October 26, 2011 at 10:11am
All Hallow’s Eve, Part two
Here is part two of my original short novella All Hallow’s Eve. here is a link to the first part http://morciel.tumblr.com/post/11520968579/all-hallows-eve-part-one
When one thinks about the home of a wizard, I imagine one thinks about stone, and candles, and castles or something of that like. I doubt they think about an apartment in Astoria, Queens right across the river from Manhattan. But that nevertheless is my home, shabby as it might be. I sat at my kitchen table, looking at the packet with some coffee, heavy on the milk and sugar, in a chipped mug. Like I said, shabby.
I’ve worked with both the Silver Rose and the Steel Cross before, but only in minor capacities, the Church likes to keep things in house. A few moderately complex exorcisms, binding two demons, and advise on how to negotiate with faeries. All in all, things that anyone who knows as much as I do about the eldritch and supernatural could do. I was just the closest person around at the time. Maybe me personally knowing Marcus helped get me the jobs, but I doubt it. The Church as more than enough people in the trade that if they could have waiting to send of one of them, they would have. No, I’m nothing special, not really, so for something this important to fall into my lap, it must mean something. Hopefully I’ll find out before it kills me.
I laid a hand on the packet, flat and I cleared my mind, reaching out. I closed my eyes, the darkness of the inside of my eyelids. Then I willed energy, both from around me and from within myself, and the world took form again, colored with azure fire. Instead of the brown wood of my table, the yellow of the packet, and the green mug were all blue flame shaped like their actual forms. The only other color was the shining mark of the Papal Seal in the wax. White light glowed and it was a cold power that I feel whenever I quest around Marcus and others of the Church with my power. Faith, I’d reckon, is a power all its own. I know some of the things that go bump in the night recoil from such power. I withdrew my magic, and picked up a butter knife, cracking the seal.
Within the packet were a bunch of papers, newspaper clippings, and photos. On top of it all was a handwritten note, in Marcus’s hand. I read that first.
Daniel, I have gathered as much information as I could about the deaths of the members of the Silver Rose, and their purpose. I hope this can help you in finding this murderer. The documents in other languages have been translated to English. If you have any problem with these, or any other questions, please ask me directly. Until we meet again, Marcus Rodriguez.
I reread that a few times. I know how the Church works, and how it doesn’t like to share their secrets with others. I take it that along with translating the articles from whatever language they were in, they also omitted some information. They had to know who I worked with; at least Marcus had to, and know that I wouldn’t need any translation services. I resigned myself to, at least at this moment, not being given the whole story.
The articles all spoke about good people, church officials, leaders of the community; good Samaritans all killed ruthlessly with seemingly no motive or witnesses. The mortal police haven’t tied the killings together yet, at least not at the time of printing, but I had doubts they would, they happened all over the world, in different countries and continents. I heard the door open, and a female voice called out.
I mumbled my reply. “Morning Mari.”
My business and oldest friend walked into my living room, Maribeth Dawn, looking better than anyone had any right to at half past seven in the morning. She was tall, five foot eight, with burgundy hair that fell to the middle of her back, with piercing emerald eyes. Were we outside my home, she would look perfectly normal, if not slightly too perfect, but she didn’t here, her ears slightly too pointed, her nose and chin too angular, a look that was very, very attractive, but in no way completely human. Not that Maribeth was.
She walked to the craffe of the coffee and sniffed at it, her face twisting in disgust. “When are you going to get good coffee?”
“The moment I can afford it.”
Maribeth comes from a very rich family, and has never really wanted for anything, except by her own choice. She lives on her own now, working and earning her own money, but she still has trust funds that pays for most of her needs, and doesn’t settle for the big tins of ground coffee that runs my brain in the first hours of daylight each day.
“Surely your day would be so much better if you started it with something better, Dan.”
“Hey, hey.” I take a sip of the coffee and grimace as it goes down. “It’s the best part of waking up.” She chuckled at that. “Take a look at these, not the printed articles, the originals, let me know what they say. I gotta shower.”
“Yeah sure. Mind if I fix myself something to eat?”
“Mi casa, su casa.”
I left to shower, the hot water flowing over my back, helped me think. From what I read, the cause of death were all sharp force trauma, stabbing or cutting that all lead to them bleeding out. The killer never bothered to clean up any of the blood, but still someone left the crime scene leaving nothing of himself for the forensic specialists to find. Fifteen minutes later, I came out of the shower clean, but with no answers. I dressed in my normal black jeans and shirt, and walked out into what I thought was my living room, but apparently was actually a breakfast buffet restaurant. Where my table had been covered in crappy coffee and papers, was now covered in plates piled with scrambled eggs and hash browns and several different kinds of breakfast meats. And pancakes. My body, independent of my mind, moved quickly to the plate of pancakes and began shoveling them into my face.
“Hmmm…how did you make all…hmmm.” I spoke through pancakes and, gods above and below, real maple syrup. I didn’t even have real maple syrup in my house, or know anyplace around my home that one could get it.
“Your pantry is dourly under stocked, so I got some stuff from home, and made you a proper meal. You’re too skinny by the way.” She said, in a manner if not for the slight Irish brogue, would sound very much like my mother.
I would have replied, but, come on; there was pancakes and real syrup in front of my face. I looked up for a moment, to see Mari push bacon onto my plate.
“Marry me?” She chuckled and sat at the other end of my table, going over the papers.
“You can’t afford me Dan. Anyway, the translations the Church gave you were mostly correctly, save or minor things like leaving out a name here, leaving out a detail of the person’s life there. What’s this about?”
I swallowed pancake and bacon-y goodness and downed what seemed to behalf a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. After I finished with my orgasm, I told her everything I knew. When I was done, she wasn’t moving. I don’t mean that she was just really still, I mean she was statue still in a way that normal people just can’t do. People blink, breathe, have muscles twitch, but Mari, for a half a minute, didn’t. When she did move again, she was talking very quickly.
“But I though the Silver Rose members where protected from harm, especially from attacks from the Dark. If not that then wouldn’t the Church surround them with guards, both obvious and not? I mean, this is a big thing, and if no one noticed it till now…”
I raised a hand to pause her. “In order, they are, and I’m sure no one in the Church thought that it could have been connected until recently, and it would have taken them even longer to reach out to the outside, you know how they work.”
“Yeah. Well I know people in these places, at least most of them. Want me to snoop around, see what I can dig up?”
“Yeah, as fast possible. No passports, no customs ok?” She nodded and turned to leave. “Pack though, for trouble.” She turned back to face me, grinning an almost arrogant grin.
“Me, trouble? Come on boss.”
“No joke. The Silver Rose wasn’t a joke; neither were the heavies at their back. Angels don’t just let their charges die.” The smile died on her face, and she sobered. “Pack for trouble, keep to the shadows, glamour whenever possible. Just make sure you are careful ok?”
I rose, sighing. “Just come back ok?”
“Will do.” She smiled again, now more earnest, drawing a smile in my face. She straightened, and the smell of fresh cut grass and wood smoke filled the room, and she looked mostly the same, the angles of her chin and nose softer, her ears more rounded, the proportions of her arms and legs to the rest of her body changed so that she looked perfectly human, save for being too perfect. “Am I good?”
“Too damn good.” We both chuckled. She bowed a little, the motion more important to her than I could ever understand, and she left. I slumped back into my seat, looking at all the food that she had cooked, none of which she touched. I ate alone, thinking.
October 16, 2011 at 8:25am
All Hallow’s Eve, Part one
This is my first post of original text, a novelette that I will be releasing in pieces on this Tumblr. Follow to continue to read this tale ;)
“I feel old.” Marcus said, staring at the thin glass bowl of mixed nuts intently, scratching at his salt and pepper, more salt than pepper these days, beard.
“Why is that?”
“I remember when there used to be an ashtray next to that bowl, and it was almost always full. The room would be so smoky the bartender might get cancer before the end of his shift.” He chucked to himself, the metal crucifix on the long rosary around his neck clinking against the wood of the bar. “Times are changing Daniel. There soon won’t be a place for men like us.”
I sipped at my whiskey. “Nah, there will always be a place for men like you. Me, not so much, people won’t really have a need for wizards eventually.” Marcus chuckled again.
He called me to Summerland, the bar where people from our inclination met. It’s a safe place, a Sanctuary under the Duskstorm Pacts. Not many places on Earth have been declared that, and it’s the only one on the East Coast of North America. We were mostly left alone, the other patrons of the bar giving us, or more over, gave Marcus Benedict Ramirez, a wide berth. He’s known in our circles, and the darker types around didn’t want to provoke him, though he wouldn’t, or couldn’t without reprisals from his bosses and others, strike down any one while there. He looks at the Pepsi he ordered, and sighs, drinking the rest of it.
“If I have to still do this stuff Daniel, so will you. I’ll drag you into it.” There was mirth in the words, but not in his voice. We let the words hang there for a while, just sitting next to each other. It was five minutes before I spoke again.
“So, why am I here?”
He sighed, and motioned to the bartender. “Another whiskey, for both of us.” That gave me pause; Marcus never drank, at least not in all the three years I knew him. The bartender, a shorter stocky man with a black ponytail and goatee, poured the drinks in silence and placed them for us, then moved out of the area as quickly as he could without actually looking like he was fleeing us. “The Silver Rose is withering Daniel, its Petals dropping like flies, and I don’t know why.”
I froze the cup halfway to my mouth. When I moved again, I drank the whole glass down at once. “How many?”
“To date, six.”
“God.” He winced. “Sorry. Do you know anything, anything that you can give me?” He picked up a manila packet, sealed with real sealing wax and the Papal Seal.
“That’s everything I could compile from what I’m told can be shared outside the Church.” He handed it to me, and drained his glass. “Whatever is happening, it’s big, and it’s bad. The Enemy has grown so strong in the last decade Daniel, maybe this is the last stand, you know?”
“God help us if it is.”
“If He can, He will Daniel.”
“I’ve heard that before Marcus, I’ll believe when it when I see a Heavenly Host fly into battle or the smiting of a bad guy.”
The man grimaced. “Beware Daniel, hubris doesn’t suit you. Neither does sacrilege.”
I bowed my head, sighing. “Sorry. I’ll help, where I can, hopefully that’ll be enough.” I rose, sticking the packet into my messenger bag and put out my hand. He got up, his six foot seven stature dwarfing my five foot eleven, and took my hand in a thick, battle scared one. The stainless steel of the crucifix on his heavily muscled chest glinted in the light.
“It will be more than enough my friend. Vaya con Dios.” He squeezed my hand in what must have been gentle to him but more bone shattering for me.
“Likewise.” I left the Knight of the Steel Cross there, moving out into the starless night of New York City, the night somehow seeming darker to me now than it was before.