The Kappa Kappa Gammas welcomed the winter storm in true New Orleans style: Costume ball. The Monster came to the Kappa party to end the world.

Rain dressed the modest blue sorority house in its sad glitter. The crowd of Tulane students and townies took the party off the parking lot on Audubon Street and brought it inside. Wet and moaning wind sped them on their way.

Izzy Button stood guard by the keg in the front room. She kept vigil for danger over her Vera Wang shades. It didn’t matter that the party was a masquerade. Izzy couldn’t have made it to sorority chapter treasurer without a keen skill for sorting the fabulous from the fuck-ups:

Freshmen girls, plastered and staggering in their kitten costumes. Seasoned sorority sisters in Roman silks and witch tatters. That date rapist linebacker done up like Lancelot or some shit.

No sign of the man she feared. Izzy lit a Slim as the party poured in noise, heat and bumping bodies.

The Monster slipped in with them.

Izzy exhaled and looked for any friendly face. Quinn was in the den’s corner by the plasma widescreen, playing Cleopatra and giving a basketball player eyes like he already had his hand between her legs. Dew was nowhere to be seen, probably in her Chapter Presidential boudoir with a bottle of Bushmill’s and a law student. No sign of Ava—that boy-stealing bitch—likely studying quantum physics or blowing Izzy’s ex, Steve.

The Monster made it into the room upstairs where the tools were kept.

Izzy pulled another plastic cup of Hefeweisen from the keg. She vanished half of it between drags. It made the Slim smoke Willy Wonka sweet. Izzy figured there was no reason not to enjoy this night.

She’d already settled Ava’s big-titted business for getting on Steve. She was probably being foolish to fear that what she’d done down in the Desire Development slums would come back to get her—no way would the man from Desire show up here. Izzy gave Quinn another glance, figuring she’d wait for her sorority sister to seal the deal with Basketball Boy and then cadge some coke off her to make the evening truly sparkle.

The Monster took two spears off the upstairs room wall, stripped and set about lighting a fire. The fire would burn all the veils away tonight. It would burn down the world.

* * *

Izzy blew smoke from her nose. It made her feel like a dragon. She was slim, pigtailed and not-to-be-fucked-with. When Quinn glanced in her direction, Izzy waved her over.

Quinn curled an eyebrow high. Breast balanced on Basketball Boy’s forearm, she was not in the mood for invitation.

Too bad for Quinn; Izzy wasn’t in the mood to be denied. She waved again.

Quinn sauntered over like a Project Runway audition. Hands on her hips, she put on her best put-out look. “What’s your damage, Izzy?”

“Are you holding?” Izzy ashed in the keg’s ice.

“Are you not loaded enough? You’ve been hitting it all weekend.”

“Gee, Mom, thanks for caring.” Izzy gave standing up straight her best shot. “Don’t get on my ass about it. Do I have to tell you it’s the law in this town that you have to get drunk on days that end in ‘Y’?”

Quinn made a big show of pouting. “Aw, is poor Izzy sad that her man stuck his junk in Ava’s bootie?”

Izzy’s blood shot up. Her middle finger went with it. “Leave me to worry about my love life. Hand over the flake and I’ll let you get back to cramming for Advanced Whoring.”

“I’m not handing over shit with you running your mouth like that.” Quinn waved at Izzy’s Slim smoke. “Besides, since when are you not holding?”

“Since Desire turned into a fucking bloodbath.” Izzy said. That brought the mood down to where both girls could feel the bass beat turning like a trapped animal in their chests. Izzy swallowed the rest of her beer to clear the sand from her throat.

Quinn shrugged off most of her shiver. “Bullshit, Izz. The Back Alley Butcher killings are last-year news. If they were actually keeping you from your hook-up, you would have run out of blow back before finals.”

“Just because they don’t trouble whatever air is between your ears doesn’t mean they don’t bother me.” Izzy ashed at Quinn. “Need I remind you that I led a march of concerned students into the Ninth Ward to protest the police inability to catch the killer?”

“And you came back with a dozen grams of good coke.” Quinn turned her curvy side toward Izzy and took a step back toward Basketball Boy, who was ogling a redhead while pretending to read Ava’s copy of Melville.

“Alright, fine.” Izzy snarled, “My connection has turned into a creepy fucker and threatened to come after me. Happy now?”


“Just hand over the blow, you cheap bitch.” Izzy curled her hand.

“I don’t have any.” Quinn put on a plastic smile.

“Such. A. Bitch.”

* * *

Upstairs, The Monster came out of the fire. Smoke raced from the burning bedroom like a pack of gray dogs. Only one of the students milling in the hall turned in time to see.

The girl saw a front of gray. In its center, the bare body of The Monster. In The Monster’s hand, the enormity of a Maasai elephant spear. Above it all, the wooden grotesque of The Monster’s mask.

The spear took flight. It hummed. It carried a train of smoke. It entered the body of one girl just above the waist of her jeans.

The spear’s weight kept it going. The belly of the punctured girl burst like a cask. Blood hit the girl she was speaking to in the instant that the steel point of the spear sheared into her. Flesh cratered below the second girl’s breasts.

The spear kept going. Its point ran through the second girl, rushed out her back shining, shivered to a high-angled stop. Its shaft linked them both, their joined bodies twisting, shedding red to sparkle the hall with the smell of iron.

The girl that had seen The Monster saw the two others impaled. She thought to run. She thought to beg. She wanted to ask God, mother, friends, anyone to bring back the world of the party, lonely as it had been.

She did not move. The Monster was moving. The second spear bit skin the instant that the first settled in the impaled bodies.

The girl that had seen The Monster watched as the floor dropped away from her—watched foot upon foot of African wood sink into a hole in her tummy—watched the hands of The Monster guide it from below her navel and up, up, up.

The Monster looked up at the girl. The Monster’s face was a calamity of glaring wood, arching tusks, horsehair in a flaring mane.  It was the mask of Rangda, Lord of Demons, essence of chaos, and it showed this to the girl.

The girl that saw The Monster opened her mouth to scream and out came blood in an unbroken stream.

* * *

Izzy crossed her arms and decided make-believe was not beneath her. She imagined she was a judge, the keg her honorable bench, and the crowd a pack of unworthy defendants. Izzy blew smoke and set to sentencing them.

Quinn, of course, got death for being a Bitch in the First Degree. That grimy freshman in a pathetic Popeye costume—just a sailor cap and a can of spinach—he got five years of anal rape for bumping Izzy’s arm on his way to the keg. Steve was nowhere to be seen—not since Ava’s weepy apology—but he got drawing and quartering. Two servings of it.

Izzy put another smoke in a mouth that refused to smile, even bitterly. She lit it, savored the smell. She wished the whole Kappa house was in flames.

Teegan came up to the keg to bring her hippy boyfriend a beer. The brunette was another goody-goody sorority sister like Ava. Izzy decided she would get an earful in Ava’s stead.

“Did you hear about our sister betraying us?” Izzy said. Her drunk glowed in approval. It fed the coals of resentment still smoldering in her. It was time to let fly again.

“What?” Teegan had to yell over the noise from upstairs—some frosh having a hissy fit, it sounded to Izzy. “Betray? Who?”

“That slut slept with Steve and tried to blame it on me.”

“What slut? Quinn?” Teegan stopped drawing the beer to give Izzy her full attention. The consideration only pissed her off more. Ava had acted so considerate the entire time they’d been friends.

“Ava.” Izzy stepped between Teegan and the keg. “She got her whore on with Steve and said I had told her to do it.”

“Why would you even do that?”

“I didn’t.” Izzy milled her hand, taking pride in how it showed off her Tiffany bracelets. “I texted some messages about a threesome because Steve wanted me to. I knew he was joking. Ava, apparently, missed the humor.”

“Wait, what?” Teegan leaned in from the rumble and yell of the party. “Did you say that you texted Ava to tell her she should sleep with Steve and you?”

“I was joking.” Izzy stopped herself from slapping Teegan. “Clearly, I would be.”

“Then why did Steve go through with it?”

“Because he’s as much of a slut as Ava.”

“I don’t know.” Teegan wrinkled her nose and glanced at the stairs. Students were rushing down. “Ava doesn’t seem the type. She’s always helping out, and—”

“She helped my boyfriend with her ass!” Izzy snatched Teegan’s beer away. This conversation was over as far as she was concerned. Teegan was sentenced to ten-years of showering with bull dykes.

“Do you smell smoke?” Teegan picked up another cup.

Izzy blew her latest Virginia Slim drag in the brunette’s face.

“Yes.” Izzy said. Teegan waved off the smoke and Izzy with it. She stepped back into the scrum of the party—a stupid stew of costumed students rubbing and floundering on the floor of the front room. Izzy loathed them all.

Ava especially. Izzy wished Ava would show up so that she could get another dose of public humiliation. Not even for stealing Steve—Izzy had already dressed Ava down for that in the den of Kappa house. She wished she had done it with a loudspeaker, but otherwise had no regrets.

No, it was for setting the man from Desire against Izzy that Ava really deserved another helping of Hell.

Izzy had such a sweet thing going with her coke dealer, and Ava had somehow sunk it all. All year long, Izzy had spread her legs for that darling hulk of a man in exchange for a steady flow of flake.  Two days ago, after Ava disappeared in tears, the dealer had called Izzy and read her the riot act for hurting Ava’s feelings.

Izzy flicked her cigarette at Teegan’s feet. How dare anyone take Ava’s side? Izzy’s dealer had gone on and on about what a sensitive, helpful soul Ava was: Such a guide to the needy and the lost down in Desire with community service. So kind and generous to “his people,” and all that bleeding heart bullshit. So delicate as she counseled and worked the soup kitchen lines and assisted the dealer’s church in handing out secondhand clothes, canned food and whatever other crap poor people need.

Izzy watched the stairs begin to billow with smoke. She could care less. It was strange, but stranger still was that no one saw how sensitive she was. Wasn’t Izzy helpful to her dealer, always on hand to get his rocks off? Wasn’t she caring, going along with Steve’s fantasies? Did she not hurt?

Izzy was still pondering this as the boy on fire rushed down the stairs and collapsed in a flaming heap.

* * *

The Monster had spent the spears and used the whitewall cleaner. There were so many messes to make. The boy lit aflame by the ignited cleaner had fled The Monster, clawing the sticky blaze that ran down his body, but there was no escape to be had.

The Monster had caulked the front doors shut. The Monster had so many more tools left to use. The storm was locked inside and the world of Kappa house was coming to an end.

The Monster lifted the bottle of sulfuric acid. The crowd toppled down the stairs, chased by the smoke and the sharp scent of blood. A fat woman, dressed like Mae West, banged into the wall in her haste.

The acid flew straight for the woman’s chest. It came fast as a pitched ball. Glass burst against bare neckline.

A transparent fountain burst over breasts, shoulders and face. The woman shrieked as the liquid bit wherever it fell. Skin went yellow, yellow went to green and green turned to smoke.

The woman screamed as she began to come apart. Yellow gas hissed from the gaps that split open her meat. Her chest fell into chunks. Her neck showed sinew, strings and tubes, startling white bone. Her screaming face dissolved into a frenzy of slime.

The Monster thought on the end of the world: On strangelet matter—energy that transformed everything it touched into itself. On the name of the catastrophic event strangelets caused—the “gray goo effect,” they called it in Quantum Physics class. On how the whole world could end from a single, miniature event.

The fat woman was split like a sausage, falling into smoking pieces by the burning boy. She scraped at pieces of herself and those pieces came away. She shuddered as the acid’s devouring spread over everything touched, transforming the woman’s shape into its seething liquid.

The Monster walked past the woman and watched the end of the world spread.

* * *

Izzy took another sip of beer. It didn’t quench what she was seeing. She began to shiver.

“The fucking doors are sealed!” Izzy heard a man yell. “Someone glued them shut!”

Izzy could only think that this was terribly wrong. The Kappa house was her castle. She was the reigning treasurer of the top sorority on Tulane campus. She was judge, she was queen, she was the authority here.

She could not possibly be watching a boy burn like a trash pile, could not be watching a woman melt. She didn’t understand what she was hearing.

“I don’t want to die!” Heard dancing atop the throbbing Rhianna track on the stereo. “Please, please, let us out!” Crawling hysterical over the bass beat. And so many, many other wordless cries.

Izzy did not accept that she heard a buzzsaw start up.

The whine of the tool came from out of the solid cloud of smoke on the stairs. It was unmistakably sharp and fevered. It approached, a noise like everything sensible splitting in half, giving birth to a hideous new reality.

Izzy saw what was coming down the stairs and decided that the only sensible thing to do was to sit down for awhile.

She slid down the wall and squatted as The Monster’s saw bit into someone less than a dozen feet away. A wet, tearing noise splattered Izzy’s ears. She dismissed it just as she would a fart from a freshman boy.

Izzy had endured the spins before. She had seen her way through her fair share of bad hits of Exstasy, like the one time at the Rush concert, spent hunkered in a Datsun thinking that Buddha, Jesus and Hercules were stalking her in the parking lot outside. She knew what to do when the coke-crash depression came: Bad trips were all the same—you just had to get comfortable and ride them out.

Izzy cursed her hand for shaking so violently as she tried to pull a cigarette from her pack. She stared at the box of Slims to hold it steady and noticed that a girl’s arm was flopping on the floor in front of her. The fingers were flexing in time with the ribbons of blood blowing from the tool-neat slice of the stump.

“Fuck it.” Izzy figured the cigarette could wait. She shut her eyes, tried to open her throat for enough air to let her breathe, fought to stop shaking. It only made her shake worse.

If she couldn’t get a grip on herself, it was time for bed. But bed was upstairs. From upstairs, an inferno was coming—an inferno and worse.

Izzy tried to erase the vision of The Monster she had seen stepping from the smoke. Behind her eyelids, the image blurred and faded like a bad math lesson. Her palate clean, Izzy opened her eyes.

In front of her, under the stomping feet of the crowd, Teegan was crawling. Teegan was looking at her with an expression like rupturing wax. Teegan was trailing a throbbing parade of intestine, her body sectioned just below the belly button.

“Help!” Teegan pleaded with a voice made miniature by the pressure of pain. “I need to get out of here.”

“I can’t.” Izzy realized there was nothing she could do. Her hand dumbly reached for where Teegan’s legs should be. But nothing would put them back on and nothing would put Izzy’s world back together.

“Please, I need a doctor.” Teegan crawled on.

Izzy stood and turned for the stairs. It was definitely time for bed. Nightmares didn’t end until sleep ended, so sleep was called for at once.

The sight of The Monster sent Izzy to the ground. The Monster was in the middle of the crowd, a spiked club in-hand and berserk, bringing down clusters of boys and girls. The Monster made blood leap and brought bodies down swift as stone.

The Monster was looking at Izzy. Izzy was being shown. And Izzy saw.

Izzy knew that club—it was a Japanese relic that she had seen on a bedroom wall. Izzy knew that ghastly face—a holy mask of some Malaysian goddess, Rangda, and her sorority sister’s prize possession.

Izzy knew The Monster well, had called her sister, had damned her as a betrayer.

The Monster was Ava.

Ava looked down at Izzy through her mask. She stood, stripped to her underwear with a broad tool belt around her waist. Ava glowed red from her gory mask to the runnels that wrapped her feet, glowed like an image of stained glass.

Ava was showing this to Izzy. She lifted the club and gathered the neck of a passing girl. She held the girl’s life as gently as one would spider silk.

And the club came down. The girl’s face turned into a mask of red.

And the club came down. The girl’s head bloomed into gray goo.

And the club came down and came down. The girl’s head was gone. Ava showed Izzy what it was to take a life apart.

Izzy couldn’t wonder why. She only saw how: Saw that Ava’s charity work in Desire had been at the time of the Back Alley Butcher killings there. Saw that there was more to fear in those slums than her dealer man-toy. Saw that Ava’s world had come apart—her last connection to humanity severed by Izzy’s words—and that Ava had come back to show Izzy what that meant.

Ava’s club caved in the skull of the date-rapist Sir Lancelot. He went down; half his face flapped on the hooked spikes. A crash sounded, bigger than the hysteria of the party, bigger than the house, rumbling and huge in Izzy’s bones.

Izzy had nothing to say in reply.

The crash came again. The doors were being broken down. Ava’s club set by her side as she stood, showing herself to Izzy until the image seared red into the blank sheet of Izzy’s mind.

A fourth crash sundered the doors. Police poured in with the rain charging around them. Guns drawn, guns seeking, three officers shoved their way into the crowd.

“Officers with a weapon!” A female officer yelled. “Freeze!”

The only answer was the shrieks and thrash of the crowd. The song on the radio changed to Seether and groaned on around the animal clamor. The Monster was gone, a broken back window behind her.

Izzy Button stared from the ground, silent and vacant as the eye of the storm.

Matthew C. Funk is a professional writer in marketing for corporate America, a writing mentor and the author of several manuscripts that illuminate the beauty of human extremes. A graduate of the Professional Writing MFA at USC, his online work is featured at sites such as Powder Burn Flash; Thrillers, Killers and Chillers; Twist of Noir; Six Sentences Volume 3 and his Web domain.

"Kappa Kappa Carnage" © Matthew C. Funk • Photo features Laura Draper by Matthew C. Funk and Jimmy Callaway • PLOTS with GUNS © Anthony Neil Smith