The Eyes of Wisdom
My Savior Struck on Silent Wings
I lay on the cold, dirty wooden floor. I could barely stand and I was sure that I was, at least temporarily, deaf in my left ear. I reached to that side of my face and it was sticky with blood - probably from a ruptured eardrum.
I tried to get my bearings. To "right" myself. It was hard, very hard. Did I have a concussion? It was not easy to form thoughts. Or was it an after effect of those...things?
After another minute I finally was able to sit up, putting my back against the shack's wall. Thank God and Saint Michael I still had the gun! The gun was old - and awkward - heavy, and hard to load. Called a "broomhandle" with good reason. But it wasn't its non-existent grace or beauty that gave it power. It was the etchings of prayers in enochian, the tongue of the angels, and the prayers themselves, said over it by generations of Templars. That's what gave it power. So I reloaded the bulky box magazine. And I waited…
My mind played over tonight's events. Tonight's disaster. The loss of my two brother Templars, Simon, and Mauricio. And the horrors that ended them. Not fully ape, nor fully reptile, nor fully insect. Yet an unholy melding of the three. At least eight feet tall, with hides reminiscent of the nauseating hue of plucked raw chickens. There was a pair of these murderous fiends. Sadly we did not realize this in time.
The first struck from the shadows, and killed Simon before we even knew it was there. Crushing his skull and neck with a devastating blow. Simon fell forward and landed face first onto the dirty, wet concrete. His blood leaked from him in a quickly spreading, nearly black pool.
Mauricio reacted with the speed of a jungle cat, armed with a blessed sword, an ancient gladius first wielded by the heroes of Holy Rome, it was a short, razor sharp stabbing blade, and with it he struck fast and low, the sword entered into the beast's lower right abdomen, and sank deep. Mauricio drew the sword to the left in a two handed grip, disemboweling the monster. It roared in agony and anger, as it's all too human guts literally spilled onto the ground with a wet smacking sound.
I pulled my pistol and fired four rounds, all into the creature's head before it could maul Maricio. It seemed to deflate as it slowly slid to the ground, dead. Mauricio, covered in reeking yellow ichor, nodded to me silently, he always was a man of few words, and he turned back to the horrid corpse, to retrieve his sword.
That was when the second one struck! Like it's fellow, it stepped from nowhere swinging a huge chitin covered forearm at me. And it caught me, a mere glancing blow, but I was sent sprawling to the ground nearly senseless.
Mauricio pulled his blade from the body below him, and spun toward our new attacker with his customary speed, but this time he was not fast enough. The fiend bellowed with the sound of a thousand lion’s roars. A scream that struck Maurico head on like a tidal wave knocking him senseless to the ground. The sound struck me as well, but I was at its “edges”. I felt a stabbing, ripping pain in the left side of my head and I stumbled into the street, and I ran. The last thing I remember was seeing the beast lift Mauricio off the street and bite his head in half with its impossibly elongated jaws…
This town in western Maryland seemed to be abandoned. At least no one had responded to the gunshots or the creature’s roar. So I finished loading the gun and made ready to leave the safety of the shed - such that it was. I was filled with a burning need to avenge my brothers. And possibly these innocent townsfolk as well.
It was then that I noticed it. Staring at me...it's small white face like a ghost, and its black glittering eyes like lightless jewells even darker than the shadows it was standing in…an owl? How did I not see it until now? We were less than four feet apart. And why did it not flee when I stumbled into this shed? I cannot recall how long we sat there, our eyes locked, the owl and me. But I swear to you, I was not looking into the eyes of a mere animal. It looked at me with eyes filled with intelligence, wisdom, and do I dare say it, hope? My confidence had returned and my course was set. I rose and exited the shed, stopping to look at the owl one last time. I nodded at it and went to meet my fate.
I walked the streets a good ten minutes, and I prayed loudly: “Saint Michael the Archangel, sharpen me as the tip of your spear. Grant me the courage and honor of being the hammer of righteousness, and forge me into the shield which defends I AM’s heavenly Kingdom! Amen!” As the sun finally set, it struck. Again coming out of nowhere, and again it caught me flat-footed. Knocking me to the ground the gun slid away from me, and I looked my death in the face…I quickly glanced to the right and saw the gun a mere two feet away at most. The monster followed my gaze, and smiled as it extended claws from both hands that would shame a grizzly bear.
Just then something struck on silent wings - diving at the fiend’s eyes. It’s talons tore at the beast’s face and the fiend roared and tried to strike my savior from the air! It was then that I realized it was an owl - the same owl! I dove to the right and grabbed up the gun and fired from the ground while screaming loudly: “I am justice! I am zeal! I am the razor sharp wrath of angels!” The first round took the brute in the upper stomach - where the sternum would start on a man - while the second, third and fourth round went into its chest. As it stumbled I emptied the rest of the 10 round magazine into its face and head.
The beast fell unmoving and I quickly stood up, while dropping the empty magazine and quickly grabbed and loaded the spare that I carried. I looked down at the beast, and it was unmoving. “Brother Mauricio. Brother Simon. You are avenged. May you rest in peace, and dwell in eternal glory.” I intoned solemnly.
I then looked around and found it - the owl. It watched me from a fence and I approached it and bowed at the waist. “Thank you Lord Owl. I thank you not only for my life, but for the chance to gain justice for my brother templars, and for the innocent souls of this town. May God, and Saint Michael bless and keep you.”
The owl regarded me for another minute with its black eyes full of wisdom, and then silently took wing and was gone.
I reached for the cell phone I carried and dialed the one number programmed into it.
“Yes?” A man’s voice answered.
“It is done. But the cost was high. Both Brother Simon and Brother Mauricio have given their lives. But they have been avenged.” I informed my contact on the other end.
“I mourn with you Brother Virgil. Your extraction is on its way. Deus vult!” The voice responded.
“Deus vult brother.” And with that, I stared into the sky after the owl and hung up.