The Burning Angel

 

I seek serenity in the realm of dreams, as I do every night. But every time I reach the threshold between waking and sleeping, I am jarred back to reality by the sudden perception that something is wrong. Suddenly I am fully awake and I realise that there is nothing, and I start to fade once again. This goes on for hours. 

 

Again at midnight I wake, but I am not mistaken this time. There is a strange feeling in the air - it is hot and oppressive. There are sounds outside my house not normally heard at midnight. I can hear people outside in the street, but why? I cannot hear what they say, but I hear tones of awe and definite fear in the voices. Under that, there is another sound, much more ominous. A rumbling from within the earth, so deep it seems more like a pressure on my ears. 

The moonlight filtering through my thin curtains has a strange, eerie quality to it. A redness not normally attributed to the pale face in the sky. I must investigate, and footsteps echoing through the house tell me that my mother and sister have similar thoughts. I cross the room but before I reach the door, my twin sister Joanne bursts in. "Jason, you hear it too?" I nod in agreement, and follow her out and down the stairs, the rich wood creaking underfoot. Mum is already waiting in the kitchen, her expression unreadable. Together we wander outside into the street.

Cold, naked fear dribbles down the back of my neck at the sight of the flames in the sky. There is no moon to be seen. Instead, there is a huge figure, silhouetted by fire and light. It is in the shape of a man but larger than any natural life should be. I see arms held aloft and wings spread wide. Mum is pale and wan, disbelief and fear written across her face. My dear twin simply clutches me and whimpers incoherently. I am terrified, but I must be stoic and silent for them, so I hold myself together. Barely.

People mill around in the street, looking as fearful and lost as I feel. What is happening? Did we cause this? Why? Some cry out, others simply stare at the sky, lost for words. The deep rumbling undertones seem louder now. Perhaps I just notice them more. I see one man in particular; old, withered and frail. His gnarled walking stick clatters to the tar seal as he falls to his knees in the middle of the road. Tears streak his face and his hands shake as he cries of biblical armageddon. I am not a man of faith, but even I pray now.

The figure gets larger, as if coming closer. The light and fire haloing it suddenly spread across the whole sky. There is no soft darkness above me now, no stars. Just terrible flame and ruddy red light. I can feel radiating heat, even though this great beast must be miles away from me. 
Suddenly, it cries out. It is a horrible, withering noise. It is blatantly unearthly, and it permeates through to the core of my being. Mum faints, and I catch her on the way down. I lower her softly to the ground just before my own knees give way. Joanne is in helpless tears by this time. The ground shakes softly beneath me as the rumbling from the earth grows louder and louder. This and the devilish shrieking combine to reach a crescendo, and I have to cover my ears. 

I feel that the end is near. I clutch the two dearest women in my life, and sob softly into their hair as I pray that, whatever happens, it will be quick.
 
I raise my head just enough to see a tidal wave of magma flowing boldly towards us, consuming all in it's path.

The End

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