Cannd brought up several questions last week, and I hope to answer some of them here. This week's flash update was inspired by the prompt:
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Take Flight Part 22
Sayer leaned on the passenger window. Croll parked around the corner from the church near Birch’s house. They stared at the gray stone building crouching ominously in the center of the block blocking out the fading sunlight. It had wide, square walls and a tall, pointy spire stabbing at the sky. “Why here?”
“Ange said the guy talked about a Father. That means a priest in the human world. They called us demons; where else would they take him?”
“I’m surprised you’re not rushing in to find your beloved.” Croll tapped his fingers on the steering wheel.
“The last time I rushed I became a Darkling. My actions put Birch in this place with these maniacs. We need to know more before we can save him.” Sayer could feel the fae around them, blending in with the human realm, surrounding the church. “If that man wants demons, we’ll give him demons.”
Fae, great and small, had gathered to help Sayer save Birch. He’d risked his life to protect the fae realm, and now that they knew the cause of all the damage they’d put a stop to the religious fanatic. Sayer could feel his subject around him. His magic was weak but growing stronger.
A small fae with rough, pebbled grayish skin knocked on Sayer’s window. He rolled it down. “What did you find?”
“He’s in there, my lord. But….” The dwarf clutched at his jacket, hesitating.
“But what?” Croll prompted him.
“He’s hurt. His blood coated the rock inside their building.”
Sayer’s heart began to pound. Night fell around them. He couldn’t wait any longer. “We go in.”
“Your powers are not fully recovered yet.”
“That doesn’t matter. What I have will be enough.”
The dwarf bowed his head. “We’ll help you. We’ve opened a tunnel inside the sanctuary. You can enter there.”
Croll turned off the car. They climbed out. “Sprites.” Croll waved at the streetlights. Small groups of the glowing air sprites flew toward bulbs, swarming them until the glass popped in a shower of sparks and the lights went out. Darkness shrouded the street and the fae that materialized from the rocks, trees, and stone.
“You organize out here. Cover our retreat,” Sayer told his second-in-command. He pointed at several fae in the crowd. “You, you, and you. Come with us.”
The dwarf led the way into the tunnel they’d made through the stone walls. Sayer strode behind him, anxious to see his beloved. The tunnel climbed vertically through the walls. They climbed the irregular stones like a ladder up to a balcony. The tunnel exited in the shadowy recess.
“He’s close,” Sayer whispered. They crept out to the railing and peered over.
“You shot a man. What were you thinking?” The priest was hovering over Birch’s body. He was on the floor in front of the altar.
“He’s not a man! He’s associated with those demons you refused to believe in. I told you, I told you!” the other man screamed. He waved a gun around.
“You’re delusional.” The priest pressed the altar cloth tight around Birch’s thigh but it was stained red with blood that wasn’t stopping.
“I have proof. They saw it, the demon that was with him. It melted into a tree.” Several men were ranged around the sanctuary.
The priest shook his head. “We have to call an ambulance.”
“No. No ambulance and no cops.”
“If he dies, he deserves it for consorting for with that filth. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.”
Sayer clenched his hands into fists. Birch wasn’t moving. There was blood all over his shoulder and his leg was bleeding profusely no matter what the priest tried. He didn’t have much more time.
“We need their guns,” Sayer whispered to the drow he’d brought with him. The night-stealer grinned, his round face full of wicked glee.
He bounced off into the shadows.
Two small sprites had followed them. Sayer pointed to the lights over the center aisle. “Gently take some of those out.” They flew up to the ceiling and began stroking the lights. They flickered. “When I give you the signal, encase the human’s feet in the floor,” Sayer told the dwarf. “Skim a fine layer of rock into dust while we wait.”
Birch’s boss didn’t seem to notice. He continued ranting at the priest, exposing years of fixation on the fae as demonic beings sent by Satan to pollute his town. He’d been watching Birch since he and Sayer were children. Sayer blanched. One of his trips to leave a gift on Birch’s pillow had set this guy off?
Crouched, ready to spring, Sayer held on to his control by his fingertips. The dwarf at his side watched him for the signal.
The tall sylph he’d picked to come with them stood silently, her eyes huge, her hands spread. She was powerful but wild, rarely interacting with other fae. “You’ll create a cover. Use the stone dust.”
Shadows fell across the church as two of the three main lights went out, one after the other. “Now!” Sayer sent a trickle of power to the doors, shoving them open. He panted at the effort.
The dwarf began to mutter and the sylph waved her hands in flowing motions through the air, beginning to swirl the stone dust all through the church as if huge gusts of wind flowed in through the outer doors. Men shouted and a gun went off.
“The demons are here!”
Sayer jumped onto the balcony railing. His wings burst from his back and he drifted down to the main floor. A personal aura kept the fine stone grit from blinding him as he flew straight to Birch’s side. The priest was mired in stone, still kneeling beside his beloved.
“Thank you for trying to help him,” Sayer said. He gathered Birch’s body into his arms. Sayer flapped his wings to get back to the balcony and their escape route.
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