My Blood Is Your Blood (Hear The Beast!)
May 1854 – New Dorp Beach.
In the same spot by the water, where I had just seen a horned creature surrounded by a blood-red mist, there now stood an old man. He was staring out across the clear bay. A lump on his right shoulder seemed to place a great weight on his back and bow out his legs that looked like sticks as his trousers flapped in a strong breeze.
I clenched two fists full of sand and rose to my feet. The wretched image of the creature drifted through my mind’s eye. It had so disturbed me, that I had dropped to my knees in prayer. It was something I did often since meeting Father Keane a fortnight ago, across the bay in Coney Island. He had said I needed to let the Lord hear my voice, and that He would guide me in good times and in bad. In times past, I might have scorned the advice, but of late I’d been having horrible nightmares that foretold my own death. I sensed a coming doom. My premonitions intensified last night after Jack Jefferies had said we were leaving for Staten Island in the morning to battle a savage archfiend, who killed mercilessly and who no one had ever seen.
In a starched white shirt with a high collar and a top hat, which made his nearly six-foot-five frame look all the more imposing, Jack came pounding down the beach. “Did you see that?” he said. His eyes were jumpy and very bright. “The demon changed into an old man right before our eyes.” He started toward the old man, who turned and scudded up the shore and away from us, in the direction of the green woodland that ran along the edge of the long, empty beach. The old man’s bowed legs hardly bent, though he was still light-footed and spry.
Jack ran ahead, while I only jogged, knowing our effort was futile. Sure enough, the old man slipped into the woods and disappeared.
“He’s gone,” I said and slowed to a stop. The blue skies caught my eye as I tried to remember The Divine Praises prayer. I spoke under my breath. “‘Benedictus Deus. Benedictum Nomen Sanctum eius. Benedictus Jesus Christus…‘”
“I’ve never seen or heard of a shapeshifter changing so completely, right before one’s eyes,” Jack said breathlessly. “And in the daylight. That was a powerful, powerful monster.” His eyes were glossy, and then anger flared in them. “Are you praying, again?” He rushed forward and smacked me with his open hand across my face. I stumbled back, and he shoved me down to the sand. I deftly pulled out the dagger that was holstered in my boot and flipped the blade below my wrist. Jack fell on top of me and brandished his own blade. “That priest has made you crazy.” His eyes flashed to the hand where I held the dagger hidden from sight. “Stop this praying, stop it now!”
I looked calmly into his eyes, muscles twitching, ready to jab the blade into his left kidney.
Jack took his weight off me and stood. He turned away and resheathed the knife in a pocket next to the revolver on his hip. It was a full moment before he calmly spoke. “Just before that shapeshifter changed into the old man, I heard him speak. His voice was carried by the wind. Did you hear him?”
“He was far away,” I said, blinking, “but I did hear something. He repeated it twice.”
“What was it you heard?”
Just then I could taste blood in my mouth. A line of blood ran from my nose and over my lips. Jack saw it and held out a handkerchief. I shook my head and took out one from my back pocket. I held it firmly to my nose. The blood tasted strange and different. It had a sweet tang. I lifted my palm off my lips to speak a lie. “Couldn’t hear it so good.”
Jack looked off to the woods where the old man had disappeared. “That shapeshifter was no ordinary demon. Given all I’ve been told, until we learn anything different, that was the beast himself. That was Satan. He is the evil killing livestock and stealing children. He is the reason we were sent to this island.”
Someone whistled. We both turned and saw Gabe the gorilla driving a horse-drawn cart. Tall as Jack but broader and more muscular, the gorilla was scrunched on the boxed seat, holding the reins to a brown stallion. Gabe looked nearly as big as the horse. He paused right before the edge of the sand.
Jack started toward Gabe.
My gaze fell to my scuffed black boots that were planted in the yellow sand. I thought about the words I had heard. They sent a chill through my bones. I coughed and then spit out a wad of sickeningly sweet blood that did not taste like my own. I clenched my mouth shut, not wanting to admit to Jack or even myself what I had heard, yet the words resounded it my head. The beast had said: “My blood is your blood.”
Click to hear the beast(you know who HE is!) say: “My blood is your blood.” Don’t ask me how I made this recording. It’s really terrifying sh-t. I’m not doing so good. I’m just not.
Here are all the posts in this series: Episode Forty-Two