“Father…Father…wake up, Father. You passed out and fell two flights of stairs. The library lost its precious hush in the hullabaloo. Here…sip this water slowly and imagine a field of susurating lavender.” Coco stroked the dazed Priests head like it was a pedigree cat. His hands were shaking amidst a pile of splayed books, most of them dealing with the occult. In his left hand was a small book that was grasped so tightly that his knuckles shone white above his ruddy, sausage fingers.
“Father, let me gather your books up. Are you ok, father?”
“Coco, we are all….we are…please, my jacket pocket…I need a pill from the bottle. Thank you. I have to get back to the church. Will you help me?”
Coco’s stare met his ice blue, terrified eyes and understood the urgency instantly.
“Of course, Father. I’ll close up the library and get you over to Evangelico. Sit there and take some soothing breaths through the nose and out through the mouth with a hiss.”
Coco climbed the two flights of marble steps to the glazed gothic doors and swung them open to evacuate the library before she locked it up.
Standing in the stone arch, dappled in mid morning light from the long roof lights, she gulped a fright from her gut to her nostrils. The shelves had been emptied of books and huge, crooked towers stood in menacing heights. Row upon row of stacked knowledge, balanced on long tomes, formed inverted crosses.
Then she noticed the book cases.
Smouldering bodies lay across the thick oak shelves, crackling and popping, as the flesh blistered from an unknown fire.
“Lord protect us. What have you found, father?” Coco murmured, afraid she may disturb what had done this should it be lurking in the dusty recesses.
She slammed the door shut and shoved the large key in the lock, turning it with force then kicking it to snap in the lock.
“It stays in the mercy of silence!” whispered Coco as she bounded down the flights to pick up the vicar from his daze.
“We need to go, Father. Whatever you found in these wants to keep its secret. Come on…NOW!”
The two made their way out of the atrium and into the packed main street of ambling fools.
“I’m parked in Calder Avenue. It’s just two streets over. Father, we must fly to consecrated ground.”
As they crossed the busy street, the manhole covers began to explode like they were party poppers. Vehicles slammed into one another forming a huge pile of twisted metal, peppered with mashed cyclists and shredded drivers. Bodies slid in fits and starts down the edges of the mass. They were horrifically broken, chopped and on fire like they were chunks of molten lava from an erupting volcano.
The whole grotesque pile cracked and splintered folding like origami into a huge horned skull that leered through bloody grills and headlamp eyes.
“Lord bless us and keep us. Coco, we have to move quickly. He will do anything to stop us from reaching Evangelico. I found him in the texts. I found him between the verses and in the subtleties of translation. He is the source not Lucifer. We have been misdirected to the Angel of Light. He deceived us. He is the evil in the world. Coco, take this book and fly to the blessed earth. The library beneath Evangelico will give you the answers. RUN!”
The priest sank to his knees as Coco grabbed the little book and fled the scene. When she reached the corner of Calder Avenue, she glanced back and froze.
Her whole body was consumed by the terrible sight and loud sobs drew retches from deep inside of her.
“We are illuminated. We are aware. You shall be uncovered before your grand deception and
the armies will not meet at Magedo at your command. We will unmask your serpentine lie down the ages.
Nervaco – NERVACO!”
Each word that came from his swollen lips forced a bone out of his slight frame and simple suit. His dog collar had mottled with black mould and began to peel away with the breeze. Necrosis moved in threads up his neck and across his face, filling his eyes with jet horror and distending his purple throat and tongue. As he forced a smile towards Coco, his neck snapped back sending his head onto his shoulder blades, turning a kneeling priest into a grotesque, shaking bloody fountain.
Coco threw her heels off and ran for her car as if…as if the new-found devil was chasing her.
“Open, open, open!” She furiously pressed her key to unlock her tiny yellow vehicle and, as the locks popped up, she yelped in hysterical relief.
The drive over to Evangelico was hellacious. Obstacles appeared from out of nowhere. Children threw their toys, cyclists dismounted and threw their bikes and birds slammed into the screen with a chilling screech. By the time she hit St Paul’s district, she was shaking in sheer terror, trying hard to peer through the cracked screen past the mangled wiper blades jammed with bloody wings and feathers. Windows shattered out into the road as she swerved on shredded tyres, avoiding many collisions with overturned vehicles and tumbling street lamps.
“Lord deliver me unto your safe earth and deny this downcast fiend his awful victory. Hear my prayer, sweet merciful Christ.”
It was as she uttered “Christ” in panicked desperation, that the Tarmac tore up in front of her and plumes of red and black flames roared from the crevice.
“Marklund Street detour. Thank you Lord!” she screamed as her rear window shattered and two large sets of jaws pushed through the bloody glass barking and salivating profusely.
Coco swerved the car into a large rose-bush at the roadside and the searing yelps from behind her were followed by bone crunching thuds.
Her little yellow vehicle was almost ready for the breakers yard when she saw the shining spire of Evangelico. Her eyes widened and she let out a piercing shriek of relief, punching out her front screen to see beyond the matted mess.
In front of her appeared a congress of charred figures hell-bent on stopping her from reaching her destination. But Coco was resourceful and she jammed her shoe into the accelerator and rolled out of the vehicle onto the blood soaked street. She spun quickly to see the car slam into the bodies and blow them into black powder and screaming rage.
“Ahh…child of the pages wherein lies the deceit of man’s assumptions. Be not afraid to honour another deity. I am Nervaco. I was the shadow twin to Lucifer. His dark half to balance his light and beauty.
When he fell, I fell also.
Each day light rises to praise the rejecting god, my darkness finds new depths to conjure evil. Now the world is in imbalance and I can claim the paradise from he who charged creation. I will overturn the will of love and break apart the mountain laws of man. Be supine in my presence, child and I will spare unending agonies in my realm. On your belly, Eve and make ready for the serpents kiss.”
Coco covered her ears and ran up the little alley that lead to the rear gates of Evangelico. Inside the wrought iron boundary, the graves were emerging from the ground and emptying their contents on the ground. She scaled the gate and shredded her clothes on the black spikes before dropping into the graveyard to be confronted by dozens of reanimated dead. All at once, they converged in a dead skin dust cloud, bones clattering and burial garments scattering to the corners of the yard. As the powder cleared, Coco glared at a grotesque sight as a graveyard of dead had made one mighty creature, dripping with the fresh dead and crumbling with the long since passed. The creature lunged towards her forcing lightening reflexes again and Coco fell backwards into the vestry door. The great oak frame heaved and, with the sound of a heavy latch giving way, she tumbled inside, dazed and facing the vaulted ceiling.
“I beat you, filth!” gazing at the pouting bone monstrosity heaving at the door.
A black shroud passed over it for a moment and it was gone.
“Maybe it is all a trick, a glamour to show me the futility of resistance against the first evil? I must find the library and discover the secret.” Coco sat up and looked at her leg. A long, deep graze tore up her calf like the Tarmac road and she winced trying to stand up.
“It’s no glamour. It is very real!”
Coco limped across the transept and looked lovingly at the simple display on the altar. Crisp white sheet covered an oak frame and tarnished silverware showed a faded interest in worship and the trust in a god that didn’t appear on their money. The world was glamourised with distractions from faith and only in desperation is this dowdy relic a last hope. A tear spilled from the corner of her right eye and Coco let it fall at the moment she uttered “God, be my guide. I haven’t lost hope or trust in you. Let us end this darkness this day.”
The tear hit the floor and an awe-struck Coco watched as a shaft of light streamed through the one plain pane in the stained glass window and hit the first pew.
Coco saw the dancing dust in the ray sparkle around a wooden peg protruding at the side and she pushed it firmly with her right hand. The sound of stone grinding on stone forced her to spin on her heels and there, in front of the altar, the steps had receded to a small opening leading to complete darkness.
“Praise be!” Coco exclaimed and ran her fingers through the shaft of light before it vanished.
After a brief search of the vestry and Sunday school room, she found a torch and a box of matches and headed into the opening under the altar. She fully expected thick webs and choking dust but to her surprise the way was clean and a small staircase down to a green door became a pleasure not a chore.
As she reached the door she noticed two wrought iron torches either side of it and she lit them with the matches she had found upstairs. On it was an inscription, that was a cryptic question and she quickly opened the book the priest gave her to be ready. It was in old English but she deciphered the text as this:
Are you true to gods love? Answer in verity and the way to the light shall be yours.
Coco closed her eyes and skimmed a stone across the pool of memories. Then she smiled at the inscription and spoke clearly,
“I am not. I am the weakness of flesh. Forgive me and guide me to your light of wisdom.”
The green door shuddered and creaked opening the large iron handle as the inscription rearranged to form a brand new question. Coco shone the torch into a circular room filled with old books, parchments and illuminated manuscripts. In the centre of the floor was a pile of brown rags that twitched as she stepped inside.
“Do you have the book?” a little voice came from under the rag pile. Coco leaned forward and tugged at a corner of the thick material. As she did a tiny figure stood up and smiled through a mass of tangled black hair and piercing green eyes.
Coco stepped back startled then stopped. She felt a wave of love pass through her like she was sat in the breaking waves of a warm ocean. Tentatively, she reached out to touch a slight hand, a child’s hand and her terrified heart was at ease.
“I am Kyrie Eleison. I am the will of the God, Yew and we will find the words to undo Nervaco.
Do you have the book?”
Coco blinked and nodded at the child in reverence.
“Good. Then let us begin this moment.”
Original written work of Richard Bell
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