Salvation Can Be A Sin

I attend the morning mass for the first time in over a year. I usually can only make it to church at night thanks to the long late nights. Since I won’t be able to attend tonight I traded in sleep for prayer. The church is empty. Always so empty. Maybe after tonight that will no longer be the case. Those that are here put a rare smile on my face. It is good to know that not everyone in this city is lost. The bombs have all been set and the plan is in full effect I tell the lord. Today your message will seep into the minds of everyone and be on the lips of the damned as they flee with fear. Those who do not run in fear will be graced by my bullets and they do not forgive nearly as much as you. May the lord bless me as I full fill his sermon in his name and his honor. I take the body of the Christ into my mouth and swallow his blood as if it is my own. I am prepared to die today and every day in the name of Christ, the Lord, and the Holy spirit. I am how he has made me. I accept death. I accept it for what it is and what it means. I want to feel it’s cold hands pull me up to heaven, pull me up to let me know that I am done, but until that day I am prepared to do what needs to be done.

I arrive to the spot five hundred yards from the prison at about half past nine. Most of the prisoners should be out on the yard right now, but in fifteen minutes they will have to start heading back to their cells. The plan is to set off the charges at ten, which guarantees that all the prisoners will be in their cells. I unloaded my detonators, my rifle case, and my high-powered binoculars from the back seat of my car. It truly is a beautiful day today. The sun is shining, the sky is empty, and the air is warm. The lord could not have created a better day and these sinners couldn’t ask for a better day to die. I set my detonators on the grass as if I was laying out a picnic. Preparing for the feast of souls I set up my high-powered rifle as well. The craftsmen ship of the Remington R-25 is something to admire. It is the newest of the rifles and the most powerful one I have. This rifle is mostly used by the military so, getting my hands on one wasn’t easy. The R-25 is my insurance policy to make sure anyone left alive finds their way to the ground. The R-25 is mostly stock with the only modifications being to the magazine in both size and reload capabilities. By the time I look through my high-powered binoculars I can see the prisoners making their way back into the building. As I make my last-minute checks to the system of detonators and sight my rifle into position I can hear the pre-recorded speech come through the speakers all around the prison. Even from this distance I can hear it loud and clear.

“To all guards, medical personal, and support staff of the prison this is your fifteen minute warning to evacuate this facility. The prisoners are to remain in their cells. Anyone caught freeing prisoners will be executed. No judges and no jury. This is not a test. Your time begins now.”

You shouldn’t feel bad about the damned I tell myself. Up until now they have pretty much gotten a free ride. The handle of the rifle feels wet in my hands. I’m nervous, but after this there is no going back. The plan has already been put into motion, but when I press the button this doesn’t end until it ends. May your blood be of Christ and your souls open to salvation. Amen. I push the button on the detonator to my left. The board lights up. There is a slight delay as the board sends out the final signal to all the explosives in the prison. Each building begins to explode simultaneously. The bottoms blow out of the buildings spreading fire around each one. Those on the first floor come out on fire and screaming. Before more have a chance to exit the second wave of explosives bring what is left of the buildings down to their knees. It is beautiful in a magical way. I almost expect God to reach through the clouds of smoke and collect the lost souls himself. My hands aren’t so nervous anymore and my mind is only on the mission at hand. Slowly a few people begin to emerge from the ruble and the flames. More screams erupt from the prison. With my rifle ready I begin to take out anyone left making their way out of the buildings. Guard or prisoner it doesn’t matter. The sounds of sirens begin to drown out the cries for help. Reload. I don’t see any rescue vehicles. Reload. I know they are coming, but they are at least five minutes from the prison and another five from where I am. Reload. I line up shot after shot. Taking anyone I can. Reload. As I prepare to put down another sinner another massive explosion sets off a chain reaction through the grounds. The gas line I presume. Reload. I watch as the carnage increases taking out the outlying buildings and guard stations. I scan the charred remains and bits of rumble for anything still left moving. The sirens get louder and louder, and I can know see the rescue vehicles arriving at what used to be the entrance. I hear the distinct sound of a helicopters in the distance long before I can see them. More people emerge from the ruins of the facility. I fire off every round left in my clip. I don’t have enough time. I thought I would have more. It is okay because I have prepared for this. If only the police were so quick to rescue the innocent there might not be a need for my services, my existence. I hear a helicopter closing in on my position along with more sirens. I stand up and walk away from my gun. I take my jacket off and lay it down next to me. There is no use trying to get away at this point. I put my hands on my head as I wait for the police helicopter to find me. It hovers in front of me. Words blaring from its loud-speaker tell me to do what I am already doing. Not long after two squad cars pull up behind me. Still I don’t move with my hands on my head. The officers tell me to get down on my knees and I comply as they tell me to drop on to my belly. I am slapped with handcuffs and checked for weapons in a matter of seconds. Two officers pick me up off the ground and they escort me to a police cruiser. They read me my rights and stuff me into the back seat. There is already an officer in the driver seat. I can tell from his eyes he is not happy to see me by the tone of his voice. “Why did you do this you sick fuck?” The officer screams at me. “If you don’t see it now then you are never going to get it,” I calmly respond back. “What is your fucking problem?” He yells at me again. His partner enters on the passenger side, “Hey leave him the hell alone.” Probably the best advice he has ever given in his life. I put my face real close to the cage, “I answer to a higher power.” The driver’s fist pounds the cage of the police car. The first of many fists I will be seeing today.

The police at the station are as welcoming as the officer in the car. They choose to ask questions with their fists and by kicking me while I’m down rather than asking me with their mouths. I can’t blame them for their reactions they don’t see the big picture yet. Best to give it time and let it sink in. I don’t say a word or show an ounce of pain, and it pisses them off more and more. “My wife works there you sick son of a bitch. You better hope they find her still breathing or they won’t be finding you that way,” one of the overly polite officers says before smashing in my nose. I let the officers get good and bloody before finally speaking. “I want my lawyer,” I tell them. “Oh you hear that guys he wants his fucking lawyer,” one of the officers says as he rubs his bloody hands with fresh wounds on his knuckles. “Like we give a shit,” another one strikes back. He strikes me hard across my face and I can feel my teeth loosening in my jaw. Blood sprays out of my mouth and all over the officer’s face. He wipes it away as they all have a nice hearty laugh at my expense. His face a twisted mess of madness and joy. I see the devil in his eyes. I look the next officer right in the eyes, fist ready to strike, and I calmly tell him, “I have A.I.D.S. The look of horror in the room is worth every broken rib, every chipped tooth, and every last drop of blood on their fists. An honest smile fills my face for the first time in a long time. I watch as they all flee the room. Tripping over one another at the door. Rats scurrying in the light that is God. “He works in mysterious ways,” I shout behind them.

I’m treated with much greater care as I am escorted to my own jail cell. The walk is nearly silent. The only noise I hear is the news reporting on my sermon at the end of the hall. I am in my own cell no longer than five minutes before a gloved up doctor comes in to stitch me up. She places her medical supply case on the bed next to me. She is wearing gloves that go all the way up to her elbows and a medical mask. She seems scared, but maybe it is only nervousness. I can see it in her eyes though her hands are steady. I’m still in handcuffs, but there is still an officer standing by my side ready to put a bullet in my head. The doctor doesn’t say a word as she stitches up the gashes on my face. “I feel like hamburger,” I tell her. She doesn’t even so much as smile at me. After she is done patching me up the doctor takes out a syringe and draws some blood before exiting my cell. The officer follows her and after the door slams closed I’m advised to slowly walk to the cell door and turn around. He undoes my handcuffs and informs me they are having a hard time finding me a lawyer. In the mean time I am to sit and wait until they find a lawyer to represent me. He looks me straight in the eyes and tells me he hopes I rot in hell. So, there are a few believers left out there even in here I think. However, I will be far from the burning depths of hell when all is said and done. I take a seat on the bed. It is time to rest I think to myself as I close my eyes.

I am woken by the tapping of a baton on my cell door. The artificial light has taken over. How long have I been asleep? “Wake the fuck up scum bag,” the officer at my cell door screams. He is not the same officer that was at my cell last so, he must work the night shift. “We found you a lawyer.” I rise from my cot and the pain from the broken ribs almost drops me to my knees. If I thought my face hurt before I went to sleep I was sadly mistaken. I don’t let the guard see my pain. I turn my back to the guard as he slaps the cold cuffs onto my wrists. I play his little dog and pony tricks on the way to the interrogation room. The room is nice and clean compared to the last one they had me in. “You didn’t have to clean on my account,” I tell the officer. “Save it for the trial. Your lawyer will be in shortly,” the guard grunts at me. My chair is place against the wall and as far from the table as possible. The officer doesn’t bother removing my handcuffs. “Get up from that chair and,” the officer begins. “And what you are going to beat my ass?” The officer’s face turns a nice shade of red before he exits the room. Idle threats are useless at this point. My lawyers enter the room as promised a few minutes later. He is a young man who probably just passed the bar exam, and is looking for a good case to get his name out there. “My name is James Raven,” he reaches out to shake my hand, but since they’re still in cuffs he pulls his hand back. “They do that to your face?” He asks. “Probably had it coming anyways,” I say to him. “You did do a very bad thing, but I’m not here to tell you that or cast judgment.” He takes a seat in his chair. “Is what I did truly that awful?” I ask him. “If you have to ask what do you thinking?” He takes out a note pad. “I did as I was told and what I did was right.” “Who told you to do these things?” He asks. “God,” I say sternly. “So we don’t have to rule out an insanity plea,” he says without looking up from his note pad. “You don’t believe me?” “I don’t have to believe a single thing you say the courts do.” “I realize that, but I asked you?” He looks up from his note pad and stares into my eyes, “What does it matter?” I don’t back down from his stare. “I need to know if you are with me or not.” Raven gets up from his chair and starts to pace the room. “With you on what? Do you know that every attorney in this city turned down your defense, and there are a lot of lawyers in this town?” I sigh, “Legally they have to appointment me a lawyer.” Raven takes a seat once again, “Yeah and the last five used every favor they had to avoid you. I had no favors and I had no choice. So what difference does it make?” “It makes all the difference Raven. Tell me do you believe in God?” He rubs his forehead, “That’s irrelevant at this point.” “Yes or no?” I stare Raven in the eyes once again. “Yes, I do believe in God. Why would that matter at this moment? This is about you not me.” “Because he told me to do what I did and what I do. I am his servant Raven.” He writes down every word I am saying on his legal pad. “I’m not crazy. God chose me as his messenger of death.” “Wait did you just say messenger of death? I nod my head never breaking eye contact. “You’re the one who’s been terrorizing the city for the past few years? Taking out drug dealers, rapists, and anyone who stands in your way?” I nod again. “Dear God.” “Watch it boy.”

“I’m sorry. It’s just, do you know what kind of trouble you are already in? And now this? Do the cops know?” “I have no idea and I don’t care.” “There has never been an execution in this state and they are going to fry your ass. If I was you I would care a whole hell of a lot.” “Only one judgment I fear and it will not be handed down by man.” “Not to be an ass, but you are insane and that’s a good thing. If we have any chance of beating these charges it will be because of that fact.” “I told you Raven. I’m not crazy.” “But you are. Don’t you at least see that? Let’s say God actually told you to blow up that prison and kill all those people. Let’s say I believe every word you tell me. It will not matter. Do you have any idea how crazy all of that will sound in court? The jury is going to think that you are stark raving mad.” “Because their faith is weak. In time everyone will understand what I have done.” Raven slams his fist on the table, “They already understand everything they need to understand. It’s all over the news. Madman blows up state prison and they don’t even know who you are. Once it gets out who you are. All of this will only get even crazier. No matter what you say no one is going to believe a word of it.” “And why is that? People once believed Moses and the burning bush. I’m not the first man to talk to God.” “Why?” He tosses some medical papers in front of me. I read it the best I can off the floor, but Raven sums it all up for me. “Moses didn’t lie to his people. You’re not H.I.V. positive. Hell you don’t even have diabetes. That’s lie one right there. If you really are who you say you are there are at least a hundred deaths under your belt before today. Two of which I might add are your own wife and son. Something else Moses and the burning bush never did either.” “No that is untrue. They moved away from here to some place out west.” “No, they were supposed to move some place out west, but instead they were found with bullet holes to their heads. So they never quite made it.” “There is no way. They’re not dead.” “Face it Stan either you plead insanity or you’re going to fry.”

My names not Stan or is it? I don’t know anymore. I have been so many people in the last few years I can’t remember, but I know my family is not dead. “I’m not done here yet.” “What?” Raven asks. “I said I’m not done yet. I’m still needed by God.” Raven calls for the officer outside the door, but it’s too late. The proximity bomb was triggered as soon as I got near this wall, and as soon as I get up from my chair I have less than thirty seconds to take cover. I kick the table over on its side and take cover the best I can. I was hoping the guard would have undone my cuffs, but I was prepared either way. I dislocate my left thumb and force my hand through the cuff. “What the hell is going on?” Raven asks while standing outside of the protection zone. “I’m sorry.” As the officer opens the door he is greeted by the blast of my escape route. The table shields me from most of the shattered wall. Sadly I can’t say the same for Raven. I can’t tell if he is alive or breathing, but I don’t have time to check. I hop over the table and jump down the ten feet down to the ground level. I land hard on a parked car, but it feels better than landing on concrete pavement. Wounded but not down I disappear into the night just as quickly as I came. My methods maybe extreme. They may be seen as hostile. I am justified and I am far from done. I gave God my word. I intend to do his work until my soul is ready to pass on.

 

Author’s Note: This story is part of a larger story. The third part to be exact. It was not based on anyone living or dead or any real world event. This story was one of my early stories written back in 2010.

Back then I really wanted to work for Marvel comics and I really wanted to write the Punisher. I came up with this character who was in a sense Frank Castle only guided by God or his idea of God. I had this whole scene in my head of the two with guns pointed right at each others heads and not being able to pull the trigger. Which one is the hero and which one is the villain type of story. Naturally I need a back story for my character. The original story was that back story. I don’t work for Marvel comics so, I decided to use it as a stand alone story. I chopped it down for the post today. The only thing missing out of the story is more context on his mission and him setting up the bombs in the prison. 

This story was in no way an attempt to capitalize or honor events that have happened  since I wrote the story. Why post it? Sometimes as writers of fictions we write fiction and later life makes it true. I wrote the story because I liked the character. Even all these years later I like the character. I still want to see him go up against Frank Castle. We are human therefore we are animals and violence is part of our nature. We can not escape violence whether it is through stories, television, movies, or video games. We need it on a primal level. However unlike the rest of the animal kingdom we are able to obtain it in ways that do not require hurting anyone else. The forms I mentioned. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with healthy forms of violence.

But mass shootings, rape, child abuse, murder, etc. are not healthy forms of violence. Even if some of those examples can be found in nature it doesn’t make them right. No one should be hurting anyone whether it is for a God, for one’s self, or whatever reason.

I’m not here to pass judgment on anyone or for anyone. We judge ourselves enough as it is. I am only justifying why I posted this story.  If for any reason you are upset. I apologies, but I will not be taking the story down or editing it out of my book. My intentions as a writer are never to upset anyone, but to tell a story. Whomever that story may be about.  

One thought on “Salvation Can Be A Sin”

  1. You are a literary soldier of truth and REAL truth.
    Oh how I WISH you DID work for Marvel comics!
    This was so good. I even took it as an allegory, for the state inside our soul, inside our head. Putting and blowing up all the sin and blackness, ready to be empty and peaceful but through violent misguided means. Like that? I know I am a FAB literature student. Literature teacher actually! Why did I say student?! Wishful thinking!

    I wanted to ask you if you’ve seen this relatively new animation series called First Space? I think there’s only one episode so far but it really reminded me of a story of yours . And your style of story a little, too.

    Like

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