Chapter 6: Fallen Man
The room was dark, cold, and wet. There was a foul odor in the air. His body was numb and his head felt as if it were spinning. So much so, he was barely able to turn over to vomit. Even then, he was hungry and he could feel his lips parched from thirst.
“Does that make you feel better, make you know that your insides have come out, out with the bad?” said a strange voice from what sounded like an old woman.
“Who are you? Where am I? What have you done?” asked the Butcher who tried in vain to see with whom he was speaking.
“One, Two, Three questions. You only get one, one at a time.”
“Who are you?”
“Who I am is not that important, is it important? And I don’t care who you are, you are no use to me yet, not yet. Who you are Mr. Butcher, it’s not who you are but what, what is right.”
“And what am I to you?”
“Cattle, Mr. Butcher. The same cattle you cut to pieces and feed to little children, feed the fattest ones.”
The Butcher tried to shake away the haze in his eyes so perhaps he could see her. Although he was not bound to anything, he was unable to move. He felt as if something was weighing down on his every muscle.
“I know the thoughts in your head Mr. Butcher, your thoughts. You’re a good man, by your standards. You want to know many questions about me, but soon they will not matter, no matter at all. You worry about those people standing outside my trees, some still there, some home in their comfortable beds trying to forget, dreaming of better things, trying.”
“What is it you want?”
“I want what any person really wants…to live. Live my life, my own, and I choose to live it here.”
“It is settled then. You will live here on the land your trees have over taken. Rest assured we will leave you in peace.”
The old woman gave a laugh which sounded more like a shriek. The Butcher’s eyes started to clear up, or at least he thought. All he could see was darkness. Within the darkness was a grey mist. It hovered in what he could make out to be the center of the room. In quick moments he could see a shadow passing through. He wanted to see the old woman with his own eyes.
“You act as though you have all authority, act. But you have none over me, not you. And I know what you call me. I go by many names Mr. Butcher, but the one you are most familiar is witch. Though it is not my name but a moniker in which people like you name names to feel comfortable at night knowing there is someone or something worse than you living in this world, living among you.”
“Whatever you are, I have no quarrel with you so long as you leave me and my people be.”
“Would you have said the same if I was a frail old woman mistaken by two of your cowardly men to be a witch, the same?”
“Honesty. That is rare. Yes, you would have thrown me in the river, drowned. I saw your heart’s intentions the moment you stepped into my forest, the very moment. You had already decided in your heart what was to be done to me, you decided.”
“It is as you say. I judged you unfairly. Please, forgive me.”
“Yes, you judged and now you will be punished accordingly, punished. And forgiveness is not mine to forgive. That is for the children. Punishment is mine.”
“No, please. Perhaps there is another way. My family…”
“Yes, and they too will be punished, they too.”
“No! I beg of you, have mercy. Your quarrel is with me.”
“So which is it Mr. Butcher? Do we or don’t we have a quarrel? You meant to do me a great deal of harm and so here I am offering you the same kindness in which you have shown me. I have placed judgment on you and your village without giving any warning or heeding any advise. They are to be condemned blindly.”
“Please, I’m sorry!”
“Sorry? I don’t care, ‘sorry.’ It is already decided. There is a reason you cannot move, Mr. Butcher, nor can you see in such a way you are accustomed to. I have sentenced you to a life continuing in your very nature, blind injustice, you are blind.”
“I do not understand. So you will allow me to live?”
“I do, understand, and so I will allow you to live but it is how you live in which you are to be punished. The reason your body is so heavy is because it is in fact, heavy. Your body is transforming, your muscles will sort themselves out soon enough, soon. What you see now is all you will see, darkness and shadow. Nothing more, nothing.”
“What am I becoming, you fiend?!”
“Death, a creature of death. Soon you will eat the flesh of living creatures. Ohh, perhaps your own children,” she said with optimism. “As a leader of men, you will not do well to lead your family. Not in your state, not at all. You will not decide their fates, live or die, you will always choose death. Soon, when your body is ready, I will release you, and your hunger will take over. Your mind will not control what your body craves, its need to eat, your body. When your hunger strikes it will feed and you will hear the death screams of those you love and there is nothing you can do to stop yourself from ripping them limb from limb, ripping.”
“This is a penalty worse than death! Please, kill me now. That much I deserve.”
“Yes, yes, it is worse, but you will serve me well making your dwelling in my forest, keeping out those that wish to do me harm such as yourself. And do not attempt the taking of your own life for you cannot die by your own hand or will, cannot.”
The Butcher could no longer hold back his emotional agony. He wept. The pain set in. He could feel his body changing those very seconds; bones were breaking, making way for bigger and stronger bones. His teeth fell, as each new tooth pushed their way out. They were larger and much sharper. His body suffered. His screams started to sound like that of an animal. Bat-like wings slowly tore through his back. He was becoming a new creation, a dark one.
Shortly after his conversion she released him. He devoured almost all of those living in his village, including his family. He heard their pleas, cries for mercy. All he could do was try to explain to them. Tell them he had no control. Tell them he was not really a monster, but in their distress, their rationality was replaced with fear and terror. His new body was hungry. It needed to feed and it spared none. It listened to neither their prayers nor wishes. The Butcher was gone. The Abaddon was born.