A Bloody Tale (draft)

Content notes: offering blood to heal a vampire, which also evokes a character’s medical trauma. Christian themes; this story is explicitly set in a church, and the antagonists use christianity to justify their bigotry. One character experiences extreme distress and a visual hallucination.

I wanna remind everyone that not all religions hold equal power. Americans have religious freedom… as long as we don’t ask Christians to accommodate us.

Yes, in certain places around the world, other religions reign supreme, but worldwide, Christianity is privileged. America is very Christian culturally (example: Sunday = one of our weekends). The idea that culture and religion are separate is Christian hegemony in action; and thus, to condone antitheism is to advocate for genocide.

I felt the need to say something due to how the stream before last ended, and due to the Christian themes in the story I’ll be writing tonight. Antitheism is unacceptable just like any other bigotry, and such chatter will be yeeted along with the people who speak it.

I’m trapped in a Christian supremacist household, and I have a lot of trauma surrounding that, but I acknowledge that other religions do not have the same power as Christianity. And there are inclusive Christian congregations. Hell, I follow a trans pastor! That’s why it’s important to specify that Christian hegemony is the problem, not religion itself.

Always punch up; not down or sideways. Punching up is justice, punching down is bullying, and punching sideways is “I’ve got mine, fuck you!”

“{We know it’s difficult to be here. Somewhere just like this harmed you continuously and immensely for years. We were there for most of it! But there could be someone just you like trapped here. Let’s save them, if we can. Actually save them,}” at this, Shadow nodded towards the congregation, “{not their idea of saving someone.}”

Shiver looked at Shadow, then grabbed their hand.

Shadow and Shiver crawled along the walls in their dark disguises.

All throughout, the music continued to swell, spurred on by its supernatural musician. It reminded Shiver of the last song the sound team would play before faer ex-pastor took the stage.

The skeletons began to sit in the pews, even the collapsed ones. Those congregants sat right on the floor.

It was a large auditorium. Shiver thought it would never end. Fae focused on the sensation of putting one foot in front of the other. Anything to try to block out the trauma this place was digging back up.

Shadow squeezed Shiver’s hand three times. It felt like air rushing around faer.

The pair eventually made their way to a door on to the side of the stage. Shadow was just about to make them physical again to open it when a white man walked through. Shiver clamped faer mouth shut to not yelp at being so surprised.

His collared shirt and work pants were fraying, his leather belt and shoes were moldy, and his body was a rag of skin over broad bones.

The state of his decay greatly unnerved Shiver. Even Shadow found themself affected, and not just due to feedback from Shiver.

But when the man took the stage, a light identical to the pianist began to glow from within him. When it finished, he was made anew. Muscles and fat filled him out, his clothes cleaned up and stitched back up, and the leather glared as if it’d been freshly shined.

The skeletons remained the same. The pianist remained the same. The church remained the same.

“{Do you suppose it’s illusory or restorative?}” Shadow asked, doing their best to distract Shiver from the proceedings.

“{It’s I don’t a fuck-ative,}” Shiver proceeded through the door.

Shadow spared one last look at the pastor before following faer in. Shiver’s bantering didn’t reassure them of faer health.

The hallways were too dark to see. Anything could’ve been in there with them. More congregants, more preachers who wouldn’t die. Shiver cast off a hand-sized star made of light magic.

Thankfully, all they found were some metal folding chairs and tables. They were in a small room with a whiteboard, an eraser, and some markers. Some frayed and curled up posters sat on the wall. Mostly bible verses reminding readers of how sinful they were, and how torturous hell was.

One was dedicated to the many foibles and flaws of various biblical figures, and how god used them in spite of it. It was just like the one in Shiver’s youth group.

Shiver moved to stand in front of it.

Shadow reached out to faer, but faer shrugged them off.

“…God’s never using me again.”

And then Shiver tore that fucker in half. A quiet defiance.

Fae moved into the next area. A cold hallway with a furnace that added no heat. It was even darker than the room.

Shiver stopped.

Shadow sensed faer spike of terror immediately.

“{Is that real?}” Shiver asked, pointing forward.

Shadow saw nothing, but when they checked in through their sensory link…

An android with glowing eyes, shrouded in shadows, stood at the end of the hall.

“No, that’s not real,” Shadow said.

Shiver was relieved, but faer heightened fear lingered. Shadow hoped they’d find the church’s prisoner soon.

Each room they passed was devoid of life, containing only furniture and books in various states of ruin.

There were stairs at the end of the hall.

Shiver dipped faer toes on one and it collapsed beneath even that feathery pressure.

Shadow transformed, latching themself onto Shiver as a set of wings. The pair flew down instead.

Below, the church was even more rotten. The walls, seemingly once white, were now a ghoulish green with only grains of their former color remaining. It wasn’t even a green that was nice to look at. It was grayish bile.

Columns, missing whole chunks of themselves, sat crumbling in disrepair. The ceiling dripped and drooled.

The pastor’s voice blazed above them. The usual cherry-picking of biblical quotes. Something about a demon?

“{I wish I could wear some earplugs,}” Shiver said. Fae knew it wasn’t safe to, not here.

The next room was large. Not as large as the auditorium, but enough for about 40 people to gather.

There was only one in there at that moment, besides Shiver and Shadow, and it didn’t look like it wanted to be there either, to say the least.

A black person with long locs that needed maintenance, pronto, along with the rest of its battered body. It heaved, every breath sounding like it brought them pain―the exact breathing Shiver heard earlier in the day!

Shiver and Shadow rushed over immediately.

Now close, they both saw its fangs.

Shiver offered faer wrist while Shadow worked to unlock the binds. It looked at them, understandably wary.

“You ever,” it heaved, “feed a vampire before, kid?”

Shiver shook faer head.

“Course you haven’t. Fuck!” it said. “Gonna… gonna do my best… to do right by you. Just, just have your friend ready.”

“I always am!” Shadow said with the determination of a very experienced guardian, which they were.

When its fangs sunk it, Shiver started breathing through their mouth. Fae wasn’t scared of the vampire. The experience just reminded them too much of needles. It was like a doctor drawing blood, but even worse, and Shiver had already thought that was even worse than a shot.

Shiver now knew another reason why medical professionals didn’t inject two shots at the same time.

Despite its warnings, Shadow didn’t have to intervene. It stopped at what seemed to be an appropriate time, especially considering it must not’ve fed in days.

It stood over them, taller than even the pastor, its locs reaching its waist.

“You okay?”

“Fae’s not, but not because of you,” Shadow was quick to clarify and get ahold of Shiver. “Fae’s religious trauma and now faer medical trauma are piling up.”

“Damn,” it nodded in understanding. Now strengthened, It stood over them, taller than even the pastor, its locs reaching its waist. “Razorthorn, it/its.”

“Shadow of Chaos, they/them! And this is Shiver, fae/faer.”

“Pleasure to meet you both… That’s an agender pin,” Razorthorn pointed happily at Shadow’s accessory. “Alright!”

They bumped fists.

“We have a spare, if you like,” Shadow was about to reach into Shiver’s messenger bag to grab it when Razorthorn empathically shook its head and tugged the lapels of their red trench coat.

“Nothing’s stabbing my baby,” it said, grinning proudly. “But thanks.”

“Hi,” Shiver said, lacking any idea what one said to the vampire they just fed.

“Hi,” Razorthorn gave faer a cute lil wave. “Let’s get the fuck outta here.”

Shiver knew exactly what to say to that. “Thank god!”

They heard shambling.  And more of the stairs collapsing.

“Welp,” Razorthorn grabbed a fucking table.

“…Are we going to block the door?” Shadow asked.

“This is the only door, kid,” Razorthorn reminded them all, including itself. “If we block it, we lock ourselves in.”

“Wonderful,” Shadow said.

“Shiver, stay behind us, you just gave a whole lot of blood,” Razorthorn said.

“Okay,” Shiver nodded, then transferred all but faer heat magic to Shadow, thinking it was useless against the congregants anyway. Shiver still wasn’t doing great. It was way too soon to be moving.  Fae leaned against a column until fae felt it warping.

Razorthorn threw the table as soon as five congregants emerged from the stairs.

Then it took a whole, filled filing cabinet and threw that too.

“Got any heat magic?” Razorthorn said, breaking a column out of the floor.

“We do, but it doesn’t work on them!” Shadow fired off a thunderbolt that chained through multiple congregants.  The bones and bibles scattered, but they began rattling again.  The rest of the congregants were marching faster, too.

Razorthorn threw another table and said, “You gotta burn the bibles, that’s what’s keeping them alive.”

“Oh. wow,” Shadow said. “Shiver, did you hear that?”

“{Transferring now,}” Shiver said, focusing on moving the element over ASAP.

Razorthorn shouted desperately―understandably so―as it threw more shit.  Shadow chained more lightning, zapping once broken congregants as they rose up again.

As soon as the heat magic transferred over, Shadow targeted the bibles specifically.  The bones of the corresponding congregant evaporated once the last scrap incinerated.

“There you go! They’re getting low!” Razorthorn said. “I know there’s only fifty of them!”

“‘Only’!?” Shadow laughed. “What about fifty is ‘only’!?!”

“There used to be two-hundred!” Razorthorn said proudly.

“Oh, wow…”

“Then they broke the furnace,” Razorthorn added with a grumble.

When the last congregate evaporated, they all collapsed; even Shiver, who was already on the floor!

“We still got the pastor and his wife,” Razorthorn groaned.

“Fantastic,” Shadow groaned even longer.

“I can take the pastor, just keep his wife off me.”

“Any advice for her?”

“Nope.  Keep her off me, that’s my advice.”

“Well, thank you, I think that’s very good advice.”

Shiver double-checked that Razorthorn was jacked into their telepathic communications before reminding them, “{She’s made of light magic.}”

“Don’t use that then,” Razorthorn said.  It then stood up and held out its hand. “Ready to go?”

ughhhhh i don’t wanna stop but i also don’t wanna keep going

Shadow looked at Shiver, who nodded.  Shadow then said, “Ready!”

“You know, you should switch over to light magic, so you can use more shade magic,” Razorthorn said.

Shadow sighed, “We know, but it feels wrong.  It’s like a texture sensitivity.”

“Really?” Razorthorn stoked its beard. “When we get outta here, I’m calling up a friend. Pte’ll love to have you in class.”

Shiver blanched.

“We don’t have the money to go,” Shadow explained.

“When they see you, every school in the country’ll beg you to hook up with them,” Razorthorn said with a smile.


2 thoughts on “A Bloody Tale (draft)

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