perhaps find his final solution. Unfortunately for Bob, the battle stayed well ahead of him.
Bob reached the roof top and cursed through struggling, contaminated breath at the sight he saw. The beasts had decided that the fight would not stay confined to one building. They had leapt across the great distance between this tenement and the next locked in their death struggle. The battle was horrendous and stupendous from Bob’s vantage point as they flew from building top to building top. Clawing, punching, and biting through the whole epic conflict.
They, however, were getting away.
Upon this realization and the fact that he could not leap across the same gap between the two buildings that they had flown across with ease, Bob let loose his own screech and proceeded back down the stairwell in hopes of following their progression.
He made it to ground level cursing his rotten luck. Hoping to pick up their trail, he headed off into the direction he had last seen them upon the rooftops. His heart and lungs both were screaming at him as he pushed himself onward trying to find his new salvation. He traveled to and from desperately trying to catch sight or sound of what was raging up above.
Finally, after what seemed like hours, and possibly was for he had lost track of time long ago, he caught the sound of the creatures’ commotion. Upon one of the abandon buildings near the old delapidated church that he had taken refuge in many times, he heard the onslaught proceeding. He forced his body into a sprint. Tainted blood pumping through heart, legs, and lungs in a furious rhythm. He pounded the street and then rounded the corner that lead to the cathedral in time to see both creatures tumble from the top of the building they were fighting on caught within a conflictive embrace. Ferociously battling one another in mid-fall, they plummeted furiously toward the ground hissing and screeching along the way.
Bob ran headlong toward their final destination, panting heavily the whole distance.
He heard the sickening, squishy sound as both the combatants became impaled upon the old fence that surrounded the grounds of the boarded-up church. Ghastly that sound was. Their shrieks soon followed as well as his own cursing about his luck. Failed him again it did as usual.
He stared up at the two wondering how the hell he could help them. The fence was unusually tall and he could not reach either of them to help free them so they, in turn, could free him. Either one at this point would do. He didn’t care which.
“Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! ” he cursed and spat out a load of phlegm. The creatures continued their struggles to free themselves but to no avail. Their animalistic screams grew climatic.
Bob looked around for something to help him remove the two from their predicament in the debris of the street that their feud had come to the proverbial “crashing halt ” upon. It was then that fear finally struck him. Not fear for himself, but for what was about to occur. The loss of his salvation. The end that would never come. Not now for sure.
He stared at that revelation as it approached from the eastern corridor of the street and swept across the desolation of this abandoned section of a town that had cast him out (albiet of his own doing). Its embrace slowly warmed him as it climbed upward into the morning sky. His blasphemies against it were strong. Stronger than anything that he had spewed before toward anything including the demon drink that had encompassed, and now defined, his life.
Behind him, he heard the creatures begin to screech and howl louder than anything that had occurred throughout the evening’s battle. He turned to glance back up at them. Their struggles intensified as they tried desperately to free themselves from their impalement before the onset of their impending doom. It was to no avail. Their cries grew more frantic by the second. Bob’s ears felt as if they would burst from the unnatural sound. His grimy, sweaty hands quickly covered them before the pain grew too unbearable.
“No! No! No! ” he screamed aloud. His wails blended with their howling to form an unholy cadence of tonal indifference toward the event soon to transpire.
Before Bob’s eyes, the rays of the rising sun reached out across the fading darkness with fingers of finality and gripped both beasts in its embrace. Violently, they burst into white hot flames and quickly were consumed into ash, caught in their unsuccessful last attempt at freeing themselves from their impalement. Both transformed into a fine, powdery gray ash that collapsed upon the ground beneath the fence and lazily blew about upon the slight breeze that fluttered along the city streets in the warming daylight. The same daylight that had ended Bob’s hope of finally laying it all to rest. He watched, in disbelief, as the substance whirled about and around him.
“Damn it all! ” he spat again. After one last glance about in hopes to acquire something credible and attainable to the incredulous evening that he had just lived through (unfortunately) and finding nothing, he turned and shuffled off hoping to find an ounce or two of his own damnation.
“Better be something left after a night like that ” he thought.


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3 responses to When Gods Come Calling

  1. Again, I am struck by your ample technical skills. The word play, the imagery.
    I felt for the alcoholic. That part was well described, almost feelingly so.  
    The transition into the vampires… I thought for a while they must be cats, and I wondered why he was so excited about chasing some cats. Then all was explained.

    I kind of followed the plot, the story, but as it spun away from the warm critter you had created, the feeling human being, albeit bitter and lost in his own inadequacies, towards a suicidal encounter with vampires… I was kind of a little disappointed. I was enjoying your realistic, warm, vivid painting of a hurting human being. I spent some time volunteering with the Simon Community. And we would walk the streets on a cold winter’s night, picking up passed out winos and druggies, or visiting them in the very strangest of shelters.
    Some were dumb, shallow, low IQ simpletons. Some were bright, from former much better positions in society. It was there I met a brilliant fellow, soft spoken, polite, articulate. Living in a ghastly, abandoned, smelly feed bin, lying on rags and old coats. Surrounded by human feces, the smell of urine, and all kinds of crawling maggots and lice. I visited several times, with hot soup and chat, wondering what on earth he was doing down there. Then, all of a sudden, one night I realized he was hopelessly schizophrenic, as I watched, in a nano-second, a switch in his mind "trip", and he -suddenly- became an entirely different person.
    And not a very nice one. Cruel, sadistic, hurtful.

    That was the memory you evoked with your initial, warm, intensely accurate, depiction of your hero. It seemed odd to spin him off, (after having come so far) into a defeatist loser. How cold you are…

    Still, as the author you are the creator. You have the power of Life and Death.  Methinks it odd though to paint so delicately, with such insight and sensitivity, and then finish by hurling the blood red paint pot at the canvas, and walk away. With never a glance over your shoulder.

    Well, great skills. Great artistry. Even the death throes, the screaming, hissing, hysterical, mutually destructive hate, is vividly described.

  2. But he is a defeatist loser.  He did this all to himself and now he wants out but is too "chicken" to finish it off himself or thinks too little of himself to try and straighten out his life and get back on track.  When this story first popped into my head, he was merely a couple of lines worth mentioning showing the catalyst that set the stage for the vampires to fight about.  Originally I was going to write the story through the eyes of the vampire that was fighting for dominance over his turf against the intruder.  I couldn’t quite get the story off the ground like that so I scrapped the whole idea for awhile and then one night it came rushing back to me but this time through the eyes of the bum they were fighting over.  Funny how things work out sometimes.

  3. QuoteWhen this story first popped into my head, he was merely a couple of lines worth mentioning showing the catalyst that set the stage for
    That’s interesting. My mind works like that as well. A few lines, a scene. I just starting writing what pops into my head, and it often grows from there.

    Contrast that with writers who attempt to write a novel starting at page 1, through 300. methodically, step-by-step. Page by page.

    I couldn’t do that.

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