The Cleansing

Blood runs through the streets. Angels awaken along the watchtower. We summon the seraphim. The destroying angels awaken.

Curses burn our shields. Servants of the Beast try to slaughter us.

Everything is on fire. I would mourn if there was time. My allies are wounded – still, they rush into battle, brandishing prayers, weapons, and righteousness.

The Antichrist drove us to this.

We will be merciless.

The earth is cold, dead. We’ve clung to life, keeping God’s Covenant alive.

I’m shouting orders, ensuring our survival. My men surround me, in the prime of youth.

We summon the Elohim. My soldiers burn with new fire as they become the archangel’s vessels, like the Holy Spirit descending upon Christ. Formed and formless, man and immortal make their last stand.

I glance at the stained glass depiction of Saint Michael over the altar.

My soldiers look to me, the bravest souls I know, willing to give their lives to God. “We’ve done everything in our power,” one begins. “There’s nothing left.”

We look to the war outside. False gods have risen from history’s depths, spreading the Antichrist’s ruin.

We are haunted by what we must do.

“You’re right,” I concede. “To summon him is madness. But there’s nothing left to lose.”

My second-in-command touches my arm. “I’ll do it.” He holds his sword up in offering, skin like wood.

“Thank you,” I whisper.

We join hands, and the vessel stands in the center. The prayer we weave dances like celestial spheres.

We summon Michael.

My second-in-command doubles over. His body rejects Michael. He falls, weak, to the ground.

A soldier rushes to attend to him, tall and red-haired. The soldier freezes, then stands ram rod-straight. A halo surrounds him as his irises gray.

Michael smiles coolly upon us.

My men back away. I stand alone with the archangel.

“Just like the old paintings,” I say. “I should’ve known you’d want a ginger.”

Michael laughs. His brother whispers in my ear, like a cobra:

Time to come out to play.

“See you on the battlefield, Samael,” Heaven’s general says. Michael draws his flaming blade. His call thunders across the battlefield, silencing even the demons. The fear of God rumbles through our stronghold.

Michael storms into battle. God’s wrath goes with him.

My skin crawls, and my guardian angel itches for sinner’s blood.

I tremble.

Don’t be shy, sweetheart, the angel of death laughs. You cannot win without me.

My soldiers look to me: four of us left. Enough for a prayer circle.

They know who I am bound to. I know my duty to the world. It is the greatest service I can give.

Swallowing poison must be easier.

I bring my blade to my palms. We speak in angelic. I cut two Xs into my hands – the symbol of the cross – and offer them to Samael.

Fire laces my veins. He stretches, settling into my neurons, binding with my flesh. My blue eyes turn crimson. All I know is the Reaper’s darkness. His presence consumes me. I collapse on gore-splattered stones.

He holds my soul within his arms, soothing me. I watch my body as our minds meld, leaning into the cool blackness of his robe.

The pain recedes. We rise. He wipes blood from my lips. “Hello, boys,” Samael says through my tongue, voice teasing.

My soldiers, men twice my size, look on in horror. Samael plows through them, stride like a wolf. The false gods reel. Samael’s righteous bloodlust whirlwinds through my brain. The carnage beyond triggers his divine purpose: destruction of the impure. After all, Sodom and Gomorrah, even Egypt’s plagues, were his work.

Samael laughs, summoning his scythe. Something I could never carry in a thousand years is weightless in my hands.

“Time to see if blondes have more fun,” he whispers, saddling a horse.

The punishing angel rides out.

The Apocalypse begins.

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