Written In Blood

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Snap Fingers
by Kenneth Gallant
Illustrated by Rich Leggatt

Dhabi sat at the corner of the bar and drinking endlessly in silence. His matted shaggy hair was hanging down over his eyes concealing the malicious look he possessed. No one was going near him this evening and that was just the way he liked it, since the smell of humans irritated his nostrils.

He was drinking Guinness, and after several pints the syrupy taste of alcohol fermented atrociously in his mouth. He wasn’t accustomed to the pleasurable vices of men, but he was enjoying the atmosphere of pub life just the same.

The place was dark, dingy and filled with ribald laughter of men and women. It also smelled of mould and tobacco congealing into a familiar scent not unlike the smell of places he usually frequented.

Dhabi was traveling incognito, although he preferred to view this as a holiday away from the depressing throes of life in hell. In truth he was here hiding out under the stolen powers of a Djinn, and using them to shape change. He hated the idea of walking around in a human skin, but it was the only way to conceal himself from his fiery brethren.

He left hell over a week ago; citing irreconcilable differences with his long time mate Changing Bear Maiden. They got into a fierce punch-up over Dhabi’s excessive gluttony, and his never ending dissatisfaction turned their relationship upside down. Changing Bear Maiden did her best to please him, preparing his meals and always striving to become a model housekeeper no matter how unsatisfied he became.

This went on for quite some time until she finally snapped in the kitchen. Gone was her gentle virginal beauty, and replaced with wrath, allowing she to shape change into the vengeful spirit of the lethal she-bear. She roared with ferocity and charged after him, only he was adept enough to heed her outburst by taking flight.

He was the lord of the flies after all, often seen as Baal Zebub, even as Gluttony. He took his rightful place as the fifth deadliest sin in all of hell, and proudly possessed an endless maw of gluttony never satiated. He ruled over all excessive eating and drinking and he lived to eat until it escalated beyond forgetfulness.

Dhabi had no idea what true gratitude meant, and that’s why he found himself knee deep in shit. He made matters worse by continually eluding Changing Bear Maiden, until her furious rage nearly tore all of hell asunder. She swore to find him and vowed to rip his wings off before forcing him to dine on toads and drink putrid water until the brink of sobriety.

Dhabi shuddered at the thought and he became desperate enough to scheme for a way out of hell. Luckily for him he managed to steal the powerful embers of a Djinn’s abilities to aid him in escaping, and he headed to the Earth.

So here he sat in secret, grossed out by the slimy feeling of human skin and drinking like a true glutton. His situation wasn’t ideal, but it was better than returning to hell to face the wrath of his beloved and one truly pissed off Djinn.

* * * *

Eric vehemently snapped his fingers in front of Gayle’s face.
“Gayle? Are you listening?”
He quickly snapped his fingers again until she eventually answered him.
“I’m listening,” she finally said.
“Boy, if I had the ability to snap my fingers and make all this shit between us go away…man, I’d be so happy.”
“Well you don’t,” Gayle replied.
“I know,” Eric admitted. He let the exchange between them drop, and reloaded his thoughts. He was searching for a quick comeback, a real zinger to spit back at her. Then it hit him.
“Ok…so as I was saying…did you know the human heart beats about 103,680 times a day?” He asked her.
“No, I didn’t,” she responded coldly.
Eric grimaced at her before shrugging his shoulders in disgust. He was giving her that look again, and he knew it got to her. He swiped his beer from the table and leaned back in his chair, taking a swig from the bottle. He looked at her coyly afterwards.
“I bet your heart only beats half as less, “he said tersely.
Gayle frowned at his remark then stuck her tongue out at him. Eric immediately responded by flipping her the bird, thus infuriating her in the process.
“Cute,” she said to him before getting up from the table. Gayle made her way to the back of bar and quickly deposited herself into the washroom. Eric watched her leave and then he turned to the bar.
The bartender shrugged his shoulders at him and started chuckling. “See…I told you. Never piss off a woman with shit like that. She’ll never take you seriously now.”
Eric kept quiet. He then drained the rest of the bottle and got up from the table.
“Where you goin?” the bartender asked him.
“Where else…to apologize,” Eric said to him. He walked towards the back, navigating past an ensemble of pool players all wielding pool sticks like it was a jousting contest. Several of the players urged him to join in, but Eric never liked the game of pool. In fact he never even enjoyed darts, so he was quick to decline them.

He wanted to find Gayle and apologize for his remark before it had a chance of cementing in completely. The last thing he needed was Gayle being angry with him, since he knew she was capable of holding a grudge for eternity.

Eric slipped in behind the pool players and glanced across to a dingy corner of the bar. The washrooms were tucked into that same corner and the walls surrounding them were coated in grease and stained from years of cigarette smoke build-up.

It looked so unappealing to Eric, but he ignored the walls and instead flicked his eyes from left to right. He couldn’t spot Gayle and was close to turning back when the sound of someone whistling caught his attention.

Eric turned around and was jolted by a sight he never dared was possible. Gayle was sitting on the lap of a man mostly concealed in shadow. The two were seated in a booth in the opposite corner.
“Lookin’ for me,” Gayle said to him.
“What’s goin’ on?” Eric replied and then made his way over to the booth.

He watched Gayle flirt with the man, but he seemed disinterested in her advances. Instead he tried blocking her wandering hand from reaching his crotch. It was a gesture that obviously wasn’t appreciated, so Gayle stopped herself and then removed her hand.

Then without warning the man suddenly pushed Gayle aside and lifted himself up from the shadows that concealed him.

Eric and Gayle both looked at him in shock, as the light splashed his features, revealing a face only a mother could love. The man had a severely gaited appearance, especially around the cheeks, chin and forehead. His skin was rough like sandpaper and it was sinisterly dashed with dark eyebrows and deep seeded eyes. His nose was hawk-like and it hung down from his face like a hook on the wall. He also had matted shaggy hair that gave him the look of a derelict.

Gayle remained transfixed on his appearance and now she was wondering what she was originally thinking. He didn’t appear like that when she first sat down on his lap, but looking at him now she was obviously mistaken.

She looked over at Eric and wondered what he was thinking. She only meant to get him back for his remark, but somehow it may have backfired on her. She flicked her gaze back at the man and suddenly felt fearful of him. She then stepped back away from him and stood closer to Eric. The man seemed angry, and when he stood fully, he was more imposing than ever before. He didn’t at all resemble the derelict they mistook him for, despite his haggard appearance.

He snarled at them both and raised a hand into the air, as if he was about to snap his fingers. But suddenly he stopped and looked at them sternly.

“Do you wish to make a wager with me?” he said to them.
“What kind of wager?” Eric asked him cautiously.
“Well it seems the two of you are both gluttons for punishment. Care to make a wager on that?”
“What are the stakes?” replied Eric. He sounded intrigued, but Gayle was against it. She turned to Eric and pleaded hard for him to forget the wager altogether.
“Let’s forget this Eric. I was only trying to get you back.”
“I know but let’s hear him out first. He is right about us being gluttons for punishment though.”
“So what if he is. It doesn’t mean we just go right ahead and bargain with him all of a sudden.”
Eric grimaced at her. “Well I wasn’t the one who sat down on his lap either!”
The remark stung her now and Gayle gave him one of those forget-sleeping-with-me-tonight looks that implicitly stated the unhealthiness of their relationship. They were indeed a bickering couple and the haggard looking man had a grin that resembled a slash extending from ear to ear because of it. He started laughing out loud, until Eric and Gayle both looked at him.
“What’s so funny?” asked Eric.
“The two of you. I am reminded of my own plight with my beloved maiden,” he said to the two of them.
“Are you married?” Gayle asked him.
“Not in the traditional sense, but I am bound to her for all eternity.”
“Wow! Now that’s nice,” Gayle said before turning to Eric. She slapped him hard on the arm. “Now why can’t you be more like that?”
“What? I’m romantic…most of the time.”
“Yeah…you’re idea of romance is ordering a pizza and renting a flick. We can’t even make love for more than five minutes before you cum and roll off me!” Gayle snapped at him.
“Hey…now that’s hitting below the belt.”
“Really? Well if the shoe fits then wear it,” Gayle snorted before turning her back on him.

Eric was fuming now. This tiff with Gayle was slowly escalating into a full-fledged fight, and it was also well past the amusing stage for the haggard looking man also.

He started seeing his beloved standing there and this was the last thing he wanted reminding him right now. He originally came here to escape his past troubles, but now this bickering couple brought it all back. This couldn’t go on any longer and the wager he was willing to make would have to be nixed.

He needed to act quickly and all it took was a simple snap of his fingers and it would be done. He looked at them both and then decided to dispatch them to an arena where they could continue this grudge match alone and away from him. So he quickly put his thumb and two fingers together and flicked them, creating that all too familiar snapping sound. Within mere seconds both were gone, transported to another plane of existence altogether.

Now he could sit back in the booth drinking his Guinness in peace, and forget all about being the lord of the flies.

* * * *

Eric awoke to darkness.

He was cold, extremely hungry and he found himself alone. Gayle was nowhere to be found, and he wondered where she had gone. He quickly got to his feet and started walking along the desolate landscape. He wasn’t sure of his direction, nor did he fully understand the events in the bar. One minute he was arguing with Gayle, and the next minute he found himself here.

The trouble was where was here? Eric pondered this question as he walked quickly. Finally he came to a ridge, which slopped down to another plateau. Eric climbed down it and at the bottom he was surprised to find Gayle there. She was panicking and looked to be at the end of her wits, while edging away from a creature that defied all logic.

This creature was tall and rail thin. It had the head of a dog featuring a pair of curved horns sprouting behind its ears. The horns curved forward into an arc and they were razor sharp. It also had a man’s body, but it possessed a curling pig-like tail and a pair of talon feet to offset its fantastical appearance.

Eric looked on in shock as the creature stood in front of Gayle with its back turned to her. It had both of its hands grasping onto its butt cheeks, spreading them wide to reveal a pink puckered anus.

The creature was moaning and growling and edging ever so closely towards her.“Lick my anus…” it ordered her. “The fifth is a furious beast, after which no restraint…” it shrieked out.

Eric kept his distance as he figured out what to do. He wasn’t sure if storming the creature was the appropriate tactic, but he couldn’t let it harm Gayle. He gulped hard and then made a beeline towards the monstrous pervert.

He jumped up into the air, screeching at the top of his lungs. He was hurtling himself directly at the creature, but his timing was totally off. The beast caught him out of the corner of its eye and crouched down on all fours, allowing Eric to miss him entirely. He then landed down hard on his ass, putting himself out of commission.

Gayle was dumbfounded by his knuckleheaded move and she slapped a hand to forehead in disgust.
“You idiot,” she shouted out to him. “Now what am I gonna’ do?” She looked away from Eric and focused her attention back to the ass obsessed creature, demon or whatever you wanted to call it. She knew it was ugly and the thought of being forced to lick the ass end of the beast totally repulsed her.

She squeezed her fist real tight and waited for the monster to begin approaching her again. As soon as the beast got within an arm’s length of her, she raised her arm and sent it rocketing towards the creature. Her fist connected instantly, jarring the beast forward so that it landed back on all fours. She couldn’t stop herself now, and then continued her assault by giving the creature a good swift kick to the ass.

The beast howled out in pain, but before it had the chance to recover Gayle dashed away from it, picking up Eric in the process. Eric was still feeling dazed, but he managed to get to his feet regardless, following behind Gayle as best he could. The two bolted the scene as quickly as possible and headed further into the desolate landscape, not knowing where they were going.

After that it didn’t take them long to find trouble eclipsing them again. The pair wandered about the strange landscape as if in a daze, while seeking a semblance of familiarity. Eric felt they were dreaming this, but Gayle knew differently. They debated about it until both were completely lost in the discussion, forgetting entirely about their current direction. Eventually Eric was the first to notice their surroundings.

“My god…” he blurted out.
“What?” Gayle replied.
“Take a look around you…it’s an oasis!”

Gayle did as he suggested and she was completely shocked as well. The first thing her eyesight spied upon was the thick vegetation clustered throughout the area. She also took note of the trees sprouting from within the same area, and of how ripe each branch was with exotic looking fruits of various shapes and sizes.

She immediately rushed ahead of Eric and plucked a palm-sized piece of fruit from the closest branch. She held it in her hand, feeling the weight of it before biting down and devouring it as quickly as possible.

“This is good,” she said with a mouthful, and then eyed another piece of fruit. She plucked that off and tossed it to Eric.

“Here silly…you must be starved too.”
“I am, “Eric said and caught the fruit in his hand. He ignored the protruding shape and bit into it just as quickly as Gayle did.
“Man-this is good,” he said out loud. Eric practically inhaled it and then looked for the nearest branch to grab another piece of fruit. Gayle was already finishing her second and spied a third before Eric noticed her appetite.
“Gee Gayle…you really are hungry. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this hungry before?”
“I’m starving! I don’t know why but I just can’t get enough… whatever it is.”
“Me too. Great food always makes me forget one of our arguments, “Eric said to her before lifting a piece of fruit from the branch above his head. Gayle watched him bite into it, while she thought about what he just said. It’s true about good food, and it always did put an end to their bickering.

She actually had a smile now upon thinking about it, and she just stood there watching him polish off the piece of fruit. Now it was time for another and this time Eric wasted little time retrieving his third piece of fruit. This one was a bit stubby on the fat end of it, but it thinned out some on the topside. He clutched it in his hand like a prized trophy and then opened his mouth wide enough to chomp down hard on the thin end of it.

But something totally unexpected happened. The piece of fruit he had in his mouth tasted funny, almost coppery and very pungent. He quickly spat it out, spewing up pieces of slimy green-coated meat onto the ground.

Gayle screamed once she saw that Eric was upchucking pieces of a toad from his mouth, and as soon as he looked down at the remaining piece in his hand he saw it too.

“Christ,” shouted Eric as he flung the headless body of the toad from his hand. “I’ve been poisoned,” he screamed out.

He then started gasping for breath and quickly felt his stomach. “My god…what if all that fruit we ate were toads?”

“It can’t be. I ate three of them and I’m fine,” Gayle said before feeling a rumble in her own stomach. Then all of a sudden she started upchucking as well, regurgitating a massive stream of foul smelling green puke. She fell to her knees and continued puking until she emptied herself completely.

Eric bent down beside her. “Are you alright?” he asked her.
“I think so, but I need some water.”
“So do I,” Eric told her and then got back up to his feet again. He walked several steps away from Gayle and then as if by way of miracle, spotted a small stream.

“Hey look…a stream,” he shouted out to Gayle. She got up immediately and charged towards him, diving both of her hands into the water. She quickly brought them up cupped, and applied her lips to them, drinking the water heartily. It didn’t take her long to gulp it down to rid the taste of puke from her mouth, but when she bent down for more it hit her.

“The water…” she gasped. “It tastes putrid…”
Gayle fell back from the stream, landing down hard on her side. She started writhing and squirming about before placing both hands on her stomach.
“It hurts so much…” she cried out.

Eric was beside himself. He felt as helpless as he watched her gasping for breath. He didn’t know what to do, and the longer he starred at her, the more apparent it became. The debate they had earlier about this place being real or not had been decided. They were dreaming this and it suddenly became a nightmare.

* * * *

The bar was jam packed to the gills. It was only a Tuesday evening, but most of the weekend revelers were out in full force for some reason. Perhaps it was in lieu of the difficult workweek that lay ahead for most of these people, but one could only guess at this early stage of the game.

But as usual, there were several people hanging at the back, who were all eager to take in a game of pool. Two guys and a woman were arguing over whom was going to play whom first, and the argument threatened to break out into a full-fledged fight. The three started trading a series of insults, and the longer it went on the more it disturbed the man sitting in the booth opposite them.

The man was alone, probably because of his haggard looking appearance. He sat quietly in the booth and drank a pint of Guinness. Most of the regulars had seen him often sitting in the same spot drinking the same draft night in and night out. It was as if the man never left, but tonight he was waiting for someone, and as if on cue a fellow street urchin slithered in. This street urchin made his way to the back and sat down in the booth next to the haggard looking man. He appeared strung out, was disheveled looking and comparable to his fellow counterpart seated across from him. He immediately stuck a hand in his pocket and lifted out a wad of bills, and then deposited them on the table.

“I’ve got your money,” he croaked. “Now let’s get this over with.”
“Alright,” the haggard looking man said. He slapped his hand down hard onto the bills, allowing his grimy fingers to drag the money across the table. He placed the wad of bills into his coat pocket and then leaned back.

“You’re wish is my command,” he said to him and then smiled maliciously. He placed his thumb and two fingers together and flicked them with the assuredness of a surgeon. The snapping sound it made was sharp and quick enough to complete the transaction within a five second span.

“That’s it?” the street urchin asked.
“That’s it. You’re troubles are over and this loan shark is in his own hell. He won’t be cajoling your other arm out from the socket like he did last time.”
“Are you sure?” the street urchin pleaded with him.
“Always,” the haggard looking man replied. “Do not forget that I am known as Dhabi, as Baal Zebub, as Gluttony, and as the lord of the flies.”

The street urchin got up from the table now, but asked him one final question before heading out.
“So which name do I use to tell others about you?”
“Tell them to ask for Snap Fingers, and I’ll oblige them with a wager no man can refuse.”

By Kenneth Gallant for HMS

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