Quietly entering the lounge, I sat with my mom, Hiromi and others enjoying movie night. Horror films-gotta love them! Justin stood by the door, listening to shouts of surprise and fear, waiting until the scene had passed. He smiled momentarily, knowing the film on the screen. He shuffled his feet; hands placed in his pockets with an I-pad tucked under his arm.
Zanz laying at my feet, lifted his head; ears perked and eyes focused toward the door. Abraxas too, perched behind me on the couch’s back, turned his gaze. Turning in my seat, there stood Justin; his baby face filled with worry. My mom and Hiromi too turned, forgetting about the movie. Seeing his hesitant behavior, I quickly stood and approached him.
“Justin…what’s wrong?” I urged quietly, not wanting to disturb the others watching the film.
“I know it’s late and I’m sorry to bother you, but there are…” Justin answered, quickly explaining the activities on the mainland, “I don’t know if they’re Nikolaas’ men, or Steven’s, but the vehicles aren’t marked, so there’s something not right. Nick and Caleb are trying to get a hold of them but no one’s answering their bloody phones. Maybe you’ll have a better chance?”
“Oh, my God…” I muttered a little too loudly.
“Shh…” someone called out over their shoulder, “come on…”
Abraxas stretched out his wings releasing a loud screech silencing their rudeness and it worked. They practically sunk into the couch in fear with their eyes bulged, watching as the dragon crawled along the back of the couch.
“Mierda…” I cursed in my Spanish tongue then turned, walking around the couch toward the TV, “Sorry, guys but movie night’s over down here. I’ll send the link to your screens upstairs and you can continue watching it there. This is important, I’m sorry.” I grabbed the TV’s I-pad laying on the table, sending the link as promised; placed on paused and ready to resume.
“Everything alright, Yzavela?” a woman asked.
“I’m not sure.” I groaned.
Low complaints swirled around as the gathering departed. Some disappeared up the stairs while others remained on the stairs inquiring what was taking place. But my mom knew. There was no point in lying to them so I allowed Justin to explain while I connected his I-pad to the TV. I listened to gasps of worry and fear behind me and Justin, among a few others, was a highly respected guard on the wall, reassured them things were handled for the moment. Or he hoped they were. I glanced over my shoulder, hoping that was true as well.
“If any of you have friends or loved ones in Penrith, call them and let them know something’s coming before horrific events take place.” I instructed, “Again, I’m sorry this is happening. This isn’t what I, or any of us here, wanted. Go on, now…” I watched as the residents nodded in acceptance before turning away, heading up the stairs leaving my mom, Hiromi, Justin and I standing in the lounge. We exchanged worried expressions ourselves. Justin and I approached the thin holographic TV screen along the rear wall of the lounge, searching for the HDMI port, “Justin, do you have a…” I turned; his tablet handed to me with the necessary cord, “thank you.” I smiled, plugging it into the correct port.
I adjusted the settings on the TV, basically converting the TV into the I-pads. It was easy with just a matter of clicks and adjustments but it worked. Sitting on the table set before the screen, we listened as the connection rang four times before Nikolaas finally answered.
“Yzavela…you’re calling late.” he complained; hair hanging in his face and tired eyes, “I was just about to retire for the evening. I...”
“Nikolaas, I don’t have time and I know it’s late, but…” I moved aside, allowing Justin to relay the events taking place. We watched as the Hungarian frowned while I continued, “Please tell me they’re your vehicles.”
“We don’t have any vehicles sent out at the moment and all of ours are labeled. Conspicuously of course.” Nikolaas frowned and before he could continue, Roberto’s voice shouted urgently in the background, “Ugh, give me a moment…”
“Okay.” I straightened my posture, watching as he excused himself. I huffed then looked at those gathered around me. We stared at the wall behind the camera where a Hungarian tapestry hung in the shadows but you could faintly make out the colors red, gold and green. I enhanced the audio levels allowing us to listen as the door quickly opened followed by Nikolaas’ voice bluntly informing,
“I’m in the middle of a conversation, Roberto. What is it!?”
“Invaders.” Roberto answered with their code word then sped down the hall, leaving Nikolaas shocked and worried.
“Nikolaas…Nikolaas…are you there!?” my voice called out from his screen, “Hello!?”
He quickly returned to his screen in a blur; his eyes filled with many emotions.
“Roberto just…” he stuttered.
“We heard. Do what you have to do and I’ll do the same here. Many residents here are calling their loved ones or friends they may have there so I’m sure the word’s spread by now. Go…” I nodded, “and Nikolaas…please be careful.”
“Thank you.” he ended the call.
I combed my hair back sighing heavily then stood to those behind me. I unplugged the tablet and cord returning them to Justin who stood explaining the situation to my mom and Hiromi in further detail.
“I’m going to need a lot of help.” I studied their anxious faces.
“We’ll help…” voices erupted from the staircase; residents pouring from the narrow space.
“We’re not warriors, but we’ll help. This is our home too!” another advised; all sharing nods in agreement.
“Thank you.” I smiled in appreciation, “Let’s go…” I followed Justin outside; my mom, Hiromi and the large crowd close behind with Zanz and Abraxas. I walked, activating the islands’ version of an Amber alert, sending it to everyone and within an hour or two, the island crawled with panic, worry and preparations for Penrith’s remaining residents. I informed the harbormen to expect the sudden rush and groups of Wraiths and Demons teleporting onto the harbor, dock and lower beach area, “Justin!” I turned to him, “Contact Beth and Doctor Matthews. Let them know what’s happening and make sure the hospital is prepped or whatever their term is, okay? And take my mom with you!”
“What?” my mom argued.
“Mommy, please...I don’t have time to argue. You could help Beth, now go...please!” I turned her around, giving her a gentle shove toward the hospital then searched for Caleb who answered my call, “You still have that drone out there?”
“Funny you asked, love because you’re not going to believe the sh*t storm taking place!” Caleb stood alongside me holding the tablet at eye level, showing me the events taking place on the mainland and it was unbelievable.
“Oh, my god…” I whispered watching as a lightning storm looked to walk on land then glanced up at Caleb who expressed worry in his big brown eyes, “what’s going on out there?”
“I don’t know, love...but that’s...that’s some serious sh*t! Magically speaking, of course.”
Nikolaas ventured outside watching as their remaining township scampered, hearing their warning alarm echo through speakers placed throughout the town. Suddenly turning the corner down the streets, were five metal military M36 tank destroyers; 90 millimeter guns on their traversing turret (top of the tank). Six red pick-up trucks followed behind with two people up front and five men riding in the back, shining their high beam searchlights down the streets. Residents that had rushed from their homes and stores paused, observing the disturbance. Listening as they began loading their military rifles and tanks; wheels rattling against the cobblestone ground, Nikolaas urgently shouted the code word, waving his arms around in a panicked manner,
“INVADERS…invaders! Get inside, grab your things and go! Get to the safe zone...move it!”
“But where will we go from there!?” a woman carrying her son, cried out as she rushed toward them in shuffling steps; both dressed in their nightwear.
“The Isle of Castillion. They’re expecting us, now go woman!” he turned her around facing her toward the street away from them.
“But…” she argued; her son crying in her ear.
“NOW!” Nikolaas raged then turned to Roberto who sprinted toward him, “Get everyone we have left and bring them back here…”
Roberto nodded then they parted ways.
The invaders watched as individuals frantically scampered through the streets from shop-to-shop or home-to-home. Without compassion, they aimed their rifles; shooting recklessly. The echo from the gunfire was unlike anything these poor souls ever heard, while others were familiar with the horrific booms; being part of past military units and enlistments. Steven too, as he stood in the streets with those he gathered scattering in panic, listened; reminding him of when he was recruited for the Spanish-American war in 1898. The day he was turned into a Wraith; a day he never wanted to remember.
Dressed in military clothing and gas-like masks, the invaders jumped out; attacking Penrith’s people. They removed their helmets revealing their Night-Walker status. They sped through the streets tearing out throats and hearts of the townsfolk, feeding and ripping along the way. The Shayds threw blasts of their magic at the shops, shattering the windows and destroying the contents; smiles growing on their faces as if they enjoyed the destruction.
All of Nikolaas’ remaining Wraith and Demon residents, including himself, blocked the streets defending their town. They were an even match for Nikolaas and his fellow warriors but managed to gain the upper hand; stabbing with iron bladed weapons forged for defense of their town. Piles of ash at their feet scattered in disgust as Steven and the others kicked them away with utter disgust and rage. Their Wraith eyes leered at their enemy that released another wave of Night-Walkers upon them and releasing guttural hisses, they attacked and defended once more. The Demons and Shayds threw magic at one another, creating an unsettling popping and buzzing through air that didn’t blend too well with the echo of bullets flying through the air. Barriers shattered like glass; their sigils lingered in the air before being swept away in smoke and fire. Electrokinetic Demons such as Nikolaas, released their powerful energy making it look like a lightning storm charged through the streets, leaving behind scorch marks in places they struck.
A General sat in one of the trucks, watching as this towns’ own Wraiths and Demons wiped through his own militia of Night-Walkers and Shayds. He grinned enjoying the challenge between them then whistled loudly, instructing them to cease the physical attack momentarily. He climbed out; his feet crunching against glass scattered across the cobblestone streets beneath his feet. The Night Walkers reluctantly backed away, standing behind the regal man.
The Demons and Wraiths standing before the man stood covered in blood and ash, releasing loud hisses of aggression or breathing heavily, feeling their magics recharging in their blood; their victims’ blood dripped from their hands and bladed weapons.
Nikolaas and his people watched as the man dressed in steampunk armor approached; large Katanas hanging in their sheaths from his belt.
“Who are you!?” Nikolaas ordered eyeing the man up and down.
“General Matrx.” he shifted his weight, “And you?” but the Demon didn’t answer, “Not very chatty, I get it. You’ve put up a good fight, Demon…you have, but why bother? This town is lost. It’s ours now.” he gestured his hands around.
“Not while I still draw breath!” Nikolaas raged; grasp tightening on the blades hilt.
“I can arrange that, very easily but…I want to work this out.” Matrx mocked leaning against the vehicle behind him, “See, I’m looking for someone who…who stole something from my brother and I think you…” he pointed toward Nikolaas menacingly, “know where he is, so I’ll make you a deal.” he shifted his feet, “Tell me where Marxus Castillion is and I’ll spare the women and children. If you don’t, they’ll be captured, raped or tortured for information. The women, that is. The children and teens will be used for my brother’s labor, sport for my men or become part of my army of Night Walkers. It’s your choice, pureblood but the offer expires in twenty seconds.”
“There’s a difference between your Wraiths, General Matrx and us.” Steven stepped forward.
“Ah…a soldier.” Matrx stood straight, “Your bearing gives you away, but how so? Do tell.”
“Why? When you’ve seen it for yourselves?” Steven gestured at the remnants of ash at their feet, “We have better control, for one…”
“Mm. Interesting, but as tempting as your taunting is, soldier...I don’t have all night for this.” Matrx stepped away from the vehicle walking around to its side, “Continue your orders!” he shouted, “And leave none of these Wraiths or Demons alive, except for those there! Leave the women and children to flee!” he climbed back into the truck, watching from behind the blackened windshield and from the glove compartment, he removed a video recorder, recording footage from this small town; taking snapshots of the Demon and Wraiths to show his brother.
The tanks continued aiming their guns at buildings, homes and shops; loud booms, flying from the barrels, destroying Nikolaas’ town but not while suffering damages of their own. Powerful purebloods like Nikolaas, halted the bullets and canons mid-air, then turned them around having them fire back at the trucks and guns but that wouldn’t have held up forever. The explosions from the vehicles blown up in place, caused such havoc and fear; their debris flung high into the air then came crashing down, slamming onto the streets or nearby dwellings. But it was about to get worse.
Tall, muscular men; Lycynians due to their musky scent and yellow eyes, fangs and claws, began crawling from the tanks, holding large military rifles; following orders. Wraiths and scattered humans were killed by bullets laced with Vervain or liquid iron, bringing sadness to Nikolaas for he hoped he and his coven would be safe here. He thought wrong. He utilized his Demon speed and strength, knocking one of the paranormal creatures down to the ground. Steven and Roberto tore at his neck and throat; blood splattering from the wound, but immediately spat it out; sour taste. Nikolaas crouched atop the man digging his fingertips deep into the mans’ chest and through his armor, the Lycynian managed to scream through a few gurgles, feeling Nikolaas boil his body from within. His legs weakened as he fell to his knees. Between the two manners of attack, the Lycynian laid there suffering from Wraiths venom and having his blood boil to nothing; it seeped through his eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Steven hissed aggressively then snapped the man’s neck. Breathing heavily, he raised his gaze as the others of their kind began removing their shirts revealing they were about to transition into their much larger and difficult counterparts. Their change was happening quickly as they fell to their knees releasing low growls.
“Nikolaas, we can’t stay here! We’re not prepared for this!” Steven urged, “Nikolaas!”
“I heard you, Steven!” Nikolaas raged as he grabbed hold of Steven’s shirt then glancing around seeing he lost it all, he agreed, “Alright, let’s go! Tell the others to get out as well!”
“What about you!?” Steven and the Hungarian stood to their feet, alongside Roberto.
“I’ll be right behind you! Now go, my friend!” Nikolass urged.
Roberto and Steven backed away then turned, running down the streets in a swift blur spreading words to other Demons and Wraiths that it was time to flee, leaving Nikolaas behind. He backed away watching as the Lycynians were almost in full transition then looking around at power lines above the buildings and hearing generators buzzing nearby behind the shops and homes, he closed his eyes. Tapping into his level five skills, he raised his arms with clenched fists and in doing so, his hands began sparking aggressively before lightning shot from them, reaching out to the electric energy around him. He opened his eyes releasing powerful screams in rage staring toward the vehicles parked in different directions on the streets, his red Demon’s eyes squinted as he threw out his right hand; blue lightning shot through the streets destroying the vehicles in one section while with his left hand, he struck the handful of Lycynians that didn’t stand a chance against the arcane magic.
They burnt as if struck by lighting from the sky before turning into heaps of burnt flesh. Feeling the energy he produced drain quickly, he glanced at his level five mark on his right arm taking notice it had continued to glow which meant he had enough for one last effort so he went for it. Throwing out his hands to his side once more as if reaching out for something, he pulled his hands inward which created a massive barrier between him and the invaders that ran scattered seeking shelter from the pureblood Demon. Through the sound of his heart beating loudly in his ear, he heard the sounds of the General shouting out orders to his Shayds to break through the barrier that shimmered violently from their own attempts but the power was too strong. That was it; Nikolaas fell to his knees feeling too weak to stand when he suddenly felt hands grabbing at him. Thinking maybe it had been his enemy he swung his fists but was comforted by the sounds of his friend’s voices calling out his name through the ringing in his ear.
Steven and Roberto dragged their friend away between them and once reaching their safe zone, they teleported to another location where other survivors had waited for them.
As the General’s Shayds continued breaking through the barrier that finally caved, popping like one grand bubble, smoke from the lightning show lingered as did the fires caused from it. Matrx emerged from hiding in an alley with at least twenty surviving men crowded behind him and they were too close; hovering practically against his back. He glanced over his shoulder then pushed the nearest one back, complaining roughly with disappoint and agitation,
“Get away from me!”
“Sorry, Sir…” the soldier grunted.
“F*ck me…” Matrx frowned, revealing deep lines between his eyebrows.
“They’re gone, General!” one of the Shayds hollered.
“Tell me something...I don’t know!” Matrx shouted in anger, kicking a hunk of metal. Putting aside the ache from the impact through his thick heavy boot, he continued his orders, “Search the town and a little ways out! Use the drones, if they’re not destroyed! They couldn’t have gone far and if any of you, question the orders given, so help me god, I’ll add you the dead in the streets!”
The remaining men of his unit nodded, knowing not to question their General. They sought to their orders immediately while Matrx strolled through the streets, watching a replay from the attack he managed to record and it was glorious. He saved the footage on a flash drive stick then tucking it in his pocket, he continued searching. There were large bullet casings, bodies and glass covering the streets that his feet crunched with each step. He strode through the debris then felt a sting on his right arm and glancing down, a shard of glass was embedded through his sleeve. He didn’t feel the infliction during the powerstorm so he must have guessed that’s where he received it from. Removing the shard with a swift pull not paying attention to the pain, he threw the bloodied glass to the ground, shattering upon impact.
He raised his gaze as he stood feet away from the small town’s pub; its windows shattered inward and doors crashed in with pieces still hanging off the hinges. Needing a drink and hoping there’d be something left in the mess, he entered the structure. His feet crunched as he stomped on glass toward the bar and searching through bottles that were still intact on the shelf behind the counter, he reached out grabbing one without reading the label. Quickly screwing off the lid, he held the bottle to his nose taking in the scent of its alcohol scent then took a sip. It had a strong kick but the General enjoyed the taste. Taking another sip, he then poured a little on his arm to prevent infection. After a few more gulps, he laid the bottle on the counter half empty then took notice of a set of stairs. Curiosity got the best of him and ascending the narrow space; his Katana sheaths scraping along the wall behind him, he inspected two rooms above the pub below. One was a bedroom holding no interest but the other, the small office, held more interest for scattered paperwork and inventory shipments caught Matrx’s attention.
He shifted through them quickly taking notice an Isle of Castillion was mentioned frequently.
“There you are…” Matrx raised an eyebrow with a smug smirk, “got ya!” he scoffed then took the paperwork, rolling it roughly tucking it inside the breastplate of his armor then stomped down the stairs.
Miles at a time, until reaching Haysham’s Port, Penrith’s Wraiths and Demons teleported themselves, their human partners and families, avoiding the drones flying overhead.
“Steven? Nikolaas?’ one of the Wraith guards that patrolled the Port, “My god, mate...what happened?”
“We’ll tell you later! Send word to the half-breed Keeper, and tell her we made it out.” Roberto urged.
The guard didn’t hesitate as he turned glancing across the Sea; his radio-phone held in hand. He blurted his urgency once the call was connected. He nodded, listening to the orders given then ending the call, he tucked the gadget in his belt then turned to the refugees revealing quickly,
“Alright, she says the Demons are going to open a portal and get you all through.”
“Did she say when? We have people who need medical attention!” a voice argued.
Before the guard could speak, Penrith’s Demons felt a tickle run down their spine and glazing toward the dock, their eyes watched as sparks violently broke through the veil between this harbor and the Isle.
“There!” voices shouted as hands pointed toward the dock where a grand portal lingered; its swirling center awaited to innocently devour its catch. Others turned their heads watching as six guards emerged through followed by a petite woman.
“Yzavela!” Steven waved his hands in a beckoning manner.
I ran toward them and without asking questions, the six guards and I rushed everyone down the dock and through the portal. Nikolaas and Steven; Roberto had gone through with their people, stood alongside me glancing back seeing smoke in the distance.
“Come on…” I urged then stepped through, leaving the Wraith and Demon in despair.
“Nikolaas…” Steven’s words groaned, “Nikolaas…” he grabbed hold of the Hungarian’s shoulders, “it’s gone. It’s gone. Let’s go.” he roughly but respectfully turned Nikolaas toward the portal then taking a step through, they felt as if they were pulled forward before being spat out; their balance was rough as they landed on the dock of the Isle.
Three Demons standing nearby, Wyatt among them, closed the portal once the last figures emerged.
The crowd of Penrith folk was smaller than residents on the Isle had hoped, which meant maybe their loved ones had perished in the attack. The terrified-homeless families and individuals huddled together on the harbor, glancing around in fear with tears running down their faces. Kids were dressed in their pajamas with no time for shoes to cover their small bare feet. Some held onto their favorite toys for comfort. Adults too; both men and women, dressed in their nightwear and robes.
Walking around the crowd, they listened to my beckoning pleas to get off the harbor and gather in the village square where loved ones, friends, blankets and medical care waited for them. Caleb and Nick were in front among other guards who attempted to lead them in an orderly fashion but the minds of the refugees were scattered with too many thoughts to care about an organized line or grouping.
The Isle’s Demons and half-breeds felt the ache of hearing the screams and thoughts but we all learned to block it out by putting our own thoughts in a box, that prevented ourselves from reaching out to others. It was something Molock had taught me and an ability I eagerly shared with others of my kind for I knew their struggle.