Rick relaxed a little bit once the woman had clipped her weapon. “What the actual hell was that?” He didn’t mean to shout, but shout he did. The woman didn’t answer him though. Weirder still, she seemed distant, glassy eyed, non-responsive. She looked around, lost in her own mind.
He moved next to the first cultist he had shot. The boy was curled up, gripping his shoulder and hissing softly through clenched teeth. “Alright kid,” Rick said, “up we get.” He bent over to check the boy’s wound, but was surprised to see the end of a gun barrel.
“Stay away! You and that demon bitch!” He started trying to get up, pointing his gun at Rick, who raised his hands palms outward.
“Alright kid, nothing quick. How about you put the gun down.” RIck hadn’t been held at gunpoint for a while, and every time was as unnerving as the last. He knew one twitch from the boy would be a sure kill.
“Stay away! Don’t move!” The kid moved back towards the door, his face getting increasingly covered in shadows until darkness was the only thing Rick could see. “Stay away!” his voice cried over the groan of metal hinges. When Rick heard the big doors shut, he finally put his hands down and breathed a sigh of relief.
He heard the woman’s eerie, calm voice from behind. “Rick?” He turned around, having briefly forgotten the slaughter she had wrought. The blood, splashed on her face and drenching her boots, reminded him of what he witnessed earlier. The image of one of the cultist’s heads exploding from her gunshot was still fresh in his mind, and the carcass on the floor in the candlelight only made it worse.
“I need answers from you later. Stay put.” He stomped past her, towards the last kid, the one the woman almost choked the life out of. The kid was still sobbing into her hands, her once blonde hair dyed red from the blood all over the floor. Between the savage killings and the sacrifice, the whole center of the church was slick, almost slippery. The smell of blood was all pervasive.
“Alright kid, get up.” He grabbed her by the shoulder and hoisted her onto a nearby pew. “I need some answers, or my friend finishes the job. Understand?” This made the cultist wail, her crying filling up the chamber. Rick grabbed the girl by the shoulders, and forced her to face him.
The girl’s eyes were swollen red from sobbing, stress, and near death. Her blonde hair cascaded in front of her eyes. Rick looked at her and gave what he hoped was a reassuring squeeze. “Look, I’m sorry I said that. Been a shitty day today. Let’s talk, okay?” “Rick waited a moment to see if she’d respond, but when her crying resumed, he dropped his hands and let her resume her defensive curl.
“Fuck. Okay, there’s one more of these bastards left. You,” he pointed at the woman, “don’t kill this one. Do I make myself clear?” She nodded, but it was obvious that she was in a world of her own still. Well shit, he thought, the two of them were fucking made for each other. Hoping that the two women wouldn’t end up killing one another, he went off to find the bald man.
Rick found the bald man right where he had fallen. He was on his back, a slight trickle of blood trailing from the corner of his mouth. Rick swore under his breath; baldy had internal bleeding, and there was little to no hope of survival. He had meant to capture someone alive to question about the area. He shook his head. What he wanted, he realized, was to have left the idiots well enough alone; the less noise the hunter made while down here, the easier the mission would be. Now he had four, soon to be five corpses, a runaway, and a crying girl on his hands. Not so good for stealth, he thought.
He tried to make due by at least incapacitating everyone and getting some answers from them. Lay of the land, reasons for cruelly murdering someone ritualistically in a church, and just generally being creepy assholes in general. You know, he thought, nothing big. The usual. Instead, the woman goes on a psycho killing spree and straight up murders the majority of the cultists with barely a second thought.
Kneeling down to the bald man. “Hey baldy, I got some questions for ya.” The man turned his head to see Rick. Despite the darkness, Rick could see the man’s mouth twist into a cold smile.
“You fool,” he coughed, spluttering blood, “do you not realize what you have done?” His voice was still strong, resonant, despite the fact he was at death’s door.
“What do you mean, old man? What have we done?” Rick wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but knowing the reason for why they were here could be helpful.
“You’re from the Overcity, are you not?” the bald man barely waited for a response. “You know not what plagues the Undercity now. God has forsaken us, sent his demons to consume us. You are doomed.” Rick scoffed.
“Doomed? Demons? Whatever you’ve been drinking, I want some.”
The man’s eyes blazed. “You think this a joke? We are already dead: too long, we’ve stayed. Too much noise.” His eyes began to flutter shut. “Too much blood. Thank you, God, for taking me before-” The man grimaced, and suddenly went limp.
“Mother fucking fucker.”
The woman’s eyes barely registered what she saw. Her sense of smell was clogged with the stench of gore. But her hearing… she heard the cries of the agony she had wrought on loop. The head cracking open, the man’s rib cage shattering, the crunch of the other one’s skull, and the last one. Please. Please, she had said. The woman gripped her head in both hands; she was a second away from actually choking the life out of a girl.
And she felt perfect while doing it. There was no other way to describe it. The pain she had caused, the visceral feeling of destruction on such an exquisite level. She had felt fulfilled, and though she wished to admit otherwise, she felt at peace for the first time since she had woken up from her accident.
“What the fuck. What the actual fuck.” She fell to her knees in a light splash of blood. She looked past her hands to the man on the floor next to her. The sacrifice. His eyes were frozen in terror, staring up at the ceiling with a haunted expression of sudden pain and surprise, as if he were asking why someone would do this. She felt her blood rise again, as if in answer to the cruelty of his death, but she quelled it immediately. She had just massacred four people. Had she the right to question their motives?
She looked up at the girl on the bench, who had cried herself dry of tears. Salt stains lined her hollowing cheeks, her long face. The girl glanced at the woman for an instant; she immediately hid behind her hands.
“Please,” the girl begged, “please no. Please…” The woman felt a wave of remorse. She hadn’t killed anyone before: hurt, maybe. But murdered? Slaughtered? That’s what it was you know, she told herself, a slaughter. Nothing less.
“I won’t kill you.” Her robotic voice hid her regret and inner turmoil so well she swore someone had said the words. “Please stop crying. I won’t kill you.” The girl trembled, but ultimately stopped crying.
Just then, Rick marched back to the inner circle. “Baldy’s dead. The other boy left. Please tell me you didn’t murder the girl while I was gone?”
The woman didn’t rise to the bait. “Asshole. She’s alive. You deal with her.” She stood up, and walked to a pew on the far side of the circle. She sat down, and saw Rick talking to the girl. The girl was quite obviously in no state to be questioned, but Rick persisted. Eventually, the girl murmured something. RIck laughed out loud.
“Hey, lady, get this, even she’s got a name; Kay! Lady, meet Kay. Kay, meet the murderer of the night.” Bastard, thought the woman as RIck turned back to a visibly distressed Kay and continued conversing. As time passed, the woman scrutinized the two of them; as Kay spoke more and more, Rick became more and more agitated. Finally, she grabbed the girl by the shoulder, bringing her to where the woman was sitting.
“Okay, you need to hear this.” Rick turned to the girl again. “Kay, could you explain why you were here?” The girl, Kay, looked at the woman. Terror crossed her features, but she swallowed her fear.
“I joined three days ago,” she began, “they said they were stopping the demons attacking the village. I wanted to help, so I joined them.” Her lip was trembling.
Rick put his hand on her shoulder. “You told me about the demons. Could you tell the Lady here what you told me?” She looked up at Rick. Rick’s face did its best to show warmth; somehow it worked, and Kay nodded.
“They’re big.” She began to shiver. “At least as big as the guys back home. But they’re…” Choking back her tears, she took a moment to cool off. “They’re big, and some have claws. Others have really big teeth. Some don’t have heads where they’re supposed to be.”
The woman began to feel a deep sense of dread as Kay continued describing the demons. Memories of long, sharp teeth and stabbing pain clouded her mind, until all she could see was a gaping maw set with long teeth on an impossible head.
“Stop.” The woman’s voice failed to translate the tension in her body, the fear she felt at the core of her being. Her head swam with painful images she couldn’t shake off. “Please stop.”
Kay’s fear was temporarily replaced with confusion. The woman could tell that Kay was having a hard time processing the voice coming from her voice box, the fact that her lips didn’t move while she spoke. That her voice was steady, calm, and paced, while her face showed an increasing level of panic.
“I get the feeling that this sounds familiar. Wouldn’t you say?” The woman looked the hunter in the eye. Within an instant, she was on her feet glowering at the bastard.
“Fuck you, Rick. Yes it ‘sounds familiar.’” Just as Rick was about to speak again, the woman interrupted. “And if I hear one more fucking stupid thing come out of your fucking stupid face, I will punch it. I’m sorry I lost control, now you,” she said, stabbing at his chest for emphasis with enough force to cause him to step back, “need to stop being suck a prick about it. I get it; you’re not impressed. I’m just as fucking surprised as your are, ass, and I could use a little less of your Overcity holier-than-thou attitude. You’re treating this moron like a baby, despite the fact she’s an accessory to a fucking sacrifice. Whatever!” She stomped off towards the door, opened it, and slammed it behind her. She could hear the hinges pull out of the stonework from the force she used, a showering of rock and dust hitting the floor inside.
She sat on the steps, and looked out towards the perpetual night. All she heard was silence now, and that suited her fine. She could use a minute from the fuckers inside the church anyway.
End of Part 10