XVI. Prayers Are Heard

XVI. Prayers Are Heard

Russ stood pacing the plush carpet floor while Inanna lay in bed lifeless beneath the sheet. He’d been trying to think of how to do what The Creator told him he would do. He knew that some of Samael’s unfiltered blood now coursed through his veins and that with it he had gained some power but he didn’t know to what extent or how to conjure it for his use. He paced the floor back and forth, crossing in front of the window and wearing a small path near the marble fireplace. He stopped at the side of the bed and looked down on his friend. He wished that there was something he could say that would cause her to wake up but he knew of no such thing. In his tiredness and exasperation he sat on the bed next to Inanna and held her hand in his. He beckoned her to tell him what to do, to wake up from his touch. He bent over and kissed her still warm lips then pulled away to look for any signs of alertness but nothing happened. She still lay there not moving, nonspeaking, and not breathing.

He slid to the side of the bed and peered at Inanna and ran his hands down the length of her body. He moved the sheet off of her slowly to expose her naked form. Russ released her hand and placed both of his hands on the bandages that were wrapped around her waist. He laid his hands there and saw in his mind what he wanted to do. He wanted to close and heal the wound. More than anything else that he wanted – he wanted her to breathe again. Russ closed his eyes and saw with his mind’s eye, the skin beneath her bandages pull together. First starting with the sinews tissue as they bonded and became whole, then mending bones that had been crushed by the sword’s entry and the skin directly beneath the bandage, bringing it to a close. And finally, the blood flow throughout her body, coursing through her veins without obstruction. Russ focused every ounce of his mind on those things. He not only concentrated on the healing but also on the reason for the healing.

He felt a warm trickle of blood run from his nose and down his chin. He saw the small red droplets land on the sheet beneath him and turned to look at Inanna. Russ grabbed some tissue from the side table near the bed and swiped at his nostrils. He removed his hands and slowly began peeling back the bandages to reveal her smooth skin with the faint hint of a scar in a diagonal line across her belly. Her blood stuck to her body in a dried silvery pool on her skin where the bandage covered the wound. Russ rose to sit on the bed and lifted Inanna’s body close to his. He spoke her name in hopes that she would answer but she did not. He ran the back of his hand down her cheek. She was so warm to the touch but not breathing.

A thought came to him. He needed her heart to beat, so he placed his hand over the left side of her chest and focused his attention on getting blood to move in and out of it. He concentrated on making the heart pump to get it perform its function, to keep the blood coursing through her body. He laid her back on the pillow with one hand on her chest and the other rested on her head to help rouse her conscience. He concentrated on the image of a small hand massaging her heart to get it pumping again while simultaneously sending out a part of himself to connect with Inanna’s consciousness. He felt for her and called out to her, asking her to find him.

His hope of healing her and bringing her back to the land of the living began to fade when nothing happened after the time he spent trying to revive her. He stopped. He’d healed her body but was unable to give her life back to her. He finally accepted that he was powerless to bring her back to him. He lay down beside her in the bed, pulled the sheet up on her body, and wrapped his arm around her holding her close to him.

His heart was broken.

He wanted desperately for her to survive all that had happened and he thought that The Creator would help him but He did nothing that Russ could see. He rubbed Inanna’s hair and whispered his heart to her in the dim light of the bedroom.

“I’m sorry, Little Sister. I’m just not strong enough or…powerful enough. I’m so sorry sweetheart. I wish none of this had ever happened then you’d still be alive. You wouldn’t know me and I wouldn’t know you, but you’d still be alive. It’s not fair. It’s not fair that I would meet somebody like you and be made to feel something then lose you all in the same day. And I’ll be damned if I don’t feel something. I’m in the devil’s house holding your lifeless body…God Inanna. Please just wake up. Wake up for me, please. I’ll do whatever it is that needs to be done with no complaints. Just come back to me.”

Russ shed his tears over her and on her. He knew loss, loss was a thing of second nature to him but this seemed so much worse than anything else had ever felt. His heart hurt. He felt as though he were the one that took the blade to the guts and that it was slowly ripping out his insides. He slid against her body, cradling it close to his and whispered his love in her ear. He planted a kiss on her temple and promised to fight Samael off if he came for her. He prayed to The Creator that He’d come and collect her personally rather than let Samael take her and finally he prayed that he could take her place. His life for hers.

And it was with the completion of that prayer that Inanna coughed, causing Russ to startle. She coughed again and again until it sounded as if she were choking. Russ quickly sat her up and leaned her forward. He rushed off to the bathroom for a glass of water for her to drink then returned splashing and spilling most of the glass’s contents on the carpet beneath his feet. He helped her drink by lifting the glass to her lips and she sipped until the dry scratchy sensation left her. She took a deep breath and fell back against the pillows. Russ stared at her in disbelief then wiped the blood from his nose and lips on his sleeve. He couldn’t believe she’d come back to him.

“Inanna?” Russ spoke, his voice trembling with fear.

She looked into his eyes and saw the images of the Tree on them. She looked into his face and lifted her hand to run her fingers across his lips.

“Yeah, old man. It’s me.” Inanna said in a hoarse whisper.

Russ chuckled and pulled her into an embrace. His heart leapt in his chest with her pressed against him. Her body was warm and color vibrant once more. He felt the rise and fall of her breaths beneath his hands and the goose bumps race across her naked skin. He pulled away from her to look into her face.

“I thought I lost you. God help me, I thought you were gone.”

“I was gone but it was time for me to wake up.”

“How did you…?”

Russ trailed off but decided he didn’t need an answer – she was alive and that’s all that mattered. He cupped her face in his hands and planted a kiss on her head, cheek, and lips. He lingered at her lips and what was meant to be a soft and innocent peck turned into a deep kiss. He rose from the bed, stood beside it then lifted her up in his arms and proceeded to walk towards the bathroom.

“I think that a nice hot bath will do us both some good. This has been one helluva long day.”

Inanna nodded and rested her head against Russ’ shoulder. His warmth felt good to her. He put her down in the spacious bathroom and got the bath going. Once the bath was filled, Inanna reclined in Russ’s arms in the hot water in the large spa-like tub. They held on to each other, not sharing any words but sharing everything in between. It was Russ who broke the silence.

“We’re in some deep shit, aren’t we?”

Inanna said nothing. She held on tight to Russ while the hot water surrounded them and tried not to think about what she’d seen while she was away or what she still felt now that she was back. Though her wounds were healed, there was one that was not and would not be healed unless the Tree was healed. She lay in Russ’s arms, clinging to them nonspeaking and trying her hardest not to feel the pain of rot and decay taking over The Tree of Life as she felt it dying deep within her.

XV. Meetings In the Midst of Fall

XV. Meetings In The Midst Of Fall

The leaves of fall crunched beneath her bare feet. She walked with her arms outstretched allowing the twigs and branches of various bushes and shrubs to brush against her fingertips while she moved through the garden. The skies behind her were full of the hues of an early autumn sunset, while ahead of her lay darker and grayer skies. Every creature in the garden remained still and quiet as she passed them on her journey eastward. She knew this place, she felt at home in this place because this was the place where all of life originated. This was the birthplace of the first humans, the true Motherland. She stepped over fallen limbs and rotting trunks as she made her way through the Garden of Eden. She had to know if this terrible thing really happened. In the visions that passed before her eyes she kept seeing the Tree of Life bleeding from a deep cut to its trunk. She kept seeing the wound run with blood and hearing the tree weep. She picked up the pace when she was able to look to the western skyline and see the top of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil standing still against the dark horizon. She knew seeing its large looming limbs stretched out against the sky that she wasn’t very far from where she needed to be. The trees were located at direct opposite positions within the garden. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was a big tree but the Tree of Life was bigger and held the very essence of human life within its fruit, as well as the meaning of life and the profound salience of death.

She walked onward toward the East, picking up her stride as she moved through the dry bushes of flowers, shrubs and tall plumes of grass. A fear grew within her that she might see the Tree dull of its color and bare of its fruit. It was this thought that caused her to begin running the rest of the way to the Tree’s location. She ran through streams of clear cool water and eased her way through brambles of thorns that let her know how close she was to the small inner garden where the Tree lived. The closer she got to its location the louder its wails grew. The sound was like a million voices crying at once in all types of pitches, tones, and languages. The sound sent chills down her spine and a knot in her throat as the cries tore at her heart. She ran fast and hard through the thicket of overgrowth. The very same greenery its first gardeners ran through before banishment, until she reached a small unruly hedgerow that lined the inner garden.

She stepped through the thick hedgerow to see two angels knelt at either side of the Tree facing it on both sides with their heads bowed in a grief stricken prayer. Between them, two spinning fiery swords and the weeping Tree of Life shedding its leaves in a steady rain. With its precious fruit dropped to the ground beneath its large canopy, the tree looked ill and on the verge of death. At the Tree of Life’s trunk, a large gaping wound was cut diagonally across seeping the reddest blood she had ever seen. Upon seeing the damage with her own eyes, she felt a pain, a very sharp pain in her stomach. She gripped her stomach with her hands and felt her bandaging wrapped around her naked body. They were wet to the touch and the wound itself was painfully tender.

She fell to her knees before the Tree and gripped her stomach with both arms. The angels that knelt grieving at either side of the Tree stood, lifted their heads and turned to look upon her. They peered down on her and then looked past her as if they were watching someone or something coming forward into the inner garden. Inanna collapsed on to her side and lay there in fetal position. She could hear and feel the footsteps behind her. Whatever it was moving towards them shook the earth with each step. A shadow fell over her bare naked body as the presence stood over her at her back. She could see the faces of the angels turn up in recognition with the tracks of their tears still wet on their faces and then their heads bowed as they both lowered to one knee.

A male voice spoke in a whisper of the ancient language to the two angels and they rose. She felt the one behind her lower himself and place a warm hand on her shoulder as He spoke softly into her ear.

“Inanna, it is time for you to rise my child. It is time to wake up.”

He turned her head so that her eyes met his and blew the sweetest breath of wind into her lungs.

You ever just… have a feeling?

For some reason or another, there’s a steady cadence of a saying running through my mind and I can’t rid myself of it nor do I understand why it’s happening. It might just be my brain on the fritz or one of those times that my subconscious is sending me messages. I vaguely remember the dream I had last night and I’m not sure if this was the theme of the dream or not but…

“The lesser of two evils is still evil.”

When I get quiet, which seems often near the end of the day lately, my mind does this thing where stuff repeats. A steady mantra of words that sometimes hold no meaning at all… or of happenings from the past speaking up to haunt me. When that happens, I often give it over to the mental illness or being triggered by something new. Triggers… people really need to understand what those are. Seriously.

Here, read this —>  Trauma Trigger

I’m better than I was say about ooo…three years ago. Anxiety was in control and I was not. At times it would lessen whenever I made myself sit still to meditate or pray (two different tingz, I assure you). One is focusing on the object you set in mind outside of yourself, focusing on your breathing, on your feelings (or if you are inclined to do so…leave feelings out of it), and the moment and just be. The other is communication with purpose. Seeking out your higher power and opening yourself up to listen. Arguably, you could commune with your higher power with both. But that’s how I separate the two. It may be different for you guys. When I meditate, it’s to bring me out of what’s making me anxious and understanding what or how it happened. Prayer is the visit to the doctor to make sure I’m alright. It’s the medicine I need. You can have spiritual experiences with both….and I have. Which leads me to believe that anxiety, my anxiety and other mental illnesses have a root in the spiritual. Like, I’m not ashamed to admit that during my schizophrenic episodes, past and present, I believed them to be of a spiritual nature.

We’ve heard this saying – the mind is the devil’s playground. I’ve heard that since I was little along with the battlefield of spiritual warfare being the mind.

I don’t doubt that. Past experiences have proven that much to me. I don’t know that all of us schizophrenics have the same hallucinations. I’ve spoken to a few and so far, while we have similarities like – feeling, seeing, smelling, hearing and sometimes tasting hallucinations… the content of them varies. When I’m bad off, I see shapes of people, I hear voices, and I feel a crushing sensation on my body. Sometimes, I have phantom smells of flowers… like when I’m not outside or where there are no air fresheners… or I smell horrible things. When I was admitted the first time to a behavioral health hospital, I smelled flowers and it was intense. Later during that stay, I smelled rotting flesh and vomit… so strong I was nauseated.

The mind, man. My greatest blessing and biggest curse. I fight to understand it all at times. I don’t play at it, I don’t pretend these things happen… if anything, I pretend they aren’t so people think I’m okay in public or wherever the hell I am. It never works. My face gives me away all the time.

The things I’ve heard? I’ve heard voices announcing that they were angels, demons, the devil and even God. I’ve heard voices of distinctly, male and female, telling me that they were my friends and quickly turned enemies. They’ve told me to do things, say things, and behave a certain way. From the best to the worst… from being told I was a Queen to being told that God wanted me dead. The voice that claimed to be God, never said that… but the others did.

Hard things and it was all in my mind. I had sketch book and I would draw the images I saw, the things I was told to draw, and write down the things I heard in a journal. Every time my eyes scan through the pages, my heart stops because I know that they were almost the last things I wrote.

How do you fight what you can’t see? How do you keep wanting to live after experiencing those things? For me… it was faith. Sticking to what I knew to be true and what I believed. I believed I had a purpose and that in that purpose, I was supposed to help other people.

And I tried. Intentionally and unintentionally. By that I mean, my intentional efforts helped educate others that didn’t understand or know about the mental illnesses I dealt with. Unintentionally, it was just my living, my doing, and my being who I was. People saw that and it helped them somehow. And they let me know.

Wonderful comments, things that made me smile, and brought tears to my eyes in emails and on other websites I wrote on. It was just humbling and encouraging. Those comments always seem to find me when I’m at my lowest. I can’t tell you if people just sense that about you or what… or maybe God giving them the nudge to say or do things… I don’t know.

The nicest thing anyone has ever done for me… is give me my flowers while I’m alive. This person, one of my favorite humans that God created, wrote a whole blog post about me in such a beautiful way. It was a complete surprise and honor to have someone do that for me. For them to say such nice beautiful things about me… old ordinary not quite extravagant me. Someone saw the beauty in me and the things I do and spoke to them. I’ll never forget that. Not ever. I thanked him and I still thank him, for the love and the boost.

The worst thing anyone has ever done… is tried to take my life. And we’ll leave it at that. You just never know who or what is calling for your life to end or even why. I know the why but I don’t understand it. Hate is something else and I’m no stranger to it…sucks, but yeah.

So I’m sitting here and those words, “The lesser of two evils is still evil”… is just taking up space in my brain and I really don’t know why.  I keep thinking back to that dream and last night when I went to stand on the porch for a little air. I felt like it was needed. But while I was on the porch, my mind just let loose. Every topic, every fear, every thing that I was feeling all just ran together and turned into an image ..a giant jumbled image of a heart with horrible things on it. Not far from the truth, I shit you not.

Now, I’m not weighing anything in the way of actions or words, I’m not in a situation or have a problem that I can speak of at the moment…but there is a feeling that I can’t really tack down. Maybe it’s stress. Maybe it’s a thing my future self is trying to warn me of, “hey stupid…listen up! I tried to warn you!”

I’m doing an exercise now where I let my mind wander over different topics and I’m trying to see if the one with the most resistance is the culprit. Something I learned outside of therapy. Like duck duck goose only with moods and trauma.

That thing I said in a previous post, speaking to the fear in a way you can handle it? I might do that. Me facing it head on at present isn’t working and it definitely feels like a fear of some sort based on something I’ve gone through.

Thinking about that spiritual warfare thing, if it’s not true… if it’s all a hoax or something made up… why does the meditation and praying work? What is it about those two things that helps me come out of it?

Quick strange true story for you all…

When I was a smoker. Cigarettes and cigars. I used to stand on the porch at any time during the day (mostly the day because in the evening the night life in my neighborhood is the criminal element) I would have this really weird thing happen to me. Only when I smoked. I never smoked in the house because we have rules about that, so it’s either the front porch or the back porch. I liked watching the sun play in the trees and the squirrels frolic while teasing the neighborhood cats… so front porch it was. Entertainment, if you will. I am easily pleased.

Anyway – almost all the time this thing would happen. And the last time it happened was about a month or two before my knee surgery which is when I decided to stop smoking. But whenever I did, that feeling, like a panic attack, would just come over me. I’d tense up and then it felt like a crushing weight on my shoulders along with the sensation of drowning. Like when you’re in water too deep and it’s right at your ears and you can’t swim.  That feeling.

On the day I smoked my last cigarette, I was standing on the porch when it hit me. Washed over me like a huge wave and I dropped my cigarette and just bent over while gasping for air. Every time I tried to straighten up the sensation got worse until I was on my knees. In that position with a bad knee and unable to get up or breathe, hyperventilating, I did the only thing I could think to do. Pray.

I asked for the sensation to go away, for whatever it was to release me. And a few seconds after, I was able to get up. I caught my breath and limped back in the house and had myself a lay down. It was worse that day than it had ever been.

If spiritual warfare is a thing, my giving up the addiction was a problem for the little demon that told me I needed it to relax. I really feel like it is a thing. That’s not the only story I have like that either. My praying helps. My meditation helps me clear my head so that I can then speak clearly to God. I don’t doubt its benefits, it’s working for me. Don’t know about anyone else, I just know what it is for me.

That night, I lay in bed and felt completely at peace. I asked for strength and talked to God for a while about what happened. I always talk out loud because I recognize God as the strong silent type lol. He butts in every once in a while to get a word in but mostly, it’s me talking his ear off. He likes it. Hasn’t told me to shut up yet so… I keep doing it.

Signs that I’m doing okay or that he’s listening?? I have those too. Specific to me. My “war room” is also my “crying room”. I close the doors to my bedroom (I have French doors) and pour it all out when I need to. I pray, I cry, I talk, I write, I journal… at times I even sing. I do it and I feel better afterwards. Sometimes I get a flurry of goosebumps after doing those things and sometimes it’s just a calm and peaceful feeling that overtakes me. I pay attention to stuff like that. Particularly if I feel like I’m messing up. And definitely when I’m doing something I have no business doing.

But even now, I don’t get where the lesser of two evils is coming from…

Like I said, sometimes it’s my mind just doing annoying things that make no sense, like songs repeating over and over or images on a looping movie reel. I hate it. But this just feels like something is wrong. I don’t know.

I’m gonna go play duck duck goose in meditation and see what happens.

Be good to yourselves and

B e g o o d h u m a n s ! ❤

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XIV. Overwhelming Sensations

XIV. Overwhelming Sensations

Samael walked the wide cobble stone path along the waterway. Night fell over the city and the lights from the surrounding businesses and residents reflected on the water’s shiny surface. He had been pulled to that place. A death, a special death had taken place and had drawn him to those streets. He walked with purpose in his stride, following the strange tug at his legs that was guiding him toward the newly departed. He focused on the draw and pull of the deceased spirit. He sensed that it was female and of a specific importance but he could feel The Creator’s protection on the soul. This alone gave him reason to pause. The Creator was involved and he only involved himself in matters of high importance. Samael stopped near a small red boat that had been docked for the evening. He bent over the edge of the stone walkway and peered into the water to stare at the reflection of the moon on the surface until the image blurred. When the image blurred he focused his thoughts on the departed soul.

In the small ripples flowing and breaking against the stone walls, he saw a woman’s body as it rested limp on a bed of blue satin sheets covered with black satin pillows. Another was with the dead woman but he was unable to see him clearly. He was a blur and so was much of the deceased woman. Facial features were undetectable, only silhouettes of male and female likenesses were evident. He stared at the wavy images on the water for a moment more before the vision was lost. Not only had the vision disappeared but the pull and draw to that person had gone away too. Samael stood up straight, searched his feelings – that place where he feels the Departed – and then collected his thoughts. The only other time this strange occurrence happened was when The Messiah died on the cross. He was not to have any dealings with The Christ. The Creator oversaw the entire operation of The Holy Son’s lifespan from His birth to His death. Samael was only to see to the collection of other souls that departed at that time. He recognized this phenomenon from the experience he had way back when. The whole thing could only mean that The Creator did not want him involved. This puzzled him, before when this happened, The Creator told Samael what he wanted and made it known that he was not to interfere and to what purpose The Angel of Death needed to obey this command. He had received no instruction, no warning or any messages delivered to him by other angels, but he knew the meaning of this interference just the same. The Creator was moving the pieces of his chess game into play.

Feeling at a loss of a mission dissolved, The Angel of Death walked over to a Bistro that was still lit up with a string of pale lights that reflected on the water and sat himself down at one of its outdoor tables. He ordered a black coffee and four almond biscotti dipped in dark chocolate. He sipped his coffee and allowed his thoughts to drift towards Inanna and Russ but more towards Inanna. He had wounded her quite badly. His sword had pierced the depths of her unholy body.

He closed his eyes as the memories of plunging his sword into her soft and supple body flooded his mind and senses. He remembered her facial expression as the tip of his sword first broke her smooth and taught skin and how her full moist lips parted into a scream as he pushed the entire length of his blade deep into her body with a satisfaction and horror like none he had ever experienced before. He remembered the flutter of his heart and the phantom sensation of an erection as Inanna threw her head back in agony while a warm rush of excitement, pleasure, and arousal washed over Samael’s body. He could hear Lilith screaming again while he sat lost deep in his thoughts. Her screams as he penetrated her daughter deeply with the long, strong divine metal of his powerful sword and her terror while he thrust forcefully into Inanna there on the street, pulled a small dark smile to his lips.

The thought of the night’s earlier events brought something similar to sexual pleasure to his castrated male body. His dominance over Inanna, seeing her beautiful naked form as the creature and her pain. Most of all her pain as her body shuddered under his thrust in his mind caused The Angel of Death to experience something close to an orgasm. With his eyes closed and head tilted back as he gripped the sides of the small wrought iron table, Samael rode the sensation of orgasm that rushed through his body. His eyes rolled back into his head as he played Inanna’s screams over and over in his mind. His breathing labored as he remembered what her body felt like straining against his while she tried to push him away and his lips parted in a moan as he imagined Inanna’s sultry voice begging to be penetrated harder and wanting more. He heard her say more while lost in the depths of his sickening ecstasy when what he really heard was the waitress’ voice asking him if he would like more coffee. Samael’s moment of disturbing self-gratification was interrupted by his dutiful attendant.

He looked up slowly into the waitress’ eyes. A sheen of sweat glistened at his brow and his eyes glowed with lust. The young woman stood poised and ready to fetch his coffee, all she needed was his command. Samael looked on her with curiosity, for a moment he saw Inanna’s face on that young woman’s body, ready and willing to please him. When he blinked and saw the woman’s true face complete with her bewildered expression. He settled himself, cleared his throat, and came back to the present reality. He dismissed the young woman and watched the sway of her hips as she walked off, seeing Inanna’s hips switching away and back into the café. He then shook and rubbed his eyes to rid himself of the image. He removed himself from his chair and left his arrears on the table then proceeded to walk through the city with the moon ahead of him. Samael was stunned by his attraction to Inanna. He couldn’t believe that he was beginning to feel something for her, though it was a sort of homicidal lust, the thought still shocked and made him uncomfortable.

He walked and turned those annoying thoughts of lust over in his head and something dawned on him. He’d given Inanna a fatal wound, why hadn’t he been able to sense her end? He thought she’d be dead by now for sure but he hadn’t felt anything. He hadn’t been compelled to return to Chicago for her collection or felt the pull to her spirit. Thinking further on the subject – he went back to that night sans inappropriate feelings for Inanna. He had pierced her with the full length of his sword, driving it through the center of her body. He saw Lilith pushing at her back and screaming in pain with bloody hands but the more he thought about it the more he began to realize that the sword had not exited Inanna’s body at all. It simply pierced her and was pushed through without exiting. Samael’s mouth fell open as he leaned against the masonry work of the canal wall. He replayed the memory over and over in his mind. He had stabbed her with his sword meaning to kill her mother and as he plunged the sword deep into her body – he felt resistance. It had become hard to push the sword through. Then after he realized that he had missed Lilith, he tried to remove the sword, his sword that was forged to fit his hand and his hand only but found that he could not. Lilith pulled on the sword’s bloody handle, covering her hands in Inanna’s blood and when her attempts to remove the sword by pulling at its grip were to no avail, she went to Inanna’s back hoping to push it out. There was no sword tip to push. Lilith had been screaming in shock and horror at the sight of the sword’s blade sunken deep within her daughter’s body. Already covered in Inanna’s blood, Lilith pressed her hands to Inanna’s back in disbelief and cried out more at the unbelievable sight.

Samael’s head swam at his epiphany. He felt that Inanna was probably still in Chicago somewhere fighting tooth and nail for her life. He knew when he saw her transform that she was no ordinary creature but her strength in matters of death seemed to make his attraction to her grow. He found himself hoping that he found her alive and well so that he could question her on the nature of her being and when he received answers satisfactory to his curiosity – torture her at his leisure before killing her. This time making sure that he gleaned as much pleasure from the situation as possible while making sure she was dead for good. He desperately wanted the satisfaction of watching her life slip away. He wanted to wrap his hands around her neck and apply a slow and steady pressure that caused her to writhe against his body until the light of life faded from her eyes. He would do these things to her while her human companion watched and then, sticking to the plan he had been forming, kill the one of his bloodline. Russell Poole.

The soft whisper of a memory in words breathed through his mind interrupting his murderous thoughts. “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; only you are the one who gets burned.” Samael shook it away with a chuckle and continued to walk down the canal route through the city of Venice.

He’d felt the call pulling him away. An old woman had just passed in her small home in the hills near the shores of the Adriatic. Samael decided to walk rather than fly, he wanted to ruminate more on his fantasy of ending Inanna and her friend. To take his time and iron out any kinks to his plan. He’d have his vengeance, The Angel of Death was nothing, if not patient. All things have their end, and he felt Inanna would soon have hers.

XIII. A Bit of Wisdom

XIII. A Bit of  Wisdom

Lucifer and Russ walked softly into the bedroom where Inanna lay beneath a light blue satin sheet with droplets of sweat on her naked and severely wounded body. Her hair stuck to her face with the help of her body’s perspiration. Lilith sat on the bed while smoothing Inanna’s hair back out of her eyes. When Russ entered the room Inanna turned her head to look at him as he stood near the doorway. Lucifer nudged Russ forward toward the bed and motioned for Lilith to come to him. She rose with hesitation, not wanting to leave her daughter’s side. No matter what they had gone through in the past, Lilith did still have her maternal instincts intact as The First Mother and Inanna’s parent. She leaned down to plant a kiss on her daughter’s head then moved away slowly keeping her eyes on Russ as he crossed in front of her. She spoke to Russ in a hoarse whisper that elevated to a grief stricken yell.

“I gave birth to her. I raised her up as much as I could and taught her what she needed to know of the world and the being that she is.” Tears filled Lilith’s eyes as the sadness left her voice and her heart was overtaken by anger and confusion. “I am her mother. I have just sat by her side and made her pain mine…and the only thing that comes from her lips is your name. Your fucking name, you bastard!”

Lilith’s hand rose suddenly and swept through the air connecting with the left side of Russ’s face. She went in for another before being grasped tightly by the throat with Russ’s quick right hand. Lucifer quickly stepped forward, resting his hand on Russ’s shoulder to try to set him at ease.

“Russell, Inanna does not need to see this from either one of you. Please, I implore your reason at this time. She is waiting to speak with you. If these are to be her last moments on earth, please see to it that they are of a positive nature. Release her.”

Russ released Lilith’s throat and shook her away from him. Lilith advanced in a scream with her fists raised ready to pound them into Russ’s face and body. Lucifer quickly pulled her by the waist, picked her up off of her feet, and walked to the bedroom door. Lilith thrashed, cursed, and screamed in his arms still no closer to doing any damage to Russ. Lucifer grabbed the doorknob in his hand while Lilith grabbed and held on to the door’s frame to keep him from taking her out of the room. She issued one last threat to Russ before she was pulled forcefully from Inanna’s chambers.

“I’ll have your head fucker and I’ll make sure you beg for mercy before we take it off.”

Russ watched as Lucifer all but threw Lilith to the floor in the hall while giving her a look far worse than what he had received earlier during his anti-human rant downstairs. He closed the door behind them as he walked slowly and with purpose towards Lilith. Russ took a deep breath then exhaled before he turned around to see Inanna. Looking back over his shoulder at the door he asked a question of him-self aloud.

“Who in the hell is we?”

Inanna lay on the bed, her body dampened from a fever that would have killed an ordinary human. She extended her hand towards Russ and beckoned him to come to her. He walked slowly to the four post bed and sat down beside her with the dying light of day pouring in from the window and stretching across her body. He lifted her hand up to his lips and planted a kiss on its back. He then leaned down to kiss her on the lips softy while she fought to keep breath in her lungs. He spoke to her unable to hide the worry and fear in his voice.

“Hey Little Sister, our host says that he has no doubt that you are going to get better.”

Inanna shook her head no as she looked into Russ’s eyes. She wanted him to know the truth and when she peered into them, she knew somehow that he already did. Russ looked away to keep her from seeing the flow of tears trail down his face, all the while holding on to her hand as tight as he could. He spoke away from her, turning his emotion to the corner of the room rather than to her.

“This can’t happen. It can’t. We’ve been through too much together in such a short amount of time. I feel like I’ve known you all my life and now… No!” Russ let go of Inanna’s hand while she tried to hold on to it. He stood up and walked away from the bed, shielding his face to keep her from seeing his grief. He knew when he saw her lying there, that her chances of survival were very slim but when he kissed the back of her hand, it was then that he knew that she was not going to make it. He spoke to her and to the failing light of the room with his back to her.

“This may be denial on my part Little Sister but I know you’re a fighter. So fight this. Stay here with me. Help me figure all of this shit out.” Russ spun around and went to the bed. He crawled in right next to her shivering body. Inanna turned her head towards him to give him a weak smile and in the softest whisper, spoke her final words to him.

“Life goes on…old man, as will mine.”

Russ’s eyes widened as Inanna’s closed. He shook her limp body to rouse her back into consciousness. He called her name over and over and made promises to be the best person he could possibly be if she would just open her eyes. He sat her up and cradled her in his arms and cried into the damp curls of her hair. Russ held on to her naked body tightly pulling her into him. He closed his eyes and let the images of Inanna alive fill his mind. He wanted her back, he wanted her alive – he needed her alive. He bowed his head against hers and he asked God, the universe, angels, and whoever else was listening with everything inside of him to bring her back to him. He prayed over and over that she would awaken and call him Old Man again. He held on to her limp cool body as the sun appeared to set within the depths of the sea outside of the mansion’s bedroom window. The sobs were too much for his fatigue ridden body, so much had happened and now this, his new friend dead in his arms.

His head swam with light and sound meshing together into one big noisy blur. Darkness flashed before his eyes as he fought the sensation of the black out that was upon him. He felt a dizzying mixture of exhaustion and nausea as he sat holding on to Inanna’s body, feeling as though they might both slip and fall off the bed into a vast pit of nothingness. As hard as he tried he could not fight the coming dark that crept up into his eyes and he slumped over Inanna’s lifeless body.

Russ opened his eyes to a spacious office with walls of windows and wooden furnishings. His body was cushioned by blue suede and there was a man clad in a black suit standing over him with his hands clasped behind his back. He sprang up quickly from the sofa and backed himself up to a wall while keeping his eyes forward on the man that stood calmly in front of him. The man in the black suit walked slowly over to his desk and stood beside it as he regarded the young man shaking uncontrollably in the corner of his office. He spoke in a voice that was filled with assurance and calm.

“It has been quite a day for you my friend. Please, come back to the sofa and sit so that we may talk.”

Russ stood where he was, forcing himself to focus on the room he was in and the man he shared the room with. Something felt strange and familiar about him. He’d heard his voice before but he was unsure where.

“Please. Come and have a seat. I promise you, I won’t bite.”

Russ removed himself from the wall and kept an eye on the man dressed in black. He ran his words over in his head, particularly the word bite. Lilith bites and Inanna bites but not like Lilith. Why did he say that? Russ froze and didn’t move another step. He kept distance between them and addressed the man in black.

“Why did you say that? You won’t bite…why’d you say that?”

“Hmm… because I won’t.”

“Where am I? What’s this place and who are you?”

The man in black chuckled softly, clapped his hands together then walked over to Russ. He stood an arm’s length away from Russ and looked him in the eye. He saw the image of the Tree of Life on the surface of Russ’s eyes where the pupil should have been. The man in black stood gazing at Russ’s eyes while he spoke. Russ did not lose his focus.

“You already know the answers to these questions, you need only allow yourself to know and understand their answers.”

“What?”

“Who am I, Russ?”

Russ stood peering into the face of the man dressed in what looked like a black Armani suit. His eyes filled with recognition as they trailed over his facial features. Russ backed away slowly and stopped when a hand reached out towards him to let him know that there was no need.

“God??”

“Yes. Very good, now where do you think you are?” The Creator said smiling as he took a look around the office with Russ. Russ’s eyes fell over the furnishings and pictures hanging from the solid walls of the office then trailed to the floor to ceiling windows and what lay outside of them. His mouth fell open at the sight of large masses of angels hovering just outside a cloud thicket, as if it were a hedge row and the angels were guards. He was in fact sure that they were guards.

“My God.” Russ uttered completely blown away by what he was seeing.

“Yes, I am yours and everyone else’s. Do we know where we are?”

“Heaven…but that means.”

The Creator quickly calmed Russ by placing a hand on his shoulder. He guided him over to the window so that they could both look out onto the beauty of God’s Kingdom. Russ felt a chill rush through him.

“I’m dead.”

“I assure you that you most certainly are not.”

“How…how did I get here?”

“Russ, I was going to ask you the same thing.”

Russ turned to look at The Creator with shock. At the same moment The Creator looked at him and began to laugh.

“I’m kidding. You called upon me and I sent for you.”

Russ stood silently, jogging his memory of having done so and it was only then that he remembered that Inanna was dead and laying in her bed on earth. He leaned his head against the wall of glass and closed his eyes.

“God?” He said with fatigue deeply seated in his voice.

“Yes Russ?”

“Is she here?” Russ looked up into The Creator’s eyes, terribly close to shedding tears again.

“Russ, this is why we must have a little chat. She is not here.”

Russ’s heart went into a flurry of beats as his mind immediately assumed the worst. He stepped back and proceeded to move away from the glass. He felt a thick lump in this throat as he formed the question to ask The Creator.

“She’s…in Hell??” Why?”

“No Russ, she is not, she’s just not here. She is elsewhere within herself and will remain so until…”

“Until what?” Russ felt a glimmer of hope and didn’t understand why nor why it mattered.

“Until Samael, The Angel of Death goes to collect her.”

Russ’s hope fell away at the mention of Samael’s name. He hung his head low and felt the tears well up in his eyes. The Creator looked on Russ with understanding at how he could have been so filled with joy at the prospect of being able to see Inanna again then to feeling despair at the mention of Samael’s name. The Creator knew for certain that something would need to be done about Samael but for now He needed to give Russ the lift he needed to continue.

“Russ, he has not collected her yet. As a matter of fact, I cannot allow it.”

Russ looked up and into The Creator’s face once more, puzzled at his words. He didn’t understand what he was saying.

“What do you mean, you can’t allow it. She’s dead – her life must go on.” Russ looked out of the window staring at the back of one of the Archangels as he stood like a palace sentinel guarding a queen’s entrance. Still, silent, and unmoving.

“That’s the rules right? We die, we move on.”

“Yes, it is the rule but – I cannot allow that to happen to Inanna just yet, you see there is something that needs to be done and it will require the help of you both. Come Russ. Let us have a talk while we still have time.”

Russ was led away to the sofa where he sat, talked, and shared wine with The Creator. Russ noticed almost immediately the wine label “Trinity” and was shocked to learn that it was indeed made by Jesus’ own winery on earth. He placed his shock aside and listened very carefully to everything The Creator was telling him. A strange thing happened during this conversation that Russ noted. As The Creator spoke, his words were turned into images in Russ’s mind. Everything he needed to know was now stored as memories. At the end of their conversation and having experienced what Russ will forever refer to as his Word to image translator, he found a question on the tip of his tongue that he wanted to ask before he was sent back.

“Father? May I call you that?”

“Yes?” The Creator laughed to himself as he awaited Russ’s question.

“I was just thinking – if you know everything that is about to happen and everything that is going to be said and everything that is going to be done…and when we talk to you – well take for instance the whole conversation we just had – why do I even need to talk if you already know what I am about to say?”

The Creator removed his glasses from his left breast pocket and slid them on. He then grabbed a pen and notepad off of the little table at the side of his armchair, crossed his legs then leaned forward to address Russ.

“I am a Counselor, The Creator, and The Father to all. It’s just good therapy to talk out one’s problems, one’s successes, one’s failures, and one’s questions. Talking, communicating is as good a therapy as any and more effective. I like to hear my children speak. I love to hear their thoughts and dreams, as a proud Father it fills me with joy to know that my children are enjoying their lives and it saddens me to know when they are suffering. Do you understand this Russ?”

“Yeah, I think so.” Russ suddenly became quiet after having listened to how The Creator spoke of the pride and joy he has in his children. Russ’s mind went back to the words Lucifer spoke earlier and it made him feel unworthy of the presence he was sitting in. The Creator saw the storm of emotion in Russ and spoke to it to calm him.

“Russ, know that everything I speak is the truth and nothing else. Know this also, that as I speak the truth, you see the truth. The blessing of Veritas has been bestowed upon you. Do you sense otherwise?”

Russ looked into The Creator’s eyes and saw the wide expanse of the Heavens open up before him. When he looked at the Creator, there was nothing but pure light in his sight. So bright that Russ covered his eyes to protect them. He saw all that The Creator was, is, and has been.

“My God…” Russ bent low and whispered, “I shouldn’t be here… I’m not worthy of this moment.”

“You prayed for my help while you were in the ditch and you made your heart open to me so that I could heal it. You are healed. Do not allow the words of Lucifer to take away what you have been given. Do not continue to beat yourself up with guilt. I tell you, you are forgiven this day.”

Russ wiped his eyes free of the tears within them and nodded his head toward The Creator. The Creator stood and helped Russ to rise from his seat and led him to a door that was now open, as it hadn’t been before, so that they could step out on to the balcony of glass. The Creator spoke one more piece of truth to Russ before preparing him to return to his place on earth.

“A time will come, as it does with all humans, when you will have to make a very serious decision. The choice you make is of no consequence. What will be, will be. But what will matter is the reason behind the choice. I tell you this for your own peace of mind and so that you understand that any choice you make is yours to live with. You must know that you know, that which you know.”

Russ nodded but before he was able to make a comment on all that The Creator said, The Creator had placed His fingertip on Russ’s head right between his eyes and sent him hurdling over the edge of the glass balcony. Russ’s body free fell through clouds and rows of flying angels. He looked around him to see the Gates of Heaven standing tall and gleaming in the sun. He saw lush green lands behind them with people doing things, going places, and talking to each other. Russ regretted having to leave and it hadn’t dawned on him for a moment to be afraid of his falling. He wasn’t afraid. He was so okay with it that he closed his eyes just to focus on the sensation of the wind blowing in his hair and the cushion of air beating at his chest as the sky moved by quickly. He found himself thinking of Inanna’s bed and her body lying in it. He thought of the smoothness of her skin next to his when he held her in his arms, the feel of her damp hair on his cheek, and the taste of her lips when he kissed her. He gave in to those sensations and when he opened his eyes, he was back in the blue bedroom with Inanna in his lap.

He carefully lifted her limp body and rested her head on the pillow at the head of the bed. He pulled the sheet up to her chest to cover her up then removed himself from the bed. Russ walked over to the bedroom door and locked it then went over to the window to have a look out into the night. He didn’t see Samael out there nor in the shadows of the room and a wave of relief rushed over him. He locked the window then returned to the bed. He turned on a small lamp that sat on the bedside table and seated himself next to Inanna. Russ bent down closer to Inanna’s face, kissed her lips, and then spoke softly into her ear.

“Okay Little Sister, it’s time to wake up now.”

Run Like Hell

zombies2

Here we are at the end of the world, waiting for a savior to come rescue us when the truth is, we’re beyond all that now. We had our chance and we blew it. He’s no longer interested in saving lives, his mission now is to take them. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. You tend to pay closer attention to details in stories when they start matching up with your reality, ya know? We were given a whole fucking book on what was coming and we all ignored it.

We were just two days away from the valley, two days away from medicine, two days away from safety and salvation. But when everything changed and swung in their favor, it put us back at square one. Back on the bottom of the food chain. And whatever else the new normal was now serving in our new reality.

I wish I’d never heard of the Coronavirus/Covid-19 or whatever the hell it is now. Delta Variant, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Omega… they can name it after every Greek frat house in the book, it’s still the plague, a disease we’ll never be free of. And that my dears, I believe, is by design. You have to pay close attention to what’s being written, there’s nothing between the lines but the truth. It was written that truth itself would set us free, but now it’s like we’re all captives of it. There’s nowhere we can really hide from it. We just do what we’ve been doing since the day it all happened… run. Those of us strong enough to fight, do so to save our lives and the lives of others. And those of us with a conscience… know that putting them down is the humane thing to do, if we can bring ourselves to do it.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t… yes, we’re all damned, so it seems. Maybe that’s how its always been. There’s no way around that now. I sit here numb to what’s been going on for the past year. Numb to the reports of lives lost and to the pain trying to make itself known in my body. It wasn’t always like this, I used to care. I used to give a shit. I actually had a heart that bled for my fellow human being even when theirs didn’t bleed for me. Funny how something like the pandemic exposes us all to the truth of one another. Funny.

It’ll all make sense soon and if you’re paying attention, you know what’s coming next.

Zombies, husks, deadheads, crawlers, walkers…call’em what you want, they exist. They’re out there in droves, a plague upon the earth – and they’re us. Make no mistake, none of this wouldn’t have happened had it not been for mankind’s hubris, avarice, arrogance, and foolish desires to tame nature and play God. This is just, what I believe to be, the tip of the iceberg.

The pandemic wasn’t announced as a national emergency until they saw that the dead wouldn’t stay dead. If buried they scratched through their wooden coffins until they were able to break free. Steel coffins only slow them down. They are fast and strong and they even survive underwater. A shot to the head?? No, the virus doesn’t work that way. It reanimates the entire body… but what does work… is fire. Turning them to ash, which is why the only suitable thing to do with the remains of a loved one is cremation.

I told you earlier that the plague upon the earth is us. It’s the truth. We were the ones that set this into motion, now we’re just reaping what’ve we’ve sown. We started it, but I fear, we won’t be the ones to finish it.

We’re currently divided into three factions: The infected, the vaccinated, and the dead. For those who get the virus and survive it… they become carriers, they are the infected. What we once described as Asymptomatic, are the infected that show no signs of the virus but are highly contagious. Sure you can get vaccinated and be okay. But if you aren’t – if you do get the virus and survive and get vaccinated later – then you’ll live and live and live and live until someone turns you into ash. When we die, we turn. That’s just how it is. The dead are super-spreaders because there are so many of them. Among them are those who were never vaccinated and the infected. Which is why we prefer to disable them from a distance. Bullets may not kill them but they do a hell of a job disabling them.

We all have it. All of us. Every man, woman, and child. It doesn’t discriminate gender, age, or race. The only ones safe on planet earth are the animals and plant life. For a while there, there was talk of certain blood types that were not affected by the virus. O positive people were believed to be protected from the plague. We never really found out whether that was true or not. The day when that information was to be released, people lost their damn minds. That was the day the raid happened.

But… There has been talk amongst those of us who are survivors that the immune exist. Not only that, but there’s also been sightings of well… we’ll get to that in a minute.

The immune.

We’ve heard reports that the immune have formed their own faction called Eden. We hear it’s located in the valley. Supposedly, they have a healthy supply of medicine, food, and protection. There’s also talk that the immune survivors have been working on a cure. We hear there are doctors from the CDC that survived the raid some months ago. The raid was a brutal attack on healthcare workers and other professionals that housed medicine and information about the pandemic. These were regular folks, the same kind of people that staged the insurrection back in January. They not only succeeded with their efforts during the raid, they managed to take the lives of a few doctors and politicians who were there receiving a briefing on the next stage of the pandemic. What was the next stage? A worldwide lockdown and the factions. Splitting us up into groups and allowing those who had been vaccinated to live in the underground bunkers and cities the government had been creating since the creation of the atom bomb. Originally, the bunkers were to be used as fallout shelters for those that were wealthy enough to afford housing there. Money. It was and has always been about the dollar, but not anymore. The bunkers remain empty or, so we’re told through weekly updates by pirate radio.

Among those in Eden are scientists working together to figure out how to slow down the spread of the virus and how to keep the dead from rising. So far they have managed to slow the dead, these are the zombies that don’t run but shamble… these are the ones that have been affected by the spreading of the chemical they created and spread over the masses of them using crop dusters and helicopters. The ones that run are the newly dead, thought to have the Omega strain. These are the ones that have yet to be affected by any chemical created.

Many of us have heard horror stories and countless conspiracy theories about how it all began. All of them beginning with “the government…” No matter what country you’re in or where you’re from, the theorists know it is the government’s fault. And there might be some truth to that. Consider this, before January of 2020, you couldn’t find any literature on the coronavirus. Many internet searches come up with articles, medical journals, and press releases that go no further back than March of the same year. The people cried government cover-up and no one said a word.

Six months ago a doctor, from the CDC headquarters out of Atlanta, gave what became known as the most controversial press conference ever had. He along with the surgeon general stood teary eyed in front of the sea of reporters to break the news that every person with a heartbeat was now infected with the virus. That upon perishing, they too will become one of “the quick and the dead”. When you consider this phrase and its meaning, a certain fear strikers your heart. Eternal life (the quick) or damnation (the dead)…it means to be either or… not both. Never both. As it stands, from what we can all see, the moment you die is the moment you spend eternal life as one of the living dead. Until…

A trail of tears ran down Dr. Anthony’s face as he delivered this news. With sincerity that we could all see, he said, “God help us, help us all. They’ve killed us”. The Surgeon General, also with tears in his eyes, swept him aside and they both exited the stage. Another doctor, the director of the CDC, stepped up to complete the press conference. She also looked as grief stricken as the other two. No one knew what the words of Dr. Anthony meant but we had a clue some time later as events unfolded through the news.

Cities are still operational but we have state border control and limited entry in and out. Out of country travel has been suspended and state to state travel has restrictions. You can only travel out of your state if you are current with your vaccines, we are now on vaccine number six. And you must submit to rapid testing at state borders for the virus to determine viral load. If you were at a 1.7 you were good to go, 2.5 you were contagious, anything over a 4.8 – terminal and escorted off the premises and directed to the nearest healthcare facility. You wouldn’t believe it but terminal cases tried to fly, to be closer to family. When a plane went down over the Atlantic due to a rapid spread in the air, flights were cancelled indefinitely. It just wasn’t safe to fly. We were warned by the CDC time and time again, and by others who had a better handle of the situation and we did nothing.

Here’s the main theory no one disputes. Not the CDC, not the White House, not Foreign Affairs, not even the United Nations. Shortly after this piece of info began its circulation around the globe, the United Nations went to recess indefinitely. That piece of information that no one disputes…or reports against is that the Coronavirus is a bio-weapon that was created for use against the opposition. We have so many in opposition, no one really knows who. But, the information leaked along with the bio-weapon signature (its make-up) and fell into the hands of another country who sought to use it against us. They got a hold of it and it caused more death and destruction to their own country than they could have ever accounted for.

“He who wields the sword, will die by the sword.”

And we have. By the millions. The estimated number of souls on planet earth is 7.9 million. The total number of deaths due to Corona is 4.22 million. The total number of dead roaming the earth is an estimated 2.6 million. Countries with big cities see large numbers of dead. The hospitals are overrun and so are the clinics. There are blockades and barricades up to keep the dead out and the sick are often flown in via helicopter or brought in by a modified bus fitted with weaponry to get through the thicket of dead.

Life isn’t living anymore, it’s just surviving until… Until we die or until a cure is found. Many of us have sacrificed our hope for a cure for weapons of self-defense. We know that while a cure will prolong our lives, a flame thrower will do the exact same.

We are in the here and now. And now is all that matters. Now there are other rumors circulating about Eden. They say that there aren’t just doctors and scientists that have fallen into the fold there, but numerous clergymen and women. Not those goofs you used to see on TV. A few months back while traveling on the road to Eden, we saw Joel Osteen, the guy with all the money and the megachurch in Houston…shambling in the woods outside of his now dilapidated cash cow. Hollow eyes with a mean hunger for human flesh. Clearly, there is no discrimination.

Preachers, ministers, Rabbi, priests, and I hear the Pope…are also there in Eden. All of them working toward one goal and one cause. Not only to find a cure, but to put an end to it altogether but… not even they can help now. Not after the information I’ve come across and the things I’ve seen with my own eyes.

We were just two days from Eden. Two days from real hope but it looks like that has run out.

Yesterday, I watched who I believe to be a three year old little girl stand alone in the middle of the dead. They moved around her. I went to go and save her. I figured what else could I do with my life but sacrifice it for a child. A poor, lonely, and innocent child. I moved out of my position from behind a tree and began walking toward her. Her eyes were full of tears, her arms all scratched up from running in the brush away from the monsters that now filled her vision. When I made it to her, she immediately ran to me. I scooped her up in my arms and made to run but I noticed as I moved, that we weren’t being pursued by them. Not once did they look up from where they were. They just kept moving as if they too were being drawn someplace. The rest of my group, the ones that wanted to go to Eden that felt just as drawn to go there as I did, were lost on the road to the dead. Three women, five men, and two children…ages 7 and 10. They were lost two days ago. I was forced to travel on with the little girl in tow.

The dead continued on the road I was on. That road was to Eden was literally a dirt road that had handwritten signs directing travelers to their site. It was a road that travelled through some foothills and broke away into a valley where mountain ridges overlooked the plot of land that was walled off. What looked like hundreds of them, shambled and ran toward the gates of the small community. We followed behind to see if we could find another way in. With the numbers of the dead being so many, and the newly dead still limber and fast – they were able to make it over the gates with no problem in very little time. We, the child and I, moved to the rock formation up the mountain from the valley and watched the carnage. I smoked a cigarette as I recounted my last day in the camp while I watched the immune scatter from their make shift homes in the community. Some were eaten, some left alone. But they all ran, all that could run.

Last day in the camp…

I watched my five year old daughter as she twitched, bit, and screamed in her restraints. There was nothing I could do. No medicine to make it better, no hug or kiss to make the boo-boo go away. Nothing. She’d been bit by one of the dead while she was out with a woman and her two children picking flowers. I was back at the camp cooking the fish I’d just caught asking myself why I hadn’t turned when a man who was down with the virus coughed in my face.

As a matter of fact, it wasn’t the first time something like that had happened. I was out hunting for rabbit just a few days before when a shambler caught me off guard. I was so focused on that damn rabbit that I hadn’t heard it come up on me. It was right at my back and hadn’t moved. It stood still as if I were just another tree in the forest. He breathed his putrid breath in my face but didn’t move. I quickly put the gun to his head. He pressed his forehead against it. I watched it do this as some recognition of the what the weapon was washed over his face. His eyes. His eyes were asking me to pull the trigger but I didn’t. I moved out of his way circling him and he turned when I turned, keeping the gun in his sights. I put the gun down and watched it stare at me as if pleading for me to put him out of his misery. I didn’t and when I didn’t, it let out a loud screech and went about his way, shambling through the forest.

I blinked the tears out of my eyes and tried to catch my breath. I could feel my heart beating in my throat as the sounds around me kept going in and out, like when too much blood rushes to your head. Close enough to smell his breath and still, nothing. The worst instance happened a week prior to the shambler with a death wish. I’d gotten into a melee with one of the fast ones. He was hard to take down but I fought harder. I used my hunter’s knife to slit his throat after his teeth bit into the back of my hand. I stabbed it in the top of the head then stood to gain the upper hand. When he came running at me I side stepped him and off the cliff he went bouncing off of a jagged edge cracking his head open then splashing down in the river below.

I bled for a few days and was upset that I lost my good knife. I loved that knife. It was all I had left of my husband. He went down fighting to keep me and our daughter safe. I did as we agreed should either of us turn. He didn’t want to turn, instead, he used a shotgun. And I did as I promised. He’s ash now. I don’t carry with him me. I left him back home, on the mantle. It’s where he wanted to be.

I remembered how we sat around burning the rich guy’s money to keep warm at the camp. The money that a group of soldiers turned down at the entrance to one of the underground bunkers. Apparently, his money wasn’t good enough nor was he. None of us are. I thought about being alive and sitting quietly covering my wound while others in the camp were unaware of the fact that I’d been bitten. I tried to quarantine myself but a group of women wouldn’t let me. They didn’t know, they just figured I was missing my husband and went off to be alone.

I looked at the little girl and thought about my daughter, screaming, biting, and drooling. How I was told to put her down or they would. I could feel my stomach tighten into a knot as they shoved the flame thrower into my hands. She was restrained with steel chains because steel is fireproof. It took a couple of days to turn her into ash. For some reason, her flesh was quite resilient… even burned she screamed and bit at the air. It was the second most horrific thing I’ve ever had to do.

The little girl asked if I had any food and I gave her some of what I had…some carrots and apples that I had cut up and some water to wash it all down. She sleeps now but something has occurred to me that hadn’t before. We are both immune. Some of the immune that managed to escape the dead, others of the immune were killed, are here on the mountain top too. We think maybe that has something to do with why we weren’t attacked and why they went around us.

We still have a few hours of day light left so let me write this all out as clear as I can so that there’s no misconstruing the facts. I honestly don’t know how much time is left. And everything I’m about to say is fact.

As I sit here on this mountain with this little girl, the western sky glows a fiery orange-red. My eyes fill with tears at what’s to come next and something is coming. Some of the clergy that escaped told us what they know and what they believe. Remember I told you that you start paying close attention to the details in stories when it matches up with your reality.

This is reality.

The messenger is unimportant but the message is all that matters.

In the book of Revelation John wrote about the Seven Seals being broken at the end. It talked about the things we’d see. The horrible things we’d see. The clergymen believe five of the seven seals have been broken. The dead have risen, death and destruction, famine and pestilence are everywhere. They believe the horseman have been let loose. I wouldn’t’ve believed it myself only…

While I was making my way up the mountain with the little girl, there was a man standing tall at its peak. I could barely see his face, the sun shone on him. I covered my eyes it was so bright. When I reached the top he told me to take cover and “worry not, the son of man cometh”. The man, larger than anyone I’ve ever seen, even my husband…had wings. He pointed to the western skyline and there descending from the clouds was a man spurring on a horse and darkness seemed to trail behind him.

He, the one on the mountain, called us the remnants and we are what’s left of humanity. Us. We were spared. The reaping has begun and it isn’t over. We were given a book on what was coming and we all ignored it. There have been people warning us everywhere. From the homeless man with his sign telling us “the end is nigh”, to the preachers in the churches in their pulpits preaching fire and brimstone, right down to those crummy grocery store tabloids with its grainy photographs of the image of Christ on toast. We were warned and did nothing. And now it’s much too late to find religion.

The end is nigh. The walkers, crawlers, shamblers, and deadheads… were just the beginning…

So…if you see a man on a horse with fire in his eyes…

Run like hell!

Inspiration is everywhere… I guess 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♀️

Over the weekend I challenged myself to write the world’s crisis as a piece of fiction, the current reality we all face combined with a fictional dilema dilemna dilemma?? Jeez… Spelling Bee champion I am not. Anyway, I did exactly that. Coronavirus and of course, zombies. Insensitive?? Too soon?? Probably. But I know I’m not the only one who has thought of such, plus I like to think of it as more of a coping mechanism. Writing the things that scare the shit out of us. Warping our reality to those fears that overtake us. To be able to defeat or even just speak to that fear in a way we are more comfortable with.

Listen… when the virus was but a fledgling new world ending disease… there were a plethora of published books added to Amazon that caught my eye and left me like…”Huuuh?”  Like ‘Rona’ as a whole sexy beast having an affair with women. Yeah, that thing exists on the internet. Don’t believe me?  —-> Kissing the Coronavirus  my favorite quotes from the first two pages are – “Her nipple hardening like a tic tac” and “…so wet that the lace glided across her skin like a fat man on a water slide.” I’ve been laughing for the last five minutes at the mental image I’ve formed and I’m not right in the head, but we knew that already. In my mind’s eye, I picture a pair of lace panties with a tiny fat guy sliding down going weeeeee…  Help me,  Jesus.

And there’s four books in the series.  But that’s not all, there are more like it. Y’all… Scissoring the Coronavirus is a thing that lives on Amazon.  So if you’re looking for viral erotica… there you go. Go and quell your forbidden fantasies and deviant desires with a sexy “Rona”. Man.. .I tell ya, life in these crazy times is wild.. *smokes cigarette and shakes head*

smoking too many cigs

Now my story has not one ounce of erotic anything anywhere in it. As I said, there be zombies and there be Rona and even a mixture of the two. But no sexy time. *shrugs*  Sorry.

So, I wrote about six or seven pages and posted it in a friend’s Facebook group…All Things Undead And Buried. He’s a huge fan of zombies and from what he read of the rough draft, he loved it. I think I will add it to the works page soon. I’m trying to find an image that I like to go with it. I have one but… the image in my mind is far better. I could try to sketch it out but that would take all of forever to do. The internet usually never fails… so we’ll see.

Other than that, the day has been spent in deep thought plotting out another short story and there’s a question that keeps bouncing around in my mind besides… how do you sleep with a virus…(I really want to know the mechanics of that) and what weighs on a man’s heart more, the things he did or the things he didn’t do? 

Regretting the things we do and don’t do, good or bad, leaves a lasting effect on you. There are things I regret. Like not saying the things I need to say when I needed to say them. Probably true of all of us. Somehow that seems to be a big one with me. I overthink so much about what I’m going to say or do that I don’t do or say them. 

I think I’m going to go write but before I do, I’m going to make the next post tonight the short story.

So off I go.  

I hope Monday treated you well. She came in with an attitude today but we ironed all that out this afternoon. Turns out she was just hungry, go figure. 

See ya soon,

Be good humans!❤ or… zombies, whatever you want.

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XII. And God Said…

XII. And God Said…

A bright blinding light burst into existence in the night skies over the city of Chicago. At that same and exact moment, as the light began to open up and span outward on to the earth, all fell still as time stopped.

The patrons of the nearby bar and grill where Samael’s ascension was in its midst, stood and sat in suspended animation holding their beers, laughing at horrible jokes, vomiting on their girlfriend’s new and expensive shoes, secretly and having sex in the bathroom stall of the women’s room of The Drunken Fish. Everything on earth froze in its action. Waterfalls in their gushing, airplanes and birds in flight. People while walking and dancing, and those in the middle of fist fights ceased to move and remained frozen in time while Samael’s particles floated upward towards the legions of angels awaiting his arrival amongst their ranks.

As Samael’s particles coalesced into the solid form of the body he had before his implosion, the angels bowed their heads in sorrow as he passed between them. They cried heavily at the sight of the Angel of Death, not for the damage he had sustained but for the damage he had caused. Their heads turned as his unconscious body traveled the shaft of light between them towards the presence of The Creator.

The legions of angels that filled the skies of Chicago all turned in unison and marched into the fading glow over the city. The darkness of the night closed in upon itself. Instead of the skyline being filled with the visage of countless grieving angels, the night sky was filled with thick and heavy storm clouds, as it had been before they came and all at once the Earth cycled back to life with its people and creatures none the wiser.

Samael’s chest rose and fell as breath was circulated back into his whole and clothed body. He lay on a deep blue suede sofa in The Creator’s office. The Creator stood leaning against his beautifully handcrafted mahogany desk with his arms folded over his chest, looking down at his angel in utter disbelief. Samael turned his head from side to side as he roused himself from his slumber and rolled over on to his side, gripping his temples with the palms of his hands. The echoes of the angels’ cries filled his head as he fought to regain the soundness of his mind. His eyes darted around the spacious room with walls of glass then landed on a gentleman dressed in all black. His body leaned against the top of a desk. His legs clothed in black Egyptian cotton dress pants were crossed over as if in leisure with his black leather shoes glinting in the light that shone through the windows behind him. The gentleman’s arms were crossed across his chest and clothed in a long sleeved shirt also of Egyptian cotton that was open a few buttons at the neck. His skin was olive toned and his face bore a handsomely groomed beard and mustache, his hair fell in light brown waves to his shoulders and his brown eyes focused their on Samael’s body as he lay rocking on his sofa.

The Angel of Death gathered him-self up quickly from the sofa and fell to his knees in the presence of The Creator. His coat hung itself neatly on the coat rack near the massive wooden door at the front of the office while his sword leaned itself carefully against the steel ring of the umbrella holder at the coat rack’s base. The Creator closed his eyes and gripped the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger then proceeded to rub it gently to soothe the tension that had built up there.

The Creator sighed heavily.

Samael bent himself over further and rested his head on the floor at The Creator’s feet.

“Rise Samael”, The Creator said in a weary voice as He turned and walked to his desk.

“I…I…” Samael trailed off. He found himself at a loss for words at the moment.

“You are quite the… nuisance.”

Samael quickly fell back on his knees and proceeded to beg The Creator forgiveness for being such a nuisance, after which The Creator told him to get to his feet and have a seat on the sofa. The Creator walked over to the small wet bar in his office and poured a glass of water for Samael then brought it over to him. He then sat himself in an ornate and handcrafted chair of black wood near Samael. The Creator crossed one leg over the other then clasped his hands together in his lap as he watched Samael drink.

“I’m afraid we have much to discuss, you and I.” The Creator said in a fatherly tone towards the Angel of Death. “Samael…I’m going to toss out a couple of anecdotes that have been passed down through the ages…tell me if anything catches on. Okay?” The Creator leaned forward in his chair, widening his eyes as he spoke to Samael.

“Blood Is Thicker Than Water.

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

You Reap What You Sow.

Where One Goes Looking For Trouble, Trouble Often Comes To Find Them… No?

What Comes Around Goes Around.

Let us try something different for the sake of trying shall we. I believe it was Buddha who said. “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; only you are the one who gets burned”. Is any of this making sense to you Samael?”

Samael sat on the sofa with his eyes looking away from The Creator. He knew what The Creator was saying but he didn’t think that He understood.

“I do Father, I do but…”

“But? Why must there be a “but” Samael? You either understand all that I have said and am saying or you don’t.”

The Angel of Death sunk is head low to his chest.

“With all due respect Father, it is not MY understanding in question.”

The Creator blinked numerous times quickly, uncrossed His legs and sat up in His seat. He began to speak while pointing a finger at Samael then stopped abruptly when He saw that Samael had huddle himself in fetal position in the corner of the blue suede sofa. The Creator took a deep breath and reclined Himself into the chair with His eyes closed while reciting a small mantra to Himself beneath His breath. When He was calm, He addressed Samael again.

“Enlighten me.”

Samael uncoiled himself from the corner of the couch and peered with one eye over the arm that he used to shield his face. He brought his arms down to his knees, stood up then proceeded to pace back and forth while he gathered his thoughts and formed his words carefully to address The Creator with own his concerns.

“Father, you are aware of my dealings with… with the first woman and the feelings I have toward her and her kind.”

“I am made more aware than you know. Continue Samael.”

“Yes, Father…well while I was on earth I saw her daughter and have discovered her daughter to be of the same dark menace that Lilith is.”

“A dark menace that you have created by the way, but continue.”

“….yes, yes…that I created in Lilith. Her daughter was born with it also and uses it to kill the innocent on earth.”

“Samael, is she killing or feeding?”

“She is killing, I’ve seen her do this with my own eyes.”

“Killing and feeding are two different things my child as is vengeance and protection.”

Samael froze in place as The Creator spoke. He felt he should defend his actions and moved himself towards The Creator to address the matter.

“Father, I assure you that I acted with the purest motives. Sure I have ill feelings against Lilith but my action to rid the earth of their abominable lives is with good intention.”

“And it is with good intentions that the road to Hell is paved, Samael.”

Samael shrank back away from The Creator’s words understanding clearly the full meaning of them. The Father had issued a warning to him with those words but Samael felt the need to explain his reasoning further.

“Father, I understand your meaning in those words. Should I keep on that path, I would only find a world of hurt. But Father I beg you to see my point of view…Inanna and Lilith are not fit for life. Their hunger consumes them…”

“As much as your hate does consume your own heart.”

“They are monsters who are not fit to dwell neither on earth nor in Heaven.”

“Nor are you fit to dwell in the realms of Heaven or Hell as you walk with one foot in the grave and the other shall meet it if you do not come to your senses.”

“It is with common sense that I act, they cannot be allowed to continue to roam freely on earth.”

The Creator stood up from His chair, eyes narrowed across the room at Samael. He walked around the sofa and addressed him in a stricter tone than He had been using.

“Samael, Angel of Death – Collector of Souls. What is the function that has been set upon you?”

Samael looked up into The Creator’s eyes and felt them peer into his soul. He hung his head low and closed his eyes before answering. He could not defy The Creator in His presence. He spoke in a whisper as he addressed The Almighty.

“To collect the souls of those that are ready to come home to you Father, to bring them to you safely and without harm, only when they are ready to come and not a moment before.”

“Not a moment before. I tell you this out of concern for the path that you have chosen to take Samael. Should you keep down this path you are on, you will bring more harm to yourself than you will to those you seek vengeance over.”

“Yes, Father.”

“You were not given this function to wield it for your own means.”

“Yes, Father.”

“You must think clearly of the decisions you make and the reasons behind them. No one will suffer greater than the hand that wields the sword. Do you understand this Samael?”

“Yes, Father.”

The Creator crossed His arms over His chest once more and gazed down at the top of Samael’s head as he stood staring at the floor. He sighed heavily as He knew that everything He’d just said had not even been heard by The Angel of Death. The Creator took His hand and wiped it across His forehead then turned and walked back towards His desk.

“You are free to go Samael. I’ve work to do.”

“Thank you Father. Thank you for bringing me back… again.”

“Umm hmm…” The Creator said with glasses sliding to the tip of His nose as His head hung over a manila file folder marked with Inanna’s human name, Rhayna M. Hemm. Samael walked towards the door, gathered his coat and sword then looked back at The Creator.

“Michael took the liberty of releasing the souls from your vessel while you were in disposed. You’ll need to thank him on your way out.”

Samael nodded, put on his coat and proceeded to open the door. On the way out, The Creator told him that He would see him soon. Samael thought nothing of it at that time but paused as the words swam forward in his mind on his way to Earth. He shook the thought free and continued on with the function that had been bestowed upon him by The Creator, to collect souls ready for departure. While he collected the waiting souls, he set about planning the demise of Inanna, her mother Lilith, and the one of his bloodline, Russell Lee Poole.

“Thicker than water indeed, and I shall bleed you of every last drop.”

XI. Russell Poole and The Devil

XI. Russell Poole and The Devil

Russ sat in the club chair with the back of his head resting on the top of the back cushion, eyes closed. His mouth was open and his bucket leaned over in his lap, precariously close to spilling its contents all over an authentic 12th century Persian rug. The rug, itself, depicted the Tree of Life at its center and all its stages of life in the four seasons at the four corners of the tapestry. This rug’s upper right hand corner shone a brilliant gold hue as the tree was depicted in autumn. The tree’s leaves were on the ground in dark spots beneath it, its fruit shriveled and rotten on its branches and in black pools on the garden floor. A great gash was depicted across the tree’s trunk in which a black mass spewed forth.

Behind Russ’ eyelids he saw the scene. He saw the tree balding of its leaves and shedding its rotten fruit. He saw the long shadow from something unknown move across the landscape of the garden. He saw the blood of the tree run red then turn black. There were tentacles in the blood, wet black tentacles moving from within the tree and stretching outward from the trunk reaching toward him. Russ stepped back and found his foot deep in a puddle of black ooze on the dead grass. He tried to free his foot to get away but found that he could not. Something was pulling him down. He tugged on his leg to free it, then turned and twisted his body as the tentacles that now adorned tiny mouths slithered towards him. He moved to escape their grasp, but could not. He yelled out for help to anyone or anything that could hear him but no help came.

The slick black thing wrapped itself around Russ’ waist and had begun to pull him forward out of his oozing puddle but towards the gash in the now twisted and deformed tree trunk – naked of its leaves and bare of any fruit it once had. The oozing puddles moved along the ground like shadows, liquid in its movement then solid while it lay stationary. More tentacles reached out toward him wrapping themselves around his arms, legs, and neck. A final tentacle slithered out of the trunk. This one was longer than the rest and thinner. It was covered in barbs, teeth, and tiny suckers. It swirled in the air in front of his face then made its way to force itself into Russ’ mouth.

Russ bit down hard, closing his mouth and shook his head back and forth to keep the tentacle from going any further. When he did, the tentacle wrapped around his neck grew tighter and tighter – stealing his ability to breathe until he was unable to keep his mouth closed. Russ opened his mouth quickly to draw a breath and the tentacle rose up with sudden force to prepare its forceful descent down Russ’ throat.

In his sleep, he gasped for air and gagged on the nightmare that had overtaken his mind. His body shook and jostled in the chair as the image of the tentacle in his dreams grew a large mouth with deep red lips with which to speak. The lips parted to show its row upon row of jagged teeth in a horrific grin. The lips spoke to Russ in a voice he had heard before. They said to him in a woman’s voice full of vengeance, malice and wanting, “Welcome little one, to New Babylon” before lunging down Russ’ throat.

Russ leapt forward out of the club chair gasping for air and grabbing at his throat trying his damnedest to catch his breath. He fell to his knees hyperventilating and coughing trying to force air into his lungs.

A man stood aside of the club chair with his hands full of a brand new waste basket, as he stole the other away out of Russ’ grip. He quietly watched Russ recover himself from the nightmare. Once Russ coughed, he removed himself to go pour a drink for his guest and discard the full can. He walked gracefully to the bar in a cream and gold colored silk smoking jacket, gold ascot, and silk cream colored pajama pants with satin and gold monogrammed slippers on his feet. He poured wine from a heart shaped decanter into a wine glass rimmed with gold leafing then took its contents back to his guest.

Russ’ ability to breathe had returned. His face was red with his efforts to do so and his eyes were bloodshot as if he’d actually been strangled. He raised himself to his feet, drew in a deep breath then stretched to rid his body of the soreness he was experiencing. The man appeared at his side with what Russ read as concern on his face and lifted the glass up to Russ’s hand for him to take. Russ took the glass then let his eyes fall to the floor, something felt wrong to him about being able to look him in the face. But then, wrong had been the feeling of the entire night, even his entire life. Russ sniffed the wine in the glass before putting it to his lips, more for his own safety than to observe wine drinking etiquette. He swirled the wine around in the glass to make sure the liquid slid right back to the bottom without leaving any residue and it did without a single trail left on the side of his glass.

The man tipped his head forward in acknowledgement of Russ’ lack of trust in his host and turned up a smile at the corner of his mouth. He clasped his hands behind his back and walked over to the window that peered out to a Venetian shoreline, with the setting sun shining on the water. Russ felt that this window really should have been a wall for its massive size but seemed to fit well with the overall décor of everything within the mansion and the mansion itself, larger than life and extravagant.

Russ sipped from the wine glass while looking at the dark haired man in the gold smoking jacket stare out of the window. The bitter and sweet room temperature smoothness of currants and red plums slid into his mouth and over his dry tongue, then down his parched throat. The warm liquid seemed to quell the fire in this throat from retching and the choking sensation he’d felt in the grip of his nightmare. Russ wiped his lips free of the wet sensation he felt on them after drinking. Either, the wine was too smooth, he was really thirsty, or his throat hurt just that much because he found himself walking over to the bar to refill his glass.

He returned with the glass in hand to his position near the club chair. He looked past the dark haired man at the window to see what he’d seen before, the ocean and sun reflecting on its surface. Russ had distinctly remembered being in darkness, wind, and rain in Chicago. Not in some mansion near the ocean at sunset that he could see out of the home’s window. He sat his glass down on the arm of the club chair then advanced towards the dark haired man where he stood at the large pane of glass. He was about to step on the rug when he caught sight of the massive tree on the Persian tapestry. He stared at it a moment then walked around it keeping to the hard marble floors instead. Russ stopped a few feet away from him and hesitated to speak.

“Where am I?” He asked.

“Venice, Italy.”

“Who are you?” Russ asked in a hushed tone.

The long haired gentleman turned to face his guest then smirked, “Tsk, tsk – you know very well who and what I am just as I know who you are. Though, not quite what you are as of yet.”

“I have an idea of who you are but that seems too silly to believe. Who are you really?”

The man in the gilded robed cleared his throat and took a step forward. Russ took a step back, wanting to maintain a comfortable distance between them. All movement between them ceased. Russ studied his host’s face as he pursed his lips in thought.

“You may say that I am a…concerned party though I have certainly been known as an outcast, misfit, and black sheep when I am nothing more than a Forward Thinker.”

Russ looked him over then remembered the image he’d seen in the swirling black on the street. He’d seen the face he was looking into at that moment and another in its place. The image rushed to the front of his mind as if it were a warning signal. Russ took another step backwards and gasped with a sobering recognition of whom and what was standing before him.

“Devil”, Russ uttered loud enough for the man to hear. In a blur of movement the man in the golden slippers and robed closed the space between them with an unpleasant look on his face.

“You should be careful of brandishing insults to those you know nothing of. Man created and still creates devils. It’s what they use to justify the evil within themselves that they then inflict on other people as an excuse for what they truly are.”

“And what are we exactly?”

The man’s chest swelled with anger and his tone deepened with a bass that seemed impossible for a voice so refined and stately.

“YOU are flawed, dependent little robots who are unworthy of the lives they live. I am no devil, no man made me. I am in control of the life I live. No one tells me what to do or how to do it. I do not follow directions, I give them. And I know my full potential and have realized it. No one, certainly not a human, will EVER make me believe that I am less than I am. I do not hide what I am nor do I make excuses for the nature of my being. I am the Light Bearer and the Day Star. I am known in Heaven as the Most Beautiful for there is none in any realm whose beauty surpasses mine. I. Am. Lucifer.”

Russ took a hard swallow and chose his words carefully. It seemed such a shame to have survived the insanity of the night only to die quickly in Italy, at the hands of Satan because he insulted him.

“But you will admit that you do have a great influence over the minds of men.”

Lucifer’s stature deflated. He was taken aback by this statement and stared into Russ with disbelief. In the silence of the room, Lucifer began to chuckle. His chuckle turned into a hearty laugh which then turned raucous. He bent over while gripping his robe in the throes of laughter then calmed himself. He continued to chuckle while wiping a tear from his eye. Russ looked on frightened at the sudden switch. Lucifer having displayed such a harsh display of body language and words then his laughter which seemed out of place unsettled Russ’ constitution a great deal.

“Only women have that kind of power my dear boy. I have no such influence. I simply present the choices of any given situation to you men in ways that you understand. Having choices is what you people have come to relish, is it not?

Paper or plastic?

Hot or Cold?

Creamy or Chunky?

Pine, Steel, or Ash?

Life or Death…it’s all the same really, I just lay your paths out neatly for you to choose.” Lucifer flipped his hair and looked at his impeccably groomed fingernails as he walked a circle around Russ, every so often tossing a glance at him. “There is no force or influence – simply the choice to keep living the charade of your pathetic little lives or…not. Really Russell, I would think you of all people would understand this.”

“How in the hell would I understand?”

“Tsk, come now. That is the second time you’ve made me “tsk” this evening, I am seriously beginning to question your intelligence on this matter.”

Lucifer looked on Russ with his head tilted to one side and raised an eyebrow. They stood in silence for a moment until the deafening quiet was broken with a heavy sigh from Lucifer.

“Then again, The Creator does favor the feeble of mind in His grand schemes. Your minds appear to be more malleable…”

Lucifer ceased his ruminations to allow Russ the opportunity to catch on. When a few more moments in silence passed with Lucifer staring blankly at Russ. Russ gave a visible shrug of his shoulders and shake of his head to let him know that he had absolutely no idea what he was talking about, Lucifer filled him in.

“…And I would be hard pressed not to agree.”

A strange feeling overtook Russ momentarily, “You’re… you’re a liar!” He blurted out, backing up from his position near him.

“My, you are truly sharp of tongue and quick of wit.”

“I shouldn’t be listening to you…you’re evil.”

“What is evil, really? Hmm? And what is good? You people toss those terms around with your own personal justifications for both. Failing to realize that to do one is to perform an injustice in the other.”

“Injustice… what?! No, you are literally the embodiment of evil!”

“Psht.” Lucifer waved away the insult with the back of his hand. “Russell, did you not have a slight indiscretion a few days ago?”

“I…” Russ fell silent as he thought back and became speechless as the images of his actions flooded his mind. His facial expression slackened with something similar to shame.

“I remember what you did my dear boy. Do you? Was that not an act of evil?”

Lucifer chuckled as if he’d been reminded of a private joke. He watched Russ’ face as the recognition and remembrance of what he’d done in that alley behind his job came back to him. Russ spoke in a little more than a whisper.

“But you couldn’t’ve…”

“Oh, yes I could have. You were given a choice to let that inexcusable worthless bag of bones keep walking around bringing misery to all those in his path… OR relieve the world of his nuisance and free yourself of his bitter, angry resentment for the likes of you that was outwardly focused and inflicted as pain upon your person.

As a matter of fact, The Creator did try to change your mind. Remember that kitten you heard mewing near the trash cans behind the building? You looked up for a moment to the location where the noise was coming from. He had your attention for a minute but then you turned away and gave in to your anger. He did try.” Lucifer gave a silent clap toward Russ.

Russ closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead. He remembered struggling with the thought of taking that man’s life before he actually did it. He remembered thinking of rescuing the kitten and leaving the alley. He thought he would take it home and raise it, have a little company in his too quiet apartment on the 4th floor. There was a distraction. Not only did he ignore it, he overrode its intended purpose and kept on with his rage filled plan. Russ’ heart sunk in his chest as he walked away while Lucifer talked.

“But don’t you see?” Lucifer said following closely behind.  “It had to happen, my dear boy. It had to be done. Where is the evil in defending oneself? Twas all part of the bigger picture. Russell, I am nothing if not thorough. I am a strategist by nature. I groomed that moment. I put him in the right place at the right time. I even helped foster your mood, which at any time you could have extinguished but chose not to. You decided that your suffering should stop that day. You took a proactive approach, thought of your future and its betterment. We do what must be done Russell. There’s no harm in choosing oneself.”

Russ’ eyes welled up with tears as he swallowed back the hard sobs that were coming forward. He shook his head and had begun a slow pacing in front of the large window.

“Who is we?”

“You and I, are like two peas in a pod. We both men of action. Well you mostly, I am something else.” He chuckled to himself before taking a sip from his glass.

“Don’t!”

“Don’t what? I am merely making a point that you…”

“Don’t!” Russ screamed. “Don’t make it sound like it was something that had to be done or something that was justified. It was wrong! I chose wrong! I killed and I didn’t have to.”

“I am not so sure of that my dear boy.”

“Shut up! And I am 52 years old. I am a grown man, not a boy – despite all of this”, Russ said moving hands outstretched in regards to himself. “I’m a grown fucking man who is tired of all this bullshit!”

“Sure you are Russell. This is something I can see quite clearly.”

“I didn’t ask for any of this, none of it! I was just supposed to meet a girl in a bar that I met on Facebook for Christ sake! Not go off and see monsters or become…”

“I understand my dear boy…but please understand that we…”

“Stop it! Just stop!”

Silence fell over the room while Lucifer watched Russ cry and beat him-self up with guilt. It was his intention to bring those feelings out of Russ, it was also unavoidable. Lucifer perceived a small set back in his plans. One that he would have to deal with, with gentler hands. He broke the silence and remembered that Russ was a guest in his home.

“You are quite right Russell. Is it not human to ask forgiveness? Then let me adopt this custom and ask your pardons of my poor abilities to be a welcoming host. This unpleasant exchange has darkened the mood a great deal and there are so many other things that are in need of our attention.”

“I don’t think so. Where is Rhay… Ina…”

Lucifer paused, “Is that to my pardon or our discussion?”

“Both, where is she?”

“Inanna is alright- she is being tended to by her mother. Her wounds are great. I haven’t a single doubt that she will heal from them. But…”

“But?”

“We really do have a very hard and serious discussion ahead of us Russell. I’m afraid it is unavoidable and it regards the wellbeing of us all. Perhaps though, you’d like to freshen up and change before we delve into such reality warping topics and maybe a bite to eat? You must be famished.”

Lucifer gestured Russ towards his large crescent staircase of marble that led up to the next level of the mansion. He saw the hesitation in Russ then promised to stop and check in on Inanna as he was shown to his guest room. Russ moved forward with that promise. He needed to know that she was okay. And if she was, well the hard decision came down to killing her where she stood for exposing him to all of this, getting the hell out of the devil’s house, or leaving her there. Never in all of his life could he have imagined meeting the one people refer to as Satan and remaining alive to have a thought about it. Everything about the entire situation was wrong, scary, and would be logged in his book of “Weird and Strange Shit to Avoid for the Rest of My Life”. Russ’ head swam as he ascended the staircase step by step. For a brief moment, he considered the thought of having been poisoned by Lucifer, but if he had been he doubted that he’d be made to walk. He was certain it was a mixture of fatigue and frayed nerves wreaking havoc on his body.

Along the wall of the staircase a large stone mural came to life with its images swimming and moving gracefully through its Grecian scene. Bellerophon rode high atop the winged Pegasus charging in slow motion towards the fire breathing Chimera. The Chimera’s snake headed tail struck out and bit at Pegasus’ extended wing. Bellerophon, poised and ready to plunge his spear deep into the heart of the Chimera, turned to give recognition to the ascending men on the staircase. The snake headed tail of the Chimera turned away from Pegasus’ wing and towards Lucifer as he strolled up the staircase. It gave a small hiss then turned as Lucifer’s hair blew in the wind from the mural’s stormy skies. The snake head hissed, snapped violently, and showed its fangs to Russ as he walked by before withdrawing back into its stone setting. Russ jumped and stumbled down a few steps. Lucifer turned to see Russ staring at the mural and giving it a wide berth as he moved to the other side of the stairs. He looked at the mural then back at Russ and smirked.

“It’s harmless I assure you. One should always consider it a blessing when art decides to come to life in one’s presence.”

“Oh should one?” Russ said with no appreciation of his wall art.

He took his attention away from the mural and focused on Lucifer. Lucifer was not what he had expected at all. He was refined and had decadent tastes. He spoke well and had a fashion sense he himself had only seen in magazines on racks in grocery stores. He was clean and smelled nice and he was …good looking. He was not the monster he’d been told Lucifer was as a child. He’d seen the monster’s face as something in his true nature earlier in the evening, he knew that now but Lucifer’s appearance was nothing short of angelic. As if he’d been chiseled from the finest Grecian marble by Bernini’s own hands. There was muscle tone to his body, he was sculpted and pronounced. He had a soft and gentle profile, clean shaven and smooth. Flawless skin and Russ watched as Lucifer slid his professionally groomed nails along the railing. His posture was straight and strong, full of confidence and leadership. Unafraid and courageous but why wouldn’t he be. He was the reason people prayed at night and slept with lights on. Lucifer was the bump you heard in the dark and the malicious shadow that followed you on quiet nights as you walked the streets alone. At least, that’s what Russ grew up thinking.

It seemed farfetched to Russ that Lucifer would be an aristocrat living the high life in Europe in a mansion near the shores of Adriatic Sea. Russ found himself staring at the top of Lucifer’s head and his lower back.

“No tail or horns”, he whispered to himself.

“Nope”, Lucifer answered smiling.

“You’re not…ugly.”

“You seem surprised. I may be one of the Fallen but I am still an angel, none the less. I am The Most Beautiful of His kingdom. There was a nasty little rumor flying around centuries ago, that I literally fell from Heaven and became a horrible horned and disfigured mess. All untrue as you can see.”

“And you live here in all of this? I thought you lived in Hell.”

“Russell you’ve lived on this miserable floating rock of a planet all of your natural born life. Earth is Hell.”

“I can’t argue with that sentiment. But it is a place, right?”

“Heaven and Hell are what you make it.”

A warm rush of goosebumps rushed over Russ’ body as he gave a visible shake. The weird feeling just kept happening and he didn’t know why exactly. He stopped a second on the ascent of the staircase and gathered himself before addressing Lucifer again.

“But you live…here.”

“Why shouldn’t The Most Beautiful surround himself in beautiful things?”

Russ thought for a moment then asked a question that had surfaced as they reached the top of the staircase and walked the corridor.

“So…there is no Hell?”

Lucifer spun on his toes and looked Russ in the eye. He searched his face for signs of sincerity behind his question and found it. Lucifer laughed then continued to walk the halls of his home.

“Ah Russell, your naivety is quite refreshing. I swear I haven’t laughed this much in…in…hmm.”

“That long?”

“Yes. The past is a foggy and dark place Russell. While some things are like smoke rings on the wind, fleeting, and of very little substance – other things stick like wet toilet paper on the boy’s room ceiling. Always there full of memories every time you look up, Heaven as it were.”

“That’s pretty …poetic. Fucked up but poetic.”

“The point my dear Russell is this, the deeper you bury the past, the better off you’ll be.”

There was silence while they walked the long corridor. Russ took in the sights. He watched every painting and statue with a careful eye, untrusting of its stillness. Lucifer hummed Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” as they walked along the long the hall.

Russ couldn’t believe his ears.

“You listen to that whack job’s music?”

“No…actually. She seems to be one of Mammon’s favorite artists. I believe you people call it an ear worm.”

“Who is Mammon?”

“He is Inanna’s twin brother. We had a party here for him on his birthday. Lady Gaga was one of his preferred guests.”

“I knew it, Gaga made a deal with you didn’t she. I knew she was a hack.”

“Why on earth… Russell, making crossroads deals are a thing of the past for me. I am no longer the one cutting deals for the souls of young artists seeking fame. Haven’t you been reading the news? The record labels have cornered the market on my little scam. I am no longer the boogey man at the end of every budding artist’s contract and clause. They are. Besides Buddy was the last.”

“Buddy Holly?”

“Things of the past Russell, things of the past.”

Russ fell silent and shook his head in disbelief. “Was Rhay…Inanna here for this party with her brother?”

“No, she chose not to attend. As a matter of fact, this is the first time in a very long time that we’ve been able to see her. I can imagine this being a very trying time for her mother, especially since she’s been injured pretty badly.”

“You make it sound like she’s close to death.”

“It is a serious and critical wound Russell, I wouldn’t make light of the situation, she means too much to me.”

“So what are you…like the favorite uncle or some shit?”

Lucifer stopped in his stride through the hall and regarded Russ, for a moment he thought he was joking but saw in his eyes that he actually had no idea who he was. He left him to his thought and continued to walk.

“Or some shit. As I said earlier, I am a concerned party. Inanna’s life is precious and means a lot to me.”

“Uh huh.” Russ said giving a sideways glance to Lucifer. The word predator immediately came to mind.

“Russell, she’s…she’s special. Let’s just say that I owe a lot of the changes I’ve made in the way that I live to her.”

Russell listened to the words Lucifer spoke. Something didn’t feel right about the way he talked of Inanna. Family friends don’t gush or show so much concern for the daughter of your friend but then who was he to judge. He just knew that the more he spoke of Inanna as a loved one, the creepier he came off. They rounded a corner at the end of the hall and headed towards the first bedroom on the right side of that corridor. A door lay open to a bedroom of robin’s egg blue paint on the walls and white trim with a silver chandelier hanging from the ceiling’s center. Lilith sat on a bed of light blue and black satin bedding. Inanna lay beneath a sheet in her naked human form, trembling and sweating with medical bandaging wrapped around her waist. She looked right on the edge of death and in truth she was not very far off. Russ’s eyes immediately began to tear as he watched his friend lay dying.

Creation / Preparations and Decisions

It’s like… someone poured a cup of imagination right into my brain.

With backgrounds, characters, images, and sounds – kinda insane.

Chapter after chapter the world comes alive,

And I can no longer contain it,

Far be it from me to restrain it,

As it grows unfamiliar to my eyes,

I just can’t explain it.

Words feed sentences that grow into paras…

imagination multiplies the things that pair us

and make us complete as the words continue to

give birth to story…  and to all it’s glory,

it’s where I want to be.

~~~~~~

Taking a much needed break from editing a larger project to come and blog. Words were starting to run together and I was beginning to do that thing where I think I’m a hack and shouldn’t be wielding words ever. I wonder if that’s something all writers go through with their craft.

Are any of us really confident in the things we create? Or is the self-doubt and insecurity a side kick to the villain of overthinking.  Do villains… have side kicks??? Man, I don’t know. All I know is, I need this break so that I don’t go burn the things that I’ve created. Or chop off my own hands to keep from ever creating anything ever again.

How do editors do it? I think they must be some of the most patient and understanding people that live. If it were me, I’d be driven crazy with the amount of discrepancies and incorrect usages of words and grammar things and punctuation… like I am with my own writing. I am not a perfectionist! I am not a perfectionist… I can operate with flaws and mistakes… I can.

(Thank God for erasers, the back space button, white out tapes, acrylic paint that covers boo boos, and deleting. Thank God for apologies, forgiveness, and redemption. Thank God for editing, editors, and grammar police and critics… even though they get under my skin and make me want to use every cuss word I know in English and a few foreign languages I pretend to know…Thank God for the ability to walk away or end conversations with sassy remarks, cynicism, sarcasm, and wit. Thank God for remaining still and quiet when my mouth wants to run away with the thoughts in my brain and make a bad situation worse than it already is because I tend to not have self control over my tongue… or facial expressions, or body language, or me…. and sometimes I just need a karate chop to my larynx to keep me from talking and pissing people off and from using smart ass comments to further drive a wedge between me and said person because I didn’t like the look I imagined they had in their eyes or tone of voice in an email or text message where subtlety is lost so is the ability to discern meaning in the way words were used when writing said email or text message because they know that I know what I know they meant to say but now no one saying anything because we’re both on the outs and are giving each other the silent treatment and what was meant to be a business/professional relationship has just regressed into a shoving match the interwebz playground because I’m an emotional writer and will hit send at the drop of a hat before rereading the things I type while in very high emotional state AND Thank God for Cannabis, Mental Health Medications and Talk Therapy and Blogging…

and for Turkey Hill’s Black Cherry, Caramel, and Strawberries n’ Cream ice creams that makes it all better And for chocolate delicacies when ice cream isn’t available, Amen.)

I’m fine… I promise.  Sometimes I get worked up. And it’s been a hard couple of months without having that taffy and man… 

I’m gonna come clean about something. I was so upset over the taffy thing the other day and how the maker of the candy is acting like a complete drug dealer… like for real, get you hooked then raise the prices and limit the availability because they know they have good shit… smh… Then some other stuff that cropped up that I had a cigar last night. Well it was a Black & Mild and there were actually two and I actually regret nothing. LOL 

This doesn’t mean I’ll be taking up tobacco again. After those two cigarillos I started wheezing because asthma is real and I decided that was enough. It calmed my nerves and the craving for candy and anything else was sated. I’m not breathing funny today which is good and I don’t have a hankering for smoking or candy at all right now. But that ice cream thing might happen.

I’m good today. Getting stuff done and listening to music. There was no chess club today or yesterday for that matter because our instructor was having computer issues and today he’s in Kansas City at a wedding. Cool, I can practice without him being here. We still meet online but are talking about resuming meets in person but I find that to be a very dangerous thing. We work with some young kids and they haven’t been vaccinated as far as we know. I want everyone to be safe. I feel like it’s something that needs to wait but that is not my decision, I can give my input on the matter though.

I have dinner to go make then back to going through edits.

Here’s one of songs I’ve been listening to today.

Hope you all have an awesome weekend. Don’t do the stuff I would do…instead…. 

be good humans! ❤

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