“The Seven-Horsed Chariot” Dark, Legendary Fiction by Hareendran Kallinkeel

Dust rises, thick clouds, from a land, arid, like a drought-hit terrain, as horses gallop along the mountain path, dragging a chariot.

Inside his cozy abode, Jay feels the tremors beneath his naked feet, hears the hooves’ click-clack, and smells earth’s heady aroma.

Wrinkles on skin, his age reflect; creams and lotions, smeared and massaged in plenty, lend an outward shine. Hours in saunas, scathing steams in Jacuzzi, bubbling water around him, bath gel refreshing, a daily indulgence, like a vice.

Yet, the youth he desires, desperately, doesn’t return.

Near his ear, a whisper, the charioteer, “the chariot’s ready.”

Jay, anxious, heart pounding, tongue itching, “Just a sec,” removes his slacks, reaches for the bedside cabinet.

Baccarat, a touch of the royal, perfume to entice girls; caviar from the fridge, for its salty tang, to stimulate blood in his veins…   

Escapade-ready, he grabs the reins.

“You sure,” charioteer’s quip, “you can take control?”

The pull of chariot makes the charioteer silent.

Hind legs firm on the ground, forelegs thrown high, mane swaying, the horses neigh before they start off.

Leather swishes, whip lashes, stallions race forth.

The chariot gains speed; wheels roll over pebbles, cause jolts and jerks.

“Still sure,” charioteer’s quiz, “you can handle it?”

Veins in Jay’s forearms grow taut as he pulls at the reins, takes control. “We’re here.”

A girl, prostrate, rests on the grassy knoll as if she’s hugging the earth.

Skirt hiked up, its gilded hem flaps against the curve of her buttocks, in tandem with the breeze. Moonlight renders her dusky skin an ethereal gleam. Jay smacks his lips.

He breathes the scent of jasmine, emanating from the garland coiled like a white serpent around her braid, black like a king cobra, as if in the act of mating. “Kudos! Great meal, indeed,” he says.    

“I’ll wait here.” The charioteer bids adieu.

Jay approaches the girl, goes down on his knees. Fire, bright orange, erupts around them, smokeless, heatless, yet with vigor that still scorches skin.

He yanks off her skirt, straddles her butt. She stirs, begins to speak.

Jay seals her mouth with his lips, steals her voice. He enters her and feels the heat that boils, coils around him, a whirlpool of hellfire.

He thrusts, only to feel the chill of frigid vacuum, a vortex churning down to the belly of an ice-cold ocean. In his confusion, he rolls over, feels the prick of grass along his frail body.

The girl stands up, embers flaring in her eyes.

“A myth, I am, as much a legend as you are” quips she, “so, better you hear me out.” A white shawl around her neck flows like a cascade of milk behind her as she walks toward him.

Jay feels the warm air turn cold, the chillness grip his intestines, move further down.

“Who are you?” The quivering in his voice, shivering in his body, palpates on his eardrums.

“From hell, I rise,” she says, “call me by any name you’re comfortable with; maybe Succubus, or Lilith, does it matter really?”

“What…” Jay wants, so badly, to sit upright. His numb limbs refuse to oblige. “What do you want?”

“I’ve consummated your dream,” she places her right foot on his chest. “Painted it lush, with an earthly girl, whom you desired…”  

As her foot presses down on him, Jay, breathless, sinks. Sand rises, a gigantic wave, crashes on him. He drowns further into an abyss; granules of earth rush into his nose and mouth, salty, choking, yet tangy, like the blood he relishes.

He makes feeble attempts to break free of the undulating currents of soil, but fails.

A few moments later, she drags him up, pulling by the collar of his shirt.

Jay sits up, the ground now firm beneath him. He coughs, spits blood, and tastes its stale flavor.

“The blood of the victims you so greedily devoured. Let it pour out…”

“Why you’re…”

She holds her hand up. “I’ve taken all your strength. Drained you of your energy…”

“You, what…”

“You’ll never again,” she says. “Ride your chariot drawn by seven horses, each representing a deadly sin.

Jay slumps to the ground, tired, drained of desires. He hears the click-clack of his chariot slowly die away in the distance.

Hareendran Kallinkeel writes from Kerala, India, after a stint of 15 years in a police organization and five years in the Special Forces. He reads for Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores and is also a Staff Reviewer for Haunted MTL Magazine. His recent publications include The Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Bryant Literary Review of Bryant University, The Chamber Magazine, and El Portal Journal of Eastern New Mexico University, among several others. His fiction is forthcoming in 34 Orchard, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, and Untenured Journal. His fiction has been nominated for Pushcart Prize and he is also a finalist of the Best of the Net-2020. 

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