The bombs fell a long time ago. Now I sit on the rubble of a once great city. The girders and concrete sits in heaps where monuments to its majesty used to be. The roads are split, the sidewalks cracked. The buildings that still stand are dead and lifeless. No one wants to live here anymore. So I sit alone on this graveyard. I sit and wait.
I have been waiting. I once shared this city, and now it’s mine alone. I would leave, but I cannot let the Invaders pass. They will come eventually and every day I wait at the entrance to my home. The sun has stopped shining. The moon has disappeared. Rain comes regularly, but it is hot, and dreary. It should bring life, but life is a void that will never be filled here. I had so much hope beforehand.
The tag reads black. Black should mean that I am dead, but I don’t believe death is an option for someone like me. I have only been here for two years, but I have become attached to it more than anyone should have become. I want to show the Invaders that they have disturbed a god. They have awakened a wrath that will not rest, and a vengeance that will only be satisfied when they feel the brokenness of everyone in the city. When they feel her pain.
I shouldn’t have even been there. I felt I should have gone a long time ago, and hunted the demons I came here to destroy in the first place. But I pushed against what I knew was right and let the bombs fall. I did nothing. I could have though. I could have stopped them.
The dust in the distance kicks up. The Invaders are nearby. They want this area because it is pivotal to their invasion schemes. And I will let them come. They can bring all the friends they want, it will not help them. After all, to them, I am a god. They just don’t know it yet.
I sink into the rubble and become invisible. They spend the next few days consolidating their forces. Tents are pitched, vehicles repaired. Then I appear. I stand alone in the midst of the city and wait. Time means nothing to me. They eventually come.
The soldiers are cocky and arrogant. They hit me and drag me to their commanding officer. I wait. He is afraid of me because he fears failure, and finding an enemy in their midst would be catastrophic. So he sends me to the intelligence retrieval team. That is just another fancy name for the torture squad. I cut my senses off. The broken bones and cut flesh mean nothing. I cannot feel anything anymore. Grief and anger are the only exceptions. I wait. They get nothing out of me, for I have nothing. They take turns and are stumped every time. As if man could understand a being higher than himself. Like ants they bite without knowing what they are biting. I wait.
Finally their leader walks in. He is formal in his primped and proper uniform as compared to my dusty old jacket and tattered pants. Though he is tall, I am taller. So of course I am kept on my shattered knees. His face is grim and his voice rough as he shouts for me to tell him how many others there are like myself. There are others like myself, but I tell him what he will understand: nothing. I smile and cock my broken neck to the side to grin at him. He can’t take the disrespect and feels powerless to stop my gaze. This is what I hoped for. He draws his gun and points it at my head. I almost screamed for him to pull the trigger. But I didn’t have too, he did it himself.
As he walks away, the torture devices are put away, the crowd watching and listening from outside disperses. No one pays attention to the man in his pile of own blood. No one pays attention as the blood draws itself together. No one pays attentions as the bones knit and place themselves. No one pays attention as the eyes open. Only when I stand do they see me for what I am: a god. The Leader turns and I make eye contact with him. He can’t believe it, but I don’t need him to. The tattoo on the back of my hand glows and suddenly I have my conductors for my symphony of death. Both hold six bullets each, and have intricately woven veins depicting a life-like status of the instruments. The first bullet hits the Leader before he can open his mouth to scream. Its accelerated velocity tears thought the camp and ultimately plant him squarely in an armored truck. The party has started.
I fire another into the ground in front of the tent. The earth explodes in a reign of debris. No one is left standing and many are clouted with large section of rock heaved upon them. Those left alive begin to fire or run. I am too fast. Their bullets hit each other. I watch as the bullets flow by me and then dash forward. I fire in two directions and the bullets create a riptide pulling the soldiers with them. I hear the whistle as one of their bullets gets too close. I glare at it and it drops to the ground and refuses to move. I spy the unfortunate soul who shot it at me. I fire again; he is gone, ripping a hole through the rest of the camp with him.
I am a horseman of the apocalypse, a god among men. They struggle to get away but my bullets cry like baying hounds when they find their prey. Then they return to their master and I load them back into the chambers. I can’t stand the camp anymore, so I will it to sink into the earth and it does. Then I wait. The rest of the invading force makes their way to investigate. An airplane nears at a speed that approaches thought itself. I raise my pistol and aim. The bullet leaves and finds its mark in the pilot’s forehead. I watch as the plane crashes headlong into the ground and dissolves on impact.
The little bullet returns to my hand. I load it and watch as the rest of the enemy advances toward me. Two more airplanes: Two more bullets. I wait. The shift of gravity flows to tell me about the advancing shells. Artillery fire begins to reign down. With a clenched fist I return to sender with a stamp saying no return. The detonations in the distance give me a visual index of the feeling I already know.
Missiles are the next thing they send. Scores of them. I have scared them into an all out bombardment. The sound of propulsion whistles in the wind. I wait. The god knows no fear. Raising my conductors I begin to weave my tapestry of destruction. But my elation of desolation is muffled by a nearby presence. Without looking, I can feel her pitiless glare gazing at me.
She is also not of this world, as can be determined by her dress. She wears a black skirt and a black jacket. Her continence would have been beautiful had she smiled. The other discouraging feature was the obscenely large rifle slung across her back and smothered by her long black hair. Her name is Faith, because she has none. She is one of us.
She speaks in a hushed tone, “What do you hope to accomplish?”
She already knows but insists on asking to provoke me. As a Virtue, she is stronger than a mere Weapon such as I. I reply in anger as is my nature: “They killed Shannon. I killed her too. This is my way of preventing any more deaths like hers.” I refuse to make eye contact but keep staring at the missiles.
“It seems as if you forgot your purpose.” Her tone was dripping with her sadistic humor.
I begin to reply with vehemence but I am cut deathly short. “No! You are proof that even a god can be polluted by the extremes and detriment of man’s thought. That is why we close our minds while among them!” She slings the rifle off and slams the butt of it into the ground. The missiles descend.
“And what am I supposed to do?” Rage is imminent. Not towards her, but at myself for going over the deep end already. The missiles light up the sky.
“Remember your purpose. Remember why you are a god. You have purpose already created for you. There is no need for you to fall to folly and become fooly cooly over a human concept conceived in their heads. You need to rise above. Take your place as the Weapon you once were.”
Tears almost welled up in my eyes. “But what about them?” I clench my teeth. “Have you come to help me?”
“Actually, I was hoping you would be too far gone for me to save so I volunteered to kill you myself. Apparently I was wrong.” Now I understood why she spoke so sourly. Her intent was to destroy me.
“O’ ye of little-“She moved like a twitch: Quick and unstoppable. She ripped out my tongue and threw it on the ground. Even though I shouldn’t feel pain, I still screamed. I forgot how the Virtues are about the irony of their names.
She crunched my writhing part with the heel of her boot. “Please don’t take my name in vain.”
I stuck my newly created tongue at her and wiggled it around for a bit. She looked as more tanks and troops approached with great alacrity. I was thankful that her gaze had shifted from myself to the Invaders. I took a chance and asked: “So can I still do it.”
She shrugged her shoulders and threw the rifle back over her shoulders. “If you don’t, I will.”
Yes! I was free. I was a god again. A true god. With purpose, direction, and most importantly part of an order. There was no need for me to guess or create a raison d’être for myself. I felt the noblesse oblige well in my head and remember to preserver. I was a god. I was to protect. But that didn’t mean I had to stop things from happening. Being a god meant causing things to happen also.
I let my pistols vanish and then began to jog toward the line of Invaders. As I gained speed I cleared my head. I was a god. I was a horseman. I was a reaper. I was a Weapon. I AM CALIBER! I roared and packed my fist together as I blazed into the first tank. Leaping in the air I threw my fist down and crumpled the armor like tinfoil. The momentum of the run kept me moving forward and I accelerated into the next victim. Bowling through the infantry, I collided straight into the mounted gun following them. I ripped through it and didn’t miss a beat. My guns in my hands, I shot the gas tanks on the vehicles and watched the beauty of their portrait of ruin. I grew tired of the land battle and decided to make things interesting.
I aimed at the ground and fired both barrels. The gravity of the area warped and dislodged itself in a wave going outward. It ended as a bubble around the last Invader in sight. I opened my eyes and looked up to gaze upon the hapless force of men struggling to comprehend their impending oblivion. I made it quick. I fired all chambers and sent the bullets into a vicious vortex around my person. They spun until they reached a speed I deemed applicable to quietus. I allowed them to slowly spin outward, widening the whirlwind of necrosis until they had devoured the contents of the bubble. Then I let the pieces fall. There were none.
I would have forgotten about the ships and planes but they persisted in meeting me. I lost patience after waiting for so long. I kneeled to the ground and thanked Him for the destiny I was existantly acting out. I pushed off the limiting earth and ascended to the heavens were I belonged. As I broke the atmosphere I felt the welcoming cold of space greet me. It was heaven. Like a long awaited friend, it embraced me, and I the same. It had been too long. I faced the planet and raised my conductors. This was going to be a graceful symphony.
I surveyed the land of the Invaders and drew the music in. Then I began to play. Mountains rose where there were valleys. Rivers flooded out of season. Lightning struck and condemned entire towns. And most importantly, above all else, I erected a wall dividing the Invaders from my people. This was not for my people either. Knowing them, they would retaliate against the Invaders and destroy them. I was not a biased god, and needed to be level-headed about my interference. It was a balance of destruction and protection that must be kept. How He does it, I’ll never understand.
Faith looked over my shoulder and sighed. “I thought you would do better.” She moped.
I ignored her and concentrated reality into a pool until it condensed into a black hole.
“Are you really ready to go home, or do I need to put you down?” Faith was genuinely looking forward to my demise. I turned down her offer and went through, closing the hole as I closed that chapter of my life. As much as I want to though, I am immortal and so are my memories. This was going to hurt for a very long time.
© Copyright 2016 Allan Reinhard. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Fantasy
Book / Fantasy
Short Story / Literary Fiction
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