Half-Blind Phoenix

In the tall grasses white shrouds wrapped the corpses. The winding sheets were stained with expanding drops of blood. There were about ten of them on the median beside the highway. A tiny naked devil hopped around with his little pitchfork, poking them. He discovered one that twitched when he poked it. It curled like an insect trying to get out of a cocoon. He pulled back the lace veil and saw a pale girl’s face, eyes closed.

There was the beating of a propeller and the devil gestured to a large transport chopper hovering overhead. The beating became more deafening and a hook was lowered down. The devil caught some of the shroud in the hook and gestured to the helicopter. It raised the body, which continued squirming on the hook. The devil leapt up onto the body and rode it into the sky above the freeway. Motorists stared and skidded, smashing into each other at the sight. The devil watched the pileup below and cackled.

Soon they were high above the plains, the squared-off fields below looking distant and fake. The girl’s eyes opened and she squirmed more violently. She arched her back and twisted, biting the devil’s arm. She gyrated and tore him off her back until he hung from her mouth as she bit deeply into his arm. He screamed and flailed, trying to stab her with his pitchfork. Finally he caught one of her eyes and it burned with the touch of the pitchfork’s point. She bit all the way through then, severing his hand from his forearm, his body plummeting down and spinning, green devil blood spraying into the rushing air as he fell.

The hand in her mouth still clutched at the air and she maneuvered it around, using the sharp grabbing claws to tear open her shroud. Soon one of her arms was free and she grabbed onto the hook. She released the hand from her mouth and it sailed downwards, clutching at the air as it fell. She spit out the devil blood and grinned with huge, pointed teeth, her good eye sparkling. She wrestled out of the rest of the shroud, her pale body adorned with a lace and satin funeral dress. She pulled herself up the cable hand over hand, the hook swinging below.

Soon she pulled herself up in through the opening on the side of the helicopter. The men in the cockpit yapped away, eating fast food and blaring their music. Then one of them held up his hand. “Wait,” he said. “Did you feel that?” The other one bit a French fry, a burger in his other hand. He turned and saw the girl in the back. She was pulling up the cable. Dropping his food, he got out of his seat and went for her but was caught through the cheek with the hook and thrown overboard. Then the girl climbed into his empty seat and the pilot did a double-take. “Hey,” she said.

The man stared dumbly, his hands operating the controls on autopilot. “Where do you want your ashes to be spread?” the girl asked. “Wha-ah–?” he stammered.

“No, really,” the girl said. “Pick out a place.” She gestured to the cornfields below. The pilot reached over and grabbed her and they struggled, the chopper spinning out of control. As they wrestled the copter shot downwards, spinning around and around. When it hit the ground there was a huge explosion.

Out of the fire the girl walked, her clothes having been burned off her. She grinned, showing her sharp teeth. Her good eye glowed. She stared out across the landscape. “I’m coming for you,” she said and she strutted through the grasses, flames rising up behind her.

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