Chapter 9Mature

What havoc? What will you do?”

Let's just say that once we begin our work, your neighbors will want to kill you because of the pain they will suffer. Not harm you, kill you.”

You can't hurt them.”

I'm not going to hurt them, but I can't stop them.” He pointed to his army.

Please don't do that. Stop them. Tell them to go back into the pit.”

He started to walk away and I grabbed his shoulder. He turned around, disgusted.

I'm begging you. What can I do to stop this? Kill me, kill me now!”

I'm not able to do your bidding. No one can. Many will try to kill you, but without success. You will never die during our mission. The plan must go forward and it's too late to change it.”

I'll do anything, anything, but please don't hurt anyone. They are all innocent. I'm the one to blame and deserve the punishment, or whatever you call it. You have to understand, see it my way. See it the way us humans do, us mortals. We suffer the consequences for what we do, we judge people according to their actions, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, right?”

He gave me a long, hard stare. “I need to leave now. What happens to you is out of my control.”

He walked away, leaving me in my shame and disgust. How could I have been so selfish and stubborn? Had I known the outcome, I wouldn't have touched the book. Hell, I wouldn't have gone back into the hospital basement, but instead, left the place for good, never to return or speak of it. Corey was right. I should have left when he warned me.

I began to walk back to the hospital, but the legions of locusts amassed around me, pushing me back. More poured out of the Abyss, the pounding of their feet and rustling of their winds resounded like thunder and shook the ground, as if they were creating their own earthquake.

One of them grabbed me and pulled me up to its face. Its yellow skin had green spots and was slick with an uneven texture. Large antennae protruding from its forehead searched my face like a blind person learning a lover's body. The mouth opened and revealed sharp teeth that looked like small daggers. I closed my eyes and waited for it to make a snack out of my face. Instead, it locked four of its six legs around my torso and squeezed, preventing me from squirming.

Something crawled up my back and stabbed me in the spine, which sent a chill and spread throughout my back. The coldness turned to a deep, internal fire. I screamed and tried to fight back, but it was useless. Even if I could escape the grip of this creature, the thousands of others would pounce on me. I wished, prayed for my life to end.

Oh, God, help me!” I cried out. “Corey, Corey!”

The locust tightened its grip on my torso. I couldn't speak, couldn't breathe. Sounds faded, my vision blurred, turned black, and I waited for death.

An image of the word Locust scrawled on the hospital wall flashed before my eyes. Corey's room. He knew all along. He wanted me to find that book and open it. I was the key to putting the plan in motion, a plan not only to release these creatures from bondage, but also to release him from the hospital and move one in the afterlife, wherever that may be. Until I came around, he protected the book from being found by anyone else, but for some unknown reason, he wasn't able to tell me about it.

I floated in nothingness, darkness.

The burning in my back spread slowly throughout my body, throbbed through my veins. My muscles ached.

The darkness faded into the familiar landscape of the weeded hospital lot. Yet again, I knelt on the ground. I coughed. An acrid bile built up in my throat, and I threw up a thick, yellow liquid that reeked of an animal rotting in the Florida heat. I heaved again, this time a clear liquid, and waited for the nausea to subside.

I let out a yell. “Why didn't you just kill me?”

My voice echoed in the silence. I looked up to see the locusts were gone, and the ominous clouds had floated away. The only thing that stayed unchanged was the wide open mouth of the pit.

Why didn't I die?”

No one answered me. Corey had left me for good.

I had a thought, a choice really. I could jump into the Abyss, and end my life forever. That way I wouldn't have to worry about the rest of the world and be free of the pain and suffering Abaddon and his locusts would unleash on us all. Or I could try to fight them by forming my own army. It would be a long shot, but not impossible.

I walked to the edge of the Abyss and looked down into the black mouth from which a light fog still wafted up from its throat. I glanced back at the hospital and sighed.

I chose the right thing to do.

The End

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