The Communion Wafer

The priest, exasperated from his loud and charismatic exhortations, bowed and wiped a bead of sweat from his brow. He picked up the cracker. “Lord Yarenth, bless us with your presence!”

As he broke the wafer, it turned black and fell to pieces.

Out of the bowl and over the priest’s hands spewed thousands of black spiders. Far more than there could have been wafers poured from some dark portal in the bowl.

“Save us! Lord Yarenth, we have sinned!” a woman in the front rows screeched, her voice soon drowned by screaming. The parishioners fought for the exit.

This was written for the Carrot Ranch flash fiction challenge, “unexpected.” Well, if communion wafers turning to spiders isn’t unexpected, then I don’t think I want to know what is.

For the first time ever, I think, I took a passage from a longer work I’ve written and made it into a flash. This was based on a scene from Manifest Destiny, the first novella in a trilogy of the same name. I’ve finished the novella and gotten through the first draft of parts 2 and 3, but 2 and 3 need such serious reworking that I’m getting through them very slowly. If you want to know more, hit me up in the comments.

Photo by Julia Volk on

7 thoughts on “The Communion Wafer

  1. Charli Mills says:

    Not what I expected at all, not from wafers. Of course, I was thinking I might have missed a saint but this story hints at more dark depths. I’m pleased you use the 99-words to play with your longer work. It can be insightful.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      It is! This scene is one of my favorites. The flash doesn’t show what happened or why, but it’s a real turning point in the characters’ outlooks.

      The bigger story will probably never see the light of day, so I had to see if I could get something out of it, haha.

  2. Marsha says:

    Pretty horrifying, I’d say. I’m not sure I’d ever take communion there again! I couldn’t have gotten out of there fast enough. The good thing about 99 words is that you can reread it quickly to check to see if you might have missed something, or if spiders really did come out of the communion bowl and cover the poor woman.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Yes! 99 words is a great way to look at it.

      In the larger book, what happens is the spiders spread out and get in the ladies’ many petticoats. I won’t spoil why the spiders happened or what eventually comes of it all, but I will say the novella will probably remain on my hardrive, unread by others, forever.

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