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Fantasticoe 2010 Contents

Angel Tears

Zach Fett

The cold pressed against my face and chest. It kissed the curve of my hip and bit into the skin of my legs. It seeped through my body until my skin lost feeling and my bones were ice. Never had I known the agony of cold, for I had never lain upon the stone of the earth. I tried to open my eyes but as I lifted my eyelids they pushed against something coarse and would move no further. Something smothered them, it felt heavy and it raked at the tender skin below my brow. Along my temple ran straps that were fastened painfully at the back of my head, knotted in my hair. I was very aware of how helpless I had been rendered. I sat there for a long while just being, too exhausted and pathetic to do anything else. 

As I lay there in the frigid darkness I became aware of the world around me. This place was not only cold but damp also. I could feel it in the stones and it hung in the air around me. The air tasted stale here, it smelled dead and upset my stomach. I was painfully aware of the ache in my limbs. My body was unbearably cold yet every muscle burned. They begged to be moved but I could not bear to move them. They would not move even if I wished it. My strong arms and powerful wings were twisted up in something. It was rough against my skin, tearing into it. Thousands of tiny needles sprouted from it and cut into my flesh. It was wrapped around my arms from my wrists to my elbows and held my feathered wings together, pushing them down on my back. It made my skin itch and burn. I wanted to roll around and scratch; I wanted to tear it off, but I was so tired. Exhaustion was something new to me as well. I felt completely used up. 

There were so many new things to experience in this cold, dead world. The most awful of which was the immense sorrow buried deep inside my torso, I felt so sad. My chest was heavy with it, as if a great weight crushed my lungs. My breathing was ragged and my throat felt tight as a thousand questions raced through my mind. Why am I here? I asked internally. Why have I been abandoned? Does He not want me? Am I not good anymore? Am I messed up and broken? I felt as if I were broken. I was all alone in this terrible place and no one appeared to care. I lay there curled on the stone for a long time. It might have been a few moments it could have been an eternity I was too sad to care.

In the midst of my feeling, I suddenly heard a sound. It was very faint but something was clapping against the stone floor. It bounced across the ground and all around me. The noise was still far off but the echo of it dashing against the walls and leaping back to my ears made the world in which I was imprisoned so much clearer to me. Where ever I was there was a lot of space. I could hear a high ceiling far above me but from the tone of the sound I could tell that the top of this spacious chamber was closed and even if I could open my wings they would not help me to escape. As I listened the steps grew nearer. What ever was making the noise on the stone was also breathing. It was strange; I could hear two uneven sets of breathing. One was lower and the other had a slight nasal sound. Sometimes the two sets of breath would match up in harmony but then they would fall out of order and bash into each other in a rasping cacophony. I realized it must be two separate beings moving in my direction. The urge to flee overwhelmed me as I sat on the floor. This too was new to me; I had never been terrified before. I wanted so badly to get away from it, or them, but where would I go? I was exhausted. I could not crawl on my hands, nor could I sprint off to a different corner of the cavern. What I most wanted to do was spread open my wings and dart off to find a safe place. Being bound and blinded would make finding a safe place a challenge, but if only I could get away. Soon I could feel the steps of them through the earth. They vibrated the stone, the cold, and the grit. I rolled over to face the direction from which the sound was coming. The movement was painful but compared to my fear it seemed trivial. I sat there and glared through the mask that covered my eyes. I will not cower like a wounded beast. I commanded myself. If I can not escape I will hold my ground, I will be strong. I won't let them take me. I told my self these things and forced my self to believe them. To believe that I was strong and that I could beat back these creatures hiding in the dark, but for all of my bravery I started when the clapping noise was suddenly ripped away by an awful screeching. The sound shredded my hearing and shattered my resolve. My hands flew to cover my ears but I was reminded of my bonds when they would not come apart and curled them around my head instead. Something heavy and metallic was being raked across the floor, scraping over the stone. It lasted only a few moments but my ears rang with the sound of it and my head throbbed in agony. 

Then they grabbed me. The skin on their palms was very rough and raked against my arms. Their touch made me feel unclean. I counted the fingers that clamped on my shoulder; five. I felt slightly better only because their hands were similar to my own. Perhaps that small part of familiarity was more pleasing then it should have been, maybe I was just glad to have something else there with me. My moment of relief was short lived as I realized I still could not see what had captured me and just because they had the same hands as me didn't mean they were of my kind. I could feel them breathing on me and touching my skin. I could hear them though they did not speak. Their hearts pounded as they stood gripping my arms. Were they anxious, excited? I could not tell and that put me on edge. 

"Up!" one of them growled. It spoke! It terrified me that it could speak. The voice had come from over my shoulder. It did not hiss or gurgle, like some of the creatures I had run across in the dark abyss. It was closer to our speech then to that of the dark ones but still unlike my voice or the melodic voices of my brothers. This being's voice did not flutter, swell, rise, or fall in a cascade of exquisite emotion it was just a harsh syllable. I was afraid but I decided now, as they tried to pull me to my feet, I had to take a chance

I threw my self violently to the left and hit one of my captors. They both shouted in anger and surprise as I landed on him. I could not move very far or very well because of the shackles upon my ankles but I intended to make the most of what I had. I pulled my arms back over my shoulder and aimed a blow as best I could at the wriggling thing beneath me. I swung my arms in an arc, pulling them like a club with all of my body.My arms cracked against what must have been its jaw snapping its head to the side. I rolled off of it as it cried out and tried to scramble away. Almost there! I thought. I finally accomplished getting my arms and legs beneath me and was lunging away when the other grabbed me by the hair. Pain shot through my scalp and drove itself deep into my skull. I cried out pitifully and tried desperately claw him off, but my hands had been bound in front of my body and I could not reach him. He laughed cruelly as I struggled to get away and ripped me off my feet. I screamed in agony and surprise but my cry was cut short as my flight backwards ended abruptly on the stone floor. The air rushed out of my lungs and I sat there gasping, trying to no avail to fill my lungs. My wings stung from being crushed but that pain was nothing compared to what I was about to experience. As I lay there dazed and subdued something cold was jabbed into my side, I only had time to think that it was cold as ice before I was sent into violent convulsions. Something shot through my body making my hair stand on end, every fiber of my being was tensed and quivering. I felt as if the furry of a thunderstorm had been concentrated below my ribs. Lightning flashed through me but it was not lightning. The beautiful veins that split the sky during one of my beloved's tempests flashed for only a moment and then were gone. The white essence that was flashing through my body was not instantly gone. It stayed and rippling through my writhing form until my flesh became hot and started to burn. My skin bubbled and blistered. I could only imagine the awful wound boiling up on my side. 

"Stop!" shouted a voice as my skin began to tear form within. The lightning was taken away and I lay there limply breathing sporadically. "What has gotten into you!" Shouted the angry voice, I could hardly hear it over the pain and the buzzing in my head. I felt light and heavy at the same time. 

"This pasty bastard attacked you!" The other voice retorted. "What did 'ja want me to do?! Let him have `is way with you and run off?!"

"You know just as well as I do that the doctor will be furious if we screw this up" the other hissed back. "I don't know about you but I'm more worried about that wicked old shrew's temper then this thing's antics."

"What? Are you afraid of the big bad doctor?"

"I wouldn't go so far as to say that but she won't take well to the idea that you tried to fry her little canary." I tried to wriggle away as they spoke but one of them must have caught me in the act. 

"Hey!" he shouted. I felt him clamp me to the floor. "Help me get this thing up and moving he said to the other." They guided me to my feet. I tried to push my self up but it was futile.

"Walk" one of them commanded. I obeyed what more was I to do? I held my arms in front of my chest as I started to walk. Blinded with cloth and wrapped in this awful chord I walked with out making a sound, the only noise was that of our feet on the floor. I guessed from my hearing that theirs were not like mine. They thudded and clapped against the stones where my feet touched them almost silently. If I had not known I was walking I would never have heard them whispering in the dark. 

As we walked further the echo became more concentrated and I realized we were walking into a smaller space. We were going away from the open cavern, we were moving deeper into the belly of the earth. My heart, which was already broken, sank even lower. I could feel fire in my eyes, molten liquid poured from them soaking that which covered my face. I could feel it cooling on my skin. The dampness bloomed up just below my eyes like flowers in the spring, but flowers are happy. I was not happy. I wanted so much to be taken out of the awful reality. I could not bear to be left alone here; I had nothing left to live for. What was there to live for when He who was your whole life left you lying upon the cold of the earth naked and unwanted? All I had ever done was loved Him with all of my being. My only purpose was to love and serve Him, yet here I was. Walking like a mortal on the skin of my feet, cut off and abandoned. I wondered if he knew how utterly destroyed I was but I knew better. I knew that no matter how much it hurt, if it was his will, it must be right. 

"Stop" the voice commanded. The steady flow of tears and anguish were cut off as hands tightened on my shoulders and pulled me to a halt. We stopped briefly and something before me beeped and clicked. It slid from our path releasing a gust of air. It was not the same deathly stale atmosphere that I stood in now but warm, living vapor full of light and promise. I was roughly pushed into this new place by my captors. They shoved me so urgently that I stumbled over myself and collapsed. I was shocked when my fall was broken not my harsh stone but something tender and alive. From the ground sprouted thin, short, strands reaching out to the heavens. There were thousands of them stretching up straight and narrow coveting the touch of the sky. I felt glowing warmth above me and happiness flooded through me. I was outside of the dark cold place. I was outside in the light cradled gently on the earth. I pushed my self up as joy filled my chest. I should have known he would not leave me. How could He abandon me to suffer here. My love for Him had proven my worth; He did not wish to discard me, He wanted me. He loved me. Now I could find Him. Now that I was free I would soar to the corners of the earth, I would search until I was with Him once more. I would be in His shining glory once more where I could sing in exaltation with all of my heart. 

"Cut the ropes," shouted a rough voice. I glanced over my shoulder to where the voice had been I wanted to see what had spoken but my eyes were still covered. It was neither of the creatures that had brought me out of the dark. This new voice was different. It spoke with the same harsh syllables as the others but I could tell that it was not alive as they were. It was heavy with metal and crackling and clicked as it spoke. As I sat wondering what it might be the hands were suddenly on me again pushing me down on my chest. I gasped when I felt the cold of steal against the bare skin of my side. Was I to be split open? New awful tears welled from my eyes, tears of terror and agony. How would I find Him now? I cried and thrashed about trying to dislodge the hands that held me, trying to escape the icy blade that threatened to take my life.The hands that pressed against me faltered and pulled away for a moment as if my crying had startled it. 

"What are you doing!" the hollow voice from above shouted venomously. "Cut him loose!" although the mechanical voice was not alive it was full of emotion. It was an angry voice. Once again the hands were on me and I tried to get away. The cruel instrument pressed again on my ribs and in my thrashing I could feel it bite into my skin. I cried out to Him in my last moment with all my voice telling Him I loved Him. The blade whipped away from my bleeding flesh and through the chords that constricted my wings. They sprang open the instant the pressure was gone. Heat rushed through my veins, welcome pain for freedom. My right wing collided with the monster that was trying to cut me apart. It tumbled away with a grunt. My heart thudded, horribly heavy in my chest. I sprang into the air and beat my mighty wings the muscles in my chest and shoulders sang to be used. I could feel them rippling with power. I pushed forward and upward. There was noise every where as I shot into the heavens. Furious noises full of anger and surprise, but I did not listen I just wanted to get away. I reached out toward the warmth reveling in my freedom, my eyes and hands were still wrapped up and I could not see but there was time for seeing when I was finally away from this place. I reached out into the sky welcomingly. As my fingers strained to caress the warmth I crashed into it. The warmth made and awful sound as I collided with it. It shattered and clanged. Like a bell being dropped. I tried to free my hands form it but could not pull them loose in mid-flight. I tumbled back to the earth caught in it.

"You idiot!" shrieked the metallic voice. "Are you mad!? You'll kill it! You ass!" The life less voice was dangerously angry. "Get out of there before you cause the specimen any more damage!" 

As I crashed to the ground I heard the portal slam closed and noticed all the air that was sealed in. My ears felt odd, and then I realized I was not outside. It had all been a trick and they meant to hurt me. Why did they want to hurt me? What did they want from me!? I fought to free my arms ripping into the knots that shackled my wrists. They fell apart at the blades of my teeth. I clawed away the wicked straps that held the dark veil to my head ripping it from my face. My eyes flashed open only to be met with painfully blinding white. The light above me shone so brightly it burned my eyes. I cowered from it for a moment blinking furiously before squinting skyward again. To my awe there were two bright orbs burning above me. Glancing around I found a third lay before me on the green carpet. It did not blaze with light as the others did it was shattered and mangled mess of metal and glass. Caught in it were the tangled ropes I had gnawed through. 

I saw looking past the lights above that there was no sky. Where the heavens should have been, infinitely blue, I saw only rocks and stone. I was still inside the earth in some new cavern. Cables clung to the walls like vines bunching and twisting together; cascading to the floor and snaking out in all directions. Heavy metallic pipes twisted here and there running out of the walls and across the ground. The walls were carved straight into the rock, hollowed out to form my prison. Flat planes reached from the high ceiling to the floor of the cavern. The grass that broke my fall was lush and thick but seeing it beneath the strange white light made even its soft shoots appear treacherous. It spread across the floor to the opposite side of the cavern where a basin had been hollowed into the stone and filled with water bubbling from a spring. Around the gurgling pool there were half a dozen small trees; their spindly branches striving for the sickly white light far above. 

All but one of the walls was carved directly into the earth. The other was not made of stone but something black and reflective. I picked myself up form where I had fallen and walked to the shiny surface. As I swayed in my gait my hair brushed my bare chest. It felt strange to walk unimpeded by ropes; to move of my own accord. Reaching the wall I stared quizzically turning my head in bewilderment. I could see myself reflected in it. I touched it my with my fingers testing it gently, finding it solid I tapped it and slid my palm over it. What is it? It was so smooth and cold. It felt hollow. Is there something on the other side? I could feel something moving behind it in the dark. Something was watching me.

I called to it pleading for help. Why won't you help me? I queried in a quivering voice. Can't you hear me? Can't you here me!? Let me out! I struck it with my fists trying to smash it. I slammed my knuckles and palms against the smooth surface until they were raw and bleeding. I kicked furiously and beat it with my wings. I wanted to shatter it. I wanted to obliterate it with my fury. The blackness warped beneath the assault but didn't fold or falter. I clawed my hand against it and slid to the floor of the cavern decimated. I thought I was so close, I had believed myself free just to have it snatched away. Why had He forsaken me, and why did He let me fall here? Why? Why!? My soul could take no more that was the point where I truly did break. I could feel it something snapped inside me and I knew everything was lost. What was the point in being upset? I was past being sad, I was destroyed. I drug my self away from the wall to the pool and crumpled to the ground. I wrapped my arms around my knees, setting my head on them. My wings were draped about me lying limply on the grass and I cried until I passed into the welcome oblivion of sleep once more. 

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