Monday 16 April 2012

Radiance 11 - A spirit entered me

Today begins the third section of Radiance - Hod, meaning Splendour. If you missed it, check out the summary of part 2 and its corresponding behind the scenes.

Real life is catching up with me and so I may need to take a week off from posting Radiance in the near future so I can actually write some more. But have no fear, for some content is sure to be posted next Monday as normal, even if it isn't directly related to Radiance.

1] And He said to me ‘Son of man, stand on your legs that I may speak to you.’
2] As He spoke to me, a spirit entered me and set me upon my legs and I heard what was spoken to me.
3] He said to me ‘Son of man, I am sending you to the people of Israel, that nation of rebels who have rebelled against Me - they as well as their fathers have defied Me to this very day. 

4] For the sons are brazen of face and stubborn of heart - I send you to them, and you shall say to them: ‘Thus said the Lord God’. 
5] Whether they listen or not - for they are a rebellious house - they shall know that there was a prophet among them.
    -Ezekiel, Chapter 2

    New Yorkers really are an amazing breed, Asher couldn’t help thinking as he struggled to keep his footing while parrying lightning-fast claws. Anywhere else in the world they would probably be running screaming, or calling the police - even the army - when two strange figures attack a random person with sticks. Anywhere else it would be a major event.
    In New York they just assume it’s a flashmob, Asher thought miserably to himself as he stumbled backwards.

    Razor sharp talons barely missed his throat, while Virgo pressed her attack to try to cover him.
    The majesty of Columbus Circle rose up on all sides, with only the tips of the buildings still lit with the fading sunlight. Columbus himself, on top of his pillar, was beginning to sink into shadow. The streetlights were starting to glimmer to life, and the growing dark was punctuated by an increasing number of camera flashes as locals and tourists alike photographed this amazing street art.
    Asher had tried warning them to run but everyone had assumed it was part of the show.
    Still, it shouldn’t take that long. After all, they were just dealing with one man - albeit a man with ferociously elongated nails and a skeletal leer - while Virgo’s staff seemed to be everywhere, and after nearly six months of training, Asher liked to think he was no slouch either.
    Regaining his footing, Asher prepared his staff for another swing, charging towards Virgo and her opponent, whose trading blows were leading them in a strange dance around the circle. Tooth and nail clashed with ancient wood, faster and faster. In moments, Asher was behind this creature and, leaping high into the air, bringing all his weight to bear in a single blow, Asher brought his staff crashing down towards the creature’s head.
    Reflexively, the creature sent out a hand to block the attack but Asher’s momentum carried him straight through. Wood splintered, bone shattered, and the creature collapsed to the ground.
    Asher tossed away the useless stump of wood that remained, while a few of the spectators clapped politely.
    “Well, that wasn’t too tough,” he said.
    “Don’t relax your guard, he may still be a threat,” hissed Virgo, scanning the crowd.
    “Him? He’s no threat.”
    “Not that body no but…” Virgo trailed off.
    An asian tourist, that had been filming the whole scene on her iPhone, suddenly snarled - her face twisted into a sinister grin, her hands grew sharp spines. The iPhone fell to the floor forgotten.
    “What the…?” began Asher.
    “A dybbuk - a soul without a body,” said Virgo, shifting her feet and raising the Staff of Moses, “and this one has just jumped into a new host.”
    “And why is it trying to kill us again?”
    “I don’t know, Dybbuk’s can be angry but they aren’t usually this violent.”
    The Asian tourist began to advance towards them, black bile dripping from her mouth down her ‘I [heart] NY’ T-shirt. The man next to her tried to stop her, reaching out to her shoulder - an instant later, the dybbuk had turned and torn out his throat with its claws. Now the screaming began.
    “Okay, what’s the plan?” said Asher.
    Virgo said nothing.
    “There is a plan, right?”
    “There is always a plan,” she replied through gritted teeth, “I am simply - weighing options.”
    “You happen to have another weapon on you? Mine’s broken,” he said, nodding to the remains of the stave.
    “Sadly not, Asher, I’m afraid you’re going to have to improvise.”
    “Well, that’s just wonderful,” Asher muttered, trying to recall the few lessons he had had in unarmed combat.
    The drooling creature advanced, claws reaching out ahead of her, a gurgling, chuckling sound welling up from its throat.
    “This one’s usually good,” Virgo said, raising her right arm towards the creature now only a few metres away from them, “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.”
    Virgo swung at the creature’s legs as she continued intoning the psalm, but it easily leapt over her staff. Onyx claws lashed out at Virgo, scrabbling for her eyes - Asher pushed them out the way and placed himself between the creature and Virgo.
    “May I suggest you hurry?” Asher said, nervously preparing himself for the attack.
    “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.”
    Black talons reached out for Asher’s throat, and instinctively he reached up to parry - a burst of pain, and black spots before his eyes, a flash of red on the back of his palm. The claw had gone right through his left hand.
    “Come on, come on!”
    “Psalm ninety-one isn’t working, I have to think!” Virgo shouted.
    The creature chuckled kicking out at Asher’s knee as he struggled to remain conscious against the pain in his hand. Sirens began to sound over the sound of screaming, while flashing red and blue lights began to head down 59th street towards them.
    He could do this, Asher thought, he knew he had power and Virgo needed more time. Focussing on the blood oozing out of his hand, Asher tried to feel the edges, locate the place inside himself where everything was divided into its component parts. Red on white, blood on skin - red and blue - the edge of the day in a pure sky. Time began to slow around him, as Asher felt the power washing through his body.
    The creature attacked again, all vicious rage and animal fury, hissing and spitting black, and Asher began to defend himself, focussing his mind on the barrier of skin that separated him from the world - only a couple of millimetres thick but it was the difference between Asher and everything else. At the next swing, Asher blocked palm first, breaking the creature’s nails with the impact of his hand. With all his will focussed on the division, nothing could penetrate it.
    As the creature reeled backwards, Asher pressed his advantage, sweeping its legs out from under it and knocking the body unconscious with a final open-handed blow.
    A shadowy heat haze drifted from the asian woman’s mouth - this wasn’t over yet.
    Sirens blared as three police cars tore into Columbus Circle, half a dozen guns were soon pointed in the direction of Virgo and Asher, in the centre of the Circle - “Freeze!” shouted a voice.
    Asher raised his hands, Virgo ignored them.
    An eerie silence fell all around them - the screaming was silenced, the cops said nothing. One by one, everyone in Columbus Circle turned to look at Asher, a rictus grin spreading across their faces, and long black claws spreading from their hands.
    “What the hell?”
    “Shit, this is bad,” said Virgo, looking flustered for the first time since Asher had known her. “We’re dealing with the nameless one - a legendary spirit. He killed his own parents as a young child then committed suicide. Most dybbuks can be banished by completing their unfinished business or the use of their name - but the nameless one decided he liked it here, destroyed his own name so he could never be exorcised.”
    “Well, that’s just great,” said Asher, as the nameless one’s bodies began to get close. It seemed as if the dybbuk was enjoying himself, taking his time over his prey.
    Virgo brandished the Staff of Moses, whirling it in an arc around her. Asher struck what he imagined was a ninja pose, channelling all of the energy to his hands and feet.
    The creatures edged closer - Virgo struck at the feet of one of them, quickly reversing her attack into the neck of another - both went down but plenty others took their places. There must have been over a hundred of them, all possessed by the nameless one.
    Asher fought with all the speed and strength he could bring to bear, pushing, punching, kicking - all the time trying not to do any permanent damage to these unfortunate victims. A claw raked his ankle, teeth scraped along his forearm - they were coming too fast, too many angles to defend all of them.
    Virgo’s mind was racing as she swatted the possessed away from her. Psalm ninety-one was the most potent of the exorcism psalms - what else could she try? Letters and vowels whirled inside her, came into focus and drifted away. Shooting pain in her side told her she had missed an attacker - she elbowed a possessed police officer in the face - and then it came to her.
    “Okay, time to get old school” she said, “Shall a ram’s horn be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, without the Lord having caused it?”
    The wind rose in the growing gloom, picking up at each Hebrew word incanted by Virgo, who punctuated her sentence with swings and thrusts of the Staff of Moses.
    “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, without revealing His secret to His servants the prophets,” she continued, lifting her staff and raising her voice to a shout. “The lion has roared! Who will not fear?”
    And with those words, a thundering wave resounded from heaven, like the roar of a thousand horns being sounded at once - but instead of dying away, the noise rose louder and louder, until it seemed that it would shake the whole world down to its very foundations.
    The creatures animated by the nameless one struggled and ceased to move - they seemed to hover in and out of reality as the dybbuk fought to stay inside the flesh.
    “Asher!” Virgo shouted, trying to be heard above the horns, “you must divide the spirit from the bodies while I prevent repossession.”
    Asher nodded, and concentrated at the shimmering outlines, feeling rather than seeing the boundaries between body and invading soul. As the roar from heaven poured through him, Asher realised that the join between the two was ever so thin, and easily broken. With a twist of his hand, they came apart.
    Virgo dropped her staff, ending the trumpet blast, and began a new verse: “And you who cleave to the Lord your God, all of you are alive today”.
    The bodies formerly possessed by the nameless one collapsed to the floor like discarded puppets, features instantly returning to normal. Virgo inspected one or two, and they seemed to be breathing normally. There might be one or two serious injuries but probably no more than that.
    “He rid himself of his name but there was still some power in the word ‘cleave’,” she explained, checking a pulse, “which after all is where the word dybbuk comes from. Looks like that last verse did the trick, right Asher? Asher?”
    On hearing no reply, Virgo stood hurriedly, spinning to look at the spot she had last seen Asher standing. He lay on the ground shivering and convulsing, black bile oozing from his mouth.

No comments:

Post a Comment