The Reality of Hope

by Morgan K Tanner

 

Their festivities had been halted by a gang of snarling, hideous creatures. They looked like men, although naked and charred as though they’d been burning for eternity. The sunlight reflected off cruel scales that adorned their bodies like well-used armour. They had beaten and savaged her party, painting the white fields a harrowing crimson. The sounds of the angels’ frenzied cries were nothing compared to the blood-thirsty and abhorrent screams of their attackers.

No, please make it stop, please. Father?

But her silent pleas were no match for the mental images that wouldn’t leave her consciousness. The beasts had punched and kicked her, before pulling her by the hair, across a terrain of her dead and mutilated sisters, into a dark chasm that appeared from nowhere. From there she had fleeting memories, but each of them was branded with a memory of pain.

 

The cell was dark, but she slowly began to feel more comfortable in her surroundings. The knowledge that she was moments away from salvation breathed fresh life into her beaten chest. The pain was merely a reminder of how suffering is to be overcome. Her hope was winning the internal battle. She smiled.

A bright light entered the room from another world. The incandescence breathed life into her limp and battered form and she rose into the air. She felt like she was home. Beautiful light engulfed the scene and laughter and joy ingrained themselves into her senses. Before her stood a beautiful angel, her welcoming wings spread wide and her smile uttering such warmth. The angel, one of her sisters, reached out and brushed her fingers on the prisoner’s sticky cheeks.

I knew you would come, Sister. Oh, how I have missed you. Let us never be separated again. She felt alive once more.

The angel before her smiled, her bright, welcoming blue eyes were a God-send. Then suddenly the angel’s face became cloaked in blackness as a shadow appeared behind her. It seemed to grow from the wall. Its arm rose, exposing glistening, blood-soaked talons. The shackled angel tried to warn her saviour but the thing attacking had already infiltrated her throat, bringing forth a grinding and sickly wheeze.

And then she saw the eyes of the beast, showing themselves from beyond the thick veil of deathly shadows. The eyes burned red, matching the blood on its talons. In seconds her sister’s abdomen was thrust from her body, the monster’s giant hand squeezing the innards that burst in its death grip. The guts and their contents slapped the prisoner in the face and the heat from the sticky fluid scalded her.

She fell to the filth-ridden floor in defeat and a pool of her sister’s blood. Salvation seemed to have disappeared, but her hope remained. She still had Father.

The beast regarded her as it tore at the dead angel’s heart with its monstrous teeth. It spoke to her, amid the vociferous chewing as visceral juice and tissue dribbled down its shadowy face.

“It is all over.” The monster released a pungent aroma from its mouth, and the accompanying bass-heavy sound rattled her manacles. She recoiled from the smell but felt it charring her nostrils. Her shoulders ached once more as fresh blood trickled from the festering scabs. Her head sank.

Father, please. Release me from this hell.

The beast’s snarls disappeared. A cool and pleasant draft caressed her cheeks and she recognised the familiar warm touch of delicate fingers in her hair. She looked up and was overcome with joy as her prayers were answered. Father? Is it over?

“It is, my child.”

The demon had transformed into the gentle and kindly old man, her creator, who had been her protector for eternity. He smiled from behind his soft, white beard. The angel closed her eyes, embracing the sensation of freedom as her Father’s flower-scented breath massaged her features.

I always believed you would return to save me, to save us all, Father. I never stopped believing. It gave me strength when I needed it most. Oh, how I love you.

Her Father was silent, but she welcomed it. As the moments passed she became one with her reverie. The visions of the fields reanimated, the laughter returned to her ears and she smiled, ignoring the lacerations that pulled her flesh as she did so.

Her memory must have been distorted, this wasn’t real.

No, no, it can’t be. Father?

She saw the army of demons hacking and dismembering her loved ones, dancing in their blood and adorning themselves with their precious organs. They were feeding on their flesh, on their souls. Then the real horror thrust itself into her mind, slashing all hope with cephalic meat cleavers.

Father, their God, stood amongst the attackers, laughing and guiding them to add more desecrated bodies to the death toll. He stared at the angel, his gaze bringing a pain deep in her chest, and pointed at her, a silent command to his minions.

With a gasp she opened her eyes to the sight of her prison with her Father executing that very same expression as he brushed her cheek.

“This is how it was always meant to be.” His voice was different, colder.

The pain from his hand smashing through her chest didn’t register. Neither did the vicious pulling of her heart as he ripped it, still beating, from her decrepit body. The punch to her chin and the loud crack brought no onslaught of agony. And when he thrust his fingers into her eyes the loud pop that emanated throughout her skull caused no pain.

No, the cause of the intense and catastrophic grief was another snapshot from her memory of that fateful day. As she lay whimpering in a pool of her own flesh and innards, that flicker of her Father in the field sprouting giant, blood-soaked horns as he ordered their deaths and barbaric torture, was the only thing that hurt. It was more intense than any physical pain could ever be.

The image was like a painting ingrained on her psyche and it seemed it would be there for eternity.


About the Author

Morgan K Tanner is a writer, drummer, and golfist currently residing in the English countryside. The quiet surroundings make it an ideal place to write, drum, and hide the bodies. The sound of the typewriter is perfect to drown out the hum of the torture equipment. His works of fiction and threats have appeared in the mailboxes of many a celebrity, who then sells their story to the tabloids, claiming that they are being ‘terrorized.’ You can praise or abuse him by visiting, www.morganktanner.com or find him on Twitter @morgantanner666.