|THORÜSA: A Medieval Fantasy Tale
Author: Vyrazhi PM
In Thorüsa, a "missing place" in the afterlife that lies between heaven and hell, can our narrator help two lost souls find their way before angels and demons find them? Rated T for language and themes.Rated: Fiction T - English - Spiritual/Suspense - Chapters: 16 - Words: 12,787 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 01-11-13 - Published: 11-14-12 - id: 3074405
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
CHAPTER FIVE: THE GREATEST OF THE FIENDS
I WISH TO know more about Salek't's sister, but his anxious expression stops me from investigating further. I follow him as he travels with the other leeches, although I float above the river of their wriggling, writhing bodies. They swarm everywhere, like honeybees inside a hive, although these creatures are after fugitive souls instead of nectar! I try not to be afraid of them, but it's absolutely impossible. "Where are they all going?" I attempt to ask my new friend, but Salek't lifts his head up and jerks it as a signal for me to remain silent. From the front yard of Galinicus' country cottage, and my home, we head toward the heart of our city. I wince: If the leeches seek easy prey, then they couldn't pick a better place to find it…
Faster and faster they crawl, gaining momentum as they sweep over the dusty streets in a great flood. No one else notices, however, but Salek't and me. After all, we are dead (or, at least I am for all practical purposes), and they are still alive. The fiends of the Abyss are no more visible to them than faeries. I consider this a blessing, because if I had seen them when I was awake, I would have gone mad! It's so strange to me that life is going on as usual - merchants hawking their wares, people talking and laughing, and workhorses whinnying as they pull carts - while unspeakable horrors squirm right at everyone's feet. They have no sense of what's going on beneath them, on the other side of Thorüsa's mystical doorway!
Once the fiends sniff the intermingled odors of horse manure, sweat, approaching rain, and a hint of a nearby tart's perfume, they stop crawling and realize their journey's over. Although blind, they seem to know our city by heart, as do Salek't and I. The creatures slide over and around each other for a minute, conferring in worm-murmurs, and begin to move again. This time, however, they climb as well, and I float up as high as I possibly can. They swarm over the walls of every available building, upon rooftops and awnings, and in every single crack. In a matter of seconds, there are leech-fiends covering every surface I can see, even those of human bodies! They crawl in people's mouths and dangle in their living eyes that do not yet see. As if this spectacle were not vile enough, the fiends hiss over and over in a chant of rage.
I almost yelp when a certain leech does a backflip so high that he lands right on my shade's shoulder!
"Calm down!" Salek't squeals. "I'll pretend that I'm collecting you. Stay with me." He latches onto what would have been the meaty part of my left shoulder had I been awake. Dragging me quickly but gently, my new friend takes me to ground level, and the fiends surrounding us don't seem to mind. They have their own souls to locate. Still, I'm quivering uncontrollably. "Don't worry. As long as you stay quiet, these brutes won't even notice that your shade's not fully here. Do you know why you can't touch your ethereal body?"
Startled by this sudden and seemingly-irrelevant question, I shake my head.
"Part of you is in the mortal world, and the other part is in Thorüsa. You're unique, and that's both a blessing and a curse. The fiends can't drag you toward the Abyss, because you're not dead yet. However, if they find you, they'll certainly try." I nod, stunned with worry. "As for me? I'm counting on the fiends being driven by two things: hunger and obedience. They probably won't eat me as long as they've been assigned other lost souls to escort to eternal damnation! They take their marching orders from our Foe."
"What about the three gigantic leeches, whom I saw devouring other ones as fast as they could?"
Salek't shudders. "They are the greatest of the fiends, or at least that's what I've found out in the year that I've been wandering in Thorüsa. You don't want to get near them, or let them get near you. They feed, and grow stronger, only when an incredibly wicked person is dying. They need such power in order to latch onto that person's soul and pull him or her down to the Abyss. As I recall, I haven't seen them since…" He shuts his eyes. "…since I was at the stake, and flames were licking my clothing. As acrid smoke began to fill my lungs and scorch them, my eyes watered, and I saw the great leeches before me. Their horrid, eyeless faces stared into mine, and I began to wail and cough. However, it turns out that they weren't after me, but the Imperatrix who lit my pyre. Unfortunately, it wasn't her time to die, and there they are again!"
Without another word, he gently latches on again and pulls me forward. We can't afford to lose the three glowing leviathans, at least if we want to have a chance of reaching the condemned soul before they do…