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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 10

I could feel my body begin to shift, taking its true form. My skin turning into an inky black, like oil taken shape. It flowed over my clothes, covering me. I wanted to scream as my muscles ripped and tore, rebuilding themselves bigger and stronger but I couldn't as the black tar poured from my skin and down my throat, stifling any cries. My eyes flaring from the ethereal orange to a glowing black, it was almost bright compared to my skin. I could feel my fingers turning to claws as I felt the first burst of tearing flesh as oily wings grew from my back.

I stood, pulling at the blackness around my throat, trying futilely to breathe as every nerve ending in my body felt like it was on fire. The oily substance continued to cover me as I dropped on my hands and knees, the pain sharpening with each second. The transformation seemed to take an eternity, the trailing whispers of smoke and the flowing black swirls of dark magic enveloping me. I could do nothing but wait until my body stabilized, until I could take control.

Being the son of a Night Walker and a Light Walker, my body was unique among my kind. Instead of being half vampire or half angel, I was something else entirely. During the day exposure to light would reveal one form, which I couldn't control, and during the night I could transform into another form, this form, that my Father had taught me to control. I hated the transformation, not just for the pain, but for what this form reminded me of, that the darkness inside me had a hunger, one that I had to control.

Finally my body stopped changing and I picked myself off of the floor. My entire body was covered in a thick black substance, like shiny water my skin flowed over my form. My eyes were aglow in a black light that seemed so bright when compared to the rest of me and my body had grew, raising close to 7 feet tall, thick with muscle. Huge wings grew from my back, dark liquid coursing across their wingspan. Though in this form I couldn't fly, the wings still enabled me greater leaping and gliding abilities. Finally I looked to my hands, my fingers ending in barbed points, like the tips my fangs and they were both hungry to feed.

I looked for the demon and his three henchmen, they had entered the church. The demon looked hurt, the holy bolts haven taken its toll on him. The three henchmen all had guns, I didn't see any Users in the lot, though if i was to have any chance, I would need to finish of the one outside while this fucker was on holy ground. It was the only way I could banish him from this plane, and my only way of beating him.

I looked over to Father Quinton, who had pulled himself up, rubbing the burns from where the demon had touched him. When he finally looked at me, what little color he had left in his skin paled and he made the motion of the cross. He had never seen me in this form, hell few people have and for Quint it was another reminder of just what I really am.

"Pull it together Padre, we ain't done yet."

My voice sounded like wet gravel and Quint seemed even more shaken. No time to worry about that though, it seems our house guests needed attending. I broke into a sprint, just a blur as black shadow as I headed for Tch'Karta's cronies first. I could feel the sting of their guns as they opened fire, but I just seemed to melt around the bulk of it, my form shimmering as I crashed into the first one.

I plunged my hand over his face and felt myself flow in through his mouth and nose. Deep inside I bled and I could feel his body shake and jerk as I drained the life from him. I reached out with my other hand and willed myself forward, my barbed fingers flowing out like a rope to grab the next man. As I pulled the last traces of life from the first, I curled my claws around the second as pulled. There was a terrible scream as the liquid claws burned through his body, leaving the severed remains behind.

After the first two died, the third began to back away and I simply fired a bolt of black magic at him. His body stiffened and began to whither, like a flower decomposing too fast, leaving just a blackened husk behind. Having tasted human flesh for the first time in years, my body felt more alive than it had in a long time, and I was still hungry.

The demon had watched me tear through his underlings and beckoned me on. My magics would have less effect on him, being wrought of the same material himself, but in this form the same was true of me. I slowly began stalking towards him. The demon smiled, an ugly thing of fangs as it pulled itself to its full height.

We met in a tremendous crash. The demon breathed fire and tore at my skin with his poisoned claws. I sank my own deep into its flesh and poured myself in through them, clinging to him as he ripped at me. I could feel his claws shred into my wings and my skin boil and bubble as his flames licked at me, but still I held on. I pulled every last vestige of dark magic I could, inverting my shielding in an attempt to slow the monster. Finally, the demon roared and sank both sets of claws deep into my back, so far inside that they popped out of my chest.

I let go with a gravelly cry as the demon threw me hard, his claws making a sick sucking noise as I slid free. I hit hard into the pews, going end over end to land in a broken pile of bones and wood. I tried to draw more energy in to heal my wounds, but it was so hard to concentrate. I could feel my body trying to knit itself back together as I coughed out red-tinged blackness.

Tch'Karta moved towards me slowly. He was hurt I knew. Those holy bolts had done some damage, and I had done more with my powers but let's be fucking real here. This was a Greater Plane demon. Unless it was daytime, I didn't have the powers to do anything significant to this thing, and as long as that User was outside masking its presence in here, Quinton wasn't strong enough to call down any more magic on this thing. I may be seeing Juliet sooner than I thought and right now that didn't sound all that bad. I knew one thing though, as long as I could move, I wouldn't give in yet. I owed her that much.

I pulled myself up, leaning on the back of one of the pews. Twin rows of holes bled out my chest and my wings were nearly shredded off my back. The glow in my eyes had faded and I knew I was close to cashing it in. The demon stopped steps from me and spoke again, his voice scraping across my skull like a knife.

"I ask again half breed. Answer me and your death shall be quick. Where is the girl? Where is the Light Walker?"

I still didn't know what this guy was talking about but even if I did I wouldn't give him the satisfaction.

"Fuck off asshole."

It's eyes sparked in flames and you could feel the energy in the room draw to him. I really have to work on having this kind of effect on people. Must be my sunny fucking disposition.

My left arm hung pretty limply so I raised my right, concentrating my energies into my hand. I quickly felt light headed as the magics that were healing my body stooped working and answered the call. That was okay, I wasn't going to need to stay on my feet that much longer anyway. Time to punch the clock one last time.

Coming up in a rush I dove into the shadows cast by the rows of pews, melding with the darkness. The demon breathed fire at the shadows but I was no longer there. I had merged with the shadows, this form along me travel across them as one. Emerging behind the demon from its own shadow I raked my claws down its wings, leaving long bloody rends. If only we had been outside still, I could have drawn closer to the User, but to much space lay between us and I didn't have the time or strength for that many jumps.

Quicker than I could have imagined such a huge monster capable of, the demon turned breathing fire on me. True balefire this time and I felt my body burst into flames, catching me before merging with the shadows again. It was agony but I forced myself around to meet the demons charge. It let out a swipe with its right hand that I forced my limp left up to block. I was answered with a sickening crunch as the bones beneath my flowing skin broke. The costly parry had worked though and had drove the demons arm wide. Using my right, still covered in balefire, I struck my claw as hard as I could into its chest, releasing the last of my magical energies in one contained burst. My hand tore into the hole and I had burst through. No longer caring I willed my body to pour into the demon and I could feel its organs and body as I tore at it from the inside.

It let out another terrible shriek as it reached down, wrenching my head back from its body. Still I held tight forcing more of myself into it. As it raised its claws again, drawing aim at my head, I knew I would see Juliet soon.

It was then I heard the first shot, followed by another, and Tch'Karta erupted in flames himself. Hot white flames this time, with the blue flicker of holy magic entwined. The fires of heaven. Caught in his grasp, the balefire that covered me clashed with the heavenly flames, exploding together in an array of magical fire. With so much of myself caught inside the demon, the resulting explosion ripped us apart as I was flung against the pews again. I landed in a smoldering heap, the opposing flames canceling each other out.

I pulled my head up to see Quint standing over the User, the shotgun in one hand, his cross in the other. He had broken the spell of protection and the demon was caught on consecrated ground. Quint limped toward the demon, trailing blood behind him. I watched him fall into his Work, drawing holy spells of banishment on the creature as it writhed in pain, trapped inside the church. He continued his chant as I tried to pull myself into a sitting position, but I was simply to broken, to beaten.

Finally in a final flourish, Quint cast the spell as the demon was surrounded by a column of blue. The demon rose inside the column as it shrunk in upon itself, collapsing into a sphere. It drew tighter and together until finally exploding into nothingness. Spent from the casting, Quint fell to the floor.

We both lay there for what seemed a long time and I could feel my life force ebb away. I had pulled to much power and had burnt myself out. I had nothing left. I had done my job though. I had held it off long enough for Quint to kill the User. I was okay that this was the end.

I will say I was surprised when Quint pulled himself up. He was hurt pretty bad but he edged himself towards me. I have to say this, I knew this form scared the shit out of Quint. This was proof of the darkness inside me and just another reason why Quint had never really trusted me. How could somebody hunt what they were? Quint though, looked me straight in the eye without flinching.

"Change back Alex. I will call for Him to heal you."

This was a big step for Quint. He had never offered me healing before. Sure, he had given me blessings and benedictions as his job called for him to do, but he had only given what he had to. He had never really trusted me, his order were trained to protect against me so I guess it made sense. Still he had done as he had been ordered to. Now he needed me to change back, holy healing doesn't work on night Walkers, you know.. polar opposites and such. Still, I guess this is what they call a bonding moment.

"I 'preciate that Padre.... but don't worry. It's to late. I ...haven't got the strength to turn back now."

"Yes you do Alex. Before tonight I never trusted you. I have been taught my whole life about what lies in the dark and that I am its warden. Through the Power of God, I felt like nothing could hurt me and that it was my duty to protect the world from what i thought you could do. The darkness was in you, and I thought if you ever gave in you would lose control. Tonight though, tonight you did something you have never allowed yourself to changed, and to protect me and this house. You can do anything Alex. Concentrate and change back. Change for me, change for yourself....change for her. Remember the rosary."

When he mentioned Juliet my promise came flooding back. To fight on in her name, to protect those who can't protect themselves. I looked down to my wrist and saw the rosary still wrapped around it, the only part of my body not covered in the oily darkness. I rubbed the cross with my fingers and delved deep into myself. I could feel my dark half and I began to wrestle control from it away. It slipped and slid across my thoughts, it was like trying to catch water, flowing through my fingers. I slowed my breathing and thought of her, remembering the happiness and love we shared, each thought a reminder of why I held control. A reminder of the person who showed me my true form, neither Light nor Dark, just Alex.

With a final exhale I opened my eyes to see my form returned to me. It also brought back all the pain of real life and my injuries. My original transformation had healed all of my previous hurts, but everything that had happened as I was transformed carried back. My left arm hung shattered and my back was ripped into shreds. Worse yet were the huge holes in my chest that let out a sickly sucking noise when I breathed. As blood trickled from my mouth and darkness closed around my vision, I could hear Quinton chanting, as if though far away. My body was bathed in a blue glow as I felt warmth flow through my body.

My body began knitting itself together as I felt His love for the first time. Every fiber of my being felt at peace, a peace I hadn't known since Juliet. My torn limbs and back smoothed over and I breathed easier. I gripped the rosary tighter as the healing waves covered me.

All to soon it was over and I opened my eyes. My Second Sight could see the tell tale blue glow of healing and blessings around me as my orange magics began weaving around them, restored through His magic. I looked to Quinton to thank him, a grateful smile at my lips. He finished his incantation with a final marking of the cross, and collapsed.

End of Line.

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