Burn Bitter

God’s name used to be honey. Thick. Sweet. A taste that settled heavenly on your tongue and pleased you to speak. You served ever grateful, just for the sip of his name as it uttered from your lips.

Now, it’s a tar. Too bitter – it puckers at your lips. The sludge of it clings and clogs in your throat, bubbles up when you try to speak. One little word, once a sweet balm within your mouth leaves acrid little ulcers along your tongue and spews out like bile to burn cracked lips.

Yet as you lay at Hell’s floor, looking up, up, towards that which you forsook, you speak it still. The agony of it burns just as the deathly aching cold of Hell burns. Will the bitter break and bring sweet succor back to you? You hope it does. You pray it, even if your prayers echo hollowly around you and there’s no one there to care, let alone to answer.

God… God…

He can’t hear you.

God… God…

And your gums melt away each time you say it.

Scorch

You think, when you Fall, that Hell will be a pyre in which your damned and rotten soul will burn. You anticipate the lick of flames against your flesh, searing the skin and then sizzling the fat, scorching the meat before it chars and cracks your bones to coals. You await the embrace of the flame. You want it, need to taste the ash in your mouth and savor how it suffocates you.

For a lifetime.

For eternity.

You Fall to your Temptations, to the weight of your Sins, to the Earth and then below it deep down where wretched souls and the Fallen just like you reside. Heaven’s Light grows dimmer, dimmer, and you think it’s good riddance – it was a false Light, a farce. Hell burns ever brighter and far more freely than the Holy Lie to which you’ve devoted yourself to.

The feathers of your once-proud wings molt as they’re stripped away while you tumble Down. Plumage once thick and lustrous flits away a feather at a time, leaving nothing but a cage of bones that try to shield you from –

The cold?

It’s not heat that that burns your flesh, but a cool cold, cold, frosty, frigid cold that crystalizes icy cold and deathly blue onto your skin. It’s frozen agony and sears your lungs and pricks you and it hurts but it’s not the hellish flame that you thought it would be, not the indulgent fire of life you were promised –

Hell is barren.

It sinks in as the cold leaves you rigid on Hell’s floor, immobile on your back, cradled by your cage of wings. Breath… ragged, breath… puffs before your face as you draw the cold, dead air in. You don’t taste ash. You taste nothing. Your tongue freezes as you breathe – you keep breathing anyway as it turns dead and black in your mouth and the frostbite is almost acrid.

Above – Heaven burns. A pinprick of light. And you haven’t the strength to raise your hand and reach.

Forget-Me-Not

 

“What is your name?”

“…”

He felt the skin of his back split as the oak-wood cane came across it. It stung, biting into his flesh before radiating out heat from the place of impact. No gasps came from him, though; he pain was something he had known for a while and no longer reacted to. It was the question that left him silent, not an answer on his tongue.

“I asked, what is your name?”

Silence. What was his name?

Again, and again, he was asked, and again and again the cane rained down upon his back. The other students watched, as he hunched over the desk at the front of the class. Their russet faces stared back him, dark eyes wide – though they were silent, too, in their horror. Did they know his name? Could they remember it? Could they speak it?

What was his name… What was his name?

In the back of his mind, it tugged. He recalled it in the same way he remembered all the treasures of his youth they had forbade him to keep – fleeting, at the edges of his mind where they’d dance, just outside his grasp. His name… His name…

“Eric…”

That wasn’t his name. His name, he’d forgotten. He couldn’t remember the way it sang against his ear, nor how it tasted on his tongue. Eric… that was what they called him now, he remembered. They called him one of their names. Something other and foreign and far too grating and sharp. It didn’t sound nearly as beautiful, and didn’t taste nearly as sweet, but what did he know? He had lost the other one; he didn’t know his name.

The cane stopped at the utterance of that name. He thought perhaps he should feel something, anything – anger, fear, pain. All he felt though, was the numbness of nothing. He was nothing. Nothing at all. That’s what Mr. Dawson told them, anyway. Nothing but savages until they stripped that all away.

“…forget it next time. You’ll be left for worse. Get out of my class, and clean yourself up.”

He barely registered what Mr. Dawson said to him, and was lucky that he caught up with the last half. He nodded, not having realized he’d shut his eyes, and turned his gaze to his tormentor. A slight man, pale, with corn silk hair – they called that blonde. Mr. Dawson always carried a wicked look in the frost-blue eyes behind the rounded glasses that adorned his face, and those eyes had never turned kind glances to him, nor any other student.

Eric nodded again, pushing himself up. He barely registered the pain of beatings anymore, but he was weak; his body trembled. His pace earned him a smack to the calf from the cane, and he was too weary to hide the intake of breath at the sting again his flesh.

“Get out,” he was ordered. “And don’t come back until tomorrow.”

On another day, he’d perhaps welcome the dismissal, but his absence for the duration of the lesson would be punished the next day – it didn’t matter that it was at the order of his instructor, nor because he’d been beaten. There were no excuses.

You’ve brought this on yourself.

As he exited the classroom, he couldn’t even remember what he had said to set Mr. Dawson off. It had been a slip of his tongue – something in that language they weren’t allowed to speak anymore – and though it had rolled out of his mouth like water from a pitcher, smooth as could be, he had no idea what exactly he had said. And then, Mr. Dawson, flared up and angry from his mistake, had demanded to know the meaning, asked Eric to tell him what he had dared to say.

Who is Eric? he had asked Mr. Dawson in response, confused. Who is he, who is he?

Perhaps in the moment he had had a flare of rebelliousness; it wasn’t uncommon. To not claim the identity they had given him when they’d taken him from his mother’s arms, cut short his raven hair, removed his furs and his leathers and put him in the clothes he wore then… Well. He’d received his punishment, hadn’t he? And for what?

A word he no longer understood.

This is a section of writing that’s been sitting on my computer for… a while now. It’s a bit of practice writing in a new character’s point of view, for a story that I’ll be revisiting this year. 

Exhaltation

October 3rd, 20—

Father says that God doesn’t exist. Father says ‘He’s an imaginary machination, created out of humanity’s inability to accept that there is nothing – nothing – after the return to the Earth. They cannot grasp the emptiness that follows our departure from this worldly Hell, so they made Him up to appease themselves.’

I know the truth, though. I know Father is a liar.

And I know there is a God.

At night, I see Him. Our God. In my dreams, His voice is a beacon. It resonates ferociously in a language I do not know, but I crave desperately the sweet release it promises. It echoes, deeper than melancholic bass, from the depths where He resides, causing waves to crash and flood against the shores. The beings of the ocean writhe and wriggle to its tune, for they know His rise is coming soon, and it fills their bodies with obedient joy.

Too often, I find myself, too, writhing in the covers as I sleep to the cadence of the ocean creatures at the sound of His calling. I long as They do, with a yearning I cannot explain. Father, roused by my uncommon nightly noises, often thinks my dreams must be something wicked and lewd to have me emitting such sounds and undulating so in my sleep, but I know better.

It’s the response to the Call, to the impending awakening the world will soon know. The elation can’t be contained, even in dreams.

He’s coming. Rejoice.