AJ took his face out of his trembling hands. “Winter, Willow,” he said staring down at his sisters. Vigor had killed them so simply. “I’ll kill him.” He chased after Vigor. “I’ll kill that bastard!”
Vigor did not think anyone would chase after him so he toned down his pace, just enough for AJ to catch up with him.
AJ came up behind him, grabbed him by the neck and his hair, and said, “What did they do to you! If you want to kill someone kill me!”
“Not the time,” Vigor breathed.
AJ turned Vigor around and stole his gun. AJ put the gun in Vigor's hands and held it to his own chest, prompting Vigor to shoot.
Vigor trembled and wondered what he was feeling. He wondered why he couldn’t pull the trigger. Nothing had ever stopped him from killing anyone. Vigor had come back to life, but not fully. His evil entity was still intact but he was…mortal.
Vigor dropped the gun and collapse to the ground. Atton and Nirvana came running outside.
“Did you kill him?” AJ moved out of the way and let him see Vigor. He was still alive although he didn't deserve it. Atton looked at Nirvana who was ready to kill Vigor.
“Let him live,” he said holding Nirvana back, “for now.” They went to Werly's instead of Nirvana's house.
Vigor was left on the streets in his first real taste of pain. The streets were clear; no one was on them but Vigor. Blood leaked from his mouth and his arm and Vigor let out a cry of pain and anguish. He could not move or feel his left arm and he wanted desperately for the pain to stop. A dog ran in front of him and treated him like a fire hydrant. He lashed out at the dog and cussed at it, but it was no use. After a while, Vigor managed to lift his head. In front of him, he saw a furry white foot, Berzerk.
“How you doing?” She stood him up on his feet. “Still think that you should've left me behind?”
“Just get me back to the Hill,” he said in an irritated tone. She picked him up and tossed him in her back. Berzerk to him back to the Hill as ordered. When they were there, Vigor was in a daze by Atton's strength.
“What happened to your arm?” Berzerk asked.
“Nirvana shot me,” he admitted.
“I thought you were invincible,” she noted.
“That makes two of us.” Vigor held his hurt arm. To him it was just dead weight and he didn't need anything to weigh him down. “Could you do me a favor?” he asked Berzerk.
“What is it?” Berzerk asked.
“Bite it off,” Vigor pleaded. “This arm is useless, bite if off.” Without question, she bit it off. “Ah, that feels better,” he said releasing a sigh of relief.
She gave him a queer look out of the corner of her eye. “Freak,” she said under her breath. “So what's our next move?” she said aloud.
“Berzerk, how do you bring an empire down?” Vigor asked quizzically.
“Do you always have to talk in riddles?” she asked, with annoyance in her voice.
“The heart,” he explained, “his love. You attack the heart.”
“You're going to kill Nirvana?” Berzerk said eagerly.
“No,” he said with a wicked grin, “you are,”
“With pleasure,” she said releasing her claws.
“He bled,” Atton realized. “Vigor always seemed so much more powerful than I was but today… he bled.”
“He was never stronger than you. He only seemed that way because you let him,” Nirvana consoled him.
“You have to kill him dad,” AJ sneered.
“We just have to stop him,” Atton told AJ. “If that leads to his death, then so be it. Don't be so eager to kill, AJ. If you give in to those feelings, you’ll end up like Vigor.”
“You killed him,” AJ noted.
“I had no choice,” Atton snapped.
“This time you do,” Werly said, “look at this.”
“What's that?” CJ asked. Werly was reading a page of Kip’s text.
“Read it.” Atton began reading: In an event of a death challenge, a player can call a stalemate. What he/she must do is break the scythe. If this ever happens… Atton read the rest in his head.
“This is genius,” he exclaimed, “pure genius. All I do is, break the scythe.”
“You ready to end this right now?” CJ asked.
“I was born ready,” Atton stood up only to be knocked down.
Berzerk busted through the window, barreling over Atton. She bellowed and screeched as she narrowed in on Nirvana.
“Atton,” Nirvana called out. Berzerk scooped up Nirvana. CJ and Werly lunged at her only to be knocked back by the simple swipe of her arm.
Berzerk released an animalistic roar. Then she looked down at Atton and could not help but to laugh at him.
“This is the once proud Reaper,” she scoffed. “Pathetic.”
“Let her go,” Atton demanded.
“What are you going to do, bleed on me? Ha! You wish to kill me? Here I stand boy,” Berzerk taunted. Atton lunged for her but Berzerk easily avoided him. “This,” she held up Nirvana, “this is what you want?”
“Atton help me!” Nirvana cried out. “Atton!”
“All that screaming won’t help you, child.”
“Atton!” she continued to scream.
Berzerk tossed Nirvana across the room like a ragdoll. It rendered her unconscious. This was the quickest way Berzerk could think of to shut her up. She leaped across the room and scooped up Nirvana.
Berzerk saw the hurt in Atton’s eyes. This was his one weakness. The fact that he showed compassion could easily be used against him –and it was. Vigor knew his love for Nirvana could destroy him.
“If this is your weakness,” she said shaking Nirvana, “you stand no chance against Vigor.” Berzerk looked out onto the horizon. The sun was getting closer to the horizon and the entrance to the Hill would soon be open to mortals. “You know you can’t do anything until sundown,” she snidely noted. “Until then, Vigor will be waiting.”
In the Hill Vigor was preparing for Atton.
“Let's resurrect an old friend of mine,” Vigor said, “just to make things interesting.”
“Since you had so many,” Berzerk sarcastically commented. “I thought you said I get to kill Nirvana. You had better not go back on your word Vigor,” Berzerk warned, claws drawn.
“When they come here you will. Trust me Berzerk you will have your chance to kill Nirvana but now I need to concentrate.” Using the mere shreds of power he had left he resurrected 'an old friend.'
“This is your friend? Why would you bring him back and not the behemoth, Zak? At least he'd put up a fight,” she contested.
“Zak has too much free will, but if I give this man just a little power, he can take down Atton. Or distract him long enough for me to break the scythe,” Vigor explained.
“Why not just break it now?” Berzerk wondered.
“It can only be done in the presence of the Reaper and the challenger,” he continued.
“What happens if you break the scythe?” Vigor whispered something in her ear. “That's genius, pure genius,” Berzerk exclaimed.
“What is my job?” The friend spoke up.
“I want you to kill Atton Brown; show no mercy,” Vigor ordered. “Do you understand?”
“Yes sir. I will do your will,” he said showing no emotion.
“Good. Atton will come; I will kill him, and disprove the Prophecy. I can sense wherever he is… and he is getting closer.” A smile crossed Vigor’s face. “Let the games begin.”
“Damn it,” Atton angrily pounded the wall.
“Why didn't you go after her dad?” AJ wondered.
“She took her to the Hill. The Hill is an outpost for underworld creatures and those worlds can only mix when the sun hits the horizon,” CJ explained.
“We have to go now,” Atton said urgently. “The time is nearing and Vigor is waiting. This time he’s going to stay dead. I’ll break the scythe and fix all of this.”
“It’s not all about you, Atton,” Werly snapped. “We care about her but we have to be patient,” he cautioned. “Don’t let your love for Nirvana and your vendetta towards Vigor, work against you.”
“Patient,” Atton contested. “I’m surprised you two aren't already halfway there! In case you didn't notice Vigor has Nirvana.” He looked at AJ, “Your mom,” then at CJ, “your sister,” then back at Werly, “and one of you best friends and you're asking me to be patient? No; hell no,” Atton continued to rant. “I’m going in now with or without you guys.”
Atton stormed out and slammed the door behind him.
“I don't want my mom to die,” AJ said sadly.
“I know buddy, I know. We’re not going to let that happen,” CJ consoled him. “Werly call for reinforcements, we’re going to the Hill.”
CJ and AJ walked out and caught up with Atton. “Atton wait up. We’re in.”
“The sun is setting we have to get there fast,” he warned. Werly came jogging out to meet up with them on the curb.
“It’s all set up,” he assured.
“AJ,” Atton began, “come here,” Atton hugged his son. “This might be the last calm moment we have to speak.” Atton breathed deeply. "I'm so proud of you, son." AJ nodded.“You’re about to change the world, you ready?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” AJ said, trembling slightly. Atton smiled for some reason, and then dropped back to a serious expression.
“Atton will kill you,” Nirvana said boldly.
Vigor tried his hardest to ignore her. She’d been on his nerves for about an hour now. At times, he was tempted to let Berzerk kill her early but that would ruin his entire plan.
“You won’t be so lucky this time Atton will –”
“You are an annoying one aren't you?” Vigor finally interrupted. “I don't know how the hell Atton puts up with you. All of your screaming and bitching ain't gonna make him get here any faster! Jeez, you aggravating little prude, I can’t wait till you and Atton are dead.”
“What makes you so confident?” Nirvana asked. “What makes you so damn sure you’ll win?”
“Two things, one; I’m Vigor. Two; you do,” he told her. “No one counted on me pulling a classic ‘bad guy.’ It came down to either killing you or kidnapping you. I’ve done the whole, ‘maim and slaughter’ thing and when choosing between two evils, I always prefer the one I’ve never tried before.
I mean, yeah kidnapping the girlfriend is old school, but it is effective. When Atton comes, I will have Berzerk kill you right in front of him. His suffering will bring me much joy.”
“It makes you stronger, doesn't it? His suffering.” she clarified.
“Oh,” Vigor sarcastically cheered for her, “ladies and gentlemen we have a winner, very good Nirvana. You finally understand. When you die Atton’s suffering will peak, then I’ll kill him and my power will reach its peak as well.
Atton and I share a… special hatred for each other. This and his love for you is all that drives him. He will come here in anger and he will die.”
“You won’t succeed,” Nirvana said stonily.
“Maybe I won’t,” Vigor shrugged. “Even if I don’t I have a plan. My army has strength as well,” he reminded her. With this said he was ready for the conversation to end. However, she continued to talk.
“It doesn't matter Atton will…”
Blah, blah, blah is all Vigor heard. Then Berzerk made a suggestion.
“May I suggest a forceful thump to the head?”
“Hmm,” Vigor looked at her, first confused, and then he realized what she meant. “Good idea.”
He walked over to Nirvana’s cage and in the middle of her sentence; he gave her, a hard thump to her head. Nirvana was rendered unconscious for about five minutes.
As she wearily awoke, she could hear Vigor say, “Three; two; one.”
On one, they entered the Hill. “Oh hello Atton, you surprised me. You really did,” he said mockingly.
“Can I please kill her now?” Berzerk pleaded.
“Oh go ahead,” Vigor said sick of her constant whining.
Berzerk stepped down to fight Nirvana. Nirvana was released from her cage and allowed to fight Berserk. However, when Nirvana’s eyes met Berzerk’s eyes, fear struck her heart.
“Tell me girl,” Berzerk began, “why is it you fight when you know you will lose?”
Nirvana taken aback by the question responded with, “For the exhilarating feeling, for the expression on someone’s face when they realize I’m not a weak, helpless woman. And for the outright fun,” Nirvana explained.
“Really,” Berzerk did not expect such an annoyingly longwinded answer, “because I fight to kill.” Berzerk lunged at Nirvana with fury and joy.
“Atton I believe you know my guest,” Vigor said, hoping to get a rise out of Atton. From behind Vigor walked a familiar face. He got the response he expected.
When Atton saw him, he hung his head back in dismay. “That is just stupid!” It was Kip. “Don't you ever die? First Vigor comes back and now you. Come on!” Atton yelled in pure aggravation.
“Hello to you too, son,” Kip said, casually.
“You should have learned; never wound what you can’t kill, Atton,” Vigor said cryptically.
“Who is that?” AJ wondered.
“Oh, AJ this is your grandpa, Kip. Dad this is your grandson AJ. O.K,” he said anxiously, “now that we all know each other, AJ you said you were going to kill Vigor. He’s weak it, shouldn't be too hard. You two,” he acknowledged Werly and CJ, “go help Nirvana, she can’t take Berzerk alone. And you,” he pointed to Kip, “you’re gonna die.” AJ went to engage Vigor then Werly and CJ went to help Nirvana. Atton stayed to face his father. “Now you’re really starting to piss me off. You die in Limbo and come back. So then, I destroy Limbo and you still come back. I’m gonna kill you I want you to do me a favor; stay dead.”
“Yeah you can try to kill me but I have power now,” Kip said calmly.
“Whatever.” He aimed a straight punch at his father but his father disappeared. Then he reappeared on the other side of the room.
“Told you,” Kip smiled.
“This might be a problem,” Atton realized.
About forty feet over Nirvana, Werly, and CJ were having problems of their own with Berzerk. Berzerk was on top of Nirvana, beating her.
Werly and CJ pulled her off but she was scratched up and a bloody mess. Berzerk had the taste of Nirvana’s blood waving about in her mouth. She licked her furry lips and began to attack again. Just then, Berzerk felt rapid gunfire in her back. She turned around and she saw Ralph and Reggie.
“Did someone call for reinforcements?” Reggie asked. No one knew exactly how Ralph and Reggie got inside the Hill, they were just glad they had.
Berzerk felt the shots, but barely. Nirvana regained her balance and gave Berzerk and sharp round kick to the chest, leaving Berzerk gasping for air. Ralph and Reggie tossed CJ and Werly a pair of handguns. Nirvana preferred to use her fists. Now it was five on one. Then they surrounded and unloaded on Berzerk. It wasn't exactly a fair fight but who said they had to play by the rules.
Atton was getting his butt handed to him. All around him, he saw ten Kips and didn't know which one was real. He punched straight at one, only to be struck in the back by another.
“All my life all I wanted to do was help people.” Kip elbowed his son in the back. “But everybody wanted me dead!” He showed him an illusion of his mother.
“Mom,” Atton walked towards his mother. He reached out and tried to touch her but his hand passed through her.
“Yeah, you miss her, don't you?” He grabbed Atton and shoved him against a wall. “Well you can't have her! I couldn't even have her! She deserved to die,” he said bitterly.
He grabbed his dad by the throat and turned him against the wall. “No, she’d done nothing wrong! You don’t deserve to talk about her like that!” Kip kneed him in the stomach, and then pushed him out of the way.
Ralph tossed Atton a gun, “Atton catch,” he yelled.
Atton rammed Kip into a wall then held the gun to his head. “You move, you die,” Atton threatened. “I will ask you one question and you had better give a straight answer. How did you know everything that was going to happen?”
“I told you,” he said gasping for breath. “I injected us both. We both had the power. I have lived through everything you have.”
“How,” Atton said furiously, “I think I’d remember that.”
“You should. Remember the Grim Reaper that gave you the power? The scythe can only be passed down through a bloodline,” Kip explained.
“How were you yourself and the Reaper?” Atton demanded.
“I broke the scythe,” he said simply. “Son, you…” his words were cut short by a whack with Atton’s gun knocking him to the ground.
“Go ahead,” Kip prompted his son, “kill me.”
Atton kicked him sharply in the ribs. “I should, after everything you’ve done to me, why shouldn't I kill you? Why do you deserve to live?” His father was silent. Atton cocked the gun and pressed it to his father’s head. Atton’s hands shook violently; his finger inched towards the trigger, ready to pull it at any moment but, he threw the gun aside, proclaiming, “No, I’m not like you.”
“You are weak,” his father yelled. “Even when you have nothing to lose; you do not have the strength to kill!”
“It does not take strength to kill!” Atton retorted. Atton was tired of hearing this. You didn't need to be strong to take someone’s life. An idiot could do it. “It takes strength not to kill.”
I was taught if you’re gonna murder somebody you should face em; tell em why, look em dead in the eye, then waste them. –Marshall Mathers
Vigor, AJ had chosen to face Vigor, which wasn't such a hard task.
“You had your chance to kill me and you refused. You killed my sisters!” AJ kneed him in the stomach. “Killing you won't actually be as…” AJ uppercut him in the jaw, “…satisfying since you've lost one arm.”
“How's this for satisfying?” Vigor gave him a sharp kick to the groin.
“That was a cheap shot you son of a–” Vigor knocked his head back and ran towards the scythe. AJ chased him and clipped him before he got to it, then he took the scythe. “Is this what you want?” AJ mocked him.
AJ knocked Vigor in the head with the end of the scythe.
“AJ, AJ,” Vigor pleaded frantically. “Now AJ, you couldn't kill your own father,” Vigor said, hoping this last idea would work.
“Atton is my father,” AJ angrily replied.
“Atton and I were one and the same. I am the better half,” he lied. “There are pieces of me in you. If you would just embrace your inner demons you could feel my power.”
“I’m not evil,” AJ stated.
“Evil is only evil from a certain point of view,” Vigor coaxed. “You could choose have unlimited power, play by your own rules.”
“I’m not evil,” AJ repeated. “I would never choose to be anything like you.”
“You think you're being brave?” Vigor began. “You think you're doing what’s right. Let me tell you, there is no difference between right and wrong; it all comes down to who has the power to make the rules.”
“What do you mean?” AJ asked.
“I mean what’s right to you isn’t right to me. We live by a different set of rules,” Vigor continued. “But you havethe power to make the rules. With that weapon, you could achieve everything your tiny mind is contemplating. You, Aaron Jacobson, could rule!”
AJ hesitated; he would not mind making the rules. He would not mind being the one in power for a change.
“That scythe,” Vigor whispered, “can do whatever you want it to do. It can affect emotions. It can change history. It can bring people to life.”
AJ immediately thought of his sisters. Vigor had killed them in cold blood, but the scythe could bring them back.
“You mean my sisters,” AJ’s anger mounted. “The two you killed!”
“Now I –I AJ… you,” he began.
“Shut up!” AJ held the scythe to Vigor’s neck.
“Do it,” Vigor prompted. “Kill me.” AJ stood there, his eyes locked on Vigor. “I knew it you don't have the guts. When it comes down to it you don’t have the balls to take a man’s life.”
“You're not a man,” AJ replied. “You’re nothing but pure evil and evil always deserves to die,” AJ said with ice in his voice. “There is a difference, between wrong and right, Vigor. Trust me; you're wrong in so many ways.”
“Then do it,” Vigor provoked. AJ jabbed the scythe into his stomach. Vigor felt the blood leak from his stomach. “This isn’t over,” Vigor said calmly accepted his fate. Not even a second after he said that, Vigor’s head was lying apart from his body. His eyes still held a vicious stare.
AJ stared at the head for a moment, mesmerized by something unspoken. “Dad, catch!” He tossed Atton the scythe.
Werly, Ralph, Reggie, and Nirvana were on the verge of defeating Berzerk. Nirvana delivered a hard cross to her jaw nearly snapping it out of place. Then she gave Berzerk a sharp uppercut to the stomach forcing her to cough up blood. Berzerk looked over to Atton.
“NO!” Berzerk screeched. Just then, a shot was heard, the bullet pierced Berzerk’s skin and the burning lead spiraled through her brain and came out of the other side. Berzerk’s eyes went black, her body cold, and she fell to the ground, dead.
“Fight to kill,” Nirvana said holding a gun. “You’ve no more reason to fight.” Nirvana ran to Atton.
“You don't have to do this. Vigor and Berzerk are both dead. Stay here, with me,” Nirvana beseeched him.
“I can’t,” he said regretfully. “I told you, this won’t end here. I have to go back.” Nirvana paused in grief. “Don't ever forget me,” Atton whispered to her. “I could never,” she said, her voice breaking.
“And don't –don't let people like Minerva tell you that I’m not real. I’ll always be with you, in one way or another,” he continued.
“Whatever destiny this world has planned for us, will be and in case those destinies take us different ways,” Nirvana said, “don't forget… you’re still that goofy kid who I met fifteen years ago.”
Atton could not help but to smile. “And you're still the beautiful girl that saved my life,” he ended.
“It doesn't have to end like this,” she pleaded. “You could –”
“I can’t, I have work to do,” he told her. “I wish I could stay but this is just where my destiny takes me. Even if I never see you again, I love you Nirvana, don't you ever forget that.”
For a moment, Atton thought of what would happen if he did stay. He would be happy and Vigor was dead. However, it still would not be right. Vigor could easily re-manifest himself inside of Atton. “Goodbye,” he finally said with a kiss. Somehow, he knew she’d get over him but he would never stop thinking about her. Atton waited for her to reply. Nirvana did not have the heart to say goodbye to her love, Atton Brown. Everything around them stopped, and he stared deeply into her eyes. He knew if he truly loved her, he had to do what was best, even though if hurt. Letting her go pained Atton more than Vigor ever could.
Atton forcefully brought the scythe to his knee and snapped it in half. In doing so, he opened a cosmic rift projecting him back through time. Breaking the Grim Reaper's scythe led the holder back to the day of his or her choice. All they needed was an intense concentration. Knowing this would happen, he concentrated on when he wanted to be, and was there.
“I love you too,” Nirvana said, trying to control her emotions. It was no use; she could not stop her tears. AJ, Werly, Ralph, Reggie, and CJ tried to comfort her, the best they could.
Nirvana shrugged them off and left the Hill. As she did things around her began to change. Atton had done it.