The day of the funeral arrived, and Mr. Jameson insisted on taking us to the funeral individually. I was the last to be taken.
We didn’t take a car. We walked.
A long way.
For whatever reason we went through the alleyways of the city. I had no idea where the funeral was, so I didn’t ask questions. Not until we ended up near an odd building, from which an ethereal pink light emanated.
‘Where are we?’ I asked.
Mr. Jameson chuckled. ‘Well…it’s not the funeral, that’s for sure.’ He looked around and then knelt down near me. ‘Do you fear death?’
I froze. What was Mr. Jameson talking about? What was happening?
‘Answer me, boy!’ he snapped.
‘No,’ I replied, hoping to sound defiant.
‘No? Then this ought to be fun.’ He ripped open his flesh, claws breaking through his fingers and bright pink eyes glaring at me. It took less than a second for him to become a strange, black-skinned beast adorned with spikes.
He stood for some time, staring me down. Perhaps he was waiting for me to run, or maybe he just wanted to see the fear in my eyes.
I was scared, that’s for sure. But I was also angry. I don’t know why, but I was.
Whilst the beast that was Mr. Jameson glared at me, more creatures, almost identical to him, started to creep out of the shadows and surround me. I felt like the last piece of chicken on a buffet table. Everyone wanted to eat me, but there wasn’t enough of me to go around.
Mr. Jameson growled.
I don’t know why I laughed. I guess I was so scared my emotions weren’t in check. But whilst I was standing there laughing my hand seemed to warm up, and it was at that point when I saw genuine fear in the beasts’ eyes.
In response I looked at my hand, which seemed to be burning with a blue flame. Yet I could not feel it, and when I tried to shake it off it flew towards one of the beasts and set it alight.
And then, as it died, it suddenly went up in pink flames and turned to ash.
I stood, shocked, and stared at my hand.
The beasts, though shaken, started to close in on me. I was too shocked to respond, and it was damned fortunate that he arrived when he did.
Marcus, the man who had shown up at the orphanage, dropped down from above, landing in a crouch between me and the beasts.
‘I’m not sure how you did that, kid, but it would really be good if you did it again,’ he said. He straightened out and stared at one of the beasts. I guessed it was Mr. Jameson. ‘So…my suspicions were correct. You have been replaced.’ He reached into his coat and pulled out a pistol. ‘How did the dark fey get to you, then?’
The beast growled. That was probably all it was capable of.
Marcus sighed and pointed his pistol at the beast’s head. ‘Very well.’ He pulled the trigger.
The beast reacted.
The bullet ripped through its head, spattering strange pink blood over the nearby wall. Seconds later the beast went up in pink flames.
I was still frozen to the spot, but the brief show had managed to bring my attention back to the beasts around me…around us. There were still about five of them.
‘Kid…throw some goddamn fire!’ Marcus yelled, firing a shot at another of the beasts. This one managed to dodge, bouncing onto a wall, and then off it and towards Marcus.
I reacted just in time. The fire developed in my hand, and I threw it.
The beast screeched, and then flew against the wall, where it turned to ashes like the others.
I took out another, and then turned to see one bite down on Marcus and pierce his heart with its claws.
Although I did not know Marcus, he had saved my life, so when I saw him go down I cried out. He looked at me, winked, and threw me his gun.
It felt heavy. And powerful.
There was something strange about this weapon.
I took a deep breath and started to shoot at the beasts. For some time my shots simply flew into the walls, but I soon worked out the pattern of the beasts and took them down.
When there was only one left, I suddenly found myself without ammunition.
I was sure I would die.
I curled up slightly, waiting for the beast to attack me…and kill me.
When it did jump, however, it did not reach me. In my darkness I heard an odd yelp, followed by the sound of whooshing flame, as well as heat. Upon opening my eyes I saw an odd sword floating before me, ashes resting on its blade, and at my feet there was its scabbard.
I didn’t go anywhere afterwards. I just sat there and looked at Marcus’s body, the sword and gun at my feet.