Darkness Risen-The Torcher

Darkness covers the earth. The Sun, though still in its position in the solar system, has not been able to perform one of its most vital functions; to give light. It has turned dark, and this, amongst other things has made manifest the wicked dwellers of the darkest part of the underworld.
Most of the things humans thought they knew and understood have in a way disobeyed the natural laws that be; there are no children left in the world, and no woman is bestowed with the power to give birth. Both natural and artificial means and sources of light have failed.
In the midst of his trial, Jeffery, a young man falls in love with a girl, Karen, whom he had ignored for some time. And their love is put to test as the world is thrown back into an age worse than the days before the dinosaurs.


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4. Chapter Four: The Safe House

Karen, Jeffery and their new friends traded stories on how they all survived the first wave of attacks. And they have managed to stay alive for some hours after darkness covered the earth.  
They drove pass a big white painted church in the outskirt of the city.
“Don’t you guys think we should rest for a while?” Christine suggested.
“She’s right,” Karen supported. “I feel like a dead whale! I second that motion!”
“Those in favour of resting here and now say, aye!” Christine said.
“Aye!” They all said in unison.
“Well, ladies and gentlemen!” Christine added, “The ayes have it!”
Jeffery turned and carefully packed the big old truck in front of the church. As he switched off the headlamps, they noticed not a single light shone from the church and the house next to it.
Russell, on landing, cocked his shotgun. Followed by the sound of Robby cocking another. Jeffery led them carefully, as the ladies chained behind them.
The doors of the church came gently open, they all made their way in trying hard to hold back even the sound of their own breath.
“Shut the doors.” Jeffery whispered.
Jennifer, the last on the chain pushed the doors shut.
“Yes, shut the doors!” came a voice in the dark, “And drop your weapon!”
They heard multiple sounds of guns being cocked in the dark. Some Handheld lights came on.
“Easy! Easy, everyone!” Jeffery said, “We mean no harm. We’re just looking for a place to hide from…”
“We know,” interjected the voice. “Drop your weapon!”
More lights came on from two searchlights.
“Maybe you didn’t hear me well,” said the voice once more. “Drop it!”
The two brothers gently laid their guns on the floor, standing up with their hands up.
“Good, now…” said the voice. “Push’m!”
Russell pushed the guns with his foot.
“Now, that wasn’t hard, was it?” A man in army uniform said, approaching them.
Two more searchlights came on, this time from behind them. As Jeffery turned, he sighted three more men in uniform.
“Captain Cruz,” said the man in a deep tone. “Welcome. The preacher’s dead. But you’re safe! And for safety reasons, we’ll confiscate your guns for now.”
Jeffery, Karen and the rest took a sigh of relief.
“Alright boys!” The Captain said, “Lights out! So, whatchu got in the truck?”
“Nothing!” Jeffery said.
“Are you sure?” The Captain asked again.
“Just our clothes…and food!” Christine said.
“Alright then,” he said. “Just find anywhere or anything you can squeeze your butts on. The pulpit is taken.”
A woman approached them saying, “Jeffery…Karen?”
“Oh my God,” Karen said, excitedly. “Melanie? Is that you?” They hugged each other.
“You guys made it!” Melanie said.
“Where’s your daughter?” Karen asked.
Wiping the tears from her eyes she said, “She’s gone! Bella’s gone!”
“What happened?” Jeffery asked.
“Well, she uh…” said Melanie. “I woke up in the morning as I was getting ready to go to work. Bella told me not to go out, at first I thought she was joking so I went ahead to prepare. By the time I was set, Bella had locked the whole house and hid the keys.” She sobbed, “I was so angry I…hit her. She ran to her room. So I followed her demanding for the keys. Bella refused. She said something bad is going to happen and she doesn’t want to lose me. I thought she was crazy because she was so serious about it, I got hold of the keys and she started crying begging me not to go out. She couldn’t stop crying and I thought maybe I should stay for a while with her and report to work once she’d calmed. We cuddled in her bed and…dozed off…then this terrible sound woke us up, that’s when…my Bella just…disappeared right in front of my very eyes…Leaving only her clothes behind.”
“She’s okay. She’s safe!” Jeffery said. “She knew what was about to happen.”
“She has been telling me about these things,” said Melanie. “I never believed her. I thought she made it all up, you know kids, probably seeking for attention. I should’ve known!”
“Hey,” yelled the Captain. “Why don’t you guys cut the family reunion and find a spot and lie down quietly so my boys can put their eyes and ears to good use.”
“I am glad seeing you guys!” said Melanie, as she sobbed and went back to her spot. Karen and Jeffery found a good place on the floor and slept in each other’s arms.
There were about a hundred civilians and thirteen men in uniform including the Captain. The armed men kept watch.
After a long and restless nap, Karen woke up having experienced a nightmare. She cuddled herself back in Jeffery’s arms once more. He held her warmly and she kissed him. He kissed her back.
“Are you related to Timothy?” She whispered, “And why haven’t you told me about your parents and…your wife…and child, Jef?”
Jeffery felt a bit uncomfortable, he gently withdrew his arms, sitting up. He sighed.
“How did you find out?” He asked.
“I didn’t,” she replied. “Timothy only said something about you going through some issues in the past or so. I asked him what happened. He told me to find out myself…From you. I am sorry if I’m…”
“It’s okay,” he interposed, sighing. “My parents died. Two years before I joined the agency. Along with my wife and kid!”
Karen sat upright. Touching him on the back she said, “I am deeply sorry! I didn’t know!”
“It’s alright!” He said.
“You want to talk about it?” She asked. Karen wrapped her hand around his shoulder. “If you don’t, I’ll understand!”
“Henrietta and I met back in high school, you know how it goes.” He said, smiling. “Well, we got married and had a child, a beautiful son. We agreed to name him Victor. So um…my parents came to the hospital the day we were discharged, and on our way home…this drunk truck driver swerved from his lane and…” he wept. “If I had known, I should’ve waited to collect some of the drugs the doctor prescribed. Henrietta suggested we buy it from the pharmacy at the hospital before leaving. But you know, I told her that it’s best we get it from the drugstore near the house. If only I had listened to her, we would’ve wasted a little time and the accident wouldn’t have happened!”
“It’s not your fault, baby!” She consoled him.
“I prayed, a lot!” He sobbed, “I even thanked God the day she delivered. Promised Him we’ll raise the child in ways He’d be pleased. I chose to name our child Victor because I kept having these visions and dreams where I keep hearing a voice calling on that word; Victor! Victor! If only I had listened to her.”
“I’m here for you if you need me, however you need me,” she said, softly.
“Thank you.” He said, “That’s how I met Timothy; he came for the funeral. And we’ve been friends ever since! He has encouraged me a lot!”
Someone pointed a searchlight at them. Obviously one of the officers on guard.
Jeffery turned and embraced Karen. She sobbed. They went back to sleep, wrapped in each other’s arms once more.
Karen and Jeffery were later awakened by the sound of a box being dragged down the aisle.
“Hey! Psst!” Captain Cruz called to Jeffery’s attention, “Let me have a word with you, mate!”
Jeffery stood up, approaching him he said, “Is everything okay, officer?”
“Well, yes. All is well, my friend!” He said. Grabbing Jeffery gently by the arm, the Captain added, “One of my scout’s back said those things are headed this way!”
“So, we’re all moving, right?” Jeffery said.
“Well, yes. WE ARE!” The Captain said, “The young chap, Robby, over there says you know a safe place.”
“Well, yes!” He responded, “But it’s far from here and I don’t think the fuel in the truck can even take us there!”
“That shouldn’t be a problem,” he said, grandiosely. “You can abandon your truck and ride along with us. I’ve got a Stryker, a Humvee and two trucks. But we can only carry two of you.” He sniffed, “So that’s uh…you and one of them. Need the trucks for supplies; food and ammunition!”
The people began to wake up.
“I can’t do that!” Jeffery mumbled, turning to Karen and the others. “They’re my frie…” He paused. “They are my family.”
“How safe is this place you know of?” The Captain asked.
“Very safe!” Jeffery answered, “Up on the mountain, not that far from the city.”
“Okay! Now, listen,” whispered the Captain. “My men and I can’t afford to carry too much garbage. We wouldn’t want to be dragged down, you know what I mean. You on the other hand is an asset, your wife of course can come along but uh…”
“She’s not my wife,” he said. “She’s my uh…she’s my girl!” he sighed, with joy.
“Well, Romeo,” the Captain teased. “Juliet’s got a free ticket too!”
“What about the others?” Jeffery asked.
“They are expendable,” he said. “They can stay here if they want! We met them praying here anyway! It’s a church God damn it! The safest place in the whole world, right? They can all stay here and pray harder, maybe when they blow God’s eardrums up, He might finally come down from his mighty throne to um…save us?!”
“You can’t do this!” Jeffery said, “I can’t…Abandon them just like that!”
“Look, buddy,” the Captain added. “I know in times like these some hotheads would want to play Rambo and all that crap but you see, I’m in charge here. I don’t even consider men like you good enough for breakfast, I throw’m to the dogs! You pack these people along soon they’ll start making demands on the leader. I ain’t ready to follow in the footsteps of Moses. Besides, this ain’t Egypt!” Gently pulling his pistol from the holster. “You either do as I say or…”
“Is everything alright, Jeffery?” said Russell, as he approached the men.
“Everything’s fine!” Jeffery said, “Big boy Captain Cruz here says Robby told him about the safe house, and that he wants me and Karen to come with them. So I asked him, what about the others!”
“Yeah! Captain Cruz,” Russell said. “What about us?”
 “Answer the man, Captain.” Jeffery added.
“You’d make a hit track with that line, my friend” said the Captain. Stepping up to Russell, he added, “Try going into music, it’ll suit ya! Just because I’m Captain Cruz, don’t mean I’m here to carry your cross, son!”
There was tension in the church. The soldiers raised their guns up, aiming at Russell and Jeffery.
Everybody stood to his feet, and so did their nerves.
“I got your little diary.” The Captain said, “Got it from the truck. I believe if we go through it, we might find your little safe house.”
“It’s no big deal. It’s only a diary!” Jeffery said, “Not an address book! You want to get to the safe house you need me. Or best yet,” he stared at the Captain. “Be my guest; go alone…along with the diary!”
“Put down the tubes, boys!” The Captain ordered his men, forcing a smile out, “Lay’m down!”
His men lowered their weapons.
“Alright then,” he added. “You win! Now, take us to the promise land! And God so help you it better be worth it!”
“Pardon me,” Jeffery said. “I’ve got to say a little prayer first!” Walking back to Karen, he added, “Need to pass your message to the big guy!”
Russell stared at the Captain then walked back to his wife.
Jeffery insisted that they pray together before leaving, and an elderly woman amidst the crowd volunteered to pray.
“Let’s say the Lord’s prayer!” The old woman said.
“Oh for Christ’s sakes!” Captain Cruz yelled, “Seriously?”
“Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. Amen!” Resounded their recitation.
“I’d swear even I…did not hear that,” said the mocking Captain, he laughed. “Alright, my people! Double up! Move it! Move it!” He yelled, “Let’s go!”
The people began to move out of the church to join the army in their convoy. There were some elderly people among them who couldn’t walk. Russell and Jeffery, and some of the abled men assisted the elderlies and got them on the truck.
While they were busy moving to the vehicles, one of the soldiers began firing shots. A beast has emerged, it caught him and tore him in half before descending on some of the people. They were all frightened by its size and sight. Some of the people ran back into the church screaming. The beast killed a few of them.
Captain Cruz ordered the drivers to move, and they were able to evacuate those who got lucky.
The beast ran into the church, followed by terrible screams that echoed.
Karen and Jeffery were in one of the trucks. As they moved through the woods, there was a pungent smell which made most of them cover their mouths and nostrils with their clothes. The soldiers had their gas masks on. After driving for hours away from the city, they arrived at a mountain where Jeffery claimed the safe house was situated.
Jeffery held Karen by the hips, bring her down from the truck he said, “There’s something I’ve got to tell you, Karen!”
“I know, baby!” She said. “I love you too! Shyness won’t get you anything, babe! Learn to speak your heart.” She kissed him passionately, “Unless if you’ve got anything to add?”
“We’ll be okay!” He said, kissing her on the forehead. They both began to help the others come down from the truck.
“This is it, right?” asked the Captain. Approaching the love birds, he said, “Pardon my intrusion!”
“Yeah!” Jeffery answered, clearing his throat. “It’s up there!”
“Alright!” The Captain said, “Up it is then! Move it! Move it!”
“Keep it down, officer!” Jeffery said.
“Or what?” He said, “Look here, man. Just because you brought us here don’t mean you’re the one calling the shots. Remember that. I own this battalion, got that?”
About a dozen beasts jumped from the surrounded bushes. Piecing the hearts of those that could not run. The soldiers opened fire. All hell broke loose; their empty shells were more useful falling to the ground than the bullets hitting their targets. Some stray bullets killed a few civilians.
“Melanie! Melanie!” Jeffery yelled, “Melanie!”
“I’m here!” She answered, running to him. “Where’s Karen?”
“She’s here, she’s okay!” He said, “Let’s go. Run!”
Panting their way up the mountain, Karen held Jeffery’s hand firmly, with Melanie behind them. The beasts continued to hunt the people, emerging from the surroundings and increasing in number as the people ran up to the safe house. Those that were captured were instantly tortured and killed in a brutal manner. Some of the people were so frightened they surrendered and submitted to the beasts. Asking the beasts on what they require of them, which they were willing to do, but the beasts devoured them.
By the time those that survived got to the peak of the mountain, they had realized that Russell took a shot on his left foot but he was able to climb the mountain just fine, with the help of his brother and wife.
Jeffery, Karen, Russell, Christine, Robby and his girlfriend, and the rest of the crew made it as they ran up the mountain. None of the elderly people made it out alive. Melanie was able to make it to the top of the mountain too.
From the peak they could see more beasts making their way up majestically. There was no place to run to. And one must dreadful truth that struck them all was, there was no safe house at the top of the mountain, nothing. Just an empty ground.
“Is this what you called a safe house?” Russell yelled, “Damn it!”
“We’re trapped!” Robby said, “We’re surrounded! What do we do?”
“Well, my friend,” the Captain laughed hysterically. “Congratulations, mate! You succeeded in dragging us up to our own graves!” He turned his gun and simultaneously aimed at Jeffery, “I’ve ran a lot of times from an enemy…Hell I’ve jumped from a burning plane and landed in the middle of the enemy’s territory but never foolishly delivered myself on their diner. You dumb bastard!”
“Captain!” Yelled one of the soldiers, cautiously.
“Shut it, Private!” He yelled back, “You have no idea how me and my boys survived to this stage, do you?”
The tactical light from his gun rested on Karen’s face.
“You’re blocking my view, woman!” the Captain snarled at her.
“Leave him alone!” Karen said. Standing between the firearm and Jeffery, she added, “Please, no!”
Melanie ran and stood behind Karen.
“Oh ladies, please!” The Captain emphasized, “Get the hell away from the path of my bullet!” He spat on the ground, “I swear on my mother’s grave I’ll shatter your skulls to get through to him!” Walking towards them, he lowered his weapon. “I said, get out of my way!” The Captain kicked Karen with his booth on the stomach, she fell to the ground. Slapped Melanie with the back of his hand, sending her down on one side, he raised his gun and fired two shots at Jeffery.
Karen was already on the ground, struggling to get up.
“Oh my God!” Christine cried out.
Karen stood up, running to Jeffery who was already falling to his knees.
“No! No!” She cried, “Baby, No!” Karen continued to weep as she held him, “What have you done?!”
“You were supposed to protect us all!” Melanie yelled with anger, running to the Captain she began hitting him. “What have you done? You were supposed to be a protector!”
The Captain held her with one hand and pushed her away.
“I sure can, I sure am, ma’am…” He yelled, “…against an enemy I understand! Yes! That, I can protect you from! Not these monsters from the abyss!”
“Oh, baby!” Karen cried, “Hold on, baby, you’ll be alright! Help! Please help me!”
Russell ran to them. The rest stood dumbfounded.
“It will be alright!” Jeffery groaned, “I know, it’ll be alright. Here,” pulling out the diary, he added, “Take this!”
“What? Why?” Karen asked in tears, “Baby, what are you talking about?”
“I’m sorry I never got the chance to explain everything.” He said, lying on the ground in her arms, “Everything will be alright. This is…The safe house!” He smiled, handing her the diary.
“Baby, please hold on!” Checking his wounds on the chest.
“They’ll come!” He said, “It’s meant to happen! It’s all in there. All you need to know but, you have to trust Him. Have faith…in Him! And lead His people!”
“What people?” She asked, “What are you talking about, baby?”
Jeffery coughed out blood, he smiled and said, “You’re to take over from here. My work is just to beam the light, and you are to lead them!” He spoke in great pain.
“Light?” She said, “Lead?”
Russell rushed at the Captain, “You fool!” He shouted as he delivered a heavy punch, he sent the Captain down to the ground. Captain Cruz rolled down the mountain.
“Everything you need to know for now is in the diary!” Jeffery said, “This is what I’ve been trying to tell you. Knowing it’ll sound silly, I tried to wait for the right time!” Placing the diary in her hand, squeezing it firmly. As his eyes came shutting in, a bright white light appeared from his chest. It was his heart, it came shining brightly as his entire body turned white, and the whole surrounding got illuminated with the bright white light.
“Jef. Baby,” Karen said, “You’re…glowing!”
“I…Know!” He said, he coughed. His breath began to cease.
“The mountain is glowing too,” she added.
Melanie, Christine, Robby and the rest of the people stood still, watching in amazement as the light glowed ever brighter. Blinding them, Karen closed her eyes. Russell and the rest of the soldiers that survived covered their eyes with their hands.
The mountain lit up from its foot like a beacon; the entire beasts who set foot on the mountain covered their eyes but were vaporised by the light. However, it caused no harm to the humans.
Like a lighthouse, a giant ray of light rose up straight into the sky.  And the light could be seen from thousands of miles away.
The rest of the beasts that did not come close to the mountain began to run away from the light. People who could see the light from the city and the surrounding environment on the other hand began running towards the direction of the mountain; most on foot, and some in their vehicles. Many who were in hiding came out running to the mountain.
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To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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