So say the Winos, Part 4

Part 4 of my October offering to you. Read from the beginning here.


A creature, once  human as it possessed massive arms and legs and a head to go along, had one of the girls tucked under his arm like a long, lost teddy bear and was dragging her back into the alley.

“. . . in the shape of a man, moves beyond the pale, bigger than any man, an unnatural birth, called Grendel by the country people.” Daniel mumbled under his breath, of which he suddenly had little.

th-7

Illustration of Grendel by J.R. Skelton from Stories of Beowulf.

“Oh baby, baby,” the creature moaned, eyes half closed, “Come with Daddy.” He was dressed head to toe in rags, his face too smeared with dirt and soot to tell his race, his bloodshot eyes empty.

Daniel looked around for something to swing at him. There was nothing. They were cut off from the civilized world, up against a man whose senses were lost to reason. Negotiation was futile. He had nothing to offer that would tempt the man from his prey nor was there anything nearby with which to distract him.

“Let me go! “ The girl screamed, swinging a guitar case into the chest of her captor. The blow did nothing. He twisted the case from her hand and threw it to the ground.

“Now come on, honey bunches, be good to your man.”

The girl reached into her coat and withdrew a crucifix. “Holy Mary, Mother of God! Pray for us sinners now and at the moment of our death.” The man’s eyes widened. What was his pet dangling in front of his face? Then recognizing the symbol, he threw his head back and began to roar with laughter.

th-1By now the other two girls had joined in the melee, bombarding the behemoth with guitar cases and bags of clothes, only adding to his merriment. To a man of his size, they were nothing more than a trio of puppies yapping, nipping and spinning in frenzied circles. When they failed to amuse, he knew he could easily smack them against a brick wall or kick them angrily to the gutter but he had time to play with them, or so he thought. The laughter had shaken loose phlegm trapped in his lungs. He began to choke. Then hack. The hacking increased in intensity until he had no choice but to release the girl and lean into a nearby wall for support.

She stood motionless, glaring at the evil her priest had warned her about, a demon up from the pits of Hell who could be dispensed to the nether regions by symbols of Christianity.

“A crucifix isn’t going to save you, Catholic!” Daniel snarled, pulling the girl away, “It just distracted him for a minute.”

“I’m not a Catholic!”

“If you’re not a Catholic then why are you waving a bloody crucifix around?”

“Her mother’s a Catholic.” Venus of the Sewers explained. “She’s what they call a “charismatic” and does the laying on of hands and talking in tongues and all that stuff. ”

“I’m not a Catholic!”

“Okay, okay – you’re not a Catholic. Now kindly get a move on it before Grendel here catches his breath.”

th-2Quickly they grabbed their bundles and shuffled off down the street, glancing back every now and then to make sure they weren’t being followed. Finally they reached a neighborhood that had not been completely abandoned to night creatures. Here and there were pockets of light; storefronts that were only gated for the night and not boarded up forever, apartments appeared to be occupied on the upper floors and every now and then a car rolled past.

As they neared Marcia’s block he heard what sounded like a hundred wind chimes. Well, at least they haven’t moved, he thought. He watched the girl’s faces in amusement as rounding the corner they saw a cloud of light, spilling forth from one of the storefronts into the misty street. Into and out of the cloud, shadows fluttered like moths.

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