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Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Calm (5)

Alicia was finally asleep. Her fits hadn’t lasted long. Eventually they were able to carry her down into the den where she could rest peacefully, and so that she could not over hear them in the kitchen, or allow others to hear through her.

“Are the barriers up?” Asked Eliot. “You mean the ones that didn’t work before?” Wondered Sean. “Yes. Those are the ones Sean.” 

“We’re out of our usual territory here. I have never seen a ghost get in this house thanks to the safeguards that protect it. Obviously we can’t rely on those now.” 

“But Marko,” began Kiara. “Doesn’t this count as an exception?”

“I’ve been thinking about it, and honestly I don’t know. I mean the bonds we carved into the wood grain are distinct. They each keep a specific baddie out. If there is a loop hole for one, they’ve all got a chance at getting in.”

“But that’s just it. Rebecca is not a baddie. She was one of us.”

“No, Kay. She’s not evil but that doesn’t make her any less a ghost.” Sean lit a cigarette. “You know man, if anyone could have figured out a back door to this place it would be her.” No one could argue against that. Nick chuckled and said, “I remember when we were setting this place up to be monster proof. She did most of the research herself. She never said it but I’m sure she must have thought ‘If I ever had to, I would find a way in’.”

There was a knock on the partition door. It could slide into place should the kitchen get too noisy or the group need to discuss something in private. Eliot cleared his throat while Nick called out “It’s open, Alicia.” The wood panel made a slight scraping noise like the door didn’t quite fit in the slide. They all looked up expecting Alicia. They were staring at Rebecca.

“The door still kind of sticks. I really wish that could get higher up on your to do list.” Rebecca smiled and looked fondly at her friends scrambling up from the kitchen table. Marko startled them all when he slammed his fist before standing up himself. “There is no way you seriously thought you could walk in here like this.” Everyone was staring at Marko. Confused and quite worried now, they weren’t sure how to proceed or even if they should give the two of them some space. Rebecca stands silent, her smile never fades. “I didn’t realize it until just now. You had her body. It’s always easier to stuff a soul back into the original body because they’re drawn to one another. What went wrong? Why couldn’t you summon her until now?” 

No one said a word. The years had earned Marko their trust, but no one wanted to believe what he was insinuating. It was Rebecca they were looking at. Wasn’t it?  

Smile still intact she fixed her gaze deeply into Marko’s eyes, she spoke. “We needed an amplifier.” Rebecca jolted forward and with an unbelievable speed she pounced. Grabbing him firmly by the shoulders, Rebecca and Marko vanished into thin air. “She just blinked,” said Sean.

In one instant they were both in the kitchen, the next they were in an open desert. The energy of a certain monsters allows for some hosts to travel great distances in the blink of an eye. This kind of blink was not done with a human eye; in point of fact no physical eye can blink in such a way that it alters the reality around it. Instead a demon, whose eyes are not attached to his human host, could look from one realm to another or from place to place and will itself there. Easy for the monster, difficult for the host, and brutal for any guests along for the ride.

Marko had never felt hung over in his life. This is probably as close as he would ever get, and he finds himself very fortunate to have warded off such a fate before now. He must get his bearings for his opponent is already advancing on him. He takes a step back as his eyes adjust to the dark. How long ‘til the sunrise? Scratch that. Won’t help me here. The sun would do him no good, and this last thought fills him with dread. She was possessed by a demon. This is certain, and coupled with this certainty was the truth of the matter. She is almost definitely twice as strong and just as fast as he is. Damn…

“Thank goodness you figured it out when you did.”

“Don’t mention it.”

“No, no, no, really. If I had to try and act like this filthy human for one more minute with her screaming for you in my mind, well you can imagine the headache.” As the demon was speaking through Rebecca she circled Marko. He was unarmed, and she didn’t need a single weapon to kill him. But here she is, stalling. And then again, demons do enjoy their kills.

Marko recognized the area. He had come here often as a child. “I think I’ve gathered where we are now. Not too far from home. You’ve been swell but I think I’ll just walk it from here.”

“Can’t let you do that slim. Only brought you this close because I’m still adjusting to the new form. Believe me I was aiming for some place tropical.” She stopped her pacing and brought her hands up towards the moonlight. She marvels at her fingers for a moment and then sends them down her temples. Next she pulls at her lips and makes faces like a child. It seemed as though she was staring into a mirror only she could see. She gives him a sudden, but coy smile.

“She is a looker, champ. You are a lucky guy. Oops. You were a lucky guy.” Very slyly the demon stretches out Rebecca’s limbs. It savors the dance as if she was a stranger to herself inviting her own caress. Marko doesn’t flinch. He knows every second she gives him is another blessing in disguise. The only thing between him and a way out now is time. Something is undoubtedly off here. The demon raises itself on its toes and then rolls backwards onto Rebecca’s heels. She rocks back and forth like this while making popping sounds with her lips. It admires Marko for a long time. 

“You won’t attack me?” it asks. “No, it’s coming. Don’t worry.” She smiles at him. “You don’t see that this is hopeless for you yet, do you?”

“Nothing and no one are without hope.”

“Oh, well. You heard him boys. Come and join the party. It won't make him feel without hope at all.” The invitation is answered by three shadowy figures that emerge like smoke from every crevice in the dark cool ground. Marko is now surrounded. “Hrmmm. Speaking of Party, maybe after we’re done here I can have a special kind of date with the three of them. What do you say Marko?” There is no response.

By now he has mapped out his area. The five of them stood in a wide clearing. The desert around them seemed to shrink away from where they stood. There was no plant life for forty yards in either direction. There is a mountain in the distance and if memory serves, Marko would find a network of small caves to the northwest.  

“Did you hear me? I’m going to make good use of this body while it’s mine. I’ll take real good care of it, I promise.” Again, Marko doesn’t respond. He can’t fight them all. Honestly he isn’t sure he can fight even one alone. But for some reason she obviously wanted him to make the first move.

“Enough,” said a male voice behind Marko. “We told you it wouldn’t work. Violence is the only way to get a response.” The demon inside Rebecca started cackling. “The poor fool doesn’t understand it. I can see it in his face he thinks as if everything were normal!” Marko’s interest and his attention fell on Rebecca. “Haven’t felt all there have we? I mean here you are holding onto the power that could smite all of us just like that, and you don’t use it. You don’t ever remember using it. There are just black holes in your memory, like your brain is Swiss cheese. Dark spots, after which you would wake up to dead enemies and a little bit less of something you came in with. You don’t feel angry that I’m wearing your girlfriend like a cheap coat, you don’t feel much of anything and I bet you don’t even care. You just know, instinctively, that you can’t turn your gifts against us. Just ‘cause.”

“Harlot!” Came the yells behind Marko. “We are not here for your vanity, or your boasts. We are attacking now. Fulfill your role.”  Something about the demons ranting made sense but Marko wasn’t sure what part he was honing in on. Instead he focused on the sudden change in air pressure, these demons were overflowing with power, and it was so palpable you could choke from it. It felt like the air in his own lungs wanted to leave before they got any closer. The miserable thing is Marko knows that they want him to use his gift, and for that reason he refuses to. That’s why they all charged him at once, so that there was no doubt in his mind he would die this night. It’s this thought that awakens something deep within him. Marko sees nothing; all he can hear is the swing of a distant pendulum.

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It was mid-afternoon in this town whose name he didn’t care to learn the name of. The fire was becoming so great that the sun hardly shown through the smoke. From the wreckage of a nearby home he hears a door swing open. Ian sat atop the roof of a small hut. He sees a woman fall to the floor. Nearly suffocated from the blaze in her home. She clings to a small child, hoping to lift it over her head towards Ian. He doesn’t move to help. She screams in a language he doesn’t know, but he completely understands her. “Why do you do this to us?” She cries. He lifts his hand such that the index and ring fingers form a V. Looking through his homemade sights a ray of moonlight escapes his eye, falling through his fingers it lands instantly on the woman and her child. They howl in unison and writhe on the floor, fangs taking place of teeth, fur in place of flesh. “Werewolf.” He mutters to himself before snapping his fingers and sending the pair up in flames. Neither human cries nor a wolf’s howl escapes whole. Instead a skin crawling amalgam of the two pierces Ian’s ears.

Looking over his shoulder as if nudged by something he cannot see, Ian stands. He presses his lips together and strains his eyes. Like the borrowed moonlight he was sending his vision, with help of his powers, across the world. Somewhere far back home he caught a scent he had not sensed in so long. His eyes finally come to rest on the figure of a woman. She looked just like Rebecca but then again she had two faces. One beautiful, one not. The hideous cloud of darkness that was beneath her skin moved as if it felt someone’s unwanted stare. It was a demon, and it was riding shot gun on his best friend’s fiancĂ©. Ian can’t blink. He travels just slightly faster than that with his gifts. Only, before he can initiate he realizes the howling cry has ceased and in its place, swings a pendulum.


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