Castaway #2 (of 4)
The wraiths shrieked out a sound so inhuman it made Nonso’s ears ring. Altogether they surged forward and tried to take him down, using their number against him. Nonso weaved through their swipes, and in the process landed swipes of his own. His blade sliced cleaning through the torso of one of the wraiths like knife through butter. The wraith fell down and dissipated into black smoke, hovering back towards the walls. Nonso dealt more killing blows to the wraiths around him, and they all fell.

On cue, more wraiths pulled themselves out of the wall, their scraggly limbs cracking with effort as they pulled free to launch themselves at Nonso. With little effort, Nonso dodged their flimsy attacks and cut through them once again. The ease of the dispatching made him wary, as there was no way a demon with the power to bring forth minions would only send this sorry bunch. Nonso looked around and realized his instincts were right. Where the scarlet orbs were present moments ago, there was nothing but blue light.

The demon was trying to escape.

Nonso chopped off the heads, or what seemed to be the heads, of more of the wraiths as he changed his direction and ran after the demon. As he sped through the tunnel, more of the wraiths came out of the walls to block his progress. He could easily cut through them, but their presence alone was enough to taper his speed. If he didn’t do something, the demon was going to get away from this place and he would have to start his hunt afresh.

He could not let the demon escape this time.

The wraiths came out in greater numbers as blocked his path. Looking behind, he found another large number marching forward. Their plan, it seemed, was to choke him down and provide their caster with enough time to escape. Nonso kept swiping and slashing through the wraiths that came within reach of his blade, but he knew that he couldn’t keep up the tactic much longer. Sooner or later, the wraiths would use their numbers to over power him.

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Nonso slashed his sword in a wide arc before embedding it into the ground. Then he knelt down and banged his gauntlets together.

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” he punched the ground, and there was a small wave that pushed the wraiths back. He banged the gauntlets together again.

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures…” another punch, another wave, another banging.

“He leadeth me beside the still waters…” Nonso used both hands to punch the ground, and golden spikes of light shot out of the ground to pierce the wraiths surrounding him. They shrieked in terror and agony as Nonso pulled out his sword and continued down the tunnel. The shrieks subsided as Nonso’s steps took him further away from the wraiths and closer to an opening he was certain the demon had run to. Just as he got into the mouth of the opening, a great force bulldozed Nonso from the side. He bounced and rolled on the ground before hitting the wall, pain a constant presence all through the ordeal.

Nonso shook his head as he steadied himself to get up, his feet unresponsive for a brief moment. When he looked up, he saw another wraith standing in front of him, only this one was different. One of its arms was heavily muscled, while the other one was thin with a large clawed hand at the end. The wraith had horns protruding from its head, and in addition to the darkness surrounding it, there were irregular streaks of red sliding down like dripping blood. There were no eyes, and like the other wraiths it had only one opening where its mouth was supposed to be.

The wraith charged at Nonso, leading with its muscled arm, and it was only by a hair’s breadth that Nonso was able to roll away and come out unscathed from the attack. The impact against the wall didn’t seem to phase the wraith as it turned and used its clawed hand to grab Nonso’s leg. With incredible force it dragged Nonso and flung him through the air. With nothing but good luck, he was able to stab his sword deep into the ground and use it as a vault to spin around and land on his feet at the last second.

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The wraith charged again, but this time Nonso was ready for it. Just as it was close, he sidestepped at the last second, his sword stretched out in the path of the wraith. The momentum of the wraith allowed the sword to slice through it, but the cut only went so far through the muscled arm. The wraith shrieked and, with an inhuman twist, stretched its clawed hand and wrapped it around Nonso. It made to slam Nonso into the wall, but Nonso used the force of the move to run up on the wall. Surprise got the wraith as its grip wavered and Nonso was able to kick against the wall and do a backflip to land behind the wraith.

Without wasting so much as a breath, Nonso delivered three quick slashes that sent the head of the wraith rolling, along with part of its torso and the thin arm. The wraith tried to turn around, but Nonso dispatched it by slicing off its legs at knee level. The crippled wraith writhed on the ground before dissipating into black mist. Nonso didn’t know what, but his breath hitched as something told him to jump out of the way. He listened to the voice, and no sooner had he done so that another wraith like the one he just eliminated came charging through.

Nonso didn’t give this one time to get its bearings and instead went at it just as it hit the wall. He thrust his sword through the wraith’s head and, with both hands holding the hilt, dragged the sword down to slice through the wraith. The slice wasn’t easy, but the wraith was too disoriented to figure out what was going on. A few strenuous seconds later, the two halves of the wraith plopped down on the ground before dissipating.

Nonso stood erect, his breathes coming out in tired puffs. The temperature was still cold, but that didn’t stop the sweat from forming on his forehead.

“Impressive… very impressive, mortal. Most pleasing display of performance,” the voice rumbled out as two scarlet orbs materialized in the dark end of the opening. “Would you listen to the request of a demon… as you say?”

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Nonso grinned, even though he was not amused. “Let’s hear it.”

“Join us. It would be a waste to have your skills underutilized. You can go beyond being a mere mortal—”

“By serving your master?”

The yellowed teeth flashed again. “Yes… by serving my master.”

Nonso took a deep breath. “What is his name?”

The teeth turned into a grin. “Join us, and you shall find out.”

Nonso pointed his sword at the demon. “The power of Christ compels you…”

The ground shook as something came out of the darkness, and the form that Nonso beheld made him shiver, but not from the cold. The beast— demon beast was several heads taller than Nonso. It had a head like that of a warthog with the curved tusks, the grotesque limbs and claws of a wolf, the scaly body and tail of a crocodile. The demon beast tilted its head till it looked down on Nonso. The glare made fear ripple through Nonso.

“No power but that of my master’s compels me,” the demon beast snorted. “It is a waste… but I cannot let you leave this place alive.”

Nonso took a deep breath and whispered; “He restoreth my soul… He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

“You are praying? I see. Let it be your last, mortal.”

Nonso’s breathing steadied as he felt his heartbeat slow down. Tendrils of golden light slowly surrounded him as he continued. As they snaked through his body, he felt the fatigue slowly flow away.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…” the tendrils danced faster, and Nonso took his sword up into a battle stance. “For thou art with me! Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me!” The golden light gave Nonso warmth and strength, and with a rejuvenated mind and body Nonso sprung into action against the demon beast.

Chapter three

Chapter Four(Finale)


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