Chapter 11:

Rapture

33


Part 1: MotorBookmark here

Maya waited patiently at the Preston Convenience Store register, her arms crossed across her chest. It was only her third day on the job, and she was already finding it to be dreadfully boring. Of course, the fact that she was working the night shift didn’t help.Bookmark here

Still, with how expensive college was these days, it wasn’t like she had much of a choice. All that debt wasn’t going to pay itself. And besides, it was still better than the questionable things some of her classmates did for extra cash.Bookmark here

Bland pop music drifted down from the store speakers, cutting into the silence.Bookmark here

“Oh oh baby!” the singer crooned. “You really got my motor runnin’!” It was a song fit for only commercials and store speakers. Maya couldn’t imagine anyone voluntarily listening to such an abomination for fun.Bookmark here

If I’m going to be stuck here alone, at least give me something listenable, she thought with a deep sigh.Bookmark here

At this point, she just wanted to get the shift over with so she could go to bed. Her life wasn’t much fun at the moment, but she had faith that would change soon.Bookmark here

Just gotta survive one day at a time, she thought. Just one day at a time…Bookmark here

“CRASH!” Before she even realized what was happening, Maya was suddenly being showered with broken glass and powdered drywall. She instinctively took cover under the counter.Bookmark here

What the hell what the hell what the hell?!Bookmark here

Her mind was racing, and she found herself unable to think straight. What exactly was happening? An attack? A robbery? Did a bomb go off?Bookmark here

She cautiously lifted her head above the counter to get a look at what had happened.Bookmark here

The entire front of the store appeared to have been demolished by a minivan. For whatever reason, someone had driven straight through the storefront and only stopped when their busted up car had collided with the refrigerated shelf that held all of the microwaveable burgers and burritos.Bookmark here

She peered around, trying to get a good look at the driver, but the windows of the minivan were all too cracked to see through.Bookmark here

They didn’t… die, did they? she pondered.Bookmark here

After waiting several moments for something more to happen, she made the decision to go and check on whoever was inside. She stepped out from behind the counter and made her way over, broken glass and bits of rubble crunching beneath her sneakers as she walked.Bookmark here

She still couldn’t believe any of this was happening. It felt almost like a bad dream. One moment, she had been standing in an empty convenience store, and the next she was walking through debris to find out whether or not she would have to deal with a dead body.Bookmark here

I really can’t catch a break…Bookmark here

She approached the passenger’s side door and reached out to open it.Bookmark here

“GURGGHH!” A wet gurgle could be heard from inside the vehicle, making Maya jump back in surpriseBookmark here

What the hell was that?!Bookmark here

Although it freaked her out, she still had to check on them. The person inside could be seriously injured and perhaps even near death.Bookmark here

Alright, Maya, she thought. You can do this. Be brave.Bookmark here

She swallowed her fear and opened up the minivan’s door with a “creeeeaaaak!”Bookmark here

Inside, there was a single man in the driver’s seat, dressed in a white sleeveless shirt and old bluejeans. His hands were grasping desperately at his neck, as if he’d been injured there.Bookmark here

As Maya’s eyes moved up to see his face, she was filled with sudden and intense terror.Bookmark here

Oh god! she thought, trembling. Why is his head like that?!Bookmark here

Directly in front of the man was a cell phone set into a stand. It appeared that the device was being used as a GPS guide by the man. However, it currently displayed something very different: a photo of a woman with dark brown hair standing in front of a bright red window, a twisted and distorted smile fixed onto her withered face.Bookmark here

What the hell is going on here?! she thought, filling up with panic. I need to call 911 right away!Bookmark here

She turned to head back to the counter, but was stopped dead in her tracks. In front of her stood the same woman from the photo displayed on the man’s phone, clad in a torn and dirty white dress. Her eyes glowed eerily over the shiny wet smile. The creature reached out to her, growling with viscous sadism.Bookmark here

Maya’s scream of pure terror echoed through the night. It was the last thing anyone would ever hear from her.Bookmark here


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Part 2: Night OwlsBookmark here

Amy Lin laid in her bed and scrolled absent-mindedly through her social media feeds, watching the lives of her friends and associates pass by. Maybe she was too desensitized to the stimulation she got from social media, but there wasn’t much that caught her attention anymore. Everyone just posted selfies or pictures of their pets, or bragged about life events, or made the same jokes over and over.Bookmark here

Perhaps the world is really just boring, she thought.Bookmark here

It was her final year of high school, and it felt like she was simply coasting by, unsure of her true place in the world. The only thing she really cared about was getting Seth’s attention.Bookmark here

She stopped her scrolling as she landed on one of his pictures. It was the photo he’d taken for the football team, posed in his football gear and smiling wide. His blue eyes shined under the bright photography studio lights.Bookmark here

Ah, I miss him, she thought dreamily.Bookmark here

Just a few days ago, she met up with him after practice and they kissed under the bleachers. She hadn’t gotten the chance to see him again since. But tomorrow was Monday, and she was certain she would run into him at school.Bookmark here

I just wanna run away with him…Bookmark here

“DING!” her notification sound suddenly went off. As quickly as she could, she opened up her messenger program.Bookmark here

It was him! Seth had sent her a message!Bookmark here

So he’s a night owl too? She grinned as she opened the message up.Bookmark here

“U up?” He had asked.Bookmark here

Amy typed a reply right away. “Yep!” she said, accompanied by a little smiley face. “Can’t sleep cuz I keep looking at my phone. Bad habit lol!”Bookmark here

Does that come off as too dorky? she wondered after hitting the “send” button. I don’t want to weird him out…Bookmark here

“Me too lol,” he replied. “Also I can’t stop thinking bout u.”Bookmark here

Amy felt her heart flutter as she read the message. All of the boredom that she had been feeling before vanished and was replaced with nervous excitement.Bookmark here

Oh, Seth, she thought, smiling wide. How are you so amazing?Bookmark here

“RAAAAAAGH! GAAAAAGH!” A blood curdling scream suddenly met Amy’s ears, causing her to jump in surprise.Bookmark here

What the heck?!Bookmark here

It sounded like it was coming from across the street. Was there some sort of fight? A domestic abuse situation, perhaps? Amy wasn’t exactly sure what she should do if that were the case.Bookmark here

Should I call the cops? she wondered as she peeked out of her window.Bookmark here

One of her neighbors had run into the street, screaming and tearing at her own face. Her husband ran after her and grabbed one of her arms tightly to restrain her.Bookmark here

“STOP!” he shouted. “WHATS THE MATTER WITH YOU!”Bookmark here

The lady let out another terrible screech, prompting Amy to duck and hide. She didn’t want to watch anymore.Bookmark here

Why do people have to go crazy so late at night? she pondered. It’s almost midnight for god’s sake.Bookmark here

“DING!” her phone’s messenger alert sounded again.Bookmark here

Huh? Is that Seth again?Bookmark here

“DING DING!” Before she could check, the phone went off two more times. Whoever was messaging her really wanted to tell her something.Bookmark here

“DING DING DING DING DING DING DING!” The phone kept going off, each noise indicating a new received message. There must have been a hundred of them pouring in.Bookmark here

Stop! she thought, beginning to panic. What’s happening?!Bookmark here

She opened one of the messages in the app, revealing a photo of a grinning red-haired woman standing in front of an old window. The sky behind her was an unnatural bright red color.Bookmark here

While the entire photo was disturbing, it was the woman’s face that disturbed Amy the most. Twisted up and covered in bloody bandages, yet still smiling wide with razor sharp teeth.Bookmark here

“GUH!” She locked her phone and tossed it away, growing more unsettled by the second. Her good mood had been ruined completely by all of this sudden madness.Bookmark here

Can I have even one good night?!Bookmark here

She tried to lay down and relax, only to be subjected to more noise from outside. This time, however, it was even worse than before.Bookmark here

“GRAAAAGH!” Amy could hear a wet popping noise as her neighbor screeched in agony.Bookmark here

“OH GOD!” her husband cried, his voice terrified and desperate. “WHAT’S HAPPENING?! OH GOD!”Bookmark here

Amy covered her ears and closed her eyes, trying to block everything out.Bookmark here

Shut up, she thought. Shut up shut up shut up shut up!Bookmark here

“WOOSH!” her blanket was suddenly torn off of her and went flying across the room.Bookmark here

Amy opened her eyes to see a hideous red-haired figure staring down at her, its eyes glowing with demonic ferocity behind filthy bandages.Bookmark here

“AAAAAAAAGH!” She let out one final scream before the thing closed in to attack.Bookmark here

Blood splattered across the screen of Amy’s phone as it let out one final “DING!”Bookmark here

Like many other students, neither Amy Lin nor Seth would be seen at school the next day... or ever again.Bookmark here


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Part 3: System CrashBookmark here

“Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you!”Bookmark here

The drunken crowd surrounded James Sanders in an office room and sang clumsily in unison.Bookmark here

“Happy birthday, dear Jimmy! Happy birthday to you!”Bookmark here

“Woooh!” They all cheered and lifted their drinks. James was embarrassed, but he had expected all of this and was able to mentally prepare himself beforehand. A week before, he’d heard from one of his friends that his employees at Bookface were planning a party for him. He was by no means a party guy, but decided to embrace it. It was good to cut loose at least once in a while, right?Bookmark here

So James showed up late at the office to get a few things done, as he usually did, and found a small crew of half a dozen employees waiting for him, as he had expected.Bookmark here

The small group chattered away merrily as they passed around slices of birthday cake. James took it all in, nursing the mixed drink Maisie the receptionist had made him.Bookmark here

Earlier, the employees had turned on all of the computers while waiting for him to arrive, so the office was lit up by the glow of the custom “HAPPY B DAY” screensavers one of them had applied. Other than a few colorful party lights and the distant glow of the city lights outside, the computer monitors were the only source of light, bestowing the office with a strange night-club atmosphere.Bookmark here

He had always been awkward, but that awkwardness was always magnified when he was in a social setting like this. One would have thought that starting a huge multi-million-dollar tech company would have changed him, but that simply didn’t happen.Bookmark here

“Are you alright, Jim?” Susan asked.Bookmark here

She worked across the street at an accounting office and did some regular work on Bookface’s financial records and tax forms. James was more than a little attracted to her, and felt like a schoolboy with a crush every time he was around her.Bookmark here

“I-I’m fine,” James managed to stammer out.Bookmark here

“Really? You’ve barely drank anything.”Bookmark here

James glanced down at his plastic cup, then quickly gulped down what was left of the drink. It was sweet, so he didn’t taste the alcohol. However, he knew it wouldn’t sit well in his stomach and dreaded the effects he’d inevitably feel later that night.Bookmark here

Susan laughed. “You didn’t have to do that, you know.” She toyed with her red hair as she spoke, and James could see that her face was flushed from the alcohol.Bookmark here

“Y-yeah, I know.” James replied nervously.Bookmark here

Susan glanced out the window at the city lights. Bookface’s office was high up in a tower, so one could see a great deal of the city from there.Bookmark here

“Quite the view you’ve got here,” she said. “It’s gorgeous, especially at night.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, that’s kinda why I chose this place. I like working at night. I find it really relaxing.”Bookmark here

Susan smiled. “Yeah, that’s something we have in common. We’re both night owls.”Bookmark here

James felt butterflies of excitement in his stomach. He didn’t know if it was the alcohol or if his attraction to Susan was simply that intense.Bookmark here

Probably a mixture of both, he thought.Bookmark here

“Hey, what’s going on with the computers?” someone asked.Bookmark here

James turned around to look at them. The “HAPPY B DAY” screensavers had been apparently replaced with a photo of a woman standing in front of a window, back-lit by a bright red sky.Bookmark here

Each computer displayed the same photo, yet there was a different woman shown in each. Some with black hair, some blonde, and some grey. However, they all had the same distorted sinister smile on their face.Bookmark here

“W-what’s going on here?” Susan asked. “That’s creepy as hell.”Bookmark here

James was at a loss. He hadn’t seen anything like that before. “I… I dunno…”Bookmark here

Was someone playing a prank on them? If so, it was certainly a weird prank. What would even be the point of showing those pictures? Just to creep people out?Bookmark here

I don’t like this, he thought. I don’t like it at all…Bookmark here

“Hey!” someone screamed. It was Kyle from the programming team. “What is tha-”Bookmark here

“CRASH!” Without warning, Kyle was suddenly launched through one of the windows. He hadn’t thrown himself out, but instead seemed to have been propelled by some invisible, yet powerful force.Bookmark here

“KYLE!” James went running to see what had happened, hearing Kyle’s fading screams as he fell to the streets below.Bookmark here

“Oh god!” Susan cried. “What happened?!”Bookmark here

“GRAGH!” Maisie suddenly fell to the floor. She coughed and clutched at her throat as if it were closing shut.Bookmark here

Oh no, James thought, feeling a shot of adrenaline kick in. Something is definitely wrong here. We have to get out.Bookmark here

“Susan!” he shouted. He turned to the red-haired accountant, planning on grabbing her hand and leading her out of the office, but froze in place instead.Bookmark here

Standing just behind her was a tall ghoulish creature with long grey hair, standing well over six feet tall and dressed in a dirty blood-stained white dress. The thing’s long wrinkled face grinned wide, revealing its sharp crooked teeth, and its uneven eyes glowed with a strange, uncanny light.Bookmark here

It raised its long thin arms and grabbed Susan’s head with its wide bony hands. “THUNK!”Bookmark here

Oh go no, James thought. He was filled with absolute terror.Bookmark here

No no no no no! This can’t be happening!Bookmark here

Just then, all of the computers shut down, plunging the room into darkness. Outside, the city lights went out all at once. A veil of darkness had enshrouded everything, and James couldn’t even see an inch away from his nose.Bookmark here

The office was now completely silent, as if everyone had frozen in place. If James hadn’t felt the cold sweat running down his back, he would have suspected that he had died.Bookmark here

“CRRRRAAAACCK!” James heard the wet cracking noise of breaking bone as Susan suddenly let out a scream of fear and agony.Bookmark here

Trapped in the dark and powerless to fight back, James could do nothing but cover his ears and collapse.Bookmark here

“Make it stop! Someone please make it stop!” he muttered to no one in particular. If only someone were to come and save them at the last minute, just like in the superhero movies... That was James’ last remaining hope.Bookmark here

Of course, this wasn’t a superhero movie, so no one came running into the office that night to stop the carnage. Instead, James felt the cold, bony hands of that demonic creature grasp his head as well, and he said one final silent prayer to whatever god would listen.Bookmark here


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Part 4: SquareBookmark here

Charles Toussaint was lost.Bookmark here

Under the blinding bright lights of Time Square, the man wandered through the New York streets glancing back and forth at the people who passed him by.Bookmark here

He and his best friend Francois had come to New York on vacation. The two had always wanted to experience the “big apple” themselves, and had each saved up enough paid time off from work to take the trip down from Canada.Bookmark here

It had been a wonderful trip thus far, albeit occasionally marred by Francois’ drinking problem. He would often misbehave after consuming even a modest amount of alcohol and sometimes wander off. In this particular case, Francois had run off with some woman without telling Charles where he was going. So now Charles could only wander aimlessly through the streets until he spotted his companion.Bookmark here

It’s no use, he thought. I might need to just call it quits for the night.Bookmark here

If he couldn’t find Francois that night, he would have no choice but to wait until Francois eventually contacted him, which might not happen until the morning.Bookmark here

Charles sighed. I just hope he’s safe, he thought. The last thing he wanted to deal with while on vacation was a death or something like that.Bookmark here

Huh? Charles glanced up at the electronic billboards around him, noticing that they had all flickered on and off for a moment. Other people around him did the same.Bookmark here

“What the hell?” a stout man near him exclaimed out loud. “Never seen that before.”Bookmark here

Suddenly all of the screens switched to show a weird photo of a woman, at least that’s how it appeared at first. Upon closer inspection, Charles realized that each screen showed a different woman, just posed in the same location with the same disturbing deformed smile. Behind them was a single window, through which one could see an unnatural bright red sky.Bookmark here

Is this some kind of viral marketing campaign or something? Charles wondered.Bookmark here

He had heard about different pranks and such happening in Times Square, like the “flash mobs” that had been popular around a decade ago. People would organize online to get together in a public location and perform a choreographed dance or some other kind of simple stunt.Bookmark here

Still, this felt... different. The pictures were too eerie and unnerving to be a marketing stunt. On top of that, who would buy all of that expensive advertising space in hopes of making something go viral? If it didn’t work as planned, all of that money would basically be thrown down the toilet.Bookmark here

It feels like they’re all looking at me, he thought, feeling a heavy chill run through his body.Bookmark here

He decided he would simply ignore the billboards and continue searching for Francois. However, that initiative was short-lived. He immediately heard a horrified shriek from a woman behind him and turned to see what was happening.Bookmark here

Above the traffic floated what appeared to be a ghostly apparition. It was a woman with long dark brown hair, clad in a filthy white dress. Bright red blood ran down her bandage-covered arms and dripped onto the cars below. On her face was a wide smile bearing crooked and razor-sharp teeth, above which were white glowing eyes that sparkled like sinister stars in a clear night sky.Bookmark here

What is that?! he thought, feeling more terrified with each passing moment. I can’t be the only one who sees that, right?Bookmark here

Glancing around at the crowd around him, he noticed that everyone else was staring straight at the floating thing too, which meant it wasn’t simply a hallucination.Bookmark here

Unless this whole thing is a weird nightmare…Bookmark here

“CRASH!” Several cars had collided on the other side of the block. Above them floated another entity with glowing eyes. This one had red hair and seemed to be vomiting out a stream of blood onto the damaged vehicles.Bookmark here

Another one?!Bookmark here

Soon a third apparition appeared, this one with blonde hair. It laughed loudly as the pedestrians below scurried away in total horror.Bookmark here

Then there was a fourth, and a fifth, and a sixth, and a seventh…Bookmark here

Before Charles could properly react, the entire square was filled with at least two dozen of the hideous levitating ghouls. They all stood suspended in a massive circle around the area, as if part of some kind of occult ritual. Above them, the dark blue night sky shifted to a sinister crimson color, appearing as if the whole city had been transported to an alien world.Bookmark here

It’s red… Like in those pictures!Bookmark here

“CRACK!” Just ten feet away from where Charles was standing, the pavement broke open, pushed up from beneath by a powerful force. From it emerged a massive head, covered in long dirty white hair. Behind the frosty locks were bulging bloodshot eyes that darted around like a chameleon’s, examining all of the people around them.Bookmark here

A second smaller chasm opened up in the street, and from it arose a pale, bony hand, its fingers ending in sharp blackened claws. The hand quickly snatched up one of the onlookers and brought it up towards the white head’s gaping mouth. Charles could hear the desperate screams of the victim as he slid effortlessly into the huge creature’s gaping maw.Bookmark here

Charles turned and ran as fast as he could.Bookmark here

Is this the apocalypse? he thought. The end times?! Are they really here?!Bookmark here

“HURGH!” He was quickly stopped in his tracks by something that had collided with his stomach and knocked the wind out of him.Bookmark here

Can’t… breathe…Bookmark here

He looked down to see that his abdomen was wrapped with an enormous lock of disgusting white hair. It was the same hair on the giant monster’s head.Bookmark here

Does this mean?...Bookmark here

Trembling in terror, Charles glanced over his shoulder and followed the huge strand of hair to its origin. The hair did indeed belong to the creature, and had apparently shot out to grab him like the tentacle of an octopus.Bookmark here

This is it, he thought, feeling warm tears begin to flow from his eyes. I’m gone…Bookmark here

Charles and all of the other people in the square around him were lifted into the air by the white hair of the massive beast as it let out a loud vicious roar that reverberated through the entire city. The windows of the buildings around them all shattered, raining the broken glass down onto the monster’s helpless prey.Bookmark here

At that moment, all of the lights on the city turned off completely, enshrouding the entire chaotic scene in complete darkness under the blood red sky. No one could do a single thing to escape their grisly fate. They were only able to scream in helpless horror as they were devoured one by one.Bookmark here


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Part 5: CrossBookmark here

Jake laid back in his driver’s side car seat and sighed in exasperation. He should have been home over half an hour ago, but traffic was now at a dead stop. All he could do was turn off his engine and wait patiently for whatever issue was causing the disturbance to be solved.Bookmark here

On a night when I decided to work late as well…Bookmark here

He wanted to earn a few extra bucks giving people rides home down at the nearby college town, but that turned out to be a disaster. Not only was the traffic a nightmare, but he also had a drunk woman blow chunks in his back seat. Despite the chilly weather that night, he had to keep the windows down so the foul smell wouldn’t be too overwhelming.Bookmark here

Just my luck, he thought, turning up the music on his radio. It was playing an old Nu Metal track from over a decade ago. The singer for the band rapped over a distorted bass guitar, airing out his angst to the audience.Bookmark here

“I wanna just cave yo face in!” he shouted over the loud guitars.Bookmark here

Jake smiled. Man I haven’t heard this one in a while.Bookmark here

Without warning, the music cut out and was replaced by nothing but static. Jake leaned forward to adjust the tuner, but had no luck finding anything.Bookmark here

Did my radio break? he wondered before giving up entirely and switching the radio off.Bookmark here

Whatever. I don’t need it anyway…Bookmark here

As he leaned back again, he caught something disturbing out of the corner of his eye. In the distance, he should have been able to see the lights from New York city, but… They were gone.Bookmark here

Has there been some kind of blackout? he thought, opening up his car door. He got out and walked to the edge of the street to get a better view.Bookmark here

He wasn’t seeing things after all. It really was all dark.Bookmark here

Suddenly feeling a vague sense of anxiety, he reached into his pocket to produce his phone and dialed his wife’s number.Bookmark here

“We’re sorry,” the phone said in a robotic voice. “Your call could not be completed…”Bookmark here

Ah crap…Bookmark here

He hung up, feeling more worried than before. Something was definitely wrong, and he wanted to find out what it was.Bookmark here

“RAAAAAAAAGGGH!” From the distance came a dreadful screech, loud enough to be from the throat of a massive dragon. It sounded almost like a human voice layered on top of a howler monkey and scraping metal. Jake couldn’t think of any kind of existing creature that could make a noise like that, especially one that loud.Bookmark here

What the hell is going on here?!Bookmark here

He tried his wife’s number again, typing at his phone more frantically this time, but got the same result.Bookmark here

He sighed and turned back to look at the city once more, only to find that the sky had seemingly changed color. It wasn’t the usual deep blue color, but instead a dark crimson that reminded Jake of the roses his grandmother used to grow in her backyard garden.Bookmark here

Is it here? The rapture?Bookmark here

Clutching the silver cross necklace that hung around his neck, he fell backwards and landed on the grass at the side of the road, eyes wide with shock. In that moment, all he wanted to do was go home and lay in bed next to his beautiful wife. He wanted it more than anything in the world.Bookmark here

“Please, lord,” he muttered to himself in prayer as he rubbed the tiny cross with his thumb. “Just let me see her one more time before you take us. I’m begging you..”Bookmark here


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Part 6: HummingbirdBookmark here

Gunshots could be heard ringing through the Half Moon Church’s Virginia compound. Enoch Winchester took cover in the bay area where the tank used to be housed and carefully reloaded his magnum revolver. He pushed the cylinder back into place with a heavy “click” and looked at the firearm lovingly.Bookmark here

If I’m going to go out, I’ll go out fighting, he thought. A crusader in both life and death.Bookmark here

“CRASH!” There was a loud noise from the forest nearby. At this point, Enoch couldn’t tell it the sounds were thunder or rounds from the tank. Everything blended together in the chaos of the raging storm they were currently fighting in.Bookmark here

In the complex above him, the church members he had recruited fired from the windows with their rifles, creating a never-ending cacophony of steel and gunpowder. The special forces teams sent in by the federal government fired back from the forests accordingly.Bookmark here

I wonder if he knew it would end like this when he gave me these powers, thought the Reverend. His mind traveled back to that fateful day at the Seekers’ compound.Bookmark here

Enoch remembered sprinting through that forest, barefoot and terrified, after being given a heavy dose of a strange psychoactive substance that the Seekers had been using in their rituals. The world looked so strange, and seemed to be bending and warping around him as he ran. Strange voices emanated from the trees, as if they were taunting him.Bookmark here

Eventually he became so exhausted, he collapsed in the middle of a small forest clearing. All he could do was breathe deeply and stare up at the grey sky above him. After spending what seemed like an eternity in that position, someone came to greet him.Bookmark here

“Hello, Mr. Winchester…”Bookmark here

Lifting himself up into a sitting position, Enoch saw who was approaching him. It was a man dressed in all black, the hood of his sweatshirt lifted up above his head. On his face was a mask that resembled a black hummingbird, its thin beak protruding far out in front of him.Bookmark here

The man approached Enoch, then lifted a black gloved hand and placed it onto one of Enoch’s eyes. Enoch was terrified, but made no move to stop the stranger. The man was certainly creepy, yet somehow also comforting. It almost felt as if Enoch had known him for a long time, even though he was sure they had never met.Bookmark here

“This will only hurt for a moment,” the bird man said.Bookmark here

Enoch felt an uncanny burning sensation on his eyeball, then a sudden shock as a lightning bolt descended from the sky above them. He would awaken in the hospital hours later, his eye having turned completely black.Bookmark here

Since that day, Enoch had the ability to summon storms whenever he pleased. Of course, this wasn’t something that he did too often. As a gift from God, it should only be used in the service of God.Bookmark here

And now is as good a time as any, he thought with a grin.Bookmark here

Bullets ricocheted off of the wall behind him, after which Enoch emerged to fire off the rounds in his magnum.Bookmark here

“BANG! BANG!” The gun’s bullets were large and had a heavy kickback, which Enoch gladly weathered. Just one hit from them could blow a hole in you the size of a baseball.Bookmark here

“BANG! BANG! BANG!”Bookmark here

Before he could get the sixth shot out, Enoch felt something strike him in his forehead.Bookmark here

Is this it?! he asked himself. They got me, didn’t they?Bookmark here

He fell backwards and landed hard onto the cement below. As he laid there, completely still, he could feel warm liquid trickling down his head. They finally shot him. There was no doubt about it.Bookmark here

He couldn’t help but find it humorous.Bookmark here

I’m laying here just like that day in the forest, he thought. If only God would come and save me again…Bookmark here

His final thoughts turned to Niles Ishida, that handsome young man who was sent to him by the lord. Together, they were able to accomplish so much, just as he had expected all along…Bookmark here

We did it, Niles, he thought, the smile returning to his bearded face. Don’t mourn me when I’m gone. This was how it was meant to be…Bookmark here

Slowly, the ceiling above him faded into darkness, and he felt all of the weight release itself from his body.Bookmark here

Then Enoch Winchester was gone, and quickly as they had arrived, the dark storm clouds retreated from the sky above.Bookmark here


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Part 7: The Black DeerBookmark here

A taxidermied black deer head watched over the living room from its spot above the fireplace, its glass eyes glossy and shining in the warm light of the fire. In front of it sat a young Niles Ishida, dressed in shorts with a suit vest and tie, his legs hugged close to his chest.Bookmark here

On the wooden floorboards was a small hamster, still and lifeless. Warm tears fell from Nile’s face and landed inches away from the rodent.Bookmark here

Rascal... he thought, mourning his fallen friend. Why doesn’t anyone ever stay with me?Bookmark here

Niles’ father had gone off on another business trip to Japan, leaving him and his mother alone again. As a consolation, his mother had gotten him a pet hamster to keep him company. He was old, however, and would die just a couple weeks later.Bookmark here

“C-come back rascal,” he whimpered, wiping the tears from his eyes. “I’m sorry…”Bookmark here

The black deer head, his father’s prized possession, watched on in complete apathy.Bookmark here

“Creeeeaaaaak!” At the other end of the room, the heavy wooden door to the foyer slowly opened, prompting niles to glance up at it.Bookmark here

“Hello?” he asked. He waited for a response, but nothing came. Someone had to have opened it, however. The door was simply too large to be blown open by the wind.Bookmark here

Niles picked Rascal up and cradled him in his hands as he walked towards the door. Peering through the crack in the door, he could see that the house’s front entrance was wide open. Outside it was snowing furiously, and the snow had begun to pile up inside the foyer.Bookmark here

Oh no! Niles thought, feeling a sudden panic set in. Mom is gonna kill me.Bookmark here

He opened the door to the foyer further and walked through it. Surveying the snow in the foyer, he began formulating a plan to get rid of it before his mother got home.Bookmark here

Maybe I can shovel it outside or something, he thought. Or what if I melt it?...Bookmark here

“Niles?” Hearing a familiar voice, Niles traced its origin through the front entrance. Standing outside was a large burly man with a big greying beard and eye-patch, dressed in all black. His grey hair was long, reaching all the way down to his shoulders. In the center of his forehead was a bright white bandage.Bookmark here

“Niles!” the man repeated with a warm smile. “You recognize me, don’t you?”Bookmark here

“Enoch?” the child answered, a surprised expression plastered onto his young face. “Enoch Winchester?”Bookmark here

Enoch laughed. “You do! That’s good!” He peered down at Niles’ hands. “Whatcha got there, Niles?”Bookmark here

“Rascal,” Niles muttered sadly. “He just died.”Bookmark here

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.” Enoch approached the child and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. “But you have to let him go, don’t you? It was his time to go.”Bookmark here

Niles nodded and felt another tear roll down his cheek. “I know.”Bookmark here

“And you have to let me go too.”Bookmark here

“Huh?” Niles glanced up to see the bandage on Enoch’s forehead suddenly become wet with blood. “You don’t mean… You too?”Bookmark here

He felt as if he were going to burst out into tears again. Enoch, however, simply smiled and rubbed his tiny shoulder.Bookmark here

“I told ya, it’s okay,” the old man said. “It’s just my time to go. But you gotta live on and let go of the past, okay?”Bookmark here

Niles stood there in silence, staring at nothing in particular. Everybody always left him when he needed them the most. It was as if the world was trying to punish him for something by forcing him to always be alone.Bookmark here

“I don’t know if I can,” he finally said. “I don’t know…”Bookmark here

Enoch’s weathered face became sorrowful. “Then you’ll always face the future alone, I’m afraid.”Bookmark here

“Huh?...”Bookmark here

Behind Reverend Winchester appeared a wooden doorway painted black. It wasn’t connected to anything, but instead stood upright as if it had been cemented into place. Next to it was a man in a black hooded sweatshirt wearing a mask shaped like the face of a black hummingbird. They stood in stark contrast against the white snow-covered field behind them.Bookmark here

Enoch glanced back at the strange man and gave him a nod of understanding.Bookmark here

“That’s all the time I have,” Enoch told Niles, his voice grim. “I have to go through that doorway now.”Bookmark here

“N-no!” Niles cried. “Stop!”Bookmark here

Enoch shook his head sadly. “I’m sorry Niles, but you have to wake up now.”Bookmark here

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Niles’ eyes shot open. As he inhaled sharply, the air burned against his dry aching throat. His hands flailed around, attempting to feel his surroundings.Bookmark here

“CLANK!” The metal cuffs secured around his right wrist slammed against the railing of the bed he was laying on, making it impossible for him to raise his arm.Bookmark here

What is this?! he thought, his mind still thick with the fog of confusion.Bookmark here

Where am I?!Bookmark here

Real Aire
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