Featured Item: C L A Vv. Dragon Warrior (The Arcade)
I really never understood it, but there were some of us like that. It must have been part of “The Plan”. Perhaps we were the ones meant to get our hands dirty. The ones that were sent to Earth to keep the Darkness in check. I know that’s what I did, all those eons ago. So so very long ago.
Here is one of the tales of my time on Earth. Read it and believe it. Or don’t. Its of no matter to me. I am what I am, whether you believe me or not. There is a burden that is placed on those of use with the black wings. We are tempted, you see. Tempted to – and you might laugh at this – to find what it is to lose ourselves from ‘the angels of our better nature’, and we are tempted to become something darker. What if I became the worst of my inner demons? Isn’t that what happened to the Light Bringer? The Morningstar?
Read on, and see – and judge for yourself. Am I going down that bitter path of ashes?
The house was an unassuming one – typical suburban ranch style house, somewhere in the mid-western US. There was a minivan in the black asphalt driveway, recently sealed with that even blacker foul smelling stuff that coated it. There was a proud little flag stuck in the soil by the end of the driveway, stating “Sealed by Perma-crust! Call us for an estimate!”. Like they had the formula for eternal youth of asphalt driveways.
The house was a white and blue affair – white vinyl siding, with a blue front door and shutters and accents for window sills and the like. The shingles on the roof were black with that glittery look they get from direct sunlight. And there was a red-brick chimney, and light grey cement sidewalk and porch.
A white picket fence surrounded the property – waist high at the front, 2 meters tall all around the sides and the back yard. There was a pool, a hot tub, and a slippy slide in the back, with a swingset and a see-saw. Kids toys were scattered here and there. A normal family in the burbs lived here by all accounts.
I approached the house from the sky, landing heavy and fast. I left a double-footed divot in the immaculate front lawn. Oh well.
I’d been tipped off by a dryad that lived nearby – it was feeling the dark effects of something terrible in the basement of this house, that was seeping into the roots of her tree, and she was in terrible pain from it. She was worried and her tree was in trouble.
I was in my usual garb – white button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up.. Open at the neck and chest. I had on black knee length shorts and the suspenders were down for the moment. I had high knee socks, and tall black laced up boots. My lush brown hair was pulled back in a pony. The tats I’d had inked into my skin were on display. I’d pissed off a few of the Host with my ‘flair for the dramatic’, as they called it. Not to mention my ear piercings, and my other jewelry and accoutrements – like the elaborate necklace I wore. They called it ‘unnecessary adornment, fit only for the worst of the human cattle.” Snobs. I swear. No wonder they like to stay ‘upstairs’. They don’t know how to live.
And of course, my dark wings. They flared out around me like a protective shroud, before I furled them in and it was like I was wearing a dark cloak over my shoulders. I loved how the long ebon feathers seem to merge into whatever I wish them to, against my body, and protect me like the Hand were upon me.
When I approached the front door, the screen door came open easy enough, but the front door itself – the blue painted thick oak was swollen inside the doorjam. It didn’t want to open for me. I gripped the handle, and give it a push, but it held firm. I saw it seem to “flex” or bulk up as I started to exert my strength – like some mystic force were swelling it in its doorsill, ‘beefing’ it up. So – instead of ripping it out, or blowing it down and making a ruckus, I phased through it, and into the gloomy interior.
I could feel it – there was a miasma of darkness inside. It permeated the carpets, the typical suburban furnishings – couches, easy-chairs, tables and the big screen. And I could feel it – a darkness.. a power – emanating from the basement. I glanced around – and my vision showed me the almost smoke-like emissions that were choking the air in this place. Something had taken root in the basement. I was going to go down and take a look.
I was going to need a bath when I got out of here. It felt like grease smoke trying to coat me. My pale tattooed skin flared a soft luminance, and it seemed to burn off the ‘stickiness’ in the air around me.. That greasy smoke-like substance poisoning the atmosphere inside.
I found the basement stairway near the kitchen entrance. The door didn’t want to let me have access, but this time, I gave it a massive tug, and with a sound of protesting metal, the knob broke, and the door swung open. The atmosphere down the stairs was even more oppressive. I almost felt a little dizzy with the intensified ‘darkness’. My tats flared even more powerfully, as I walked down what seemed like a strangely long set of stairs. It should have only been 10 or 15 feet to the bottom, but honestly, it went on for what seemed 50 or more. When I got to the bottom, there was a hard packed clay for a floor. It was dry as a bone – which was also strange.
But there was a heat that was as uncomfortable as anything in Death Valley at high-noon in the summertime. It was a harsh, terrible, and as I looked around, my body illuminating the room before me, I saw that there was a red-glow towards the far end of the basement – what looked like some kind of iron and stone structure at the far end. It was glowing with an angry red light, pulsing like a heart-beat’s rhythm. And I could hear the thrum, feel it in the air. It was the source, or so I believed, of this miasma – this greasy smoke of darkness and ill-will.
Or whatever was inside the strange furnace-like structure.
I approached – walking the length of the house. And as I stood there, IT made itself known to me. The thing was beside that furnace. The creature that was festering in this house.
It had taken the body of the young teen boy – the eldest son. The bodies of the rest of the family – Father, Mother, Daughters and the new babe, were all arranged in a pentagram at the far end. The teen had long black hair, and wore black leather jeans, a black t-shirt with, of all things, a unicorn with black lipstick and piercings in its swirled horn, and a demonic set of fangs and burning hooves.
The young man’s skin was a dusky red, and I could see scales were growing on him, like a crimson serpent were manifesting itself out of his skin. His eyes were as black as pitch, and there was something unseemly going on in the front of his pants – a bulge of strange and haunting proportions – like his maleness had become a true serpent, as whatever it was writhed inside the tight leathers. I didn’t want to find out what it was.
He was undergoing a metamorphasis, as parts of his form were elongating – stretching – or swelling. To say he was possessed was not entirely accurate. He was something new – something that had already been corrupted and changed. Something had grown inside him, and was now taking over. He wasn’t Luke any longer. He was Baz Kafiel – a dark formless Fallen One, a creature that wanted to feed on the life force of humans and rebuild itself a vessel that could contain it once more in a physical form.
The boy’s lips pulled back in a feral hiss, and he spat some kind of venom at me. I narrowly dodged the spittle, and heard the hard-packed floor sizzle as pits appeared in the hardened clay. My wings swooped in front of me, like a shield, as another barrage tried to coat me in that vile destructive goop. I could feel it hitting like molten lava might, as it hit the substance of my wings. But as always, they shielded me, and the goop simply slid off in hard chunks, like flash-frozen molten iron, instantly cooled into little hard cold chunks that pattered onto the floor. Inert.
“Leave now, Celestial – or join me, since you bear the wings of the Darkness!” it hissed in some guttural version of the young man’s voice.
That voice didn’t so much as entice me. But it had some power that I had not encountered before. It sounded like it was wisdom itself. I was frozen for a few moments as its intonations bored right into the center of my mind. I was taken completely by surprise, as it started to crawl inside the depths of my angelic brain, and stirred up all sorts of feelings that I had never really allowed myself to feel before. That insidious voice knew how to get past my physical defenses – if I was vulnerable to this – this attack on my very being.
It spoke to me – to all the things that I resented about my status, my station. How I was never recalled to the Celestial Temple in the sky any longer, but was kept on Earth. I had black wings, I was somehow substandard, and only good to herd the cattle of the human race. Their spirits rose to Celestial Palace at the end, and they got to bask in The Radiance at their final time. Me? I was kept far, far away – thankless, helpless, hopeless – and subservient to the Silver Presence. But what if there were rewards for joining the Lightbringer? The Morningstar? Serve him, and gain the rewards that had been denied me all of those eons. He would let my black wings really stand for what they were meant to be – the denial of the Celestial’s purity and lack of imagination. Did I want to forever be so subservient and docile to an uncaring Presence in the Heavens? Or could I be a Prince, to revel in control down on Earth and in the Pit itself?
I’ll admit, there is some part of me that actually felt that way. And that was the part of me that Baz Kafiel was speaking to – trying to inflame to take over the entirety of me.
The problem was, at least for Baz Kafiel is that I was already a bit of a rebel, and I knew myself. I had my rebellion tattooed all over me. I was my own master, in a way, and I’d made peace with what I was and what I did. And I wasn’t any more a pawn of the Head Cheese upstairs (or so I told myself) than I would be of some wanna-be Demonic Dominator that had used his oh-so-powerful abilities to kill a hapless suburban family of 5 that was laying on the floor. Adolescent teens with raging hormones are such easy prey. How is that a challenge?
There was a mental exchange at that point, where I made some really excellent quips, japes and ego-bruising jabs at the demonic entity – the corruption of what had been a Celestial at one time, but was now a Creature of the Pit. There were the usual responses, the enticements, the doubling down of offers to make me a Lord of Hell and all that. Blah-blah-blah. If I Become My Demons, what terrible power and majesty I would wield.
I reached deep inside myself, and let loose a burst of Celestial Fire, that seemed to ignite the greasy hell-miasma and scorch the creature that confronted me. It hissed, and spat .. no.. vomited more concentrations of that horrible goop at me, and once more, my wings shielded me, though this time it was more than the weak attack that had been warded against last time. This time, I felt it hurt my wings.. And I felt pain. I hadn’t felt pain like this for millennia. I was scared now, that I had underestimated this creature. And I might actually find out what it was like to be dragged to the Pit.
I opened up the channels of power inside, and pushed until it hurt, as I hurled a blast that would have ignited a nebula. I concentrated it into a collimated stream of cosmic energy at the Creature of Darkness before me. It collided like a physical stream of water, hissing and dissolving the Vomit of Corruption that it was spewing at me from Baz Kafiel. The vomit disintegrated where it touched the beam coming from me. The two forces seemed to press against one another,vying for dominance. Slowly, inexorably, my power pushed its way forward, until it finally hit the infested vessel. And then it was consuming him, slowly. Terribly. It howled in denial, as it burned the creature inhabiting him.
Baz Kafiel hurled its last desperate psychic assault at me.. And I’ll admit, it hurt. It hurt like nothing I’ve ever experienced. My mind felt like it was tearing, and my own inner demons were rallying for one great push to take over my mind. How this creature of darkness could do that, I have a glimmer of their power now. If this had once been an Arch Angel, well – there you have it. And how do you defend yourself against your own mind?
Somehow I endured, and kept it up until Baz Kafiel shrieked and tried to escape the vessel. Its psychic assault suddenly ending as its borrowed flesh succumbed to the Glorious Fire.
There was something like a gas-fire eruption throughout the house, as the miasma, greasy and cloying, ignited and the windows all blew out through the entire house. The cosmic flames were not intended to destroy the house, but to burn away the darkness. And that’s what it did.
The remains of the family were consumed in the flames, as well. They were cleansed and their spirits rose like blue-white spectral ghosts that ascended skyward in their transition. I felt good that they had all escaped. All but the boy. That had been unfortunate. Tragic. And I felt a sense of loss and failure that I couldn’t do anything about that. Such a waste.
I needed a shower.
I spread my wings and launched myself towards the heavens – but I wasn’t going to the Celestrial City..I was headed to my aerie.. My home in the mountains. That was where I wanted to be.. That was where I belonged. I guess I was a ‘blue collar’ angel at heart.
I had won a battle, and I had not given into my demons. It was another victory for the good guys.
At least that’s how I scored it, in the end. But sometimes, you lose even when you win. Such a waste.
Story by: Dehrynn Shepherd
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