Hell 2012

April 19, 2010
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March 15th, 2012

War cost a terrible price. Physically, soldiers return home with missing limbs or not at all. Whole towns lay in ruins. Emotionally, families have to suffer through the loss of loved ones. Mentally, men and women are scarred when forced to kill another human beings. On the battlefield, we become animals. Our instinct to live another day drives us to murder. When war morphs regular human beings to destroy their enemy, we often forget who’s caught in the cross fire.

Humans still show fear when we pass through their territories. Mom’s starting to think we’ll never find her book. Our search for Guards of the North and West remaining on US soil is growing thinner every day. Guards of the East and South are still unresponsive. And for even most depressing news, we think we’re the last witches in the U.S.A. Which has a plus side actually. The Inquisition thinks all witches in the States have been eliminated. So, we’re pretty safe for now, unless someone shouts witch. But I haven’t heard that for awhile, I think we’re good. And for my finally word in the Roads Family Diary, I lost my favorite pair of boots in Buffalo.
Signed, Ellie Roads

Eli empties the bottle of hard whisky, even going as far as leaning all the way back till he lay on the bars counter like it were a bed. When there was not a single drop left, he holds it from his face to look. Unsatisfied, he lowers the bottle as he just lies there. I watch him remain unmoving for a long moment before noting that he had a serious drinking problem.

My brother turns his head in a lazy shift as he answers matter-of-factly: ‘’Ellie, this is a speakeasy. Illegal alcohol was prohibited in the 1920s but was sold here to good Americans who deserved a swig once and awhile. Not drinking it would be an injustice to those who went through the trouble to make it, package it, and sell it without getting caught by local police. I am serving a good cause.’’

‘’From what you’ve told me, it sounds like a dishonest cause,’’ I tell him. He picks up another bottle of Dunville's Three Crowns, a rare Irish whiskey I had to hear about since he found it in one of the secret wall panels downstairs in the basement.

‘’Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned,’’ he replies sarcastically and twist the bottle cap. I turn my head, rolling my eyes toward the ceiling.

My half-brother is a typical twenty-three year old with ridiculous good-looks. His hair was a lighter shade of brown from my own, and cut a few inches from the shoulder while mine had a length halfway down my back. But we share our mother’s eyes, a beautiful hazel that when looking directly into the sunlight phased to green around the iris. They drew in the attraction when peered at from under our thick dark lashes.

The eyes weren’t the only thing he had to work with. Eli’s person was lanky with toned muscles under the skin of his arms and legs. His stomach was rock hard and he could out run a cheetah if given the chance to. He was at least six feet tall with extra inches. In comparison I was short, just 5’4 and small in width. Don’t get me wrong, I was as fit as he was but never pushed myself to that extent of robustness. Where my weakness fell there, my strength rose in strong magical potential.

Eli didn’t have magic. He had something of far more importance. Like, I don’t know, maybe the strength of a Greek war hero. Or the endurance and intelligence.

The story of Odysseus in Homer’s epic poem reveals the king’s journey home from his ten year battle in Troy. During which he sailed to Aeaea, or the island occupied by the witch Circe. Story is the men of Odysseus' ship were turned into swine after feasting upon the witch's drugged food and wine. Odysseus was warned of Circe's trickery but set out to rescue his men. The messenger god, Hermes, suggested the Greek hero use the holy herb moly and warned that though this will protect him from the witch's potions and drugs, it would not protect him from the goddesses wits. Hermes' warning came of use when Circe asked Odysseus to bed, where he drew his sword and made her swear to stop her magic and offer protection to him and his men.

All in all, Odysseus stayed on Aeaea from one year before sailing between the dangerous six headed Scylla and whirlpool Charybdis. During that year, Circe bore the king one son. This son was Telegonus. He was not magical, but carried strength and intellegence surpassing that of any normal man.

Those born under the magic of the witch goddess are written as a Circe Witch. Those born under the incredible strength of Telegonus are Circe Sons. Eli Roads was very good at what he was given. He never skimmed on being great in an impossible situation.

''What are you writing?'' Eli questions.

''I'm just jotting down what I know about anything Mom has taught me about anything we've ever-'' I start to explain.

''Whoa, whoa. I didn't catch a single thing you just said,'' he cut in.

Maybe it was the lack of rain in the world I was born in. Maybe I was tired of being stuck with a drunk for hours at a time while my mother went out and did whatever. But I know I was sick of having no one but my brother to talk to. I have no friends to just go hang out with. And the fact that my brother was the only male interaction I had drove me out of my mind.

I snap, grab one of his empty alcohal bottles and throw it at him. It flies past his head and smashes into the wall. Eli jumps as I gather my things in a pack and stand. I shove my feet into my mom's boots and pull my arms through a tearing jacket.

''Hey!'' Eli said and rolls off the bar. He stumbles once but regain his footing as he stalks toward me. His face was dark in an angry frown. His pants were still strapped with black loaded revolvers on the outside of his thighs. Unlike the waist belt holding his knives, he never took the guns off.

''What were you thinking?! You could have hit me!'' he yells at me, throwing his hands up like that would add to his volume.

''Too bad I didn't!'' I snap. ''I try talking to you and you just blow me off because you're drunk. God, it's like nothing means anything to you. The whole freaking world revolves around Eli and beer or whiskey.''

''That's why you've flipped? Because I don't talk to you? I'm not your best friend, El. Okay? I don't talk about what you talk about. And do you think it's easy being the only guy around here? I can't go up to Mom and ask what I should do about women because there are none! Even if there were, they'd be too afraid to come out of the rock they've crawled under! And for the record, the world doesn't revolve around me, because there is no world without people in it.''

''You're such a jerk sometimes,'' I say and turn my back on him to walk outside. ''Would it kill you to be apart of the family once and awhile?!''

''It just might!'' he yells back, staying inside the speakeasy. I huff and stand in the middle of the road for a long time. The Great Depression was the climax in the human races downward spiral. By 1929, all manufacturing had seized. Everywhere was in chaos. As time progressed many ''natural disasters'' had destroyed cities and homes. The death tolls went through the roof all over the continents. No one rebuilt or invented. The world just slowly dropped into a new Dark Ages.

The buildings now had faded colors, weak structures, and collasped when they just couldn't stand any longer. Cars like the 1927 Ford Roadster were parked close to sidewalks or abandoned in the middle of streets with doors still open. News carts and food stands still sat on their corners, reminding anyone who looked at them that someone had lived in the quiet city.

The enviornment has long been dead. The only trees I saw were in books, which just fall apart if opened. It was just a dead land. People had managed to grow food but just barely enough for their families. Without rain there was a low supplies in water. Colonies we've come across have been close to the sea. No matter how screwed the planet had become, there was still the ocean. But eating dried fish and clams really made a person want to starve themselves. Or endulge in dirt, God knows there's plenty of that on Earth.

A light breeze blew through Broadway. Which should have been impossibe since there were no faeries to carry the air from the open ocean. A crash behind me made me jump. I spin around to find the sidewalk now littered with glass. Drops of liquid splashed down in the size of golfballs. They were too thick and clouded to be water.

I look up at the building and almost drop dead of fear. An actual dragon clung to the face of the building we'd been living in. It's black hide wore strips of silver scars along it's back. Two of the four horns mounting it's large head were broken in two lengths. It's face was more mangled than it's back. The monsters wings had long claw marks cutting through the thin membrane stretching from long bone to long bone. It's long, thick talons, stabbing into the building cement to hold it up, were twisted akwardly and deformed. The length of it's body couldn't register in my head from the lack of oxygen. But it was thin, with it's rib cage pressed tightly to it's skin.

It was starving. Dragons don't usually attack humans because they themselves are just cursed humans. I've heard stories of dragons attacking settlements in cities because they couldn't find anything else to eat. They were just as prone to snapping under the hunger pressure as the rest of us. But dragons had began to decline in population as well. Anyone's more likely to cross paths with another human than intercect a dragon. Especially one that's still alive and staring at you.

I bet it sees a dancing roasted chicken mocking it instead of a seventeen year old girl shaking so hard she might just viberate out of her cloths. I swallow the lump in my throat and start to slowly back away. Starving dragons have pupils the size of straw holes, cutting their excellent vison in half. If I'm lucky, it didn't see me yet. I'm not lucky.

It's other senses must have kicked in because it's head turns in my direction. I couldn't tell if it was looking at me directly. There were plenty of other small things that could catch it's attention. But they couldn't fool it's sense of smell. The breeze of wind I'd felt was it's flapping wings. It needed wind to carry smells through the air, and found a perfect use for it's ruined wings. Dragons were still smart in desperate times. I figured that out on my own when it rears it's head back. The monster's working leg muscles tense up for a spring. It's lips curl up in a throaty growl, letting chipped teeth shine in the sunlight. It let out a loud roar before jumping from the building and dive bombing down for an easy kill.

I use my will to pull energy from the buildings and cars behind and around me while looking the beast over. But time had already got to them first, making it hard to get any potential magical out of them. I knew the city was crumbling, but as long as they were standing they still had something to offer. I couldn't find any magic, not even a drop. Making me an open target. Or a dead one.

To Be Continued . . .

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