Chapter 11

WASHINGTON, D.C.

In the illuminated sanctuary of his church, Luther and his two comrades, Mansell and Newman, gathered around the unconscious Benson. Strapped to a chair, he looked pathetic and weak, but they knew better. He was not of this world, not anymore.

“Let’s get this over with,” Mansell said. The other nodded with him. Luther stepped forward with another needle and injected Benson, this time in the arm. His eyes fluttered, then drew open like curtains. He looked as if he hadn’t been asleep at all.

“Where are the other messengers?” Luther asked sternly.

Benson giggled devilishly, lashing out his tongue, which was now forked and long. “They’ll be here soon.”

“When will the invasion begin?”

“It already has.”

Luther looked at his comrades. They looked concerned.

“But the other two messengers aren’t here yet,” Newman said. “The invasion can’t begin until all three have arrived and stated the terms.”

Benson wobbled his head, giggling again. Luther struck him. He convulsed violently, bringing the chair off of the floor. Then, abruptly, he stopped. His mouth opened, but the voice that came out was not his.

“Do not look to the sky for comfort, for the sun will not rise in your defense. You have squandered your existence, and your time here has reached its end. The Dragon has awakened, and he claims ownership of this world. Whatever path you walk and whatever god you serve is irrelevant. All roads lead to extinction.”

Two fingers redder than blood suddenly emerged from Benson’s nostrils. With a terribly audible rip, they clawed upward and tore his face off like a rubber mask. Luther stumbled back, blinded by a splash of gore. When he looked back, a devil stood before them, clothed in Benson’s shredded flesh. It pierced them with vengeful, amber eyes and a fanged grin. Fear hit them like spears through the hearts.

A groan from beneath the ground echoed off of the walls and the cross suspended above the altar split in half. A crack formed in the ceiling above the broken cross and slithered down the stone wall to the floor. Luther and his comrades shifted their feet as the ground beneath them moved. The crack widened and fire burst forth with a monstrous roar. Flames crawled across the carpet, swallowing the sanctuary.

Before he turned to flee, Luther caught a glimpse of dozens of red arms reaching up from below the massive split.

The End

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