[identity profile] jla-extras2.livejournal.com
The power of the Spectre was still a new thing to the man once known as Ra's al Ghul. His efforts to comprehend the being now bonded to his very soul had met with small progress thus far.

One thing that had become apparent is that the spirit of the Spectre possessed a strong sense of duty - and while that was an aspect he found familiar, it now called him away from his efforts to find a balance with the spirit.

He finds himself walking in a cavern-like passageway - along the wall, seven gruesome statues of seven deadly sins. The spirit's voice within him speaks the name of this timeless place - the 'Rock of Eternity'. It speaks, too, of the current guardian - a boy, 'Billy', inheritor of the powers of the ancient Wizard Shazam.

Some disturbance has called him here - called the Spectre here - and he was compelled to come.

A cry of pain ahead quickens his pace.
[identity profile] demonshead.livejournal.com
Ostensibly the room was being used to store lab supplies while the hospital's monolithic bureaucracy made its lethargic crawl through the red tape involved in reassigning its purpose. Previously however, the room had been used by the pharmacology department and as such it contained many of the tools he required. Other more exotic materials he had been forced to find elsewhere, but resourcefulness and centuries of experience helped to surmount that hurdle.

In days past, he this would have been a matter of tedious rote. A grand library of tomes and a sanctum cultivated over the ages used to be at his disposal. Now he had to reconstruct the formula by memory and constitute and distill the essences from scratch. If things had been different, it might have even been a refreshing exploration of foundations. Things were not different however and time was his enemy and the meager materials at hand were his unpredictable nemesis.

Much to the disappointment of his current 'employers' he had called in sick and had ensconced himself in the lab for three days. A minor manipulation of the janitorial schedule and a few tricks of misdirection ensured that no one would be interrupting his basement chamber for at least another two days. This was all to the good, for even he would be hard put to explain the intricate drawings and ornate arcane designs that covered the east wall of the room. Numerous beakers containing liquids of varied hues simmered over bunsen burners while the regular snap of an intermittent current was sent through the large jar of deep purple thick liquid at the center of the table.

Most of his preparation had been completed. In the last 24 hours he had consumed only clear water and in the last six, he had spent in deep meditation. Now he only had to wait for midnight

At midnight he would drink the potion, and hopefully it wouldn't kill him...
[identity profile] jla-extras.livejournal.com
They couldn't be seen, not directly. Only in the corner of the eye, between heart beats could you detect their passing. Like heavy moth wings they fluttered in the neglected corners of empty rooms and in the still of the night when no one was watching did they creep from their hidden places and feed.

Trapped in machines that halted the onset of death and from within the leaden prison of paralysis, their prey could see them when they came. In silence they screamed as velvet tendrils twined across their skin and that hideous warmth muffled their breath. Witness to the horrors visited upon them, the whimpers of the elderly and infirm went unnoticed by the caretakers that tended them.

That had all changed with the most recent addition to the nursing staff. Now something hunted the predators. Something that knew them and knew how to catch them. Raymond Walker now prowled the halls at night and the Stealers of Breath knew that their feeding grounds were in danger.
[identity profile] jla-extras.livejournal.com
Over a century ago, the fearful townspeople of Batesville formed a mob and murdered an innocent Illini woman who had the misfortune of being accused of witchcraft. With no grasp of English, she had no recourse to refute the accusations and in truth it would have mattered little if she could. The color of her skin and the ways of her people had damned her in the small intolerant minds of the town. Hurling curses and threats and brandishing weapons and fire, they had pursued the terrified girl, who was barely a woman, on their horses until they trapped her in the graveyard. There they beat her and defiled her honor and spat upon her helpless and broken body. If any heard her pleas for mercy, none chose to pay them heed. When there was little more that could be done to the poor child, they buried her alive. Her grave is still there today, it has a stone door on top of it with iron bars all around it.



Or at least it did.
[identity profile] jla-extras.livejournal.com
The neon sign advertising the diner's name flickered irregularly as the aged device teetered upon the edge of failure. The pink and blue light it emitted erratically was washed out in the glare of fluorescent illumination within. The deep red upholstery covering the seats of the counter stools and booths bore little resemblance to its varnished gloss it once possessed years ago. Here and there odd dark brown stains marred the dirty off white surface of the diner floor. In the far corner a jukebox, one of the few items in the establishment that had been faithfully maintained, played dated music from the fifties.

Meredith, could feel the ache of hunger as she rung up a departing customer. She needed to get a bite in soon, not that the diner itself served anything she could pallet. At her age, eating this stuff would have her puking in the john. She could wait however, her family was going to show up soon and then they could eat.

Maintaining the ‘too saccharine' smile she used when putting up a front of customer service, she thanked the pair of teens for their pitiful tip and bid them a good night. She had hoped that they would stay till closing, but no such luck. Despite their trashy clothes and lack of respect for anything, she really did prefer young people when it came to customers. They could be quite sweet.

Looking to the last booth, her eyes hardened a bit. It seemed her last customer was going to be the drifter who had been nursing a cup of tea for the last few hours as he silently watched the highway outside. He wasn't causing any trouble and kept to himself, and since it was a slow night there hadn't been any need to try to get him to move on. There was something ‘off' about him though. It made her stomach turn and that was never good when you're hungry. Still, it looked like he was going to be the last customer, so she tried to make the best of it.

Approaching his booth, she snapped gum and adjusted her stained apron.

"Anything else I can get for you sugar?"
[identity profile] jla-extras.livejournal.com
It was dark. For a few seconds, Father Adam puzzled over why it should be dark, then he realized his eyes were closed. It took another heartbeat to remember how to open them, and with the return of that memory came others: how to sit up, how to check his head to confirm that the throbbing pain was not accompanied by blood, how to recognize where he was.

On the ground. Outside the house. The last thing he remembered was white and green fire--

"Ray?" he called out, his throat dry. In the distance he could hear sirens.
[identity profile] jla-extras.livejournal.com
The flight of stairs felt rickety and unsound. Every step felt as if it would give way beneath his feet as the pair made their way up to the second floor. A definite chill that belied the warm weather of the evening outside had settled in about them. Adam's skin crawled with goose bumps and he could see his breath on the still air. His companion however seemed unperturbed and oddly unaffected.

Arriving at the top of the stairs, he cast his eyes about nervously. Wallpaper, grey and washed out seemingly from long age, hung half peeled away from the walls and the wood railing and brass fixtures seemed tarnished and decrepit from decades of neglect. Ray's earlier words rang ominously in his ears.
"A rather advanced state of disrepair for having been untended for but year, don't you think?"


Swallowing hard, he cleared his throat and opened his mouth to speak.

It was then that he thought he could hear the muffled whimper of a child in the far room down the hallway.
[identity profile] jla-extras.livejournal.com
The kitchen was a musty affair. The lack of cobwebs felt wrong given the tarnished look of age everywhere. Ray's admonitions had given him cause to notice the incongruities of the advanced state of decrepit wear evident in the fixtures and features of the house. The more he thought about it, the more it unnerved him.

He watched his companion scrutinize the floor boards and rap upon inconspicuous wall panels. Seeing him roll up his sleeve and reach deep and blindly into the dark recesses under the stove made his skin crawl. Visions of the rusting squat hunk of metal collapsing and crushing Ray's arm in a most graphic and grisly fashion would not stop playing themselves out in his mind.

It was then that he could literally feel the hairs on the back of his neck begin to rise. There was something behind him, watching.

His hand went to the cross at his throat. Gulping reflexively, he steeled his nerves and turned to look.
[identity profile] demonshead.livejournal.com
The sound of his footsteps punctuated the brisk pace of his stride along the concrete sidewalk. Errant weeds poked through the cracked surface. Old tree roots had tunneled under the walkway for years and had transformed the once flat footpath into an uneven and broken trail of fractured cement. Despite the abundant water table so close to the topsoil in the area and the recent deluge of rain, all remnants of plant life had turned brown and dry as they neared the property line.

With a long satchel filled with undisclosed odds and ends slung over his shoulder, the man who was once known as the Demons Head stopped and looked up at the gaunt house before him. His eyes studied the edifice carefully. Details both small and gross were noted and evaluations were either revised or confirmed. The puzzling aberrations he noted earlier all fell into line, now that he had the missing pieces to the puzzle.

It was time to get to work.
[identity profile] demonshead.livejournal.com
The Eighteen Hands of Lo-Han. It was the foundation of the arts he developed over a lifetime, his first lifetime at any rate. There were other more difficult and demanding techniques, but this was the foundation. Swift and graceful like wind over water, his body moved as the ancient form played itself out again and again. It helped him to find his center.

The Spectre was growing impatient. Even in the stillness and peace his regimen brought him, the spirits discontent and building wrath roiled like an angry storm front in the horizon of his consciousness. His time was running out. Soon the vengeful ghost would brook no further delays.
[identity profile] demonshead.livejournal.com
The paint on the house was peeling, revealing the grey weather bleached wood underneath. Filthy with dust and neglect, several of the windows were either cracked or simply broken and boarded up. Errant pieces of trash rolled in the breeze like tumbleweeds over the hard dry scrub where the lawn once was. One of the window shutters on the second story hung at an odd angle, half off it's hinges as it creaked in the wind.

As the pair stood at the property line observing the derelict structure, the faintest sprinkling of rain began to drizzle down from the dark grey sky of the late afternoon.

"And you say this happened approximately a year ago?"

Legwork

May. 24th, 2007 04:36 pm
[identity profile] jla-extras.livejournal.com
Father Adam put out his cigarette on the sole of his shoe. Making sure it was extinguished, he dropped into the trash can at the curb nearby. Retrieving his black coffee, he leaned back in the chair and let the drink warm his hands.

The café was more of a greasy spoon than a trendy coffee shop as it tried to claim. That didn’t really matter to him, the service was friendly and the company was interesting.
He looked across the small table and regarded his dinning partner as the man poured through the local paper.

"Looking for anything specific?"
[identity profile] demonshead.livejournal.com
The task had been complicated and drawn out. It wasn’t the acquisition that was tedious; it was the circuitous route he had to take. With nothing more than the public terminals of the local public library in Sandy Brook to work with, he had been hamstrung by the meager technology.

Patience and stoic fortitude had won out however. Once he had forged a hidden trapdoor into the maintenance server of Star City’s First National bank, it was a simple matter to upload the automated virus routines. Expediency tempted him to utilize code he had designed in recent years, but it was important to leave as light a footprint as possible. So he endured the pitiable computing power available to him in order to reengineer the routines.

Once the program was released, it quickly replicated itself through a series of nodes across the globe, each time modifying the next iteration which in turn deleted it’s predecessor. By the end of the day, a new account and verifiable social records in the name of Ray Walker had been created. By the next morning, funds extracted, dispersed and then recollected had been transferred into the account. A trip to the local copy shop provided him all the tools he needed to craft passable identification. The funds were sufficient, he had considered amassing more, but discarded the idea as foolish. The accounts he had raided were minor caches of funds from his former life that had not yet been discovered by his old adversaries. There were other larger accounts he could have tampered with, but he was certain they were being watched. It’s what he would have done.

Smoothing back his hair, he stepped back and regarded himself in the mirror. Spartan and functional in his choice of attire, he still struck an impressive figure.
[identity profile] demonshead.livejournal.com
The first articles of clothing he found smelled sour. A shirt and painter's overall's, stained with chemicals and the refuse of the dumpster in which they were found, has sufficed until he could acquire something cleaner. It would have been easier to simply take what he needed. He could have even rationalized the theft with silent promises to pay for them later, but it would have remained theft and he was reticent to begin dabbling in petty sins so early in his new life.

The stern cold eyes of the Spectre upon him when the thought occurred might also have factored into the decision.

So it was that Ras Al Ghul did something that he had not done in a long time in life. He swallowed his pride. Wearing his disheveled dumpster won clothes, he walked into the soup kitchen at the end of town. It was a humble place run by the local church. The priest and volunteers were open and kind and treated him with respect. The food was simple but filling and he expressed his gratitude at the offer of clean clothes and a place to rest. ‘Ras Al Ghul, the beggar'.

He had expected the Spectre to mock him, but it did not. The vengeful wraith was more complex than he had believed. It's manner seemed markedly different than before. Something about their union had influenced the spirit's character. It chilled him to think that the effect might be two sided.
[identity profile] demonshead.livejournal.com
It's a weight manacled to your ankles, pulling you down into deep dark water.

It's being lifted up on bubbles of air and breaking the surface.

It's being thrown in to a snowdrift after having slept for a long time in a warm bed.

It's that gasp of air after almost drowning.

It's as if a thick shroud has been draped over your memory.

It's an electric jolt, unlooked for and unexpected.

It's being alive once more.


Sweet air is sucked into his lungs and the pin pricks of flesh exposed to cold air washes over him. Though the sky is dark and cloudy, he raises a hand to shield his eyes. The cool sensation of wet grass under his bare feet is swiftly overcome by the chill of wind and rain over his naked flesh.

Slowly he rises from his crouched position. With lush and wild grass all about him and the twinkling lights of civilization in the distance, he find himself on the side of a mountain. Shivering in the cold, he cannot help but smile.

Ras Al Ghul lives once more.
[identity profile] demonshead.livejournal.com
The day was hot and the landscape severe. His travels had led him to many strange places. Some might consider it a curse, 'Doomed to wander along the borders of the after life'. Others might consider it a blessing, "A never ending adventure." He simply accepted it as the path his karma had forged. The rest was academic.

Currently the realm he was traveling through possessed a level of 'physicality'. It contained the illusion of substance and form, so consequentially he did as well. At times he reflected upon the prosaic irony of a ghost having flesh. Illusory flesh to be sure, but then how was that different from 'real' flesh in the greater scheme of things? Material reality was a fiction in it's own way after all.

The sound of rushing water broke his reverie as he climbed over the embankment of sharp stones. As he surmounted the steep incline, his eyes caught sight of a wide river before him. The sun was low in the sky now, it's reflection sparkling on the river's surface. Crossing the river at night would be complicated. There were things that prowled this place when the shroud of night fell; things that he would rather not face chest deep in water, no matter how ‘illusory’ it might be.

Setting himself to the task, he began to prepare by gathering his robes together.


"I beg your pardon traveler," came a voice from the rushes by the bank.

"I was wondering if you might help me cross this river?"


Looking closer, the monk saw a golden scorpion sunning itself on a rock.

"Ah I see.", answered the monk, his voice colored with wry amusement.
"I take it, you propose to sit upon my shoulder while I cross?"


"Why yes!" chimed the Scorpion brightly.


"Very well." sighed the monk. Then, quick as a cat, he scooped up the creature in a gourd and closed it shut.

Ignoring the Scorpion's protests, he proceeded to cross the river. Once upon the other side, he released his passenger upon a dry log.


"What was that for!?" demanded the Scorpion.


"My apologies my friend, but I too have been a Scorpion in my time."


Frustrated, the Scorpion left the monk in search of others who might help him cross back to the other side of the river. As the monk watched him go, he wondered if the world might have been better place if he had simply stepped upon the creature.
[identity profile] ibn-al-xuff.livejournal.com
Sometimes this place is called the Grey Lands; the place between shadows and light. The landscape is dull, totally without color or life. There is a dirt road in this lifeless desert. Is this nirvana? Did he die? Perhaps he is meant to follow the road. It is difficult to remember. He is very tired. It is difficult to keep his eyes open. He stops next to a comfortable looking rock. Perhaps, it is time to rest.
[identity profile] ibn-al-xuff.livejournal.com
After the stress of a long day at the Foundation, and the dinner with Tefe, Ibn felt the need to unind just a bit. The Tower is very busy at this moment with the reconstruction. Thankfully, he has a few rooms off his main office to relax. He lights a candle and practices breathing and ponders the question of his grandfather.

Chokmah

Feb. 9th, 2006 11:03 am
[identity profile] jla-extras.livejournal.com
The cave seems to fade away and the road before them passes into a great silver gate that bears the gold filigreed word 'Chokmah'. Passing through the gate, it is as if they have been reborn anew. All about them is a garden of jewel-like blossoms and lush plants. Everything here seems to shine with an inner light and the dew is like rainbow light given form. Birds and insects and animals of all stripes can be seen amid the boughs and brush of the garden. The life and love here fill both of them till they feel as though they might burst in pure joy. Tefe can feel her soul on fire with bliss. White wings spreading out, opal at the feather tips. All is new and vital yet timeless and infinite at once..

A fountain of ivory and alabaster rises up from the garden. Surrounding it are the white statues of four knights or kings, each raising wand, cup, pentacle and sword in salute to the fountain which spews forth radient light that falls down upon the garden and the travelers. The radiant droplets infuse them with a sense of intense being. All is brilliant, sacred joy. The very essence of the act of creation and pure love infuses them. The need to act upon and to express all that they have learned in their journey seems nearly mandate.

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