An Unholy Vision
5th of Tammuz, year 5 of the exile of King Jehoiachin
It was a cool still summer night, and the sky was bejewelled with stars. I stood on the bank of the River Chebar in Babylonia amongst the other Israelite exiles. 2 We were waiting to be shepherded by our captors across the muddy river, 3 when the wind picked up, and from the north, an immense black cloud crept across the night sky blocking out the starlight, and casting the land into a deep foreboding darkness.
4 Soon the cloud was illuminated with sparks of lightning, which rippled over its surface like waves, and the deafening rumble of thunder echoed through the night. The cloud began to swirl like a colossal whirlpool in a violent ocean, and the centre shone like molten metal in a smelting furnace bathing the land in an eerie red glow.
5 Then the vortex deepened forming a fiery portal, and its midst appeared four demonic creatures. 6 Each had the torso of a human and the legs of a goat with cloven hoofs that gleamed like burnished bronze. 7 They had four huge crimson wings that flapped behind them, keeping them aloft. 8 Each had an aura that blazed like the flame of a torch, 9 and forks of lightning sparked from their bodies to the smoky clouds around them.
10 The demons descended, coming to rest a foot or so above the ground. I could now discern that they each four faces: 11 one of a human, one of an ox, one of a lion, and one of an eagle. 12 They hovered there in front of me staring straight through me, their eyes smouldering like coals, burning into my soul. 13 The ground below them was scorched, branding the pattern of a pentagram beneath them. 14 I cowered before them, my body trembling in terror.
15 The portal behind them began to spin, 16 like an enormous wheel of sparkling topaz. 17 As it gained speed, smaller eddies formed around it, intersecting it, 18 with centres like cavernous pupils set in demented eyes. 19 A fierce wind blew from the portal, 20 lifting the creatures high into the air. 21 The portal was growing, forcing its way into the realm of the living.
22 Behind the portal was spread a vast ponderous vault studded with embers like dying stars in an infernal sky. 23 As the portal expanded, the clouds parted around it surging like cresting waves against the shore of the heavens. 24 The wind rumbled like the battle cry of some distant army over the tumult of canon fire, increasing to the deafening roar of some almighty beast.
25 Then there came a voice calling from the void beneath the vault, whose words I couldn’t distinguish. 26 A shadowy figure emerged rising from a throne built of skulls. The darkness loomed around him, an aura of pure evil. 27 His frame nothing more than a skeleton draped in a thin layer of rotting flesh, and in his chest there was a fiery cavity the amber light of which shone through his skin between his ribs. 28 His eyes were hollow sockets, like gazing into the gaping maw of death. When I saw him, I fell face down on the floor.
I felt his bony hand touching my shoulder, and I was immediately filled with dread, for I knew that this shade was none other than Satan himself.
Finally, he spoke, and with a voice as sweet as treacle said, ‘Excuse me, sir. Is this the way to Mount Olympus?’
I shook my head slowly.
‘Shit,’ he exclaimed. ‘Dionysus is throwing one of his famous wine and cheese parties, and I’m supposed to be attending. Is this even Greece?’
I shook my head again.
‘Oh well,’ sighed Satan. ‘I guess I overshot the exit. Asbeel, Gadreel, Kasdaye, Penemue, back in the hole.’
The four demons flew back into the portal.
‘Thanks, mortal,’ called Satan, closing the portal behind him, which disappeared with a bang.
And the night was still once more, and the sky was clear. I looked around at the other exiles. Nobody else seemed to have witnessed the event.