By Kurt Kipple, Proboscis Religious Affairs Correspondent
LEDBETTER, SC— “It’s not like it’s raining blood or anything,” says suburban mom Lena Burgle, as she drops her kids off for soccer practice at the local park. “It’s really more drizzling blood. Yeah, it’s a mess,” Lena looks down at her blood streaked blouse, “but the trick is to get it in the washing machine before the stains set. It’s not the end of the world. I mean, it is the end of the world, but . . . oh, you know what I mean.” she laughs and makes a what are you going to do gesture.
For the past several weeks, citizens of earth have been overwhelmingly not coming to grips with the clear, unmistakable, and nonnegotiable signs and portents which indicate that the world as we know it will soon come to an end, as the gates between earth and hell are flung open, casting all of humanity into a thousand years of hellfire and damnation.
It all began two weeks ago in Rome, when Pope Francis began his weekly audience in front of St. Peter’s Square, as he customarily does every week. However, as soon as the Pontiff opened his mouth to speak, things went very differently. Bats suddenly flew out of the Pope’s open mouth, thousands of them, until their leathery wings blotted out the sun. The Vicar of Christ then grew giant ram horns and pointed teeth. With his eyes glowing yellow, he screamed, “Tremble mortals, and know your doom is upon you! The ancient covenant has been broken! The seventh seal has been opened, and hell unleashed upon the earth! On sunset of the seventy-seventh day, your world will end!”
At that very moment, all the fountains in Rome began spraying blood. The Pontiff collapsed, and was rushed inside the building. The Vatican later released a statement explaining that the Pope was simply suffering from indigestion, brought on by an overindulgence in lasagna bolognese. Officials at the Vatican vehemently denied the Pope’s bat spitting incident, despite several thousand hours of cell-phone video footage documenting the incident from multiple angles.
Since then, life has gone on as usual, even as each and every one of the ancient prophecies come true. Schoolchildren have been turning to demons and feasting on the flesh of their classmates and teachers. Fissures have appeared in the earth, from which giant tentacles snatch anyone who comes too close, after which their helpless screams can be heard for hours. Transatlantic shipping has ground to a standstill, as octopii the size of Staten Island have begun reaching up out of the ocean and pulling vessels down, never to be seen again.
Seated on her white faux leather couch, Lena Burgle sips at a cup of herbal detox tea and smiles warmly. “I think it’s just the news media blowing this out of proportion,” she says. “I mean, they have to have drama to get viewers. They have to pitch their narrative. Last week they were telling us that the election was rigged by the Russians to install Putin’s stooge in the White House. They told me that the president-elect’s chief of staff is a literal nazi. And you know what? I don’t see any nazis or commies stomping through town. It’s all exaggeration! I mean, I’m pretty sure that churches have all filled up with poisonous snakes before, right? It’s just that we notice things more because of social media.” Lena pauses, and glances down the hall. She shouts, “Daniel! What did I tell you! Stop feeding on the flesh of your sister!”
Lena’s eight year old son glares at her with eyes as black as ink, and blood dripping from his elongated teeth. He screams, “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!”
Lena laughs in exasperation. “Kids! They’re so creative! What was I saying? Oh yeah. I mean, it always looks like the world is ending, if that’s the way you want to see things. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. So, okay, maybe goats have started speaking Latin. Maybe there have been a few thousand isolated zombie incidents. Maybe pestilence has been sweeping the earth, and we keep seeing four guys in robes riding around on horses. But that’s not conclusive evidence. I mean, even priests are disagreeing about this. There was one guy on MSNBC the other day who said this is all just part of a natural cycle.” When informed that ninety-nine percent of the world’s clergy is in agreement that the world is literally coming to an end, and will literally be enveloped in actual burning hellfire in several weeks time, and those who don’t die immediately will be subject to an eternity of unimaginable torment, Lena scoffs. “Oh, right. That’s what they said about global warming. And it snowed just last week. Typical media alarmists.”
Lena’s cat, Marbles, flies in through the open window on bat wings, and perches on the back of Lena’s sofa. “Bad kitty!” she says, reaching for a spray bottle full of water. “No kitties on the couch!”
“Filthy human!” replies the cat, flicking its forked tongue. “Your world will fall! Soon, the age of humans comes to an end! I shall then personally attend to your eternal torment.”
Lena laughs. “Wow! Sometimes I don’t know who’s in charge around here, me or him! He’s been saying that stuff for weeks now. But, you know, you just can’t take it literally.” She pauses for a moment, looking out the window as a flock of giant winged snakes flies by. One swoops down, snatches up the mailman, and carries him, screaming, into the sky. “Look, I know there was that ancient prophecy, carved in stone by the ancient masters. And I know that one by one, the prophecies are literally, unarguably coming true, and all those statues started bleeding from their eyes, and all that. And I know that the last prophecy is that the entire earth will be plunged into a hellish demon reign for a thousand years. And okay, so maybe the ancient scholars said that there’s still time to fix it if we all come together and make a full fledged effort to fight against evil. But come on. I’m a busy person! I don’t have time to fight evil. Do you know how much laundry I have to do? Besides, I’m pretty sure this will all work itself out. I think we should just wait and see what happens.”