Michael Davis, Grade 11, Richard Johnson Anglican School
The Holy Gates had opened, yet not out of compassion but exile - the rigorous gaze of onlookers slicing against my bare naked flesh. I turned back one last time, covering the shame between my thighs urgently with either of my gradually fading hands. A faint shine floated about my hair, each a spark of my once iridescent crown, the badge of a servant of God burning upon my now mortal flesh. I winced; pain was an enigmatic experience to one who was prior immortal. God himself spoke unto me, without hostility but with utmost authority,
“Leave this place, my child. Do not return.”
It had been said, my persecution was complete and thus I should be removed from God’s chosen. I turned towards the unknown beyond the gate and ventured forth. The final blessing of God passed through the creaking golden gates by a familiar friend.
“Please, friend, take my blessing and hold it close. We do not know what is down there…”
I grasped his blessing with one hand, the other still covering my bare groin. It was a trident, crimson as blood and warm to the touch.
“From the armoury, Brother Michael?”
“We are no longer brothers, but thou shalt always be my companion. Adieu, fallen angel.” He was not maintaining eye contact, perhaps avoiding it altogether.
“Adieu, Michael the archangel, I pray for you.”
With my farewells past, I set foot upon the once solid ground – no longer so, perhaps as a result of my mortal affliction. I fell. And fell. And fell. The space around me began to singe, the tips of my pure feathered wings alight with flame. It hurt. I screamed and writhed as I plummeted through the sky as the flame enveloped my entire being, my flesh bubbling and sizzling – torrid under the effects of my mortality. As I screamed the flames invade my body and boil my insides, the pain is unimaginable and I can no longer scream, as the flames raise my throat. And then, the falling ceased – there was no longer that upsetting sensation in my lower gut, no longer was the cold wind slicing at my skin and no longer the revolting odour of burnt flesh. It was dark, and hard to move – impossible to breath. It is then that I had awoken, surrounded by water. Not clear like the water in heaven, but turbid and viscous. I struggle and ache against the oppressive fluid, my mortal lungs screaming for air. My eyes were shut and shut hard and my charcoal arms were clawing desperately in any which way – preferably up. And with that, the pitch dark had turned to a dim light, warming my still shut eyelids. I screamed and cried salty tears as I gasped and heaved for air. Death had me, he had grasped me by the throat but I escaped. I clambered up a nearby bank, slipping occasionally on the black mud. It was on this bank that he approached me, not a man or a god but some eldritch horror, the appearance of which so horrible, so indescribable that I do not recall it in detail – simply an amalgamation of meaty tendrils and hollow eyes. It spoke:
“The first mortal?”
“Once an angel. What in God’s name are you?” My voice was shaky and pathetic. Mortal fear of the unknown.
“A being far greater than you – You may call me Hades. I rule this barren rock, everything on it is my own. Including you. Thus I must ask your name, boy.”