Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dead Rite Chapter 3.02

Ada opened the door to find a young woman on the stoop, her attire so far on the side of decency that a burka would seem positively decadent. She narrowed her eyes. There was something decidedly off about her, as if she was not quite of this world. It took a moment or two before Ada spotted the reason: the woman was smoking. Not a cigarette, but literally about-to-burst-into-flame smoking. "I don't want any," she said, pushing the door closed again. "Whatever it is you're selling, the price is too high."

"Not selling." The woman's voice was harsher than Ada expected, filled with the sloop of must from dark, forgotten places and muffled by wires and speakers. "Please? A few moments of your time only."

"Well..." Ada relented and opened the door again. She tried to peer through the translucent face mask but failed. "What is it you want, then? If it's religion you're after I've already got buckets of the stuff and none to spare."

"It is tangential to religion," said the woman, pushing inside and closing the door. She undid the seal on her white suit. "Do you believe in immortal souls?"

"Maybe." Ada's thoughts strayed to the Racing Times and the coffee waiting for her in the kitchen. "You can't have mine."

"He scattered them," said the woman, her bone-thin fingers clenching the side of her robe. "The Tormentor. Please? I need... help. They said you'd help."

"The tormentor?" Ada opened the door a little wider. "Who said I'd help? Who are you, girl?"

"I am The One Who Walks In Pain," she said. "I am the host of many blessings but more are lost. They said you would help me find them."

"Find who?" Ada dipped her head, trying to get a glimpse of the woman's face. "I don't understand what you're trying to say? Who have you lost, and who is this tormentor?"

"The Christ." The woman lifted away the folds of her hood to enable Ada to see into the shadowed interior. Ada took one look at the swirling mass of spirits and sank back, a look of horror on her face.

The woman pulled her hood back over her face. "Legio nomen mihi est, quia multi sumus. My name is Legion," she said, "for we are many."