Official Website of
- John Derhak
- Author of
Tales from the
New Novel by John Derhak
- The Bones of Lazarus
- When Evil Comes
- In the darkness of the service
entrance, he pressed his back against the door. He knew what
was coming next, but the evil was taking hold of his senses.
The burning gripped him. Demons were rising through him, from
within. When evil came, when it was within their reach, they
clawed their way up from the pits of hell and perched like vultures,
ready to feed on one of their own. He could feel the wrath growing,
the irrepressible rage, its hunger. But it was too late to move.
He suppressed them with his will. He would make them waitkeep
the demons downa
few moments more, and then act quickly.
- When the violence erupted it
was profound. A beam of light flooded the alley. On cue, the
soldiers emptied the chambers of their weapons in a deafening
volley of gunfire. Bullets lifted rats in midair and splattered
them like water balloons. Trash cans went flying. Crates were
shattered. Bricks exploded into pieces and powder. Amidst the
staccato bursts he heard yelling, and then all went silent. The
light went out. Voices and shouts came from the street. But he
paid no attention to them. They, the demons, there were many
for this one, were prying their way out. He walked briskly up
to the man and stood over him. Hate and fear emitted from him,
foul and repulsive. The man looked up slowly and their eyes locked.
In those fleeting moments, the last the man would know on this
earthly plane, his senses were overpowered by a putrid, hideous
deep within. The demons were there now, before him, and with
the unmerciful fury of Satan driving them on, they entered. The
man screamed insanely. He did not feel the hand clasp his neck
or the swift blow to his chest that followed. He felt but one
thing: the demons, his very own, ravenous and voracious, devouring
- Only seconds had passed and
he was back in the Underworld. He had descended rapidly through
the hole in the back corner, concealing the entrance behind him
as before. Hesitating, he thought about the soldiers. He lit
a cigarette, and inhaled deeply. A minute or two went by in complete
silence. Smoking contently, he pondered fate, the universe, and
the Divine. The silence ended abruptly with the scream of men.
He dropped the cigarette and listened. Confusion and shock soon
followed. Then there was an explosion.
- Remember What
- You expect me to believe theres
a bloodsucking vampire on the looseamidst the chaoson
top of the chaos and carnage? Captain Loomis asked incredulously.
- Call it what you like, sir,
Sergeant Barton answered. I am telling you that Lazarus
has arrived. That body in the alley had his mark.
- Captain Loomis frowned.
- The near same mark as the
previous five, Sergeant Barton added.
- Lazarus is a figment of the
imagination, responded Captain Loomis, frustrated, a
legend like Vlad the Impalerwho, as you may recall, was
nothing more than a ruthless tyrant and butcher. He impaled his
victims for sporthis own people and enemies alike. After
he died, the only way to rationalize his atrocities was to turn
him into a monsterone that would survive for eternityas
he did in his own lifetimeon his own peoples bloodas
an immortal fiend, as the legend Dracula.
- The legend of Dracula lives
on the silver screen, replied Sergeant Barton. But
Lazarus lives on this plane of existence. You know it. Your grandfather
told you so, Daniel. You cant deny that!
- I never took you to be given
to superstition, Sergeant Barton, Captain Loomis spoke
calmly. Youre a good soldier. Your men respect you.
You carry out your orders, at times difficult orders, without
judgment or question. Thats why youve succeeded so
admirably. Captain Loomis, who had paced slowly at the
foot of the bed as he spoke, paused, and looked directly into
the eyes of Sergeant Barton. Now you place all of that
in jeopardy, he continued, Reporting that youve
seen a monster from your childhood at the end of an alley last
night? At the moment the patrol you led was ambushed? Christ!
Nearly half your men were killed over that monster. Think about
what youre saying. Im talking about your reputation,
your careerGodyour sanity! Youre putting all
that on the line? Captain Loomis said sharply. And
leave my grandfathers tall tales out of this, Thomas. We
were boys. He was an old man, a storyteller, who found great
joy in entertaining children.
- Captain, I mean no disrespect.
I was very fond of your grandfather, Sergeant Barton replied,
And we all have superstitions. But I speak to you now as
a professional and friend, Daniel. Lazarus is not a superstition.
Your grandfather was telling the truth.
- Youre telling me, Thomas,
that this manor whatever you would have me believethe
younger brother of Mary Magdalene has walked the earth since
the time of Christ? Raised by Him from the dead to feast on the
hearts and souls of the wicked. He shook his head in disbelief.
Please, you really dont expect me to believe that!
- Remember what Solomon said.
You know the proverb,
a cruel messenger shall be
, the Sergeant answered him. Lazarus
of Bethany, the one and the same, is such a messenger. He is
that messenger, a soul seeker, resurrected by Christ 2,000 years
ago. He cannot die because of the hand He laid upon him. Wherever
there is violence in the world, he wanders. He seeks the souls
of the damned, purging humanity. Christ died for our sins. Lazarus
is making us pay for them.
- That sounds like a hook from
a movie trailer! snapped Captain Loomis. What next?
The Vampire Lazarus?its mad!
- Mad? After what I witnessed?
Perhaps. Who wouldnt be? But Lazarus is not a vampire of
legend. It isnt blood he thirsts afterthat he takes
from his victims. It is their souls. He devours the still beating
hearts of his prey. He doesnt drink their blood; he sucks
dry the very essence of their beings.
- Violence begets violence,
my friend? An eye for an eye? Sounds like your fiend is less
a Christian soldier than a Hammurabi code enforcer, joked
Captain Loomis, laughing at his own remark.
- Did you not see what was left
of that man? He is not the first, and you know it. More than
a heartless, mutilated corpse, it carried the mark of petrified
evil upon its faceall the victims have. That is the mark
of Lazarus, Daniel.
- Old Testament wrath, Thomas?
Captain Loomis answered dismissively. Ah, but lest we forget,
Lazarus was a Jew, and though a product of the New Testament,
he was not of the New Testament, he smiled. His beliefs
would have been firmly rooted in the Old Testamentand the
God of the Old Testament is a wrathful, vengeful Creator, Thomas.
One prone to smiting and slaying His enemieshellfor
that mattersmiting anyone who wouldnt listen to Him
or what He had to say. Have you read Genesis lately, as an adult?
Maybe our killer thinks hes Lazarus.
- Say what you willmock
me if you want. Im telling you this as a friend, Daniel,
and you very well know it but wont admit it. Where people
cannot or will not resolve their differences peaceably, thats
where Lazarus wanders.
- You need sleep, Thomas. That
explosion last night went to your head.
- I have never seen the world
more clearly. You have my report.
- I received your report. Here
it is, he said, holding up the document. Clearly,
youre shell-shocked. Fortunately for you, my report has
already been submitted to Captain Van Brock. Let me remind you
about Captain Van Brock. Hell stop at nothing to suppress
anything that would imply hes lost control, and believe
me, you and I know hes lost controllost control a
long time ago. How do you think hed react to your report?
Rumors of a monster roaming the streetssucking souls dry
and devouring the hearts of the people? Too much symbolism there,
Thomasand insanity. Captain Van Brock, Im sure, is
already doing an internal on me and my department, because of
these murders. Your report would be just the excuse he needs.
If I were to give him what you dictated earlier, it would surely
be a political opportunity for him. A chance to shift blame.
Score with Colonel Stevin and the Directorate. The perfect diversion
from his inability to quell the violence, let alone end the rebellion.
Hed lock me away and have you put down like a mad dog.
EuthanasiaSaint George style. Im not exaggerating,
and you know it.
- Sergeant Barton stared at Captain
Loomis intently, and then said, What of my report, Daniel?
What are you going to do with it?
- Have you heard a fucking thing
Ive said, Thomas? he snapped, shaking his head in
disbelief. Let me read you my report. Five soldiers
killed in action, ten wounded, in a rebel ambush. A man, perhaps
the bomber, was pursued down an alleyway where he was found dead
and mutilated. An investigation as to the exact cause of death
is in progress. Thats all that will be said of this.
I am recommending you be awarded the Heart of Valor for your
selfless act of bravery. The dead will receive the Noble Cross
for their sacrifice. The wounded will be honored with the Golden
Star for their suffering and be reassigned.
- Sergeant Barton shut his eyes and
sighed deeply. Be wary of the night, Captain, for that
is when he at his strongest and men and women are most vulnerable.
- Im wary every night,
Thomas, he responded. Do you know why?
Sergeant Barton opened his eyes and shook his head no.
- Because thats when all
the monsters come out and crawl along the dark streets of Saint
George in search of preypreying on men like you and me.
Theyre traitors, and theyre everywhere. Now get your
rest, Sergeant Barton. Thats an order. He patted
his friends shoulder gently and nodded. The Sergeant looked
as though he were about to speak, but Captain Loomis placed his
index finger to his lips and shushed him quietly. I must
leave now, Thomas. So sleep my dear old friend. Shut your eyes
and sleep. Ill come by tomorrow.
- The Captain turned and left the
room. No more than a few paces out the door, he paused when he
heard Sergeant Barton utter above a whisper, A cruel messenger
shall be sent ...
- Captain Loomis continued without
looking back, but Sergeant Barton managed to leave him wondering.
The name Lazarus was now imprinted on his mind. If Thomass
belief was in the realm of possibility, he knew that the fair
people of Saint George were as doomed as the people of Gomorrah.
In truth, they already were, he thought.
- To Order The Bones of Lazarus: