The Court of The Eternal Judge
Wandering through the frigid nothingness of The Veil offered little respite for the Old One’s eternal agony. The cold atmosphere combined with the swirling mist around the bull’s exposed flesh made the blood congeal, tendons freeze and muscle fibers tense in frigid structure.
The Judge was a living marvel even for an Old One. His hide had been flayed from his flesh eons before mortals were even a concept. The creature that now roamed the realms was a grotesque and bloody shadow in comparison to the bull he once was.
With every step the bull took, a bloody print was left behind that quickly crystallized in the cold. The quiet here was nice. It was peaceful even, no threats or annoyances. No flies to pester him, no mud to cake upon his hooves, no plants to whip across bare flesh or the sun to dry out his already sensitive physical form.
It would have been nice place to live out the rest of his eternal suffering, except the cold made it rather unbearable. His exposed flesh seared with agonizing pain with every step, the nerves across his body never tiring of pain. Thousands of millennia later and his pain had only been reduced to a constant throb, his lungs burning for air while his limbs begged for rest.
If it were possible to lay down and end this torment, he would have done so long ago, but those attempts were all in vain.
Even still, his physical torment was pathetic in comparison to what others endured.
A jet of hot air rushed through his nasal passage, spewing out a mist of steam and bloody droplets. His dark umber gaze followed the billowing steam up into the nothingness above him. There was little light here in this part of The Veil, crushed between realms but also disconnected from all.
Taking a deep breath, the bull hung his head down, letting his neck muscles relax. His skull throbbed, his two large yellow and jagged horns curled off his head into an oblong V, only adding to the pressure and weight on his cervical vertebrae. Eyelids were an underrated organ as the cold continued to seep into his eyes, drying them out with no hope of respite.
Focusing on steady breaths, The Judge stared down into the swirling mists beneath him. The mist swirled and rose, only to dissipate with each breath. Taking another breath in, The Judge tilted his head, noticing a puddle underneath his hooves.
Sighing, the bull lifted his head, opening his mouth slightly and breathing in a few times. The warm puddle beneath him stayed fresh, the rich metallic scent of blood filling what remained of his olfactory system. His pupils dilated, overtaken his umber iris as he fixated on the blood.
Shaking his head, the bull scanned the mist, looking for any deviations. The mist swirled around, except for in a small section off to his left.
Turning to heading that way, the puddle beneath him shifted, the blood clinging to his hooves and travelling against gravity up his legs. Letting out a low grunt of discomfort as the foreign blood became trapped against his extremities, wrapping his limbs in a hot and humid sheath. He shook his hooves, trying to alleviate the sudden heat on his legs, but it did little to stop the rising pain.
Steam rose up from his limbs as the frigid atmosphere reacted to the foreign heat source, but he ignored it as he walked towards the small clearing in the mist. As he neared the area, the darkness lessened. There was the faintest silver glimmer about the area, reminiscent of a full moon.
In the center of the clearing, more blood pooled slowly.
The Judge sighed, wondering what horrors awaited him as he lowered his head, sniffing the puddle curiously. Given the metallic scent mixed with the acrid scent of fear, a grisly scene awaited him on the other side.
Taking a step forward, The Judge set his hoof down into the center of the pool. The blood leapt up as if it were a wave thrashing in the ocean. A crimson wave washed over him, transporting The Judge from The Veil… to Earth.
He’d been here countless times, from one reality to the next. Earth was always the same. A realm full of promise, of potential of life… filled only with death and misery caused by its greatest creation.
Of all mortals, humans were the most difficult to understand. They were given great gifts of intelligence and evolutionary advantages, but for some reason they were obsessed with destroying each other. War and strife were as familiar to them as night and day, as close to their hearts as sin itself. There was no harmony here, no peace, only suffering and hate.
Earth was a miserable place in any timeline.
Tonight would prove no different, The Judge thought as he looked down at the mangled corpse beneath him on a bloody wooden floor.
The corpse had once been a beautiful young human female with auburn hair and fair skin across a face that once exhibited innocence and life. Raw wounds stretched across her naked and battered form, evidence to the horrors this female had endured at the hands of one of her own.
There were times that The Judge felt perhaps the universe would be better off without humanity, but that was not his call to make.
Taking a moment to nuzzle the girl’s warm body, The Judge looked up.
Not far from where he stood, a middle aged human male was meticulously cleaning his instruments of pain. Oblivious as always.
The Judge spared one more glance to the corpse beneath his hooves, before taking care to avoid disturbing the carcass as he walked over.
His hooves hit the old wood floor with heavy thuds, making the human pause and tilt his head to the side. Taking the time to look back, the human froze as he took in the grisly form of The Judge.
The flayed bull stood like an angry guardian between the corpse and her murderer. He was too late to help her in this life, but he could prevent this fate for others.
Pawing the wooden floor, the bull’s hoof kicked up dirt and blood, speckling his raw flesh in the grotesque mixture. The grime dried and fell off while the blood moistened his flesh, the pool beneath him ripping forward like a rising tide.
Terror made the human’s eyes wide, before the monster dared to run. An angry bellow escaped the bull as the human turned, only for the crimson wave to rush forward, enveloping the human’s feet.
The pathetic creature fell wailing and thrashing, unable to move as the blood congealed around him, holding the human stuck to the floor. Shrieking and tumbling, the human tried desperately to escape, his mortal mind incapable of comprehending what was happening.
The Judge imagined this was similar to how this predator’s victims panicked, thrashing wildly to escape the pain. There was some poetic justice to this sentence.
Seeing the bull approach, the human jerked back, his hands touching the congealed blood beneath him. Instantly, the blood solidified around his hands, holding him in place.
“No, no, no!” the human’s pleas fell upon deaf ears as The Judge came to stand before him.
“Deacon Adams.” The human froze as the Old One spoke, The Judge’s voice a rumbling echo like thunder. “Your crimes have not gone unnoticed.”
“Wha-what is happening?!” having found his voice at last, the human tried to find reason in these unusual circumstances.
“Before the living and the dead, you will be sentenced… to feel yourself what you have done unto others. Their pain shall be your own, and when your heart beats its last you will be reborn. A predator like no other with an insatiable lust for blood… and no true hope to fulfil it. Your flesh will be torn and rendered until your soul is nothing but fertilizer for The Tree.”
The human’s squirming and crying continued, escalating to a high pitched crescendo as the congealed bindings suddenly melted. Returning to a liquid state, the blood seeped into the mortal’s skin, infecting his flesh.
The Judge watched with contempt as the human fell back, writhing again as his body was slowly ravaged from the inside. Every moment of the girl’s suffering- and all those that came before her- flowed through the bull’s mind like an open river, tainting his memories with their agony.
The suffering Deacon’s victims had endured manifested themselves upon the human’s flesh. His screams died out within seconds, the pain beyond what his own body could handle.
Realizing the human was about to pass out, The Judge walked forward, planting his hoof onto the human’s groin. The human jolted up, only to let out a strangled, and gargled gasp as The Judge’s horn impaled the mortal’s throat.
“You have been judged.” The Old One’s voice was a low growl filled with seething hatred for this mortal, and all others like it. The realms were filled with endless possibilities, but mortals chose to kill, to maim and to torture. The universe would be better off without them.
Jerking his head back, The Judge removed the human’s skull from his body along with his hide. The mortal was flayed in a single motion, before the bull flung his head around, throwing the bloody skull and mangled skin away from him.
Whatever human law enforcement found this grotesque scene would not doubt be confused, but it would remain one of life’s great mysteries.
The heat around The Judge’s legs began to dissipate, the foreign blood trickling down his limbs and pooling onto the wooden floor once more.
One down, only a few hundred million more corrupt souls to bring home for eternal suffering.
A soft whimper made the bull turn around.
Standing over a bloody spot of floor was a young human female with auburn hair, translucent skin and a face bearing a mask of terror.
The female shied away as the bull turned towards her, darting to hide into the shadows.
Sighing, The Judge took his time to approach the lost soul. The structure they were in was not very big, allowing him to find the female huddled in a corner, trying to cope with the recent horror.
Rocking back and forth, the female held onto her legs, staring into the darkness for comfort.
As The Judge approached once more, the female was preoccupied with the past, memories flowing through her mind.
“It’s over now.”
Her head snapped up in an instant, her once green eyes now transparent and afraid. Her gaze widened as she took in The Judge’s grotesque appearance, before she seemed to gasp, daring to reach out towards the bull.
“You poor thing.” Despite the trauma her soul had endured, the female’s spirit fixated upon the bull’s grisly plight, not realizing her own existence was shattered and uprooted.
As the lost soul’s hand fell upon The Judge’s face, there was a soothing warmth from the contact. A great relief spread across his cheek as his hide regenerated bit by bit beneath her touch.
Finding some comfort, or distraction, with The Judge’s condition, the human stroked her hand down across his face towards his muzzle. His exposed nasal passageways began to strength, the mucous clearing up as his muzzle slowly reformed.
“Poor thing… who could do this to you,” the human female continued to murmur, trying her best to soothe what pain she could.
The bull was glad for the respite, the temporary relief from his eternal agony. The human’s life was over in this realm, but it would take some time for her soul to heal enough to return to The Tree.
Stretching out his neck, the bull gently nudged the soul’s face, causing her translucent skin to redden with delight.
It would take time for her to heal, and thankfully, The Judge had plenty to spare.
About the author
Writing, gaming and creating art are my passions. Along with cats. All hail the mighty felilne overlords! Fantasy- traditional and urban- are my forte, but I dabble with romance, sci-fi and occasionally horror. Let me know what you think!