Badlands VI, VII & VIII
(© Biswapriya Purkayastha)
This contribution is part of a series:-
1. Badlands (5-Jun-2014)
2. Badlands II: God of Wrath (16-Jul-2014)
| ||A knight and a demon, on a mission to save a town from an unknown danger.|
3. Badlands III: Boat on the River (3-Dec-2014)
| ||Revisiting an old love, the knight finds her missing. Only the demon can help find her - and, if possible, to rescue her from where she is.|
4. Badlands IV: The Beginning (3-Jan-2015)
| ||Something strange is happening to the world and the knight and the demon must solve the problem if they are to survive.|
5. Badlands V: The Hatching (8-Feb-2015)
| ||Where it all began - The demon, the knight and the beast meet each other for the first time.|
6. Badlands VI, VII & VIII (7-Sep-2015)
| ||About a mountain slope on a winter night, a lost girl, a meeting with an entity, and how something was created, immortal and dangerous.|
7. Badlands IX: The Mountain God (31-Jul-2016)
| ||Three new parts to the series.|
| ||An erupting volcano, a cult which lives on its slopes, and the knight, the beast and the demon must attempt a rescue mission.|
Badlands VI : Fallen Angel
Fallen Angel, the sign said, the letters faded so much that he could hardly read
them, pale grey on the bleached white of the wood. The board hung askew, moving
slightly as a gust of wind struck it.
Fallen Angel, he thought. Where have I heard that name
Wherever this place was, he had no desire to be here, or to
enter it even for a moment. But the road he had been following across the
desert led through here, and he hadn’t seen any other sign of human habitation
in longer than he cared to remember.
He stood by the sign, looking at the sprawl of the buildings
on either side of the dusty desert track. They seemed to be one with the desert
all around, as brown and sere as the drifting sand, and as liable to fall down
and blow away. Nothing except puffs of dust stirred in the street.
"Demon," he said, softly, but of course she wasn’t there.
There was no demon and there was no beast, and he had been walking for longer
than he wanted to imagine.
He rubbed his eyes, tired from the unceasing glare of the
sun, and wished – once more – that the demon and the beast had been with him.
He had no idea where they were, no idea when he had last seen them, and no real
hope that he would see them ever again.
He only half remembered the quarrel, and no memory of what
had set it off. Maybe he didn’t want to remember. But he had said things,
which, even now, he knew were beyond forgiveness, things he wouldn’t have
forgiven if someone had said them to him. He’d accused the demon of using him,
treating him as a tool or a slave, and then, at the end, he’d said that he
never wanted to see her again.
He had one clear memory, one which was burned indelibly into
the back of his skull; the demon, standing beside the beast, her hand on its
mane, watching him with a very strange expression on her face as he strode away
into the night; and if he hadn’t told himself he’d been imagining it, he might
have thought it was despair.
But that was really too ridiculous, he’d thought, and kept
walking into the darkness. It had been a very dark night, and he’d soon been
But that was quite all right, because he had wanted
to be lost.
He’d been walking ever since.
Fallen Angel, the board creaked in the wind, and the town
lay like the desiccated bones of some mighty beast in the desert wind. He
looked back over his shoulder, down the way he’d come, but there was nothing,
just the white dusty road through the desert.
There was no way but forward, he thought. Behind only lay
the empty desert.
Then he turned round, loosened the sword in the scabbard
over his back, and walked into the town.
Before he had gone past the first houses, he already knew he’d made a mistake. There
was something very wrong here, something so wrong that his nerves screamed out
at him. He stopped, looking around, trying to feel what was wrong.
The first thing that struck him was the silence. Apart from
the wind, which gusted erratically and sometimes blew sand against the walls
with a rustle, and the sound of his boots on the hard surface of the road,
there was no noise at all.
Nor was there any sign of anything alive. It wasn’t just
that there were no people in the street – in this heat, they might well have
been staying indoors. But there wasn’t even a bird sitting on the roof, a
desert lizard basking in the sun, or even a withered bush still valiantly
clinging on to life. There was nothing.
Yet it was not dead. The whole town throbbed with a kind of
anticipation, as though just waiting for something to happen, something it had
been anticipating for a long time.
And he had a feeling that what it had been anticipating was
He thought about turning back, but he already knew it was
impossible, that there was no way now but onward. Turning back would only mean
that he would have to wander the desert again, endlessly, in search for
something that was no longer there.
[ Continue to page 2 ]