“Witches” – NYC Midnight Short Story Submission 2021

One of my favorite past-times is to participate in flash fiction competitions through NYC Midnight. Each competitor is divided up into individual groups that are then assigned a specific genre, subject and character and then given a limited amount of time and words to create a cohesive short story. They have multiple types of contests, however the format is similar. I find it to be a fun little challenge and it gets my creative juices flowing.

For the first heat of this years competition I was given: genre – ghost story, subject – dancing, and character – an informant. The length was limited to 2,000 words and the time allotted to craft this entry was 3 days. While, I did not place in the top 5 of my group, and advance onto the next stage, I did at least earn a “third honorable mention.” So in my mind I got 8th place out of 28 other competitors. I am curious to know if I could or would have placed higher had I actually included ghosts in my “ghost story.” My interpretation of a “ghost story” is an other-worldly and spooky tale told around a campfire. It did not, for whatever reason, occur to me that the tale should in-fact contain a spiritual entity.

Below is the story I submitted and immediately following are the judges critiques. I feel their critical feedback is sound. However there were two points that I didn’t agree with, but it teaches me that next time I need to not be subtle with certain details, and really hammer the point home.



The word that witches had come to the hamlet of Milium spread through the village like a plague. The women gathered, adorned in their black dresses and white bonnets, in the muddy streets, to gossip about them in hushed tones.

“They only come out at night.”

“I heard they have magical abilities.”

“Not only that, but they eat children.”

“Not just the children.”

“They consume your flesh and soul so that they can wear it as their own.”

“They won’t stop until they get the entire village.”

The husbands weren’t taken as quickly by such prattle. They needed more than just rumors. As they worked in the tan wheat fields, the grain slapping at their waists, they shared their doubts. They chuckled at the absurdity as their scythes cut through the blades.

“But it’s true!”

“Elder Nixolas Venator was out on a hunt and stumbled upon a ritual circle in the woods.”

“There were animal carcasses.”



From the streets and the fields, the townspeople carried their worries through the week to the wooden pews. There they sat anxiously beneath the vaulted ceiling, before the towering pulpit, seething with anxiety.

Reverend Prandem attempted to ignore the shake and shivers of his flock; this is God’s time. It belonged to His worship. Try as he might to ignore them, one by one, they heaved their terror upon their spiritual leader.

“What of witches.”

“Why are they here?”

“They want to take us to hell!”

“Who here is a witch?”

“Show yourselves, you vile women!”

Reverend Prandem’s words cut through the chorus of voices.

“This is hallowed ground,” he leaned over his pulpit, gripping its edge, “In the house of the lord, no daughter of Satan would or could dare walk within.”

A high-pitched giggle punctured his words.

The townspeople got their feet, trembling as they looked for the source of the voice.

“Who was that? Did you hear who?”

“They’re far more powerful than we had thought.”

“We’re doomed!”

A chill ran up the Reverend’s body and clutched his heart. Listening to each line as it was hurled through the air, his thoughts spun into chaos. Sweat beaded on his brow.

“Silence, my brothers and sisters! Jesus Christ has all the power here. No need to fear. Now sit!”

There was a whisper of garments and murmur of creaks from pews as the congregation followed his order.

“I will get to the bottom of this.”

He stared out at the cluster of people.

“Who amongst us has any proof?”

A man and a woman stood, pointing to a frail man with straw hair and deep-set eyes. His gaunt face was etched in panic.

“Brother Venator, speak with me after the sermon.”

The man gulped and then nodded.

Those before him took the holy man’s plan of action and calmed, allowing the spiritual lessons that followed to pierce their hearts and souls. They left evermore glad than when they had arrived.

The two men converged in the quiet of the Reverend’s office, through a side door behind the pulpit. It was empty but for a desk and chair and a towering Bible resting on a pedestal. They stood before them.

“Brother Venator, I am thrusting upon you a holy quest,” the Reverend said.

Venator’s eyes doubled in size.

“You must be my informant. The Lord commands that you go to this font of wicked knowledge and bring back further proof and perhaps identities.”

“Reverend, I do not think that I am up to the task.”

“You must, for our safety. This incessant gossip has gotten out of hand.”

“Do you not believe that there are witches?”

“Did you not hear that unearthly sound during my sermon? Of course, I do.” He took a deep breath. “You witnessed proof of their existence. Go there, hide, and return to me your news. We must put a stop to it. Your testimony will bring the townsfolk resolve, and you will find your riches in heaven.”

The spiritual leader placed his hands on the edge of Venator’s shoulders.

“God will protect you. I give you His blessing.”

Nixolas Venator gathered up his coat, ax, blanket, and rations. His wife pecked him on the cheek and ushered him out into the woods as his heart pounded in his chest and echoed in his ears. Shivering, he forged the path until it ceased to exist and then wound his way through the briar and rock until he found his way to the clearing.

One would have missed it had they not been paying close attention. A ring of jagged stones cut the thicket from the clearing like talons. Dark earth and a smattering of pebbles filled the emptiness up to another circle of granite chunks in the center. Neither blood nor bone could be seen amongst the glade since he had last come upon it. Where it had gone, he did not know.

His eyes pierced through the dying light for any other entities, but he saw none.

Venator knew he had to work with haste as to not to be discovered. With careful haste, he trod lightly around the ritual grounds, as to not leave a print, and found a spot in the brush, just to the east. He made a hunter’s hiding place and waited.

For five nights, he did the same but witnessed nothing. Doubt crept into his thoughts, making him wonder if he had, in fact, seen the blood and bone. Perhaps it was his imagination. Maybe there were no witches after all.

At three in the morning, on the sixth night, Nixolas was awoken by a high-pitched giggle.

The brush about him shuddered as he sat upright. He peered through the leaves, and two rocks, at a fire that had been set in the middle ring.

His limbs went numb.

Six cloaked figures moved about the glade with their cowls over their head. From within the shadow of their hoods, they focused on the burning tips of the dried sprigs they held aloft. They made circular motions with them in the air, leaving behind a trail of serpentine smoke.

When each witch had passed by his view, they stopped and turned toward the fire.

A duo of drums erupted in the silence and beat a measured rhythm.

The figures swayed to it, from side to side, back forth, like a clock pendulum. And after each designated set, the tempo got faster. When it reached a furious throb, the witches kicked out their legs and threw out their hands. The movements were disjointed and unorganized.

The witches danced around the fire. They stabbed and cut through the night air.

The flames growing higher, filling the clearing with light and leaving everything beyond in shadow.

Another set of drummers joined the first two, deepening the rhythm. It was then that the figures shed their cloaks to reveal their naked, milky bodies beneath.

Nixolas instinctively averted his eyes from their sinfulness and blushed. As they were indeed not men. But he knew that he had to get their identities to save the village. He prayed a silent prayer for forgiveness before he turned back to their nude dancing. He squinted against the brightness of the flames as he tried to make out their faces, but the shadows cast by the flames danced across their facial features, changing them. They morphed from one to another. Ever shifting, never staying the same.

Brother Venator found it hard to breathe.

Another set of drums joined the chorus, and the witches started to chant. The words were garbled and guttural. Their voices bellowed from deep within their shapely bodies.

The flames got even taller, pouring out waves of heat over the circle.

The wind picked up, swaying the trees to the meter but not disturbing the growing conflagration.

The witches danced faster. Their movements were quick and sharp.

More drums joined. The percussion’s booms pierced Venator’s chest, taking hold of his heart and bending it to conform.

The chants grew louder until they were shrieking into the night—their words gibberish to the lone man’s ears.

Suddenly a bone-chilling scream silenced the chants and the dancers ceased their number, with their heads bowed. Nixolas convulsed.

The fire stretched up toward the night sky until it birthed from it an unearthly form. It took a step out of the flames with cloven feet. Two horns spiraled from the shaggy mane of hair that threatened to consume his flat face.

As he lifted a long bony arm that came to an end in long black talons, the women fell to the earth before him. They moaned in ecstasy.

His two pure black eyes, dissected with a long, thin, white pupil, surveyed those around him and up into the shadows of where Nixolas hid.

The devil sneered at him with dagger-like fangs.

The wind howled through the trees and extinguished the flames, submerging the clearing in total darkness.

The gusts had pummeled against the church for hours, whistling through the cracks in the structure, as Reverend Prandem worked diligently on this week’s sermon. His quill scratched

feverishly against the parchment, spewing forth his holy words of salvation and the promise of paradise—the time lost into the blackness of the night.

A slow, measured knock pulsed from the door of his study, pulling him from his work.

He set his quill to the desk and rushed to open the door.

In the flickering candlelight, he found Venator’s form in the doorway. His head tilted forward and a broad smile on his lips.

“Come in,” he said, stepping aside, “What news have you?”

The man entered the room.

His voice was calm as he told him the details of what had transpired.

“Who were these women?”

“Get a paper,” Venator said.

The Reverend hustled around his desk, brushed aside his former notes to grab an unblemished piece of paper. He picked up his quill and waited.

“Genevieve Pater.”

The Reverend wrote the name in curling script.

“Charlotte Filius.”

The quill scratched on the paper.

“Seamus Prandem.”

The pastor stopped halfway through writing his own name. He looked up slowly into the face of a goat-man with black eyes. The creature bowed his head and charged.



”Witches” by Joshua Hensley –


{2124} “Witches” brims with visceral description. Lines like “as his heart pounded in his chest and echoed in his ears” and “The witches danced around the fire. They stabbed and cut through the night air” evoke a dark, frantic mood throughout the story. It’s easy to see why the whole village fears the witches, especially Venator. The ending feels fitting and deliciously grim.

{1970} I think that you have delivered everything a spooky tale reader would love. As I read “Witches” I found myself quite satisfied with the period feel and way the characters relate to each other. The pervasive, oppressive nature of old school religious dogma and strict belief is palpable. Thanks for that, it makes for a gripping tale. I feel for Nixolas as he is sent out, reluctant in is task, to find proof that witches are indeed in town. Chilling tale, thanks.

{1772} The story has a frightening premise that turns from a quest of religious fervor to a darker supernatural tale. Venator has a clear goal to shape his characters. Vivid detail and action bring the plot to life.


{2124} It’s clear that the witches in this story are powerful and threaten the community. What’s less clear is why this matters. Should the readers care that this town could be annihilated? Are the identities of the witches important? If not, what core emotion or idea is this story trying to convey beyond a good fright? Is it related to the priest’s perceived security and power? Consider what ideas you want to further explore in this story, how they mesh with the dialogue and description already present, and what details you could weave in to further bring them out.

{1970} I’m not so sure that this story needs work. You’ve checked off so many boxes. It would be nice to know why the couple stood a point specifically to Nixolas, why did they choose him for the task, what proof does he have? This is a bit confusing because the reverend asks who has proof, the couple points to Nixolas, he’s not happy about it, and then he is sent to find proof. He doesn’t have it already. Anyhoo, this said, it’s a chilling story, so thanks again.

{1772} To help the resolution feel fully earned, it might be worth further exploring Prandem and Venator. At what lengths are they willing to go to find the witches? Do they have ulterior motives? By giving them more inner needs or conflicts, it might help to add another layer to their characters and the plot. For example, Prandem might struggle with a personal wish to rid himself of the women in absence of witchcraft.

Better Together

I had never been one to believe in writers’ groups. The couple times I had attempted they were too awkward and uncomfortable for me to do on a regular basis and I always ended up leaving them for one reason or another. Little did I know that it was because of passing on these opportunities that I ultimately floundered.

I completed my first real novel length work of fiction in 2009. Since then I have attempted multiple times to edit the beast, but with no success. I would get to a certain point and stop because I would listen to the inner critic telling myself “this is terrible” and “I’m a horrible writer.” When you’re working on art with an analytical approach the artist gets upset. And when you’re more of a creator than an editor it gets overwhelming.

What I have since discovered is that having someone or a community to bounce your art off of really helps with the process.

I met my buddy Matt through a former friend of ours. This previous friend used to be Matt’s writing partner but for reasons they have since parted ways. Luckily for Matt and I, we have since gotten together to talk about our projects.

Matt’s passion for the written word is contagious. The past few times we’ve met up to discuss the craft I have left our sessions feeling so energized and overwhelmed with confidence. He and I wax poetic about the other’s pieces, but also offer advice and critique when needed. He is stronger in some aspects that I still need a little polish and vice versa. Together we are helping the other through it. Plus having him (other than myself) excited about my ideas is the best high. (I’ve never done a single drug though, for any kind of comparison.)

From these get-togethers I finally understand why so many books on writing recommend participating in a writers’ group. Working alone gets exhausting, and when it’s just you and your own viewpoint on your manuscript it can get incredibly negative very fast. And I should know, it’s been that way every time I’ve worked on my book before.

When one has a supportive place to share his techniques and ideas it really keeps the fire burning. And my fire can only stay burning for so long without adding some potent fuel.

NaNoWriMo – Chapter 3

Mark looked at his phone one more time, just to see if his message had been read. He opened up stream of messages and saw his lone message “wanna breed this hole.” Down at the bottom, above the keyboard, showed the notification that it had been read, yet there was no response. His face flushed red hot as he closed it and chose to open one of the others, reading the same message. Each one showed the same thing. The only one who had responded had declined his offer.

He locked his phone and threw it across the bed.

Fuck these guys, he said, exhaling all the breath out of his nose.

It was just going to be a dull night, once again. All he wanted to do was get fucked. Isn’t that what the app is for, he kept telling himself. Recycling it through his mind until his rage grew in his chest. What was even the point?

He stood up, undressed and crossed the room to his computer. He had just resigned to the fact that he would have to help himself out. No one else was even going to bother. He opened the browser and type in a single w and the bar was filled with his usual go-to, amateur site. There he found messages. His heart gave a leap. As he scanned them, each one telling him how hot his videos were, but all of them were either in another state or a separate country altogether.

He opened up a video he had uploaded a couple weeks ago. He watched himself laying on his bed with his near naked body, lay on all fours, for the stranger to enter the room. His dick stirred to life. There was nothing he loved more than watching himself get used by an anonymous stranger.

A memory sparked at the back of his mind, the video from a week ago. He hadn’t even had the chance to watch it, what with his boyfriend coming home almost immediately after. That had been a close call. He didn’t know what Sergio would have done if he had come in at that exact moment.

The video was hidden deep in a Russian doll of files. At the very bottom he opened up the video and leaned back in the computer chair with a creak.

He watched himself in the usual pose, the orange glow of the street light filling his room more than the light on his nightstand. He got harder.

Somewhere in the distance the microphone picked up the soft click and shut of the door. Just like he got aroused at the anticipation of the stranger then he did again. Then there would footsteps and the slim frame came into view, the frame ending at shoulder length. The man removed only his jacket, and laid a hand onto his plump left cheek. He caressed it, while reaching out to grip the waist band of his jock.

Mark mirrored his moves of the video and wrapped his long fingers around his cock.

The man on the glowing computer screen, got to his knees and pressed his shadowed face in between Mark’s butt cheeks. The silhouette of the man ever-so-slightly rimmed him. Mark went into euphoric recall. He remembered what his wet tongue had felt like as he gently probed in and out of his hole.

The man reached under and up and began to slowly jerk him off.

Video Mark stretched his arms above his bowed head. He heard himself moan on the video and he could feel himself getting closer.

The stranger continued on in the same manner, until Mark’s voice and moans grew in frequency and pitch. He watched his back arching as he pushed himself against the stranger’s face.

Damn I was loving it, Mark thought as his hand picked up speed.

Just as he rose about to cum in person so did his video self. The only difference was he was beginning to glow yellow. His hand slowly came to stop as he watched himself turn into a light bulb, that then froze in time. The light that had shone from his skin leapt into the air forming a billowing cloud above him.

Mark watched with wide eyes as the stranger stood and scooped a handful of the gold into his hand and into his mouth.

Mark’s heart hammered in his rib cage.

The man went to take another swipe at the air, but stopped. He shook his head and returned to what he had been doing before. He resumed his actions and the light was pulled back into Mark’s body like someone releasing a tensed rubberband.

The room went dark and the camera went in and out of focus multiple times before the man finished Mark off, donned his coat, and left without saying a word.

The video stopped.

Mark stared at the still, final image of himself turning off the camera, not knowing what had at all just happened.

His mind whirred to life as he struggled to make sense of it. Who had that man been. His hand went to the mouse and he slid the single dot along the player bar. The stills of the video flashed by in jerky awkward shapes. He stopped right At the moment when the light had left his body. For a split second he saw the man’s profile, but nothing that jogged his memory.

Mark spun around in the chair and grabbed his phone from the edge of the bed. He opened up the hook-up app and began rooting through the messages. The video was two weeks old. He ran through the rolodex of images, and could only think of three men that it could have been.

This was the only time he wished he hadn’t messaged multiple people in one go.

He returned to the computer and watched it one more time, trying to make heads or tails of it as he watched it. He slowed it down, examined every scene pixel by pixel. But nothing he could think of made sense.

Opening a new browser, he typed in the scene that had unfolded and searched for any results but there was nothing. At least nothing that made sense.

Finally he returned to the amateur porn site and created a new file. All he could think of was that there was someone, anyone that could explain what had happened to him.

He titled his newest clip, “WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED?” In the short description he outlined the details to best of his abilities. Once he was satisfied with his explanation he sent it out into the electronic ether. There it would get the attention and answer he long craved.

Mark stood and looked around his room. Whatever had happened he found himself no longer trusting that he was by himself. He could sense that something had been taken from him, but what he wasn’t sure. The anger and frustration pulsed through him as he looked for some way to feel safe. For a brief moment he thought about contacting the police, but he waved it away almost immediately. What were they going to do? He couldn’t even tell them who it had been.

The only thought he could do was bunker himself down. He locked the deadbolt and the slid the chian, checked all of his windows and grabbed a knife from the kitchen. Placing it on the bedside table he grabbed his found and wrapped himself up in his blanket. Once again, he returned to the trail of messages and he went through each and every one of them. One of the men there had to be the stranger.

He knew it was only a matter of time until the video was seen by the world. He would get his answer. It was just the waiting that cloaked him an overwhelming sense of dread.

Did they know I was filming? He thought to himself. And that single thought lit a fuse through his mind sending fearful question after another to his mind. He grabbed the knife at his bedside table and laid under the cloak of the blanket. There was no doubt in his mind he wasn’t going to sleep that night.

In the morning, as the sun was peeking between the high rises of the city, a key worked it’s way through the pins of the lock. The door thudded against the door.

“Mark,” said the voice of his boyfriend, “Open the door.”

Delirious from the lack of sleep Mark sat frozen in fear.

“Mark, open the chain now. I want to know what this video is about.”

Mark through the blanket off of him, set the knife on the beside table, and rushed to the door. His fingers fumbled awkwardly with the chain. He opened the door and hugged his boyfriend, happy he was finally not alone. Sergio, stood rigid for a brief moment before he pulled himself from his embrace and stomped into the apartment, dragging Mark with him.

“What the fuck is this video?”

Mark shook his head.

“Tarryn sent a video to me a guy fucking you.”

“Did you see what else happened?” his voice broke.

“I don’t give a fuck,” Sergio said, “You’ve been cheating on me. I saw the rest of your fucking videos.”

“But did you see what he did!”

“I don’t give a fuck. You’re a slut and I’m getting the fuck out of here.”

Sergio ran through the apartment in flurry, grabbing whatever was around and shoving it into the gym bag he had retrieved from the bedroom closet.

Mark ran to the computer and pulled up the website. Down below the video it showed a total of a million views, over night. The comments below ranged from shock and utter disbelief. Some even claimed that he had better special effects than most big budget movies.

“I can’t believe you did this,” Sergio said from the bathroom. Rattling objects along the glass shelves.

“How did Tarryn find it?” Mark called.

“Check the fucking news.”

Mark instinctively opened another browser and there, for the whole world to see, was a story about his video begging for questions.

Word Count: 5,896/50,000

NaNoWriMo – Chapter 2

“You really don’t have to do this,” Aiden said, as he tried to stand and put his hands on Jon’s shoulders, and held him at bay.

Jon merely smirked and returned the favor.

Just as he thought, it was only a few seconds before Aiden was done. Jon straightened his back and smiled.

Aiden’s cheeks, already flushed, went redder.

“I’m sorry,” Aiden said.

He grabbed his shirt and put it on as Jon stood before him, still nude.

“Why are you apologizing,” Jon said, “That, to me is the highest compliment to my skill and ability.”

Aiden chuckled. “Sure, that’s what it means. Not at all that I am a man-boy.”

Jon waved a hand and batted the harsh words out of the air.

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

Jon put on his boxer-brief underwear.

“Do you want something to eat?”

Aiden paused, his pants at his knees.

“I was thinking about going home. I don’t need anything.”

“Oh,” jon said, “Okay. Well, you’re also welcome to hang here for a little bit. Maybe watch some tv. Wait and see if my audience shows up for the show. If he doesn’t then we cancel.”

Aiden smiled and buttoned his pants.

“Tempting,” he said, “But I think I’m going to split.”

Aiden slid as quick as he could into his shoes. He always hated the awkward banter after the whole thing. It was worse for him because he never knew whether he should stay or go. That’s why he had made his mind up a long time ago, it’s better to just leave. He took what he needed and their transaction was complete. There was no sense in trying to make something out of nothing, and even if it turned into more how would that even work? He was cursed, since birth, before he was even conceived. His family line was blighted since Lucipher’s rebellion.

As Jon, bustled around his tiny kitchen, Aiden was half out the door.

“Later,” he said, flashing a furtive smile.

He shut the door and was halfway down the hall before Jon could reply.

He pulled out his phone and texted his brother Gavin Knuth.

“Where you at ho?” His fingers tapped out. Right as he was about to slip it back into his pocket the alert chime of a single bell sounded.

“Take a wild fuckin guess,” gavin had sent back.

Aiden smiled at the screen and slid the phone back into his pocket and headed down the stairs to the first floor, where he hailed a cab.

Sitting in the back he closed his eyes and breathed. He could feel Jon’s human essence, or what some would say soul, pulsing through his cold veins, sending tiny sparks of electricity through his body. He could feel himself stirring back to life and he loved it. It was irritating and exhilarating all at once. It felt like he wanted to run a mile in under a minute, or punch through a brick wall, but that was just the initial high. He had learned to not act on the instinct to overindulge in unnecessary activity. He’d use it up and have to find another to fill the hunger. While that was fine when he was in his early twenties, pushing thirty-three he wasn’t ready for the endless hunt. Or the fact that while he was some form of the undead, he was dead to most in the gay community.

The yellow cab dropped him off adjacent to the alleyway where Rogue was located. His usual haunt. It was the only place in New York that was made for him and his ilk, the damned.

As he walked inside he found it almost empty, apart from the bar-tender Lag, a sixty-year old ghoul, with long beard and dark skin. He busied himself counting the cash in the til, while behind him, moping over a half-empty pint of lager was Gavin. His unruly mop of hair hung wild around his face, illuminated by his phone.

Aiden slid onto the barstool next to his brother.

“I take it things aren’t going well?” Aiden said.

“Of course not,” Gavin said. He dropped his phone and took a swig of his.

Lag turned and regarded Aiden, who pointed at the pint and held up two fingers. Without a word the bartender brought two glasses filled to the top.

“You know, I’m really tired of this modern age woman who is okay with meeting up with dudes, but then ghosts him.”

“Isn’t that what you want?”

“Fuck, no,”  Gavin slapped a hand onto the bar. “I want to find fucking love.”

“That’s not something awarded to us, Gav.”

“I don’t give a shit. I’m tired of this ‘cursed’ bull shit we’re peddled every day. I don’t believe my life is stuck to this endless parade of women. I want a wife. I want kids. I am so lonely.”

“You get that’s never going to be our life, right?”

“Maybe not for you.”

“Do you really want to further this along? You’d really want to make another incubus or a succubus?”

“We could adopt.”

Aiden rolled his eyes.

“I thought Dya was the girl. We were hitting it off and then,” Gavin cut his hand through the air, “She just disappeared. It’s the same fucking story. Either they come in hot and heavy and freak me out or they get scared and fade into digital obscurity.”

“I’m sorry,” Aiden said. He put an arm around his brother’s shoulder, and rested his head.

“I know what I am, what we get out of life but, I want more. We’re deserving of love, Aid.”

“Ya, but at what cost.”

“Here we go with the fucking common sense.”

“I don’t want to ruin your dream, I think we deserve better and we will, but you have to take into account we don’t get to have love. Never. A long term relationship only ends with the one you love turning into a hollow, soulless shell.”

“That’s only if you fuck.”

“Could you have that kind of relationship?”

Gavin shrugged.

“I get sex isn’t everything, but for us it kind of is. If we want to live at least.”

“Sometimes I think Erik had the right idea.” Gavin put a finger gun to his head and pulled the invisible trigger.

“Don’t say that. Please. You know how much his death almost killed mom.”

“Dad, almost killed mom.”

Aiden frowned and pulled his arm away from his brother.

“Sorry,” Gavin said. “I’m just in a mood. What’d you do tonight?”

Aiden shrugged and shook his head.


The two sat in silence.

Aiden wasn’t ready to tell his brother about his escapades. It nearly killed him when he found out that his little brother was a big ‘ol ‘mo in the first place.

The bar door slammed open and in strolled in Keisha, dressed head to toe in white.

“Whats going on, bitches,” she said, making a direct line to Aiden.

She wrapped him in a warm hug and took the spot next to him at the bar. Gesturing to Lag for drink of her own.

“How’re you this fine evening?” Aiden said, resting his chin on the palm of his hand.

“Tonight was the tits,” she said, “Trish, Angelica, and I all went out to High Bar for a few favors and a dance. It was incredible. The lads were gorgeous and honey I was beating them off. Well, not literally.”

“What mortal can avoid your mystique.”

“No one, my love.” She raised her eyebrows and winked.

The girl looked around Aiden at Gavin.

“Whats wrong with him? Lovesick moping again?”

Aiden nodded.

“Oh, piss off, Gav. Go do something else. Do someone else. You’re tears are wasted. Have some fucking fun, you’re fucking immortal for Christ sake. I mean, oops,” Keisha put a hand over her mouth and smiled mischeviously.

Then the woman pulled up her small bag, dangling on a thin strap, and plopped it down onto the bar with a thud, whereupon she dug through it to find a cigarette. She pulled it out, lit it, got one drag before Lag turned around, grabbed it from her lips and tossed in the trash.

“You’re no fun.”

“I don’t want to lose my license,” Lag said, returning to his business, which had evolved into the scores in the sports section of the times.

“You’re not going to fucking believe who I ran into tonight?” Keisha said.

Aiden raised his eyebrows.

“A mob of fucking angels.”

“No way,” Aiden gasped. “Where?”

“At High Bar!”

“What were they doing there?”

              “Fuck if I know. They showed up and me and the lasses got the fuck out of there. I don’t want to be around those schmarmy douchebags. Grinning with their perfect fucking teeth. Butter wouldn’t melt.”

               Gavin leaned forward to peer around his brother, brushing his hair behind his ear.

              “I heard tales that the angels are gearing up.”

              Both Aiden and Keisha stared back perplexed.

              “For the rapture? Judgment day.”

              Keisha groaned.

              “Please, they’ve been saying that one  since this ridiculous country was founded. Don’t tell me you’re buying into it.”

              Gavin shrugged and sat back to return to mope.

              Aiden stared forward. He had heard from his grandfather once tell them that when the angels arrived to start the rapture it was their time to end. It was foreseen by some ancient angelic deity that the winner of the war of souls would be God, and he would finally bring down his retribution upon Lucipher for bringing about the rebellion. He could still hear his grandfather  groan and say “if he was so powerful in the first place why didn’t he just end him then and there. God is all about the show. The pomp and circumstance. He’s a fraud.”

              He was doubly damned, at least maybe being a sexual soul sucker he could be forgiven by penance or sacrifice. But nothing could ever wash away the sin of choice to choose his life as a gay man, or at least that was what he had been peddled in his youth. There was nothing worse than the shame faith and religion brought to those unlike them. Their message was one about conformity and obedience. The damned were those of freedom and mistakes. Yet they were damned.

              These worries were nothing to concern himself with. Like Keisha had said, it was rumored to happen every decade for as long as time had existed. It was just brought up every millennia to revamp God’s failing hold over human kind, and to bring about the fear in the damned.

              “Where’d you go, love?” Keisha put a hand on Aiden’s shoulder.

              He smiled and shook his head.

              “thinking about cock again?”

              “Jesus, Keisha,” gavin growled.

              “Oh, fuckin come down from your high horse, you dick. You’re a goddamn incubus.”


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