Jenks and I stood there like statues watching him twitch, his eyes rolling up in his head. He clutched at his clothes pulling the wooden pole they hung from down on top of him. Slowly his right hand came scrambling out away from his body to clutch at my left leg. Without thinking I shoved my crucifix at him and he pulled his hand back with a hiss, shielding his face again. As quickly as I could, I dug my tubes of Holy Water out of my coat pocket and emptied them on his head. He shrieked again and clawed at his face. Jenks followed suit, pouring his two vials on Skorzeny's body and legs. Skorzeny started to foam and bubble before our eyes.I was paralyzed. I couldn't quite believe what was happening. Those books hadn't described any of this. I was feeling dizzy and sick. The shrieks turned to groans and a gurgling deep in his throat. He pulled his hands away from his face and it looked like the disintegrating Portrait of Dorian Gray. I looked over to Jenks who had an odd expression on his face.I looked over to Jenks who had on odd expression on his face. He motioned to me and reached for my left hand which, I noticed, was still clutching the airline hag with the stake and hammer in it. I dropped it and he grabbed it off the floor, moving over to the smoking form still squirming in the closet which smelled even more foul than before and oozing a greenish yellow pus from the crumpled clothing on his scarecrow frame.Jenks looked back at me and handed me the stake and hammer. 'Go ahead. This was your idea. Finish it.' I declined, turning away.Jenks spun me around violently and thrust the stake into my left hand. He pushed me toward what was left of Skorzeny and forced me to my knees. He forced my hand toward Skorzeny, positioning the stake over the man's chest. Then he stuck the hammer in my right hand.'Do it, you gutless sonofabitch. Finish it... now!' And he stepped away.I looked at him and back at Skorzeny. Then I gave one vicious swing and hit the stake dead center. The thing made a gurgling grunt, like a pig snuffling for food and started to regurgitate a blackish fluid from its mouth. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and hit the stake three more times. Then I fell back and threw up.When I looked back, Skorzeny's hands, or what was left of them, clutched at the stake trying to pull it out. Suddenly, he emitted a kind of moaning, sucking sound, gagged and more bile-colored liquid flecked with black and red came coiling up in a viscous rope like some evil worm from his mouth. And he stopped moving, his hands still clutching the stake.Then a sort of gaseous mist started to rise from his body and it was so much worse than the original smell that I pushed Jenks aside and ran from the house. I ran all the way to a patrol car where I slumped against the left front wheel as Jenks slowly strolled toward me. He walked past me, ignoring me and opened his trunk, taking out a couple of small gas cans and headed back to the house. I wasn't paying much attention until he left the house again and I saw it was aflame.
Jeff Rice
On the conversion of the European tribes to Christianity the ancient pagan worship was by no means incontinently abandoned. So wholesale had been the conversion of many peoples, whose chiefs or rulers had accepted the new faith on their behalf in a summary manner, that it would be absurd to suppose that any, general acquiescence in the new gospel immediately took place. Indeed, the old beliefs lurked in many neighbourhoods and even a renaissance of some of them occurred in more than one area. Little by little, however, the Church succeeded in rooting out the public worship of the old pagan deities, but it found it quite impossible to effect an entire reversion of pagan ways and in the end compromised by exalting the ancient deities to the position of saints in its calendar, either officially, or by usage. In the popular mind, however, these remained as the fairies of woodland and stream, whose worship in a broken-down form still flourished at wayside wells and forest shrines. The Matres, or Mother gods, particularly those of Celtic France and Ireland, the former of which had come to be Romanized, became the bonnes dames of folklore, while the dusii and pilosi, or hairy house-sprites, were so commonly paid tribute that the Church introduced a special question concerning them into its catechism of persons suspected of pagan practice. Nevertheless, the Roman Church, at a somewhat later era, reversed its older and more catholic policy and sternly set its face against the cultus of paganism in Europe, stigmatizing the several kinds of spirits and derelict gods who were the objects of its worship as demons and devils, whom mankind must eschew with the most pious care if it were to avoid damnation.
Lewis Spence
Young man, he went on, raising his head again, in your face I seem to read some trouble of mind. When you came in I read it and that was why I addressed you at once. For in unfolding to you the story of my life, I do not wish to make myself a laughing-stock before these idle listeners, who indeed know all about it already, but I am looking for a man of feeling and education. Know then that my wife was educated in a high-class school for the daughters of noblemen and on leaving, she danced the shawl dance before the governor and other personages for which she was presented with a gold medal and a certificate of merit. The medal … well, the medal of course was sold—long ago, hm … but the certificate of merit is in her trunk still and not long ago she showed it to our landlady. And although she is most continually on bad terms with the landlady, yet she wanted to tell some one or other of her past honours and of the happy days that are gone. I don’t condemn her for it. I don’t blame her, for the one thing left her is recollection of the past and all the rest is dust and ashes. Yes, yes, she is a lady of spirit, proud and determined. She scrubs the floors herself and has nothing but black bread to eat, but won’t allow herself to be treated with disrespect. That’s why she would not overlook Mr. Lebeziatnikov’s rudeness to her and so when he gave her a beating for it, she took to her bed more from the hurt to her feelings than from the blows. She was a widow when I married her, with three children, one smaller than the other. She married her first husband, an infantry officer, for love and ran away with him from her father’s house. She was exceedingly fond of her husband; but he gave way to cards, got into trouble and with that he died. He used to beat her at the end: and although she paid him back, of which I have authentic documentary evidence, to this day she speaks of him with tears and she throws him up at me; and I am glad, I am glad that, though only in imagination, she should think of herself as having once been happy.… And she was left at his death with three children in a wild and remote district where I happened to be at the time; and she was left in such hopeless poverty that, although I have seen many ups and downs of all sorts, I don’t feel equal to describing it even. Her relations had all thrown her off. And she was proud, too, excessively proud.… And then, honoured sir and then, I, being at the time a widower, with a daughter of fourteen left me by my first wife, offered her my hand, for I could not bear the sight of such suffering. You can judge the extremity of her calamities, that she, a woman of education and culture and distinguished family, should have consented to be my wife. But she did! Weeping and sobbing and wringing her hands, she married me! For she had nowhere to turn! Do you understand, sir, do you understand what it means when you have absolutely nowhere to turn? No, that you don’t understand yet…
Fyodor Dostoyevsky