Chapter 21

Chapter 21

A Chapter by Rocki-san

-Logan-

“Oskar? Oskar!” Keno shouted and shook Ozzie, desperately trying to get his attention. “Say something!”

We’d rushed to him as soon as he fell back, it was dull, dismal winter day but he was squinting and shielding his eyes. He hissed with pain and held his head. Damnit, we still had three months! Isn’t that what Ozzie told us Hiero had said? Damn demons, why’d we ever listen to him anyway?

Because we were desperate.

“What?” Ozzie said through gritted teeth.

“What’s going on?” Keno asked but it was useless, he couldn’t hear us anymore. “Ozzie?”

“It’s happening,” Kotori muttered and tried to shield any light that may be blinding him. “I knew this chase was pointless.”

“Shut up!” I growled as I pulled out my transmitter and called Ila, letting her know we needed an ambulance. Keno cursed and picked Ozzie up and we ran, the ambulance would meet us on the way.

“What’s happening?” I asked but Keno didn’t respond. This was wrong, flat out wrong, whatever happened to “Happily ever afters?” I’d never believed in fairytales but honestly?

This was Keno’s worst nightmare, losing one of us for real. Hell, even I was wishing he’d wake up!

Ozzie began convulsing, his limbs seizing up and mouth foaming. Keno laid him on the ground to let the seizure pass as a crowd began to form around us.

“Back up,” I said to the mass of people that had nothing better to do than watch my little brother suffer. “I said back the hell up!” 

I turned as Ozzie stopped. Just… stopped. He stopped jerking, stopped gasping desperately for air. Stopped breathing.

S**t.

Keno immediately began CPR and I continued my not-so-professional crowd control. I knelt and reached a shaky hand to feel for a pulse. Nothing. I could only feebly shake my head.

This couldn’t be happening.

This could not be goddamn happening.

The next thirty seconds seemed like ages as the ambulance came barreling down the streets with sirens blasting in full. The hospital was our only option, and I just hopped that Ozzie would be able to cuss us out for it later.

 

I hated hospitals with a seething, loathsome, flaming burn-it-down passion, always had and probably always would, there was no real reason, I just hated them. What with their stench of overwhelmingly clean sterilizers that masqueraded the overwhelmingly sorrowful stench of death and disease. The atmosphere was heavy with it and even with all the disinfectant I was afraid to even look at something should a germ jump out and contaminate me with some kind of plague.  Germaphobe? Maybe. Did I care? Nope.  I had other things to worry about other than Osmosis Jones right now. We’d been here for hours and still I sat here in the waiting room.

Keno had insisted on going in with Ozzie, I was actually beginning to wonder if I should have taken him down lest he attack the doctor. In the end they let him through but he ordered me to stay here and, me being unable to comprehend and argue, I obliged.

I refused to sit in the chairs, they were hard, plastic and an old woman sat coughing and hacking her way to a better place. No, the unruly plastic chairs of hell were not an option, just the sight of them were an assault to the eyes, a plague of atrocity if you asked me. A dirt red brown and stained with a substance I pretended not to notice.

Instead I sat on the floor, I’d been here enough to know that they at least cleaned those obsessively, probably because the chairs were so revolting that no one but the woman would sit there anyway. I sat against the beige wall of the waiting room, holding my legs close to my chest and twirling a dagger between my fingers. The pestilence of a woman glared at me but I didn’t care, I was the one with the weapon here. I could be the bigger person, if not in stature then in control.

Unfortunately the fight was temporarily knocked out of me. I hated this feeling, as if the world was crashing and decaying around me. Right from under us, damn it, those a******s had taken him right out from under us.

“Damn it!” I shouted and impaled the cheap, white tiles of the floor much to the dismay of the desk nurse who’d tried to calm me down and get me to sit in a chair since I’d arrived. I received another glare from the woman and sent one back to her, much more petrifying by the speed in which her face drained of color. I let my head hit the back of the wall enough to induce pain, pinching was for pansies, I went for real pain to wake myself up.

“Don’t do that,” Keno caught my head before I could smash my skull against the abysmal beige again. I was on my feet instantly.

“How is he?” I asked. “He’s okay, right?”

The purple of his eyes were so dark it was barely a color, he was pissed but he was also devastated. He’d had one mission his whole life, protect his brothers, keep them alive and now…

“Keno,” I said and turned him to look at me.

“He can’t breathe on his own and he’s comatose,” Keno said finally. I felt my legs weakened and I sat in one of the plastic chairs, no longer caring how disgustingly horrendous they were. “He’s still alive, though, for now.”

I looked up at Keno, I must’ve been the only pessimist in the family, or realist, depending on how you looked at it. All he heard was that Ozzie was alive, all I heard was he’s dying.

He heard “there’s still hope,” I heard “we’re screwed.”

Faith is a funny thing, some have none while others have enough for you. I always knew my cynicism would get the best of me.

I pinched the bridge of my nose, trying to suppress the oncoming stress induced headache just as the door opened. Rain ran in, her face pale and eyes full of tears.

“Where is he?” She demanded. She didn’t have to ask his condition, she already knew.

Keno led us both down the hall to Ozzie’s room, a solo room with a large window near his bed, I was sure Keno had requested it. His bed was at an incline, wires all over the place and the machine showed an irregular heartbeat. Sometimes it was dangerously high, other times it was low. But, despite all that, he looked… peaceful, as if he were five years old again and had no cares in the world. I missed those days of utter bliss. If I could have one wish, it would to be to go back to that time.

Too bad genies didn’t really exist. That would be one wish, my other two were too gory to form into words.

Rain sat in the chair by his bedside and laid a hand on his forehead. Usually she took her patient’s hands but for Ozzie it was his forehead. She removed her hands and opened her eyes, looking at us crestfallen and downcast. She didn’t have to say it because I already knew, I could tell from the look in her eyes. But, at the same time, she had to say it, had to let Keno know because, God knew, he wouldn’t accept anything else.

“He’s gone.”

 

Rain and Keno had gone outside to talk further, I could’ve gone too but I couldn’t leave Ozzie alone. My eyes were moist with tears but I refused to let them fall, I had to have faith, I had to try. Ozzie would have, hell, he did, for us.

“I remember the phase you went through where you never wanted to be alone.” I said with a sad smile. “I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without you trying to follow me.”

I moved to sit on the edge of the bed and watched him sleep for a minute. “I kind of liked it, actually, made me feel like Superman. Then you grew up, none of us were expecting that, I mean with Keno it was expected since he still treats me like a baby too. I should’ve seen it coming though.” I laughed. “You were always little Ozzie and then, suddenly, you were acting like a goddamn martyr.”

My hand touched the smooth, round stone that hung from my choker necklace. I’d always had it, since I was a kid. Ozzie had given the stone to me the day after he’d almost drowned, he’d found it in the river, he’d said.

“I remember when you gave this to me,” I said and smiled. “‘To make the bad go away’ you said. I’ve worn it as a necklace ever since, to remind me that it’s my job to protect you and ‘make the bad go away.’”

I removed the necklace and placed it around his neck. “I’ll loan it out to you. Give it back when this s**t is over.”

“He probably can’t hear you,” Rain said somberly. I didn’t look up as she came in but I’d known she was there.

“Doesn’t hurt to try,” I said and she nodded.  I moved over to allow her to sit with me. “You knew.”

“Excuse me?” She asked.

“When you touched Keno’s hand last year, you saw this, you knew it was going to happen.” I said.

“I can’t see the future, Logan,” she sighed. “I just, saw his theories, what he thought would happen. Then I felt Ozzie’s spirit energy virtually disappear.”

“So, there’s no energy in the body?” I asked.

“No, there’s none of Ozzie’s energy there. Everyone’s energy is different.” Rain said. “He’s not there anymore.”

“Then who is?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she said.

“Would you really want to know?” I looked up at Kotori, sitting in the window sill.

“Where’ve you been?” I asked with narrowed eyes.

“What, you thought I was going to sit there while CCOR personnel ran around?” Kotori rolled his eyes and looked down at Ozzie. He glanced at me with suspicious cerulean eyes as I pulled up a short sword.

“I know your mission,” I said in a low, menacing tone. “Get one step closer and I will slit your throat.”

“Logan!” Rain cried.

“It is alright, Ms. Mahir,” Kotori said. “He is protecting his brother. I will just wait until he realizes there is nothing to protect.”

“I’m warning you,” I said through clenched teeth.

“I am not saying this to piss you off, Logan,” Kotori was serious, and not his usual seriousness, it was the life-or-death seriousness a Sa’harielan had in the midst of war. “I am telling you the truth! I was not set here because of hatred, I did not even know Oskar! I had a job and I was going to do it but I got too close and gave him a chance. He did not take it and now I am going to kill him before he kills all of us!”

“He’s not going to do that,” Rain shook her head.

“You only believe that because of the blindness your love causes,” Kotori said. “It is going to happen, no matter what you try to do. As soon as he opens his eyes you two had better be prepared!”

As if on cue, we all turned as the heart rate changed again. I stood once I saw violet eyes staring just past me, into a faraway place.

“Keno!” I called, knowing he was there talking with Bennett who’d probably arrived moments ago. They both came in to see Ozzie, eyes open and alert, at least I think they were alert. They were empty, soulless, but they were opened and they seemed to be staring straight at us.

“Doctors!” Bennett called as Keno and I went to Ozzie’s side.

“Ozzie?” I said but there was no response.

“Rain, is he here?” Keno asked after snapping his fingers in our brother’s face and receiving no response.

“No,” she shook her head. “I already told you, Keno, he’s gone.”

“And he is not coming back,” Kotori muttered. I’d never seen such a cold look on Keno’s face. I mean, yeah, he could have some pretty malevolent glares, but this one took the cake.

We stood back as Ozzie slowly stood up, ripping the wires from his arms, his attention was now on the window, in a faraway place at a faraway time.

“Oskar?” Keno said and touched Ozzie’s shoulder, he didn’t move.

“What’s going on?” Ila said and then realized Ozzie was up. “What? He’s… fine?”

“No,” Keno sighed. “He’s unresponsive.”

The vacant stare turned to us suddenly, as if he was finally registering our existence. He moved past us and began to walk out the door.

“Hey,” Bennett caught his arm.

“Ozzie, you have to stay with us,” Keno said as if he were speaking to a child. “We’re going to help you.”

There was no way to tell if he heard us, if he even saw us or was just sensing our energy. Keno sighed, rubbing his face, stressed.

“What are we going to do?” I asked and immediately turned before Kotori could speak. “We’re not doing that! Keno?”

“We’re going to find some answers, damn it.” Keno said. “And we’re doing it my way.”

“Your way is good,” I smirked. “I like your way.”

“Hey now,” we turned to look at the General. “You brought me into this, I‘m not losing my rank because of you three.”

He said that, but I had a feeling he didn’t mean it. Despite his better judgment he grew attached, he cared enough about us to want to help in any way he could.

“We have no other choice, General, you can turn a blind eye and then we can fill you in later.” Keno said. “But we’re doing this regardless.”

“If anyone asks the demons attacked us first,” Bennett mumbled as he grabbed his coat.

 

“There is nothing you can do to stop this, you have to see that, right?” Kotori whispered to me as we lurked around an old washed up part of the city, a place known to be the “Devil’s Keep.” It was full of supernatural beings, so many that even the CCOR were powerless and only had special missions to annihilate some of the creatures once every few months to every few years. There were little to no humans here, if there were humans then, chances were, they were just as frightening as the monsters.

Kotori was trying to keep his voice low enough so Keno couldn’t hear him, even the Sa’harielan was afraid of my big brother when it came to Ozzie and I and that wasn’t even surprising to me. I said nothing to him but kept walking, watching as Ozzie walked with a phantom-like grace beside Keno who was holding onto his shirt until his knuckles were white. There was no way he was letting go, never, but that was okay, Keno could fight with one hand tied behind his back and his feet glued to the ground and win.

“You should leave,” I warned. “I’m sure Keno won’t tolerate you being here much longer if you keep up with your goddamn mission.”

Kotori grabbed my arm and forcefully turned me to face him. “You have your selfish job and I have mine, except my job actually benefits humanity.”

“He’s my little brother, Kavanagh,” I said. “My only little brother; if you want to eliminate him, you’ll have to go through me first.”

“That can be arranged, Noir,” the Sa’harielan’s voice was just as low, and just as dangerous. I knew he’d keep his word, and I would be prepared. He shouted after me as I continued walking, catching up to Keno, Ozzie, and the General. “It is going to happen, Logan. I just do not want you to get disappointed.”

“What’s he blathering on about now?” Keno asked in a low voice, not to keep Kotori from hearing but to keep the demons from ambushing us rather than vice versa.

“Nothing,” I muttered.

“Does he have his papers?” Bennett asked finally but we ignored the question. “How many laws have you been breaking while my back was turned?”

“He’s the one following us,” Keno said. “Arrest him if you want but now is not the place nor time.”

“Why aren’t we attacking them?” Bennett whispered as he glanced around. We didn’t need the light or our transmitters to see the molten eyes watching us, creatures lurking in the shadows.

“We’re not looking for them,” Keno said. “We’re looking for a demon, a specific demon if at all possible.”

I slowed my pace, letting the shadows envelop me. Disappearing was something we’d learned to do early on, in the night it was just convenient but we could even do it in broad daylight. I slipped around a grimy corner to an old building that could probably empty the “Unsolved Case” cabinet if we took the time to look.

How the demon didn’t sense me, I don’t know, I didn’t really care either. When life gives you lemons, take down the damn demon before it bites a chunk out of your shoulder. I tackled the demon to the ground with a jab from my elbow and a kick in the knees. It was about to retaliate but Keno had his katana at its throat and the General his gun to the demon’s head.

“You’re not going to help at all, are you?” I asked as I watched Kotori leaning against the grimy alley wall.

“Why should I?” he shrugged.

“Maybe you should leave, Kotori,” it wasn’t really a suggestion like Keno made it sound. It was an order. Then his glare softened a fraction. “But we could really use your help.”

Desperation. It was something that Keno had rarely, if at all, but this was the first time I was actually able to see it in his eyes, his shoulders drooped uncharacteristically from it. Kotori sighed with the internal conflict; whether he wanted to admit it or not, we were his friends. He now had to pick between his friends, or his country that was only using him.

I could see him glancing over to Ozzie who was just standing there, his eyes just as blank as before and knew he’d made his decision. Putting his mission on hold again, he moved over to the demon and aimed the point of his arrowhead between its red eyes.

“We have got a few questions to ask you,” Kotori said with his devilish quirk of the lips. “If you be so kind.”

“What are you demons planning?” Keno asked. The demon grinned, revealing sharp, metallic teeth.

“It’s not my place to say,” it said with a hiss-like growl of a voice. “We’ve big plans that pathetic sheep like you can’t begin to fathom.”

“These aren’t the normal sheep, Bael,” we turned to see the other demon, the one we were looking for. The demon was sitting on the roof’s edge of the building that loomed over us, it jumped down to stand before us, for once it didn’t even glance in Ozzie’s direction.

“Hiero,” Bael said. “What are you doing?”

“Answer their question, Bael,” Hiero said, he was different from the others. His eyes seemed human to the untrained eye, his ears were rounded and his energy couldn’t be picked up on a transmitter. He was demon, but he was more human than the others. Ozzie had told us about him but I’d never seen him, not until now.

“You may be Master’s right hand,” Bael spat. “But I don’t take orders from a weakling like you. The kid has already begun the transformation, there’s nothing they can do to stop us now. Even if you betray your father and brethren to join them.”

Hiero moved so fast that I didn’t even see him go past us. His hand went through the other demon’s chest, black blood gushing from the hole where the demon’s black heart was beating slower and slower until it stopped.

“Master is not my father,” Hiero said. “And there’s no such thing as brethren in our world.”

“Hey,” Hiero turned to look at us. Kotori glared at him. “I wanted to do that.”

“It’s alright, Kotori,” Keno said. “This is the one we were after.”

“You can’t stop it,” Hiero said before we could even ask. “You’ve just been wasting your energy for the past ten years.”

“Shut up,” Keno said with his katana still ready. “We’re saving him.”

“You know, this is why humans get such a bad rap,” Hiero sighed. “It’s that goddamn faith that nothing bad can ever happen to you that makes you the number one target for demons. The faith and hope that some Almighty will save you but why would they? They’re the powerful ones, why would they give a damn about you humans?”

“Why you-”

“We don’t believe in any God or Almighty,” I interrupted Kotori.

“Good, that’s why I told Bael you aren’t like the other humans,” Hiero said.

“How do we stop it?” Keno asked. All our weapons had turned to him but he didn’t seem threatened.

“You can’t,” Hiero said.

“Bull,” I bared my teeth.

“Do you have any idea how long Master’s been planning this?” Hiero asked. “He’s been planning it for thousands of years, just waiting for the right time and the right human. We started the infection before he was born, before either of you were born actually but the virus didn’t take. Only with him. If you think Master would work that hard only to have a chance of the brat escaping then you’re up for some serious disappointment.”

I looked over at Keno, he’d take that pretty hard. We’d both been born without any harm, it should’ve been one of us to take the burden, not Ozzie. To Keno however, there was only one thought, one that I knew he was thinking even though I didn’t hear it.

“Then, the kid almost drowns eleven years ago,” Hiero continued. “I was just about to come and save him but then his energy grew tenfold. At the age of six he was already stronger than most demons in the world. That little stone you’ve been wearing? It’s called a Demon’s Tear, it’s a solidified form of energy that occurs when a mass amount of energy is released by a demon, the pressure turns it to stone. They’re extremely rare because most demons aren’t strong enough to make them. Ozzie, at the age of six, was.”

“That’s why you came to our house when you did,” Keno said.

“Yeah,” Hiero said. “We figured that he had the power to do our bidding just not the physique. We were going to take him and get him on our side before he got any stronger and got too used to being human.”

“Then why did you just… watch?” I asked and Hiero shrugged.

“Gave us some leeway,” it said. “And you two provided more protection than we ever could, we were able to do other preparations.”

“Why are you telling us this?” Bennett asked suspiciously.

“Because he was human once too,” Kotori answered. “When Ozzie turns he will be like him, a human-demon hybrid. Human enough to pass but demon enough to do damage.”

“That’s why our transmitters don’t pick up your energy,” I said and Hiero nodded.

“But I’m more human than demon, sure I have the energy and abilities,” Hiero said. “But I still have these… feelings. Master says they’ll pass, but I can’t ignore them. I don’t want the plans to go through.”

It was quiet, deathly quiet as we stared at the demon and he stared back at us. Thousands of years planning, seventeen years of execution, and he was backing out?

I pulled Keno aside, away from all of them and hoping Hiero was human enough to have poor hearing. “I don’t trust him.”

“I know,” Keno said. “But let’s think about it, what would he be gaining?”

“I don’t know, they’re demons, Keno!” I said. “Devious planning is their game! We might be missing something that he’ll take right out from under us! He could just be messing around or stalling us!”

“You’re right,” Keno sighed. “You’re right, there may be a way to save Ozzie and he’s trying to throw us off the trail.”

“He’s telling the truth,” Bennett whispered to us. “They only tell the truth when the truth is more hurtful.”

“How can you help us then?” Kotori asked.

“He can’t,” Keno muttered and walked over to where Ozzie stood.

“Keno,” I started but had nothing to say.

“No, I can’t help the brothers,” Hiero said.

“Please,” Keno looked at the demon. “Isn’t there any way? We’ll do anything.”

“Even if I could, why should I?” Hiero asked. “Why should I risk life and limb for the likes of you?”

“You’re more human than demon,” Keno shrugged.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t help you,” Hiero said and turned his back on us. I was happy to see him go but Keno looked less than enthused, as if our one and only option was now walking away.

 

When we’d first lost mom all those years ago, I remember sitting by Keno at the fire while Ozzie slept. I was cold, hungry, and terrified beyond belief. I sat on the uninviting ground shivering while my older brother sat there as if he’d been home reading a book. Not even a goddamn goose bump.

“Aren’t you cold or hungry?” I had asked but received no reply. “Or even scared?”

“Of course I’m scared,” he finally answered. “I’m afraid that I can’t take care of the two of you but I promise, Logan, I’ll work my damnedest to make sure that you won’t have to be scared because nothing is ever going to happen to you.”

He kept to that promise to the point where it was an obsession and a little annoying. Now, after all we’d gone through, just for it to end up like this? I don’t know who was taking it harder, me or Keno.

“It should’ve been me,” Keno said quietly as we watched Ozzie who sat by the window back at the hotel.

“What?” I asked only half listening.

“I was the first born,” he said. “It should’ve been me to have to go through this.”

“Don’t bang up on yourself,” I said. “If it’d been you, Oz and I wouldn’t even be able to push forward.”

“Still,” he sighed. “I’m sorry.”

Whether he’d been saying it to me, Ozzie, or someone else, I couldn’t tell. I patted him on the shoulder, it was a weak gesture but it was the only thing I could do. Keno rubbed his tired face and we both went back to silence if only for a moment.

“I’ll take first watch,” I said. “Go get some sleep.”

“Are you sure?” he asked and I nodded.

“I won’t be able to sleep just yet,” I said quietly and he gave me a light punch on the shoulder.

“No falling asleep,” he said and I rolled my eyes.

“I did that one time!”

“You do that all the time,” he said but didn’t wait for a reply. Alright, so maybe I did nod off whenever it was my watch but to blame me wouldn’t be fair. I couldn’t help it that I was tired and lazy.

This time I wouldn’t fall asleep though, Keno probably knew that just like I knew he wouldn’t be getting any sleep either. He would try though, which was more than I was going to do. The light went out in the other room and I swiveled on the couch to look over at Ozzie. He hadn’t budged since we came back, not an inch, but just sat at the window looking up at the sky.

“I know you’re still in there,” I said quietly. I was mostly trying to please myself. Ozzie had always been interested in the moon, in the sky that we couldn’t see, it looked as though he still was. I touched his shoulder only to feel as though I’d licked an outlet. A wave of energy ran through my body and suddenly I felt tired and drained.

I removed my hand from his shoulder to look at it. It was a little red but the color soon faded but I was still very tired all of a sudden. I flexed my numb fingers a few times, unsure of what just happened. That was definitely not normal. Stating the obvious, I know, but it was the only thought that came to mind. The other thought I put back into the recesses of my mind to the part of my brain that held all denials. No, I wouldn’t entertain that particular thought, I would never accept that to be true.

And yet, part of me clung onto that thought as if it was the only one.

 




© 2010 Rocki-san



Author's Note

Rocki-san
Switching POVs.... I actually like Logan's POV... it's something different and his cynicism is something I can relate to...
I mean..
I'm a very positive person <.< >.>

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Added on November 20, 2010
Last Updated on November 20, 2010


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Rocki-san
Rocki-san

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Hey, I'm Rocki! I live on a 14-mile long island where there isn't really anything to do so I write. I'm an Anthropology major and willing to read your stories or books if requested as long as you give.. more..

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