#221 Awakenings

by Joseph Messina

My older brother’s best friend Jacob says he’s seen a dragon’s skull, blackened by the flames of hellfire, grinning jaws studded with crescent fangs. He says the Elders keep it with other weird things found out at the Quarry—things they don’t want anybody to see—locked up in the Temple basement. My brother Ephraim believes him. He hangs on every word from Jacob’s lips. Me, I think it’s a lot of bunkum.

“The devil sleeps at the bottom of Quarry Lake,” the Elders always say, thick old world accents croaking menace. They make up that shit to scare us and stop us from having any fun. We try to shake off their gloom but it ain’t easy. They hobble about, nursing suspicions, scowling with eyes set deep in stern faces withered by prudery.

A fortnight past, some of the older boys snuck out late on a dare to have a dip in the lake. When they returned, Ephraim and Jacob weren’t with them. Queer thing is nobody saw what happened, but it’s said the two just disappeared into the cold dark waters, vanishing together without a peep. All hell broke loose after that.

The Elders haven’t found any sign of them, and they whisper about it amongst themselves when they think we’re not listening. I overheard my mother say something about Lucifer being awakened by the “Ardor of Innocents” to Jacob’s father, Elder Smiley. He just shook his head in disgust and muttered a word I couldn’t understand.

1 comment:

JRVogt said...

I like the dark fantasy elements of this one.