Saturday, November 12, 2016

Beautiful, Gorgeous Feet - A Short Story



Abhisek's loved Deepika Padukone.  Because, according to him, she had the most beautiful feet in all of Bollywood.
 

Beautiful feet.  There was something about feet that he found extremely attractive.  He always thought it was weird.  When his friends would be ogling at women's pictures, he realized he was the only person who would be looking down at the feet.  But he had managed to keep it a well-guarded secret.

"Damn! They are so big! I love them!" his friends would say.
"Ya... yes! Me too!" he would lie.

But this was just one of the 2 well-guarded secrets that he had.  The second one was his curse.  His feet.  They were the ugliest feet he had ever seen.  It was something that would give him sleepless nights.  He would always wear footwear that would cover up his entire feet so that nobody saw it.  It was his second well-guarded secret.

Sometimes he wondered if his love for feet was what made him change his place of work.  From being a salesman at a dress store, he had become a salesman at the shop across the street that sold women's footwear.  He would tell people and convince himself that its because of the pay.  But he secretly feared that it was solely because he had watched the salesman at the store getting to look at the beautiful feet of their customers.  He would spend all of his free time just gazing at the shop like a hungry little child while the lucky salesmen would hold and caress his customer's beautiful feet.  He had always felt a tinge of jealousy.

Once he had made the jump, he felt he was living the dream.  Of course, not all the feet were to his liking, but at least once in a day, he would come across a pair that would make him look at them in utter shock as to how beautiful they were.  He would try harder to please the owner of those feet.  He knew they would come back if he pleased them well enough.

He never took a day off.  His new boss loved him and would even point him to the other salesmen and ask them to be like him.  He felt he was born to do this job.

He wasn't exactly boyfriend material, but that never seemed to bother him.  The last relationship he had was during his high school days.  He had gotten used to living by himself.  Sometimes he does try to chat up with the customers with the extremely attractive feet, but that never seemed to lead anywhere near a relationship.

His parents made a surprise visit one day.  They had a secret agenda on their minds.  They told him to get dressed in his best clothes, and they took him to a house.  He realized he was going to see his possible future bride.  Arrange marriage was the norm.  He was very nervous.  He wished his parents had given him a heads up to mentally prepare himself for this, but he understood their drastic measures.  He had been avoiding the topic of marriage for years.  He guessed they knew this was the only way to get him to come along.

It was customary for the boy and girl to talk to each other in private for a few minutes.  Abhishek was nudged by his mom to go to the verandah where his possible future bride stood waiting.

As he walked out to the verandah, the first thing he did was to look at her feet.  He was struck with awe.  She wasn't wearing any sandals, and her feet were the most beautiful pair he had ever seen! 

That's when he heard her say,
"Ahem, my eyes are up here."
Abhisek snapped out of the trance and quickly looked up at her face.  May be he had an awkward look on his face because she burst out in laughter.  It was the most embarrassing moment of his life.

A month later, they got engaged.

They used to chat over phone a lot, and they would go out on dates every weekend.  The dates were the most exciting part for Abhishek as he would get to see her beautiful feet again.  She seemed very romantic and would always walk with her arm in his and would hold his hand when they sat together, but Abhishek was starting to get anxious.  Anxious that she would think he was weird if he ever told her about his secret.

3 months in, on a lunch date, sitting across from her, he removed his shoes and looked down at his ugly, very insignificant-looking feet in shame.  He was expecting her to scream in horror and leave him right then and there, but she just sat there and said nothing.  After a few moments, he gathered the courage to look up at her face.  She looked back confused.

"My feet are ugly." he said trying to emphasize the point.

"I..... I dont care..." she said confused.  Abhishek was taken aback.
"Your feet are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen." he said after a moment's silence.  He was expecting her to scream in horror and leave him right then and there, but she just blushed.  She took hold of his hands and said,
"You got the most beautiful hands I have ever seen.  I have always loved hands for some weird reason!" she said laughing.
"Hands?? Whats so beautiful about them!?" he snapped.  He didn't get it.  How can someone love hands?  Its like 5 pieces of meat stuck together.  How can it be beautiful??  She seemed close to tears.  As if he had said something horrible to her.  The rest of the evening, they tried to talk about other things, but the awkwardness was palpable.

A few more days of awkwardness followed.  They rarely talked.  Abhishek would sometimes message her a good morning or a good night, and she would reply the same and that was it.

Abhishek was starting to get the feeling that may be this wouldn't work out.  He was wondering whether he should just break it off.

Then one day, out of the blue, he got a picture message from her in Whatsapp.

It was of her feet.  Her gorgeous, beautiful feet.

She had painted the nails and drawn some mehendi designs.  It was as if she was trying to make them more presentable.  For him.

It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen!  The next thing he knew, he was taking a picture of his hand and sending it to her.

She replied with a kiss emoticon.

He immediately called her up.  They laughed.  They talked.  Things were back to normal!

A month later, they got married.

Abhishek still thought she was weird for liking hands, but he had grown to accept it.  A lot of the nights, she would apply nail polish on his nails.  He would, of course, remove them in the morning before he headed to work, but sometimes he would wake up late and he would just let it be.  Some of his customers would give him weird looks though.

After a few months, he quit his job as a salesperson and joined another job in an office cafeteria.  He had to wear gloves there for hygiene reasons, so he no longer had to worry about anyone seeing his nails anymore.

And, of course, his phone's wallpaper was a picture of her feet.  Her beautiful, gorgeous feet.


***

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Cursed - Part II

THE CURSED - PART II



15.

Even though she was surrounded by hundreds of fairies, Judy felt lonely. The fairies felt no sadness or loneliness. It was like they only had a very narrow range of emotions. It was like their brains were wired to be satisfied with just doing their job. Forever. Night after night. With no sign of boredom or fatigue.

Every year, her wings, a gift from Clayton, grew a little bit bigger. When she became a teenager, she found herself becoming emotionally labile. She felt the strange need to rebel and sometimes even emotionally hurt others. Try as much as she might, her antics bounced right off of her sisters. Nothing seemed to faze them. At first she suspected they didn't care much about her feelings. Then she had spent some time wondering if they were pretending to not care about her tantrums. Eventually, she realized that they were simply incapable of being offended or distressed. She felt this was unfair. That she had to be the only one who felt these... emotions. This made her feel even more lonely.

She found herself missing her imperfect earthly home, her imperfect earthly parents, her imperfect earthly friends.

The fairies would bring her things back from Earth: Cakes, chocolates, any food of her choice, earthly clothes. She had no materialistic wants except for the wants of her heart.

One thing that always irked her was that they never let her out of Commisure. Every night, Daisy will leave the abode they shared and be on her way to Earth to collect teeth, and every night, Judy wanted to go along with her. Just to get out of Commisure for a bit. But she wasn't allowed. It was something that she complained to Clayton a lot.

Your mind and your body are still young. Very human. You need to let yourself become mature. Then, you will truly be one of us, and, only then, will you be allowed to leave Commisure on your duties,” Clayton would say. Judy would protest again, and Clayton would remind her that that was the deal she was presented with when she wanted to become a tooth fairy.

When Judy finally turned 20, the fairies had a huge celebration. There were cakes and decorative lights. They tried to replicate what they had seen humans do on their birthdays down on Earth.

The next day, Judy was allowed to join Daisy as she went on her duties. They grabbed a bag of coins from the collectors and descended down to Earth. Judy could hardly recognize her town. A lot had changed since she left. She tried to look out for her home, but she could not find it.

Suddenly, midair, she was hit with strange visions of teeth. Daisy told her that it was like a 6th sense that alerted them to nearby teeth waiting to be collected. They proceeded to head towards the nearest one. Daisy held Judy's hand and they passed through the walls to a young boy's room. Judy stood in a corner watching while Daisy retrieved the boy's teeth and left a coin in its place. It reminded her of the time she had seen Daisy for the first time.

As they went around collecting teeth, they flew past a school. Her school. She saw the play area. She was flooded with old memories.

Before she knew it, they were back in Commisure. The night's work done.

By the end of the first week of her accompanying Daisy, Judy was bored.

16.

“Where do you think you are taking her??!” one of the demons growled inching closer to Charles and Judy.
Charles hesitated for a moment, then gathered up his thoughts and said,
“Under orders from Lucifer, I am taking her to Xene.”

Besides him, Judy let out a cry and sat down on the ground, her arms folded around her. Charles tried to pull her up by her arm, but she went right back down on the floor. He bent down and held her in his arms.

Pretending like this is what he did everyday, Charles proceeded to walk towards the exit with Judy in his arms. The demons moved away from his path as he approached them. But then he almost bumped into one of them who didn't budge. Charles waited for a moment for him to move aside, but the demon stood his ground.
“Time is of the essence, and I am sure you wouldn't want Lucifer to find out that you were the cause for the delay,” said Charles trying his best to sound normal.

Judy struggled to open her heavy eyelids and look at the demon standing before them. It was Saul. He was looking down at her with a frown.

The other demons, who were suspicious to begin with, now started inching closer to them.
“Is there a problem, Saul?” one of them growled.
“No.... no! Let them pass!” Saul said snapping out of his thoughts. The demons growled and backed off again.

Charles looked at Saul. Did he really fool him or was he letting them go intentionally? Charles brushed the thought away. Whatever it was, he had to hurry before 'Saul' or someone else changed their minds. He quickly walked to the exit with Judy in his arms and flew up into the night sky. Judy looked down and saw Saul looking up at them.


17.

Another Earth year had passed before they decided that it was time to let Judy go on her own.

One night, under Clayton's instructions, Daisy took Judy to an abandoned amusement park to train her on using her gifts. A fire had broken out in one of the park's horror house attractions many years ago trapping and killing many people. A short while after that, the entire park was shut down.

Now imagine your hand go through the solid surface.” said Daisy passing her hand right through one of the steel legs of a roller coaster. Judy tried, but the steel stopped her hand from proceeding further.
You need to 'really' believe. When you imagine your hand passing through the metal, 'believe' that is exactly what is going to happen,” said Daisy.

Judy closed her eyes and concentrated. She imagined her hand passing right though the metal, and when she tried it, her hand went through the steel. She jumped up in joy. Until now, Judy had to hold onto Daisy's hand when they had to pass through walls, but now, she can do it on her own.

Okay, how do you become visible to humans?” said Judy.
Daisy looked at her confused, “That's a strange question.”
“You were visible to me back
when I was a human.” said Judy.
You were able to see me because I believe you are special. You are gifted.” said Daisy.
So, you have never been seen by another human being?”
“No. But I guess if I really wanted to, I could just concentrate on that thought and make
it happen.” Daisy shrugged, “But I doubt you will ever need to do that.

The next day, Judy had started on her job alone. She was assigned a place close to her former earthly home. As soon as she had descended, her sixth sense flashed with many teeth to be picked up. But halfway through the night, she had picked up every one of them. She made a mental note to take it slow the next night.

She was about to ascend back to Commisure when she noticed a familiar structure far away. It was her school.

She flew to it and landed in the play area. Her last memories from her earthly life were of that place. She could remember seeing Pete fallen face down on the concrete. And she remembered how an hour later, she had done the same thing. She caught herself smiling at the weird memories.

That's when she had an idea. Instead of going to Commisure right then, she would go visit her mom.


18.

“What did they do to me?” said Judy holding onto Charles as they flew past the mountains.
“I don't know what Lucifer's plan is. But one thing I can assure you is that once your wing heals, you will have no more pain.”
“Does my wing...”
“I am sorry I had to do it. It was the only way to weaken you so that I can take you. If I had known the pain Lucifer was to inflict on you, I wouldn't have done it.”
Electric lights passed below them.
“Where are you taking me?” Judy said.
“A place where you can stay and heal yourself while I go talk with Titus on what is to be done.”
A minute later, they landed near a church. Charles, with Judy still in his arms, walked up to a door and knocked on it. An old nun opened the door. As soon as she saw them, she went down on her knees and started exclaiming praises.
“Rise.” said Charles. The nun stood up.
“Is this a vision?” she said, her voice quivering.
“I have come here to ask you to do something.” said Charles ignoring her question.
“Anything... anything!” the nun said.
“You are to look after her and nurse her back to health. I will return in a few days. Can you do that?”
“Yes, my lord!” she said.
Charles let Judy stand on her feet. Few more young nuns who had been watching the entire thing from behind doors rushed in and caught Judy.
“Dont let anybody become aware of her presence.” Charles said. The nuns murmured agreement in unison.

Charles nodded at Judy one last time and ascended into the dark night sky. The nuns exclaimed praises at what they had just witnessed.

19.

Judy reaches her Earthly home. A lot of the buildings on the street had changed, but her house looked the same as she remembered it. She flew into the house and then to her parents bedroom. No one.

She came out unsure and was about to leave when she saw someone walk towards the house. Once she got closer, Judy could see the familiarity. Yes! It was her!

Filled with joy, Judy concentrated on becoming visible. She imagined her mother being able to see her. Did it work?? She opened her eyes, and her mother had stopped a few feet away, looking at her, shocked. Her hair was thinning and she looked frail. Old.

Mom!” Judy said rushing towards her. Her mother stumbled back in shock and fell on the ground.
Stay away from me! Who are you??” her mom shouted.
“Mom, its me!” Judy said.
Her mom scrambled to her feet and ran into her house avoiding her. She shut the door behind her, then looked out through a window and shouted,
“Get out of here or I will call the cops! Freak!”
Judy noticed that her mother had dropped her bag. She picked it up and felt something inside. It was a bottle of whiskey. She wondered whether her mother was just shocked to see her after such a long time, or may be she didn't recognize her. She remembered about how Clayton had told her about her being erased from human memory when she chose to become a fairy. Does it mean even her mother wont remember her??

Judy noticed that the drapes to the window was now shut. Her mom was probably too shocked. She decided to come back on a later day. Holding onto the whiskey bottle, she flew back to the school play area.

She sat there starring at the whiskey. She had always wondered why her parents drank. She wanted to try it. She opened it and took a sip. Another one. And before she knew it, she had drank half the bottle and now sat crying on the play area, cursing the day she chose to become a tooth fairy. The next thing she knew, she was being nudged by someone. She opened her eyes. Before her stood 3 kids. And the sky was light blue. Oh no! She must have fallen asleep.

Who are you?” said one of the kids.

Judy panicked and flew up into the sky. The kids looked up at her with their mouths wide open.

Judy ignored them and rushed up towards Commisure. Will they know what she had done? That she was passed out drunk? And how did the kids see her?? May be this visibility thing was like switching on a light. Once you become visible, you needed to switch it off.

A bright light enveloped her and she was instantly in Commisure. She flew towards the collection center. She would say that she had trouble passing through the walls. It was her first day on the job after all. May be they would believe her.

Reaching the collection center, Judy walked up to the counter. It was mostly empty.
Oh, Judy! First day on the job!” said the fairy behind the counter.
“Ya...” Judy smiled, but soon was struck with horror. Her pouch of teeth was missing. She must have dropped it somewhere.
Whats the matter? Didn't you get any teeth last night?” the fairy behind the counter said.
I.... I..”
Its fine! Its not like we can go around plucking the teeth from the kids!” the fairy said laughing.
Y... ya.” Judy said, forcing out a laugh.


20.

The nuns helped her into a room and laid her on a bed. They pulled her cloak away and were horrified to see the huge bulge on her stomach. They gasped and took a step back when an impression of a demonic face showed up pushing on it.
“Call Dr. Peter!” the nun said.
“But... but the angel. He said we are not to let anyone know about her,” another nun asserted.
“What if she dies in childbirth. I will have to answer for her. I will talk with Dr. Peter and convince him to keep this a secret.”
The nun nodded her head and went to another room to call Dr. Peter.

A few minutes later, Dr. Peter came running.
“What is it?” he said. He looked down in horror at the moving mass on Judy.
“We need to have a quick talk, Dr. Peter,” said the nun moving towards him. That's when Judy felt it. She felt it tearing her from the inside out. Whatever was inside her had gotten so strong that it was finally able to break free of its bounds and head out into the world. Judy screamed at the top of her voice. The unbearable pain ran her into a shock, and she passed out.

21.
It would be an understatement to say that she enjoyed the whiskey. The next day, she found a bar and watched it from afar. She wanted to go in and have a drink, but remembered how her mom had been horrified to see her in her present form. She needed to disguise herself. That's when she noticed a guy riding a motorcycle wearing an oversized jacket. She managed to steal a jacket from a clothesline nearby, tried it on, and it was perfect!

A few hours later, she was sitting in the bar. She didn't remember how many drinks she had had. Her sixth sense kept going off alerting her to close-by teeth waiting to be picked. She finally decided to pick some of them up and return to Commisure. That's when the bartender stopped her. She had to pay. Everything was free at Commisure, but apparently not on Earth.

She excused herself for a moment to go to the 'ladies room,' and from there she walked through a wall and out the bar. She then went about her duties.

The next day, she was hit with the pangs to drink again. The obvious idea was to go to a different bar, but she kind of liked the one she was at last night. So, she decided to solve her financial problem once and for all. She remembered a place from her childhood on Earth where everybody kept their money at: The bank. After finding one, she got into the vault and grabbed a wad of cash. It would probably enough for a month!

Every night, after a couple of drinks, she would go to pick up some teeth. Sometimes she would return again to the bar before going back to Commisure for a couple more drinks. This had become her daily routine.

At Commisure nobody noticed these things. She remembered from her experience that tooth fairies were simply incapable of fault, incapable of harboring ill thoughts or emotions. This made them naive and trusting. She found out that she could lie straight to their face and they would believe her. As far as she knew, they simply couldn't lie, so they had no idea that it was even possible for someone to do so.

One night, drunk from a couple of whiskey shots, she decided to go pick up a teeth that was pretty close. She paid the bartender, and then let her senses pull her towards the teeth. It led her to an old rundown house and then to a kid inside who was sleeping on the floor in the midst of many little humans. She picked up the teeth and left a coin in its place, and she was hit with the realization that she was being watched. She looked up and saw an old man, sitting in the corner, watching her. Oh no! She had forgotten to turn off her visibility! She instantly became invisible and flew out of there.

22.

When she woke up, it was quiet. She was still on the bed. She felt her stomach and it was wrapped around with bulging bandages. She heard whispers. 2 nuns were sitting in the corner, one holding the others arm that was soaked in blood. They looked terrified. They persistently prayed under their breath. Judy looked around and saw blood and human flesh strewn all over the floor.

“What are you??!” a nun who was standing near the door said. Judy was too shocked to say anything. She felt her bandages again and tried to pull them off. The nun rushed to her and stopped her,
“You were opened up pretty bad.”
“Where is.... the baby?” Judy said.
“Its.... its......” the nun tried to say something, but she turned white with fear. She just pointed back towards the door.

Judy stood up and it hurt. She held onto the nun, but she heard the nun herself groan in pain. She noticed that the nun was covering up a wound on her leg.

They walked out of that room and towards a door.

“Dr. Peter.... he delivered them. Everything was fine, until... until they started biting us. It bit Sister Angela on her neck killing her. We tried to stop it, but it just kept biting everybody. Dr. Peter managed to get them into that room and lock the door.”
Judy swallowed hard. Reaching the door, she tried to push it open. The nun stopped her and took her towards a window instead and opened it just a sliver to look inside. On the floor lay the mangled body of Dr. Peter, and beside it was a jet black..... animal. It was like nothing she had seen before. It had sharp teeth and stood hunched over with large wings that had sharp edges. It pulled out a string of flesh from Dr. Peters open chest cavity and started to chomp on it.

Something jumped at the window. It was another one! It was trying to claw at Judy and trying to squeeze itself out through the window. While Judy stood stunned, the nun jumped at it and started to pull on the window to close it. Its head was stuck. The nun pulled on the window harder hoping it would give up and go back inside. It instead bit into her hand. The nun screamed, but she didn't let go of the window. After a momentary struggle, the creature finally gave up and slipped back in. The nun locked the window and slid to the ground, wincing, holding her hand.

“I am so sorry about this.” Judy said suddenly hit with a pang of regret.
“You need to get them out of here.” the nun said.
“Ye... yes,” said Judy. But how? She didn't have her gifts. She had to wait for Charles to come back. May be he can help. She realized that the nun was looking at her with hopeful eyes.
“I will be right back with help,” Judy said. She grabbed a coat, probably Dr. Peter's, and walked out of the church. She didn't know where she was going, but at least it would give the nuns some hope, also it would give her some time to clear her head.

She kept walking till she was out of the church property, and walked on the empty lands that surrounded it. She must have walked for another 10 minutes before she broke down and cried.

She heard a low rumble. Looking up, she noticed a car approaching her. She realized there was a mud road a couple of feet in front of her. The car came to a stop near her, and an old man looked out through the driver's window and said,
“Do you need a lift? I am headed towards the town.”
At first, she was going to tell him no, but then, the town... her mother.


23.

I know who you are.” a voice next to her said.
She turned around almost knocking over her drink. Shit! Its the man who saw her yesterday night. She panicked for a moment. She decided to just get up and walk away.
Wait! I can get you teeth!” the man said.
She stopped, interested.
You can pay me for it. That's what you do, right?”
Is this even allowed?? Her gullible sisters at Commisure probably wont even realize it.
20 bucks for each tooth.” the man had already begun to bargain.
10.” she said. Even though she only leaves a buck under the pillows, she wasn't exactly short on cash. And if this took care of her teeth collecting duties, it meant she would have more time to spent at the bar.
The man thought for a moment and said,
“Alright. Tomorrow, I meet you here with teeth.”
She nodded. The man got up and left.

Next night, the first thing she did was to go to her mom's house. She did this often. She would sit atop a tree next to her mom's house and watch her. But today, as she reached her mom's house, she heard screams!

She flew inside and saw a man punching her mom, who fell to the ground with a thud. Judy instantly made herself visible and shouted,
“STOP!!”
The man turned around shocked to see her.
Who are you?? Stay away from my family's business!” he said and moved towards her mother to pick her up and probably hit her again. Judy rushed to hold him back, but he pushed her away forcefully. Judy lost her footing and fell hitting her head on the edge of a table.

She felt dizzy. She felt no pain, but when she prodded with her fingers at her forehead, she realized she had a huge cut on her forehead. But, as she touched it, the skin stuck back together and started healing up rapidly. It was one of the gifts that Judy didn't know she had. It kind of explained her supposed immortality as a tooth fairy.

Who the fuck are you!??” the man said who was now towering over Judy. Her vision which had gone blurry was now starting to get back to normal. Her mom behind him, stood up and caught his hand trying to pull him away from Judy. The man turned back to her mom and hit her again. That was all Judy could take. In a rage, she picked up a table lamp and smashed it on the man's head. The man fell to the floor. She was left holding the metal base of the lamp. The man was starting to move again. She hit him again on the head with the metal base a couple of times more till his head caved in. She heard her mom scream in horror.

Judy let what was left of the lamp in her hand fall to the floor. She was shocked by what she had done. Her mom crawled to the man's head and tried to cuddle it.
Mom, who is this?” Judy said, confused.
“This.... this is my husband. Who are you??” she said.
Husband?” Judy said. This was definitely not her dad. She looked around and noticed photos on the cupboard and saw one where her mom and this man stood together on a boat, smiling. She realized that may be her parents had divorced after she left.

She heard beeps. Her mom was doing something on a tiny piece of plastic. Judy had seen people use these things at the bar.
Stay away from me!!” her mom said, “I am calling the cops!!”
Judy stood there a minute hoping that her mother would finally recognize her, but there was nothing. She heard the sirens in the distance. She turned invisible, to her mom's horror, and flew out of the house.

A few minutes later, she sat in the bar, prodding at her first drink. She thought things couldn't get any worse, but little did she know that she was going to be taken by Lucifer.


24.

The old man was pretty sweet. Judy told him she was lost and asked if he could take her to her mom's house in the town.

He stopped the car right in front of her mom's house. Judy's mom was in the front of the house arguing with uniformed men.

“You have to go back to your hotel room. This place is sealed off until we clear the place!” one of the uniformed men kept telling her.
Judy's heart broke. She rushed out the car and towards them to stop them, when, all of a sudden, her mom turned around, looked at her and shouted,
“ITS HER!! SHE KILLED MY HUSBAND!!”

In an instant, Judy realized her mistake and turned around and started to walk away.
“Ma'am, stop right there!” one of the cops shouted.

A moment later, Judy found herself being cuffed by the uniformed humans. She tried to break the cuff and get out of there, but she was too weak.

About an hour later, she was at a police station. She was locked up in a waiting cell with a couple of other prisoners. She, like the rest of them, was handcuffed to a steel rail. But everyone stared at her. Her wings.

As part of the usual frisking, they had removed her coat and were treated to the surprise.

“Some kind of freaky body modification.” one of the cops said to the other as they watched her from outside the cell.
“I dont know where the world is headed to,” said a female cop, who brushed aside the entire thing about the wings from her mind and walked back to her workstation.
“But do you think she really killed that man?” the male cop asked her.
“I think the wife is out of her mind. But we will wait till the forensics have done their job before coming to any conclusions,” she said.

One by one the people in the cell would leave when someone came for them, but at the same time new people would come in, but Judy knew that nobody was coming for her. She wasn't familiar with any of this and had no idea what to expect. There were no windows, and she had no idea how much time had passed. And somewhere along the way, she had fallen asleep.

She woke up with a start to screams. She was still in the cell. Her cellmates looked white with fear. They were just as confused as she was. The screams continued. They were coming from the outside.

Suddenly, something dark and huge jumped through the wall besides Judy with its sharp wings slashing through the air. The sharp wing passed right through her body. The dark thing which was now inside the cell started to rapidly spin around. Judy recognized it as one of her 'children,' only this looked like a larger version of what she had seen at the church. It was as if it was growing at an incredibly fast rate. As it spun around, its sharp wings slashed through the bodies of everyone unfortunate enough to be in the cell. Wherever the wings hit the walls, it left a large gnash and sent concrete and dust flying through the air.

A moment later, it stopped. The room was filled with dust and pieces of bricks from the walls, and blood. Lots of blood. The walls were splashed red with blood and pieces of flesh sticking to it. Cut off body parts and arms and legs were strewn all over the floor. The creature looked around as if proudly inspecting its work. Judy realized its eyes were going to fall on her at any moment. Was it here to 'save' her?? Its eyes went past Judy like she wasn't even there. It jumped through the wall on the other side and disappeared. She heard more screams and a couple more loud noises from outside her cell, and a moment later, silence.

Judy stood up. Her feet hit something on the floor. It was a severed head. It looked at her with an expressionless face, and then its eyes gently blinked. She stepped away from it. At the same time, she realized she wasn't bound to her handcuffs anymore. The handcuff was lying on the floor, still intact, almost as if she slipped right through it.

Her gifts were back.

25.

She walked out of the cell. There was blood and dead bodies everywhere. She could hear someone gasping for air in the distance, a moment later, it stopped. She flew up through the roof. No sign of her demonic..... child. More screams all around the town, but it wasn't from any specific direction. It was like the world had gone crazy, paranoid. She flew up even higher hoping to cover more area and see the creature, and in the distance she saw the church. The place where Charles had left her to heal. The nuns!

She flew to it as fast as she could. Reaching closer, she noticed black specks crawling on the outer walls of the church. Could it be them?? Her 'children'? It shuddered her just to think of them as her children.

As she reached closer to the church, she was almost relieved to recognize them as Lucifer's demons, standing watch. Fortunately, she was invisible and could evade their eyes. She heard screams coming from inside the church. She slowly passed through the roof just to get a peek inside. It was Lucifer and a couple of his bodyguards around him. She also noticed the demon who impregnated her, Saul, standing beside him.

Except for just one of the nuns, the rest were on the floor, writhing. The nun who was still standing, held a crucifix in her hand, praying, while Lucifer stared down at her and shouted,
“I ASKED YOU A.......” he stopped mid-sentence, and looked up straight at Judy. Judy felt a shiver run down her spine. A smile spread over Lucifer's face, and he said,
“I was just asking about you. Glad you could join us.”


26.

Judy felt herself being pulled down to the floor. Somehow Lucifer was controlling her, manipulating her.

She came to a stop next to the nuns writhing on the floor.
“Do you know I had to travel across galaxies to find Charles, and kill his people and eventually him when he had told me where to find you??” Lucifer said laughing.

Judy felt a knot in her stomach. She felt her pulse raising.
“But the good news is, the plan worked. Your children...... 'our' children will now kill the humans and reproduce themselves at an exponential rate. Before you know it, God's humans will be replaced by our children!”
“They are not my children!!” Judy shouted. Lucifer laughed.
Judy felt one of the nuns on the floor grab her feet and ask for help.
“What did you do to them??” she asked.
“Oh, I just gave them unbearable pain.” Lucifer said as a matter of fact. The nun's face was twisted in agony.
“Stop it!!” Judy said. She could hear her own voice quivering. She knew that even though she had her gifts back, Lucifer was too strong. She had to get out of here.
“You dont have to worry. They will either kill themselves to stop the pain or they will eventually suffer an aneurysm bringing an end to it..... to their life. But enough about them! I am here to offer you a place in my kingdom.”
“I will never join you!” Judy said.
“You see, Judy, I made you. You ever wondered why you were...... so unique? Its because I manipulated your life in such a way that you had to make decisions that led you to here. God said we were never to interfere with a human's will, but he never said I can't manipulate their circumstances and push them to do what I want them to do! 'You are not allowed to kill humans' he said. But I found that I can make humans kill 'each other'! And that's the genius of my plan. Make my own abominations and set them free on Earth. I assure you, Judy, we are following the rules that God set forth. In a way, I am outsmarting him at his own game. As you can see, Judy, you were always part of my plan. I groomed you, put you in circumstances to make the decisions that I wanted you to make, and now do you really think that you have a choice in this?”

“God wont let this happen! He will stop this!” Judy shouted. She could feel her hands shivering.

Lucifer let out another laugh, “When was the last time God interfered with 'anything' on Earth?? All he has are 2 angels watching over Earth! Do you know how long it took them to find out that there was a world war going on before they interfered?? That's the problem with being immortal. You lose track of time. When you have lived for billions of years, a couple of years on Earth is like a few mere moments. And, fortunately, that's all I need for our children to take over Earth. I have modified them in such a way that they grow and reproduce at an incredibly fast rate. When and if God realizes something 'was' wrong on Earth, it would be too late!”
The nun prayed louder, her crucifix digging into her palm. Judy couldn't take this anymore. She grabbed the one standing nun and flew up in an instant. She heard Lucifer laugh as she did so.

27.

“Thank you, thank you!” the nun kept repeating to Judy as they flew.

A look of fear enveloped the nun, and she started convulsing. Judy held onto her tighter, and in that instant, she felt something grab her leg. She craned her neck and saw it was one of Lucifer's demons.

Instinctively, Judy imagined the demons hand going through her leg. A second later, the demon was grabbing at air. At the same time, Judy turned herself invisible, and luckily, unlike Lucifer, the demons couldn't see her in that form. The demons stopped in midair and looked around confused. Their eyes then came down looking at the Earth below. Judy followed their gaze and saw something rapidly shrinking in size. Something was falling down. Oh no! She dropped the nun.

She flew straight down. She used her gifts to push herself to go down faster. The dark figure of the nun hit the ground with a sickening thud and dust flew up around her. Judy reached the ground a moment too late. The body was twisted and broken like a rag doll.

28.

Judy broke down. She took a few minutes to calm herself down and think clear. Now that her gifts were back, she could go to Commisure and get the help from Clayton and her sisters.

She flew up and attempted to pass into Commisure, but nothing happened. She tried again. This would be the moment when a bright light would envelope her and she would be in Commisure, but still nothing. As she hovered confused, she heard noises from below. She saw vehicles lining up, surrounding a specific region. Uniformed men were firing what looked like weapons at dark beings: Her children.

She rushed down to the spot, making herself visible. May be she could take her children away from here. Away from the humans.

The uniformed men stopped firing when they saw her ascending. Everybody looked up at her in awe. She was a sharp contrast to her demonic children. Her 2 children too looked up at her. 'Do they know I am their mother?' Judy wondered. One of the them looked very muscular, like a man, while the other looked more feminine.

Judy landed a few feet away from them. In her peripheral vision, she could see people looking out of their windows. Many lifting their heads from their hiding places to see why the firing of weapons had stopped. They all looked at her now. They started whispering at each other.

“Come here!” Judy said to her children, trying to keep her voice stern, but she couldn't help but quiver.
Her son looked at her curiously. His wings went down in a disarming gesture. The daughter stared at her strangely from afar off. The son moved closer to Judy.

Unknown to Judy a human lady was moving closer to Judy, holding her crucifix, and praising her, thinking she was an angel sent by God to save them. By the time Judy noticed her, her son had thrust out his long wing at a second's notice impaling the woman and killing her instantly.

People screamed and started to run away, to get cover. The uniformed men started to fire at her children. Bullets rained on them. Judy immediately turned herself invisible and flew up. Her kids instead stood their ground. Bullets passed through them as if they were air. They lunged at the uniformed men killing them and overturned their vehicles.

29.

Explosions and screams. That is what Judy heard as she flew away, but she didn't turn around. She tried one final time to ascend to Commisure and failed, again. She flew away from the noise and to a forest. There, she came to rest atop a tree, like she used to do near her mom's house, and sat on one of its branches. Thinking.

Everybody she knew seemed to have abandoned her. And it seemed that the only person who was looking for her was Lucifer. And was it true? Did Lucifer manipulate her entire life to get her to where she was now? Was she just a puppet who was being manipulated by everybody she knew?

“Judy!!” she heard someone say. Judy turned around, and it was Daisy.
“Daisy! I am so glad to see you!” Judy said jumping at her and hugging her, both of them suspended in midair. After a few seconds, Daisy pushed Judy away enough to look at her face and asked,
“Is it true?”
Judy suppressed the urge to ask “which one,” and just said,
“About what?”
“Th.. that you killed a human!”
“I... it was an accident. I can explain it. To you.. and to Clayton. It was just....”
“You cant come to Commisure, Judy. We aren't even supposed to interfere with the humans, and now you have 'killed' one of them. God explicitly forbade us from doing something like that! You have been ousted.”
“But it was....”
“I have been trying to find you all these days. Listen to me, Judy, I dont have much time. I need you to go into hiding. There might be beings who will take advantage of this. You need to go to some remote planet where nobody will find you and stay hidden there till all this is forgotten.”
So, this was it?? Just go into hiding? What about Lucifer's plan? What about stopping her demonic 'children' from destroying the humans??
“Daisy, come with me! I need to show you something. I could use your help to stop it!”
“I dont have time.....”
“You need to see this!” Judy grabbed her hand and pulled her forcefully towards the town.

As they flew over the town, Judy noticed the bar. It's roof was destroyed. Bodies lay on the ground everywhere. She noticed the old run-down house with the children. It was completely destroyed as if a hurricane had landed right on top of it.

They stopped right above where her children were still facing off against the military. Another explosion ripped the air as another vehicle blew up. More shouting. More shots being fired.

“Who are they??..... no, stop! As horrific as this may be, this is not what we do. We should leave this to God,” Daisy said turning around.

Judy was heartbroken. Daisy was her last hope. There was nobody else to turn too. And she was convinced this was somehow her fault. Even if Lucifer was telling the truth and he did put her in circumstances where he forced her to behave the way he needed her to, she still always had a choice. Right now, Lucifer wanted her to turn around and ignore this. But not today. Today, she was going to choose to do the right thing. Today, she would try to stop this, with or without help.

“Judy, no! Come back! We are not built for combat. 'This is not what we do!'” Daisy shouted as Judy flew down towards the action. Judy didn't stop. This time, she was going to stop them or die trying.

30.

Her son stood holding up a helpless human in his hand, his wing pulled back, ready to impale him.

“PUT HIM DOWN!!” Judy shouted at him.

He stopped and looked at her curiously. Judy once again wondered if he recognized her.

“I am your mother, and I am ordering you to put him down!” she said as sternly as she could.

Almost as if he could understand what she was saying, he started to set the human down. It was at that moment that Judy heard a loud cry.

Everything happened in a third of a second. Judy turned her head to her side and saw that her daughter had crept up behind her and her razor sharp wing was now tearing through the air as it headed towards her. She was just a split second away from being impaled. It was too short a time to react. But in her peripheral vision, she noticed something approaching towards her at lightening speed. Whatever it was, it hit Judy pushing her out of the wing's way and ended up getting itself impaled on it.

It took Judy a moment to stop herself from rolling on the ground due to the impact. She finally looked up and was horrified to see Daisy impaled on her daughter's wing.

The daughter lifted her wing up in the air effortlessly, inspecting what she had caught. She looked uninterested at what she saw and lowered her wing letting Daisy's body fall to the ground. Then she fixed her eyes on Judy again.

31.

Her daughter moved towards her. May be it was the angle, but it looked like she was growing bigger by the minute.

At an unbelievable speed, she jumped up at Judy with her sharp wings aimed at her neck. Judy managed to catch them and ended up in a tussle of strength, which she immediately realized was a losing match.

Judy imagined the wings passing through her. A moment later, the wings hit the ground. Judy jumped right through her daughter. She was now behind her. She decided she will choke her. May be that will work. She had to try.

But then, almost in an instant, her daughter had turned around, and in the process one of her wings smacked Judy right across her head with a huge force that sent her hurling through the air. She fell on the ground about 20 feet away.

May be this is what the child of a tooth fairy and an angel can be. A being with super fast reflexes. And super strength.

Judy struggled to get up. She heard a loud buzz in her head. When she finally managed to stand up, she fell down again. Everything around her seemed to be going round and round.

Her vision was blurry, and a huge blackness was filling up her vision. She had to get up. She had to fight. But she felt so weak.

The blackness filled her vision completely, and she felt her daughter lift her up by her wing. She felt her legs being caught by her. What was she doing? Her daughter began to pull Judy's body away from her wing. As if she wanted to peel Judy's wings off her body. As if the thought of that gave her some kind of sick happiness. But Judy remembered that if her wing broke, she would be weak.

Judy struggled, but it only seemed to make things worse. She felt her wing starting to strain under the pull. She felt like her spine was being pulled out their joints. A tinge of pain ran through her body. She let out a scream, and then suddenly found herself on the ground.
Horrified, Judy checked her wing. It was still attached to her body. When she looked up at her daughter, she saw the shape of a body that was split in 2 from the neck till the hip. Judy blinked her eyes hoping her blurriness would subside. A moment later, it did. She looked again. Her daughter’s body was split in half with the sides bent away from each other.

Her daughter's head, which was still attached to one of the split sides, had a stunned look on it. Her body swayed a bit, then hit to the ground.

A few feet beyond where her daughter had been standing stood Saul. His majestic wing which he had used to cut her in half now retracted back to its resting position behind his shoulder.

“Is... is she dead?” Judy asked looking down at her daughter's body.

Saul just kicked at the body as if that answered her question.
They were interrupted by angry cries. It was their son, looking at them, looking at his dead sister. Saul stared at him. The creature started to back away as if it was afraid. It then turned around and started to fly away from them.

“Hes getting away!” Judy exclaimed.
“Its fine. Without her, he can't reproduce. He's alone now. The humans will be able to take care of him. We need to leave,” Saul said extending his hand to Judy. Judy looked at him confused.

They heard a gentle cry from where Daisy had fallen. Judy rushed to her. Daisy was sitting propped up on her arms behind her, a gaping wound in her abdomen. Judy let Daisy lean on her.
“Are you alright?” Judy asked her.

Daisy pulled on the sliced open skin and looked inside casually like a human would look inside his coat.
“For sometime, I couldn't move my legs, but now I am fine. I am healing up.” she said wiggling her toes.
“We are wasting time. Every minute we waste, we risk being caught by Lucifer,” Saul said, a tone of urgency in his voice.
“Stop it! I am not going anywhere with you!” Judy said.
“I am sorry about what I did to you. It wasn't me. Lucifer manipulated me, he made me do those things. But listen, I have been thinking a lot. I know this planet in a remote galaxy. If we go there, we will mix right in with the life form there. Its the perfect hiding place.”

“And I need to go back to Commisure before someone finds out I am gone.” Daisy said standing up, the gaping hole now half its original size.

“Daisy, are you sure I can't accompany you back to Commisure? I can talk to Clayton and straighten.....” Judy offered.
“Its not about changing her mind. You are cursed by God when you kill a human. You can never come back to Commisure.”
“Both of us have broken God's law and have made ourselves enemies of Lucifer. Nobody can protect us now. We need to look out for each other.” Saul interrupted, looking at their daughter's body on the ground.

A moment of silence prevailed while Judy thought through her options.
“I will find you once everything's fine,” Daisy said hugging Judy.

Judy looked at Saul who extended out his hand.
“I still dont trust you.” Judy added.
“Well, we will have loads of time to get to know each other where we are going,” Saul said with a smile.

They rose up into the sky together and in an instant were shooting past galaxies.

***

THE END.

- Rejo John