Story by Dokken Storm & Nate Armstrong
Image made by Nate Armstrong
The two had made it to the very outskirts of the town. Blackie began to load his gun, it was the first time in decades that he was able to fully load his revolver. As he loaded his gun he prayed for the first time without having Fr Innocent say all the words. He prayed, “ Lord Jesus Christ, in Your great mercy You prayed for the forgiveness of those who crucified You, and You taught us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. Lord, I pray that You forgive those who treat me unjustly and speak out against me, and that You bless them and guide them according to Your will. Take away any bitterness I may have in my heart against them. Lord, may Your forgiveness, goodness and love be revealed in all of us, to Your praise and glory. Amen.”
Fr Innocent was praying and gathering his thoughts on how to get everyone out safely. Blackie was going to be the force and he was the one to break everyone free. They had a plan to get everyone out and the only thing they needed was for there to be little to no people guarding.
Making their way to a place they assumed everyone was being held they saw that there were mass graves. It was a megadeath. The ones they could see Fr Innocent noticed they were his parishioners. Fr Innocent knew there wasn’t time for grieving yet he had to get the others that may still be alive free.
Blackie burst into a tent that had been set close to the grave and yelled, “ I’m looking for Jack Action, who wants to be first?” The whole tent jumped and within seconds Blackie had shot them dead. Upon leaving the tent he said a small prayer for their souls. Fr Innocent was looking at the damage and thought to himself, “Lord have mercy on their souls, and keep Blackie sane after all this.”
They ran through the tents looking for people. To Blackie’s surprise he didn’t have to shoot that many people. They both made it to a building in the center of the tents and saw the children. Fr Innocent’s heart gleamed with joy that they hadn’t been touched. There were only a couple of adults in the cell with the children that had not had anything done to them.
“Where are the adults? What happened to everyone?”, Fr Innocent asked.
“They were murdered in experiments. We were the last in line to have the experiment done but Kallis said he was bored. He threw us in here with the children. The others only lived for a couple of hours after they were tortured.” a young woman explained.
“We will get all of you out of here.” Fr Innocent said firmly.
“We will get you all out of here, we just need to find Kallis,” said Blackie.
Unknown to Fr Innocent, Blackie had it in his mind to kill Kallis. Fr Innocent pulled Blackie away from the children and said, “You cannot do anything to him. It would be better to pray and hope he seeks repentance.” These words fell on deaf ears. Blackie looked at him and said nothing. They began to get everyone out of the cell. Blackie made sure that Fr Innocent was able to get everyone to safety before saying, “It has to be done, pray that I make it.” With those words, he walked away.
Fr Innocent was able to get everyone home safely. He fed them and prayed over them. Later that night they had a prayer service for all the departed. Everyone cried tears of sorrow but also tears of joy. Their loved ones no longer had to suffer and they were with God. Fr Innocent spent a moment with everyone and asked that they pray together for Blackie.
Blackie stalked the building looking for Kallis. Eventually, he found him in a dark room reading a tablet. Kallis looked over to see who had disturbed him. Blackie stood in the doorway and Kallis kept to his chair.
“I do not believe we have locked eyes before,” Kallis said widely, “I have to say that I didn’t think that the Priest was at the level he has come to. I have been making attempts to convert him and those old believers to something new and brilliant but they just wouldn’t see or hear.”
As Kallis spoke Blackie could see this man had nothing behind his eyes. “It must be the tech all those hordes have.”
“Why are you so silent, I have been looking for someone like you to fill out the ranks for a couple of years now. You have the build and the qualities one looks for in a stable minded follower,” Kallis went on and on.
“I am here to see to it that you no longer have the capability to harm others anymore. I think you have run your course and it’s time to end while you’re still ahead” Blackie proclaimed.
“Now that seems a bit bold don’t you think. I would personally believe I have a couple more years before someone else becomes bold enough to remove me from the throne of perfection.” Kallis said this with a smile.
Blackie was finished speaking and had nothing to say. The only thing on his mind was that this man needed to be removed from others and putting him away in a dark room wasn’t going to cut it. They waltzed around the room, both having their weapons ready at their sides. Blackie knew that this guy had to be fast due to his enhancement.
Blackie drew as quickly as he could. Kallis drew faster and shot Blackie in the shoulder. Blackie fell to the ground behind a sofa and began looking for angles to shoot Kallis in the back of the head.
He made two attempts that failed, “If you had what I have you would have made at least the second shot,” Kallis remarked. “You shouldn’t get discouraged. I am positive you have plenty of time to kill me.”
Blackie became infuriated, he got up from behind the sofa and walked directly up to Kallis, in his mind the words “Go forth bravely against the enemy, and when you are victorious, do not forget the Lord your God.” As he walked towards Kallis he noticed the face change, as though he didn’t calculate this as a tactic. Blackie got right up to his face and shot him six times in the head in rapid succession. Blackie dropped his gun and walked out of the building.
As Blackie walked back to a trail he remembered using when he came to the town there was a man in all white waiting for him. Blackie walked towards him, unknowing of what this man wanted. The man said, “You have not forgotten who was with you this whole time have you?”, Blackie looked around and said, “No, I have not forgotten.” The man in white told him where the village was that Fr Innocent was at and Blackie made his way there. Upon arriving he went to seek out Fr Innocent, He asked the people where he would be and he was just about to ask a child when “Blackie!! So glad you made your way home. Let me see what we can do so that you have somewhere to live.” Blackie followed Fr Innocent to the bunker where there was a room with a window. “What can I do to help around here? I don’t want to always be on guard,” Blackie said calmly. Fr Innocent answered in almost a whisper, “Do you like to paint?” Blackie’s face lit up because he hadn’t done anything with paint since he was a child. Blackie nodded and was told that the Nave needed the Icons on the missile to be touched up after the attack. They agreed that Fr Innocent would teach Blackie the proper way of painting Icons and he would be the designated Iconographer.
Blackie lived in the village painting Icons and teaching the children to do the same. Everyone had heard of what had happened to Kallis and they started to gather into the village to become illumined and be and live a life of Truth.
There is always growth when a person changes their direction in life. As we see some change and some don’t. In The Upside Down, this is always a constant.