Towards The Enemy
“If you don’t sit still, your hairline will be crooked.” I felt a yank to my hair as she tried to get the edges of the bottom as straight as possible. Apparently, it wasn’t very good looking since I gave myself the haircut a few days ago to get out of that vampire’s hold.
“Yes, the biggest thing I’m concerned with right now is my hair being straight. Can you just hurry up, please? I didn’t want you to cut it in the first place!” I shouted nearly knocking the knife out of her hands when I expressed myself with my arm flying around.
I listened to her slight grumble before letting my hand fall down to Howl’s face that was laying in my lap at the moment. She had been very quiet while we’ve been here. I wasn’t too concerned, it wasn’t unusual for her to get quieter or calmer right before we do something big. I trailed my left thumb over the bridge of her nose as she slowly closed her eyes. Only stopping for a moment to grab the container of water Hera had brewed for me earlier.
“I never got the chance to ask you earlier, but how did you get your hands on water pills?” I asked her and felt the knife stop suddenly, telling me that she wasn’t going to tell me the whole truth. “As the creator of them, I have a surplus stashed away somewhere secret.” It was vague but just enough information to tell me that she was much older than she looked. Immortally so.
“Water pills were invented in 2032 after the water crisis hit an all-time high. It started with Flint and went from there. But you know the story, don’t you?” I asked in my most accusing voice. I felt her go back to messing around with my hair before she said another word, I piped up again.
“They’re amazing, all you have to do it crack them in a container. Empty the powder from the capsule and heat it over a flame. Soon you can watch the power turn into a liquid quickly filling the container. I haven’t seen one since I was a child and was told it was the last one known to man.” I pushed at her more and more. I knew she isn’t human but if she denies being a vampire and the proof is in her eyes then I have to set my theories higher, but I have nothing to go on.
“You’re distracting yourself again. Focus on what you’re about to do.” Hera reminded me making me think of the trek down the cliff and the five or more miles we’ll need to walk to get to his massive building. I have to get through a small field of trees just before entering a high grass filled field that would leave me very open and vulnerable, especially since I wasn’t up to par with my left arm just yet. Sure, being the living piss out of Hera earlier helped but it’s not proper training.
“You’re still wearing your communicator, are you going to take it off before meeting Ba’al?” Hera asked and I looked down at my left wrist. I didn’t realize I was still wearing it. “I may as well, it’s been radio silence since they threw me away.” I rubbed the back of the band on my leg trying to get the buckle to unlatch but it wasn’t working. Giving up and feeling the freedom of my hair I decided to stand and get the last of my things ready.
“Thanks, for you know my hair and stuff. And of course my rescue. I’m not the sweetest person but I can recognize when I’ve been an ass. For the most part.” I added the last part knowing I’ve not done the same thing in the past.
“Just doing my job.” She nodded and I wanted desperately to know more about what her ‘job’ entailed but I needed to do this first. I looked around the area where we’ve been living for the last few days and tried to find my cloak.
“Oh, that red thing? It’s over here. I had to make a few adjustments on it because it was a little beaten up.” She explained before walking over by a few crates of things she kept around in the back. I never asked what was in them mostly because I didn’t think I would get a solid answer.
She brought out my old red coat that I’ve had for over twenty years. It looked clean for a change and slightly different when she moved it around.
“Did you sew up the right side slit?” I asked her when I reached out for it with my left hand.
“Well, you didn’t need it anymore and I got bored waiting for you to wake up from your shock and blood loss.” She shrugged and handed the coat over to me. I slung the opening collar over my shoulder and moved it into place. Before I could get the chance to tie the strings at the collar she walked up and did it for me. I smiled tightly at her before nodding and turning to the mouth of the cave we’ve been in the last few days.
“Now, I know that gel is still on your arm when the opening is completely healed it will dissolve completely so if you look down and it’s gone don’t freak out.” She explained as we all walked to the opening of the cave where I could look down at the path I had to take towards my one and only enemy.
“Good to know. Is it one of your inventions too?” I asked, trying to make small talk before I had to figure out the way down the cliff with one arm. I looked down at the side and tried to hold back my anxiety that began to bubble in my stomach. “Yes, it was actually, but that’s not important right now. I have a rope and you have an arm to get yourself down there. Howl can find her own way, right?” She asked her and twisted a bit to look over at her on my left side.
I knew Howl would be fine getting down if she got up here then down would be easier.
“Okay, give me the rope let’s stop wasting time.” I asked of her and felt the thick and rough length of the knotted rope in my left hand when I turned to her.
I watched her take the other end of the rope while I kept the mass of the length in my left hand. She tied it to a section of the rock I couldn’t see and pulled on it a few times to make sure it’s secure. Walking back to me she put her thumbs in the air as if to tell me everything was good.
I threw the other half of the length down the cliff and waited for it to settle against the rocks. Glancing over at Howl I noticed she was looking around for a good spot to get down herself. Before I could ask if she was good, she lept off the opening. I knew she would be fine so instead of worrying I turned and grabbed the rope in my left hand and looked up at Hera who didn’t seem like she was leaving the cavern any time soon.
Before I jumped off the side of the opening Hera stopped me with the rope between my legs and my left hand gripped tight around the rope just under a knot.
“This is yours, your missing hand was still clutching it when I found you.” My silver dagger with the ruby in the handle gleamed in the moonlight. She stretched out her and slipped the dagger into my pocket before I repelled off the side of the cliff. Without another word, I pushed off and made my way down.
It didn’t take long before my boots hit the dirt below. Howl met me down there and while I didn’t want to leave the rope just hanging there but I didn’t have another way of removing it. I’ll let Hera deal with it.
Turning as I straightened my deep red cloak, I set my sights on the thick trees in front of me. Howl’s nose pushed into my palm telling me she would run me through them. It was a better idea, I should take advantage of the speed upgrade. I rolled out my shoulders and felt the strained pull of my tight right shoulder. I really hope it’s almost done healing because I need to start training and this pain would get in the way.
Taking Howl up on her offer I nodded for her to run back a few feet and then catch up with my speed. I took off the moment she ran behind me, soon she would catch up with me and I would catch her fur with my hands and pull myself on her back. It was a lot easier this way instead of me just sitting on her back, plus it’s how we always did things.
The moment I heard her powerful paws catching up with my speed, I looked to the side and saw the tip of her nose. She was holding back, she was much faster than I was.
The second her fur tickled the tips of my left hand I grabbed the nape of her neck and pulled myself onto her back. Soon we were off faster than before and when the trees started to whip past my face I kept myself low and centered as to not fall off or get railed by a tree. I trusted Howl’s directional instincts and knew she wouldn’t trip or run into a tree on accident. The second the next clearing hit my eyes I pulled on her to slow a bit.
Once Howl came to a lite trot, I looked up at the red and black brick building that had many more attached to them around the sides. He was in the center though and somehow I knew he would be waiting for me. I slid off her back and walked the last twenty minutes to the start of the last path up to the front building. Once I saw the start of a fight of stairs I began to take them two at a time while I watched Howl bound up them as if they were nothing.
A small smile formed on my lips while I watched her run up them, what made me stop in my tracks was when we arrived at the grand entrance I’ve never seen up close before. This is the closest I’ve ever gotten to his castle and for a moment my stomach began to bubble its familiar anxiety brew. Something that seemed to be happening a lot more often.
“Howl, if we get into trouble, you know the plan right?” I asked her and received a snort in response. Feeling the silver of the blade in my left pocket I pushed on.
We didn’t get very far, and I knew we would be stopped at any moment, I predicted earlier than this but now is fine too.
Four vampire guards appeared in front of the grand door that was edged in black with deep red handles that called for me to reach out and grab them.
“Slayer, Master Ba’al the Destroyer has been waiting a long time for you.” The first of the four spoke up and for once I didn’t say anything back, I let them take the reign for a moment and complied. The moment I wanted to, they would be dead and I know they knew that. Which is probably why one of them brought out a short sword and raised it to my throat. How accommodating.