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Fiction by Terence Hannum

Our Dead Age is a story collection written to accompany End Terrain, the new album by Hannum’s experimental black metal band Locrian–available now from Profound Lore Records. Our Dead Age collects 9 speculative fiction stories (mirroring the 9 songs of the album) and ventures from experimental writings, corrupted documents from the future and more narrative tales at the end of the earth. >>Voice_Signal_Dataset<<, an audio version of the book, is available via Anathema Editions.

BRUISER is excited to present Deconsecrators,” a story from Our Dead Age, along with selections from the incredible artwork created by Chimère Noire.



Deconsecrators

Winter became a summer that burned a bright drought red in all of the sky. All of the oracles were fulfilled. The basilicas burned behind us, collapsing inwards, and the ashes were scattered, and pits dug for all decoration. The world had perished and the new eternal arrived. Fires held sway over darkness, and silence in the midst of the night. Flames stretching tall from skeletal windows once laden with charred glass, now up into blackened smoke. We tore down the ruins together in the incessant new crimson daylight that cast the world in monochrome tones of growing flame.

It wasn’t night or day when we set to the new city, scouring the old maps to find every house of worship and set to our task. Esra, our leader, led us on to the first brick building with its leaning steeple. His ash caked Cossack, stolen from a wasted chapel decades ago, flew behind him as he set his axe, fashioned from a silver cozier, to the doors, dismantling the welcoming crosses. These symbols were the first to be rooted out and thrown into the fire, where they would be utterly consumed. With our tools we dismantled each door and wall, every brick pulverized, every pew into kindling, each metal smelted down and used to cast more tools to destroy these once sacred places.

My ferraiolo, now grey with soot, hung loose from me as I watched the warped wooden floorboards burning black before me. Esra sifted through the fresh remnants with his clerical gloves, the silk-stained dark hiding the golden patterns, he divined some great destruction. His face caked in ash hiding his bold features. Reaching for his respirator that hung from his stained chasuble, he breathed in his fresh air and chanted to himself. He piled the burnt dust over the old paper map to determine the next destination by cineromancy.

Our group had a massive task ahead of us, a purgation of all traces of these symbols along this latitude. We knew that heaven was shut, that our future was cast — like tools from our smelter — and that what we could contribute was absolute retribution and a forgetting. That whoever would find these ruins, these sites, these fossil beds, long after our bodies were fed to the earth, would never know the origins of belief, just an abundance of rust throughout every land. We were but one of many roving the terrain, setting waste to every church, chapel, hall, steeple and house [of prayer].

Jochaim presided over the pyre, spreading out more and more fuel from beneath his glittering black dalmatic. We sat back watching the material be consumed, even though the glowing fire was not quenched. Rather, it grew and grew in height as we breathed in our respirators and marched on.

We walked, carting our supplies behind us. Turning at each overgrown street, sidestepping abandoned cars, watching distant fires loom. We set upon a consequential graveyard and set to our directive, toppling the headstone, pulverizing the granite, destroying the markers of the dead. Centuries of memorials defiled in the glowing red twilight. Jochaim strapped a marble angel into the machine reducing its graceful form to mere dust.

Later, we crossed below the crumpled sign and across a vast parking lot that ringed the decrepit shopping mall. The massive building had been set fire before, its tall walls were charred in some places, the few tall windows blasted out. A large metal cross hung askew from the face before the caved in roof. Esra pushed into the space searching for any remnant of devotees as we set to collecting all of their books, chairs, any symbol or form we carted outside. We found them in the back rooms, cowering in fear. They had locked themselves in a fellowship hall and gazed upon us in terror, eyes wide at our profane vestments. But we did not molest them.

     “You see,” Esra said gently unclasping a tarnished cross from a sobbing woman’s neck.

     “It is not you, or your belief. You, for the rest of your life can believe everything you want. And when you die, it will die.”

Slowly he removed a black leather bible from a man’s arms, and quietly he listened to their cries and prayers.

Trust me, you will live your life. But when you are a fossil, when you are a grave bed,” Esra said, leveling his gray face at another man who held on to a rusted rifle,

you will be just that.
And no one will ever know your God.”

One of them began praying for execution,
decaying in the mist of night and fog.

     “Come out, come out,” Esra said, opening the doors to the now burning church mall.

They came out of their hovel. Abandoning their expired survival rations and rusted armaments. They stood, bleary eyed in tears and smoke, watching our remnant gather their belongings in the space of time to cast onto our huge pyre.

Esra looked around at the destruction, his eyes glowing in the flames and smiled his grill of melted down holy metals and hissed through his silver and brass fangs that were once crucifixes and altar pieces, Short are our lives, that when ended dissolves with the years.”

Terence Hannum

IG: @terence.hannum
http://www.terencehannum.com/

Chimère Noire

IG: @chimerenoire

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