I am what you all fear.
I am the icy touch on the back of your neck when you walk through a graveyard. I am the shadow you sense behind you when you walk alone through a dark alley. I am the whisper of death you hear just before your heart stops.
You try to laugh at your fear when the dark is far and your friends are near. You even use me to frighten children: The bogeyman’s gonna get you if you don’t behave!
You forget that I would come for them even if they do behave. If I wanted, I could come for you all.
The children know. They know there’s a monster crouching under the bed, a misshapen creature in the closet, something wicked slinking under the floorboards, all of them waiting, waiting…waiting until you leave so they can scrape away at the child’s sanity, nurture the fears that will haunt them all their lives…those same fears you hide within and try to forget.
Most of the time we cannot touch you, cannot harm you…cannot steal you from the comfort of your world. But once a year on Halloween, my minions walk the earth. Centuries ago they used to rip you apart with their claws, drink your blood, steal your souls. But you’ve forgotten about that, haven’t you? Or you try to. You believe those old tales are mere superstitions.
But I assure you that they are real.
You are all still alive only because of a game I play with the seraphim. They’re not angels, not as you understand them, for they aren’t pure good, but they soothe, they calm, they cover over terror with a sense of reassurance. They bring you sweet dreams to counterbalance my nightmares. They are the cat that leaps out of the dark, making you believe that the shadow behind you is not really there. They are the beacon of light in the pitch blackness you flounder in.
I made a pact with them centuries ago that whenever my minions walk the earth on Halloween, they would not harm you as long as the seraphim sent one of their number to spend that one night out of the year with me. And when the chosen seraph came, I would tempt her, taunt her, twist her until she became one of my own. The weaker ones would last less than an hour. The stronger would last perhaps ten nights, returning to me ten consecutive years before I broke them.
But they all break.
In protecting you, they have gradually destroyed themselves.
And now another stands before me, her face serene and unafraid, her white wings folded behind her back. She is brave yet, but I know that when I stroke those feathers, my fingers sliding across them smooth as velvet…
She is the last of the seraphim. When she falls to me, you will no longer be safe.
There will be no more sweet dreams. No more cats to dispel the terror. No more light to disperse the darkness.
The monsters under the bed, the creatures behind the closet doors, the wicked things slinking under the floorboards will creep out, frighteningly real. The chill touch on the back of your neck will become an icy grip you cannot break. The shadow behind you in the alley will finally catch up to you. And the whisper of death will become a scream.
Last of the Seraphim
Sonya Lano |
I am what you all fear.