View Archives by:


Snake Man (Subtermaug)

Jonah Winter

One of the oldest serpents in the history of the Underworld, this evil being exhibits the ability to take on many shapes and many forms depending on the era in which it surfaces. Undead, his spirit inhabits the random bodies of the ill and impoverished and, in so doing, transforms them into an hideous state. In modern times, you see our fiend riding in the rat-infested underground railway systems of once-great cities, slumped over, snorting, quoting ancient scripture, sometimes laughing uncontrollably as the well-lit subway trains screech and rattle through their murky tunnels. Often, he drools. His garments are soiled. His visage is defined by 3 rows of tiny sharp teeth, and 2 glowing red eyes which he uses to hypnotize his victims, mainly recent college graduates fresh from the hinterlands, rosy-cheeked and unacquainted with The Laws of Survival. Beast’s activities include: riding subway all day, frightening people, and occasionally committing hideous crimes. Though his origins remain a mystery, an increase in his activity was noted in the early 1980s, during the Reagan years, when the trickle-down effects of Republican budget cuts included an abrupt shut-down of government money to city-administered social services, such as counseling and medical assistance for the mentally ill, especially in New York and San Francisco, where the hospitals simply weren’t large enough or receiving enough financial assistance from state or local governments to continue operating and therefore had to release their most dangerous patients onto the streets. Use extreme caution when encountering the Subtermaug. If he insults you, or bates you, let him do it. When challenged, he becomes lethally dangerous. Where his hands were, switchblades suddenly pop open, wielded with a ferocity which, moments hence, you would have deemed unimaginable. With proclamations of “You disrespected me!” and “I’m really stressed out,” he slices away, dismembering his victims. Even when unprovoked, he occasionally emits a sulfuric nerve gas from his anus that renders the other passengers expressionless, motionless – urban zombies.

Jonah Winter

Read Bio

Author Discusses Poems