The Glory

His first cognizant thought was how oddly comfortable he felt. The old football injury didn’t ache in the background like it had for seemingly countless years. And the city was quiet…  Since when was the city quiet? Kurt’s eyes opened slowly and he found himself looking into the face of a stranger. The woman was crouched over him and appeared to be trying to talk to him, but all he heard was ringing.

Kurt realized he couldn’t move. His mind wrestled with confusion and concern as he tried to focus on what the woman was telling him. Her voice began to sift through the ringing, and he recognized some of the words her lips were forming.

accident –

don’t move –

will be okay –

Recollection hit him nearly as hard as the other vehicle did when he ran the red light. He had been typing something to post online and didn’t see the red light, nor did he see the ambulance with its emergency lights flashing as it raced towards the intersection. Fortunately for him he was unaware of being thrown through his windshield, of tumbling like a rag doll across the rough street, and of the emergency vehicle rolling over his broken body before it came to a stop on its side. But his conscious mind was catching up with horrific speed.

The fear on the woman’s face belied the calm and soothing words she tried to share with him. A squat man with the bulbous nose of a heavy drinker knelt beside her and spoke in frantic tones.

“The dude’s going to bleed out if we don’t do something.”

“His neck is broken so badly that one wrong move will kill him,” replied the woman, her voice betraying her nausea. “There isn’t much we can do.”

Certainty and finality calmed him. The sounds around him seemed to fade into the background. As his body started to shut down, Kurt’s mind gained an amazing amount of clarity. He had nothing to worry about, not like those hell-bound atheists and science-toting heretics he harassed whenever possible. He accepted the Lord years ago. He vaguely remembered it, but he knew he had because his pastor said so.

As fate would have it, that was precisely what he had been texting about when the accident happened. He was preaching on a local site for an agnostic group. Some would have called it trolling, but he knew he was serving a higher purpose. They were all damned. He was saved through simple belief and acceptance. Surely this accident was a reward from the Almighty. He was being called home.

A cold breeze blew and Kurt shivered. The muffled sounds around him slipped into nothing. He opened his eyes, expecting to see gates, clouds, or something similar, but all he saw was a dim view of what he had seen before.

“That’s strange,” he whispered. The sound of his own voice spooked him. Had he passed already? A foul breeze moaned around him as dark clouds quickly covered the sky. Heavy mists rolled across the street and obscured the people and buildings around him.

“What is strange?” asked something from the haze. The voice was like gravel and broken glass being ground, a bizarre combination of bass and treble that no mortal vocal chords could have produced.

Fear gripped Kurt and chased away all the positive thoughts that had been pooling in his mind. He searched for the source of the voice and found a dark shadow lurking in the depths. It grew in size and became increasingly peculiar as it approached.

“Were you expecting something pretty when your life came to an end?”

“I… I… This is wrong….” Kurt blabbered as the mist parted for a hideous and eldritch being. The thing was partially humanoid, but there were growths and extensions that defied understanding, its foot grotesque with too many crooked appendages and deformities. The wretched leg it was attached to was repulsively thin and covered by a sickly skin that didn’t hide the misaligned bones and flesh beneath.

The creature’s torso was a mottled skin of yellow and green, punctuated by tentacles and arm-like growths, each of which appeared to move on its own accord. The second leg was like a conglomerate of partially fused tentacles that oozed a fetid ichor that filled the air with a horrid stench and left a nasty trail in its wake.

It carried a long chain in a large hand that had nearly a dozen digits, each wrapped around slimy links of metal. The opposing shoulder had what appeared to be the lower half of a bark covered octopus with slow-moving growths that were covered with barbs and teeth. And the head, oh the head. There was no mouth, nor a nose, but the hapless face was besieged by numerous lidless eyes that shined with heinous intent.

Kurt’s hysterical scream was absorbed by the mist. “No!”

“You are still between worlds, Kurt. But not for long.”

A repulsive tentacle reached out for him as he tried to move.

His whole body jolted and he heard kind voices in the background. Were angels wrestling him from this demonic nightmare? Kurt’s eyes opened to see paramedics leaning over him, talking frantically to each other and to him.

“Stay with us buddy, just hold on.”

The light was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He would give anything to not go back to that nightmare. Surely that’s what it was, right? Only a dream?  He was saved after all. Kurt was so tired, and he couldn’t keep his heavy eyelids up. He was ready for the Glory.

Kurt’s eyes closed. The warmth was instantly gone, as were the careful movements and voices of the paramedics. He didn’t want to open his eyes, but had no choice. The creature from before stood over him, a comical look of twisted glee showed brightly in each of its eyes, and the skin of its face vibrated with its voice.

“Glory… What do you know of glory, Kurt?”

A few of the tentacles used their barbs and teeth to dig deep into Kurt’s flesh. There was no blood, but the pain felt unlike anything he had ever experienced. Unable to move, he was left to watch in horror as the thing continued to work.

“Your days were filled with hate, rejecting your fellow mortals for petty differences of opinion, and you expect a reward of some kind? Pearly Gates, shitty harps, and those dumbass cupids flitting around with wings?”

The creature dropped the heavy chains on his legs and gripped Kurt’s face with its multitude of fingers. “Why do you deserve something different from this?”

Kurt fought for his voice, and found it, thinking his one last chance was to claim his acceptance of the Almighty and enjoy the gifted fruit of salvation. “I accepted the holy one and by his Grace I am saved!”

He looked down and saw something ethereal being yanked from his body. It was his soul. Kurt looked to the sky, sure his last statement would redeem him.  Riotous laughter filled his ears. Kurt looked back at the demon as it continued to rip his essence from his damaged body.

“You’re certainly not the first of your flavor I’ve had the pleasure of reaping. Saved by his Grace, to hell with what your actions might have been. Is that how it goes?  What would you say if I told you that the woman in the ambulance you crashed into died a few minutes ago. She was agnostic and is getting a benevolent introduction to an afterlife you will never experience.”

“That can’t be,” cried Kurt.

The creature gripped his throat, tore what remained of his spirit free, and dragged him up into the gathering obscurity. He looked down and through the billowing mists he could just barely make out the paramedics draping a blanket over his body. Kurt’s face was yanked around and forced to look at the demon.

“She was kind, good, and all of that boring tripe. The interesting thing is that it was all of her own free will, not because she thought it would buy her entrance into the land of faeries and light. Faith is worth shit if your behavior is too.”

~ Zack Kullis

© Copyright 2016 Zack Kullis. All Rights Reserved.

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About zkullis

I am an author of dark literature - horror, paranormal, fantasy and suspense. While my writing is always my own, I don't always feel like I'm the puppet master of the sinister products of my mind.

34 responses to “The Glory”

  1. Angel with dirty wings says :

    Bravo sir bravo! (Must learn new ways of saying bravo, but I do love how it sounds!). As always, a wonderful twisted way to start my Tuesday morning! (Big thank you for making a bed full of woman squeal with delight) . Well written , beautiful flow and I love the moral twist in it! Really did strike a chord with me this week. I grew up in a household that was a mix of Irish chatholic and prodisant faith and the mighty and over powering Russian orthodox faith. As such I was taught that if you repent your sins and preach to others you will go to heaven , sod if it upsets or hurts people . Needles to say , I have stayed Catholic as my parish priest has always perched that , yes you need faith to stand a good chance of getting in to heaven , but you need to be a good person with a good heart more than anything(go father Mike!) . So thank you for that! (Sorry for slight rant but I have had someone attack my lifestyle choices (bi / Ds / divorced / marring someone older/ in to kinky shit) ) So team boobies cheers you loadly and waves! Now we be off to finish are man hunt with the hell hounds!

    Liked by 3 people

    • zkullis says :

      Thank you Angel with dirty wings and Team Boobies! I love hearing this kind of stuff! I’m familiar with growing up in a religious and conservative environment. It’s not where I am now, but I’ve walked that road. I don’t ever give anybody shit for their system of beliefs – its theirs. But I sure as hell have a hard time when a belief system trumps other people’s life and liberty.

      Please feel free to rant any time, Angel! The Damned will never attack your lifestyle choices… We of the darkness will have your back!

      A vigorous hello to team boobies, and I hope your hunting was fruitful!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Angel with dirty wings says :

        Lol I do get the vibe that you guys are very much onions in a world of apples! I am very proud of the life I now lead and I’m not allow to hide stuff , if I do the frog walks! (Although after the 3rd of December things will change as he says he is not walking away from a wife!!!(did I say I’m getting hitched?))

        I will be sure to pass on your hello to team boobies when we are all home! Personally ! We placed 3rd over all , but I had to do a track off lead up a big hill with a sight hound X , who is bloody fast! Ended up running most of the 4miles , but it did end in cemetery so…..

        Awdw X

        Ps – is nj full of horror nuts , like Kent in uk is full of kinky fuckers?

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Juliette Kings says :

    Wow. Standing with much cheering and applause.

    Liked by 2 people

    • zkullis says :

      Juliette, I don’t know what to say other than thank you. I write because my muse demands it, the stories in my mind never end, and the voices are eternal. But this kind of validation is more appreciated than many understand.

      Thank you!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Juliette Kings says :

    Reblogged this on West Coast Review and commented:
    A fantastic short story. Wow.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Joseph Pinto says :

    Excellent story this week, Zack! I’ve always wondered who, or what, will judge us when our time on earth comes to an end. Now I’m even less inclined to find out. Sooner or later though… You did a damned good job forcing the reader to question the concept of faith as well 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Veronica Magenta Nero says :

    Great work Zack, an awesome story, you always introduce the most intriguing demons..

    Liked by 2 people

  6. tabbicat7 says :

    Great work! I really enjoyed this story and your perspective on what would happen in the afterlife. It is great to have faith but having a great attitude as a person is even better.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. adeleulnais says :

    Love this story. A lesson for all the hypocrites out there lol great stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Lee Andrew Forman says :

    Loved this one! I like how his faith got turned against him. Everyone thinks about what happens after we die at some point in life. I like the twist of his beliefs compared to what actually happened to him when he died. Great description of the creature as well! Very much enjoyed this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. jonolsonauthor says :

    Amazing piece, brother! Loved the description of the ‘judge’ tearing into Kurt’s soul. I’ve always wondered if we’ll be able to comprehend what is happening in the afterlife to even think if it’s heaven or hell. Hopefully, your beast is not my judge lol I tip my hat to you, sir!

    Liked by 1 person

    • zkullis says :

      Thanks Jon! I felt like there needed to be some kind of mechanical/metaphysical separation of the spirit from the shell.
      As far as who your judge will be? I’ll ask the big guy…. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. jonolsonauthor says :

    Reblogged this on Jon Olson Author and commented:
    THE GLORY by Pen of the Damned’s Zack Kullis

    Liked by 1 person

  11. moondustwriter says :

    applause for another fine work Zack

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thomas Brown says :

    This was awesome, Zack! You had me at tentacles. Great story with a philosophical twist!

    Liked by 1 person

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  1. Pen of the Damned – The Glory - August 30, 2016

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