As the narcotics took hold within Astrid she found herself scanning the torture floor of the hall eagerly, foaming spittle dribbling from her mouth – so many hellish delights to which her still wayward daughters had been and would be subjected to. The freshest girls however, those most fearful – yet untouched – were the objects of her single-minded desire as she watched them being driven forth by the long whips of her already partially developed and highly sadistic entourage. Her eyes narrowed even more as her pupils dilated under the effects of the drugs – the well-worked muscles of her back and triceps suffuse with new life, new sustenance, by dint of the speed and the human protein recently consumed. Which of these fresh daughters would be first subjected to her wrath, her programming, her desire? Despite Astrid’s intention to remain some semblance of composure she found herself laughing, maniacally so, and though her body shacked with mirth within her robes all that escaped her mouth was a raspy hiss – subdued in volume but still enough to attract the attention of both penitents and administrative young sisters-to-be who acted as the facilitators and sometimes as the very extension of her own punitive will – for the latter knew that their disciplinary ministrations reflected that of their command and if their own executionary discipline was not up to par it was Astrid herself whom they would have to answer to.

None of the apparatus which spread across the hall was arbitrary in nature – each device, each implement, each environment in miniature being decided upon well in advance; thoughtfully, meticulously, by senior sisters within the cult recruiters and with the expert input of both special intelligence, internal security and the width and breadth of the most secure sectors of the organization. These were the mechanisms built to develop and instill applied terror – for those who so graduating under pressed and punished flesh would be those instilling and applying even greater terror – organized and fearfully despotic – upon similiarly fresh flesh in the outer areas – the regions towards which the sharp-fingered hand the commandant grasped toward, ever closer, in a psychotic will to dominate, possess, transfigure. And – when such transfiguration had come to full flower – what horror then would sprout violently from the shattered, poisoned earth? Astrid laughed in horrific future speculation – this time audibly causing her minions and still green trainees, both equally captive, to shudder.

Time passed forward into time in fluid measure under the effects of the drugs and before Astrid herself knew the moment for further punishment had arrived, the commencement of yet another correctional cycle – each future sister to be receiving and future sister minders to be administrating situated at their respective stations one and all, prepared and at the ready for the sound of the large brass gong and – upon thrice sounded – brutal and harsh discipline to commence. From the area nearest to the entrance to the cells across the hall two small acolytes, extremely young and as such exceedingly short in stature, features hidden completely beneath black robes and hoods, the length of their robes reaching down to the ground itself, giving the impression that they were gliding across the floor, positioned themselves before the golden circular instrument – kneeling down and then extending themselves again with stout wooden staves in hand – the ends bound with a sphere of leather made from taut human skin.

Astrid sat rigid as she awaited her signal – fists bounded together so tight that blood dripped from the small fissures within balled hands – then releasing to shove the last few gelatinous crumbs of narcotic speed-laced corpse product between trembling red lips. The chapel hall stretched before her now even more vast in apprehension, each acolyte to be tortured again and each one virginal to such pain awaiting the very new and unique horrific minstrations of her and her minions, all naked and shaking in fear, each a pulsating human link in a chain of terror that would extend in time to the very fructification of her soon coming destiny, deadly and clandestine.

Once the sound of the gong… then twice… then thrice. Even as the last reverberation of the instrument began to fade through the dread hall it was replaced with another sound altogether – the sounds of dozens upon dozens of screams intermingling one unto the other, the sounds of leather straps, canes of diverse design, wooden paddles along with satanic whips of myriad fashion and flesh itself as the instrument of torment punishing naked flesh. Tandem to this the sudden sound of devilish machinery starting in sputters, generators igniting, the primitive cranks of mechanical devices of torture – then the wailing beginning as these instruments so designed went about their horrible tasks.

Astrid sprang from her seat, her mouth curled into a horrific smile and screamed – her own sound of predatory rapture enhanced by the dint of the trauma-induced brainwashing and sundry training she had undergone for countless years in the dungeons of the commandant creating a deep, trilling and visceral sound that penetrated even the din of the mass torture now taking place. Her shrieking heard and duly apprehended by the organizational personnel her junior, the mass torture did not pause in the timber of its discipline but rather increased.

SOURCE: Excerpted from BLUEBIRD – the second installment of the post-apocalyptic trilogy authored by the Tempel ov Blood that began with IRON GATES.

A thirteen year-old girl in a futuristic setting after a year of rigorous cult programming and systematic abuse at the hands of a brutal paramilitary organization finds herself installed as a deity representing the embodiment of chemical and radiological warfare in a disease-ridden DMZ-type border area between the paramilitary organization with whom she enlisted and the gateway to areas of unknown nuclear-war devastated territories from which she came.

BLUEBIRD – forthcoming from Martinet Press in 2016.