I have heard insidious tales of black rains that fall on ashen fields and metal that
screams. Until now I have consoled myself that these were nothing more than the
delusions of some poor fevered mind. But today I met a harbinger from this desolate
place, and now I fear the truth.
The harbinger had been influencing my destiny even before I awoke this morning.
Throughout the night my mind was haunted with the visions of a desolate land which
inspired such a feeling of pure hopelessness and a sheer will to die that I awoke to find my
pillow soaked in tears. In the center of the cursed landscape stood an ancient chapel; the
same chapel which lies at the outskirts of the village, and so ended the dream.
In the early morning when I awoke my mind was instantly assaulted by an
annoying sensation. A sensation that serves to remind one that he has forgotten to do one
thing or another. Then, just after I had finished breaking fast, the sensation revealed its
true purpose. I was told to travel to the chapel at the edge of the village; the same chapel
which had haunted my slumber earlier.
At this point madness must have surged through my blood for before I understood
what was happening I found myself staring at the rickety old sign at the border of our
town which read Melas. As I came nearer to the chapel I expected the tormenting
sensation in my head to diminish. Alas, it did not. The truth is that the throbbing
increased to what I can only describe as a cranial vibration. This timbre was not painful,
however, nor uncomfortable, but pleasant.
Up ahead loomed the ancient chapel. It had been abandoned for nearly a century
and some invisible force kept the decrepit mortar and pale stones in their places. But
before I was close enough to glimpse the building itself, I saw the glow. An eerie crimson
light radiated from the three small windows on the side of the chapel visible to me.
Mysterious figures within caused the glow to dance and flicker over the tombstones of the
graveyard which neighbored the chapel. The shadows seemed alive.
Shadows? This was when I first realized that the sky was dark. It had been
morning mere minutes ago when I’d left my home. I looked to the heavens. What I saw
horrified me. The sun had retreated behind the moon, and now the pale queen ruled the
Again madness (or stupidity) overtook my mind and I continued on my quest. Up
until this point I had no memories of the journey between my home and where I now
stood in front of the chapel. It was as if I had been comatose as I traveled to this place.
Now, however, time slowed drastically and I found myself standing in front of the
double oak doors. Shards of red light stabbed out from the cracks and rotting orifices in
the wood. With one fell thrust I threw open the doors and rushed in, courage
The dozens of small leather skinned demons and gutted virgin tied to the Satanic
altar that I had expected were instead replaced by a mere girl of no more than fifteen
years. She was dressed in a customary gown and bonnet of our culture. Her voice,
however, was less than customary. It was somehow infinitely low and malevolent. Her
voice made the rotting pews crumble to dust, and the candlesticks blaze with a flame
usually reserved for an inferno. She was suddenly more a demon than any leather skinned
beast. Then she opened her eyelids which had been shut tight thus far, and in doing so
revealed total darkness. Whether her eyes were black coals or empty pits was unclear.
The combination of her eyes and voice knocked me to the cold stone floor. Then she
“Listen, flesh, and listen well for we are feeling generous”, said the harbinger.
“Wha….?”, was my only reply before she interrupted me.
She continued, “We have glimpsed your future and we know your fate. Avoid the
man in the black cloth with the hidden face, for he shall bring about your destruction. Do
this and remain flesh . . . ignore us and become us”. And then she was gone.
In an instant the harbinger disappeared, the destroyed pews were restored and the
sun reclaimed the sky. All was as it should be, except that I was sprawled upon the cold,
stone floor, confused, yet determined. I was resolved to avoid any and all shrouded men
in the near and distant future.
I slowly made my way home with the intent of completing not only my day’s
chores, but the remainder of my days on this earth without the interference of any dark
clothed strangers. En route to my humble abode I passed, on two occasions, persons
unknown to me wearing black cloaks, and twice I retreated to the opposite side of the
road, diverting my eyes from them as they glanced in my direction.
The moment I arrived at my dwelling I began my duties for I was well behind
schedule. Several hours after the sun had fallen behind the horizon I completed my tasks.
I was grateful to be able to put this day behind me at last, and although my strange
encounter lingered on in memory it now seemed no more than a dream itself. I told myself
this over and over again until I believed it to be true. Dream or no dream, I would never
look at a stranger in black the same again. Unfortunately, I would never get the
After I readied my sleeping attire and dimmed the lantern, but before my pillow
could greet my weary head, the last man in black I would ever see came to me. He stood
near the window, his features hidden in the darkness. The lantern was of little use for the
small amount of light that it did project never reached the stranger, for I stood between
“How could he have arrived through the window?” I thought to myself for it had
been bolted shut for many years. I didn’t receive an answer until it was too late. For a
third time I was struck with temporary madness, but this time rage accompanied it and I
lashed out against this black menace in a fevered charge. But when I arrived at the point
where I thought the man should be I was shocked to discover that there never was a man
standing there. I had attacked my own reflection in the window. I was allowed a moment
to feel foolish before I realized that it was too late to stop my crazed assault before I
plummeted from the second story window of my cottage, landing upon my skull. I died
And so it was that my temporary insanity, imagined sense of impending doom and
unharnessed temper led to my downfall….literally.