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I've lived in a small village in rural England for all of my life, I went to a small school ran by the church and was brought up on a strict diet of catholic teachings. The village was always very secluded from the rest of the world, Christ we were still using dial up until 2005. Not that I knew any different, but it was strange catching brief glimpses of eastenders on television and seeing what inner city life might be like. I never longed for it mind you, I had what I had and was fairly content as a child to accept that and roll with it. Not everything in the village was roses though, we had our fair share of mysterious disappearances and even a murder or two. The disappearances were always anti-climatic though, the old lady would show up a day or two later and instated to a nursing home. Rumour had it that they'd all be mumbling the same insane nonsense about church yard monsters, but as I said “rumour had it”. As for the murders, those were a bit more interesting. When I was about fifteen the Monsignor was attacked and left bleeding outside of the local post office, he died of internal bleeding the same night. No suspects were ever apprehended, of course there was no CCTV to catch anyone committing the act. The second murder, if memory serves happened almost a year after the Monsignor's death. The church had been in turmoil following his death and was slow to bring someone else to the parish. The council had their heads stuck firmly up their own arses, and after a resident had exposed the church and council members of fronting a charity to share land amongst the farmers… Well, his head was for the chopping block. So began an inside war between the council and the church, throwing anyone and everyone into the firing line until something stuck. That something, happened to be my dad.

I woke up one morning to the police forcibly entering our house and arresting my dad. He was convicted of the murder of the villager who had exposed the corruption. The evidence stacked up against him, and had he not have been my father, I'd have been convinced too. So he was sentenced for life and naturally my family felt a sense of injustice. My mother moved from the village some years later, but left me with the house. To be honest, that was a cushy little move as no one expected the well to do catholic boy of any wrong doing. I could covertly walk around the village and compile everything I could to prove my fathers innocence. Or so I thought.

What I began to uncover about my homely little village should have stayed buried. It had its fair share of creepiness, but what lied beneath the village was more ancient and ominous than a church yard at night time. It began when I followed a lead, the lead being a conversation I'd heard from two council members at the off license down the road. Unaware of my presence they openly discussed my fathers incarceration and the odd circumstances that saw them walk off scot free, they asked each other in worried and hushed tones how many times they would have to prey to him and how much more severe the sacrifices would become. Now I knew from the beginning that I was dealing with a fairly large group of religious nuts. The headmaster of my school, the parents council, the village council, a select few farmers… Y'know, the people that run the place. Well anyway, they were arranging to pray and make an offering tonight! So I tailed them around the village for most of the day until they set out toward the church. If there was something going on here that could prove my dad innocent I was going to chase it to the ends of the world. Only, I didn't know I was going to literally do that.

I stepped through the church door, quiet as I could. The other two had disappeared through these doors a couple of minutes beforehand. I could see candle light flickering through the windows, possibly from mounted candles. As I squeezed through the gap in the door I could make out a silhouette disappearing down a hatch in the floor at the opposite end of the church. I waited before stepping out between the pews and looking around for anyone else. It was deathly silent inside, that must have been the last person to go down. I was alone. On each pew rested a piece of paper with a curious symbol painted in red, no words accompanied the symbol. It looked like a deranged peace symbol that the hippies use to protest against nuclear war. Only the three lines stretched out of the circle in weird tentacle-like patterns. A chill ran up my spine at the sight of them, but I couldn't explain why. An odd smell like stale smoke and ash filled the inside of the church, though nothing in sight looked remotely burnt. The inside of the church also felt a lot colder than the cool spring night outside. I picked up a piece of paper with the symbol placed on it and felt a deep sense of dread fill me. I could hear a noise coming from somewhere, a distant voice calling something. I looked around the church but couldn't see any sign of someone nearby. Suddenly the paper in my hand began to become insanely hot, I threw it to the ground and watched as it burnt from the inside of the symbol outwards til the paper was a light pile of ash on the floor. Out of curiosity I picked up another piece of paper and held it closer to my face, then I realised where the voice was coming from. I brought the paper around to my ear and listened carefully. Sure enough, I could hear the voice calling from the centre of the mangled symbol.

“Kn'th Alu Di Ah'ra.” It was whispered deep into my ear. The church room began to spin, the last thing I saw was the piece of paper splintering into embers in my hand.

“The sheep has come to the wolves.” Was what I distinctly remember that voice saying, from somewhere deep in the darkness.

When I awoke, it was to the horrifying sight of a rib cage stretched open in front of me. The organs were held in place, the lungs expanded and contracted with whatever was breathing through them and the heart pumped blood around the veins that trailed down across the floor and out of sight. Jesus Christ where am I? What is that?! I stifled back a scream as my eyes adjusted to the brutality in front of me. Maggots erupted from the corpse and a muffled cry of agony followed which slowly turned into a gurgling and choking before silence. I burst into tears, whimpering pathetically at what I had just seen.

“Kn'th Alu Di Ah'ra.” Chanted a chorus of voices from somewhere behind me. A man dressed in a deep purple robe glided to the side of where I lay struggling against my bonds. “The sheep has awakened and wonders where are its flock at this moment in the present.” He raised his hands and I felt something dripping on my face, I blinked and flinched away from it. Only when it hit my mouth did if realise he was dripping blood on me. I thrashed wildly but to no avail. “Struggle not, for the struggles of life are almost ended for you, sheep.”

The room began to shudder with a deep and low vibration, along its wall symbols of red began to glow red. They illuminated the length of wherever we were, showing a stone staircase leading up to what I could only assume was the church. In the centre of the basement was a dark black hole that looked like a bottomless void from where I lay. A group of people swayed and chanted at its edge, that's when I saw the veins from the body dangling over the edge and into it. I began to cry with fear again and the man in the robes moved around me, dripping me with blood.

“Why are you doing this?” I found the courage to whimper. He considered me as I spoke, but he continued his strange ritual around my body. “Please, I just want to know!” I begged him. “We live in a fragile existence, what we are doing here is a gods work.” He spoke solemnly. “A god? what do you mean a god?” I latched onto his words, trying to get anything out of him. In my dazed state I believed I could still save my father.

“In front of you, is the corpse of a sacrifice to something beyond which I can explain. Through his sacrifice we might live in this realm without having to fear the terror for which we make that sacrifice.” He explained slowly. “Something that could consume everything you know and love, can only be referred to as such, don't you think?” He raised the vial and placed it within his robes, then turned and walked back to the chanting people. I watched in horror as he dropped the rest of the vial down the hole and the same red glow from the symbols began to emanate from the void. He reached down a picked up a massive book that filled his arms and briefly flicked through the pages, before stopping and raising a hand over the hole. “Kn'th Alu Da H'khus An Mi'ahia!” He bellowed, suddenly the low vibration picked up considerably and rattled the foundations of the church. That's when I realised that the shaking had loosened my bonds, I took my chance and shot to my feet. I ran towards the chanting group and shoved the man with the book down into the hole. I'll never forget his scream, it reached a harmony with the low vibration until he was too far down the void to be heard. The group shot to their feet and watched me, they stopped their chanting and all stood motionless. The blood curdled in my veins when I heard it… a monstrous, gurgling roar coming from the pit. A voice, similar to the one from the papers on the chairs began to speak.

“Kn'th Alu Di Ah'ra. Az'hi Mo Dh'rhym Kn'th Tkhu Ash.” It rumbled from the void, I could feel its venomous tone and intent from each foil syllable.

“You don't understand, we're protecting you from is!” Shouted someone from the group. “You should not have done that!”

Panic began to well up inside of me, the intent of whatever was down that tunnel was clear. The words conveyed images of something I couldn't comprehend, it's limbs and features were distorted and unimaginable. My head exploded in flames at the fear and comprehension (or lack thereof) of the creature from beyond our realm.

“What can I do?” I asked dully, hoping for some way out of this.

“Pick up the book and read, quickly, every word you see.” They sat back down and began to continue their chant. I looked down at my feet and saw the book the robed man had been reading, I picked it up and found myself on a page that depicted an other worldly shape emerging from a black hole in the centre of the page. Around it in ancient hand written writing were words that looked like the ones being chanted. Marked with shapes and letters I didn't recognise my stomach sank as I realised I wouldn't be able to recite the words back. “Speak! The words will be spoken for you!” The chanting group demanded.

I opened my mouth and began to form what I thought would be the correct sounds, and as I did I felt a fiery acid lick itself across my mouth and down my throat. My tongue convulsed and began to form words that I wouldn't have been able to form naturally.

“Kn'th Alu Da H'khus An Mi'ahia!” As I spoke, a crack splintered the stones around the hole, toppling a member of the group over the edge and in. Another nightmarish scream slowly disappearing down into the depths. One of the members stood up and bolted for the stairs, before suddenly stopping and collapsing back to the floor, his body thrashing and twitching - before erupting with maggots from every pore on his body. If I could have choked and vomited on my words I might have, but the disgusting language kept rolling off my tongue. The acidic feeling floated up into my eyes and showed me what this realm could be. Growths lined the walls and breathed in the toxic air, they crawled and reached into and through gaps and splintered the stones while tearing through the wooden rafters. The group of changers splintered open and were replaced by piles of maggots and grubs all writhing around in an intoxicating madness. Then I snapped back to reality, or what was left of it at least. The chanters were filing up the stairs and the room had stopped vibrating, the hole was quiet but a dark energy still breathed through it. I tucked the book under my arm and followed after the group.

“We can't let you take that, this isn't the end you know.” She reached a hand out for the book I was holding. I held onto it, hesitating. “You've seen it now, what we are doing here. You've seen what will happen if we don't do this.” She pleaded with me. “I know who you are, I know what you want - but it was just another sacrifice… Your father… we're sorry but he wanted the world to know.” Slowly she came closer and clasped a hand on the book.

“I understand.” I conceded. “Whatever that is, it has to be kept away from the world.” I let go of the book reluctantly, and watched her walk back to the group. “What now?”

“Now, you have to die.” She said flatly. “Again, you must understand.”

I did. I did understand, but I didn't agree. So I took off, I barged past her and out of the church and raced home. They know who I am and where I live, and they are going to come after me. So I'm telling you all, there is something evil living beneath us. It's older than I can imagine and it's more grotesque than anything your nightmares could conjure - there are people working to keep it beneath us. Whether they are good or bad, I don't know… But they want to kill me. Everyone needs to know about what the church isn't telling us. Listen closely and watch out for its symbol wherever you go, if it escapes it will be the end of us all - but we can't let the church and our politicians murder and cheat people… Can we?

Fiction


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