The air was frigid in the chamber Father Purgeon was in, numbing his body. His teeth chattered in loud quick clicks and his head pounded. His heart thudded and his breathing came in rapid hard gasps that hurt. Imagined images danced before his eyes in the pulsing, red tinted dark, courtesy of the glyphs above the iron cell door.
He brought his hands up, rubbed his palms together, and blew his breath into them; a thick white mist whose warmth the room devoured. Unable to combat the cold, he dropped his hands, balled them into fists, and studied the symbols above the door instead.
The gelid air made this difficult too. Forced him to blink back cold tears and squint past moisture-blurred vision. He rubbed his eyes with frost-stiffened fingers. His vision cleared. But he felt the tears returning, brimming under his eyelids. A frigid flood fuelled by fear.
There was something familiar about the symbols, but he was finding it hard to think. He was physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted, and his thoughts were scattered.
He focused on the characters. Felt his mind almost grasp the answer, but then it slipped just past his mental reach, past cerebral fingertips.
A low droning sound, a baritone hum, chased away the nebulous answer. The sound seemed to reverberate throughout the chamber. Now that he was paying attention to it, his focus felt like it was giving it life. He felt it at his back, so he turned around and faced the sonic assault, bracing himself as he did, harnessing what little hope he had left. He looked about the room, concentrated on the sound and tried to determine what it was, where it was coming from.
Then he located it. It was coming from the back of the chamber, from the rear wall. He thought there was something on the wall, some sort of marking, but he couldn’t be sure. He moved towards it.
The droning sound grew louder with each step, made his teeth ach and his stomach churn. If he’d felt cold moments ago, he felt colder now, as if the sound itself contained ice, had weight. The air in front of him wavered, shifted and warbled, undulating before his very eyes.
He was now at the room’s core. There was something definitely there, dead center on the rear wall. Some sort of circle. Some sort of sphere. But he still couldn’t quite make out what it was. He moved closer, squinting past the pulsing red light, and saw something on the rear wall.
Then, peripherally, he thought he saw something else, felt it more than anything, like sensing a presence, like feeling someone or something near you when you’ve got your eyes closed.
Looking to his right, he made out a shape in the scarlet-tinged darkness. Squinting, he saw that it was large, a figure standing still.
“Who’s there!” he shouted, not liking the way his voice sounded, small and shrill. His heart was racing, felt like a fist was trying to punch out from his chest, as if his organ had had enough and was about to call it quits.
No answer. Just silence. Stillness.
He backed away, moving to the right side of the chamber, away from the figure, parallel to the room’s rear wall. Then, to his back, he felt another presence, similar to the first. He whirled around, saw another immobile figure in the darkness, just as still, just as silent, and almost screamed. But the shriek died in his gullet; he’d caught what would’ve probably sounded like a squeal before it could escape his dry throat, for he was closer to this figure than he’d been the previous one and, could see that it was a stone statue.
Swallowing hard, he moved closer toward it, bravery finding its way back to his limbs, chasing away what fear had possessed moments ago.
He walked right up to the statue and examined it, but made sure not to touch it, for he felt a malignant energy exuding from it, enshrouding it, an unholy umbrage that seemed to seep from it, as if it wanted to slink and slither into his pores, claim his body and soul. It was approximately eight feet tall, an armored figure, with great wings gracing its back. Bat-like appendages curving, arching over its shoulder blades like the Incarnation of Death’s sharpened scythes, primed to deliver a mortal blow.
Father Purgeon gazed up at its helmless head. Malice incarnate etched into every crevice of its hideously beautiful face. Its hair flowed down its back, disappearing between its massive shoulders, between its demonic wings, bangs falling down past its sneering, sardonic smile, its chiseled chin. Bulbous, baleful eyes seemed to stare at him and pierce him, slice right through him more thoroughly than the great, two-handed sword it grasped in its gauntlet-covered hands ever could.
Glyphs, like the ones he’d seen above the cell door, were engraved within the armor, etched across the blade and its pommel. At the base of the statue, more of these letters, set within a rectangular plaque at its feet.
What Father Purgeon had failed to understand earlier, what he’d been unable to read, now revealed itself to him. Became clear. If he hadn’t been so stressed, hadn’t been so confused and afraid, he would’ve, he should’ve, been able to read, not only what he was staring at now, but the words he’d seen above the door. Though they said different things, the language they were written in was the same. It was a language he’d been studying all his life. It was the language of the angels. Enochian.
Beneath the statue was a single word: WRATH.