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.


3. Chapter Three: A glimpse of Hope.

Karen and Jeffery arrived at an old cottage house in the woods that stood on the brow of the hill. Jeffery gently moved and parked not far from the porch, hitting a wastebin. The light from their headlamp gave them a good view of almost all the dead birds lying around the old cottage house. A sheep and a goat could be seen lying dead on the ground. They also noticed a big old truck, parked under a tree not far from the old wooden house.
“Where’s this place?” She whispered.
“Come with me!” He said.
They got out of the car and walked straight to the door. Jeffery pushed the door, giving way, it made a popping and cracking sound. Karen held his shirt firmly as she walked behind him.
They heard the sound of a shotgun being cocked.
“I believe you know what she’s trying to say.” said a frail, deep masculine voice.
“It’s me, Jeffery Bobson!” He said, raising his hands up. “I am here to see Timothy. The owner of this place!”
“Ha-Ha!” came a laughter from an old man, switching on a searchlight. “Boy, am I glad to see you!”
The men shook hands and hugged each other.
“Oh my God!” The old man added, “Please shut the door. Who’s the beauty?”
“Oh, my uh…Friend, Karen Keaton.” He answered, “Karen, meet Timothy Mithbucks!”
“Hello!” She said, stretching her hand for a shake. Noticing a muffler around his ears.
“Well, hello!” responded the old man, “You smell beautiful. I sensed that fragrance before hearing the sound of your footsteps!” He shook her hand.
“You never change, Timothy!” Jeffery said.
“Trust me, I shed the skin of my heart every now and then.” He responded, “Wonder why I look older but stronger than you, boy!” He giggled, “I still got it in me, you know, get me a wife and I’ll show you!”
They all laughed. On switching off his searchlight, the old man lit up a lamp.
“Speaking of a wife,” he said. “I see you’ve finally made up your mind.” he brought the lamp closer to Karen’s face, “Wow!” throwing a thumb up at Jeffery, “You’ve got good eyes, son! This one here is a rare gem.”
“Thank you, Timothy!” She said, a bit shy.
Jeffery cleared his throat.
“Call me, Tim,” he said. “’Cause I’m stronger than your Team! Ha-Ha! Did it rhyme or what?”
“It sure did,” she said. “It sure did!”
“Please sit. Grab a seat.” He responded, “Welcome to my humble abode!”
“Thanks, man!” Jeffery answered, “Whew!” expressing a relief.
“Would you like some tea?” the old man asked. “The kitchen is over there, make yourself at home young lady. The last time a woman walked these floors was like, a decade ago? There’s food in there too. I cooked some beans this morning. Also if you check the drawers up there, you might see some of those tin can stuff Jeffery bought for me weeks back. I think some noodles too or something!” he gently sat down on a rocking chair, and lit up a smoking pipe with matches. Timothy took off his ear muffler. “Dead birds all of over the damn place! Who’s gonna sweep that?” He added, “Toocho and Margaret are dead too!”
“Toocho and Margaret?” Karen remarked.
“His Goat and Sheep!” Jeffery said. Scratching his nose, he added, “They were his um…pets!”
“Oh!” She responded, “So sorry for your…Loss, Tim!”
“Oh, thank you, beautiful!” said the old man, he puffed. “They are better off dead anyway. Did you hear that freaking sound this morning? Lord! I was taking a pee and the pipeline just went freeze! Nothing dropped, I ran out without zipping up and the whole house was shaking. I was like; oh my God, is this how the big guy wants me to die?”
Karen and Jeffery burst into laughter, along with the old man.
“Is this how you want me to die?” He gagged, “I kept saying that in my mind. I struggled down into the basement and stayed there like a chicken that’s about to be dragged to the slaughter house!”
“We were at the office when it happened,” Jeffery said. “It was terrible.”
“Terrible is too much smaller a word to describe such awful, violent sound,” said the old man. “That was die-able!”
Karen couldn’t control herself from laughing she had to excuse herself to the kitchen. Leaving the men alone in the living room.
“I am making tea, anyone?” She said.
“Yeah make some for me!” Jeffery said. Turning to the old man, he added, “So uh…Your truck, she still intact?”
“Why, for sure!” said the old man. “She hadn’t moved in a while but I always give her a kick every morning. You were the one who took her out last.”
“Timothy, that’s like three weeks ago!” Jeffery said, “You need to let her feel the road, come on oldie!”
“Yeah, right!” He responded, “Like I’ve got the bones and balls to!”
Karen made some tea, and by the time she came back with the cups and some biscuits, she eavesdropped on the men.
“Does she know?” the old man whispered.
“No! Not yet,” Jeffery answered. “But you’re coming with us, right?”
Karen approached them. Jeffery was showing something to the old man in the diary he picked from underneath his pillow.
“Who would’ve thought this would come true in our times, eh?” said the old man, carefully studying as he mumble the words from the page before him. “You see, you haven’t lost your purpose as you used to think after all. You’ve got a much bigger task ahead of you, son! I always told you; be careful what you wish for!”
Karen handed the tea cup to Jeffery, who sipped once and kept it on the wooden table in the middle of the room. His attention was more on the old man.
“So, do you think it’s an alien?” Karen asked.
“No, they’re not aliens from another world.” answered the old man.
“They?” She emphasized.
 “Yes!” He added, “They’re people you probably knew. We all must have come in contact with them at a point in time; could be the streets, market place, worship places and or working place.” He coughed, “And the neighbourhood! What you saw in its heart is the intensity of hatred for a particular kind of people, which is made manifest physically. And for now, nothing or no one can stop them. This is so because…The spirit of God has parted from this wicked world, finally. The thing is, there’s no stopping them, and there is no stopping what is to come either.”
“Wow!” She said.
“How many did you see?” asked the old man.
“We encountered only one though,” Jeffery said.
“Only one,” she replied. “The military claimed we have one of the best facilities for testing so they brought it some days ago, for examination!”
“More will come!” said the old man. “Almost or probably half the population of the people in this world or even more!”
“I don’t get it!” She added.
“Well, you see,” said the old man. “They are not some out-of-this-world entities. They are human beings. What you witnessed was a sheer manifestation of evil and pure hatred from those who turned their backs against the son of man, separating themselves both in spirit, soul and body from Christ thereby, desperately seeking ways to torture, punish and try to kill those who still align themselves with the messiah, before his second return!”
“I still don’t get it,” Karen said. “It doesn’t make any sense. There’s a logical explanation to virtually every phenomenon. Why do you people always bring gods or God into this, who are a product of man’s imagination out of greed and the need for power in order to oppress and control the masses into believing something that can be…Something that can be…”
“Something that can be what?” asked the old man. “Go on. We’re listening!”
Karen paused and gently walked to the corner of the room, sitting down on the floor she burst into tears.
“I’m no fan of religion myself,” said Timothy. “But at my age, if I don’t know the truth by now then I must be the biggest fool that ever walked the surface of the earth. Men have rejected the only way to peace. The world has turned its back on the innocent. The blood of the innocent that sank down has weakened the earth, and the blood cries out to the One above.” He sighed, “Know one thing; where love resideth not, hatred dwelleth! The horrors are yet to begin. The problem is, even Death would be nowhere to be found.”
“What are you saying?” She asked.
“During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them!” said Jeffery.
“What?” She asked again.
“Revelation 9:6.” The old man said, “Who would’ve thought I’d witness it. I used to think God punished me by taking my wife and three kids in that flood. But, I guess it’s better to find myself in this dreadful situation alone than watch my own family stuck in this terrible events! How does one protect one’s loved ones from these dark times?”
“The worst is yet to come!” Jeffery said.
“We’re in a time when God would shut down his mind. He will blot out the memory of our existence so he doesn’t get to think of us. This way, his mercy would not reach down to us! His love would depart from us. And you know…God is love. So, wherever His love dwelleth not, His presence inhabiteth not!” He coughed, “One of the ways to conquer the world is to be in it but not be of it, son! I wish I’m as strong and able as you, I would’ve probably done greater things. But, even my cussed heart knows I’ve had my chances!”
“If these times you guys are talking about is to come,” She asked. “I mean, well, what is the way out?”
“Well, there’s only but one way,” said the old man, “First you have to look at who or what has given the world a good account of what the world is facing or would face, then you should also know that the way out could only be found from whom or whatever it is that best describes what is to come or what had already come. My best bet so far, even though this may sound a bit silly, is Jesus…especially to you young lady.” He clenched his fist, “It is said that those who have accepted Him as the way, the truth and the life would escape eternal condemnation. But when these dark times spoken of is to come, men would seek and call unto He that they rejected but He will lend them His ears NOT! However, some believes would also face such ordeal. For they too, must glorify the name of the Lord whom they so boast of.  Before and during the darkest hours and beyond, and must pass the torch of hope to those who still look up to the day Jehovah would remember His children! At this age, I’ve figured that this is a fact! Look at the world right now! Innocent children slaughtered for no just cause and so on. The earth is being fed with more blood by men than rain from the clouds!”
“So, would the uh…Children of God who’d find themselves in the darkest days experience the suffering too?” She asked.
“Somehow, yes! If you find yourself in such a time and see yourself as the child of God, yes!” He said, “But something would be left inside of them who still believe, which shall keep the torch of hope burning.” Clearing his throat, “You see, they that trust in Him even in the absence of the light must persevere, and when the Day of Judgment cometh, they shall be spared for holding on to their faith in He that saved the world. And in their hearts keep the commandment of He that created all. In order words, to get out of this whole mess you’ve gotta set your eyes on the cross before you, and leave the world behind you!”
“This is not happening.” Karen said, “I know that being old means being filled with wisdom. But you can’t always be right, right?”
“You’re right!” responded the old man, “I’m never always right. If I am, my family would still be alive today!”
The room went dead silent.
“Now, if it’s true God is out there and that He loves us. What have I done wrong to be part of this?” She said, “I’ve never asked to be born. My mum and I had to run away from my father because he was abusive.” Karen paused, “I was only six when we ran away to a different state but she died the day I turned nine. Practically raised myself because I spent a few years at the orphanage then when I got older I ran from the orphanage to go looking for my father, you know. Luckily I met this old couple who took me in, put me in school. They took care of me. They passed away and I had to move on so I went back in search of my dad, and after years and years of searching, I found him…but he passed away too in his sleep, six months just when life was beginning to make sense.” She forced a laughter out, “Okay if that’s not enough. I’ve worked my butts in an agency for years and just when I finally got promoted, well, we all know what happened hours ago! And you telling me God cares?” She sighed, “Come on!”
Jeffery stood up and began walking towards her.
“I want to be left alone for now!” She sobbed.
“Let her be, son!” said the old man, “Not all tears you stop from falling. Some tears fall to heal. Rain makes the land fertile, and so does tears to our lives, most of the times!”
Jeffery sighed, he walked back and picked the tea cup from the old wooden table.
“Hey, son!” Timothy said, “The light shines brightest in the darkest places!”
“Thanks!” Jeffery said, “Well, um…you go ahead and get some rest. We can’t stay here. We need to move to a much safer place.” Walking out of the living room, he added, “Timothy, it’ll be a lot better and safer if you’d come with us.”
“Son, I think I’ve reached that time when I can confidently say; I’m tired of living in this miserable filthy world.” He coughed, “A man can’t spend his entire life running. Sometimes you have to turn and go head on at ya foes!” The old man turned to Karen, “Hey beautiful. You don’t sound like someone who hates God. You look like someone who wish God would prove Himself more in your life. The thing about Him is; when you challenge him to show Himself or use you as a vessel, you better get ready for what’s coming to ya!” He giggled, “I’ve lived long enough to know that just because one is good and have nothing against anybody doesn’t mean life would be fair to one! Everything happens for a reason!”
Karen wiped the tears from her eyes, nodding her head she heaved heavily.
“What do you know about him?” He said, “Jeffery Bopson?”
“We’re colleagues,” she said in a soft tone. “We’ve known each other for a couple of years!”
“In the biblical sense?” He asked, “Not that I mean to poke my nose in ya biz.” He smiled.
“No!” She giggled, “I’ve always like him though!”
“Mmm!” exclaimed the old man, “Funny, he always talks about the girl from his working place; emphasises about your dimple and beautiful smile all the time.”
Karen smiled in a modest way, “But he never asked me out!”
“Is that so?” The old man teased, “Maybe he doesn’t want to get attached to anything that would deeply hurt him when he loses it, or maybe he doesn’t want you to be hurt when his work is done!”
“What do you mean?” She said.
“So he never told you about the revelations; his dreams, and some of the visions he had about…you and him?” The old man added, “Did he tell you about his parents, about his wife and son? His past?”
“No! He doesn’t talk much.” She replied, in disbelief, “We never got to um…”
“He’s a good kid,” old Timothy accentuated. “He just had a rough sail through the boisterous winds and waves of life, that’s all. But time heals all wounds. Look at the gold bars and sparkling diamonds…Ever wondered what those stuff go through before they are made to shine?” He coughed again, “In case you feel exhausted you can go upstairs; there’s another lamp on the shelf, even though I won’t advise having lights shining through the windows from up there. The first door to your right’s mine, pick any of the other rooms. Okay, beautiful?”
Karen nodded, “Okay! Thank you.” She said, “Can you tell me a little bit about him?”
“You’re going to have to dig that out yourself.” He smiled, “Just ask him, in a polite manner!”
Karen nodded again, “Okay!” standing up.
The wooden staircase creaked as she made her way up.
The old man heaved a deep sigh and puffed his pipe, flipping through Jeffery’s diary.
Jeffery gently sat down on the porch swing chair outside. As he sipped more from the cup, he sensed the presence of something alien in the woods. Standing up, he noticed a flame in human form running in great speed towards the house.
“Karen! Timothy! Run!!!” He cried. But before he could take a step, the beast had crushed the door and into the house.
Karen was already screaming from upstairs by the time Jeffery had entered the living room. The old man was still on his rocking chair, with smoke coming out of his mouth. His arms spread on the armrest; the beast had sank its hand into the old man’s chest, it turned and stared at Jeffery, who was frozen. Its feet had burnt holes on the floor, setting the wooden floor on fire. The old man was laughing and coughing out blood.
“See, I told ya!” snorted the old man in pain, “I’ve got a strong and precious heart!” He placed his smoking pipe back into his mouth and made an attempt to inhale some smoke, but coughed out blood again.
On noticing a poker by the fireplace, Jeffery rushed for it, and with it he delivered a sharp blow on the beast’s head. It only landed on a hard surface, igniting sparks of fire. The beast turned, removing its hand from the old man’s chest, with the old man’s heart in its fist, it lifted its hand and crushed it.
Jeffery stood face to face with his nightmare, taking a few steps back. The beast followed him gently, breathing out fire from its nostrils. Another beast made its way into the house from the shattered door.
“Oh my God!” Karen cried out she stepped down from the stairs.
“Don’t move, Karen!” Jeffery instructed.
The second beast walked up to Jeffery, growling strangely as it stared at him. It turned to the first beast, and they both let a loud roar, angrily, spreading their arms to attack Jeffery. Leaving Karen behind them.  Jeffery held firm the poker, waving it from one side to the other. He signalled Karen to pick his diary from the old man’s hand.
Karen then walked slowly to the rocking chair, relieving the diary from the old man’s grip she ran out of the house, which was already in flames. The beasts ignored her, setting their eyes on Jeffery. As the first beast took a step to attack, the SUV came crashing in on them through the shattered door. Karen gathered courage and sent the beasts flying into the air, they crashed into the fire place.
“Get in!” She said.
Jeffery quickly jumped through the driver’s side window as she shifted the gear, putting the vehicle to reverse, tearing one of her tires off of the burning wooden floor.
They managed to get out of the burning house, and as soon as she shifted the gear back to drive, the engine went off.
“What happened?” Jeffery said.
“It won’t start!” She said. Karen turned the key in the ignition over and over again.
“There is no light on the dashboard!” Jeffery said, “It won’t start!”
Thy heard a crashing sound as the beasts jumped out of the burning house.
“Get out of the car! Now!” He said, “Run!”
Karen unbuckled her seatbelt and tried to get out of the SUV.
“It won’t open!” She cried, “It’s stuck!”
“Damn thing is jammed!” He suggested, “Window!”
The two of them got out of the car via the driver’s window. But by the time they landed on the ground, the beasts were already staring down on them.
“We’re dead!” Karen said.
“No! We’re not!” He said. Standing to his feet, he added, “You’re afraid of me, aren’t you?”
Karen remained on the ground behind him next to the SUV.
“Jeffery, are you crazy?” She lamented, “What are you doing?”
“Perhaps!” He said, “All they do is roar at me. They can’t touch me!”
“What?” Karen whispered, “Are you insane?”
“No!” He said, breathing hard. “It’s what I have noticed! They are just trying to scare me. Put fear in me!”
“We’re definitely dead!” She added.
“No, we are not!” He said, “They feed on fear! I know these things, I can tell. They feed on fear!” he gasped, standing before them, “Move back, Karen!”
Jeffery took some steps toward the beast and they moved backwards.
The beasts looked at each other and then one of them began taking steps forward. With flames burning all round its body, it moved closer to Jeffery, stretching its hand towards his chest. The fire from its hand quenched as it grabbed hold of Jeffery’s necklace, it forced the chain off of his neck and opened its mouth wide then swallowed the cross. It chewed on it, sucking the chains into its mouth like a strip of pasta.
“Okay!” Jeffery exclaimed, “This is a bad idea!”
The other beast got quite close to him and roared. Jeffery forced a saliva down his throat.
“Karen, are you there?” He yelled.
“Uh huh!” She said, “I’m here!”
The second beast lifted its hand to deliver a powerful strike down on Jeffery’s head when a force field blocked its blow. Jeffery used his hands to cover his head.
A brand new pickup truck broke through the woods behind Jeffery and headed towards them. Karen rolled under the SUV as Jeffery jumped to his left. Sweeping the beasts off of their feet, throwing them back into the burning house. The engine from the pickup truck shutdown.
“Karen, are you okay?” Jeffery yelled.
“I’m okay!” She said. Karen came out from underneath the SUV, “What was…Who was that?” She panted as Jeffery helped her up.
“I have no idea!” He responded.
The driver of the pickup truck tried to start up the engine with much effort that seemed pointless. Two men and two ladies got out of the vehicle.
“Are you alright?” Jeffery asked them, “Are you guys okay?”
“Yeah! We’re fine!” answered the driver, “Is that big truck working?”
“I hope so.” Jeffery responded.
“Did you see that?” Karen said to Jeffery, “Oh my God! It didn’t harm you!” She observed his body for sign of any injury, “You are okay!”
“See what?” Jeffery asked.
“That thing,” She said, puzzled. “Something like a…an electromagnetic thingy repelled the blow from that beast when it tried to hit you!”
“Are you guys okay,” the driver asked.
“Yeah!” Jeffery responded, “We’re fine! Appreciate it!”
“Mind checking if that big truck can get us out of here before they pop back?” said the driver.
Karen walked to the big truck while the men stood in wait, over what may come out of the fire. She couldn’t open the passenger side so she went round to the other side. She got in and checked around but found nothing. Karen then reached up for the sun visor, the keys came falling.
“I found them!” She yelled, “I found the keys!”
The fire from the house lit up the surroundings.
“By the way, I’m Russell!” The driver said, “This is my brother, Robby. That’s Jennifer, my wife and that’s Christine, Robby’s girlfriend!”
Jeffery exchanged a handshake with the men.
Karen did not hesitate to start the big old truck after a little struggle with the ignition.
“Alright, guys!” Jeffery said, “Let’s get out of here!”
“Grab the bags,” said Russell. “Grab the food, Robby!”
Robby and the two ladies ran back to the pickup truck as instructed, Jeffery ran to the big old truck.
Jeffery got into the passenger seat while the others rode the back. Russell came in holding two shotguns and some bullet packs.
“Nice gun, friend!” Jeffery said, “But I don’t think your bullets can even scratch their skin. If they have one that is!”
“I know,” He answered. “I have seen them in action. This isn’t for them. Anything can happen. We might need it anyway, you never know!”
“Now it’s beginning to look like a dream!” Karen said, “Thank God. I’ll soon wake up! Hopefully!”
“Do you have my diary?” He asked, as they switched sides.
“Yes!” She responded, “Here it is!” handing him the diary.
The other four squeezed themselves at the backseat.
“What’s with the diary?” Robby asked.
“Jeffery here knows a safe house.” Karen said, happily. “He’s taking us to a safe place!”
“So uh, what are we waiting for, huh?” said Russell. “Hit the gas! Put the damn pedal to the metal, man!”
Jeffery gently drove the truck away from the house, watching it burn from the side mirror.
As they got to a cliff overlooking the burning city. They could see more than a thousand beasts from afar, emerging from the city. The only sources of light were the burning buildings, burning trees and the fiery beasts that lit up the surroundings they walked.


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