Moments later, the deafening roar of the throng still reverberating thrillingly against his eardrums, Evan entered his trailer, accompanied by two burly security men. He politely asked them to leave, and they obediently scattered from his sight. Left alone, Evan promptly removed his soaking wet clothes, flung them to the floor, grabbed a towel from atop a nearby dresser, and sat naked on the bunk in his trailer, its bedding still unmade.

He attempted to clear his mind, to put away the exultation that he always felt after events like these. The crowds had only been building, slowly but steadily, throughout his campaign, but lately things had gotten to the point where the fanaticism of the assemblages which followed him around had become a little frightening. It gave him the impression, when he thought about it, of wildfire, burning with a ferocity that even fire itself never really assumes, even when at its most extreme state of lethal flammability. The fire that he saw, that he felt, both within him and without him, was one that would surely burn down the world, would never be consumed, would rage throughout eternity…was it, then, Hell that he was bringing? But none of the words he spoke were untrue; in fact, he strongly believed his message to be a deeply righteous one. How could a righteous source bring Hell, whose most salient characteristic was its being located in the realm of the incorrigibly wicked?

Try as he may, Evan could not reconcile these disparate impressions; they seemed, in fact, to self-contradict at a basic level. Though not a religious man, or rather, not a man who had ever given religion much thought, he possessed a visceral, one might even say primal, sense of good and evil. That both were quite real was a principle about which he had never harbored the least speck of doubt. Indeed, he saw himself as a man on a mission, and he was, it may be said, a “true believer”; though he knew how to be both a showman and a shaman to further his cause, there was not a speck of cynicism within him. So this vision he had, of an ever-burning world, set aflame by none other than him, discomfited him just a touch, for he instinctively knew that flames which were never quenched had a clear infernal connotation.

“But what about—”

He spoke these words aloud, naked, on his unmade bunk bed in his trailer, but for some reason he only completed the thought in his mind. The word he silently pronounced was purgatory.

Again, Evan had very little formal acquaintance with theological notions; what he knew, he sensed on a kind of gut level. Somehow or other, he had caught wind of the principle of this realm, where wretched beings went, not to be punished, but rather, to be purified. There, the flames would burn hot and long as well, but though one’s trial by fire might last a millennium or an eon, it would not last forever. One day, one wonderful day, it would end, and one would be enabled to enter Paradise. That very surety made one’s ordeal bearable.


Now he spoke the word aloud, for it brought at least a temporary resolution to the cognitive dissonance which had been troubling him. “I must go on,” he whispered. “I must go all the way. I must walk the burning path to my destination. My destination is that very eternally burning conflagration which leaves none untouched, least of all myself…Purgatory…yes, a purge! A purge must happen…”

There came a soft knock at the door, and seconds later, Eveline entered the trailer, closing and locking the door behind her, an exultant expression lighting up her face.

“Evan, oh Evan. You were magnificent, really magnificent tonight.” She spoke reverentially, as one speaks to one’s guru, rather than to one’s son. Moreover, and more peculiarly (so the scene would have struck any bystander, anyway), she was not in the least put off by Evan’s nakedness. Nor did Evan make any effort to cover himself.

Instead he almost mechanically stood, and soon they were in one another’s arms, she smothering his cheeks with breathy kisses. “Darling, my darling, my sweet, dear one,” she purred. “You are a good boy, oh you are the best, best, best boy…”

Evan felt himself grow rapidly aroused, as he had on so many previous, similar occasions. Her touch comforted, refreshed, and enthralled him, yet he found some part of his consciousness attempting to resist, even as Eveline disrobed, bared her breasts, pressed her stiffening nipples against him, even as her mouth met his, parted, even as their tongues mingled together.

“Eveline, please,” he feebly stammered, between hot, wet kisses.

“Don’t call me that,” she readily answered, without missing a beat, as if she had expected to hear it all along.

“Agatha, could we please, not now…” he whispered, but with weakening resolve.

“Don’t call me that, either,” she shot back, grinning as she pulled down her underwear, grabbed his now fully erect organ, and began to caress it.

Evan, sighed, gave up, gave in, as it seemed he always did.

“Mother,” he groaned. “Oh mother, mother, mother…”

“Oh, son,” she cried out as they fell together onto his bunk and she straddled him and he entered her, “my dear, precious son. My child, my love, my life, my, my…leader!”

With each generous thrust of her hips, she felt, she was enabling him to lead her, giving him the potency needed to take her exactly where she needed to go, where they all needed to go. Suddenly, as if catching her thoughts, he caught her up, flung her onto the bunk, and now he was atop her; now it was his thrusts which were truly leading her, and himself, and all the rest of the world, to sweet, sure, rapturous delight.

“Lead me, leader,” she unabashedly exulted. “Lead us all! Take us down the path, take us there!”

Her fingernails dug like beastly talons into her son’s back as Eveline flung back her head and glided dreamily into ecstasy.


This is an excerpt from Andy Nowicki’s new novella, The Rule of Wrathcoming this Friday from Terror House Press.