Crossing The Line (A Simon Hobb Story)
Crossing The Line
To an average person the church seemed like a typical building of it's type and age. Large and gothic with copper roofing that had turned to a bright green over what must have been at least a hundred years worth of oxidation. But to Simon, a lot more was visible. He hadn't really been looking this morning but now with heavy clouds over head and only street lights to see by, he couldn't help but notice the truth. Like most buildings of spiritual importance, the church was surrounded by a dome of energy with a thin line of the stuff ascending skywards. But instead of the blazing white light that would usually be seen around a Catholic church this old, Simon could see dark grey and in some places black patches swirling around. “This should be fun” he said to himself in a resigned and somber tone.
Stepping over the threshold wasn't difficult, a public building like this one would pose no problem for a human to walk into, but the energy field could be lethal to certain things that Simon knew exist in this world. Even still, he could feel it like a silk curtain flowing over him as he entered. Stopping in the antechamber before the church proper, he listened for sounds of activity. A low mumbling came to him and what may have been the occasional growl. Holding his Zippo lighter in his left hand and a large knife in the other, Simon pushed open the inner door as quietly as he could. He slid into the church and took in the scene at a glance. Nothing seemed out of place. Everything was exactly as it had been when he was a kid and being forced to attend Sunday mourning Mass. Then he blinked and the world changed in an instant. He could see the red and orange flames surrounding the alter, the two hooded figures standing either side of it and the monstrous shadow standing behind it. The stations of the cross, which had been carved out of finely polished wood were slashed through and everything was covered in dark red stains. The alter looked like a butchers slab and the two red skinned lion size reptiles that were charging at him looked very angry. “Jesus!” exclaimed Simon as the leading reptile took to the air in a ten foot leap. On reflex he threw the knife underhanded and, aided by a little energy and a lot of concentration, the blade spun like a buzz saw slicing the creature clean in two from front to rear. The second Lizard was two feet away and coming at him head on. Simon dropped to one knee, lit the lighter and blew a ball of flame that forced the lizard back a few feet but didn't really do much else. Summoning every once of energy he could, Simon tried again and this time got the result he wanted. An inferno of bright orange flame consumed the creature turning it's red scales to charred black and turning the black pits that were it's eyes into gooey paste. Inwardly Simon cursed himself for being an idiot. His knife was embedded in a wall at the far side of the church and trying to do so much under the dampening influence of the church's barrier had left him tired, weak and in serious trouble. Sweat beaded his forehead as he looked up at the alter. The two hooded figures were walking down the central aisle towards him and had sickles that were pulsing with a malevolent dark red glow. But it was the shadow that really did it for him. It stood a good nine feet in height, had a build that came out of a Japanese horror cartoon and, Simon was bemused to see, appeared to have wings. Slowly the shadow smiled and with a voice that promised destruction cheerily said “Fresh Meat”. Simon grabbed a nearby candle holder. It was about six feet long so he ran up the aisle and swung for the first guy near him. The figure ducked and slide under the swing but Simon followed through catching the second guy in the face with the large round stand at the other end. Raising the make shift staff in time to block a downward slash of both the first figures sickles. Simon let the momentum pull him forward to deliver a savage headbutt then twisted to his right and wrenched the weapons lose from his assailants hands. He hoped to the Gods he had enough for this next bit as he threw the staff in the air, reached up with both hands and forced the sickles spinning into the air. With a sweeping motion he brought one soaring down in an arc to take of his floundering foes head before turning and burying the other in the face of his second opponent.
Breathless and doubled over, Simon winced as the sound of clapping drifted faintly to him. “I am impressed little one” said the shadow with what he could have sworn was an attempt at affection. “You do yourself proud to handle so much through the influence of both myself and the false one who supposedly owns this place. I wander if you would be interested in making a deal?” Simon's legs were like jelly and it was everything he could do just to hold on to the end of the pew. “Phew” he said “Just gimme a minute here big guy. Need to catch my breath.” He sat in the pew with his head down breathing hard and thinking fervently. He was dead, no other way around it. Somehow a full fledged demon was standing inside a church attempting, successfully, to deconsecrate it and he was near useless to do anything about it. Constrained by how his own abilities worked, he knew that he couldn't muster enough strength through the beacons field to even do his most well practiced tricks. Even if he could tap his full potential in here, Simon doubted it would have much effect on that thing. It wasn't fully here yet but it still had enough juice to subvert the beacon of a very well established catholic church in the middle of an old catholic community. No two ways about it, Simon was screwed. He sat back and raised his head to look at the shadow. “Sorry man, I'm wrecked after that. You were saying?” The shadow tilted it's head to one side and the smile seemed to receded to just one corner, making it look almost mischievous. It straightened up and spoke again in a much more serious tone “Yes, I was asking if you would be interested in making a deal. I can offer you power and knowledge that will allow you to do whatever you want in this world.” Feeling ill but determined to look calm and cool, Simon leaned back in the pew and put his arms up on the railing. “Thanks, but no thanks man,” he said putting his feet up on the back of the pew in front, “ I already got that. I've pretty much got a licence to have fun in this town and I'd rather not be a demon's rent boy for a little extra juice that'll probably shorten my life span anyway.” “Nope,” he said standing up slowly and stretching himself out, “I've got a better suggestion. Leave. Get your ass back to whatever pit you belong in and do it fast. Because although me and the owner of this house don't always see eye to eye, I'm fairly sure he's on my side for this one.” Simon took a deep breath, exhaled and prayed that his plan would work. It was the only way to save this place and the souls of the congregation of the parish. If this didn't work everyone of those people would be damned and if their God was listening, this was his chance to step in. “I order you to leave this place.” he said walking laboriously up the aisle “In the name of the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit.” as he finished the blessing and crossed himself he flung his hands forward towards the shadow. It flinched and then began to laugh as Simon stood in front of it with his hands thrust out looking increasingly worried. Simon hung his head with a sigh and dropped his hands. “Of course,” he said slowly raising his head upwards, “Thanks alo.....” Suddenly piercing white light shot through him, his last thought was that he must have been in the center of the beacon. Simon's hands flung out to either side as his body was lifted into the air, the white light radiated from his skin and when he spoke the voice wasn't his “You were told to leave. Now you will suffer His Wrath.” At this Simon's hands shot forward and blinding white energy coursed through his arms and out his fingertips. The shadow screamed and howled as the light pierced it, filled it and finally exploded out through it. Simon descended to the ground and slumped to the floor as the light faded away returning him to the exhausted wreck he had been moments before. He was still alive, but he couldn't stop shaking “Too much,” he said to himself, “That was way too much.” He stood up and looked around the church, the fire had gone but through the shadows he could see the blood stains were still there. He leaned from pew to pew and slowly walked out of the church.
After a brief conversation with Father Goodwin, in which Simon outlined a rough description of what had happened leaving out demons and divine intervention, he got back on his motorbike and drove very carefully home. The Priest would collect the knife Simon had borrowed and clean it before throwing it in the river. The last thing either of them wanted was to have two dead bodies in a church linked back to him. The incident would be taken care of by some rather shady members of the community that used the confessionals every so often as a form of keeping their fate. Simon spent the next few weeks trying to come to terms with what had happened. His plan was to maybe tap into the church's energy field, the last thing he expected was to become an avatar for, what? An Angel? God? He sat and lit a cigarette with only slightly shaking fingers “Too much”