Friday, November 25, 2011

John 1:5

It was dark out. The streets and alleyways glistened beneath dull luminous street lights and the occasional flicker of partially lit neon signs, hanging above shotty looking doorways, hummed along with the drizzling rain. Had I not seen the event unfold before my very own eyes, I would have said that it was all some kind of twisted drunken nightmare, but my clothes still reek of blood from that man and beast that ravaged him like a ragdoll caught between the teeth of a rabid stray just a few feet from me. The way he screamed...his howls would have woken the dead. I lifted the rain heavy cardboard up enough to see without being noticed, my location, wedged between two metal trash bins, allowed enough dark to remain hidden from view. The horrors still haunt me. 

Detective White sat the cup of steaming coffee down before the shaken man. He was visibly disturbed by whatever he had witnessed and no amount of free cigarettes were going to calm his nerves anytime soon. Detective White pulled up a chair and sat. He then lit himself a cigarette, offering another to the man who reached nervously stating; "Are you going to release me?".
     "You're not being charged with anything...Charlie. You're free to go whenever you like."
     "Please. You don't understand, I want to be here."
     "Why don't you start from the beginning."

When Charlie opened his eyes, his ears were instantly filled with horrific screams. He had lived and walked these city streets for years, never really knowing why or how he came to be there, finding solace in the dark alleys in hopes that he could somehow remember. He had seen a great deal of terrible things on these back alley streets, drugs, gangs, rape, robbery and even all at one time on occasion; but, he had never seen anything like this. As he peeked out from underneath his cardboard house, he saw a man hoisted into the air by the creature, trapped in its jaws like a banana inside a vice grip, pounding his fist against its massive head, begging for the help of God for no man was going to come to his aid; not now, not ever. Charlie thought about running, but his body had already shut down on him. He remained as still and quiet as his own fear would allow, watching helplessly as the creature bit through the man with ease, catching his upper torso with its mouth and devouring it whole. The man's legs slapped against the wet ground, twitching just long enough for the signal to run off the end of a severed nerve into nothing. The creature then stood perfectly still in the darkness as though listening for something. Could it hear his heart pounding against the cold wet ground? Perhaps his gasp had echoed off the metal trash bins and resonated the alley, fishing the beasts attention from its victim his way. Charlie was not a holy man, but, the moment the creature turned towards his direction, he quickly found God and began to pray. 

     "That's when I heard the footsteps." Charlie said puffing the last of the tobacco from his cigarette.
He held the smoke in his lungs for some time, before blowing it out, and then drank the last of his coffee.
     "It happened too quickly for me to see the face, but the result was the same. Blood. Blood was everywhere. There was no way to escape without getting some of the stuff on you."
At this, Charlie leaned back so that the light could shine onto the front of his rags, stained with a weeks worth of dirt and grime, pointing to the peculiar substance that did not look like blood; but, whatever had killed that poor bastard wasn't human either.
     "This creature you speak of, there was nothing found at the crime scene except half a corpse and your prints all over the place."
     "But you said I was free to go."
     "And you are...for now. I am just giving you the facts, pal. Your story, thus far, is more fanatical and crazed and I have enough cold cases to fill a room. I need substance, especially if you hope to get away without being labeled a suspect."
Charlie laughed.
     "A warm dry bed, three meals a day and bars keeping me safely away form the outside? I'd confess if I thought it would help."
     "So someone approaching scared off your boogieman who just finished eating a full grown man?"
     "You didn't let me finish, did you? The footsteps were hurried ones, not some casual stroll on a Sunday morning."

A flash of lightning lit the entire alleyway, which was the moment Charlie noticed the hooded figure leap through the air as though it walked on the wind. For the figure, everything slowed so that each second felt like an entire minute to the cloaked being, bouncing effortlessly from one wall onto the next. Charlie could only witness a series of images. Each drawn by mother nature's natural light that depicted a long slender blade that trailed the flickering light, chopping in one direction and then slicing in another, leaving in its wake silver beams of light that hung in the air for a very brief time, and then faded into the darkness. The figure moved hastily, bobbing and weaving away desperate strikes from the creature, each miss penalized by its own blood being spilled onto the pavement a little more. Moments later, the creature had fallen to its hands and knees. He could see now that the creature nearly filled the whole of the alley with its thick bulky frame. The creature hissed and wheezed, sucking air with punctured lungs, gripping its claws into the ground, stunned by the ease of its defeat at the hands of the hooded figure standing victoriously before it. The figure wiped the blood from its blade, pulling back the cloak, sliding the sword back into its sheath. It then moved partially into the light from a nearby lamppost. 

     "That's when I saw her face." Charlie said.
     "Her face?"
     "Yeah. It was real quick, but I know a woman when I see one. And this woman was...she was beautiful. And when she spoke, I could not hear all that was being said, but she spoke to the monster and the damn thing listened too."
     "I suppose this monster of yours spoke too, huh."
     "Sure it did. It might have said a lot of things, but the moment it uttered a name, the woman freaked out and went complete psycho!"

The creature lifted its disfigured face up to its executioner. 
     "Deus tuus tibi reliquit, meretrix!.
     "And yours has failed to protect you demon."
The demon then realized that the human it dealt with was special. Not only did she have the face of an angel, but the protection of one. Light sprung from the back of her, spreading its wings far and wide, producing a flaming sword that humbled the demon ever more. The hooded woman then took from its sheath her own sword and in tandem, swung it as the angel struck its own sword through the heart of the beast. Shrieking and writhing with a pain never felt before, the demon begged.  She then leaned down, where only the creature could hear her words. She then stood and waited. 
    "Marquis Sabnock!"
The name grabbed hold of her heart and squeezed. 
The archangel guided her, moving her as though she were a puppet at the end of its delicate stings, as she severed its head from its body, turning on her heel and then stabbing the sword through the skull, shattering the bones like a hammer smashing glass. The corpse of the demon caught fire and quickly burned up, leaving nothing behind. Charlie watched as the angel's apparition dimmed into the darkness. She then turned, clasping at the silver cross hanging at her chest and lowered her head. 

     "You mean like at a funeral?" Detective White asked.
     "Yeah, I guess. She then looked right at me, or at least in my direction, smirked as though she enjoyed knowing I had seen it all unfold, and then ran. By the time I realized what all had happened, the law showed up to bat clean up. And here I sit."
     "She was a nun."
Charlie looked quizzically at the detective.
     "Sure. I suppose one could make that assumption."
     "And the name?"
Charlie thought about this.
     " sabnook."
Detective White sat still, for a moment, collecting his thoughts.
     "So, she is here."
     "Wha? Who?"
Charlie now seemed to agitate the detective. He stood up and then approached him, leaning close to the side of his head.
     "What I am about to tell you is not going to make much sense to you, but I assure you that it would not matter even if it did. I am going to leave this room, and then some detectives are going to come in here and charge you with murder. The nice thing about this is that you will plead your innocence and, after your appointed attorney gets a look at the security footage, he will plead innocent by way of insanity. I am not sure if this will help you much, considering the level of cruelty against you; but, one can always hope for a hung jury."
     "Wait a minute, what are you talking about?"
     "And you did mention how being behind bars is much safer for you, so everybody wins." He said opening the door.
     "I am not a loon. You do believe me?"
     "Oh yes. I do. But I am not the one you need to convince."
The door closed behind detective White. Charlie wasn't sure what to make of his conversation with the man, who quickly made his exit after getting his name. Perhaps he had already known of the man. If they needed a witness to the crime, he was more than happy to assist. He sat quiet for a few minutes, when the door opened a second time. This time, however, it wasn't detective White. Two men entered, one holding a laptop under his arm and the other two cups of coffee. They sat down in front of Charlie. One opened the laptop and turned it towards Charlie. He saw himself onscreen, sitting quietly as he now sat. But then the man on the screen began to act odd, perhaps even a bit crazed, talking to himself, acting like he was drinking something, coffee maybe, and smoking. He listened to the man.

      "Are you going to release me?"
      "Please. You don't understand, I want to be here."
Charlies eyes began to water. Confusion crept between the cracks of doubt, as his story unfolded to an empty room. The taste of coffee and cigarettes lingered on the back of his tongue, yet not cup or butts were before him.
      "That's when I heard the footsteps."
      "Yeah, I guess. She then looked right at me, or at least in my direction, smirked as though she enjoyed knowing I had seen it all unfold, and then ran. By the time I realized what all had happened, the law showed up to bat clean up. And here I sit."
Charlie knew he wasn't crazy. He had seen what he had seen and no one was ever going to remove the images from his mind that would haunt his dreams for months to come. When the video ended, the two detectives only looked at him. Charlie recalled what detective White had told him. He was going to need a lot more than words to get them to listen now.
     "Mister Harley? Could you state your name for the record."
Somewhere, deep inside his conscious, a voice screamed. It was a voice from the past, long forgotten by the man occupying the same space, but a familiar voice all the same. Charlie suddenly realized who he was.
     "Charlie. Charlie Harley."
     "Well, Charlie," the second detective began, pushing a photo of a man across the table, "What can you tell me about this man; specifically, why you mutilated him and where the rest of Father Riley Day is!"
Charlie laughed. It was all that he could do. If he was going to have any chance at all at freedom, he would need to play the only card he had.
     "Have I told the both of you about the time I was an angel in the army of God?"

The curtain pulled back and a woman, dressed in a black cloak, stepped through. She approached the seat, flanked by men in polished armor with the crest of the Holy Bridge branded on their chest plates, and knelt before her pontiff.
     "What news do you bring me?"
     "I was too late. I could not retrieve any information about The Black. Whatever Father Day had planned on sharing remains a secret he will take with him to his grave. Every time we have something of substance, The Black is always one step ahead of us."
     "A Cerberus."
     "A hunter? Interesting. Having a Hunter is a huge risk, especially if anyone ever caught sight of one. I am surprised The Black even made such a bold move."
     "There's more. The beast gave its master's name- Marquis Sabnock."
The look on the pontiff's face alone troubled her.
     "Who is he?"
     "Not who, but what."
     "I don't understand."
     "No. I would not expect you too. Very few understand the hierarchy of hell. Mostly because in order to know of it, one must have been there. The only reason I know is because of Dante."
The Pontiff rose. He walked over to an altar, where a book rest and opened it.
     "The Demon Hunter?"
     "Dante was much more than a demon hunter, my dear. Unlike you, Dante has literally been to hell and back again, seen the likes of monsters of which make a Cerberus look like a puppy dog and squared off against The Dark Prince and live to tell about it. His exploits into the inferno are the very building blocks of the Holy Bridge. All that you know now, your skills, your faith, your guardian, all due to Dante's quest for the Ark. For centuries, we have been able to sustain the horde and Lucifer, until recently."
     "And why is that?"
The man stood, back turned to his most experienced warrior and lied.
     "I do not know."
He took a key, placed inside a hollowed out section of the book, and walked towards the end of the room where a door stood, locked and made of iron where the others were wood. He knew that there was no other choice but to share the knowledge beyond the doorway with his nun, for she was the only one who could possibly deliver what waited in the cold dark depths of the room behind the iron door.
     "What I am about to share with you must go to your grave and never leave your tongue, unless in the presence of myself or the man you are to protect. Do you understand?"
     "What man?"
     "The one you have been training to protect since the day you entered my chapel, alone and soaked from the heavy wintry rains ten years ago." He said, sliding the key into the lock.
There was a click and a series of chains released inside the door's mechanisms, and then it opened outwards to them. The Pontiff did not hesitate, stepping into the cold black air rushing out from inside.
     "Dante was more than a man, yet, unlike you, he did not have the grace of an angel watching over him. That is why I asked you here, why I am going to show you what only a handful of people have seen and why  you will die a thousand deaths before breathing a single word of what you are about to see. Come, sister Aeglaeca, there is much to explain and very little time for me to do so."

Rome continued to push onward, life moving at the speed of everyday people completing everyday process, work, school, holidays, family time. No one had seen or heard anything about the Priest, Father Day's, murder or noticed how the weather had changed suddenly and drastically, like how it had started out the morning at a warm 83 degrees, but by noon, the temperature had dropped down to 50. By rush hour, it had dropped further, down to 30. The entire Italian police force has been on alert, since the day before, told to be on the lookout for a woman who was dressed like a nun, perhaps may have even been an actual nun, for all anyone knew, and to know that she was armed and dangerous. It had been a very long afternoon for many officers, but none of the woman they had stopped matched the description given to them. But there was one among them, though not official in any way or known by anyone as a fellow officer, who knew exactly what he was looking for. He stood high above the city, looking over the ledge of its highest building with his cellphone pressed against his ear. It rang only once.
     "The nun is in Rome."
     "The bitch moves quick. I also understand she is quite lethal, besting a Cerberus is no easy feat."
     "I have made sure that her travels in Rome are not as easy. I have also picked up her trail inside Vatican City. I will-"
     "You will return to the states, detective. Your services are better used here."
     "My assignment?"
     "For now, take yourself a well deserved vacation. In fact, I know of a wonderful little place outside Arizona you might be interested in. The Motel there will certainly provide you with plenty of leads to follow."
A long slender hand placed the receiver back onto the hook, spinning round slowly in its thick black leather office chair, meeting the gaze of his Chauffeur.
     "Uz send dee detective tuz da'  Motel?"
     "Detective White is a Neutral. It should make for great fun once he arrives at my little den of sin."
     "But Baphomet-"
     "To hell with Baphomet! His way is old and outdated. Even Lucifer knows when it is time to modernize one's thinking and I am not about to lose the opportunity presenting itself to me."
     "There will be consequences for your actions, Loki."
     "There always is when dealing with the Devil."
Loki walked over to the small window of the mobile home. Outside, the framework for the Motel had been completed. Within a week, the walls will have been raised and the conduit placed within the main building. Loki had never felt so strong. Of all the power both Lucifer and the Devils of hell had, none had ever been able to do what Loki and his Motel was going to achieve. He noticed, pulling into the dirt drive, a limo coming to a rest outside the trailer. His guest of honor had arrived. He turned and opened the door to greet the guest.
     "Ah, Victor! So good of you to finally make it here."
At the passenger side of the limo, a silver liquid oozed from the cracks of the door, pooling outside, settling at the feet of Loki and then built itself into the shape of a man from the ground up. It was a tiny man, but one with an intimidating glare who moved to the back end of the limo and opened the door. A second older taller gentleman pulled himself out from the car and greeted Loki.
     "The pleasure is all mine. Please excuse Spurt, I have been working on his mannerisms. Clearly I still have a ways to go."
     "Are we still on schedule?" Asked Victor.
     "Ahead in fact, the conduit will be in place by end of week and we can then begin to piece together your machine. I am very anxious to see how far you've come with your work."
     "Yes. Sowing the fabric of time into a quilt in which one can travel is no simple process, but one I feel confident in achieving with the help of your Motel."
Loki opened the door to the trailer, waving in the professor.
     "Then come, Professor Krull. There is much to discuss."


  1. Detective White is a pretty cool guy. Probably good looking too.

  2. I get the feel that I am in a Neil Gaiman novel here. You two collaborating?

  3. I can't afford him.

    Bryan- He dues at the end, but you probably already knew that...or does he? dum duh duummmmm!

  4. Uh, dies. He dies in due time...yes, that is what I meant to say...