Welcome to my A to Z Blogging Challenge Posts.
This month I’ve challenged myself to not only do 26 blog posts in 30 days based on One Word Writing Prompts, but also to try to link them together into some kind of cohesive whole. I’d love to hear how you think I’m doing. If you want to start the story from the beginning, check out the Angel post from April 1.
Today’s One Word Writing Prompt:
The definitions are from the Oxford English Dictionary via their on-line access (which I have through my University employer). Feel free to skip down to the story segment if you don’t share my fascination with words, definitions, and shades of meaning.
a.A mutual agreement between two or more parties that something shall be done or forborne by one or both; a compact, covenant, bargain; esp. such as has legal effects (see 2); a convention between states.
b. esp. A business agreement for the supply of certain articles or the performance of specified work at a certain price, rate, or commission.
c. Phr. according to contract, by contract, etc.
d. ‘A writing in which the terms of a bargain are included’ (Johnson).
e. An undertaking. U.S. colloq.
f. A season railway-ticket. Also Comb.
g. In the game of auction bridge, an undertaking to make a certain number of tricks; hence contract bridge (formerlycontract auction), a form of auction bridge in which only the tricks which the declarer has undertaken to make count towards the game; also ellipt. contract.
h. slang (orig. U.S.). An arrangement to kill someone, usu. for a fee; freq. in phr. to put a contract (out) on (someone), to arrange for someone to be killed by a hired assassin.
2. In a legal sense: An agreement enforceable by law.
a. An accepted promise to do or forbear.
b. An agreement which effects a transfer of property; a conveyance.
c. The department of law relating to such agreements.
3. spec.as to marriage.
a. The act whereby two persons take each other in marriage.
b. Formal agreement for marriage; betrothal.
c. The instrument of agreement for a marriage, the settlement.
†4. The action of drawing together, or condition of being drawn together; mutual attraction.
†5. ? Dealing, device. Obs.
contract, adj. and n.2
Past participle, as:
a. see contract v. 3, 5.
b. see contract v. 7, 9. Now arch. or poetic.
2. †a. Narrowed, limited, abbreviated, condensed, etc.: see contract v. 9. Obs.
†b. Of the body or limbs: Drawn together, shrunken (with paralysis, etc.). Obs.
†c. Arith. Of numbers: Restricted to some particular object; concrete. Obs.
†d. Logic. Abridged, abbreviated: see quots.
Grammar. Marked by contraction; = contracted adj. 5d.
†1. A person whose limbs are contracted or shrunken (cf. A. 2b); a paralytic.
†2. An abridgement, compendium, epitome.
3. Grammar, etc. A contract form or word; a contraction, abbreviation.
To agree upon, make a contract, engage.
1. a. trans. To agree upon, establish by agreement, to undertake mutually, or enter upon (a) a convention or treaty, (b) a legal or business engagement. Now rare exc. as in 3.
b. Hence, to contract friendship, to contract acquaintance, etc., which passes into sense 4, q.v.
†c. In a bad sense: To conspire, plot. Obs.
2. a.intr. To enter into an agreement or contract, esp. a business or legal engagement.
b. Const. for (a piece of work, an article to be supplied, etc.).
c. to contract oneself out of: to free oneself from, divest oneself of, by entering into a contract.
d. intr. to contract out: to make an arrangement or agreement not to participate under certain conditions; to gain exemption or exclusion from certain provisions, etc.; hence, to refuse to take part in or be a part of. Conversely,to contract in.
e. trans. To arrange for by contract; to let out by contract; to delegate (work, etc.).
3. spec. as to marriage.
a. trans. To constitute marriage by contract; to enter into marriage.
b. (a) trans. and refl. To betroth, affiance, engage (two persons, or one person to another); pass. to be betrothed or ‘engaged’. arch. †(b) To enter into a matrimonial contract with. Obs.
c. intr. To enter into a matrimonial contract.
To enter into, incur, become involved in, acquire.
4. to contract friendship, to contract acquaintance, etc., was originally said of the two parties entering into such mutual relations (see sense 1); whence, of one party, ‘to form, enter into, or become engaged in’ such a relation.
5. a.To enter into, bring upon oneself (involuntarily), incur, catch, acquire, become infected with (something noxious, as disease, †mischief; bad habits or condition; †danger, †risk, †blame, guilt).
b. In a neutral or good sense: To take on, acquire, get for oneself (a habit, quality, condition).
6. a.To incur (a liability or obligation, esp. a debt).
†b. To bring on a person (a debt, guilt, etc.). Obs.
III. To draw together, concentrate; to narrow, limit, shorten.
†7. a. To draw or bring (things) together, collect, concentrate, combine in one. Obs.
†b. fig. Obs.
8. To draw the parts of (anything) together; to cause to shrink; to knit (the brow).
9. a. To reduce to smaller compass as by drawing together; to diminish in extent; to narrow, shorten.
b. fig. To make smaller, reduce in amount, diminish the extent or scope of; to narrow.
c. fig. To restrict, limit, confine.
†d. To abbreviate, abridge, condense; refl. to speak or write briefly. Obs.
e. Grammar. To shorten (a word, syllable, etc.) by combining or eliding some of its elements.
10. intr. (for refl.) To become smaller in extent or volume; to narrow, shorten, shrink.
Today’s Story Segment:
Uriel looked up again to find the four men in front of him scrambling away.
“S–t, Angelo,” one of them said, grabbing Angelo by the arm and dragging him as the others began to run.
Uriel’s knees gave way, and he began to fall, his shoulder exploding in pain as he reached forward with both arms to catch himself.
Warm arms caught Uriel around the waist, pulling him tight against someone’s chest.
Uriel shuddered as his wings moved through the man behind him.
“Easy,” Rosario murmured, gently lowering them both down so they were sitting on the steps together. “This is going to hurt,” he added once they were seated.
Uriel sucked in a startled breath when Rosario used one hand to press something cloth against the wound in his shoulder. It hurt, but Uriel remembered enough to realize that Rosario was trying to help.
“Thank you,” Uriel managed to whisper.
“Don’t thank me,” Rosario said. “You just took a bullet for me.”
“A bullet?” Uriel asked. It was a term he wasn’t familiar with. Normally he understood all human languages. But this term didn’t refer to something he knew. The concept would translate perfectly into the heavenly language he used with his fellows, but if the concept was unknown to him, the word would be meaningless.
“You’ve been shot,” Rosario said. “The police and an ambulance are on their way.”
Uriel nodded. He wasn’t sure why peacekeepers were needed when the threat was already gone, but healers would probably be useful. He could take care of an injury if he needed to, but he wasn’t supposed to reveal his nature during this trip. He was also supposed to find Rosario, which he had. Where was Michael?
“What’s your name?” Rosario asked.
“I’m Rosario. I’m sorry you ended up involved in my problem tonight.”
“I was supposed to be here” Uriel replied. Maybe he’d been sent for this purpose? To protect Rosario? But why hadn’t Michael said that when he sent Uriel down?
“Did you have an appointment with someone in the building?” Rosario asked.
“Just looking for it,” Uriel said. “Michael was supposed to come.”
“Michael?” Rosario asked. “Was someone meeting you here?”
“Found the building,” Uriel said, finding it difficult to form the words now. “Found you.” Uriel had to pause after that, desperately pulling air in. “Michael was supposed to come explain.”
“Uriel?” Rosario asked.
Uriel tried to answer, but suddenly everything was getting dark and he couldn’t seem to move anymore.
“S–t,” Rosario cursed as the big guy went limp in his arm. This whole situation was going from bad to worse.
Rosario reached out for his secretary’s mind, using the link they had as brothers of the same creator to speak directly to Savino’s mind. “Savino, where is the ambulance? The man has passed out.”
“It should be audible by now,” Savino replied. “I called as soon as you alerted me.”
Rosario didn’t hear any ambulance. He didn’t hear any sirens at all, which was strange in the city.
“How badly is he hurt?” a man asked.
Rosario’s head whipped around to face whoever had managed to sneak up on him.
The man was tall and slender with long blond hair pulled back from his face and startling blue eyes.
“Where did you come from?” Rosario asked. Far too many strangers were about tonight. It was rare for anyone to be in this neighborhood at night unless they were known to those who lived here. Humans still feared them.
“I was looking for Uriel,” the man said, crouching down. “How badly is he injured?”
“He’s been shot,” Rosario said. “An ambulance is on the way, but he’s passed out. He’s probably lost a lot of blood.”
“There will be no ambulance,” the man said, reaching out and placing a hand over Rosario’s where he held his jacket against the wound.
“What?” Rosario demanded. “He’ll die without medical attention.”
“Surely you realize he is not an ordinary human,” the man said. “I thought vampires were supposed to be attuned to such things.”
“Who are you?” Rosario demanded. “Savino, I need help out here,” he added silently to his brother. He didn’t know this man. And being a vampire wasn’t a very safe thing with strangers.
“I am Michael,” the man said. “I am here to make sure that our end of the contract is fulfilled.”
“Contract?” Rosario asked. What did a contract have to do with anything when there was a man possibly dying in his arms?
“Your creator made a contract with mine,” Michael said. “When the need is dire, aid will be provided. When the true enemy rises up, an alliance will be honored.”
“How do you know those words?” Rosario asked. No one spoke of them outside the brotherhood. Only his creator and Rosario and his brothers knew about those words.
“I told you,” Michael said. “My creator made a contract with yours.”
Rosario opened his mouth to demand the man speak plainly when Michael’s hand began to glow.
Warmth radiated out from Michael’s hand and through Rosario’s. He could feel it against his chest even though Uriel’s body.
Uriel gasped, his chest expanding as he took in a deep breath.
“You will have much to explain to him,” Michael said as he pulled Rosario’s hand away from Uriel.
Rosario tried to resist, but found himself unable to. As a vampire he was stronger than any human, how could this man force him to move?
“Michael?” Uriel asked.
Rosario looked down at the man in his arms. His amber eyes were bright and alert now as he looked at the blond.
“You must guard him, and assist him,” Michael said. “The alliance will be honored, and you shall be our hand at his side.”
“Alliance?” Uriel asked.
Rosario looked at Uriel’s shoulder. He shouldn’t have been this coherent if he’d lost enough blood to pass out.
The wound was gone. There was still a hole in the t-shirt Uriel wore, and blood still soaked it, but there was no gunshot wound.
“How?” Rosario breathed.
Michael chuckled. “Evander will explain everything you need to know,” he said as he stood.
“Michael?” Uriel asked.
“Have faith,” Michael replied before vanishing into thin air.
Rosario blinked. Not even another vampire could do that. Nothing could do that.
“Rosario?” Savino asked as he hurried out the door.
“I think we need to take this man inside,” Rosario said.
“But the ambulance,” Savino objected.
“Apparently it won’t be coming,” Rosario said as he stood, pulling Uriel up with him.
Rosario ignored Savino and made sure Uriel was on his feet before letting go.
“Uriel, please come inside. I believe there is much we need to discuss.”
Uriel nodded, frowning slightly. “Michael said I was to guard and assist you.”
“Alright,” Rosario said. “Let’s just go inside and we can talk through all of this.”
“Rosario?” Savino asked softly as he stepped back and opened the door.
“Let Evander know that we have a guest he needs to meet,” Rosario said as he led Uriel inside.