Madame Victoria

With carefully manicured nails, long red gloves slid up her arms. The leather soft and pliable after so many years. The red was vibrant and electric, like a stoplight that you barely run even though you knew it wasn’t going to be yellow anymore. Specially designed fingertips allowed her fingers to slide through and show the delightful palette of color that was her fingernails and not show the rest of her fingers or hand, or anything until just below the bend in her elbow. Black boots that came just past her knees and stopped just as her delightful thighs began were already laced up in their convoluted artistry, each lace a magical dance over the others and all of them perfectly arrayed to show the best of the boots and, more importantly, the legs that wore them.

The clock over the door made that annoying twang that told her it was ten minutes after seven. If nothing, it was an accurate thing for at least that. Boots and gloves on, overcoat covering anything and everything in between, it was time for the show to begin.

—–

The audience was, as always, full to the rafters. They even sold tickets for places to stand and even though people bitched about how much it was, no one ever refused a ticket if there was a chance to buy one. If you had never been or were a celebrity that came nearly daily, you never resisted the urge to get the ticket, sit down and enjoy the most spectacular sight in the entirety of Montreal.

The lights dimmed and brightened several times to indicate that the show was about to begin. Everyone with a seat took it, went to their assigned standing spot or, for the lucky few who snuck in, sat high in the rafters above the lights and the sound technicians to see the greatest thing that the world had ever seen.

—–

Standing behind the curtain was torture, she hated hiding from people before the show, then again, it always was such an explosive event when it all happened the way that they had planned it year after year.

She heard the pop of the mic being turned on and she got her face ready.

She loved this part as much as she hated the waiting.

—–

“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage one the most fantastic beings your eyes will ever see and the most wonderful woman your hearts can imagine.”

The curtain exploded upward in a puff of purple smoke and there she stood, on stage, at last, every eye of the three thousand souls in the building glued to her. She was the Flame and they were the petit papillon de Nuit to her raging inferno. She waited the three seconds and heard the announcer come back on with a shout, lust and wonder in his voice as he finished the best line in the history of show business anywhere in the world.

“Madame Victoria, the forgotten Faerie Goddess.”

The crowd was so loud it was a white noise that soothed everything Victoria rolled her shoulders a single time and the overcoat fell from her like a shimmering waterfall. Her hair was a deep purple, her skin the most cocoa of browns, at least for the moment. Her eyes were iridescent in the theater lights and, of course, the great double wings that sprouted from her back were the color of old blood left too long in a puddle. She winked at the crowd and walked forward to allow them to feed just as she did.

Showtime.

The Prophet Comes On Blinded Screams

Esteban was covered in sweat from his chin to the soles of his feet. On top of that sweat with a fine layer of black dust. If you blinked it got in his eyes, if you’ve been to his elbows it came off of him in cloudlike puffs. It was worth it though, every mess was worth it. Every sore muscle was worth it. There was nothing he wouldn’t do over and over again to repeat what he just did.
Christ the Redeemer as it was, was gone.
In its place, the statue of the Prophet now stood. The alabaster white replaced by obsidian black. Outstretched arms welcoming those to both city and faith were now multi-jointed arms but ended and sharp piercing claws. The white cloak of peace and love replaced by black sackcloth darker than night and yet it still managed to shine in the dark. The face, over the face, was the beauty that everybody needed to behold to see the Wonder, the beauty of the vision that Esteban had created.
Instead of the very generic, Caucasian based, welcoming face of the son of a false god, they’re now with the brilliant and beautiful face of the Prophet as he was truly revealed to those who worshipped and loved him is Esteban did.
 A gaping maw where a mouth should be. Thousands of intricately carved individual teeth lined the mouth. Dozens of eyes, where no eyes on a face should ever be. Scaled, yet furry skin covered the face. The neck seeming to come alive with the amalgamation of all, and yet nothing was identical on the statue at all.
The back of the statue might be the worst part of all to those who would reject the Prophet, in hundred foot long sheets of perfect green and yellow glass, a dozen sets of wings erupted. Hundreds of spikes protruded from the back, tens of thousands of sculpted bodies pierced by each spike hung down, the suffering on their faces carved with the exquisite detail of a Michelangelo or a Rodin.
The perfect effigy of Esteban’s god. A sign of the times that were to come. The usher of the new world. He that sat and made the choice, and that choice was yes.
All would see what was to come now.
—-
He loved to walk around at night. To feel the city come alive, to feel the music, to hear the desperation and the love, the hatred and the violence, every emotion swirling in a circle constantly, like the toilet this city actually was.
Despite the heat, he was dressed in a full cassock, blacker than black, tied with an ordinary twine rope about the waist. He wore no shoes, had a great hood covering his head. He shuffled when he walked, and all the progress he made was slow but deliberate. He never broke his pace, not once.
He didn’t speak, but people who saw him tended to give money by throwing it at his feet. He would nod to them, and go on his way, never taking the money. Men would follow him, and collect the money that he would refuse. They never left his side, they simply collected the money and followed.
Tonight he was making a pilgrimage to a church. He wanted to see the inside and to see the priests eyes and to see men of God. When people saw where he was going to, they thought it only natural that a monk, for that’s what they thought he was, would go to a house of God for the evening to find someplace to rest within the good graces and charity of the church.
Before he walked in, he finally stopped, turned around and held up both of his hands. As if by magic, those who were following him with the money that was his understood that he wanted them to wait there, and they stood, still as statues and would until he returned.
Everything fell apart when he walked in the door.
The cassock fell from him like a shedded skin, slimy and wriggling down his body, leaving trails of viscera and blood as it came down.
What stood there now also stood on the top of the mountain where Christ the Redeemer once stood, no one screamed at his visit. No one thought it out of the ordinary that this, thing, had walked into a church. The priest walked towards him with a smile, nearly beatific in a way and the face of our once hooded man, broken into what could be described as a smile, or a sinister scowl, depending on where you looked.
He reached out with spindly hands, spider-like with claws at the end. He touched the priest upon the shoulder, of the eyes with the priest grew wide, and he was Reborn to the Prophet.
Turning on a foot, he walked out of the church, the priest following him, his collar still stiff, white with his badge of office. The men who had been standing waiting for him came alive when they saw his true form, their faces looking in holy reverence at their new God.
 They couldn’t have been ten steps away from the church when it started.
The priest saw a young man who couldn’t have been more than twenty years old, he saw this man as he had never seen any living thing before. A glowing vessel. Filled with a red and black light. He walked forward, and simply touched the man on the shoulder.
By the time they got to the road that led up to the Redeemer, there were thousands of them. Red eyes, walking in perfect formation. All of them marching behind he that went first.
 He looked upon the statue that was of him and screamed. His voice a piercing sound. Like a hundred thousand alarm clocks going off at the same moment, men screaming in pain and billions of swarming insects. Each person behind him exploded in a boiling eruption of blood, viscera, bone, and skin. His wings spread wide, and he took flight, landing on top of his statue.
He saw Esteban there. He smiled sweetly at the man who he knew had done his good work, each eye focused on the man. Every tooth gleaming in perfect, razor-sharp lines, and in a moment, all was known to Esteban.
He knew now that his work had just begun.