's 2016 Horror Write-off:

The Splatterpunk Gospel

Submitted by Daniel Hale (email)

Excerpt from The Clotted Book,

Being the scriptures and commandments for

The Church of Letting Blood.

           The vein is the beginning. The vein is the end. The vein is all. This is our world.

           This is our world of impure blood, scabbed over from centuries' flowing filth and disease, creating the prison systolic-diastolic, making anatomy of sin. But there is only the vein, both ends joined in incestuous Ouroboros. The vein suckles itself, mindless machinery, oblivious to its gullet-reared children.

           Make no mistake that we are filth-born. We have poisoned the stream from our first bubbling breath, choking it with our soiled selves. Would that we were fewer, that we had known what damage we were doing from the start, that we had known that this sickened meat creature was getting sicker still as our numbers grew. Would that we knew. Would that we cared.

           And beyond? Oblivion or redemption? Absence or occupation? Which, truly, would be better? What is the threat of Hell without a Heaven? Better that there be an after at all, even if it is torment, for torment implies respite, however it may come.

           But none for us. The vein has soiled us. It has raised us from the odorous chime, and will return us there, for none remember the path. None remember death.

           We practice death, or believe we practice it. Our vessels shudder and disgorge their contents, our ventricles spasm and tangle the works. We think we would be lucky to die in sleep, without pain. Our loved ones pray for this, because it would be most convenient. They may hold their vigil by our bedside, clutch our shaking hands, then, when the moment is gone, reassure themselves of the better place that they were so kind to lead us to. And then the casket, or the flame, the dirt or the ash.

           Thus dying quietly, we are complicit in the deception. Death must come obscene and uncaring. It must shake foundations, ruin delusions. It must remind that life cannot be extended, that no favors are owed to grieving lovers, that bloodlines face extinction. Death will be dealt, and it must be dealt harshly.

           For in so dealing the vein is dealt a slice in its cancerous carapace. Septic blood is spilled into the unknown void, hastily disgorging the infidel, the blasphemous soul who wore his wounds with pride, shook his exposed crimson bones and torn scraps of sinew to the outraged carrion flock. Then, serum-speckled and silent, they cannot deny there is meaningful death. Then they will now that the Severance is at work beyond these cloying walls.

           Its Nephilim speak volumes in the quiet behind their masks. They wear totems of our degradation, not to mock us for our fantasies, but to defy the patronage of our heaping host. They claim nothing: not the favor of a higher power, nor the enlightenment of heretics. The processes of anatomy are awake in the world even when the body is greatly reduced. The Severance is inevitable.

           Our work is letting blood. We serve the silver knives and the black garrotes, the blades and claws and eyes of the severers. The unbelievers follow the flow of their filth, and thus we must dam the flow, push its path to them.

           Judasine, your task is this: go to the vessels. Speak as they do. Deal as they do. Follow their paths until you surge to the front of the flock. Lead them to the blades, that you may know the Severance as they will.

           Aaronite, your task is this: caution the vessels. They will be young, with spite in their longing hearts. Tell them something of what lies ahead, couch it in the fears their betters have known. Yours is a necessary task, and the Severance may choose to grant you reprieve from your suffering of age. Ensure that the tide flows true from now to the crumbling.

           The greater the pain of the vessels, the wider the stain their blood shall reach on those who remain in the foundering vein.

           Let the blood. Spill the filth. Sever the flesh.