Chase

One of the last two natural-born Demon Hunters left in the world, Chase is part of a team that includes her father Caleb and her boyfriend Alex.

They are intent on capturing an enemy who escaped the trap they'd set for several members of his kind.

They want one of them alive to see if they have any information about who killed two of their allies and the whereabouts of Jak the other Demon Hunter.

However tensions between Chase, Caleb and Alex might just threaten the mission and endanger themselves and everyone on the planet.

As the threat they face could prove bigger than anything they've ever confronted before.

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21. Present and Accounted For Chapter 2

Two days ago - After his failed attempt to go in and get Mal out, Alex came out of the building to  his immense relief, saw search and rescue teams had made it around to the front of the building.

 

As the ground outside the collapsed building had broken, caused by the rockets cult members had fired at Chase, the search and rescue left their vehicles some way back and walked in.

 

There was also the matter of the dead bodies of the three Rocnar  beasts Chase had fought and killed laying on the areas that weren't too damaged by the blasts.

 

It shocked Alex to see the carcasses of these huge creatures and wondered how they managed to get hold of and keep three of them, but figured it didn't matter especially now Chase had killed them.

 

He would have liked to have seen that her going against those things, given her mood the last time he saw her, he had to bet it wasn't pretty or well planned out, just an angry onslaught of kicks, punches and plenty of gun play from all the shell casings he could see laying all around, as well as signs of hurried hacking and slashing on the corpses.

 

He was more interested in looking around at the carnage and not the medical technicians examining him and Caleb, who was still unconscious and who he hadn't realised wasn't breathing properly.

 

Alex watched the team of rescue workers go inside, but a medical technician, told him he couldn't wait around to see if they brought Chase and Mal out.

 

Alex got one last look around before a Med-Tech led him away, he saw the teams go in he had no idea how long it would take for them to find them, that's if they find them, and whether they would still be alive.

 

He held out more hope for Chase than he did for his brother of course. Still, he had doubts even she could survive having a building dropped on top of her.

 

The search and rescue workers didn't have the luxury of technology they could use to find anyone buried under the rubble and they didn't have anyone on hand with psychic abilities to search for the brain waves of any survivors. They had to rely on searching by hand gently, carefully removing pieces of rubble one at a time.

 

After hours of searching they uncovered Mal's foot, eventually they got him out he was unconscious with internal bleeding and broken bones, cuts, grazes and immediately rushed to the hospital.

 

Leaving Chase as the only one who had gone in there who was still alive underneath all the debris, the rescue workers didn't know where she was. It wasn't their fault, they didn't even know if there were other survivors to find, Mal and Caleb had been in no fit state to tell them and Alex completely forgot to tell them where she was there, let alone where she was last seen, so they moved away from where she was to search other parts of the structure.

 

Hours Earlier.

A few minutes since being buried inside the collapsed vault, Chase regained consciousness and despite some pain in her arms, her legs and a large gash on the side of her head that was bleeding, she began to dig herself out from underneath it.

 

Her ankles broken, her knees were swollen, the fingers broken earlier had broken again and her dislocated shoulder had popped out of its joint again. She used her relatively uninjured arm to clear all the debris off and was looking for the path she'd have to clear her way through to get out of there.

 

Chase heard the sounds of cracking and realised that the rest of the room and surrounding walls were about to come down on top of her.

 

Realizing that she could survive any injuries she might sustain from falling rubble, she had to wonder if she did would she be able to dig her way out before she ran out of breathable air.

 

Chase pulled herself up on to her feet, breathed deep putting the pain to one side as she looked around for a way out, knowing that she wasn't going to have enough time to dig her way out before the entire building collapsed.

 

Chase saw the box and looked at it, would be a tight squeeze, but I guess I can make it work and fit in there, she thought. She lifted the lid got inside and pulled it back down just in time as the rest of the lower level completely collapsed.

 

Chase squeezed herself in pretty tight she had to bend at the knees to fold her legs underneath her to fit inside. 

 

Straight away knew that it had been a bad idea, she had no way of knowing if this would protect her and no idea if she would be able to dig herself out, of course first she would have to get out of this self-made coffin.

 

Chase had no choice but to lay in there and listen as rubble fell, hitting the lid of the box, she hadn't given a thought to what kind of metal it consisted of. The good thing was that at least it was holding up, she could see the occasional dent appearing, but it wasn't caving in.

 

"Lucky me," she thought.

 

When the collapse finally stopped, Chase uncurled as best she could and positioning herself on her back to give her more room to maneuver as she began trying to push the lid off.

 

Even with all her strength she was barely moving it and she realized that she was getting tired and she was taking longer to catch her breath between exertions as the air in there was getting thinner.

 

Chase felt herself sweating and getting agitated as it was dark, she had little air and she was not fully fit before she jumped into the box, the thought that maybe she had accidentally trapped herself and might never get out was weighing on her mind and she was beginning to panic a little.

 

"Not that fond of enclosed spaces, at least not today anyway," she found herself thinking.

 

She inadvertently made herself laugh when she thought about the situation she found herself in.

 

"Oh well, at least this enclosed space I'm trapped in this isn't closing in on me," she thought, then started laughing hard and even more when she realized, yeah, but this time the airtight death trap is real, the bubble wasn't, I might have convinced myself that it felt real, but it wasn't."

 

Another thought struck her that made her laugh inappropriately, suffocation, all that talk about Demons all those years being taught to fight and kill them. All the lectures from Caleb about how she would be fighting until the end, that one day in the midst of a battle, some Demon would get the better of her and kill her.

 

The idea that suffocation would be her cause of death, she knew she shouldn't do, but she had to smile, as she thought, I imagine he would be disappointed in me, and in her head she was hearing him yell.

 

"How could you let yourself be beaten by thin air, what kind of warrior are you."

 

"You're a disgrace to the noble lineage that came before you," Chase was laughing as she realised she was imagining looking at her father, but now all she could hear coming out of his mouth was blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, accompanied by a lot of arm waving and finger-pointing at her as he got more and more irate.

 

She knew what she was thinking was little more than a parody of all the lectures of his she'd endured in her life, but for a long time now that's what they felt like to her, like she was so used to hearing him yell at her he had become a parody of himself.

 

Her dear father definitely no longer intimidated her the way he used to when she was younger, when he launched into one of those tirades, she had begun more often to picture herself forcibly locking him in one of her weapons trunks in their mobile home.

 

If she was really annoyed by it, she pictured herself killing him, a quick snap of the neck as he was mid sentence  one shot from her pistol or one quick run through with her sharpest blade.

 

She'd never do it of course, angry as he'd been with him today over what he did to her and to the boy, Danion. That was the hardest she'd hit him even then she was drastically holding back, she was sure one punch would his head clean off his shoulders.

 

The joke she had about locking him in a trunk reminded her about some of the training he'd put her through as she grew up, she thought about a cave he had locked her in, using an explosive charge to destroy the way out. Leaving her trapped three hundred meters below ground.

 

That was probably one of the worst things he'd done, well that plus the fact the first thing he did when he saw her was to berate her for taking too long after emerging three days later, out of the hole she'd made herself.

 

There were less extreme things he'd done to me, I suppose, like forcing me to carry on training after breaking my leg. She realised she was reliving these moments, not just as a way to keep her mind occupied, but also because she was certain she would never see him again, that even if no, scratch that, when I get out, she seriously doubted he would still be alive if he had been inside once the collapse finally finished.

 

"No, she whispered, don't give up on yourself or on him, love him, hate him want to hug him or kill him. I know you dad, you're far too hard to kill, to simply die because a building might have fallen on you."

 

"You're alive, I know it, you and Mal and even Alex, will be fine I guarantee it. I've already lost too much recently I won't lose any of you as well."

 

Talk of losses she had suffered naturally brought Isobel and Baine to mind and she began to remember, the two of them being with her.

 

"I think I might have been about 4 or 5 years old, or was it 6 years old, the first time he told me about my death, not that there was a specific battle where I would fall. Just that there was going to come a time in a fight when some Demon got the edge and used it to kill her. She remembered that she hadn't taken it well."

 

She remembered how freaked out and angry Isobel and Baine had been after she told them what Caleb had said.

 

She remembered that she hadn't cried about it, in fact, it was in the early hours of the next morning when they found Chase training in their combat room working harder to improve my kicks and punches, and the small blades she was starting with that she told them what Caleb had said.

 

She remembered Isobel punching Caleb and screaming at him and that Baine threw him out of their house, the old one they lived in before they had Jak and moved to the community on the island of Aotearoa. After that fight between the three of them, she hadn't seen Caleb again for days and she didn't train at all while he was gone.

 

They let her sleep in sit and read books and play with other kids in the nearby fields and Jayhra took her to the local lake and was teaching her to swim. Not just holding her head underwater to force her to increase the amount of time that she could hold her breath.

 

Jaya, as she called her at first, then Jay as she got older, taught her to swim and have fun swimming and use it to relax. Something she still does when she gets the time.

 

When Caleb did come back, he took her home, not that it was a home like Jayhra lived in, like all the other kids she'd made friends with, lived in. No, she and Caleb lived in a mobile home constantly on the move she didn't see Isobel, Jayhra or Baine again for months.

 

Then, as it was just her and her dad it was back to him being the instructor, pushing her making her endure a non stop regiment of training 18 hours a day across all six days of the week. Only letting her get three hours sleep, just half the time ordinary people slept.

 

When he finally did take her back to see Baine and Isobel, she spent most of her time with Jayhra while the three of them worked on the mission to take the original group of Acafra worshippers.

 

After that she was with them for several months while Caleb went off searching and so he believed killed the remaining members of that cult. Isobel and Baine meanwhile, now had infant Jak to look after and Jayhra who was unhappy with her new little brother and that they had left their home to move to an island thousands of miles away.

 

Thinking about Jay and then Jak made her realize that they were both still out there and she had already pledged to herself that she was going to find them.

 

Especially now she knew who was responsible for the deaths of their parents, she owed it to them both to tell them so they could join up with her and finish what she and Caleb had started and stop these people planning to bring back the Demon Acafra. 

 

As much as she hated to admit it, right there and then she needed the lessons Caleb had taught her if she was going to get out of there.

 

She needed to calm herself, she needed to slow her breathing down as she regained her focus, allowing her to put her strength in play.

 

As she started to do it, she realized that shouldn't just use her father's lessons, she had to use what Isobel and Baine had taught her as well.

 

After all, he taught her how to do many things well, but they had taught her how to do them better, to master them, well all except Magyk, she hadn't really ever developed much with that.

 

Sure, she could cast some spells, some big, but mostly small-scale, such as the ones she used to change the colour of her hair or her eyes or the one to create a bubble to protect her in some circumstances.

 

None as complex or draining as a teleportation casting, which she was sure Isobel would use if it was she stuck in there, even though it is among the toughest spells to cast and as a result, one of the most physically and mentally draining.

 

That was one of the things Chase knew she hated about magyk, how it all tied into the life force of the person casting it, the bigger, more complex the spell, the more of that energy it took, the longer it took to recover afterwards.

 

That could potentially risk their life and endanger anyone who was fighting along with them as they would have to cover for them.

 

That's why from an early age decided she preferred to concentrate on the physical aspects of the life. She loved being in a fight, using her strength, cunning and weapons or just brute force to take on an enemy.

 

Knowing it would be her strength that gets her out, Chase got as comfortable as possible, put aside the pain in her legs her grief and her feelings of guilt.

 

She let herself get down into a subconscious state that would allow her body to heal quicker than it would if she was fully awake.

 

She didn't fully understand how it works, the forces in play that healed fractured or broken bones, that cleared any toxins out of her body knitted back together skin or internal organs cut or damaged fighting.

 

Chase was just grateful to have been born with these abilities into this life, even after everything that had gone wrong recently she liked being strong, being a fighter. She couldn't imagine living any other kind of life, her only real regret losing Baine and Isobel if she had them back, she would be fully ready to face whatever comes next.

 

As she lay still and quiet, preparing to enter her healing state, Chase began to think about herself, she was examining her life her attitudes and whether she could have done things differently would she have been able to make a better outcome than the one she faced now, not just the Demon stuff but the personal as well, mainly the personal side of things.

 

Chase knew she could be a selfish, she could sometimes be a brat expecting everyone to follow her lead and do what she wants when she wants it especially in her personal life.

 

She knew that when it came to her relationships she believed she was in control, that if she had an interest in a guy she thought would be happy to a with her. Especially now that she was old enough, it meant they were getting a shot to get between the sheets with her.

 

Thinking about that the thought occurred to her that she needed to change her relationships with those three important men in her life, Alex that relationship was over, if she stayed with the team they would have to find some way to get along.

 

Mal, I think it best for the time being with we break up again, if you're alive, I'll explain it to you why I think that. I suppose I owe Alex an explanation as well, but then he owes me some truth about how long he's had feelings for me.

 

Oh, Caleb - dad, I hope you're still alive, I really do, but things need to change between us leaving aside that mess with the boy you killed against my wishes and the mind trip you performed on me. I suspect that wasn't the first time I suspect you've manipulated me, a fight for another time, perhaps, but one thing I do know here and now.

 

That I will not let you surround me all day, every day. You, yelling and ordering me about, as you try to drill me into being the perfect demon killing weapon you of want me.

 

I need to grow and that can't happen with you constantly ready to pounce and criticize me for every little thing you think I've done wrong.

 

I need freedom and... Chase was midway through that thought when she woke from the deep, restful state of being fully recharged.

 

​After 12 hours Chase had woken feeling better than she had done in days, maybe even weeks. She felt energized she could feel her legs were better, her bones healed, her joints all back in place, her concussion repaired and her lungs clear of any debris she had inhaled.

 

Unfolding her legs, she got into place to use her feet as well as she placed the flats of her hands against the lid of the box and began to push. This time it was nowhere near as much of a struggle and she succeeded, lifted the lid and pushed it open.

 

That fell to the floor along with the debris that had piled up on top of this box, she climbed out she didn't have much room to move, but she started pulling at what was left of the walls of this room and moving them to create a hole.

 

Going slowly so as not to cause anymore rubble to fall down on her.

 

After hours digging and moving it wasn't getting her out fast enough, she thought of the guns on her hips, but knew she had no ammunition left and firing even one shot risked causing a fresh cave in.

 

Chase reached for one of the blades disappointed to find its tip broken and the other bent, both presumably damaged at some time during the collapse. Neither one of them were of much use now so she began punching her way through the last layers of rubble, until she saw a crack of daylight and she could hear voices. S

 

Chase got into position to allow her to stand and stood for a while and used her minimal psychic abilities to find Mal, Alex and her dad.

 

As she got a sense that there were a dozen or more people, out there she saw their faces and saw that they were search and rescue workers so she hoped that meant they had the three of them out already and that's why she couldn't sense them as she wasn't ready to accept the alternative reason.

 

It took the Search and Rescue workers by surprise to hear noises and then see a fist punch through the layer of rubble, as they believed the last several hours had been a body retrieval operation.

 

Several of them rushed to help her out and were even more shocked to see she only had the few minor scratches she had picked up as she crawled out. When she was finally out they gave her some water and the medical technician tried to look at her but she didn't need it.

 

She asked about Mal, Caleb and Alex but it was difficult as she didn't speak the local language, she wasn't even sure what dialect they spoke was it Oromo, Swahili maybe it was none of these, maybe it was one of the hundred different languages, it could be Hausa, Igbo or Fulani. Chase knew that Africa was a  big place, she honestly wasn't sure which part she was in either. It had never seemed to matter 

 

Finally, one of them who spoke English answered her questions and she was relieved to know all three of them had gone to hospital although they hadn't heard any further news about them. Chase found herself reluctant to go straight away, she wasn't ready to go there and maybe find that her dad or Mal might have died, given they were in the worst conditions.

 

Chase saw some of the bodies they had pulled out, she recognized a few of them as the ones she had killed just before she got trapped in that room and one of them was one of the members of the cult Investigation Unit, Caleb had used his authority to procure, after arriving in the country to begin searching for the ones they held responsible for killing Baine and Isobel.

 

Knowing that there were at least two more good guys buried under the remains of that building she opted to stay and help find them, she got straight to work and began clearing the wreckage away by herself.

 

Searching through the night and into the next morning only stopping for the occasional drink of water until she realised it had been more than two days since she'd eaten a thing.

 

Then she stopped for some food provided by the rescue workers and she told the English-speaking one who translated for most of the others who she was, that she had been the one to kill the beasts whose bodies were still rotting away, well two of them were still there.

 

She was at first shocked and disgusted and almost threw up when she learned the meat she was eating was the other Rocnar the workers had torn apart and cooked the other one there on the scene.

 

As she got back to explaining why she and her people had been there, she told them about the threat that they posed if they brought Acafra or any of the other Demon lords back from beyond the barrier.

 

Chase chatted to them for a few hours after about more pleasant matters even demonstrating her strength for them with how many of them, she could pick up at one time, and camped out with them overnight in the tents before resuming the search for the bodies.

 

It was a full day later when they had finally excavated the ruins of the cult compound and found what they were sure we're all the remaining bodies and body parts.

 

Almost all of them to severely damaged for identifying by sight, the only way in most cases to the good guys from the remains of the cult members was the scraps of uniform still on their bodies.

 

On the last day, with the work on the site Chase had all the bodies of the cult investigation unit in body bags to have them returned to their colleagues and loved ones for proper burial.

 

She had intended to just leave the remains of the dead cult members for the rescue teams to deal with, until she decided that formal identification of them could open up avenues for the investigation that the C.I.U would need to begin to find any other Acafra worshippers, she along with whoever was left of her people, her dad, Malikhi, Alex and especially Jak and Jayhra could hunt down and stop any attempt to restore Acafra to the world.

 

Once they carried the bodies over to the search and rescue workers' vehicles, Chase got in the back of the open bed jeep with the bodies of two of those C.I.U operatives, as she headed for the hospital, first to deposit the fallen colleagues, none of whom she'd really known that well, and then as much as she was dreading it, she would learn what had happened to her dad, Mal and Alex.

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