Chapter 17. Catastrophe
The water sprung from the gate like a loop of flood. The dark corridor flashed by the luminescence light, where the winter kissed a good farewell. Every each of them got ashore forcibly by the end of that sacred portal. Half of the Obayifo died into ashes when they got crashed with the splinter of lights. At the edge of the gate, Lazuerre stood in a half horse form, he grinned for his amusement that the demons were dismissed in no time from the dimension.
Cathy tried to breathe the air while her body got flung away to the corridor. The coldness felt sharped on her skin, and her trembled legs lost its grip to feel the wet floor. Every part of her got soaked. She embraced her courage to look around, and chinned up to notice the blue Sapphire laid down not far from her. As she wondered where the stone had emerged, the woman in black suit tried to crawl for it. She recognized her precisely, it was Chantel the Witch.
Cathy crawled hastily, somehow her body could be stronger than she expected, her hands and legs went abruptly fast to take the stone. Chantel screamed out of rage when her failure was a misfortune by 17-year-old girl.
They had the same courage to fight each other. Cathy panted to reach out for the precious little stone. She had a hard time to rise up from the flood. Her legs went weary as she fell back and forth. Chantel almost caught her ankle, but she could get away hurriedly.
She ran from the corridor to get to the lobby. Her eyes found a miracle from the morning light that showed her the way to the exit door.
As she reached outside, the green yard looked overgrown by many of wild plants, and the farthest trees had no shadow anymore. Her mind baffled about the cycle time, since she arrived in the abandoned castle in the evening, and so she had probably spent about an hour in Caecus. She more assured after she checked her watch; it was eight in the morning.
The roaring sound startled her from behind that huge door. It echoed creepily. She noticed that was a demon. Her head was spinning dizzily as she was being careful to create a runway plan, and she had to be brave in order to protect the Sapphire, although she had no idea where to go. Her eyes could only gaze up hopelessly at the bright sky when Elle wasn’t there beside her.
All of a sudden, Elle dragged her arm, and they ran quickly from the yard to reach the forest. Now she could tell the difference between breathing in Caecus and in the human world; in here, she didn’t feel suffocate to move. The oxygen felt less in there, and in some part, there was no air to make her stay alive.
She got strangled. Her knees fell on the wild grasses, which wasn’t really far from the castle’s gate. She kept on panting as she paused to get rest under the tree. Her legs felt numb and heavy.
“We don’t have time to picnic under the tree!” Elle yelled.
She sighed. “Please, just a second.”
Braveness was the only thing she had to pursue for now. Her heart won’t be hesitant to continue the journey. Her eyes gazed blurrily at the cotton clouds within the blue sky. The winds changed direction, flowing to some of big pine trees.
Just when the sunshine struck across her brown eye, she recalled the words;
The world you believe you live in, it’s never what it seems.
She remembered the perfect peculiar quote from Marissa the Angel. It echoed loudly on her head. Everything was vivid as she contemplated the definition of the oddity. She sighed to know the fact.
“I never done anything like this in my life,” Cathy sobbed. “What am I supposed to do?”
“Hey,” Elle bent down to touch her cheeks. “They can’t read your mind, only your energy will be readable, they can sense your fear—be fearless.”
The footsteps behind them had distracted her focus. When they glanced back, Wrezire already greeted them with his creepy smile. He wasn’t alone, a big creature stood behind him, it was a real ogre. The addiction might come on anyone’s eyes to attach at that handsome demon just like a magnet. It seemed that it didn’t work to either Elle or Cathy.
“Well, well, angel,” he said. “Can this be a wonderful show for us to meet?”
The forest remained desolate as the ogre groaned.
“Now I see a package of fortune in this little girl; the blood and Sapphire.”
He spoke like an omniscient young man, although he only knew a few things about the royal history. He was born in the nowadays generation. He had lived for several periods. A few years ago, he was a nomad from London, and then he chose to stay in Austria to replace his great grandfather who died while hunting for the Sapphire. He had been here as the new leader of demons, as well as being the informant.
“Wrezire,” Elle mentioned his real name. “Your elders died for what they consumed. Now, you have the courage for this.”
“It such a long time nobody call me that, I prefer Richard as in my human form.”
She chuckled for his preference. “Don’t you dare touch her.”
“Since when an angel can demand a demon by mouth talking?” He guffawed. “How bizarre the words you left me.”
“I warn you just one time,” she said sarcastically.
“Don’t worry, I won’t touch her by myself. What’s the use of having a troop?”
The ogre groaned again. There were two sharp little horns in his head. He showed off his athletic muscles. This demon species looked a bit different than the rest of his kind since he dressed in armor-chain costume that worn out pretty badly. His eyes were like a cat, but looked haunting and creepy.
“Please, make me proud of you,” he demanded that ogre. “Take her without leaving a scratch.”
The ogre roared crazily.
Elle whispered quickly at her, “Just don’t look back, I will find you later,” she smiled. “Run, now!”
The roaring sound echoed throughout this wild forest. The ogre started his own abomination to hunt the girl.
As he stepped forward, Cathy ran quickly. She had nowhere to go, and got strangling to follow the path among the pine woods that grew everywhere. She forced her legs to keep on running throughout the land. She didn’t care with a bunch of shrubs that scratched her skin pretty badly, her sight only focused at the right path.
She hugged her arms while shivering, since her jacket got soaked. She won’t stop pacing through the wild forest. There was no sound until the groaning voice came again. Surprisingly, the ogre could run as fast as a cheetah, but Cathy didn’t look back since she followed the angel’s advice.
A few meters ahead, she couldn’t tell whether the ground was ended as a cliff or not, but the view above was a clear blue sky. She couldn’t think. At that second, she got knocked down from the medium-sized rock on the grass.
She just got a bad luck, that ogre dragged her up to his chest.
“You ogre, monster!” She barked bravely.
He growled and roared insanely without knowing the fact how terrified the girl was, because Cathy only barked at him to hide her own fear. He threw her on the ground while showing his face that wanted to eat her alive. Every corner of the leafy trees watched them silently, while the quiet ambience had worriment against his wicked roar.
Cathy felt the sharp pain on her legs, however, she yelled again, “Ogre!”
He roared again and again, his ambition was to kill her this time. As a matter of fact, a demon had never regretted anything they did. He stepped forward to lift up her body and then throwing her away at the shrubs near the steep cliff.
She wheezed in agony while trying to rise steady. He came again, dragging her collar jacket, and he was ready to smash her into the tree.
Her head was bleeding. In a count of three, her vision went blurred. She didn’t have much strength to move. It was a sincere revenge to call him as ogre. He became mad and wild to throw her at the shrubs. Whether he was aware or not, she fell off into the steep cliff.
The ogre astonished. He just realized that his anger was another catastrophe for himself.
Cathy was falling from the highest cliff which led her to dowse into a rushing waterfall that was part of the Danube River. She stranded and her head got hit accidentally by a huge rock. It caused her to collapse. Her body got trailing behind the rough rocks, and she drowned deeper into the bottom of the river.
She didn’t breathe as the time felt like stopped for her. The bitter taste of the water swept away on her pale skin. Her bright brown eyes were still wide-opened, unconsciously. Cathy was dead like a floating mannequin that drowned under the river. Her body floated in slow motion. Her blank eyes gazed out into the farthest view of the darkness.
The dark shadow dissolved into light as a bright luminescence. Her reckless soul started to see a vision that emitted above the river, although she couldn’t tell whether it was an image of a strange corridor or not, since the light blinded her sight. There was a blurry shadow of a woman in a long black cloak. The voice was familiar, it was soft and comfortable. She tried to reach the shadow and that voice. Everything felt peaceful and far from harm. There was no fuss but waiting for something greater.
Child, you’re not ready. This isn’t your place, not yet. You shall return to where your soul belong.
The woman whispered on her mind. The vision appeared clearer. The glimmering green eyes shot her a warm affection. The figure seemed like a reminiscent of her mom. They shared the same beam of eyes, except for that mesmerizing green color, since Haile had brown eyes.
The vision dismissed into smoke. Her soul returned elastically in an instant to shock her human eyes. Her dead body began moving as she tried to grasp the oxygen, but it was useless since she was drowned in the water. She panicked while her hands were trying so hard to reach the surface. She didn’t know how to swim.
Dying wasn’t her choice, it was unpredictable. The universe was a concrete witness to see her bitter agony in a peaceful way. The cold water didn’t touch her heart to wake up, and her soul went wreckage. The universe did a practical surveillance to shout for her soul not to demise, leaving her mortal body. The realm she lived with was an outer membrane of this human’s dimension. The previous white luminescence had swayed out from her eyesight. It was like the glory of farewell.
There was a weird feeling when she felt a beautiful curved hand was reaching out to take her. The hands clenched above and ready to help. Cathy coughed hardly after she was lifted up to the surface. She laid down weakly beneath random little rocks. She breathed deeply, inhaling enough oxygen. Her body felt so fragile.
The next second, she was glad to notice that Elle was beside her, but no word could come out from her mouth, she could only gaze up at the bright sky. Her eyes slowly closed to feel the blankness.
She saw a white ceiling once her eyes wide opened again. The air conditioner swirled lightly next to the television. The heart monitor machine beeped next to her bed. She was surprised to find herself dressed in a white patient gown—the hospital.
“How did I get here?”
“We’re in Bisbee,” Elle said emotionlessly while sitting on the chair next to her bed. She already dressed differently with a white blouse covered in cream coat. “Your dad went to Austria by himself to take all of you, and he handled the case from the location.”
“So, we’re home,” her eyes flinched. “And you say—the case?”
“The abandoned castle became a presumable inquiry. The intervention of your best friend as a witness had perplexed the police.”
“Josh?” She worried. “What did he say? What is really happened?”
“I can’t quite agree to make your stress level increase.”
Cathy annoyed that angel didn’t focus to look into her eyes. She followed where those emerald eyes stared out, she surprised with another presence from outside this patient bedroom’s window. A stranger stood gawkily in the corridor—a girl, perhaps shared the same age and as tall as Cathy. The girl wore a black beanie, covering her long black hair, she wore a jacket and skinny jeans, all black from head to toe which contrasted with her white skin. It seemed that the girl looked scared of something when her pair of honey brown eyes squinted at the white hair angel.
“What’s wrong with her?” Cathy murmured.
The girl ran awkwardly from their sight. Elle kept her eyes as sharp as an eagle, and said, “She knows what I am.”
“As in what?”
Elle paused, glancing in disbelief at her.
“An angel, I supposed?” Cathy guessed.
The environment went silent, only the heart monitor machine that beeped loudly.
Cathy had no idea about that girl, she never saw her.
The distraction broke her peaceful moment, the pain on her head and legs were real. She just realized that her forehead also got bandaged.
At the time, she remembered about her mom immediately. “My mom still in here, isn’t she?”
“You have been asleep in coma for three days, and your mom went worst.”
“What do you mean?” She snarled in annoyance. “I need to see her.”
Elle rose from the chair and pushed her back to lean down. The angel showed no mercy.
Cathy narrowed her eyes, at once questioning the chronology of how she really ended up here. As she recalled, the waterfall was the last place she fell that she lost her consciousness. Therefore, she just remembered that she was in the same hospital as her mom. Her curiosity toward her mom’s condition was gorgonized.
“Take your time to rest first.”
She grimaced. “I have enough of sleep. Will you just let me do what I want?”
“Of your freedom to knock out, or a mere curiosity?”
They stared at each other. “Can you just don’t rag on me?” Cathy sighed heavily. “Some people would tolerate with your sarcasm, but some don’t.”
Elle shot sharp eyes so deeply at her. Cathy somehow felt frightened. The current atmosphere won’t make a total fuss over their argument.
“Well, if you want to enjoy your confusion alone—”
Elle paced away from the room, walking out infuriatedly after Cathy left her with a few distinct words. There was a sentimental condemnation on her own thought that she felt wrong to admonish an angel, as in fact, she was only a little human.
The turbulence sound from the air conditioner in front of her bed was buzzing in her ears.
Her eyes locked on the ceiling, she felt the room went solitude for about fifteen minutes. Unaccompanied. Until someone had burst from the door, her eyes turned to notice her best friend was exhausted from running.
“Josh?” Her eyes wide opened, and she rose to sit on the bed. “What happened?”
“I am terribly worried about you,” he said, panting. “As soon as Elle phoned me, I rode my bike to the hospital.”
“Gosh, please sit down, and drink my water,” she let him to have a comfortable time, and he gulped it without leaving a single drop.
“But first, what’s wrong with her sarcastic welcome at my face?”
She noticed that he referred it to Sylvia Elle. “Just—we have a different comprehension.”
“Really?” He doubted. “She isn’t usually doing a sarcasm to just anyone.”
“How can you tell?”
“Uh, she was nice when helping your dad to handle a few questions from Austrian government about, well,” he looked pale to tell her. “The conviction over the lost castle.”
“What do you mean it’s lost?”
“I told them I knew what I saw, but the thing became quite complicated,” he was breathless. “Okay, the abandoned castle had existed before the police arrived to check around the location since Carl Dalton had reported a missing person to them. When I found you near that place, you were already unconscious, but I literally saw that massive castle alright!”
“The police thought how unhinged I am about my persistency,” he peeved. “There was no evidence, but Scott saw his mother came out from that castle with a business man. So unfortunate that the police arrived late. Scott didn’t say anything to them.”
“That’s right, Chantel Herron was with me.”
“She’s the witch who has something to do with my mom’s family,” Cathy said. “She almost killed me for her vicious sake—the portal.”
“Was she hurting you?”
“Almost, along with her demons,” she recalled the pain. “Oh, about the witch part, have you read Mr. Dalton’s book?”
“Oh, yes, peeking actually, and he talked about it,” he recalled. “The Devil named Kyra who gave power to one of the gypsy descendants.”
“Do you believe it?”
He paused to stare at her, “I don’t know.”
“If you were there with me, if you could only see,” she sighed. “The portal is real, Elle has told the real thing.”
“Alright, I just don’t want to sound hypocrite, but it’s still hard to believe,” he murmured. “I saw the demons. Elle was right about the weapons.”
Her eyes tensed. “Did Scott—”
“No, he was peeping his mother who got escaped. It was only me.”
“Josh—I am sorry, I should have come back sooner.”
“It was horrified to meet such creatures. I thought I had a bad dream. Luckily, I knew how to use a gun, then, I found you fainted near the waterfall, with Elle held your body so tight,” he sounded frustrated. “The two of you were gone for two days. It caused the three of us went hysteric. Mr. Dalton called your dad first, until he arrived and looked depressed. But our first finding wasn’t succeed in the forest,” he sighed. “So, he called the police later.”
“What’s the status case?”
A few nurses were walking through the corridor as they stared at each other silently.
“Did the police track the location address?”
“Yes, they found nothing. There has never been any castle, they said,” he informed. “By the way, what were you two doing in that restricted area?”
“The demons almost got us, Elle tried to vanish them, and the things just started happening when I followed her,” she murmured. “Have you come to think, why the place is restricted?”
He shrugged. The silence remained.
“That’s why, the truth locked inside,” she said, staring solemnly at him. “I went inside the portal.”
“Okay, it’s insane, I know you need some rest—”
“You’re not listening!” She snarled. “How could you deny it when you already saw the demons?”
“I’m not trying to deny, but to make sense—”
She was infuriated. “Do you think superstition need a sense of logic?”
“Cathy, please, I read books too, alright,” he said. “But—I still get used to with your mom’s rule about avoiding any paranormal talk.”
“My mom?” She narrowed her eyes. “You mean, you are not skeptical?”
“No, it’s just your mom. She knew that Martha told me enough fairy tales. Becoming superstitious is how I grew up, although not as much as you do.”
“Why did you lie?”
“I know how hard your mom lives through it, Martha just told me yesterday. There’s must be a reason for everything,” he felt remorse.
“I know the reason.”
He stared at her with compassion. It felt like he knew what kind of journey she had been through in the forest, with a profound mark that she had showed a sorrow and rage.
Josh dragged the chair closer to her bed. His avowal had led the situation to feel awkward, so he changed the topic, “Do you know Scott has skipped school for some days to search for his mother?”
Cathy shook her head.
“Yeah, that Portland detective just announced her furlough by yesterday. Everyone in the Bisbee Police Department, including your dad has wondered against her act.”
“Mrs. Herron just went away?”
“A retreat in German for about three months,” he smirked. “She had just worked for a few days, how come such a professional would do that?”
“No one caught her presence in Austria, except Scott and you?”
“It was a gigantic fortune, huh?” He chattered. “I mean, she could be arrested for her violent act toward you—”
Her thought hovered into something else while he was blurting alone. Her eyes attached on the ceiling. As she recalled the last days in Austria, it was counted as the overweening event. She could be more restless for thinking exaggeratedly about the truth. At least, she could breathe the air easier in this small room.
The winds had witnessed the morning catastrophe.
His black eyeballs followed the flowing river from below this steep cliff. He won’t blame himself for what he did, despite his outcome thought over the punishment. The moment had come since he knew that everything would be over. It was faster than what he expected.
The footstep sounded behind him, slow and careful. His boss arrived to check on his job.
“Where is she?” His boss demanded.
That big ogre didn’t answer. Wrezire noticed his nervousness.
It only took five seconds to make his boss disappointed in resolute anger. Wrezire stood against him, dressed in pinstripe suit. He was grinning as his willingness had emerged to suffocate the ogre.
“If she dies, every effort we have done will be useless,” he talked wisely while observing the trembling ogre. “You know that it’s hard for all of us to find such a great blood in this huge world.”
He approached his face closer. “If she dies, we can’t open that door,” he chuckled, “and you no longer serve us good.”
The ogre could feel a real anger around his atmosphere. Therefore, Wrezire threw him hardly behind the tree. The ogre had his long life ended, he wouldn’t return to this human’s world since he would stay in hell—forever.