Sunday, December 9, 2007

Page 9

Madison stood hunched over, hands on her knees like a demented baseball umpire, back alternately arching and swaying like a drunk heaving in the streets, sweat pasting her hair and clothes to a body wracked with spasms panting like she'd just run a marathon. Lily took a step toward her before Az and Samson both reached out and put a hand forcefully on her shoulders. She started to turn to them, briefly tried to pull away, until her eyes found the source of their restraint. Mad's belly swelled abnormally, as if she ran the gamut of pregnancy in the matter of seconds. Something squirmed inside of her, something that would eventually find its way out.

As the trio stood unable to move, unable to speak, and unable to process what they witnessed, Mad's head flew up so that she stared at them, only she didn't look at all like the young girl they knew. Her moist skin was pallid, dark circles hung in half moons under eyes that blazed red, her mouth twisted into an evil snarl. If this were a movie, I'd be covering my eyes right about now Lily thought, but her hands stayed melded to her sides. That's when the sound--a rumbling they could almost feel, started deep within the girl, moving up toward her mouth swiftly. She looked at them, no, thru them, and in a low echoing voice that sounded like something dubbed in a bad Godzilla movie, she shouted loud enough to be heard over the weather raging around them.

"They're coming they're coming for you. get down get down now dddduuuuccccckkkkkkk!" and with that winged insects burst from her mouth, her nose, even her ears. The swarm headed straight for Az, Samson, and Lily, who until that very moment were paralyzed until Samson shoved the other two straight down to the mud. Before he could join them, these insects, which seemed like a cross between a fly and a bee, flying with stingers curved and pointed in front, flew right thru Samson, leaving a baseball sized hole in the middle of his chest. Before he even realized what hit him he fell straight back, like a deathly Nestea plunge; he never felt a thing.

Mad collapsed on all fours, blood trickling from the corners of her mouth, nose and ears,her eyes once again a soft violet, skin peaches and cream, half moons resorbed. Lily and Az, no longer hearing the deafening hum of mutant insects, lifted their heads to see the storm was also clearing. Shakily regaining their feet, Lily let out a "whew" as she attempted to brush the thick mud from her clothes and then her hands. Az started to chuckle, a warped joke about this on the tip of his tongue, until he turned and saw his old friend. "What the---" was all he could muster. "Wha--?" Lily turned and joined his speechlessness. They stood on either side of Samson, who lay no longer breathing, the crisp clean hole filling with muddy puddle. Mad moved in lunges and lurches, a living zombie, until she stood at the size 15 feet of the corpse formerly known as Samson.

"What is it? Why is he laying here? Shouldn't we be going? Shouldn't..." her eyes drifted down, down, to the man, the hole, to death and defeat.

"You!" Az pointed at her unforgivingly. "You did this!" He grabbed her by the back of her small head, his hand cupping it like a football. With one flick of his wrist he threw her down on top of his oldest and dearest friend. "You killed him, you fucking freak of nature! And I'm supposed to save you? I should serve you to the gods on a skewer! I should--" A resounding slap echoed thru his head as Lily's hand connected with his cheek, leaving a nicely shaped hand-print in red. He glared at her, lips curled upward in a disgusted snarl. "Fuck you too! Damn you both to hell!"

Az stormed back to the van. Lily figured he meant to leave them there, and she wouldn't blame him. She didn't see him climb in the back, digging in the chest, past the flare gun, the AK 47, the MM-201 rocket launcher, searching for the harpoon gun, the closest thing to a skewer that his enraged mind could find.

"I...did....this...I did this? I did I did I did this I did...this, I? did? this?" Mad babbled, still kneeling on the dead body of a man she wasn't even introduced to. Lily, sobbing, dropped to her knees and running her hand across Mad's forehead in a vain attempt to soothe her. "No, honey," she said, nearly choked with tears. "Whatever possesses you did. Not you."

"Me me me me me me, that's not me, that's not me, I'm not death. I'm life! I'm life! I'm not evil, no no no, I'm not evil...I'm good. I, I, I, I'm good! I have to be good!" blood stained tears streamed down Mad's cheeks, leaving pinkish trails like clown make-up gone horribly wrong. "I can fix this! I can, yes, I can!" She looked Lily directly in the eyes, and the power the young girl projected terrified her. Like a candle inside a jack-o-lantern Mad's eyes flickered and glowed, the whites turning into shining silver. "Move away" she told Lily, putting her hands on her shoulders and moving her back, just a little, pointing in the hopes that Lily would move herself more. She did. She wasn't sure why she was so complaisant, but right then she felt it was her only viable option. The van in the distance shook, but neither noticed the movement, no one saw the flashlight shining this way and that. No one knew what Az really had in mind.

Mad climbed the huge man who, if he had a blanket one would think he merely slumbered, until either hand rested next to the perfectly round hole. A bluish white conic light shot from her eyes creating a glow around the hole. Lily watched in disbelief as this bright light welded Samson's body back together. No stitches, no needles, just light closing the hole in his body; his clothes, however, could not be mended. Somehow Lily didn't think he'd care. Once humpty dumpty was put back together, Mad leaned forward and delicately pressed her thin pink lips to Samson's much larger brown ones, holding the pose for just a few seconds, just long enough for his massive chest to fill with air. She climbed from him and slumped on the cold, wet earth, eyes closed, energy drained.

Samson sat up, blinking his eyes and looking around for anything to remind him of what just happened; he got that reminder when his hands found the perfectly round holes in his jacket, flannel shirt, and long underwear top. Just then Azrael jumped from the van, only one thing in his line of vision as he cocked the harpoon gun, holding it close to his shoulder. His strides led him straight to the girl, drained and empty sitting on the cold, wet earth, unaware she was about to become a shish kebab. He stopped about ten feet away from her, but his eyes hadn't shifted or he would have seen his old friend sitting next to the girl, still fingering the holes left behind in his clothes.

"Hey!" he shouted, his voice a scary mix of rage and pain. Mad's head slowly bobbed up, her eyes locked his for a moment before drifting to the glinting harpoon perched ominously in her direction. As if in slow motion his finger closed, clamping down on the trigger, a slow moaning "pppffffffttttttttsssss" as the harpoon was released, a dull thud when it landed, the strangled voices of Lily and Samson as they screamed "NNNOOOOOO!" in unison.

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