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Old 10-23-2012, 03:39 AM   #1
Erebus Dirge
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Default BD 2012 Fall Write-Off - Story 5...

The Patter of Tiny Feet

South Africa 1778 -1 year before Cape Frontier Wars began....

Pieter Bryun minister and missionary of The Dutch Reformist Church was deep in prayer , kneeling on the pieces of a broken clay water-jug. He did this to achieve spiritual clarity. While mediating, in his mind’s eye he could see parts of his soul leak out from the bleeding wounds on his knees and drift up wards like white smoke towards heaven, touching God. He had almost slipped the shackles of the flesh, when it would sudden stop. Then mind , body and soul would be painfully reunited, and he would slowly stand up, dressing the wounds on his knees.

All the time repeating over and over inside his head was his own litany - I am not worthy yet, I have not proven myself, this foul flesh still holds me.

It was a private ritual , for him and him alone. One which his superiors within the church would not understand. For Pieter Bryun had always sensed he was different . He had placed upon this earth for a purpose, that God had a sacred destiny for him. When his work was complete he would surely ascend just as Jesus Christ our Lord and saviour had. He was a martyr looking desperately for a cause to die for.

Like all men of faith. He had come here to this strange savage land to shine the light of God into dark hearts and minds.
These creatures could not be saved that much was apparent to him. God had planned every man, woman and child’s fate, he had already chosen those who would be taken into his grace.

Only the righteous were truly his children. Some were damned from the day they were born no matter how much they prayed and repented ,heaven would forever be denied of them.

After all ,these could be barely called men. However, maybe even a trained ape was of some use , perhaps as a source of some amusement for God.

He had just finished dressing his wounds when Arnushi his personal manservant burst into his tent.His dark face soaked with panic-sweat , his luminous eyes a-bug with fear. Bryun thought the creature looked comical, but he was too irated by it’s rudeness and sudden intrusion, to be amused. He decided he would enjoy tying Arnushi to a tree and giving him the lash latter as means of punishment. “ What is the meaning this ? You soil my sanctum with your very presence, slave.”

A battle of two camps of fear then fought for supremacy across the surface of Arnushi’s face - Fear of upsetting his master and fear of the other who had brought him here. “ Forgive me Master, but it is the people from Xanbusa - the village. They have been attacked by the T’...” he Arnusi stopped himself from saying it’s name his panic growing as he looked feverishly around him.

“ Attacked by what?” demanded Bryun. “ I can not speak it’s name , in case it hears and comes for me.” Arnushi whimpered. Blasted ignorant savages and their ridiculous superstition, when will they learn there is only one true God? – thought Bryun. “ I command you to speak it’s name slave! Or I will lash you so hard there will only be bone left upon your back.”

Bryun watched with some amusement as the slave bounced form one foot to the other deliberating what to do next . It only took a few seconds for him to realise that his Master’s wrath was far greater immediate threat than some imaginary devil.

“ It’s The Tokoloshe ! It came for the people of Xanbusa in the middle of the night it raped the women, killed the children and eat the men’s feet.” Bryun then could no longer contain his mirth and burst out laughing “ Stupid savage ! There is no demon of which you speak, just some superstition used by another tribe to terrorise the villagers because they have found the one true God.”

It was true the people of Xanbusa had given themselves over to God quite willingly. Without much resistance they had discarded their former heathen ways. He had made them take their beds off the bricks that suspended them two feet from the floor and had given them a crucifix each made from woven grass. Now some group of heathen savages had attacked his adopted flock, panicking them, driving back to their old ways through fear. Only he and God had the right to use that fear to control these cattle.

“ The people of Xanbusa , they burn their crosses Master. They say that the White God can’t save them from the Tokoloshe....”

“ They dare to reject God? Then I shall go there and show them myself that there is nothing to fear. And bring them back into the fold.”
The journey was two and a half days away through open dessert. He and Arnushi rode on horseback through driving rain and howling wind that seemed to come from nowhere. This country was unpredictable and wild, but with a firm hand and enough faith Bryun was certain that even the weather could be brought under control.

They had made it to Xanbusa , when they got there it had resorted to the same sorry primitive state that Bryun had first found it in all those years ago when he first arrived in this country on his mission.

The first thing he had noticed was that all the beds had been erected upon bricks once again, there was no mud effigies of Christ or indeed any crucifixes in sight. It had only took one night of terror to destroy these peoples fragile faith in God. He would have to rebuild it again from the ruins.

The Village elder - Kwanele came to him on a pair of make shift crutches. Both feet wrapped in bloody bandages . His old dark face wrinkled and slack with pain , his eyes glowed feverishly, branded by the horror that he had witnessed . He said in his tribal dialect “ Our faith in the White God brought the Tokoloshe , they came in the night , and did this...”

He pulled free the wrapping on one of his feet to reveal all the toes and lower half of his foot was gone, leaving torn ragged flesh and small twists of bone behind.

“They’re small, about the size of a new born child. But they walk around like a man. They take the men’s feet first so that we can’t defend our women and children. Then they kill and take our children for food and rape our women – the women always die giving birth to their children.
If we try and kill the Tokoloshe child before it’s born then they will come back and eats us all.”

Bryun then told him that he would show the villagers that God had not forsaken them. But their lack of faith had brought the Tokoloshe. He told Kwanele that he would sleep out in the open on the floor, his faith alone in God would drive back any evil spirits that would do the village harm.

It was the way you had to reach savages, talk to them in terms that they would understand. Show them that your magic or medicine was stronger than theirs - thought Bryun.

Bryun was confident that he was in no real danger. The marauders had come to the village and had got what they had already came for , to violate some women and mutilate villagers in their sleep.
Their lusts would be satisfied for now. Come the morning he would awake ,the village would be safe and their faith would be restored in God once again . Besides ,if they did return,their crude weapons would be no match for the firearms which he and Arnushi had brought with them.

Bryun got a simple bedding matt and unrolled it , then surrounded it with the same kind of woven grass crucifixes that he had once given the villagers. He then got two fully loaded flintlocks and crossed them over his chest as he lay down under the blanket, a musket also beside him hidden out of sight.
Arnusi had been instructed to do the same but sleep in one of the bed’s on bricks. All the attention would have be on Bryun. He was their messiah and medicine man, one way or another he would drive back the evil that attempted to destroy his flock.

Bryun laid back and waited... Soon waves of sleep washed over him and he found himself was adrift in a sea of dreams. He dreamed of a profoundly deep and fathomless darkness, within that darkness he thought he could hear a sound over and over - it was The Patter of Tiny Feet. He opened his eyes still half asleep, he thought –Maybe I’m still dreaming. It’s a Nightmare . But the screams from his slave Arnusi told him otherwise, they were all too real.”Master! Master! Please God! HELP ME!” he cried pitifully.

There was at least twenty of them, their skin gray and dry as parchment , covered in straggly tufts of hair. Their teeth - tiny, sharp and curved like chicken’s claws . They climbed on top of each others shoulders creating a ladder of flesh, scaling up the bed on bricks. There was one on each of Arnusi’s feet, their jaws dislocating like that of a snake as they chewed their way upwards. Their teeth raking the flesh of his shins, gouging bloody furrows. Arnusi was so paralysed by fear that he had completely forgot about his weapons.

Bryun got to his knees and came up shooting with a flintlock in each hand , the shots hitting their mark, but no blood came from those things only clouds of dust, their wounds healing almost as soon as they were made. As they turned their attention towards him. Bryun could see that even though they were small in stature, their manhood was huge,even bigger than a full grown man’s.

It was almost the size of their entire bodies, nearly a foot long. An obscene thing, thick and bulging with dark root-like veins.
It stood out and tasted the air, twitching and erect .

Exhausting the flintlocks, Bryun picked up the musket and went for head shots as they approached, stopping them in their tracks for only a heartbeat ,before a new head forged it’s self from the shattered neck stump.

They could not be harmed with earthy weapons, so he tossed the useless musket a side . Closing his eyes he began to pray ,shouting the words at the top of his lungs. His faith would become his true sword and shield. Even over the sound of his prayers he could hear their approaching foot falls hit the dirt, they gradually slowed the more he prayed ,until they finally drew to a halt.

Pieter Bryun stopped praying and opened his eyes.

The Tokoloshe all stood just a few inches from him in a rough-semi circle, still as statues. I did it! My faith was true, this is what God had chosen me for , to beat these devils! – thought Bryun.

But he soon realised that he had not frozen them with his faith. They stood silenty studying him with their dark hollow eyes. An expression carved upon their crude unfinished faces, curiosity and what else?... amusement ?
Yes amusement.

Then one of them spoke in a African dialect that Bryun could’nt identiy another voice was laid over the top of it,speaking a few steps behind in translation, he soon realised that the voice was indeed his own. It said – “ You come here to our land, enslave our people, take away their gods and replace them with your own. We were created to drive out the invaders and to turn our people back to the old ways through fear. For without fear there can never be faith....”

Bryun felt his bladder betray him, it’s contents trickled down his leg. God did not and never would reside in this forsaken land , he had been a fool to think otherwise.

The Tokoloshe leader spoke again “The women are for breeding , sometimes we use the men for fun. But, I’ve never had a White Man before. ...”

They surrounded him then. Pinning him down and covering his mouth muffling his screams and prayers.
Two of the Tokoloshe wrapped their mouths around each of his feet and began chewing, while the others took their turns entering him.
Using natural openings as well as making new ones with their teeth.

Soon after, the toll of the pain ,shock and blood loss took Bryun and the world began to fade to black... With his last breath ,he asked a deaf, dumb and blind God - Is this martyrdom?

*Author’s note –
The Tokoloshe still remains an object of fear and superstition in South Africa even to this day. Aside from the “raising the bed on bricks” method ,there is a whole industry of Tokoloshe repellents and charms to keep it at bay. Even in the most urban or “civilized” of areas ,this belief and practice still persists. Sometimes even if a woman falls pregnant unexpectedly the Tokoloshe is blamed for it , as a result the offspring is thought to be evil or at least mischievous. Such is the fear or faith of those who believe in it.
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Last edited by Erebus Dirge; 10-29-2012 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:36 PM   #2
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Readability: Is it easy to read, does it sound like good grammar or how someone would actually speak? Did you have to go back and reread or stop to figure out what was going on? (Spelling and grammar count, but to say it hurts the story isn't always true.) It's up to you how readable it was.

Concept: Is it fresh or familiar. Is it a good take or rendition on the idea. Was it a great presentation, or too familiar? Character developement fits here too (tho yeah, seems odd due to the heading of "concept") But how well presented are the characters? Are they fleshed out, do we understand or sympathize with them?

Atmosphere: Dread, horror, creepiness, ambiance, mood, immersion etc. How well does the story draw you in? Do you feel the danger, the distress of the world? Are you glad you're not in their shoes? Do you feel for the characters, the world, and/or the situation. If this were a movie, how happy were you watching it unfold? Does the atmosphere suck you in, or like a bad movie, are you checking your watch to see how much is left?
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:56 PM   #3
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Good solid take on the Dark continent theme. Your description of the little monsters were great, i really got good visual in my head of what they looked like. There regenerative ability was cool, and i found it interesting that this was based on actual legend.However, i found the main character extremely unlikeable and was glad he died, though i felt for the slave character, so i wonder if maybe he should have been given a bigger role to make the impact of his death more...impactfull. Also from the very moment he went outside and was going to prove those villagers that it was nothing but legend ya knew he was going to die. I know you cant really get around that, but that mixed with the fact that the character was unlikeable made the ending not particularly...However solid descriptions of the monster made up for that fact a bit.

Readability: 3
Concept: 3.5
Atmosphere: 3
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Old 10-28-2012, 11:20 PM   #4
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A good Dark Continent story that sort of hearkens back to the old pulp-era adventure tales, before the writer makes it his/her own thing by the end. The Tokoloshe were awesome- devious little devils born from the thighs of some older god, more jealous and sinister than the fable with which we are familiar. l love stories where evil prevails, not just over good, but over "righteousness", and Brother Bryun was sure as Hell feeding the flames at the end of this one.

Readability- 3 - The story flowed well, minus a few punctuation errors.

Concept- 4 - Demon-babies with boners, eating peoples' feet off...Who could ask for anything more? But seriously, this story has a lot more going on than just monsters attacking. l loved having a glimpse into one of the last untrampled regions on Earth, just as the invading white man's god begins to encroach on much older, more fervent beliefs.

Atmosphere- 3 - l thought more could have been done to convey the bleak remoteness and the otherworldy strangeness of the African wilds, but overall there were certain parts that, descriptively, felt pretty genuine.
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Old 10-29-2012, 02:30 PM   #5
Erebus Dirge
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Readability- On the whole not bad , a couple of school boy errors with punctuation here and there. - 2.5

Concept - The Tokoloshe where obviously the star of the show, it's almost that you root for them to kill/rape Bryun. Even better that it was based on an indigenous legend. Nice footnote too - 3.5

Atomsphere - You kind of seen the end was coming but then you where drawn to see just how bad that dutch dick-head would get it. Which I suppose was the whole point. Set up a bit like a Joke with a punchline. -3

Overall - Fairly entertaining and not overly ambitious , the monsters here are kind of almost the heroes ( even if they are a bit rapey) and the so called hero is the real monster. Also an overall statement about religon ,that there is a thin line between faith in God and fear of God.

- 3.0
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Old 10-29-2012, 06:57 PM   #6
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Readability: Some punctuation errors, but they barely hurt it's readability. Pretty engaging otherwise 3.0

Concept: A nice use of early fire and brimstone type missionaries and a very authentic feeling depiction of a dark tribal religious belief. 3.5

Atmosphere: Very well done, felt very pulp-ish. Most enjoyable. 3.5

Overall: 3.33
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:13 AM   #7
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Readability- It went quickly for me, and the characters were so fleshed out, but never at the cost of bogging down the pace.-4.0

Concept- I love learning about the mythology and lore of other countries, and I hadn't heard of this one before. A wonderful narrative to introduce them.-4.5

Atmosphere-I love stories set in this time period and the landscape comes alive through its people! The cruel missionary recieves an enjoyable comeupance.-4.5

Overall-4.33
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:32 AM   #8
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The Patter of Tiny Feet by Erebus Dirge
R: 3.10 C: 3.80 A: 3.40 Total: 3.43
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