“And they that were born to darkness were shunned by the light, not for their sins but so as to be the salvation of the lost” – Gospels of Limbo
The stench of charred flesh carried on the wind across the lake. The glow of the growing flames reflected off the water and into the plume of smoke slowly filling the air with it’s acrid haze. A dozen homes burned in the wake of what had become an all to common occurrence. I hadn’t been able to save everyone.
I watched distantly as emergency responders rushed in vain to save the people they believed still trapped in the burning buildings. There were no survivors left, but a small part of me applauded their determination. At least now the flames and smoke and falling structures would be the only threat.
Not the monsters that had been there an hour ago.
Flashes of the past thousand fights flitted through my minds eye in the space of a heart beat and it left me reeling. Can’t look back. Can’t ever look back.
I shook my head and tried to think ahead. Tried to think on the next step. But all I could hear were that girls words. “You were born damned for the sake of others salvation”.
The demons that had burnt those homes, killed those people, had been after that girl. They had destroyed so many lives to get to her. I’d say it was a miracle I survived, but after today I hardly believe anything is left to chance. That just made everything worse.
Again, a never ending parade of horror and torture played through my head and the weight of everything took me to my knees. Everything. Everything I had endured. Everything I had done and seen and suffered. All of it was predestined. My fate. I was created to walk through the deepest pits of hell, all so other people could find peace. Peace I would never get to know.
I tried to stop the thoughts, to force myself to breathe, to focus on my heartbeat. But my heart was racing. Not just with fear or desperation. But with anger.
I had never been a good man. But I had tried. Despite everything I had be subjected to I had fought to do what was right, what was good. Often at great loss to myself. I tried with everything I had to be positive and thankful for what I had in my life. I fought to shake off the constant pain in my body, mind and soul. To smile. To be pleasant, no matter what nightmares played in my head. I forgave the crimes against me and moved on. I refused to stand by while others were made victims. It hadn’t been enough.
So I fought harder. I put myself between the worst things mankind has faced. War, disease, famine, monsters, hell….I put myself between the people who damned themselves and the hell they had bought. I carried these souls, forsaken by God himself, from the most remote corners of the deepest dark. And after they were allowed to walk back into the light whole and happy, my sacrifices forgotten, I continued to carry the scars of those battles. Those souls….they couldn’t bare to stand the sight of what I had to be to save them.
And still, I fought on.
“Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster”. I laughed when an angel quoted Nietzsche. I couldn’t laugh when I realized that’s why the angels wouldn’t save these people. And why I could…
I always tried to believe that I was more than what the world saw. But the truth is, without the input of other people, we aren’t really more than the jaded perceptions of a biased mind trying pathetically to view itself.
The world saw me as a monster. So, a monster I became. A monster I would be.
I pushed myself back to my feet, took one more look at the fires and turned away. The flickering shadows cast by the remains of other peoples lives fled before me. The demons wouldn’t stand before me anymore. I had no past left to cast shadows on my future.
I hope they remember me this way. A monster. I hope they remember me this way when they see me walking through the towering flames of their hell, standing against an army of their nightmares. I hope this is how they remember me.
Because this is what they made me. A monster, to fight the monsters.