Chapter 58: Distruction
I stalked toward a corner, sensing a presence through the energy all around me. Someone was there. Someone dark.
My footsteps fell quiet on the cold stone floor. The greater power inside of me had seemingly burned out. Like Brother Lawrence had said, it was only present when he needed it. Maybe that meant whoever was around the corner wouldn’t be a problem.
I hesitated then turned the corner and felt my body’s magnetic poles shift. The force slammed me against the wall, sticking me to it like flypaper. Fighting against it, I pulled my guns and spotted Rawlins down the hall. Just before I fired, the guns ripped from my hands and clung to the wall across from me. The poles shifted again and my body crashed to the ground and then slid down the hall.
Rawlins walked casually past me as I slid by. My body’s poles shifted again, lifting me into the air. And with another quick shift, I crashed back into the ground, hard.
“When are you going to learn, Mr. Sharp?” He spoke in his slimy, used-car-salesman way, strolling toward me. “It’s pointless to resist. You’ll never beat us.”
I threw up a hand, trying to force my power to come out. Nothing happened. I slipped a grenade from my belt and pulled the pin. Just before I threw it, it shot backward and exploded a good two-hundred feet behind me. I ducked as a wave of flameless heat washed over me.
Then abruptly, my body rose into the air again like I was in space.
“It’s a shame you won’t work with us.” Rawlins stared at me curiously. “Don’t you want to stop running?”
“Not if it means torturing or killing innocent people.” I tried to think of some way to get out of the air without my power present but came up empty. There was no escape.
“What a waste.”
Rawlins didn’t move a muscle, but he sent me smashing into the wall to my right, cracking it.
No, not a wall. A door. One with familiar engravings on it.
The graveyard door.
The crack my impact had put in it ran through the Ancient Hebrews’ warning about the destruction held inside. Several spikes stuck out of the door’s edges with little cracks of their own. Artie and Joseph had never finished opening it, but I had a bad feeling that Rawlins was about to.
My body floated away from the door, then slammed back into it, the cracks splintering out farther across the stone slab. I wasn’t sure I wanted to find out what would happen if the dark one inside was released, especially without my powers. The dark one that had come out of me was terrifying.
Then something powerful welled up in my gut. Something beautiful that seemed to wipe away any worries I might have harbored before.
The greater power was finally back.
I pushed out, severing Rawlins’ link to me, and dropped to the ground. He frowned as I gave him a wicked smile.
He leapt at me, and I redirected him, slamming him into the door. The cracks grew larger. He came at me again swinging, faster than expected, each punch throwing a burst of magnetic reversal that pulled me toward it. I threw up a shield, but it didn’t seem to affect his punches. They flew right through it, reversing the poles of the energy it was made of. He was actually pulling off of my shield to increase the strength of his blows.
I dropped the shield.
He kicked my stomach hard and I slammed into the door again, expanding its cracks.
I blocked two punches then threw a hard right cross through an opening in his defense.
I lifted off the ground and smashed into the door again. My energy lashed out, severing the link Rawlins had to me, but as soon as I did, another replaced it, pinning me back to the door. No matter how fast I severed the links, more kept coming, one right after another.
“As I said, Mr. Sharp, it’s pointless to resist.”
A sound echoed down the hall—an engine and shifting gears.
Rawlins didn’t take notice right away. “You expend so much energy resisting. It’d be so much easier if you’d just give up.”
One of the Formula One cars flew around the curved wall and raced toward Rawlins. Rawlins’ eyes went large and he jumped.
Abby leapt from the car in a flying kick that took Rawlins right in the face. The car slid sideways under them, wrecking into the wall, spinning like mad down the corridor.
Rawlins hit the ground, skidding on his back down the hall. Abby managed to land on her feet and slid to a stop faster than him. His pole shift released on me, dropping me from the door.
Abby got off a kick to Rawlins stomach before her body shot up at the ceiling, flattening helplessly against it.
Rawlins turned his attention back to me. I tried to send a telekinetic pulse at him, but I was too slow. My feet came off the ground and I slammed back against the door again, forcing its cracks deeper and longer.
That’s when I decided I’d have enough. As Rawlins approached with a smug smile, I pooled the greater power deep within, creating a huge reservoir of energy.
“You’re coming with me, Mr. Sharp.”
I smiled slyly.
Energy burst out of me in every direction, breaking Rawlins’ hold on me. He shot back toward the wall, trails of electricity rushing through him before dying out.
The door behind me shattered.
I hoped to God my plan would work. “Dark one, you are commanded to reveal yourself and run the Hunters out of the city…starting with Rawlins.”
A massive roar came from the graveyard. The giant beast leaped over me and grabbed Rawlins by the neck. He pulled him from the ground then threw him down the hall.
Abby dropped from the ceiling.
I pushed off with a burst of energy, shooting past the beast, and snatched her from the air, mid-fall. The dark one backhanded Rawlins past right past us. Abby and I jumped back to avoid the giant demon as he stormed by, eyeing us with murderous rage at being subject to the command I’d given him.
I looked at Abby with wide eyes. “I can’t believe that worked.” Had I not posessed the greater power, I wondered if the command would’ve failed and the beast would’ve just eaten me before slaughtering Abby and Rawlins.
Abby clung to me in a long hug. When she finally let go, we followed at a safe distance behind the monster as it chased the Hunters through the halls toward the town square. As it broke from the South Passage, it drop-kicked a man all the way to the river.
Joseph caught sight of the large beast and froze for a second then yelled, “Drive them out.”
Metal from all around the town square rose in the air and shot toward the Hunters, toppling many of them. Jesse and Reilly swept in from the left, pushing the enemy toward the East Passage.
Harlan punched one man, and his face went cold white as he seized. His next punch exploded red into another man’s face. The Hunter ran away, swatting his face as if attempting to put out flames. Harlan was pulling heat from one man and blasting it into another.
Several Hunters rushed Harlan, intent on escaping. A red glow emanated from his chest, and he released a breath of fire at them. They dropped to the ground holding their faces, screaming. Harlan grabbed a couple of them and threw them down the hall.
Brother Lawrence and Chen fought at the river’s edge. I couldn’t believe how quickly he’d recovered from taking on Abby’s injuries. He wasn’t a hundred percent, but he seemed to be holding his own.
The monk appeared behind Chen and kicked him hard. His body flew out onto the water, skipping across it like a stone. My jaw dropped as he stood up on the water without sinking. Brother Lawrence leapt from the bank with another kick. Chen ducked out of the way and the monk landed on top of the water.
Brother Lawrence came at Chen with a stout side kick, sending him flying down river near the wooden bridge.
When the monk noticed the dark one chasing the Hunters, he looked around and found me, nodding his excited approval. Then a giant black fist smashed into the monk. I winced as he slammed against the grass, tearing through it. When he finally came to a stop, he shook it off and said, “Oh, that’s wonderful!”
He rose from the ground, dusting himself off nonchalantly. The dark one from the bridge rushed the monk, his furious footfalls shaking the ground. Brother Lawrence smiled at the beast as it jumped at him. It bounced hard off an invisible wall a mere inch before it reached the monk, then fell to the ground, dazed.. The monk leaned down to the dark one and whispered something in his ear.
I couldn’t hear what he’d commanded the beast to do as I approached, but it wasn’t difficult to figure out. The dark one got to its feet, let out a deafening roar, and launched itself into the air toward Chen. He yanked Chen by his leg and flung him toward the East Passage right into Jesse and Reilly, toppling them.
Abby gasped, and I shot Brother Lawrence a what-the-hell look.
He shrugged. “I didn’t command him not to hit your friends.”
Chen scrambled to his feet and ran. In front of him, Rawlins shifted poles in anyone in his path, sending men sticking to the passage walls and ceiling, including Harlan.
One demon tossed a Hunter to the other, who tossed him down the hall, pummeling Chen with him.
“Aw, how cute,” I said. “The demons are playing catch with Hunters.”
Moments later, the Hunters and the pursuing beasts disappeared down the passage toward the entrance, and Harlan dropped from the wall.
I frowned at Brother Lawrence. “How did you and Chen walk on the river?”
“When one is connected with the Light—with Existence Itself—the laws of physics do not always apply.”
I cocked my head. “So Chen’s connected to the Light, too?”
The monk got an eerie look in his eyes. “To the Light’s chaos.”
Despite my peace, a chill ran through me.
The monk continued, quoting something. “I am the One who forms light and creates darkness—the one who brings about peace and creates calamity. I am the Lord who does all these things.” He raised an eyebrow. “He’s not always so easy to understand, but He knows what He’s doing.”
That sounded like a verse from the Bible, which didn’t help my chills any. Luckily, the monk continued on in silence.
We made our way to Jesse and Reilly, who just stared in astonishment.
Joseph looked unhinged as he peered down the hall the Hunters through. He spoke in a dark, menacing tone. “Blow the entrance tunnel.”
Artie frowned. “But…they’ll die.”
Jesse and Reilly stared at Joseph in disbelief.
Harlan seemed to study Joseph’s face as he came from the passage. “Do you really want their lives on your conscience? You’ll go mad.”
Joseph growled. “They’ll eventually find another way into the city if we don’t. Someone has to stop them!”
Harlan put his hands up in a placating gesture. “Think about what you’re doing. If you kill them to protect us, you’ll still go mad with guilt and risk killing several of us yourself.”
Joseph’s tone turned more aggressive. “They have to pay for this!” The incredible power it took to set the river water on fire may have sent him off the deep end already.
“It’s not worth it,” I said, stepping closer. “They’re just following orders, protecting their country. They don’t have much of a choice. Defending ourselves is one thing, but we don’t kill people in cold blood when they’ve given up. And besides, they work for the shadow government. If we kill them, they’ll just send more.”
Joseph’s fists tightened, jaws clenched.
“Don’t listen to the madness. You have to let this go before you do more damage than good.”
As if something had switched off inside Joseph, his eyes closed with a sigh, body relaxing, and he nodded in agreement. “Wait until their out of blast range.”
Artie nodded and vanished down the East Passage. If they were so quick to blow the entrance tunnel, there must have been another way into the city.
Nearby, Brother Lawrence wore his all-too-familiar pleasant smile. “Oh, I like hanging out with you people. That was most exciting.”