Nanowrimo, Chuck Wendig, Things!

Posted on November 23, 2015

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There’s something else.
Maria strains. She hears a sound like that of the feeders but so deep, so powerful it almost can’t be heard, only felt. The approaching tremor of Juggernaut.
The glowing monster looks up from it horrific play, wary suddenly. She sees it tense, sees it start to surge when a lamprey maw emerges from the gray and engulfs it entirely.
Maria darts away. The damn thing is nearly close enough to touch. She wants even less to do with a feeder this mammoth than she did with the monster that slaughter the Unified. She turns to leave when the rumble becomes a shriek and one monster tears its way from the inside of another.
The winged being is torn, tattered, and streaming light from a thousand wounds. It turns back to the massive feeder, whose side wound has already closed, it’s perfect faces twisted with hate, and plunges back to the attack.
The feeder twists and surges to meet it. The blast from their collision sends Maria tumbling.
She should flee. This is the perfect moment to run and never look back. The dark becons with the relative safety of obscurity. But she can’t move and she can’t look away.
Shockwaves from their blows batter at her. Much like she did in her first encounter with the feeders, she wills a solid surface into existance in front of her. This one is a cone to pierce and deflect the shockwaves.
An arm, longer than ten of Maria end to end is torn from the feeder. It howls and lashes out. A wing is torn from the back of the glowing form and its shriek nearly bludgeons Maria to unconciousness. She refuses to relent. She will see this to the end.
Both monsters are slowed, diminished. They are circling each other, wary. Light and something like gore pour from them. The feeder lunges. The angel, because Maria can find no other word for it, flashes to the side and dives towards the wound where the arm was attached. It burrows into the feeder and the shriek is the most horrible sound she has heard yet. It doesn’t end until the angel emerges from the other side and the head of the feeder floats away from the body.
Silence.
The feeder’s body has not disolved. Even in destruction there is too much power holding it’s massive frame together. It’s torn arm, and the severed parts of the body float in the gray abyss. They will feed all the various scavengers of this realm. The angel slouches, glow nearly extinguished. It’s not healing. It has spent too much energy in its victory. The torn wing spins idly, blackened and dead. The discarded spear crosses Maria’s line of sight.
Her eyes widen. The discarded weapon, forgotten in the struggle of nearly divine beings. She float towards it.
The angel doesn’t stir.
It’s massive. Longer than three times Maria’s own length.
The angel doesn’t stir.
She reaches for it. It’s pure folly. Her hand can’t wrap around the haft, it’s as wide around as her head.
The angel doesn’t stir.
Contact. A surge and shift and she is blazing towards the angel’s back. In the moment she marvels that the spear is no longer mammoth and the angel no longer gargantuan.
The angel stirs. Begins to turn.
The spear plunges through the wound where its wing was, crosses at an angle through its torso, and explodes out its chest.
A thousand voices sing in perfect harmony a beautiful song of horrible agony. The song hammers into Maria, another weapon in an arsenal of existence ending weapons. She grits her teeth and hangs on.
Perfect hands grasp the haft of the spear protruding from celestial flesh and try to pull its body forward and off the terrible point.
Mara sets her feet and lifts the spear higher. The angel slides back until the are torso to torso. It struggles, thrashes. Maria lifts the spear higher.
Power is streaming down the haft of the spear into Maria. If she doesn’t let go she may be destroyed. If she does let go she will certainly be destroyed.
She hangs on.
The chorus grows louder, becomes discordant. The spear is blazing, burning in her hands. Torrents of light course over and into her. The angel grows brighter and brighter still. The cacophony of perfect voices grows louder and higher until it’s past sound and become a physical thing.
Maria hangs on.
Silence. Flash over. Explosion without pressure.
Stillness and the gray.
The spear is pulsing and glowing in her hands. She watches as tendrils of light leak off it, climbing her hands, her arms. They stretch up her arms. She should be terrified. She should let go of the spear. She hangs on.
The tendrils change as they creep higher. The further from the spear the darker they get. They begin to grasp her skin and she can feel them piercing into her. Tiny pin pricks. She almost throws the spear away. But they tendrils aren’t feeding from her. They are feeding her.
The surge of power that was so close to destroying her is lacing through her body. So many tiny needles of potential. The growth and strength she gained from destroying feeders and other monsters are nothing compared to what she gains now.
It may be too much. Maria’s losing control of her form. Her hair is shifting wildly. Her legs are blurring, merging and splitting again and again. There is pressure growing in her back, at her shoulder blades.
Her hands remain wrapped around the haft of the spear. More tendrils grow and grasp her. Her arms are covered. The tendrils are creeping across her shoulders and chest. The pain is intense, blinding.
She is vulnerable. More vulnerable than she has been since becoming aware in the dark. It doesn’t matter. This will destroy her or remake her. She will see it through to completion.
The tendrils are spreading faster. They cover her face, her torso. A pulse rips through her. He arches back, face warped into a rictus of pain. Then she twists forward, embracing the spear like a mother shielding a child. Something explodes out her back and drapes her in black.
Stillness.
Maria weeps.
The surge of power, the feeding, has torn the last barriers from her memories. Maria knows who and what she was. She remembers her death. Every soul-rending moment of it. She weeps because she is lost in an afterlife that was never supposed to be. She was no believer in life, and her experiences now have made her aware that if deities exist, they are capricious and cruel and distant.
She wraps herself tighter in her black shroud and greives for her own death, for her own lost opportunities. She weeps for the senselessness of it.
Gradually the weeping fades, replaced by resolve. She is dead, but she still exists. And if she could not save herself as a woman, she has proven that in this place she can stand for herself. She has proven that she is a force.
The weeping stops. Maria’s grieving is at an end. She unwraps herself from around the spear. Muscles in her back stretch and warp and the black shroud spreads and parts, revealing itself to be her wings. They are as gorgeously feathered as those of her slain foe but black as the darkest heart of this place. The spear has lost all its light, become an ebony to match her wings. The gray is brighter, and does little to impede her vision. She can feel thousands, tens of thousands of souls moving even beyond her longer sight. She stretches, and looks down in amazement at where her legs used to be. There is a long, thick tail, scaled and dark. She coils, springs upward. Movement is still a matter of will but she finds this new form faster and more agile. Even if it is larger. She has grown. Not so large as the angel she slew but she would no longer be dwarfed by it.
She laughs, no longer mourning what is lost. This new form is powerful and intoxicating. She spins, twists and dives through the gray, reveling in her new power and abilities. She stretches her senses, feeling the soul fires of all those around her. She halts, amazed at what she feels.

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Posted in: Fantasy, Writing