**Author’s Note: Vincent’s Descent is a continuous story that began on April 1st, 2023, as part of the AtoZ Blog Challenge. Most chapters are not designed as stand-alone. I’ve done my best to keep each chapter a touch over 500 words each so they are not too dense to follow along, IMO. For the entire story, please start HERE. Comments are always welcome.
Chapter 22: Weaver Facing
Vincent’s golden world dissembled. Blues were the first to bleed through the multitude of shades of yellows. All at once, oranges burst, dribbling into pinks-crimson-magentas, adding the plushness of greens, from royals to pastels to foams, mixing and cleansing and blending on an ever-changing palette of Vincent’s world. It was all beyond Maria as she fixated on Vincent.
Vincent stood golden and black, sparkling, staring after Her Lavender Grace. His body was a mixture of feathers and human flesh.
Maria walked up to him, reached out her hand but stopped herself, a feather’s breath, from touching him. Stopping, her hand slowly dropped, landing at her side. She took in the changes around him. The landscape around them was still gently morphing. She did not know what a touch would do.
He turned, and Maria exhaled a held breath. His face, Vincent’s face. But his eyes were The Grackle Lord’s penetrating blackness. She held steady, fighting an instinct to take steps back as his arm/wing drew her close.
His head burrowed into her hair, the crook of her neck. Tearing up, Maria wove her arms around Vincent’s back. His skin texture changed under her hands and arms, the feathers soft and exuding a warmth she accepted. As they retracted, the coolness on the smooth surface was comforting. While they held onto each other, Maria did not feel any change occur on Vincent’s face.
“Thank you,” he said softly, so close to her ear.
Her Lavender Grace had taken wing, bloodied and partially satisfied. She flew to her stronghold, passing through Vincent’s golden world and into the jet black of her domain.
She had coaxed her Condor’s jealousy, urging its lust for power and her. It had taken too long for her liking for the pup to Become. Like so many of hers, the Condor was fodder for her needs. As, now, The Grackle Lord had become.
The murder followed her as always, forming a protective wall as she nested. Behind them came the loyal who had scattered during the storms. Talons and beaks encrusted with dried ichor, having chased down many of those who stood beside The Grackle Lord. This pleased Her Grace: nothing less for those guilty of such a treasonous act.
Her Lavender Grace roared:
“Quis Mecum Stat?”
The answering cacophony of whistles, croaks, shrieks, trills, squawks, and caws satisfied her. She waited for the exulted assembly to quiet, then called out again:
“Quis Mecum Stat?”
The tumult was thrilling. She basked in the adulation.
Her Lavender Grace unfurled her wings to their fullest, stifling all utterings instantly. She held them open wide, raised her head, and screeched:
“Qui Me Vindices?”
A rustling of feathers. A series of squabbles, wails, more than one keening.
Uneasy heads turned around Her Lavender Grace. She drew in her wings and waited, but not for long.
A large, shadowed shape flew slowly into view. It circled above three times before it spiraled down to land before Her Grace.
The Black Vulture craned its long neck, genuflection to Her Lavender Grace, then raised itself, waiting.
Her Lavender Grace nodded and laid out vengeance.
Vincent’s father barely registered the slamming of his office door as Ms. Smythe took leave of his presence and her job. He rose from his desk, walked over to his wet bar, opened the wall-inserted refrigerator, and pulled out a bottle of Spirtus vodka. He poured three fingers into his favorite tumbler.
Sipping, he turned, leaning back against the carved wood bar top. Glass in his left hand, he ran his right hand along the deep-cut grooves. From top to bottom, right to left, ritualized to the point that he was unfocussed in the gestures.
A shimmer caught his eyes, emanating from the snow globe shelving. Vincent’s mother’s idea. The only thing she truly defied him on besides how to bring up Vincent. The globes, he came to admit, were far from frivolous. Vincent’s attachment to them, to his dearly departed mama, made it easy to keep track of him.
And so, a light green rose from the farthest globe. The dormant artificial snowflakes rose and twirled, going from dying grass to Viridian. As it settled, the next took on multi-layers of Blues. Then came the Reds. There was a jump, for there was the missing globe, that damned dust swirls, with the next one in line Purples, then Browns, then Pinks, then then then then….
the last one went black.
“Fuck,” he said into his Glass as he took another sip, smiling.
“About fucking time.”
Ms. Faye Smythe.
The Black Vulture.