Waking up on a new day after experiencing a heavenly dream brings no better feeling; I awoke that day with the strength of the gods.
I needed it. The sun rose, the golden beams of light lit up the snow covered valley and I could see the trees glinting and shimmering with the ice slowly melting, trickling down the ancient oak. A beautiful bright beacon in the sky; I felt the warmth of that golden mass of burning gas on my skin through my stained glass window. The birds sang a beautiful melody, a brisk, full breeze that blew softly on a wooden wind-chime. Perfectly formed white clouds scattered throughout the morning sky. A faint mist blanketed the town, I could just hear the chimes of the church that stood in the centre of the town like a guardian angel with their wings spread, protecting the residents of the old village.
I then had to blink but it wasn’t the usual feeling of rejuvenating my eyes, it was an itch…an itch so bad that I felt like there was a force pushing my retinas into my skull.
I didn’t want the benevolent, blissful, beautiful moment to be broken by this feeling.
I held my eyes open to the point a tear crept out of my right eye, my heart started to pound I could feel the blood rushing through my veins, a sudden surge of adrenaline took over.
I then blinked.
I must have passed out because when I opened my eyes the blood had dried on my face, my wrists were bruised black, but my blistered hand had healed as if I had never burnt it
With such a menial task done, I looked towards the valley again, this time there was no snow, just burnt and charred bodies shattered the fields. The oak trees burning with the blaze of a supernova. Instead of birds I just heard the anguish cries of the damned being carried on a thick heavy wind, the smell of sulfur and rotting corpses violated my nose. I felt like I was about to pass out when I saw it. The sun was no longer there, just an empty void in its place. A dark, disquiet singularity looming over the town, the once serene church now in ruin. Broken, the towering spire that reached for the heavens now twisted and corrupt, pulsing crimson tendrils infested the church, creeping into every crack and crevice.
I looked closer… these weren’t tendrils, they were veins pulsing with thick, hot blood. I could only tell because the church was bleeding, from what I could see the church was surrounded by a moat of blood, but there was something else.
In that moat were people… well I think they were people, they looked like people, however their skin peeled off their body, just muscle and bone remained.
They cried out in pain, struggling to stay afloat, screaming “LET ME DIE” before their heads disappeared under the surface. They would re-emerge a few moments later, choking on the blood, I watched this continue in horror. They couldn’t die, something was forcing them to suffer like this endlessly. I stepped back from my window shaking, the adrenaline was coursing through me, I had to get out of this nightmare. I grabbed my jacket and placed my hand on the doorknob, I felt a searing pain, the doorknob red hot, my hands blistering immediately. I screamed in agony, my hand was shaking; then the same veins I saw swarming the church started to slowly creep through the cracks in my door, blood started gushing through the bottom, I stumbled back, falling onto my bed. I noticed a horrid damp smell piercing through my nose, my hand throbbed in pain. I started to panic, the blood was now an inch deep, a slimy vein coiled around my wrists, I heard a shrieking voice bursting my eardrums “YOU BELONG TO ME”. With all my strength I forced myself out of the burning restraints, I leaped to my feet like a lion; I looked to my window and dove through, the glass shattered and sliced into my arms and face.
I must have passed out because when I opened my eyes the blood had dried on my face, my wrists were bruised black, but my blistered hand had healed as if I had never burnt it.
I staggered to my feet, a raging headache grew within me like a tropical hurricane.
For some reason I felt this unknown force beckoning me, pulling me to the church. My vision was blurry but I made out a trail leading towards the centre of the town.
With a deep breath I raised my head and I took my first steps. I was shaking to the point where I felt like my bones were about to shatter into grains of fine sand, but I couldn’t tell if it was fear or from blood loss. The air felt like a thick poison to my lungs, it gave me a sick feeling to the very depths of my stomach, after only three steps I had to vomit. I collapsed to my knees the urge to to throw up was stronger than my ability to breathe, a burning, monstrous mass was pushing its way up my chest, it reached my throat and my eyes teared up. Whatever it was, it wanted out…it had the fury of an angry barbarian behind it. I was choking and I could feel it wriggling with one last retch, I forced it out coughing on my own blood – doing so, I gasped for air with tears streaming down me like rain on a windscreen.
I looked down and saw what I had just pry its way out of me, a huge leech covered in my own blood, slimey and shrieking like a newborn baby. My heart felt like it was about to burst, the pounding in my chest only matched by the constant drumming in my head and the cries of that baby-black-blood-sucker rang in my ears like an out of tune violin.
I wanted to cry but the urge to continue to the crimson church was stronger than succumbing to this cursed hellscape, I used the sleeve of my jacket and wiped the blood from my mouth, I climbed to my feet and with a vacant stare I looked down at the leech, it had stopped crying and was no longer moving.
I forced my view back towards the town, just enough to see the flammable orange sky, I straightened the collar on my jacket and started to walk.
As I strolled down the corrupt and bloody path I could feel myself heating up, each stride becoming a burning pain, my stomach had still not settled from my previous encounter with the poisoned air.
I looked across to the fields next to me. It almost seemed like a usual farm with different crops growing in each pasture, A field of dead sunflowers staring at the solitude singularity in the sky, at least that’s how I can describe them.
Their long stalks made of aged flesh, the leafs looked like flattened livers, long bloody bony fingers where the beautiful yellow petals should be and the centre…my god, I couldn’t make them out at first so I leaned in to take a closer look, placing my balance on an old cobbled wall just resting my hand between the veins that were infecting it. I squinted my eyes to the festering, fleshy flower. The seeds looked…strange. I leaned in closer, I noticed that they weren’t seeds they were eyelids, suddenly one of them opened, I jerked back as the rest of the eyes opened up, hundreds of independant eyes staring at me, I try to back away but the veins on the wall had grown over my hand keeping me captive to witness what came next.
All of these “sunflowers” soon opened all their eyes as if they had awoken from a slumber and slowly turned their gaze from the void in the sky to me, then the screaming started; the closest started to lean in my direction.
“THE FUCK IS GOING ON?” I painfully howled out.
The fingers of this hellish plant bending and cracking in my direction, it wanted to grab me, it wanted me to become a part of it.
“GET THE FUCK AWAY” I cried.
I noticed a broken bone on the ground. It looked like part of a human femur, a sharp edge where the break was. I reached with all my might with my free hand to try and grasp it, I could hear the haunting shriek of that cursed flower growing closer and closer. With one last pull from the wall I reached the half decomposed bone and thrust it into several of its eyes, the screams grew louder, I tore the bone out of that pestilent plant and plunged it into the pumping tentacle, with that action I recoiled back falling to the ground with a large thud freeing me. The moment I was free the screams cut off as if I had just hit pause on the world’s most agonising song.
The air was just as still as the creatures that just tried to consume me…they just stood there in an eerie silence, thousands of tortured bloodshot eyes just staring at me. It was almost deafening how quiet it was, I felt a haunting chill pierce down my spine like an electrified spear.
Once I realised they couldn’t leave the boundaries of their own cobbled cage, I gathered what little strength I had and took off down the path.
After walking down what felt like an eternity, the church seemed no closer than it did when I started off down the harrowing path, I became witness to some of the various fields, one of them was an old burnt orchard that smelled faintly damp, was littered with lifeless bodies hung by the neck from branches I can only say lifeless because they weren’t moving, but I could hear them all breathing long laboured and agonising breaths some of them whispering with what air they take in, I could make out one woman must have been in her twenties hanging with an iron chain around her throat, her skin blistered and black, she was wearing a tattered floral dress that blew softly in the wind. Her eyes were bright red, bleading, lifeless but I could just hear painfully whispering.
“let me go…please…just let me die”
I wanted to rush over and let her down. My own fear kept me on my own path knowing there was nothing I could do to help…I was only there to watch.
The next field was at least a mile long with scared hands reaching out of the mud and towards the hateful sky, the cuts and gashes on the arms looked almost surgical, the ages of these hands varied I could see older looking hands with bits of bone sticking out and contorting around much younger looking hands, that wasn’t the worst part mixed in amongst them were the tiny, chubby hands of infants…I could just hear the muffled cries of them just under the surface of the sickened soil.
I carried on wishing my eyes had never caught a glimpse of that festering field, I saw many horrors on my way to the church, a field of screaming people dressed as scarecrows, their flesh being picked off slowly, intimately by a murder of crimson crows, I never knew why they was called that until then it seemed…fitting.
I passed a field of snakes eating their way through the bodies and slithering under the skin of blindfolded men and women strapped to electric chairs. The unnerving part…they all were not reacting to pain, they just chanted the same thing over and over in unison.
“Through the eyes of our ruler//upon the throne under the black sun//he bares witness to all”
I grasped the bone I took a little tighter
I then felt an itch in my eye.
With the hope I would return and awaken from that nightmarish dream I blinked with the speed of a bolt of lightning. Once my eyes opened I was no longer on the path towards the church, I found myself in a room with five pillars with torches of blue fire that lit up the room in each corner, completely covered in old religious symbols and carvings some I recognised, some I didn’t in the middle of the room I noticed a Font stood in solitude, patient…waiting.
With no other place to go I stepped forward to investigate. The Font was made of old oak covered with the same symbols on the wall laced with worn gold, it was empty, the only thing resting in the bowl was a silver dagger.
My heart started to pound, the dagger had a dark twisted oak hilt with a bright red jewel on the bottom, the reflection on the jewel was almost unrecognisable and for a second I didn’t believe I was looking at myself, the eyes on the malicious mirror image were burning bright with the anger of a vicious viper with blood dripping off my face, the top of my head didn’t look right from what I could tell it looked like a had…horns protruding and twisting upward.
I forced my gaze away from the revolting reflection and towards the blade itself there was an inscription on the blade written in gold “Pati est imperare” I believed it was latin but I couldn’t translate it, probably something sinister.
I reached with a shivering hand and clutched the dagger, with that action it gave me a way out of here, I knew what I had to do…I had to suffer to escape.
I held the blade in my left hand and raised my right over the Font, I started to shake and my heart felt like it was going to burst, my actions did not feel like my own, I only felt like a puppet being manipulated by burning strings by a master only bent on my own torture.
I pressed the blade against my wrist and slowly, intimately sliced into myself, the blood thick and dark oozed out along the dagger and ran into the Font once the first drop settled the symbols faintly glowed red.
It wanted more, I couldn’t believe I had to do this to escape. With a couple more strokes of the blade, my arm was gushing a deep red waterfall, the symbols grew brighter the more it filled up.
the Font was about an inch deep with my own blood, I became weak and pale.
I couldn’t keep on my feet; the room felt like it was spinning and I dropped to my knees, the symbols weren’t bright enough, I felt like there was a boulder in my throat but I had to endure.
I swapped the dagger to my bloodied right hand and readied my left for the same punishment. Tears streamed down my cold white face as I began to cut more and more, my vision went blurry and the Font was now two inches deep and drenched in my warm blood the symbols burned brightly with the fury of a collapsing star. I fell back on the ground too weak to move, my gaze on the ceiling as I slowly blacked out into oblivion, as I shut my eyes for what seemed the last time I saw the blue torches dimming as if they were tied to my soul slowly succumbing to death’s cold embrace.
I awoke in the middle of the town square with the church just ahead of my, the pulsing veins surrounding me burrowing deep into the ground, tortured souls aimlessly staggering around me their skin stripped off their very bones with barbed wire wrapped around their wrists and bits of rebar reaching out various parts of their bodies some with their limbs broken and forced into positions I could only dream of being possible, their haunting cries and laboured whispers chilled me to the core.
My strength had almost returned so I picked myself up and laid against a pile of broken bricks and ash. The blackhole drew my attention to it, its roaring silence and bright bleakness intrigued me, underneath my skin I felt a bubbling and a burning white hot heat, I began to suffocate on what seemed to be normal air I realised that is what made these hellish husks wandering around me now, they must have once been lost like I had and gazed to longingly into the void in the sky and morphed into these creatures to suffer for eternity.
I ripped my stare away from it and took to my feet, the church was not far now and I began to take my first steps when I heard a loud mechanical clunk followed by a horrific screech. I span on the spot scanning where that could have came from, down a small dark alley I witnessed a an old bearded man caught in a bear trap he was crying out for help, I couldn’t just stand there, I had to help I ran over and fell to my knees beside the old man, he was wearing tattered and burnt clothes, the trap had embedded itself into his ankle and bits broken broken bone poking out of his bloodied flesh the old man was silent and shaking.
“My god, just hold still in gonna try and get you out of this” I exclaimed.
As I said that I placed my hands on the trap.
The moment I tried to open those iron jaws the old man suddenly forced his hand around my throat and slowly turned his face towards mine, his eyes burned a bloodshot red, he began to smirk.
“GET THE FUCK OFF ME” I gasped.
His smirk morphed into a grin as he clutched tighter on my windpipe, that grin evolved into a sadistic smile as he began to chuckle, for an old man he had the strength of a raging gorilla.
His chuckle became a full maniacal laugh growing louder and more violent.
I raised my fist and landed a laboured punch to his cheek, he let go but continued to laugh, I quickly picked myself up, wheezing and coughing.
The old man laughed so hard I heard his voice box split, but that didn’t stop him he still laughed with blood pouring out of his mouth, I took a couple of steps back I was terrified at the spectacle I was watching, the man’s eyes grew red and burst with blood going everywhere, but he still carried on laughing, his mouth ripped open up to his ears with his chin dropping to his chest, I think he was still laughing but all I heard was him gargling on his own blood as the rest of his body twisted and contorted into a bloody fleshy pile on the ground.
I had seen enough I had to make it to the church, I stepped back and turned out of the alley, everything went quiet, as if all the monsters and lost souls knew what I was about to do.
I walked over towards the sinister spire, I could feel one thousand burning eyes on my back as I got closer.
The moat of blood was as calm as the wind; the only way across was over an old broken bridge made of thorns and bone. With everything I’d been through I was cautious every foot placement calculated as I slowly made my way to the church doors.
Three more steps there was writing on the large blood stained doors.
the words “Exolvuntur” was carved into it.
Two steps away, I could hear my heartbeat in my ears, I was breathing heavily. It’s almost over I thought to myself.
I was one step away when I turned to look back on where I had come from. All the lost creatures had gathered at the edge of the moat to witness this, some had knelt down with their eyes fixed on me.
I was at the colossal door, I placed my bloodied hands on the door and recollected my journey, from hellish veins to fleshy sunflowers and draining my blood to get here, I almost cracked a smile.
“it’s over…it’s finally over” I solemnly whispered to myself.
With all my might I pushed the doors apart and suddenly there was a white flash of light.
When the light faded I found myself at my window staring at the snow covered valley watching the day break on a new bright and beautiful day. I heard my wind chime echoing over the birds serene songs, I exhaled a short sigh of relief with a tear falling out of my eye, I felt the warmth of the sun hitting my face, never had I been more thankful to be in this world. I looked at my arms and there were no scars, no bruises, nothing. I caught my reflection in the window and could see no signs of the hellish ordeal I had been through.
The church in the middle of the calm village looked as beautiful as ever. Everything was back to normal…I then had to blink.
I felt a large mass swell up in my throat, my heart started to ache, a cold sweat took over my body…it wasn’t the usual feeling of rejuvinating my eyes…it was an itch.