In Your Image, I Have Always Been
GENESIS 3:4 -
I watch in horror as blood erupts from my gut.
It spills down my leg, splattering the pavement at my feet as the beast plunges his taloned fist into my exposed abdomen. The asphalt becomes a sanguine torrent of liquid black as my poisoned vital fluids flee their undesirable shell, choosing instead to disappear into the cracks of the darkened alley.
Since I've spent so much of my time here over the years acting out my version of a life lived on the edge, I suppose it's only fitting that here in this alley is where I find my own end.
Blood oozes over the band of my jeans as a new warmth spreads from my groin, wetting the denim and filling the air with the acrid scent of urine. Razor-sharp fingernails slice effortlessly through the toilet-paper-thin walls of my innards as he buries his hard, calloused fist inside me. I feel his fingers grabbing at my insides -- searching.
Like a deadly eel darting in and out of its lightless coral care, his long tongue slithers from between cracked and gruesome lips. I've seen this face before and felt his tongue against my skin. It is warm, nearly comforting in its familiarity. The tip slaps against my face lapping up nervous sweat, consuming my wet fear like so many times before.
For most of my life, I was never one considered prone to innocence, preferring instead to walk a broad road and enter life's common challenges through the widest of gates. Having been perhaps one of the farthest from what could be called a religious man, it now should come to no surprise to me that my chosen path would lead me here -- to this alley and to this union.
It's only now, with the beast's arm buried up to the elbow inside my gut, that I realize the painful offer I long-ago mistakenly accepted as a gift was actually more of a curse. I've been a dead man since that moment I accepted the offer, but it's only now that I fully understand the ramifications of a life led fraught with bad choices.
He moves in closer. Serpentine eyes, the color of jade, burn into my soul. He's all knowing. And I no longer want to share.
The stench of his demonic breath attacks my nostrils as uncontrollable tears stream down my face. I cry in selfish absolution of the memories of the many people I've harmed and for the terrible acts I've committed.
It's been said that at the moment of judgement the events of your life, both good and bad, flash before your eyes. It's not true. I know that now. Your life's work hits you all at once, like a monster punch in the stomach with relentless fingers that tear you apart from the inside out. In an instance, the years of guilt rip at me, tearing at what must be the soul I thought I never had.
His clawed hand continues to dig. Deeper than I had imagined could ever be possible, as if trying to reach into my gullet and pull a scream from my throat. His digits rummage through my organs, searching for that single piece of collateral that will secure between us the contract that, we together, agreed upon so many years ago.
I feel my heart beating faster, pulsing against his forearm as he pushes it aside, reaching somewhere behind to grasp at that piece of me that I long ago forgot existed. I feel it now, for the first time since my childhood.
And I wept. "Like Jesus," I thought.
And he pulled.
I now know that I will never be alone again...
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