The waterlogged walls were varnished with coagulated insect intestines. Fly Larvae, cockroaches, and praying mantises all mixed into a colorful assortment–a thick rubberized substance inseparably merged with the wooden planks and beams. The air was pungent with the smell of wet vegetation and all around untamed vines and weeds grew dense and tall, enclosing the scattered debris. The house was such that it could be classified as its own living breathing entity–animated by crawling shadows– the line between man’s doing and nature’s was blurred.
As the house drew a breath of howling wind so too did it draw a congregation of women. These four, naked and dirtied like earthen sages, rode the wind silently like the invisible spirits that accompany the most isolated of men. Their pupils nearly filled their baggy eyes and their hair stood on end like the needles of a porcupine; the red glow emitted by their navels illuminated the room sufficiently for them to see both one another and the bugs below. Without a word, they started softly for the center of the room, forming an imperfect square around a tuft of dandelions and weeds. They began to pick handfuls of the hard, exo-skeletally armored insects that inhabited the hut, focusing on variety as they went. In their sleepless delirium the horn beetles and wolf spiders appeared inexplicably friendly, as if they fit together like puzzle pieces; so they gathered them together and kept them close within their cupped hands. While the bugs raged silent war, the witches moved towards the green stained wall at the back. One by one the feral creatures masquerading as women crushed the bugs against the wall, painting it with sickly yellow-green and brown ooze.
“Speaking.” Said the woman in the front as she began to sputter words out at rapid speed.
“Speaking loud enraged. Says... Says burn. Says burn the man hiding in the blue. And head onwards to the chateau to purge there.”
Abruptly, much like a crocodile snapping at prey, the woman turned to face the center of the room.
“Who ventures to be loved?” She asked in a low whisper.
This sent the other 3 into a hysterical frenzy. They pounced on one another, violently tearing and gnawing at a mass of unnamed flesh. Blood came silently trickling out of the murky blur that was their dogpile, and mixed with the green pigment of the crushed plants below. Piercing battle cries filled the room until finally, one throat-splitting shrill scream erupted from the apparent leader of the coven.
“It will be Marakesh” she said, her high voice mirrored by a different more sonorous disembodied tone.
The two victors of the exchange removed themselves from their prey and up-stood Marakesh smiling in pure elation, fully displaying her stark white teeth that were sharpened down to fine points.
“Forever hate thy holy effigy” she proclaimed.
“Forever eat mine stomach”
Calculatingly, the coven began to clench their sisters glowing red torso from either side, while the coven leader scurried around the room, scanning the ground. She then snatched up a metallic-blue horn beetle with red jewel eyes, and presented it as if it was a trophy. Turning to Marakesh-who was still restrained- her jaw horrifically split open, wide enough so that her top row of jagged teeth were pointed straight at her victim. In one decisive lunge the witch bit into her underling’s bare stomach sending flames splashing from the wound. A flash of shock yellow light from a break in the roof shown on the horn beetle and within seconds it was incinerated by the wild flames. As it died a deafening cacophony of wing-scratching filled the room, along with a white spirit of a knight that disappeared into the flames within seconds.
“SACRED SACRED SQUIRE ARE YOU BUT A LIAR” they chanted.
“SACRED SETTLERS OF ILK SEND THE FAULT LINE CRASHING TO HELL”
In a blink, the arrangement of light and flames was silenced and the lifeless pupil-less body of Marakesh fell to the ground, becoming one with the dirt. Having fulfilled their divine duty the coven vanished in a flash of bright shadow and in haste the three remaining sisters glided out, headed towards the chateau.
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