The Equalizer: You Better Watch Out

creatures are stirring

I gave myself an extra push. Everything around me blurred. The damn laws of physics hadn’t cut me any slack before and now this was more of the same. I had way too much momentum going backwards like that.

The Mark flared up. My skin and bone itched as I healed deep inside.

I blinked green again. I twisted around, dropped into a crouch. I leaned forward, put my left hand down and steadied myself. Didn’t do much good at first. I didn’t slow down until I slid backwards twenty feet. Everything Around me faded from shades of grey and then back to dark purple shadows as I went from Marty’s backyard into another location topside.

I was somewhere else.

No snow. Green grass slipped through my fingers. I sure in the hell wasn’t in Maine anymore. It was still night.

Flashing red and blue lights all around. Radio chatter in the air and it sounded awfully damn familiar.

Like law enforcement.

Cops all around, standing next to their cruisers, on the front steps and the porch of the house behind me. The coroner’s meat wagon was there too.

Everyone turned to stare at me. Temps in the upper seventies and there I was covered in ice and snow doing a pretty damn good imitation of Frosty the Snowman, minus a carrot nose, two pieces of coal for eyes and that dumbass black top hat.

Nobody said a damn thing. These cops were too damn professional to stand there with their jaws dropped, but the general feeling was what the fuck is this? all the same. Only the ones on the radio kept talking, and that was because they weren’t there and didn’t know what was going on. A huge brown police dog nearby strained at its handler’s leash and started barking its fool head off.

Demon GPS kicked in just then, even though I didn’t need it. I knew good and damn well where I was: the front lawn of 8471 Palmetto Way. Tampa, Florida. The last earthly home of Mr. and Mrs. McPerv, Randall and Lorraine DeLeon.

I’ll be damned. Well, I already am, but still. I was right back where I started tonight.

The shock of seeing a snow dude pop in out of thin air holding a wicked looking bone blade wore off pretty damn quick with this crowd. Several of the cops nearest me drew their weapons. In another second all of them did.

I smirked at them. “Is there a problem, Officers?”

WE SHOULDN’T GO BACK! The Mark yelped inside my head.

We already had this conversation. I’m not listening to you and you can’t make me.

As you often say, what are you, four?

Shut up.

"Put the weapon down and lie on the ground! Slowly! Hands above your head!” the red-faced older cop by the nearest squad car roared.

If I moved, they’d shoot me.

I ignored them. I saw Marty’s yard inside my head. More of the minions came out of the snow. They crowded around Goat Boy purring like kittens. They rubbed their faces against his robe. Krampus stood there swaying back and forth. His hands shook as the minions crowded around him and grabbed at his fingers. Underneath the ice and snow I was covered in bites and bruises. He looked worse than I did.

Good. I was just getting started.

I reached out with my mind. Goat Boy wasn’t the only one who could create wild weather. I needed cover, so I made some. The wind picked up; all I had to do was think about it. Snow filled the air. Thunder and lightning flashed overhead.

The cop directly in front of me was a woman. Blonde hair, grey eyes. Not bad looking for a uniform. She was rock steady. Her gun was pointed at the space between my eyes and her aim didn’t waver.

I winked black at her.

“Jesus Christ-”

I didn’t flinch. Sorry. JC doesn’t have anything to do with this.

My demon mojo flexed around me as I lunged forward and up. Snow and ice slid from my back and shoulders onto the green grass.

The cops opened fire.

Everything slowed down around me. The noise of the shots echoed sharp and flat. Silver bullet trails stretched towards me.

I was gone before they hit.

Marty’s yard. Visibility was near zero but I could still see everything. The house was still intact. No broken windows or walls. The bricks and the window glass glowed a dull red only I could see, so I knew the fugs hadn’t tripped the bug zapper. The wind I whipped up pushed the most of the snow back from the center of the yard. I saw lumps here and there. I didn’t pay that much attention to that. Not until later.

Big mistake.

I came back six feet above and directly in front of Krampus. When I dropped down I was face to face with the Christmas Demon. The look of shock in those creepy yellow eyes was priceless.

I grinned at him. “Hey, Goat Boy! You still miss me?”

I didn’t give him time to answer. I swung the First Blade.

The edge of the Blade sliced through his neck like butter. It dragged a little as it cut through bone.

Goat Boy’s head flew off. It bounced up into the air and hit the ground twenty feet away. It rolled around and came to a rest with his neck stump pointed up, his blank eyes staring up at the sky.

Game over. Winchester for the win.

The wind and snow died down. I ’ported out and came back standing fifteen feet away.

The minions wailed.

And the crowd goes wild…

The Mark sang underneath my skin. The bitch knew I had to kill all of them. I didn’t have a choice. They started out innocent but they weren’t any more. I couldn’t let them go. Since they didn’t trip the bug zapper I’d have to go hands on.

Something wasn’t right. I saw movement over to my left. Krampus’ head jiggled at first. Then it began to roll.

Back to his body. The horns thumped against the bare ground as it went.

Tha-thump.

What the hell?

Tha-thump.

The minions didn’t move. I counted at least thirty around Krampus. Now some of them were missing.

Goat Boy grinned at me, from ear to ear.

Sonofabitch!

I gripped the Blade even tighter and took a step forward. That was as far as I got.

I took one step forward. Something slammed into the center of my chest. I staggered backwards. Sharp metal tore into me from behind. Glass broke.

The Mark went silent.

I felt weird. Somebody grunted. Dude sounded surprised.

I got it then. That dude was me. I realized what was wrong then. I looked down at myself.

The chains...the fucking chains...

Blood bubbled up from the tears in my shirt. A hundred of the bastards were stuck in my chest in a tight circle. The snake heads were already underneath my skin. I felt them moving and squirming as they pushed deep inside me.

I stared at my right hand. My fingers jerked and twitched. My hand was empty. I didn’t remember when I dropped the First Blade.

My head wobbled like a bobblehead. I saw Marty’s house. It was further away. What the hell? I was in the front yard before, wasn’t I? How the fuck did this happen?

One of the small fuglies skittered forwards and licked at the bloody snow. Took me a moment to realize that was blood. My blood. The little bitch turned and ran back to join the others.

Yeah. I hope you choke on it.

I had enough demon juice left in me to see everything, and none of it was good. I was on the sidewalk next to the street. I’d been thrown backward against one of the parked cars and spread-eagled against the damned thing. More chains crawled all over me, around my wrists, chest, legs and ankles, through the broken windows of the car, from one side to another.

The ones inside me never stopped moving. They crawled over and inside my ribcage. They coiled up around my heart.

My head wobbled like a bobblehead. All I could do was watch as two minions crawled forward and picked up Krampus’ head. One of them climbed up his body and stuck the head back on his neck.

The bastard never stopped smiling.

Twenty of the chains rose up in front of me. They twisted together and made a hangman’s noose. The noose looped underneath my chin and around my throat.

The chains tightened all over. My feet raised up from the ground. The back of my head and my shoulders slammed against the roof of the car. All four tires on the car blew as the frame buckled with a crunch of metal. The car I was chained to rocked back and forth.

My spine snapped just as my ribs caved in. Cold and pain rolled through me. Fire and ice. The cold didn’t numb anything. It was a different kind of blade and it cut just as deep as the snake heads did.

The noose around my neck tightened again. I bled all over. The chains crawled around inside me. That was the only thing I could feel.

I couldn’t turn my head, couldn’t look anywhere but up at the night sky.

The ground shook. Footsteps. Laughter,

Krampus was coming.

I was so screwed.

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