PULSATE: Part 13
It was time.
Asa opened her crusted eyes and took a deep breath. Her body fully alive and charged, her mind not so much rested but at peace.
She had dreamed of Abby. She had walked to the cemetery where an empty grave held memories of Abby. As she entered the black gate, a blanket of fog touched down to the ground before pulling back up, like the world had taken a cool breath. Through the fog she saw the outline of a person, a person standing at Abby’s grave. Her instinct, even in dream, was to attack. But she didn’t. Because the figure turned. It was Abby. Sweet Abby. She was taller, had grown through these years of being dead, but her face was the same. Her tiny lips and rounded cheeks with freckles on them. Her blonde hair that never parted in the same spot and was always a mess.
Asa stepped towards Abby but Abby stepped back. No matter how hard Asa tried to get to Abby she couldn’t.
“Why?” Asa asked.
“Not time,” Abby said in a soft voice, “not time. You’ll learn, soon. Just remember that I’m here. Right here…”
Abby pointed to the headstone.
Asa did not understand.
The ground was empty, Asa was sure of it. She had watched Abby turned to ash the day the vampire attacked and killed her.
And just like that, the fog came back and Abby disappeared in it. That’s when Asa woke up.
It was time.
Mr. Rogers hadn’t slept in days, perhaps even years. His job didn’t allow for sleep. Nor did his body require it. It was another interesting part to the organization he found himself in but that was okay, as long as he monitored Asa and kept the world safe, nothing could bother him.
Other things did bother him.
The activity of creatures across the world – and time – were at an all time low. Even the regions where the creatures were given full access to feast were quiet. All eyes were upon the fight about to happen. And Mr. Rogers wasn’t sure how he’d be able to help Asa because a question kept burning in his mind… is this place going to help me?_
Asa took the quiet time she had to treat today like a normal day. But once she dressed and began to load up on old world wood she began to wish Mr. Rogers would speak to her.
“I’m right here,” the voice said and Asa smiled.
“Where do I go?”
“The fight will end where it started Asa, at the parking lot.”
“But there’s people there…”
“I’m just telling you what I believe.”
Asa knew that the past few weeks she had challenged Mr. Rogers more than she should have. Part of her felt that she was growing and had grown and had the right to question everything around her. But, of course, the memories of all the years spent travelling and killing with Mr. Rogers right there with her… she almost felt bad for challenging the voice so much. He had not once directed her into anything harmful. Ever.
“Thank you,” Asa said.
“For everything… just in case…”
“There’s no just in case,” Mr. Rogers said defiantly. “There is you fighting and the old man withering into a pile of skin and bone. This will change everything Asa. I can feel it. Nobody will forget today. Nobody.”
Asa walked in silence and preferred the silence. She kept her mind clear as well. Nothing around her seemed to notice her, and that also was preferred. The people of the world needed to continue their Sunday as normal and not worry about what kind of hell was going to happen. And in the event that Asa took her last breath during the fight with the old man vampire, the entire balance could and would probably change. If all the creatures knew that Asa was dead, who knows what they’d do to celebrate…
The parking lot came into view and Asa froze.
She saw all the cars there, a bustling place for a Sunday morning. She saw the spot where this whole mess began and in the deepest trenches of her mind she heard that woman yelling for help. She shakes off the memory as a black dot begins to form in the sky. It looks like a black star at first but quickly begins to grow. Asa has never seen anything like this before… creatures always just seemed to appear…
The black star became a black ball, a visible black figure coming towards the parking lot. In a matter of thirty seconds, the figure touched the ground and the old man vampire stood, waiting.
In the daylight Asa couldn’t believe her eyes. The creature looked so feeble. It didn’t seem possible that it could have the power it had, but Asa knew better then to question anything around her. A heavy red glow surrounded the old man like pulsating shell. And it stood, seemingly without worry.
“He knows you’re here,” Mr. Rogers said. “It’s time.”
Asa stayed put. She couldn’t bring herself to say it or think it but she was afraid. Would this be a fair fight? Would she step from the side street facing the parking only to be attacked by hundreds of vampires? And still, what about those freakishly huge sunwalkers?
As the questions burned, the old man grew impatient.
“Come out, come out,” he taunted, “let’s play. Let me show you where the real power is…”
“Asa, please go,” Mr. Rogers said.
“Oh, how the innocent will pay for this my dear. Just come forward. Accept your fate.”
Asa wiped her hands on her pants and touched the old world wood in her waistband. She envisioned herself stabbing the old man over and over… and over and over…
“Remember something,” the old man called out, “you did this…”
With that the old man turned with his hand out and as it swept across the parking and the buildings, they all exploded. In a matter of seconds, the entire plaza was reduced to rubble. Cars were flipped over, some on top of each other, flames everywhere. The sign for the main store stuck out of the destruction like a hand reaching from the grave. It had all happened so fast, Asa knew immediately that the old man must have entered in between the seconds of time to do this.
“Asa, go forward!” Mr. Rogers yelled.
“Yes Asa, go forward,” the old man taunted.
How did he hear Mr. Rogers? Nobody heard Mr. Rogers…
“I will destroy all the innocent,” the creature said.
Asa had no choice now, it was time to fight.
She walked into view and into the parking lot. Her eyes caught the sight of people starting to gather at the destruction of the buildings.
Then the old man was in her face. He put a finger under her chin. “No worries, they can’t see us. I’ll keep it such, fairness and all…”
Asa took no more time to waste. She pulled the old world wood from her waistband and held it into the air. Killing the old man this quick would send a clear message to the world – or worlds – all the way to Mr. Rogers and back.
As she moved forward with the old world wood, the old man changed. In the time it took Asa to blink, she now stared at the woman from the parking lot. She fell to her knees and put her hands up to Asa.
“Please, dear, why didn’t you help me?”
“Don’t believe it!” Mr. Rogers yelled. “It’s a trick…”
“Oh, dear, please. I just wanted to go home. I want to go home.”
“I tried,” Asa whispered. Her arm now hung by her side.
The woman shook her head and her face changed. It was now the sewn up version, the way the old man left her on Asa’s porch.
“I can’t see now,” the woman cried out, “I can’t see. And it’s your fault. All your fault.”
“Stop this Asa, it’s not real,” Mr. Rogers said.
Before Asa could realize what Mr. Rogers was saying, the woman reached out, blind and all, and grabbed the old world wood. She put the wood into her hands and put her hands together. A second later when she opened her hands, the wood was gone.
“Now… we fight…” the voice coming from the woman as the old man vampire.
The woman changed into the vampire and the fight began.
The old man pushed Asa airborne before landing hard on her back. She hurried and got to her feet to charge. The fear was gone now – everything in her body and mind screamed for the vampire to die.
“Asa, don’t let him fool you,” Mr. Rogers said. “He’s just a va…”
Mr. Rogers fell silent and the old man took another swing. Asa took one thing at a time. She grabbed the old man’s arm and twisted it, feeling bones pop. The arm spun twice before Asa let go. The old man held his arm out and it spun back, two times, cracking.
“Can’t break me,” the old man said.
Asa stepped back, she knew she needed the old world wood.
But where did Mr. Rogers go?
Mr. Rogers saw the shopping center explode and he felt his heart sink. All those people inside, gone. All because the vampire could do so. He hated those kinds of creatures, those that used their power just to prove their strength. Mr. Rogers, like Asa, didn’t see the act of the destruction but rather the result.
But was that already a thing of the past. If Asa died, a shopping center was the least of everyone’s problems. In fact, if Asa died, those who were blown up would be considered the lucky ones.
Mr. Rogers kept his eyes on all the screens, watching the way the vampire moved, thought, and spoke. Something would give. Had to. Asa just needed to keep her head clear which would be difficult. This thought was proven true when the vampire changed itself into the woman from the parking lot. As soon as Mr. Rogers saw it, he cursed. The old man vampires had a special touch – any blood they tasted, they were able to mimic. It brought another thought to his mind but it was interrupted by a loud crashing sound.
As Mr. Rogers spun around he knew he shouldn’t have taken his eyes away from Asa. When he saw the creature standing a few feet away, he screamed and stood up.
It was the same kind of creature that had attacked Asa, one of those large sunwalkers. On the screen, Mr. Rogers didn’t think so much of it but seeing the thing in person was terrifying.
It stood over eight feet tall, its height higher than the doorframe it walked through. Its body was wide, thick, ready to fight. It wore tattered clothing and its face covered in dried blood. It did not look like one of the cleaned up creatures that Asa had faced. This one looked beat up… and pissed off…
It lunged at Mr. Rogers and even though it was probably twice the size of a normal sunwalker, it moved just as fast. The vampire landed inches from Mr. Rogers and grabbed him by his shirt.
“I’ve been sent to kill you,” the giant sunwalker whispered.
Mr. Rogers tried to keep calm. Years ago, after a security breach in the organization, he sent for a piece of old world wood and taped it to the bottom of his chair. Now he just needed to stay alive and find a way to get that piece of wood. His eyes moved and looked at the screens. He could see the two figures of Asa and the old man fighting.
I’m sorry Asa,
he thought, you’re on your own…When he looked back to the sunwalker, he noticed something. On the torn shirt of the creature.
“Wait a minute,” he said, “is that…”
Before he could finish his question the sunwalker grabbed his throat and twisted.
It was quite literally the fight of her life. Mr. Rogers was gone, quiet, and she knew something must have been wrong. Mr. Rogers had been there with her for almost everything. And even in those times where communication was scattered he still found a way to connect with her. But this was complete silence.
And the old man was relentless.
Asa held her ground, defensively at least. Every time she attacked the old man he either blocked it, moved aside, or his body absorbed the attack. At one point, Asa was able to punch the creature square in the face. Its nose exploded, blood shooting everywhere. Asa couldn’t help it, she smiled and cheered. With any other creature, a shot like that would at least knock it off balance, but the old man wasn’t bothered so much. He stood up tall and put his hands out and closed his eyes. Then, just like with those freak looking sunwalkers, the vampire’s blood began to pull back into itself. Asa noticed a small spatter of blood on the ground and watched it vibrate. She put her foot over the blood and waited. It stayed there. She wasn’t sure why, but maybe it would serve her some other time.
When the old man healed himself, they fought again. This time it was a no hold barred style, punch for punch, hit for hit, attack for attack. Within minutes, Asa’s body felt as if she had been run over. But she noticed that the old man wasn’t as energetic as before.
She could win this.
The old man walked towards Asa and she decided to go back to basics. She kicked and hit the vampires knee. It popped back, leaving its leg bent in reverse. For a human, they’d be immobilized. But before the creature could un-break its leg, Asa kicked the other one too. Now the old man had no balance. Asa kicked herself up and blasted the vampire in the chest with a heavy sidekick, sending it to its back.
Now Asa was in control.
She grabbed another piece of old world wood and stood over the old man. She didn’t even give the creature the courtesy of last words. She just swung the piece of wood.
Inches from the old man’s chest, the vampire changed again.
It was Abby.
Asa gasped for air and stepped back. Abby sat up.
“I miss you Asa.”
No, no, Asa thought, it’s not real.
“I miss you. Why did I have to die?”
Don’t talk to it, Asa thought.
Asa closed her eyes and begged for Mr. Rogers. She listened as hard as she could only making out the faint sound of perhaps a struggle? Was Mr. Rogers in trouble too?
She opened her eyes and Abby’s eyes glowed, the same evil color as the old man.
Abby opened her mouth with a set of long, blood ready fangs.
It’s not Abby, Asa thought.
“It’s really me,” Abby said. Then her voice changed back to the vampire. “And he killed me that day. Don’t you remember? He did it… he did it… and now he gets you too… we can be together now. Forever, like we wanted. Abby and Asa… Abby and Asa… Abby and Asa…”
Asa screamed like she never had in her life. A gut wrenching, crying scream and she jumped at the old man. The vampires head smacked the ground and Asa found her fingers tangled in Abby’s blonde hair. Her nose was inches from her dead best friend’s face… “I’m sorry,” she whispered and then stabbed the old man in the heart with the old world wood.
Abby’s face changed instantly. It shriveled up and turned grey then began to crust and crack. Then it fell into pieces, ashy pieces. Underneath it was the old man. He fought himself up and stood with the old world wood in his heart. Then to Asa’s horror he pulled it from his chest.
“Wrong heart,” he said and threw the wood at Asa. It stabbed her in the stomach and she fell to the ground.
Her mind began to fade in and out, listening to the soft cries of Abby’s voice. She sounded like she was right there with Asa. Maybe she was… guiding her…
Asa opened one of her eyes and saw the other piece of old world wood. She reached out and grabbed it. Then she closed her eyes. She heard the footsteps and the old man and he walked towards her. She could hear the creature humming and growling and listened as it opened its mouth, its jaw breaking itself so it could finish Asa off.
As it leaned down, Asa spun and stabbed the old man in the neck with the old world wood. He stepped back and screamed in pain. His mouth closed and his face turned white. Then against all the pain that surged through her, Asa pulled the old world wood from her gut and fought to her feet and stabbed the old man in the chest again. He stood in silence for a few seconds, his face in disbelief. Then he fell backwards and hit the ground with a loud POOF! sound and then he was gone. A light cloud of dust floated in the air and dissipated.
The old man vampire was gone.
Asa had done it.
She tried to smile but her vision began to fade. She looked down at the blood on her shirt and she fell backwards against the pavement. She watched the clouds float by and thought about Abby. She had stabbed Abby… No, it wasn’t Abby…
Asa felt tears running down her cheek.
She waited to hear Mr. Rogers voice, but it never came.
She waited for the pain in her stomach to subside, it never did.
She waited for the guilt of Abby’s death to go away, it didn’t.
In the background of her dizziness she heard fire truck sirens and she thought about the stores the old man had blown up… sure, the vampire was gone…
But a thought plagued Asa as she waited for her own death to take her.
At what cost?
©2011 Jim Bronyaur