You can read the other chapters found on my page, “Soul Bleeder”.
(Note: Peria is pronounced “PER-ee-uh”, and roll the “r” if you can)
I stand keeping watch over Joshua and Elizabeth, who are sleeping. The night would be completely quiet, if not for the wind that howls as it runs through the boulders surrounding us, as if it is a distant echo from the werebeasts, like a once forgotten past now reawakening, stirring the fabrics of time, space, and feeling. It would almost be a peaceful night…if it was not possessed of an unholy presence.
He is here…and I cannot tell him to go away. I cannot defeat him with brute strength alone. He is of the Evil One, but cannot be separated from me indefinitely while I am here upon this earth. His voice, which sounds identical to mine, is dark and sly, and he speaks into my ear, “Such a shame, Mighty Knight; Elizabeth’s such an attractive woman, she deserves a better man than Joshua, wouldn’t you agree?”
“I’m not here to judge anyone,” I say without looking back at him, “I’m here to get souls through the Passageway. It doesn’t matter what they’ve—”
“It doesn’t matter what they’ve done?” the voice hisses, with mock emotion. “Oh, but that’s exactly why they’re here. You know why these two souls lost their zoecharia.”
My eyes drop; I do know why. I hate what they’ve done, but it doesn’t matter. They are more than their actions.
“Mmm,” the voice breathes, “humans give up their zoecharia so easily. Especially when it comes to…” I feel his eyes open, and they alight fiercely and tauntingly at me, “…sensual pleasures.”
“That’s enough, Peria,” I warn him.
“But you know the truth,” Peria goes on. “It started as something innocent and cute, but then they started going deeper and deeper, until they were hopelessly addicted. The further they drove a hole into each other’s hearts, the more they wet their hands with the blood of each other’s zoecharia*, and they gored the life of their souls with their own hands.” His lips smack, as if he’s licking something delectable off his lips, “And slowly—oh, it became the only thing they wanted. Then love ran out, and scrupulous affections was all that was left. Face it,” he goes on, “Joshua doesn’t deserve the woman like you do. You know how pure you are, you know your power could enable you to love any woman perfectly. And yet still you cling to the pain of being a—” I feel his hands fall onto my shoulders, grasping my cloak. And he finishes in a loud voice that rings in my ear, “—Soul Bleeder.”
I pivot away from him, turning so that I can face him, but he retains his grip on my cloak. As I spin, my cloak is torn from my body, and I stiffen. “I gave my soul and heart to Elohim!” I say, “I am a man, so I may desire to love a woman. But I am a Soul Bleeder, and I will bleed for Elohim and for her!”
“Yes,” my dark, mirror image, my form of temptation wrought by the Evil One, says. He looks exactly like me. But we couldn’t be more different. He wears an expression I have never worn and am determined to never wear. His brow is lowered, a shadow beneath his brow, and his eyes are devious and crafty. He is crouching on a rock, staring at me like some strange, dark creature, and his lips are curved into a sly smile. And he finishes, “You do bleed.” And he vanishes into the air.
Slowly, my breaths falling heavily and intensely, I lower my head, and look upon my body. It’s not something you get used to seeing. Blood coats my undergarment, running down my chest and stomach, and I can feel it gradually trickling down my legs. I exhale deeply, my body shivering. It hurts. This is pain. I’m bleeding. This is pain.
I look over at Elizabeth and Joshua. This is not new to me. This is pain. But this is love. I’m a Soul Bleeder. Lonliness and desire fills me; both of which are entirely pure in and of themselves. But my soul has been given to someone else. No matter what suffering I have to endure, I will persevere in that love. And so, with my heart and soul in Elohim’s hands, I bleed for him…and for them.