THE HARDEST: DELICTUM’S PANG

Reads: 86  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 1

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: dreamscape

Nun Aethelu runs an orphanage in medieval Europe. Once a cruel visitor arrives her peaceful existence descends into depravity’s depths, blasphemous acts, church iniquity and circles back to redemption.
WORDS – 10,250
WARNING - religiously offensive content and child violence.

‘Found it first!’

‘No mine.’

‘My stick.’

‘Let me play with it.’ The child on the verge of tears. The two very young, fought over what adults barely spare thought to.

 

Behind, a fair way off a construction of wood, the two-storey orphanage.

 

In sight rolling a stick pushed wheel – hoop rolling. Three more children happy at play. Then more children about the place, toddlers to late adolescent.

 

Point in the life, twenties. Far from a crone, comely and slender, the nun outfit could not entirely bar the eyes of men. Deserved her status in the pantheon of the most beauteous of women.

 

Clothes her attention, her washing completed in the middle of hanging the children’s clothes out to dry. Experience told said that time now. Steps away from the line and makes the short trip to the house. Conveniently beside the entrance door a hand bell. In vicinity the children react. Some at once, others snatch just a little more play.

 

Sound of many footsteps. Came running to the door, most knew what to do. ‘I taught you never run through the door – WALK.’

One of the misbehaved, ‘Sister Aethelu.’

 

‘Recess is done. Be on best behaviour inside till I finish hanging your clothes.’

 

Rest of the day consumed with what amounts to parenting and schooling. Seated, adolescents face their teacher, a large picture book is the lesson, excited raising her hand, ‘Me! Me!’ to answer a class question.

‘Take it Rose Angela.’

Time of day sun highest in the sky, serves lunch, a child won’t get unless sitting behaved at the table; late afternoon sister mops the floor, that extra work happened to fall part of the week. Wiped windows next.

 

Amount of running children do, missing a bath is unthinkable. The toddler stands in the metal bath tub. The boy held firm as she rubs him, ‘Eyes closed doesn’t let the soap hurt, Ailwin.’ Soap made its way from the Orient in the past. Some half dozen more toddlers her discipline has lined up for their turn – if fidgeting is the worst they get her job successful.

 

Outside the moonlight phenomenon called a moon dog. No, no simply ordering them to bed won’t do. Tucking them away to bed after a bedtime story. Put up the point to tell it from a book to encourage reading.

““A Hare was making fun of the Tortoise one day for being so slow.

 

"Do you ever get anywhere?" he asked with a mocking laugh.

 

"Yes," replied the Tortoise, "and I get there sooner than you think. I'll run you a race and prove it."

 

The Hare was much amused at the idea of running a race with the Tortoise, but for the fun of the thing he agreed. So the Fox, who had consented to act as judge, marked the distance and started the runners off.

 

The Hare was soon far out of sight, and to make the Tortoise feel very deeply how ridiculous it was for him to try a race with a Hare, he lay down beside the course to take a nap until the Tortoise should catch up.

 

The Tortoise meanwhile kept going slowly but steadily, and, after a time, passed the place where the Hare was sleeping. But the Hare slept on very peacefully; and when at last he did wake up, the Tortoise was near the goal. The Hare now ran his swiftest, but he could not overtake the Tortoise in time.””

‘Quickly before you drift off – what did you take away? Anyone?’

A toddler boy, ‘The race is not always to the swift.’

‘Magnificent, Helyas.’ The book shut.

 

A duty in her heart. All in a nun’s work.

 

Rounding out the day, candlelight at her bedside, reads diligently the bible, Holy Father’s word. 

 

Regarding paths connecting village areas, the ground consists of dirt and in spots small stone. Expected in any community those in power had not seen fit to pave. Left poor, expected to as well to do say – pull yourself up

 

In coming days the morning arrives. Food brought to the orphanage by a villager: sister’s presence increased the small harvesting crop for the reason that extra food grown for the orphans. The village contributions also donate supplies. All the difference this medieval era.

 

The humble, woman pulled, two wheeled cart stops near the house. Idonea opens pleasantries smiling, ‘Morning sister.’

‘May the Lord continue to bestow his strength with you, his disciple.’ Sister standing, her trust doesn’t compel to thoroughly inspect the bounty. ‘As usual drop off at back. I’ll prepare them for the kitchen once my chores finish.’

‘I stake all on the Lord’s truth.’ Chiding mildly, shifting the subject. ‘Put the orphans to work on the food. You have big ones and before your start about doing it all yourself, it’ll teach little ones cooking.’

‘My point of view is are children. See them through the window called childhood.’ No wish to impart the demands of an adult world on ones so new to the world.

 

‘Something more you want of me, Idonea.’ Statement. Her perceptive mind needn’t formulate as a query.  

‘Aethelu, the fence round here. Have faith the village will build it for you.’

‘Never did my heart doubt. The people of this village I want to say Idonea, are the embodiment of Jesus’ teaching – “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” Book of Matthew. I, no the children were provided for by the Father, keeper of the Holiest of Holies.’

 

She presses her view, ‘Sister Aethelu, plenty for a young woman to bare on her shoulders alone.’ Illustrating the church Abbess won’t get around to sending another sister.

 

A respectful chuckle. Aethelu wouldn’t dream to feint denial, that said takes strength from the Lord. The superioress recipient of no ill from her. Lay inside a prohibition against criticizing church?

 

Truly the habit attire of a nun in ways accentuate her mostly concealed feminine appearance: the somewhat made out curvy torso and swell to the chest. Found not a mark on the hands from a labourer’s life or vein; wrinkles have no place on her brow; sign of weathering on silky smooth skin nowhere. All this wearing a religious integument.

 

‘Something more you want of me, Idonea.’ A repeated statement.

 

The fence served her purpose stopping the holy woman if about to go about other business, which leans into her true motive, more serious probing if she’ll ever share her soul with a man, bluntly noting she a ravishing woman, youth lasts for none. This morning wasn’t mere “small talk.” The woman in roundabout way thought she mustn’t chaste. Finishing the chance to get all out, powdered not her face, coloured not her lips or nails.

 

The sister in a briefly disturbed moment likens a man to voluntary defrocking and the rest worldly. The nun takes chaste in stride matter of speaking, verbalizing that’d take time from Holy Father and children have only her.

 

Idonea resumes pulling the cart. Seen off with a pleasant nod.

 

An unpaved track leads to this corner of the land, located on a low hill. One hill in Europe, a rich lord would care to shun. From this vantage, miles out into the distance for the unobstructed eye.

 

Eyes outside peer into the distant community, minutes walk away.

 

Sitting inside, Sister Aethelu is approached by Rose Angela, to say another child is not feeling well. She stands.

 

A bird catches a dragonfly on the wing, low above the village. The eyes belong to someone walking the track at the outskirts.

 

Outdoors, the children at recess plying or standing around. Nurturing, put a palm to the child’s forehead. ‘Didn’t lie, you are burning up.’ Followed up by pressing a cloth soaked in cold water to the spot. ‘Ernald, my son, keep on your head all times. Go lie down inside.’ 

 

Shortly after the child obeys and she is standing watching her charges. ‘What else shall fill my day? A yard wants cleaning.’

Almost out thin air the visitor stands close by, eyes on her. This man would be shown to have a flat tone.

 

The sister is surprised by his suddenness, ‘Huh? Hadn’t seen you walking up. Surely tired. I can fetch a pitcher of water.’

‘Leave everything and come with me,’ pointedly. He is middle age. Attire is not ragged, rather worn out, in need of changing.A sort who cared not for dress.

The young woman gasps befuddled, ‘Don’t think I heard right.’

 

Some youngsters look on and most resume childly pursuits after.

‘Shed your moral shackle, this gnat of a village, this whole world you will make howl for mercy they shall not see.’

‘Listen good sir I don’t know who you are or what you want…’

‘Deception? Good. Already your veil to the authentic nature is parting.’ He continues, ‘Know very, very who I could be. Chance for refusal is already exhausted.’

Child of God, swearing is not in her. Calmly with conviction, ‘The children love me and I them, this gnat puts me at ease and the people here live an envious life of amity, free from ravages of evil.’

 

Just like that slays a child - a knife through the eye.

 

The world stops.

 

Child intellects true, but the rest from faces and body language knew enough something was wrong even if not knowing the why.

 

The nun gasps.

 

Impassive tone as ever. ‘A gnat never your station anyway.’

 

‘Take me away? That isn’t right.’ She expressed no fear for the children.

 

The visitor visits death on the next slicing the throat.

 

The nun remarks, ‘That be odd manners.’

 

Visitor not locked eyes with her but on a body, walks over, slices little girl Estrilda’s cheeks along the jawline. She screams.

 

The sister replies rather casual in a hint of distress, ‘Whoever dispatched you won’t get what they want that way. Nobody barges in and behaves so.’

 

The visitor walks to a room of the orphanage and out of sight. Moment later a child’s blood curdling wail. And returns with a leg severed. Spilling blood. Walks right up and raises it to her exquisite face. ‘I knew about this sickly one overhearing it. My knife found Ernald’s bone tricky to cut through. A lot of surprising force too.’

 

Depraved written on her face, shoves her own hand into her sumptuous mouth. Moving it back and forth while never taking it out. The visitor maintains their impassive stare at her. 

In more resistance pulls the hand out. Nun’s black speech declares she can never care about children. ‘Kill at leisure, I invite thee!’

Impassively responds, ‘If I trusted that, none would be cast from this world.’ Euphemistic speech for murder.

 

Like that sister Aethelu bites a chunk out the bastard’s neck. Blood gushing out the severed artery, sprays on her face and habit dress. Doesn’t disturb her countenance in the least.

 

The offender falls on their back. The extremity fell out their hand onto the ground.

 

The nun’s face wore expression of the deepest deviltry. Intense, twisted in malice.

 

Next instant is back, unharmed. No one saw him get up, just he standing. No sign of blood on the nun’s lovely visage or dress. The leg is on the ground and the children remain dead or injured.

 

Stab a next child in the back. The nun places a hand atop their head and with a gentle tug, tore the upper half of the skull clean away, above the eyes. Encephalon exposed.

 

They’re back in moments, seen alive, unharmed. No transition of healing or any other sign of repair – just standing and children in the same state.

 

One stabbed in the ear.

Aethelu, ‘Ha, ha! Dig out that wax too!’ 

 

With each new child attack: knock airborne by her palm strike and landing back first on her outstretched leg snapped twain, his body draped over it by some flesh; flayed, their living body left standing; by one hand pierce the chest, extract the heart instantly and shove into his mouth; with a simple gesture of a perfectly feminine hand compels they double over and retch out their own organs except the brain through the mouth.

 

The children’s broken bodies litter the place. ‘You ruin mine over and over out of love and dedication to the little ones.’

‘Sower of lies and iniquity.’

‘They interthread with your conduct. The actual you.’

 

Her depraved face communicated worse will arise. ‘Continue to doubt me? A stallion of this village pinned me to a wall, wanting to have a foal with me. When I cried unto God, neither fear nor anger in me, fled in shame. Looking back I should have lay with him. Loins wide. Ha, ha, ha!’ A smite to the Almighty.

The visitor is unmoved and maintains impassive demeanour be that as it may. What children aren’t dead, writhe in agony.

 

‘For them,’ she whispers. The sky begins darkening gradually completing in moments. Sound of breathing. Confined to no single place – everywhere. Inhabitants look up and can’t believe their eyes.

 

Not explained to them and their psyches couldn’t comprehend the impossible being possible. Roof of a mouth. Those caring to look in or outside the village would behold its far away end, the back, seeming to touch the land. The front, the snout, tilted high into the air, able to reach cloud. 

 

This part of some beast is now coming down. The upper jaw, and far enough away from the village, lookers can discern eyes, top of the head, upper teeth in no uncertain terms. Near vertical, coming down slowly like a mouth closing. The people vocalize, enraptured in shock, fear, confusion.

 

Shadow lengthened itself across the land as the body part methodically descends like a slowly approaching and inescapable predator.

 

Surly faced, ‘Heh, heh! Have a coming back trick I see. You, nobody has the ring of truth of what power is…let me take you.’ Every man, woman, child, insect – fall to oblivion. All to destroy one man.

 

The jaw a quarter of a League long, a mile.

 

Closer and closer to the ground, depending on your location make out particular aspects – then again probably where you wished not to be.

 

People have no idea of exactly what it is and a good number panic, others begin fleeing, others still enraptured and stare as it gets ever closer.

 

The snout is situated well past this entire village, placing everyone well beneath the jaw, dwarfing the community. 

 

Soon the land below is closer to dark, the sun blocked out. ‘Want torches about now!’ she giggles. The jaw is near horizontal and at this point along the length, wider than the podunk is. Surely would come into contact before the snout, a good way off, does. The roof is the height of a few houses up.

 

Stood apart in spite all else - scent of the beast’s mouth permeates the air.

 

The mouth began rising up, the sunlight gradually regaining dominance. In the exact span taking to descend it returned to vertical and vanished.

 

The children are back to normal as is everyone else. She notes in a calmer voice, ‘Stopped DRAKE’S MAW.’

‘Reversed your dragon summon. Stop is too laudatory.’ Continues him, ‘Everyone is restored lady infernal.’

‘That would crush everything below for a quarter league. The ones I choose dispensing mercy to see only that portion of the drake.’

 

‘By what title do I go by?’

She submits. ‘Leofwine.’

‘Dear friend.’

‘One who commands flow of time itself. That how you kept coming back.’

‘I reverse the flow.’ He elaborates omnipotent he is not, requires he control time at just before an attack, too late he would have died. ‘My attack is weak. See my knife? You mistress have no such hinderance.’

 

Hand to her face, cries profusely. Wants to shun her very existence for even the chance she’d hurt any of her children. She’d turned to what inside to defend them. An inner dark of power incomprehensible, a name divorced from pronunciation. Path to evil is paved with good intention.

When she lowers the manus, Aethelu’s beautiful mien agonizes. Sniffles as she talks, ‘Ordained myself a nun, came to this abode of man and found people to love.’

 

A child, Rose Angela, ran up and asked why sister cries. Stroking her head, ‘Forgive sister. For your little sakes I…’

 

‘I foresee we depart this village, ignoble daughter of iniquity.’ The woman glowers his way again for a brief instant. Showering these evil epithets.

 

This village and its people - my calling! She wanted to cry out. The words would not manifest. My voice forsakes?!

 

Her hand stroking the child’s little head, pained, ‘I have to part from you all. Forgive me.’

‘Be at peace with what you truly are child.’

 

Lord God no! it’s not me. Could never be me! Thoughts failed transforming into voice. Ripped away from what she knew as life. 

 

‘May babes wail, the sky turn black.’ He ends.

###

A small grouping warms themselves at the fire and one of them boasts they master of evil.

 

‘…butcher’s son to rich merchant, slice from belly to chin…’

A flying human corpse slams into the individual. Thrown by Aethelu.

 

Accompanied by Leofwine walks over, the “evil master” cringes over by her sheer presence – then her genitals on their face as the talker lies prone, sat on in her habit dress.

 

Everyone reacts as it were normal. No hint of opposition or shock shall disturb this forest assembly. Aethelu's party are armed human brigands who follow to revel in the massacre and revere her, greatest delictum in their number.

 

The meeting can begin – she listens attentively. Unbelievable as it sounds in her posture. Leofwine promises like a prophet, ‘Us, this unholy allegiance, Aethelu’s Affinity, shall howl the world, for is as it should be.’ She and her adherents have no stated why, solely is like an infernally birthed creature wanting to suffer all in the path. Before it truly commences, he has to discuss a rival darkness to snuff out.

 

Symbol of righteousness, a stone cross adorning the top of a small chapel deforms, bending like metal. Worshippers have run out, brigands on their heels. Today God cannot save them.

 

Aethelu outdoors, arms crossed and sitting on a literal person’s back like a chair, a devotee who asked to be this, merely dips a chin slightly. Astoundingly from the fleeing’s every pore, blood spray is drawn out and coalesces as a floating, red liquid. The people needless to say stop in their tracks.

 

Her disciples cease running and watch awed, the mass a storey’s height above the victims. ‘Satan himself cannot surpass her with all iniquitous to aid him,’ Leofwine extols.

 

An affinity these medieval times, name for a retinue marshalled round a served lord.

 

She observes, ‘Expired not they yet. Blood loss brought them weakened bodies.’

 

Are next a gross decoration of their own village, crucified. Crosses made from village material. A red drizzle complements, the floating mass gradually getting small. Had she willed a more intense rain fall on the village instead, wouldn’t last as long.

 

Her ex adopted village and in the bowels of the children’s home, Idonea is late preparing breakfast, thrust suddenly into the role of caretaker. This woman felt God’s hand must carry her through. ‘You were right Aethelu. God’s strength.’

This church a marvel of stone, glass and architecture. One of its many rooms site of a ceremony. Several men in ornate vestment, holy relics complete the scene.

 

The highest ranked Father Aylmer, a grey-haired man of average stature, is in the last part of the ceremony ordaining a new priest. Ordination is one of the seven sacrament rights in Christianity.

 

‘Arise, on your new path righteousness.’

 

The newly minted priest rises from bended knees. Both men hug amidst another ringing a hand bell. ‘I do with you in my heart.’

 

Corruption. Men of the cloth are not always averse. In his richly appointed chambers, arms crossed to his back, gazes out the afternoon window. ‘He paid to the last coin Father,’ moustached Zwentibold announces from behind and further in the room.

 

Eliciting a satisfied smirk, father can direct energies elsewhere.  

 

Simony: act of selling church offices, roles or sacred things. Surbornation makes for highly immoral at least. A step below evil.

 

Addressing his right hand, ‘Vicar, lets devote time to the crucifixion matter.’

###

A clouded moonlit night two souls, monk and a nun, enter through city gates. Various points armed contingents of men are sighted as they travel.  

 

In a break from church service Father Aylmer sips a water cup at his elaborate pulpit. Speaking makes the throat in want for anyone. A water cup of ale. Alcohol in the Lord’s temple?

 

The nave of the church has many benches the faithful sit on. Inside here lined by arches called an arcade and supported on vertical piers. As befitted the grand church head.

 

Walking the marble floor aisle betwixt rows of benches on either side, a quiet murmur of many a conversation emanates, nun and monk, heads lowered.

 

Halting before the pulpit she venerates, hands together, bowing. ‘Your holiness. Graced am I in your presence.’ Adding their arrival night last, so sheltered at an inn and made their way to him this morning.

Aylmer returns the pleasantries, ‘Auspicious without measure when those of His faithful flock pay me a visit.’

 

Attendant Zwentibold near arm’s reach. One of his tasks is seeing to his boss’ crosier, a staff carried by senior clergy. Befitting a powerful bishopric, duty bound to this entire region of Christ’s believers.  Seats himself on his ornate chair.

 

Her face outside the bishop’s view for her head faces down. ‘Bishopric, travelled have we to render the salvation you so richly deserve.’

Swiftly raising her head presents a maniacal glee, declares. ‘Defile this hallowed place with your blood in front everyone!’

 

The man looked genuinely perturbed. With that like a ravenous beast, leapt at him.

###

‘INVERSE BLACK.’ The crosier is pointed her direction. He says next, ‘Zwentibold, take your leave. Her presence tells put the next step in motion.’

‘My liege.’ He complies with a respectful nod. The worshippers are shocked. Not him. INVERSE BLACK – a power whose form a semi-transparent black, columnar shaped energy that descended on his assailant, body and clothes barely moving inside. Caught the woman mid-air.

 

Betrays no surprise, much less concern. Countenance confident. Faked shock just now. ‘Sister Aethelu, leader of sinful lambs of affinity.’ His move completes with her flipped upside down and slammed with speed onto the ground head first.

 

Prone on her side, through grinning teeth, sticks out a perfectly red tongue, delighted at the prospect. Instead of picking herself up, launches herself at him again from the posture – a feat humans cannot emulate.

 

Pointing his staff is channelling power through a Christian symbol. ‘BLACK SCAR,’ a same coloured, narrow, rod-shaped darkness streaks from his staff to pierce her chest and out the back, spinning her body rapidly. The darkness impacting into the pristine marble floor near frightened onlookers’ feet.

 

That monk a disguised Leofwine. Screaming alarmed, ‘Aethelu!’ she falls bodily to the ground, he rushes over.

 

The man of the cloth spoke, gloating faint in his voice, ‘Blessed are the lambs – for they are butchered.’

‘I’m in this come what may,’ she promises her partner in calm manner, the man back of his mind finds the tone unexpected.

 

Signalling the battle’s intensification, points the raised crosier skyward, symbol of the bishop tapping into extra power. Outdoors in the sky above, a deep black mass of energy starts growing above the church from nothingness. ‘COURSE-OF-EVIL.’ His voice summon.

 

Ironic call out from a churchman.

 

Her powers of healing come into force, closing the hole. Just wounding this fiend an achievement in of itself. Responding to the bishop’s somewhat surprised gaze. Two supernatural attacks and she wasn’t down for good. ‘I am not going to expire. Have a holy man to skin.’

Bowing to human nature for retaliation, ‘Good, good. Nothing better than a fiend. To be slain by me means all is right with the world.’

 

The air chilly vicinity of the building, animals have a special sense outside the natural and flee while the mass expands.

 

The holy man who uttered the word “evil” to enable power explains her blood will paint the ground, rendered to just meat by “Dark Light” powers! The overarching name for his abilities.

 

The accumulation of power a blotch on daylight itself. Smaller than the church area, albeit large by the time completed. Most of his congregation too stunned to follow the animals.

 

‘Benevolence knows no limits, Aethelu,’ he tells her. ‘My grace. I shall deliver your salvation.’

Leofwine has wits to note, ‘Those powers…did not originate with a man.’

The bishop saw no need to get up so far. ‘Bestowed by a higher authority than Christ himself. A God of his own right. Today decided who is stronger, him or your iniquitous lady.’

 

He continues, ‘Power is sufficient now. BLACK SCAR gave the time.’ Bishop Aylmer blows the giant church apart instantly. Leofwine confirms, ‘The Bishop commands this kind of power?!’ What he witness to amazingly its parts spread across a wide area greater than the original building’s footprint. Pieces as they fit together when built: separated individual stone and marble, roof, tile pieces, spires, windows; the contents like tables, curtain and benches all hover in the air, bobbing slightly. A gap between the individual parts.

 

All three separated by a good distance. The bishop remains seated in his floating chair, while his enemies stand on a church piece each and above them all the black mass in the sky.

 

Below people themselves were running – others watched from afar. The gloat on full this time, ‘Now would be a good time to tremble,’ capped in a laugh.

 

First attack to him, his staff points at the woman watching at the ground, eyes off him. A finely shaped, large portion of floor marble flies her way. Without looking her suddenly outstretched forearm smashes it apart.

‘The church became his weapon.’ Observed Leofwine, ‘Hew him apart Aethelu!’

She muses, ‘This but a party trick.’ Moves the eyeballs sideways, a next marble and aimed at the seated, who points the staff at it, which now flies to her. The girl merely outstretched her arm, making a fist. The piece just collided with the fist to crumble to chunks.

 

‘TENEBROUS DAGGER.’ He’d kept the staff pointed at her instead of lowering it at once – short, jagged shapes of darkness mass top to bottom round a victim closely and straightaway fly in to pierce in order from bottom to top. Blood gushed from each stab, collapsing her.

 

‘Fine lamb without question,’ he laughing. ‘Copying my trick only prolongs your salvation, iniquity’s daughter.’ Expositionatory, the bishop expounds the competing perspectives of both evils: ‘Same only as surface level goes child. Your moderate aim goes far as just plunging the world in aimless and depraved darkness. Basal. My god Ayrackadam’s loftier goals will plunge the world in darkness too, then again the blessing of his divine order shall rule it.’

 

The daggers have vanished. The holy sister strips her perforated vestment off to her underwear, feminine curves in no need of imagination and kneels to one knee, hands clasped, eyes closed. A respectful, short prayer from her mouth. Brown hair reaches half way down the back. ‘Dispense your wisdom onto the bishopric so that he steers from wickedness and finds you Jesus Christ. Way, truth, light, so prays your humble servant amen.’

 

Opens one eye next – in the face of death has the mind for a blasphemous tongue. Healed by then. This Dark Light hadn’t put her down either.

 

A feather pen impales his shoulder. Distracted, caught him unawares. He groans in pain. Next instant back to normal, instrument and wound nowhere to be seen. Familiar. 

 

The time user had the best seat so to speak. A stone wall chunk flies his way, ‘BLACK SCAR,’ slices twain and compels she jump from her platform to a next, moments before its shattered.

 

A wave of her hand and his upper arm snaps, the bone audible. Next instant as normal despite none seeing him heal. Leofwine perplexed, ‘When his body fixes, he can keep up with my goddess! That shouldn’t be.’

 

Aethelu gestures extending the arms sideways and points them forward. One piece leaves its place speeding for the bishop – stopped by INVERSE BLACK. Distraction, for four others are coming. Pointing the crosier at one and swinging the arm, slams it into the rest, successfully redirecting.

 

‘You’re a turn behind, devil lady,’ he boasts.

 

The half-naked monster of a nun levels him with her scripture prowess, ‘“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world,” Book of Galatians.’

 

His Holy Divinity couldn’t come back for a while. Versed in the bible, could not bring himself to throw stone for attire or lack thereof. Saying that, the churchman reveals the village crucifixion is known unto himself. ‘In or out of church do put your best into besmirching God. Hung on crucifixes villagers you’d chased out of their chapel, coming here once you despoiled their homes.’

Massaging her still covered breasts, ‘A masquerading bishop of Christ serving an evil god reeks not hypocritical?’ A statement in a physical and mental battle.  

 

Inside his consciousness burns hotter to vanquish her. His vestment flutters. Leofwine yells, ‘Careful Aethelu!’ Snaps this time the staff when she gestured with her left hand’s fingers, stopping the flutter. He is open. The gaps are small enough to leap between – she does that from piece to piece. In the middle of closing in, the staff instantly back to its former state.

 

Again his vestment flutters. His staff takes aim. Part desperation and greater quantity determinization in voice, yells, ‘TENEBROUS ZEPHYR!’ Manifests a black, semi-transparent black wind. The girl impacted at her front, loses momentum. A wind speedy enough, to in several moments, strip away skin and hair, exposing muscle and eyeballs below.

 

She doesn’t move, an upright, grisly sculpture.

 

Leofwine brings her back to normal instantly, reversing time’s flow. Expect no contriteness nude in church.

 

His eyes on her, knew  BLACK SCAR pierced him as he felt it. Before it can kill, did for himself what he did for her. ‘He suspects me.’

 

Aethelu points a finger at him and a very large stained window glass headed for the churchman. Repeating a move, TENEBROUS ZEPHYR shatters to many bits – would blow back had it not been the girl’s power forcing them forward against the wind, extending an open palm. A moment before reaching him, leaps from his chair to large entry door, a side facing either the ground or the sky and stands on the skyward side. She directs they fly all directions, reduced his seat to match sticks.

 

In biting rage through clenched teeth, ‘TENEBROUS DAGGER, wench!’ Caught she is. Piercing her flesh part of their length, are in moments forced out as she merely stood still. One she bit twain eating the other piece. Someone got the better in those exchange of attacks. Required no time assistance.

 

Anger to shock, ‘You ate the lord’s darkness…?’ anger wells up, ‘Witch!’

 

The nun licked a plump breast.

 

‘INVERSE BLACK!!!’ Doesn’t move her at all.

 

Once it passes simply holds up the sole remaining dagger in her hand. ‘About that skinning.’

 

Who’s stronger evidently decided. ‘Leofwine, we depart.’

 

He is alone. His dark power witnessed by the public – by Christians no less. Considering what ahead, nothing to think about.

###

Shambling body movement, unsettling moans, lifeless eyes. Young and old, ranks of the undead. What brought this calamity?

 

A special invitation by the bishop to hear his sermon addressing the “assault by Satan upon his sanctuary,” the church. Word of which spread town to town like a plague. A meeting and the armed living men that False Prophet like, Zwentibold organized. A contingent belonging to Aylmer. Aylmer relied on a religious cornerstone he does not share, to discourage Christian devotees thinking deeply about what their own eyes told them or heard.

 

Believe whom – a representative of Christ on earth or a woman wanting ill for everyone?

 

The villagers when lured in, executed today by the armed men Aethelu saw in the city. Heinously, weapons convert the dead to this state, shorn of afterlife’s peace. The bishop surpasses immoral – evil. Without any way to even comprehend wounds that slew them, their bodies blight the timeless sounds of songbirds and the beautiful countryside that never left its nature aesthetic forsaken. They are for now massed together in their own village.

 

In a time shortly before could recognize the home or garden of a resident, knew every trail crisscrossing their community. Innocent part of life snatched from them.

 

Zwentibold halts his speech. A youthful man in the macabre assembly bares no mind to his faithful dog motioning for attention. The master he’d been appraising is close at hand. Both stand in the shade of a tree. ‘Soul troubled vicar? Advent of our lord Ayrackadam, is at hand. Woe in his name is the greatest sacrifice. All that is obtuse in this ramshackle humanity turned upright. Deliverer of this world Ayrackadam, is better than anyone has right to fathom. That nun ignorantly playing her indispensable role is proof.’

 

Sliver of probity swelling in the vicar? ‘Know not they are even stripped of life. Anything about them that human. Is no more Father Aylmer.’

 

Scared of the living dead, true stories exist of superstition driven villagers hacking up and burning people after death. Was that so incredible? Jesus’ Lazarus resurrection;  Jairus' daughter and Jesus’ personal from the tomb is Christian gospel and finally walking corpses.  

 

‘BLACK BEINGHOOD DRENCHED INFERNAL.’ With this terrible command, some are struck by summons of a pitch-black mist. Proceeds to contact the victims, shortly disappearing, replaced by dark, ant like entities crawling all about their bodies, each size of a man’s hand. Mouth parts bite and inflict pain. And would scream and thrash about could they comprehend. They moan a bit and barely react.

 

‘Humanity stripped suits us. Fearless army of the obedient.’

 

A second village shall receive his salvation soon.

 

Elsewhere beside a sheep flock, the young female herder is nude, Aethelu finishes donning her clothes. Had not aimed to kill the holy man then – just get his attention and check if he truly supernatural, all at Leofwine’s direction. Her affinity wants no more than suffer the world and as no room for both evil forces, the churchman’s god must be rendered asunder – possible only on a certain day.

 

Leofwine indicates all in his plan, next end the bishop at the right place and that naturally before the church fight.

 

Poor shepherd is prevented shielding her privates by the nun’s men. Embarrassing and shaming to almost any woman of the day.

 

In wake of a biblical passage about sheep invoked, she with but a glance, changed life’s nature. A grazer bloodies their muzzle feeding on another sheep - now a meat eater, sharp teeth line the mouth. The herder gasps in shock.

 

Had been the party’s plaything except the nun’s and only escapes worse, instructed to find a man of the cloth Aylmer, and relate to him where they’ll be next. Best hurry before the current evening gives her a cold.  

###

An army this calibre can threaten the nun’s party. Two thousand give or take in total, vast majority undead. Rest their killers.

 

That malevolent day arrived. A week has not passed since the battle. Taking the herder’s words to heart, Aylmer arrived at this plain of low, green grass. Bravely he’ll let someone else do the fighting. Before marching he’d given a speech to those followers alive, a clash ordained by their god Ayrackadam. He shall cast forth his hand and day gives way to night.

 

Zwentibold stays in the army ranks to administer uplifting encouragement to its breathing. They handed weapons over, not all, just enough for the first line, the undead – callously done by Aethelu’s opposition to preserve their forces.

 

Beholding the host from the tree line a touch over a mile away are intended victims. Name called, Aethelu steps from behind a tree and gazes casually their direction. Her faction outnumbered many times over, are overjoyed for a clash.

 

Leofwine addresses all. ‘By way of our unholy disciple of evil at our left hand, the path is clear. None has stood up to her. Could they ever? Travel did I to return her to this cause, to walk the path of a million skulls! In olden days she belonged to the Druid class of the Celts. Her people suppressed, but by providence remained to walk the land and this day break the enemy!’  

 

Rapturous cheer from the male adherents.

 

Just as his hand wrote, all came to past.

 

‘Steadfast warriors of Ayrackadam,’ Zwentibold declares as he walks with them to keep up spirits, ‘our god promised victory. Soon will be at our mercy. Slay all without fear. Without men, she is all that remains to bow at our feet, the daughter of iniquity cannot stand alone.’

 

Drake’s Maw unleashed. Close to a half mile to her side is its end and began descending at an angle relative to the advancing forces so hers will be spared crushing. That shadow across the landscape from an upper jaw reaching almost a mile up. As it were gnawing heaven itself.

 

Ayrackadam’s living followers turned their heads and beheld. The undead paid no mind, only trudging forward. Slowly getting closer, details of its roof and palatable scent. The vicar and followers remained trying to close the distance. ‘God our citadel.’

 

Their vision grows ever darker a blotted sun doesn’t get the better of.

 

It connects horizontal, slamming down on a swath. Roar of its impact took a while to reach the caster and her men. The latter in awe. Shortly fades the drake away. What left for the eyes is scarred land its length and breadth, broken and crumbled.

 

One belief had to prevail.

 

The men are unmoving for what felt as though Satan’s eternity in the pit. Eventually irresistible the urge to walk almost a mile across the plain to the scene.

 

‘BLACK BEINGHOOD DRENCHED INFERNAL,’ reaches before that happens. The dark mist about them replaced by the hand sized, ant like tormentors. The small band of men unable to run and yelling, throes of agony.

 

A smile revealed when stepping out from the trees. ‘The wine of success is sweet no?’ Aylmer.

Aethelu’s blood drained from her impeccably fair face. ‘What in God’s name are you doing here?’

‘The will of mine.’ He is confident enough walking closer to a demoness. ‘Every step of the way leads to what’s inevitable – Ayrackadam walking the earth. You were strung along. His dark wisdom knew you’d be caught up in your own malicious doings.’

 

Leofwine is the only other untouched bedsides the girl. ‘I betrayed no one, for I served my master Ayrackadam, all times. I worked to have all pieces for the here and now.’

‘You and the bishop planned this before I was found in the village.’

‘Your wisdom was absent to tell you. In church helped Aethelu and the bishop. Powerful is he, but would not cross the bridge, that is win, without aide.’

 

Joins together the pieces for Aylmer’s survival in battle and his knowledge of her. Was expecting her arrival. ‘Those men were precious sacrifices for his advent.’

 

Aylmer, ‘No wonder wanted to make the representative of delictum on earth’s power theirs.’ The insect like blackness buried themselves wholly into the men’s bodies, their cries cease, bodies turn deep black and are still as macabre statues.

 

The Christian who discarding his crosier, says, ‘I the unholy vessel for the benediction of God!’ His corporeal self turns a atramentous, misty and strapping human shape, tall as one and a half men.

The sister’s role was her immediate consumption. Her power, all she is, merged with the being.

 

From its mouth a beam of black energy hits and spreads across the sun, making a full eclipse. As foretold, day gives way to night.

###

A phenomena beheld far and wide by man. Maniacal cackle – a monstrous kind, different from a human’s. It’s won.

Tried walking, but movement a struggle. ‘Aethelu!’ Challenged from within, her will and power that great. Tried moving again with no better result.

 

A seed grew in the dark being and now to carry to fruition.

They travel supernaturally quick to nothing short of the orphanage, Idonea, her replacement, runs. The dark god and Leofwine stand in front the building in the yard.

 

The nun affixed to a wall of black water, appearance of small waves travelling its surface. Arms and legs are inside it behind her, leaving the head and torso visible. This part of the entity’s being is to hold her. Able to speak but no one outside hears, Aethelu sees its to break her mentally. ‘Touch them and I’ll!’

Her face even in this moment contorts in bemusement, attentions briefly taken. Does she sense…that bishop?

 

Children are outdoors and stop what they’re doing – subconsciously instinct tells something is off. Sharing the feeling, Idonea rushes out the door, onto the yard and comes to a dead stop suddenly. She and children beheld what they couldn’t make sense of.

 

Their turn to hear an inhuman voice, ‘I am the presence you partake in, Ayrackadam. My visitation is to gain submission of the one Aethelu within me.’  

 

The mortals can tell something powerful stands before them despite being told what this concerns, cannot fully fathom.

 

The being relates her origin and terrible past. ‘That one wears a cloak to hide her true nature underneath. Hidden from you the unholy acts.’ He begins describing.

 

Worse was relating the attack on the children. Her expression pained, ‘Please no!’ Horrific words out her own mouth return to haunting a mind.

 

Their talking is interrupted to the existence’s consternation. ‘Still defiant!’

Another voice emanated from its body, ‘The words are true, but I…I…’

‘Sister Aethelu!’ a child’s memory of a voice rose to the surface.

‘Ernald!’ Rest of her words are for everyone dear. ‘I won’t say it never happened. I’d never lay a hand on any of you! I wish I hadn’t spoken of the children so – it was me protecting them!’

Idonea remorseful, ‘How did they defile you?’

‘I’m the one who should be sorry, not you. Escape from iniquity made me the nun you know, but then my earliest days are my druid ones. Druids were a people ages ago. Learned in many subjects. The days of prosperity did not last. Started with persecution born of ignorance, continued till we were scattered and finally lost to history. I lived the years since in a purgatory of the soul, and one day Leofwine made friendship with me. Introduced me to the ideas of doom upon the world. To be honest I did not share everything he and his men offered…the door to avenging my people after all these lifetimes lay at my feet – so I saw it. I joined for revenge. Delictum of my ways tugged at me and to escape Leofwine, turned to a God, Jesus, doing away with my what my new faith called pagan gods. Ordained myself a nun and then I…brought myself to your village. Forgive me for bringing desolation. I’m sorry.’

 

Idonea is forgiving, ‘Whatever your sins I know there is good in you. Jesus will wash them away.’

 

‘But I…committed blasphemy.’ God should cast me loose. Words are lost to her again. In a low point feels blameworthiness is not hers to escape, sins such that words cannot atone. The beast of darkness her actions helped spawn is standing before all dear to her.

 

The being’s grasp is slipping. ‘Nothing you conjure will liberate this world.’

 

Leofwine walks over to Idonea and cuts a throat, striking her dead. Who falls in a heap. Aethelu’s panic swells up.

‘Idonea!’ a child screams. Rose Angela.

The child next, for walks over, knife pointed. ‘Your new existence, submit to Ayrackadam shall you. Time’s flow shall reverse and watch me bring them all back over and over till you break,’ Aethelu is promised.

‘Mustn’t let it happen again!’ she wails.

 

Musters her will to higher than before. Trust and believe here is her home, the people a home she lives in.

 

Her visage consumed with concentration. If she’s not swift that man will…with all might disperses the being to a spread of black mist, in its stead her and the pope stand. The man bewildered.

 

The day returns.

Before Leofwine can think deeply, a gesture of her arm forces his mind to reverse her friend’s end. The children look at Idonea curiously with young mentalities.

 

Fisting her hand, the man of time’s flesh turned inside out. Penitent, ‘Wished you hadn’t seen that. No choice left to me.’ Easily could he undo a woman’s struggle.

 

Author’s note – find parts crushing? It was. A brutal war of wills, call of the malevolent. Corzina from overhearing I near certain a Travel Channel cable show a night – narrator made sound ‘Corzino,’ before settling with Leofwine. What could the word mean? The bishop owes something to a pope Balmus in an anime tamer than my story.

Druid a way to sidestep common tropes like witch.

Elements are anti-Christian, my religious faith replaced as I got older with logic. Not onboard with the scriptures on things. I developed little qualm then portraying believers or false ones negatively.

Considered writing as my August birthday gift to yours truly – being months away and a short, redirected my considerations.

Origin wise just happened to watch an anime I knew of Black Clover and its nun, very shortly before. However long preceding for a particular gothic series I’m developing, had a small scenario where one comes to an ordinary woman and provokes her and reveals her power in a similar bend.

Delictum – is transgressions against the law, also means nefariousness, the latter I am going for. Pang stands to mean the nun’s fate.

This piece you are given only certain detail without all being explained, left to make clever assumptions. Isn’t my first outing where a story begins one way and pitches into something else: a gentle nun turned blasphemer.

Before I completed this made sequel notes continuing the sister’s tale, unravelling secrets. The idea at first was what led up Aethelu departing the village and part two what came next. I resolved to just combine both. Part one I anticipated taking a day to write went over more like 18 days. Crazier was in early part of another short Florian Band, paused that to complete this, procrastination and all.

Date - Thursday, 25 February 2021.


Submitted: February 25, 2021

© Copyright 2021 dreamscriber. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments

hullabaloo22

Some pretty horrific details in this - perhaps a content advisory would be a good idea. The setting of the Middle Ages definitely rang true.

Sun, March 7th, 2021 5:08pm

Author
Reply

Mid ages I've done maybe half dozen times now. A captivating time period.
The author's note laid out my perception of religion else I'd be too faithful to pen this. Were you turned off by the 'religious content' or another?

A facility for authors to 'label' content by age suitability is a good way. Ask BS then.

As always I welcome your read Hulla.

Sun, March 7th, 2021 10:55am

Facebook Comments

Other Content by dreamscriber