The Beginning of the End
In this time
In this place
A curse that binds
Is now erased
Magicks to those who are to stand
Protecting all the ones they can
The Darkness now will walk free
As it will, so mote it be
Redwoods National Park, California
The candles set around the circle and as the child stepped to the edge of the large stone clearing the flames burst to life. Her innocence bloomed with wonder as she sat in the clearing of the forest relishing her new ability. A secret she hasn’t shared.
Her mother would be worried, her father would be mad. This trip was to be about the family but she knew more than she had been told. He was leaving them after they broke the news to the others. She knew this, not because she heard them talking, not because she was told. She saw it happen before it happened. The shadow man told her only she could stop it.
Not wanting to lose her family, the small child did what the man in the shadows said to stop this change. She brought the candles, cleared the circle and said the words. Only then would they be together.
With her rear on the ground, her legs tucked to her side she played with the flames. Growing them high, up to the top of the trees then down to barely a spark. The giggles of excitement bubbled through her filling her with the thrill of her new gift. She could control the flames with a thought. Something she never imagined would happen to her.
A witch, she had to be. At ten years old the small girl knew she was different. Things happened around her, especially when she was upset. She had no control over the new gift but here in this circle, in the forest she’d seen in her head, she had to work to master her power.
As her mother called for the young girl to come in, she jumped up looking around the circle, nervous that she would be in trouble if she was caught. The candles died to hiss on the wicks and the small girl stepped back to gather her things. Tripping on a root of the big redwood, she fell back and scraped her hand on a sharp rock just inside the circle.
The ripped skin on her palms bled with a single drop hitting the earth, inside the clearing right at her feet. A sudden punch of power rippled through the air, swirling around her as she watched the drop of blood soak into the soft bed of moss at her feet.
Her body twitched, the power roared in her ears while her blood pulsed loudly. Her head fell back and she stared blindly up to the sky, her body lifted just slightly from the ground to her toes as the wind began to stir around her. Arms pinned at her sides, taunt and controlled, her small body lit with a red glow as the wind cyclones around her rotating faster.
Suddenly all control was gone, everything around her closed in, a black fog rolled towards her through the trees. The child’s blue eyes turned black and her blonde hair flew back over her shoulders as the wind whipped around her. The candles lit with the wind and the girl turned to the center of the circle.
Her soft innocent voice chanted the words she’d never spoken, a voice in her head telling her it's time. Blood from the innocent has broken the curse and now as the black dog of the demon tickled her feet the beginning of the end is at hand.
“With this blood my gift to you
The time has come to collect what’s due
Fire and wind will show you the way
Earth and water won’t hold you at bay
Within this circle I am the key
As I will so mote it be.”
The wind rushed through the trees, sending her tumbling to the ground. The earth shook, as the ground seemed to change in color and texture. The hard dirt became a sticky tar, surrounding the child and holding the girl in place. Her body slowly sank into the pit. Her fear only fueled the demon that emerged. Slick and black as the tar from his hell, his body stretched out of the earth to the sky, for it had been centuries since he last saw the sun.
The candle flames rose with a wave of his hands, and seemed to flicker with his breath while the lightning struck the center of the circle. The girl crumbled to the ground, losing her fight, sinking deeper into the beasts hold. The wind howled hungry and harsh around the circle. The rain fell like sharp shards of glass, piercing everything it hit. The earth trembled so hard trees around the circle fell. The candles flame grew, lighting up the barrier and circling around him as a bold hearty laugh filled with madness and glee roared through the trees. His offering is accepted as the demon feasted on blood and bone. His time for reckoning has come.
Northern Arizona University
It was all going exactly as he hoped it would. Asher Fields got word that the scouts were here, wanting to see him play. It’s his big break to show them what he can do. Having dreamed of this moment since the first time he picked up a bat, Ash knew he was destined for the majors. How many times did he pretend the winning run was his? How many times did he believe a chance to be something bigger, better than he was, was just out of his reach?
It’s time for his dreams to come true!
The bases are loaded, and Ash is up to bat with a full count on the board. This is it, the moment he was waiting for. In his element, Ash focused on the ball. He knew he was at my best when the pressure was on.
Looking over at the bench, the guys are hanging on to the chain link fence waiting for him to score. Anticipating the next swing of the bat, they call out eagerly. Fingers are laced through the fence, eyes locked on the pitcher waiting as Asher steps back to the plate. Taking a couple practice swings, he kicks at the dirt, taps the tip of his bat on home plate and shimmy down into position.
"Good luck, baby!" His girlfriend called as he took the last practice swing.
They have been together for six months. She gets possessive of Asher when he plays and makes sure other females know he’s taken. It doesn't occur to her that players have a following of eligible ladies to choose from at a moment's notice. Not that Asher would do that. He’s a nice guy most of the time.
She doesn't trust him or anyone. The females have gotten to her on more than one occasion. Now she marks her "territory," namely Asher, every chance she gets. It's a habit that is getting old.
The pitch is let loose, the one he’s been waiting for. Asher can feel it deep in his bones. Swinging he gets a piece of it and the ball goes back into the stands.
The pitcher eyes his catcher, shaking off pitch after pitch until he gets the one he wants. The one Asher is going to send out of the park.
“You’re done, Asher. He’s gonna strike you out this time.” The catcher trash talks once again.
“Then he better take his best shot.” Ready to slam this ball over the back fence and run, Asher tightens his grip on the bat.
The ball is released from the pitchers hand. It’s a fast curveball. He tricked Asher with this pitch earlier in the game. Not this time. Keeping steady, his eyes on the ball as Asher puts everything into his swing and hits the ball hard.
There was an electric shock down his arms as Ash made contact, right in the sweet spot of the bat. There’s a bright white flash in the sky, at the same moment the roar from the crowd echoed in his ears. It was then Asher realized the ball wasn’t flying into the stands but dust at his feet.
His arms tingle with live energy, zapping through his veins and pulsing through his body. Ash’s fingers are numb and his lips are prickling. There are pins and needles throughout his body. A white glow shimmers where his hands are gripping the bat. It’s almost like he’s filled with power. Lightning is all Asher can think of. It must have hit him right when he hit the ball.
But the sky was clear, wasn’t it?
It’s only then Asher feels the opening of the light. Inside him and around him. He hears the buzzing of the bees, sees a hummingbird slowing down by the back fence. That light, that glow spreads through him, fills him and opens with a warm knowing of the earth, and the life all around him. Even the people that are in the stands and out on the field, Asher hears them screaming. He feels the fear in each one. Something is wrong. Something is coming. He has an innate sense of what is to come and what he has to do.
The voice in his head yells out. Asher looks around thinking it was someone in the stands. But the crowd is silent, staring at the darkness that is rolling over the hills. Plowing over buildings and trees, life that was there a moment ago is suddenly gone and the darkness is coming their way. A darkness that Asher will learn to fear.
The wind kicks up, blasting through the trees and stirring the dirt into tornadoes over the field. The storm moved in too fast to escape as the warm spring sun is clouded over by the darkness. It moves around the crowd, the field, Asher. It breathes on the back of his neck and tempts him to follow it into the unknown.
The rain hits Asher’s face but it is more than just a bit of water. It stings, burns his exposed skin and sears through his clothes. Hot as fire, cold and sharp as shards of ice ripping at skin like a vicious battle with a invisible God. Asher held his ground at home plate, swinging my bat at what was attacking him. He hoped to see what had caused this anomaly.
But the ground rocked as everyone rushed around in panic and confusion. Running for shelter as fast as they could, with no mind for anyone but themselves. He heard his name screamed out so loud, someone sounded so frightened and afraid from the bleachers. He turned to the sound of the voice but could only watch her face, one second there the next gone to dust. Blinking frantically to make sense of what was happening, Ash froze.
The ump pushed his shoulder, yelling at everyone to get off the field. He pushes at Asher to get to the dugout. Again and again people bumped into each other as some hurry inside to safety, others are running away in hopes of finding safer ground.
One by one Asher’s friends, teammates and opponents, disappear into the darkness as if they are swallowed up by the belly of the beast. Curling into the corner of the dugout, Asher cowered in a corner from whatever is here.
The screams in the wind will haunt him. The flashes of hot white flames burn behind his closed eyes as the earth shudders and shakes under his feet. Knocking him to the ground and frightening Asher to death. There has never been a storm like this.
Then the sky rumbled loud and angry overhead, those slivers of hot white rain turned red as blood. The fury of the storm grew more intense. No one has ever seen red rain, or this kind of light spectacle in the sky before. No one will want to see it again.
The darkness rolled through the park. Trees were silenced, the air stopped moving, thickening with moisture making it hard to breathe and then there was nothing but dark smoke and silence.
St. George Utah
The library was the only place Mira Hagen could go to study. Her family, loud and obnoxious as they are, won’t leave her alone for an hour to get her work done. This final, if aced, could get Mira into the medical school of her choice. One more semester and she will be there.
“Mira, we’re closing early today. There’s quite the storm heading our way.” The librarian who has known Mira since she was a baby breaks the news that she won’t find quiet here either.
Mira has worked incredibly hard to get to this point in her life. Her mother has had a hard life, raising four children on her own all these years. All of her children pitch in, cooking and cleaning, driving each other around and paying the bills that never end. They support each other, that’s what counts.
Knowing she should get home to the other’s and make sure everyone is okay, Mira sighs resigned to another long night of studying.
Packing up her books, darkness sneaks under doors, stretching like arms down the aisles of books grasping at any sign of life it can find. The air grow moist, as wind begins to blow through papers, turning pages of open books, tossing others from shelves.
A dark thickness comes into the air making the dark feel heavy as if there’s life within it. The darkness takes over the light, any sight or sound is blocked out. Mira is surrounded by darkness and can’t see her hand in front of her face. Cold, eerie fingers of dread creep up her spine. Although she has spent a good portion of time here, Mira doesn’t know her way that well. Raising her hands out in front of her, she stumbles trying to make her way out.
“Mrs Rowland! Hello!!” Calling out to the librarian she is met with a hallowed sound and no echo as one would expect. It was similar to yelling into a bottomless tunnel with no answer to her call.
Taking a few steps forward with her pack on her back, Mira can just hear the scratching and scurrying behind her. The sounds of multiple creatures crawling in her wake. The thought of rats, snakes, and creatures that hunt in the dark give Mira chills. Whispers she can’t understand are close behind her. In the distance she hears hisses of those things coming closer, as she finds herself blind in the dark catacombs.
Mira has images from horror movies in her head playing. The Birds that kill, the rodents that eat body parts, the undead that come to life. Shaking the theater out of her head, knowing she needs to stay grounded in reality. The undead won’t come to life and nothing will be eating her body today.
The fine hair rises on the back of her neck and Mira stops to listen and find her way to the closest exit. Nothing. Not a single sound now. Just a heavy darkness. There’s no light from outside, no emergency lights, no power at all. Moving forward, Mira finds her way through a maze of shelves and carts of books and low tables for studying leading her to what she believes is the entrance.
There are books falling hard to the floor behind her. Hitting the tile floor and knocking into knickknacks and other objects. Carts tumble over and the sound of crashes in the dark make her jump as a wind begins to flow through the building. There is heavy breathing close by, she can feel a presence closing in. It’s not a comfortable feeling, more like she is in trouble.
Without risking announcing where she is this time, Mira stays quiet and feels her way forward. She isn’t alone in this darkened mass. Hearing the wind thundering against the cases of books, Mira jumps as something is rammed against a window. The heavy low howl of the wild wind calls, pushing the front door wide and the cold air angrily swirls in.
The wind whips against her but Mira still can’t find the door. Reaching out, she finds the wall and eases her way along the bricks. Having never been scared of the dark, horror movies or ghost stories, this strange darkness has a heaviness to it. One that only tells Mira it’s wrong.
Wrong to be here, wrong to stay in the dark alone.
Feeling her way along the red hot bricks, she trips on something. A book probably. Finding the stairs the hard way, Mira tumbles down them to the foyer. There’s a hiss and a burn on the palms of her hands. A wetness on her skin that she can only assume is blood.
“Well that’s great.” Mira mutters, wiping her hands on her jeans. She will have to bandage them up later.
Finding the cool glass of the front entryway Mira presses her hand to the glass. There’s a glow out there, coming closer to the door. It must be someone with a flashlight or something. She can’t imagine anyone driving in this storm.
The rumble of thunder is loud overhead and the lights suddenly flash on and off. Sparks begin to fly around the concrete and burn into the glass as she huddles in a ball for protection.
There is a screech of metal against metal, before Mira feels the power of the impact hit her. Power flows through her body, zapping her eyes into blindness. Heat surges through her veins, filling her senses, as if opening a door that has been locked deep inside. Once opened the knowledge becomes a wave of potent dominance not to be resisted.
She is powerless to move, fearful of what is happening even knowing in her bones that it was meant. Something bigger, something stronger is coming alive in her. In a way this power will make her sight, strength, knowledge of her role in this world known only once she has fully developed her skills.
It also knocks Mira on her butt and makes her sick to my stomach. The rippling effect of power surging through her has her head spinning. Kneeling down, her head hung, Mira reached for the glass. There is a dim light in this storm, a gift of protection from what’s to come.
For that brief second, Mira saw a figure in the darkness. Larger than any man, and darker than the blackness surrounding her. The lightning flashes again and there’s fire on the street. A white ball of fire explodes as it makes contact with the asphalt.
“Holy shit!” Mira can’t leave and can’t stay.
Curling into the corner against the glass and metal wall, she takes the only protection from the storm she can find and hides from whatever is lurking in the dark.
Making herself as small as possible, Mira hides and feels that power of electricity flow through her again. Looking down, her body lights up as if there are bright white Christmas lights all over her. Then slowly the light calms to light blue flames in her hands, before it extinguishes itself out.
The Darkness is here