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Mark of The Beast

Life is often seen as the embodiment of love, freedom, and happiness but it takes an entirely different meaning when death seemingly waltz to your doorstep and slaps a barcode with Nero’s numbers on your hand. The Christians say that when the Beast comes out of the opaque abyss, he will bring with him the Beast of the Sea, Beast of the Earth, the Image, the Mark, and the Fate and all those that don’t submit to his will are going to be brought into an apocalypse so grave that Sisyphus, the man damned to the underworld to push a rock uphill for eternity, would rather lay the rock upon his chest and let the burden overwhelm him than face what humanity is facing. It all had to start with something and the Mark of the Beast bestowed its bloody virtue upon my hand for all to see.

My veins, running cold with pestilence, bellow and bulge within my subcutaneous tissue. Black sludge methodically drips from the mark, making a shallow puddle around my bedside table. The pain is indescribable because it is non-existent. Like the gods of old, the pain wasn’t there to greet me as I crafted together a thin tourniquet to tightly grip around my forearms as it pulsated beyond belief. It runs like a leaking faucet, hitting the wooden floorboards and causing the wood to slightly erode. I tried lifting my arm but it just hung at my side, a useless husk of meat, bone, and ever changing blood. It was worthless and without it, I am nothing more than a cripple but seeing what happened back at the park, something, anything, had to be done or I would become one of them because of this mark; the Mark of the Beast.

Being a reservist, it was only supposed to be a routine operation to the Knox County Park for a riot control exercise to simulate a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan. Like all exercises of this type, we were in the unknown as to what the situation detailed and what was supposedly going to happen in the situation. Anything from a child being hit by Stryker Armored Vehicle to a biological warfare attack was possible and ironically, on this day, it was the latter. It was a particularly gloomy day with the palette of colors turning from a radiant sun to a shallow, ashen grey that loomed over us like a cancerous cloud of abhorrence. The town, as we slowly rolled through the cordoned off area, seemed peaceful except, as I think back, a lone figure staggering with what seemed like dark, red stains on his shirt. It busted out one of the local pubs and made a low grunting noise. One of the new reservists  threw a bottle of water at him ,while yelling at him to sober up, which hit the man on the side of the head but it didn’t faze him as he slowly extended his arms like a father does to his child and staggered toward the column. His neck contorted and his eyes rolled to the back of his head as he seemed to move quickly upon the sight of a small silhouette that muttered the word “Daddy”. For a second I thought something was odd but I shrugged it off as we got to the park.

We unloaded all our materials, which were all blanks or fake weaponry since we didn’t want any blue on blue or civilian casualties, then started toward a big group of actors portraying a rambling crowd of Afghanis. Like all drills, we moved our vehicles into a defensive stance and tried to reason with the “Afghans” until a loud scream broke out in the crowd. The crowd started to look back and as they did, a narrow perforation started to form inside their ranks as they split apart to let a small child run through. The child was sloppily clothed with dark stains on his shirt but the most worrying feature was his face, which looked like his nose was suspended by a single tendon. Our medic ran towards him, assuming a special effects artist had done something and joked with us as he commented on how realistic it felt. I turned my back to grab a cigarette when I heard another blood curdling scream. When I looked back, a group of my comrades were yanking the child off of the medic as he grabbed inside his neck to grasp the aorta in an attempt to advert the bleeding out of the blood to the brain. He rolled on the ground in sheer terror until his eyes rolled to the back of his head and his skin had run grey, from what seemed like a melatonin deficit. The boy that had bitten him was thrown inside a Humvee as he banged his head against the polycarbonate glass which resulted in blood gushing through the backseat. I opened the door to try and calm the boy down but as soon as the door was unhinged, it flew back with such ferocity, that my Kevlar helmet ripped off my face, causing my nose to bleed and sent me to the ground. A sharp pain rain through my right hand as I glanced down to see the boy being ripped from my hand with few centimeters of my metacarpals; more and more screams broke loose as I faded in and out of consciousness. I knew that if I lost consciousness, the longer that I was not in reality the higher chance of brain damage so I strained to stay awake. One of my good friends, who I will not name due to the irrelevance that it has to this writing, tried dragging me away to behind the HMMWVs but a man grabbed him and sunk his swart nails into his checks, sending out a terrible scream that I would become accustomed to. When I looked back to the crowd, all I saw was pandemonium and terror with what seemed like a brawl; blood started to fill the streets like a drop of dye on clothes. It was terrible; it was beyond comprehension; it was the Beast coming to life.

I am no Christian by any means but the parallels between the Apocalypse of John and humanity’s predicament is unnerving. To make something clear, I have never been the one to record my life story and my trials and tribulations but I have to, as this is the only way to go about it. If you are reading this right now than I am most likely dead. The infection will have gone to my brain and I am one of them, as you read this, or you will find this among my possessions as I lay with a bullet in my head. At this very moment there is a military issue Single Action M1911 Colt next to my hand and I am thinking about ending it here and now so if this is the last blog post you hear from me then so be it. America is going to depths of Tartarus while the rest of the world watches in terror; your country is just letting us rot while the government secures the borders. For the reality is I have been bitten by one of those things, which is a miracle that I have survived the month that I have but that is another story for later as the seven story apartment I am is still in need of clearing. You are reading the words of a dead man.