(c) copyright K. A. Denver
Sunday, 24 January 2016
THE GUARDIAN, Chapter One
“I banish thee from this earthly plain
your existence here shall not stain
I banish thee for evermore
your negativity voided as before
I banish your essence to its unearthly plain
forever gone, there to remain”
My voice rose as the energy began to build around the room, I chanted over and over as the darkness tugged and pulled at me ripping at my shirt. I could feel cold sharp claws scrape the skin on my chest, blood drawn as it fought back. Around me the room was in chaos, chairs strewn and broken, tables upturned. I closed my eyes and focused all my energy so that I could ground myself well, I would need an anchor to enable me to harness my powers and force this entity to leave and free its hold on the family that lived here. The air began to grow thicker as the energy built and electric blue veins of static lit the room highlighting the devastation while light and dark fought its eternal battle. My body begin to fill, a conduit, a weapon for use in this latest skirmish, energy filled me as I lifted my arms, my palms skyward as the sound in the room became deafening. The entity screeched and snarled as it fought for its hold within this dimension and this realm.
My head dropped back, my face relaxed as I settled into a mantra. I repeated over and over my banishing spell oblivious to all around me, all but the darkness that I could sense so close. It began to weaken. Even with eyes shut I could see a bright light which I knew right now emanated from my body, my command overpowered it, pushing it back as my light spread throughout the room. It battled and pushed as it fought back against the light though its strength now waned in this fight. I raised my voice higher as my confidence in a victory grew, my chant more forceful, it demanded the negative essence to leave and never return.
I could sense it give one last push, the rancid smell of decay filled the space around me while this thing used a surge of strength to lash out in a last ditched attempt to weaken me and deter my efforts with its evil unseen claw. A split second later there was a loud pop then everything went quiet. The ferocious wind that seconds before howled in the room had now dulled and died, the terrible screeching and hissing of the entity disappeared along with it. Mentally I reached out, searched the house and the property for any sign of creature just encase it lingered somewhere to lick its wounds, but there were none. It was gone.
I took a deep breath then slowly let it out, I had been battling this for what felt like hours though in reality was much likely far less. My eyes stung as I slowly drew them open, it was just now with things settled that I realised I must have had them squeezed shut through some of that. Christ the room had been wrecked, looking round I could see the pictures that had once been straight now hung lopsided if at all. The little trinkets that had adorned the mantle lay broken and ruined, the holy idols that once had centre stage now shattered but even with all that I was relieved it was just the room that was mangled. Had this thing been able to settle, been able to lay claim not just to the home but to the people that lived within it, this would seem immaculate in comparison. The sting on my torso brought my attention home and I straightened my shirt as best I could, a quick inspection showed slashes ripped across it and blood stains pebbled the white cotton material. Gripping the hem, I tugged the tattered fabric up, it was then that I could see what appeared to be three deep lacerations stretch across my stomach and over my abs, bright red blood oozed from them. What in the hell? I lifted my hand and after wrecking my brain, I focused on a spell that would hopefully cleanse and heal them. Normally after one of these tussles I would feel a drain on my energy, the extent of that off course depended on the strength of the opponent but the drain I now began to feel superseded that. I muttered over and over the spell I normally used, a crackle of energy pulsed and morphed as it grew in the palm of my hand, the chant sped up and I positioned my cupped palm just inches above the slashes. The skin began to tingle that quickly died to be replaced with burning, the skin pulled together and inflamed sides knit, the lacerations slowly disappearing and redness dying before my eyes. Within seconds, they were gone with no sign of ever having been there.
The front door creaked open and light footsteps gingerly approached, a soft feminine gasp followed by an, “Oh Mary, sweet mother of God!” identified it to be the lady that had called me in. She had tried to get rid of the 'thing' that had taken her home as its own by calling in the local clergy but this had only resulted in pissing it off and putting an old priest in the hospital. It had lifted him like a rag doll and tossed him across the room. The poor man had to be dragged out, it was then the lady in question, Sarah, moved in with her sister as the shit hit the fan and it had gone berserk after that. She scoured the web and found a few articles on exorcisms but it was when she came across one which told of a lady that lived in the south of Texas, she had been having issues with something similar though it appeared not to be as nasty. After a day or two of contacting/harassing the publisher of the article, she had tracked the woman down she in turn then gave my name and number over and she had called me that night she spilled the story of how it began and begged me to come help her.
“You shouldn't have any more problems, it's gone. It's out of the house and off your property but know that if you mess with that board without knowing what you are doing then this can and will happen again.” I bent down and picked up my jacket, shaking off some of the crap that had fell on it during the banishing. I winced a little, although the cuts were healed visibly I could feel them as if they were still there. “I can take the board with me or you can get rid of it is your call.” A quick glance once more around the place hiked my brow high and a low whistle escaped my lips. It had been a hard battle fought and one I knew I would need to rest from. I would need to build my power and strength back up as it had all but drained me dry, I hoped I had just enough to get me home because I could feel my battle now turn inwards as I fought to keep it together until I was back in my own place.
“No… no, you take it Eli, I don't want it anywhere near me or my home again. B… but are you definitely sure it's gone?” She entered the room apprehensively and her eyes darted around in search of signs of it lurking or hiding as if it would appear at any moment.
“It's gone, during the cleansing of the house I placed protection crystals over the doors and by the windows of each room, as long as they stay in those places they will protect the house and those in it from negative energy or entities. I'll finish cleansing in here and do the same, that should be your problem solved.” As I spoke I walked around, stepping over bits of broken crap everywhere and placed the crystals in position. When all were laid out I finished what I had started before the presence had lashed out after being cornered in the room having had nowhere else to go. Shit! My vision began to blur, I needed to get out, I needed to get home. I was on reserve power now and only enough magic left to get me there.
Board underarm and for the fourth time while I made my way to the door I turned down the payment that was offered, how I managed it I don’t know but I kept a strained smile on my lips as I bid farewell and held myself together just long enough to walk down the path and round the corner. Out of sight of the house and others around it, I closed my eyes, my breath was coming in pants now as I felt pain sear through my body. With all I had left I willed myself home using the last of what I had in me to accomplish it. The wind whipped up around me in a swirling vortex kicking fallen leaves and debris everywhere then seconds later the smell of damp earth and the crisp evening air was replaced with the familiar aroma of home. I materialised in the living room of my old 19th-century manor house but it was seconds later I collapsed on the floor my reserves totally spent, sight dimmed slowly at first as I blinked tiredly then as a wave of pain hit me and I struggled to get off the floor my head swam then all went black.
Fuck knew how long I was out of it but what woke me was a cold wet nose pressed against mine and a soft tail gently tapped at the side of my head. I blinked a few times before my eyes began to focus then groaned loudly as right there, in my face, was Parker my familiar. His big blue eyes watched me with concern his head tilted when he seen me wake. This cat was beautiful with his smoky grey fur that was quite feminine though he was larger than most I had seen before, it was one of the things I liked about him and it amped up his masculinity. He actually wasn't all that feminine unlike most witch’s cats, I used to joke with others in the coven that he was a masculine cat befitting of any strong, powerful male witch and one that others should admire and wish for but right now he was interrupting my much-needed rest and for that I could choke him.
“Miss me Kitty?” I teased, I knew the reaction I would get, and I couldn’t help but laugh as he hissed and spat at me, his back arched, fur stood on end, “Calm down fella I was joking!” He stood and raised his head in his feline version of a two finger salute then turned and walked off in a huff.
I cracked up and laughed at his abhorrent hate of being teased which turned him from caring familiar into a stroppy moody teen. I rolled over and pushed myself up on my hands and knees, bracing myself for pain before one last push to my feet. Nope… no twinges and not even a dull ache. Fan-bloody-tastic. Standing upright I patted my body down from shirt pockets to jeans in search of my phone only to find it in the back pocket of my jeans. The date and time I was amazed to find showed that I'd been on that floor two days. Wow, that was the longest yet, but then, the more of these things I fought the stronger they seemed to be getting and the more they drained me. It was like I was being pushed, my limits tested and this last one had been more an effort than any to date. What the fuck was the deal with those slashes on my stomach? My protection should have worked, that should never have happened.
I tossed my cell onto the table and made my way into the kitchen, my stomach rumbled to remind me of its starvation this past few days. Mondays pizza was still in the fridge and after a quick smell test it was deemed fit enough to zap in the microwave, the beer that I had taken and popped had washed it down and hell if that hadn’t felt good. Food for the soul, I laughed to myself. After I fed the beast, aka my stomach and the cat aka the huffy feline, I trudged upstairs to shower and freshen up. Today was the last Wednesday of the month and that meant Coven meeting at Leza’s.
I made my way upstairs as I finished the last slice of pizza and after a quick swig of the bottle, I set my beer on the bathroom sink top. Stood in front of the mirror I pulled the T over my head and tossed it at the hamper in the corner behind me where it hung half in, half out. My attention wasn’t on it, instead, it was fixed on my now healed body. There was no sign of any cuts or scabs, sure there were a lot of bruises on my ribs and over my hip where broken pieces of furniture had been hurled at me but the lacerations I had worked on were now healed and the pain I had felt before was gone. I lifted my gaze and caught sight of the reflection. The man looking back at me only a few months ago would have been described as handsome and rugged his face and body chiselled and sculpted. His jet black raven hair although wavy never looked unkempt as it settled just at shoulder length. His skin had been swarthy and had a healthy glow, his covens ink and crest on his upper arm. Each member branded with the symbol of the Celtic Tree of Life, which represented the Forrest of the Ancestors from where we drew our magic then embodied in that was the image of each witches familiar, mine a cat to represent Parker, the stuck up huffy bag of fur downstairs. That was then though, right now, the man staring back at me looked tired even after the two-day siesta. Everything about him looked lacklustre and dull from his hair to his skin. His features hidden by the five o’clock shadow it usually supported which was a bit scragglier than normal after his sleeping beauty routine downstairs. No point dwelling, it was what it was. Nothing a long holiday and a bit of female company wouldn’t sort but there were two chances of that… No hope and Bob hope. Fuck it. I shrugged it off and grabbed a quick shower, didn’t want Leza on my back for being late and time waited for no one especially not me.
It was Coven time. I got myself sorted and went back down stairs, sticking the board alongside a few others from the houses I had cleansed previously, I had found a message on my cell. Leza had called to remind me that we had a gathering tonight and that I wasn't to miss it. I knew I was going to have to tell them all what I had been up to this past few weeks. It's not that they disapproved or that I would cop shit for it, as a matter of fact our coven carried out many types of banishment of the entities like the one a few days ago for centuries now. We each had fought our fair share of battles and even lost a few of our family to the war that raged. The reason I wasn't looking forward to the meeting was because I knew Nora would be there, I know I should have gotten over it by now but well that was the problem with issues of the heart, unlike everything else under the sun and the moon there was no spell to magic the hurt away.
Nora and I had been together for over three years and I thought everything was fine, actually more than fine we had even gotten to the point that we had talked about a handfasting ceremony. Funny how appearances can be so deceiving. I had been away for a few days because I had been called to a home in the Carolina's, where a young couple had a nasty attachment on the property. It had been a shitty battle well fought but in the end, it had been banished and the young couple free to continue their life. I had returned home to find all of Nora's things gone, her closet emptied, altar cleared and all that remained was a 'Dear John' letter. In it, she had said that she couldn't sit back at home anymore while I was gone days at a time, that she hadn't wanted to be the partner of a 'warrior witch' and that since I had taken on that role she didn't like what I had become. That was a massive kick in the balls. I had worked my whole life within our kind, I trained hard to do what I do. After my father had been killed while trying to rid the earth of one particularly nasty bastard, my mother had lost her mind with the grief, no one within our coven could help her not even any of our best healers. The need for revenge is what pushed me but Nora knew this, she knew what drove me, she knew from the beginning that I wanted no other to go through what I and my mother had.
Shaking the memories away I chastised myself for behaving like such a pussy, that had been a while back and she had done me a favour. It had been exactly what I had needed to give me that final push and I had then given my all to destroying and ridding the earth of these abominations. The more I battled and won the stronger and more powerful I knew I would eventually become.
It didn’t take long to get from mine to Leza’s. Even though it was mid-evening there was hardly a soul on the streets, even cars were scarce. Her house was on the other side of the Forrest of Ancestors about 9 miles as the crow files, roughly 14 miles, if like me you drove. I pulled up outside and parked my 72 Chevy by the large oak to the right of her house, the place was in darkness the only light come from the torch-lit pathway that I knew led to the clearing and to where the others would be waiting. I Locked the car up and stuffed the keys in my back pocket then followed the illuminated path through the dense woods that surrounded her farm house. The trees were magnificent, each representing a fallen warrior, an ancestor of the coven. I could hear the low muffled voices in the distance, it sounded like there could be a full turn out tonight. As I approached the clearing I could make out some familiar faces, among them some of my oldest friends Eion, Fionn, Mica and Tomas. They were oblivious to the fact that I had arrived and it gave me time to scope the place to see who was in attendance. There were around twenty that I could count and all gathered in little clumps around the place, everyone chatted and caught up with each other.
I was about to make my presence known when the voice behind me spoke, “Umm so you gonna stand there all night?” I didn't need to turn to know who it was, that soft almost musical lilt could belong to no one other than her... Nora.
(c) copyright K. A. Denver