Story and illustration by Chrissy Jones
I am relaxing on my porch on a sunny day. A man, wearing only too-small briefs, rides down a crowded sidewalk on his lowrider bike. I wonder who that asshole is. It is the DJ. We are both unemployed. I consider asking him to come in but he goes off about a club, with a stack of flyers in his hand. Promises of cocaine and sex.
In order for me to fulfill my destiny as a being of the eighth order, I need this invite. My concerned God sent me to bear witness to the cult. The DJ’s club serves as cult headquarters. There have been rumors amongst the clouds of a live ritual sacrifice there. My team and I only know that the cult targets underage girls who love house music. We think it has something to do with the devil’s paperwork.
I will type a seven hundred page report, fax it to a number listed on the back of my identification card, and let my peers review the findings. I am an angel of light.
On the walk to the club I think about my things, big pieces flesh and fat, black swamp mud, cables. When I get there, a few people say hi to me but most look glum and undeserving. Familiar faces that I don’t know or like, except one girl who is wearing the golden asp pendant of my dreams. I saw her outside getting her heel stuck in a sewer grate.
The DJ is playing my favorite song, My Love is Alive. I wish I could sing this to A Man I Love.
But tonight I am on patrol. A fashionable scorn on my face, eyes darting around seeing if anyone will try to heckle me.
The DJ comes over and asks to buy me a Cranberry Vodka. I almost lose my composure. He is screwing with my mind. He rebuffs, asks if I want a G and T. I say yes. Looking at the Hello Kitty sticker peeling off the back of my phone, he asks if I bought it used. I say no. I grab my phone. He tells me he has nothing but contempt for everyone dancing. He asks me if I know anyone. Lying, I say no. He says he will introduce me to… but his voice trails off. The DJ touches my leg and talks about cocaine again. I don’t want him to want to have sex with me anymore.
At the bar, I find a plastic egg rolling towards me. I open it up to find a ewe’s eye and glitter with mucous. I smell it. It smells like earth. I like it even though I know the virgins were alive when their scalps were peeled, the inner membrane of their crowns shaved off, then stuffed into this party favor. This is code to begin the party. I can’t let anyone know this disgusts me, or that they disgust me, or that I feel much of anything they can capitalize on. I hide my reaction.
No one is looking at me. I am an angel of light.
When I woke up this morning, around the time of crickets and birds, I took a pin to the flesh above my heart. I wrote the word time and my name in blood inside of a circle on a white silk scarf. I tied it up and buried it in my backyard as the sun came up.
I have this need for purity. I have never asked to be loved by anyone. The only thing I believe in is time. Time has been proven to be a crappy thing. It does not exist.
The next song that comes on at the party is about a woman who makes good sounds while she orgasms as sung by a woman who makes good sounds while she pretends to orgasm. The DJ smiles as he thinks about his recent international press. He touches my leg again and tells me I look orgasmic, too. He asks if he can buy coke from me. Hard to believe an empty vessel can think he is admired by the public. I have had enough. I feel vomit gurgling purple glitter in my belly. I look him straight in the eye.
“Hey bitch,” I say, distracted by the scales draped around his neck, “I am an angel of light. I have come to ruin the party,”
I can see a golden man kneeling by the side of the DJ booth. (Evil thing, I thought I lost him. I saw him once when I was eleven, beside my bed. He offered to show my pure soul what pleasure is. Pleasure closes the gates of heaven. I turned him down. God has rewarded me with work assignments.) The thing has his headphones on and prays to me in my mind. It hurts to be there. It hurts so bad it’s like a vice on my organs. I cannot move. I am scared to the core. I weep. The thing looks at me with the face of a vulture and xlr cables dangling like tentacles, stiff body and eyes big. Its mouth moves fast with vampire teeth but it doesn’t make a sound. It smells like myrrh and it breaks me down and takes shadows out of the back of my mind. I whispered, let go that is my trove of hidden desire, wuick wha wha wha I had not even forgiven myself for thinking these things.
Compassion is the way to connect with the people here, at the club. If you can relate to a clubber you know how to deal with their emotional void. You either speculate, make fun, or plan for the future. But do the clubbers understand the implication of my crotch smell? There is no toilet paper in the bathroom and my urine is dehydrated. All I eat are salted tomatoes and tuna. I am trying to save the clubbers, but do they appreciate the sacrifices I make for them?
The thing with the vulture face recognizes my scent, we blink in unison like cats and comprehend the horror. He is about to start the ceremony. He makes me feel black inside. I beg forgiveness.
I am an angel of light. He knows there’s nothing I can do to stop this. I wriggle out of the conversation with the DJ about the innocence of youth and run through the dance floor, trying to hide in the bathroom, sliding across the broken linoleum in my two inch kitten heels, into a stack of big crates holding the DJ’s records. The crates fall over, but not on top of me, with a loud crash. Bang! It’s fine! The damned thing.
The Cult has almost fulfilled their agenda. I have had to witness a variety of cult events, all traumatizing. The memory of a bad party compartmentalizes itself next to a memory of a toddler hit by a chevy on Wyoming Avenue and too-graphic descriptions of executions in the newspaper. I see hands grabbing for blood by accident, like when I’m at the grocery store and someone grabs the last can of dolphin-safe tuna right when I was about to. Anger brings it forth. My brain can not control its excesses, big eye twitches, fluorescent light, hands grabbing for more blood, hands grabbing for more tuna fish, even more tuna fish, newspapers, fucking tomatoes, salt with iodine added, easy listening station, numbered aisles, mouths open to the flesh of girls who dance to house music. Ritual fires were started with the thighs of women. The Vulture told me I had a black heart and found out about my longing. Sometimes I look out of my window at night and see The Vulture with my name in backwards in his mouth. Curling around the sun. There are DJs who intentionally mess up their beats per minute between songs. The audience winces. Horror is useful to The Cult.
The vomit comes out yellow at first, then purple. Purple is the color of royalty. My vomit has a will and a mind of its own. Every cell is speaking to me. Everything is communicating.
First I vomit on the bartender: “Pay for your drink and get the fuck out!”
Then I accidentally vomit on the girls next to me, who look at their suede pencil skirts with what I think is such a deep sorrow their eyes bleed with tears.
Then I throw the vomit out of my esophagus to rain over the dance floor to the beat of Everlasting Love. One guy, standing on top of the bar, pumps his fist at me.
Everyone should leave now because if you don’t you will be captured and you will be pierced on a five point star, then crucified, then burned. I am a witness for the powers which do not want this to happen. I am an angel of light.
I throw up on the DJ but he doesn’t have a visible reaction. He puts down his lager and checks his phone. Five cult members grab armfuls of girls in uncomfortably high heels and start for the basement. They did not expect to conjure me up but I know the timing perfectly. I read it in their bleached bones.
People are running for the doors. The girl with the golden asp falls hard on her stomach. When she gets up, she runs her hand over her face. Nose, eyes, lips, all smearing off the color chartreuse. Although I didn’t recognize her at first, I can tell by the angelic mist forming from the gaping hole in her head that she was part of my team. Wow, they sent backup. Oops, she’s dead. We have a sudden connection, when her soul vacates her physical body or whatever, the force of it hits me like a car and my joints crack apart so loud it breaks the glasses lining the empty bar. She was an angel of light.
The screaming starts then. My inconspicuous backup with the golden asp is slumped over and balanced on the smear and mist crowding out of her face. My sinuses hurt.
Death has come into the room. Swimming in the carnage of purple glitter, parts ripped off of ladies wearing perfume with base notes of cat semen. The dead disintegrate into snakes. The snakes turn into the disco beat of You Can’t Turn Me Off (In the Middle of Turnin’ Me On) and imbalanced social chemistry and blood, and glitter; everyone screams, runs, hides, one deafening scream. Death with his vulture face swims towards me. The offer of pleasure stands in his eyes. I weep.
As illustrated in Picture #35, my previously inconspicuous and now dead backup with the golden asp is in two and her top half swims toward me with open arms. I let her hug me. She expires. I place pennies into her eye holes.
I watch Death dance to A Lover’s Holiday. Death has good rhythm.
The drinking of blood, according to the cult member I spoke to, allows the drinker to collect the life force of the victim. It empowers and adds longevity to life. Blood was hidden inside of juice mixers and some of the darker ales. Most of the young male patrons of the club happily accepted drinks bought by DJ. This is how they were introduced. After coming back next month, and next month, and eleven more months, the secret was disclosed and the member brought into the basement for a cleansing rite. Don’t ask me what this means. I know most of the young men accepted. The ones who did not were supposedly cut and their blood was drained into a cranberry juice bottle.
After their deaths at the last cult party, the spirits of dead virgins visited me. They were panting, exhausted, vaginally burned, rosebuded-anus-heaving, intestines exposed on bodies, in dreams on clouds of linen and mourning, and they testified to the blood rite and the proceeding ritual sacrifices. The lipstick-smeared girls pleaded for me to stop the bad parties. One pale girl was only sixteen and got in even though her ID was for one Jasmine Roy, 28, of Utah. She was not too badly mutilated.
“What do they do with the babies after their flesh is boiled off?,” Jasmine inquires.
I tell her the babies were eaten. She is shocked.
“They ate them?”
“Yeah, they ate them. There’s people like that. They think it gives them power.”
Jasmine stands on her cloud and traces with her finger the gold scale burned into her chest. She informs me about the utilization of the corpse, flesh eaten or saved for cannibalism rites and things like bongs, guitar bodies, pipes, charm necklaces, faux-vintage harmonicas, and bone china dolls that are sculpted from a clay made from the bones of the victims. These items are then sold and traded among other cult members.
I am in the basement. They really need to put runners on those stairs because my shoes are slippy. Death is still upstairs dancing to the stunning disco hit, Pow Wow. The cult members stand in a circle around a pile of girls who can not stand up because the tequila was spiked with quaaludes and their skirts are too tight. Under the girls, an ewe is bleeding from her throat. The DJ climbs the girls and when on top he chants THE SNAKES WILL CLEANSE FOREVER LIFE. The bass from the dancefloor shakes asbestos from the ceiling. You fuckers can’t do this to another one. THE RITUAL FIRE IS STARTED WITH THE THIGHS OF A WOMAN. Melts into a quilt of white bones and crimson confetti in the air, check out that bass line. THE CRUSHER OF BONES. Most of the girls in the pile are spiritually dissolved. Their souls extracted and offered to the dark lord. EXCREMENT. The men are wearing golden seals of Solomon around their necks. Purple glitter is sticking to the blood. YOU HAVE TO BRING ME GLAMOUR. I wonder how much of a cut the DJ is making from this. Five dollars at the door. BONDAGE, MURDER, CANNIBALISM, DISMEMBERMENT, THROATS ARE CUT AND THE BODY PARTS ARE BOILED IN A CAULDRON AT MIDNIGHT. Picture #31 depicts the killing of a goat who is then decapitated. The head is being mounted on a wall by two members of the cult. YOU CAN RING MY BELL. All of the men pray to their leader who wears a teeny tiny black pigeon skull on his cock and asks the dark force to possess the goat head and speak through it. CURTAINS GOING UP UP UP. The DJ grabs a girl and places her inside of the goat carcass. YOUR BODY WILL RUPTURE AND YOUR SOUL WILL FORGET WHO YOU ARE. The members sew her inside with thread made from locks of virgin hair. The virgins tried to fight back, stabbing at the cult members with four inch stilettos but it was no use. The skin casings of these virgins hang long, wet, and limp in the hallway on a coat hook. DON’T PUSH IT, DON’T FORCE IT. This next song is called When Boys Talk. Love that song! YOU ARE MY STARSHIP COME TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT. What we are witnessing is directly related to ancient blood rites. HALSTON GUCCI FIORUCCI HE LOOKS LIKE A STILL THAT MAN IS DRESSED TO KILL. The average man just wants to fuck an upside down pentagram till his cock plops off. A GOD BORN FROM THE BUTTOCK OF A COW. They place the humming carcass into a boat floating in shallow water. Six men light six candles and place six snakes in the water. A girl screams in ecstasy. I smell reefer! HEART IN A JAR. The cult members sodomize the ewe. Now this is how you have fun.
I think of myself, at eleven, looking at the vulture-faced thing beside my bed. His offer still stands. I could know pleasure. What makes me happy? I ask myself for the first time. I hear my phone ring. It is God. I don’t pick up. He leaves a voicemail asking when my report will be done. I throw my phone into the pit of carnage before me. There’s not much more to life than nightlife. I meet the gaze of the vulture and unbutton my blouse.
He draws a pentagram on the floor using the bile of a decapitated virgin. I stand inside of the drawing and watch the bird as he circles the perimeter. He makes small hopping movements to the beat of More More More by Andrea True. After a display of flapping and diving, his robes part to reveal his cock. The erection stands over 16 inches in a wet spiral. There is a puddle of mucous at the base. The cloaca protrudes. Six feathers line the gelatinous tip. The whole package is swollen, red, pulsing. It smells like barbecue sauce. His beak is open and he is regurgitating sexily at me. He makes sounds like a lawnmower.
Second thoughts. I lie down in the middle of the pentagram and pretend that I’m asleep. My head hurts. I have gas. I broke both my legs. I have the clap. My uterus is necrotizing. I feign death. Not tonight, dear. He tickles my nose with a feather. I hold a tiny bit of vomit in my mouth and ask him to let me be. He respects my boundaries, goes into the bathroom, and jerks off loudly. The flapping sounds puts me to sleep.
I wake to the sun streaming in through gated windows. Everyone is gone. The vulture left his number on the bar. His handwriting is illegible. I burn the paper. I gather my belongings and walk back to my porch. On the way back I think about my disappointment. I wonder what’s going on tonight.
Chrissy Jones is a multi-disciplinary artist originally from Feltonville, North Philadelphia. She creates timeless imagery that revels in chaos. She currently lives in Providence, RI.