Thursday, May 5, 2011

Episode Twenty Two: Exsistence

Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose.
-Rorschach

The city night sparkled with multicolored lights. Downtown buzzed with activity in the predawn hours with its walkers, vendors, and taxis littering the sidewalks and streets. The exits from the underground, deep caves in the sidewalk, spit out a steady, if not thin, stream of people.

A light fog congealed the air around the ankles. A blur of night darted across the street, tarnishing the air and springing up the side of a window fronted building. Another followed, thicker, silvery, sending a jet of icy wind over the sidewalk below to rock the parallel parked cars. Alarms filled the night, echoing upwards, mingled with startled cries.

Both smears of darkness and light, vibrating as if not quite contained in this world, careened over the skyscraper, bursting over the antennas at the top. Falling, one twisted, slowed and, took on form with more silvery tint.

The momentum arched, aiming both towards the brick lined pathway of a small park. Trees shuddered as the first bit of energy hit, cracking the concrete as it bounced up to a lamp post that creaked under its weight; crushing a spider and its web, each slowly absorbed by the dripping edges of the creature.

The second hit. The silver energy dissipated as a whirlwind losing its velocity. Holon knelt at the core. He waited for the trickles of inertia to congeal into the small sprite; her form wavy and dreamlike.

"Much thanks Anemone." Holon raised his head. "Done running?"

The undulating mass atop the lamppost glinted as an oil spill in the sun.

"Very done." He allowed a smile. "Good."

A pulse flitted over the shadows. It flowered, grew, split and the lamp posts along the pathway shivered in the reverberating hum of flexing energy. Splintering glass filled the air moments before a far lamp exploded into fireworks of sparks and glass. One by one the bulb's integrity failed, showering the pathway. Darkness descended.

A piecing sound filled the air. Holon's right arm jerked to the side, his hand rising up just as fast. A pin point of darkness, thin and serrated, quivered in a silver arc of light emanating from his fingertips. Another whistle. Holon spun on a heel, catching a second, then a third dart of darkness with light. He withdrew a hand, finger at the tip of one crest of silver, drawing it to the next to create a shield.

With a provocative scream, six shadows congealed into lines behind him. They pressed onto an unsupervised silver arc. Holon whirled to push it back, but the lines attached. The power magnified and the shield shattered as the glass bulbs. Anemonè fell to her knees.

Holon's body jerked, arms thrown back into the pitch, caught in the threads as a fly in a web; the uncompleted shield wavering at his side. The chittering grew louder and the web hummed. He twisted his elbow and wrist, trying to grab the darkness. His fingertips touched. He closed his eyes. Silver mist rose, obscuring his hand even as a whip of black snapped around his throat and around his chest. The light wavered as the strands squeezed, causing a strangled sound. Heat and pain rushed up his neck, filling his head. Silver drained. Vision strobeing, he managed one word.

"Anem...onè..."

The arcs of light, the shield, vanished.

A chime of bells. The air above them split like a seam and flash of silver darted out and over the creature. It sped through the web, snapping lines, disintegrating the darkness with barely a touch. The length around his neck slackened and Holon hit his feet. The darkness shuttered, moving to solidify. Holon twisted out of its grip and flung the crescent shield into the web. It sliced the darkness, arced, then hurdled back. Each cut length rose into the air, floating as gossamer, then evaporated without a sound.

The ground ignited with silver. The spirit fell from the disintegrating web with a screech. Eight legs twitched and pushed against the ground, attempting to rise. One, little more than an inky shoot, discharged, aimed at Holon.

He dropped the shield, and caught the elongated spider leg. It wrapped around his wrist, the tiny sharp hairs digging into his sleeve for purchase and elicited a vicious tug. Holon stepped back, wrist rising, then snapped it down as if holding a whip. The spirit lashed backwards, slamming into the ground. As it hit, darkness broke off and evaporated from it form.

"Couldn't reach any positive potential. Had to go into the dark. Such a shame. Where are the others?"

The half formed creature writhed, twisted, spun itself up in the small bit of darkness that clung to it. Holon barely budged. He held the darkness, closing his eyes. The tug and flow, reversed. The thin lines snapped. They revolved into a whirl then evaporated, leaving an inky smell.

"Wraith." His eyes opened.

Anemone raised her hand, silver light glowing at her fingertips. A whisper of wind and she slid her hand forward, silvery fingers vanishing up to the second knuckle casing the air to part as if into a curtain of water. Space shivered, then ignited in a thin line, ripping upwards. She yanked down, ripping it open.

The darkness wrapping further up his arm, Holon calmly walked towards the fissure. He lowered his hand with the spirit's leg towards the silver. Anemone stepped back. The darkness unraveled from his body in a violent spin. The spirit screamed, scrabbling at the ground with all 7 legs. With a crack they snapped backwards. The creature screamed as the force of the fissure drug it across the pathway. At the mouth the legs extended outward desperately, pinning to the air around the tear.

Holon stared into its eyeless face before the legs fractured and the creature vanished into the other space. Just as its head was to go through, Holon nodded. Anemone turned away sorrowfully and closed her fist. The split sealed, biting off the head and evaporated with a hiss of black fumes.

The head rolled at Holon’s feet. It lay steaming on the ground with the tips of two spiked legs. It jerked, twitched, then began to melt.

"Such...a pity." Holon coughed, rubbing his neck, smearing the dots of blood from the sharp hairs. He glanced at the sky. The edges were tinged with blue, a pink rising up. Soft fingers at his neck. He took a deep breath. The raw, tight pain ebbed as the deep burns from the spirit healed. He turned and cupped Anemone's check. "Mòran taing. Time to go I think."

***


The alarm screeched. Tobie swung a drowsy arm in the direction of the window sill, knocking his mp3 player and jostling the headphones. The screech ended with bang as his fist came down on snooze.

Ten minutes later the ritual restarted; culminating with the alarm slamming into the window pane and dropping between the bed and the wall. With a groan he sat up, ran a hand through disheveled blond hair and yawned.

Showered and dressed, his tie loose, Tobie slipped into his shoes by the door, grabbed his satchel and, keys in his mouth, headed for the stairs. The wind bit through his blazer the second he stepped outside and he thought wistfully about his overcoat and scarf.


Someone was sitting on the low brick wall that decorated the entrance to the student dorms. The sight banished the deliberation. He sighed. "Don't you ever sleep?"

Holon hopped off the wall, shoving his hands in his coat pockets. They fell easily into step.




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