Sitting next to the crackling fire, the children were playing with their various dolls and toys, the heat coming from the hearth filling the small cabin with a sense of cheer that belied the horror of the times. Ann and Holly were playing with dolls while Thomas was looking over at them with sidelong glances.
Homer shook his head with a smile. Something’s not right with that boy… he thought as he returned to his whittling, his fifth piece of work this evening. The shavings on the floor would be swept up by the children before they went to bed, perhaps in an hour… Homer wanted to stay up just long enough to tell them a story, as he always did when he was "gifted" the chance to watch his grandchildren.
“Alright, now gather round…” Homer said, leaning forward in his chair, planting his sharpened knife in the floor next to the stone of the fireplace. “I’ve a story to tell, and I can feel the weight of the day pulling me towards my bed.”
The children all stopped what they were doing and sat down in front of Homer, eyes wide and ready for one of their grandfather’s strange tales. He always had such interesting stories, and whenever they visited he would tell one a night.
“Now,” Homer said, taking an iron poker and stabbing at the logs in the fire to stir up more heat. “Who can tell me what God does for mankind?”
“Oh! He saves us from eternal hellfire!” Ann said while Holly hopped in place, legs tucked beneath her. Thomas merely stared at Homer, waiting to hear the tale about to be told.
“Yes Anne, but why does he save us?” Homer asked, pressing the matter.
“Because he loves us!” Anne replied with cheer.
Homer chuckled. “Yes, yes he does. But that’s not the whole story. You see, there are some that God does not love. I’m not talking about sinners, or heathens. No, I’m speaking of a sect of mankind that did something unforgivable, even in the eyes of our Lord.”
“No,” Thomas interrupted. “The bible says God loves everyone and that Jesus sacrificed himself because of his love for us. God would never deem something unforgivable.”
“Not even wounding him?” Homer asked with a creeping smile, earning gasps from the children.
“But he’s God, nobody could hurt him!” Holly exclaimed.
“Ah, then why did Lucifer wage war in Heaven if he had no chance?” Homer asked. “The answer, to anyone with a brain in their head, is that he did stand a chance of beating God. We’re just not told of the group of humans that almost did the same…”
“Who are they?” Anne whispered, pulling her knees close to her chest.
Homer stabbed the burning logs of the fireplace with the poker, sending a shower of sparks up just as he spoke. “The Unclean...”
Nobody noticed them at first, so it’s hard to tell when in fact they even began. The Unclean are, unlike you and I, creatures of pure sin. Whereas we are born with sin and we must accept Christ to wash it away, their very essence is sin. There is no washing it away, only muddying the waters of their dark souls. They can be born from any family, at any time. They recognize each other for what they are, but hide their true nature from the rest of the world because, unlike Mankind, they have inherited memories. Every Unclean that has ever walked has had the gathered thoughts of his predecessors. These jumbled thoughts are sorted out as they age, and they become dangerous individuals who are skilled in many arts and ways, from creative stylings of music to the ways of war.
This collective memory is what makes them so dangerous. You see, each Unclean knows who killed one of them, and they make certain to enact vengeance on the one who killed them. Once a single Unclean dies, his memories are spread to every other one the world over, adding to their mental list of people to torture, rob, and kill. But that is merely what they do with Mankind. They, at one time, were approached by the angels of Heaven.
The angels, Elo and Sami, were great warriors who had fought in God’s army against Lucifer in the beginning. They were battle-hardened, and they knew the only way to speak to each Unclean was to find one, deliver the offer, and then kill him.
So that’s what they did.
They found an old man, an Unclean that had reached old age by acting as a moneylender. The man, a leech of a creature who was known as Ica, gazed upon the angels and knew what they were.
“What do you want?” He spat at the angels, eyes flashing with hatred. “I have no need of your kind! Begone!”
“Ica, you have lived a life of sin and debauchery. For this, we should smite you down in the name of the Lord,” Elo said, his voice lyrical and warm.
“But the Lord wishes to fix the problem that has tainted you for so long. He can only do it should you all agree to it however.” Sami concluded, drawing a flaming sword from his sheathe. “Now we release you from your mortal coil so that you can share this message with the others. Have a chosen one speak to the Lord through prayer with your answer, and we shall fix what was never meant to be.”
Ica gazed at the sword before looking up at Sami. “So you wish this to be spread amongst the rest of us, eh? Then do what you must do.”
And with that Sami cleaved Ica in twain, leaving the burning husk in his home. And the memory of the conversation spread to every Unclean within moments, and they all let out a howl that was heard the world over.
Within three days, one of the Unclean had come up with the resounding agreement between his race. This man, called Sur, beseeched God to show himself and to open negotiations for cleansing the Unclean. On a mountain that no longer stands, Sur called to God, and God answered.
This was before God’s son was born, so God chose the form of a mighty warrior and struck the earth in a pillar of flame, revealing himself to Sur. Sur looked upon the Lord, his features growing haggard and foul in the holy light of God. His teeth sharpened, his skin turned a ghastly slate color, and his fingers grew sharp.
“Sur of the Unclean! What is your decision? Will you allow me to fix what should never have been, or will you continue to wallow in the vile nature you were born into?” The Lord boomed, his voice the sound of thunder.
“Oh mighty Lord, we have communed over the past three days with our brethren… and we have decided that we would rather die than lose our sense of self like the sheep you have in your flock!”
And with that, hundreds of Unclean leapt from their hiding places, weapons drawn and ready. Each was bathed in the blood of their brothers and sisters, metal tinged with pure sin. They struck at God, slicing deep into his radiant body, the sin sizzling against his skin as his divine essence fought against that which he could not tolerate. God fought back, striking with fists of flame and lightning, but with each Unclean slain, three more would leap to take its place. Hundreds, nay, thousands of Unclean poured from the caves and nooks of the mountain, armed with weapons designed to harm the Almighty.
And harm him they did.
But before they could finish their attempted deicide, Almighty God struck the mountain with lightning, rendering the mountaintop to smoldering rubble, allowing him to flee to Heaven to lick his wounds. The Unclean that were present were slain, but their brethren were informed of their partial victory, and for years to come they enjoyed an existence where God was too weak to do anything against their wishes.
And so the darkness fell over the world, and the truly unsaved ravaged the world for centuries. Why, they still ravage it to this day…
“That doesn’t make sense Grandfather!” Anne exclaimed as Homer finished his tale. “God can’t be hurt by weapons made from man, and he certainly can’t be weakened by such trivial things.”
Homer sighed with a smile and spread his hands wide. “And yet it happened…”
“And how do you know this?” Holly asked, playing with some of the wood shavings on the ground.
“Why not ask Thomas,” Homer said with a smile, nodding to the silent boy. “You do remember that day, don’t you Thomas?”
Thomas smiled, his grin growing wider by the second. “Like it was yesterday Grandfather!”
Anne reeled back in terror as Thomas leapt upon Holly, hands gripping her throat in a choke hold. “Grandfather!”
“Yes?” He replied, standing up with his latest whittling project, a wooden stake perhaps four feet long.
Anne looked at him, eyes wide. “Do something!”
“Oh, I’m going to Anne, of that you can be sure,” Homer chuckled darkly, walking over to her. Grabbing her by the hair, he marched towards the door. “Thomas, bring the other stakes and Holly once she passes out. I think we can remember how Vlad impaled his victims, don’t you?”
“What a silly question Grandfather,” Thomas grunted, slamming Holly down on the ground to silence her choked gasps. “I know you remember as well as I do!”