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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 9

Okay, I was officially out of my league here. Growing up with a father like mine, you know, one of the Ancients, an Elder Vampire and a User at that, well.. I had seen plenty of demons before. Usually they were Lesser Plane creatures, imps, elementals, and the like. You could contain them within a circle of power and control their time on our plane. Greater Plane demons make their own rules though. They can choose to answer a User's call to enter our world, but the User can't control them. Most of the time the demon doesn't care either, it is just as likely to rip a Night Walker apart as it is a Norm. That's why only the strongest or most Ancient will attempt to bring one across. Well them or Satan himself.

The fact is I was looking at the biggest fucking demon I had ever seen. There was some serious fucking magic behind this. I knew two things right away, one to summon this bastard would take a very powerful User, most likely an Ancient; and two, to channel enough dark magic to allow it on consecrated ground is no small matter. I ran a quick inventory on my weapons, trying to think if I had anything to hurt this bastard. The shotgun and my pistols were out. Balefire would just tickle this guy, and I don't think I had any ammo that could pierce this things hide. I was running out of options.. and out of time.

The demon still held Father Quinton by the neck, it's huge hand slowly choking the life out of him. I could see the steam pouring from around the demon's grip, it had to hurt him to be holding a holy man like that, but he wasn't letting go. From behind the demon, I saw three more men come around, they looked like more hired muscle. Great, these odds just keep stacking up.

"I am Tch'Karta half-breed."

I stayed crouched in front of the demon, unsure of what to do. I had to get Quint clear before I could try anything, and I didn't know how I was going to arrange that little miracle. I edged a little closer, still holding the shotgun in my hand, but I figured maybe a bit of conversation could draw this out. Give me some time to think and come up with a plan. I steeled myself and looked it (him?) in the eye.

"We want the girl half-breed. Give us the Light Walker and I may let this human live."

Light Walker? Here? Just when I thought things couldn't get any more interesting, someone goes and ups the ante. Still I had no idea what this fucker was talking about. I needed to stall. I REALLY needed to think.

"Listen here..Tch'Karta right? I really want to help you out here.. but I don't know what the fuck you're talking about."

That may have been the wrong answer. The demon's eye burst with black flame and he leaned his head back in a great roar, filling the sky with flame. It was then that I noticed the Padre moving. His hand slipped low, though he still let his head hang limp. He slowly put his hand in the pocket of his robe and pulled free his crucifix. That User may be channeling powerful enough magic to allow the demon to survive on consecrated ground, but true holy magic from a priest should hurt it, maybe enough for me to make a move.

"I tire of your games half-breed! I will have the Light Walker, then I will have your life!"

That was when Quint made his move, forcing his arm up and jamming the cross in the demon's eye. I could hear Quint calling holy magic despite the demon's vice like grip on his throat. Tch'Karta (or whatever the fuck his name was) screamed again as a bolt of blue holy magic struck him from the heavens. I dropped and spun on my heels, pulling up the balefire shotgun and firing at the still channelling User. Once, twice, I pumped the gun as each round bit into the User's shields, catching them and him in the fires of damnation.

Still the User was locked into his spell, whoever he was tethered too was really powerful. I pumped another round into the User as I heard the rest of the hired goons begin to take action. I knew I had caused some damage with the last shot as I could see flickers break throughout his shields. The balefire would eventually get through them, no matter how powerful they were, I just had to stay alive long enough.

I could hear the demon's hired muscle pull their guns up and begin to unload in my direction. I could see bullets hitting the wall and floor around me, as I turned towards them. Pumping and firing like a maniac, I emptied the gun in their general direction, catching anything in the bullets path in a hail of balefire. That got them to scatter long enough for me to take a shot at the demon.

I pulled at the ethereal energy around me, my body aglow in orange power, and sprinted forward making a bee line for the demon. I drew in as much energy as I could take, just an orange blur, I was going to need all the strength I could get for this to work. Transferring the shotgun to my left hand, I pulled out my pistol with my right. Quinton still had the cross buried deep into the demon, and he called another bolt down on it. Leaping into the blast my body felt like it was on fire, I just had to hope that the Padre's last sacrament would be enough to keep me alive.

The demon had bent to one knee, smoke billowing from his body, and Quint's face was blood red, I didn't have much time. I planted my foot on his knee and brought my other foot up in a high arching kick, aiming at the hand that held the Padre. My foot connected, driving its arm up, as I flipped fully over to land in a crouch. Channelling all my energy into my gun, I emptied all 8 rounds into the demons wrist. The ethereally enhanced shredder rounds, combined with the holy bolt of the Father, cut into the demon's grip and Quint fell slack from his grip. Unfortunately, lowering my shields also left me open the full effects of the holy magic around me.

I may be working for Norms and sanctioned by the church, but that doesn't change the fact that I am still half Night Tribe. Without the Father's blessing the night before, that much holy magic probably would have killed me without my shields up. I'm pretty tough and more resistant that most Night Walkers with my half blood nature. but it also opened up other weaknesses that they didn't have. Instead of killing me however, I could feel my skin sear off my body and smell the oh so pleasant aroma of burnt flesh. Stumbling away I picked up Quint and threw our bodies through the church's door. We hot the ground hard, my skin a mess of blisters and peeled blackened skin, smoke rising off my body.

As soon as I crossed into the church the burning stopped. Lucky I still had my rosary beads, they gave me safe passage on hallow ground. I looked down at Quint and he seemed in bad shape though I wasn't much better for wear. I looked through the door to see Tch'Karta pulling itself up, and his three cronies regrouping. I was quickly running out of options. I only had one choice left if I was gonna get Quint and myself out of here alive. I was to hurt to keep fighting like this, I needed to even the playing field, and fast.

I tossed the shotgun and ammo belt to the side and quickly shrugged off my coat, wrapping my rosary around my wrist at the same time. I unbuckled my harness, letting it fall to the floor. Then I did something that I hadn't done since before I met Juliet. I gave into the Night.

End of Line.

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