The priest savored the last spoonful of the fantastic stew he'd gotten at the fall festival. There seemed to be a sweet hint of pork to the entire thing, although he didn't remember that being mentioned as an ingredient. Nevertheless, it matched the the stew's saltiness perfectly and made the most savory meal.
It was a late night dinner, but he had been having trouble sleeping. He feared waking up again with indigestion and decided to spend a little time reading while his stomach settled. As he settled into his recliner, the front door suddenly burst inward.
A figure strode in, his feet clomping on the hardwood floors. He was nothing but a black shadow. His head was half-haloed by the red gash of the midnight moon in the sky.
“Old priest,” Scratch said. “I've waited to make you the first to bleed, just so I could savor the act. I hope you've made your peace with God, because it's the last word you'll ever share with him.”
The priest shoved himself away from the chair as he got to his feet. He raised a crucifix and pointed it squarely at the devil before him. “Foul creature!” He called. “Be gone from this place!”
“Foul, indeed,” Scratch replied. “That is a most foul smell.”
The devil was right. The priest had difficulty not recoiling from the stench pouring out of the crucifix. The solid metal had gone soft in his hand and began to fold in on itself. The former holy symbol smelled of days-old rotten pork.
“Your tool reflects the aberration you have committed against mankind,” Scratch told him. “You have no power over me.”
The priest dropped the rotting mass of meat to the floor, where it burst open, spilling maggots across his rug. He backed away from the devil before him, who tromped forward with the pitchfork held at waist level.
Old Scratch stabbed outward and impaled the man through the stomach. Blood ran down the pitchfork's tines and dripped to the floor. Somewhere far away, perceptible only to Scratch, there was a deep earthquake, and a fissure split open.
“The gates to the abyss are thrown wide,” Scratch told the priest. “My children will be free to inhabit the bodies of the dead. Your abhorrent course of action made this come to pass. Were I a grateful person, I would say thank you.” Instead, he twisted the pitchfork cruelly, and the old priest died.
Far away, in the cemetery, the earth shifted. The ghouls who had been digging for the tasty corpse inside skittered backwards and hooted at each other in fear. One of the braver ones, slavering, a long strand of saliva hanging from his gaping mouth, pushed forward and reached into the open grave.
The others turned and fled at the sounds of terror it made as it was torn apart by the frenzied creature inside.