It Came from the Living – Darkness series

“This scrawny man hopped the train of the dead?”

A large man stood from a circular bench.  He was larger than Angel.  His wings had gone partially gray.  You could see the older age on his face and posture.

The other harpies tried to help him stand but he brushed them off.

“Tell me young man.  How did you climb aboard the Spirit of the Dead?”

Dontarious stepped forward, with a forced smile, he introduced himself.  “I was chasing my wife.  She stepped aboard the train.”

“Is she living too.”

“No,” Dontarius began with hesitation.  “She was murdered.”

“…and you saw this murder?…”

“It’s likely he participated in the murder,” shouted a younger Harpie with bright colors displayed beneath the bones of his wings.

“Hold on, Aristotle.  We must listen first before we conclude that.”

Dontarius swallowed hard as a bottle crashed against a wall to his right.  A burst of laughter then another crash.

“I did not kill my wife.”

“So you’re telling us that you just happened to see your wife’s spirit walking to the Spirit of Death and followed it?”  The younger harpie replied in disbelief.

Dontarious dug his heels into the dirt floor.  “Yes, that’s what happened.  I followed the shimmer, that was my wife.  I saw the train.  I followed her… Rebecca… to the train car but I could not enter.  I found another car that was partially open and I slipped in.”

The older harpie studied him as the younger ones talked amongst themselves, Angel along with them.

Another bottle came close enough to Dontarius’s head to make him duck.

“Hey!”  He shouted.  Can you watch where you’re throwing those things?”

A pair of men, faces distorted and frog-like, laughed.

“Five gold pieces if you can hit the human,” one of them croaked.

“Ten gold piece if you can shut the hell up,” Dontarius replied loudly.  The noise from the bar disappeared as he finished.  The two frog-faced men stood up and approached.

The harpies stopped discussing the arrival or the stranger and watched.  Dontarius prepared for a fight and it came within moments as the first frog-faced man swung and missed.  The second grabbed the first one and pushed him out of the way.  He swung and missed.  Dontarius returned with a kidney punch.  The frog-faced man sucked in and held his side.  Stepped back, took a breath and charged.

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Yanfis – Darkness series

The small brick and mortar building in Yanfis withstood a downpour as the rain fell hard.  Dontarious covered his face as Angel disappeared into a small building.  He followed.

The rain was a dim fraction of the noise within this room.  It was full of creatures Dontarious could name from fantasy and mythology.  He saw a couple elves.  The ears extending over their bald, round heads, as they stood at a counter.  A long counter sat on the end of a spacious room.  On top of the counter were stacked glasses.  Behind the counter were several shelves containing glass bottles.  Behind the bar was a strange, snake-like creature that hissed when it spoke.  This creature, green and full of scales, had a pair of human arms and hands and a human-isk face.

“Are you going to move,” someone shouted.  Dontarious turned to see the pale face and extended canines of a vampire.  The quintessential bad guy in any action fantasy he had seen once when he was still on Earth proper.

“You can’t stand in front of the door.  Human, you’re lucky I like this place and have to be invited or you would be a crumpled mass of skin and bone by now.

Dontarious stepped back and looked for Angel.  He found him, with his wings behind his back and pushing through the crowd of noise.  Near the left side of the room several other harpies stood talking.

“He is the only guide I have to this world,” Dontarious told himself and pushed through the crowd of colorful creatures.

“Ah, here he is!”  Angel shouted as Dontarious approached.

“You are hanging with a human, Angel… disgusting,” this harpy wore a Cincinnati Reds baseball can over platinum blond hair.  He looked to be nineteen years old or younger.  His wings were smaller than the rest.

“Angel, we don’t want him around here.”

“Wait,” Angel said addressing the largest of the harpies.  An older looking birdman with greying hair and skin folded under his eyes.  “Christoff, the human can help us with the operation.  If you hear what I’m saying.”

The older harpie stood.  He flexed his wings and shook his head violently.  “How can this small human help us?”

Angel had an answer prepared, “he hopped the Spirit of the Dead from the world above.”

The harpies all gasp at the same time.

Shadows – Darkness series

The shadows began within a mile after stepping out of Narcissus Forest.  They would appear then disappear.  Angel seemed to be unfazed but Dontarious’s eyes darted back and forth.

The tracks lead to the left and rose at a fifteen degrees.  Within a half mile the two were looking over the Shadowlands.

“You said, humans built this land?”  Dontarious asked.

Angel stopped, immediately, and turned.  “Built, no… we built this land.  You humans influenced the land with your technology magic.”

“Technology is not magic…” Dontarious began to argue but stopped.  Angel’s face twisted.  “Legendary creatures are a bit naive,” he continued to say under his breath.

After moments of awkward silence Dontarious stepped forward and continued to follow the tracks toward a long, wooden railroad bridge.  Below the bridge he could see a city.  The buildings were mud and brick but in the darkness of the morning he could see electric lights.

“Electricity?”

“Can we ask some questions in the city below?”

Dontarious looked around but Angel had left him.  Moments later, he found him making his way down a set of stairs toward the small city.

The rain fell hard causing the wooden steps to be a bit slick.  Angel walked expertly with his three-toed claws as Dontarious struggled.  The soles had been worn-down over time.  His earthly job involved long hours on his feet.  It didn’t help that rain had forced his feet to swim.

For the first time he got to take a good look at this monster.  Angel’s wings spread several feet out when at rest.  Dontarious had not seen him fly yet.  Angel had long red hair draping over the thin bones that made up the wings.  He wore a dirty, white linen tied around the waist with a rope.  He was slightly taller than Dontarious at six-feet.  He looked human, as much as possible with the wings.

“What are we walking into?”  Dontarious shouted as the rain clobbered the ground.

“You want to find your wife,” Angel said, “then we need to figure out where that train went.  I have some friends down in Yanfis.”

Three o’clock in the morning

Three o’clock on a Sunday morning was usually quiet but this morning it was shattered by the spinning wheels of Alex Boxer’s red Buick.  He held the brake and worked the wheel as he waited for the right moment to let go.  A pair of headlights crested over the large hill behind him.  Alex released the brake and held tight to the wheel.  The Buick twisted through the intersection.

Gotlingburg disappeared within moments.  Alex growled as he sped past his home town.  The trees blurred within the darkness of the early morning.  Alex was heading to Pottsburg.  A larger city stuck in the Midwest tract of corn and wheat farms.  A job sat waiting for him.  Some sloppy factory job that involved nasty chemicals and standing all day but it was miles from Gotlingburg.

Alex noticed the familiar colored lights of a police cruiser.  “My god, man,” he told himself.  “This town will not let me go.”  Alex pushed the Buick forward.  The lights hung far from him and seemed to hang midair as the lights crested over another hill.  Alex began up a hill himself and slowed near the top.  He knew at this speed he wouldn’t stay on the ground.  He slowed but the hill crested faster than he expected and the Buick set off as the ground fell away.  Everything within the car, including Alex’s heart shot to the ceiling.  The Buick fell toward the ground nearly twenty-five feet from the crest of the hill.  The ground seemed hundreds of feet below.  Alex braced for impact as the ground raced to meet him but it never came.  The Buick sank into the ground.  The road folded underneath him and disappeared into darkness.  Alex watched as the scene above him disappeared.  He watched the road contour and disappear into the night sky.