Welcome to Week 5 of Horror Matsuri! We’ll have another flash story and a poem coming up on Thursday and Friday, plus a blog tour stop on Saturday. Check the calendar here for more details.
Today’s wonderful contributor, Maggie D. Brace, also had a Persian horror poem published on October 15th. You can check it out here if you missed it.
Now, How about a bedtime story???
Night with the Batibat
Maggie D. Brace
Our beautiful new home was now complete, the ornately carved headboard Gabriel’s father had made for us was officially ensconced in our lovely, snug bedroom. He had searched through the adjacent forest to locate just the right size teak wood, then spent days carving it with his family’s traditional floral design. It provided just the right touch.
As newlyweds, we were kept busy trying to keep up with our daily work, set things in order in our house, and carve out time to work on our handmade projects. Just like our love for each other, we both brought our best to the marriage as well as our projects. Gabriel had learned his trade from the time he was a child squatting beside his father and playing in the wood scraps. He created delightfully realistic knife handles that depicted grotesque creatures, both real and imagined. I honed and shined the metal to make the knives just as I had been taught by my grandfather. Together, they were a hot selling item, both home and abroad. We often silently worked side by side on our separate sections, and it was a joy and wonder to finally see our two visions become one, united in a unique knife. We created a display area in the living room and I frequently felt my heart catch as I looked them over and enjoyed the unity of our work. My cold, sharp metal, and Gabriel’s warm, pliable wood joined to create things of beauty.
Just days after we moved in, Gabriel started having bad dreams. At first, we just thought it was the excitement of our new life, or over exertion, but they continued, sporadic at first, then almost every night. He tried to describe the suffocating bad feeling he encountered, and the evil presence he felt, but was at a loss for words. Finally, he decided to carve a knife handle to capture the unholy terror he felt each night.
I must admit, I was overwhelmed when I saw his final product. It resembled an enormously obese woman; the gelatinous folds of her fat almost appearing to undulate and move in his uncanny depiction. It gave me chills to realize my poor boy was experiencing this hideous vision in his dreams. I have always been a very heavy sleeper, and cannot remember any dreams, so this was a foreign concept for me. Despite that, I created a perfect knife to accompany the ungodly handle. We lived in hope that once we joined our metal and wood to create our knife, the nightmares would cease. We were wrong.
That night Gabriel’s discomfort actually roused me from my slumber. He snorted, mumbled, and thrashed around. He made horrible noises, gasping and sucking sounds that seemed like he was suffocating. I rolled over to look at him and was aghast at what I beheld.
Gabriel was being crushed into the mattress by the globulus fat folds of a gigantic woman. The exact creature depicted on our knife! Frozen at first, I finally snapped into action and tried pinching and slapping the flesh engulfing him, but to no avail. I vaguely recalled my Lola’s tall tales of the dreaded Batibat that seeks retribution for stealing wood from her tree bower.
In an instant, I knew what I must do. I leapt up, retrieved our carved nightmare knife, and plunged it into the corpulent flesh. Nothing happened.
Time and time again, I pulled the knife out and struck again. Then I began hacking great globs of flesh off the creature and flinging them off the bed. A red haze engulfed my mind. It slowly subsided as Gabriel gently took my arm and pulled the knife from my grasp. It was over. I looked around at the carnage in our beautiful bedroom, and felt nauseated at the splatters of blood and gore, but relieved at the same time. The joining of our talents had created a weapon to defy the horror.
Needless to say, our knife was kept by our bedside throughout our long and loving marriage, hoping to never it need again, but just in case.
Maggie D. Brace is a long-time denizen of Maryland, teacher, gardener, basketball player and author. She attended St. Mary’s College of Maryland and Loyola University, Maryland. She has written ‘Tis Himself: The Tale of Finn MacCool and Grammy’s Glasses, and has both tied with Anne Tyler in the Baltimore Sun Paper Reader’s Choice for best local writer as well as lost out to John Waters. As heady as this sounds, she remains a humble scrivener and avid reader presently aging gracefully in situ.
Thank you everyone who has been following all month and sharing the stories and poems across social media. We all appreciate the support.
See you on Thursday!