Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Episode 3: Blood and Shadows

Episode 03: 

She couldn't scream any louder. At least, she didn't think she could. The halfling battled against the door of the car and Cora Laskey about lost it. She stared into the monster's deformed face as it plastered against the windshield. She let loose a whoop that would wake the dead. Hell, it already had considering that a demon was knocking on her car door.

"What is that thing? David asked, shouting from the backseat.

"You think I know?" Cora countered.

"Just asking." David was breathless. "We have to get out of here!"

Cora glared at her brother's grasp of the obvious. "Ya think?"

As they scrambled for the doors on the other side of the car, a figure loomed beyond the windows. His body came slamming into the vehicle and made a sickening thud. He repositioned after standing again and shot what looked to be a cross-bow at the monster. This was not good. Two meanies against the two of them? Somehow she didn't think those numbers added up.

Cora gasped as the man in the long black duster was once again forced into the car. He grunted and slumped to the ground.

This was not happening to them, she decided. It must be a dream. That's it. She was really asleep in the car and David, the dumb-bell hadn't woken her up yet. That had to be it. But suddenly as the two continued fighting, somehow, she knew this was dangerously real.

She moved from the left side of the car back into the middle clutching her knees to her chest. It was a small comfort considering the circumstances.

"Cora, wait! Don't lose hope yet. I think the guy in the duster is helping us!."

"You better be right, jerk-face." Cora glared at David. He better damn well be right. She slid across the seat to the door and the darkly clad figure materialized next to them and opened the door.

"This way," he said simply, as if he could be trusted. As if he was one of the good guys.
The man shot another cross-bow arrow at the figure. Cora regarded him as they fought. He was staring at that horrid, disgusting creature as if it was something he encountered every day. And then once she thought about it, there was something odd about the man too. Who in the hell still used cross-bows as weapons? She shook her head. Either way, she had a feeling she was dead meat.

This day couldn't get any more strange.

As the creature came closer, the man in the black duster motioned to Cora. "Get behind me."
He didn't have to tell her twice.

"Hey, ugly" the man said. "Why don't you leave my friends alone?"

Without missing a beat, the man picked up and swung an available tree branch connecting with the creature's chin. He yelped in pain and held his hands up in defeat. The next thing she knew, the air around the creature turned misty and suddenly the monster was not a monster any more. He was transformed into a man, at least she thought it was a man, barely two feet tall with a shock of wild red hair and a purple cape fitted with a scattering of moons and stars.

Cora's eyes widened. "How'd he do that?" She looked to the man in black who only shrugged.

"Beats me. Maybe it's a new battle technique, confuse the enemy."

The little man jumped slightly and scowled at the man in black and Cora. They were closer in proximity than David who had jumped out of the car and settled near the rear away from the maddening crowd. No matter what happened he was going to keep his distance from that little man. He was a hell of a lot uglier and meaner when he was angry. And David did not want to get the little dude any more angry than he already was.

The dwarf jumped again pounding his little feet on the ground like an infant who hadn't gotten his own way. "You hurt the great and powerful Figment," he said rapidly. "You must pay."

Cora and the man in the black duster exchanged glances. "The great and powerful Figment?"

"Yes," he said proudly. "I am a powerful wizard and you have wronged me. For this, you must pay dearly."

David was too far away to be of any use to Cora. He inched backward even farther as the little man thrust his hand into a small pouch fastened about his waist with a rope. Out of it, he pulled a sparkling powder which he threw into the air at his sister and the man who had helped them.

What was he doing? David wondered. Throwing dirt on them? Did that stupid fool think he was really a wizard with a magic powder who could make people disappear? The laugh that tried to erupt stuck in his throat as his sister and the man did just that. They vanished.

"YOU!" Nicholas de Charme said again. "What in the hell are you doing back here?"
Catherine Laskey stared up at Nicholas with the look of a lost little girl. "Do I know you?" she asked in a somewhat dazed state.

Nicholas cursed. What had happened to her? She was the Oracle. The one who knew all the answers. He had thought she was safe far away from the valley of the Hollow, but he was wrong. So very wrong.

"Catherine," he said, trying to soothe his tone. "What happened?"

"Catherine? Is that my name?"

She stumbled over some brush in her path and Nicholas caught her before she fell any farther. It felt good to have her in his arms again. It had been so long, so very long, since he held a woman. But he knew why, the demon within him only wanted to possess the human, sate his bloodlust. But over the thousands of years, he'd been able to somewhat control that lust, to a degree. So holding her was safe, for now.

Catherine swayed in his arms. "I don't feel so good."

Before she could say any more, she fainted. Nicholas cursed again. Now was not the time for lost loves to begin haunting him again. As he gazed into her beautiful face, he remembered all the wonderful times they had together. The love they had shared. It was too bad that it would never happen again.

Nicholas hoisted her up into his arms and carried her back to the castle. Thornswell would have sent another team out to destroy the halfling by now. He wasn't worried.

Ella Morris struggled against the misty black fog strangling her. She screamed for help but knew that no one was within shouting distance. She was helpless to use her magic and without it, she was doomed to die at the mercy of the mist.

"Leave me alone," she squealed. "I have not done you harm."

The misty blackness laughed with the voice of a man. "I cannot leave you alone. I must have you to perform my greatest acts."

For a split second, the mist released Ella and she tried to spirit away from the darkness of Moonglow Road. The moon was full and high and she repeated a wiccan blessing to save her soul. For a moment she felt free. Then in that moment she also felt caged. The black mist swirled away only to come barreling into her chest with the impact of a sledge hammer. The force drew her stumbling backward. Before she regained her step, Ella was no longer in control. She felt herself being pushed down farther and farther into her own psyche.

Once the being invaded her body she knew all that he did, and now she knew his name. And knowing his name was even worse than speculating. She had been taken over by the worst creature known to man, Jack The Ripper!

No one could hear her screams as she fought the blackness for control. A control Jack would never relinquish.

David stumbled away from the car and ran into the field opposite the forest. He had to get away. As far away as he could. He had run for a good ten minutes before discovering he'd been running in circles. He stopped to rest next to a statue of a woman with a violin. In the moonlight she seemed almost real. He drank in her beauty as if it was a toxin against the evil he'd seen.

At the base of the statue was a small inscription. He squinted at the barely legible words. It must be in some other language, David thought. The harder he gazed at the wording the clearer the sentences became until he was able to read the paragraph.

He mumbled the words as he read them.

By light of day and dark of night,
Release those herein into my sight,
Stone fall away and return
For the next soul to turn

It didn't make any sense to David, but then again, the inscription was probably old and worn and ... old. It didn't have to make sense. He looked at her again, almost wishing she were real. She would make a good looking girlfriend. All his friends at school would howl in jealousy. Then as if his wish was granted, she stepped off her pedestal and stretched.

"Ah. It feels so good to be human again." The violin which was still in her hand was flung away. "My, Nicholas, does have a sense of humor, doesn't he? He knows how I hate the violin."

David flinched. This was not happening. First his sister disappeared and now this ... this... statue had come to life. Somehow he knew he had to leave but before he could he felt his body stiffen. His arms felt like lead weighing him down. Before he knew what to do, the transformation was complete. He was now a statue!

He could still think and see but he couldn't move. The woman came closer to him and pressed her lips to his solid gray cheek. "Thank you so much, my darling. You sacrificed your life for me. How touching."

She ran her finger down his cheek and sighed. "It is so good to be back."

In front of David, the woman stood stoic holding her arms outstretched. Lightening flashed out of her fingertips, and she cackled in delight. "Morgan Pendragon is back. And no one can stop me now!"

Nicholas hefted Catherine Laskey onto the first couch he'd come to in the mansion and ran down to the control center to check on the status of the halfling.

"How's it going down here, Thornswell?" Nicholas rubbed Maurices' fur as he ambled down to greet the master of the house.

"Lane," Thornswell said in a worried tone. "Are you there, boy? Answer me!"

Thornswell glanced up to Nicholas. "We suddenly lost all communication with him. I'm afraid something dire might have happened."

"I'm going out to look for him," Nicholas said, gathering his coat up again. "By the way, I left you a present on the couch."

Thornswell watched his master leave and journeyed into the foyer. Lying on one of the bigger couches was a familiar face. "Dear God!"

Jack liked this new body. It suited his purposes plus it had a power all its own. How convenient. He laughed and wandered farther down Moonglow Road until he came to a lone house on the deserted street.

"So this is it?" Jack asked his new roommate. Ella screamed from somewhere inside helpless to stop the Ripper. "This is where the blood is being made? What do you think I should do with her, Miss Ella? Slit her throat? I do like that way best."

He approached the residence and a smiling and happy Sarah Osbourne greeted him at the door. Of course, she saw Ella Morris and not Jack the Ripper, but she didn't know that.

Jack reached into his satchel and pulled out a long, sharp doctor's blade and thrust it across Sarah's slim neck. She screamed as blood gurgled out of her mouth and the opening in her throat. He could only laugh at the sight of her. In fact, this was only the beginning of her suffering. Before the night was through, Sarah Osborune would beg him to kill her.

The laugh of the maniacal swept through the Hollow. Little did the residents know nothing would be the same again.

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