This is my 2020 Christmas story
James Sualc could only stare at the scene before him. In all his years he'd never been faced with the situation that was facing him now.
Across the square as far as he could see, there were bodies. It seemed thousands of bodies scattered everywhere. It seemed as if he was in the middle of a horror movie.
With a harder stare, James tried to see if any of them were moving. Try as he might, all he saw was a sea of unmoving bodies, all frozen mid-step, mid-conversation.
He still had no earthly idea how all this had come about, at least he didn't think he did. For some reason there was something on the edge of his mind trying to get out. Something that was the reason for all of this.
A niggling hint of something that he might have done. What though, he had absolutely no idea.
He fell with a plop into the chair behind him. There had been that odd little man he met the other day.
The man hadn't spoken much when he'd approached James. Had appeared many times during the day talking about a deal.
For all intents and purposes, what the odd man had asked him seemed like a bad dream. A bad dream that didn't seem to want to end.
It seemed that the odd man was an agent, for ...some society. James shook his head trying to remember exactly what society.
Already it seemed that the more he thought about it, the more his head would throb.
His head in his hands James tried to relax. "Why in the hell can't I remember?"
"I can help you there, that is if you want it. The last we spoke you were rather testy to say the least." Came a soft voice behind him.
James groaned a moment, then slowly turned to see once again the same odd man. Well, he guessed he could call him a man, being that the guy was only a little over four feet high, with an oddly green hued skin.
With a slight growl James asked the man, "are you responsible for all this?"
"Responsible? My dear boy whatever are you talking about?" The odd man asked.
"Don't give me that shit! You told me that there was magic involved. Way I see it, magic seems to be the only thing that could do this. So, what in the hell did you do?" James said his voice rising in volume and anger.
"As I tried to explain to you, YOU are the one responsible for this. Yes, magic is involved though, it is YOUR magic." The odd man explained matter of factly.
"My magic!? Are you on drugs or something? I have no magic I.." James started then grabbed his head screaming out in pain.
"Oh dear," the odd man said then laid a hand on James's head. Looking at the empty space beside him he said. "Dear, dear, it appears that this is going to take far longer than we at first thought."
"I agree with you to an extent. Can you possibly get him to transfer back to base? Not an awful lot we can do, with him so far away." A voice stated from the empty space.
"I can try though, if we can't get him to believe, I am afraid that all may be doomed." The odd man said.
"Again, I agree with you again, to a certain degree." The voice said. "Try, much is riding on him though, not all, not yet."
The odd man turned back to James who had fallen to the ground still clutching his head.
"I can provide you help though," here the odd man was somewhat, nervously biting his lip. "You will have to help us with your magic."
James looked up at the odd man, in-between gasping breaths he tried to shout. "I told you before I HAVE NO MAGIC!" This of course had the man groaning, holding his head tighter.
"Dear, dear," the odd man was again saying. "Ok, how about this, think of home, the both of us at your home. Don't try to force it, just think that you are there, ok?"
James, finally feeling the pain receding, looked at the man as if he had grown two heads. "I fail to see what that has to do with anything, I..." James stopped when everything around him shimmered then he was standing in his apartment. Looking around he smirked 'til his eyes feel on the odd man. "Oh. I forgot you said the both of us.
Dumbfounded James could only stare at his few meager possessions. He then turned to stare at the odd man questioningly. "Ah! I see that a hint of belief is starting to creep into your brain. At least now, there is some hope."
James shook his head, what in the hell was this obvious freak thinking?
The odd man suddenly got a pained looked on his face. "Really sir, that wasn't nice!" When James only stared at the man he sighed. "If you believe, then things will start to become normal again."
Finally finding his voice James asked, "what did you mean that wasn't nice?"
The odd man lowered his head, then said in a very low voice. "You said I was some kind of freak, that was very painful sir."
"Said? I never uttered a word, I thought all of that." Them James eyes narrowed, "are you some kind of government experiment? A mind reader?" James asked.
A nervous chuckle came from the man, "no sir, when you used your magic, I was able to attune to you. Though, at the moment, I am afraid that I am the only one. It is much like the first time when my father..." Quickly the odd man snapped his mouth shut, then laid a hand over his closed mouth.
A sharp pain ripped through James's head a moment then was gone. For a moment, only a moment James had clarity.
"I don't know why, but I can see that your name is Archabald." James said quietly afraid the pain was going to return.
Archabald's eyes were wide a moment as he nodded his assent. "thank you for remembering sir." the man said.
A smirk came to James's lips, "I am obviously important to you and whoever you were talking to. At the moment that is all I can seem to remember. Don't place too much on that."
"Sir, the fact that you remember anything, is a great help. I am sure that soon more will return then we can..." Again, the man snapped his mouth shut. He'd been warned not to reveal anything that hadn't been spoken. Taking a deep breath, he said a prayer that he didn't mess up, bringing ruin to the world.
"You obviously know a lot more than you are letting onto. This has gotten me curious, now what do I have to do to end this nightmare?" James asked though really didn't expect that the man had a real answer.
"If you could remember the base that we came from, you could think of it then most of this would be over. I can see though, that you have no recollection of it or home." Archabald said a little sad.
"Why, do I have a feeling of foreboding if I actually went there?" James said with a hint of sarcasm.
"That I do not know sir, I am only here to help you to remember, among other things." Archabald said.
James could only shake his head though that produced another sharp pain. "Wait a minute, you're an elf?" James was now staring hard at Archabald. "Why are you the only one here? Where is Wendra?"
Archabald's face seemed to light up at this. "Who are you talking about? I..."
"My god cut the crap already. I know that you never work alone, so I ask again. Where is Wendra?" James asked more forcibly.
A shimmering beside Archabald quickly revealed what appeared to be a hologram. A hologram of a female shorter than Archabald, "I am here sir. No need to get violent."
This took James by surprise a moment. "I'm not sure why you said that I would get violent, I assure I will not."
"Sir, Wendra said with all seriousness, "the comments that you have made so far, are just that. Violence in not always an aggressive act. Many times, our words can hurt far more than actions."
James eyes got wide as he was nodding, he then turned to Archabald. "I am sorry that I thought that about you, deep down I'm not a bad person."
At this comment both Archabald and Wendra smiled slightly as they turned toward each other.
"What!?" James asked startled seeing the looks that the both of them shared. "Why the odd looks all of a sudden?"
"Sir," Wendra started, "We know very well just how you are. Though as to why you don't seem to know is a mystery."
James's head snapped around to stare at Wendra, "what are you on about?"
"As per orders from you and another, we aren't allowed to say unless you know. The fact that you remember anything is a good sign things are finally starting to revert to normal."
Archabald turned to James when he issued a groan grabbing his head. Archabald helped James as he slowly sank to the ground.
"Sir! Try to resist whatever it is!" Archabald said.
Wendra was staring at Archabald, "do you know what is happening?" Wendra said looking at Archabald oddly.
"I think I might have an idea though I'm not sure." Came Archabald's reply.
"Do something then! We have to help him!" Wendra almost shouted.
"I'm trying, sir! resist it!" Archabald said as he mistakenly reached out to touch James, getting thrown across the room into a wall. For a moment, James's eyes cleared as he tried to rise and go to Archabald. Just as suddenly James was again grabbing his head though the pain wasn't as bad.
SO, a voice seemed to come from the very air. You remember about me you little piece of shit, how unfortunate.
A shimmering beside James briefly appeared, appearing to be a female shape. Archabald started to writhe on the ground as wave after wave of something seemed to wash over him.
With a gasp Archabald tried to speak, "you're too late he has already started to remember, you UGH!" Again, Archabald was gasping to take a breath as it appeared that he was punched over and over.
Again, a shimmering appeared, this time right over Archabald's figure on the ground. "You little fool! As if that small, insignificant amount will be enough to stop me! Ha, ha, ha, ha, watch as I turn this pitiful mass of spineless flesh to my will!"
The shimmering vanished only to appear before James. The very air seemed to have thousands of whispered voices all around James.
James eyes suddenly shot open, his teeth starting to grind. "What?! What do you want? No, no, I said NO!" Almost immediately the voices were quieted.
The shimmering appeared above Archabald, "what have you done? There is no way he can resist me, neither should you. I feel no power from him, how?"
Archabald struggled to a sitting position, "you, who have never had faith nor patience wouldn't understand. I believe in him and all that he stands for, something I am afraid that you will never understand."
For a few moments, a female figure appeared with fiery red hair, flashing angry emerald eyes. "No, you pathetic one it is you who doesn't understand. I am far older than you, far more powerful, your puny powers will never stop me."
A small smirk appeared on Archabald's face, "Archabald? What is going on? You seem to have familiarity with this entity, can I assist you?" Came Wendra's voice next to Archabald.
"Ha! You haven't even told your mate Sa..." The female started.
"Stop! I haven't used your true name; trust me you don't want me to!" Archabald suddenly barked out far stronger than he should have been able to.
The female figure studied Archabald a moment then her eyes narrowed, "you wouldn't dare!"
This time Archabald's face took on a smirk as he stated, "try me I don't lie, won't lie." This made the female figure's eyes narrow even more.
"No, I can feel how weak the both of you are I..." The female figure started then her face held shock. At first it seemed she was trying to struggle, then she was definitely struggling. "This isn't over! I will have him, I will end this goody, goody season of crap!" The figure faded then was gone.
Archabald sighed as he tried to move to James. How he wished he could heal the man though that was not allowed, for the moment.
Archabald reached out almost touching James, then remembered what had happened only minutes before.
"Sir?" Archabald asked seeing that James was still curled into a ball on the floor. Sir? Can you move sir?"
A groan issued from James's throat, "not sure, feel as if I have been run over a few times. What in the hell happened?" James asked.
"It appears as if an old enemy has reared its head." Archabald replied.
'Ugh! you mean to tell me she's still at it? I thought she knew that we were protected." James said as he sat up, waving his hand, several things that had been broken in the room righted and repaired themselves.
"Uh, well sir, when you did the erasure, you left yourself and most of the world open. I tried to warn you sir, this was the most dangerous way to do this." Archabald chided the man.
"I know though," here James took a deep breath. "It is also the most effective, without this every decade or so the magic would fade. This way, I can go far longer, without having to do anything again for a long time."
"That may be true sir, though it is also the longest to recover from. You know that the spell won't last near as long as you hope, then what will you do? I can only feel about sixty percent of the magic has returned. Under normal circumstances this wouldn't be important, though in this case, at this time it is dangerous." A worried looking Archabald said.
James looked at Archabald a moment then closed his eyes. A smile crossed Archabald's features as he nodded. It started to grow as James's body started to low a few moments then James dropped to the floor panting.
"Well crap! I thought Ihad been awake long enough to get it further." Waving his hand, James watched as the image of a female as short and as green as Archabald appeared. "I need a report Wendra."
The female's face donned a smile though one could see that she too, had a look of concern on her face.
"Sir, we are recording slightly over seventy percent of the magic that has returned. Things have already started to return to normalcy. I am afraid that whatever that entity that attacked you was, they also seem to have command of very powerful magic." Wendra reported.
"At present is she able to overcome any of the magic we have set out?" James asked.
"No sir, though a few places do seem to be struggling, they were almost lost 'til you did the increase. I am afraid that we are going to need more if we are to maintain them." Wendra replied.,
James nodded his head as he started to close his eyes. "Really sir, you need to rest before you make another try sir." Archabald warned.
James sat there for a moment, shook his head, then took a deep breath, for a moment nothing happened, then James started to pant. Holding a hand up to stop Archabald, James took another breath then pushed as hard as he could. This time a groan issued from James's throat, then he started to fall forward. Uncaring for his self, Archabald caught James feeling the power crawling all over his body.
Laying James down, Archabald asked through gritted teeth, "did he manage to get it higher?"
"Another five percent, it has greatly helped though, we are going to need more soon if we are going to completely restore everything." Wendra reported. "My mate, I believe that we need to have a lengthy discussion when you return."
"I will endeavor to set time aside for that, for a time though, I am afraid that no such time will be available." Archabald replied.
A small smile appeared on Wendra's face; she knew her mate's attempts to delay quite well. "I feel that soon the time will be available."
Archabald sighed, he'd seen this level of determination in his mate before. They were after all a young couple, only having been together a few hundred years. Though it was a good cover, he had actually started to develop feelings for Wendra. Shaking his head, he'd had to ask permission, though well received he'd been afraid that he would have been denied. When he was allowed, he actually started to feel hope, something he hadn't in a very long time.
It was a few hours later when James jerked awake. He took a look around, then reached out not feeling anything. The door to his apartment opened, looking that way James swallowed hard. There in the doorway stood a slim, fiery red-headed, emerald colored eyed woman. Shaking his head James had to make sure, he thought she was a woman, maybe an angel.
James blinked again a few times; this didn't seem real. No woman in her right mind would ever be with him.
"Thank goodness you're awake!" Came a voice from her that seemed a caress upon his skin. "I was so worried when you didn't wake up, the doctor just left he said you should be fine soon. I have missed you my love," the woman started as she slowly dropped the dress from her body. "I want to have your child," the woman said as she moved closer to James.
"I'm sorry miss, I don't know you, this isn't right." James said as he tore his vision from her perfect appearing body.
"Dear, give yourself to me, as I will to you," the female said as James could feel the heat of her body as she drew closer to him. He had to admit the lure of her body was tempting though he really had no interest. He then let his mind start to drift into thought, almost immediately almost everything around him shattered then was gone.
With a look up he saw that the only thing that remained was himself and the woman. "So, no luring you even in your dreams. I know you are weak --- give in to me, I'll end you and all this in a moment."
James's head snapped up at the missing word she'd spoken. "What did you just call me?" James almost growled.
"Ah shit!" With that everything shattered with James alone walking to a lit doorway. Reaching out he grasped the handle turning it. A moment later James's eyes snapped open.
"Thank goodness! I have been trying to awaken you for hours. I take it she was in there with you? The fact that you are still alive means you knew, well done sir." Archabald said as he helped James to a sitting position.
"She called me something though I couldn't hear it, she seemed worried when she disappeared." James said.
Archabald sat quietly in thought, thinking a few moments he thought he knew why though, he couldn't say, yet. "I'm not sure sir, let's hope it keeps her away for a long time."
James shook his head, "I don't think that her kind will be kept away long by this. Plus, I need to get the rest of this back." James tapped his head.
Archabald nodded slowly, he hoped that James could also, he missed all of his friend.
It was another two days later; magic had only raised to seventy eight percent. James still had nothing new in his memories, the world was barely hanging on, when she attacked again.
This time, there was a harsh distortion in the room before she appeared.
Archabald was caught by surprise, blown across the room with a flick of her wrist. "There that should keep your mouth shut while I take all I can from him.
She turned back to James surprised to see him standing there staring at her. "Why are you here?" The female waved her hand at James, then was shocked when nothing happened to him. "I asked you why!" James shouted which seemed to blow the female back into the wall. Shocked she flew back in a rage, only to be stopped by what felt like a wall! "Well!?"
"I thought that was clear by now." The female replied wiping blood from her mouth with her tongue.
"Explain it to me!" James shouted again blowing her back into the wall again.
"Fine!" The female shouted, the force of which only ruffled James's hair. "I am here to kill you, once and for all. Then I can take all the children making them agents for me!"
A crooked smile crossed James's mouth as he waggled a finger in the female's face. "Not today Lilith, oh by the way I have to thank you had you not interfered? I might not have regained as much memory as I did, so a thank you."
Lilith could only stand there as James made a complicated movement with his hands. Lilith started to scream as she started to let loose several balls of energy. All fell short or appeared to.
"I think it's about time you were put away again." Came the voice of Archabald both turned toward him, Lilith screaming at what she saw. "What? After what you did all that time ago, you didn't think I wouldn't keep an eye on you?"