Collector of Souls 17 - Leveled Up

This is a rough draft of a novel in progress published in participation with Tuesday Serial. If you would like to follow along, pelase see the side bar with linked chapters.

Leveled Up

Tad never truly understood the how of his magic. When he needed to move molehills, the power and knowledge were just there for him. Some the other cultists that he had run in to were the questioning type, but no one of them knew for sure. To Tad, it seemed like just another way to end up crazy, which happened to all but him so far. He was, to his best of his knowledge, one of three that were living and the one not locked up in some hospital. True, he had just broken out of a psyche ward, but he was not going to think about it for too long. As of right now, he felt good. He felt better than he had ever felt before in the rundown misery that he called living. He was practically glowing. Correction, he was glowing, and he needed to figure out how to stop before he drew too much attention.

Glowing was nothing new. When he worked his magic, his hands took on purple fire and his eyes often looked as if they were smoking. However, he was now a shining beacon of red light, a supernova walking down the side of the road.

The night was cold. The trees were dropping leaves that rustled in the stiff breeze and drifted like snow in along the highway embankments. The stars overhead twinkled knowingly, but Tad did not know what it was he thought they knew. Perhaps, they new that he was back, and they were extra bright to warn the world of his return. “Nah!”

He focused his desire to de-illuminate. He looked hard at the magical core of his being and felt a switch. He flicked the switch to what he felt was to the off position. Immediately, he stopped glowing. With the absence of the light, the cold ripped into his flesh. His lips turned purple and his teeth felt like they were going to explode as they chattered. Tad also felt tired and drained. The feeling was akin to flushing a toilet: dizzy, empty, dirty.

He reached for the switch and flipped it on. Boom! He was on fire, again. He could see and feel the lifelines of every living soul for miles around where he stood on the open road. He was warm. He felt strong and alive in a way that mortal men should never feel, chosen.

Testing, he sat down in the middle of the road, on the double yellow lines of the highway, and crossed his legs. He pushed and felt a room full of souls, perhaps ten mile away. He pushed harder and found a young soul, an infant, three hundred miles from where he sat. He pushed even harder, over a great body of water and a vast desert to find an old man herding sheep. He could push no further, so he tasted the old man with a tendril of magic. He was salty with an odd tang. Then, he took the man’s soul.

A car swerved around Tad. The blue sedan, a Honda, stopped a dozen yards up the road. A woman got out of the diver’s side door and started yelling, “What the fuck are you…” She dropped dead.

Tad licked his lips. She was sweet. He flipped the switch, again. This time he enjoyed the cold air as he slowly walked up and claimed the car as his own. He had places to go and things stranger than humanity to feed upon. His god had chosen him to become the black hole through which he would return.  

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