Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cloak of Shadows - Nature of Magic Blogfest

I don't really believe in rabbits in hats and coins that disappear, but I do believe there are things out there that can't be explained away with science and facts.  

That's why when Tessa announced The Nature of Magic Blogfest, I thought I'd enter something I have been tinkering with on the side. Its a story that just seems to simmer in the back of my mind refusing to go away.

Its a kind of magic. Its supernatural, actually...

Cloak of Shadows

The demon, Eligos, astride his specter-steed galloped in silence unseen by the men staggering along the filthy alley. No one heard the skeletal hooves. No one but Seth. He saw and fear vaulted his heart in his chest.
Up ahead, the dark form slid along the chipped brick wall. The sound whispered through Seth’s mind like an old dry snake; urgent and angry, it made the hairs on his neck spike. He picked up his pace no longer worried about being sensed. The edges of silhouetted wings sparked with purple light as the silence billowed out in front of the demon.
Seth broke into a run to keep up ignoring the pain in his knees. His long coat whipped as he flit through the night at incredible speed. His black hair fell into his eyes. He had to know where it was going. Why Eligos would dare to break into this realm.
The discoverer of hidden things, the demon could see the end of battles. But Seth knew no kings that reigned here. No knights spilled blood on this ground. The demon’s presence, out of time and place, made no sense. Seth had encountered Eligos only once before, a decade ago, when his marks were still new.
The specter slowed and Seth’s stomach dropped as he closed the distance. Dark flowed out from Eligos like a black cloud blotting out the street lights and the stars. Silence and terrible cold bled from the demon’s form and Seth, sensing that it would be soon, peeled the coat from his body even as he began to shiver. Cringing at the sound of the material brushing against itself, Seth kept his eyes on Eligos. It seemed to be waiting, almost trembling with anticipation.
Silencing his breaths, Seth chanced a closer look and then he heard them; the footsteps, light and quick, a woman crossing the mouth of the alley.  He strained to see through the haze that shrouded Eligos. Craning his neck, he spotted her. A woman, maybe late-twenties, her pale face tilted down as she dug in her purse.
A shuddering screech tore out of the demon and he swooped along the black asphalt, the whirling wind that followed after him whipping the trash and dirt into the air. Seth sprang after him, the prayers leaving his lips in fevered whispers. He leaped toward the woman, knowing the light that shone from the moon would slow the demon. Reaching for her, his palms and wrists already alight with the glowing script etched into his skin.
The demon howled, whirled away, and doubled back in a wave of sickening cold and heaviness. The woman screamed in his arms, but Seth held her fast. His arms burned with the light, his mind racing against the encroaching confusion. Eligos, spurned by the light, tore left at the last second and flew overhead, churning in a pulsing streak above their heads.
“Run!” Seth yelled and pushed the woman out in front of him back down the alley. “Don’t look back.”
Her dark eyes, terrified and filled with tears, stared at him with shock. Her body shook. “What is it…what is it?”
Seth shoved her again. “Go!”
Eligos’ shriek echoed over them, reverberating down the alley. The woman screamed and ran in the wrong direction. Seth reached out, his hands digging into the freezing mist of Eligos, and held on, whispering frantically the entire time. The demon screamed in pain. It lashed and whipped at Seth, foul stench and terrifying howls exploded around him. The script along his chest, written on his hands and wrists, pulsed with white light and Seth saw the demon grimace in pain.
Eligos turned on him, whirling on the ghostly steed. Time slowed and Seth saw the stringy white hair of the demon floating out as if under water. He felt his own body leave the ground and grit his teeth, his words coming out in grunts. They hit Eligos as pulses of light pushing the demon back.
Voice seething with hatred, Eligos hissed. “She will be ours. And then you will all be lost.”
Seth, engulfed in the dark cloud of cold, shuddered and twisted away from the demon. Howls, pierced through him and then a hand was on his shoulder. Eyes snapping to his right, he saw the woman, her pale face blurred by the mist. She shouted something to him.
He lost his grip and Eligos whipped out of his hands, the dark following after it as the demon wailed along the alley and was gone. Seth fell to the asphalt, his breath ragged.
She ran to him, her eyes wide. Her gaze went to the ink on his pale arms. Back to black it looked like the dark scrawls of a quill.  He pulled his long sleeves down quickly and struggled to his feet.
        “What…who are you?” she gasped.

That's it for my entry. Please stop by and read the other fascinating excerpts at Tessa's Blurb.

Until next time...go write!