The Death of a Statesman
Scylla could feel the human entity known as ‘Hannah Whitecliff’ below the surface of the smooth flesh she possessed. The young human girl made it feel like wild snakes had been turned lose under the skin. They pulsed and writhed with what could only be describe of as rage and fear. The concoctions of human emotion that Hannah was giving off was intoxicating to The Goddess of The Night. It was even more delicious than anything Scylla had ever experienced up to this point. Back at The Eternal City there was only the talk of embodiment by the soul forgers in the council; and even they kept their mouths closed on the subject. All Scylla had ever got from them was that embodiment was the last stage in deification. And only the council members had the right to house their divinity in purified flesh. They were the gatekeepers; and Hannah’s body was giving Scylla a small glimpse of what the council felt. In all regards it was a perversion of the completion of godhood, but it still felt intoxicating.
Scylla breathed out a heavy sigh of satisfaction as she jumped between the dark rooftops of Wichita City. The young human heart in her chest beat loudly in her ears as she set eyes on the Smash Estate in the distance. In just a few short minutes her visions of the future would be realized. She would have the power to bring peace to this world and end the suffering she had watched for centuries. Scylla would give the council what they wanted from the beginning; a way to tame the human soul completely.
This life is all a test, thought Scylla as she pulled out Hannah’s guns and counted the bullets in the chambers, and then the ones at her belt. She would have more than enough rounds to bring about the social change she wanted to see in the world.
Scylla shoved the well-crafted guns back into their holsters as her thoughts considered the void again and again. She had promised herself she would never go to the edge of her own memories. Every time she had made the trip it proved to be a fruitless effort in digging up the past. Scylla really couldn’t remember anything beyond the council and the founding of her own existence. She barely remembered leaving the comfort of the soul forge and being called ‘Daughter of Darkness’. This title ‘Daughter of Darkness’ had fascinated Scylla to the core when she had first heard it spoken by her father. It had brought a smile to her face, as if something about the title seemed to fit very well inside her.
Scylla had been reborn into The House of Darkness and given the attributes of her divine parents. Scylla smiled at this glorious thought as she jumped over another dark alleyway and let the wind rush through her long blond curls. She paused at this peculiar thought. Somehow, it was easy to forget that the body she controlled wasn’t her own; it felt so good to maneuver in. It was at that moment Scylla started calling Hannah’s body hers. She called it hers regardless of the feeling of the snakes underneath the skin. The young outlaw had not wanted to complete the task she had designed for her from the beginning. Somehow this punishment seemed suitable.
Scylla jumped over another dark alleyway and let her boots thudd loudly on the rooftop as she rolled forward keeping her momentum going. Her new body smashed effortlessly through some wooden crates as she sprang back to her feet. She slowed down slightly as she rounded a water tower with the words “All Ace’s Saloon’ etched across its surface. Below the accented lettering could be seen the silhouettes of two people kissing. She wondered what it would be like to press her thin lips against his. Soon Scylla would have a worthy mate like the soul forges back at the Eternal City.
Scylla’s thoughts turned quickly to Maenad and her dark core fluttered at the potential for darkness the man had inside. The older outlaw didn’t realize it yet, but he would thank her some day for all this chaos she had caused in his life. Her meddling sister Messina had lost her champion on the eve of her own awakening. It had taken a few years to get things just right, but she had lost him still the same.
“Yes!” Screamed Scylla into the cloudy night sky above. Her dark core filling with complete satisfaction and accomplishment. Visions of the future danced before her face. “I can’t wait to see your face Messina when you realize completely what I have done! Then I will send you back to the Eternal City to lay bricks with the fallen ones!”
Scylla jumped off the roof of a slanted tavern and landed on the top of a street light. The metal structure swayed back and forth slightly as she watched the people of Wichita City bustling around through the festivities. It had stopped raining altogether and the water in the streets seemed to bring new life to the atmosphere around the shops.
Scylla opened her dark core up to all the humans around the desert; everywhere it had rained. Shadows stirred from the cracks and alleyways like snakes upon the earth. They emerged, without detection by the human creatures, and danced across their skins like a cold shiver. The Halifax Formula had worked its wonders on all the communities of the desert. If Scylla wanted to, she could have any of them; instead she merely placated their minds with peace. This would be the beginning of peace throughout the whole Tarmac Desert. She would be there guide and councilor from here on out. Scylla could hear all their thoughts and prayers way more clearly now that the formula was in them. She began the long process of forced out the influence of her sister. Changing little things here and there about her history; nothing too big or amazing. Soon, with time, she would be forgotten and her churches abandoned habitations for the birds.
Scylla picked one of the humans and narrowed in on the inner voice. It was a young girl pleading to ‘The Lady of The Desert’ to get her a Tik Tik from one of the stands. The young girl had pleaded with her mother for one of the costly treats moments ago and had been rejected outright. Scylla knew that their family was poor and could not afford such luxuries. She dropped down and gripped the light pole with both hands. Scylla spun in a circles and closed her eyes as she descended rapidly to the earth below. A feeling of euphoria took over her as the pole swayed back and forth from her weight.
The world was hers! It was finally hers!
Scylla pushed off the street light and trotted over to a concession booth nearby. She pointed to one of the biggest Tik Tiks turning on the rack at the center of the open oven. She indicated to the busy merchant behind the counter that she was interested in buying the sugary treat. It was being smothered in cinnamon spice and what the humans of Wichita called “armadillo” sauce. Scylla reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a few gold pieces. She placed her small fortune on the table and scooped the tasty treat up without waiting for the proprietor to finish his business. The money given would more than cover the cost.
Scylla held the long wooden stick as she moved through the thick crowed toward the Smash Estate. The smell of the baked Tik Tik in her hand was overwhelming as she came to the barrier that surrounded the entrance of the Supreme Governor’s House. Everyone was waiting to hear what the unanimous decision would be in regards to the 6 territories. Scylla could hear their thoughts bouncing around her head like a dried tumbleweed. One man was wondering if they would accept the new changes to the centralized government. Another dreaming of the day when stability would finally come.
Of course you will have stability, thought Scylla to the troubled mind in the crowd. Just not through any man elected by the voice of the people. Humans have proven that they cannot be trusted to govern themselves.
Scylla ignored the big black gates of the Smash Estate looming in front of her. She would have more than enough time to accomplish her design before the hero stepped in. This glorious night was more than just about the death of a couple of selfish old statesmen; it was about being the Goddess that this people needed in their lives. Scylla stooped down to make eye contact with a little girl by the barricade. There were big salty tears running down her red cheeks. Her hands were crossed over her dark rain coat. Scylla could see that she was trying to stay warm after the desert storm. She was standing close to her mother who was watching the wall of the Smash Estate. It was amazing how much suffering only a couple of men could bring to their people.
“Is your name Willow Robinson?” asked Scylla as she reached over and brushed the long brown hair from the little girls face. The light from the street lamps showed to Scylla that her little nose was running.
The little girl looked up from her shoes and stared at Scylla. She hadn’t even noticed anyone was watching her. She nodded her head slowly.
“This is for you Little Willow,” said Scylla as she pulled out the large Tik Tik from behind her back and handed it to her. She used the name ‘Little Willow’ deliberately to help put her at ease. It was a name her grandfather had given her before passing away.
Willow seemed absolutely stunned by the gesture of the stranger. She quickly reached out and received the treat with a broad smile and a little laugh. The sadness in her eyes fading from her face with each passing second. Seeing this in the young human made Scylla smile inside and out. She loosened her grip on Hannah’s body and let the darkness flood her eyes for just a small moment. Multiple paths stretched forward into an infinite series of choices. Scylla saw her victory in each one. The child had a bright future in her new kingdom.
“How did you know I wanted one?” asked Willow as she took a bite of the sugary treat and savored the flavor. It was like heaven on earth.
“I heard your pray and couldn’t resist,” said Scylla as she brushed her cheek softly.
Willow seemed surprised by this revelation. She reached out and touched the blond hair of the stranger as if seeing it for the first time. She looked deep into the blue eyes. The stranger kind of looked like The Lady of The Desert, but Willow couldn’t be sure if it was truly her,. “Are you her… are you The Lady?”
Scylla chuckled at this. “No Little Willow Tree, I am not her.”
“Then who are you?” asked Willow with surprise.
“I am something better,” said Scylla enthusiastically as she stood up and patted the young girl on the head. Willow followed her movements. Scylla watched the eyes of the child slightly darkened around the edges of the eyelids. Scylla could tell that her influence had made its impact on the creature. Willow Robinson would grow up with a better history than the one she had been told by her sister and her over-zealous community. In time the young girl would learn her place and do her part; everyone would give what they could and everyone would receive what they needed. It would be perfect and balanced.
Scylla patted Willow on the head one last time and then pushed past her without another word. The Goddess of The Night reached under the wooden barrier and chucked it across the street with one heave of her right arm. The long thick barricade tumbled wildly though the air and slammed into the thick wooden gates with a boom! The right door splintered slightly and cracked under the force of the structure. The crowed around the estate grew silent as Scylla stepped out into the middle of the street. She pulled out her guns from their holsters and fired a few shots into the cold night air. Her presence could not be ignored. The crowd behind her retreated instinctually and prepared for the worst.
The Metal Men outside the walls converged on Scylla like vultures on a wounded carcass. They had all been placed here by Smash from Ballbaling to stop any attempt at disrupting the ceremony. Their green orbital discs flashing with focus and determination; they would follow their orders until the last one stood. The Metal Men had all drawn their guns and were pointing them at The Lady of The Night with extreme prejudice. They all spoke in unison as if linked together by some invisible chain of communication, their electronic voices taking on a deep tone to make the threat on her life clear.
“Citizen, drop your weapons and get on the ground!” They barked as steam started to billow up from their head cylinders. The sound of static crackled beyond the speakers. “You are in violation of code 17 and will be shot dead unless you comply.” They moved forward slowly but in unison. The sight would have been intimidating to any ordinary person.
“Comply!” The Metal Men barked. “Comply!”
Scylla could feel the human entity known as Hannah go still underneath the skin. The young outlaw was listening closely now to what was going on outside the flesh. Scylla smiled at this odd stillness taking place. She could tell that Hannah still wanted the death of the Governor who had killed her father… but was battling her feelings. Maenad, for all his flaws as an individual, had done a number on the girl’s resolution. The outlaw’s meddling had frustrated her plans only slightly; but she was correcting that now.
I am giving you what you want, thought Scylla to the young outlaw under the skin. The Goddess of The Night pressed her thoughts and feelings into the young outlaw, trying to get her to see the grander picture. Stop fighting what you want.
At that moment…In the back of Scylla’s mind… could be heard a shallow scream from Hannah as she struggled to get free! It was not a scream of terror or fear. It was a scream of rebellion from the thoughts and feelings being force upon her. Scylla flexed her dark core inward and smothered the horrible sound she was making. Humans couldn’t possibly be this ungrateful and ignorant. Scylla was doing all this for them.
Quiet, thought Scylla firmly to Hannah as if scolding a child. The Lady of The Night waited for the Metal Men to get closer. When they were within hearing range she spoke softly to them. All Scylla really needed was for one of the Pinkertons to hear the words coming out of her mouth. “Enact order triple 6 and broadcast to all available units the message of 5621.” All The Metal Men in the area shot-up to attention as the command was given; as if each one had been struck by lightning. There arms and legs going ridged from the command issued by the stranger in the black leather coat. Their voices sounding in unison as they gave the order to all available units in the Wichita area. There orbital disks flashing slowly.
“Enacting 5621!” The Metal Men chimed out like obedient children. Their metal bodies taking on a new stance; a stance that stated they wanted more orders. “Giving over full command to vocal recognition…triple 6!”
Scylla smiled at this mindless obedience and walked past them. Bonny had really done a great job in engineering the protocols she wanted. All the governors and important political leaders were given the programming command ‘5621’, but none of them were told the override code ‘triple 6’. This was a special feature she had helped Bonny develop years ago. The one issuing the command took complete control.
The machines are working just right, thought Scylla as she walked slowly toward the gates of the Smash Estate and breathed in the humid atmosphere. Her boots thudding softly as she twirled the guns in her hands. Her dark core could feel all the mind of the people watching her from a far. She gripped harder on them and manipulated their feelings. Scylla forced them to watch everything she was about to do. She wanted them to see the end of man’s government throughout the Tarmac Desert. She was not surprised that there were some in the crowd who resisted the feelings and thoughts she was trying to feed them; she made note of each one.
If only humans could be as easy to program as machines, thought Scylla sadly as she pushed softly against the human entity known as Hannah. The only thing that seemed to frustrate Scylla was that the young outlaw was supposed to have been the one to give the command order to the Metal Men tonight, not her.
Scylla lifted her left hand and tapped the barrel of the gun on her thin lips as she thought about the conundrum. It was how it was engineered from the beginning; she had been careful with all the details leading up to this very moment. Scylla had studied the futures of all the key players in this game. She had made sure that the young Hannah had heard the right meetings between Governor Whitecliff and the other scientists.
Scylla stopped tapping her lips at that moment. A prick of fear sprouted up in The Lady of The Night as she considered her sisters influence in the little changes to her plans. Scylla pushed away the silly thoughts. Messina would get her reward soon; all Scylla had to do was act out the right seen. She called to the Metal Men on the walls. “Open the gates and contain all the party guests!” shouted Scylla with a smile. “I have a few things to say tonight about the death of my father and the end of the desert aristocracy!”
The Metal Men acknowledged her command and jumped from the wall. From somewhere over the wall the music stopped playing and a commotion could be heard. In a few moments the massive doors to the Estate opened up revealing a wide courtyard with party guests.
Scylla spun her guns around and walked into the future.