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 5, Part 4)

Angel

(Continued from Church Chapter 5, Parts 1, 2 and 3)

I thought about arguing further with her, but decided against it. My story wasn’t as long as her’s. Fixing my eyes to the ceiling, I tried to recall back to that day in the Heavenly Realm when I had received my orders.

‘I’m listening,’ Rain cut in.

I smiled, ‘my General called me. He told me there was a hard mission they wanted me to go on. It involved the hunting and slaying of a manipulating daemon. It sounded easy enough, but they told me the daemon had gone to ground and I’d have to track it down. No one else had been able to.’

Rain hummed to show she was still awake, so I carried on, ‘just before I set off, another General, who was soon to be retired, came to me. He told me that there was something I needed to know that everyone else had refused to tell me. The daemon was manipulating fallen angels and making them kill any angels they could find. The Generals didn’t really know what the daemon’s ultimate plan was, but it had to be stopped.’

Rain shifted slightly and I thought she was going to roll over. Instead, she pulled a blanket over her shoulder. I glanced at this before turning my eyes back to the arched ceiling. There was a spider building a web up there that I hadn’t noticed before.

‘What did you say?’ Rain spoke.

‘I would still go. It was my duty,’ I replied, ‘he then told me that the last warrior angel to face the daemon had been one of his Lieutenants. He had been killed, the daemon had taken his power and grown stronger. They feared the same thing would happen to me. But they currently didn’t have anyone else they could send.’

‘What was his name? The warrior who died?’ Rain cut in.

‘Jarad. I think, I didn’t know him. The daemon has a name too…it’s Bane.’

There was a pause. Rain rolled over and looked up at me. I kept my eyes to the ceiling, trying to think about what else had happened.

‘See? You’ve always known what you had to do,’ Rain’s voice whispered.

‘I’ve been putting it off. Trying to believe I couldn’t find the daemon,’ I explained, ‘it doesn’t scare me. It’s my duty, but I…perhaps, I’ve been enjoying my time here too much. It’s been years since they last give me anything to really do.’

There was a moment then Rain asked, ‘Blaze, how come you’ve only just remembered all of this?’

I took a deep breath, ‘I don’t really know. I guess because you made me think about it.’

‘Do you want me to help you?’ she suggested.

I looked at her then. Her cheeks were slightly flushed and her eyes looked wet. Her hair was scattered around her and she looked so childish. So innocent. She had her hands under head and was almost curled into my side, just like before.

‘I couldn’t ask you…it’s not your job,’ I replied.

‘I’m not asking,’ she said quickly and I realised that something else was going on here. ‘It’d be better. I’m good at tracking things,’ Rain carried on, ‘I’d let you kill it of course.’

‘You knew,’ I responded and sat up.

I crossed my legs and put my hands into my lap. I dropped my head and glanced at her. Rain hadn’t moved. She had been lying to me all this time. I shook my head and tried to control my anger. I had the urge to shake her and demand she tell me everything. No more secrets.

‘I…suspected,’ she corrected.

‘You could have said something!’ I snapped.

‘No, I couldn’t.’

I grabbed her shoulder and shook her, ‘why not?’

‘Calm down,’ she said sternly and put her hand on my arm.

I felt a small electric shock travel up my skin. I stopped shaking her and tried to look for the source. I felt Rain move and her other hand pressed against my cheek as she sat up. She turned to turn my head so that I’d meet her eyes, but I refused. I clenched my teeth, swallowing words I wanted to shout at her.

‘We…can’t talk about it here,’ Rain spoke out, ‘there’s too much listening.’

I felt her grip tighten on my arm and the electric charge growing. I give into her wanting to turn my head and our eyes meet. Her’s looked different. There was power shinning out of them. I loosed my hold on her shoulder and felt a slight stickiness of sweat on my fingertips.

‘I’ve my reasons for staying quiet,’ Rain picked up, ‘you’ll just have to deal with that.’

‘And if I can’t?’ I shouted. I felt the need to re-press my fingers down then grab her other shoulder. The anger swelled inside me, like a balloon about to pop. A small part of me wasn’t sure why I was reacting like this. It felt as if something else was puppeteering me.

‘Then you’ll fail and die just like Jarad,’ she concluded.

His name jarred me back and quickly I pushed away my anger. Rain wasn’t the enemy, she was making herself my aid. Yes, she had kept all this from me, but at least she was telling me now. I didn’t have the right to behave like this.

Taking a deep breath, I heard a voice hissing in my ear, ‘You can’t let this go, Feathers. She betrayed your trust. You should punish her. She lied and deceived you. No one should be able to do that to an angel like you and get away with it.’

Get out of my head, Haku or whatever your name is, I thought back.

There was a lash of laughter and I saw a black mist in my mind’s eye. The laugh faded and was replaced by more chilling words, ‘she’ll never tell you the whole truth about anything. You think she’s helping you? She’s just doing it all for herself.’

That doesn’t make sense. This daemon isn’t the kind she vanquishes. I’m not listening to you.

I imaged a wall and put it up. The voice of Haku sniggered then faded. I looked at Rain. From her expression, I knew she had heard that conversation. I removed my hand from her shoulder and rubbed her face, trying to erases the pain across it.

‘You have to keep fighting him,’ she breathed, ‘believe what you want. It’s probably all true anyway. Though, Haku only lies when he wants something.’

‘He want’s my soul,’ I stated.

Rain nodded. She put the hand she had had on my arm on top of my hand, which was on her cheek. Her fingers stroked my knuckles and she kissed my palm. I felt tiredness pulling me to sleep. Without saying anything, I gently pulled Rain against me and lay down. I held her and put my chin on top of her hair.

‘He’s a danger to you,’ Rain mumbled, ‘but I’ll defend you.’

I kissed her head and tried to tell her I was sorry, but the words stuck in my throat.

Rain nestled against me, her hands curling up on my chest, just below her head. I listened to her falling asleep, before finally giving in myself.

Church (Chapter 5, Part 3)

Angel

(Continued from Church Chapter 5, Parts 1 and 2)

I stood up and collected my sheathed great sword. Oddly, I knew it wouldn’t be much use right now, but just holding it made me feel better. I turned to Rain, she was still sat on the trunk lid. Her head was down and she seemed to be fighting something in her mind. I went over slowly, my bare feet hardly making any sound on the wooden floor.

‘It’s your sword isn’t it? I asked softly, ‘there’s a spirit trapped in there.’

Rain’s head shot up. Puzzlement swept the concentration away on her face. She nodded once, ‘Normally, it takes a lot longer for people to get that. And even longer for them to understand it,’ she explained, ‘I had no doubts about you though. I’ve not met a more powerful angel than you in a while.’

‘Then why didn’t you tell me sooner?’ I pressed.

‘There was no point till he started affecting you. Don’t worry, I’ll teach you how to block him out.’

‘I want to know,’ I started then paused, remembering what she had said about secrets she had to keep.

Rain looked up at me almost shyly and embarrassed from under her hair.

‘About him, the spirit. And how you ended up with that sword. Can you tell me that?’ I finished.

‘Only, if you tell me the reason why you were sent here. You must remember some of your mission,’ she countered back.

‘I’ll try,’ I responded.

Rain dropped her head and took a deep breath, ‘the legend goes that there was a great Japanese samurai in the medieval period and he lusted after power. He enjoyed killing and death. He went against the samurai code and let himself become consumed by greed. He went insane, perhaps he gave his soul to a daemon, but it’s unknown.’ She shrugged.

‘When he was finally killed, it was decided that he had to be punished further. His soul was fused to his katana and his line cursed. At the time, the samurai had no male relatives, so the curse fell upon the women. Thus, the katana has been passed from mother to daughter, sister to sister, aunts to nieces. Never breaking the line.’

‘And they…all used it?’ I broke in to question.

Rain shook her head, ‘in the early days they kept it hidden and only told the story on their deathbeds. Then, one day a mother used it to defend her daughter from a rapist. It’s claimed that act woke the samurai’s soul. Since then, he has grown and grown in power. People have tried to stop him, but nothing has worked. He can’t be locked away or destroyed or released.’

‘How could humans have wielded such power?’ I mused.

‘They couldn’t. The Mestemalum Senātus, The Reapers Of Death To Evil Senate, sensed the power and went to studied it. They decided that the katana was too dangerous and they tried to remove it, but the woman at the time, my great times four grandma, didn’t want to let it go. She made a bargain with them. If they would train her and her daughter to control and harness the katana, she would carry out any task they give her.’

‘And they agreed,’ I slotted in, ‘and that’s come around to you now?’

Rain paused, her face saddened. She looked at her boots then at me, ‘my story is different, but she and her daughter created my first destiny.’

I tried to digest everything she had told me, but I had never heard a story like it. Clutching my sword, I went and sat down in the chair. I felt Rain watching me, but I just wanted a moment to reflect. It felt like she had told me so much and yet she was avoiding the true point.

I heard her getting off the trunk and coming over to me. Gently, she took my sword from my hands and carried it over to its place against the wall, as if it was a child’s teddy bear.

‘No one can lift that sword but me,’ I gasped, turning to face her.

‘It’s bonded to you, yes,’ Rain said in a low tone, ‘and it has the powers of Heavenly Light, but it would let anyone use it to do good and defeat evil, because that’s its purpose. But it’s not alive.’

I frowned, trying to grasp her meaning.

‘Haku is,’ she stated simply, ‘no one else can touch him. If they do, he gets inside their heads and convinces them to kill themselves. He feeds off souls. That’s how he gets his power.’

‘I understand,’ I answered reflectively.

Rain sat down on the bed again and drew her black pants up. Underneath, her skin tight leather boots went up to her knees. She began to unlace them. I watched, but didn’t take any of it in. My mind was on what that whispering voice had been saying before.

‘Is that his real name?’ I asked aloud.

‘No one knows. It’s the name he gave me. Sometimes it’s different, or so I heard,’ Rain responded. She placed her boots slightly under the table, then started undoing a silk belt around her stomach.

I glanced over at the trunk then back at her. Questions drifted into my mind, but I didn’t give voice to any of them. Instead I pushed it from my mind and watched Rain taking off her top.

Underneath, she had on a black vest, which revealed her shoulders, but covered the rest of her upper body. Her breasts were now clearly defined. She lay down, arranging the pillows and blankets.

‘Why the trunk?’ I muttered to take my mind off her.

‘Huh?’ Rain yawed.

‘Why put him in the trunk?’ I repeated.

‘It helps to contain him. It won’t fully stop him from reaching out though. The more you think about it and open your mind to it, the more he can get in. Don’t think about it. Come to bed,’ she added and patted a tossed aside blanket.

I nodded and stood. I went to take off my robe then thought better of it. I walked over, stepping over her and knelt down to make a space for myself. Rain had rolled over and curled her hands under the pillow. I settled down, laying on my back with a single blanket covering my lower body. I put a hand behind my head and looked at her bare shoulder.

‘Tell me your mission,’ Rain muttered.

‘Later. You’re tried,’ I pointed out.

‘No, now,’ she mumbled and rubbed her cheek against the pillow.

‘All right, I’ll tell you want I remember.’

To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 5, Part 2)

Angel

(Continued from Church Chapter 5 part 1)

I felt the words on my lips, but couldn’t get them out. My thoughts tumbled and I was back in the alley with those thugs and that poor girl. Rain had seen everything, but I didn’t seen or sensed her. My eyes were frozen on her’s as my mind tried now to work out what this staring look was. Rain didn’t seem pleased or concerned. It hadn’t bothered or fazed her either. Pity, I decided. That was what her eyes said, I pity you.

‘What did you say?’ I finally forced out.

‘Nothing. I didn’t reveal myself. I couldn’t risk the exposure. Too many reapers know me or are aware of me. I didn’t know him though,’ Rain explained.

‘But you saw everything I did?’ I pressed.

She nodded and helped me slip the left arm and shoulder guards off. They were added to collection on the floor. Rain stood before me and put her hands to my chest. Her fingers rubbed against the rough cotton of my under robe. She looked down, almost as if she was thinking of pressing her head to my chest too. I waited for her to speak, but she didn’t say anything.

‘Don’t you care about it?’ I asked desperately and grabbed her hands, ‘you could have helped. Maybe then…’

‘No. It’s human life. It’s nothing to do with me. I can’t save people…’ she trailed off.

‘You just take their souls?’ I ended for her.

‘I only take the non-human souls,’ she stated.

I let go of her hands, but they didn’t fall, she kept them against my chest. I pulled her chin up and noticed the determined look on her face. I had no idea what was going through her head, she was so closed to me.

‘Then why did you watch?’ I enquired gruffly.

‘Because…I felt sorry for you and have done since we met,’ she confessed, ‘you are doing tasks you weren’t meant to do and are blind to the job you need to do.’

‘Rain,’ I grabbed her shoulders, ‘do you know something about me? Do you know what I need to do?’

She shook her head and I badly wanted her to be lying.

‘You must tell me!’ I pleaded.

Rain pressed herself to me. She wrapped her arms around my neck and put her forehead to my throat. I could hear her breathing and warmth swapping between us. My hands slipped from her shoulders and wrapped around her upper back. I turned my head and put my cheek to her soft hair.

‘You have to concentrate on finding a way home,’ Rain began, ‘stop wasting your powers on things. Do you remember why you were sent here in the first place?’

‘Not really,’ I said aloud, then give it some deeper thought.

Rain rubbed her face into my robe before looking up at me. It looked like she was about to cry. I had the urge to kiss her.

‘You were going to tell me how you ended up here, remember?’ she recalled.

Keeping one arm around her, I brought the other hand to her face and rubbed her cheek between my thumb and finger. Her skin was soft and warm. A ghost of a smile appeared on her face, then flowered into a real one. She tiled her head slightly and kissed the side of my thumb. Her lips were softer than her cheek. My head emptied and I just wanted to kiss her.

‘Blaze?’ she hummed.

‘Yes?’

‘I think you’re getting distracted.’

‘You’re the one causing it,’ I pointed out.

Rain pushed away from me, breaking the hold I had on her. She walked over to the bed and sprawled out over the mountain of pillows and blankets, ‘I’m sorry. I shouldn’t lead you on. I’m bad.’

‘No you’re not bad, Rain,’ I argued and went to sit beside her.

‘You don’t know me. What I’ve done,’ Rain muttered.

I looked down at her. She had shut her eyes and was clenching her fists as if the memories were too hard to deal with. Her hair was scattered out around her and the candle light was making some strands shimmer bronze. Her face scrunched up then relaxed.

‘Confess to me, Rain. I can forgive your sins,’ I said in a low voice, ‘I have the power to release you from them. Just like that man I let go in the alley.’

Rain shook her head, tousling her hair more, ‘you can’t. If the Mestemalum Senātus couldn’t, then nor can you or anyone else.’

‘Not even God?’

‘Not even Him,’ she whispered.

I paused and tried to think what the beautiful, fierce Rain could have done which was eternally unforgiveable. I heard her fighting back a sob and I grabbed her hand. Lying down next to her, I watched her eyes open to blink away small tear drops. I squeezed her hand and she rolled over into me and nestled at my side.

‘You could still tell me. We could find away together,’ I offered.

‘I can never walk in the Light,’ Rain breathed, ‘my path is darkness to the end of time. No one can save or stop me. I’m a lost cause.’

‘I won’t believe it!’ I cried and held her hard.

‘It’s okay, Blaze. I’ve all ready accepted it. And you’re going to have to too. Just like everyone else.’

Like the owners of the notebooks? Like everyone who stayed in the bedroom before me at the Paradise Garden? Surely, someone must have tried to help her? Or is this all recent?

I heard a small snicker, which I knew hadn’t come from Rain and that same hissing male voice from before crept into my head, ‘she’s completely right, Feathers. Nothing can save her. The only way to help her is to give your soul to me.’

‘Rain?’ I uttered.

‘Yeah, I know,’ she responded, ‘just ignore it.’

A sudden bust of cruel laughter filled my mind. I sat up too quickly and pain shot into my head. Pressing a palm to my forehead, I looked over at my sword and thought about grabbing it.

Rain moved from beside me and stood up in a graceful single movement. She walked over to her katana, picked it up and carried on walking. She stopped at the trunk, swept my robe off it and opened it up.

Before I could ask her what she was doing, she had laid the weapon inside and shut the lid. She sat down on top of it, balancing herself on the edge and crossing her arms over her chest. The laughter stopped, disappearing just as fast as it had come. My migraine vanished and I felt an ebb of power returning to me.

‘You do that again, Haku and I’ll slit you in two from bottom to top,’ Rain hissed at the trunk.

‘Ameya, Aijin. I can’t promise that,’ the voice whispered before fading completely.

To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 4, Part 4)

(Continued from Church Chapter 4, Part 1, 2 and 3)

He was dead. I knew it without even looking. I went her. She had sunk down the wall and struggling to breath. Blood stained her clothes and turned everything red around us. Kneeling, I watched the slow raising and falling of her chest and the dagger still protruding from her. I took her hand, knowing there was nothing I could do but offer comfort. Our eyes came to rest on each other’s and she seemed to study me, questions forming and dying in her head.

‘Are you my guardian angel?’ she finally whispered.

I shook my head.

‘But you are an angel. I can see it,’ she rasped.

‘I was just passing,’ I responded though there was heaviness to my words.

Her eyes left mine and she looked around, ‘are you going to take me to Hell?’

‘I’m not that type of angel.’

I watched her face change into one of confusion and her lips trying to form more questions. I squeezed her hand and tried to think of something else to say.

‘I don’t want to die,’ she stuttered and began to cry.

‘It’s not so bad,’ I whispered.

Gently, I drew her into a hug and held her. Her hair was soft on my cheek and I could feel her tears falling on my shoulder. She smelt of sweat, blood and old perfume. She tried to put her arms around me, but instead I felt her collapse against me and her breathing becoming slower. I wondered where her guardian angel was and when a reaper would show up. I looked down, moved some of her hair from her face.

She went quietly.

Laying her down, I sit next to her and took some deep breaths. The city was still carrying on around us. I could hear cars and people going by, the ebb and flow of voices. Harsh breathing caught my attention and I looked over the three bodies to my left. Knife man was still alive.

I flattered my palms on the cold road and pulled myself up. Arranging my clothes, I walked over, anger burning in my heart. In a flash image, I saw myself dragging him up from the floor and shaking him. I demanded he tell me the truth about everything and why the girl had had to die. I had seen her aura and yes, her life had been tinted with badness, but she had tried to overcome it.

I reached him and made myself visible as an angel, with my wings unfolding around me, my sword appearing at my side, my armour glowing and robes flowing about me. Kicking him, bought him further around and he opened glazed eyes into mine, but as I looked down, I felt only pity.

‘I should kill you,’ I spit, ‘you helped bring her death.’

He groaned and twisted his head away, but all he could see was the body of Boss.

‘You would have had her after he was finished with her. I know it. I should bring you to judgement. You’re not worth of this life, you act like a daemon does.’

I nudged him to get him to turn back. Blood was drying on his face, but I could see that his breathing was steadying. This time his eyes widened and he took me completely in. I saw a spark of fear and his tongue roamed his mouth as if wetting it. My hand strayed to my sword.

‘Beg for forgiveness now and vow that from this moment on you will live a clean life. This is your only chance at redemption. I’ll grant it to you if you swear to this and that you will become a good man,’ I stated.

His mouth began to move, then his lips formed around a single word, ‘yes.’

‘Say it,’ I demanded and stilled my sword arm.

‘I beg your forgiveness for all my sins and vow to live a good clean life,’ he spoke quietly.

‘You will take up a religion,’ I added, ‘this will help you to keep you vows.’

He stared at me, trying to decide if he had heard me right.

‘Christianity, in its many forms, is often the preferred one,’ I suggested.

‘Yes, I will do it,’ he muttered and shut his eyes.

‘And if you don’t stay true, I shall seek you out and finish what you started today.’

‘I understand.’

‘Then I renounce you. Go in peace and may you see the light.’

I turned, my boots shuffling on the floor and went to the entrance of the side street. I lingered there, making myself invisible and watching for an angel to arrive. The sky had gotten darker and the streetlamps were flickering on. I leant against the wall, hand on my sword and watched knife man get to his feet.

He stumbled over to his Boss, kicked him hard whilst muttering some foul words and then headed my way. I ignored him, but placed him in my memory, meaning to stay true to my word. I shut my eyes, feeling a peculiar tiredness coming upon me. My job was over, I should leave, but I wanted to meet a reaper or any other angel. I turned over what I would say to them, but the two questions that kept coming to my mind seemed stupid.

It began to rain.

I opened my eyes as I felt the first specks fell and noticed the spray of droplets under the streetlights. A black cloud bank had rolled across the night sky blocking out the sprinkling of starts and half full moon. I turned my face up as it began to rain more heavily and marvelled in how refreshing and cleansing the simple water was. I decided I had to leave. I turned the corner and walked away. A reaper would come by to claim their souls, but clearly they were in no rush. I was feeling drained and couldn’t risk being exposed any more. I found another empty side street and took off. The rain beat down on my wings, sticking my feathers together and making it more difficult to fly.

I regretted leaving, but what would I have actually said to another angel? Really, there was only one I wanted to see and talk to. I flew higher and the weather didn’t change, but I battled on. I went over a few towns, then the park, then fields. The village was a dot under me and everything had become darker. I landed in the church graveyard, just as the wind picked up and forced me to hurry under the archway.

I shook the water from my clothes and hair, before putting my hand on the door. The sensation of being watched ran up my spine. I twisted my head and rested my chin on my shoulder, thinking it was nothing more than the spirits. My hand slipped from the door and I turned, knowing that it couldn’t be them in this weather. I glanced around the graveyard then down to the lichgate.

A figure was standing there, watching me.

Church (Chapter 4, Part 3)

(Continued from Church Chapter 4, Part 1 and 2)

Standing on the church porch, I looked up at the darkening sky which was becoming a wash with colours. The day was slowly ending. I glanced around the graveyard as I walked to the lichgate, but couldn’t detect any of the spirits. Jumping over, I walked down the road and towards the main one. There, I watched a tractor go by in the field opposite, before unfurling my wings. Fluffing out my feathers, I listened to the unusual quietness around me.

My senses hadn’t picked up any evil yet, but that wasn’t going to put me off. Maybe I could find someone to help instead? The tasks of a warrior angel sometimes board on doing missions like that. Flapping my wings and kicking off from the ground, I made myself invisible to the human eye and took to the sky. I dodge growing light grey clouds and birds. I felt the last of the sun’s heat on me and felt joyous.

Without meaning too or really thinking about it, I flew towards the park where I had fought last night. Landing safely in the cover of trees, I walked to the spot where everything had happened. Oddly, the area looked cleaner. The broken trees and branches had been removed and the grass didn’t have deep gorge marks across it. There was nothing to indicate that anything had gone on here.

The battle replayed in my head, bring with it Rain. That image of her atop the Demi-god bear burned into me. She had been all in black and taking on a solid form as she looked down at me. I had felt worried due to not knowing what she was and feeling the power coming off her. Strangely, I then remembered how she had stood there as if in conversation with something I couldn’t see. Had she just been weighing things up herself or had it been some spirit guide? Perhaps, I should have asked when I’d had the chance.

I walked through the rest of the park, secretly passing by joggers, parents and their children, teenagers and people heading home. Only the dogs saw me go by and whilst most of them barked, I few came up to me. I patted their heads and blessed them. Animals are neutral, they do nothing good or bad as their actions involve their survival.

I journeyed on, taking to the sky again and flying further then I had done before. I landed on the roof of a skyscraper and looked down at the new city. Many other towers reached into the air as if man was trying to claim the sky. The sun reflected off many glass surfaces, sending splashes of colour everywhere. And the noise! There was so much life below me. I listened to the conversations, trying to pick up on anyone who needed help. Nothing major came to me.

I fluttered down to street level, making sure I still couldn’t be seen and sat on the roof of a parked car. The street and road were packed with people on the move. For a few minutes I enjoyed the sounds, sights and smells. Human life fascinated me no end. Then a female like crying came to me. It could have been nothing, but I decided to check it out.

The crying sound led me to a hardly used side street. At the top of which was a dead end and had a group of figures clustered around. Hovering just above the pavement, I drifted over to watch and valuate.  There was a woman dressed in a dirty short skirt and low cut top, surround by four men. She had wild black hair and red rimmed eyes, she wasn’t speaking in English but another language, which I didn’t recognise. She was clearly pleading with the men to leave her alone.

The men all looked the same to me; tall, dark skinned, muscular bodies, short hairstyles. They were all wearing designer jeans, shirts and shoes. They spoke the same language as her, but didn’t seem to be listening to her. In fact they were laughing and mocking her. They called her cruel names and threated her if she didn’t do what they wanted.

What had caused this? I had no idea, but I didn’t want it to continue. I revealed myself to them, but without my wings and walked straight up.

‘Leave her alone!’ I shouted in their language, because that was not a barrier to angels.

They stared at me, lips curled up in sneers and marking me up. I saw one slip out a long knife from behind him and try to conceal it along his arm. The woman, who had had her fists on the chest of the apparent Boss, turned to me and began shouting, ‘go away, stay out of this! They’ll kill you.’

‘Better do as she says!’ the Boss cut in.

He grabbed the woman’s arms and pulled her into a corner. She cried loudly, but I couldn’t see what he was doing because he was blocking my view. The other three men added to this and stepped towards me. They looked menacing and I could feel their evil intentions radiating from them. I looked into their auras and found that they weren’t daemons nor had they been touched by them. They were just men who had had a bad life and believed they could take whatever they wanted.

I gritted my teeth and tried to stop a growl escaping me. I felt no pity towards them and knowing their true natures only made me feel stronger. I debated trying to talk them out of it, but I could see that wasn’t going to happen. These men wanted blood. My hand went for my sword, but I realised it would be useless in this fight. I fingers touched my side as my ears picked up their sniggering laughter.

‘You left your weapon at home, hero?’ the knife man asked.

‘No,’ I replied calmly and remembering they couldn’t see the sword due to it being Heaven made and thus beyond their sight.

They laughed as if my response was a joke. Behind them the woman let out a desperate moan. I didn’t need to see to know what was happening to her now. I felt anger well inside of me and in one quick movement I balled my hand up and swung a punch at knife man.

My fist collided with his nose and I heard bone breaking. The knife clattered to the floor and he buried his face in his hands. I breathed deeply and watched blood dripping though his fingers and staining the cracks in his knuckles.

‘What the fuck?’ his left wingman muttered.

Knife man’s eyes meet mine and I saw the pain reflect in them. He lunged at me and caught in a bear hug, growling loudly in my ear. I brought my knee up and shoved it in-between his legs.  A low blow perhaps, but it worked and he let go as he doubled over. I put my hands together, fingers linked and threw some of my upper body weight behind it as I wacked him on the back between the shoulder blades, whilst I brought that same knee up and into his face. He crumbled to the floor, gasping for breath, blood splattering his face.

My eyes flickered to the other two and the third man with the woman. They were all watching me and rethinking their early judgement of me. I waited, planning my next attack. Right wingman scooped up the knife and waved it threatening at me, ‘I’ll guts you likes a piggy,’ he slurred and rushed forward.

‘Gets him, Moze!’ left wingman shouted.

He ploughed into me, the knife aimed at my stomach. However, I punched him then knocked his arms away. We wrestled for the knife, whilst he tried to cut me with it. He was good at dodging my blows, but his hands were sweaty and in a few moves, I easily ripped the knife out of his hands. He backed up, breathing hard and looking panicked. I stepped up and stuck the knife in his stomach, just as he had intended to do to me. He doubled over, but not before I had yanked the blade out.

Left wingman looked scared and he was trying to flatten himself against the wall. His eyes darted between me and his Boss.

‘Not what you were expecting from a weapon-less hero, right?’ I asked, coldly.

‘Get him, you idiot,’ Boss yelled.

‘No, way,’ left wingman replied and rushed passed me.

I could’ve struck out and sliced his legs or low body, but the woman’s soft moaning drew my attention more. Boss had her pinned to the wall with his beefy arm across her throat. His other hand zipped up his jeans as he eyed me.

‘You should’ve stayed out of this. What’s this whore to you anyways?’ he asked.

I shrugged.

‘She’s worthless to me,’ he added.

Quickly, he drew a dagger from his t-shirt sleeve and stabbed her in the chest. I raced over, her scream and cry filling all my senses. I brought my knife down into him and felt the blade carving through flesh and muscle, hitting bone.

To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 4, Part 2)

Continued from Church Chapter 4, Part 1

I opened my eyes and a moan escaped from my mouth. I was far too hot and sweating, so I threw off all the blankets and stretched out. I could feel the afternoon heat seeping in though the badly nailed wooden boards. I sat up, rubbing my face and pushing back strands of my long gold-red hair. My hand dropped to my hairless tight muscled chest and my fingernails scratched across my skin. Next, I massaged my shoulders and neck feeling the dull pains there because of my rough bed.

My eyes landed on the nearest wooden board and noticing that two of the small nails were loose, I got an idea. Standing up, I stepped over and wrapped my fingers around the edge of the board. Gently, I tugged it away from the wall and it easily gave way.  Light flooded inside and caused dust motes to take to the air. I ripped the rest of that side away, sending a few nails popping. Now, I had a window. Fresh air drifted in slowly as if it was exploring a place it had long forgotten about. I looked out over the graveyard and patched farmland, enjoying the sight.

Sitting down, I pulled my hair loose and looked at the lilac hair tie between my fingers. It was her’s. She had tied my hair back with it just after I had awakened from her knocking me out. I played with it, rubbing it against my fingers and thinking of that moment. I never tied my hair back, but after a few moments, I did just that again.

Casting my eyes around, I saw nothing else to do but to get up and dressed. It was too early to go out searching for evil, so I didn’t bother putting my armour on just my robes. No socks or boots neither. I loved the feeling of the dry wooden boards beneath me. The candle was still lit on the desk and blowing it out, I decided to do a bit of tidying up. Maybe it was due to the sudden rays of light now revealing how messy the room was?

I did my desk first by arranging the candles, matches, books, paper and pens. My bed was next and I sorted out the bedding, removed anything that wasn’t a blanket or a pillow, before doing the mattress up as best I could. The rest of the things on the floor were mostly clothes, books and empty water bottles. I picked all these up, putting the clothes in the large trunk in the far corner, the books on the desk and the bottles in a pile.

My stomach growled and I paused at the sound. It had felt like an age since I had last eaten something. I went over to the small food cupboard I had and looked through the items Granny Malock had given me. I selected a few things and a bottle of water. Sitting at the desk, I ate and drink whilst my mind remembered the ‘not-real’ food Rain had offered me. I paused as I thought about her. What was she doing now?

Shaking my head, I finished up eating a sandwich and an orange. The water was warm and made my mouth and throat drier. I drank the bottle and dropped it with the other ones. Sweeping the orange peel and plastic wrap to the side, I picked up the black covered notebook and starting at the beginning looked through the pages. A part of me had expected the pages to be blank or for something else to happen, but no, the pencil and pen sketches looked the same as they had done last time.

The first page was of the ruined cathedral and second page of the Paradise Garden in great, but small detail. Close ups of flowers on the next, followed by rabbits on the fourth and an owl on the fifth. I turned that page and the sketches of Rain began. I slowed down and studied them more closely than before. The artist had really taken his time to try and get her face right. I wondered who he was and how he had known Rain. Was he an angel like me? Or something else? He had liked her though, I could tell from the way he had drawn her.

The eighth page and I was staring into the eyes of a young man. Was it possible that he was the artist and Rain had drawn this? In a flash, I pictured them together, sitting in the oak tree chairs on the platform. The basket of fruit was on the matching table and they were laughing together. He got up, showed her the sketch he had just completed and handed everything to her so she could do one of him.

I turned the page, pushing the image away and let my eyes fall on a map of a graveyard. There was a church marked at the top and connected to a gate at the bottom by a meandering line. A few small trees were sketched out and some large headstones, almost as if someone was suggesting they could be used as cover. There were also two stone angels facing each other in prayer. A thin dotted line cut out a path and I realised I hadn’t noticed it before. Quickly, I traced it and came to the conclusion that this map had been made during a plan of attack.

I turned my eyes and saw the words written on the next page once more;

 I do not wander in darkness alone as your light shines out before me.

 It looked like a Bible quote, but not quite. Interested, I dug out one of the Bibles I had brought up from the church floor and flipped through the pages. For a good few minutes, I tried to find that line, but nothing matched it. The writer could have easily miss-quoted or else just pieced it together. Something about it bugged me though and for some reason, I got the feeling it wasn’t a line to God or Jesus, but was about and to a person.

I closed the book and put it back on the pile. Resting my elbows on the table, I put my head in my hands and shut my eyes. I had to get her out of my head. I was drawn to her far too much and I knew it. There was so much mystery surrounding her and I wanted to know it, but really, I wanted more. Rubbing my head, I tried to push away all those thoughts and sent my senses out for evil. Killing would defiantly distract me.

I got changed, putting on my armour and boots this time. I collected my sword and wondered down to the church. Instead of walking across the altar, I went my usual route of slipping behind the stone pillar. It was one of a pair that marked the entrance to the altar. I stopped and looked into the large alcove of the church organ. I walked over and let my fingers trail across the keys. They were covered in dust, just like everything else.

Pressing down just a little bit harder caused a note to be rudely admitted from one of the many brass pipes above me. I played a few more, knowing it was a risk in case someone heard me, but I could always deal with them. The notes sounded forced and not as booming as they should have been. I stopped playing and wondered if that was the last time the organ would ever be heard from again.

Shaking off the cold feeling that thought left me with, I went out.

To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 3, Part 4)

17 Photos of Abandoned Churches These old Churches have long been abandoned but not forgotten. Awesome photos keep them alive in our memories!

Continued from Church chapter 3, parts 1, 2 and 3.

‘How?’ I cut in.

‘It doesn’t matter,’ Rain shot back, ‘it’s not important.’

It mattered to me and I went to press her on it, but she continued speaking with a sad tone to her words, ‘I tried to give the fighting up, I retired to here and other places. But, it didn’t work. I couldn’t stop my destiny, so I fight still.’

‘Isn’t that good, though?’ I asked softly, ‘maybe the other Reapers will see that and invite you back in. I don’t understand why you think yourself sinful. Are you not doing a worthy job in purging and protecting the world from those evil souls?’

Rain let out a deep sigh and for the first time grabbed my hands in her’s, stopping my fingers from rubbing against her knuckles. My words hung in the air, heavy with more than just that question. I was desperate to ask more to make her to reveal other things to me. I had an overwhelming urge to know her entirely. Instead, I forced myself to stay silent and gave her the space to carry on.

‘It’s not like that,’ she said, shakily, then stopped.

Her hands slipped from mine and she stood up. I stayed on the floor, looking up at her and willing her to go on, but at the same time knowing that she no longer wanted too.

‘You don’t need to know any more. I’m going to have a shower and maybe rest,’ she muttered, as she turned away.

‘Rain?’ I called after her, scrambling to my feet.

She stopped, but didn’t turn back to me, ‘I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything. You can leave if you want. Just walk out of the portal, you don’t need to do anything else.’

‘We can’t end it like this,’ I snapped, without really meaning too.

I reached out to her, but my hand hovered in the air. She twisted her head, resting her chin on her shoulder. Some of her hair fell across the side of her face and she looked at me shyly from under her eyelashes.

‘It must for now, but we’ll see each other again, I’m sure of that,’ Rain stated.

Flicking her head away, she took off with her feet slapping the floor loudly. I caught myself from chasing after her as the door closed and I was alone again. Rubbing a hand down my face and then my neck, I cast a look at my amour, which lay on the floor close beside me. I gathered it and went to blow out the candle. The sage had almost burnt itself out and needed no attention. I left and went back to my room, feeling dishearten and no longer convinced that I wanted to leave.

Still though, it didn’t feel like I had a choice. As I put my armour back on, I thought about Rain’s words and realised that she had dismissed me. If I stayed I probably would be disrespecting her and there was a growing tension between us right now. However, the small hope of seeing her again stayed with me and I prayed that we were destined to meet another time. Picking up my sheathed sword, my eyes drifted to the notebooks. Fixing the weapon to my side, I walked over and picked them up. I was tempted to open their pages and flick through them once more, instead, I went to the chest and opened it.

Inside the same mix of items meet my eyes. I placed the notebooks on top and went to close the lid. Something stopped my hand and as if I had been possessed, I picked the notebooks up again and shoved them under my chest plate. The lid slammed as I let it go. Leaving without a glance back, I walked out and looked over the Paradise Garden. A storm seemed to be brewing in one of the far corners. However, the magic of the rolling landscape, babbling brook and singing birds affected me, making me feel calm and safe.

I walked downstairs and took a last walk through the English meadow. My mind drifted, my thoughts unable to fix on anything else other than the beauty before me. Then it started to rain. Large drops fell from a darkening grey sky and a gently rumble of thunder filled the air. I hurried to the true cathedral steps and climbed them. Standing beside the door, the rain couldn’t get me and for a few minutes I watched the storm roll in and erupt around me.

For a split second, I thought I saw Rain on the balcony, but it could have easily been a large bird. I sighed and turned away at last, my heavy heart knowing that I might never look upon this place again. I opened the door and stepped through. The sound of the storm faded behind me and the doors closed with a soft hushing.

I was back in the real world again.

Church (Chapter 2, Part 3)

Continued from Church chapter 2, parts 1 and 2

Settling back into the trunk tree chair, I wondered where to actually begin and how much I should reveal to Rain. She was busy picking her way through the fruit basket, seemly ignoring me as she selected a few pieces of peeled and cut star fruit. I wondered where all the fruits had come from, then couldn’t delay any longer.

‘I can’t really remember my early days of being, because I was created to be a warrior angel right from the start. I have shadowy memories of things I did, events that happened, friends who are no longer. I don’t dwell in the past and anyway it’s far too long now.  Though, I can recall things from the human life I once lived,’ I ended in a shrug.

Rain glanced up at me from nibbling a point off the star fruit. Her expression showed her interested and her wish for me to continue.

‘We all have the choice to spend some time as mortal if we want it,’ I picked up, ‘I can’t speak for the others, for it has been awhile since I last enjoyed a peaceful and pleasant time with my brothers. I wouldn’t have done it of my own accord though. I was told to by my leader and I always do whatever he asks of me.’

‘Did you enjoy it?’ Rain asked in a soft voice.

I noticed she was running her finger over the table top and tracing circles. Her mismatched eyes were downcast, but when she rose them up to mine, because I didn’t reply, I noted a hint of sadness there.

‘For a time. But a part of me always was…unsatisfied. In that body and conscious mind, I didn’t know what I truly was, but my soul and unconscious mind did. I suffered the great hardships common to mortals, but it didn’t change me. I don’t know the reasons I was sent there, maybe the purpose is yet to happen. Are you human or were once?’ I asked.

Rain let out a big sigh and slide back on the chair, ‘I was born and grew up human, before…’ she shook her head slightly, then whispered, ‘I wish I’d never existed.’

I frowned and paused, waiting and willing her to go on. Instead she let the silence between us grow and the noise of the paradise garden filled my ears. British and exotic birds were singing to each other and flirting about the trees and bushes. Bees and other insects were buzzing and the stream was still babbling away to itself. I heard a patter of raindrops and looked across the garden.

I had avoided looking through the wooden bars of the railing at the rolling landscape, for uncertainty about that mind effecting spell. However, after a few moments, I realised that Rain had been right about this platform being a neutral space.

‘Is it raining?’ I asked.

She looked over too and nodded, ‘Yes. I like the sound and smell of rain. Sometimes you can hear gale force winds and thunder. It just depends on my mood. None of it harms anything and it’s the same with the animals and plants. There’s no time here, remember?’ she added as puzzlement flashed on my face, ‘anyway, you were saying?’

‘I’ve not been mortal since then and don’t really wish too. The only thing I know is my work, because it is the only thing I was created to do. I fight evil in whatever form it decides to hide in and no matter where it is. Most of the time, it happens to be on Earth now, not that it bothers me. Well, I did use to enjoy it so…’

Rain perked up as I trailed off, her face eager for me to explain myself.

I sighed and decided there was no harm in sharing the truth with her, ‘I’m trapped here. I can’t get back to Heaven and my powers are waning.’

‘Why is that?’ Rain breathed.

‘I don’t know and so far I’ve not been able to figure it out,’ I answered.

I got to my feet and began walking about the platform. The rain was falling heavier now and I could hear it hitting the stream and mossy rocks. Also, the sunlight had seemed to dim, though there was still enough light surrounding us. The delicious smell of damp soil and wet plants crowd my nose, with the midnight jasmine coming out on top. I started pacing and Rain, after a few moments of quietness began searching through the fruit basket again.

‘I don’t think I did anything wrong,’ I muttered to myself, ‘and if I had Fallen I would have surely known. I’ve constantly asked for guidance and had hardly anything. No other angel or my leader has tried to speak to me, well at least not to my knowledge.’

‘You’d know if something happened up there, wouldn’t you?’

I turned at the sound of her voice and saw her looking thoughtfully at me, whilst rubbing her fingers across a peach in her right hand.

I nodded, ‘I always have before,’ and went to sit down, only I saw her rising and paused.

‘Would you like some jasmine tea? Or maybe something else to drink? I was thinking about having some and then going to bed.’

‘That sounds fine to me. Do you have a kitchen?’

Rain put the peach back and pressed her palms to the table. She pulled herself all the way up as if her body had become stiff whilst we had been talking. She inclined her head to the right and my eyes followed the movement. There seemed to be nothing but a magnificent cherry tree wood panelling with traditional Japanese scenes carved on it. I hadn’t noticed it before and quickly realised, that I could stare at it forever just like the garden.

Rain moved off and following her, I watched as she turned a concealed handle in the trunk of a blossoming cherry tree. Pushing, relieved a hidden door, through which was a kitchen as modern as the bathroom had been.

‘I don’t keep much,’ she said as we stepped through. ‘I don’t spend that long here.’

‘But the fruit? Where does that come from?’ I asked, looking around. The kitchen was small, with a few cupboards and work surfaces with more underneath. A sink took dominance as there were no other appliances to do so. Rain had just used it to fill a kettle, which she now clicked on.

‘It’s not real,’ she tossed over her shoulder.

I rubbed my face with my sleeve covered arm and moved some strains of hair back into place. I poked my tongue into my cheeks where I could just about taste the remains of the apple I had eaten.

‘It seemed so,’ I mumbled and wonder how great Rain’s powers could actually be, ‘are you going to tell me about yourself now?’

She lifted her shoulders in a quick shrug and made up a teapot of jasmine tea.

‘Maybe, later. I’m tired after all your talking. Here,’ she added and handed me a Japanese tea cup.

‘Is this real?’ I asked staring into the cup and looking at the light brown tea inside.

Rain gave a little laugh, ‘yes.’

To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 1, Part 4)

Continued from Church Part 3, which can be read below as well as Parts 1 and 2.

The bare trees and star speckled sky seemed to frame the clearing. I caught my breath and clutched my sword tighter, knowing they were re-grouping behind me and fearing their number. I let no plan form in my mind as just the urge to defeat evil was enough for me. Their laughter grew from the shadows and there was a rustling of leather wings. I prepared myself.

‘Scared, Angel? You should be, you see true power now,’ the daemon called out.

‘True power? All I see is a coward hiding behind his friends,’ I shouted back, still without turning, ‘why don’t you face me yourself?’

The daemon chuckled and it was echoed by the others, ‘I shall. That’s why we’ve come here. You wanted Death and I brought you to him.’

‘What?’ I whispered, turning with confusion tumbling through my mind and face. I could see them all there now, lingering at the treeline. There must have been twenty of them or so. They ranged in size, with the first daemon being the largest. Most of the others looked like him, though others were more dragon or bat like. Their eyes were hungry, but they seemed unusually edgy.

‘You have soul?’ the daemon hissed, his tongue flicking around.

I frowned.

‘Everything has one.’

‘What is this?’ I cut in, ‘just come and fight me. Stop with your games!’

The daemon chuckled and seemed to nod towards the space behind me. Around him the smaller ones were becoming more agitated and moving away. The others weren’t trying to stop them and seemed themselves fearful. I had never seen them behave this way and worry crept into my thoughts. Quietness filled the clearing then the trees began to sway as if a giant’s hand was pushing them aside. I glanced over my shoulder, trying to keep one eye on the daemon, whilst seeking for the sudden presence I had felt behind me.

‘I lied,’ the daemon giggled.

‘What?’ I spun back, my sword raised, but he and his companions had taken to the air and were out of reach. Something large hit me from behind and threw me into the undergrowth. Branches and thorns scrapped across my skin and robe, whilst my sword sank into a tree. A monstrous roar shook everything and I saw against the night sky the faint clear outline of a large beast.

I paused and stared up, trying to figure what it was. However, it was invisible to my eyes expect for when the sky gave it lines. Above me the daemons chortled and took a chant of ‘kill, kill, kill.’ They understood what it was, so did that make it a daemon? I pulled my sword out and tried to estimate where it was, but I couldn’t put dimensions to it. I was no fool to flay my weapon around, so I took cover and watched the lines I could see.

‘Ha, ha, pitiful Divine can’t see!’

I looked up and the daemon was sat in a branch above me. His eyes glowed, his tail whipped about and he bared fangs. With a claw, he pointed in the direction of the demonic beast and in a sickly sweet voice said, ‘would you like to see?’ He flapped off, without waiting my reply and I saw him land on the outline of the creature. He seemed to be absorbed inside and was then gone.

Straight away I saw it, a gigantic Demigod bear with icy white and blue swirling fur. Large black eyes fixed on me as the even larger snout sniffed and the jaws opened to rows of pointed teeth. Massive paws armed with razor claws began to stomp over. Fear froze me and all I could see were those eyes coming for me.

The daemons’ chittering broke the spell and I dodged the first paw with a roll. Shooting back to my feet, I took a swing, meaning to slice right across that paw, but the other one came down behind me, knocking me and tossing me away, much like a cat with a mouse. Undergrowth rushed to me and I landed in a tangle of brambles, my robe ensnared. Struggling against them, I heard deep rumbling laughter and looked up to see the bear paused above me and him speaking, ‘what a weakling, but his soul is holy. Very tasty and powerful.’

‘I’m not weak!’ I screamed and tore myself free.

The colossal maw came together in a black lined smiled, ‘but you are.’

Wheeling my sword, I brought it down in the bear’s face and it easily cut through the smile. The Demigod roared as the blessed blade left a red streak in its wake. The bear raised a paw and rubbed its burning flesh. I darted further into the trees, only intending to create room between us whilst I planned my next attack. However, the bear had other ideas and sprinted after me. Trees were thrown aside and the plants flattened. The other daemons took higher to the air, their chatter silenced.

‘God protect me!’ I bellowed and dodged a flying tree.

‘Your God shall not!’ the daemonic voice rumbled close behind me, ‘He’s forsaken you!’

‘He would never! I am His knight!’ I threw over my shoulder.

The bear chuckled, ‘then why doesn’t He come?’

My feet skidded to a halt and I spun. The bear padded up in front of me, head down and eyes fixed on my own. I felt the evil power radiating from him and his question hanging in the air. I gripped my sword in both hands, steadied my feet and controlled my breathing. Silently, I prayed and called on God and the other Angels. There was no way I could face this alone and I didn’t want to die! My soul would be consumed by this evil and I’d never get back home.

The bear growled, still waiting my response.

‘He will come,’ I answered calmly, ‘at my darkest hour as my last hope, a guiding light.’

Sniggering filled my ears as the jaws opened and the teeth chopped together, ‘such spirit,’ the Demigod sighed, ‘but no one is coming to save you,’ and he swept out his head, capturing me in his mouth. I screamed and plunged my sword down, slicing through lip and fur. The bear shook in pain, causing me to struggle for balance. I tugged out my sword and aimed it at the roof of his mouth. His body suddenly trembled, the teeth knocked together and I felt an electric charge fill the air.

I paused, torn between digging my blade in or jumping free. The mouth was shaking around me like an earthquake and the bear seemed to be moaning in pain. The teeth fall together, the tongue tip poked my boot as if pushing me forward and then I fell out. Air rushed around me before my back hit the ground. Pain rocked through me and my head spun. I felt my sword still in my grasp and my mind screaming at me to move.

I pushed up and shuffled backwards, dragging my sword with my sight fixed on the fallen Demigod. The large eyes were closed and he appeared to be fading away. No sound or movement came from him. I stopped moving and looked up. A shadow was standing in-between the bear’s ears. I squeezed my eyes shut then opened them again. The shadow figure was still there and a crackling laughing ripped the air.

A wave of terror like nothing I had ever known curled around me. Whatever that was seemed worse than the Demigod bear. Everything screamed to run, but my body was achy and sore. In a flash the shadow moved and came before me. I tried to shuffle away, but my body was numb, my breathing quickened. I clutched my sword and raised it before me.

The figure gave the impression of a head tilt as if unsure about me or the movement. Then as if allowing me too, the figure made itself clearer and I saw what appeared to be a black masked and caped ninja in front of me, with a curved tip katana pointed at the floor. However, some reasoning inside of me knew this could be so and that this figure was something more.

‘What are you?’ I asked in a shaky voice.

The figure pulled the mask and hood down, revealing the soft face and bouncing brown hair of a woman, ‘I’m Rain.’

***************************

Author’s Note:

Hi, I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading Church as much as I’ve been enjoying writing it. I had been thinking of a number of different ends, but I couldn’t settle on one and since I’ve been liking it so much I’ve decided to carry on with it and see what happens. At the minute, I’m not sure if I’ll be posting any more of it up, since I thought that these four parts might form the first chapter of a novel. However, if people are interested and let me know through likes/comments, then I will look at posting some more. I’m really interesting to find out more about Rain, what she and Blaze are now going to do and if he’ll ever get back into Heaven. Hope you feel the same!

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Thanks for reading and supporting my short stories, Hayley.