Whispers in the Dark
Hunter turned Geist by treason.
Passion and Stigmata keys.
The Marionette / The Oracle.
Monsters, ghosts, werewolves, vampires, faeries, gnomes, leprechauns. The monster under your bed. Living inside your closet. Peeking at you through the dark alley down your street at night. The entity in the haunted house downtown.
They all make for great campfire stories, books and great movies at the cinema. A great trick if you ask me: feeding the masses “fantasy” until they stop believing. Turning them into sheeps; mindless zombies that do not believe in anything or anyone that does not grant them thumbs up on a cellphone application or a double tap on a picture posted on the web. Turning them into food.
Every day I see more and more people lose faith in the last line of defense against these monsters: The Church. They forsake any religion, all temples and doctrines, they forsake the age-old teachings that have allowed humanity to survive. I guess it’s better this way, if they don’t know what lurks behind their every step, what feeds of their every breath when they are lying down in a hospital bed waiting to die as their bodies rot ever so slowly to the preternatural; After all, they have us: “The Hunters”.
Orphans. Adopted and raised by the holy church, trained in the mystique and the occult with one mission and two missions: 1) SEEK AND DESTROY all that is preternatural and unholy upon this earth. 2) Suffer not the heretic to live. But summed up into a single word: PURGE.
This had been the doctrine I lived by for the past 25 years. Then, I was betrayed. All that I was taught -revealed to me to be no more than a lie. My precious church, corrupt. Twisted. Rotten.
My training was all but complete, I would receive the title of inquisitor. I would reap the fruits of years of hard work. I would be free to conduct my own, albeit pre-sanctioned missions. Take upon a pupil of my own.
One last mission. We had received reports of rouge priests conducting non-sanctioned exorcisms and trapping the spirits for their own benefit. I was to locate the rituals and put a stop to them and all the priests participating. Seek and destroy. Purge. No questions asked.
The mission went without issue, the ritual had been stopped and the sect had been put to an end. The name of the priests logged for excommunication. I should have gone home. I did not. I asked questions. I started searching the abandoned cellar which these rogues had dressed as a poor man’s chapel. I was looking for the source. A vampire perhaps? A mage? Who could be powerful enough to corrupt high ranking exorcists?
I followed my lead to an old catholic school not far from home. Easy to infiltrate when you know what you’re doing.
What I found appalled me. The school had been turned into a breeding ground, hundreds of women tied to their beds, being force fed. You could clearly see they had been impregnated. Some were crying for their new born babies – others had a blank stare to them, lost in their minds – or out of them by now. But this was no rescue mission. I must gather what intel I could and get out before being detected.
I awoke to see a cardinal. MY CARDINAL. My friend and mentor. My “father”. Looming tall over me. I came to my senses. I was bound to a makeshift rack.
- “What…. What is going on? “ I asked.
- “My son. You were instructed to not ask any questions. “he replied. “The curiosity killed the cat, I guess. And you had such great promise too. A blind zealot, doing anything and everything that was asked of you. The world needs more people like you, not less. You can still be taught, you can still be trained. You can still be turned. But it is not my decision.”
I start trying to undo my bindings. My heart filled with sorrow and hatred, it was too much to take in but at the same time – it all made sense. Who else could control priests and exorcists. How else would they know the time and place for the rituals or the reason behind them?
- “do you know what we do here yet?” he asked
I did not reply. “Thou shall not speaketh with the devil” I said to myself in my mind:
- “ah yes. Your training. Do not worry. For the love, I have for you, I will tell you.”
- “we abduct women of certain social status, nobody people would miss. Then we make them breed for us. The newborn are a great source of many things, food for one. Rituals excel with their blood as well.”
As he turns to face me a cruel and faint smile could be seen on his face
- “Hunter trainees”.
“he is the prince of lies” I tried to tell myself. To remain calm. To not give in but despair came over me. my mind rand circles around what I just heard. Everything that made me, me had been torn apart. The pillars of righteousness upon which I stood had been turned to ash. But I did not want to die, no. I wanted revenge. I wanted to punish those responsible and restore the holy church to its glory. To make my teachings true.
he summoned two paladins of the order, seasoned veterans and executioners of the church. My fate was sealed. I would become another body hanging from a pedestrian bridge – fodder to fuel the cartel wars or a political movement.
The cut from a recently sharpened blade. The stream of blood that followed suit was warm and caressing. Inviting me home. I knew they had severed an artery and I would be dead despite my efforts but not before I hung. At least it would be a quick death. Painless.
Darkness again. This time a presence came with the darkness. A bargain. THE Bargain.
I would be restored. I would be “empowered”. I would be solely responsible to decide who lives and who dies. To make the world a better place. To right my wrongs. I would be one with a reaper.
I hang. I am unable to breathe but I am unable to die. A miracle. That’s what the coroners that took me down said. My spine should be broken and I should be dead.
A sinister laugh. I can feel him inside. No. not inside. with me. bound. Pushing death away. Tell him I would live and I would heal.
What have I done? After a life of destroying the preternatural I was now one of the preternatural. Remorse. Should I have accepted my fate and died? No. he whispers. Restore the balance. Restore the church he utters inside my ears. Do as I say and free yourself of them, of your sins. Of me….
My second life begins. I am not dead.
“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”
One thing was clear: I could not go back to the church. Not until I knew how deep the rabbit hole went. Not until I knew who I could trust – if I could trust anyone – they were hunters. I was now a preternatural.
I started sleeping at hostels and bars I knew were safe havens for the less dangerous beings in the world. The reformed, the “vegetarians”… If sleep was what you could call it; Ever since the bonding I did not find sleeping as something I had or wanted to do. Same goes for eating. I would have a bite here and there where I could when I could but I think it was more the nostalgia of the act than the actual need to do it.
The first few months were very rough; I went through many changes and I believe I still am going through some others. At first I could hardly bring myself to anything, I did not feel tired but I felt restless, I did not hunger but I felt myself withering. I felt angry all the time, a raging and passionate anger. Stigmata randomly afflicted me – I carry the marks in my back, my hands and my feet. Whatever this being attached to me is, it was constantly telling me to kill people. Sending flashes of emotions and images that I can’t fully understand. My skin hardened and my sight was sharper. I was quicker on my feet and my wits seemed to be on their peak – but this being, this geist grew ever more impatient. I could feel it but I could not bring myself to please it – to control it.
There were also days were I would pass out and wake up in an old cellar or a crypt feeling renewed, the Geist, “satisfied”. Other days I would dream of hunting the metro lines – I dreamt of picking fights with the scum I could find and snapping their necks or slitting their throats – first I attributed as more whispers from my new “friend” but then, I started seeing reports and news coverage of bodies being found all over the city – murdered in the same ways my dreams went.
That’s when I understood they were not dreams and why I would wake up in random crypts. I did not need to feed but IT did. I heard laughter in my head – “if you do not do as I say, I will. “He spoke clear as day. It was a warning. A threat. He would use my body and do its bidding if I did not. This was the first real communication IT and I had. Progress.
Until I learned how to control this new…. Circumstances, I was a threat to anyone and anything around me. It would be a matter of time before I started to draw the attention of hunters and other creatures.
I found a small apartment for rent, a room in the cellar of an apartment building behind the cemetery. Dark and damp like the crypts I randomly woke up in – the owner claimed it was haunted so he let me stay there for cheap, especially since I showed up half dressed in my priest clothes – albeit a bit dirty. That would keep me safe for the time being. Now I needed a source of income.
It’s not like I could go to the church and ask for freelancing work so I started with small charlatan things, very common in the city – tarot readings in the metro, fake medium sessions so people could “talk” with their dead; that sort of things. It paid the rent. My friend found this hilarious and would sometimes manifest itself – this is how I learned he can influence people’s emotions and physical objects around us. He was also the reason of my stigmata. He must have been a man of the cloth once.
A year had passed. I had learned to communicate with my friend. I learned he did not simply want to kill people – that he made it my decision, choosing who lives or who dies. But it was also my responsibility to make them worthy of living. I learned how he fed – what “plasm” was and how to get it. I also learned how to use his abilities on my whim – not only his.
The anniversary of my death I was doing my charlatan routine in the metro, just a couple of blocks away from home when I spotted him. An inquisitor. I hurry to gather my things and leave as soon as I could. A criminal being chased. Too slow. He sees me. Our eyes lock. He smiles. I awake IT, I get ready. He won’t take me. He says hello and hugs me.
It was Carlos. A young boy I used to coach basketball to back in the day. A good person. He said he had been inspired by me and decided to serve god. My stomach twisted and turned – I had been recruiting for these bastards and didn’t even know it.
He asked me about my priesthood. My blood boiled. I invite him home to talk.
Once back home he tells me I can talk freely – “I am an inquisitor. Just like you. It’s more than I ever dreamed it would be. Did you know this room is haunted? “
- “Look Carlos – if you ever trusted me, you have to trust me now. Ok? “– I said in a firm commanding voice his superiors would use with him. “The church is lying. It is using you”
“Heresy” he replies. “I did not want to believe your little tarot act in the metro was serious. I wanted to believe you were undercover. I must take you in rouge. “
My Geist – or I – paralyze him. “He is not a fighter. He is a scholar still. He is week” my Geist tells me.
- “That is not in your best interest “– a dark evil voice came out from my mouth. “SIT down” as I make him sit.
I tell him my story.
He believes me. I know not because he says it but because I can read his feelings. IT can anyways.
He wants to help. I release him. I am tired. I am hungry.
We talk over the situation and tells me he has read of an ancient branch of the church that had been expunged and condemned with the inquisition – the sin eaters. He tells me that much of the lore had been destroyed but he knew where to look. As a scholar, he had access to the church archives – sometimes things go overlooked. Sometimes things are misplaced. Seldom do people search these archives anymore. Everything is digital. }
Everything is on “the cloud”. Not these though. Good old fashioned paper and ink. The real kind. He would let me in.
Not only had I found information about my condition. I found an ally and a friend, most importantly, a way in. a way in to track the church “missions”, their whereabouts and meetings. I could sabotage, infiltrate, Clean. Purge.