Friday, September 28, 2012

Knife Fight

It seemed as though the showdown taking place directly above my fragile rib cage was boiling down to Azraal versus Gavsot.  They seemed to be the heaviest hitters, and they were the only two who had yet to take any kind of wound.  Each had a blood-dipped knife that could render the other temporarily incapacitated, each was expending as much force as possible to drive that knife into the other's flesh while keeping the other's efforts from success, and each was grunting and straining at the most extreme reaches of their strength and their endurance.

I figured, since I was just laying there uselessly and getting smushed, I might as well do something to tip the scales.  I reached up, grabbed Gavsot's knife-wielding wrist, and yanked down as hard as I could.  To my surprise, that helped.  A lot.  Gavsot's knife went through Azraal's eyeball.  Azraal screamed briefly, but it faded as the bloodstained knife took effect.

General Gavsot stood and extended a hand towards me.  I gripped his wrist and he fluidly slid me out from under Azraal's body and lifted me to my feet.  "Good work," he said.

"Thanks," I replied.  Then it occurred to me that I was supposed to be the supreme ruler around here.  "Uh, you too," I added.
He nodded to his one still-conscious soldier.  "Let's get him back and work the spell before he wakes up." 

Gus sidled up next to me as we watched the soldiers scoop up Azraal's inert form.  " were in there a bit longer than we expected."

"Yeah," I said.  "The perfect plan hit a snag or two."

"A snag?" Gus prompted.

I shrugged.  "Or two," I answered vaguely.  " Um...we should go before Azraal's goons decide to stage a rescue operation."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I positively erupted through the main doors of the Department of Transportation.

Still moving as quickly as I could, but stumbling from my last leap to freedom, I barreled clumsily out in the stifling, stagnant, open air of Hell.  I started to speak, to inform my allies that our enemy was hot on my heels, but before I could eke out a single word, the enemy was on my heels.  He'd dived after me and quite literally grabbed at my ankles.  He failed to get a substantial hold, but he knocked my feet sideways and I collapsed.

Instantly, I was on the bottom of a pileup.

Azraal had thrown himself on top of me and two of General Gavsot's elite soldiers had dutifully attempted to pull him off.  The General himself had then leaped into the fray himself, wielding the blood-dipped knife.  Gus was wisely standing clear and anxiously awaiting an outcome.

Luckily, Azraal regarded the demons in the pile on top of him as more of a threat than the demonized human in the pile beneath him, so rather than stabbing me with his own blood-dipped knife, he took a moment to hack and slash at Gavsot's men.  He got in some pretty good hits.  He cut two of the demons deeply enough for the spell to work.  I don't know if demons can actually pass out, but if a human had done what those demons did, it would have been called passing out. 

Gavsot's other two soldiers came to help out, rolling the unconscious bodies of their comrades out of the way.  But I was still being squashed by four big guys who were all trying to kill something.  It was not comfortable. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Home Stretch

"Somebody cover that fucking door!" Azraal shouted volcanically as rushed toward me.  Apparently he'd gathered his forces on the fourth floor to guard against my escape and I'd circumvented them completely.  The only person I could see between me and the front door was the big-breasted receptionist, who still sat in her chair in the entry way as though she were patiently waiting for the desk to be returned to its proper place. 

With a wave of my hand, I sent pieces of the floors, the walls and the ceiling hurtling chaotically across the paths of my charging adversaries.  It took a few of them down, but Azraal was a little more badass and a lot more determined than his cohorts, so he extricated himself from the commotion almost as easily as though it weren't even happening. 

I was going to get away with it.  I had headed into enemy territory, gotten captured, and now I was about to escape.  I felt awesome.  Even though these guys were chasing me, I was giving them hell for it, and I would easily reach the door before they could overtake me.  I suddenly felt like the ultimate personification of badassery.  As I cut across the reception area and came within twenty feet of the door, I even felt courageous enough to flash a quick wink at the exceptionally well-endowed demon who'd been so distracting when I first came in.  She smiled at me and that fed my ego a little more.  I grinned back as charmingly as I could and quickly refocused my attention on escaping.  I was ten feet away from freedom when Azraal materialized in front of the door.

Shit.  I forgot he could do that teleportation thing. 

I tried to stop, but my momentum kept me hurtling forward.  I saw a flash of the dagger and his hand went up. When his arm snapped forward, I managed to redirect some of that momentum to one side.  The knife whistled harmlessly past my shoulder.  I seamlessly transitioned into a sideways dive and perfectly executed an illegal slide tackle, bringing a very disappointed Azraal down on top of me.  I shoved his tumbling body to the side, threw a quick elbow in his face, and lunged for the door.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Going Down

Azraal had literally dived for the desk.  He'd just barely made it in one desperate bound, too.  He caught himself on the desk, one hand clapped on the corner and the other reaching wildly across the surface, groping for the dagger.

As he turned to throw the knife at me, I focused again, and channeled Left Ear from the Italian Job.  I mentally ripped a hole in every floor of the building and the ceiling above me, and then forced it to become a reality. 

As Azraal spun and hurled the dagger, a chunk of the ceiling above me came loose in a jagged little circle around where the meat hook was mounted.  Simultaneously, the floor beneath my head crumbled, leaving just enough of a hole for my body to fall through.  I'd done it just in time, too, because as I fell, I felt the knife clang off of the meat hook just before I disappeared beneath the floor.  It sent agonizing vibrations along the hook and into my bloody feet, but it was a small price to pay for avoiding its poison.

I hurtled down three floors and collapsed painfully on the ground level.  I was aware, in the back of my mind, that this would probably have killed me if I'd still been completely human.  Instead, I was simply in an intense amount of pain. 

"He's on the ground floor!" I heard Azraal bellow from above me.  "Get him, you dumbfucks!"  I heard some rumbling and considered that perhaps some of the more powerful demons on the fourth floor were about to attempt the stunt I'd just pulled. 

I sat up, hurriedly but gingerly pulled the hook out of my feet, and tossed it aside.  I got to my feet, wincing at the pain, and, realizing that my fate depended heavily on my ability to quit worrying about the pain and just fucking move, I limped forward as fast as I could. 

Azraal erupted through the ceiling behind me, and a few of his security goons were only seconds behind him.  He still had the knife and an unwounded pair of feet.  He was coming fast.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Last Resort

My mind scrambled to find an escape plan as Azraal brought the glass of his blood over from the desk. 

General Gavsot had politely but firmly refused to mount a full assault on Azraal's Department.  He would only wait for me at the entrance.  Gus, however loyal to me he might be, was pretty powerless.  And I had no other friends down here, unless I counted Kivra as an ally.  And even though she'd shown up to miraculously save me from Azraal once before, it seemed that her victory had been due to a tense standoff.  Now we were in Azraal's territory, surrounded by his goons, and his confidence had grown.  Even if I could expect Kivra to swoop in to help--which seemed unlikely--the strategy she'd used last time would no longer fly.

I was on my own.  I was also out of time.  Azraal was bringing the glass to my lips with one hand and pinching my nostrils closed with the other.

So I just did whatever.  I closed my eyes, focused on my desperation, and released its energy.  It sent out a little pulse of something.  The glass shattered in Azraal's hand and the ropes around my arms burst.  It wasn't much, but at least it gave me something to work with.

A brief look of alarm flashed across Azraal's face, but he recovered swiftly, lunging for his desk.  The knife he'd used to subdue me sat by his computer keyboard.  I needed to act just as quickly.  I still hung painfully from the meat hook, but at least now my hands were free, leaving my telekinetic capabilities a little more open.

And then I was suddenly struck with inspiration--I'd do it like the Italian Job.

Monday, September 3, 2012


I was hanging upside down.

This was the first thing I noticed when I groggily opened my eyes.  I was still in Azraal's office, but I seemed to be hanging from the ceiling in the approximate center of the room.

The second thing I noticed was that my feet were in extreme, excruciating, blinding, unbelievably crippling pain.  I realized that I was hanging from some kind of meat hook that Azraal had mounted on the ceiling, and he'd impaled both my feet on it.  A thin trickle of blood was running down my face, up my cheek, and into my eye.  I blinked, but that didn't help much.

I initially tried to make any kind of movement to free myself, but I quickly realized that my arms were bound uselessly at my sides and even the tiniest squirm sent fresh jolts of pain from my feet all the way down my body. 

I heard movement from the corner of the room.  Azraal approached slowly, drinking a thick red liquid from a shot glass.  I was pretty sure it was my blood.

"Oh, good, you're awake," he said tiredly, stopping to stand a few feet in front of me.  I was hung low enough that I had a good view of his ribs.  Straining to see his face was both difficult and painful.  "I've just been finishing off this glass of Giles blood.  Now it's your turn to drink." 

He picked up another shot glass from his desk.  It contained a small amount of what I assumed was his blood.  Once I drank it, he would assume my title and my powers and I'd be just another hopeless human in the merciless cavity of Hell.

Now what?