Avaron covered his eyes as the Stagrinth approached, scattering trees and houses like construction toys on its way. The towering, three headed beast grabbed hold of his best friend, Rivon and began shaking him like a rag doll.
Reverberations from the creature’s almighty roar threw him into the air, and he landed a few feet away in front of the temple. Avaron jumped to his feet, adrenalin masking the aches and pains from his fall. Making his way into the entrance of the ornate building, he breathed a sigh of relief. From outside, he could hear the raging wail of the Stagrinth, like an overgrown spoiled child unable to reach another object for his playground of destruction.
He was safe for a while. None of the terrible monsters that now inhabited Canubon ever entered the temple. It was as though even they respected, and stood in awe of the holy place of the disappeared. Avaron slid to the floor, and placed his head upon the cool marble walls. His heartbeat seemed to echo wildly through the empty rooms.
“The freaks were right!” he cried out, the entrance hall spinning before him. “If only - if only I’d listened. Can it truly be too late?”
He paused as though waiting for a response, then shook his head knowingly.
Bitter tears rolled down his cheeks, Once, long ago, he had felt a strange, overwhelming urge to visit this place. He had heard the warnings of many freaks who stood like gleaming beacons in the middle of the market-place every Wednesday. The more often he heard their words, the more they seemed to pierce through his very soul.
“Be prepared!” they always shouted at the top of their voices. Avaron knew that really he should be. But would he ever be ready to be ’transformed’, to look and act like them? Well, maybe one day.
Rivon had found it hilarious that he should be interested in joining the freak brigade. Of course, when he teased his friend about it in front of the others, Avaron denied every word, with his usual sarcastic wit.
“Yeah, look at me - don’t you think I’d look great surrounded by a freakish, glowing halo of light? Hey,
some of those guys who get ‘transformed’ look kind of like giant glow-sticks, don’t you think?”
Avaron now banged his fist against the wall, as echoes of the gang’s laughter in response to his immature and irreverent musings refused to fade.
The freaks had been gone for years now - no doubt to a much better place. Some claimed to have seen them on the evening they vanished. Endon Matthion said that they were pulled into the air, and bathed in light. He described it as the most beautiful, yet heart wrenching scene he had ever witnessed.
The memory was as close as Endon, Avaron or any other Canubonan would ever come to escaping the terror. Once the disappeared were gone, events gradually descended into a spiral of ruin. First the monsters rose up from the blood red sea, then the darkness descended. An evil presence filled the air around them. Very soon, Avaron’s entire family were sucked into one of the black craters that had opened under the surface of the earth.
Avaron didn’t think things could become much worse. The government promised that if he took the seal of Canubon upon his head, he would automatically be protected. That was when the real problems started. Avaron glanced at his reflection in the glinting marble, and studied the crescent moon shape now inscribed upon his brow. It filled him with disgust. So much for protection! Monsters and dark craters now appeared everywhere he went.
Avaron thumped the wall again, and was surprised to feel the room around him quake. He shielded his head as shards of glass blew in from the windows, and marble pillars collapsed. He could hear a loud crunching noise overhead, as the roof above him was torn off like that of a doll’s house.
Shaking, Avaron glanced up to find a crowd of around ten Stagrinths hovering over the unsheltered temple. It seemed nowhere was sacred or safe any more. He could smell burning, as the creatures had breathed flames which now surrounded the area. Somehow he knew that the torturous nightmare was only beginning.
As each Stagrinth made a frenzied, brutish dive for the tiny figure below, distant, belated reminders continued to echo.
Matthew 24 v 27: ‘For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.’
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