• Dzama

Maggot’s Church

The church pews were all rotten and sagging, moss had spread, adding green and yellow stubble to everything, and there was swamp water down the aisle reflecting the broken stained glass windows. The altar had been knocked down and a white tree grew out of the floor there, branches reaching insolently upward and sticking out through holes in the ceiling. There was a constant rushing sound of insects and large black birds screamed at each other, a few of them flapping around close to the ceiling. A large, overfed man in a stained suit sat at a wooden desk where some broken pews had been pushed to the side. His face was oily and sweaty and he would scratch the top of his head with the soft end of the quill he was writing with. He sniffed and snorted and scratched at the paper, filling several pages with illegible scribbles. He looked up and stared at Matt, whose body was lying face-down in the water like a fallen groom on his way to a wedding ceremony. Then the fat man hunched over the paper and continued writing. A girl, maybe 20, entered through the broken church doors, an old rifle resting on her arm. “You still here, Maggot? I thought they got you with the helicopter.”

“Darcy?” His hand shook and he spilled the ink, not picking it up. It dripped down across one of the pages and made a small pool on the floor. Darcy noticed Matt’s body in the water. “Oh shit. What you do to Matt?” Darcy demanded, stepping up the aisle, prodding Matt’s body gently with her rifle.

“He was there when I came in,” Maggot said. Darcy lifted her rifle and shot Maggot in the chest, his chair collapsing under him, the round echoing powerfully in the church, birds screaming more violently. He thudded to the floor and rolled, wheezing and chuckling, splattered with the dirty water. “I took extra precautions,” he said. Darcy went to reload but as she fussed with the bullets the birds swooped down and more came in through the holes in the ceiling until she was covered, black wings and sharp beaks everywhere. She flailed violently with the rifle, screaming back at them. They attacked her viscously and soon were covered with her blood. Maggot laughed loudly from his muddy puddle. Darcy managed to point the gun in his direction, the birds tearing at her face and arms, and she fired again, this time blowing a hole clear through his face.

The birds dropped to the floor when Maggot died and Darcy stumbled, coughing, bones exposed in her arms and the side of her face, blood pouring from her like a waterfall, mixing with the dark swamp water at her feet. She made it to Matt and collapsed on top of him, convulsing, clawing at his back as if to hold on. “Matt… Matt…” Her head dropped to rest between his shoulder blades.

The two stayed like that for years, as the church collapsed around them, until finally they were all digested by the swamp.

Copyright © 2008. All Rights Reserved.

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