Willow walked in the sunshine, the flowers around the grave stones were bright and fresh, like the deceased’s loved ones had just paid a visit and laid the colorful bouquets. The old paving stones she walked on were broken and crammed with moss, the green veins spider webbed over the gray surface. So many years of growth trodden idle by attendants of the dead.
The path she was on held two rows of high trees on either side, the green canopy let speckles of sunlight dust the floor ahead. She didn’t recognize this place but some part of her seemed to know where she was going. She suddenly turned off the beaten path and glided across the rows and rows of generic head stone, dead black birds with feathers matted with dried blood perched on the morbid structures. They turned white unblinking eyes on her as she progressed.
Not wanting to get too close to the birds she missed the many names of the departed as she floated by. The birds continued they loud squawks like the guardians of the graveyard, the noise soon started to unnerve her.
It seemed to go full night in a flash as she stopped before a monolithic tomb stone, the towering piece of granite was shaped in the image of a cross with the circle of the sun around the top, white lines dissecting the black surface like lightning on a stormy night.
The grave looked to be fresh as the dirt was freshly turned and mounded.
Her breath caught as her eyes settled on the name.
Sarah Adamson. Born 1971 – died 2005
As I was so are ye As I am so shall ye bee. Thy life a grace Thy breath vigour
To unpathed waters undreamed shore.
Willows heart suddenly felt heavy as years of sadness crept up from the pit of her stomach. She closed her eyes to stop the flow of tears.
Willow hadn’t known her mother for very long before she was ripped away. She had been diagnosed with some rare cancer when she was six and was gone months later. She remembered the ceremony clearly, the open white casket with her mother inside. She was beautiful. Flowing blond hair bathed the sides of her pale face and her green eyes were shut to the world forever.
She had been laid to rest in a long white dress, the type you see saints and virgins wear in the films. Cradled all around the casket were dozen upon dozens of her favorite flowers. Red roses amidst a sea of sun flowers. The image twist and slowly the roses started dripping blood until the roses were no more. The sunflowers then started to wither and drop off into the river of blood that snaked away, her mother’s casket riding along in its current.
She jolted back to the graveyard and her mother’s grave, suddenly becoming aware of someone standing behind the huge headstone. A bare foot extended out of the shadows followed by a leg covered in dirty denim jeans.
Willow backed up as fear grabbed her heart with icy fingers. Cain stepped out from behind the gravestone with Willow’s mother draped in his arms.
His wicked smile was tainted by blood and she could see that her mother’s neck had been the cause. A trickle of blood fell from the bite mark on her neck and splashed to the newly turned dirt.
Sarah’s eyes snapped open, gone were her normal emerald stare, now her iris’s were blood red like the droplets falling to the ground. She extended a ghostly white hand toward her daughter pleadingly.
Willow gasped and staggered back only for her foot to get caught in a tree root that hadn’t been there before. Cain advanced one step at a time, a low chuckle reverberate around her as she tried to free her leg from the twisted root.
Willow looked up at the thing that resembled her mother, blood cascade freely from the wound now, the crimson waterfall stained Cain’s legs and feet as he walked.
Willow screamed and jolted awake.
Cold sweat soaked her body, her heart throbbed in her eyes and her breathing came in thick and fast. Her puffy blankets were crumpled at the foot of her bed from her frantic flight.
She started once again as the white fabric curtains of the four poster bed whipped about in a breeze from her opened bedroom window.
A window she was almost sure she didn’t open before going to bed. She tried to calm her erratic breathing while the hazy confusion of the dream slowly wore off, but the ghastly image of her mother stayed behind her eyes. An image that would be forever seared into her memory.
Willow stepped out on to the wooden floor, her nerves so shot she thought every shadow would jump out and grab her. She approached the window tentatively and looked out. Nothing stirred outside apart from the torch light of a two man patrol leading a dog on a leash.
Willow reached through and pulled the window closed, she ran back and jumped onto the bed, lest the creatures of her imagination reach out and snare her.
How ever much she willed herself to sleep,
Sleep eluded her for the rest of the night.
Willow fell on her back, her staff clattered across the floor as the wind was knocked out of her lungs. Geezer leveled his staff to her throat. A strand of blond hair had come loose from her braid in the fall and now stuck to her sweat covered forehead. She chose to wear the combat suits that the Blood Banes used on their mission hoping to find comfort in the compressed confinement. While her opponents wore a tight vest and black shorts.
Geezer moved the staff from her throat to her stomach. Willow gripped the staff and was pulled to her feet.
The training session had been vigorous and relentless, her opponent really puts the mad in the expression mad dogs and Englishman. Geezer’s muscular arms flex the staff behind his head as he regarded her.
“You’re doing really well girly, but your problem is confidence. I know you can fucking fight, but you don’t.”
She had bent over to suck in deep breaths, finally, she stood up with hands on her hip as she shook her head.
“You’re stronger than me.”
“Bollocks, me stronger than an angel.”
“I’m only half angel.” She teased.
Geezer snorted and walked over to her staff. He positioned the end of his staff in the middle of hers and flicked it back to Willow. She caught it mid-air and blocked the attack that followed.
The two struck and blocked each other’s attacks like an elegantly choreographed performance. Willow swept down and whipped her staff at his heels, hoping to take him off his feet, but Geezer jumped over and followed with a downward strike aimed at her head.
Willow rolled and came up running as Geezer struck out again and again.
As she approached a wall, she took two steps upwards then pushed off with her lead foot and somersaulted backward over Geezer.
He turned, following her descent and rammed the staff into Willow’s chest. Before the impact, she twisted at the last minute bringing him into close proximity. She struck him on the chin with her elbow and grabbed at his staff, wrenching it away. She twirled and then kicked him in the stomach with all her might sending him flying back into the wall.
It was Geezer turn to suck in air as he slowly got to his feet. He held a hand out toward Willow as she readied herself for another attack.
“Hold tight girl, hold tight.”
He laughed in between breaths as he straightens up. The laughter caused pain to shoot up his side.
“See.” He waggled a finger at her as she offered his staff back to him.
“When you don’t let your nut get involved, your better.”
His thick cockney accent was a pleasant change to the normal American accents around the institution. It was one of the things she liked the most about him, well that and he told it as he saw it.
Abel burst through the door and strode over the padded floor to the pair. He nodded to Geezer who returned the nod.
“How is she doing?”
“Pukka Governor, she moves like a dancer and strikes like a viper.” Geezer rubbed his ribs and grinned.
He turned to his daughter with a proud smile. If the Englishman said she was good then he meant it. Geezer was by far the best fighter in his unit. Not only was he capable of using any weapon, he was also deadly without one too.
“You might want to have a shower, we’re going to pay a visit to an old friend of the Regent.”
Willow nodded eagerly and tucked the offending hair back into her hair braid.
“Who we going to see?”
“Not we, but us.”
Able pointed to the three of them.
“Who’s the mark gov?”
“No mark, just a visit. But to air on the side of caution, you better suit up.”
Able winked at Willow and turned to walk back to the door. Willow and Geezer exchanged confused glances.
“Who we going to see dad?”
Able shouted over his shoulder without breaking stride.
Geezer threw his staff to the floor and let it skitter away to the wall.