Chrysalis Caught

Discussion in 'SHOWCASING' started by Asmodeus, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. Chrysalis Caught

    It was a high moon. It seemed to him like one teardrop that wouldn't follow the others down. But things look strange when you lie with your head on the pavement.

    The moon had stayed while he had fallen. His feathers were a snowstorm between high rises - dozens, maybe hundreds. And that ringing in his ears, like the note that lingers when a choir is slaughtered.

    He was thinking too much. The spiral feather tumble reminded him of home, of hills within hills where God said nothing. He understood that he had fallen again. For it was the only thing he ever did well.

    One feather landed on his eye and rolled away, becoming leaf litter. It scratched the alley walls, and he heard cars rumbling, the whistle of obstructed air. But more than that, he heard tears and prayers and gasmask gurgles. Footfalls, wheels, beggars' skin becoming dust to drown the city.

    He curled up suddenly, with the knowing that something was wrong, terribly wrong. His screams agreed. The pain was not beneath him, where his spine met pavement; but within, the cradle of his chest. He felt no lungs nor guts there, only the faintest strength to lift his head.

    There was a hole in the angel's chest.

    His blood painted the alley while his wings beat in vain. He remembered a heaven when the air was like a lover, moved to correct his every discomfort. But that was gone. He had nothing but whimpering and the knowledge that he had to sit up. Sit up and look down. And this is what he did, in painful time.

    The wound was six inches by ten, as deep as the ribcage, the sides straight and smooth. Perhaps a chunk of his thorax had been surgically removed. He leaned on one arm and reached his hand in, watched his fingers vanish into the bloody chasm. There they touched something - something that did not hurt. He had no choice but to curl tighter and behold it.

    The cover of the book was bound in leather, the surface wrinkled. The angel scraped his nails across till they found the groove where cover met fresh, unopened spine.

    The weight of it pinned him to the city, and he knew that it was his. The freedom to walk away, to laugh away, to get out, was forsaken. For he had power to be touched by things, strength to be the most exquisite and memorial victim. For angels cry the loudest and strike the fiercest, and are stupid enough to care.

    After the feathers came the rain. It washed his blood, his aches and spasms, as he worked his fingers around the book. Nails hooked beneath the cover, tips sliced on the parchment beneath. The lip was buried an inch in the chest tissue. It would take a willing. His hands were red slick like the alley wall.

    One last scream to the sky, and the book was torn open.

    In the city of Chrysalis Caught the Saviour's Page would be written.
    #1 Asmodeus, Mar 1, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  2. Someone called her Kay, a time ago. More a noise than a name, the note that follows the 'o' and brings despair, the lie of one who is anything but okay. She said it out loud sometimes, and imagined an absent woman, sighing "Oh, Kay!" as only a mother could when their child comes to nothing.

    The nurses thought this hospital okay, or so they told themselves as they moved among the weeping. The last fire had been a week ago, and the next fire was coming. No one made plans to sweep the ashes, so Kay just lay among them, the only clean thing the gauze upon her throat.

    Another failed attempt. She kept her back to the others, to the women who howled and the children who wept, to the men who hid full faces in empty hands. They were all okay.

    The red beneath the gauze was jagged - a glass work - the only colour in the drab grey house. A nurse had been by already and taken a wage from Kay's pockets: her last cigarettes and rainbow-striped lighter. She had clucked something as she robbed her patient, the soft assurance that Kay would succeed the next time, and be free of hospitals and nurses entirely. It was an okay comfort. Kay had said nothing, of course. It is why they had such faith in her - because she never talked about the suicides. She was going places.

    If only she could stop the healing. Someone in this makeshift doss-house, this opium den and organ market, had once conceived of a place where the dying would not be raped or sold or murdered - only robbed. An innovation in charity. So Kay had been stitched and left, and her body had conspired to heal.

    She was alive again. She stood. And no one stopped her as she made her way from the hospital.

    It was time to keep walking.
  3. News spread fast in the city, and a kill team was dispatched to hunt the angel. Their orders were to check his registration, to ascertain his class, and by it rule which piece of him to feed to the dogs. It would be a grand piece, no doubt. Angels and undead had never seen eye to barrel.

    Leaping, the angel hung upon a gargoyle's claw one rooftop over from where he had fallen. He hauled himself up and bloodied the statue with his open chest. No sooner had he done so when bullets tore apart the balustrade, and a grenade, rocket-propelled, reduced the world to ringing, crashing dust.

    Three thuds on the roof behind him. Like comedians they came in threes. Rolling up, the angel spun to block the knife arm of the first soldier, then twisted around him as the second fired his sidearm. He hooked number two with his leg, locking the gunman's neck in the crook of his knee. But number three had raised his rifle. The angel's wings flared, and sent the first two stumbling as he flipped to kick wide the third man's rifle. Bullets roared skywards, and he returned to earth with the shell casings.

    He landed between them, a dual punch to number three's chest that sent him plunging from the roof. But the move gave the knife man time to close a headlock on the angel. His breath wheezed in his gasmask, where dead eyes and necrotic skin made nests. The bite was coming - the scratch, the infection. He reeked of the poison.

    The second soldier rose and fired his sidearm as his buddy did the choking. The bullet tore through the angel's chest - into the wound, through the pages of the book, out through the spine. Number two fell from the angel with his sternum shattered.

    The fugitive stood. Not an inch of pain, but measures of surprise. There was no time to dwell on it. No use thinking of the kid this soldier was or the photos in his wallet. The angel had learned very quickly that it was kill or be killed in Chrysalis Caught. His head snapped sideways and dodged the next bullet, while he kicked the knife-man's weapon upwards. It gleamed in the air between them, reflecting moonlight at the soldier's mask, where twin pools of darkness stared. The angel caught the knife, rolled along his firing arm, and buried the dagger between his shoulderblades.

    Three down. But the rest were coming. Another grenade shattered the bullet-ridden gargoyle, and shadows rose on other rooftops. The angel scooped up the gun and knife, and laid down fire while sprinting between the chimney stacks. The return volley turned the night to muzzle flares and dust. The angel made the far edge, and was about to leap when a sniper clipped his wing.

    He fell again, through the darkness between high-rises, crashing into trash cans and ladderwells below.
  4. Like all who walk with trauma, Kay had drilled herself for this. The routines were etched like tattoos on muscle and nerve. When the gunfire started she threw herself flat to an alley wall, and marked it with the blood still sticky on her palms. A smear would not be amiss in Chrysalis Caught, no more than the rounds piercing stone above. But what was different this time was the speed and direction of the firefight. Ordinarily she could tell where the police pursuit was heading, the clumsy noise of bullet and grenade marking a dead-zone she should skirt around.

    But this time it was everywhere. A dozen rooftops, alleys and directions, behind and beyond her. It told her she was trapped. It told her to panic.

    The girl darted between the nearest buildings, and trusted in those same reflexes to carry her. She was built like the alley cats and clothed in dun and black, mascara thick and nails tar-coated. A camouflage in these parts, in these times. But for all her stealth she was still caught. The grid of noise shifted above her, and she realized too late that she was stuck in the middle of this firefight.

    Desperately, she edged along the building side and behind some bins that reeked as badly as the hospital she had fled. And that was where the impact brought to the ground. Kay lashed out even as she was crushed, her nails and throat made raw by feral scratching, feral cries. It was a body, larger than hers, and her rage denied her focus as she attacked it.

    Feathers flew out in the night. Her nails tore at leather, flesh and parchment.

    "Get the fuck off me!"