By Nick Clark
The keyboard rattled like artillery as Abaddon ensnared the Make-Beast in his mind. He strove to give it form, but Xalvador’s crying filled the dank basement, and Abaddon’s Craft slipped; his dark purpose faltered. He began again. If he drew it down, made the invocation work, the Make-Beast could protect them both, and he’d escape his former masters, the Incantavi.
Not now Xalvador. Please.
No use. Xalvador would just have to cry. They knew he’d stolen the boy, their vessel, and they wouldn’t abide that, so Abaddon needed to concentrate. Had to type, to get it all down.
Abaddon shaped the Make-Beast Embrion a livid red kernel for its body, marked with an inky, yellow spot — an organ or perhaps an eye. The boy’s crying ratcheted up. Abaddon’s focus wavered again and the Make-Beast dissolved.
“Xalvador, Child,” he wheedled, “I cannot save us if you won’t let me summon it!” He muttered a Charm. The cries dulled.
Abaddon clenched the stolen scraps he’d killed the Hag for. He had sacrificed his apprenticeship to get them, but only a Talent such as his could have connected the scripts of the Bael Distii descendancy, the Path of Pain and the Summoning through the shadow-self. His fingers massaged the keys and he mumbled a rising cadence of syllables until his mind brushed against his goal and drew it towards the world once more.
The Make-Beast probed back, its consciousness rubbing against his own — tearing something from him with a hammer-blow mental slap. Abaddon recoiled, teetered back on his chair, then tipped forward.
He created in a frantic catabolism and gave the red blob chunks of vertebrae, tubes, bruise-coloured sacs, a head ringed in teeth and tendrils. He kept it firmly in his mind’s grasp, and the words flowed faster. Abaddon himself unravelled and became a flake of ash descending into his own mind. He floated amongst ancient and unbirthed forms, some of them amorphous, primal fears, but others, the strongest, self-aware and purposeful.
Abaddon sensed the Beast’s siren call from where it lay coiled amongst the strangled love-burden he nursed for Xalvador. He shaped it further, suggested limbs. His Craft enfolded Make-Beast and he allowed it to fuse with him as he drew it forth into a world of limitless feeding. For a few moments he felt its ropey sinews as his own and was fired by its sharp, unnatural appetite. At the touch of its anguished thoughts, however, Abaddon’s mind fractured...
Abaddon roused to Xalvador’s scream. His fingertips bled, the computer was in pieces, sizzling as if drizzled in acid. The Child shrieked again — urgent, insistent, then stopped.
Abaddon staggered towards the indistinct bundle of swaddling rags, its crying hungry and insistent, but false. A lure. A clatter of claw dragged on stone. Despite the dread he’d only confirm that his paternal instinct had been hijacked, he had to check.
As he neared, the crying became a growl. Abaddon drew back the cloth. A blazing pupil like a punctured yolk, a blast of breath like a furnace and Abaddon knew himself a fool. They’d planned this for them both from the start.
About The Author
Nicholas works as a technical writer and enjoys reading and writing both short and long form fiction and spec fiction.