Echoes of Power
Parts 56 – 60
From the corner of his eye he caught a movement on his left and as he turned around he saw a thin trail of smoke a few meters away coming out from behind a bush. The teenager immediately tensed, the thing was still around and it was hiding. Why? He couldn’t say but this could not mean anything good, things had seemed strange to him since he had left the café, something had been slightly off compared to usually but he couldn’t place his finger on what. There was another sound on his right but this time he saw nothing except the trash cans from before.
This happened two more times, each time at a different spot and at the limit of his peripheral vision, he could sometimes see a faint movement but always too late to follow it. This was definitely starting to get on his nerves, if the creature, whatever it may have been, was doing this on purpose he didn’t find it very funny.
“Okay, what do you want in the end?!” He finally exclaimed as he thought he saw the black trail disappear again.
As if to answer his question the creature almost immediately reappeared in front of him in a small puff of dark smoke. It was standing a few steps away, standing on its two back legs and looking intently at him with its pure white eyes. Alexandre did not waver and looked straight back at it, studying its strange appearance. It was covered in a thin layer of darkness, as if light was swallowed into a black shroud of smoke that seemed to emanate from its body itself, which was small and lean. The only easily discernible trait was its large and completely white eyes, intense and penetrating, as if they could peer directly into the soul.
The creature’s upper body seemed to rise and fall slowly at the rhythm of what Alexandre guessed was its breathing. The young man hesitated to move, he wanted to get closer so badly to look at it but his impression of unease would not leave him and somehow he knew it probably wasn’t as safe as it seemed. He was wondering what creature it could be and how it was possible for something of the sort to exist when it started to vibrate. It began as an imperceptible movement but as seconds passed Alexandre started to notice the movement and it got pronounced as time passed. The smoke that clouded its body stopped flying away in small spirals and began buzzing and moving more erratically, abruptly changing directions and jolting away.
He saw the creature slowly open its mouth, or what he thought must have been its mouth if it had one at all because one could only see a dark hole in its stead. It let out a deep and menacing growl before suddenly jumping towards the young man, red claws protruding from its paws and trying to slash him. Alexandre only managed to evade it thanks to a stroke of luck, his body had reacted on its own and he had instinctively jumped to the side to get away. He released the tension that had been growing inside his muscles since earlier without him noticing, allowing him to get away just in time.
Alexandre turned around as soon as he got his balance back, trying to keep his eyes on the creature and noticed it was holding a piece of dark cloth in its claws. He looked at it for a moment before realizing what had happened. He slowly tilted his head down and noticed the large gash in his jacket close to where the creature had jumped, hadn’t he jumped at that exact moment he would’ve surely been injured, probably quite badly too. It would’ve left him with a large wound on the torso. There was another dark puff of smoke and the creature disappeared again only to reappear a few meters further.
“What do you want from me?!” Alexandre exclaimed as the thing stared intently at him once more.
The creature didn’t reply but tilted its head to the side as if it were pondering something. The teenager had no idea what it was or why it was attacking him, it looked animal if one were to overlook the smoke shrouding its body, but it was definitely something else. Is it even real ? he thought to himself, or am I imagining the whole thing? Damn it! People were probably thinking he was crazy, talking and dancing around like that in a small back alley. But the piece of cloth that was missing from his clothes seemed far too real to be just a dream or a hallucination. Then again that was the thing about hallucinations, they always seemed real…
He saw the creature twitch slightly and immediately knew it was going to attack again, he readied himself, unsure if he would manage such a feat a second time. That thing is too fast… Suddenly he thought about using his power, perhaps it could be of some help here? But it would mean having to focus, which he couldn’t really trust himself to do right now, and he wasn’t even sure it would work on… whatever that thing was. No, he couldn’t rely on it. Too dangerous. Suddenly the creature moved. Alexandre was about to evade its attack when it disappeared from his field of vision, this made him hesitate for a second and by the time he was ready to act he heard a sound from behind.
The teenager turned around and saw the creature, crouched on its four legs, long claw marks streaking the ground in front of it and a small cloud of dust rising behind it. What happened? He was about to prepare himself for a third assault when he felt a cold sensation spread through his body, a sudden pain in the right side of his torso prevented him from breathing. He looked down again and noticed a pool of blood was starting to form on his torn up clothes, his jacket and his tee-shirt were now in pieces and he deduced it must’ve been the same for his torso underneath.
“What the fuck-?” He began as he dropped to a knee as all strength seemed to leave him and he found himself unable to stand anymore.
He placed a hand to his side and grimaced as a wave of pain surged through his torso. Shit! What the hell was happening? He had to get up and run away from here as fast as he could, this thing was going to kill him if he didn’t! He had to run, immediately! Alexandre tried to get back up but the pain was too great and he was already starting to feel light-headed. He could feel the blood trickling along his legs and onto the ground. Come on! Get up you imbecile! he cried out silently to himself, get up and run or you’re done for!
The teenager tried to get up once more but as he pushed on his arms a searing pain coursed through his body and his mind, his vision blanked for a second and he felt himself fall under his own weight. It took him everything he had just to stay conscious and he lay there on the ground, unable to move. From the corner of his eye he saw the creature getting closer, groaning in a deeper voice than her would’ve expected. Shit shit shit! Come on! He thought again, trying to will himself to move. But his body refused to listen to him, e could do nothing to prevent it from getting closer.
The strange smoking creature stopped a few centimeters from him, staring at him with its glowing white eyes. Then it stood up on its two rear legs before getting even closer, its face almost touching Alexandre’s, the young man could feel its hot breath when it breathed. He tried to push it back, managing to weakly raise an arm in front of him but the creature didn’t even seem to mind this as it pushed it back without a problem and turned him on his back.
He could see the white orbs looking directly into his eyes as if it once again peered into his soul, the teenager swore the creature smile as it displayed the sharp red fangs it its mouth, waiting to sink deep into his flesh.
“No…” He exclaimed weakly as he tried to push it back once again.
But the creature grabbed his arm and pushed it back to the ground with one hand before grabbing his throat with the other, its claws slightly tearing his skin. Enough to hurt badly but not to the point of killing him. At least not yet. Alexandre felt his breaths becoming harder and struggled to take in the much-needed air, the suffocating pain wasn’t helping him at all. He kept struggling but the creature had immense strength and, despite its small size, kept him at bay without any problem. The teenager could feel his consciousness slip away slowly as he was losing his blood and the creature was strangling him. Reality was a blur and he realized he was probably going to die here, in this small and deserted backstreet. Stupid human… a deep and raspy voice echoed in his mind.
Alexandre didn’t know if it was his imagination or if he had heard it at all. It was different from the voice the other voice, was it the creature’s? No it couldn’t be… Hahaha! He heard it again, but this time he saw the glint of malice in the white eyes and knew that it was indeed the creature’s voice. It was strange, echoing slightly in his head as if… Telepathy? He couldn’t think any more on the subject as a searing pain in his chest brought him back to reality. He had to do something or he was done for…
He couldn’t feel his legs anymore and it was as if icy water was slowly surrounding him, numbing his body and his mind and preventing him from breathing. As the last few drops of oxygen were leaving his lungs the pain was becoming unbearable and his mind was beginning to drift away as the seconds passed. No! He had to resist, he had to fight it, he couldn’t just die like this. But the creature’s strength was out of this world, it seemed to be made of smoke but its body was harder than iron and it burned him when he tried to grab its arm.
Strength wasn’t going to cut it, he had to find another way… No one would be coming for him and besides, if anyone tried to help, what could they do anyway? No, he had to find a solution on his own. The only option that came to mind was to try to use his ability. But that wasn’t as simple as it sounded, he had to focus so much beforehand… and the drawbacks were still intense, he might not even survive this… Oh, to hell with that! he exclaimed inwardly, I have to do something! After a moment of hesitation he closed his eyes and let go, trying to relax. His heart was beating madly in his chest, he had to calm down, he had to visualize what he wanted to do!
Perhaps if he managed to use his power on the creature it would allow him to get away. It wasn’t even sure to work but it was his only option… Come on, focus. The whole scene hadn’t lasted more than a couple of minutes but to him it already seemed like an eternity. Focus! It wasn’t enough, he had to empty his mind and completely concentrate on what he wanted to do, at this rate he was never going to succeed… Damn it! He felt himself slipping away, his mind was less and less alert, it wouldn’t be much longer before… He realized that it wasn’t going to be enough to just will it, he had to want this with his whole being, he had to let go of everything, stop struggling and become one with his power.
Damn! This sounded so cheesy but it was the only way he could see it work. Was he crazy enough to let the creature do whatever it wanted for an almost non-existent chance to survive? It was his only option but- No! No time to hesitate! Alexandre felt something snap in his mind and stopped struggling, letting his body go and focusing his mind on a precise image of what he wanted to do. Let his power roam free against the creature. Perhaps then, if it worked, he might be able to free himself, perhaps. His senses were going wild, his lungs were filled with searing flames and his mind was on the brink of blowing up but somehow he held on. He managed to form an image of his goal, trying to calm his heart down at the same time and somehow, without really knowing why, he found himself praying to the mysterious voice for help…
He was about to try using his power when a wave of intense heat suddenly coursed through his body, he couldn’t help a groan at the painful intensity of the heat but his mind cleared almost instantly when he heard the deep voice echo in his head. It seemed old and commanding, as if it came from a far away place, but he could hear it as clear as if it was coming from his own mouth. It took the teenager a moment to realize it was the voice, the one that had been around since his childhood, and that it was repeating a few words over and over. It was much louder than usual and seemed to gain in intensity as it kept repeating the words.
Alexandre felt his head was really going to blow this time. Not. The. Moment! he managed to utter as he swore. How could he always be plagued with this kind of things in the worst moments? He tried to focus on his power again, struggling to simply for a coherent though as the pain in his body seemed to increase yet again and the voice would simply not shut up. That’s when the thought came to him. Suddenly he was driven by an imperious certainty: he had to listen to the voice, he had to understand what it was trying to tell him, that was the solution.
What else could he do after all? Trying to use his ability was a useless idea, he would die anyway. He struggled to focus on the voice, the echoes it was creating in his mind as it spoke were unbearable and it made comprehension almost impossible. But surprisingly he soon realized he could somehow make the words out.
“Vector janus pyros, esti dante!”
Once he made the five words out from all the other sounds he understood what he had to do. It wasn’t logical, it wasn’t even a thought-out idea but it was what his instincts were screaming at him to do. He gathered the remaining of his strength before reclaiming control over his body, from which he had managed to partly disconnect himself. That was as if a dam suddenly broke, letting immense waves of pain engulf him and completely paralysing him. It took all he had left to just maintain himself on the brink of consciousness and not just let himself be washed away. Finally he managed to open his mouth, he felt his throat burning hotter than ever and then everything went blank.
Afterwards he couldn’t tell if he had really said it or if everything had just been a dream induced by the lack of oxygen in his body but, anyway, as soon as he had opened his mouth his mind had drifted away. Completely engulfed by the immense space without any sound or light that was trying to swallow him since earlier. He thought he saw one last of intense blue light before finally losing all sense of existence.