Original Short Fiction: Night in Paraguay

Here’s a short horror story for Halloween, previously published on Scribd:

night-in-paraguayGruber and his kind fed on misery. Whenever men created it, they were not far behind. The death camps of Nazi Germany had been rich beyond belief. His folk had come out of hiding in droves to feast and grow strong. It would be wrong to think that they created the camps. Like all things truly evil, they had only the power to tempt. But oh, how they had fanned the flames of the Nazi’s hatred!

When the war ended, most of the brethren had fled back to their ancestral haunts to wait in hunger for the next war. But Gruber’s cunning mind had forseen the change sweeping humanity, a change that would bring an uneasy peace to the fatherland for many decades. The evil of men was purged and, though never extinguished, would burn underground for a time.

Gruber’s greed and love of the strife caused by the Reich led him to flee with those who were able, hoping beyond hope that they would start again their reign of horror. Instead they had wasted away, rotting in the jungles of South America. In the end, he had hunted down many of them himself; pathetic, feeble old men who begged for mercy and forgiveness, but all he had to offer them was death.

Gruber stole through the jungle. When he wanted to, he could become almost invisible. His dark form slipped from tree to tree until he came to a shabby hovel at the edge of the village. Its owner, one of the pathetic peasants who eked out a living in these rough lands, had been corrupted by drink and, to support his habit, had sold his daughter’s affections to the men of the town. Gruber could have the man any time he liked; it was the girl, young and tender, that he wanted. It was only a matter of time until her soul was corrupted. Already, he felt her beginning to weaken.

He slunk through the open door, past the old slob, who lay snoring in a drunken stupor. In the back of the hut lay Maria, the girl. She whimpered in her sleep as Gruber drew close. He could smell the taint on her as he looked longingly at the light brown skin of her exposed neck. He bent down to suck, fanged mouth open but, as he came close, felt his lips burned by fire. He screamed in pain. In his mind’s eye, he saw the Sister giving the girl her benediction and forgiving her of her sins.

Before the young woman could wake from her evil dreams, he was gone, smoke in the night. He was weak, weak living in this wretched place, yet, weak as he was, he had to do something about the Sister. She was ruining what little he had, and he would not allow it. He let his smokey form waft on the breeze towards the abbey which stood on the nearby hilltop, a moldering reminder of the Catholic past of this place.

The building was small, built from stone quarried hundreds of miles away and brought to this place by slaves of the Spanish soldiers who had built the abbey for the Jesuits. Their curses against their masters still echoed in the stones. Gruber smiled grimly and took human form before the solid wooden portal. It was best to follow the old ways in these things, he found. He raised his hand and knocked at the door.

After the Spanish had banished the Jesuit order from the country, the abbey had been the home of a Spanish family who had ruled the area for centuries before abandoning the village and its occupants. The edifice had sat empty for many long years before the Catholic church had sent their representatives to this tiny outpost of the faith. When Gruber had arrived, the priest had led the tiny congregation. That was before the Sister came.

Father Domingo answered the door. The priest was a short, stubby, obnoxious little man, which was doubtless why the church had sent him to this god forsaken outpost. He scowled at Gruber.

“It is late,” he said. “What do you want?”

“Forgive a weary traveler, Father,” said Gruber, his Spanish coming haltingly. “I am in need of your help.”

“What is your need, my son?” asked the Priest.

“I was lost in the jungle for many weeks,” Gruber lied, “May I come in, Father?”

“Can you not return tomorrow, my son?” asked the priest.

“I have nowhere to stay, Father,” Gruber lied again.

“You can sleep in the courtyard,” the priest said grudgingly.

As Gruber entered past him, Father Domingo choked. Gruber allowed his human form to become something more horrific.

“What in heaven’s name?” gasped the priest.

He reached into his shirt an pulled out a crucifix and held it between them.

“This is hallowed ground,” he managed. “Begone, servant of Satan.”

“Ah, but you yourself offered me sanctuary,” said Gruber, enjoying the fear which rolled off the little man in waves. “And you yourself defiled this place by bringing boys from the village here.”

Domingo’s eyes widened. He turned to run, and found Gruber already between him and the inner door. The man began praying to the virgin, and the crucifix shook in his still outstretched hand. Gruber pounced. In seconds, he had begun draining the man. Energy flooded into him as the priest screamed and flailed weakly. Done, Gruber left the lifeless corpse where it lay and entered the abbey. He shed his corporeal form and floated like a ghost through the hallway. He scanned the cells on his left, hoping to catch the Sister at rest. He walked about the entire outside of the abbey, and finally came to a door on his right.

Pushing the door open, Gruber advanced into the inner courtyard. To his right, a cloister ran down one side. Ahead, a small chapel stood empty. To his left, a fountain stood dry and desolate before the doors of the church. Darting past it, he checked the chapel on the north side of the church, but it too stood empty. The Sister had chosen to meet him in the place that he would be the weakest, in the church proper.

Grasping the handle, Gruber pulled the church door open, resisting the urge to scream as the wood burned into his dead flesh. Unlike the stone walls, this place had been lovingly built by the Jesuits themselves. Centuries of prayers, hopes and dreams suffused the air as he entered the vestibul. He went around the left side of the tall partition and into the nave of the church. The power of the place shredded his demonic form, and he allowed it to dissolve away into smoke. Walking in front of one of the long pews, which judging from the dust had sat empty for many years, he crossed to the left side of the nave. He could see the Sister, kneeling before the alter, in the sanctuary behind the pulpit.

To an ordinary man, she would have seemed to be merely a middle aged woman, plain but not ugly, in a nun’s habit. Gruber’s eyes saw her as a brilliant, painfully bright luminous being. Energy flowed into her from above, then slowly defused outward from her body, permeating the space around her. Though he had been as silent as the grave, she sensed him and, finishing her prayer, stood and turned to face him. Light shone from her face and hands, blasting him like the hot wind from a furnace. He summoned all of his hatred for her and held his ground.

“You have come,” she said, “as I knew you would. I have known of you for a long time. You are what drew me to this place.”

“Do you know what I am,” said Gruber, taking shadowy form to make the words.

“You are a remnant of a great evil,” she said. “It is time for you to let go, to leave this place, this miserable existence you cling to.”

“I have faced the greatest vampire hunters the Vatican ever trained,” said Gruber defiantly. “Do you think you can succeed where they have failed?”

He willed himself to take human form, coalescing before her. Her aura tore at him, and he found himself dipping deep into the energy he had absorbed from the priest to keep himself looking young and handsome, as he had once been many centuries before. He stood tall, hoping to see fear in her eyes, or at least loathing, but he found only compassion.

“I am not here to hunt you,” she said, “but to offer you peace at last.”

She held out her hands to him, and light blazed about her head. He gritted his teeth as raw power flowed from her fingertips into him, sapping his strength. Everything he had ever feared, dissolution, hell, the unknown black world of death, battered at him. Steeling himself, he leaped forward, putting all he had into one final blow. The Sister threw her arms about him, embracing him as his hand tore through her chest, crushing her ribs, puncturing her lung and crushing her heart. The last words he heard as her light burned him away to nothing were “We go together.”

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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