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Shock and Awe
Shock and Awe
The sights of houses with golden crosses on their doors greeted me as I turned the curb onto Natalie’s neighbourhood. I sighed. Living in a country totally controlled by the Church was irritating sometimes. Both of our neighbours were like sheep, their lips constantly quoting the Bible or the Pope, convinced that they were the solutions to all their problems. I have seen the residents pay their local priest hundreds of dollars just for the priest to touch them on their forehead, and then claim that all their sins were forgiven. It was like the Middle Ages all over again... I sighed and pulled into her driveway. I glanced at Natalie’s cross-less door and smiled. That was the first thing she had me help her with when I came over last night. She was far more open about her atheism than I was. I smiled as I thought of Natalie. I reached into my pocket and felt the tin box inside. I planned to propose to her last night, but I lost my nerve at the last second, I remembered with a grimace, and I’ve been kicking myself ever since. I promised myself I would ask her today. As I was exiting my car, a piercing scream shatters the calm afternoon serenity. Natalie. I bolted up the steps, fear rushing through me, and shoved open the door, and the sight that greeted me brought bile rising up my throat. There were three old men, all wearing white priest robes. I recognized them as preachers at the church in Natalie’s neighbourhood. They were standing over a crumpled body, and one of them was holding a golden cross, its tip stained with dark with crimson blood. It was the very same cross that I had helped wrench off Natalie’s door last night. All three of them turned at the sound of the door opening, and as they turned, I could see the face of the body that was lying in a crumpled heap on the floor. The beautiful face of my love, eyes wide with fear, an ooze of blood running down her forehead, and a trickle of tears from her eyes. The priest with the cross dropped it onto Natalie’s chest, and smiled cruelly as she gasped in pain, and fresh tears began to leak from her eyes. He then dared to step forward and began to speak to me, as if there was nothing wrong.
“It is the will of the Almighty Lord that this disbelieving wh**e should die.” He proclaimed with a horribly smug smile on his face “Do not interfere with this divine judgement”
As he finished, he turned around, clearly expecting the sorrow on my face to fade into blank obedience. My sorrow however, did not fade; instead, it hardened into unforgiving rage. As the priest who had spoken to me picked up the cross, ready to kill Natalie, I charged, a red haze blocking out any thoughts other than to stop that monster from hurting Natalie any more. He was about to bring the cross down on Natalie’s heart when I slammed my fist into the back of his head He pitched forward, stunned, and then I wrenched the cross from his hand. He had time to scream only once, before I savagely slammed the cross into his head, once, then twice. I grimaced as I heard his skull crack, and he fell to the floor in a crash. The other two priests took one look at me, enraged and holding a bloody metal cross as if it were a battle axe, and bolted past me and out of the door. I would have followed them, but at that moment, Natalie let out a little sigh. Instantly, my rage vanished, my eyes softened, and I dropped the cross and knelt by her side. She looked at me, and weakly smiled. “Who needs Jesus? You’re my saviour” she said, her voice barely above a whisper. Seeing how weak she was caused tears to start pooling in my eyes.
“Natalie, don’t worry. You’ll get through this” I promised. I started to get up “Ill go get help”
But then Natalie reached out and grabbed my shirt with such desperation I paused.
“Don’t leave me” she said, her black eyes pleading.
And so I knelt down by her side once again, and took her outstretched hand. I smoothed the hair from her face, and started into her sparkling dark eyes. The eyes that held everything I lived for, everything that I loved. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the box. I tilted it towards her, and gently opened it “I…I…I’m sorry Natalie,” I sobbed, choking back tears. “I…I should have been there.” I took out the ring, “I…I…thought that this would show you how much you mean to me, but I…I couldn’t even protect you. I’m sorry!” She glanced at the ring in my hand and smiled. “It’s okay. I don’t blame you. I still love you” She said, as she weakly slipped her finger into the ring. Hearing those four words come from her meant everything to me, and a warm smile began to form on my face. But my happiness was short lived, as her hand began to slip from mine, and her sparkling eyes began to fade.
“No!” I screamed, “No Natalie, please, don’t leave me” I begged
But all she did was smile one last time, before her dimming eyes closed, her hand became limp, and the ring slipped off her finger.
“No!” I screamed, as I still held her still hand in mine, the tears that had pooled in my eyes streamed down like a waterfall, fast and uncontrollable.
“I will make them pay” I growled, as the tears began to stop “For every second of agony they put you through, I swear they will pay!”
I got up and picked up the ring from the floor beside her hand. It was slightly stained with her blood, and with a heavy heart I put it in my pocket, so I would never forget what I had lost, and who was to blame. And as I walked out, I looked once more at the still body of my love, beautiful and serene, even in death, and at the golden cross that had killed her, my eyes began to harden once more. It would be a long hard road ahead of me, but I would reach the end one day, or I would take as many of those “holy” low lifes down with me as I could.