The Beginning of a longer short story I'm working on.
The cold air soughed between glass and concrete structure, across the vast dessert of concrete street where its final sighs communicated the damned to the damned. That kind that built their way up to false heaven with knowledge stolen from an ancient fruit forbidden to them. And yet they rise, delusional. As if in ascending in taller building, in new invention, in increasing aspiration, they could make their own Heaven from Hell. But for all their noble cause in advancing humanity they have claimed, in foreign lands, lands subjected to their indirect tyranny, fellow human lay dying. This is the Hell we have made from heaven. And yet there are other places, other ways to see existence rather than Heaven, Hell, or some grey mix between them.
A slender man in a navy hoodie and light blue jeans, plain and faded, traipsed through the city, long after those bloomed bulbs of artificiality had faded. Most were indoors in these late bleak hours, the few just before dawn when and where in older cultures demons roamed the land in the utter blackness in search of wayward souls. He eventually came, seemingly spontaneously, to a narrow alley that flanked a boulevard where from out spilled a greenish glow, perhaps one of the only lights, save those of twenty-four hour stores, that was yet illuminating, though in a weak, sickly manner.
He turned sharply into the alley and proceeded to walk casually to its end, green light growing but still faint, trashcans teeming with rotten refuse lining the walls anti-decoratively. There was a door, slightly ajar, at the termination of the thin alley, a hidden entrance at the side of a massive building set perpendicular against the two parallel ones that formed the alley. The green glow came from here, as well as a faint, mellifluous music that was all instruments, strings and flutes. It had a kind of divine, enigmatic tone to its melody. As if summoned by intuitive means, a man suddenly emerged from the green light, opening the door further to allow his large form to press through. He cranked his head down on the lean man before the steps, eyes hidden by an unusual type of sunglasses that covered half his face. His clothing was a study in singularity: some odd type of robes that were adorned with metal figures, strange mythical beasts that were entirely unfamiliar and yet so familiar at unconscious levels.
“When the air is dust and the land is space, man will know the error of his ways,” said the man in the hoodie in a staid tone.
“Until then, from this land let us escape,” replied the large man in equal seriousness. Then suddenly, he clapped a huge hand on the other man’s back and a broad smile could be seen on his face in the low green light. The two disappeared into the building.
An old, wrinkled man stooped over a piece of paper, writing something in a foreign script. Behind him, volume after volume many in English, some in Latin, but most in that same peculiar language that was hardly ever glimpsed in our own world, lay on shelves that were either painted green, or made from a green type of wood. Odd inventions lay on the man’s desk, things with gears and wheels and buttons whose forms also had an otherworldly air to them. The old man coughed, a violent, hacking event, before he realized there was someone else in the room with him. His door was not open, nor was the old man even sure it had been opened, but there in the corner, by large stacks of papers and scrolls, was a slender man, with long blond hair, the hood of his navy hoodie drawn back. There was no smile on his handsome, statuesque face but there seemed to be one twinkling in his eyes. A glee that threatened.
“Well you could have knocked,” said the old man in a wheezing, whining voice.
“There’s no need,” replied the blonde in the hoodie. His voice was pure and strong, like the finest steel of a Holy weapon. “There’s barely a need to introduce myself,”
“I can take a guess anyway,” the old man waved a dismissive hand and went on writing. But he continued “Had I only known Michael Caelestis would be at my door step, well inside my door, on this night, I would have been better prepared.”
“To have a feast and entertainment prepared for me?” Michael’s eyes laughed harder, knowing well what the old man meant.
The stooped head looked up, wisps of white hair flapping on the balding head. His pen had stopped writing and the hand that held it was visibly trembling. “No,” said he, an ominous look in his own features, “For the onslaught that is to come.”
Michael folded his arms and looked off toward a painting on the wall of two animals making lust, his mind riveted on another reality. “Tell me old man,” he said after moments of silence, the other having returned to his diligent writing. “Do you truly have a well here?”
“One of the oldest.”
Michael had shed his thick hoodie, revealing a shinning breast plate that lay underneath. Made of a metal long forgotten and yet ever present. He was in the large bucket, descending now, down into the well that had been preserved. A crude building had been built around it; centuries ago, in every new age updated so that is could continue to forever conceal the well. A large, two handed sword was sheathed in ornate wood and gold across his back. His faded jeans and preppy boots seemed out of place.
For leagues Michael descended until all was darkness save a faint slither of light that lay overhead. When the bucket finally reached water, Michael jumped from it, drawing his powerful blade in midair, and then plunging into icy cold water.
In the next briefest moments, his body was in extreme pain, a pain so extreme had it lasted more than a minute he would have been driven mad. In that instant his body was torn apart, blasted to submicroscopic pieces and then reformed into a new shape. But soon enough he found himself out of the water abruptly, laying in a meadow of green and yellow flowers and tall, velvety soft grass. He remembered the rules. Quickly he raised to his feet, adjusted to the new body, the new manifestation of Michael Caelestis in this new existence and hoisted his weapon just in time to cut the advance of a large, flailing creature with the edge of his massive blade. The round shaped, stubby armed, clawed thing hissed and drew back. It had eight stubs for appendages, attached to feral claws with razor sharp tips. Its mouth, lined all around with triangular teeth, was a circle that salivated a green mass of fetid gel.
Hastily while the creature carried out its taunting, hissing threat, Michael advanced, both hands grasping the grip of his weapon as he thrust the blade deep into the forehead of the ball shaped creature. It shrieked and quivered fiercely as Michael ripped the blade from out of it, whirled it around, and then in a horizontal slash, cut its face, its body, wide open. Having no time to spare lest others of its kind smelled the blood and came to avenge their brethren, Michael wiped the thick green blood tainting the blade of his sword on flowers and grass underneath and then sheathed his weapon. The trouble, the rule of transdimensional travel past (only in taking a life form from the new reality can one travel it), Michael walked hurriedly to what he judged to be north from the way the wind blew on his face, and the location of the two stars this planet orbited in relation to those winds. Of course, the physical laws of different existences were almost never the same, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes in huger ways. Michael could never account for his calculations until he was sure his seventh and eighth senses had adjusted to the new environment. For leagues the meadow spanned, eventually ending at the slope of a hill just below a bloody red sun. This one will soon collapse on itself, Michael thought casually, perhaps this and other planets with it.
Michael ascended the gradual slopping hill, to his far left and right, a thick wood beginning to form from increasingly prevalent trees. The trees here, most of them, kind of resembled pines from the other world, except that large curved bulges, which Michael judged to be fruit and not pine cones, grew from them. At the top of the hill, Michael found himself overlooking a long ravine that nurtured a vibrant river in its recesses. From where he stood, leagues above and away, he could already see odd beings bathing or drinking in its waters. He immediately wondered if they too would be hostile as the ball creature was.