by Sam Creed
One man faces his greatest fear, uncontrolled. Inspired by a poem.
|I open my eyes to the cold grip of a hand around my throat.
Choking and gasping, I throw my hands up to fight against whatever it is that has me, but I feel nothing. Nothing but the cold, moist air that lies thick in my cell. It’s dark – it’s always dark – but now, now it is even more so. It is as dark as oblivion, darker than night, as dark as – death.
I stop struggling against the chilly grip. Death…death is what brought me here in the first place. Death that I caused.
I can’t let death – the one thing I could control, the one thing I lived for – be the thing to do me in now.
But the stench is there – the rotten breath of an angel, dumped in the black abyss, and it is strong. I can hear the screams of the tortured souls in that stench, and I can feel their sharp claws pulling me toward them.
A light pulses in my eyes. Soon – soon the angel will have done its job. Soon, the angel will spread its wings and fly, and I will fly with it.
But the grip weakens, for just a second, just enough to let breathe in, get a nice mouthful of the angel.
“Do not go gentle…” A voice whispers, a voice of rage and pain.
I struggle weakly, pushing at it, pushing at the noose, the bullet, the sharp knife of death that is so close. The light pulses – dim, now, - but it is enough to let me see. The angel is there, above me, soul-sucking fangs bared, decomposed, yellowed flesh burning. Black eyes gleaming, ready to pull me into the abyss.
“Rage, rage,” it told me, venom spitting from fangs, burning my skin, but deeper, burning my soul.
I am pricked by a sudden urgency, a sudden need to get away, to breathe and live. The light in my eyes grows dimmer; it almost dies, but a newfound rage at my situation – rage at death, rage at my weakness – it strengthens me. As I push again, the light flashes bright, and the angel screams in pain as my strong, living hands push it away.
It falls away, and I jump to my feet, screaming in rage and strength. I feel big, strong, full of, pure, delicious life. The life that flows into me is better than the deaths of all my victims, tasteful though they were, could ever be.
But the angel is not finished with me. I startled it – nothing more.
I watch as the wretched beast leaps to its feet, black, chained wings crumpled behind it. It truly is wretched, the death angel – wrapped in dark, torn cloth, its eyes black, like the tunnel to the abyss. Its skin is the color of a corpse – yellow, pale, with gray at the edges. Long red claws sprout from its hands in place of fingers. And the stench. The stench of a billion corpses – everyone the angel has taken.
The angel springs at me – oh, the stench! – and slices my face with one hand, cutting in with slimy, jagged claws.
I fly back with the force of the blow, fire sprouting from my face – fire in the form of red-hot pain – and the light turns a dark, dull red, pulsing before me angrily. I whimper as I watch it dim, but I stumble to my feet, clutching my face with my hand.
I don’t want to let it go – I can’t.
The angel – no, the demon – watches me, bloody lips pulled back from the poisonous teeth. I stare at it, watching the eyes gleam, as the darkness slowly pulls me in. I fight against it, but I am weak.
“You, on the sad height,” I hear it whisper. But it is inside me now – the voice, inside my head!
It has a finger in my consciousness, I can feel it, like a silver bullet wedged in my brain – one claw, probing, tearing up all it finds.
I fall to my knees under it, screeching as the icy claw digs through my mind like a knife, opening it wide for the monsters scrambling to get in.
“Curse me…Bless me, now with fierce tears…” It hisses, and indeed, the tears do come. Hot red tears of blood, boiling up into my eyes, burning and fueling the light – which glows ever bright – and pouring out onto my face in a horrid, metallic wave.
“Rage, rage!” It screams in my mind, a roar coming from my brain.
I throw myself at it hopelessly, yelling, streaming blood, as my life – my light – dims before my eyes. It catches me in its snake like arms, and holds me up, making me stare into the deep space of its eyes.
“Do not go gently…” It reminds me, and I quake before it.
I try to loosen its grasp, to look away from its eyes – those black eyes – but to no use. Finally, I stop, and whisper, in a voice I can barely hear myself – “No…please…”
But finally, with one final cry of rage and sadness, the light dies, and my life slips. The demon speaks to me, as I die, and it’s the last thing I hear:
“Good night, good night.”