The Flaming Towers PART 2

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is part two of my short story The Flaming Towers. Story so far. In New York after the revolution a story is being told of the ghastly events that occurred Dutch Manhatten in the 17th century one ordinary September morning. Winged devils have appeared from the sky and have attacked 8 yr old Griets family's farm.

Submitted: March 25, 2015

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Submitted: March 25, 2015

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PART 2 of The Flaming Towers.

 

“Give me the child”. He beseeched them to their astonishment.
“If you are going to New Amsterdam. I’ll carry Griet there. She’ll get to shelter quicker”.
The Andwerters immediately rejected this plea to put their daughters care in a negro's arms, though the sense of it was undeniable. Griet loved her mother and father as well as any child could but it was with regret that she watched Anthony’s great black frame smoothly hove off into the distance at speed ahead of them while her Neeltje and Jeremais puffed and stumbled down the track.
It is from here to your home, from the Andwerter farm to the entrance to Amsterdam. What would you say that is, a mile and a half? Imagine a man and his forties and a woman carrying a child in her arms trying to make such a distance at full gallop. And then add to that the terror endured atop the exhaustion. As they ran the devils often swung low screamed their screams and as said before, the devil language translated itself in Griets head to the foulest abuses:
“See them run! Watch them crawl they are not warriors! “
All along the track there was the debris of other farmers who had fled before them; loose swine, stray horses, headless hats. The Englishman, Henry Smith rattled past them on horseback ignoring their pleas for help, which was no surprise but then their old friend Everandus Sille rode past them in similar cold fashion which was surprise indeed. The Isrealite Jacob Levy astonished everyone by riding at a gallop not from the devils but towards where they were congregated but I’ll go back to him later. There hats and caps fled their scalps and their heels served them all the way to town and every step the family took the battering of wings and the screeches of the devils minded them that the creatures could any time tire of teasing and let them feel the kiss of those great talons upon their quivering flesh.
The top of New Amsterdam hoved over the horizon all too slowly – the sails of the windmill first (though it was a mean thing unlikely to vex the hero of La Mancha) the rooftops of gabled houses, all topped by a faint haze of woodsmoke- which flattered their naïve hopes of sanctuary. But fear was king that morning, Dick and fear is the destroyer of all that is best in men.  To spy all events from the sky the devils must have been to watch a flock of sheep that didn’t know where whence came the wolves howling. And how must they have cackled at that low snivelling breed. You’ll remember Washington’s shame and your own at our cowardly scurrying from Kips Bay. If you were a Dutchman you would blush to know how some of those denizens accounted for themselves that autumn morning. Those outside began to cry for mercy and pity when they saw the town gates actually being closed to them. The meek spirited knaves inside had fixed upon the foolishness that it had been the farmers that had somehow stirred up the devils from their resting place with their ploughs and that they should be locked out to face their fury on our own. Consider yourself how much sense their was in such notions; about as much I daresay in believing a wooden gate might keep Satan at bay or in believing sanctuary could be found in that nest of jackasses. But that became the contest that all depended on; us to get in, them to keep us out. Terror versus terror, it was.
The farmers all bound shoulder to shoulder as one animal to force an entrance. Women cursing and shoving like men . Men sobbing and wailing like women. Dusky slaves were mixed in the throng unmindful of their bondage. Some men made as monkeys and scrambled over the fence where articulate cutlass points spoke of mercy unforthcoming
Aye fighting each other –at the very moment of their community’s greatest peril. Soldiers were at the front of it, in their leather jackets and steel corsets, pointing their muskets and pikestaffs at those who paid their wages. I have not the time or inclination to describe the detail of this disgraceful tumult except to say it showed how quickly sense got turned on its head that day.
While this shameful spectacle went on Griet could only stand back and regard the madness of it. There was as you can imagine no mean flow of tears down those pretty cheeks especially as some of those driving the farmers back were those who would “Hallo” her and pat her cheeks on days she visited town.
And standing back from the fray Griet could also see their tormentors had no intention of neglecting them. Three times they would swoop down low over the town and Griet would be screaming before anyone else. Once a  trio of them flew over just to scream their vile curses. A second time one alone flew over the gate so low it with its talons it torn slashed pieces from the fence. A final time two came together. The first of them dived towards the gate and ran its talons through the length of the crowd as if ploughing a field. The crowd roared in shock and pain and Griet screamed for her parents but as the crowd broke up many of them clutching wounds to their heads or shoulders, she could see they were unharmed. The other creature had – all learned later – flew over the town to the docks where the Saint Martin was hoving off hopelessly overloaded with passengers. The devil flew down beneath the ship sails and somehow singled out the captain amongst the throng. As it skewered the man on its talons and lifted him into the air it screamed “We are in command now” before dropping him over the town. His shredded body was later found floating in the canal. Some of the soldiers were threatening the crowd with their muskets though all were in too much funk to be scared by musket balls. Other soldiers began shooting at the devils when they swooped low though they might as well have been flinging daisies for all the difference it made.
Mortal Manhattan surrendered to the music of the devils screeching. Every man and women in Manhattan was just waiting for those talons on their flesh at any moment.  But Griet standing back from the throng had a better look at what the devils were up to could see their swoops to the ground were lessening and were concerning themselves with a pattern high in the air. They were all now bout five hundred feet up and swirling around –where we stand now Dick, as if it were some central place of importance. Their cries were getting louder but changing in other ways too. They weren’t so much about making fear in those on the ground anymore. There noise was more like it had more significance to the devils themselves. It was lower and more mournful like. It had the rhythm of incantation and the unmistakable pleading quality of prayer. Bout half the devils, five of the eleven were now swirling so tight together and so fast that from the ground they made the image of one black object. The cries reached a pitch and also turned into something that hadn’t been heard at all that morning: terror from the devils themselves. The cry went to such a pitch everyone on the island whether in a field or cowering behind the fort walls winced at its needle sharp point against their eardrum. And then there was a boom.
That was the moment all the petty mortal squabbling ceased. The belligerents at the gates all threw themselves upon the ground. They knew the final apocalypse had come. Griet blanched but the sky still had hooks upon her eyes . The devils who had been whirling themselves into to a frenzy had exploded in flame; ripping a hole in the sky. All their black bodies had vanished into a brilliant ball of orange light and heat that you might expect maybe to bubble from the earth’s bowels but never to appear in the sky. The terrified souls on the ground climbed to their knees and then their feet then gradually found the courage one by one to uncover their eyes and look up at what Griet was already transfixed by. Some gasped, some cried and screamed but most did nothing at all. Some events are too great for the mortal mind to comprehend, Dick. You might have any number of ideas of how you might act if you saw what they saw that morning but like most I recon you just wouldn’t take it in. Not just lost for words most of them but for thoughts too. They just couldn’t take in what they were looking at as trying to read a foreign language. All natural laws broken. Some waited with to see the flame fade or fall from the sky but it stayed fixed one thousand feet in the air and not only grew fiercer but seemed to expand in a straight line downward. Down and down until it stood like a great tower although like a rainbow it was invisible where it touched the ground. The fiery pillar began to belch smoke from its orange peak until it began to make a black island that masked more and more of the sky. None of the townsfolk or farmers were fighting now but hung their jaws and bulged their eyes northward where there was but a sight not seen since anti-diluvian time and even then not with mortal eyes. Some new world was being forged in the sky; the devils as hammer and the empty air as anvil. All earthly science redundant. If not a new one then the end of this earth was being given its fiery announcement. It surely must be the Seven Angels and come to blow their seven trumpets and when The Fifth Angel blew his a star would fall from Heaven and making a bottomless pit that blacked out the sky and from it would come the smoke locusts about to come who would attack all without the mark of God. All this is foretold in The Book, Dick, and those poor souls felt they must be living through it. Some knew that this tower was one of the great Golden Candlesticks that flamed as portents in the Revelation to St Mark and like St Mark fell as dead before it. But most did nothing but stare. Though they quavered in terror all did also drink in the beauty of the spectacle. Oh aye, Dick, not a man who lived through that morning could deny that the winged devils had woven a thing of fiery beauty in the sky and sometimes Dick, when, when my grandmother told her tale of terror and I watched awe rule her senses as she recalled the sight, part of me would always curse that such a spectacle would never reveal itself to my eyes nor to any but that few there that morning. Every man in the New Netherlands whether in the streets the fields or the forest, whether white, black or red was made a stupefied statue by this spectacle of terrible beauty. All may have been of different minds as to what it meant and what they should do but the devils had scored their presence on the soul of every man that day. None could ever forget what had been done and that was a victory for those winged emmirasies of Lucifer that could not be denied.
Anthony was one of the first to regather his wits and was brushing aside the stupefied townsfolk at the gate to enter New Amsterdam and he urged on the Andwerters to join him. Some others also went inside. Many others found they could go nowhere but onto their knees. Fear of claws upon their flesh had lessened to be replaced by terror for their soul. The remaining devils swirled around and around the flaming tower and were wailing louder than ever in lament for their ghoulish fellows and for their own doomed fate, for it was clear they would soon be joining them in the inferno. There can not have been a man who did not know that the hour of judgement was at hand. Even tiny Griet barely a few footsteps into mortal existence knew that that the Island of Manhattan was doomed as was every soul who sailed upon it.
The six legged beast that was the Andwerter family charged forward through the gates joined by hand with Griet forming the middle part. With their sweated palms and the sudden jerks by the crowd in all directions, she was far from securely fastened to either of them. Their objective was the Dycman; their best friends in town home but their house was at the far south of the town close to the fortress and looking onto what was then the commons. It was a walk that each would make at least once a week, requiring to brave little more than mud splash from a cart. To negotiate those narrow cobbled streets, the morning fear made a bedlam of the town was another journey altogether. From the first thoroughfare – where Broadway runs into Beaver Street – the streets were full, with the crowds split evenly between those in a headlong rush and those standing stock still, which was the manufacture of no end of collisions and conflict. Who knew where the fleers were fleeing to? Certainly not the fleers themselves it seemed. One of the first bizarre sights to strike my Grandmothers eyes when entering town was of a man who sprinted to an ox cart – while sniveling like a wench – fought off two others to gain a hiding place beneath it, then on crawling there emerged –clearly unsatisfied with the security of this hiding place – to find another.
They witnessed every shade of hysteria from frozen to frantic. Many men showed a dark spreading across the front of their breeches and –aye – a darker spreading behind.  But they only needed to make a glance behind them to know that there was perfect sanity in this insanity. When Griet was able to glance back at the flaming tower she imagined that it must be inhabited by more of the devils. Little black specks, sometimes two conjoined, periodically leapt from the body of the tower. But they did not take flight as the devils had done; only plummeted downwards towards the ground. 
At every glance around her Griet spotted activity in the crowd which on a usual day would be drawing gasps and the full attention of everyone but today was drawing the attention of no-one at all. Brewer Street was alive to the yelps of masters and mistress thrown down their own stairs by their servants. Negroes bettered white men without a thought for the consequences. Women gave manly kicks to means crotches who shed feminine tears in response. Swords were drawn. A soldier was dragged on his face down the muddy length of Beaver Street with one foot trapped in the stirrup of his galloping mare. A goose still hung upside down on a rope above the street-some folks having been interrupted in the midst of a game of ride the goose-whereby riders snatch at its greased head. Though it fought furiously against its bondage it scarcely squawked and flapped any more than any of the other burghers of New Amsterdam. Barrels were smashed and carts lay belly up. The roof of the bakery at the canalside was in flame. Men with blood running down their faces staggered like drunkards while actual drunkards stood in doorways trying to down bottles of rum at a gulp to meet damnation in a state of merriment. All the while the world became darker and darker as the smoke from the flaming tower grew to be as wide almost as Manhattan itself and blocked out more and more of the sun.
And the devils who circled the flaming tower screeched out: “Look how weak they are and how afraid! America’s greatest city humbled in one instant by a handful of our glorious martyrs! Our warriors didn’t hesitate in the face of death for a second while the infidel cry and wail and ask to be spared. It is not over. There is more”.
Griet made as to turn and see what new monstrosity was occurring to the north.
 “Do not look Griet!” said her father. She turned forward again and the family kept pushing on amongst the turbulent river of people. A fine lady in looped green velvet had thrown her fur muff and her ostrich feathered to the ground and as she stamped upon them she tore her blonde ringlets from her scalp. Some –in their own madness- were behaving as if this was just an ordinary day; refusing to turn their eyes skyward or open their ears to the caterwauling. They continued watering their window boxes and sweep their doorsteps. They carried on with their daily routine presumably in assumption that it would ward off this supernatural assault.
You wouldn’t fancy that any one mortal voice could make itself known amongst such turmoil but that is the unequal nature of men’s strength and character. While much of the multitude made themselves indistinguishable from the swine and fowl they were fighting with for shelter, other men rose above the others as some will always do when tested and one figure began to attract the eyes of the crowd away even from the appalling beauty of the flaming tower. Anderson Goldie, a whaler turned carpenter had found himself a position on the rooftop of the high gabled houses at the end of Beaver street. It was like a rampart of a besieged castle and from there he had –since the first appearance of the devils in the sky- made his way up there and, with waist length blonde hair and beard both flapping in the wind, screamed the foulest abuse at them He demanded they come to him and do their worst. At first none had paid him any attention amongst the clamour but his crazed Norwegian war cries were so loud and furious and persistent and no hoarseness had quietened him in two hours of shouting. More than a few were able to tear their eyes from the devils to him and though his courage was of a kidney close to madness quite a few were able to take heart from it. But the devils too seemed to be finding him worthy of attention as they made their sorties over the town. They turned their vile heads in his direction as they passed and replied to the invitation of his swinging axe with threatening hisses. Those below, whose attention the savage Northman had captured, were changing their shouts from admiration to those of concern for the brave fool. As the devils swung in closer and closer, people- Griets parents among them- began to shout for him to come down and cease with his axe swinging before the devils did for him. Goldie paid them no heed. As the devils wings flapped closer and closer his furious cries only got louder.  One black speck from the sky got larger and larger until everyone who was crammed into the street below could make out the glint of its talons. As one they cried for Goldie to relent but instead he raised his axe at the incoming creature. A whack resonated across the rooftops and the townsfolk dared to hope for a moment that man had bested demon – until Goldie tumbled down from the roof, head and body separate.
As you know New Yorkers you’ll not need me to tell you that Goldie wasn’t the only one to scream his defiance at the devil that day. I mentioned the horse rider heading towards, not away from, the devils? Twas an Isrealite called Jacob Levy, who owned the larger of the estates near the Andwerter farm. Recently arrived from Dutch Brazil, he told everyone anytime they would listen that he had relinquished his sugar plantations down there because he’d come to the realization Jews and Jungles don’t mix –not ‘cause he was scared a jot of the Portuguese who claimed it as theirs - but he’d be dammed if ever give up the earth he’d claimed in Manhattan. No not for anyone Portuguese, English, French. He told this so many times most thought the old blowhard would drop to his knees in front of the first invader to hove over the horizon. But no! His farm hands say that he coolly eyed the devils on their first appearance in the sky and then without tremor of hand or sweat on his brow, ordered his horse saddled, loaded and then rode towards the battleground.
Aye, they’ll be cowards and they’ll be heroes and you never really know what’ll be which until the reckoning comes. Who would have thought old Judith Lopoldt, an old spinster on Canal Street would have been such a heroine dragging in as many children as she could off the street and fought off with her broom the privateers and knaves who demanded similar sanctuary. 
The rub in trying to say how well New Amsterdam acquitted itself in comparison to how another place would. Is that nowhere has ever come under such attack before. Not since we knew the earth weren’t flat and the lightening ain’t thrown by Thor. There were a thousand guesses but not a man really knew what was attacking them and why. Terror was the rule and defiance the exception – though none sunk as low as John Hook the English puritan refugee, who was seen in the street holding up his only son, a babe not past its third year yelling that the devils could take the child if only they’d spare him.
Mostly the defiance that the town could offer was in prayer. Know ye that Dick Montgomerie! When ye know not from where your enemy comes call on God because he knows as he knows all. That’s what I’d do if faced with such unholy visitation, its what you should do Dick but won’t which is why yer dammed and its what the Revd. Veenedaal led a great crowd to do right there in the centre of the Strand. Much of New Amsterdam considered Veenedaal our rock that day. Though he didn’t do much by way of activity his calmness and forbearance held together the town at its centre. As the chaos mounted in the streets and the tower exploded into life, he walked down the steps of the church and knelt down in the mud of the Strand.  He started singing”Wilt Heden Nu Treden” you’d know it as “We gather together” – or at least you would if your heathen arse had ever touched a pew. He knelt, facing north and sang, listened to by no-one at all at first but soon had half the town kneeling by him. Though not understanding where this hatred from their persecutors came they determined to face it with dignity. A usual morning saw the The Strand to be a muddy thoroughfare stuffed with swaggering cutthroats and doxies had that morn the aspect of aspect the most pious Christian gathering.
My own family were of a middling sort when it came to courage and though they showed more dignity than the knaves in the tower, who were by now, bathing in their own piss and vomit, they didn’t quite have it in them to kneel down in the Strand and face apocalypse with nothing but prayer so the stuck with their first plan to find shelter in the Dycman house.
“Do not look Griet!” said Griet’s mother this time as the remaining devils
got up another terrified wail the same as the others had done before they had burst into flame. This time the child could not obey her parent and instinct made her turn to watch the devils form into one body then explode just as their fellows had done. Griet –along with all of New Amsterdam – screamed at the second great fireball which grew to create a new flaming tower in front of the first.
The bedlam and terror doubled as the towers had done. The rivers of people surged through the streets with greater fury and with all the jostling and bumping the inevitable disaster occurred: Griet’s clasp upon her fathers hand was broken. Moments later some gallant pushed her mother aside and now the child had no hold on either parent. Amidst the crush of bodies in the alleyway, she quickly lost sight of her mother and now little Griet was all alone on that fearful day. She wriggled her way –crying for her mama every moment – to the alleys end but it was the wrong end from her parents. She sobbed some more now she was out on the more open area near the common . Her parents, failing to find her, hoped she would make her way to the Krol’s and went that way but little Griet in the confusion had went around the wrong corner into Brewer Street and was wandering sobbing on her own.
In the child’s young life there had not yet been a moment when her sobs had not been soon answered by an embrace to her mother’s bosom. But at this moment when her sobs were at there heartiest no comfort came from the crowd. Everyone around was too involved in their own terror to think of aiding the little girl. Desperate, Griet presented herself in front of a gentleman in rhinegard breeches and brown leather buff coat who stood stock still staring north at the flaming towers and persuading, through his outer aspects to be of all calmness.
“Please sir”, sniffed little Griet.
The fellow made no acknowledgement but continued his northward stare.
“Please sir but I’ve lost my mama”.
He looked down at Griet as if a little girl was a species he was until that moment unfamiliar with, then looked back up at the towers. His eyes flickered back and forth between the two his expression giving hint of no stronger emotion than puzzlement. Then with a steady hand and casual gesture he withdrew a pistol from beneath his blue satin cloak, put it to his temple and pulled the trigger. After he fell it was Griets turn to stand and stare wordlessly. The fine crimson spray dyed her left cheek and part of her blonde locks as she stood amongst the chaos and contemplated the body fallen in front of her. No-one else paid it a hairs weight of attention. A few of the crowd walked their boots across him as if he was just part of the street.
But then –as the Devils had promised - there was more. It was signalled by a great rumbling from the northerly of the towers as loud as if the fabric of the earth itself was being torn. Could there be more you ask? Aye and every soul in New Amsterdam asked it too. Just as Job asked after his children died and his house burned when the worst was yet to come. It was time for the towers to fall.
Every head that had not been fixed already northward turned that way again. The great structure – barely an hour ago built in the sky – began to tremble. The people of Manhattan, newly terrified by the appearance of this edifice began to fear for its collapse. Little Griet fixed her blue eyes on that great castle in the sky and willed it to stay up there. She began to whimper with the effort of it but knew it was to no avail. Though they had been caught bewildered by every other event that day, the townsfolk as one knew what was to come this time. After many moments of cruel anticipation when it trembled and the folk trembled with it, it happened. The northerly of the two collapsed.  A thousand screams announced the falling of the tower. It didn’t topple sideways, as if drunk, as your mind would like picture it but fell straight downwards as if swallowed up by its own base. Try as I might to make this scene come alive for you, Dick. I concede this is part of the story that could only fully be told in pictures and there was not an artist within a thousand miles of the scene to recreate it. Without a visual sense of what occurred, can I get over the hugeness of the scene at all? Such size and such threat. Weapons of attack taller anything you have ever seen; ships mast, cathedral spire. A tide of rubble and dust greater than any wave any of the best travelled seamen had ever seen came roaring southward. So many souls in peril at one moment; threatened with death in one sweep. Can your mind conceive of it, Dick, or is it too far for your imagination to reach. New Amsterdammers couldn’t believe it even as they lived through it. If the size of the whole is too much for your feeble imagination to digest, Dick, then focus only on the smaller story of little Griet who as the first tower collapsed was certain that death was to follow; a death separate from her parents and from God. 
There were barely ten breaths by before the grey avalanche had swept across the meadows, passed the city’s northern barrier and was consuming the gabled houses of the town. The streets and alleyways shaped it into a many armed beast. The deathly, choking greyness swept through every open space. The windmill sails spun in a fury then they too vanished out of sight. There had been screaming when the tower first began to fall but were muted in the short time it took the dust to race from the towers base to their open screaming mouths. Even poor Griet whose mouth had been pursed shut was left choking and gasping in a ferocious asthma as her tiny lungs were filled to the utmost with dust. It blinded them all first by the dust landing upon the jelly of their eyeballs. Amongst the fine dust was larger debris; small stones and shards of glass that assailed the skin of the New Amsterdammers. Many were knocked over just by the blow of the wave against them. Their bodies were battered and bruised from the flying debris. Griet, herself, was sent tumbling backwards and rolled down the bankside to the edge of the canal. Remember, Dick, she was but eight years old when facing this terror.
The roaring died as the avalanche exhausted itself but had covered all New Amsterdam conquering every breath of atmosphere. To those outside the area, saw a huge dust tidal wave covering all of Southern and mid Manhattan. But to those within it, it was not clear that there was any outside world any longer. They were cut off from the world as they were from each other. Only thing they could see beyond arms length was the blaze from the other tower. Even those who had the foresight, as it were to meet the dust cloud with eyes closed or who had clutched there hats across their faces or who could wipe their eyes clean still found themselves involved in a lightless world. Griet was among many who thought that the island of Manhattan no longer sat where it had in the mortal world but had been unmoored and floated into Hades. This grey world they were involved in now was to be the lifeless universe in which they would dwell for all time.
Imagine how snow transforms a landscape into something else completely. Then imagine those bustling crowded streets – or these bustling streets that you walked through today – visited all at once by the essence of death. Some men will tell you, Dick, that black is the colour of death. Not so. Black has a starkness that speaks of life. Its greyness that death brings. Not a soul that morning was in doubt that that was the colour of the world we enter when we have passed through this one. No sensation but fear, no sound but choked sobbing, no number but zero. The swarthy Portuguese, the pearl skinned Dutch, the flame haired Scotchman, the olive hued Italian, the negro and his every dilution: mulatto, quadroon, and octoroon –all were now of the same grey skinned race and dressed in the same colourless garb.
There was nothing to do but rub at the eyes and fight for breath amongst this polluted atmosphere. There was at least the relief that the shower of glass and debris had ceased but to those like little Griet who had were down on hands and knees found themselves further tormented by it though the air was too thick and hostile even to yelp in pain or for her mama; a silent solitude of darkness and pain. When their eyes were able to adjust at all some found amongst the debris that had been thrown at them some possible clues to the identity of their persecutors. A great quantity of paper had been blasted in with the grey avalanche. Those who examined them found them as otherworldly as could have been expected. Pages and of pages of writing fluttered down with the dust landing in rooftops, gutters, muddy wynds and animal troughs. But if these were messages from enemy to victim they were obscure ones. Some educated men knew the writing on most of the paper as English but it was written in such awkward style and with so many strange words mixed in as to be unintelligible. Perhaps they were spell parchments designed to keep this evil magic alive though the winged devils were dead. Amongst much of the English writing there was hieroglyphics of Summeria or of old Egypt.  As well as the writings there were hundreds of tiny paintings came to them with the falling towers. All said these were of such vivid colour and meticulous detail they could only be the creation of an artist of genius. And there were hundreds of them! Many of them little larger than a mans hand. A special corner of hell must be set aside where the aesthetic sodomites patronised by Europe’s tyrants are forced to churn out masterpiece after masterpiece to be seen by no-one. The worlds those hellish geniuses had created on canvas were certainly such that should never be seen: the landscapes bizarre and unrecognisable, the people dressed in the most outlandish and arabesque garb. If they were dressed at all! One woman found a folio of portraits of fiendish parodies of naked women; some with breasts larger than their heads others with piercings in regions where only hells torturers would inflict them. Another man swears he found a perfect portrait of a Black Mass in gleeful progress. In it a man and a woman stood in the background and behind them their walls were walls were decorated with human skulls and bone. By their side was a table laid with a pumpkin made a satanic artefact through a monstrous face carved in its flank and blazing candles fixed in its crown. But it was in the foreground of this scene that the true horror lay. For there, danced a devil in child’s form. Of body it looked just a child and had the face of a cherub but shiny red horns grew from its head and it held a scarlet pitchfork in most menacing fashion. The mother and father gazed down upon this ghastly scion with all the affection of any loving mortal parents.
One portrait fluttered down to land where Little Griet lay down at the canalside. It was a small thing, so small even little Griet’s hands could have covered its surface. When she first noticed its shiny white blank side was to her and after a moment she braved to pick it up and examine it. It was canvas of a hardness and smoothness she had never saw nor touched before. Its edges were so exact and sharp lifting it by its edge inflicted a thin stinging wound upon here finger but it was only when she turned it over and saw the picture on the other side that she realised the true horror of the artefact. It was of a young woman of some beauty standing alone in a darkened room. With her blonde hair and fine looks she reminded Griet some of the Anneke the milkmaid but the wanton attire of the woman in the picture was of an immodesty even the mansick Anneke would never have countenanced. It was not this Lilith’s lack of clothes however that made Griet gasp and throw the paper from her hand; it was her face. Two fiery red coals lived in the sockets where her eyes should be, shining like rubies in the darkened room.
As if taking Griets gasp in shock at the Unholy Woman as a signal the earth began to vibrate and a familiar rumbling started. All eyes strained against the grey haze to look north where the blaze from the second tower was huge and strong enough to be seen through the dust cloud. As expected the tower was shaking and ready to fall. All knew this time the nature of the assault to come. When this tower sunk downwards and blasted outwards its great wave of debris every soul within its reach was crouched down behind a wall or with their face covered. They thought what to expect this time- alas, not so!
While the dust, stones, glass and reams of paper portraits and spells blasted themselves upon the walls, roofs and human and animal skin of New Amsterdam a new horror was stirring at where the base of the towers had been. Here where we are now Dick! This was the spot where the winged devils concentrated their attentions. It was here where the flaming towers were built. And it was from here: this unholy place (for that surely is what it must be) that an Army of The Dead rose up and began to walk the earth.

END OF PART 2 


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