The Angel and The Damned

Sci-Fi Story written by Troubled Flux on Saturday 4, November %21

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A haunted junkyard,a mysterious guy who MIGHT be an angel of sorts and can do(magical?)things with candles and stuff,and a random(possibly insane)semi-telepathic girl who

Overall Rating: 80.5%

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All Hallow's Eve. Midsummer Night. Halloween. "When the freaks come out". Or for the residents of Wakiomo, "The Damned". Four Histish(*) boys live on the edge of the junkyard with their grandmother, who most call "Auntie Fey". They're a good bunch, polite and easy to get along with. Many are friends with the boys. Some aren't, but even though there are disagreements about whether this family can be trusted--they do live, after all, on the edge of the junkyard--everyone belonging to this small town knows of the sixth resident in the boys' home, and his purpose--and they keep him secret. They call him Gabe, after the angel Gabriel, because that is what he is to them--something of an angel, and he is the only protection on All Hallow's Eve, "when the freaks come out". When The Damned come out. But there is a new family moving in. A broken, incomplete family, consisting of Emeline Engill, her son, Brett, and her daughter, Jack. At first, the newcomers seem reasonably normal and the people of Wakiomo are reassured they'll take no serious notice of the strange little superstitions and rituals, and overall odd behavior of Wakiomo's residents and consider them nothing more than just that--little superstitions and rituals and simple overall odd behavior. But Emeline, Brett, and Jack moved into this small, somewhat "country" town for reasons. Reasons they don't plan on sharing--not the real reasons anyway. For the Engills, this new home is a safehouse from their previous life. But they have no idea how dangerous it really is. Or rather, jack has some idea, but no one's listening to her. Jack is immediately drawn to the Fey boys, and especially Gabe. Yet her behavior is odd--it's obvious she wants to really talk to them, yet she stays on the edges, not approaching the boys or anyone else unless absolutely necessary. But then Jack and her family experience something they can't believe and can't deny. And because of this, they all becomes involved with the dark circle of the small town's dark history and pulled into in the never-ending battle with The Damned. But it's not just the dark past of the town Jack herself gets involved with. She gets involved with Gabe's dark past, too. And he with hers. *Hisitsh: is being my word for an odd cross between British and Hispanic. I am changing this because the boys' accents are to be fluxuating in future between their current and a sort of British accent. Just...just do not be asking^^; I am apologizing for exceedingly long summary, but I was needing to be making sure I put in everything I was needing to. I may be shortening it later. For now, the story is beginning below. There are things that go bump in the night. Like The Damned. There are places we shouldn't go. Like the back of the junkyard on Mower's Hill. There are bad things there. Halloween is when the freaks come out. The man strode through the rows of piles of various thrown-out machinery and junk, his arms swinging at his sides in a carefree manner. A straw farmer's hat sat on his head at a jaunty angle, the sides fraying and stray straw sticking out. He had the appearance of a farmer, a loosely buttoned plaid red-and-white shirt, the collar askew in an easygoing style, his faded jeans sun-bleached like the man's dirty-blonde hair, his once-black boots mud-spattered and faded like his jeans. He wore faded dark green gardening gloves on his hands. He whistled a merry tune, his voice every now and then breaking into deep, rich song. As he entered and passed through the yard-lights of the flat sandlot near the middle of the junkyard, there could be clearly seen a noose around the man's neck, fraying at the end of its rope where it had snapped, the rope biting tightly into the man's neck. Dark red blood, still drying, stained the rope where the flesh had been rubbed raw, and at the back, where the white bone of the man's spine was visible. The sign at the front of the junkyard, "TRESPASSERS WILL BE SHOT ON SIGHT" held no meaning for the man. Why should he care? After all, he was already dead. "Ohhh, heyyyy," Jay said, turning away from the window to face his companions behind him, which were gathered around a poker table in the room's dim light. "Hey, hey!" Now they were paying attention. "Ey man, wha' izzit?" asked Jamal, Jay's brother. "We go'a game goin' on eyh, man!" "Sh-sh-sh," Jay insisted, holding a finger to his lips. "Lissen. You c'n ea' th' Fahmah whistlin', ey?" The four boys around the poker table fell quiet, eyes bright and ears pricked. "...and when I came to Sally Jane I saw another man And from then on I could not refrain From becoming like The Damned..." The man's rich tenor faded back into cheerful whistle, and the whistle gradually faded into the night. Reiko, another of the boys, shuddered and twisted around in his seat to speak to the shadow in the corner. "Ey man. Why don' you ligh' summora thos' spearih cannels, ey?" There were murmurs of agreement from the other boys as Jay moved away from the window back into the ring of light surrounding the poker table. The light was created by tall, half-melted candles of various colors which burned from atop several tall iron stands, intricate designs twisting around the otherwise simple structures. The shadow shifted slightly, his yellow eyes opening to slits. They seemed to glow slightly. He moved the cigarette from his mouth, blowing out a stream of smoke as he straightened up. When he spoke, his voice was low and clipped, like someone who's on their last nerve but is managing patience. "They're called 'Spirit Candles'. And I only have so many. So we'll be saving them for when we really need them. Not wasting them whenever you get the willies every time you think you hear a Damned." He moved his cigarette back to his lips and his eyes closed, and his lanky, slim-yet-muscular body leaning back into his shadowy corner. Muttering in slight but carefully masked complaint, the boys turned back to their poker game, chafing from the other's words but wisely unwilling to speak against him. They were too smart from that. Outside, a faint wailing began. The boys around the table shuddered and drew in closer together. The one in the corner gave no reaction. His only movement was to let another stream of smoke trickle out of his mouth. The wailing seemed to grow louder, and closer. One by one, the boys made slight, rapid movements over their chests. The one in the corner gave a faint snort of contempt. Like crossing themselves would help. Then again, he knew they didn't really believe it did. It was a sort of competition thing, a little sibling rivalry. See who could last the longest before giving into superstition--bred upbringing and flash through the small ritual in an effort to protect themselves against sinister existences. Louder still, the wailing grew. It seemed as if the Never-Wed was just outside the room, wailing her grief to the five boys inside. Gradually, the wailing faded away, and an opressive silence fell. It leaked into the room, filling it with thick, heavy silence. The silence that could drive a man insane if no noise was made. But noise was being made as the boys played their poker games. If ever their voices fell silent, one of them was always tapping, coughing, anything to beat back the silence. It was actually a decent system, in the opinion of the one in the corner. Decent for people like them. He didn't need a system. He had...what was required. The silence was the silence of the Predator. The fourth Passing of the Night Patrol had begun. xxx Chapter 2: "Events have been set in motion..." "Yes, and they will continue in their current direction without your interruption, Durias." The lower half of the face of one of the two cloaked figures was visible in the flickering torchlight. His lips parted in a sinister smile, revealing long, sharp teeth. "Surely you don't suspect me of foul play, Durmia?" "No, only of being naturally foul," the other cloaked figure responded coolly. Her voice showed no sign of it, but she was annoyed. Durias really could be so immature at times. Both figures stiffened when the door they stood in front of was loudly rapped upon. "Who strikes the door of Parimion?" Durmia asked sharply, her grip on her tall, gnarled staff tightening. Her already pale skin became nearly white at her knuckles. "Answer, or I shall strike with all the fury of the snow leopardess." "Parimion strikes the door of Parimion," a voice replied, and it was clear its owner was struggling not to chuckle. Swallowing back the heat rising in her face, Durmia answered. "Enter." The door opened, and a third cloaked figure entered, striding between the two others, his tall, black gnarled staff tapping firmly on the floor. The other two turned from the door after it had swung shut on its own, following their companion. The three strode over to near the middle of the round tower room to where a strange object hovered. It was a perfect circle of flat glass, levitating about four feet above the ground. It was paper-thin, seemingly frail, yet in truth the magics that had been woven into it by its weaver, one of the most powerful of mages and glassweavers alike, protected it and it was practically indestructible. The tallest of the figures, Parimion, stood before the glass, his back to the window behind and directly facing the tower room door several feet across the room. Durias and Durmia stepped into position so that a triangle was formed between the three of them. Durias began the chant, followed by Durmia, then Parimion, and then all thre together. Durias spoke first: "A circle for the purity-" And then Durmia: "And to show eternity-" Followed by Parimion: "Triangle to show the strength-" And then on all three together: "Together they create The Eyeglass used by Fate." Then, all three in unison stepped back a foot from the circle of glass before them, and joined hands. "Let us begin," Parimion spoke. His voice was not his own. xxx Chapter 3: "Hi, I'm Emeline Engill. Those are my kids over there-" Ms. Engill gestured over to where Brett was sitting slumped in a seat by the door, headphones blaring music into his ears, a blank expression on his face, and Jack, who was investigating what was to her an interesting billboard on the wall next to Brett. "We're the new residents of the..." she paused to glance down at the paper in her hand, "...the Carcile house?" "Car-sile, not car-sill," muttered the clerk at the reception desk of the visitor's center. He was a bored-looking teen with several piercings, and who looked like the apocalypse couldn't make things much worse. " can I help you?" "Um, we were told we could move in immediately, but I have to sign an official ownership paper first. I was told you would have it?" He stared at her blankly for a moment, then recognition briefly lifted some of the cloud from his otherwise dull blue eyes. "Um. Yeah. Right. Hang on a sec." Turning away from her, the clerk proceeded to tap furiously on a keyboard. Meanwhile, Jack was intently reading an old newspaper article from several years ago. The billboard was actually a small exhibit of sorts, providing information on how long the town had had its own official paper and examples of the earlier versions. But Jack wasn't interested in that sort of stuff. It was the word "MURDER" that had caught her eye. "Hey, Brett," she said absentmindedly, tapping her brother on the shoulder, "Check this out. It's abuot a murder." "Huh?" From the depths of his music-induced stupor, Brett had caught the last word. Sitting up, his eyes drifted open and he pressed pause on his Ipod. "What about murder?" "Look at this. It's an artical from like, twenny-thirty years ago. It's about a murder. Look." Sighing heavily, Brett slowly stood, stretched, and moved around to the front of the billboard beside his sister. The article title read: MURDER ON MIDSUMMER NIGHT in bold, black letters. "What the heck is midsummer night?" Brett asked, squinting at the smudged font of the article. Because of age, the words had faded into the yellowing paper, and it was difficult to read. "Another term for Halloween," Jack murmured, her eyes flicking over the newspaper. "Listen to this: Carman Carcile, husband-to-be of Shan Rilsteed, was found dead last night in one of the rooms of his own house. There were no wounds at all on his body, nor anything else around him that would have suggested foul play-" "Around him?" Brett cut in skeptically. "Meaning his surroundings. No blood, no weapons, nothing. Anyways... The body was..." At this point, Jack's voice faltered, and she too squinted at the paper. "Whoa. No way." "What?" Brett asked impatiently. In spite of himself, he too was now interested. "Here: His body was found hollowed out; an empty shell. No internal organs, no blood, nothing. Then-get this--later, they found his bones in a scorched pile on the floor under the bed. When they cleaned up the bones, they found a strange mark drawn in the ash underneath. When they cleaned that up, they found the mark was actually burned into the floor." Brett stared. "Okay. That's getting creepy now." Jack snorted. "I know." "What else does it say?" Jack refocused on making out the hard-to-read letters. "Mmmm...nothing much. Bride-to-be beside herself with grief, authorities questioning everyone, no suspects, yadda yadda yadda...wait a sec." "What?" "Sh! Listen. ...I can't really make it out, but..." Jack leaned in closer, wishing she ahd a magnifying glass. "...Something about...meddling in the...the...something streams of...drale?" "Huh?" Brett asked. "What the heck is drale?" She shrugged. "I dunno. D-r-e-y-i-l. That's what it says. I think." Brett shrugged. "Read the next one." Finding nothing better to do in the vacant visitor's center, Jack complied. "MISSING NEVER-WED." "What does Never-wed mean?" Jack sighed impatiently. "Are you going to interrupt me every two seconds, or are you going to let me read?" Brett glared at his little sister, scowling. "Fine. I'll be quiet. Read, Ms. Expert." "Thank you," she growled through gritted teeth, ignoring the last part. "Okay now." She turned back to the second article, which was posted below the first. "Huh. Shan Rilsteed, would-be Mrs. Carcile, has vanished seemingly from the face of Wakiomo. There are no known witnesses. Suspect Janny Simmons, who was Ms. Rilsteed's rival, has been proven innocent of possibly 'doing in' Ms. Rilsteed. Like her husband's death, there was no evidence of foul-play uncovered, and no body. There are no suggested whereabouts of where the missing never-wed may be. Authorites request anyone with possibly information to notify them immediately." "Is that it?" "Yup." "Okay, so that's Mrs. Engill?" asked the clerk, whose name Ms. Engill had learned from his djected-looking nametag. "Ms. Engill. I'm divorced." Her tone was cool and blunt. She'd learned to mask her voice a long time ago. Mac seemed to redden slightly, and quickly looked back down at the form. "Oh," he mumbled, "...Sorry." After a moment of uncomfortable silence between the two and some furious scribbling, Mac handed her the form over the counter, pointing to various points on the sheet. "Okay. Sign here, and you're good to go." "Thank you," Ms. Engill said briskly, and quickly signed in narrow, flowing script. "Okay. That's all." "Thank you for your help." Turning from the clerk, Ms. Engill called to Brett and Jack. "Okay everybody. Time to go." "But Mom, this is interesting," Jack protested, without taking her eyes from the articles. "Well, you can come back later. It'll still be here." "Fine..." Jack sighed, and both kids turned reluctantly away from the billboard, following their mother out the door. xxx After they'd gone, a certain tall, slim, lanky shadow stepped out from a corner on the other side of the lobby. His yellow eyes narrowed, he strode over to the reception desk. His approach was so silent and stealthy Mac wasn't even aware of him until the clerk looked up and saw him standing there. The teen gave a startled jolt, staring at the boy and stammering. "Uh-Gabe-what're you d-doin' here?" "You sold the Carcile house?" Gabe asked coldly. It was not stated as a question. Mac swallowed hard, looking down to avoid the piercing feline gaze, and started tapping on his keyboard. The taps were loud and intrusive, echoing in the empty visitor's center. He nodded in answer to Gabe's question--or accusation, more like. "That was a stupid idea." Mac gave another nod, more slight, and hardly noticeable. "This could become a problem, seeing as they're outsiders," Gabe went on, his voice lighter, almost sounding conversational. The clerk gained confidence, which was a mistake. Mac shrugged. "Selling the house was my job." Gabe's hand suddenly shot out like a striking snake, snatching the older boy by the collar and effortlessly dragging him nearly halfway over the desk. The clerk found himself face-to-face with the suddenly threatening Gabe, unable to look away from cold, unnervingly predatorial yellow eyes. "No, Mac, that's not your job. Your job is to stand here, smile, be polite, tell people how to get where they need to go, and take change. Not to sell f---ing houses. Especially not possibly rifted houses." Mac swallowed hard. "I didn't know anything about it being rifted," he managed to force out, his voice wavering. "You idiot, don't you read your own billboards? Carcile was f---ing killed in that house. Didn't you hear about the condition of the body? The mark found burned in the floor underneath a pile of burned bones? The rumor he'd been meddling in cursed streams of dreyil?!" "Look, I was just taking orders from the guy upstairs, okay?" Mac whimpered, now wholly focused on sparing his own skin the rumored fearsome wrath of Gabe. "That's what he told me to do, so I did it. Besides, I never thought anyone would actually buy it!" The last statement was another mistake. Gabe jerked the boy farther over the desk, his face like a snarling tiger's. He looked ready to kill Mac. In a last effort to save himself, Mac pleaded, "Hey, man, don't kill the messenger, okay?" Gabe paused, studying the boy's fear-paled face. Slowly, he released Mac, letting him slide down the counter back to the other side. He turned away, the former killer expression on his face having vanished completely. Then, coolly, as if they'd only been discussing employee requirements, Gabe stated, "If anything bad happens, it's coming out of your pay." Mac shuddered, his mind shying away from how close he'd come to...what some said would happen to you if you made Gabe mad. "I know, man, I know." Gabe then strode towards the door, and paused briefly by the billboard. "And get rid of those articles," he muttered over his shoulder to the shaken reception clerk. "We don't need those people coming back and finding out more than they need to know." Mac again swallowed hard. "Got it." Gabe was already gone. xxx Chapter 4: Jack did not like their new house. At first, she didn't know for sure what it was. At first, she thought it was just creepy and that was that. Sometimes, when she walked into rooms, she felt a sort of hushed feeling, as if someone had been whispering behind her back and quickly silenced when she turned around. It felt like the whole house was somehow tensed, ready to come alive. She kept catching odd shadows in her peripheral vision that moved and flickered like flames in a fireplace, and vanished when she turned to see them clearly. And then there were the noises. Jack had tried to tell herself the noises were just from the house settling, which had been the case with some of their past houses, but she could feel something was different here. This house was almost a being, malicious and waiting to pounce and snickering behind her back at her ignorance. Things would creak that didn't when she tried to make them creak, like the stairs, floor, and even chairs and doors. Their were scufflings and scratchings that seemed to be coming from anywhere, and small squeaks and rattlings at night. Yet somehow, Brett and her mother were oblivious to these many goings-on. Brett always had his music on too loud to hear, and he was always staring at a computer screen or reading a book or something to prevent him from noticing things in his peripheral vision. Jack's mother was gone most of the day, applying and hunting for jobs, and when she got back at night she trudged straight upstairs to the master bedroom and collapsed on the bed; she sometimes didn't even bother getting undressed. And to Jack, it sometimes seemed like she was having memory lapses. One night, she was typing up on her laptop a short poem that had been floating around in her mind for a few days, and when she came back, she found the next two lines written out. But she couldn't remember writing them out. Or she'd put a glass and a pitcher of juice on the table and turn to get a plate from the cupboards, then when she turned around the glass was filled and the pitcher gone. Later, she'd checked in the fridge and found it sitting on its shelf. But she couldn't remember using it or putting it back. She had searched her memories again and again, but could not remember. And after that, her glass was poured for her every time she turned her back. Unfortunately, while her mother and brother didn't notice all the odd things Jack noticed, they did notice the affect those odd things were having on Jack. "I'm telling you Mom, I do not need a therapist!!" Jack practically yelled at her mother. "I am not jumpy, and Brett I am not paranoid!" She ignored the snicker from her older brother. "I'm fine!" The fact of the matter was that Jack was not fine. That Saturday afternoon at lunch, Jack placed a cup on the counter, then turned to the microwave to take out her heated leftover pizza slice. While her daughter's back was turned, Ms. Engill picked up the glass and moved it over to the table so there was room on the counter. When Jack turned around and didn't find her glass, she basically freaked. "What the HE--!!" "Jack! Young lady, watch your language!" "WHERE IS MY GLASS??!! IT WAS RIGHT HERE!!" "...Jack, I put it on the table." Jack whirled around to see the glass was, in fact, sitting innocently on the table. Then, one of the kitchen table chairs nearest the glass creaked. But Jack had been driven so close to the edge she could have sworn it was mocking her. "SHUT UP!!" Jack shrieked at it without thinking. "DON'T YOU DARE MOCK ME!!!" Ms. Engill stared at her daughter. Jack froze, realizing what she'd just done. She swallowed hard. "Jack...are you feeling okay?" Ms. Engill asked, stepping forward and placing a hand on her daughter's forehead. "You wanna go lie down?" Taking a deep breath and letting it out, Jack shook her head. "I'm fine, Mom. Just...a little off today. I'm...going to my room." Pulling away from her mother's hand, Jack walked around her and headed down the hallway. As she passed Brett in the family room, who was sitting in a chair eating his pizza and watching TV, and from the look on his face had obviously heard the incident in the kitchen, he made a twirling motion in the air with his finger next to his head, and pointed at her. Shooting him a glare, Jack otherwise ignored him and stalked upstairs to her bedroom. xxx

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  • Well, you've certainly got a knack for imagery, I'll admit, so little to no trouble there.

    Redundancy seems to be an issue, however. We're informed at the start of 2 back-to-back paragraphs that the farmer is 'stroding' when this really only requires mentioning once (unless a goldfish happens to be reading this (goldfish have an 8 second memory for those totally oblivious to the point I'm making)). I'd suggest either removing the second mentioning, or atleast substituting a different word for 'strodes' so as not to overuse it. Same thing can be said about the words "rope", "noose" and "man" which are are all used two to three times in a single, short paragraph; once again, I recommend substituting other relevent words to avoid sounding like a broken record. Without going into much more detail on this particular issue, the same revising may be necessary to a few other areas.

    One other thing I noitced were the following two portions:

    "...the rope of the noose tightly biting into the man's neck."

    "...there could be clearly seen a noose around the man's neck..."

    In the first sentence, the verb should precede the adverb, so that "biting" and "tightly" are swapped.

    In the second, the verb and adverb should be preceded by the noun.

    As far as the story itself is concerned, it's neither great nor terrible. I mean you sort of jumped into detailing the whole concept of the "Damned" all within the first chapter - using a series of bland and vague explainations, no less - instead of just dropping a few light hints to get the reader interested enough to continue. And although titles such as "Damned" and "Dark Realm" may be appropriate, they unfortunately come across as very cliche'd in a world where originality seems to be a dying technique.

    With some much needed revision, and a few perks thrown in here and there, you've atleast got a foundation for what could evolve into something decent.
    - November 06 2006 02:23:25
    • Ah yes. I am seeing your point. I will be revising it...Cool
      - November 06 2006 22:02:32
      • I felt like sort of an asshole going into detail like that, but I was just trying to be 'harsh' like you requested. But I do look forward to reading more when you've got it ready.
        - November 07 2006 09:04:27
        • No no harshness is being very very good! I am loving harsh. I am having tea on Wednesdays with harsh. But anyways, I am having discovered the magic of story notes!Grin Or as I am calling them, "wordsketches". So I will be rewriting mostly the entire story I have been writing so far, somewhat including summary. I am suggesting you check back to be seeing.Grin
          - November 07 2006 22:00:10
          • You are just dying to make me a fan aren't you?

            However, I do agree with Seanwhat. As I also have a tendency for redundancy, I know it's a typical habit.

            But this story has be hooked, I'm afraid. Grin
            - November 09 2006 23:37:40