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Wicked Congregation – Gary Buller

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Featured in Monsters Exist

Up the airy mountain,

Down the rushy Glen,

We daren’t go a’ hunting,

For fear of little men.

–The Fairies, William Allingham

Do I regret my actions? Of course—every waking moment the memories fester inside my mind, and at night let loose. Darkness is their natural habitat, so I suppose it makes sense. Yet, as I rock atop the sheets in solitary silence, I am confident I would not change a thing. My actions, no matter how obscene, were for the greater good, as you are about to discover.

You are all in grave danger.

You laugh?

Let me tell my story, and then you might understand where I am coming from.

Perhaps older than the English woodland engulfing it, the church was a small, black building that sagged under its own weight. The mossy grey tiles bowed under decades of leaf litter, and walls appeared to sink into the ground as if the surrounding graveyard wished to reclaim them. This ancient place was my destination, as I travelled with a great burden on my shoulders. A shining sun would have kissed lush grass, colonies of plump mushrooms and snowdrops, but my work required the cover of darkness.

Two earthy grooves, once carthorse tracks, were overgrown, and foliage brushed the underside of my car as I descended the valley. The deeper I travelled, the greater the sense of dread, and I was thankful for the occasional island of moonlight breaking through the canopy above. I navigated by memory while two bony nubs on my left hand, where my ring and pinkie finger had been, tingled. Skeletal branches thickened and encroached on my path, scraping windows, and almost entombing the car before the headlights found an opening and the walls of that cursed place.

Within a little clearing, I reluctantly killed the engine, and an eerie quiet descended, weighty and foreboding. Branches did not rustle, and animals did not call. My father was a ranger here and taught me how to identify all the different sounds. Had I heard anything—a hoot, or a fox cry—it would have brought at least a little comfort. Instead, I scratched the stump of my fingers in absolute silence.

Bump.

It came from the trunk, and a breath froze in my lungs. In the rearview mirror, I saw lightly waving underbrush and one nervous eye. For the longest moment, I held still, ears straining until my chest burned. Satisfied that all was well, I exhaled a measured breath, and grabbing a flashlight from the passenger seat, exited the car.

The white beam of my flashlight sliced the cloying darkness, falling on the little wooden gate of the cemetery. Rusted horseshoes, thick with tufts of moss, hung from the waterlogged boards. Random nails and streaks of maroon suggested there were others at one time, but they were somehow displaced. On my last visit, as father had dragged me along painfully by my upper arm, I had seen and heard wind chimes in the trees, but these were likely buried under dead leaves, or tangled within the tall grass where they fell.

I angled the circular beam up a noticeboard beside the arched doorway. Once containing parish notices, it was now vacant, and more horseshoes hung, black with rust from the swollen frame. Further up, there was an overhanging roof with a diminutive bell tower overlooked the clearing.

A low moan escaped my lips.

Decayed and bloody, a carcass stretched across the opening where a long absent bell had once chimed. Pointed ribs were parted like the jaws of a carnivorous animal, and bloated sacks of rotted organs swayed in the breeze. Sausage strands of intestines spilt from its severed gut and snaked down the tiles.

“A sheep,” I whispered, not liking the tension in my voice. “It’s a bloody sheep.”

Broken yellow teeth grinned amongst matted curls of wool, and milky white eyes appeared to gaze into hell. I don’t know how long the fetid creature had been up there, but there was no doubt in my mind that it was some kind of warning. Someone wanted to keep people away from this place—and for a good reason.

A branch snapped.

I wheeled around.

The flashlight found vacant woodland, and overgrown bushes shrouded in shadow.

I reasoned that it might be a fox or badger, but the throbbing stumps of my left hand told me otherwise.

I was being watched.

Lifting the gate from a drift of soil, I pushed it open. A blistered nail snapped, and a horseshoe fell into the grass. Quietly, I made my way up the lichen-spotted flags to the porch, observing strange, white pebbles dotted in and around the headstones. On closer inspection, I saw animal skulls of varying shapes and sizes jutting from the grass, hollow eyes observing my progress. There was something blasphemous about their placement, something unclean and alien.

Like many others of its time, this rural church remained unlocked, and two iron rings served as handles. A strange symbol was crudely painted on the wood in something dark and viscous that smelled coppery and rotten like old blood. These were the same doors my parents had dragged me through when I was ten years old. Mum had been sobbing, and dad had been muttering distractedly under his breath. Neither of them would look me in the eye, or had answered my panicked questions. That was the last time I had ever seen her.

I pulled the doors, and they parted down the middle. The loud creak of rusty hinges made me wince. As if escaping the terrible space within, the odour of damp and decaying plant matter rushed past me. It was dim inside, but the roof at the front of the church had caved in, and moonlight cascaded onto a granite altar scattered with dead leaves. At either side of a narrow aisle, there were three short pews, which I guessed would have seated no more than twenty or thirty parishioners back in its day. One of the benches had collapsed into the rotten floor, creating a deep hole.

I moved gingerly towards the front, testing each spongy board with a toe before proceeding. The atmosphere was claustrophobic, and moonlight charged the air with unseen electricity. There was very little by way of religious paraphernalia. Animal skulls hung where crucifixes should have been, and half-moons of iron were fixed beneath broken and faded stained glass. The ancient creatures here preceded Christianity, and the locals tried more arcane methods to keep them at bay.

The church roof curved like the upturned bow of a ship, and within the jagged edges of broken tile, the moon was a silver penny against a sea of black. An ancient oak partially obscured my view, gnarled branches hanging over the rear of the structure as if to embrace it. Within the creaking boughs were sunken hollows, and inside movement.

My left hand prickled like it’d brushed against stinging nettles, and I retreated to collect my offering from the car. Moving abroad had crossed my mind many times, a means of escape from this nightmare—but dad’s words repeated in my skull.

You have to sate their hunger, or they will infest. You’re the son of a High Peak Ranger, like my grandfather, and his grandfather before. If they don’t get what’s coming to them, they will destroy the High Peak and then come for you. Mark my words. Remember Ashopton?”

I prayed what I was doing would satisfy them for another twenty years, knowing what I would do after that since I didn’t want to visit this place again.

That is when I saw it, sitting at one of the pews.

I thought it might be a doll left behind by a long-dead parishioner—until its head tilted to one side. Pinprick eyes glowed a strange shade of blue within recessed sockets, following me as I moved against the altar. Its face was narrow and skeletal—as pale as porcelain. Papery wings, threaded with veins folded at its back. A serpentine tongue elongated between razor teeth and licked purple lips. My missing fingers throbbed. How I’d laughed when mum said, They’re real, son, but not like in the stories or picture books…

I wasn’t laughing now.

I’d screamed as they converged on mum. My dad had cried out, too, but more out of surprise than anything else. A ranger for over thirty years, he was an expert on these things but hadn’t been aware of their keen sense of smell. Neither of us had known that mum was with child until they finally bore through the white skin of her belly. She was the starter, and my unborn brother the main course. Blind panic mixed with guilty relief since I had been reprieved, for I was meant to be the sacrificial lamb. They coveted the young.

Dad had run. Isn’t that what he’d always done when confronted with a problem? Foolish and meek, I fought back, an act of futility that almost cost me my life. Instead, I paid with two fingers.

The doll in front of me now stood with the assistance of twiggy arms, a perfectly formed miniature person. Its clawed feet tapped against the wood as it shifted in anticipation. Hunching its shoulders, it threw an ugly face to the sky, shrieking like a bird of prey. A rustling, like autumn leaves, sounded from the holes in the towering oak, the darkness inside the warrens undulating and blinking with the movement of hundreds of tiny faces.

Springing on my heels, I headed toward the open doors. Bare boards wobbled and bent underfoot. Expanding, the creature’s wings were the size of dinner plates, mottled with greens and browns that shamed the stained glass. It emitted another cry as I rushed by.

Suddenly my front foot crashed through a section of rotten board, and into the mulchy ground beneath. I toppled forward, my ankle twisting painfully.

Scrambling to my feet, a fire erupted at my shoulder blade, and everything tinted a deep shade of red. Serrated teeth excavated deep into the flesh and blood blossomed, warm and wet, over my shirt. I reached a hand around, pulling the creature away. My skin stretched and tightened before it finally let loose, surprisingly light like a bundle of twigs. Everything flared white, my brain screaming in protest. I launched it back at the altar, where the others crawled and floated, infesting the church like cockroaches.

It hit one corner of the stone and fell from view. The others watched it descend and turned their glowing eyes on me. They were everywhere—climbing the walls, chattering as they navigated the seats of the front row, fluttering in and around the silver blades of moonlight. Timeless and unforgiving, they had resided in this woodland before the church was even conceived, and would still be here long after I died. I knew that I was running out of time.

Outside, a light breeze cooled the wound on my back. I pocketed the flashlight and moved to the rear of my car. Opening the trunk, I lifted her dead weight in both arms, a shoulder blade flaring in protest. She was drowsy, but fluttering eyelids told me that she was close to being awake. The last drink she consumed was orange juice laced with sleeping pills, a prescription of mine to help with depression. She didn’t partake in alcohol, but I certainly did—to gain courage.

“What are you doing…where are we?” she groggily asked as I limped back to the church. “William, answer me.” Her eyes widened, lingering on the shadows. Her body trembled.

We passed the gate into the graveyard.

“I’m so sorry, Susan, but it has to be this way.”

Glassy eyes widened, focusing. She bucked with her lower back, and I almost lost grip but managed to regain my composure. I had removed the belt from her jeans to tie her wrists. As the shadow of the church fell on us, Susan whimpered.

She must have heard them, too.

I’m not a monster, and, of course, I am sorry. I’d trawled through countless pathetic faces on dating websites before I found the ideal candidate. Initially, her doe-eyed stare and talk of romance bored me to tears; but somewhere along the line, it became a real thing. It was like repeating the word love somehow made it tangible. Entering the church with her in my arms like a newly wedded couple crossing the threshold, I honestly felt love for Susan.

The walls within crawled with grey creatures and their cold, pinprick glares. The fairy folk of the High Peak Countryside all gathered for their twenty-year congregation. I dared not allow my eyes to linger at any single point, lest it send me mad. These terrible residents were a million miles away from the famous Cottingley fairies photographed by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths back in 1917.

The newspapers reported how amazing it was when the young girls had captured beautiful winged cryptids on camera. They failed to mention the girls had vanished three days later, never returning from a picnic in the woods. Their parents, one of them a High Peak Ranger, hadn’t reported their disappearance. They had remembered how the remote village of Ashopton had succumbed after missing a sacrifice, and how they had to break the great dam to flood it.

Susan’s eyes widened as they sniffed the air and followed us with intent, their wings making a dry rustle. None of them attacked, but they chitter-chattered to one another in an urgent series of clicks and whistles. They knew what was coming.

“Please, William, don’t do this,” Susan whispered. “You don’t have to do this.”

I blocked out her pleas and gaped at the slab where countless children had lain before. I never forgave my dad for what had happened in 1977, but when I visited his death bed, he told me, “They like the young ones. It is in their nature. Every twenty years they take a little piece of our future so we may keep the rest.”

Avoiding the splintered hole I made, I laid Susan down on the slab, her bottom resting in the deep groove of the font. She sobbed, mascara running in black torrents down her freckled cheeks. One of the fairies flapped over to the pulpit and hung from the lectern like a hungry gargoyle.

“Please, William. I love you. I want to be with you forever. It doesn’t have to be this way…”

I closed my eyes, allowing my thoughts to drift away. Breathed in, breathed out—counted to ten. My stomach felt like it was swinging between my knees.

I reached forward, caressing the round bump of her stomach. It was like a watermelon, except something rippled beneath the surface of her taught skin, a foot or an elbow perhaps.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered, turning away.

Shoulders shaking like a mourner at a funeral, I headed to the exit, my car waiting. They fell upon her in a leathery flap of wings. She screamed, but it eventually tapered away into a low, wet gargle.

I did not dare turn back.

Would you?

The forensic people matched the tread marks to my car and deduced the identities of the bodies from Susan’s dental records. They found traces of blood engrained in the imperfect stone around the font, too. But did they think to search the hollows of that old oak? Did they not look in the nooks and crannies beneath the rotten pews? If they did, then they might have seen little eyes, like balls of blue fire.

I sometimes wonder how many of us there are out there in the big, wide world. Men and women perceived as murderers, when all they are guilty of is saving the world from creatures beyond comprehension. There are things out there in our woods and suburbs that hunt us while we sleep, and it is people like me keeping them from your door.

You don’t believe? Pah. I knew it would be useless. No one has listened for two decades, and the authorities repeatedly refuse my parole.

Well, it’s too late.

It has been twenty years to the day since I made my sacrifice, and I am the last of my kind. Heed my advice. Run. Get as far away from the Peak District as you can. A full moon is heavy in the sky, and the nubs on my left hand are itching like crazy.

About the author:
Gary Buller is an author from Manchester England where he lives with his long suffering partner Lisa, daughter Holly, and dog Chico. He grew up in the Peak District where hauntingly beautiful landscapes inspired him to write. He is a huge fan of all things macabre and loves a tale with a twist. He is an associate member of the Horror Writers Association.

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Rise of the Machines!

Digital Tip Jar

A group of 116 artificial intelligence and robotics specialists, including Tesla’s Elon Musk and Mustafa Suleyman of Google Deepmind, have addressed an open letter to the United Nations, calling for a ban on lethal autonomous weapons. But is this ban too little, too late?

The UN is shortly to begin discussions on the prohibition of autonomous weapons such as drones, tanks and automated machine guns, with 19 countries already in support of an outright ban. While there is support for a ban on lethal autonomous weapons (LAW), they are currently being used. South Korea has sentry guns that are designed to open fire on humans and vehicles.

The letter, published at the opening of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) in Melbourne, reads: “Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare. Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend”.

And that future is the present.

I admire the gesture, the united push for a ban on killer robots, but countries that agree to ban aren’t going to actually honor it. Autonomous weapons and AI is the future of warfare, so any nation not developing in the area will be left behind and at risk to those that do. What we will see is an arms race. Now, this arms race might be behind the facade of an all out ban, but let’s not kid ourselves. Nations will design terminators and T-1000s if they believe their enemy is already doing so.

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South Wants to Secede, Again

The South is still butt hurt over losing the Civil War. It’s been quite a long time since South surrendered, so maybe they forgot they lost. I say this as a southerner, and I say it with love. These idiots that want to secede aren’t my brother and perhaps these white supremacist need a history lesson.

Mr. Deadman talks about the South wanting to secede, the Nazi protest and counter protest clash at Charlottesville, and the return of the bubonic plague.

http://www.spreaker.com/user/8056632/ep-83-charlottesville-clash-south-secede

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Disney sued for spying on your kids!

Mr. Deadman and Marchese joked about Disney spying on kids on the Deadman’s Tome podcast a few months back, and while words were said in jest, a nerve was struck. Mr. Deadman made it clear that he finds the very idea of Disney spying on little Timmy and Sally with out parental consent appalling. 

As a parent, how do you feel about the giant media company gathering data on your kids and then selling that data to advertisers? This data could be anything from name, date of birth, photographs, patterns of interests, and even video! Are you okay with That? 

Imagine strange people watching your children from a remote location as they played at the park. Your children don’t know they’re being studied, and neither do you. Yet, they’re being observed like lab rats. Watched by people with all sorts of motive. God forbid these creepers start getting perverted thoughts when they see your kids in compromising positions.

As you can imagine, parents are pissed. These parents have grounds to file for a class action lawsuit against Disney and they’re bot playing. Disney claims it’ll defend, but this is not the first time they got trouble and lost for violating privacy laws! 

Not fake news, folks. 

https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/9/16115352/disney-sued-spying-children-gaming-apps-disney-princess-palace-pets

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Fuck Amazon – Amazon Approves of Exotic Pedo Filth

Have you ever had your book blocked on Amazon for content guideline violations because it was too offensive? Have you ever read a book from the Kindle library and wondered there’s no way it could get worse than this?

Oh, believe me, it can. It most certainly can.

I present a little show called Fuck Amazon where you and I will dive deep into the depths of the most bizarre filth that Amazon has to offer. Why? Because who doesn’t like to witness a train wreck? Who doesn’t like to see a shit show? And most importantly, who doesn’t like sweet delicious irony? You see, despite what you may think. Amazon actually screens the thousands upon thousands of ebooks that are uploaded on to their platform, and they’re quick to block material they deem offensive. But apparently, Exotic pedo porn is not offensive.

Listen and let’s share this moment together.

https://www.spreaker.com/user/8056632/adopting-rae-exotic-pedo-filth?autoplay=true

 

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HUSH overrated Garbage?

First, if you liked HUSH then that’s fine.

I couldn’t get into the film. I tried. It was hyped as the great horror film. What I say was a freaking fantasy land comedy where a psychotic serial killer is soooo inept that he can’ take out a deaf woman. The victim he stalked is impaired, and he realizes this well-before he breaks into her home for the kill. How did he fail that badly? How did he fuck up such an easy target?

Imagine this Bad Luck Brain of a killer sitting at a poker table with Jason, Michael, and Chucky. He would be the laughing stock. He would be the beer bitch and the ass and mouth for the after party.

I just couldn’t get into it for the premise and unbelievable stupid psychopathic killer.

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Veteran Loves March to the Grave

Back in May, Deadman’s Tome released a war focused horror anthology called Deadman’s Tome March to the Grave. This collection of short stories reflects the absolute horror of life on the frontline much like Metallica’s Disposable Heroes and One. But the horror that a soldier experiences in combat doesn’t go away when they survive long enough to get the ticket home. PTSD is very real. And I was in an odd position of receiving an email from a combat veteran, a marine to be exact.

I did my time as Marine. I’m a veteran that’s served in the Iraq war. I’ve been shot at, and I’ve shot back. I’ve been to close to IED a few times, but I’m alive to talk about while some of my guys aren’t. They died serving. Their deaths haunt me, man. To this day, I cannot shake off the feeling that it should’ve been me. As bad as that is, no of that compares to the time a kid came at me. I’m not a monster. I’m not some hateful monster, but all I saw was a gun aimed at one of my squad mates. In that moment, Jesse, in that moment you don’t have time to wait. You act. You engage. You take action. You can’t even imagine how that has fucked with my head.

I was hesitant to read this [March to the Grave]. Someone shared it to me, and it had that Masters of Puppets style to it, which is nice, but it I thought it would’ve been a bunch of bull. I don’t know if the writers had real experience are knew someone with real military experience, but hot damn was this shit believable. I hope that people read this and become reminded of the horror that soldiers go through. It’s not the glorious thing that a lot of people say it is.

Anyways, I wanted to say thanks and keep it up.

The man requested that his name not be revealed, and I respect that. I asked him to leave a review on Amazon. Hopefully, he’ll come through.

Check out March to the Grave for Kindle 

 

 

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Monsters Exist Review!

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With a healthy four out of five stars, Monsters Exist stands out as a bold and engaging title. Everyone with a Kindle knows that Amazon lets just about anything in, and because of that there is a lot of dumpster stories flooding the Kindle store. Well, Monsters Exist is far from that. But don’t take my word for it, check out this review.
on July 5, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What are we reading?: Deadman’s Tome, Monsters Exist, edited by Mr Deadman and Theresa Braun.

Give me the short version: No, really, it’s all in the title.

If you haven’t checked them out yet, online horror magazine Deadman’s Tome (founded 2008 as Demonic Tome) has been rapidly spreading its tentacles of outré horror. Monsters Exist is a wonderfully neat concept with wide appeal; short stories about monsters; and from a publisher known for edginess this collection is actually very accessible – you can read it over lunch without losing it.

People always want something different from stories and of course we all have our best and brightest cryptid. I’ve got a nose for what bends the brain so I’m calling out my favourites as:

• The traditional brutal simplicity of Christopher Powers’ Bitten.

• Some unexpected silver-tongued social critique in Leo X Robertson’s Kelpies.

• Mr Deadman himself’s Lake Monster, with its quick-step dialogue and the hilariously great characterisation.

• And my top highlight: to join SE Casey in a frictionless slide into the unnerving with Playing Dead is always a treat.

Something which I haven’t seen much of in other anthologies, Monsters Exist popped author bios at the end of each story. This was super convenient and I loved being able to look the author up (and buy more stories) while still in the moment.

My favourite bit: “The kissing tent’s side flaps were rolled up allowing a glimpse of Ms. Pinn, the retired town librarian, making out with a much younger man. Harry’s heart jumped at the sight of her grey hair that had been torn away from its bun, the feral kiss too deep and passionate to be appropriate in any context.” – Playing Dead, SE Casey.

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Eminem Raped by the illuminati

All this talk about the illuminati had me wondering if there is any weight to it. I found footage of Eminem revealing a time where he was given free drugs, a cocktail call hot butter, and then anally finger banged by a horse-faced medusa monster. Is this legit?

According to a cannibalistic German, it probably is.