Tag Archives: horror

Re-gifted Christmas Tales

And so we draw nearer to yet another Christmas. In deference to the hectic pace of 2012, I would like to repost two of my Christmas New-Classics: Krampus and The Night Before Anti-Christmas. These are dark tales meant to add a little savory to your sweet. Take my words with a grain of Celtic sea salt and an elven tongue in cheek. Tis the season, dontcha know…

Merry Christmas!
Brett – The Original Kris Kringle

 

Krampus

Krampus

 

Dark Family Circus

The Nightmare Before Anti-Christmas


Six Shots – (Scene 1)

 SIX SHOTS

A SCREENPLAY

by

© Brett T. Botbyl

FADE IN

INT. frontier army fort – dusk

A haggard cavalry captain, NATHAN NORTH, moves quickly amongst his men. He carries a saber in his left hand and, in his right, a bloodied tomahawk. Various men in worn uniforms hurriedly make ready an assortment of weapons. Torches and ground-fires illuminate a litter of discarded firearms. NORTH stops at the large, wooden front gate that’s been reinforced with steel-shod timber and piles of sand bags. A younger officer, BAIRD, approaches the captain.

BAIRD

BAIRD

Do you think it’ll hold, sir?

Close on Capt. North

CAPT. NORTH

No.(beat) But it’ll buy us some time.

Wider shot of North.

He kicks a pile of sandbags with his boot, testing its footing.

Over Baird’s Shoulder

CAPT. NORTH

Did you find the Hex mage? I want these gates sealed before–

Suddenly the clarion call of a TRUMPET (OS)cuts through the din.

Watch Guard

shouts across the parade ground.

WATCH GUARD

Here they come!

A series of angles

The men scramble to take positions at the walls. An old man runs toward the captain with a circular plaque bearing symbols and concentric circles, trailing ribbons of magical energy. A fast-moving horde of zombies and non-human invaders riding monstrous mounts advance toward the fort carrying weapons made of human bone.

FADE OUT

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Last Night – Chapter Nine

The bubbling and crackling was starting to get a little embarrassing. The sound was pretty loud and made the whole iHop smell like pancakes and spit. Andrew and I shared a booth across from Robi as he tackled his sixth stack of buttermilk pancakes with coconut syrup.  His food-choked ramblings sounded like a cross between a Coney Island boardwalk vendor and a Dutch pimp. English was in there somewhere. I was sure the demon that borrowed his body somewhere in the Veneer left behind a good amount of extra matter not of this plane. You donʻt play Motel 6 to a Demon without picking up a little sumpin sumpin, if you get my drift. Did I mention the part about this little culinary event being two steps to the right of embarrassing? The eating wouldnʻt be so bad if it werenʻt for the giggling. The run-on chortles were pretty good indications that this wasnʻt the good-ole buddy that Iʻd come to know and love. Ok, for starters…he was throwing off some major heat. He already opted to dine sans clothing. Oh, Andrew and I tried to get him to wear a few threads. We sort of succeeded with his agreeing to put on an oversized pair of board shorts, but he made it quite clear, “IʻM TOO FUCKIN HOT!”

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Star Trek 001 – Klingons on Ice

“You’re late.”

Martin looked up at the Klingon towering a half-meter above him. Shaktaar stood next to a noticeably trembling Ensign. Martin nodded at the other officer.

“Your partner on this exercise, Ensign Tarluk beat you here by about forty-five seconds. So much for Klingon punctuality. Unfortunate.”

“Apologies, sir.” Shaktaar handed the lieutenant his PADD.

“But you’re only half-Klingon, isn’t that right?” Martin smiled as he noticed the brown stain on Ensign Shaktaar’s uniform. “You finished almost all of your coffee, Ensign?” Martin grinned.

“Aye, sir”, Shaktaar grunted with a mixture of embarrassment and anger.

“Don’t worry about it, Ensign. You’ll need something a little warmer when you get in there.” The lieutenant gestured slightly toward the holodeck doors. “Shall we?” Lieutenant Martin approached the holodeck console. “Computer. Holodeck training simulation Zeta Five-001.2.”

The two large Ensigns stood at attention while Martin briefed them on the particulars of the simulation. Two technicians moved to meet them with a cart stacked with heavy parkas, boots and equipment. After assessing the supplies, both men dressed for cold weather and hastily equipped themselves.

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Last Night – Chapter Eight

I landed on the sidewalk, about fifteen feet from the front door to the Naio building. The sky was swelling with pulpy clouds, thick with a greasy film. This wasn’t good. From where I stood, I could see that both front doors were hanging limp, off their hinges. The massive panes of safety glass were shattered, leaving a dim constellation of glistening shards scattered across the inner lobby. The muscles in my arms tensed in anticipation of action. The hairs on the back of my neck bristled. I drew in my wings and willed Serascim into my hand. My fingers clamped the sword’s grip and I walked toward the doors. I swear I could hear laughter from within.

“Motherfuckers.”

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The Night Before Anti-Christmas

Dark Family Circus
(MATURE THEMES – WARNING)

Aloha, my friends…

I wrote this one strange and lonely night just a bit before Christmas, 2005.

Please allow me this holiday whimsy inspired by the late master of the macabre, H.P. Lovecraft and his pseudonym L. Frank Baum. Together to the world they bring Oz, Cthulhu, Santa, the Elder Things and me…

Be warned – this is dark stuff. But then again, so is the Bible.

Merry Christmas with all my love!

HO HO HO!
Brett

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Last Night – Chapter Seven

Angel
Ryan and I reached the mouth of the Veneer portal at Diamond Head and I could sense my energy flagging. I stopped abruptly. Lightheaded and unable trust my senses.

“You ok?”

Ryan waited at the mouth. With one knee down on the ground he loaded rounds into his pistol. The amber glow intensified as he breathed the air of deep Otherworld.

“Robi. You have to go without me.”

Ryan’s head snapped around. I could see his eyes starting to glow with the amplified adrenalin surge of a warrior breathing this kind of energy.

“What the fuck!? Jesse’s out there, Brett! We gotta go!”

I closed my eyes tightly and the tears began to rise. He was right. The one person I truly loved more than anything else in either world was in jeopardy. But I would have to remain within Otherworld.

“Robi! I have no choice. Rex and I are connected. Our spirits are connected. No…more than that.We can’t stay on the same plane together or we start to die. If I go out there we’ll both be fighting at half our power or less. I can’t risk it. Go without me. I’ll catch up when I can.”

Ryan stared at me for what seemed an eternity. He knew what I was saying was true.

“I’ll protect Jesse. Don’t worry. We’ll meet you in the crater at Diamond Head.”

He nodded his head and smiled that Robi smile…a little bit cocky and a whole lot of warmth. Without another word, he turned and leapt though the mouth. Gone.

The cop car was moving up Pulama Place faster than any vehicle ever had. The road was made of dirt and shattered macadam. This was farm country, so the little lane had no street lights and an unwritten speed limit of ‘old lady slow’. Andrew was caught just a bit off guard. Despite the speed though, he managed to make it down the driveway before the cop car overtook the property. The siren was screaming and the blue lights were at full intensity. These cops were in heavy response mode, and the neighbors were stirring from their houses, finally screwing up the bravery to see what all the noise was.

The police cruiser came to a violent halt in the dirt fronting the neighbors property. The tires shot a gout of rich soil and decayed leaves into the bushes. Andrew stood in the center of the driveway with his arms folded. Further down the drive a massive bear beat a cowering figure hard into the lawn with a fifty pound chunk of loose concrete.

“Put your hands above your head. Don’t make any sudden moves!”

The loud speaker on the cruiser’s roof gave up the command at full volume. Andrew’s face broke into a mischievous grin. Before the cops had a chance to even reach for the door latches, Andrew brought his arms up and out toward the car in a gesture of giving. The air popped inside the cruiser and a torrent of hellish fire replaced every molecule of oxygen. The windows melted instantaneously while the figures inside fought the flame. Andrew grin broadened into a sarcastic smile.

“Fuckin posers. If you were real cops you would have brought reinforcements.”

The car doors fell off to either side, and the two figures stepped out onto the grass. The enormous tree above the conflagration had already caught fire in its upper canopy. Andrew backed about ten feet toward the house.

“These things aren’t native to flame…they’ve got protection. Great.”

The two demons stood on either side of the burning car. Andrew backed away a few more feet in anticipation of the exploding gas tank. As the “driver” mirrored Andrew’s move, the “passenger” swayed slightly. Andrew knew the signs of flagging magical protection. Again, he smiled.

“Oh, officers..too bad about your car. I was looking forward to riding in the back seat. You still got the handcuffs, don’t you? Or did they…melt?”

The driver’s clothing and borrowed skin slid off of his frame revealing a creature larger than it appeared in human form. The demon was covered with thick ropes of gray sinew, giving the impression of a ganglia of sickly and gnarled tree roots. Andrew felt a sudden shiver as the figure moved closer. Past the blackened flesh that once covered the face, he could see a broad smile of ivory white, oddly thin teeth.

Then the gas tank went. A solid, bass ‘whump’ preceded the horrible scream as the steel tank gave up its awesome fire. The windows of the surrounding houses shattered as if stricken by lightning. The brush flanking the already burning tree burst into flames. The passenger fell under the heat as his protective shell gave way. He began writhing and attempting to scream while he sucked the burning air deep into his lungs.

Andrew fell back several feet, but he managed to maintain his own protective spell. As he rose to his feet he could tell that his opponent was making its own assault.

“So, it looks like its just the two of us.”

The demon stood in place, unshaken by the explosion.

A sudden growl erupted from further down the drive as Rex was lifted off his feet and thrown, crashing into the car port. The Veiled demon lunged at Rex’s fallen form.

Andrew dodged to the left onto a pad of soft grass. The loose dirt beneath the surface gave slightly and Andrew used his momentum to slide into a deep crouch. He raised his right hand to release an offensive spell he’d been holding, but the stream of deep red energy lanced forward and the demon dodged to the right. The spell struck a neighbor’s large fishing boat parked on it’s trailer out on the street. The molecules of the laminated wood suddenly smacked against one another with an awesome force, causing a man-sized portion of hull to violently explode into a million splinters of sawdust.

“FUCK!!” Andrew felt the energy drain quickly as he tried to recover from the spell. “Stand still, motherfucker!” He brought his left hand up with the companion spell. Again the red bolt shot toward its target. This time the spell hit center mass, lifting the demon up and back into the neighbor’s stone wall at a horrible velocity. The demon’s molecules transferred the reaction into the very stones of the structure causing it to shudder and buckle wildly. The creature’s body crumbled to the ground silently in a mass of fluid, dissolving bone and thick, fibrous ooze.

Another growl from the driveway cued Andrew to turn in time to see Rex pounce with awesome force onto the Veiled demon. His claws sunk deep into the demon’s gut as he lifted the screaming thing high into the air. And with a final growl and a sudden drop, the demon came in two…spraying acid bile into the bear’s face and fur.

Again, Rex growled into the morning air. The pain and triumph were overwhelming as he beat his chest with his two massive paws.

“Rex!”

Andrew moved closer to his old friend. “You better get back, buddy. You’re hurt pretty bad.”

The bear dropped to four legs with a massive sigh. He nodded his head then turned silently toward the portal into the Veneer.

I could sense a change in my essence. Rex was home, and I had a job to do. I rose to my feet and leapt into the portal mouth falling with ease into the world of man. My wings carried me up and out into the earthly sky. With a buffet of my wings, I descended onto the grass ringing the east parking lot of the community college. Instantly I could smell the acrid smoke of burning plastic and fuel. This wasn’t good. Police sirens cried out just blocks away. I tried to take in the entire landscape as my eyes scanned from the near empty lot to the garden walk strewn with broken human bodies.

“Brett! Quickly…I have to get back!”

I turned and saw an old friend flying quickly across the parking lot with preternatural speed.

“What the…”

Gabriel was a Hawaiian man in life. Over six feet tall and sculpted of solid muscle. He was the guardian of Diamond Head and an old friend.

With large black wings he landed – and I gasped at what he held in his outstretched arms. Hanging like a lifeless rag doll, Ryan’s eyes remained open. His torso had been opened in what appears a single slice. The ragged shirt he once wore now barely covered the exposed mass of intestines protruding from his gut. He didn’t have long.

“Robi!”

My friend’s eyes rolled back in his head. I was shocked that he was still conscious. I looked up into Gabriel’s eyes, and I could tell that he saw the same thing that I did. Ryan’s time had come and he would have to be released to the other side. He spat up a wad of deep red blood.

“Put me down…”

Gabriel placed him on the grass.

“I want to go….back…in…”

He rolled his hand over and motioned limply toward the gate portal mouth.

“…Andrew”

I put my hand on his head and began speaking the words. Gabriel stood valiantly at guard.

Ryan smacked my hand away. “NO! Andrew…Andrew…I have…”

I put my hand back on his head just as I heard the laughter.

“Gabe! Hold them off! He has to pass.”

Gabriel’s wings snapped high over his head as a shark-tooth Hawaiian sword appeared in his hand. Three dark figures walked out of the shadows at the edge of the walk across the parking lot.

“We’ll take the warrior child off your hands, Aaaaaaaangel! It’s only fair. We just want to claim the kill.”

Gabriel stood in defiance. “Back off vampires. You have no claim here.”

The three figures hissed as if covered in a blanket of scalding steam. The three were the exact opposite of my kind – dark creatures often mistaken as vampires because of their consumption of human blood. While we release the life force of a dying human into the Veneer, they consume it for its raw energy.

Suddenly two of the figures took flight in a direct assault on Gabriel, his sword aflame with golden celestial energy. The third attacker came directly at me. I had no choice but to stand and meet his attack. I willed Serascim into my hand and brought the blade in a downward, intercepting arch. The beast screamed as my blade passed through the meat of its left hand, liberating four of the five fingers. He brought his other hand up in a quick jab with his sharpened nails, raking across my face. Blinding pain shot through my brain, his unholy energy violating my senses. Blood poured into my eyes.

Then out of my peripheral vision, I saw Ryan run toward the Veneer gate.

“NO!! Robi! You can’t go in there! NO!!!”

He ran with a vulgar limp, his left hand holding his guts together, his right hand reaching out toward the portal mouth. I took to the air, closing about half the distance as Ryan reached the gate. He leapt head first into the fissure, his loose intestine trailing behind him like a runaway dog’s leash.

I turned back toward Gabriel, my attacker body checked me with terrible strength. I was brought down to the pavement with incredible force, my left cheek ripped open exposing the muscle beneath. I could no longer see clearly. My field of vision was blighted by alternating flashes of light and dead shadow. Blood flooded my eyes. But I drove Serascim upward in a final attempt to take my attacker off guard. The blade ran through its throat, opening the back of the skull and spearing the brain on its shaft.

I rolled to my knees. Gabriel reached out and helped me to my feet.

“He’s gone, Brett. That’s not good.”

“ I know, Gabe. I know…”

When a human spirit is released by a Guardian such as myself, the body becomes an empty husk and the spirit is at peace. When a vampire or Dark One drains a human of its blood, it becomes a revenant and balances on the edge between the evil form of their kind and the celestial breed of ours. But if a human gives up the spirit from within Otherworld, the physical host is opened wide to possession and transformation. And within Otherworld there are many who would welcome a chance to play god in the act of creation.

I turned toward the center of campus. “Jesse!”

As the cops raced into the parking lot, I took flight..even as my eyes started to heal and my brain fought for clarity.


Last Night – Chapter Six

Beings

Back in the present…

No sooner did I free the sword Serascim from its resting place did I start to get ‘the headache’. You see, whenever two or more beings from the ‘other side’ are within a block or so radius of yours truly, I get ‘the headache’. Not just one of those ice-cream, brain freeze numbers but the real deal, pounding a rhythm all too familiar to a guy of my vocation. A demon’s heart is a powerful thing and not easy to silence. I can hear this one beating as clear as if it were pumping acid just inches from my…

As I passed through the kitchen the window above the sink shattered with awesome intensity. Glass sprayed across my face and torso, stripping unhappy chunks of tough flesh from my right shoulder. Judging by the wash of pain I knew I had to have at least a half-dozen little gashes and maybe one or two embedded shards redecorating my skin. Thank God I’m no longer human or I’d be on my way to the afterlife post haste. Guided by pure instinct I lunged toward the gaping, jagged maw torn into the wall. Serascim caught the demon prick just inches from center mass. If I’d dare trust the scream I’d have guessed his displeasure a solid eight on the one-to-ten pain scale. He wretched a column of throaty bile right at my face, missing by at least a good foot or so. The black fluid melted through the stainless steel skin of my Sears and Roebuck refrigerator, exposing the stark white, styrofoam clamshell of Chinese take-out box.

The next scream was of a higher pitch with the unmistakable squawk of domestic fowl. I saw a flurry of feathers as Andrew leapt through the thick of Elephant Ear plants, accidentally kicking a rooster a respectable twenty feet. As the demon pulled itself free of my blade, his wound released a gout of blood back through the opening in the wall. I extended my right wing just barely in time to catch the spray full on. Though the wing formed a protective arch across my upper body, it was too large to fit in the cramped kitchen area. The overhead Tiffany lamp exploded with the impact of the powerful wing, starting off a cascading series of sharp pains. Something snapped in the tip of the wing and the acid blood melted through a dozen or so feathers, searing into the meat below.

I shook my head to fight off the nausea. The healing had already begun, but I knew the wing would be out of commission for a while. I willed it to retract as I bounded through the door. As I landed on the back patio, I saw Andrew assuming a posture I knew all too well. With his legs spread wide, he held his hands out and above his head with the tips of his closed palms pointing inward. His mouth moved as if forming words, but the actual sounds were delayed by at least two seconds. A crackle of light and ozone popped with frightening intensity causing the air molecules to ignite in a violent arc extending from his finger tips, twisting in mid-air and striking the demonic party crasher square in the face. The resulting release of energy sent waves of heat suddenly upward, blasting the canopy of vines and mango tree branches out in a whipping lurch.

As I turned to meet the demon’s next attack, I saw that Andrew’s spell not only brought him down…but managed to partially split his head in six pieces like some sick, rotten fruit pealed for sharing. I heard Andrew heave and turned just in time to see him give up his dinner into the mass of broken mango branches. I limped a bit, but went to help him up.

“Shit god damn, boy. You gots some powerful mojo!”

In his coolest Andrew style, he stood up, rolled up the sleeve of his black sweat shirt and wiped the vomit from his mouth.

“Don’t fuck with my kin folk!”

We broke into a nervous laughter as we both stretched and shook off the shock.

I caught my breath and looked out into the high sea-grass for any sign of activity. Nothing.

“I’m not gonna jinx it, but…I think it’s over.”

Suddenly a scream split the brief silence as something flashed in the driveway.

Andrew rushed through the garage as I leapt over the huge bushes to the side. We arrived just just in time to see Ryan landing solidly in a guarded crouch. In his left hand he had a graphite colored Tanto blade, still dripping a thick crimson paste. In his right, a serious chunk of pistol surrounded by a faint amber glow. A thick tendril of smoke still drooled from the vaginal fissure splitting the visual field that used to be a thick clump of Papya trees. Ryan moved like liquid and close to the ground. There was no humor in his expression. Unusual for Robi.

“We gotta get the fuck out to Diamond Head! This was just a diversion!”

I looked him square in the eye as Andrew swept his hands scanning the gaping gate.

“Robi, what do you mean Diamond Head? Why the hell would something want us busy here?”

He squinted his eyes and his face turned pale white. I could tell he had seen something bad on ‘the other side’. He grabbed my shoulders.

“Brett. Not Diamond Head. They’re closing on the community college. Jesse’s working all night there alone. They’re going after Jesse!!”

I wanted to disbelieve in what he was saying. How could I have been so blind? How could I NOT have sensed it coming?! They were attacking the one person I love more than life itself.

Suddenly things turned from bad to worse as the sound of sirens split the dark grey skies of early morning.

A beat later, a shuddering sound came from the direction of the house. The Veiled Demon lumbered into view…a sickly smile forming on its face as its ruined flesh re-knitted at an alarming rate. Andrew turned to me.

“You and Robi go help Jesse! I’ll handle this mess.”

As much as I believed in Andrew’s abilities, I couldn’t leave him alone to deal with this.

“Andrew! You need help. I’m going to get you some back-up! Hold the fort, my friend…and join us when you can.”

Beings of my kind share a spiritual connection to animal totems of incredible natural power. The two entities can never exist in the same realm at the same time without considerable risk.

I turned my head toward the sky and the sweet wind began to caress my face. The demon was slowly approaching Andrew who stood with his right hand out in a balled fist. His left hand was moving in a strange pattern, weaving waves of energy rising up from the Earth.

I stepped toward the opening in the Veneer and released my wings in a single snap, diving beyond this plane and deep into the living space of Otherworld. Simultaneously, my spirit totem brought two enormous feet to the surface of the driveway, splitting the macadam under its massive weight. Andrew just smiled as he sensed the presence of an old friend – a twelve foot Grizzly Bear rippled with muscle and sporting two terrible paws of deep black claws.

“Hey Rex! I’m gonna throw this spell then go make nice with the cops. You feel like tearing this demon pussy into a couple dozen pieces?”

As Ryan and I followed the path he’d left toward Diamond Head, I could still sense sounds from the Terrestrial plane; mere echoes, blending together in a cacophony of siren, explosion, a thunderous roar, and a terrible, terrible scream.


Last Night – Chapter One

Demon

Last night was pretty weird.

I say that in complete understanding of the vagueness of such a comment. But frankly…it was weird. Not in the sense of say, sticking your finger deep into a change return at the filthy corner pay phone and finding a finger. Just weird.

I was showering before bed. It was late – say 2:15am late on a school night. Yeah, yeah, I get up at 6:30am and that means, 1,2,3…THREE hours sleep, give or take a few snooze events. Jesse was working late, so the house was locked up tight. My dog Dakota was sleeping soundly on the futon. All was still. Then, WOOF! She bolts across the room, into the bedroom and leaps across the bed to the window. I quickly shut the water off and froze still in my naked tracks. What the hell? It was a toad in the ginger. It was the neighbor’s dogs skulking about. It was a bird. YEAH, a bird, a gecko a spider and mongoose…that’s it! It was a mongoose doing military calisthenics to an old eight track of Donna Summer, pre-‘On The Radio’!! And Dakota was just, ya know….sleeping and startled and protective and…ok, ok. Just a mongoosegeckospiderbirddog playing trick-or-treats with my slightly neurotic Basenji mix. Whew! What a big girlie fool! Turn on that water and get in. Turn on that waaaater. Ahhhh, the soothing sounds of…WOOF!! WOOFWOOFWOOFWOOFWOOF GRRRRRRRRRR!!!! Wait! What the fuck!? Barking? Yeah. Growling? At Donna-fucking-Mongoose-Summer? No way! Water off! Water off!. Lights off. Underware on. Oh my god!

I turned the light off, slid into my shorts and took a deep breath. All kidding aside – something was out there. Not a little scurry thing. Not an animal or effect of the trade winds. Something….walked. Something walked, and what was I going to do? I live in rural O’ahu. I was alone.

“Calm down”. I whispered to myself, but even my own voice was starting to scare me. The dog’s growl had sunken to a guttural rasp. She was scared and trying to be aggressive. And every window in the house was open. I moved into the bedroom and motioned for the dog to come closer. She didn’t. I pushed myself against the bedroom wall and shut my eyes so hard that the pain shot deep into the front of my brain. I felt myself draw a breath, and without realizing, sunk my right canine tooth straight through my lower lip. I tasted blood. I swallowed and allowed the warmth to wash into my throat.

The game was on.

The lights went out and the light from the partial moon was sucked into darkness. The light bulbs in every part of the house were quickly consumed with a thick, black, oily ooze. Shadow Magic. Shit. Something out there was ancient and quite good at the light thing. But not as good as me. And I was quite sure that this punk wasn’t aware of my cheerily glowing solar-powered patio lights. Happy, little lead-the-ways, charged by the sun and lensed in sheets of amber glass. Amber. Divine light, baby. I smiled, clenched my teeth and invited the essence of light to rip this soul smuggler a new unholy asshole. Thin ropes of amber brilliance struck out from the lanterns, circling his left arm just below the elbow. In a whistle and pop of ozone the amber strands cracked like a braided ten foot bull whip, separating bone from bone. That black oily stuff sprayed in an amazing arch across the yard, covering my bedroom window in a fine, writhing mist. The wet seemed to spread- smear across the panes, dripping up and pooling around the overhang. Dakota whelped in fear and fierce defense. This thing was only wounded. I had quite a fight ahead of me. And my poor dog had to be removed from the battlefield.
I quickly knelt by her side, patted her head and neck, kissed her on the snout, told her I loved her…and liberated her soul from her little brown body. Her spirit was at rest in an Elysium grove, out of reach and safe. I opened my bottom dresser drawer, moved the bathing suits and placed her lifeless body on an old pair of sweat pants. I closed the drawer. That was when the singing started. I could smell death coming from the house next door. So, the judge’s house was already one shy of a family. That I knew. But if any of the survivors were to hear this song, there’d be nothing left for the birds to pick through except steaming meat tainted beyond consumption. And then there was the other side of the driveway. Mark and his girlfriend Suzie were in deep trouble. I needed to get airborne and take the fight to open ground. So I pocketed my cell phone and dove through the bedroom window. The screen gave way as if it wasn’t even there. The glass – normally a non-issue – opened deep fissures in my chest, back and left thigh. The black mist! DAMN! I forgot about his blood on the glass. The window panes had been altered and now represented something quite foreign to my skin. An essence allergy if you will. I landed awkwardly in the white ginger. I could feel blood wetting my leg. Superficial damage.

No time to waste.

I righted myself just beyond the bushes, and nearly collided with my attacker. At a speed beyond human perception I glanced into his eyes. I smelled his rancid breath. I thrust my hand like a knife at his throat. As fast and strong as my blow was, contact would have meant profound damage. But my hand passed through more of that mist, leaking massively from his wrecked arm. Th eflesh on my hand was coated in the oily mist. Nerve endings shot with intense pain.

“AHHHH!”

His song continued, but took on a quality of whimsy as if he enjoyed my scream of agony.

This was gonna be tough.

I crouched quickly and came up fully erect. The muscles in my legs and back were energized with renewed power, and I leapt into the air. My wings shot up from my back, buffeting and lifting me skyward, the sound cracking with the rage of prairie thunder. In a blur I was over the carport. I could see the shadowed form moving deeper into the trees off the patio. This jungle brush was perfect for his concealment. And his hiding bought me time.

I landed on the open, street side of the carport. And then I saw it: a RasSïtar. This was heavy magic. And by the looks and smell of the thing, I knew what happened to neighbor Mark. The RasSïtar was old and dark and consisted of an unholy symbol bound with the fresh entrails of a male tainted with sin. Poor guy.

I needed help.

Speed dial.

Thank god for good coverage.

(ring)

(ring)

“ANDREW!!”

“What’s wrong?”

“Everything. I’m in deep shit. Under attack.”

“Hold on. ROBI! Get out of bed…quick!”

“It’s bad. I’ve got two neighbors down. He’s using shadow magic – not normally a big deal – but he’s not a lightweight.”

(The sound of objects rattled in the background)

“Brett. It’s gonna be ok. We’re ready. You should start to feel the energy in a second or so…”

“Yeah, it’s starting. (beat) Thanks.”

“It’s ok. Where is he now?”

“Over by the grill – in the elephant ears. He’s pretty tough. I’m conserving my energy until we can figure out what the hell he is.”

“Brett, listen to me. We need a picture of this thing.”

“Ok. I can snap a quick one with my phone. Oh, and another thing…”

“Yeah?”

“A RasSïtar! He’s got one up and running in my garage.”

“Fuck!”

(From the background)

“What?! What did he say?”

“A RasSïtar! It’s probably a Veiled Demon.”

“Shit! I’ll get the book!”

“Brett, listen to me. You gotta be careful. This thing’s got some defenses. He may be able to shield some of your amber light.”

“Oh, great. (beat) Uh, Andrew…”

“Yeah?”

“I wish you guys were here. I really could use your help.”

“We’re here for you. Just get us a picture of the RasSïtar and the demon. Robi’s already started a spell. And I’m gonna cast a little gem that’s knock his balls into Hell’s broom closet.”

(A violent sound erupts from the background.)

“BRETT! (beat) What the hell was that!?”

” I just ripped the tailgate off of my neighbor’s truck. I have a feeling he may not like his picture taken. I’m gonna help him relax!”

To be continued….