Father Casey clutched his Bible and peered through the hole in the stained glass window and looked out onto the street. Past the shrubbery, the flowers, and the statue of Saint Michael, the red and black clouds swirling through the sky grew thicker and the jagged lightning struck the ground with increased frequency.
In the intersection on which Saint Michael’s Church sat, a winged beast crouched over a clump of bodies. Its fur was thick and matted with dried blood. Its teeth chomped through bone with a sickening crunch. For hours they had watched the beast fly through the air and drop bodies to add to the pile. Now it was rewarding itself.
“You’re the holy man, do something about this!”
Father Casey whipped around. “Maybe if you had gone to church more often than just Christmas and Easter, Mr. Holicek, we wouldn’t be in this predicament.”
Holicek cowered from Father Casey’s booming voice, the same booming voice that told parishioners every Sunday about the importance of maintaining a relationship with the Maker. Apparently his message didn’t get through.
“This is happening all over the world,” a girl said. She held a smart phone in her hand and flicked at the screen with a finger.
“Please put that away,” Father Casey said. “I don’t like them turned on in the church. Not on Sundays, not now.” He turned back toward the street. A second creature had appeared near the intersection.
This creature’s fat jiggled when it walked and the endless number of boils marring its red skin looked ready to burst at any moment. Its long tail thrashed about, tearing up the asphalt as it walked.
“We’re all going to die,” someone shouted.
The creature stopped and turned its ugly head towards the church. It sniffed the air for a moment before continuing to walk towards the intersection.
“It’s not interested in us as long as we stay in here,” Father Casey said. “We need to stay indoors and – “
“We have to get out of here!” someone else shouted.
“We’re going to starve,” someone added. “We only have little bread cakes and wine.”
“Little bread cakes and…” Father Casey exhaled. “This is literally hell on earth and we’re in a church. You mean to tell me that not one of you is praying?”
Father Casey turned back to the window. The red skinned creature lumbered towards the winged beast and the pile of bodies. The winged beast stopped chewing on what remained of a human thigh and snarled at the intruder. Blood dripped from its snout as it let out a shrieking cry to scare off the red skinned creature.
With a tail thrashing about with even greater force than before, the red skinned creature lunged after the winged beast. The wild tail caught the winged beast in the leg. Black blood spurted from the wound and the beast howled in pain. It swiped at the fat blob with its talons but after a few moments the beast flapped its wings and took to the sky, leaving its meal in the intersection.
The red skinned blob dropped to its knees in front of the pile of bodies and violently jerked its head to the side. Its jaw loosened and became unhinged. It proceeded to shovel everything in the pile into its mouth at three times the speed the winged beast had.
“What’s going on out there?” someone asked.
Father Casey blessed himself with the sign of the cross. “Nothing. Please keep praying.”
When the last of the remains in the street had vanished, the monster leaned forward further and lapped up the pools of blood that had collected in the street. The slurping continued for several hours until the street looked cleaner than it had in years.
The monster stood and stretched and let out a mighty belch. Its saggy stomach, full of new contents, hung lower than before. The skin stretched so taut that its veins were visible.
The creature stood in the middle of the street and looked around. A second later, it howled like a hungry dog. Its kept howling as its searching turned up no new meals. Until, it locked eyes with Father Casey.
Father Casey ducked below the window and clutched the cross hanging from his neck and held the Bible close to his heart. “Shit.”
“What is – “
“Shh,” he told the congregation and motioned for them to get down. He let a few minutes pass until he summoned the courage to take another look.
To his disdain, the creature was slowly advancing towards the church. Its tail alternated left and right, its forked end slapping the concrete made a sound like the crack of a baseball bat.
Father Casey closed his eyes and sped through prayer after praying asking his Maker to strike down the monster. The sound was getting closer. Someone in the church let out a muffled cry. The creature was right outside the window, right on the sidewalk.
A flash of bright light and a terrible crackle shattered what was left of the stained glass window. The sky rumbled with a violent force that shook the very foundation of the church. The sound of the monster slapping its tail against the ground had stopped. Father Casey exhaled. His prayers had been answered.
He peered through the window. Smoke rose from a charred spot in the middle of the street where the lightning had struck, but below the window, among the shrubbery and flowers, the monster stood in front of the statue of Saint Michael. It sniffed at the statue with its pig nose and ran its tongue along the angel’s neck.
“No, not Saint Michael!” Father Casey yelled. The priest leapt to his feet and ran for the door. He ignored the calls from his parishioners pleading with him to stay inside.
At the entrance, he grabbed the tall, iron candlestick holder and ran outside. The demon spotted him immediately and abandoned the stone statue for a flesh and blood meal. Its short legs propelled the top heavy body towards Father Casey as fast as they could.
Father Casey’s knuckles were white from the grip he had on the Bible and on the candlestick holder. He held the latter out, hoping, somehow, that the monster would impale itself on it. The candle had already fallen out and hit the ground, its flame extinguished.
He held the candlestick steady, but the force with which the monster’s tail smashed into it was enough to knock it loose from his hand. The monster barreled into the priest and landed on top of him.
Father Casey grunted as the wind forcefully exited his lungs from the impact. The monster’s sweaty and stinky body wriggled on top of him, trying to bring its unhinged jaw close enough to devour his face. The monster’s hot breath fogged his glasses and saliva dripped onto his skin.
Inches from his face, the monster’s rough tongue licked the tip of Father Casey’s nose. He felt around the ground with his right hand, hoping and praying he would find it and then his fingers brushed its leathery cover.
He grabbed the Bible and forced it into the monster’s maw. It coughed and sputtered and tried to force the blessed object down its throat. Father Casey slipped out from under the monster and rolled away from it. He was covered with sweat and saliva as he picked up the iron candlestick.
The parishioners watched from the doorway and the windows as the man who blessed the sick and helped the needy in the neighborhood beat a demon in the head with a candlestick until it stopped moving.
Father Casey dropped the candlestick and stepped over the creature. At entrance to the church, he paused against the doorframe to catch his breath.
“Father,” a man said, “What do we do now? Do we wait for help?”
Father Casey wiped a glob of saliva off his face with the back of his hand. “Help isn’t coming. There are others out there who need us. We must go to them.”
This is a post based on horror prompt #9 for the “1,000 prompts, 1,000 Dollars” writing contest.
Image by By: Peter Brown