The Preacher is a 500-word, horror flash fiction piece of religious fanaticism.
Content Warnings: Death, religious themes, and violence.
It was a distinct charisma that bellowed from the frothing instrument of the preacher's mouth. In a sudden communion with the wandering lost, the city's hurried people stopped and broke city mores. Their eyes lit with a seduced hypnosis and occasional hysteria known only in this world in the wails of the churches of snake handlers. The preacher swayed back and forth like a snake, too, his hands opening and closing like their venomous jaws.
He preached of deception and ridicule and loneliness and greed and falsehoods and prophecies, and people would say occasional yeahs and say-its and you-tell-ems until it’d grown into an incongruous orgy of sporadic chanting and sweating and jumping people too excited to contain themselves in the confines of their own bodies.
One by one, as the man preached, they ripped from themselves the confines of ties and suits and skirts and tight undergarments until they stood among each other naked. The growing congregation swooned and screamed to a sky that threatened rain, and when the heavens wept upon them like a curse, they were unculled. More came.
The preacher stood two feet taller than his faithful assemblage, and his head bobbed within the writhing group as if upon a devilish guide on. The preacher's hands shot into the air in defiance to a swift lightning strike at the edge of their pit, and they danced on unwarned—energized.
They all groped and sucked and bit each other. Everything became blood, and the rain couldn’t wash it away. The congregation joined into a mutilated tribe, seemingly birthed from the earth they trod upon, covered in placental gore, which each of them devoured into their open mouths.
The preacher shouted in tongues, and the people below him repeated each inflection and guttural announcement precisely. People tore limbs from one another with their bare hands. As their dismembered parts became nothing more than fleshy, cylindrical shapes, passed and devoured through the trembling audience, the only cries were those of pure and intense passion, cries that drowned out a rolling and revolting thunder.
The congregation squealed like excited pigs, and they danced and splashed in insoluble puddles of their own blood. The warmth and steam of it all surrounded them like apparitions with which they spun, and the rain stopped all at once as if it knew it couldn’t absolve the spreading evil. Clouds parted, and the preacher stopped speaking, and all at once, the whole crowd fell down to the ground dead and cold with their faces submerged in the excesses of their delirium, and he stood in the center of the new silence.