Church (Chapter 7, Part 5)

angle wolf

(Continued from Church chapter 7 parts 1-4)

My mind reeled and I double checked the pile of bedding, of course she wasn’t there. I got up, untangled my feet from a blanket and stumbled over to the desk. There was no note and the only used piece of paper was the one I had wrote upon before going to sleep. I looked for her clothes and sword, still unable to believe that she would just leave like that. Her things were gone.

I sank down into the chair, an odd sense of betrayal curling in my stomach. Where had she gone to this time? Perhaps, she was out fighting another mindless soul or something? Maybe she had gone to the Paradise Garden? She would come back through, wouldn’t she? I tried to shove the thoughts away and decided to get myself sorted. I looked at the to do list, wondering what I could do first. However, a part of me wanted to stay here and wait for her to come back. I had no idea long that could be and it would be a waste of time more than anything else.

I got up and dressed in a white robe and my boots. I went downstairs into the church and then into the small bathroom at the back. I turned the sink tap on and the water pipes gurgled loudly before dirty water spat out. I waited for the reddish colour to change to clear before I splashed my face and neck. I scrubbed my skin and felt better for it.

Trudging back, my eyes fell onto the church organ and I thought about grabbing the notebooks. It would be too risky though as Rain could come back at any moment. I went up and collect my sword and a black thicker robe. I checked the list again and decided that finding food would be a good starting point. My mind felt too distant to concentrate.

I headed out, but as I got into the graveyard and sensed the ghosts, I realised I could ask them about Rain. I walked down the overgrown path with headstones struggling to keep the climbing plants away from them. The early evening was pleasant and the sky still held a lot of sunset light. I went down to the lichgate then turned. I could see the ghostly figures taking shape around me.

‘Have you seen Rain?’ I asked them.

‘She left already,’ a whispery voice called back. I couldn’t tell who it belong too.

‘When? Where did she go?’

‘Before the sunset. She went north. We called to her, she said she knew of us and what we wanted.’

‘And?’

‘She did not know if she could help us,’ the voices breathed back, ‘we have been here too long and have become firmly chained to this ground.’

‘I’m sorry,’ I muttered.

‘You promised, Blaze!’ the voice of the teenage girl cut in.

‘I still do.’

There was a low hum of voices which I couldn’t pick any words out of. I glanced around but couldn’t see anything other than grey flashes of shadows. It was still too light for the ghosts to form fully. I listened harder, but the voices seemed to have died away.

‘I will try,’ I spoke out.

‘You are bound to your word now, Angel,’ the old hag’s voice blew around me.

‘I always have been.’

My fingers moved to the cross around my neck. It was still icy cold.

‘Your friend will be back soon enough. We will wait her.’

I nodded and this time the voices faded away fully. I turned and jumped over the lichgate. Somewhere in a field beyond came the sound of a tractor and sheep bleating. I walked down the forgotten tree lined road and on to the other. There in the dying light, patchwork fields spread before me like a blanket. I wanted to wonder through those fields and feel the warm breeze on my face. Birds were singing the last day’s songs and everything balanced on the edge of nightfall.

I thought about Rain.

Where was she now? I shut my eyes and tried to sense her, but I could not. I stopped trying and looked out across the fields again, they looked too welcoming to pass by. I crossed the road, climbed over the small wooden fence and into tall grass. I ran my hands along the top, feeling grass seeds rubbing against my skin. There was a tree off to the side just before a hedge row fence and I walked over that way.

After touching the tree’s trunk, I was off again my heart singing thankful prayers for the nature. I walked through three more fields, each being used for a different thing, before I reached the one the sheep were in. They did not seem to mind me as I walked across their land. They had their summer coats on and only the late lambs at their sides. Over a few more fields and I could hear the rushing sounds of a river.

I had only seen it from the sky before and never had the urge to step upon its shore. I hurried down and in the last field peered over a barbed wire fence into the fast flowing waters. I easily got over the fence and scrambled down the embankment. This part of the river had only ever seen farmers and animals before. It was difficult for anyone else to get down here and there were nicer spots further on.

I gathered the edges of my robes up to my knees and yanked off my boots. I dipped my toes into the cold water then sink my feet in. The water swelled around me, bubbling as it went. Fascinated, I watched the current flowing around the large moss covered rocks that were dotted in and alongside the riverbed. There must have been a lot of rain coming of the hills because the water was unusually fast.

I felt refreshed and more awake. My thoughts no longer felt taken over by Rain and instead wondered why I had never come here before. The church and graveyard worked as good enough connects to Heaven, but to get close to God you had to go outside into the nature and the world He had created.

I leant back, putting my hands behind my head and relaxing. The river carried on swirling around my feet as if I was just another rock in its path to the freedom of the ocean.

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Church (Chapter 7, Part 4)

angle wolf

(Continued from Church Chapter 7, Parts 1, 2 and 3)

It was too early for me to sleep and I didn’t feel as tried as Rain. After flipping through the Bible for another few minutes I wanted to go down to the church organ and get the notebooks out. I glanced at Rain then couldn’t take my eyes off her. She was curled up, but had her head thrown back on the pillows and her hair spread out around her. She had rolled over and wrapped her arms around Wolf, holding him like a child would a teddy bear. Wolf with his face pressed to her chest had one of his back legs and tail resting on Rain’s leg. Clearly he would have been too hot under the blankets.

Instead, I pulled a blank piece of paper and an ink pen towards me and began to write down my mission and what I remembered of it. The words formed across the blank white sheet, staining it with gleaming black ink. It was strange to think that out there somewhere was a daemon I should have been hunting. I looked down at what I had written:

 

Manipulative daemon. Preys on fallen angels. Then hunts other angels. Killed warrior angel. Very powerful. Last know location ?

 

I rubbed the pen between my palms and thought about what else I could remember. Nothing else came, so I switched to trying to think about its aura. They must have given me that to track it before I had left Heaven. I shut my eyes and give it my full concentration. Once again nothing came to me. Sighing, I put the pen down and looked at the words again.

Maybe, Rain would have some more answers or maybe I should go out and find some angels to talk to. I had been dimly aware of others since coming here. Angels had a good sense of one another, even if they had never met before. I shelfed the idea for later and turned the paper over. I started a to do list on the other side as it was the best way to clear my mind.

After the mundane things were to sort out the ghosts, further question Rain, make friends with Wolf and trying to track the daemon. I read back through the list after I had run out of ideas then put the pen down. Leaving the paper on the desk, I took off the rest of my clothes and decided how best to lay on the other side of Rain.

At the end of the bed, I avoid her feet and Wolf’s tail, got on to my knees and crawled slowly upwards. Gently I sorted out a couple of pillows and a blanket before lying down. Wolf growled, I froze and looked over at him, but it was hard to tell what he had meant. I got comfy on my back and looked up at the ceiling. There was an abandoned spider web on the wooden beam and crack in a roof slate.

I shut my eyes and thought about the manipulative daemon. Silently, I prayed to be given signs about it, perhaps even a vision about its location. My lips moved as I uttered God’s Prayer then I waited for sleep. I listened to Rain and Wolf’s breathing and felt pleasantly happy about it. For so long I had been alone and now it didn’t feel that way anymore. The burden of being trapped here had slightly lifted, I realised.

When sleep finally came, I dreamed of Heaven. I was flying around the clouds, harp music ringing in my ears and light shining all around me. Then it got dark. Everything turned into a washed out grey as if someone had stolen all the colours. I was falling, my wings broken. I struggled against gravity, but couldn’t fight it. My back hit a hard wet surface which broke my fall. I cried out as pain rocket through me and I thought for sure my spine was broken. Screaming echoed all around me, but it wasn’t mine.

I opened my eyes and saw the rain falling heavily from black clouds. I turned my head and felt mud squashing under my cheek. I saw a black figure and a blue flash in the distance next to the entrance of a cave mouth that opened from a cliff face. I tried to roll over and get up, but I couldn’t. A shape formed in the cave mouth and the black figure and the blue flash were running towards me. Behind them came a dragon like monster. Fire roared out of its’ two mouths and it had six eyes that scanned the area.

The dragon monster stepped out further and I saw it had three sets of large leather webbed wings. They were brightly coloured and looked butterfly like. The ground shook and the monster came forward. The figure and flash reached me and I saw it was Rain and Wolf. I called out to them and they came over. Rain helped me up then we were running together. I tried to ask her what the monster was and what she was doing here, but my mouth wouldn’t work.

We reached the bottom of another cliff, the monster gaining behind us. Rain touched Wolf between his ears and he began to transform in to a giant wolf. I pinned myself against the wall and watched him raise above me. From his back grew wings covered with white and grey feathers. Wolf stretched these and himself upwards and swung his tail about. Rain began climbing his front left leg, using his fur to help keep her grip. I watched her reach the top and sat at Wolf’s shoulder blades.

I started my climb, feeling the long matted fur swallowing me as I went up. Rain held her hand down and I took it so she could help pull me up the rest of the way. I sat behind her and Wolf turned. A half-wolf growl crossed with a monstrous roar came from his killer jaws and vibrated through us. Rain, hands dug into his fur, kicked him and instead of standing his ground to fight, Wolf flapped his wings and took to the air.

The wind felt good on my face and I could feel Wolf’s muscular body tensing and untensing under me as he flew. I looked back but couldn’t see the dragon monster anywhere. Wolf shot through the rain clouds and light flood on to us. Harps and other string instruments blasted in our ears then we were surrounded by welcoming angels. I felt myself being lifted up off Wolf and raising through golden clouds.

My eyes opened and the church’s bell tower ceiling formed above me. I rolled over, feeling happy and calm. My hand roamed the blankets beside me, searching of Rain but finding nothing. I sat up and looked at the crumpled bedding next to me. Rain and Wolf were gone.

To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 7, Part 3)

angle wolf

(Continued from Church Chapter 7, Parts1 and 2)

It felt odd to leave Rain behind. I was half tempted to ask her if I could carry her back, but as soon as my feet had left the ground, she had vanished into the darkness and nature. I hovered for a few moments, trying to pick her and the wolf out, but I couldn’t see anything. I flapped off to the side and checked on the security guards. They were slowly walking around the perimeter, torches still shinning before them, checking they had not missed anything.

I headed back, there was no need to delay further and I knew Rain would find her own way to the church soon enough. Avoiding the airport, I took high to the sky and made a more direct line for home. The wind ruffled my feathers and I felt a light spatter of rain. I let my thoughts tumble away and cleared my mind. The cooler air helped this and a few times I paused to admire a city or town spread out under me.

I made it back before Rain did and landed by the lichgate to wait for her. The graveyard was silent, but I could see faint spirit lights dancing around. I became aware of the necklace around my neck for the first time since I had put it on. I dug it out of my robes and inspected the cross again. There was nothing remarkable about it, but it must have been close to a hundred years old. The metal still felt cold against my skin and I guessed that no matter what I did it would stay that way.

A dead child had been buried with this. That thought made me sad and I cast a look around the graveyard to see if I could see her or any of the other ghosts. There was nothing about the faint wisps of energy. I knew I’d have to get Rain to help them. I clutched the cross then let it fall back into place against my throat.

I jumped over the lichgate and walked through the graveyard, but even that didn’t stir the ghosts into coming out. At the porch, I did my normal glance backwards, before stepping inside. Everything looked the same and I felt a small drop of sorrow in my heart. I went upstairs and began taking off my armour.

Luckily, the wolf had not pushed the metal plate in as much as I had thought. I was able to take it off easily enough and pop the dint out. I discarded the rest of my clothes and put on a white vest top and a pair of fleece bed pants. I felt a change was very much needed. I sat at my desk and flipped though my Bible. The pages were dog-eared and I had underlined passages.

I read the story of Noah, which was a firm favourite of mine. Footsteps in the church below caught my attention and I quickly went for my sword. As I picked the weapon up I heard Rain’s voice calling out something. The words echoed too much for me to hear them clearly. I put my sword down and went to the door. The sounds of debris shifting vibrate though the walls and I paused. It had sounded like a part of the roof collapsing in.

‘Rain?’ I called downstairs.

I heard her light footsteps coming up and her voice saying, ‘I’m fine.’

‘What was that?’

‘Just Wolf chasing a rat he saw when we came in. He bounded off before I could stop him. I think he’s still mad at you,’ she finished as she came to the top of the stairs.

‘Oh. It sounded like something had falling…’

‘A pile of roof slates and wood got knocked though,’ Rain explained, ‘nothing fell.’

I stepped inside the room and let her in. There was a scratching and padding of heavy feet on the steps as Wolf followed her up. He paused and gave a growl when he saw me. Rain called him in and he sulked passed.

‘So his name is really Wolf then?’ I asked.

‘I don’t like saying his true name. It’s too long,’ Rain said, ‘it’s was just easier.’

Wolf began sniffing around the room and we both watched him for a few moments.

‘There’s something I have to ask of you,’ I spoke out.

Rain pouted and began to take off Haku and her robe.

‘There are some ghosts in the graveyard and they want to be taken up to Heaven.’

Rain dumped her stuff on the chair, her back to me.

‘I know you don’t do that kind of thing…but they made me promise,’ I carried on, ‘I thought we could at least try to help them.’

Wolf padded over to Rain, gave me a warning growl and pressed against the back of her legs.

‘I’ll see,’ she answered, ‘I’m too tried right now. Wolf decided to have a run through that woodland area and trying to convince him to come back was hard.’

‘I didn’t know spirit guardians could behave like that.’

Rain gave a small shrug and sorted out the rest of her things then went to the bed. Dropping on to it, Wolf got in her face and licked her. She petted him before giving him a bit of a shove out of the way and pulling the blankets up.

‘On reflection…’ I started, my mind having turned things over.

‘I made him a little too wolf like,’ Rain cut in.

I frowned, but Rain yawed and I decided not to question her any further. I watched her settle down and went to join her. Wolf gave me another warning snarl, but Rain waved him away and he went towards the door and phased through it. I stopped and watched till his tail had gone through.

I shouldn’t have been so surprised, I could do that too and Wolf was spirit. Getting myself back together, I went and got a bottle of water. I moved Rain’s stuff, beginning careful of Haku, off my chair and sat down again. Rain looked like she had fallen asleep straight away.

I turned back to the Bible which had fallen shut and opened it at a random page. I heard Wolf coming back a few minutes later. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched him snuggling down alongside Rain and falling asleep too.

My mind wondered and I questioned what else Rain was keeping from me.

To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 7, Part 2)

angle wolf

(Continued from Church Chapter 7 Part 1)

I nudged Rain and pointed the lights out to her. We listened and heard a low hum of human voices. Rain waved the light ball out and lay down in the grass. She tugged the sleeve of my robe and trying to be as quiet as possible, I lay down beside her. I felt the ground vibrate under me and blanket of green light appeared above us.

‘They properly can’t see or hear us,’ Rain whispered, ‘just in case though I asked nature to hide us.’

‘I think you are right,’ I agreed.

For a few moments we listened to the sound of grass crushing under heavy footsteps and the hushed voices of the men. I caught a few words, but nothing that made sense. Rain touched me lightly and slowly sat up. Her fingers remind against my hand and I felt grateful for the warmth passing between us. With her other hand she pulled up her hood and mask which made me get the odd sense that she was clocking herself in darkness.

I wanted to tell her we could do that too, only we used light to shield ourselves. I kept it to myself though as the men were coming closer. Slowly, I eased myself up and looked over at them. It was hard to make them out with their sweeping torch light, but it seemed they were security guards. My hand clutched Rain’s as the men walked passed us.

‘It was over here. Maybe,’ a gruff voice muttered.

‘It could have been anything,’ a second raspier voice whispered back, ‘still, even if it’s nothing it gets us out. I’m dying for a smoke. You want one?’

‘Sure. But I’m telling you I saw someone out here flashing lights.’

The second man gave a shake of his head and dug around in his pockets. They both carried on walking then stopped when they reached the edge of the area that Rain had cleansed after killing the mindless soul. There was a flicker of flame from a lighter.

Rain tugged my hand as she stood up. I followed her, my eyes, like her’s fixed on the men before us. Distracted with their smoking, we made a quick escape. The grass seemed to part around us and our footsteps were silent. I could have added in some of my own power, but Rain was proving more than capable.

We reached the edge of the field, still holding hands. Rain paused to have a look back. I glanced over my shoulder too and saw the two torch beams and an orange dot glow still where we had left the men. Rain gave a squeeze of my hand and led me onto the remains of an abandoned road.

‘I’m sure they would not have seen us,’ I stated.

‘I didn’t want to risk it,’ Rain answered, ‘there was something that brought them out there and it was best to stay hidden. You can’t erase human minds can you?’

‘No, but I can slightly change their minds about me. What about you?’ I asked, before realising it was a pointless question.

‘No,’ Rain scoffed, ‘only the dying or all ready dead can see me and that’s only when I want them too. You on the other hand…it was probably your Heavenly Light they saw. That’s the only thing they could’ve been attracted too. I had a shield up, so there was no way they could’ve heard anything.’

I nodded and began rearranging my clothes which felt damp and were covered in grass seeds.

‘Your wolf did that,’ I said and pointed out the crumpled in dint in my chest armour.

Rain giggled before putting a hand over her mouth, ‘come on,’ she spoke with the laughter still in her voice, ‘we should go back to your church.’

‘If you want too. We are quite far away though,’ I pointed out, ‘can you fly?’

‘That’s a stupid question,’ Rain scolded.

I bit back my next words and scrambled for an apology.

‘I don’t have wings, but I can materialise to places. I can also make portals. That’s sort of the same thing,’ she explained with a shrug.

‘The human angels of death have wings though, don’t they?’ I had to ask.

‘You’ve never met one?’

‘No. I’ve seen one from a distance, but it just looked like a dark cloud. I thought I saw a robe and wings though…’

Rain looked at the ground, ‘they are the same as you, just black or grey.’

‘You’re meet one? Well of course you have done! Sorry, another stupid question!’ I snapped at myself.

‘Be grateful you’ve not meet one,’ Rain broke in, ‘they are too silent or angry or not interesting. They won’t help you in a fight and they all ways seem so dumb.’

‘Not like you, then?’ I said softer.

Rain shook her head and gently I brought her chin up. Her eyes met mine and she pressed her hand over mine. I could feel the warmth on her cheek and from her hand. I shut my eyes and rubbed my fingers over her cheek.

‘Hey, hey, Feathers. I’m going to eat your soul next!’ the wicked voice of Haku echoed in my head.

I growled and thought, go away.

‘What you going to do, oh, great warrior angel? You could not even help her tonight. She saved you again,’ Haku hissed.

It’s not true! I helped!

I felt Rain shove her other hand on to my forehead. Straight away an image of her formed in my mind and saw her running through white light corridors. At the end other black wrapped figure was taking form. I knew it was Haku before she reached him. It was him as he had been in life, I guessed.

He was wearing layer upon layer of ripped up grey robes, which covered him from the neck to the ankle. His feet were bare, but bandages were wrapped around his hands, leaving only his fingers visible. He wasn’t wearing a hood, so his mane of midnight black hair ran down his back like a cloak. His face was covered in thick black stubble and he had a sharp chin and jaw. His nose was off bent due to an old break and his eyes…they were mismatched! Just like Rain’s.

Haku’s laugh crackled in my ears then vanished. I came back with a deep intake of breath. I stepped backwards and felt Rain’s arms circling me. She kept me steady and I was able to hug her back.

‘We don’t need that right now,’ Rain mumbled.

‘I saw him,’ I gasped.

‘It’s all right,’ she soothed, ‘let’s go,’

She took my hand and led me a bit further down the road. We could no longer see the torch light of the men and the nature seemed to give us shelter. Rain stopped beside a tree. She let go of my hand and circled it. Ivy and moss were climbing the trunk and there was a canopy of summer leaves above us. Rain bent down and hushed something.

I watched blue lights appear and arrange themselves into a shape. The wolf became more solid and grey. He went to Rain, greeting her with a wag of his tail. She petted him and whispered something to him. Then he turned and eyed me. A low growl came from his throat. Rain tugged his fur lightly and he turned back to her.

‘I’m sorry about before,’ I said a loud, feeling the need to make my peace with the spirit guardian.

‘He won’t have hurt you if he’d know,’ Rain backed me up.

The wolf growled again and stalked around the tree. Rain moved after him, her feet scuffing on a large tree root. She clutched the tree with one arm and lent around it, calling him back.

‘Is there nothing I can do?’ I asked.

‘Not right now, but I wanted him to help me make the portal. It would have been quicker that way. I guess we’re going to have to fly back.’

I nodded my head and unleashed my wings.

To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 7, Part 1)

angle wolf

Continued from Church Chapter 6

Need to read the other chapters? They can be found at;

 https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/category/church-novella/

Previously;

Blaze, a warrior angel, who is trapped on earth, teams up with Rain, a daemon reaper and element controller, with a past full of dark secrets, to uncover what he must do to get back into Heaven. However, Blaze is troubled by Rain’s past, the evil soul trapped in her sword and his growing feelings towards her. After Rain’s sudden appears and departure at his church, Blaze sets out to look for her and becomes involved in his first fight with an ’empty soul.’

Chapter 7

‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’

1 John 1:9

I couldn’t help but stare whilst the questions in my head rang like clashing bells. The storm cloud grey wolf had wrapped his body protectively around Rain’s legs and had his muzzle flat against her right hip. With his head up against her, his black eyes on her face and his ears slightly twitching as he waited to be commanded. Rain had easily slotted her sword away again and had placed her hand on top of his head.

My sword shook slightly in my trembling hand then I let the tip drop to the floor. I was breathing fast and filled with a rush to kill the wolf again, but also desperate to hear Rain’s voice. An odd silence that I was dimly aware of had settled over us, almost as if we were back in the Paradise Garden.

‘What are you doing here?’ Rain asked.

‘Something called me here. Then I saw you needed help,’ I answered.

‘I didn’t need it,’ Rain cut in, ‘I could’ve handled it.’

The image of me having to throw her up on top of the blob monster popped into my head and I wanted to argue with her. Instead, Rain sighed deeply before I could voice my thoughts.

‘It’s passed now,’ Rain said softly as she stoked the wolf’s head, ‘but in the future don’t interrupt me when I’m fighting. You distracted me and I almost lost it.’

I looked at the wolf, he seemed content and pet dog like. A spike of jealousy flashed in my head and I felt something else taking over my words, ‘and he was supposed to help you how?’

Rain flashed me a look, ‘he did more than you.’

‘And that blob thing? How would he have gotten you on top of it?’ I demanded.

‘What’s got into you, Blaze?’ she snapped loudly. ‘It wasn’t my fault you threatened him and I couldn’t call him off in time. I did try.’

The wolf whined and thumped his tail on the ground. He turned his head away from Rain and looked at me. For the first time I noticed a blue aura like light surrounding him. He wasn’t real, but some kind of spirit.

‘You can go now,’ she said softer.

I snapped my head up, but she wasn’t talking to me. Rain stroked the wolf’s head and he began to fade. In moments he was gone and there was only a slight pulse of blue light on the ground where he had stood. Rain looked at me, the exhaustion written on her face. She walked to the nearest concert slab and sat down. I turned to follow her but changed my mind and stayed standing.

‘He didn’t hurt me,’ I offered as a comfort.

‘He told me,’ she said, ‘he’s my spirit guardian…And my only friend now.’

Her words made me pause, ‘I thought only humans could have spirit guardians?’

‘He channels my element power and helps to keep me grounded. I learned to make him real a long time ago and he always takes that form when I call him. But, I’ve to sacrifice some of my fighting power to do so.’

‘You could have told me,’ I pointed out as I finally sheathed my sword.

Rain shook her head, ‘you should’ve stayed away from me,’ she muttered.

‘Rain,’ I crossed the space between us and took her hands without thinking about it.

‘No,’ she barked, shoving my hands away and scrambling to her feet. She went to push me away then didn’t do it, ‘you don’t understand.’

‘I’m trying to. Let’s go somewhere else, less open,’ I pleaded with her.

Rain shook her head and sat down in the grass. She folded her legs together and put her hands in her lap. A breeze blew the taller strands around her and for a moment she was semi-hidden in the field. I wanted to go to her but I didn’t, instead I rested my hand on my sword and scanned the area. I couldn’t see anything other than the shapes of the trees and the edge buildings of the airport.

‘Why did you really come here?’ Rain broke the silence.

‘I felt a daemon’s presence. I had no idea you were here…they attacked me and I fought them off. The leader, I told you before, he was the same daemon from the night I met you. He told me that Death was here and I thought he meant the Bear or something. Then I saw the wolf and you. I only wanted to help,’ I explained.

Rain looked at me then away into the darkness. I went to her side and knelt down, being careful not to touch her. Her hair was a mess and sticking out from around her hood. She cupped her hands together and produced a faint blue ball of light. She held it up and let it go. The light ball hovered just opposite her and I saw how tried she really was.

‘I can’t feel their auras now, but I don’t think we are safe here,’ I stated.

‘I need a minute,’ Rain said softly.

‘Tell me about the thing you were fighting,’ I asked.

‘It was a mindless soul. The only thing it wanted was to find other souls and eat them.’

‘Where do they come from? Are they daemonic? Is that why the daemons where here too?’

Rain shrugged, ‘They’re not what you call daemonic. They are in-between, like me and the other Reapers. It’s said that they are the souls we miss and forget about.’

I pondered that and let her go on.

‘They go insane and can’t cope being trapped here so they change and become like that. At least the legend goes. I don’t really believe it, but there’s nothing else to go on, so…’

‘The daemons?’ I asked.

‘Sometimes they can sense a mindless soul. It’s rare though, but I don’t know why they were here. To be honest I’d not really noticed them.’

I sat down in the grass next to her, though my armour made it uncomfortable. The cold damp ground began to seep into my robe. A plane roared overhead, but I couldn’t see it, however I did spot something else. There were two beams of torch light coming from the area I had first arrived in.

To Be Continued…

God’s Representatives

Arriving at the bus stop, I give a wary eye to the two African men who were sitting on the metal bench. I went to the other side of the shelter and scolded myself for not having noticed my IPod battery was dead. Now, I had to make the return journey home being unable to block everything out. I shot a look at the two men and noticed one of them had stood up.

‘You sit here,’ he called over and waved his hand at the bench. In his other hand he held a small black-green book.

‘No. Thanks. I’m good,’ I replied.

‘Please, sit.’

I went to shake my head, but the slight desperation in his voice made me paused. I went and sat down. The cold metal sank straight though my jeans and I felt uncomfortable. Too districted myself, I turned to the man next to me and noticed his clean suit and small briefcase. There was also a name badge pinned to his breast pocket. I couldn’t read it.

‘You from around here?’ he asked in a heavy accent that struggled around the English words.

‘Yes. Just down the road. Middleton,’ I answered whilst wishing my IPod had power.

‘So you work? Where do you work?’

‘The youth centre. Just there,’ I added and pointed at the yellow and grey stripy building a few meters down from us.

‘A what?’ he questioned.

‘Where?’ the first man joined in, coming to fill the space at my other side.

‘The youth centre. It’s a place young people can go to hang out and take part in actives,’ I explained.

I looked at the first man then the second and decided that they were a little hard to tell apart. The first had longer hair, whilst the second was bald. Their suits were both light brown, caramel coloured and for a few moments they did give off the impression of being business men looking for a sale. However, they were religious men. The book of God give it away.

‘I see. Children’s centre,’ the first stated.

I glanced at the second man and saw him still looking confused.

‘We’ve been in UK only six months,’ the first stated.

‘Oh? And where you before that?’ I asked out of politeness.

He uttered a name. I had never heard the place nor could repeat it.

‘We on mission. Stay in UK two years. Before I come here, I spoke no English,’ he continued, happily.

I nodded.

He stepped away and held out his hand for the coming bus.

I peered around the bus shelter and saw it was the one I had been waiting for too. I got up and walked over as the bus came to a halt in front of us. He let me get on first and I flashed my ticket and looked for an empty seat. For half past eight on a Tuesday evening, the bus was busy. I sat down next to someone and watched the two men take the empty front seat which was only two seats in front and opposite me.

As I slightly hoped he didn’t turn to me and pick up the conversation again, he did so and speaking in a quieter voice asked, ‘have you lived here long?’

‘All my life,’ I replied.

‘You sound a little…American,’ he pointed out.

I laughed, so use to this, ‘no. I’ve never been to America. But I spent three years at uni with American exchange students. Then four months in New Zealand with some of them.’

‘Ah. Do you believe in God?’

The ultimate question.

‘Yes. I was brought up Church of England and I still believe.’

The small smile on his face grew huge as if I had made his day. I glanced down and finally made out the word Elder on his name badge. Mormons. Okay, now I knew what I was dealing with.

‘I’m happy as I am thanks,’ I also added, though I knew it was too late now.

‘We are all Brothers and Sisters,’ he declared as if he hadn’t heard me, ‘It’s our job to spread the Word about our Lord.’

‘Well, if that’s your calling. I bet it’s hard though…’ I said a loud instead of keeping it inside.

In the seconds it took for him to reply, I wondered what the other passengers were thinking about this. The person I was sat next to was fully engrossed in looking out of the window. The two people in front of me both were on their phones and the person opposite me had their face buried in a dirty copy of the Metro newspaper. The second man was staring silently ahead, almost as if he was ignoring the conversation like everyone else.

‘Yes. It is hard. But we must try. It’s what we are here for. We work in rain or sun, which ever. To spread the Word,’ Elder replied.

I nodded and felt a wave of sympathy for him. How many front doors had been slammed in his face today alone? How many people had shunned him for just trying to talk to them? I shook my head slightly. I couldn’t be Mormon, the lifestyle didn’t suit me. My new belief was that maybe God wasn’t that interested in what religion you were and what you believed in as long as you tried to be good. If you were kind, helpful and tried to do your best for yourself and those around you, God shouldn’t mind.

‘Do you live around here?’ Elder asked, being my attention back.

I glanced out the window and tried to see where we were, ‘No. I live just before Middleton town centre. A few more stops. Where do you live?’

‘Here.’

I frowned.

‘Perhaps we can come to your house or another meeting place and talk some more?’

‘Ah. No. I’m good, thanks. I’m happy as I am.’

His huge smile dropped and he turned his head. I saw him glance at his friend then turn back to me.

‘It was nice talking to you,’ Elder said with a hint of sadness in his voice.

‘Same,’ I responded.

He held his hand and I shook it. His friend rang the bell and they both got up.

The bus stopped and watched them get off. It was only four bus stops away from mine. They must be house sharing or someone helped them to rent one, I thought. The bus pulled away and I finally settled back in my seat. The chance that I’d see them again popped into my mind and I was torn between things. I made my thoughts turned and wondered what the world would be like if people just took more time to listen to each other. I needed to give that a try. Perhaps it was a good thing my IPod hadn’t been charged.

(Inspired by a true event and the music of Disciple)

Summer Dislike

He hated summer and he had a list of reasons that seemed never ending.

The heat, the unpredictable weather, the noisy children, the flocks of people.

If it was up to him he’d ban summer. Luckily, he wasn’t in a position to carry out his threat.

Trust (Part 12)

She felt him wrap his arms around her and Fern pressed her face to his shoulder. The ends of his hair ticked her forehead, but she ignored it and breathed in his smell of sweat and tobacco. Brook rubbed back and mused into her hair.

‘I’ll take you to my place. You’re still changing and we need to get sorted out,’ Brook whispered into her hair.

Fern thought about questioning him, but didn’t have the energy to voice her words.

Brook let her go, slipped on his t-shirt and came back for her. They went through the hole into the main chamber and to the loose bricks beside the door. Brook removed the bricks and helped Fern out of the mausoleum.

Night covered them with a soft blanket likeness. Fern breathed in deeply, smelling night time flowers, light rain and wet grass. In the distance, she was also aware of the ocean. She stood there taking it all in whilst Brook rebuilt the sinking wall and tried to hide it from inquisitive eyes. He held out his hand to her when he was done and led her out of the cemetery.

‘What about you things?’ Fern asked as they walked down an empty road.

‘It’ll be fine. It’s important to have a few places you can go to ground in. It’s just a habit you pick up,’ Brook stated.

‘And this place of your’s? Is it a house?’

‘It’s a top floor apartment. You’ll see when we get there,’ Brook responded.

They walked in silence the rest of the way and Fern enjoyed the warm breeze on her face and the tickle of tiny rain spots on her skin. She didn’t pay much attention to where they were going only that Brook seemed in a hurry. They past old terrace house lined streets, a rough park, closed shops and a hotel.

Finally, Fern recognized the dual carriageway. Brook led her up a flight of steps and they stood on a bridge overlooking the area. Fern quickly realised that this wasn’t the bridge they had walked across last night. That one was ahead of them and the seaside town it was connected to was sprawled out further up to the right of them. A few lonely cars drove on the carriageway, their headlights blinding and engines loud.

‘Are we going back to the beach?’ Fern asked, hoping Brook didn’t notice the small wobble in her words.

‘Not that beach,’ came a guarded reply.

‘Then where?’ she called to him as he moved off the bridge.

‘Further up. Away from the tourists and to a little village,’ Brook answered back.

Letting out a soft sigh, Fern trailed after him. They walked through a patch of scrub land and a farm, before entering the village. The place was more set back from the sea and looked like it hardly saw any tourists, beside from the lost ones.

Walking down a single road, Fern noticed a small church and graveyard to her left on a raised hill. Cottages, surrounded by large flowering gardens seemed to bear down on them. They passed a pub- The Fisherman’s Purse, a post office and a little shop. Large plant pots lingered on the street then they were at brown-red bricked circle with a small fountain tinkling away.

Brook came to a stop and Fern did too. She looked around the little circle of houses. Rising above the roof tops but still some distance away was a dark green sixed floor stack of apartments. It looked completely out of place and as if a crane had removed it from the seaside town and just dumped it in the middle of the countryside.

‘That’s where you live?’ Fern said a low voice.

‘Yeah. I’ll tell you about as we walk,’ he added shooting a look over his shoulder.

Fern looked too, but couldn’t see anything. The village seemed abandoned, there was no sign of any people and it was quiet. Fern hurried to catch up to Brook who had all ready started walking.

‘Originally, the plan was to have a number of these places and rent them out to holiday makers. Like they do aboard. The people could have the sea view and not be far from anywhere whilst at the same time feeling like they lived here,’ Brook explained.

‘But it didn’t work,’ Fern guessed.

‘Yep. The locals weren’t happy, but they needed the income. So they built this first one as a test. It didn’t work out. People couldn’t really offered it and they actually wanted to be on the beach’s doorstep. So, they had to sell the place off to some rich people and they rent the six apartments out to their family and friends as get away spaces.’

‘And how did you end up with the top one?’ Fern broke in.

They had arrived before a patch of woodland which led to a lush grass lawn and the entrance gate to the apartments. Brook once more took the lead and held back a few of the lower tree branches as they struggled through. They popped out on to the lawn and walked up to the gate. The green building didn’t seemed welcoming and Fern got an odd sense that it wanted to be left alone. Shaking her head she turned back to Brook and waited for an answer.

He had pulled out a key from his pocket and was slotting it into a hidden key hole in the gate.

‘So?’ Fern pressed.

‘It was accidently,’ Brook replied and he pushed open the gate.

Fern followed him and he locked it behind them before going up to the silent building.

‘Looks like we’ve got the place to ourselves. Little unexpected at this time of year,’ Brook pointed out. He seemed to put the same key in the door and opened the door.

Fern sniffed loudly before walking through, the hallway smelt too clean. Almost, she decided, hospital sterilized. She heard the door closing behind her and stepped towards the elevator and staircase as there was nowhere else to go in the hallway.

‘So how did you end up here?’ Fern repeated.

Brook called the elevator and lopped his fingers into the belt hooks of his jeans. He shook his hair out of his face and Fern realised that he wasn’t going to tell her. She breathed out deeply and rubbed her head, deciding that right now it didn’t matter and she just wanted a shower.

The elevator door binged open and they got on. Brook hit the number six button, the doors shut and they went up. Fern glanced at the super clean green painted walls and felt the shuddering under her feet. The elevator juddered to a stop and the door opened. Fern peered out and saw a balcony like space before her.

Fake tropical plants ran along the walls and up to a glass door with an exist sign above it. Fern walked down the dark green tiled and painted hallway, passing a dark brown door on her right and stopping at the glass door. Outside was an actual balcony with a cluster of fallen over fake potted flowers. She could see it ran down to her right and there was a wooden table and four chairs further along.

Brook hummed behind her and she heard the door clicking open.

‘The view’s better this way,’ he said.

Fern turned, walked back to him and followed him side the dark apartment.

Trust (Part 11)

Having gotten dressed and feeling like she could have done with a shower and some clean clothes, Fern helped Brook create a space on the mausoleum floor. Brook, just wearing jeans, moved the candle on top of wide ledge amongst some unlit white ones. They put the airbed, the bedding and the camp bed to the far corner, where Fern saw a large metal trunk.

‘What’s in there?’ she asked.

‘Some more supplies,’ Brook answered.

‘I was thinking…now that everything is kind of over…Couldn’t we find a house to stay in?’

‘Can’t live without your girly necessities?’ Brook shot back.

Fern humped, ‘we both could do with a wash and some clean clothes.’

Brook shrugged, ‘We’ll go by mine tomorrow then. But right now, we need to stay here.’

‘Why?’ Fern asked as she finished piling the bedding up.

‘That man from the arcade is still creeping me out,’ Brook stated.

‘He didn’t do anything. I guess he could’ve gone to the police though,’ Fern pondered.

‘I don’t think he really saw anything…It was just…’

‘What?’

‘There something off about him.’

Fern frowned as they walked into the middle of the stone room. She fully remembered the brief conversation she had with Dacian and didn’t feel anything odd about him. The idea she should admit this to Brook gnawed at her, but she put it aside.

‘You can’t read minds can you?’ she cut in.

‘Sort of,’ Brook replied slowly, ‘you can pick things up from humans’ minds. But we can’t read each others. It’s not like telepathy though, it’s more like you guess what the human is going to do. Sometimes when you fed you can hear them, but that’s all down to connections.’

‘Oh, so I can’t learn how to do that?’ she asked making her disappointment seem real.

‘No. I’m going to teach you have to fight. You need to know how to attack and defend yourself,’ Brook stated.

‘But I’m more powerful then…I was before.’

‘It’s still useful to know about and I can show you how to ward off other vampires.’

Fern shuffled her feet on the floor, feeling hard dust and small stones underneath her. She glanced down then up at Brook, who for the moment seemed districted as he too was looking at the floor. The gap between them was only arm’s length and now the bedding wasn’t scattered around, Fern really felt like she was in tomb.

‘Can’t we go outside for this?’ she asked.

‘No. We can’t risk anyone seeing us,’ Brook cut in, ‘I’ll you show the basics.’

Fern nodded and they spent the next half an hour practising a mix of simple leg and arm movements. It felt more like a warm up before a gym session then actual fighting or as Fern thought about it later, the first steps of boxing. She learned to strike out with one fist then the other, to slide her feet forward and back, also to move quickly to the right and left to avoid on coming attacks.

‘I feel silly,’ she pointed out during their break.

Brook was smoking before the black candle with his back to her. She was sat opposite him, her back to damp stone wall.

‘Who taught you how to fight? I thought we were going to do karate or something,’ Fern continued.

‘I did boxing when I was a kid,’ Brook muttered.

‘That explains it. Maybe we should have a practise fight and see what happens?’

‘Sure, I’ll win though.’

Fern stared at his back and watched him flicking ash away. The room smelt heavily of liquorice. She brought her knees to her chest and fought the urge to go outside down. The idea of being trapped plagued her mind and she didn’t understand how anyone could live like this.

‘You ready?’ Brook called over.

She looked up. He had put the cig and the candle out. Dark grey smoke was curling up to the ceiling. Darkness settled back in, but only for a moment as a number of tiny flames broke out over the other candles. Fern got to her feet staring at them and convinced they hadn’t been light before.

‘I’ll teach you that too,’ Brook spoke with a grin.

‘How did you do that?’ she gasped.

‘Sleight of hand, fast movement and practise, just like a good magician.’

‘It’s useful for other stuff too, though?’

Brook nodded, ‘everything is when you learn it. Anyway…’

Swiftly, he crossed the space between them and locked his arms around Fern’s shoulders. Fern wiggled against him, hands on his chest and tried to escape. Brook though, got her into a headlock and bent her to the floor. She saw him bringing his knee up to her face and a panicked squeal escaped her throat. Instead, Brook neatly tumbled her to the floor and grabbed her hands to soft the blow.

‘That wasn’t fair!’ Fern snapped.

Brook yanked her up and she slammed into him.

‘Why? Because you weren’t ready?’ he asked cheekily as he held her tightly.

‘Yes,’ she cried out feeling slightly winded.

‘That’s going to happen. You’ve got to keen your senses into every little thing. You’ve got to know seconds before a thing happens and act on it then.’

Fern pushed against his chest and Brook let her go. Growling, she paced the floor before coming back to stand before him. Brook flexed his arms and shoulders, remaining casual.

‘Let’s try again,’ Fern demanded.

Brook smiled and stayed still.

Fern approached, her footsteps echoing softly. She got chest to chest with Brook then tried to put him in a headlock. However, he was far faster and had twisted her arm behind her back before she could fasten her arms around him. She cried out at a spike of pain then brought her other hand up and punched Brook in the face.

He let go of her arm, wheeling slightly. Fern both hands fists, rained a few blows on to his chest and stomach. Brook wiggled away from her, darting to the side then around the back of her. Fern twisted, snatching a deep breath before she tried to land another blow on him. Brook caught her hand and brought her arm up into the air alongside his. Fern went for a low punch, gritting her teeth as she did so. Brook twisted his hips away then collided their bodies together.

Fern grunted with pain and effort. She dropped her head and shut her eyes. Her lungs ached and she felt so unfit. Brook let go of her hand and her arm dropped uselessly to her side. Suddenly, she wanted to tell him all about Dacian. She wanted them both to get angry and knock each other senseless. Though as she caught her breath, she realised it would be foolish. Brook had already proven himself right.