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Ozg Videl

Ozg'Videl lifts her hood further over her shoulders; her form up here is more subtle than her true one, but a bald woman dripping blood is still less than acceptable. Her blood, meant to remind her of the deaths on her hands, evaporates harmlessly as soon as it drips off her chin. She long ago stopped trying to wipe it away. The open wounds on her skull will never heal. It doesn't matter. She's going down to Hell in a couple hours, so this form will peel off and melt away, revealing her beautiful horns, and the double row of fangs. Ozg'Videl rubs her chin once, already feeling the bones there beginning to split and elongate. The ache in her jaw will turn to agony soon enough. She's been inhabiting an old church for the past couple days, finding a kind of irony in it that almost brings a smile to her face. If she could smile. In this skin, there's only enough give to achieve a kind of grimace, exposing more teeth than should be able to fit in a human mouth. The church will do during the long, painful process of returning to her true form and the high, echoing stone walls will make her screams loud enough to haunt anyone residing nearby. How delightful. 

May 21, 2018 03:50 pm

Ozg Videl

Ozg'Videl knew it was time to go home when she woke up one morning to find her horns emerging as little nubs from her forehead. It's only so long that she's allowed reprieve from her punishments, so she can return to them with fresh horror. Her time above was pleasant enough, spent with a couple werewolves and a witch in the American South. But Ozg'Videl always winds up missing home. After so much time spent in Hell, it starts to grow its own charms. The hot blood on her skin, the sound of flesh peeling from bone, the sensation of tasting her own marrow every time she's seized by the horns and tossed around. She tips her head back, looking through the cracked stained glass that's smearing rainbow colors across her still mosty human skin. Outside it's bright for once, and she can hear humans chattering as they pass by. If she wanted to, Ozg'Videl could lure them inside, send them back out with black eyes and bad intentions. She's never really been that kind of demon, though. She mostly gets off on the punishment. She could go out, drink deep on screams and torture, come back with a finger or two tucked in her pocket to snack on later. But...she'll be home soon, and that's worth waiting for. She settles down on her haunches to wait.

May 21, 2018 10:41 pm

Ozg Videl

She senses someone trying to steal from her and turns her head. "Leave me the **** alone," she says.

May 26, 2018 10:20 pm

Ozg Videl

Ozg'Videl decides to pass the time before she returns to Hell by remembering the story of two of her friends. Because demons read minds, of course she will tell it from their points of view. Of course. Perhaps the story will seem familiar....

June 25, 2018 09:23 pm

Ozg Videl


Georgia, 1961



When Jenny is twenty one, just after she breaks up with boring, predictable Hal, a new girl comes to town. Tall and quiet, she has hair red as blood, which is more dramatic than Jenny usually lets herself be. She hasn’t been much for that kind of talk in her life, but Bo, as she calls herself…She looks like something out of a nightmare. Eyes too dark and face too thin. Hungry.



 Jenny finds herself interested in Bo, even though she’s only been in town for a few weeks. Bo watches her, holds Jenny’s eyes with her own. Since Jenny broke the engagement with Hal, she’s been alone. Jenny has always been the weird girl anyway, too quiet, too close to her Mama. Eyes on her constantly, everyone in town looking down on her for bad choices. What’s another pair? Every time she turns, there’s Bo, smiling with white teeth.  



***



“That girl…” Jenny’s mother begins after dinner as she passes Jenny a dish to dry.



“What girl, Mama?” Jenny asks, lost in thought.



“The new girl.” Their town is small. There’s only one new girl. Bo. “Do you know that she’s bought the house where the Kelvins used to live?”



            The Kelvins died in a brutal murder/suicide when Jenny was ten. She still remembers all the cop cars and sirens. Jenny’s father had left the next year, before he, “Made the same mistake himself.” At the time, Jenny had assumed that he was afraid of killing her mom during another one of the fights they were always in. A few months later, though, Jenny’s father hung himself in the motel where he was staying, just outside of town. Jenny didn’t cry at the funeral. She doesn’t miss him.



Her mother’s not expecting an answer, and she doesn’t want one, so Jenny just nods. Her mother hands Jenny a plate and it slips through her hands and falls, shattering, to the floor. For a moment Jenny stares at the mess by her feet, and at the shard piercing her bare big toe. “Oh…” Blood begins to spill, pooling warm around her toes and turning their blue linoleum ugly purple.



“Jenny!” her mother snaps, lightly slapping the back of Jenny’s head so she rocks forward.



“I’m sorry!” She hobbles to the kitchen table as her mother cleans up the mess, the hem of her dress brushing across the floor and getting stained by Jenny’s blood. Her mother will be mad about that later, but right now she’s finished putting all the broken pieces in the garbage, wiping away the blood with bleach and a wet cloth.



Jenny rests her foot on the opposite knee, plucks the shard of plate from her toe with a wince.



“Here, baby.” Gentle for once, Jenny’s mother kneels at her feet, helps her soak up the cut til blood slows to a trickle and they can wrap two bandaids around her toe. Jenny’s mother squeezes her ankle once before she gets to her feet. Her hands rest on her hips. “Don’t think this gets you out of dish duty.”



Jenny nods; no doubt she’ll still be doing laundry later, as well.  “I wouldn’t dream of it, Mama.”



***



Jenny’s on her knees in church when she feels a prickle on the back of her neck. Next to her, her mama has her eyes closed, swaying a little. The church is filled to the rafters with prayers, and Jenny’s mother has contributed at least half of them for her wayward daughter who’s no better than she should be. Jenny’s never had friends, never did well in school. She just wanted to tend her garden and read about ghosts. She’s no better than she should be, but she could be worse.



When Jenny turns, there’s Bo, hovering at the open door of the church, looking for all the world like she was walking and just happened to wander in here. Bo catches Jenny’s eye and waves, grinning. Surely her mouth isn’t as big as it looks. Jenny glances around but no one’s watching; it’s just her and Bo. She’s almost expecting Bo to walk in and join them, settle her long, skinny self right next to Jenny in the pew and mouth along to hymns.



Instead, Bo takes a step into the church before her nose wrinkles like she’s smelling dog ****, and she leaps back, knocking over the holder for the holy water. It spills onto the floor, trickling down the steps at the front. Jenny would swear there’s smoke steaming from Bo’s skin as she runs off, leaving the parishioners to gawk and the priest to yelp and run towards the mess like there’s anything he can do.



            Jenny has a hard time keeping the smile off her face; Bo had looked like a startled cat. A little more light hearted, she bends back to her prayers.



***



After the church fiasco, Bo’s name is mud. She becomes, “That girl, you know, with the holy water,” in the mouths of all the town.



 “Commits sacrilege and doesn’t even apologize,” her mother sniffs over dinner, as Jenny picks through her greens. They seem limper than usual; Jenny’s had a garden in their backyard since she was twelve, and she babies her plants. Values them for the food they bring to the table.



            She and her mother aren’t starving, but money is tight and Jenny hasn’t been able to find another job since she got fired from the Walmart where she used to bag groceries. Jenny was doing well there, until she got caught skimming from the register. She was supposed to marry Hal and live off his money, so she didn’t need it. She just couldn’t resist the challenge. Just another reason for her mother to be angry.



She lifts a baby carrot to her face and squints, trying to decide whether it’s smaller than it should be or if that’s just her imagination. It has been raining a lot lately…



“Jenny B, are you listening to me?” her mother asks, snapping Jenny out of her reverie. Her mother motions with her butter-knife, stabbing towards Jenny.



“No, Mama,” she answers honestly. “I was thinking about my plants.”



“You’re always thinking about your plants.” This is true, so Jenny accepts it with a shrug. “I said, I’d better not see you hanging around with that girl.”



“That girl?” Jenny asks, nonplussed.



 “Bo. The one with the holy water.”



            “Why would I…We’ve never even talked.” Bo just watches her, is all. Constantly. Like when Jenny was at the grocery store the other day, the only place in town she can go now that she’s banned from Walmart. She’d been fishing through a bargain bin of horror movies when she looked up and saw Bo, closer than they’d ever been. Bo hadn’t said anything, just looked Jenny up and down before nodding and heading out. She didn’t even buy something.



Or when Jenny was waiting in the car for her mother to come out of the post office, and Bo had strolled past, stared at Jenny through the shiny glass of the car window, and waved. They may have never talked, but Jenny feels like she knows Bo anyway.



“Maybe. But I know you. You’re a sucker for everything you shouldn’t be.” Her mother has been saying this for years, that Jenny is drawn towards anything her mother disapproves of, including murder and ghosts and, for a memorable period in fifth grade, spiders.



“Okay.” It doesn’t matter to her to keep away from a stranger. Which Bo is. A stranger with a too wide smile and hungry eyes. Who Jenny wishes she didn’t find alluring. She returns to her meal, deciding silence is the best decision here.  



***



It starts in the garden. Jenny rests her butt on her heels, wiping her forehead with the back of her wrist so dirt doesn’t smear, and blows one wayward curl out of her face. She was right; her carrots have been growing in smaller. It’s the bad weather. Storms and long, gray days.



“Hi.”



            Jenny yelps and almost falls back, accidentally ripping a clump of basil from the ground. The air fills with fragrance as Jenny turns to stare at Bo, who stands a couple feet away, at the very edge of Jenny’s yard with her hands in her pockets. Her red hair is slicked back today, accentuating the skeletal sharpness of her cheekbones.



            With Bo’s eyes on her, Jenny is suddenly very aware of how sweaty she is, kneeling in the garden wearing her mother’s old overalls. For God’s sake, her feet are bare. She folds them under herself and smiles. “Hey.”



Bo nods at Jenny’s garden, taking a step closer, off the road, but never into Jenny’s actual yard. “The plants aren’t growing well for you, either?”



Jenny brightens; she never imagined that Bo would be a gardener. And it’s been so long since anyone besides her mother made an effort to talk to her. After she broke off the engagement with Hal…Well. She’s not very popular anymore. Though she never was. “You garden?”



“Sometimes,” Bo says, squatting with her elbows on her knees so she’s at Jenny’s eye level.



“You like to eat vegetables?” she asks hopefully, but Bo shakes her head.



“No.”



            “Then why…”



 “I keep rats.” Bo gives her a wide, toothy smile. “Lots and lots of rats. Have to keep them fed somehow.”



“That’s…nice.”



            “Hm.” Bo starts to say something else, but Jenny’s mother comes bustling out of the house. The fake smile on her face is blinding.



“Can I help you?”



“Oh, I-”



 “You must be lost,” Jenny’s mother interrupts, standing between Jenny and Bo. “Let me help you out, so you can leave.”



            “Sure,” Bo says, easy as anything. “I’m just trying to get to town. Must’ve gotten mixed up.” She leans around Jenny’s mom to wave, still smiling. “I’ll be seeing you, Jenny.”



“Bye!” Jenny calls as Bo walks away, though she knows it’ll piss her mother off.



            Sure enough, soon as Bo is gone, Jenny’s mother rounds on her. “You shouldn’t talk to that girl. She’s different.”



“Sorry, Mama,” Jenny says, shrugging her shoulders and turning back to her plants. Her mother waits a moment before she huffs and walks back into the house. Behind her, Jenny is grinning.



***



Bo’s outside again. It’s the third time this has happened. Jenny didn’t tell her mother when Bo started visiting; she never asks Bo how she knows when Jenny’s mother will be gone. Instead, she lets Bo lean over the fence at the edge of Jenny’s property and smile slow til Jenny spots her through the kitchen window and comes over.  



Jenny finds herself helpless to say no to Bo. She puts aside her sewing without hesitating and picks her way through her backyard til she’s standing opposite to Bo, the old wooden fence between them. The wildflowers at their feet tickle Jenny’s bare toes, especially the one with the bandage still on it.   



“Thought about you today,” Bo says, looking Jenny up and down.



Jenny finds herself blushing. “You did?”



“Sure. Saw this, thought you’d like it.” She produces a velvet box from her pocket, and Jenny’s heart stops…Hal had produced a box like that just a month before, going down on one knee. But it’s only a necklace. Sunflowers, Jenny’s favorite, and the one flower she can’t get to grow here. She beams.



 “It’s lovely! Thank you.”



“Here, I’ll put it on you.” Bo makes a spinning motion with one finger, so Jenny dutifully turns her back. Something about having Bo’s eyes on the vulnerable nape of her neck makes Jenny shiver, but it’s bearable. She feels Bo move in close, touch cool fingers to her skin. The sensation of breath on the back of her neck is hair raising, as Bo finishes clasping the necklace and spins Jenny back around with a gentle touch to her shoulder.



            “How does it look?” Jenny asks, feeling the charm between her collarbones. It’s cold.



 “Beautiful.” Bo’s smiling; Jenny’s beaming up at her. They sway into each other’s space.  “It’s my birthday tomorrow,” Bo tells her. “You should visit me.”



 “How old will you be?”



Bo laughs. It’s the first time Jenny’s heard her laugh; she laughs richly, deeply. Her head tips back, exposing a long, pale throat. “Old enough.”



            They both jump when Jenny’s mother pulls up in the driveway, back home early from getting groceries. Jenny’s just lucky the house blocks the backyard. “Jenny B! Get over here!”



            Jenny’s immediately thankful that the driveway is in front, the house hiding the backyard and the woods behind it from view. She doesn’t want to think of the trouble there would be if her mother saw her out here with Bo.  



            “Come visit me,” Bo says with a smile, grabbing Jenny’s hands and squeezing once. “Whenever you want!” Bo calls over her shoulder as she runs off, disappearing into the thicket of woods behind Jenny’s house. Jenny is left alone to face her mother.



She groans, trudging through the tangled grass of the backyard and around the house to the front. Jenny’s mother hasn’t stepped out of their car, which is still running. Jenny can see how purple her face is through the cracked windshield. Something went wrong at the store, then



 Her mother has left the car and is pulling groceries from the back seat, huffing with the effort, muscles in her arms bulging, by the time Jenny reaches the car. Jenny hurries over to help. “What the hell were you doing in the backyard?” her mother asks, handing Jenny a gallon of milk. She lets the weight pull her body to one side, unbalancing her.



“Picking flowers.”



This gets Jenny a weird look, but eventually her mother shrugs. “You’re a damn foolish child. Then again, you always were.” Jenny’s just thankful her mother didn’t notice the conspicuous lack of flowers. “You wouldn’t believe how Mrs. Taylor treated me at the grocery. That woman…” Her complaints trail off with a sigh. “Well. It doesn’t matter. Let’s get these inside.” Jenny, aware of the new jewelry around her neck, doesn’t argue.



***



Jenny goes over to Bo’s house the next afternoon. It’s almost dark out; the sky has been turning black earlier and earlier, it feels like. Jenny’s mother will be gone all night, visiting her sister in the next county over. She left Jenny with strict instructions not to let anyone in the house, and to keep it clean. Nothing was said about Jenny leaving the house. And it’s Bo’s birthday today. She said so herself. Jenny would feel terrible for missing her birthday, after Bo has been so kind to her. The sunflower necklace looks so beautiful around Jenny’s neck, after all.



She knows where Bo lives; the Kelvin’s old house is just over the hill, through the forest Jenny would play along the edges of when she was a child. Jenny used to help Mrs. Kelvin with chores, before Mr. Kelvin killed her and then himself, so she knows the way there. It’s a small path, almost overgrown now, winding it’s way through the trees. Jenny hasn’t used it in years, not since before her father left. It’s one of the only routes to the Kelvins place, which is isolated, a mile from the closest house. Mrs. Kelvin used to say how safe she felt, with no prying neighbors nearby.



            So Jenny picks her way through the forest, holding her bundle close to her chest even as briars tug at her skirt. She had managed to snag a present for Bo. Or, rather, a present for her rats. A dozen hard boiled eggs, which she has heard are a special treat for rats. She hopes she brought enough…Bo hadn’t specified the amount of rats she owns, but Jenny suspects it’s a lot.



The eggs were going bad, it was hardly harmful to steal them from the fridge. Better this than to throw them out to stink up the house for days. And it’ll make a good birthday present for Bo, when Jenny can’t afford to give her anything better.



            When she finally breaks from the forest and into the backyard of the Kelvin’s house, it’s totally still. No birds in the trees, no squirrels digging for acorns, getting fat at this time of year. Just peaceful silence. The Kelvin’s used to keep their yard immaculate. Now the grass grows tall, tangling around Jenny’s ankles.



The two-story house where the Kelvin’s lived and died is a faded brown now, the paint peeling. Half the windows are cracked, or open to the world. The roof over the porch sags and the steps creak as Jenny steps onto them, wincing. The porch swing is still there, swaying gently, although one of the chains has come loose and left it crooked. The back door, which is half off its hinges, hangs open. Jenny can’t believe Bo lives here. Why hasn’t she fixed it up yet?



            “Bo?” she calls, taking a step towards the door. She’s hesitant to go inside, where it’s pitch dark. She hasn’t really believed in ghosts in years, but… “Bo!” she says again, something making her keep her voice quiet.



She takes a deep breath and steps inside, where the walls and dust give everything a soft, muffled quietness. There’s no furniture left. The house was cleaned out soon after the Kelvin’s died, by family members eager to sell off anything of value. The curtains are still there, though, letting in meager light.



As Jenny’s eyes adjust, she realizes she’s surrounded by rats. Cages and cages of rats, stacked on top of each other, connected by tunnels. Some of them are free, skittering across the floor. There…God, there has to be hundreds of them, piling over each other to watch her with glittering, beady eyes. The noise of their chittering is a constant underlying hum. It fits so well into the background that she didn’t even notice. Jenny takes a step back, holding her package of hardboiled eggs like they’ll protect her. Then, thinking better of it, she flees, tossing the eggs to the ground. The free rats converge on them, blocking Jenny’s path to the back, so she’s forced to spin and sprint, stumbling, to the front of the house.



The yard here is even worse, weeds rising as high as Jenny’s waist, a veritable jungle where Mrs. Kelvin used to keep heavy, pink flowers. The driveway has grass growing through the cracks. It’s here that Jenny finds Bo. She rests on her haunches in the middle of the yard, almost invisible if it wasn’t for the curl of her red hair. She’s holding something to her mouth, and she’s…the only word Jenny can think of is feasting.



            Bo’s got a rat held to her mouth, fat and juicy, its back paws still twitching as Bo sinks her teeth into its fur. Jenny can hear her slurping from here. Her throat moves as she drinks deep. With a final squeal, the rat goes still as Bo breaks its neck with a twist of her head. Blood runs down her chin.



Jenny can’t help the gasp she lets out, and Bo’s head snaps towards her. She moves impossibly, still on her haunches, using her arms to pull and drag herself towards Jenny like some kind of demented ape. Jenny’s never seen something human move like that before and stumbles back, splaying herself over the splintering porch steps. The rat is clenched in one of Bo’s hands as she gets to her feet. Its back paws dangle limply.



Bo looks her up and down, blood dripping down her chest, staining her white blouse black in this light, and grins. “They’re cheap, before you ask.”



            “Wha…”



“The rats. They’re cheap. This one escaped. I ran him down and realized I was hungry.” She shakes the rat; Jenny dissected a rat for fun, when she was a kid. That rat wasn’t half the size of this one. “And I forgot you were coming over.”



Jenny’s always had a hard time finding her voice when she’s scared. Right now is no different. She puts a hand to her chest, over the sunflower necklace, and wishes it was a cross. No wonder Bo couldn’t go into the church.



“You’re a…”



“Yeah, I am.” Bo wipes blood from her mouth and smiles. “What clued you in, sweetheart?”



“I brought you eggs.” Her voice is plaintive, and Jenny immediately feels stupid. Like Bo isn’t going to kill her just because Jenny brought eggs?



Bo is looking down at her, and Jenny can see the glint of what light is left reflected in her eyes. Now Bo truly does look like a corpse, with her bloody shirt. It paints itself to her skin, and Jenny can’t help but think that it’ll leave a stain. Vinegar gets bloodstains out, she’s used it before…



            Bo goes to her haunches again, examining Jenny’s face. They sit there for a moment, staring at each other, before Bo smiles with her red, red mouth and steps forward.


June 25, 2018 09:24 pm

Ozg Videl

For a moment, Jenny's expecting teeth in her neck, sunk into her jugular. Instead, Bo kisses once, gently, at the spot where Jenny's neck slopes into her ear. 

June 25, 2018 09:25 pm
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