|Imprisonment With a Fiend|
|Date||Three years before FOI|
|Next||Consorting With a Fiend|
|Series||Fallen Angel Trilogy, Infernum Universe|
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Fallen Angel Trilogy, Part I
I lazily watch the hands drift by.
The thin hand sluggishly works its way around. The long hand inches it way, much too slowly, forward. At least, I think it is going forward.
And the short one? I can swear that it's touching the number three. Yet, there is none of the harsh, clattering bell that announces my freedom.
Suddenly, chaos and commotion erupt all around me. The scraping of chairs and the gleeful cheers of my classmates fall upon my ears. It seems as if my teacher decided to let us go a bit early.
I like my teacher.
So nice, I accidentally once called her "Mommy".
I have no mother. Memories wash over me, as fresh as the day they were seared into my mind. I see flames, hungry, all-consuming flames. Flames that ate wood and living flesh without care. It ate, and it roared, and it burned and it...
I feel a shove from behind, and the inferno from memory lane fades. But, not completely. Never completely.
"Move it, Yellowface!" Snickers soon follow the shove. 'Yellowface' was my nickname.
It is because I have yellow eyes.
It's strange, I know. That's why people make fun of me for it.
I was one of the first to reach the cubbyholes, but I am one of the last to leave. Perhaps it was because I kept being pushed out of the way.
I keep my head down as I rush through the hallways. Thankfully, nobody pays me any attention.
Instead, they are all focused on something outside.
Something dear to me. Not just "something". Someone. My only friend in this entire world. A stray dog. A pitiful excuse for a companion, true, but beggars can't be choosers.
Dismay and a strange terror envelopes me. Every day, I would walk home, hoping no one would notice me, and meet my little puppy at the outskirts of town, where I live. Why is it here?
Today, it seems, it couldn't wait. My little friend's impatience would be his undoing. My terror turns into a primal fear, of sorts, as I see a hulking specimen of a boy grab the neck of the dog.
I am dimly aware of one his his flunkies pointing at me.
I can hear nothing through the heavy pounding of blood through my head, but his message is all too obvious.
"Don't look away."
And I don't.
I don't think I could.
And so, all I did was watch as my only friend in this entire world was cruelly beaten, within an inch of his life. Thankfully, I see little of it. My dog was hidden behind a circle of the bully's sidekicks.
"Why is no one helping me?" I wonder bleakly. "Where are the teachers? The parents?"
I am suddenly dragged forwards, and soon enough, I am staring into the leering face of my poor dog's tormentor. His breath, reeking of garlic, washes over me. I fight not to gag.
"Yellowface." One word, but it contained volumes of malice.
My bully hated me simply because I was me. There was nothing else to it.
"Go away," I mutter.
His ugly face splits into a grin. Or at least, half a grin. He was missing two teeth.
"Are you tryin' to fight me, girly?" He pulls me towards him, roughly ripping off the sleeve of my uniform.
Now, every single piece of clothing I owned was damaged.
As he pulls me forward, I can see what his circle of friends have been hiding.
"Take a look here, Yellow."
He then whispers in my ear.
"It's gonna be your last."
I am released. And, he steps forward, a rock in his hand. A rock coated with glistening blood. Coated with my puppy's blood.
My friend's blood.
He draws his arms back. I hear a pitiful whimper from my dog.
And I take my last look at him.
The rock descends.
How long I stood there, I am not sure.
The sun is now sinking into the horizon, bathing everything in a dull red. Red, like blood. Like my companion's.
The bullies have left long ago, laughing and clapping each other on the shoulders. They were congratulating each other, like they... like they won an award, or something.
I drag a hand across my face and when I remove it, it is soaked with tears.
A tiny shred of my brain is still functioning. And, it notices that my hand is an orange colour, from the sunset.
It is a warm colour.
Fire is warm.
Memories push themselves to the surface.
I watch as my house burns down.
I look downwards, and see my hands smoking.
Fire is the answer.
My hands are smoking because I made the fire.
I will have my revenge.
I burned down my own home.
Gravel gently crunches beneath my feet.
I walk. Slowly.
My destination? My home. A tiny little ramshackle log cabin, abandoned many years ago.
Why am I going home?
Isn't a home supposed to be warm? Isn't a home supposed to be filled with family, awaiting you with outstretched arms?
I have no home. I have nowhere to go.
Laughter, faint with distance, softly falls upon my ears.
It is the same braying, disgusting, hated laughter of the boys.
It seems as though I will have my revenge sooner than I thought.
I find myself making my way to the very center of the beaten gravel pathway.
And they find me, simply standing in front of them.
Then, booming chuckles. Garlic-breath boy comes to the forefront, casually pushing aside his companions.
And, he gives me that same leer.
"Ya'fraid of the dark, little girly? Is that why you gotta flashlight?" Sure enough, there did seem to be a yellow glow that could pass for a flashlight pulsing on the front of my ruined dress. A dress that he ruined just hours ago.
My mouth curls upwards. But, there was no smile there. A smile comes from happiness, and I hadn't felt happy in years.
I lift my head up, and I am pleased to see his leer to into slack-jawed stare, and then into a wordless scream of horror.
"F***! He-her eyes! They're...! Yellow!"
One of his gang member's hand claps his shoulders. "Heh, cut it out boss, we know her eyes are yellow. C'mon, she's not worth the trouble."
I click my fingers. Sparks fly, flames writhe, and I burn that ignorant fool to the ground. All that is left of him is a black, withered hand. A black, withered hand still clamped to the lead bully's shoulder. The now horrified flunkies take an involuntary step back. One even throws up.
The lead bully takes a shuddering breath, seemingly unaware of the gruesome accessory he's now sporting on his shoulder. "I-I don't care if your eyes are glowing! I-I have more friends than you, you can't beat us!"
Yes, the flashlight-like glow was coming from my eyes, and they shone with a fell radiance.
"Silly boy. The night is now my friend. That is enough."
I have heard that some people descend into a mindless rage when killing. A mental fog blindfolds them, and they are lost in battle-rage and bloodlust.
But, not I. I remember everything. Every scream, every spark, and every death. It was wonderful. Never had I so fully embraced my power. If I was to be a freak of nature, then so I will be. No sense in belittling myself to conform with lesser beings.
And so, the flames raged that night. They called me a monster, but they are the true monsters, cornering my only friend. So, I will corner them. None will escape my fires. And, none did. I killed them, all seventeen of them, in what must have been a couple of seconds.
A pity the moment didn't last any longer.
And, just like that, it was all over.
A stiff breeze races past me, tousling the leaves on the tress on both sides of the beaten gravel path.
I wish the wind would waft away all of my sorrow and rage, instead of the blackened remains of the burnt dead.
I turn and head back to the school, leaving the remnants of my tormentors for the wind to clean up.
I bury my dog, or, at least, what was left of him. A rock to the head, repeatedly, sure did a lot of damage.
I can see bits of grey stuff, and clusters of tiny white balls. I think they're maggots.
In the end, I decided that my dog was too good for the flies and worms. I burned his corpse, again, with my strange power over fire.
Never have I questioned why I had it. Does that make me a superhero? But, I killed people. Then, that makes me a villain, right?
I suddenly stop.
The weight of everything that's happened today catches up to me.
I've realized that my one friend in this world is dead, but I never stopped to think about it.
I try not to cry, but, it is hard to stop the tears when you realize that not a single person in the world, not a single person in all of seven billion people, like you.
It is a terrible thought, to be so alone. And so, the tears flow free.
A heavy, cold hand clamps my shoulder.
I try to spin around, but my shoulder is firmly, very firmly, locked into place by that hand. It might as have been encased in metal.
A slight whirr comes from behind me. Following that is a tiny slip of paper that gently curls in the wind, coming to a rest before me. I pick it up.
I read it.
"Come." was all it said.
What if I didn't want to? What if I just happened to feel like burning this itsy bitsy slip of paper, and the arm, and whoever gave it to me?
But, what if that hand was made of metal?
With me free arm, I call upon fire, once again. I get ready to whirl around and to take down my foe in a single explosive movement.
Another piece of paper floats down from behind me, and I deign to read it.
"We won't be having any of that."
I'm spun around so fast, the air whips the fire from my hand, extinguishing it instantly. I am faced with a tall, tall man, cloaked head to toe in a slightly ragged robe. A huge, saggy hood hides his entire face, and there is a very odd, almost square, protrusion from this stranger's midriff.
And so, my last thoughts are of an abdominal area as his cold metallic hand clamps upon my face.
He squeezes hard enough to bruise my cheekbones, but, by then, I feel nothing. I'm already swirling in the darkness of unconsciousness.
An agent of Infernum (A Hood)
Her body slumps to the ground as I relinquish my grasp on her face.
Soil then cakes her long, messy blond hair, which is gently tousled by an evening breeze.
So, this is what it is like to be human.
Being human means pain.
It means having a mind.
Above all, it means having a soul.
I'm very, very, very jealous.
Perhaps jealousy is what starts all of this.
But, then again, it is not my duty to question things.
Again, I place my hand upon her face, but gentler this time around.
My fingers move downward, probing.
I suddenly find what I am looking for. Her essence, her sense of being; her soul.
And so, I extract it. I extract it, I rip it from her mortal body, I steal what is keeping her alive.
Her human body shrivells away as I do so, and all that is left of her is a tiny spark of light, cupped in my hand.
This exsistance is over for her, but a new one awaits.
I then disappear with a soft thump and flash of light, and I am whisked through time, space, and reality.
I wake in complete darkness.
Darkness so black, so complete, that poets and the like would be inclined to ramble on for pages upon pages about how dark darkness is.
For me, the dark is what it is. Nothing more, nothing less. It is not neccessairly a bad thing, but not something you can always rely on as a friend either.
Of course, with darkness, comes the inevitable blindness.
But there are other senses besides sight. And I sense a pulsing pain upon my chest, just short of excrutiating, but not enough to make me burst into screams.
I attempt to move my head. No such luck. I feel a cold strip upon my forehead as I try to do so, and I've shifted less than a millimeter, despite my valiant efforts. My ankles and wrists are bound in a similar fashion.
To top it all off, I can feel the rest of my body aching from lying on top of some frigid cold surface, most likely metal.
This is... this is simply too much.
I'm going back to sleep.
Has been it been just a couple of minutes ago that I fell asleep? It sure seems so. I still feel utterly exhausted.
But, no. I can tell that quite some time, perhaps hours, have already slipped past. The pain has slightly abated, and the lights in the room are now on, though I'm just as blind as before. A glaringly bright operating lamp is trained on me, and all I can do is squint at it.
I try to blow a strand of hair from my eyes. Failing to do so, I raise my right arm and brush it away.
To my shock, it was unrestrained, though my head and other limbs were still clamped to the metal surface.
I catch a glimpse of the aforementioned free arm as it caught the rays of harsh, artifical light.
It's red. Black, too, with hints of silver.
It's also made of metal.
What is... happening?
I wake once again, this time around to a tickling sensation on my cheek.
This tiny feeling is then swept aside, like a candle's flame in a hurricane.
Pain... radiating pain. From my chest. I can... barely think.
My eyes begin to roll, but they suddenly catch what gave me that initial tickling feeling on my face. It was one of those tiny slips of paper.
This one read, "Almost done. Your head is now unrestrained."
My head? I crane my neck up, and immediately wish I didn't. The sight I see before me is so horrid, so... so impossible, that I nearly faint again. It is only the sedatives pumped into me that prevents me from being overwhelmed by raw emotions, such as sheer terror, that are keeping me awake.
I see thin plastic tubes, filled with my own blood, snaking away from my bod-
My body?! What happened? What...?
I... I have no more body.
My eyes widen, and I stare at a 6-foot long robotic torso. Red and black it was, with silver as well. I even have a tail. And it doesn't end there. I feel strange nubs on my back. I flex it, and see the ending tips of small, jagged wings.
What the hell is going on?
My observations are suddenly cut short by another burst of agony.
As I lay gasping and scrabbling at the sides of the metal table, which I now realize is an operating table, yet another scrap of paper comes gently touching down. I squint, and read. "Just two more."
Two more...? Two more of wha-?
Two more blades. Two more blades that need to be removed from my chest.
It's that hooded man again. He tosses the most recently removed knife onto a pile of other extricated blades.
I count at least ten. So, there were a dozen, maybe more, knives stuck in me. No wonder I'm fading in and out of conciousness due to pain. In fact, I'm wondering how I'm even concious.
My musings are halted when the penultimate blade is abruptly pulled out. There was no pain this time.
This one feels... different. I don't scream, but I feel like I've lost something. Like a bit of me died.
The cloaked figure is nodding, like this was supposed to be happening. Like blackness encroaching upon my vision was a good thing.
He carelessly yanks out hte final knife and tosses it over his shoulder. At this point, I don't even feel anything. With the second-to-last one, however, he gently places it at my side.
And, with the final dregs of awareness, I feel another slip of paper being pressed into my palm.
Out of the blue, an indignant voice cries out. It's either a male or female voice and the pitch was in between a bird's chirp and the rumble of a boar. It's hard to tell.
Then, and then, hands, exceedingly gentle hands place something warm over me. A blanket?
That, too, was hard to tell.
But by that time, darkness already claimed my mind.
My last thought was a content one.
Someone cares for me.
Infernum, the next day
I nervously pace the dimly lit steel corridors outside the ward.
One of the strip lamps above me threatens to give and suddenly flickers erratically. I stare at it.
It stops flashing.
A rat, I think, scampers past my feet. It could have been a rat. It was sure large and furry.
Just moments ago, I received two things.
One, a message on my wrist computer, saying that I would finally have a permanent partner. When you've served for at least one year in this prison, you become a mentor. Well, the message said "serve". I prefer the word "survive".
Two, a thumbs up from my only companion here who was, is, excuse me, a member of the revolutionary group, the Civicry. Carrera, or "Firefight" to use her code name, bade me good luck for me and my soon-to-be partner, and she quickly ran of before some other Fiend caught sight of her talking to me.
I hate those things.
Shambling hulks of metal, coated with blood and filth. And, all they know how to do is throw punches at prisoners.
I hate those things.
A trio of discreet blips from my wrist-com reminded where I was, and why.
Right. Time to meet my new comrade.
I hope he'll manage to last as long as I did.
And, so, I take a breath. And another. And yet another. I then realize I should start exhaling.
No more delaying! On with it! Why do I even feel nervous? Why do I feel this inexplicable sense of... not quite dread, but... hmmm. Whatever.
I push open the ward door.
And I nearly sink to my knees with shock when I realize who my partner is.
I feel... heavy.
Heavy all over.
For a second, my eyes refuse to obey me, no matter how hard I try to open my eyelids.
I have no eyelids.
I have no body.
Oh God... And with those simple yet absolutely devastating revelations, I stretch my mouth out and scream.
Well. That's an exaggeration. Yes, I did open my mouth. But, no, I didn't scream. In fact, I simply closed my lips as those same exceedingly gentle hands draw the blankets a little higher.
And, with the same infinite care, those hands gingerly retracted.
At last, I finally figure out how not to open, but to somehow turn on my eyes.
And I look upon the face of my new friend. At last. I've found one person, at least, who cares for me.
One minute ago
Oh. This is awkward.
My partner is a being I detest with every nut, bolt and fiber optic in my body.
Oooooh. The awkwardness.
What's even more disconcerting is that this was not my first time clapping eyes on her. Yes, I took a wrong turn the other day and stumbled into a operation room, where this very Fiend that now lies before me was being tortured less than a day ago.
She does seem a bit cold. And her covers are all askew... I might as well adjust them, then try to apply for a new partner.
And, I inch forwards, and daintily shift the blankets over the Fiend's torso. I shudder. I'm glad I got that over with.
- This is the third completed story within the Infernum Saga.
- Bub wrote this story while preparing for his exams; due to limited time on his computer, he used up seven sheets of paper writing out the plot.