Bruise (Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical,
mental or emotional gratification)

For Michael

The maimed beauty lay back on the bed, her eyes heavy with junk and the delusion making her rant on. Dean ignored her, he just wished that she would die before his girlfriend walked in and found him sitting there with Glen and this half-dead girl, calling herself a gothic-beauty. The girl was scarred, like a rag doll belonging to a less-fortunate child. Dean watched in a fascinated and sickened curiosity as Glen weaved the pieces of crimson and navy fabric round wads of cotton wool, shaped like a crippled scarecrow. One large wad of wool padded around a Popsicle stick, two others for arms and another two for legs, then a padded golf ball made the head of this curious creation which made voodoo seem all that more believable. He was using this maimed beauty as an inspiration to birth this doll, this doll that he named Suzie and intended to present as a present to his friend's infertile lover, Bryony. Dean turned his attention back to the girl and wanted to touch her again, her torn shirt revealing the mottled stages of bruising about her breasts and stomach, her hitched skirt showing the stretch-marks of being a teenage mother, and the bright red insect bites that came from the bedbugs squatting in the mattress. Dean looked about anxiously, looking for something to vandalise or do with himself before his girlfriend found them, or before he lost his faith and hurt the beauty more than he already had. Picking up the coke can bong, he tried desperately to strike a light, and when he finally did the worry for the prostitute drifted away, and a new threat wormed through his senses. He saw black spots as the threshold for such an intake presented itself, and he collapsed back to meet the hard wooden floor. Shifting both hands under his feathered hair, which was black with strips of bottle green tied in like a brightly coloured worm-farm; one of the black spots caught his eye as he stared up through a blanket of delusion. It was a bat type creature, large veined wings and an eerie halo about it induced through the single light-bulb behind it. It was an angel in his state of mind, the veined wings beating furiously, shadowing the light then beating it down, forcing Dean to recognise the situation. It neared towards him, like a messenger of god coming to take him to heaven, or more likely, the black- winged-devil himself, banishing him into hell. Dean screamed in terror as the bat type creature scorched up in the bulb and shrieked in pain as it was burnt to death. It fell beside him, twitching from it's reckless mistake, and in panic so it couldn't take him anywhere spiritual, he squashed it under an open bible between passages Isaiah 63, Isaiah 64, 65. High, and scared of the consequences, he turned to watch his friend continue with the creation. The doll was taking on a more human like form; the arms were wrapped in the crimson, and stitched in such a fashion to create each digit on a human hand. When that was done, Glen took that hand of the deformed beauty, which was dilated and speaking in tongues, and took fingernail clippings to add to the humanity of the doll named Suzie. Dean's paranoia for the demons in the room was beginning to break through the cracks in his warped mind. Lifting the dissuaded bible from the twine of green slime and orange blood, he saw the twitching leg of the bat-type creature, and felt a rising triumph for defeating the messenger of whomever. He was in two places at once, watching the gradual birth of the doll, and trying to understand what was happening in a moment he couldn't grasp, in a moment so wrapped in paranoia, he couldn't find a place in his self- conscious where he could retreat. The devil had already beaten him to all the safety-nets in his mind, and he was stranded amongst the fear and dawns of a playing god situation. As the disfigured beauty writhed around in her dying state, the doll began to show its human side through parts of its mother. Glen took a knife and cut away a lock of the unclean black hair, sewing it to the flesh coloured fabric that bound the head of the creation. Rooting the fingernails into the small woollen fingertips, he took the clippers and removed eyelashes from the flickering lids of the weakened mother, and added them to the windows of the soul to the inanimate object. Dean stayed silent, letting his friend play god. He continued to stare at the bruised cleavage of the girl and wished deeply that he could touch her, but he dare not, his girlfriend would be furious. The new purple dashes, lined up to the yellow fades of renewing blood, bad blood surfacing in the forms of heavy black clots, and the red streaks, all speckled in sweat and shimmering over her whole body, all forced Dean to turn away. His girlfriend could never know he'd looked at someone else who represented such brutality. The doll was almost complete. Glen wiped the sweat off the anxious breasts of the distressed beauty, and wrapped the handkerchief about the doll like a wedding dress, sequins for eyes, blood from the mother dabbed into a smile, and a mimicked scar from the beauty, added as a sort of birthright from the mother to the daughter. The door opened and Dean's girlfriend walked in, Glen was standing over the beauty, contemplating euthanasia as she wriggled and groaned in rising pain. She looked over to her lover, who was circling his fingers through the mess of green and orange goo of the dead angel. She lifted her shirt above her head and showed him the new bruising about her torso, she knew he wouldn't be able to resist the prostitute she promised Glen, just like she knew Glen wouldn't be able to resist harming her so he could play god. Glen's eyes lit up, as did Dean's when they saw her standing there. Glen grabbed the doll and presented it to her, knowing she'd have loved a child of her own, if only a burrowing infection hadn't have forced her womb to have been removed and replaced with a sense of failure as a woman. She smiled at the father of the doll, stroking his face with her long painted fingernails, then looked over at the mother, then to her deranged lover, who was still fascinated by the colours of the fallen 'demon'. Clutching the rag doll in her hands, she crouched down next to the prison warden of her soul, and his eyes floated up towards her naked torso. Black bruising, heavy white rings of dead flesh, welts on her breasts and neck, then her face, a disfigured jaw from a tight head-brace, and a glass eye, scarred from years of corrective surgery which couldn't save her twisted sight. He reached out to touch, and when he did, he sobbed heavily into her shoulder, how he could ever think of leaving his maimed beauty scared his beyond irrational thought. Glen grabbed the spade and cut the head off the beauty's body, it took four attempts. He would have preferred a clean cut rather than the messy fringe of frayed flesh that he was left with; but he dismissed it, and watched as the rich colours oozed into the mattress. Dean's girlfriend kissed his hair and whispered to him like a mother to a scared child. He clutched her naked back and closed his eyes to the pending demons that were threatening to take him from her. She wouldn't allow it. A minute or two when he realised god and the devil had given up the battle for his soul, he relaxed a little and uprooted his fingernails from his lover's painful bruising. "You know what?" She said. "I think Glen just played god." Dean smiled wickedly, kissing her twisted mouth and stroking the scarring under her eye. "Me too." He said, realising they were both alive, and neither heaven nor hell wanted anything to do with them.