Dark Law and Innocent Blood: Shadows, Disperse!
***Today’s column is another short work of reality-based fiction, partly inspired by recent legal news, including a Supreme Court ruling in late May 2019. This is the first expression of an idea my mind has circulated for some years. Note: the unnamed observer herein is not Tom Ironsides. Rather, he is possibly a former (and perhaps future) associate of the spook turned teacher. At present, even I know little about him.***
Glimpsed through walls of stone… (Picture by Perrin Lovett).
The first images told him these foul things had recently fed. Without the living blood of others, they were almost invisible to all electronic eyes, even the most sophisticated. And, his device was the most advanced in existence – especially for this range of work – a melding of six different reconnaissance systems, powerful but portable. He toned down the GPR to the lowest possible functional setting, reminding himself of the ghouls’ certain sensitivities. Even with his unique invention, the moving shapes glimpsed through walls of stone were little more than shadows – shadows with horrid eyes: pallid points, tiny barely lit windows set atop undead waves of dark contour. There was one exception: the portly but fully alive body of Harvey Kohen, counselor to congresses and slavish servant of hell, practically glowed. And it trembled in their presence.
He strained to watch the other bodies, finding it far easier to monitor the movements of furniture, clothing, and other physical objects. The visage fit the occasion, spectral and ghastly. At any rate, thanks to a small, high, and unshielded basement window, the laser mic worked perfectly; there was no question regarding the audible conversation. The mood was easily read too; the monsters, for all their power, seen and unseen, were disturbed by recent developments.
He listened more than watched, now that the chanting and incantations to Lucifer had subsided. Their speech was a combination of hisses and wire grating on slate, evil made hearable. The first voice spoke slowly and gravely, low and drawn out with somewhat of an accent which, from the living, might have been construed as thick. Slavic? By the voice, by the movement of a chair at the head of the table, the folds and flaps of a coat, by a floating chalice, he surmised an elder male addressed the gathering:
‘My brothers, sisters, the time of our decision likely approaches sooner and faster than we had desired. Our hosts, if unaware of us or our purposes, nevertheless begin to move – ungainly as ever – against our interests. The Indiana decision this Tuesday…’
Another male, maybe younger, if these beasts reckoned age, interrupted, ‘Again, I do not see this mortals’ ruling as a concern. Were not the base practices held legal by the measures of men? Why not entertain us with a living feast rather than stoke phantoms of fear unreal?’ This younger hiss held less accent but more rasp.
‘Know your place and your time, Slyonious,’ coldly answered the elder voice. ‘Know the intentions, all of them, of the cattle. And, pray, do learn to read in full.’
‘The case is a disaster!’ A female version of the first speaker joined the debate with alarmed avidity. She sat at the right hand of the table head. Her voice and the waving of long hair and robes gave away her sex (though none, he deemed, might call it “fair”). She continued:
‘If Indiana buries or burns our supply … if other states follow suit. We, we shall be starved!’
‘The Georgia law…’ added another, older male, ‘And, Alabama, Mississippi, the Southern States. For us to maintain supplies, we must have sources. We stand, right now, to lose our only remaining collection center in all of Missouri! Everywhere, too many are in danger of being entirely shuttered from business.’ “Business” was hissed with a vehemence which stung the ears.
‘Most of those laments, the courts have tied up – for now,’ another male, midway down the table and with a distinctive British accent, interjected. “I do not share the flippancy of youth,’ the voice spoke towards Slyonious, ‘I do recognize the importance of this week’s happenings. I would concentrate on understanding Indiana.’
‘There is little to understand, then!’ screeched the hag. ‘Let more states follow the lead and we shall see our precious yearly million incinerated without the benefit of drinking the first drop. And, the million! … That count drops each year. This century, we have averaged less than sixty gallons apiece per year. These numbers may soon be halved. Then they will wither entirely. We shall be starved!’
He adjudged the Court ruling in question was Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana. The Supreme Court, in its limited wisdom, had side-stepped a direct challenge to infanticide but had allowed the State to legally mandate that a tiny murdered child be either buried or burned following his untimely demise. He had thought this expression of common decency had shocked the living progressives! Hearing the account of this meeting and the shrieks of the wraiths, the wheels turned and he realized that his two young friends were indeed on to something of hellish proportions. He listened further.
Another female shade added, her voice high and shrill though dismissive: ‘These are the renegade states, are they not? We have New York, California, Virginia. So many. And, as to these rebels, their protocols, as with all positive laws, may simply become circumvented in due time. I too call for, long for, a living feast in lieu of misplaced apprehension.’
The first voice replied in a commanding tone: ‘My younger compatriots, one state here, one there, would be of little concern. Yet, the tide, the whole sentiment of a people, seems to swing in the wrong direction. Our Master himself has put forth his call. HE demands…
‘Too many of these … unborn,’ here, his voice came low and fell, ‘escape our goblets. Not yet do we starve. But, in the near future… Who can say?’ He paused and then turned his unholy gaze on a squirming Kohen, ‘And what of your Congress? The rumors of a new, national law. Of an assault on the sacred writ of Seventy-three. What say you, thrall?!’
Kohen, chief legislative counsel, ardent mover and shaker, purveyor of darkness, and self-appointed ambassador to the High Court, shifted uneasily where he sat. ‘My Lords, Ladies,’ his voice quaked. ‘Your report on this boy, on young fool Roland Hubbard, and any associated hesitation, is misplaced. He and his charming lady friend, his harlot, have no power, no influence. They will be roundly ignored. And, I assure you that the committee will table, will kill, any bill placed before it which threatens, in any way…’
‘So much you assured before!’ snapped the leader, ‘“The Court, composed as it is, will disallow any attempt to halt our processes,” you said. The same arrogant stupidity blinded you to the States in rebellion! Now, as a defense, you offer the feeble idiocy of a committee? Of wretched human men?!’
‘There is something to young attorney Hubbard,’ interposed the elder female, ‘He sees far and fears little, with his righteous determination. With his … faith. And, that girl! She is dangerous!’
Kohen continued weakly, ‘We work hard beyond the Capitol, liege. A petition has already been signed by over one-hundred leading businesses. Uh, H&M. There’s … Slack. Whelp, I think it’s called. Progressive companies. Popular with the millennials and zoomers…’ He paused and glanced around the table, into a host of cold, hostile eyes. ‘As for Georgia. Uh, Disney and Netbox have issued … certain threats, which I believe will…’
‘WORSE than your political counseling!’ The elder female howled, her claws raking the tabletop. ‘You pin our salvation – our very survival! – to the same children who but only lately slipped our net. A cartoon circus company! WHELP! So should you, bloated vassal!’
Another male added, with dire menace, ‘Next, Master Kohen would advise us to move on to the Orient. Has that not long been planned as a following ruse and scheme?’
Kohen stumbled, now searching for words to placate their growing wrath, ‘China is, China has both demography and the practices to serve us. To, to serve you. While a move might be … premature, an exploration might…’
‘China is closed to us!’ The British voice thundered. ‘It has not been a choice since the last days of Chongzhen Ming. Do I not know of this? Was I not there on a time?’
The elder leader rose now and slowly circled the table towards Kohen, who, if optics were to be trusted, soiled himself. He condescendingly rebuked the wretch: ‘No. No. No. China is not an option. Indeed, how goes your peoples’ plan to drift East, Master Kohen? As you have been rejected, so should we. No! Here, we are and here we shall remain. In straights familiar, in shadow, or arising amidst a falling world. Seen or unrevealed, loved or feared … we remain.
‘Hubbard and his pretty strumpet we shall monitor more closely. We shall do this. For our conventional work, we require those of greater fortitude… Thank you, so kindly, dear weakling, for your, for your dedicated service. It, and you are no longer required.’
With the speed of a striking cobra, his cold hand seized the fat lawyer by the neck. A “crack” resonated clearly over the audio channel. With vast strength the elder hurled his newly terminated servant across the room; the corpse was nearly embedded in an adjacent wall. Well, the watcher thought, at least that’s justice, true if unlooked for.
‘We shall increase our vigilance, my beloved,’ the elder’s voice softened, touched with mirth if that was possible, ‘Did I hear requested a feast? Shall not a morsel of dessert do in its stead?’
Presently, between two loathsome shadows, dragged as it were, there appeared another glowing living body. It was far shorter, far smaller than those of its captors. Struggling in vain, a little girl screamed through her tears, “Noooo! Mommyyyy!”
He had been warned about proximity, warned that the banshees literally smelled fear. He gathered from their present ignorance of his presence that they did not smell rage. No! A child! Where did? How did they? There may be more children within! Without hesitation, he prepared to attack. He counted a clean dozen though he reckoned more might lurk unseen. Admittedly, he probably couldn’t take them all, not with their unnatural abilities. But … he could make them suffer. And rob them. The girl at least would escape while he played.
But even without hesitation, he was no match for their speed.
His thoughts were silenced as he watched them fall upon her just as an iron trap closes on some unwary creature. In an instant, the poor, doomed little body, pinned by claws of steel, lost its glow. The living brightness was transferred into the assembled throng as they lurched and stooped over her. In a disgusting spectacle, he watched as coursing streams of blood were drawn up and into the leeches. Their appearance lightened with the infusion. Then, in his instant, mastering what few emotions he had, he tilted the scope down, boosting all power. Their sensibilities be damned! There was, he saw now, a sub-basement, a dudgeon, previously unknown. It was empty. The whole building was devoid of life. But they. They sensed the hum, the digital pulse, inaudible to human ears, of the combined radar, x-ray, and spectrographic scanning. And they turned towards it.
Like actors at the end of a theatre production, they slowly, curiously addressed the audience outside, physically concealed by a curtain of rock. They stared, bewildered, in his direction. But, as is eventually inevitable with any troupe on stage, this was their final performance. In a flash, he raised the Javelin to his shoulder. His eyes, which might have frightened even their dark lord, blazed through the sites, a gaze alone that might have pierced the ancient granite facade between them. A snarl and a squeeze and another of his custom contrivances deployed – a peculiar warhead of frangible steel and silver, lately Blessed for just such an occasion, raced toward the satanic target. They were not quite so fast in the end…
The long, rolling BOOM of furious justice shook the whole night. Nearby windows rattled and shattered. Car alarms engaged. Sleepy neighbors suddenly stirred in fear even in the heart of their safe, elite Washington enclave.
The concussive wave had only just washed over him when he again raised the all-seeing scanner. A whirling, blinding field of white undulated before his eyes. He dialed the IR down considerably. There, among the flaming ruins and falling debris, he caught an entirely new sight. Moving shapes, previously only hinted shades of midnight clouds in a moonless sky, now shown iridescently, burning far brighter than the flames around them. Some of them wailed, a sound of unmistakable misery. And they faded, melting into a haze of dark dust, dispersed in the consuming inferno. Six. Seven. Die, damn you all! Join your master! Eight. Nine…
Had three somehow escaped? Or, were they merely atomized or crushed beyond recognition? He had to be sure. The launcher and other equipment slung across his wide back, he raced across the road and vaulted the iron fence. He carefully z-scanned the burning wreck, first with the sensors, then with eyes that missed nothing.
Those three! Which ones were they? Was the elder male among them? Even then, when he desperately wanted a physical confrontation … or a hunt, he knew he must withdraw. Ordnance detonation in Georgetown would almost immediately summon a tsunami of the Metro’s finest. He did not relish the thought of fighting through them. Not yet. He preferred to remain, like his late victims, invisible for a time. And, he did. He had to warn brave Roland and bold Maryanna.
More than two hundred witnesses were interviewed in the following days by Metro detectives, by the FBI, the ATF, lesser-known alphabet agencies, the press, and more. They uniformly reported the same peace-shattering blast. None, it seemed, had ever actually met their former neighbors. And, not one could identify or say they even imagined seeing a perpetrator. Nor could any of them, even if they self-admitted, explain why, despite the tragedy, they suddenly felt a little more peaceful in their homes. It was almost like shadows had departed.
Grimmer than fiction our realities be,
Waves of dark blood upon a dark sea.
No overt phantoms of spirit maligned,
Could do worse than we do to us.
Small voices cry out, “Avenge us, Dear Lord!”
And what will become?
Roar of hellfire? Or laughter, delighted?