As quickly as it appeared the haunting apparition vanishes. Leaving a stunned Jasmine standing as still as a statue. Her eyes wide open and empty, her jaw dropped. I cautiously make a move towards her. As I do her eyes blink once. When they reopen they’re filled with horror and astonishment. She draws in a deep breath. I stop, unsure of what is going to happen next. As Jasmine exhales she lets out a blood curdling scream that sends shivers down my spine and raises Goosebumps on my arms. She resembles someone who has seen the unmentionable. Her facial features unrecognisable. With her breath completely exhausted, Jasmine attempts to keep screaming. Automatically refilling her lungs with oxygen, she carries on with her insane cry. ‘Jasmine’s lost her mind’ I think, mortified. I have to act fast before she goes beyond the point of no return.
With no other choice I take a step forward and supply a quick, sharp slap to her twisted face. That should do the trick, I think. She blinks again, this time a little slower. Eyes still blank. I position myself to give her another slap. No need too. Her whole body sways. Anticipating her next movement I catch her in my waiting arms as her legs give way to exhaustion. I lay her down gently on the hard black surface of the car park. Her body completely relaxed like a rag doll. I promptly check her vital signs. Pulse a little fast but heart beating strongly. Her breathing steady. I look into the windows to her soul. Nobody home. I lean down and kiss her tenderly on her forehead. Place her in the recovery position and close the blinds.
“rest my fair lady” I say compassionately.
I slump down on my back, exhausted. The words hissed out by the dark entity reverberate through my weary head. She’s mine now. I reflect. What did it mean by that? Has it taken her prisoner? Taken her life, or worst of all her soul? With these thoughts running round my head I drift off to sleep, unable to keep my eyes open.........
Conscious now, I stare at the pitch black blanket sprinkled with glittering diamonds that surrounds me. An eerie silence covers the area. I feel alone and very uneasy. Dam, I must have dropped off. Have to get my arse into gear and find out what this “maniac brat” has done with the love of my life. I really don’t have a clue where to start. My minds still a little weary from my deep sleep. Finding it hard to concentrate. What’s the time? I check my watch. Its ten o’clock!! That was enough to shock me into action. We need to head into town and find out what the hell is going on here! I seem to have found a new lease on life. I feel energised and ready for the task ahead.
“Jasmine” I say out loud with a sense of urgency.
I turn to check on her current status. As far as I can tell by looking at her, she hasn’t moved an inch. She looks peaceful now too. I feel like the blood just drained from me. Is she even alive? I quickly kneel down beside her and check to see, hear and feel if she is breathing. I let out a sigh of relief. Her breathing is shallow but normal. I hope she was able to untangle the tortured images she had seen to make her react the way she did.
The next thought to enter my mind is my car. I head to the staff car park to check on the status of my car. My jaw drops as I spot what used to be my prized material possession lying crippled before me. A lone meteor lays comfortably nestled deep within the once immaculate bonnet – like a bird’s egg, snug in its nest. I swear it’s smirking at me, happy that it’s ruined a perfectly good day and car. That’s our only immediate form of transport gone.
Jasmine is still sleeping off her ordeal and is in no shape to face reality, let alone walk out of here on her own two feet. Even though I feel energized, I couldn’t imagine carrying her any long distance either. Even walking at a brisk pace it would take us till dawn to reach town. I could go for help on my own but from what I’ve seen today there may be no help to get.
I head back over to Jasmine and check to see if the blinds are still pulled. I bend down to shake her shoulders but before I can touch her, her eyelids swing open. “Steve!” Jasmine says, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. “Miss Penny” I reply, “nice to see you back in the land of living.”
“I had a dream!” Jasmine says, oblivious to my last comment.
“Last time I saw you it looked more like a nightmare” I say, puzzled.
“He melted my fear away with his angelic presence, and took me on a journey to the evil child’s location,” she says with excitement in her voice.
“Well, while you were on this 5 star cruise to location unknown, I was worried sick about you and Sarah. The important thing for me right now is that you are not permanently in a trance and what this, whatever it is, has done to the one I love,” I say wanting answers. The urgency in my voice must have brought Jasmine back down to earth as her face changes from just coming off a fun ride to someone bearing bad news.
“Sarah’s alive, Steve, but she’s under the control of the evil child,” Jasmine says with sadness in her eyes.
“Control? What do you mean – control? Has she suddenly sided with evil? And could we call this thing something else besides the evil child? I don’t know, maybe vengeance or wrath? Evil child is so cliché, I feel like I’m in an Austin Powers movie!” I say, getting rather loud and running out of breath.
“Please, Steve, just listen to what I have to say. I’m sure then you’ll be able to look at the situation in a different light. We have an ally. I don’t know who he is, but he made his presence known to me and his power is equal to that of vengeance. You’re happy with vengeance?” Jasmine adds looking for my approval.
I nod, she continues.
“His presence dissolved the fear and pure horror that I experienced during the encounter with vengeance. My guard was down and once he was in my head, I couldn’t escape his grip. His presence was the complete opposite to the light beings.”
I interrupt. “Light being?” I say sarcastically.
“Okay, let’s call him divinity,” Jasmine says, eager to get on with her dreamy story.
“Divinity and Vengeance it is then. Sorry, carry on Miss Penny,” I say happy to clear that up.
“While Vengeance had a hold on me, I could feel his rage and anger. I could see nothing. All around me was darkness. A heavy suffocating darkness that was closing in on me. I felt the space I was occupying getting smaller and smaller, slowly squeezing the life out of me. I’ve never experienced such panic before. And the noise – my God, the noise.” Jasmine starts breathing heavily and begins to sway as before. Her eyes dancing in circles. I quickly intervene.
“Jasmine! Snap out of it!” I say firmly, snapping my fingers in front of her face. As I do, I notice a red hand print on her left cheek. I hope she doesn’t notice that. Explaining that I had slapped her the last time this happened might be a little embarrassing for both of us.
“Thanks Steve,” she says, dragging her hand across her face and trying to compose herself.
“The noise was like it would be standing in the middle of a swarm of bees. A humming sound that would drive a sane person mad. Even after he’d left my body, the horror went on. A sharp pain in my face bought me out of the darkness and then everything went black again, only this time the darkness was quiet. And that’s when divinity’s light enveloped me. That’s when the noise, terror and suffocation became a distant memory, like when time heals a traumatic event. I left my body and was lifted high above where we are now. I’m usually scared of heights, but I felt completely safe, surrounded by Divinity’s peaceful life-force. I watched the landscape pass beneath me, the moons radiance giving the fields and rolling hills a beautiful glow. As we drew closer to Vengeance, I became more and more unsettled. The same feelings that had me in Vengeance’s grip were creeping up on me again. Divinity must have sensed this, as a light, tingling sensation swept through my troubled thoughts, leaving behind a clean slate. Divinity’s light cancelling out the dark and dense disease that is Vengeance. Divinity didn’t say a word. We just hovered high above a dark forest below. The forest surrounded a large, perfectly round crater with what looked like a black pearl in the centre. The dark forest around the crater caught my attention as it appeared to have a life of its own, bubbling with activity. Suddenly howling and screaming burst up from the forest below, hitting me like a tropical storm. At that point a soft light surrounded me, the hellish noises stopped and the activity that brought the forest to life, died down to a simmer. Obviously they couldn’t see me now, but I could still see them. I calmly focused on the deep black sphere in the crater’s centre. Our friend the moon once again shedding its light to reveal this insidious scene. It looks small from above, but in reality must have been quite large after comparing it to the surrounding trees. The sphere sat atop of a perfectly ice-cream shaped mound of earth. Narrow at the bottom and extending upwards at a steep angle to a flat surface at the top. Around three times the diameter of the sphere. It sat level with the forest. The craters depth was hard to judge at this height, but I could tell, if you were to fall into it from ground level, it would mean certain death. The surrounding forest and deep crater, obviously a deterrent for would-be attackers.”
I interrupt again, “Why would Vengeance be worried about would-be attackers when he can, supposedly, command a fleet of killer jets and fire balls? Surely a click of his fingers and he could lay this place to waste,” I say, unsure if Jasmine has the answers.
“He’s vulnerable somehow,” Jasmine says, fingers tapping her chin as she thinks.
“Well, when you find out how he's vulnerable I want to know so I can end his devlish crusade. By the way, when are you getting to the part about Sarah’s state of mind and where-a bouts,” I ask, getting more impatient by the second.
“Very soon. I’m sorry, I just want you to see the whole picture to help you understand what we’re up against.”
“Right you are Miss Penny. I’m sorry, continue,” I say, rubbing my hands and getting rather nervous about what I’m going to hear.
“Okay, where was I? Yes, that’s right, the fall would mean certain death. Divinity’s calmness made me almost forget where I was. Then without any warning the sphere turned a lighter shade of grey. A black spot appeared in the centre. The spot grew slowly but surely. Well it seemed slow as I was at least one hundred metres above the ground. It blocked out the sphere and then the entire crater as it sailed towards me. The closer it came, the more detail I could make out. With the help of the moons light, I could see what looked like a black skinned fist. Long fingers unfurled from the fist revealing nails sharpened to a point. This hideous sight would have normally scared me stiff, but I just watched as if there were no imminent danger. As if I was safe at home, snuggled up on the sofa, wondering what was going to happen next. With the inhuman claw getting closer, blocking out all but a few struggling moon rays and fully opened, all went blank. Next thing I knew I was back here looking at you.”