It was her heart, what kept me going. Love can be a powerful thing, powerful enough to give someone as hopeless as I a reason to live. From the moment I first saw her she was the stars, beautiful but out of reach…or so I thought. Here she sits just before me, waiting on the question.
She went by Ro. It was a simple name, but there was nothing simple about her. She was always a step ahead of me no matter the plot. She knew what I was going to do before I did it, and this very moment is no different.
I invited her back to the place where we had met. We sat at the same flimsy table, drinking the same terrible coffee at this small outdoor bistro in the square. The square was busy, full of shoppers visiting the many other vendors that share a location with the bistro on a daily basis.
Our table was special. It rested at the foot of the Silver King’s fountain. Not that it was he that meant anything to us, rather it was the sound of the trickling water from the base of the King’s statue that drown out the sound of chattering public. It granted the illusion of privacy on such a populated ground.
If I were to be honest, I was also quite fond of the statue itself. The Silver King was said to be a warrior, who protected his people at the cost of his own life. which is probably why they depicted him holding his sword high in the air, as though he was about to thrust it downward to finish a foe. I often found myself daydreaming of being the King, because like him I am a large man. I am taller than most, and stronger. As to be expected of an orphan of New Salem. Only the strong survived.
Ro cleared her throat, as she often had to do to get my attention. I was not estranged to getting lost in my head. In fact I spent most of my time in thought. She cleared her throat again, and this time my eyes met hers.
“Kana….” I smile every time I hear my name roll off of her tongue, “I thought you had something to ask me?” She batted her eyes at me like you would see in a cartoon.
She was toying with me. She knew that for a self proclaimed strong man, that I was weak when it came to emotions. She had me by the balls and I knew it, too.
“Spit it out, big man.” She teased, “I know what you want to ask, but I want to hear you say it.”
She sat across from me, one elbow on the table, and her chin in the palm of her hand. She gazed up at me with a gentle grin, beautifully, impatiently waiting. She topped it off with the fingers of her opposite hand drumming on the table, “I’m waiting….”
I drew in the breath, but the words caught in my throat. Sheepishly, I cast my eyes from her, as I look to the crowd.
Dread is what I felt, at first for sharing, but then a jolt of fear that launched me to my feet toppling the table between us. The crowd around us had dispersed for the most part, many were still running, and for those who weren’t they were being drained of life or ripped apart. Ro also stood, at first in shock of wearing our breakfast, then the terror of impending doom.
Beasts were flooding the grounds. Ro and I stood in horror, as sensory overload caused time to stand still. We were force fed a sight of gratuitous gore and violence. There was no prejudice to the victims, all men, women, and children alike, were targeted, by a great, many, varying monsters.
Time seemed to coil back in place once I noticed the horned guerrilla barreling toward her. I shoved her to the ground, taking her place just before impact. Grasping at the horns, to ensure my flesh remained unscathed, it pushed me through the fountain, feet swept out from under me as I’m forced through the water, back crashing into the Silver King. It snarled and huffed and grunted. As it thrashed it saturated my face, chest, and arms with snot, drool and spit.
I held it back by the horns as best I could, until it started to let up pressure. Maybe to go for a second attempted gore, but I seized my opportunity. With the leverage I had on his horns, I flipped myself backward, hands down into the water and thrust both feet upward into the jaw of the monster shoving it’s skull into the King’s blade, or, at least, the other way around.
I was free of it’s grasp, but not its weight. It collapsed atop me, pinning me under water. It wasn’t a terrible struggle to shake loose, as I crawled out from beneath it. I burst out of the water, forcing it to crash over the side onto Ro, who was leaning over the edge of the fountain, reaching out for me.
“Kana!” She screamed, as I gasped for air, “…we have to get out of here!”
One of the few times I was unable to smile from her utterance of my name, I remained silent as I spoke with action. I sloshed over the side, dragging her toward the nearest building, just behind the bistro. A couple of the creatures noticed us, and the chase was on.
When we made it to the shop, we didn’t mind the door behind us, but the front was all glass regardless. We were over the counter, into the back as the glass crashed to the floor, upon the monsters’ entrance. The sound was startling as well as motivating, pushing me harder, making me reckless. I turned the corner quick, slamming my shoulder into the wall. Upon the contact, I could feel a buzz deep in my bones, and just as fast as it appeared, it faded.
I pulled Ro through the emergency escape, driving my shoulder through the door before heading up the steps. I felt the buzz again, but more like a quake, vibrating throughout my body. It faded just as before, but this time it was more intense.
The stairs were probably a poor choice, but the situation didn’t allow much time to diligently formulate a plan, no. I just kept moving, and luckily when the beasts broke through the doors at the bottom of the stairs, their impatience got the best of them. They flailed and clawed at each other, trying to push through as the other did the same. This gave us the time to hit the rooftop exit. I must admit I hit it a lot harder than I wanted to. Another shockwave pulsed inside me, but it was more than that… I could hear something, at first too quiet to make out, but then it became more clear. Low and gravely, the voice shook my very being, locking my knees to throw me through the door at the top of the landing and down onto my chest on the rooftop.
Ro was trying to pull me up off the roof as I fought the intrusive waves.
They’re all dead….
I was back to my feet, but I still had the aching remnants of the tremors, ringing in my bones. My hands were shaking as I peered over the edge of the roof. At least two stories up and fifteen feet to the next building…we were trapped.
“We will have to jump,” I said, “It’s our only–“my cliche was interrupted before completion, like a door being slammed in your face. Quite literally a door bashed me in the face, catching me across the bridge of my nose and my right eye. It came at me in pieces, like it exploded off the hinges, some even crashing into my chest tipping me over the side of the building, down onto the cold alley floor below.
When I looked back up to where I was before the fall. My vision was blurred, fading in and out, but I could see Ro hanging by her head. She must have jumped off after me, but one of the beasts caught her just over the edge. She didn’t struggle because her eyes were already black. I tried to call out to her…instead,
This voice was not mine…
It was deeper, gravely…
It boomed, and carried over the whole town, rattling the earth like an aftershock.
Much was broken from the fall, and I could not move. My body ignored and rose on its own. My hands and feet wrapped with stripes of black and white, spiraling up and fraying at mid calf and forearm. The frays formed long thin tendrils that snapped around me violently like whips.
I was a passenger in my own body. Couldn’t control myself, I just had to hang in and watch it all go down. My hand reached out, and in the blink of an eye, it pulled back toward me, bringing Ro and the beast, to the ground before me, as though they were teleported through the air.
The monster dropped her right there. It snarled all the while it backed off. It was frightened. Why would it be frightened of me?!? I stepped over Ro, I wanted to reach down, or even speak to her…I couldn’t. My body stepped toward the creature despite my fear, despite my wishes.
Know now that the descendant of the Silver King is here…
We, the beast and I, both exited the alley and were back out into the square.
With my heir comes the rebirth of the Silver Race…
The grounds were now full of monsters once again, hundreds of them. They had all returned watching intently from every direction, looking down from rooftops, and even the horned guerrilla crawled out of the fountain to witness me raise both hands together over my head, and a sword, similar to the one on the statue, formed.
Demons be damned!
With a slash, one creature was turned into a bubbling, steaming, puddle of tar. The blade hissed as the tar burned off, leaving the steel in a thin stream of smoke.
Fear not these demons, my child…
I could feel him peering internally.
They’re all dead.