Excerpt from “Beyond the World”

By M. F. Erler

“Image 2”

It felt so good to stretch his muscles after all the ages of confinement.  A laugh rumbled deep inside him, and a sudden puff of smoke came from his nostrils.  This made him laugh again with delight, and the smoke became a red-orange flame.

            Ah, yes, this was his favorite form.  All too often he had to disguise his true identity—posing perhaps as a handsome human male with sleek dark hair—sometimes as a threatening animal, such as a wolf.  The form he most detested, though, was when he had to imitate the golden glowing body of an angel, one of the Enemy’s trusted servants.

            This memory sent waves of rage through him, and bright blue flames shot from his mouth and nostrils.  He’d been one of them once—many eons ago—but now was cast out.  No matter how he tried to reassume his original form, it never quite fit anymore.  In fact, the very thought of it made him itch with an irritation that only got worse the more he scratched it with his long, curving claws.

            In anger he spread his huge leathery wings, admiring the dark shadows they cast across the landscape below, as he sat, perched on the edge of a craggy cliff.  At least now he was free of the chains that had bound him for so long. 

‘The Enemy thinks he has only released me for a time,’ he hissed to himself.  ‘But he underestimates me.  I still have powers he hasn’t seen, and when I unleash them…’

            The deep chuckling in his throat emerged as a roar.  This ominous sound echoed off the mountains all around, as he launched his huge serpentine form into space and took flight.  

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