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The Lost Lamb

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Reverend Linton died in the church where he had spent most of his life preaching, fallen on the altar of his Lord amid the gasps and shrieks of his congregation. After years of overwork and fatigue, his tortured heart had finally failed him.

Now, having left his earthly shell, he was drifting silently through a tunnel of black clouds, unaware of his whereabouts, yet holding firm to the belief that he was heading for heaven.

Behold! A large group of people emerged from the shadows ahead! They were walking in long, triumphant strides, smiling and talking to each other excitedly as they passed by. Then one of them noticed the reverend, and spoke to him.

"Come with us!" he said. "We're the lingering dead, and together we shall explore every inch of heaven and earth."

"No, lost lambs," the reverend replied, "I must return to my shepherd."

And so he drifted on, leaving the merry crowd behind him.

A few moments later, a huge, unspeakable form emerged before the reverend. It was a horrible black monstrosity covered in countless eyes and mouths, and when it spoke, its voice was like that of a multitude.

"Come with me, and I shall show you the wonders of this universe."

At first the reverend was too frightened to speak; but then he remembered that the Lord was with him, and found his strength.

"Begone, Satan!" he screamed, "I am the Lord's lamb—and I'm returning to my shepherd!"

Hearing this, the unspeakable thing turned and disappeared from sight, leaving the reverend to carry on with his journey.

Look! The end of the tunnel was near! Now the walls of black clouds had been expelled by the purest beams of white light, and divine music more pleasing to the ears than the best symphony rang through his very being!

Yet there stood before him the tiny figure of a boy—a boy in his early teens, with twisted limbs and a face covered in gore. It was his son, whom had died ten years ago in a car accident.

"Go back, father!" the boy cried. "Mom still needs you!"

The reverend, though shocked by the apparition before him, was undeterred. Reaching out to the boy, he cried: "Come with me, my child! Wander not before the gate of heaven! We are the lambs of our Lord, and must return to our shepherd!"

But instead of obeying his father's words, the child turned and ran away. The reverend wanted to call after him, but a blinding beam of light obscured his view.

When he was able to open his eyes again, he found himself in the most splendid garden imaginable. Roses, peonies, wintersweets and daffodils—flowers of all seasons bloomed all at once on the vast fields of green around him. Beneath his bare feet was a winding path paved with gems and pearls leading to a glorious far-away castle which stood majestically over the horizon.

As he stood there transfixed by this sight of divine beauty, a huge, glowing figure of light descended from the clouds. The reverend knelt down before it in awe, waiting to be accepted by his Lord. A burning tentacle reached down and scooped him up, and he watched with horror as the abysmal maw opened like a bottomless pit of blood.

"Why, my Lord?" he wailed. "Am I not your most obedient lamb?"

"Yes," said the glowing being, "But what's the point of keeping lambs besides having mutton to eat?"

With that the reverend was tossed into the being's mouth, and chewed into a slurry of flesh and bones by thousands of pointed teeth.

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