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A Chapter by Raven Starhawk

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Sage stood hypnotized by his graceful beauty. Those straight long locks of hair danced with every caressing breeze. It was almost as if they were feather light, silk strands of some majestic quality. Never before had she seen hair so exotic, but it was by far not his only exquisite feature.

"What are you looking at," her mother asked and followed her line of vision. "Forget about that stranger, Sage."

 Her heart skipped a beat. Those piercing eyes raked over her as he met her stare. She didn't know why or how she could tell, but sadness was stamped there in each wonderful depth of unusual color. Was he was waiting there, lingering for something or someone? That was a silly thought, she discerned. Still captivated she took a few more steps back. Unable to remove her focus she paused. What did he have to be sad about? She wondered and her stomach churned as he turned away.

 "I want to ask him something," she said, surprised by her own voice and even more taken back by her sprint after him. Ignoring the scolding voice of her mother she rounded the bend that lead into a dark alley and there he stopped.

"You should listen to your Mother," he said softly and then faced her.

Her mouth froze. A million words ran through her mind like a horde of marathon runners and yet they ceased to cross the bridge to her lips. She swallowed hard. Darkness blended around him in delicate weaves, casting all source of light aside as it became the only thing around them.

 "Who are you," she managed.

He shifted his attention elsewhere as a sigh escaped him. "You are not prepared for the truth."

Folding her arms across her chest she stuck out her chin and suppressed the shiver running down her spine. Her heart hammered against her ribs, but she did her best to ignore it as she clamped her arms, her fingers digging into the fabric of her lace gloves.

"How do you presume to know me," she retorted and steadied her rubbery legs as they threatened to give out from under her.

A smile played upon his flawless features and he chuckled. He brushed back an unruly lock falling over his left eye and took a few strides forward.

"You should go back to your Mother while you still have the chance," he said softly, the smile still widening as he took yet another step toward her.

Sage tightened her grip and searched for courage. It was like searching for a needle in a haystack and as tiresome as that phrase was she still felt it true.

"Are you suggesting I am helpless," she asked. It was the only thing she could muster. Heat rushed to her face. A moment ago she was complaining of being a bit chilled. Now she was on fire and it showed no signs of permitting relief, but she denied it victory.

Sage stared upward at cherry lightning bolts as they tore open the sky. A murky pool washed over every inch and spared not even the moon.

"Sage," her mother called, but instead of retreating she jogged down the street where cars swerved and collided into poles as pavement splintered under their tires. Fire hydrants rattled until being violently ripped free and water erupted from the toothed chasms in their wake.

"Is it an earthquake," one woman screamed as she fell from her driver's seat.

Rushing to her aid the passenger cried, "I don't think so!"

Sage’s eyes widened.  Mushroom clouds sprung up from the earth. In the far-flung miles ahead of her their intense golden glow swallowed the horizon and from its destructive womb a blazing heat rushed. It was then she became vaguely aware of inferno balls descending. Frozen in place all she could do was watch as they came closer and closer.

The next thing she knew someone had her by the waist and pulled her back from certain death. She fought against the solid body and when his grip loosened she stared up into the eyes of an angel.

Xx

The girl, I thought while searching her face for any sign of weakness, was an interesting creature.  Her mind was open; accessible to thoughts and experiences that should have been buried and guarded.  Did she really believe I was an angel?

 "You need to get home," I said.

xX

I flung her inside and closed the door. I treaded rearward, fluttered a hand and in succession the deadbolt and sliding chain secured themselves. Then on my heels I spun around to face a room of perplexed faces.

"What's going on," Sage asked. Her voice quivered as she surveyed his face.

Ruffled lamp shades softened their low beams that shimmered along powdery blue walls and highlighted tiny figurines that set on mahogany shelves.  They were a prelude to a vast assortment of décor that fancied only a true artist. Raised panel doors hid treasures forgotten in this age of electronics, but as my mind flexed they came into plan view. They were ancient, but not quite like me.

 From a Big L shape couch a man and woman rose to their feet and padded over.

"Hell on earth," answered an elderly man who had been shrouded by shadows but now limped forth with a cane in one hand and a book in the other. "And he is not human."

"Now, Dad," the man from the couch scolded. His glasses slipped down his nose and he pushed them up saying, "Don't be rude." He squeezed his wife's shoulders and then passed his gaze onto Sage.

I tilted my line of vision. "Your grandpa is correct, Sage."

Sage's eyes widened. "What?"

"I knew I recognized you," the old man continued as he filled the gap between us.

"And I you," I retorted with a sly grin.

"Dad, what is this all about," the second man asked.

Grandpa shot him a glance followed by, "Ben, just never mind. Take Nancy and Sage upstairs."

"But why," Nancy started but was cut off.

"Just go and don't argue," Grandpa snapped.

"Let them stay," I said firmly. "They will find out eventually."

"Find out what," Sage cried.

Grandpa's decrepit face scrunched up into an ugly snarl as color flushed his cheeks. He thrust his cane down in an angry acknowledgment of defeat and held his stare level with mine as he stated through clenched teeth, "I fought with him in the war!" He relaxed his jaws and continued in a softer voice, "The Vietnam War to be precise. He saved my life."

Ben scoffed. "You've got to be joking, Dad. This kid...you have to be mistaken."

"I told you he isn't human," Grandpa bellowed, his jowls sagging as he took a step closer.

Nancy moved free of her husband's grasp as she pointed a shaky finger. "He's private Kett?"

"You remember that damned photograph, don't you," Grandpa replied. "I had it framed. Hell, it's still hanging upstairs! Go take a look at it if any of you doubt me!"

"I told you we'd meet again, Gimpy," I asserted.

Grandpa scowled as he hissed, "I told you never to call me that again!"



© 2017 Raven Starhawk


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Added on April 5, 2017
Last Updated on April 5, 2017
Tags: horror, fantasy, Armageddon, fiction, chapter