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My Reign Ends

I survey my domain with pride and strike a beetle scurrying across the floor. The spark of light is brief and tiny, wholly unsatisfactory. I am in wait of bigger prey. Night falls above me. I sense the coolness of the air in the catacombs. The dim lit corridors of my domain are under a city bustling with humans living their pointless lives. They make goals, hoard money, breed and expect long lives. They can not comprehend other existences, other lives under their very feet.

The construction over decades above me of buildings and roads impacted my domain upon occasion. It was saved by archeologists and professors, siting historical interest and the preservation of relics. They are unaware of my presence for I am careful not to prey on a crowd, but on individuals or, sometimes pairs of humans – they are unsuspecting victims of my power. It is my delight, my purpose.

My first visitors were pallbearers and wailing family members laying to rest their relatives when the catacombs were first built. Their digging released me from my confinement in the dark earth. I struck the lone mourner, the curious youths, and the solitary caretakers. It was not my intention to kill them, merely make them bow down to my superiority, have them worship me as is my due. Instead, they screamed in terror, died at my feet, or fled the catacombs never to be seen again. I heard their whispers of a devil haunting the resting place of loved ones. Their fear at entering alone.

I have lain in wait for decades for new mourners, but bodies are no longer buried here. Bereft at the lack of entertainment I travel the corridors, searching for a misguided soul. Rats scurry ahead of me bursting them into flames brings little satisfaction now.

Wait, was that an echo? Is there someone here at long last? I tip my horned head to one side. Yes, there are footsteps and even more exciting solitary ones. Who is brave enough to enter my domain alone? I hear a low chanting, then the stench of frankincense floats along the corridor. This is no ordinary visitor, but one meaning harm to my existence.

I retreat as my form shivers at the incantation. My whole being loosens. Then I see him, swinging the incense thurible on a long chain, a large cross at his throat, another held high in one hand. The priest wears his cloth of office, its black hem swishing along the rock path. His voice grows louder, the aroma is cloying and bitter. My form is splitting, fissures open. All I feel is excruciating pain. I am diminishing, dividing into fragments. His words, the aroma, the holy relics are exorcising me. I have no strength, no way to escape. Trapped by this man’s religious mantra, the phrases are destroying me. My last thought is anger through the pain. I am demon. I was power. Then I cease to exist.

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