The U.S of After Chapter 9

Howard

Morax flew at the back door.  He snaked out a hand, his fingernails long, the color of onyx, his skin grimy, and held the door knob fast.  The fire raged around us.  His inky dark eyes flashed in my direction and he grinned that same grin he always did, that same grin I had seen in countless places and in countless times throughout history.  His mission was always clear, but so was mine.

“Let go of the door, Morax!” I screamed at him, my voice sounding over the flames.

He laughed, a sharp hyena cackle echoed, blended with the sound of fire.

“Of course,” he said plainly in the old tongue.  “We are all lackeys for somebody.  I’m just here to make things interesting.”

I heard Clayton and Amy bang on the door as they tried to pull it open from the inside.  It was time to act.  I leaped forward and caught Morax at the waist.  He growled at me, tried to hold on to the door knob, but I wrenched his claw-like hand free and grabbed his wrist.  Using what momentum I had, I hurled him across the yard.  He performed an almost rehearsed mid-air somersault and landed on his booted feet.  If he were human he would have dug two furrows in the dirt and probably would have caught on fire, but he made not a mark and was completely unharmed except for his pride, the pride that caused him to fall so long ago.  He straightened his coat by pulling on the lapels with a quick jerk of his skinny arms.  He cocked his black maned head sideways and grinned.  I saw rows of needle sharp teeth in the firelight.

He started after me, slashing at me with his razor hands but I was able to dodge them.  He used the distraction to bring his knee up to connect with my chest.  I felt the deep thud of the impact and it startled me somewhat, and he made use of the diversion to dart around to the north side of the house and hold the kitchen door shut just as Clayton and Amy tried that second exit.  I could not allow them to be killed.  Their lives were in my hands.  I balled up my fingers to form two iron fists.  My eyebrows furrowed.

I exploded after him, flew across the yard and through the flames to wrestle with him at the door.  He spewed curses and vile language in my ear, in several languages, as we struggled and squirmed.  His hand held the knob so as to prevent the two young people from exiting the horror that was the burning house.

“Why do you struggle,” he rasped.  “My master wants them dead.  We will burn them and kill them and eat their screams.  It is inevitable.”

I bellowed out a scream that came out as a blast of thunder, fueled by the Power Above All Powers.

I grabbed Morax’s bony knee and tossed him across the yard again where he landed at the base of a thick red oak.  This time, his will was caught off guard by my countermove.  His incorporeal body was thrown with such force that it effected the corporeal, forcing the tree to split at the bottom.  It fell with a crash near the house, engulfing the siding with bright orange flames and roiling smoke.  I saw the two humans struggling with the window frame and with all I had been given, I affected their world by opening the kitchen door.

“I’ll see you again,” coughed Morax, standing and wiping his arm across his jagged mouth.  “In the end I will make you hurt and bleed.  I don’t care what his highness prophesies.  I will find you and before he speaks the word, I will slice and dice you!  Wait until you see what we have done to the holy land!  It is like the old days again!”

I stood on shaky legs.

“It is pre-ordained, brother,” I shouted after him.  “You cannot change the end in as much as you could change the winds!”

As Amy and Clayton ran out of the house and across the road to stand and watch Amy’s house burn to the ground, I watched Morax explode in a blur in the opposite direction.  The battle was engaged.  I would be ready as always.  It was time to sharpen my weapon.

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