Church (Chapter 6, part 3)

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 hide the notebooks back inside the organ before I left. The risk of Rain finding them haunted me and even though I wanted to talk to her, the guilt cornered me. I walked out of the Church and fastened my sword to my hip. It had stopped raining and air smelt delightfully of summer. I started to walk through the graveyard, the grass crunching under me and zipping by my robe covered legs.

The spirits took form, developing from orbs of light into fully formed figures. They clustered on the vanishing path halfway between me and the lichgate. My feet slowed down, they had never done this before. The elderly couple stood slightly in front of everyone else, giving me the impression that they had decided or had been choice to be the speakers of the group. Behind them to the right, I could see the two young girls holding hands next to the woman and her babies. To the left were the others; soldier boy, teenage boy, ancient woman, old man with dog and the farmer’s wife.

I approached them, noticing how they forms seemed unusually solid against the early night backdrop. I didn’t have time to wonder what they wanted, because the old woman called out my name. I stopped, my hand going to my sword and robe settling around my ankles.

‘Blaze,’ she said again in a raspy, tired voice, ‘we must speak with you.’

‘Don’t avoid us, Angel,’ her husband threated.

‘I’m listening,’ I sighed.

‘Who is your new friend?’ she questioned, ‘we can feel her power.’

‘I know she can help us,’ ancient woman crackled in, ‘she’s Death!’

The ghosts murmured and shimmered together.

I pulled a slight face, but didn’t say anything.

‘I felt his hands once!’ ancient woman continued, ‘I still remember that energy before I woke up here.’

‘Shut up, you old Hag. You don’t remember anything like the rest of us,’ old man snorted.

‘I do! I do!’ she screeched and waved her hands around.

He tried to grab her, but she floated away with a giddy laugh. The others fell to arguing with them and each other. The baby ghost started crying and the dog barked.

I put a hand to my head as I felt their combined energies waving through me, ‘just stop. What is this all about?’ I spoke.

‘Ooohhh. He wants to listen for a change,’ teenage boy whistled.

I saw solider boy shooting him a look, then stepping forward, ‘Sir. We know you can’t help us, but maybe, your friend can. We don’t want to be stuck here anymore.’

‘Where’s mama?’ the little girl chirped in and was hushed by the older one.

‘I’ll ask her,’ I muttered, ‘but she doesn’t…deal with your kind of souls.’

‘Whatcha mean?’ the farmer’s wife cut in with her broad accent.

‘She fights evil souls,’ I explained.

Those words brought them all back together in an interested silence. I looked at the ghosts, but I didn’t want to say anything else about Rain. The lights from their figures were still strong and touching a couple of nearby headstones. The glow coming off them seemed stronger than before.

‘A warrior like you,’ old woman whispered.

I nodded, ‘I will ask her,’ I repeated, ‘Please. I need to go now.’

I felt their sad eyes and understanding nods then they faded. I breathed deeply and filled my lungs were damp grass, night-time flowers and warm air. I could still feel their auras and hear mumbled words. I walked the rest of the way to the lichgate, telling myself for the first time, that I would try to help those lost souls.

Fingers tugged my red hair as I reached the gate and I turned slowly around. The older girl in the summer dress was standing there. I could see right through her, even though she was clearly trying to make herself solid. Her face, outlined in grey-sliver wobbly lines, revealed her too young age and sad expression. I waited for her to say something.

She held out her hand and small gold cross necklace appeared just above her palm, ‘I want you to have this,’ she said, her lips only slightly moving.

‘Why?’ I frowned.

‘Because I want you to promise that you are going to help us and this will remind you of it,’ she explained.

‘I can’t make such a promise,’ I stated.

She seemed to lift her small shoulders in a shrugged, ‘If your friend will not help us then find someone who will.’

‘Why does it have to be me?’ I pressed.

She didn’t answer, but started to fade. The cross began to fall to the ground and I caught it without thinking. I brought my palm up to my face and looked at it. The cross was small and thin, just like the links making the chain. It was a child’s Christening Cross. I turned it over, but there was nothing on the back. Looking up again, I went to ask her about it, but she had all ready gone. Sighing, I unclipped the chain and put it around my neck. I got the cross to settle against my throat and turned around again.

I jumped over the lichgate and began walking down the forgotten path. I knew, even though I had never spoken the words, that I was bound to the promise. The cross was deathly cold against my skin and weighed down with a child’s faith.

I went right to the end of the path and stopped. A farmer’s road cut across, leading to the left and right. A patchwork of fields rolled out before me with night calmly wrapped around them. I unfurled my wings and flapped them. Kicking off from the ground, I moved my wings faster and took to the sky.

Like usual, I let my senses direct me to where I needed to be. The warm air cleaned my head and the clinging energies of the ghosts vanished. Places passed below, but nothing drew me. However, I knew I was heading in the opposite direct to the city I had previously visited. Lights twinkled by like stars and praying voices called out to me.

On the approach to an airport, I felt an evil aura. Avoiding flying over the top of the runways, I veered to the side and felt a sharp tug towards a flat area. Keeping my path only caused the urges to grow and my senses alerted me straight to that spot. Clearing the airport, I drifted over.

Below me, lit up by the floodlights of the airport boarder fence was an old demolished site. I landed on the edge in knee high grass and weeds. Blocks of concrete marked the foundations of a number of scattered buildings. My guess was they had once been connected to the airport, but some remodelling had rendered them useless. Nature had claimed the space back like a vicious animal. Teenage trees shot up from clusters of bushes whilst moss and weeds nested in cracks. Wild grasses and flowers tried to make it impossible to believe that there had been something else here before them.

I moved to one of the concrete bases and looked further around. The daemonic aura was strong and there was a whiff of brimstone. I listened and heard what sounded like the beating leathery wings coming diagonally ahead. Taking off in that direction, a grin spread across my face. My boots snapped loudly through grass, fallen twigs and stone chips as I forced my way through. I saw a spiny tree looming out of the shadows and made for it.

The whacking of wings yanked my head up, but I couldn’t see anything. Branches creaked under a heavy weight and my eyes shot over to the tree. Red dots glared back at me and I easily picked the daemon out from the shadows.

‘We meets again, Angelic Knight,’ a familiar hiss whipped out at me.

                  To Be Continued…

Fire

Nat was glad of the fire. It was the first thing he had spotted when he had walked into the abandoned farm house. He had crawled through a broken window, juggling his windup torch and being careful not to cut himself. Landing on the floor beside his army rucksack, the torch light had fallen onto the empty fireplace. Further inspection had caused him to discover an iron bucket half full of coals and a rotting wicker basket with just dry logs.

He had quickly set to building a fire with his cold wet hands. Luckily, he had still got some matches and he found an old book to rip the pages out of. Outside, he could hear the wind and rain raging on. Nat felt glad to have found a roof and warmth for the night. Wrapping himself in both his sleeping bags, he returned to the remains of the book.

The cover had once been blue, but was now almost faded to a yellow. The pages inside were dark yellow, the ink smudged letters were so tiny. Nat wound up his torch and fixed the beam onto the pages. At first he couldn’t make anything out, then words took shape and he was reading for the first time since he had ran away from home.

The fire crackled away to itself adding an undertone to the storm outside. Orange light flickered across the walls and ceiling, giving light to hundred year old wooden beams. From what Nat could figure out the book was about the adventures of a fictional pirate. It was tedious reading though and after a few pages, he placed it down.

He shivered in his still damp clothes and decided to look through his bag for some drier ones. As he undid the straps and began pulling things out, he realised the rain had gotten inside and everything was wet. He took out some crumpled clothes, some photographs, a small teddy bear, a pair of shoes, some tined food, a plastic bowl and some matching cutlery. He placed everything before the fire to dry out.

Then winding up his torch again, he shrugged out of the sleeping bags and looked around the room. Beside from the fire place, a side table and a rotting arm chair, there was nothing else. He went to the door and found it opened. Stepping through he was in a hallway with a flight of stairs before him, the sealed front door to his right and an open door a few steps to the left.

Trying to keep his footsteps quiet and testing the floor as he walk, he went into what had open been a kitchen. An old sink stood before him with a couple of broke cupboards opposite. He went to the sink and tried the taps, but he could hardly turn them. The kitchen smelt worse than the living room and Nat imagined years of cooking staining the walls.

He looked into the cupboards, but they were empty. Going back to the staircase, he gingerly tested each step, worrying that he could fall through it. He made it safely to the top and found three door-less rooms. The first to his left had been a bathroom, but now only the outline of the bath could be made out. Bits of blue porcelain covered the floor.

The other two rooms were bedrooms, though they had been stripped out. There was a dirty single mattress on the floor of the second room. Empty bottles and pair of black shoes were scattered about. Nat guessed someone else had stayed here before him. The only thing in the other room was a large wardrobe. The wood was rotting due to a leak in the ceiling. Nat slowly opened the door, not wanting to find anything inside.

A picture frame rested against the back of the wardrobe. Nat pulled it out and turned it around. The black and white photo of a bride and groom stared up at him. The couple were very young and Nat guessed it must have been taking in the late forties to fifties. He took the photo back downstairs with him, wondering why it had been left behind like that.

Walking into the living room, he saw that the fire was running out of wood, but the coals he had placed underneath were now red. Placing the photo and his torched down, Nat placed some more sticks and logs inside the fireplace and watched the flames growing.

He turned back to the photo and laid it amongst his other things. Burying himself in the sleeping bags once again, he settled down to sleep. His mind roamed, but kept coming back to the wedding couple. He wondered if they had lived in this house and what had happened to them.

Sleep came heavily and he dreamed that he was at a wedding. Everything was black and white and he couldn’t hear anything. He was standing outside a church, the newly married lovers came out and people threw rice into the air. Then he was standing in a front garden. There was a neat patch of square lawn on either side of a path leading up to a cherry red front door. Flowers created a boarder around the lawn and he watched them waving in a breeze he couldn’t feel. He noted that everything else was still monochrome beside the door.

He walked up to it and stepped inside the house. There was fresh wallpaper and paint on the walls. The carpet was nice under his feet and he half thought he could smell drying paint. He walked through the house, thinking he knew the place, but it felt so different. There were photographs on the mantle and he went and looked at them.

He saw the wedding day and the happy couple posing for shots outside the house. Other photos showed them at a party, in the woods, at a beach. The last one was of a baby, but the photo seemed older than the rest. He went into the kitchen and saw a stove burning away. Upstairs, the bathroom was useable and the first bedroom had a large bed and wardrobe in it. The second room was a nursery. Nat touched a teddy bear and ran his fingers along book spines.

He went downstairs again and stood in the front room. He listened but heard nothing, somehow he knew the house had been abandoned. The newlyweds were gone, but he didn’t know why. He thought he had a baby crying and went back upstairs again. He walked into the nursery, his feet feeling heavy. The room was empty, but the crying still continued.

Nat awoke suddenly, gasping for breath as if he had been drowning. He fought off the sleeping bags and scrambled up. He couldn’t see very far in the darkness and the fire had settled down into the glowing coals. He grabbed his torch, cranked up the handle and looked around. The room was empty and he could hear nothing.

Catching his breath he lay back down again. He felt hot and sweaty, the cold air felt good on his skin. Getting up again, he tried to bring the fire back to life. After a few attempts, he realised he was only doing it to keep his mind busy. He tore some more pages from the blue book and stuck them into the coals. They didn’t catch, so he rebuilt the fire again.

Once it was going and he could hear the popping and crackling of the wood, he packed his now dry things away. As his fingers closed around the last item, he stopped and stared at the photograph of the wedding. It still looked the same. He easily took the frame off and tossed it into the fire. The flames eagerly licked around the thin damp wood.

Nat folded the photo in half and placed it in his bag.

When dawn broke through the window, he gathered his things and left. Still not sure why he had taken the photograph, but believing that the couple no longer wanted to be trapped in their house.

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…

An Unusual Occurrence

Mr and Mrs Platt had lived in the same house all their married life, which had now been forty years. They had raised three children, whom had now all left to lead their own lives. Though they had had their ups and downs like any married couple and family, there had never been any strange happenings within the house. They had never heard any complaints from their children about strange noises or sightings, believed to be monsters or ghosts or other such things, which had to be put down by themselves, the parents, as imagination.

Now though, they had started to notice something odd. Sometimes, when they left for a long period of time to stay with their children and grandchildren, or when they went on holiday, they would come back to find certain rooms in the house had been rearranged. The first time this happened, they came back to find the dining room table and chairs had been moved, as well as a vase on the window. Shrugging, they had put it down to the cleaner and put everything back in place.

However, when they returned from their next time away, things in the kitchen had been moved. They couldn’t blame it on the cleaner because it had only been a weekend away and there didn’t seem to have been a break in and nothing was missing. As they tided the spoons away which had been scattered on the floor, Mr Platt suggested they might have a pixie or some other sprite creature hiding out in their house. Mrs Platt shunned the idea and told her husband that such things didn’t exist.

The third time, Mrs Platt still refused the idea and silenced her husband as they tidied up the cushions in the living room and righted the photos. The fourth time, when they returned from a week away in France, their bedroom had been gone through. Mrs Platt phoned the police, but they discovered nothing. Also, as they began tidying, she found that nothing had been taken. Shoving her underwear back in its drawn, she heard Mr Platt putting clothes back in the wardrobe and she decided to bring up his suggest from months ago.

He suggested they set a trap next time they leave and see what happens. She thought it a silly idea, but allowed it to go ahead. Though, it was months before they had a long spell from the house again. When he finally got a chance to, the trap was undisturbed when they can back and the bathroom had been messed with.

Mrs Platt cried in vain that this had to stop and they had to find out a source and solution. Mr Platt didn’t know what to do, but suggested that they got exterminators in. For months afterwards, they could hardly live in the house, but even then the news came back that there seemed to be no infestations of any kind and no explanations for the rearranged rooms. The exterminators suggested a medium or ghost hunter. Mrs Platt almost fainted.

Still, they looked into that and had a number of ‘experts’ in, but none of them could find anything. It also seemed that the incidents had stopped, though Mr Platt pointed out that maybe that was because the house had not been empty for months. Mrs Platt hoped that was the end of it and she decided she needed a nice long holiday, somewhere hot with half a coconut to drink out of.

When they came back, they found that their back bedroom had been rearranged.

Church (Chapter 1, Part 2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘No. I’m still stuck here.’

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

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

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

I nodded.

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

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

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

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

‘Of course not!’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 1, Part 1)

‘My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’

Psalm 22:1

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

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

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

‘Please, Sir.’

‘Angel, take me with you.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Be Continued…

Dear Diary #2

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