Scratch

Writing prompt

The numbers on the clock flipped over and four am glowed brightly into the bedroom. Casey stirred in the double bed, tangled in a dark dream where giant jigsaw pieces were chasing her. Lying on her back, she felt herself caught on the border between sleep and awake. Something touched her neck.

Casey woke, tossing her head as she tried to clear it from the dream. Reaching out for the lamp, she fumbled with it before pressing the switch. Pale yellow light startled her eyes and she shielded them with her hand. Pushing herself up, she blinked a few times, then dropped her hand and glanced around her bedroom. Everything looked normal.

Throwing back the duvet, she got up and walked to the bathroom. Her hand strayed to her neck and scratched at an itchy spot. Turning on the bathroom light, she did what she had to do and then stood before the mirror. There was a red line on the side of her throat.

Frowning, Casey pulled her top down and saw a number of dry bloody lines sweeping down her neck. Panicked, she let go of her top and turned her head to see the lines. The mirror hadn’t lied to her. She saw six lines with small breaks in-between each line and they just pieced her skin enough to make it bleed. She touched the scratches gently and wondered what had happened.

Her first thoughts were that a cat or some other animal had done this to her. But she didn’t own any and she was twelve floors up in her city apartment. I must have done this to myself, Casey thought. Puzzled, she turned from the mirror and switched the light out as she left. She got back into bed and lay against the pillows. She pressed her right hand over the scratches and tried to recall what she had been dreaming about.

When nothing came to mind, she curled up and listened to the noise drifting in from the half open window. Even at this ridiculous time in the morning people had places to be and things to do. Casey shut her eyes and let the city hush her back to sleep. As she started to doze, she turned off the lamp and allowed the dark to form around her once more.

Falling back into sleep, she dreamed the jigsaw pieces were coming for her again. She could see the first few clearly from across the field. They were made of wood, each depicted an image and somehow they all fitted together. They were the plot-holes of her life; who had her parents been? What had happened to her foster sister? Why had the puppy died? What had really happened on the beach that day? Why had her first ex-boyfriend left her?

Casey shuddered and turned her back on the jigsaw pieces. She started running across the field and towards the white fence she could see in the distance. Even without looking, she knew the pieces were following her. She could hear them thumping along the ground as they cartwheeled after her. She pushed on, knowing that if she reached the fence she would be safe. How do I know that? She thought.

Her feet stumbled, she felt herself falling, her arms windmilling through the air. She met the ground hard and wasn’t grateful for the long, hard grass scraping her skin. Catching her breath, she got up and looked behind her. The pieces were still coming and they seemed never ending. Casey screamed and woke up.

She scrambled around in the bed, trying to untangle herself and fight off the fading dream. She reached for the lamp, but her hand stopped. There was heavy breathing to her right, on the empty side of the double bed. Biting her lip, she slowly turned on the light and let her eyes flicker to the side. The duvet was moving, as if something was under there asleep next to her.

It’s all in your mind. It’s just a dream, it’s not real.

She turned slowly and reached out with a shaking hand. She felt the scratches on her neck burning, but she ignored them. Her hand reached for the duvet and she pulled it back in a single movement. A scream left her mouth before her eyes had time to tell her brain what she was seeing. Casey threw herself out of the bed and along the wall. Desperately, she dug her fingernails into the wallpaper and clung there.

The daemon started taking shape before her. He was bright red with white spikes all along his body. He had horns like a goat’s on his head and a face like a hog with the tusks to match. His massive black wings, unfolded and spanned the length of the room. He fixed blood red eyes on Casey and she felt the scratches burning more painfully. Thoughts and words tried to form in her shocked mind, but Casey felt frozen.

The bed give way under him, but the daemon stood his ground. The loud snapping and cracking vibrated through Casey as if breaking the ice around her. She dropped her arms from the wall and bolted into the bathroom. She locked the door behind her, got into the bathtub and curled up into a ball. She shut her eyes and told herself it was just a dream repeatedly. But outside, she could hear the daemon trashing her bedroom.

A fist slammed into the bathroom door and Casey screamed. She stuffed her hands into her mouth and tried to stay quiet. Though a part of her knew that was pointless. Shaking, she hugged herself and tried to will the nightmare to end. She heard the bathroom door give way and crash down. Pounding footsteps sounded the daemon’s approach and Casey felt clawed fingers touching her throat.

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Church (Chapter 4, Part 1)

Continued from Church Chapter 3

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.

Chapter 4

‘On this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’

Matthew 16:18

I walked away from the ruined remains of the cathedral and didn’t look back. I was seriously tempted too, but a part of me knew if I even caught a glimpse of those stones I would retrace my footsteps, find Rain and hold her tightly to me. I climbed the hill and unfurled my golden red wings at the top. I flapped them, feeling the rush of air around my body before I jumped up and took to the sky.

The time hadn’t changed, I noted as dawn was just touching the horizon like it had been doing when I stepped under the cathedral archway. I was feeling extremely awake and calm, though it was probably a lingering effect from the garden. I raced the coming dawn home and landed next to the lichgate. I watched the sun completely rise above me. Warm light brushed me then hurried in further to light up the clinging shadows.

Taking in a deep breath, I turned back and cast my eyes over the graveyard. Small headstones poked out of the grass and I know what awaited me. Climbing over the gate, my boots hit the grass and the almost lost path underneath. I pulled my robe tighter around me, hunched my shoulders and walked up to the church. I can feel them, the diminishing ghosts. They watched from their burial places and whispered to themselves and each other. A soft crying child wisp brushed my ears and I tried to block it out.

I kept my pace as I began to climb the slope, expecting at any second to be assaulted by the spirits. Ever since I had moved into the church, they had reached out to me when I passed though the graveyard. Their almost faded voices constantly pleaded with me to help them pass over and escape this place. At first, I had been sympathetic with them, who couldn’t be? But I didn’t know how to help them, it wasn’t my job or place to ferry them over. I had countlessly explained this to them, but they didn’t get it and still clutched to my Heavenly light. Now, I had lost my patience with them all and I automatically put up the barriers and ignored them.

I reached the church porch and turned in confusion. I could just about see the spirits, though in the morning glow their forms were fading fast. There was a small girl in a too large white dress, an elderly couple clutching both of each other’s hands, a teenage boy laying in the grass looking bored. There was a young woman clutching a new born to one side and a two year old to the other, she was stood next to a World War One soldier boy. Beyond them was an ancient hobbling woman, an old man with a missing arm and small dog at his feet, a ten year old girl in a summer dress and finally, a middle aged farmer’s wife.

I waited and watched them all vanish as the sunlight finally settled on the graveyard and church. Thoughts tumbled through my mind. This had never happened before. Had they sensed the lingering evil touch from my fight with the Demigod bear and other daemons? Or had my Heavenly light finally faded? I reached for my great sword and slowly eased it out of the sheath at my hip. The weapon still looked normal and though it was heavy, I couldn’t feel its true weight in my hand. Placing the blade back, I ruffled my wings, reassuring myself that they too were still there and working.

For a few seconds, I wondered what else I could do to prove that nothing had changed. I didn’t feel anything different, just the circling puzzlement over the spirits’ reactions. With nothing coming to my mind, I looked out over the graveyard and decided that maybe the ghosts had finally given up on me. Somehow, that thought didn’t make me happier. They had always been active and determined.

I turned, pushed open the door with some force and squeezed inside the church. Nothing looked out of place and it didn’t look like anybody had wondered in. I wedged the door back in place, shutting out the glorious yellow daylight. I let my eyes adjust to the darkness, then set my boots crunching along the floor, just like they always did over the fallen plaster and bricks. The dilapidated pews rose up on either side of me as I walked towards the altar.

For the first time in what felt like awhile, I looked over at the matching four arched windows, two on either side. They were empty of what once had been colourful stained glass depicting famous scenes from the Bible. The fragile remains of the frames now lent against old wooden boards, which were showing signs of rot. I wondered which Biblical scenes they had chosen and how many times the congregation mused over them.

Stepping up to the stone altar, I paused. There should have been a large divided window behind the grey rectangle block. Now there was only another wooden board, which banished the light and allowed darkness to rule. In the walls on either side of the window were etched out crosses. I knelt, put my hands together and cleared my mind. I fell into saying the Lord’s Pray aloud, ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…’ my voice echoed in the dead church.

Afterwards, I slipped into silence, not sure what else to say. I thought about a number of things, but decided that I just couldn’t word anything right. I let my hands fall and lent back, looking up at the window. I should say thank you, I thought, but somehow I just couldn’t do it. What did I have to be thankful for right now? Shelter, I guess. The fact I was still alive. I clenched my fists. I wasn’t thankful for being trapped here though.

I relaxed my hands and got up. I went to the hidden alcove. Pushing open the door, I climbed the spiral staircase upwards and into my room. I light the candle out of habit, swung my sheath sword into place against the desk and stripped out of my clothes. The notebooks I had taken tumbled out and slapped the floor hard. I gathered them up and placed them on the desk.

Once naked, I picked them up again and took them into bed with me. Though it seemed like I had all ready slept, I felt exhausted. My wings wrapped around protectively around me, but I shimmered them away, so I could feel the cold wooden walls on my back.  Arranging the mass of blankets and pillows, I settled back and shut my eyes. I did some deep breathing exercises and succumbed to a meditate like state.

She came to me right away. Rain. She was standing in her Paradise Garden. Her mismatched green and blue eyes were looking out over the railing whilst the animals and stream sing to her. The air was thick with lavender, midnight jasmine and lilies. She had her arms resting on the rail, her light brown hair loose and wind swept. She was wearing the black pants and a white vest top from the training room. I couldn’t see her expression.

I sighed and said her name aloud. It was sweet on my lips like forbidden fruit. Would I ever see her again, like she had promised? Sleep rolled across me and I welcomed it with open arms.

To Be Continued…..

Church (Chapter 1, Part 3)

Continued from Church Part 2, which can be read below as well as Part 1.

Evil drew me like a magnet and I never had to roam far from the church to find it. I had cleansed a large circle from that central point, which had begun in villages and small towns before reaching the larger towns and the city. The bigger the settlement the more evil that plagued it and the harder it was to fight it.

I landed on the flat roof of a house tower. The rain had stopped falling, though the streets below me glittered with water. People and vehicles hurried passed, the noise raising and mixing with other sounds. A sea of umbrellas and hoods covered the people, whilst the darkness concealed those in the cars. Listening, I waited to pin point an evil source. It could been anything; a daemon, a vengeful spirit, a malicious human or a supernatural being breaking the laws and going crazy.

My senses were tugged in one direction and straight away I knew there was a daemon possessing a human there. Taking off, my wings beat the air and carried me to that place, which, as I landed, was a car park. The smashing of glass turned my head and I saw a large figure plunging through a broken car door window. Laughed rose with the fading tinkling of glass.

Drawing my sword, I stepped behind him. The weapon was large in my hands, but fitted perfectly. The silver blade was long and sharp not only at its tip, but along both sides. It was also unbreakable and capable of penetrating anything. The hilt was a work of heavenly art and made from gold with a red tint. There were no precious stones set into the pommel or along the guard. Instead, the arcing guard was inscribed with curling Latin words and leafy flourishes on both sides. The grip was decorated with seemingly ridged downward feathers and the pommel was shaped into a ringed cross covered in Celtic knots like patterns.

He turned, a car radio clutched in filthy, blood hands and his crackling dry laugh dying on his lips. The tip of my sword brushed his throat. He dropped the radio, which spilt open on top of the glass fragments as he brought up his hands. He stank and his clothes were ripped and messy. It was hard to tell if the human was a tramp or had once had a comfortable life, before the possession. However, judging by the fact he was over-weight and his clothes seemed to have been a suit beforehand, it was possibly the second one.

‘Angel,’ he hissed and spit at me, though it fell short.

‘Was he willing, Daemon?’ I asked coldly.

A forked tongue stuck out of the slashed mouth and licked eagerly across the lips, ‘yes. Very. Are you, Angel?’

‘Never,’ I snarled.

He laughed, arms wrapping around his large belly and tongue flicking out faster. His dark red eyes flashed at me and small stubby wings grew from his shoulders. The wings were bat like; webbed and leathery, but with large throbbing veins crisscrossing the red surface. There was no way they could lift the human.

I pressed the tip deeper into his throat, suspecting what he might be trying to do. A bead of blood appeared, but the daemon didn’t seem to care.

‘A taste of the power always changes minds,’ he growled, ‘I could give it to you. I’ve turned angels before,’ he chuckled, ‘they burn up first and then get re-born from the black fire. You wanna try?’

‘No,’ I shouted and drove the blade into his throat.

He screamed then ripped himself out of the human. My sword drove deeper into the throat, becoming coated with red blood streaked black. The human chocked, blood splattering out of the mouth and the eyes fixed on my own. I whipped the blade out, he fell forward, his face crashing into the pile of glass and tarmac. Straight away I knew that this man had been willing, driven by too much greedy and power hungry, he’d readily fed his soul to this daemon.

Looking up, I saw the daemon floating above and lazily flapping his wings. His tongue longer and more forked than before, hissed at me, whilst his triangle pointed tail flicked at the top of my head. He looked more lizard like than anything else, with his shimmering orangey scales and flat head complete with jagged horns. His four short legs ended in wicked claws and he was no taller than an eight-year old human child.

‘It’s your turn now!’ I called up to him.

He snickered, ‘you try too hard. To honour-able, Angelic Knight. My powers greater.’

I swung my sword up at him, but he dodged it easily causing the heavy blade to slice empty air and into the side of the car. With his laughter echoing in my ears, I pulled out the weapon and tried again. The tip scrapped his foot. He yowled in pain before hissing and zooming down at me. I arced the sword, leaving a fiery red line in the air and blocking his attack. He took a sideways hit and landed on the floor.

‘Angry, so angry,’ he spit, ‘you make me. You want to see power? See Death?’

I jabbed at him and his scales reflected the blow. He shot up, rushing me in the face and his claws scratching me right across before he spiralled away. I turned after him, lashing my sword out and catching his side. However, it wasn’t enough to stop him and with an anguished cry he soared away. Bring a hand to my face, which felt on fire, I watched him land on top of the chain link fence, shriek out a call and flap away into the night. Lowing my sword to the floor, I rubbed my long sleeve across my face. It came back smeared with blood.

Breathing deeply, I sheathed my sword and sank down beside the car. I had nothing to put on the wounds, but the heat was already fading from them. They would heal in time, though I was more concerned about the loose Daemon. I dapped at the blood again then began searching for him. His evil aura trail made it too easy to track him, though I had no idea where he was going. Gathering my strength, I flew after him. There was no knowing what he’d do now, though it was unlikely he’d take over another human as he was at his strongest right now. The more possible options, were that he was heading for a constant source of evil power such as a gateway, or he had some friends in the area that he could rally against me with.

His trail took me to a far edge of the city and a wooded park. As I landed, I could hear the chanting of daemons and a slight dread filled me. The wind ruffled the tree branches and the sounds of city faded behind me. At least this place would be easier to battle in. Slowly, I drifted through the trees and undergrowth. I made myself float just above the ground to quieten my steps, but they already knew I was coming.

Wings, claws and teeth shot out of the shadows and into my chest. I cried out and battered at it. The small demonic servant darted away, twigs breaking in its awake. I grabbed my sword and took up a stand, whilst my eyes flashed around. The trees provided too many dark spots and the wind now rushing through them was blocking all other sounds. Wicked eyes watched me, but I couldn’t aim at them.

I began pushing through the trees, hoping for a clearing somewhere. A monkey chattering followed and branches swung around as they kept my pace. The trees and undergrowth thickened. There was no space to swing my weapon here and knowing I was vulnerable forced me on. For a second I questioned why they didn’t attack now when I appeared weak, but perhaps they thought it might be a trick and hung back. Forcing that thought away, I suddenly bust into the clearing I had been hoping for.

To Be Continued…