Moonlight whispers against the grey stone of the church, reverberating against the silence of the night. Blood drops onto the snow, staining the pristine white in taints of crimson. I stare at the contrasting colour and then reach towards the crack in the sky. More blood runs down my arm.
“Are you satisfied yet? Is this enough?”
No answer. The crack does not close. I go back inside the church.
The bodies are still there, but the blood is gone. Except for what remains on my hands. They never take that. I think it amuses them.
I hear a rustle, beyond the pews.
Did I miss one?
I move forward. A child crouches behind the altar and scuttles backward into the shadows when he sees me.
I smile, the sadness of inevitability behind the gesture. “You’re afraid, I understand. I must seem a monster to you. Were some of these people your family?”
I barely hear him reply, “Yes.”
“I’m sorry about that, but it was necessary. They were brave people, sacrificed to save the world.”
Another whisper, “You killed them. I saw you. I heard them scream.”
I sigh. How do I explain to a child I’m keeping demons at bay, monsters far more terrifying than me?
Doesn’t it even matter? I can’t spare the boy. I can feel them hunger for his blood already.
“I’m sorry.” I move forward and shut my ears against his shrieks until the church is once again silent. The new blood disappears quickly. The only drops left are the spatters on my clothes and the fresh stains on my hands.
I turn and make my way past the bodies, heading back outside. I look up at the sky again, hoping perhaps this time I’ll see a black night and stars, not a fissure in the fabric of space. I sigh.
It’s still there.
No matter how many I sacrifice, it remains. No matter the gender, the age, the numbers, it never closes completely. But I know, if I stop, they’ll come through. Then the world dies. So I will continue.
Blood keeps the crack in the sky from widening. Blood keeps the hoards at bay.
~ A. F. Stewart
© Copyright 2020 A. F. Stewart. All Rights Reserved.