“Carter, this isn’t one of your dumb video games,” Raina said. “There’s no such thing as demons.”
“Then what do you call that?!” I retorted, the two of us staring up at the big red monster, our mouths wide open.
Tilting its head vertically and horizontally, I dunno which was which but it was doing both, the beast kept screeching with great volume.
“I can see from the lightning around you that you’re plenty scared,” Raina said. “Why aren’t you blasting that thing?”
“It might be friendly!” I countered, shouting to make sure she could hear me.
Raina reached into her bag and pulled out her gold lipstick stick. She popped out the sword in it and pointed it at the demon.
“Sorry Carter, but I’m not taking that chance.” Raina looked up at the flying beast. “It doesn’t matter what you are, because in a second, you’ll be dead.”
At least she wasn’t smiling at the prospect of killing something.
“We don’t know what this thing is capable of,” I said.
Almost too fast for us to react, the creature flew down toward us and swung at Raina with one of its claws. I jumped behind a table out of instinct, while Raina block the beast’s attack with her sword.
So the thing wasn’t friendly after all. Or maybe it was and it just didn’t like hearing Raina talk about killing it. Either way, Raina was in danger.
She wouldn’t be able to hold back the demon’s claw for long. Her hands were shaking and underneath her dress, I could see her bicep bulging.
“Carter, blast this fucker!”
I stood up slowly, deciding to try and reason with the beast.
“Hi there,” I said without a clue of what I was supposed to say here. I may have been optimistic about this thing’s nature, but fear was still overwhelming me. “I’m sorry Raina brought up killing you. That was wrong.” Raina was actually staring at me while I was saying this, and she looked pissed at me for trying to reason with the thing trying to kill her. “Now if you’ll just stop attacking her, I think we can talk this out.”
The beast didn’t emote at all, but it did cease its attack, flying higher into the air. Unfortunately, Raina was leaning forward while she was holding the creature back, so she fell over when the demon suddenly floated away.
“Ew, ew, ew,” Raina exclaimed dusting off her dress. “Carter, if I didn’t throw out my clothes after wearing them, you would so be covering the dry cleaning bill for this.”
“Which reminds me: How much does being your pool boy pay?”
She stood up and said, “Minimum wage.”
The creature unleashed another deafening scream.
Covering my ears, I asked, “What is your name?”
For a few seconds, it just breathed in and out. Whatever this thing was, it apparently needed oxygen.
“Helluva voice,” Raina whispered.
“HERE to KILL!”
The demon swooped down at Raina once more, this time alternating between its arms to swing at her each time she blocked one of his attacks with her sword.
Raina was being careful to keep her balance this time, utilizing some really fancy looking footwork, but the creature was driving her backwards, toward the door.
“I think we can confirm this thing isn’t very nice,” Raina said. “Shoot it!”
I nodded. If this thing brought the fight outside, I wouldn’t be able to use my powers without risking someone seeing me.
Keeping my eyes square on the beast’s creepy face, I directed the electricity from around my body into my hands, and proceeded to fire two blasts at the demon.
It didn’t even flinch.
“God damn it!” I whined.
“Quit being a little bitch Carter!”
Raina was almost out the door. I had to stop it now.
I charged up another blast and fired directly at the demon’s head.
It didn’t even flinch.
“Why do I even bother?” I resigned.
With nowhere else left to go, Raina, as fast as she could, parried one of the demon’s blows,opened the door behind her, and ran.
What was I supposed to do? I couldn’t let Raina fight that thing alone. But was it really worth exposing my secret identity to essentially do nothing?
Didn’t even have to think about that.
Of course it was. I had to help stop that thing before it hurt Raina or anyone else.
Without hesitating for another moment, I raced out of the pizzeria into the night.
My previous blasts had failed to do anything, so I stared as hard as I could at the creature’s face, trying to scare myself.
Out of nowhere, I saw Smog’s face appear over the demon’s and laugh like a maniac. I shook my head, realizing it was just a hallucination, but also realizing a fear of mine I’d had since my fight with Exposure had just been confirmed.
No one but Smog could incite real fear in me.
I could still get scared, and I did still find the beast intimidating, so while I could still make lightning, it would likely never be as powerful as it was against enemies I’ve faced earlier in my super hero career.
Even so, I couldn’t just do nothing, but once I was all charged up, I blasted the demon, this time hitting its wings. It reacted by spreading its wings out side, most likely out of reflex more than any damage I’d done.
With its momentary halting, Raina took advantage of the time she had and lunged forward, stabbing at the demon’s chest with her sword.
To our horror, it wasn’t even able to pierce the creature’s skin.
“Come on,” I could hear Raina mutter as she gripped her sword with both hands, basically trying to just force the blade in.
“Kill,” the demon said, punching Raina in the gut, sending her flying across the street.
“Raina!” I shouted,a burst of electricity engulfing me.
Maybe my enemies couldn’t scare me any more. But no matter what I went up against, nothing would ever make the sight of the people I care about getting hurt any less scary.
“Carter!” Raina shouted from the ground, coughing. “Just run. It’s too strong.”
“Not a chance,” I said, turning from Raina to the beast. “I don’t know what your problem is, or even what you are, but you are NOT killing her!”
Propelling myself into the air by firing lightning out of my feet at the ground, I flew over to the beast. I moved all the surrounding electricity around me to my right fist, and I punched the creature right in the face.
“Ow,” I moaned, as I fell to the ground in pain. “God damn it.”
My assault had failed to accomplish anything, with the exception of turning the beast’s attention from Raina to myself. I tried to take that as a victory, regardless of however microscopic.
It opened its mouth up wide, tilted it down, and breathed out a purple goo down at me. An involuntary blast fired out of my chest, but the goo just encased the lightning and continued its motion to strike me.
“Ah,” I groaned. “Fuck me that hurt.”
The goo had evaporated after hitting me, but there was now a hole in my shirt, and what I hoped was just a burn mark on my skin.
“Carter!” Raina shouted. “You’re gonna pay for that one, ugly.”
To my shock, Raina appeared to teleport herself from the ground to standing on the demon’s shoulders.
“Take this,” she shouted as she repeatedly attempted to drive her sword through the creature’s skull.
“Since when can you teleport?” I asked, shocked.
“I dunno,” she answered, continuing her assault.
“How can you teleport?”
“Hell if I know,” she growled, her frustration clear from her tone and facial expression. “Might just be a development in my powers. Might be an act of God. For all I know it might even be because of this awesome drug I’ve been doing. Right now I don’t really care.”
“Wait, you do drugs?” I asked in horror.
“This is not the time for this Snipey!”
Raina was starting to look tired, but as a consolation, it looked like the demon didn’t even realize she was on top of him.
I stood up, one hand over my burn mark, and with my other hand, I fired at the demon.
Surprise, surprise, it had no effect.
Raina spooked me a little by teleporting herself from atop the demon to a few inches away from me.
“We can’t hurt this thing. At all. We have to run.”
“If you’re coming with me, I’ve got no objections to that.”
We nodded at each other, and darted off down the street.
“Kill!” the beast shouted once more, flying after us.
“So,” I said, really glad that most of the training I’d done to this point was cardio. “How much does the rest of your staff get paid? Minimum as well?”
“Pay them?” she asked rhetorically. “Please, they’re illegals. They do what we want or Daddy deports their asses.”
“That’s pretty fucked up, Raina.”
“You know what else is fucked up?”
“The fact that you keep judging me while we’re running for our goddamn lives!”
“Sorry,” I said, trying to refocus my thoughts.
“It’s cool,” she responded. “So I just showed you a new trick of mine. You got anything new?”
Holy shit, I did. I’d been so freaked out and worried I’d completely forgotten about it.
“Actually yeah,” I said. “Since Malcolm was too busy to train us last month, I started seeing what I could with my electromagnetism.”
“Less talking, more doing please.”
As I charged up my hands, the demon fired another glob of purple goo out of its mouth at a still in motion Raina. Rather than teleporting it somewhere, she simply just hopped over it. The goo hit the ground, and it melted a hole in it.
“Why didn’t you try teleporting that, like, onto that things head?” I asked, almost ready to try out my new maneuver.
“I did try. Didn’t work.”
I nodded, and went to work.
Still running, I aimed my hands at a nearby flagpole. I turned my wrists, and used my lightning to bend the flagpole, stretch it out, and strike down the demon.
“Nice,” Raina said. “Doesn’t look like you really hurt it though.”
“Wasn’t trying to.”
With the creature on the ground, I further manipulated the metal, and tied it around the demon.
“Alright. What now?” Raina asked.
“Now, you take everything you see right now, and drop it on this fucker.”
“There might just be a brain in there yet, Snipey,” she joked, I hope, as she took a mailbox, some barrels, and a manhole cover, and made them fall on the beast.
None of the attacks phased the creature, the demon effortlessly breaking out of the metal trap.
“Nothing works on this thing,” I said. “Damn it.”
“KIIIIIIIIIIIIILL!!!!!!!!!!” The beast shreeked.
“So Carter, any chance we can still reason with this thing?” Raina asked, actually showing fear for once.
“I don’t think so Ray,” I said, attempting to comfort her by gripping her hand.
“Good!” she shouted unexpectedly, taking her hand away from mine. “Because there’s oil dripping out of those barrels, and you’ve got lightning.”
“So?” I asked, not getting her point.
“So, burn the bastard!”
Science wasn’t something I really understood, but Raina knew a lot about it, so I trusted that she knew what she was talking about here. Since I wasn’t too sure about how this would work, I didn’t use full blasts on the oil, instead firing tiny bolts at it out of my finger tips.
Based on what I’d seen in movies, I was half expecting a big explosion, but that wasn’t what happened. Rather, a fire erupted from the oil, immolating the demon.
“Yeah, bitch!” Raina shouted. “How do you like that?!”
This thing was trying to kill us. We had no choice but to fight back. Even so, I couldn’t help but feel bad for the beast. Who knows what it was doing here?
“SCREEEEE!” the beast shouted, flapping its wings rapidly, causing the fire to start spreading.
“Uh, Raina,” I said, panicking a little at the sight of the incoming flames.
“Yeah I see it,” she responded.
Raina turned her head around back and forth, surveying the area,
As we stepped back away from the blazing fire, Raina said, “Follow my lead.”
She teleported herself over to what I could now make out to be a fire hydrant and used her sword to open the nozzle, water gushing out out of it with Raina teleporting it over to the spreading fire.
“I think that’s my cue!” I shouted, firing a full powered blast at the demon, who was getting covered in water.
The boom I’d expected earlier came now, a bright, huge explosion coming from the demon. With how close I was, I was sent flying back onto my ass.
“Ouch,” I muttered.
Smoke surrounded the area, and the fire seemed to have all been put out.
“Weird,” Raina said, giving me a hand up. “That should not have caused an explosion like that. It must have something to do with the creature’s biology.”
I nodded, more interesting in what that thing was than what it was made of.
“So I just worked up an appetite,” Raina said. “Wanna go raid the pizzeria?”
“Sure. Just so long as you leave mon…” I stopped short as the smoke cleared, and I saw the demon flying a few inches above the ground, not a scratch on it.
“You’re shitting me,” I said.
Far faster that it had moved before, the beast flew towards us and slashed Raina’s chest before ascending to the sky.
Raina moaned in pain, covering the deep looking claw marks with her hand. She almost fell down, but I caught her, letting her rest an arm around my shoulder. Raina only weighed around 90 pounds so it wasn’t too hard to hold her up.
“Need…healer,” Raina said in deep pain before falling unconscious.
“Right. Lets get out of here,” I said, trying to escape the area.
Unfortunately, that effort proved unsuccessful as the demon descended, looking to slash Raina again.
Since I was supporting her, I was able to spin both of us around and take the hit for her.
“Ahhhhh!” I cried out as both of us fell down.
“Kill,” the demon repeated.
My body was charged up. I could feel the tingling and the fear coursing through me. But I just felt so weak.
“You don’t have to do this,” I moaned.
The demon bent over, and prepared to deliver a killing blow.
“SHI’IR SHEED LIGHANAM!” A man shouted. “SHI’IR SHEED LIGHANAM!”
The demon gave its familiar screech one more time before fading away.
Unsure of what had just happened, but glad that it did, I let my head fall to the ground. I just didn’t have the strength to hold it up anymore. Raina’s eyes were closed already, and since I was tired as Hell, I decided to close mine as well.
“Oh shit,” I heard a woman say. “Are you two okay?”
“Please tell me you two are still alive,” the man who’d been chanting said.
I reopened my eyes, and looking up, I saw two Semites. Both of them looked to be in their late 20’s. The man had short black hair and a large beard, while the woman with him had a really cute face and wore a blue headscarf.
“Hey, Del, that girl!” the woman exclaimed. “That’s Fencer.”
“I think you’re right,” Del responded. “Lets help them up.”
The woman helped Raina up, while Del assisted me. With the ease with which he lifted me up, Del seemed to be pretty strong.
“She needs a healer,” I groaned, her getting fixed up being my top priority.
“You look like you could use one yourself,” Del said, he and his friend walking us over to a car.
“Believe me, I’ll be fine.”
Pressing down on my chest, I could feel the electrical charge going on inside me, healing my wounds.
I was never going to get used to that feeling.
We got into the car, Del taking the driver’s seat, his friend riding shotgun, and I sat down in the back. We laid Raina down so that her body could rest, her head resting on my lap.
“Who are you two?” I asked as the car started.
“I’m Del. And this is my wife Badrah.”
“Nice to meet you,” Badrah said.
“Mutual,” I said, tugging on my collar. Staring down at Raina, I asked, “You two mind telling me what the Hell we were just fighting?”
The two stared at each other, guilt on their faces.
“Honestly, we don’t know exactly,” Badrah answered.
“Around two months ago, we took in a kid who had no where else to go,” Del started. “He seemed kind, and more than anything else, desperate. What we don’t know were some of his interests.”
I caught his drift.
“Like summoning demons?” I asked.
“He’s a good boy, really,” Badrah said. “He’s just been..struggling. Please don’t think he wanted to hurt anyone. This was all just a mistake. When we saw what he’d made, when he saw it, he looked horrified and half dead, and told us what to chant to get rid of it. “
If there really was mysticism in the world, then that would mean there really was a witch with the power to kill Smog. Hell, it might even give some insight as to just what Smog was. And if magic users were powerful enough that they scared Smog, than this kid might be our best chance at stopping him.
“Do…” I grunted from the pain. “Do you think I could meet this kid? After we get Raina to a hospital I mean.”
Again, the married couple exchanged glances.
“We recognize Fencer from the news,” Del said. “But who are you?”
Same physical build. Same hair. Almost the same voice. I’d been fighting alongside Fencer.
Why did it seem that no one, no matter how intelligent, could figure out who I was?
A little electricity in my hand, which I was keeping hidden, I answered Del.
“Just of friend of Raina here. But if this kid has issues to work out, I think I could be of service.”
“You’re a therapist?” Badrah asked.
“No, I answered, not wanting to lie. “But,” I stared down at Raina again. “I’m good at helping kids work through their problems.”
“Hm,” Del said. “Alright. If the hero who stopped that offender to Allah, Queen, trusts you, than so do we.”
Badrah nodded, smiling.
“And we don’t need to go to a hospital,” she said. “Our neighbor is a doctor. He should be able to fix her up in just a few minutes.”
“Thanks.” I smiled. “A lot.”