The Blighted [Urban fantasy series] 6
Pennsylvania Route 210
Marshal was worried, and grief stricken. His mind bounced back and forth from visions of his parents being mauled to death, at which point he’d sob and wail until he forced himself from the subject, fearful of crashing. To worrying about his current situation.
Why am I going to Akron?
Because the strange commando women said she had friends there?
But what if she dies before I get there?
He couldn’t believe she’d still been alive the last time he checked on her. He considered checking again, then decided against it. If she was dead he didn’t think he could handle knowing at that moment. He couldn’t handle that level of loneliness. Because without her all he had was questions, and a corpse.
They were still a few hours away from Akron, and he didn’t know if there was enough gas to make it the rest of the way. Blood covered and in pajamas he couldn’t stop for gas.
And what if they got pulled over?
Because he was definitely speeding, couldn’t help it. Every time he stopped paying attention to the speedometer, he’d be doing eighty-five again. If he got stopped how the hell was he suppose to explain all this?
The big bad wolf ate my parents?
Hit by a fit of sobs, Marshal almost lost control of the car again. Picturing those huge jaws snapping down on his gentle mother the way they had on that guys arm.
She was such a kind women. She didn’t deserve…
He jumped, standing on the brake, everything pitched forward as the car came to a screeching halt.
She was leaning up between the seats staring him dead in the face. Her’s ashen, blood covered, and tear streaked. Her eyes were still sharp but no longer patient, now they were franticly exhausted.
"Must get to the church." She was fighting for every word, but what church.
She looked at a memo pad in her hand, he grabbed it. There were directions written in way to steady of a hand.
"Give note to papa.."
"What?" He looked, but she had slumped back on the seat. He flipped to the next page. There in the same eerie handwriting was a note.
I know you never wanted this life for me, and for some time I’ve understood why. But I had to fight for the same reason you had to fight, and Ah-ba had to fight, the same reason hunters have always fought. I have no regrets, it has been an honor, and a blessing, to be your comrade and daughter. Don’t worry about me, I’m free of pain, and where I’m going, there is no blight. I know how it looks, but please don’t blame uncle Donavan, and don’t let him blame himself. I’m too tired for details, just know it really wasn’t his fault. Look for Amber, she may have survived. I love you guys, I’m sorry I have to leave you. Find the box. End this for all of us. I’ll be with Ah-ba, waiting, in victory.
Love always, Jasmine
The handwriting deteriorated considerably near the end. Marshal looked back, she, Jasmine, didn’t seem to be breathing.
"Hay." He’d leaned towards her then stopped.
What could he do? Really?
The backseat was awash with her blood. That was far beyond the CPR class he took two years ago in high school. Like his parents...she was dead.
Marshal turned around and looked at the dead women’s last act. Directions on a bloody memo pad.
Well she had saved his life once, plus he’d seen to much death today to be denied answers. Sorrow fused with anger and became determination. He clenched the wheel and mashed the gas with murderous purpose. He’d reach the church and have his answers or die trying.
Dear God, please don’t let me die
Got you, you bastard.
Donavan spotted Giovanni reclined on the patio of the five star hotel. A sniper rifle, by the look of it an HK-HP and his plaything beside him.
Donavan watched, from the roof of a six story apartment building, peeking with binoculars from around a ventilation system.
Giovanni hadn’t been hard to find, Donavan knew all his aliases, habits and tastes in hotels. Him and David had come to the roof to watch the door, when David had spotted him on the balcony.
Donavan ground his teeth, they would have their time. He wouldn’t let his obsession with that creature cost him anymore then it already had.
He fought back tears, wondering about his niece. He should have gone. He should have called the scouts back to watch Giovanni and went with his team. But werewolves, a few summand guardians yeah, but a pack? The possibility never even crossed his mind. He hadn’t stayed for vengeance, or at lest he didn’t think he had. It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Somebody had to stay, and he was the most qualified for it, the targets were a moderate threat but the teams’ performance of late showed that they were more then capable of taking them. Plus Jasmine was with them.
Donavan didn’t know how much of it was true. All of it and nun of it. Justification and truth, but not the whole truth.
Like how he was afraid if he went, Giovanni would get away and it would be a year or two before he could get close to him again.
Like how excited he was when the team had pulled off, and he was left alone to hunt the Giovanni down. How he had been sure with Jasmine along his team had been in better hands then his.
He knew he hadn’t overestimated his niece. He, of all people had underestimated the bloodsuckers.
He forced his thoughts back to the mission, examining the sniper rifle.
What was Giovanni watching?
He turned to David. "Come on. Keep something between you and him. If we can see him from here with these" holding up the binoculars. "...then you can bet he could see us without them."
David wide-eyed, nodded and swallowed hard. He was scared, that was as it should be. Fortunately he didn’t understand the gravity of the situation or he would likely be sh***ing his pants.
“How you doing you alright?”
David nodded not looking alright at all. Donavan had told him so much back at the church. Since then his mind had been open and raw with horrible possibilities.
Monsters are real, ok he’d seen that with his own eyes. That was disturbing enough.
He didn’t now the first thing about it. What should he expect? How to defend against it?
Donavan had said they were looking for some kind of wizard or some s**t, trying to bring back an old one. Whatever the f**k that is.
That could destroy the world as they knew it.
David stopped nodding and shook his head.
Hell naw I’m not all right. “What exactly can this wizard do? Like turn me into a rabbit or something?” He knew it sounded stupid, but when he thought of magic he thought of rabbits. And a movie, Willow he’d seen as a kid where two wizards kept turning each other into things.
Donavan shook his head. “Well there are spells that can do stuff like that but I don’t think you have to worry about it ok. You got that cross I gave you?”
“Yeah, I got it.” He said showing it to him “Will it help”
Donavan shrugged “Its pretty good protection, but I don’t know how much good it will be against the guy were after. If he has people working for him it should help against them.”
“So what they can’t hurt me or turn me into nothing, or nothing like that?”
“Oh they can hurt you, but yeah, it should stop them from putting any really nasty spells on you. You still have to look out for energy, lighting, fire and that kind of thing.”
David just stared at him. He almost asked him if he was serious but of course he was.
He’d hate to see the real nasty spells.
David was beginning to get that making a mistake feeling again. His bus stop bench was starting to look real good. But if what the haggard white man said was true, and Bernardo wasn’t stopped, then he wouldn’t be safe there or anywhere else. Neither would his family back home. By tomorrow morning the whole world could be in the grip of an evil so old and alien that he actually couldn’t even imagine it.
That’s if what Donavan had told him was true. David didn’t trust white folks as far as he could throw one upwind in a hurricane. But he had seen the vampires with his own eyes. The wound on his chest that should have taken weeks to heal was almost healed now. So he knew the potion Donavan put on it was in fact magic.
But what if he was lying about who he was and who Bernardo was…
“David…David you all right” Donovan ask, as David eyed him suspiciously.
“Naw man, I don’t know. I don’t know about this.“
"Do you believe in God?" Donavan asked, catching David’s darting eyes.
"What?" What kind of question was that for a time like this?
"Do you believe in God? You know, had a son that died on the cross? Abraham, Isaac and Israel? Any of this ringing a bell?"
"Yeah, yeah man I believe in God? Why? Do you?"
"Yes, I do. But do your really believe I didn’t ask if you went to Chu.."
"Yes. Why?" Feeling guilty, because he did. He’d been raised in God-fearing Jesus loving family, but it had been sometime since he picked up a bible and even longer since he went to Church and it wasn’t a holiday.
"Because you’re afraid, now that’s a good thing. If you weren’t I would think you were stupid, crazy or both. But the thing is, its about to get hairy. Probably real fast." He stared at him to make sure he was listing. David stared right back unflinching.
"...and if you freeze, you are going to get yourself killed. Now if you know the lord, just remember when it starts that no matter how it ends, you’re going to be ok...OK?"
Donavan didn’t know what else to say, he’d never been good at motivational speeches. He’d seen so many newbies come and go, seen that look so many times. There was nothing he could say to really change the outcome. Maybe the kid would live maybe he would die. Maybe they both would, but if he believed like Donavan believed, then maybe he would have enough peace not to freeze up and get himself killed.
Only time would tell and that was wasting so he turned and headed across the roof.
David followed, desperately looking for a way to reestablish the internal dialog he once had with God as a child. He brushed aside prayers far to innocent for the occasion and coming up with nothing, started the only place he could think of.
Dear God, please don’t let me die.
They moved from ventilation box to ventilation box till they were on the other side hidden from Giovanni.
Donavan scanned the street with his binoculars. It ran East and West from Giovanni’s Hotel on the edge of downtown, in to a mostly deserted, run down section of the city. After a few blocks it turned south.
"Jackpot." Donavan was focusing on a small two story shop at the south west elbow.
A bookstore. That had to be it.
"What?" David stopped praying.
"I think...We found...Bernardo."
Greeeaat. He started praying again.
"We have to get down there...lets go."
Giovanni sat up snatching the sniper rifle. A white moving truck, and a red Benz pulled up parking in front of the bookstore.
A moving truck? They must have brought the sacrifices, good.
Meals on wheels for the security squad. A little reward after handling the rabid cattle.
Giovanni trained the weapon on the Benz and mumbled an incantation to allow him to see magic energies. An attractive brunet in her mid forties stepped out of the passenger side.
She was dressed in and odd, business/ bohemian attire, and was radiating magic energy like a solar flare.
The old vampire groaned. That wasn’t good. She was more powerful then the main target was supposed to be, rarely ever did you see a magic user working for a weaker one. Maybe their information on who’s in charge of this shindig was wrong.
He let her enter the bookstore. He had to wait for her to bring Bernardo out to be sure, but she had to be the one that would lead the ritual. Because if she wasn’t...
She came back out being trailed by a man in his early seventies in excellent shape, for the unassuming scholar he seemed to be posing as.
This time Giovanni hiss involuntarily. If she was a solar flare he was a super nova.
That was all wrong, someone would die for this oversight. Bernardo wasn’t suppose to have near that much power.
Well, not like Giovanni was planning on giving the Arcanist a chance to use it. He drew a bead and fired.
Blocks away Bernardo’s head exploded and his body fell limp to the pavement.
Yes! Giovanni jumped to his feet smiling. Mission accomplished now it was just a matter of clean up.
When would humans lear....
The smile fell from his face.
Bernardo's head was pulling itself back together; his body was wrapped in yellow magic energy from the spell the women was using to levitate him into the car.
But how is his head reforming?
It wasn’t her, then it had to be...
D***t! A soul jar.
Powerful magic that made the caster impossible to kill until the item containing his soul was destroyed.
That was very bad, but if they moved fast they could capture him why’ll he was unconscious.
He grabbed his radio. "Lopez, they have human sacrifices in that truck, don’t...let him...use them! Everybody else get Bernardo! Move!"
Giovanni didn’t wait for a response he took to the sky.
The recently stolen Ford Taurus idled in the ally.
Some kind of soul jar. Giovanni the arrogant prick, did he really think it was going to be that easy.
Donavan grinned watching Bernardo being levitated into the Benz.
He and David had watched it all, from the ally half a block away.
You don’t stop that kind of power with a bullet.
Donavan wore a bracelet that caused his skin to tingle whenever he was near magic, and gave him chills when blights were near.
He felt the women over a minute before she arrived, that was power. When Bernardo came out, his whole body filled with the sensation. He should have been able to feel that kind of magic all the way across town. Serious masking magic was at work.
David wasn’t ready for this, and Donavan’s weird a** was smiling. Which he found discomforting on all kinds of levels.
Seeing a man’s head explode was bad enough, now he was watching the body defy gravity and the head seamed to be rebuilding itself. Brain, bone and all. He’d expected horrible and weird, but still wasn’t ready for it.
"That doesn’t seem good."
"Its not." Donavan's attention was focused on the truck.
What do they need the truck for?
"Put your seat belt on and hold on."
David did just that, as Donavan pealed out the ally.
The moving truck was pulling away from the curb. Donavan had no idea what was in it, but it was there so Bernardo needed it.
He smashed into it grill to grill killing its momentum. The driver of the truck tried to muscle the Taurus out the way.
David recovered first, and leaned out the window firing a burst into the cab. The occupants ducked and hopped out.
Donavan climbed out and fired a burst at the passenger, missing as the man retreated to the back of the truck.
Vampires had appeared in the sky overhead, and there was gunfire all around but none coming his way.
The Benz flashed past, followed by armed and armored flying bloodsuckers and Giovanni bringing up the rear.
Their eyes met, the creature slowed down and hissed but kept going.
Yeah f**k you to.
David got out and ducked, heat washed over him as a fireball splashed over the car door. The driver of the truck, a young guy in mover’s coveralls, had thrown it.
"S**t!" He fired a couple shots around the door; there was a snap an hissing behind him as a yellow whip of magic energy sheared the door from the vehicle.
F**k! He backed up firing. The magic mover threw himself against the side the truck avoiding the wild burst giving David just enough time to get behind the car.
Why is this happing to me? How is this possible? Should of minded my own d**n business.
He clutched the cross Donavan gave him, it was suppose to offer some protection from magic, he prayed that it was working, and peeked around the bumper.
The women stood in the middle of the street surrounded by a bright red light, being hammered by gunfire from three circling vampires.
The bullets seemed to do little more then sting her before bouncing away.
Another vampire fired on someone behind the truck, a fifth fired at the magic mover who’d driven David behind the car. Its bullets were swallowed by a black void that appeared in front of the man.
The women raised her arm, nearly blinding David when she opened her hand reveling a ball of light so bright it was as if the sun had come out. Two of the closest vampires burst into flames convulsing and firing blind, the rest hissed, smoked and twitched. One managed to move his hands and mumble an incantation, covering them with a shaded aura.
To late for one of their number who had already been cooked to the bone, before being sucked into nothingness. The survivors were shaken, and the movers took advantage.
The one closest to David killing the vampire that had been attacking him, decapitating it with a yellow whip of magic energy.
David looked over at the other side of the car.
Where is Donavan?
Donavan crept forward trying to catch the passenger off guard. He was peeking around the side of the dented grill when the day light spell had surprised the bloodsuckers.
The young mage took the initiative, firing balls of yellow magic energy in the direction of the closest.
Idiots, you don’t want to take on armed vampires in the open.
The vampire flew out of rang behind a building still smoking. Donavan raised his HK, the mage caught the movement and all the sudden there were five of him. Donavan had seen this trick far to often; he dipped the barrel and sprayed the area.
The hunter’s bullets hit the mark, but not before the mage got a shot off. Donavan saw the bolt coming and leaned into the truck, recognizing the fiery shape of the yellow ball to late. The truck wouldn’t offer any cover, it was a spirit ball, they only affected living tissue.
It passed through the side of the truck exiting the grill smashing into Donavan’s chest and shoulder. The impact sending him ricocheting off the car and tumbling down the sidewalk.
"Donavan!" Where is he? The car rocked, David looked around the bumper.
The magic mover was trying to sneak up on him, he pulled his head back in as fireball grazed past.
F**k this! David fell out from behind the car and fired, catching the mover by surprise. Only a few feet separating them the mover caught most of the long wild burst, collapsing in a heap. David wanting to look away but forced himself to look at the mess that had been a man to make sure he was dead.
His hand shook, hart hammered in his chest but he kept the weapon trained on the downed man. The man didn’t move so David exhaled a breath he didn’t relize he’d been holding, then crawled back behind the car hoping not to draw the attention of the witch b***h or the vampires she was fighting.
I’ve killed a man.
David struggled to get his breathing under control. If he lived he would worry about it later. Until then he had to find Donavan.
What the hell are we bothering with these guys for? The Bernardo dude is in the Benz, why aren't we chasing him?
He headed around the car. "Donavan!"
The white man was paler then usual, flat on his back spilled out on the sidewalk. David low walked over, and checked him out.
Donavan was breathing and didn’t have a mark on him; he was just lying there.
"Don!..Get up man…Don!..." He shook him. Nothing.
David instinctively ducked when a vampire smashed into the second story of the building beside them. As it fell its body imploded leaving only clothes and equipment to rain down.
What the fuck? The witch b***h was winning, that couldn’t good. He looked over at the truck trying to figure out what to do...
That’s what they were fighting over; but why?
Well he didn’t know and wasn’t likely to find out any time soon. He did know if it was important to the witch he had to stop her from getting it.
David duck walked back around to the back of the car, and looked. The witch had taken to dodging now, moving in blurred flashes stopping casting a spell and dodging again. But she never went too far from the truck.
The vampires were keeping their distance circling and firing. They were hitting her every so often, but the bullets just bounced off her red aura. He didn’t even know why they bothered.
It was a lot lighter then the first time he’d seen it, considerably. They were wearing her down.
David reloaded, and raised his HK, but paused before firing. He couldn’t fly, if he pulled the trigger, she could be over there in one of those blurred dashes, handing him his a** before he even noticed she’d moved.
He looked around desperate. The witch was winning easily, in a few moments it would just be him and her. He didn’t have a chance he needed a plan, maybe he should throw Donavan in the car and take off.
David slid back around to the driver’s side and climbed in, and slowly backed up praying the witch didn’t notice. He inched back just enough to clear the front of the truck.
A string off bullets peppered the hood, windshield, and roof on the passenger side filling the air with fragments. A blurred dodge and she was standing in front of the car.
David gunned it; she spun wide-eyed at the sound of the engine, with a massive ball of yellow energy in her hands. David fell sideways in the seat, not taking his foot off the gas even as the car plowed into her. He screamed, but the world exploding around him drowned the sound so completely he couldn’t even hear it. His lungs burned, nose hair sizzled, glass tore at him and the pressure nearly forced the consciousness out of his body, as her magic bolt disintegrated the top of the Taurus. He was thrown forward completely into blackness as the car slammed into a brick wall pinning her.
The sound of raining glass and moaning.
Consciousness smashed into him as forcefully as it left. His eyes snapped open. He was looking up into the clear still night sky from the floor of the mangled auto.
Oh s**t. What happened, where’s the witch, the vampires? Panic stricken he crawled out the driver side and there she was.
Pinned between the Taurus and the wall, lifting her head. The aura, it was light, nearly gone but it was still f***ing there.
Something around her neck caught his eye and for a second all the chaos confusion and fear evaporated leaving only peace.
It was a jewel like he had never seen before mixed in with her many necklaces. It entranced him until she spoke.
"Yoouu.." She hissed, hate in her eyes, blood foaming from her lips.
David fired, so did the vampires, the first few rounds bounced away then the aura was gone and she was being riddled by bullets.
The HK clicked empty; he spun and held his cross out towards the vampires, praying with every ounce of his being that the vampires realized they were on the same side.
The creatures hovered a few dozen feet above the ground clad in black fatigues, vest and helmets carrying m16 assault rifles. One was reloading the other had been about to train his weapon on David until he flashed the crucifix.
That one hissed bringing its hands up to block its eyes, while still trying to aim. David’s hart was hammering in his ears; he was about to be gunned down in the street.
If it’s goin to end like this I should have just went home. At least I could have seen my family again.
He took a step back and fell over rubble from the car, but he didn’t let the cross down. Donavan said vampires couldn’t look directly at him as long as the crucifix was between them. But they could still shot him with a blind burst.
He had to get moving, before he could, the first finished reloading, grabbed the other and motioned towards the truck.
David began to breath again, crawling towards the car his body shaking violently from fried nerves. He hunkered next to the wreckage in the hopes that it would provide some cover just in case they changed their minds. Then began reloading with fumbling hands, dropped a magazine left it and grabbed another, finally locked and loaded he held the crucifix back out and watched them.
The same one was watching him, eyes shielded like a man trying to look into the sun, assault rifle pointed in his general direction. David sat real still, trying to pay attention to anything besides the weapon’s barrel.
The other ripped the padlock off the truck’s trailer with its bare hands, and flung the doors open.
God help us all...
David began to pray again, he prayed for the forgiveness of his sins, the salvation of the world and most of all for mercy.
The truck was filled with men and women hands bound above their heads, secured to the ceiling. Their bodies, from upper chest clear to the knees, covered with line after line after line of small symbols carved in flesh. Their faces caked with brown goo and their stomachs bloated as if they’d been stuffed with something.
None called for help when the doors opened, all they did was moan.
David’s prayer was interrupted by rifle fire as the vampires sprayed into the bodies. He fought down vomit and the people began to scream. He wanted to help, but what could he do, Donavan had said the bullets in his gun would hurt vampires but not kill them. Even if they could he didn’t know if he could fire on them, his nerve was gone, he was too afraid to even move.
The other turned to stop its partner, then they threw two grenades into the crowed of moaning screaming people then took off, straight up in the air.
David tried to stand on shaky legs, but went right back down under a wave of heat as a fireball engulfed the people in the trailer.
David stared slack jawed and helpless watching as the captives squirmed and screamed in the flames. It was like a small window into hell. Then an explosion lit the night up destroying the trailer completely and forced David flat on the ground.
After a second, debris began to rain down around him. David lifted his face off the concrete. The back of the moving truck was all but gone, a burning heap on the curb.
All those people...dead...
He looked up at the vampires, barely visible in the night sky. The monsters surveyed their handy work and flew off in the direction the Benz had headed.
Those people were gone, and he was alive, he had survived. Nearly orgasmic relief swept through him, followed by guilt.
Those creatures had to be stopped.
Something fell to the ground behind him; David spun and fired a burst into the dead witch. Then looked.
Her necklace had fallen off. He was about to go get Donavan, but noticed the jewel again. It was about the length, and width of a double a battery. A liquid animated blue surrounding a clear light shinning from the center.
He picked it up. Where was the light coming from? Magic dummy.
Of course, but it was beautiful. He glanced at the dead women, she wouldn’t be needing it, so he put it in his pocket. It could be dangerous he’d have to ask...Donavan!
Resident Evil 6 (Team-UN) Let's Play Pt.1
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