Five friends on a retreat are unexpectedly drawn into a timeless battle between a relentless force bent on consuming the whole of existence and those sworn to stand against it.
||12 publishers interested
"The Endless Song thrusts the reader into a previously unknown world where an epic struggle for survival is in progress. The opening chapter’s vivid descriptions and palpable tension swiftly draws us in by introducing a trio of previously immortal siblings battling a seemingly insurmountable dark force. The author creates intriguing, vivid images and a profound sense of loss that compels the reader to want to continue on the journey into Lac Megantic."
- Stu Krieger (Author of That One Cigarette, published with Harvard Square Editions, award winning screenwriter for Disney)
When friends Sage, Jessie, Damiano, Bianca, and Demi decide to go on an innocent retreat in the woods of Megantic, they expect to relax, party, and perhaps gain a new perspective on the problems they each are facing in their personal lives. What they get, however, is something altogether different and sinister.
While experimenting with a new street drug named "Vision," the group is suddenly awakened to a new reality, which is that magic is real and their lives, past, present, and future, are all interwoven.
Simultaneously they are also dragged into a timeless war between the Silent Hunger, a relentless force bent on consuming all that is, was, and will one day come to pass, and the last of the great Elven/Faie bloodlines, who have stood in secret vigil against this bane of existence since ages immemorial.
With very little time to come to grips with their newfound magical abilities, knowledge, and responsibilities, the group of close friends must quickly make a choice. Will they step into the magical world beyond their own and play a part in protecting reality? Or will they stand idly by as all they know is consumed by the Silent Hunger?
Whether they side with good or ill, all will have a part to play, for we are all notes in the Endless Song.
Cast of Characters:
Sage is the eldest of his family, and it shows. He is mature, quiet, and calm. Often this causes him to come off as a bit stand-offish to others.
Sage has been dealing with an internal sadness his entire life, unable to really understand why he is always so upset. The more darkness he is witness to, the more depressed he seems to become. Currently, living in the city has also caused him to feel a lingering sense that something just isn’t right. Despite his growing internal depression, Sage is an incredibly loving man. He loves his family very much and Jessie Dawn even more.
Because of his friendly personality and dedication to non-violence, Sage has been underestimated his entire life. He is loathe to take any action without thinking the variables through. Because of his active imagination and thoughtful demeanour, Sage is usually able to out-think his foes, generally doing his best to avoid conflicts altogether.
During the retreat in the woods of Megantic, Sage discovers that his family, the Beaudacs, is actually a long line of sorcerers and sorceresses. As he begins to learn the full extent of his magical knowledge, powers, and responsibilities, Sage must be wary. For while Sage is a cunning man, he has been bested in his past lives by his foe, the Silent Hunger, time and time again…
Powers: An encyclopedic knowledge of magical practices, creatures, and lore. A gifted spell-caster, Sage can make almost anything happen through magic. The spell casting process, however, is incredibly taxing on his mind, body, and soul; each spell cast could potentially be his last.
Jessie is tough, tougher than she looks, which is already a lot. Emanating an aura that easily dissuades anyone from wanting to mess with her, she can be an incredibly intimidating person to be around. Jessie’s powerful no-nonsense attitude, coupled with her fiery temper, has prevented several unwanted friendships from blooming. Her exterior hides a softness, revealed only to those closest to her.
Jessie has a great deal of love to give to anyone she feels needs it. She is fiercely protective of those she loves, and nothing drives her into a rage faster than a threat to her sisters, lover, or cat (in that order most of the time). She will do almost anything for the ones she loves.
Her generous nature has often allowed less-scrupulous people to manipulate her. And where Sage is the calming ice of their relationship, she is the fire. Her desire is to help heal and protect as many people as she can. And this desire is presently causing her to want to leave the comfort of the city to answer a call to her soul. If she could just understand said calling more clearly…
After her trip to Megantic, Jessie discovers that hers is the blood of dragons. This grants her the gifts of flight; and draconian durability, strength, and skin. The more she learns to control her powers, the more drake-like in appearance she becomes.
She will need to master the Dragon fire building up inside her, along with her temper, for there is nothing in this universe more dangerous than an enraged dragon.
Powers: Half-breed dragon/human, grants her several draconian powers, namely flight, near invulnerability, strength, and a powerful shriek. Her skin has taken a far more scaled look, and the more she uses her powers the more drake-like she becomes.
A close and loyal friend to everyone in the group, Demi, a single child, has come to consider them her family. Beautiful, powerful, and commanding respect with her mere presence, Demi has always felt that she is meant to do more than just manage events for snobby stars on the Montreal Music scene.
Demi is best friends with Jessie, and, while she exudes the most confidence between the two, she is masking a deep insecurity, as she lives with her feet in two worlds. Part of her wants to be part of the more free-spirit world that both Sage and Jessie seem to enjoy, while the other part really wants to work harder at her job and earn the respect of her peers.
Demi has the gift of gab and command in spades. Often, she can find the right thing to say at the right moment to help inspire someone in need. In moments of high stress, Demi is quick to assume control and delegate. She is a natural leader.
Generally, Demi has had enough of her routine and is dealing with her own growing malaise. Something is wrong with the world around her, and she cannot help but wonder why she is always on edge. After years of therapists, retreats, and self-help books, Demi figures the best way to boost up her languishing spirits is a vacation in the woods of Megantic with her closest friends.
After the trip in Megantic, Demi discovers that she is the descendant of a long line of warrior knights from the magical kingdoms of old. Her order the “Wolf Maidens” were amongst the bravest and strongest of the time. She can summon her ancestral armor, training, and weapons at will. Her holy armor, shield, and sword draw their power from the brightness of the moon. As she begins to wrap her mind around her new responsibilities and gifts, Demi realizes that she cannot remain safely in both worlds forever. Eventually she will have to choose…
Powers: Can summon her ancestral armor, weapons, and training at will. She is braver, stronger, and far more agile than the average human. Her powers, however, wax and wane based on the fullness of the moon.
Damiano is an incredibly well connected man with his finger on the pulse of trends and information networks. If you need a hook up to anything and everything, Damiano is the person to see. He is always ready to give out a favour and, generally speaking, these will come without a fee. Despite this, Damiano still prefers giving out favours for a price. A man still has to live right?
Damiano has an easy, smooth smile and is incredibly political. This trait causes many to see him as someone who always has an agenda of sorts. It also makes him incredibly difficult to trust, as one never knows whether one is about to be conned by him or not. To be fair, he has been known to manipulate those he deems less intelligent than him.
Despite this, Damiano remains a loyal friend to the group and wants nothing more than to move up in life. He KNOWS he can be doing more with his natural talents. He and his friends enjoy partying and doing psychedelics together, and the “party” has been great, so far. Yet, Damiano is starting to wonder if there isn’t something more he could be doing for the greater good. Is a life of just satisfying his needs the best he can hope to achieve?
After the retreat in Megantic, Damiano discovers that he has the ability to gleam surface thoughts from others and implant simple commands as well. On top of this, he can cast his skin like a snake’s to assume any appearance he wants. However he is never able to resume his original shape. Countless strangers will stare back at him in the mirror as he hopes to one day see his face reflected in it once more.
Powers: Can read the surface thoughts of anyone he is in close contact with. Can also implant simple commands into minds if he locks eyes with his victim. Damiano can also cast off his skin and assume the shape of anyone. However, he is unable to shift back to his original shape…
Self-assured, powerful, and positive, Bianca is by the far the happiest person in the group. She is generally happy with her life and has little to regret. Walking about with a flick knife in her purse, she is the last person to mess with.
Bianca moves as if music were playing through her body, and, while she may exude confidence, she has a incredibly difficult time being on her own or knowing when to quit. Demi and Jessie have lost track of the number of times they have had to carry Bianca home after a night of excessive partying. Bianca lives life large, enjoys the best food, clothes, and booze money can buy.
When Bianca goes up to Megantic with her friends, it is to get out of the city and hopefully go wild in the woods for a couple of days. While there, she discovers that she has the elven gift of gab; her very presence is enough to motivate even the most despondent of souls. Her song voice and dance moves can rise the blood and courage of anyone who is lucky enough to witness them.
Unlike the rest of the group, her powers do not come with a price. But can she learn to be responsible and use them for the greater good, or will Bianca be lost to the rock star lifestyle she’s built for herself?
Powers: Can speak the languages of the Faie. INCREDIBLE AGILITY, which she uses in her dance. Her song voice is beautiful and entrances people. Her presence can embolden even the biggest coward. Her faie-blood, however, does cause her to be easily distracted.
Artemos Gremholk RedDwarf
Artemos is one of the oldest and last of the great Elven Gremholk Mages. He has dedicated his life to the pursuit of all forms of mystical knowledge, in the hope that one day he will discover a way to truly destroy the Silent Hunger and end its looming threat. Artemos has suffered several mental meltdowns in his long immortal life, and these meltdowns have left him slightly disconnected from the rest of the world.
Throughout several of Sage's past lives, Artemos has been his teacher and mentor in all things magic. However, as he gets older and older, Artemos is starting to forget the vast knowledge he has collected throughout his immortal life.
-"There are truths that unite and lies that divide. With time, it gets harder to tell which is which."
Solefim Gremholk Greydawn
Solefim has trained her entire immortal life to stand watch against the Silent Hunger and protect the last of the male Gremholk wizards, for they are the only ones left. She is Artemos' loyal companion and protector. Tall, muscular, and skilled in the Shield-Mother style of combat and protection, none under her watch have ever fallen. Her courage, like her word, is unbreakable.
-"You may sleep peacefully my friend. On my watch no harm will befall you or the ones you love."
Bantolomeo "Bant" Darakolin Lightwing
Bantolomeo or "Bant" Lightwing is the youngest of the Lightwing family line. Among Elven warriors and the Darakolin in particular, large families are rare. The Lightwings are blessed with over fifteen siblings. Bant was a legendary warrior and commander during the first war with the Silent Hunger. Bant's courage faltered as both he and his love chose to leave the fighting behind. For this, he was stripped of his rank, title, and family armour.
Bant has since found his way in the services of Artemos and Solefim as an additional bodyguard for the old wizard. He is lovely and quite cocky. Bant loves nothing more than to prove himself the better sword fighter and never backs down from a challenge.
-"Everyone dies, perhaps today will be your final note, for it will surely not be mine."
The stars are lovely as we open on KORYTH Darokolin CrescentMoon. Koryth is an Elven crusader somewhere in the woods of the place named Megantic by the Humans. Koryth eventually stumbles upon the Withering Tree, a creature of the Silent Hunger. But before he is able to do anything, he gets ambushed by one of its minions, killed, and subsequently fed to the Withering Tree.
-“All of Koryth's immortal being would be consumed, processed, and converted into a form…more compliant to the will of the dark.”
Prologue 2: Sylvie-Anne
In Montreal, tensions are high at a protest between students and police. Sylvie-Anne, a young student girl, walks into a local café, the air awash with revolution and revolt, music, and art. She walks in to the washroom and takes a shot of something from a plastic baggie. She thinks it was quite nice of SHYDEN, her dealer, to hook her up with a free sample of a new designer drug: Vision. As her trip almost immediately kicks in, flames begin to appear in her hands. Amazement quickly becomes terror as she loses control of the fire. Outside the café, a giant fiery explosion goes off.
-"Fire, heat, and energy, she could feel all three building up, igniting the air around her. Sylvie-Anne struggled to contain and control them all. To her credit, she managed a few seconds, and two of the cafe's patrons would owe their lives to that as they stepped out.
Sylvie-Anne let out a final angered fiery scream as a violent inferno erupted out of her, scorching her and the thirty other souls doomed to be at the Cafe Bonne Terrac, on that fateful day. Families would grieve, fingers would be pointed, and ultimately the following police investigation would conclude that the explosion had been the result of an improvised firebomb.
The truth would have been far harder to believe."
Tome One: Like Rabbits On The Road.
Chapter 1: JESSIE
Jessie awakens from an odd dream. Troubling yet comforting visions of her bathing in starfire and losing all sense of self have been haunting her as of late. As she awakens next to her lover Sage, her feelings soar high. The two share a home-cooked breakfast together. Sage is upset about the fact that his latest proposal for an article has not been picked up. His mood is not improved when he breaks their no-tablet at the table rule and reads an article about the fire-bomb explosion at the student protest in downtown Montreal yesterday. The two share a frightened moment as they were both supposed to be there but chose to spend the afternoon together instead. They both look to each other. Jessie is glad for her birthday retreat from the city to Megantic.
-"It would be good to leave the noise, fear, and drama of the city behind, if at least for a day. Jessie looked forward to experiencing the happy quiet of the woods."
Chapter 2: DEMI
Demi and Bianca are working hard for a local music promotion media group. While Demi has been climbing up the social ladder, stressed and miserable, Bianca is happy, joyful, and a little hung over from last night’s after-party. Over lunch, the two wind up hearing about the fire bomb in downtown Montreal. Bianca mentions that this isn’t the first instance of random acts of carnage taking place in the city, just the first that got mainstream media coverage. Demi dismisses this as conspiracy nonsense. Both she and Bianca look forward to the cottage retreat and getting out of the city.
-"Life had become oddly almost muted in a city that was known for being noisy, musical, and passionate. There would be something good for her to find in the woods with her friends."
Chapter 3: DAMIANO
Damiano is chasing down a shoplifter and eventually catches up with him. It is, however, quickly revealed that Damiano and the shoplifter are in cahoots. He and his accomplice both smoke a doobie together. Between puffs, Damiano explains that he'll be going to a the woods this weekend with his friends, who are his family, or at least more so than he is actual family. Damiano's accomplice tells him he can get him a meeting with SHYDEN, the sole distributor of a new drug, Vision, that has been hitting the street. Damiano agrees to the meeting.
-Very little was actually known about Vision, as very little information, other than the incredible trips it seemed to produce, was actually available online. Normally that alone would have been a deterrent for Damiano. And yet, he had always been a reckless pursuer of experiences and a taker of chances. If he could help the ones he loved safely live these experiences, where was the harm in that?
"Well lets get this done then, no time like the present right?"
Chapter 4: Julie, the waitress
Julie, a waitress in a dinner at Megantic, is serving a trio of oddballs. (These three are: Artemos, Bant, and Solefin, three immortal elves who are undercover and investigating their missing brother in arms, Korynth, the elf who died in the prologue).
These odd folk keep on talking about something that sounds straight out of a novel, something or other about an evil in the woods. When Julie brings the bill, Artemos, who has been silent and almost catatonic during their exchange, weaves a spell on her. “Leave this place and bring anyone you love, it isn’t safe here anymore.” Julie blinks then stops what she is doing, picks up her son and daughter at the daycare, and drives away from Megantic.
-"Two weeks after what would later be dubbed "La Catastrophe de Megantic" and disastrous events that would come to transpire in her home town, Julie would tell everyone she knew about the three angels who had saved her and her children.”
Chapter 5: DAMIANO
Damiano meets with SHYDEN (another undercover Elf), the Vision Hook-Up, the dealer, who is a very fashionable and almost unnaturally attractive man/woman, Damiano cannot be sure. During the deal, Shyden makes it clear that she can get Damiano anything he wants; however, after giving Damiano's “aura” a read Shyden speaks a word to him. Damiano doesn't understand the word Shyden uses, but, despite this, he begins to tell Shyden everything he knows about him and his friends.
The next thing Damiano knows, he is outside of Shyden's loft with five doses of Vision and explicit instructions to only do the doses in Megantic and nowhere else and to return to her if he survives the experience.
-He could not for the life of him remember if he had even paid Shyden for her product. And the more he struggled to access that memory, the more it seemed to slip away from him. What had he shared with Shyden? And, more to the point, why was he already eager to meet with her again?
Anyone who is a fan of more modern fantasy fiction, such as the Harry Potter series will find themselves drawn to this tale. Where this book differs from the Potter series is that it is targeted toward young adults. The Endless Song tries to blend magic and psychedelics together in an epic tale spanning lifetimes.
Mainly due to the "super-heroic" tropes of the narrative, fans of action thrillers and comic books will also find themselves liking The Endless Song.
Fans of magical lore will no doubt appreciate the magical systems, as well as the re-working of old fairy-tale creatures, described in The Endless Song.
Finally, fans of my previous work on the Jinxed 13th Series will love The Endless Song's well written dialogues and developed characters.
After completing his college studies in print journalism, Davila LeBlanc quickly found himself working the comedy circuits of Montreal as both a writer and a performer. It was during these days on the road that he would co-create and sell the children's comedy series "The League of Super Evil." This was to be his first foray into the world of television production.
In 2013, after having worked on several other shows, Davila took the year off to write his first novel: Dark Transmissions. It, along with the follow up Syndicate's Pawns, was published by HarperCollins two years later.
In December of 2016, his first feature-length screenplay, a comedy horror film called "Deadshack" was filmed and produced in British Columbia. It is slated for release in 2018.
Davila is an avid fan of the occult, magic, science-fiction, fantasy, and comic books. He hopes to add his own voice to the well of inspiration from which he has drawn.
He is an accomplished author, a loving husband/partner, and gifted story-teller.
Davila currently resides in Ottawa, where he works on several other projects.
He can be found @
Generally speaking, Davila would like to be able to release regular YouTube blog videos and Medium blog written articles, mostly talking about the writing process and probably offering up editorial pieces on topics that are relevant to The Endless Song, psychedelics, mysticism, and storytelling.
All but verses in the song
What you read now are words written in your tongue. They are short and, unlike ours, they are not timeless. Where does one begin when there are countless beginnings? Together our bloodlines have stood against the Hunger, since before your histories can even remember. We have shared so much, great pains, wonderful joys, immense sorrows, absolute love all of these moments and more.
And despite this, the Vigil remains ours. It will forever be ours.
Our memories, like us, are timeless, yours are not. It is a sorrow. We have met you time and time again, throughout countless lives and ages. We remember each and every one of these encounters. While you do not.
We are a long line, stretching back to the beginning of all things that were, are and will one day come to be. By contrast, yours is no older than several millennia, still young, full of promise and coupled with near limitless ambition, compassion and creativity. All of these marvels and more are contained in a fragile living shell with such a short time to manifest your own infinity.
Know then, child of Humanity, that these words come from one who was young during Creations’ infancy and that yours is a strong and noble line. Boasting some of the bravest and greatest heroes we have witnessed and will remember from now until the great silence when the Endless Song’s final note is sung.
May that day forever be late and far…
The Night’s Hunt
By winter’s starlight they had been betrayed. And as Korynth Darakolin Eventide limped through the deep silent woods of what was now named Lac Mégantic, he wondered which hurt most, the deep bloody lacerations across his body or the knowledge that the traitor was one of his own. A stab of pain running up his leg as he put too much weight onto it was enough to remind him that for the present moment, in any case, he was alive. The Vigil would need to know exactly what had happened so that they could properly prepare and take action.
Korynth had lived far too long to simply become another forgotten and silenced note in the Endless Song. His siblings Seluen Lighstalker and Logaray Sunstrider, both of whom he had known since the beginning of the measureless passage of time that was his immortal life, were now lost, forever silenced mere hours ago. He had loved them both beyond any possible measurement conceived of by human minds or hearts.
They had deserved so much more, so much better than to pass into nothingness. Their time, their experiences, their wisdom, light and laughter lost, consumed and removed from this cosmos, forever lost, forever lost, foreve-
“Enough of this self pity!” Korynth thought angrily to himself as he struggled to compartmentalize the grief threatening to overwhelm his every sense, “You will not be forgotten.”
Gritting his teeth to the point of tasting blood and ignoring the agony that throbbed with his every step, he pushed forward. His sheathed family sword and an exquisite weapon, Moon’s Crescent, had taken two centuries to forge and had been cooled by water under full moonlight. Sharpened beyond razor’s edge, it had been the doom of near countless foes. A centuries old blade of legend now reduced to a useless cane.
Better to die bleeding out from injury, rather than to be dragged down the path he was fleeing on, back to the den of the foe that had felled his siblings and mortally wounded him. While the woods may have appeared to be silent and abandoned, something sinister stalked the night, and Korynth was their prey. His lips quivered as he struggled to process both the pain of his physical body and emotional psyche. By all the Sacred Starlights. his sister and brother had deserved so much better. He preferred death to what had befallen them.
Korynth repressed a shiver as his mind envisioned every living soul calling home the hills of Lac Mégantic in the mortal nation of Canada, powerlessly falling one by one to the evil that grew in the woods, unchecked behind him.
This land had been known by many names in older and forgotten tongues. And so long as there was a sky above it would come to know many more. His oath to the Vigil had led Korynth to the many lands and the many skies of this world. He had often wished to once more walk under the desert sky. Unlike his siblings, Korythn had found near eternal wonder on this world. Had the Vigil and its heavy oath never been sworn, he would have no doubt spent his eternal existence simply marvelling at the beauty of this living, breathing world.
Before the coming of the great foe, in the earliest years of the cosmos, his sister Seluen Darakolin Lightstalker, had traveled between the stars on drake-kin’s back. His older brother Logaray Darakolin Sunstrider, had crafted a coat of arms which allowed him to walk on the surface of suns. Who knew what more they would have been witness to or part of had the weight of the Vigil’s call never fallen on them?
And yet, who else could have answered? The eternal cosmos required eternal guardians to watch over her, from now until the Song’s final note.
May that day forever be late and far…
Despite his loss, despite his grief, despite the stakes, tonight the stars shone over him, indifferent to what was playing out in these woods. In the early days Korynth’s kind and humanity had observed and named the celestial map above them together. The countless suns were among the rare living things older than him. Because of that, his kin had always taken to drawing both their names and strength from them.
Korynth drew in a short crisp breath listening to the quiet of the woods, his attention slowly returning to the grim matter of survival and self-preservation. They had been betrayed! And the traitor, face hidden behind a wailing white mask of what appeared to be oozing white bark, had used his people’s knowledge, their power and their magics, to do it! Korynth muttered a bilious prayer in the immortal tongue of the Elfkin that he may live long enough to pull that mask off and stare the Traitor in the eyes before taking his or her life.
Something wholly unfathomable and menacing existed just beyond the thin membrane separating existence from whatever lay beyond, and the Traitor had sided with it. Korynth had seen with his own eyes this infinite, dreadful, determined intelligence, never resting, waiting for the moment when the Vigil would falter. Then and only then would its predatory patience at long last be rewarded and its voracious appetite sated.
Korynth made no illusions that countless more living beings would be wholly and completely consumed on that darkest of days. Everything from their biological body all the way down to the very essence that gave the body life. And then, its meal done, it would move on, to feed again, and again. Perhaps some “where” or some “when” would muster up the power to defeat this bane to all things living, but Korynth had long ago given up on the hope that he would bear witness.
The last of his fellow Elfkin had numbered in the hundreds of thousands when the Vigil had first been sworn in days of forgotten history. It had been known then that they were woefully stretched thin for the monumental task of preserving existence. So much had already been lost forever in order to push back their relentless foe.
A piece of this Silent Hunger had now taken root deep in the woods. Left un-checked, it would feed off the life around it, growing stronger and more dangerous with each passing moment. Soon, the quiet hills of Mégantic would be awash with terror. He did not envy the Humans who built the nearby town should he fail. This had always been such a heavy burden, carried with Korynth for so long that he could no longer recall a time where he had not felt it.
All known Fates, had he truly lived that long?
A pin dropping in the snow would have made more sound than armoured Korynth as he struggled on, deeper and deeper through the dense canopy of trees and branches. His stalkers on the other hand were nothing more than a hush, taking muted strides behind him. They had found him quite easily. The Traitor had seen to that and now they followed mutely, waiting for Korynth to collapse from his wounds.
However Korynth had been born of the forest and was ancient even to the trees. He had held long friendships with many of them. He was therefore more than capable of silently pressing forward. He lithely slipped between the branches and tree trunks, slipping past the undergrowth until abruptly he stumbled into a clearing. The comfort he felt as he could once more see the sky above him was short lived.
Two tall eerily gaunt and familiar shapes stepped out from the woods blades drawn. They said nothing, only stepped forward silently. They had once been his siblings, and, were it not for the tattered remains of their family armour, once unique intricately ornate works, now scorched and melted onto their shrivelled bodies, Korynth would have been unable to recognize one from the other. Their skin was chalk white, with deep pronounced pulsing black veins and in place of their faces was nothing, only a layer of white, black-veined skin.
Korynth let out a resigned sigh. Not once during their immortal lives, had he ever drawn swords with his siblings. They had sparred yes, trained together of course, but done battle? No, never. Korynth could not think of any reason he would have ever done so. Given the clear night sky, the quiet snowfall and the clearing itself, this was as good a place as any to finally see who truly had been the better fighter between the three.
The shapes in front of him were no longer his siblings. They were puppets, with one single purpose: feed the Silent Hunger. Korynth drew Moon Crescent and the metal almost sang as the starlight shimmered off it like quicksilver. His Faceless foes immediately spread apart trying to corner him.
He closed his eyes steadied his breath and waited. If he could time his strikes perfectly, if he could react fast enough, he could slay them both. The timing of his strikes would have to be beyond perfect.
Korynth took a moment to whisper a silent apology and prayer to Siluen and Logaray. Truly no one deserved to be processed and converted into the monsters that now silently moved towards him. The prayer done, Korynth lowered his blade, pointing its tip to the ground, relaxed his muscles, opened his eyes and waited for one of his foes to strike.
Neither of them moved close enough. Instead they waited as blood dripped from his wounds, both of them poised, patient and ready.
“I truly wish it had never come to this Korynth.” From the corner of his eye Korynth could make out the Traitor’s hooded shape covered in head to toe in black.
“You always were among the Vigil’s bravest.” The Traitor’s voice was calm, yet Korynth could hear hints of a deep sorrow at what was taking place right now. “Siluen, Logaray and you deserve better.”
“What empty promise did the Hunger make to you?” Korynth defiantly glared at both his foes and was finally able to stop his legs from trembling.
“An ending.” With the dignified grace of elfkin, the Traitor stepped forward and by the light of the night, Korynth could see the mask, made of what appeared to be pulsing, ashen white bark. It was twisted into a wooden grimace locked in a scream of terror. Black sap trickled from the corners of the mask’s eyes and the corners of its lips.
“You are a fool.”
The Traitor shrugged at Korynth’s jab. “Eternity is a very long time. Farewell.”
Before Kortynth could even mutter a retort or take another breath, both his Faceless foes lunged forward running their blades through his shoulders with silent speed and precision. Korynth was knocked off his feet and pinned to the ground. The shock of suddenly being violently skewered was overwhelming for Korynth who could only stare, dumbfounded as one of the Faceless took his sword from him and the other began to drag him back down the path he had come.
Moon’s Crescent was presented, hilt-first to the Traitor who examined it blankly, running a fine leather gloved hand over its ornate hilt before dismissively handing it back. The Faceless took the blade, turned and walked away. The Traitor sighed heavily and followed, knowing what was to come, but, for the sake of plans and certainty, also aware that Korynth’s fate would need to be witnessed.
“We all deserve better than this.” The Traitor spoke sadly in the tongue of immortals, there were none present who could answer back.
The Faceless creatures that had once been kin to Korynth and the Traitor dragged their former sibling back to a dark grove deep in the woods. In that secluded space, far from both the prying eyes of the Vigil and Humans alike, an aberration had taken root in what was now barren and lifeless soil. This gnarled and withered tree would have perhaps reminded a casual observer, if one could have observed casually, of a willow. But that would be where the similarities ended.
Its bark shimmered a mixture of unhealthy putrid grey. Its many branches were like long withered arms and at their ends were black viscous pouches of various sizes. These sacs looked like large cancerous fruits, filled to the brim with a white oozing sap-like substance that seared the ground it dripped upon. The tree, lowered one of these pouches as the Faceless dragged their offering towards it.
Korynth Darakolin Eventide, who had lived for over ten thousand years, who had stared in marvel at the majesty of the infinite cosmos in her infancy, was unceremoniously hoisted into the pouch by his former siblings. There was an immediate caustic hiss as he was slowly digested. Thankfully for the Traitor, the sac closed itself over Korynth, like a fly trap muting both the sound of feeding and Korynth’s terror-filled howls. Neither one of the Faceless mourned this deed.
If the Traitor felt anything, watching blankly from behind a wretched mask as strip by strip, memory by memory, the entirety of Korynth’s being, along with his body was consumed and re-processed, it did not show. Once the gruesome process was complete, what remained was converted into a new thoughtless body, a form more compliant and useful to the will of the Hunger.
Satisfied, the Traitor did not stay to watch the upcoming family reunion. A quick mournful prayer was muttered in the tongue of immortals. Once the task done, the Traitor gracefully waved one hand and melted away into the shadows, leaving the withered tree to continue its grim task un-molested.
Several hours later, Korynth’s metamorphosis was complete. From the oily fruit sac of the withered tree emerged a new faceless creature. It went and took its place next to the creatures that had once been its family and Moon’s Crescent was handed back to what had once been its former owner. The Faceless trio stood in silence and suddenly, without a word, they parted ways and left the clearing in silence. Each would stalk the woods and bring others to the tree until all things were fed to the Hunger. Korynth’s was not the first soul to suffer this fate.
It would not be the last.
Chapter Two: Sage
The First Spark.
For six months angry protesters had taken to the streets of Montreal and for six months the city had not known a night’s peace. For those who were marching on both the side of the institution and the revolution, it now felt like years. It was a running joke throughout the rest of Canada. Would Montreal ever know a semblance of peace and order again?
For people like Sage Beaudac, drawn into what was quickly becoming a series of escalating conflicts between police forces and disgruntled protesters, it was getting harder and harder to remember a time where the night had NOT ended in some sort of violent altercation. As these things often went, the demonstrations had started off peaceful, with altercations between police and protesters limited to angered shouts. It had not taken much for typical “Canadian-politeness” and respect to slowly start eroding away.
During his fifth march, Sage Beaudac had seen a sixteen-year-old-boy toss a brick through a storefront window. Riot police had been on top of the lad in seconds, beating him down with nightsticks. Pictures of Yannick Gingras’s bloodied face had made the front pages of every major newspaper in the Country, to say nothing of the hundreds of social media sites covering this story. Some with headlines denouncing the police’s heavy-handed nature and others painting the protests as nothing more than thinly veiled excuses to engage in criminality.
Sage Beaudac had found both sides of the story lacked any kind of nuance and were incredibly hard to stomach. Ultimately a part of himself could not reconcile the all around abhorrent nature, for lack of a better word, of what he’d seen. In the days and months that followed he had grown weary of constantly reminding himself that no matter how bad things were, that there was always somewhere else in the world where things were even worse. It was a thought that offered him precious little comfort.
The last provincial election had been an incredibly heated one. With the party being voted on promises to balance the budget and cut back on government spending. And boy did they ever deliver on the promise, cutting hard into healthcare and education. Students, nurses, teachers, healthcare professionals along with activists from all walks of life had taken to the streets, making noise, blocking traffic and generally being disruptive but peaceful.
That was until negotiations between the student, teacher and nurses unions had all fallen through. With the protests drawing themselves out longer and longer, tensions mounted and lines were drawn. Armored riot squads were given the go-ahead to flex their muscle and reign in the protesters through any legal means necessary.
“La paix dois reigner a Montreal, si nous voulons negocier.”
Peace must reign in Montreal, elected party members repeated over and over again before any deals could be made in good faith. With gutted social services and thousands of protesters taking to the streets day in and day out through the thick humid heat of the summer to the bitter winter cold neither side was any closer to reaching a common ground.
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck la police! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck la police!”
The gathered crowd at Emily Gamlin park shouted to the line of riot cops. The day was glum and dreary. A constant drizzle of cold rain fell from a grey sky, with the sun choosing to remain hidden behind clouds. This year’s winter had been a mild one and despite being February, it was warm enough to be out in the streets sans winter gear. Although shivering in the rain alongside Louise “La Souris” and several thousand protesters Sage wondered if it would not have been wiser to spend his Sunday morning in bed.
“I’d be making breakfast for Jessie right now.” He grumbled to himself as he drew his coat close, trying to warm up. The rain and the fact that it was still February made this entire experience that much more miserable. Louise’s company at his side however made it bearable.
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck1 Fuck la police! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck la police!”
Louise “la souris”, a tiny mousy elderly hippie woman yelled at the top of her lungs, adding her voice to the crowd’s ongoing chorus. Louise had been protesting the various government actions, wars and inactions since she was a teenager in the sixties. Sage could not help but admire and be drawn to the presence that tiny Louise seemed to generate. He’d often told her she should be the leader of the revolution. To which she had playfully replied in her heavily French-Canadian accented English.
“What makes you think I’m not?”
Not far from where Sage and Louise were standing, three young students in Guy Fawkes masks passed him by, dancing and handing flowers to people in the crowd and random pedestrians on the street. A few meters from them a drum circle had formed and people were dancing in the rain. Sage cast a look at the gathered officers and was relieved to see that their stances were relaxed. It was often difficult to gauge what the day would bring. But today in any case it appeared that there would be no escalation. The rain often dissuaded anyone from starting anything violent on either side of the camp.
Yet despite the more playful energy that permeated the air. Sage and Louise kept themselves to the edge of the crowd. If the order to disperse went down he had no desire of being caught in the middle of it all. Sage had met Louise during his third protest when a police flash bang had been fired into the crowd. Riot police had then rushed into the host of panicked and stunned objectors. He’d been lucky, as Louise “La Souris” had grabbed him by the hand and pulled him to safety. He’d been so angry and scared at being made to feel so powerless.
Louise bought him a coffee and told him to not give up. Violence and fear were the easier and cowardly ways of breaking the human spirit. “The people who do this do not understand that you cannot break what will never be broken.”
He’d thanked Louise and the two had quickly become protest buddies, and like her surname would imply, Louise was as furtive as a mouse. She could read the crowd and the cops to an uncanny degree. Because of this she was always capable of figuring out when was the time to stand your ground and when it was time to leave.
“It’s good to protest, but you don’t want to let them hurt or damage you. Live to fight another day.” She’d tell him when he asked her why she kept on leaving every time things became violent between police and protesters.
Sage had quickly made it a point to commit all of Montreal’s downtown region to memory. Soon enough he was routinely guiding groups of bewildered protesters and activists away from violent confrontations. Louise “La Souris” and Sage had quickly become regular faces at these daily rallies. Along with the Guy Fawkes dancers and the drum circles he had taken to playing a game of mental Aikido. If the protests remained peaceful, it removed any legal leg the forces of law and order had to stand on. The right to free protest still existed, for the moment in any case.
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck la police! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck la police!”
“La police should be marching with us. C’est leur maître, their masters who are the real problem.” Louise had come prepared today, wearing cute pink rubber rain poncho with a large yellow flower painted on the back. “And you.” She gave Sage a warm toothless grin. “You should be with your amoureuse.”
Sage shrugged off droplets of rain off his brown leather jacket, glad that he had bothered to layer his look with a grey hoodie today. “She asked me to stay with her this morning.”
Louise smiled when she heard this. “L’amour is the ultimate act of revolution mon cher ami.”
“Dis comme une vraie Francophone. Spoken like a true Francophone.” Sage let out a warm laugh. Despite the reason that had both him and Louise on the streets of downtown Montreal, instead of enjoying a lazy Sunday morning it was still good to be in like-minded company.
“Jessie would be very upset with me if I suddenly shifted my values at the drop of a dime.”
“I’d love to meet her one day.” Louise lit herself a marijuana cigarette taking a long haul from it before handing it to Sage. He accepted her offer and nodded his head in thanks. He wasn’t terribly worried of being caught, after all there were already several clouds of telltale joint smoke throughout the gathered crowd. Despite this Sage still cast a weary eye about him before handing it back to Louise.
“Besides it’s a generally a bad idea to have both my girlfriends in the same place at the same time.”
Louise let out a loud cackle of laughter, followed by a snorted cough of smoke. “Mon ami, the road to anyone’s heart is humor. I should know Louise-Elene, my last girlfriend, used to make me laugh all the time.”
“I’d love to meet her one day.”
Louise gave Sage a sad smile. “You can say hello to her in heaven.”
“I’m so sorry Louise. Je ne savais pas, I didn’t know.” Sage blurted out his apology both quickly and nervously. Louise only smiled at him and gave his hand an affectionate pat.
“C’est pas necessaire.” Louise handed Sage the joint. “I don’t regret loving her. And you can’t raise the dead. Can you?”
Sage shook his head. “Not yet I can’t but I’ll work on that.”
Louise let out a long sigh. “I’m glad I met you Sage.”
Sage was taken aback by the comment. “Thank you Louise I’m glad I met you too.“
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck la police! Fuck! Fuck! Fu-“
Before the crowd could complete the sentence there was a fiery, deafening and explosive roar from across the street. Quickly followed by a brief blinding flash of light and searing heat. Sage’s world was suddenly in free fall as the ensuing shockwave knocked him off his feet. He winced and cried out in pain as he fell flat on his back onto the cold unforgiving wet pavement beneath him.
His ears were ringing and he could hear muted screams of terror, shock and fear. Sage blinked twice trying to regain his bearings and sat himself back up. Debris now littered the ground everywhere and Sage could see others like him, knocked to the ground by the blast that appeared to have come from the coffee shop across the street. The café Re-Volt, or rather what remained of it, had been incinerated, and the surrounding businesses were now in flames. Sage could make out odd lumps across the street and on the ground nearby him.
It took him another moment for the grim realization to dawn on him that those lumps were in fact charred body parts. Sage suddenly felt incredibly sick to the stomach. His hands, he realized were trembling uncontrollably. He fought back the urge to vomit and shook his head trying to get rid of the constant ringing.
“Louise! Louise!” Sage shouted over the cacophony of noise around him and the high-pitch ring in his ears. He looked about in a panic trying to find Louise amidst the chaos of debris, crowd and riot police, who were now advancing on the remaining protesters and dispersing them with violent force.
“LOUISE!” Sage shouted once more before finally spotting the familiar yellow flower on Louise’s back not two meters away from him
Sage dragged himself up, his ankle sending pain signals up his leg as he did and hobbled towards her. Tomorrow all his body would be beyond sore but at present everything about him was numb and surreal as he knelt next to Louise and rolled her onto her back. She wasn’t moving, she wasn’t breathing. Time became a blur as Sage tried to perform CPR to no avail. He didn’t remember when the first paramedics arrived on the scene. But when they loaded Louise into the ambulance, he insisted on riding with her. At the hospital Sage waited several hours to get news about her condition.
At three AM on Monday morning, the woman Sage had only known as Louise “La Souris” was pronounced dead having suffered a cardiac arrest.
By then ringing in his ear had stopped and he texted Jessie to let her know he was safe, bruised, battered and scared shitless, but safe. Part of him was angry for having gone to the protest in the first place. The cab ride back to the arms of his love was long and thankfully the driver did not try to spark a conversation with him. Not that Sage would have had much to say if he had. As he stared blankly out the car window from the backseat Sage promised to light a candle for Louise’s soul, hoping that she, like him, would be re-united with her love once more.
His hands would still be trembling when he returned home. And for Sage Beaudac, the pacifist, that really was the least of it.
Sylvie-Anne was still reeling from the evening’s party and her head felt like it was two sizes too small for the enflamed brain inside it. A student of criminal law at McGill University, she had quickly become a volunteer, offering legal aid to anyone who could not afford it. Her teachers all agreed that she was one of their better students. Like most students who suddenly found themselves away from home, Sylvie-Anne had also fallen into the almost non-stop party that was the campus life.
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck la police! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck la police!”
Every part of her had wanted to stay home this wet Sunday morning. But she had promised to hand out flyers at the protest today. She and her fellow volunteers had printed out the flyers with all set of legal rights that all protesters had. It was her hope that the more people knew the legal system, the less altercations there would be between the police and activists.
Sylvie-Anne was nowhere near completing her studies, but she had every hope and desire to use her acquired knowledge to help those in need. It was that spirit of aid that had brought her onto the streets to demonstrate and add her voice to what she dubbed revolution. Now if only the revolution could stop having back-to-back late night parties she would be most grateful.
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck la police! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck la police!”
She felt like she was going to be sick as she passed by the protesters chanting their chorus repeatedly. Yes she would hand out the one hundred flyers in her bag but not before she skulked off and took her dose of Vision and a coffee. Which was why she stepped into the Café Re-Volt across the street from Emily Gamlin Park. Sylvie-Anne left the glum grey day behind her and waved at Jocelyne, the barista who waved back at her.
“You look like you need your usual.” Jocelyne had pink hair and a large golden nose-ring. She offered Sylive-Anne a knowing look. “Good party last night?”
Sylvie-Anne grimaced as her stomach made a queasy grumble. “The parts I can remember at least.”
“If you’re gonna yack, do it in the restroom. I don’t feel like mopping the floor just yet.” Jocelyne smiled warmly and nodded towards the washroom. “I’ll have your usual ready when you get out.”
Sylvie-Anne rubbed her temples, they felt like they were burning up. Was she coming down with a cold, or was this all part of the Vision come down? Sylvie-Anne Squinted, trying her best to block the seventy or so different conversations going on in the café. Rain coupled with the protesters outside had ensured a large, profitable clientele here today.
Sylvie winced once more as she stepped into the restroom, locking the door behind her. She had spent many a late night writing essays and completing assignments here at the Café Re-Volt. Throughout the days of protest the café had become a real gathering spot for student protesters, artists and intellectuals alike. They also served one of the best fair-trade espressos in the city, or at least Sylvie-Anne had come to think so.
A warm latte would do her good before she stepped back into the street. But before she did, she wanted to hit another dose of Vision. Two nights ago an incredibly attractive man named Shyë-Den had approached Sylvie on the dance floor. Eventually the two had shared a joint, a drink and a walk home. Shyë-Den had offered her free samples of his new designer drug he was selling: Vision. Then last night Sylvie-Anne had been out with her friends once more. She’d decided to try a half dose of Vision and her night had become an energized blur of passion, ecstasy and a feeling that she was filled to the brim with limitless fire.
Shyë-Den had guaranteed it would energize her and make the days to come something to remember. Now, the day after she had done her first dose, with a killer headache promising to graduate to full-on migraine, Sylvie-Anne was wondering if that had been a good idea. And yet a part of her really wanted, nay needed, to do another dose of Vision. She knew that it would make her feel better. How or why she knew this was unclear to her.
Sylvie-Anne didn’t know why but she had completely trusted Shyë-Den’s words. He had assured her that it would be safe and that there would be no “down” or side-effects to a Vision trip. He’d even told her that it was best to do it in a crowd or at a public event.
“You will quite literally see the music of the universe my dearest.” He had told her, his voice melodious and pure. There had also been a quality to his tone of his voice that had completely convinced Sylvie-Anne that this was a good idea.
Shyë-Den had explained to her how to properly ingest Vision and she figured that today was as good a solution to her growing migraine as any. Maybe it would pick her up and she could trip out dance in the drum circle that was gathering outside and then take a cab back home. Sylvie-Anne poured the dose of Vision into her water bottle and drank it down in one gulp, as per Shyë-Den’s instructions.
She wondered as she finished the bottle how long it would it would take before she felt the effects. She was shocked when she felt the euphoria of the trip kick in almost instantly, washing away the migraine and nausea she was feeling. Looking in the restroom mirror she could see her pupils dilated and an easy smile crept onto her face.
“Wow, this…this feels really good.” She thought to herself. If this was what was in store for her, she was going to give Shyë-Den a call and get some more Vision. Everything she looked at was clearer and more focused, as if her eyesight had gone from regular definition to high definition. She could hear with alarming clarity the chants going on outside.
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck la police! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck la police!”
It was quite the experience and a tingling in her fingertips drew her attention to her hands. Her jaw dropped in amazement at what she was seeing. Tiny fiery orange rings of light had appeared around her fingertips and palms. She blinked and when she opened her eyes again, the rings were still there, only brighter, clearer more defined and…warmer?
A small jet of flames, no bigger than a lighter, appeared hovering about her palms. Rather than being startled by this, Sylvie-Anne focused on the flames in her palms and was shocked as she saw them grow larger and larger along with the rings of light around her hands and fingers. She could now make out what appeared to be tiny runes of light along them. The flames above her palms were now both the size of tennis balls.
“Is this all in my mind?” She thought to herself. But quickly banished the thought as the flames were now singing her clothes and the sink in front of her. Despite the growing worry Sylvie-Anne could not help but feel as if pure raw energy were coursing through her veins.
There was also an urgent sense of panic building up inside her. Could she get these flames under control? And as she closed her eyes and opened them again to her growing un-ease she realized that the flames were now the size of beach balls. She let out a shocked scream as she saw the flames now lick her pants and shirt sleeves, lighting them up.
“This is not happening!” She thought to herself in disbelief as a radiant wave of heat started to build in her stomach and work its way up the rest of her body. It was an act of will to contain all that explosive heat inside of her. A dreadful realization dawned on her that this was real and that if she did not get a handle on this situation that the fire building up inside of her was going to be violently unleashed.
“Make it stop make it stop make it st-“
Unbridled fire, heat and energy, Sylvie could feel all three building up, now igniting the very air around her. She valiantly struggled to contain and control them all and to her credit she managed a few seconds, five of the Café Re-Volt’s patrons who chose that moment to step out would owe their lives to that.
“MAKE IT STOP!” Sylvie-Anne pleaded.
She let out a final angered fiery scream as a violent inferno, erupted out of her, incinerating Sylvie-Anne on the spot. The sixty or so remaining patrons inside the Café Re-Volt would all suffer the same fate. Chaos, violence and death would follow in the streets outside. In the days of outrage and questions that followed, families grieved and fingers were pointed. Ultimately the ensuing police investigation concluded that the explosion had been the result of an improvised firebomb.
The truth would have been far harder to buy.
Chapter 3: Jessie
Clouds of Starfire
“I want to leave the city.”
Jessie, who had legally changed her last name to Dawn because she’d chosen NOT to carry on her father’s, thought to herself as she angrily exhaled thick plumes of smoke through her nostrils. In one hand were the remains of a marijuana cigarette burning away, with her free hand her fingers delicately caressed the dark locks of her lover, Sage Beaudac’s hair. His sleep was fitful and his hands were still shaking.
She’d, of course, been worried sick about him when news of the firebomb explosion at the protest had hit her various social media feeds. What had followed next was slow and mounting panic as she called Sage’s phone over and over again. And with each transfer to voicemail she’d grown certain that something had happened to him.
She’d been so upset and worried. That was until 3:00 this morning when, several hours after the bombing, he’d called her.
“Jessie, I’m okay. I’m sorry I didn’t’ call you sooner…Louise…Louise just died.”
Relief had flooded through her, washing away the worry and anger she’d felt. Such was the power of hearing his voice. “Get home as quickly as you can, Sage, I’ll be waiting up for you.”
And she could feel the relief that hearing her voice had on him as he took in an audibly calmer breath. “I’ll see you soon. I love you.”
“I love you too.” Jessie had hung up the phone and suddenly let out fitful sobs of sadness and gratitude. He was safe. That was all that mattered to her. Soon a smoldering rage would build up in her, against the very circumstances that had put him that danger to begin with. But for the moment at least, she was relieved.
She’d rolled him a joint, set up the bed and prepared Sage a warm bath. When he’d finally returned home, Jessie quietly led him by the hand to the tub and helped him in. His hands were trembling and wouldn’t stop. Sage closed his eyes as he lay back in the warm comfort of the tub. His shoulders and back were bruised and one of his ankles was swollen but otherwise, Sage was alright. He’d always been lucky like that.
Jessie left him alone. Once he was done bathing the two went to bed, one look at him was enough to tell that he was deeply upset and that every part of him wanted to cry. But there was exhaustion in him and he fell asleep, his fingers seeking out and entwining with hers.
And with that Jessie was left alone to smoke her doobie and think about the day. To say that she was upset would have been an understatement. There was a deep fury barely bottled up inside of her. Part of her was angry with Sage for having taken so damned long to call her in the first place, and part of her was furious at him for having gone out on the streets instead of staying home with her today.
Instead he’d gone out. Jessie had stayed in, choosing to work on a video advertisement for a cat vitamin supplement that she promised to piece together for a pharmaceutical client. Why couldn’t he have stayed with her and spent the day in the digital office?
“We could have spent the day in bed, watching cartoons and eating breakfast cereal!”
Instead there had been this! This horrible, terrible event that he’d been witness to. And that was the ultimate frustration of it all.
Jessie was angry at herself for not going out with him. She doubted there was much she could have done had she been there, but she was no stranger to violence. Jessie didn’t know if this meant she was better mentally equipped to deal with being at ground zero of an explosion.
“What could either one of us have done there?”
The maddening part was that she honestly did not know. A great deal of all this was far bigger than her. And the simple truth was that in this moment Jessie was beyond relieved to know that Sage at least physically would be alright. Time would heal all wounds and make hurts more bearable. Which is something she had learned from experience, but she was not terribly certain the same could be said for Sage.
“I want to get out of the city.” Jessie vocalized the thought once more.
Part of her was just tired of the day-in day-out, soul-crushing routine that had overtaken her life as of late. A pretty steady video contract, editing online commercials for cat medications, was far from the glorious truths she had sought to expose when she’d gone into journalism school. But there were bills to pay, student loans and financial debts to free herself of.
The fact was that minus meeting the love of her life, Sage, here in Montreal, Jessie’s journey from America to Canada had resulted in gaining her nothing but debt and stress. The day’s earlier events had made that painfully clear to her. Jessie was not going to be happy until she was back in the country, far from the never-ending madness that was the city life. She hadn’t broached the subject with Sage yet, and after the firebomb, she thought it would be a little longer before she could. Every day Jessie was growing more and more fed-up with the perpetual noise, the light pollution all but blocking out the stars and the constant protests in the street.
And then there was the troubling matter of her recurring dreams.
For two weeks now, she’d been visited in her sleep with the same vision, over and over again. Most unnervingly still was the fact that there was something incredibly real about the visions, like a long-forgotten memory being replayed through the low quality projector that was her human senses and feelings. The part of her that spectated these dreams did not mind, there was a safe, familiar and almost natural quality to them. The dreamer’s eyes through which she saw, were her true eyes, the senses and feelings sharing a similar quality as well.
The very essence of suns coursed through her veins. The sheer raw cosmic heat and energy flowing in and out of her being with each drawn breath was almost overwhelming and yet so incredibly intoxicating. It was almost as if all this infinite power had been condensed into a finite and limited body. Her monkey brain was unable to process the mere thoughts of the eyes through which she observed right now.
Terrifying power, unbridled and un-rivaled knowledge about the secrets of the cosmos, how it had started and come to be, all of this was available to access in her dreamer’s mind. With a mere breath, she knew she had the ability to scour entire worlds out of the cosmos. A soft grumble would bring the mightiest of mountains crashing down. A beat of her wings could send her rocketing through the infinite emptiness between worlds at speeds un-imagined by the smaller creature that was her human self.
“Jessie, my daughter, your purpose is greater than all this.” A powerfully in-human, matriarchal voice would always end the vision by addressing Jessie directly. Then she would awaken, hot, sweaty and confused. Her dreams were indeed talking to her. This was something Jessie had always believed.
It wasn’t the dreams so much that were worrying her, but the fact that they were happening even when she wasn’t sleeping. Sometimes they would happen during moments of in-attention. Or whenever she found herself staring at her computer screen editing a video project.
What did it all mean? Was everything that was transpiring now happening for a reason? Were she and Sage meant to leave Montreal? Was she meant to be alone to figure herself out? All the Gods and Goddesses be invoked, Jessie needed clarity and silence.
On cue her cell phone vibrated, and, as she looked to the screen, Jessie smiled. It was a message from Demi, her closest friend from University and one of the few people she kept in contact with after graduation. The message was one sentence.
“Got cottage in Mégantic for the weekend. Are you and Sage down? Y/N?”
Jessie smiled, she and Demi had lived together before she’d moved in with Sage. Back then the two’s lives had almost seemed to synch up. This was yet another sign that reminded Jessie that her current lover was not the only thing she’d gained coming to Montreal. Her friendship with Demi was another such precious gift from the universe.
Jessie typed in a reply.
“Sage and I are down. We need to get out of here for a few days.”
“OMG YAY! I know you two had a rough day, promises this will be fun.” Came the instant jubilant text reply.
Jessie smiled again before letting out a long yawn. It was six in the morning and she hadn’t slept yet. Concerns of mounting city violence, what to do with her life and strange recurring dreams were quickly replaced with a desire to cuddle up next to Sage and fall asleep. It was good that Demi had decided to organize a trip out of town for a few days.
Jessie cradled her form next to Sage’s and pulled the blankets around them both. His hands were still shaking, but his breathing and sleep were less fitful. He smiled in his slumber when Jessie wrapped her arms around him. Soon her breathing began to match his own and Jessie Dawn fell asleep. There visions of the infinite cosmos and stars as witnessed through the eyes of something so much greater than her welcomed Jessie once more: Their meaning currently beyond her grasp, but their appearance, oddly enough, a familiar comfort.
Chapter 4: Demi
Wild Hearts, Tempered Minds
“I’ve just lost my job.” Demi thought to herself as she stared out a cab window. The city was moving past her, and the streets of downtown Montreal were empty even by late Sunday evening standards.
“For what it’s worth, I hate the Filthy Orgasms.” Demi didn’t know how close-friend/co-worker/party-soldier Bianca Noire was still capable of coherent speech after the evening they had just lived through.
Up until tonight’s party in any case, both Bianca and Demi had been working for Montreal’s Indyground Music festival. The Filthy Orgasms, the band Bianca, in hindsight, really disliked, were a Swedish death metal, trip hop fusion group. Their sound was interesting enough, Demi supposed, and their lead singer: Lesta Moric, had a great voice, a rockstar sexy stage presence and the rightfully earned reputation of being a proper shithead by every definition of the word.
A proper shithead who made it a point of throwing the wildest after parties, and wanted said parties to mainly be populated by “fresh young ladies” as he so grossly put it. Demi had voiced her concern of booking a man like him for the festival, citing the fact that he and his band mates had settled multiple sexual offenses (a few with barely legal young women) outside of court. The potential negative heat this would draw onto the festival would be nuclear she had warned, Diane Lemire, the festival head.
“Alleged Sexual offenders or not, they draw big and we need those numbers, so you are going to make sure they get paid on time and that get whatever they want.” Diane had told Demi in a tone that heavily implied if The Filthy Orgasms didn’t get everything they wanted, short of rape or murder, Demi would be looking for a new job.
The band had been particularly difficult to manage. Showing up late for tech rehearsals. Lesta Moric had spent the hour they reserved for the tech run chewing out the entire technical team. While this was all going down, the bassist and guitarist were off to the side creepily ogling anyone who happened to be blessed with a pair of breasts, including both Demi and Bianca. The drummer could barely stand of his own free will and looked like a zombie.
“A real bunch of professional assholes,” Demi had thought to herself. She had lingering doubts of whether there would even be a show tonight. Montreal had been experiencing non-stop protests and borderline riots, so maybe a bunch of pissed off metal heads could take to the streets. If she was lucky they’d be dumb enough to start something with the police, and then those idiots who called themselves fans of The Filthy Orgasms could spend the night in jail.
“They look like zombies.” Bianca had remarked during a quick lunch break. “Maybe they’ve been doing some sorcerer’s cursed cocaine.”
Demi had snorted out her coffee. “If only we could be that lucky.”
Despite Demi’s worries, the show had gone off, more or less, without a hitch. The opening act had warmed up the crowd, and, when the Filthy Orgasms got on the stage, the audience went wild. The band played the songs from their new album, ended ten minutes early and did no encore. So all in all exactly what Demi expected of them.
Bianca had been working reception at the show and Demi had made sure that the band was paid on time. Her original plan had been to pay the band, go home, smoke a joint and watch the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A not so rock-and-roll end to her night, but one she’d been looking forward to.
Then, on her way out of the concert venue, the band’s agent had approached her and Bianca, inviting them to the show after party. The Filthy Orgasms, what a dumb name, were a big enough band that Demi rationalized it as a potential networking opportunity. Bianca on the other hand, as had been her habit throughout university, had seen it as a great opportunity to quote: “Do all the drugs in the world!”
Demi laughed when Bianca said this. The two had met, along with Jessie, while studying journalism at university. Demi had figured, like most of the people she had met on campus, that she would lose touch with both of them.
Thankfully that hadn’t been the case. Student debt and a stagnating job market had forced her and Jessie to live together. And, as another of life’s funny coincidences, both she and Bianca had been hired as interns for the Indyground Festival. Demi had been determined to work her way up the circuit’s ladder of power, a shining beacon of young professionalism. Bianca, on the other hand, had quickly made it a point to enjoy and become a crucial part of Indyground’s party scene.
Together they’d become a bit of a power team, and, after two years, Demi was now in charge of the festival’s payroll and talent relations, Bianca took care of promotion. At first Demi had tried to resist the rock-star allure of the forever night-life. But free tickets to shows, and the fact that she was herself a beautiful woman, ensured that both she and Bianca had shared many a late-night cab ride home, or a couch on whoever’s house they wound up staying at.
For the majority of the evening, the party had been your standard rock-star affair. But for the most part still relatively tame. Bianca had found her way to the cool kid’s couch, rolling joints, taking shots and generally laughing it up with most of the artists and the people who had been working at the event. For her part, Demi was happy that she’d been able to avoid Lesta Moric, and, in the twilight hours of the party, she found herself enjoying a good conversation and gin-tonic number three, with Michelle, the owner of an intimate venue space called: Vinyl Paradise.
Michelle had been quite pleasant and was also a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The two wound up discussing work and a potential joint venture with her venue and the festival. “No big shows but something nice and intimate,” was Demi’s main sales pitch. Michelle had liked that and the two exchanged business cards. Demi was ready to call it a night, pick up Bianca and initiate operation cab ride back to her place.
That was when she saw something that made her blood run cold. Lista Moric had managed to endear himself to a young, emphasis on young, woman in a short black mini-skirt. Demi didn’t know how old she was, but she exuded a false air of maturity. Maybe she had just turned eighteen, but in any case, Demi didn’t really like the way Lista’s hands kept on furtively groping the young woman’s breasts or the uncomfortable look in her eyes as she tried to politely push his wandering hands away.
“Fucking creep,” Demi muttered to herself yet resisted the urge to chew him out. The fact was, the Filthy Orgasms were a big enough draw for the Festival, and her boss Diane had told her to give them anything they wanted. ANYTHING.
That being said she couldn’t just let this whole scene play out un-interrupted. So Demi casually walked over to Lista’s table and forced herself to smile. She addressed the young woman. “Hey, Bianca and I are leaving right now. We’ve got a cab waiting and I don’t want to leave you here alone.”
Demi shot her thumb in Bianca’s direction and was thankful to see her getting dressed into her spiked leather jacket. She looked to Demi, grinned a “I’m-fucked-up-but-still-good” grin and downed another shot before walking over to the front entrance.
The young girl could see Demi’s play, gave Lista and his band mates a look, then turned back to her once more. Demi could see gratitude plain as day on the young woman’s face. “Yeah, thanks I’ll get my stuff.”
The young girl had pulled her way from out of Lista Moric’s fully tattooed arms. He could barely contain the spite in his ice-blue eyes as he glared daggers at Demi, then at the girl who was now next to Bianca.
“You cock-blocking me?” Lista pulled out a silver vial of cocaine and poured himself a line on the glass table in front of him. He snorted it loudly and looked back up balefully at Demi, a tiny white telltale trace of white on his upper lip and nostril.
“I thought you bitches were supposed to give me whatever I wanted.”
Demi paused to consider what she would do next. He was trying to provoke her, like a child who had just had his favorite toy taken away from him. “She didn’t look like she was too into you, Lista. It happens sometimes. Just go to sleep; the party is over.”
Demi turned to leave when Lista grabbed her by the wrist. He stood up and dragged her towards him. For a wiry spoiled little man-boy, he was surprisingly strong.
“Man-boy Lista you had best let go of my friend before I introduce you and the rest of your dickless man-boy friends to the business end of my boot!” Demi heard Bianca’s threat and looked back to see that her friend was now fully paying attention to the scene playing out in front of her.
Thank god she’s wearing her army boots today. Demi thought, staring colorlessly back at Lista. He still hadn’t released his vice-like grip on her wrist. It was now that Demi realized that all eyes at the party were on them.
“If you need to get off why not use your free hand on yoursel-“
Lista’s slap across her face came out of nowhere. Demi’s head snapped to the side, and she saw stars for a split second. She heard the angry stomp of Bianca’s footsteps rushing towards them. Demi however raised her free hand and stopped her with a wave.
Her eyes never left Lista’s. He must have caught a glimpse of the sheer fury that Demi was struggling to contain, because there was a look of regret on his face that was indistinguishable. Not out of some false sense of chivalry, his was the look of one who had picked a fight with someone smaller expecting little to no resistance but who was now seriously doubting he could chew what he’d just bit off.
He let go of Demi’s wrist and turned to his band mates for support, found none and went back to Demi. “Listen I’m sorry.” He pulled out his wallet. “Let me cover for-“
Demi let out a short roar as she drove her knee up and into Lista’s groin. His eyes popped open and he let out a short gasp that sounded like a crow’s caw. He fell back onto the couch, his eyes wide, his face locked in an “O” of pain, his hands cradling his junk, which was probably the best word Demi could have come up with to describe Lista Moric’s genitals.
Demi shot the remaining members of the Filthy Orgasms a venomous look, and they remained pinned to their seats as Demi picked up Lista’s wallet and pulled out forty dollars for her cab ride. “Thanks for the fare, so very gallant of you.”
“I’m going to tell your bosses.” Lista’s voice was a choked and raspy.
Demi ignored him as she stormed towards the entrance, angrily pocketing the forty dollars. A nervous voice in her head was already screaming: “YOU ARE FUCKED!”
Demi and the young woman stepped out. Bianca followed but not before flashing Lista an angry middle finger. “Your last album was shit, your sound is shit, your look is shit, your full of shit and I hope you all die choking on shit! I’m out!”
On the cab ride back home, the young girl, Dominique, had started to cry. Demi and Bianca hugged and consoled her. When they dropped the grateful Dominique off at her house, she asked Demi to call her whenever she had a chance. “I owe you a coffee or something.”
“You don’t owe her anything! Girl power!” Bianca shouted from the cab holding up her fist as they pulled away.
Bianca and Demi sat in the back seat of the cab in silence for a moment. “I think I’m gonna get fired.”
Bianca nodded in agreement. “Yup.”
Demi felt nervous and sick to her stomach. What had she just done? For the first time that Sunday, she looked at her phone. Her social media feed was active, there had been a firebomb in downtown Montreal earlier this afternoon. Her thoughts immediately went to Jessie and Sage. There was a message from Jessie saying that Sage and her were okay.
Demi showed Bianca pictures of the explosion on her smart phone. Bianca frowned at what she saw. “This is bad.”
“We need to get out of the city. Clear our heads. This can’t be the rest of our lives? Can it?”
Bianca shrugged. “Bombs explode everyday, all around the world, I guess it was Montreal’s turn today. And there are worse things than going to parties and kneeing shit-heads in the groin.”
Demi didn’t smile at Bianca’s attempt to humor her. Bianca sighed and looked at her phone for a long moment touched her screen a total of seven times and then pocketed it. “I’ve just booked us a cottage at the star reserve on Mont Megantic. I’ve invited Damiano, you can invite Sage and Jessie.”
Bianca shot Demi an “are you serious” look. “Of course for real. You say you wanna get out of the city for a bit, well I say why waste time? This week-end we get the hell out of here, go in the woods and do all-“
Demi completed Bianca’s sentence. “All the drugs in the world yeah I got that.”
The two shared a quick laugh. Bianca, then promptly passed out and Demi sent a text to Jessie.
“We’ve got a cottage booked in Mont Megantic. Are you and Sage down to come?”
Jessie’s reply had been almost instantaneous. “Yes.”
Demi smiled when she saw this. It was time to hang out with close friends, get out of the city and enjoy the quiet of the wild. Maybe even take some time to figure her life out. She fell asleep on Bianca, and, by the time the cab pulled up to her apartment complex, there was drool all over Bianca’s shoulder