Over the Mountains of Fire and Trumpets

Mónica Cristina Muñiz Pedrogo
Department of English, Literature
Facultad de Humanidades

At the height of war, when the skies glowed red with fire and lightning and the sound of terror encapsulated the very edges of the world, an otherworldly creature fell from the black clouds, tumbling towards the ground until it crushed a house of four.

The creature itself was gigantic in size, but with no discernible shape or form. If anything, it was horrifying mixture of several types of skins, from human to animal to the unknown, sowed together in an anagram of red and black blood. Strange sounds came from it, varying from moans of fear to screams of rage. It attempted to crawl away from the humans, climbing along the walls of the buildings, leaving a trail of strange fluids behind. Nobody even thought of doing anything to assist or destroy it; they just recorded and photographed the event and waited for a sort of cataclysm to happen.

The creature reached the roof of a market, but before it could take flight, its weight crushed the building’s foundations and it fell into a gory heap of body parts and organs. When the people were sure that it had died when it was pierced by a broken piece of wood, they began to poke and probe it, curious to what it was. However, their attention was interrupted when another of the same creature fell from the sky. And then a dozen. And then hundreds.

There was terror, there was confusion, and there were nightmares in the silence of the night as bodies rained on top of the humans’ heads. The creatures seemed to be weakened and unable to leave the mortal realm, but the fear still lingered nonetheless. And then, a large procession of neighboring country folk arrived into the epicenter of the calamity, lead by a former representative of God. The new group gathered around the creatures, letting their leader crouch down next to them while blocked any outsider. For days, the leader examined every detail of the creatures’ bodies, from their teeth to their wings and lastly to their eyes.

Under the fading sun, he called upon the people before him and declared that the creatures were the demons of Satan’s army, for there was a war being waged between Heaven and Hell from behind the clouds and the followers of Evil were losing. Goodness will reign, he shouted to his witnesses, for God will win His war and that of the mortal realm. Not many believed his words, but the idea had been implanted into their imagination.

As the days and weeks passed, more of those strange creatures fell from the high unknown. They eventually started coming in different shapes and sizes, sometimes their variation so evident that they might as well have been a different species from each other. Some had multiple eyes and wings and mouths and legs and everything in between, while others looked almost as human as those who stood around them in awe.

Speculations arose from all kinds of intellectuals and rumormongers, many declaring that the creatures were mutated animals and humans who were experimented on by the government. Others said that they were extraterrestrials desperately calling for help. However, no matter how many investigations and dissections and calculations were made, no result was powerful enough to combat what was fortified within the humans’ minds when a creature that looked like an honest-to-God demon came along, with its horns and bat wings and claws and snake-like teeth.

The religious leader soon ascended to the position of High Priest and all of those who worshipped him, those who had been lost for so long until the day his divine words hit them, saw him as a father. He declared with fervor that the Kingdom of Heaven would appear before their mortal eyes when the new millennium began. On that day would true salvation come to pass.

To fight evil off on the Earth while God took care of the Heavens, the people took up arms and marched towards the East, where war had raged on so far into the past, that many had forgotten its origin. With chants and songs of unity, goodness, and the divine protection of the holy angels, the High Priest led from his throne the army of the world. Every so often, he would look out of his window and observe as the demons fell from between the clouds, flailing in the air as they attempted to fly on their own. They would crash on houses and forests and oceans and mountains and grandparents and children, but never on the High Priest. There would be flashes of light that the demons tried to cling to with all of their might, but one blast from a bomb over the hills, far off into the strange lands, was enough to topple them all.

There were detractors, of course, ranging from the more scientific minded ones to the faithful, who were down right blasphemous in their preaching against his Excellence’s actions and words. A woman had once spit upon his face before she got forcefully taken away and flailed to death; a man had pointed a gun to his heart before he himself was shot; a priest from a town over begged for his soul and that of the innocent, for he was condemning them all to damnation. The declared traitor died in the cold of the night, frozen along with the other people that were banished to the snowy mountains. The High Priest chuckled as another demon crashed into a local well.

Then he finally came. His fall was unlike any other, with such a grace of body and mind that the people, already accustomed to the demon phenomenon, could not help but stare up and marvel at his beauty. When he reached the solid ground, bleeding from his head and shoulders, the nearby inhabitants carefully and silently gathered around him. Looking as human as any of the other mortals, he remained on his back, staring up at the sky as if surprised by what had happened, as if he didn’t realize his predicament.

The High Priest pushed through the crowd, knelt next to the demon, and asked: - “It is you, is it not? - The Enemy of all Mankind.”

The Devil turned to the High Priest, looked right into his eyes, and said nothing. He breathed and then his anger flared, quickly moving his arm and his claws and scratched at the man’s face. As blood spilled from his skin, the Leader of All ordered for the immediate incarceration and torture of the Demon King, for now the war was surely won.

Decades later, the people gathered around the High Priest, crying over the dying body of their father. The lessons he had gifted to his children had trespassed all mortal borders of the human consciousness. The good of humanity had come together to purify the Earth of its dark devilry. Many had died, and prayers to God were made for His blessing, but it was necessary. The people shall reign in peace, Heaven help them.

The High Priest, with his last breath, had called upon the presence of the Enemy, silencing the witnesses when they gasped in shock. A pale and sickly man was presented before him, the Fallen having barely the strength to stand up on his own. The dying old man then commanded him to look him in the eye so the he could quench the fire of evil with the light of his soul. The Devil widened his eyes to the point of his eyeballs almost popping out of his head, the reflection of the High Priest clear and evident on them. He mouthed a silent word and the old man screamed until he choked on his own saliva and the last vestiges of his breath escaped his lungs and dissipated into oblivion.

Those who had witnessed the death accused the Devil of having brought about a curse upon their father and forced him to suffer through the last seconds of his heavenly life. They dragged the demon towards the center of their town and tied him up to an old post. With the intention of leaving him there to rot, the people had no qualms about torturing him in the meantime, with either stones or burning rods or multiple swords. He never screamed, never reacted beyond the occasional flinch; just looked over towards the horizon, searching through the mountains.

Centuries passed, generations coming and going with every rise and fall of the sun. Wars intensified and ended and returned with a vengeance as coffins were laid out one atop of the other by the hour, minute, and second. The High Priest was remembered through all of that time, statues and paintings and temples constructed in his name and memory. New traditions were established, dogmas were passed, and books documented the life of the greatest good and sanctity that the world had ever known.

The dawn of the new millennium was upon humanity’s doorstep. The number of demons on the Earth had dwindled to a small few. Some had died off, starved to death under the shadows of alleys and bridges, or from the infliction of wounds upon their bodies. Others had attempted to fly off towards the skies, probably to return to battle as many wished to believe, only to plunge to the ground without even the grace of a once powerful warrior.

The last of them all, hiding as best as they could from prying eyes, would look towards their once King from the darkness of the night. No words were ever exchanged between them, just a comfort of presence. Sometimes, they would look up at the stars, which became ever so brighter as the years passed by. A shooting star flew over their heads and some of the humans, who also hid in the shadows, liked to believe that it moved slower than it should have. One day, the demons would think to themselves, one day, near and far.

When rumors of a celestial army marching from the ends of the Earth reached the people’s ears, all conscious creatures knew that it was time. Traveling men would shout on the rooftops about the sky turning bright with the light of divinity, sanctifying the world. The Chosen Day had finally arrived, they all declared, and they would all reside within the House of God.

And it was on that fateful day, upon the morning light, that the rumble of the marching army was heard from the horizon. The people awakened from their slumber, a sense of excitement slipping through their skin and bones. Glory had come to them, arrived to bring about the splendor of triumph of good over evil. The heroes, the saviors, of War would now bless them with their divinity.

The people jumped from their beds, rushed towards their front doors, and spread their arms wide for the coming sun. Fathers and mothers took their children into their arms and raised them up, chanting about the coming end of their strife, of their tribulations. Their ancestors from millennia before would have their struggles achieve peace.

As a series of trumpets resounded from behind the mountains, the people gathered around the fallen demon, now as small as a child, with skin cracking at the veins, his hair mostly fallen off into decrepitude, and his bones as visible as his very flesh. The inhabitants roused him from his sleep with jeers and insults, throwing many a stone at him until he began to bleed anew, from whatever drops he had left.

He weakly looked up at his spectators and then towards the mountains from behind the people; towards the sound of the trumpets.

— “Do you hear, little Devil?” he heard from the edges of his consciousness, - “The Father has come to reclaim the Earth from evil.”

The boy stared at the red skies against the rising sun and whispered, more to himself than anyone else: - “Yes, he has.” - And the Devil sobbed, pulling up his knees to wipe the tears from his face with his legs. The end was coming at last, for he remembered his name and his life and the warmth of the sun would soon take away the cold that had so ensnared him. The skies blazed with fire and the smoke from the scorched mountains left the trail of extermination upon his feet.

The trumpets called for War and the humans hated and the boy smiled, for his Father had come to save him from the clutches of Evil.

Posted on February 7, 2016 .