And The Word Became Flesh | C.R. Gardner

Careful what you find in the old pages of basement books.


And The Word Became Flesh

C.R. Gardner

The Horrors & Heidegger Award


 

‘How come we get the spooky basement?’ complained Stacey, glancing into the cobwebs and shadows only kept at bay by a single bulb illuminating the workbench in a small circle of yellow light.

‘Oh shut it, Stacey,’ said Carrie.

‘Because we’re mature enough not to be creeped out by “horror-movie-set” basements,’ muttered Aaron, taping up a second box of books.

‘Maybe Stacey’s not mature enough,’ laughed Carrie.

‘Leave her alone, guys’ said Joey, dumping another armful of old dusty books on the table. ‘Where’s Brian? He should be here with us.’

‘Err, you’re as bad as Stacey,’ said Carrie, disappearing behind a bookshelf. ‘Stop whinging. The sooner…Oh my God!’

‘Carrie!’

‘What?’

‘Oh!’

They stared at a pair of black boots sticking out from beneath a pile of twisted metal and concrete rubble.

‘I’ll get Speatzle,’ said Carrie, heading for the stairs. ‘Don’t touch anything.’

‘Shut and lock,’ whispered a scratchy breath of air. The basement door shut with a bang and what sounded like a thousand bolts sliding home and locks clicking shut.

‘What just happened?’

‘Um, guys!’ yelped Stacey, backing away from their disturbing find.

They turned around to see the boots moving and twisting, the rubble shaking and trembling; chunks of concrete and twisted metal floated into the air above them and zoomed off at speed, smashing into the basement walls.

As the dust cleared they saw Brian standing there wearing a maniacal grin and clutching an open book filled with nothing but blank pages.

‘Jeez man. Stop fooling around!’ said Aaron.

‘That’s not Brian,’ whimpered Stacey.

‘Very perceptive, Stacey,’ he laughed. ‘It’s his body, but you’re correct, I’m not Brian.’

They backed away as he limped towards them, staring at the black bugs crawling and flowing across his body in an ancient script. ‘In the beginning,’ he whispered, ‘Was the Word…’

‘You’re quoting the Bible?’

‘The Word existed long before that book of lies was written!’ he said, his inflection laced with menacing musical qualities so unlike Brian’s usual twang, eyes glittering with black fury. ‘I, The Word, created the world and everything in it! You miserable creatures act as though you were the shaper and master of language, but I will always be your Master! Always!’

‘What have you done with Brian?’ said Stacey.

‘He opened my book, read my words, I took on his flesh.’

‘Is he still alive?’

‘Of course not!’

‘How come you were in a book?’

‘So many questions, Stacey. Man has always been afraid of The Word, and when he learned to write he discovered how to siphon my power into this book, trapping me within its pages! Yet even imprisoned, I remained your Master, my power reaching beyond this prison and shaping your kind.’

He threw the book into the air, ‘Burn,’ he said, laughing as the book exploded in a flash of fire. ‘Now, this body is weak and I am desirous of a new one; I think you will do nicely,’ he said, encircling Stacey’s wrist with long fingers. ‘In the beginning was The Word, and The Word became flesh.’

And the word became flesh, Stacey’s flesh. Her scream was cut short and when she looked at her companions they knew they were going to die.

‘Stacey!’

‘Jealous Carrie? Burning with jealousy? Then burn,’ she said, laughing as Carrie became a pillar of fire.

‘Stacey!’

‘She deserved it, Aaron! She’s always been hateful, just as you have. Die,’ she said, smiling as Aaron dropped to the floor stone dead.

‘You, I’ll keep,’ said Stacey, taking Joey’s trembling hand, and smiling. ‘You will be forever mine.’