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Just after Dark

February 11, 2021

Alley near the old Western Union building




Blood was hot.


So was his breath.


As it quivered in and out of his chest, in came the frigid air… out came the anger of a devil.  A thousand devils.  Cerberus.  Hell, Satan himself; in every tradition, in every faith, every level of purgatory and hell tangled tightly into a frayed knot that was breaking free.  He was a ghost whose presence would reverberate across the globe, the building pressure finally bubbling to a volcanic tirade, one small droplet of blood from his finger splashing on the broken asphalt.  Thera.  Santarini.  Vesuvius, the tales from his childhood, his home and corner of the world.  A man that had played as a boy in what was left of dormant volcanic caves a harbinger of what would inevitably come when the world broke apart and skinned the callus from a man that had been made into something unthinkable.


A man that needed to cleanse the world of the evil that created him.


He finally blinked, lifting a palm to look at the red peppering his fingers that everyone always assumed was so bright. It wasn’t.  Hot, sticky… leaving yellowish smears as it ran from skin and dried.  The assassin was always so clean, meticulous, humane.  This was just, just brutal.


Hand was shaking.


He’d never stayed, never longer than to whisper a gentle last rite over those that had been marked and he’d taken without question.  That was a lifetime ago, a life that required of him total conformity and discretion.  Now, one last cough from his target curdled stringy blood from the man’s lips, then crackled wheezing as he watched him die.  It had been ragged, vicious, unrefined and effectively violent.  Water magus unprepared for a magus that didn't need his power to kill.  The same bloody fingers curled tightly into a fist, a signet ring so fragile against his burgeoning heat on cue threatening to cave entirely molten as he pressed it against the side of the man’s throat… leaving the brand of the Order in a scalded bubble of flesh.  A conundrum for the law that would find the murdered Order magus; the third in as many weeks.  Credentials were always left scattered over the magus' chest.  The Order signet branded into skin above a throat so deeply cut it was almost severed to the spine.  Starting with the "army", the foot soldiers, to flush the generals out of their offices and onto the streets.  Out of the Long Lines and into his fire.


For a moment, his soul felt at peace until the vitriolic rush of native tongue hissed forth...


È la fonte della mia energia e il mio legame con tutti coloro che così toccato


Noise woke his senses from the rush of justice, the ghost in the gray hoodie moving suddenly with the agility of a gymnast to kick off a dumpster and catch the bottom of a fire escape- the vertical leap almost impossible, but made with the ease of a trained killer.  Up the fire escape, to disappear onto the rooftops and into the urban tangle that was New York.  This was only the beginning...


((Translation/Italian- the third line of the Oath of the Order of Light; "It is the source of my power, and my bond to all those so touched."))

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