Chapter 22

Chapter 22

A Chapter by Rocki-san

And here I thought I wouldn’t be able to sleep. Once Keno took over, I brushed my teeth and got into bed, falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. I didn’t dream that night, something new for me. I always dreamed, it didn’t really matter whether or not they were good or bad-though usually they were pretty horrific- but that night I didn’t have any dreams at all.

At first I was relieved, I hadn’t had any nightmares, score 1 for the artificial red head! But then it just seemed unnatural to me. I always dreamed, so why didn’t I this time? I was rested, that much was apparent, I hadn’t tossed or turned, hadn’t torn any sheets so I hadn’t had a nightmare. But I was still miserable so there weren’t any good dreams either.

It was funny how the human mind worked. If I’d had nightmares, I would have wished to not have any dreams but now I was wishing that I’d at least had one of the recurring nightmares. I needed the consistency, the normalcy, even if it was a gut-churning nightmare. I just needed something that I was familiar with.

“Sleep well?” Keno asked only to receive an inarticulate mumble as the reply.

He was sipping coffee, he never drank coffee, even when he was up three days straight taking both Ozzie and my watches. Keno didn’t drink coffee. I stared at the mug in his hand before taking it and dumping it out to make him tea instead.

“So what’s the problem?” He asked as I placed the tea in front of him.

“Too many changes at once,” I muttered. “Don’t do that.”

“Sorry,” he sighed and looked over to the couch where Ozzie was laying, eyes wide open but not as alert.

“Did anything happen last night after I went to sleep?” I yawned and watched as he took a sip of the tea, looked into the mug with distaste and pushed the mug away. Looks like I’ll have to cross tea shop off my list of life-long dreams.

“Not really?” he said but seemed unsure. I stared at him, hadn’t I said I wanted normalcy? “Well, he mostly sat at the window all night, he didn’t move at all but…”

“But?” I asked and took the mug to sniff the tea. It didn’t look that bad! I sipped it and made a face before getting up and dumping the tea.

“He was glowing,” Keno said quietly, looking at his hands.

“Oh,” it was all I could say, the statement was almost like a punch in the gut and the nagging thought was now at it again. All we knew was that Ozzie was changing but we still weren’t sure what that really meant. Every moment Ozzie seemed a little different, a little changed, a little farther away than he had been just seconds before.

No, he’s still there, I thought to myself as I cleaned the mug with a white knuckled grip.

“I don’t know what he was doing,” Keno sighed, bringing me out of my thoughts. “But when I went outside this morning there was a girl on the ground, she’d been possessed.”

“So, Ozzie expelled the demon in her?” I asked and Keno shrugged.

“That’s the only hypothesis I came up with,” Keno said. “There’s no way to prove or disprove it though.”

“Huh,” I said and wiped the soap off my hands. “Where’s Kotori?”

“I don’t know,” Keno sighed. “If we didn’t need all the help we could get I’d send him away but we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.”

“Yeah,” I sighed. “Keno, what if…what if Ozzie’s… if he’s not-”

“Don’t,” Keno declined the idea immediately. “Ozzie’s still in there, we’ll find a way to help him, Logan. You’ve just got to have faith.”

“That’s not really something I’m good at,” I said.

“Can you at least try?” Keno asked with a hint of annoyance.

Here we go.

“Yeah but I’m not making any promises,” I grumbled. “I was a born pessimist.”

“And sometimes you’re just a little too pessimistic,” Keno crossed his arms.

“Well sometimes you have a little too much faith,” I copied the gesture. “Seriously you and Ozzie are always like ‘Oh, things will go great in the end!’ ‘It’ll be okay, just have faith!’ You can’t just run on faith, Keno, it’ll come back and bite you in the a*s!”

“And you can’t always just assume that once something happens it can’t be reversed. You have to fight for things, Logan, it’s the only way to survive. You can’t just give up.”

“Whatever,” I muttered.

“Ozzie wouldn’t have given up on you,” Keno said quietly and I turned to look at him.

“I know,” I sighed. “But it’s hard to have faith when the world is constantly putting you down.”

“We’ll be okay, Logan,” Keno said and I immediately had to walk away. He’d said it again, he always said that and I was beginning to think that he knew it pissed me off. He knew I hated it when he tried to baby me like that, “It’ll be okay, there’s no monster under the bed, go back to sleep!”

When we were kids he was the one that made me think there was a monster there in the first place! Now he was trying to tell me it was okay? That everything would be fine when I knew that it wouldn’t?

I was not a child anymore and I wasn’t stupid.

Things were definitely not okay.

 

“Where’ve you been?” I asked as Kotori swung in through the window.

“Out,” he said and offered up an orange that I declined. “So do we just sit here until the demons come then?”

“Don’t know,” I sighed with a shrug. “We’re supposed to wait here with Ozzie while Keno and Bennett come up with something.”

“So, you are still sitting poultry,” Kotori said and I sighed.

“Yup,” I muttered and watched as Ozzie stood up.

“Still believe he is in there?” Kotori asked as I watched my little brother.

“Stop talking,” I murmured. “Because I don’t know any more.”

“Logan-“

“Shut up, Kotori,” I said and held my aching head.

We were interrupted by the sound of scratching through the wall. I was on my feet immediately with my dagger out. I looked over to see that Kotori had fallen back to the shadows while I moved over to the window.

I pulled Ozzie back and looked outside the open window into the cold of the night. The street lamp below flickered as snow started to drift down lazily to the streets, creating sparkles of white. How poetic.

I closed the window and turned back to the living room, ducking suddenly and covering my head as the sound of shattering glass was heard and the small crystalline pieces scattered about the floor. I turned, pulling out my gun and shot the demon that had not quite fallen out the window, its claws gouging into the wall.

It fell with an ear piercing shriek to the snowy street below but I didn’t stop to watch it hit the pavement. Instead, I turned to see the whole apartment filled to the brim with black hellish demons with lava red eyes. I dodged the grasping claws of one demon only to land in the hands of another.

The claws scratched deep into my left shoulder, leaving four long gashes in my skin. I elbowed it and turned, having to cut off the hand in order to free myself. The blood splattered onto the wound, turning it black. Human blood and demon blood didn’t mix very well, in fact the demon blood usually dominated. The scar would be black, and wounds near the scar would be black too unfortunately. But that didn’t really matter much to me at the time.

I decapitated the same demon and turned to stab the other but it vanished before my blade struck it. I was ready for it to appear behind me, though, and shot it as soon as it materialized. One of the larger demons punched me and I crashed through the wall.

“There’s too many Logan,” Kotori shouted over to me and I looked up to see that he was completely surrounded. “We don’t stand a chance, we have to retreat!”

“Just keep fighting!” I shouted back and ran over to cut down the demon’s that surrounded Ozzie, removing the arm of one that groped his leg. “Come on, Ozzie, don’t just sit there, help us!”

“He doesn’t understand you, Logan!” Kotori said condescendingly. He usually fought with bows and arrows, now he was fighting hand to hand with a dinky little dagger. Well no wonder he was so down in the dumps.

I was hit from behind and hurtled over the couch which turned over as I rolled. I looked up to see that it wasn’t a demon that had hit me, it was Ozzie.

“You little-” It wasn’t like I could really blame him, he “wasn’t aware”, he “wasn’t himself” and he definitely didn’t mind the demon invasion.

Before I could stand up again, I was kicked in the ribs until they cracked. The demon grabbed me by the throat, its claws sinking deep into my skin. I kicked out, hitting the demon in the chin and it dropped me, making me hit my head hard, hard enough that it started throbbing and I was seeing spots. I rolled over before it stomped on me only to have another land on my back. It didn’t look heavy, looked incredibly light, but the fact was that it weighed a ton.

I struggled under the demon’s weight, my lungs crushed by it and breathing became hard. Suddenly the demon was thrown off, and I took a second to catch my breath and turned to see a pile of ash. I looked up as Ozzie stopped glowing.

It looked as though Keno’s “hypothesis” was correct. Lucky him.

With effort I stood up and looked over to see Kotori on the ground. The demons started filing out at rapid speed, as if following an unspoken order. I should’ve shot some, taken down as many as I could while their backs were turned but my finger on the trigger was limp as I watched.

It was only when Ozzie started to follow them that I was able to react. I grabbed his arm and tried to pull him back but he didn’t move.

“Ozzie you have to stay here!” I said with annoyed rage.

“Logan-” Kotori managed to get up on one elbow but I ignored him.

“Oskar!” I shouted louder but it didn’t do anything. Instead, he twisted my arm and threw me to the side. Again, I hit my head and this time everything started to get fuzzy. For a minute, I forgot what was going on, I forgot that I’d been fighting but I could see the results as I laid on the floor, looking at the room.

The whole place had been trashed, holes could be seen in the wall, and furniture destroyed and turned over. Blood, both human and demon, everywhere along with the black stains of where demons were felled.

I looked up as Ozzie stood over me, placing a boot over my head. I shouldn’t have just lain there, I should’ve taken him down as well, at least made him unconscious, but I couldn’t move. I could just watch as he decided against smashing my skull, placing his boot on the ground, turning his back on me, and then disappearing into the night.

 

Three strikes and you’re out. I was no baseball umpire but I knew the meaning of those words. This was the third time we’d lost Ozzie in the past year and whether or not this was a charm or our final strike had yet to be seen.

How long we’d been unconscious, I wasn’t sure, probably only an hour or two but when I came to, it felt like a year. I awoke to find that I was in the hotel room, no, it wasn’t the same one, a new one. I could tell from the lack of battle scars.

I hissed with pain as alcohol was poured on my arm and looked over as Ila finished bandaging up the scars on my shoulder. I glared at her but she neither noticed nor would she have cared as she moved over to bandage up Kotori who was sitting in the recliner.

“Logan?” I looked up at Keno. “Where’s Ozzie?”

Keno was almost unbearable when he worried about us. He became a whole new person, changed  but the jury was still out on if it were a change for the better. I didn’t think so, but what would I know? I was a pessimist.

Keno paces when he’s agitated, he fumes when he’s worried and he’s a dragon when he’s pissed off. What he was now was a mixture of the three and I found myself checking the floor for ruts and looking for a fire extinguisher. Like I said, unbearable.

“No, don’t worry, I’m fine! A broken rib or two, bruised lungs and incapacitated arm but that’s alright.” I muttered and felt my head. I was still seeing spots as I sat up but they soon disappeared. Headaches. I hate headaches.

“Logan,” Keno sighed. “Please don’t back sass me.”

“I don’t know,” I muttered and tried to roll my shoulder. A sharp pain ran through my arm but I could still move it, this was good. “He just walked off.”

“Walked?” Kotori scoffed.

“Well excuse me for drifting off into unconsciousness!” I snapped.

“You need to relax,” Ila ordered. “You’ll open your wounds again.”

“Why is she here?” I asked.

“Hey, I healed you!” Ila said.

“Thanks,” I said with a little embarrassment. Keno was back to pacing again and I sighed. “Keno, I’m sorry!”

“You have nothing to be sorry for, I shouldn’t have left you alone here,” Keno said and stopped to rub a hand across his face. The door opened as the General stepped in, drenched from the rain that had started outside. “Any sign of him?”

“No,” Bennett said as he shook the water off his jacket.

“D****t,” Keno said with frustration, looking up to the ceiling as if it had the answers he was looking for. “Logan, what about the tracker you put on him?”

“Destroyed in the ogre cave,” I muttered.

“Goddammit!” Keno shouted and moved over to the phone. “Where’s the number Niall gave you?”

“What-?”

“Where is it Logan?” Keno cut in before I could pretend I didn’t know what he was talking about. I handed him the small, crinkled piece of paper dad had slipped into my hand just before he left.

“I already tried him, he didn’t answer-”

“Niall? It’s Keno… we need your help.”




© 2010 Rocki-san



Author's Note

Rocki-san
GAH! So close to being finished T.T
Maybe two or three more chapters....
Then it'll be all posted....

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Added on November 24, 2010
Last Updated on November 24, 2010
Tags: ANWA saga, sci-fi, supernatural and occult


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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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