The Cottage – Part Twenty One – (Short Story)

Part One | Part Two |Part Three |  Part Four |Part Five |  Part Six |Part Seven |Part Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten | Part Eleven | Part Twelve | Part Thirteen | Part Fourteen | Part Fifteen | Part Sixteen | Part Seventeen | Part Eighteen | Part Nineteen | Part Twenty

He awoke in a desert. There was nothing about save for countless dunes that undulated like waves in every direction. The reddish sand was cold. In fact everything was cold despite the brightest sun that Jim had ever beheld.

It was well nigh white in luminosity. So ferocious was its radiance that he was forced to squint.

“Here the wrath of God descended.” Came a familiar voice.

Jim turned to see an unfamiliar face.

Or rather a mostly unfamiliar face. It took some time but the silver haired Wildman that stood before him was the very same specter that had rescued him from the granite.

“You stand upon ashes of the proud.”

Jim was dumbfounded.

“But it’s better to kneel…” Jim gathered before lightning pain crackled through his knees at the scythe swing of ghoul’s staff.

“Do not stand lest Abaddon be tempted. In this the place of desolation, the dwelling of wild animals, Jehovah has given the archangel charge.”

“What the hell is going on?” Jim ventured through gritted teeth.

“This was once Gomorrah.”

“What’s that got to do with me?”

“They were brought low. They who stood so high. Who counted themselves the equal of the most high. Who succumbed to the gifts of the stars, they whom the archer commands, it was their arrows that armed the citadels Sodom built up against the Lord. They inclined their towers towards the fallen. And so their towers fell forever. Do you not hear the howling of the Djinn?”

“Let me go…”

“Impossible. It is not I who holds you. Not I, but folly. You are a fool.”

“I don’t care if I’m the dumbest motherfucker on Earth. This ain’t right. Let me out…!”

“I cannot. It is not I who holds you. Not I, but folly. So cease to be a fool…and go.”

Jim’s eyes darted about wildly. Nothing, there was absolutely nothing but cold desolation and the shrieking wind.

“I…I…I can’t.”

“What’s that fool? You say you cannot cease your folly?”

“..Shu..sure.”

“Good.” Again, the lightning pain flashed this time on his neck as his face met the sand. “Then eat of the dead. It’ll keep that God damned mouth closed and those ears good and open, fool.”

Jim was powerless.

“Principalities and powers abound. They whom the Lord established and they who war. It is your duty to discern the true voice. But, not even I have done this. Not even our line…ranging to the very first pillars of Ur. Their cunning is great and we are inextricably bound to serve. For the most high hears the cry of all his creatures and even the most wicked are given their due. So through sin we have been cursed to guard the gate. We who propitiated Ammon in our madness must to this late day continue. For all must pass in its hour. So our duty is to turn the glass. And to turn aright one MUST READ.”

The sand filled his lungs utterly and Jim awoke coughing in the closet.


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