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The Kiss of Aesmodai

Creatures of the Dark

By Andrew Forrest BakerPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
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The Kiss of Aesmodai
Photo by Norbert Buduczki on Unsplash

The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window.

I know; I know. You’ve heard this one before. The one where the untamed malevolence of night unleashes itself upon a sleepy, idyllic little piece of the world. The one were the suburban and rural horrors of all the things that go bump in the night, all the creatures that claw at your skin with their razor-sharp talons, every entity that inhabits the darker recesses of this land make you feel happy you get to leave here, say goodbye to this campground and this fire, roll up your sleeping bag, and go back to your homes far far away where it’s safe, and it’s civilized, and you have no worries of abandoned cabins or ghosts or demons.

But what you don’t know is why I lit the candle in the first place. And why you’ll light it next.

The night was dark and unassuming, as they always are. It whispered sweet lullabies through the thickness of the summer trees, trilling the leaves of great oaks and rustling through the underbrush as the cicadas sang their melodies to the moonlight. You could barely hear it—even if you knew to listen for it: the low, aching moan which undulated beneath it all like a feral cat caught in a trap. Guttural. And dark. And in pain. You can almost hear it now if you listen.

Listen.

There are things about midnight you can never truly know unless you’ve experienced them. Like how many creatures are alive within it. Like how heavy and vicious the dark really is. I was alone when I found myself there, much like you are now. Even if you can sense others, even if you can feel them nearby, you know how truly alone you are. That is precisely how I felt as I moved through the wood, stomping one foot in front of the other as if I needed some sort of force to find the earth: alone, but with the understanding that others were nearby.

I admit that I was running, from what I dare not say—some demons are better left unnamed—when I entered that wood. But the creature I found, the thing that found me, it had a name. Aesmodai. Awash in darkness like it is a thing to be worn, he slithered from every corner of the earth to surround me. The cicadas stopped their song; the nightbirds took flight to escape, leaving behind only the low, aching wail beneath the silence. The guttural groan, and the wood, and me.

I slowed my step to a crawling meter, filled with the foolhardy hope of the human condition that this creature would pass me by, would let me go on my way. Though that was not to be. He lumbered in the shadows of the night, the malignity and hate of his breath heavy on my shoulders, wafting across the nape of my neck like he was toying with me. The weight of his terror threatened to consume me before he had the chance.

I cannot say what it was that drew him to me. Perhaps it was the same force which draws us—you and I—together now. Some invisible hand which guides us into terror, its claws sharpened with rage and guilt and violence. The trees bristled as he drew near, shedding their leaves and budding them anew as if time itself were attempting to flee. It was a wondrous, horrific sight. As if the very chaos of the world were contained within that moment, trapped, as I was, within an unimaginable darkness.

Vines, like serpents, slithered from the soil to twine my ankles and hold me there, immobilized in fear. Beetles, centipedes, and other ungodly insects erupted from the earth, forming treacherous mounds in the dirt, to march across my skin, crawling over me the way they would a corpse left to wither and rot in the elements. And his tongue! Oh, his tongue. Thick and wet, it wove through me, from nostril to socket, slipping inside of me to uncover every piece of who I was, until it found purchase on my lips.

My heart pounded in my chest, threatening to break through my ribs so that at least one part of me could escape. My breath was ragged and untamed in the darkness. The weight of him was all over me, heavy in the humid air. His scent was the promise of decay; the smell of flesh and maggots. His kiss consumed me, sliced through my skin until I could feel it peel slowly away to expose all of me to his power. And I was helpless as the evil of night worked to consume me, slowly, eagerly, whole.

There are creatures who live in the darkness whose very being is composed of the sweet seduction of death. There are beings who thrive on the terror which spills from the pores of their prey, salty and thick and intoxicating. There are entities—those better left unnamed—who exist simply for consumption. They pull you close and envelop you in their world until it is tight and constricting and suffocating, until your final breath escapes in a single word. Their name. So that even the last moments of your very existence are consumed by them.

Ah, but I have forgotten to tell you my name, haven’t I? It is with my sincerest, unspoken apologies, for words cannot describe this oversight, that I tell you my name is Aesmodai.

You see, I lit the candle to draw you here. And now you, dear friend—for after hearing my tale I do consider you a friend—you, my friend, must light it to keep me at bay.

Horror
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About the Creator

Andrew Forrest Baker

he | him

Southern gothic storyteller.

My new novel, The House That Wasn't There, is out now from April Gloaming Publishing.

www.andrewforrestbaker.com

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insight

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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