Church (Chapter 1, Part 2)

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

Shutting my eyes I drifted into a deep and dreamless sleep. I wasn’t aware of anything around me and even if I had dreamed, no recall would have been possible. When I awoke, it was only to roll over before arranging the blankets and pillows half-consciously. I fell back to sleep, aware of a light scratching sound of some animal but not bothered by it. No dreams manifested this second sleep and I awoke feeling oddly refreshed and bright.

Stretching out, I saw that the candle had turned into a pool of wax, some of which had run down the desk and created a row of stalactites. I got up, scattering the bedding and walking across the floor. It was cold and rough under me. I dressed quickly, though strapping on the metal breast plate and arm guards took time.

Licking my dry lips, I glanced around for some bottled water or even some food. However, the plastic storage box next to the desk was empty and there was nothing else in sight. Grabbing my sword, I went down into the church. My boots clomped loudly on the stone steps then crunched across the floor. I went around the back of the pillar, close to the large alcove where the grand church organ was tucked into. I was half tempted to let my fingers play across the keys and rung out a hymen. The instrument still sounded good, but I was scared that the noise would alert someone to my presence. Through another hidden door here were the priest’s chambers and the three connecting rooms were small. The first held a desk and chair, signalling that it had once been an office. The second was a dressing and storing room, whilst the third held a tiny toilet and sink.

Going into this last room, I ran the tap, washed my hands and face, before drinking the water. It tasted coppery and slightly earthy. Turning the tap off, I give up a silent pray of thanks and walked back into the church. I felt better, but hunger lay heavily in my stomach and I knew I’d have to find something to eat before I started my nightly duties. Hungry and blood were the worse things about taking a body form, even one that was immortal. They were something that couldn’t be escaped from, no matter what and how you tried. I had long experiment with them and also the emotions that I seemed to gain.

Pulling my outer robe more tightly, I walked out of the church. Opening the door let in the darkening late afternoon light and a rain shower. Looking around, I saw no spirits waiting to highjack me, but I knew they were close. Just like my enemies, spirits good or evil are weak in the daytime, no matter the weather, however they still linger. Setting out, I held my head high and made it to the lichgate without hearing or feeling anything. The abandoned road before me looked long and painful today, but I knew that after some food and the first kill, I’d feel better.

I unfurled my wings, though in this body and on Earth, they were invisible to all but the supernatural. Also, they were not hindered by any material and I had great control of them. I stretched them about, feeling them both heavy and weightless on my back. Every golden red feather was in place and most of their edges looked sharp. I was proud of them, like so many of my brothers and sisters were. Flapping them, I thought about the closest village before kicking off the ground and rising up. I flew much like a swan and swept through the rain clouds and the tree tops, before arriving just outside.

It was a picturesque English countryside village; quiet, with everyone close-net and suspicious of strangers, especially foreigners. However and perhaps lucky for me, there was a retired white witch, Granny Malock, living in the last cottage on the far side. It was to there I now fluttered too and landed at her front door. It was easier to obtain the basics from the more knowledgeable and willing, without drawing unwanted attention and questions from others. Though of course all angels knew how to survive and keep secret, just like the rest of the supernatuals did.

I used the knocker lightly and waited, watching the rain fall softly on the nearby thatched roofs and road. A dog barked down the lane followed by a rumble of tractor engine and low mooing cows. The door opened and the old woman waved me in. She was short, but not bend over or walking hobbled. Her bones were strong, like her mind and spirit. Her long white hair was tied into a bun and she wore a simple blue dress and black house shoes.

‘I’ve not seen you awhile, Blaze,’ she began, ‘did you return home?’

‘No. I’m still stuck here.’

She laughed and led me into the small front room. Two arm chairs and a table were gathered around a newly going fire. A tall bookcase took up the wall to my right and there was a curtained window to my left, which looked out onto the front garden. I took my sword off and sat down in one of the chairs. She fussed around, tidying up some books that were on the table and poking the fire, before asking me what I would like.

‘I need a meal. If it’s not too much trouble and some food for a few days to take with me,’ I replied, feeling the notes of guilt and regret in my voice, ‘I hate asking, but it’s easier this way. I shall have to do something for you.’

‘A ticket into Heaven?’ she suggested, then giggled, ‘oh, I know it’s not you who decides such things, but maybe a good word in the right ear?’

I nodded.

Smiling, she left the room and I heard her walk into the kitchen and began making things. I sighed and looked into the flickering flames. The fire was warm and whiffed the scent of burning wood, coal and paper into my face. Nonetheless, it couldn’t stop the heavy scent that coated the cottage. Dried herbs- parsley, mint, garlic, sage amongst others, battled against one another, more exotic plants and fresh lilies. I breathed it all in and imagined what they all could be used for.

I could have dozed whilst she was away, but instead I got up and looked through the books. There was a mixture of fiction and non-fiction in seemingly no order. I pulled the Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table out. It was a favourite of mine, though I could have studied all the world’s legends and myths for years. Siting back down, I flipped through the pages, looking at the coloured pictures and glancing at the words. I drew a comfort and familiarity out of the stories, I guess because I was a knight amongst my kind.

Granny Malock came back with a large tray of food, which looked more like a buffet for a group of people. She set it on the table and told me to have what I liked. Closing the book, I readily ate, thanking her and praising the food too often. She waved it all off. When I had done, she took the rest way and came back with a large basket.

‘Don’t let the rats and mice in that church get to it,’ she said.

‘Of course not!’

‘And really Dear, do you have to live there? I’ve a nice attic room you could have.’

I shook my head, ‘I can’t ask any more of you and anyway I’m fine.’

‘I don’t believe you. That place is such a mess.’

‘I…I feel closer to…home, to Him, there. It’s easier. Please don’t trouble yourself about it. I need very little and seek no comfort.’

She handed me the basket with a little roll of her eyes and a pat on my hands.

‘Honest,’ I replied, ‘and thanks for this.’

We said goodbye and parted. It was still raining as I flew back. After storing the food carefully in the belfry, I left once more and began my duties.

To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 1, Part 1)

‘My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’

Psalm 22:1

 Dawn was approaching; bringing an end to another long night.  I stepped under the lichgate, glancing over my shoulder. At the edges of my vision I could see shadows dancing as they crept from the growing light. Taking a depth breath, I felt the weight of the cloth and amour covering me and heavy sheathed sword on my back. I knew that even in the daytime evil wouldn’t rest, but they were greatly weakened and that always offered me some peace.

Turning back, I walked through, avoiding the dangling moss and the broken beams. The gate which once opened into what had been a small, neat churchyard, was covered in ivy and chained shut. I jumped over and thudded to the ground in my massive leather boots. Sweeping the ends of my robes off the gate, I begin weaving my way through the graveyard.

The dimming lights of restless spirits tugged at me. I waved them off, reminding them it wasn’t my job to claim or guide them. Still they urged me in breathy, faded voices.

‘Please, Sir.’

‘Angel, take me with you.’

‘Blaze. I know that’s your name. Why won’t you help us?’

‘Where’s mama? Have you seen her? Can you take me to her?’

A small hand clutched my trailing robe. I bent my head, ignoring it and pushing through the tall grass and wild weeds. The wind rattled the branches of the dead yew and the bare twigs of the hedgerows. Then the breeze played through my long golden red hair, tossing it into my face. Collecting the strands, I threw them back and carried on.

The grass went right up to the porch, where it became over taken by the mosses and ivy. I stepped inside, flicking my robes up to try and dispelling the spirits. A low weeping tickled my ears before fading into the wind. Despite everything I had to turn around. The graveyard sloped down to the lichgate then ran around the sides and the back of the church where the yew stood. What little remained of the headstones poked up from the plants as if struggling against them. Many more had already succumbed and either lay fallen or so covered that they had become little then mounds.

Beyond the church grounds, a single track road marked out only by a line of trees and a ditch, lead into a maze of farmlands and semi-abandoned tracks. It was from that direction I had come, though I couldn’t recall the actual path I had trod. Leaning against the crumbling porch wall, I watched the sun rising above the trees and the sky turning darker blue. None of that light or colour touched the churchyard. It shied away, as if taunted by those lingering shadows at the lichgate and low surrounding wall.

Finally, I turned and pushed open the arched wooden door. I had to squeeze though, as the door was wedged tightly into its frame and fallen debris was behind it. Pushing it back into place was even worse, but at last the door seemed to settle. The floor crunched due to a covering of fallen plaster and chips of brick under my boots as I stepped inside. I paused, looking down the alley between the remains of the two rows of pews to alter. Sadness gripped my heart and tiredness made the emotion feel stronger and harder to ignore.

Wiping my face, I walked to the alter, avoiding the wood splinters from the dismantled pews and went to a side door in a hidden alcove. It easily opened, revealing a spiral stone staircase to the belfry. Trudging upwards, my sheathed sword scrapped the wall and my boots barely griped the steps. At the top another small door led into a roof room where the church bells had once hung.

Even through it had been days since I’d been ‘home,’ nothing looked out of place. The four boarded up openings let in no light and pressed closely to the wooden walls. I crossed the floor; my footsteps softened by the piles of rugs and removed my sword. I sit it against the wall in between a low desk and a mattress covered in pillows and blankets. I took off my black robe then the first white robe and armour before the second underneath.

Pulling out the chair and sitting down, I unlaced and tugged off my boots and socks. I let them fall. From the desk, I picked up a box of matches and moved the single white candle in its holder closer.  Lighting the match then the candle, played havoc with my perfect night vison, however I felt better with the golden light shining across the room.

Naked, I stood up and went to the bed, where I searched through the blankets until I found a Bible. Rearranging the bedding, I got under countless layers of cotton and wool. Resting my head and the book at a good angle, I carefully opened the pages and glanced down the thin sheets. I knew the tiny words off by heart and yet, I seeked something that I knew was never going to be there. I stopped on a random page and guided by my fingertips read through the Easter story.

The pages yielded not to my silent searching. I closed the book and placed it down. Resting my head back, I watched the candle light flickering across the vaulted ceiling. My heart begged for home and stung painfully. Rubbing my chest helped to ease it and my mind tumbled with a fury of thoughts and questions. Without meaning too, words tumbled out of my mouth in an unstopped stream.

‘Dear Lord, I have only carried out your tasks and done what you have asked of me at every turn. Haven’t I defend you, spread your word and worked with the other angels? I know it is wrong to question, but why me? Why must I become tinted by all this evil and have to live as if Fallen? I don’t understand what I am meant to do now. I can’t get home and my power is fading. Have you forgotten me? Or did I do something, unaware, that has angered you? Please, you must show me what to do. I…fear what I may become…Amen.’

I closed my eyes and listen to the words resonating. Sleep crawled over me and right before I fell to slumber, a distant voice in my head said, ‘there’s work yet to be done, my warrior.’

To Be Continued…

Candle

Dark Angel Wings Image

I saw her through the candle light and knew she was the one. The flicking flame made her blonde hair sparkle and shimmer in different yellow shades. I took a sip of my drink and watched her collect the glasses from an emptying table.  The loud music of the bar deafened her words to the leaving group.

As she walked, I moved the candle in its red holder after her. The small light gave her a halo I’d never seen around anyone else before. She stopped at another table, picked up two empty bottles and moved to the bar. I stopped the candle and waited. Nursing my coke and rum, I tried to focus on hearing her.

However, we were both cut off as Five Finger Death Punch pounded out of the speakers. Some moshers/rockers went crazy. A glass was smashed and voices rose with the lyrics. I had to watch her roll her eyes and weave over to the mess. I wanted to call her back to me, thus stopping her from entering danger.

I shouldn’t have been so naïve! She knew the place and people well. With an expert hand, she cleared up the glass and dried the floor. A young man, who looked barely old enough to be in here, helped her. His grin, in the candle light was innocent. He meant her no harm and though interested, he was in love with another.

That other joined them, eager to dance and drink more. They waved my blonde off and she walked back to the bar. There were always more tasks to do. Whilst she disappeared, I finished my drink. The spice of the rum warmed me and the sugar in the cola gave me a rush. The music continuing to fill the air, add to these feelings.  I watched the dancers and marvelled at the mosh pit. How could something seemly similar to fighting be so energetic?

I frowned at my glass and pushed it away. I was tempted to get another, but I’d have to leave my table. That meant someone could take it from me and I’d be powerless to stop them. The song changes, something slightly slower, though I didn’t know the band. Once I only had ears for classical and heavenly music, but since having to stay here I’ve become more open. Now, I listened to everything that could be classed as heavy metal and rock. It calls to me in a way I can’t fully understand. The often fast pace of the music and the loud singing feels like a release.

My eyes catch something in the candle light, she’s come back. I watch her moving in flat black shoes across the floor, collecting more glasses in washing tub. She makes her way over to me and I see the clothes she’s wearing clear for the first time; black pants and light blue t-shirt with the bar’s logo in the corner. She collects the glasses from the nearby tables and then comes for mine.

Her thin fingers and delicate hand touch the glass and transfer it to the tub. I stare at her and notice the way her hair frames her face. Her blue eyes, covered too heavily in green eye shadow fall on to me. Her lips bright red, slightly drop and then she bites the bottom one. There’s a cross around her neck.

There’s a lull in the music and I shout, ‘I know it’s wrong, but can you please get me another drink? I’m waiting for someone and need to stay here.’

‘Oh,’ she gasps, ‘We don’t do that here.’

I pull my wallet out and flash some notes. I hand them to her and she frowns. As she goes to refuse again, I use what little powers I have to convince her to help me. A Slipknot song blasts out and my words are suddenly lost. Luckily, it seems to have worked and nodding, she goes back to the bar.

I watch her and can’t but help notice how her walk has changed.

I hate myself.

Rubbing my face, I turn back to the moshers. They are jumping in their circle and seemingly pushing each other around. Long hair flies about the place and there are flashes of skin and metal. There’s a tap at my elbow and I look up to see she has come back. The glass goes down on the table along with some notes.

I turn to thank her, but she spins away and huffs back to the bar. I rise, determined to follow and apologise. Abruptly a figure detaches itself from the side lines and comes towards me. I sit down, guarding the table and the figure walks past acting uninterested.

Sipping my drink, I watch her, but she is no longer the same person as before. Her aura has dimmed and boarders on changing colour. I study the table and contemplate. I can’t believe this thing that I’ve become. These habits I’ve picked up and this lie I’m living. I down the drink, fist the notes and go outside.