By @brightskysyl

My entry for the End-of-Summer Writing Contest 2018.

Chapter 1

The Goblet

It was inevitable. Gabe didn’t exactly foresee the details would be brutal and bloody like this but he knew—deep in his senses—that it would come to a nightmare eventually. And a nightmare it was.

The air turned arctic. The hooded men, once one of them realized that one of the boys they furiously beat stopped moving, scurried out from the veranda and drove away in their jeep. Gabe, bloodied and weak, was left lying on the floor, breathing erratically, thinking he deserved such fate.

But he snapped out of his rueful thinking and crawled near the body of his special friend, the friend he wished he had loved more, the friend he wished would breathe again. He knew nothing of CPR but he tried. While all the first aid images he saw from television and movies flashed inside his mind, he kept murmuring, saying please and don’t interchangeably, and at the rear of his heart, pleading hopes—in form of shameless prayers—were firing like rockets, traveling upwards to a God he wasn’t even friends with.

Dreadful seconds passed and futility was beaming antagonizingly.

The soft muscles of Gabe’s weakening body were all too familiar with what’s imminent. They’d undergone this experience for countless times already. And yet, without a proper cue, his stomach crunched. His face turned into a shape of despair, so contorted in horrendous grief. Eyes swollen in bitterness red. His tears welled up and gushed, scalding in paradoxical cold against his puffed cheeks and bloodied lips. The lingering memory of his friend’s comforting and sweet smile hovered over his aching nape. The sensation moved up, rising unto the top of his head. Gabe’s wail magnified in pitiful anguish as the memory above shattered concurrently the moment he realized that his saving act was in vain.

For certain, nothing was comfortable and sweet during this detaching and loneliest point of his time.

However, a sudden whisper spoke through Gabe, a hopeful memory he needed, and immediately, he remembered another friend. A friend he met during the funeral of his mother who passed away from cancer, a friend who was there to save him from anger and confusion when his father died from a car accident, a friend who always claimed he could help him improve his life, whatever privation was Gabe suffering then.

Despite the physical slowness, Gabe tried to think fast. He has now decided. It wasn’t the end yet. He could still turn the tables around. He would take the help. He would call. He would summon his peculiar friend and take back what’s his.

Gabe forced himself to stand. His adrenalized muscles assisted him in walking steadily inside their house. He successfully reached for a candle above the hanging cabinet in the kitchen. He turned on the stove, lit the candle, and attached it on the floor after dropping some warm wax. He took a table knife and unhesitatingly cut his arm. It wasn’t deep enough to make him pass out but gashed enough to withdraw a sufficient amount of blood.

While making a summoning pentagram, Gabe thought there was no turning back.

“Invoco te Lumenario,” Gabe uttered. But nothing happened.

“Invoco te Lumenario,” he invoked again with an unyielding resolve. Suddenly, the coldness inside the room intensified, lights flickered, candle ablaze.

“Invoco te Lumenario!”

Instantly, the room dimmed, floor froze, and the wooden walls cracked. A glowing celeste mist materialized from the pentagram and soon a creature appeared. He covered his eyes from the shining blue light and coughed.

As much as Gabe is in stress, his body was still able to survive the biting temperature. He would get through it. He would, for his friend.

“Gabe?” a soft voice asked. “To what do I owe the plea—”

Lumenario swiftly caught Gabe who just fainted. He touched his chest and there light gleamed. Gabe opened his eyes.

“Lu,” Gabe said under his breath, tears about to stream again. Gabe told him everything that had happened to him recently, all the gruesome and unfortunate events. He hasn’t been in communication with him for months and to see him again propelled a bittersweet emotion of consolation and nostalgia, making him cry. Lumenario, after all, looked, sounded, felt like a sunset. He wore clothes with shades of blue but his tailbone-length hair radiated like the sun and his eyes were whirling colors of teal, blue, red and orange.

Lu, after assisting Gabe to sit on the living room’s sofa, went out to the veranda and carried Daniel’s corpse. He carefully laid the lifeless body down on the living room floor.

“Are you sure with your choice, Gabe?” Lu asked for the last time. “You know my offer has everlasting ramifications. But I’d certainly give you everything for a just price.”

“I’m sure, Lu. I’d give myself to you. Just make him alive again.”

“What you’re asking is hard, even for me, but it’s nothing impossible,” Lu said, fierce eyes to spiritless ones.

“Please…” Gabe whispered, fatigue creeping over him.

Lu put a hand to his own chest, thin fingers tapping his skin and blue light suddenly beamed. A silver goblet of ice emerged from this bleeding light. He handed the goblet to Gabe who reached for it right away.

“Drink,” Lu said with a hint of allure. “Drink my blood and I will ease your pain.”

As soon as Gabe took a sip, he realized it was poison. A poison to his soul. He now comprehended what kind of creature Lumenario was. He now understood the bargain. He now realized there will be consequences. And yet, he still drank the blood all the way down.

“By the power vested in me, I now baptize you fair-haired human,” Lumenario said in a firm yet poignant voice. He stared at Gabe’s now blank eyes. “From now on, you’ll be called Moonbane. A poison of the night.” Lu put a finger on Gabe’s forehead, emitting a blinding light.

“Moonbane. My newest child. My weapon.”

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