Posted on January 14, 2010 by Flames
First published in 1999, This is My Blood is David Niall Wilson’s first and most important novel. It is a retelling of the gospel from a very different perspective. When jesus goes into the desert and is tempted by the devil, there is one temptation added. One of the fallen is raised as a woman to tempt him with the flesh. Instead, the woman, named Mary, falls in love with Jesus and his promise of returning her to Heaven.
Cursed to follow him and drink the blood of his followers, Mary walks a fine line between her desire to love and support the Christ, and her burning need to return to Heaven. This novel takes the world of faith, which was the world of men, and of the apostles, and shows it through the eyes of a fallen angel – one who has, in her own words, walked the roads of both Heaven, and Hell. She doesn’t believe there is a God…she knows.
Flames Rising is pleased to offer our readers an excerpt from this dark tale. This is My Blood is available now at DriveThruHorror.com.
I suppose that I still love him, but not as I did. He fell from grace, burning and beautiful — defiant, but that falling chained his spirit. He chose to rail against the heavens, gnashing his teeth in futile anger at his imprisonment.
My own dreams, which may be empty, are of being free.
Lucifer would see it too, if he would but look. It has been promised to all of God’s creatures, great and small. I am one such creature, and I burn to claim my birthright.
When the kingdom men named Hell was born, many of us followed him there to lick our wounds and recover from the war. Whatever the religious leaders might tell you, whatever you might believe, it was war. The angel of light did not depart as an ember, but as a brilliant star, a power to singe even the hands of God.
It has been eons since I walked that tortured road, but it is there that my story begins. Perhaps, when the day of reconciliation arrives, it shall end there as well. That is not for me to judge. I know only this; it was through a man, and through Christ in the guise of a man, that I found hope. For this hope, if for nothing else, I inscribe this history.
It is possible that nothing shall ever be the same when my soul is bared, that I will be consumed in fire for my impudence. It does not matter. The weight of this story is too much to bear, and the only other who shares it has chosen silence.
We have drifted apart. Most of his time is spent in solitude, but he has left his mark. It is no wonder; he is half-crazed with boredom and lost to despair. His road and mine are not the same.
He is born of man, of the earth, I of the heavens. Though we share a curse, we cannot long abide one another’s company.
I dream for him as well, for I was created to greater strength. His own dreams too often fall to despair.
The apostles who told this tale before me had their own interests in mind when they recorded certain events. Much was left to the winds and drifting sands, forgotten. Only one among them ever penned the truth; only one among them had a great enough heart and the enduring love to care. That was Judas, named the betrayer.
He paid an awful price for a truer faith than most men will ever know. The Book of The Gospel, According to Judas, was burned on the second day after Jesus rose from his grave. There was only a single, hand-scribed copy, and he had failed to conceal it well. He never bothered to recreate it.
The others were jealous and afraid. They never trusted their own faith, knowing from the example of their master’s death how men would see them, and fearing how it would mark them in the eyes of God.
It was Peter, possessed of Lucifer himself, who set the blame for their Lord’s death on Judas’ shoulders. He felt it necessary to discredit Judas, and to remove his testimony.
Such is the pride of men. Perhaps they are more like the fallen angel of light than they have let themselves believe. It has always amazed me how the glaring holes in the life of their savior, and in the teachings of His disciples, have been so carelessly and pointedly overlooked. Nothing is harder to believe than that which is not desired.
At the time of Christ’s death, I was unable to explain why Lucifer did not seize the chance to have the truth recorded. Now, after watching the product of his intellect unfold, it has become obvious. He may be bitter, but he is brilliant.
Man might have reacted differently, had they known the truth. This senseless bending of facts and flailing of spiritual arms has brought centuries of amusement to those below. Entire lifetimes have been spent twisting ancient wisdom to serve the desires of mortals.
Though I see the weakness that is inherent in man, I am less vindictive than my former lord. I do not hate men for their gift of salvation, no matter how they might scorn or waste it. I do not hate the All-Father for my exile. In any case, few enough will listen to my story that it will not disrupt the general flow of humanity. As I have said, the thing least easy to believe is that which is not desired.
A great deal happened between the fall of light and the events of the gospel. The game of creation by one and corruption by the other began almost immediately, and Creation itself was batted about some, in the early stages. That fact alone has caused its own levels of chaos.
In some cases, the details of these conflicts were as minute and fragile as sub-atomic structures that developed flaws, or microorganisms that evolved in directions far from those originally planned. Lucifer was banned from Heaven, but his proximity to the Earthly works of his enemy gave him great freedom to annoy and antagonize.
While this was never directed at mankind, it has hewn a trail of pain that has led to the very brink of destruction. Games are not restricted to those of lower thought patterns, neither are the emotions of envy or greed.
Lucifer watched the arrival of the Christ upon the Earth with deep interest, and some concern.
Well aware that he could not prevent it, and unwilling to forego the amusement, he set about sowing the seeds of jealousy, fear, and distrust that would later lead to the crucifixion.
A small mountain of dead children grew on Christ’s birthday, sacrificed by those who feared the birth of a King. Satisfied with his handiwork, Lucifer sat back and watched.
Men are given to strange excesses. The dead children were a tragic example of this. I saw it as a shame. Lucifer saw the destruction not at all. His eyes were turned Heavenward, searching for a sign of the anger he knew his actions would spark. I walked the Earth in his shadow.
I will not apologize; I am not responsible. I will not dwell on the years prior to my tale, though certain events will require explanation. To avoid personal prejudice, to which I freely admit, I will use passages of The Book of Judas, which I hold embedded in my memory. I have walked the roads of both Heaven and Hell, seeing much. My memory will suffice.
In the Christ, Lucifer saw another part of his enemy, another work to corrupt. I saw beauty, a piece of what was forever lost to me. Perhaps even then, before his light had opened to me, I sought salvation.
Lucifer saw none of that; his hate had become too great. I saw, and I loved. The Christ, too, was very beautiful.
And it came to pass that Jesus went alone into the desert to be tempted of the
Devil. He remained there forty days and forty nights, fasting, and on the
fortieth night, he hungered. The tempter came before him then, asking, “If you
are truly the son of God, turn these stones to loaves of bread”
Jesus answered him, “It is written: ‘man does not live on bread alone, but on
every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Then the Tempter led him to the highest point of the temple. “If you are truly
the son of God, cast yourself down, for it is written:
‘He will command his angels
And they will lift you up in their hands,
So that you will not strike your foot
Jesus answered, “It is also written, ‘do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
The Devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all of the
kingdoms of the world in their splendor. “Bow down and worship me,” he said,
“and I will give them all to you.”
Jesus replied, “Away from me, Satan, for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, andserve him only.'”
The devil laughed and gestured, raising from the sands a Temptress. “See here the things craved by man,” he said, waving his arm to include the cities below.
“You are Son of man, does she not please you?”
And Jesus, seeing that she was fallen from Heaven, and sorely used, beckoned to the temptress, saying, “For all who would follow me, there burns a light in my father’s house.”
And the Temptress fell to her knees, forsaking the Devil and his darkness. In an awful rage, Lucifer laid upon her a curse, bringing a great thirst which could be sated only by the blood of man, and saying, “Feast upon the fruits of his labor, for I say unto you, you shall be his undoing.”
Then the devil left them, and angels came and attended Jesus.
Fleeing into the desert, the Temptress wept.
I was drawn up from Hell. I was not consulted, nor were my feelings taken into account. I was scooped up as a child might be, dragged from one level of existence to another and held there, immobile, as my master spoke.
Lucifer often walked the middle regions, which were closer to that which we had lost than those the rest of us inhabited. The Earth was a revelation to me. The first thing that met my eyes was beauty. I was dazzled by the light of the sun, struck speechless by the wonder of thousands of tiny glittering crystals that made up the sand. It was indeed a different world. After so many years of condemnation, I hoped, just for an instant, that a doorway had opened to Heaven.
Lucifer gestured at me, an object, not really seeing me at all. Then he turned to the Christ, and he smiled.
“You see her, Godson,” he sneered, his words awash with the bitterness of his defeat. “You know what she is.”
“You have taken the form of a man; I have brought her forth as a woman.”
He released me then, and I fell to my knees, feeling the bite of the sand. The heat of the sun beat down on my back, and I felt the soft caress of a breeze across my skin. I felt no different, but I was. What I had been before, what I had been born to, was pure essence. What I had become was material. I looked down at my body, my arms, the legs that folded beneath me.
The Christ watched me with His great sad eyes to see how I would react. Would I, too, sneer at Him, or would I try to seduce Him with the human flesh I’d been granted for that task? I found that I wanted to go to him, to hold him, but not to sneer. Never that.
“Is she not beautiful?” my master asked. “Does she not make Your mortal loins burn . . . Your human heart flutter?”
Jesus looked at him, the sadness deepening, and then back to me. “There is a place for you still,” He said softly. “If you but believe, I promise you, there is hope.”
I felt a strange sensation building, a physical sensation — this part of my corporeal existence caught me completely unaware. I remained on my knees, taking in the extent of his promise, letting the thought of that which was forever lost wash through me and drain out into the burning floor of the desert beneath me. It was too much.
“You have no such power,” Lucifer sneered again. “Empty promises, lies, even, from one who names himself the Son of God. You cannot take her back with you; He will not have her.”
I ignored these words, casting them from me in anguish, and I began to crawl forward. The sand burned me — scraped the skin of my legs — and yet I continued. I was lost in the Christ’s eyes, drawn to them, and I felt a great weight lifting from my heart.
It didn’t matter if it were a lie. It didn’t matter if He tried and failed. All that mattered at that moment was the sensation of liberation, the knowledge that I was loved. It filled the emptiness that had grown within me with dizzying swiftness, flowed through the veins of my new mortal frame, pulsed in my temples and blurred my sight. If all He could offer was that moment in time, I was His. If there were nothing more, so be it — there was nothing whence I had come to compare with it.
I crawled nearer. My hand — my human hand — reached out to meet the advance of His own. I was lost in His eyes, lost in His love. It shone from Him, as light and beauty had once radiated from Lucifer. I couldn’t draw back, couldn’t resist the chance. In the end, the choice was never mine.
Our skin was so close at last that I felt a tingling in the air, a bonding. There was light — such light as Lucifer himself could never have produced, even in the prime of his glory. It surrounded me, separated me from all else, and cleansed me. I wept. I leaned forward to take that hand, and to bow down in supplication.
Then the fire struck, and my mind grew dim.
There was pain. Such pain I had never experienced, even in the fall, for that was more the pain of loss and rending. This was the pain of man. A wall of fire, heat that would have melted the very sun from the sky, shot between us.
I sensed the Christ, but I could no longer see Him. I could still see the overwhelming light that was His essence, but I could not reach it. Perhaps He could have reached me. Perhaps He could have walked through the flame, pushed aside the pain, and stretched out His hand to claim me, but it was too late.
If I would not be Lucifer’s vessel of temptation, I would become a sharper, more potent weapon.
I became a curse. I did not hear the words Lucifer spoke. I did not see his eyes, or those of He whom I now loved, and yet I felt them. I felt the changes coursing through me, my spirit parting and re-forming once more. Changing.
I screamed, pulling every bit of my essence free from the nether regions that still bound me and putting it behind my voice. The light vanished, the heat departed, but I continued to scream.
I was a shell, a shadow spirit with no hope. I was bereft of all that had been mine. I felt the subtle lines that bound me to them both becoming brittle, cracking and falling away.
It was a death, a rebirth. Death is the curse of mankind, but I knew it in that instant, and I cowered from it. I don’t know, to this day, how men go on, knowing that one-day they will die.
Even with the promise of salvation, it is terrifying. For me, it was without hope.
“If you love Him,” Lucifer ground out, advancing on me with eyes of pure flame, his voice crackling like thunder across the desert, “go to Him. I free you of all things, save one. My curse.”
“Look upon her, Son of Man,” he cried, spinning madly and leaping to the top of a large stone to look down upon us. “Look at what Your ‘love’ has wrought. She will be Yours, and You hers, and I tell You now it will be Your undoing.
“I lay my curse upon her. She will follow Your steps as long as You dwell upon the Earth. She, too, will have a place between man and the gods, and she will hunger! She will hunger for that which you fight to preserve. She will thirst for the blood of mankind — the lives, the very souls You seek to save will be her bread.
“She will see no sunrise, nor walk the roads of day; the shadows shall be her home. She will leap forth from those shadows, drawing the blood from Your ‘flock’, while magnifying the weight of her own sin.
“You may love her as you will, it will not matter. She will never be allowed beyond the realms of Earth. It is written; it is law. She is fallen, as I am fallen, and there will be no forgiveness for her.”
I turned to the Christ in anguish, pleading with my eyes, but already the light of the sun was eating at my flesh, dissolving my body. I felt an emptiness stirring within me, becoming tangible, becoming a lust — a hunger that ate at my very being, maddening my thoughts and burning through the chill, bloodless veins of my body.
Perhaps He could have set me free, had I gone to Him then, but I could not. The anguish and the pain were too great. With the light of His love strobing in my mind, that last sight of His eyes snared in the tangling webs of my thoughts, I turned, and I fled. I fled Lucifer’s blinding rage and his mocking laughter. I fled from the burning strength of the sun. I fled from the hunger, but not far enough. Not ever.
I flashed across the desert, the speed of my form rising from my need and the essence that was still mine, though dim and subdued, though cold and sealed from my sight. I was a flash of lightning, a drop of quicksilver slipping through the Earth.
Mountains rose before me, and I ran to them, scrabbling up the sides and searching, groping for any crevasse that might shield me from the sunlight that threatened to bring me to dust.
I was ashamed of what I’d become, appalled that I was so weak and powerless, so easily used, but I was not ready to surrender; to become one with the Earth; to await the coming judgment in torment. Not for Lucifer, not for the Christ. I would fight as long as there was hope.
I slid over the stone, ripping my flesh, which I found no longer felt the pain as it had, and slithered down into a ravine, where I finally found release.
There was an opening, barely large enough for me to enter lying on my belly, and I crawled into it without question. I sensed other presences there, sensed anger and fear on a very low level. I ignored them. The pain was like ice being hammered into my skin and forced through the veins.
The shadows lessened the burden and made it possible to endure the discomfort.
There was a cost, of course. My master had been thorough in his curse. I no longer felt the burning pain of the sun’s embrace, but was consumed by the hunger. As my flesh mended itself and my strength and sanity returned, the hunger grew incrementally.
It was no less painful, no less horrifying, and I knew I would not be able to hold out against it for long. I would have to feed, and I knew the words he’d spoken would prove true.
Nothing but the blood of those who walked this plane of existence would satisfy me. Nothing would save me from the fate of the dust but the warm, flowing nectar that pulsed from their hearts, and slid beneath their skin. I thought of the Christ, and I thought of His offer. I dreamed of His love.
Now I was an abomination, a creature of shadow and darkness, a lesser being even than I had been in Hell — beneath Him. My hope was shattered, lost in the utter blackness of that small cave, and I screamed again, the sound ripping from my throat, blasting through the mountain and shaking its very roots. I sensed the lower presence that I’d felt before entering the tunnels cowering, backing away from me, and I tasted the warm, rich blood that flowed through its veins in the dank air, but still I ignored it. It was not the answer, not the sustenance I craved. It would never do. Whatever it was, it was safe with me — safer than I if I didn’t find my way out of those mountains and into the world of man that very night.
I felt my spirit slipping levels — draining down toward the base existence of the creatures in the shadows — and I fought it. I would feed, and I would walk in shadows as a mortal, whatever it took to survive, but I would not become like them. I would not become an animal, moving from one kill to the next, from meal to meal without regard to past or future. The animals were put upon the Earth to serve, clothe, and feed mankind. Mankind would be the same to me.
I was never the burning star that Lucifer had been, but I had walked the roads of Heaven and Hell, and I would not bow down — not to any but the lord who’d offered me hope. Not until the light He’d shown me was extinguished altogether, until His love was proven to be the empty lie that Lucifer claimed it to be. Perhaps not even then. As I have said, the Christ was very beautiful.
I sensed Him nearby, walking the Earth, and Lucifer as well. It was beyond my former master to forego any chance to attack, or to warp that which came from above. I knew he would fail — as he knew — and I knew the anger, the frustrated, bitter rage that would follow. It no longer mattered, as long as I remained shielded from his eyes, as long as I was less than nothing in his thoughts. His anger would not be for me.
I crept deeper into the mountain. Somehow, in that cramped space, I found a way to turn myself toward the opening. I lay still in the cool damp earth. I did not want to call attention to myself, not on this world or the next. I wanted to lie there until the sun died for the day, to crawl out into this new world I would call my own, and to feed.
Beyond that, I had no plan, and no strength to map one out. I would do as I was cursed. I would follow where the footsteps of the man they called Jesus led me, the man that was a God, and I would pray, throwing myself at His feet, doing what He bid even unto physical death in the hope of salvation.
* * *
This is My Blood is available now at DriveThruHorror.com.
This preview for was provided and published with express permission from David Niall Wilson and Macabre Ink Digital. All rights reserved.