Cali's Demons

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 4 (v.1)

Submitted: July 30, 2012

Reads: 57

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Submitted: July 30, 2012

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Chapter IV

Taka and the Akuma boy stood outside an old warehouse, their silhouettes dark against the orange dawning sky.  They had walked out of the Holy Relics building without being stopped and had hijacked a car; the one that Taka had driven there in had been towed.  The Akuma boy had led Taka straight to the warehouse where they circled several times before parking in the delivery bay.  Taka’s arm had been restored to its normal strength and he stretched it, passing his sword over his head and into a crescent moon combination. 

The boy sat on the roof of the car, his feet dangling down the side.  “Shouldn’t we go in?  I didn’t bring you to a trap or anything.  I’m supposed to inherit Luca’s position on the Council, I’m not going to do something stupid and risk that promotion.”

Taka passed his sword from hand to hand, testing its weight.  “OK, let’s go.”

Too tired and frustrated to come up with a plan, Taka walked to the door, smashed open the lock and walked into the building.  Shrugging, the boy followed him.  Taka’s skin prickled and he kept his hand on his hilt.  The whole building stunk of Akuma.  They had been here recently.

“Hey Taka.”

“Shhh!”

Their voices bounced off the dark walls and crates, surrounding them with echoes.

“No ones here.  I can sense them better than you can.  Check this out.” The boy tapped Taka’s shoulder.  He stomped against the ground, filling the room with a tinny ringing.  “It’s hollow.”

He moved a few steps over and stomped again.  With each step, the hollow sound echoed from under his feet.  “There’s a tunnel stretching under this whole part of the floor.”  He reached the wall.  “But where does it begin?”

Taka moved several crates out of the way so that he could see both ends of the warehouse.  He inspected the other end, then Taka heard a scraping sound and a loud “oomph.”  He turned, his sword instantly appearing in his hand.  The Akuma had disappeared.

“Hey.  Hey!” Taka kept his voice quiet, silently moving towards where the Akuma boy had been.

“Taka!” A voice from nowhere made him jump.

“Where are you?”

“I think I fell through the ground.  There was a brick protruding from the wall and when I shoved it, a trap door must have opened.”

Taka saw the brick and pushed it and the ground gave way beneath him.  He fell through the darkness and the ground suddenly appeared beneath him.

“Ow! Get off.”

Taka rolled off the boy, careful not to touch him with the sword.

“You almost stabbed me with that thing!”

The two boys scuffled around in the darkness until the Akuma cursed, “This is stupid.”

He whispered a word and violet flames flickered across the boy’s hand.  Taka shivered at the eerie light that brightened the tunnel, the same colour as the boy’s eyes.  The purple light flickered along the walls, showing a long thin tunnel filled with cobwebs.

“Think there are any traps?”

The boy shrugged, striding forward.  “Can’t know until we try.”

Growling, Taka followed the boy, careful to stay in the globe of light.  He did not want to find out what was waiting in the shadows.  They walked for a while, Taka watching the Akuma’s back.  Before today, he had never met a level six Akuma.  He knew that they did not go on bloody rampages, but they did not hesitate to kill.  They were emotionless monsters, no matter what form they came in.  This Akuma did imitate a person well.  His voice, hand gestures, even his expressions looked human.  The only give away was his eyes.

“Hey Taka.  Do you hear that?” The boy had stopped and pressed his ear against the wall.

Taka stood still, focusing on the sounds around him.  After a moment, he heard it.  A soft rumbling filled the tunnel, like a breaking wave or a bus going overhead.

“We’re not anywhere near a subway are we?”

Before the boy could answer, the sound escalated, drowning out all other noises.  The ground shook, forcing the boys to their knees.  Taka’s hands were glued to his ears, his head spinning.  He screwed his eyes shut as a think layer of dust and cobwebs fell down on top of them.  The rumbling subsided and Taka tried to get to his feet, his legs feeling like jelly.  The boy stood over him, shaking the dust from his hair, a grey ghost with purple eyes.  His mouth moved, but Taka didn’t hear him, his ears ringing.  The boy’s eyes widened and, before Taka could react, grabbed his arm and dragged him down the tunnel.  Taka tripped over his own feet, struggling to keep up as the boy ran down the tunnel.  As they turned a corner, Taka glanced backward.  Dirt and rubble cascaded down the tunnel, giant rocks rolling along the ground chasing after them like a depraved animal.  They reached a fork and the boy turned right, plowing through a small cave opening.  The avalanche sped past them, a boulder lodging itself in the opening.

Taka shook his head, the ringing getting fainter.  “Well, that was exciting.”

Realizing the Akuma still had a hold on his arm, he reared back, slamming himself into a wall.

The boy raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. 

“Where are we?”

The boy opened his palm and flicked his fingers, sending the flames shooting through the room.  The dark room was empty, the walls and ceiling slick with florescent goo that reflected the flames.  Something large was in the far corner, growing out of the wall.  The flames circled it for a moment, showing pulsing bubbles and long blistering cuts that curved along the thing, leaking a green liquid.  The thing moved and Taka halfway withdrew his sword before the boy shook his head.

“It’s not going to hurt us.”

The thing shuffled, a long pitiful wailing filling the room.  The thick chain that connected the Akuma to the wall clinked against the ground.  It turned one large red eye towards them, a thin milky film making the eyes misty.  The Akuma was blind.  It pushed itself up against the wall, trying to get away from the boys.

“Poor thing,” The boy murmured.  “He’s been tortured beyond sanity.”

Taka observed the Akuma, watching its large teeth quiver behind a broken jaw.

“Akuma experimentation.”  The boy’s voice changed, becoming deeper and menacing.  His face changed and Taka took a step back.  “Nothing should be treated like this, Akuma or human.”

The rooms temperature dropped, the flames sputtered and died, casting the room back into darkness.  Taka felt frozen, his blood turning to ice.  Then the moment passed.  The boy looked back at Taka, his face normal.  The flames flared back to life.  It all happened so quickly, Taka would have thought it never happened save for the icy sweat that covered his back.

“You should put him out of its misery.”

Taka looked at the whimpering creature.  “How can you expect me to kill it?”

“You kill Akuma all the time.  Why should this be any different?”

“But it’s defenseless!”

“It’s an Akuma.  It’s your job as a Hunter to kill Akuma.  You consider them monsters.”

“But to kill something like this…only a monster would do that.”

The boy stared into Taka’s eyes, purple versus blue.  “Who were you saying the monsters were?”

They stared at each other, Taka’s hand straying towards his sword while the Akuma boy’s flames grew in size and heat, slowly moving towards them.  A scream came from above them, shattering the tension.

“Cali,” they said together.

 

The sword shone with a magnificent light, destroying the darkness that pushed against it.  Cali stared at the sword, unable to take her eyes off it.  It shimmered in front of her, more a mirage of light than anything real.

The voice pressed against her, pushing her forward.  “Reach for it.  Pull Excalibur from its stone imprisonment.”

A longing filled Cali.  A longing to touch the sword, to feel the sturdy hilt in her hand the test the sharp edges.  Cali reached for the sword, expecting her hand to go through it.  Instead, the golden hilt became solid in her hand, the carved rivets fitting perfectly in her palm.  The hilt was warm, like a living breathing thing.  Cali gripped it with both hands and yanked upward.  A searing pain travelled up her arm, penetrating her mind.  Through the pain, Cali could feel herself being sucked into the sword, her consciousness sliding from her body and down the cold blade.  She was pulled into the stone, surrounding her in darkness.  The fire in her arms subsided, leaving a dull ache.  Cali looked around, a soft light coming from nowhere and everywhere.  She was cocooned beneath the earth, surrounded by stone.  The voice whipped around her, searching for a way out.  The voice smashed against Cali, making her gasp for breath.

“No!” It yelled.  “NO!”

Filled with the spirit of the voice, Cali screamed, hurtling herself against the rock.  She knocked against the wall, frantically scratching.  Cali fell to the ground, her energy spent.  She watched as dirt crumbled between her bloody fingers, sprinkling along the ground.  No one could hear her.  No one would save her.  The voice screamed and screamed.  A soft humming came from somewhere.  Cali pressed her hands against the ground, feeling odd warmth.  Cali brushed away a layer of dirt, the humming filling her ears, wiping away the voice.  Cali dug deeper and deeper, not noticing when the dirt turned to blood, mixing into mud.  Something glinted in the mud and Cali grasped it, pulling out a thin sword.  It had an undecorated hilt; the thin silver blade shining in Cali’s mudded hands.

“Yes,” the voice cackled.  “So this is where it’s hidden!”

“Cali!”

A booming voice broke through the voice.  It seemed oddly familiar, like the ghost of a faraway dream.

“Cali!” It yelled again and the stone shattered like glass.

Cali looked up to see a pair of violet eyes staring down at her.

 

“It came from here.”

Taka and the boy pushed against the wall opposite the Akuma.  Another scream rented the air, echoing through the room.  Taka yelled and threw himself against the wall.

“This is useless.  We have to go back the way we came and move the rubble.”  The boy started back towards the blocked opening, then stopped when he saw what Taka was holding.  “You can’t be serious.  That thing’s going to destroy half of whatever’s on the other side.”

Taka pressed the device against the wall at head height.  Little suckers popped out of the device and attached themselves to the wall.  Its face shone red then green.  Taka shoved in earplugs and held a set out to the boy.

“That thing’s experimental.  You have no idea what it’ll do.”

“Better hurry, unless you want to spend the rest of your life deaf.”

The boy grabbed the earplugs and stuck them in his ears just in time.  A resounding explosion shook the room, sending the boys flying.  When the dust cleared, a large hole had been punched into the wall.  Blue gelatinous-like substances floated forlornly through the rubble, emitting faint light.

“Those definitely weren’t there before.”

“What?”

The Akuma boy motioned for Taka to remove his earplugs.  “I said, those weren’t there before.”

“They’re the left over energy from the device.  Lavi’s been testing them.  Basically they’re energy taken from dead Akuma and when tightly packed, they explode.”

Taka and the boy moved several large chucks of bricks, picking their way to the hole.

“Your friend invented these?” The boy prodded one with a finger, sending it floating away from him.

“Yeah, he…” Taka stopped, staring out at the room in front of them.

A large metal container hung from the ceiling, filling the room with the sound of whirring machinery.  The machinery tented the room, long tubes filled with shining liquid sinking into the floor.  One small egg-shaped container was set up in the middle of the room, millions of tiny tubes stretching from it.  The container was filled with a luminescent green liquid and floating, suspended in the liquid was…

“Oh my god.”  Taka stared up at Cali’s face, her eyes closed, a mask concealing half of her face.  Taka pressed his hand against the glass which was cold as ice.  “We have to get her out of there.”

The Akuma boy joined Taka.  “I suggest you take a step back.”

Reluctantly, Taka retreated, watching the Akuma brace himself against the glass, his eyes closed.  The glass beneath his fingers turned white, steam rising into the air.  Slowly, the glass melted and turned to liquid, drops flowing down the side.  When the green liquid flowed through the holes, it came into contact with the boy’s hands, where it turned to steam that rose up to the ceiling.  The boy reached through the liquid, turning it to steam, grabbed Cali and pulled her from the container. 

Taka ran to them, ripping off Cali’s mask.  “She’s still breathing.”  For some reason, he felt like laughing.

The boy leaned over Cali.  “Cali?  Hey Cali, talk to me!”

Cali’s eyelids flickered, showing the whites of her eyes.

“She’ll be alright.  Help me lift her.”

The boy helped lift Cali onto Taka’s back, wrapping her arms around his neck.

“How are we supposed to get out?”

The boy pointed to a set of stairs that were hidden behind the machinery.

An artificial voice suddenly echoed around the room, startling Taka and almost making him drop Cali.  “Self-destruct activated.  Starting in 2 minutes.  1:59.  1:58.”

Taka and the boy looked at each other then ran up the stairs.

 

When Cali opened her eyes, she was lying on her bed.  The room around her was quiet, sun beams coming from the skylight rested against her pillow.  Cali shut her eyes, breathing in the familiar scent.  A crash came from below her, followed by a string of swear words.  Cali stretched her muscles, allowing the blanket to fall off her.  She was sore, as through she’d been run over by a steam roller.  Parts of her itched and Cali pulled off her sweater, standing in front of her mirror.

“Whoa.  That is definitely not normal.”

Two handprints were burned into her skin, the skin bright red and swollen.  One wrapped around her right wrist while the other was stamped on the top of her left shoulder.  The handprints were burned into her skin and itched like hell.  Cali rubbed some of Hectors salve on the burns, soothing her skin before replacing her sweater.  She walked down the stairs, following the sound of murmuring voices.  Something tugged at her mind, as though something was out of place.  Lavi, Taka and Selena were sitting in the living room, quietly discussing over plans laid out over the coffee table.

“Someone tell me I’ve been dreaming for the past two days.”

They looked up, a wide smile breaking over Lavi’s face.  “Cali!”  He pounced on her, giving her a big bear hug.  “I would have come sooner, but my teacher wouldn’t let me go.”

A hand touched Cali’s burned shoulder, sending shivers through her body.  Cali turned and stared into violet eyes.  “You!”

“Nice to meet you.  Officially, at least.  I’m Gryffin.”

“You were at the school.”

“Were you?” Taka’s icy voice lashed across the room.  “I don’t remember you mentioning that.”

“Didn’t I?” Gryffin met Taka’s gaze confidently.

Cali sunk into a chair, Lavi sitting opposite her.  “They’ve been like this for hours.”

“Hours?  How long have I been out for?”

“You don’t remember?”

“Of course not, she was unconscious.”

“Shut up both of you!” Lavi shot at them.  “I swear, if you don’t stop bickering, I’m going slam your heads together!  Anyway, I missed the interesting stuff.  Like I said, I got here after Taka had already left.”

“Wait…” Cali looked around the room, realizing what it was that had been bothering her.  “The Akuma attacked the house, how come this place is so clean?”

Taka spoke up from where he was lounging on the couch.  “Hector sent a whole bunch of Hunters to purge the place and set up new protection spells.  The lawn and foyer are pretty trashed but the rest of the house is fine.  After you…jumped out, I took Amy to HQ and left her with Hector.  Me and,” he waved a hand toward Gryffin, “this Akuma went after you.  You were trapped under a warehouse in some kind of liquid chamber.”

“Oh.” Cali felt lightheaded.  “I don’t remember that.  Why was I down there?”

“The real question is: why didn’t they kill you?”

They sat in silence until Cali couldn’t stand it anymore.  “I’m getting a soda.”

“I’ll do it.”  Taka stood, walking to the kitchen.

Cali looked around the room.  “So, if you guys saved me, why is she here?”

Everyone turned to look at Selena, who had been quietly sitting in the corner of the room. 

“I don’t know.  She was here when we got here.”

“Taka, what happened to your arm?”

Taka’s proffered arm shook, the muscles twitching.  “Just take your drink.”

“The drug must be wearing off.”

“Drug?  What drug?”

“Shut up Akuma.” Taka kicked Gryffin’s chair on the way back to his seat.

“Hey guys, we have something important to talk about.”

“Important?” Taka snorted.  “In the past twenty-four hours, I’ve faced off against a thousand bloodthirsty Akuma, almost got run over by a horn-happy maniac, been repeatedly tackled by the Headquarters guards and saved someone from a building that decided to blow up on me.  I think I’ve done enough important stuff, thank you very much.”

“My brother’s missing.” Selena’s quiet voice filled the room.  “When I woke up this morning, he was gone.”

For the first time Cali focused on the girl.  Her hair was knotted and wild and large bags were under her red eyes.  “How do you know he didn’t just run away?”

“Because these were left behind.”  Lavi handed Taka a pile of small photos.

Taka took one look at them, then placed them face down on the table.  “Ok, something weird is going on.  Why would Akuma, who never kidnap, suddenly kidnap two people?”

Cali reached across the table and grabbed the photos before Taka could stop her.  “Is this me?”  The photo was dark and blurry, showing a person lit up by an eerie green light.  The person’s face was bleached white, a large mask covering the mouth and nose.  “Is this me?

No one responded.

“That’s why I came,” Selena whispered, her voice scratchy.  “I recognized you and I didn’t know what else to do.  My mother called the police, but it just seemed like I needed to come here.”  She looked up at them, tears silently falling from her eyes.  “You guys have to find him.” Selena’s voice broke and Lavi handed her a glass of water from the table.

Cali spoke into the silence.  “We need to call Hector.”

“He won’t answer.  He’s at the annual Council meeting, remember?  He’s not allowed outside contact.  The only way I got to him was to break into their meeting.  Even then, they wouldn’t help me.”

“I don’t think there’s anything else we can do about it.  All I see are five kids with no idea about what’s going on.”

“I can call Luca.”

“No way in hell!” Taka yelled as Lavi and Cali said, “Who?”

“It doesn’t matter who, but we are not getting that bloody-eyed guy to come here.”

“He’s an Akuma advisor and ambassador to the Council.  He knows more about what’s going on than anybody else.” Gryffin said, ignoring Taka.  “He can help us.”

“We do need help,” Lavi said grudgingly.

Cali nodded, “But isn’t he on the Council?  I thought he couldn’t come.”

Gryffin grinned.  “He’ll come.”


© Copyright 2017 Gryffin. All rights reserved.

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