in the Vicar of Morbing Vyle
- a sinister setting
behind the town of New Morbing, Martin Smythe comes to a burned-out
forest. White ash covers the ground, and the trees are charred
and black and twisted. The heat of the fire that burnt them
still lingers inside the trunks.
the centre of the forest is a mile-wide clearing, with fragments
of building scattered all around. Martin sees stone blocks
and Gothic arches, pillars and sections of wall. At first,
he thinks he's looking at the ruins of an old church. But
then he notices the scaffolding, the trenches, the freshly-dug
earth. So this church is under construction. And what a church!
Judging by the size of the foundations, it's the biggest church
the world has ever seen!
- a mad scientist's contraption
machine stands about six feet high and ten feet wide, bristling
with pipes, rods and cogs. It looks like a cross between a
bren gun carrier and a combine harvester. At its heart is
row of cylindrical glass jars, and a squat square box covered
with fur or felt. The jars are filled with bright red liquid.
out of the heart of the machine comes a rubber hose. It leads
across the room to a large wooden board, tilted slightly forward
from the wall. There on the board, supported by straps and
pegs, hangs Mr Caulkiss. He looks as though he is being crucified.
His shirt is pulled open at the front, and the rubber hose
snakes up towards his chest. It seems that some kind of instrument
is sticking into his chest ...
- the supernatural
congregation faces towards a white marble tomb, which also
serves as an altar. Mr Caulkiss reaches into the tomb and
pulls forth a long leather bag. Seventy years ago, the dead
body of a man was sealed inside that bag. Martin watches as
the congregation prays. Surely the body must have long since
rotted away? But now there are ripples beginning to move under
the leather. Ripples like muscles flexing, like limbs stirring!
Is the will to evil mightier than the force of death?
- an assault on virtue
young Martin Smythe shuts himself up in his bedroom, away
from the lunatic inhabitants of Morbing Vyle. But there on
the bed is an enormous Christmas present for him, with love
from Mr Quode. He pulls off the wrapping paper and discovers
- Mr Quode himself, curled up inside, all pink and plump and
comes a knock at the window. It's Melestrina again, advertising
sexual temptation with placards by candlelight:
PASSIONATE PUDENDUM OF MELESTRINA QUODE
GREAT POSITIONS FOR MASTERS AND SLAVES
INSATIABLE BODY: A CARNAL EXTRAVAGANZA
a tide of red meat has started sliding in under the door -
cutlets, chops, rumps, livers, loins, kidneys. Martin backs
away into a corner of the room. But suddenly a glittering
silver needle stabs up at his feet through the cracks in the
floorboards. Wild howls and shrieks of laughter burst forth
on every side:
got us all excited!"
know you want to!"
time, Mr Smythe, it's time!"
- infinite evil
Vicar, supreme maestro of evil, composes his Works of Art
with human beings for raw material. But his ultimate Work
of Art is so unthinkable that even his own body rebels at
the thought of it. As he struggles to assemble the composition,
he is stricken by violent headaches, then a coronary attack,
then a sort of fit. Lying on his death bed, unable to speak,
he writes instructions for his followers on a sheet of paper.
Finally, the pencil falls from his hand and drops onto his
chest with a tiny tap. At that very spot, a small purple bruise
appears. Then the bruise begins to spread ... growing and
growing ... over his torso, his thighs, his arms, neck,
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