A Knight Of Change

By Adrian Maudling

Fantasy

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56
9 mins

 

She stalked down the street, crossing from shadow to shadow with fluid grace. The black leather trousers and jacket made her virtually invisible. Her red hair was short. When the moonlight shone on her hair, it flared like a flaming ball travelling along the street.
The figure cut along the alley, pausing to turn down the next street. She knew the safe house was near, but the pursuer had tracked her all night, and she doubted she was in the clear. Pausing in the deep shadow, she watched for any movement. Once she was confident, there was no apparent threat, she carried on. Zigzagging through the alleys and streets hoping she had lost any pursuers. About 5 minutes from the house she halted again, and once she was sure she was alone, she started off. Already looking forward to the hot meal and bath she could indulge in once the pursuit was over. She turned and unexpectedly they were there in front of her. She gasped as the blade slid into her and she sagged to the pavement.
I jumped awake to the sound of a woman screaming then realised it was my shriek.
I quit the howling as I heard footsteps pounding down the hallway and the door burst open to reveal my sister Allison. Her red hair was all over the place, and she fixed me with a piercing glare. “Okay why’s the girl screaming? And, where is she?”
“There is no her. You heard me shout I was having a nightmare okay?” I declared indignantly while struggling to sound gruff.
Allison smirked “no that was a screech, and in truth, I had a dreadful dream as well, but you don’t hear me shrieking.”
“Well, your dream was undoubtedly not as scary as mine then was it.” I got up and pulled on my dressing gown over my pyjamas “I dreamt someone was chasing mum.”
“And they stabbed her!” Finished Allison.
“Yes, she had short hair, leather jacket and trousers.”
“She was trying to escape the assailant that was pursuing her. She was trying to get to safety somewhere in London.”
I gave Allison an amazed look “yes and how did you know she was in London?”
“easy there was a bus at the end of the street she fled down, and I think I glimpsed the Shard in the distance,” answered Allison.
I hadn’t noticed either point, but Allison was always more perceptive.
“So, do you think it’s the twin thing, us sharing the same dream?” I asked
Allison shrugged “I’m not sure it was a dream. It seemed so real.”
“but mum died years ago Alli. Either it wasn’t her, or it was a dream.”
Allison peered at my face, and I wondered if I’d got something on it.
“okay when did you start wearing coloured contacts and why do you only have one in?”
“Don’t be stupid I don’t wear contacts. You know I hate anything near my eyes.”
“Well you have one green eye and one blue, so you tell me?” said Allison as she gestured to my eyes.
I looked in the mirror and hesitated, damn she was right. How the hell had my eye changed colour?
Allison stood next to me “see your left is blue, and the right is…”
“Green the opposite of yours now. So now we have twin dreams and eye changes to add to tonight’s weirdness. I’m guessing tonight can’t get any weirder.”
On cue, a loud knock came from the front door.
“Sorry take it back, the weirdness just keeps coming.”
Allison looked at me and shrugged “well do we answer it or not?”
The banging continued and gained a loud “Let me in, your life is in danger. I’m a friend of your mother.”
Allison frowned “yeah he could be the one who stabbed mum and has now come to get us. Let’s call the police Mark.”
“No, it couldn’t have been him we’re miles away from the city. He couldn’t have here that quick. I’m not suggesting he’s not mental, but he’s not mental and our mum’s killer. That’s if it was mum.”
I started downstairs as the thumping continued “who’s there?”
“I’m a friend of your mother’s. she asked me to watch over you and get you if anything happened to her.”
“See mate the problem is our mum died years ago. Is this the right house? They look the same at night?”
“Look your mum was stabbed tonight. She faked her death years ago to protect you. That’s not going to work now. if you prefer living, then open up!”
Allison whispered, “if we want to live, I’m thinking keep him out.”
“But how did he know about the stabbing? We didn’t mention that. Look dial 999 but don’t call yet. If I let him in and he starts anything, then call straight away.”
“look I’m opening the door. If you start anything, I warn you we have a gun.”
I put my hand in the pocket of my dressing gown and made a gun shape. I slowly opened the door. I jumped back as the guy pushed in. He immediately closed and bolted the door behind him. He turned and smiled. “My name's Conner. You must be Mark and Allison?”
“Never heard of you. Then again with mum being dead 7 years, that’s not surprising.”
Conner rolled his eyes “look I already said we faked your mum’s death. She realised that something would attack if she stuck around. We fixed it for her to disappear and it gave you some protection.
Allison pushed past me “you make it sound like our mum was a spy or something. Did you know her or are you some crackpot?”
Conner chuckled “just like your mum. Straight to the point. And no, your mum wasn’t a spy she was a Grail Knight. One of the best bar me if I do say so myself.”
Allison huffed “crackpot it is then.”
Conner raised his hand a ball of fire appeared above his open palm.
“Oh, a magician. Do you make rabbits appear or saw people in half?” asked Allison with a sigh
Conner frowned “this is real fire, and it’s part of being a knight. Not some cheap parlour trick like those TV magicians. The power lets us shape the elements and one of you will be your mum’s successor.” He halted as he glanced between us. “Oh, shit you’ve both got the Mark. How the hell did that happen? Well, that’s not my issue. I’m just your bodyguard for the evening. Has either of you got a car?”
“Look before me, and my sister go anywhere with you. What the hell is going on?
Before Conner could answer a mournful howl came from the street. Conner looked around “we need to leave it’s started. Can you still get out the back?”
I grinned “that’s just number 40s cat, it’s always doing that.” A loud crash from outside got me thinking. Perhaps the cat had eaten too many meals to be making that much commotion.
Conner started to nudge us towards the back “go go go.”
We stumbled towards the kitchen “look we have no clothes on, and it’s really nothing to worry about.”
Again, the universe conspired to mock me as a mighty thud came from the front door. It sounded like the cat was about the size of a small pony.
I spun and pushed Allison towards the kitchen “grab your keys and get the car started. We’ll be there in a second.”
Allison dashed off without question. I looked at Conner, “okay what the hell is that and what does it want.”
Conner pushed me after Allison “it wants you two, and we’re not hanging around to find out what it is. Now go.”
I grabbed our coats from the kitchen and a bag of laundry by the back door. The door was open, and I saw the light go on in the car behind the house. We hurried out and joined Allison in the vehicle.
Conner grumbled as he squeezed in the car “didn’t you have anything smaller?”
Allison glared at him as she drove off down the road “if you want to get out, I can stop? I like Mini’s.”
Conner muttered under his breath but held his peace “Turn right at the end here.”
Allison shook her head “the police stations to the left we’re going there first.”
“I said, right girl! We don’t know who we can trust. I need to get you somewhere safe.”
“You call me a girl again, and there will be nowhere safe from me.”
I decided to intervene before the madman in the car decided to kill us. Or the madwoman had an accident “look play nicely you two. This is a whole mess of weird. I don’t know about you Alli, but I don’t know what’s going on or where to go. An hour ago, we were asleep, mum was dead, and we had normal eyes. Now our mum is dead again seemingly. Our eyes are freaky, and something was trying to break down our door. I say we go with Conner for now. If we don’t like how the situation is going, we split.”
Allison glared at me in the mirror. She turned sharply right, throwing me around in the back like a doll and I yelped as I bashed my head on the window.
“If we get there in one piece, it would be nice. GIRL.” growled Conner
Allison was about to show Conner how varied her vocabulary could be when something large and black run into the road ahead. It looked like a giant black wolf with glowing eyes.
Allison screamed and went to hit the brakes, but Conner reached across and pushed down on her right leg and forced her to speed up.
Before she had a chance to swerve, we hit it, and it flew to the side from the blow.
Allison was still screaming, but now there were words added: “YOU’VE KILLED THAT DOG YOU BASTARD!”
I looked out the back window and watched the dog get up and shook its head. “Don’t worry Alli it’s got up it’s not that badly hurt.” As I watched, it turned towards us and started to run towards us. “uh Alli, update it’s not hurt, but I think we pissed it off it’s coming after us.”
Conner looked in the mirror “shit, I hoped it would be down longer. And it’s no dog that’s a hellhound. They are the perfect hunting hound. They can track their prey over long distances, and they are bloody hard to kill.”
I could see Allison roll her eyes. “So, what’s next unicorns and trolls?”
“Don’t be silly girl. Trolls live in the mountains, and Unicorns only want a virgin. And I find it hard to believe there’s one in here.” Grumbled Conner.
I peered out the window and watched as the hound kept pace with the car. An impressive feat but the flames coming from its mouth that caught my attention. “Um, Alli I think he’s telling the truth. the dogs either had one hell of a vindaloo or it’s breathing fire.”
Allison looked in the mirror “you have got to be shitting me. A fire-breathing dog?”
“Aye girl and they’re bloody hard to kill. You can hurt the buggers with a good supply of water, but there’s none around here. We have to hope we can outrun it till we can get to a supply.” Conner said with a far-off look in his eye.
Allison frowned “ The Thames is about 30 mins if we’re lucky. Why does it never rain when you want it?”
I watched out the back and realised the hound was gaining on us “I don’t think we have 15 minutes let alone 30. The hound is picking up the pace.” I could feel the start of a headache coming. Great that’s all I needed no pills and no water to take them with even if I did. Wait, Conner said we needed water “what about the water mains?”
Conner frowned “good idea, but you’d need to find one and then find an above ground outlet or just tear up the road to find it. Not the best solution and not so easy to avoid being noticed.”
My head was pounding, and the hound was definitely getting closer. The headache must be bad. My vision was getting blurry. I squinted, but it still didn’t clear, then I realised the blur wasn’t my eyes it was the window. There was a stream of water running down it. “Uh Conner it’s wet out there does that help?”
Conner looked out the window “no lad it’s dry out here.”
“Just look out the back it’s bucketing down,” I said watching the water flow down the back window. The dog was slowing, and the fire didn’t look as intense.
Conner turned and looked open-mouthed at the deluge behind us
I grinned “see I told you it was wet.”
“Aye lad you did, but the rain was not on any forecast for today. Also, it starts directly behind the car and is keeping pace with us.” Said Conner with a frown. “But I’m not looking a gift-horse in the mouth.”
Conner peered out the back window and focused on the water. Slowly an orange-sized blob of water peeled off the window and splashed on the hound’s face. The flames faltered in its mouth, and it shook its head. The hound kept running and was again gaining on the car.
Allison was taking turns watching the road and glancing in the mirror “so that’s it. You’re just going to throw wet snowballs at it?”
Conner frowned. It was starting to be his default expression “look girl if you think you can pull the water together. While moving at sixty miles per hour and get more than a jug full to keep together then be my guest. It’s not like scooping it up and throwing it. With rain, you must get each drop to come together. Now standing still it would be easy, as we’re moving, I have to keep each drop moving with us while merging them.”
What he said made sense, but didn’t help the situation. We needed a massive blob of water. Bath sized or bigger would do. There was more than enough out there. Now how did we get it to stay together? As I watched the water slowly moved across the window and started to form a globe. Slowly it swelled, from melon sized to beach ball size. As it grew, I noticed it was slowly rotating the beach ball grew larger like a balloon being inflated. My head was slowly pounding again but not as bad as earlier. The water ball was now the size of a weather balloon and showed no signs of stopping its growth.
“Okay lad now you need to aim it at the beastie.” Said Conner from behind me making me jump. “Just imagine it flying at his face that should do it.”
Did he think the water was mine? I couldn’t do things like that, could I? I humoured him and imagined the ball hitting the hound in the face. And fly it did. It hit the hound and bowled him off his feet. He tumbled and bounced across the road and halted against a wall. Allison was slowing the car and pulled to a halt. Conner jumped out of the car and dashed to the unmoving lump. We chased after Conner, and soon all three of us were looking at the downed dog on the floor.
“Well done lad, first night and you’ve taken out a hellhound. Should have known you’d be strong with your mother. I’ll admit water isn’t my strong suit but what you did was incredible.” Conner slapped me on the back. I think it was supposed to be in congratulations, but it almost took me off my feet.
Allison kicked the dog, and it didn’t react. “So, what now? I’m guessing a dog’s home won’t work, but I don’t think we can just leave it here?
Conner shook his head and drew a sword from under his jacket. “No girl. We need to send this beast back to hell. It’s the only way to stop it.”
He raised the sword, and Allison stepped in front. She hated hurting anything, and an evil fire-breathing dog, the size of a Shetland pony, was no exception.
“Don’t you dare kill it.” She put her hands on her hips and stared up at him daring him to try to go through her.
Conner glared at her “look if we don’t kill it then it will just keep coming. It has your scents, and you’ll not be safe anywhere. Also, it won’t worry about whom it kills to get to you. Would you rather this thing lived, and it then killed a group of schoolchildren who got between it and you?”
Allison turned pale but still stood in front of the hound. Then she lowered her head and stepped to one side “just make it quick.”
Allison walked back to the car as Conner stabbed the hound through the chest. The fur started to steam then caught alight. The fire burnt quick, and soon just a pile of Ash remained where the dog once was.
We joined Allison back in the car. She gripped the wheel tightly, the only hint of how angry she was. “So” She snapped at Conner.
“We’re heading to Norfolk Allison. Did you want me to drive?” Replied Conner softly. He must have realised how angry Allison was as he’d used her name. Allison shook her head and set off “you can drive later, for now, I need to be in control of at least one thing tonight.”

This is the first chapter of my book
A Knight of Change: Grail Knights book 1 by Adrian Maudling
If you liked what you read the full book is available on Amazon
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07H8QDR3D



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