The Knight at the Lockdown Ch. 02byNobodyWorthKnowing©
Sirens blared, muted, as Gerald walked slowly out the front doors of The Lockdown.
It was evening now, the sunset though was blocked by a predominantly cloudy sky.
It rained a lot in Driftwood—not always at a constant—but Spring Break, and Sunlit Summers was often disappointing for the children of this city. Here in the barren outskirts, there was little to notice.
No one could know the truth about things here, there was no way. Not that they weren't strong enough to handle it—just that people in large crowds are stupid. Stupid enough to kill off the only thing protecting them.
The muted sirens inside of The Lockdown continued, a monotone rise and fall, a second alarm buzzing incessantly behind it.
It sounded like there was a prison riot going on in there.
Gerald sighed, lighting a cigarette as he continued down the path from The Lockdown, to the lot where his ride would be waiting.
Ammielle had been his mark, but there were more terrible things in there than a fallen Angel like Ammielle; Lust, Crimson—and the return of this Doctor—Simon Bellar.
He knew what Crimson was, and in many ways, he felt she was worse a creature than Ammielle could ever be, but Ammielle was responsible for the death of James W. Wallace Junior, and possibly the death of Angela Blackwood.
Two counts was enough for a death sentence, but Ammielle was not going to die.
She couldn't die...
Ammielle was supposed to be an Angel.
The judge, Grifford, had arranged for her defeat though.
He paid good money arranging for her removal from this plane, and put into a place where she could not harm another again. At least, not here.
Grifford was fascinated with an interesting people.
He called them City-Walkers—rather; he said they called themselves City-Walkers.
The way he explained it, City-Walkers were capable of great and terrible things. They could do things that Coven could not do, and did not rely on conjure to do it.
The City-Walkers were capable of finding anything, and anyone, so long as they were in Driftwood. They could hear footfalls of whoever they needed to find, and track them expertly—precisely—without need for surveillance.
These fascinating specimens of the city were capable of remarkable feats that even a hunter could not control, or resist. It was because of this, that Grifford felt a treaty, or an alliance would be wiser than an all out war.
Indeed it was exactly what this prior visit to The Lockdown was for.
Four of the guards inside of the establishment were City-Walkers placed by Grifford. He must have struck quite a deal to get those Agents in there.
According to their lore, City-Walkers are the only people in Driftwood who can physically tear their way into the mindfield. Supposedly, some could even drag others in with them.
Gerald heard that term before, but never experienced. It was a witch thing; Gerald avoided anything Coven or Conjure. Such things were for pencil pushers like Grifford and his goons. Peace was rarely an option in Driftwood—a fool's dream, as far as Gerald was concerned. So long as Coven ran in the bloodstream of his home, there would be little peace.
Conniving, conjuring bastards; they deserved their lot—true some more than others—but every last one of them should have to burn for their contribution to the religious pollution of Driftwood.
Gerald waited a moment.
"Behind you, hunter."
Gerald had not sensed it, but was not surprised either. A conjurer would not have been able to do that.
"You get it taken care of?" He asked, turning around casually.
"She's been ripped into the mindfield."
"I'm the only one left." The Guard said, removing his gas mask.
"Grifford won't have to pay the other three off now."
"Grifford will take care of your families. All of you. You've done a service to us, and to Driftwood today..." Gerald said, holding out four envelopes.
In each of them there was a check written by Grifford, for a very, very large sum of money. Enough money to help fund a City-Walker's efforts to keep his or her city clean.
"What do you know of Driftwood." The City-Walker grabbed the envelopes.
Gerald watched him walk off, dropping accessories of armor and articles of his guard uniform until he reached the woods. There was a brief weight in the air around him, and then it was silent.
He had probably ripped his way back into the mindfield.
O O O
"Three City-Walkers dead in one sitting." Grifford smiled genuinely. "The best part is we weren't the ones who had to do it."
Gerald was silent.
"You haven't yet seen what these abominations—these children of the city—can do yet, have you?"
"These—people—are different. They are not like Coven; they are not like we are. I have seen them rip their way out of our reality."
"It isn't that I don't believe it," Gerald said. "It's just that for me, seeing is believing sir. I have seen some scary shit in my time, your Honor; I have seen fire and ice and just—just some really, really weird and frightening shit. I have never seen a City-Walker do anything."
"These people are strong, Gerald." Grifford said in a grave tone. "Don't let size fool you. I have seen them in the act. I have watched them walk out of our world—it is neither a sight, nor a sound. It's more like a feeling. One moment they're here, one moment later - well, they are not."
Judge Grifford stood up from his armchair, pushing it out as he did. He stepped to his window, and looked out of his office, over the acres of land that was his property. "These beings are unnatural. They neither affect, nor feel the effects or the Natural Order; they are unaffected by any rift in the Balance that we uphold. They are living, breathing, walking agents of this city. They think and feel what it thinks and feels; they are ambassadors of something else."
"Are they our enemies?"
"They are not our friends, but they are not our enemies. They're mostly self-serving—whatever will make this City better in their judgment. I would never want to cross blades with any one of them though. I've seen them rupture a person with as much as a glance. Easily. They are not to be trifled with, and the loss of three of them is a victory for everyone's community."
"They have no souls—or so I hear—and, I am inclined to believe it. In the mid or maybe late seventies—my father was still Judge at the time—there was a young man about eighteen or so, maybe. Not in our community, but, he was a Pastor's son. He was with a woman—the very woman you had pulled out of Driftwood today."
"No, it isn't. She was an Angel, of sorts. So I hear. She commonly referred to City-Walkers as false life. It is believed that all Angels hate these abominations because they have no souls. They are shells of men, walking and filled with the soul of our city."
"So it is told."
"So it is told." Grifford smiled. "What you did today was a blessing. You managed to rid us of four potentially deadly nuisances, and you survived it to be home in time for supper."
"Yeah." Gerald said. "I feel you should know that I gave the money to their families, seeing how the three did not survive it."
"That's fine. Let them see our generosity, so that they never side against us." Grifford said, and turned from his window. "Let them see our greatness, and our kindness so that we have their trust—and if not their trust—let us have their alliance."
Gerald looked hard at Grifford a moment. "I will take my leave, sir."
"Tell your wife I send my greetings."
Gerald nodded, and quickly enough, he was gone.
O O O
Here, and again we stand. One, but not the same.
An intruder invades our land, akin to the creator, but concurrently it is dissimilar. A guise of wolf in sheep's clothing, a creature of delicious beauty, covering the truth of a horrible, horrible lie.
Here, and again, we stand. In the presence of hell, in a land that awaits judgment from it.
It is lonely here, even for those who fell before us, those who the Angels called False Life; those hated by God himself; those who were deemed alive, but unnatural.
It is lonely here. In the mindfield.
Here and again we stand, with those of the same kind who died before us we are—
O O O
—It isn't so bad being an Angel—if I were still an Angel. I lost my grace before man could even count on his fingers. I was beautiful once—next to Lucifer—there were none others. I sided with the wrong side, and because of it I have nothing now.
The saying that hell is to be outside of God's sight—it's true.
I have tried as hard as I could from day one, after the first battle, to run from my master— and here I am in the heart of the enemy's territory. I know every creature on Earth by its name; I know every Angel in every throne by its name. I have been male; I have been female. I have wrought only destruction and sadness wherever I roam.
I don't remember what it was He created me for.
To serve him? To fight for Him? I was arrogant and I was prideful; I'd listened to the Morning Star and his words were like honey. They seduced and enlightened my mind. They opened me up for the biggest mistake I'd ever make.
Now, I'm damned either way.
There is no buying your way back into heaven—but have you ever actually spoken to Lucifer?
He hates God.
He hates him because he wanted to be Him... and could not then, and cannot now. He hates him because he knew he was wrong then, and knows he's wrong now—and like a person about to die—he's in denial.
He would take every living soul with him if he could.
I don't serve Lucifer anymore, but it doesn't make me any less fallen myself. I cannot serve God—if anyone so much as even mentions his son in my presence, I flee.
There is no good in me, and I do not want that to change.
I hate Him.
I hate them both.
What is worse, I am surrounded by the corpses of three men; the only ones who could have gotten me out of here... three of four men who helped put me here, in the resting place of my brother, Taal. Of all of the worse places I could be—I never wanted to be here. I knew of this world, for the master had spoken of it before.
Lucifer, in all his need to be God, cannot even cross into this world.
Because of his pride, he is blind to False Life. Most of us fallen are—or I would have seen that attack coming days before it had happened.
When had I last seen you? Now, as I stand here, a bright beacon in the distance shines, and I see the silhouette of your mighty tusks arising from the sandy deserts. You are so far away, yet I know full well that even now, miles beneath the land, I am standing perhaps on your chest, or your legs.
Your size was so great, and even so, the Lord laid you out.
Your punishment was lenient considering what has happened to many of us.
Look at your kingdom, violent, sleeping brother—your suspended state has not stopped your tortured mind—your very dreams have manifested. I am no safer here than I am in the lake of fire, or the gates of heaven.
I know that this is your kingdom.
I know that I am no more welcome here than on Earth; and here I know I will likely be hunted as easily so as I was by our brothers back in the world of mortals.
If only, if only.
Ammielle stared across the stretches of the vast Realm of her brother's kingdom. The land was mighty, and impossible; it was greater than the mind of any mortal's conception, distances that spanned forever in all directions. Beneath the world slept a giant of proportions that only and Angel's mind could comprehend.
He was the only principality of this land; a sleeping lumbering monster who's mind was so powerful, that weapons of men were a travesty in comparison to the creations his imaginative, and incredibly powerful psyche.
He had been thrown from his place in the Heavenly thrones to rule a wasteland that had never been intended to become his kingdom.
Surely the Lord must have known this would happen—and if so—surely He knew that one day Men would eventually tear into it.
The land before her neither existed, nor did it not exist. It was reality and fantasy, the scape of an entire empire based on the manifestations of the dreams of a sleeping giant. Who could have ever imagined that from something so terrible, and so innately evil, such beauty and such elegance could be real, displayed in the ever growing, ever living land of a once dead and empty plane.
Soured and soiled by the touch of the fallen giant, his very thoughts along molded spires and mountains, deadly seas and mysterious bottomless rivers.
There were canyons of infinite splendor, and within the walls visible fossils of creatures that could never have existed, and yet whose very presence was a testament to their once reality.
Skies that reached up into forever, but never saw a sun or a moon, nor stars, or space were lit with energy from unknown origins, and softly as darkness overtook the lands, lamps of a strange and inexplicable technology would light up, igniting a soft glow over the lands; scattered throughout the mindfield as though they were stars themselves.
What of God here?
Where was God, here?
Surely somewhere, in the land of the exiled, tusked angel there was some sign of Him? There were the faithful. There were the just, and the righteous, but where in the land were they? Surely if she were here as real, and as physical, there would be others who were holy men, and holy women, who would have ended up here.
Driftwood's grip on its entire population was very tight, and few ever slipped through it's ever grasping fingers.
The difference between light and dark was short, perhaps minutes, or hours. Too long to count, too short to substantiate a reasonable clock.
Truly, Realm itself had no time. It was long enough in darkness there to have to wait until the light. It was long enough in the light to wander far enough to a ridge, up ahead. Staring down the slightly steep slope was a valley.
Within it were structures much like the homes back in Driftwood—except these looked dilapidated—run down—abandoned. There were many roaming, aimlessly. Some were climbing the side of the slop. They looked distracted; they looked lost.
Ammielle sighed deeply, though it was really unnecessary. She had been feigning mortality for so long, the "human nature" she had developed was like a reflex.
All of these things were as natural to her as they would be to a statue. She existed, but with no need for sustenance.
She had learned to love the simple mortal pleasures of the world of flesh and blood, eating, and eating; never getting fat. Drinking, and never getting drunk.
She enjoyed the sins of the flesh, and very much for those things, it make her much like the dancer, back at the Lockdown—that dancer, Lust, who was in many ways like her, but not an Angel—but rather—an Angel's nightmare possessing a living host. She enjoyed men without regard to illness, or fear of death.
Her skin was flawless, and soft, firm and yet supple.
It was perfect.
Such were the benefits of being an Angel. Even a fallen one. Fear, however, she held; even on a celestial level, beings could feel felt fear.
She knew the capabilities of her brethren, fallen or otherwise—but only Michael and Gabriel had been able to exile the tusked Taal from Heaven upon the Lord's command.
She looked beyond the valley, to the beacon of light, shining as bright as a sun, and yet offering no light of its own to the land. His tusks were as towers from the dry and dead sands of the desert which part of him was buried.
She wondered if Taal could feel her presence, or if he knew of her arrival; ripped from the reality of the Earth and the soil of it, torn away from the solidity; the very tangible essence of reality. She wondered if she were so mighty here, as she had been there; her strength beyond the capabilities of mere men. She wondered how long it would be, before she were condemned to a strange and enigmatic torture, dreamt up by her monster of a brother.
She kept her mouth shut, saying nothing out of fear that Taal would hear her.
Fear exists in everything, she thought, dropping gently to her knees, her arms wrapped softly around her chest, hands holding her shoulders.
There was silence, except the faint cries of people in the deep valley below. She hung her head.
For the first time in her existence, Ammielle wept.
O O O
Time is an interesting element of man's creation, and at the same time, his existence. I think it is because of the creation, and recognition of time that men grow old and die.
In a lifetime, one could live to be as old as one-hundred—in same cases I hear, even one-hundred-and-ten. In same cases, there are those who will die young, before their prime.
Sometimes, death stakes her claim before the host of life is ready to go.
I was never ready when she claimed me.
Death was beautiful... and I cannot see why so many are so afraid to meet with her when their time comes—and even those who are not ready.
She is elegant and graceful, pale as bleached bone, and soft as a newborn child. She is noble, and kind—swift to those who are willing to let her take them—and biding for those who are not.
When my life was taken from me, and I remember it clearly, she held me. Death. She cradled me in her arms, and told me that it would be alright—that I would only have to wait a little while until judgment came to me. Then, suddenly, something happened.
I saw sadness on her face, and she set me down.
My eyes opened, and I sucked in air. Death had released me, but not really. Something had happened. I woke, cold and stiff. My body ached, and my throat was sore and dry. Water could not sate me, but only make me sick. Food could not fill my hunger— but I digress, and I should not.
Time no longer matters. Not to me; not since I was made into the monster that I have become. Not that it has been a long time. What has it been? Four years? No—it's been five. I'm twenty-one, but the number no longer has meaning.
Eventually, I will be one-hundred-and-twenty one.
Nonetheless, I am twenty-one. My Department of Motor Vehicles, legally appointed driver's license says I am as old as I am.
So it is a wonder to many people, why I still look like I am sixteen.
My skin used to be darker—a tan—until I died. My now oh-so-pale, ashy white flesh still carries a hunt of an olive tint. I look like a statue of a marble Goddess, with tits that will forever be sixteen; pert, perfect, and defiant of gravity.
My eyes had been a soft blue, but they're silver now.
Like the metal, soft and alluring, but shining with a life of it's own. The very silver I love, and the same, pure metal that burns to the touch.
Hah, and the movies say it only hurts shape shifters.
Any time I've ever touched it, I feel the burn as if I'm touching the flame of a candle. Silver is a big No Bueno for me.
My body is beautiful—perfect—forever perfect. My hair will always be thick and lush, and curly, though not too curly. My teeth will always be straight and white, and lovely.
It means shit to me though. I was never educated in this—in what I had become.
I have hungers that basic human lusts cannot subdue.
I have taken men home. Fucking for me though has no sensation. My body prepares itself for sex like anyone's but... I feel nothing.
I can give you a perfect example.