The Master Butcher (Halloween special aphorism)

An aphorism is different from a short story or a piece of flash fiction in that it does not seek to set up or resolve any plot. It is like a snapshot of a particular setting, character, or an expression of a feeling. The following horror aphorism is somewhat inspired by (but not derived from) a track called, “The Master Butcher’s Apron” off of Death Metal band Carcass’s last LP, Surgical Steel. Check it out if you have the time.

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There was a flash from the east. A burning streak split the evergrey sky, lit coldly by a blood-red sun in the west, hanging eternally a few degrees above the bare and deserted mountains.

The Master Butcher’s lips peeled back. Steel, glinting amid red rust, filled the old wretch’s gaping maw, which was twisted into an imitation of a smile. He wiped his crimson-stained hands on his apron, which matched in a muted brown. Victims were frequent company, sent by whatever powers to suffer for his pleasure, but true visitors to his realm of Sheol were a rarity. A being powerful enough to do more than scream as it was vivisected and devoured, piece by piece, would a welcome distraction from the endless spilling of blood, splitting of bone, tearing of sinew.

Perhaps an angel had been cast down. They were delightful in their bodily destruction, though they were not pleasant to eat. That didn’t mean the Master Butcher wouldn’t eat them. Angel flesh demanded desecration, and there was nowhere more profane than his bloated, twisting gut. Eat, he shall.

The Master Butcher heading inside and assembled his tools. His trusty knife, a cleaver. Yes, a boning knife for the hard to reach places. A sharpened bone saw.  A bag to carry the organs back to the pit for aging. The Butcher scratched his harried chin. A being powerful enough to pierce the veil of his blood-drenched and ever burning abode might have the skills to resist him. He picked up his favored weapon, a twisted piece of metal, sharpened appropriately, and leaned it on his shoulder.

The butcher turned away from table. It was steel, though that could not be discerned through the layers of filth and blood that caked it. He stepped toward the lone exit of his ruined abattoir, pushing aside ribcages and rotten pelvises that hung from rusty hooks in the many-holed ceiling. Blood ran between his bare toes. In his realm, it never dried. He stepped out of the brick building into the dim, yet burning hot red sun. blood poured out of the doorway in a narrow stream, flowing over muddy rocks to join larger tributaries, all leading to a veritable sea of ancient gore, liquid and yet filled with chunks of remains that only the butcher himself could identify.

He walked around the shore of his lake, letting the thick slop of countless murders lap against his feet. He belched through a laugh.

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