The Angel of San Diego

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Chapter 39 - Child Games

39 - Child Games

Jake straightened up all of a sudden and said, “No! No! Not now! I will not let you come out! I…”

Robin could see a complete change in Jake. His face untwisted, he stood straighter, and he looked different, somehow.

“I don’t have a lot of time, Robin.” The Transylvanian accent was gone. Even the tone of voice was different. This man sounded like an American. “Jake’s furious that I usurped his control. You’ve got to get out of here. Now! Get away before he comes back. He means to kill you and your Fiancée.”

“Jimmy?” Robin said.

“No, I’m Jason. Jimmy is gone forever. There’s just Jake and me now. Under other circumstances, I’d be glad to meet you, but right now, you’d better leave. He’s gaining strength.”

“Easy for you to say, you’re not attached to a suction pump.”

“You’d better do something fast – I can’t hold him much longer,” he said as he cut the tape from Malissa’s hands and feet. He ripped the duct tape from her mouth, and pulled the gag out. Malissa woke up.

“Ow!” She looked up and saw the scarecrow face above her. “You!” she screamed. She began slapping and kicking Jason. He fell back from the chair and landed on the floor. As he attempted to rise, Malissa started after him again, but she was still dizzy from the chloroform. She fell back in to the chair in a half-faint.

“No, Malissa,” said Robin, “This is Jason, but he won’t be for long. We have to get out of here. Help me with this hose will you?”

Jason stood up and said, “You have to hurry. I can’t maintain control much longer. Malissa, you must help Robin – I have to concentrate all my efforts on keeping Jake at bay.”

Malissa was still a little dazed, “Jason?” she asked.

“Yes, he’s the good one, but you need to help me get this hose under control so we can get out of here before Jake comes back.”

Malissa stood up. She was a bit shaky, but confident. She looked for her phone and realized it was missing. She went around the bed and disconnected the tube to the pump. She rolled it up in a coil and gave it to Robin. Then she helped him out of bed. They headed for the door. As Malissa opened it, Robin turned and said, “Thanks, Jason.” They passed through into the hall.

The night police guard was lying on the floor in a pool of blood. The Nurse’s station looked deserted, but when they went to the desk, they could see two blood covered bodies lying on the floor behind it. Robin picked up the nurse’s station phone. All the lines were dead. Jake had seen to that.

“All their throats have been cut,” Malissa said in a terrified voice.

“Where’s your cell phone, Malissa?” Robin asked.

“It’s gone. Jake must have taken it.”

“Well, I’m not going back in there to ask him for it – Let’s get out of here.”

She looked around the nurse’s station surveying the carnage. There were other bodies lying here and there, all of them had their throats cut.

“Those poor people…” she began.

“Let’s get out of here before we end up the same.”

He headed for the elevator area. Malissa followed. Robin was in intense pain, but his adrenaline kept him going. One of the elevators was standing open. They tried to use it, but it was disabled. They went from elevator to elevator. None of them would answer the call button.

“We’ll have to take the stairs, Robin, are you up to it?”

“Do I have a choice?”

They entered the stairwell and started down the stairs. Malissa suddenly stopped a few steps down.

“What’s Wrong, Malissa?”

“Do you smell something, Robin?”

“Yeah, it smells like…”

“He’s set the building on fire,” Malissa exclaimed.

"No wonder no one is around. He started a fire on the floor below. Everyone must be evacuating the building. It explains why the elevators don’t work as well. Why isn’t the fire alarm sounding?"

"We can’t go down, Robin. What are we going to do?"

"We go up. There should be emergency fire escapes on the roof of the building."

They managed to climb up a floor and a half when sickening sweet song of Jake came wafting up the stairwell, echoing off the walls.

“Twinkle, twinkle little rat,

Now I know where you are at,

Up above the floor you climb,

You are running out of time,

Twinkle, Twinkle Angel one,

I will kill you though you run.”

Robin couldn’t move very fast in his condition. The first two flights of stairs had just about done him in. He leaned against the wall at the landing.

"You go on, darling. Save yourself. I’ll try to stop him right here."

"No way, Robin, we’re in this together. You just have to get up one more set of stairs and we’re on the roof. Come on, I’ll help you."

She put his right arm around her shoulder and started up the last flight of stairs. The smoke was starting to billow up from below. It was rising step by step and would soon overtake them both.

Jake’s voice floated up from the clouds below, “Ollie, Ollie, Oxen free! Will you come and play with me?”

As they reached the last step and opened the door Malissa noticed that Robin was bleeding from the left shoulder again, “Robin!”

“I’m okay. Let’s find that escape ladder.”

They went to the edge of the building where they could see the fire trucks down below trying to put out the fire. They followed the short retaining wall between the roof and the sheer fifteen-story drop to the pavement below.

Where is it? There’s got to be a way down from here! Malissa thought.

Calm down, my sweet. We’ll find it if we can just keep moving.

Where is he, Robin? He should have caught up with us by now.

He’s playing cat and mouse, Malissa. Remember – it isn’t the kill that thrills him – it’s the chase.

They turned at the corner of the building and went toward the left, still following the retaining wall. Robin was stumbling now and not sure that he was going to make it. His hospital gown was soaked with his blood. Robin was in severe pain and felt feint. He was about to give up and collapse when he saw the top of the escape ladder.

There it is! A few more steps… A few more steps!

The sight of their escape route so near to them that it gave Robin the strength to keep moving. Even Malissa had found renewed hope.

Not too much farther darling. I only hope I can manage the escape ladder.

They were ten yards away from the fire escape when the scarecrow stepped out from behind a roof ventilator into their path. He stood several yards away but they could see his skull-like face clearly.

“Peek-a-boo, I see you!” He had the stiletto in his hand. “It is not nice to run away from the game. You did not say ‘Mother may I?’ Well, Simon says it is time to pay the piper. So, who would like to be ‘It’?”

He smiled at them both. “How about…?” He flipped the dagger around so that his fingers had a hold of the blade “…you!” He threw the dagger straight at Malissa’s heart. Robin was still holding on to her shoulders, so he lunged sideways, knocking Melissa down. The knife sank deeply into his left arm as he fell.

Robin rose to his knees and looked at the scarecrow in defiance. Malissa sat upright and saw the dagger sticking out of Robin’s arm. She stood up in a rage and screamed, “You bastard!” She started toward him, but he raised his right hand to reveal that he had another knife. He held it point upward. She stopped in her tracks.

Jake laughed wickedly and opened his overcoat with his left hand. There in the lining were several rows of stilettos. “There are more where that came from, my pretty.” He flipped the stiletto in his hand grasping the point and prepared to throw again. He looked at Robin and said, “I see your girlfriend wants to play too. Shall we play pin the tail on the donkey?”

With that, he threw the dagger at Malissa. It sunk deep into her right shoulder. She cried out in pain and crumpled to the roof.

Robin never felt so helpless in his life. The pain was excruciating, but his anger began to build into hate and uncontrollable rage. If only I could get my hands on him!

“No fair!” the scarecrow said, “You cannot pass out on the first throw. You did not say, ‘Mother may I?’ If you cannot play fair then you shall have to be put out of the game…” His lips parted into an evil grin. “…permanently.”

He raised his arm to throw the third knife. The air temperature began to rise suddenly as Robin’s rage toward the scarecrow man grew.

“Say goodbye to your girlfriend, Angel,” he said sarcastically.

Pausing before throwing the knife he looked at Robin to make sure he was watching. What he saw made him lower his arm again. A puzzled look came across his face.

Robin had managed to get back on his feet. He was standing there with his fists clenched at his sides, his face contorted in rage.

“What are you doing?” demanded the scarecrow man with a hint of fear in his voice.

Robin didn’t answer. He continued to concentrate his rage on the scarecrow man.

“Robin?” said the scarecrow man. There was curiosity and a twinge of fear in his voice.

Malissa moaned. She raised her head up to see what was going on. She could see Robin’s aura glowing a bright red from his anger. The air had become uncomfortably hot and it was increasingly hard to breathe. She could see a ball of psychic energy quickly gathering form a few inches in front of his stomach. It started out as a small orb the size of a croquet ball and grew to three feet in diameter in a matter of seconds. She thought it looked like a small golden sun. The air temperature had risen to a hundred and ten degrees.

The scarecrow man was confused and a little frightened by Robin’s appearance. The thick hot air made him uncomfortable. He couldn’t see the psychic fireball, but he could feel the heat. Sweat was trickling down his face.

“Very well, Simon says, ‘you may be the first to die’”. He jerked his arm upward to throw the knife at Robin’s heart, but before he could bring it down to release the blade, the fireball shot forward at an incredible speed and struck Jake in the chest.

The force of the fireball caused Jake’s body to become airborne. It flew up and backward clearing the retaining wall and soared a hundred and fifty yards out over the parking lot. It passed over a fire truck pumping water to the fireman’s hoses and landed with terrific force on a police car where the psychic fireball promptly dissipated.

The temperature dropped suddenly back to normal making the warm San Diego night seem more like December. Robin fell to his knees and sat on his calves. He was staring at the space where the scarecrow man had been a few moments before.

Where did he go? He thought in a daze. His vision was blurry and he tried in vain to rub his eyes back into focus with his right hand.

The sudden drop in temperature helped clear the fog from Malissa’s mind. She dragged herself upright, ignoring the pain in her right shoulder – the knife was still embedded there – and walked over to Robin. She knelt down beside him and put her left arm around him. He half leaned into her.

“Robin, are you all right?” she asked.

Robin nodded, still staring at the empty roof. He felt weak and dizzy; his eyelids were like heavy lead weights. He had to strain to keep them open.

“How did you do that?”

“Do what?” He said as if far away. He had no idea what she was talking about. All he could think of was: where did he go?

“Robin?” She said softly.

He turned his head, looked into her tear filled eyes, and said, “Oh. Hello, Angel,” he smiled and passed out in her arms.

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