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"ERICK!!! Where are we at? What's our status?" Fallen called out while rotating a sore shoulder from the recent conflict.
"I'm detecting a number of stragglers lagging behind in the facility. Probably waiting for more back up. But I'm sure they've called for reinforcements by now. The second wave will be here any minute." He answered.
I used a finger to lift Taryn's chin and look him over while he struggled to get his breath back. He had some bad cuts and scrapes, a small river of blood trickling down from his forehead, but nothing that looked too severe. His arms had a few bruises on them, as I'm sure his legs did too. And his knuckles had been scuffed up pretty badly. I nearly wept with concern for the pain he must have been feeling at that moment. "Are you ok?"
"I...I think so." He panted.
"How much fight do you think you have left in you?"
Taryn leaned over a bit, putting his hands on his knees, and shook his head. "I don't know, Justin. My muscles...they're overworked. I can feel them starting to cramp up on me already. If we stick around too much longer...I won't be able to walk...."
Fallen told us, "Then how about we not stick around and bring this little digital tea party to an end, shall we?"
Erick reached into his shirt pocket, and he handed me a small black memory card with a red 'V' on the back. "Get this to Doc as soon as possible. It's heavily encoded, but he'll remember how to crack it. He remembers everything anyway." He said. "Tell him to look at it, but NOT to download it onto his hard drive or they'll track it down and come after you. It's a bunch of the texts and communications that I was able to locate and decipher from this Jeweler guy and the people he's been most frequently in contact with. Maybe he can make more sense out of it than I can. At least he's got enough of a translation to work with to make a few educated guesses." Erick looked into my eyes, and solemnly told me, "Be careful with this stuff, Justin. According to some of these messages, the Jeweler has a few rogue Ex-Hunters in his employ. I don't know why, exactly...but I'll bet that he's keeping them around for good reason. Maybe just for protection. Maybe for something more. Either way, you seem to be the primary target for this guy, and that can't be a good thing."
Taryn reached up to hold onto my shoulder for balance, his body weary with fatigue. So I placed my hand over his own, giving him a gentle kiss on the forehead, hoping to bring him a short moment of comfort. "Thanks, Erick. For all your help." I said. "We couldn't have gotten this far without you."
"You just make sure you get the goods on this guy before you end up falling into some kind of trap or something." He said. "He seems pretty serious about this fairy tale stuff. People like that can be dangerous."
I noticed that Fallen was staring in my direction. But as cynical as he appeared to be before...something in his gaze had changed. Almost as if he was looking at me for the very first time tonight. I didn't pay much attention to it at first, as all of us were just trying to get enough of our strength back to go our separate was and flee the scene. But then...Fallen asked me, "Hey, kid? Tell me something..."
"How did you pull off that trick in there? What made you pull me back from that corner of the hallway inside while we were headed for the docks? That soldier would have had a deadlock on me for sure if you hadn't." He said. "How did you know?"
Nervously, I told him, "I don't know. I guess...it's just an old trick that somebody taught me..."
"That's funny...you don't seem all that old to me." Fallen said, stepping closer with suspicious eyes. "In fact, scanning the purity of your blood supply, I'd say you were still in your first year of darkness. Six or seven months? Eight at best."
I didn't want to appear as though I was tensing up or dodging the question. So I said, "I've always been a quick learner."
He looked even closer at me, and I used Taryn's beauty as a distraction. Turning to kiss him lightly on the cheek in order to keep my eyes from being penetrated by Fallen's concentrated stare. There was a brief silence, and he said, "You know...I had a couple of friends out your way. Sean and Milo...they used to be a part of Bryson and Amanda's camp some years back. You demonstrated some pretty advanced skills back there. A lot of different extras. Advanced extras." Then he stepped in front of us, "The thing is...a great deal of them don't match the abilities of anybody that I remember from Bryson's crew at all. Not that I could remember." Fallen looked at Taryn, then back at me, and narrowed his eyes slightly. "Where did you learn them? If I may ask?"
I definitely did not want him to ask. Please don't ask.
A beeping noise suddenly went off next to us. It was an alarm from Erick's belt that caused him to check for readings on a small touch screen device. "We've got company coming! Fast! The second assault is en route. We need to go, you guys. Like NOW!" Erick looked over at me and said, "At least one of them has a signature that reads like a vampire this time around. I'm assuming they've got a Hunter with them. We can't handle that." Erick and Fallen grabbed what little of their stuff they had that they could carry. "Get that info to Doc as soon as you get back! There's a vampire Elder named Masato. He's the one who sends out the Hunters in this particular zone. He's the one in charge of solving problems. Right now, as far as he knows, this is just an info leak and a potential threat. But if he reads what's in these transcripts, you and Taryn won't be safe anywhere. He'll hunt you down. And he won't just hurt you, but he'll hurt the people you love. You do understand that, right?"
"I won't let that happen." I said defiantly. And I meant it.
"I need to lay low for a while until I can find myself another secure set up to work from. If I were you guys, I'd dig as deep a hole as I possibly could in this city and bury myself in it for a while until the heat from this thing blows over. Stay away from the sanctuaries! No matter how secure they may be. With something this serious, Masato always investigates their hidden activities first." Erick walked up and gave me a sweet hug around the shoulders. "You changed my life with this information, Justin. These underground messages...they are BIG news! This language, verzpertillio...it taps you into everything. Ancient secrets, ancient texts, conspiracy theories, forgotten folklore, undecipherable scriptures, sacred rituals...maybe even texts describing the origin of our species. It's the kind of knowledge that people would, and have, killed for. So best of luck to the both of you. Be safe. And remember...stay OFF the radar!"
Fallen gave me one more sideways look, then at Taryn...and for a moment, it almost looked like something 'clicked' for him. A light bulb. And with a devilish smirk, he gave me a wink just before he and Erick began to hurry off into the darkness.
"Justin....?" Taryn winced in pain as he began to rub his thighs. "Ugh...I think...I think my body is beginning to break down..."
I carefully helped him limp over to the wall so he could steady himself. "Can you walk?"
"I can now, but it's getting worse. I've never fought like this before. My body isn't used to it." Taryn hissed through his teeth as his muscles continued to tighten and tie themselves into knots. After my first chase with Chad through the alleys...I remember that intense agony well. "I'm trying to use what little Rain taught me about her extra to repair some of the damage, but it's working too slow for me to repair it all at once."
"Here...let me try. Maybe together we can..." That's when I felt it. An extra sense telling me that soldiers were already moving in. I heard the screeching tires of fast moving cars coming to a halt outside on the other side of the warehouse. "Shit! Come on, Taryn. We've gotta move..." He tried. He really tried. But his wounded body just wouldn't co-operate with him. He was pushing himself to move, his legs sore and weak, his ankles barely strong enough to lift his feet from the concrete. He did his best, but it wouldn't be anywhere near fast enough to get us to a safe distance before we were swarmed with guards again.
As I heard the thundering of hurried footsteps approaching the dock, I leaned Taryn back against the wall in a somewhat safe spot, and I prepared myself. From the sound of the steps, there were 10...maybe 12 troops headed my way. But I'm sure that it would be many more within a few moments of their arrival.
"Stay here." I told him. I caressed Taryn's cheek with my hand, and looked into his worried eyes as I gave him a kiss on the lips. "I love you..."
"I love you too. Be careful." He said, tearing up.
I gave him a gentle smile. "Don't waste your worry on me. They're gonna need it more than I do."
That said, I turned around to face the first few enemies that dared to engage us, and my eyes burned with a deep red glow as my fangs dropped down and readied themselves for battle.
I saw the soldiers spill out onto the dock, taking strategic positions as they used their pathetic numbers to fan out and attempt to surround me on all sides. I gave them a maddening grin as I felt their hesitation to rush me. Taunting them. Plucking their tense emotional strings. And in a deeper voice that didn't sound like it even belonged to me, I told them, "You really should have waited for your reinforcements...."
"TAKE HIM DOWN!!!" The team leader shouted! But the order would ultimately do them no good. Despite my limited experience with being somewhat of a vampire badass...their reflexes would never be as fine tuned as mine were. They would never be as fast, hit as hard, or give a better beat down, than I could. They screwed up by trying to take me on themselves. They screwed up when they thought that they could show up with guns and that I would automatically revert back to some human state of fear and intimidation that might give them a temporary edge. They were wrong. SO wrong!
Never send a 'human' to do a vampire's job...
With a single push off of the street beneath me, I rushed the first two men in front of me, driving my knuckles deeply into their chests before they were able to get a lock on me. They were sent reeling back on their heels, and I was already attacking a third before their backs hit the ground.
Gunfire rang out, but I was moving back and forth between them too fast for anyone to take a shot without hitting one of their own. My kicks were a blur, often hitting them two or three times before they felt the first blow. And as I expected...two of them headed towards Taryn, hoping to grab him and have a bargaining chip to use against me.
I was hoping I'd have more of a chance to clear them out before my Taryn found himself in trouble. I didn't want to push his body any harder than I already had. Not to mention that I doubted that I'd be able to feed him any more defensive moves while he was standing on such an unstable foundation. So I left the guards that I was fighting to tend to him first. In the end....Taryn was all that mattered.
Quickly dashing over to intercept them, my elbow sent one of them spinning to the ground at top speed. The other one suffered two painfully dislocated shoulders as I grabbed his wrists and yanked them right out of the sockets! I kicked him backwards to join the rest of his helpless buddies and moved forward to ask Taryn, "Are you alright?" He nodded breathlessly, and I needed to find another method of keeping him out of harm's way. I swiftly avoid the approaching troops, and I pulled Taryn behind one of the trucks in the dock. It was Michael's possession extra that took over Taryn for the time I needed, and I used Dylan's invisibility to cloak him from their immediate attention. "Don't move..." I said, then caught my breath to face the others. I need to make this quick! The other's are coming!
I climbed back up onto the dock, hopefully leading them away from the spot where I left my love. Predictably, they followed me.
I jumped right down into the middle of the remaining stragglers to put major pressure on them and began to swing wildly in all directions, not giving them much of a chance to think or regroup. If they start coordinating their efforts with any kind of expertise...I've had it.
I had three or four men in front of me, swinging and fighting with all they had...but I kept pressing them backwards, blocking as many as three or four strikes at a time and delivering just as many in return. I kept getting faster, my limbs almost flailing out of control now. But now wasn't the time for self control. Now wasn't the time for restraint. The clock was ticking, and I needed this to be over. Now!
I kept pushing myself, taking a few blows here and there, but trying to ignore the pain by deflecting it elsewhere. It was then that I suddenly saw my vision turn an even darker shade of crimson red. My beginning exhaustion began to disappear...and that's when I heard a beastly growl coming from the bottom of my throat. Another part of my personality curling my lips up into a wicked smile as I began feeding both entities with the rage within. It was....so easy. I felt...strong. Dominant. A titan among mortals. And I began to wonder...if this time could be different. If maybe...I was learning.
I think....I think I can use it. Just a little bit of it. Just for a few seconds so I can get us out of here. And then I can pull it back afterward. Right? Comicality taught me to use my head. I can maintain control. Yes...I'll just use a little bit. Just a little.
I saw my arms begin covering themselves with dark shadows and stop just above the elbow as I tapped into the monster within. My punches increased in their intensity. So much so, that any soldier who attempted to block one of my attacks nearly had their forearms broken. And that's when my inner thoughts began to distract me....
Was it the shadows? Was it the Beast, feeding ravenously on my fears and pain? I couldn't tell. I just remember my father kicking me in the stomach...looking down on me with fury in his eyes. I remember those boys who used to pick on me in school...who used to chase me through the streets and make fun of me while everybody just watched and laughed. I remember my mother being too drunk to cook dinner, and too broke to give me money to eat out. The anger and the frustration grew inside of me. And as hard as I tried not to use more than what little extra power I needed to dispatch a few human soldiers and take my boyfriend to safety...the dark energy began to spill over regardless.
I felt my hand shoot forward and angrily grab one guard by the throat and tighten its grip around his windpipe until he could no longer draw breath. I stared him in the eyes, my skin was heated to the point where my own perspiration began to evaporate into thin wisps of steam. And that's when I could have sworn that I heard a voice in the back of my mind whisper...
I hesitated. His throat was....so 'soft' in my shadowed grip. I squeezed a bit tighter, watching his face turn purple, his mouth open, but unable to scream. I could do it. It would be soooo easy. I could do it to all of them. I could make them pay! I could enjoy the feeling of having their brittle bones pop beneath my fingertips like air pockets in a sheet of bubble wrap. And then they would know. They would ALL know. I have come. And I'm stronger than you ALL!
These are not my thoughts.
I felt a sting on my backside as a high powered taser was shoved in between my shoulder blades. But it hardly did the damage that he expected it to do. It went away almost the same instant that I felt it. It might as well have been a mosquito bite. I released the throat of the soldier in front of me, and allowed him to helplessly fall to his knees at my side as he began to desperately GASP for a fresh supply of oxygen. I turned to face the guard with the taser...and my eyes began to glow a bright blue as Jazz's extra shot out of me and a nearly lethal surge of electric volts of high powered energy poured into his chest, nearly stopping his heart on a dime.
"MORE!" I thought to myself! "Give him more! Let them bear witness to my resurrection!"
I heard the sparks pop and crackle as the power surge caused his defenseless body to twitch, spasm, and shake, at my mercy. Feel it. Take it all. Know who I am....and tremble....
"Cook him alive...." The voice said. "Increase the voltage until his blood boils and his flesh blisters and rips itself open at your command!"
I tried hard to ignore the madness. But it kept tempting me further. The voice was getting louder now. An aural hallucination that was well aware of the power it had over me. There was a time or two when I don't think it was just in my head either. I think I heard myself say the words out loud under my breath. Whispering deadly commands to my burning limbs while the remaining soldiers looked on in horror.
"Slash his throat, Justin...."
"Smash his brains all over the concrete, Justin..."
"Force the face shield material into his eyes...then snatch them out, Justin..."
It was nearly impossible to fight it. The violence had almost become involuntary at this point. I have been fighting for so long now. Ever since I've been in darkness. This fucked up world just keeps raising the stakes. They just keep....PUSHING me....!!!
Someone aimed a pistol at my head, but Chad's speed put us face to face before he could even blink, much less pull the trigger. That's when I felt Jeremy's vibration extra begin to violently rattle him from the inside out. I heard orders for incoming reinforcements to hurry to our location being shouted into a number of walkie talkies. So...with Kid's extra, I pushed out a mental wave of intense static that not only attacked the soldiers' central nervous systems, but caused every walkie talkie within a 50 foot radius to malfunction and instantly burn itself out. The soldiers were quick to drop them or take them off of their hips, tossing the spark infested machines to the ground and yanking their earpieces out as the high pitched squeal drove through their eardrums like a nail.
Someone grabbed me from behind, and he was joined by two more of his comrades. Their numbers should have been down to just a few soldiers. Where did these others come from? The second wave is upon us. This isn't FAST enough. I just....I just need a little more of the shadows to help me. Just a LITTLE more.
The taste of hellish savagery was becoming SO addictive!!! The more I got, the more I craved! I was physically trembling with the sensation!
My shadows began to wrap themselves around the arms of the men holding me....holding them tight. Firm. Let them see my pain. Let them hear the screams. Know what it's like to live how I have lived. To die as I have died. Bear witness...and understand. There will be no more forgiveness. Not for you. Not for any of you.
The soldiers forced me forward until my chest and the side of my face was slammed against one of the trucks, and it took four of them to hold me there. I struggled for a moment...but then I heard myself beginning to laugh at them. Not a chuckle...no. A deep, monstrous, laugh...that echoed throughout the docks like the low rumble of thunder during a storm.
More shadows began to strip themselves from my body and constrict around the limbs of my attackers. That frigid darkness within...I know they could feel my pain. But it was my wrath that they should have been worried about.
Turning my head to the truck's side mirror, I used Dizz's extra to yank all of their attention towards it. Then...my Raider's eyes began to burn brightly as they heated up for a massive blast! With a flash, my eyes exploded with light, reflecting off of the mirror and striking every last one of them blind! Temporarily maybe. Then again...maybe not. Who says I care either way?
As they soldiers shouted out in agony, I felt two large wings spread out behind me and thrust them back in all directions. It was so effortless. So strong. My mind felt as thought it was becoming clouded, but I fought to keep it together. Just for a few seconds more. Then I'll put the Beast back in it's cage where it belongs.
For now...he's coming in quite handy...
With a twist of my hips, I felt a long black tail grow out behind me, whipping around at breakneck speed to knock two more soldiers back up against the wall! Shots were fired, but the shadows...they seemed to intercept them somehow. Absorbing them until they were either deflected or simply fell dead to the ground at my feet. Other soldiers got on top of the truck to take shots at me from above, but the moment I saw them, I spread my wingspan to suddenly rush up at them and grab them both by the throat...lifting them up and tossing them back down to the ground with a bone breaking thud. All the while, I was making sure that none of them dared to take a step in Taryn's direction. As long as Taryn doesn't move, he should remain undetected...or so I hoped.
Swooping back down to the ground, I dug my shoulders deep into the stomachs of the few soldiers in front of me, pushing them backwards as I landed on my feet and allowed my wings to retract again. They obeyed me. I'm learning!
They were all over me like a nest of agitated army ants, but they were being dispatched,one by one, without doing much damage at all. Every punch that I threw out there seemed to land with greater and greater intensity. In fact...it wasn't long before I felt my fists cracking helmets and denting bulletproof vests. Maybe that's a bit TOO hard. Maybe I should...I should slow down....
I didn't. My instincts took a hold of me. My body was moving faster than my brain could keep up with. I watched myself slam a soldier's head into the side of the dock so hard that it nearly broke his neck! WHOAH! Too much! TOO MUCH!!! My hands began to catch fire...and soon I was burning everything that I touched. My fingers turned to dark claws, and I got a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach as I felt them ripping through human flesh....muscle...bone...
It was nauseating. But I couldn't stop! Why couldn't I stop? "NO! KEEP AWAY!!!" I told them...but they wouldn't listen! They just kept coming! Didn't they understand??? It's not me anymore! It's not ME!
I kept slashing and shredding and burning or breaking them down with a fury. I was merely a spectator to the carnage. I never felt so powerful. I never fought so hard. Blood was spraying all over the concrete, all over the sides of the trucks, all over ME! And the more I tried to regain some level of conscious control...the more the demon within tried to block me out. It not only pushed me out of the way...but it took my fears, my pain, my anger...and it forced me to FEED it into brutal act itself. And still, the second wave of soldiers kept coming. I was cutting them down two by two at this point....and some of them...
...Some of them weren't getting back up...
No! This is wrong! I used too much! I set it free! I tried to pull my punches, but I found it hard to do, since the monster was moving so lightning fast. And even when I pulled my punches, they were still hard enough to shatter bone. I tried to calm my breathing down, hoping to somehow slow the furious rush of almost limitless adrenaline within. The creature fought me every step of the way. Always tempting me. 'Reminding' me what parts of me created this rage in the first place. Taking the most painful parts of me, and twisting them up into a tight knot in my gut. I had a reason to hate them. I had a reason to watch the world BURN! What had it ever done for me? Hurt and abused! Ridiculed and rejected! Unloved and neglected! I could make them pay. I could splatter them from one end of this city to the other! I could MAKE them respect me! Give in, Justin...just give in. It will all be over in a matter of seconds. Trust in me, and together...we can put things right...
I was rapidly losing myself. It was almost as if my thoughts were being lulled into some kind of aggravated trance....and if I wait any longer...I don't think there will be any of the real 'me' left.
COMICALITY KINDLE STORIES