Friday, September 26, 2008

Chapter 5

Once Joseph and Mary Beth were gone, it was just the girl, the officer, some paramedics and I in the Ambulance on the way to the hospital. It would seem that it would be fairly packed in that ambulance, but being an Angel means that you do not take up a lot of space. The ambulance lurched into movement, and I said a little prayer to myself. I did not like to withhold information from my teammates, but in the grand timescale they are both babies, and I myself, for all intents and purposes, am a teenager. That means that I am in charge, and their welfare is in my hands. Joseph and I work well together, but I can’t risk either of them having to face Blackwell. Maybe when this is all over I will tell them; no, I will tell them, and hope they’ll forgive me for not being wholly upfront with them. If this mission is going to succeed, then they have to be able to see the patient to the hospital, and they won’t be able to do that if they are battling the Dark Lord of Wrath.

The ambulance had just been getting up to a decent speed when it screeched to a halt; two cars had nearly crashed in an intersection. And the drivers were angrily screaming at each other. While they were doing so, their cars were blocking the intersection. I leapt from the inside of the truck to the hood to see what the matter was. Something seemed wrong, very wrong. As I examined the combatants’ emotions, I saw snaking tendrils of dark red energy wrapping themselves around their spirits. I quickly drew my sword and heard a voice I had hoped to never hear again.

The circumstances of Blackwell’s death are considered to be nothing more than legend today, a ghost story. But those of us who were there know that there is nothing mythical about that night, or what happened after it. Elijah Blackwell was one of the older Negroes on our neighboring plantation in Mobile, Alabama in 1840. His family came over with ours on one of the last slave boats from Africa in the early 1800’s. Our families had always been close, and we ended up on neighboring plantations in Alabama. I looked up to him my whole life, until the day he died. I was 15 at the time, and thought he was just about the greatest man alive. My own Father had been killed when I was 5 while he was trying to escape, but after that our masters had a change of heart and started to treat us a lot better. Well, better for slaves, not as people. Our neighbors to the east were not so lucky. In May of 1840, a whole family of slaves tried to escape to a shipping boat near the gulf so that they could sail to South America. They succeeded, and that Plantation’s master was red with rage. As punishment, he killed Elijah’s entire family. It never occurred to him that killing another family was not the best thing to do when he had just lost a family, but that particular master was known more for his cruelty than his intelligence. To him it was a personal insult that anyone would want to leave his "hospitality". Elijah fell into a deep depression for 3 months, not speaking to anyone. The few people who did come into contact with him reported that something definitely was not right with him. He had a look in his eyes that wasn’t quite human they said. He went about his work as usual, but fewer and fewer people ever wanted to work with him. Even over on my land we heard rumors that the Devil had gotten into Elijah, and no one would talk to him or work with him anymore.

The master of that land, Silas Nutt, had had about enough of Elijah., He left Elijah live because he knew that Elijah was the de-facto leader of all the rest of the slaves, and that he would keep the rest of them in line since his own family had been killed. But now he was becoming a liability, since everyone was afraid of him. And, we heard, Nutt was afraid of him as well. There was a growing sentiment that Nutt had created a monster, and no one quite knew what to do about it. We all know Elijah would do something, but none of us on Earth could say what. One night, one horrible night, everyone in Alabama found out what Elijah would do.

He rose in the middle of the night. Through none of this did he ever say a word. He grabbed the two sharpest machetes he could find, and headed up to the house. He killed everyone he came across, white and black. As he got to the house, he killed the servants he saw, so that they could not sound an alarm. All of this he did soundlessly. Most of the people Elijah murdered that night did not have a chance to scream. He found Nutt’s oldest brothers downstairs, telling stories of the night they had had out on the town. He ran one through in front o his brother, and the other, in his shock, did not have time to draw his pistol before Elijah removed his right hand and then his head. He killed the nursemaid. He killed the maids. He killed the houseboys. He snuck upstairs and into the rooms of Nutt’s two sisters, and cut their throats while they slept. As their beds soaked through with red, he went to Nutt’s parent’s room, and ripped them apart with his twin blades. With grim determination he went to the room where Nutt’s three young daughters slept. He showed them as much mercy as Nutt had shown Elijah’s family. When he was done with the daughters, he piled the three bodies on top of them, and threw them in a pile before Nutt’s bedroom door. He did the same with Nutt’s sisters and his parents.

Silently, he slipped into Nutt’s room, and pulled his wife from the bed. Nutt still didn’t awaken, until he heard his wife’s screams. He opened his eyes to see a large blade emerging from his wife’s belly, blood shooting everywhere. Not sure if he was awake or dreaming, Elijah moved Nutt’s wife closer to him so that her blood could hit him in the face, erasing any doubt about what was happening. When he felt that his point had been made, Elijah stuck his other blade through the woman, then calmly pulled them apart. As she fell to the ground, all that was left was Elijah’s silhouette. What little Nutt could see of Elijah was soaked through red with blood.
"Elijah? Is that you?" Nutt stammered.

"Here’s a hint." With that he grabbed Nutt and dragged the portly man from the bed with one hand. He pulled him out into the hallway, and threw him onto the pile of his family members remains. He let Nutt have a good 5 minutes to soak in the reality of his situation before he spoke again. "The pile of meat you’re laying on, is your family. I wanted you to know what I been thinking about the last three months. But you ain’t gonna be thinking about it for three months, cuz you goin to Hell tonight. But not just yet. I want you to see the rest of what you built burn to the ground."

Elijah threw Nutt down the spiral staircase that lead to the ground floor and then began to light the place on fire. He threw Nutt bodily from the building and then… waited. Nutt turned around, the horrible shock of what had happened creeping into his mind. On his way out Elijah made sure to show him the dead bodies of Nutt’s two sons, so that he would know that Elijah’s revenge was complete. He fell to his knees and shuddered, for all intents and purposes he was in shock. Eventually the fire brigade and a bunch of neighbors showed up to put out the fire. When they saw Nutt, they asked him where his family was and what started the fire. He couldn’t talk. Nutt had already said the last words he would ever stay. When everyone was assembled, Elijah made his entrance. People say that he walked straight through the flames, unscathed. People say that because it was true.

As he walked out looking to all the world like a devil from hell, he spoke, "This man took everything from me, and now I’ve taken everything from him. Except for this." As he said that, he removed Nutt’s head with one clean stroke. He picked the head up and threw it at Nutt’s best friend, who had come over to help. With that, he launched himself at the crowd. When it was all over, he had killed another 16 white men, and I heard that it took 18 musket shots to finally kill him. In his dying breath he said that he wasn’t done, that all white men would feel his rage before he was done.

Today I found myself facing down that rage. Elijah’s rage impressed the Devil so much, that he made him a demon. Over the years he earned his way up to a demon lord of Wrath, since it was what he was good at. I lunged forward and rolled so that I was facing behind me. When I looked up the spot that I had been standing in had a very large glowing machete stuck there.
"Well, if it isn’t little Charles, fancy meeting you here." He waved his hand and the sword returned to his side. "I haven’t seen you since the first time you came back to Earth. Imagine my little adopted boy coming back to Earth playing for the other side. I though I would have set a good enough standard in my glorious exit from life for you to follow. But here you are persisting in being a good person."

I drew my sword and went into my fighting stance. Maybe if he was distracted by me the disturbance would clear up and the ambulance could get to the hospital before she dies. "I told you the first time I learned of your reemergence in this Demon state, that after that day my image of you died when you came out of that house. You’re something now I could never be, and it is proof that the Universe works that you burned in Hell. Unfortunately, the fact that you’re here now is a oversight I intend to correct.

"HAHAHAHA, REALLY! YOU? I thought Pride was a sin. You saw what I did to you pigeons last time, and there were 10 of you then. What do you think I’m going to do to just you?" Elijah stepped down from the top of the Ambulance to the hood. As he moved every human in the area seemed to change subtly, and get more and more annoyed with the situation. The ambulance drive began to lean on his horn. "Man, it’s so easy in this city. Spreading Wrath in NYC is really much easier than falling off a log. But then, I guess you’d know that. No one knows how fucked this world is better then you pigeons up in your golden nest."

It was a good thing he was in a talkative mood, but his very presence was driving the humans mad, and further stalling the trip to the hospital. I had to do something to get him away from this area. "You know Elijah, the other thing that’s done is me listening to you being a windbag. Back in the day you had something useful to say, but now, all they teach you in Hell apparently is how to blow hot air. Appropriate actually.