Snow Tiger

Chapter Four - Love Their Pain

He's so naïve, so innocent

Like a child he clings to those he knows

He's loud, incessant, and babbles



Yet he draws you for you are baited so easily

*****

The soothsayer that had been reading Kali was now strapped into a chair, sitting in the impenetrable dark, sweating.

Her name was Ixtab[1], named after the goddess of suicide and death by hanging. Her stringy brown hair was damp with her perspiring, her hands shaking. There were cuts on her wrists from trying to fight against the cloth that held both her arms and feet down. Her balloon like face scowled, hot tears pouring down her face.

The head of Angels had questioned her about what she had seen, but she had refused to answer. So, instead of punishing her, he left her there waiting until she decided to calm her nerves and talk.

But she wouldn't do it.

Never.

Ixtab was never one to lie, all the other angels would agree. She was the patient, introverted, exceedingly kind and generous of the group. She wasn't competitive, and she thought of her reading powers a gift, and used them only to serve her God, which she so firmly believed in. She had never seen Him, only his god and goddess off springs which he had created. Jesus was always next to him, sitting by his right hand.

All she had ever wanted was to see them. Her God. Her savior.

Not a demon child.

She shivered again, sweat still pouring down her face. She clenched her fist but did not move; it was hopeless. Copper had personally made the cloth to bind her down, there was no hope for her to get out.

She'd always pondered about Seraphim and Cherubim, but they were long gone. They were no longer angels, they had been when Jesus Christ had been born, but they had ultimately retired from their positions, now resting in Heaven.

Her brows furrowed, and she nearly screamed, but instead bit down on her lip, the salty taste of her own blood seeping through her teeth and onto her tongue. She was aware of it dripping down her chin and landing on her dress.

It had been so horrible. She had never seen anything so awful in all her 186 years of existence. The girl, the girl, what was her name again?

Kali. Kali. Kali. Kali. Kali.

That girl was named after one of the most dangerous goddesses. The female version of Shiva. Snakes and corpses and death and sex. Sin and more sin were all she was made of.

Ixtab bit back a laugh; it was ironic really. Nobody with such a name could really be tainted without sin. The girl would get hers.

Demon.

A maniacal grin spread across her face, but it soon disappeared again as the vision flashed through her mind again.

Her muscles tensed, she ordered the scene to banish from her mind but it just fought back, appearing over and over again. Each time it would get brighter, more explicit than the last time.

Self-combustion was the only thing that she was afraid of. It was the only way for her type to die. And right now, her brain was on overload.

She screamed, as if that would help.

It didn't.

It only made it worse.

*****

Diallo looked remorsefully into the sealed off room. Filled in it was cooling water. In the water floated a single soul.

'Kali...'

The Angels had finally been able to fight back and get close enough to her to sedate her. Everyone was relieved, but Diallo was not.

It had taken thirteen qualified Angels to get her to quit. Thirteen. A 2nd degree IT should have been enough to take her down.

But it had taken thirteen qualified Angels.

'Of course,' he reminded himself, 'They were fresh out of OIT classes. Just graduated. But still, where in the name of Leza [2] had she attained such destructive power?'

He had been so scared, as he recalled. But he couldn't place just how scared he had been. Perhaps he hadn't even been scared, more shocked. She was so tiny, hardly even five feet tall, yet she had caused so much damage in the Introductory Hall. Nearly two walls had been brought down, 34 had been wounded - major or minor, and three of the five tables had been burned.

His hands began to shake, the memory of her coming back to him. Her emotions were all so negative, he could feel them--so powerful.

Anger.

Hate.

But most of all, the sickness.

Kali was sick.

Not a cold sick, nor a stomach-ache sick. Something was crawling underneath her skin, getting to her brain, fighting against her every minute of every day.

It squirmed, restless to get out. She had given it a chance to escape, and he and so many others had witnessed its frightening power. But he knew, he knew it hadn't completely taken over. A part of her had kept intact, forcing it back down.

That mind reader, she had triggered something. It was something that woman had done that had let Kali's guard slip, and the thing inside her to escape and express its wrath in its greatest form. The fire burned within her, the match lit; the hunger for destruction had peaked starvation.

But it had been filled, the fire put out. And now it laid at peace within her, as she floated in there in the cooling water.

Solitary confinement.

Oh, how he wanted to talk to her right now. Make it all better, make that thing go away from her as far away as possible.

He hadn't lied about feeling stupid standing by himself, but he had seen her in the throng of teenagers, and he felt as if she were his destiny. So he followed after her, deciding to find out all about her and her angry ways. He wasn't exactly thrilled at her reactions, but it had been sort of interesting--and funny.

She was his destiny, whatever happened to her was going to effect, and maybe even, also happen to him.

He welcomed the challenge.

Besides, he was here to be the best, and if he were to be the best, he needed to know her weakness.

*****

Candra sighed wearily, sitting down in to sit next to Copper's empty seat. She put down her paper, and robbed her pounding temples. Running a hand through her raggedy hair, she looked at her friend, Relee, and offered a tired smile.

The other angel smiled largely back at her, her coffee cup shaking in her hands.

"Cold again?" Candra asked, reading over her paper.

Sighing, Relee slammed down the cup. "Goddess, yes! I'm always cold! Why must I be so...so..."

"Watch what you say, remember."

"Grrrrr!"

Candra shook her head, wondering how the woman could be eternally cold. She brushed a strand of hair out of her face, leaning back in her chair. She abhorred meetings like this, but this one was different. This one had to do with her chosen Ora, Kali.

Frowning, her brows knitted, biting down her frustration. That had been the only recorded happening in the history of Arik, and there were so many questions that need to be answered. What had caused it? What was it all about? Was there something special about the girl? That needed to be known? Why had her appearance changed? But especially, what did it represent?

Candra was also sure that Kali was the only Angel she knew that had an attitude problem beyond help. She had smiled not a single time upon her arrival; the closest she got to was a sneer. There was a difference.

Copper banged through the doors, the slam of them resonating through the room. The woman next to Candra, she thought her name was Bella, giggled at the young-looking man as he rushed, his clothes rumpled.

If Copper were to walk the streets of any planet, one would think he was just your average, normal boy-next-door type of guy. With his sandy-blonde hair, enigmatic brown eyes and mega-watt smile, he could make girls swoon- which he usually did. But he was the head of the Angels, and had much too much things to do besides flirt. He sat down at his seat, grinning apologetically at the angels around the table. He felt bad about being late, but he wanted to make sure everything was okay back at the Check-In Area.

"Well then, hello everybody. Sorry about that. Got a little caught up in the moment's happenings. I think we all did, though." He ran a hand through his hair and looked at Candra, who offered a small smile.

A man at the other end of the table called out in his booming voice, "What are we going to do about that girl? She's too dangerous to keep. She should go back to where she came."

"No!" Rose, another of the angels, said, slamming her hand on the table. "The girl obviously is special, if we could just help her control whatever it is that is-."

"The soothsayer called her demon! Are you doubting the workings of a oracle?" The man snorted.

Rose looked sheepish, but flustered. She hated when he had a point. "You saw her hand! Sometimes people say things they don't mean when they are frightened, or in pain. Don't you see? We have to help this girl. She must be scared out of her mind."

He laughed, a short harsh laugh. "Oh I saw her scared all right. She was just shaking with fright as she blew up half off the building!"

Bella spoke up, "I agree with Brass, Rose. She does seem to be a threat. I don't think she smiled at all since she got here, has she?"

"Of course not. I bet Lucifer sent her up here to spy-." Brass rambled on before something whizzed by his head.

It was Copper's cup. "Good. Now that I have got your attention, may I say something? It has been 1597 years since the last battle with Lucifer. No sign of foul-play has been going on. And knowing him, which I do, he would never wait this long for a display of vengeance. So we all are to leave him out, is that understood?" He looked around, as some reluctantly nodded their heads. "Wonderful. Now, about the girl, her name was, what was it Candra?"

"Kali. She was named after the goddess who is wife to Shiva, a god of many faces, after she was found one morning in her infancy with a light along her forehead saying - 'Inoyashim Perdur'[3] which means 'Both Traitor and Loyalist' in her native tongue."

"What's that language?" Brass asked, crossing his arms. He specialized in languages, and had never heard of those words before.

"They don't have a name for it. But outside it is called the Language of the Ruined." Candra sighed, looking at Copper, questioning him mentally. He merely nodded and she continued on.

"The planet Jumpat is one of desolation and tyranny. A few centuries ago, a man whose name was forbidden and now forgotten of took over the planet. He sent the few followers he had to each continent, quickly but very surely taking over each one. He ruled for his 70 years, before picking an apprentice. He chose carefully, picking the new sovereign who would take his place, and rule mercilessly. He succeeded and cursed the planet with his legacy, never has there been another ruler with a heart. Those rulers are now residing in Hell."

Brass glared, agitated. "What does that have anything to do with the girl?"

Candra glared back, looking down her nose at him. "You will speak her name. I am just merely telling you the history for further knowledge. If you would kindly let me continue, then you will understand the point. Got it?"

Brass smirked self-righteously, unfazed by her ordering.

Candra took a deep breath, sending a final warning look back at the muscled- man. "You see, as Copper and I will actually take the time to visit the Underworld, we usually check in with Lucifer. He has been uttering about how unfair it is that his demons are being constantly killed off by his angels. We think that he has corrupted one of the angels. And seeing Kali's recent...er...behavior, there is a possibility that she is one he chose."

Bella smirked. "All the more reason to get rid of her."

"No. We will keep her, and keep her to our ways. She will live like an angel, and serve like an angel. She will not argue, she will follow all orders without a hitch. She will be an angel, and nothing else. She is here to destroy the demons, not help them. So she will do."

The most timid of the angels there, the only one that had yet to speak, chewed over this information. "What if Lucifer tries to talk to her?"

Copper grinned at her. "As he has been banned from here or Heaven, then it will be impossible for him."

Brass growled. "I still disagree. She is a threat, and a great one at that."

Copper looked at him with a look that clearly told the bigger man to shut his trap. "You're job Brass is to train them, not to argue or decide what to do with them. Is that understood? You do your job, and I'll do mine."

Brass bowed mockingly before sweeping out of the room, with Bella close behind. Rose and Relee, the twins, smiled at each other. They each nodded and Relee said, "Good day you guys."

"Bye." Candra replied quietly.

Once Copper was alone with Candra he looked at her. "That was very good cover-up lying you did."

Candra looked at him. "You told me that she was important, and I don't doubt your judgement, but is it all really worth it?" Her eyes searched his for a moment, before she swept out of the room.

Copper fell back onto his chair with a sigh, resting his head on his hands. 'What have I done?' he thought remorsefully. 'Just what have I done?'

*****

Nothing was there. Yet there was everything, all around her was both of these. How could something be both there and not?

She was in pain. So much pain, her thoughts were all jumbled, and once she thought she had a hold on at least something, it would fall away, being replaced by so many other things.

She saw white, all around her was this bright, empty color. She floated there, accompanied only by the comforting thought that she was alone. Hopefully, that is how she would remain.

'But there is a downside to being alone'.

The voice startled even her. But it shouldn't have, whenever she was alone and okay with everything, the voice would come back. Echoing from her very being, from the depths of her soul yet it was not part of her. It resided within her body, but it was an entirely different entity.

She opened her mouth, and without even forming the words, they spilled out on their own.

"What would that be?"

'Nobody to hurt.'

She frowned, her brows furrowing together. She hated many things, and wasn't exactly the most sociable person, but that doesn't mean she exactly enjoyed hurting people.

But she did all the same. Loved the way they would scream as their fresh, bright crimson blood would flow out of them. The way the panic that would surround them, encompassing them. Fear was the best. Fear that they would die. She savored every moment of it.

'Isn't that right, Kali?'

"No!"

But she couldn't deny it. As mush as she wished to be normal and be revolted by it all, she couldn't. She was in love...with their pain.

'You should make them all pay. They laugh at you, scorn you, set you aside. They shouldn't do such things as nice a girl as you.'

"But it's okay."

It wasn't. And the voice knew that.

'You were always such a bad liar when it came to me. Tell me the truth, don't you want them to hurt like they hurt you?'

"But they-...they..."

She couldn't back up the statement. She remembered a time when she was very little, couldn't have been a day over six, and she was out with the other children. One of the older ones decided to play a trick and sneak up behind her. Screaming, they shocked her. When she turned to look at them, instead of tears which they had expected, they had been thrown back about five feet. She hadn't even touched him, but she was blamed all the same. They refused to come near her, the mothers rushing to get their children away from Kali.

'Didn't they call you demon child? Grown women calling a little five-year- old girl a demon? Isn't that awful?'

"It hurt."

'I know it did. So make justice be known. You have a plausible reason. They hurt you, you hurt them back. It's only fair isn't it?'

"No. It was a long time ago.'

'It's still going on. Do it Kali! Hurt th-...'

He was cut off, she wasn't alone anymore. Somebody was coming to her, going to wake her up. She wanted out of there, she wanted to be away from the voice. It had made so much sense this time. An actual conversation had passed between them, and his reasoning scared her. She didn't want to hurt somebody.

But she did.

Why was the mere fact of being so confusing?

*****

Diallo stared on as they let her out.

She stumbled, nearly falling to her knees as they began to buckle beneath her, but she was able to stand, never once going to go to that level of what she would, he guessed, refer to as weakness.

Her eyes snapped open as soon she was all the way out of the container. She looked around as if lost for naught a second, before averting her gaze back to the angel who was holding her up.

She glared and he gave her a weak smile before saying something which Diallo was unable to make out. She must have said something back because he rose his eyebrows in surprise and watched her stalk off, with all the dignity she had in her.

The door to his left slammed open and she came out, nearly gliding along, and breezed past him, toward the Attendance Hall.

He stared after her, studying her form even more clearly than he had done before. Her shoulders were pushed back, and her back curved slightly, her torso proud and tall. He could see her back slightly through the white linen shirt, marks covered most of the pale skin. They were strange, black in color, and seemed to be burning into her. They made a sort of pattern, like hieroglyphics, as if to say something. He continued to stare at her, transfixed almost.

She turned into the Hall and he followed quickly, almost knocking a pretty red-head over. The girl looked at him with an apologetic smile, and he returned it, just as sorry for the inconvenience.

He scanned the area for Kali, looking for a small blonde-headed girl. He found her quickly enough, people were purposely moving out of her way as she walked past, forming a path for her. He ran, tripping over people's feet, even some tails here and there, as they moved back once she was gone.

Faces blurred in and out as he struggled to reach her, and once he did the first thing that came out of her mouth was:

"Leave."

He looked at her, about to retort in his sarcastic childish way, but then noticed that she was looking over his shoulder.

He turned around and saw the girl that had said the two of them would be courting, to put it more politely, by the end of the year.

The girl was smirking, her eyes flashing.

He gulped, he knew that look. That girl had something up her sleeve, be it a prank or just plain trick, something bad was going to happen...and soon.

'Oh joy', he thought dismally, stepping out of the way, feeling the hot electricity of the glares running through him.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Okay, a few notes. Starting with pronunciation and meanings, K?

[1]: Ixtab - A Central American goddess. As said before, goddess of death and suicide by hanging.

[2]: Leza - Central African god. He was the creator, or supreme, god.

[3]: Inoyashim Perdur-Pronounced as 'Ee-no-yah-sheem Pair-dyur'. Means 'Both Traitor and Loyalist'.

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