Winter Wanderer (Part 7)

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Beck’s hand tightened on his great sword and he looked around Nightstorm. Taking shape from the trees were small dark green skinned demons. Most of them walked on two feet and carried sharped sticks in their hands. The rest were on all fours, snapping black mouths full of fangs and showing off short pronged horns. Their large eyes were red and glowing in the shadows of the trees. Their chittering noises changed to loud howling cries.

‘Treomun,’ Beck hissed, ‘forest demons. We should get out of here.’

‘But what about-’ Olwyan started.

‘They have a taste for horse flesh and an even greater one for humans,’ Beck cut in.

Olwyan glanced at the frozen face of her husband to be then at the demons, swallowing her words and tears. She went to touch Nightstorm, but the warhorse was shifting uncomfortably, his nose flaring at the scents drifting from the demons.

Beck threw the reins up to her, but she failed to catch them one handed. Olwyan scurried after the leather straps and almost tumbled off Nightstorm. Beck bet her to them, grabbing them and steadying her with a single hand. She looked at him, marvelling at his speed and strength.

The howling stopped from the trees and Beck tore his eyes away from her’s. He moved swiftly around the horse, coming to a stand a few steps before Nightstorm and the forest demons. He two handed his sword, spread his feet over the snow and prepared to meet them. Beck’s eyes scanned across the enemy, he could not pick the leader out and there was too many to count.

A sharped branch whistled through the air, but the wind caught it and pulled it off to one side. A loud chittering went up then a small group broke away from the front and charged him. Beck swung his great sword to meet the first one and sliced through three almost at once. The small bodies tumbled into the snow spreading black blood as the five survivors jumped as one. Beck swung back, cutting down two more. The other three sunk their teeth into his arm, stomach and legs.

Another small spear was launched and Beck dodged it, but the wind blew it off course again and it land as aimlessly as the first had done. One handing his sword, he plucked the forest demons off and threw them back at their companions. The demons were as light as the branches they were throwing and landed just as weakly amongst the others, still though it caused a small disturbance. They hurried to rearrange themselves and the stronger ones pushed through to the front ranks.

Beck stole a glance at the warhorse then slapped his flank to get the stilled animal to move. Nightstorm jumped into a walk then a trot, heading down the road. Snow kicking up in his awake and the Treomun yowling after him. Beck rushed forward to meet the new front line, districting them from splitting off after the horse.

Olwyan twisted desperately to look back, tightly clutching the reins whilst trying to unsheathe the short sword at the same time. She felt a wave of sickness and was tipped forward as Nightstorm stumbled over something. She went to grab the saddle, missed it and pitched forward into the horse’s mane.

Crying out, Olwyan struggled to stop the short sword from slipping from her sweaty hand. A small pain kicked into her chest as Nightstorm recovered and carried on. She straightened and the sheath fell off the short sword. She looked back at the black leather lying on the crisp snow and saw the end group of forest demons breaking off towards her.

Whipping back, she urged the old warhorse on with a slap of the reins. Nightstorm picked up his pace into a full run causing Olwyan to flatten herself down as best she could and hang on for dear life. The white forest blurred around her and she shut her eyes as an icy wind hit her face. She felt Nightstorm running into something and heard his panicky cry loudly as they tumbled into the snow.

Olwyan instinctively rolled away as she fell off the horse, desperately trying to keep hold of the sword. She slammed into a tree trunk and saw blackness dancing before her as pain jabbed into her stomach. Groaning, she eased herself on to her back and looked up at the grey sky above, heavy with more snow. She looked to the side and saw Nightstorm picking himself up.

She went to ask if he was hurt then stopped herself. The warhorse shook his snow covered coat and walked back up to the road. Olwyan thought he seemed fine. She sat up, breathing deeply, one hand pressed to her stomach were pain throbbed. Using the tree for support, she pulled herself up and looked up at the road. They had not fallen that far from it. Trying to follow in the horse’s hoof prints she walked back up the small slope, her feet sometimes slipping.

Olwyan found Nightstorm standing, head lowered and almost, she thought for a fleeting moment, as if he was waiting for her. Then she saw the approaching Treomun and realised that he was watching them. Quickly, she went over and tried to lift herself into the saddle. She planted her hands in the middle of it and jumped up. Her feet scrapped over the stirrup, missing it a few times before she lost the strength and had to stop. Landing back down, she looked at the forest demons, they were closing fast.

‘Olwyan!’ she heard Beck screaming in the distance.

She screamed his name back as the Treomun rushed her and Nightstorm then screamed again. She swung the sword out wildly in front of her and felt the blade connect with crunch. Shooting a look down, she saw a green body tumble into the snow then sliced out again. She heard Nightstorm neighing loudly and felt a rush of wind. Glancing over her shoulder she saw him mount up, kicking his front hoofs.

Fear shot through her and Olwyan rushed forward, forgetting everything as a terrible memory played out before her eyes. She felt small fangs sinking into her hand bring her back to the forest. She flung her empty hand away, but the demon did not let go and she met its red eyes as she brought her hand back. She felt other small bits and scratches all around her as she turned madly around.

Beck shouted her name through the haze of snow then appeared before her. She watched him kicking the Treomun aside and slicing his sword through them. They chittered and mustered around him, a few luckily enough to get close to biting at his legs. Beck grunted and flung them away into others close by.

‘Get back to Nightstorm!’ Beck yelled.

‘I’ll try,’ Olwyan cried and turned around.

She saw the forest demons clustering around the horse and biting into his legs. One had even climbed up onto the saddle and was starting to crawl along the warhorse’s mane. Feeling determination filling her, Olwyan lashed out with the sword and freed herself from the surround enemy. She rushed over to Nightstorm and began jabbing at the demons before him.

The warhorse was twisting, almost dancing about as he stomped and bucked. He turned around and Olwyan stumbled backwards as a Treomun that had been clinging to his tail flew off and hit her in the chest. Nightstorm reared then broke into a run.

She called after him then cried out as a sharp biting pain shot into her already bleeding hand. She looked down, saw the little demon and pierced him with the sword. He gurgled, spit black blood at her then slipped limb from her hand. Another came at her, jumping from the ground and to her knee. She twisted and it smacked into her side instead and fell back into the snow.

Something landed on her head and she blinked away a melting snowflake. Stealing a look up, she saw it was snowing then her eyes slide across to Beck. He was still fending off the Treomum, who did not seem to be depleting in number. Olwyan felt a tug on her skirts and looked down to see the demons crowding around her once again.

‘Go away!’ she yelled and brought the sword down on the first one’s head.

The blade easily sliced through the thin skull and the creature slipped to the floor. She swung out at another, dispatching that one too then carried on cutting them down.

‘Run, Olwyan!’ Beck roared.

She looked up, shaking snow from her hair and saw that something else was looming out of the forest. Beck ran passed her and grabbed her right wrist, narrowly missing the blood stained blade of the short sword. He yanked her into a run and somehow, she managed not to fall over as she turned to follow him and swapped hands. Beck swung his sword at any Treomun that got in the way, but it looked to Olwyan as if they were running too.

Beck cut down his final demon and the road opened before them. Pulling the woman behind him, he rushed on, hoping that Nightstorm hadn’t gotten far. He risked a look back and saw passed Olwyan the last of the Treomun scattering before a huge forest ogre. He decided not to tempt her in looking back. Beck urged her on instead, ‘come on! Hurry! We can’t lose Nightstorm!’

Gasping, Olwyan pushed harder, trying to ignore the pain that now seemed to be all over. Snow landed thick and fast around her, building up to a blinding blizzard. She smelt something rotten and damp that caused her to start gaging.

Beck swore then yelled, ‘we have to get off the road!’

‘But Nightstorm!’ Olwyan shouted back.

‘We don’t have a choice!’

He twisted to the left and jumped off the road, dragging Olwyan behind him. She cried out in pain, feeling her wrist sparking up in deep agony then her mouth was full of snow. She lay still, breathing deeply, tears running down her face. Her body throbbed and ached with the cold. She tried to move her left hand and felt sharp shot of pain. Coughing out snow, she cried then felt a hand wrapping around her month.

‘Be quiet,’ Beck hissed in her ear, ‘and kept still.’

She nodded, he took his hand away and she felt him throwing snow on top of her. She pulled up her hood and lay cheek down, trying to stay quiet. She forced on the trees, slope and road ahead of her trying to spot Nightstorm. Silently, she prayed the horse had gotten away and he was safe. She felt Beck patting the snow down around her then heard him began to bury himself.

Olwyan sniffed and felt her nose growing wet, but couldn’t move to wipe it. A growling drew her attention and she looked up to the road. A large creature was stood there against the gloom. She could make out huge bent shoulders covered with moss and sticks and a large rounded head with sprouting black hair and when it turned, she saw the face had squashed features. The nose was large and flat, the nostrils flaring quickly and the eyes were small and beady were scanning through the trees.

A maul mouth full of flat teeth was hanging half open, drool dripping from it as the remains of a Treomun tumbled out. She looked at the trunk arms and legs, seeing patches of pink flesh colour underneath all the green moss and plants that seemed to be growing on the body. The creature sniffed and with a low groan, ambled forward along the road, dragging half a tree trunk behind it.

Olwyan shut her eyes and let her face slip further into the snow. She breathed deeply and waited for Beck to dig her out. A few minutes went by and listened to her own breathing and the fading callings of the forest demons. A soft scrambling and movement close behind her, made her wonder if Beck was moving then she felt the snow shifting around her.

‘Olwyan? You must stay quiet, the forest ogre has good hearing as well as smell,’ Beck’s voice whispered from above her.

‘I think my wrist is broken,’ Olwyan muttered.

She felt Beck’s breath on her nose then cheek as he lightly pulled back the edge of her hood. He was laying over her through the snow and she could feel warm air coming off him. His rough fingers touched her left hand and moved it. She bit back a wave of pain and pressed her head into her hood to hide the tears. Beck’s fingers went down and moved her wrist. She sank her teeth into the fabric of her hood and moaned.

‘It is,’ Beck replied, ‘I’ll dig you out some more, then we must find Nightstorm.’

Olwyan murmured and felt him moving more of the snow. With her right hand she helped him then he pulled her upwards. The short sword slipped from her and fell back into the snow. Beck picked it up, sheathed it and attached it to his other hip.

‘You got the sheath?’ Olwyan asked.

Beck nodded and reached for her wrist, he looked at it then cast his eyes around.

‘There’s nothing I can use here. We need to get back to the road. This way, we will loop around first and avoid the ogre. He’ll turn when he losses the scent and come back here.’

‘You’ve faced one before?’ Olwyan asked.

Beck nodded, ‘they are almost un-killable. Here take my hand.’

Olwyan took it and together they walked through the fast falling snow and the trees.

 

To Be Continued…

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Trust (Part 11)

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

‘What’s in there?’ she asked.

‘Some more supplies,’ Brook answered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘What?’

‘There something off about him.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Sure, I’ll win though.’

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

‘You ready?’ Brook called over.

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

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

‘How did you do that?’ she gasped.

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

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

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

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

‘That wasn’t fair!’ Fern snapped.

Brook yanked her up and she slammed into him.

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

‘Yes,’ she cried out feeling slightly winded.

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

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

‘Let’s try again,’ Fern demanded.

Brook smiled and stayed still.

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

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

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

Church (Chapter 6, part 5)

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.

My breath caught in my throat. The wolf rumbled and I saw it’s storm cloud grey fur sticking up. It’s deep black eyes and nose fixed on me for a few seconds then turned to the daemon coming above it’s head. The wolf snapped a mighty jaw upwards at the same time as jumping. I saw all four of its paws leave the ground then land heavily back down. The daemon yelled out something and wheeled away into the haze.

The wolf turned back to me and I fastened my bleeding palms onto my sword. A growl came, rolling over me like a thunder clap. The wolf dropped into a change, racing straight for me. I could hear the grass zinging against that smooth grey coat. My stomping boots added to the noise as I took off towards it.

Grim determination settled on my face and I raised my sword. I battle cry escaped my lips, my sword ploughed into the wolf. The ringing up my arm caused me to realise that my sword had hit the earth and not the flesh. We had shot past each other. I spun on my toes and saw him – for it was definitely male- standing behind me, his body curving as he too turned.

Seeing him up close, I noticed that there was an electric blue outline around him. He was also seemed to be as high as my hip and not as gigantic as I had made him out to be. He flashed ice white fangs at me as his black-pink lips curled back. A snort came out of him then his large paws padded back to me, quickening as he slunk though the grass.

Re-positioning my feet, I darted to meet him. His jaw snapped out as I swung my blade too wide. I twisted it back, sending a spike of pain across my wrists and aiming for his rear. Somehow, he saw or predicted the movement, because he threw his tail and thus his rear away. His tail flicked back and he leapt on a turn.

I threw my arms and sword up in defence. He collided into me, shoving my chest plate down and scrapping his claws against the metal. The force caused me to stumble and as I struggled to stay upright, the wolf kicked off me. I lost my balance and fell. I hit the ground hard with a ringing in my ears. Struggling up, I had no time to assess the damage. The wolf was snarling at me and closing the gap between us.

A woman’s scream of, ‘no!’ made us both pause and look across. A black figure with a curving blade was standing next to a dirty white gelatinous blob shape in the hazy distance.

‘Rain?’ I called back.

The wolf growled and whipped around to me. I glanced at him then forced my eyes to stay down instead of looking back up. The wolf, keeping low to the ground, stalked me. I moved backwards aware of pain in my legs and hands. I gritted my teeth and knew I had to make this quick, Rain needed my help.

‘Come on,’ I muttered.

The wolf snapped at me and lines of saliva dripped from his mouth. He shook his head, clearing himself of it before charging at me. I easily side stepped, snaking out of his reach then brought my sword down on top of him. The blade pierced his spine. The wolf howled, twisted back and jumped me. I was faster. I whacked my sword around and ran him through.

The wolf slide off me and landed in the grass, which instantly flattened underneath him. I dragged in tight breaths and watch him fading. A wave of victory rocked though me and I felt the uncustomary feeling of satisfaction at killing my first evil soul.

Rain’s voice called me back.

I spun around, half trying to work out what she was saying and half assessing the next situation. She was too far away for me to do both. I broke into a run, sword dragging though the top of the grass.

‘You idiot!’ Rain screamed, ‘Stop!’

Her words whipped passed me. I ignored them, some part of my brain claiming they weren’t for me. Why would Rain say that when I was coming to save her? I pressed on and almost ran right into the dirty white gelatinous blob. My boots skidded to a halt, desperate breaths rattled my chest and my arms readied to fight again.

The blob loomed over me, blocking out the skyline. It seemed to be a swirling mass of white and grey shades of paint. It’s aura pulsed deep red across it’s outline. I stalled for a few moments, unsure what this thing was or how to kill it.

I felt, rather than saw, Rain come to my side. Her body knocked hard into me, shoving me out of the way. I almost stumbled to the ground again, but hung on. I shot her a look and opened my mouth, but she beat me to speaking.

‘Get away. Are you crazy?’

‘You need help,’ I stated.

Rain’s head turned to me and I saw her mismatched eyes through the slit in her mask and hood. They were full of anger, determination and power.

‘Not from you, I don’t,’ she snapped back, ‘your power is useless against this monster.’

‘But I killed the other one!’ I counted back.

A flicker of sadness appeared and vanished in her eyes. She turned back to the blob, ‘I don’t need your death on my hands. Go!’

I shook my head slightly, knowing she wouldn’t see it.

The blob shifted, turning tediously to us.

I heard Rain growl. She swung her katana out and it sliced right through the blob. The gash was wide, but in seconds it had healed over. She yelled out and slashed at what seemed to be the head, though there was no visible face. The blob paused to shudder then began moving again.

Rain turned back to me, darting over, ‘throw me,’ she rushed.

I frowned at her. She torn my sword from my hand and threw it away. I heard it whizzing through the air and slicing though the grass as it landed.

‘Hey!’ I yelled.

‘Throw me, God, Damn it!’ she shouted into my face.

‘Okay!’

She turned and I crouched. I grabbed her around the ankles and picked her up. She lent her body into mine as I did so.

‘How is this going to help?’ I asked gruffly.

‘I need to get on top of it,’ Rain called down, ‘the soul is in its’ head. You ready?’

‘Sure.’

‘Then…?’

Pushing all my energy in it, I threw Rain as high as I could. A grunt squeezed itself out of my chest and I watched her flying through the air. She land almost on top of it. Jabbing her katana in, she scrambled up the rest of the way. The blob didn’t seem to notice or if it did, it didn’t care. Rain walked across it then drew her blade into a downward killing stroke.

She dropped the katana down, slicing through the gelatinous blob and straight into something hard. I couldn’t see probably, but I knew she’d hit the soul. The blob began disintegrating. Large jelly chucks bounced across the grass or curved inwards.

Rain yanked her weapon out and half run- half slide down its side. She landed with her legs together, knees bent before coming over to me. She pulled down her mask and hood. Her face was flushed and she was breathing hard. She slotted her katana away and walked past me. I watched her pick up my sword and return with it. She handed it to me, refusing to meet my questioning eyes.

‘Is it died?’ I asked to break the silence between us.

Rain nodded once.

‘Did you see me kill that wolf?’

‘Yeah,’ she grumbled and moved forward.

The blob was all but melted down and fading fast.

‘Did you see that daemon?’ I questioned, ‘he’s the same one from before. You know with the bear?’

‘Sort of, but I wasn’t paying attention,’ she answered as she drew her katana.

‘He’s taunting me,’ I pointed out.

Rain hummed and held her arms out, her weapon in her right hand. She began to mumble some words.

A wind swept the grass and I felt it touching me then rushing off again. The blob parts vanished and the wind came back the other way. Rain dropped her katana to the ground and with the tip trailing behind started walking. She circled the area where the blob had died and when she reached the start point, she struck the katana into the earth. The blade wobbled and I got the sense of a white light running the circle that she had made.

Rain went to her knees and pressed her head to the guard and hilt. Her lips moved softly, though I didn’t catch the words. Following her, I knelt, lay my sword down and put my hands together. I prayed silently, thanking God for protecting us and asking him to help Rain cleanse the area.

A soft almost inaudible whinnying ticked my ears. I opened my eyes and saw the giant wolf standing before Rain.

I snatched up my sword, thoughts racing through my mind. The wolf give a low growl and Rain shot between us.

‘He’s my friend,’ she stated, ‘could you kindly not kill him again?’

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…     

Apocalypse

Post Apocalyptic

The apocalypse had happened. I wasn’t sure how or why. I was with a group of looters, who were breaking into peoples’ abandoned homes. I should have been looking for a safe place to hide and trying my best to survive. Instead, I was being the lookout.

I heard them breaking down the door of a tall town house, but kept my eyes fixed down the road. I was aware of hurried movements and could only guess that they were now ransacking the house. I wondered what had happened to the people who lived on this street. A hand touched my shoulder. I glanced over and looked into the grubby face of a girl I didn’t know.

‘Nobody’s coming,’ she said.

I shrugged and continued with my task. She skipped off, her torn dress flapping around her. I slipped my hands into my warm jean pockets. I was a girl too, I realised as if I had never given it any thought before.

I looked around and saw a dark smoky sky with lines of burnt orange and red streaked into it. A number of cars were still parked up and the streetlights were flicking. Sirens and shouting could be heard in the distance. I could smell burning and taste acid in my mouth.

‘Let’s move on!’ the voice of the leader shouted.

We ran down the street as one. Our footsteps too loud in the quietness. We reached the end of the street and came to a rapid halt. There was a massive dinosaur standing in front of us. As it swung a large green-brown head towards us, I thought it looked like a diplodocus. It opened its mouth, revealing rows of sharp teeth and roared.

I was deafened and pressed my hands to my ears. I saw the dinosaur’s tail whipping around and noticed that there were others behind it. The diplodocus charged and we scattered. Its long neck swing out like a baseball bat from side to side. A girl screamed and I saw her flying through the air.

‘We have to kill them!’ the leader’s voice called out.

Someone pressed a long spear into my hand, but instead of rushing forward, I just stood there. The looters gathered in smaller groups and began jabbing spears into the dinosaurs. The diplodocuses were swinging their tails and heads around. Their teeth snapping at everything and mighty roars filled the air.

The first one fixed me in its sights and came forward. I readied my spear and tried to aim for the eye as it came closer. Instead, someone else caught its attention with a rock and its head twisted away. The girl from earlier collided into me and we both tumbled to the floor. I scrambled of my spear and to my feet again as the diplodocus came back.

I jabbed my spear out, not bothering to aim for anything. Teeth closed around the weapon, snapping it in half and at the same time pulling me in. I stumbled forward. Screaming echoed in my ears as I fell in-between those same sharp teeth. Everything went black.

I woke and found myself in bed. Shaking, I pulled off the duvet and looked at the window. It looked like a normal spring day.

Inheritance Rights

Marul Gutenberg bent double, breathing hard, he squeezed his eyes shut and gritted his teeth. Sweat bubbled on his forehead and he could feel it starting to run down his face. Pain throbbed through his arms and legs but mostly it was in his chest; where the blow had taken him by surprise.

He tried to grip the pommel of his long sword tighter but the sweat on his palms caused the smoothed ridges to slip from under his fingers.

There was a sudden burst of voices that rose in roars of approval. Hands clapped loudly, echoing though the stone courtyard.

The sound hurt his ears as Marul let it wash over him. He shook his head slightly as if trying to clear his ears of the noise but he already knew it was useless to try and block the noise out again. Swift footsteps tapped across the cobbled floor towards him and instinctively Marul ducked.

The wind whistled where his head had just been as the sword cut though the air.

“Stop!” he yelled.

Marul opened his eyes as the tip of the long sword was pushed against his throat.

“Do you surrender?” asked a light voice.

“Yes,” Marul gagged as the sword tip pushed harder.

The sword dropped away.

Marul put his hand to his throat as he stood up, he then pulled his hand back and looked at the wetness on the palm of his hand. Red blood droplets were smeared across his skin, the sword tip had draw blood.

Marul glanced up at his older brother, Wolf Gutenberg, who was standing only a few paces away from him and waving and bowing to the crowed of people that had gathered around them. The sound of their voices cheering and applauding was louder then before and mixed in with the clapping hands.

“Ha, little brother, I win again!” Wolf shouted and then stomped over to Marul and punched him on the shoulder.

Marul drew himself up and let his sword drop with a loud clatter to the floor of the courtyard as he clutched his now bruised shoulder.

The crowd of onlookers began to disperse. Some of them left in small groups, talking softly, whilst the men of the guard returned to their posts around the high walls of the courtyard. Above their heads the torn yellow flag bearing the black lion symbol of Averland flew in the wind. Marul watched a group of women carrying wicker baskets under their arms going back to their tasks in his father’s house.

“What do you fancy fighting with next? Short swords perhaps?”

Marul turned back to Wolf, who was busy tighten one of his ornamented breastplate’s leather straps.

“No,” Marul replied.

Wolf smiled widely, showing off his white teeth and large, pointy fangs.

“Not scared are you, little brother?” Wolf asked mockingly.

Marul brushed his brown hair back with his hand and bent to pick up his long sword.

“I have better things to do…..” Marul started.

“Better things…then preparing for war? The undead are baying outside the city walls, little brother.”

Wolf turned on his heels and started to walk away. His two servants followed behind him closely, they were carrying Wolf’s long black cloak, green feather plumed helmet and another long sword that was sheathed.

Marul stood up and took a deep breath, “….then play-fighting,” he finished.

Wolf spun to face him, a flash of anger across his red sweating face.

Marul tightened his grip on his sword in both hands and spread his feet in preparation for his brother to charge at him.

“Play-fighting? Is that what you think to our practicing?” Wolf snapped, “Well….” he ran a hand though his short black beard, “I’ll try harder to kill you next time then.”

Wolf flashed Marul a wolf like grin and then walked out of the courtyard.

Marul let go of the breath he had been holding and turned to leave. His own servant was standing to the left of him; he was holding a helmet with a yellow plume and short pale yellow cloak. The servant give Marul a nerves smile.

“Well done my lord!”

Marul shot him a look and then snatched the cloak out of the man’s hands.

“I was sure of your victory in that round but that last blow….”

“Stop,” Marul snapped and he drew a deep breath, “How bears my father?”

The servant to the young lord paused before saying gently, “He is worse my lord. There are doubts he will survive the night.”

Marul turned away and started to walk out of the courtyard with the servant trailing behind him.

*

“Only yesterday Kurt Wossoff had a run in with three skeleton warriors in the Heroes mounds, which means were have a Necromancer or something worse in our mists,” Joss Vaker, chief advisor to the Lord of Walberg spoke.

The other advisors and guards shifted nervously in the room. They eyes dart around the tapestry covered walls, avoiding meeting anyone else’s.

Joss stopped pacing before the dais and before he turned he glanced up at the empty throne like chair on the dais and allowed the heaviness to lay on his heart. He let out a deep breath and clutched the scroll tightly in his hand.  He turned away and faced the room once more.

“We must call for heroes and all sword-sellers to stand with us!”

Whispering voices echoed though the room.

Suddenly the wooden double doors banged open and Wolf Gutenberg, first son of the Lord of Walberg, walked into the room. He held his head high, his black hair loose over his shoulders and his high rounded cheeks glowing red. His sharp brown eyes scanned the room and then he crossed the floor swiftly in his large boots. His sheathed sword banged against his leg as he walked.

Silence had fallen in the room.

“What is going on here?” he demand as he beared down on his father’s chief advisor.

“Well…sir…you see…we’ve had a report of another attack.”

Wolf stepped up onto the dais and sank down into the chair.

“Wine,” he called and waved his hand at the nearest servant.

“But this one was different,” Joss finished.

“How so?”

“Well, skeleton warriors were involved.”

Wolf chocked on his mouthful of wine. He quickly covered this up by swallowing it and taking another mouthful.

“Where was this attack?” he asked.

“At the old Heroes mounds, in Avavest woods.”

Wolf gritted his teeth and stared into the goblet of wine.

“We must finish our preparations,” Joss added.

“Yes,” Wolf answered, “See it is done!”

Marul sink onto his bed and watched the wax dripping down from the candle that was on the table beside him. The tiny flame flickered in a small breeze and the wick cracked loudly. Marul signed and started to pull off his knee length leather boots.

“Your father has request you, sir,” Branen Uriah spoke, breaking the silence.

Marul glanced up at the voice of his servant. The small man was putting some clean clothes away in a chest at the foot of the bed.

“What for?” Marul snapped, he was tired of being called to his father’s sickbed.

“I don’t know, sir.”

Marul sighed, pulled his boot back up and stood up from the bed. He checked his sword was buckled around his waist and then he walked out of his room. He began to walk to the other side of the castle to his father’s rooms. The cold bare stone walls were lit by torches, the flames waved in the drifts that roamed though the castle. Soft voices floated to Marul’s ears though half opened doors. He past windows and though then he could see the coming darkness of night. He kept an eye out of the twin moons, Morrslib and Manslib as he did so.

At last he came to the staircase that led up to his father’s rooms.  As he walked up the spiral staircase he could hear soft voices and the scent of herbs coming from above him. He paused at the open wooden door, hiding in the shadow of the wall. He looked into the room.

The vast bed lay in the middle of the room, it was heaped with blankets and thick furs. A huge fire burnt brightly and fiercely in the wall opposite. The large window had also been covered up a thick drape.

“But father Wolf’s voice called out sharply.

Marul strained to hear the next voice but he could not make out the words.

“Please!” another voice whispered loudly.

Silence fell.

Marul gritted his teeth and walked into the room, his hand resting on the top of his sword.

“Here is Marul, my lord,” one of the advisers around his father’s bed whispered.

Marul walked up to the bed and stared into his fathers face.

The lord of Walberg was wasting away. His skin was a deathly white shade and his wrinkled face seemed to have sunken in. The eye lids were closed but under them Marul could see the eyeball moving. The pale blue tinted lips were partly open but the great, long black beard his father had worn with pride had been removed to stubble crossing his lower face.

Marul clutched his father’s icy cold hand in his own.

“I am here, Father,” he said quietly.

The dying man drew in a wheezing breath and struggled to open his eyes.

The men around the bed had moved back, they had stepped into the shadows of the dimly lit chamber. Wolf was the only one left by the bed and was at the foot of it, resting his back against one of the bed poles.

“M..Marul?” the voice croaked.

Marul lent his ear closer to his father’s mouth so he could hear better.

“I’m here,” he repeated and squeezed his father’s withered hand.

“I..I have de…decided…to…give you half…..”

The Lord Walberg started coughing and Marul quickly pulled his head back.

He turned to Wolf and then dropped his father’s hand and walked over to him.

“Half?” he questioned his father’s words to his brother.

Wolf nodded his head slowly, “Half of everything. He decided to spilt it down the middle.”

Marul cast a look back to his dying father. One of the servants had stepped forward with a damp rag of cloth which he wiped across the forehead of the dying lord.

“Even the town?” Marul spoke suddenly.

“Yes,” Wolf answered and then swore loudly.

This caused some of the advisers to shake their hands.

The Lord of Walberg suddenly took a large breath in which caused everyone else in the room to hold theirs. His eyes rolled backwards and then his last breath was forced from his lungs. There was a hushed silence in the room.

Joss Vaker, chief adviser, stepped forward to the bed and looked into the face of the lord.

“He is died,” Joss breathed, “Our noble lord has passed into the realms of Morr.”

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…

Cold Call

Diesel’s phone ringing cut through the silence he had so carefully created. Gritting his teeth, he dug around in his army jacket searching amongst everything else in his pockets for the device. Quickly, his fingers closed around his phone and pulling it out, he stole a look over the top of the burnt out car he was hiding behind.

He answered the call of the unrecognised number, whilst clutching his large gun tighter, ‘Hello?’ he hissed into the phone.

‘Hello, I’m looking for Mr. Holtman?’ a male voice with a heavy Asian accent called over a crackling line.

‘Speaking,’ Diesel replied as his eyes rolled across the semi-deserted cityscape before him.

‘I’m Nathanial, calling from Interlink Surveys and you have been selected to take part in our most recent survey. It’ll take only two minutes of your time and you’ll be automatically entered into our prize draw, where you could win a new car or a holiday or shopping vouchers.’

‘What?’ Diesel spit into the phone.

‘Sir, I shall only take a few minutes of your time and your opinions matter dearly to us,’ the voice of Nathanial pressed into his ear.

‘I’m in the middle of something right now,’ he answered and shifted the gun slightly in his lap. Still casting his eyes around, Diesel thought he spotted a movement to the left, beside an abandoned store. Fixing his gaze there, he balanced the front of the gun on the side of the car’s bonnet and keep the phone to his ear with his shoulder, ‘I really can’t talk right now,’ he emphasised.

‘It’ll only take a few minutes, sir, please. And you’ll be entered free into the prize draw,’ the desperate voice stung his ear.

‘I really can’t,’ Diesel explained and hung up.

Sucking in a deep breath, he concentrated again and saw a number of growing shadows coming up along the building wall. Growling, he patted his jacket and finding his grenades, brought them out and set them at his feet. A low moaning sound brushed his ears and Diesel froze. They were coming.

His ring tone blasted out, causing him to jump and scramble for the phone.

‘Hello?’

‘Sorry, we seemed to have got disconnected. Now Sir, can I confirm that you are over the age of twenty-five and own your home? Nathanial’s cheery voice came through the speaker.

‘Fuck. Don’t you know what’s happening in this country right now?’ Diesel yelled.

‘Sorry, I misheard that,’

‘Yes, I am and do. Now get off the line!’ Diesel screamed and tossed the phone away.

A loud clattering echoed as the phone bounced along the road before hitting a blown out tire.

Twisting his head back, he saw a zombie looming over the car at him. Letting out a pent up scream, he squeezed the trigger of the gun and shot off half the zombie’s face. Blood and flesh exploded, raining down on them both and the remains of the car.

Diesel shuffled backwards, backhanding some stringy red muscle strands on his face and took aim again as the creature paused to assess itself. The next bullet lodged into its skull and the zombie fell backwards, revealing many more of its fellows stumbling forward.

Swearing, Diesel scooped up two grenades and unpinning them, threw the bombs into the coming enemies. Grapping the others, he legged it and ran back to his base.

Church (Chapter 3, Part 2)

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, part 1.

‘Ready?’ she asked, a smile fleeting across her lips.

‘When you are,’ I answered.

Rain struck as a new heavy metal song started. She swung the right end of the pole quickly towards me. I easily parried it, causing the thin wood to clash. Rapidly, she brought up the other end, which I easily deflected as well. She smiled softly and repeated the moves again, only this time faster and stronger, which took me by surprised and caused me to shuffle back. Rain moved as well, creating a gap between us and sliding her hands down the pole as she did so.

I defended for the second time as she came at me with the end of the pole raised above her head.  She went to bring it down, but I meet her pole in the middle. There was a loud whack and we both felt the vibrations going through us. I twisted, trying to bring her pole down, but she predicated the move and pulled away, spinning as she did so.

‘Not bad,’ Rain remarked, turning to face me.

I relaxed my pole and copied her movements as she balanced the pole between her hands again. She spaced her legs out and put her right foot before her left, so that she was side on to me. I mirrored her.

‘I fight better with a sword,’ I pointed out.

‘Me too,’ she purred and grinned, ‘we’ll have to try that, sometime. Right now though…’ Rain trailed off as she ready to attack again.

I was prepared for her move and blocked the strike. She tilted her pole down, aiming for my stomach. I hit her away and pushed back. I felt a wave of unexpected anger and struck. Her pole was still low, so I wacked it even lower and though she probably could have stopped me, she let the end of the pole hit the floor.

‘A point to me, hmm?’ I declared.

Rain giggled, ‘I don’t remember saying anything about that…It’s to the death.’

I frowned, a spike of shock piercing in my chest and words unable to form on my lips.

‘Problem?’ she queried.

‘You jest, surely?’ I forced out.

She shook her head, ‘why would I? What have I got to lose in my own realm?’

She took my puzzlement as a chance and hit me in the lower leg.  I choked, one handed my pole and with my other hand gripped my leg. That give her another opening and raising the pole, she brought it down on my shoulder. I cried out, but without pausing, Rain went for another attack and tried to jab the pole end into my chest. I yanked up my arms and pole in guard, swung out and parried her blow with such force that she half stumbled to the side.

Letting out a yell, I twisted away and went to strike her leg, however, she was faster and blocked me. She spun away, creating space between us and sliding her hands down the pole, so that it she held it close to the bottom and the pole reached out before her.  Without missing a beat, I came at her and our poles met in the air, forming an X above us. I took a few deep breaths, feeling the tension, though there seemed to be more from her side then mine.

Grunting, I moved my pole a fraction, trying to see if she would be tricked into still holding her position whilst I launched an attack. She was wiser and the second my pole left hers, she flicked away and leaped backwards. She was shockingly light on the tips of her toes and she glided to a stop with such grace. I caught the quick smile on her lips as she re-positioned her hands slightly further up on the pole to give it and herself more balance.

‘You don’t mean it,’ I stated as I brought my weapon down and rested the end on the floor.

She cocked her head and stared at me.

‘A fight to the death? And with wooden poles too?’ I blurted.

‘We could continue without, if you prefer?’ she asked coldly.

‘But what’s the point? What have I done to offend you?’ I demanded to know.

‘There’s no real reason,’ she answered thoughtfully, ‘the only thing that matters now is proving yourself to me.’

‘You saved my life, Rain!’ I shouted and almost threw my pole down, ‘Why do I have to prove anything to you? Did you not see me fighting that Demigod bear?’

She shrugged and quickly moved forward to fill the space between us. Rain brought her pole up, so I readied mine in defensive. She aimed low, I blocked and the poles clattered together. She angled upwards and I did the same causing the wood to squeak. I tightened my grip and pushed against her. Surprisingly, she was able to stand her ground and we were locked together for a few moments.

‘You have to tell me why,’ I pressed.

‘Like you said, you owe me your life and I want to see what it’s worth,’ she shot back.

Anger flared up inside me and I realised the time for talking was over. However, I couldn’t risk her words being the truth or a lie as right now she was fully intending to win this fight. Blocking all my thoughts and feeling about her, I give into the urge of battle.

I threw all my weight forward and shoved her backwards. Rain’s feet moved across the mat, she gasped. I felt her resistance weakening, then she found grip and ducked under me. I heard her pole clatter to the ground and turned in time to see her somersault, still with the pole in her hands. Rain jumped to her feet and turned to face me again.

I came at her full speed, my pole positioned to land on her head, but in the nick of time she blocked and kicked me in the stomach, though it was a poor blow because her foot bounced back off my armour. She noted that and caused me to toss my head aside to avoid her bare feet as she tumbled into a series of three long back flips. I saw her land upright and I swiftly judge the distance now between us.

I could have crossed it in a few running strides, but instead, like Rain was doing, I caught my breath and prepared again. Despite trying to block it, I still desperately wanted to know why she wanted to kill me and what had led to this. I shook my head, pushing the thoughts away before I tried to engage her in conversation again. We were far passed that now and what really matter was how the fight was going to end.

Rain jumped back into combat and our poles clashed together once more. She pushed against me, the expression on her face and in her eyes one of complete determination. I pressed back, willing this all to end and for her words not to be true. She growled, tipped the left end of her pole down, then brought her knee up before it to push it into my upper leg.

I gritted my teeth, shifted my pole down against her’s, but Rain moved her’s up in a flash and brought the other end into the side of my head. I stumbled, rocked by dizziness. Another blow landed in the same spot and my vision darkened as I hit the floor.

 To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 3, Part 1)

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 chapters 1 and 2.

Catch up here if you need to; https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/category/church-novella/

Previously;

Blaze, a warrior angel, who is trapped on earth has made his home in a long abandoned church. He fights a taunting daemon, who leads him into a trap to battle a band of demons before facing a Demigod Bear. He is rescued from death by a strange female called Rain. She takes him back to her ‘home’, a Paradise Garden seemingly inside the remains of a cathedral and encourages Blaze to talk about himself. However, Rain is still a mystery, so what secrets is she hiding?

Chapter 3

‘If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.’

1 John 1:8

 I woke up to silence in a strange bed. Glancing to the sides before throwing the heavy duvet back, I sat up and looked around further. My memories came back and I rested against the pillows as an odd sense of calm came over me. The notebooks were scattered around, though the artist one had slipped down the side of the bed.

Picking it up, I placed it with the others and got up. The air was warm, but not stale as it probably should have been. The robe I had worn was laying discard on top of my own black and white robes and armour. I went to pick it up then glanced at the wardrobe. I couldn’t recall just what was in there, because there had been a mass of things. Going over and opening the doors, I looked for something that would suit my next intentions.

Close to the back, where two white fluffy dressing gowns and a blue one. I grabbed a white one and slipping it on, let the wardrobe door swing back. I tied the belt as I walked across the floor and opened the door. The noise from the garden burst into my room, birds were singing morning songs and the stream was joining in with them.

Recalling what Rain had said, I tried to ignore it and hurried into the bathroom. Closing the door behind me, shut out the sound and allowed blessed silence returned. I turned on the shower and left my gown on a pile of towels on top of a wicker basket. I stepped inside the glass cubical and hot water cascaded over my head. I kept my mind purposely clear, not wanting to think of Rain or the notebooks or anything, but the water washing me.

Afterwards, I went back to my room and got dressed in my robes and armour. My mind made up about leaving, even before I had given it proper thought. My hand reached out for my sheathed sword then stopped. Rain could still be sleeping. What if I couldn’t leave without her? And how could I just go without telling her? Rubbing a hand over my face and deciding I had no choice, I left my room and went to stand outside of her’s.

I couldn’t hear anything coming from the other side, even with my powerful hearing. I knocked and heard nothing. Knocking again, I tried the handle, feeling a wave of guilt as I did so. To my surprise the door opened and pushing it further still, I saw Rain wasn’t there. Her bed, a massive four poster complete with dark red velvet curtains and a canopy, was un-made. The pillows, duvet and blankets were scattered about, though the rest of the room looked untouched. Closing the door, I walked to the platform where we had spent a long time talking.

She wasn’t there either. I grabbed a banana from the fruit basket and peeled it as I checked the kitchen. No. Could she have left without me? But why would she do that? I walked back, eating the banana and still avoiding looking out over the garden, least I forgot what I was doing. As I reached my door, I recalled the one next to it, the fourth door, which Rain had said not to go into. I tried the handle and found it locked. Growling, I resolved to just leave and stepped back towards my room. A note of music reached my ears which hadn’t come from any of the birds.

Pausing, I listened hard and heard a line of human made musical notes. I walked back towards the platform, finishing off the fruit and stopping just before the half spiralling stairs. The music was coming from before me, though it had now faded. Ahead of me seemed to be a wall of ivy and a clutter of large plant pots, which held a mixture of large ferns, dragon snaps and pink lilies, lining the short passageway. I went over, dropped the banana peel in one of the pots and sweeping the ivy back discovered a sliding door, neatly hidden away.

Opening it, I stepped down a handful of stairs and found myself in a massive training room. Large blue and green safety mats concealed most of the wooden spring board floor. The walls covered with paintings of different figures from myths and legends around the world fighting. A corner mirror made a right angle shape about a foot long across the very far walls opposite. Two long benches were against the wall on my left side, as well as some stacked chairs and tables. Heavy metal music was pumping out of a large speaker system directly to my right and Rain was standing in the middle of the room, swinging a long wooden pole.

I watched her movements and quickly become enthralled by it. Stealing a quick glance to the edge of a bench at my feet, I sit down quickly and watched her practising. Her moves with precise, her feet ballerina like hardly touch the floor. She twirled the pole with the fingers of one hand as she glided into a spin and struck out at an invisible enemy. She spun away again, switching hands and coming back for another strike. Somehow, she kept up with the beating of the music, quickly twisting away and launching into a backflip, before letting the pole fly out once more.

The singer ended the song and the last notes rung out bringing Rain to a stop. Breathing deeply and sweeping loose strands of hair back, she came over to me. Another song rippled on and oddly I recognized it as Marilyn Mason’s Personal Jesus. Rain stopped before me, standing the pole up and holding it in place. I noticed she was wearing black pants and a vest top.

‘Did you sleep, well?’ she enquired.

I nodded, ‘why do you need such a big room? I mean twenty or thirty people could easily practise in here.’

Rain shrugged, ‘it’s on another plane. Though it’s based on a real room. It was just easier, I guess. Plus, it’s attached to other places I have, just in case it’s ever needed again.’

I just accept it.

‘I bet you’re good in a fight,’ Rain added.

‘It’s what I was made for.’

‘Come on then,’ Rain laughed.

She handed her pole to me and taking it, I felt the wood was still warm from her fingers. Rain crossed the floor and from a large caged crate selected another identical long pole. She came to the centre, holding the pole in both hands and her feet moving into a readying stance.

‘What? Come on,’ she called over.

I glanced at the pole, then back to her, ‘are you sure you want to do this?’

She nodded.

‘I’m wearing armour,’ I pointed out.

Rain moved her feet, changing to a comfortable standing position, whilst letting the pole go slightly loose in her hands. She fixed a determined look on her face, ‘take it off if you want, I’m not bothered.’

‘Actually, I was thinking about leaving.’

Frowning, Rain righted the pole and came to stand before me, ‘Sure if you want. But can’t we have just one fight? I have no one else to practise with at the moment and I need to badly.’

‘So, where are the guys who did the…’ I caught myself and stopped.

‘Huh?’

‘Stay in the other room? That’s what I meant,’ I added quickly.

Rain shrugged, ‘around, I guess.’ A sad looked crossed her face then quickly was replaced with anger, ‘Come on. I promise not to hurt you. Keep your armour on and take that robe off, otherwise it’ll get in the way.’

She turned and went back to the centre again, taking up the same position as before.

Feeling like I didn’t have a choice, I stood up, placed the pole down and took off my black robe. I dropped it on the bench and picked up the pole again. Behind me, I heard Rain shuffling her feet across the mats. I turned and went over, falling into a ready stance, much like the one she had taken up.

To Be Continued…