Good versus evil, demons and angels collide in this fantasy short story by homemaker Krystal Smith from Covington, Louisiana.
Sasha was born in a home that was shaped like an egg from the inside. Its walls were soft and white and had tiny golden veins etched into them. Dappled rays of light filtered through the translucent ceiling, giving it a warm glow. She felt that room itself also gently swayed lulling her to sleep as she rested there after having been born.
That evening, something extraordinary happened. When the moon was high and full, the roof of what she discovered was her moonflower home, opened, and gently spread its lovely petals about it. The flowers had awakened and Sasha woke with them. Before her was a rippling meadow full of moonflowers just like hers, but she was alone, seated in the middle of her home.
Sasha was a holy being made of light with starlight colored hair. She was an angel. She rose to her feet, unfolded her strong, iridescent, wings, and vanished in a blink. Then, she reappeared at the edge of the forest-ringed field, now resembling a pretty human girl with brown hair and eyes and the face of a Baroque angel. The only hint of her preternatural nature was the mist evaporating around her in the afterglow of her transformation.
Sasha was born knowing that there was someone in need of her assistance. Therefore, she took one last look at the sparkling meadow, as the first glimmering rays of light began to shine through the trees, and left to find that person.
She darted through the trees with the speed of a fox, until she reached a small city. The sun had risen, and above the city, invisible to humans, was a hellish vortex. To the people below, it took the shape of swirling, crimson clouds.
A devil peered through the vortex and planted seeds of chaos among the people below; Lesser demons and foreboding omens induced fear, anger, and regret in the people. Shadow people, the creatures that you see out of the corner of your eye at dusk were freely roaming the dark corners of the city.
“Puny humans,” hissed the devil in the sky, “Soon, their lack of faith will lead to their downfall, and they will be consumed by their sin as my demons twist their thoughts and desires!”
Sasha despised this demon and wanted to stop it, but saw something peculiar, a strange boy. The boy bore the same mark that was bestowed upon Kane. This mark was an essence surrounding him that told anyone who saw him that he should not be killed, unless great misfortune would befall them. Sasha wondered what this unusual boy was doing at the edge of the forest before the devil’s planned end. It looked as if he was gathering foxglove in the deep shade of an oak.
The fairies sleeping in the foxglove bells yelled in high pitched squeaks of terror while their homes tinkled as they were plucked from their stems. Sasha grabbed the boy’s wrist when he reached for another flower. In a trice, he gazed straight at her with opaque, beetle black, clouded-over eyes. He was possessed! That was why he had the mark of Cain upon him. He was being controlled by evil.
She prayed for the boy to have clarity of thought as she whispered, “Lord, have mercy on his soul,” but, while her eyes were locked in his gaze, she felt a punching sensation in her side. He’d attacked her with green dagger. A cold wind swept through her and she began to lose consciousness. The clouds in the boy’s eyes cleared and the demon possessing him was burned away.
She cried to herself as she noticed the look of shock and horror on the boy’s face. She was wounded and thought she had failed. Also, apparently, she was now the one in need of assistance as her consciousness withdrew.
Sasha slept dolefully. Upon her waking, the blackness in her eyes faded and images of the world around her sharpened. She studied her surroundings. She was in a pristine, candle lit cave, an underground Cathedral. She lay on a mat on the floor and was covered in a wool blanket.
She felt confused and wondered where she was, when she noticed that she was not alone. Across the room, there was a tall, fit looking man whose ambience swarmed with magic. Suddenly, she heard the crash of a dish on the floor. It sounded like her host was either cooking or working magic. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference, but a delicate, strawberry-vanilla scent filled her nostrils.
On the other side of the room, the mysterious stranger made a lovely Christmas cake. Vibrant strawberries with their stems cut off stood on top of the cake like a grove of Christmas trees. The delicate flavors of the cake, fresh berries, and icing blended together the same way a wizard’s energy blends with the energy of things around him to work magic. The benevolent stranger thought, “Surely, something like this would lift an angel’s spirit.”
To go along with the cake, her host made green tea. Its scent reminded her of fresh tea leaves and monks chanting, quite the treat!
The man placed the cake on a plate. Then, he poured the tea into a cup that he had just accidentally broken and fixed using gold dusted lacquer and a mending spell. Next, he turned on the pipe organ and set it to softly play celestial music. He carried the refreshments towards Sasha as the music pleasantly rained down from the ceiling.
Sasha noticed her attendant approaching. The man had a friendly smile and a look of concern on his face. Sasha began to relax, though she was unhappy about her predicament. She wondered what had happened to the boy that she tried to save and the cursed city. She couldn’t figure out where she was or who this man was either, but, at least she seemed to be recovering well after being stabbed. The wound in her side had almost gone thanks to her ability to efficiently direct her energy towards healing.
Sasha observed that the stranger was about 6 feet tall and somewhat lean, but healthy. He had slit, brown eyes and long, straight, black tendrils for hair. He wore pants made of a coarse material and collarless, pullover shirt. His shoes were leather, worn, and well-made. He carried a tea cup and a plate that displayed the cake.
The man placed the refreshments in front of her and with a warm smile said, “It’s good to see that you are awake. My name is Kazef. I’m the son of a lady and a mountain spirit who lives here. Would you like some cake and tea?” Sasha nodded and replied, “Yes, please.” Kazef went on to explain, “I’m sure you’re wondering how you ended up here. This may come as a shock to you, but I was the boy that you saved. There’s a story about why I looked so different.” “Go on. I’m interested in hearing it,” she said as she reached for the cake. She smiled as she bit into the strawberry-filled, French vanilla flavored, sponge cake. It was as light as air with pure white, whipped frosting, and sweet, heart-shaped, sliced strawberries decorating the sides.
While she ate, Kazef began, “I was wandering around the city when I stepped into an alley where a black-eyed demon was lurking in a jar next to the steps of a church. This particular demon was angry because he didn’t have a living thing to possess, having simply been placed in a jar, and left next to the church. I wondered why someone would leave such a thing there like that, but the air had been filled with a woeful miasma that day and the heat was driving people crazy. I decided that the lonely demon in the jar looked harmless enough while it was trapped inside of it, and thought I’d bring it to a priest to be exorcised. After all, I had no use for a jar with a demon in it.”
Sasha smiled and said, “But, something went wrong.” Kazef looked self-conscious and said, “That’s an understatement. As I began to climb the steps, a dark wind knocked me back and loosed the jar from my grip. It fell to the ground and cracked. I tried to magically seal it in the same way I fixed the tea cup that you are drinking out of, but the demon, in all of his fury, managed to muster up enough strength to break out and attack me. He carried the mark of Cain and possessed my body by putting my spirit into a dream-like state where I could see what was going on, but had no control. The demon raged forward exclaiming how, “The end is nigh!” Then, he muttered under his breath about how he would succeed in carrying out the mission that his master had given to him.
The creature directed my body to the place where I started to pick the foxglove. He had some sort of devious plot in mind. That was when I saw you. I noticed that the demon felt a surge of glee when he detected your presence, and hid his face,” he explained as he lowered his eyes. “I wanted to warn you, but it was too late. He’d already taken my magical dagger and stabbed you in the ribs. Once I began to feel as though I regained control of my body, I was horrified to see the demon’s work. From his thoughts I’d gathered that I had been used as bait and a puppet to kill you,” Kazef explained.
He resumed, “I removed the knife and did my best to dress your wounds, but you’d already fainted and there wasn’t much more that I could do for you. Thus, I decided to use one of my most powerful summoning spells given to me by my father, and called an old friend for help. This friend told me that he recognized you, Sasha. He’s the one who brought us here and he’s waiting outside to see you.”
Sasha was thoughtful and made her way towards the opening in the cave. As she reached the entrance, she saw rocky spires of mountains and great owls orbiting overhead. A very large spire was directly in front of her and, there, perched like a gargoyle, his chin resting on the palm of his claw, was a magnificent gray dragon with cat-yellow eyes and a pleased smile on his face. His body snaked around the mountain and reddish, cotton candy clouds draped about him. Sasha leaped with joy as she shouted his name, “Mercury!”
Mercury was a Storm Drake. Sasha didn’t remember how it was that she knew him, but their souls recognized one another. Mercury greeted Sasha with a bow and spoke in his deep, rumbling voice, “Sasha it has been a long time. I knew you in another life, before you knew you are an angel. We have been friends for centuries.” Sasha frankly said, “All I remember is that I was born of a moonflower, was, recently, knocked out, and awakened here knowing that my purpose is to help someone. Please, Mercury, if you know who I am and why I’m here, tell me.”
Mercury nodded in approval, “You are part angel, part human. You died long ago and God has resurrected you. You fought against demons on earth when you were killed by the same devil that threatened the city and sent the shadow demon to possess Kazef. Please forgive Kazef as he is a young spirit and forgive me for being unable to protect you.” Mercury’s expression looked grave as he paused and said, “The city was destroyed a few days ago. I could not turn the hurricane into a cleansing one and the demon’s destruction reigned supreme. Hell escaped through the portal that he created.” Sasha nodded and said, “Who is this demon that we face?” Mercury’s expression became serious as he said, “He is a hideous demon, capable of enchantment, which drives his victims to their deaths. He hid in the clouds and sent his minions to reap havoc. It is your fate to face him. I surmise that you have returned, so that you may defeat him and save the people. I’m sorry to bring such dreadful news to you.”
Sasha stood lost in thought for several moments. Then, with a resolute look on her face she said, “You have done your best and stayed true. I’m proud of the both of you. Dear friends, will you, now, fight with me against this devil to save the people of the city?” Kazef asked, “Sasha, how will we save the city if it has already been destroyed?” Sasha patiently explained, “We can travel back a few days in time and fight this devil. The human form is too heavy to travel to another time or dimension. That is why the body is often shed during time travel. As a half-angel, I am just strong enough to bring us back to the point in time just before the city is attacked cloaked in our ethereal forms. However, our bodies will be gone for good.”
Kazef and Mercury solemnly agreed to help and the world blurred like chalk in the rain. Subsequently, the three of them materialized on the edge of the city where Sasha first saw the devil peering out from the clouds. Kazef called forth a ball of lightning from the atmosphere and incinerated a nearby demon. Mercury set to work transforming the essence of the storm as he soared into the sky. The rain stopped and the clouds changed to a rainbow of colors as their swirling pace quickened. Giants, hidden, heavenly castles, fish and all manner of sea life, and marble shaped clouds appeared.
Sasha flew to the center of the hurricane and faced the devil. The contemptuous demon attacked her by speechlessly telling her soul, “You are worthless, a husk controlled by others, with no spirit or love to call your own. You are just a puny human,” freezing Sasha as she drew near. Then, deep inside her heart she heard it, a voice whispering, “Remember who you are, beloved, unique, and chosen.” She was human, and that is what saved her.
Lovingly, she watched Kazef fighting, people struggling, and Mercury transforming the deadly storm. Her heart began to sing the most beautiful song as did she. The madness stopped and soft snow-sparkle began to fall. The demon let out a terrible scream akin to the sound of all of the birds in the dawn chorus dying at once in a squelch. The people of the city were in the streets, amazed by the day’s happenings; But, as the clouds began to float away, peace and hope were left in everyone’s heart. Sasha, Kazef, and Mercury floated away with the clouds and returned home, to heaven, in joyful celebration.
Krystal Smith is a homemaker from Covington, Louisiana. She is the wife of Steven Smith and mother of 2 beautiful, baby boys, a 7-month-old and a 2-year-old, who like to listen to her read her poetry and stories.
She has enjoyed writing poetry and short stories since she was a child and likes to encourage others to read. She is a member of Poet’s Alive Northshore, a local poetry group where she enjoys sharing her writing with friends and others.