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…