My gentlest readers should be forewarned that the following is not my creation, but rather sketched in burning black sand by the irregular wriggling body of a serpent that appeared outside of your house in a dream. I tried to stop you from picking it up, for I had read its words and knew it was pure poison, but you pressed it to your breast like an old spiritual to be memorized. You fell down, quite dead.
With such an omen blazing before my sleeping closed eyes, I can only beg you not to read the following, or at least to take much caution, as I myself find it unusually disturbing, violent and obscene and feel it wholly necessary to sincerely warn you of its execrable and truly evil nature -yes, even you who danced with me at the Hexensabbat -to tell you that in addition to blasphemy, it contains extreme sexual violence. In so doing I hope to warn and protect you as I failed in my dream, as I feel I so often fail you.
Take care, gentle readers. And accept the sincere unfeigned warnings of your friend about the evil in the weeks to come, who knows well what it is and what it can do to a man.
We weren't really supposed to ride on the back of the tank, but as the Holy City lay in ruins, its million pious spires burnt, snapped and snuffed out like birthday candles, everything was permitted. It was a fine day to lay on one's back, looking up at heaven wounded with great blotches of black smoke. Dan was talking about the first things he would do when he got back home, who he would rape and kill: everybody he knew, it sounded like. Dan was simple, naïve and sweet that way. His eyes twinkled with innocent cruelty and sadism as he described in run-on sing song speech the obscenities he would inflict on friend and foe with equal asperity, many of which were quite unrealistic in their complexity. My pedantic side wanted to disillusion Dan, but a motherly tugging at my nipples made me want to nurse him and his illusions like an asp at my breast.
I don't know what happened next. There was the loudest sound and the brightest flash. I felt a horrible unwanted love that burned stickily to my heart and heard a sound as if every star in the universe sung out “amen” at once. When I opened my eyes it was at first hard to say what the irregular and screaming shapes were that I was looking at. It was the tank and crew, sundered and scalded by a thunderbolt. I felt around myself. I was damp, but unscathed. Divine weapons were strange and rather inscrutable like that.
Dan ran over and covered me, asking if I was alright. He dragged me to cover. I felt sick dizzy, and wet, like I had spent a week in a washer and dryer on roller coaster. My eyes didn't quite focus. I was aware of Dan and the rest of the squad hunkered down and firing at some white rubble. The popping sounds seemed distant and fuzzy over a general ringing. I reached for my rifle and scooted up, but Dan dragged me down at looked at me. He went back to firing.
This went on long enough for the ringing to become an ambient constant and to realize I'd shit and pissed myself. I cleaned myself up with some nearby Bible pages. They were everywhere up here along with the down of bloody feathers, blowing around like beautiful burnt leaves.
There was a chorus of covering fire: our squad had moved up. Dan showed me through his scope. The angels were holed up in another burning church. Of course, they were all churches and they were all angels, or seraphim or whatever. We shot them all the same. Some of the seraphim were like officers and had defected early on. That's how we got a foothold.
The angels were uniformly beautiful and pure, like models. Just looking at them through the scope it was hard not to masturbate.
It was quite bold and tactically foolhardy for the angels to take us on as they did. They had a thoroughly honorable and deontic sense of battle protocol that often was, on the balance, quite catastrophic for them,
We had no trouble shutting them down in the church.
Dan again asked how I was. My mouth was real dry, but I answered him. He nodded and we popped up and ran into the smoldering church.
If you've seen one church, you've seen them all. They were all divine, they were all magnificent and every brick, every brush stroke, every inscription sung the praises of the divine creator. They were as alike as Hyatt hotel lobbies. They had the same supreme beatific perfection as the perfect cheekbones of the angels. Like the faces of angels, it was almost a bore mutilating them. Almost.
The surviving angels were up on the altar. The squad was taking turns. Angels had no genitalia or anus. This had not stopped innovations by so-minded individuals. It was an ugly scene, but not any worse than a Cannibal Corpse album cover.
In a lot of ways, angels were the perfect victims. Beautiful, androgynous, willing victims that never stopped singing hosannas or praises to god, even as you rubbed feces over their lips.
I really wasn't in the mood, but as the unit's chaplain, it was my duty to deliver the coup de grâce. I made it quick, though I was sure to deprive it of any mercy or dignity. I made the sign of the Pentagon and stuffed some shit-stained pages of On the Origin of Species and The Satanic Verses in its mouth before blowing its halo clean off.
That was always satisfying. There was no need to deny this. There was no reason to deny anything anymore. The sooty, burning atmosphere of this burning church was the cleanest, freest air I had ever tasted.
For it was a good day, despite the tank crew getting smored. We were all short-timers now. We were just mopping up a few die hards and dead enders who refused to accept the divine truth: beyond our sector, just some miles down the road, God lay dead in heaven, his throne toppled. Jesus was probably dead in some cave somewhere. Experts were unsure of the exactly whereabouts of the Holy Spirit, but then again, they always had been.
It didn't matter. Liberation had finally been achieved. What happened next, no one knew, but it was a great time to be young, young and alive.