The Shepherds Come

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A brief account of an encouter between mankind and the Shepherds at the end of days.

Submitted: October 26, 2011

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Submitted: October 26, 2011

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The sky turned dark, the dark, deep blue clouds have veiled the sun. What little sun did break through came down in surreal blue shafts of light. Lightning flashed intermittently, illuminating and highlighting the phantasmagorical shapes of churning clouds.

The streets now barely illuminated despite it being only slightly after noontime seemed overly inhospitable. It seemed as if a shadow has descended from the strange clouds above and infected everything on the ground, sucking the colours from everything until only shades of gray and cool blue remained.

Standing fast, the line of soldiers shivered from the icy cold wind that swept the streets. They were dispatched to deal with this unprecedented occurrence, which left scientists dumbstruck. Sparse reports of strange events occurring in some sections of the cities have been arriving since early this morning. Their orders were simple, to maintain a calm and controlled environment, making sure that everyone was safe indoors.

“This is it!” said a young man with a weird glint in his eyes.

“Get off the street, sir,” the commander had little patience for civilians trying to tell him how to do his job, especially when they were delusional. The young man ignored the suggestion and continued to yell something about the end of the world and the battle of good and evil. It seemed that he was hell bent on convincing the commander that he was some kind of psychic who was destined to warn mankind of the upcoming dangers.

“You have to listen to me! I know this sounds crazy, but…”

“You’re damn right about that! Sherps, take him to the detention tent,” the commander issued an order and a nearby standing soldier jumped into action with a “Yes, sir!”

“Listen to me! Why don’t you want to believe me, why can’t you face the facts?” He was now literally being dragged off by the private who was no less frustrated than his commander.

A strange sound came from the sky and echoed among the tall buildings on either end of the street. A shrill whistle which slowly descended in pitch to a low hum, the bored marines began to talk in hushed whispers.

“You hear that? They’re coming,” the self-proclaimed psychic had managed to break free from private Sherps grasp and ran back up to the commander. “You heard it, all of you did! It’s them they’re coming.”

“Who! Just who exactly is coming?” the commander figured that he would play along for a bit. If he couldn’t get rid of him, he might at least get some entertainment from his crazy theories.

“Sir, look!” another soldier pointed at the sky, where a bright, turquoise-blue shaft of spiralling light stabbed through the ominous mass of clouds. It was soon joined by another one nearby. And another and another, soon there was at least a dozen columns of light, like waterfalls pouring out onto the ground.

“What the hell is this?” the commander mumbled to himself.

“It’s what I’ve been telling you all along. There is a war up there, and we’re gonna be the casualties.”

The low hum now began to grow in intensity, and now resembled like two discordant tones played on an enormous pipe organ. The sound soon began to split, into a whooshing and what seemed to sound like a mixture of wails, cries and howls. Many of the soldiers were beginning to feel disconcerted at this unexplained sound. The commander seeing some of the more religious men begin crossing themselves yelled at his troops. “What the hell? Haven’t you heard the wind howl before. That’s what this is, a bad-ass storm nothing more. Act like you’ve got some balls men!”

“It ain’t the wind man,” the psychic interrupted.

The commander spun around on his heels, his fist cocked to deliver his anger to the man in one crushing blow, when he heard one of his own men yell out, “Oh Shit, incoming!”

Coming in like a mountain torrent a mist or fog rushed down the empty street towards the small group of men. As it approached, so did the sound. Hovering ten to twelve feet above the ground, the mist rushed over the men. One of the soldiers looked up and with a cry began firing into the pale gray stream above. The commander looked at where the man was aiming and to his terror realized that the fog consisted entirely of semi-translucent silhouettes of people. If ghosts really did exist, the commander was looking at a whole host of them. One by one the soldiers began firing short bursts at the rushing shapes. Seeing that the bullets have no effect the commander ordered to cease fire.

“Now do you believe me? These are souls of the dead, they’ll do you no harm.”

“What are you talking about?” the commander was to confused to respond properly.

“These are souls of those who’ve died, they are displaced by the war in Heaven. Can you hear their voices.”

The sound emitted by these souls was indeed terrifying. It was a horrible mixture of what seemed like a million of voices lamenting together in agony. The men shrunk against the ground in fear.

“Listen to them, they are chased. They are being driven like cattle,” the psychic seemed to understand the tortured cries.

“Driven? By whom?” the commander was now beginning to accept what the young man was telling him.

“By the sweepers, the herders, the shepherds. The Reapers.”

The psychic was barely done speaking when the first outlines began appearing in the gloom far down the street. As the outlines got closer, which they did at an astonishing speed, the men could make out at least thirty horsemen. Instinctively, the men shouldered their weapons and braced themselves for the inevitable encounter. As the riders got closer, they could be seen in more detail. Each wearing long black robes, perched upon a tall black steed. They carried weapons similar to scythes but with extremely long blades. The glowing red streaks in the metal of the blade burned brighter every time the scythe passed through a soul that fell out of the torrent. The riders handled their weapons with amazing fluidity and deadly accuracy. Sometimes, the scythe would almost disappear as it became blurred into a blood-red disk of swinging metal. The galloping horses sent sparks and flames flying from beneath their black heavy hooves. Now only a few blocks away, the pounding sound of the hooves was deafening and sent several soldiers into a panic, running off desperately down the street. The rest stood paralysed stricken by fear.

“Get out of the way! It’s not us they’re after. Your guns won’t do them any harm. They are death itself, you can’t kill it - you can’t kill them,” the psychic hollered trying to raise his voice above the tempest of sound that swept all around the soldiers.

As the horsemen approached even closer, the soldiers seemed to have forgotten about the chain of command and heeded the advice of the psychic. Running off of the street and trying to find cover on the sidewalks.

Now only two yards away, the riders flew past the scattered group of soldiers, shifting into shadowy shapes of smoke and back into their more physical form. Their horses madly flying at full gallop in the chase breathed hotly in the chilly October air.

Just as the last of the Reapers rode past him, a sudden fit seized the commander. As if possessed by some unknown force he jumped out of his cover into the middle of the street and shot the last rider in the back.

“Sir, come back here,” one of the young soldiers tried to jump up to stop his leader, but was held down by his fellows.

The Reaper despite his speed effortlessly checked his steed and wheeled around. The horse slowed down to a slow walk as he approached the commander. Standing ram-rod straight, the commander lowered his weapon and looked up into the hood of the Grim Reaper towering above him. With a quiet and blood curdling ring the blade of the scythe swung through the air and through the body of the soldier. Not a drop of blood was spilled, the scythe had passed through without damaging a single cell in his body. Instead it took something else. With a bright red flash it severed the soul from its earthly bonds. Before even the commander’s lifeless body began sinking down onto the ground, the reaper turned back towards his companions and with his pitch black robes flowing he resumed his wild chase.


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