Witching Hour

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Quickie

Peter and Lisa were gone by the time Lilith sauntered through the door. Again. They must have been at least another county over by the time she decided to grace Samantha with her presence, only then to have her follow her plump, pompous ass back through the door. Samantha was still in the entrance, hugging Sehmi, rocking her. Each step, each clack of Lilith’s heels made the hall groan, the dragon hiss and fidget. Samantha glowered at it, at how it shuddered and hid its head on her arm, and at Lilith, leading her the entire way.

The scene before, though, when Lilith arrived, still stewed in her mind. How she crouched, how she feigned sympathy... and how Samantha absolutely loathed that she dared to wear such a bright dress.. The bitch, as her once, beloved daughter would call her, did do a good job of acting distraught, at least. How she frowned, how she went all misty eyed over the body of poor, dead Sehmi. The mer’s chest had been closed, the rest of her cleaned, pristine. There wasn’t much to clean, since she... she showered b... Her eyes were shut, but nothing could be done about the horrid, mocking smile on her face. No matter how many tears fell on it, no matter how many times Samantha caressed that face, it would not go away, rending and tearing at her soul, screaming in her ears, shrieking that shriek of the damned one more time, not for Lucille but for the true murderer in those halls.

“What happened?” Lilith said at last.

“There are security cameras, aren’t there?” Samantha croaked... cackling again. The metal groaned and rippled away from her, fleeing from that unholy air. “Or maybe you already knew. Maybe this was your fucking idea from the start.”

Lilith reached out for her shoulder. “Sammy-”

Wind shrieked at her palm, and Samantha’s right arm prickled with fresh metal, eroding against the gale that threatened underneath.

“The timing was too perfect. You arrived. Ayn and Norman left... Then Lucille fucking shows up... Wasn’t she your cohort?”

She shot to her feet, the wall beside threatening to fountain and catch in her a thousand tips.

“Lucille? She was here?”

“Oh, she still is. There. There. Over there. Some over there...”

“So you killed her? No small feat, to be quite honest.”

“She had me work for it. She pushed me to- over the tipping point. My bad.”

Lilith furrowed her brow, lost in thought as she went up the hall. Needles popped out of the floor in her wake, spreading out into abominations of twisted metal, but it was always just a step behind, always an inch away from ending that horrid mulling hum. She stopped at Peter’s door, sliding the shield b-

“He’s gone,” Samantha called out. “So is Lisa. All that are left are Minos and myself... Minos is in my room at the moment.”

Lilith sighed, returning. Her heels STILL CLICKING AWAY, melding into the present as it did that show. “Well, at least the casualties weren’t that great –not to downplay the casualty that is present. Just... It could have been much, much worse.” Her heels stopped their insulting clack behind Samantha, and Lilith groaned as she knelt. Hugging the witch. “Sehmi’s death is going to be a dire toll on all of us. I’m very sorry. For all of this. I... I didn’t expect her, Lucille, to take matters into her own hand... Usually when Peter does something out of line, she gives me some warning- and this isn’t helping, is it?”

“No. It’s not... I want her buried.” Lilith muttered something; Samantha looked up at her at last. Her eyes were bloodshot, weary from holding so many bags, cheeks carved with tears still streaming down onto her sneer, watching, glaring as Lilith pulled out her phone. “What was that?”

“Nothing, nothing. She will be... I promise you, Sammy. However, before we can, I need to make a few calls, make reports-”

“So she is simply going to be left here to rot!”

“No. Of course not... but we are need to have to move the two of you. You can’t stay in the Black Halls while we... clean up... Come. Let’s get you two down to the other-”

“I don’t want to fucking stay there! What part of that don’t you get?”

“It’s only temporary, then you can come back to the Black Halls, if you wish... Jack?”

“He’s not here, reme-”

“I’m also Jack,” Minos muttered, snorting, and clomped into view from around the T-bend.

“How long have you been there?”

“The entire time. Did you really think I was going to leave you alone? And, as long as I’m with her, Lil, I’m fine to go wherever.”

Lilith nodded, and offered her hand to Samantha.

“Then it is settled... correct?”

Samantha scoffed... but looked down at Sehmi again. The girl who stole her heart, the lass that had burrowed into her chest, her inner most, intimate place in less than a week... and cried anew. She hugged her tight, feeling her scrape against, feeling those barbs, those scales tear at her flesh one last time before easing her down on the metal.

Minos helped her stand, and the world seemed to flash before her eyes, fading back to reality –well, “reality” as it truly was. Her trip Lilith was about a week ago, brought to that room, forced to follow that pillowy cracka ass. There she made friends with the chair before the TV. Good friends.

She stared at the TV, playing some generic reality nonsense. It was all nonsense; It was simply to watch the colors, the movements, the words lost to her heart, heavy in her chest. Minos got in her way too often, and also blocked her view too much, almost back to his old...er self. His more raunchy, ornery, carefree... kid-free self. He refused to wear a shirt anymore, even when he cooked. The oil punished him, but he didn’t care, always smiling, kissing, hugging her when he passed, always assuring her he would always be there.

But she didn’t care.

She didn’t care about him. She didn’t care about herself, or their new environment or how it was decorated. She kept it plain Jane; Minos changed it a touch, but mostly to change the walls to blue. As if she needed more sadness; “It’s suppose to be calming-” and yellow wallpaper is supposed to be bright and sunny and look how that turned out!

No... her mind was focused on that speck of periwinkle. It grew on the screen, showing that the code was almost ready. A race against the clock as the clones were almost finishe-

It was complete. At long last.

She jumped to her feet, and bit her lip as she dashed to the bedroom and its shower. Minos was in there, humming away, screaming bloody murder as Samantha broke its door off. She was used to the metal doors of the Black Halls, not these waste-of-space plyboard pieces of crap and fake smoked glass.

It didn’t matter, though. Not anymore.

“It’s time.” She declared.

“O...okay? Do I have time to at least throw on box-” He began, yelping as she dragged him out and through the apartment. He managed to snag a towel from the rack before they exited the bathroom, and had it tied at the top of the stairs to the lecture hall. She let go of him; he could have run, especially after seeing that twisted smile, that cold fire in her eyes. Instead, he followed her, through the empty halls, cells, homes that shall never be filled. Not if Samantha had any say. Her Will be done.

It was only one floor down, but Samantha loathed the impending elevator ride, going through that barrier. She braced against Minos, watching, tensing as the door hissed shut. Her mind already started to warm, but nothing could have prepared her this time. It was the worst one yet, her skull screaming, knocking her off her feet. She depended on Minos, holding her. Tight. Her whole body felt like it was tearing itself apart, muscle ripping from the bone, skin being torn from the muscle, while her organs bubbled and toiled in ways she never thought they could. Her vision went black, sparked with sickening shades of color. She convulsed, retched, and choked on her bile, the sweetest thing she could taste. It was as if she could taste her very soul, and all its sins. She clawed at her throat, needing free of them, but Minos grabbed it before she could completely tear it out. He even put his hand in her mouth, keeping her from biting off her tongue, crunching into his hand instead, until, at last, they were through the barrier.

Minos held her middle, rubbing her back as she let loose that wash of bile -tinted red- onto the metal floor. The dragon on her arm dangled, as well, her hand covered in bites and cuts from its own round of torture. Its wings seemed so heavy, scraping on the floor, sparking, yet it was eerily still, after so long.... It finally growled, and pulled itself up by its tail, allowing it to unravel, to show the deep, red grooves it left in her arm while it settled again.

The elevator dinged, and the door creaked open. The vats, the creatures in them were so close. The lycans were changing on their own, between their feminine, human half and their wild sides. The two silvers still clawed at their tanks, raking at each other, but the one, Victoria, was starting to lose her sheen, starting to turn black instead, her nails corrupted, reddened. The desire demon flickered with her fire, boiling the gel. The hair on the back of Samantha’s nape rose, feeling as if she was being watched as she sat at the desk, touching the spot underneath.

“Okay,” she muttered, hand glowing, making her stomach churn again. “If everything is set, all I need to do is concentrate... and...”

The screen flashed.

The computer itself clicked and whirred. Smoke started to rise from the tower under. The CPU grinded itself to bits, but data, folders opened on the screen, thousands, millions of files. One after one, ten after ten, thousands upon thousands of documents and code were rewrote, matching the strands she made, once a droplet among the ocean now made the entire sea. She prayed that the CPU could survive, at least for another moment, as she waited to hit the spacebar, watching the screen like a hawk. Her eyes ached, but she needed to keep them open; every second m-

Execute?

She hammered the button, and bolted to her feet, wheeling around a bit too fast. Minos caught her, and joined in watching the fireworks.

Literally.

The vats flashed, and the beings inside writhed. Their mouths were locked in screams, torrents of bubbles pressed against as they were heard just gurgling through the glass. The gel turned to a sickening shade of green, tearing, eating them away, leaving little more than flecks and globs of red.

Samantha looked back at the computer, seeing a grid of other levels pop up on the screen, one by one turning green.

Clear.

The CPU processed that final pop-up then exploded, catching the tower, the desk, and the room on fire. Samantha tittered, cackling, lost to it all. She didn’t even notice that Minos picked her up, nor that she was carried back to the elevator, always just a step ahead of the flames behind. As it spread and consumed all the other rooms, in all the other sectors, in all four quadrants... yet no alarms would ring. No klaxons would wail. No... Samantha made certain of that. The entire system was destroyed.

She finally took a breath, blinked, and saw Minos hit the button for their new room, for their apartment, heaving a heavy sigh.

“Well, you did it,” he said. “You got your revenge on Lilith.”

“Damn right I did,” she grumbled, bracing herself for the barrier-

The elevator slammed into it.

Samantha hissed, rubbing her head as Minos groaned. Blood trickled down his nose, but he was the victor. A bit of the roof was still attached to his horns. The lights flashed. The buttons buzzed, and, instead, the elevator lowered, descended beyond what the counter could do, repeating itself. B1, B2, B3, B1, B2, B3, B1, B2, B3... until it stopped, showing an X.

The doors creaked open, and Lilith waited on the other side.

“Well, looks like I caught two lovebirds out and about,” she said. An alarm blared from behind, making her frown. “Gee, that’s awfully coincidental. Does that have anything to do with the two of you?”

“Lilith,” Samantha stammered, hugging Minos tighter as she jumped out of his arms... but still needed to lean on him. “I... I swear, I never meant for anything to happen. We were just down here-”

“For some risque foreplay, no? You wanted to have a bit of fun, to do something... dangerous.”

She tittered, tapped Samantha’s nose, smiling as she ran her finger down to her chin.

And the world spun.

Colors ran together as something sharp pricked Samantha’s throat. Minos exclaimed, but was shot with four of the little darts. Existence, itself, seemed to shift under Samantha as he slid down the elevator, and the only thing she could still see was Lilith, strolling forth. The succubus shook her head, her eyes turning... white as she shot Samantha one more time, finally fading to black.

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