Saturday, June 30, 2007

Page 4

In the midst of small talk that consisted of Lily naming the scientific names of plants, insects, and reptiles with Az trying to name the common name, the girl stood, her plate falling to the ground upside down. She clutched her head, eyes wide and panicked, sweat beads forming and clinging to her forehead and upper lip. She stumbled forward toward the water.

"They scream! Agonizing cries, so many all at once," Mad whispered. She turned to them. "Make them stop! I can't take the pain! Deafening, they plead but there's nothing I can do! Why me!" Upon uttering the last two words, Mad threw herself to the ground, curling into the fetal position and, oddly enough, speaking in tongues. A few languages they understood--French, German, Spanish, even Yiddish--but a few sounded ancient, unearthed only in horror movies or satanic cults, or rare cases of demonic possession. They didn't even bother to try to decipher it anymore. Lily just recorded what she could in a notebook, misspellings and all, for posterity's sake. Who knows, they might run across someone along the way who could make sense of it all. Az went to Mad and checked her vitals, which seemed to be running on a razor's edge. He wondered how long it would be before Mad's heart burst in her chest. These crazed episodes grew more frequent, the closer they traveled to New Promise. Azrael was convinced the dark one was there, but couldn't understand where Mad fit into the puzzle. He wasn't sure he wanted to find out, either.

Something bound them together for this mission, and he knew others would join along the way. But why? For what? To rescue a humanity that seemed content to suffer? To save the world? From what and for what? These were just some of the questions that sprang to his mind, but none of them seemed to have tangible answers. And even though that stirred his frustration, still he plunged ahead toward the unknown and a probable certain death.

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