About this Story
A dark assassin seeks to destroy the Fatima message, finds out how it applies to him.
A dark assassin seeks to destroy the Fatima message, finds out how it applies to him.
Tenebris stands up front, head covered, unnoticed, amongst the crowd in the muddy field. Like a deadly serpent in his secret dark chamber, he waits for the children to arrive. It’s the largest crowd to gather in the past 6 months here in Fatima. He stands just adjacent to the makeshift, although elaborate, arched-truss, shrine full of fresh flowers and vines from the land surrounding the tiny Portuguese village. The rainy October day did not discourage people to come. Some are there to mock the children, yet others to see if they too are worthy to behold the “Lady” as they seek healing for both physical and spiritual infirmities.
“Fools,” Tenebris thinks to himself. “God has abandoned you to a dark abyss of death that awaits you all. I am its deliverer!”
The rain pelts the dark hooded parka he kept from his feeding from last night’s victim. He knew it would be useful today. Still, his Russian officer’s uniform is starting to get wet and uncomfortable. Now that the Bolsheviks were soon to be in power it no longer represents what it once did just a few months before. It was a time when he and his men were in filthy, rat-infested, trenches feeding on and killing Germans, and an occasional Russian officer when necessary.
“Desperate times called for desperate measures,” he thought. “Those officers were usually arrogant and cowardly. Lacking the courage of the men they ordered to their deaths as they charge through no-mans-land. A waste of good blood if you ask me.”
Now he was on a lone mission of the utmost importance to the Bolshevik leader Lenin. The journey from Moscow to Fatima was long, but as a soldier of the revolution, it has given him a new opportunity.
“It’s just like the French butchery a little over a century ago,” he recollects.
“Slaughtering clergy and religious in the name of ‘Liberty’ and ‘Egalitarianism’.”
It was just a convenient excuse (not that he ever needed one) to feed well and attack an appendage of the corrupt Church of Rome.
Lenin has given Tenebris a new license: to destroy those who promote the faith of his father, the bishop of Hippo. It’s been many centuries but the memory still burns him. A father who abandoned him and his mother of a lower class for that Church! Destroying any offspring of that faith tradition is an opportunity he delights in.
Satan is his father now, giving him a new name, immortality, and strength like no other. For over 1500 years, he has had encounters with the Prince of Lies, although only in the darkness of his dreams. It’s in these night terrors with the Evil One where his servitude and blood lust are reaffirmed
“As long as the clouds and rain hold I can feed this morning,” he relishes to himself. “If only for these few moments. Those children better get here soon!”
He rarely feeds on children, it’s cowardly. After centuries of being a warrior, he’s found no honor in it. But he has been given a task by the Bolsheviks. “Kill the children and any ‘papists’ who get in your way,” Lenin ordered. “Simple-minded slaves to ‘the opium of the masses,’” he called them.
“Consecrating Russia to the Lady’s immaculate heart…frivolous words,” he quips to himself. But Lenin is on the verge of his revolution and insists on stopping the rumor of this decree from getting out and that’s why he’s here. To end this once and for all.
As the crowd gets even bigger, he can smell the stench of those with the “mark of faith” and he is enthused at the devastating impact his engorging is going to make on them. It allows him to punish the memory of his father, Augustine, and human blood will be its marker.
Suddenly the massive crowd goes silent. The only sound is the rain hitting the puddles in the field as the 3 children approach, single file, hands in the traditional pointed praying posture. They slosh through the rain and mud with pious simplicity. As they get closer he can smell them. Lucia the oldest girl leads her younger cousins Francisco and Jacinta. He can smell their “mark”, they reek of the odor of Christ. It’s stronger than all the others combined and it starts to make him noxious. It reminds him of his father and others like Gregory, Aquinas, Theresa, and Francis whom he has encountered over the centuries. He couldn’t stomach feeding on them but he endured the smell. This should have been different since they are children, the most naive and the weakest. It’s as if they were freshly baptized.
“They must have just come from confession to smell so vile,” he thinks to himself.
The children kneel before the arched truss less than fifteen feet from him. As the children bless themselves so does the majority of the crowd around them.
“The time has come to do my duty and suck the life from this prey,” he relishes to himself. As he postures to transform and pounce, he feels a sharp pain all through his body. Suddenly, he cannot move.
The oldest is talking quietly to the space in front of her as the other two children smile and laugh at what only they can hear. Just then all three turn at the same time towards Tenebris’ position in front of the crowd as if alerted to his presence.
Even in pain, he contemplates their look, “This is a massive crowd. Are these dumb, peasant, children looking at me?”
His thoughts are confirmed as all three children smile sweetly towards him as he hears, “Hi Bolshevik man,” the youngest, Jacinta blurts out as she innocently waves at him. The immediate crowd around him turn to look at him, puzzled about who he was and why they singled him out.
Tenebris’ anger builds as he transforms into his vicious vampire self, with fangs and blue, clammy veins bulging from his pale neck and forehead. The dark hood covering his head falls away revealing to the unsuspecting crowd the monster he has transformed into. They scream at the sight as they clear away from him. He wants to lash out, but like a chained tiger he still can’t move as he continues to experience the burning pain throughout his body.
Suddenly the rain stops as the sun breaks out of the clouds, and changes color almost like a kaleidoscope hitting across the crowd and the wet field, instantly drying it up. The crowd looks up in awe. As it starts to move and zig-zag in the sky the awes turns to terrifying screams at the erratic “dancing sun”.
Tenebris is in so much pain he can’t stand. Something is forcing him to drop to his knees. He uses all his supernatural strength to remain on his feet, but suddenly he hits the dried mud with a forceful thud. He looks up at the children and he sees HER standing under the flower-filled arch just past them. A light emanating from her. She’s brilliant, bright, and beautiful. He can barely look at her. The light is so pure it penetrates him.
In an instant, he sees hands of flame on his shoulders holding him down, the source of his immobility. As he looks up he sees they belong to an angel-like, warrior apparition. His mouth doesn’t move but his words echo in Tenebris’ ears.
“Adeodatus, who is like God!?” it says. “Who is like God, Adeodatus!?”
Just then, the dancing sun looks to be coming directly for him like a meteor. As the burning increases, he wants to retreat for the first time in his dark existence, but he can’t move out of its way. Those around him have scattered. He feels he’s going to explode into flame any second. As it approaches screams roar out from the fleeing crowd as it is about to hit him. Upon impact, the flame feels more like a wall of water pouring over him as everything goes from bright blinding light to blackness.
Opening his eyes in what seems like an instant, Tenebris finds himself in a simple hospital bed. Everything is a little blurry and out of focus, but as his eyesight clears he sees in a chair next to him a little girl in a muddy, simple dress sleeping, holding vigil, with a rosary in her hand. He recognizes it’s Lucia the little girl from the field. He can smell her familiar odor still, but it doesn’t bother him as much. It’s almost sweet-scented, like a flower.
The sun shines through the windows of the large common recovery room he is in. It has several beds separated by hanging white sheets with other patients in various stages of recovery. He looks around and sits up and discovers he is no longer in his uniform but in a hospital gown. The light from a nearby window drapes across his bed, he can feel its warmth, but to his shock, he feels no burning from it. He stretches his pale hand cautiously into the sunlight.
“No burning, no pain, just warm, beautiful, sunlight,” he laughs to himself. “How can this be?” he says out loud.
His voice and the sound of his squeaking bed wake the young girl who comes out of her sleep with a surprised, happy, smile at him.
She says something in Portuguese, but it’s one of the few languages he has not quite mastered. Seeing his confusion she speaks to him in broken English, “You wake up!” Lucia says. “She say you…you healed.”
“She?” he asks.
“Our Lady,” she responds. “She say light…heal you.”
Confused Tenebris replies, “What? Heal me? I don’t need healing little girl.”
With just her looking around the room the little girl shows him the reality of his present condition in a hospital bed points to the contrary. He picks up on this and can’t believe her gall, but must admit she got him. He looks around his surroundings and with relatively no one else around, she is such a small, helpless, creature. She would be easy prey for him, but she’s not afraid.
“Girl, do you not fear me?” he questions. Lucia giggles. Admiring her boldness, “You wouldn’t laugh if you knew WHAT I am,” he says.
“You vampire, you protect…me,” she replies simply. “Why I…be afraid?”
“She is bold,” he thinks, “Ha, protect? Why would I protect you? And from what? Do you know who I am?” he says to her.
Lucia nods her head, “You Adeodatus, Our Lady say is true name.”
Surprised at hearing that name, he looks around to see if anyone is in earshot.
In a low, cautious, voice he asks, “Where did you learn that name? No one calls me by that name anymore.”
Lucia stands up confidently and approaches the man in the bed, “I tell you, Our Lady.”
“What makes her think I’ll protect you? I have a master who has given me a new title with great power,” he insists.
“Not like Our Lady,” she bluntly states. “Your master afraid of her.”
He lets out a laugh. “The Prince of Darkness is afraid of a little Jewish girl?!”
Lucia nods her head, “Uh-huh and she want me to show you.”
“Show me what child?” he challenges.
“What she show me…too,” she replies.
Confident it’s nothing of consequence the vampire replies, “Does she think you could show me something I haven’t seen before?”
“She say you say that,” replies the little girl, as she grabs the big man’s hand.
He feels himself slipping away again and with a flash of light, he finds himself on a precipice holding the little girl's hand looking down on a dark, fiery, labyrinth of caves, molten rock, and ash, with an incredible horrific site of tortured and suffering souls being tossed about in the burning embers of the fire in agony below. It’s a gruesome sight. Suddenly Tenebris sees one soul he recognizes. It’s trapped in a flaming, steel cage somehow suspended above the hot furnace of molten fire. It’s himself, his soul! He’s surrounded by others, his vampire brethren. He recognizes them also in their steel cages.
Just then the familiar darkness from his dream approaches him and says, “Get away from her quickly!”
He squeezes the little girl’s hand tighter and instinctively moves in front to shield her. As the darkness gets closer to them he senses its disgusting and frightening nature unlike any encounter in his dreams. He stands his ground against it.
“Give me the girl’s secrets!” the dark voice says. “I want the secrets!”
Tenebris is confused as to what it is talking about. It attempts to consume them in its darkness, but it can’t get close. Something or someone is keeping it away. Lucia steps in front of Tenebris as a bright light emanates from her against the dark. With a flash of light, he wakes up in his hospital bed sweaty, heart-pounding, and out of breath.
It’s early evening in the recovery room. A young but seasoned nurse stands over him with a thermometer in hand and a surprised look on her face, “Hello Major, you’re awake! The doctor was concerned about you,” the nurse says. “Your fever just broke. Here have some water.”
He can’t speak. He is visibly shaken, but blurts out, “I…I can’t drink water”.
Strangely enough for the first time in a long time, he realizes he wants it. The nurse is puzzled at the response and ignores it, “Seeing the dirty uniform you came in here with, you’re a long way from Russia sir, and here I’m in charge. Let’s just give it a go, hmm?”
She hands him the water glass and he drinks it cautiously. It goes down with no problem and it’s refreshing. With a smile and a slight laugh, he downs the whole glass. Turns to the nurse to say, “More, more please!”
The nurse smiles, “Of course, you can have all the water you want. Here is your dinner we kept it warm for you.” He looks at the plate of simple lamb slices, some small potatoes, and a biscuit. It smells incredible. He grabs the biscuit and takes a cautious bite. His face says it all, delicious! He stuffs his face with half the biscuit and then remembers, “Butter!, any butter?” He exclaims.
The nurse is amused, “I’ll try to find some for you sir, but you’d think you haven’t eaten in a thousand years. You’re definitely feeling better.”
He nods his head at the comment, then realizes, “Where’s the little girl? I need to speak to her.”
“She left for the day,” the nurse says. “Visiting hours are over. I imagine she’ll be back in the morning just like every day for the past week. Enjoy your meal. Oh, and sir, she left this for you.”
The nurse hands him a book. He looks at it and starts to laugh, it’s St. Augustine’s Confessions. The nurse walks away to leave him to his dinner.
“I’ll get you some butter, Major,” she yells back.
He doesn’t respond as he intensely reads what appears to be a note on the inside cover of the book. It’s for his eyes only and we are left to imagine what it says. But upon finishing reading the mysterious note his laugh turns into a silent weeping as he embraces the book to his chest. He closes his eyes envisioning a new, different, and hopeful mission decreed to him by a new master, a little Jewish girl. It’s his first cry in a very, very long time