In the tiny town of Owhiro Junction every Friday night a group of blokes get together for some man time and play a few rounds of poker. They leave the wives and kids at home and for a few hours drink a good single malt and smoke some excellent cigars.
On the night of the Redeemers Moon, a new player whom they eventually come to know as Mawene, joins them. Initially he is jovial, affable even but the players soon start to notice that something about him isn’t quite right. He seems to know things about each of them that not even their nearest and dearest know.
For instance he knows about the school principal’s propensity for using the strap, not that he uses it, that he REALLY likes to use it especially on the boys. He knows about the coach’s underage booty call and that Serena isn’t just the Mayor’s wife.
As the game progresses the darkness that resides in the men and over the township is exposed until eventually they are desperate to leave the game. Mawene is only just getting started. He intends to strip these men of all dignity, he’s going to tear them apart and make them wish they could put out their eyes with a blunt instrument.
Eventually they will willingly offer up their souls to him. Mawene will win these from them but he has no use for their souls. He is not a creature of God or his fallen son Lucifer. He is far more ancient and serves only one master, Whiro, the Cannibal God. Although the taste of flesh is delightful to Whiro it’s not what he craves most.
Mawene plays his final hand. He now owns them all but will give them back their souls on one condition, they give him their children. Utterly broken, the men agree and play the last round. They lose. Mawene rises from his seat and leaves and what the players discover upon arriving at their homes, freezes their blood.