horror / drama

Of The Flesh

Of The Flesh by Josiah Crocker Bad Bear

M y father used to read us the bible every night when we were kids. He’d pull a weathered wooden chair up beside our beds, turn on the side lamp and crack the old King James. The pages were thin and fragile between his fingers; a stark contrast to his meaty farm hands, and every time he turned a page the whole book would disappear behind his wide palms. He never read in any sort of order, but he always seemed to know what it was he wanted to read. If we ever protested or asked for a different story for just one time he would scoff at us and say, the devil doesn’t take any days off. Neither can we lest we succumb to his temptations. One day in late October, a kid in my class, the preacher’s son, had to be excused and a police officer waiting at the door escorted him out to his car and off they drove. The class erupted in hushed chatter until our Head Sister slammed a ruler on her desk and we went back to learning our times tables.

When I got home that night, my mother’s eyes were red and wet and her hair had fallen from her bun. My father looked the same as he usually did but he stood closer to my mother than usual and held her head against his body when they thought we weren’t looking. We had pancakes for dinner.

That night my Father pulled up his old chair and flicked through the pages, thumbing one chapter, then another, his eyes scanning back and forth. Eventually he stopped, his finger resting firmly on the page and looked up at us. You’re going to hear a lot of stories at school over the next few days and I want you to know something. The Devil doesn’t care who you are. Or what you do. Or where you come from. We are all but of the flesh. And some men, no matter how hard they try, were just born to be evil. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t mean this – he pressed upon the bible when he said this – isn’t real.


The next day a kid who lived next door to the preacher’s son told me the preacher had killed his wife and the family dog while we were at school. He’d carved them up with a sharpened crucifix and suspended them from a wall with nails, their limbs separated like pieces to a horrifying puzzle. They found him sitting in front of them repeating a scripture he’d drawn with his own blood on the floor boards. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.


Looking back, something about sparing his son seemed even more cruel than killing him. Having to live with that pain. I don’t tell you this story to scare you, or even to call into question the thought of God. The truth is I believe in him. I tell you this story as a cry for help. As I sit here on this bench, writing this down, the man I’ve been following the last few days crosses my vision in the middle distance. His brimmed hat is tucked low over his face, but I can feel his glow and it calls to me. By the time you’re reading this, he will be my fourth. The handle of the blade I have tucked against my breast pocket burns my chest and the words my father said to me all those years ago bounce around my mind. Some men, no matter how hard they try, were just born to be evil. I wonder if he knew the thoughts I had back then. The thoughts I’m having now. The man’s about half a block away from me now so I must stand and give slow chase. To whoever finds this and reads it, please know I am trying. My father was always right. I just hope he was wrong this one, single, time. I’m so tired of fighting.

Yours Dearly,



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Josiah Crocker