Saturday, December 30, 2006
* * *
You can feel it. A place just out of reach. Somewhere you long to be, yet suspect you will never see. Heaven is a place of dreams, but dreams can become nightmares oh so easily. Don't trip, you might Fall. It's very, very bad to Fall.
Speak not to me of things Heaven-sent. For they have sent me and have sent to me. Neither do I much care for. But that is not true. This is what I do. This is who I am. I enjoy my task as I am hating it.
My name is Quintus. From the Latin meaning "fifth." I am named such because I am the fifth to fill my position. If I have my way, there will never be a Sextus. Quartus was utterly useless, his tenure being the shortest of any of my antecedents.
What is my work, you might ask. It's simple enough. Demon-hunting. Upstairs thinks that a few too many of them are straying from their designated stomping grounds. Hell, that is. Being the non-confrontational folk they are, the angels prefer to have a mortal to do their dirty work. Or at least my patron does. There are other hunters, with different angels sponsoring them. Mine's alright. Sent down a half-decent trainer to me, taught me enough not to get myself killed. It's not a bad time. You get to meet new and interesting people, then kill them. Also, if you avoid being killed, you'll live forever. But you will get killed. That's the rub of it, eh?
My weapon is a pitchfork; black, sharp, sleek, and surprisingly concealable. The whole apparatus extends from a handle and folds out at my whim. I took it from the first demon I killed. I thought him carrying it a bit cliché, but for me, with my line of work, I find the irony quite to my liking.
I've been to Hell, on Heaven's behalf. Certain power-hungry demon got the idea that if he kept mucking about in Earth business without coming to Earth, he'd be safe. Wrong idea. I brought the fight to him, that's how I got these horns. Bihuanel, Lord of Biunallum. Well, former Lord. That title actually belongs to me now. He left these horns on me as a mark. A dying "gift." No matter what I do, I'll never be fully rid of his presence, though his soul is gone and beyond repair.
One would think after what I've been through, Heaven would welcome me home with open arms, right? Wrong.
The last strains of the doxology ring out as the doors begin to slowly swing closed. Huge doors. Each one is easily six times my height and three times my width. The Gates of Heaven are nothing compared to the Doors to Heaven.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
I almost turn and walk away, but I decide otherwise.
My hand snaps out and catches the door as it is about to close.
I say one word. Not loudly, not quietly. Just ordinary, as if I were talking to you right now. One word.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Six months ago, I started having the most vivid dreams imaginable. After every dream, I'd wake up briefly and be able to remember both that dream, and all the dreams that had come before. I'd fall asleep and forget it all by morning.
Three days ago, the nightmare came rushing into my life. Everything, every single one of those vivid dreams, dreams which make one truly understand what a prophet says when he describes a vision, came back to me. Suddenly I could remember them all with perfect clarity. I realized that they were, to some degree, real.
I haven't slept in three days.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Anyway, comment telling me what you think.
Joshua was busy reading over some important documents when he heard a knock on his office door. "Come on in!" When Joshua said it, it was not so much permission as it was a command. Without looking up, he began speaking, thinking he already knew who had entered.
"Listen, Adam, can you try and track down Iris for me? She hasn't checked in in three days, and I need her to interview some of the new recruits. . ." Joshua trailed off as he looked up, and was momentarily stunned. The person standing in front of him was not Adam. It was a girl. A very pretty girl. "Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you were someone else," said Joshua, sincerely apologetic.
The girl laughed, and to Joshua, her voice sounded like a sonnet. "It's quite alright. You must be the great Joshua Cressman, yes?" She laughed again, her emerald green eyes sparkling with mystery and promises of secrets to be told.
Joshua stood. "The one and only," he said with a slight bow. "I don't believe we've met Ms. . . ?"
"Wynter. Christine Wynter," Chris took Joshua's outstretched hand and shook. "But you can call me Chris."
Joshua was still somewhat awestruck by the musical quality of her voice. But he did raise an eyebrow as he disengaged the handshake. "Wynter? Are you related to Iris at all?"
Chris laughed again. "I'm her twin sister. Iris wanted you to know that she won't be able to come in for quite some time. She's taking a hiatus. I'm here to take over her duties until she gets back."
Joshua frowned. "I'm afraid it's not that simple," he explained. "Even if you two were identical twins, which you don't seem to be, the abilities Iris has are spiritual, rather than genetic in origin. There's only one Seer on Earth at a time."
Chris just grinned at him. "Well maybe there are two this time. Things change. You can't know for sure yet, can you? But trust me, anything Iris could do, I can do. If you want, I'll head over to your team of psychics and let them subject me to some test so you can know for sure. Sound good to you, boss?"
Joshua couldn't help but smile a little as she spoke. Again, it just seemed more like singing. Every sound she made was music. Joshua was completely unaware of the fact that he was rapidly falling in love with this girl. "Fine," he acceded, with a grin. "Go let the Interpreters do a couple of scans on you. Have them report back to me on their opinion of your authenticity. And if you are a bona-fide Seer, you're going to have to start on some work we've got for you right away. Iris's little stunt has put me behind somewhat."
Chris smiled warmly, winked, spun on her heel, and left the room, sashaying perhaps a little more than was strictly necessary. Joshua, being a man, couldn't help but watch her go. He sat down and smiled to himself as he leaned back in his chair. Today wasn't shaping up to be so bad after all.
Friday, December 15, 2006
"Christine! I need your help!" Iris ran through the forest, branches moving of their own accord out of her way. She kept yelling for Christine, doing it very loudly.
"Christine! Where are you? You said you'd be here for me when I needed you!" Iris was on the verge of tears. Then again, Iris was often on the verge of tears. She stopped running and stood, panting. Just when she was about to give up, a blonde girl about her height stepped out from behind a tree.
"Iris what seems to be the trouble? How can I help you?" The girl's voice was such that she didn't so much ask as she nearly sang her inquiries. There was a lilting quality to her voice, something that could brighten even the gloomiest day when heard. As she heard that voice, Iris reflected that maybe things weren't quite so bad after all.
"Christine--" she began, but was cut off by the other girl.
"Chris. Please, Iris, call me Chris. We've been over this."
"Right sorry," said Iris apologetically. "Anyway," she said, looking emphatically at Chris. "I need you to help me out. There's a boy."
Chris laughed her melodious laugh. "Boy trouble, sis? You have come to the right girl for this one."
Iris frowned a little as she pressed on. "Yes well, just because you're better at it doesn't mean you have to rub it in my face." She nodded, as if agreeing with herself. "I don't think he even likes me, but. . .I love him, Chris. And I want him to love me."
Chris smiled at Iris, once again warming the other girl's heart. "Don't you worry about a thing, sis. Just relax and let me take care of it. Close your eyes now."
Iris closed her eyes and Chris reached out a hand, resting it on Iris's forehead. "Just let Chris take care of it for you, Iris," she whispered. "Let me take your burden for a while."
Iris opened her eyes, and sat up in her bed. She walked over to the mirror and smiled. "Looking good Christine," she said, in a lilting, melodious voice. She ran a brush through the blonde hair that had been jet black when she had laid down. Chris smiled at her reflection and muttered "That's right sis. I'll get this all taken care of."
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Alone and homeless. That's how Chris felt. Everyone she'd known had now left her. First Iris, then Joshua. Now, finally, even Adam was gone. Fuck. What on Earth was she supposed to do now? She sighed and slumped against the wall.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I need to calm down, Chris thought to herself. Panicking is going to get me nowhere. She forced herself to take a deep breath, then stood up. She wobbled on her legs, gripping the counter to steady herself. The vision had really taken it out of her. Don't get worked up about what you saw, she urged herself. Just do something about it.
After a few moments of hesitation, Chris picked up the phone and started dailing. . .
Friday, December 08, 2006
Rain poured from the night sky, droplets pattering on Joshua Cressman’s black leather longcoat on their way to the ground. His hair was flat, black, and matted from the rain. Water collected on his eyebrows, ran down his face in small rivers. Intelligent blue eyes scanned the area as he walked up the street of the city. Black boots scattered the water, sending droplets flying with every step. Suddenly Joshua became aware of something behind him. He spun around to see a man in a bloodred business suit walking towards him. His light red hair was slicked back; a friendly smile was framed by a neatly trimmed goatee of a red-gold color slightly lighter than the hair on his head. His eyes were much like Joshua’s: a light, crystal blue, amicable and bright. Strangely, he seemed completely dry despite the heavy rain. His arms were spread in front of him, friendly, welcoming, non-threateningly. Joshua frowned, confused; he knew his enemy was here somewhere, but he saw only this man. He looked straight into the man’s eyes, searching. There! Behind the outward appearance one could see the man’s true self in his eyes. It flickered continuously, like a spiteful flame. Hatred, malice, and hostility lurked just out of sight. Joshua’s frown turned into a smile. The man in red had been advancing on him the whole time and was almost within arm’s length. In one fluid motion, Joshua threw open his coat, drew a long knife, and leapt at the man in red. The man dropped his façade, his face hardening into a scowl as he sidestepped Joshua’s weapon while drawing his own: An impossibly large handgun emerged from the red stranger’s suit coat. Joshua dove for the ground, madly trying to put distance between the gun and his body. The stranger fired three shots; Joshua hit the ground rolling. One of the bullets clipped Joshua’s shoulder, slicing through his leather coat and causing him to wince in pain. Still moving, Joshua twisted and ducked to avoid two more shots from the man in red before once more reaching into his coat. With his other hand, Joshua grabbed a throwing knife and hurled it at the man in red while tightening his grip on the knife and running past the man, intending to cut from the side. The red man shot the knife out of the air. Just as Joshua’s blade was about to make contact with the stranger, the barrel of the gun knocked it aside, sending a shockwave up Joshua’s arm and causing the cut on his shoulder to throb with pain. Joshua spun, ready to face the man, gritting his teeth to keep from crying out. When he looked up, however, he was staring straight down the barrel of the red man’s gun. The man in red’s scowl had turned into a maniacal, evil grin.
“Say hello to the Devil for me, lad.”
I mustn’t be afraid.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Jesse slammed the phone down. Damn that girl! How on Earth could she do that? Make him feel so happy and so. . .so angry all at the same time? It wasn't really Brigit's fault, he reasoned. But somehow, that didn't make him feel any better.
He kept mentally replaying the night in his head, like his relationship was some sort of morbid sporting event.
"I know you wanted to see me tonight, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen, I'm sorry Brigit. You know I'd rather be with you."
He heard her sigh through the phone. "I know. I know it's not your fault, Jesse. That doesn't mean that I have to like it. Are you sure you can't cancel?"
"Look, this is the last time Blake's gonna be on this continent for a good three months. You have to understand that I need to go to his sending-off party!"
"I guess I just don't get why you don't want to take me with you." Another sigh. Damn! Brigit was not making this any easier on him. The real reason he couldn't take her with him was simply this: Blake hated Brigit. He had no idea why, but he'd come to terms with that. But he couldn't very well tell his girlfriend that one of his closest friends couldn't stand her. That would not be good.
Instead he went with "It's an invitation only thing. There's limited space and it was pretty clear that no one was allowed to bring a 'Plus One,' including me. I think it's silly, but I'm not the one headed to New Zealand. When I am, you'll be there for sure." Actually Blake's words had been something along the lines of "That fucking bitch better not show up at my party." He'd taken the hint.
After wrapping it up with Brigit, he'd gone to the party. Everything had gone great until right near the end. He'd left his phone on the table and it rang. Jesse hadn't been around, Blake had. He'd seen it was Brigit, answered, and really layed into her. Jesse hadn't even found out until he got home and Brigit called him at his house, sobbing hysterically and truly hurt from the things Blake had said. The more Jesse tried to console her, the more inconsolabe she became. Hurt gave way to frustration, gave way to anger. Both of them had angrily said goodnight and hung up. Which brought him to now.
Jesse knew they'd make it through this, but the thing that was really upsetting him was how Blake had acted. He had been a bit tipsy, but that was no excuse for the way he'd treated Brigit. He hadn't told her this, but when Blake got back to America, Jesse fully intended to punch him.
Monday, December 04, 2006
My name is Gregory Hallen and I’m a psychic. Not like one of those fakes you see on TV. No, I can actually find my car in a parking lot, thank you very much. No, all I can do is see a bit into the future. Usually just far enough to realize how much my life is going to suck in about 5 minutes if I don’t make exactly the right decisions at exactly the right times. Case in point: I’m currently being chased by the ghosts of gay man-whores. Their brothel was burned down in a rash of homosexual hate crimes. Not fun shit. Now the specters take revenge on any straight man they can find. Now, I happen to fall into that category. Never in my life have I wished more that I like the cock. But, unfortunately in this case, I don’t.
I'd love to get into the nuance of my condition, but there's no time for that at the moment. Later, I promise. So I'm running from these ghosts, eyes open, trying to scan the threads of fate for a way out of this mess. As the quanta dance across my metaphysical field of vision, I realize something important: sometimes infinite possibilites doesn't mean that there's always a way out that's good for you. Sometimes it just means you're totally, infinitely fucked. And so it seems in this case. Maybe the solution is there, but so far away I can't see it. Either way, what I can see is pretty grim, so I decide to narrow my focus to just ahead of the now and wing it.
* * *
I manage to get away from the ghosts. Honestly, I'd rather never talk about how I did it. Let's just say I'll never be able to look at a 2x4 the same ever again.
Where was I? Oh, right, more on the psychic condition.
Okay, here's the deal. Guys like me come in two types. "Forecasters" and "interpreters." I'm of the former type. Forecasters see the future with varying degrees of finessé, depth, and accuracy. Interpreters see things as they "really are," as they put it. It's a fancy way of saying they get the metaphysical world layed right smack on top of this one when they open those creepy third eyes. I've never seen one myself, you need to be an interpreter yourself to do so, but still, the idea is pretty fucked if you ask me.
Personally, and this may be my own bias talking, I think forecasters are considerably more useful. Sure the 'terp can tell you that the man you just passed by is an angel, but what people forget is that angels and demons don't look any different, they just act different. Nine times out of ten, you were better off not knowing the paranormal nature of that man anyway. I'm just sayin'.
“‘She’s one of a kind, Joshua. Her powers are quite stressful. There’s a reason that she’s killed herself in so many of these cycles, you know. You ought to go a bit easier on her.’
‘Oh? Since when did you become Gideon’s mouthpiece?’
‘Oh come on, Joshua. You know it’s not like that. Besides, you should listen to Gideon more. He’s been around a lot longer than either of us.’
Joshua walked on, silent.”
If you are intrigued, please, comment. Let me know.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
I was bored as Hell at the speech meet. It had been a long, pointless day. Eric had gone to compete in the final round of Radio, leaving me alone in the cafeteria to wait for him. I doodled some as I waited. I can't draw, but I'd like to learn, so I'd been practicing. I'd kinda been getting better, too. Well, right about then, this tiny little red guy, whom I would later come to know as Satan, pops up on my paper.
“Hello Drew,” it says to me.
Now, I've read a lot of books, so I know that it's important to stay calm in these kind of situations. Otherwise, the tiny bastard will vanish and everyone will think you're crazy.
So I—very calmly—say “Who the fuck are you?” Quietly, of course.
“I am Satan, master of your soul.”
This kinda ticks me off. I was born and raised Christian. Satan showing up and asserting ownership of my immortal soul perturbs me somewhat. I keep my voice quiet as I reply:
“That's nice, tiny Satan, but you seem to be mistaken. You see, you are not, in fact, the Lord of my soul. So please, fuck off to your miniature Hell where you can annoy the souls of sinful midgets.”
Satan glares at me. “You sold your soul for the ability to draw.”
I actually laugh a little, but I catch myself when people start looking over. I lean in close to make it look like I'm still drawing.
“Look, Beelzebub, I didn't sell my soul for the ability to draw. And even if I had, you'd have no right to collect, seeing as how I'm still less than mediocre. And that's with no small amount of practice.”
Satan huffs. Even if by some impossibly slim chance I had accidentally sold him my soul, which I hadn't, he knows he can't beat the logic on the second point of my argument. With a grunt of a mildly audible “fine!” he vanishes.
I continued my latest doodle. It was a small, very cartoonish frog. It wasn't that great, but Eric and I thought it was kind of cool, in a funny sort of way.
A few minutes passed. Suddenly, Satan reappeared on my paper. He was still 2 inches tall, but now he had his pitchfork. Stuck on the end of it was a regular-sized hot dog.
“Drew, I'm back, and I have a hot dog,” he said, moving the dog around in front of my face. “Would you like a hot dog? It can be. . .arranged.”
Instinctively, I say, “No, Satan! I shall not partake of thy tainted meat tube!”
Satan shrugs. “More for me,” he says as he takes a bite.
I narrow my eyes at the tiny tempter. “Are you so bored that you don't have anything better to do than harass me?”
“Well, you've got nothing to do but cultivate nonexistent art talent.”
Satan began pacing, occasionally eating a bite or two from his hot dog. “I know that you're supposed to belong to the forces of Hell, but I can't remember why.”
I raise one eyebrow. The Adversary is right. I have nothing better to do. At least he's a stimulus.
“I'm all ears, Satan,” I say nonchalantly.
“I checked in the records department, but the boys are on vacation, so it'll be a while before I get any sort of answer.”
“Uh-huh,” I say, somewhat disdainfully.
“So in the meantime, I decided to call in a friend to try to figure this out.”
I stared at him for a few minutes.
To my infinite surprise, a man in a white robe wearing a surprisingly stylish crown of thorns appeared. It was Jesus of Nazareth, 2 inches tall.
“Jesus?” I asked, incredulous.
“Hey, Drew. What's goin' on?” The miniature Christ sees Satan. “Yo, Lucifer, lookin' good, man.”
I stare blankly at the lilliputian Savior. Finally, I find my voice.
“Um. Jesus? What's happening here? Why are you friends with Satan?”
“Oh, that's a story for later,” he says, winking at me.
“So did you ask your dad about that thing for me?” Satan asks, somewhat impatiently.
“Oh yeah, him,” Jesus points at me. “yeah, he's a bastard.”
“What!” I ask, incredulous. “What the Hell are you talking about?”
“Oh,” says Satan, ignoring me. “That makes so much more sense.”
“What is going on here?” I demand. Suddenly, I realize that people are starting to look at me funny again. Shit. I lean in close and remember to keep my voice to a whisper.
Satan looks at me and begins to explain. "Okay, so it turns out that you're an illegitimate son of mine. Hence, bastard. I've got a lot of those running around. It's not a big surprise that I lost track of you.”
“You're the father of lies. I have no reason to believe you. And if I did have a reason to believe you, that would make me a lie myself. I'm not entirely comfortable with that,” I assert.
“Don't worry, dude,” says Jesus, chiming in. “I got freaked out when my paternal ancestry was first made known to me.”
I was unable to speak at first. There was a long discussion ensuing. Over the course of the debate, my older brother Damien, as well as Frosty the snowman were both brought into attest to the veracity of my dad's claims.
Before Satan and the gang finally left, I asked him one final question. “So do I get some sort of kickass Hell-derived powers now?”
“You'll get them as your exposure to the larger world grows. And I'll even let you borrow the car on weekends.”
“Bitchin',” I replied.
Just after the discussion wrapped up, Eric arrived on the scene.
“Hey, Drew,” Eric said to me upon returning. “You didn't get much done on that frog, did you?”
“I just kinda zoned out. Talked to a few people…”
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