Demons At The Trough
October 30, 2012
— demons, demons playing poker, disgusting story, halloween demons, halloween short story, halloween special, halloween story, hellish games, short story
By Stephen Cooper
This is the first in a series of Hallowe’en specials here on strange bOUnce. The brief was simple: all stories must begin with the same opening line, and revolve around a poker game played by demons. Writers were encouraged to then let their imagination decide the rest, imprinting their own unique style on their version of this seasonal short story.
They sat around the poker table.
Smoke hung heavy in the air, but it failed to mask the grotesque features of the five demons. They held their cards with gnarled hands, warts and blemishes visible and unashamedly exposed in the light. Two of them held the majority of the chips; the other three were in the last chance saloon. All of them were disfigured with nasty scars, missing teeth, and had stares that would reduce most to quivering wrecks.
This gathering happened once a week, but tonight was special, tonight was the biggest night of the year. Tonight was Hallowe’en.
The game ebbed and flowed, and was now reaching its zenith. All three of the short-stacks had committed their small piles into the middle of the table for this hand, and one of the leading players followed suit to go ‘all in’ himself.
The fattest of them all was last to play. Leering, he shoved his chips forward, then reached into his pocket to produce a small bag.
“I raise you two eyeballs,” he said, with a triumphant gleam of his own.
The others gasped in admiration as the two small orbs rolled into the mountain of chips and wobbled to a standstill. A couple of the demons wiped saliva from their watering mouths as they sat transfixed on their favourite delicacy. Eyeballs were what every demon craved; they searched far and wide for opportunities to gouge them out of victims, both alive and dead.
The short-stacked demons cowered, unable to match the bet, but the aggressor’s direct opponent, tall and thin to the point of being his complete antithesis, seemed willing. He slipped his bony hand into a pocket and felt around for something, all the while staring at the two eyeballs on the table. One of them was looking at him. They were both brown; not his favourites, but still enough to temp him.
His hand emerged to lob two of his own supply onto the green felt. Before they could settle he reached for two more.
“I’ll see your two… and I’ll raise you another two.”
Three of this batch were brown — common as muck — but one was green. Everyone was unable to move or speak, such was the unusual and rare occasion when a green eyeball was sourced. They were by far the most valuable and tastiest.
Now it was the fat demon’s turn to respond, but he had no green eyes left. He’d eaten them all; he found them irresistible. He fumbled in his pockets then held his bag upside down to empty four more eyeballs: three brown, one blue.
‘I haven’t any greens left, but this one’s blue, nearly green.’
He blinked back.
There was a pause as the opponent weighed up the deal. Then: “OK. Let’s see them.”
One by one the hands were laid face up on the table. Ten eyeballs sat eerily watching the drama unfold, impassive and unblinking.
Two of the short-stacks had nothing more than King-high. Another had a pair of eights. They were all gone then when the tall, bullying demon revealed a King high flush on Hearts and reached as if to claim his spoils.
His grin was swiftly wiped from his face though, when the fat demon laid down his winning four nines, immediately snatching up the green eyeball and biting into it. The others could hear squelching as he chewed hungrily, and juice ran down his chin. He savoured the taste of the blood vessels and swallowed everything except the tough lens, which he spat out.
“A perfect evening I think you’ll all agree,” he gloated to his colleagues around the table. It was hard to tell if the others were grinning or grimacing. The victor went on: “Since it is our night, I think it only proper I share my spoils with you.”
He picked up the remaining balls and passed one each to each demon, returning the rest back to his pocket. He kept out the blue one to nibble away at, as the rest of the five demons gorged themselves on their treats, each one of them eating slowly and taking their time to enjoy their delicious morsels.
When they had finished, the chief demon, the tall, thin one who had finished runner-up, attracted their attention. “Tonight we go hunting for some more of these. I want at least ten green eyeballs before tomorrow for the feast. Let’s visit a few morgues and maybe we can hit lucky!’
The others were in rapid agreement, especially the fat demon, the winner of the cards who was the most enthusiastic.
“Yes, I love the green ones.”
He let rip with a large belch and wiped his mouth with his sleeve.
They descended down through the lower dimension and onto earth, and mingled with the unsuspecting humans, oblivious to the fact that their ‘Hallowe’en disguises’ were in fact their real entities.
Four of the five couldn’t wait around for long, and headed to the local morgue. They donned their cloaks of invisibility and set about opening drawers.
With a quick flick of their spoons, they collected all the green eyes they could find on the cadavers, ignoring the others who had the ordinary brown or grey ones. It was going to be some feast later.
They didn’t worry about the thefts being discovered, as all the bodies were buried or identified with their eyelids closed, and the stupid humans wouldn’t notice. The only downside to these eyeballs was they were a bit tough, due to the effects of death.
The fattest demon was a greedy one. He decided against the dead; he wanted to find himself some fresh samples. Swooping down on the hospital, he visited a ward he knew from before, but had kept a secret from the others. Ten minutes later he’d had taken fresh eyeballs from five different patients, all in comas and unable to cry out, or be noticed by visiting relatives.
He returned back to their own dimension and presented his haul to the others, who were waiting for him, sitting in a circle with bags at their feet upturned, and a heap of eyes looking up at all of them from various angles.
“FANTASTIC!” they exclaimed, spittle flying from their gobs. “Fresh meat.”
“Two each for everyone, but we’ll keep them for our main course, eh?”
They all agreed, and organised themselves into a work group. One trimmed the veins and sinewy attachments off the eyes, the next one washed them in hot water, the next one dipped them in vinegar, the next one pushed a skewer through each one, and the last one added a little salt and pepper.
They were all set.
They left their stations and sat down at the dining table. A large jug was sat before each demon. It was full of a mixture of human blood, excrement and urine, stirred with a discarded collar bone which was left over from the previous month’s collection of bodies they had eaten, served in stew made from the organs and meaty flesh of six unfortunate humans. These individuals had been acquired by the circle for no other reason than it was September and the demons were feeling peckish.
They slurped their putrid concoction and began on their starters, which was toenails and fingernails, salted and roasted in the oven, with sliced skin from the feet of farmers wrapped around them, like a spring roll.
All throughout, the demons grunted and farted and burped, like pigs at the trough, greedily devouring their fare. They didn’t stop to wipe the blood and salty waste from themselves, it dripped onto their rotten clothes, adding to the stench and the disgusting spectacle.
They were enjoying themselves tremendously.
When they had finished, they waited until the empty buckets were fetched. Once everyone was ready, they all threw up their starters into each pail, and with a swift movement, whipped out their spoons and began eating it again. The grunts grew in intensity and the moans of pleasure soared and reverberated throughout the room and off the domed ceiling.
They finished with a flourish, looking expectantly at the skewered eyeballs, all green as well. Before the main course though, as was tradition, each demon had to pick out someone from the lower dimension on earth and take him for the circle. They peered down onto the human plane to find some easy pickings.
The first demon picked a paper boy doing his rounds, and got him attacked by a dog, mysteriously let loose from his very secure chain. He was torn to shreds to the amusement of the wicked demons.
The second picked on a large man operating a saw in a paper mill, and sent him through a large circular rotating serrated blade until he was left in strips. The head was left intact, as he had green eyes, which was pointed out by one of the demonic circle. He would be visited by one of them later for collection.
The third picked a politician, who had lied and stolen billions from his people in some country where the selling of drugs had made him a fortune, but he wouldn’t be enjoying any of that, instead an instant snap off the fingers and he dropped to the floor, stone dead in his parliament, mid-speech.
The fourth picked a beautiful famous singer who enraged his jealous streak. He planted depression and negativity into her subconscious and watched her take her own life, with a sickening feeling of elation and sexual arousal.
The last decided to finish with a climax and randomly chose a flight over the Atlantic, and with a click of his fingers, ignited the aviation fuel and watched with the others as it blazed into a fireball, leaving no trace of man nor plane.
After they had ceased laughing and rubbing themselves, they started their Halloween yearly ritual.
Each demon reached over to their right and began to pleasure the demon next to them. The wails were ear-piercing and their collective orgasm rocked the building. The earth suffered typhoons, hurricanes and earthquakes to devastating effect.
The demons gobbled up the semen from their hands and licked their buckets clean of any stray shots. Then they sat back and waited for the main course.
It duly arrived and there was an eerie silence as tentative bites developed naturally into the moist consumption of the eyeballs, and the demons defecated and urinated as they sat with wanton abandon and with no reaction to the increasing stench that would leave mere mortals with watering eyes.
Puddles had formed at their feet, but they ignored them and continued stuffing themselves with two or three eyeballs at a time, cheeks bulging and faces reddening.
The fat demon had already finished, but he was still hungry. He snatched an eyeball off the plate of the tall demon beside him and quickly gobbled it into his mouth.
The others were outraged. He saw the dark looks and immediately regretted his transgression. “I can’t help it,” he stammered, with a mouthful of goo. “I can’t resist the green ones, I told you!”
The other four jumped on him, holding him down for the aggrieved demon who had lost the eyeball off his plate to scoop out his transgressor’s own eyeballs with his trusty, rusty spoon. Then they all took turns stripping parts of his body for eating.
At the conclusion of the butchery, they swept up the entrails, along with the blood and offal into their buckets, to have for dessert. They lay back in their seats, full and content, and licking their lips with satisfaction.
Each was watching the other, and soon the urge was too much to resist. They degenerated into a mass ball of torn skin, dripping blood and foaming mouths, hungry for more flesh and putrid organs. They had all naturally gone for the eyeballs first, but the frenzied fighting continued thereafter, biting blindly like rabid dogs.
They thrashed out wildly at everything and anything until after they had eaten most of each other’s body parts, they collapsed on the floor. All that was left was a seething quivering mess, twitching and convulsing with the insatiable urge for more blood.
Even if it was only until next year.
His contributions here are verging on regular, but you can read more of Stephen’s work at Reflective darkness, according to Stephen Cooper.