REVISED version of
Black Halo: the Witch & the Guardian
is coming out on 12/9/2015!
PART 1 (Prologue, Chapter 1)
With the Light, came Magic, and the Witch. As mysterious as she was fearsome, and as powerful as she was merciless, the Witch almost succeeded in ending the world until she was vanquished by a hero and his comrades.
This is the legend of the Witch and the Guardian.
Centuries after the nigh calamity, this legend is as much as almost anyone knows of what truly happened back then and as much of an explanation anyone has of what ended an era in human civilization.
Though the people may never learn the whole story, you as the reader will follow the days that led up to how a young girl named Lily became immortalized as the Witch though her name, dreams and life became forgotten.
COMING OF AGE
“Mom?! Mom!” Kalin’s shouts were loud enough to echo.
From the loft, Kalin went down the stairs to his family’s florist shop. The various perfumes of the flowers and plants tickled his nose as they always did. He found his mother near the exit of the store tucked into a thick winter jacket and a wool beanie she had knitted. She had a small mail carrier bag strapped across her chest and was busy gathering the picket signs.
“You’re going out again? For those freaks?” Kalin grumpily asked.
He didn’t have a particular reason to dislike the “freaks” other than that he worried about his mother. Hostility from their community was growing each day ever since Kalin’s mother announced her support of those weirdos.
“First, the politically correct term we are apparently using is to refer to them as the ‘Gifted.’ If you’re up to feeling a bit silly, you may call them wizards. Second, though they may be wizards, the Gifted are still people, Kalin,” his mother spoke sternly but with tenderness. She knew it wasn’t an easy thing for her son to understand, and she understood that he was worried for her. “Maybe someday you’ll understand, hun. I imagine your father would be out there with me too if he was still around.” She finally managed to gather all the picket signs and carried them over her shoulder, holding them steady with one arm. With her free hand, the mother ruffled her son’s hair.
Kalin shooed his mother’s hand away. His father wasn’t a hero or led a particularly interesting life, but everyone who knew him told Kalin that his father was a good man. Illness took him away while Kalin was still a toddler. After he passed away, it was just Kalin and his mother and the flower shop. They were the only family each other had left.
Every time she mentioned his father, Kalin felt frustrated and guilty. Perhaps it was because he felt he couldn’t take some of the burden off of his mother or perhaps it was because it seemed like he was the burden itself. Each time she mentioned him, Kalin could still see the twinkle in her eyes of a woman who still hadn’t been able to let go of her long gone other half.
“The church people don’t seem to like it when you go, Mom. They looked pretty angry at us last time,” Kalin gave his final complaint to fight for his mother’s stay.
“Kalin, sometimes people let their fear and anger get the better of them.” She looked at her son who didn’t seem too happy with the answer. “It’s during these times that we have to remember”—Kalin’s mother poked at her son’s head—“we have this”—she poked at her son’s heart—“…and that!”
“No, mom! There are people out there hunting down other people who support those freaks! And, yeah, those Gifted murdered people. I don’t think it’s naive to overlook something like that! Are you saying that doctor deserved to be killed by that Witch? Don’t you remember all those stories on the news? All the people crying for the doctor?” Kalin retorted.
“We can’t judge an entire group of people on few bad eggs. I know you already know this, my stubborn, stubborn son.”
Kalin’s mom set aside the signs and embraced her son into her arms. The nervousness in the son’s heart lingered but his anger subsided in his mother’s hug.
“I know you’re worried, kiddo. Sometimes it’s difficult and dangerous to do the right thing. Sometimes the right thing may seem like the wrong thing to do—even more so as we get older. But if all the good people hid from doing what’s right, what kind world would we leave behind tomorrow?”
Kalin still didn’t look satisfied.
“I have to be both your mom and your dad. I want you to know that your parents were people that didn’t just talk about doing the right things, but actually did them. And I want you to think of me as a”—the mother paused for a moment and grinned—“badass.” She gave him a peck on the forehead. “And you’ll have to live with that.” She squeezed his cheek and gave him a smile.
“At least let me go with you,” Kalin grumbled.
“Nope. School night. Just tell your mum, that you love so much, that you love her and ask her to come home safe.” His mother stood and gathered up her signs again. Kalin wanted tell his mom that he did think of her as a ‘badass’. That he was proud of her. The words tickled at his throat but never made it out.
“If you say you’ll pick me up a burger on the way home.” Kalin crossed his arms.
“You should be sleeping by the time I get back, you pig.” His mother rummaged in her pockets for her keys.
“You have no power here when you’re not home.” Kalin smirked.
“Only if you give me a kiss.” His mother puckered her lips and closed her eyes.
Kalin reluctantly gave her a peck on the cheek, and it was enough for his mother to be satisfied with her small victory.
“I’ll lock up. But don’t forget to turn off the lights before you go to sleep, alright?” His mother asked with half of her already out the door.
“I won’t sleep ‘till I get my burger,” the son replied as he headed for the stairs.
“I really don’t know from which gene pool made you so stubborn.” She locked the door behind her and walked out into the dark empty street of a cold winter night. The street was lightly covered white with snow. The sedan left behind by her late husband was parked right in front of her shop. The warmth from the store made the sudden chill hard to bear. She hurriedly packed the picket signs and her bag into the back of her car. Her face was already numb from the cold wind.
As she closed the door of her car and headed towards the driver’s side, she saw a group of three men coming her way.
A different layer of chill than the cold of winter jolted down her spine.
Instinctive fear telling her to go.
She jumped into her car and attempted to start it. The engine didn’t turn over. The front window was iced. She couldn’t see them but she could hear their footsteps crunching into the snow as the crunches grew louder and louder. She turned on the headlights and fruitlessly tried to turn the engine again.
Don’t be stupid. She told herself. Calm down. You’re being paranoid. Following the guidance of her inner voice, she turned to her glove box for the ice scraper. When did the crunches stop?
Knock. Knock. Knock.
A dark metal object tapped on her window. The man pressed his forehead on the icy glass and the blurred image of a face hidden behind a black ski mask was all she could see.
“Hello,” the man called out to her almost playfully as Kalin’s mother immediately went to lock the doors. They made the distinctive click to let her know that they were already locked.
She could tell even with the iced up windows that the men had surrounded her car. She hoped at this point that they were only here for her.
Knock. KNOCK. KNOCK.
It was obvious at this point the object was a gun.
“What do you want?!” She shouted out the car as she hysterically searched her bag for her phone. The mother wondered whether to call the police first or her son.
“Open the door.”
She tried to start the car only to fail again as she dialed away on her phone.
“Open the door,” The man requested again as calmly as before.
“I’m calling the cops!” She threatened.
Kalin had just cracked open his textbook in his room when he heard the commotion outside. As he approached his bedroom window that overlooked the main road, a loud bang echoed through the neighborhood followed by the sound of car alarms from the street. Kalin rushed over to the window and looked outside. He saw a group of men surrounding his mother’s car and felt a chill wash over his body that made his stomach turn.
“That’s what all of you witch-lovers get.” It was followed by a similar bang as before, and his mother’s car brightly lit up for a short moment before descending back into darkness.
Kalin felt his innards twist and sink as he screamed for his mother. He stumbled down the stairs frantically and dashed out of the front door of his flower shop. One of the men threw a dirty glass bottle into the car that engulfed it in flames.
The three masked men stared at the terrified boy.
“Your mother got what she deserved, boy,” The one who threw the bottle said. “And you’re going to end up the same if you follow in her footsteps.”
After giving Kalin their warning, the three men fled. One of the men looked back to check the spectacle only to see instead what he thought had to have been his eyes playing tricks. The boy was in the air with bluish streams jetting from his body and coming at him with astonishing speed. Kalin landed on the man and they tumbled on the snowy street.
Kalin yelled and screamed nigh incomprehensible words as he beat on the man. Some blows felt about as strong as what a young teen could muster. Some blows, those that jetted similar streams from earlier, landed harder than anything the man had experienced in his life.
The man’s two accomplices saw their friend in trouble and ran back to help. They could hear the sirens rapidly approaching. Kalin didn’t notice the two men until they kicked him across the face and stomped him to the ground. They helped their friend up and began to flee again but stopped when they realized their friend wasn’t with them. The two looked behind to find their companion stomping the boy. Kicking to satisfy his anger.
“We got to go!” one of them yelled.
Just a little more, the man thought as his foot rose up into the air and landed hard again on Kalin.
The two partners in crime grabbed the man by his arms and dragged him away as he cursed at the boy. They had to drag him until the sirens grew loud enough with their lights beginning to turn the white snow red and blue brought him back to his sense enough to run on his own.
Some neighbors and bystanders slowly came out from their hiding and witnessed the burning vehicle and a boy beaten to a pulp laying in the streets. Kalin turned onto his back and drowned in the night sky. The taste of blood filled his mouth and his body hurt from all over. But the void he was feeling inside—a tear—was the only thing he could feel. In the sky, he could see the stars and the Light. Snow began to fall again as he coughed up blood.
Sirens and lights of red and blue quickly flooded the scene. The three men were eventually captured and were found to be part of their victim’s church. All three admitted to their actions and went on to testify that they were proud of what they had done. They claimed they were simply stopping a disease from spreading across the world.
The victim’s son disappeared a few months after the incident.
…There are no clear records of when and where the Witch and her follower met. There are no clear indicators of who he was, what he did, and what he was to her. The only thing clear seems to be that when the Witch first arrived, she was alone. But during some point she met a companion who’d follow her until the end of her life…
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