Ray #7

 

 

Journey to the Center of Your Mind

 

Pietro dashed from alley to street to alley, avoiding the puddles of water and lamplight. He kept his tricorn hat pulled low over his eyes and the tails of his coat flapped and snapped as he darted from one shadow to another.

Pietro was accustomed to the role of the nocturnal hunter, but tonight he he couldn’t shake the feeling he was the one being hunted. He had seen several cloaked shadows and figures that seemed to appear around every corner he turned. He would turn down an alley and one would appear at the other end. He would climb the jutting stones of a nearby wall and a hooded head would peer down from the roof. He began to eschew his normal grace in favor of panic driven sprints down wide thoroughfares, anywhere at least a handful of people were still out and about. At this hour they were mostly drunks, whores, and stickup artists, no different than his old friends from the circus and they seemed to keep the shadows at bay.

At least, for a bit they did. The shadows seemed to be getting bolder in their pursuit. There were now two behind him following in a slow, steady gait. And now there were two more ahead. Another slipped out from an alcove and another from the opposite side of the street. Pietro ran toward a shop and began to scale the timber frame. Two more hooded men began descending from the roof. Pietro dropped to the ground and was grabbed by the collar. He slipped out of his coat and sped toward a narrow street, but he was cut off by a grim man with dead eyes who grabbed Pietro by the arms. Pietro recognized the Fleet Street demon.

“Ay,” yelled a woman in a gravely voice as she stomped toward the demon, shaking her finger. “Leave the boy alone, he’s just a kid.”

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Ray #6

 

 

Who’ll Stop the Rain?

 

Pietro pulled Cletus along, who was stumbling to keep up. More humanoid fishmen began emerging from the water closer and closer to them. Pietro darted to avoid them, losing his grip on Cletus. Cletus pulled out his crossbows and began firing his exploding vials at the approaching fishmen as he backed away. Pietro darted between them jabbing them with his daggers and kicking their legs out from under them. The fishmen began emerging from the floodwaters en masse and charging toward them. Bartolo appeared and charged past Cletus and Pietro barrelling through the fishmen front line, scattering them. The fishmen converged on him. He grabbed one by the leg and began bludgeoning the others with its body. As Bartolo swung his weaponized fishman, its harpoon was impaling others and adding them to the mass, whose harpoons in turn snagged more fishmen until Bartolo was swinging a flail made of fishmen. After clearing several of them, Bartolo grabbed Cletus and threw him over his shoulder.

“Head back, Pietro!” Bartolo yelled. “I’m right behind you.”

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Ray #5

 

J’ai dormi sous l’eau

London

Ray, Abby and Cletus drifted through a merchant lined London street. Ray was draped in his leper costume. Cletus pulled his coat tight and buried his face in his collar. Abby had stuffed her hair into a hat and acquired a pair of trousers, through possibly larcenous means, between here and Glastonbury. She told people her name was Abe. The journey to London was uneventful, save for the highwayman who ended up shooting himself in the thigh before he was able to finish his opening threat. The weather was cooperative as well, but now, as they shambled through the streets searching for an affordable ferry to Calais, the sky was taking on a grim pallor. An occasional swollen droplet would thump one of them on the head. The streets began to take on the particular odor of a loaded chamber pot. A scream cut above the din of the milling throng. Like a school of minnows, the crowd moved toward the disturbance. In a slip of street, between a tavern and a brothel, the swarm descended on the lifeless body of the tavern matron with several stab wounds to her torso.

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Ray #4

 

Underground Fire

It was quiet for awhile. Ray couldn’t figure out how long or how much of it he was conscious for. It was dark, cramped and silent, save for the dry sound of detritus sliding through crevices and sprinkling around him. He heard a feeble grumble emerge from under him. He remembered he was draped across Cletus and Abby when the rubble began to fall.

“Wensleydale, Abigayle?” he coughed, slid aside and sat down.

“Aye,” said Cletus sitting up.

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Ray #3

 

Ha Ha, I’m Underground

Abby, Cletus and Ray pushed through the low, but dense, vegetation, punctuated with fields and sheep. The oblong, terraced belly of the tor rose out of the ground like the Earth was frozen while inhaling. At the top stood the stone Tower of St. Michael, all that was left of the church that bore the same name.

“Ray,” Abby said, breaking the silence, “Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure,” replied Ray.

“You’re a Seraphim? But not an angel?”

“‘Angels’ is just what humans remember of us. It’s like a game of telephone.”

Abby frowned at him.

“Uh, current technology, current technology,” Ray tapped his head, “Whisper down the lane!”

“A tale that gets distorted in the telling.”

“Right.”

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