NIGEL'S EVENING

Appears in Unearthly Fables - Short Story Collection

Published by The Writing Show and David Schembri Studios, 2014

Note from the author:

I thought to myself, "Why not share this?"

This story is dear to me, not because of the mood or to delve behind a character's mindset, but for the reason 
to deliver a smile. I read this piece of previously published fiction at the book launch of Unearthly Fables,
and at the end, I had a room of people laughing.

The chills he felt beneath his flesh were more from excitement than fear.

 

Nigel concealed himself behind the dumpster. Shrouded within the late gloom of the dingy alley, he held out the handy cam and directed its lens. It was the office’s loan model and the viewscreen didn’t work, but it would do the job.

 

He glided his thumb over the zoom toggle.

 

Finally it was going to be his night. For years he’d been stuck behind his desk inducting young bloods into the Weekly Herald, watching them rise above him, settling into offices he so longingly wanted to occupy. Year after year he was overlooked for promotion. A klutz, they called him, but he was determined to prove them wrong.

 

This night, it was his time to shine.

 

As he hid behind the rancid-smelling dumpster, the goods were finally at his fingertips. A local senator and a known crime figure were meeting and shaking hands. He would have the evidence on digital video. He knew he was not within range to capture voices, but the images would be enough to confirm his story.

 

Thinking excitedly about his future, he kept the camera as still as he could. No more disappointed glances from his wife. No more disinterested expressions from his offspring. No more endless days slouched behind a desk.

 

“I’m gonna be famous,” he snickered.

 

The minutes rolled by. Nigel peered around the corner of the dumpster and watched the secret meeting conclude. He waited, the steam of his ambition clouding his face. He heard cars disappear into the night. He ran from the gloom of the alley and rested his back on the street corner and gasped with excitement. He set the handy cam to rewind. It vibrated in his shaking hands, and he clenched his teeth in anticipation.

 

Click. He pressed Play.

 

Nigel watched the footage for a few seconds before hurling the handy cam onto the pavement. 

 

He had recorded four minutes of the lens cap.

GAITREL THE BLACK

Appears in Unearthly Fables - Short Story Collection

Published by The Writing Show and David Schembri Studios, 2014

Note from the author:

Fantasy is a genre I don't write in as often as I would like. My ideas normally shoot me into other realms. But here, I dove into a mind of a twisted character, engulfed in a world of loneliness where ghosts are all that keep him company.

Spend some time with Gaitrel . . .

The young girl’s screams echoed within the shadows of the tower.

Gaitrel leaned over her and said gently, “Do not despair, child.” He tried to calm her with a hand to her forehead, but she continued to cry and fought wearily within the rusty shackles. “There are many wonders in store for you after tonight.” He straightened and leaned on his staff. “You are about to become the mother of an immortal child. You will receive a beautiful castle, an order of guards, and perhaps even have a kingdom named after you!” he said.

“Y-you told me I was g-going to die,” she spat.

Her saliva sprayed onto his grey beard, and he flinched. Gaitrel bit at his lower lip and slowly recalled her purpose. The events of these past centuries had wreaked havoc on his memory. He could not remember having told her such lies before. He sighed with dismay and peered down at the pale, baggy robes that signified his fall. He was the last of his kind. Alone. Troubled. Practically powerless, and losing his memory was the last thing he wanted. It was all he had. But now…

The girl’s screams suddenly intensified and he gazed up.

Another was born.

The young demon had burst out of her gut, staining her white night dress with blood and innards. She lay motionless on the stone bed as the demon chewed and bit at her flesh.

Gaitrel stepped towards the newborn. It snarled at him and screamed an insult, complaining that the meat was bitter. He bowed his head, gathered the demon up in his arms, and wrapped its bloody body in his robes. It struggled for a few moments but soon settled and began to slumber noisily in his embrace. Gaitrel sighed again and proceeded with the ritual.

He would raise the demon and live with it. Feed it the flesh of livestock. Cope with the stench of its filth as it lay in steaming heaps around the halls of his tower. Then, a time would come when it would be old enough to depart. To be released into a nearby village. It would assume the form of a local townsman--and wait.

He laid the slumbering beast into a cradle made from iron and lined with straw, and gazed at its flapping lips. His mind continued to show signs of its former strength, supplying images of the tasks that lay ahead. Once the power of his staff had regenerated, he would obtain another young virgin using a seductive scent--a pink haze that would entice her up to his tower.

Gaitrel dragged his feet into the gloom of his chamber and slumped into his throne of ironstone. His staff fell from his grip and rolled noisily onto the floor, the impact echoing in the tall ceilings. He wearily rubbed his sweaty brow and mumbled, “Come, come. Speak to me before I forget where I am.”

He sat in the silence for endless moments before shadows swirled around the spines of his books. Soon the voices eddied around his ears.

All ten of his departed order visited him that night, an order he’d led through the Dark Ages before their fall to the Lord’s army. Their voices encouraged and worshiped him, despite the faded condition of his robes. The birth of the newborn signaled yet another troop for their impending army of fire. Once the circle of demons was complete, his order would rise again.

Gaitrel looked down at his robes and grinned as the colors grew a shade darker. The time to reshape the way of the world would come, and he would regain his title.

He would no longer be known as the fumbling fool.

He would again be Gaitrel.

Gaitrel the Black.

 

© 2019 by David Schembri

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