A Quest for Good
Part 31 of Quest
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Good hath no place here.
When night falls evil rises.
It seeps through life’s cracks.
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Altruism beat in her breast where heart
once beat before death’s bile transmogrified
life to unlife, flesh to Undeem, whole to part
of a monster–evil personified.
Undreal faced the centipedal monster–
sins made savage in chitinous armor.
There to ravage until sun’s light mastered
the night, cleaved the darkness with its ardour
for life, but sunrise loomed many hours hence.
She couldn’t stall this beast, nor let it rampage.
What to do? She stood alone as defense
against her own kind who were quite enraged.
One glance assured her that the child was safe
with Hen and the fairies, but she’s not safe…
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Undreal stood her ground. No allies to aid her. Not that she had expected any. She choked on the promise that had made her into this mockery of woman’s flesh and worst nightmare. She faced a cancer gnawing on the world, growing more malignant year over year.
Weaponless hands hung at her side–not that she could have lifted a weapon were one to fall at her feet. Shadow made poor hands for grasping anything but souls she meant to take, to suck their light until it dimmed…she licked her lips and then shook such thoughts away. She could feed later. Right now she had a job to do.
The Undeem stream ended and the upright centipede blinked black pits as it woke to the realization that its quarry had fled during its construction. Not the brightest Queen in the tarot deck, the Undeem’s mistress was tonight. Perhaps that fight in the sunken palace had unhinged her. Her creature swung its massive head around looking for Henneth, the fairies and the baby.
Maybe it would take this thing until dawn to figure out what had happened. Unreal remained tense just in case it grew a brain independent of their shared mistress in the meantime. Trees swayed in her peripheral vision as the half of the giant centipede not defying gravity at the moment shuffled forward. Its top half wavered. Maybe it would crash down on an enchanted tree and impale itself. It could happen; individual Undeem weren’t very bright since their personalities and the remnants of their minds had been slaved to their mistress’.
It didn’t topple. Unreal regarded its segments seeking a weakness as it continued to ignore her. Couldn’t it sense her disobeying the summons to unite with it?
Become one with us…
Unify and destroy all…
You want to join us…
“No!” Unreal screamed. She fought the remains of the binding that had changed her into an Undeem. “I will not join you!”
She struggled, dropping to her knees as the summons tried to master her, return her to a shadowy possession. She felt the Queen’s influence seeping through her mind, cold like the waters that submerged the bitch’s sunken palace.
You won’t possess me!
My mind is my safe haven.
Get out of my head!
The Queen laughed and Undreal saw her. She was transported back there, a battered thing flung down like a forgotten plaything to weep onto the cold tiles. A hot magenta hem ripped in places met her bleary sight. The Queen crouched down, grabbed a handful of hair as illusory as all the rest. Still it hurt when the hand tightened and jerked her head up.
What you’ve done’s anathema.
Return to the fold.”
In the Queen’s eyes two inch worms lay on a plate awaiting the knife that would sever them. Those eyes offered no absolution just pain.
Undreal shook her head. This was all in her mind. The Queen never left her sunken palace on a plane of existence so far from here that her grip could not hold both Undreal’s mind and the centipede together. One of them had to fall.
The ground shook as the insectoid approached. Perhaps it had taken notice of her when the Queen had. The Queen increased her grip on Undreal, squeezing out all thought as that iron vise sought to squash her will.
A light shone–a single star–a cold pinpoint in the dark between the bowed crowns of giant, enchanted trees. Its light extended a baby’s hands and smiled with the same smile that had unchained Undreal’s heart and mind. Purity radiated off that child’s brow and the night turned halcyon despite the approaching monster. A child divine, whose touch hallowed the ground as she reached for his ethereal hand, knowing it would burn. For the Undeem cannot abide the touch of good.
Good’s touch hurts evil;
Purity burns evil’s pyre
light smotes the darkness.
Undreal strained and her shadow hand pierced the light, drawing it in despite the screamed protests to stop. The child gazed at her with sympathy and nodded. He was giving her his light; she was taking a gift, not stealing as was the Undeem way and that made all the difference somehow.
A babe’s hand offers
salvation to those who reach.
One touch sets you free…
“I’ll crush you. Smote you until nothing but dust remains!” hissed the Queen and her grip tightened sending more cold, more darkness and more evil into Undreal. She fed all her vile power into Undreal in an attempt to destroy this new adversary.
With a grimace, Undreal felt herself morphing into something else as both good and evil strove against each other in her breast. Not Undeem but not human flesh, might she become some more balanced commingling of light and dark, good and evil, perhaps?
Good and evil strove,
while her heart held them enthralled.
Her mind stayed her own.
The baby still held her hand, his eyes luminous and behind him a money changer’s balance flickered revealing a cross. The ominous sight smote the hole where her soul had dwelled before the Queen had sucked it out. In that instant, the balance shifted and made possible a transmutation.
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While in her breast, the light collects, dark too
comes to rest and together there, they share
a space, make whole a soul once damaged through
reckless promises to a ghoul; now there
safe at last, that tattered soul wings back, dives
into the hole where it forever nests.
While Undeem Queen’s attention’s kept, her hive
loses cohesion, the Centipede wrecks
itself as its components go astray,
like cogs they roll away, ’cause their not held
together ’cause the Queen’s power display
could not take a split in attention paid.
So all that night were, by a mistake, saved.
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When the Shadows rise
One among them’ll come to save;
know then, an end’s nigh…
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To be continued on Thursday.
Due to the anniversary of some very painful times and a promise I made, the editorial calendar for this week and next will be a little different than usual. Tomorrow Sarn returns.
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For my sister (RIP):
I did not know
your silence foretold your death.
Too soon you’re absent.
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