“At last, little thing, you are Mine.”

Brian heard the voice inside his head, screaming, like a chainsaw cutting into sheet metal, so loud he felt certain his skull would explode. He was falling, tumbling end over end into an abyss that had no depth, so cold it froze his blood in his veins and crushed the breath from his lungs. Wide open, defenseless; the Darkness flowed through him, probing every secret of his heart and mind, teasing out every memory, every fear, every hurt. Brian experienced horror on a scale he could never have imagined, the pure, pristine hatred of the Darkness. The undiluted source and orchestrator of all evil. For the first time, Brian understood the immense nature of his adversary, and his soul cringed before it.

“No!” Brian cried, hearing the words in his own head.

“Do you crave mercy, little thing?” the Darkness asked. “Where is your defiance, your bravado? Have you forgotten your pledge to oppose Me?”

“Please!” Brian could feel his sanity crumbling. He could feel his soul dying.

“Yes, beg!” the Darkness mocked. “Beg My forgiveness!”

“Stop it!”

The Darkness laughed. “Do you now realize your irrelevance, Brian Alderman?” It said. “Do you comprehend the absurdity of your challenge to Me? Can you, at last, understand the magnitude of your stupidity?”

“Make it stop!”

“Say it!” the Darkness said. “Say the words I wish to hear, and perhaps I will allow you to die. Admit that I am all powerful, that there is no might but Mine own. I and I alone am supreme. Say it!”

Brian heard another voice in his mind, shouting to be heard above the influence of the Darkness. He realized it was not his own, nor did it say the words the Darkness demanded. Brian tried to concentrate on it. The voice seemed familiar.

“Champ, you gotta listen to me!”

Brian thought he remembered a name. “Dave?”

“It’s me, Champ! I’m here! I’m with you!”

“Little thing!” the Darkness said. “Yield to Me, and I will allow your torment to end.”

“Don’t listen to it, Champ!” Dave’s voice yelled, somehow audible amidst the tempest. “It’s just trying to buffalo you!”

“Plead for mercy!” the Darkness said.

“Don’t do it!” Dave said.

“Dave?” Brian managed. “I can’t fight It, Dave. It’s so strong.”

“Don’t buy that load of crap!” Dave said. “If it could have, it would’ve killed you already. It can’t beat you unless you let it!”

“But it’s too powerful. I can’t.”

“Don’t turn yellow on me now!” the old man’s disembodied voice said. “Don’t you see? It’s trying to scare you into giving up! Fight it!”

“Do not try My patience further, little thing,” the Darkness said.

“Fight It!” Dave shouted. “All you have to do is stand up to it. You’re stronger than you know!”

“Go away!” The Darkness turned its attention to the old man for the first time. Brian heard Dave’s voice break, choked off, then fade away with a shriek of pain.

“Dave?!” Brian called.

“The little thing has paid for his audacity,” the Darkness said. “As you will pay for your own. Praise Me, and die.”

Then, somewhere deep inside himself, in the embrace of the grave and the unimaginable coldness of death, Brian felt a tiny burst of heat. He saw inside himself a spark of light, like a miniscule star flaring to life. So small, and yet, somehow, it revived his consciousness, awakened his senses. Somehow, it offered him hope.

“No,” Brian said.

By TheCheezman

WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless. Denn die totden reiten schnell!

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