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Timmy's Purgatorio

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#1    Insanity!

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 05:57 PM

1/3

The Church beamed on the end of the street. White picket fences and the blissful sunshine covered the area, house to house, end to end. Kids playing, laughter, and love in the sweet air. Little Tracy sat on the edge of the curb prodding her baby brother who munched vigorously on a quickly melting rocket ice lolly. Down the street at top speed a few kids on BMXs sped away into the illusion of white houses and astro-turf like road. Strangely, there were no cars here, there never had been. Sprinklers doused the evergreen lawns that grown-ups mowed simultaneously with joyous faces. This place was a communal as community got. Young Timmy sat under a tree, his mind and hands on and in the work of his sketchbook. He scribbled heavily onto the page with clenched teeth. The thought of his Mother filled his mind as he abused the page with his pencil. He hated living with Aunt June. Timmy remembered Dad calling her a “Fanatic b****!” once and although he had no idea what she was so fanatic of at the time, he knew certainly well now. It was the lord and savior, Jesus Christ.

It was always sunny here in ‘Purged Tories Suburban Community lot: a community with a whole lotta’ heart!’ as the sign had read on the way in the first week here. “You can’t stay with your mommy anymore, Timmy; she’s not with us anymore.” Aunt June tried on that sanctimonious gentle tone that Timmy could see through like spring water. He was twelve, not stupid, not oblivious the world he was growing up in. “Things will get better, you’ll like it here. Blah blah”. This place was one big foster home. It was too nice, too heavenly and perfect at times. It felt hellish too in some ways. He snapped one of his pencils and then- Diiiiiiiiiing! Like antlers who have heard the snap of twigs in the distance, everybody in the immediate vicinity shot their heads and eyes to the church that now rang loudly. Lawnmowers and ice lollies were dropped where they were and the masses of the suburban community flooded like slow zombies to the door of the white steeple church. Swarms of people, even Cary Jenkins; who constantly shaved, had come out with half of his face smothered with white shaving foam.

Timmy buried his head in his book and groaned. If he could keep quiet, maybe they’d ignore him. Maybe they’d carry on and not – “Chuuuuurch.” Said little Tracy in a mechanic like drone, her chubby finger pointed in that direction, her eyes gazed onto Timmy with seriousness. She shook out of it and giggled. “Church time! Churchie time! Time for daily church!” she prodded off down the street. Timmy watched as everybody followed the sound of bells.

“God.” He said to himself. A sigh of exasperation left him and he followed en masse like the others.

He sat at the back with his Aunt June. Both of their eyes were gazed towards the man up front, a white frock upon him; a white beard to match. The sermon had already begun, the white walls and white frocked choir boys all gazed as he ranted on. It was always the same stuff Timmy thought. Fire and cleansing, abolished sins, the big man in the sky watching over all the ants with an omnipotent stare, and if you were not to repent, you would be stuck here.

“This is a good one,” said Aunt June with a nudge. Timmy gave an annoying stare and stared back at the man. “He’s magnificient!” another nudge came. Timmy sighed and pulled out his sketchpad. June kept her eyes focused forward. Timmy knew her well enough to know she’d never really look down. She was positively infatuated with Pastor Dante. Aunt June was a shrill woman, in her late fifties. She didn’t look a day over forty. Her blonde hair slipped past her shoulders, with golden radiance, but beneath that pretty exterior, there existed a woman who was devout as she was violent.

“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, "You fool!" shall be liable to the hell of fire.” Spat the pastor, the appreciative followers nodding along with his spouting. Timmy likened him to a kettle, always full of hot water that would boil and cause him to steam out onto the others. The church would become a sauna. He would boil here in church and people would bask in the steam of it all. He was always going on about fire and death, just like the pictures in Timmy’s book did. He continued to draw a demon of some sort in it. Baphomet or Cthulus – something dark and sinister at least. He did not know why he sketched what he did, or dream what he did, but, he just assumed it was normal, and so he barely questioned it.

He hadn’t seen it coming. A hand swiped at the book and sent it flying, the lead broke when the pencil hit the floor with a wooden drum roll. Timmy’s head shot up out of a knee jerk reaction, his eyes met with Pastor Dante’s. His eyes were squinted, full of hatred.

“It appears we have a stray sheep in our flock.” He yelled. The hail of moans and sighs of disappointment flooded the hall just like the zombie worshippers before. Aunt June opened her mouth in shock, and that was enough for Timmy to know he’d been caught out finally.

“Child, why do you draw such vulgar visuals? Does the Light Bringer’s influence cloud your mind with his wicked ways?”

“No sir I-“

“Silence!” he screamed to Timmy as if he was a grown man. The little kid felt like a deer in headlights. Then his eyes flicked to Aunt June. “You’d be wise to teach this young man the error of his ways, June.” And with that he turned his nose up and flitted back to the front of the Altar, he cleared his throat, made a passive joke and continued.

Timmy kept his head lowered. He’d felt ashamed that he had embarrassed his aunt and the look in her eyes made him realise he was going to suffer an awful thrashing when he got home.

He was right. Several thrashings had bestowed their stinging remains onto his back that night. Aunt June had told him to say ten Hail Maries and retire to his bedroom for the night.  As he watched the late evening sun disappear from his window into the purple glare of the never-changing warm nights, he thought about drawing again. Aunt June had thrown his pencils and sketchpads out and locked him in his room. If he was going to get them back, he had to make sure Aunt June was asleep. He couldn’t afford any more beatings with that belt she so enjoyed flailing like a sadistic b****. [Another word his father at one time or another had called her.].

He reached under his mattress and felt around for the spare key he had found there when he first moved in. Moments later he’d made it to her bedroom. He moved one eye in the crack of the slightly-open door and examined a comatose June who lay sprawled on a recliner. The moving glare of the TV shone rays of refracted light onto her, distorting her shadow into a tiny fragment and then a glaring, monstrous beast. Bingo. He headed downstairs and into the kitchen. The house had always been bare. It was full of antiques and porcelain dolls; Jesus memorabilia and an askew quota of Bibles that Aunt liked to randomly keep on hand for when “She needed to consult The One quickly.” .  The only time he, himself felt that need to consult The One was when he was taking a dump, and even then it was only light reading.

Outside the night sky, as dark as it was, illuminated the street enough for most of it to be visible like it was daylight. Timmy made it to the backdoor and noticed the sketchbooks were on top of bins, the pencils neatly placed on them. He gently turned the lock-snap, the door opened lightly with a creak that lightly echoed out into the street. With clenched teeth he moved out into the humid air of the night.
His hand grabbed the pencils with a fear they might evaporate. Scooping up all of his tools he turned back to the doorway. “Neigh!” A distant voice had yelled suddenly. He turned back to the street with a panic. Somebody has seen me! June will kill me. He put the books and pencils back into the bin and looked out into the street ready to admit his fault: silence, nothing stirred. From the garage driveway that had never been the home of a car to the end of the street, Timmy could see the small woods that lay opposite the row of perfectly lined suburban houses with perfect clarity. For a moment he listened for another yell but none followed. His eyes made out from above the treetops an ever-contorting tower of smoke that floated towards the heavens. A fire in the woods? He couldn’t make sense of it. The smoke blew west but rose from the east, close to the Church. He ran down the street and into the forestry. If Aunt June found out he’d saved the town from a fire in the woods, maybe she wouldn’t thrash him for being out here during his punishment! Yeah, she’d let me off and maybe give me my books back! He knew he could only go so long before she’d catch him drawing.


He cut through most of the already trimmed bushes near the church and had made it out into a clearing. The Church’s tip poked out of the tree-tops, yet somehow to Timmy, it didn’t seem white as it had anymore. It could have been the ever-moving smoke that cast his vision hazy but somehow the white paint had turned to a darker shade of brown or black. A faint buzz filled his ears and for a moment he thought it was exhaustion –he hadn’t slept for three days, his mind caught up in his sketches- until he moved closer to the Church and realized the buzz had turned into a chant that had started off small. The stench of strong smoke filled his nostrils and from an opening in a few trees he saw the faint flicker of light. Was that fire? What is that smell? Burning Skin? He remembered that faint smell from when Aunt June had been putting on her lovely act. She had burnt a joint of beef that had made Timmy gag. He looked through the trees; his curiosity peaked. In the clearing behind the Church there stood a huge flaming cross that continued to burn as if somebody had doused the wood with something flammable; something that made the fire burn and not wither. From the backdoor of the church, hooded figures slowly walked out in a line that circled the cross, all chanting. Timmy thought of the days when he would play trains with his father in such a way of movement as this. He counted back how many hoods there were: Twelve in all, not including the tall red hooded figure that bent under the doorway and stepped out into the clearing. Timmy left his mouth wide open as he stared at the red figure, the hooded gown must have been seven to eight feet tall! It moved with a sort of weariness as went to the burning cross. The others all surrounded the cross in a large circle, and then, slowly but surely, they all began to chant:

“And I said: Woe is me! for I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven.”
As they all continued to taunt, the red giant began to tremble and shake as if he was receiving a seizure. It pulled up its baggy sleeves and produced deathly thin arms that were tainted red and white. The smoke had begun to make Timmy’s eyes water and he could not understand how all of them could stand so close to the heat that was even beginning to touch his own skin from afar with gentle warmth. The circle turned to face past the church and watched as two hooded figures dragged a naked man, gagged and bleeding towards the cross. Following him was a white hooded person. They shoved him onto the floor in front of the red giant and there he lay on his knees. He did not look up; he stayed still where he was. It reminded Timmy of a puppy that had misbehaved and was atoning, waiting for his flailing. The image of a dog being beaten made him think of Aunt June briefly, hopefully still passed out.

“Rise,” Said the white hoody as he moved around to face the naked man fully.

“I don’t want to!” the man pleaded like a child. Timmy began to feel that lump jump in his throat, his stomach was doing flips, and he felt like he was going to crap himself where he stood because of it. What was happening!?

“Rise!” He yelled louder this time. The tall Red beast took one of its gangly arms and lifted his head up by his chin as if it cared for him. It looked down upon the man and Timmy saw for the first time in his life the look of what happens when a man looks into something that evokes fear of the deepest level. The man fell on his back in recoil and moved quickly away from the fire with a gasp of pain. “Restrain him!” Commanded White Hoody, and immediately it was clear that the man was Pastor Dante! Timmy could only watch, frozen to the spot. The hooded figures on the right side moved to box him in. The man frantically tried to move but the barrage of robes and arms held him tight. He screamed for a moment but it slowly withered to a low mumble as Red bent down and gripped him with both claw-like hands. He raised the man upwards as if he was a small child and Pastor Dante spoke softly:

“Child, you are but on a path of divinity. For you see, you and all your kind are cursed, yet blessed. I am your shepherd. You are my flock. I am here to cleanse you. All of you will be cleansed, and I am here for you. If you wish to be hailed into the next other-worldly place of paradise, you must first be purified and absolved. Are you ready?”

The man was lowered onto the hot grass that smoked in front of the cross. He looked up in awe at the beast and ignoring the heat that burned his back, he nodded with admiration for a brief moment before he lowered his head. There was a pause, and all that Timmy could hear was a brief, distorted laughter that was vaguely inaudible.

“I killed a boy. I killed a boy.” He said as if confessing to a police officer, he began to cry and wail. “He’s dead. He’s d-“

“It does not matter. Are you ready?” Asked the beast; the man nodded heavily.

The White Hoody shoved both hands onto the man’s face and pushed him onto the continuous flames off the cross, he hit the wood with a thud and crackle of escaping fire. For a brief moment he remained still, but as he realized what was to happen, he began to panic and scream in shrill horror. The hooded beast nodded and two hooded figures began to run rope around the man, tying him to the cross as he roasted. He screamed such a bloodcurdling scream that Timmy covered his ears and slammed his eyes shut. The man continued to flail and burn. His skin began to crisp and the flames engulfed him in a swallow.

“Our-father.” He screamed out in abominable hurt, his skin blackened and smoke began to pour from most orifices. He began to move stiffly and his mouth moved up and down, but no words came from his blackened face.

“Hu urt.” Steam began to pour from his eyes that dried and melted onto his cheeks at a supersonic speed before dying.

“Deliv’ frm’ evil.” Many of the hooded figures began to mumble lightly. Timmy watched as the fire extinguished the final scrap of life, and all that remained was a burning, blackened skeletal frame that seemed frozen in an eternal scream. The man was dead but his black arms lowered slowly. The hooded figures began to chant once more:

“And I said: Woe is me! for I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven.”
The red hooded figure’s gown suddenly dropped to the floor as if the beast from within had evaporated into thin air like the smoke that now covered the area. Burnt flesh stained Timmy’s nostrils, and in terror he ran from the trees, he tripped, jumped up and sprinted. He felt like Pastor Dante and The Beast was behind him, he panicked and tried to move quicker. He ignored his sketchbooks, shot inside his house, slammed the door shut and sprinted upstairs into his room, upstairs into his bedroom, and under his quilt. He didn’t feel like drawing any more. He couldn’t go back out there. His mind raced and he couldn’t make sense of things.


#2    Still Waters

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 07:03 PM

Part 1 is good and you've got me curious now to see what happens next!

Welcome to UM :)

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#3    Insanity!

Insanity!

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 12:31 AM

View PostStill Waters, on 02 July 2013 - 07:03 PM, said:

Part 1 is good and you've got me curious now to see what happens next!

Welcome to UM :)

Thankyou for taking the time to read this. I know it was a lot of text for such a starting topic. Either way, you have my gratitude. And thankyou for the welcome! I have a feeling I'll settle right in!


#4    Thinkbeforeyoucomment

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 05:57 AM

is there a part 2? And that's like the kkk...creepy. And am I right in thinking that the kid is dead?


#5    Insanity!

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 09:57 PM

View PostThinkbeforeyoucomment, on 06 July 2013 - 05:57 AM, said:

is there a part 2? And that's like the kkk...creepy. And am I right in thinking that the kid is dead?

There's three parts, and it's focused on that sort of corrupt fanaticism. Is Timmy dead? I'm sure the next parts will explain it.


#6    ReaperS_ParadoX

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 05:55 PM

WOW GREAT START INSANITY. CANT WAIT FOR THE OTHER PARTS!!

COME WITH ME. OVERWHELMING POWER AND MADNESS AWAIT

THAT IS NOT DEAD WHICH CAN ETERNAL LIE AND WITH STRANGE AEONS EVEN DEATH MAY DIE

#7    Insanity!

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 06:17 PM

2/3

He rubbed his back lightly. Aunt June would not believe he was coming down with a cold, and upon finding out he was trying to be dramatic about it, she had whacked him twice more before sending him off out to play. The entire day he sat on the side of the road and kept his peripheral vision alert to the woods. He didn’t understand what had happened last night or why, but he didn’t like that red thing, the beast he thought as he sketched with the remnants of paper and pencils that had survived the remains of breakfast – June never poured oatmeal outside into the bins- that he had eaten with a straight face. He tried his best to sketch the scene he had seen last night; although without color. The red beast towered over the rest of the hooded figures on the page and the flames seemed like the best ones he had sketched in his life. His eyes moved with approval at the quality and when he had finished, he merely stared at it and thought hard. Those hooded people must be people from town. He stomach dropped, and then he felt that everybody in the area was out to get him. The sun blazed as usual, the sprinklers hit every blade of grass with wet kisses and people strolled up and down the streets with looks of smiles and happiness upon their faces. He wanted to be back in his room, he didn’t understand anything and it frightened him. To see how happy all these people were and to find out they were all cold-blooded killers.

Being twelve years of age, the feeling of paranoia had never set in before stoically. He indubitably felt like somebody, anybody, would confront him and say they saw him last night and that terrified him more.

“Hey Timmy!” Said Tracy as she rode past him on her bike.
He shot up and ran back to the house, his hand clamped down onto the doorknob, it rattled. It was locked! Aunt June wouldn’t hear him now! She would be in her mid-morning prayer; out of earshot ostensibly. He backed up to the door and shot his head left and right. After silence the sudden fear took its grip off Timmy and he breathed hard, his heart bashed his ribcage with loud thuds. After the attack he slumped back down his front door and sketched again. He was to be more careful in what he sketched when in company, especially now. Every few minutes his heart would pound in his chest when someone walked by and eyed him.

As another perfect day began to wither in Purges Tory, Timmy found the night to be more distressing than his day had been. Somehow the more he thought of the burning man, and the tall figure, the more his stomach seemed to flip. He didn’t want to look over the tree-tops tonight and see smoke once again. Beyond the fear he felt, a small curiosity had begun to stir; that same curiosity that made him stay for so long to watch the horror unfold. Down in the deep dark pit of his brain, questions began to grow and stem like big beanstalks. He sat at his desk while the sun slowly set down from paradise –hell- and he flipped to a new page in his sketchbook. After a few moments he had laid out two questions that had been bugging him all day:

1.   Who was the man in red?

2. Who were the other men in hoods?

He stared at the questions for what felt like hours before realizing more questions were stemming from those ones:

3.   Why did the man agree to burn?

4. Why did Father Dante allow that all this time?


Eventually the page had become full of scrawled questions. He stared at it, checked it. Ripping it out of book, he folded it up and shoved it under his mattress. Fear had turned to determination. And after much thought, he knew exactly what he had to do to find answers. It was going to hurt.

The faces screamed in the darkness, but he did not know why.

The bells tolled like they did every day. The masses of people shuffled to the church in their usual tone. Nobody questioned the ultimate knowledge of the church. Timmy was ready, he was prepared for what he was about to do. He had asked June to square things up with Pastor Dante so he was welcome again. As the sermon began, Timmy thought over his speech. He had closed his eyes and let the pencils do to the talking on the page, and when he had finally opened his eyes, the page had been covered in speech and literature that he had neither learned nor read before.

The church was full of people, all of the normal patrons. This was the right time, thought Timmy. Pastor Dante continued his rant of individuality and the identity of one’s self through the ever-forgiving, ever-truthful Lord. As he noticed Timmy stand up into the aisle with his hand gripping the paper tightly, as if he was afraid of what would happen if the paper was to disappear, he stopped.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it appears that Timmy has come to repent his transgressions with a sermon,” all eyes shot back to Timmy and he felt a small chunk of disgust in himself like he did the first time. “Hopefully, what you have to say is regarded as poetic and righteous in the eyes of the Lord, hmm?”

Timmy nodded his head lazily and walked forward warily. He clambered up to the altar clumsily and almost fell off the small chair that propped him up. He looked at Pastor Dante whom nodded back with approval. Timmy didn’t know he was sweating badly.

“But who can endure the day of his coming, and who stand when he appears?” Timmy suddenly said strongly, as if from deep down, the nervousness had suddenly melted away. He looked at Pastor Dante and the rest of the crowd, he cleared his throat. The crowd stirred lightly.

“ For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord.” As he finished speaking, Dante shuffled lightly and fumbled with his rosary beads. The crowds muttered to each other louder this time.

“-then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old as in former years.” He paused and looked at the crowds. He put down the paper that was smudged with finger marks.

“How many of you know what I just said?” He said more maturely and irritated than he had ever been in his life.

The faces of confusion flushed on many. They looked at each other for answers, a few coughed to fill the silence, and others just continued to stare forward diligently in order to save face. Timmy looked to Pastor Dante once more and they shared gazes. Little to Timmy’s knowledge, Dante had his teeth clamped over his tongue in a painful vice. He continued to remain silent. June will flog him for that insolent remark.

“I just read something from uh-“ he scanned the page as if looking for a certain line, his eyes flitted left to right; back and forth. “Ah! That’s it, Malachi!” He pronounced it Malachee, nobody laughed..

“Okay, Timmy, I think that’s enou-“ coaxed the Pastor.

“I think what Malachee was on about was the same thing I saw a few nights ago behind the church,” The Pastor ran towards the altar quicker than anybody had seen. He brought his hand down hard onto Timmy’s cheek and it sent him flying off the chair and onto the red carpeted floor with a thud. The church-goers shot up and gasped in shock as Dante arched over the young child. Timmy rubbed his cheek and cowered. Dante turned; he moved to the altar and grabbed the paper that rested there. He lifted it up, and to his shock and everybody else’s, the large paper was completely empty. The Pastor shot back to Timmy, he took in big gasps of air, flaring his teeth and with wide eyes screamed,

“WHERE DID YOU LEARN THOSE WORDS!? Defiler. Deceiver!”

Timmy did not speak, he only rubbed his cheek. Dante’s face contorted between anger and fear, he raised his hand again and the entire synonymous gasp of the church made him stop and turn. With his hand still raised he looked at the crowd.

“You see? You see what the deceiver can do to the young? Impressionable are the young to his ways! This young man is lying through his teeth! No actions go beyond the daylight sermons of the church! No child can remember such a sermon by memory,” he turned to Timmy who had slowly stood up. “Look at you, lying to make me look bad- make the church look bad! Tell them how we are pure, how we work to do good. How we-“ he stopped and spat at Timmy, an action that made the entire church flinch.

“That is enough!” yelled one of the church-goers who ran from her pew in disgust. A few others joined her. Eventually there remained only a few faithful who watched with pale-faced objectiveness that they would not dare speak out of. Dante moved forward slowly towards Timmy, who closed his eyes and waited for the thrashing. Unknowingly, Timmy had not seen Dante pick up the bible from under the altar, he raised it above his head. “Nobody must know the truth.” He whispered.

He brought the bible down. Pages flew out of the book as it went down.

“ENOUGH.” Somebody yelled. It was Aunt June, she looked hurt and pale. Silence.


#8    Still Waters

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 07:03 PM

Aunt June to the rescue lol...for now at least, and this is where we wait for Part 3 :tu:

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#9    Insanity!

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 12:16 PM

3/3

To Timmy’s surprise, Aunt June had not beaten him that night. As Pastor Dante lowered the bible, June had run towards her nephew and scooped him up with both arms. She stared at Dante coldly and with hatred in her eyes. Her infatuation with him was quite obviously gone, thought Timmy has he was carried out of the church.

“You have brought this upon yourself!” she yelled before scrambling away. She had fed him normally and had even given him an extra helping of apple pie. He had spent the evening in his room and as he continued to draw, did not see his door creep open, the thin hand of something sliding in from the darkness; something red and thin.

***


Dante sat in his study and read vigorously from the bible. He had cut through seventy pages in the last hour with his excessively speedy eyes. The more he read the more certain he was to stay here. He wasn’t ready to leave, and striking such a delinquent like Timmy Harper should not have its repercussions, but Dante could tell there was something about the boy. He had the power to take his place, and then HE would casually fling Dante away into the fire nonchalantly with the smile of the Deceiver on his face, the messenger behind him all the way. Dante could see it! He could feel eyes upon him as he read. He wasn’t prepared to be cleansed, yet he knew it was close, and if he was to be thrown into hellfire, then he was going to enjoy his most primal urge. I’ll enjoy it; I’ll enjoy it with every inch. He grabbed the phone off his desk and dialed a number he had remembered just for this occasion.

The receiver received.

“Hello, Deborah? Pastor Dante here! Hi, I was just wondering, if Sylvia wouldn’t mind coming over for a little talk about our up and coming choir rehearsals?”

[Pause]

“Oh that’s wonderful, send her down!” he hung up the phone and removed the face and posture of a caring priest. He slipped off his robe and went to prepare. He lit candles around the bedroom. He sprayed cologne on and dressed in a white shirt and black bottoms. He combed his grey, withering hair and rubbed moisture cream onto his wrinkled face. His dark brown eyes stared back and for the first time in a long time, he was sure he was staring back at not a man of God, but a man of HIM. There was no fear this particular time; there was only lust and excitement!

Fifteen minutes of preening later and the door was rapped upon lightly. Dante could have flown down the stairs on wings of love as he imagined Sylvia Deschaine as he had many times before. He opened the door and stood in front of him in a tight white top, a short denim jacket and shorts that left enough to imagination was Sylvia, her blonde hair tied up and her blue eyes flicking upwards seductively; seductive enough for a twelve year old.

“Hi Mister Dante!” she beamed with a grin. “Mom says you wanted to talk about choir practice this year?” She was wearing pink lipstick, it made Dante tremble lightly. He stopped himself and took a breath.

“Yes, Sylvia, step inside, we have much to discuss.”  He shut the door.

***


She stumbled down the street in a daze of shock and confusion. You filthy whore! You dirty girl! One of her shoes was missing and her cute little white cotton sock was easily seen beneath. She stumbled off the curb and slipped onto the road, her pink lipstick was smudged and faded. Her beautiful blonde hair was torn and ragged. Take it! Take it. Take it. She couldn’t remember what happened as she passed a bunch of girls selling cookie with red wagons trailing behind. The sun was still high in the sky. Her pants felt hot and she was sore down there. Mister Dante had done stuff to her, stuff that she knew was wrong. Tears slowly streamed down her face that was flushed and sore with slaps he had given her. After he had done what he did, he had sent her on her way and told her not to mention what had happened. As she continued down the street, two pairs of eyes watched her from afar. Timmy was crouched down in a bush with the red beast.

“What happened to that girl?” he asked Red curiously. It pointed a long, red, bone-like finger slowly towards the house of Pastor Dante.

“What did he do?” Timmy looked up at the darkness within the hood.
The beast did not have a face. It stuck out of the small bush by at least three feet but somehow nobody in the street saw it. The darkness inside the hood peered down towards Timmy and then back to the house. It lowered its spindly finger.

“Defiled her.” The voice seemed raspy, it whispered as if it did not want to be found towering over a small child.

What did defiled mean? “What does that mean?” he asked innocently.

“He took her innocence. He has sealed his fate.”

“What are you going to do?”

“We have much to discuss. Come.” It opened up its huge rake of a hand and gently grabbed Timmy’s hand. They began to slowly walk down the street together. This tall beast didn’t seem the murderous giant it had so long ago.

“Timmy, do you remember how you got here?”

“Aunt June picked me up and drove me here.” They strolled past the young, defiled girl and she had not even noticed them. Timmy suspected magic at play.

“Before that?” Its huge frame was like a skyscraper as opposed to four foot nine little Tim.
And then it dawned on Timmy. He couldn’t remember how he came to live here. All he could vision was the drive in by Aunt June and the huge sign of Purges Tory: the gated community. Beyond that he remembered living with his mother and sister.

“I don’t remember.”

The beast paused.

“In time you will learn; you will realize.”

“Realize what?”

“Come. Night is coming, and we are to finish the cycle of messenger. You have kicked up quite a fuss within the church,” a kid of bike drove through Red like a hologram. He seemed happy when he spoke. “I have seen that you’ve been drawn towards images that depict you as the next messenger.”

“I’m a messenger? A messenger of what?”

“Night is coming.”

And with that, that walked away into the streets.

***


He waited in his study with his eyes peering out towards the back of the church. It was futile to pray and he knew it would not absolve his actions, only the fire would do so. He closed his eyes and felt the gust of air as it appeared behind him. Dante wanted to show no fear, not now. The gown consumed him like the darkness that scraped the sky quickly and he could not help but let a scream escape from the bottom of his stomach. As darkness consumed him fully the scream was cut to a slow echo and then, nothing. The study was eerily still as if nothing had resided into it.

A flock of birds flew in the distance, the pink horizon flushed darker and the moon bid farewell to the sun as it passed down. Night had come earlier than most days; except the night was now flourishing with black, not purple. Timmy was surrounded by pitch blackness when he heard the scream; a scream that had previously started. It ended with heavy breaths and a panicked voice began to yell.

“Who is that?” asked Timmy calmly.

“Help! Oh god.” Screamed Dante. Timmy knew from the yells that he was with the Pastor.

“Pastor Dante?”

“Oh god, oh god, oh god.”

“Calm down!” yelled Timmy, slightly irritated by his cravenness.

“Who is that? Show yourself!” He tried to move, but he was frozen.

“It’s Timmy.”

There was a pause. Dante’s breaths had ceased and then he gasped.

“I haven’t been cleansed and sent! I’ve been cast into oblivion with the same sort of beast that I am!”

“Hey! What is that supposed to mean?” What a prick.

“You know what it means you little brat! We’re both sinners that cannot repent!”

“Is that what you think, Dante?” asked a voice incredulously.

“Phleygrum, Is that you?”

“Yes.” He hissed.

“Explain to this child! Tell him what needs to be told!”

Timmy had heard enough of Dante’s fake sermon-like approach.

“Shut up! Just be quiet! He told me what you did to Sylvia! Cause he saw it and he isn’t happy with what he saw!” He felt better, he hadn’t yelled out like that since…

“Aryton Dante, do you know where you really are?” asked Phleygrum.

Dante began to wail, he screamed and begged, as if all other defenses had been used up.

“Stop crying!”

He refused.

“Phleygrum, I’d like to know the truth, can we hurry on please?” Asked Timmy, exasperated.

“Yes.”

With a gust of wind, Dante, Timmy, and Phleygrum stood behind the church, a flaming cross illuminating everything in a glare of golden heat. Phleygrum’s face was still hidden, even in the flare. Dante rubbed his eyes, as did Timmy. The Pastor dropped at Phleygrum’s –non-existent- feet and began to kiss the ground in front of him. Timmy felt a little sad at the man. How could people be one thing, and completely opposite?

“Rise.” Said Phleygrum.

“Oh my! Yes, yes!” Pastor Dante, as strong and as powerful as the man had seemed in his beatings and sermons, now looked less like a frightened child. He clung onto the huge red gown with tears in his old eyes. He strained his voice and begged.

“Please, please! I’m ready! The child is not!” He shot to Timmy like he had in the church and for a second he felt that same flush of impending doom. Phleygrum shared a look down to Timmy and with a small push, Dante staggered backwards. He felt a flush of angered that slipped away. He swallowed hard and began to silently pray. Fear was controlling him, even when he tried his best not to let it. Something down inside of him was tugging at him. Guilt?

“I’m ready! Is it my time to cleanse? Who is taking my place?”

Phleygrum looked towards Timmy.

Something thick slid down Dante’s throat that the swallowing couldn’t remove. His eyes widened.

“The child!?”

Phleygrum went quiet, the only sound was of the cackling fire and splintering of the wood. The Pastor made a choking noise.

“How can- How can a child BE THE NEXT MESSENGER!? HOW?”

“He was the first to memorize lines of the scripture without physical practice.”

“IS THAT ALL!?” Dante’s tears had dried now, and the fear had dissipated. His face was as red as the fire.

“He was the first to question the faith. He depicted images from the former scriptures. Your time has passed, Aryton. You forget your place, you defile young girls, and you have attempted to thwart the next messenger.”

Timmy felt dazed. There were too many big words, too much anger and confusion in the air. The night was darker than other nights; the purple that usually remained had been replaced by a darkening blackness that Timmy had felt he had just been released from. The smell of sulfur and burnt skin filled his nostrils and slowly hooded figures began to exit from the church, their faces hidden by blackness. They slowly filed out and walked in a slow pace. Timmy noticed each Hoody would stop and face the cross; they were facing it like that night.
Dante frantically stumbled. He moved to the cross and backed away suddenly with a gasp; his face shielded from the fire that seemed to erupt violently as he got close.

“Phleygrum? What is going to happen?”

He looked down slowly.

“Come forward with me, Timothy.”

Hand in hand, Timmy walked towards Dante who cowered. He turned and sprang into a run! Four Hoodies gripped him and shoved him towards the cross.

“I want this! Haha! Don’t you see? I want absolution! I want to be welcomed!”

Timmy and Phleygrum watched as they moved him close enough to the fire that he began to gasp.

“For a man who welcomes absolution, Artyon, you are moving an awful lot. Do you sense something?” Asked Phleygrum.

Dante did sense something; something that caused him to panic and thrash violently as a hail of hands clasped onto him. The smell of skin overpowered him and the eyes of fleshly white burned into his mind. A laugh emitted from a distance and he heard it clearly as he felt the heat. Timmy felt like cowering for a moment, for the laugh was so similar to the vague one he had heard before. Phleygrum turned to him and looked down.

“Timothy, do you realize now? Do you see what is to be done here?”

Timmy did not. The beast began to walk around as Dante struggled to retain a scream.

“We’re all dead here, Timothy,”

The child remained quiet.

“We are living in the abode of the realm of cleansing,”

“Purgatory.” Whispered Timmy; the epiphany of time and space exploded in his mind.

“Yes, and I am the proprietor of this place. I exist to cleanse, but in order to clean, I must have a messenger.”

“Somebody to tell stuff to people?” Asked Timmy while he cautiously moved closer to Dante.

“A person who is to aid the one who cleanses, to be completely sinless and able to make others ready for cleansing.”

“What happens if I can’t cleanse people?”

Phleygrum slowly crooked a finger at Timmy. He came forward and the two faced a smoking Dante who lightly screamed in agony.

“Dante,” said Phleygrum. “Do you know that a man’s actions in this realm determine that through the fire, whether the cleansing absolve or condemn?”

He froze, even with smoke coming off him like a chimney. He stared at Phleygrum with hurt in his eyes and tilted his head.

“The fire judges?”

“The fire judges. It only absolves those of worthy absolution.”
Timothy understood now.

“You did something nasty to Sylvia! And now look!” He wanted to run forward and spit, but he stopped and moved back. Phleygrum lightly pushed Timothy who stared back nervously.

“Go on, child. This is how it begins.” He flitted his hand forward quickly for the first time.

He slowly moved forward, Dante struggled and spat. A gob of spit landed in Timmy’s eye. He rubbed it and wiped and with a look of sympathy he stared at the suddenly still ex-pastor.

“It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. The fire will absolve it.”

With a sudden push of all his might, the pastor was launched onto the cross. The four Hoodies produced rope and began to pin Dante as he thrashed and screamed. “I WANT TO BE FORGIVEN!” He yelled with his arms outstretched, the fire absorbed him and began to consume him like a beast. Timmy watched in odd fascination as the man’s face began to melt, and in a tone that scared him back into the arms of Phleygrum, Dante, with red eyes, said:

“Suffer the sinners unto me, Phleygrum.”

Dante felt the flames coat him. He felt his mouth go dry and as he struggled, begging for forgiveness he saw the flashes of skinless faces with white eyes and darkness in them. He felt the fire surround him and consume him to the point nothing was visible, and then he saw the Deceiver himself pull his hands and drag him down into a heat  a thousand times worse than the fire.

Timmy looked at the black skeletal frame of Dante in shock and felt one of Phelygrum’s long claws on his shoulder. He felt enlightened for the first time in a long time, and knew that there was much to learn about what he was tasked with. He slowly smiled and looked up to Phleygrum.

“Will I have to do this for everyone?”

The dark hood stared back down.

“Everyone.”

He felt comfortable with that. With the image of Aunt June in his mind, he found himself very comfortable with that indeed. He was ready to learn.

The Start.






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