Church (Chapter 6, part 5)

Nestled at the foot of Errigal (the highest mountain(2,464ft) in County Donegal) and overlooking the beautiful Poisoned Glen is the ruins of Dunlewy Church.

My breath caught in my throat. The wolf rumbled and I saw it’s storm cloud grey fur sticking up. It’s deep black eyes and nose fixed on me for a few seconds then turned to the daemon coming above it’s head. The wolf snapped a mighty jaw upwards at the same time as jumping. I saw all four of its paws leave the ground then land heavily back down. The daemon yelled out something and wheeled away into the haze.

The wolf turned back to me and I fastened my bleeding palms onto my sword. A growl came, rolling over me like a thunder clap. The wolf dropped into a change, racing straight for me. I could hear the grass zinging against that smooth grey coat. My stomping boots added to the noise as I took off towards it.

Grim determination settled on my face and I raised my sword. I battle cry escaped my lips, my sword ploughed into the wolf. The ringing up my arm caused me to realise that my sword had hit the earth and not the flesh. We had shot past each other. I spun on my toes and saw him – for it was definitely male- standing behind me, his body curving as he too turned.

Seeing him up close, I noticed that there was an electric blue outline around him. He was also seemed to be as high as my hip and not as gigantic as I had made him out to be. He flashed ice white fangs at me as his black-pink lips curled back. A snort came out of him then his large paws padded back to me, quickening as he slunk though the grass.

Re-positioning my feet, I darted to meet him. His jaw snapped out as I swung my blade too wide. I twisted it back, sending a spike of pain across my wrists and aiming for his rear. Somehow, he saw or predicted the movement, because he threw his tail and thus his rear away. His tail flicked back and he leapt on a turn.

I threw my arms and sword up in defence. He collided into me, shoving my chest plate down and scrapping his claws against the metal. The force caused me to stumble and as I struggled to stay upright, the wolf kicked off me. I lost my balance and fell. I hit the ground hard with a ringing in my ears. Struggling up, I had no time to assess the damage. The wolf was snarling at me and closing the gap between us.

A woman’s scream of, ‘no!’ made us both pause and look across. A black figure with a curving blade was standing next to a dirty white gelatinous blob shape in the hazy distance.

‘Rain?’ I called back.

The wolf growled and whipped around to me. I glanced at him then forced my eyes to stay down instead of looking back up. The wolf, keeping low to the ground, stalked me. I moved backwards aware of pain in my legs and hands. I gritted my teeth and knew I had to make this quick, Rain needed my help.

‘Come on,’ I muttered.

The wolf snapped at me and lines of saliva dripped from his mouth. He shook his head, clearing himself of it before charging at me. I easily side stepped, snaking out of his reach then brought my sword down on top of him. The blade pierced his spine. The wolf howled, twisted back and jumped me. I was faster. I whacked my sword around and ran him through.

The wolf slide off me and landed in the grass, which instantly flattened underneath him. I dragged in tight breaths and watch him fading. A wave of victory rocked though me and I felt the uncustomary feeling of satisfaction at killing my first evil soul.

Rain’s voice called me back.

I spun around, half trying to work out what she was saying and half assessing the next situation. She was too far away for me to do both. I broke into a run, sword dragging though the top of the grass.

‘You idiot!’ Rain screamed, ‘Stop!’

Her words whipped passed me. I ignored them, some part of my brain claiming they weren’t for me. Why would Rain say that when I was coming to save her? I pressed on and almost ran right into the dirty white gelatinous blob. My boots skidded to a halt, desperate breaths rattled my chest and my arms readied to fight again.

The blob loomed over me, blocking out the skyline. It seemed to be a swirling mass of white and grey shades of paint. It’s aura pulsed deep red across it’s outline. I stalled for a few moments, unsure what this thing was or how to kill it.

I felt, rather than saw, Rain come to my side. Her body knocked hard into me, shoving me out of the way. I almost stumbled to the ground again, but hung on. I shot her a look and opened my mouth, but she beat me to speaking.

‘Get away. Are you crazy?’

‘You need help,’ I stated.

Rain’s head turned to me and I saw her mismatched eyes through the slit in her mask and hood. They were full of anger, determination and power.

‘Not from you, I don’t,’ she snapped back, ‘your power is useless against this monster.’

‘But I killed the other one!’ I counted back.

A flicker of sadness appeared and vanished in her eyes. She turned back to the blob, ‘I don’t need your death on my hands. Go!’

I shook my head slightly, knowing she wouldn’t see it.

The blob shifted, turning tediously to us.

I heard Rain growl. She swung her katana out and it sliced right through the blob. The gash was wide, but in seconds it had healed over. She yelled out and slashed at what seemed to be the head, though there was no visible face. The blob paused to shudder then began moving again.

Rain turned back to me, darting over, ‘throw me,’ she rushed.

I frowned at her. She torn my sword from my hand and threw it away. I heard it whizzing through the air and slicing though the grass as it landed.

‘Hey!’ I yelled.

‘Throw me, God, Damn it!’ she shouted into my face.

‘Okay!’

She turned and I crouched. I grabbed her around the ankles and picked her up. She lent her body into mine as I did so.

‘How is this going to help?’ I asked gruffly.

‘I need to get on top of it,’ Rain called down, ‘the soul is in its’ head. You ready?’

‘Sure.’

‘Then…?’

Pushing all my energy in it, I threw Rain as high as I could. A grunt squeezed itself out of my chest and I watched her flying through the air. She land almost on top of it. Jabbing her katana in, she scrambled up the rest of the way. The blob didn’t seem to notice or if it did, it didn’t care. Rain walked across it then drew her blade into a downward killing stroke.

She dropped the katana down, slicing through the gelatinous blob and straight into something hard. I couldn’t see probably, but I knew she’d hit the soul. The blob began disintegrating. Large jelly chucks bounced across the grass or curved inwards.

Rain yanked her weapon out and half run- half slide down its side. She landed with her legs together, knees bent before coming over to me. She pulled down her mask and hood. Her face was flushed and she was breathing hard. She slotted her katana away and walked past me. I watched her pick up my sword and return with it. She handed it to me, refusing to meet my questioning eyes.

‘Is it died?’ I asked to break the silence between us.

Rain nodded once.

‘Did you see me kill that wolf?’

‘Yeah,’ she grumbled and moved forward.

The blob was all but melted down and fading fast.

‘Did you see that daemon?’ I questioned, ‘he’s the same one from before. You know with the bear?’

‘Sort of, but I wasn’t paying attention,’ she answered as she drew her katana.

‘He’s taunting me,’ I pointed out.

Rain hummed and held her arms out, her weapon in her right hand. She began to mumble some words.

A wind swept the grass and I felt it touching me then rushing off again. The blob parts vanished and the wind came back the other way. Rain dropped her katana to the ground and with the tip trailing behind started walking. She circled the area where the blob had died and when she reached the start point, she struck the katana into the earth. The blade wobbled and I got the sense of a white light running the circle that she had made.

Rain went to her knees and pressed her head to the guard and hilt. Her lips moved softly, though I didn’t catch the words. Following her, I knelt, lay my sword down and put my hands together. I prayed silently, thanking God for protecting us and asking him to help Rain cleanse the area.

A soft almost inaudible whinnying ticked my ears. I opened my eyes and saw the giant wolf standing before Rain.

I snatched up my sword, thoughts racing through my mind. The wolf give a low growl and Rain shot between us.

‘He’s my friend,’ she stated, ‘could you kindly not kill him again?’

Church (Chapter 6, part 4)

Nestled at the foot of Errigal (the highest mountain(2,464ft) in County Donegal) and overlooking the beautiful Poisoned Glen is the ruins of Dunlewy Church.

My hand hit my sword and I unsheathed it out. The daemon’s laughter rose and he scuttled down to a lower branch. I could see him more clearly and yes, it was the same daemon I had faced the night I had met Rain. The daemon’s grey forked tongue lolled out of his slashed mouth whilst his eyes fixed upon me. His jagged twisted horns looked spiky and menacing. His sharp claws dug into the tree and his orange scales seemed to crack with fire light. His triangle ending tail flicked around like a cat’s and wrapped around a small branch.

‘You’re friend’s here,’ the daemon stated.

‘Friend? What?’ I asked.

‘Death,’ his tongue drew out the word.

I flipped my mind back and recalled the conversation we had had before. A part of me demanded to forget all about it and just get on with killing him. Something, maybe it was the need for information, stilled my hand further. I looked up at him and saw that he had unfolded his leathery bat wings. Red veins webbed across them and they were both topped with a sharp talon. The more fragile ends fluttered a little like the wing tips of a butterfly.

‘Do you still have your soul?’ the daemon jeered then broke into a hissing laugh.

I growled and moved to spear him, but the sounds of another fight stopped me. I saw the daemon cock his head and slide his eyes over.

‘The bear,’ I muttered, ‘did it come back?’

Steeling myself, I looked around the tree. There was nothing but an empty field, then I spotted a glimmer of something to my right…

The daemon screeched and my eyes snapped back to him. He jumped from the tree, aiming for my face. I stepped back and brought my sword up to defend myself. The daemon’s claws scrapped across my blade then his fingers wrapped around the sword. Tightening my grip, I flung my sword out and he was ripped off by the force.

Shrieking, he beat his wings against the air and darted back towards me. I swiped at him and missed. He shot up through the branches of the tree and I hurried after him as he turned in a circle to come back. My feet slammed onto a concrete base and I stopped. The daemon hoovered in the sky for a moment then shot down at me.

I held my sword in both hands and used it like a bat. Shuffling my feet, I fixed my aim and as soon as he was in range, I swung. My sword collided heavily with his belly and I felt the vibrations rushing through me. The daemon screamed in pain and was tossed backwards. He struggled to sort his wings out then zoomed off.

I smelt acid tang in the air. I checked my sword and saw a patch of dark red, nearly black blood staining the tip. I stole a few deep breaths and searched the sky for him. I felt the hairs standing up on my arms and my eyes dropped to the surrounding area. Off to my right, I could see a haze of air which seemed to roll up in waves. I shook my head and forcefully reminded myself that I should concentrate on killing this daemon.

The distance sounds of a fight brushed my ears and I had to turn back again. I could hear a clashing sword and the grunting of some kind of beast. A very evil aura blossomed to my right and it became so red and large, I felt pain twitch across my head. A small howl like a dog’s echoed as if in some dream then there was nothing more.

I turned away, blinking quickly and trying to refocus. The sound of leather wings caused me to look over. From the haze came the daemon and he had friends.

I gritted my teeth, double handed my sword again and raced through an action plan. There were four small daemons tailing behind the first. They looked just like him, only slightly lighter in orange colour.

‘Kill! Kill!’ they chanted as the clouded around my head.

‘You’ll die this time, Divine!’ the daemon gloated.

‘No, I won’t!’ I shouted.

The first of the smaller daemons came at me, claws out stretched to my face. I easily speared him on the tip of my sword and as blood showered, I swung into the next one. The lead daemon’s laughter haunted my ears and rage pounded through me. The second smaller daemon was temporally taken out with the body of the first. I watched them both hit the long grass before turning back to the other two.

With a shattering screech, the third daemon dived me and I felt claws scratching my head. My hair was tugged. I whipped around and easily sliced the daemon in two. His throbbing body bounced in the grass. I pivoted back for the four.

‘Go. Go!’ the leader yelled.

The four hissed at him, sucked in then spit at me. I ducked to the side as a green gloop of acid landed at my foot. I saw it bubble on the concert.

‘Is that the best you’ve got?’ I challenged.

‘Get him!’ the leader roared.

The four daemon hesitated. The leader grabbed him and threw him at me. I knocked him down with my sword, stood on his tail and impaled him. Breathing deeply, I huffed my hair out of my face and looked up at the leader. His mouth opened wide in a collaborated scream-roar. I felt my ears pop.

Pain shot under my knee and I looked down. The second daemon had bitten into my leg whilst his leader had districted me. I kicked out, but he only dug his claws in and began climbing me. I dropped my sword, which clattered loudly to the ground and shoved my hands into the daemon’s face. I felt acid dipped dagger teeth sinking into my hands.

Fighting away the pain, I tightened my grip and ripped the daemon off me. I heard he’s muffled shriek from underneath me before I sent him tumbling through the grass. I scurried for my weapon and found it next to me. Wrapping my fingers around the grip, I picked up the sword as the daemon trundled out of the grass and back onto the concrete base.

For the first time, I noticed his left wing was badly damaged and he was blood spattered. The lesser daemon scurried over, claws tapping and belly scrapping. I stepped back and pointed my blade at him. He rushed to the side, going to the back of me. I danced after him and cut my sword down.

The scales on his back were shaved off and he squealed. I kicked him over and stabbed into his belly. He screamed, flayed around before becoming still. I nudge the shaking body into the grass and sort out my last enemy.

‘Face me yourself, why don’t you?’ I shouted, ‘your minions are worthless.’

‘You want true death, Angel? I gives you its!’ the daemon snapped.

‘Bring it!’ I shot back, ‘only it’s going to be your death!’

The daemon hissed and made to flap down at me, but something stopped him. His head turned to the right and though I was painfully aware of something happening over there, I didn’t move. A low chuckled came from him and he flapped off in that direction instead.

Twisting, my eyes followed him and I saw a giant wolf emerging from the haze.

To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 6, part 3)

Nestled at the foot of Errigal (the highest mountain(2,464ft) in County Donegal) and overlooking the beautiful Poisoned Glen is the ruins of Dunlewy Church.

I hide the notebooks back inside the organ before I left. The risk of Rain finding them haunted me and even though I wanted to talk to her, the guilt cornered me. I walked out of the Church and fastened my sword to my hip. It had stopped raining and air smelt delightfully of summer. I started to walk through the graveyard, the grass crunching under me and zipping by my robe covered legs.

The spirits took form, developing from orbs of light into fully formed figures. They clustered on the vanishing path halfway between me and the lichgate. My feet slowed down, they had never done this before. The elderly couple stood slightly in front of everyone else, giving me the impression that they had decided or had been choice to be the speakers of the group. Behind them to the right, I could see the two young girls holding hands next to the woman and her babies. To the left were the others; soldier boy, teenage boy, ancient woman, old man with dog and the farmer’s wife.

I approached them, noticing how they forms seemed unusually solid against the early night backdrop. I didn’t have time to wonder what they wanted, because the old woman called out my name. I stopped, my hand going to my sword and robe settling around my ankles.

‘Blaze,’ she said again in a raspy, tired voice, ‘we must speak with you.’

‘Don’t avoid us, Angel,’ her husband threated.

‘I’m listening,’ I sighed.

‘Who is your new friend?’ she questioned, ‘we can feel her power.’

‘I know she can help us,’ ancient woman crackled in, ‘she’s Death!’

The ghosts murmured and shimmered together.

I pulled a slight face, but didn’t say anything.

‘I felt his hands once!’ ancient woman continued, ‘I still remember that energy before I woke up here.’

‘Shut up, you old Hag. You don’t remember anything like the rest of us,’ old man snorted.

‘I do! I do!’ she screeched and waved her hands around.

He tried to grab her, but she floated away with a giddy laugh. The others fell to arguing with them and each other. The baby ghost started crying and the dog barked.

I put a hand to my head as I felt their combined energies waving through me, ‘just stop. What is this all about?’ I spoke.

‘Ooohhh. He wants to listen for a change,’ teenage boy whistled.

I saw solider boy shooting him a look, then stepping forward, ‘Sir. We know you can’t help us, but maybe, your friend can. We don’t want to be stuck here anymore.’

‘Where’s mama?’ the little girl chirped in and was hushed by the older one.

‘I’ll ask her,’ I muttered, ‘but she doesn’t…deal with your kind of souls.’

‘Whatcha mean?’ the farmer’s wife cut in with her broad accent.

‘She fights evil souls,’ I explained.

Those words brought them all back together in an interested silence. I looked at the ghosts, but I didn’t want to say anything else about Rain. The lights from their figures were still strong and touching a couple of nearby headstones. The glow coming off them seemed stronger than before.

‘A warrior like you,’ old woman whispered.

I nodded, ‘I will ask her,’ I repeated, ‘Please. I need to go now.’

I felt their sad eyes and understanding nods then they faded. I breathed deeply and filled my lungs were damp grass, night-time flowers and warm air. I could still feel their auras and hear mumbled words. I walked the rest of the way to the lichgate, telling myself for the first time, that I would try to help those lost souls.

Fingers tugged my red hair as I reached the gate and I turned slowly around. The older girl in the summer dress was standing there. I could see right through her, even though she was clearly trying to make herself solid. Her face, outlined in grey-sliver wobbly lines, revealed her too young age and sad expression. I waited for her to say something.

She held out her hand and small gold cross necklace appeared just above her palm, ‘I want you to have this,’ she said, her lips only slightly moving.

‘Why?’ I frowned.

‘Because I want you to promise that you are going to help us and this will remind you of it,’ she explained.

‘I can’t make such a promise,’ I stated.

She seemed to lift her small shoulders in a shrugged, ‘If your friend will not help us then find someone who will.’

‘Why does it have to be me?’ I pressed.

She didn’t answer, but started to fade. The cross began to fall to the ground and I caught it without thinking. I brought my palm up to my face and looked at it. The cross was small and thin, just like the links making the chain. It was a child’s Christening Cross. I turned it over, but there was nothing on the back. Looking up again, I went to ask her about it, but she had all ready gone. Sighing, I unclipped the chain and put it around my neck. I got the cross to settle against my throat and turned around again.

I jumped over the lichgate and began walking down the forgotten path. I knew, even though I had never spoken the words, that I was bound to the promise. The cross was deathly cold against my skin and weighed down with a child’s faith.

I went right to the end of the path and stopped. A farmer’s road cut across, leading to the left and right. A patchwork of fields rolled out before me with night calmly wrapped around them. I unfurled my wings and flapped them. Kicking off from the ground, I moved my wings faster and took to the sky.

Like usual, I let my senses direct me to where I needed to be. The warm air cleaned my head and the clinging energies of the ghosts vanished. Places passed below, but nothing drew me. However, I knew I was heading in the opposite direct to the city I had previously visited. Lights twinkled by like stars and praying voices called out to me.

On the approach to an airport, I felt an evil aura. Avoiding flying over the top of the runways, I veered to the side and felt a sharp tug towards a flat area. Keeping my path only caused the urges to grow and my senses alerted me straight to that spot. Clearing the airport, I drifted over.

Below me, lit up by the floodlights of the airport boarder fence was an old demolished site. I landed on the edge in knee high grass and weeds. Blocks of concrete marked the foundations of a number of scattered buildings. My guess was they had once been connected to the airport, but some remodelling had rendered them useless. Nature had claimed the space back like a vicious animal. Teenage trees shot up from clusters of bushes whilst moss and weeds nested in cracks. Wild grasses and flowers tried to make it impossible to believe that there had been something else here before them.

I moved to one of the concrete bases and looked further around. The daemonic aura was strong and there was a whiff of brimstone. I listened and heard what sounded like the beating leathery wings coming diagonally ahead. Taking off in that direction, a grin spread across my face. My boots snapped loudly through grass, fallen twigs and stone chips as I forced my way through. I saw a spiny tree looming out of the shadows and made for it.

The whacking of wings yanked my head up, but I couldn’t see anything. Branches creaked under a heavy weight and my eyes shot over to the tree. Red dots glared back at me and I easily picked the daemon out from the shadows.

‘We meets again, Angelic Knight,’ a familiar hiss whipped out at me.

                  To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 6, part 2)

Nestled at the foot of Errigal (the highest mountain(2,464ft) in County Donegal) and overlooking the beautiful Poisoned Glen is the ruins of Dunlewy Church.

I had the urge to confront her and demand the truth. She was high ranking and had never once hinted it. That would make us equals, I noted. Unless, the Reapers had a different organisational structure to Angels? Why would they, though? I shook the questions away, knowing they were unanswerable at present. I steadied the book and looked at the line again. Something else made me paused, RR. I had seen that somewhere before…

Frowning, I closed the diary and picked up the notebook with the drawings in. Under a sketch of a Tawney owl were the two R’s. Could it be the same person? My mind questioned as if solving a great riddle. I opened the diary again and looked at both the initials side by side. They didn’t look to be the same hand. Could it just a coincidence?

A growl escaped me and I closed both notebooks. What difference did it make? I lay back, sprawling out on the bed and put an arm over my eyes. I heard an owl hooting, the half-whispering voices of the graveyard spirits and my own quickened breathing. I should go out, I told myself, do some fighting and stop thinking about her. But if she comes back…?

I snapped myself out of it picked up the diary once again. Skimming through the pages, I caught a few more lines about the garden, Rain displaying her powers and fighting skills, training that Lucius had completed, discusses about other people and their plans. Finally, on a page dated 8th August 2009 was something that stilled my fingers. The handwriting seemed rushed, desperate. A tale spilled out across the page;

We had our first real fight as Company 9 today. Captain Rain sensed something very early on into our nightly hunt, but she didn’t let on, until everyone had had a go at sensing it. The tracking of the evil soul was exciting, especially amongst the younger one. Though what we would find worried me. My job as Lieutenant really came out. I had no time for self-doubt, but found I handled anything fine.

The soul had taken the form of a giant boar. Which was a surprise to all of us- though Captain never showed it-. The boar was dark grey with bristled fur, beside from its face and tusks which were red. It howled as if in agonising pain and charged at us.

 I stopped, having been reminded of the Demi-God bear that had brought Rain and me together. For some reason, that first image I had of her had stayed close to me. I refocused my eyes back on the page and tried to picture how the next few paragraphs had planned out with my limited imagination.

I was afraid that Captain would take over and completely forget about us. Instead, she hung back and watched everyone else trying to plunge their swords into the soul. Despite the boar’s size, he was fast and avoided must of the jabs. We, or the Company members to be exact, because I hung back to, made the mistake of crowding around the boar. I do not think there had been any plans to overwhelm the soul, it was just that they were all excited and wanted to be the victor.

The boar started to get angry and with a bust of power, it speared Durell. Everyone backed off as he was thrown in the air and rushed to him as he landed. I glanced over at Captain Rain and she didn’t do anything, but there was a look pain on her face. I went forward and the boar and I fought quickly. His taste of blood had given him the scent of victory and I was no match for him.

I heard everyone call me away. Durell was hurt badly. I stole a glance at Captain, then did something which I still and will forever regret. I went to Durell. He was laying gasping on the ground, blood frothing at his mouth. The tusk had broken a number of ribs and pierced his lung. I abandoned my sword and starting to perform the Healing Ritual.

It was the look on the closest Reapers’ faces that made me glance over my shoulder. I saw in a flash of grey and red the boar racing towards us. I reached for my sword and aimed it at the soul’s face. There was an all mighty half cry-half roar from the boar’s mouth, then it did a sharp turn which caused it to fall to on its side and slide the rest of the way towards us. I heard the swooshing of a sword, a crack of sharp laughter then Captain Rain sliced the boar’s head flawless off.

 I had stopped breathing. I turned the page eager for more and noticed my hand slightly trembling on the page corner. Setting the book down, I linked my fingers together and took a few deep breaths. I snatched the notebook up again and with my heart pounding in my ears, I read the last the record.

The evil soul began to fade. Captain stood in-between the head and neck, her expression unreadable. I tried once again to perform the Healing Ritual, but Durell was coughing up too much blood. The others called Captain over and she did join us a few moments later, slotting her katana away. Someone begged her to save him. She knelt down beside me and put her hand over his chest. I saw white electrical pulses then Durell stopped coughing. His head flopped to the side and he was still.

We watched more healing soaking into him and listened to his gasping breathe become normal. Captain Rain took her hand away and placed both her hands in her lap, she fell into pray. The rest of us joined her and I could hear the wispy voices of the younger ones reciting.

The boar had all but gone when we finished. Captain give instructions for us to head back, she would stay a few minutes and do a cleansing. We left silently, four of us carrying Durell and each coming to terms that the path before us was a lot harder than it had seemed.

We made it back and waited for Captain to arrive. A soft, clean rain was falling and I felt it washing away the tint that the evil had left upon us. She arrived at last and took us into the Garden. There Durell was attended to as his needs dictated and we all rested. Captain, after checking in with me, went to her room and no one has seen her since.

I am grateful that we all survived, but it is cleaner now that we need more training.

 I glanced at the next page and saw a new date. I closed the book and placed it on a pillow. I wondered if Rain knew what had been recorded. If she did, why would she leave a window into her past like this? Or maybe she didn’t know? The questions bloated my mind. I lay back, feeling twinges of a headache coming on. I had to go out and fight. I had to purge myself.

To Be Continued…     

Church (Chapter 6, Part 1)

Nestled at the foot of Errigal (the highest mountain(2,464ft) in County Donegal) and overlooking the beautiful Poisoned Glen is the ruins of Dunlewy Church.

Continued from Church Chapter 5

Make sure you’ve read the other chapters. They can be found here; https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/category/church-novella/

Previously;

Blaze, a warrior angel, who is trapped on earth has made his home in an abandoned church. He fights a taunting daemon and a Demigod Bear. He is rescued by Rain, a Reaper. She takes him back to her ‘home’, a Paradise Garden seemingly inside the remains of a cathedral and encourages Blaze to talk. After which, she tricks him into combat then she revels some of her story and dismisses Blaze. He goes back to the church and reflects on Rain. Then he goes out and tries to rescue a human woman who is being attacked. Failing to save her, Blaze returns home to find that Rain has followed him. Their conversation leads to Blaze finding out that Rain’s sword is cursed and that he does remember his task of the daemon he has to find and kill.

Chapter 6

‘You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’

John 8:32

I awoke to Rain shifting slightly next to me. I took a deep breath and smelt sweat as well as a faint touch of midnight jasmine. I eased my arm out from under her and sat up. A little moan came from Rain then the soft sounds of her breathing. I got up, trying not to disturb her. The floor was cold under my feet and it caused me to become more awake.

Going to the desk, I dug out the notebooks and looked around for a better place to hide them. There seemed no good place, so I put on my boots and went downstairs. With a quick glanced back up the steps as I reached the bottom, I scanned the church. Water was dripping steadily from somewhere and a pair of rats was scuttling over a piece of wood. I walked to the organ and found a gap between two of the smaller pipes. The notebooks fitted snuggly and hardly seemed noticeable.

I went back upstairs and found Rain stirring in the mass of bedding.

‘Where’d you go?’ she muttered sleepily.

‘There’s a small washroom downstairs,’ I replied.

She hummed and tossed her head back down. Her eyes shut and seemed to fall asleep again. Leaving her to it, I went to the wardrobe and found a grey robe. I switched it with the one I was wearing then went over to my food store and tried to figure what we could have for breakfast.

I heard Rain tossing and turning then finally getting up. Selecting a bottle of water two cans of fruit salad, I placed them on the desk.

‘Hungry? I got some tinned fruit,’ I pointed out.

‘Sure,’ she answered and pulled on her black top.

I went back and dug out the tin open whilst she helped herself to some water. She offered it to me and I took the bottle. I watched her eyes slide over to the tins as I drink. She seemed distant and still sleepy.

‘I’ve got some other-’ I started.

‘No. This is fine,’ she said and took the tin opener from me, ‘I didn’t sleep very well. I had this dream…’

‘Oh?’

Rain opened the tin of fruit, ‘do you have spoon?’ she asked.

I nodded and dug some plastic spoons out of a bag. I handed her one and took another mouthful of water. Rain began eating the fruit and avoiding me. I placed the bottle down and opened the other tin. As I began to eat the too sweet syrupy fruit, my mind reflected on the conversations we had last night. A question popped into my head, but Rain’s sharp warning of not talking here echoed over it.

‘I’ve to go,’ Rain spoke suddenly.

‘What?’

She shook her head and quickly shoved the rest of the fruit pieces into her mouth.

‘But, we have to talk…’ I stated.

‘I’ll come back,’ she mumbled and put the tin to her lips. She drank the syrup, wiped her mouth and loudly put the tin down on the desk.

‘When?’ And why do you to go?’ I pressed.

‘There’s an evil soul,’ she responded as she put on the rest of her clothes.

I stopped and tried hard to sense what she was talking about. Nothing came to me other than the dim ghosts in the graveyard.

‘Wait for me,’ she added.

‘But, Rain…’

I twisted as she walked passed me and to the trunk. She lifted the lid and took Haku out. She strapped him to her back and went to the doorway. My mind turned over ever reason I could think of in those moments, but a part of me knew it would make no difference. She had a job to do and who was I to keep her from doing it?

She left. I listened to her feet and cape on the stairs then at the bottom she must have vanished. I sat in the chair and finished off the water and fruit. Rain had left an icy emptiness behind her and I felt the burden of being alone.

Looking around, I decided there was only one thing I could do. I went down into the church and took out the notebooks again. I carried them back up stairs and tidied up the bed. I could still smell her. I lit a few candles and cracked the wooden board to let in some fresh air. I took off my boots and sat on the bed.

I selected the first leather book and put the others down. Turning the pages, I was faced with what I had seen the last time I had opened it. I turned back remembering that there was something on the seemingly blank first page.

Lucius Canus. Company 9, Mestemalum

 It was written in tiny print, almost as if the writer hadn’t wanted to write his name and position. Yet, he had still felt the need to claim this book as his own. I turned the pages and started reading from the beginning again. The handwriting was smooth and neat, the pen was a black fountain one which added a flourish to the letters.

June 2009

My Tribunus brought me to her secret plane today. It is a Paradise beyond paradises! I could not bring many ‘physical items’, as some don’t work here, so knowing my love for recording, she give me this special book, which allows the writing to pass through the time freeze and be stable. This place is full of power! I knew she was an element wielder, that is no great secret, but to be able to do all of this with it, I didn’t know that was even possible!

 It was easy to decipher. I’d never heard of ‘an element wielder’ before though. I wonder what element Rain can control? Maybe Earth? That would seem very likely with the Garden. I turned back to the book and the next paragraph.

She has created on the surface a world unto itself, but frozen in time. Out in the Garden, the flowers and trees are at their peak of beauty. The animals – for there are a great number of them- are trapped as adults or babies. The river that flows through the garden has no start or end, though it is as natural as any body of water. Also, there is a day and night rotation, with a real feeling –for you cannot see it- of the sun raising and setting. I do not know if it follows the Earth’s cycles or not, more likely it has a cycle of its’ own. Even more fascinating, is the weather phases. I thought it would stay the same all the time, but no. There is rainfall in all forms, storms, wind changes and cloudy days. Yesterday, to prove a point to RR, Captain Rain made it snow!

 I stopped or rather I forced myself too. Captain Rain? The two words swirled in my head and I realised once again that I didn’t know the true Rain.

To Be Continued…

Aired

Their secret had been exposed, which meant someone on the street had found out.

Speeding away in the Mini, the grannies could hear the police sirens gaining behind them.

Strings of knickers flapped around the car like streamers, the evidence aired for all to see.

37

I have always been able to see the numbers. They float in the air above peoples’ heads in an array of colours. It’s the same, I image as people being able to see ghosts or auras. However, this is the first time that I’m admitting to seeing the numbers. If as I child I ever did speak of them, I and family have no memory of me doing so. That might come as a surprise to you because you know kids, they can never keep their mouths shut about things. However, and I shouldn’t be reminding you of all people about this, I was a sick child with disabilities. As far as anyone can remember, I uttered my first words at eight years old then rarely spoke afterwards.

I have just realised that you are probably wondering what this is all about. I’ve not started this letter out right at all, but as my dad all ways says ‘I’ve the brain of a monkey in a zoo.’ I know I shouldn’t fall back on it or make it seem like that’s true. We both know I’ve a lot more brain then that. It’s just, this is all so hard to put into words and even writing it is difficult, but all I think about is that I’ve to get it out of my head and maybe, I won’t have to give you this letter because I’ll have come up with a solution.

So, here it all is. I was driving over to yours’s to propose to you today. I know we’ve talk about and I know how your family feels about two girls being married and all that. I just keep thinking about how much we love each other and want to be with each other. The world needs to buck up and accept it. Anyway, the numbers were above everyone’s heads and they either say zero or one. Sometimes, I’ve seen a two or a three, once I really did believe I saw a four! I stopped at a traffic light and spotted this group of teenagers fighting. I got a bit scared, but told myself I was safe in my car and I’d just put my foot down when the lights changed.

I saw a guy getting stabbed and the number above his attacker changed from zero to one.

I panic and stalled at the lights as the kids ran away. I wanted to get out and go and help him, but I just couldn’t. No one else seemed to have noticed and there was loud honking coming from behind me. I started up the car and drove off.

Outside your house, I tried to get out of the car, but I couldn’t do it. I badly wanted to tell you what had happened and feel your arms around me. I know you wouldn’t have told me I was being silly and it was all in my head, but and I think if you are reading this, we both know the really reason why I couldn’t see you.

The number above your head is 37.

(Writer’s note; if I hadn’t been constricted for time I would have wrote this into an actual short story. Maybe one day I’ll come back to it and do just that. Thanks for reading)

Blood Love

Waiting for Midnight, I thought about how her blood would taste. I sucked my lip and listened to the owls hooting. The woods seemed extra quiet tonight; maybe it was some Midsummer Eve magic? Or everyone else had something better to do on a Sunday night. I poked the baby fire, which I had only built and lit to stop Midnight complaining.

She would be here soon enough, I told myself and considered the ‘local dumping ground’ around me. It had once been a small grassy clearing in the woods, but then people- who knows who-had started dumping unwanted things. When the sofas arrived, the local teens did too and the clearing turned to dirt. The closet trees had lost all of their low branches and most had brown leaves in the summer.

Oddly, and I thought about this many times, it didn’t actually look like a dumping ground. There were still some good sofas, chairs and other seats arranged in jagged little circles around mended tables and fire pits. Large pieces of maybe a wardrobe or a dining table made up a walkway around the circles. Bin bags filled with anything but food, were off to one side and someone had made some signposts and created different sections next to three dead trees. The signs read: clothing, recycling, other. The teens had made a nice place for themselves here and they kept it well.

Midnight and I had only becoming here for a month or so. I guessed she knew people who hung out here, because I’d never heard anything about this place. As nice as it was being outside in the woods whilst seemingly in someone’s living room, I wished we didn’t have to meet here. I’d have rather been back at my shoebox flat, watching her undress in the cube bathroom. It was too cold for her to undress here, but she would lie and say she didn’t want to get caught whilst we were…

I poked the fire harshly and watched sparks jump off.

‘What’s up with you?’ Midnight’s voice followed her out from the trees.

‘Why do we have to meet here?’ I snapped.

She threw herself on the sofa and I caught a flash of her black lacy underwear.

‘Because your flat stinks and anyway I like the woods,’ Midnight explained. She arranged her short multi-layered black dress, pulling the skirt down over her ripped up black tights.

‘It’s the place below mine,’ I pointed out.

She shrugged her shoulders then glanced around.

‘Where’s everyone else? It’s almost ten.’

‘I don’t know,’ I sulked.

‘Well…come on then,’ she teased and held out her hand.

I tossed the stick into the fire and handed her the sheathed dagger I had lodged between my leg and the arm of sofa when I had sat down. She took it from me and easily slide the blade out. My head turned, I was never able to watch her cut herself. I patted down my long dyed blue and green hair, untangling it slightly with my fingers.

From Midnight came a tiny gasp then she was sticking her wrist under my chin. I turned back and placed my hands under her’s to bring her wrist to my mouth. A line of blood was forming across her pale skin. I put my mouth to it, kissing the cut before licking it.

Midnight moaned and lend back. I watched her black hair falling off her shoulders and her chest sticking out. Her blood was salty and there was hardly more than a tongue tip full. I tried sucking, but she hadn’t cut deep enough.

‘You’re turn now,’ she broken in and all but snatched her arm back.

‘You didn’t do it right,’ I mumbled.

She took the dagger and give it me as if she hadn’t heard me. The tip of the blade was tinted red, but beside from that it was clean. I put it to my skin, but paused before I pushed the dagger in. I turned back to her and saw her watching with eager eyes.

‘What you waiting for?’ she asked after too long had passed.

‘You really believe…don’t you?’ I questioned instead.

Her face screwed up, ‘What?’

‘This has got too serious,’ I declared.

I leant across her and took the dagger’s sheath back. Midnight caught my arm and twisted my skin slightly under her sharp nails.

‘Is this a joke? Or something,’ she demanded.

‘No,’ I answered and put the dagger away.

‘Then what?’

I stood up and Midnight joined me. Facing her over the small fire, I watched the orange light flickering across her. There was no doubt that she was pretty, but the shadows lingered too deep in the hollows between her bones.

‘I just think we should stop. It’s not…’

‘Not what?’ she murmured and wrapped herself around me.

‘I love you, but we have to stop. It’s not good for us,’ I responded and grabbed her shoulders.

She looked up at me shyly from behind her hair. Her lips shining with lipstick and liner, puckered. I had the urge to kiss her and felt a tingling between my legs.

‘I only want a little of your blood,’ she whispered, ‘just enough to go on living.’

I groaned and the urges faded, ‘it’s not real okay. You, me, us, we aren’t vampires!’

She slapped me hard and my cheek stung.

‘Take it back!’ she screamed and I was glad no one else was around to witness this.

I shook my head, ‘I can’t.’

Midnight’s upper body heaved and I watched her trying to control her sobs. She looked at the floor, each breath was catching in her throat and she looked torn by running away or staying. Her hands fisted the edges of her skirts and she turned tear glistening eyes to mine.

‘I’m sorry,’ I uttered.

I expected her to run, but instead she flung herself at me. I felt some of her bones jabbing into me and I struggled to rearrange her better against me. She cried loud and hard, her gasping cries echoing slightly. I held her tightly, burying my face in her hair and wondering why I was such an A-hole.

She quietened after a good few minutes and I took her back to the sofa. Helping her to sit down, I watched her fold her limbs up like a china doll’s. I pulled out the dagger from my body-warmer’s pocket and unsheathed it. I put the blade to my wrist and slide it upwards, the correct way to cut. I heard Midnight sniffling and I offered her my blood.

She took it, wrapping both her arms around it and pressing her lips to my skin. I put my head back and looked up at the black night sky. I felt her sucking gently and making little pleasure noises. It couldn’t go on, I knew that, but she was too difficult not to give into. I shut my eyes and tried to think of a better way to help her.

I felt her licking my arm and opened my eyes. She looked at me and I noticed my drying blood in the corners of her mouth. She snuggled against me, wiping at her mouth and making little humming sounds.

‘Midnight?’

‘Don’t say anything,’ she spoke.

ID

Finally, it was closing time and the urges to kill myself with ebbing. I brought down the shutters, turned on the alarm and clicked off the lights. Opening the door, a waft of raw sewage and beer burps hit me and instinctively I tried to hold my breath. I locked the charity shop and waited till the door and window shutters had stopped.

I eyed up the teenagers gathering around some benches. There was a good mix of boys and girls, most were eating fast food. The girls were loud and boisterous, wearing tight clothes that surely provoked the boys. Some of which, were acting like they didn’t care, but others were eager to ‘get in there.’ Thank God I’d never have one of them.

Shaking my head, I turned back and locked the bottom of the shutters to the ground bar. Straightening, I saw a woman hurrying over and my heart sink. I’d had enough of arguing and rude customers today. It had also seemed like my staff had behaved no better.

‘Connie? Connie?’ the woman called.

I looked across at her. She had dyed brown hair tied into a bun and a heavy tan. She was dressed in a tight blouse and black skirt, which clearly seemed to label her as a bank teller or a secretary. Her sensible high heels were making it sound like she was tap dancing on the pavement and a red leather handbag was swinging off her arm.

‘Connie? Is it really you?’ she gushed.

I frowned and as she came to a stop in front of me, I give her a hard look over. Her face was very round with hardly any cheek bone definition, she had baby brown eyes and had coated herself in makeup. My eyes slide from her to the teenagers and I spotted some of the boys gawking at her.

‘I’m sorry. The shop’s closed,’ I said numbly and made to turn away.

‘It’s me, Maddie. Don’t you recognise me? We want to high school together,’ she said.

I looked again, ‘I don’t…’

‘It’s been twenty years. We’ve both changed,’ she laughed, ‘is it still Connie Burns?’

‘Yes,’ I said slowly, I was really trying to dig her up from my memories.

‘I was Maddie Cross, but I’m Mrs Raymond now,’ she added with a flash of a gold ring on her finger.

‘I really don’t remember you…’

‘You must do! We were in the same English class for five years and we had the same tutor for the last two. Mr Dickson? Remember him? We always use to call him Dick and giggle.’

‘I do recall that,’ I pondered, ‘Are you sure? Maybe we were in different years? Or you’ve got me mixed up with someone else.’

‘Don’t be silly!’ she twittered and waved her hands around, ‘I’d know you’re bum long blonde hair and huge glasses anywhere. I can’t believe you’ve still got them both. You know, you make it look like twenty years hasn’t passed at all.’

I paused, unsure if she had just insulted or complimented me. I rubbed the set of keys in my hand and willed myself to remember her. The shouting voices of the teenagers bombarded us, it seemed someone had kissed someone else’s girlfriend. I glanced over and saw a bit of rough play fighting, which was quickly broken up by two other boys.

‘I’m sorry, I’ve got to go,’ I said.

‘Are you parked in the supermarket? You know, I just hate leaving my car there, but there’s nowhere else to really park,’ she stated, ‘I’ve to leave my desk every three hours to come and move it, least I get a ticket.’

I shook my head and started away, ‘I’m walking. I don’t live far.’

‘Let me give you lift,’ she purred and followed me.

‘No. I’m good, thanks.’

‘Just let me find my keys,’ she responded.

I glanced over my shoulder to see her digging in her handbag.

‘Please. I’m fine, thanks. It was nice to see you again. Bye,’ I called back and hurried away.

She shot me a pained look, but I picked up my pace and headed behind the shopping centre. As I walked, my memory was still searching for her, but I couldn’t recall any Maddie or Cross at my school. Arriving back home, out of breath and slightly panicked, I hurried into the attic and dug out my old high school things.

Sitting on the hard wooden beams with the single naked light bulb above my head, I looked through the plastic box. There were my old school books, reports and photographs. I pulled one of the large and paper framed photos out. Looking at the small dots of faces before me, I studied my last year’s class photo. I spotted myself and best friends’ quickly, then people who’d been in my tutor room.

Oddly, nearly all of them came back to me, but not Maddie. I looked through some of my other stuff, but couldn’t find anything else. Keeping the photo out, I went back downstairs and got myself sorted.

I took the photo with me to work next day and kept it in my handbag. Luckily, it was a Saturday and they always seemed to go by fast. I felt less like I wanted to kill my staff or myself, as we finished up for the day. I restocked the book shelf as they all left and regretted declining to go to the pub. I went through the same routine as last night, before I realised that Maddie might not be working today.

Pulling a face and feeling disgruntled, I wondered if I still had time to catch up with everyone else. I bent and locked the shutters down. Straightening, I saw Maddie making her way over to me. She looked the same as did yesterday.

‘Hello, again!’ she called cheerfully, ‘how are you? I hate working Saturday’s don’t you?’

‘I’m fine,’ I lied, ‘I’m glad you came, I wanted to show you something.’

‘Oh?’

I pulled out the photo and handed it to her, ‘what one are you?’

‘Oh my! Blast from the past or what! How could you? Where did you find this?’ she gushed.

‘It’s mine,’ I stated, ‘I dug it out last night. I really can’t remember you at all, you know.’

‘I’m there,’ she said and pointed at what seemed to me to be a random girl.

I looked closer, ‘sorry, which one?’

‘That one,’ she said again.

I looked harder and saw a boy with long hair.

‘Do you want to go for a drink? Have a chat? Recall old times and everything?’

‘I’ve to get home, sorry.’

‘Oh come on!’ she snapped and gripped my arm.

‘Look, I don’t think I actually know you,’ I growled and yanked her arm away, ‘I’ve no memory at all of you and I’m not even sure you are in this photo.’

‘Don’t be like that, Connie,’ she fluttered, ‘I told you it’s been such a long time and we both have changed.’

‘I know that,’ I responded looking at the floor, ‘but something doesn’t feel right here…’

‘Fine, be like that,’ she squealed and stormed off.

I watched her go. A strange notion suddenly came to me and quickly, though carefully, I followed her. She went into the supermarket car pack and up to a large white van. I tailed her and stopped a few cars away.

The door of the van opened and I thought I saw two men sitting in the front, smoking. I crept closer and heard the end of their conversation.

‘She wouldn’t believe me,’ Maddie was saying.

‘What happened?’ one of the men asked.

‘She had this photo. This old school one. She said she couldn’t remember me,’ Maddie explained.

‘And what did you do?’

‘I tried to convince her. But I fluffed it. She wasn’t having any of it!’

‘You should have tried harder!’

‘Go back and see if you can find her,’ the second man cut in with a voice like gravel.

‘No, no,’ Maddie replied, shaking her head, ‘it’s too late. She’s gone.’

‘Fuck.’

‘We should just leave. She’s not good anymore,’ Maddie carried on, even though the men were muttering to each other, ‘she’s too suspicious now.’

‘Alright get.’

I watched Maddie scramble into the van and it drive off. I wasn’t sure what had happened, but I knew I’d escaped something. I headed home and when I got there, I phoned the police. I wasn’t sure if I was wasting their time or not, but someone had to be informed.

‘Yes, Miss Burns,’ the distance voice the officer I was speaking with came back to me, ‘it seems we’ve had a spate of these reports.’

‘What do you mean, officer?’

‘Well, for the last four months we’ve had someone phoning in…maybe once a week? Stating to have been approached by a woman claiming to be an old high school friend. However, it seems she’s been baiting these women and trying to take them back to some men in a white van.’

‘Oh God,’ I breathed and shut my eyes.

‘Are you alright? Look I’m going to send out an officer to your house. We need to take a full statement off you,’ the policeman said.

‘Yes. Of course. I’d be happy to help.’

‘You didn’t give this woman any personal details did you? Like your home address?’

‘No. No. She just knew my name…Well, my new name.’

‘Excuse me?’

‘Well, officer. She called me Connie Burns and yes, I know that’s the name I give you too. But you see I was given a new identity after I was put into witness protection. Connie Burns died in a car accident some eighteen years ago. She was my best friend, but her family agreed to let me have her identity.’

‘I see. Right. Well, I’ll send that officer over right now.’

‘Thank you,’ I said and double checked he had my address before I hung up.

Imagination

In his head, Phil could be anyone or anything. Bouncing on his bed, he dreamed he was a pilot in a fighter plane. The enemy was all around him and it was his job to take them down. Firing off the guns, he made a dive and swung about. He was an Ace pilot, the king of the sky in his bright red plane and nothing could stop him.

Tumbling off his bed, he swopped about the toy plane in his hand. Rushing by the slightly open window, a slice of red caught his attention. He stopped and went back. He lifted the net curtain with a grumpy hand and looked outside. He saw the pastel blue sky streaked with plane jet streams.

Frowning, he opened the window fully and looked further out. In the distance he could hear the sound of pounding engines. Biting his lip, he tried to not think any more about being a pilot and his red plane. However, it was too late and before his eyes a small collection of World War Two German Messerschmitts had appeared.

Phil watched them grow as the panic filled him. The Messerschmitts become completely solid, their engines droning loudly in the sky. They formed an arrow formation and aimed towards him. Phil clutched the window sill and quickly imagined the king of the sky back again. He couldn’t think of anything else to do. He thought hard and desperately muttered under his breath as he brought his imagination into reality.

The sound of rat-at-tat gun fire caused his eyes to snap open. Before him a bright red plane was darting around the brown Messerschmitts and it was raining bullets. Phil almost squealed in delight, but managed to keep his excitement in. A Messerschmitt exploded and a ball of fire lit up the sky like a smaller second sun.

Phil ducked down, but he held onto the window sill still and peered over the top of it. He watched plane parts tumble from the sky and heard distant voices shouting. The dog fight was heating up above him and eagerly, he watched things play out. The king should have easily been over powered by the mass of Messerschmitts, but somehow he was able to dodge their bullets and take them all down.

Jumping up, Phil watched the last two planes fall from the sky in smoke and flames. The bright red plane did a loop-de-loop and vanished into a cloud bank. Phil leaned out of the window and looked across the flat countryside that lazily stretched before him. Passed the pale brown fence of his garden, he could see the burning body of a plane. Further on and the scarred ground was scattered with twisted metal, crushed wings and components.

A screaming voice, sent goosebumps along his arms and Phil scrambled under his bed. He heard running footsteps on the stairs then his bedroom door was flying open and the footsteps came into his room.

‘Phil? Where are you? Did you do that outside?’ his mum’s angry voice called.

He stayed still, holding his breath and keeping his head as empty as possible.

‘Phil? Come out here now,’ him mum continued.

He heard her open the toy chest and the wardrobe.

‘I mean it! You’re in big trouble, mister!’

The footsteps came closer, he heard his bed being searched then his mum getting down on the floor. He opened his eyes to meet her’s and shrink back as he saw the fury in them and on her face.

‘How many times do we have to tell you?’ his mum snapped.

She put her hand under the bed and dragged him out. Phil didn’t protested, he knew it was far too late to even try. His mum pulled him up and they sat on his bed together. Phil could smell fire and oil drifting in from his bedroom window. He tried to steal a glanced outside, but the window was too far away.

‘You have to control it,’ mum sighed.

Unexpectedly, she hugged him and Phil snuggled into her. He could smell damp earth, summer flowers and sweat. He listened to her heart beating and her steadying breathing. In the background came the sound of sirens, voices and burning.

‘I didn’t mean to,’ Phil mumbled into her chest, ‘I really tried. Honest.…’

‘Hush. It’s okay,’ mum smooth as she pulled back and held his face in her hands, ‘you’re very special and you have an amazing gift. But you can’t just go willing fighter planes into life. That’s not right.’

Phil looked down and began to concentrate on the blue flower pattern of her dress.

A car horn beeped outside and Phil could hear muffled voices talking. His mum got up and went over. She fixed the net curtain and closed the window.

‘That’s Dr. Mandle. I better go. Stay here and wait for me to call you down. Okay?’

Phil nodded and watched her leave. She shut the door and he gave her a few moments to go downstairs. Then he went to the window and looked out. Four men were standing in the back garden. One was his father, the other was Dr Mumps- Phil’s doctor- and the other two he had been told were Dr. Mandle and his assistant, Mr Baxter. They were looking and discussing the destroyed planes, which were now surrounded by fire trucks, police and ambulances.

Phil came away from the window and after a few moments of looking around his room, decided to read a book. He selected one from his bookcase and sat on the bed. He knew as long as he didn’t think in too much detail, the world of the book would stay inside in the pages.

It seemed like too shorter time had passed when he heard his mum’s voice calling him downstairs. He went into the kitchen, taking his time to get there and slumped down at the table. Mum was preparing a pot of tea and some snacks. The backdoor was open and he could hear human voices mingling with animals calling to each other.

A young giraffe, slipped it’s head through the open kitchen window and starred at them. Phil smiled and watched the giraffe sniffing around the potted flowers and sink.

‘Get out of here, Jessie!’ mum snapped and tipped the giraffe’s nose.

Jessie withdrew and swung her head about as she walked away. The rest of her body passed the window and despite himself, Phil hurried to door. The giraffe stopped and bend down to his open hand. Phil rubbed her face then she was off again back to the other four giraffes. From the doorway, Phil could see a handful of buildings and fenced enclosures. A collection of animals, more commonly found in a zoo were gathered around.

‘Sit down, Phil. I don’t want you to go wondering off like last time,’ mum called.

Phil took his chair again and watched her set the table for afternoon tea, ‘that wasn’t my fault,’ he stated, ‘Aunty shouldn’t have brought me those books for Christmas. I didn’t know that walking through my wardrobe could make that happen.’

‘I don’t want hear it, okay? They’re coming, so just behave.’

Phil nodded.

The four men had seen outside before came and sat around the table. Mum began serving them tea, coffee and cakes. Phil got a glass of milk and a chocolate brownie. Whilst the adults talked, Phil studied Dr. Mandle and Mr Baxter. They didn’t look like doctors or rare animal specialists, they reminded Phil of polite gentleman.

Soon enough, they turned to him and encouraged, in the way that all adults do, for him to join in their conversations. Dr. Mandle started with, ‘What wonderful animals you have. Did you really bring them all into being?’

Phil nodded his head.

‘Of course, we had to get rid of the lions and tigers,’ his mum butted in, ‘we could hardly keep then around could we?’ she half-laughed as if it was a joke.

‘But the zoo wouldn’t take the other exotics?’ Dr. Mandle asked.

‘They took a few as did some other places, but when he was younger he really couldn’t help it, and we and they become quite over run,’ she explained.

‘And what happened this morning? Before we arrived?’ Mandle pressed.

‘Oh. He was playing with some planes and got carried away.’

‘It was very realistic,’ his dad cut in, ‘he even created German pilots!’

Phil bit his lip and stayed quiet.

Dr. Mandle turned to him with a soft smile, ‘you still like making animals though don’t you, Phil?’

‘I guess,’ he mumbled into his milk.

‘Well, we’ve got something very special for you to try and do for us…’

Placing down his glass, Phil watched Mr. Baxter take out a large photograph and hand it to Mandle. Who then showed the photo to him, it was of a small white fluffy lemur with a black face and hands. Phil looked at it and decided it was cute.

‘This is a Silky Sifaka. It’s one of the rarest animals on the planet and we’d like your help to bring them back,’ Mandle explained.

‘How?’ Phil asked.

‘By using that amazing imagination of yours.’

‘But, I’m not allowed too,’ Phil pointed out.

‘But this time it’s okay. It’s for a good reason. A true purpose,’ Mandle rushed out, ‘you could help save this cute animal. You wouldn’t like it if it was gone forever would you?’

‘Mr Mandle!’ Phil’s mum cut in.

‘Doctor, please,’ he countered back.

‘Doctor. We agreed we wouldn’t force, Phil, into it remember? It’s up to him.’

‘Of course, of course. I’m sorry.’

‘Phil, now,’ mum said as she came to stand behind him. She pressed a hand to his shoulder and they looked at the photograph of the Silky Sifaka together.

‘You don’t have to do this,’ she said with a hint of a threat in her tone, ‘it’s up to you. But your father and I would rather…you didn’t.’

‘It’s just a monkey, mum,’ Phil pointed out.

‘It’s a lemur,’ Mandle corrected.

‘That…doesn’t matter,’ mum chimed back in, ‘but I don’t want you to have to spend the rest of your life…dealing with people and their wants, okay?’

Phil pulled a slight face and thought back over the other things he had brought to life with his imagination. He’d never been asked to create something for someone else before. He wasn’t even sure he could do it. He looked down at the photo again and the cute black face staring up at him.

‘I could try,’ he whispered, ‘I don’t know what’ll happened though.’

‘Good. Good,’ Mandle cried with a clap of his hands, ‘then we must get you over to the wildlife park right away. We’ve built a home for the lemurs already.’

Phil felt his mum’s hand pressing deeper into his shoulder and her nails catching his skin. He wiggled out from under her and followed the men outside. Leaving her in the kitchen to tidied up, dad drove everyone to the park in the Land Rover. Phil looked at the photo for most of the way, thinking about how he was going to make that image real.

It was almost evening when they got to the park. Mandle led them over to the enclosure that had been made for the lemurs and they went inside.

Phil held the photo up and thought hard about the Silky Sifaka. The photograph give him all the description he needed, just like the photos of the giraffes, zebras and lions he had seen and thus made real when was younger. For a good few minutes, he thought deeply about the Sifaka under the watchful eyes of the adults.

He was on the point of giving up, when a tree branch close by started to shake. Phil opened his eyes and they all watched a Silky Sifaka appear in front of them. Phil heard Mandle saying ‘yes, yes,’ under his breath. The lemur became solid and after a few moments of watching them, moved off higher into the tree.

Phil thought about another one, imagining all the trees having a Sifaka on them. He shut his eyes and opened them seconds later to see that it had become real. The lemurs began calling to each other and playing together.

‘More, more,’ Mandle hissed.

Phil imaged more and soon enough the trees around them were shaking with white fluffy forms. He heard Mandle laughing and saw him spinning around under the trees. Phil began to feel dizzy and slipped backwards. His dad caught him and he fell into a deep slept. He dreamed he was in the forest surrounded by Silky Sifakas thanking him. When he woke up, Phil found himself in his own bed and it was the middle of the night.

He rolled over and turned on the desk lamp next to his bed. The light hurt his eyes and it took a few moments for him to blink sleep away. Sitting up, he looked around his room and wasn’t surprised to see the twitching tail of a Silky Sifaka on top of his wardrobe.