As sunlight graced the towers of Lower Manhattan, outraged commuters gawked at the ruins of Club Candy Cane. Pictures and videos flooded social media, becoming the number one trending topic. Firefighters put out the last of the flames while legit NYPD officers redirected onlookers to a safer distance. News vans swerved passed the morning traffic and raced one another to the devastated site, ready to interview whoever wanted to talk. Hours had passed since Gina got buried underneath the wreckage, not moving an inch or winking an eye or inhaling a breath. Yet, she heard the mass confusion loud and clear. Had Commissioner Wood made good on his promise? Was she dead this time?
She opened her eyes, awakening to the sound of Cornelius Wood’s eerie voice. Everything fell silent, except for the air pumping through her lungs, which were compressed under tons of rubble. “Who was that?” she wondered.
“I told you this would happen… What are you going to do now?”
Gina grew numb. Her eyes moved in every direction, too weak to break free from her concrete burial mound.
“C’mon, Vasquez…use your ‘angel’ powers...call on your God…or stay there...and die a slow death, as you deserve.”
“You don’t know me,” Gina growled at Wood. “You never have.”
Gina wiggled her fingers and felt rock crumble apart after one tap. Continuously wiggling and digging, one of her wrists eventually got free. She then twisted her fist with the speed of a drill and vastly broke away through the heavy blockage. Rock and rubble separated from under her body and Gina fell into a hole along with an avalanche of tumbling concrete.
It seemed like a bottomless pit as Gina dropped for numerous minutes, drifting through perpetual darkness, surrounded by screaming echoes and brushed by a constant cold gust. What was going on? Was she heading toward the center of the earth? An entrance to an alternate dimension? The wormhole to hell? Without her powers, she’ll presumably fall forever.
“UGHHHH!!!!” Gina suddenly crash-landed on a jagged and uneven surface. Although still enveloped in impenetrable blackness, her night vision allowed her to see no blood on her clothing. Getting to her feet easily, no physical injuries were noticed or felt whatsoever. She must be back at full strength.
She walked through the dark as if it was bright as the day. Her hand traveled along the damp rocky walls of a dank, ovoid cave, curving up from the ground and arched a hundred feet high. Giant stalactites hung like icicles. Even though neither end displayed evidence of freedom, she shivered from chilling air
coming from her left side.
Unexpectedly, Commissioner Wood’s eerie voice had resurfaced, reverberating through the hollow cave. “VASQUEZ!!!!” he taunted. “YOU’RE A BRAVE GIRL!!!”
Expecting a surprise attack coming, she stretched out her fingers and balled them up into fists. Wait. Is that light? A flicker of a match? It was hard to tell coming from afar. She walked toward the flicker and watched it grow to a flaming torch the closer she got. It led her into another cave, but this one was the size of a basketball court. Torches ignited along the walls in unison. Engraved in the rocks were the twelve symbols of the zodiac.
A stone mound stood dead center, resembling an oversized anthill. Gina peeked inside its spout and saw a thick liquid swirling and bubbling like marble colored lava. Just then, a slimy blob slowly rose from out the liquid and levitated over the stone. Slowly it materialized into an elongated dagger. Muddy remnants slid off and dripped down the spout, uncovering silver metal that blazed like a shooting star. A loathsome gasp seeped out from her mouth as she recognized its
deathly structure. “Wally’s knife.”
Radiant beams shot out from the pentagrams on the handle, magnetically drawn to the zodiac signs. Suddenly, the cave floor violently trembled. Symbolic rocks shattered into rubble, forming twelve openings that encircled the Angelite like paparazzi at the airport. White smoke erupted, along with spine-chilling howls that zigzagged around the cave. Orange light vibrantly glowed against a burgundy landscape. From amongst the smoke came a monstrous, half-charred creature, slamming its limbs onto the rocks as its vicious claws climbed through the opening.
A huge snout was stapled onto its mangled face with wine-colored serpent pupils were as large as grown-up hands. Fangs hung over its twisted mouth. Burnt fur covered its dark green, scaly skin. Various slash marks on its chest resembled the Clucifix symbol.
More cave-splitting growls had sounded from the other openings. Identical- looking creatures clawed their way out as well, each more hideous than the
last. Collectively, they roared at the highest frightening pitch. The knife shot up through the ceiling like a rocket as the entire cave continued to rumble.
Terrified beyond rational thought, Gina flashed out of the cave and ran as far away from those hideous beasts as possible. Passing through rushing winds, seeing nothing but bland color streaks, Gina stopped. She had no idea where she was going. Why waste her energy running if there was no place to hide? She wound up in a deserted landscape with dying grass and yellow patches. Weeds the size of picket fences. Trees as tall as evergreens were shriveled and lopsided. Shades of gray painted the sky as if a severe thunderstorm approached.
“VASQUEZ!!!!” Wood’s detestable voice echoed again. “MY DEMONS ARE GONNA KILL YOU!!!!”
If only Pastor Goode was here to help. He would’ve known where she
was and how to escape. Then, from the corner of her eye, she spotted someone
running on the other side of the land. “WAIT!!” she shouted. Gina flashed over to where the person was running, but instantly they vanished. There! Now they’re running toward a cluster of trees. Again, she ran over, and they disappeared.
Walking deeper inside the desolate forest, she came across a pool-sized ditch. The ground was dry and muddy. Hundreds of broken branches stuck
out like thorns from a bush. She jumped into the ditch to investigate. “Oh my God,” she gasped. Those weren’t sticks trapped inside the mud. They were decomposed arms! Dead bodies flooded the ditch, stiffly reaching outward. Mouths left wide open displaying gray-colored rotted teeth. Cobwebs occupied the space where their eyes used to be. Mud sparkled from metal shapes implanted alongside the corpses. She knelt next to a body and dug her nails into the cold ground. Sadly, she discovered the metal object was a badge. Numerous
other bodies she checked. Each one had a badge hanging from their rotting flesh, representing different precincts and law organizations. The ditch turned out to be a graveyard.
All of a sudden, one arm came to life and latched onto Gina’s leg, pulling and tugging her down toward the mud. Gina broke away and ignited her fist into an energy ball. She paused. That face covered in grime and dirt. She knew who
it was. Veronica! “HOLD ON, RONNIE!!” she pleaded. “I GOT YOU!!”
Before she could grab her arm, Veronica was dragged across the wasteland and pulled toward a huge hole centered in the ditch. As soon as Gina swished over, a fiery mist blasted her face, momentarily blinding her. Hundreds of dead arms began to swipe and swing wildly. Gina mowed through the field of zombie- arms and zoomed out of the pit.
No time to cry over her friend as gray clouds morphed to a charcoal black scene. Wind velocity increased as thunder roared amongst the horizon. Cracks raced through the mud as volcanic activity occurred. Gina became unglued, letting her fear and emotion get the better of her. “VASQUEZ!!!!” Wood’s voice guffawed. “SOON YOU’LL BE A FALLEN ANGEL!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!”
Just about to reach the breaking point, Gina got hit with a sense of reality. Wood is constantly attacking her because she’s a threat. “That was the last
time Wood,” she declared. Pressing her hands together, Gina closed her eyes and tilted her head towards the Heavens. She prayed for her strength to be at its highest. For her powers to reach no limit. For her mind to stay focused, no matter how great the strife may be.
She could feel an electrifying sensation flow through her veins. Pure energy radiantly burst from her eyes. Her fists burned like Olympic torches. Gusting winds retreated from the immense power pulsing around her body. She felt invincible. No demon would stand a chance against her.
A geyser of white smoke exploded from several miles away. Twelve demons flew through the dark sky like a flock of ravens. Their wings were the size of airplanes. Foot-long tails wildly flapped behind them as they made a beeline toward the Angelite. However, they suddenly swerved away, retreating from the radiating light glowing around her body.
Gina calmly paced back and forth, waiting to punish the first creature who invaded her personal space. After an intense staredown, the demons, obsessed with tasting angel blood, dove at her like a brigade of scud missiles. Gina tensed up and crouched into an attack position. The battle had just begun. The war was far from over.