I woke up early this morning to find that there was a thunderstorm. I got out of bed briefly to unplug my laptop and then let the rain take me back to sleep.
But more interestingly was what happened before I woke up. I was in the midst of a dream about my novel, when out of the blue lightning flashed and thunder cracked, and a character from a TV show I enjoy was in the middle of it all. And it led to writing this ficlet (though it isn’t the character from the show).
Anne looked down at the chalk in her hand. “I’m going to need space to work.”
Matthew stood from his spot beside her, stepping back. “For the record, I don’t think that this is going to work.”
Dark eyes narrowed, she rocked back on her heels. “It’s what my mother did when she needed guidance.”
She could see a flash of red from the corner of her eyes, and Catherine began pushing Matthew further back. “And if Annie says it’s what her mum did, then it’s enough for me. What do you need?”
“I have to draw the sigils, and then spill blood.” Anne began the start of the markings, the white looking harsh against the planking of the ship.
“Chalk will wash away,” Matthew muttered, and she didn’t even need to look at him to see the expression.
“And if I were to use blood or paint the sigils would be permanent. You can’t open a channel and not close it.” She glanced over her shoulder. “Only Caleb gets to nag me about this.”
“Where is he?”
“Below,” Catherine said quietly. “He disapproves.”
“So do I. It’s one thing to find an artifact left by some pagan religion, but to call-”
“Say one more word, Jackson and I’ll cut off your manhood,” Catherine hissed. “Then you won’t be of any use to her anymore.”
Anne began to focus on the lines, remembering her mother do this on the floor of their home. Of course, her mother was hopelessly graceful, stripped naked so that her clothes wouldn’t smudge the lines. She would twirl as she finished each mark, her jet black hair having to be swept up in coils to keep it from sweeping across the floor.
She was a poor substitute for her mother, Anne knew. Walking barefoot across a deck, dressed in men’s clothes. For the first time in ages, she had the itch to strip down to nothing. Though she knew it wasn’t the time nor place.
“Iz,” Matthew hissed, and the pet name pulled her back to the task at hand. “There’s a storm coming. Fast.”
She had already felt it approaching, from the way the ship rocked in the ocean, from the sound of the sea. But Matthew didn’t understand that either. “That happens out here,” Anne said over the howling of the wind, reaching for her dagger. “Whatever happens next, do not touch me- and strap down.”
She started at the top of the sigils, letting the blood spill through the center of them, walking towards where Catherine and Matthew waited.
Lightning cracked across the sky and it began to pour, though the sigils somehow stayed in place.
“The rain should be washing it away.” Catherine started to stop forward when thunder rumbled, and she finished knotting the line around her waist.
Matthew turned. “This shouldn’t be possible,” but his voice was flat, without emotion.
Anne looked up. “Jackson?”
“No. I am speaking through him, abomination. He will be unharmed by this.”
“I’m not an-”
The creature in Matthew body put a finger against her lips to silence her. “Would you prefer heathen? You used magic you do not understand to pull me here.”
Anne stepped back. “I did what my mother used to.”
“Her blood was not the same as yours, little Fox. That is what they call you?”
“Aye. What do they call you?”
“I cannot give you my name, to keep others from summoning me. You are the one charged with protecting the Hand of God.” The blue eyes were icy.
“Charged with? I haven’t found it yet,” she shouted, the howl of the storm growing louder. “I don’t even know who or what you are.”
“Catherine,” not-Matthew growled at the redhead. “You should step back.”
“Holy-” Cath muttered as she backed as far away as the line would allow her to.
“That would be accurate,” he said. Lightning split the sky above the ship and two dark masses stretched behind Matthew, shadowy wings. “Does that satisfy your curiosity, Fox?”
Angel. “My mother didn’t believe in your kind.”
“Your blood and your beliefs differ from her.”
Anne ignored that puzzle. The summoning wouldn’t last long, and she had things she needed to know. “The Hand of God. What does it do?”
“It draws from its wielder’s elements to unleash destruction. In anyone’s hands it could be catastrophic.”
“Joseph’s trip to Egypt will reveal the next leg of your journey.” He reached out to cup her cheek, but the touch was foreign. The hand felt impossibly cold. “Go with God, daughter of the sea.”
Matthew crumpled to the deck, and Anne grabbed hold of him to keep the storm from knocking him overboard. With the angel leaving, the seas calmed, and the storm clouds broke up.
“Was he the storm?”
“Seems so.” Anne lifted Matthew to try to sling an arm under him. “C’mon Cath, help me get him in my bunk.”