Carnal raised a lengthy charred hand to the sun before taking his last breath. He was always sure he would have perished in the likes of his father, Surinam, who defeated hundreds of men single handedly while defending his people. He died respectably with his family’s love and honor. Carnal fell to his fate with just the opposite; before his time. He closed his eyes, and his flesh withered away almost instantly. His ashes were then one with the atmosphere.
“We will meet again my brother.” Lanarc, Carnal’s next of kin, whispered as he stood in the cover of a building’s shade from across the uninhabited street.
Lanarc felt his brother’s cry. He always could. From across the universe if he was ever there. Twin sons born under the order of Mattox, Carnal and Lanarc were now 28 years of age; that would combine their legendary expertise to 56 years. How could that be? They learned the fundamentals of life and all it had to offer while in the womb of their nurturer.
They could do everything the ordinary adult could do by the time they were birthed. Their first steps were only seconds after opening their eyes. They cleansed themselves of their phlegmy, light and diaphanous follicles jam-packed with goop from their mother’s insides. A blink later, the sharpened piranha-type chompers they’d already grew were used to chew through the delivery person’s flesh — a person because no one knew of the gender but those who were witnesses to the delivery, and they weren’t talking. Their father, and two older siblings, Mklawar (Mick-La-war) and Snquanie (Sin-qwah-nee), stopped the newborns after their first killing (feeding), clothed them, and introduced them to the rest of Mattox.
They were all indeed hybrids. All but their mother and father, who were both pure in their distant origins of two separate orders, two separate races, and two entirely different but compatible species from their realms.
A sexy, sleek voice gently emerged from behind Lanarc. She spoke calm and patiently. “He’s gone isn’t he?”
Lanarc gasped, about-faced from where he stood. He was surprised by his sister, Snquanie. She stood there, on the crumbling concrete sidewalk.
She appeared out of nowhere. Her florescent green locks of hair swayed out of control without help from a tiny gust of hot day wind. It voluntarily moved like the hair of Medusa, with a mind of its own in all directions, as if the locks were her eyes, which indeed they actually were. Her Dove white eyebrows were lifted, eyes were shut. Her oval face was wrinkled and she wore what we know to be a white two-piece swim suit, only it was tagged, sparkling with hundreds of diamonds and gold specks, with some sort of mammal’s grey fur on her feet as boots.
Lanarc lowered his judges and sighed, draped the hood of a worn-out, brown cloak over his head. He folded his arms in the sleeves of his cloak and said, “He’s not wanted where he’s going, Snquanie. He’ll return if it’s ordered by Mattox that he does.”
“How many of our forefathers have returned?”
“There was only one…”
“Exactly brother, there was only one.”
“I know. I know a code of our order says another one shall rise from the ashes, and he will be of the blood of another, from the same blood but of the ashes. It’s written within our code that anyone who has committed an act as he has, that he will have another opportunity if he or she so shall be willing to accept the task of delignification. So if he or she shall deject the opportunity, then that individual will surely suffer in wretchedness and plague for an eternity at the In Between. But there is where decisions are made, and opportunity becomes available. It is up to you. And there is only one that we were told.”
“Do the codes state what the opportunity might encompass?”
“It’s all a gauntlet of some sort. From whatever life you’ve chosen in the previous.”
“His curse … will they be obtainable in this ‘life’ of yours?”
Snquanie turned her head to the side, her eyes remained shut. There was a steel-on-rock scrapping noise that arose from around another corner, only a block away. All of her locks sought the crashes location and solidified into what could have been jail cell bars that homed in on whatever the faint racket was.
“Why would you pray to the one that condemned our nurturer, maybe our father?” Snquanie said.
“Our caregivers condemned us to this anarchic rule.”
“What of it! We can’t just turn our backs to our parentages. What they had was love for each other.”
“That adoration was bestiality! It was more the lust of a savage beast and a witch’s greed that amalgamated its malady to present us into existence. We were only taught of Mattox.”
“You should embrace what you were given.”
“Father was not the first, nor was our nurturer. If not for them those who they success—”
“Snquanie… I’ve seen so much in my twenty-eight years, and have done far more. What Carnal has done to sentence him in between could have been my crimes, for we are one in the same. When father was slayed I felt his power enter me, as I felt my mother… and now, brother. With our nurturer being the only one of her kind, we’re all that remain of Mattox.”
“How did Carnal die?”
“I wouldn’t call it that.” A deeper male’s voice erupted from the block corner.
The siblings turned to see a cloud of black smoke traveling in the center of the street. It slowly pushed over the asphalt, kicking pebbles in their direction. They watched as it lingered in the air, as it begun to form itself into an elongated shape. A glimpse of a cape through the smoke, the outline of a bird above the head of a man, and then the smoke raveled and intertwined. It spun like a tornado not more than thirty feet away, swinging dust and debris across the desolate back streets. It blew the hood off of Lanarc’s cranium, revealing his shaved head. It was now spotted and yellowish… and greening.
The tornado formed a familiar face, someone the siblings both knew. He said, “I prefer the word power.” His hair was black, long and wavy. His face was scaly and greenish. He wore an elongated black cape that was wrapped around his composition that trailed behind him. He hovered two feet above the ground. His cape opened, revealing his thick structured greening skin. It was odd; skin was like that of a reptile. His arm stretched with a metal rod, and from the onyx tip, a smoldering stream was exerted within a bright flash, straight for Snquanie and Lanarc.
Snquanie folded as the beam of light reached her. She instantly evaporated within a green fog before the light could strike.
Lanarc wasn’t so lucky, he let out a wail before plummeting to the concrete, grabbing his chest through the tarnished and burnt fabric of his shabby cloak, panting as his life was fading away. His assailant hovered over him, not one word; only red, beady eyes and an impish grin.
Lanarc muttered, “Why?”
“The dragon… the warlock… the twins… the princess… Ask Mattox… brother.”
And as Lanarc took his last breath, he looked to the sun and raised a lengthy hand.
“What is this?” Carnal attempted to focus his sights through the bleak of darkness. He couldn’t adapt as he would have once done before he died. Was he really dead? Was he dead or did he receive his father’s bright blessings to forever live out his eternity with the rest of his forsaken kind?
“You need not worry my son…” An unknown, deep and distorted voice shot back through the sable.
A disgusting odor, like defecation simmering on the eye of a stove, invaded Carnal’s sense of smell. “Where am I?” he asked.
“In Between,” the voice answered. “I am this realm, and I will decide your opportunity …”
“Your future will be decided by me, here. Do you recall how you perished?”
“No. Only that I was drawn towards a dying fire and—”
“And I accepted your plead. If you so shall choose to obey, your opportunity will be… revenge.”