The One Path

By Larry S. Gerovac

Fantasy

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382
3 mins

Day One In Rome

There was no moon out tonight. The only light Thomas could see as he walked down one of the many old passageways of Rome was the dim light shown through the curtains of closed windows. Thomas felt a little uncomfortable being the only one out for a stroll this evening. As he walked, he could hear footsteps behind him every now and then, but each time he turned, he would see no one. Thomas was becoming a bit nervous because he felt he should have reached his hotel by now. He thought, I must have taken a wrong turn down one of these many narrow passageways, which make up some of the ancient parts of the city.
When Thomas heard the echoing of footsteps bouncing off the walls behind him, he picked up his pace from a brisk walk to a jog. Now he heard the feet of his stalkers change from a walk to a run. Thomas had to see who was following him, so he stopped quickly, turned around, and saw two figures coming into view. One looked about average height, and the other looked like a giant. Thomas knew the two figures running toward him were up to no good. Although his legs were feeling a bit weak, the natural defensive mechanism of fight or flight took over, and Thomas began to run, pumping his legs as fast as he could.
As Thomas ran, he could hear the feet of his assailants hitting the ground much faster than his own feet were moving. As Thomas turned to evaluate how far behind him the threat was, he noted the two shapes chasing him were beginning to take on a rather bizarre form. When the acuity of his vision improved as his attackers continued to approach him, he realized that they were demons that looked like they had just stepped out of a horror movie. Fear gripped Thomas, and he started to scream for help. He looked down the dimly lit walkways and up at the dark windows, eager for any sign of assistance as he continued to scream for help.
Vincenzo, an Italian architect living in the old town area of Rome, had woken up and couldn’t get back to sleep. He decided to get out of bed and have a late-night snack. As Vincenzo walked to his refrigerator, he could hear a man crying for help, so he ran over to the window and peeked out. In the well-lit street below, he saw a pretty woman and a young boy chasing a middle-aged man. The man was dressed in casual clothes.
It was as if Thomas was now looking through Vincenzo’s eyes. He felt a little vertigo because he could see himself looking up at Vincenzo. He saw himself as having mostly gray hair, a receding hairline, brown eyes, bushy eyebrows, a well-trimmed beard, and wrinkles above his cheeks, earned from many years of smiling. Instead of demons, Vincenzo saw a very pretty-looking woman in a short red dress, and what should have been the giant of a demon was now a young boy clinging to a toy airplane as he ran toward the man that was really himself.
As Thomas snapped back into his own body, he knew the scene that Vincenzo observed looked like a family playing as they walked home. He watched Vincenzo as he closed the curtain, probably not wanting to appear too nosy. There was no doubt in the mind of Thomas that there would be no human aid coming for him tonight. As he reached the end of the alleyway with no avenue for escape in sight, Thomas turned once again to confront his assailants. He knew that he must come face-to-face with his greatest fears— confronting Lucifer or his demon followers.
The two demons chasing Thomas slowed their approach as they neared. He could see both demons clearly, although they seemed to be bathed in a red-orange fog. One demon had green- tinted skin with yellow highlights, a pronounced forehead, sunken eye sockets, and instead of whites of the eyes with pupils, he had only yellow glowing eyes of energy with no pupils. He had two ridgelike subcutaneous antlers running the length of his hairless head. On his back were two small mutilated wings attached to a slightly muscular body.The most unsettling thing was that he had a black forked tongue, which seemed to flick uncontrollably in and out of his mouth much like a snake’s tongue, only much thicker.
If such a thing were possible, the second demon was even more formidable-looking than the first. It was massive, about seven feet tall, with a body so well muscled that it looked as though it could only be possible in a cartoon. Unlike the first demon, this one had red-tinted skin with no hair on his body, pronounced ridges where his eyebrows should have been, red glowing eyes with black pupils, and two sharp horns that looked similar to a bull’s except that each horn had large rigid circular rings running perpendicular to its length. His shoulders had lumps and protrusions, which had the appearance of an alligator’s skin. His large black wings had tips that curled threateningly forward, and on the end of each dark wing was a single black hooked talon.
As the demons slowly approached Thomas, he noted that they appeared to be moving very cautiously, as though he somehow represented a threat to them. The demons were now close enough that Thomas could see the drool dripping from their mouths, and he was beginning to smell the horrible stench of decaying flesh. All of a sudden, Thomas’s stomach began to quiver, and he vomited violently all over his shoes while his body raked with minor tremors. He was too scared to even move.
The demon with the snakelike tongue, in a voice that sounded like ten different people saying the same thing at once but slightly out of sync, said to his partner, “Look, Abbadon, he’s scared of us. I will wager he wets his pants like a frightened little man-child!” The demons both began to laugh as they now approached Thomas with a newly found confidence.
Thomas could hear a voice in his mind, very low in the background, trying to get his attention as the large demon named Abbadon pushed the smaller ugly demon aside and moved toward Thomas. As the large demon advanced menacingly, he said, “Merihim, this weak little prophet will be mine to rip apart!”
Merihim cackled. “Before you kill him, I would like to torture him a little first. Where is your God now, Thomas?”
Thomas was frozen in fear as Abbadon reached for his throat. In the instant Abbadon grabbed Thomas by the throat...



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