A crush of bodies surrounded the featureless monument. The enraged dead clambered atop their ghastly kin. Caiaphas tucked his knees to his chest and hugged his legs tightly, staring at the scores of ragged, flailing hands as they scratched for purchase over the edge of the cylinder. Metal thrummed and thunder roared, filling his head. Now there were words within the deafening roar. 'Straaaange, ' they seemed to say. 'Daaaace... ' 'Straaaangerrrr... ' Then a quick, awful chant: 'CAIAPHAS! FOREVER! CAI-' And with a piercing whistle it ended as his eardrums burst.
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Moses threw the spent cigarette butt to the ground. It bounced once then lay still. A lazy wisp of smoke drifted towards the reaching shadows. He pushed himself to his feet and brushed flakes of grit from the seat of his jeans. Stuffing his hands in his pockets, he moved away from the pipe and began to negotiate a route down the alley. A rivulet of cans, wrappers and remnants of kebabs dotted the ground like flotsam; the waste of nights past, discarded by the nameless, faceless masses marking their territories with futile gestures. Oh, sure, the trash was still emptied these days - there were still garbage men around, but it just delayed the inevitable, prolonging the agony of a tired and dying world.
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With the fading of the final notes the saxophone player turns to me. Its baleful, otherworldly gaze bores into my soul. It lowers its instrument to the disc and extends a podgy, grey hand to point at me. It looms closer, its head expanding, arm elongating. A clammy digit brushes the tip of my nose and a tingling numbness spreads over my face like an ice-cold spider web. A voice like the rustle of dried leaves whispers inside my head: 'Forever... ' The last syllable stretches, just like my grandfather's dying breath. And the beady, black orbs are no longer eyes but deep, obsidian pits...
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He stared at the corner of the yellowed ceiling, at the spider web and its solitary occupant. 'Why here?' he asked the spider. 'You could choose anywhere instead of this house. I know I wouldn't be here if I didn't have to be.' The spider said nothing. Come to think of it, Callum was sure the spider hadn't moved even an inch in the last week. Maybe it was dead. Dead and crisp like the untouched wasp carcass on his window sill.
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The first stanza of Eyes In Moonlight Drown, a poem from DeadVerse. With your face framed in a halo of stars, your hair melts into trailing clouds, and your eyes in moonlight drown. A man could lose himself in those freckled irises, reflecting the galaxies above; surely he could fall into their promise of eternity, of Heaven, of love. Your lips glisten, part, and beckon, a smile of warm invitation, a suggestion of sweet intensity, a loss of self in addictive agony. For we translate these aesthetics into something mystical; ideas of fantasy, of fiction, obscuring the clinical truth of chemical reactions, electric sparks, responses as sure as gravity, measurable yet beyond cold, above philosophy and below truth.
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Cosmos drew himself to his full height. His cavernous chest swelled and his wings and various other appendages spread open, encompassing all the land and the rain-filled skies. 'Henceforth, ' he boomed, 'you shall call me your Omniarch, or Creator, or Lord. Maybe God. Lord Omniarch sounds best. But don't call me Jehovah or I'll drop a mountain on your head. I'm not joking.' 'Fair enough, ' said Terry, quickly adding, 'Lord Omniarch, ' when Cosmos growled. 'And you shall spread word of my names - except Jehovah - to everyone! And to the dust shall you shout my names; yea, to the trees, also. And the mountains shall ring with the echo of my names, and the beasts of the ground and of the air and rivers and seas shall hear of me, and, though they will not comprehend, they will yet grovel under my might.' 'Why, ' said Terry, 'if you don't want me to say it, do you keep mentioning the name Jeh-
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A grey-suited figure with badly-scuffed shoes was squatted over a woman's body, obscuring her face and upper torso. A loose, white dress; torn, now mostly red. A pattern of rose petals, drenched in blood. One of her sandals was missing, scarlet streaks and spatters on her jade-green polished toenails and pale, slender ankles. Another step took him around the hunched and twitching figure. It ignored him, intent on its work. Then its victim came fully into view ... and he saw her ruined face.
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