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End of Days
By: RJ Newlyn

“… and we know you’d gone missing, that you’d run away.”

They trusted me – the angels, God’s army. Time was ending. I don’t know why they chose me. I agreed to lead them but all I wanted was to reach you somehow.

“… we’re aware of the shock you had; the court will take that into account.”

What is he saying?

“I mean what happened with your wife …”

What?

“I’m so sorry…”

By the time they peel me off him and drag me away to my cell, his glasses are splintered and he’s spitting out broken teeth into a pool of blood on the floor.

Eight

From this bench, facing away from the hospital, the perimeter wall is hidden by trees. I come here to watch the birds and forget my confinement for a short while.

I think it must be about six months. I hate the way the medication slows my thoughts and stops my mouth opening properly, but they’re reducing it now that the rages have subsided.

They told me everything – the break-in, your murder, my coming home and finding you there. They say I have a “fugue state” which is when the brain blocks out what it can’t cope with. But it doesn’t help; no memories return – just walking back from work and the cracks opening up in the ground and not being able to find you. I haven’t told them about the army or the demons – it would only mean more medication.

About a month ago they brought in a man I recognised. He called me “Captain” and asked whether we’d surrendered and where the rest were. I just looked at him blankly and I think they moved him the next day.

As I gaze at the ground, a tiny wisp of black smoke emerges in the form of a horned figure.

Nine

The hospital becomes an echoing labyrinth at night. Three of my fellow inmates found an unlocked office at the end of a un-used corridor and over the last few weeks we’ve been making plans in the small hours. Tonight we move.

They’re the only ones who understand about the demons being in control of this place. The rest are either doped up or have blocked it from their minds (smiling sadly, saying they’re sorry about what happened to me). If we win, I’ll come back and set them free; then they’ll see who was right.

A major drawback is that I have no weapon to use against any of the hell-spawn that patrol here; my sword is lost and nothing earthly will suffice instead.

Another problem is that I think they suspect something. Standing here in the darkness, I discover that the office has been locked and none of my companions are to be found. I want to call out to them but dare not break the silence.

A wide corridor runs the length of the building. Peering cautiously around the corner, I see its ceiling lights swaying. The shadows are coalescing and a faint scuttling noise grows louder.

Ten

As I race along the passage, reality peels away from its walls. The shadows reach out with writhing tendrils but I accelerate and leave them flailing in my wake. Behind me, I can hear the hordes from the pit joining the chase with the hiss of a thousand sharpened knives.

My feet have found the speed they had when I led our victorious army. The lights overhead blur into one, and now the ceiling itself cracks open with a blinding white flash and the winged spirits I thought lost are wheeling around me once more before falling back to take on my pursuers.

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