The Dark Days
As it becomes ever more evident that the long-promised divine chastisement is close at hand, Helena Moriarty, her associate Doctor Leonard Duck, and her family hasten to make what preparations they can and to warn others in the community around them. Disbelief is strong even among their own kin, and when the disaster strikes, all too many are unready to meet it.
The people and their animal charges brace themselves to endure and to survive as total darkness and bitter cold envelop the world. Fiery bolts sear downward, and walls of flame sweep through the streets, but these pale into insignificance as Hell’s demons are released to take whatever humans they can claim or slay those who refuse submission. These infernal entities cannot be fought by mere human strength or weapons, yet Helena must fight, or she will fail the two small creatures she is pledged to defend.
|Title||The Dark Days|
|Genre||Apocalyptic Dark Fantasy
|Release||September 27, 2016|
|Tags||fantasy, horror, disaster, religious horror, chastisement, darkness, fiery bolts, demoniac assault, apocalyptic...rebirth|
Helena Moriarty held her breath. There it was again, a snuffling, then a hiss followed by several sharp raps on the glass.
Her hand flew to her mouth, as if to force back a scream. What was it? At another time, she would have willed her reason to label such fright as ridiculous and dismiss it, but that was impossible in the present crisis. She knew the powers of Hell were abroad, vindictive, hating all God’s creatures, furious because their time of freedom was drawing to an end.
She heard a whimper and glanced down. Shamrock had only been curious when he had sat looking out the window into the unforgiving night. Now, he was afraid. Blizzard sat up, and he crawled close to her. The big cat’s presence reassured him a little, and he peered out nervously from between her front legs.
Helena’s heart wrenched in stark terror. There were other sounds as well, a rattling at the door. What had been her stronghold had become a trap holding her for the kill.
Slowly, the woman came to her feet. She had just been thinking of the apartment as her Eden and herself as Adam’s heir, heir to his responsibilities as well as to the effects of his downfall. God had not to her knowledge lifted those duties when He had stripped away the benefits of her ancestor’s former state.
Helena recalled the command given to the progenitor of her species, to tend and keep the garden. Keep meant guarding of some kind. Against what? There were no other humans to take it from him, and the animals, the reptiles as well as all the rest, were subject to him and were his friends besides.
No, it was not some snake who only filled yet another niche in the wonderfully diverse natural order that he had to face. Adam’s foe had been the Serpent, the Great Dragon himself, a seraph, once the highest of all, broken and bereft of his former glory but no less in power or terror. Her forebear, with his fully open intellect, could not but have recognized the enormity of that challenge and had apparently avoided confrontation with his foe until the time given him in which to act was spent and all had been lost.
What else could he have done? Even in his pristine state, how could any human face such an opponent and hope to live?
He probably had not been meant to live. Perhaps by laying down his life in combat with ultimate evil, he would have purchased safety and assured salvation for his bride and the offspring she may well have been carrying, that and the well being of the world placed under his care. The concept of the faithful shepherd sacrificing himself for his flock was old indeed in that event, as old as love and danger themselves.
That made no difference now, she thought dully. The opportunity had been lost, and here, long centuries later, a descendent of his was forced to meet that same foe or a close minion of his in unequal battle.
Battle? Helena had to grip herself tightly not to laugh aloud in hysteria. Her down coat and fluffy slippers were about as useful a defense as Adam’s bare skin, but, then, an ultratank would have served no better against an enemy the like of this. The armor of God, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the spirit, she had those, for the Lord had commanded His people to put them on in the perpetual war against the spiritual forces of wickedness, but that conflict had suddenly, terribly, transformed from a battle of souls and will to a confrontation in the physical realm.
There was a movement at her feet. Helena looked down. Blizzard had concealed the kitten under the comforter and had seated herself in front of the woman. She faced the covered window with an unblinking stare.
Tears ran down her face. Fat, irascible Blizzard had calmly positioned herself to shield and actively protect her human and kit.
Helena’s eyes closed. That defense was her task, and she was doomed to fail in it, to fail her brave little charge’s love and courage. The best she had to give would amount to nothing in the struggle ahead. The confrontation would be ended so quickly as to scarcely have taken place at all.
The stirring chords of Handel’s “Messiah” rang in her mind. ”If Thou be for us, who can be against us?” The mocking response of the new pagans followed fast upon it. “Everyone and everything since the Church first began.” Defeat would be, could be, her only portion, and the human recognized that fact too well.
That did not matter now, any more than did her utter unsuitability to conduct the battle before her. Alone and helpless, she was still without choice. The ancient war had come to her. She was a daughter of the Lord as well as a descendent of Adam, and she would hold her part, guard the Eden and the creatures put under her care for all of the infinitesimal instant life would remain in her once the assault began.
The window shattered. The sound of its breaking was soft, almost anticlimactic after the terror of anticipation.
Blackness poured into the room. The thing revealed in the flickering glow of her candle seemed to possess no true form, but she recognized it as sentient and could feel its malignancy. Two reddish patches glowing in what she took to be its head might be eyes or serve it in a similar manner.
Helena Moriarty knew she faced the ultimate horror. She stood straight despite her dread and the certainty of her destruction. That malevolent entity would rip life from her as soon as it reached her, but it’s power over her ended there. Her soul was her own, and it would remain hers until she delivered it up to her God and Lord.
Her determination fueled the dark being’s anger. She felt its fury rise and braced herself to resist as it rushed to overwhelm her.