Wednesday, July 24, 2013

THE LEGION OF NIGHT, CHAPTER 28

     There aren't a lot of tall buildings in Alsace, so I sometimes find myself coming here, to the hospital parking garage; I've been doing it for a while, when I've wanted someplace quiet and removed to think.

     Since I can fly now, getting up here is even easier.
I know what Wish wanted to ask me-it wasn't so much what this feels like as it was what I've done, since becoming Nightwitch.

     If I've killed.

     He was a cop for years, and I know he's used deadly force twice, so I know it isn't that sort of question, but it still feels intrusive, not that I'd tell him that, because I don't mind him knowing about me....besides, the answer (so far) is "no"....God grant it stay that way.

     If the answer had been "yes", he'd no doubt want to talk about it, to "make sure that I was okay", and I dunno what that'd be like. I'd rather just see how it goes, if it does happen.

     I can see his house from here, near the tracks and the river, and I picture him sleeping; I once peeked in on him while out patrolling, and saw him sprawled on his back in Dagwood pajamas, Dougie draped atop his head, both snoring.

     Part of me wants to be there, with him, for the closeness, the love-but not yet. I believe in marriage, and so does he; he's never even made a move on me, or even acted as if that were some kind of burden-I love him even more for that. He seems to be okay with me being Legion, as if the only important thing is me, not anything about me, except for my faith.

     Some guys, I wouldn't have believed that about, but with Wish, it seems a fundamental part of him, and who we are. It's like we've been friends for years, and were destined to be together.

     If he were to ask me, right now, I'd say "yes" without hesitation. I know, though, he'll take his time doing it, because he'd feel it proper not to rush.  

     The dawn's breaking....I guess I'll head home. Father, thank You for an uneventful night, and for guiding me through, as I serve my neighbors....and You. 

     In His name, Amen.

    

Monday, July 15, 2013

THE LEGION OF NIGHT, CHAPTER 27

     Friday night is movie night for me, it's even more fun with Susan there. We choose a film, generally commenting on it all the way through, me, her, and Dougie, who doesn't care what we watch as long as he gets his share of popcorn.

     This particular night, it's one of my favorites,20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; this was the first DVD I ever bought, and I've seen it a dozen times this way, not to mention how many times on VHS, on tv, and at the theater. As it turns out, Susan loves this film too, although she's only seen it twice, on the Disney Channel.

     We're huddled together on the sofa, the bowl of popcorn in my lap, Dougie in hers, and the stalwart crew of the Nautilus is locked in the famous battle with the giant squid.The next thing I know, the remote's in Susan's hand, and the film is on "pause".

     "Wish", she says," why don't you just ask me?"
Now, to be honest, I know what she's talking about....there's only one elephant in this living room.
But, I decide to be an Irish butt-head about it, and answer, "What are you talking about? Ask you what?"

     She lifts Dougie off her lap (to muttered feline complaints), and stands in front of me, hands on hips, an expression of amused exasperation on her face, which goes well with the freckles which pop out when she's emotional. "About THIS, about what's happened..."

     "I've got a more important question to ask," says I, "How do you feel about me?"
The freckles got even more prominent, as did her smile, "I love you, and I know that you love me. Is that the answer you wanted?"

     "You can't imagine how much." I tell her, my smile getting wider, too."Next question; has 'what happened' changed how you feel about me?"

     "Bring your face here," Susan says, and I stand, our faces inches apart. Without warning, her right comes up, and gives me a light, open-handed crack on the cheek.

      "Don't talk like that....Mama smack you."
I don't need a house to fall on me; I look down, and Dougie's looking up at me with his patented "Don't-be-an-ass" expressionon his furry features.

     I take her in my arms, and hold her, for what seems like years, while "Top of the World" by the Carpenters loops in my head. The questions will wait....if they get asked at all.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

THE LEGION OF NIGHT, CHAPTER 26

                                                                  OMAHA

     Dear Lord....what have I done? I came downtown to pay a bill, that's all, just a quick Saturday errand, not this....

     I never thought this would happen. They said he was only seventeen, the same age as my
sister's oldest, and I killed him. He's laying there on the steps, tucked in a body bag, just dead.

     I was walking over to the corner, to get an Orange Julius, when I heard someone yell, "This for KENNY, muthaf____!" I turned, and there was a man about twenty feet from me, poinitng a gun at someone beyond me. Strictly by reflex, I raised my hand, and fired an energy burst, catching him in the chest-in broad daylight, it was almost invisible. The blast knocked him backwards, and down....he was dead when he hit the pavement.

     People were looking around, but not straight at me, so I figured no one knew I'd done it; we can use our abilities without Changing. A few were walking forward, toward the gunman, and I joined them, the ardrenaline rush fading. I was horrified by what I saw.

    This was no "gunman"....it was a young man, still in his teens, eyes staring sightlessly at the overcast sky, a grimace of pain on his features, and a hole the size of an orange burned through his windbreaker, his shirt, and deep into his flesh. 

     I felt sick, and angry, at myself for not doing something else-I'm fast enough that I could've blocked his shot, or collared him without harming him. I accepted the fact that I 'm sanctioned to use deadly force in certain circumstances, but I can't bring myself to believe  that this was one.

     Dear Lord, what do I do?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

THE LEGION OF NIGHT, CHAPTER 25

     Did'ya ever notice, that sometimes, your own reactions to things suprise you? You might think, hypothetically, that something might make you angry, say, but it doesn't, and you wonder what's up with that.

      I'm getting a little ahead of myself, here....
I hadn't been out with Susan in about three weeks; we saw each other in church, but we hadn't gotten together socially in a bit. Well, last Sunday, she came up to me after services, and after a bit of conversation, she offered to cook me dinner at her place that evening, about six-ish. My Ma didn't raise her oldest boy to be a fool, so there was no way I was going to turn this down. This was seconded by Pastor Mike and his missus, who had a gleam in her eye that told me that she probably had been doing a bit of social engineering on the sly.

     I got to her apartment about four-thirty, as the plan was for me to help her in the kitchen. There was a nice roasting chicken sitting in a pan, and after letting me in, Susan went back to peeling potatoes, which would be sliced and roasted-she set me to snapping beans.

     As she sliced the spuds, I saw the knife she was holding slip, and slice deeply into her finger. To my astonishment, the cut closed itself,  without time even to bleed! Susan seemed to not even feel it.

     I was calm....I knew what it meant, and that she hadn't told me about the obvious change in her, but I was calm, not angry, or shocked, just....curious.

     We got all the ingredients cooking, and sat at the kitchen table, where she could keep an eye on everything. We sipped iced mocha, talking about the service, and stuff during the week, when I realized it was time....

     "So", said I, ...."when were you going to tell me?"
The look on her face told me she'd considered playing cute, but decided, I guess, I deserved better. "Actually, I was going to tell you tonight, after I'd stuffed you full of  my mother's roast chicken, potatoes, beans, and German chocolate cake, but it's a little late for that, Wish. I'm sorry...."

     "It's not too late-smells like the chicken's almost done....we can talk during dinner."
When I said that, she smiled, a happy, relieved smile, and I did, too.

     There's an old song that says, "It's time to bring this ship into the shore, and throw away the oars forever".
I'd been fighting that feeling for weeks, being afraid of making a mistake, of losing again, until I found out this secret about her, and realized it didn't matter to me, not the secret itself, not the not-telling me part, there was no way I was going to walk away from here lonely, or let her ache over a mistake that cost her happiness.

     The story she'd told the police, and me, was pretty much the truth, except for one detail; OmegaSon didn't leave right after killing Ernesto, and Susan didn't immediately call the police. What she did was ask OS how to become a  Legion member, more specifically, could someone just ask to become one. By then, dinner was on the dining room table.

     As we tucked into the meal, I asked her what OmegaSon did, when she asked if she could just sign up, as it were.

     "He sat down on a car fender, near me, and said, 'As far as I know, there's no rule against it. If I may, why do you want to join?' "

     "I told him, 'That call was a little close....but it's not just that. I'm sick of people getting away with doing hideous things to other people. Ever since I was robbed a few months ago, I've been wanting to somehow be a part of this, but I didn't know how.' "

      "How did....what did he do", I said.
Susan said, "He took my hands in his, and I began to feel a warmth, a tingling warmth, coursing through my body. It wasn't painful, but pleasant.
The next thing I knew, it was as if I...went somewhere, for an instant, it's hard to explain, but when it was over, I was different."

     "When you cut yourself earlier, could you feel it?"  "Not pain, just the pressure of the knife; I'd hoped you hadn't seen anything."

     There was a silence, heading toward awkward, and I didn't want that, 'cause it might make her think that I felt differently about her, so I asked, "How do you look, I mean, when you change?" She got up from her chair, walked over to the corner near the china cabinet, and with a smile, said, "Like THIS...."
She closed her eyes, and in a second, she was different. I can't really describe exactly how she changed; it was sorta like when someone morphs in a movie, but not quite....like I said, it's hard to describe.

     What she changed into, is not.
She became taller, by almost six inches, and her hair got longer, redder, hanging to her waist, Irish-wild. Her green eyes shone fire, and her skin became pale, like milk. If anything, she just got about ten times more alluiring.

     Her clothing changed, into a form-fitting black dress, with a short skirt, and black tights, blending into black slippers. Around her neck hung a firey green jewel, on a moon-silver chain.

     The word, "breathtaking" doesn't quite describe the effect.
When she's "on duty", as it were, she calls herself Nightwitch, a name she "borrowed from an old friend" .I never got around to asking her who.

     We talked around the subject most important-how this would affect the growing relationship we had.
It wasn't until later that I realized why....we didn't need to.  We both had been lonely for a long time, and were pretty much certain that the magic wouldn't come again. Still, the Lord will give us the desires of our hearts, if we are faithful to Him, and for me, there really wasn't much of earth worth being all that involved with.

     I drove home that night, still breathing in the scent of her hair.