Blessed Brother /part 8 by John Ciarmello
Story of the Month contest entry
Artwork by seshadri_sreenivasan at FanArtReview.com
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.|
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.
Prologue / Blessed Brother/ part 7
Claudia knew things were going to get worse and pleaded for Everett to hand her the Madallion. But instead, Everett bent down and placed it on the floor. The creature groaned and took a step back, and Everett felt the beast’s frigid breath graze the back of his neck.
Claudia moved closer and touched the top of Everett’s shoulder. “Everett, do you know what you’re doing?”
He looked at her for a few seconds and shook his head. Everett looked down at the Medallion as he spoke.“This Medallion has touched the hand of God. It has healed the blind and cleansed the leper’s skin. Yet, it is not new to the degradations of evil.”
As he knelt before the beast, he cupped the Medallion in his palms. “Perhaps your fear of the Medallion is uncalled-for.” Everett looked into the eyes of the beast and raised the Medallion closer.
“Clearly, you can stand before it and remain unharmed.” Everett returned it to the floor and backed away.
The beast stood erect as it moved its claws above the religious artifact. Then, the Medallion levitated slowly toward the beast’s open palms.
Blessed Brother/ part 8
A black cavernous void bridged the creature’s skull-like grin as its talons clicked around the Medallion.
At that moment, a pearled orb grew from the artifact and slowly entombed the beast as its feral laughter turned to god-cursing cries. The beast was levitated to a prone position a few feet from the ground. Its grotesque body twisted, and with its hands pressed against the inside of the orb, it faced Everett with a venomous stare. “You dare challenge the hand of Satan. Your god is a fraud and will always reign in servitude.” Its evil laughter faded as the creature’s outline began to flicker like a faulty neon lamp, from its likeness to Owen’s.
Finally, the morphing figure burst into black varicose threads that were drawn instantly into the Medallion that Owen now had clenched in his trembling hand. With his face wrenched in fright, he tossed the Medallion to the floor and pulled at the skin on his arms and face. “NO.” Owen fell to his knees.
Everett knew at that moment what the Medallion had released on Owen. Remi and Claudia would merely look on in confusion as Owen leaned back on his calves, and with his arms raised, he cursed the name of God. Owen put his head into his hands. “I’m human!” he pounded at the floor, and with blood-curdling reverberation, he repeated, “I’m a fucking human.” Owen picked up his head from his palms and looked into Everett’s eyes. “No one has ever beaten Satan.”
“I simply leveled the playing field, Owen. Welcome to God’s people.”
Owen released a breath. “Fuck your people, Father - and your god.”
Everett grinned. “Somehow, your words seem less invasive, Owen. I’ll have to admit you had me fooled for a while, posing as Claudia’s brother. Oh, I knew you were coming, but what I didn’t know was when and in what manner. For our plan to work, I had to play dumb through all of this, as painful as it was.”
“How could you have possibly known that the Medallion would have transformed me into a human?”
“I thought very hard about reviving Thaddeus in the morgue the day he died, Owen. I decided I had no choice. Thaddeus instructed me, with God’s guidance, how to use the Medallion’s powers against you.” Everett turned to Remi. “I had a long visit with your father. It was good to get to know him again. He loves you, Remi.”
Everett bent down and picked up the Medallion. He held it with two hands in front of Owen. “Almighty God, I beg you to visit this house -” Owen’s body heaved, lights flickered, and a cold torrent of wind swayed Everett where he stood.
“You have no idea what you’re about to do, Father.” Owen dragged himself across the floor and sat crookedly against the balcony railing. His sentences came in labored breaths. “Think about it, Father, what will your world become without evil. If you destroy me, your god will have no one to forgive. There will be no sin, no hatred, no reason to pray. Can’t you see, Father, that I AM your world's lifeblood? I AM your people’s salvation. You hesitate in thought, Father. Is it because you’re afraid I’m right? Is it your fear your god will wither?” Owen winced and righted his posture. “Don’t you get it, Father? He said breathlessly. “I will have beaten you and your god simply by losing to him.”
Everett froze in place for a few seconds. Finally, he fell to his knees beside Owen and pressed the Medallion against Owens's forehead. “Almighty God, I ask you to banish from this house all the deadly powers of evil.” Owen released a petrifying scream while the deafening sounds of whipping wind and the banging of doors surrounded the four of them. Everett pressed the Medallion harder against Owen’s forehead and raised his voice above the clamor. “May your holy Angel, Claudia, dwell here to keep us in peace, and may your blessings be upon us always. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
At that moment, Owen’s body fell frail. His skin leathered and became taut against the bones of his cheeks, and his brown eyes and lids tore from their bony cups and disappeared into the hallows of his sockets. Then, his body lurched back to the floor, and his clenched jaw fell open and broke into fragmented pieces of polished gray bone.
Seconds later, white swirls from Satan’s captured souls flew from Owen’s crumbled jaw, and Everett felt his father’s breath against his ear. “It’s over, my son.
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