The Serpent’s Soul – An Excerpt
The massive church stood tall and proud; its twin bell towers stabbed the gray sky. An elegant arch spanned the space between the two tall towers and fell to the ground where the double doors led into the main corridor of the church.
Rows of pews lined both sides of the main aisle. Congregation members filled every available seat. The pews faced the front of the church, where a raised platform stood ten feet above the ground. Atop the platform, the minister stood like a king, clothed in rich cloths.
Balconies jutted out along the walls, all the way to the back of the coliseum-sized sanctuary.
Darius Janis pressed his clean hands against the massive double doors and forced the doors open with a single, violent thrust. The six and a half foot man proudly marched down the aisle and regarded each set of curious eyes with his own dark black eyes. He pushed his hands into his pockets and moved toward the front of the church with nothing but the sound of his boots on the lush carpet to prove he was there.
The man swept the tails of his trailing trench coat to one side and gripped the tapestry that hung from the ceiling near the front of the church. He pulled himself up with his arms and swung his legs up to land firmly on the raised platform with the minister.
He pressed his hand to the minister’s chest and pushed him back. He turned to the multitudes in the church and licked his thin lips.
“You are all going to burn in Hell.”
The congregation erupted into a rush of surprised whispers and loud outrage. Darius lifted his hands and looked out over the crowd.
He barely whispered the words, but the congregation fell silent.
“Putting money in the collection plate will not help you open the doors to paradise.”
The congregation stared at Darius in indignant silence.
Darius’ lips split into a disgusted sneer.
“This entire church is a house of blasphemy. The things you do in the name of God do nothing but provoke him. Trust me in this, fools. I understand the one called Jehovah. I know your God. He is a thunderous, wicked God of fury and will strike you all away from the gates of his dominion.”
His words fell away into an eerie silence in the cathedral. The church groaned as thunder rolled in the sky outside. The lights flickered, and threw the church into darkness. A roar of fear rose from the congregation. In the darkness, the congregation began to scatter like roaches.
“Sit down,” Darius said. His voice somehow traveled over the chaos.
The congregation once again turned their eyes to Darius as the weather outside grew more violent. Wind whistled against the ornate arches and across the gargoyles atop the bell towers. The stained glass windows vibrated as another roll of thunder ripped the sky open.
“You sit there in your fine pews one day a week. Then you return home to your lifetimes of filth. You work your dead end jobs when you prayed to God for that perfect position. You smile on the outside while your minds dwell in the darkest corners of the universe. Thoughts are actions, you damned souls. Thoughts are the undertakings. They are the silent traps that bring you to my doorstep.”
Darius smiled. His mouth opened wide to show his straight, white teeth.
“You’re my flock.”
Darius dropped like a fallen angel from the raised platform and walked down the aisle toward the massive doors leading out into the stormy day. He reached the doors and pushed them open.
He turned, framed by his trench coat flapping in the whistling wind of the storm, and nodded to the congregation.
“I’ll be seeing you soon.”