Chapter 6

Harvey sat at his antique dining room table and stared at his hands.  Then he felt his elbows and stared at his hands once more.  Taking a sip of tea from his worn and chipped mug, he put the again down and ran his hands over his knuckles again worry lines forming on his forehead.

“What’s happening to me?” he thought, “Why am I getting more-what’s the word-angular?”

With a worry born of frustration, he ran his hands up his arms, over his black and white Celtic cross on bicep, and up to his shoulders.  Now his shoulders had a slight bulge of hardness.  It was as if there was a casing forming around his bones in these areas.

“When did this happen?  Must have been early this morning?  Why didn’t I feel anything?” he asked himself, “Maybe I could sand them off…No, that’d be glorious but unnecessary pain.  I wonder…”

Harvey had an idea; he ran into his backyard to the six foot high wooden privacy fence that surrounded his small and unkempt lawn.  Standing in the weeds he cocked his arm, said a quick prayer, and hit the fence as hard as possible.  Normally a blow like that would have done severe damage to anyone’s hand, destroying the tiny delicate bones ordered so perfectly in the hand, but Harvey was not normal—not anymore.  His fist went right through the old and tough weathered wood.  Pulling back his hand into his chest and cradling it, he yelled in pain.  Despite the fact that his hand was on fire and the skin had been torn away exposing what turned out to be a dark grey casing around his knuckles, he was happy.

“Well then,” he said with a smile.

Aisha was standing in the attic of her house.  It was big enough that her dad could have stood up at the apex, but old and musty enough smelling that the last time he was probably here was when he was a little kid.  She began walking slow measured steps to the small window at one end leaving little footprints in the in the previously undisturbed dust it as swirled around her feet.  Pushing open the window she watched as the night streamed in moonrays tickling her bare legs, and then without thinking, she stepped out. 

It was almost as this was her idea, stepping out into nothingness, but somewhere back in her brain she felt that something had put it there in her unconscious, and it almost became hers…almost.

Amazingly she did not fall; she stood there on open air looking down between her toes at the grass blades below silver in the moonlight.  Then she looked at the moon and began to rise towards it. 

“Grab the ledge, Aisha! Grab the window! Grab anything!” she told herself. 

She was already out of reach though and Aisha rose rapidly higher and higher.  It was getting colder, but she wasn’t feeling it, in fact she felt fine, more than fine—ebullient!

She was flying.

Trying to figure out how this bit of magic worked she said to herself, “Okay Aisha, where to?”

“I’ll go to New York, I’ve always wanted to go there,” replied this new part of herself.

“Why?” asked as the insecure little Aisha who wanted to return back to house and snuggle between the warm sheets of her parents bed.

“Why not?” she replied.

Too preoccupied with the fact that she was flying, she failed to notice that this thought also was not hers—not one single bit.

Maneuvering perfectly she faced the direction of New York and shot off fast as a bullet nightshirt streaming behind her.  She found the joy of soaring was beyond anything else she had ever experienced.  The rush of the wind past her face buffeting her around, the caress of the dew soaked clouds while passing through them, and the ability, like a bird, to not be hindered by gravity in truly experiencing the third axis. 

“I’m flying!” she yelled over and over, each time she discovered something new that she could do such as barrel rolls, tag with the birds, or skim the water of a river. 

Aisha arrived in no time, heart full of warmth, and knew immediately what she was looking for a hospital.   She found the New York Downtown Hospital, serene in the darkness, and alighted on the roof.  The late night traffic buzzed gently below her, and she peered curious over the edge.  Turning around she scanned the rooftop and saw someone or something in the shadows of the walls at the other edge of the building.  She made her way over to it cautiously as it gave off an attitude of a cornered wounded animal.

“Hello?” Aisha asked voice quavering joy now replaced by trepidation.

It rustled and turned its head and replied in a harsh rasping voice, “Child.”

“Who are you?” she asked and with a child’s blunt curiosity, “and what’s wrong with your voice?”

It answered her question with its own question, “Why do you not know who you are?  Even the beetle knows its purpose.”

“I know who I am,” she replied a little curtly, “My name is Aisha Octavia Brokman.”

“You still do not know,” it shook its head sadly slowly closing its bright yellow eyes long dreds rustling in the darkness, “I am weak and cannot help you.  You must help me. Only then can you realize yourself.  This is of the utmost importance: to know yourself.  A bird knows why it sings; therefore, you should know yourself.”

Confused and a little frustrated she said again, “Who are you?!”

It shook its head again and said, “You are more helpless than a bird and even it knows why it sings.  Why?”

And it began to stand up revealing what had been hidden in the shadow of the short wall.  She took a step back breath caught in her throat as the creature slowly and painfully moved itself, clacking wood the only accompaniment to its grunting.  She then saw the creature for what it was with the help of the moonlight.  It was about seven and one half feet tall, with plated bark pants and a grassy looking shirt.  The creature had bright yellow eyes, no nose to speak of, and a lipless hole filled with sharp but blackened teeth.  Its most noticeable feature besides its long thick dreds of ropey looking material was its skin.  Even in the moonlight Aisha could see it was green and mottled sparsely with what looked like buds of small flowers.  She gasped and took a step back.

As it finally straightened began to raise its head to look at her with its entrancing yellow eyes a scream began.  It came fast and quick, and as it overtook them, it reached a crescendo, the souls of thousands expressing their torment to Aisha.  The image of teeth, bloody, red, and jagged with a forked tongue overpowered her brain, and then it was over and the creature was gone, a single dandelion the only evidence of its presence. 

Panting Aisha sat up in bed sweaty and tangled in the sheets from what had become a nightmare.  As she lay back down she thought of those yellow eyes glowing in the shadows.   Hundreds of miles away Jason’s eyes stopped moving as he left a dream cycle of REM.

When Aisha woke in the morning, she recalled very little and only paid the slightest attention to the bird singing outside her window. 

That same night Cassius sat in his second story in the only room on the floor.  It was sparsely decorated with himself and his pillow.  He sat very still and stared into the bright yellow flame of a slowly melting candle.  However, not visible to a person of this world was his feverish activity.  It was the complete opposite of the utter calm he displayed in this room.

He was rummaging—rummaging maniacally in a dusty old library with shelves twelve feet high containing books, maps, loose papers, binders, and whatever else that had ever been recorded.  It was chaotic.

“Decayed, decayed…Where is that paper?” he muttered to himself, “I remember it from when I was an apprentice.”

Cassius did not know what he was looking for just yet, but the nagging feeling that he had encountered this sort of situation—decayed body and mutilated remains—would not leave him alone.  He had lived a long enough life and seen enough horrors that this thing would not have jumped out at him which is why it bothered him. 

A seemingly disorganized pile of books and papers lay on a shoddy wooden desk, but Cassius had a system even if indescribable to a normal mortal.  Leafing through a file of gruesome renderings of the walking dead, he hmmphed and tossed it on the table.

“Ah yes.  I remember you.  What jolly fun, plundering and wenching and all that.  Bad evil demon,” his hand moving away from an old looking book graced with the skull and crossbones inlaid over the name ‘Teach.’

“I must keep searching.  I know it’s here somewhere,” he said knowing that unless he was lucky, this would be the first of many long nights in his library. 

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3 Comments

  1. i had dreams like Aisha has had – but without the bird like creatures! Yikes!

  2. Harvey=Skeletor?

  3. i am going to eat harvey’s lawn with my goat friends


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