Friday, November 12, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Javier left the brick house that he shared with his dad. He walked on the cement path that led to a gate which was cemented into a brick wall. He squinted as the hot sun reflected off of the glass shards stuck into the top of the wall. The heat that came off the paved road hit him hard in the face and tiny beads of sweat began trickling down his face. It’s going to be hot and muggy as usual. He wiped the sweat from his forehead and flicked it to the ground.
He walked down the street toward the main road where cars sped by. It was always loud and it didn’t seem like things ever slowed down. He walked down the sidewalk a little farther to the ramp that crossed the road. He adjusted the bag on his shoulder and took the steps two at a time.
The bag was full of candy. He had been selling candy on the street since he was six to help out at home. His dad worked in the city center but made very little. He had been doing pretty well since moving to this spot and was able to use the extra money to help his dad out with the rent.
Javier reached the top of the stairs and stopped. Who’s that new boy? He’s in my spot. He put his hand into his pocket and grasped a small knife then walked up to the boy.
“Who are you?” Javier asked.
The boy couldn’t have been much older than him. “I’m Rafael. What do you want?” he said. Rafael pushed the bleached blonde hair from his face. His brown eyes glowered at Javier as if he was inviting him to start something.
“This is my spot,” Javier responded. Everyone knew this was his spot.
Rafael looked Javier over and said, “I don’t see your name on it and besides I was here first.”
Javier’s heart started to pump faster and a cold sweat trickled down his back. He rubbed the back of his hand across his forehead to get the sweat out of his eyes. He had had to fight for his spot once before. It hadn’t gone well. He clenched the knife in his pocket.
Javier put his bag on the ground not taking his eyes off the other boy. “I’ve been setting up here for a while now. Just move on and there won’t be any trouble.”
Rafael stepped a little closer and a ring of people began to form around the two. He pulled a knife from his pocket and flicked it open. “I don’t think you understand. I was here first. So unless you want to get hurt you better leave.”
Javier pulled his knife from his pocket and crouched. His dad had taught him how to fight.
Rafael lunged at him but he was able to move out of the way in time. Javier slipped and Rafael swiped at him again with the blade. Blood mingled with the sweat that ran down Javier’s forearm. He stepped back and the crowed moved with him. They were cheering the two boys on hoping one of them would get killed.
The knife felt cold in his hand. He waited for Rafael to lunge again but he didn’t. The crowd dispersed as quickly as it had formed and Rafael was quickly packing his stuff. Javier looked behind him and saw what the problem was. Four policemen were heading their way. Javier put the knife away, grabbed his bag and started for the stairs. Rafael was right behind him as they flew down the stairs, their feet barely touching each step.
The heavy boots of the policeman stomped behind them on the cement stairs sending a chill up Javier’s back. A flash of his friend lying cold and lifeless in the street went through his mind.
Rafael tripped and hit Javier in the back. They both tumbled to the ground in a heap.
“Stop!” one of the policemen said.
Javier quickly untangled his arms and legs from Rafael and was up and running in a flash. Rafael was right beside him. He pointed to a small hole in the wall and said, “Over there.”
Javier nodded and ducked through the hole a second later. They ran to the other side of the yard and came to a large brick building. There was an old rusty door and several windows. Javier yanked on the door and it creaked as it swung open. They ducked inside and pulled the door shut.
The wall felt warm against Javier’s back and through gasps of air he said, “Do you think they saw us.”
Rafael looked at the door. “I hope not,” he said.
The room was musty and looked as if no one had been in it for ages. The dirt floor was littered with rat dropping and the windows were so dirty little light came through. There were several chairs surrounding a large wooden table. In the center of the table was a statue of the Savior on a cross. It reminded him of the one that his father had put on his mother’s casket the day she died.
Tears stung Javier’s eyes as he looked at the statue. Why did you take my mom? If you cared about me you wouldn’t have taken her. He bit his lip hard and looked away from the table.
“I think I saw them duck in here,” a man said.
Javier wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans and his heart thumped. He pulled the small knife from his pocket and opened it. Crouching low beside the door he waited. Rafael squatted next to him and Javier saw a flash from his blade.
Heavy boots stomped behind the door and Javier swallowed hard. The handle turned and the door slowly swung open.
“What are you doing here?” a woman asked.
The door stopped and a man said, “We’re looking for some street kids.”
“Well I can tell you no one has gone in there for years. It’s been cursed by a Macumbeiro,” she said.
Javier’s heart stopped and he looked over the room once again. It had grown dark and silent. Not your normal dark and silent but a darkness and silence like a black hole where all the light has been sucked out.
His father had told him about the Macumba and how they would use black magic to curse people who had made them angry. There was a boy on his street who had taken some bread from one of their offerings on the street. He was sick in bed for weeks and never really recovered.
The door closed and the boots stomped off. We need to get out of here. Javier walked to the door his breath came out in white puffs of air and goose bumps formed on his arms. Putting his ear to the door he couldn’t hear anything other than the busy traffic zooming by. He pulled on the door but it was stuck. He grabbed the handle with both hands and leaned back hard but it still wouldn’t budge.
“What was that?” Rafael asked.
Javier turned and looked into the blackness. Nothing. He pulled on the door again, still it wouldn’t move. Rafael started to pull on the door with him then turned to the window. “Maybe we can get out the window?” he said.
They crept to the window not wanting to disturb the evil they felt all around them. Rafael wiped some of the grime away from the window and looked out.
“Do you see anything?” Javier asked.
“There’s no one out there.”
Rafael pushed on the window and said, “It won’t budge.”
There was a loud bang behind them and both boys turned pressing their backs against the wall. “Wh… who’s there?” Javier asked.
There was only silence as they stared into the darkness. Rafael ran to the door and tugged on it again. When it wouldn’t move he banged on the door and screamed, “Let us out of here!”
Javier couldn’t move. A feeling of dread washed over him like a wave slamming into the rocks on the beach. His legs buckled and he collapsed to the floor. He clenched his eyes shut, willing the fear to leave. He opened his eyes and followed a stream of light that came from the spot Rafael had cleaned from the window. The light illuminated the statue of Jesus.
“Jesus, please save us,” Javier whispered.
He closed his eyes again. All hope was gone.
The door flew open and light filled the dark room. “I command you to leave, dark demon!” a woman said.
There was a hiss from the corner of the room where the light couldn’t reach. “You cannot command me, foul witch,” the hiss said. “You have no more power over this place.”
“I command you to leave in the name of our Lord. He has all power both in Heaven and on Earth. Now leave this place and come no more into it.”
Javier was able to open his eyes and he looked at the old woman who stood before him. She wasn’t much to look at, her grey scraggly hair fell to her waist, her face was wrinkled and she leaned heavily on an old gnarled stick that looked better than her. But when she spoke she spoke with power. Her voice was strong and it carried to all the corners of the building. Javier felt a light coming from her that he hadn’t felt before in his life. The light filled his soul with hope and joy.
The light chased the darkness from the farthest corner and the hiss was no more. Javier looks back on that day often as the changing point of his life. Rafael and he became looked out for each other in the streets from that time forward. Javier still didn’t understand why his mother had to leave him but he trusted in his Savior that it would all be made right again just like that day in the old brick building.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
A loud bang on the front door woke Tom. A short pause was followed by another loud bang on the hard oak. Tapping sounds came as high heeled shoes crossed the marble floor. Tom slid out of bed. There was a sharp click of the latch as the heavy door opened. Tom clenched his blanket and ran to the landing above the large hall. His small hand grasped the white bar as he looked to the entryway below. He saw a woman and man talking to the maid, Anna.
“We must see your mistress at once,” the woman said.
Tom wondered who the woman was. She wore a red dress, and her long black hair shined in the glow of the chandelier. He gasped seeing the huge man that was with her. The man’s short beard was neatly trimmed and light reflected off of his shaved head. His long sword shifted slightly on his black suit as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other.
Anna walked back down the hall and the woman turned to whisper to the man. Tom wondered what they were so quiet about. A few minutes later, he saw his mother hurry to the woman, holding her hands out. They clasped hands and his mother’s lips brushed the other woman’s cheek.
“We can talk in here,” his mother said, heading to the sitting room. The woman followed with the man close behind.
Tom dropped his blanket and crept down the stairs looking from side to side. At the bottom of the stairs he couldn’t see anyone, so he darted across the entryway and stopped just outside the sitting room. Peering in he saw Anna handing cups to the woman and the man and then to his mother. She set the tray on the table and headed toward the door.
Tom opened the coat closet, jumped in, and closed the door. He heard Anna walk by and he held his breath. The steps continued down the hallway and he sighed. He waited a moment longer, then opened the door a crack and pressed his ear to it. He heard only muffled voices.
He slipped out of the closet and closed the door, holding the handle so that it made no noise. He sank to his knees and crawled to the sitting room. When he reached the double oak doors, a woman shouted, “You have a responsibility, being entrusted with magic.”
“I know that, but all it has gotten me is sorrow. We now have witches everywhere who corrupt the laws of magic and destroy everything around them, why I am to be more responsible than they?” his mother challenged.
“Yes, that is true, but can you imagine what would happen if men once again possessed magic? We can’t take that risk,” she said. “You know the history of magic as well as I do. The Brothers of the Forsaken Petal gave everything to ensure that magic continued on and the responsibility is ours and ours alone. The women who sacrificed their lives in the trials should not be ignored. They were instructed that only women should possess magic.”
“I know the history. I know of the sacrifices that were and still are made, but there is something different going on that I do not understand. You know that I have already made the ultimate sacrifice once before,” his mother whispered.
“I sorrow for your loss, sister,” said the woman, “but there is nothing that can be done. The head enchantress demands that it is done again. You know our law. Without the law we are no different than the witches that now encircle us on every hand.”
Tom heard the cup clang on the tabletop and the sound of people standing.
“We will return tomorrow and collect the boy. There is nothing that can be done about it,” the woman stated.
Tom hurried to the stairs and dashed up them. By the time he reached the landing, the woman was heading toward the front door. The big man followed her quietly, moving with the grace of a giant cat. Tom’s mother was close behind. She looked up at him. He saw a tear in her eye and wondered who they were talking about. Her face was worn and her eyes, which seemed to always gleam, were dull. She opened the door and the couple left.
Tom’s mother hurried up the stairs brushing at her eyes. She smiled when she looked down at the small boy with his curly blonde hair. He looked up at her with a weak smile, hoping that he wouldn’t get in too much trouble for staying up. His mother bent down to him and held him tight.
“Tom, you have to go to a new home tomorrow. It will just be for a short time.” She looked into his blue eyes. “After your father gets back, we’ll come and get you.”
He whimpered and his mother gave him a stern look.
“Remember you must be strong. You are an Alerio.”
He nodded and wiped at his red eyes. “I know mother, I will be.”
She pulled him close again and then, lifting him in her delicate arms, carried him down the hallway to his room. She laid him gently on the bed and pulled the covers over his shoulders. She looked at him for a moment longer, leaned over, and kissed him on the forehead.
He reached up and grabbed her around the neck, holding her tight. “I love you mamma.”
She squeezed him. “And I love you, Tom.”
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
The leather creaked as the horse moved restlessly. The rider wore a simple brown jacket his head was covered with a leather cap. Goggles covered his eyes to help keep out the rain.
The rider patted his mount and said, “Just a little longer boy.”
The horse shook its black mane and droplets of water went in all directions. The green grass under the horse was turning to mud as the horse stomped and shifted.
“Yah!” the rider yelled.
The horse shot off. The mud flew out behind him as he raced down the side of the hill. The riders leathered gloves gripped the reigns and horn of the saddle. He was hunched low over the black stallion looking straight ahead.
Any moment now. There he is. He doesn’t even notice me.
The rider pulled a pistol from inside his jacket and aimed at the lone horseman in the distance. He could feel the cold steel between his hand and a chill went down his spine. This would end it once and for all. They will never be able to hurt me again. He pulled the trigger the gun recoiled in his hand.
The stallion didn’t flinch as the sound reverberated through the green valley. His hoofs thundered through the valley as they drew closer to the lone figure that had now turned.
The lone horseman pulled a pouch from his waist and pulled fine dirt out throwing it into the rain. Instantly the dust turned to fire and sped toward the oncoming man and his black stallion.
Phillip fired the revolver again as the flame approached him. He did not fear the man’s fire this day. The flame engulfed them. The heat was intense. Phillip clasped a silver medallion that hung around his neck and said, “I repel your flame.” The flame died instantly and Phillip fired again.
He was now within fifty feet of the man and he could see fear in the lone man’s face for the first time. Your fire can no longer harm me. I rebuke you and your kind forever.
He fired again this time his aim was true and the bullet slammed into the man. He pulled the trigger once again. Another hit.
The man fell backward off the horse as it jumped.
Phillip pulled hard on the reigns and the stallion skidded in the stream that formed in the narrow valley.
“Where is she?” Phillip said.
The man lay in the mud that had turned red from his blood and said, “You will never see her again.” The man coughed and specks of blood sprayed out. He had his arm wrapped around his chest. His breathing came in gasps.
“Where is she?” Phillip said again.
He jumped from the stallion and walked up to the man.
The man smiled thinly.
Phillip grabbed his cloak and pulled him out of the mud. “Where is she?”
The rain poured down on Phillip and mixed with the tears that were running down his face. He shook the man. “You must tell me. Please tell me.”
The man laughed and more blood spilled from his mouth. “You can’t win. Even by killing me you haven’t won,” he said.
Phillip pulled a long hunting knife from his belt and put it to the man’s throat. Sliding it quickly the man no longer smiled.
Phillip wiped the tears and rain from his face with a wet sleeve and walked back to the stallion. I thought this would end it. Why has it turned out this way? Why can’t I win?
Climbing slowly onto the tall stallion he sat staring at the man who had ruined his life. He didn’t seem like much, but for the longest time Phillip had been tormented by him. The relief that he expected was nullified by the pain of not finding her. Where are you?
Phillip lowered his head into his chest and cried for a long time. It had been the first time he had cried in years. Being filled with hate and revenge he had had no time for it. But now he cried because of the emptiness that filled him.
The stallion shifted bringing Phillip back to reality. He looked down at the man’s lifeless body. Where did you hide her?
Phillip pulled on the reigns and turned the horse away from the man. He headed the direction the man had come from. He must have left something at his home.
Phillip kicked the stallion in the flanks.
They were out of the valley in a few minutes and heading toward a small shack that sat in the distance. The rain fell on the tin roof and rolled down into a gutter that emptied into a wooden barrel. The barrel was full and water was spilling out of it onto the grass in front of the shack.
Phillip jumped off the stallion before it stopped and ran up to the front door. It had been a long time since he had been here. Putting his hand on the handle, fear filled him. How many times he had dreaded that handle knowing that it would lead him into a nightmare. He pushed the latch and opened the door.
The smell of stew filled the air. A fire burned bright and filled the shack with warmth. A small table with four chairs sat in the middle of the room and a door led deeper into the shack.
Phillip walked to the table where a note laid.
“Don, I’ll be back shortly. I have some business to attend to.
Phillip pulled the pistol from its holster and looked out the front window. Don’s dead.
The stallion was grazing on the grass in the front yard and the rain had finally started to die down. There was a flash of lightning in the distance but nothing else moved.
He walked to the door and put his ear to it. Nothing. He turned the knob and pushed the door inward.
He screamed out and put his arm to his face as the ash burned his eyes. He was hit in the gut by something hard and he doubled over, dropping the pistol. He rolled to the side running into the wall. Grabbing for anything to defend himself, he found a poker and swung it blindly out in front of him. Connecting only with the wall he nearly dropped it.
A blurry image of an old man stood in front of him, it was Don.
Phillip’s mouth dropped open and he backed toward the table. “Who, how?” was all he could say.
The man in front of him smiled and leaned on a large staff. “We have our ways. What have you done to Steven?”
Phillip wiped the ash from his eyes and face. The pistol had fallen in front of the fire place. He only glanced for a moment at the pistol then back to Don in front of him.
“What have you done with her?” Phillip said.
“She’s safe,” he said. “Now what have you done with your father.”
Phillip looked away then back anger filling his eyes. “I killed him. He deserved it.”
Don glared and spoke through clenched teeth, “You wouldn’t dare. You couldn’t.”
Phillip snorted and said, “You have always thought that you were invincible, immortal. You’re not.”
“You had no right to kill him. After all he has done for you, all he has given you.”
Phillip started to stand but stopped when Don put the staff in his face.
“You stay down,” Don said. “We need to go and get him.”
“You can go and get him yourself,” Phillip said.
Phillip pulled his hunting knife from his belt and lunged for him. The knife hit an invisible shield.
Don laughed and then swung the heavy staff hitting Phillip in the head.
Phillip crashed to the floor knocking a chair to the floor. Everything went foggy then black.