Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Life After Death: Epilogue

It had taken the entirety of what was left of the armed forces, police, and every able-bodied person with a gun that could follow orders; but after five long years the dead were finally defeated. It had been bloody, horrifying, and costed many lives, and some would say it was all worth it. Oddly enough the revolution of the fall of the zombies began in the west, what used to be California. Small bands of people that had dared to own guns, despite the states laws, began to group together and started to clear out the state at the end of the first year of the apocalypse. It was a slow, arduous process, but it was continuing.
By the second year societal measures and pleasantries had all but died out, leaving the living with a survivalist mentality. Most people through the world had boiled down to the three types of survivors: The ones that created settlements, the ones that were loners, and the raiders. From what had been seen so far, with the effort of the restoration of the modern world, was that the raiders tended to outlive others. All of this was rhetoric at this point, none of the information was new to them, but they still had to remind themselves every now and again.
Dale had traveled so much of the country his head was unable to keep up. After he went to Florida to reunite with his family, and only meeting disappointment, he decided to continue his fight against the dead the best way he knew how: Violence. And he’d done a good job of it, racking up more kills than anyone in the “New Militia.” It had been tough to get everyone under the same roof and to fight for the same cause, but it was done. Old prejudices had tried to flare up anew, but they were quickly snuffed out. He stood in the frozen north, his new job was to find survivors. Luckily it was the middle of spring, nearly two years after he’d parted ways with that M kid, the last person he’d actually liked after all this began.
He wondered why he’d thought of the kid, but then remembered they’d come from that settlement a few hundred miles or so to the East, and they had talked about him with nothing but praise. Maybe they’d meet up again, maybe they would go back to protecting the world together. As he walked up the hill to this lone gas station in the middle of a high end neighborhood that was now awash in soldiers and gunfire, pillars of black smoke where the bodies were burning en masse.
Dale and a few other soldiers approached the small, boarded up establishment with caution, though nothing seemed out of place. Of course, that thought almost always precede some kind of tragedy. One of the soldier’s foot hit a tripwire, something above them in the canopy of the building made a ‘twang’ noise, and three arrows rained down upon the unknowing man. The first arrow missed his head by inches, the second buried itself in his bulletproof vest, the last one was the lucky one, it pierced his shin, going clean through. He screamed and clutched at the shaft, not sure what to do, screaming in pain. The rest of the crew paused, “We have an active trap situation!” The cry flew back in the ranks, the fifty or sixty soldiers behind Dale repeating it.
It took hours and three more injured soldiers to undo all the traps surrounding the tiny building. It put the entire party in a foul mood, Dale matched their dark outlook, and everyone was eager to get at the doors and take a look at who was inside. Crowbars pried off planks of wood, several windows at a time, and tear gas was thrown in. It was time to wait, again. After the billows of white had settled the team planned to enter, tossing in flash bangs before they kicked in the door. Cries of ‘Clear!’ Began to come from inside, then one of the senior crew stepped out, “Dale, you might want to come see this.” Confused, he checked to make sure his weapon was loaded and ready for use.
Inside the store it stunk, even past all the smoke and countermeasures that had been thrown in. Rotted meat, spoiled milk, molded bread, all their smells made the air thick with disgust. Dale walked in, grimaced at the overload to his senses, and followed the column of body armor and rifles to the back of the store. He was genuinely surprised when the room past the feces smeared door was pristinely clean. The manager’s office was almost perfectly cleaned out to make a shelter, a bed room, and even some kind of medical supplies were neatly stacked on a shelf. Now that the smell of the outside room was fading, it was being replaced by another smell: The dead.
In the tiny room there was no where to hide, even the rolled up sleeping bag was laid open, it’s bare interior open for inspection. But the door to the small bathroom was closed, a seal for whatever was behind it. Two men sidled the door and meticulously opened it, their weapons pointed at whatever, or whoever was inside once it had been flung aside. Dale watched their shoulders go lax and their weapons returned, and they parted to give Dale a look inside. It was probably the first time in a few years that he’d felt something, despair trickled down his body like cold rain drops. The corpse inside, still holding a blade was M’s.
Dale groaned softly as he approached the dead body, inspecting it. The young man’s muscles had withered, his thick chest now sunken, ribs protruding through the taught skin, his waist tiny, now. Dale kneeled before the shirtless cadaver that used to be his friend, looking up at his face through the waterfall of curled hair. The charming looks were gone, replaced by taught skin, sunken eyes, and all the color gone. In the hand opposite the knife there was a rolled up piece of paper, Dale took it with a quiet apology, “I’m sorry, buddy. I really am. Rest in peace, now.” Dale stood and addressed the men behind him without looking at them, “He gets a proper burial, you get me? He was a good guy. And whatever deity you believe in help you all if I find out anything otherwise happens.” A quiet respectful ‘Yes, sir.’ came from back.
Dale left the market, hearing the cause of death was starvation right before he hit the daylight again. Sentiment was the last thing he was good at, but he knew that kid deserved more, he belonged amongst the living. A curse blew the first plume of cigarette smoke out of Dale’s mouth. It had been the first time he’d smoked in more months than he cared to remember. The soldiers brought M out in a body bag, carefully, and set him aside for the burial. Dale could only shake his head as he unrolled the note that was in his friend’s hand. It was short, but it pained Dale worse than any other goodbye letter he’d read. He went over it twice and folded it up, then slipped it into his shirt pocket. Despite his loss he needed to get back to work. But those words haunted him, even after the world was fixed. It read:
“Dear Chelsea, I’m so sorry. I tried. But, it changed me, after all.”

Monday, May 16, 2016

Blood Runs Thin (Original Series)

Marcus Johansen was the leader of the House of Roue, the most powerful human alive, but he cowered in the corner of his panic room, staring at the monitors that quietly screeched static at him. The room shook with each pounding explosion, shaking loose dirt and debris from untold nooks and crannies. Panic threatened to overwhelm him as his breathing was rapid and ragged, his heartbeat pounded in his ears. Another pounding came, a monitor shook loose and crashed to the floor. He shrieked, and clutched at himself tighter and tighter, terrified at the things at his doorstep. 

Silence finally fell, even the gentle hum of gunfire was gone, something he only just noticed. Slowly the dignitary stood, his back still pressed to the wall, his eyes locked on the solid steel door. He prayed they had relented or had perished, prayed whatever was out there causing chaos and destroying his home were gone. He felt hope well up in him, maybe he was safe. The whole house shook again, metal from the door groaned and creaked. Terror took the sounds from him before he could make them.

The door deformed, degree by degree, inch by inch, pieces that were welded shut popped open, rivets sprang out. All he could do was watch in abject horror as his last line of security finally screamed a metallic cry and was wrenched from the frame outwards. The human leader felt his bladder let loose its contents as his eyes made out two figures in the dusty hole in the wall; one massive, one much smaller, but seemingly much more lethal. A voice slithered through the wreckage, dark and violent, "Marcus Johansen, Leader of the House of Roue, your presence is requested." 

The human tried to answer, but his voice was still locked from sheer and utter terror. The giant shadow remained in darkness, but the smaller one stepped through the frame, a vision out of a nightmare. Eyes glowing red, skin beyond pale with ribbons of purple and black veins, fingers longer than any humans, clothes tattered from fire and bullets, and awash in blood, it dripped from long fangs and claws. The crimson liquid made small trails in the dust and debris as the vampire walked forward. "Forgive my rudeness. I'm Michael, that's Raecien. And you will be coming with us."

As Michael got closer to Marcus the human could feel his world go dark, his vision narrowed, and finally his breath sigh out as he fainted. For a long time the world was darkness with flashes of the outside world making it's way through the fog. He caught a glimpse of his home, torn asunder, pure, white walls now stained red with blood and viscera, a man begged for his life only to have his skull crushed, his brains adding to the gore, a car, and finally large glass windows. He slept for a time, the horror of the world gone, for now.

Marcus knew he was upside down, knew he was swaying, but he couldn't figure out why. A soft, gentle, almost musical voice cooed to him, "Marcus. It's time to wake up. Oh, Marcus." Finally the human opened his burning eyes and saw the vampire with the purple eyes, his shoulder length black hair, and chiseled, perfect features. "Oh dear God. I'm going to die, aren't I? You're going to kill me!" There were more words, but they all became a mess of blubbering. Michael smiled at him, almost sweetly, "No, Marcus, no. You'll live a long and happy life, as long as you help us." 

The human sobbed, but tried to ask how, the vampire answered the question, "You're going to tell me where to get as much gold as I can. All the gold to fund an army. And if you do that, you'll live." Marcus' blubbering had slowed enough to speak, "You promise me you won't kill me. I'll tell you how and where to get everything you need." Michaels hand rested on his ribs gently and the swaying stopped, "I promise." The leader of the house of Roue extended his hand, it shook as it waited confirmation from his captor. The vampire's hand was like ice, but they shook on the deal.

The giant wolf that was with him at the house appeared and dropped Marcus down gently as he sobbed his thanks. It took hours for all the information to be conveyed, all the layouts of safe houses, all the caches of personal wealth, every ounce of gold accounted for. After the plan was concocted Raecien was silent as he escorted the human to a small room with no windows, the door locked behind their human guest. Mixed feelings ran through him as he thought about his betrayal. He had bought his way to life with the money and lives of others. He dismissed the entire thing and slept.

It felt like days, but he doubted it had been that long, he was fed a few times, so that was no successful measure of time. Then the door opened and Michael entered, "Well, my dear friend. Everything was successful. We have the gold, we will raise an army soon. And I just wanted to thank you, personally, for all you've done. But our friendship is at an end, and I'm afraid you must be added to the list of casualties." Panic flooded through the human, "But...but you said you wouldn't kill me!" The vampire had stood and was nearly at the door before he turned back, "I did. And I'm not."

Raecien replaced the small, thin, vampire. All words had left Marcus and he could only repeat 'Oh, dear God!' Over and over, as he watched the wolf change into something even more frightening than his already gigantic stature. Before long the giant wolf was just that: A giant wolf. It loomed over him, his steps thudded in the quiet room, drowning out the prayers. It roared a triumphant call. The last thing Marcus heard was his skull being crushed between the massive jaws of the beast as his scream echoed.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

An Immortals Tale (Original Series)

An Immortals Tale
The March to Heaven
"Long Boring Excuses"

"Hey!" Jon called after the girl, but she picked up her pace, repeating something the immortal couldn't hear. As she further distanced herself from him he tried to give chase, but it was obvious his body was not ready for that kind of exertion, just yet. Three shuffling steps and one more 'Hey!' Was all he could get out before he collapsed, face first into the harsh and unforgiving pavement. As he laid there he could finally take tally of all the broken bones and other oozing wounds that decorated his body. Just like his chase, it was short and he succumbed to unconsciousness.

After some time he was aware that his body was being moved, but could do nothing about it. He was also aware of a few voices muttering about help, another advising to just let him die. Then the dreams began. Horrid and bloody, his city covered in smoke and ash, the sky above in flames as the angels battled their own and every other kind of creature. The people around him, not running and screaming and seeking  shelter, were staring at the war above them, in either horror or disbelief. Jon screamed at them to run as bolts of blue and gold lightning fell to earth, ripping the world asunder, tearing the people to streams of blood and gore. They didn't hear him.

His face was hit with the remains of a person, and he gasped awake, trying to sit up, but unable. As Jon tried to slow his breathing he took stock of where he was. Leather straps over his chest, hips, and legs held him tight to a small cot. Iron cuffs bit into his wrists, separating his powers from him. Gray concrete walls held no windows or decorations, save for a few decaying posters of a tv show about zombies that had ended years ago. A few fluorescent lamps hung close to the ceiling gave the room, and apparently his naked body, a bluish glow. Though his throat was hoarse and dry, he worked up enough saliva to croak out a "Hello?"

In a room nearby something got dropped and two voices played through the doorway that was put of Jons view.
"Oh, my! He's awake!"
"Yes, Marea, he is."
"Aw, and now he knows my name!"
"Yes, Marea, he does. You can't lie to a paladin, anyways, so it'd be pointless to try."
"Well, I wasn't gonna."
"Of course not, dear."

Jon was more than confused, but was trying to be friendly. He was, of course, at the disadvantage, "Uh. My name is Jon. And...it'd be very nice to meet...You. If that's alright." He even smiled after he said it, hoping to add to the friendly demeanor. The voice not belonging to Marea spoke above his head, "Do you know who we are?" Jon tried to twist his head to get a look at the woman, but couldn't, "I'm guessing... Attuned. Seeing how they always exist in twos."

"Very good, Paladin. You-" "Jon. My name is Jon. I'm a paladin, but, my name is just Jon." it took a moment for the woman to continue, "Okay, Jon, cut the bullsh-" "I'm sorry. I didn't get your name." "Uh. Saena." Jon was holding out that the Attuned were as sensitive to the needs of others as he'd heard, "Saena. I like that. Listen, if you could please untie me I-" "Oh, we'll be doing nothing of the sort. You were in league with those other Angels." The restrained immortal tried to figure out which ones, "You're gonna have to be a little more specific. I'm in contact with a lot of angels."

Finally the woman to whom the voice belonged to stepped into his line of sight, "The ones that turned you into what you are now, Jon. Those monstrosities." Jon mimicked a nod as best he could, "Those guys. Yeah. They're all gone, now." He studied her, short, medium build, long hair, almost to the back of her legs, and tanned skin. Bright green eyes peered out from under her dark brow and ebony hair, seeking the lie in his voice. The immortals patience was beginning to wear thin with the two women.

He took a long breath and let it out, and was about to begin his story "Yes, I was involved with the Seraphs, but I-" "I believe you. But I'm not cutting you loose, just yet. I've got to get word from the proper authorities." Jon felt a cold worry begin to grow in his stomach, "Wait. What do you mean 'proper authorities'?" It was her turn to explain, but it was her turn to be interrupted, the door was knocked on. "Whatever you're about to say would probably be a list of long, boring excuses and I'd rather not hear it. I called the church."

Worry turned to panic as the other woman came from beyond his vision to answer the door, dry washing her hands as she went, "Oh. I hope it's the men here to clear up what's going on. Does anyone smell frankincense?" Her hand touched the handle as Jon screamed out, recognizing the scent, "Don't open the door!" But it was already done. Two preachers with silver crosses and beads around their necks walked in, looking directly at Jon, reaching into their robes as he screamed again, "They're Spriggan! RUN!"

Monday, September 28, 2015

Blood Runs Thin (Original Series)

Michael woke early. To his right was the window to his second story bedroom, to his left was Balthezar, in a deep slumber and naked. He ran his hand through his hair, surprised to find it almost shoulder length, but it had been a busy few months. The guerilla war they'd been fighting had taken its toll on all of them, even Master Raecien was slumbering in the next room, dreaming of something that made him mutter in his sleep.

Michael wondered why he woke up, searching his thoughts as the rain drummed away at the dimly lit window, dusk or dawn was irrelevant, the pane was painted a placid orange. Waking without purpose was something that had always annoyed Michael, even when he was human, so the search for a reason intensified as he swung his bare legs off the side of the bed, taking a deep breath while stretching. He had received his shipment of weapons from Phil just a few days ago, the last internal email from The Community had been intercepted and hacked, the last kill count caused by the three was in the triple digits. He couldn't figure it out. The only one awake in the house got up and decided to take a shower, no point in wasting energy.

The vampire couldn't believe that the giant man standing next to his bed had gone unnoticed this entire time. Michaels purple eyes met with the man's perfect emerald ones. The intruder was near as big as Raecien, in height and muscle, tattoos ran across his flesh like twisted vines, interrupted only by scars. The vampire wasn't fast enough to stop the kick that knocked him across his large room and through a concrete pillar, turning it to dust and pain. He cried out from the broken ribs and heavy landing, it was enough to wake his slumbering lover. Balthezar leapt from the bed and rammed his shoulder into the massive man, but the effect was minimal. As soon as his bare feet touched the floor the curly haired vampire opened up a flurry of punches and kicks, putting everything he had into it. Again the man was unimpressed, using his massive arms as a shield against the volley of attacks. Balthezar brought out his claws as Raecien joined the crowded room, looking for the trouble. He saw it, and the attempts Balthezar was making, and knew what the assassin was, "Balthezar don't touch him! He's an alchemist!" But his warnig came too late.

With deft speed the alchemist shot his hand out and grabbed the older vampire by the throat, whose skin began to smoke and burn, his usually deep and majestic voice turned into a scream. Michael called out, trying to move and join the fight, but the massive wolf had already scooped him up like a handbag. Raecien made for the nearest exit, which was a window, looking out on the river. Michael was able to look into Balthezars eyes just before the Alchemist plunged his free hand into the vampires chest, silencing the lingering scream.

The massive assassin tossed aside Balthezars already smoldering body and turned his attention to the two fleeing, but it was too late, Raecien and Michael were through the window and into the dusk. Michaels heart was torn apart, wanting to transform and rip the assassin to shreds, crushing agony, bleak sorrow. He hadn't noticed that the setting had changed from his cold warehouse to the woods behind it, nor did he notice his bruised ribs, or his lack of clothing.

The wolfs deep voice broke Michael out of his stupor, "Can you walk?" The vampire nodded and was put down, finding his own feet touching the ground felt alien. Raecien bowed his massive head, "I'm sorry we lost him. He was a good man." Cold fury was coiled inside Michael, begging to be unleashed, but it wasn't his companion that deserved the lashing, "Thank you, Master Raecien. He was a good man. And we'll carve his name into every single person from The Community, I swear it."

"You're a formidable foe, Michael, but this is something different. That was an Alchemist. They're the worlds oldest assassins. Their touch is lethal to you and I, our heightened senses don't work with them, and their strength is more than even mine." Every word was like a droplet of water falling upon a white hot rod of iron, doing nothing to quell the fury of the temperature. "How do we beat them, Master Raecien?" The wolf sighed deeply, "We don't. We buy them." Michael nodded, "We hit the humans, take their gold, and build ourselves a silent army. Except for the one that killed Balthezar. I want his heart."

Saturday, August 22, 2015

An Immortals Tale (Original Series)

An Immortals Tale
The March to Heaven
Chapter 2: The Rumor of God

Two men sat in a diner down the street from a destroyed building, one with short cut blonde hair and green eyes, the other with hair bordering the long end and grey eyes. They were still and silent for a long time, staring into their cups of coffee, soaked to the bone from the rain. The restaurant buzzed with noise and life, flowing all around them, but the two paid no mind to it. Even as the waitress came back for the the third time, asking what they wanted to eat, did they barely respond. Through the sky was already dark from rain the night managed to make it even darker, hiding the moon behind thick clouds, lightning brightening the world when it felt like it.

Jon broke the silence, finally, "Bob? What happened?" Without looking up the angel responded, "Before I answer that I have to ask, Jon: Have you heard the rumor?" Lucifer's words rang through his head, but the rumor was left out, "No. I heard there was one. Lucifer-" Bob scoffed at the mention of the name, "Him. Oh, I bet he enjoyed playing out that tale for you." Jon shook his head, "He didn't tell me, Bob. He said I wouldn't believe him." Green eyes stared in disbelief for a moment, studying the Paladin's face, "He's up to something, I know it. You mustn't get caught up in-" It was Jon's turn to interrupt, "Bob. Please."

It took some considering, and another bit of time, but the blonde man answered, "It's...they say...God is no longer in heaven." The words were as confusing as they were disheartening, and it was Bob's turn to sit in silence and await a response. Jon's mind raced through all the reasons that the rumor would exist, but he couldn't narrow just any single reason down. When he looked up to his friend, he answered without being asked, "Jerusalem. The rest of the world's memory was wiped away, the horrible things never happened, all those people didn't die, but the rest of the world. The Angelfolk, Demonfolk, the Attuned, we didn't forget. And some of them took it as a sign that God no longer is in his throne." 

The idea was suddenly very clear to Jon, "And now everyone wants to occupy it." Bob nodded, "By sword or by favor everyone wants to claim it." Once again the scale of the problems of the world was more than any one man could combat against, but he wouldn't be alone, Jon knew there were other Paladin. "So that's why I was woken up? To join the others of my kind and try to keep the peace?" Bob emptied his cup and shook his head, "You're the last one, Jon." The immortals cup was already empty, so there was no buffer, "What? What do you mean I'm the last one?" The angel's perfect features wore a scolding look very well, "Who do you think they killed first?" 

"Who is they, Bob?" The moment paused while Lily, the waitress, filled their cups again. "The Angels. They knew that it was you and your kind's job to restore balance. The logic is easy to follow. After they were gone the next targets were our kind: The Seraphims that arm you guys." Bob touched the shoulder where his arm used to be, "I only survived because I was on fired and covered in blood, I'm sure I looked dead. My brothers didn't make it." Jon offered his solemn condolences then asked why he was still alive. "No one could find you. It was like you'd disappeared off the face of the Earth. When they couldn't find you we all assumed you'd died in Jerusalem." 

Jon wondered about how he kept hidden, not aloud, but trying to think why he would be hidden, and then something tripped up his thought process, "Wait. You said 'We'." Bob kept his gaze upon the cup in his hand as Jon spoke again, "What did you mean 'We'?" The Angel's brilliant green eyes were shimmering with tears, "I'm sorry, Jon. They said they'd let me live." The world exploded, cacophony and fire were everywhere. Jon's ears rang, but his grey eyes worked perfectly, he checked his surroundings. The tiny restaurant was in shambles, lights hung from the ceiling, flashing on and off, sparks were spitting from exposed wires. Sterile white walls were covered in dust and blood, gore clung to the moldings, people were gasping and choking. 

The ringing died down to a voice, so pleasant it was almost musical, "Jon. Oh, Jon? Did you live through that?" There was nothing too painful for him, so he stood, brushing the dust and dirt off his suit, "Yeah. Yeah, I lived. And who's asking?" The beautiful voice replied, "Step out of that mess and let's introduce ourselves properly, please." The immortal decided to comply, walking over body parts and bodies to the blown in front, and out into the night. The orange streetlights illuminated the chaos and the single man that stood outside, wearing a smile, dark jeans, and a button up black shirt. Long blonde hair that curled in places reached the middle of the mans back, his body was in perfect shape, skin was like porcelain, and with eyes a shade of blue that was too perfect to describe.

The man stood in the middle of the street, Jon on the sidewalk. "The Paladin Jonathan Ross, I presume?" "And you are?" The blonde bowed deeply at the waist, "I am Epoch, member of the first Choir of Angels, enforcer of the word of Michael. I'm also your executioner, and for that I'm very sorry." He stood back up, still smiling, to his full height of around five and a half feet. Jon knew better than to engage an Angel head to head, so he had to delay to think of something, "So, Epoch. Why did you kill the people in the restaurant? Why kill Bob?" It was enough of a question to intrigue his opponent, who looked back at the smoking wreckage he'd created.

"The humans and the Seraphim? Innocent? Please, Paladin, don't make me laugh. Those people are all sinners, and two of them are atheists. They don't even believe God exists. As for the one known as 'Bob', well...The weak must be culled. Chaff from the wheat and all that." Jon's temper flared, but he was still thinking of what could be in his repertoire that could possibly take down an Angel. "If you're trying to buy time until the police show up, don't bother. I've put this entire city to sleep. Unfortunately, your time has come." Pain took Jon's words before he could speak them, his vision white from the impact he never saw coming.

His head went through the back window of the car, his body crushed the trunk. When Jon lifted his head he was twenty feet or so from where he was standing previously, the Angel was on the sidewalk, strolling towards the wreckage Jon was now a part of. Anger now flooded through the Paladin, all his powers awakened at once and begged to be unleashed, and he did not deny them. He opened his mouth and let forth a blast of energy, as much as he could expel at once. Epoch held out his palm and the blast impacted and dissipated almost instantly to nothing. Jon focused his vision and let forth another blast of energy as he pulled himself from the wreckage of the car, but it got the same treatment and the angel kept walking forward. 

"Please, Jon, don't embarrass yourself. Just die with some dignity." Anger was a haze clouding Jon's thoughts, but he tried to think. The immortal smiled, his teeth red with his own blood, "There's an issue with me, there Epoch. I'm older than most other Paladins. So I got a few more tricks up my sleeve." With a shaky hand Jon reached into his pocket, where he always kept his vials of holy water, and withdrew one. The smug look never left the Angel's face, even as Jon began to speak a language that had been dead for more than a thousand years. Jon rushed the words, pressed to hit every syllable. As the last of the words fell from his lips the Angel Epoch stared down at him.

Jon shook the vial, the cue for the liquid to do something in reaction to the spell he'd just spoken, then glared angrily at it when nothing happened. The angel reached into the wreckage where Jon was and began to pull him out, prepared to deliver the final blow. Epoch lifted the immortal, his free hand forming a blade, fingers pressed together. Jon shook the vial again, ignoring the immediate threat, a last resort. "Goodbye, Paladin Jon." The liquid finally changed, the vial's clear contents turned black, and with that Jon met Epoch's smile, "Goodbye, Angel Epoch." Jon's hand flew as fast it could and smashed the glass container on the angels head. The scream that filled the air was unearthly, shattering windows and glass doors for blocks.

The Paladin was released as Epoch reeled away, he clawed at his smoking face in agony, dropped to his knees by the pain, his screams now just choking sobs. The black fluid melted away the holy beings flesh, sloughing off in chunks. Jon stood over Epoch, adjusting his suit as he spoke, "Black water. Deadly to Angelfolk. Luckily, though, this isn't enough to kill you. This, however, is." The immortal plunged his knife into the heart of the angel, twisting the blade. The world went silent again, but so did Jon's hope. Angels were hunting him, and now, even friends weren't to be trusted. With Epoch dead people began to wake up, and that was the immortals cue to leave the scene and try to regain a sense of self.

Half a block from the dead angel and the chaos that was left behind something happened that Jon couldn't believe: A woman walked into his path, fully awake, and seemingly unaffected by the sleep spell Epoch had cast. She looked one way, then the other, and laid eyes on the immortal walking her way. Both paused, staring wide eyed at each other, both just as confused as the other. Jon broke the silence, "Attuned." She startled and turned away, and began to walk quickly, muttering to herself, "Oh, my. Oh, no. Oh, goodness." Jon began to give chase, "Hey! Hey! Come back here!" 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

An Immortals Tale (Original Series)

An Immortals Tale
The March to Heaven
Chapter 1: Everyone has One.

Jon drifted through the void, black, endless, nothingness. His body weighed nothing, his senses were non-existent, nothing mattered. He was finally comfortable and at peace. For a long time he remained there, happy to be a part of the void. Then something disturbed the emptiness,  buzzing like an angry fly in his ear. It was a voice, pushing through the thick shell of his sanctuary, saying something he didn't recognize. 

The voice repeated over and over, but as moments passed, it changed its tone. The annoyance that it carried fell away. The words were soothing, sweet, soft, and comforting. With every repetition they made more and more sense, revealing themselves to not be words, but a name. 'Jonathan Ross...Jonathan Ross...' it was so familiar, yet so distant. Slowly the name began to pull the immortal from the nothingness, towards the light, the pain, the world outside.

The smells of the world came first, soft and serene. Wood, books, a leather chair, and somewhere in the distance: gun grease. His body ached, each movement was met with resistance, his muscles complained. Finally sight came in, slow at first, then blinding, all at once. Still the soft voice cooed his name, gently, softly. The name. It was his name. Jonathan Ross, the immortal, the Paladin. And this was his home. He craned his sore neck around, took it all in. He stopped abruptly when the source of the voice revealed itself. 

There he sat, on the arm of Jon's chair, as the immortal lay on the floor: Lucifer, himself. He was tall, with perfect skin, a perfect smile, and long blonde hair, dressed in a gray suit with a red shirt and tie. While Jon struggled to get his body moving Lucifer smiled down at him with glee. "Good morning, sunshine! The earth says 'Hello!'" The groan that Jon emitted was unclear if it was from disgust or from the pain he was feeling. "Oh come on, Jon. Is that any way to greet an old friend?" Another groan came as Jon sat up on his floor.

The immortal worked his mouth, trying to dispel the dryness making it impossible to speak. His hand bumped into a glass of water, sitting next to him. He picked it up and shot the only other person in the room a look, waiting for an explanation. Again, the former angel smiled and tapped his throat. "Sleeping for two years tends to dry one out. I know, trust me. But, having your soul nearly sucked out will do that to a person." Jon sipped the drink, trying harder to make the roughness dissipate. "A 'thank you' would be nice, there, Jon." The immortal nodded and croaked one out, his throat still dry, as Lucifer continued.

"That's better. Now..." The immortal chimed in before the former angel could continue, "What are you doing here?" Lucifer's face wore annoyance, but with a hint of grace, said, "I was getting to that, Jon. Let's get you all woken up and fed before we continue, yeah? Chinese or hoagies?" With a spry hop, he left the chair's arm and helped Jon off the floor and to the chair. The Paladin's body was still waking up, pain throbbing through him. He knew he couldn't do anything against his visitor, so he could only answer, "Uh...Hoagies." 

Lucifer clapped, "Yes! I guessed right! Hold on a second." Jon watched him leave the room, and examined his surroundings. The single room apartment was not as he'd left it. The windows were back, the walls repaired, all the damage that had happened during that fight outside had been made right. He turned his gaze to his own body, checking for grievous wounds, but found none. He suddenly became aware of the fact that he was utterly naked, just as the blonde angel returned. Jon's hands instinctively went to cover himself as his guest returned, gently bumping the door open with his hip.

The blonde angel had two white bags clenched in his perfect teeth, a folding chair and a small folding table under each arm. He placed them in front of the immortal, setting up the dinner, when he noticed the self-censorship of the holy man. With a scoff he smiled at Jon, "Oh, please, Jon. I've been waiting a while for you to wake up. There's nothing I haven't seen at this point. And if it makes you feel better I can get naked, too." Rising out of the chair he began to undo his tie, but the immortal objected, "No, no! It's...it's fine. Just a reaction." Lucifer shrugged and sat back down, doling out the stuff in the bags. "Suit yourself. Let's eat. We've got a lot of catching up to do." 

Jon ate in silence, enjoying the beef hoagie as best he could. Lucifer, however, commented often about the taste of the sandwich, and the fries, following it with a sheepish smile. "Hey, I hardly get to enjoy things like this anymore. Usually it's all work, work, work." Jon smiled politely as they both finished their meals, giving another 'thank you' for the food. The tall blonde man smiled brightly and gave an enthusiastic, "You're very welcome, Paladin." Still wearing the same smile, Lucifer cleaned up the meal and returned from tossing the empty remains with two cups of tea, placing them on the table.

"I love tea. Such a wonderful concoction. I was there when they invented it, you know. Humans. So inventive. Feel better, Jon?" Though he was on high alert in the presence of the first fallen, Jon had to admit that he did feel much better. Lucifer nodded, "Good. Let's begin, shall we?" The immortal nodded his agreement as he sipped his chamomile tea. "You've been asleep for two years, Jonny boy. And, believe it or not, almost nothing has happened. Demonic activity here on Earth has fallen to microscopic numbers, all because of the example YOU made of that cult.

"But on the two-year anniversary of your little escapade, things have begun to heat up. Angels are coming down here and making a mockery of your work. Have you ever met an angel?" Jon wanted to reply, but he kept talking, "They're...well, for lack of a better term, dicks. They're so black and white, it's infuriating! Innocents have died in their little crusade - on both sides, mind you. And I thought I'd be here to lend you a hand for what's going to be coming up, there, Jon." Jon was reeling. The news that he'd been asleep for two years was a serious blow.

"What's coming up?" was the only thing Jon could get out. Lucifer looked surprised at the question and finished his sip. He answered as if his host was supposed to know. "The end of the world, of course." Another shock to Jon's system left him, once again, only able to utter a few words, "What do you mean?" The fallen angel finished off his tea, and sat it down before turning to Jon once more. "There's been a little rumor circling the world, and it's caused massive tremors. And now, unlike last time, there's a single entity leading this entire movement."

"No one knows who they are or what they wants, and truthfully I find back stories boring. Everyone has one, Jon, everyone. And they're all so cliché. Momma didn't blah-blah, daddy was yadda-yadda. I'm just no longer impressed with them. Anyways. Demonfolk and angelfolk, alike, have all begun their march to the Pearly Gates." Jon looked confused, by more than one thing, but asked, "What's the rumor?" Lucifer smiled, "Now, THAT I can't help you with, Jon. But I can tell you where to begin."

The angel got up, folded his chair, adjusted his suit, and walked toward the door. He turned around as he opened the door, a mischievous smile on his perfect face, making his green eyes shimmer, "I'd tell you what the rumor is, but, the question is: Would you believe me? Oh. How long has it been since you've been to Constantinople?" With that the door closed, and Jon was left to ponder if this bizarre meeting really happened. With a bit of resolve, the immortal found his feet and walked to the shower, taking his time to get himself back in order. After shaving, showering, and donning one of his black suits, The Paladin walked back into the world, unsure and unready for what was going to happen next.

After a short distance, getting his stride back, Jon found himself not wanting to take a cab, but to exercise his muscles. The afternoon was waning on, the sky darkening, both with rain and night. The immortal kept going, none the less. What was a forty minute car ride turned into a two hour walk back to his old friends' place: The the three angels. Hope swelled inside Jon at the sight of his destination, then was dashed to nothing as he saw something he didn't expect: The Angels' building was destroyed. It looked like a bomb had gone off, taking apart the structure like a cardboard box that a firecracker had gone off in. 

Jon's hand pushed through the yellow tape sealing off the entrances to the place, worry deep in his mind. His new senses didn't smell or see any real reason for the demolition, but he knew the reason almost instantly: Divine Fire. On what was left of the floor where the angels stayed was almost nothing but debris, pieces of the giant metal door that protected them scattered throughout the ruins. The immortal prayed silently that his friends escaped the conflagration intact. As he finished his 'Amen' the clouds above roared and opened up, pouring their contents upon the world. And in that moment Jon felt truly lost in a tumultuous sea.  

As he stood there, in the cool rain, another voice rang out, a familiar one. "Oh Jon. What a mess of the world they've made." The immortal looked down the alley way, his eyes resting on a sight he'd never expected to see: A man with blonde hair that had been shaven to the scalp, beautiful green eyes, perfect skin covered in grime, and missing his left arm. "Have you come to help, Jon, or to finish what my brethren started?" The soft British accent, which was so nice to hear, before, was heavy with pain and hopelessness that left Jon all but speechless. When their eyes met Jon could say but a single word: "Bob?"

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Blood Runs Thin (Original Series)

Michael sat still, watching the rain pour out over the night, making everything shine. The moon was particularly beautiful, its shape reflected in the pools of water on the empty street. Crouched like a gargoyle overlooking its domain, the vampire let the smells of the world wash through him, bringing back beautiful memories, and memories that filled him with rage. 

Atop the pointed roof of his warehouse, soaked to the bone, he waited. The place was empty now, as Phil's workshop relocated to a nearby suburb. He wasn't happy about it, but it had to be done. Michael stayed behind, sending his new partner in crime to retrieve his sire, after letting him experience the pleasantries that were doled out by The Community. They'd all be hunted, no doubt, but Michael wanted to make sure that their world burned before he gave his final breath. 

The plan, as long as it would take, would be executed the way he wanted it to be, no other way. As the details of it began to sprint through his mind, a scent caught his nose: fresh human blood. He knew his sire was near. He stretched and stood, waiting for the arrival of his old friend, and his new wolf one, the night still washed with  rain. Lightning flashed across the sky, turning the night to day just for an instant. He didn't need the assistance, but Michael easily spotted his compatriots coming in from the edge of the forest line.

Balthezar was naked as the day he was born, his muscular body and thick curly hair soaked, parts of him swinging back and forth with his gait. Raecien was just as drenched, but seemed nowhere near as jovial as the nude vampire, a grimace firmly affixed to his bearded face. Their pace slowed as they approached the warehouse and the waiting vampire, who smiled and growled their greeting, "Welcome home, friends. Let us plot the end of the world." 

Inside, out of the rain, Michael led his little company to the office, where clothes awaited Balthezar, and a reward for Raecien. Talks and planing were held off until the old vampire was dressed, and the wolf had consumed his leg of beef. Michael watched his sire dress, remembering nights they'd spent together, vivid and gentle. But it wasn't time for that, now. "I can always tell when you stare at me, Chell." Balthezar's voice brought the young vampire out of his thoughts. 

Michael could feel his face heat, "Don't call me Chell, you know I never liked it." Raecien paused his noisy eating and rolled his eyes at the whole exchange, choosing to turn his back to the other species and continue his delicious meal. "So what is this grand plan, Chell? Do we burn down the capital? Assassinate all the officials? Expose a corrupt system? Or simply take them all to war?" the sire asked, pulling on his shirt and freeing his wet hair from the collar. 

His purple eyes faded to the gold of the Fire of the Night, conveying the deep conviction and hatred Michael felt, "No. We start a civil war, watch them kill each other off, and then burn what's left of them. We light a conflagration so immense that only ashes and blackened bones will be left for us to crush underfoot." Balthezar's demeanor darkened with the words, his jovial nature nearly completely defeated. "And the innocent, Chell, what of them?" Michael's eyes still burned as he answered, "There are none." 

The old vampire was afraid to ask, but he didn't need to. "After they came for me, they went for Aviel. She didn't go down easily, so they took their time with her." Images of her body flashed through Michael's mind, her naked form in the throes of both pleasure and unbearable pain. "After Aviel, it was Maris, then Julia, David, Eleanor, Rebecca....Shae." The last name made all the difference. Balthezar hadn't talked to his sister for a few years, since they'd both left the house of Tor, hoping to start over. 

"Did...did she..." Balthezar couldn't finish, but Michael answered, "No. She suffered the worst. I'm sorry." The old vampire put his fists on the metal desk that held his clothes, trying to choke back the fury gathering inside, aching to be loosed on anything, and violently. He didn't hear the desk creak and groan as it bent under his strength. Testing his voice wasn't an option, not for a few more moments. Even Raecien's noisy meal had halted, though his back was still turned.

Michael waited, knowing how much it hurt, feeling the pain emanating from his sire in waves. Balthezar's silence broke. He spoke only two words, "What's first?" The young vampire placed a sympathetic hand on his sire's shoulder, "Markov." Raecien stood slowly and turned to face the vampires, his face contorted with confusion, "The human second in command?" 

Michael's brow lowered into a stern look, "Is there an issue, Master Raecien?" The wolf growled, anger in his voice, "Not an issue, but a request." Both the vampires waited, "I get to eat his heart."

The vampire with the purple eyes couldn't help but smile. He went to his wolf friend and wiped away some blood from the wolf's lips, left over from the meal. 
"Of course you may."