Chapter 19: More Than a Feeling
“Don’t you dare ask me about that butler,” warned the officer as the three walked into the main social area of the apartment.
“We WILL kill you,” added the nurse.
“Esthera and Alicie! My favorite nurse and my favorite police lady!” Olaf waved a paint brush at them from behind an easel as he stood up. “Oh! You must be the great Admiral Nelson. I’ve heard so much about you! It is a genuine pleasure!”
“Welcome to our humble home. May I get you any refreshments?” LeShawn paused the arranging of flowers on his desk to smile warmly and bow to his guests.
“No, but thank you. We don’t have a lot of time, so I need to be brief,” replied the admiral, “I am here to hire a crew for my ship with the sole purpose of killing the vampire and ending his tyrannical reign over your people. LeShawn won the rap battle earlier, earning him the position of captain (should he choose to accept it). Olaf will be the first mate and the combined sum of your men will make up the rest of the necessary crew/mercenary force.”
“The only problem I have is the fact that most of our men are down on the ground floor on the east side and there’s a slight werecoyote infestation. By slight, I mean the demon mantises won’t even go down there. We’ve had to lower food and supplies down to our people from the 5th floor courtyard window.” Olaf shook his head sadly.
“So we save them and you’ll agree to join me?”
“Remember, aim for the ear!” The admiral slid down the rope, drawing his sword. He crashed through the window and rolled across the floor in front of two shocked soldiers. Esthera, Alicie, Olaf, and LeShawn followed shortly after, landing much more smoothly. “Come, comrades, we take the fight to them! We will kill these werecoyotes like sweet, innocent, baby sheep!” The admiral regained his stance and marched to the door to the hallway, spinning his sword in a flashy arc to convey and express his boundless confidence.
“Glory waits for no one!” He kicked the door outwards and it bounced off a nine-foot-tall werewolf which was patiently waiting outside the door.
“THESE ARE WEREWOLVES?” He caught the door and tried to use it to shield himself from the creature.
“GRAWRAWRAWRAWRAWR!” responded the creature, smashing its fists into the sturdy, makeshift door-shield.
“GO BACK THROUGH THE WINDOW!” The admiral tried to retreat, but he failed when his shield got stuck in the doorway. He dropped it and bolted, diving outside to the courtyard through the trashed opening after his companions. The werewolf followed closely, trying to decide which food item it desired most. The seven people booked it to the main stage, hoping to have some safety dodging the creature among the sound equipment. Much to their dismay, other werewolves heard the commotion and joined the hunt, hoping for a delicious meal.
Up above, in a 13th story window, Jed licked the blood of a fresh kill off his fingers as he watched werewolves pour through the broken window towards his two daughters. This was clearly a trap to catch him off guard. The mantises could not possibly hope to bring down the last scorpion demon, especially if he used his sacrificial blood reserves to activate his ultimate form. If they had help from werewolves, it would be possible. However, he had no choice but to hope for the best. He slid his fingers under the window and lifted it up. There was absolutely no way he would let his girls suffer the same fate as his wife.
The humans (or at least mostly human) split up and began to offer feeble attempts to fight back, but both of the unnamed characters were killed right away and Olaf’s leg was cleanly bitten off in mid-air as he tried to jump off a speaker. The admiral and LeShawn stepped in and fought off the wolves trying to tear the viking to pieces, but the hordes of werewolves were unrelenting.
A sonicboom interrupted the frantic struggle and a scorpion the size an industrial excavator landed in the courtyard and started to smash its tail into the wolves running around, dissolving their bodies with glowing green acids.
As predicted, the mantises began to crawl through the hallway windows and drop down to the fertile courtyard soil. They charged across trampled earth and slashed at the scorpion’s arms and legs with their claws while the werewolves continued to bite and growl. The scorpion had counted on the people to help him, but the twins were unarmed and the admiral was trying to help DeShawn fix Olaf’s dislocated shoulder before reattaching the leg they retrieved from inside one of the werewolves.
A large number of the wolves and mantises were now acidic piles of goo, but they had just ripped off the top half of the scorpion’s tail, a few of his legs, and both claws. Suffering too much damage, his form collapsed on himself, returning him to the scrawny gentlemen with black hair and aqua-green eyes, but now he was drenched in sweat and blood dripped from his nose and mouth. He was surrounded by three remaining mantises and five living wolves while another two toyed with the humans.
“I was always sure that you would attempt such a dastardly scheme, Lucas.”
“She was my dinner, but you had to take her from me!” Lucas returned to his humanoid form and approached the weakened scorpion demon.
“You were weak and foolish. I merely took advantage of your failure to behave yourself as a proper demon!”
“I wanted nothing more than to drink her blood and you promised not to protect her from me! I just had to create the Sacred Law of Invitation and then wait until after the woman gave birth to your children. Then, when the twins were born, you killed the mother, burned her to ashes, and buried her just to spite me because you knew it didn’t directly violate the terms of our contract!” He closed in and knelt, eye-to-eye with Jed. “I’ve seen you alone at night. I know you developed something more than a feeling for her and I know you regret killing her because you were too scared to fight against me.”
“That is not what happened. I incinerated her alive as part of another deal (with a yeti snake spirit) to spare her soul and the souls of my daughters from the cruelty of the underworld where creatures like us go in death. Having loved a demon, she was damned and being children of a demon, my offspring were also damned.” He wiped some of the blood from his face. “I regret nothing.”
“I doubt it. Your daughters hate you. They’ll never forgive you for taking away their mother! You’re going to die unforgiven, and they’re going to die holding onto their disdain for you. Best of all, I’m going to enjoy every single drop of blood the way I was supposed to twenty years ago!”
“Hear me, Lucas. I shall break you with my bare hands and feed you to the wolves you sic upon me.”
“I would very much like to see you try, Jed.”
Jed stood up straight and let his coat fall to the ground. He rolled up his sleeves and shifted into a fighting stance. Lucas shed his coat and faced off with his rival. The green-eyed demon glared at his whitish grey-eyed opponent with a burning, passionate rage. He lunged and swung a flying superman punch at Lucas, but one of the demon mantises reached out with its claw and pulled Jed back to the ground, ripping him open with the razor edge. He rolled back to his feet and tried to return to his fighting stance, but he had lost all use of his right arm. He shook his head and charged again. This time, a werewolf crow-hopped and sidekicked him into a wall, creating a sickening crack sound to match both the shattered bones and the jagged new mark in the wall.
“Look! That creepy demon from earlier is getting his ass kicked! We should help him!” The admiral pointed at the scorpion demon being ganged up on by the werewolves and demon mantises.
“Let him die! He deserves it!” screeched the nurse, dodging one of the other werewolves.
“He’s trying to help us!”
“It’s a trap! He killed our mother!”
He no idea what a werewolf’s weakness was, but the admiral was still a certified badass and he was pretty sure that lasers are wild card weakness for everything. He ignored the nurse and charged at the group of foul creatures, flamboyantly spinning his laser sword like a cheerleader or a marching band member. He performed a triple front flip and brought his lasersword down, cutting through the head of a werewolf, halving it neatly. He altered his trajectory to a horizontal cyclonic slice, taking the beast’s two half-heads and sending them into the air in separate directions. The other four wolves tried to pounce on the admiral, but, inspired by his clean kill, he now felt invincible. He hacked a few arms and legs off the wolves in a flurry of ballerina dance moves without hesitation.
As the wounded beasts writhed and howled on the ground next to their detached body parts, Khvarikx tiptoed through the blood and gore, continuing his progress towards the demon mantises and their vile gang-style beating.
“Stay out of this, Bacon Strip!” shouted Larry--WAIT!
That’s not right. I don’t remember what the bad guy demon’s name was. Hold on, I need to quickly reread some of this mess for a moment.
“Stay out of this, Bacon Strip!” shouted Lucas.
“How did you know? Who told you?” demanded Khvarikx.
“How did you know about the Bacon thing?”
“I--what bacon thing? We just call strangers ‘Bacon Strip’ as an inside joke between us demonfolk.”
“Tell me about this inside joke.”
“Only if you tell me about the Bacon thing.”
“Word. We demons love bacon strips above anything else. We also like to eat people. Therefore, strangers are potential tasty treats--bacon strips, if you will. Now, I do believe we had a deal. Your turn.”
Khvarikx clenched his fists. If these demons worked for the vampire and they had heard the story about the Bacon Strip story arc, they could escape and alert the vampire, sabotaging the entire plan. If he lied (consequently breaking a deal with a demon), he would probably face severe repercussions. He took a deep breath.
“I was a human-sized Bacon Strip for a while.”
The mantises all morphed into their human forms and licked their lips excitedly.
“Go on,” urged Lucas, barely trying to hide his aforementioned excitement.
“I was all greasy and oily...”
“Oooooooohhhhhhh,” they cooed in unison
“...I was halfway between crunchy and tender...” he continued.
They chattered excitedly.
“I was crispy, but not burned.”
Lucas growled, "I know what you're trying to--" his stomach also growled, interrupting him. “Oh god, I want bacon so much right now. Squad, let’s bounce to the waffle house!” The demons vanished in a puff of smoke.
The demon, Jed, weakly struggled to sit up. His body was crushed, trashed, and mangled, but he was still very much alive. His lips parted and he coughed harshly as he tried to speak.
“Bacon Strip, come hither. I urgently need to converse with you.”
“What is it?” Khvarikx asked as he knelt by the demon’s side.
“I have, in my possession, a sacred, unholy technique for ultimate power. I must pass it on for I am too weak to continue fighting.”
“Okay, tell me how to do it.”
“Only on the condition that you take an oath to avenge me and consequently protect my daughters. Employ this mighty skill to smite down and defeat Lucas along with the rest of his henchmen. Then, I will consider payment accepted and processed.”
“Whenever blood is drawn, you must use your solhtrix consciousness spectre to absorb the ambient potential energy from the red blood cells. When you have collected enough, you can trigger yourself to morph into an ultimate form.”
“Your solhtrix consciousness spectre!”
“Yeah, I have no idea what that is.”
The demon croaked hoarsely and beckoned the admiral to come closer. The admiral shrugged and obliged. Jed whispered something into Nelson’s ear for a few moments and then laid back down and coughed. The admiral remained expressionless as a gentle breeze toyed with his spiky golden hair. His gaze was zoned out, burning through the ground in front of him.
“What the fish and chips without dip? That’s frickin’ gross dude! Ew!” The pirate’s face twisted into a look of horrified shock and disgust.
The demon shook his head and sat back up to whisper something else into the admiral’s ear.
“That’s still pretty gross, but now that you put it like that, it’s not too bad,” said the still-slightly-mortified pirate.
“Exactly. Now, go! I need you to keep my daughters alive until I see the day I am able to finally earn their forgiveness and we can be a family again!”
“That isn’t going to happen for two reasons,” Esthera growled as she approached her battered father. “Firstly, We’re never going to forgive for what you did to our mother.” She pushed the admiral aside and pinned the demon to the ground with her slender, yet brutally vicious fingers wrapped around his trachea. “Secondly, if we ever do forgive you, by that time, you’ll be nothing more than an old rotting corpse in an unmarked grave covered in moss, dead leaves, and werewolf piss!”
Esthera screeched hysterically, tightening her grasp on the demon’s throat. He wrapped his fingers around her arms and pried her hands off of his neck. She pushed off the ground with her knees, stood up, and then re-positioned herself to plant her foot on the side of Jed’s head, pushing his face into the ground. He countered, releasing his grip on her arms and swatting her foot aside, compromising her balance and sending her rolling. He was still crippled and broken from his earlier battle; his moves were shaky and uneven. Defending himself against a half-demon nurse/revolutionary would normally be an easy game, but now he was fighting a losing battle. He flipped to his feet as her roll came to completion and spun around to face her.
However, as he turned, he saw his other daughter, Alicie, standing right in front of him holding an elegantly detailed, gold-trimmed, obsidian-black revolver inches from his forehead. Her fingers tightened around the trigger and the hammer on the back of the heavy firearm crept back as the tension grew.
“This is the closest thing to forgiveness I’ll ever give you.”