The Perfects have risen from the earth to save the planet from total destruction.
It is 12/12/2012; the end of the Mayan calendar. The world leaders, through their greed and lust for power, have triggered their arsenal of nuclear weapons.
As the final hour approaches, the Perfect’s chosen ones; the pure of heart, called the ‘Kudos’, must find the underground world of Avalon, so that they may survive, when life as we know it is wiped out
once and for all.
by Wendy Reakes
Thomas Stone was a photographer; freelance, with a contact in every paper in New York City. He told them he was twenty-five when he went touting for work, but the truth was he had only just turned seventeen and he still lived at home; living with his mother and her boring boyfriend who were trying for a baby of their own to seal the deal of their alleged love for one another. Or so they said.
Tom didn’t see it that way. The walls were thin, and the grunting and groaning that came from the room next to his was the reason he left at night, climbing through his window to the city below their apartment; their home on the lower-east side. And wherever he went, his camera went with him, like a conjoined twin, never leaving his side, working with him as he ate and slept and even when he peed. As far as Tom was concerned, his camera was his lifeline, a perpetual rope-ladder to drop out of his window so that he never had to go back; so that he could afford to stay on the streets where he dreamed and flourished.
Now tonight, as Tom left the apartment, going down the rusted fire-escape to the stench and the sirens and the sin of his favorite city, he wondered if this would be the night he caught the Perfects on film. The night when he would at last record their entities for prosperity, spreading the word of their magnificence and their power to defend us against evil, forever and ever.
They called Melissa Lake, Mia, but on the Internet she was known as Lakey, a picture of Loch Ness her avatar.
“I’m so goddamn fed-up,” she typed, shaking her head as the words formed on the screen.
“LOL. ‘Goddamn’! That’s not very English!” he responded.
“I wish I was American, like you. Live in NY and see you each day.”“Instead you have the English countryside…poor old you.”“Stoney, have you any idea how boring it is living here, surrounded by goddamn trees?”“Whoa, there’s that word again.”“LOL” Mia chuckled. He always made her laugh.
“Well…Anything?”“Nope. Not last night.”“Don’t worry you’ll see them. It’s just a matter of time. I’m going out soon. I’m waiting for the parents to go off. Not hard when you live in the country. There’s nothing else to goddamn do, but sleep.”“Right” “Look, I’ll let you know if I see anything, but if not I’ll IMS you at our usual time tomorrow.”“Gotcha. Be careful, Mia.”“Hey, you know me…I’m goddamn cool!”Mia turned off the message box and checked her emails. Not much happening there either. She went into Firefox and checked the news. There had been a sighting. ‘Perfects out of hiding’ the headline screamed. Last week a man reported a sighting….’
“Whatever!” Mia muttered, shutting down her net-book.
It was then, that night, the Perfects came.
Mia turned and saw two of her friends across the road standing near the entrance to the park, next to the post-office, closed and barred with metal shutters.
“Hiya” she called back, crossing the road, looking left to right dodging the cars that were passing.
“Nah, it’s quiet.”
“What about number nine?” Mia strained her neck to see over the railings.
The two girls laughed. “Yeah, they’re at it again.”
Mia raised herself on her toes. The York’s house was over the other side of the park. She could just make out a light through the trees coming from their bedroom. The curtains were closed but the glow allowed the silhouettes inside to dance within its folds. She could imagine him, with his fists flaying, knocking old Doris to the floor.
“Why don’t you come?” Mia whispered. “Why don’t you come?”
She had driven here every night for the past ten days. It was a town called Devizes, in the South-West county of Wiltshire, where the countryside presented itself over rolling meadows and pockets of villages sitting between folds of fields. Mia lived in the nearby village of Avebury, accessible only by car from where she lived in a large house surrounded by grass and trees and cows chewing the cud over rickety crumbling walls of stone.
“Shush!” Anna said. She, Charlotte and Mia hushed, as they gazed over the fence of the locked park to the house where the York’s lived.
“Something’s happening,” Mia said. “I can feel it.” She stood for two more seconds pausing for a noise to fire into the night. Then, as if no longer able to wait for what she knew would inevitably come, she charged towards the gate of the park and climbed over it.
“I’m not waiting here. They’re close. I just know it.”
She ran stealth-like, across bordered flower beds and neatly mowed grass, past trees reaching to the stars in the blackened sky to the fence on the other side, directly opposite the house where the York’s lived.
Mia stood near a tree just inside the park. She jumped when she heard the sound of old Doris, suddenly wailing inside her house. He was starting again, regardless of the damage he must surely be inflicting upon her. Why don’t they come? Mia pondered. It must be time.
Suddenly as if a draught had blown past her, she saw a figure in front pacing towards the York’s house. Then another stepped out from behind the tree next to her. She saw another and then another until finally five Perfects were watching the house where Doris York’s audible whimpering broke into the night.
They were men with no skin. Not ‘visible’ skin; only an impenetrable translucent film, covering muscle, fibre, sinew, arteries, and cartilage. Their veins were molded within the landscape of muscle, pumping the blood and making it look as if the blackness of it was racing around their forms, like charges firing through live wires. The sinews in their necks were taut, synchronizing with the strains of their movements, liaising with their brains and the workings of their bodies, pulling it all together; collaborating with it.
At six-feet-six tall, their limbs were long and powerful; calves and forearms like a giant’s fingers, working and laboring over a task of precision and accuracy. Their hands and feet were weapons, so powerful and manipulative that to confront them would be perilous. Their shoulders, like great mounds, held a protruding chest, breathing as if a thunderous storm was about to offload onto a daisy swaying peacefully in the breeze.
Their backs were like rods of steel, unyielding with no arch to take away their erectness. Their buttocks, tight and pert were rounded above thighs of bulging magnitude. And their manhood’s were tucked into a pouch of skin, protecting it from the day.
And above it all, their heads were their guides.
A visage of grey, white coloured bone, covered their delicate brains and the flesh of their faces like a gladiator’s helmet. From the skull there branched protrusions, protecting the cartilage of the nose, covering the brow and the cheeks and the chin that pointed outwards, as if to go up against its authority would be to face certain death. Two round holes perforated the molded bone, enabling them to see with their penetrating blackened gaze. And the only flesh, pink and human-like, was the flesh of their ears, like ours, listening and twitching as they responded to cries of distress and torture.
Mia couldn’t take her eyes off them. She had heard all the myths, but she knew it was speculation, since no one who had actually them had lived to tell the tale. Now, she was processing the vision in front of her as if she watching a movie for the first time, wondering about how much of the legend was true.
It was said they worked in groups of five and they were standing before her now like the five points of a star. They were tall and formidable; all the same height and the same build. On the backs of their whitened skulls she could see random markings carved there, distinguishing one Perfect from the other, like fingerprints etched on bone.
One turned and looked at her. She took a step back, but somehow she wasn’t afraid. She was fascinated by his gaze, even though his face was covered in that skull-like structure, she could still see his expression. It must have been his eyes and she could have sworn he was telling her to follow them.
Then he tilted his head. ‘Come,’ he said without speaking. ‘Come and see.’
His name was Varquis. He was the overlord of the perfects, the one who ruled them all on England’s soil. But instead of remaining aloof, separate as a leader should, he had his own unit; four perfects, who were his sons.
This night they were grouped outside a house where pain and suffering happened each day. They had been alerted to it many nights before but they could not come. Too many other issues needed attending, matters of extreme importance; matters which, had they not descended upon, disaster would have surely resulted.
Varquis was now waiting for Urigon, his youngest son, to focus into the group so that they may begin. ‘Uri,’ he said, his words connecting with the others through their souls.
‘She is still here. She is not afraid.’ Urigon turned his head towards his father.
‘Very well.”Urigon turned back to the girl standing behind them, next to the tree where he had once been hiding. He tilted his head. ‘Come,” he said without speaking, ‘Come and see.’ Mia watched them move forward. The gate on that side of the park was open. They went through it and crossed the narrow side-road, moving towards the house where the York’s lived.
Mia followed them, keeping her distance. She watched them walk with sure strides and climb the steps. She saw the door open, just as she fell against a thick hedge protruding above a low brick wall. She could feel her heart racing and her pulse throbbing in her neck.
She gasped when she saw Mr. York. He had opened the door as if he was responding to a gentle knock, as if he was expecting friends for tea. And as he stepped forward, Mia saw his face as a light from inside the house illuminated it. He seemed so startled by the vision he saw there, that he was transfixed as he watched one of the Perfects step forward. It reached out and took him by the throat. Then raising him into the air, as if he was weightless, the Perfect held him with his powerful arm outstretched as old Mr. York’s legs flayed beneath the bulge of his large sagging belly.
He was dropped to the ground as he cried in shame. He knew his time had come, as all the perpetrators knew when the Perfects came. He stepped forward and he sobbed as he walked inside the group of five, down the steps to the road where Mia was hiding next to the hedge.
She watched as they crossed the road, heading for the park and then she heard a scream coming from the open doorway to the house. Old Doris was leaning against the frame, panting from tearing down the stairs. She was covered in marks over her swollen face. “Alfie,” she screamed. “Alfieeee.”
Mia, no longer interested in the tribulation of old Doris York, scampered across the road in the Perfects wake.
Varquis could feel her following and he could feel Urigon sensing her presence, like a dog sniffing for sustenance for his empty stomach. She was right behind them, moving from tree to tree, disguising herself from the light spilling into the darkness.
The man in their midst; the creature in the void, was muttering as he stumbled along with them. He was praying to a god he had never worshipped before that night, praying for him to be rescued from certain death. He didn’t deserve it, he assured his god. He was provoked. She deserved his wrath. She was always getting things wrong.
Varquis instructed his unit to halt. They stilled and they turned to the creature in the void. They were in position, like the five points of a star, joining forces with their strength and their souls, closing in, moving slowly forward as the man in the middle screamed for his life.
They were touching him now. Their chests were bulging forth and the veins in their necks were throbbing as the power of their being, surged through them like water breaking through a dam, rushing over new soil. Their feet were shuffling against the hardness of the ground and their insteps were arched allowing more weight to be funneled into their torsos so that the strength there was unrivalled. Their arms were at their sides and their hands were almost touching, but as they moved in, they lifted them, and locked them around each other’s shoulders like comrades discussing strategy.
But here, there was no discussion. No intent other than to destroy. As their bodies touched the man in the void and as he screamed his last strangled breath, he was expelled of life, crushed to oblivion, his parts turning to ashes as the force of the cage of flesh obliterated all traces of him, other than the remnants of his sorry, miserable life.
The Perfects parted. They took a single step back and the ashes of the creature in the void fluttered to the ground like powder from a shaker, falling into a pile of dust.
Varqis banged the earth with his heel to dig a shallow hole and then he spread the ashes into the soil, crushing them like a pestle would crush peppercorns in a mortar. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, the man in the void was sent back to the earth from whence he came.
Wendy is 49 and lives in Bristol. She began writing over five years ago, when she lived in France. ‘It’s hard not to write when you live in France,’ Wendy says. ‘Especially, when it’s a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse surrounded by acres of vines.’ The Perfect’s is Wendy’s second novel and she is currently working on her third, ‘The Song of the Undergound’, about a lost subterranean city, beneath London. Wendy has written several prize-winning short stories, and many of them have been published in various anthologies: more recently with Little Acorn Press; to be published in July this year. She has recently delved into script-writing, when she wrote a four part drama for TV and whilst she is working on her new novel, she is developing her web site, where she offers a not-so-serious daily blog about that elusive road to publication. You can find more about Wendy and her work here.
Wendy says, ‘Writing for me is like having a fire in my belly, sometimes the flame dies but most of the time it rages and I am startlingly bright.’