Trigger warning : aggressive ****** encounters, ****, violence
Walking down an empty street in London, I was drawn to a crumbling, empty church. It's as if ‘decay’ was written on the walls. A sight unseen, I just had to explore. It looks as though no one has been there for years, decades, or maybe even centuries. Wooden trim adorned the boarded up windows and an altar like a hidden stage lay in the very front. Layers of dust coated the floor. Two balconies towered over either side of the altar and what was left of the chairs sat facing the front of the church. The room was almost a half circle, drawing the attention to the front altar. The ceilings seemed to rise for miles and the windows cast haunted shadows on the floor. Everything is dingy and dull in color, as if it was a forgotten coloring book page that has faded overtime. As I tiptoed across the floor, I inspected each little thing almost in search of a lost treasure.
The energy is strange, almost as if it had been frozen in a paradox of time. Everything was left as if they fled in a hurry, untouched by the passing of years. What was it about this place that I was drawn to? What community used to worship here? What happened to them that left this church in this state. I wasn’t sure I would find out the answer to any of these questions until I spotted a dusty old book on a table by the door. Inside was a language I did not know and notes scrawled on the page margins in pencil. “Gratias agimus tibi propter Princeps tenebris, princeps infernum.” it read. Was this latin? That might make sense as many of the Christian religions’ texts derived from the latin language. Since google is a thing now and we have an infinite access to so much information, I decided to give it a go.
‘We worship thee prince of the darkness, ruler of hell.’
I don’t think this was a Christian church…
As I read these words aloud, a whisper seemed to escape from the walls around me. Carefully, I continued to explore, making sure to not disturb anything. Toward the back of the room was a wall trimmed in wainscoting dusted in a faded brown stain. A large hole was torn through a space on the bottom and a faint light flickered from inside. Was I not the only one here?
Next thing I knew, I was on my hands and knees, crawling through this hole. Why am I not able to control myself? I should have left the instant I read the inscription. Something tells me that someone wants me to be here. Through cobwebs and rodent dung, I reached an opening and stood up. It was a room with dirt walls and floor. There was a single oil lamp lit on a desk across the room. The furniture was skewed about and a questionable, almost luminescent red powder on the floor across the room. When I got closer, I also noticed the shards of glass spread on the ground around the powder. I reached down to touch the powder. In the blink of an eye, I was across the room, wondering what had happened. Before I could even form a full thought, there was movement from the hole in the wall I had just climbed through. A little boy appeared, no older than 8, dressed in ***** wool trousers and a half tucked in, stained linen shirt. He wore a newsboy hat on his head that had certainly seen better days. On his shoulder was a worn bag which looked to be carrying something heavy.
“Hi there. My name is Anna. Are you lost?”
He walked by me as if I were a ghost.
He was looking around, almost searching for something.
“Wh-what are you looking for?”
He made his way to the desk in the corner with the oil lamp and laid his bag down on the chair. He looked under and around with a near disappointed look. What was he trying to find? His eyes suddenly widened and he darted toward a nearby bookshelf, pulling down a crystal decanter from the top shelf. It was full of that same ghastly powder I saw before! I turned to look at that spot on the floor, only to find it clear and no broken glass scattered. To my surprise, the decanter came hurdling across the room, right passed my head, and smashed into the wall. I turn quickly to see the little boy and he was gone. I blink and again am across the room where I was before. I shake my head and rub my eyes. What just happened? I should really get out of here - I don’t think its safe to be here.
I turned to leave but caught a glimpse of the little boy’s bag on the chair. Why was this still here? Why wouldn’t he take it with him? I had to see what was inside. I picked up the bag and pulled each item out; a rock-hard loaf of bread nearly mummified, a small black book on elementary mathematics, a very old key, and sort of spherical item wrapped in a brown cloth.
I removed the cloth to reveal a black clouded crystal ball. As soon as my hands touched its surface, I blinked and I was out in the main room of the church with at least 30 people lingering around their chairs talking. I was no longer holding the ball, and everything had a bit brighter of a color to it. The room was still dark but the windows were not boarded up. There still lie some rubble on the ground but much less than before.
“Uhm, hello? Who are you? What is happening?”
I reached out to one of the people and they said nothing - they didn’t even acknowledge my existence. Everyone was dressed in very old clothing. Corsets, bustles, and shiny leather shoes. It was as if I stepped into a chapter of a victorian era book.
Despite the demeanor of the patrons, their clothes were still a little worn, torn, *****, and drab. Everyone carried on their conversations in a reasonable tone until a bell rang - everyone found a seat.
A lanky gentleman appeared at the altar in black clothing and spoke to the crowd.
“My fellow followers of Lucifer, I beseech thee to bow down in worship to our almighty prince. He hath lead us to the depths of the fire and bestowed on us the power to destroy life itself.”
Each person knelt down and faced the ground in what I would assume is reverence.
“For over a thousand years, this temple has held a dark mass for our dark lord, in which we show our dedication to his unholiness in the form of a sacrifice. Who among you has brought a gift to Satan himself?”
A petite, young, beautiful woman rose and approached the altar. Her head bowed in reverence and a veil over her head, she held out her arms. The man took a small item wrapped in a brown cloth from her and set it on the altar. They continued their ritual by spreading what I imagine was blood along the edge of the altar in a circle. As the man worked, the crowd of people mumbled in unison like a prayer. I watched from the side, trying to understand why I was here and why no one would speak with me.
“Ma’am, what is this place?” I asked a nearby worshiper. She said nothing.
“Excuse me,” I nudge a young man to her left, “what is everyone doing?” He did not even look at me.
The mass continued in latin and I watched quietly in confusion.
Nearly an hour passed and the mass seemed over. The people start chatting away as they had before and the gentleman at the front makes his way to the back wall where the hole was before. The young woman stopped him and asked to speak. I follow them to the back of the church. The gentleman quietly opens a door hidden in the wall right where the hole was and they walk in. I sneak in with them as the gentleman closes the door.
“Elizabeth, I am glad you came today. I was starting to worry that your faith was wavering. You haven’t seemed yourself lately since that human left.” the gentleman addressed the young woman as she sat in the chair by the desk. Everything was neater now and the furniture was placed in a purposeful way, much like a room in a house.
“Jonathan was the love of my life, Cain. I miss him every day. I don’t wish to go on in this world any longer.” Elizabeth squawked back with tears in her eyes.
Cain goes to comfort her, sits with her, and holds her in his arms as she sobs gently. He offers her his handkerchief and she accepts gracefully.
“Darling, you have so much more to give here. Lucifer needs your fortitude and dedication. But most of all, I need you.” He says, wiping a tear from her cheek.
As she rests her head on his shoulder, I look around the room. The powder is no longer on the floor and the decanter is on the table. I turn my attention back to the couple and I see him kiss her softly. She turns away,
“Cain, please…” she whimpers, “I am not ready for this yet.” Cain nods and stands up. He walks across the room to a metal bowl with a pitcher and pours a glass of water.
“You should leave, Elizabeth.” he states without making eye contact. “You have no business being here if you will continue to cohort with humans. You have been given a dark gift that you are wasting away. You have been made beautiful to be a glorious gift to our community and you have disgraced us by your unfaithfulness.”
Shocked, Elizabeth stands and walks toward him with more tears in her eyes, “Cain, you know I love you. I want to stay with the community, to contribute and prove my worth. Please give me a chance.” she sobs.
He takes her in his arms and calmly says, “Elizabeth, you know what you must do. You know your purpose. You are the source of intimacy in this coven. You are our only hope to offer what we have to Lucifer.”
Elizabeth sighs and softly agrees. She looks defeated, tired, sad. I just want to wrap my arms around her and tell her it will be okay. I blink back tears from my eyes. As I open them, I am back in the main room surrounded by people. Cain is standing at the altar beside Elizabeth who is dressed in a beautiful black lace gown and veil. Cain lifts the veil from her face and kisses her neck. Her expression unchanged, still flooded with defeat. Cain starts to unbutton her gown. What is happening? Why are all these people watching this? She doesn’t look happy… why is no one stopping this? Cain starts to aggressively remove her clothing until she is standing bare and vulnerable in front of the crowd.
“What are you doing?!” I scream.
“Leave her alone!” I run to the front to try and stop them but I am invisible.
As Cain removes his trousers, Elizabeth stands there calmly but with deep sadness in her eyes. He motions to the altar and Elizabeth lays down. Cain climbs on top of her and starts to penetrate. He begins aggressively … well there is no other word for it besides ****. He is ****** her. Her eyes fill with tears but she blinks them back. He gains speed until he finally ******* inside her. She blankly stares at the ceiling and a single tear rolls down the side of her face, landing in her now unkempt hair.
Why? Why did this happen? What is going on? Why did no one stop this?
A man in the crowd stands up and walks to the front. When he reaches the altar, he begins to undress.
Not again. There is no way. Why would they be doing this? Why is no one stopping this?!
Man after man after man violates Elizabeth while she lays silently on the stone altar. I am sobbing now. Why am I powerless? Why can’t I stop this? Why is this happening?
What seems like hours pass of this horror and Elizabeth finally stands up. She puts her gown back on and replaces her veil. Cain stands beside her and grabs her hand. He recites something in latin then repeats in English, “The marriage of the many.” They begin a ceremony similar to a wedding but instead of a groom, on the altar lies the decanter of powder.
The ceremony continues and I can hear Elizabeth faintly sobbing, “Jonathan…” she whispers. She blinks back her tears and looks up. She sees him standing by the door, tears off her veil and runs to him. He was not there. Men from the crowd drag her back to the altar. She is screaming, “I won’t marry him! Jonathan has my heart. I would rather die than give myself over to Lucifer!” Cain hits her across the face leaving a throbbing red mark.
She cradles her face from the pain as Cain yells,
“Don’t you dare disgrace us! You are the ultimate sacrifice to our king and you must obey!”
Cain drags her back to the altar and chains her down. He pulls a knife from his belt and lifts it in the air yelling, “To thee I offer, oh king of hell, this sacrifice of violated innocence. Come forth and bestow your gifts upon us as we offer her to you.” I lunge forward to try and stop him. Just as he is about to plunge the knife in her chest, the decanter on the altar opens and the powder bursts into the air. A loud voice bellows through the church,
“You dare disgrace this innocence. An offer of such little worth hath no result for a coven such as yours.” A strong gust of wind throws Cain against the wall. The blow kills him instantly. The crowd bursts into chaos. Elizabeth, still chained to the altar, is hysterically sobbing and trying to break free. From the cloud of wind, a man walks toward her. He is tall with dark features. He has deep black eyes and a chiseled jaw line and body. He walks to her. Elizabeth looks up and is speechless. The man crouches down to unchain her and kindly helps her up.
“They hath defiled you, oh innocence. For this they shall burn.” He speaks in a deep voice. He extends his hand and half of the crowd turns to ash. He looks into her eyes and kisses her neck.
Elizabeth looks to the ceiling with tears in her eyes and mutters, “Please don’t hurt me…”
“Why would I hurt the most purest gifts my father has given the world?” He says as he holds her face. “I have removed the human from your life to clear your path to glory. In my father’s spite, we will be betrothed tonight. You shall rule hell beside me and bear my children.”
She sobs, “You … you killed him? I loved him!”
“Girl, you know nothing of love.” He says flatly. She looks at him in surprise, tears still falling down her cheeks. Chaos is still roaring around them as the crowd tried to escape the hellfire. “These filthy creatures are not worthy of your power. You belong to me now.” She tries to break free of his grip but he is far too strong for her. He lifts her up and lays her on the altar and begins to overtake her as she cries.
I stand to the side helplessly. Sobbing with her. I close my eyes and wish it over. I want to leave now. I can’t take this.
Silence. I open my eyes to the sudden stillness and there sits a pregnant Elizabeth in a dark, empty church. Tears are gently running down her face and I realize that I have not yet seen her with a smile on her face. Lucifer appears to her and holds her in his arms. I can’t hear anything. They are speaking but there is no sound. He lays her down and she yells - she is in labor. A small bundle wrapped in a cloth is delivered and the dark lord holds it in his hands and looks down calmly. Elizabeth stands up behind him with anger in her eyes. She pulls a knife from her cloak and plunges it in his neck. He drops the child but Elizabeth reaches to catch it just in time. She runs to the door with the cloth in her arms and slams the door behind her. A furious Satan rips the knife from his neck and runs to the door. He slams on it with his fists and yells. I still cannot hear.
I blink and see Elizabeth on the steps of a church, crying softly. She gently lays the bundle on the door step and runs away. A woman appears at the door and picks it up, cradling it in her arms.
I blink and see Elizabeth back in the church, holding the decanter and stealthy creeping around the corners. She turns around and Lucifer is standing there.
“You have betrayed me. All freedoms have been stripped from you. You will no longer sit beside me and rule hell. You will be caged and retained for only reproduction. You WILL bear my children and I shall take them from you, never to be seen again. This will continue until I have used the last of you and then you will be destroyed.” He exclaims angrily.
Elizabeth stands straight up, holds the decanter in her hand and yells, “I banish thee, Satan, to the confines of this prison. You shall never again walk the face of this earth.” As she opens the lid, the dark lord plunges the knife she used on him into her chest. A gust of wind engulfs him into the decanter. Elizabeth drops to the floor. A knife in her chest, she struggles to put the top on the decanter. She crawls to the wall where the door once was. She begins to peel away the pieces of the wall weakly. She works in pain for what seems like hours until she makes it into the room. She drags herself over to the bookshelf and hoists herself up. She places the decanter up as far up as she can and tries to cover it with a cloth. As she reaches, she falls. Upon hitting the ground, she fades into dust.
I stood there silently, shocked. This woman. I feel like I know her. She is so strong and brave. I am in awe and also in tears. I collapse to the ground in the dust she left behind. I mourn her, her hardships, her life. She deserved so much more.
I open my eyes and I see a little girl, maybe 5 or 6 years old enter the room. She looks around. I yell, “Leave! This place is dangerous!”
Bewildered by the things around her, she wanders to the bookshelf. She looks so much like Elizabeth. Could this be? Could it be her daughter? She is holding a small bag. She sits down at the desk and opens it. Its her lunch. She begins to eat and continue looking around. She sees the light from the oil lamp gleam off the crystal decanter. Excited, she pushes the chair up against the bookcase and climbs up. On her tippy toes, she manages to reach the decanter. She sits back down and twirls it around, moving the powder from one side to the other. A small amount of powder escapes in a puff. You can hear a whisper, “Victoria…” I hear. She hears it too.
“Hello? Who’s there?” she squeaks. She puts the decanter down and walks around. She turns around to return to her lunch and is greeted by Lucifer himself, though she doesn’t know this. He is weak. The remainder of his strength lies in the decanter. He can’t speak. He grabs her and yells - she screams and breaks away from his grasp. She takes off in the other direction and crawls back through the hole. She looks behind her then darts toward the door. He is standing there in front of the door. He waves his hand and the large metal door bolts shut. She stops dead in her tracks, stares at him for a moment, then takes off.
Frantically running through the church, Victoria is trying to find any means of escape. Tears in her eyes, she evades Lucifer’s grasp several times. The windows are boarded up, the doors are bolted, and it seems there is no way out. Suddenly a little gleam of light comes from above. The balcony. She starts toward the wall and begins to climb up the trim as quickly as she can. Lucifer is close behind, yelling but unable to speak words to her. She reaches for the balcony and pulls herself up.
Suddenly I am outside on the balcony and Victoria is reaching for the railing. She is reaching for the light. She is reaching for me. She looks into my eyes and yells, “Help me! Please!” and extends her hand. Surprised that she can see me, I reach out to grasp her hand but before I can get her, she is pulled screaming back into the church. I lunge forward to pull her back but land on the floor of the back hidden room breathing heavily. I stand up and dust myself off. I am in the middle of the powder and glass that was on the floor. I grab the book I found and start to run for the door. I can’t get caught by him, he will **** me. A thousand things are running through my mind. I crawl through the hole and head toward the door. Something compels me to look back as I pull open the door.
There he stood.
Staring at me.
“Daughter, fear not. I will find you and we will rule together with your sister.” He says.
Daughter? Sister? Who am I?
Trigger warning : aggressive ****** encounter, ****, violence