The Guardian Demon

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Beware My Power




There’s a classroom full of students. At the back left corner of the classroom, there’s a young man in a hoodie. The white scarf covering most of his face makes his glowing face and eyes barely visible. His hand scribbles, arcs and traverses rapidly across his book.

*When most people daydream, they doodle.

The lecturer looks in his direction.

*But I cast spells.

* Every person that has ever lived has known something.

She starts walking towards Matthew.

*Let’s make the net even wider, every organism that has ever lived has known something.

*Adding up all those bits of information collected by all those people and all those creatures, however grand or insignificant, you get a source of infinite knowledge.

*Omniscience.

*They whisper their secrets to me in my vernacular, Kikuyu, their words weaving spells and prayers that could do absolutely anything.

*Omnipotence.

*Repeat the incantation without casting it and the auditory pattern manifests visually as a rune which is much more convenient.

The lecturer’s shadow creeps over Matthew.

*The whole process is tedious and takes so much concentration that it sends me into a trance.

Her hand leaves her side and reaches for Matthew’s head. She taps him causing him to look up. His face is back to normal. She points towards the board. Matthew nods.

*The more intricate a pattern, the more potent the spell is.

There’s a beautiful psychedelic pattern drawn in his book.

*And I just hit the mother-lode.


Dusk.

*You would think having once been exiled for witchcraft would make me want to quit.

A door opens, Matthew steps through it.

*But my dad convinced me that denying that part of me would mean that they won.

The wind from the outside causes the papers stuck to the walls of his apartment to flutter and flap, papers onto which are drawn ‘useless runes’ as Matthew would call them.

*That I would lose my ability to be myself and live as I saw fit.

He takes off his shoes and locks the door, then he walks to a shelf to the right of the door above the sink.

*And forever be defined by their ignorance and prejudice.

He reaches for something on the shelf and picks up a watch.

*But rebellion is never a good reason to do anything.

He walks to the opposite corner of the room and puts the watch on the desk. He takes out the book he was drawing on in class and sits down.

*So, I practice it in the hopes that I can somehow feel whole again.

He flips through the other patterns drawn on the book until he comes to the most recent one. He opens a drawer and produces an etching tool.

*That I can get back what I lost on the day that they killed my dad.

His phone buzzes. He takes it out of his pocket. It’s a text from Julia. A small smile pulls slightly at the corners of his mouth.

Whatcha doing?

Kinda busy.

What about tomorrow at 10 am?

Where?

Mlo imla.

Don’t start eating without me.

Haha, no promises ;)

He puts his phone down. He dismantles the watch to get the dial and then proceeds to etch the pattern onto its backside.


“Finally,” He says and lies back onto the chair. He looks to the side outside the window and sees that it’s already dark. He turns back to the dial.

*Now to bless it.

He holds the dial in one hand and turns on his spirit runes which appear as white line patterns on his face and the inscriptions on the dial also start to glow white.

*Moment of truth.

He places the dial on the edge of the desk and stands up. The dial continues glowing.

*Chameleon.

A green glow envelopes him and he disappears completely.

“Oh, how I missed this.”

A mirror rises from the shelf and hovers in a vertical position reflecting the image of the wall directly in front of it.

*Wow, this is even better than before.

The mirror puts itself back on the shelf.

*Let’s try something new, eagle.

He appears in a flash of green light. He tries flapping his arms, causing gusts of wind to flutter the papers on the walls but nothing else.

*This isn’t working.

He tries flapping more vigorously and eventually his feet rise a little bit off the ground. He stops flapping and rubs his shoulder.

“Well, that’s tiring and useless.”

He reaches underneath the bed and produced a steel pipe.

*Gorilla.

Holding both ends of the pipe, he bends it to 90 degrees.

*Nice, I have super strength!

He lifts his arms to try to straighten the pipe, one of his hands slips and the pipe hits the shelf, breaking it thus sending the things in it tumbling down.

“Crap.”

He tries to catch a plastic cup but ends up crushing it. Realising he can’t control his strength, he lets the other things fall into his outstretched arms without trying to hold them. He then squints as if he is concentrating and he puts the stuff he’s caught on the bed without crushing anything else.

*The power of the whole animal kingdom in a dial the size of a coin.

He smiles at this thought. Thunder rumbles in the background.

*I should get something to eat before it starts raining.

As his hand reaches for the dial it starts levitating towards him.

*That’s never happened before. I guess the wooden ones were too heavy.

He draws it upwards like a yo-yo and leaves the house in his hoodie.


He is greeted by the sight of Mama Maureen struggling to defend her wares from some six men who are trying to carry them off when he turns a corner.

“I swear I will pay!” She begs as she holds on desperately to one of the crates, “Please, if you take everything I have what will I pay you with?” One of them slaps her across the face, forcing her to let go.

Lightning. Thunder.

*They are robbing her.

He looks across the street and sees bodaboda (Swahili, motorcycle public transport) riders sternly facing away from the affair as if trying to vehemently ignore something they are sure is a figment of their imagination.

*And those idiots are just sitting there!

He hides behind the corner he just appeared from.

*What should I do? If I fight them without using my powers, they will know who I am.

He reaches inside his pocket and produces the dial and stares at it.

*I have never used a rune to fight before.

He tries to think about what would happen if he exposed what he could do.

*Dad… He’s not here. He’s safe.

He thinks about letting them get away with it. He wouldn’t be able to live with himself knowing he had the power to stop them but chose to keep a pointless secret instead. What’s the use of keeping a secret that has no real effect unless he is identified? No-one will get hurt except the thieves. Yes, no-one gets hurt except the thieves.

He closes his fist on the rune. An invisible brush paints white lines on his face which, together with his eyes, start glowing. A green light rapidly crawls over his body and he disappears.

It starts raining.

Raindrops splash on his transparent body turning him into a dripping wet ghost floating towards the thieves.

On reaching them, the thief farthest behind feels his presence and looks back, but before he is able to make sense of the wet spectre, he is punched in the face making him drop whatever he is carrying and gets punched again in the gut making him bend forward. Before he regains his breath, he is kicked in the side of the head knocking him out. The commotion causes his companions to look back.

“What is going on?”

They see their companion on the ground and start searching around for who did it.

Matthew proceeds straight forward to one who is close to a wall and kicks him in the groin making him drop his crate and bend forward and then knees his head into the wall knocking him out. At this point, the others drop whatever they are carrying and look vigilant while one who had already turned the next corner comes back to see what’s going on.

One of them pulls out a knife and starts slicing and stabbing at the air in front of him.

“What is this, witchcraft?!” The thief shouts at the falling rain.

*Yes it is.

Matthew grabs his arm during one of his stabbing motions, twists his wrist and breaks it so he drops the knife. He pulls him close and grabbing his face, he trips him and smashes the back of his head into the ground.

*This is easier than I thought.

On seeing this, the thief who had not dropped what he was carrying lets go of everything he has and in one swift motion takes out his gun and aims directly at the space above the fallen thief.

Matthew perceives his motion.

*Kobe. (Swahili, tortoise.)

A green fire bursts into life at the place where the thief’s gun is aimed. There’s no crackling or hissing or any sign of the fire’s acknowledgement of the pouring rain. The thieve’s eyes widen instinctively to make sure that what he is seeing actually is. Normal fire consumes and destroys, but this one seemed to be doing the opposite. As the green flames licked and flickered, something started to appear within them, as if the fire was condensing it into existence. Eyes. A pair of eyes glowing in a light green hue and patterns, line patterns, with the same eerie glow appeared first in the flames. The flames continued holding and pulling particles together like gravity and a black shroud in the same green hue formed around the patterns like dirt collecting at the bottom of a glass of murky water. The shroud continued downwards revealing the shape of a crouching man with his left forearm held in front of him as if shielding his face. The flames started dimming and dying and he realised that the green hue was only an effect of the emerald fire. The shroud was pitch black, the eyes and patterns a brilliant white. What was this thing that was born from fire right in front of his eyes? A demon. A motherf∆&$# demon, and it was coming for him. He pulls the trigger.

The bullet flies through the air, shattering a drop of rain into a million along its way. Its trajectory fates it to one of the glowing eyes. It should have traveled past the lifted arm, it should have blinded the one eye, but it’s path was obstructed by a barrier previously invisible until the bullet smashed and deformed on it. The impact spread out through the barrier revealing a structure like a translucent tortoise shell whose cracks flow with green luminous fluid. The shield’s visibility disappeared with the fleeting wave of the impact.

*Whoa.

The remaining three thieves stare at the thing in front of them with eyes the size of golf balls.

The thief with the gun panics and decides to empty his magazine on the monster. The other two take to their heels. The gun runs out of bullets and Matthew charges at him. The thief tries hitting him with the gun but Matthew dodges and tackles him to the ground. He summons the gorilla and punches him once knocking him out. He then looks to his right towards one of the fleeing thieves. He picks up a rock and is about to throw it but rethinks it. He puts the rock down and looks at his hand.

*Porcupine.

The green flash of light runs over his body but this time rays of light extend from his back like porcupine quills.

He trains his arm towards the fleeing thief and something automatically starts growing from his forearm towards his fingers. It looks like a sharp glass prism with a green tint illuminated from the inside extending from his knuckles with roots in the muscles of his forearm.

*Can I...

He squeezes his hand into a fist and the quill shoots off and stabs the running thief in his right calf.

Matthew looks at his hand. “That’s awesome.”

He walks towards the man he shot at. He is trying to crawl away with the quill sticking out through his leg.

*No blood, not even a wound, but it looks painful.

He kicks the injured leg causing the thief to be aware of him.

“Please don’t kill me. I was only here to collect what she owes us. We weren’t going to hurt her,” he begs.

*You’re annoying.

He kicks him in the face, knocking him out.

Lightning. Trickling of water. The wash of the pouring rain. Thunder.

*What is this feeling, it’s amazing.

He looks down and produces the animal rune from his pocket.

*It’s like it’s the first time I’m using this power properly.

He looks around at all the vegetables sprawled everywhere. He picks them up filling up two crates of non-damaged goods, he heads towards Mama Maureen’s stall but there is no-one there, even the bodaboda riders across the road have disappeared.

*The gunshots must have scared everyone off.

He leaves the groceries underneath the stall.

*I hope she’ll be okay.

He takes out his phone, wears a pair of earphones, puts on some music and walks off towards the direction he first came from.
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