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.
ˈxenolith n. [-lith comb. form] Geol. a piece of rock in an igneous mass which differs from its surroundings and is considered to have been picked up by and incorporated into the mass when the latter was in the form of magma.
Today’s Story Segment:
Uriel felt his grip on Rosario slipping. He didn’t have the strength to maintain his grip through the pain that was exploding through his shoulder and down his arm.
The roaring of the wind in his ear grew louder for a moment, and Uriel’s hand slid along Rosario’s ankle to stop against the man’s shoe, which was far too slick for a good grip.
Just as Uriel’s hand slid away and Rosario began to fall, there was a thunderous crash from below.
The wind ceased and Uriel fell heavily against the stairs, the impact on his injured shoulder wrenching a cry from his lips.
“Rosario?” Savino’s panicked voice called from above.
“I’m alright,” Rosario said from below.
Uriel let go of the railing and used his good arm to lift himself enough to look down the stairs.
Rosario had landed with his back in the sludge the floor had become, but his legs and hips on the bottom stairs. He was pulling himself up out of the ooze by gripping the edge of the bottom stairs.
Savino hurried down the stairs to Uriel.
“Help him,” Uriel said as he rolled to his side, giving Savino the space he needed to slip past Uriel’s bulky form.
“What happened?” Savino asked as he hauled Rosario up out of the muck that remained of the floor.
“The demon was returned to its realm when I vanquished its earthly form,” Uriel said. He slowly pushed himself up into a sitting position.
“And the wind?” Rosario asked.
“And the floor?” Savino asked.
“It was an xenolithic demon,” Uriel replied. “A foreign rock within the black glass that comes from deep within creation. When a demon is powerful enough, forcing it back into its own realm will force some small piece of that realm into this one for a time.”
“Only for a time?” Savino asked as he helped Rosario stand.
“Yes,” Uriel confirmed. “The floor will eventually return to how it was. But it may take days or weeks.”
“Good thing it’s summer,” Rosario said.
“Will the heating equipment go back to the way it was too?” Savino asked.
“I am unsure,” Uriel replied. “I do not know what it is made of or how it would be affected by the black glass.”
“We can refurbish everything down here if we need to,” Rosario replied. “You called it a xenolithic demon. What does that mean exactly?”
“It takes its name from the xenolith of earth,” Uriel replied. “As the rock caught within volcanic glass is a xenolith, so the demon is a xenolith within the black glass from deep within creation. They are ancient creatures that tunnel their way out into other realms and feed on the despair that they find there.”
“So it was feeding on the despair of those who live here?” Rosario asked.
“Yes,” Uriel replied.
“Are you alright?” Rosario asked as he and Savino climbed back to where Uriel sat near the top of the stairs.
“I will be,” Uriel said. “Just give me a moment.” Uriel closed his eyes and concentrated. He drew on the power of his sheathed sword and willed it to move up his arm toward his shoulder. He did not need to hide himself from Rosario and Savino, so he could simply heal his corporeal form.
The mired of tiny splinters fell from his arm, making small noises as they rained down on the stairs below him. The largest splinter, the one driven through his shoulder, was the last to fall. It made a heavy sound and rolled down several stairs before stopping against Savino’s shoe.
Uriel opened his eyes again to find Rosario and Savino both staring at him.
“That was amazing,” Savino said softly.
“That’s what Michael did before?” Rosario asked. “He reversed what had happened to your physical form.”
“It is not so much a reversal as a cleansing,” Uriel replied. “If it were a reversal the blood would be retained within me rather than remaining to soil my clothing.
“We’re going to have to deal with that,” Savino said. “Mary will never understand.”
“You are both unhurt?” Uriel asked.
“A few scratches, but nothing worth mentioning,” Savino replied.
“A few bruises, and my shirt is ruined, but I’m fine,” Rosario added.
“Good,” Uriel said with a sigh. “I do not think I would have enough power left to heal either of you if you were seriously injured.”