The Prince

📅 Published on April 25, 2022

“The Prince”

Written by Jeffrey Ebright
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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I light another cigarette.  My lips, pursed upon the filter, draw the tobacco to ignite as my lungs crowd with smoke.  I had quit the habit some ten years prior due to health provocation, which may explain why I choked and wheezed through the first pack.  Yet, as I remove the “coughin’ nail” from my mouth, I find I have adjusted to the cancerous smog quite nicely after a three-pack warm-up.

The numbness of shock still envelops my body as I stare at the cigarette staining my fingers and emitting the sickly bluish-white smoke.  The smoke lazily ascends my index and middle finger, briefly twisting and curling in the air before joining the smog cloud held hostage by my apartment ceiling.  All the while, my mind replays the horrid thoughts of yesterday evening without abating.

To see me in my present state would be alarming, to say the least, for my hands tremble with epileptic spasms and my face affixed with involuntarily twitches.  This does not even take into account the wrinkled and soiled clothing which clings to my unfed frame like an ill child to his mother’s bosom.  Or my hair, resembling a loosely bound fodder shock deliberately ignored for lack of usefulness.  And speech would be the most damnable of all, for it would flow in disjointed sentences of a high, hysterical voice, devoid of sanity and saturated in urgency.

Please, let me assure whoever is reading this account that I am not insane.  Rather, I was not insane before the events of last night.  As my shaking hand pens these words, I remain unsure as to my current mental status.  Of course, who among us could be stolidly confident of anything after witnessing the horror I viewed?

But I digress.

My name is Alan Kettridge, and like my father and his father before him, I was born and raised in the Pentecostal lifestyle of a sleepy little town nestled in southeastern Ohio named Waverly’s Crossing.  To call the town “backwoods” would be unfair, for Waverly’s Crossing resembled many other cities which were always on the verge of metropolitanism yet restrained themselves for wont of a simple life and basic moral values.  We shared the same “creature comforts” as the larger cities of Cincinnati and Cleveland, but our town was not bound by oppressive metal and glass skyscrapers that stretched like Jacob’s ladder to heaven and separated the populace by cold distance.  Waverly’s Crossing is a community in the greater sense of the word.  And, when my beautiful mother, Anne Carlyle Kettridge, birthed me in 1949, Waverly’s Crossing beamed with pride over their new resident.

Of my school years, there is little to report.  I was an above-average student who, despite my father’s intentions, excelled in forensics and the thespian arts in lieu of sports-related activities.  Do not misunderstand; I was not a fragile youth bereft of athletic ability.  I was merely inclined more toward mental progression than physical expression.

In 1967, I was bestowed a high school diploma and steeled myself for the ultimate fear of my 18-year-old life: adulthood.

What was I to do, now that I had become an official adult?  I pondered this perplexing question one month before the United States government decided my course of action.  Selective Services’ August lottery had called my name; I was to go to a small, turbulent country called Vietnam to “keep the peace.”

At this point, I must declare I did not go to Vietnam with chivalrous notions of saving the free world from communism, nor did I go to experience the romanticism of war.  I went to Vietnam because it was expected of me to do so.  Had not my grandfather and father served before me?  Was it not my civic duty to fight?  I was simply doing what my lineage had set as a standard for future generations and not because of blind obedience to the government.  I went to Vietnam because that was what a Kettridge was supposed to do.  Speculation of the correct moral agenda will wait for another day.

My wartime task was as a crew member for an air troop transport.  Each day the crew and I would shuttle soldiers fresh out of boot camp from San Francisco to Saigon.  Both gung-ho and reluctant warriors were released into the foreign deltas; their untarnished, naïve spirits soon to turn hard in the unforgiving world of war.  Yet, I was not to escape the devastation and destruction of the war.

After the new arrivals had long departed the airfield and joined the conflict in the rice fields, our secondary job was deployed.  Though I was never to see battle, I was to reap the harvest sown by this malefic war.  In the sickly humid air, under the blazing Vietnamese sun, our crew began loading deceased soldiers swathed in olive drab cocoons of standard U.S. issue body bags.  If I were to relate the most disturbing aspect of my experience “in country,” it would be the dehumanization of those brave men we filled our plane with like so much cordwood.  I shall never forget the smell of the generic green plastic body bags intertwining with the stench of rotting flesh.  The horrific aspect fell to the fact that I probably knew the decaying carcasses I loaded into the belly of the plane, even sharing a cigarette with those I met during the primary mission.  To know those virginal faces were now encased in the body bags, staring with glazed dead eyes at nothing, disturbs me to this day.  I am thankful I do not suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, but the remembrance still chills my bones and upends the hair on the back of my neck.

Ten months later, I returned to civilian life with crystal clarity of purpose and direction.  I entered college and studied philosophy and the social sciences.  As President Nixon’s strategic withdrawal of U.S. troops hit full stride, I graduated with my Ph.D. and salutatorian honors from an established ivy league school and resettled in Waverly’s Crossing.

Although it was not the most prestigious place to begin my career, I accepted a professorship at local Westerin University in the philosophy department.  I was a young man, rapidly approaching my thirties, so my options were few indeed.  Therefore, I welcomed this employment.  It took a matter of five years before I became the head of the philosophy department at Westerin, and I am proud to report my sterling record and excellent academic standards, which I instilled in both students and staff.  I must add I am a well-respected member of many philosophy “think tanks” and am held in high regard by my peers.

In review of my scrawling to this point, I believe I have sufficiently established my credentials.  I have also exhausted two more packs of cigarettes in the process.  I now feel I may offer the incident which has pulled the proverbial carpet of reality from underneath my logically planted feet.  I shall steady my pen and brace my nerves, for someone must know what transpired in that unholy church.  Someone must realize what has been unleashed upon our fragile spinning planet.  Someone, perhaps you, brave reader, must stop this unchained horror before the hour grows too late.

The events leading to last night’s terror began two weeks ago (which seems like another lifetime now).  I was teaching a remedial philosophy class with the topic: Theories of Heaven and Hell; Social and Theological Aspects.  From experience, I knew this was to be a heated debate due to the inherent volatility and extreme opinions generated by the subject matter.  I allotted a full week to this discussion; the first day of general discussion, the next two days in the Judeo-Christian angle, a day for Eastern philosophy and the final day delving into Paganism and so-called Satanism.  It was on the final day that Tim Narzik became vocal.

Tim Narzik, more commonly known around campus as the “Death Dealer,” or “Double D” to his friends, was the savior of Westerin University’s football program.  His 6’6”, 290-pound frame of solid muscle single-handedly put Westerin in the coaches’ top 25 poll for three years running.  Not only was the boy a destructive defensive linebacker, he was part of a rare breed that played offense as well; third down running back short-yardage specialist.  His face, seemingly created by an inspired Grecian sculptor, held piercing blue eyes.  His golden hair, long and feathered, would have completed the image Hitler had sought for the master race.  To be kind, what he had in the way of physical prowess and beauty did not balance his struggling academic record, yet, he walked the halls of the school as if he were its progenitor.  Any words spoken from his full lips seemed prepared and deliberate in the execution and were normally delivered as a rebuttal.  Faculty and peers alike respected Tim Narzik, but he had few friends.

I can not recollect the actual tangent we had been debating at that moment.  It did not matter; Tim Narzik’s voice severed the discussion and drew all eyes to him.

“The Prince is God,” he stated cleanly.

“Excuse me, Mr. Narzik?” I uttered, bewildered at the force of his words.

“The Prince is God,” he restated.



“Would you care to elaborate?”  I was duly intrigued.

“Yes.” At this point, all eyes were upon him.  He spoke with a reflective confidence.  “I was ten years old. I was diagnosed with a rare type of bone cancer.  Doctors said I wouldn’t make it to my eleventh birthday. There was no cure, they said.  Said I was terminal.  I prayed to the Christ-God.”  At this he sneered.  “And it got worse.”

“Really?”  I was intrigued with no words to back up my intellectual awards.

“Then I found a copy of the Necronomicon.  Read it cover to cover.  Twice. Then I prayed to the Prince. He heard me.  He cured me.”  His words were like cold water in my face, brisk and stark in its content.

“That’s bullshit, man,” said one student.

“Think so?”  Narzik’s penetrating blue eyes fixed on the boy.  “I went from 100-pound klutz to this.”

“Maybe you just ate your Wheaties,” another tried to joke, but the humor fell flat.

“It was the Prince,” he stated unfazed.

Thankfully, the class bell sounded.  The students filed out, almost shell-shocked by the frank admission. My psyche sufficiently rattled, I began preparations for my next class, Philosophy of Modern War.  I did not notice Mr. Narzik approach the rostrum, so he startled me as he spoke once more.

“Professor Kettridge, I noticed the way you listened to my story.” “Yes?”  My voice was shaky for no reason.

“If you’d like to see for yourself, I offer you an invitation to my church.  Maybe you could get an opinion without being prejudiced,” his smile was most disarming.

“Actually, my curiosity is peaked.”

“Good.  My place of worship is on the corner of Delacroy and West Elm.  Do you know where that is?” “I believe I do, Tim,” my response was sluggish.  “Thank you for the invitation.” “Welcome.”  He let the door close behind him.  A cool jetty of fear splashed my heart, yet my curious nature took precedent.  Had I but known what awaited me there, I would have lobotomized my curiosity center that instant.

As it stood, it still required one full week before I amassed the fortitude to sally forth.  Visiting the unholy dwelling was either accomplished through sheer bravery or utter stupidity.  Both terms fall to me as synonymous, in hindsight.

I must pause, reader, for now shall I unfold the events of last night.  Here, then, is the most trying part of my narration, for my cigarette cache is critically low.  The crushed filters spill over the edge of my large ceramic ashtray like a tidal wave to a crumbling dike.  My throat is severely raw, yet it does distract from the throbbing of my temples.  I shall persevere because time is of the essence.  I feel the shroud of the reaper looming over my shoulder, unwilling to barter.

If only I…no.  The past is now circumspect.  The die is cast.  The black night shall be revealed.

The waxing crescent moon sliced luminously through the ebony sky, igniting pinpoint stars across the heavens.  The fading satellite’s illumination cast silver fingers of moonglow across the landscape of Waverly’s Crossing, creating an opaqueness and otherworldly tone to the buildings and countryside.  After a laborious day of schooling and, very unwilling to retreat to my divorce-decreed apartment, I set upon a nocturnal drive of my hometown.  The persecuting headlights released passing buildings into periphery, transforming them to phantom towers where the unspeakable escaped moonlight.  The blurred surroundings released my conscious mind, allowing my subconscious to take the wheel.  The haze of non-remembrance lifted as I found myself closing the car door.  But, I was not home.  I can only assume my unthinking mind had brought me to the place I now stood: the corner of Delacroy and West Elm.

My senses sharpened acutely, and all the oppressive flaccidness of university activity and the subsequent car venture disappeared from limb and mind as I surveyed the suburban environment I had entered.  Narzik had not been exact in his directions, for the only building resembling a church was the house adjacent to the dilapidated house which rested on the intersection.  Excited and anxious, I broke through the property line demarcated by eight-foot fir trees to get my first glimpse of the Church of the Prince.

Pristinely painted was the church, a pure white coating basking serenely in the calm crescent light.  A peaceful aura, akin to the flower bed of powder blue tulips and snow lilies along the foundation, encircled the church with the cool comfort of a down-filled blanket on a lightless winter day.  Mower strokes held order across the length of the front lawn, with only the pristine sidewalk parting the well-kept sea of green. The steeple spire harmoniously ascended while visions of Christ in ornate stained glass peered from each window.  The montage showed Him sermonizing, Him trekking to Calvary and the bloody crucifixion. This perplexed me.

Christ represented so boldly?  Was this some twisted relishing of Christ’s suffering for the Prince’s followers?  Is this a public display meant towards blasphemy?  I realized it was not, for in my zealous observation, I had missed the white yard placard on the curb. It simply read: THE FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST JESUS, Rev Dennis Kelong Pastor.

Acidic fear coiled in my spine and waited to strike me as I crossed back through the phalanx of fir trees. Mr. Narzik was indeed accurate with his directions.  Within the weed-infested lot, a crudely constructed curb sign limped in proclamation: THE CHURCH OF THE PRINCE, WELCOME TO ALL.  Repenting for my original oversight, I turned a critical eye upon the church facade.  I felt a curious sense of deja vu as I realized the two structures were similar in architectural design.  Goose flesh arose, for it felt as if I was seeing an alternate version of the Christ church as viewed through a twisted-looking glass.  Whereas the Christ church soothingly reflected the moonlight, the Prince church engulfed the mercurial rays, birthing sinister shadows of malefic intent.  The aura encompassing the Prince church radiated unnatural silence as spidery blackish-green fingers of vegetation clawed the crimson-brown foundation.  The sweet flower aroma of the Christ church became a fetid stench of wet earth and stinkweed in the yard of the Prince church.  An ailing spire impotently sagged from the top of the building as if repulsed from the sky.  The stained glass was presented as knotty pine boards haphazardly nailed across the windows without a hint of light from within.  My fire of curiosity sufficiently stoked, I erred towards caution and worked my way to the rear of the structure with the hope of a less conspicuous entrance.  I retrieved my pen light from the breast pocket of my jacket and proceeded to scout.

A rusted steel gate proved to be my only hindrance.  Verdigrised and deteriorated, the gate’s double-pronged latch refused admittance insofar as to make me scale the useless portal.  The blame of poor upkeep could not be completely affixed to the minions of the Prince, for the fence was a shield to a vast graveyard that encompassed both back yards of the churches.  My miniature pen light skimmed from headstone to tombstone, glistening upon newer stones while briefly spotting the worn and lesser tended markers.

It was then, under the mystic moonbeams, that my mind’s eye envisioned the struggle between the churches.  I imagined the spiritual warfare waged over the decaying and lost souls located in the soil.  I could visualize both theological camps forever locked in a vicious circle of death and redemption, never retreating, never surrendering, never giving ground, never allowing a definitive victor.  Registering this observation, I quickly set out to gain entry into the ominous Church of the Prince.

Fumbling under the influx of adrenaline, my anxious hands made to open the dilapidated door of the service entrance.  Flakes of rust fell precipitously to the overgrown patio as I carefully turned the knob.  It was unlocked, to my amazement.  Just as surprising, the door opened soundlessly, and no alarming creak or squeak was issued.  I had truly envisioned the sound effects commonly associated with horror movies, yet, the door swung inwards without timbre.  I entered with the silver moon smiling evilly upon my back.

My minuscule light confirmed my suspicions; this room was once a storage pantry.  The twenty-square foot room neatly displayed rich, unornamented robes of blood-red on the right.  Countering on the left, an antique oak table supported various platters, candelabras and chalices of brightly polished silver. Additionally, two boxes of tapered, twelve-inch black candles lay motionless next to the glittering ware. Beside the door leading outdoors, there was another door undoubtedly providing access to the church’s inner sanctum.  Beyond the door, my ears piqued the sound of low, almost guttural chanting.  The chant was both enticing and repulsive, yet, since I detected no break in cadence, I assumed my unlawful entrance remained undetected.  However, I was not going to open the door to prove my theory.

Limited in options, my resolve began crumbling like sandcastles against the waxing tide.  It was then my trusty pen light offered another alternative to the humming portal.  Obscured behind the robes, a skeletal ladder of wrought iron scaled the wall, escaping into the inky darkness above the pantry ceiling.  Before I accepted its invitation, my rational mind proffered a preventative measure to be taken.

Stripping a malleable lump of ebony wax from its cordwick, I neatly weighted the keyhole and its interior with the black wax.  As an extra precaution, I spent what seemed hours delicately turning the latch bolt, further clogging the door’s ability to grant access.  If I were to be discovered, I hoped this would provide me with critical seconds for an unmolested escape into the graveyard and beyond.

With unexpected hurdles in place, I clenched my pen light in my teeth and began ascending the stolid ladder.  As I surmised, the ladder evacuated into a maintenance walkway that crossed around the interior of the church.  Abandoned cobwebs, choking dust motes, and a cloying musty odor were the only furnishings here.  For no particular reason, I chose the right path with only my small halogen beam leading the way.

Cautiously traversing the cramped walkway, I discovered a baseball-sized hole in the ceiling (undoubtedly a light fixture once resided here) breaching the wallboard.  A somber light from below filtered up through the hole, along with the faint aroma of spicy incense.  I swallowed hard and proceeded to garner my first view of the congregational hall of The Church of the Prince.

Approximately 150 feet in length and 75 feet in width were the temple’s dimensions.  Black paint inundated the walls and steeple ceiling, which made measurement difficult, if not impossible.  Deep mahogany pews upholstered in plush wine fabric, aligned six in each row with three distinctive rows. Five-foot tall, free-standing silver candelabras bookmarked each entrance to the pews.  Each candelabra maintained a single black candle, flickering a dark light.  Two wine rugs divided the rows like pulsing arteries leading to the dais.

The altar itself stood four feet in height, measured six feet across and was completely composed of Bloodstone.  Bloodstone is a jet black rock with tiny veins of cardinal red sediment running throughout.  I had never thought a geological wonder such as this could ever be termed as sinister.  However, as it lay in a circle of power, or pentagram, which was carved on the floor where it was set, my opinion quickly changed.  The finishing touch had shining silver braziers just outside the circle at each star point, lazily churning out the heady incense I previously detected.

The parishioners entered, 57 in all, and took places on the pews in their voluminous, gender-obscuring robes.  The rumbling chant of the parishioners echoed through the chamber as a dark chorus of obscene strength.  Of the crowd below, three made their way to the dais.  These three were set apart from the rest due to the black sashes they wore.  One of the three was further placed apart from the other two, for the black sash worn was covered with malefic silver runes of a forgotten language.  The obscured continued the unholy chorus from unseen mouths until the three were positioned correctly upon the platform.

The atmosphere, although macabre and haunting, drew me into the ambiance of the thrumming chords.  I felt light-headed, almost mesmerized by the chant.  It was only when the high priest held his hand aloft, silencing the siren’s call, did I regain my senses and snap attentively.

“The awakening is at hand.”  The priest’s baritone split the fresh silence.  “Let the vessel of Our Lord approach.”

In the first pew of the center section, a single figure rose and strode confidently onto the platform.  The figure kneeled briefly before the altar, then stood motionless before the onlookers.  The two in simple black sashes opened the “vessel’s” robe, allowing it to deflate about the vessel’s feet.  Within the robe, a nude figure was revealed.  His Olympian physique glistened in the low candlelight, and his penis was erect with the promise of things to come.  Strands of feathered, blonde hair sweatily framed his statuesque face as piercing blue eyes surveyed the red-robed audience without emotion.  A frigid fear engulfed me: Tim Narzik was the vessel of the Prince.

The high priest’s hooded eyes twinkled animalistically, producing a wickedly curved dagger encrusted with stones.  The priest presented the dagger to Narzik, who graciously accepted.

“Now begins the time of The Prince,” the priest boomed, inspiring the parishioners into chanting.  I need not have looked at my watch to know it was midnight; the stifling apprehension in my heart confirmed the time.

In a language ancient and foul, the three priests began a recitation that could only be construed as a spelling.  The phonics sounded like a bastardized version of Latin, yet far, far older and diabolical.  My intuition begged me to leave at this point, yet, I could not cease my voyeurism; I had to see.  It is only now that I regret my damnable curiosity.

Narzik grasped the dagger with both hands, pointing towards his defined chest.  Instead of plunging the knife into his bosom, Narzik calmly sliced a bloody X, going diagonally from each nipple, deftly into his flesh.  Droplets of gore carelessly dribbled down his chest, spattering his feet and cold platform below, as he began carving an inverted V.  The point of the V began at his upper sternum with the tips of the V joining the lower portion of the previously carved X.  Another tributary opened as he connected his spliced nipples with a horizontal gash.  Narzik’s final act of self-mutilation had the gore-soaked blade encircling his newly created five-pointed star, completing the bloody pentagram forged in blood and pain.

The dagger fell from his hand, clattering noisily to the floor.  Immediately, the priests were beside him, leading him to the Bloodstone altar.  The trio laid Narzik upon the altar and vacated the pentagram on the floor, never breaking their abhorrent cadence.

I cannot confirm the final, breathless words of Tim Narzik as he lay bleeding to death on that cold slab of ghastly stone, yet I would testify he mouthed: “Thy will be done.  O, mighty Prince.”

It was then the fantastic supplanted reality.  The five braziers erupted, spewing sickly colored clouds.  The smoke never left the circle of power on the floor, preferring to twist and turn within its confines.  Each brazier vomited individual colors of fuchsia, sepia, canary, cyan and chartreuse, neither color supplanting nor mingling with the other.  The smog began dancing above Narzik in a vulgar choreography of spasmodic threads.  The spicy aroma of incense had also retreated, leaving the foul, corrosive air of things ancient, dead and decaying.  It was then my unbelieving eyes caught the face of “Death Dealer” Narzik.

The confident, arrogant smile of Narzik had melted away, leaving a face of paralyzed distress to defend. My jaw literally fell slack as I noticed the splotches of crimson on the dagger and platform begin coagulating.  The blood defied gravity, cascading into the base of the hovering cloud.  My constitution lurched as the mist of blasphemous colors glowed as if vitalized or brought to life by the absorbed blood. If it were alive, the blood it had taken surely did not satisfy its craving.  Rivulets of blood floated away from Narzik’s body, a crimson sprinkle of rain.  The crude pentagram etched on his chest suddenly burst like an overtaxed dam of flesh.  More accurately, the blood gushed upwards as if it were a faucet abruptly thrust full open.  The merciless waterfall of crimson life ascended brutally, draining its victim barren.  This fact did not escape Narzik’s attention.

I could never, even if I were given two lifetimes, describe Narzik’s face, twisted in a desperate, futile plea of terror and despair.  I believe watching your very life’s blood being slowly consumed to be in a realm that eclipses any subconscious nightmare anyone could ever dream.

Narzik’s back arched shockingly, attempting to rid himself of the obvious agony coursing through his frame.  His massive hands clenched and unclenched in futility as the endless flow of crimson continued.  I watched like a disembodied spirit as his tan body blanched under the assault of the beastly, colorful cloud. Somewhere in my mind, a small prayer was said for the poor boy to end the suffering.

What seemed like decades of torture, the macabre siphoning lasted a scant minute or two.  Narzik’s hollow eyes fixed upon the final red droplet.  It bobbed in mid-air, bidding a final adieu, then joined its kindred in the foul thing above.  Narzik’s body relaxed from the assault, and he exhaled a ragged breath of relief.  A sudden recognition dawned upon his pale face.  It was more than a spasmodic exhalation his lungs performed; it was the expiration of life itself.  Tim Narzik offered a final expression of unbelieving betrayal as he heard his own death rattle and collapsed.

Willing to embrace the concept of utter madness to retain the final threads of sanity I tenuously held, I found myself unable to detach myself from the continuing saga.  I watched the high priest break cadence. In the tongue of an ancient bastard language, he began chanting directly at the throbbing cloud.  The words spewed from his vile lips affected the cloud; it swayed like a cobra to the seductive flute.

Oh, dear reader, I can never relate the sheer horrific numbness as I watched spindly fingers emerge from the thing and descend.  The colorful tendrils lovingly caressed the flesh pentagram on Narzik’s still chest, then proceeded to seep into the carved cracks.  The malefic fog pulsed vibrantly as its mass dwindled into the pentagram, flowing like smoke under a shut door.  Once the final wisp of foul cloud invaded the corpse, the pentagram briefly held a phosphorescent hue and vanished.

It was not my imagination that I observed the pale pallor revert to its golden tan.  Nor did I dream the sliced flesh begin to mend with deliberation.  Neither did imagine the carved flesh disappear, leaving a clean, rugged chest.  However, I prayed that I dreamt the sight of Narzik’s dead corpse sitting upright, issuing slight wisps of colorful vapor from the mouth.

The thing that was not Narzik, disoriented in its new form, glared about the church in bitter unremembrance.  The corpse swung its feet haphazardly over the altar and to the floor, babbling cryptic thoughts to itself.  It walked with toddler steps, then matured its gait.  With the improvement of the physical, its speech seemed to progress: Germanic to Pict to Saxon to English.  The thing observed his silent congregation as the three priests swathed his new body in an indigo robe covered with sharp, twisted runes.  He raised his hands in the air and beamed horribly at the followers, causing them to fall to their collective knees in awe and homage.

Then in a voice of bottomless evil, two words fell from its lips like thunder as it smiled with all the venom of the world:

“Worship me.”

My fragile intellect became a pane of glass with its words striking me like a brick.  I shattered and quickly sought escape from this waking nightmare.

I do not recall where I received the bruise discoloring my left cheek, nor can I explain the gash now clotting on my right forearm.  The only incident I can relate is the cursing and abuse heaped upon the waxed door by the followers of the Prince as I made my way to freedom.  I happily drew a breath of the outdoors and smiled at the release.

Then I froze.

Warm urine flowed serenely down my trouser leg, pooling in my loafer and puddling underfoot.  Terror, brisk and uncontrollable, constricted my windpipe like a Perseus gazing into Medusa’s scaly face.  How I would have welcomed turning to stone; instead, the deep blue eyes of a dead man pierced my soul with a razor blade stare.  In that instant, I knew the dead eyes of Tim Narzik were alive as The Prince of Darkness.

Our gaze locked for an eternity.  My mind purged itself of all memories, all wisdom, all dreams, all possible futures.  I felt rigor mortis creep into my bones as the Prince held the grin of Cheshire cat on his stolen face.  The moon over its shoulder looked like the reaper’s sickle ready to harvest.  I resolved my fate right then and there.

It looked at me with finality…and laughed.

I spared no second glance as I fled.  Its hollow, humorless laugh reverberated in my eardrums.  The mocking chuckle from the lips of a dead man can never be erased from my poor mind no matter how I would pray to end.

In reviewing these cramped pages of dissertation, I mournfully extinguish my final cigarette.  I shall not journey out for more.  I can no longer leave my little apartment.

Why?  When I returned from my last nicotine excursion, a large, innocuous brown papered package awaited me.  There was neither card nor return address enclosed.

Shall I relate the contents which shake me to my very marrow? Inside the brown folds of paper, a pristine olive drab body bag with my name stenciled on the outside, reeking of newness and bodily decay.

Although it would have substantiated my claims, I threw the abhorrent thing down the incinerator slot. Keeping the blasted thing would surely have destroyed any fragments of my psyche that remains.  Should I have kept it?  It does not matter now; such observations are moot.  I have gazed into the piercing blue eyes of the abyss and found my soul condemned.

You see, the Prince of Darkness walks the Earth.

And he calls my name.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Jeffrey Ebright
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Jeffrey Ebright

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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