Read The Devil Stood Up Online

Authors: Christine Dougherty

Tags: #Horror, #Fiction

The Devil Stood Up

 

The Devil Stood Up

By Christine Dougherty

http://www.christinedoughertybooks.com

 

PUBLISHED BY:

Christine Dougherty on Smashwords

The Devil Stood Up

Copyright © 2011 by Christine Dougherty

Smashwords Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author's work.

The Devil Stood Up is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locations, or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

 

Also by Christine Dougherty:

 

Faith, Creation

Faith was three the first time her twin sister died. The second time, she was ten. Discover the paradox of Faith. Book One in the Faith Series.

 

Messages

James Smith is receiving messages. Will he find the right answers? Follow James as he pieces together the puzzle in this taut, psychological thriller. You'll be guessing until the last page.

 

Darkness Within, A Collection of Horrorific Short Stories

These bone-chilling, mind-wrenching short stories will leave you wondering about the people around you...and yourself.

 

Special thanks to the early readers. Your help is profoundly important and the book is better for having been in your hands:

Chrissy, James, Ann, Anthony, and Pauline

 

* * *

 

And to my number one fan, my husband Steve Dougherty who is steadfast, tireless, and patient in his support:

Love you, Biggie

 

 

BOOK ONE

The Devil Slept

 

The Devil rolled over, swiping a knotted forearm across his dripping brow. Half asleep, struggling, uncomfortable, The Litany of the evils of the world slipped through his unconsciousness like fine wisps of acrid smoke, intertwining, interweaving, noxious, and necessary.

This is how he thought of the million threads of evil that bound his mind, they were: The Litany.

The evil of the world spiked sharply, spoiling his sleep, but he could not stop it any more than he could have stopped time or stopped the evil itself. He rolled, almost coming awake, flirting with full consciousness, and then settled as the streaming evil flatlined, becoming bearable again.

This body, even, was uncomfortable: difficult to position with grace and never entirely at rest, not really. He’d never gotten used to it, never become accustomed to losing grace. The weight, the stink and yes, even the sight of it was unbearable, because in Heaven, there’d been no ugliness, no stink, no uncomfortable body, only awareness and beauty.

The Devil had never been a human, but knew them well enough by now to think that this must be what it felt like, to be in a body. Heavy. Tethered. Stinking. And the Devil didn’t have a mere human body–what he had was much, much worse. Hulking, with bony extrusions on his forehead, back of his neck, knuckles, elbows and ankles. Muscles that seemed to work at cross-purposes, snarling into knots and pulling his arms down even as he struggled to lift them, causing a constant, grinding pain along the bone. Joints that screamed of impossibly tight tendons. Feet so humped and bumped they resembled large hooves. And over all this terrible hulk of a body, blackish blood streamed continuously, never staunched, leaving bloody trails and pools wherever he went.

The Devil ran an arm over his forehead again, sliding it through the viscous and salty combination of blood and sweat on his brow. The dailyness of human evil flowed through and through him, waxing and waning.

He saw himself through the eyes of the humans who ended up with him–the nightmare visage he was. The ones he, the Devil, was bound by God, Himself to punish. And he saw something else in them, the evil humans–the petty, the weak, the greedy, the mean-hearted–he saw that they held him, the Devil, accountable.

They all blamed him, unable to bear the weight of their own sins, of their own choices. They stared at him in abject terror and the Devil felt it in their tiny, limited, misguided minds again and again, one common, jittery thought: the Devil made me do it. Then the Devil would roll his figurative sleeves and turn to the work of punishment.

For punishment was his only purpose.

And the punishment was simple: they burned, and they burned, and they burned.

And they would continue to burn until God, Himself decided that it was enough. Then, and only then, they would cease to exist on any plane, putting an end to their torment.

The Devil stoked the fires of their burning with his ferocious dragon’s breath, blood and sweat pouring from him endlessly, his acrid blood itself an incendiary agent, like gasoline.

He punished one no harder than the others. His place was not that of judgment. Only to punish, and punish, and punish, until God, Himself saw fit to take this job from him and lift him back, weightless, body-less to heaven and to grace.

Or to snap him, too, out of existence.

Sometimes this weighed heavily on his mind, this thought of non-existence. He knew that if he did not exist he wouldn’t care–he wouldn’t be around to care. But he also chafed at the thought of non-existence. He butted up against it most often in his sleep, his thoughts turning resentful under the heinous weight of The Litany as it ran non-stop through his mind.

He knew every evil that existed, every evil that put humans in his grasp, and yet considered his punishment the worst of all, and for what was he being punished?

That he, the Anointed One, beautiful Angel Lucifer, had considered himself better than God, Himself.

And was his punishment just?

If God, Himself said it was so…then it was.

 

* * *

 

The Devil rolled again, uneasy, The Litany waxing as Free Will ran rampant through weak hearts and weak minds on Earth.

Bit by bit, he became aware of the musings of a woman-child sparking like cold, reddish-purple electrical fire along the line of The Litany. He didn’t often catch individual evils and hadn’t for millennia. They were too layered, too intertwined, but this was different, the way it tugged and snagged along the current of The Litany like a lure and line encrusted log bobbing noxiously. She: resentful of the boy-child she’d given birth to. She’d been seventeen when she got pregnant and her parents had been mad and she hadn’t cared about them being mad, and then her parents had accepted it but then her mother had tortured her with a constant stream of:

“Carrie, you need to stop drinking, it’ll hurt the baby.”

And: “Carrie, you’ll have to stay home once the baby gets here, it’ll need all your attention, sweetheart.”

And: “Your Daddy and I want you to finish high school, so, I’ll watch the baby for you during the day, but maybe you could get some part time work on the weekends to help us out.” She just went and on and on and more and more until Carrie felt as though she’d like to stab her mother in the throat just to get her to shut the hell up about it.

She had no intention of finishing high school; she already felt as though she’d just been marking time there even before she got pregnant. School held nothing for her, the teachers were all assholes and jerks, most of the other students were assholes and jerks, the classes were boring beyond belief. They never talked about anything she wanted to talk about, which was mainly herself. And she couldn’t figure that out. Personally, she thought she was way more fascinating than those dumbass kids they showed on MTV. They should do a reality show about her. About how awesome her life was. Or at least, how awesome it was going to be once she was eighteen and could finally do whatever the hell she wanted to do.

But in the meantime, the pregnancy brought her a satisfying amount of attention. The school had wanted to kick her out, but everyone had told her she should fight for her rights! They had no cause to kick her out! And they were damn right, too, Carrie thought, and she envisioned how she would fight the school and they would put her story all over the internet and she would become a celebrity! But then she couldn’t get it figured out, how to fight the school, and no one else seemed to know what she should be doing, just that she should fight. That didn’t do her any damn good, so the whole thing went by the wayside and she quit school even before her junior year ended.

Dropping out was okay with her, because by that time, she was showing, really showing, and people paid all sorts of attention to her. They gave up their seats on the bus and everyone was always offering her treats, and smiling at her like she was a superstar or something. Even her friends were treating her better although she got the impression that a couple of them were talking behind her back and calling her a loser for getting pregnant and for not saying who the dad was. She knew that one of them had posted something along those lines on Facebook, but had deleted her as a friend so Carrie didn’t see it herself–only heard about it from someone else.

She’d acted really mysterious about the dad, tried to make out like she couldn’t say…like he was a mafia guy or a married guy or maybe even a famous dude. But the truth was, she didn’t know who the father was. Well, she knew who it was but not his name or where he was from or anything. He was just a random guy she’d done it with at a concert. She’d made him buy her a t-shirt and a beer and then she’d fucked him behind the port-a-potties.

She liked making guys do things for her. Most of them would do something, buy her a present or take her somewhere to eat–somewhere fancy like Red Lobster or Outback. The fancy restaurants were the best, but she’d settle for anything, really, as long as the guy bought and told her she was so pretty, so awesome. She’d been having sex since she was fourteen and had known that she could get pregnant…she’d always just figured she wouldn’t because she didn’t want to.

Then there was the baby shower and though it wasn’t anything like the Super Sweet Sixteen parties on MTV, it was still okay. Nice to be the center of attention and to get presents. She’d been so excited by the stack of them on the sideboard in her Mother’s dining room, but then, when they sat her in the chair with the fancy umbrella and she’d started opening the presents, everything had been for the baby. There were no presents for her. No iPod, no clothes, no gift cards…what the fuck? Her mood had shifted and when Mrs. Allen, their seventy year old neighbor, had tried to rub her belly murmuring “oooohh, what a sweet little–” Carrie had slapped her hand away and sneered nastily:

“Christ! Lay off me, okay, you fucking child molester? Stop fucking rubbing me. It’s fucking gross.”

And Mrs. Allen had backed off, mouth agape, face turning bright, bright red. Mean satisfaction flowed through Carrie, soothing her nerves.

Dumb old cunt, she thought, she has no right to paw me like that. Fucking trying to cop a feel.

Her mother had come to Mrs. Allen and cupped her by the elbow and Carrie heard whispered snatches of her mother’s conversation: “…so sorry, she just hasn’t been feeling…” and “…can I get you a piece of cake to…” and “…if you’re sure, but it’s not over until three and you’re more than welcome to…” but Mrs. Allen was already at the door, shaking her head, her smile a tight, polite line bisecting the middle of her face. She glanced back at Carrie and Carrie raised her eyebrows at her like yeah, so? And smirked again. Mrs. Allen dropped her eyes. Probably she wouldn’t come around again and Carrie saw the sadness on her mom’s face–Mrs. Allen was a good friend to her–and Carrie felt that soothing wash of cold satisfaction once more.

But all in all, the shower had been good, for the attention. Everyone watching everything she did, listening to everything she said and falling all over themselves to laugh at her jokes. That felt…right. Like the way it should be.

Then the doctors appointments, with the nurses giving her cookies and juice because they said she was too thin! Honey you need to gain weight for your baby! But Carrie was careful not to gain too much weight. The baby could come out skinny for all she cared as long as it meant she wouldn’t look like a cow once she got it out of her. Plus, a skinny baby was better than a fat one, because she for sure didn’t want a fat kid.

But then going to the hospital had been a fucking horror show. Giving birth to it had been the worst thing in the world. At first, she’d been able to pretend like she was in a movie: a brave young woman giving birth and all eyes were on her as she suffered in silence and everyone in the hospital would be talking about the amazing girl who’d been so brave, braver than anyone had ever been before! But in reality, it had hurt so fucking much and they told her they couldn’t give her anything because the baby was in distress, and she’d yelled:

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