War In Heaven

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Chapter 18


My head hangs at an uncomfortable angle and I wake, gazing at my lap. There have been several instances in my life where I woke up in a strange place and some of those times I’ve been bound and gagged. Usually, I like the BDSM just so long as nothing goes up my rectum.

This is not one of those times.

Aside from the single halogen light that barrels on me, I can’t see anything outside its round illumination. I begin to panic like a drunken school girl ditched at prom. ”Hello! Is anyone there!”

The rope rubs harsh against my wrists and seems only to tighten the more I fight against them. I contemplate tipping the chair over, it might break the wood and set me free but I don’t like pain unless a big-breasted woman in leather is giving it to me.

A door opens, sharp metal squeaking. Light bursts in blinding me but I manage to make out the outline of a figure. “Hello! Please, help me!”

“Angel, it’s alright.” I recognize the voice of my waitress. A sympathetic tone applies to her plea. “It will be over shortly. I promise.”

“What’s going on? Can you help me?”

She moves in the shadows of the dark. Metal clinks together, a soft familiar sound that I’ve known for many years. It is the resonances of silver medical instruments as they rest upon a cart.

I hang my head. I don’t quite understand what’s going on but I can appreciate a hopeless situation when I see one.

“Where’s Kyla?”

She keeps her back to me and whispers quickly, “That’s the only reason you’re still alive. Be nice to him and he might let you live.”

“What the fuck is going on!”

Cackles echo through the doorway. A male chuckle, thick with liquid in his lungs and he hides in the obscurity. I can make out only his abnormal outline, elongated and thin. Footsteps drop on the tile floor, circling as a predator does a dying prey. Fear sparks in my heart as I come to the realization that I am the prey.

Begging is my new tandem. “Please. Let me go. I won’t tell anyone, I swear it.”

It’s his face that I see first: The thing that frightens me more than I wish it did. His smile is wider than most of his face. The edges rise up by his ears exposing rotten teeth. All are cracked and black, crooked and deformed. His large nose lays flat against his wide head while his eyes are round ovals. They are black pupils full of mirth, reflecting against their liquid encasings. His skin shines from sweat, a nasty grey color, so pale the veins ripple through his face up over his bald scalp, sticking out as if attempting to escape.

“Kyonshi” My feet instinctively push against the ground, attempting to get out of range of the smell. He is a rotted corpse reeking of death.

Humans call them ‘Zombies’ but these don’t go after the flesh, they go after the Soul.

He’s delighted by the name. “Hehehe. So you know what I am.”

“A sick freak!”

There was an outbreak of Kyonshi six hundred years ago, right when I had been born. As I have said, my ego is considerable and I thought I could heal such a being. I trapped one and experimented upon their Soul. It nearly killed me. Erelim Elder Ariel interrupted the procedure and saved me by parting with a piece of her Light.

“No no. I’m not the sick one here.” He motions toward his aid and a cart rolls in.

Kyla lies on white plain bed sheets. She appears to be unscathed, lying peacefully as she has always been. It’s shocking to me how much I am relieved to see her. I hadn’t noticed how much I have grown to care.

The Kyonshi touches her black tangled hair. Those disgusting green fungus filled fingernails touch her unsoiled head. I connect to the Source, completely disregarding the hunting Vetalas. I search for any disruption in her Light but then recall, she has none.

Is she who he really wants?

A Kyonshi’s soul is a deformed and pieced together puzzle.. It’s swiveling and decaying much like its body. Pieces of stolen light were sown together by his deviled hands. Souls stretch and crawl beneath tar and black Darkness. There are parts that remember their former selves and they reach out in frightful hopelessness, seeking aid and coveting death.

“Your friend here is very sick.” He breathes on her. “I’ve been eating your kind for years now and I’ve never come upon something like her.”

As a doctor, my curiosity perks. As a hostage, I am unreasonable. “Don’t fucking touch her.”

He laughs, turning fully to me, “You’re different from the others. They all ask me to talk to God; that He will help me in my predicament. But you: you curse!” He steeples his gangrene fingertips together before his face, gazing at me with interest. “Are you the least bit interested in what is wrong with this girl?”

The woman pushes Kyla right before me and the Kyonshi rests a hand upon her chest, right above her un-beating heart. If I knew how to fix her, I could heal her. I was Ariel’s leading pupil. I have the ability to rectify all of God’s creatures. There is nothing on the planet that I cannot heal. “Tell me.”

He grins savagely, “Why?” He leans over her, taking in her smell and sighing out adoringly. A rotten tooth falls out, rolling down mixing in with Kyla’s black tresses.

Deals. The bitter dead always want to make fucking deals. “I’ll get you an Angel.” Tymician’s words repeat in my head. I wouldn’t go through with it, obviously. How the hell could I get him an Angel even if I wanted too?

He shakes his head. “This is my lucky day. This beautiful girl.” His black tongue slips out of his broken and cracked lips, “She’ll keep me living for centuries.”

I try instead to scare him. “The Sins are after her.”

He giggles, almost girlishly, “You’re not so smart are you?” He touches his own forehead. “Sloth has her already.” He shifts to the top of the gurney, leaning over so his face rests just above hers and his hands encompass the sides of her cheeks. “He’s in here.”

Panic ripples through me, “What are you talking about?”

“Angel. Angel, Angel.” He tsks. “You ask so many questions. It’s boring. Now would you like to watch us cut her apart? Or do you prefer a window seat?”

I yank against my restraints, “You’re not touching her.”

Anger pulses one of the many veins rippling in his forehead, black and blue in color through the plaid grey of his stretched skin. He directs to his attendant and the cart pulls away. I watch as Kyla rests to the side only to find the Kyonshi right before me with a scalpel in his decaying hand. He grips my chin, pressing the tip to my cheek. Pain rips into my skin and I can feel the warmth of my blood as it drips off my jaw. I pant through my nose, staring wide-eyed and terrified at the creature’s black orbs.

“You’re in no place to make demands, sweet Angel. I think I’d rather have your Soul and keep her. Sloth might give me some reward to hand her over. He seems to be quite interested in her.”

“Why? Why is she so important?”

The kyonshi grins, barring his rotting teeth, his black gums, and I try to evade his death-reeking breath. Vomit tickles the back of my throat but I swallow hard.

“I’ll tell you, because I pity you.” It gives him great pleasure I can see. This creature who is neither dead nor alive, pities me. My ego rages at the insult.

“She’s a hybrid.” His smile stretches his mouth wide, whispering with jubilant excitement. I squeeze my eyes shut upon spotting maggots wiggling in between toothless gaps. “Can you believe it? God, in all His wisdom, has created a hybrid!” In his merriment, the blade buries into my cheek. He yanks down as he pulls away, tearing out through my jaw. My mouth pulls open and I cry out gaining his attention. “Oops.” He cackles.

I watch in horror when he licks the metal knife, his black tongue wrapping around the blade and sucking up all the liquid. He smacks his tattered lips, “That’s good.” He nods to his human assistance. She hustles over with a flask to catch the flowing blood that drips off my chin and soaks my shirt.

Desperation shines in my gaze as I see my only hope for survival. With my connection to the Source, I know she isn’t a Scarred Soul, she’s only a human making a very bad decision. Maybe she’s scared or threatened or being paid, I don’t know the reasons, but she isn’t evil. I can reach her.

“Please, ma’am.” My mouth barely manages words, deranged by the wound suffering in my cheek. Pain causes tears to fasten in my eyes. “Whatever hold he has on you, please, help me.”

“Oh don’t try it.” The Kyonshi enjoys the attempt, “You see, I have her son. He’s a great piece of Light that will keep me alive and strong for weeks if she ever tries to disobey me.”

She refuses eye contact concentrating solely on her job. Shame drowns her visage and consumes her. I believe in the story even if I shouldn’t trust her. For all I know it could be an act these two play. I have to believe that. I can’t face the fact that I am alone here. “Don’t worry then. I forgive you.”

The kyonshi cackles. “How nice of you. I wonder how far your forgiveness stretches. She has helped me kill over 20 Angels. Do you still pity her?”

A tear falls upon my lap and I stare at her.

A handful of humans have the ability to perceive our world. Souls sacrificed their Light to another, granting them such power. We call them Seers. Someone gave her the ability to see Angels, to see Fallen, and all the creatures in-between. I haven’t met many Seers but the ones I have are pretty fucked up.

“I don’t pity her. But I do forgive her.” Her eyes meet mine finally, wide and full of shock. “Someone wanted you to know, you aren’t alone.”

A bomb, or an Earthquake or a cave-in rips all attention away. I squeeze my eyes shut and try to tuck myself into a ball but the ropes don’t allow much movement as I’m blown away by whatever the hell is happening now. Dust clouds my lungs and I cough into my side. My hip, shoulder, and forehead bruise from the fall I take. I look in the only direction I’m capable for Kyla but I see nothing except huge chunks of stone.

Like a fish out of water, I shift on my side, slithering my way around, struggling to find the others. The chair creaks and groans, scraping against the ground. It’s in that moment I hear his screaming: The kyonshi. He groans and moans; all around me the sounds echo and vibrate in my blood. I hear the unmistakable sound of lions eating a recently fresh kill, growling at each other for dominance.

I am stiff with fear. I know right around the bend I will see something I don’t ever wish to witness but I journey still, shifting with the chair inch by painful inch. I stretch my neck, and there I see it. Two Vetalas use the claws at the tips of their transparent wings to rip out the entrails of the Kyonshi, yanking on the Light that sews to the inside of the skin. Their teeth saw and chomp, mewing with delight. One Vetalas has the hooks of their two-toed foot embedded into the Kyonshi’s thighs keeping him in place while the other Vetalas keeps him pinned by the shoulder. So often they squabble, screaming at each other when they go after the same piece of Light, then return to their meal, careless to one another’s existence.

The Kyonshi cries, his hands clenching and clawing searching for help. He is already dead and no amount of torture will end his existence. He will suffer through such cruelty until the last piece of Light is chewed and swallowed.

The sight of it shook my Soul. I would never wish that upon any creature, dead or no. I close my eyes and pray for God to end it though I know He cannot help. Touching Darkness is out of His control. It would hurt Him to intervene but still I pray.

Footsteps snap open my eyes and then my hands are free as the robe break from my wrists. “Hurry now.” The human woman slips an arm through mine, helping me to my feet. Pain reverberates through my body. The fall I took did a number on me.

I press my hand against the wound upon my cheek and it comes away covered in blood. “Where’s Kyla?”

“You should forget about your friend.” She nods toward her. When I locate my limp companion still on the gurney not ten feet away from the feeding Vetalas I latch ahold of the brick wall. The back of their black thin wings keep pricking the edge of the metal bed. I lunge forward but the human grabs a hold of me.

“No, please. I can save you.”

“I can’t leave her. I promised!”

Her human eyes full of fear and tears flicker over me, making mute decisions. Even as she stands, I can’t find the will to stop her.

Do I not have any humility? I allowed Tymician to fight two Sins by himself and in the end, he sacrifices himself. Had I fought with him, we might have been able to destroy them both. Why can’t I protect myself? Why am I such a coward that I would turn to a human female before ever thinking of doing it myself?

The woman grabs a bone saw. She looks to me and I want to shake my head, tell her not to do this, tell her to walk away, but I don’t. I need her. I can’t do this alone. I know nothing of violence. How can I kill someone? I only heal and save and those that I can’t, I don’t bother with.

I’m not a bad man but I’m not the best of men either. I do what I can. I didn’t think anything was wrong with that until now.

I move toward Kyla as the woman sneaks up behind the Vetalas. She is shaking and as scared as I am.

Grasping the hilt of the bone saw with two hands, the woman heaves up the blade and screams as she brings it down. The massive head of the Vetala’s drops into the open stomach of the Kyonshi. It splatters pieces of sinew and organ tissue, alerting the other partner instantly. It screams, spreading its wings wide in devastated rage, knocking her back against a chunk of the roof. The bone saw, covered in the green slim, spins across the floor.

In the distraction, I yank Kyla’s body, pulling her down off the gurney and drag her across the rocky terrain. As the Vetalas wails, crawling over the Kyonshi’s half-eaten body and slipping on dark blood, I tug Kyla further away careless if I injury her in the process. I want nothing more than for her to live. An injury or two will make no difference if she doesn’t make it out alive.

I fall behind a boulder and pull Kyla into my lap, hugging her and taking a rest. “Are you alright? I’m sorry. I was stupid, I’m sorry.” I rub my blood off her forehead, smoothing her black hair and fixing her shirt.

The Vetalas screeches loudly and I swing around to find it baring its fangs. It stands directly in front of the woman. She trembles, barely keeping her knees locked. Her eyes search the ground for any close weapon but there isn’t one. The Vetalas has her trapped.

“Go!” I hear her sudden scream. “Get out of here!” The monster spreads its transparent wings once before it shoves the tip straight into her chest, pinning her to the rock behind her.

Her mouth opens wide. The creature screeches in satisfaction, slipping on blood continuously with its clawed feet.

I haul Kyla up in my weak and pained arms bulldozing through the doors, tripping over my own feet. Numbness and adrenaline makes me clumsy in my spree. I keep glancing back, fearful the beast is chasing me but the door shuts and all that trails after me is blood. It may be my own blood but in my mind, it’s hers: the human woman that I allowed to die for me.

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