The story so far:
"The other shape,
If shape it might be call'd, that shape had none,
Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb;
Or substance might be call'd that shadow seem'd;
For each seem'd either; black it stood as night,
Fierce as ten furies, terrible as Hell,
And shook a dreadful dart; what seem'd his head
The likeness of a kingly crown had on.
Satan was now at hand; and from his seat
The monster, moving onward, came as fast
With horrid strides; Hell trembled as he strode."
-- John Milton
Stuart raised his head up slowly. He felt a horrible chill overcome him. He would recognize that laugh anywhere. It would forever haunt him, especially in his dreams.
The Preacher emerges and on each side of him walked Hulk and Andre. David sees him first. Old habits, repetitious training, and instinct made him reach for his gun. It wasn't there. The Preacher eyed David, grinning, holding his gun in his left hand. The Preacher takes his right hand and covers the gun. When he opens them up it is gone. David looks around and sees all his other deputies are laying on the ground. Sleeping, as if in a trance. The pitbulls growl at him. They are willing and ready to attack. The preacher whispers something at them in a strange language. They guard David and keep him at bay while the Preacher made his way towards the others. He was not concerned about David as of yet. David knows if he makes any mistakes they will rip him in two. A feeling of helplessness overcomes him.
"Hello, all." That voice. Sinister. The sound of millions of souls crying out for salvation. Inside that ageless voice there was wailing and gnashing of teeth.
They look upon him with horror filled eyes.
Mr. Henderson's head had been bowed low. He had shown very little concern for anything except the whereabouts of Rose's corpse. When Melanie Simms blew her brains out he didn't even look twice in her direction. Hearing that voice made them all snap out of any other semiconscious thought they were dealing with.
"Allow me to introduce myself." He walks towards them. Vibrant. Confident. Full of energy, as if he is king of the world. His black suit and shoes seeming to never wear, to never get dirty. The only age that shown in him was his eyes. They screamed centuries of knowledge. David knew that strong intellect was the only way to defeat him. He slowly was becoming convinced that evil other than human form existed.
Those who laughed at David's question about an agent of the devil would not laugh now. Some won't laugh ever again, nervous laugh or not.
"My name is Anamalech. I am here as a reprentative of my father. You may have heard of him...some call him Lucifer, Satan, Beezlebub. Leviathan, Mammon...you catch my drift?"
His head snaps to his left and fixes on Stuart. "Hello, Stuart Cavanaugh he sneers. How's the wife and kids? "
Stuart is suddenly overcome with rage. He lunges toward the Preacher without thinking, all the emotional and mental anguish that has harbored within him for so long roars like a caged lion.
"You", Stuart screams as he closes in on the Preacher. He sprints forward and wraps his arms around the Preacher's waist. A confidence grips him, pure shock at the fact that he is able to do so.
Serge making his way towards Anamalech to try to help Stuart subdue him, take him down.
That's when Stuart screamed. In that scream there was agonizing pain. He writhed back and forth, trying to break his grasp. He has never felt such extreme heat. Serge stopped dead in his tracks. He is at a lost of what he should do. Serge slowly backs away and puts his arm around Sarah, who is crying hysterically.
Dr. Hughes was climbing out of the shallow grave which now housed Melanie. He saw what was happening to Stuart and in his current state of disbelief whispers Bible scripture he memorized as a child under his breath. Only Mr. Henderson was standing close enough to hear him.
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
Smoke begins rising up from Stuarts arms, as he was being slowly roasted by the rising, hot temperature of dark evil that resided in this walking darkness they called the Preacher.
Anamalech raises his arms to them, but looks only in Stuart's eyes.
"Stuart, don't you know I am ancient old?" Stuart arms began to blister. He lets out another scream, Sarah screaming right along with him. Their screams seem to float up in the air together, doing a dance that represented the newly insane. The Preacher neither heard, or cared.
"Don't you know that I have been sent here to take your souls? Or make you all believers?"
He allows Stuart to release his hold. The Preacher gazes at him, head cocked. He smiles at him as if they have been best friends forever. Stuart backs up swiftly, horrified by what just took place. His arms throb, hurting badly. The smell of his burned flesh fills his own nostrils. He waves them up and down staring at them as if expecting them to return to their normal state.
The Preacher extends his arms again trying ti give the impression of a friendly gesture. He paces back and forth in the cemetery amongst them, as if the words he is about to speak he has spoken to thousands. "I am your friend. Some of you will thank me in the end. Become advent worshippers of him. He says this with loathing and disgust. Some of you will come with me, due to your ignorance. Even after all that you will witness you still will refuse to believe. Then I will lead you into the pits of hell with me. Where we shall live with each other for an eternity." He hisses after these words, billows of smoke seeping out from his mouth. The smell of fire and brimstone.
"I have known all of you before I even visited your doorsteps. I have known you all since birth. I have waited for this time year after year. This is my time. Halloween season. A time when I am allowed to walk the earth and collect the souls of those who fail to believe, or chooses not to. I have been a collector for centuries. To all of you I make my proposition." He stops pacing at this moment, and his face turns to stone. His eyes do not move, yet everyone feels he is staring at them only. They try to turn awy from that gaze, but fail to do so.
"Either believe in me and my father, or him," he says, and as he does he whirls his fingers towards the shallow grave Melanie had fallen in after killing herself. To everyone's horror her hand emerges and grabs the edge of the grave. Melanie begins to pull her dead body out of the grave. When she stands they all notice that the right side of her face is completely gone, making its new home on the ground just inches away from her feet. She begins to walk toward the Preacher. A dead body who's soul now belonged to him.
"Or don't," he finishes as Melanie takes her place by his side. He grabs her dead corpse and embraces her. Anamelech leans forward and kisses her lips gently, the part of her lips that were still there. When he turns around to face them again blood covers his mouth and teeth. He grins again. He spins Melanie around as if she were a dance partner and begins to dance the tango with her. Sarah's stomach gives way and she vomits the spaghetti dinner she ate a few hours ago. Right on her shoes.
"Pity, he says, and lets out that sinister laugh again. As he laughs, dozens of freshly dug dead bodies begin emerging from the woods surrounding the cemetery. They recognize some of their own dead relatives among them. Serge recognizes an uncle. Dr. Hughes a cousin. Mr. Henderson howls as he sees Rose walking with them. She barely can stand or walk. Her hair now almost completely gone from her head, the dress she was buried in tattered and hanging loosely off of her decayed body.
The dead failed to show any signs of life, except being moved by the power of the Preacher.
David, whom Dr. Hughes had been consoling passes out in his arms after seeing Charlotte, Gabriel and Michael coming from out of the woods amongst the dead. His blistered arms and the pain of seeing Charlotte whole what seemed like minutes before was just to much for him to bear. Dr. Hughes stares at him and the newly resurrected walking dead in panic and confusion.
Dozens of dead bodies, still covered in dirt. Eyes missing. Decaying flesh. Missing limbs. rotting and some were still filled with worms and other types of flesh eating insects. They surrounded the Preacher along with Melanie. Analemech, bringer of bad news to those chosen, had them under his complete control. David tries to remain as still as possible. All sorts of thoughts enter his mind. He just can't believe all this is taking place right before his eyes. A horror movie come to life, David thinks to himself. The cemetery wasn't robbed. The Preacher let them loose.
Sarah and Mr. Henderson screamed and moaned in pure terror.
Serge holds Sarah close, their eyes seeing but disbelieving.
"Your dead will come with me for now. I shall return them Halloween night to those of you who believe your loved ones are in a better place. I shall be visiting you all again soon. My time is short, and I will admit I truly enjoy the thrill of tormenting you all. Its my passion."
He looks back at David, still being guarded by the pitbulls. He gives them an odd stare and they begin to attack each other ferociously. David again reaches for his gun on pure instinct. To his surprise it is back in its holster.
David feels the Preacher's voice speaking in his head. Until next time....
Then the earth opens up and begins to swallow up the dead. Their bodies began to descend into it as if they were being eaten alive by it. Anamalech descends into it along with the others and in the pits of that hole screams creep up. The screams of the eternally damned.
As the earth closed up they could still hear Anamelech's sinister laugh continuing underneath it...........