SORChapter 4.1 – Angels in the Junkyard
Pdf version available here: SORChapter4 Part 1
Dawn broke an hour ago. Zera and Seraph ran across the rooftops. To the naked eye, they were a blur. Halos hidden, they glided between buildings. The early morning workers didn’t noticed them. Their speed was too great.
Jumping down, Zera and Seraph bent their knees; their angelic skeletons absorbed the earth’s push-back. Standing up, their target was in view – The Lucius Recycling Centre, a title loose in definition. It was a vast, disorganised junkyard; a sanctuary for the discarded.
‘Certainly possible demons would make this their hunting ground,’ Seraph remarked.
‘There have been too many disappearances lately to ignore,’ Zera commented.
The mouldy stench of decay repulsed Seraph’s senses. She turned up her nose. Zera walked towards the steel fence, tall with barbed wire to prevent scavengers from climbing over. Seraph readied her wings, ready to leap. Zera raised his arm, blocking her; his eyebrow signalled the presence of a panning security camera. Seraph desisted.
Zera pointed to an access door with an electronic lock requiring card key access. We’re up, Ramiel. ‘Ramiel increases its inner electric potential, creating lightning or more specifically plasma, the fourth state of matter.’
‘A fourth state of matter?’ Seraph’s curiosity arisen.
‘Plasma is beyond a gas, it’s highly charged and is then directed by Ramiel’s internal electromagnetic field as a lightning bolt. Or if you want to be subtle, you fire an electromagnetic pulse.’
‘Why are you telling me this?’
Zera smiled. Thought you would never ask. He pointed Ramiel at the camera, its runes glowing. Seraph saw lightning rising from its surface, From its tip, an electromagnetic pulse was launched. Arakiel vibrated in Seraph’s hand. That’s a lot of energy he accumulated in such a short space of time. But I can’t see it. Zera didn’t need to see it to know its trajectory. The sparks on Ramiel’s surface were being drawn towards the invisible projectile. The pulse struck the camera. It stopped turning, its movement almost a corpse writhing.
Zera turned to the electric lock, Ramiel’s surface still covered with high voltage sparks. It wasn’t done yet. Lightning converged to Ramiel’s tip, fired as one bolt. A blinding flash of white assaulted the electric lock. The security system was churning; the excess voltage surged through the circuitry, blowing fuses, taking out alarms. The door swung opened, welcoming them.
Thunder rippled through the air. Ramiel’s core returned to its rest, lower potential state. Zera turned to Seraph, awaiting her reaction. Seraph glared at him. Show off! Seraph walked through the open door first, not giving Zera eye-contact.
Zera grinned as he followed. I know you’re impressed.
They now both stood in the junkyard wondering where to start. Hills of junk punctured the vista. Several square metres of this scrap sanctuary provided plenty of hiding spaces; a demon could be hiding in any discarded, indistinguishable washing machine.
‘How long is the camera out for?’ asked Seraph.
Seraph took to the sky, her wings full of energy. An Angel in flight was the original spy drone, more elegantly likened to the white Pegasus in the past. Any dislodged scrap falling attracted her hawk-like eyes. Zera kept to the ground. They would be more effective if one scouted ahead whilst the other stayed earthbound, sifting through more slowly.
Seraph gained further altitude to scope the scale of the whole junkyard; its vastness caused her to cease beating her wings. This is going to take ages.
Zera trod carefully, his senses primed to detect anomalies. The corner of his eye picked up something glistening amongst the scrap. Without conscious input, Zera positioned Ramiel; its electric potential skyrocketed, unleashing a thunderbolt. Junk jettisoned into the air, scorched, burning, trailing flames before it fell, blackened to the ground. Nothing. Must have been metal rather than demon eyes reflecting the sunlight.
Zera breathed out for five seconds, oxygen calming his over-stimulated mind. Now they know we’re here.
Seraph scowled. He pulled the trigger too early. Seraph’s ears detected a tumbling. Her head sharply rotated to the left. Junk was falling down from the top of a pile. The runes of Arakiel glowed rose-gold; Seraph pointed Arakiel at the ground, its internal fault-line oscillating at ultrasonic frequencies. A blade of rock broke the confines of the earth, piercing, shattering the pile of junk as it rose towards the sky. Scrap flew off in all directions, but no demon appeared. Now I pulled the trigger too early. Seraph lowered Arakiel, its internal fault-line returned to a slow lullaby frequency oscillation.
Zera and Seraph locked eyes. Their imaginations were tricking them. Seraph landed, hacked off with herself. Arakiel’s runes flashed rose-gold. The blade of rock collapsed to a mound of sand.
‘The longer we take, the more our minds will trick us,’ Zera remarked.
Seraph’s heartbeat ticked faster, she hadn’t experienced such a blood rush to the head for ages. Am I out of practice? Or am I wary of what two Watcher Blades can do? ‘Are you certain, Zera?’
Zera remained convinced. It was quiet, too quiet. The signs were obvious. ‘Have you seen any birds, Seraph?’
‘There should be scavenger birds, picking at the junk looking for food.’
‘So where are they?’
Zera and Seraph stood close together, folding away their wings.
‘So what if we walk into a trap?’ asked Seraph.
‘Spring the trap.’
Seraph beamed. I like it.
Reaching a dip in between two garbage mounds, Seraph’s mind turned. This looks like an ant-lion trap. Turning her head to one side, she detected rustling. Zera primed Ramiel, increasing the electric potential inside its core. Seraph readied Arakiel, its internal fault-line beginning to shift.
Then they appeared.
Demons crawled out of their scrap cocoons. Deceptively hunched, they were taller than the Angels, and dirty green scales covered their scraggy bodies. Ram horns protruded from their skulls and their claws were sharp; one slash and you were dead. Zera and Seraph stood back to back, covering the arc of potential attack. The cronies were out to play, but they weren’t attacking. They just stood there, thick, mucous saliva drooling from their gaping mouths, their breath capable of rotting flowers. Seraph surveyed their numbers. Thirteen demons encircled them. She noted a key absentee. Where’s the boss? Where’s Saleos?
TO BE CONTINUED …. NEXT WEEK.
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©Oliver Kerrigan 2017