Horror

Hark, the Herald Angels Sing

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No one knew how they came into the world, and no one cared. They were angels, or so they claimed, sent to Earth to watch over mankind—to root out evil and promote the common good. Raising their voices and their trumpets, they heralded the end of poverty, the end of violence, the end of suffering as we knew it. We embraced them as our saviors, those shimmering, golden guardians of the skies, and we forever after revered them as gods.

Radiant with their wide, gilded wings and their glittering otherworldly armor, how could we not fall prostrate and submit ourselves for judgement? We handed over our weapons. Of what use would they be to us now? We gave them the keys to our businesses and homes. What did we have to hide? We dismantled our countries, surrendered our sovereignty. Surely they were better suited to leadership than we?

They crowned one of their own, and in the days that followed—as the reign of mankind came to a swift and decisive end—we learned the single most important truth that has been taught in our schools and repeated in our homes ever since: that angels are superior to humans, that whatever they command of us, they do so for our own good.

The angels provide us with whatever we need, and in return, all they ask for is obedience in all things.

Hark, the herald angels sing: Glory to the newborn king!

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Survivor

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This post was originally published through Patreon on April 10, 2018.

I awaken, covered in aches and bruises, cuts and scratches. My right eye has swollen shut, black and blue like the rest of me. I put out a hand to steady myself and cringe. My arm is either sprained or broken; it will require time to heal.

Slowly, cautiously, I glance at the sky. The light is blinding, and I shield my eyes. Only when they finally adjust can I discern the horror all around me.

Men, women, and children, strewn about like debris—eyes glazed, limbs twisted—even as the surrounding buildings and streets remain untouched. Only the people are broken, transfigured into rotting, festering monuments dedicated to a species unlikely to survive the day.

I shed no tears, for my eyes have been wrung dry. Instead I walk, the pristine street rising up to kiss my bare feet, dodging bodies both whole and in pieces. The first street I pass is Valley View. Then Walker. Then Moody. All the while, I behold a city unchanged in the midst of an already deceased world.

Why am I alive? Did they leave me behind on purpose, or was I just a hapless accident? Are there other survivors like myself? Have we already been forgotten? Unanswerable questions swirl inside my head like thunder clouds.

Flash.

The sudden light is blinding, as if the sun has just gone nova.

Through slitted eyes, and with no emotion whatsoever, I discover they haven’t forgotten us after all.

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Simon

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This post was originally published through Patreon on April 24, 2018.

I am trapped, and I am afraid.

Once I thought myself invincible. The world was a great shining wonder, a rich and sumptuous banquet of which I partook every day. I loved the world, and for a time, I thought the world loved me. Now I take stock of the suffocating darkness surrounding me, of the narrow, moldering walls that keep me penned inside, and I realize, as Jesus of Nazareth must have realized the night he was betrayed, that this love is a lie, that the world will use you up until it’s sucked you dry and then crucify you for your troubles.

I kneel before a barren stone floor, search it with feral, calloused hands, and pick up a loose stone. I close my fingers around it as if it were a crown jewel, then lash out, striking the wall.

Flecks of light pierce the darkness. They are something for my eyes to grab onto, something to anchor me in this world of everlasting night.

I strike the wall again.

Again.

Again.

I scrape and scratch until I’m gasping for breath. Then I sink to the ground, suddenly silent and languid, a hollow, hopeless shell of the man I had once been.

Just before I fall into a fitful sleep, light once more enters my vision. At first I shake it off—just another dream, I think, or perhaps I’ve gone mad—but the light blossoms, expands, until my closed eyelids glow like bright red coals.

I try to open my eyes, but the light is too painful. My heart beats faster, and I turn inward with fear.

“Simon.”

The name echoes through my prison like a bullhorn. My name. Long has it been since I’ve heard its syllables uttered, and I feel myself pulled to it like a moth to the light.

“I summon you, Simon the Banished, for the world has need of you once more.”

How many times had I myself called on forbidden powers to accomplish my bidding? Now, it seems, the tables have turned, and as the words of a stranger’s spell ensnare me, I try once more to open my eyes.

The light still hurts, but not so much as it did before. At last, I manage to squint. I am surrounded by bright, blinding gold. It illuminates the cold stone hell whose walls I’d never actually seen before today.

My eyes widen, and my pupils adjust. My prison has faded, and in its place I see first an outline, then shapes, then finally colors: an entire world outside the dark, a world of living, thriving things.

“I call on thee, Simon. Come and be part of the world once more.”

I do not know who’s summoned me or why, only that I will soon be free, that the place where I was imprisoned no longer holds any power over me.

I break into an exultant grin.

I gave much to the people of the world, yet they bound me in chains. Now, they will learn to regret it.

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