In the cold of late November, over the city of Trondheim, Norway, the clouds overhead began their annual flurry of snowflakes as those roaming the streets made their best efforts towards home. Among such people was a young woman.
She wore a rather snug coat, adorned with Celtic patterns and bold, silver buttons that vertically aligned the front. A fur-lined cowl embraced her crimson hair, leaving not one strand exposed to the arctic gale. And despite donning pajama pants that seemed to burst from beneath her jeans, and borrowing her better half’s heavy duty, steel-toed, snow boots, they could not console her shivering legs and feet.
As if to worsen circumstances, she’d burdened herself with two full bags of groceries. She’d thought it better to walk home due to the short distance between the supermarket and her abode; however, she was now having second thoughts.
The wind howled in her ears though they were fully covered. She could barely hear herself think. “God! Why snow now? It was fine before I left!” She sighed. “I hope Abram and my little girl are alright.” She grew lost in her memories of her relationship with her husband, Abram.
She had met him at a political event for minorities in college. He was an uptight fellow trying to become a politician, and she was a free spirited gal who was working toward her bachelor’s. She annoyed him into dating her, and, eventually, proved that opposites really do attract. And now, here she was, returning home with groceries for her four year old daughter.
Out of the blue, the woman turned her head in every direction. She could not recognize where she was. The woman found herself on a desolate street. Not a soul was to be seen; not a car parked on a curb, nor tracks disturbing the freshly laid snow. Everything fell into total silence. “Where am I?” She thought to herself. “Where did everyone go? I could have sworn there were others here with me.” For some odd reason, she felt anxious. She felt she desperately needed to get home. But why? She was in no hurry. It wasn’t even past five pm! So why was she so nervous? Why was her neck hair standing on end? Why was her skin forming that familiar texture a plucked fowl has?
Crunch… Crunch… Crunch!
The woman whirled her head to see what was walking behind her. She couldn't believe it. “What the hell?” She could only find her own tracks in the snow. Again, no one other than her existed on the road. Her nervousness was growing. Crunch… Crunch! She turned again, this time, the sounds of crunched snow ahead of her. Her anxiety festered into fear. She believed she was indeed being followed, but her rational mind would not allow her to confirm it due to lack of evidence.
“Who’s there?!” she exclaimed. She had not meant to say it, but now, it was not she who spoke: It was her fear. “I gotta keep moving.” Her pace hastened as she heard the crunching increase in tempo. She passed each house, studying their features. Each one seemed vacant, not one window glowed. Households in this city are usually brightly colored. Prominent colors like maroon or emerald contrasted the pristine white that covered the houses.
The houses she saw were far from that. These houses were decrepit, as if a mere whisper of the wind would bring them tumbling down. Their coats of paint were dull and chipping, exposing the rotting wood beneath. The spaces in between each house were blanketed in a dark shade of ebony. “What the hell is going on?!” she wondered. “There are no slums here; so why does this area look so unsettling?” She kept her gaze toward the alleyways in between each structure. It appeared to her that each one grew clouded in an eerie mist. But as much as she knew, mist in Norway never hung so low to the ground.
The woman, now consumed with fear, whipped out her iPhone to dial her husband’s number, but she would have no such luck. She remembered her phone had died while she had waited in line at the supermarket. She witnessed her vision become blurred as hot, wet tears began racing down her cheeks. “Why… Why am I crying? Where am I? What is going on? PLEASE! Just let me get home to my baby!” Panic was beginning to permeate as she suddenly halted her steps. The two paper bags she held flew to the white powder beneath. Her pursuer had made themselves known.
The fact that the stranger in the alleyway across from where she stood was a woman did nothing to comfort her. The stranger’s features were difficult to make out. The only trait the woman could visibly discern was the mask that decorated the mysterious silhouette. The mask was clearly made from a hollowed out goat skull. The woman could tell this much from the spiraling horns protruding from it. But most prominent of all, were the glowing orbs in each eye socket of the mask; tinted with a violet hue.
A slender hand equipped with long, needle-like nails raised in the woman’s direction, beckoning her toward its owner. The woman found herself walking toward the stranger without hesitation, leaving her bags behind. As she unwillingly trotted toward the being, she tried and tried with all of her might to run in the opposite direction to safety, wherever that may be now. But her wish would not be granted. She made attempts to call for help. Her voice had left her. It seemed all hope was utterly lost.
She stopped in front of the stranger. “Such an obedient one,” whispered the stranger behind the mask. The figure’s voice slightly surprised the her. It was young. Like that of a teenager, but it spoke with such authority that it could easily be mistaken for the voice of a forty year old woman. She could hear another voice which spoke along with it. A voice that belonged to what the woman could only describe as a demon. “I shall reward you for you lovely obedience. Your end, will be quick, and,” the stranded paused to chuckle, as if she were telling a joke, “painless…” Though the woman could not visibly see it, she knew that there was a malicious smile plastered on the stranger’s face. The woman’s tears fell from her face into the clouds beneath; disappearing from sight.
At this very moment, all she desired was to shield her eyes from the creature before her. But the woman felt compelled to pay the stranger with her undivided attention. She was no more than a helpless slave to this being. With every fiber of her being, the pitiful woman began to do the only thing she could: pray.
The stranger grew tense. “How dare you? Do you not know? There. Is. No. God. No one will save you. You are mine!” screamed the she-devil. The woman, with everything to lose, remained resolute in her prayer. It was her little girl, her flesh and blood, that kept her determination unwavering. It was the faith that she would see her daughter again that gave her hope. The eyes of the stranger were now tainted with a deep, florid color. Anger and frustration built in the stranger.
“Do you know what happens to misbehaved children?” asked the stranger in an accusing tone. The stranger paused for a moment, as if she were waiting for a response. “They are punished.” And with that, the demoness began to utter a phrase the woman could tell was Latin, but knew not what was being said. “Levate in dolore.” As if hit with a cinderblock wall, the poor woman's body twisted and contorted into the most unnatural of shapes. She so desperately wanted to howl out in pain, but was cruelly denied by the stranger to do so.
To the woman's surprise, thought her bones audibly snapped and her muscles ripped to mere shreds of their former selves, her skin did not break. Not a drop of blood escaped her trembling body. Another thing she took notice of, despite the unbearable pain, she felt weightless as she continued to stare down at the luciferian apostle. “How long will this agony last? Why am I not dead yet?!” she wondered. The woman grew tired as the pain began to slowly subside. But, she could feel her own weight again as her captor declared in a rough tone, “DESCENDERE!” The woman witnessed the misty, snow covered wall of white rush immediately toward her.
Another wave of pain smashed what nerves she had left to bits. The pain had returned, full force, with a vengeance. The stranger cackled with glee. “I do hope you have learned your lesson, my dear,” The stranger knelt and spoke once again, this time, in a soft, cooing voice; as if she were speaking to an infant. “Because now, you will learn the real purpose of life.”
The stranger rose and brandished a charcoal-black staff, tipped off at its bottom with a thin, ice pick-like spike. The stranger raised the staff over her head. “This is it.” thought the woman.
“My dearest Alana, I'm so, so sorry. I failed you.” With the force of a speeding bullet, the staff buried itself in the heart of the already dying mother. The last feeling she would ever remember, was how cold she felt at that very moment in time. “The purpose of life is death…”
These were the demon’s last words before pulling out an old flip-phone, dialing the authorities, and dropping said phone onto the corpse before her; the dispatch operator on the other end of the line still speaking, “Hello? Hello? What is you're emergency? Do you need an ambulance? Hello?” The stranger retreated into the mist, leaving the dead mother for the police to find.