Port Demons of India. A Private Eye Crossbones Tale by John Pirillo. "He had to get a life before they got his!"
Port Demons of India
A Private Eye Crossbones Tale.
By John Pirillo.
"Ain't nothing tastes finer than a fresh pinkie on a hot toasted bun." From the Port Demon's Cookbook for ignorant eaters.
Call me Crossbones. Everyone else does. Private Eye Crossbones to be exact, though I was born with the name Samuel Henry Cross, but that seems just too normal in the world I live in now, being as it is filled with demons, werewolves, vamps, sicks and the worst monsters of all Corporate Demons...the head honchos that now run the United States of Corporate America.
Seems like every time I show up somewhere, there's heads rolling, legs torn off, chests burst open and general mayhem and death and dying. Pretty sad situation for a guy who just wants to make a living, even if it is a lousy one. Being made the symbol for everything that's not sugar and nice is just downright frustrating to say the least
They used to hide behind Senators and Representatives, Presidents and Corporation Boardrooms, but now they are out in the open as the gap between the rich and the poor, the evil and the good has become so wide that any kind of monster can now slip through into our world and often does.
Seek out problems and never get paid for them.
Or find problems, get paid and then get my ass kicked and money stolen before I can spend it.
Such is the life of a Private Eye.
As a child I never stuck anywhere long enough to remember any names. Friends were like cold showers. They woke you up, but were gladly forgotten. Most of my friends hated me because I was so honest. If they asked what I thought of their toy. I explained in no uncertain terms exactly what I thought. Parents were afraid to let me into their houses because I would answer and ask questions they didn't want to even consider...like how many heads can dance on the head of a pin, why aren't marshmallows put in the mouths of victims of cannibals, and why do vampires only have two teeth. You know the ordinary kind of questions a young kid asks who's dumber than an outhouse.
And this is my story:
I took his hand.
"And what do you want from me?" I asked.
"Passage to India."
I laughed. "With that kind of dough you could buy a plane!"
"But I would be spotted immediately. I need a companion. Someone to take their attention off me. You will be both my bodyguard and my diversion."
"Deal!" I said, shaking his hand vigorously with my right, while reaching for the stack of thousands with my left.
"Oh and one more thing." He added, as he noted with amusement my fingers clutching the cash.
"You might not return alive."
"That's always the risk."
"No, I mean...you might return undead."
That stopped me for a moment, and then I shoveled the cash into my jacket pocket. "No problem."
The things we do for money.
Andy, who was a fabulously rich sort of guy in this crazy world where demons pretty much ran everything outright and in the open, had wanted someone astute and brave to help him with a very important operation.
To secure a safe passage to India.
An Englishman with an American name. Nothing special to look at, when you could see him. He could become invisible. How? Another one of those strange magical things that have happened since America slid into the dark abyss of Demonic Lords.
But getting back to that passage to India. To you folks, that might sound like a phone call, or an internet click of the mouse to secure such a deal. But nope. That just doesn't work anymore. Most people who fly don't come back the same. So smart folks don't fly anymore, they make their own boats, or submarines, and sail and fly the world incognito. Otherwise the Corporate Demons took notice of you. And once that happened.
Now to you folks, that might sound like a phone call, or an internet click of the mouse to secure such a deal. But nope. That just doesn't work anymore. Most people who fly don't come back the same. So smart folks don't fly anymore, they make their own boats, or submarines, and sail and fly the world incognito. Otherwise the Corporate Demons took notice of you. And once that happened.
Kazam. Kazoo, it's all over for you!
Yeah! It's that bad.
Now, I only had one regret if I didn't make it back alive. Sassie Lassie. My gal. My girl. My best friend who loved me like a dollar cursed by a dragon, but was afraid to let go of it for fear another dragon even bigger would step into her life and not be half so nice.
"Sass!" I celled from my cheap disposable, which was untraceable to me. Her I didn't worry about, because her father worked for the IDS, the Internal Demon Service, and they gave them a lot of legroom to screw up before the collected any souls or demanded pounds of flesh. And it also didn't hurt that he was part demon too, which I guess makes her that way too, except that he had a parent full demon and a parent full angel.
Yup. There are angels running around too, as if demons weren't enough to cock up the mess. All we agnostics, and unbelievers got faced with the glowing crowd who could cut a demon's head off with a flaming sword...and actually get away with it.
Why God didn't turn them loose on the whole bunch, only he knew for sure. Maybe he was waiting for the rest of us to earn some kind of karmic freedom to be worthy. Just a stupid guess. I don't know. No one's telling either. Not even the angels I manage to run into from time to time, or rescue.
Yeah. I do that too. Figure even if there's no real God, at least I can make sure that if there is, I'll have a safe passage to you know where once it's all over with. Sigh. Ain't life complicated?
I sat up in the airliner we were traveling in, my eyes hurting from the sudden leap to consciousness. I was kinda leaning towards happy with all the internal gossip I had been handling, but coming back to reality is always a hard blow, especially when it is a hard blow that wakes you.
I rubbed my head and gave Andy my worst stare. Which is another way of saying that I looked like a third grader who had just got a deserved spanking and couldn't open his mouth without making it worse?
"You're a creep, you know it?"
Andy's right hand wafted the cash he had given me in it.
I gulped. He smiled.
"Okay. I apologize. You're not a creep."
He relaxed and handed the mother over.
"You're a damned waffle butt!"
Andy broke into laughter. I couldn't' figure out why until I looked at the thousand dollar bills and saw they had turned into soft rose petals. "That just plain stinks."
"No, not really. Rose petals smell..." He smiled again. "...Heavenly."
I turned away from him so he couldn't see the death in my eyes. I didn't want to get on this guy's bad side, if he had a good one that is. "Wake me when we arrive."
He shook me.
"What now?" I groused, turning to look at him with my bloodshot eyes.
"We just landed."
I sat straight up and realized that we were the only ones still on the jet. "Damn! We gotta scramble and fast!"
I grabbed my overhead bag and he his under seat one and we ran for the debarking ramp, where the last of the passengers were descending. We hurried up and mingled with them. And a good thing too because the Port Demons, these big burly purple haired freaks with bushy eyebrows that held poison darts for weapons, were starting to deploy around the ramp. Had they seen us running to get in line, we would've been Little Needled Annie and kaput, fast throttle dead and stinking hurried off to hell in small chunks.
The Port Demons earned their pay and ate their captures.
I felt sweat beading my forehead and even Andy passed a few jewels as we descended. He eyed me. "Sorry for the joke."
"Forgiven." I told him, and then tripped him as he stepped off the ramp.
He stumbled into the nearest Port Demon. I nimbly caught him back and smiled big into the angry Port Demon's face. "My mistake. Please don't eat us."
I held up a chunk of meat I usually carried for such occasions. He sniffed it and snapped it with his fingers, and smashed it down his ugly maw.
I counted to ten, silently praying and urging Andy along as we closed in on the Sacred Door, beyond which Port Demons are not allowed unless they want an Angel to sear their bowels from them. Angels only at such places. A small disposition from God I heard.
Some kind of balance between good and evil, though again I couldn't understand why the Big Guy just didn't take them all out.
"Arrgggh!" The Port Demon cried out, causing the other demons to glare at him angrily. They hate it when someone else screams.
He pointed to his mouth, then to us. They didn't look at us; they looked at the thousands of black scorpions that were pouring from between his closed lips, causing layers of steam to cloud his face and small rivulets of purple blood to spill down his chin.
Then they got it. They dashed for us.
I shoved Andy through the doorway and dove after him.
The nearest Port Demon grabbed my right foot. Big mistake.
He got the bitter end of a nice little onion bomb I kept in that heel.
He screamed like a fat pig about to die, because he was, and then as the others stumbled over him, they all caught fire, then vanished in a holocaust of purple smoke and burning flesh.
I picked myself up and found myself staring directly into the smiling eyes of an Angel, who stood about nine feet tall with a flaming white sword. "Not bad for a human." He complimented me.
I blushed. "Don't tell the Old Man, I really don't want Sainthood or anything."
The Angel broke into laughter, and feeling like a scorned lover I hurried Andy along to the lift that would bring us to the walkway that would tread us to the dock where an advanced hydroplane would scoot us swiftly across the water to the main coast of India.
Oh by the way. India broke up in the early two thousands. One too many tsunamis and earthquakes did what Pakistan's nukes never could, it split the continent in half.
We ran the walkway, because the exercise leaving the plane had delayed us by ten minutes, and Air India never leaves even one minute late.
We quite literally leaped onto the deck of the hydroplane as it ramped up and shot away from the dock, which was great for us, because a whole squadron of Port Demon goons reached the dock the same time we made our leap for freedom.
So it was either the polluted waters of the sea or a searing death from the Port Demons, along with a few bites that would hurt like hell...pardon the pun...or landing safely on the hydroplane.
I got my footing perfect, but Andy insisted on dragging his heavy bag with him. I had dumped mine right away, knowing how balance was our only safety at that moment. As he started to fly head over heels back into the sea, I jerked him forward past me and tumbled after him.
I landed on top him.
"Get off me, you jerk." He warned.
I rolled off, and then gave him a hand up. I eyed the big black bag he carried. "What's so important about that thing that you'd be willing to die the thousand deaths or choke on polluted seawater?"
"Just get me the rest of the way to India." He warned me, and headed up the flight of stairs towards our cabins.
I had a corner cabin reserved for the lower castes. No bathroom. No carpets. No bed. Just a heap of blankets for the floor and a hole in the floor to relieve myself. He went into a luxury suite complete with dancing girls and loud Indian music and chapattis.
I could smell them as I laid down to resume my mystical musings, but all I could think of was chapattis and rice, pakoras and samosas, and Tikli chicken.
Then I went to sleep.
But Sassy would just not let me be. She interrupted my dream with an intervention. You could buy those from some of the Angels if you were pure enough. She stood before me in the dream, her arms crossed over her lovely breasts, her eyes steaming with anger. "Did you think you could get away from me that easily?"
"Sassy!" I protested. "I'm on a gig."
I waved the thousands dollar bills.
Cha-ching. Dream ended.
I fell into a peaceful slumber knowing that my loving gal's heart was once more settled in peaceful thoughts about our future together.
Man! I really do have to get a life, don't I?
The Song of Light, "A Young King Arthur Story," by John Pirillo...Arthur is tired of training for knighthood, so Merlin takes him to see something spectacular and life changing.
The Song of Light
"A Young King Arthur Story"
By John Pirillo
The rose is the moon of the dragon bee's delight
The moon is the lovely of the night
The noon is the anchor of the day
As we work our hours away.
--- A Villager's Song ---
Arthur remembered one day as he was doing his daily exercises of raising and throwing his lance, as well as his sword over and over a thousand times and no less, that when he was still barely nine he would sneak out into the village at night and listen to the songs of the wives to their children. He never had that himself. He never knew who his mother was, or his father. So all the more reason to absorb the nightly works of the parents, whose children's sleepy eyes drooped with pleasure before they swam off into dream's sweet embrace.
Sarge caught him slowing. "Lad, do you feel like a windmill, or a knight?"
"A knight, Sarge."
The other knights laughed.
Arthur then saw that he was crossing his sword in a windmill direction about his body. He had no idea why he had fallen into that movement. He was horrified. He immediately began lifting and dropping his sword in the motions taught him by the Sarge. Lift high, drop low. Lift high. Drop low.
Sarge gave him a scowl, but said no more.
Arthur found himself back in that village once more, laying on the rooftop of a roughly hewn building that housed three different families. In those days families couldn't afford their own homes, so they would construct a house in common. Common houses they were called. And common they were. No plumbing. No windows, except those things that were holes in the walls, which let everything inside at night and during the day, including rain, snow, hail and dirt and grime, as well as the loud complaints of the villagers who seemed to never get a break from the drudgery of their lives.
King Uther and the Dark Lady, Morgana, saw to that. Arthur grimaced at the thought.
"Windmill!" Sarge shouted.
Arthur again was surprised to see his arms criss crossing in a windmill design.
Sarge looked on as the knights scattered to their homes, loved ones, and ones they wanted to be with, soon leaving just Arthur standing there, embarrassed and shining as red as a ripe tomato.
Sarge walked over. "What's gotten into you lately, lad? You've been coming along fine. Even the older knights are starting to accept you. Least was." He said with a grumble that bode no well for Arthur.
"Sarge, I don't understand it anymore than you."
The Sarge put his face into Arthur's and scowled even larger. "King Uther and his Lady will be watching our exercises tomorrow. See to it that you make no mistakes. Heads could roll." He lowered his voice, looking to both sides before speaking. "Or worse!"
"What could be worse than losing your head, Sarge?" Arthur asked a bit too loudly.
Sarge clamped a sweaty hand over Arthur's mouth. "Don't you ever be talking like that around me, or anyone else for that matter."
He dropped his hand. "Least not so's any but those you can trust would hear it."
"But who can I trust?"
Sarge grinned. "Why no one of course."
With those final words he rumbled off, singing a simple ditty about drinking and women, women and drinking and a horse that did funny things.
Arthur didn't get it when Sarge would break into laughter, cocking an eye back on him, but he gave it his best and smiled. The Sarge laughed even harder, and soon disappeared into the knight's quarters. Arthur slung his sword back into its rack inside the chambers, then slipped out of his leathers and boots, sliding once more into his tailor's cloth, which was light and simple, with tons of pockets for his tools. He looked up and saw the sun was no longer so high. He had to hurry. He had an order from the King's Chamberlain, and it didn't matter if it was the King or not. Anything that reflected badly on the King reflected badly on Arthur and his head was at stake as such.
Lately, more and more of the court were begging for his work. He couldn't deny them, as they always said how much the King thought of his work and would be disappointed if he could spare no time to help those in need of it.
Arthur would reluctantly agree, while inside he fumed. The villagers whom he often threaded for were going without clothing and mending because of this round of vampiric use of his work. At that thought, he shuddered. Vampires. Where did that evil word ever come from anyway?
He exited the knight's chambers, and then slogged through the wet mud and droppings of the horses and livestock that lived in the yards about the chambers. He made it to the exit from the castle, then nodding to the Guard there; he made his way across the wet moors that led to the Crystal Caves. It was a long walk, especially when he was so tired.
He had a beautiful horse he could have used, but that would have left tracks to Merlin's cave, and he didn't know how to hide that or why he needed that. He was supposed to be going into the village and his quarters there. His uncle usually covered for him and very well, but it only took one time for the entire world to come crashing down on his shoulders. And in this dark world that the King had made, such falling down inevitably led to heads falling off. Or worse if he was to believe the Sarge.
Arthur sat in front of the stone oven warming his hands. It was late. There had been a very thick fog across the moors and into the forest paths as he trekked home. He didn't like walking that late. There had been whisperings of some strange creature in the forest that would pounce on men and eat them if they were unprepared. Weirdest thing was that no one who had survived seemed to remember what it looked like.
"Coin for your thoughts, Arthur."
Arthur looked up from his stool at Merlin, who was leaning on his living staff, its single leaf on top dancing in little steps, even as it remained attached. Merlin's eyes were somber; his face lean and bronzed from the sun where he spent much of the day in the open, doing whatever it was that he did upon the tallest hill of the region. Arthur never asked, because Merlin was quite secretive when he wanted to be.
"In that case I would be a pauper. For I have none and I am still a pauper."
Merlin gave the hint of a smile. "But rich in the lore of the woods, the depth of the land, and the breadth of its waters. Knowledgeable about the rain, the snow, the mist and the fog...."
"Merlin. I'll never be a magician like you."
Merlin caught his breath, about to say more, and then sat down on the opposing stool next to Arthur. "I think you need to get out more."
"I do. Every morning. Early. Before the sun rise, and then until it sets. Sword up, sword down. Spear up. Spear down."
Merlin finally smiled warmly. He put a reassuring hand to Arthur's shoulder. "Some day you will become a great knight. Maybe even the greatest."
Arthur shrugged. "Perhaps, but I'd rather leave that to someone more suited to its craft. I prefer the silence of the woods and the breath of the hills. Like you."
He gave Merlin a hopeful look.
Merlin sighed. "Our destinies are intertwined, Arthur, but yours is not alone with mine. You have a larger destiny to fulfill."
Bitterly. "Yeah. Make clothing for the gruesome twosome."
Merlin actually broke into a peal of laughter, almost falling off his stool. Finally, he stopped, wiped the tears from his eyes and gave Arthur a close look. "Wherever in the world did you learn language like that?"
Merlin nodded. "He's a gruff one, but of good heart. You should listen to him."
"I do, or he whacks me on the behind and even behind metal as I am much of the time, I can still feel it."
Merlin laughed again, but not so long. He rose and gestured to Arthur. "Come, I have something I want to share with you."
They left the warmth of the caves and stepped outside. The mist rose almost to Arthur's waist now and would soon climb even more. Merlin was unphased by it, he continued along a path only his eyes could see. They walked for what seemed like hours and upwards. Finally, Merlin stopped. "What do you think?"
Arthur didn't realize it at first, he was too busy trying not to stumble on anything or lose Merlin in the fog, but then he saw the gigantic stones in a strange array about a center piece with a ritualistic star in hollow. "It's amazing."
"Oh, this is not what I have brought you for."
Merlin waved his staff. "This is."
The fog within the array of gigantic stones blew away from inside and the center became filled with a pure white light that emitted from the center of the hollowed stone. Then he saw it. A great sword, majestic and beautiful stuck in the stone. And from the sword rays of light lanced upwards, filling the sky with dancing light.
Arthur stood there, his jaw fallen and mouth wide open as the lights seemed to twirl and dance about each other, then weave in and out, and start all over again.
"What is it, Merlin? It's so beautiful."
"Hope, dear Arthur. It is the color of hope."
The light danced for a long time, probably most of the night. Arthur lost track of time as he and Merlin stood there watching the carnival of lights that rose and exploded like some kind of foreign weapon, or fairy magic, then collapsed back into the hollow of the stone, then back forth again only to disperse in all directions. Purples, reds, greens, deep azures, magenta swirls, chocolate bursts, blue strokes, lightning flashes of white streaking them all, enfolding them, holding them close until it expanded, absorbed the colors, then itself exploded into a shower of new colors and lights that danced jigs of unearthly beauty for a few moments, before themselves collapsing into a new formation of light and color.
Arthur watched, his heart pounding with joy. And something else. He couldn't analyze it, because he was swept up in the lightshow, an infinitesimally small piece of something so big, so huge, and so vast that he felt like a speck of dust. He honored what he saw, felt his very soul itself bowing in amazement and awe.
"What....Is...It?" He stammered between lips heavy with astonishment.
"It is the Song of Light. The hope of man." Merlin finally said as the light collapsed one last time and then ceased to brighten the hollow of the center stone. The fog began swirling in again. Merlin turned about and headed into it. They walked in silence a long time, until they reached the Crystal Caves.
Arthur was tired, and yet not so tired. He climbed onto his cot, and rather than fall asleep as he was wont, he lay there, his eyes open gazing at the ceiling, still seeing that wonderful cacophony, symphony of colors and light. "What does it all mean, Merlin?"
Merlin was standing before the stove, warming his hands. He was silent a long time, and then he spoke. "It is preparing the world for the coming of a new age. For the rise of a great one to rule over the lands and bring peace and justice. It is the hands of the angels stirring the pot of creation. It is the hope of the Bright One, the Center of All Things. It is your future, Arthur."
Merlin stood there silent a long time, expecting Arthur to comment further, but he didn't. When he turned he saw Arthur laying there, his arms over his chest, his mouth slightly open. At that moment Merlin felt more love for the child than he had for any being on earth. Quietly, he stole to the cot, and drew Arthur's rough tailored quilt over him, then went back outside.
In the heavens a bright star grew even brighter, flashing like an angel's eyes when it sees the Bright One before it.
"Yes. I know. Soon. Soon." He said, a gentle smile on his lips. "Soon."
Then he turned back into the caves and joined Arthur in sleep, resting on his own cot, preparing for the future and the next day. Much to be done. Much not yet done. Much undone that needed mending. But time for all things. Later.
He feel into a deep and restful sleep, his soul guided on wings of light to the realms where only a soul such as he could reach.
John Pirillo"Writing fuels the heart and soul!" Science Fiction, Fantasy and Adventure Tales to Take Your Breath Away!