Category Archives: Kip McKnight

Grimoire Gift

She stepped out of the bitter, wind-blasted cold and onto the subway train.
+++++            Ding ding ding ding. “Step back, doors closing,” said the automated voice.
+++++She moved an old newspaper off of a seat and sat down, staring at the subway map on the wall and taking her sunglasses off. She always wore them when outside, even at night. The sunglasses hid the tears and the occasional bruises. She always had a habit of choosing the wrong men, men that ended up hurting her in all the worst ways. The most recent one had spent three years working her over, occasionally pulping her face so bad she couldn’t go into work for a month. She’d always blamed it on anything, everything else but him. Swollen eyes from crying evenings still filled her nights, but the bruises would never happen again. She made sure of that.    Oh yes.
+++++The motion and jerk of the train as it set off reminded her of being at sea. A smell of wet air conditioning surging through moldy ventilation filled her nose. The train was empty but for a few other people on their way to work or to visit the sites in Downtown D.C.
+++++She looked down at the book in her hand, an old brittle thing that somehow managed to stay remarkably intact. She opened it at random, reading the words from the ancient language and letting the power immerse itself into her mind, twisting and writhing and building new mental pathways. She lifted the book to her nose and inhaled, its odor filling her mind with memories of places it once traveled.
+++++Vivid images of things long past filled her mind. Archaic things. Violent things.
+++++Memories from before the age of humanity.
+++++After several minutes, the train came to its first stop and she looked up from her book toward the platform to people watch. She people watched at every stop, there wasn’t much else to do when sitting on a long subway ride. She expected to see the normal hustle and bustle of folks coming and going outside her window.
+++++Instead, ghastly white faces smiled back at her, faces on bodies clad in black trench coats with fedoras on their heads. Young faces, old faces, male, female, all of them were waving to her. And in the center of them all was him, heinously pale and a shadow of who he used to be. Her hands recoiled as she jumped and the book in her lap bounced up, then shut.
+++++            Impossible.
+++++She’d killed that bastard a month ago.
+++++She looked away, then back. Normal people entered the subway train and the pale faces had vanished.
+++++            Ding ding ding ding. “Step back, doors closing,” said the automated voice, the train resuming its course.
+++++            I must be exhausted, she thought, and went back to her book.
+++++Each ancient marking transcribed itself onto her mind like a chisel and pick. The power spiraled into her, a vortex of strength.
+++++She had the small bookstore owner on the other side of the street across from her apartment complex to thank for it. It was a bookstore that looked like it had been there forever, made of brick and the inside smelling of incense. There was only one person who seemed to work there, and she was always there. An older, heavy woman adorned with dangling jewelry across her neck and over her wrists who empathized with her about her abusive boyfriend. The big woman kept her golden blonde hair wrapped in a bun and always greeted her with the sweetest smile. She had shared deeply intimate things with the old woman, confessions she had never shared with anyone else.
+++++Dark things. Evil things about what her now dead boyfriend loved doing to her. Things he would never get to do again. Oh no. That menacing dickhead was good and dead.
+++++Day after day she came to the old woman, whispering secrets into her ear of the vicious and deviant things he liked to do. The old woman always listened politely, nodding and encouraging her to take solace in books. One day, a couple months ago, she had walked into the bookstore and took off her sunglasses, which hid her two swollen black eyes. The sweet woman turned into a tiny bottle of rage, a cacophony of expletives flowing from her mouth in some unknown language.
+++++“Wait here,” the woman said, and went into the back room then brought out the book she now held in her hand.
+++++The subway train came to another stop. She closed the book and risked a glance out the window.
+++++Just normal people getting on and off. She craned her neck to see as far back onto the platform as she could, squinting into the dim light in search of the fedora-clad nearly translucent faces.
+++++Nothing.
+++++            Had to have been a hallucination, she thought.
+++++            Ding Ding Ding Ding. “Step back, doors closing,” said the automated voice.
+++++The train resumed its course and she opened the book again. The symbols inside danced and gyrated in her mind as she drank it in. She thought about the caution in the woman’s voice as the old lady handed her the book free of charge, her jewelry pleasantly jingling as if to suggest the book was a happy but dangerous piece of early holiday cheer.
+++++“This book will bring you strength and counsel you on the matter with your boyfriend. But be warned, when its pages are open its power is freed. Keep it closed unless you are reading from it. And never pass it through an open door while its pages are freed, lest you unleash it upon yourself.”
+++++She nodded, keeping the book closed until she got home.
+++++She cracked it open on the couch that night while washing the pain from her black eyes down with some wine. The ancient markings within immediately translated themselves in her mind. It infused her with strength, confidence, a feeling of authority. Around and through her it whirled, speaking to her in a thousand voices in languages from another world. Its pages called to her, summoned her to its own place within her mind and offered her that which she wanted most: a way out of the horrible relationship in which she was trapped.
+++++And when she drank from its wisdom, it indeed gave her counsel.
+++++            He must be killed. Carved up and offered as burnt sacrifice. It said to her from deep wretches of the darkest corner of her conscience. The words popped into her mind like an echo summoned from a black pit.
+++++            Killed. Carved. Burnt.
+++++And she could but obey. It told her everything she needed to do.
+++++She waited for him at his estate that night. He told her he would be working late and yes yes, would have dinner with her when he got home. Working late evidently meant being out until nearly one in the morning and returning to his house reeking of sex and whiskey. She pretended not to notice.
+++++            Oh, that’s fine dear, just fine.
+++++He forced himself onto her again that night, one last time, and she’d let him take her just because she didn’t want anything to get in the way. Just let him mount up and feebly grind away with his rancid, laughable little prick, smacking her across the face all the while then punching her in the eye as he climaxed. After, he’d slumped over in bed with his face upturned, hocking helpless air into his cavernous nostrils and snoring like a Neanderthal.
+++++            Snore baby snore.
+++++Quietly, she had risen from the bed and pulled his hunting knife from the gun case. It was a colossal thing, made for a man with massive hands, and she could easily wrap both of hers around the hilt.
+++++But not yet.
+++++She had bought four pairs of handcuffs for the occasion, and strapped him to the bed by his ankles and wrists. She rested the hunting knife under a pillow on her left, then straddled him, grinding gently on his flaccid little cock to wake him from his slumber. He didn’t budge, so she slapped him, hard.
+++++He awoke in a panic, rattling his limbs against the bed and gazing at her with a look of utter hatred.
+++++“What you doin’, Bitch?” He said, sleepily slurring the words. “Get me out of these.”
+++++“I don’t much like you calling me names, Dear,” she said.
+++++“You stupid whore.”
+++++“Oh come on, just play along,” she said, sliding around on his crotch.
+++++He sighed. “I’m going to hurt you when we’re done with this. I don’t like this,” he said.
+++++She said nothing, just smiled. But then an idea came to her, a way to make him pay for all of the infidelity before he died. She wouldn’t debase herself by becoming a cock-chopping cliché, but she could still make him pay. She dismounted and grabbed him with her left hand, stroking roughly.
+++++“Easy, Woman.”
+++++“Thought you liked it rough.”
+++++He moaned, the stench of the whiskey hot on his breath as he began to rise.
+++++Such a sad little thing, not even a two-hander.
+++++            He was about as solid as he was going to get. So while he looked up at the ceiling and enjoyed himself she took the knife from under the pillow, careful to aim the blade’s edge just right, and sawed into his urethra, ripping and pulling and pushing and slicing like she was carving a banana in two from the tip down. She stopped after sawing down to his navicular fossa, blood spurting out of his penis as the head split in two like a cut sautéed mushroom. He screamed, shouting incomprehensible insults and flailing on the bed like he was demon-possessed. After his initial pain-stricken rage expired, he lay there just whimpering and mewling like a pathetic kitten that had been hit by a car and hadn’t quite died yet.
+++++“That’s for coming home tonight smelling like another woman,” she said.
+++++“Please, no more,” he begged.
+++++“Yes, more,” she said, then lifted the blade out of his dying dick. “This is for me, for all the beatings, the bruises, for all the years of pain.” She grabbed the blade by the hilt with both hands and slowly slid it into his right eye, its punctured mass gushing ooze that slid down the side of his cheek as he screamed.
+++++“Nobody can hear you! You’re on twenty acres of land you filthy bastard!” And because his screaming was starting to annoy her, she pulled the blade from his eye then jammed it into the back of his mouth, twisting hard and hearing the wet snapping crunch as his jaw broke and blood gurgled out of his gaping maw.
+++++He twitched and writhed on the bed for a few more seconds, then went quiet.
+++++Now the hard work of chopping ensued. She started with his limbs, hacking at his forearms and letting his bloody hands dangle on the baseboard. She separated the legs at the knees, then severed his head. But that wasn’t enough. The voices from the book that now held her mind hostage wanted to see inside of their sacrifice, so she rammed the blade into his throat and sliced him open gullet to groin. She peeled apart his skin to expose purple lungs, yellow fat, and gray coils of viscera that bulged out of his stomach. But it wasn’t enough just to kill and chop. She had to be thorough. The book said to burn.
+++++            Hack hack hack. Chop chop chop. Burn burn burn.
+++++            She poured the gasoline on the body first, then all over his bedroom, then all over the house all the way down the front porch steps. She lit a match and ignited a puddle close to her feet, then watched it slither through the front door and quickly consume the house in a burning rage. She kept the match. She was a little bit sentimental, after all.
+++++And thanks to the astonishing and engrossing book from which she could no longer pull away, she would get away with it all. She looked down at the words and bowed her head as a worshiper to a god and drank.
+++++The train came to its third and final stop. Something tugged at her to shut it, some suggestion deep within the confines of her mind in a place which the book had not yet penetrated and stolen. But it was a distant voice, faded and ashen compared to the commanding voice of the book. She didn’t bother to look up as she exited, but simply stared slightly forward at the floor beyond her feet just above the open and withered pages. She heard the swirl of a cloak or trench coat to her left as a white hand, cold as an iceberg, grabbed her and dragged her down into the suddenly evaporated ground.
+++++She fell, weightless, turning around and looking up as her laughing boyfriend fell with her. She screamed in terror and horror at her sudden and foolish mistake and slammed the book shut, feeling herself snapping apart on the inside as the hardcover binding pancaked her and baptized its seams with her blood beneath the hungry gaze of tormented faces.
+++++Seeing the old and withered book on the platform and guessing it had been dropped by a patron in far too much of a hurry, the young man scooped it up and stepped out of the wind-blasted cold and onto the subway train.
+++++            Ding ding ding ding. “Step back, doors closing,” said the automated voice.

Keep It Closed

She stepped out of the bitter, wind-blasted cold and onto the subway train.
+++++Ding ding ding ding. “Step back, doors closing.” Said the automated voice.
+++++She moved an old newspaper off the seat next to the door and sat down, staring at the subway map on the wall and taking her sunglasses off. She always wore them now when outside, even at night. All the suffered beatings left marks physical and mental. The sunglasses hid the tears and the occasional bruises. Swollen eyes from crying evenings still filled her nights, but the bruises would never happen again. She made sure of that. Oh yes.
+++++The motion and jerk of the train as it set off reminded her of being at sea. A smell of wet air conditioning surging through moldy ventilation filled her nose. The train was empty but for a few other people on their way home from work at 8 pm.
+++++She looked down at the book in her hand, an old brittle thing that somehow managed to stay remarkably intact. She opened it at random, reading the words from the ancient language and letting the power immerse itself into her mind, twisting and writhing and building new mental pathways. She lifted the book to her nose and inhaled, its odor filling her mind with memories of places it once traveled.
+++++Vivid images of things long past filled her mind. Archaic things. Violent things.
+++++Memories from before the age of humanity.
+++++After several minutes, the train came to its first stop and she looked up from her book toward the platform outside to people watch. She people watched at every stop. Not much else to do when sitting on a long subway ride. She expected to see the normal hustle and bustle of folks coming and going outside her window.
+++++Instead, ghastly white faces smiled back at her. Faces on bodies clad in black trench coats with fedora’s on their heads. Young faces, old faces, male, female, all waving to her.  And in the center of them all, him. Heinously pale and a shadow of who he used to be. Her hands recoiled as she jumped and the book in her lap bounced up, then shut.
+++++Impossible.
+++++She’d killed that bastard a month ago.
+++++She looked away, then back. Normal people entered the subway train and the pale faces had vanished.
+++++Ding ding ding ding. “Step back, doors closing.” Said the automated voice, the train resuming its course.
+++++I must be exhausted. She thought, and went back to her book.
+++++Each ancient marking transcribed itself onto her mind like a chisel and pick. The power spiraled into her, a vortex of strength.
+++++She had the small bookstore owner on the other side of the street across from her apartment complex to thank for it. An older, heavy woman adorned with dangling jewelry across her neck and over her wrists who empathized with her about her abusive boyfriend. She had shared deeply intimate things with the old woman, confessions she had never shared with anyone else.
+++++Dark things. Evil things about what her now dead boyfriend loved doing to her. Things he would never get to do again. Oh no. That menacing dickhead was good and dead.
+++++Day after day she came to the old woman, whispering secrets into her ear of the vicious and deviant things he liked to do. The old woman always listened politely, nodding and encouraging her to take solace in books. One day, a couple months ago she had walked into the bookstore and took off her sunglasses, which hid her two swollen black eyes. The sweet woman turned into a tiny bottle of rage, a cacophony of expletives flowing from her mouth in some unknown language.
+++++“Wait here.” The woman said, and went into the back room. She brought out the book she now held in her hand.
+++++The subway train came to another stop. She closed the book and risked a glance out the window.
+++++Just normal people getting on and off. She craned her neck to see as far back onto the platform as she could, squinting into the dim light in search of the fedora-clad nearly translucent faces.
+++++Nothing.
+++++Had to have been a hallucination. She thought.
+++++Ding Ding Ding Ding. “Step back, doors closing.” Said the automated voice.
+++++The train resumed its course and she opened the book again. The symbols inside danced and gyrated in her mind as she drank it in. She thought about the caution in the woman’s voice as the old lady handed her the book free of charge, her jewelry pleasantly jingling as if to suggest the book was a happy but dangerous peace of early holiday cheer.
+++++“This book will bring you strength and counsel you on the matter with your boyfriend. But be warned, when its pages are open its power is freed. Keep it closed unless you are reading from it. And never pass it through an open door while its pages are freed, lest you unleash it upon yourself.”
+++++She nodded, keeping the book closed until she got home.
+++++She cracked it open on the couch that night while washing the pain from her black eyes down with some wine. The ancient markings within immediately translated themselves in her mind.  It infused her with strength, confidence, a feeling of authority. Around and through her it whirled, speaking to her in a thousand voices in languages from another world. Its pages called to her, summoned her to its own place within her mind and offered her that which she wanted most: a way out of the horrible relationship in which she was trapped.
+++++And when she drank from its wisdom, it indeed gave her counsel.
+++++He must be killed. Carved up and offered as burnt sacrifice. It said to her from deep wretches of the darkest corner of her conscience. The words popped into her mind like an echo summoned from a black pit.
+++++Killed. Carved. Burnt.
+++++And she could but obey. It told her everything she needed to get away with it. So she did.
+++++She waited for him at his estate that night. Had told her he would be working late and yes yes, would have dinner with her when he got home. Working late evidently meant being out until nearly one in the morning and returning to his house reeking of sex and whiskey. She pretended not to notice.
+++++Oh, that’s fine dear, just fine.
+++++He forced himself onto her again that night, one last time, and she’d let him take her just because she didn’t want anything to get in the way.  Just let him mount up and feebly grind away with his rancid, laughable little prick. After, he’d slumped over in bed with his face upturned, hocking helpless air into his cavernous nostrils and snoring like a neanderthal.
+++++Snore baby snore.
+++++Quietly, she had risen from the bed and pulled his hunting knife from the gun case and, countless hacks and overhand chops later, so much for the abusive boyfriend.  Killed that scumbag loser and carved him up. Burning down the house was easy enough too. She had to be thorough. Wasn’t enough just to kill and chop. The book said to burn.
+++++Hack hack hack. Chop chop chop. Burn burn burn.
+++++And thanks to the astonishing and engrossing book from which she could no longer pull away, she would get away with it all. She looked down at the words and bowed her head as a worshiper to a god and drank.
+++++The train came to its third and final stop. Something tugged at her to shut it, some suggestion deep within the bowels of her mind in a place which the book had not yet penetrated and stolen. But it was a distant voice, faded and ashen compared to the commanding voice of the book. She didn’t bother to look up as she exited, but simply stared slightly forward at the floor beyond her feet just above the open and withered pages. She heard the swirl of a cloak or trenchcoat to her left as a white hand, cold as an iceberg, grabbed her and dragged her down into the suddenly evaporated ground.
+++++She fell, weightless, turning around and looking up as her laughing boyfriend fell with her. She screamed in terror and horror at her sudden and foolish mistake and slammed the book shut, feeling herself snapping apart on the inside as the hardcover binding pancaked her and baptized its seems with her blood beneath the hungry gaze of tormented faces.
+++++Seeing the old and withered book on the platform and guessing it had been dropped by a patron in far too much of a hurry, the young man scooped it up and stepped out of the wind-blasted cold and onto the subway train.
+++++Ding ding ding ding. “Step back, door closing.” Said the automated voice.