The Whorehouse That Jack Built, by Kevin Sweeney
“It was a whorehouse, but not one open to just anyone. To get there you had to be dying or insane. The services offered were all offered for the same price, which was everything you had. There were paths there that only those who had crossed the border into the Undiscovered Country could find, if they knew the landmarks to follow, the signs to watch for. Clem followed and watched and two days ago his mule had done died of exhaustion and it was just him and Lady keepin’ on who knew how and finally they came to a dead town with no name at twilight and a whorehouse with a sign above the door that Clem could not read: A SOILED DOVE IN A CAGE PUTS ALL HEAVEN IN A RAGE A whorehouse run by demons. A whorehouse that offered the greatest pleasures a man could ever want… in exchange for everything he had. Am I gonna do this? Am I really gonna… The cancer in his belly twisted spikes through his impacted bowels and in front of him lay Lady, a sacrifice. And Clem pushed that door open and stepped across the threshold.”
His disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered them, “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the children of the Kingdom; and the weeds are the children of the evil one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil.”
The albino rode into town on a donkey.
The creature was descended from the ass that had carried the Virgin to Bethlehem, and was the only creature that could approach such a damned place as it now plodded wearily into.
The albino was neither dying nor insane, and had no place in that town without a name. He had business but no place. He recognized the town for what it was, for why it had no name; names belonged to things which had known life, and this town had never been alive.
The town of Nowhere.
As he had journeyed in he had noted the things left behind. First were the bodies, horses for the main part, though sometimes mules, who had died and been left to rot only a day or twos ride from the town. Mostly they seemed to have died through exhaustion, or failed hearts, though with one or two there were signs of violence, their owners making the insane decision to kill the valuable beasts and continue towards Nowhere on foot.
Closer to the town, as he followed the tracks of men who now walked and those tracks only lead in one direction, he had spied bundles of possessions, the kinds of things folks needed for long journeys, sleeping rolls and sacks of provisions, just left; some were spilled out upon the dirt of the trail, as if they had been dropped as their owners walked, discarded carelessly. Others had been carefully hidden behind rocks and stunted brush, as if the owners planned to return for them but never had.
The albino knew what these things meant. The divestment of earthly goods. As if this were a spiritual pilgrimage.
The town was a U-shape, like a jawbone with the buildings as teeth. A saloon, a bank, a barbers, a general mercantile, a few houses in between them, ponderosa pine boards gleaming in the moonlight. They certainly looked like places of business and places where folks lived, but if you were to enter any of them you would step over the lintels of doorways onto dust, into rooms bare of even a stick of furniture. Motion pictures were years in the future, so one could not call it a set, could not use that as a reference point but that was all it was, a set, a reason for there being the one true place in town, a real tooth in a jaw set with hollow wooden ones.
The whorehouse. The Half-World.
The trail that lead to this town became the single street of the town that lead straight to the door of a three story parlour. It was a building as unremarkable as any of the others, with the sole difference that this one had life.
Sickly red light leaked from between pulled drapes.
In the dooryard was a fortune in coins and bills, scattered hither and yon, along with watches and rings and crucifixes and other discarded valuables. Not only the obvious items of value were found there, however, but objects that the albino recognized as closer to the hearts of men than even gold or silver; letters from loved ones long gone, mementos of childhood, spoils of war, souvenirs and scars picked up through a lifetime. Whatever was most valued was discarded at the threshold. That was the price of admission, but whatever was most valuable was the price taken inside.
The albino dismounted and hitched up the donkey.
He stood before the whorehouse, preparing himself spiritually for what was to come; he unzipped his pants and pulled out his immense snow-white penis, clasped his hands together in prayer around his cock, and muttered a rosary as he slowly masturbated.
“Hail Mary, full of grace…” picturing the Blessed Virgin, belly swollen with childe…
The albino had pure white hair cut into a monk’s tonsure and pink eyes that he shielded behind smoked spectacles. He was dressed like a gunfighter, an ankle length duster cloaking him. A dog’s collar of black and white at his throat said he was a man of the cloth no matter what the holsters at his hips might suggest… though a closer inspection would show those holsters were not filled with guns.
He got through a dozen Hail Mary’s before he came, blowing a cup of thick semen in fat gobs onto the coin scattered dirt of the dooryard.
He knelt and dipped two finger into the sticky fluid, then crossed himself.
Covered in spider-webs of his own spunk, the albino approached the door of the whorehouse… which opened to greet him spilling blood-light and screams of ecstasy.
The inside of the whorehouse was the size of a city.
In my father’s house there are many mansions…
The door he entered was flanked by eunuchorns, creatures like minotaurs who had the heads of unicorns instead of bulls. As their name suggested, each of the massive beast-men had their horns snapped off and their genitals gouged out. Guards of the harem of Hell. It was they who had opened the door, and watched with hate-filled eyes as the albino strode without fear into…
The albino had once ridden through Monument Valley and the Half-World reminded him of that place of standing rock towers hundreds of feet tall only these towers were Babels given over to speaking the universal language of fucking and they stood not in a desert but a room the size of all the Earth.
The room he had stepped into was vast enough to contain buildings and yet was clearly still a parlour. The door he had stepped through was little more than a mouse hole, and he little more than a mouse, in a parlour whose floor was crowded with dozens of dolls houses… except they had no walls, were only the exposed insides of dolls houses, rooms open to view and in all of those rooms were being committed atrocities of love. In beds, on floors, against walls, straddling insane fuck-furniture, hung by hooks or chains or silk nooses, limbs entwining –legs, arms, tails, membranes, wings- teeth gnashing, biting, chewing, faces and cunts and anuses sucking and gushing and farting out weird fluids, gasps and moans and screams and croaking and laughter colored through and through with madness.
The air was thick with unholy incense and the stench of sweat and semen, heavy enough to leave a sticky glaze of moisture on the albino’s face.
Over stimulated, the albino came to his senses to realize he was standing in one of those rooms without walls, a reception room filled with chaise lounges and love seats, all occupied by voluptuous demons of both genders, incubi and succubi, lascivious lamia and perverse imps, rouged demon eyes
(the eyes of goats the goats go to the LEFT)
gazing at him as forked tongues played about lips and teeth. Hungry.
Scattered about the floor of the not-room were dolls houses, all of which were stripped of their walls. They seethed with movement, tiny doll movement. Microcosm and macrocosm. This room was a miniature of the greater room, and at the same time they were both the same room.
“As above, so below,” said the voice that had welcomed him, a Scottish accent, “Aye, and around and around forever, forever, forever.”
The voice was at his elbow. The albino looked down into a face he had memorised from the only known photograph taken of the subject. Marshall McGregor.
The architect of flesh.
The man was a dwarf and ugly as sin itself. Not only this, but obese and naked, his cock an enormous red horn that stood hard and proud from under rolls of hairy fat. The man was nearly as grotesque as some of the demon whore’s who were his concubines.
Born to a wealthy laird in the highlands of Scotland, McGregor’s soul was born as freakish as his body. A life of horrific excess funded by an early inheritance had laid the darkest of trails, a glistening slug trail that lead over a mountain of corpses, until finally he had made a deal with the devil-lord Arcimboldo.
“Many men of the church have stepped through mah door before now, pilgrim,” said the dwarf, grinning, “So, I suppose it’s a few bairns ye’ll be wanting tae fuck? We’ve got a cherubim kept to one side for preachers and priests, though the poor wee thing is a bit ragged around the arse these days.”
McGregor waddled to the middle of the parlour, holding his arms out as if to embrace his clutch of demonic whores.
“Or perhaps ye’d like to see a few more of me possibles first? Eh? Anything catch your eye? What’s your poison, pilgrim? Cunt? Cock? Something a little more… exotic?”
The albino said nothing.
The demon whores began to lazily rise from where they lounged, each approaching the albino one by one. They slid and leered and danced around him, displaying what they had to offer; enormous breasts studded with dozens of bleeding nipples, forked cocks, cunts lined with eyeballs. Beast headed whores, whores with translucent jellyflesh, whores of rusted metal and rotten wood. A demon with a face like a smeared painting whispered filth in his left ear, another who’s every head-hole was lined with white slug-bellies spoke sweetly in the other
The albino said nothing. The demons washed around him, an unmoving rock in a river of filth, foul waves washing over him.
McGregor was massaging the glans of his engorged penis, as big as a fist, sore and angry from overuse. An eyebrow crept up as the albino kept his peace.
“Now what’s this? Cat got your tongue there pilgrim? Having second thoughts? Because if ye are, well, too fucking bad; the moment you stepped through the door the pact was sealed. One night of pleasure such as ye won’t find this side of Paradise in exchange for every drop of blood, marrow, and semen in your body.”
A bulb of pre-come the size of a walnut appeared at the tip of the dwarf’s penis. He thumbed it up and into his mouth. He hummed in satisfaction before winking at the albino.
“And your soul, of course, but most folk who end up here have already forfeited that. So… what’s your poison pilgrim? Make a choice or I’ll choose for ye.”
A drowned corpse with antlers of coral offered sea anemone orifices. A charred corpse, smoke still coiling from empty eyeholes and anus, croaked of charcoal pleasures. A rot bloated corpse promised a gash overflowing with pus and flesh-grubs.
The albino said nothing, but his impassive gaze finally slid away from the tempters to settle on the smirking dwarf.
“Satisfy me,” said the albino.
McGregor stopped fondling himself.
“What’d ye say?”
The albino reached up with two fingers and pulled his smoked glasses further down his nose. His blood shot, pink eyes had no lines around them, making his age an impossible guess; did he not cry, did he not laugh?
“Satisfy me,” he repeated.
The architect of flesh licked his fleshy lips and regarded the albino with narrowed eyes.
“Are ye challenging me, ye gobshite?”
The albino then expressed the first hint of any emotion. He grinned, fast, bright, no real emotion, just a token facial expression by a creature trying to communicate in another species’ language.
“Just your whores. I’ve heard bold claims. I don’t believe them.”
“Your possibles…” the albino said, “Mediocre at best. My palm excites me more.”
McGregor rubbed at his jaw and blinked rapidly, realizing that he was being insulted, that his right to this corner of Hell was being disputed, mocked. He stopped rubbing and waved a long, knuckly finger at the albino.
“Ye cheeky shite…” he muttered, rage building, “Ye cheeky fucking shite! Ye come into mah house and ye talk tae me like that? I’ll fucking have your guts for garters ye cunt! I’ll skin ye with mah own fucking teeth!”
The demon whores shrunk back from his anger, though it was not directed at them.
The albino’s pink eyes gazed blandly over his smoked spectacles.
McGregor had threatened, but he had not moved. Of course not. A challenge had been issued, and he had no choice but to answer it. The supernatural world was constrained by laws as tightly as the world of men, just different laws. It was the reason haints could not enter a house unless invited… And why entering the Devil’s house placed him entirely at your disposal, for as host he was bound to his guests every whim.
Marshall McGregor had made his pact and become a subject of such laws.
“I seek release,” said the albino, “The standard bargain. My corpus for satiety. I doubt I’ll get it, judging these.”
McGregor ground his teeth.
“And if ye are unsatisfied by my whores? What stake do ye expect from me?” he asked slyly.
But the albino was slyer still. The grin returned.
“Nothing. Hell hates to forfeit. Hell will hold you accountable.”
McGregor bared his teeth.
“Ye cunt,” he spat.
“As you say.”
McGregor rushed him, thundering forward on ponderous legs, his whole disgusting bulk in motion, his still erect cock bobbing. But he stopped short of actually touching the albino, his hands clutching at the air as if to rip him limb from limb.
The albino did not flinch.
Powerless, McGregor raged, every obscenity on his lips in a torrent of threats and promises and extravagant claims as to the albino’s future.
That gentlemen took it all with bland indifference.
The occultist eventually ran out of puff and stood glaring up in raw hatred at the man whom he had extensive, gruesome destinies planned for.
“Ye cunt,” he whispered.
The albino said;
McGregor turned and stalked away. One of his whores didn’t see the danger quick enough, and in a moment the heavy hipped creature with a sea horse head and tail was disembowelled. It was a reflex of anger, thrown away without thought.
No matter how comical his grotesque appearance, the dwarf was still one of the most dangerous humans on Earth.
The demon whores fell upon their sibling and ate her alive.
McGregor stomped on a dolls house and immediately, miles distant in the greater room, one of the massive buildings collapsed with a sound of thunder.
The albino was unmoved.
The architect of flesh finally reined in his passions enough to stop destroying things, and when he did inspiration struck him.
“Satisfaction is what ye seek, is it?” he asked, his back to the albino.
Above the sound of the whores eating, the albino said it was.
“And ye don’t think any of my possibles here are gonnae do the trick, is that it?”
“Any of them? All of them? None of them.”
McGregor turned around, and once more he was the courteous host.
“Sure, ye’d be a connoisseur of cunt then, and not just any pilgrim. Yes, ah see plain enough now! Ye will have to forgive me, its not like the sort of souls we’re used to here have what ye’d call refined pallettes. No, no, none of these possibles is suited to a connoisseur. Ah find myself embarrassed!”
The albino had been warned of this line of reasoning. It was a loophole for a demonic host to wriggle out of responsbility.
“And seeing as though ah can’t offer ye anything up to ye high standards, embarrasing as it might be, ah guess that means ye are…”
“I want the Vestals.”
McGregor’s act of gracious humility vanished in a moment.
“Ye what? The… how the fuck do ye…” the dwarf’s eyes narrowed. The past decade of endless debauchery had addled his wits, so that only now it dawned on him to ask the question that mattered; “Who… what are ye?”
The albino’s sickly eyes sparkled.
“Your questions,” he said, “Who, what, don’t matter. Why… I have been sent by the Sisters of the Immaculate to end what you began in Whitechapel.”
The albino was normally a man of few words but he had prepared these for some long time as he tracked the occultist to the very edge of the frontier gleaning clues from whispered talk around campfires and hog ranches and missions until his final tip from a Pinkterton agent gutshot and dying in delerium had lead him here to the very edge of manifest blasphemy.
“I’m here for a sexorcism.”
The albino’s filthy poncho fell from about his shoulders to reveal that he was naked underneath except for a pair of spurs and holsters that held not guns. He was coyote-lean and moon-pale, his sinews a map of bite scars, his back furrowed by claws in ecstasy. A rosary of razorblades wrapped around his right wrist. Between his legs hung heavy his circumcised cock, a rope fist-knotted at the end; it was enormous, though more shocking still was the colors of it. Rainbow hued, from root to bell head, all seven shades from red through to violet.
McGregor had bound demons to his whim and now was bound himself by the lore of the land; he could not refuse the custom of any who crossed the threshold willing to trade. Even if they came asking for the rarest of pleasures, pleasures that he kept for himself, and even then only indulged lightly.
Forget the exaggerated sex between its thighs, this sickly looking creature wouldn’t survive Mary, let alone the others.
McGregor grinned to himself. Then he began to laugh. His laughter grew from deep chuckling into great bales that rolled about the not-room. The demons who ate of their kind leered up with bloody mouths and joined the laughter, teeth claggy with smouldering flesh, screeching and hooting like beasts.
“Ye come here wantin’ for the Vestals… a pasty wee ferret-faced fucker like ye? By Christ, the Sisters aren’t what they were if they’re havin’ to recruit the likes of ye! Ye may be as big as a fuckin’ donkey, but the Vestals…” the dwarf stopped laughing with a snap, “I’ll have ‘em save ye skull so’s I can shit in it.”
If the albino took note of the threat he showed nothing, just gripped his cock with both hands and began to work his inches, impatient. He swiftly began to stiffen, to swell.
“Fancy talk’s finished. Where’re the whores?”
The dwarf’s face turned red, then beetroot; his mouth opened and closed like a fish, unable to find anyway to express what seethed within him.
And then his color cleared. His eyes darkened.
“Alreet,” he said, and clapped his hands, twice.
In a moment everything was different, as if they were in a theatrical production and a scenery change had been called; the skeleton architecture of the room and the Hell-Whores themselves were whipped away up into the darkness until the albino and the dwarf stood alone and exposed surrounded by doll houses on the floor of the vaster room filled with mansions.
The dwarf stooped and picked up one of the dolls houses and the albino recognised it as a replica of the outside of the Half-World.
“D’ye want a wee peek at what’s tah come?” asked McGregor with a sneer. He lifted the roof of doll whorehouse and tilted it towards the albino, who caught a glimpse of five miniature rooms; one was a squalid garret, another inside of a redskin’s teepee, and yet another was the inside of a backwoods shack, filled with bizarre taxidermy. But what were the last two rooms? The glimpse gave only impressions, one of an Egyptian tomb, and the other a cave with crude paintings on the walls…
The dwarf snapped the lid down and dropped the model building on the ground at his feet and at once an entire building dropped silent from the darkness above to land behind him. The effect was disconcerting indeed, as if an elephant had plummeted to Earth only to land as softly as a feather. More disconcerting still was the fact that it was the building they were already in, the Half-World.
(as above so below)
“Ye ever seen those Russian dolls preacher? Little wooden things they are, one nesting snug inside the other, and another inside that, and another inside that, and on and on.”
The door to the Half-World opened. No light spilled out, but shadow did, as if it had substance.
The dwarf’s eyes never left the albino who was striding past him, titanic rainbow hued cock swinging.
“Five vestals, preacher,” said McGregor, “That’s what ye asked for, and that’s what ye’ll get. For yer flesh, for yer blood, fer yer seed and yer soul. And when they’ve finished with ye…” the albino paid no notice, disregarding the dwarf, who became incensed, “Wha’, hoy, ye divn’t DARE ignore ME ye cunt! HOY! Ye cheeky gobshite, ah’ll fuckin’…”
The albino was already at the threshold. How many Hell-Whorehouses had he sexorcised? How many of their owners had made tedious
speeches about how they were going to defecate in his hollowed skull, and wipe their rectums with the ragged remains of his soul?
Not slowing, without ego and so without fear, he stepped into the darkness as the dwarf raged behind him in the vastness of the outer room;
“AH’LL HAVE YER FUCKIN’ GUTS FER GARTERS YE CUNT! D’YE FUCKIN’ HEAR ME? AH’LL…”
The door closed and the silence of the darkness was deafening.
Within the house was a ruin of a parlour room, cold, dark. The roof was long collapsed to expose a sky full of constellations never seen upon Earth. The door he had passed through was one of six that lead into and out of the room.
The parlour was the kind of room in which gentlemen would pass the time waiting for their favorite soiled dove to become available, reading, smoking, or dreaming of what was to come.
This ruined room was strewn with broken furniture, scattered books. Upon one wall hung a sampler in a shattered frame. Whores had to pass the time too. Needlework kept clever hands clever.
The albino gazed around the room, and saw each door had a name burned upon it, or scrawled in chalk, fingered in blood, carved with a bone knife…
Mary Maggie Darling.
The albino’s gaze settled once more upon the sampler hanging crooked upon a wall of rain warped boards. His eyes favored the pale glow of the alien constellations, adjusted easier to it then to candles and gas, and by weird starlight the albino read this message picked out in stitches:
The PARABLE of the LOCK & the KEY
The LOCK that can be opened with many keys is a Very Bad Lock.
But the KEY that opens many locks is a Very Good Key.
A key turned. A lock opened. A door began to open and within it was darkness into which the albino walked naked.