Parthus Prison Blues
Yalda set his ship down in the dense forests outside of Murias, the largest city on Parthus and the seat of the Seraph government. It was also was home to the maximum security prison, Dys, where the worst Parthus had offer were locked away to be forgotten about. Yalda dressed in black and draped a black cloak over Martell.
“I hope you’re wearing comfortable shoes,” Yalda said, “We’ve got a hike ahead of us.”
“Why have we arrived so far away?” Martell asked.
“I want to get into the prison and back out again. If anybody sees me I’ll certainly get into the prison. Getting out might take a lot longer than I have time for.”
They trudged through the dense forest as the Parthi moon rode in an arc through the sky above them. They came to a suburban neighborhood on the fringe on the city bordering the woods. Yalda checked his watch and read off a display the name and address of the first part of his plan. They came to a small round house with a ring of windows that wrapped around broken only by a carved wooden door. He held a small device in his hand and waved around the frame of the door. It let out a quiet beep by the knob. He pulled out a long, metallic tool and slid it under between the door and the jam. He wiggled it in until it tapped against a metal plate. He attached a box with a coiled wire to the end of the tool and flipped a switch. He again waved the device over the area where the beep had occurred. This time it was quiet. He grabbed ahold of the knob and turned it. The knob clicked. He pushed the door open and waved Martell in.
Once inside they crept with soft feet to a bedroom where a Seraph slept, snoring. Yalda drew a blade and held it to the sleeper's throat.
“Wait,” Martell said.
“What?” Yalda asked.
“Seems a cowardly thing to kill a sleeping man.”
“Are you shitting me?”
“I think you should look a man in the eye if you’re going to take his life.”
Yalda sighed and poked the seraph on the shoulder. He snorted awake, opened his eyes and saw Yaldabaoth standing over him holding a blade to his throat.
“My friend thinks eye contact is an important part of any murder,” Yalda said to the wide-eyed seraph and dragged the blade across his neck.
The seraph choked and struggled as Yalda held him down before finally losing consciousness.
“What was the point of that?” Yalda asked Martell.
“I meant he should be given the opportunity to defend himself.”
“Forty-five minutes until daylight. Do you think we have time for a death match?”
Yalda ransacked his wardrobe, closets, and drawers until he found what he was after. A Dys prison guard’s uniform and passcard. He changed into the uniform and handed Martell a flat, rectangular tablet the size of a postcard. He stood against the white wall of the seraph’s bedroom.
“Take my picture,” Yalda told Martell.
Martell gave Yalda a questioning look.
“Hold it up like this,” Yalda said, taking the device, “aim it until my face is inside the frame and tap here.” He handed it back and took his place against the wall, making a goofy, vacant grin.
Martell snapped the shot. Yalda took the device and laid the passcard on the table. He held the device over the card and picture of dead seraph transformed into the grinning face of Yalda. He clipped the card to the uniform.
“There,” he said, “now I look like a minimum wager.
“Won’t I need a disguise?” Martell asked.
“You’re fine,” Yalda replied, pulling the hood over Martell’s hood. “Just keep the hood up and that hammer out of sight.”
They arrived at the prison and Yalda checked in with the desk guard handing him the passcard. After a moment of fiddling the desk guard confirmed his identity and buzzed the gate. It clicked open and they walked through. The desk guard stepped in front of them holding out a clipboard.
“I have an assignment for you,” the guard said. “Prisoner ZZ9PZA is scheduled to transferred to a new cell on in the B block.”
Yalda looked at the paperwork, rolled his eyes and chuckled, “Perfect. Thanks,” he smiled and the guard and patted him on the shoulder as he walked past.
“Why is the human here?”
“Oh, you know, Lucifer’s ‘acclimate an alien program’. He wants to get into law enforcement.”
“Keep a close eye on him. You know how rough this place is.”
“Don’t I though.”
Yalda and Martell made their way to the cell holding prisoner ZZ9PZA. She was lying on the bed, on her side facing the wall and her face buried in a book.
“Good morning prisoner zed zed nine plural zed alpha,” Yalda said with a sunny tone. “Rise and shine. It’s moving day.”
“Shit,” Adriel sighed. “It’s about time they caught…” she swung around, sitting up and putting her feet on the floor. She saw his attire and her face dropped.
“Good book?” Yalda asked.
“No,” Adriel replied.
“Then why are you reading it?”
“The book is great. No to whatever sick plan you have for me.”
“Is that any way to talk to your liberator?”
“I gave you one simple job and you screwed it up.”
“Well, you know Ray.”
“You’re allowed to use him as an excuse for your failures.”
“You know, you’re lucky I’m even considering giving you a second chance.”
“It’s because you want something from me.”
“That’s true. Let me ask you something. What the hell were you thinking to bring a gaggle of humans to Parthus.”
“You asked me to seize power. You said the best way to that was to play on basic emotions like fear. I gave them something to fear. How was I supposed to get them to fear something that isn’t there?”
“I don’t, how about lie? All you have to do is plant the idea, then let it grow. Sure it takes a while, but with patient cultivation, those roots go deep. And once they’re nice and deep they’re all almost impossible to get out. Long game, sweetie, I didn’t mean do it overnight.”
“So if you’re here, you broke in because you want me to do something or you’re going to kill me.”
“Both are tempting, but I need something.”
“Which is fine, but I need something in return.”
“Money. Lots of it. Enough where I can start over somewhere. Away from here and away from you.”
“Done. Where’s Shiva?”
“You mean Selkie?”
“Haven’t you put that poor girl through enough?”
“They keep her in solitary. Under a power dampening field.”
Yalda shook his head, “That’s no way to treat a work of art.”
“She killed twelve guards on her first day. Or so the story goes.”
“I feel like a proud papa.”
“It’s good to know you still like me.”
“Being in here has given me a lot of perspective.”
“Prison really is an awful place.”
“Let’s just do this, if we’re going to do this.”
Yalda opened Adriel’s cell. As she walked out, he smiled and waved a pair of cuffs in her face.
“You’re kidding right?” she said.
“Gotta look the part, hon,” he replied as he pulled her hands behind her back and locked the cuffs on.
Yalda, Martell and Adriel entered the solitary block. He peeked through each door until he found what he was looking for. A female seraph, hanging from shackles. Shiva, The Destroyer or as she was once known, Selkie. She was a shapeshifting seraph from an upper-class family and the former betrothed of Raphael, who was a soldier in the war on Earth to remove Yaldabaoth from power. At one time she was optimistic, kind and always laughing. She could smile and light the darkness. Now she was Shiva. One of many of Yaldabaoth’s acts of revenge on the seraph who brought his kingdom to ruin.
Shiva hung from the ceiling of the cell by her wrists. Her ankles were bound and locked to the floor. Her head hung limp and her long, stringy black hair hid her face. The nails of talons were stained permanently the color of rust. Yalda opened the door and pushed it open, letting slam against the wall. Shiva’s head jerked up. The same rusty color stained her lips and teeth. Her eyes were a black void ringed in black making them look twice as large. She caught sight of Yalda and hissed and sputtered in a foul sounding language. Adriel’s mouth dropped as she stepped around the clear box that held the snarling beast. Martell stood frozen and transfixed.
“For Parthus sake, Yalda,” Adriel gasped, “I had heard you did a number on her, but this is...”
“Yeah, well, Ray got what he deserved,” Yalda said.
“Getting back at Ray is one thing, but her?”
“Collateral damage. You can’t make an omelet and so forth. And I made a tasty fucking omelet.” Yalda approached the cage with ginger steps, “Hey, kid,” Yalda whispered to Shiva, “you miss me?”
Shiva pulled against her shackles pulling them taut and made a sound like a barking wolf. Her talons opened and closed as if claw through Yalda using telekinesis. Adriel winced and looked away.
“I know,” Yalda grinned. “I’m hard to resist, but I need you to chill the fuck out so I can get you out of here.”
“What do you want from me now?” Shiva growled.
“I have a little job for you. Real easy. It’s fun, you’ll love it, Then you can go free as a bird, do whatever it is you do now. Kill shit whatever.”
“You’re a twisted bastard, you know that?” Adriel said to him, as she assessed Shiva’s state.
“What do you want?” Yalda asked to her.
“What do I want?”
“You only flatter when you’re after something.”
“Let’s get this over with. I can’t stand seeing her.”
“Something you can’t stomach? I do better work than I thought.”
“You're a demon.”
“So they say. Martell? If you would,” he pointed at the cage.
Martell wound up his hammer and slammed it against the shields. They flashed blue. He looked at Yalda. Yalda whirled his finger in the air in a ‘hurry up’ motion. After several more whacks of the hammer, the shield began to crack.
“Gee, Yalda,” Adriel sighed, “You’d think we had all day.”
“This was a last minute thing. I think it’s going pretty good for very little planning.”
Martell took one last crack and the shields failed. Yalda ran over to Shiva and she pulled at her shackles again. She sputtered and hissed.
“Look, hon, you wanna get out?” Yalda said, stepping back. “Then calm down and let me get the restraints off.
Shiva continued to fight against the shackles in an effort to grab him. He looked over her head and saw a small opening in the ceiling covered but a convex lens that was projecting what like like an ultraviolet beam. He pulled his pistol and shot it. Sparks rained on Shiva and the light went out. She shifted into a serpentine form and slipped from her restraints. She hit the floor and her form changed into an ursine like creature. She grabbed Yalda by the throat and lifted him off the floor. He pressed his pistol to her head and smirked.
“You’re finally free and the first thing you want to do is die?” he said.
“I thought you needed me,” Shiva said in a low, rough voice.
“Who know who you’re talking, right? I got a plan B if you don’t work out. I got plans C thru Z. I got plans that go into triple letters. I’d rather not kill you. You one of my finest works. Almost like a magnum opus...Almost,” he flashed a grin.
Shiva tightened her grip on his neck.
“The harder you squeeze,” he wheezed and tightened his finger on the trigger, “the harder I squeeze.”
“Maybe we can go at the same time,” she said.
“Bullshit, you’re not suicidal. I made you more powerful than you ever dreamed you could be. Tell me you were happy being that boy scout's cute little damsel. You’re a monster now and I mean that in the most complimentary way. I unlocked your true potential, Shiva.”
“Stop calling me that.”
“Why. It’s who you are.”
“Because of you,” she slammed him against the wall.
“I hate you,” she screamed.
“After all, I did for you, this is what I get? Nothing but insane ranting and hostility?”
“I’ve been rotting away in here for millennia.”
“And now I’m getting you out.”
“Because you want something.”
“If you’d stop being so dramatic and victim-y and thought logically for two seconds you’d see the benefit in all this.”
“Selkie,” Adriel said.
Shiva looked at her and became lost for a moment, “Adriel?”
“You’re working with this demon again?”
“I’d rather be out of prison. Anyway, I can make that happen is fine with me. Look, I know, I’d rather not be working with this beast, but I do get what I want out of it. Even if this monster gets what he wants.”
“I know you’re angling for something, Adriel,” Yalda said.
“Could you shut up for at least one minute in your miserable life?”
“It’s a pretty good life if I do say…”
“No, he can’t,” Shiva said to Adriel.
“Obviously not,” Adriel replied. “Selkie…”
“Shiva,” Yalda gasped.
Shiva squeezed tighter until he couldn’t breathe.
“Thank you. Selkie, after we do whatever garbage plan he’s got mind we can go anywhere we want. You can lay low get and your head together.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know. I did the power trip thing. I thought I was him. I tried to make him proud for some stupid reason and all that happened was that I wound up in here, just like you. You know how many of his cast offs I walked past to get to my cell? Seraph who were doing just fine, until he got in their heads. Being in here gave me time to think about what I was doing. I’m completely indifferent toward aliens and yet there I was drumming up an entire planet against for what?. For him. Because he told me to. Because he has some vendetta against Ray. I wasn’t like that before him. I don’t know what I’m going to do, I just know I want to go.”
Shiva dropped Yalda and landed on his knees, coughing in painful gasps for air. Adriel watched and smiled.
“I don’t know how to thank you for this,” she said to Shiva. “This is the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.”
“More beautiful than his corpse?”
“I haven’t seen that yet.”
Yalda stood up and smoothed out his jacket, “Is this group therapy session over? Or do you two have more nattering about your problems you lay on each other?”
“Just get us the hell out of here,” Adriel said.