Monday, December 20, 2010

Vanquishing the Vanguard

The riddles had been easy enough. The path had been cleared; the first half of the day had passed. Beyond the fountain the door opened automatically as if welcoming the juvenile eloquency of normal mortal life to its pristine glory. There was no creaking, not a muscle moved. Not one sound tried to overture the commemoration. The orchestra would sit this one out. Three men entered the arena. If only redemption could be liquidated this easily, one prayed. Or maybe it was going to be embezzled. Whichever way, the obscene repercussion was a must. Inside was more of a playground than anything else. A myriad of squares consisting of white tiles highlighted in places by blobs of reds and greens and blacks separated by grass and plain concrete alternatively gave an awkward sense of finesse. Something very raw very stale lived here. The nostrils screamed that. And yet apart from the stench the room it was spick and span. There was a dome in the centre with a remarkably intense magnifying lighting system starting with a chandelier at the peak of the dome and ending at the intersection of the dome with the walls with small coloured lamps around which grew plants with miniscule pale yellow flowers. The dome too was white as maybe snow white herself. On the whole, the cream walls with the slight woodwork in places and the tiles alongside the grass and the dome gave a feeling of gay extravaganza. But the stench worsened and a being crawled out from one corner of the room, possibly a hole in the ground. First came, the head and then the rest of the pink puddle. It couldn’t be called an apparition but it was no less an appearance of the anti gods. The being was pink in appearance probably from having bled so much and surviving to kill another every time. It wasn’t exactly what they had imagined him to be. But he wasn’t lesser. The Vycus was sinister. You need not look into those eyes to know that. Not that he had eyes. He wore a headdress too small for him made of steel like warriors used to wear in the old times during the wars of swords and corporeal attainments. In the place of eyes lay two slits covering white. Probably the eyes. The rest was a blob of mass. The arms were blobby and the hands were like a witch’s. The fingers were long and slender. The feet were stumps thicker than trees. At first sight he seemed an easy kill. But then he picked up his axe. A mere glaze of the same could create a wound so deep so as to never heal. His vanity stood vivified. Its blade shone with the verdict of the satanic. Next came the snake slithering to his neck and perching there. The bygone valour of the perseverance of the chase was vindicated to stupidity.
As he stomped the ground, taking his first step, it was palpable that the onslaught was on the brink of commencement. A groan escaped him as he tried to talk. Saliva dripped from his mouth as he spoke.
“Who is first?”
Master stepped forward.
“Shinkozu. I see you are back. Who’s that? Another brother?”
For a split second, the master hung his head.
“This time you die.”
And for the first time in the presence of another, he revealed his true form. A wolf now stood in his place. The eyes were the same though. Filled with vengeance. His age grays filled his animal body with the placidness of a spent cloud. The thunder though was yet to show.
The tiny man had disappeared. The black wolf stood beside the other one. The plan was simple. First goes the axe and then the snake. Once the prey was defenseless, pain would be inflicted till death. His eyes gleamed with the lust of a newborn killer. Not that he was a novice but the fact that the one friend he had, his master wanted this particular being dead and entrusted him with the same gave him a high. Add to that, the new craze for blood and power and his thirst only grew. There is nothing as addictive as the sense of power that the devil splurges to one who has barely just performed his first murders. It’s a sentence for life. One each desires whether he may accept or attain it or not. What is it that one really desires other than to be loved and respected? If the respect comes from fear is it not his one abiding to earn it? At such times this craving, gets so strong that it chews on the entire meaning of living life at all. Tonight minds spurted that surging need to slaughter again. Images of previous assaults pirated each of their minds to a state of cockiness well deserved. The fire of having lost a loved one not so long ago only just angered even more. The entire room was brimming with a sense of enticement. Even the Vycus, one who had known and slain more fierce enemies could feel a sense of inborn exhilaration. He knew not what was in store for him. But he cared even less. He had pawned one too many to fear anything at all. Tonight though, no amount of botany, mathematics or venom could save him. Even the Gods feared to tread in such battles. Tonight Satan himself had obsessed his enemy’s soul. For a moment he even considered his end. Knowing what was at stake fired him up even more.
Vengeance and desire were on a one on one with brute force and vanity.
The wolves assaulted. They ran rubbing shoulders for a stretch and then separated into opposite directions only coming together at the spot where the Vycus crossed their path. A flowing current of water rummaging across a small stone would have made a similar course. The Vycus being left handed had the axe on the left. The black wolf coming on from his left slowed so as to distract him. Sensing the speed change the Vycus had released the snake onto the gray one on his right holding it by its tail. It had been a good move till the black wolf picked up pace and dodging the swing of the axe launched onto his neck right as the snake tail slipped of it onto his right hand. The timing was perfect. The groans simultaneous. The gray wolf had caught the snake around its neck. The Vycus tried to shake the wolf on his neck off but to no avail. Apart from the jaws gnawing of his neck, the hind paws dug in onto his back and front. Having no option, he dropped the axe to brush off the intruder. The gray wold pulled the Lilith away from its master. Waiting for the right moment, the black wolf shifted weight onto the prey’s backside jumping towards his frontal barely before the hand knocked him. Off balance, the butcher fell. The snake was pulled by the weight of its holder. The gray wolf now dug deep into the lower jaw of the Lilith(snake). Sensing the opportunity the black wolf swiftly took hold of the other jaw using his momentum to strain it. The other wolf merely just held his grip on the lower jaw. Their combined strength tore apart the mouth of a crying Lilith killing her instantly. One part of the plan had succeeded. The butchers apprentice had been pawned. Now for the butcher himself.
Meanwhile the third has stolen the axe.
As the butcher got up and looked around he realized what had happened. He was defenseless. His child lay there bested His axe was nowhere to be seen. For the first time in his life, the butcher felt fear. He watched the wolves as they stalked him circling him. He realized why he had lost. Their eyes gave them away. Sometimes, even mortals are invincible. His death was prominent. He knew it. The wolves knew it. The man standing on the chandelier holding his axe knew it.
It was just a matter of how long. They let him feel it. For the thought that he was going to die to sink in deep enough. Their movement grew stealthily faster. No matter how fast he turned he could never keep an eye on more than one of them. He took off his headdress in order to see better. And then he ran out of time. The one in front of him rushed forward. He followed suit. Right when he was in front of him, the wolf jumped. He tried to catch it. It bit his head and tugged. Right then, he felt a push on his legs as if a bull had come thrashing into him from behind. For the second time in one night, he fell. The last thing he saw was the little man coming down on him with an axe, his axe. The Vycus had fallen. First blood had been drawn.