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Lunes, Hulyo 4, 2011

The Art of the Demon Chapter X - Rise and Fall - The Finale

"Oh no.." Jake whispered when the woman confirmed that it's Matthew she's referring that had arrived.

"Alright. Wear your robes now. We have to summon Artamus." Mario said.

"What?" Kate said in an interrogating voice.

"Oh, I forgot to tell you. We need to do some ritual now to give Artamus a temporary power and we have to go now and pray to the demon. He wants to suck Matthew's soul himself. Bye! In an hour or two, the complete Artamus will be back and he'll eat you. Good luck!" Mario said. And then he left.

The cult of the demon of art worshipers or the LIVED group is consisted of eight members, being led by Mario Adan. Mario Adan, together with other LIVED members went to the hall where the portraits used to be placed. While talking with Kate, Jake, and Marissa, other LIVED members have cleaned the hall up. Now it's empty, except for the big, another white inverted cross in it where they are going to pray.

The LIVED members now wear their red robes with inverted white cross printed in front of it. They now formed a circle around the huge inverted cross and knelt and began chanting odd words and now trying to give Artamus, the demon of art, a temporary body.

Meanwhile, Matthew just arrived at the gate of the big mansion. He's sweating and breathing as if he just ran a mile. Well, yeah, he just ran a mile. Being a newbie in the city, Matthew isn't that aware on going places in the city yet. And that's the reason why he's late. When he rode a taxi earlier, the taxi driver, after five minutes, acted like paranoid or threatened and scared that he might be involve in a terrible vehicular accident. Matthew didn't understand why did the driver feel that way instantly and asked him to leave.

So giving Matthew no choice, he walked. And after realizing he'll be very late, he ran. And finally, after having a lot of people asked about where he should go next, he arrived.

"Do I really have to experience this hardness just to see the photos of LIVED? Arghhhh.." Matthew thought.

The mansion's gate is wide open as if already inviting him in. Even though Matthew is dead tired, he decided that he should keep moving. So he walked through the beautiful flagstone steps to the mansion's main door. As he walks, he felt that something is odd about the place. Usually, photo exhibits are full of people, but he can't hear a thing from the inside part of the mansion.

When he reached the main door, the door instantly opened. That's when he realized where he's heading from the very start.

The mansion is now looking like a huge hall. There is an overwhelmingly big white inverted cross inside it with people in red robes kneeling around it and saying odd and foreign words that Matthew can't understand. Matthew remembered his dream. This is not exactly the same to what has he dreamed before, but it's similar.

Even though Matthew knew that the people kneeling around the white inverted cross has noticed he had arrived, the people in red robes still didn't move or let themselves be distracted by Matthew.

Matthew stood there in curiosity and part of him is uncertain to what might happen next.

And then..all of a sudden..as the people who chant around the inverted white cross continue, a muscular form of a tall man started shaping in the air through thick black smoke. Fear rushes through Matthew's body as an odd form continues to shape in front of him. A few seconds later, a silhouette of a goat-ish horns started shaping too in the head of the muscular man. 10 seconds later, the smoking and forming of the body stopped..because Artamus has his temporary body now.

Matthew was frozen in terror as he looks in the demon's body. He then remembered that the features of the demon is somehow similar to the one he dreamed before. The one who sucks blood. Except that the one he saw in his dream don't have horns and is covered with clothes. However, the similarity between this demon and the one in his dream is undeniable.

"I AM BACK!" Artamus exclaimed in a hoarse, thick voice as he surveys his own body. His eyes are blazing red, his black horns shining as it reflects fire in the nearby torch. He looks through his whole body with a wide, devilish grin of happiness. "HAHAHAHA." the demon laughed hoarsely. Artamus is only wearing a filthy clothe to cover the private part of his body, and the rest of his body is exposed, making Matthew even more scared. The demon looks really creepy. He has black long beard and mustache. His claws and fangs are pointed and long. The demon is at least 6 feet tall.

Matthew still stood there, and can't move. A few seconds later, the demon finally realized who's in front of him. He looked at Matthew, eyes to eyes.

“The last offer is here. Who am I to refuse? Hahahaha.” Artamus said, now looking straight in the fearsome eyes of Matthew. Matthew’s knees weakened, but he felt that adrenaline rushes through his body now and he’s in perfect condition to run any second now.

A few seconds later, the enormous feet of the demon landed on the ground. “Oh, of course, I didn’t have my whole body and powers back yet. I can’t glide through the air like a smoke yet. And you, Matthew, will do that for me.”

Matthew was shocked by what the demon said. He already got what Artamus means..that Artamus means that he needs him..Artamus needs his soul.

“M-me? Doing a-anything for you? For a demon? NO WAY!” Matthew said and he run very fast, uncertain to what might happen next to him.

Matthew was about to exit the mansion’s main door, but Artamus gestured his hands and the door instantly closed. Artamus, although he doesn’t possess his whole powers yet, is confident that he can catch Matthew easily.

He now walks slowly towards Matthew who still trying to open the door.

“You shouldn’t tire yourself, Matthew. Whatever you do, you’ll end up dead. I’ll suck your soul and I’ll be complete again. The great king will be very happy for me by then. HAHAHA!” Artamus said.

When Matthew realized that what he’s doing is useless, he set off to a corridor leading to other parts of the mansion. The members of LIVED are still solemnly praying to the inverted cross to continue sustaining the temporary body of Artamus. This, Matthew realized. Now he plans to disturb them. But as he runs through a corridor, he realized that it’s leading him nowhere to the hall where the occultists are praying. But then he continued to run, trying to find a way out. Artamus, on the other hand, is walking ordinarily. Not threatened that Matthew might escape and that his come back might not materialize.

Matthew then found a small stair that leads into a dark second floor of the mansion. When Matthew reached the 2nd floor, he then found out that it’s not a ‘floor’ at all, but a small, dark room. When Matthew stepped inside the room, lights were turned on and he was surprised by it. But what more.. Matthew was more surprised by what he discovered. The lights were red, similar to the lights of dark rooms where film photographs are being developed. But it’s not a dark room for photographs, and the lights has nothing to do with it. It was just a more preferable lightings for a..demon and an occultist.

The room was full of realistic paintings of demons. Matthew knew at once that the paintings are the arts of the demon, or should he think, another artworks of the demon. There is a painting of a reddish-brown skinned woman, with thick eyebrows and an eye of a monster and hair of a witch. Other paintings show different demons. Matthew, for a moment, was drawn by the paintings. The paintings were scary, but very well made. Matthew can’t believe that he will actually experience such things and meet real demon in his life, that it will actually wants his soul and now, chasing him.

Instead of looking for a place to hide or to escape, Matthew walked and wandered slowly through the room, examining paintings. He neither like nor admire the demons, but a sudden realization came into his head now that these things are happening now… that GOD exists. If demons exist, God does.

A few seconds earlier, Matthew found the painting of..Satan. It was in the center of the room and bigger than other portraits. The painting shows a bald, horned, red-skinned, muscular man, sitting in a black throne. Above the throne is a goat’s head (It was a belief in the medieval period that goats were created by Satan to mock Jesus’ lambs or sheep. The horns of the goats and rams also resemble those of the demons. It was also said that Satan sometimes transforms into a ram or a goat when he needs to.) The background of the painting features humans carrying huge rocks, snakes, or being tortured by demons. Although the humans in the background of Satan’s portrait are being punished differently, their faces express one: suffering. Matthew then realizes what was the thing that the painting wants to show: that the conspiracy of Satan and the devils is doom the humanity and beat God by referring people to hell.

Matthew knew it was Satan in the portrait. Satan has enormous black nails, big feet, big hands, and an eye of intelligence, fierceness, and evil. He wasn’t smiling, but instead, featuring a face of confidence and deep evil. Matthew stood there, looking at Satan’s portrait when Artamus arrived.

“Don’t worry, Matthew, you’ll meet him soon.” Artamus said as he arrived at the room of the arts of the demon.

***

“Matthew, come.” The grandmother of Matthew said to him when he lit a small candle outside the church. The mass just ended and before riding a tricycle to go home, five-year old Matthew used to lit candles before going home.

“Wait, lola!” Matthew replied. Matthew’s Lola is smiling at him. That smile..that was the smile that Matthew will never forget and never will he get bored looking at. For Matthew, his Lola’s smile is the most precious thing in the world. Matthew loves his mother and his father, and his parents don’t make him feel less than a son, but a love of a Lola is different from the love of parents.

When Matthew finished lighting another candle, he then looked at his Lola again. His Lola is still smiling widely at him. He smiled back. Not knowing that it’s the last time that he’ll ever gonna see his Lola’s sweet, sincere, and precious smile.

The child Matthew now started running towards his Lola when a pick-up truck got out of bounds and hit his Lola. Matthew stumbled, and screamed “LOLA!!!!!!!!!” The driver of the truck was then found out to be driving while intoxicated.

A lot of people helped his Lola to get to the hospital, but she was badly hit, and was declared dead on arrival at the hospital. It was the reason why Matthew’s faith to God, if not vanished, decreased wildly.

While sitting at the wake of his Lola, Matthew asked his mother who’s tearing but trying to stay strong

“Nanay, why does God have to kill Lola?”

“Mat, things happen for a reason. God does not kill, he takes people to join Him during their time.” His mother replied calmly.

“But I love Lola! Why does He have to get my Lola? Why does He have to hurt me?” Matthew asked, now crying.

“Everything happens by God’s grace. Sometimes, he breaks our hearts to make us stronger. We just have to accept what He gives or takes, and continue living our life and going with the flow. ”

“NO! God doesn’t love me!” Matthew said, now crying wilder. “He killed Lola! He killed Lola! He killed her in front of the church!!!”

From that time on, Matthew stopped praying before he sleeps, or before and after eating or going to church by his own. He doesn't even make the sign of a cross when he’s at church. He never asked or confessed to his parents about what he felt, that’s why nobody corrected his belief that God took his Lola without a reason and it stayed until he grew up. Matthew half believed that God is not existing or doesn’t care about him or loves him.

***

“So, you’ve picked me because I’m not that religious..” Matthew said.

“You get it. Now, calm down and I have to suck your soul up and meet your new god, the great king, Satan.”
Artamus said hoarsely.

“You really think that I’m going with you?” Matthew said.

“Oh, you really think you have a choice?” Artamus replied.

“If I’m not that believing to Him, I’ll never be one of you!” Matthew said, now courage building up through him. When he recalled what happened to his childhood and why had he stopped believing in God, he now believes in Him again. And he realized that things happen for a reason, and God does things not to break us, but to make us. He does give us tests, that’s not to make our life harder, but to make us stronger and readier
to the tests waiting ahead in life.

Matthew, for only a few second, was able to renew his faith in God. He now took hold of the small, silver cross from his coin purse. His mother always puts a small cross in his coin purse, but he always throw it away whenever he finds one.

Although Matthew knows that God might not listen to him anymore, he still prayed. And now he only asks for God’s forgiveness.

Artamus walks nearer to him, Matthew holds the small silver cross strongly and keeping his concentration on praying.

Artamus is now only inches apart. Even though this can be Matthew’s last memory, he stands there courageously, looking straight into Artamus’ eyes.

“Impressive that even though you knew you’re about to die, you still stand there, looking brave. Haha! That’s the spirit of a Satan’s son.” Artamus said.

“I’m not a Satan’s son!” Matthew said strongly.

“Oh, you are.”

“No!”

“Or should I say, you’re gonna be!” Artamus said. Then he pulled Matthew by his collar and carries him
through the air.

“Now, get ready for you’ll meet your king, Satan! Hahahaha!” Artamus said, now he’s opening his mouth slowly and started sucking the soul of Matthew. Thick, white smoke started flowing out of Matthew’s mouth.

He knew that Artamus is slowly killing him. But before he finally loses his life, he plunges the small, silver crucifix into the forehead of the demon to which by the demon’s surprise, he lost hold of Matthew. The small crucifix was blessed. His mother always have the crucifixes blessed before giving them to Matthew. The demon is in pain, Matthew realized. The thick, white smoke that Artamus sucked returned to Matthew by his mouth. When Artamus lost hold of Matthew, Matthew fell to the big painting of Satan and it broke down. The board to where Satan’s portrait was painted cracked in the middle.

“Arghhhhh!” the demon said, trying to get rid of the crucifix. The demon’s forehead seems like it’s smoking now that the crucifix is still pressed to his head. A few seconds later, he got rid of the crucifix.

“So, you think a small crucifix can kill me?” Artamus asked.

“No.”

“Haha. Delaying tactics. Witty. Prepare for no one’s gonna stop me now! I’m going to introduce you to the
great king Satan! Your future king!” Artamus exclaimed.

“Oh really? How can Satan be my future king when I’m now sitting at his broken portrait, my butt straight to his face?” Matthew said.

“You sonofabitch!” said Artamus.

“Oh, I thought you just said that I was a son of Satan. You mean Satan is a bitch? But Satan is a devil and he
is a male, how can he be a female dog? Ah, I get it. So the great king, the greatest devil is also a female dog?”
Matthew said.

“YOU’RE GONNA DIE NOW!!!!!!” Artamus said ferociously. “YOU WILL BE DOOMED!!!!!!!”

***

Kate, Jake, and Marissa are still in the room where the occultists got them.

“We need to do something.” Kate said. “We have to escape, by this time, I’m sure the demon is now chasing Matthew. We need to distract Mario and his fellow LIVED members!”

“I know, right? But how do we—“ Marissa said but was cut by Jake. Jake had his chair broken by leaning on it to make it fell to the floor.

“They should have also funded their chairs.” Jake said.

“Brilliant!” Kate and Marissa said. Then they, too, leaned to their chairs and made it fell to the floor. Their chairs break too and they are finally free from the chair.

Then the three proceeded to the hall where the demon of art worshipers and Satanists are solemnly praying.

“There they are!” Marissa pointed to the big white inverted cross to which the Satanists are kneeling and praying.

Then they ran toward the occultists. “We need to distract them!” Then they began kicking, punching, shaking and doing other things to the occultists but they failed to stop them. The occultists stopped chanting, but their minds were still focused to the demonic prayers that give temporary body to Artamus.

“We’re losing time!” Kate said.

“What do we do?” Marissa asked, now panicky. Jake is thinking.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” they heard someone scream from not afar.

“It’s Matthew!” Kate said. “We need to keep going!”

“The torch! We need to threat their lives for them to lose focus!” Jake said. Then he ran to the torch at the other end of the mansion’s hall. The torch is too big that Kate and Marissa too helped him draw it from its holder. When they succeeded getting the torch…

“AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Matthew screamed harder.

“We’re running out of time! We need throw the fire from here! We can’t afford running their to burn them one
by one! We have no time!” Jake said.

"Aha!" Marissa exclaimed. "If we can't run and burn them one by one or threat their lives one by one, then we must break that white inverted cross! They are praying to that symbol, and if we burn that down, maybe, the prayer will break, or even threat the lives of those filthy Satanists when it fall down!

“Witty!” Jake said.

"And maybe, that inverted cross isn't funded too! Let's burn it down!

Then three of them threw the torch by all their forces to the cross.

And as what Marissa has said, the white inverted cross too weren’t funded or well made. It was only made by slim plywoods.

The white inverted cross burned.

Artamus is still sucking the soul of Matthew. Matthew is in the air, but not because Artamus is holding him. Artamus is now using his powers. His powers are not yet all back to him, but he can do simple things like this. The white smoke that flows out from Matthew’s mouth to Artamus’ mouth is now thicker. More of Matthew’s soul are being sucked from him. Matthew is now starting to run out of air, he's slowly dying.

As the fire grows, the inverted cross burnt down. That’s when Mario Adan opened his eyes and realize what danger they are facing and he screamed “AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!”

Mario Adan was able to dodge from the burning cross, but then he realized what did he just do.
Artamus is already grinning wide for he knows that in any moment now, Matthew’s soul will be taken all out…when his arms started disappearing like a powder that was being thrown to the air.

“NO!!! THIS CAN’T BE!!!” Artamus lost his powers. Matthew fell to the floor, unconscious. Then Artamus vanished through thin air. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!” his final scream.

“YOU FAGS!” Mario Adan screamed at Kate, Marissa, and Jake. The three were grinning.

“Maybe you’ve saved your friend, but we will still kill you in revenge!!!” all of the LIVED members are now looking angrily to Kate, Jake, and Marissa. Mario Adan and the rest of LIVED, even though they didn’t really know if Artamus failed or succeed, they assumed that he failed because he screamed in despair.

“And you think we didn’t think about that thing?” Marissa said, still grinning. Marissa was able to call the police while the white inverted cross was still burning

Then they heard police car alarms. At least 12 police entered.

“They are the occultists who killed Alyna and Mang Reynold!” Jake pointed to LIVED members.
The police arrested the members of the demon of art worshipers and Satanists. The rest of the night didn’t become a quiet ending. Matthew almost died. Good thing that he reached the hospital and was saved.

After that, it became a big news in TV, radio, and papers. Other killings were now linked to the demon of art’s cult. A few days later, Trina and her boyfriend’s body were found both floating in the river. But justice has been served, not only to them, but to Robbie, Alyna, Mang Reynold, and other victims of Artamus. The news reached international media. Although the parents of the previous victims still didn’t find the bodies of their sons and daughters, they knew in their hearts that justice has come.

Back to back TV and radio guestings, magazine and newspaper interviews were offered to Matthew, Kate, Jake, and Marissa. But they refused and chose to be quiet. They only gave their statements to the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church shared it to the media. After that, the friends decided to keep their mouths shut.

A week later, a mass has been held at Saint Patrice University. This is a thanksgiving mass for the justice God had given them and the demon of art's failure to rise and dominate the world of the humans.

Matthew, Kate, Jake, and Marissa were in the front seat. All of them wearing white, so as the other people in the church.

The priest started his sermon:

“The recent events and revelations shook us. The tragic deaths of a lot of students, not only of St. Patrice University, but also in other universities, don’t happen everyday. However, escaping a near death experience doesn’t happen everyday too. And we should be thankful that we still have here Matthew, Kate, Jake, and Marissa.

“If not through them, this cult of young students who worship a certain demon will not be revealed to the public. The deaths of the students before will have no justice yet, mysterious killings will not yet be stopped. And maybe, the demon of art himself has risen again. The demon of art is called Artamus by his worshipers. And according to the interview to us by Matthew, Kate, Jake, and Marissa, once Artamus risen again, he will spread the Satanic conspiracies through the world by art..by painting. And as you all know, a lot of Satanists are now dominating different fields. Music, movies, popular products, and others.

“And this Satanic art, almost succeeding, let’s thank God that they didn't. These friends, Matthew, Kate, Jake, and Marissa also told me that the young occultists were successful in making St. Patrice University their temporary dwelling place because the students, staff, and people here have weak belief and faith in God. And even Artamus himself lived here even if this is a Catholic university.

“Indeed. The whole university had its faith to God weakened. I just want to remind you all that devils are not scary…that we should not fear devils. As long as we have strong faith and belief in God, devils are weak. Meeting evil is inevitable, but having devils near you, surrounding you is evitable. You have to keep your faith to God. By believing in Him, you get His protection, His love. And you take a step away from the devil.”

The mass ended a few minutes after. While walking through the aisle of the church to go exit the building, Matthew, Kate, Jake and Marissa talked.

“It has been a long, hectic week. Media men have been guarding our house.” Marissa said.

“Our house too.” Kate added.

“So as our house.” Jake added too.

“Haha. At least you guys have houses. Some people had me staying in a hotel for a couple of days now because my dorm is being guarded by media men too. Hahaha. And my dormmates and the landlady aren’t happy about it.” Matthew said.

“I’m just happy that it’s all done now. We all didn’t plan to meet a kind of danger, and a kind of a demon. But I’m just happy that we surpassed and survived it.” Kate said.

“Yeah, me too. I’m thankful.” Jake said.

“Well, that event also served as a reminder to us all that we should always keep our faith to God.” Marissa added.

“Yes. If this event didn’t happen, I’m still almost an atheist now. It’s just saddening that we still have to meet a demon just to have our faiths to God renewed.” Matthew said.

“This event happened for a reason. As Marissa said, it has been a reminder. And after all, at least, we survived!” Jake said.

“Yep!” Kate motioned.

“And guess what? We’re so strong! We defeated a demon! Hahaha!” Marissa said.

“Hahahaha! Whatever, let’s eat!” Matthew motioned (too).

THE END

-PandemiC-

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