Well, boys and girls, it's Terror Tuesday time. We know what that means: Ed steps in the bad stuff again. How is he managing to stay alive? Read and find out . . .
THE MISTS OF PAPOOSE POND
Chapter Twenty Eight
Even before they reach us, I know what has to be done, the course to be taken. My webbed friends agree: we can not continually dodge and dart. Sometimes it's necessary to take a stand and not retreat.
"This is our last battle against these damned hounds!" I holler. "Enough is enough. The time is perfect for us to get rid of all of them now."
"Excuse me!" Tom shouts back. "Are you stinking crazy from the heat, or what? We are fucking surrounded here and outnumbered to boot."
I shake my head. "We all need to grow a bigger pair, Tom. These damn dogs will keep whittling away at us, taking our guys off to Hell if we don't stop them now. I thought they could only take the evil people to the Dark, but things are twisted; they are twisted as well."
Before any more words are spoken, the Hell Hounds arrive, running full steam ahead, and coming from all directions. Our Angels attack them from above as well as the ground, their swords singing a sweet song: sweet to our ears, anyway. These winged warriors of circumspect alliance at the beginning of this war are a devastating machine of destruction against Satan's soldiers. They willingly and competently put themselves at risk of being torn apart by the vicious dogs.
Looking to my side as I attack the hounds with my machete, and seeing my buddies battling away, I'm jealous of the magnificent swords in the Angels' hands. Yes, but I'm not hardly an Angel, am I? I don't deserve a weapon of such magnificence.
Shit, before this whole end of war stuff started, my faith was anything but strong. In fact, it was completely lacking. And now . . .and now I'm some sort of a general, leading those aligned with God to destroy the forces of evil. Wonky stuff.
How many of these fucking things are there? For every one we slay and pitch in to a fissure to singe their fur and roast their flesh, there seem to be two taking its place. The battle is vicious, and many of my warriors are killed, tossed into the pits with the others to die. Damn. I don't want this to happen, but there are casualties in any war: this one will have far more than any one previously fought on this planet. Genghis Khan was a boy scout compared to Satan.
A young man to my left is attacking one of the hounds, fighting valiantly, when he slips in a pool of blood and the beast is on him, grabbing him by his throat and whipping him around as if he is a rag doll. Blood flows from him as his body goes limp in the grip of the huge animal, almost dead before the last death rattle is administered. The sound of his snapping spine sends me into a tirade of anger, and retaliation is swift before the beast relinquishes its grip. Over and over again I tear into and at the monster, tearing out its glowing red eyes before cutting huge swaths of flesh off of it. It whirls around, trying to strike out at me but unable to find where I'm at. My machete finds its innards, and with a swift in and up slice, its intestines are laid bare to view. As they tumble from its body, I slice them in half and follow up with a slash across its neck. The hound's head falls down and I swiftly kick it into the pit alongside me.
The others stare at me as if I'm a complete mad man, going after them the way I am. Truth be told: there is no room for Mr. Nice Guy in this war. We either win or lose.
"Team up on these bastards!" I holler out. "Just like the Nephilim, one person will not bring these red-eyed monsters down."
For hours, we battle toe to toe and many from both sides wind up in the chasms surrounding us. The more of the Hell Hounds we destroy, the closer the zombies get to us. Shit! This is turning into a gargantous battle of marathon proportions. How long will my troops be able to maintain this crazy pace in the conditions assaulting us? Our enemy is without any detriments to reducing their endurance. What can the undead feel? And as for the dogs, they're nothing more than feral abnormalities created by Satan to do exactly what they are doing to us. Their very existence is predicated on pleasing their Master. In a way, I almost feel sorry for them.
The ground buckles once more, widening the chasms and belching super hot rocks. Shit!
"Clear away from the fissures!" I shout. "There is some nasty shit coming!"
It's not an easy thing to do. There are many pockets of small little islands, floating as it were between the fissures, too wide to jump across. All of us who are trapped on these tiny battlefields must do what we can to keep our sovereignty intact.
My webbed friends are one step ahead of me, as usual, and chop some trees down with their axes, lining them up to fall across the fissures. My troops scramble across ahead of the Hell Hounds and Zombies. Once on the other side, they knock the trees into the depths with their great strength, trapping Satan's army on the other side.
They repeat this all around me until all of my army is together, staring in amazement at the beasts trapped everywhere in front of us.
The ground explodes and huge amounts of magma force their way to the surface via the conduits left for them through the fissures, rolling towards those demons trapped behind, and viciously rendering them helpless as the extreme heat of the molten rock turns the lower portions of their bodies to ash before the magma even has a chance to suck them completely down. The mindless Zombies and Hell Hounds alike scream out in pain as the magma moves its way up their torsos, extending to their heads, and reducing them to ash, even as pieces of their flesh roll down towards the blazing inferno reaching upwards as they are being sucked into the vortex of their destruction.
My human forces stare in amazement at the carnage before them. Seeing their enemy destroyed like this, as evil as they might be, brings the cold, hard reality of the war front and center. This is no game for bragging rights or for glory on the battlefield: this is all about survival. They were not chosen for Rapture; they must earn the right to go to Heaven.
"The creatures here are dieing!" I shout out. "There is no sense in watching them completely turn to embers. We need to move and attack while the momentum is on our side."
"And that means?" Tom asks.
"Thought you'd never ask," I laugh. "We're off to recruit some new troops to the cause."
"I'm not liking the sound of this."
"No need to. Embrace the good when it comes."
"You're scaring me now, too," Howard says.
"That means I'm on the right track," I say. "Balls to the wall, guys. Let's head into town."
"Which town?" Tom asks.
"It doesn't matter. Let's just go now. The magma will hold the bastards away from us until we regroup."
With a toss of their heads, they follow me, not exactly knowing what I'm up to but knowing I won't be dissuaded. Ah, the glories of being a hard headed, stubborn bastard. Gotta love it.
The first town we reach is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, but it doesn't matter. Once we grease the cogs, all will fall into place.
Bodies are piled up everywhere, as I was told about before, but it matters not. These are the next warriors for the cause of retribution against Satan and in defense of the new battle plans that God has in store. I don't even know what those might entail, and I'm leading this rag-tag army. Geesh! Is this cool or what?
My webbed friends and I speak to the dead with our minds, and while my other warriors watch in fear, they slowly rise up from where they lie and peer around in confusion, not quite sure of what is transpiring. They know they are dead, but something has brought them back to a world somewhere between the living and the deceased, a nether place where only form and function matter.
"That's it!" I shout. "Wake and follow us. You will be fighting a just war on the side of God. You are the righteous undead, and God will have a place for you in his kingdom."
Expressionless as they might be, with swaths of skin already falling from their bodies, their flesh seemingly composed of boils, rot, and blood soaked hair, they follow us, and when we reach the far-flung forces of demonic deprivation, they attack their counterparts in Satan's army.
The endless numbers of the Dark Angel's forces are not the overpowering obstacle they might appear to be. The regenerative powers work for our Zombies as well as the evil ones, and since the bigger numbers of the Devil's troops tear into our guys pretty good, it is creating more of God's Zombies to wage war.
The live human forces watch in amazement for only a short time before they go to work themselves, slashing away without abandon, putting themselves in harm way. Many of Satan's undead attach themselves, in whole or partial form, to the bodies of their evil counterparts, chewing away and sucking on their blood. But this time things are different; God's Zombies pull them off and tear away at the demons' flesh. Pretty it's not, yet they are very effective.
Everywhere we move, we slip and slide in a red mud formed from the blood of the wounded and the dirt, entrails, and flesh lying on the ground. The light of the moon overhead creates a picture of a deathly, crimson pall extending from the sloppy surface beneath us to the mists above. The black of the night and the droplets of blood combine in an interweaving of shadows, dropping and darting up and about once more. Reality no longer exists for anyone striving to find it in a panorama of absolutes.
The paradox of all that is happening tries to cloud my mind, telling me we are in for an unexpected change. Conflicting thoughts and ideas weave into my mind, muddying the parameters of space and time. Things slow down, my mind wants to rest, and it wants to take my body along for the trip.
This is not the time for a journey. The false voices lose their hold on me when I understand . . .when I understand the source; the purpose; and the myriad possibilities behind all of this.
"Hello, Mr. Ed. I've missed you, so I decided to pay you another visit. And, being the gracious lad that I am, I come bearing gifts. It is awfully warm around here. You must be exhausted from battling the heat. I bring relief. Enjoy. I'll see you later. Maybe."
The roar can be heard now, not only to me, but to the rest of my troops as well. A thirty foot wall of water comes at us, looming overhead, ready to wash us all away.
Shit! I hope my troops can swim!