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           Like the fires of hell, the burning embers raged within the eyes of the beasts.

           

           Nobody knew what to expect when they had awoken that morning, but now the world faced wrath beyond all belief or understanding. Is this the Apocalypse as predicted in the Holy Bible, or have the hounds of hell been released onto the surface of the planet to ravage everything in their path? All that is known for sure, is that there doesn’t seem to be a way to stop this onslaught. Millions have already died worldwide, and the numbers seem to grow exponentially daily.

           These massive beasts embody two heads, each with dagger-like fangs and ferocity beyond any known earthly animal. The creatures started appearing only two days ago all over the planet and now have been spotted in every country around the world except for the tiny island of Iona off the Western coast of Scotland. With only 177 people residing on this island, you would think that it would be an easy conquest for the destruction that these hell hounds are dispensing. Some believe that this is due to the ancient Iona Abbey, a Christian monastery dating back to 563 AD. The monastery was originally designed in the image of the city of Jerusalem and has since gone through several restorations and renovations. Today, a small group of us will attempt to make our way from the city of Derry, Ireland to the island of Iona. My name is Kevin and my fellowship consists of Jane, Harry, James, and Betty. James has a boat docked in the River Foyle. The plan is to take the boat north along the river and out to the North Atlantic Ocean, then across to Iona near the town of Baile Mor.

           The beasts appear around every corner on our short journey to the river and what should have taken just minutes, took us nearly an hour. We didn’t bother bringing any firearms with us because they appear to not affect the beasts whatsoever. We should travel as light as possible anyway so we can reach our destination quicker. When we reached the river, James brought us to the dock where his boat was moored. It is a 29 foot Bayliner Ciera 8 Sport with a 250 Horsepower MerCruiser motor and is equipped with an 8-person berth for sleeping and a hot water shower. It is the perfect boat just in case we are unable to make it to shore in one day.

           The five of us climb aboard as James fires up the motor, however, the noise alerted the beasts to our position and before we had time to leave the dock, two of the creatures rounded the corner at a deadly pace and were headed in our direction. James had thrust the gear shift into high and we took off leaving a rooster tail of water in our wake. One of the beasts slid to a halt just before it reached the edge of the dock, while the other lost control and pummeled into the hind end of the first, sending the two of them plummeting into the river below. We could hear their cries of fear as they entered the water. “I do believe we have found a weakness,” I said to my friends. “They seem to fear the water, so with any luck, we will make this crossing without any issues.” As we cruise along through the choppy, cold waters of the Atlantic, I reflect back on what my life was like before all hell broke loose.

           Life for me was pretty straight forward. I had a busy, but exciting job as a Band Manager for an American rock band, which is what brought me to Ireland in the first place. They were on their first European tour and things were going great. Every venue along the tour was sold out and even though I had no free time to enjoy Europe for myself, it was quite the experience. The tour was to take us through Ireland, Scotland, England, then finish off in Paris, France. The gig in Derry, Ireland was only the fourth venue on the tour. It was that night during the concert that disaster struck. They played the legendary Glassworks Concert Hall that night. It looked so impressive from the front entrance. Four towering columns stood like sentries guarding the main entrance while spotlights lit up the entire façade. The band was rocking out many of their original songs as well as a few covers. The crowd was loving it and the atmosphere was electric when they started with the opening guitar riff of the song, “Out of the Darkness”, but before they reached the first chorus, the ground began to shake. At first, the crowd thought it was all part of the act and cheered even louder, but once lighting equipment started falling from the ceiling and landing on the unsuspecting crowd, the atmosphere turned to one of fear. People started racing out of the building, trampling other patrons as they fell to the floor. I yelled for the band to get off the stage as I ran for the exit myself. Betty, my Assistant Band Manager along with Harry, the Road Manager darted out the rear exit just before we heard an explosion followed by screams of agony from inside the venue. We made our way across the street and waited for the band to emerge from the building, but they never did. Harry, Betty, and I looked at one another with dismay and understanding of the tragedy that laid before us. We were soon joined by James, the club manager, and his girlfriend, Jane who escaped the building just before us. Shouts of horror filled the air, not only from inside the venue but also throughout the surrounding streets. We decided to find shelter, so we ran up Lecky Road towards St. Columba’s Church, and fifteen minutes later we arrived and ran inside. The ornate ceiling was breathtaking as were the paintings and sculptures, however, now was not a time for sightseeing. Father O’Malley met us in the vestibule as we entered and welcomed us. We were telling him about the recent events and he assured us that God would protect us. I wasn’t so reassured though. My gut was telling me that we weren’t safe. “Maybe we were having an earthquake,” I thought. All of a sudden, the West wall of the church exploded into splinters of wood, glass, and brick, sending shards of stained-glass rocketing towards us. We ducked down into the pews, but Father O’Malley, who had been standing in the aisle, was riddled with bullets of glass, dropped to the floor, and his untimely death. When the dust settled, that was the first time we saw it; the beast stood on his hind legs, fire emanated from its eyes and the two heads searched in all directions. A mane of thick, shaggy hair, black as coal cascaded across its two brows and down to the center of its back where they joined and intertwined. Everyone scattered out of the pews keeping their heads low and out of the sight of the beast. We hid behind pillars and moved while it was facing the opposite direction. Eventually, we made it to the exit and ran out into the street, but now the streets we had just traveled upon, were left in rubble and destruction. The following 24-hours were like living in the script of a horror film with a constant barrage of pain and death along the way. It didn’t matter where we tried to hide, the hell hounds were not far behind. I recalled that while researching venues, I had read about this Abbey off of the coast of Scotland that was believed to have the power of Christ protecting it. James mentioned his boat at the riverside, which brings us back to where we left off.

           The crossing of the ocean took us just over two hours and the rough waters made it difficult for James to navigate, but we finally saw hope as we spotted the shore. James skillfully maneuvered the craft across the beating current and we ran aground just outside of Baile Mor. The green, lush countryside seemed unaffected by the dread which had been unleashed elsewhere in the world. On the road ahead sat a sign with a directional arrow pointing towards Iona Abbey. It shouldn’t take more than ten minutes for us to reach on foot. Remnants of past wars were monumented in stone along the path. We passed a few people along the way who didn’t appear to know or care about what was happening on the mainland. They just smiled and welcomed us as if we were old friends. Finally, in the distance, stood the stone Abbey with a large stone cross in the front yard marking their Christian beliefs. For the first time since this began, I started to feel a sense of comfort. If this place truly is protected by a higher power, then there could be no safer place on earth.

           The Iona Abbey had been sold to the government of Scotland several years ago, but there were still a few nuns and priests who managed it for them and stayed in residence. We met one of the nuns in the courtyard. Her name was Sister Mary Frances; a woman in her mid-forties with dark hair barely visible beneath her wimple, or headdress. She greeted us with a glowing smile and all of God’s Grace before asking what brought us to their small island. She offered us some tea, and as we sat down, I began to tell her our tale. The kind-hearted woman of God sat quietly and without expression for several minutes as we shared what facts we knew, and then after we finished, she stood up and excused herself saying that she would return soon.

           Moments later, Sister Mary Frances returned along with an elderly priest whom she addressed as Monsignor Phillip Gallagher. She had filled him in on what we had spoken to her about and his eyes filled first with dismay and then with hope and smile lightened up his face. The priest spoke softly and said, “Fear not my children, for these days have long been expected. It had been foreseen before the time of Christ and the church has been preparing for this battle ever since. This island has a special purpose you see. The water that is drawn from the wells on Iona has been blessed and contains the power of Christ Himself. No person or animal who drinks from these wells can be harmed by any soldier of Satan, so if you please, fill yourselves with the sustenance of life and renounce Satan and all of his followers. Only then will you truly be saved.”

           We did so, and whether by coincidence or if it truly was the power of God flowing through me, I felt a strength and confidence like never before. Either way, I was ready for what hell had in store. We listened to broadcasts from the news on the mainland using a transistor radio that one of the residents had on his wagon. The broadcaster spoke of devastation engulfing the entire planet. More than two-thirds of the population had been destroyed and the numbers keep going up. Before he could finish his next sentence, the broadcast was cut off with an eerie gasp and then there was nothing but static. Countries began firing their nuclear missiles as the last hope in ridding the planet of these beasts. One of which collided with the city of Dublin, Ireland. Everything surrounding Iona was destroyed and consumed by the nuclear blast, and yet birds on the island still sang joyfully in the trees. “This truly is a Holy land.” I thought. Waves crashed upon the shore as the seas grew more fierce. Suddenly, the entire island was surrounded by thrashing waves which was soon followed by hundreds-of-thousands of the hell hounds emerging from the ocean. “It looks like they overcame their fear of the water,” Harry said in a sarcastic tone. However, as Satan’s pets attempted to crawl ashore, their bodies began to shake and then exploded sending their carcasses back into the depths of the Atlantic. This attack continued with the same results for three days until none of the creatures remained.

           A week later, we managed to pick up a broadcast from a radio station in Glasgow which informed us that the attacks had ceased in Scotland and around the globe. Nobody was sure what happened to the hell hounds after they fled into the ocean, but they were glad to see them gone. Nuclear fallout has made Ireland off limits as well as many other countries such as North Korea, Russia, Iraq and the United States of America. Only a small percentage of the population remains, but their hope and faith will help them carry on. I know that my faith in God has been restored and I’m sure that my friends would agree. I only wish it didn’t take global annihilation for it to happen.

 

The End.

           

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2 comments

C. jay Loren
03:38 Jun 07, 2020

I liked this story. It’s a good take on Doomsday and I liked your descriptions of it all. :)

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Greg Gillis
21:19 Jun 07, 2020

Thank you Crystal. I appreciate the feedback. 😁

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