THEY DON'T CAST SHADOWS
by Bob Leone

Vaniah vs. Dharr

April 28, 1945, Dachau, Germany

Three warrior angels, invisible and unheard by humans, huddle together near the forest edge. Their golden armor and flaming red swords glow in the evening twilight.

"We attack the camp at dawn," Vaniah says, his blonde hair falling across his face as he lowers his chin. "The death toll from this latest world war has been staggering."

"Why has the Lord of Hosts let this continue for so long?" Haniel slams his fist into the palm of his hand. "We should have stopped this plan of Lucifer's long ago."

"The Lord of Hosts' ways are mysterious and not to be questioned," Vaniah says, placing his hand on Haniel's shoulder. "But, rest assured, it all fits into His grand plan."

"Which demon is in charge of this camp?" Ebronah asks, his beautiful white feathery wings folded neatly behind him.

Vaniah spits out, "Dharr, my nemesis for many millennia."

Haniel shakes his head. "He is a dangerous one."

"Leave him to me," Vaniah says. "We will go in before the U.S. infantry liberates the concentration camp from the Nazis. Our job is to liberate it from the demon catalyst."

"May the Spirit light your path," they say in unison, as they depart each to his angelic command.

*****

Invisible demons throw fiery darts into the heads of the humans around them: into the prisoners, seeds of fear and panic; into the Nazi guards, seeds of anger and vengeance.

Dharr growls, "The human Himmler has ordered the Nazis to evacuate the camp." He spreads out his huge leathery wings. "Direct the Nazis to slay as many as they can before the evacuation proceeds."

"And after that?" A demon asks.

"Incite the guards to make the death march most costly to the Jews," Dharr laughs.

The demon bows. "That will surely add to the Nazarene's misery," the demon says, walking off.

Dharr calls over one of his lieutenants. "Line up my foot soldiers near the gate," Dharr orders. "Those pesky angels will surely attack before this is over."

"What of your flying soldiers?" the lieutenant asks.

Dharr growls, "I will hold them in reserve." He looks toward the treeline. "The Nazarene has put Vaniah in charge of the assault, and I aim to see him fail."

*****

April 29, 1945, Dachau, Germany

The blackness of night gives way to the rosy glow of sunrise; orange-hued rays reflect on Dharr's face. Massive clouds of steam billow out of his nostrils into the chilly morning air. The man-sized reptilian demons stand shoulder to shoulder, their scaly tails whipping back and forth, nervously waiting for the impending attack. Dharr, towering over his foot soldiers, growls loudly, "They are coming!"

Across the field, fifty angels, swords raised high in the air, shout, "For the Lord of Hosts!"

They clash with a thunderous explosion at the gates of Dachau. Red and blue shards of light flash as their swords chop and slash with savage fury.

Dharr's eyes furrow when he spies Vaniah. Dharr barrels through his foot soldiers, knocking them out of his path.

Vaniah groans as he sees his nemesis working his way through the battlefield to him. Dharr is a good two feet taller than Vaniah's ten-foot height.

Dharr's blue, flaming sword, slashes down. Vaniah parries the sword knocking it to the side. Like a crimson blur, Vaniah strikes back. Dharr jumps back, avoiding the slice and smiles.

"You are weak," Dharr taunts, his sword swinging in a vicious arc, missing Vaniah's throat by inches.

Next to them an angel skewers a demon through the chest. The demon explodes in a yellow-green sulfurous-smelling cloud. The demon is not dead, for one cannot annihilate a spirit. The demon is sent to the abyss where he will be held in utter darkness for a thousand years. The abyss is a place of dread for the demons, and they fight furiously to keep from being sent there.

Outnumbered three to one, the angels hold their own. Vaniah give a half smile as he sees Ebronah and the flying angels descend upon the melee, making the battle a little more even.

An angel explodes next to him in a green pine-scented cloud. The angel is not dead, for one cannot annihilate a spirit. He is returned to Heaven. He will be banned from Earth for a thousand years.

Dharr spins around, decapitating an angel and chops down onto Vaniah upon completion of his turn. Vaniah's blade flashes up, blocking the deadly arc. Dharr plummets Vaniah with his sword, over and over Vaniah is able to block each blow. Sparks fly. Vaniah is continually on defense.

Frustrated, Dharr pumps his fist, and from the sky comes a hoard of forty flying demons. Ebronah and his flying angels flap their wings, reaching skyward, but they can't match the force of the shower of demons screaming downward. Clouds of green, from lost angels, fill the sky above the battlefield.

Then, a new shout arises from the tree line, as Haniel leads his angelic force into the fight. Seeing his forces now outnumbered, Dharr, retreats backward from Vaniah, growling, "We will meet again." With a flapping of his wings flies away. "I will have my revenge on you."

The demons, fighting only when they have an advantage, slither away.

The U.S. Army arrives. The 45th Infantry Battalion enters the camp over side walls. Simultaneously the 42nd Battalion enters through the front gate, where the Nazi commander formally surrenders.

Thirty thousand emaciated Jews suffering from starvation and disease, limp unsteadily out of the prison barracks. Some prisoners, resembling skeletons, unable even to hobble are helped by their liberators.

Vaniah and Dharr face off in a duel to oblivion in "They Don't Cast Shadows"

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THEY DON'T CAST SHADOWS

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