I had lost the alternate evil version of myself. I was now in the back end of some slum or other, and had crawled and scratched my way up the side of a house and was now perched on the roof in crow form. Several friendly crows had come to sit with me, offering silent solidarity. I just took the moment to breathe. Hey, I’d never been the most in-shape person. I was not Chaos.
“He’s coming for you,” said Aaliyah at my side.
I looked at her. She was in dragon form, majestic and reddish golden. I didn’t want to acknowledge what her presence meant for me. For our little nest.
“He’s only a few streets away,” she said, her head swiveling. “He’s tracking you.”
Of course mister evil-guts also knew how to track and hunt. Why were villains always overpowered? I groaned and put my head under my wing and rubbed at my head. Then, popping my head out, I peered at Aaliyah. She gave me a solemn look.
“If you can’t fly, he’s going to catch up to you,” she said flatly. “I can’t stop him.”
“Unless I kill him,” I suggested. Honestly, it was an option. The guy was a creeper and had killed Aaliyah and Jade. I could just end him. Send him into another galaxy.
Aaliyah tilted her head meaningfully, dark eyes peering into me. “Are you ready for that?”
I shrugged. “I can.” The truth was, I never quite stopped and thought endlessly about the people I’d killed. I just let it be. I refused to make a big hoopla about it. The less I thought of it, the less of a moral dilemma it was.
Aaliyah made a deep snorting noise. I took that as a sign of consent to the killing, and closed my eyes. Drawing on my powers I scoped out the field of energy that lay before me. Aaliyah had been right. He was just at the end of the street now, and approaching quickly.
Well, if he thought I was going to be be all honorable and get down into the street and give him a speech first, fuck that. I just reached out straight aways and plucked at him.
For a split moment, I had his body and soul in my grasp. With a flick his spirit was sliding out of his body and propelling towards me.
Then, fast like a snap, my power flickered. Something, or rather someone, was interfering.
“Suzy?” I shrieked, confused as I felt another mind blot into my headspace. Suddenly my thoughts were all filled with ‘how does that work?’ and ‘how do you do that?’.
I fumbled the ball, so to speak. A ball which got straight back up on its feet and aimed a gun at me.
Hey, I tried. But I blame Suzy, I really do.
I didn’t even have time to see black. It was just lights out.
I wanted to stay in Lucifer’s arms for ever. I was warm, snuggled, and safe. Sleep was on the tip of my mind and I didn’t want to move. But, finally, Lucifer shifted.
“You have to go,” he said gently.
I scowled into his sleeve, but I got up. I wanted another kiss but I stopped myself from asking. I wasn’t about to start asking for kisses. That just – I wasn’t there yet.
So I stood and glared at him as he rose before me. There was a smirk on his lips. He caressed my hair. “You’re going to do great,” he said softly.
My stomach churned. I didn’t believe him for one bit. I was a screw-up. But hey, I didn’t say that. He probably knew it already. But I did say something else.
“So, do I get that collar?” I asked cockily, crossing my arms and lifting my chin.
He chuckled, raising his eyebrows in surprise. “No.”
My jaw fell.
“When you come back,” he said playfully, tickling my cheek. “Now off you go, kitten.”
I scowled, for real. He was trying to make me come back, wasn’t he? Well, we’d see.
So I took up the black box, pressed my palms to it, and thought of where I had to go.
First stop: the Sephira.
“Kuryo! Kuryo!” Suzy shook me awake, from the inside. I tried to wake up, I really did, but something was barring me. So she threw me outside of my body.
Whoah! That woke me up. It was like falling out of bed. No cozy body all snuggle snuggle. Nope, I was freezing out here – where was here?
I looked around. We were in a box of sorts. A big box. I took a look at my body, and saw myself all curled up and tied tight with my knees up to my head and my arms behind my back. It looked so so painful. How come I wasn’t waking up? Peering closer, I poked around at the edges of my body. I was wrapped in a net, a weird substance that was electric and – strange? I didn’t know what it was, but blamed it for me being asleep.
Suzy was wailing, something about us being trapped (Gee, thanks, didn’t notice that there) but I ignored her. Instead I took a step back and stepped out of the box.
Whoah! I zoomed out, falling out of the box which was suddenly super tiny and the rest of the world so big. It was like falling out of a kaleidoscope – and then everything zoomed back into focus.
I was in a room, evil me standing there with several small brown boxes hanging around his neck. Presumably, those were what I had been in? Why was there so many of them? What was in the others?
Beside him stood Aaliyah with a nasty look on her face. And across the room from them, sat the weirdo.
Said weirdo still had their weird head-gear on and was still robed in skulls and black. Their lips were curved in the slightest of smiles.
“Hey!” Aaliyah waved me over. I stepped to her side, crossing before my evil self, who didn’t notice me at all. I was tempted to punch him in the gut.
“What’s going on?” I whispered to Aaliyah.
“It’s a good thing you woke up,” she hissed. “I’ve been trying to get that weird spirit piggy-backing on you to wake you up for hours!”
I looked around. Guards were posted by the door and several members of the council stood around the walls, whispering and ogling evil me. “What’s going on?” I hissed.
The weirdo sneered.
“We just got in here,” hissed Aaliyah. “There was this whole – he broke into a bunch of places and,” she shook her head. “It’s a mess.”
The weirdo on the throne moved their scepter from before them to the side, as if opening the conversation.
Evil me took a deep breath. He drew one necklace from around his neck and tossed it onto the floor. I felt my body bang around within. Ouch!
“I’m bringing you the world weaver,” he snapped. “Now give me back my wife.”
There was a cold moment where no one moved. Then, as if they’d silently been told they could move, the council embers jumped forward all at once. They crowded around the tiny box, and, with a pop, somehow got the thing open. Gasps and small cries were heard. They scuttled back, dispersing while staring at my body, lying there all tied up like a very unfortunate gift.
The weirdo tilted their head so very slightly in a nod.
“Now give me back my wife,” he snapped angrily.
The council members put their heads together, whispering. Out of nowhere, one of them half collapsed, eyes rolling back in their head. Body wobbling as if they hardly knew how to walk (looking a bit like a zombie), that member tottered forward to stand before the throne. They turned to face evil me.
“Your wife will be returned to you once the child is born. Until then, you will have to wait.” the person droned, eyes half closed and head tilted strangely back.
Evil me pressed his lips together angrily. His shoulders heaved in a deep breath. “I want my wife,” he demanded, eyes flashing. “You promised – and you will give her back with the baby!”
“You’re not the father, you have no rights to it,” drawled the bizarre council person who was standing before the throne.
Evil me took another angry breath. He just looked so mad. “I’m the parent,” he snapped. “And you will give them back to me.”
He drew the other necklaces from around his neck and tossed them to the floor. Then he drew a pair of handguns from his sides. He pointed them both at the boxes on the floor.
“Go ahead,” he hissed to the council members (who looked like a flock of terrified chickens). “Look at who I’ve got.”
They scuttled forward. Pop! Pop! Pop! The other boxes snapped open. The councillors yelped and squealed in dismay. Then, as if shoved aside by an invisible force, they were pushed away from the boxes and crushed up on the walls.
There, all bound up like my own body, was the other version of me who had kidnapped me, a version of me with a large spike through his head (seemingly still alive?!) and another who I didn’t recognize.
The councilors whispered, terrified.
“You know what happens if I kill us all, I hope?” he snapped. “It undoes the fate they’ve woven. That means that you, your stupid people, everything gets undone to when we were born. That means your stupid civilization will go back to pre-discovering how to travel dimensions – and before you fought the gods. Think you can win against them on a second round? Think your people will still come out as the powerhouse of the worlds on a second try?”