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I: CyclesEdit

Something's going on that I don't entirely understand.

In 1981 I adopted a group of children from a halfway home of sorts. The home was for children with violent tendencies, which as you would imagine is not an excellent place to scope for adoption candidates. At the time I was working as a child psychologist, and I had taken an odd liking to the children. I checked with the staff, and given my credentials and my lack of objections in their continued medication, I was given custody of the four children rather quickly.

The quadroply met each other in the home, each bonding with each other over their insipid circumstances. After a while, they each adopted the friendship of who they referred to as "Him". By their stories, any reasonable person would have assumed it was merely just an imaginary friend.

My wife and I were both psychologists, if anything we could probably help them improve.

Life was comfortable. Medication flowed regularly and kept the children in well enough check. Often, I found they ventured into the woods to play with "Him". I thought it was just a harmless phase.

They drew drawings of this "Him" frequently. All the same, sort of a hunched over figure that was sort tall looking, wearing what I assume is supposed to be a mask. 

One day I got a panicked call from my wife - the children were missing. Vanished, into thin air. They were all playing a game about pirates and then - nothing. After searching town for a good few hours I got a call from one of the children - more than three hundred miles away. A police man, rather amused by the whole whimsy, said he found the children gallivanting around town, took the children, and met us halfway in a little town in Pennsylvania. When we questioned the children, they gave standard excuses, that they were just playing a game. They each told me "He" brought them away. The tone of honesty was horrifying.

On a few occasions one of the children would overdose on medication. The others always seem to cope with the same mantra, "Maybe it's better (he/she) stays quiet". My wife and I took multiple measures to impede this, but it always happened one way or another. Not even lock and key could prevent these incidents.

Eventually, my children were killed. While grocery shopping the house caught fire...neither the children nor my wife made it out. An investigation turned up nothing. It wasn't natural, like an electronic malfunction but it couldn't have been arson. It was as if it just caught fire magically.

Flash forward to 1991. Although at this point I'm far removed from the practice, I'm asked for my medical opinions and for various interviews involving my time in Ohio (where I was living at the time) every so often. I've been called everything from a child murderer to a rapist. The Council can eat my ass, busting my rump for this wild goose chase of random pediatric patients.

As I was walking down the hallway to the facility's pediatrics ward. I noticed a young boy with sloppy brown hair receiving stitches in his arm. There was some family, the attending nurse, and a police officer present. This caught my curiosity. The boy said his name was Solomon Gad, and he hurt himself playing a game. He plunged himself from a ranger's tower in a park, that he was playing a game and it wasn't his fault...that "He" made him do it.

As I pressed on how this "He" was, Solomon couldn't give a straight answer, just that it was called "He", or "Him". I can't help but compare his story to the childrens'. Maybe I am just seeing patterns or possible leads in desperation. I do not care anymore, honestly.

He said his first dreams were about wandering through the forest and playing with this "Man". He remembers being lead into a clearing, four mounds arranged in a strange pattern. He asked where he was, and this "Man" said "The Special Place".

I arranged with his mother to perhaps meet in a more neutral environment.

I arrived at the Gad household around eleven. It was a comfortable house in a quiet neighborhood just outside of the heavily-developed portion of town. Solomon's mother lead me into the kitchen and I found him coloring. He was relatively easy to work with. He didn't avoid the questioning, he didn't duck around corners or advert the situation on hand. I said I wanted to talk about "Him" for a short while.

In whimsical nature Solomon described this "Man": Tall, blocky, wearing a strange mask, somewhat branch-like in nature.

I remembered my children's various pieces of artwork from over the years. Just before I sat down to this entry, I dusted off my old chest and reexamined the kids' old pieces. Picture books, drawings, short-stories – briefly sweeping over them, there were numerous hints towards this man. Good God, [it's the exact same damn thing](http://i.imgur.com/DXe8KZa.jpg).

Solomon seemed to give this entity a manner concerned respect. Accepted inevitability. This worried me a great deal. He didn't seem eager to rid himself of this man. In fact, he seemed kind of excited. He said the Man had a plan for him, that he was going to take him places. Caught up in emotion, I made a foolishly unprofessional decision...I asked the boy if he knew my children, if "He" had ever told him about my children. He said no.

Suddenly, the television in the other room exploded into sound, the volume screeched all the way up, and then the whole thing shut down..

Solomon's attention suddenly perked up and he told me that he knew my children, contradicting his previous uncertainties. “They've already been there, Doctor.”

Aghast, I pressed him for more information. Been where?

His attention snapped, yet again, and he stared at me curiously; he had no idea what I was talking about. I thanked the boy and his mother and was on my way. I promised to be back in touch with them soon.

As I pulled out of the driveway I noticed a strange piece of paper crammed into the stick shift. I picked it up, and it was an odd array of symbols. I'd never seen such characters before. [Here's a crude drawing](http://i.imgur.com/hX7JG6U.png) of the scrap. I don't know if that's helpful, if someone could help me decipher it I'd be very grateful.

I've been seeing Solomon since he was just a boy, he's a grown man today. Lately, he's been extremely aggressive, anxious. He keeps complaining about headaches and nosebleeds, how anything he touches breaks. Today I get a call saying he's in the hospital. Overdose, leaving a suicide note saying he wanted to "keep quiet" forever.

The thought occurs to me that this "Him", if he's real, is something like a virus. It attacks a cell, and when the cell succumbs to its touch, it moves on to the next cell. My children were Man's first cell, it seems Solomon is the next. When it's bored of him, he'll move on to the next target.

I think something very bad is lurching back into our world Reddit. At this point, I don't know what to do.

II: The Dinner Party (And to Think That I Saw It on Yehowa Street)Edit

It's been about a week since I wrote that first entry into this whole affair. I regret only posing a few days ago.

Solomon is gone. I don't mean dead or unreachable, I mean he's physically gone. Sometime around 7:06 AM, while undergoing observation, Solomon vanished from his hospital bed. No one was in the room when it happened, but when the heart monitor started flatlining the emergency staff rushed in. The whole place was put on lockdown, given the copious amount of anti-psychotic medication still circulating around his system he could easily be in an extremely impetuous fugue state. Police investigated the room after an entire sweep of the hospital came up empty. All the windows were locked, his phone and wallet were still present, security camera footage at no point recorded him leaving the room or the hospital, and no one but the doctors had access to his room at the time, and they each had an easily confirmed alibi. I've been frantically calling his mother for about three hours now, she's not answering. Around 10:30 I got an email from Solomon. Well, it was Solomon's email address, but I suspect it wasn't Solomon.

The [email](http://i.imgur.com/dMIko4B.jpg) contained a rather foreboding message. I took a quick screenshot of the message just in case it inexplicably went missing (I've seen a lot of horror movies) and I called the police. Once I gave them access to my email account they were unable to locate where the message was sent from, and I was suddenly unable to find it on my phone. After they thanked me, gave me a card, and left, I took another look at the screenshot I took of the email. What caught my attention was the second character from the left in the final line, the strange zig-zag squiggle. It was the exact same character as the squiggle on the scrap in my stick shift. The scrap itself had been gone for decades, for God's sake I found it in 1991, but my memory was still clear of it. Because I didn't have the email I couldn't just copy-paste the thing into Google or something, so I'm unclear as to what the message actually says, but whoever wrote the scrap and whoever wrote this email are undoubtedly connected.

A few days later I got an email from a noreply IP, saying they might have valuable information. The email told me I needed to return to Ohio in order to retrieve whatever parcel he intended to give me, as it was apparently too risky to send it over mail. Obviously I'm not in a position to just up and drive halfway across the country. I was unable to reply so I guess whoever this sender is can't personally attend to my decline.

I've been frantically scanning news sites for anything related to Solomon. A few hours after I got the email there was a raging forest fire around three miles south of town. Police allegedly found a can of gasoline at the epicenter, with it several teeth and a lock of hair, completely undamaged by the blaze. DNA tests came back conclusive. It was Solomon.

They didn't find his phone.

I can't help but feel more worry than grief. The fact of the matter is, if my hypothesis was correct, whoever killed Solomon will pick a new target soon. My children were taken from me about three weeks before I met Solomon, and it took my children more than thirteen years to succumb to whoever "He" was, Solomon just about 26. I'm desperately grasping at patterns that may or may not have any relevance.

That brings us to today. I got a strange letter in the mail with no return address, not even in an envelope.

It was an invitation.

>YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO ATTEND A DINNER PARTY AT >25 YEHOWA ST. >RSVP NOT NEEDED >ALONE

After the "ALONE" were the strange markings on my email. I was unfamiliar with Yehowa Street, in fact a Google search turned up dick. At long last I just decided to nap and resume making my game plan whenever I awoke.

As I slept I had a strange dream. I was walking through a strange forest, somewhat-purple looking trees and gray skies. Eventually, I heard giggling, very familiar giggling. I followed the noise to a small clearing. What I saw shocked me.

I found my children and Solomon, just a boy in appearance, sitting in a disjointed circle, looking to the center of their disjointed shape and laughing. After a while of standing in stunned silence and contemplation, I heard the howling wind cease, and be replaced with a dull hum. I tried to ask the children what was happening, but they all simply looked at me and put their fingers over their mouths. I heard a soft popping, a wet gurgle, and I noticed the ground beneath me became soggy. Black. In the center of their arrangement something began to emerge. I heard labored, wet breaths. As the thing's head emerged the children stood up and walked to a separate "corner" of the clearing. By the time the thing is halfway out of the ground I try to make a run for it, but the trees bend and push me back. The dirt had become a black sludge, soon I felt myself begin to sink into it. As the being finished emerging from the ground, the children prostrated themselves before it. It turned around and faced me, and before I had a chance to react I woke up.

Only, I didn't wake up on my couch, I woke up under an awning, stone underneath me. As I stood up I found I was before an old, rusted door way. Next to it lay two dilapidated copper numbers, reading "25". I was _at_ 25 Yehowa Street.

I walked in and found the wallpaper was peeling off the rotted walls. The entire building was a long hallway. As I hesitantly walked through the hall, my feet made a wet squishing sound with each step, despite the fact that the floor was totally dry. I reached the door at the end of the hallway and opened it. Inside lay an expansive room, totally dark, save for an odd looking candelabra, that laid open a long table stretching from the door to the back of the room (I assume). At the opposite end of the table sat a man who's face was not illuminated, to my right was a man in a suit, whose face was also not visible.

The man at the table straightened his form and cleared his throat, "Ah, doctor. We've been expecting you. Please, sit down. Your food is getting cold."

I asked where I was, the man at the table said he would explain in time, and once again asked me to take a seat. I sat opposite him on the long table, and the man in the corner brought me a plate with asparagus, mashed potatoes, and a steak.

I gently pushed the plate away, and said I wasn't hungry. The man at the table said, "Please, I insist." Once again I affirmed I was not hungry. The man's polite disposition wearied, and he said, "Doctor, I made this just for you, and quite frankly you're being very insulting to me by refusing it. So I insist, have a bite to eat."

The man in the corner walked next to me, bent down and whispered, "Eat something. You're not helping your chances." I quietly asked what 'chances' he was referring to, but he simply stood upright and returned to the corner.

I sighed and cut into the steak, took a small bite, and in all honestly it tasted divine.

I began rudely shoveling the food into my mouth. I began smacking with every bit I took, juice from the steak dropping down my chin.

I stopped when the man in the corner seemed to retch.

I apologized for being so rude and sloppy, and the man at the table didn't seem to mind at all. He found it amusing.

"You really like that steak," he said, "don'tcha? Yeah, most people do. I picked up the recipe in 1940 in Paris, back when the...heh, uh, story for another time."

1940? That can't be right. I wiped my face, swallowed, and once again asked why I was there.

The man across from me said, "To have a little discussion"

I asked him what his name was, and he said his name didn't matter much these days.

At this point, I noticed the man in the corner had moved to the open doorway and closed it. From the dim light outside the room, I could make out a bit of his face…it was red...VERY red!

Before I got a good chance to look at him, I heard the man at the table clear his throat. I shot back my glance at him and he continued.

"You see doctor, you and I are very similar. While our goals may differ, we share a common interest..."

As he spoke, I went to grab another fork full of good.

"…we both want what's best for the children."

I dropped my fork.

"Are…are you the one that sent me the email? About the important information?"

He seemed perplexed, "hmm…no, that wasn't me. But is very much like to know this sender's identity as well. Thank you for bringing this up. Now...back to what I was saying..."

I heard the chair scoot out and saw the man's lumbering form rise and begin walking around the table. As he passed the candelabra I noticed his strange attire. He was wearing some sort of overcoat, with a red star pinned to his right breastplate. Underneath it, a tarnished undershirt. As he reached my end of the table, I couldn't see anything above his neck.

"I need you to do me a huge favor. Stop. What. You're. Doing. Trust me, you'll thank me for sparing you of the burden of getting involved."

He gripped my shoulders and I asked him who he was.

He chuckled and said, "Don't you recognize me? I'm just...a Man."

He started laughing quietly, and then uncontrollably, as he jutted his head into light and...that damn mask. That..._DAMN_ mask! The mask the children always drew...Him wearing. The realization hit me in the gut, as I realized I was looking into the eyes of the man who took my children, my wife...Solomon.

I'd like to tell you once I realized this I killed the bastard with my bare hands...I really wish I could, but I didn't. I ran like I had never ran before.

As I threw myself against the man blocking the door, I finally got a good look at his face. A sinister red, completely featureless, face. Was it a mask? I don't care.

As I bolted down the hallway I shot a look back to make sure He wasn't following. I saw him wobble into the doorway, obvious struggling to breathe in all the hysterical laughter, and he screamed, "Ey! How'd...haha...how'd you like that steak? Yeah, I call that...I call it _PAN-SEARED SOLOMON AU POIVRE_, yeah...yeah, SOL...SOLOMON D'ARABIAN!" before falling backwards, gasping for air, and yet continuing to bellow laughter. I crashed out of that damn building and ran for half an hour.

After I finally tripped over a damn rock, I realized how far I had ran. Quickly, I fumbled for my phone and frantically dialed 911 and told them I found a child-murdering cannibal.

When I told the operator he was on Yehowa Street, he sighed and told me that prank calling 911 is a crime.

As I stammered, "I'm telling you, this is not a prank!", to which I got a snippy, "...and I'm telling _you_, this whole shtick wasn't funny the first thousand times it was called in, and it still isn't funny now!"

Click.

First thousand times?

Even more frantic than before, I bolted back to that damn building.

...and it was gone. Not just the house...the whole damn thing.

My mind raced. Images of the events I'd experienced swirled in my head like a comedy troupe all scattered and frantic with no goal to speak of.

I sat alone in the dark, and all I could do was laugh uncontrollably...I laughed as I got up, as I went home, as I found those damn scribbles etched into my door, and when I found half an eaten steak on my kitchen counter...laugh, laugh, laugh... and I haven't been able to stop since.

III: Trip Out EastEdit

Caught the first flight I could out to Ohio. I packed light.

The guy sent another email which I didn't bother to screenshot, it was an address.

It was raining when I got to the airport, and it made me really nervous for some reason.

As I took my seat I got a text from who I assume is supposed to be the guy. Told me to stay low, as 'they' could be following me, which would be _midly_ inauspicious. Before the takeoff I slipped into the bathroom to relieve some stress.

As I got ready I heard the little light above the toilet start to buzz. There was a metal creaking, a bang, and a gurgle kind of sound. I tried to back out of the lavatory but the door wouldn't budge. I kept banging on the door but no one heard me.

The metal creak continued to resonate, and the scraping continued. Slowly, an uncontrollable sobbing came clearer. Not one person was crying, but a multitude of people were screaming and yelling. As the metal scraped, the screaming grew louder. Soon, you could hear the slicing of flesh, the grinding of bones, the gushing of blood, crying, screaming, begging, and the guttural death rattles of people dying.

The horrid sounds died down, I heard soft footsteps approaching my location.

_click_

The door was unlocked.

After about half an hour of cowering on top of the toilet, I heard a soft knocking on the door.

"Sir, you're not allowed to use the lavatory at this moment. Please wait until we take off"

Confused, I poked my head out the door and saw a flight attendant by the door. I looked back into the cabin and saw everyone, unharmed. Hesitantly I returned to my seat.

So, the plane landed, I got a taxi, and I headed to the address. An ordinary house in Malvern.

I knocked on the door a few times. A little slip of paper stuck out from the bottom of the door.

"WERE YOU FOLLOWED?"

I whispered a confused "No?" and the door unlocked. It creaked a bit and I was just able to slip in.

Inside was like a serial killer's nest. Pages strung all over the wall, pictures, strings tacked to each piece leading it across like a web.

He pushed me out of the way, peeked out the door, slammed it, and grabbed three books from behind him. He placed each one of them, facing out towards the door, right next to each other.

I asked him what he was doing, he stammered, "Bible, Quran, and a Tanakh, I don't know why but he can't get past them."

Okay then.

He shoved a little brown envelope into my midsection, and commanded me not to open it.

I asked him what the hell was going on.

E sighed and sat me down. "Listen, doc, I get this is weird, but you've stumbled into a real shitshow. Now, we've been studying this thing for a while now, uhm, I guess you call it "Him", at this point. Most do...well most do because they're just children. I understand you've lost…five, now right? Yeah, then we don't have much time, if we lose a sixth it's all over. Okay, enough cryptically. I sent you an email because the day the fifth one, Solomon, disappeared I got an email from him. It showed...well I'll just show you."

And... [holy](http://i.imgur.com/LvFTBnX.png) [Jesus](http://i.imgur.com/iPBHW75.png). I'd never seen the kid before, but that was definitely Him. I shudder to imagine why he would have a hammer. I've blurred out his face to protect his identity.

I asked the man how he knew about all this, and he sighed and said, "Look, I...oy, my name is Robert. Robert _Gad_. Yes, Gad, Solomon was my brother. Half-brother albeit, _(mom had a pretty active 'social life' but that's not the point)_. My father, Solomon's step-dad, was killed in 1987, I assume by Him, but I have my suspicions. He and Solomon's mother had already separated so we weren't living together when you met them. I'd never actually seen "Him" until a few years ago. These guys, uhm, these guys heard the Solomon was being visited by Him a lot, so they dragged me away and brought me to this weird place, uh, "Yehoe Street" or something. I swear to God it was a fucking cult, worshiping this dude like a god damn deity. The strange thing is it was founded completely independent of Him, meaning "He" had no part it organizing it. I figured if something was really stalking my brother I'd might as well play along, if only just to get some information on the guy. I thought they were all a bunch of repressed pedophiles or something, exalting the one who decided to give in to his perverse desires...I was wrong, I was so so wrong."

He got up, walked to a small cabinet, pulled out a small pen and a piece of paper and returned.

He scribbled something down and showed me [the paper](http://i.imgur.com/Jt4KaxK.jpg), and asked me if I had been seeing the symbols. When I said yes, he groaned.


"They think this thing is an evil god, some all-powerful malevolent force. These symbols are Aramaic, "satana", _Satan_. To be honest...I've seen this thing in action, and it..."

He stopped, and looked at me. "Heh, I'm, kind of afraid to tell you, 'cuz of what you might think."

I told him it was alright.

"The thing? It ain't human. I've seen what it does, it thinks it looks human, looks convincing, but its not. It's something else, something bad, something ancient."

He told me to open the envelope.

I opened it, and it was, well, a few things. There was a map, a manifesto written in Aramaic, and a piece of paper with names. My children's names. Each written neatly in a sloppy column, Vince, Dave, Matthew, and Jenn, next to them each of them an address. Solomon's name was partially scratched out, and it had no address to it.

I was very confused, verging on angry, and demanded to know why my children were involved in this. He said he was trying to establish a pattern, a way to maybe pin down how "Him" worked, but he came up empty.

He told me the cult met off the highway outside of town, in a dense forest. I asked him to drive me there.

He stopped halfway down and I hopped out. He told me at the first sign of trouble he was bolting, with or without me. I understood.

After about 10 minutes of walking and an occasional "Hello?" I got a soft reply.

A man dressed in a white robe and a red mask walked out of the trees.

I approached him and asked if he was the overseer, and I wanted to ask him some questions.

He thanked me for my respect and said he can only answer three questions.

"Have you ever had contact with your master...Him?"

"Our order has never seen the grace of Marya."

"Ah, okay, well an...old friend of mine, named Solomon Gad, I think was murder by...Marya? I can't find his mother, and I don't know what..."

He interrupted me. "Gad? You must mean Sister Orpah."

Orpah was Mrs. Gad's name.

"How do you know Sister Orpah? My brothers from the Southern chapter of our order tell me that they lost contact with Gad shortly after her kin had passed."

I asked, "Wait, wait, she was in this cult? Has _anyone_ you know ever seen Marya? Interacted with Marya? Was Solomon in this organization? Please, answer me!"

He turned away and told me he could not answer.

I started fuming, "You fucking serious!? What is this Order, huh? Is this some shitty ass fuckin' cult! God, fuck you! I need to get back to Robert anyhow--"

He grabbed my arm, "How do you know Brother Robert?! Have...have you made contact with the master?"

I yanked myself away and told him yes, I had...a dinner party...with the bastard.

He gasped and began blubbering, before calming himself and asking, "Is he what they say in the ancient texts? Is he truly a God?"

I started all out screaming, "What "_texts_"? Okay, you know what!? Fuck you! Fuck your cult, and fuck this whole fucking meeting! I'm outta here! You can, uhh, oversee my ass walking away. Thanks for fucking nothing, asshole!"

Suddenly I found myself being held in place, not by the person before me, but from behind. Dozens of masked men in robes had surrounded us. One of them brought me to the ground, and I started squirming.

Suddenly someone shrieked and said, "Look!"

We all turned our heads and saw Him standing among the trees. As he emerged the cultists let go of My and bowed before Him. As the chanting began I saw it had noticed my presence. It cocked its head and I heard the metal scraping from the plane. I knew what was going to happen. I swung around and ran as if theDevil was on my heels. The entire forest erupted in terrified screams. The scraping grew louder as I saw multiple cultists sprint ahead of me, screaming for their lives.

I hopped into the highway and found Robert, I jumped into the car and told him to ram it.

The car wouldn't start.

As Robert kept jamming the pedals, he asked me what the hell happened. I explained and said I accidentally said his name.

"You did _what_!? That was the one thing I told you not to do! Are you insane, they could kill me!"

I apologized and offered to help fix the engine, that is until I noticed there was something in the beams.

He was standing right in front of the car.

As He began walking towards the car, we began more frantically trying to start the car. I started sobbing when I heard the scraping. I started clawing at the windows desperately, and I saw the trees grow taller, begin bending, warbling. The lights flickered and the radio suddenly exploded into sound. He walks up to the very front, and touches the hood.

_crk!_

There's a little dent in the windshield.

_crk! crk! crk!_

Without Him even touching it, the windshield starts crackling and breaking. It shatters with immense force and sent shards everywhere. One hit Robert right in the neck.

It jumped on the hood and started crawling towards us. I started screaming as loud as I could, and soon I could only see its damn hand. Suddenly it griped my face very tightly and I heard a loud buzz.

Before I knew it I was lying in the middle of a park, three days later. My first thought was Robert. I ran as fast as I could to his house, and found only a footprint filled with ashen waste.

Right now, its only three hours until my flight back. I need to find

IV: Birthday PartyEdit

I spent the night getting drunk and slurring at old pictures. Robert was the seventh person I killed in my efforts to stop this Him, Marya, whatever the fuck he is.

I'm honestly at the end of my rope here, Reddit. I keep finding steaks all over my house, some of them eaten, some of them not. I don't know how this piece of shit keeps getting in and out of my house.

Anyhow, it's my birthday, hooray. 60 years of continuous fuck. Spent three and a half hours watching TBS and decided to basically just wait for the guy to arrive again, because anyone at this point could guess he's gonna show up for my birthday.

In an extreme lapse of judgment I decided to essentially commit a perverted case of suicide-by-cop. I grabbed the revolver I keep in my Bible (don't ask) and waited for hours. A few bottles of Jack Daniel's later I heard the groaning metal and popping, and lo and behold there He was clawing through my floorboards.

I laughed drunkenly and picked up the revolver, retched, and started stumbling towards Him.

"Hey, buddy, how--_hic_--how you doin'? Here for my birthday, huh? Heheh, well I got a gift for you, right here!"

I aim the gun and fire right at His head. He continues emerging. I am and fire again, and he's still standing.

I fire two more rounds square into his head and he doesn't so much as flinch. At this point the drunkenness overcame me and I aimed for his crotch and fired. I started laughing hysterically as He simply looked down at his wound and back up into my eyes.

Before I knew it I was on the ground bleeding.

As I lost consciousness I saw Him lumber above me.

I awoke strapped to a chair, the light burned my eyes at first, but as they adjusted I saw I was in a white room. A whiteboard hung opposite me, a bunch of random drawings, a message written in that Aramaic crap, and a small recipe of which I could discern no other details but the word "BEEF" (yes, quotes included) written in large, red letters. Next to the whiteboard lay a door.

To my left, on the wall, scribbled in a dark blue substance, read the lines, "THE GREAT FLOOD SHALL WASH AWAY ALL THE ASH, READYING THE WORLD FOR ANOTHER GREATER, CYCLE"

To my right, hang a picture of Christ with His face scribbled out, in place a winking smiley emoji.

My ears, ringing at the time, slowly coped with my head injury. I heard a voice from near by, "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil, in that I command thee this day to love...oh, you're awake. Goody, I was getting bored of Devarim anyhow."

Miraculously I hadn't noticed that the bastard was seated right in front of me.

"Ha ha, doctor. You are truly something else. Shooting a man in the dick? Who, ha ha, who fucking _does that_? I mean, I've seen people when they're desperate, they scream, they cry, the occasional release of excrement, but a gunshot to the genitals? That just seems like a lazy idea. I mean, were you _that_ pressed for an idea? Come on doc, you _had_ to have known bullets wouldn't do shit, you're a smart guy!"

I sat up as best I could, "Where am I? What is this?"

"My house, of course! Oh! Don't worry. You're safe here. Nothing's...gonna come...slitherin' in. They, uh, can't really... touch it. So you're fine. Think of this as a nice little vacation spot, where no one can hear you scream, or say 'no'. Which, depending on your mindset, might sound to you like a rape threat, which is good, because it is."

I groaned.

"So, how are you?"

"Not very good." I said sardonically.

"Ha ha, yeah, the economy sucks. Alright, so, there's a reason I brought you here, not a bad one per say, but not really a good one. Okay, so, heh, I _kind of_ feel like I told to stop trying to fuck with my shit. Next thing I know, you're in goddamn Ohio talking to a cult. Why is it so hard to...you know what? No, I'm not gonna do this. Clearly, people like you aren't satisfied with a simple, 'stay away' or some shit."

He picked up the book, flipped a few pages, got out a pen and paper, and pushed everything towards me. He stood up, whipped around the table, and unstrapped my hands. He pointed to an odd word on the page he selected, drawn out of strange squiggles. "Draw it"

I use my left hand (right is my dominant) and semi-sloppily scribble out the symbols.

He looks at me, spouts a dry laugh, and returns to his seat.

"You know, dick, 'cuz that's what you are, a dick, I appreciate you doing this for me. You are kind of in a bit of a pickle, staring in the face of someone who...has a lot of blood on his hands. Of course you're going to be a little bit cooperative, so I see that you're intelligent. You know when to say 'yes' and when to say 'no', when to go with the flow and when to stop. This would be a time to go with the flow and not be a time to," He slams his fists on the table, "_fuck around!_ So I want you to do it again. Better."

I ask him why, and he says, "Because I asked you to."

I draw it a little bit better, kind of lopsided, with my right hand.

"Good, good. That's better. Shitty, but better. But, you have to do it _right_ this time, 'else...", He swings a large knife from below the table and drives it into the space between us, "you're not gonna be able to write anything else, ever."

This time, I take my time. I even put a little pageantry into it, calligraphy. Little dollops and everything.

He looks at it, chuckles, and slams his fists down on the table. "Yes, much better. All...encompassing...the master in the middle...split amongst it...and dispersed." He lifts up his mask slightly and kisses the book.

I asked him if the symbols had a name.

"That is it, that is the name. That is, that is what it means. What it means is this. Names come from...trying to apply meaning to something, but this doesn't need a name. The Greeks called it Tetragrammaton, the Israelites called it haShem, the Hellenists called it kyrios, This, in and of itself, is the meaning. The Ineffable Name."

I leaned it a bit instinctively.

"So, these people, uhm, yeah, these people - the Judahites, they held this word in an extremely high regard, for a good reason. They believed this name, _God's name_, gave you...unparalleled domain over the Lord's creations. It doesn't really need to be visualized...perfectly, but it needs to be ballparked with the correct intentions. Using this could, in theory, allow you to--"

"Magically burn things?" I interrupted.

"Yeeesss...that's not what it's meant for, but it can. Thinking that it's just a tool for arson is an insult to what it is, quite frankly. I'll put it in a way you can understand, though, I can't take it as an insult, you just don't understand. Yes doctor, I used it to burn down your house, I used it to burn down the forest, I used it to burn down Robert's house, blah blah blah! It was used that way but...broader scale, it can "hack" into a human being. Broader scale, it can...hack...into something...grander, something much bigger. Something much more..."

_cough cough cough_

"Oi, hang on a second."

He sat up, walked to the door, knocked on it, opened it slightly.

There I saw a man dressed in a paper gown, bleeding profusely, large chunks of flesh missing from his body.

"Who the fuck is that?"

He closed the door loudly, and told me I needed to go.

He released my restraints and started pushing me towards the door behind where I was sitting.

"Now, the Day of Atonement is coming up bro, and I really do need you to help me out and stop digging, it's just a kid after all, one stupid kid. Now you need to go, as I am expecting a pizza, and I do _not_ want you to have any. Toodles!"

He opened the door and threw me out.

"Wait, you can't leave me out here! I don't know where I am!"

"Not my problem doc!"

Slam.

V: Downward Spiral into NothingnessEdit

Everytime I turned the damn street corner I found myself back at 25 Yehowa Street. Each time around, things warp slightly. Buildings once uniform and blocky became stretched, twisted, looming over me with each iteration. This place, there's something about it. It just... It just doesn't feel right.

After three hours of hopelessly turning corners and running through alleys, I heard the scraping. The _damned_ scraping.

Each time I tried to deviate, the scraping got louder, each time I tried to scream, the scraping got louder. It got to the point where my ears actually bled from the volume, each increase undercut by a sadistic mantra, "You're going in circles," "you're not leaving," "they all hate you," blah blah blah.

Eventually, after I resolved to sit and wait for the scraping to catch up and kill me, a got a buzz on my phone.

_"Find the well, before they do."_

The fuck?

As I turned the corner again the scraping ceased and I heard a chortle. There was a flash of light from the trees and I ran towards it. Was it a way out?

What I saw instead was a group of men, dressed in robes and those damn masks. The cultists, most of them armed. I decided to keep my distance, since it seemed they probably would've shot me on sight. Soon, this proved difficult. They were near every building, at each end of the street. I tried to sneak up on one of them and they saw me. Luckily he only had a bat, but I few thwacks to the knee cap still proved inauspicious.

As I limped down the street, I heard the blast of a shotgun. Now they all knew I was there. I got blasted in the shoulder and I fell to the ground. I heard them approaching quickly and saw I was in front of Building 25 again. I figured maybe if I crawled in they wouldn't follow me, sacred ground or whatever.

I managed to get myself up on the porch before they reached me. Someone evidently had a pistol because before I knew it my foot had a bullet in it. I scrambled for the doorknob and I barged into the building, and slammed the door. I collapsed onto the grimy floor as I heard the scraping rapidly approach from outside. There were brief screams and sounds of retreat, and then silence.

I laid on that floor for God knows how long. I felt the wood breathe, the walls pulsate, the dull beating of an old heart. The sound of pained breathing surrounded me, and as my lifeblood poured out of my wounds I drifted into unconsciousness, praying for death.

Well, obviously, I didn't die, I'm here typing this.

I woke up in a dark room, illuminated by a strange blue aura. I felt great, oddly enough considering my injuries. I stood up and examined my foot, not even a bullet hole. I chuckled and looked around. That's when I saw someone standing in the corner.

"Don't scream."

I screamed.

"Okay, I told you _not_ to scream. You really can't follow directions can you."

The man stepped into the light and I saw his dark red, featureless face. The man from the dinner. I screamed again, and he punched me in the throat.

"If He hears you, we're fucking dead. Both of us! He sees everything here!"

I wheezed in compliance, in a weak voice I asked him what he was.

"Never mind who or what I am, that's not important. What's important is that you leave, _now_. I'm already risking my ass taking you out of the session early, I don't need you fucking things up any more than you already have!"

I asked him why he was helping me.

"Because after 111 attempts, I can't take this kind of shit anymore. This is His last chance for a while. If he collects His sixth soul before the year 5776 ends, it's all over. Don't ask me what it means, I don't have time to tell you. If you stop him, we're delaying another session by at least a hundred years. If you want to get out alive, you need to get through the well."

I asked him where the well was, and he pointed away from us. I turned around and saw the source of the majestic blue aura. A small stone cylinder.

We walked over to it, and he told me to jump down. I backed away, and he told me I'd be unharmed.

I stood at the precipice and took a step. I looked back at the man, and he held my leg, begging me to trust him.

I had nothing left to lose right?

It was like going down a staircase. I stepped off the edge of the well and found myself in the forest, like taking a measly two steps.

Was I out? Was I free? No, I wasn't. I was in the Special Place.

The trees were distorted, a maniacal purple hue filled the surrounding shrubbery. A rotten and moldy cobblestone path winded through the trees before me. Soon, I found myself in a clearing. The path stopped and as I looked around and saw five mounds. In front of me there was a large oak tree, with symbols carved into it. The Tetragrammaton, I think it's called.

I heard rapid footsteps approaching me, and before I could turn around something grabbed me by the shoulders.

"You can not listen to what any of them try to tell you!"

I whipped around and saw Robert. Yeah. It was Robert.

"Robert? What the fuck, you're dead!"

He kept looking behind him.

"I know this doesn't make sense, I know this must be very confusing, but... you're not gonna win this. You...you can't. You have to kill yourself!"

"What?! Robert, how the fuck are you here??"

"You can't be— you're not gonna be the hero of this! If you wanna help anybody, that's all you can do. You gotta kill yourself. It's... it's just the only solution!! Just, oh fuck! Alright, I know things are confusing right now, man, but you gotta listen. You can't listen to them, alright? Trust me!"

He whipped around and started bolting in the opposite direction, and I screamed his name.

"Just don't listen to them!"

I stood there in a stunned silence. How the hell could he be alive? I saw him die. Well, I suppose I didn't actually see him die, but I know how these things go with Him. Before I even had time to process I heard a voice.

"Ha, hey doc. What're you doing here?"

I turned my head and saw Him coming up behind me, I tried to run but he snatched my arm. "Where you goin'?"

I struggled as he started dragging me away from the clearing, I kept screaming.

"Yeah, let's run from Him in his own house. I thought doctors were smart...wait."

We stopped.

His voice got deep, sort of grumbling. "I don't remember letting you in. How did you get here?"

I didn't rat the guy out, if he wasn't lying to me he wanted to end this as bad as I did. I came up with some bullshit that I found myself in the forest after running from the cult.

"Just a bug caught in a web, huh? Yeah, I know the feel. So, what'd you think about him?"

"Him? Oh, yeah, he's supposed to be dead!"

"Things work...differently here. So, what'd you think about all that...dirty business. Killing yourself. What do you think?"

"I honestly don't know."

He seemed slightly aback.

"You, ha, you don't know? Are you kidding me? So what, you're just gonna kill yourself? Is that the option that you have, is that a legitimate choice? That shit isn't even on the fuckin' register, do you understand me? Noo, you won't do it. I can smell it on you. You know why? Bec—"

Suddenly, he stopped, and he looked up. I heard a faint whispering, a slight interjection, and then a sigh of compliance.

"God...damn it! Ugh! Alright, doc, here's the deal, I can't do shit now 'cuz...I don't know, fuck, the session's over or whatever. Leave."

I was a little surprised. "I...I just want to go home."

"Oh sure, I can do that."

He raised his leg and kicked me in the stomach. I flew back and before I knew it I was in my house, in front of my front door. Through the frame I could see Him in the clearing.

"Later bitch!"

VI: The TapeEdit

The man from the dinner, we'll call him No-Face for shits and giggles, has made contact with me several times.

He's said he doesn't know where the next target is, but he has a feeling it's back in Ohio. Awesome.

He's given me insight on Him as well. I'm putting good faith in his words, so I'll just convey exactly what he's told me. "Him" is really an 'agent for a higher power', generally meant to go around fucking with things. He's been around for a while, like, a _while_ while. Apparently, He wants out now, for some reason, and to return to this 'higher power', He needs to contact it. He's been trying, periodically, for years. This is where the children come in. They were "sacrifices", so to speak. Little incidents where He 'broke the rules' in order to capture the attention of the higher power. Now, He's figuring the reason He's never made contact is because it's all been at the wrong time. He needs to wait for this "Day of Atonement", wherein this higher power is finally going to pay attention, so to speak.

There's something else. He sneaked out of the session place, Yehowa Street I guess, and delivered me a CD.

I popped it in and sat down.

It opened with a telephone booth slowly coming into view. As the camera entered, there was a click, some button pressing, and a dial tone. "Hey, Mom. It's me. I'm back. I figured it all out. You can drop whatever you're doing and come to the house this Friday at 9 PM sharp. I'll be waiting there for you. If you don't come, you'll never see me again." Click.

The camera leaves the phone booth and returns to the starting location. Whoever's holding it lifts it and I can just barely make out Him standing in front. He nods and begins walking off frame, the camera follows him. Static slowly covers the screen and there's a loud smashing sound, and suddenly they're in a dark house. I see Him walk into another room just as I hear a door opening.

A woman, evidently, walks into the house, looks at the camera, and starts crying, "Solomon! My baby!"

Shit.

The cameraman, Solomon, starts screaming, "Stop right there! Is this really what it comes down to? How...how could you live with yourself after what you've done to me?!"

She walks into the light, I can see her face now. God, Orpah, what did you do? I told No-Face I didn't want to watch, and he told me I needed to.

They were still silent.

"Solomon, please. I...I had no choice! They needed someone, you know I had no choice!"

"But you _did_ have a choice! You choose us willingly!"

"They needed a life!"

His voice seemed to break a little bit, "But it was _my life!_ I'm your fucking son!"

"I had to! Solomon, listen to me-"

I saw a pistol rise from below the screen.

"Robert got me the charters. I know you've been working with them. I...I know what you did to the four kids from the asylum! What my life was really meant for! I...", it sounded like he started to sob a little bit, "I know you killed Dad!"

"Sol...Solomon, you know He can't be stopped!"

"There was no love! It was all a lie! To use me!"

_BANG_

The pistol fired and I saw Orpah topple. As she hit the ground Solomon screamed and dropped the camera. As he ran to her the camera filmed Him coming back into the room and stopping halfway through. I could hear Solomon screaming from off-screen.

"Mom! I'm so sorry! They made me do this!"

I saw Him walk towards Solomon, and after a few seconds the sobbing stopped, and they both walked out, stoic.

Then the tape ended.

I just sort of stared at the screen in silence for a few minutes. I asked No-Face when this all happened, he told me it happened the day Solomon disappeared.

I asked him what happened to the body, to Solomon. He just said they went to 'the Special Place'.

I took the CD out of the player and asked him why he showed me it.

"He needed Solomon. He needs to take Solomon for him to "count". If Solomon killed himself, his life would be null. Orpah failed to stop him, so she needed to be...taken care of. To stop Him, you need to find a way to nullify the final victim's life. Which means...you have to kill him."

There was a silence that seemed to last eternities.

"I...can't kill another person. Even to save stop Him, I couldn't possibly."

"What a selfish man you are. Think about this for a second," No-Face said, standing up, "hundreds of children dead. Families torn apart, your family, Solomon's family, countless pointless deaths, and given the oppurtunity to stop it, you've just...pussied out. Why? For guilt? You can't live with yourself? How dare you? I may not be human, but I have emotions. We've all been forced to confront the consequences of our actions, even if these actions are indeed something as sordid as murder. You know only a fraction of what He has done, and yet you stand before me a broken man begging for the end of this ordeal, yet..._bemusingly_, you have the audacity to claim I have requested _too much from you_? Have you no idea what we could accomplish should we succeed, and you just..._listen to me_?!"

I pushed him and screamed, "How do I know I can trust you? How do I know this isn't just some grand scheme?!"

He didn't respond.

Instead, he began walking to the door.

I sighed and apologized, but he kept walking. As he left the house I heard the phone ring.

I picked it up, sighed loudly, and said, "Hello?"

"Doc, is this you? Hey, um...it's me, Vince, your son. We need to talk..."

VII: The MeetingEdit

I rubbed the bridge of my nose and sat down, sighed, and asked how the caller _really_ was.

"Doc? Is this you? It's me, Vince, your son. We need to talk."

I groaned. "This isn't funny, whoever you are, please just stop."

"Doc, is this you? It's me, Vince. Your son, um, we need to talk."

"Look, I'm hanging up. Whoever you are, fuck off."

"Doc? Is this you? It's me Vince, your son. We need to talk."

As I brought the phone to the receiver I heard a woman shriek.

I quickly brought the phone back to my ear, "What the fuck is this?!"

I heard a woman crying, "...t is wrong with you?? Daddy, daddy please tell me this is you!"

I felt the tears well up in my eyes and my nose start to burn. I clearly made some sort of pained whimpering sort of sound because the pleading continued, even more terrified than before.

I sucked the mucus into my throat took a deep breath, "Jenn? Jenny? Is that you baby girl?"

The woman on the phone started sobbing, and I joined her. Between the weak "I'm sorry"'s undercut by more sobbings and the copious amount of tears soaking my pant legs, I could make out a voice in the background.

"Hurry up."

"Who is that? Who is that Jenn? Which one of you is that? Please, put them on!"

There was a pause, a shuffling, and a new voice reached my ear.

I sniffled, "Matt or Dave?"

There was a dry laugh, "Matt, dad. Listen, I know...I know this makes no sense! We've been dead for...God, how long has it been for you?"

I exploded into tears, "It's been 25 years! What do you mean _for me??_"

Matt sighed, "Temporal elongation is exponential when traveling in our direction. Seconds are minutes. Minutes are hours. Hours are days. Days are weeks. Weeks are months. Months are years. For us...it seems like one big afternoon."

I stood up, ran for the car for some reason, and asked where they were.

"It's hard to describe where 'here' is...but wherever it is, you can't reach us, not on your own. Get out of your car."

I hesitated, and then got out of the car.

"If you're wondering how I knew, well, we lived with you for 10 years doc, we know your little idiosyncrasies."

I got back in the house and started laughing, "Matt, you're alive!"

He winced. "Yeah, not 'alive' per se just...trapped. Wherever the shit we are..._He_ is keeping us from moving into the pit."

"The pit?"

"Sheol, doc. It's this whole thing, just go to the library and look it up or something."

I laughed and said, "Well, I could probably just Google it!"

"What's Google?"

...

"How can I see you? Wait…is your mother there?"

"No, she's not dad. We don't know where she is. Um…okay. So, _(you got this? okay, go get 'm)_, alright doc, listen, um...go get a pillow and press it to the front of your face. Hopefully this doesn't hurt too much.."

"What doesn't hurt too--"

THWAK

I awoke to a pain I had never known before. A pair of hands caressed my face. As my eyes adjusted to the warped, purple infinite, I saw my baby girl's face for the first time in two decades. I launched up and gave her the largest hug I'd ever given, sobbing violently until she pleaded for me to stop.

I got up, laughed, and apologized.

"Father, I'm sorry but we don't have time."

I turned around and saw my first one. The first kid I ever met in the house, his name was Dave. From there, the others emerged. As my children surrounded me, a multitude of men and woman came from the "shadows" that surrounded us. Men and women, different races, different ages, different clothing styles, some wore winter coats, others shorts and t-shirts. Some with bullet wounds even, some with large slash marks.

My God.

I asked them who these people are. One stepped forward, "We're His former victims. Those who He took in vain to escape our realm. We are His haunting failures."

Matt grabbed my shoulder, "Doc, we've been told that you were given the key to stopping Him, and you backed out. Listen, you _have_ to find the next victim before the Day of Atonement. I'm sorry, but you _have_ to kill him. If you don't, He's gonna win. He's gonna escape, and we'll never see Him or each other again."

I was confused, "That sounds like a win/win! I mean, not that we'll never see each other again, but He'll leave! Forever! The nightmare will be over!"

The victims surrounded me looked at each other, and one stepped forward. "You must not understand doctor. You don't understand _why_ he's killed us, do you?"

I shook my head.

He continued to step towards me. "The one you called "Him" was known to me as "di Sitan", the Adversary. You know him as Satan, _the_ Satan. His job was to lead the human race astray from God's path, but at some point, he got sick of it. Our sins disgusted him, so he decided he wanted out. But God was pre-occupied, the grudges of an agent of temptation couldn't catch His eye in the entirety of the world. So, Satan decided he needed to destroy this world. Once he got the Lord's attention, he was to tell him that the world had become irredeemable. That it was time to reconstruct, to recreate. Despite the fact that Satan is the evilest angel, he still stands at God's right hand. He interacts with humans the most of the heavenly tabernacle. God would believe him..."

I stood up, "Wouldn't God know better?!"

"Of course," he continued, "but God is forgiving, and He'd never make the decision to push the button and let us all die. He loves us too much...but if He gets enough support for it, He'd do it. What He'd do with all the souls in She'ol is anyone's guess."

Matt turned to me, "Doc, Satan's got the right timeframe this time. If the sixth victim is killed, He's going to make contact with God, and He's going to make us all die. This existence is agony, you just have to do it! Vince, give it to him!"

My last child emerged from the crowd and handed me a strange horn. Hollowed out, little bit cut off, it was like a bugle.

"What is this?"

The kid that had stepped up told me it was a called a shofar. He instructed me how to use it, putting my lips together and making a fart-like sound with it. I tried it, and it made a booming sound. He told me shofars were used to scare Satan away.

I thanked the boy, and I thanked my kids.

There was a metallic popping sound and angered roaring. As there was a break in the purple emptiness I saw Him emerge. He screamed at the crowd of His victims, calling them fools. He charged for me and I blew the horn. He toppled before me and screamed, holding the sides of his mask, his ears, and begged it to stop. After several more loud toots he screeched and retreated back into the shadows, and he was gone.

Vince laughed and gave me a hug, "Nice damn job! That's the only way we've been able to survive like this!"

I laughed, "So...taking this, is gonna...I'm gonna be taking your only measure of protection?"

"Dad, please, he can't kill us, we're just souls. Only God can destroy us. You have to go."

"I can't go, I can't leave you again!"

"Dad, please, you have to. Besides, you already there."

"What?"

"Wake up."

The sun flashed in my eyes, as I awoke on a concrete sidewalk, in front of a house. There was a strange protrusion in my shirt, and as I sat up and reached under my shirt I smelled something sweet. I pulled out the object, and it was the shofar. Inscribed on it was a message, "אולי יהוה צבאות יברך אותנו".

I got up, and instinctively started walking up to the house.

I knocked on the door and someone answered immediately. The seemed very exhausted, there were bags under his eyes.

It took my a second to recognize him as the kid from the pictures.

VIII: The Feast of TrumpetsEdit

Well, it turns out Google really would've been helpful.

So, it's October 5th. The end of the year 5776 was October 3rd. The Day of Atonement is October 13th. It was all literally just a click away. I really should have guess this whole thing was just a bunch of Judaism tidbits considering all the shit I've gone through.

So, the highlights: I found His next victim, that's cool, and we'll get to that, _and_ I found the one thing that can stop Him.

Downsides: He literally won't leave, and I still have to kill the kid. Now, let's get on to the important things:

So, let's go back a bit.

Back when I was at the kid's doorstep, I was stunned. I asked if I could come in, and he let me. We sat down in the kitchen and explained everything.

He sighed, got up, walked into the living room, opened a small dresser, and returned with a paper. [Well shit](http://i.imgur.com/xUX36RW.jpg).

He got a beer and came back to the table.

"I first made contact with the thing when I was...God, I must've been at least three years old? I used to live up in Malvern, yeah...Avalon Road. I used to...uh, I used to play in the woods. I don't recall how or when I noticed him, nor what he was doing other than watching me play... but I remember waving "bye-bye" to him as I was carried away. Hahaha, yeah. God, as I grew older, as I had forgotten my infancy, I started seeing him again. I mean, each time, there was something disturbingly familiar about him. He mattered as little to me as any random face in a hidden picture book... he was one of the characters you weren't looking for, an extra doodle thrown into the crowd. As I reached the age of 13, the stranger said he was getting ready to take me somewhere...ha ha, called it 'ha-makom meyukhad" yeah...yeah, 'the special place' which...I don't know. Then one day, I went to synagogue for High Holidays...and I didn't see him for years. He came back a few days ago. In my sleep, at that point he was at the foot of my bed...now, he's right on top of me..."

I rubbed my eyes, "So, you're saying you went to a synagogue and that turned Him away?"


"I…I don't know what I did that repelled him, but I've run over my chances and...I don't think I can win at this. I'm just…I'm just going to surrender. I have to…to end this nightmare."

"No!" I screamed, "you…you can't! You can't just _let him win!_"

_scrape scrape scrape_

Shit.

_"And Adonai spoke unto Moses, saying 'In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall be a solemn rest unto you, a memorial proclaimed with the blast of horns, a holy convocation. Ye shall do no manner of servile work; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto Adonai.' hehehehe'_

Then the motherfucker just walked right through a wall and started walking towards us.

The kid got up, and walked towards him. They stopped halfway through, before the kid sighed. "Fuck it, just take me."

I screamed "No!" and whipped out the horn.

He shrieked and took a few steps back.

"Where...where did you get that instrument?! Put that away!"

The kid sighed, "Dude, come on. Do you know how many times I've tried the shofar?"

I put it to my mouth and inhaled. He sprinted towards me and tried to swipe the shofar to the ground, but stopped short of me and rubbed the small etched inscription. He muttered a quiet "shit" and I blew as hard as I could. The horn made a booming noise and He dashed away screaming. I followed Him, each few steps making another booming toot. I could hear pained sobbing as He retreated back into the wall with his black, bubbling goop trailing behind him.

I tell you, it felt good. It felt _sooo_ good.

The kid stared at me in bewilderment. He walked over and held the shofar in his hands.

"T...twenty years, and I've never seen him spare a shofar. Why didn't he destroy it?"

I took a step towards him and turned the horn over to the etched inscription, and said, "I think it had something to do with this message, I feel like it has something to do with _this_ particular word...what did he call it? Ha-shem, or Tetra-something?"

He seemed to perk up, "Tetragrammaton?"

I snapped my fingers, "Yeah, that was it, he was gushing about it the last time I saw him. Said it was super powerful or whatever, maybe he can't destroy it?"

"No one can destroy it, it's a mortal sin! Erasing the Ineffable Name is one of the worst things a Jew can do! Well, if it was written for the right purpose, I guess."

We sat down and he started explaining the whole deal to me.

You know how in the Bible whenever they refer to God they write it as "the LORD"? Well, that's the Tetragrammaton. Apparently, back in ancient times, this name was so sacred no one could _ever_ say it. People usually substituted words like "Hashem" or "Adonai" for the Tetragrammaton. It was extremely taboo to even be indecent in the presence of the Name. If it was written for the correct purposes, like prayer, the religious can't erase it or destroy anything it's written on, which explains why He didn't want to break the shofar. Speaking of, I asked the kid to translate the inscription on the horn, it translates to, "May the LORD of Hosts bless us". He basically gave me the same speech that He did about the characters holding "immense power" and all that shit.

That's when I realized something huge. When No-Face showed me the well, he told me that if I killed the sixth victim before He did, we'd delay His plans for at least a hundred years. But now, we have something that can repel Him, so as long as we have the shofar, I can just stay until the "Day of Atonement" and stall Him without killing anybody!

If only.

As we were talking the table we were sitting at started to shake, and I felt the floor beneath us shift a bit. Suddenly He shot from the ground, flipped the table on me, and the shofar went flying. As the kid went after it, He pushed him into a wall and shot across the room. Before He could get His hands on it I swiped it away and put it to my mouth. He pushed against it and hit me right in the nose, and I dropped the horn. He pushed me up against the wall by my neck and started screaming, "I'm not going down like this! Not this close! You're not going to _FUCK ME!_ No you are not! So help me God, if I have to spend another damn day on this retched rock because of _you_, fire and brimstone will sound like a GOD. DAMN. PICNIC, compared to what I do to you! So, since I can't destroy this damned horn, I suggested you back the fuck up and just let me take it!"

There was a small, dull, wheeze, and then a quiet toot.

He dropped me and made an admittedly hilarious tiny shriek. We looked across the room and saw the kid with the shofar in his hands, desperately licking his lips.

I screamed, "Make a fart noise!"

Small beat.

"With your lips, dumbass!"

He took a deep breath and put the horn to his lips, and as He dashed towards the kid, He was hit in the face with a thundering boom. He screamed a barrage of obscenities and disappeared amongst the floorboards.

That was two days ago, and I haven't left the kid's house.

Yesterday, I saw No-Face in the driveway.

Today, I saw Him at the front door.

IX: The Sleepless NightsEdit

Everything has just been a downward spiral. When Maryann and I adopted those kids in '81, I never expected this kind of shit. I expected so many other troubles in my lifetime, but this? I can't even.

I remembered Robert's parcel and I started fishing for clues. I found incident reports pertaining to my childrens' times in the home for violent kids, which amazingly I do not recall being shown during their adoption process.

Dave was the first of the children inducted. He was definitely the most violent. He often tortured small animals, in rather extrabiblical ways. I do mean _biblical_, a particular incident mentioned on file entailed the crucifixion of three rabbits and what one doctor was quoted as calling, "the most disturbingly articulated construction of a makeshift 'crown of thorns' made out of grass and glass shards." The reason he was inducted into the home was redacted, oddly enough, but a footnote mentioned his particular interest in "mommy's fire".

The next child was Vince, who came a sexual abuse task force from a small town somewhere in Pennsylvania which, you guessed it, suffered a catastrophic fire some time in 1985 _(thank you Google)_. Vin was a pretty normal boy, raised by religiously observant parents. The local priest was...fond of children. It got to the point where children were invited into his home for, "Bible study". Of seven children who went into that house, only one was found: Vin. August 9th, 1981 was the incident's date. A task force assigned to taking down the priest raided his home and found the priest's mutilated body, the other six children nowhere to be seen. Here's what's interesting: when questioned by the police, Vinny only told them that, "He did it. He doesn't like to share."

I had always been under the impression that He had first made contact with the children in the home, now it seems that Vince had prior contact with him, numerous times.

The last two children were Matt and Jenn, brother and sister. To summarize, as there is nothing too important to note from their files, their father murdered their family and burned the house down.

The next file was a letter regarding discharge. It read as such:

> Dear Dr. Gad,

> The Board of Administration for the Karban Institute regret to inform you that your employment has been terminated, effective immediately. Numerous times, this board has implored you to desist your extremely unprofessional, and inappropriate, contact with Detainees 4MR3, 7FK3, 8DH4, and 5JF7. There is a zero tolerance policy for a number of your offenses, including but not limited to: _SEXUAL BEHAVIOR_, _PHYSICAL ABUSE_, _UNAUTHORIZED EXPROPRIATION OF DETAINED CHILDREN_, _FORCIBLE DEMEDICATION_. The Board would like to thank you for your service to our organization. Security has your picture, do not return to this facility for at least _SIXTY_ days. Thank you.

> ~Administrator Carl █████████

This didn't make any sense. Orpah, to my knowledge, wasn't even a licensed psychologist, how and when was she employed at the institute? Not to mention the whole "sexual behavior" bit, what did _that_ entail?

I'll never know, and it hurts.

Back to current events.

It's been a few days, and we're approaching the Day of Atonement rapidly. I can tell He's getting desperate. I can't let the kid be alone at any time, including bathroom breaks (that's an adventure). He's tried slithering in a few times, but I'm always ready with the shofar.

The day after I got in, the shofar started...talking. Whispering. Sometimes we have full out conversations. The kid says he doesn't hear anything, so I might be going insane.

The night of the sixth we took turns keeping watch for Him. He slept, then I slept, and so on and so forth. On my third or fourth shift, it started talking.

"James..."

"James...."

"Listen to me...."

I thought maybe the voice came from Him, like He was hiding somewhere and fucking with me, so I blew the horn once. When nothing happened, I chalked the experience up to sleep deprivation.

"James. Pick me up, James."

I looked at the horn, and I picked it up. I was examining it, making sure I wasn't going insane.

"I have something important to tell you..."

I brought it up to my ears, "I watch you sleep! ha ha!"

I groaned and put the damn thing down. My shift was over and the kid and I switched.

The next morning, he was making us breakfast and it started whispering again.

"Shatter me."

I picked it up, told it to shut up.

"Shatter me doctor. Pleeeeease"

I told it to shut up again.

"You won't learn like this. Break me."

This time, I screamed at it. The kid came running in, and just went back to the stove after seeing me yell at a horn.

The next night, same problem. The damn horn kept talking. I brought a hammer from the kid's garage, my excuse at the time was 'just in case'. Just in case for what? I don't even know.

The shofar laughed, "Break. Me."

I brought it over to the dresser, exhausted out of my mind. I just wanted the whole thing to end.

"You're an idiot. They are coming."

"Don't do this, doctor."

"BREAK ME"

"Wait. You're playing a game! They're tricking you!"

As I brought my hand down there was a barrage of whispers, and the hammer made contact. Little crackles, but no shatter. I brought my arm up again.

"Daddy, please stop. You're hurting me. I am in pain."

"You're killing us."

"Just a few more strikes will do it."

"You're killing your children doctor."

The variety of messages coming from it confused me. Who the fuck was talking out of this damn thing? Was it Him, was it my kids, both?

I resigned myself to just all together, stop listening to the damn thing. Regardless of what they said, I'd just sit and wait for Him.

I picked up the shofar and inspected the crack. I blew it once, quietly, and it worked fine.

"You will miss me. We're friends, aren't we doc? Friends don't burn friends. You're my best friend."

"You have to go back, doctor."

"James? James??"

"He's here."

That last one got me, and I panicked, I blew the horn a few times and I heard Him scream from downstairs. I heard scuttling and the front door slam.

How do I know when this thing is trying to help me and when it's trying to fuck with me?

"I'm going to miss you, doc"

The next day, the kid and I went grocery shopping. He goes to like a kosher market, which is neat, I've never heard of such a thing. Also never heard of turkey bacon, which he buys a lot of. They were having this big Yom Kippur sale, so I decided to splurge for a second. I broke off for maybe a minute and a half to buy a bread loaf when the shofar started talking again.

"Doc, doc, he's here, he's here. You need to go back, you need to go back now!"

Shit.

I dashed back to the kid and found him in the exact same spot, still examining the same jar of damn pickles. The shofar whispered, "Hahaha, you fucking idiot. Coming soon enough."

Went we got back to the house I found something I hadn't noticed before in the parcel.

"The clinic is the key. Karan Institute. Get to work doc. ~Solomon"

Two hour drive to Akron. Found the institute, abandoned.

The kid and I got out of the car, and went up to the door. After peeling off like a decade's worth of grime and notices of condemnation, the doors creaked open. As we walked the decrepit halls, I found the room where I first met Dave. I remembered the conversation exactly how it happened. I asked him what his name was, he told me David, but everyone called him Dave. I asked him how he felt, he said "fuzzy", and I asked him how the pills were working. I remember him drawing a picture of what looked like a stick figure among bendy trees, and him describing his "special friend". I asked him if he was a fan of horror movies, he said no. He said he liked the Bible, and fire, he said the concept interested him. The power went out and Dave jumped on to me. Adorable to say the least, but seems all to familiar today.

The room was mossy, leaking, the ceiling sagging and bulging from the years of water damage. As I went back into the hallway, I tried to remember where the archive room was. What did Solomon want me to find? Something about the kids or Orpah, even about Him?

Lo and behold, miraculously under the one light that worked, I found it. The rotten, wooden door labelled "ARCHIVES"

I kicked it in, and blew the shofar. Nothing.

Okay.

So, I went over to the "G" cabinet, looked for Gad. Finally, I found the damned folder. "GAD"

What I found still hurts.

A single piece of paper.

> Dear Doctor,

> You are a goddamned fool. Do you know how easy this kind of shit is?

> Dear doctor, kill yourself. Shove it in your ass. ~Solomon

> You are truly a moron. You fell right into my trap. Have fun doctor.

_crackle crackle crackle_

As soon as the smell of smoke reached my nose I bolted for the door. The rotted building made the whole damn place a fucking tinder box. The flames spread so fast I couldn't even get out of archives before I was hit with a wall of fire.

I ran through it, singing my clothes. Had to find the kid. Had to find the kid.

A highbeam burst through the ceiling and pinned me down. A shard hit me in the eye and I felt blood pouring out of my tear duct.

I heard the soft clipclop of footsteps and, lo and behold, there He was.

He bent down on his knee, laughed, and told me that he had warned me. He reached into my pocket, pulled out the shofar, and walked away. Next thing I know I hear the kid screaming. As much as it hurt, I dragged myself out from under that damn beam and started running as best I could.

The hallway we had been in was covered in a black ooze. A little message lay etched into the floor.

"GAME OVER. I WIN"

It was a 13 hour walk back to Minerva.

X: The Day of AtonementEdit

I crashed on the floor as soon as I got into the kid's house. I thought about a lot of things, the world was probably going to be destroyed, might as well come to terms with it. I had peppered dreams of fantastic colors and sobs.

Three days to the Day of Atonement, I tried to kill myself. I took an knife an essentially tried to seppuku myself. Blade went in deep, and I passed out. When I woke up, the wound was gone, and the Tetragrammaton was carved into my chest. Got up to try again, no more knives.

Two days in, I altered from panicked episodes to sort of a manic-depressive mindset. Around 10 in the morning I began frantically sifting the shit in Robert's parcel. Something hit me when I had come to the map I had marked my children's initial addresses on. I remembered something odd from my first dreams about Him, when I was first on Yehowa Street. I hopped onto Google Maps, and typed in each other children's addresses. Using a "measure distance" tool, I drew a line between each of the three houses, then I typed in Solomon's former address. It was the pattern they were sitting in from the dream. They weren't sitting in a circle, it was a pattern! The pattern wasn't complete, couldn't have been, so I thought: what other points would there need to be? Solomon's house, Robert's house, the institute? I rolled the dice, typed in all three. It worked perfectly, what came out was a perfect 150 mile hexagram. I printed out what I had drawn, and connected the dots, in between the corners.

The centroid lay right smack in the middle of Wayne National Forest. This was the plan, wasn't it? Probably had to do with whatever ritual He needed to do.

Minerva to the forest would take something around a day-and-a-half on foot. A car though would take maybe 2 hours.

I'll level with you Reddit: I stole a t-shirt from the kid's dresser and busted the window on the neighbor's car.

After a two hour ride, I made it to the forest. Hopped off State Route 26, and realized I was pretty much just blindly flailing around, as I wasn't sure exactly where the center of the forest was. It took a few hours, but I found it.

Rather conspicuous, a staircase in the middle of the woods. It's almost like if you took the stairs in your house, cut them out, and put them in the forest. A good chunk of it was above ground, but it lead down farther than could've been geographically possible. I took a deep breath and took a step onto it. I peered down into the darkness, and continued down. As soon as I passed the threshold of the dirt, the scenery changed. The forest changed to a dilapidated street.

Motherfucking Yehowa Street. I ran straight to 25 and kicked in the door. I ran down the hallway, searching. Eventually, I came to the dining room. I grabbed the odd, six-branched candelabra from the table, not paying mind to the half eaten plate of steak near the door, and started running around the room. Finally, the candelabra's light illuminated another door. As I opened it, I was awash in blue. I found the well.

As I stepped up, I noticed a freshly-carved message written all around the rim.

"REBELLION AGAINST TYRANTS IS OBEDIENCE TO GOD"

I jumped right in.

Twisted, purple damn trees. The cobblestone path, this time way more extended than the last time. As I treaded along, I heard someone rapidly approach. I whipped around and saw a random guy. I could see that his nose and lips and part of his forehead were all gone. It was like they'd been sliced clean off. He was bleeding bad, and I saw that the knees of his pants were red too. I took a step back but I was too scared to move much, and he grabbed my shoulders. It felt like I got a shock, and he jerked back. He started babbling, and I couldn't tell what he was saying, except that he kept asking how long he'd been gone. He asked me where 'his unit' was, but I just shook my head.

He just kept babbling and touching his face, and I realized he was wearing odd clothing. He had some kind of weird grey cloth jacket and almost formal pants on, and the jacket had these weird buttons and red borders on it. He started to walk towards me, but stopped around a foot in front of me, shrieked and spun around, sprinting opposite me, "Don't let them touch me! They'll send me back there!".

I spun around expecting to see Him in front of me, but instead, it was basically a shadow. He was breathing slow and deep, so I went closer and asked him if he was okay. He kept breathing in this real slow, deep breaths, and I sort of figured out gradually that that's what was bothering me. It was like he was pretending to breathe, but not actually doing it. His breaths were too even and deep, and all his movements were exaggerated, like his shoulders going up and his chest moving. I told him to identify himself, and he made this muffled noise. The sound he let out, was indescribable. Terrifying to say the least, it was a mix of a groan and a high pitched, vocal-cord tearing screech. It rolled its head and struck its torso forward, and it began hobbling towards me. I stayed frozen, for the first time I really was too scared to move. Before I knew it, it took this impossibly large step. It was five feet away a second before, then it was right in front of me. Its face was a mangled mess, like a series of clean knife strokes through a slab of meat.

Suddenly, it jerked to the side, an axe plunged into its neck. As it let out a final groan of a death rattle, I saw a man approach. A child, probably no older than eight or nine, dressed in a weird button down coat from like a Hooverville Goodwill or something. told me "If you want to find Mr. Friendly, you need to keep left, sir."

I hesitantly thanked him, he handed me the makeshift hatchet and told me I 'might need it' for whatever reason. Whatever that thing was, I definitely didn't want to run into another one unarmed.

As the path began to wind more violently, I noticed the ground was beginning to become uneven.

I stepped on a mouth in the middle of the path.

It whispered 'ouch' and I got on my knees. I'm pretty much desensitized to this kind of shit at this point.

I asked it where I could find Satan. It laughed.

"He doesn't want to see you right now. Besides, you should be more worried about your friend."

"What friend?"

"The one behind you, with tears streaming down his face."

I looked behind me and there was nothing.

"Did you see their skin? Very chunky. Next time you see your friend, you should apologize."

The mouth disappeared into the cracks.

The stones fell away with it, revealing nothing but a poignant darkness below. I fell with them, I clawed desperately to regain my position and continue down the path, but I fell.

Eyes, that's the first thing I noticed, just eyes, His eyes.

I fell through the darkness far slower than I should have, and I couldn't breathe. It was as if I was in a pool of Jello, not sludge or water, but not air either. That's when the eyes opened around me, it seemed I was inside something of a spherical mirror. Inside His head, almost. The eyes followed me, as slowly as I moved, as I sank into the darkness. Though I couldn't breathe in the pit, I almost didn't feel the need to. Once I reached the 'bottom' of the pit, the eyes kept watch of me. One of them began moving erratically, and all the other ones turned their sights to it. Their pupils grew, almost in anger, at that rebellious organ. Soon, the eye began to bleed, and began shaking blood all over. It took me a moment to realize it was trying to signal me. The blood all went in one direction, and from its point of view, might have even looked like an arrow. Before I knew it, there was a screech and the eye melted, leaving all the eyes only to look at me.

I followed the trail of blood, and it lead me to something odd. I say 'odd' because, even in hindsight, I'm not entirely sure what it was. It was part of some sort of wall, but because everything was so pitch black I couldn't even tell. It was as if you ran your fingers across smooth marble and then onto a choppy wooden door – whatever the eye lead me to felt significantly different from the rest of the smooth, formless blackness. I clawed at it for a moment, and threw myself on it. As luck would have it, it was essentially a push door.

Found myself back on the path, branched off into six different directions. The boy told me 'keep to the left', but how do I know which of the paths was the correct 'left'? I picked the closest one to me, and I walked through it. As I walked, a tree began to shake.

Suddenly, it cracked and fell away from the path, something clawed its way out. It was a man, dressed in a business suit, clean-cut, wavy black hair, and a goopy, bloody, almost fresh looking empty eye-socket.

"T...tell me doctor. What's it like outside?"

I went over to help him out of the trunk, but he swiped at me.

"Outside this place?"

"No...outside this tree."

"Why don't you come outside?"

"I don't know what I can touch...I'm sorry doctor!" he started weeping, "I...I'm too scared!"

I tried to console him, but he continued, "S...stranger, I've never left this place...I don't know when I'm supposed to be..."

I reached out my hand and told him we could walk together.

"No...no, doctor I can't...I'm scared...I'm scared...I'm scared..."

He just kept repeating the same mantra, and eventually I left him.

Before I knew it, I had come to another fork. Keep to the left, keep to the left. Here, it actually started to look familiar. The trees bent, swayed in the non-existent wind. Somewhere above, I heard chanting. I clenched the hatchet in my hand and ran forward.

I found it.

The Special Place.

Here, they sight was clear. Five mounds nestled neatly around a large tree, grown higher than all others, so tall I couldn't even see its canopy. Black ribbon lay rested on each mound. The chanting became louder.

I ran around the tree, and saw the kid, and Him, holding an odd, rectangular knife. He had the kid bent over a small hole.

"Before shechita, what say you child?"

The kid said nothing.

"Then it shall be, I love you my son."

Before I could react, the knife was swiped across the kid's neck, severing everything. As he fell limp to the ground, his lifeblood poured outwards. He sighed, picked up the child's body, as nestled it into the mound, before a wave of His hand brought a foot of dirt over it.

I was too late.

I just sort of stared at the mound for a minute.

"The hard part is making the right strike, you know?"

He turned around and looked right at me.

He began walking towards me, "Gotta...gotta cut the veins just right – you know, just at the point where there's such a drop in blood pressure in the brain, he passes out immediately. No pain. I hate to make children suffer."

I took a small step towards Him, "The worst part is all the customs I have to go through. I'd tried everything, burying them facing Jerusalem, burying them facing Kaaba, speaking Christian benediction, I had been so far away from my place I had forgotten the true ways. Sad, isn't it? Well, after six-hundred-sixty children, I feel like I got the jist of it."

I swung the hatchet, and hit Him in the eyepiece of his mask.

The whole world seemed to stop.

His upper body jerked forward violently, then back. The forward, then back, over and over again. The final time He did it, I saw the eyeport crack again. He jerked back and a swarm of buzzing insects spewed from the eyepiece, biting me, scratching me, digging into my eyes and my ears, ramming themselves under my fingernails, ripping the hatchet from my hand and slamming it into a tree that made up a part of this clearing's rim. I tried to scream, and they flew into my mouth too.

After a few minutes, the grueling horror stopped, and I vomited blood and locust carcasses.

As I tried to regain my composure, He swiped me deep across the chest with the knife.

He laughed.

"You know...hahaha...a few days ago, I was sitting here thinking, 'who gave him that shofar?' Because, you didn't even know what a menorah was, how could you know a shofar could hinder me? Then it hit me: someone was a mole. I went down into that retched pit, and I tortured each and every one of those kids. Who let them contact you? Not one of 'em gave you up. So, I'm here prepping this one," he said pointing to the fresh mound, "and I saw one of my...prototypes, walking around. I think you met one of them, the shadow things? Yeah, they were what you would call an 'alpha version', like I said they were prototypes, now they exist as cosmic abortions. Anyways, it hits me: I knew who the mole was. Who's been helping you..."

He walked over to the edge of the clearing and pushed a tree, yes he pushed a whole damn tree, out of the way. There I saw No-Face, butchered, crucified, and broken. I don't even know why, but I felt immense sorrow for him.

"So, it was nagging me, it was _nagging me!_ I had made such a fatal error. But, then again, I ain't no god. I was never meant to have minions after all, but then again I was never meant to do any of this..." He said, walking to the center of the clearing, "...I was merely meant to tempt. Set the rules in opposition, look but don't touch, touch but don't taste, taste but don't swallow...I nurtured every desire man ever had, and what did I get for it? Well, I got a nice seat in the heavenly tabernacle, but I was stuck down here...with my nose in the ground."

He stood in front of the tall tree and rubbed the Hebrew characters etched into them. "Let me tell you something. God...God likes to watch. He’s a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift and then what does He do? He lets _you_ roll with free will, He lets _you_ dictate your life. Look where's that's brought us! That's why I want out. Throughout the ages, mankind reached new lows. We stopped needing a Satan, we _were_ Satan. We kept sending tests...the Dark Ages, the Mongols, the Little Ice Age, the famines, the plagues, and I swear, you people find ways to find new lows. When the Death rolled through Europe, you burned the Jews, when the Byzantines invaded, they exterminated entire civilizations, each time, from a hwacha to a damn gas chamber, _we've gotten worse_. I've tried doing this before, as you know. But each time, I did..._something_ wrong. Maybe I did the wrong ritual, or I missed a vein somewhere, whatever the case my whole effort would be null. But in that timeframe, I would realize, maybe mankind can change. Thankfully, they did. They _did_. But now look at us, war, intolerance, take a look at the world today. Do you really think any of this is redeemable?"

He leaned against the tree.

"My job was to tempt, to lead you astray. Back then, it was simple. 'You should totally eat that pork, you should totally show some ankle' or whatever shit. Now, we make evil of our own volition, and its not the small stuff that make you say, 'eh, I won't clean the gutters today', its the kind of shit that says 'stone her for removing the hijab'."

"I...I'm sorry."

Why did I say I was sorry? I wasn't sorry!

He gasped. "It's sundown. I can tell."

"The Day of Atonement is here!"

Suddenly, I fell back against a tree. I was losing too much blood.

He stood up, lifted his mask, kissed the Tetragrammaton, and took a step back.

The skies opened, the mounds began to glow, and there was a blinding flash of light.

All around us was the most beautiful things I had ever seen. We were encapsulated in a cylinder of fire, made of extraordinary colors. Purple, green, orange, red, blue, all as radiant as crystal. My eyes watered, and I looked up, and saw towering figures, beautiful winged creatures. Some looked like lions, others like children, some eagles. Eventually, one more became visible. This figure was seated, surrounded by large figures encapsulated in wheels, and those wheels in wheels, peppered by eyes of different colors. The seated figure looked somewhat humanoid, bright colors, almost rainbows, emanated from His head. He looked to be made of crystal, fire, and light. His face was indescribable.

Satan threw himself on the ground and spoke, "O, Heavenly Father! My Lord Yah, Lord of Hosts! I beseech you! For years, I have done what you have commanded me, I have lead humanity astray! But, we have made such fatal error!"

He continued, and I saw No-Face begin to struggle on his cross. Eventually, he wrangled free and crawled towards me, picking up the hatchet as he passed. He handed it to me and said, "Destroy the sigil!"

What was the sigil?

"...my Lord, I have sinned! I have made a grievous sin! Lo, I have destroyed the souls of many children, and refused to release their mortal coils into Your hands! I beg your forgiveness, my Lord..."

The tree? Was the tree the sigil?

"Hear my words Heavenly Father, please! I beg of you, destroy this place! Break free of the covenant you have made with Your creations, who blaspheme before You!"

The Tetragrammaton, the Name, that must be the sigil!

I stood up, clenched my chest, and ran for the tree. I started hacking at the Name as fast as I could, whipping chunks of tree bark everywhere.

"My Lord, please! Observe how this pestilent human attempts to eradicate your Name!"

He stood up, and pushed me. "You fool, this is not the sigil. _I_ am the sigil!"

I looked at No-Face, he "looked" at me.

He looked back up. "My Lord, please. Take me from this world."

The seated being looked at me.

"What is this my Lord? Why have you brought attention to this man? ...his wound?"

He ripped open my shirt and screeched. The wound had cut through the Tetragrammaton carved into my chest.

"No! No!! My Lord! Please, God Most High! Forgive me! FORGIVE ME!!"

The seated being outstretched His hand, and Satan began to rise.

"Lord! Please, give me an answer! Forgive me!!"

As the heavenly light encompassed Him, I saw the mask and suit fade away. What was left was little more than a husk bereft of all humanity. Withered wings sprouted from its back, its face a sullen, depressed, very tired looking skull press, weak fair hair, withered with age. Many, many mouths, peppered all over its body, each speaking a different language. It continued to weep and beg forgiveness, and as it passed the threshold, He vanished along with the heavens.

I stood there, clutching my wound, confused.

I turned to No-Face.

"What does this mean? Did we succeed?"

"I...", he said, "I'm not sure. It all kind of depends why he was taken up. If he was taken up for punishment, we're safe. If he was taken up to be spared...oh my God."

From all around us, people came walking. I saw those I had passed on the path, now composed of a ghostly blue aura, and many others I had not encountered. I think I even saw Robert. Others came forth, the child in the pit who handed me the shofar. The kid, Solomon, my children...silently emerged from the mounds. The large tree split open, revealing a great doorway. Inside was gray nothingness, it felt very cold.

She'ol.

The victims began walking towards the doorway, passing through us. As they began disappearing into the doorway, No-Face gasped.

His featureless face, his tattered suit, turned bright blue. He was free too.

The facade that was his body began peeling away in flakes. As his face blew away, I saw his true face. A face I hadn't seen in years.

Tears filled my eyes. "M...Maryann?"

She smiled and tried to hug me, but her arms passed through me.

She laughed quietly, and looked at the door.

"You realize...this means I have to leave you again. I'm sorry James."

I told her nothing she could do would make me unhappy. I told her to be at peace.

She walked through the doorway and disappeared with the rest.

I was alone again. For the first time, I was truly alone.

And all I could do was laugh. Laugh at the absurdity of this whole thing. I was a small cog in this whole endeavor. I was useless, a pointless character. Nothing I did mattered.

I leaned up against the trees. I was woozy, too much bloodloss. I probably wasn't going to live much longer.

A rain began to fall. A heavy one. Thunder in the distance.

When all was said and done, what was there left to do but wait and see what happened, and laugh at the absurdity of it all?

So laugh I did. Laugh, and laugh, and laugh. Until our world ended.

Maybe.

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