Join us tonight as we discuss video games and other nerdy topics.
Join us tonight as we talk about actions of Atheist Activist Organizations and what they have been pushing this week.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administ… https://m.newstimes.com/local/article… https://www.atheists.org/2018/12/john… https://www.atheists.org/2018/12/ohio… https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legi… https://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/i… https://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/i… https://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/i… https://ffrf.org/news/action/item/335… https://religionnews.com/2018/10/11/f…
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A teenage boy and girl wander the land of Eurasia the time of kings and knights in search of adventure, conflict, and redemption. To say they are merely children is a severe understatement. The boy has the soul of a warlord who has destroyed nations, killed innocent people, and taken their possessions. It was not until the girl, who was a woman at the time, came to him and readjusted his view of the world. Though he did not like what she was saying, he couldn’t bring himself to raise his hand against her. She showed him beauty and goodness in the world and in people that he was completely blind to. Her presence gave him peace that his possessions could not, so he married her. The blood of his actions, however, could not be washed away with the little time he had left to redeem himself and was cursed to live forever on the earth until it was. Though she was allowed into Heaven, the girl turned away from it and held onto the boy and promised to help him on his journey. He tried to push her away, so she wouldn’t be caught up in his punishment, but she stuck close to him. As part of his punishment, he was granted the blessing to turn into a white devil with six tendrils that protrude from his back. He can exact righteous justice on those who deserve it and the punishment will fit the crime. The girl was granted wisdom and knowledge to guide the man’s decisions and be his source of relief and happiness. The boy wears a hooded sackcloth, which is a far cry from his royal robes he once wore. It’s covered in the blood of the innocents he killed, and the blood is so much so that it looks naturally red instead of brown. The girl wears a simple white and red dress similar to the one she was married in.
The two of been through times of ruin and peace. Throughout it, the girl has kept the boy under control and on the road to redemption, but in some cases, the boy’s intuition and knowledge of the fallen humanity helps him make instant judgments while the girl’s empathy has lead to the death of innocents. As much as she helps keep him on the right path, he does the same every now and then. They still continue their journey throughout the land of Eurasia to not only obtain the boy’s redemption, but to also bring justice and peace.
As the two walk along a forest path, they come across an apple tree with a woman picking fruit from it.
The girl says to the woman, “Excuse me miss? Can we have an apple each? We’ve been adventuring for a while now and some fruit would help us immensely.”
“Oh, of course you can!”
The woman tries to get more than two apples for them, but as she shakes the tree to pick the apple, three loose apples fall on the girl’s head. This enrages the boy to which he transforms into the white devil.
“You wench!” he yells out, “How dare you be so careless in the presence of my beloved!”
His tendrils retrain the woman’s legs, arms, neck, and body. Her punishment then comes on her. A single apple falls on her head. Once her punishment is complete, the boy’s tendrils release her, and she runs away in fear of the two. The boy goes back to his human form once she’s clear of them.
“Are you okay my-”
He receives a hard backhand to the face from the girl.
“How many times do I have to tell you to not worry about me when things like this happen?!” she says, “Do you like getting slapped?”
“Kind of…” he says with a smirk before getting slapped again, “I was joking…”
“Hmph. Hopefully we won’t see that woman again so we won’t have trouble in the nearby town. Are you seriously eating the apples she dropped?!”
“Uh, yes? Want one?”
She takes an apple before backhanding him again. They take several apples with them as they enter the nearby town. The town has various churches and bustling marketplace since it’s a town of commerce and community. There’s an art contest being held at the art section of the marketplace and the girl decides to join in.
“Why don’t you join too?” the girl asks the boy.
“Nah. I don’t exactly…create things.”
“Nonsense. I’ve seen you doodling when you were bored and with pen and paper.”
“Yeah, but I wouldn’t call my doodling good art.”
“Just join with me for fun!”
“I guess I should, but why am I even doing this? I’m a grown man.”
“But mentally you’re a child.”
“I was a conqueror of men!”
“And now you’re my husband, which means I’ve conquered you and your men. Come on already!”
The two go up to the adult who is taking the names of the participants.
“Hey kids!” a woman who appears to be a mother says, “Are you going to be making art with us today?”
“Yes mam!” the girl says.
The boy doesn’t say anything until the girl elbows him.
“Can I get your names before you enter?”
“My name is Bella, and this is my boyfriend Mao.”
“Oh! A couple drawing together eh?”
The woman elbows and smiles at a man who the kids assume to be her husband. He smiles and laughs.
“Now that I have your names, you should look around here for the supplies you need to draw. We also have hundreds of pieces of art around the marketplace, so take a look around if you need some inspiration. It also doesn’t hurt to ask others for help. Got it?”
“Got it!” Bella says.
“Yup. I got it,” Mao responds.
“The contest starts in twenty minutes, so you still have plenty of time and don’t forget. This is just for fun, but still try your best!”
Mao and Bella go around to get their tools and drawing material. They go around the marketplace to find inspiration for their work and once it’s time to draw, they put their skills to the test. Bella draws a bright picture that has a small bunny with flowers around it. She uses paint, brushes, and her finger to draw the picture. Mao, on the other hand, draws a war-torn knight in bloodied and injured, but still charging towards battle. He uses charcoal and his sackcloth to erase and draw shapes and figures. Oddly enough, Mao wins the contest. Since Bella and Mao had previous experience in drawing and their competition are just normal kids, they outclassed the others by a mile. As a reward, Mao gets a small reward of money, a fruit basket, and a kiss from Bella.
“Congratulations young man!” the mother says, “I’m sure your parents are going to be very proud of you!”
“I-I guess so.”
Bella and Mao go to a fountain near a church to eat the fruit basket.
As Bella drinks in the feel of the town, she says, “This reminds me of my hometown.”
“That’s where I first met you. I came to raid your town, but you came out by yourself and got me to back off.”
“I’m that special, aren’t I?”
“Most towns don’t have a single woman coming to meet an army. Special isn’t half of it. I’m sure your parents were worried about you when you did that. What do you think my parents are thinking about me right now?”
“I’m sure they’re proud of you for changing.”
“I don’t know about that.”
All of the sudden, two girls run by and push the two into the fountain then run away.
“What was that for?!” Mao says as Bella tries to keep him calm.
A man helps the two out of the fountain while saying, “Don’t mind those two. They’re not used to losing so they get a little mad when they do.”
“Thanks mister,” Bella says then waits for him to leave to tell Mao, “I remember girls like them when I was little. They’re nothing, but jealous princesses who are full of themselves.”
“What do you want to do?” Mao asks with a bit of curiosity.
“The same thing I did to them years ago. Get revenge.”
Both Mao and Bella deviously smile at the different ways to get revenge from Bella’s innocent but humiliating ways to Mao’s harmful but simple ways.
“What are you thinking Bella?”
“I’m thinking that we should return the favor of them cleaning us.”
Bella gets several pale of water that are from the bathrooms and the two get on top of the rooftops. Mao uses his man tracking skills to find the girls and finds them with their friends. Bella and Mao wait until the girls walk closer to them to pour the water on top of them. Once they do, they quickly dump the water on top of the girls then sprint away as they hear their screams. The couple laugh then reward themselves with a little dinner date at an outside restaurant. Mao eats a steak while Bella eats fish.
“I didn’t know you were like that Bella.”
“What do you mean?”
“That you take revenge in that way. I thought you were a very forgiving person.”
“I am…most of the time, but I can’t stand prissy little girls like that.”
“Did other people in your town know you were like this?”
“I kept it secret from them, so I could always get away with what I did.”
“Do you know I like you more and more with each day?”
Before they can kiss, an incoming parade catches their attention. The town is celebrating the death of the tyrant that was Mao. They have fake statues of Mao and Bella that are half destroyed and covered in drawings.
“Hoorah! Hoorah! The demon Mao is dead and is rotting in hell! Praise be to God!” they say, “May all the earth rejoice in his absences! May we rejoice also in the death of his useless wife who tried to make him pay for his sins but failed.”
“Mao…This isn’t right. No one’s death should be celebrated like this!”
“I don’t mind it.”
“I don’t mind it! I’d celebrate my death like this too because of the things I’ve done.”
Mao sighs as he turns to watch the parade as it passes by him. He watches how happy everyone is that he died and how they celebrate it with streamers, confetti, and fireworks.
“You know Bella, I’m happy that I died. I’m even happier that I got the chance to redeem myself and that you didn’t go to Heaven to help me out. The reason why I don’t really mind what they’re saying is because your opinion of me is all that matters…Bella?”
Bella has moved from her chair and is now in front of the parade.
She yells out, “What is wrong with you people?! No one’s death should be celebrated no matter how horrible they were! Stop this celebration at once!”
The crowds don’t take too kindly of Bella’s defense of Mao and start yelling at her and throw stones and various hard objects at her.
“Bella! You bastards!” Mao says as he transforms into a white devil.
The sky turns black as judgment is going to be dealt. Mao shields Bella from the projectiles and the crowds are shocked by Mao’s appearance.
“You people are just as evil as the people you mock!” Mao says in a demonic voice, “What kind of people praise death and throw things at a child wiser than you?!”
Mao’s tendrils spilt into multiple tendrils to catch everyone and hold them as they are judged. The things they threw at Bella levitate and get thrown back at them harder than they were thrown. Hard rocks then fall from the sky to ruin the parade and rain on the marketplace. Mao carries Bella out of the town as the rocks pelt everything and everyone around them. Though no one in the town is seriously hurt, houses, shops, and the other buildings and streets were heavily damaged. The people of the town then prayed for forgiveness as they rebuilt what was damaged because of their actions. Mao and Bella are now far away from the town as they continue Mao’s journey for redemption.
“Mao…I’m sorry you had to see that parade.”
“Like I said I didn’t mind it. The worst thing about it is that the statue they had of you had a bigger butt and chest than you did when you were that age.”
“Your actual chest and butt are smaller and I’m not trying to say that it would be better if those parts of you body were bigger. I mean that’s probably the inner teenager in me speaking, but you know. I’m just saying.”
Mao takes one look at Bella’s mad face.
Mao then starts to run away as Bella swings at him while saying, “I’ll show you who has smaller private body parts!”
After a beating and two days, Mao and Bella come across a village. There are several farms in this village along with a church and a school with various houses and shops near it. Bella brings Mao to a farm where the owners are allowing a few of the kids to ride the horses they have.
“I swear Bella! Your childlike personality is out of control!”
“But look at the horses!”
“I had dozens of them, but you didn’t care much for them.”
“That’s because you had them scarred to mark them as yours.”
“It made them look intimidating and battle experienced!”
“You made them look like a fantasy horse.”
“Which is scarier than a normal one.”
“Right…and I’m the one with a child’s personality.”
Since Mao isn’t too fond of riding the horses, he gets the adults to put him on it as she rides in front and he has to hold onto her back.
“This is embarrassing!” Mao says.
“This is great!” Bella says as she rides around the field with the horse.
It’s always been one of her favorite things to do years ago. She used to race horses with her fellow town’s people and do obstacle courses. Feeling that she still has the skill, she goes through the obstacle course that’s on the farm ground. Since Mao’s teenage body isn’t used to riding on a horse and wasn’t sure about Bella’s risky movements, he threw up after they finished their ride. Everyone who was watching claps at Bella’s performance and the owners tell her she can come back anytime she wants. They give her and Mao an apple pie as they leave.
“Can we eat it now?”
“But you just threw up!”
“And now I’m hungry because of it!”
They both eat half of the pie before continuing to walk through the town. Unlike the previous town, this smaller one is quieter and less busy. It still manages to stay alive seemingly because of the community and farms around it, but the area itself has nothing of interest to Mao and Bella so they move on to the next area of interest. Along the way, they come across highwaymen robbing a young boy. The boy appears to have already tried resisting to no result.
“They’re mine,” Mao says as he transforms and tangles the robbers in his tendrils.
Everything they have including their clothes disintegrate and the thieves are left with nothing though the boy’s possessions are untouched. They run away from Mao in fear while the young boy stays where he is because he doesn’t know what to do.
Mao transforms back to a human and asks the boy, “Are you alright?”
“Yo-You’re like me?” the boy says.
“We both are,” Bella says, “Now go back to where you’re from.”
“I can’t I won’t,” the boy says as he collects what was stole from him.
“It’s full of terrible people who touch me in weird ways.”
“We’ll deal with them. There’s a farm town not too far from here. Go there and they’ll take care of you.”
“Thank you so much!”
As the boy leaves, Mao says, “This place should be interesting.”
“That means we have to be careful,” Bella says.
“It means we’re going to be encountering a lot of sin and I love ridding the world of it.”
“Don’t be so caught up in violence. It’s what got you in this situation in the first place.”
“It’s what lead me to you, so it’s not all bad.”
“Don’t sweet talk me like that mister or else you’ll be getting my hand on your face again.”
“I love you.”
“…I love you too.”
Bella tries swinging at him, but he dodges it.
“Ha! Missed me, missed me, now you gotta kiss me.”
Bella kisses Mao’s face then smacks it.
“That was worth it.”
The couple makes it to the town the boy was from and it appears to be a cesspool of sin. It even smells the part as well. This town is filled with prostitutes and killers alike that don’t mind showing their private business in the open. Among the crowd, Mao spots a normal looking family that appears to be moving from the town. This familiar sight of a good family in a terrible area brings Mao back to his childhood.
“Do you think my parents are proud of me?” Mao says aloud without realizing, “Did I really let them get the best of me when they died? Do they regret having me after I did? Am I a bastard child? Bella?”
Mao notices that Bella isn’t with him and panics. Back when they were adults, Bella used to be interested in the human figure and liked making art that bordered on pornography. Mao is thinking that she’s watching these people and getting caught up in them for her “art”.
An older woman pulls Mao aside and says, “You’re a cute young man. Want to have some fun?”
Though this woman looks better than Bella, Mao rejects her by saying, “I don’t associate myself with harlots. Besides, I’m married.”
“Who cares about marriage? Trust me, when I’m done with you, you won’t want to be married.”
“I respectfully reject your offer now leave me be.”
The cougar pins up Mao against the wall and presses herself against him
“It isn’t an offer.”
She begins to lick his face. He responds in turn by biting into her neck and tearing her throat out, which he could do since it is self-defense. Mao leaves the woman to choke to death on her own blood as he turns to the rest of the people.
“Ssssinnnnnn,” Mao says in a snake-like voice as he transforms into the white devil.
He uses his tendrils and the people of this place receive their judgment.
“You have abandoned God and He has abandoned you in turn. You’re all mine now, which means you get my favorite execution. Shred and rip them apart!”
Blades and thorns come out of the ground to slowly cut and tear apart everyone. Blood and guts splatter the ground as Mao searches for Bella. He finds her naked with a piece of paper with one of her drawings on it. It doesn’t appear that she was harmed or sexually assaulted, so he quickly carries her away as the entire village sinks into the earth. During the next morning, the runaway boy goes back to this place with a couple escorts and only finds several objects that were stolen from other villages and towns. Mao is still carrying Bella who is still naked, but he isn’t in his devil form.
“How long do you think it’s going to be until I get another pair of clothes?”
“…Is there a correct answer to that?”
“Yes. Pick it.”
“…So no one sees you naked? But you being naked isn’t something that I mind!”
Bella kisses Mao’s forehead. As they keep moving, a traveling merchant appears from behind them. Mao turns around to hide Bella’s nakedness.
Mao says to the merchant, “Excuse me sir. Do you mind if we buy a pair of clothes from you? My wife here got them stolen.”
“Of course! You can have them for free. I have a perfect dress for her.”
It may be a coincidence, but the merchant gives Bella a red and white dress that she had from before. She gets changed and thanks the merchant and tries to give him money for his gift.
“It’s no problem my dear,” he says, “I don’t ask for anything from the needy. May I ask where you’re heading?”
“Wherever the road takes us,” Bella tells him.
“How about you two travel back to my house with me? Rest for a bit then leave?”
“Thank you. We’ll take your offer.”
Mao whispers to Bella, “Are you sure?”
Mao and Bella board the carriage. As they travel to the merchant’s house, Mao falls asleep and rests across Bella’s lap.
“How far did your husband carry you?”
“Maybe ten miles at the least.”
“He must really love you then.”
“Of course he does. He’d do anything for me.”
“So why are you on your journey? If you don’t mind me asking.”
“It’s for his redemption and that’s all I’ll tell you I’m afraid.”
“Well that journey should be coming to an end soon. A man who would carry his wife for miles can’t be all bad.”
“I know he isn’t, but some people won’t see that.”
“Give them time. I’m sure your boy will show them who’s better.”
Once they arrive at the merchant’s house, they put Mao to bed who is still sleeping. Bella repays his kindness by helping around the house and fix his merchandise. She teaches him a couple recipes to use when selling food that she remembers from the royal chefs she had as a queen. After all that, Bella tells the merchant to prepare a special event for Mao when he wakes up. Mao eventually wakes up a couple hours later and doesn’t know where he is. He grabs a nearby object as a weapon to protect himself.
“Bella? Bella?” he says while wandering the house.
He eventually sees candlelight in the kitchen to which he goes to.
“Surprise! Happy birthday!” the merchant, his family, and Bella say as Mao turns the corner.
He almost swings but then says, “What?”
“Were you not keeping track of the days?” Bella asks, “Today is your ‘fourteenth’ birthday!”
Mao is embarrassed and sheepishly says, “I-uh. Thanks, but I don’t think I deserve it.”
“Of course you do!” the merchant says, “You carried your wife all the way to help. You’re what I call a real man!”
The merchant’s wife says, “Now would you do the same thing?”
“Of course I would especially if you weren’t wearing clothes!” he responds.
They all laugh, but Mao is still surprised by the celebration.
“Come on Mao! Sit down.”
The family and Bella have a cake made for Mao with candles on it. They sing him happy birthday as he sits at the head of the table. Bella sings while she holds him and while this is happening Mao is trying not to cry, but he can’t help but smile. He feels loved in the same way that he did with his family and Bella. His armies never did anything for him like this nor did they love him as his family and Bella do. Mao blows out the candles and everyone cheers. They then eat the cake and celebrate Mao’s birthday. The first birthday in a while that he felt good about. He eventually warms up to the family and talks to them though he doesn’t tell them who he and Bella really are. The couple leaves the next day with food, water, and good memories of this family. Starting the day after the family met the couple, the business they have starts to thrive as tons of people start buying food, clothes, and various other products from the father. He says to this day that both Mao and Bella are a blessing to this world.
Though they didn’t intend to, they’ve finally come back to Mao’s home country, the main capital to be precise. It’s in a state of civil war as Mao and Bella’s children fight against the leaders they put in before they died. Their children, like Mao, fell to bad influences as they were spoiled after hearing the power and strength their father had before he met Bella. They think their mother made their father weak and were constantly arguing with their father as he became a more peaceful man. Thinking they would need more help, Mao and Bella ordered several wise elders to control their country and continue teaching their children the right way to live. It doesn’t appear to have worked, but both Bella and Mao don’t think their children are behind this. As they make their way through the destroyed streets, they think about who could’ve done this.
“It has to be those bastards who were a bad influence on them!” Mao says.
“I’ll rip them apart! No one messes with my babies!” Bella yells out as she runs at full speed.
“What are we going to do if our children decide to fight us?”
“Let’s hope they haven’t committed too many evil acts. I can only imagine what inspiration they took from your old self.”
Mao sees one of the worst inspirations his children took from him. To make people fear him, Mao would take the bodies of people and impaled them to the ground and to buildings as a warning. He would impale the elderly, the fit, the poor, the rich, the young, it didn’t matter to him at the time. The bodies would stay there and rot in the cities of his enemies and his conquered. If anyone would bury or move them, they would be executed, and their bodies would be impaled on the streets as well.
“We have to get to them now!” Mao says with extreme worry.
Mao and Bella make it through the death and destruction to find their five children at the castle gates with their army behind them. They’re trying to knock down the gates to get to the rest of the civilians and resistance. Both Mao and Bella are transformed into adults so the soldiers and their children will recognize them. Mao is wearing his old armor set while Bella is wearing a luxurious white and red dress. They notice this and appear to realize the meaning of it.
“Clear the way! Your king returns!” Mao announces as to get the army’s attention.
The army sees their king and queen return and bow in their presence. Their children are shocked by this and stop breaking down the gates.
The army proclaims, “The king and queen are immortal! Give praise to the ultimate rulers of the strongest country on earth!”
They cheer and praise them, but Bella says, “Silence! What have you done to our capital city?! It lies in ruin with your fellow men and women lying in their own blood! Shame on you all especially the ones who made our children do this!”
One of the soldiers says, “But they organized it all! No one else made them do it.”
“My children would never do such a thing! If you do not want to face the righteous wrath of God, then turn your lives around and leave now!”
About one hundred and fifty soldiers of the four thousand retreats. Mao and Bella’s children approach them and the oldest, Martino, speaks for them.
He says, “Now that you are immortal you might see truth. Tear down this gate and restore this nation to its former glory!”
Mao says in a stern voice, “My son Martino, have you not seen sense yet? Blood and destruction is not the way to get what you truly want. It is through love of God, others, and self that will give satisfy and bring you what you need. Your mother taught me that.”
“Mother is a dolt who acts hypocritically. She’ll take childish revenge, draw pornography, and hit you to show her dominance.”
“Not everyone is perfect, and temptation gets to us every now and then. Be thankful those three things are the only things she does.”
“She matters not to us. Take back the kingdom and go back to your old ways so we can conquer the world!”
“Please. Don’t let me do this.”
Bella starts to tear up as she says, “I love you all! Please! Turn around and change your ways!”
“If you won’t turn let go of this woman then I’ll kill her for you father!”
Mao unintentionally turns into the white devil and his tendrils restrict his children and call down their judgment.
“Please, don’t be so harsh on them,” Bella begs.
“I don’t have control of it,” Mao says with fear.
Seven angelic executioners descend from Heaven and behead all five of Mao and Bella’s children then toss their bodies into the abyss. The executioners then kill the rest of the army who didn’t retreat while a cherubim shields Mao and Bella as they mourn for their children.
“Why did this happen?” Mao asks the cherubim who doesn’t want to answer.
“Because that’s the way our kids were,” Bella answers for him, “There’s nothing else we could’ve done. It was their decision and they have to live with it.”
“I know that, but…but I want there to be a different reason.”
Mao looks out as his men are killed and his city brought to even more ruin than before. His fists are clenched, so Bella hugs him from behind to calm him. After the fight ends, all three thousand eight hundred and fifty soldiers lay dead. Though they tried to fight back, the executioners sustained no injuries from the army. The cherubim and executioners then rise back to Heaven and the gates of the castle open. Mao’s most trusted official, Shun, walks out to them.
He says, “You’ve brought us angels to save us. You truly have achieved redemption, my lord.”
“Not yet,” Mao responds, “I still have much to do.”
“I am sure that you will obtain it soon since you are alive and the angels came down to your aid.”
“I hope so my friend.”
“Are you going to rule us again? You were our mightiest king and there might be more rebellion.”
“No, I won’t. I died and am reborn for a different purpose. There won’t be any rebellion for generations after what has happened today, so be at peace. Again, I command you my last command. Keep the city safe and continue to teach them in the ways of our Lord God.”
“As you wish my king. We will begin with repairs for the city and burying of the dead.”
“If you couldn’t repair my child-”
Bella grips Mao’s arm while tears are still in her eyes.
“Forgive me my king. We tried our best-”
Mao puts his hands on Shun’s shoulders.
“I’m sorry too. I should’ve been a better king and father to begin with.”
The two old friends embrace then say their final goodbyes again. Once Bella and Mao leave the city, they turn back into teenagers. They hold hands as they go as they bear the pain of their children’s deaths. As the day turns to night, the sky light starts to turn into various colors and appears to be dancing around. Bella and Mao come to a field of roses and begin to hear angelic music played.
“This must be the angels comforting us,” Bella says with wonder.
“They should after what we’ve been through,” Mao responds with some distain.
“Don’t be that way Mao. They’re doing us a favor. Appreciate it. If we weren’t there to stop our children, then they would’ve killed more people.”
“Let’s enjoy this and let the past be the past.”
Mao and Bella enter the field of roses and begin to dance to the music. The music is unlike anything made even by the great musicians Mao obtained for Bella when she was queen. Its cadence, tempo, and sound are foreign, but it brings peace to their souls and a smile to their face. The lovers dance and dance until they fall in exhaustion. They smile at each other and cuddle while admiring the lights in the sky then fall asleep.
Rested and rejuvenated, they continue their journey. They approach a small town and see that a prophet is talking to the people in center of town.
He says, “The tyrant Mao is alive and young! Be wary of him as he is dealing harsh judgment to everyone who shows their sinful nature!”
Mao and Bella don’t exactly know what to do about this. The prophet seems to have been told this information by someone in Heaven because they don’t think word of what happened yesterday has spread yet even though they aren’t far from the capital city. They decide to keep low and see if this town will be of any interest to them. Throughout the day, Mao and Bella help people out then disappear before they are rewarded for their efforts. The two do acts such as; stopping thieves, picking up things that people drop, cheer up young children, and help store owners clean up their vandalized markets. Of course, Mao has problems doing most of these acts besides stopping thieves, but Bella humbles him and gets him to help these people. A messenger from the capital arrives and tells the people what happened there yesterday.
The prophet comes out and says, “My words have come true before I predicted them! Heed them for Mao is among us!”
The couple try to leave town, but a few people catch them and try to bring them before the prophet. Fearing for Bella’s safety, Mao transforms into the white devil. Everyone from the town gathers in awe of the reborn tyrant.
“Behold! I, Mao the Tyrant, am alive! I, the tyrant that spilled the blood of hundreds of thousands of people and killed their children or sold them for a profit! Deal your judgment to me while you still can!”
The town is silent as to what to do so Bella speaks up.
“Don’t do anything to him! He dealt righteous judgment to his children and their armies and now they lie in ruin. He is a changed man who only punishes the wicked and sinful! Today, he and I helped you with your problems, so please! Don’t hurt him!”
“Young girl, who is Bella his wife,” the prophet says, “We do not deal in revenge. We only offer forgiveness.”
Mao is taken back by this then says, “Wa-What? I had to have done something to you that has made your lives worse than it is. Do something about it!”
The villagers come one by one to say, “I forgive you.”
With each “I forgive you”, Mao staggers and collapses in weakness. He turns back into a teenage boy and cries because of the town’s mercy. Bella embraces him to calm him down then the people of the town offer them a celebration for Mao’s victory in the capital and change of heart. Everything from music to food is prepared in minutes and Mao is the center of attention. Bella sits with him and tries to get him to smile, but he’s too shocked in tears to do anything. Eventually, she gets him to dance with him and talk with everyone who tell him how thankful they are that he’s changed his ways. The party the town put together in minutes lasts the entire day and by the next morning, Mao and Bella leave the town with leftovers from the party and more energy to move forward.
“I’m sorry Mao, but I have to leave you.”
“You’re smart enough to figure that out on your own.”
A pillar of light takes Bella into Heaven, which leaves Mao completely alone.
“Why?!” Mao yells to the skies, “I’ve done everything that you’ve told me to! What else is there I can do besides fix the entire world?!”
Nothing and no one gives him an answer to his questions. He doesn’t know which direction to go and for what reason, so he just paces back and forth. Thinking that he’s still supposed to do something, he goes in a direction that feels like its pulling him its way. Along the way he finds a couple taking a morning walk. Jealous of them, he attempts to intervene in their walk, but is blocked off by an invisible barrier. Mao can only watch as the two enjoy each other’s company.
“There has to be a reason I’m seeing this. I have to be learning something!” Mao says to himself.
He quickly escapes the couple’s presence as it becomes unbearable and enters a village. Mao and Bella usually get into interesting situations in places like this, so Mao hopes something will happen as he sits down on the streets. There’s nothing about him that is different from a common beggar. Mao begs for something to happen to give him purpose. He hopes that someone will extend their hand to give him comfort and attention. As his frustration and depression increases, he feels the need to judge the people of the town for ignoring him. His abilities, however, are restrained for whatever test he’s going through, so he just sits in the dirt alone, angry, sad, and isolated from the one he loves. Eventually he passes out and awakens in a church.
The hooded pastor says to him, “It’s good to see that you’re awake my son. Eat and drink this so you can feel better.”
Mao eats a piece of bread and drinks a small cup of water that the pastor gives him.
“Why did you help me?”
“Because I try to help all of my children.”
“Well you didn’t help much.”
“What do you mean? You were hungry and thirsty, so I helped you there didn’t I?”
“That’s not the most important part.”
“Then what is?”
“My wife is gone.”
“Heaven took her.”
“That sadly happens to every husband unfortunately.”
“But she’s my moral compass, my source of happiness, and the person that kept me going.”
“God usually fills that role for most people.”
“Heh. That guy and I have a complicated relationship.”
“He’s the reason I’m still alive to make up for my past, let’s just say.”
“Shouldn’t that be a good thing?”
“Not when I don’t have my wife with me. She’s everything to me.”
“You shouldn’t deify her.”
“I understand that God is our source of morality and the main reason why she is the way she is, but…”
“But you make your wife the center of your world. Let me help you see how things really are.”
The hooded pastor helps Mao up and brings him to the front doors of the church. The village is bustling with happiness, goodwill, and love as if everyone’s worries and pains went away in an instant.
“This is the world I wanted to see every day,” Mao says as he watches everyone.
“How were you going to make it this way?” the pastor asks.
“Drag out the evil people and execute them one by one. Don’t ask how I know, but that doesn’t work.”
“Did your wife changes your ways?”
“She did. She showed me the beauty of the world and how to be a better man. I’d probably be in hell right now if it wasn’t for her.”
“But she wouldn’t be a good person without…”
“I know, I know she taught me that, but God shouldn’t diminish her importance.”
“He doesn’t. It’s you who diminishes His importance.”
“I’d like for Him to give me a reason to not do so.”
“Your wife. Your continued life for a chance at redemption. Any more that I need to mention?”
Mao doesn’t want to say anything else.
“Let me show you a world that you would’ve created.”
The pastor closes and opens the door to reveal a village burned to the ground with bodies gored all over the ground.
“How did you do that?!” Mao says out of astonishment.
“Does it look familiar?”
“Who are you?!”
The church doors close.
“You already know.”
“You?! I have a few things I have to get off my chest!”
“Then do that if you haven’t already.”
“Why did you take Bella away from me?!”
“As we were talking about, you deified her. I think it was time we fixed that.”
“What about my children?! Why did we send them to hell?!”
“Because of their deeds and refusal and accept my help. You were on a similar path to theirs until you changed.”
“And why was I able to change, but not my children?”
“They had your wife’s persistence.”
“…You got me there, but why keep me here on earth? Haven’t I done enough already?”
“Do you think you are just here for redemption? Did you not think that the acts you have done are not for some higher purpose or to answer prayers?”
“Enough of this!”
“Didn’t you say once you would fight me?”
“Since you can’t beat me in a game of intelligence, how about we go with strength? What weapon will you use? The strongest weapon you have is a blessing from me and doesn’t work on me. So what are you going to use? A sword crafted with human hands?”
“I’m defeated okay?! You got me from turn zero, so let your will be done on me! Strike me down and let my life be yours!”
Mao falls to his knees and closes his eyes as he waits for his execution. Instead, he is hugged and brought to his feet.
“Now you understand my son.”
Love and tranquility fills Mao as a light envelops him and he is teleported to a field with a small lake. There he finds Bella who was waiting for him. The two yell for each other then embrace with a kiss.
A light from Heaven says, “You have already achieved your redemption, but there is still much to do on earth. What do you want to do?”
“You know better than I do lord.”
Mao closes his eyes again and lets whatever happens, happen. He gets lifted up into the air with grace and elegance then dropped into the lake.
“Take a bath,” the light says before fading back into the sky.
Bella joins Mao in the lake. The two splash water at each other while enjoying their reunion together with Mao enjoying it the most. After being cleaned, they dry up in the sunlit field.
Bella turns to Mao and asks, “What do you want to do next my love?”
“We continue helping the world together,” Mao answers, “What better thing is there to do?”
“Enjoy each other’s company alone for a bit longer.”
“I like it, but you know we have forever together.”
“Of course. So, should we get moving?”
“Yes and let the lord’s will be done.”
Check out the author’s edition on Amazon! – https://www.amazon.com/Monster-His-Mistress-Albert-Oon/dp/1986118584/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1520183203&sr=8-2&keywords=albert+oon
A Catholic self-published author that writes to entertain and teach. Writes mostly horror, fantasy, and short story fiction.
Amazon (paid kindle and paperbacks) – https://amzn.to/2NOBQ8S
Blog – https://albertoonbts.blogspot.com/
Smashwords (free eBooks) – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Gimjuie
WIthout God, there is nothing in life worth fighting or dying for except political correctness. In political correctness, JRR Tolkien’s LORD OF THE RINGS is racist. The stop motion animated classic RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER, also racist. BABY IT IS COLD OUTSIDE is sexist. And KISS THE GIRL from Disney’s Little Mermaid is pro-rape, because the prince does not ask consent before kissing.
Social media blurs certain pictures and put on a warning label for being graphic or violent —- and one was covering a painting of Santa kneeling before the manger where baby Jesus sweetly sleeps.
New Yorkers interviewed cannot think of a single thing where men are naturally better than women. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxpX6…
One woman, when asked whether men are naturally more muscular than women, starts to cry. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=312sb…
John C. Wright: http://www.scifiwright.com/
L. Jagi Lamplighter (Mrs. Wright) http://www.ljagilamplighter.com/
How can you understand the Bible, beyond just picking it up and reading it? Eric, Max & co. discuss!
Catholic Answers on “Bible Alone”: https://www.catholic.com/sola-scriptura
How Do Catholics Read The Bible: https://smile.amazon.com/How-Catholic…
Interpeting the Bible the Orthodox Way: Learning to See the Bible with the Mind of the Spirit: https://smile.amazon.com/Interpreting…
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: https://smile.amazon.com/Heresy-Ortho…
Other recommendations: Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible by Kenton Sparks https://www.amazon.com/dp/0801099595/…
Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: A Guide to the Background Literature… https://www.amazon.com/dp/0801048427/…
The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament by John H. Walton https://www.amazon.com/dp/0830814191/…
Exploring the Religion of Ancient Israel: Prophet, Priest, Sage and People https://www.amazon.com/dp/0830825452/…
The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha ( 2 Volume set) by James H Charlesworth https://www.amazon.com/dp/1598564897/…
The History of the Christian Church (8 Volumes) by Philip Schaff https://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/history…
A Week in the Life of Rome (A Week in the Life Series) by James L. Papandrea https://www.amazon.com/dp/0830824820/…
The Making of the New Testament: Origin, Collection, Text & Canon https://www.amazon.com/dp/0830827218/…
Introducing Early Christianity: A Topical Survey of Its Life, Beliefs & Practices https://www.amazon.com/dp/0830839429/…
Ancient Israelite Religion by Susan Niditch https://www.amazon.com/dp/0195091280/…
The New Complete Works of Josephus by Flavius Josephus https://www.amazon.com/dp/0825429242/… https://www.amazon.com/Unseen-Realm-R… https://www.amazon.com/Lost-World-Flo… https://www.amazon.com/Why-Are-There-…
Join Youngblood Ray, Max, Diva, and MixxedBarbage to talk about the new DragonballZ and other cool nerd topics!
Dragon Ball Super Broly Movie 2018 New Trailer! https://youtu.be/GfUkZtqV_O0
Far Cry 5: Launch Gameplay Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KRnO…
Persona 4: The Animation https://www.watchcartoononline.com/pe…
Persona 4: https://megamitensei.fandom.com/wiki/…
Persona 5: https://megamitensei.fandom.com/wiki/…
Everyone is WRONG, Fallout 76 is Great… Its Too Bad Though https://youtu.be/lQBouQLbFA0
Ideological Atheists are now spouting more pseudoscience to make religious people look bad. They never want to look at research on atheists and their personality though do they?
Download the full story for free on Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/910409
Chapter 1 – So Young, but So Evil
It’s Christmas time again and Linus is back to his old ways. He acts like a spoiled brat with a long Christmas list and shows off the good things he does to make everyone think like he earns them. With his overbearing personality, he forcefully gets his way even if he’s doing wrong. If he does wrong, he justifies it by blaming his stress to do good and the responsibilities he has. There aren’t many people in town who actually like him. Most think ill of him while some pray for him to change.
His parents don’t believe in harsh discipline, so this behavior of his has been the same for years with no change in sight. On one harsh winter day, Linus comes back from donating a portion of his payments to a local church. In relation to the amount he got, he only gave a little, but the people in the church thought he gave a lot because of how much he gave. While exiting the church, he accidentally knocks over a nativity scene set that was sitting outside. Many of the figures are broken into pieces and scattered in the snow. Because he wants to get home early to relax, Linus disregards his accident and walks away. On the way home, he comes a homeless man curled up in dirty bedsheets sitting in the doorway of a closed store. The man has received generous donations with various fives, tens, and even two twenties and a fifty-dollar bill in his cup.
Linus sees that the man is barely awake. He thinks to himself that he can take the cup away and if he feels guilty, he can bring it back, but a bit lighter of course due to his fee of mercy. Once he grabs the cup and takes it away, a paranormal force within the snow storm takes him away with its winds and makes him disappear. The chilling gust of wind wakes up the homeless man. He looks down to see that his cup full of donations hasn’t moved as if Linus never took it. Thankful for the donations, he goes to church to donate some of it before using it to rent an apartment room and a warm meal.
In a dimension separate from earth, Linus finds himself in a more intense snow storm. There are no buildings or people nearby, only snow and ice.
A light with wings in a human figure appears to Linus and says, “Because of your continued selfishness, you must rediscover what it means to love.”
“Where am I?”
“You are in Winter’s Clutches. A pocket area in the pride layer of Hell.”
“Hell?! But I’m just a kid!”
“You are within the age of reason. You know what you did was wrong, and you’ve been doing it for years with that knowledge. Now you must redeem yourself or suffer the same fate as those that eternally wander this frozen wasteland.”
“Am I just going to freeze here while you lecture me?”
“No, you will not. This is a dangerous area with many dangerous spirits within it. You have to travel to my light to get to a safe area. This is to test your faith and determination to change. Don’t follow a false light or stray from the path or else the demons of pride will chase you until they catch you and trap you here forever.”
“This is unfair. Haven’t I done enough to make up for my mistakes?”
“All of your good deeds are vanity because you did them to reap the rewards rather than to love. Come to my light and be saved. Your soul rests in your hands.”
The light travels to its destination within a blink of an eye. With no other choice, Linus begins to walk through the snow. The ground itself is uneven, but it isn’t obvious as all of the snow is fairly level with each other. Sometimes Linus can walk on top of the snow while other times it’s up to his waist. Some of the ice is hidden within this thick layer of snow, which makes him fall on the hard ice a few times. Linus has to walk carefully through the snow while enduring the harsh cold weather at the same time. It’s a taxing process that takes its toll on him within minutes.
The only thing driving him forward is his will to live and the light ahead of him. It gives him a warm feeling, but it also makes him feel guilty. When the wind blows, he hears every selfish act he’s done and word he’s said. He doesn’t want to think about it and tries to keep his guilts out of his head. His eyes begin to tear up because of his guilts and the shame he’s feeling.
Another light in a different direction then catches his eyes. It looks similar to the light he’s following, but it gives him a different feeling. He no longer feels guilty as his good actions are praised by the wind. The light itself gives off a weird cold chill that feels warm and comforting. The thought then occurs to Linus that what the light said to him might’ve been a trick. He’s always tried to do the right thing, so why should he be forced to do this challenge in the pride level of Hell of all places.
He decides to follow it instead of the original light. As he walks towards it, he feels stronger and more energized. To Linus, this seems to be the right way because of how it makes him feel and the idea he has about it. He then begins to hear other movements besides his own. It sounds like someone or something is walking in the snow. This makes him remember the demons of pride that will come after him should he stray from the light. He counters this thought by thinking that he’s hearing another person like him walking in the snow. Surely there must be other people like him since this dimension is so vast and expansive.
The sound of the being moving through the snow then begin to sound irregular for a normal person to be walking through it. It sounds like something large is trying to quietly and slowly walk through it. This sound seems like it’s heading in his direction. He thinks to himself that someone must be heading towards the same light he’s heading too since it seems to be the right one. This thought keeps him calm until the sound gets really close to him. When he turns around, he is shocked by what he sees.
It’s a tall, white, and lanky creatures with long legs, arms, and fingers. Its legs have a singular sharp foot that it uses to take long steps with. If it was in a simple room, it would have to bend down because of how tall it is. The demon then points at Linus with its contorted and long fingers as if it’s accusing him. It slowly opens its mouth while a noise that sounds like the scraping of nails on a chalkboard comes out. The silent rise of this noise is distracting and painful to listen to, but the soon of something moving behind Linus gets him to turn around to see a demon on all fours with a smile on its face and arm raised. He quickly rolls out of the way and runs towards the original light as the demons chase him.
They crawl on all fours and are fast enough to catch up with Linus who is the fastest runner in his school. The demons swipe at his legs, head, and arms to try to grab or trip him, but he manages to just barely stay ahead. Linus then runs across a frozen river. He slips and slides across it while trying to balance himself. He then comes to a halt around the center of the river with the demons standing in the snow.
Thinking they can’t walk across the ice, he smiles and says, “Ha! Can’t get me now, can ya?”
The demons smile then walk on two legs. With long strides, they rapidly close the distance between them and Linus. In a panic, Linus slips and slides across the ice until he reaches the solid snow just in time to avoid the demons’ clutches. He keeps running until the light is within reach. Once he gets to it, he enters into a simple cabin with a fireplace, chairs, and a dinner table with holiday food and drinks ready to consume. Linus eats his fill of ham and turkey and drinks a jug of tea because of how hungry and thirsty he is after the long chase.
The light with wings and a human figure comes out of the fireplace. Its face is clearer now, but it doesn’t appear to have one. It says, “Linus, I’m glad you made it.”
“Me too. Can you tell me what I need to learn so I can get out of here?”
“Have patience, boy. You will learn everything you need to know in good time. Tell me what charity is about.”
“It’s about helping the poor and needy.”
“It’s much more than that. It’s about showing your love of God by showing love to your neighbor. You show this by sacrificing or giving something to someone else who needs it.”
“Don’t I already do that when I give to charities and to the church?”
“Not at all even though it is the same act. It is your motivations that are wrong. You give to other people to make yourself feel good. To be praised and to be rewarded for your ‘good deeds’. You don’t even give enough for your charity to count as a sacrifice. It would be one thing if you gave a little because you had little, but you have so much more to give. You give so little that you might as well have not given at all.”
“Oh…I get it now. I can’t even save money, can I?”
“Currency is meant to be spent. You can save it up as long as you plan to spend it on something good that God would approve of.”
“Would if I become poor?”
“God takes care of all his creatures. The birds of the sky don’t work and are rarely given food by other creatures and God makes sure these creatures are fed. If He cares about them enough to feed them, then He will surely take care of you as well. You will eventually die and lose everything you have here except for your soul. That is unless your soul is rotten then it will be thrown into the eternal fire.”
“Why is this so serious? I thought the holidays were supposed to be a light and joyful time.”
“When you spit in the face of that in the form of your actions, especially during the month of the King of King’s birth, then your punishment must fit the crime.”
“You’re a smart boy, Linus. If you open yourself up to understanding, then you will survive this. Rest for now then head back out into the storm.”
“This isn’t over yet?”
The light fades back into the fireplace as Linus sits on the couch by the fire and passes out.
Chapter 2 – An Example to Remember
A cold chill makes its way into the cabin and wakes up Linus.
The light says to Linus, “You have to get going. The demons are coming.”
When Linus opens the door, the cabin behind him is swept completely away from him as if it was a piece of paper. The chilling wind bites yet again into his skin, which makes him brace himself. He lifts his head to see the light waiting for him in the distance. This time it seems farther away than last time. After a traveling a short distance into the storm, Linus finds himself in a forest with frozen trees and plants.
The vegetation here appears to be good enough to eat, but it’s stuck behind a thick sheet of ice. There are hide sheets of ice hidden near the vegetation as if they were placed there to purposefully slowly kill the vegetation or to trap someone hungry enough to be seduced by the appetizing look of the fruit. Linus makes sure to watch his steps while traversing this forest that soon becomes maze-like. Some of the trees are clustered together with ice surrounding them. He could fit through the gaps between the trees, but the ice is too slippery to attempt that. After what he experienced, he’s decided to not take any shortcuts no matter how right they feel to take.
Sounds of movement then catch his ear. This surprises him since he thought that he was doing the right thing. There shouldn’t be any demons chasing him, but then again, the light did say the demons were coming. Regardless, he still takes his time navigating the frozen forest. Even when the demons are in sight, he calms his nerves while focusing on the ice around him. There is a total of five demons around Linus or more. It’s hard for Linus to tell if the same ones are following him or if they’re more in the forest because of how the winter storm is. The demons themselves don’t seem to see him nor know where he is despite being so close, which is in stark contrast to how easily they found him in the frozen wasteland.
The idea gets into Linus’ head that him straying from the original path was the thing that attracted them to him like how the light said. He tries to keep thinking this as the demons cross paths with him and come uncomfortably close. Fortunately for him, there are plenty of trees and rock-like bushes to hide behind along the way. Progress through the forest goes by smoothly and without a hitch until one of the demons gets frustrated. It slams its fists into the ground several times like a primate while yelling its terrible yell. Smaller humanoid figures appear in the distance. At first, they seem to be normal people, but their lack of clothing makes them look extremely suspicious. Half of their head then splits in half to reveal a mouth with dozens of sharp teeth. The people also have a hole in their chest with a shriveled heart inside. These people appear to be the ones who failed to follow the light.
This shocks Linus as he becomes unsure of what to do. He tries dealing with them like the demons, but their erratic movements with their limbs and heads disturb him. It’s like they’re suffering inside their bodies and are trying to break out of them but can’t. They let out high pitched screams inconsistently, which shocks and makes Linus stay in place. He wants to keep moving to not end up like these people, but his fear keeps freezing him in place. This gets him in trouble as a demon comes close enough to see him.
Another chase ensues as both the demons and condemned souls run after him. The demons are able to easily traverse through the frozen trees and ice. The condemned are able to bite their way through the trees and their erratic movements negate the slippery ice. More shortcuts are in sight as if the forest itself is alive as false lights begin to shine through the trees.
They whisper to Linus, “Follow us.”
“Come to us.”
“We’ll keep you safe.”
“We’ll lead you to salvation.”
“The angel will only damn you.”
“You were right all along.”
“We’ll handsomely reward you.”
Linus does his best to ignore these voices no matter how sweet they sound or how enticing their offer is because he knows that it won’t end well. He manages to stay ahead of all the monsters while staying on the path towards the light. The storm then begins to pick up with snow quickly covering the ice around him. He has to have faith in the light ahead of him in order to not slip or walk on the ice. Even though he does slip a couple times, he makes it to the light by the skin of his teeth.
He finds himself in a cabin again with food, drinks, and warm fireplace there for his efforts. Linus digs in because this challenge was more taxing than the last. Even though what just happened might’ve seemed like it took a half hour at the most, he feels like it took a couple hours or even three hours at most to get through it all. After getting his fill, the light emerges from the fireplace, but this time its body is clearer. It appears to have a masculine figure with robes made from that of a tiger.
It says to Linus, “I’m glad you made it, but you can’t always get by like this.”
“I didn’t mean to.”
“I know. You must have faith and not fear any of the abominations that wander this plane of existence. If you do that, nothing will worry you. Not even death.”
“I’ll have to practice that then.”
“You’ll have plenty of time to here.”
“Oh great. Now, what do you have to tell me now?”
“What are you most grateful for?”
“My parents and the skills that I have.”
“Name some more things.”
“What about this chance you are given to change? A lot of people lead lives like yours fully aware of their horrible actions and live them anyways without any plans to change or take responsibility for what they do.”
“I guess I am. I don’t feel thankful for it, but I guess I should. Why am I given this chance?”
“Because you were about to go over the point of no return. Your way of thinking is also able to be humbled in order for your ways to change.”
“Were the other people I saw out there like me?”
“Yes, they were. Everyone is given the same chance and the same level of difficulties to overcome. None are handicapped or given an easier challenge.”
“So then how did those other people die?”
“They chose to give up. They thought they knew better and did what they wanted to instead of following the instructions they were given. You were smart enough to pick yourself up when you fell.”
“Don’t let it get to your head. Remember that this layer of Hell specifically punishes the prideful.”
“I’ll be sure to.”
“Good. Now rest up for the next challenge. Because what you’ll be facing next is so daunting, remember also to have faith and hope. These will carry you through what seems to be an impossible obstacle to overcome.”
“Can you tell me more?”
“Unfortunately no, but the only thing I can tell you is to not slip up.”
“That doesn’t sound good.”
“It wasn’t meant to. You should, nevertheless, be able to pass this challenge if you follow my advice. I trust that you will even though this may be the toughest one.”
The light goes back into the fireplace as Linus continues to eat and reflect on what the light told him. After about ten minutes, he falls asleep by the fire while holding onto a pillow as if it were his mother. He wishes he was back home with his family to tell them how much he appreciates them and how sorry he is for the things he’s done. There’s a part of him that also wishes that she and his dad would’ve told him what was right instead of approving of all his actions. He wishes that he got in trouble and talked down to so that he would know better. Now, he can only hope they do this to him later in case he becomes selfish and self-centered again.
Chapter 3 – The Slippery Slope
The cabin Linus is in suddenly shakes.
It wakes him up as the light from the fireplace speaks, “Hurry and wake up, Linus. The demons will be here soon.”
“Alright. Give me a second.”
“Be careful on your way out.”
Linus stretches and gulps down a glass of warm iced tea before exiting the door and falling door a slippery mountain of ice. He manages to catch himself on a piece of ice that juts out from the side of the rugged ice. Looking down at the mountain, he sees that it’s a long way down to the light as if he’s standing on the world’s tallest mountain that can reach the atmosphere. Several icicles, the size of a normal human being, jut out of it that Linus can use to safely slide down to the end. It’s even colder up on the mountain with a harsher wind and biting chill.
The temperatures keep Linus in place as he endures the cold. That is until demons break through the cabin and start slipping down the mountain. Linus then falls from one large icicle to another until his legs almost get caught in a large mouth. There are condemned souls within the ice of the mountain. They still appear to be alive, but these condemned have extra teeth behind their normal teeth that are larger than them. Their hands are little heads as with the fingers being teeth and their palms being mouths.
The condemned twitch and fidget as they try to break out of the thick ice. It seems that there is a countless amount of them trapped within the mountain. The ones near the surface seem like they could break out any second, so Linus makes sure to move swiftly, decisively, and carefully. The demons behind him walk with long strides with their legs while others fall from icicle to icicle like him to catch up. Some miscalculate their movements and fall down the mountain. Others are caught in the mouths of the condemned.
Even though Linus has foes on all sides that are aiming for him, they are unable to get to him despite their best efforts. It’s almost as if there’s an invisible barrier protecting him. Linus continues to keep a steady pace despite the constant close calls and the seemingly never-ending slide down the huge mountain. The light feels closer and closer with each fall down. The wind speaking his guilts and deeds no longer bother him because he sees the chance to redeem himself. A chance to be a new and better person.
As he continues to slide down, several other lights can be seen. They are lesser lights, but they let out a sort of burning freeze. These lights gravitate Linus towards them. He fights against their pull while continuing to fall to the original light. The lesser light’s pull becomes stronger and stronger the closer he gets to the end. Their pull becomes so strong that they completely through Linus off course from where he meant to slide to. He begins to become worried because it doesn’t seem like he’s going to make it.
Knowing the consequences of losing faith, Linus holds onto it and hopes that the light will catch him at the end. Near the end of the mountain, he can see that the lesser lights have long dark skinny hands in them. They reach out towards him and continuously scrape the side of the mountain as if trying to pull the mountain closer to bring him closer. Voices from these lights call out his name and beckon him towards him. Their pull is extremely strong from this distance as Linus struggles to hold onto the icicle. It seems like his chances for survival are slim, but he has no choice but to move. The demons behind him are swiftly approaching and are already reaching out to him with smiles on their faces.
He closes his eyes as he lets go of the icicle and trusts in the light to catch him. As he slides down, the multiple arms from the lesser light converge on him, but a hand from his light grabs Linus in the blink of an eye. After being grabbed, he opens his eyes to see his light holding him. The light’s features are clearer now with eyes on its angel wings.
“You did it, Linus.”
“I…I knew I would…somehow.”
The cabin Linus is in is the same as the rest. His light lets him down so that he can rest.
“What are you going to teach me about now?”
“What you just did to pass the last challenge which is having faith and hope. To have faith is to trust in a person despite your concerns and worries. It’s a constant action you must take every day in order to trust God and those around you. To have hope is to be sure that you will be saved. You must feel some sureness and comfort in yourself to have true faith. Both of these are intertwined and a means of saving your soul.”
“How do I show that I have faith and hope?”
“By doing what you just did. You have to trust in God, in what’s right, and then act from there. Faith without action is a dead faith because it shows a lack of faith in one’s self and in the person being trusted.”
“What about hope? What if things seem hopeless?”
“Then have faith. You know that better things are waiting for you in the future as long as you keep your faith and work towards them. Even when everything seems lost and the chances of success are slim like you saw, you will be caught and brought into safety.”
“Thank you. That’s reassuring to know.”
“You’ve grown so much, Linus and in a short amount of time.”
“Well, when you’re forced to see the consequences of your actions, it can change you in a matter of seconds, right? Also, the constant threat of eternal death and torment help too.”
“That’s always a threat in your normal reality. A single mortal sin will condemn you to Hell and you’ve committed many.”
“Thank God for this second chance then even if it’s a bit harsh.”
“Your parents never disciplined you like they should’ve.”
“They cared about me too much to.”
“But in actuality, discipline is a form of love. It’s better to correct someone you love now than to leave them to reap the harsh consequences of their ignorance later.”
“Will my parents be punished for not disciplining me?”
“In a way, they will be.”
“Can you please have mercy on them? I know that even though they are partially to blame for me being here, can you spare them from their punishment?”
“I can if you make it back them.”
“That’s good. How are they doing now? I bet they’re worried sick about me since I was supposed to be home.”
“Time works differently here. If you return home, it will be as if mere seconds passed.”
“You only have one more challenge ahead. Be prepared for it.”
“Can you tell me anything that will help me pass it?”
“It’s going to be more difficult than the last.”
“That doesn’t help!”
“Then remember the two greatest commandments. Love God above all and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
The light fades into the fireplace as it’s given its final word on the matter of the challenge. Linus sits down to eat and rest with what the light said in his mind until he falls asleep.
Chapter 4 – Breaking an Icy Soul
For the last time, Linus is wakened up by the light for his last challenge.
“It’s time,” it says from the fireplace.
Linus has woken up groggily every time, but this time he shoots up and immediately goes out the door. He’s now in the icy center of pride. The devil is suspended in the center and is separated from Linus by a chasm. Satan’s limbs, body, head, and throat are wrapped in chains. He fidgets as spirits and energy are released from his body to exert his influence on the world as far as God allows. The body of Satan itself is at least as big as the mountain that Linus slid down.
Several demons and condemned souls crawl up from the depths of the chasm and surround Linus. There doesn’t appear to be any way out as the hordes surround the boy on all sides. They laugh and mock him as they push him around and swipe at him to make him dance for their enjoyment. The condemned souls here are much different than the previous ones. Because they are much crueler, there are more teeth in their mouth, which includes a snake-like mouth in it as well. Additional mouths line their skin that continuously eat their regenerating skin. Along with their hands being mouths, their feet have also become mouths as well. These particular condemned scare Linus the most.
They taunt him by saying, “You’re going to be like us, kid!”
“You can suffer with the rest of the brats here after we tear you apart limb from limb!”
“I’ve forgotten how children scream out in terror and pain! Give us a reminder won’t ya?!”
“We’ll be sure to make your pain last forever and ever!”
Several dark spirits spit out from Satan. The crowd of demons and condemned move aside to make way for them. The dark spirits morph themselves into different versions of Linus that are like the condemned and demons of pride.
One speaks, “I have a pride that rivals the devil.”
Another, “Look how good I am! I’m truly an angel among angels sent by God!”
And another, “What else do I need to trust in besides myself? I’m already amazing as is.”
The doppelgangers then surround Linus and begin throwing punches at him. None of the punches land weirdly enough, which gives Linus the opportunity to fight and push them back.
Unaffected by his attacks, the copies say, “Hahaha! So much for you being a force to be reckoned with!”
“A lowly street dog has more strength than you do!”
“You don’t have a chance to escape with your power!”
The three then start swinging at Linus again, but they never harm him. Thinking of solutions in his head, Linus remembers that through this journey he has learned to despise himself, but that’s not what he’s supposed to do. He thinks to himself that he should love himself and that he can’t everything on his own. He then puts his hands together to pray. As he does this, he can feel, not his heart, but the very core of his soul starts to crack and melt as if it had been frozen for years. A light then begins to shine from his body and scare away the demons and condemned while teleporting Linus away to a view overlooking all of Winter’s Clutches.
He sees all of the challenges he’s faced along with other areas he hasn’t seen. He can even see other normal people going through their challenges. Most fail while few succeed.
The light descends from above and says, “Congratulation, Linus. You’ve done what few do.”
“I guess I can be pretty amazing-if I put my selfishness aside.”
“Do you know what the goal of life is that this season emphasizes?”
“It’s to spread the love that God shows us back to Him and to our neighbor. We do that through our actions during the seasons, but we shouldn’t just show it now. We should be doing this for our entire life.”
The light hugs Linus.
“I’m so glad that you came back to your senses.”
Linus hugs back.
“Thank you for bringing me back to them. What happens now?”
A strong gust of snow sweeps Linus up into the wind. When he opens his eyes, he’s standing in front of his house.
“Oh…I guess this does,” Linus says aloud, “But I’ll always treasure my experience and the lessons they taught me. Yes, today, I’m a new boy!”
Linus’ parents step outside the house because they head him talking. He hugs them and tells them how much he loves them and how he’s going to be a better son from now on. He then heads inside with the biggest smile they’d seen on his face in a while. In terms of changing, he takes off things from his Christmas list, goes back to the church to donate more money, and becomes friends with the other kids at his school with the goal of having a relationship with them instead of taking advantage of their smarts and abilities. Everyone in town doesn’t have a clue as to why he changed, but they like it. Linus becomes a loving and productive member of his community with the goal of staying like this for the rest of his life thanks to the lessons he’s learned and the challenges that disciplined him.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!
A Catholic self-published author that writes to entertain and teach. Writes mostly horror, fantasy, and short story fiction.
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