The vibration was so severe it rattled the delicate teacups in their bone-china saucers. The walls seemed to shiver and the pink tasselled uplighter shook violently, throwing jerky shadows across the magnolia walls. Even the heavy wooden crucifix above the fireplace shook.
Her mother’s eyes narrowed, her lips pursed even tighter than Jane would have thought possible. A thin, bloodless line of disapproval.
Jane nervously followed her mother’s eyes upwards to the ceiling. Right above them was Paul’s room. It was the headboard of the bed that was making the noise, banging rhythmically on the wall. Accompanied by the sounds of teenage grunting and pleasure.
Jane’s eyes met her mother’s briefly, and then looked away.
“I would have expected young Paul to have grown out of…that sort of thing.” This was met with a snigger from Don. He grinned at the ceiling and then turned back to the paper.
Both women turned to him. Jane’s eyes widened, her expression saying don’t make this worse, you know what she’s like!
“Something amuses you, Donald?” her mother said icily. “As the boy’s father, it is your duty to curb him of such habits.”
Don folded the paper with a sigh and tossed it onto the coffee table. “Habits? Come on, Bridget. The boy’s having a wank, that’s all.”
The sudden intake of breath sounded like a snake’s hiss. The old woman’s thin cheeks coloured suddenly as if she’d been slapped. Don grinned wider, taking obvious pleasure in his mother-in-law’s reaction. Jane sighed inwardly and shrank back into the sofa. Another battle was looming.
“Not in my house, he isn’t! And you will not use such filthy language in my presence!” She edged closer to the table, hunched over the rattling crockery. A skeletal finger was jabbed in his direction.
“And remember, it is your fault that you are all here. A real man would have held on to his job, wouldn’t have allowed his family to be thrown out of their – “
“It’s the recession, you stupid old moose!” Don’s grin vanished, replaced with anger and stung male pride. “If you read the papers instead of that voodoo spellbook you’d have some idea of what’s going on in the real world.”
Jane shrank back even further. Now he’d crossed the line. The vibrations were stronger now, the crucifix shaking violently on the hook. As though God Himself was making his displeasure known. While above, the fifteen year old boy’s own pleasure was all too obvious.
“How dare you insult the Holy Bible in such a fashion! It is the Word of God!” Bridget screeched. She turned sharply to her daughter. Spittle flew from her lips. “This is His punishment, Jane. You disobeyed His will by marrying this wastrel, and taking his feckless son into your home – “
“Oh, so she deserved to lose her home? Me getting the boot from the warehouse and then the bailiffs turfing us out – that’s God’s will?” Don stood up. His muscular bulk towered over her, the shaven hair on his scalp brushing against the low ceiling. Despite his size, in Jane’s eyes he looked smaller than the diminutive, wasted frame of her seated mother.
Bridget sat back calmly, her arms folding. Unfazed by the aggressive stance of her son-in-law.
“Of course it is,” she said smugly. “God hath delivered her to me. Now I can undo the vile poison and corruption that festered in her soul. But only if she will listen to the Word…”
Jane swallowed noisily as Bridget’s eyes swivelled in her direction and fixed her with a gloating smile.
You WILL listen! And I’ll do my best to turn you against your man and his son.
The unspoken thought was picked up by Don. He may have been a manual worker, but he was no fool.
“Don’t even go there, bollock-chops! You’ve ruined enough of her life – you ain’t going to destroy any more. Ah, fuck this.” He strode over to the door and pulled it open savagely. The door slammed shut behind him.
“Off to the pub, I’ll be bound,” Bridget said knowingly.
Jane didn’t answer. And she couldn’t blame Don. Right now, she felt like joining him.
The echo of the slamming front door gave way to the repeated banging of the headboard above them. Flakes of plaster fell from the moulded cornice, and then the crucifix fell to the floor.
It was a thick pile carpet, snow white. And yet the soft thud the wooden cross made as it landed sounded like the crack of doom. Christ lay face down, suffocated by the thick pile.
It had an explosive effect on Bridget. She shot to her feet and grabbed Jane’s arm. The fingernails felt like nails piercing the soft fabric of her sweater, digging into her bicep.
“Come with me!” her mother shrieked.
Jane felt like she was eight years old, yet again being dragged up the stairs to her room with no supper for some imagined slight. Some innocent child’s comment that had been taken the wrong way, interpreted as a slur against the Almighty. Bridget held the retrieved crucifix close to her chest as she stormed up the stairs, dragging her child behind her. She muttered humble entreaties to the carving, begging the Lord for forgiveness. A small rounded piece of fluff from the carpet transferred itself from the head of Christ to Bridget’s lips.
The banging and orgasmic cries were louder with each step.
“This self-pollution will stop - right now!” The piece of fluff remained, stuck to Bridget’s moistened upper lip like a globule of cum.
Despite herself, Jane started to laugh. Self-pollution? God, how ancient is that term? Don’s right, my mum’s still living in Dickens’ times!
She’d once caught Paul in his act of self-pleasure three months ago. She’d thought he was out with his friends as there was no noise blaring from the TV or the Xbox he usually played during the evenings. It had felt safe to go in, to pick up the dirty clothes he left piled in a festering heap beside the bedside cabinet.
The curtains had been drawn, the light off – the only reason there had been no movement under the rumpled bedclothes was because her step-son had been frozen rigid, immobile with embarrassment at being caught. His small eyes had looked like those of a cornered rat, beady, black and furtive in the dim light spilling in from the hallway.
She had jumped in alarm as the duvet cover fell to the floor. His nakedness was fully exposed, his thin frame with muscles yet to develop looking pasty and fragile in the hall light. But it was the swollen mass in his groin that had made her eyes bulge in disbelief – and concern.
The door to Paul’s bedroom – her bedroom, so many years ago – was thrown forcefully inward. Her mother had decided not to bother with courtesy or consideration, not with dark, Satanic acts committed in this house of piety.
“Stop this ungodliness right now, young man!” The cum-like globule of carpet fluff flew from Bridget’s lips, landing in Jane’s eye. She blinked and pulled her arm free from her mother’s iron grip.
There was no resistance. Bridget’s grip was loose, the slackened fingers falling away, almost as slack as the mouth that gaped in disbelief at the sight that greeted them both.
Jane had expected it to be a repeat of her discovery three months ago. Back in her former home the walls had been thick and solid, and unlike the metal-sprung bedstead in this house Paul’s bed had been a divan with no headboard. Any sounds from a furiously masturbating boy were slight, to say the least.
But the sight should have been the same. The swollen mass in Paul’s groin had been grey and shapeless. Some rank smelling fluid had seeped through the folds of the sack-like covering as it writhed and pulsated in the frantic teenager’s hand. Jane remembered the unearthly sight of it sliding to the floor, falling to the folds of the duvet cover like a snake seeking shelter.
What greeted Jane and Bridget was completely different. The swollen mass wasn’t in Paul’s groin – it was Paul’s groin.
When the sack-like thing had fallen to the floor three months ago Jane had been convinced that it was still moving. The slimy, glistening fluid had seeped from the base like some awful form of the ectoplasm she had seen flying around in the film Ghostbusters.
“Could’ve been worse, Jane.” Don had told her later. “When I was a kid I used to wank into a pair of me girlfriend’s knickers. At least he used an old sock, didn’t go rummaging through yer drawers…so to speak.”
She had almost slapped him. Now she wished he was here. Perhaps he would make light of the terrifying scene in front of them.
Or maybe not. His son wanking into an old sock was one thing. His son lying in bed with two huge, swollen glands that looked ready to burst was something else. Even Bridget was speechless.
Both gonads were swollen to the size of rugby balls. No longer pink and hairy, but smooth and lobster red. The pubic hairs had burned away.
And not from friction burns caused by the frantic masturbation that still continued in front of the horrified women’s gaze. The material covering the thin shaft of Paul’s member was smouldering, the fibres crisping and blackening as it shot up and down in a rapid blur. The smell of burning fibres mingled with the stench of cremated hair and a faint hint of something that reminded Jane of the undercooked pork her mother used to serve for Sunday lunch.
Paul’s bulging, terror-filled eyes met his step-mother’s. His lips parted in a mute plea for help.
Finally, Bridget spoke. Her hands were no longer trembling. The hand that lifted the crucifix was firm and steady, full of purpose. The carving was pointed directly at Paul’s testicles. There was a distance of a mere three feet between Paul’s left gonad and the crown of thorns that pierced Christ’s wooden head.
“See!” Bridget shrieked. “Behold the dread fate that awaits those who would self pollute! Witness the Abomination!”
Jane couldn’t tear her horrified stare from the swollen testes. Blood vessels bulged under the skin like thick cords, even redder than the skin. And they writhed ceaselessly.
“I – have to…to get it – it out of meee…” Paul’s gasping words melted into a high pitched scream.
Bridget’s response was less than sympathetic. Her eyes narrowed as she saw what was covering Paul’s member.
“Is that my stole?”
Stole? What’s she on about now?
“It is!” Bridget shrieked. “The stole the Archbishop gave me when he visited my church! Your godless fosterling’s wanking into it!”
Despite his agony, Paul heard the accusation and tried to respond.
“Coul…couldn’t help it…so – so silky…”
Bridget rounded on Jane, her eyes blazing.. “The Demon that lurks within us all – Paul has given it a taste of freedom by self-abuse, by desecrating a holy vestment! See how it seeks entry to our world, birthing itself in a mockery of the Lord’s gift of procreation!”
The swollen testicles heaved and pulsated. Waves of heat rolled over them, raising the temperature of the stuffy room. The blood vessels were almost solid.
This was too much. Jane found her inner strength, clutched onto it and dragged it from the bottom of her being. Demon?
A taste of freedom?
“Don’t be ridiculous, mother! Paul’s ill, he needs medical help. I’ll phone for an ambulance – “
“It is too late! The taste of freedom is not enough – it will hunger for more. The boils of Beelzebub must be lanced – the instrument of Our Lord’s suffering will be a holy weapon…” Bridget kissed the top of Christ’s head and advanced. The sharpened point of the crucifix pressed into the left gonad…
From the beer garden in the pub opposite Bridget’s house, Don stood speechless at the sight of the thing that exploded from the upstairs window in a torrent of creamy fluid. His cigarette drooped from his dropping jaw, spilling ash down his shirt. His pint glass hit the cobbled ground, but the shattering of glass was masked by the wet thudding sound of the black and white object that landed on the empty road that separated the two buildings.
The object was motionless. It was also human. Don raised his eyes to the shattered bedroom window it had flown – or rather, been forced from.
Paul’s room, he thought. The sudden silence that fell over his fellow smokers in the beer garden was broken by a long female wail of horror coming from that room.
Don pushed open the garden gate and ran into the road. As he got closer to the motionless form he could see it wasn’t his son. Relief gave way to bewilderment, confusion – and then fear.
The broken, black clad figure lying in a sticky pool of glistening slime and fragments of broken window glass was Bridget. It was female, so it had to be. That was Jane screaming upstairs, so what was on the ground was undoubtedly old bollock-chops…
But what the hell is on her face?
Then the smell hit him. He recoiled, gagging on the vomit that rose in him.
A stench of sulphur, burning meat and something else. Now he knew what the gallons of sticky, milky-opaque slime that drenched his mother in law’s lifeless body was. He thought back to the pounding sounds of his son’s self-pleasure…
No way! That can’t all have come from one teenage kid! Nothing on Earth could have produced all that...
He also knew what those scarlet, fleshy sacs covering Bridget’s face were. And he knew where – or rather, who – they had come from.
He looked up at the bedroom window. Jane was standing in full view, shaking uncontrollably, seemingly unaware of the ejaculate that covered her like an upturned bucket of wallpaper paste. She raised a trembling hand, a finger jerking as it pointed to the thing lying in front of her husband.
The smell was stronger now. The sulphurous undertones were predominant.
Nothing on Earth, he thought again, and stared in horror at the punctured scrotal sacs on Bridget’s face. They rose, inflating like balloons, then steadily deflated. Inflated again. And then deflated.
Breathing. Drawing life into the body. The body that now rose, getting to its feet with a sucking sound as the cum-sodden tarmac reluctantly released its prisoner.
The stench of ejaculate and sulphur was a tangible, physical thing that would have had him vomiting once more if it hadn’t been for the awful voice that thundered down the street. A terrifying voice that spoke from a different plane of existence, one that struck his whole body with so much fear even the vomit froze in his stomach.
Demon’s seed, it chuckled.
Old bollock-chops had a new voice. It licked the ejaculate from its lips with an impossibly large, forked tongue that was as black as night. It swallowed, grinned at Don, and then spoke again.
A taste of freedom.