Hours later, after the kids had run themselves ragged, they came in and helped set the table for dinner. They worried that their grandmother might put an end to the stories. She had looked awfully upset earlier. Yet, after their meal, there was no hint of resistance when it was time to resume the tale of terror.
“Well, if you kids want to hear any more tonight, we’d better get started,” Grandpa announced as he settled into his favorite recliner. “Tomorrow is a school day so you’ll need to get to bed early tonight.”
Delighted, they circled around and settled in. Even the ladies were in attendance, though Grandma’s forehead creased with worry as Grandpa picked up right where he’d left off.
“Drums pounded a rhythmic beat as chanting servant girls danced in the flickering light, writhing in time and welcoming the wickedness of the flesh. In a silken ceremonial mask and robes, the lead warlord stepped forward with his book of spells. Hanging from his belt, a curious curved blade shimmered in the torchlight. The blade’s metal seemed to take on a life of its own, swirling with blood-red streaks that would expand and contract as if pushing a life’s blood through the implement and bringing it strength. The warlord freed the knife and held it high in the air as he called upon the spirits to imbibe him with their powers. Until that moment, the sky was dark and silent but in response to his plea, a fork of brilliant silvery-blue lightning split the sky as rolls of thunder shook the ground. Terrified, the helplessly bound traitor cried out, shrieking, pleading for help but none came. In desperation, the bound man searched the deep recesses of his mind, attempting to find a counter-curse for the unspeakable evil that was about to be projected onto his body. The warlord paid no attention to the pitiful whimpers coming from his sacrifice. Instead, he proceeded with his own spell, tossing the necessary accoutrements into the cauldron while speaking the vilest of incantations. Meanwhile, the chanting slave girls grew louder and more aggressive as the drum’s rhythmic pounding intensified. It was then that the razor-sharp, curved blade came down hard, biting into the traitor’s flesh. With the skill of a surgeon the warlord manipulated the blade, twisting and turning to channel enough blood from the victim to pour into the cauldron but not enough to kill the traitor-at least not until the right time. Paper-thin slices of flesh were flayed from the screaming man’s body and cast into the cauldron along with the other horrors. Blood, bat’s wings, foul smelling powders and thick, viscous liquids were poured on top as the servant girls fanned the flames under the pot. In a final rally-cry, the bound man cast out his own curse on the warlords but they were unable to understand his words over the drumming, chanting and screaming. The traitor’s last words had uttered just as the dreaded curved blade severed the man’s heart from its valves. With the twist of the wrist, the bloody organ plopped into the cauldron.”
The children gasped, nervously tittering, their eyes were alight with anticipation. Erica tried not to chuckle at the look of horror plastered on her mother’s face. The old man did his best to avoid her displeased glower as he continued.
“The contents boiled hard and fast with copious billows of thick black smoke roiling out to reach the dark sky. What began as tendrils of black smoke, coiled into claw-like fingers, reaching out and grasping hold of the cauldron. The abomination, a demon from the depths of Hell burst forth from the pot with a fiery blast, spewing the befouled contents onto the ground. Entranced by the effects of his dark magic, the warlord cried aloud with glee, weeping with excitement over his triumph. Yet when the warlord tried to command the beast to his bidding, the demon reviled. It snatched up the warlord in its scaly claws and tore through the silken robes into his tender flesh, shoveling innards into the gaping hole of its maw. Smoldering with the fire of Hell, the abomination’s scales seared and cauterized all that it touched. The weaker warlords attempted to flee in a riot of terrified screams, stampeding over anything in their path but the demon had other plans. A flaming blaze projected from the terrible creature’s mouth, engulfing many of them a column of fire. Moments later, all that remained of those who had been trapped was a brittle mound of charcoal, flaking in the gentle breeze. With each soul it consumed, the demon grew larger and more powerful until it was able to scoop up the remaining slave girls with one grisly hand and soar high into the air with their searing flesh melting through its claw.”
“Oh my heavens!” Grandma exclaimed. “What on earth are you telling our sweet babies, William? This is not an appropriate tale for the children!”
The four grandchildren vehemently disagreed. They were enraptured and wanted more. Sensing that it was pushing her mother to the brink, Erica suggested calling it a night. As she tucked her children into bed, she promised she would have a talk with Grandma, and they’d be permitted to continue Grandpa’s story the next evening.