November 27th, the day before my birthday, the darkness slammed down upon the town like a steel trap.
There was no storm, no fierce Nor’easter to encourage the power’s sudden rebellion. I sighed, thinking about all the Thanksgiving plans gone awry, all the turkeys in ovens no longer working their magic on succulent flesh and crispy skin. I thought on all the various curses and puzzled expressions being exhibited, the panic, the fear, the frustration.
Yet I simply waited for my eyes to adjust to the full-moon light peeking through the blinds, knowing by feel and shape where candle and lighter lay, upon the altar which served every much as a beacon this night as any focus of worship as one by one the wicks were lit, a literal circle of light surrounding the silver goblet which even now caught the moon’s rays in its grasp.
The atmosphere was silent and utterly void, as if a vacuum sucked the very life out of the air itself. It was nights like these my grandmother warned me about, nights that she rushed us kids in early, shutting door and window and curtain – nights when she said a rift in the Veil was created, when the battle lines in the war between Heaven and Hell bulged slightly on either side and one never knew which, so best lock up and stay inside, huddled together with rosary and Word for protection lest the wrong side had gained ground.
Given the power outage, the stillness, one could guess which was the victor this night.
Even more proof showed itself as I stared through the blinds at the tall, gangly creature making its way down toward the cul de sac, shoulders hunched, arms dangling as it walked heavily, clumsily, grey skin and white hair giving off a sickly glow in the moonlight. But its eyes were what turned the center of my core to ice: eyes that were pits of absolute darkness, absolute evil from which shone only a tiny spark of red like a single ember in a pile of coal.
When those eyes locked with mine and I was unprepared, ill equipped for the shock that went through me. It approached the house and I began chanting the Word, the mantras Grandma had taught me, the merging of two cultures and beliefs rolling from my tongue like wildfire to stay this beast that dared attempt encroachment onto my hallowed ground.
Alas, it was not enough, my power – great as it was – was like a pinprick to this creature, the open, smiling maw of razor-ragged teeth mocking my spells and prayers, body suddenly light and head fuzzy as I realized in horror it was drinking me in like fine wine, my efforts only feeding its strength. As it got closer I fought to still my tongue, yet my energy kept spilling forth, a fount that had been cracked and pierced much like the Veil itself, and the creature kept feeding, my door opening with a loud rush of air as one by one my Wards failed. It stepped over the salt with barely a tinge of sizzling upon its skin, approaching me with a finger pointing, a force of dark energy coming down so hard I was forced to my knees, weeping in helpless frustration as I felt the very life draining from my soul.
Its shriek tore through my eardrums, black ocher that passed for the daemon’s blood spraying my face once the silver claws burst through its spine and out of its abdomen, the limp form falling at my knees to wither and turn to dust. Looking up, I saw my savior standing in the moonlight, white hair flowing past his shoulders, his tall, lithe, sculpted form sheathed in black from his trench to his boots. He held out his sliver hand after wiping it clean of the beast’s blood with a handkerchief, his beautiful face a mask of annoyance. I took it wordlessly and he hauled me up to his chest in one fluid movement, no easy task considering my Romanesque figure.
“Did you really think you could take that thing?” His lilting Celtic accent sent shivers within me, golden eyes burning into mine.
“Nuada?” I breathed, still in shock and awe over the whole situation.
“You called upon me, I came, that is so strange to you?” Nuada shook his head. “Sometimes you humans have no clue the seriousness of your actions, thinking it’s mere chanting or Harry Potter or other such nonsense.”
The touch of the silver fingers against my cheek was warm as any flesh, my eyes fluttering with the tenderness, the rush of energy passing between us. My essence renewed, I looked into those golden eyes and wished, for one moment….
“You are Tuatha, child, you know that much as well as I,” Nuada smiled. “It’s what you refuse to know, to believe, that holds you back from your true power and purpose. Don’t let this flesh deter you from your desires, sway you from what you know you truly are – those who are worthy will see as clearly as my eyes do now, yet you are for another, not me, I’m sorry to say.”
He turned on his heel and walked out the door, turning at the doorway to look over his shoulder with a smirk. “I’m not sorry to say, though, that I’m more than a little jealous.”
And with a wink he was gone, power flashing back on, door slamming shut, all wards in place and stronger than they were before, leaving me to wonder just who could make the great Nuada Silverhand so jealous.
“You could’ve at least given me a name ya know!” I growled to the door, the sound of his musical laughter ringing in my ears.
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