“Holy shit,” I whispered, still staring down at Badrah’s half eaten corpse.
Maybe I’d just become desensitized to violence, but the horrific sight before me wasn’t what was disturbing me. Badrah was kind. She was good. She’d taken in a scared boy she had no connection to for no benefit to herself, and Carter had told me that she even volunteered at a local orphanage.
Why was she dead, and I was still alive?
If there was a demon somewhere here, and it found me, I was dead. I was barely able to walk, let alone fight. Even so, I had to find Takato, find out what happened here, and find out what was happening before it was too late.
I made my way into the kitchen. Several drawers were open, and a few pieces of silverware laid on the floor. The oven was on, and an abundance of smoke was coming out of it. Opening it up, I got a face full of steam. Once it cleared, I saw a tin tray filled with ash.
Next I made my way into what I assumed was Del and Badrah’s bedroom. The bed was made, but in contrast to that, all of their clothes and jewelry were scattered along the carpet. Something that caught my attention was a wedding picture of Del and Badrah hanging on their wall. They both looked so happy, just to be holding one another. It made me wonder if after everything I’d done, is there anyone I could truly make happy?
Before continuing my search, I figured it would be a good idea to call in some backup. None of us could take on a demon, but something was better than nothing,
“Hey Carter,” I said softly. “I can’t explain much right now, but you need to get over to Del and Badrah’s house right now.”
“Is something wrong?” he asked.
I took a deep gulp.
There was a brief silence.
“I’m on my way,” he said, hanging up.
As I stood in place, I heard a soft cry coming from the couple’s closet. With caution, I approached it, and, foil at the ready, opened it up.
Inside, sitting in a ball, was Takato, crying his eyes out.
“Takato,” I said with sympathy.
Sniffling, he looked up and in an instant, his sadness turned to rage.
“You!” he screamed, tackling me to the ground. I was far from being at full strength, but I was still surprised that he was able to hold me down. For a brainiac, he was pretty strong.
“Takato, what happened to Badrah?!” I asked.
“Your fault!” he screamed. “This is all your fault! Everything is all your fault!”
“What happened?” I repeated.
“When I kill you, no more bad things will happen,” Takato cried.
Damn it. This was getting me nowhere. I didn’t want to do anything more bad to Takato, but I needed answers.
“Why did you kill her?!” I shouted.
Takato’s eyes popped, and his hands shook on my aching shoulders.
He fell back, laying on the carpet.
“I…I didn’t mean to. It was an accident.”
“Takato,” I said softly, sitting up. “I know you hate me more than anyone else, but I’m still a super hero, whose duty it is to protect the people of this city, and I need you to tell me why someone or something ripped into Badrah’s stomach and ate her organs.”
Takato was still crying, but as he sat up himself, he wiped away some of the tears on his face.
“It was meant for you,” he said. “A demon. Another one. But this time, to make…to make sure the job was done, I summoned the demon inside of me. The spell I cast. It should have made it so my only drive was to kill you.” More tears came flooding down his cheeks. “But I couldn’t control it! I wanted to kill everything I saw, from bugs to birds outside my window. And then” he sniffed, “I smelled Badrah. And…I tried to stop myself. Tried to hold myself back. But I couldn’t! And now she’s dead,” he finished, putting his head in his face.
On the inside, I was able to take a small breath of relief. The demon that was inside him was clearly gone, meaning there was no demon to worry about fighting at the moment.
However, Takato was still guilty of murdering someone. It wasn’t like he was possessed by someone else; he summoned the demon into his own body. And that meant…
“I’m so sorry,” I said, putting a hand on his shoulder like Carter or Olivia would when I was feeling down. “But I need to bring you to the police.”
He stared up at me like I’d just told him his Prada shoes looked cheap.
“You mean to confess to your crimes, right?” he asked. “This is your fault as much as mine! I never would have done this if you hadn’t taken everything away from me!”
“I know, and I also know that nothing I do will ever be able to make up for what I’ve done. But the fact remains that you killed a woman.”
“And you killed thousands of men and women! You don’t have the moral high ground here! Tell you what, I’ll confess if you do.”
I clenched my eyes and mouth, and turned my head from side to side.
“I can’t do that Takato. With my skills and resources, I can do more good out here than…”
He cut me off.
“Don’t kid yourself you fucking cunt!” he screamed with passion. “You’re just a rich bitch who doesn’t want to truly pay for her crimes.”
I’d told myself that wasn’t true over and over again. But hearing it out loud…maybe I really was delusional. Maybe I really was just too selfish and scared to go to jail, assuming they didn’t just fry me.
“Maybe you’re right,” I said. “I don’t even know myself, truthfully. But don’t you dare say that I’m not paying for what I’ve done. Every morning, I have to keep myself from cutting my wrists when I look at myself in the mirror. To keep myself from “accidentally” slipping in the shower. To just letting some crazy psycho kill me. I know I don’t deserve a long, happy life. But I’ll be damned if I can’t get some good things done before I go to Hell.”
“Kusoon’na,” he muttered in Japanese. I think it translated to a repetition of “fucking cunt.”
“I’ll vouch for you,” I said. “Help explain what happened. But we need to go the cops, and more importantly, you need a therapist.”
“Please,” an unfamiliar voice said, approaching us. “That’s not what the boy needs.”
Entering the bedroom was three individuals. The man who’d been talking was in front. He was a bald, latino man, with tattoos of cobras all over his body. Standing to his left was an African American woman with her hair large, curly, and untamed. And behind the two of them…was Del.
The night we’d met Del, he was a handsome, well groomed, well dressed man. The person who stood before us was none of these things. His head had been shaved, his face was covered in cuts and burns, and his clothes were in tatters.
“Del, who are these people?” Takato asked. “And what happened to you?”
Del walked in front of his companions and reached out his arms.
“The man is named Edwin,” he said in a creepily calm voice. “And this beautiful woman is named China. And they are the people who will bring the Earth its salvation.”
Edwin? Why did that name sound famil…
This was the guy who attacked Carter at the gelato bar. He’d said that this psycho wanted to burn the entire world the ground.
Those marks on Del…the shaved hair and ripped clothes…they’d tortured, brainwashed him.
“What are you talking about?” Takato asked, sniffling.
“Takato,” I said. “I’m sorry. Del’s gone.”
“What are you talking about?” Takato asked. “He’s right there!”
“No, she’s right,” Del said in the same eery voice. “The Del you knew died when you murdered the person who meant the world to me.” Del stared into his hands. “These two, these two wonderful people, did such horrible things to me, showed me the atrocities committed throughout history. Everything must die.” He lowered his arms and stared at us. “And you Takato, will bring the about the end.”
“He’s lost his mind,” I said to Takato. “Don’t listen to anything he…”
I was cut off by Edwin performing a punching motion, sending a large pain into my gut, and pushing me across the room into the bed frame, blood pouring out of both my mouth and all of my open wounds upon impact.
“Takato,” China said with a heavy Jamaican accent. “This girl took away everything from you, with a smile on her face. And sad as it may be, her type is the majority, not the minority. People are horrible. We do not deserve to inhabit this planet. Be honest, do you want to live in a world with people like her?”
Takato turned his head to me, and then looked back at the trio.
“Just look at what you did to my beloved,” Del said. “Her actions turned you into a murderer. Humanity’s evil is contagious, but you have the power to cure it.”
Slowly, Takato stood up.
“What can I do?” he asked.
“No!” I shouted.
“Your ability to summon demons is a gift,” China said. “We’ve done the research. Follow our lead, and you will be able to break the barrier between Earth and Hell, and obliterate all of the evil that contaminates the planet.”
“Stop this now!”
Edwin made another punching motion, but I was able to roll out of the way of the range of the attack before it could hit me. I drew my foil and leaped in between Takato and the others.
“Child,” Edwin said. “Regardless of how outnumbered you are, your injuries are very evident. Your willpower is great, and it’s what allows you to stand, but there’s nothing you can do to stop us. And it should be even more obvious that with Takato fighting for our cause, none of this world’s so called heroes will be able to save it!”
Suddenly, Del, Edwin, and China were all blasted into the air and across the room…by lightning.
“I know I’m not the best hero ever, but hey…I’d like to take a crack at it.”