Monday, June 18, 2018

Shaela Versus The Dizrulard

Introduction

This is certainly a story for pet (or pest) lovers depending upon how you may refer to yours.

This story and a few others are short reads that I've extracted from the much longer and unfinished story: The Game which I'd written and published on Tales Of The Sanctum in 2016. I'd wanted to post some new material for A Lady's Prerogative without breaking stride on The Devil In Music. I returned to my treasure trove of unfinished or unpublished works from Tales Of The Sanctum and cleaned them up for publishing here on Shhhh! Digital Media. I hope that you enjoy them.


Prologue


An entry from: The Sanctum's Collection Of Prime Manifestations

diz·rul·ard

ˈdizrul/
noun

a supernatural being responsible for malevolent physical disturbances in the Prime Plane often originating from the Plane Of Entropy

ˈard/
adjective

wild, chaotic, malicious


Shaela Versus The Dizrulard


She'd had a long day and Shaela prepared herself for bed before her bathroom mirror. There she stood in her undergarments. With a soft cloth she cleansed first her face followed by her neck and shoulders before applying a tonic to her supple skin. The air in her humble home had taken a slight chill. Shaela looked out of the bathroom into the dark corridor of her upstairs towards her bedroom.

"That's funny. I could have sworn that I was being watched. Is that you sugar cakes?" she asked aloud referring to her pet cat in a cutesy voice that broke the tension of the still.

She stretched out her hand before the bathroom vents to check for heat. There was nothing but a cold air blowing forth which sent a chill up her spine. Something down the hall in bedroom had fallen to the floor with a crash making her jump.

"Are you Ok honey muffin?" Shaela asked aloud stepping out of the bathroom and proceeding down the hall to check on her room.

The door was partway open and dimly lit by her bed lamp which she'd set to prepare for her night time read. She stepped into the room half expecting to see her little cat beside some minor catastrophe. Perhaps one of the statuettes from her dresser on the floor beside it as it looked for a way speedy way from the embarrassment of having knocked it over. She checked the floor and found nothing of the sort.  She did not see her little sugar muffin scampering away from a crime scene of embarrassing clumsiness. Down the hall she heard what appeared to be a malicious laugh. A hissing chuckle from the bathroom she'd left moments ago. She turned back towards the bathroom playing into her little cat's game of hide and seek. A smile grew across her face.

"Oh you little rascal you." she said as she made her way back into the bathroom trying to find the source of her amusement.

Down the hall the door to her bedroom slammed shut with a loudness that echoed throughout the house. Goose pimples rose on her skin as the cool air took hold and for the first time in a long time, Shaela felt a slight tinge of fear. She slowly made her way back down the hall to her room.

"Muffin cakes?" she asked aloud quietly looking over the banister down the stairs as she proceeded back down the hall towards her bedroom.

When she got to the door she clasped her hand around the door knob and slowly turned. When she felt the latch clear the insert, she threw the door open and jumped back screaming at what she saw.

The entire bedroom had been rearranged. Furniture and all. The ceiling had now become the floor and the floor had become the ceiling. She looked up to see her bed as it sat beside her end table with the night lamp on top (or bottom depending on your point of view). Her dresser sat on the ceiling inverted with all of her statuettes and gargoyles set atop just as she'd arranged them. She stumbled back in horror as she tried to find a scream within herself. She grabbed the door knob closing the door as she backed up.

"Meowwrrrr." a small mewling cat spoke from behind her making her jump once again.

She put her hand to her chest feeling her heart thumping. At once a sense of relief drifted over her body as her little cat stared back up at her oblivious of her current turmoil.

"Oh you little fuzz ball you. Come here!" she picked it up and cuddled it.

"We're going to go check the bedroom together and see if your mommy isn't going crazy. Alright?" she said to it softly as her anxiety took a few paces in retreat.

Once again she heard a similar voice, the one that had been the source of the laughter earlier. This time it emoted a sense of disappointment. Like it had missed a chance or lost an investment of its time. Or lost the humor of a bad joke.

"Did you hear that too or is mommy really going crazy?" she asked her cat as she approached the door.

She once again slowly turned the handle and opened the door slowly to see that the bedroom had mysteriously righted itself back to the floor as it had been. She let out a sigh of relief.

The next few days had gone without any similar incidents or mysterious rearranging of the furniture. She'd had two weeks off from her time at the Sanctum and was expected back there in three days where she'd have an appointment with Thara Lansworth. The Matron of her particular Order of Wytches.

Shaela had spent most of the time doing maintenance on her home as being a single and independent Woman, she'd come to learn to rely on herself. She supported herself by the meager pay she received from the Sanctum, which itself was funded by a secret group of wealthy financiers spread the globe over and like the Sanctum itself, representing every culture the world had to offer. Some Wytches had been enterprising and made a small income on the side divining for others and some like Shaela had lived only off their Sanctum wage. Shaela had inherited the house from her Mother when she was twenty three despite the fact that they'd not spoken since the death of her Father. She'd gone to her Mother on her death bed and reconciled many years of resent and pain between them before her final moments. With the mortgage already paid on the home she was left to pay the property taxes and the utilities which were small comparatively. She'd become so used to being single and independent that she could not imagine herself any other way. A hardened heart whose hidden fragility was protected by a layer of the granite drawn from the furnace of loneliness. Like all cats, independent of soul and nature she knew that she was never truly alone for they were all together in some way no matter their distance from one another. Maybe that's what had kept her maternal instinct at bay and her need for companionship buried. Change was a scary thing when encountered in abundance and external to oneself. To change oneself as life progressed was natural but to see the world around you change was frightful. The familiar was like an anchor to our sense of foundation and once lost we were as nomads. Lost within a world with which we could not maintain pace.

Many of the Wytches of the Sanctum had faced that over the years. The dread of returning from the midspace and not having aged even one second while the rest of the prime and the Aerth had aged weeks or months in their absence. In that time things had changed for them and in their neighborhoods of residence. They lived in a world that didn't know about nor did it understand or welcome them. History had demonstrated that many times over already. Dealing with the misuse of the weave was dangerous business for it not only stood the chance of exposing the Sanctum itself, but of making the Sanctum the enemy while the forces of malice stood back and watched. The protectors of life on the Aerth hunted down by the very people they protected. All stirred up by the malice of those like the Power Lords or the Norbids and the forces of Lorr. Those who wanted to rule over the world and to subjugate every living being to their cruel and dire will. Maintaining a lineage of their approval alone. Prune the genetic tree to their liking for none without the correct heritage should possess the weave, or even life and consciousness itself. The world would then be the playground of the chosen and all other free beings would become their slaves. Anyone not possessing their unique unbroken heritage would become their thralls. Their toys. No fantasy or role play about it. They wanted that sort of a thing for real and to subject people to their whims and desires as such in reality. They had no resolute abstraction between the concept of reality and play. To them it was all reality. If you wanted it then make it real even if and sometimes especially if it meant making others suffer to attain it.

Returning from the Sanctum to a world that did not want them never really felt like returning home, for the Sanctum was their real home and the other Wytch kind their real friends. Shaela loved the world she protected and at the same time despised so many aspects of it. She held a deep resent for the people she protected but at the same time understood that their ignorance was a matter of the lack of awareness of the truth rather than their personal malice towards their protectors. If they'd understood that there were people that misused the forces of nature and the weave against them every day in ways they could not comprehend they'd likely be more sympathetic towards Wytch kind as a whole. Understand that there were those who maintained their responsibility for such power and ability and used it to protect the world from others who knew no such boundaries and possessed little morality or penalty for its misuse.

On this particular day she prepared for another long trip to the Sanctum, which would amount to taking her away during the winter months after which she'd return in the summer. Keeping the house was a bit of work and prepping for such long stays away was an endeavor but one that she enjoyed. She raked the last bag of leaves up and stashed them into a paper bag which she put on the curb. Her little cat chased a leaf around the front yard, pouncing on it few times it's ears back with pronounced intensity and confusion. It stopped for a moment looking towards her. Still it watched her from the corner of its view. Shaela laughed aloud in amusement which only seemed to annoy it more. It pounced one last time at the leaf and then sped off in a meandering line towards the back of the house in frustration. In that moment a tear dangled from Shaela's lashes as she saw herself in the little cat.

She stepped into the house and removed her boots. As she stood again something flew by her view too fast to be seen. A shadowy wisp caught her glance in the dining room and she followed after it into the kitchen. As she stepped around her small dining table one of the tea towels affixed to a rack on the wall flew to life. It darted through the air at her like a whip a loud thwap broke the air beside her ears. She dodged the towel as a few more flew from their place on the rack. They too began their attack one by one. One of them made its way under the faucet as the handle turned and water wet its end. She ran out of the kitchen as fast as she could pursued by a group of four floating tea towels, one of them soaked with water. The wet towel sprang to the lead in pursuit of Shaela and snapped itself at her behind. She screamed as the sharp pain struck causing to pick up her pace.

She bounded up the stairs two at a time as the towels followed in pursuit. Another of the towels whipped itself towards her just missing her lower back abdomen. She reached the top of the stairs and bounded for the bathroom closing the door behind her. She heard the towels hit the door with a muffled force and then there was silence. Shaela put her ear to the door trying to hear what was going on in the hall beyond. She looked down to see the towels trying to make their way beneath the door. She screamed as she saw them inching their way into the bathroom. She fell to the floor and tried blocking the opening with her hands. The towels tried with futility to push by. She noticed the door knob had begun to slowly turn sending the chill of terror up her spine. She grasped at the door knob while bracing her foot at the base of the door to block the tea towel's entry.

A moment later and the pressure released on the door knob. There was no evidence of her tea towels either at the base of the door nor through any other openings of which she could think. She waited for a few moments before opening the door. When she did she was greeted by her bedroom pillows which floated confidently beside the tea towels. They appeared to be congregating perhaps formulating a plan for their next attack. They immediately turned upon noticing her and charged through the air for the door. She screamed and slammed the door shut again. One of the pillows had gotten it's corner past the opening and struggled to get the door open. Shaela fought with it forcing its corner back out of the door and closing it with slam. There was a muffled sound as the pillows battered the door. She braced herself against the door once again keeping the bottom blocked with her feet. Behind her the screws keeping the door hinges affixed to the door frame began to spin removing themselves one at a time. She braced herself keeping her weight against the door cursing. If she could have gotten her hands free and with enough time she could have cast a spell. Whatever it was it was keeping her occupied so she could not defend herself to her fullest and trying to prey upon her fear. Upon realizing what was going on she let go of the door.

The door fell to the side off the door frame as the pillows advanced towards her the tea towels by their side. There was another hissing laugh, a mischievous chuckle as they advanced. She held her ground as they advanced menacingly towards her. Her favorite pillow, which still smelled of the fragrance of her hair conditioner held its place in front of her staring her down. The two stood facing each other (did pillows have faces she thought?) unwilling to give in to defeat. The tea towels floated around behind her trying to unnerve her. The wet towel once again wound up and whipped her behind. She held her yelp despite the sharp pain unwilling to play their game.

"Get back to your place. Now!" she demanded of the pillows.

The pillow that had stared her down backed up a few paces and looked to the other pillow before looking back to her. She held her ground.

"I said do it!" Shaela's eyes flared.

The pillows both backed up this time.

"The towels too! Back to the kitchen!" Shaela almost lost her focus when she wondered how she was going to explain this to everyone without appearing a lunatic.

The towels slowly appeared from either side of her peripheral vision and began their journey down the stairs reluctantly. The pillows watched as the towels made their way back to the kitchen then looked back to Shaela. She could have sworn she saw them shrug.

"Get to bed!" she pointed to her bedroom.

The pillows turned and floated back to the bedroom and back to their place on the bed for the rest of their lives which in turn was relatively shortened by this incident. Shaela would never be able to trust these pillows again. Ever. Once a pillow had broken the trust there was no going back.

"I'm having them replaced as soon as I get back from the Sanctum. The towels too." Shaela said in some sick inner hope that they'd heard her.

She began to question her own sanity in trying to seek remorse and perhaps an apology from her kitchen linens and pillow set.

As soon as they were settled in place she stepped into the hall and summoned a portal. A doorway to the shadow plane from whence the Dizrulard had come. It had come through just before her shadow cat at the mausoleum and it had followed her ever since preying upon her emotional extremes.

"Alright. I know you're still here. Its time for you to go home too. We can do this the easy way or the way in which you're banished for a thousand millennia. Your pick." she said aloud.

She waited a couple a moments and when there came no indication that the Dizrulard was going to give up and return on its own she began hunting for it. She figured that it would be in the bedroom or the kitchen. The two places where it had animated her bed set and linens. She stepped past the portal and down the hall towards her bedroom. Behind her the Dizrulard which had been in the bathroom after having removed the screws from the door hinges followed her. It floated silently behind her inching itself ever closer. It had decided that it was done with Shaela and was going to instead banish her to the shadow plane and find another host here in the prime. One not so suited to defending itself. One more prone to fear and anxiety. The pillows and kitchen linens secretly hoped that the Dizrulard would win this battle so they could be liberated by it to wreak havoc upon another owner elsewhere. It had given them a taste of something that no inanimate object could ever hope to have. The joy of tormenting and terrorizing a victim whom would be labeled as being crazy if they tried to explain to others what they'd experienced.

 As Shaela got past the portal the Dizrulard made its move. It grabbed hold of Shaela's aura pulling her back towards the portal. She struggled as she nearly fell backwards into the portal. She quickly grabbed at the bannister hanging on for dear life as the Dizrulard tried with all its might to pull her into the shadow plane permanently. The bannister began to break freeing itself from the wall. She watched in horror as the last of the pickets snapped. Just as she was about to fall into oblivion, her little cat bound up the stairs, its ears down and eyes aglaze with ferocity. It leapt up Shaela's front digging its claws in landing on her shoulder. It hissed and growled at the Dizrulard.

In that moment and for the first time in history, a Dizrulard had experienced something that no Dizrulard had ever experienced. Fear. This little creature was terrifying! It's little whiskers flared and its ears pressed down to its little menacing head. It looked like a monster from the darkest of nightmares from the shadow plane despite the fact that it was barely a two handfuls at best. The Dizrulard's grip on Shaela was lost as it fell back into the abyss of Shaela's portal. She turned and closed the portal before it could find its way back through the opening. With a thundrous clap the air stilled itself and there was silence and peace once again.

"My little hero!" Shaela grapped the little cat from her shoulder stroking its neck and ears at it relaxed.

It began to purr. They spent the rest of the day together and later that night even watched a movie rental too.








Brian Joseph Johns
http://www.shhhhdigital.com

Copyright © 2018 Brian Joseph Johns