Title: The Last Psimancer
Author: Jake Kane
Summary: The survivor of a brutal invasion has his revenge on the enemy forces with the aid of his psychic powers.
Word count: 988
©2018 Jake Kane
IMAGE: ©2018 Jake Kane
The tank’s treads carried the gargantuan instrument of war easily over the rubble that its shells had created. The psimancer could spy it through the haze of smoke and blood that enveloped the city, how the long barrel obscenely swept the air, hunting for a new target to obliterate.
It found one. The heavy cannon swung at the psimancer and discharged its payload. Behind him, the psimancer heard frantic screaming. A roar and a fireball reduced a school to a mass grave as what was left of its heavy steel walls crumbled. Those very walls had been specially engineered to protect the innocent from the assault of the Arean shock troops, but they were no match for the Ravager tanks. The watcher’s stomach clenched into a mass of nausea and boiling rage, and he withdrew from the vision.
Draja the psimancer removed the crystal circlet from his head and rubbed his temples. More hair, once yellow and now an unhealthy gray, fell to the concrete floor. Draja grimaced. The circlet had been improperly configured, but he needed its power to do what needed to be done. His health was inconsequential compared to that.
He had been training to be a locator of missing persons before the most recent invasion by Ares. The populace of Belgrad had been scattered and crushed by the hordes of their neighbor’s brutal soldiers. Families split apart were desperate to find their loved ones, dead or alive. The psimancers, their psychic gifts empowered by magico-religious machinery, were raised up to aid their brethren. Draja had almost finished his discipleship under the chief of his order when the attacks came anew.
The Areans had been given intel on the psimancers and hit them early. Mortars wiped out the university that housed the order’s teachings. Draja had seen some of the other students escape from the wreckage, but they were quickly shot down. The sole survivor, Draja had buried himself under the bodies of his classmates to avoid detection. When night fell and the killers had moved deeper into the city, Draja removed the crystal circlet – the Master’s Crown – from his teacher’s bloodied head and crept into the remains of a parking garage.
That was two days ago now. Belgrad’s only remaining psimancer had been unable to sleep, consumed with crafting makeshift tools to aid his cause. Concentric triangles of ash had been inscribed on the floor, forming an amplifier of Draja’s energies. He had sat within and attempted to activate the Master’s Crown, but with his incomplete knowledge, only achieved partial success. His abilities were expanded, yes, but after he removed the circlet, a spike of pain drove into his brain. He would have brushed it off as stress, but then he saw hair fall away from his scalp, its color completely unlike what it should be.
“I’m going to die,” he muttered, hugging himself and staring into space with red-rimmed eyes. “But I’ll give those bastards hell first.”
The main plaza of the city had become an encampment for the Areans. Loud, violent packs of infantry roamed the dusty streets like so many wild dogs, vandalizing the once-beautiful buildings at their leisure. Every so often, they would find a civilian still breathing and then would laugh horribly as they exercised their reinforced gloves and adamantine daggers. Draja saw it all as he roamed through the murderous platoons to reach the commander’s tent. His spirit body was unable to be sensed by the troops, but still he shied away from touching them.
After what seemed like an eternity, he found himself in the tent. The commander, a short, dark-haired man was sitting down to dinner with his subordinates. They were drinking wine and laughing about how many medals they would receive for this new offensive.
Draja clenched his teeth. They would receive nothing.
He could see their spirit bodies, every vital channel that kept them functioning. He stretched out his hands and sank them into the commander’s brain. With a forceful tear, Draja rent the man’s crown chakra in two. The commander fell face first into his meal, braindead.
The terror in the room showed itself to the psimancer as violent yellow waves emanating from the subordinates. Draja smiled, white teeth showing past thin lips as he dispatched them one at a time. The last of the four lesser officers had input a code on the commander’s hologram projector and was speaking frantically to an iron-jawed man.
“They’re all dead! They’re dead!” he screamed frantically, much to the other’s annoyance.
“Who?!” the hologram bellowed over the terrorized officer. “What killed them?”
“I don’t know, I don’t know,” the subordinate whimpered. “They just- ”
Draja let go of the subordinate’s etheric brain, now a pulpy mass. The man dropped to the floor. The iron-jawed officer hurriedly ended the transmission.
The psimancer turned his attention then to the framed portrait of the King of Ares. The ruler’s haughty posture only inspired mockery from the vengeful psychic. He had left himself too open, and was incredibly easy to lock on to. Draja vanished, eager to finish his mission.
King Marco was making love to his favorite concubine when Draja pushed himself further than ever before and took control of the other’s body. Leaving his woman in the bed, the ruler stumbled over to his broadcasting station and went online.
“Ares swine!” he proclaimed in his booming voice. “This day, the people of Belgrad are avenged!”
The announcement was terminated by horrific gurgles as Draja tore the King’s spinal channel away from his body. The avenger watched with satisfaction as the monarch spasmed on the richly-carpeted floor of his bedroom, his green eyes going dark. The concubine let loose a blood-curdling shriek.
Draja was back in his body without warning. His vision was weak, but he could see that all his hair had fallen, spread around him like a halo. He gave a final smile and fell into darkness.