With a startled gasp Reez dropped to one knee and laid the bag down as he pulled a fist sized pouch from his jackets
front pocket.After opening it quickly while saying softly,"Cher Seigneur,strengthen me." he held up the three bright steel
balls about an inch in diameter that he had shaken out into his hand at eye level with his palm and fingers folded lengthwise
to keep them lined up with his friends form which appeared to be mesmerized by the man like shape being left by the now flickering
greenish whisps of light as he slipped the bag back into his pocket.
"Dieu guide mon but, s'il vous plaît!" came
from between his tense lips before they blew sharply at the steel balls which immediately twinkled while silently launching
themselves out of the palm that switched to a hand with an extended index finger.
As they vanished in the direction
of the motionless LeRoy with only a barely perceptable whishing of the air being split Reez's eyes focused on their path through
the dark night before suddenly flicking his wrist in a leftward slash and immediately jumping to his feet with the bag holding
Schlomo back in his hand.
While turning to run to the cut about thirty feet north he heard a gunshot that all but
covered the three metallic peals that rang out simultaneously as the headlights of the two trucks barging up on the scene
flickered across the canal split landscape to his right and in front of him.
The sound of the words "Merci,Seigneur."fluttered
gratefully out of his lips simultaneously with a horrendous set of guttural voices using at least two different languages
from where his friend now faced improbable odds in order to enable him to duck to his right and run east along the storm cut
unseen and hopefully get done with his vital task before stepping out of his meatsuit.
Even without almost
holding his breath in order to hear as much as he could over the sounds he was making as he moved as fast as possible along
the trail littered with roots,holes and sand pits he would have clearly made out the sounds of at least one vehicle coming
to a rapid and possibly damaging stop based on the thumps and bumps that preceeded two more gun shots immediately followed
by a slushy explosive thump that brought a grin and "Bright Ravens goodies." to his lips.
After several moments of
relatively smooth going during which all he heard was his own heavy breathing and footfalls on the sandy path the thump of
a much larger explosion that stretched into a crackling,gurgling,hissing rumble brought him to a stand still.
Concern for his friend showed clearly on his not young,heavy breathing face as he noted that the sound continued
even as the echoes bounced back into it.He grabbed the cross around his neck,looked up at the beautiful star speckled velvety
black sky with soft puffy summer clouds floating across it and implored in a loud voice,"Oh, Seigneur Dieu! Protégez lui,
s'il vous plaît,au nom de votre fils Emmanuel Yeshua." then whispered,"Merci." ,dropped it back to his chest and resumed his
breakneck flight east toward the subdivisions now visible yard and porch lights until his right foot contacted solidly with
a palmetto root.
He hit the ground chest first with a thump that expelled all the air from his heavily working
lungs and in the silence he just barely heard his friends voice hollering "Olly,Olly oxen free!!" This brought a wide
joy filled smile that lessened a bit when the sound of a gunshot rang out but reaffirmed itself as Reez's lungs jumped back
to life and he began noisely drawing air into his aching chest.
Still smiling he pushed himself up off the ground,got
to his feet while gasping and spitting out a little sand from his mouth before he looked skyward,said,"Merci,Seigneur Dieu!."
then took off running in a seemingly invigorated state with only a barely perceptible pause as yet another gunshot echoed
from the west.
When he got to where the canal he was following became flanked by two streets he slowed his open run down to a
very fast trot in order to not make too much of an alarming sight.
The sound of his leather soled shoes on the sand
and gravel dusted asphalt street echoed off the lit up houses to mix with the sounds of his own heavy breathing and families
being families that spilled from them untill he got to the end of the canal and stepped off it into the boulevards palm tree
dotted grassy center and leaned for a moment in order to catch a few breaths against the first of the many palms that lined
the grassy sward that extended to the next street that he intended to follow north to the cemetary.
his back against the silvery bole he quickly pulled out a small bottle from an inner jacket pocket,took a couple of solid
swallows from it,put it back then propped himself up with his hands on his partial bent knees and took a series of deep breaths
that got progressively deeper,stronger and less wheezy untill he was breathing smooth and calm.
Following that he stood up straight,strode quickly up the slight hill to the intersection where he stopped momentarily
to scan down to the end of 6th Avenue and and across it where there were a few dozers, a couple of dump trucks and a grader
parked in a sandy area that had been cut out of the sandhill then took off north at a dead run up the road rising to the north
which was way less lit than the boulevard he was coming off of.
He covered the distance from there to the top of
the rise where he passed the angled intersection of 6th Road SW then down the rise past the forgotten,oldest part of the graveyard
just north of Caribean Circle like a very young man.
He stopped directly in front of 3rd St.,took a single deep breath while looking westward along it's yard and porch
light lit length,before turning directly around and step off the road.Laying Schlomos bag down while dropping to one knee
he quickly pulled a small rectangular wood case out of a coat pocket from which he took a pair of silver pince nez spectacles
and a small piece of paper with a blotch of reddish brown on one end.
After replacing the case in his coat pocket
he looked at the piece of paper then said a name three times while folding the paper around the spectacles,pulled a lucifer
match from his coat pocket,sparked it off the heel of his shoe and touched the still flaring flame to the paper which disappeared
in a flash of bluish gold flame with a slight hissing pop.
Quickly blowing away a smattering of blue smoke from the
spectacles whose lenses now shimmered with a slightly purplish glow Reez placed them on the bridge of his nose,stood up and
stared past the five foot tall white picket fence into the overgrown,thought to be oldest part of the graveyard,panning from
south to north for a minute or so before he stopped facing a bit to the north east and muttered,"Ahhh,,they work.Merci Dieu
le Père.Daughter of Bruje,here I come."
Picking up Schlomo he stood,placed his left hand on the rail between the pickets,grasped at the cross under his
shirt,took a deep breath,said "Oh,Père céleste,Seigneur du ciel,Seigneur des armées,Père miséricordieux,,allow me to finish
this task before I taste the sting of death.Au nom de votre fils Emmanuel Yeshua.Merci." then lept lithely over the fence
to begin picking his way through the tree and shrub overgrown cemetary as a sliver moon came out and bathed the earth with
a slight glow that seemed rather bright to his spice enhanced vision.
Stepping through the shadows cast by the bright faint moonlight he picked his way north east by going down,across
and through the overgrown,barely perceptable even in daytime paths between rows of variously sized oaks that alternated with
the occasional weathered stone or crumbly,decayed wood markers of graves dug for slaves,criminals,heretics and other less
favored types in a time past where such matters were important to folks in power he pushed his way into a densely dark to
an average mortal mans eye sight,oddly brush and sapling filled spot between two thick oaks about thirty feet apart untill
he came upon a wooden marker so old it was now only a three inch thick,six to ten inch high piece of decayed wood approximately
two foot long sticking out of the leaf covered ground.
Without a moments hesitiation Reez stretched out his right hand toward it palm down and began curling his index
and middle fingers beckoningly while saying,"verwyder" to the sand which flowed hissingly from it's place like water to pile
up a couple of feet away where Reez occasionally pointed to with a quick flick of his wrist untill a two foot hole with brush
roots spiderwebbing across it about five feet deep formed a little more than two foot away from the rotted marker where it
was covered by the moist darker lower layers of actual dirt.
Dropping to his knees he semi-carefully worked the
bag in a box through the roots to simply release it unceremoniously into the stygian black pit before standing back up to
take a brown chicken egg covered in fine black lines,sigils and shapes out of an inner right coat pocket left handed.
Holding it with thumb on the fat end and forefinger opposite with the remaining three splayed out flat he reached
out with his right then sliced his palm with the heavy bladed 20 inch long single edge knife's blade whose handle appeared
in his grabbing hand only to vanish as he relaxed his grip at the end of the cutting stroke.
Letting the egg drop into the blood pooled in his palm he onehandedly rolled it around until it was thoroughly
covered then pausing he stared at it while beginning a barely perceptible hum before tossing the hen fruit lightly up in the
air and catching it with his right.
After his hand wrapped around it a twinkle flashed through the lines on the egg
that seemed to spark a shimmery irridescence that shot though them rapidly until they cascaded into a dimly glowing rainbow
colored layer around the egg when he opened his hand.
"Merci,Père." came from his now closedeye yet smiling face followed by a few bars of hummed melody and a look of
hard concentration that ate the smile which reappeared as fast as the glowing orb dropped into the blackness of the rootlined
Opening his eyes Reez stretched his bloodied hands out over the hole palms in before declaring "Naby.Fèmen.Fechadura.CLAVIS!"
while bringing his hands together into a finger meshed double fist after which the smile got wider as his eyes withessed the
warm reddish gold glow that now emanated from the hole cycle through the color spectrum then flare into a bright electric
blue which quickly faded into a deep purple hue before winking out with a sound like a lock clicking shut that eerily echoed
Before that sound completely disappeared he unclasped his hands,reached them toward the pile of dirt and sand then
said,"SUPPLEMENTUM.retounen.cobrir.ocultar.OCCULTO." while moving both hands together in a sweeping arc toward the hole.
a small wave of water the sand and dirt swooshed to the hole to pour into it just as water swirling down a drain would yet
it flowed so fast through the mesh of exposed roots it sounded like an open steam valve untill the surface was as flush as
Saying happily "Merci,Père miséricordieux" he turned to start stepping away then paused,muttered very despondently
"Oh,no.I left Bright Ravens device in the truck bed." before he pulled out that small bottle from an inner jacket pocket,swallowed
the remainder of the fluid it contained and slipped it empty back in his pocket before sliding through the brush eastward
with ,"Father God,I'm going to try to live awhile more so please protect my mortal life.Never the less,thy will be done,Father."
falling from his intensely frowning lips.
Pausing while still under the boughs of the dark oaks he looked around,sniffed the air a few times then while listening
intently he went stone still facing south east in the direction of the Pastors house with his eyes closed,took a deep
breath and let his head bow slightly while exhaling.
Before he finished exhaling his eyes popped open and his right hand grabbed his knife as he bolted to his right
to leap out of the scrub and run east along a path discernable only by the shorter scrub brush and tiny trees scattered through
it that he barely bothered dodging around untill a stone tipped spear planted itself in his right hip and he half bounced,half
slid left shoulder first into the base of a pine sapling about six foot tall.
Without uttering a word yet breathing
heavy Reez stayed face down,quickly reached back to grab the spear sticking in his hip with his now empty right hand and wiggle
it a bit before pulling it out with a sickeningly dull ripping sound.
Squirming around to get his back against the small yellow pine he looked westward to see two gray cloaked forms
with hoods up step out of the darkness and start advancing toward him as the one on his right lifted a spear over it's shoulder
and launched it at Reez who immediately rolled to his left and jumped to his feet as if he had no wound and struck out at
the incoming ebony shafted,bone tipped missile with the one covered with his own blood in an upward arc and say,"retounen!"
as the sound of bone striking wood rang out in the sliver moon lit night.
The spear flipped around his and flew back
the way it had come with no loss of momentum.It's caster stepped to his left as if to let it pass and fell to the ground on
his right after it passed through his companion and struck him in the shoulder area where they both squirmed and struggled
to remove themselves from the hardwood shaft that suddenly bound them together.
Seeing the two go down in a writhing heap Reez smiled broadly as he turned to take off westward again only to suddenly
stop as a third figure with moonlite gleaming off it's skeletal form dropped out of the sky directly in front of him swinging
a cutlass at his head.
Ducking the beheading blow Reez darted his knife filled right hand out and upward to sever his attackers hand off
at the wrist then dart to his left and take off again.As he took his fourth long strided step a spear sprouted from his abdomen
and extended about two front in front of him.
Falling forward he watched the spears bone tip enter and sink into
the sugary sand as his body drove it in and his face slammed into the ground.He immediately roared in pain and frustration
then attempted to push himself up with his arms and knees before a weight fell on his back and bone fingered hands grabbed
his arms in vicelike grips while three more pairs lifted him by shoulder and feet to deposit him on his knees in front of
a fifth cloak draped form dressed in a head to toe covering leather body suit with a glimmering greasy looking green gemstone
set between and above it's rubber strapped goggle covered eyes.
The weight on his back disappeared as his
arms were twisted under the spear shaft sticking from his back and the being in front of him leaned forward to snarl,"I gcás
ina ndéanfar SCHLOMO?" at him.
When he didn't respond the being asked "Vortegh e SCHLOMO.Wo ist Schlomo?,,eh?" and
Reez simply stared at it's non reflective darklensed goggles in silence.This incited the leather wrapped being into grabbing
the spear protruding from his bleeding abdomen and tried,"SCHLOMO wapi?Waar is SCHLOMO?" which got only more silence from
Reezes pain contorted face and a roar of anger from the cloaked dead thing that preceeded it jamming both of it's leather
covered thumbs into each of his temples.
Chuckling,it asked "Ki kote SCHLOMO?Où est Schlomo?" while Reez groaned in agony for about a minute.The being then
removed it's thumbs from his temples and watched them heal completely in half that time before saying in slightly Irish accented
English ,"Well done,Master Zechariah.Too bad I didn't have a potion like that before I accepted Schlomos offer.Did you make
With barely a pause it continued with,"Of course you did.Just like all the rest of those delights tucked
in your Ever Empty coats pockets.You are the Master Alchemist and Sorceror Raphael Ezekiel Zechariah.You are so good I couldn't
see what you did to my cohorts let alone where you put Schlomo." then jammed both it's thumbs into Reezes eyes,hooked it's
index fingers in each temple,wriggled them around a bit while saying "Yet I could have simply missed it.Now,,let's see,,mmm,,no,,not
there,,,,or there." untill it removed it's digits from Reezes skull holes,held it's right hand up in front of it's face
as though it was inhaling the odor and said "My,my,my that potion in your blood is simply intoxicating Master Zechariah.Way
too heavy on the spice,though." after which it folded it's arms across it's chest and observed Reezes eyes grow back and the
temple holes fill in.
Putting it's goggled face directly in front of Reezes now healed face it said wistfully
"Ahhh,'tis a shame I won't get to enjoy doing that to you until the potion wears off and you die." then stood back up to continue
with "It should last about 12 hours,right?Well,,my orders were clear enough and I don't have no where near that long."
motioned to the three binding Reez and the one behind him pulled the spear out before the others forced him over onto his
"Turn his head north." it said while walking that way a few paces before turning around to see them begin to
do so as Reez yanked his right arm free,raised it then yell,"Trouvez le coeur!" before bringing it down in a fast slashing
movement toward it.
The goggled abomination flicked it's right hand out at the 20 inch blade sparkling through the
moon light toward it and the knife veered away like a ricochette to fly off over the treetops to the south then said with
a chuckle,"I don't have one of those.Mine decayed long ago." before barking,"Deliver no killing blows,just bind him and
slice him up so we have plenty of that high powered blood to work with,,then pace off four to your stations."
two with spears quickly thrust their them completely through his upper right chest and the lower left abdomen directly above
his pelvis pinning him to the ground as the other two produced cutlasses and began slashing at him.
They sliced and stabbed at him until he was bleeding so profusely that the ground was a dark puddle under their
feet and after the one missing a hand had draped a hair cord holding a pouch over the shredded neck of bloody mess called
Reez,said "Bats’ardzak lrrut’yun, gayin thee.Be du ansharzh vorpes k’ar nuynisk mahits’ heto haghordagrut’yunner
dzer soul.Be karvats yev kayun mnal, k’ani derr duk’ ays hmayk’y mnum e:" then murmur satisfaction over
Reez becoming stop photo still while the blood still flowed,they each paced off four steps to points that formed a pentacle
in relation to where their leader stood north of Reez.
Observing the bloody footprints trailing them to their posts the leather encased leader pointed at the puddle around
the motionless dripped body of Reez and said,"Foirm an séala na cumhachta."
Watching untill the blood had flowed
into forming a circle enclosed five pointed star with each point intersecting the circle where it and it's companions were
positioned it then said "Ullmhaigh do chuid uirlisí." to it's cohorts and began calling out a litany of names as three produced
small sigil etched silver bells with figurines for handles and two produced small ornatatly engraved gold triangles and carved
bone strikers tipped with silver balls linked together by cords of braided hair.
As soon as they readied themselves it paused while they each sounded their instrument and began a chant
interspersed with ringings then raised it's arms and spoke out in commanding tone,"Iarraimid ar an chumhacht de na daoine
a chuala ár pléadáil a dhaingniú agus séala an ceann seo a dares chun bac a chur ar ár rompu mar a rinne sé ar ár beloved."
after which a breeze sprang up that swirled outside the circle of blood joining to the pentacle points that each of them stood
It held it's peace for a few moments while they continued chanting and ringing and the breeze grew into a stiff
wind then it ordered,"Bpríosún agus an madra slán fiú amháin mar a bhí déanta aige ar ár beloved."
Two heartbeats after that the wind got harder and what seemed to be voices began echoing around with it while the
air of it began to sparkle and crackle faintly then began to coalesce into forms and shapes as it combined with the faint
silvery light of the sliver moon overhead.
After it shouted "Coinnigh adh air mar an forever.Cover uaigh agus Folaigh
him.Make air mar cheann riamh feicthe ag na súile agus ní ar a dtugtar i smaointe de na fir níos mó ná riamh." into the growing
tempest the words echoed around with the wind and the voices grew louder,more distinct and cut through with hellish shrieks
as the forms became solid enough to make out horrible figures that an ordinary mortal mind couldn't accept.
The inner parts of the circle began to fill with writhing sparkling sickly green colored lines that quivered and
twitched in unison with the sounds of their instruments and chanting that had been steadily increasing in tempo during the
Seeing that the writhing lines had increased so much that it could barely make out Reezes motionless yet
still bleeding form it laughed out loud and said with an air of satisfaction and triumph "Tóg an duine d'fhuil agus do shaol
mar do tháille in éiric ár gcumas ár pléadáil." upon which the swirling light and shape filld maelstrom simply froze in it's
tracks and everything went silent except for the now loud sounding instruments still being played by silent operators for
about ten seconds afterwhich the frozen tempest blew inwards through the writhing shiny lines that blended with the crackling
sparkles to be absorbed by the horrendous shapes that swept inward toward Reez where they surrounded and inundated him while
merging into a sick green glowing pulsing blob of greasy oily light shot through with blood red veinlike streaks that pushed
him downward while the blood filled sand removed itself from under him and flowed back over him bloodless to cover his immobilized
almost healed body then everything abrubtly stopped.
"Aparádekto!" rang out in booming echoes seemingly coming from everywhere that shook the earth with each repetition
untill the blob of green and red light shot out thick tendrils at each of the five forms surrounding it then winked out leaving
the slight summer breeze to play through the sliver moon lit area that looked no different than it had before Reez first laid
eyes on it.
Leaning back Reezes face showed his immense sadness and distress over what Hiram now knew
and showed on his own age leathered face that he wiped his hands downward over before sighing and saying,"Thank God for spice,eh?Ha!"then
continued without looking at his friends ghostly face that was so morose it literally flowed down his onto his chest,"My heart
goes out to you Raph.Even though I have been through deaths door myself that was something I might have been better off not
experiencing,,,other than seeing such a momentous backlash.It serves the blighters right for dealing with that lot,doesn't
As Reez pulled his chin up he puffed his pipe to life then asked, "So,, ahem,, uh,,did you ever learn what happened
to LeRoy after you left him at the canal?" which Reez responded to with a rapid nodding and said,"After about four years,I
did." then leaned his forehead toward Hirams bluegrey hair covered skull.
Ducking swiftly out of the way,Hiram said
alarmedly,"Hey!You're not going to share getting settled into that shallow grave with me are you?You can just skip that,okay?"
wasn't even considering it,Hiram." Reez said softly as he extruded his etherial head into Hirams flesh and bone skull again.