Flame in the Dark

Chapter 3

Arthur Knight woke up at five o’clock in the morning. He had been doing it every day for over 15 years, since the old esoteric master had taught him meditation with the mandala as a greeting for every coming day. The nude bald man was sitting on the floor and the tablet with large circle radiating in all colors of the rainbow was placed before him. The mandala let the man communicate with his spiritual inner life, with intuition thanks to which he was able to sense every energy penetrating physical reality. He was able to use the help of good spirits travelling in his surroundings as well as to protect himself against demons and other manifestations of bad energy. His meditation was not successful, exactly the same way as in the previous night in the hotel. The aura of the demon having power over the land was too dark to be evaporated by a delicate light of the Knight’s soul, leading the man to positive mood. He knew that he would have to act quickly and efficiently so that the city wasn’t irremediably contaminated. A thought of Rei Hino, the girl he had met the day before, helped the bald man to the return to the reality. The demon hunter was very interesting whether the girl recovered and what her frame of mind was. He decided to meet with her as soon as possible to talk longer and find the cause of her amnesia or deduce where she could become infected with a magic virus. The man got up off the floor, came to the tablet with the mandala and covered it carefully with white linen. He stood by the opened window, watching the place on the street where he had got rid of one of the strange, colorful procession participants. After morning meditation, Dale Knight checked the weapon which he had never parted with. The handgun made of the metal alloy found in the meteorite which had fallen down in the very heart of the Sahara desert centuries ago, was in a perfect state. The hunter would never let even one scratch appear on its surface. Every bullet of the gun carried the inscription in some forgotten language, the charm connected with it, being able to pierce through magic illusions and destroy what should not belong to the material world. The man was dissatisfied, because he could not control his emotions in the night, which resulted in wasting one of precious bullets on insignificant pawn of the evil power which he was supposed to fight in the near future. There was a fine weather outside, therefore the bald man decided to leave the building. Having taken the loaded weapon, he left tight walls of the hotel accommodation. He was in a garden situated right before the entry to the dining room. The slight wind waved leaves of trees and bushes growing there and calming sounds of the mountain stream sounded from a distance. Dale put the sunglasses on, which was supposed to protect him from rays of the Sun radiating from behind clouds. The place in which he stayed was looking common all the way to pain and didn’t point at all bizarre events which he witnessed since he had crossed border of small town. Arthur knew only that the black-haired girl was a key for solving the riddle surrounding him.

Arthur Knight spent almost an hour on contemplations. Sleepy figures of people from the hotel were walking from the dining room toward hills which were the only tourist attraction of that place. The man noticed the girl approaching him. Rei was pale and looked weakened, but in spite of it she gently smiled seeing her new acquaintance.

“Sit down here.” The bald man suggested pointing at the empty chair. Rei willingly fulfilled his request.

“Thank you for the yesterday’s help”. She said looking at black glasses of the man.

“No problem. How are you feeling?”

" It really had a good effect on me, what you gave me to drink. Fever subsided and all pains eased off. I’m feeling faint very much and I completely don’t have an appetite. But... thank you one more time “.

“Don’t thank me. You’re the key to defeating my enemy and therefore I must protect you.” Knight announced simultaneously taking glasses off.

“I don’t understand what my role is in everything, but I think I can trust you. I’ll listen what you have to the say and I’ll help you to learn what is really happening here.”

“I’m glad we reached an agreement so quickly. Do you want something to drink, to eat?”

“I said that I didn’t have an appetite. I’ll wait another few hours”.

“Please yourself.”

“Listen... the thing you gave me... did it destroy this virus? Am I already healthy?” The girl asked gripping the pen to the transformation in her hand.

“You aren’t! The virus is only put to sleep! I told you about it last night! Weren’t you listening?”

“I had forty degrees Celsius of fever. Details of the conversation could flee me, don’t you think?”

“Right... the virus can be destroyed only by its creator if he have the willingness to do it, or it disappears along with the creator after his death. Otherwise it won’t be possible to destroy it. Therefore please forget about using your powers and avoid the contact with physical demonstrations of the demon like the plague. Unless you want to lose your mind.”

“Why do you know so much about this virus? And how can you be sure that exactly this one attacked me?”

“I’ve seen a lot of similar cases during my travels. I’ve seen the man destroyed by this virus, it wasn’t too pleasant view. I’m sure, because I feel its intensifying energy in you, the same as in that poor wretch a lot of years ago.”

“What happened to him?” Rei asked interested.

“You don’t want to know.” Dale replied unwillingly putting his black glasses on.

“And you don’t want to tell me.“The girl knew that the man was not going to tell her anything and she didn’t feel like listening to about what kind of excruciating torments could meet her. She looked at the fat woman opening windows of the dining room. Heat air approached the surroundings of the hotel like every other day of the black-haired girl’s visit.

“If you want me to cooperate with you, you must tell me much more. Everything you know. Starting with, how you knew about my secret and how you were able to communicate with me through the vision. I don’t like situations in which somebody knows everything, is hiding secrets and I don’t have a clue about what is happening around me.”

“Yesterday’s night, your memory had to be really not in the best shape. I told you how I got in touch with you. I looked into memories of the demon and I saw faces of the ones who he had seen a moment after his awakening. This demon has the ability to notice the truth and therefore he realized that an aura of the ancient energy had surrounded you, although you hadn’t woken up then. Am I right?”

“Yes. And how you got in touch with me? Are you a telepath?”

“No... nothing of the kind. Does any bald guy must be a telepath?” The man announced pointing at his shining skin on the skull.

“I have a spark of the Living Flame from Mars, spark from the magnificent temple ascending in red sands in ancient times of the Golden Millennium. I got in touch with other spark of this being inside you.”

“You’re uninformed.” Rei replied laughing.

“You probably meant the Silver Millennium. You supposedly know very well who I am but you’re making such mistakes.” She added.

“It’s you who is uninformed. Have you even thought where the power of your magic and your friends’ came from? Didn’t you wonder why your earlier incarnations had such things as never-ending energy sources, corridors leading through the time and space? The Silver Millennium was only a shadow of more wonderful age, echo of inter-dimensional kingdom which brought time, space, energy and life under control. Don’t you have occasionally dreams about the power, calling from the world forgotten a long time ago? The Martian Fire is one of miracles born in those times. It’s a living being, cosmic awareness crossing border of the space and time. Unfortunately only sparks of its beauty survived in our aeon. You’re lucky to have one inside yourself.”

“I don’t believe in what you’re talking about. I think that you’re inventing that’s all now. It’s just nice vocabulary and fairly good imagination.”

Dale got up from a chair, went around the table in order to be as close as possible to girl. Rei turned in the direction of his face.

“You’ve seen so much and you don’t want to believe your own past.” He said.

“When you’re alone in the dark room, ask the fire in your mind to tell you about times lost long ago. You’ll become convinced that I’m telling the truth.” He added. The man returned to his chair. He looked at the face of black-haired girl with stern eyesight.

“And have a serious talk with one of you. She isn’t telling you the whole truth. She has never said it.”

Rei didn’t want to continue discussion about her past incarnations and present acquaintances with the man which she got to know a few hours earlier. She knew that he had been an unusual man because he helped her using means which she didn’t understand. However the ancient history of the doubtful genuineness wasn’t subject of the first importance. Her amnesia, the bizarre procession marching through that small town and the demon which supposedly was responsible for everything. Stopping him was important for the girl, because she considered herself to be the guardian protecting the planet from that kind of dangers.

“Well. Let us leave it at the moment, because there are urgent matters. What are we dealing with? What do you know about this demon?”

“Very Little. Telling the truth, I’ve never met him personally. As a matter of fact I am not sure, whether he has any material form. I met only his manifestation, the man named Matheus. I came across him in Europe, he was travelling with the circus group, you know, bearded lady, some strongman, a few animals, nothing really interesting. As it turned out he kidnapped children from the city to the purpose known only to himself. I managed to defeat him easily, but then I was really surprised. His troupe wasn’t real, they dissolved into thin air as soon as this shit of a man lost consciousness. I discovered that children and all other people who were in contact with him had lost contact with the world, they looked as if somebody excised their minds.

“Or stole their souls.” The girl butted in.

“Exactly. What’s more Matheus was also in the same state. Exorcisms that I learnt in the Vatican at one time betrayed something even more unusual. The guy was under the influence of some very dangerous demon, the being from the ancient world. I had a momentary insight into the mind of this creature, I saw the moment of his new awakening and the attempt to take over the control of three of children. I’ve seen you, Rei.”

“Firstly, I don’t remember that event. Secondly, you said a moment ago, that everyone who that monster touched lost their personality. I somehow feel and think normally, something’s not right here.”

“Perhaps you were protected by the Martian Flame? Perhaps this demon wasn’t able to control you?”

“Perhaps it was exactly like this.”

“Tell me what happened after you arrived in this small town?”

“That’s really strange. It all started that, going in the heavy rain to the hotel, I passed some house in which the old woman waited for her granddaughter. Nothing interesting, but the following day started taking a bizarre turn. I met some boy who claimed that I had known him in the childhood and I spent lot of time with him. He met me in the second day of my visit here, isn’t it strange? It turned out that the house which I saw at the night had been in fact vacated and there was no old woman in it. Later at the night I saw the bizarre procession and I heard somebody calling my name. And later, you know what I did, because you tracked me all the time.”

“This boy whom you’re talking about, is he the same whom you escaped with from me?”

“Yes, that’s him. I thought that you were some pervert.”

“He appeared in the right time and appropriate place to meet you. Isn’t it at least strange?”

“Coincidences are happening.” The girl answered looking at clouds moving all over the sky.

“I don’t believe in them.” The bald man replied.

“Don’t you think that he is associated with everything what’s going on?” He added.

“I don’t know... he seems completely normal. But from the other hand, the day before the procession’s night he insisted that I closed a window and took a sleeping pill. As if he knew, what I could have seen if I was not sleeping. As if he wanted to protect me from something. Apart from that, he led me to some abandoned funfair in the first day. The funfair and the parade of circus freaks in one day, don’t you think it’s not a coincidence?”

“As I said, I don’t believe in coincidences. You must pay attention to that boy, until you know whom you’re really dealing with. What will you do now?”

“I’ll go to house of this old lady, I’ll look around there, perhaps I’ll find some clues.”

“And if I say it’s dangerous too for you, will you listen and won’t go there?”

“No. You know it.” The girl answered.

“And then I’ll meet with Masanori and I’ll press him to tell me about the past.” She added,

“Ok. But I’ll go to this hovel with you. I have already rescued your butt once, better if this time I’ll be closer.”

“Please yourself.” Rei peeled off from the table. She turned to the bald man just to disappear in a front door to the hotel a minute later.

“We’ll meet in half an hour.” She said heading to the stairwell.

Rei, prepared for the meeting with the unknown and armed in the box of ofuda and Dale Arthur Knight keeping her company approached the old house in which Rei sheltered a few days earlier during the rain and met the mysterious old woman. The Sun then was hanging high above the horizon pouring the unpleasant heat over the small town. Dale stood under the tree so that coolness of the shadow secured his bald pate from hot rays.

“Is it here? Are you sure?” He asked.

“Yes. I have been here twice.”

“It looks like abandoned for ages. We must look around.”

“How are you going to get inside?” The girl asked looking at old walls covered with green plants.

“Like this.” Knight replied coming up to the door. He broke the rust-eaten padlock with strong movement of the hand. It fell down on the pavement smashing into few parts. The man quickly got to the interior of the homestead taking the handgun out. The girl cautiously followed his track. The inside of the house stank of the old age, it was dark because windows were covered with wooden boards. Webs covered everything with a coarse layer of dust.

“What a mess. The man walked away and the nature returned.” Arthur commented on the inside of the flat.

“Exactly. Why do you need a handgun?” Rei asked pointing at the weapon of the man.

“We don’t know what to expect.” The bald man replied.

“But handgun, against the demon?”

“Its bullets have spells engraved. They won’t destroy him, but they will inflict fairly good pain on him.”

Rei went to the door leading to the next room. There was even darker and dirtier than in the room which she left a moment ago. The girl came up to the desk standing by the wall, removing jumbles of dust and webs from her way. She noticed the frame with image of some girl with blonde hair. She watched the picture closely and her eyes widened from amazement.

“I know her... I remember her... I don’t know how it’s possible, but I remember her...” She said looking at her companion. The girl in a photo with blue eyes and fair hair was smiling radiantly.

“Leave it on its place. We don’t know what we’re dealing with.” Dale gave Rei an advice.

“Look at these.” He said pointing at wall full of cuttings from newspapers. The black-haired girl read headlines of articles carefully. “Tragedy in the funfair. Tragic death of the child at the park.” “The accident with children involved. One lost her life.” All of them were written the similar tone and concerned the same event. Rei looked around having noticed that she was in a children’s room. A doll resembling a small child sat on the bed. She had golden, curly hair and blue eyes identically as the girl from the photograph. She was dressed in the same blue dress. Rei rested her hands against the dusty top of the desk.

“Let us leave from here. This place is filling me with fear and sadness.” She said.

“A terrible tragedy took place here. Or a more than one tragedies. Walls are leaked with tears.” Dale added. After a quick visit in the kitchen and the bathroom, also filled by spiders building their structures and dust settling on them, both decided to enter the biggest room of the house. Seeing what was hidden behind his door, Knight impulsively tightened the hand on the weapon and ordered the girl to hide behind his back. In the middle of the room old, baked candles and books with almost entirely burnt sheets lay. A circle surrounding other geometrical symbols was drawn on the floor. It was known immediately, that some dark and forbidden ritual had been conducted there.

“What did happen here? Did somebody invited the demon to this world here?” Rei asked preparing her sheets with spells.

“No. This is a zone of the transformation rather than a gate. Somebody was subjected to the transformation here. It can even be not associated with what we’re looking for. And hide your ofuda. I said, you should still not use them.”

“Ok, ok...” Rei agreed unwillingly.

“Did you find something what could explain a meeting with the apparition?” She asked.

“No, but we certainly know that some girl died and somebody could not be reconciled with it. Perhaps it pushed that woman to establish contact with the demon and invite him to this world. Or maybe the demon was responsible for the death of the child and the woman used the magic, changed into something horrible only in order to take a revenge on him.”

“More riddles appeared and there are no answers.” Reu summed the entire conversation up.

“Yes, let us leave from here, because as you told before, this place is saturated with sadness and tears. And maybe with a great hate also.”

When they both left the hovel, the noonday sun reigning over the city greeted them.

“Now I’ll try to meet with Masanori and question him about everything he knows. I hope that he won’t be cheating me.”

“Do you want him to guard you?”

“Common, it’s only one boy.”

“Appearances can be deceptive, you can be in a danger.”

“No. I don’t want him to see you. He thinks you are a pervert who was looking at me all the time. It’ll be better, if I meet with him alone.”

“All right. Please yourself. But be vigilant. And you must return to a hotel before with night, otherwise I won’t be able to protect you.”

“All right.” Rei left the man and took the mobile phone out and tried to call the number which the day before she got from the boy.

“Masanori? Is it you?” She asked, when somebody spoke on the other side of line.

“Listen, can we meet today?”

“Rei, I’m pleased that you’re calling. When?” The boy answered her.

“I don’t know, but as soon as possible. I must talk with you about something very important.”

“Yeah okay, can you come to my home?”

“And how I am supposed to know where you live!? I was never there.” The girl said aloud. Some women looked at her suprised.

“Rei... yes... after all you forgot about everything... where are you now?”

“In front of the house of the old woman, close to the café in which we met recently.”

“Get on into the bus. There is only one line here so you won’t get lost. Get off on the fourth stop. I will be waiting for you. Thanks for calling.”

“Ok see you later.” - Rei replied finishing the call. She came up to the bus stop as Masanori instructed her. She waited for the bus a dozen minutes, hiding from a heat of the sun under a little wooden shade of the stop. The girl thought about what she had seen in the vacated house of old woman, she tried to remember the face of the child with golden hair which she had met in her dream of the previous night. The bus drove up close the stop immediately opening the door. The driver leaned out of a window in order to urge Rei lost in contemplation.

“Are you getting on, or not?” He said waving the hand.

“Yes.. yes, I’m sorry.” The girl quickly ran into the interior of the vehicle. There was a heat there the same as on the street and there was horrible stuffiness in addition. Rei noticed, that only one old woman travelled by bus apart from her and the driver. The girl sat down on the second end of the vehicle. She didn’t feel like talking with anybody, therefore she preferred to keep such a distance from the stranger that the probability of the accidental chat was as lowest as possible. She sighed remembering her long and inconvenient journey to the small town. She was counting stops passed by the machine, expecting the one which had any meaning for her. She looked through the pane seeking the familiar face of the boy. After a dozen minutes, she saw the familiar view which meant that she had reached her destination. She left the tin inside with hot microclimate difficult to withstand and found herself in the open air where, as it turned out, a gentle wind bringing relief for everyone bathed in summer heat.

“Hi Rei! You found me quickly!” Masanori came up to the girl.

“It wasn’t difficult.”

“How are you?” The boy asked expressing a concern.

“Much better than yesterday. Probably I will get well soon.”

“It’s great.”

“Masanori, we must talk about something. It’s very important.”

“Okay, you told me a moment ago. We’ll go to my home and you’ll tell me everything, okay?”

“All right, since I arrived here in this hot box, I have no choice. Do you live a far away from here?”

“No, no far. A few minutes of a walk. Come with me.”

Masanori and Rei very quickly reached the flat of the boy. The girl looked around noticing nothing unusual. She could see the standard furniture: table, chairs, bed, some cupboard with books. The boy asked her to sit down on the sofa and went to the kitchen to take something for drinking. When he came back, he joined the girl.

“Thanks, for visiting me.”

“You’ll say I should know this place because I met you here when we were children?”

“No, rather not. You were never here earlier. Or at least I don’t remember it.”

Rei was overjoyed hearing his comment. After a moment she grew more serious.

“Masanori, I’m sorry, but I must know. Answer my questions, please.” She said.

“Of course, what would you like to know?” Masanori asked not expecting what exactly the girl meant.

“Our meeting in the first day of my visit here, it wasn’t a coincidence, right?”

“What’s the problem? Certainly it was a coincidence. How was I supposed to know that you turned up in our city?” The boy answered laughing.

“I don’t believe in coincidences. Why did you order me to fall asleep and close the window in the night? Why did you react so strange when I told you about my dream? What is happening here Masanori? What are you hiding from me? Please, answer me because I don’t have a time for this.” The black-haired boy rose from the couch.

“Rei! Do you feel well? What are you talking about?”

“You knew what could happen at night. Did you know about the bizarre procession, who are they? Where are they come from?” The girl rose from the couch. She started being anxious.

“Rei, what’s going on?” Masanori was worried about mental condition of his friend.

“Who was the girl who played with us? What happened with her? Did she live in this abandoned house? What happened when we were children?”

“Rei, I like you because I have excellent memories from the childhood concerning you. But this time you really went over the edge. Let us change the subject, please.”

“I won’t change it! Yesterday I experienced the hell after the contact with this procession. Last night I was ill, terribly ill and anything could have happened if somebody didn’t help me. And you warned me against the cold at night. Did you want to tell me something, to warn me?”

“Rei, enough! I didn’t know that you had trouble with the head but I won’t let you chat about such nonsense in my house and directed at me. I don’t feel like talking to you any longer. Really. Rei, leave my house, please.” The boy said very firmly. Rei noticed bother in his voice.

“Okay, please yourself. I’ll learn what is going on with your help or without. Goodbye and thanks for the yesterday’s meeting in the café. I thought that we’ll be able to become friends, but... I’m sometimes wrong about people” The girl came up to the door.

“Don’t come to me anymore.” Masanori said. to her

“I don’t have such an intention.” Rei concluded conversation and left the flat of the boy. Masanori leaned against the door.

“I tried to protect you, you stupid...” He muttered out of clenched teeth.

Rei lay on the back looking at the ceiling. She could not fall asleep again. Her insomnia could have a few causes, starting from the most down-to-earth as the hot, summer night not giving a respite, irritation resulting from everything what happened to her recently, in particular from the conversation with her old acquaintance, up to supernatural causes like influence of the demon living somewhere in the neighborhood or illnesses, which could be dangerous to her life, even in dormant state. The girl occupied her mind with looking at shadows of trees moving on walls and ceiling to the rhythm of the wind, naming them and giving them meanings. She didn’t want to watch the strange play of light behind the window, to listen to the blood-curdling rhyme and whispers repeating her name. She hoped that the bizarre phenomenon wouldn’t appear in the consecutive night. She remembered the morning conversation with Arthur about the Golden Millennium and the Martian Living Flame. She smiled at the very thought, how the man thought such nonsense up, but after a moment she realized that since he knew about her abilities and the past a grain of truth could be in his story. She remembered how the bald man mentioned the spark of the Martian flame which inside her. This fire was supposed to be a living being, crossing border of time and space. Maybe thanks to it he had preternatural abilities, visions about what was going to happen, prophetic dreams? Maybe thanks to it she was able to see what was imperceptible for others even before her first transformation? Dale also said that during a meditation she will be able to reach the fire in her, will be able to talk with it, to get to know it better. The girl had meditated a lot of times, but she hadn’t thought about her fire as of the living being, she had never tried to establish the dialogue with it. She closed eyes trying to be caught into the trance, to go deep into herself, to reach the spark which was supposed to exist somewhere deep inside her soul. She silenced the mind from all thoughts, dissociated herself from aural stimuli seeking from behind the window and from the inside other rooms in the hotel. She imagined herself nude and afloat in the boundless emptiness, filled up with coolness contrasting with the warmth surrounding the physical her body. The integrity of her mind was brought under control by one thought: getting the spark of the Flame from her inside and establishing contact with it. After a moment of dragging on and on, completely nothing happened. Rei was stubborn, it didn’t stop her meditation and she succeeded. A glitter appeared under her hands, in the place of her heart,. At first little and shapeless, it very quickly assumed the living-red form of the burning charlock. Rei felt clearly someone’s presence, closeness of some disembodied intelligence.

“Who are you? Were you with me all the time? Did you keep me company the entire life?” She asked. The fire gently glittered lightening the space up around the body of the girl. In the same moment visions started flowing into Rei’s mind, images of the past. She could see herself hurling a fireball, watched the fire bird flying to her opponent. She felt fiery disks being formed in her hands, her muscles of hands reacted as if she drew an ardent bow. She remembered all her spells and then she realized that she had known that the fire which she used as the weapon was much more than only offensive charm, it was a part of some ancient esoterics, which died aeons ago.

“Now I understand.” She said smiling to herself. Knight didn’t cheat her. The story about the Golden Millennium could also turn out to be the truth.

“You really can you see beyond the time and space?” She asked herself groping for an answer in the subconscious.

“If yes, show me please what happened when I was a little girl. What did I do in this city many years ago? I must know the truth.” She said plunging hands in the flame dancing before her face. She heard the strange signal, electronic sound coming from a distance, somewhere from a world apart. Sound was becoming louder and louder until it reached the flame, blowing it like a strong gale. Rei violently got back to reality. Shaking the temporary confusion off, she realized that sound had had a very down-to-earth source. Her mobile phone rang on the desk. When the girl took it, it turned out that Masanori wanted to get in touch with her.

“It’s the middle of the night!” The girl wasn’t too pleased with interruption of the contemplative trance.

“Rei, you must listen to me! You are in great danger! I didn’t tell you the whole truth, I didn’t tell you what actually had happened in the park then! This woman... this woman wants to take revenge on you! It is she who planned everything... I was a part of it... Rei, forgive me please!”

“What woman? What are you talking about? Talk more slowly, because I can’t understand you!”

“There’s no time! Rei, they are already here! Your arrival began everything, it’s not possible to stop it! Rei, escape when you still can! Rei...” The telephone connection with the boy was severed. The girl didn’t know what to do. She was afraid that Masanori had been in danger, she didn’t want something bad to happen to him, even after her earlier meeting with him. She was a woman-warrior, she could not avoid the fight only because of being afraid of exposing herself to the magic attack by the virus, asleep deep in her body. She took the rucksack with magic sheets and ran out of the room, not even troubling with closing the door. It was before eleventh at night, therefore the girl hoped that she would manage to catch the bus and to reach the flat of the boy in time. She ran through the landscape plunged into darkness full of street lamp casting columns of a cold light on the pavement and puddles in which neon lights of nearby cafés were mirrored. Surroundings were abandoned, Rei saw only two personal cars passing by. In the same time, Dale Knight led with his old instinct decided to check what happened with his new friend. When he reached the level on which her room was , he clenched fists with an anger. The opened door announced that the girl hadn’t listened to his warnings and alone left the hotel at night.

“Fuck! You idiot!” He swore coming back for his weapon.

The big bus stopped by the bus stop and Rei quickly took the place on one of seats at the very end of the vehicle. This time she was a lonely passenger. She was looking at surroundings through the dirty pane on which glitter of the lamp shone every couple of minutes. The journey lasted longer than in the day, but perhaps it was only her imagination. Looking out of the window, Rei noticed the landscape she had before her very eyes didn’t resemble what she had remembered from the day before. It was darker because the vehicle moved to peripheries of the small town, covered by thick forests. The girl became nervous, she rose from the chair and ran up to the driver.

“Excuse me, but I think that this is the bus going to the city, has something changed?” She asked. At the same moment the driver turned to her and it turned out that he had a head of a hen. The girl moved back a few steps.

“Damn it! I stepped right in the shit.” She thought.

The driver started jabbering at her and the door of the vehicle opened. The girl didn’t know what to do, but urging of the strange bird man caused, that she quickly went outside. She had two possibilities: come back to the bus and to the strange being sitting behind its steering wheel, or to travel into the unknown into the very heart of dark forest. She decided on the second alternative, knowing that the confrontation with the cock-man could lead to a magic fight which she was afraid of. Going along the path, the girl made herself aware, that the landscape had been strangely familiar to her. After a moment she recalled her dream. She remembered how she had been chasing some small girl escaping in dimwits along thicket. Everything seemed t very realistic to her then, as if chased her in reality, in some kind of trance rather than in a dream. She stated in astonishment that the track extremely had reminded surroundings which she dreamt of. She recalled the continuation of her nightmare. She knew that the dream could turn out to be prophetic, but she didn’t stop heading ahead. It turned out that she had reached the entry to the abandoned funfair, but she noticed soon that it hadn’t been so abandoned. When the girl crossed the gate, lights on the merry-go-round standing in the distance went on, similarly to the lighting of the big Ferris wheel and breaking down ruins of roller coaster. A music started coming from the inside of wooden attractions, the street hubbub, the laughter of children and adults, calling of some employee. Everything was acoustically revived, took on new color amongst blackness of the night. Unfortunately voices were only what senses of the girl registered, not a single one man appeared around her as sound effects were broadcasted from the tape recorder hidden somewhere. It turned out that Rei wasn’t alone, mysterious figures started approaching her from various parts of the park. The girl noticed the very fat woman with a beard, the muscleman with shaved head and strange crooked facial expression, the very short woman in the white dress holding the two-headed dog, a few clowns dressed in shredded uniforms, looking at black-haired girl from under stuck, round noses, the three-legged dancer smoking cigarettes, fire-eaters and jugglers dancing in the distance. The girl knew that these unusual characters didn’t have a good intentions towards her. She took the ofuda out of the rucksack preparing for the defense. One of clowns and the obese woman were approaching her closer and closer, they almost touched her body.

“Rin, pyou...: She wanted to attack them with her spell, but she felt a great headache. She fell down on her knees clutching her forehead and her rucksack along with magic sheets landed in a mud. Figures approached her at arm’s length distance, they started surrounding her, swinging as if they wanted to invite her for some bizarre play. A confusion ruled in Rei’s head, thoughts swarmed her one after the other. The girl could hear somebody repeating her name, rhyme deprived of any meaning whispered by children’s chorus.

“I could listen to Knight.” She thought.

At the same time, the bald hunter of demons knocked at Masanori’s door. He stood beneath his flat, hitting the door louder and louder. He had to meet with the boy and decided that he won’t stop until Masanori wakes up. He was ready to destroy the door only to get inside. Masanori opened the door after a few minutes.

“What’s the problem? Who are you man? Don’t you know which hour is?” He asked sleepy.

“Where is Hino Rei?” Dale asked.

“Who? And where do you know her from? Where do you know me from?” Masanori was surprised very much or only pretended the ignorance.

“I have no time for chat? She is in a great danger! She can even die and everything because of you!”

“I don’t know what you are talking about man! Leave me alone!” The boy shouted trying to close the door and get rid of the intruder.

to get rid of the intruder.

“You called her in the middle of the night cheating her! Don’t pretend innocent, I have everything recorded!” Arthur didn’t give up.

“I know about everything!” He added. Masanori looked very confused. He didn’t know how to behave and tears appeared in his eyes.

“You understand nothing! I had to do it, I had to... the cycle had to end, otherwise she didn’t let me live normally! I couldn’t bear it anymore!” The boy covered his face with hands.

“Ok. End of chatting! You’re going with me and you’ll show me where she is, understood?” The bald man said very loudly. He didn’t hide big dislike which he felt to the boy.

“No, you understand nothing! I cannot go there!”

“We misunderstood ourselves .. , it’s not a request!” Knight got the boy out of the flat and headed to the direction of a stairwell.

Rei, overcoming the headache and tens of voices screaming in her mind, got up. She pushed one of circus clowns. Her legs were like of cotton and everything around her whirled like on the merry-go-round. The music playing in girl’s ears became faster and louder, mad, completely deprived of the rhythm. Rei thought that the end was coming and the virus against which the bald man had warned her found its way to her brain. She smiled at the thought that she had managed to survive the invasion from the outer space, from the past and the future but was defeated by a few circus freaks. She hoped that Arthur Dale Knight soon would avenge her and kill everyone from the bizarre group.

Dale and Masanori, sitting in bald man’s jeep, approached the bus parked on the edge of forest. The man with a rooster head on his shoulders appeared on their road. He crowed trying to frighten them, but instead of it Dale increased the speed of the machine. Man-bird had to jump away into bushes in order to save himself from the fast death. Rei kneeled on the dirty earth and the group of bizarre figures gathered around her. Their faces moved in front of eyes of the girl like images on the film destroyed by the time and the music, laughers and voices in her head increased, driving her own thoughts.

“What is really going on?” She thought, when a river of tears started to flow in eyes. At the same moment the bald man’s jeep appeared. Masanori looked around. He got scared seeing figures which were permanent residents of his nightmares and colorful, bright scenery of ruins caused that he had felt like bolting. Knight ran out of the car.

“Leave behind her alone, you sons of a bitch!” He shouted taking the weapon out.

“I said leave behind alone!” He aimed to one of fat clowns and pulled the trigger. The circus clown was pierced with the magic bullet and fell down dead. Arthur fired the second time, this time at the fire-eater. The wounded figure reeled and exploded with a bright flame moment later. Circus freaks terrified with the sudden death of the friend moved away from Rei. The part of them fled in a panic, hiding behind wooden buildings.

“What are you waiting for!” The bald man shouted to Masanori who was observing everything what happened around him without the smallest movement.

“Go to her! We must get out of here!” He screamed again. Masanori came up to the girl, helped her to get up and then led her to the car. Dale looked at the black-haired.

“Rei, what is happening to you?” Masanori asked. She didn’t answer him, she even didn’t look at his side hiding the eyes behind black hair.

“What happened to her!?” Masanori turned to the hunter.

“The influence of the evil magic reached her brain. Perhaps we arrived a whit too late.” The bald man replied watching how Rei was covering her face by hands as if she wanted to escape somewhere or to hide in front of the entire world. The Dale’s man started the return route leaving bizarre lights and voices of the park of entertainment, revived by some very dark, ancient power, behind. Rei had dancing faces of bizarrely looking people before her very eyes and her mind was filled up by the cacophony of sounds amongst which her own name sounded repeatedly.

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