A Ghost Story, Part 13

Lucky number 13? Cursed number 13? Read on and find out as Revis and I bring you another segment of our little tale of family and demons. As always, we hope you enjoy.

….

Jake started chanting again but the demon rushed at them, even faster than it had when it still inhabited his mother’s body, and Jake felt himself yanked aside just before the creature could slash him with its clawed hands.  The demon roared and spun towards him again, slashing with its hands, trying to grab him and puncture him at the same time, and once again Jake felt himself moved aside just in time. 

It was a very weird sensation to be so detached from what his own body was doing.  He didn’t have much time to dwell on it though as the demon rushed at him again and again.  Each time it missed it snarled louder and eventually a layer of white foam began to form around its mouth, like a raging animal gone rabid.

“This will work better,” his father’s voice came to him, “if you could be in charge of moving yourself out of the way so I can focus on the magic.”

“That makes sense,” Jake replied glibly, and he immediately sensed his father smirking again.

Once more, he began to chant.  Jake didn’t want to wait for the demon to rush him so he began to move in a circle around it, always trying to keep it in front of him while forcing it to spin likewise if it wanted to charge him.  Then the chanting stopped and Jake’s armed raised and pointed towards the demon.  Flames, not black but white, shot from his outstretched hands towards the demon.

Screaming echoed throughout the entire area. Whatever magic he’d just unleashed must’ve hurt it. The demon, Mocregork it had called itself, jumped backwards to escape the flames. It  didn’t jump far enough. The white fire licked its flesh as it continued to roar in pain. 

Jake smiled, but his father reminded him that the fight was far from over. To prove that point, the demon reached down, tore a chunk out of the ground, and threw it at him. He’d seen the entire movement, so he had time to get out of the way. As he did, however, his hands dropped as he darted to the side. When they did, the white flames disappeared. Mocregork must have anticipated that because he was moving toward him the moment the magic blinked out.

It took all Jake had to get away from the attack. Even then, he didn’t fully dodge the attack. Two of the demon’s claws dug lines into his back. They weren’t deep, though they didn’t need to be. The wounds burned with Hellfire, a bit of information that could’ve only come from his father. Soon enough, that pain went away, just like the pain in his leg.

“That’s about the extent of my ability to block your pain,” his father said. “If you get hit again, you’ll feel every bit of it.”

“Let’s try not to let that happen then.”

His voice began chanting again.  Mocregork seemed to have no interest in getting hit by another spell because the demon rushed forward trying to disrupt the casting.  Jake, in control of his body, if not his mouth or his mind at the moment, rolled under another slashing attack.  The claws caught in the tatters of his shirt but missed his flesh.  That didn’t keep Jake from feeling the searing the heat radiating off them.

After continuing his roll, knowing he needed to buy his dad time to finish the spell, Jake then sprang to his feet and moved swiftly away from the demon.  He could hear Mocregork laughing and then all of sudden Jake had to jump away from another attack.  The demon had somehow gotten in front of him again.

“This is my plane, you mortal fool.  I can shape it how I desire.  You can’t run away from me.”

“Who said I was trying to run away?”  His dad had spoken through him, having just finished his chanting.  And then Jake once again felt his arms move of their own accord.  His pinkies and index fingers were pointed at Mocregork and then a blast of energy shot from his body, rocking him backward at the same time.

Jake scrambled to stay on his feet and then watched in awe as a wall of stone, twice his height, formed into the symbol of a cross and slammed into Mocregork. The large stone cross fell on top of the demon, pinning it to the ground. Smoke rose from every part of Mocregork touching the magic construct. An ear piercing shriek erupted from under the cross. Jake was forced to use his hands to cover his ears. He was afraid that if he didn’t, the demon’s cry would rupture his eardrum.

“Quickly,” his father urged. “We need to get over to him so I can cast another spell while he’s distracted.” 

Jake made his way over to where Mocregork lay under the cross. The demon’s wail became louder and more intense with each passing step. His legs began to shake as he moved. Determined to not give up, Jake pushed himself forward until he was standing next to the howling demon. He felt his hands start to move away from his ears and he did everything he could to lock his muscles in place.

“Don’t fight me,” came the plea into his mind. “I need your hands to complete the spell.”

“But I’ll probably lose my hearing if I move them,” Jake protested. 

“That’s better than losing your life,” his father countered, to which Jake had no argument.

Reluctantly, he let his father move his hands for the spell that would hopefully vanquish the demon. 

It was all Jake could do to relax enough to let his father take control.  The demon’s shrieks were so painfully loud that every instinct demanded he protect his ears.  The sound enveloped him and rattled his teeth.  His eyes watered.  He tried to force his mind and thoughts away from it but couldn’t.  It was too much.

In the few short seconds he was grappling with that internal struggle, his father had used his hands to draw symbols in the air and then chanted off another spell.  His arms reached forward and white flames shot from his fingertips again.  The fire spread over the stone cross and the demon, reaching from the tip of its horns down to its wickedly curved clawed feet, burning so brightly, so intensely, that Jake stumbled backwards a step so he didn’t get caught up in the flames.

“Hold steady,” admonished his father.

Jake was going to reply sarcastically but the demon suddenly disappeared and his father cursed.  The flames died away as his father ended the spell.

“Get ready to move,” his father warned, “the beast likely flipped the plane on us again so it could get out from the cross.  I’d hoped it wouldn’t be able to.”

Jake came up with another sarcastic reply but before he could give it voice, a snarl of pure hatred and pain rolled over him.  He whipped his head around looking for the source.  He couldn’t see Mocregork anywhere.

“Move.  Move randomly.  It doesn’t matter how or where. Just move so you aren’t a standing target for it!”  There was panic in his father’s voice and Jake didn’t need to be encouraged more than that.  He started zig-zagging, hoping it was at random, away from the cross.

“Left!”

Without thinking, he dove to his left. Jake always saw people in movies be able to roll back into a standing position when they do that move. It was at that moment when he realized that he was not an action movie star. He tried to roll with his dive and smacked his head against the ground as he did so. His vision went blank for a moment and if his head wasn’t momentarily spinning, Jake might have remembered how scary that was in his current situation. 

“Right!”

As his mind recovered from the bump to his cranium, he felt his body respond to his father’s command, rolling off to his right. It once again crossed his mind about how strange it was to have so little control over his body, especially when the one controlling it was someone he just met hours ago. Wait. Had it been hours ago? Or just a few minutes? With all that had happened that night, it was hard telling. Time was not flowing as it normally did.

“Focus on the problem at hand!”

There was a hint of irritation in his father’s voice on that call. Jake wanted to do what was asked of him, but he couldn’t. His thoughts were swimming and he wasn’t able to get them under control. Irritation turned to sadness during his father’s next words. “I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do this. I was hoping we’d get a little more time together. Before I go, I just need to tell you that, even though I wasn’t around, I have loved you since I found out your mother was pregnant.”

With that, Jake felt his father leave his body and watched as his spirit raced for the demon. 

the wind

The wind stirs the demons in my heart and they howl in protest before flying free of my body.  Set in motion, they latch on and leach happiness from those closest to me.  I can see them sucking greedily but am powerless to do anything but watch them destroy the ones I love.

It’s devastating, yes, but it is also a relief.  These vampires live within me all the time and the wind that rips them from my flesh is the only solace I get.  My life is ruled by such dualities.  Everything is a mixture of pleasure and pain.

Soon enough the wind will calm and my body will call back its monsters, where they will resume their gnawing and gnashing.  That too will be both agony and relief.  The pain is always nearly unbearable, but when the beasts are within me I do have the pleasure of seeing my loved ones happy again.

Perhaps there is a way I may be rid of these parasites.  Perhaps they are a burden I alone am supposed to carry.

I suspect the truth will be revealed to me in time but for now I wait at the mercy and pleasure of the wind.  If you must be near me presently, I apologize for the drain you will inevitably feel, and offer the only condolence I know: they haven’t killed anyone yet.

winter morning battle

In the low pre-dawn light of the street lamps, it was the noise that caught my attention rather than the movement.  An unwanted early wind brought them to life and, crab-like, the sharp edges clacking and crackling, the dead leaves skittered across the chilled concrete.  My head snapped to the sound and it took a moment to find the culprit.  The tingle down my spine indicated my thoughts had drifted away from reality.

The breeze seemed too slight for animation, but then what could have sent the leaves stalking along my path?  There must have been a source, and my mind immediately saw the tiny devils hidden below the parched shells.  Their red eyes cut through the darkness and the distance and my pace quickened to get me safely away from their clutching gaze.  The wind thwarted my efforts and pushed my tormentors behind me in time to my steps.

I tracked their progress, despite the contorted pain of swiveling my head around, to ensure they did not catch me off guard.  They stayed at bay, but, regardless, I was still assaulted by the cold, dry, air that set my skin to crawling and ravished my hands in nips and bites.  I wrung them to fling the snapping demons from my exposed flesh, but nothing could shake them loose.  They had latched on completely, their fangs gnashing down to the bone.

A primal scream bubbled below the surface, and I longed to release it into the echoing alleyway and sprint wildly into the darkness.  I longed to free myself from the last tenuous hold of sanity and relinquish my thoughts and actions to the madness within.  The wind whispered urgencies to give in to my desire.  The shadows reached for me with welcoming embraces.  The stars laughed like always.

One truth kept me tethered, kept me from washing away to complete insanity, and allowed me to safely navigate the morning.  I have always abhorred the wind.  It is my greatest enemy, and I refused to let my nemesis win.  I let the dry demons feast on my hands and the devil leaves chase behind me and I strode forward refusing to deviate from my course.

distraction

 photo cavern_zpsd56330d9.jpg

This was her kingdom, her watery domain, and she liked the light that poured in from overhead even as she hung back in the shadows.  The dark had ever been her friend as she glided along, slipping through the water, embracing its cool kiss.  The light was her friend too because it was attractive to those who happened to stumble into her world.

They couldn’t help themselves but to gather near the light, as though fascinated by it, caught within its spell, its hint of warmth and safety.  If only they had known how wrong they were.  Not that it mattered, she would have found them without the aide of the light, as she had in eons past, when the portal hadn’t been there.   However, it certainly made her hunting that much easier.

At first she had despised the light.  It hurt her eyes, it distorted her other senses, and she feared that its arrival might be the first steps in an invasion on her domain.  She had quickly dealt with the men who had been foolish enough to cool their heals in her waters and, much to her pleasant surprise, the men working on the portal had stopped coming down altogether after only a few days.  She was left alone again but when the men departed, in their haste, they kept the portal open.

Eventually her eyes grew accustomed to the light and she learned that it was like a shiny bauble that distracted the simple minded, too enchanted with it to notice what was really going on around them.  She also noticed that the light let her really enjoy the beauty of her kingdom, for it is hard to appreciate the darkness unless there is light to contrast against it.

Lurking beneath the surface she waited for the sounds of movement to ripple out to her.  Splashing.  Voices.  The slap of flesh and bone on brick.  The thought of it made her smile hungrily.  Lunch.  She licked her lips in anticipation.

………

Word Count: 333

Hooray!  It’s been a fortnight and Moi is back with a new Picture Writing Prompt.  What do you see when you look at this picture?  Write it up, type it up, post it up and we’ll all enjoy it up.