Click to Enlarge

Dark Vigil
Click one of the above links to purchase an eBook.

ISBN-10: 1-55404-028-0
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Dark Fantasy
eBook Length: 203 Pages
Published: February 2002
OUT OF PRINT

From inside the flap

Dark Vigil is a collection of 11 short stories and one novella. The collection is comprised of 12 unique tales of horror that explore the realm of religion. From the realization of wanting in Replicate, to the yearning to leave God's grace for the damnation of hell in Touched, to the release of hope in Conceded - The First Circle of Hell, makes Dark Vigil an eerie and twisted book sure to please any fan of religious horror.


Reviews and Awards

Dark Vigil: A Collection of Religious Horror
L.J. Blount
Double Dragon Books
ISBN 1-55404-028-0
Release date: February 2003

If you love horror, you'll love Dark Vigil. And if you like books that make you think, his collection of short stories will certainly make you do that! It is quite unique in that it never strays from the promised title: Religious Horror.

I think it must take a special imagination and great courage to write this type of content, especially considering that the stories in Dark Vigil tend to suggest we reap not only what we sow, but what we think, or write! Take the guy who daydreams of cutting off his wife's head because she annoys him. How do you think he spends the rest of eternity? And the horror writer: what is she creating for her own future?

Dark Vigil is a provocative collection of stories not for the squeamish, or those who believe they can do what they like without repercussions. It's a book that inspires you to wonder: do we, by our actions on Earth, in fact create our own destiny in the afterlife? And if we have evil and nasty thoughts all the time, could that destiny be hell? I'll tell you now; you wouldn't want to go to the hells portrayed in this book, because the author never shirks in describing its raw vileness: these stories are written with extremely clear imagery. A brave man to bare his imagination in such a way, who isn't afraid to explore the possibilities of demonic depths that might wait for those who misbehave. After all, there's no proof he's wrong, and that's the most chilling thought.

You might also wonder what might happen to you, once you leave the safety of human existence. For safe it is, compared to the hellish journeys you will be taken on in this book. Don't make the same mistake as the author's characters! Be kind, and be loving, and hope you go to the other place!

Celia A. Leaman, reviewing for www.ebook-reviews.net
Author homepage http://www.devonshirebabe.com
Winner of An Award of Excellence from Wordweaving.com
Books available from Twilight Times Books http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com





Dark Vigil (Excerpt)


Enziel: Of Fallen Devils

If Angels who have fallen from the grace of God become devils, do devils who have fallen from the spite of Satan become angels?

I

Enziel stood at the boundary of a chasm. Beneath him, he could hear the woeful cries of the damned as their agony ascended to encircle him in a comforting shroud. His smile was both uplifting and malicious; he smiled for a moment... a fleeting moment as his memories quickly abandoned him. He stood atop a small knoll that overlooked a vast series of canyons that cut through the living soil like arteries.

He pondered the thought, Where am I?

The place was unfamiliar, yet something about it reminded him of home. The cries rose to him like a searing fog, which soothed his troubled soul. He could vaguely recall the radiant crimson glow from within the chasm.

"Father," the title fell disappointingly from his lips.

The odor that rose from the chasm was one he knew as well. Its enticing fragrance of scorched human flesh, brimstone and human excrement tainted with the sickly vomit of a million tormented mortals was refreshing to his senses. The rank air brought a longing sigh from Enziel, who inhaled the offering deeply.

Yet, through it all he could not help but feel misplaced, standing on the outside of some greater place, a place where he had once belonged. His thoughts fell into the darkness, like a lost child buried in dismay. The darkness gripped him like an iron hand, unyielding and unforgiving as it dug into his immortal soul.

Enziel fell to his knees at the edge of Hellís grotto.


* * *


Black hellhole eyes stared down at him.

Enziel looked up, his eyes wavering; tears filled him uncertainly.

"You will leave this place, Enziel." The Dark Lordís words rushed back to him. He could visualize the Dark Lordís talon pointing toward a small slit in the cavern wall.

"There is no place in this hell for you," the Dark Lord continued.

Enziel looked over his shoulder at the fracture in hell. He compared it to an open wound on charred flesh. The black cavern wall, rifted, spread wider as Enziel watched, revealing more readily the flesh of hell.

"Father?" Enziel whispered, as his head slowly turned.

"Go!"

Enziel shuddered within the shroud of rancid fog as the cold words of his Father pierced him.

"But I don?t understand. What have I done?"

"Go!" The Dark Lord cursed and thundered a disapproving hoof into the carrion soil of the cavern.

Enziel lowered his head and retreated as his Father dictated.

The burning, the searing of his flesh and the stench of brimstone as it burst from the mouths of the watchers rushed over Enzielís senses. He could see his flesh shredding, his blood surging wildly and the shavings of tissue that dangled from the long crooked talons of his onlookers. He relished the thought of the others closing in on him, peeling his baked flesh from his bone. The agony immeasurable, the memories pleasurable, but fleeting?

Expulsion?


* * *


The heat that rose from the chasm was soothing as it boiled the skin upon his renewed flesh. A longing for home invaded his thoughts for a moment, before they too evaporated within the cloak that smothered him. The abode, the smell and feel, there was nothing comparable. He recalled, bathed in the memory, but only for a moment longer.

Enziel peered down into the chasm. The crimson glow had died, consumed by a swirling darkness. His empty stare strayed from the now impenetrable darkness of the chasm to the gray haze that encircled him.

"Where am I?" he wondered aloud.

The gray retreated like a withdrawn blanket atop a fevered child, bringing with it the sickly feel of the cold. He watched as the chasm closed at his feet and sprouted liquid, quickly submerging his feet and showering him in a bitter chill.

He wrapped his arms around his shivering body as the cold folded over his eyes.

II

"It is not right," Beizel complained with a stomp.

Creed drew his serpent tongue from his mouth to lick the flecks of flesh and hair that resided there. "You must relax, Beizel. You wouldn?t want the same fate as Enziel," he said, slurping his tongue over his slight, desiccated lips.

Beizel nodded his agreement before plunging his open claw into the still warm carcass that dangled beside him. He reveled in the woeful cries of the pathetic soul that supplicated before him.

"Soon your flesh shall be gone and I shall begin on your soul. Then you will know pain." Beizel chuckled at the horror that ceased the eyes of the damned; that was his chore.

Creed watched for a moment as Beizel gnawed a lump of flesh from the chest of the damned. The slurping over flesh as Beizel opened his lower jaw, rolling the bloody flesh over his tongue, wiping the excess blood that dripped from his hungry mouth with the back of his hand. Beizel dragged his tongue over his own flesh, then chuckled and complimented his brethren on his observation.

"That is much better. The Beizel I know; the unpitying."

"I am, but I still worry about my brother Enziel and what will become of him."

"It is for the spite of Hell to decide, not you alone."

Beizel smirked as he looked down at his blood-soaked hoof. He examined with a cynical eye the shards of flesh and bone that clung to it. He reached a finger down and flicked a few of the larger flecks onto the soil before stomping his hoof back into the stained under-earth. Then, he openly continued his complaining. "It has been decided already, Creed. No matter how unjust, even for Hell."

Creed looked on in silence; his eyes moved from Beizel to the cavern entrance then back to his brother, who continued to rant.

"It is only Enziel. How he has endeared himself to so many here. I can?t understand the Dark Lordís fear of him," Beizel criticized, scraping a sliver of flesh from the beleaguered that wallowed next to him.

"Beizel," Creedís voice whispered beneath the woeful chorus of the tormented.

"Enziel," Beizel smiled to himself, ignoring Creedís call. His long emaciated lips spread wide across his broad face. He narrowed his dark eyes and glared back at Creed, "He was only a?" His words trailed to a faint whisper.

"Yes?" the Dark Lord asked, entering the cavern in a thunder.

"Lord," Beizel bowed deeply. "I?"

"Beizel," Creed interrupted as he too bowed at the feet of the Dark Lord.

"He was only commenting that Enzielís punishment was just and that he only wished he could have set his brother right before he traveled the path he chose," Creed continued as he looked over at Beizel from the corner of his eye.

The Dark Lord shook his head, but never took his glare off Beizel.

"Lord, it is as Creed has explained." Beizel lowered himself to a knee before his Father.

He could feel the glare of the Dark Lord upon him. He felt at that moment much as he had when he watched the Dark Lord pronounce his punishment upon poor Enziel, the sickly feeling of betrayal and disdain.

Beizelís eyes rose to meet the stare of his Father. "Dark Lord?" he called.

The sound of grinding bone resonated through the cavern as the Dark Lord wheeled on his hooves without acknowledgment, but he did leave Creed with a bit of advice before his exit. "Beware your company, Creed."

III

A soft whisper snaked between the shivers that gripped Enziel.

"Do something," the whisper insisted.

It was a melodious and caring whisper, a gentle voice he could recall ever so slightly. A voice that reminded Enziel of the warmth of a life long since past.

"Please? Marcus?" The whisper halted abruptly.

Enziel turned. The fluid that rushed over his face caused him to blink his eyes rapidly. He could see between the moments of blindness the people who had gathered around him.

Were they here to rip the shivering flesh from his bones? he wondered. To indulge in his virgin mortal flesh, as he wallowed upon the tongue of his Father?

He felt again the whisper that cradled him warmly, fighting through the biting chill that enveloped him. "Marcus, do something."

The woman who stood nearest him covered her mouth with an open hand. "She is beautiful, Enziel thought.

Her golden hair seemed to shimmer back at him, the strands that fluttered against her shoulder like waves gently lapping a shore. Her crystal eyes were soothing, gentle. She stared back at Enziel; queerly she watched him as he stood beneath the running chill.

"Mother?" The question fell unannounced from his blue lips.

He watched the woman longingly as she pushed the man who stood next to her. He stumbled slightly forward.

Enziel turned his attention to the man. His dumbfounded expression grew to agitation as he slapped at empty air behind him. He was a large man who caused Enziel to shudder from fear; a fear brought on from yet another memory.

"Marcus?" Enziel looked back at the woman. The others that surrounded the two disappeared behind the veil of liquid that stung his eyes. He felt his knees buckle as the weight of his mortality bore down on him. The chill, the stinging cold was worse than any torment he remembered in hell. The loneliness rushed in on him as he realized he stood in a place far from what he knew?a place where his nightmares resided.

"Please, heís just a boy," the woman cried.

"Mother," Enziel whispered back at her, holding out his arms before he felt his body jerk forward.

He looked over at the woman who rushed to him. He smiled up at her, his smallish body shivering beneath growing warmth. The woman wrapped her sweater over him and pulled him close to her bosom.

At that moment, he felt alive; he felt safe in her arms. Perhaps his exile would tolerable. Perhaps he had a second chance at life. The warmth of her hand through his hair made him feel safe. Home, he thought to himself.

He could feel the man who pulled him from his prison. Feel his presence, his firm hand resting on him. He felt the strength in the manís grip, felt the growing anxiety. Yet, this one was yielding. His grip was strong like his own fatherís, yet it was reassuring.

Enziel rose from the hard surface he fell to, draped over the manís arms. The fear that once gripped him subsided as warm eyes stared back at him. The man, could he care also? he wondered as he dared not say the word, Father.

Enziel looked up at the firing ball that hung high above him. He reached a weary arm above him. "Home," he mumbled before a shroud of darkness overtook him.

IV

"You question my judgment, Beizel?"

Beizel looked up at Dark Lord as he rose from his throne of human bone and skin. He remained silent on his knees.

He looked down at the broad shadow left by the Dark Lord that shed wide across the crimson ground where he knelt. "You will respond to my question, Beizel." The sinister voice rocked the cavern, leaving all in attendance quivering at the rising ire of their Father.

"Yes, Father. I disagree with your decision to banish Enziel from his home." Beizel looked up, the fear in his eyes evident.

Laughter filled the grotto. The Dark Lord stood holding his belly that squirmed with the soul he had just ingested. He lowered another soul into his long winding throat, allowing it to slither into his belly. The face of the tormented protruded out from the skin of the belly; the outline of the twisted and tormented face screamed out at Beizel before the other pulled it back into the acidic pit of the Dark Lordís belly.

Beizel lowered his head. His eyes stared at the bits of humanity that lay beneath him. He peered intently at them, trying to move his thoughts far from this place. The bits of flesh squirmed atop the smoldering shell that roofed the greater hell.

"Like bacon sizzling on the griddle," he recalled Enziel chirp the first time he watched the slivers of flesh as they danced to the chorus of woeful cries.

Bacon? Beizel wondered to himself, nearly cracking a smile across his miserable mask.

So much youth and zest. Beizel thought fondly of the boy who brought memories of home with him. He had helped Beizel to remember all those things he had forgotten so long ago?helped him to appreciate the things of Godís world, the things he took for granted from a God he spited.

He did this; Enziel did in all his innocence, and he did so for many of the minions of Hell. Enziel, where are you? Beizel cried out in his mind, wallowing in the vacancy of his heart left by Enziel.

Even in such a place as this, you could make me feel whole. Beizel prayed silently to the memory of the innocence. "Where are you? You are so much needed."

The thunder of the Dark Lordís hoof snapped Beizelís attention to the present. He looked up to see him as he lowered another hoof from his plinth. The Dark Lord lumbered slowly over to him; Beizel looked on with grave anticipation as the serpent-lord moved toward him.

"Ah, Beizel, one of my more entrusted slaves," the Dark Lord said as the sound of grinding bone and flesh echoed through the grotto. "Pity," he continued.

"Father." Beizel lowered his head.

"You dare to question me? You dare to question my decision? You have the impudence to question my authority?" The Dark Lordís anger rose with each articulated remark. His malevolent voice cut across the heavy, stale air of his grotto, as the stare of the Dark Lord bored into Beizelís very being.

Beizel started to respond to his Father, but fell to the soil of the grotto. He grimaced as the weight of the Dark Lordís hoof lowered itself atop his head.

"How dare you! How dare you even consider questioning me, Beizel, over the soul of one, when I have millions to watch over?" His hoof bore down harder. "Look around you, Beizel; they come, always they come. They are all mine, all for me to tend to. I haven?t time for the trivial whining of one."

Beizel grunted beneath the incendiary grinding.

"Are there others who would question me?" The Dark Lord scanned the gathering of his minions. "Others who feel I have done wrong to one of our own?"

Silence filled the grotto as each that met the Dark Lordís glare lowered their heads, all including Creed.

"Please speak?" Beizelís words were cut short as his face burned into the soil further.

Beizel could feel the maggots that fed on the unwanted flesh and vomit that saturated the blistering soil of the Hellís grotto. He could feel them as the moved beneath his cheek, see the wanting beasts as his wide-open eye lay against them as they fed.

"He was just a child," Beizel refuted from beneath his Fatherís discontent.

Beizel grabbed at his Fatherís hoof as it bore down harder. The talons at the end of his broad toes bore deep into his skin, scratching the surface of his skull as Father curled them beneath his flesh.

"You dare?"

"He was no threat to you, Father. He was just a boy."

"Ah," the Dark Lord dug his talons deeper. "Have you ever wondered why God would send us a boy? Would send down to hell the innocence of a child?"

"Please, Father," Beizel pleaded.

Beizelís head jerked back as the Dark Lord pushed him from beneath his hoof. "I choose who is a threat. I am the curator of this place, this God-forsaken grotto. I know my Father and innocence has no place in Hell."

Beizel peered up; the blood from his wound flushed his over his ginger-colored eyes. He clutched at his Fatherís claw that enshrouded his head. He cried out as the talons bore deeper into his skull, penetrating bone and searing his brain.

"God is merciful and forgiving, if one only asks of him. I refused, as did you, Beizel. A child, however? They are innocent, pure at heart no matter their deeds. How is it then that he should be sent to us?"

"Perhaps He wished Enziel to learn a lesson, to cleanse himself."

"In hell?" The Dark Lord chuckled, dropping Beizel from his grasp. He picked at his teeth with a sliver of his Beizelís skull. "Hell is no place for a lesson in Divinity."

Beizel watched the long satisfied smile widen across the lips of his Father, watched the specks of gray matter that stuck in the gaps of his teeth. Beizel looked away as his blood drooled over the lips of his Father.

"To the soul chamber with this one." Beizel sunk lower on his knees as judgment was passed.

Sulking, he peered lamentably up at the Dark Lord, who scoffed at him. "There is no place for pity or grace here, Beizel. You of all my minion should understand that."

Beizel knew the fate that awaited him in the Soul Chamber. His soul would reside within the cavern of malice for an eternity beyond the rise of the Kingdom. In the chamber, his soul would be torn to pieces, only to be rejuvenated so that it may be violated again. There he would relive the moment of his judgment, the moment he voiced his concerns over Enziel, forever.

The Dark Lord turned from his minion. His wings spread wide across his back. He stepped atop the plinth, tucked his wings in and commanded, "For eternity."

"Enziel," Beizel whispered the boyís name beneath the scratching of his hooves as they cut through the soil of the grotto for the last time.