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Devil’s Spawn: The curse of Emrys
There were always rumours surrounding him, people constantly pointing at him screaming ‘Satan’ and ‘Devil’s spawn’, I’ve always felt sorry for him; to be judged like that by people who have nothing better to do, yet I understood why they did. He was a happy child, so bright and cheerful, always ready to help, always yelling ‘mummy’ happily when he saw me. That was before the fire, before he destroyed one of the village’s churches; the Capel Y Bedyddwyr Cymraeg Salem. It took the whole town by surprise; that a boy of 18 could singlehandedly destroy a place of worship standing for more than a hundred years. Of course, a young boy couldn’t do such a thing, unless he was possessed by a dark, sinister being; that is the simple conclusion that the people of Church village came up with, the conclusion that would shape his life for worse.
He used to roam the village at night, always alone save the company of the mysterious moon, many seemed to think that this was his time of worship, but he merely needed to escape, from me, from them; and some of his many demons and, bathe in the healing light of the moon. Now, he is just a ghost of what he was before, but he had lost all the will to live that had shaped him earlier. And, all that remains is just an empty shell. He came to me in the early mornings saying he needed breakfast, though I knew that he just wanted to be with me, to feel wanted. He hardly ate anything; he doesn’t need food to sustain him, he just exists. I don’t even know him anymore, the grey eyes of my husband wasted behind his hating and loathing of religion. And that simply breaks my heart.
People always considered him an outsider. He went to America to finish his education at just 15; they say that’s what corrupted him, but it wasn’t just that alone, no, he was too smart, too captivating, too...unnatural. These weren’t the qualities of a child born and raised in Church village. No, here they are all the same, bland, judgemental and devout. They pressured me into exiling him out of his own home as, I was considered an important part of the community, they didn’t want me to be corrupted, for who else would run The Women’s Worship Circle. For now, I was still one of them, unlike my devil worshiping son. I offered him the shed to do with it what he will, but he chose to sleep in sturdy tree branches and damp forest clearings, I respected his choice, even if the intention wasn’t understood. I did try to understand him, to bring him back to our faith, to relate to him in some way. He was enveloped by his demons and they just wouldn’t let him go.
After a few years, when everyone’s rumours and preconceptions had faded into whispers and side glances, he came to me on a slow Monday morning, speaking for the first time in years. He whispered: ‘Mother, I want to see the horses.’ Shocked by the deepness of his voice and the strange request, I took him to the race tracks, beyond the village; away from the constant speculation, in hope that he would overthrow his demons, when his demands were met.
‘Mum’ he began tentatively, as if asking to speak, he looked so broken, the image of sadness itself. I nodded as I sat, signalling for him to continue.
‘I am possessed. It is the devil that haunts me, though my devil is not what everyone believes him to be. No, mine is a beautiful white horse.’ He smiled forlornly, jolting back to reality at the sound of the gunshot sounding the start of the race. Turning to face the horses springing like tightly wound coils out of their cubicles; he stared at them, following them with his sunken, haunted grey eyes, behind the black velvet of his hair. Looking at him shattered my old heart, his words striking fear in every cell in my body.
‘Do you know why I hate religion? It’s because it doesn’t really exist.
‘The God you believe in doesn’t, nor do your prophets and angels.’ He whispered with such spite that I reeled back from his words, sensing danger.
‘These villagers. They say I believe in the devil, why is that?’ he asked, suddenly seeming like my old curious son again. I told him it was because he destroyed the church, destroyed the house of God. He started laughing like a madman, only stopping when a man’s phone started ringing, the tune being the song played at my husband’s funeral. We sat there for a minute or so just listening to the ringtone, the words sung by One Republic piercing at our hearts, the melody taunting me with images of the past, and I crashed back onto those deep buried feelings. Emrys felt... well, I don’t know what he felt; his face was void of emotion, it was like he didn’t even care whereas, I was close to crying. Suddenly, he seemed angry at the man ‘Answer it already!’ he shouted at him, making the man hurriedly fumble about for his phone, Emrys snarled at him with such malice. More malice than could’ve been possible for his former self. He looked completely possessed, his inner demons coming up to the surface, the surface being his disturbingly beautiful, pale face.
I stood up, my arm reaching for his shoulder. He snapped at me, his deep grey eyes staring into my old olive ones. His face contorted into such a ferocious, ghastly vehemence that I, as his mother, shuddered and fell to my knees. My hands reached for my face, though I could still feel his fiery gaze upon me. The crowd started to whisper to each other at the spectacle, glancing at us as they mumbled what I assumed were reflections of the past rumours. No matter what my son did, his demons would never cease to haunt him, forever driving him into the void that society would inevitably push him to.
A few of the crowd started to gasp; I looked up to see that my son had gone. My heart started to flutter, my brow creasing in worry. I followed their fearful stares over the railings to see my son seemingly float towards the galloping horses. His eyes glimmered as his mouth curled upwards into an almost happy, peaceful smile. He stopped in the middle of the track, frozen, as the horses sped towards him. He was still for a moment before his arms slowly rose to his sides, as if he were about to embrace the gallant white stallions. Time stopped as I held my breath, my eyes widened in sheer terror as I witnessed the madness unfolding before them. A single scream penetrating the air. Red. Then all was dark.