Angelus Ferri

My cat died. I will post on it soon, but it’s had me down.
In better news, though, my muse is perking up. So while I hope to do better soon, I will at least post some fictiony stuffs.
This is a continuation of Prism Sentence and Light Reading. Both of those stories were based on Inspiration Monday posts by BeKindRewrite.
In keeping with tradition, so is this one. I give you the dissonant serenity of the Angelus Ferri. I am starting to figure out where this is going. I think.
What are you doing, cowering like a five-year-old? You’re Angelus Ferri. Get up. 
Tenebrae pushed herself to a crouch. Her whole body was shaking uncontrollably causing the bladed ‘wings’ shielding her back to make soft metallic sounds.
The blue searchlight that had been chasing her for days beat down on her, but nothing else had happened. She felt exposed, cornered, but her tormentors remained maddeningly silent.
Shading her face with with one ‘wing,’ she looked up and roared.  “If you want me, come for me!”
The blue light flickered. Shadows cast by nothing she could see began to look like forms and faces. She squinted at them. Her attention fell on one that looked familiar. Realization trickled through her like cold water. He was one of her former comrades, left to die when she defected. That connection caused her to recognize the others. All of them were dead. Either she had killed them under orders, or they were collateral damage from her shifting allegiance.
She turned, again, and ran.

“Shift change. Thank God!” Sertor stretched and handed a clipboard to his replacement, Adrian. “Everything’s been pretty standard. No issues.”
“Thanks,” said Adrian, flipping through the notes. Aula’s replacement, Marius, was already practically asleep at his desk.
Sertor snorted at the sight, “Lazy lump,” and kicked the leg of Marius’s chair. The man startled awake, glared groggily, then rested his head on his arms again.
Some time after Sertor walked out, Adrian moved to check Marius’s pulse.
Oughta sleep for a while, after a dose like that.
He flipped through the notes to find the cypher Sertor had left him.
-It’s starting to get to her. We need to act quickly. See prismer 71.-
Adrian felt his stomach tighten. What if she won’t cooperate? What if she breaks?
Swallowing his anxiety, he quickly checked both his own prismers and Marius’s. The last thing he needed was the oneirologist checking in on them.
Everything looked good, for now. But he had only one shift to do what needed to be done. He glanced over the list of prismers to find the most recent addition. The longer anyone had been there, the less likely they would be of any help.
As Sertor had said, it was prismer 71. “Octavian  Laurentius,” Adrian mumbled. “Nasty list of charges. But nothing she can’t handle, assuming she’s still herself.” Carefully, he adjusted the prism for 71. Then for prismer 67, bringing them to a slightly closer frequency. Little by little, over the next few hours, he continued his adjustments.

Tenebrae’s feet pushed the ground behind her until, finally, a step met no resistance and she fell. It was almost a relief to be helpless, to know that there was nothing she could do. Falling was very like floating until the end.
She landed hard, but not hard enough. Her wings, never designed for flight, had closed together to protect her from their sharp edges. She flexed them open again and stood up.
The searchlight was gone, now. Instead there was a globe of light near her feet, shining up through a translucent floor. The ground stretched out, featureless, as far as she could see in any direction, until it met the unnaturally still storm-cloud sky.
Picking a direction at random, Tenebrae started off at a loping, energy-efficient run. Every time her foot struck the floor, there was a flare of light.
I might as well be screaming “hey, I’m here!” Not that I’ve got any better option.
As she covered more ground, she began to see shapes moving under her. They were difficult to make out, but a moving curve, here, and a flickering reflection there, brought her to a halt.
She watched the floor intently. There. What is that?
The line of a flank slipped by, as graceful as an eel, and the size of a whale.
The creature moved out of sight. Then it struck at her feet, causing the floor to vibrate. Tenebrae saw a wide orange eye and a flash of inward-curving teeth before it withdrew, only to ram the floor again a moment later. She tensed to run.
Run where? Why?
The calm she had while falling came over her again. Another eel-monster had joined the first and was also striking at the ground under her feet. Tenebrae knelt down, staring at the teeth with a dissonant, disconnected serenity.
When the creatures struck again, she began pounding in the same place with her fists and the wrists of her wings. Cracks formed between them.

Octavian had no idea how long he had been walking before he emerged from the forest. He came out onto a dry red landscape under a cool twilit sky. It was beautiful, but no more settling than the forest. The hateful giant lightning bug was drifting along beside him, but he tried not to think about it. The only thing he remembered clearly about his recent experiences was the pain of touching the thing.
A sound like the first crack of lightning, without the accompanying echoes of thunder, split the air. Looking up, Octavian realized that what he had taken for roiling clouds were giant eels, as big as dragons, swimming through the sky. Several of them had converged on a bright point, from which spread glowing cracks.
The sky shattered, raining down shards as the eels escaped up into the black expanse above. Octavian dove for cover against a tree.
When he looked up again, the red landscape was dusted with something too crystalline to be snow. It crunched under foot, and sent up puffs of dust if he wasn’t careful.
Ahead of him was another light, like the one that followed him. He felt desperate at the sight of it, though he could not have said why. Slowly, he made his way towards it.
His light, and the one he was approaching, flickered together. They both looked like bio-luminescent jellyfish suspended in midair.
There was a person lying on the ground in front of him, very still.
Angelus Ferri.
The metal wings reflected the dim light and cast the rest of the body in shadow. When it moved, Octavian took a step back. The face that looked up at his was scarred, and the eyes were unreadable.
The Angelus only spared him a glance before taking in the rest of her surroundings. Then her face twisted in what could have been anger, or frustration, or anguish, and she slumped back to being a heap on the ground.
“You… have a light, too.” He said, after a while.
The Angelus twitched, but did not respond. Octavian sat down and wrapped his arms around his legs. There did not seem to be anything to do but wait.

Adrian studied the readouts, holding his breath as they finally synced. He waited for a few minutes, his heart racing, to be sure that they were stable, then he sat back and closed his eyes in relief.

About jubilare

Just another tree in the proverbial forest. Look! I have leaves! View all posts by jubilare

15 responses to “Angelus Ferri

  • Colleen Whitver

    You may need to help me with this one.

    • jubilare

      Lol! I read that first as “you may need help with this one” and my first thought was, “yeah, probably.” Reading it again, I had to chuckle. It’s sci-fi dream-scape insanity. It probably makes about as much sense to you as it does to me. ;)

  • robstroud

    My condolences on the passing of your cat. People who do not love pets cannot understand how painful these moments are.

  • Krysta

    I was so excited to see you had another installment for us, but I am so sorry to hear about your cat!

    • jubilare

      It’s the hard part about having pets. But worth the furry companionship, I think. Thank you for your sympathy. I hope you enjoy the story snippet, strange as it is. ^_^

  • Stephanie

    Ooo things are afoot! What happens when you put two dream-prisoners together, when they have each other to test against reality. Hmmm. The metal shield/wings are new, yes? I dig them.

    • jubilare

      ^_^ I can’t wait to see what happens if/when they try to walk in different directions.

      The Angelus Ferri have been around in my head for a long while, but this is the first time one has made it into a story, so yay!

  • stephencwinter

    I read this first a few days back and I have been thinking about it since then. Something I have noticed in your writing before is that you do not allow your readers the comfort of knowing who the story is about for very long. I find myself wondering who it might be and realise that I seek this comfort. Will there be a point when the stories will converge? Will this be the point of resolution? Will you surprise your readers when we get there?
    Please do keep on writing. You are a powerful story teller.
    I am so sorry to hear about your cat. Our pets become important companions in our lives. My dog has become a good friend over the years. He is nearly 11 years old now and sometimes he gets quite poorly. When the time comes to say goodbye to him I will miss him greatly. God bless bless you.

    • jubilare

      I do tend to start in the middle of things, and hope that my readers will discover who the characters are as it goes along. Without a connection to the characters, stories have very little meaning for me. If you ever have suggestions, I am very open to constructive crits. That’s how I learn what works and what doesn’t. :)

      It’s hard. But it’s also one of those things where, despite the pain, I am glad to have had the privilege to know my animals. To quote a passage from C. S. Lewis’s The Four Loves: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

      • stephencwinter

        That is a beautiful quote and, of course, completely true. And that means that the greatest sadness is never to love or to be vulnerable. But that is not easy to believe when your heart is broken as Lewis, of course, found out later in his life.
        And as to your writing, I will keep on reading it. I want to know what happens!

        • jubilare

          “But that is not easy to believe when your heart is broken” very true.
          And I’m glad you want to keep reading. ^_^ I am trying to get back into the habit of writing. My muse hates summer almost as much as I do. ;)

          • stephencwinter

            Is your hatred of summer caused by the heat? I am staying in an old cottage by an ancient Drovers Road in the hills south of Edinburgh in Scotland. It is going to be a warm day today but we intend to walk up into the hills later on. I am feeling happily lazy in a Tom Sawyer kind of way but I think that Aunt Polly would not have approved of this and I may need to do something “useful” soon!

          • jubilare

            Yeah. Tennessee has a nasty combination of hot, humid, and landlocked. It makes for some miserable days, especially around July and August. It makes up for it with awesome weather the rest of the year (barring tornadoes), but Summer drains me.
            Lol! The Aunt Pollys of the world need to loosen up anyway. Enjoy the happy-lazy days when they come. ^_^

          • stephencwinter

            PS And I do want to keep on reading your work!

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