The arias of archangels arc through the air as I am “assisted” into the amphitheatre. Their anticipation appals me, my arrival announced with apish amusement, ablaze in affected affluence. Alongside the angelic anthems, their applause is an absolute aural agony.
Behold – the buzzing breaks, albeit briefly, into a breathless babble as a bolt of brightness bursts into being, far above. It bears downwards, becoming bigger and bolder in the blazing sky and I blanch, barely believing that the bastard would bridge the barrens of Babel to be beholden to my embarrassment… but lo – in a beat – he is before me, and he burns with bitterness and bile.
My betrayal is brought to light, and with a bellow that blasts me backwards, he broadcasts that I am to be beaten, until both body and brain are broken. This is, unbelievably, better than the barbarity I would brook from the brutes on the balconies above, so I bow. I will bear the first blow. But before it begins, he bends down beside me.
“Baptism by blood,” he breathes.
– CRACK –
I crumple. On cue, a cacophonous crowing cascades into the courtyard and the collisions continue, coming without cease as carefully, quietly, my consciousness creeps away, consumed by cavernous… crawling…