Friday, July 20, 2012

Rue: The Shattering Part 6

Walking Cast

“What are we doing here Rue? I’m not interested in a trip down memory lane.”

I tossed down a pair of ProTabs and felt the little bits of fear from earlier embedded in my spine melting away. I cracked my neck and adjusted my coat. The ofuda, Japanese exorcism papers, I had fashioned prior to visiting Ms. Hamasaki were starting to crinkle up inside my pocket. I sighed and started to straighten them out.

The figure next to me cleared her throat annoyedly. It was taking all my composure to not slap The Revolver Saint. She was in full bulletproof preacher gear, her twin pistols drawn. The only thing you could tell was human about her was her posture, and right now it was screaming that she was far more annoyed than I cared to deal with.

“So you do remember this place?”

“Of course. It’s because I saved this church that I’m called The Revolver Saint. What about it?”

“Ever wonder why The Sleepers wanted it destroyed?”


“Ever attend a mass here?”


“You know, you’re one of the reasons why sane people hate vigilantes. You don’t ever consider the impact of your actions.”

“Look Rue, does this have a point or not?”

“Sure it does. Couple more questions for you though, might make it a little clearer where I’m going with all of this. Did you know your agent, Falci, attends this church?”

“No. Don’t care.”

“Would you care if you knew The Church of the Hallowed Light sent confidential payments to your corporation three days before you’re put on assignment? Would you care if you knew that every individual you’ve killed is either a former member of the church or one of their family members? Would you care if you knew that the twelve year old you killed while trying to rescue him belonged to this church?”

She reached out to punch me again but I caught her hand.

“I didn’t…”

“Don’t give me that. I know you killed Steven Whiteknight. What, the .22s his kidnappers were carrying suddenly doubled in size just so they could shoot him? Give me a break. I’m a detective for Christ’s sake Saint, these things don’t escape my notice.”

She jerked her hand back and clenched it tight around the handle of one of her guns again.

“Everybody you’ve killed has been related to this place one way or another and their death has been paid for by this place as well. That’s why I brought you here. I figured you might like to know who’s been playing you for a fool.”

She nodded silently.

“Mass let out two hours ago but that place is still lit up nice and bright. I figure we may as well see what they’re up to.”

“Let’s get this over with Rue.”

I stepped off the sidewalk and through the wrought iron gates to the church, keeping my back to The Saint. The air was cold and lonely here. It wrapped its long fingers around my ankles and my wrists and pulled me towards the ground. I slowed only a little as I plodded towards the gleaming cathedral before us. It seemed to soar into the sky like a dagger in God’s chest. I would imagine its occupants would be rather pleased with the image in my mind.

I had the distinct feeling that I would most likely not leave here alive. Which was a shame, I rather liked being alive. My right hand touched the door and I tossed a couple more ProTabs down my throat with my left. The Revolver Saint put her hand on my shoulder.

“Let me.”

I nodded and she pushed open the door.

I do not know where the congregation had come from but the regular ones had left hours ago, just like I had told The Revolver Saint. However, here we were, staring a packed house. The priest at the front, a kindly middle-aged man named John McIntyre was at the front. We appeared to have interrupted his sermon. Thankfully, he didn’t seem too upset, barring the fact that the red from his fiery beard and hair had ignited his skull. Speaking to us through a head of flames, he only reaffirmed my concerns.

“Saint! Morgan! Come in, come in! We weren’t expecting you to join us tonight. Don’t worry though, there’s always room for new celebrants here.”

The Revolver Saint wasn’t handling the scene very well. Her hands were trembling, fingers on the triggers of her guns. I think I heard her heart skip a beat as a figure rose from one of the pews and turned to face us. It was her little manager, Falci. He had caverns where his eyes were supposed to be. Guttering flames flickered from within his skull as he spoke.

“Tabby! Been wondering when you’d come say hello. We’ve been debating for years bringing you into John’s light.”

John’s light…

“Taken to using skulls instead of turnips, pumpkins, and potatoes John?”

The flaming headed priest laughed with glee.

“You always have been so bright Detective! I don’t think a single member of our congregation had any idea who I was before being baptized with The Revolver Saint’s guns.”

“Her guns?”

“Oh yes, dear Mr. Falci here has made sure that every one of The Revolver Saint’s targets only need their baptism in death to join us. She’s responsible for most of our congregation I’ll have you know.”

“What are you here for John? Before I exorcise you and send you back where you belong.”

That got everyone laughing.

“Back where I belong Morgan? Where’s that? I have no place if you’ll remember. Neither the darkness nor the light would have me. I’m doomed to wander this filthy ball of dirt for eternity. Even after the world ends, I’ll be walking a barren wasteland or floating through space, without a home. But that’s going to change. I may be lost, but I’m bringing others with me. Everyone here is like me Morgan. Everyone here is going to drift aimlessly. No eternal peace. No eternal pain. Just an unending existence. Doesn’t that sound nice? I planned to let Ms. Hamasaki and her little bunnies have it eventually. They would’ve come around wasting away in their jabberwock’s stomach cavity. Now I’ll have to find something else to torment them with.”

I opened my mouth to speak again, but The Saint had other plans. She started firing, and she started with her manager. The massive bullets from her pistols blew apart his head, the bits and pieces hitting the wall as chunks of pumpkin. I pulled the stack of ofuda from my pocket and started chanting. John stood before his black marble altar under the Christ-less cross on the wall laughing. The entire congregation surged to their feet and moved in wave towards us. Every eye had been hollowed out and replaced with flames. They were all John’s jack-o-lanterns to lead him ever onward.

I threw my slips with care, each one drifting only a moment before stabbing through another congregant. Pinned to the floor, to each other, to the pews, it didn’t matter. As long as they were slowed down.

“Saint, back up! Move it! You can’t kill them. They’re already dead.”

She nodded through her cross helm and started to retreat as well. I backed through the doors and continued flinging spells at the horde of half dead ghouls clad in their suits and dresses.

“Amy! Stryx! You ready?”

Amy and Stryx stood next to my car, her body phased half into his as his scales started to show.


“Saint, run! We’ve got this covered.”

“No. No. I killed them once. I can kill them again.”

“No, you can’t! Stop trying! We’ve got this under control!”

She started to scream her objection at me again when a dwarfed figure lunged for her from the shoulders of the mob. Even as its jaw unhinged to reveal a lamprey mouth full of teeth, I recognized little Steven Whiteknight.


The little beast was on her, sinking in its teeth, tearing at her armor. She was roaring as bashed it with the butt of her revolvers.

“You taste gooooood. I’ve been wondering what you tasted like ever since you shot me. Bruce promised I could have a piece when we brought you into John’s light.”

I drove a fist into the child-demon’s skull and flung it off of her. Through her cracked helmet, I could see her paper white face quivering with rage.

She’s an albino.

That thought left as I wrapped an arm around her waist and ran for the car.

“Hit it!”

Amy and Stryx nodded and their hands aligned. Stryx began to course with lightning, his skin flaking off, revealing the sky blue lightning dragon underneath. I could see Amy straining from where she stood inside of him. The beautiful blue ring I had given her, the one imprisoning the raw greed of Don Yoku, cracked in half. I dropped to the grass as lightning flashed from the ring and struck the front of the mob. Their lights flickered as the thick tongue of electricity emerging from the ring lashed around them.

“Flee! Flee! Run my children, do not let it consume you!”

That was John screaming but it was too late. Don Yoku was hungry and would not be deprived of his meal. The lightning split into tendrils, enclosing around the bulk of the mob and began to drag them in. With a great slurping sound, the many vessals of Jack of the Lantern were lifted into the air and jerked bodily into the ring, their bodies crushing down to fit inside the sapphire. As the last bits of the lightning slipped within, the sapphire snapped closed, as if it had never split in the first place. John stood on the steps of his church, shaking with anger. In his bony hand, he clutched the only member of his congregation that had escaped Yoku’s hunger: little Steven Whiteknight.

“This isn’t over Morgan. You can’t capture me with a petty demon like that and no one will believe you if you told them about me.”

“Who said anything about telling anyone about you? You’re my pet project now.”

As John slammed the doors to his church behind him, I scrambled to my feet and made for the car.

“Let’s get the hell out of here before he realizes he could probably take us.”

Stryx and Amy nodded, each snagging a seat in my little electric car. The Saint didn’t move. She laid splayed out on the ground.

“Saint, c’mon. He won’t stay gone forever. When he realizes that that was the only trick up our sleeve, he’ll be back. He’s existed for far longer than any of us have. I don’t really care to know what he’s capable of.”

“All my fault.”


“It’s all my fault they’re like that. All mine. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Oh god, I shot Bruce. He was my friend. Wasn’t he?”

“Saint, Saint, it’ll be alright. Just get in the car.”

She flopped over and I saw the raw meat where her shoulder had been and the red bath she was taking.

“Saint… Come on Saint… Get in the car…  We can get you to a hospital.”

She didn’t get in the car. She twitched violently, trying to stand.  I saw blood dribble down out of her helmet and across the corporate cross on her chest.

"I'm sorry.  I just wanted...  I wanted to do better.  To make things better.  I wasn't good at much... but I wanted..."

There were no more sounds.  No more rasping breath.  My shoulders sank. Another life wasted.

A hand touched my shoulder. Amy was at my side.

“Morgan, get in the car.  I doubt E.F. will even let anyone hear about this. We knew we might not all make it back. Just… get in the car, before John comes back… before we lose you too.”

I nodded numbly and climbed into the car. Stryx flowed into the electrical system and drove me back to the house.

Another corpse and a case still open. I had a feeling it wouldn’t be closing itself any time too soon. But at least the Broken killings would stop. At least there was that.

And that meant something…

…didn’t it?

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