The Good Works of Aloysius Woodward
by T.A. Saunders
My laughter is the sound of a mind fragmenting with terror as I look upon the incomprehensible thing writhing in the dark. There is little comfort in knowing that it has arrived at my beckoning as I watch the multitude of long spidery appendages reach out for my sacrifice. Miss Eva Thompson truly did deserve to die, but I wonder as I watch it draw her screaming body into itself, envelop her and silence her ear-splitting shrieks of fear, if I have perhaps gone too far. It is ridiculous that I should have such doubt, given all that has come to pass. Yet, I am compelled to reflect upon it as I silently observe the great gaping maw, filled with millions of needle-like teeth grind away at the unrecognizable meat and bone of the woman that humiliated me with laughter and mockery for asking her to coffee. Alas, even a thing called up from primordial darkness cannot digest hair. Miss Thompson did so have a lovely flaxen mane.
I feel I am justified, even if such an end is horrified and grotesque. Were people a bit kinder to their fellows and most of all me, I might not have had to call upon black craft and science to avenge myself of wrongdoings. Before this, I was a mild man, a quiet man and a man content to read good books, tutor those in need of learning and pleased to live out of the way of those who would frown upon me and my intellectual pursuits. No. I am not brutal. People are brutal. People who cannot help but to take those more anxious and fearful than themselves and find ways with words to break them or by closed fist demean them. The awful thing before me is a justice born of the very deeds that I have suffered and it is a means of cleansing them from the world.
“Mister Woodward,” my next victim called out, “There is really no need for such theatrics. I understand now that you are quite serious. If you let me go, I will most certainly revise the grade on your dissertation on Magic and its Relation to Space-Time!”
Professor Eldridge the fat, pompous goat. I regret that I ran out of duct tape because I used too much to bind that brute, Matt Brosman. Now, because his mouth is free the good professor obviously feels this is an invitation to simper like a mewling kitten about his fate. Most unfortunate.
“I believe your words were: ‘This insane, unsubstantiated tripe has no business being in print anymore than you deserve a degree from our fine university for writing it.’ The only grade I require is the ‘A’ for the effort to drag your corpulent mass of arrogance here for proof of my discoveries.” I replied while hooking the rusty, but serviceable chain to his back. I had to use an abandoned pig farm for my purposes. It was the only location I could find that was both reasonably close to the university and remote enough that nobody would hear the sounds of death that were sure to grace the evening. It also had a manure pit that could serve as a means to safely contain the creature for my purposes.
“You cannot possibly expect you’ll not be found out, Aloysius Woodward!” The portly educator howls at me, “The police will discover this place and lock you away! See reason before it’s too late.”
“Reason, yes.” I reply with clear derision as I haul his weighty form over the maw of teeth, long, insectoid appendages and black, shapeless mass. “I saw reason when I placed before you a notebook full of calculations that proved the symmetry of what we understand as magic and real-world mathematics that allow for barriers of Space-Time to be breached. Now, I see you feeding the findings of my science. Good evening, Professor Eldridge. I pray you are not difficult to digest.”
The garbled symphony of the professor being broken apart in the saw-toothed confines of the indescribable thing’s maw combined with the putrid churning of its digestive juices both sickened me and enthralled me.
In what world would such a creature exist? What evolution would require a thing to be nothing more than an a voracious eater of flesh? It seemed to almost have a dog’s intelligence; it knew when a meal was coming and it understood that that clank of chains meant that the meal was close. When it salivated, a yellowish substance seeped from the corners of its mouth and its pincered, wiry appendages clacked eagerly to express its desire for food. While my ability to call forth such a horror through the marriage of ancient magic and bleeding edge technology was a most profound discovery, I am quite sure that I would never want to visit the place that my monstrous avenger comes from.
“And now for you, Mister Brosman,” I said with a most pleased tone. Matt Brosman and I went to high school together, where he delighted tormenting me with daily humiliations in front of classmates that were paired with daily beatings. He always smiled with this savage, unchecked malice when he brought his meaty fist against my body. We also had the misfortune of attending the same university, though his presence was by the blessing of a football scholarship, whereas mine was through hard work and academic excellence.
Mister Brosman had little to say, on the account of having his mouth duct taped shut. When the drugs I used to knock him out wore off, he had far too many threats to offer to my liking, so I mummified his mouth much like the rest of him. He is a rather strong fellow and I couldn’t take any chances for his escape. His was the most deserving punishment of the three and the most difficult to arrange. Imagine my joy when I discovered he was involved with Miss Thompson? It made capturing both of them so much simpler.
“I want you to remember every day that you decided to treat me like common filth, Mister Brosman,” I implore my former tormentor. “I want you to remember every bruise and every moment of laughter you had at my expense. They are your eulogy, Matt Brosman.”
He mumbled something, I know not what. Given his crude vocabulary I couldn’t expect it was much to hear anyway. As before the chain was hooked to him at his belt loop and with a bit of effort, I pull him into place. The nightmare fiend was eager and seemed to grow more hungry the more I fed it, said the excess of yellowish saliva and the loud click-clack of outstretched, pincered limbs.
While the temptation was there to draw out the bully’s death, I thought better of it and simply let go of the slack and allowed Mister Brosman to plummet into the creature’s waiting jaws. Sadly, he didn’t scream as he died. He growled at me like some rabid thing and kept his hateful blue eyed gaze upon me, even as flesh turned to liquid and bone came undone. Alas, the willful bastard has robbed me of the savoring of his death. At least I have the joy of its finality.
I turn to replace my equipment back in its cases and replace my journals in my briefcase. My work is done for the evening and while I cannot consider myself a dietary expert on inter-dimensional fiends, I must conclude that the glistening black horror in the manure pit behind me has taken in enough food to survive till the morrow, where I will have more of my tormentors to feed to it.
As I move to depart, I feel a snag at my pant leg. Thinking it nothing more than a metal latch that I’ve caught upon I turn to remove it, only to find the creature has extended one of its limbs over the edge of the old manure pit. Before I can simply tear it free, the clever horror locks its pincer wholly around my ankle and hauls me up into the air. I should be horrified beyond reason, but I find that I am left in wonder of the spectacle of its open mouth. The rows of teeth are endless and it has a star-like configuration of barbed tongues that I had not seen before.
My good works of science and vengeance it seems, are at an end.