The Guardian Demon

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Clarion Call


‘BREAKING NEWS: PRESIDENTIAL CONVOY ATTACKED.’

“The gang calling themselves the Uroboros have just attacked the presidential convoy,” Aisha the newscaster says.

“The gang have confirmed that they have the president in their custody but have not communicated the reason as to why they took him, but from as much as any of us can see, we suspect that they are attempting a coup. You are advised, especially if you are in Nairobi to stay inside as the military mobilizes.”

Matthew turns off the screen of his phone. He is seated on his bed. He puts the phone aside and lets his head hang as he gazes blankly at the floor. He gets off the bed and reaches underneath it and produces a box. He sits back on the bed and reaches into the box to take out a triangular pendant, the emotion rune, and looks at it as it dangles in front of him. He turns on his spirit runes and the pendant glows in his hand.

His spirit runes turn off.

He sighs.


Knock, knock.

Julia stops packing her suitcase and looks at the door.

“Julia?”

She doesn’t answer.

There’s a young man in a hoodie standing on the other side of the door.

“Julia, I know you’re in there, please open the door, it’s Matt. I just want to talk.”

She holds herself and looks at the door.

“I’m sorry about what I said the other day. I was in a bad place and I took my anger out on you. You and Brian are the best friends I have ever had. You’re like family to me. The last thing I could ever want to do is hurt you or push you away.”

His sixth sense reaches through the door and confirms that she is listening.

“The only time I ever feel truly happy is when I’m with you, Julia. When I’m with you, life becomes simple again. Your voice calms down the incessant debate in my head and everything becomes clear. The reason I’m so afraid of telling you about me is because I don’t want to lose that simplicity. I don’t want you to torture yourself trying to understand what I am. Sometimes even I’m not sure myself. But I understand now that it is selfish to keep you in the dark to maintain my own fantasy, and that it hurts you more to think that I don’t trust you, while you have always been there for me than it ever will to know what I am. You deserve to know and decide how you feel about it.”

He takes a deep breath. His spirit runes turn on.

“If you are willing to give me one more chance, I will give you all the answers you want. If you open the door right now, it will all become clear. I am wearing all my secrets on my face right now, all you need to do is open the door and look at me.”

She peers at the door and her foot takes a small step forward.

“I will never hurt you again, I promise you that. I’ll always be honest with you. So please, if you have even a fragment of faith in me left, please open the door.”

Her breath deepens as she stands there. He’s apologizing, he’s never apologized before, mostly because she had always forgiven him for everything without him having to apologize and he just took it in stride. She takes a step back. What she wanted from him wasn’t an apology, anyone could apologize. Brian had apologized to her many times before, was Matthew also like that? She takes another step back. What did she want from him? What did he say he wanted? Faith? She takes another step back. She had always believed in him, ever since they were children, she believed that he could do anything, but did he ever believe in her? The back of her legs touches her bed. ′ I’m wearing all my secrets on my face right now.′ What did that even mean? He still thinks it’s all about him. He doesn’t understand. He never did. He never needed to. She sits on her bed, takes her pillow and hugs it trying to keep the tears and anger at bay.

He leans in on the door with both hands.

A black kitten approaches the door from inside the apartment.

“Hey, Fish.”

“Meow”

“How have you been kitty?”

The cat meows at the door and looks at Julia with pleading eyes.

“It’s no use. She doesn’t trust me anymore, but I’m sure she trusts you.”

He takes out a small box from his pocket.

“I have something for her. It will keep her safe especially if I fail at what I’m about to do.”

The cat looks intently at the door.

“But she might reject it if she knew it came from me, so will you give it to her for me?”

“Meow.”

“But don’t tell her it’s from me. You can say you found it somewhere or you can even say it’s from you, I don’t mind, just make sure she accepts it, okay?

“Meow.”

“I knew I could count on you.”

He puts the box on the floor.

“Julia, there’s something I need to do that’s why I had to talk to you first. I passed by Brian’s place but he wasn’t in so if anything happens please tell him how sorry I am, but if I come out of it okay you can rest assured that I won’t bother you again.”

Julia looks at the door with a concerned look.

“So, no matter what happens, this is goodbye. I’ll miss you, I always do. Now that I know how it feels to leave both with and without having said goodbye, I don’t know which hurts worse… “

She hears a breeze blow on the other side of the door and she knows he’s gone. No footsteps, no shuffling of feet, just the whistle of the wind. That’s the kind of thing that she had gotten used to from him. His mysterious nature was probably what had made her fall in love with him. The fact that it never stopped being a mystery was the reason why she couldn’t continue loving him.

Julia gets up after a while and opens the door. She sees the small box on the floor. Fish takes it in her mouth and brings it to Julia’s feet. Julia squats down and takes it and opens it. Inside, there’s a necklace with a pendant that has a pattern etched on it.


A four-lane highway cutting through a semi-arid landscape is populated on all four lanes by a convoy of cars and motorbikes all heading in the same direction. All the vehicles are embellished with flags of the four cardinal colours and a shield with spears identifying them as part of the hijacked presidential convoy.

The hijackers’ elated shouts and victorious laughter almost overpower the roar of the engines of the speeding vehicles. The gang has toppled the icon of law and governmental power, they survived a hailstorm of bullets from the president’s personal service, they carried out the King’s instructions to the letter and now they are taking joy rides in armoured vehicles paid for by taxpayers’ money as proof of their conquest. This was every anarchist’s dream and they were living it. Come morning the army will be onto them but by then King will have a plan and his plans, as they have just witnessed, are infallible. If the King wants the country, we shall give it to him! But was that what the King really wanted?

Their stunts and merrymaking are abruptly interrupted when a motorbike is suddenly lifted into the air by a sudden growth of thick vines that erupt from the tarmac. Before they even have time to stop and wonder, another bike is caught by a similar trap, and then another and another. One of the hijackers in the leading cars looks far ahead and sees circular patterns drawn on the road going on and on as far as his eyes can see. He directs the rest of the convoy to detract and go off the road.

“What the hell is going on?!” One of the hijackers asks.

“Isn’t it obvious?” the commander who had ordered the convoy to go off-road answers.

“The demon is back!”

As they travel on the dusty off-road area, they see a huge dust devil swirling and dancing in front of them. It seems to purposely change its course to block their path. The vehicles stop.

“What do we do? Will it attack us?” One of the men asks.

“Don’t run. The King almost killed it last time. There’s nothing to fear, it’s just a man. Give me the rocket launcher.”

He takes the rocket launcher and arms it. He aims at the whirlwind and pulls the trigger. The rocket flies off and penetrates the brown twister. It explodes and the wind and dust spread and die out. A white scarf flows with the dying wind and falls to the ground.

“Is that it?” A man in a car adjacent to the commander says, “Is it- “his tongue freezes in place before he finishes the sentence. During the few milliseconds before the pain that follows shuts down his mind, his eyes cross so that they can focus on the green glowing spear sticking out of his mouth.

The men slowly look towards the direction from which it was shot.

Cars overturned and burning. Men and bikes sprawled everywhere. Green translucent spears sticking out all over as if some strange desert weed had abruptly sprouted instantly impaling everything. In the midst of that carnage, something starts moving. It stands up and walks towards those who have just discovered its presence. It is a young man who seems to be wearing a hoodie, no… the line patterns and glowing eyes tell a different story, a story that kept the men awake at night as they awaited the inevitable, the only thing that could come out of the King’s arrogant insolence; the revenge of the angered devil, the wrath of the humiliated god, The Guardian Demon, back for blood! The dust devil was a distraction and a trap at the same time and the hunter who set it was collecting his prey.

“Go! Go! Go!” The commander slaps the roof of the vehicle with the fear and frenzy of a tout at the sight of an incorruptible city council officer.

“I thought you said-”

[email protected](c)k that, just get me out of here!”

The vehicle speeds off. The demon attacks the men whose wits aren’t as fast. It throws them against each other and crucifies their hands to their guns and kebabs them together by their heads. The vehicle barrels away from the hell populated by screams, cracks and crying. The commander abruptly remembers that his vehicle has a mounted turret. He stands and grabs it to help his comrades in the only way he can. The demon instead of drawing its shield evades the gunfire by running and dodging. He thinks he’s working. He gets excited and tightens his finger on the trigger. The magazine runs out.

“Shit!”

He reaches down, picks up another magazine and loads it in the turret. He puts his finger on the trigger. He looks up. A motorbike is flying towards him. He ducks into the vehicle and the bike crashes and rips the turret off the vehicle.

“Was that a motorbike?!” The driver yells.

“Just keep driving!”

The demon dashes across the field so fast it’s barely visible. But it’s not going after the commander’s car, it’s going to get its wings.

The commander looks out through the back window. It’s clear. Wait. Something starts rising from the horizon. It’s the scarf he had seen earlier. No. It’s glowing. It’s the demon’s wings. He reaches underneath the seats and fishes out the missile launcher just as the demon fully appears above the horizon. He loads in another missile just as the demon’s fingers touch the back of their car. He points it upwards just as the demon’s head appears in the sunroof. He pulls the trigger.

BOOM.

Everything is engulfed in flames. The car propels out of the explosion like a bullet from the muzzle of a gun.

“You almost blew us up!” The driver exclaims frantically trying to keep the vehicle in control.

The commander vigorously beats his arm to put out a flame as he climbs to the front passenger seat.

“But I definitely hit it. Right in the face! If that didn’t kill it then I have at least bought us a couple of hours.”

The commander looks at the dark blue sky that they are speeding towards but never seem to get any closer to. The sun is setting behind them and so are the struggles of that day. The last vehicle of the presidential fleet. He faced the demon and survived. This is a story he will tell his children and his grandchildren. This is a story he will tell the King. The moon is rising. Has he ever watched the moon rise before? It doesn’t matter. He will enjoy every second of it. He has earned it. Something pierces the sky from the horizon underneath his beloved moon. The silhouette of a man, spinning, twisting, pirouetting upwards. He wears the moonlight around his neck like a scarf, has a star on his wrist and his chest and as his twisting turns his front towards the commander, he sees that his face is inscribed in the language of the gods. He slowly spreads his arms and legs and his twisting slows although he still rises. In his right-hand something starts to grow, a shard of green light, stretching and lengthening to almost his own height. He reaches the zenith of his climb, well above the moon, limbs spread, his green weapon shining above his head. How beautiful he is in the sky, this man with a spear made of light, this god wielding a lightning bolt.

BOOM.

Inertia throws them forward. Darkness. The commander opens his eyes. His forehead hurts, his nose is bleeding. He wipes his face. He looks to the right. The driver is frozen looking ahead in terror. His hands still clutch the steering wheel as if he is not aware of what had just happened, except he is not an arm’s length away, he is two metres away, inside the half of a car that has been dissected in the direction of motion. It is like looking at the set of a play, the driver, the star of the blockbuster, playing a car chase, in a prop which the director had insisted had to be as realistic as possible. His eyes are drawn towards the direction of the cut to lay his eyes on the weapon that had sliced through a car like a knife through butter. It stands prominently ten metres behind them, sticking out of the ground like a green shooting star frozen in time. A hand holds it at half its length and easily dislodges it from the ground. His eyes follow the arm’s length up its elbow and shoulder to his neck and finally rest on the man’s face. It is the Guardian Demon. He starts walking towards them in the path he had made between them. Someone starts whimpering.

“Please don’t hurt me, I’m just a driver, I don’t even know how to use a gun…”

“Where’s the president?” The demon asks in a low uninterested voice.

“He’s with the King, at statehouse…”

The Guardian Demon walks on beyond the halves of the car. A cold light breeze starts blowing and its white, glowing wings start rising. His fist clenches around the spear until it cracks and shatters into green glittering dust. The dust gets caught in the light breeze and it flows around his body like an aura. He rises from the ground as if light enough to be carried by the breeze and floats forwards. He then abruptly shoots off into the sky in a sudden gust of wind, the glowing glittering dust forming eddies in his wake.

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