Chapter 22: To Believe And To Not (Chronicles of Time)
Natsumi snapped out of her dreams, following that bright white line that showed itself in the darkness. She knew it was leading her to the exit. When she opened her eyes, the first thing she saw was someone beside her.
Snow-white hair and a red mark on his forehead. It wasn’t Yuu. She couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Mustering up her strength, she glanced around the room and her eyes finally landed on her desired target.
But then, some rando interrupted their conversation. It was yet another beautiful boy, but this time, he claimed to be a god. Just how many times has she seen this scene play out? First, she finds Yuu packed away in a safe who bursted out of the space he occupied for years and boldly says that he’s her fiancee and an almighty wizard. Then she finds out that Koru was actually an Okami (which she happily accepted) who’s in charge of her protection. Now there’s this short boy who claims to be her grandfather? And a god?
Outrageous! Just how many people in their lives can meet such a divine individual?! Who’s next? Satan?
As if things weren’t crazy enough the boy suddenly blurts out, “Don’t you want to get revenge on this man who killed your parents?!”
Shocked, but confused, she felt something slip out of her hands and crash onto the ground. “...What are you talking about?”
Yuu…killed her parents?
“What nonsense are you spewing?” Her voice rose higher and higher as she spoke in disbelief, firmly defending him. “Yuu wouldn’t do that! Besides, my parents were killed in an accident!”
“Ha!” the boy spat viciously. “Is that what they’ve told you? Humans and their wonderful concoction ability! They’ve weaved a miserable–but believable–story to pull wool over your eyes! If you don’t believe me, why don’t you ask him yourself?”
In a fit of fury, she turned to him. “Yuu–”
Deadpanned, he opened his mouth to speak. “Natsumi….Let me ask you, would you like to hear the truth or a beautifully embellished lie?”
Her hands scrunched up the bedsheets underneath her. “What? What are you saying? Of course I want to hear the truth!”
The truth behind her parents death? Wasn’t it obvious that they died in a car accident? It couldn’t be a lie. Everyone told her that was how their lives ended, so how could it be a lie? Yuu killing her parents? That was more like a lie! It couldn’t be! In her heart, she firmly believed that he would never do such a thing. He couldn’t do such a thing.
However, his emotionless expression forebode an answer that didn’t please her beliefs.
“That’s right.” He said calmly. “I killed them.”
There was no way that this was the same person she knew. Her whole body began to shake, her hands clenching onto the sheets, about to tear it off. “You’re…you’re joking…aren’t you? Ha…haha…ha….”
He stayed silent, his eyes locked onto hers. They were hollow, like those of a dead man’s. As if the situation couldn’t get any worse, he just had to repeat himself, “I killed them.”
Natsumi held her gaze on him, her breathing slow. “You…killed them?”
It was brief, but it seemed as though Yuu hesitated. He reiterated, “I killed them.”
Her breath shuddered, “So…why…why did you…ha..haha…why would you… What about all the times we shared…? Was it…was it just a joke to you? Why…why…?”
“What do you want me to say?” He said. “‘I’m sorry’?”
Unable to help herself, she scoffed in disbelief, “Are you…are you serious? You..? You really..?”
“I would never lie to you,” he said. If she heard this from him before this entire mess, she would’ve been elated. But now–
She felt something snap inside of her, and something else shattering. Before she even knew it, she was shouting at the top of her lungs. “You’re lying! You’re lying! LYING! LYING! YOU LIAR! I DON’T BELIEVE YOU! I WON’T BELIEVE YOU! I WON’T! WON’T! WON’T!”
She covered her ears as she continued to shout. She couldn’t believe it. She won’t believe it. Yuu whom she trusted; Yuu who messed around with her; Yuu who she thought of as her best friend! Just why did he approach her with bloodstained hands?! The same hands that had killed her parents, the same hands that had cooked for her, the same ones that she had held.
JUST WHAT WAS HIS PURPOSE?!
Why did he save her then?! Why did he save the child of the two people that he murdered?? Why did he stay with her? Why did he appear before her? And–and–just why?!!
Akira swallowed with difficulty. It should’ve been a happy time now that his master had woken up, but why did the situation do a complete one-eighty? Just a few words from his elder agitated the joyful mood from earlier. To bring such an old case into light and point out the real culprit who turned out to be next to the victim’s side all along–just what sort of sickly proposition was this?
But his elder was also stunned. Natsumi’s shouts of stubbornness from opening her eyes to the truth in front of her were out of nowhere. If he had known that bringing up the subject would result in this capricious reaction, he would’ve just chosen to quietly get rid of the magician later on.
He took a step back.
Just what did he start?
Yuu’s words had driven her to a spate of screams. “YOU’RE LYING! LYING!”
After a while of madness her throat finally gave away. The sudden burst of energy from before, died. She dragged herself up, her head leaned back slightly to face him. Her eyes were as dead as his. Dark and sullen, with a small flame growing in her iris.
He stared at her with that cold gaze. A gaze of a person who had already prepared for the worst.
“Why?” She struggled to say. Thick heat crawled up her throat, like a heavy block of hot metal melting in her throat and refusing to move down. It burned and hurted, just as much as her heart. “Why? Why?! …Can’t you tell me the reason…at least? Can’t you say…that you didn’t do it? Any—any excuse…any reason…just anything!”
From her childhood memories, her parents were kind people. They were well-liked, and she had never heard anyone complain about them. Not once. They were truly parents to be proud of and brag about. Showers of affection and words filled with warmth were given to her everyday. Natsumi was never mistreated in any way…so what did they do that made them deserve to be killed?
Yuu lowered his head so his eyes were no longer visible. His nails dug into his palms but she didn’t see it.
“...you can’t even tell me that?” She laughed a little in disbelief. “YOU CAN’T EVEN TELL ME THE REASON WHY MY PARENTS WERE KILLED BY YOU?! HA…HA HA…DID YOU JUST KILL THEM BECAUSE YOU WERE BORED OR SOMETHING, AND SO YOU MADE UP A BUNCH OF–A BUNCH OF LIES OUT OF GUILT A-AND APPROACHED ME KNOWING THAT YOU WERE THE CAUSE OF MY PARENT’S DEATH?!”
She could still remember the pain she suffered when the mental blow came. The way her grandma, the only living relative she had left, walked to her with her steps unsteady. The way she bent down and pushed her face into her shoulders, and told her in a bare whisper:
“Your parents…are gone.”
The moment that she refused to believe her words and smiled innocently like the child she was and replied simply, “What are you saying, grandma? Mom and dad promised me that they’ll cook curry tonight.” And the moment when she saw their caskets being carried up the platform covered in flowers. The sound of close acquaintances weeping and the looks of pity that bore into her skin. That bitter slap of reality that told her, “You’re alone now”.
She remembered them all!
“WHO ARE YOU TO BEFRIEND ME?!” She threw the nearest object to her at him. What aggravated her even more was that he didn’t dodge and accepted the blow. “WHY DID YOU SAVE ME?!! WHO WERE YOU…no…who are you…?”
She let out an indignant scoff.
“Alright… Don’t reply...I…I see how it is.” Natsumi nodded slowly, letting out an irritated huff. Then she poured all her anger into her last shout. “GET OUT! GET OUT!! I DON’T…I DON’T EVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN!”
For a split moment there was a pained expression on his face. But it vanished quickly.
“..as you wish.”
Her eyes shook as she stared at the empty place where his figure once stood. Just as fast as he had left, she regretted telling him to leave.
‘He…really left.’ She wanted to cry. Like a piece of her heart was ripped out, her whole body was sobbing. Her lips trembled. “No…I didn’t mean it…come back…”
Would it have been better if she had just never woken up at all?
How long has it been since he had heard her yell? How long has it been since he last saw her in such a deranged state?
Then, little by little, his hands became increasingly unsteady. No matter how many times he experienced this he couldn’t get used to it. Inside, he laughed at himself. Why did he keep doing this to himself? Was he a masochist? Did he like getting stabbed in the heart repeatedly?
Instead of defending himself, he handed her the knife and provoked her to stab him. It was alright if he got lashed at if that meant she could vent her anger and anguish on him. Every. Single. Time. But that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt. He was also human. Every time he saw her breakdown, every time he saw her cry–cry over his mistakes. But this time–
It was too painful. More heart-wrenching than he thought it’d be. All the weight from the times before collapsed onto him. It was too much. Too much. Too many emotions that were hard to control.
“What did I expect?” He mumbled. “Once again…I couldn’t protect her…and only brought harm.”
No matter how cold and distant he acted, his heart was gentle. He fell to his knees and laughed and laughed crazily. Midway, choking sobs started to mix with his laughs. “Just…how…useless am I? I couldn’t…even do…one thing...one thing…right…ha! Haha! Ha!”
No one could hear him. He was all alone, just as he wished. His hands dug through his scalp as he pulled and scratched as he cried. Cried about how powerless he was; how stupid he was; how utterly incapable he was. He had thought that as long as she was safe, all would be well. But now? Everything fell apart again. Were his methods wrong? Was he not supposed to save her? How could he not?
Then what was the mistake? Approaching her? Talking to her? Drinking in her smile?
Or maybe…was he…was he…the mistake?
The sky was darkened and filled with twinkling dots by the time he raised his head with a wisp of clarity. His voice had become hoarse from restraining his cries, and the rim of his eyes were worn out.
He swayed as he started to walk. With each step, his mind was drowned in the ocean of tears he held back. And then–
‘But I did it…to protect you.’
#novel #fantasy #fiction
Chapter 21: A Storm is Brewing (The Chronicles of Time)
The lines of spiritual power Akira released slowly wrapped itself around the soul, providing it no loophole to escape. It squirmed with resistance as he entered it. Controlling his powers, he lowered his fingers slowly. More spiritual power poured out of him like tentacles, dragging the soul towards its former body. It struggled, but his powers that were absorbed into it slowly merged with the soul’s power and gained control over it.
Once a soul has parted with the body, its defenses are weak. It couldn’t blast powers like it once could when it had a solid host; in other words, it was incorporeal. Malevolent creatures like demons or evil would then seize that opportunity to devour it. Fresh souls that had just detached themselves were the most appetizing.
At that moment, black wisps of smoke emerged through the walls and cracks in the room.
“Damn it!” Yuu cursed as the wisps of smoke started to transform and take shape. “Soul-eaters–they just have to appear now!”
Sharp jagged teeth, long slimy purple tongues with dark black saliva dripping down, and a large eye planted in the middle of their tiny bodies, rolling around madly. It fit every characteristic that defined the appearance of a soul-eater—no mistake. They shrieked in joy at the sight of a rare soul. Long sharp claws popped out of their round, plump bodies and swung in the air. Sensing the presence of powerful souls gathered together, they were attracted to the feast. At the moment they saw Natsumi’s soul glowing brightly, they lunged forward.
Yuu conjured up balls of fire in his palms and shot at the demons furiously. Although they were low-leveled demons, they were stubborn and came in a large number. If you spotted even just one, there was bound to be a whole pack resting nearby. “Damn. Demons!”
Takuma-san groaned, swinging a tall sword with ease, cutting down the numbers by four to five at a time. “Why do they have to appear in such a cramped space?!”
“Hey!” Yuu shouted. His usual annoyed face returned and replaced the sullen one he had before. “Careful with the sword! This is my room!”
He tsked then sheathed his sword. The sword returned to its rightful place as a beautiful chain around his neck. Resorting to using his spiritual power, he could only blast the creatures away. No matter how many they slaughtered, more would come and take the dead’s place. It was truly exasperating. But using any higher-leveled attack spells might affect Natsumi’s body–especially her soul which was now weakened.
He landed a punch that was coated with his power, “Eat this!”
After blowing up a couple more, they soon realized that the demons were proliferating. Rapidly so! It was to the point that almost every inch of the room–beside the area that they stepped on–were teeming with soul-eaters! Yuu quickly casted a barrier, pushing the soul-eaters back. Their gnarly, exceedingly sharp nails, scraped against the barrier. As they were pushed back, furniture were toppled over; the room was just too small to fit them all. Some tumbled into the corridor and rolled off their balance like small balls being tossed about.
Their eyes spiraled around as they knocked into each other, growling, and cackling in an oddly high pitch like they were singing a chorus. An awfully screechy one.
No matter if you were a god or even the celestial emperor, these creatures would come charging like mad, knocking on your door to eat your soul the moment they sense a soul filled with power. Soul-eaters were born when vicious and greedy humans die and refuse to leave the world. They then, were transformed into these annoying weak demons who run amok, causing trouble to all that have great power, hoping to consume that power to become stronger. The more souls they eat, the more powerful they get, and have a higher chance of increasing their rank.
“We can’t fight them here!” Takuma-san finally said, raising his voice so it would drown out the frantic shrieks of the demons. “If Natsumi’s soul re-enters her body and she wakes up to this, she’ll just be torn apart!”
“‘We’?” Yuu raised an eyebrow, frowning.
“Does how I address us matter at this point?!” Takuma-san choked out exasperatedly. It was a serious predicament, otherwise he wouldn’t even have said such a thing! Partnering up with a magician who is stuck to his precious Natsumi? He wouldn’t even acknowledge him! But…his powers were worthy to be praised. Even against the onslaught of soul-eaters whose numbers were overwhelming, the magician was composed and deft with his spells. He leaped back to Akira who’s eyes were closed as his hands moved about, closing the distance between Natsumi’s soul and her body. “Alright, magician! Can you kill off the soul-eaters if I throw them out one by one?”
“What?” Yuu’s gaze swept across the tide of soul-eaters while aiming at them. “How about I throw them out and you destroy them instead?”
“Huh?!” Since when did it become a time to bargain about positions?! “Fine! Throw them out! I’ll kill them one by one on the roof!”
But would such a maneuver work depended on if Yuu had the power to do so. Tossing the soul-eaters “one by one” would be too exhausting and time-consuming. Yuu walked out of the barrier. The moment he took a single step outside offhandedly, all attention was on him.
“Are you a fool?!” He barely got the words out of his mouth when he saw the boy drowned in the sea of soul-eaters. Takuma-san’s jaw dropped.
“What are you doing, standing there like a fool?” He heard a sound of a snap and the group of soul-eaters thinned. “Get on the roof.”
So he didn't die! He would’ve continued to stand there in awe if it wasn’t for that mocking smirk laying on the boy’s lips. He was a god! A mountain god, how could he sit still when his dignity as a god was being challenged?! Without another word, he vanished, left to his own devices as to how to deal with the disgusting creatures.
Yuu could hear the shrill screams of agony from the soul-eaters on the roof and loud explosions. Then after the last batch of soul-eaters were sent up, the house fell silent.
The tiles of the roof were painted with dark black blood and drool. Disgusted, he stabbed his sword into one of the carcasses of the creature and dragged it around, drawing a circle from the blood that leaked out of it.
“There, that should keep other evil creatures away; a warning.” He clicked his tongue and flicked his pure-white sword now dyed with filth. Splatters of blood fell off its blade and formed the shape of an arc around him.
The corpses that were piled up high to the point where it could challenge a mountain, began to rot and break off into chunks as it crumbled into the air. Even if a demon’s remains were to disappear, its splattered blood would not.
He hopped off the roof to rejoin the others, releasing the barrier that he casted to prevent the dying screams of the soul-eaters and his blinding powers from leaking out. Attracting human attention was the last thing he wanted to do. It would not only cause problems for him, but also Natsumi. It’d be the worst ideal reunion for the two if neighbors came knocking on their door while they were busy being lovey-dovey. “Pup, are you almost done with the soul-combining ritual?”
“Al…most!” Akira grunted, a few drops of sweat were visible on his white face.
“Won’t you get in trouble with the Heavens if they found out that a god participated in “black magic”?” Yuu hugged his arm, leaning against the drawer. He had not a mote of dust on his outfit, completely clean of dirt even after that messy battle.
Takuma-san turned to him then replied curtly, “It’s not “black magic”. Besides, we’re just linking a soul back to its body. Natsumi-chan isn’t fully dead. We’re just saving her, not reviving her.”
For some reason, it sounded funny to Yuu. He laughed spitefully. “A god like you, saving a human? Laughable! I thought that all gods were cruel and emotionless. It just shows how much has changed from before.”
His brow twitched. “What’s that supposed to mean? Don’t forget, I hold seniority here. Dare to be arrogant and you’ll be blown into smithereens. Such blaspheme!”
Now that the soul-eaters were out of their way, they no longer had to work as a team. Nothing stopped them from hosting their own battle. Yuu let out a scoff and continued on with a disingenuous tone, “So what if you hold seniority? A battle would suffice to determine who’s more powerful between you and me. Age has no power.”
“You-! Wait…have I…met you before?” The more he looked closely at the boy the more he felt that he had seen him before. But where? He didn’t notice it before since he was occupied with the battle and the sudden events blowing up in his face. He stayed silent, racking through his dusty memories. Just how many years has he spent underneath his mountain in solitude cultivation? While he was talking to himself inside his head, Natsumi’s condition improved.
“Ah!” Akira exclaimed. His hands trembled and his heart rose, brimming with joy. “I-it’s working!”
Natsumi’s eyelids fluttered, and her fingers twitched. Slowly, her body was regaining its senses. Warmth gathered around her fingertips and her face gradually became flushed with the colors it had before. Soft breathing could be heard.
Yuu, seeing this, breathed a sigh of relief. However, his heart never stopped shaking. He could sense the shackles around his heart falling apart with ‘clinks!’ and ‘clanks!’. That unsettling feeling that overpowered him before melted away from being respited. But if this was just the second time…then next time it would be worse.
Weak blue eyes peeked through her eyelids and stared in their direction. Akira stopped pouring his powers into her and smiled widely. “Master! You’re awake!”
Natsumi could feel numbness throughout her body. She was paralyzed and could only do small movements like twitching her fingers or shifting her head slightly.
“You don’t have to worry, master! Everything’s alright now!”
“You’ve been asleep for almost two weeks now.” Yuu spoke up. He leaned over her so she could see him properly.
Surprisingly, for someone who had slept like the dead for about two weeks, her body was well nourished and she didn’t feel hungry or thirsty at all. But that just made her even more guilty. “Yuu…I’m sorry.”
He raised an eyebrow and crossed his arm. His long hair tickled her nose. “For?”
“For…pushing you out…I’m not sure how that happened.” She smiled weakly.
“Don’t apologize to him!” With a loud ‘bang!’ Yuu was almost thrown back again, but this time, he dodged the blow. Takuma-san stood in between the two with a glower on his face, his hands shaking with spiritual energy.
“Who…who are you?” Natsumi asked. Akira met her aids and helped her sit up. Her smile dropped. “Why did you attack Yuu?”
Uh-oh! This was not the reaction he had expected. All the dreams that he had of her smiling happily and calling him “grandfather!” and chasing after him, cracked away… No matter! Saving her from this devil was more important! He could just resolve it later with her!
“I’m your ancestor, a god!” He answered.
She gave him a disgusted look, not expecting to hear something so ridiculous the second she woke up. “Don’t think I’m a fool. A god? I’m not a child who could be swayed when someone tells them they’re the tooth fairy. I already met a magician and an Okami, I don’t need to meet a god.”
Mental damage +500! Damage taken +2,000!
‘T-that was a rejection, right?!’ Takuma-san almost slipped. He was late! He was beaten by that evil magician and that silly demon pup! If he just showed up earlier…then he would set the standard, not them!!
Natsumi didn’t just stop there. For someone who had just woken up, she sure had a lot of words to say. “If you’re a god, what are you doing here? I never heard of a god being my ancestor. Besides, aren’t gods supposed to be divine beings? They wouldn’t have so much free time to visit a humble abode of a mere mortal like me. And aren’t gods supposed to be good? They shouldn’t be attacking people randomly.”
He almost spat out blood from the attacks that his heart endured. Yuu snickered behind him while Akira hesitated to jump in and back him up. He had come all this way, used his powers to destroy an army(?) of soul-eaters to save her, but in the end the outcome was an ambush of words that was tantamount to a fatal heart attack! And here he had hoped that he would be welcomed and regarded as her savior but instead his image became a ‘fake god’?
He already suffered enough mental blows, okay?!
But his cute Natsumi rambled on. “You also look like a kid, about Akira’s size. How could you be a god?”
So now it was a height problem?! Takuma-san began to wish that his beloved Natsumi had just continued to play as sleeping beauty forever and that he, the prince, had never come.
“T-that’s not the issue here!” He stammered. “Natsumi, trust me, trust this ancestor! This magician who had stuck to your side is nothing but a deceitful ingrate!”
“I know that.” She said, not fazed at all. “Yuu’s an idiot everyday. But calling him an “ingrate” is a bit harsh.”
He was absolutely confounded. The magician truly had her wrapped around his finger! Brainwashed! Realizing that it was too late for her, he turned to Yuu. “You! I had a feeling that I know you from somewhere! But who would think that I would meet you in person!”
Yuu tilted his head.
“You murderer! Bloodthirsty demon!” He roared, unsheathing his sword.
“Wait!” She raised her hand and his sword was knocked out of his hand, clattering away. Natsumi looked down at her hands in bewilderment. “Whoa…”
Takuma-san turned to her shouting in outrage, “What are you doing?! Don’t you want to get revenge on this man who killed your parents?!”
A loud ‘thud!’ echoed throughout the room. The stone that was placed in Natsumi’s hands before, fell.
“...What are you talking about?”
Chapter 20: Another Nuisance Delivered (The Chronicles of Time)
“How could such a kind person…die?”
He turned his head slightly in her direction. “What do you think?”
“...I don’t even want to imagine it.” Natsumi lowered her gaze. There were multiple answers to her question. One: the saintess’s attitude and words changed over time and she lost favor. Two: the saintess was killed because of asassination. Three: the saintess was killed by the people that she wanted to protect.
Natsumi closed her eyes at the last answer and then abandoned the question. There were too many answers, and none of them were positive. The thought of a person like the saintess dying in the end shook her worldview.
Natsumi finally brought herself to ask, her eyes on the three legends in front of her. “Yuu…are you ‘Cassius’?”
He nodded his head. “That was the past ‘me’.”
She looked at him whose eyes were also focused on the other three people. No–he was looking at the saintess specifically. Unexpectedly, Natsumi felt her heart tighten. His eyes were soft and his expression was filled with a mixture of sadness and–no doubt–it was…love. Natsumi couldn’t help but scold herself inwardly.
The saintess was beautiful, compassionate, and powerful. Yuu, who used to be Cassius, stayed beside her for who knows how long. How could he not develop feelings for her?
She suddenly didn’t want to look anymore. It felt like a stab to her heart, but…it couldn’t be that she liked Yuu. So then why did she feel so awful? She had no chance. No chance…
Natsumi clapped her hands lightly on her cheeks, mentally, calming herself down. As much as she wanted to stay and admire the saintess and her friends, her first priority should be to find a way to escape. She couldn’t stay trapped in this space forever. Her hands broke free from Yuu’s grasp and she gestured towards the door to go. His warmth slipped away.
Surprisingly, getting out of the room wasn’t as complicated as she thought it would be.
Yuu pushed the door open and they walked through it. It made her look like a fool for overthinking it before. She found herself standing in the middle of the same white hallway. She didn’t know where they were going and just blindly followed Yuu, trusting that she was in good hands. However, Yuu started to talk.
“You know, that saintess you just saw…”
He paused then said, “She…she was loved. She was loved by the people. If there was anything that was to be named priceless, it would be her.”
A subtle smile crawled onto his face. The more he talked about the saintess mindlessly, the more Natsumi’s heart ached. His pensive expression accompanied with a scoop of happiness didn’t help at all. It made her more discomposed, her thoughts more unruly. But he seemed to be so happy talking about her, even if all he really did was insult her mostly. Their relationship must’ve been incredibly close…
But…why did the stories he told sound so…familiar?
Her body glowed, but she kept staring at her hands as if it was about to pierce a hole through them. Beside her, Yuu felt her mana stirring, stopped his stories and instantly faced her only to be thrown back out of nowhere.
A trail of blood seeped from the corner of his lips as he crashed into the wall, destroying the mirage of the temple into thousands of pieces.
She was once again, surrounded in darkness.
Two vague shadows leaped through the lush verdant forest at a blinding speed. They effortlessly jumped around, using the branches as a launchpad to propel their speed even more. One golden, and one white blurr. Akira–who had long stripped away his mortal clothes–fought to catch up with the figure in front of him. Their robes flew behind them, making it seem like they had wings. The crisp sound of his bell rang as he moved.
“Right, what is it that I should address you, elder?” Akira asked, his pace not dropping.
The other stayed in silent contemplation until finally replying, “Just call me Takuma-san, for now. You may continue to call me ‘elder’ if you wish.”
It wasn’t long until they landed lightly on top of the mahogany eaves of the roof of Natsumi’s house. Takuma-san closed his eyes for a good minute then opened them.
“You’re right,” he said as he stooped down, his feet an inch away from falling. “This vermin is indeed powerful.”
“Are we going to break in?” Akira asked. He stood patiently behind him, waiting for an answer.
However, Takuma-san shot him a ‘are-you-serious?!’ look. “What? Like those grave robbers, entering and robbing as they please? No!”
After hearing that sharp response, Akira scrutinized over his words then said with an ‘oh’. It was his house. Why would he need to break into it? Not only that, the way he phrased it made them look like thieves targeting a house which stained the god’s image. After all, what kind of god breaks into a mortal's house? His dignity would crumble and scatter like dust! He waved those thoughts away.
“My apologies. Then how should we approach?”
“...It seems that he’s occupied with something…” he widened the range of his detection and then closed his fingers into his palm. “Currently, there’s two presences in the house. I think it's safe to use a power-canceling spell. As long as we’re careful and keep our powers tucked away, he won’t be able to sense us–especially when his hands are full.”
The two concealed their remaining powers and cautiously jumped through an open window. They arrived in an empty room. One look at the desk revealed the owner’s identity. Anime figurines stood on top of the desk surface, captured in glass displays. The poses were eccentric. Some of them held swords and their bodies were twisted into a backflip, others floated in mid-air in the form of a spin, etc. Other than that, there were books tucked away neatly into the bookshelves. Upon a closer inspection, they would find some mangas camouflaging amongst the textbooks and novels.
Sora had truly made the room his own.
The two walked to the door and crept into the hallway. Their footsteps were light, and they put a lot of attention in staying quiet. Akira’s heart pounded, looking at Takuma-san’s serious face.
‘So this is what working with a god is like!’
He had always wanted to see a god up close. Even just talking with them was fine, or even a single glance! He knew that it was for business, but he never expected that he would be sneaking into his own house with a god! It was so exciting!!
Takuma-san also shared his excitement, but he didn’t show it. He was going to meet the cutest member in his family yet! Who knows how long he was holed up underneath his mountain, his old bones rotting away. His only connection to the outside world was a cup of water that could conjure up reflections. Upon seeing Natsumi one day, he immediately fell in love. He was so lucky to have such a cute descendant! He remembered that time when he saw Natsumi chewing on a dango, peering into a koi pond. His heart never stopped throbbing at the sight of her afterwards. Such plump cheeks! Such round eyes!
He had truly become a devoted fan.
Something seized him and he paused. He could feel a sinister magic at the end of the hallway. Akira’s ears stood up as tall as spikes. They had never felt this kind of sensation before but they knew that it was nothing good.
“Prepare yourself,” he commanded somberly. He didn’t even need to say anything, Akira had already lit up two bluebell flames from his hands.
The house was cold, and the flames made the temperature around them drop even more. Hellfire flames were like icicles–but alive. It resembled real fire and danced around like it too.
Takuma-san gave a nod of approval.
‘Not bad! To be able to control such a deadly fire at a young age…impressive.’ He couldn’t help but applaud the pup in his head. The number of individuals that could deploy the hellfire to their use were a scarce amount; a pinchful.
Redirecting his focus back to the task at hand, he decided to think about the matter later on. It was not the right situation nor setting to think about such a thing. Whatever monster that laid behind that door, he had to get rid of it at all cost. For Natsumi’s sake!
“We’ll enter quietly, got it?” He transferred the message telepathically. “Wait until I give you the signal to attack.”
Suddenly, they froze. A muddled voice could be heard. They unrooted themselves from their spot and slowly approached. The more they moved, the clearer they could hear the words the voice was saying: “Natsumi!? Hey! Damn it! I can’t enter her soul!”
Before Takuma-san could even say anything, Akira ran past him and smashed the door open.
“What. Are. You. Doing. To. Master’s soul?!” He shouted in outrage.
Takuma-san facepalmed himself, dragging his face down. ‘Why can’t he listen to such simple directions?!’
Since their cover was already blown, he barged into the room as well.
But it wasn’t a monster he found. It was a handsome black haired boy.
Confused, he blurted inadvertently, “Where’s that ‘despicable monster magician’ you told me about? All I see is a pretty boy??”
The flames on Akira’s hands grew even bigger. “That’s him, elder!”
His eyes almost popped out from their sockets. He recalled all the harsh words the boy had used to describe the magician before while they were discussing how to get rid of the vermin. Convinced that he must’ve been a no-good man with, not only a horrible personality, but also a horrible face as well, he steeled his resolve to kill him. After all, even if you were evil, as long as you had beauty you were of some worth in his book. But now that he had seen the perpetrator with his very eyes…“ugly” should be on the blacklist of all the words that could be used to characterize him. “Him?! You said he was ugly! Horrendous! Unsightly to the point where it’ll make you vomit!”
Akira tilted his head offhandedly, and he raised an eyebrow. “Isn’t he?”
WHAT THE FUCK?! The pup must be fucking blind! He was so astonished and baffled that he almost let a few curses slip! Since he was also the god of luxury, how could he call such a beautiful jewel ugly?!
Yuu observed the intruders with a flippant attitude then turned back to Natsumi. He didn’t have time to deal with their pointless bickering. He had just woken up after he was blasted out of her soul’s consciousness. For what reason? His mind was jumbled up to the point where he couldn’t help but let out an irritated groan. It couldn’t be that something else invaded her soul.
He was about to re-enter her consciousness again when a hand grasped onto his wrist.
“Let go of me.”
“What do you think you’re doing?” Takuma-san growled. In the midst of his argument–one-sided scolding–with Akira, his eyes were drawn to that golden orb hovering on top of the body that should be Natsumi’s.
Yuu’s eyes lit up with an egregious glow, fraught with warning. “Release. My. Hand.”
He had never heard anyone dare to speak to him so improperly before. And with such malice! But…for some reason, why did he seem so familiar? “Watch your tone. I’m your elder, show some respect.”
“And I’m trying to save a person.” Yuu countered. “I don’t have time for such useless perfunctory.”
Yuu forcefully broke his hand free, leaving Takuma-san surprised. He couldn’t even get a minute to breathe before another distraction blocked him from even reaching Natsumi. Blue flames obstructed his view. He tried to swat it away but found a scorch mark blemishing the side of his hand.
“What is it that you’re trying to do?” His body radiated with explosive energy. The other two were suddenly put on their guard.
Before they could even exchange attacks, the whole room was painted white by a blinding light. Forced to shut their eyes, the three gritted their teeth. When they recovered their sight, their bellicose spirit was temporarily curbed. Natsumi’s soul’s light flickered faintly, looking aggrieved.
Seeing this, all three of them lowered their hands and rushed to her side, psyched out. Since they were all on the same side anyway, there was no point for them to fight at such a critical moment!
“What’s going on?” Takuma-san demanded. Grudgingly, Akira put away his flames, comprehending that it was not the right time to fight.
Yuu’s gaze scattered around her body. “I, I entered her soul’s consciousness to try and bring her back–to try and get her back into her body. I, somehow, was kicked out.”
“How did she–ah! Nevermind!” He dismissed his questions. Saving her was more important! “Demon pup!”
“Y-yes, elder!” Akira kneeled on one knee, his eyes blazing as he waited for instructions.
“Can you try to inject your spiritual power into her soul and lead it back to her cor–I mean, body?” He almost let the word “corpse” slip out of his tongue.
“Wait.” Yuu rummaged through his pocket then tossed something at Akira who caught it. “Here.”
Akira’s red eyes widened. “Why…why do you have this?”
“No time to explain,” Yuu said flatly, eyeing the declining frequency of the orb’s brightness. It was slowly losing its light; in other words–it’s will to remain in the world.
Biting down on his teeth, and swearing that he would elicit the answer out of him afterwards, Akira looked down in his hands and casted a spell. He then, very carefully, placed the stone in Natsumi’s lifeless hands, and closed them. Then he stretched out his fingers and white rivulets of spiritual power were produced from the tips and entered the soul. The soul flickered at once when it detected the outside force entering it.
“Good!” Takuma-san applauded. “Very good!”
#fiction #novel #fantasy
Poetry booklet announcement ★✨★
Hey everyone ;)
I'm coming here with some good news!!
Me and a co-writer here @MClarice have published a poetry booklet on Amazon!
Our beautiful joined creation is called "Inhaling Stardust and Drinking Tea""
(yes, the title pretty much gives you an idea I am made out of the universe,
moonlight and countless galaxies - but I think a lot of you already know that)
Below is a link to our star-filled Kindle Booklet
(and the cover that an artist made for us for this project
is absolutely gorgeous if you don't mind me saying ;))
We feel truly blessed to be in this moment of our lives and coming with this heart written bundle of poems to you.
We will be so happy if you check it out, purchase and leave a review under it.
Thank you to everyone that's been a part of this Prose family and enjoyed our work. You have been an inspiration to share our poems further into the world.
Anna and Miesha ;)
Hey there trouble, haven't seen You in a while,
Thought You might have left our town.
For a moment I was scared,
But now You're back, and I am saved.
It might be hard to understand,
But when You're near me – I feel blessed.
So could You please just stay some more?
It pains me much to see You go.
Well, it's okay, I'll see You later anyway,
I know the paths You walk each day,
Along these routes I'll leave my clues,
Reminding You that You're my muse.
a collision of souls
you put a spell on me, darlin
a spell covered in the dust
of one million dying stars
I shifted, bent
and formed into a new being
a new shape
that nestled itself perfectly
into the curve of your body,
and the roundness of your arms
as they wrapped around my soul
my entire being destroyed
and shattered from the inside out
and rebuild anew
now, not one moment passes
without my skin craving yours,
these hands restlessly searching
until they find
the masterfully well-built web
of our fingers
intertwining into one,
my light yearning to once again be with its counterpart
wait for me,
under the Apollo's Sun
as I find my way home
not to a place or any four walls
but to that melody
playing my name between your ribs
a galactic storm
put into a slightly fractured and bruised heart
to the rhythm of my own
finally, I have found
someone with a chaos matching mine
Cleansed with Blood
I'd always wondered how it would feel to kill myself.
The morning sun recreated the bars of the windows on my bed, imprisoning me in a cage of shadows. I grabbed the sheets where the dark lines fell, seeing if I could pull them apart, and off to my liberation. But I couldn't even grasp them, as if they never existed. But I knew. I knew how the cage bound me in chains-- disguised as a blanket of warmth and comfort. Disguised as a tapestry of blood and kinship.
"Morning, sweetheart." He entered my room again, dawning his pretence costume of a saviour in the streets. People looked at him like a hero, but I knew who he was beneath all the medals and the stars. I knew the creepy ogre lurking beneath his malicious sneer. I knew the grotesque fantasies hiding underneath his firm assurances. I knew. I knew.
His filthy palms were on my neck. I baulked away from his disgusting frame, his foul stench. I knew I shouldn't have-- he was about to leave, and I could have been in peace till the night fell, but no. Today was different.
Frustrated sigh-- removing the metal watch and holster from his undeserving outfit-- he stood with his back against me. The silhouette of his stocky frame enclosed within the same bars that held me-- but he stood mighty, while I, an incomprehensible heap of slender patterns. But today was different.
I stood upon my bed, my shadow growing vast behind me. The bars could only then reach my knees, but they surrounded him-- a beast prepared for the kill. I bent down, seizing the holster without his notice. Bore the cold piece of metal on my skinny arms. Turn around, sweetheart.
The sheets would have to be washed. The floors would have to be wiped. The walls would have to be painted. But the house was cleansed of its dirt more than ever-- it no longer sheltered within an aberration, one the world didn't need.
I exited the bed and onto the floor. The bars could not hold me anymore.
Blood squished under my bare feet. I walked out the front doors and onto my liberation.
I'd always wondered how it would feel to be alive.
Book 3 - Part 6: Facing Evil - Chapter Thirty-Two
Smith County Memorial Hospital – 2:35 a.m.
Baker, Stevie, Satchell, Devon, Prescott, Andrews, and dozens of other men and women from the Twenty-Second were milling about the waiting room, waiting to hear news from both surgeon’s that worked on Ed, and J.W.
Almost four hours had gone by.
The waiting was almost as bad as watching Ed bleeding to near death.
A set of double doors swung open, and out walked a Dr. Ellen Monroe. She was the one who operated on J.W.
“He is a strong man. With some rest, he should be as good as new in about six to eight weeks. He is incredibly lucky. Another two inches to his left, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
Baker’s eyes darted to another set of doors that hadn’t yet moved.
Something’s gone terribly wrong, she thought. No one wants to come out and tell me.
“It’ll be fine, Baker,” Satchell said, as he placed his arm around her shoulder. “Ed’s a tough cookie. He’ll pull through.”
She looked up at him and tried to smile.
“I so hope you’re right. I pray you’re right.”
Stevie touched his mom’s hand and pointed.
The doors opened, and out walked a heavyset man, nearing fifty, with a deep, booming voice.
That was a first.
Baker stood up and rushed toward the doctor.
He seemed hesitant to speak at first.
“What’s wrong? Tell me. I need to know, dammit!”
“Mrs. Manning, no need to upset yourself any further. For the most part, we were able to reattach his arm to the nerve endings that weren’t damaged by the cut made. He has, of course, lost a great deal of blood. We would like to keep him here several days to monitor his condition as he begins to regain his strength.”
“Then he has a chance of having full use of his arm, again?”
“That, I’m afraid, Mrs. Manning, I cannot guarantee. We have cleaned and sutured every viable muscle, nerve, and tendon back together that wasn’t damaged, but I’m afraid the arm may either be incapacitated, or he will be left with very minimal use. I can say that he will never be able to use his left hand properly again.”
“Can I see him?”
“Right now, he is sedated. I would ask that you come back in the ….”
Satchell stepped in between Baker and the doctor, who towered over him by a good six inches, and with a whispered, steely voice, said, “No, doc. She gets to see him, now.”
The doctor stepped back, slightly ruffled and said, “Very well, but please make it brief.”
Baker found out that Ed was taken out another set of doors and was transported to the fourth floor. When she arrived with Stevie, Ed was already wired for sound.
She walked over to him, patted his head lightly, kissed his forehead, and then both eyes, both cheeks, and then his lips.
“I know you can hear me, sweets, but you’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. We will all be fine. Thank you for coming back to me.” She looked over at Stevie. “To us.”
Stevie simply said, “We are family, Ed. Family.”
Silently, Baker said, “Thank you, God, for bringing him back to us.”
Room 212-A – 2:58 a.m.
Andre Devon sat in a hospital chair, in the dark, watching all the monitor lights either bleep on and off, or just keep a steady pulsing light going.
Satchell edged his way into the room.
“Hey, Cisco. I see your keeping an eye on Poncho, eh?”
“That I am. When he does wake up, I’m going to give him hell for not having backup with him. He didn’t even wait for me to be alongside him.”
Andre bolted from the chair next to J.W. Satchell walked to the end of the bed.
“Welcome back, Poncho. I see you made it back to us in one piece.”
“I feel like I’ve been sliced and diced.”
“That’s because you nearly were. Freddy’s Bowie knife ran clean through you. The doc’s sewed you up. Said you would be good as new in a few weeks.”
“Freddy. Oh shit, Freddy!” J.W. tried to rise from the bed, but Andre wouldn’t let him. Realizing he was still too weak to do much of anything, he looked at Satchell. “Captain, I think I got a round off in him, but….”
“Just relax for now, J.W. You did your job, and I’m proud of you. Now, if you two will excuse me, I’m going to find, Baker. J.W., get some rest, and you better damn well do what the doctors and nurses tell you in here. I want you back a hundred percent.”
He left two men, two partners, two friends, alone.
Ten minutes later, Satchell was about to open the door to 421-C, when it opened from the inside, and out stepped Baker and Stevie.
“How is he?”
“Breathing steadily, and out like a light, but thank God, he’s alive, Satchell.” Baker reached for Stevie and hugged him close to her. “I’m sorry you had to witness everything.”
He hugged her back, saying, “It’s okay, mom. I’m okay. We survived.”
“Look, Baker, I know you may not want to do this, but we need to get back to that house on Ochie Woods, first crack of dawn. I’ve called Carl and he has a team out there now, but in the morning, he’ll bring in another team to go over it with a fine-tooth comb; so nothing is left to chance. J.W. was awake for a little bit, and swears he shot Freddy. If that’s true, and we can find his blood, we’ll finally have something concrete on his ass we can file under his DNA.”
“I don’t want to go back out there, but at the same time, I need to go back and face down the demon shadows, I suppose. Honestly, it’ll give me something to do so I don’t go stir-crazy worrying about Ed. I’ll be out there by six.”
“Baker, I am so terribly sorry for everything that’s happened, but, if like J.W. thinks, Freddy is hurt bad enough, his days may already be numbered, and maybe he’ll crawl in a hole and just bleed to death.”
“Satchell, have the sketch artist available for me, after we look around the crime scene. I know what Freddy really looks like. His real self is as horrifying as what he does.”
16593 Golden Row Circle
Brighton – 4:29 a.m.
The doorbell rang and rang.
The sound slowly filtered into her dreams. A dream of wild, unending, unyielding sex with Craig Murray. Her sheets were damp, her body twisting across sheets thrown helter-skelter, until finally, just when it reached the point of the most intense orgasm of her life was about to blow away the world; the ringing of her doorbell destroyed all hopes of the world being destroyed.
“Huh? Who? Who the hell is at my door at four-thirty in the damn morning! Go away whoever you are. I have a dream to finish.”
She didn’t realize she spoke so loudly, but she did hear the voice, and then recognized the name.
“Marie! Marie! Let me in, please. It’s an emergency. It’s Craig.”
She sat up in bed, fully naked and started to rush to the door, but stopped short to get her pink robe. After all, she didn’t want to frighten him at the door before she got him in bed.
Running to the door, she pulled back two dead bolt latches, and turned her security lock to the right; completely forgetting her phone call with the police, swung open her door with a short-lived smile.
She started to scream, but Freddy smashed her in the mouth with a powerful right hand, sending her sprawling backward on her living room floor, unconscious. He closed the door behind him and locked it.
Setting his bag down onto a chair to his left, he looked for her bathroom and found a medicine cabinet. Bandages, iodine, tape. Perfect.
He grabbed all of it, and went back to the front room, tore away his shirt, and looked, as blood was leaking from the right side of his chest.
No bones broken.
But the bullet was still lodged inside.
He poured half the bottle of iodine on the wound, then reached inside his bag and extracted another Bowie knife. With great care, he placed the tip of the blade into the wound, slowly twisting and digging inside until he could feel where the bullet rested.
Sweat oozed from his flesh like a hard rain, and he held back the grimace of pain he wanted to scream out. He should be used to this by now; after all, this is the sixth time he has been shot. Even the police in Europe were terrible shots. Although, had Roberts shot at him in the daylight, he might not be here trying to remove a slug from his chest.
Freddy thought aloud for a moment. "One day my good fortune will run out. Hell, no one lives forever but for now, I have too much to do."
He slipped the blade’s tip carefully under the slug, and with hands of a practiced surgeon, he eased back the blade, feeling the slug make the reverse trek as well.
Two minutes of painstaking, agonizing work before the piece of metal fell onto the floor. Reaching down for it, he picked it up and placed it in an ashtray on an end table next to where Marie lay unconscious.
Freddy emptied the remaining iodine, and grabbed a few layers of gauze, and inserted them into the open wound, and then placed more gauze over that, and began to wrap it with an ace bandage until he could wrap it even tighter with adhesive tape. It was all he had for now.
When he had finished, Marie Hampton was coming back around.
Freddy eyed her with a demon look.
"You aren't sweet Janis, but you'll do. For now."
Without forethought, without care, he grabbed her hair, wrenched her head backward and before his Bowie knife sliced through her neck, he saw the pitiful fear etched on her face and locked into her eyes. He released her hair, and her lifeless body fell back to the floor.
With all the hatred and anger he could focus into a single burst of driven energy; he slashed her chest into shreds. Cut away her arms and legs. He removed each breast and flung them across the room not caring where they landed.
He opened what remained of her chest, reached in, and ripped her heart out, and feasted. He ate half of it, then let it fall from his hand, only to bounce off Marie’s uncaring face and land but an inch from her dead, opened lips.
And as suddenly as he had been vile and disgusting, he quickly became calm and endearing, if that were really possible.
No longer feeling his own pain, he searched around Marie’s apartment for pen and paper.
As there was now a change of plans, he would take Marie’s car, and make his way to Canada where he knew he would be safe. He has accounts there, as he did in over two dozen places around the world. Freddy was never without resources.
He would purchase new ID’s, birth certificates, social security numbers, driver’s license, and more materials to create new looks for himself. Craig Murray would never reappear.
After he had written the note, he went to the kitchen to fix himself a meal. From there, he cleaned himself up as best as he could. Interestingly enough, he found some clothes in Marie’s closet that fit him easily (one lover, or more?) enough.
When it was time for him to leave, he would call the Brighton police, so they could find Marie’s flesh-torn body. They would also find the note he left for Baker.
Like always, it began: My dear, sweet Janis.
Book 3 - Part 6: Facing Evil - Chapter Thirty-One
140 Ochie Woods Lane – 9:53 p.m.
“…. and now you know the rest of the fiendish story my life has led. Of how I became this way. Of how every time I see this disjointed face in a mirror, my heart gives a wrenching cry for the one woman in this world I could have loved forever, and the only woman I could ever fully trust.
“So, you see, sweet Janis, you had, and still have no idea what I really look like. In truth, I have forgotten my looks. When I killed my brother, his likeness, my likeness, died with him. Now, I create different looks for myself, and go from there, and … to hide the misery I feel at times.”
The phone rang in the front room again.
“Craig? Craig Murray, or whoever you really are; the police are on their way to arrest you. You just make sure all your possessions are out of there by the end of this month! If not, I will sell everything at an auction.”
Freddy’s eyes went on high alert. He strode into the front room and scanned the darkness outside for any kind of motion. He didn’t see any. He went from window to window. Nothing.
He came back to the “Special Room.”
“As much as this grieves me, sweet Janis, I am afraid I will have to let you live after all. Perhaps another time, but not before I do at least one thing to prove my intent wasn’t talk.”
He walked to Stevie and stood in front of him, then lifted his Bowie knife high in the air, and began a downward slashing motion.
There was a loud muffled scream, and Baker’s eyes filled with anguish, horror, and tears.
It wasn’t Stevie that screamed behind the duct tape, it was Ed.
Freddy sliced his left arm off.
“Now, you piece of shit, if they are close by, you better hope they can save your life instead of worrying about me! I would suspect you may have thirty minutes, tops.”
As he started to leave the room, he ripped the duct tape from Baker’s mouth and before she could resist, Freddy feverishly and harshly kissed her, and then bit down on her lip, drawing blood.
Savoring her taste, he whispered in her ear, “It isn’t your heart, but for now it will have to do.”
Freddy quickly made his way to the back door behind the curtain where he would go out into the back yard, and would climb over one rise, and safely make his getaway with a small, powered motorboat. It would take him to another larger cruiser waiting for him that would eventually get him to the east coast to his plane for a flight to South America.
He had everything he needed to get past customs on the smaller boat. A new face, and a new passport. He would become Arthur Manzanettie, a buyer of rare gems.
Freddy had just made it to the top of the rise when he heard, “Stop where you are, or I will blow your mother-fucking head off!”
Back Inside the House – 9:55 p.m.
“Ed! ED! Hold on, please!”
“Oh, my God! It hurts so bad, Jan! I’m getting dizzy. Tired.”
“Don’t close your eyes. Ed! ED! Look at me! LOOK! AT! ME!”
“Ed, do what mom says, please!”
Stevie was partly covered by the first gushing flow of blood from Ed’s severed arm, from the bottom right side of his cheek, over his arm, and part of his chest, but he never noticed.
“Ed, don’t you dare die on me! Please, don’t.” The only other thing Stevie could do was cry.
Baker heard a door crash open and then voices.
“Help us! Back here! In here! Hurry!”
It had been Satchell and four other officers. They quickly made their way to the back room. With no thought, Satchell got on his radio and requested an ambulance arrive ASAP.
“Officer down! 140 Ochie Woods Lane! Needs medical attention, now!”
The officers cut away the tape from Baker, Stevie, and gently, Ed’s. But Ed was thrashing hard one moment, and almost limp the next.
“One of you men, get his arm, and wrap it up in something.” Satchell began to stem the flow of blood by using his own shirt, not caring about the blood covering him.
Baker ran over to Ed, kneeled by his side, holding his one good hand. Tears rushed like a torrential rain. She couldn’t find a glimmer of a reason to smile.
“Please, Ed. Don’t you die. Don’t you dare!”
"I think he's going into shock, Baker."
Satchell continued to apply pressure to the open wound to stem the flow of blood. He looked into Baker’s eyes, as his homemade tourniquet seemed to be working. "I want every man's shirt, to slow his blood flow down. NOW!"
“We might get lucky, Baker. It’s all about God, and time, now.”
Overlooking Standing Room Lake – 9:59 p.m.
“It seems you have me, at least so it appears. One little dip-shit of a cop who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. You weren’t smart enough to save that bitch-ass boyfriend of yours, were you, Roberts.”
J.W. wasn’t prepared for that remark and wavered in his thoughts for a single moment. How did he know?
In that brief second, Freddy raised his arm and threw his Bowie knife at J.W.
He saw it coming and dodged to his left and fired three rounds. He knew one made contact. He saw Freddy in the moon’s silvery glare, clutch at his chest. That was the last thing he remembered.
A few seconds later, Devon was by his side and radioed for a second ambulance. J.W. lay on the ground, eyes closed, and the twelve-inch blade was embedded into his chest.
Devon heard the sound of a boat, and he raced to the top of the rise and could see a lone figure getting away. Raising his standard-issue .45, Devon fired until his gun was hammering on empty chambers.
He ran back to J.W.
“Don’t you die on me, Poncho. Don’t you dare!”