Sympathy for the devil

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Sympathy for the devil

By

Azuka Odiah

 

The sun hung in the horizon of a blue sky, but with the brisk winds came the stench of rotting flesh. Decaying leaves rustled in the distance as a figure stepped into a deserted yard, an aluminum gate creaking closed behind him. His steps were deliberate, as he unstrapped his AR-15 from his shoulder, tucking it, in his underarm. He waited for the gate to shut completely before starting down the walkway. The coast was clear so far.

Good.

The neighborhood was lined with large maple trees, crisp winds tugged gently as the leaves fell into built-up piles. The man was careful as he shuffled through, ignoring the ashes and rubble that lay in what had once been the house next door. It had been overtaken by nature, waist-high flourishing grass overgrowth. Where a cape cod home once stood, a grotesque form had now emerged. Charred rafters poked angrily from the rubble, discolored wooden walls were bared as what was left of the roof caved into mounds of decomposing trash.

He strode further with his head on a swivel, walking passed a second house when someone emerged from behind a building. Her gait was slow and unsteady, and in the light, he noticed her face. A large chunk of her cheek and lower lip dangled, revealing a dark-green mass of desiccated muscles and a thinning set of teeth. Loosely hung on her frame were a worn-out lumber-jacket and tattered jeans, sparse brown hair crowned her head. With unsteady arid-looking eyes, and a face resembling agony itself, she let out a moan, something between a choke and a cry.

A gunshot rang out. Boom! A bullet tore through what was left of her brain. The woman fell to the ground. He paused for a moment. Anticipating more, but none came. He continued along the walkway. Clearly unfazed.

He approached a large rundown store. Inside he found half-stocked shelves, he carefully surveyed the canned aisles, carefully picking out any edibles, he held a little orange handbasket. Water? Was there any water? The shelves were mostly empty, he went all the way down the aisle and turned a corner to face a woman and girl.

Their eyes met. He dropped the basket suddenly.

The young girl noticed the deep circles around the man’s dark eyes, she saw as he mechanically aimed the muzzle of his hunting rifle and in one swift motion, the insides of her mother’s head were splayed all over. She ran, she caught a glimpse of the headless body twitching in a puddle of blood, and the dark-eyed man slinging the gun back over his shoulder. She cried. He ignored the girl and went on to pick the headless body up, hanging it over his shoulder as he turned to leave.

Back at the driveway, he pressed the clicker now. The aluminum gate creaked open, he walked in and waited until it had shut completely. In the bathroom, he placed the body in a bathtub. He changed into a plastic overcoat and rubber gloves, opening the cabinet to produce a large kitchen knife and cleaver. Kneeling beside the tub, carefully, he sliced up the body. Within a few minutes, the leg finally came off, he slung it over his shoulder and went into the adjourning bedroom.

Inside the room, there was a king-sized bed where a woman was chained down, firmly. She turned her head to look at him as he walked into the room, she hissed and jerked. Her face had patches of pockmarks that bore deep into her skin, and her teeth were exposed. There was a chair just beside the bed. He walked to the bed and set the severed leg beside her feet, as he worked his knife through it, making sure to scrape the meat off the bones.

Slowly, he began to feed the pieces to his wife.

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