Creature Seers

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Chapter Four, Part Two

“Tanisi,” the guy greeted, bowing his head a bit.

I think that was hello in whatever language he spoke, but because I was freaking out so much, I blurted out a nervous, “yes?”

“Elsa. Nice to see you again,” he greeted, holding out a hand for her to firmly shake.

“It is not a surprise visit, no?” She asked, and he shook his head.

“No. But I was planning on coming to see you after putting that Windigo down since I tracked it this way,” he shrugged.

“That’s not a Windigo in there,” I stuttered, pointing back over my shoulder. He frowned at me, then at Elsa.

“Quick introduction. Ryder, Alisha, this is Mahihkan. A friend from Canada. His family have tracked, hunted and killed Windigos for a long time,” He held his hand out for Alisha, then me to shake. She said her name with a smile, and I just stuttered mine out trying to process this, and in return, he said to call him Mac if it was easier to remember. That was nice, and my family knew what it was like hearing people butcher your name, but that didn’t explain why a Windigo was here!

“Hi, this is a weird place to meet, isn’t it?” Alisha asked making Mahihkan nod with a smirk.

“Usually, the people I meet like this are all in your situation,” he said.

“Which is?” before he could reply to us, we heard another horrific scream, but it was even closer now. Footsteps and a low growl came from the bit we were in that Jikininki Seiji was also still in, and we saw him rush out hunched over with his hands on his pointed ears. Mac then took off his sizeable black backpack ideal for the apocalypse or off the grid survival, got out a clay bottle and a crisp white tissue.

“Clean the blood off you,” He handed the tissue to Elsa, who did just that then tossed the blood-soaked material towards the Seiji. Mac presented two glass jars. One, he popped off the lid then dipped his fingers in it, getting them covered in dark and damp soil. “Sorry,” He then smeared it on our necks randomly and on our faces but in some kind of pattern while he whispered a charm in what I think was a Native language. While this happened, Elsa took out some salt and drew a circle around us. The both of them moved slowly and quietly but fast. Elsa rested on her knees, letting Mac do the same with the soil to her.

“Stay close and silent,” Elsa whispered after Mac did the same to her as he did himself and us. Mac then placed his bag in the middle of the circle opening it more to reveal an antique wooden chest with all kinds of symbols carved into it and a massive bird symbol on the top.

“There is something in this that may disturb,” can’t be worse than anything else we’ve heard or seen tonight.

“You still have that thing in there, Mahihkan?” Elsa asked as he opened the chest.

“If you two kids are still squeamish, you may want to look away,” he said as my eyes did the complete opposite. Like they had a mind of their very own, and in his chest, I saw a decapitated rotting hand with some bone and discoloured muscle tissue sticking out the end. Its nails were grubby; there were patches of cracked skin, brittle looking hairs still attached to it, and a slight sickly green shade. It was Alisha’s turn to get sick, but she covered her mouth with both hands making that rising puke go back down into her stomach.

“Seriously, you’re sick at that?!” I hissed.

She glared at me then snapped back in a pissed whisper, “I can only handle so much Ryder,”

“Enough, you two,” Elsa warned. “Is it going to move?”

“MOVE?!” I exclaimed, scooting back but Mahihkan grabbing my ankle stopped me.

“Stay still, son,” He whispered. Then from the chest, he got a woven woollen blanket and covered up my burnt leg, followed by a set of powerful and sleek black wireless earphones. “You’ll need these soon,” He added, giving Alisha a pair. As she took them looking puzzled at this guy like he had three heads. “They will cancel out the Windigo screams but are hooked up to a microphone on me so you’ll hear me,” He replied. Then from the grave came a scream that made my ears feel like they were about to split open. I gripped at them, curling up and flinched.

“Get down and be quiet,” Elsa whispered as the cut off hand got up like a spider. It was stopped by Mac, who got out a badass shotgun, shining silver bullets, a silver stake, and a silver hunting knife. He handed the gun and ammunition to Elsa after handing the silver axe to Alisha and the blade he gave to me.

“Aim for the heart if it goes for you. Kappa will light your fire torches, so keep those handy. It hates fire,” Mac added as Elsa said to Kappa to hide his scent and be ready to light them. Alisha and I lay down side by side with eyes like me when I play a horror game, and the killer is right near me. Elsa and Mahihkan stood ready with the guns in hand. They nodded like they were in sync with each other and look towards the entrance.

A grey screaming blur then flew out of the section we were in and passed Jikininki Seiji, who stood like a mortified statue after a loud slicing through flesh noise. The blur of long and thin limbs vanished again, leaving Seiji’s head to fall off and body collapse in a gross heap. A small shadowy mass with a slight tail slowly rose from the corpse then dove into the ground. From a tree many feet away from the corpse came the thing that Mahihkan told us about, leering down at it like it was a feast.

The Windigo was tall, even taller than Hachishakusama, with rough grey skin that showed its elongated and scrawny body and limbs. It was almost spider-like with the beady black eyes and mouth of sharp teeth and fangs sticking out stained yellow. A head thin black hair coated with blood and dirt with fingers and toes like filthy claws. All the bones in its torso were visible, making it look like it was about to snap in half at the slightest moment, but that look and the fact it could move so fast made it still scarily spider-like. I was afraid that thing would pounce quicker than I could blink. Ironically this was the villain of a horror game I’d been playing. I thought the developers did an excellent job at capturing how fucking frightening it was, but seeing it now made the game look like a walk in the park!

“Shit, that thing is scary…”

I whispered in Alisha’s ear.

“Shouldn’t that thing have deer horns?!” She whispered in mine.

“I think that is in literature, not in legend. Plus, I don’t think we should try saying that thing what it should look like,” I said as it began ripping apart Seiji’s body. I cringed, feeling my stomach turn and looked away.

“Poor Seiji,” Elsa sighed, then she looked at the sky. “Have mercy on his soul,” She said in Japanese, then she pumped the shotgun, so it was ready to fire.

“You go one way. I’ll go the other,” Mahihkan said then to Elsa as he changed the ammo from the usual clip to a cylinder-shaped one. He also switching the barrel of the gun for one attached to the side. He seemed to have modified it somehow, but I wasn’t sure what it would make the gun do.

Elsa then went across the path to hide behind a tomb while Mahihkan crawled low down to the ground along the back row of gravestones turning a corner. He was approaching the Windigo from another angle.

“Ryder, don’t worry, I won’t let that thing hurt you,” Alisha stressed, wrapping an arm around my shoulder protectively. I smiled, happy she was so keen to protect me, but I also felt a sense of what I could only call ‘get real’ in this life-threatening situation we were in.

“I wouldn’t blame you if it still somehow managed to,” I shrugged. Alisha scoffed, gripping at the axe as we watched the Windigo feast. A whistle like a morning spring bird came from the tombs, and that made the Windigo snap its round head up, looking up to warily scan the direction it came from, where Elsa was. It must have been her, and I wondered at that moment. I kept hunkered down, watching the Windigo’s jerk its head about unnaturally quick and blood dripping down its chin if she was also afraid.

Mahihkan stood up tall about fifteen feet from the Windigo. He let out a heavy breath before he sprinted right towards the Windigo, stopping just under the beast as it turned back, hearing his footsteps. He pointed his gun up then fired, and I mean fired! It shot flames instead of bullets! The Windigo screamed, making me and Alisha flinch and violently lash out at the fire trying to hit Mac. He bent and stepped side to side, dodging its swinging arms before he backed off, taking his finger off the trigger.

The Windigo was still on fire and screaming, now clawing at its blistering skin. Elsa then rushed out from cover, aimed her shotgun then fired, hitting it in the right shoulder. It stumbled, and she shot again, hitting it in the left knee causing bits of bone and blood to splatter. While she was shooting, the flames were dying down, and Mahihkan changed his gun again to shoot bullets up the back of the Windigo, making it scream, then swing around, lashing out at him. Mac skilfully dodged them, and Elsa shot a bullet right in the base of its neck, making it screech in pain, clawing at its neck.

“Nice shootin’ Tex…” I muttered more to myself at their perfect aim.

“ALISHA THE AXE!” Mac shouted just loud enough for us to hear while beckoning her. Alisha jumped up and sprinted faster than I’d ever seen her move before. Before that, we went to Portland to a book signing for one of her favourite historians to pass him the axe. He thanked her then swung the axe at its side, making it finally fall down. Mac covered in blood then began a chant in his people’s language as he beckoned to Kappa.

He stepped close enough to him, so Mac could take the silver stake and a rock big enough to be a makeshift stone-age style hammer. He paused his chant to hammer it into the Windigo’s chest right where its heart would have been as a human. After a few hits, it stabbed and destroyed what sounded like glass or ice. While he did this, Elsa strode over to his bag of weirdness and got out a small silver box shaped like an enlarged human heart. It had symbols like what he marked on our faces carved on the edge of the lid. I frowned as he came back to the Windigo before looking at me, holding up a hand.

“I need that knife, son,”

Nodding and clumsily pushing myself up while keeping most weight on my good leg, I stuttered, “what are you going to do?”

“Cut out the heart. It is the first step in killing a Windigo,” He replied, taking the knife. “I’d appreciate some space,” He added, turning back to the body that was now gradually turning utterly black except for its deadly white eyes. Alisha and I stood up. She being thoughtful and having more common sense than me, she turned on the flashlight clipped to her and unclipped it so she could hold it up like a human spotlight so Mac could see what he was doing.

“I can’t…” She flinched away, shaking her head with her eyes squeezed closed. “I don’t know what you’re gonna do with that man, but I don’t wanna see it,”

“Don’t worry. Young Seers are not expected at all to be able to kill a Windigo,” Elsa said, now holding the heart-shaped box.

“That’s a shame cos that was awesome!” I exclaimed, and Mac smiled.

“Thanks, we aren’t out of the woods yet,” He added, carefully removing bits of thick ice from the Windigo’s chest. “This is the delicate part,” He said. His face set like stone in a concentrated gaze. This remained until all the parts were out, and when it was finished, Elsa closed and locked it.

“It is a blessing that we are in a cemetery; it saves us having to travel. Less risk,” Elsa stated, then stood and rushed away towards the section we were once in.

“What are you doing?” I asked, following her for a few steps. Another brain-scratching screech was heard. Elsa and I both turned back to see the Windigo trying to get up and get free from under the silver stake. It was lashing out at Mahihkan and Alisha. Her eyes started to turn smoky grey, and I could see her fists were clenched.

“Ryder, find the most secluded place you can in that part of the cemetery, dig a hole and bury this!” Elsa ordered, pushing the box into my hands.

“With what?!” I asked.

“YOUR HANDS! NOW HURRY!” She urgently shouted, giving a slight shove. I nodded and started looking back over my shoulder, seeing Alisha and Kappa holding the Windigo down as best they could as Mac put down the knife and picked up the axe. Just as he approached the Windigo again, raising the weapon above his head, I turned away and rushed off doing what she asked.

My head was moving faster than my feet in more than one way, trying to find a place. I was thinking about what would be the best place and what was going on with the others. I didn’t expect to be doing this with that thing, but I knew I would struggle to do what Mac and Elsa did. I’d never shot a gun outside a video game. Suppose I was ever given that customised assault rifle of Mac’s or something similar. In that case, I’d probably do more damage to myself. After searching around, a place that this thing would be safe and not disturbed came to my mind. It would be crazy and may really anger someone close to me, but I had a feeling that given their current state, they would probably understand.

While I dug a hole in the place I thought of, I heard more screeches of the Windigo, and I stopped covering my ears with my dirt-covered hands. I felt like the screams were now rattling in my brain, but they went silent following the sound of a single loud chop. I went back to digging, and when it was so deep that when I put my hand down to the bottom, it went past my elbow, I stopped then put the box in. I brushed all the dirt back into the hole, filling it up, then walked as best as I could without hurting my leg.

“Hey, I buried that-” I stopped when I looked at the carnage in front of me. The Windigo was in a worse state than me, the Ghoul and the Nachzehrer put together! Its head was cut off, and the skin was starting to shrink back, showing the bare bone of the skull. Its legs were cut off, leaking blood, and its left arm was cut off. Mac was about to cut the other one-off when he looked up at me. “Box…”

“Good, this is the next part. If it is too much, you can both go to the truck,” Elsa told us, taking her car keys out of her winter coat pocket.

“That, I think, would be a good idea, but what about the other bodies?” I asked, pointing at the bodies of the Ghoul, Nachzehrer, Seiji and her friend.

“The good thing about the dead bodies of these monsters like this is, they turn to ash when the sunlight gets on them,” She then looked sadly towards the body of her friend. “Those two, I do not know what to do. Seiji will probably also turn to ash. I do not know what to do with poor Edwin,”

“Did he know?” Alisha asked. Elsa shook her head. “Are you gonna lie to his family?”

“He had no family at school and did not mention having any last time I spoke to him,” She replied.

“Will, will they find traces of the monsters?” Alisha asked.

“No. It will just be ash, and it will look like he was attacked by wolves or a bear,” Mahihkan added, going back to his chest of Windigo killing weapons. “I will add some bits to make it look more like that and cover our own tracks,” He then got to work getting a bag of some kind of animal fur. “Can Kappa help me?” He asked. Elsa was too full of sadness over her friend to ask him, so I did for Mac. He nodded and bowed at Mac, who then told me what he wanted Kappa to do that involved him using his magic to control the wind in covering up tracks with fallen leaves and dirt. While they did that, Alisha took the keys from Elsa and helped me back to the truck. Mac mentioned before we left, we wouldn’t get confronted by the police about what happened because they went after hearing the screams from the Windigo. Thought it was some kind of wild rabid animal and we’re were gonna call in animal control.

“I’m so sorry this happened to you, Ryder,” she said, opening the passenger’s seat. We saw a black van parked in front of it, and none of the police cars or officers like Mac said.

“It was an accident, I get it. Plus, you were badass!” I said, encouraging her while I hissed through the slight pain I got brushing my burn up against the seat.

“It isn’t. I was out of control in my demon mode, and I hurt you! That is what I was afraid of! What if I hurt you again, or Daz, or even Zack?!” She exclaimed, making a good point.

“I guess you’ll have to learn how to control it and your abilities,” I shrugged.

“But that means dedicating myself to this,” She replied, gesturing to all around her meaning the world of Creature Seers.

“You can do it. And I’ll be here for you to learn too,” I promised.

“It isn’t that I don’t think I can do it. I don’t know if I can handle what’ll happen if I do, and none of us knows what’ll happen,” Alisha stressed.

“As cliché as it sounds, that is life. But from what I’ve seen so far between that Incubus and those monsters we saw tonight, there’s a chance you’ll be a good Seer. You fought the monsters, and you a caring person,” I pointed out. She still didn’t look sure. “You are still human, partly, and you’re gonna mess up. I do it all the time, but I still manage. You can learn to manage this too, and Elsa can help. Elder and Master Seers teach Young Seers,”

Alisha looked towards the direction Elsa and Mac were in. “She did seem to know what she was doing with those sons of bitches monsters,”

“Yeah. That Mac guy was one hell of a shot, too,” I exclaimed, pointing in the same direction, making a gun with my hand.

“He’s not a Seer, right?” She asked, and I shook my head.

“No. But, I think Mac was able to see those monsters because they were showing themselves to him while they were uh, eating,” I cringed at the memory of the recent gore-filled scenes.

“He must be used to Windigos, though. How does he deal with that?” She questioned, shaking her head. “I might ask him,”

“Can’t hurt. I might do the same,” I huffed, wiping my hands on my jeans so I could rub my eyes with my palms.

“Yeah. Should ask what the heck he did and why he made you dig a hole and bury that box. It looked way too pretty to be buried in a graveyard,” she added.

“I agree. But don’t feel bad about this. I bet that I’ll get a few battle scars from doing this,” I smiled. She rolled her eyes.

“That did the opposite, Ryder. Quit it,” she said, then she glanced at the glove compartment. “Do you think she’d have any first aid stuff?” I opened it and saw an open pack of bandages.

“Do you use this on a burn?” I asked.

“Yeah, after running it under cold water and putting cream on it,” she reminded me.

“See, you’re good at that!” I complimented while she looked in the back for what I assumed was a water bottle.

“Just paid attention in when we had that first aider come to teach us basic stuff,” She shrugged. “No water. Damn it,”

“It’s fine-”

“Hurry! We need to get this part done as soon as we can,” The urgent voice of Mahihkan ordered. He, Elsa and Kappa came running out of the cemetery holding massive bits of Windigo wrapped up in thick grey sheets under their arms. He carefully placed the body and head he had on the ground before sliding open the van side door.

“What is that part?” Alisha questioned.

“Salting and burning it to ash,” Elsa told me. That was when I saw Mahihkan lift a metal barrel out of the van. He took the lid off, then stuffed the Windigo’s head into the barrel filled with grains of white salt and returned the barrel to the back of his van. He then did the same with four other body parts.

“Where are we gonna burn it?” Alisha asked.

“The study garden. We can control it there, and the magic barrier will stop the spirit from coming back to try and get at it,” Elsa explained while she helped Mac. “Will you be able to take it back?”

“I know a place for this one. It’ll be safe and untouched,” Mac promised, shutting the van door once again.

“Good. Kappa, children, get in the truck. We must go,” She pressed, and we piled in.

“Okay, can you please explain that?” I asked, looking at Elsa through the rear-view mirror. “Not the Seiji and the Nach-thing. The whole sh-bang,”

“Ghouls are creatures that lurk in cemeteries. I have never seen so many before in one place. But they could have been drawn by the presence of a new Seer. It often happens. They could have even been drawn by Seiji. A human with magical abilities or a creature that is part human is sought after by human-eating creatures,” She explained.

Alisha glanced back at Mac’s truck driving behind us. “What about the Windigo?” Elsa sighed, drumming her index fingers on the wheel.

“I don’t know. They wander but not this far. Not even when there is a new Seer. The only factor that could explain it. The fact that the cemetery we were in was built on a Native American burial ground,” I winced at that fact and my painful leg.

“They do say in the movies to not do that,” I said.

“And they are correct. You never build on any cemetery, burial ground, graveyard no matter what the religion or culture, you do not do it,” Elsa warned.

“A lotta bad shit made, huh?” asked Alisha.

“Made, lured in, summoned. Plus, it is one of the most disrespectful things you can do,” I then felt panicky over the question, was what I did disrespectful? I wasn’t thinking straight when I did it. It was eating me up, and now I felt like I had to share.

“Would it be horrible if I buried that thing’s heart near a grave? Like right behind the headstone?” Alisha right away looked suspicious.

“Well, there are more graves than trees and bushes, so it would make it harder. But it could also bring misfortune for the family,”

“Shit…” I whimpered, then looked up at my shocked friend.

“You didn’t…”

“I’m sorry I wasn’t thinking, I saw it and just did it, but I promise I didn’t disturb them. It is the same as you left it,”

“Ryder, what if my family are screwed now because of that?! What if that thing comes back and destroys their grave?!”

“Actually, Alisha, it may prevent it from doing so,” Elsa interjected.

“What do you mean? Creatures target the family and friends of Seers, don’t they?”

“Live family members. Not dead ones. If any creature damages the grave or eats the bodies of any blind humans important to a Seer may they be young, an elder, a master or somewhere in between, or a Seer who has not chosen to learn the ways, then that is an act of aggression. The Seer can take revenge by killing the creature. It is like sending out their own death sentence,” She explained.

“So, they will be okay?” She asked.

“Yes. I feel any dangerous creature who learns you’re a Cambion will also not even dream of going near their grave. You’re a powerful demon,” Elsa reminded.

Alisha then looked down at my leg. “And I need to get that power under control,”

“I promise I won’t do something like that again. Don’t worry about this, an eye for an eye, an accidental burn on the leg for burning for burring the heart of a Windigo in a stupid place,” I smiled, and she scoffed.

“Elsa, I wanna be a real Seer. If it means I’ll be able to get control over these abilities and not hurt people I care about, then I’ll do it,” She said, hitting her hand against the dashboard.

“I need to explain some things to you first before you make a final-”

“I’ve made up my mind,” I’d never heard Alisha sound so convincing and confident.

“Alright. I still need to go over the rules and the other important things,” Alisha added. There was a tranquil silence, except for the low rumble of the engine and the wheels rolling along.

When we pulled up in front of the shop, Mac jumped out of his van with Elsa and Kappa doing the same. Elsa unlocked the door, and she opened it, letting Mac and Kappa manoeuvre the first of the barrels of salt. She propped it open with a box then went to open the entrance to the study.

“I would say to roll it through the shop but if that thing spills, I don’t wanna clean that up,” said Alisha while I gagged at the thought of what that mess would be like if it, unfortunately for us, did happen.

“That mistake would probably give the spirit of the Windigo the courage to try break through the barrier,” Elsa said dreadfully, looking up at the sky over the shop. The barrier had little streaks of grey light, like sudden bursts of energy, race right up to the top from the barrels as they went into the shop.

“What is that?” I asked pointing a finger I moved to follow. Elsa followed them with her gaze thoughtfully.

“The Windigo’s spiritual energy from the body is being repelled by the barrier. It is negative, and that could draw much more than that Windigo’s spirit here,” She explained, with some dread but also sounding like a teacher.

“Do I give off anything like that?” Alisha questioned as she helped me into the shop.

“Yes. Especially when you use your abilities. But being a Creature Seer means you give out the same amount of positive energy balancing things,” Elsa replied, locking her truck then the shop door swiftly. “The barrier will not cause you pain or repel you because of this. Even if you get into a very intense and dangerous state with your demon side,”

“Good to know,” Alisha nodded as we strode through to the study. Hanz was watching from the top of the left staircase curiously. As Mahihkan and Kappa put the last one down in the centre, he rushed down the stairs to look closer. Mahihkan frowned, then looked around. He must have heard Hanz’s little footsteps.

“This place still haunted?” He asked with a quieter and slightly frightened voice.

“You don’t like ghosts too?!” I exclaimed. I startled Hanz a little, and he ran back up the stairs knocking into one of the barrels making it rock a few times before Kappa grabbed it. He tutted and shook his head at Hanz as Mac nodded at me.

“Haunted houses always freak me out. I can’t step into any building if it is haunted by a ghost,”

“And you deal with this?” Alisha pointed out.

“That is irony, dear,” Elsa chuckled, walking over to the back doors. She opened them then walked in the direction of the garage.

“So, she getting a match or are we gonna use that semi-automatic flame thrower to make a mythical barbeque?” I asked him.

“I customised it, and believe me, it was not easy. And no, we are going to make a bonfire with a flame-proof sheet over some racking to catch the ashes,” Mac replied, lifting the first of the barrels out after Kappa tugged on his arm.

“How long will that take?” I asked, limping over to sit on the bottom of the stairs.

“A few hours. It’s gonna smell worse than burning garbage, too,” Mac added, taking the second one.

“Great. I better stay inside then, or I’ll throw up again,” I sighed.

“I wouldn’t do that. Elsa’s garden is too beautiful for that,” Mac added, grunting as he picked up the third barrel. Alisha sat down next to me and nudged me with her elbow. I saw her smirk and couldn’t help but do the same. We were gonna get some gossip, and we were like an audience for a scripted reality tv show. We were gonna lap it all up in a cup of tea.

“So, Mac, how long have you and Elsa been quote on quote, friends?” Alisha began crossing her leg with a smile and head tilted to the left.

“About ten years. I met Elsa when I was a kid and just starting to learn about my family’s link to Seers, and with her being the newest Seer at the time. Me being the next in my family to do what we do, it was good that we got to know each other,” He shrugged.

“Wow, and how well do you know each other?” I asked, resting my chin in my hand with my other arm across my stomach.

“Pretty well. Elsa helped me get the gear I have for hunting and tracking. She has a matching set made by a skilled gunsmith and blacksmith from the town as well as the Oniate to guard mine,” He added.

“Oniate?” I frowned.

“That hand thing you saw in my weapons’ chest. It keeps strangers out of my business and that chest. Dangerous little thing,” he told us.

“What mythology is it from? Is it Indigenous?” Alisha asked, and he nodded.

“Iroquois. Elsa probably has books on it,” He explained then from the chest in his pack on the ground near the table was a thump.

“Damn, it’s like Thing from the Addams family!” I exclaimed.

“Only if it touches you, you’ll die, get sick or turn to dust,” Mac added like it was nothing with a shrug.

“Remind me to never go looking around in your house. If we ever go,” I said, sidestepping away from the chest. Mac smirked as Elsa came back in.

“Okay, we have pile of wood outside and a rack. We should start burning as soon as we can,” she said, going to the storage area.

“Can I please get some stuff for my leg?” I asked, limping over.

“Yes. Here,” she then tossed me a first aid box. “There is bandages and burn cream in there,” I thanked her, then limped over to a chair at the table. Mac and Kappa went outside as Elsa came out from the storage area with some parchment and a lighter.

“I will be outside if you need me,” She smiled.

“Elsa, before you go, is there any books on the stuff we’ve seen tonight?” Alisha asked, pointing to the rows of high shelves.

“Yes. There should be, hold on,” Elsa replied, striding over to a section that was titled ‘Gore Galore’ in blood-red paint. She brought over just one book. “Here you go.” Alisha took the medium-sized red glossy book and said thank you before Elsa strode towards the garden doors to leave.

“Humanoid human eaters. Nice,” Alisha cringed then sat next to me while I propped my leg up on the table after taking off my shoe.

“Do you think I could make this style of jeans work? Burnt holes are the new rips,” I said, gesturing with a grin to my wrecked jeans. Alisha rolled her eyes, opening the book.

“You’d look like that you’re that kid who burns stuff and ends up becoming an arsonist,” She said coldly, and I hissed, putting a hand on my chest.

“You burn me again,” I sighed.

“RYDER!” she exclaimed, then I snickered.

“Sorry, sorry,” I said, holding my hands up in surrender, then looked at my leg. “How the heck am I gonna get these jeans off?”

“You could cut them into shorts?” Alisha suggested, then stood up to open the first aid box. “There are some scissors in here,”

“Thanks. Hopefully, my Mom won’t be too mad,” I then started cutting off my jeans to make the one leg into a short leg while Alisha read.

“God, these things are crazy. And can we appreciate how good of a shot Mac is and how much guts Elsa has?” She exclaimed, looking towards the garden. We could see a low amber glow through the glass above the doors, telling us they had started the fire.

“You did good too, and Kappa was pretty badass for taking them on. There’s nothing he won’t fight,” I added, reaching for the disinfectant wipes to clean the bits of dirt and blood around the wound.

She shook her head. “Nowhere near what they did,”

“I did nothing except get this,” I scoffed, putting the wipes away and grabbing the burnt cream instead.

“You buried that things heart. That has got to be the weirdest thing you’ve ever done,” she pointed out.

“Weirdest thing so far,” I added, and she smiled, then looked at my leg and turned sad.

“Were you worried about hurting Zack or your parents?” She asked me.

“I was worried about them being in danger, and it made me wanna do this so that I could know how to protect them,” I told her.

“At least you don’t have to worry about hurting anyone. I’m worried about hurting people I barely know and people I don’t like. Even that guy Cristiano Hernández,” she laughed that last line, and so did I.

“That whole tough guy act would be gone, and he’d be running if he just saw your demon side,” I said after I finished applying the burn cream through gritted teeth.

She turned the page in the book a few times. “He’d shit his pants if he ever saw these creatures,” I laughed louder at that. “Here, lemme help,” she then got up, grabbed the bandage and came over to my leg.

“I’m no Mary Seacole, but I’ll do my best,” She then started wrapping it around my leg.

“I think there is some tape in there,” I said, pointing to the box.

“There is. Y’know you could as a mummy for Halloween now,” She suggested.

“Aww, I wanted to go as something way scarier,” I tutted.

“What?” She asked.

“A Windigo-OW!” I shouted when she flicked at the bandage. “Dude!”

“Bad joke,” she glared, then got the tape to secure it. “There,”

“Thanks,” I put my leg down off the table and stood up. “Should we go see what it is like out there?” I asked, unsure myself what to do while pointing to the door. It now has a brighter glow coming from the other side, even through the split in the door and keyhole.

“I don’t know. I think it may be a little too much,” she said, and I agreed. We’d seen enough for one day. Her especially.

“Yeah. Let’s, learn from this book,” We then sat down with the book between us and read from it together.

Elsa came back in about half an hour later to check on us. She looked a bit tired, but her warm and welcoming smile was still there.

“How are you both?” She asked, dusting her hands off.

“I can walk again,” I smiled, lifting my leg up to show her the bandaged leg.

“What happened to your trouser leg?” She asked.

“I had to cut it off. I might start a new fashion trend,” I said, then struck a pose. They both laughed, and Alisha shut the book.

“I’m ready, Elsa,” She stated, then stood.

“Come with me dear,” The two of them then went up to the top floor. I didn’t know how Alisha would take doing the more signing in blood, but I knew she would do it.

After they finished and came back down, Elsa told us we could head home. I called my Mom, nervous about how she’d react. I even thought about cutting the other jean leg off, but Elsa tied the first aid kit away before I could ask. Alisha and I waited in the shop with the key rested up against the counter. She was looking around the shop, really studying, while I watched some gameplay videos. Fifteen minutes later, a knocking at the door made me and Alisha stop.

“Hello?” Eomma called. I let her in, and she rushed to hug me. “Are you alright, son?” She asked, and I laughed once awkwardly.

“In one piece,” I shrugged, looking down at my bandage.

“No thanks to me,” Alisha added, messing with her hair.

“What do you mean? What happened?” She frowned.

“Eomma. My best friend is a demon,” I said. She stared at me, mouth wide open for a few seconds.

“ELSA!” she shouted, then stood looking towards the study with her hands on her hips, frowning with pressed lips.

“Hello?” We heard Elsa’s voice call back with her footsteps against the wood.

“What has happened here?” She demanded.

“Somethings that I did not expect to have happened. Alisha is also a Creature Seer, and she is a type of demon called a Cambion. And we have had to face some very dangerous creatures, and they did good,” she smiled proudly at Alisha then me.

“And what happened to my son?!” She demanded.

“That was my fault, Mrs Park,” Alisha said, lacing her fingers together.

“She did save me from a creature Eomma, it was an accident,” I interjected. “It is a burn, but I patched it up. It wasn’t too bad, and I can walk, kind of,” Eomma shook her head.

“Let me see it,” she then pointed to the kitchen and walked in with me.

“I will get you the first aid box,” Elsa said, striding off to the study.

Eomma huffed as she pulled up a chair. “What on earth did you do?”

“I hit a Ghoul with a flaming torch, and some of it got Ryder,” Alisha explained.

“The fire was made to burn hotter and brighter than normal fire. Is important for defence and killing creatures that hate it,” explained Elsa walking into the kitchen. “He did okay at it, but his bandage wrapping does look a little messy,”

“I did that for him!” Alisha exclaimed with her hands on her hips in an annoyed tone.

“Then you both need more first aid lessons,” Elsa said, giving Eomma the box.

“Agreed,” She then got more bandages out and put the clean one on it since the old one had gotten bloodstained already a bit. “After this, I should get them home,”

“Agreed. Alisha, does your guardian know where you are?” Eomma asked, and she nodded. “Okay, I will take you home. It is too late for you to be walking home,”

“Okay, thanks,” she smiled as Eomma finished wrapping the bandage.

“Might I ask where you learnt how to do that, Mi Young?” Elsa asked, admiring it.

“My uncle was a doctor,” She replied, referring to her uncle, who I had met a few times when we went to see family in South Korea. He was a nice man that worked really hard.

“Ah. My father had some knowledge in medicine and herbal remedies too,” Elsa replied.

Eomma looked impressed with her arms crossed. “You sell them here?” Elsa nodded back. “Impressive. I’m surprised people still use them,”

“Well, there are many who swear by some herbal remedies. For me, it is gargling salt water for mouth ulcers and chamomile tea to help with sleep,” Elsa added.

“Interesting. May ask you for some if I need them,” Eomma said with an expression to match.

“Of course,” Elsa nodded, then she stood up, letting me stand also. “There you go,” She smiled. I thanked her then looked at Alisha.

“How are you feeling?” I asked. Alisha glanced around at us all thoughtfully.

“Confident. Can I tell Daz?” She asked, but instantly Elsa shook her head.

“Absolutely not. We cannot do that unless we have no choice,” she stressed.

“But we were told?” Eomma stated.

“Because we had no choice. It is best to keep him away as much as we can,” replied Elsa.

“It is one of the rules,” I pointed out. Alisha let out a huff, but she nodded, accepting it.

“If we have to tell him, I want to be the one,” she declared.

“Of course, dear,” Elsa promised.

“I think it is time we get home,” said Eomma beckoning her hand to me. I walked over, and she put a hand on my shoulder, giving it a tender rub before she looked at Alisha. “You too,” she then got her to come over, and she gave her a smile and pat on the back. We said our goodbyes to Elsa, Kappa and Mahihkan. He mentioned that he would take the ashes and leave as soon as the fire was done burning the body. They had to be scattered on the lands of his people and the land where the Windigo came from. He was really dedicated to this, and he seemed like a fantastic guy that I’m glad was on our side.

Eomma, me and Alisha talked about who Mac was, what it was like when me and Eomma found out about all this, the stuff to do with how this affected my mental health and the fact Alisha was a genuine part of this too. Just as we pulled up outside her house with Daz coming out. He was a regular-sized white guy with a gleaming smile, brown eyes constantly darting around, not missing a thing. He had some cinnamon-coloured scruff to go with his short hair. He was wearing some comfy pyjamas made up of a long fluffy grey robe, red checked pants and navy slippers giving him a typical mid-30s suburban Dad look. I tapped Alisha on her shoulder.

“Hey, I just wanna say, we’re in this together now, dude, so we’ll be there for each other like everything else,” she smiled at what I said, then nodded. I held up my fist, and she touched it once with hers before opening the car door.

“Are you okay? It is pretty late,” Daz began bending down so he could see into the car and speak to Eomma.

“We were talking a lot and lost track of time. You know they give these kids so much homework!” Eomma sighed and shook her head. It was true; some days, I came home with way too much work. It was like having extra lessons at home!

“They can get through it, though, can’t they?” He said with confidence.

Eomma chuckled. “Oh, these kids can handle more than we know, Daz,”

“Hopefully, communication and organisation are some of them,” he said, raising an annoyed eyebrow at Alisha as she got out of the car.

“Sorry, again, I’ll be better next time,” Alisha shrugged.

“I should have called Daz,” Eomma added.

“Oh, BS Mi Young, she has a phone and my number and working thumbs and fingers,” Daz replied, shaking his head and counting the things on his fingers.

“Okay, we get it!” Alisha groaned, throwing her head back and huffing her whole body. Daz smirked, and Eomma laughed while I just pressed my lips together into a smile to try and hide giggles.

“What do you say?” Daz said while crossing his arms to Alisha.

“Thanks for the lift Mrs Park,” she said to Eomma. “And I was gonna,” she whined a little, but Daz shrugged it off. “See you soon,” she waved.

“Bye!” Eomma called, and I waved once as we drove away.

“You know what I would like to know?” Eomma suddenly said as we got to our neighbourhood.

“What?” I replied.

“The odds of both you and Alisha being Creature Seers. Should have put money on it,” she sighed as we got home. I laughed once at that idea. The odds must be out of this world, but the fact my best friend knew what I was going through and that the two of us had each other’s backs together made me feel like the odds, whatever they were, had to be in my favour.

While I was writing this part, there was the discovery of the 215 bodies of victims of Kamloops Residential School in unmarked graves in Canada. This really hit me hard as I was learning about some parts of Indigenous North American folklore and culture for this part, including the fact that this horrific find is nothing new.

Not only children but Indigenous women in all of North America are greatly affected by violence also. I want to share with you a website where you can learn more about this issue and help support these women in healing and protect them in the future and get them justice.

Here is a link to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center where you can find things to use to educate yourself on this and also a place to donate too:

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