the Seeker's gift

Islimiri, drawing by MM/CR/SRSCaptured by a roving ranger of the Funnees — a cheerful bombing people — the Seeker, S, was taken into the cruel, dry heart of a vast and trackless desert populated but thinly by scorpions and fleshbeetles, and they were pretty damn skinny too!

On arriving at the main encampment of the Funnees, S was hauled before the tribal chieftain, Islimiri, a tall and rangy man in a loose burnoose. Bearded, hatted and sunburnt to within an inch of his life, Islimiri’s broad splayed teeth gleamed bone-white in a leathery face, his huge head seemed almost to wobble on his neck like a Halloween pumpkin on a stick.

The desert sun fried the eyes and minds of the assembled tribespeople, despite their famous Shaydee hats, of which many a tall tale is told.

“You seem anxious, pigface,” remarked Islimiri, the Chief’s command of the English language reflecting years spent in a weird desert study group, known only as the “Inanities”.

Islimiri grinned broadly at S’s discomfiture: “Can you now understand why none of our guests ever leave us? Where is there to leave to? Only thousands of miles of trackless desert. You can grasp that, Pigdog, you seem to be an intelligent man.”

Speechless, S nodded mutely.

“Today is your birthday, Paleface,” remarked Islimiri cheerfully.

“Ah, no sir, humble apologies but my birthday...”

“Don’t interrupt,” interrupted the Funnee Chieftain, “today you are reborn. Your baptism shall be one of fear and pain. And to mark this special occasion, we have a gift for you. A special gift. And best of all, you get to choose... Now would you prefer a shirt, or a pair of pants?”

S stood shivering and shaking under the relentless tropic sun. The heat and humidity were unbearable.

“I’m sorry Sir...” responded S brainlessly, terrified and confused in unequal measure.

“You challenge our patience, Pigdog,” snarled Islimiri. “We will repeat our question. What would you prefer for your fucking birthday present: a shirt, or a pair of pants? If you don’t respond by the time we get to the end of this sentence, you’ll be smeared in pigfat and staked out alongside a nest of fire-ants...”

“Shirt, sir,” responded S hastily.

“Long sleeves or short?”

“Short, Sir,” replied S, choosing entirely at random and for no valid rationale.

“Bad choice, Paleface, bad choice.” Islimiri shook his pumpkin head slowly and with much faux sorrow.

“Left or right?”

“uh, I think, um...”

“Not a hard question, is it?” menaced Islimiri. “You’re still not getting this...”

“uh... left!” quoth S fearfully.

“Ah, a sinister choice indeed,” smirked Islimiri. “An irreversible chirality not well-chosen. We hope for your sake our Tailor is dextrous today!”

Rivulets of fear-smelling sweat drooled down S’s face.

“Oh, one more thing, a little thing...” said the Chieftain cheerfully, “just one more choice for you. You play baseball? Do you prefer pitch or bat? C’mon pigdog, pitch or bat?”

“Um, pitch, sir?” replied S cautiously.

“Now that’s a good choice,” said Islimiri with approval. “Very well, our Tailor will fit you now!”

Then he crooked his finger beckoningly to a rather large tribesperson with a rather large axe. Without a word the Tailor grabbed S’s left arm at the wrist, pulled it hard so that it lay upon a flat-topped boulder. Then in a fluid, practised motion raised the axe above his head and struck swiftly and powerfully so that a single strike was all that was needed to sever S’s left arm above the elbow.

S screamed loud and long as gouts of blood gushed and splashed onto the dusty ground. But his travails were by no means over.

“Somehow I knew you were going to be disappointed with short sleeves,” grinned Islimiri maliciously, “no more wristwatches for you my friend!”

Then the Tailor pushed and shoved S in the direction of a large, steaming cauldron atop a metal grate above a pile of gleaming red hot coals.

The smell of boiling pitch wafted into S’s nostrils, and he screamed (again) (not that he had stopped since the amputation) as the implications sank in.

“Something bothering you, Pigdog,” called out Islimiri, “You said you wanted pitch... or would you rather be battered, uh, I mean batted? Or do you perhaps prefer gangrene?”

Islimiri smirked unpleasantly in the direction of a rather large Tribesperson bearing a large mace shaped like an oversized baseball bat with nasty looking iron spikes protruding from it.

“If you don’t pitch, you’ll lose the arm anyway, and then your life, slowly and painfully,” said the Chieftain, gesturing to the axe-wielder to do the honours. Without a word the scowling tribesthing shoved S’s bloody stump into the cauldron of boiling pitch.

“For your next birthday, maybe you like some pants?” said Islimiri. “You’d prefer long pants, methinks — if you like walking!”

The pain was excruciating beyond words, thought or prayer. S lapsed into unconsciousness.

When he came to, he was ...

CONTINUES in Mastress & Other Twisted Tails, an unfinished, never-ending epic, out now at Amazon, leading nowhere and currently comprising eighteen barbaric chapters. In a world gone mad, the cast of crazies includes the Mastress, an ancient Guru of indeterminate gender and hazardous loincloth; Clothilde of the Gift of the Tongue, a peasantess who talks with sparrows, nanny goats, pilchards and sphagnum moss; a blind, deaf-mute chicken-whisperer named Beaky Featherstone, and a host of other “strangelings, peculiaritisms and bizarritudes” in every town and village.

The Barbarian horror-hordes are rampaging unopposed across the Land, ransacking the wimmen and pillaging their muffins. Mastress is a cacklingly bizarre read that may induce fatal hysteria. Recommended only for the strong of mind and stomach.... WARNING: Immature content! Adults maybe!


eBooks by Cosmic Rapture:

NIGHTMERRIES: THE LIGHTER SIDE OF DARKNESS This so-called "book" will chew you up, spit you out, and leave you twitching and frothing on the carpet. More than 60 dark and feculent fictions (read ‘em and weep) copiously illustrated by over 20 grotesque images you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley.

AWAREWOLF & OTHER CRHYMES AGAINST HUMANITY (Vot could be Verse?) We all hate poetry, right? But we might make an exception for this sick and twisted stuff. This devil's banquet of adults-only offal features more than 50 satanic sonnets, vitriolic verses and odious odes.

MANIC MEMES & OTHER MINDSPACE INVADERS A disturbing repository of quotably quirky quotes, sayings, proverbs, maxims, ponderances, adages and aphorisms. This menagerie holds no fewer than 184 memes from eight meme-species perfectly adapted to their respective environments.

FIENDS & FREAKS Adults-only Tales of Serpents, Dragons, Devils, Lobsters, Anguished Spirits, Gods, Anti-gods and Other Horse-thieves You Wouldn't Want to Meet in a Dark Kosmos: 4th Edition

HAGS TO HAGGIS Whiskey-soaked Tails of War-nags, Witches, Manticores and Escapegoats, Debottlenecking and Desilofication, Illustrated