Risen From Ashes

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Chapter Thirty-Two

June 22, 2028 (con’t)

Point Zéro des Routes de France

As the intricately designed, wooden panels closed behind Meryl, she stopped dead in her tracks and watched in horror.

Smoked billowed from the hospital where her cousin had been confined. Six shots were fired from within the raging inferno; another explosion resounded and shook the surrounding area, releasing another wave of heavy smoke and growing fire.

“Kai you fool, you stupid, you bastard… What have you done?”

Unable to find the right words, Meryl turned to see the statues, the twelve apostles of Notre Dame. Their cold, hard eyes followed her; accused her of failing to finish the job she swore she’d do.

“I’m sorry,” Blackbird apologized, before she dashed across the empty street and into the hospital, where doctors and nurses helped each other escape.

The few that retreated from the building were horribly wounded, and Meryl’s first inclination was to help them. However, stopping Kai was her main priority, and she had to remind herself of that.

Regretfully, she sprinted past the injured, and up to the third floor where smoke and fire emblazed. Bracing for the worst, she plunged into danger’s welcoming arms as heat threatened to burn her flesh. It did not stop her; this time, nothing would stop her.

From the thick of the smoke, Jack and Megan emerged, coughing and wheezing, trying to rid the putrid gas from their lungs.

“What the hell happened?” Meryl asked as Megan nearly collapsed in her arms.

Jack answered with a hoarse whisper, “We were going to check on him when a large explosion destroyed the area. He killed several doctors, and… Susan and Justin…”

“How did he get his hands on an explosive?” Blackbird held the reporter on her feet.”

Wheezing, Jack answered, “The attending physician.”

No other explanation was needed. Meryl knew that Kai had taken control of the man’s mind, in order to do his bidding.

Tears from the smoke, and pain of losing friends, stung Megan’s eyes. Her eyeliner was smeared as she gazed at Meryl. It was only now that the reporter understood why Meryl was the way that she was.

“Megan, grieve later. Get out of this building. Jack what are you doing?” Meryl wondered in bewilderment as she glanced up.

He handed the camera bag to the anchorwoman, but not before he pulled out his small camcorder. “I’m following you, Meryl. I’m not missing this.”

There was no arguing with him; Cameron had just stumbled near them. Deep red claret stained his shirt as he coughed up more.

“He can… see…” Cameron’s guttural voice was nearly unintelligible through the crackling fire that shattered the nearby Plexiglass.

“Megan, take Cameron and go to the Cathedral. Alice is there. Go now!”

Although weakened from the heavy amount of smog she inhaled, Megan slipped an arm around her friend’s back and supported him. “Good luck,” she wished.

She and her injured friend slowly made their way through smoke and rubble, down the steps, and out of harm’s way.

“Jack, stay low,” Meryl whispered aware that he was recording every moment that passed. “It’s time to end this once and for all.”

“Don’t need to tell me twice,” He retorted just as quietly.

Annoyingly, he kept close on her heels and captured every tense, passing moment.

As the haze thickened, they covered their nose and mouth and tread cautiously. It was heavier the further they went. More flames crackled as shattered glass and broken walls littered the floor.

Barely able to see five feet in any direction, it took Meryl and Jack a while before they found the room Kai previously inhabited.

However, the monster was nowhere to be seen. Instead, the senior doctor was face down in a pool of his own blood. On the floor was a revolver that lay a few inches from his outstretched, withered, cold, lifeless limbs.

Meryl picked up the handgun and opened the barrel - one bullet left. Great… she thought to herself as she moved out of the fire-stormed room. The boots she wore clicked lightly, but their sound was drowned out by the enraged element.

“Kai!” she yelled through the smoldering ash and inferno.

“Polo!” was the unforgiving voice that sneered and snickered.

Meryl took that chance to follow the sinister sound. Cautious, unable to smell anything, she neared the end of the hall and stopped before rounding the corner. Jack was right behind her. Even though the smoke burned her eyes, she did not close them. “Stop hiding you coward!” she yelled into the hazy air.

“Who says I’m hiding, deceiver?”

That was all she needed to confirm his whereabouts. Swiftly, she turned the corner, and there he stood in the middle of the hallway.

With the broken window to his right sucking out the smoke, the grey smog intersected him, as if he were a mere shadow. He had an evil smirk plastered on his charred, hollowed, and burned face. Kai’s crimson gaze, his bloodshot eyes pierced through the stunned cousin as he stood with hunched shoulders.

He looked like a true psychopath, a werewolf ready to hunt, dying to kill. The woman only then realized what was clutched tightly in his hand: a grenade!

“Thought I was through, did you?” he leered wickedly and stepped forward unsteadily. “Thought my veins were fully unsullied by my own injection, my own invention? Dear, dear Blackbird. It’s time to end the Grigori line once and for all!”

He held the shell in his hands and pulled the pin.

“NO!” she cried as she fired the last bullet; it struck him squarely between the eyes.

However, it was too late.

Time slowed to a torturous tempo.

It seemed to Meryl that the bomb detonated in slow motion. She yelled and doubled back, attempting to flee the growing explosive. The last image that tarnished and haunted her mind was her cousin; an empty void in his forehead as his entire figure was consumed and incinerated in the hot flames, his wicked gleam still etched on his face.

With her mind now on one thing, Meryl managed to shove Jack and his camera away from the eruption; he stumbled and slid to the back wall with a thud, but out of danger.

The tongue of the flames grew larger. They singed strands of Blackbird’s hair and clothing as the force nearly suffocated and scorched her.

Heaving, straining to reach a safe distance, Meryl ran as fast as she could.

Fate had other plans.

The floor trembled pugnaciously beneath her. Cracks formed and raced with the frightened woman.

The demolished level collapsed as the turbulent hell fires claimed its last victim of this bloody war.

Blackbird fell over the edge, out of sight, of the ruined floorboards and into the newly created fires, remains, and ash.

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