Requiem Of Gehenna
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet...
Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened...
Eric’s vampiric eyes quickly adjusted to the pitch blackness as he took in the vast, barren landscape and he was perplexed; the air yielded no scent. At the same time, his keen ears picked up a faint noise in the distance; so he cautiously progresses towards the sound.
The sight of Tara’s progeny caught him by surprise. Jessica was sitting on the ground against a tree, groaning in agony, her porcelain face disfigured, scorched from her tumultuous journey into Perdition. Her left arm agonizingly stung, dislocated from the fall. The young woman fought through the searing pain as she shrugged off the backpack strapped to her injured shoulder. With trembling hands, she pulled out the vial of vampire blood and gulped it all down. Straightaway, she felt a euphoric high, her aching ceased, and her third-degree burns began healing. It only took a moment and Jessica was able to stand on her feet.
As Eric approached he disapprovingly appraised her, “Do you know why it is foolish to consume V?”
She brushed the dust from her jeans. “What I consume is none of your goddamn business.” Jessica had prepared for weeks, studying spells and patiently waiting for Aether and The High Priestess to get off their asses and recite the incantation to enter the dark realm.
He arched his blonde eyebrow; he was slightly surprised but unmoved by her impoliteness. “It is because one never knows how the vampire’s blood will affect you unless you drink directly from the source. And you, foolish girl, drank way too much.”
“I don’t give a shit.” She snapped, the fledgling fire-witch needed the blood to heal, she’d deal with the side effects later. She had no idea what Aether’s vampire was doing in the Dark Realm, did not care and was not about to waste time listening to his lecture. So she began to tread away from Eric, surveying her surroundings, as she did so, her pupils began to enlarge, her eyes fully adjusting to the darkness. The fog suddenly rose and became so thick she soon lost sight of Eric. After walking away a few feet, Jessica peered back to see if he was following her. He was not, so she pulled out Holly’s enchanted emerald and began to chant an illumination spell.
Eric was finished being concerned with Tara’s subject; it was time to absorb his effort on his quest. He watched Jessica walk into the mist, the Viking decided to move forward in the opposite direction.
My life geared me for continuous upheaval and conflicts, my dreams equipped me for survival in strange surroundings, constant shifts, and scene changes. And from the moment I entered the underworld, I’ve fought with every breath, constantly on the knife’s edge. I desperately search for my mom, calling out her name, in response, blood-curdling screams, growls, and roars, echoed back at me. Otherworldly looking bugs zipped in and out of my ears, humming and buzzing their little annoying songs. I managed to get my boot stuck in a marsh puddle on the bank of the green-brown stream. The mud sucked on my foot before I got the steadiness to shake my foot free and flick off some of the soggy gunk. The earth released my foot with slushy but undeniable pop.
Frustratingly, I traversed through never-ending mazes. All the while, praying, that I was somehow getting closer to her. At what seemed like the end of each maze, I was disappointingly greeted by more dense unending bushes. And the labyrinth would suddenly transform into tall golden compressed bales of hay, then towering twined stalks of corn, or rusty squeaking iron walls. Darkly foreboding, ominous sounds, creaking, whispering trees, thicker leaves, and thick undergrowth at the forest edge, overhanging branches, narrow and twisting path, denser wood, choked with brambles, matted undergrowth, thick bushes, ditch, sprawling branches, stiff branches.
I’m assaulted by the winds and the blistering rays of sunlight, and when I think that the worse has come and gone, torrential cold rains fall from the sky drenching me, chilling me to the bone. I had no shelter from the elements; all I could do was pray that it would stop, hope this would end... I don’t know if it was the amulet, my blood or Eric’s blood that kept me from dying, but I’m still alive... for now.
Since Absalom was not attacking me, I concluded the bitch was mind fucking me. Shitty, thing is- it’s working. I don’t know where I am - where I’m going or how the fuck to get there. One thing is for sure, no matter what she throws at me- I’m not giving up...
Suddenly I began seeing color signatures, I know that only living beings can produce them, so I slam my eyes shut and let the color indications take over. There was no red, so whoever it is didn’t mean me any harm. My minds-eye saw yellow, blue swirling into green and those wavy lines of deep sensual purple... My heart dropped into the lowest pit of my gut.
Why would he follow me here? He’s so close, and that worries me, if I can sense him, I know that the horrible Absalom can too. So I called out to him.
He didn’t answer, but I felt his brain pulse with my beacon. I haven’t tried flying or teleporting, and I don’t think it’s a good idea to do that either. I’m already worn-out and parched. I remember the last time I exhausted my energy, I got so dehydrated - I ended up in a coma. So I call out to my foolish vampire again and again.
“Eric...!” I call out, ahead the forest trees are thinner, a clearing perhaps or a glade? That’s when I hear the wonderful sound of his profound raspy voice.
“Tara..!” He called out to me. My heart feels like it’s going to leap out of my chest and I walk faster towards his voice.
“Tara..!” I started running, rounding yet another corner a wider path, adjacent to a babbling brook stream.
The sight ahead caused me to come to a screeching halt. In the near distance, I can see Eric’s long-legged silhouette. But now, I can’t seem to make my feet move. I’m afraid.
Would if that’s not Eric? It could be a trick, another damn deception from Absolom, Ruby, and Nora said she can shapeshift. Her psychological warfare had really taken its toll on me. But my color alarms don’t lie so I ran to him as fast as I could.
An impenetrable, frigid, darkness was before me; I could hear nothing but the echo my own footsteps, as I meandered aimlessly through the vast nothingness. In a repetitive impractical action, I sniffed the scentless air. I wondered if what Nora said was true. Are my abilities useless here? Prudently, I made my way through the desolate lands. Vaporizing out of thin air, the vile entity appeared; it unnervingly mocked my darlings’ image. The thing stood nude and silent in the distance. The creatures’ intent was to intimidate, to make their presence known. I stood my ground but did not provoke it, for I am no fool, I could sense its immeasurable strength. After a moment it disappeared, and I continued my search. After wandering in infinite dismay for what seemed like hours, I suddenly became engrossed with the sensations of grief that was not my own.
“Tara...!” I roared in triumph. But without all my abilities, I was uncertain if it was the demon’s hoax.
“Eric...!” Her sweet voice echoed in my ear like a melodic siren song. My head became flooded with a mixture of astonishment and anguish and I knew that it was truly her. I moved fast, thankful I still had my ability to move with lightning speed.
“Tara...!” I shouted out again, as she assaulted me with her emotional havoc. She needed me...I need her.
“TARA!” I screamed when I saw my disheveled beauty in the distance. It was her, no doubt about it.
She ran towards me and as she neared, I was flogged with her sweet palatable scent. She slammed into me, and my dead-heart clinched; she embraced me as if to never let me go. I became undone by her loving assault.
“Fuck, I missed you,” Eric rasped against her lips, kissing her with each word. “When I couldn’t get to you, it almost drove me mad.”
“You can’t be here baby, I gotta send you back.” Tara heaved breathlessly against him, hiding under his chin like a child. When he did not respond she leaned back and peered into his loving emerald eyes.
“You hear me? You gotta leave!” The dark-skinned goddess shrilled, unable to stifle the tears from falling.
“Without you...sorry lover, no deal...” Eric felt her fists bunched into the front of his shirt and he stifled a groan.
“You could die here,” she whimpered in frustration.
“So could you.”
“I have to do this Eric - You don’t...” streams of tears earnestly fell from her doe eyes.
“I’ve upset you?”
“Yes, you stupid Vampire! She answered wrapping her arms around him and continued crying sincerely onto his chest. You know I love you! I can’t have you meeting the true- death for me!”
“Tara,” he slurred, kissing her forehead. “Min Vackra, do not cry.”
“Why do you do it, Eric? Huh? Why do you constantly come after me, defend me, rescue me...”
“Love you,” he corrected.
“Love me,” she repeated, “Then you need to keep away from me when I’m doing crazy shit like this!”
“I don’t wish to keep away.” He whispered, awed by her bravery.
“Goddamn, it Eric...I...” Tara’s thoughts were interrupted, with the sensation of another living soul.
Out of the mist, Jessica appeared - with Lettie and Willa too! Aether’s loyal charge had amazingly found a spell that allowed her the ability to summon lost souls in the dark realm.
“I’m so sorry momma, I tried to save you.” Tara wept onto her shoulder. Tara became even more rapt with overwhelming emotion; no fortress could contain her bittersweet joy as she swept over to greet her mother with a warm embrace, full of comfort and absolution. She closed her eyes and savored the moment, letting the happiness soak right into her bones and warm her soul.
“Now- now baby-girl, you know I’m the only one who should be sorry here.” Her eyes lowered in shame, for a moment, it was too painful to look at her daughter. “You’ve done more for me than I ever deserved, I was an awful mother, I got what was coming.”
“But it wasn’t your fault.” Tara sniffled. She lifted her mother’s quivering chin so she could meet her gaze, “Absalom messed with your mind, she tricked you, haunted you, for over twenty years.”
“I should have been stronger. I should have fought back. Look at how strong you are. I’m so proud of you Tara Mae. I love you so much.” Lettie palmed small comforting circles into her child’s back; her age-worn eyes shone a steady stream of tears.
“I love you too momma and I forgive you.”
“Thank you, baby,” A humble smile crossed her lips; she beamed lovingly at her child.
“Thank you, Tara,” Willa dropped to her knees and bowed to her goddess, “Thank you for rescuing my soul,” Her eyes prickled with tears. Willa hated to interrupt, but she wanted to take advantage of the moment with Aether, she did not know if she would ever get the chance again.
Tara tearfully nodded but did not respond. She couldn’t bear to admit that she’d left them in the hell-hole for practically a month.
Jessica humbly approached her goddess, “If you have the Chimera of Isis, we can recite the incantation, ushering Willa and Ms. Lettie into the realm of Isis,” she was eager to accomplish her mission and go home.
Tara dug the amulet out of her jacket pocket and held it high. “Let’s do this...” she enthusiastically replied.
Without warning, the fog lifted, the grey skies turned to a deep blood-red, the entire landscape changed. They’re no longer in a murky dense forest; the group stood in the middle of a vast wheat field. Suddenly, the ground rumbled and quaked and an army of the black four-legged beast could be seen in the distance. Absalom unleashed a herd of hell-hounds; viciously they launched forward; with red, serpent-like eyes menacingly glaring at their targets, countless sharp, slimy jagged teeth snarled, growled and roared at them.
Tara shoved the amulet back in the breast of her jacket pocket and pointed to a large boulder. “Ma, Willa, hide over there!” A cold burning filled her soul, her eyes changed into a pure white, amazing sparks of lighting buzzed and snapped as the energy emanated from her hands. “Eric, Jessica, get ready to fight,” she commanded.
Eric was ready– he was a ticking time bomb. Always...Any provocation, no matter how small or insignificant and his temper would blow.
The vampire was the first one attacked, the hell-hound pounced on him and he fell to the ground, sharp, snarly teeth bit him on the shoulder, tearing through the leather jacket, ripping out a chunk of flesh. “ARRRRRGHHHHH!” Eric let out a spine-chilling bellow; the sheer pain of the attack unleashed the Vikings’ savage beast within, transforming him into a Berserker. In the fury-filled trance, dozens of creatures were torn to pieces. Within minutes every beast in his path was ripped apart.
There was no holds barred with Jessica, she pulled the emerald from her pocket and began chanting the fire-spells Holly had taught her and with pyro-magic, she sent a torrent of flames into the mouth of a snarling monster. Her blue eyes widen in terror as the scorching beast bubbled then ruptured like a water balloon, hundreds of rabid bats flew out of its putrid gut. They swarmed, biting at her, but the vampire blood that coursed her veins made her flesh numb to the pain that was being inflicted upon her. She waved her hands frantically knocking them away.
Aether realized the gems can be used as weapons in her photo-kinetic hands. So she hauled The Chimera of Isis from her pocket and pointed the magnificent charm at the half-dozen beasts as they charged aggressively out of the fields directly towards her. Her kinetically charged hands ignited the amulet; a beam of rubicund, emerald, sapphire and silver beamed out of the amulet. And just like a searing laser, she bade her magic and incinerated the hell-beast by the handfuls; the beams ripped the beastly minion’s flesh to shreds. Tara, Eric, and Jessica fought vigilantly, all the while making sure Willa and Lettie remained hidden.
Absalom, in her true unsightly form, emerged from the dark skies, hovering high above. The Evil One couldn’t believe that Aether was still fighting. Livid, she’d used the majority of her dark-energy, the malevolent entity let out an earsplitting roar, causing her inept beast to retreat in fear. She too would need to retreat soon and replenish her powers. She wanted Aether’s soul, but she knew better, Aether had the Chimera of Isis; her sister’s charm would rip her to pieces. Without caveat, the malicious deity teleported and grabbed Jessica by the neck, digging her claws into her throat causing her to drop her gem. If she couldn’t have Aether’s soul, she would take another one of her progeny’s in her place. With one swift twist, she snapped Jessica’s neck.
Tara had no time to react. Jessica died instantly; Absalom dropped her lifeless body allowing it to collapsed to the ground.
“NOOOOOOOOO..!” Tara let out a gut-wrenching shriek as she aimed and blasted the Chimera, but Absalom and her revolting scent had already turned into a black mist and disappeared. Curtly, the grounds quaked and cracked open; orange-red lava fissures bubbled and shot up from the depths. Plumes of gray and black clouds soared up and gathered into the developing stormy skies. Willa approached Jessica and fell to her knees. Solemnly she bundled Jessica’s lifeless body in her arms. The young brunette sobbed inconsolably. Lettie wrapped her arms around Willa’s shoulders as they waited for Jessica to reanimate.
“COME BACK AND FIGHT MEEEEEE!” Tara screamed at the top of her lungs; she didn’t understand what just happened. “COME BACK AND KNUCKLE UP WITH ME- YOU EVIL -SMELLY CUNT,” She shrieked wildly while jumping up and down, her blood boiled with rage, and she roared. “AARRRGGGGGHHHH...You killed my mother...my friends... BITCH I’M GONNA FUCK YOU UP!”
“Tara...” Aether’s heart sunk as she turned to the sound of Jessica’s sweet voice calling out to her. The sight of the slain girl tore her heart into pieces and she dropped to her knees in front of her progeny, “I’m so sorry Jessica” Tara bawled despairingly.
“You have nothing to be sorry for... I chose to do this, I knew the risk.”
“But, I’m supposed to protect you...” Tara wept as Lettie wrapped her arms around her child pulling her back to her feet, “...all of you ...and I failed, I’m a failure.”
“You’re a leader- a kick-ass Aether; I should never have doubted that.” Jessica amended, as she neared her goddess, placing, comforting hands on her weary shoulders. “Tara, please give Holly’s emerald to my mother, she’ll love it, being an Irish Wiccan and all.” She chuckled at the thought. “And please, please ask Ruby Jean to summon me, so I can say my final goodbye.”
Tara wiped her smudged eyes and nodded. “I promise I’ll do just that...Jessica...you’re amazing...If it weren’t for you...” Tara sniffled, her voice hitched, she was so taken with sorrow -anger she couldn’t think. “I’ll make Absalom pay...”
“Absalom is resting, and it doesn’t take long for her replenish,” Jessica warned.
“And I shall be ready to kill the vile beast.” Eric rumbled out, still in his fury filled trance.
“She needs to die, here, now.” Tara agreed.
“If I were you, I’d wait till I had home-field advantage.” Jessica wisely advised. Tara nodded and closed the space between them; she held her favorite progeny in a firm hug. And after a few tender moments, Aether was ready. She put Holly’s gem in her pocket and placed the Chimera of Isis around her neck. Jessica took Willa’s hand- and then she instructed her to take Lettie’s hand- and asked Lettie to take Tara’s hand -and Tara took Eric’s hand. “Okay, Tara, Willa, repeat after me... “Portam ad seniores per praeconem regnum amisit animas in lucem...” The two witches and Aether chanted several times.
Tara felt a thumping on her chest and realized that the amulet was beaming its vibrant laser lights. “Portam ad seniores per praeconem regnum amisit animas in lucem...” A clanking sound resonated; out of nowhere, the group was nearly blinded by pure white light. “Potam ad seniores per praeconem regnum amisit animas in lucem...”
The familiar voices of The Elders chimed harmoniously. “Welcome Sprites.” Aether’s left hand felt a prickling zap, it was not painful, but it certainly took her by surprise. She instinctively jerked her hand and looked to see what had happened. Tara gasped in disbelief. Lettie Mae had materialized into a bright orb of beautiful white light, as did Willa and Jessica.
Lettie Mae Thornton, Jessica Lynn Hamby, and Willa Ann Burrell’s radiant light-sphere floated sporadically around me. I could feel the warmth and happiness of their now free souls.
“I love you Tara Mae” Lettie sang, as her orb floated slowly into the warmness of the light realm. Jessica and Willa’s orbs buzzed and whirred around; giggles echoed as the basketball-sized orbs playfully chased each another.
They entered a place of peace and solace. My mother, even though she is not a witch, is accepted because she is the mother of one. Her soul will reside with Holly, Isabelle and all the others, no longer will they suffer on Earth, but they will always be there to watch over and guide us.
The Elders chanted, “Luxta portas.” Over and over again, I realized they were opening another portal.
With our hands gripped tightly, Eric and I slowly pace towards the light. Before we can enter the brilliant white room, the scene changes and we are plunged into the familiar deep, dark vast ocean of my dreams. Eric and I are swimming around with the illuminated sea creatures. Instinctively, we start swimming up. The whole time, I’m watching Eric who is just a stone’s throw away, like me, he is such a graceful swimmer. But as we neared the surface, I could see the concern on his face. It was daylight and the sun was shining brightly. Isabelle and Holly’s voices sang out to us.
“We are always with you. Both of you, in darkness and in light...” Suddenly, we shot out of the water like a missile. Eric and I land with a hard thud on the lawn where the witch hunter’s mansion used to be.