Twenty-five years ago, the sky ripped open and God’s angels descended upon the earth, possessing the souls of mankind, and beginning the Extermination War. Archangel Gabriel’s army decimated swaths of humanity, but as if by a miracle, passed over the humble town of Mallory, Alabama.
It was the darkest of days, yet amid the unspeakable chaos, the faithful citizens of Mallory prevailed. They awoke the next morning to a mysterious visitor, proclaiming to represent God himself. The Prophet, as he became known, offered the town further protection from evil, but this protection came at a price.
The Prophet ordered the town leader to perform a ritual of penance every five years, where he or she would take the sins and secrets of every man, woman and child to cleanse their souls and ensure collective safety.
Upon his departure, the Prophet built a bonfire, which was to protect the town from the possessed and the infinite threats of the outside world. As long as the citizens followed his word, the fire would burn and the town would be spared.
With the Prophet’s guidance, the people of Mallory united to form a new faith built around singing, service and sacrifice. And so was established the haven of Mallory, founded by the charge of a stranger and the faith of a people. An inexplicable place seemingly touched by God himself…
Unknown to them the people of Mallory were actually serving Lucifer who was using them to rebuild his body.
Former Mallory Leaders and their Accounts of the Extermination War
Reverend Bruce Phillips
October 3, 2018
"Judgment Day was to provide salvation for mankind. But when Father’s angels descended upon us they were not here for deliverance, but for war. I had failed my people after a lifetime of preaching as not even our faith could save us. That is, until The Prophet.
He arrived on the second night… a strange man in a strange place. Heaven knows if he’s telling the truth, but what I saw him do to keep those monsters away… you’re never too old to be surprised. He produced a fire powerful enough to keep those snarling beasts at bay, and said that so long as it burned, my people would be spared. The price of this protection? A sacrifice. My own, to be exact, and plenty more to come. I fear the havoc I would invite uponmy people should I refuse him.
I’ve spent my life as a spiritual protector of Mallory. It is my home. My life. My family. And now, to practice what I’ve preached, I accept The Prophet’s offer, a town’s worth of confessions in my heart, poised for atonement. Despite the fear in my soul, I have faith that this man will protect us as I have always tried. And in that, I find peace. The notion of my daughter, Laurel, one day living in a world devoid of those monsters, the possessed, is the only courage I need.
In my stead, I name Robert Fuller as Leader of Mallory. He does not agree with my decision, though I hope that in the years ahead he will come to know these people the way I have. Open your heart, old friend, and join me in providing peace to the people who deserve it. We are the few.
Bruce W. Phillips"
October 2, 2023
"Five years is hardly enough time to stomach what needs doing. I can’t tell if I’m madder at B.P. for putting this godforsaken duty on me, or for him listening to that son of a bitch in the first place. “The Prophet.” I never did trust him. No one with that amount of smug in them is ever telling the full truth.
But… he was right. B.P. sacrificed himself for us, and here we stand. Just as it was explained to us. Who would I be to refuse my one duty? The only thing worse than Wes growing up without a father, is his growing up thinking he was a coward. I am not a coward.
But I’ve lied awake too many nights, those black-eyed beasts screaming from the trees and fields, just waiting for the fire to go out so they could have a meal and take our eyes. Damn things even made us pivot our farming tactics. I put together a ranger unit to corral our livestock and crops, move them closer to that damn fire. We lost so much cattle I was afraid we wouldn’t last the winter.
I would never wish this role upon anyone, but if I have to go appointing, I hereby name Sheriff Walter Northcutt the Leader of Mallory, who’s never been more than a thorn in my side. If I have to die carrying your secrets, friend, then by God you’re coming down with me.
Now here’s to hoping I can last one more night with this weighing on me. I wonder, sometimes, what my life could have been if I’d never ended up here…
October 4, 2028
"Something is truly wrong with this place. Our former leader, Robert Fuller, named Sheriff Walter Northcutt as his successor—a questionable decision, to condemn our only lawman in a time of unrest. If only Northcutt would have made it the five years…
The coward Robert Fuller abandoned us on the eve of The Celebration, leaving his son behind as he split town, our confessions in tow, and allowed those…things…into Mallory. For days they fed on us until Sheriff Northcutt used Robert’s son, Wes, as bait. Like an animal. I will never forget watching that poor boy beg his father to end his own life. Wes just wanted the deed to be done, as he knew we would never be safe otherwise. He was always a troublemaker, but murder was never in the boy’s blood. Until then.
Wes confessed to me that he’d dragged Northcutt into the woods, bound and gagged, and left him to die amid those soulless monsters. Yes, it left us leaderless, but revenge can be as sweet as deliverance. I knew that if the truth came out they would kill that poor boy. So I took Wes’ confession along with those of the town and volunteered myself for sacrifice. I ask only that my daughter, Harper, be watched over so that she may never know the horrors we’ve faced.
I’ll admit that The Prophet has delivered protection from the monsters outside. But we are a family of monsters ourselves, are we not? We live out our days under house arrest, and yet we have lofty hopes of prosperity. What happens when the fire goes out? It simply cannot burn forever.
I name Alistair Vaughn as Leader of Mallory as I can think of no better heart in which to put our faith.
October 3, 2033
"It’s not every day that someone gets to save the world. Pardon the exaggeration, but it’s the only world I know.
I grew up here in Mallory. They’re good people, most of them, but on the day those things came down from the sky, Mallory stopped becoming our town and became something new. We welcomed a lot of outsiders, but by and large I’d say we’re all right. It’s a difficult thing, living in a vacuum. No one comes in. No one goes out. Everything and everyone stays the same or worse. Lot of big personalities, the kinds that like butting heads. They chase their gossip like flies on shit.
I suppose I wouldn’t have taken this post if it weren’t forced on me, but who’s to say? We don’t know our courage until it’s tested (see Exhibit Fuller)!
I know Mona had her doubts about what we’re doing here. But show me a town who’s got it better and I’ll show you a Prophet who made good on his word. Sure, the guy seemed like a creep, but in this town? Who isn’t. Besides, I’m being asked to go out a hero, which is a hell of a lot better than sticking around.
I’m just anxious to die for the town that gave me everything. Or was my everything… Okay, I’m not spending my final hours cooped up over poetry. I name Nicholas Heyward as Leader of Mallory, one of our trusted transplants from Birmingham. Just don’t mess it up, Nick.
Over & Out,
PS [to the beautiful Laurel Phillips, who I’ll miss most of all]:
We never did find our time, did we, Philly? Lord knows I tried. You have so much good to lend this town. Just don’t go running off with Wes, eh? He was always jealous of what we had. Or could have had. I suppose now is as good a time as any: I love you, Philly. And Godspeed."
September 30, 2038
"We have to get this one right.
I was a little girl when my father became the first of our leaders. How proud I was to watch him take our confessions and deliver us from the evils that awaited us outside. Gone, but never forgotten. It’s a bittersweet memory.
I do not envy Robert Fuller’s page in our history books, having left us to the slaughter like that. We lost a lot of friends because of him.
I loved Mona like a mother and never understood why she stepped up in Sheriff Northcutt’s stead. But then I read her letter and it all made sense. She took Wes’ confession to the grave, but it lives on in these pages. And I can’t blame him. This new world of ours can drive even the most poised person to the edge of their own sanity.
And then came poor Ali. In his moment of sacrifice, he missed his heart and spent two weeks in a coma, our confessions his prisoner, unable to finish the deed. And here we sat. Helpless. Vulnerable. Hunted. And as our people grew too weak to fight, Ali finally awoke to take the final plunge and complete his sacrifice. But my God, what a horrific stretch of time.
Our leader, Nicholas Heyward, was killed in “The Massacre,” bless his heart. And so now it comes to me. I didn’t once hesitate to volunteer; I knew my father would be proud. But so much has gone wrong and we have to get this one right.
I’m starting this letter early, as I have no clue whom I am going to nominate…
October 2, 2039
We had a visitor in town today, one who calls himself “Michael.” Probably not his name…
A mysterious man, but then again, we don’t see many out-of-towners anymore. Wes doesn’t trust him, but who has he ever? He’s understandably skeptical, but Michael may have answers about the outside world.
A place we’ve long forgotten…"