Saturday, July 05, 2008

'Til the rains from heaven did fall (WT 36)

A story about the incarnation of Death stopping the apocalypse with help from his friends, one of whom is the Biblical Cain.

6 comments:

Bernita said...

Dave?
GOOD!

Dave F. said...

Thanks, I'm in the process of rewriting one of the posted stories for this opening.

Dave F. said...

This is the text of the original posting:

His dogs howled. His dogs never howled on moonless nights. Not this night. A moonless Halloween made blacker by rain. No happy, eager Trick-or-Treaters ever came to this house. Adventure-seeking, foolish teenage boys never egged this old and venerable house, never soaped its wavy glassed windows. The Mark warned the living, made them uncomfortable, chased the dead, kept the demons at bay. Even the birds of the air built their nests on the next house over. Except this night. His dogs howled.

Ayden looked up from his book. The hall clock finished striking midnight. He went to the ornate door and opened the iron-barred look-through. Two eyes burned in the night.

"You might have called. I wouldn't be sitting here in my underwear with the lights out and you freezing your ass off in the rain," Ayden yelled through the door. He closed the talk-through. Yelled again. "You're getting old, stepfather. The dogs announced you. Faithful old hounds that they are." He yelled through the wooden door. Ayden lifted the iron bars that protected his door from the things that came before the Mark.

"Getting old? I was old when the universe was young, boy." The deadbolts snapped open.

"Stubborn old man. There's only one reason you let the dogs howl. Busman's Holiday, you're working." Ayden opened the door. There, dressed only in boxers, stood Death, master of all living things. Not Death with a hood and scythe, not Death who comes to us all in the night, but Death becoming corporeal and incarnate. A mass of black curls hanging over a thin face, pale skin forming over even paler bones, an impossibly thin waist supported on pencil-thin legs.

"Death is always welcome my house." Ayden waved his hand in a gesture designed to match his invitation to come in. He knew the rules; Death incarnate never entered uninvited.

"You look fit my son."

"It's been too long, Step-father. Your faithful son hopes that you have been well." Ayden closed the door, set the deadbolts and slipped the iron bars into position. Death's body gained muscle as he stepped across the threshold. His frame bulked up. In less than a minute, his body overflowed with the vigor of youth. He stood before his host a thick and fleshy, handsome young man.

"I am in need of your assistance, Ayden. First for clothing and then to prevent the destruction of the Earth."

"Surely we have a few hours?"

"Yes, this body is hungry and desires companionship. It craves a mocha-choco-latte-grande with sprinkles and whipped cream, whatever that is. And it craves steak, ale and potato with cheese sauce, and a Sachertorte. Death smiled what Ayden was sure he meant as a pleasant and happy smile.

"I have regular coffee, leftover beef stew, the yeast piss the Americans call beer, and apricot jam over Klondike bars. That's the best I can do on short notice." Ayden yelled.

"A gourmet's repast. I must borrow your clothing."

"If we're not getting bloody, get what you want from my closet. Otherwise, the hall closet has old jeans and t-shirts. I hate to be picky but..." Ayden went to the kitchen and started a pot of coffee. Death came in and sat down. He wore jeans and on of Ayden's oldest t-shirts.

"I liked you incorporeal and fierce." Ayden Cain set a plate and silverware out on the table.

"What's the story?"

"First, you must tell old man Schliemann hat years ago I whispered in that young songwriters ear and he should not fear dogs howling as a harbinger. Tell him it's his cuckoo clock." Ayden took the skillet and slid the hot food onto Death's plate.

"You're really cruel. Can't we just tell him he has black lung," They shared a laugh at Mister Schliemann's expense.

"He knows, hence his fear of dogs." Ayden shook his head, shrugged his shoulders and made faces to show he understood. He opened the freezer, flipped a Klondike bar out of its wrapper and onto a dish. Then he got a spoon of jelly and the whipped cream can and finished the dessert. Ayden set the plate on the table. Death stopped eating and took a good long look at the dessert. His lips quivered and his tears formed.

"My son, the chef!" Death said, his voice cracking with happiness.

"You bastard." Again, they shared a laugh. "What's the second thing?"

"The Book of Daniel prophesizes that the crown of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, destroyer of nations, both chosen and damned of Jehovah, will be found in Akkadia. A crown of immense power."

"No shit? The old legend says the crown is a shard from Gabriel's sword after his battle with Sammael and the man who wears the crown gains..." Ayden's voice trailed off.

"Power over death. The power to become immortal, to challenge the gods of creation." Death finished eating the stew and sopped up the gravy with a piece of bread. He chased it down with the beer and pulled the dessert in front of him.

"I thought you guys found all of that magical, mystical, holy horseshit and destroyed it?"

"Apparently not. Not all gods are infallible. Some are downright stupid."

Dave F. said...

Sorry if this is a repost of one version of the opening.

His dogs howled. His dogs never howled on moonless nights. Not this night. A moonless Halloween made blacker by rain. No happy, eager Trick-or-Treaters ever came to this house. Adventure-seeking, foolish teenage boys never egged this old and venerable house, never soaped its wavy glassed windows. The Mark warned the living, made them uncomfortable, chased the dead, kept the demons at bay. Even the birds of the air built their nests on the next house over. Except this night. His dogs howled.

Ayden looked up from his book. The hall clock finished striking midnight. He went to the ornate door and opened the iron-barred look-through. Two eyes burned in the night.

"You might have called. I wouldn't be sitting here in my underwear with the lights out and you freezing your ass off in the rain," Ayden yelled through the door. He closed the talk-through. Yelled again. "You're getting old, stepfather. The dogs announced you. Faithful old hounds that they are." He yelled through the wooden door. Ayden lifted the iron bars that protected his door from the things that came before the Mark.

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Dave F. said...

Google translated that last comment as:
I apologize, but i think they are not right. I offer it, to discuss. Write to me in PM, we are talking about.

I don't speak German.
However, this story was published as "Dogs At Midnight" in an online journal that has gone out of business. The published version might be online in some archived pages.

BTW - I don't PM or chat much anymore. AOL burnt me out 10 years ago.