SEQUEL TO Giggle
Part One Edit
"I'm sorry Mommy! I didn't mean it! I didn't mean to hurt him!"
Tears fell from Tabitha's eyes as her mother quickly took her hand and led her away from the gathering crowd. They disappeared amongst the curious people who wandered over to see what all the fuss was about.
The day was cold but not bitter. The late, afternoon sun was pleasant, and the light breeze was crisp and refreshing. It was the perfect fall afternoon. For the past six months, Tabitha and her mother, Marrissa had settled quietly in the quaint, little town. Life was peaceful and uneventful for the pair and the rare moments when they could stay in one place was something neither of them took for granted or regretted. The daily trips to the local playground quickly became a favorite routine for the mother and daughter. Even Marrissa found herself looking forward to the time spent amongst the swings and slides.
Nothing pleased Marrissa's more than to see Tabitha run and play with the other children and she was not oblivious to the fact that she rather enjoyed conversing with others her own age too. Looking up at the trees, she took the time to appreciate these rare and brief moments when they could pretend they were nothing more than an ordinary family. Her smile slightly wavered as she took notice of the dark shadow burrowed within the branches of the leaves. The lone Yo'Gitja Demon, hidden within the darkness, kept its distance but held a constant vigil over the pair. Given the circumstances, Marrissa forced herself to ignore the creature and forget about her troubles for the moment. She allowed herself to continue imagining what life might have been for her and her daughter in such a carefree existence.
Marrissa would never get used to having a demon so close and near, but this is what the Fates had decided, or perhaps it was something else-something more powerful and ancient. Regardless, Tabitha never ceased to amaze or surprise her mother. Marrissa recalled all the near misses and confrontations with this particular type of demon. Their last encounter occurred just before the arrival to their current residence. A pack of the hunter demons had found them, and once again, Tabitha let loose the full brunt of her abilities. The brutality she unleashed on them was still trying for Marrissa to witness. The child mutilated the first creature, then the next, but when it came to the final demon, Tabitha stopped and did something unexpected. She walked over to the shivering creature, put her hand under its chin and looked into its eyes. With bright eyes and a beautiful smile, Tabitha absolved the demon's soul from Hell. She cleansed its spirit and broke the chains that bound it to eternal damnation.
Once freed, the two bonded themselves to one another, and it became her familiar. For a witch, it is a momentous day and a step closer to coming of age, when one chooses a familiar. Marrissa laughed to herself remembering when Tabitha named it Buddy. Once given its new name, the creature was no longer a servant of Hell; it was her familiar and spiritual guide. It was her protector, her confidant, and her beloved friend. Never had such a deed of this kind been recorded in the archives of the Covens. Strange and uncharted territory was this, but since that day, they had not had a single encounter nor hint of pursuit from the hunter demons.
Her mind wandered, and deep in thought was she. Not realizing it, her eyes slowly closed. The sounds of playing children grew distant and the shadows from the afternoon daylight grew long and stretched out like long fingers. Without warning, the sunshine vanished, and she stood alone in the darkness. Suddenly, torches of purple flames erupted and illuminated the blackness. She recognized this place; she had been here many times before. The vision of the dark cavern had been appearing to her with increased frequency for the past four months, and now once again she found herself standing before the three ebony pillars.
She knew not what she was seeing or where she was, but each time, more of the surroundings revealed themselves to her. Still, the answer to this mystery eluded her. It meant something important and was vital to her and Tabitha. She scanned the structures and cavern walls for any clue to where she was and what the pillars signified. The columns were tall and vanished into the darkness. They were made of the purest obsidian rock, and its crystal walls barred the passageway to the entrance of an unseen temple. Etched over its surface were unrecognizable symbols. Not a single spot on the black stone was free from the engravings. As she was pulled away and back to reality, she heard the familiar words whispered into her head again, "There approaches a day when the immovable object will collide with the unstoppable force. When that day comes to pass, what will become of thee?"
She stood in the park, once again, deep in thought. Awareness was slow to return to her as a part of her mind remained in that dark and lonely cavern. The cries of children from far away caught her attention. She gritted her teeth and willed her self back into focus from the trance. To her dismay, she saw a commotion was occurring on the far side of the playground.
Marrissa pushed through the crowd. The shocked looks on the parent's faces were not overlooked. She noticed the hint of insanity behind each pair of wide eyes from encountering something that should not be possible. She had come to recognize how the daylight deepened into shadows as if it were no longer shade from the sun but long and bottomless pits of pitch black. She pushed past the last of the parents who blocked her way; she saw the source of their fears. Tabitha stood, with arms spread wide and slightly levitating above the ground. She whispered ancient druidic incantations under her breath with expertise and deadly purpose. A silent wind, which only affected her, violently blew and tossed her long brown hair. Her eyes were black as tar and directed at a screaming teenage boy suspended high in the air, upside down, with arms and legs outstretched wide, and stripped naked.
Part Two Edit
Tabitha had been sitting on the swing, watching the boy with growing spite. For the past ten minutes, she observed him bully and intimidate any kid unlucky to catch his attention or cross his path. She turned her attention to the adults who sat on the sidelines, oblivious to the events. He was probably twelve or thirteen years of age and a head taller than any of the children present on the playground that day. She knew what he was and if she were allowed to speak such words, she would say it to his face. "You're a little shit!"
The boy seemed to grow bored of taunting those present in his captive audience and wandered off to the other end of the playground. She quickly began to calm herself, and soon could feel the fires of ancient magics smolder less within her chest. She hated her mystical gifts. She also feared it. It was like a wild animal buried deep inside, waiting for the first chance to escape. Bad things always happened when she released the beast. She felt naughty and dirty if she let it run its course. However, she would never admit this to herself: she liked how it felt to allow it to be free. The power surging in and out of her body felt so good! The aftermath of its rampage was beautiful beyond comparison.
Tabitha looked around to see if the two girls she had recently befriended were still here. She turned her head sharply towards the loud piercing sounds of, "yip, yip!" cutting through the air. The girl spun on her heels and saw a crowd of children gather in the direction the bully had wandered off. In the back of her mind, Tabitha knew she should turn away and not investigate. If she discovered what she suspected, hell would know no fury like the one about to be unleashed.
Tabitha ran towards the crowd and gracefully pushed her way through the children. She saw her two friends pleading with the tall boy, "Stop! You're hurting him!" Tabitha's eyes burned with fury and the wild beast stirred within her chest when she saw the events unfold.
Just past the merry-go-round, the boy had a puppy cornered against the chain-linked fence. Trapped and unable to escape, it let out pitiful yelps of pain and fear as the youth pelted rocks at the feeble animal. Tabitha clenched her fists and shouted, "Hey! Stop that, right now!"
The boy barely glanced at her and continued to beat the puppy with stones. Tabitha quickly approached the taller boy and grabbed his arm as he was rearing back to throw another rock. Now annoyed, he quickly shook her off and pushed her hard to the ground. He smirked and said, "Piss off, you little bitch!" and turned to resume his torment of the small dog. The boy prepared to throw the rock, mimicking the pose and stance of a baseball pitcher. He held the stone in his hands like an imaginary baseball, looked to his left and right to check if the imaginary runners weren't stealing the bases. The boy wound up and prepared to throw the rock when he felt the tight grip of a massive hand grab his wrist. Surprise washed over his face when he turned and saw there was no one there restraining his arm.
Tabitha lifted herself from the ground and straightened herself. She smiled, thinking out loud, said, "Now you've gone and done it. You've made me mad...you little shit!"
Tabitha, the descendant of the Mother of Endor, child of prophecy, and bringer of war, stood with arms outstretched and palms open, smiled and rose in the air. Her vibrant green eyes, now ink black, fixated on the unsuspecting boy, and she released the wild beast.
Part Three Edit
It had been a week since the incident at the park. Tabitha had mostly been quiet and subdued. After a magical outburst, it always drained her. She still could not control or focus her power. Well, that was not entirely true, she could concentrate on a target and obtain the results intended from her spells and hexes. The problem was the lost excess energy expelled during the conjuring of her incantations. When Tabitha performed magic outside of her lessons, her emotions took over. She tended to use magic from an emotional state, not one of calculation or restraint. Rather than a measured, controlled release of energy from whatever mystical furnace fuelled her powers, she used the full force of her strength in that single burst. Only a tiny fraction of her energy went to the spell, and everything else was wasted and dissipated out in stray directions. Here was why her magic was so dangerous when used. With a single moment of lost self-control, she could illuminate the heavens with a magnificent glow. However, she left herself depleted and without the endurance to fight off those things drawn to such a light that may come looking for her afterward.
Then there was the guilt. For such a young child, the complexity of her emotions could be staggering. Immense guilt fell over Tabitha whenever she failed to control her magic. Her desires for pleasure and fun overrode any sense of restraint and reasoning leading to disastrous results. Marrissa found this to be the most challenging aspect of Tabitha's education. The girl must be free to explore her abilities but not to the point where it would give away their position or attract attention not wanted or desired. Marrissa never forgot what hunted them. It was more than just evil that sought them. Both Heaven and Hell have blood on their hands. Both desire power and dominance. Time was growing short, and soon the veil would be torn. Their ability to evade the sight of a god would be no more, and the armies of Heaven and hell would be released.
"Are you sure you don't want to come with me? It'll do you some good to get out," Marrissa said as she grabbed the keys to her car and mentally went over the list of food and other supplies she would need to pick up in town.
'No, Mom. I want to finish my game with Buddy," Tabitha said, sitting cross-legged in front of the opening of a dark closet. The inside was pitch black, and Marrissa could just barely make out the beady eyes and wide grin of the girl's familiar sitting before the child. Tabitha raised her cupped hands, shook them fiercely and tossed a pile of bones onto the large piece of parchment that laid between her and the demon perched within the closet. The two looked at the arrangement of fallen bones and the rogue-demon chittered and giggled. In turn, the girl let out a burst of giggles of her own. Marrissa shivered at the thought of spending time with such a creature, but this was what the fates had decided and who was she to question their divine plans.
Part Four Edit
Marrissa opened the door and exited the warm and comfortable house which manifested inside an old abandoned mill not far from town. She had spent a considerable time conjuring the living space with brightly colored walls and spacious rooms within the deserted building. She paid as much attention to the comforts of the dwelling as she did towards fortifying its walls with spells of protection and concealment. Layers and layers of defensive hexes littered the outside of the mill giving Marrissa some sense of peace knowing that Tabitha was safe in her absence.
With the windows rolled down and the crisp breeze blowing through her curly auburn hair, Marrissa came to the end of the dirt road. With a sudden swoosh of air, the daylight vanished and before her rose the three pillars. Marrissa looked around, and the dream-like haziness of the trance seemed slightly less murky this time. She looked at the three structures and realized they were not pillars. They were something far more than that. They stood, three in a row within the depths of this foreign cavern. Jetting upward and tips barely visible stood three obsidian obelisks. These were ancient symbols from myths told long ago. In the distance, just beyond the monoliths, a lone figure emerged from a bright, white glow. She stood before Marrissa masked in the light.
"The time approaches with quickening speed, my child," the figure said.
Marrissa could already feel herself being pulled back to her physical body. She shouted, "Wait! Please tell me what this means! Who are you?" The only response she received was the fading echoes of five faint words.
Marrissa's thoughts slowly cleared. The car had run off the road and was smoothly idling on the edge of a grassy field. Marrissa laughed to herself thinking it was a miracle the visions hadn't killed her yet. Dread crept into Marrissa's heart when she detected another sound emerging under the car's running motor. A faint rumbling caught her attention. She leaned forward and scanned the heavens. Fear stabbed at her chest like a dagger with such intensity; it almost took her breath away. Low in the sky, coming over the horizon, a massive storm cloud consumed the atmosphere. Plumes of clouds spindled and twisted out of the massive storm and stretched out like long and pointed fingers that scratched at the blue sky. The clouds were bulbous and pulsating to a low and menacing roll of thunder. Illuminations of blue and white light flashed from within the green and black clouds.
Marrissa stepped out of the car as the wind rose and whipped at her body with a cold and bitter sting. She stared at the atmospheric chaos bubbling and churning in the sky and knew what hovered above her. She mouthed its name, careful not to speak it aloud out of fear it may hear her.
The storm slowly moved across the sky. The shadow it cast was oppressive and darkened the ground below. Marrissa instantly knew its destination. She knew where its present course would take it. It had one goal. It had one purpose. It desired only one thing.
"Tabitha," Marrissa said.
Jumping back into the car and stepping hard on the gas pedal, Marrissa turned the car around back the way she came. She took quick glances to her right at the disturbance of clouds spilling out over the trees and advancing toward the old mill. She cursed herself for being so foolish. The incident at the park had been enough to create a magical wake that rippled out into the beyond. She wondered who had found them this time. Whomever or whatever it was, they were incredibly powerful. Evoking a Maelstrom is no simple matter for your run of the mill warlock or typical demon warlord. In fact, she recalled the knowledge to summon such a force had been lost to all others, except to possibly four entities. The thought of this chilled her bones, but Marrissa knew the Four could not appear. It was not their time. The prophecies are precise, and they were binding. If violations of prophetic mandates were occurring, chaos would bleed into reality, and fate would have no more purpose.
The Maelstrom came to a stop, and its clouds slowly circled the lone building like a massive whirlpool. The thunder intensified and became explosive roars that shook the ground. Reaching the mill seconds before the Maelstrom, Marrissa burst through the front door. The wind from the storm blew with such force; she needed all her strength to close the door. With one final push, the door slammed shut. Marrissa desperately scanned the room. She let out a gasp of relief at seeing Tabitha still seated in front of the open closet and deep in thought. She rushed over to the little girl and embraced her with all her love.
"Mommy! I did it! I did it! I talked to the bones, and they talked back," Tabitha exclaimed in excitement.
Marrissa was nervously scanning the walls and quickly making plans of escape in her mind when her daughter's words caught her attention. "What did you say, sweetheart," she asked.
"They spoke to me," the girl hesitated for a moment. "Mommy, who are the Four Horsemen?"
Marrissa looked down at Tabitha and said nothing. The shock of her daughter's revelation had left her with no words. Before she was able to answer, a low hiss filled the air. It grew in intensity, then suddenly every light within the house was extinguished with a loud pop. In the darkness, they stood in complete stillness, waiting for what was next to come. Loud booms broke the silence and echoed from all directions. Something was slamming against the walls of their tiny sanctuary.
Grasping Tabitha in one arm, Marrissa raised her free hand high and shouted, "Ochráň ma," the sound from the massive impacts vanished from the raising of every spell of protection and mystical barriers Marrissa had conjured in preparation for such an assault. She turned to the open closet and said, "Buddy, get us out of here!"
Yo'Gitja demons are one of the more mysterious demons and only summoned by one who has achieved the highest levels of skill in the practice of evocation. They are known for three things: their brutality, their talents as hunters and abilities in infiltration. One of the rarest and most useful skills of this breed of demon is their abilities to travel between the spaces that separate the real world and that of the spirit world. They created "pockets." The Yo'Gitja possessed the ability to create small tears in reality that allowed them to slip into and out any location with the flick of the hand. These pockets also could stretch out and connect to other pockets, forming a passageway to far away places. No barrier, mystical or man-made could keep a Yo'Gitja demon from entering or exiting any location if it so desired.
The broad grin and large eyes emerged from the closet, and the demon began to wave its hands in circular motion. The slams and blows were increasing in intensity again as the rogue-demon frantically continued to conjure their escape route. It looked up from its work and let out a series of nervous giggles.
"Mommy! Buddy says something's stopping him from opening a door. He says he's not sure if he can do it!"
Marrissa closed her eyes to think. Each massive strike sent tremors through her body, making it harder to concentrate. She could feel the beginnings of panic build in her chest as hope slowly bled from her body. She opened her eyes wide when the voices arose from the darkness and spoke.
"The girl. Give us the girl," four voices in unison whispered from outside the walls.
Marrissa turned towards Tabitha and said, "Baby, I need you to listen to me. I want you to go upstairs and stay there. No matter what happens, do not come back down here. Do you understand me?"
"Yes, Mommy," Tabitha whimpered.
"I need you to keep watch. If you see anything trying to get in, I want you to push it back out. Remember, use short, controlled bursts; just like we practiced. Can you do that for mommy?"
"Good girl. Now get up there," Marrissa smiled as Tabitha sprinted upstairs. The four voices whispered once again, this time with more malice and coldness in their words.
"Give us the girl, witch. Give her to us, and your suffering will be tolerable. We will be merciful and promise your soul will be salvageable once we finish with you."
She turned to face the grinning demon and said, "Keep working on that doorway."
Marrissa leaned closer to the demon and whispered into its ear.
"We can't let even one of those things in here. Do whatever needs to be done to protect Tabitha."
The demon bowed its head and turned to leave.
"Buddy," Marrissa reached out and placed its large hand within hers. Trying to sound strong and determined, she looked Buddy in the eyes and said, "You do understand that under no circumstance can we be taken alive, right? If we fail, you'll take care of that, won't you?"
The creature hesitated for a moment. Its broad grin took on a tenderness Marrissa had never seen before. In fact, to be honest, she never thought these animals were capable of such emotions other than violence and cruelty. With sad and mournful eyes, Buddy nodded. He quickly turned and leaped upward toward the rafters and disappeared.
"GIVE US THE GIRL, WITCH! WE COME TO DINE UPON THEE AND TASTE THE WOMB THAT BEGOT THIS CHILD OF PROPHESY. WE WILL KEEP THEE ALIVE, SO YOU MAY SEE US LICK THE TEARS FROM YOUR CHILD'S FACE AS SHE WATCHES US TEAR THROUGH YOUR FLESH AND DEVOUR YOUR INNARDS!"
Marrissa closed her eyes once again and took a deep breath. She was now ready to commit herself to a path of war. Marrissa knew this was the moment her destiny had been leading her towards. She opened her eyes and stood tall in defiance and shouted into the darkness.
"If you want her, try and take her if you dare! Come, unclean spirits of filth, fight with me! The rubbish heap calls thy name! It waits for thee, for by day's end will thy corpse be tossed upon its mound and left for the crows and worms to feast upon! Your future ends today! Fight with me, servants of shit, fight!"
The slamming of strikes against metal echoed louder and louder. Marrissa lowered her head and closed her eyes. She slowly began to calm herself, and her breathing slowed. Marrissa focused her mind on the elements that surrounded her: Earth, wind, fire, and water. She reached out and took command of the dormant energies that lay hidden within nature. They permeated her skin and saturated her senses. At first, they were chaotic but soon balanced themselves and flowed through her in harmony. From behind, a black slit emerged in mid-air, and a globulous shape spilled onto the floor through the fissure. It towered over Marrissa, and a tube-shaped appendage arose and reared back to strike.
In a single graceful movement, Marrissa took hold of her wand in one hand and unsheathed a curved dagger in the other and shouted, "de ulla mort' te!" In a burst of light, the tip of her wand glowed brighter than an exploding star, and her dagger ignited in a blazing blue flame. She spun, arching her back, avoiding the stab from the pointed tip of the slimy monstrosity masked in shadows. In a single swipe from her burning dagger, she took the head of her unsuspecting attacker. Standing over the corpse, she spat at the twitching body now lying dead at her feet.
Marrisa looked around, ensuring all was safe. When she felt no danger was present at the moment, she ran to the nearest window and lifted the mystical barrier to gain a view of their current predicament. She couldn't help herself, but she gasped at the scene that lay before her.
The Four Horsemen stood at the forefront of the horde they commanded. At first glimpse, it could be easily mistaken to believe the four warriors mounted a grotesque and deformed horse of similar skin tone and texture, but in fact, they were not separate, but one creature. They stood ten feet tall with pale, white skin. Penetrating and mutilating their body were black thorns that wrapped around their bodies. The thick spines spiraled around their heads and came to a sharp point forming a crown of thorns.
The Horsemen's servants were slightly shorter with wet and sleek bodies of white flesh that had never seen the rays of daylight. They stood upright, but not like that of a man. They stood on their hands with legs held high above their heads. The legs were short and stubby limbs that came to a point at a sharp and curved claw. Their torsos were segmented and long appendages that curved forward and had the likeness to a decayed scorpion's tail with an ebony black stinger upon its tip.
Two creatures caught Marrissa's attention. The were multi-armed beasts with the lower body of a serpent. They waved their arms in the air as if engaged in the act of worship. She guessed immediately they were high priests to the Horsemen and the source of Buddy's inability to produce a portal for their escape. Their incantations of suppression were powerful and not likely to be overcome. Marrissa sealed her viewport as the loud bangs and booms grew in intensity from all around her.
Part Five Edit
Through the night, the servants of the Four Horsemen continued their assault on the hidden house within the Mill. They gouged and scratched at the magical barrier that blocked their way. The spells of protection were powerful, but the servants were relentless, and eventually, it weakened, and they slowly pressed their bodies through the barrier. Arms and heads began to emerge from the walls. They grabbed and reached viciously, sometimes shooting sharp projectiles in all directions.
Jagged branches of light cut through the air from Marrissa's wand. It severed heads, limbs, and appendages from her attackers. Buddy was perched above high and concentrated on his task. It was hard work, but he was still a deadly foe and did not neglect the fight below. He kept watch over the woman carefully, and if danger arose, he would leap down, grab the approaching monster by the head and with a quick snap, break its neck.
Marrissa feverishly expelled the invaders and worked to patch the holes in the invisible mystical barrier, but it was apparent it was a losing battle. She yelled over her shoulder, "Buddy, we need to leave!"
Buddy let out a barrage of frustrated laughs and giggles.
Tabitha translated, "He says the two mystics are too powerful. They keep blocking him from every direction!"
An idea came to Marrissa, and she said, "Well, then I shall have a word or two with the two gentlemen, I think."
Marrissa ran full speed toward the front of the house. Tabitha's short and lethal bolts cut through anything that threatened her mother. As Marrissa approached the wall, an opening manifested. With the flick of her wrist, her dagger elongated into a bow. She dropped to her knees and slid to a stop. Marrissa brought her hand up to the bowstring of light that emerged and pulled back hard and released two glowing arrows. They streaked across the dark sky with speed and precision. The two priests were knocked off their feet as each arrow penetrated their skull with a mighty force fueled by a mother's desperation and love.
Marrissa crouched on her knees and screamed, "Now Buddy, now!"
Buddy raised his arms in the air, and a brilliant sphere of light exploded into existence in the center of the room. Marrissa beaconed for Tabitha to come to her. As they approached the doorway, it suddenly vanished. Marrissa turned, and Tabitha screamed as they saw Buddy fall to his knees. From behind, two long segmented tails had impaled the demon. The long black stingers protruded from his lower abdomen and neck. With Tabitha at her back, she rushed over to their fallen comrade. The power spilling out of her wand disintegrated the two enemies instantly.
Marrissa lifted her head as loud cracks began to echo across the room signaling that the protective barriers were about to fall. She looked down at the injured demon, and she wept for the poor beast. Buddy's kind was resilient and hard to kill, but his injuries seemed so severe to survive. She lifted his head and said, "Buddy! Buddy, please help us! Please! We are running out of time!"
The cracks and shattering grew louder with each passing moment. The spells of concealment were fading, and the actual appearance of the old and rotten walls of the mill appeared. The demon coughed violently, spraying the floor with blood. It lifted itself up with one hand and raised the other. It made circular motions with its wrist, and slowly the door of light opened.
Marrissa shouted, "Tabitha go, go!"
"What about Buddy," she screamed.
"We aren't going anywhere without him, sweetheart," she yelled as she stood and released a fury of lightning bolts from the tip of her wand that incinerated the approaching monsters. She looked down at her dagger and whispered, "Goodbye my old friend," and threw the blade in the air. She spoke the words, "INFER-NO-TE!" and it ignited with a brilliant green flame. It spun in the air encircling herself, Buddy, and the doorway. The blade sliced deep into the ground producing a wall a fire that separated them from the approaching monsters.
Marrissa looked all around her at the faces barely visible through the wall of flames separating her from the horde of nightmares spitting and thrashing on the other side. She breathed a sigh of relief at seeing the silhouette of Tabitha safely crouched beyond the doorway. With all her strength, she lifted Buddy from behind, under his arms and dragged him through the door as quickly as possible. When his legs were past the threshold of the opening, she shouted, "Now Buddy, Now!" The demon weakly dropped its hand, and the passageway began to collapse upon itself.
As the doorway of light quickly dissipated, Marrissa looked up and saw a burning, segmented appendage emerge from the fire. At the last moment, it thrust its ebony stinger through the opening and impaled Marrissa through her chest. The woman flew across the dark space and landed hard on the ground. She laid there motionless, with eyes open, staring into the darkness.
Part Six Edit
Marrissa opened her eyes to the familiar cavern. However, instead of darkness, she was met with the comforting glow of flames all throughout the walls. The beautiful Obelisks stood tall and proud before her, and in the distance, she had her first clear view of the temple that the three towers guarded.
"Welcome, my child," a beautiful voice spoke. "I have been waiting for this moment for such a long time, my dear."
Marrissa turned her head and saw the beautiful woman dressed in white. The woman was kneeling next to her and smiling. Marrissa quietly inquired, "Who are you?"
"Oh," she said, "I have gone by many names in my time. I am the prophetess to the one that's been hidden in time. I work in secret protecting my children until the day of prophecy comes. A day that soon approaches. A day when the immovable object will collide with the unstoppable force."
"Tabitha," Marrissa whispered.
"No, my dearest child," said the woman in white. "You."
The woman continued, "There are forces in the universe that hold vast power, and together they form a force no barrier or wall can circumvent; except for one thing—a mother's love. It is the one kind of love that is immovable. When the two collide, neither will relent, but one must die. I am afraid, my dear, that is also you."
Tears began to flow from Marrissa's face, "What about Tabitha? She can't be left alone! They will find here and kill her!"
The woman's eyes brighten, and her smile broadened, "Do not despair little one. This is how it must be; for in your death comes sacrifice. Sacrifice for love holds power beyond the comprehension of those that sought to possess your child."
The woman sat next to Marrissa and made herself comfortable, "Let me tell you a story, dearest one. Long ago, there was only the Trinity, not the one spoken of in today's religions, but the original triad. It was from their lips that existence came to be. Very few know the real story of creation devoid of myth and fairy tales. The world came into existence from the will of the three Furys—God, Satan, and alongside them there existed a third essence, the Mother. It was she who kept the balance between good and evil, and it was from her bosom that the gift of life was given to the first daughter so long ago. Eventually, she was betrayed and suppressed by the other two, for jealousy and oppression dominate their nature. They erased the very existence of the Mother from the knowledge of humanity and reduced her children to one of servitude. Their conflict has raged from the beginning, but rejoice for their enslavement of the Mother's daughters has come to an end.
Marrissa shook her head and said, "I don't understand what this all means."
The woman looked at Marrissa affectionately, "Yes, my dear. I didn't expect you to, nor are you meant to understand all that comes to pass. However this you must know—this is a place of sanctuary that was hidden away. It is a place that can only be accessed by sacrifice. This place was set aside for the daughters of the Mother to grow and flourish under my protection. Through your sacrifice, Tabitha has gained entry. Here, she too will grow and thrive. She will be taught all she needs to know in safety. She will learn her purpose in the world, and when the time comes, she will be ready to fulfill her deeds that were prophesized so long ago."
The woman stood tall and said, "Now, you have one more thing to do." She took Marrisa's hand and placed a small red rose in her palm. "Give this to your daughter. It will guide her to this place."
Marrissa began to cry and shout, "No! I won't leave her! She needs me! I need her!"
The woman looked affectionately at Marrissa and said, "My dearest child, you have very little time. Do not waste it on emotional outbursts. Use this time to give your daughter the wisdom she needs. You must let her go, but as you leave, remind her who she is and what she can do."
With that, darkness fell, and Marrissa saw no more.
Part Seven Edit
Marrissa opened her eyes to an explosion of pain. She coughed out the blood pooling in her chest as she lay on the cold ground. All she could make of her surroundings was a dark gray mist all around. To her left, Buddy laid on the ground with his back towards her, breathing heavily. She surmised they were still within the pocket, but due to his condition, they were unable to connect to another pocket allowing them to exit to safety. They were trapped. Tabitha knelt at her side, with her head buried in Marrissa's arms.
"Tabitha," Marrissa weakly said.
"Mommy, you're bleeding," Tabitha said through her tears.
"Tabitha, listen to me. I want you to go. There is a place that I found for you that is so beautiful you won't believe your eyes. I want you to go there and live your life. Go there and grow up to be the beautiful and powerful woman you were meant to become.
Mommy, I can't leave you," Tabitha cried.
"Tabitha," Marrisa said, "listen to me. We don't have much time. I want you to leave this place. Leave this place at once, and if anyone gets in your way, I want you to kill them. Do you understand me? I want you to kill them! You do whatever it takes for you to get someplace safe."
Marrissa weakly reached up to touch her daughter's face and said, "I want you to make them pay for what they did to us. Kill them all! Let go of your fear, baby. Let it go and make it so that they can never do this to another person ever again. You let them know who you are and what you can do. You send a message to Heaven and Hell that you are coming for them. Can you do that for me? Can you do that for Mommy?"
Tabitha nodded through her tears. Marrissa took hold of Tabitha's hand, and a red light illuminated the child's skin. It ran down her forearm forming an intricate map tattooed on her inner arm.
Marrissa weakly said, "Here, take this. It will show you the way. You will be safe there. I promise."
Tabitha continued to weep, "Mommy, I won't leave you!"
Marrissa looked into her daughter's eyes one last time and said, "Oh Tabitha, I...love...y..."
With that, Marrissa, daughter of Evelyn, witch to the Coven of the Eastern tribe closed her eyes and felt no more pain.
Part Eight Edit
The fourth Horseman raised his arm commanding silence over the horde of soldiers who surrounded the battered mill. The Horsemen had felt the passage of woman's soul at the moment of her death and now claimed victory over the day. They stomped their hooved feet in anticipation and motioned for the girl to be collected from inside the building.
"Take her and let us be done with this matter," said the Horsemen. "The sooner the Father of the Sky and the Son of Fire take hold of their prize, the sooner the day of Armageddon will be upon us."
A cold and hateful smile emerged on each of the four being's faces, as they spoke with a breath of lust.
"Bring us the body of the witch. Opportunity may still linger in our favor, for if warmth remains within the flesh, her soul is still within our grasp. We will pierce the membrane between here and the afterlife and take hold of her spirit."
Three of the disfigured warriors cautiously approached the front door and entered the darkness.
The moments dragged on and on. There was no movement from the building. They continued to wait and still, no one emerged from the old mill. A nervous tinge spread through the crowd, and the Horsemen grew impatient as the minutes went by.
The Horsemen waited.
Suddenly, the sound of air being sucked into a vacuum emerged, and a loud swish of wind erupted. The door the soldiers had entered blew off its hinges from a massive fireball that engulfed the building. The entire front of the mill burst into flames and collapsed from the impact of the explosion. As suddenly as it came, the fire disappeared, and all was deathly silent. The old mill was obscured by rising, thick smoke billowing and swirling into the sky. After what felt like an eternity, something emerged from the haze. Slowly, a small, lone figure walked into view and out of the rubble. Tabitha stood alone with eyes transfixed on the four entities.
Several of the Horsemen's warrior approached the little girl, as she continued her slow walk out of the debris. Her gaze remained fixed and unbroken upon the four beings, and she took no notice of the approaching creatures. The Horsemen's servants looked at each other uncertainly. Something was wrong. Something was not right. There was no fear in the child's face. There was no hesitation in her forward pace. In the last moments of their life, they realized there was no humanity left in the girl's eyes.
Tabitha suddenly raised her hands and clutched her fingers toward the sky. Thorned roots and vines erupted from the ground surprising her would-be captors. The vines wrapped themselves around the creatures and pierced their skin, entangling themselves around bone and tissue. More and more roots burst through the ground, and tighter and tighter their grip became. With hands still held above her head, Tabitha slammed them down onto the ground, and the girl's enemies were torn apart by the thorned vines. Tabitha continued forward, and the thorned vines and roots quivered and took the posture of a scorpion's tail before they shot through the ground towards the shocked soldiers of the Horsemen's army.
Fear spread and consumed the army that stood before her, and they turned to flee. They scrambled and trampled each other to escape, for they saw and understood what approached. Tabitha looked left, then to her right and finally center. A wall of earth and stone rose from the ground and blocked all who attempted to retreat. Electricity from her palms branched out and incinerated those closest to her. She looked up to the sky and spoke the forbidden words of wormwood and deadly hail fell upon her enemies. The ice was corrosive, corroding their armor and burning away at their flesh. She then spoke the prayer of desecration, and globulous worms with translucent skin emerged from the soil. Slow and awkward of movement they were, but the number and size of the worms quickly overwhelmed the army of the Horsemen. Their long and bulbous bodies fell upon the soldiers, and the worms consumed and devoured their prey alive. Muffled screams of agony and torment could be heard from within the guts of the giant worms as they slowly sunk back into the Earth. The only hint of the summoned creature's presence was the wet ground still saturated with their slime and saliva.
Tabitha stood before the Four Horsemen without trepidation or fear. The Horsemen reared back each brandishing a weapon: a sword, a spear, a whip of razors, and a black sickle. Electricity filled the air and whipped to and fro between the small child and her four adversaries. Tabitha looked up and met each one's gaze. She smiled and said, "Would you like to play a game with me?"
The Horsemen flew into a fury of rage, cursing and swearing at the little girl in their demonic tongue. Unfazed by the show of anger and violence, Tabitha repeated, "Would you like to play a game with me?
Tabitha lifted her head, and each of the Horsemen was plucked off the ground and suspended in the air. Invisible hands took hold of the Horsemen and broke the bones in their arms and legs. Laceration emerged over their bodies, and their crown of thorns was ripped from their brow. The four beings remained restrained for a moment as Tabitha encircled them and admired her work. They screamed in pain and terror as the little girl twirled them in the air for her pleasure. She skipped underneath the shower of blood falling from their fresh wounds as if it were a springtime rain. Tabitha danced and danced under the drizzle of blood. She danced to contain the rage. She danced to hide from the sorrow of loss. She danced until she could no longer dance. Tabitha stopped and closed her eyes and screamed into the night sky. Her voice crossed the land for miles and miles, shattering rocks and splintering trees. She stood there motionless for a bit, then rose her head towards her captives and asked again, "Would you like to play a game with me? I think you'll like it. I just made it up, just right now, just for you," she laughed.
Tabitha raised four of her fingers and said, "This little horsey didn't play well with others and made everyone fight," and the girl lowered one of her fingers. The first Horsemen screamed in pain as his head was pluck from his body like a grape pulled from the stem.
"This little horsey coughed and made everyone sick," and she lowered her second finger. The second horseman opened his mouth wide to scream. The flesh in his face stretched further and further until it rolled back on itself over his head and down his neck. The skin continued peeling all the way down his body until it reached the hooves of its legs.
Tabitha turned to face the third Horseman, lowered her third finger and said, "This little horsey's stomach growled and made all the people so very hungry." The Horseman let out a gurgling yell of agony and pain. Blood and intestines shot high into the sky as the Horseman's stomach violently exploded.
Tabitha looked upon the final Horseman and whispered, "And this little horsey died and fell down, down, down, all the way to Hell." She lowered her last finger and each of the Horseman's arms and legs was pulled from its body. The head of the horseman twisted slowly around, and the snaps of its spine elicited screams of pain from the once mighty being. The body parts separated and tore free from the bloodied torso and were tossed away like one would discard rubbish and trash.
Tabitha stared at the corpses and her smile of pleasure gradually faded. She fell to her knees and wept. She cried for the loss of innocence. Tabitha grieved for the loss of her mother. She cried until the morning sun peaked over the horizon and banished the stars from the sky overhead. Tabitha cried until exhaustion overcame her and she surrendered to the numbness of sleep.
Part Nine Edit
Three Months Later
Darkness permeated the air as far as the eye could see with an oppressive weight. It dominated everything except for a small area of illumination. A bright sphere of light floated above two intruders to the darkness. Deep within the cavern, Tabitha walked with her hand held tightly in Buddy's grasp. Occasionally, she would look down at the red lines that glowed from her forearm and point at the direction they must go. It was the third day within the caves, and it was slow going. Buddy was still weak and hadn't fully recovered from his wounds. The demon's injuries were severe, but his kind was resilient and healed quickly.
For any other traveler, the journey into the caverns would have been hard and nearly impossible, but for Tabitha, it was equivalent to a hike through the woods. Her ball of light shined brightly giving them light and warmth. She slept six inches high and over the cold, stone floor, as she levitated comfortably from above. Incantations of fertility produced an abundance of sweet and delicious berries and fruits for her and Buddy to share. And of course, she had Buddy, to keep her company and drive away the loneliness.
On the third day, they entered into a chasm with a great ravine where the ceiling of the cave could no longer be seen. The further they walked, the darkness was slowly replaced with a soft purple glow of light. Soon they stood before the three great Obelisks. Past the three towers, a crowd of women, young and old gathered to greet the duo. The group parted, allowing an elderly woman dressed in white garments to pass. She had a welcoming smile, and her arms were open wide, beaconing them to come forward.
With her hand still tightly held in Buddy's grip, Tabitha looked up into the blackness and whispered,
"I did it, just like you asked. I love you, Mommy."
In the faraway places where gods are born and worlds are created, ancient gears turned and fell into place. Old keys turned, opening locks to lost and forgotten places. The reverberance of change rippled across the fabric of time and space. It was so small but as it expanded, the wave became more turbulent and massive. It traveled across the great expanse of space, gaining force and momentum until it penetrated the barrier separating the world of flesh from those ancient places where the celestial beings dwelt. Across infinite universes and within countless heavenly throne rooms, cries from every god could be heard. Within all pits of damnation and punishment, screams of terror escaped the lips of every king and queen of Hell. A new day had arrived. A day in which the daughters of the Mother would rise and retake their lost and stolen birthright. The rulers of Heaven and conquerors of Hell trembled in fear for they had been stripped of their omniscience. Only the here and now where they permitted to see. In her wisdom and with a final act of revenge, the Mother only allowed one single future event to be perceived. Only one day predestined to come would dominate their thoughts. It was one simple word of warning to reveal what approaches from the distance. A word, that was all they were permitted to see. This word was given to them to obsess over before the coming of the child of prophecy.
The word on their lips was "War."
Written by KillaHawke1