Chapter 24

Chapter 24

A Chapter by Rocki-san

"Park here, we'll walk the rest of the way," Hiero said and broke the silence.

We stopped at the outskirts of a town of ruins. No light on the streets or in the broken buildings, no city noise. Abandoned.

I got out of the van to look around the vaguely familiar ruins. An old train station, a few warehouses, rubble from buildings that I had relished the sound of their eventually inevitable fall. We'd been here months ago. Goddamn it all.

"This way," Hiero said and stopped suddenly. "Now, we either do this smart or we don't do it at all but at the end of the day something will be done. Understood?"

I could tell that he was mostly speaking to Keno and I so we nodded and followed on silent feet. The old city was like a maze and we the lab rats desperately trying to find the center to avoid shocks and hunger. Hiero knew the path like the back of his hand despite it being pitch black. We finally came upon the only building in the city with light, an ancient church illuminated by firelight from candles and lamps. We moved around to the side of the old church and peered into one of the stained-glass windows depicting martyrs long past.

Ozzie stood before the altar, his eyes just as dark and fathomless as before if not darker. He looked as if he was alone but I knew too well that he wasn't.

Despite the candlelight the roof was black, blacker than the moonless sky. Red eyes were the only thing to be seen up there as they watched his every move. A large black mass with silver metallic eyes spilled into being, flowing over to where my little brother stood. He wasn't as big as before but that was due to lack of space. He was still eight feet tall and his eyes just as limpid as ever.

Master, as he apparently dubbed himself, circled around Ozzie as if he were inspecting the craftsmanship of an item before purchase. A long, black claw stroked Ozzie's hair and then his cheek. I'd seen the monster do it before, I'd heard Ozzie awake in the night from nightmares too dark to retell and I'd seen the shiver run down his spine as he looked at himself in the mirror, all from the strokes of those claws. Now, there was nothing. Just an empty shell and it was that b*****d's fault.

"My pet," the demon cooed with a voice of ground glass and acid. "It is time, my pet. Yes, it is time."

The demon turned pupiless eyes to gaze around the church. "Hiero!"

The half demon disappeared from our side to materialize in the aisle. He was rigid and stared at Ozzie's back the whole time. "Yes, my liege?"

"I feel several life forces, what is it?" Master said and looked towards the window just as we ducked.

"Rats most likely, this city is filled with them." Hiero said and Master turned away.

"We are ready to begin," Master said and cackled with glee. He turned to Ozzie, stroking him as if he were the family dog. "Are we not?"

"It would appear so, Master," Hiero said and the bigger demon cackled again.

"A thousand years of planning and waiting," Master lifted Ozzie's limp left hand and pulled out a steel dagger. Slitting the palm of Ozzie’s hand and squeezing the blood out onto an array beneath the altar, the demon stepped back and watched as an explosion of light burst through the church, shattering the glass over our heads.

The orb started out small, a sickly little thing of grotesque gray light and black swirls. It was no bigger than a small apple but it was pulsating like a heart. The energy was pulsating too, I could actually feel it flow through Ozzie before coming out to us; I could feel pieces of my soul being pulled away and added to the little ball which started to grow slowly but surely.

"Take as much energy as you need, from the humans, the trees, let them fuel their own demise!" Master said with insane glee. I saw Hiero look over to our window, it was our only signal.

We burst through said window with blades at the ready and I heard the angry hiss of Master before he swatted Hiero away.

"Traitorous snake!" the demon gurgled. "I knew I should have destroyed your mind as I did the boy!"

"Let Ozzie go," Keno waved his blade threateningly but the demon didn't seem to mind. He did have the army of course.

They dropped down like something you'd see in a horror movie. Their molten eyes locked onto us and gleaming metal teeth bared, hungrily searching for blood. I'd never seen so many demons in one place let alone in their real forms. I sliced open the neck of the nearest one as it lunged and the battle was on.

I wanted to go for that pompous b*****d but hung back to keep the minion demons from attacking dad and Keno as they fought him. The church turned into an instant bloodbath and the fact that we were in God's house only crossed my mind once. It didn’t stop me though, only put more fuel on the fire.

I severed the arm of a demon as it lunged at me with grasping claws. It shrieked momentarily as black sludge spewed from its shoulder before I killed it. The bodiless arm still moved with alacrity, grabbing onto my ankle and drawing blood before freezing in death.

"D****t!" I shouted and painfully ripped it off without stopping the fight.

Behind me Kotori, Bennett, and even Hiero were fighting their way through the melee. The ground was now glazed in black demon blood with a few specks of human red making every step slippery.

I somehow made it to the opposite side of the church of Keno and dad, stuck between the door and altar. Between escape and salvation.

"We're running out of time!" Hiero shouted over the demonic battle cries. I glanced briefly at the altar to see Oz still standing motionless but the heart-like orb had grown a hundred fold. It was now bigger than the stained glass behind it and took up most of the altar. It was still growing.

"Keno," I could hear dad shout to my older brother. "This has to end."

“It will, once we get the demon,” Keno refused to look at him.

“No, son, remember what I told you.” Dad said and Keno’s face went white.

"He's your son!" Keno argued but I could tell he knew it was no use.

"With no world what good will that do me?" Niall replied. I finally understood all their hidden meanings. This needed an end and we were running out of time to find the ideal one. They couldn't take Master down and even if they could what good would it do? There was only one way out and now I knew what that was and I felt sick just thinking about it. That nagging thought was now a reality.

"If you don't do it, one of us will," Hiero said. Keno looked around the room, trying to find an escape but there was none. The half-demon, the general, the Sa'harielan assassin who had tagged along with us for this reason. Then his eyes set on me. Guilt, desperation, apology, defeat and uncertainty. I saw it all in that brief glance. He didn't know what the hell to do.

 He'd vowed to never let anything harm us, vowed to keep us safe. He couldn't do it, couldn't do what had to be done. I didn't blame him. Keno looked away from us all and went back to fighting. Niall sighed and then it was his turn to look at me.

“Something has to be done quickly!” Kotori shouted, even he seemed to be overwhelmed from the fight.

"Do what you have to do," the words played through my mind even if he hadn't said them this time. He’d whispered those words to me at the hotel, just before he left again. I hadn't known his meaning then but I knew it now.

"D****t!" I shouted and started towards the altar, hacking and slashing my way through and slipping only once on the blood. Sure, Hiero or Kotori could have done it but I had to be the one to do this. It had to be Keno or I, we had been with Ozzie from the beginning, raised him on our own and now we had to be the ones to set him free. I just wish it could have been different.

Something hard knocked me to the ground and I shoved the demon gnawing on my neck off and turned to Bennett.

"Keep me covered!" I snapped. He didn't take it personally but did as I said until I finally reached the altar.

Hair billowing in the artificial breeze, eyes empty, Ozzie didn't even turn as I stood before him with glazed eyes.

"Ozzie!" I said and repeated before he finally turned to me; face as hard set as stone. Could he still be in there? Repressed by the demon inside? I was going to try my damnedest to find out once and for all.

"Ozzie," I said it softer this time and moved closer to him. "It's me, Logan."

I barely finished my sentence before he held up a hand and I was catapulted into the air and smashed into a column. The wind was temporarily knocked out of me and breathing momentarily painful but I got to my feet. Keno still fought in the corner but I knew he was watching, listening, ready to stave off anything that would interfere.

"Wake up, d****t!" I shouted and blocked his punch, it was a distraction that I should've picked up on; Ozzie was left-handed and therefore should have punched with his left rather than right. His left hand touched my stomach and what felt like a thousand volts of electricity streamed painfully through my body. I felt it through my veins and fell to my knees.

He’d done it before and I only now knew what he was doing. He was stealing my energy, using the energy he was taking from me and then turning it back on me. Little b*****d.

"Logan-" I could hear Keno but the thousands of little dots covering my vision kept me from seeing him.

"I'm okay," I said and stood, my attention back on Ozzie. "Don't you remember me, Ozzie? Remember sitting on the hill back home on warm summer nights? Or pretending to fly as the wind flapped our clothes? Don't you remember?"

He didn't.

Again I flew through the air to smash into a dangerously crumbling wall. Rubble fell down to hit me and I covered my head with my arms. Shaking off the dust, I stood again.

"Do what you have to do."

They'd all known, right from the start. Keno, Niall, hell even Ozzie had known!

That's why he'd made Kotori promise to finish his mission, why he'd asked Keno and I to make sure he didn't change because he knew he would. He'd known this moment would come. Was I the only idiot around here? I, the pessimistic one, had let my guard down, given up my title because I thought there was another way. For once, I was wrong to be positive.

I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, Ozzie stood there, waiting for me to come at him. I dodged his hand and avoided touching him if I could. I knew what I had to do but could I bring myself to do it? I kicked him back and he slid a few feet, I'd always been stronger and quicker than Ozzie but that meant nothing now. He'd taken most of our energy but luckily he was taking the demons' as well. Ozzie stared at me emotionlessly and I knew that my look was the same, it had to be. I couldn't do this without discarding my emotions as well.

Finally he charged at me and I stepped back to brace myself, my hand moved swift and confidently without hesitation until I felt leather in my grasp. The impact sent a shock through my arm, the pain from the wounds I’d received earlier could barely be felt under the warmth of the blood that poured over my hands.

 I caught him as he collapsed, his head in my shoulder as I kept him from falling. More liquid gushed over my hands and a similar stream spilled over my cheeks. So much for discarding emotions.

"I'm sorry."




© 2011 Rocki-san



Author's Note

Rocki-san
Uber short...

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Added on January 12, 2011
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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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