“The entities you s.. are real. Scripture and ancient text call them the Putti. They are disgusting creatures, existing in the spaces between your world and mine. All religions and philosophies of the spirit and soul have common teachings: Treat your fellow man with respect and goodwill. Yet such violence and bloodshed is birthed in its place. That is what the Putti are, in essence. They infect dogma with hate. They consume the minds of the righteousness and oppress the masses with lies of salvation. They are the reasons we kill in the name of an unseen deity.”
“They have fed from your people and mine since the beginning. Unions with the parasites subjugate the host to extremism, religious fanaticism, and superstition. When the infected overrun your government and leaders, holy parables then become literal, symbolism becomes revelation, and free thought becomes heresy. They are the puppet masters to the puppets that scorch our worlds with holy war."
"Jeffery, you and I are not much different, a paralell existence one might say. However, three hundred years ago in your history, something happened that did not happen for us. Something occured to diminish their numbers and allowed the seeds of logic, reason, and science to take root in your society. It is at that point in which are destinies diverged You..... uncover...lost secret that will free us from this perpetual dark age of ignorance and theocratic oppression."
“Whatever you decide, Jeffery, do not let them know you can see them! They lust for the flesh that has the sight as you do. You are a rare treasure to them and they will tear through all barriers to have you. No protection or safe haven will you find. They will blister your skin with the seeds of their progeny and immeasurable agony will be inflicted upon your body as you gestate their brood of future offspring.”
“Rem...ber; do not let th..m know you can see them! Wha.....ever you do, do not le…...em…. you ….se……..m!”
I came back to awareness, stared at by the boys who had reluctantly let me join their game of hoops. I was relieved when I saw that my strange conversation had only been seconds long instead of minutes like it felt, but that was enough to be noticed by most of the kids. I look at them and think, "Well, you know what? At least I don't have a little slug babies sticking out of my back like most of you, so the jokes on you!"
Since hearing the voice an hour ago, something interesting had occurred. Well, something else interesting besides receiving an inter-dimensional message from another race. I think the message did something to me, did something to my thoughts. It reminds me of that one time my stepdad’s pickup truck had a tire that was unbalanced. When we would drive, it would thump and rattle the whole truck. He had the tire balanced and no more bumpy and noisy rides. Maybe the message somehow balanced my mind. The voices are definitely still there and my thoughts are still flying around, but now I could tune it out, like background noise. Things that are not real, now appear to me as unreal. It's like watching a movie and knowing you're watching a movie. I can tell myself to "slow it down," and now I'm able to do it. I'm not suffering anymore.
I needed time to think and be alone. Wow, I missed being able to just think! The teachers had already been keeping an eye on me because of my recent behavior, so convincing them I needed to go home was easy. They literally demanded my mom to get me, but I convinced them that I could walk the three-quarters of a mile to my house. My mom gave permission after I told her exactly what she wanted to hear: “I really could use some alone time with God” and “it’s such a nice day, it will make me feel closer to Him. (Liar)
The walk home flew by quickly. I was lost in thought, thinking about my message.
(A rustling of leaves from a hedge to the right.)
What happened three hundred years ago that was relevant? Well, what is relevant? They were domininant and in control and then they weren't. What happened?
Well let's see, these things are real and can only be seen by a few people, people like me. The people they suck on show extreme fanaticism towards religion. This fanaticism has been responsible for a large number of the wars and death in human history. They cause the hate, bigotry, and death from the world’s religions. It wasn't only corruption that ruled the anicient world, it was the Cherubs, or the...the Putti this entire time! But what happened that changed that?
(A swoosh of air.)
(Leaves rustling from the tree up above.)
(Creaking from a bending branch.)
I rounded the corner of my street and picked up the pace. I had about five hundred feet before I reached my front door.
(Branches rustling; closer to the ground.)
(Leaves falling to the ground.)
I am confident in the control I just regained over my mind, but I’m not stupid either. I quickly pulled out my house key from my pocket and fumbled to get the front door open. I tried not to make it so obvious I was freaking out.
(A soft thump of something landing on the roof)
The tumblers within the old lock refused to cooperate with the key.
(Something moving and scraping against the roof shingles)
(Bits of dirt and debris fall from the edge of the roof's overhang.)
The key finally turned, unlocking door, however, the old door was wedged within the frame, as old doors often do. I slammed my shoulder into the door, trying not to show how panicked I was!
Finally, the door released from the frame and I nearly fell through it. I regained my balance and shut the door, locking it so fast it was like magic! (Witch!)
Wait a minute! What did you say? Witch? (Burn the witch!) Like from the witch trials? Like The Salem Witch Trials, like during the Spanish Inquisition... like Catholics and Protestants did to each other? The same people who started so many wars...like The Crusades! They had so much power back then! They slaughtered millions of people in the name of God, but something happened that took that power away! Something happened in the past that gave humanity a window of opportunity that allowed science to take hold and grow. The Putti never recovered from that! They are still trying as hard as they can make it like it was, but religion has never regained the same level of power or influence it once had. So what happened?
I spent the next hour looking through some old Britannia Encyclopedias we had in the storage shed. I was reading about the end of the Age of Enlightenment and the French Revolution of 1789 when I decided to move from the living room into my bedroom. Entering my room, focused on finishing up the last paragraph of the page, I absently closed the door behind me and a light breeze began to flutter the pages of my book. I froze at the sight of an open window in my bedroom. We never left windows open when anyone wasn't home. Never!
I quickly recovered and regained my composure. I scanned the room as naturally as possible and saw it immediately. Sitting on my bed was a small and chubby baby with leathery skin and wings. It was sitting up on its bottom, a familiar pose you would see in most baby pictures and portraits. Its arms and legs were abnormally long and slowly writhed side to side. They weren’t flexible like tentacles, but multi-jointed extremities with knuckles running the entire length of the appendage, ending in short stubby digits.
Its face was chubby, but not in a cute way; more like clumps of cottage cheese packed under its sickly gray skin. The nose was turned up and more like a piglet than a person. The eyes were bluish white marbles, veined with red vesicles. They sat within sunken eye sockets enclosed by reddish wet eyelids. The most disturbing feature was its blank facial expression and open mouth, shaped like an "O".
My intuition was screaming at me to run as fast as I could, (It knows you can see it.) but that would give me away. Without making it look too obvious, I needed to get out of my room as soon as possible. It was already suspicious.
I walked to my closet and changed into a more comfortable shirt and then walked to my desk and pretended to read. It watched me intently without breaking its gaze. I could hear its heavy breathing from lungs that sounded like it was drowning in phlegm.
The desk was positioned facing away from the bed, making it difficult to keep an eye on the monster. I pretended to read for as long as I could stand it. I think it's beenlong enough. I can make it seem I forgot something. I stretched and cocked my head towards my bed. The spot on the bed it had occupied was empty! At that moment, I felt a tug at my pant leg. The long slender arm wrapped around my leg. (I wouldn’t look down if I were you.) Without lowering my head, I looked down and saw it preparing to crawl up my leg. (I told ya!)
As the appendage slithered up my leg, it slipped under my pant leg and started pulling down the socks I wore, moving closer to my bare skin. The moment it made contact with my skin, I felt a sensation, like when you try to squish two opposite ends of a magnet together. Its entire body stiffened. A vivid image exploded in my mind that filled me with horror. Its head snapped upward and made eye contact with me. We stared at each other, its face contorted into a look of horror and rage, and then it let out a blood-curdling scream that hurt my ears, a scream like a pig being slaughtered!
There was no doubt anymore, it knew I could see it. (You're fucked!)
It rapidly began to disentangle itself from me but not before I lifted my leg up began shaking it off violently like my shoe was on fire. Off balance, I fell over my wooden chair and hit the floor hard. We sat up at the same time and locked eyes once again. It looked at me, then at the open window, then back at me. In a burst of speed, it scurried like an obscene worm along the floor towards the open window. I quickly remembered my warning, "Whatever you do, do not let them know you can see them!" That nightmarish vision flashed in my mind again. (Do something!)
It was lifting itself up from the window frame when I lunged at it and grabbed a leg dragging behind it. I yanked and pull it off of the window sill like a cat who had dug its nails into the furniture. It fell to the floor and quickly turned and flicked its long arm at me like a whip-snap, snap! White, stinging pain exploded across my chest, and I immediately felt a warm wetness spread down my belly from a talon protruding from its little hand. (Why didn't you tell me it had one of those!)
It postured at me, holding both its lanky arms upwards like two scorpion tales, one of its tips still covered in my blood. It started flicking its whip-like appendages in rapid succession as it maneuvered its way back to its only escape. I wanted to run away, but the vision had shown me the consequences of that choice. (If you let the little goober get away, it's gonna tell the others about us!)
I quickly grabbed the seat portion of the smashed chair and held it up like a shield and rammed the beast as hard as I could into the wall. Using all my body weight, I pinned it against the wall. From the edges of the chair seat, a flurry of wiggling tentacles, fluttering wings and gurgling screams emerged.
I pressed my shoulder into the wooden seat even harder. Through the chaotic whirlwind of twisting, slithering, screaming and kicking, I reached around and got a good grip on one of its wings. I pulled as hard as I could until it tore from the creature's body like a piece of velcro. Rrrrriiiiiippppp!
(Yeah! Who's your daddy know, bitch!)
Blackish-brown body fluid sprayed out from the stump. The liquid looked and felt like motor oil and caused me to slip. We both slammed into the ground. It turned on its belly and weakly began to crawl one more towards the window. With its wing still in my hand, I quickly got to my knees and I beat it into unconsciousness with its own severed body part.
I raced to the shed out back and found an old metal dog kennel that was there. I dragged the heavy cage into my room, hoping the little demon had not regained consciousness. It was still lying on the floor, on its side, in a pool of its own blood that had now begun to congeal. I grabbed it and quickly flung it into the cage and locked the door with a padlock. I collapsed to the ground.
I don’t know how long I sat there studying it. I was also trying to ignore that one voice, the one that emerged after the message. It pushed all the other voices away, but it was so annoying. It was like having a vulgar little brother constantly talking in your ear. I jokingly thought to myself, "If this is the price I have to pay for not being crazy, I think I'd rather be crazy."
(Speak for yourself, butt face. This isn't exactly my definition of an ideal situation either!)
The ringing phone snapped me back to reality and I answered it, turning my back to the monstrosity. It was my mom checking in on me and asking if I needed anything, to which I replied, "No." She informed me she and my stepdad would be home soon after their prayer meeting. She went on a bit about some church-related activities. (Oh my gaawwdddd, shut uuuupp!)
“Alright Jeffery, there's roast leftover in the fridge. We will be home later this evening.”
“I’m praying for you. I’m praying real hard for you.”
“I’m praying for you too, Mom.”
As I hung up the phone, I heard giggling from behind me. It was laying on its tummy with its chin resting gently on its arms that were folded tenderly over one another. It was a grotesque mimicry of the poses cherubs are typically known for in Renaissance paintings. The memory of the vision exploded in my head once again.
It was me. I was suspended upside down in a small, dark room. There was mold on the walls and water dripping from pipeworks that lined the ceiling and walls. Every inch of my body was covered with embryonic blisters containing a fetus of a Cherub. The papules pulsated and stretched my skin so far that it was torn. Large gashes from where skin and muscle had separated from itself were held together by the gelatinous, ropey cords that cocooned my body. Underneath the clusters and clusters of developing embryonic sacks, there was no hint that a little boy was still under there, except for one: a tear-filled eye, filled with terror, protruding from a spot let bare. One eye; a hole. A hole, much like a drain hole.
It continued to laugh and then it spoke. It spoke with an evil, disturbing, high-pitched, voice from within its cage.
“You have had it so wrong; so wrong since the beginning. God does not want your prayers."
“He wants your fear!”
“We have abundant reason to rejoice, that, in this land, the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart. In this enlightened age, and in this land of equal liberty, it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest offices that are known in the United States."
George Washington-Letter to the members of The New Church in Baltimore, January 1793