Friday, July 13, 2012

Rue: The Shattering Part 5


When my eyes adjusted, I realized that it because they didn’t really want to see what I was surrounded by. Even through my revulsion, I had to smile. She was almost prettier than I had expected. Almost. Her voice had been sweet and there was no reason to doubt that the honeyed threats came from an equally sugary source. She wore a black kimono with fluorescent pink butterflies adorning, folded reverse for the dead. Her red lipstick was stark against her pale skin and white hair. Her eyes were red. Not fake contacts red. They were red pink like an albino.

She floated above the ground, legs and feet missing. You couldn’t tell she was a murdered ghost to look at her. You could see where she had been broken. Not until she moved. As she slid through the air towards me, her fingers and arms wriggled and flexed. Each of her fingers swung along the fractured joints until they collided with the back of her hand before careening back to her palm in slow motion.

Behind her as she came forward, I could see the others. They hadn’t composed themselves as prettily as she had. They weren’t even showing an ability to make themselves partially transparent. Their broken bodies still looked as if they have been smashed the day before, their flesh purple and blue. They flopped about on the ground, feet thumping the ground sloppily as they watched me. They twitched their noses, eyes spinning wildly in their heads, watching the walls.

“What are you up to Ms. Hamasaki?”

She smiled.

“Do you like my warren Mr. Chadwick? I have struggled very hard for the last few years to bring my rabbits to me. So many lovely ladies that were going to be abused, raped, beaten… I didn’t think it was fair Mr. Chadwick. I didn’t think it was fair at all.”

“So you helped kill them just so you could save them?”

She frowned at this and her eyes grew stormy. The broken women behind her chittered wildly.

“I would never do such a thing.”

“Who then? Who broke them Rei? Why?”

“I… Their lovers and clients and other men broke them.”

“Other men wouldn’t have the strength to do to them what was done to you. I don’t even have that strength.”

She was backing away now, her lips wriggling, nasty little rabbit teeth poking out from behind her lips.

“Yes you do. That’s why you came. To hurt us. I won’t let that happen. Just like I won’t let the Jabberwock get them.”

“The Jabberwock?”

“Don’t you hear it? It’s coming. It’ll get you and then it’ll come for us. You’ll keep it busy while we get away. You can’t run fast enough. I won’t let you get my bunnies.”

I opened my mouth to speak but it was too late. I heard it burbling. I heard the tulgy wood. I heard mome raths outgrabe. I heard the slithy toves gyre and gymble. Rei and her “bunnies” fled down the tunnel, chittering and chattering as they went.

I didn’t try to look this time. I knew better. My eyes hadn’t wanted to see Rei, they certainly didn’t want to see what was coming from behind me. I ran instead of bothering to look.

My feet met the loose dirt and pulled me forward. I pushed myself to go faster as I heard the thing behind me coming. Spittle ran down sharpened teeth, nails scratched at the tunnel walls. Dear God, what was behind me?

Cold sweat was dripping down my face. I struggled to pull a pack of ProTabs from my pocket as I ran. Damn packages. I ripped it too far and the pills fell to the dirt. Just like I would do when it caught me. When it caught me, what would it do? Rip and tear and feast just like tearing apart a little rabbit? Would it break my bones to suck the marrow? Break my bones? Break?

I stopped and spun on my heel and forced my eyes to see. There would be no fear here. My name was Morgan Chadwick. Rue Morgan. I would not be herded along mindlessly.

It was big, I’ll grant it that. It had to hunch nearly in half to fit inside the massive tunnel. Tan flesh bulged out from within ragged black leather where its joints should be. Its entire head was covered as well except for its jaws. They had to be dislocated as the lower jaw hung perpendicular to the ground, rows of jagged teeth jutting from it. Its arms and legs were thick trees of muscle. I could see that even through the leather.

It was her boyfriend. I knew it. He had grown into a beast, a demon. He was hungry for pain like he had given Rei. Hungry for it all the more now that he had had it visited upon himself. He was no Jabberwock. That was unfortunate. I had wanted to try out my vorpal blade.

I pulled four strips of paper with Japanese lettering from my pocket and threw them outward. The ofuda flew like missiles toward their intended targets. Two struck its gnarled hands, the other two its floppy, broken feet. The paper became nails and rammed themselves through its phastasmal flesh and into the tunnel walls. I stepped forward as it snapped and snarled at me, ectoplasmic spittle spattering across my jacket. I pulled out a fifth strip and threw it into its mouth. The beast swallowed it whole and began to gag. I turned away before the retching started. The souls of the women he had captured down here lay twitching on the dirty ground behind me. I could her them shaking.

“Rei? Rei!”

She poked her head around the corner of a tunnel meekly.

“Do you recognize the one behind me?”

Her eyes flared and the black from her kimono began to seep into her hair.

“I’ll take that as a yes. He’s the one who has broken all your bunnies. Just like you broke him.”

The color change slowed.

“I never broke him.”

“Someone did. Someone broke him and turned him into this thing. He, in turn, would possess them and do the deed they already craved. I need your help figuring out who created him. But first, I would like to speak with someone above, if I may? Besides, I think you and your ladies have some unfinished business with the one behind me.”

Her hair went fully black, kimono fully white. The butterflies were flapping across the fabric of kimono as if they were fighting typhoon winds.

“We wish to speak with him, yes. There are things to say, yes. Up you go Alice. We will find you when we are ready.

He is going to find out what happens when you paint the roses red.”

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