Chapter Twenty; The First Step To Hell
August 5, 2017 – The Gate to Hell
He exploded into flames, energy and power that enveloped his entire essence without control. The hand upon his heart was thrown off, and his hand stretched around the neck of the man that tried to kill him. Snarling, Jay pressed into bone and felt a satisfying crack.
The Headmaster went limp into his lap, and he shook his head to the demon-possessed man. That son of a bitch gave back his memories, but couldn’t take the key that was apparently his heart.
Shannon and Jude laid on the ground unconscious, and the demons that surrounded him bowed before him.
Demons were utterly volatile.
Rolling his blue eyes with annoyance, he stepped over the Headmaster’s body and went towards Jude, feeling his pulse.
Sighing with relief, he did the same to Shannon and she, too, was alive. But when he listened to the whispers of the demons, he heard the two words: he’s here. Lifting his chin up high, he eyed the man that had once been his uncle.
He looked the same, smelt the same… But it wasn’t him. It never was.
He’d lied to him ten times over, and now he was going to kill him.
Dropping the blade to the ground that was attached it his belt, he cracked his knuckles and thought of many different scenarios of how he’d take his life.
First, he’d rip his eyes out and squeeze them until they’re juice. Secondly, he’d rip every layer of skin off his body and feed it to the wolves.
And lastly, he’d let the crows eat the remains of what was left of him.
“Xanthus,” Jay murmured under his breath and walked towards the demon.
The demon took a puff of the remaining cigarette in his hand and dropped it to the ground, stepping on it as he continued towards him.
“You did well,” Xanthus said with pride, but Jay ignored him.
He blasted his energy that glowed an excellent turquoise that slammed itself into the body that once was his uncle’s. In response, he only heard Xanthus laugh like a pig.
Lifting his arm up, he flicked his wrist, but he didn’t budge. He tried again, but again he didn’t move. Strange, his powers were… drained?
Xanthus smirked, and copying his motion, Jay found himself flung into the dirt. Burning sensations crawled throughout his body, and he bared his teeth with exasperation. Stand up, he told his legs, and instantly they obliged.
“I feel your energy,” Xanthus taunted. “You’re very agitated. Poor dog lost his bone?”
His powers, he meant. They hardly worked.
Jay clenched his hand into an iron fist, and with a single breath, light pushed itself against the demon, and he heard a scream of protest. Shadow struggled against him, slashing with blades as his light burned through the darkness.
He had to be strong enough.
No, Jay could not let this demon win.
“It’s… too… strong,” Jay cried and pushed harder, feet digging into the ground as he pressed into it.
Then he let go, and instantly he was on the ground, fighting the inevitable pain that forced itself down his throat. It was darkness, evil and impenetrable. He revolted from its grasp, but barely a second away from it, the shadow forced back into his trachea. I can’t breathe. I need… air.
“The darkness will always win, little bird,” Xanthus purred in his ear, and then submitted. The shadow halted and Xanthus stood before him. “I would give up if I were you.”
Giving up… it wasn’t an option.
“But the light never gives up,” Jay got out. “And light is—“
“Blah, blah, blah,” Xanthus muttered, waving him off. “You’re just a stupid kid, boy.”
His jaw feathered as he looked at the face of his uncle, and then into the eyes of a monster.
Xanthus then stepped over him, striding over to his brother’s body that was defenseless. Jay told him to stop, but he ignored his words and held a hand out.
“You killed my friend,” he whispered. “It’s only fair to kill you, too.”
Shadow covered his brother, and with a scream, Jay felt energy force itself throughout his body and he flung every inch of his power towards him. Xanthus went flying, further than he anticipated. With relief, Jay crawled his way to his brother’s side.
Jude didn’t move, and he could barely even inhale a breath.
God, if he didn’t get him out of here… what would be left of him?
“Wake up,” he demanded. “Wake up—we have to go.”
Trying to pick his older brother up, his body was forced away from Jude, and six hands pushed his shoulders down into the ground. He held in his scream as two daggers replaced the hands and pierced through his flesh and then—
He bit his tongue as the blade touched the ground and stayed.
“You think we’d let you win so easily?” a demon laughed, licking his ear. “You taste of idiocracy.”
They dragged his body away from Jude, and as he tried to break free, he felt the shadows chain his body.
It was pure misery, this was. Horrible, undeniable and sickening… Jay attempted to rip the blades out, but the invisible hand kept them firm on the ground as he was dragged away.
“Why do you always fight?” Xanthus complained, holding him up without hands. “It makes it harder than it should be.”
“I will never stop fighting,” Jay snapped, and calling to his energy, nothing responded.
Xanthus shrugged. “I told you that the darkness always wins. Why do you try to object?” He held a pocketknife to his throat. “And I wonder… can you die like a normal human being?” Without another word, he sliced a piece of his throat and Jay winced with pain. Sucking back a breath, Xanthus only smiled. “So much for being half human.”
His neck left no trace of the cut anymore, and the only evidence was the blood that stained his epidermis.
He clucked his tongue and moved away, dropping the blade to his feet. “We’re almost ready,” he told the crowd of demons, and they all chanted words in their language.
The beat of the drum began again, pulsing and reverberating his soul.
“What are you going to do with me?” Jay whispered, struggling against the shadowed chains. When he looked around, everything became clear. Ripples of energy surrounded them, enlarged and far from magnificent. It was almost like a clear sheet of a transparent dome, and the trees beyond slowly began to wither away.
Nightfall began, but he could have sworn it was pure as day when they’d arrived… And slowly, clouds covered the moon—
But they weren’t clouds. They were smoky and fast.
Demons covered the sky.
“We will do many great things with you,” Xanthus replied. “Starting with cutting that heart of your right from here…” His finger touched his chest above his organ, and Jay gulped.
The nails that covered his fingers were long and sharp, and he knew very well that he’d use those to cut out his heart.
“Rot in Hell,” Jay spat.
“I already have,” Xanthus replied and plunged his finger through his skin. Jay would have yelled, but there wasn’t any pain. He let out a short breath, crunching his nose and he felt the demon go further and further until he felt—
Shit, he thought.
His eyes flew open to the sound of his brother in danger.
It was a horrible sound, and when he saw the demon plunge his hand through his brother’s body, instantly he bared his teeth with animalistic fury.
They took his brother… They took him, and now—now they were going to open the Gate to Hell.
Uncle Ben—no, Xanthus—stood their with a devilish smile that sickened him to the core, and with a few glances around his area, ignoring the demons a mile away, he spotted the blade Anielle had given him.
But… he’d left it by the car. How the hell was it here?
Shrugging it off, he went for it and held it in his hand while he stalked towards the demon that was ready to rip his brother’s heart out.
“I’m coming, Jay,” he said to himself and ran towards the battlefield.
They say that your life flashes before your eyes at sudden death. At this moment, that certainly happened to Jay Mauser. The demon’s cold breath travelled down his neck, and his whole body became frigid, black ice. He knew he was going to die. He knew these were his last, breathing moments. Everything seemed to slow down. His breathing, the motion of the demon that stood before his eyes…
And at this moment, he had one beautiful memory about Sarah flashed before him.
It was a Tuesday. The sun was hot and bright; the ocean waves were crashing along the shore at a steady pace; and the seagulls echoing song sung down the beach. He strummed an old, beaten guitar, but the music it played was exceptionally beautiful. Sarah had sung the lyrics to the song with all her heart and soul, not even caring about the people only a hundred feet away from where they sat on the plaid blanket on the beach.
Her golden, wheat-like hair had flowed in the wind, and her olive skin beamed beneath the sunlight. Her teeth glowed a pure white, and her lips were all glossed up in baby pink. Her laugh—oh, her beautiful laugh—was only a whisper in the breeze. A dire and forgotten memory, taken away because a stupid choice he had made.
His heart clenched slightly—as if a fist had taken it and squeezed—but it all stopped when his memories flipped. When he could no longer see her face, hear the seagulls, the waves and the music…
Everything was blank.
Suddenly it all disappeared, and he was back to facing the demon as he just sat there with his hand inside his chest. Unmoving, unblinking… The demon’s mouth lay agape before he flashed with lightning, coloured yellow and red as it illuminated on his pale skin.
And then he fell limp, hand removed from his chest.
With relief, the male fell to his knees, clutching where his body bled. Slowly, it began to heal.
Oh god, oh god…
It was taking too long to heal—
“Are you all right?” Jude’s voice said to him, and he looked up with weary eyes. Jude.
Curtly he nodded, and took his brother’s hand when he offered it. “Yeah,” he murmured.
“There isn’t time.” Forcing him to run, he could hear the war cries from the demons as they chased them. The ground was shaky beneath his feet, and his eyes focused and unfocused, making the male dizzy.
“It’s too much…” Jay whispered, but Jude squeezed his hand and continued to push him onward. A soft energy slowly pressed his back, and when he turned his head to the side, there ran Shannon to his right and Jude to his left.
Safe, he thought. He was safe.
The sheet of energy wasn’t far, and as they got closer, the energy seemed to angry yell at him, and the beat got more consistent and louder.
Dun dun dun dun dun dun… It was warning him, it was telling him not to run.
He almost believed it.
Left and right, he told himself. Run and don’t look back.
It was a constant blur as he ran, hearing the sound of pounding feet and growls of those demonic creatures. Something snapped at his feet, and he heard a sound come from its throat with a low, dangerous growl. Hell hounds.
Run, run, run, run, run… Never look back. Keep on going, you’re almost there.
The battle cry could be heard from a mile away, and the sound of a screeching crow that followed their path.
In moment, they could be dead and trampled by an angry mob of demons.
Or they could be free and run for the rest of their lives, and find the rest of the keys before they could, too.
So, they ran, and the energy wave grew thick. He squinted with the pain of rushing wind that tried to prevent him from getting away. Go, go, go…
“Keep going, Jay,” Jude said into his ear. “You can do this.”
The energy that he’d lost… it was incredible how it could drain someone who’s never known about these abilities only until a few nights before.
And then he heard her fall.
Jay halted his steps, nearly stumbling forward as he whirled around and saw the demons lung towards Shannon.
“Run!” she screamed, but he just watched her as she screamed with agony as they clawed at her legs.
“No,” he whispered and held his arm out, and with it, light enveloped the world before them. It was relentless and beautiful, and as he let out a cry of war, he heard the response of satisfying screams. “Get out of here, Jude, before they kill you.”
Jude just stood there, unmoving. “I won’t leave you.”
Jay turned to face him, and Jude flinched backwards. Whatever he saw, it wasn’t him anymore. He knew he’d changed—perhaps for the better—and he was scared.
“You can’t do this,” Jude pleaded.
He shrugged to his brother, gasping as the demons pushed against him, but he pressed harder, told his powers to keep on fighting.
And how much longer he could take this? He had no idea.
“You saved me enough, Jude. Now it’s time for me to save you.”
Jude looked at him for a moment longer before he nodded. Maybe he wished that Jude could stay—to help him. But that would be a foolish choice. His brother didn’t deserve this kind of death. “Come back,” he said before he turned and ran like hell.
He couldn’t promise anything, and when he faced the demons once again, he held out one hand to Shannon. She coughed up blood with a wince before her frail hand took it. He hoisted her off the ground before and said the same to her as he’d done to Jude.
She looked at him with glowing eyes before she obliged.
Jude and Shannon would have each other now. They could run, be happy… They could forget about him, and have a life.
None of them were a match against this war, but it didn’t matter. He would die for his family, no matter what.
Wanna kill some son’s of bitches and get the justice we deserve? Hell yeah. For Jude, for Shannon, for Sarah and his parents… As long as they lived, his fate was undeniable. Even if some were dead, he could still save his brother and the angel.
He shut his eyes, picturing Sarah’s dimpled smile as she told him that she loved him. I will see you again. I love you. I love you so damn much.
Then he thought of his brother, of how he tried so hard to get to know him, and how he promised that he’d protect him forever. “You did help me, brother,” he said with a choked voice full of tears. “Thank you.”
Whatever happened as he watched his eruption of lightning and fire? It was for the best. And even if he didn’t make it… he tried. He tried to save this god-forsaken world. He was born to do this, so he would.
Jay let out a long cry as he felt his powers drain. It was the end, he knew. I love you so damn much.
He felt the energy drain from his grasp.
And when the demons came crashing towards him once again, he didn’t run. He let them come.
Jude fell to the ground as he exited the wall of energy. Ice and fire combined burned his flesh, and he let out a pathetic cry as he sat up and turned to face the wall. Jay wasn’t there running when Shannon jumped through it.
Her face was pale and covered with dust and blood.
And her expression… it was pure sorrow.
“Where is he?” he demanded, and she just looked at him with pity. His gut felt like it was punched.
“He saved my life,” was all she said.
No. No, he couldn’t have. Jude ran for the wall, but Shannon pinned him to the ground.
He kicked at her, but her grip was firm.
“You won’t survive back there—“
“I have to save him!” he screamed, pushing her off him as he got up again and touched it, but only was pushed back again.
He snarled when she slapped him. “He doesn’t want your help,” she growled, and he inhaled a long and sharp breath, containing his anger.
“You let him die.”
Jude’s breaths came out quick, and he glared at her with daggers.
He shouldn’t have left… he shouldn’t have run. Oh god, why did he leave his little brother behind? Jude pressed the ball of his hands into his eyes.
Shannon sat back, not daring to touch him. “He saved me,” she whispered. “You cannot blame me for his decision.”
“No, I can,” he said with a deadly calm. “But I didn’t even try to help him…”
“But you couldn’t have done anything.”
“Couldn’t I?” he responded and stood up. “I’m going back, and you won’t stop me.”
She held a hand up and light fumed in her hand. “Don’t make me do something that I’ll regret,” she threatened.
Without a thought, he ran for it, but he was blasted to the side and crashed to the ground, yelping with pain. That bitch!
“You’re such an idiot,” Shannon muttered, crossing her arms.
“Why won’t you let me save him?” he cried.
Shannon shook her head. “Because you wouldn’t survive a minute out there.”
“I’m sure as Hell that I could—“
The world quaked beneath his feet.
Jude let out a gasp as the entire world began to split.
Jude looked through the wall of energy that separated him from his little brother, and when he just stared, he vomited on the ground, letting all of his sick out.
Fire burst from the ground, enveloping the demons that stood in its way.
The first step to hell… he won. Xanthus, that son of a bitch, won.
And he was dead.
He was dead, yet he still beat them.
A gate formed from the ground, branching with the fallen tree branches where trees must have once stood. It was large—much larger than a regular gate. Oh god. Hell was ready to burst open—
That meant only one key went through. That meant Jay was… he was…
They twined together, turning into a horrific, black door that remained closed, and there on the ground was Jay, sprawled like a broken doll.
Eviscerated, bloody and torn.
Jude’s hands shook as he watched his brother’s own body get dragged through the Gate to Hell.
Slowly, the sun began to peak through the shadows above them, and Jude just stared at the Gate. Its energy was dark and life sucking. It called to him, asking for the keys, asking for help…
Jude collapsed to his feet.
His little brother… Jay, the one he promised to protect, to save…
The last of his family… was gone.
And the last thing he could hear was his own scream before Shannon grasped his shoulder and whispered:
He felt the burning on his skin first before the dagger pierced his flesh, right above the kidney. The blade was laced with a dark liquid he couldn’t decipher, and when blood dripped down his skin, the colour changed into the colour of the night sky: black.
A weak sound escaped his lips that were chapped from the lack of water, and when he stared into the eyes of demon that’d stabbed him, the subtle light came to an immediate calm—a deadly, withering calm.
Silent sounds of voices cut the silence that shrouded them, and as he stared into oblivion, the horrible feeling of poison crawled through his stomach and up to his neck. So, this is how he’d die. Slow, painful and deadly.
Jay reached out to lean on something, but the red-eyed men stepped back and let him collapse to the ground. He coughed up blood, and his fingers touched the solid ground that started to feel like it dragged into him in the cold, unforgiving soil of the earth.
And then they came, those warm waiting tears that pleaded to escape from his blue, dry eyes for all these years. But he let them come this time, for his arms, his legs and his entire will had stiffened. No, he couldn’t move a single muscle, and the end was coming too soon.
I’m coming, Sarah, he said to her quietly, hoping she’d hear his words. You will no longer be alone, my love. And something told him she didn’t hear him, and that she’d given up on hearing him a long, long time ago.
Don’t give up on me; Jay wanted to cry out to the gods, to every breathing human and every deceased being on this awful planet. But she had. They all had, his parents, his love, and his friends. Even Uncle Ben who’d been dead and they hadn’t even realized it.
The world around him began to spin, and he couldn’t control the vomit that exited his mouth. Every inch of his body ached, and he began to pray that this death would come quicker. Oh god, please help… help…
But there wasn’t an answer, and when he inhaled a breath, his body shot with pain. Where had Jude gone? Where did he go?
He looked behind him, seeing the wall of blue energy that divided him from his older brother, and from simple civilization. And after a while, the demons grasped his arms and dragged him away, leaving a trail of blood in his path.
“Jude…” he quietly whimpered, wanting his brother to save him from this stupid mess. But again, there wasn’t an answer, and he was completely alone.