Amarantis Belfire

From the Journal of Dr Rynhold Beck

Chang is dead. It was on a night such as this a mere six weeks ago that as I sat in this very chair and wrote in this very journal the bastard kicked in not only my door but very nearly my ribs as well, and now he lies here dead. And I say good. Damn my oath, he and his filthy Tong a disease eating away at this place. They are aggressive parasites bent on devouring their host, thy suck the blood, the very life itself out of the people here. And now one of them lays dead on my operating table. Again I say good. I don’t know who did it, maybe Chang’s killer is a thug every bit as cruel and vile as Chang himself, but tonight there is one less brute loose on the streets to prey upon the poor and weak and vulnerable.

One thing I will say about whoever did do this to Chang, he must have been very strong indeed for from the state of Chang I’d say that with Chang holding a knife, the killer grabbed his forearm and quite literally snapped the bones in two before twisting the ruined limb around and stabbing Chang with the knife he still held. It was a single, deliberate wound and the knife was buried up to its hilt in his chest where, whether by luck or design, the knife did not pierce the heart and kill him immediately, but rather sliced open a ventricle and caused the chest cavity to flood.. The pressure of the blood around the lungs was sufficient to stop them from expanding thereby causing Chang to die of asphyxiation as well as massive blood loss. A nasty, brutal and unpleasant death but, and may God forgive me for what I am about to write, one I’m almost happy to have befallen one such as Chang.

Still, I think I may well have rather bigger issues to ask God for forgiveness for, wouldn’t you agree? Oh I know I stopped believing a long time ago, but does one ever truly stop believing or is it closer to the truth to state that what drives non-believers such as myself is a desperate and furious need not to believe. After all, once life turns against you and conspires to present you with an event of such magnitude that the love you once had for the notion of a Creator laying behind all of life’s joy and happiness lies shattered in the deepest pits of your heart, do you really have any choice but to turn away from the face of cruel, uncaring God in disgust and hatred?

In truth I do not know the answer to this, but I feel sure that were God to exist my actions of late would have pushed me as far from him as Hell is deep. Suicide is said to be a mortal sin (although I’ve seen enough in my forty years to convince me it is, at times, a necessary one) but what then is reckoned of un-death? If taking one’s life is to steal from God, then is snatching it back from his capricious embrace yet another crime against him?

When I… well, when I did what I did two nights ago I wanted nothing more than the peace and silence of not being, but where I found myself afterwards was far worse than anything I have experienced anywhere on any version of Earth. The rage and the anger that lay on the other side from this world were a terrible thing to behold, indeed I scarcely even now bring myself to think about them, let alone put them down on paper. And yet despite that I can feel no joy at Miss Belfire’s actions, however well intentioned they were. To use such arcane knowledge, such hellish methods and dark secrets to pluck me from the grasp of the Reaper can not come without a price and I fear that price may yet prove to be very indeed.

To be continued…

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Links to other blogs and stories:
1) All Dr Beck’s Journal Entries can be read here.
2) All the “Gang War” posts can be read on my blog here and over on the Steelhead Ning here.
3) The latest “Gang Wars” Story So Far recap can be found here.
4) All my “Mutations” posts can be read here.
5) Chang was first encountered in Dr Beck’s surgery here.

Mutations – Chapter 14: A Morning Caller

Sister Ascenza Kathleen Rose-of-Lima Jones was still a novice in Steelhead’s famous SWAT nuns and as such always drew the short straw when it came to visiting the slums to call on the services of Dr Beck. It wasn’t that she felt in danger in the slums, after all she was a SWAT nun and perfectly capable of protecting herself as well as meting out some divine justice to any miscreants that crossed her path. No, it was more the doctor himself who made her uneasy. Something in the way he looked at her seemed awfully un-doctorly and the way it made her feel was very, very un-nun-like. Ever since the murders in Port Harbour and Boomtown months before she had kept away and said extra rosaries whenever his blue eyes and chiseled cheek-bones popped into her thoughts, not to mention his… no! She shook her head in annoyance and silently began a round of three Ave Marias until she was sure all un-worthy thoughts of him were driven from her mind. She strode on through the docks and towards the surgery.

The taste of salt from the waves crashing against the harbour was sharp in the air as she reached the half-decaying pile where the doctor held his free surgeries for the poor immigrants & sailors who called this squalid and libidinous place their home. The smell of fish mixed with the smoke from the blacksmiths and the odour of death from the butchers, yet behind it all lurked the scent of human filth and waste. When, she wondered, were the Town council going to get some running water and sanitation out here to these poor people? She put such un-godly thoughts of local politics aside and concentrated on her reason for visiting the oddly handsome (she paused for two Lord’s prayers) Dr Beck. A short rap on the door brought no reply. Another, longer and louder, was no more successful. Nervously she pulled at the door and it opened easily, obviously unlocked. She peered into the gloom and quietly called out “Dr Beck? Dr Beck? Are you in?” She received no reply save a slow drip from a water faucet somewhere in the room.

Except… except there was no running water in the slums.

Sister Ascenza gasped out loud as she saw the source of the slow, rhythmic dripping sound. A large patch of what looked very much like blood had soaked through the ceiling and was dripping to a glistening pool on the surgery floor. There was, to the best of her knowledge, only one room above and it belonged to Dr Beck…

She ran up the rickety wooden steps to the rotting balcony outside his door and peered through the grimy window into his small room. At first she couldn’t see him, just small knots of his belongings; a small folding table with books and plates gathered around a microscope, a wash basin covered in red-stained cloths, a small un-made bed (she ran through a quick Memorare), before she found him. At the foot of a battered armchair facing away from her and towards a glowing fire, the floor glistened wetly and she felt her heart skip a beat as she saw, draped over the side of the chair, the unmistakable shape of a man’s arm.

Fearing the worst and not knowing what else to do she began to rap hard on the window. With a jolt the figure in the chair shot up and spun round. Sister Ascenza let out a small scream of surprise and jumped backwards, tripping over a bucket of fish that had been left standing by the door. She crashed to the balcony in a pool of icy water and flailing limbs just as the door opened and the horrified face of Dr Beck leant out to stare down at her. “Sister…?” he said, his croaky voice questioning.

She looked up at him, her cheeks glowing red, “Dr. I’m sorry… I thought…” she began to struggle to her feet and he reached down to help her. Mortified by her predicament she took his hand quickly and let him pull her up, as he did do she couldn’t help notice the edges of his white shirt cuffs stained a deep red.

“Good lord, you are soaking!” he exclaimed , “Come in! I’ll stoke the fire.”

“No, no I’m fine, she said, trying to regain some modicum of composure.

“Nonsense, you’ll catch your death out there like that, come in!” he moved into the room and went to stoke the fire, but as he reached the armchair he looked at the pool of liquid at its feet and paused. “I, er… I fell asleep in the chair I’m afraid. Knocked over a bottle of wine. Not the best I’ve tasted, but still… damn shame. Sorry, not damn. I didn’t mean damn,” he was flustered, looking around for a towel which he dropped on to the liquid before pulling the chair to cover it. “Come and dry yourself.”

With a slight hesitation, Sister Ascenza walked over to the fire as Dr Beck threw some kindling on, “Please, don’t go to any trouble for me, it’s just the edge of my habit, really it’s not as bad as it seems”

“Nonsense,” he said, “I can’t have one of Steelhead’s nuns falling ill can I? Now, what brings you out here to see me?” He smiled at her but to her he just looked tired. Tired and something else she couldn’t quite put her finger on.

“It’s a body. There’s a body in the docks.”

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A few minutes later, as Sister Ascenza Kathleen Rose-of-Lima Jones hurried off towards the docks on her own, Amarantis Belfire swung down from her vantage point on Beck’s roof to the balcony where she pushed open the door and walked in. Beck was scrabbling about about trying to tidy himself and find clean clothes, but he paused to look around at her, “I have to go,” he said, “I can’t stay, there’s a body and they need me there.”

“I know. I heard,” Amarantis, “but it’s a mistake. What we did…”

“WHAT YOU DID!” Beck shouted back. He looked shocked at his own outburst and fought to control his voice, “What you did, not me,” he said sharply, “Don’t tar me with that brush.”

Her alien eyes bored into him, “Yes, well what I did,” she said slowly, “means we have no way of knowing what… side-effects there might be.”

Beck, wearing a clean shirt and with his face washed clean, pulled on his great coat, “Well it’s too bloody late for that now, isn’t it?” he hissed as he pushed past her and strode out into the slums.

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To be continued…

All my “Mutations” posts can be read on my blog here
All the “Gang War” posts can be read on my blog here and over on the Steelhead Ning here.

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Links to other blogs and stories:
1) This tale follows on from the end of “Steal Head” here & Amarantis’ post here.

Far From Home: Amarantis Belfire’s Blog

Although the telling of my “Far From Home” tale has now ended, you can still read Amarantis Belfire’s wonderfully written posts connected to it (and my previous tale, “Lost & Found“) on her blog, YAFJ. I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to Ama’s typist for helping me with these tales and allowing me to drag her into my RP 🙂

Here is Ama’s latest post in which she tackles Dr Roundtree about Nurse Rain and is cleared of any involvement in Sister Grace’s death by a mysterious man with a strange, bookish lapel pin…

Far From Home: Chapter 6 – Killing With Kindness

Sister Grace stood by the patient’s bed with a look of shock on her face. Only yesterday Doctor Roundtree had diagnosed coma due to an overdose of opium. He wasn’t supposed to make it through the night. He was, she thought, supposed to be dead! And yet here he was, his lidless eyes once more focused, his gauzed wrapped lips twitching in thirst. She bent down, took her trusty pipette from a pocket in her gown and dripped water into his mouth. She moved her lips to the side of his head where his ear had been and said gently “There there, Mr Antfarm, you’ll be better soon enough I promise you, I’m here to help and I’m going to take good care of you. I’m going to take all your pain away, I promise.”

Behind her, unseen by Sister Grace and standing stock still in the doorway, Nurse Rain’s eyes grew wide with the shock of what she saw.

“Nurse! Are you planning to start a new career as a door, by any chance?” Doctor Roundtree’s voice boomed out causing her to jump. Sister Grace stood bolt upright, slipping her pipette away into the folds of her uniform and glared at the young trainee. “Sister Grace, I’m sure this wee child could be better employed if she were actually allowed into the patient’s room, don’t you hmmm?”

“Er, yes doctor,” Sister replied, never taking her furious eyes from the young girl’s face, “I’ll make sure she is properly employed, mark my words doctor, mark my words.”

Nurse Rain gulped hard and felt an icy trickle of fear run down her back. Sister Grace’s livid gaze was too much for her and she dropped her own to her feet, her cheeks burning red as she moved into the room allowing Doctor Roundtree in.

“Now, let’s look at our patient shall we?” he announced the room, his tone patronisingly jovial. He moved to the the bed and gasped in surprise, “Good Lord! He’s conscious!”

“Yes,” said Sister Grace quickly, “I had only just discovered that myself,” she glared at the young girl covering by the door.

“Well that is excellent news, looks like you’re off the hook eh?” Roundtree said jovially whilst looking into his patient’s eyes.

“I beg your pardon!” exclaimed the ward Sister.

Roundtree looked up at her angry face, “Oh don’t take me to heart Sister, I merely meant that if he’s pulled through then there need be no investigation into any accidental overdoses. Now, have the patient cleaned up and I’ll return after lunch, eh?” He span on his heel and breezed past the young nurse without even seeing her. She looked up from under her bonnet at the fuming Sister and found her staring at the wretched figure on the bed.

“Sister?” she ventured timidly.

Without shifting her gaze from the patient, Sister Grace said in a voice dripping with ice “You will report to laundry and work there until further notice. I do not want to see you snooping around here again, am I understood?”

“Snooping!” Nurse Rain protested but was cut dead with a single stare from Sister. It was a stare that would have stopped a runaway train. It was a stare that would have made a bear turn and flee. It was a stare that drove the young trainee running down the corridor, tears steaming down her face. She would come back, she would. She would come back help because she knew that what the poor man in room fifteen needed more than anything was her help.

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The moon was hidden behind clouds, a dull drizzle soaking the night. Inside room fifteen, a figure reached into its cloak and pulled a small glass pipette and a bottle of opium from a pocket and bent over the terrified face of the burnt man. “There there Mr Antfarm, I’m here to help you. You’ll be better soon. Let me take your pain away.”
Far From Home 5

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To be continued…
All the “Far From Home” posts can be read here.

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Lost & Found: Chapter 12 – Epilogue

The sun rose over a city much changed to the one it has set on only a few hours earlier. Its light danced off waters now clam again after the night’s tempest. It sparkled off golden pagodas and from windows in buildings that had seemingly risen from the sea’s stygian depths in the wild ferocity of the storm, its arrival marked with a swath of destruction across the city. Yet the felled trees and damaged houses were not the reason a very tired looking Lunar, once more a tall elf now that his wife had made whole the moon she had fractured, found himself stood in the morning chill and cursing softly in his native tongue.

“You are sure she is unharmed, Elle?” he asked, turning to his equally tired looking friend.

Eladrienne sighed as she looked up at the elf, soot and grime smeared her face and clothes and she was soul-tired, “Yes, Tensai has checked her over. Annechen has checked her over. I’ve seen her and she is fine, I promise.”

Lunar nodded and glanced over at Shanghai, the dream made real that should have heralded a joyous day, but even though Ama was unhurt how could he celebrate the birth of new life when this had happened? He looked down at the scorched ground, smoke curling up in patches here and there and sharp blades of twisted metal jutting up like broken teeth, and shook his head.
Destroying Mason Lab

Destroying Mason Lab

Destroying Mason Lab

JB Hancroft’s house had borne the brunt of it when a giant bolt the size of a horse had torn through the wall and now offered itself to the sky in a mocking gesture of defiance. Past that his eye could clearly see the damage done to Polymath by the cog Darien had installed as a door and his ears could quite clearly hear what Hotspur had to say on the matter in a series of curses that would make the sailors of Shanghai blush for shame.

Destroying Mason Lab

Behind him, on the other side of the road, two more mammoth cogs (a window? Another door? He didn’t know) was buried deep into the earth of Tanarian’s kennels.
Destroying Mason Lab

Thankfully no pooch had been hurt, although most had been scared half out of their minds judging by the howling and yelping, but Tanarian was livid and would take some serious placating. He looked up at Elle who, as if reading his mind, said “Leave her to me, hm?” and moved to intercept the angry woman.

How had so many casualties been avoided? How could so much damage been wrought and only… his train of thought was interrupted by a sharp prod to his right calf. And another. And a third.

“Ow!” he said hopped round.

“Elf!”

Lunar, rubbing his tender calf, looked down into the iron-clad death stare of a very seriously annoyed knee-high cat. “Dr Alter…”

Her green eyes flashed as she looked up at him, waving her paw dismissively. “Never mind all of the greetings and such,” she said with a hiss. “Look at my warehouse! Just look at it!”

Lunar looked up and across the water to where she pointed. Another of Darien’s massive bolts had smashed into her buildings and jammed itself into the side of her smoking chimney. “Ah… Yes… Well…”
Destroying Mason Labs

She breathed in deep and slow, determined to stay calm, “That is all, is it? Hmph, I see. Well, thank you Elf, thank you very much! This will not be forgotten…oh no, don’t think it will!” She poked him in the calf with her claw again before striding away, shouting orders at her minion Cato Quan.

“Such anger for such a sweet little puss cat,” Lunar sighed. Dr Alter stopped dead, the tips of her whiskers vibrating with fury, and without turning to face him hissed “Elf. I will, for the sake of your good lady wife, pretend I did not hear that and bid you good day, Sir. Good day!” She marched off with war in her heart as Lunar allowed the corner of his mouth to curl upwards in a sly smile.

“Lunar, you shouldn’t tease her so,” Elle was at back his shoulder watching the cat stride back to her damaged warehouse.

“I suppose…” was all Lunar said before turning back to the ruins of the once feared Mason Laboratory. Smoke rose from piles of melted and twisted metal which, even now hours after the explosion had ripped the building apart, were still hot to the touch. “How is he?”

Elle looked at her friend’s face, so much worry for others made him look sad, “Not good. Tensai did what she could and I’ve sent someone out to find Dr Beck, but he’s going to have to go to Caledon. There isn’t an inch of him that isn’t burnt. Even his horns are gone. I don’t know how he’s survived this long.”

“And any idea who the poor devil actually is?” Lunar asked.

“No one knows. Ama has confirmed he is not Jeremiah though, and if anyone should know it’s her.”

“I hate to think of him dying without his name, alone here with no one to mourn him.”

Elle reached out and touched the tall Elf’s arm, “Hey, he’s not dead yet. If anyone can help him it’s Tensai and the Caledon doctors. Don’t give up on him yet,” she said quietly.

Lunar looked down at her and smiled, “You’re right as usual, Elle. Ignore me, I’m just… well, look at this…” he looked at the wreckage strewn about them. “He’s alive and that’s all that matters. Tell me again what happened, will you?”

“Well,” she replied “According to Mother Superior and a host of other witnesses across town, Jeremiah, or rather the man claiming to be Jeremiah, spent the day travelling all over town on Genie’s horse. He’d been to see Annechen over at the Consulate in the afternoon and was seen after that meeting riding about in a seemingly upset state…”

“Upset? Why? What happened?”

“Annechen says he came to ask about his past and she told him he wasn’t Jeremiah. That was about the length of the meeting as she was late getting ready to leave with Fuzz.”

“Mmmm, I wish Fuzz were here now, that’s for sure. So how did our Jeremiah man take it?”

“Not well. He rode through the town talking to himself. Gia saw him on the bridge near Dragon’s Leap that night and he was out in the storm. She says he was heading back into town and he came back here. All of this is confirmed by Mother Superior and Ama.”

“Ama?” asked Lunar, surprised.

“She had spent the day following him.”

“Gods! How many people were watching and following this poor man? No wonder he was acting so oddly!”

“To be fair Lunar,” Elle said, “he was claiming to be Jeremiah Mason and came here to find his son. Both you and I know what happened last time they met, not that long ago and on this very spot. Fuzz had to keep an eye on him and no power in the world could have stopped Ama from helping her grandpa if it had have been him.”

“Yes… yes, you’re right of course. Carry on, Elle”, Lunar said softly, rubbing his eyes with his finger and thumb.

“Well,” continued Elle “Once here, well something must have snapped inside him because Ama says he went crazy.”

“Crazy? Crazy how?”

“Smashed the place up, she said. Smashed everything and was ranting about being Jeremiah. Ama tried to calm him down, but she says he was terrified and grabbed a bottle of stored lightning, presumably to defend himself, and then…” she looked at the smouldering crater and sighed.

“And how did he get out? Surely he didn’t manage to walk out in that state?” Lunar asked.

“No, Warren was passing by and ran in to save him…”

“Warren,” he interrupted, “you mean Velvel from Shanghai? What was he doing all the way over here?”

“Just taking a stroll, he says. Maxim was nearby too, JB was in his house and Maev was over at the kennels. They all got here just in time to see Warr… Velvel pull the body from the flames.”

“And Ama?”

“The blast blew her out of the door and into JB’s new shop. She was unhurt but out cold for a while and when she came too went to fetch Tensai, which is where you come in,” Elle finished.

“Hmmm,” was all Lunar said in reply. He wandered over to where the huge cog door of the lab, until a few hours ago, had been. Now it was buried deep in the walls of Hotspur’s tower.

“What’s wrong, Lunar?” Elle said, “I know that ‘Hmmm’ too well. You think there is more to it than a simple accident?”

“The explosion, no. Darien had enough dangerous things in there and Ama saw our poor would-be-Jeremiah smash the lab and grab the lightning bottle. But Velvel… no one saw him go in? And you said they saw him pulling the man out?”

“Yes,” replied Elle, “and Gia said something about him watching Jeremiah-man in the rain.”

“Who was in the rain? Jeremiah?” Lunar asked.

“No, well yes he was, but Gia said that Velvel was stood on the balcony in the rain and she is sure he was watching Jeremiah-man ride off. Lunar, you don’t think…”

“I don’t know what to think right now, Elle. Maybe our Jeremiah can tell us if he pulls through.”

“When he pulls through, you mean,” Elle reminded him.

As the sun rose higher into the sky, Lunar looked around at the rubble and ruins about him and sighed heavily, “I rather fear it’s much more of an ‘if’ Elle. Now, let’s see about this wreckage shall we?”

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In a nearby house, Ama and Tensai bent over the horribly burnt figure laid out on a spare bed. They had both done what they could, applying aloe extracts, wrapping him in gauze and keeping his blackened flesh damp, but his burns were the most severe either of them had ever seen. Tensai whispered reassurances to him like a mother to a child, telling him it would all be alright and he would be well again, but in her heart she knew it wouldn’t be alright and he would more than likely die very soon. “Try to rest,” she said as she listened to his ruined lungs wetly gurgling for air. “We’ll get you to Caledon soon, Jeremiah,” she added with a glance to Amarantis who gave a small nod of understanding.

The man on the bed, the man who had claimed to be Jeremiah Mason, jerked and went rigid for a second. Here it comes Tensai thought, and began to prepare a prayer. His lips, or where his lips used to be, opened a little and a wheeze of air escaped. She bowed her head at his dying breath and mourned as his soul moved to pass.

Except it didn’t. The wheeze continued. She looked back up and saw he was trying to lift his head from the pillow, his mouth trying to form words. Shocked she quickly moved closer until her ear was directly over his exposed teeth and she listened with all her being.

“nohhht jhere mhh iiia”

Her eyes grew wide! Not Jeremiah he had said!

“iiihhhhmmm hhhhedd hhrrrroo hhaannnt hhhaarrrmmmm” he sighed and fell back to the bed, his wheezing lungs refusing to give up…

The End?
All the “Lost & Found” posts can be read here.

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Links to other blogs and stories:
1) Tanarian alerted the Steelhead Ning here.
2) Dr Malegato alter reports on the damage to her warehouse here.
3) The cruelly exiled Dr Darien Mason detected the loss of his old lab here.
4) The hero of the hour, Velvel Danielovich explains how he pulled the burnt man out of the fire here.
5) Rhianon Jameson reports on the damage here.

Lost & Found: Chapter 10 – The Truth At Last

Jeremiah had stumbled through the dark doorway and down the stone steps looking like a man possessed. His clothes were soaked and dirty whilst his fur streamed water around him. He repeatedly swiped at his face, trying the claw the rain from his eyes so he could see. His face was terrible to behold, locked in a state of terrified panic with eyes wide and wild. In here, he thought, there must be something to prove I am me, there must be something that leads back to my family! His mind whirled in circles, demons inside him, murder in his heart, cruelty pumping through his veins. He was Jeremiah Mason! Jeremiah Sawyer Mason! Jeremiah Darien Mason!

Outside a storm raged, flinging itself at the city as though it were trying to tear it apart. Inside Jeremiah began to do the same to his son’s laboratory.

He tore open drawers, ripped off cupboard doors and upturned every box, crate and table he could find. Papers and books were trodden into the rain-soaked floor, glass syringes and medical instruments shattered and clattered beneath his boots. A lifetime of research and study was being torn apart in seconds. Blood seeped from his hands where sharp metal or broken glass had sliced into them, but still he continued. He began to shout, barking out demands that wherever it was hiding it had better come out now. Did it not know he was Jeremiah Darien! Mason! He was Jeremiah Mason! He was Mason Darien Demon Mason!

He tore at pipes, the room began to fill with steam and smoke. He kicked and smashed at flashing control panels. He lifted the operating table high above his head and flung it across the room into shelves of glass bottles. The air became thick with the acrid scent of chemicals, sparks crackling and jumping from exposed wires. He bellowed into them, he was Jeremiah Mason! He would not be denied! He was Jeremiah Killer! He would have answers. He spat that the glowing pentacle in the floor, He did not fear it. He did not fear it. He controlled it. He was Jeremiah Darien Demon Killer Mason!

“No, you are not.”

Her voice stopped him dead. Her tone firm, but gentle and with an odd harmony behind it, almost as though she spoke in several voices at once. He turned to face her and gasped. Her wings of translucent skin and clawed bone slowly folded behind her, their magnificence framing her extraordinary beauty. Her red skin and horns, the colour of cooling magma and texture of silk, almost glowed in the gloomy darkness. Beneath hair of pure white, eyes that seemed capable of boring through steel fixed upon him. She wiped the rain from her brow with the back of hand, rivulets of water ran from her dark leather clothing and folded wings. “I’ve been following you,” she said, “I saw you here with Lunar. I saw you with mama. I saw you with the poor horse. I saw you come in here, my home, and I saw you do this,” she gestured at the broken chaos scattered around them.

“I… I…” was all he could manage.

“You think you are my zaide, but you are not.”

“Zaide? Who… who is zaide?” he asked.

“My grandpapa, my zaide. You are not him. I can feel your bloodline and it is not his.”

“My bloodline? You can feel…?”

The girl took a step towards him, a petri dish cracked beneath her boot and Jeremiah took a step back away from her. “Please,” she said, ”I do not know who you are but I am willing to help you.”

He couldn’t stop looking at her eyes, her terrible, beautiful eyes. Her gaze sliced in to him. He could feel it stripping him away layer by layer, peeling him away to expose his core, to reduce him, to render him to nothing.

“NO! STAY BACK! I’M DANGEROUS! A KILL…” he was ranting as he reached out for nearest thing he could defend himself with. His hand, wet from the rain and soaked with a cocktail of chemicals, closed around the top of the large bottle of stored lightning.

A strange lucidity settled across his mind and a single second expanded into a lifetime as he watched his own death unfold. The bottle released its precious charge in one almighty arcing streak of white fire. The air screamed as a ball of plasma hotter than the sun roared into every corner of the small, enclosed room. For a brief moment he hung in the centre of a star before, with pain beyond measure, the world around him exploded into all-consuming fire and Jeremiah Mason, genius, father of geniuses, killer of Demons, repentant soul and unforgiven sinner died for the final time.

To Be Continued…
All the “Lost & Found” posts can be read here

Lost & Found: Chapter 6 – The Walls Have Both Ears And Eyes…

Jeremiah was stunned. He had a granddaughter? It was all too much; a son, a granddaughter, the laboratory, the pentacle, demons… he staggered back against the window as the world span around him. He couldn’t breathe, the room was hot and small, the machinery clanked and hissed, subtle vibrations reached up through his feet and turned his stomach. He had to get out, get away from here, from himself. As he staggered forwards and out of the doorway, he was unaware he was being watched by several interested parties.

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Above him, the eyes of Amarantis Belfire, his granddaughter, bored into him with distrust and curiosity in equal measures. She didn’t know who this stranger was or why he should use her zaide’s name, but what she really wanted to know is where her grandfather was and what this stranger had done with him. As he climbed the stairs to the doorway, she was still weighing up whether to follow him or not…

As Jeremiah walked into the bright sunshine a nun, concealing herself by the kennels across the road, watched his reappearance with a keen interest. She was one of the best surveillance nuns in Steelhead and was going to make sure that Mother Superior and Sheriff Ortega were proud of her. She made a quick note in a small book and prepared herself for his next move…

Further away, deep in the shadows of an alley across the water, a figure watched the unfamiliar face of his most hated vrag through the optics of a much used sniper rifle and felt his finger automatically curl around its trigger. With great force of will he moved it off and carried on observing: he had to be sure, after all this time he had to be sure it was him…

Much closer to him than he knew or could have guessed, a singularity of green light as big as the universe and as small as the void itself danced unseen as it bided its time. It was angry and sulking and had no intention of revealing to Jeremiah what it knew of recent events. No, it would just wait and watch and that would show the ungrateful wretch…

On the deck of a wooden ship, a hideous creature gazed into the entrails of a freshly gutted fairy, its wings still flapping helplessly, and tried to decipher this most curious turn of events. The Elemental had retreated, the Chosen was no longer the Chosen, the Seal was broken yet the barrier remained. Curious. It would need to speak to the traitor and have him find out more. The creature snarled an order and was passed a small cage woven from the darkness between dreams. It reached a clawed hand inside and pulled out another terrified fairy…

**********

Jeremiah braced himself against the walls of the lab and made his way around to the horse he’d tied up. Struggling into the saddle he said “I don’t suppose you know where the Europan Consulate is, do you boy?”. When the horse whinnied and began to trot off, he laughed out loud, but it was a hollow, joyless sound. Nothing made sense, why should a horse that understood him be any different?

To be continued…
All the “Lost & Found” posts can be read here.

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Ama listens in and regards the new Jeremiah with distrust here.