The Sorrowful Mysteries – Jon James

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“Hail Mary, full of grace…” I prayed my rosary. I had done it many times already; I had lost count. My fingertips were tender and cracked from their contact with the beads. My hands were cramped from clutching the string.

It was becoming so rote that my mind was beginning to wander. I could not allow my mind to wander. I changed my inflection as I continued my prayer to the Holy Mother, focusing on each word, on my breath as it formed the words, on the buzzing in my throat as my larynx vibrated to create the words, on anything… but… that.


“Glory be to the Father…” The prayers poured from my lips. Somewhere in the forced monotony, the walls and dressers melted away. I was no longer on my knees in my bedroom, no longer surrounded by the aroma of frankincense. Instead, I gradually became aware of the darkness and dampness that permeated my senses.


“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins…” My heart was already flagellating before I fully realized where I was: the basement, the very place I wished my mind to avoid. I stood up in the dusty light eeking in through the windows, clutching my beads like the lifeline I had to believe they were.

I tried to move to where the stairs should have been but they were not there. No matter how fast I ran I moved no closer to the walls.


“The third sorrowful mystery, our Lord is crowned with thorns,” whispered my lips to the dank room. I nearly stumbled as my feet collided with an unknown form, lost to the shadows.

I bent down to investigate. As my eyes adjusted to the even lower light, I knew what I was seeing. I wanted to back away, to run, but instead my free hand moved to the figure’s mouth. With one thumb I pulled down the chin, opening the mouth.


“Our Father, who art in heaven…” I choked. Inside the mouth was some mass of shapes, squirming and writing. Familiar shapes. I leaned in closer to see what. The head turned and spilled its contents.

The floor of the basement crawled with strings of beads. The smell of decay permeated the moist air.


“Hail Mary, full of grace…” I backed away from the squirming pile, not wanting any of the white orbs to touch my feet. As I gazed at the corpse before me, I saw more movement. The eyelids quivered as when sleeping.

Then a bulge at the bottom of the eyelids started to force its way out, a silver speck that slowly grew and extruded itself from the hole where the body’s eyes should have been, would have been if I hadn’t…


“The Lord is with thee…” A crucifix squeezed itself through the slack eyelids, dangling from a chain as the moving beads wrestled with each other, slowly dislodging themselves from the orifice as well.

Where the flayed form of my Lord should have been, instead two small worms were nailed to the cross, intersecting each other in the center.


“Blessed art thou among women…” I said, my throat tightening to resist the impending bile. More movement in the naked corpse before me.

Under the skin of its breasts, the outline of more beads. Holes chewed into the rotting skin showed white beads, burrowing themselves deeper at the threat of my heavy breath.


“And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus…” My eyes forced themselves further down. Indeed, the full, round stomach was also crawling with small chaplets. I fell back to my knees upon seeing the shape of her belly, broken in the midst of creating life, now host to a new kind of life, these garlands of carrion grub.


“Holy Mary, mother of God…” My eyes continued to scan, down to her familiar pubis, her labia that I had touched and entered so many times. Now they were slack, fully rotten, seeping with putrescent juices and crawling with wriggling rosaries like the one I compulsively continued to finger.


“Pray for us sinners, now…” And just slightly further down, deep gashes down her thighs, caked with dried, dead blood, masses of the beads fighting each other to consume her flesh before the smaller, invisible things could. A film of more dried blood surrounded her, the liquids soaked into the concrete, or evaporated, leaving only a crackling layer of desiccated clot.

Beside that lay a knife, its hilt inlaid with the enflamed image of the Sacred Heart. The organ was pierced and blood flowed from the hole. It was encircled with a crown of thorns, and a cross was jammed into the vein on its top.


“Now, and at the hour of our death.”

I had killed her with that knife. The bastard inside of her wasn’t mine.

As I shuffled away from my crime, rosaries crawled beneath my feet, tickling the arches as I moved my weight around, not wanting to touch the holy parasites, unable to avoid it. I missed my footing and fell, the squirming, groveling chains sickening me. My true rosary flew from my hands, landing amidst the disgusting counterfeits.

My hand flailed for purchase, but found only strings of beads and the knife handle. It closed around the knife.


“Amen.” I lifted the knife. I pressed the blade to my throat. Its tip was sharp against the tender skin.

I clenched the handle tight, the carving of the Sacred Heart piercing the skin of my palm. I placed the heel of my other hand against the butt, and forced my hands to push.

The knife slid into my skin. It slowed as it hit the stronger material of my larynx and trachea, but I pushed until the crossguard coldly touched my throat. Then I pulled it out, and let the blood flow around me.

The white and silver beads around me quivered with anticipation at the impending meal, my body and my blood, their Eucharist.


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Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes horror short stories and horror flash fiction. The online magazine publishes dark and gritty content from professional horror writers, Bram Stoker award nominated horror authors, along with talented newcomers of the horror writing craft. Deadman’s Tome features chilling, terrifying horror shorts ranging from ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, monster horror, and even horror erotica. Deadman’s Tome is one of the best online horror zines to publish horror short stories, horror flash fiction, and dark flash fiction. The darker the tale the better. If you enjoyed the story, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the horror authors.


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