The Red Tree

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The Princess stopped by the thin twisted red tree that stood alone in the far corner of the glass house garden. The four branches were bearing a number of different fruits, but as of yet they were not ripe.

Leaning towards the tree, she began to sing softly and as the words left her lips, the trunk began twisting around. The branches slowly moved down towards her, making the fruit more easier to reach. She could clearly see now the fruits needed a few days longer.

The Princess stopped singing and the tree rose up once more. When the branches had become still, she began to debate which fruit she would pick to eat at the midnight celebrations of the year’s longest night. As traditions in the Kingdom of Moon went it had always been her favourite. All members of the royal family were allowed to pick one fruit from the red tree and eat it before the midnight feasting started. It was seen as a blessing for the year to come and to celebrate the true ending of the harvest.

Perhaps a plum or the pear? She thought, no, no, the orange. There’s only one of them this year. 

Lifting her eyes away, the Princess looked out of the nearest glass pane. It had started snowing again and the flakes were melting on the warm glass. Smiling, she went to the nearest door that led outside and quickly going through, she twirled around in the white fluffy snow.

 

Based on a prompt from; https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/microfiction-challenge-25-the-red-tree/ With thanks.

Toffee Apples

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As the crunch echoed in her ears, she felt like autumn had really arrived. The sweet, crisp taste of apple and hard toffee mixed on her tongue and filled her with a bliss that seemed unbeatable. She swallowed and had to hold back her moan of pleasure. This was almost as good as pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice latte. It was the essence of autumn wrapped up.

Here We Stand (Part 3)

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I had a tent but there was nowhere safe to put it up. Plus, if I had to escape it’d get left behind. I stopped in front of the large window and looked up. The drizzle was falling against a still light evening sky. There was still time for me to go and camp in the woods.

The effort of popping up my two-men tent was too much through. I choice the dry-ish corner next to the blocked up door and began nudging around the rubble with my boots. It was a surprisingly deep pile of wood and plaster. I slipped off my hiking bag and could almost hear my back and shoulders begging me not to but it back on again.

I cleared a wide space on the floor. The work using the rest of my energy to do so. Juggling the glow stick so I could see in growing darkness, from my bag, I took out a sleeping mat, sleeping bag, my water bottle and a zip lock bag of dried fruit. I sat down and rested my head against the cold wall of the church. It was the first time in about six hours that I had sat down.

I sipped some of the nearly clear water that I’d gathered from a trickle of a steam in the woods. Then ate a handful of the dried fruit by putting each piece into my mouth and chewing as many times as I could. Lastly, I sipped some more water and put my stuff away. I settled down, keeping all my clothes on and my hiking bag close to my side.I threw the unzipped sleeping bag over my lower body and shuffled down. I put my hands behind my head and rested against the wall again.

In the background, I could hear the drip drip of the water from the sink. What sounded like an owl screeched and a dog started barking. I put the glow stick under my bag which left me in darkness but meant I couldn’t be so easily seen if someone walked in. Shutting my eyes, I tried to rest. I knew sleep wouldn’t come, my mind was still on alert even though the rest of me was crying out for a solid night’s sleep. I tried to think about other things, especially mapping out the town I was now in.

The dozing came over me in fits. I would fall into a light sleep than jerk awake. Each time, my eyes would snap open and I’d be transfixed with finding the danger that had to be near by. I listened carefully each time, but could hear nothing other the normal night sounds. Sometimes, I would watch the rain falling in through the holes in the roof or coming in through the windows. It seemed to grew heavier each time and everything but my spot became wet.

Waking for the final time, I watched light creeping into the church like a beggar. The rain had stopped for the moment to let dawn in, but drops were still falling. I stretched out, feeling just as exhausted as when I had lay down. My body creaked like an old man’s and for a few minutes I stared up at the ceiling. There was nothing special about it. Not like I had seen in some other churches were the ceiling was nicely boned and sometimes painted.

Even though I was running on little food, water and sleep, my body still demand a normal release. I gathered my things; folding my sleeping bag and sleeping mat up and into my hiking bag. Then I spent a few moments moving some of the rubble back to hide my tracks. the now useless glow stick I hid at the bottom. I picked up my bag and tried to get it on my back, but my arms were too stiff and I couldn’t left it.

I tried again, despite my protesting back and shoulders. Heaving the hiking bag on, I walked like a hunchback to the other side of the altar. The spiral staircase was dark, but I couldn’t waste another light source. I felt my way down, listening to my bag scrapping the walls. Reaching the bottom, I felt out the bathroom and did what I had to do. Strangely the toilet still flushed.

I turned the tap on and washed my hands in what I guessed to be still iron red water. I washed my mouth out then drink a few handfuls. It tasted as it had done yesterday, earthy and rotten, but still sweet. I turned the tap off and wiped my mouth. Walking sideways out I came to a sudden stop as I hear voices above me.

Coffee Overload

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Wiping the inside front windows of the coffee shop clean, Morgan wondered were she had gone wrong in life. She paused and glanced over her shoulder, whilst her hand still held the cloth to the window. She could see the long white counter stretching across the wall next to her and the army of chairs, tables and sofas that were arranged on the dark oak floorboards opposite.

Turning fully, she took in her in business. The counter held a large choice of cakes, biscuits and fruit in glass domed plates. Next to them sit two modern tills then there were the coffee and tea machines. Behind the counter was another work top to make cold drinks and food on. Above all that were three blackboard menu boards, divided by mosaic mirrors. The lighting wasn’t dim or too bright and the large windows at the front actually let a lot of sunlight in. The opposite wall was pale blue and held a few large photographs of the city at different times of the day and night.

Messing with the cloth in her hand, Morgan thought about how the place use to look. It had come so far since her grandparents nineteen-fifties restaurant. Instead of being divided into two spaces – kitchen and dining room, it was all one now. Everything was bright, clean and modern, a whole world away from her grandparents time. Yet, Morgan wished she could give it back to them.

Stepping back around, she finished cleaning the windows. Collecting her things, she put them into the back room then got out the books. Her thoughts were far away when a knocking on the door brought her back. Frowning, she checked the time and saw it was nearly half past six. Closing and sliding away the books, she went to the door and saw it was Colette, the supervisor.

‘Morning,’ Morgan said, letting her in.

‘Did you sleep here?’ Colette asked.

Morgan shook her head and let go of the door. She walked behind the counter and began switching things on and setting up.

‘You look like you need to,’ Colette picked up.

Morgan shot her sister-in-law a look, but did not voice her words.

Colette was tall, skinny, blonde and perfect looking. Everything Morgan was the opposite of and yet they had become friends, even though Colette belonged on some front cover of a glossy mag or big screen movie.

Morgan looked down at her scruffy pumps then across at Colette’s shinny black designer work shoes. Then she flicked her eyes up and looked at the pencil grey skirt and frilly cream blouse that Colette had on. Morgan was wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

‘Maybe I need a break,’ Morgan announced.

Colette give a single nod as she opened and peered into a small fridge.

‘I’m been thinking about for awhile actually…..I want to see the world.’

‘From your sofa?’ Colette asked, closing the fridge.

‘No! for real!’ Morgan snapped.

The bell above the door chimed and they both turned. A regular customer walked in, eyes glued to his phone, wearing a business suit and carrying a messenger bag.

Colette intercepted him and took his order whilst Morgan turned back to the sink and washed her hands. The cold water somewhat calmed her and Morgan let everything go with some deep breaths. She shut her eyes and listened to Colette making coffee and chatting to the young man.

After he had gone, Morgan turned to her sister-in-law again. Collect was tutting over the plastic sticks and spoons. Morgan folded her arms then dropped them again. She smelt the fresh coffee and decided she needed some.

‘I’m going to make a drink. Want anything?’

Colette shook her head, too fixated on putting things back into place.

Morgan walked past her and into the staff area. In the tiny kitchen at the back, she made herself some coffee, which didn’t smell as good as the one before. Going into the small office, Morgan sat down and fell into wondering again.

As the coffee worked into her brain, she decided she would make the first steps tonight and get out of this place for awhile.

Church (Chapter 6, Part 1)

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.

Continued from Church Chapter 5

Make sure you’ve read the other chapters. They can be found here; https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/category/church-novella/

Previously;

Blaze, a warrior angel, who is trapped on earth has made his home in an abandoned church. He fights a taunting daemon and a Demigod Bear. He is rescued by Rain, a Reaper. She takes him back to her ‘home’, a Paradise Garden seemingly inside the remains of a cathedral and encourages Blaze to talk. After which, she tricks him into combat then she revels some of her story and dismisses Blaze. He goes back to the church and reflects on Rain. Then he goes out and tries to rescue a human woman who is being attacked. Failing to save her, Blaze returns home to find that Rain has followed him. Their conversation leads to Blaze finding out that Rain’s sword is cursed and that he does remember his task of the daemon he has to find and kill.

Chapter 6

‘You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’

John 8:32

I awoke to Rain shifting slightly next to me. I took a deep breath and smelt sweat as well as a faint touch of midnight jasmine. I eased my arm out from under her and sat up. A little moan came from Rain then the soft sounds of her breathing. I got up, trying not to disturb her. The floor was cold under my feet and it caused me to become more awake.

Going to the desk, I dug out the notebooks and looked around for a better place to hide them. There seemed no good place, so I put on my boots and went downstairs. With a quick glanced back up the steps as I reached the bottom, I scanned the church. Water was dripping steadily from somewhere and a pair of rats was scuttling over a piece of wood. I walked to the organ and found a gap between two of the smaller pipes. The notebooks fitted snuggly and hardly seemed noticeable.

I went back upstairs and found Rain stirring in the mass of bedding.

‘Where’d you go?’ she muttered sleepily.

‘There’s a small washroom downstairs,’ I replied.

She hummed and tossed her head back down. Her eyes shut and seemed to fall asleep again. Leaving her to it, I went to the wardrobe and found a grey robe. I switched it with the one I was wearing then went over to my food store and tried to figure what we could have for breakfast.

I heard Rain tossing and turning then finally getting up. Selecting a bottle of water two cans of fruit salad, I placed them on the desk.

‘Hungry? I got some tinned fruit,’ I pointed out.

‘Sure,’ she answered and pulled on her black top.

I went back and dug out the tin open whilst she helped herself to some water. She offered it to me and I took the bottle. I watched her eyes slide over to the tins as I drink. She seemed distant and still sleepy.

‘I’ve got some other-’ I started.

‘No. This is fine,’ she said and took the tin opener from me, ‘I didn’t sleep very well. I had this dream…’

‘Oh?’

Rain opened the tin of fruit, ‘do you have spoon?’ she asked.

I nodded and dug some plastic spoons out of a bag. I handed her one and took another mouthful of water. Rain began eating the fruit and avoiding me. I placed the bottle down and opened the other tin. As I began to eat the too sweet syrupy fruit, my mind reflected on the conversations we had last night. A question popped into my head, but Rain’s sharp warning of not talking here echoed over it.

‘I’ve to go,’ Rain spoke suddenly.

‘What?’

She shook her head and quickly shoved the rest of the fruit pieces into her mouth.

‘But, we have to talk…’ I stated.

‘I’ll come back,’ she mumbled and put the tin to her lips. She drank the syrup, wiped her mouth and loudly put the tin down on the desk.

‘When?’ And why do you to go?’ I pressed.

‘There’s an evil soul,’ she responded as she put on the rest of her clothes.

I stopped and tried hard to sense what she was talking about. Nothing came to me other than the dim ghosts in the graveyard.

‘Wait for me,’ she added.

‘But, Rain…’

I twisted as she walked passed me and to the trunk. She lifted the lid and took Haku out. She strapped him to her back and went to the doorway. My mind turned over ever reason I could think of in those moments, but a part of me knew it would make no difference. She had a job to do and who was I to keep her from doing it?

She left. I listened to her feet and cape on the stairs then at the bottom she must have vanished. I sat in the chair and finished off the water and fruit. Rain had left an icy emptiness behind her and I felt the burden of being alone.

Looking around, I decided there was only one thing I could do. I went down into the church and took out the notebooks again. I carried them back up stairs and tidied up the bed. I could still smell her. I lit a few candles and cracked the wooden board to let in some fresh air. I took off my boots and sat on the bed.

I selected the first leather book and put the others down. Turning the pages, I was faced with what I had seen the last time I had opened it. I turned back remembering that there was something on the seemingly blank first page.

Lucius Canus. Company 9, Mestemalum

 It was written in tiny print, almost as if the writer hadn’t wanted to write his name and position. Yet, he had still felt the need to claim this book as his own. I turned the pages and started reading from the beginning again. The handwriting was smooth and neat, the pen was a black fountain one which added a flourish to the letters.

June 2009

My Tribunus brought me to her secret plane today. It is a Paradise beyond paradises! I could not bring many ‘physical items’, as some don’t work here, so knowing my love for recording, she give me this special book, which allows the writing to pass through the time freeze and be stable. This place is full of power! I knew she was an element wielder, that is no great secret, but to be able to do all of this with it, I didn’t know that was even possible!

 It was easy to decipher. I’d never heard of ‘an element wielder’ before though. I wonder what element Rain can control? Maybe Earth? That would seem very likely with the Garden. I turned back to the book and the next paragraph.

She has created on the surface a world unto itself, but frozen in time. Out in the Garden, the flowers and trees are at their peak of beauty. The animals – for there are a great number of them- are trapped as adults or babies. The river that flows through the garden has no start or end, though it is as natural as any body of water. Also, there is a day and night rotation, with a real feeling –for you cannot see it- of the sun raising and setting. I do not know if it follows the Earth’s cycles or not, more likely it has a cycle of its’ own. Even more fascinating, is the weather phases. I thought it would stay the same all the time, but no. There is rainfall in all forms, storms, wind changes and cloudy days. Yesterday, to prove a point to RR, Captain Rain made it snow!

 I stopped or rather I forced myself too. Captain Rain? The two words swirled in my head and I realised once again that I didn’t know the true Rain.

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 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…

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 2, Part 2)

Continued from Church chapter 2, part 1 and also the first chapter of Church in the November archive. https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/church-part-1/

I stepped from under the archway and into a paradise garden. Five long stone steps led down to a rolling landscape covered in a carpet of lush emerald grass, sprinkled with brightly coloured English meadow flowers. A few small red and yellow acre trees were spread out, creating another level of colour at the eye line.

Cutting its way through the centre, a babbling stream twisted like a serpent with the water rushing over or around shiny stones. The stream came close to the steps, then turned a sharp right and rushed off to the side. Also dotted about where large moss rocks, which I quickly realised were actually fallen and displaced parts of the cathedral.

Glancing up, I saw shafts yellow sunlight flooding through the high arched empty window frames. Above them, the roof stretched up in classic gothic ribbed vaults, which were painted to look like a summer day’s sky. Further along to the right side was a balcony, which seemed to run the length of the room. On the other side, I could see empty niches and towering columns.

My other senses became assaulted too, as I suddenly noticed that the garden was teeming with life. Small birds, butterflies and bees roamed the air, their voices and wings rang in my ears alongside the stream’s bubbling. The wondrous scents of midnight jasmine and lavender filled my nose, mingling with other flowers and fresh air. I just couldn’t take it all in and yet…the more I looked the more it seemed to be unrealistic.

I stepped down into the soft grass and swept my fingers over the top of the blades. They felt real enough to me. Moving to the stream, I did the same and dipped my fingers into the clear water. They came back wet and I pressed them to my lips and tasted a few drops of cool sweet water. I walked slowly through it all and found Rain waiting for me on a small wooden bridge going over the stream.

‘Is all this real?’ I asked as I joined her and waved my arm around.

‘Yes and no,’ she replied with a little smile darting on her lips, ‘we are on a different plane and I created this area, but it’s not truly real.’

‘But it seems it,’ I replied.

She nodded, ‘because I will it to be so.’

I looked around again and watched two brown rabbits appear from behind a rock and start nibbling at the grass. I felt oddly relaxed and calm, all my worries had slipped away and I had this faint recall of being back home. I turned to Rain and found her removing her black mask.

‘I’m going to get changed. There are rooms up there,’ she said, pointing to the balcony.

From this angle, I could now see four white doors and as Rain moved off, I followed her to an almost hidden staircase which was joined to the wall.

‘So, the ruins of the cathedral are not real?’ I questioned.

‘They are real. I wouldn’t have been able to make it so stable otherwise. Tourists sometimes stubble on here, but they normally can’t see any of this. I made it well protect from everything and only those I let in with me can stepped through the portal.’

We had climbed the stairs and come to the top. I looked out and saw an even better view then before. Rain turned her back on it and indicated to each of the doors as she told me what lay behind them.

‘The first is my room, the second is the bathroom, the third can be yours’ for now if you want and the four is locked. So, you can’t go in there and don’t ask what’s there because if you thought all this was a bit mind blowing, well!’

Rain tossed her hair over her shoulder and smirked. I nodded, never having been one to probe further into such matters. Rain straightened from her slight lean on the railing and walked to the first door.

‘Do whatever you like and we’ll talk whenever you want. Time is permanently frozen here,’ she called over shoulder as she opened the door and stepped in.

I nodded as it closed behind her and stealing a last look at the view, I walked to the third door and stepped inside. The room was large, with bare stone walls, dim lighting from a small modern chandelier and no windows. A double bed was before me, freshly made and there was a desk opposite with a wardrobe beside that. I walked over, opened the doors and saw an array of clothing neatly hung up.  I pulled out a simple, long white cotton robe and got changed into it.

Leaving my other clothes, armour and my sword on the bed, I inspect the bedroom more closely, but there was nothing else. Leaving, I went into the bathroom and found it very modern with its bright white and sliver sink, toilet and shower. I ran the sink tap and water gushed out. I drink deeply, before turning it off and drying my hands and face on a soft white towel. The idea that none of this could be real was far from my mind.

Walking out, I went and looked over the rail. Resting my arms across the cool marble, I tried to get my mind thinking about Rain. I really wanted to know who and what she was. However, I didn’t seem able to grasp or follow any trains of thought. It seemed that every few moments, no matter what I had been thinking, my mind went blank and the paradise garden filled my thoughts. Shaking my head, I wondered if she was a powerful witch, or else something along those lines that I’d just not heard about before. That didn’t feel right though and as I struggle to think deeper, the garden rolled across it and I couldn’t help but admire it again.

I went down the staircase and wondered through the area. The beauty of the flowers and animals was beyond description as well as the aromas, which were sometimes different in certain areas due to the clustering of the flowers. I have no idea how much time passed before I saw Rain again, but as I walked up a spiral staircase at the far end, I came on to a platform and there she was.

She was sat in a large chair that had been shaped inside the trunk of a living oak tree and there was another one opposite. A table gently shaped into that form from a very low oak lay between them, with a large basket of fruit on it, which Rain was eating strawberries from. She indicted to me with her head and hand to help myself and I gladly selected a red apple. I sunk into the other tree chair, finding it soft and cosy, then began eating.

‘How is everything?’ Rain broke into conversation and it seemed to dispel my constant thought problems.

‘Fine, thank you,’ I replied.

‘There’s a spell on the garden. I forgot to tell you before, though you’ve probably been feeling the effects all ready.’

I nodded and bid her to carry on.

‘It doesn’t affect inside the rooms or in this spot. I come here to clean my mind and soul, so part of the spell so to stop thoughts and memories from developing,’ Rain explained, she rubbed her left wrist on the edge of the table, ‘this is the only place I can find peace now,’ she sighed softly.

‘What?’ I asked.

‘No. I want to hear your story first.’

‘My story?’

‘Yes. Who are you and want are you doing here?’

‘Well…I’m Blaze,’ I answered then stopped, realising she hadn’t known my name this whole time, ‘I probably should have told you that before.’

‘You were districted and sometimes withholding your name is a good thing. Your enemies could use it against you,’ Rain said, pointing a watermelon slice at me, ‘it’s nice to meet you Blaze. I’m Rain,’ she added and held her hand out.

I went to give her mine then realised the table was too long for our hands to meet and shake. Rain laughed and threw a grape at me. It struck my chest and bounced on the floor. I looked down in shock at where it had hit and then back at her.

‘Saving your life makes us best friends,’ she responded in-between giggles.

‘The Demigod bear,’ I muttered as it all came back to me.

Rain fell silent and nodded.

‘I don’t think I thanked you probably for that…’

‘It’s fine. Go on, I really do want to hear all about you.’

‘All right,’ I replied and finished off the apple in a few quick bites, ‘I guess we should start at the beginning.’

To Be Continued…