Crimson Fate

In a world, where gods, demons, and humans have learned to co-exist, along with many more of the supernatural, Riku Cinder Sherwood must realize his fate to protect, become the guardian of the daughter of Devil Salem Nightingale, Selene Nightingale, whilst finding his own place in life.

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20. Chapter 19

Chapter 19

 

 

Seth led the gang back up the road and out of woods. They followed him back to where they had originally planned to meet for lunch before the stressing detour. Riku fell shortly behind the group, the events of the past several moments still fresh in his brain, weighing heavily down upon him. He stared at his feet as he walked, not paying attention to where he was going. The only thing leading him in a direct path was the faint sight of the legs of his friends in front of him. They suddenly stopped and Riku bumped his head into Seth’s chest.

“You’re thinking deeply about something. What?” Seth said with mild mock and crossed his arms. Riku looked up and shook his head, slightly nervous. Seth sighed he rose his hand, which caused Riku to slightly cower. He pat his shoulder, Riku looking up slightly, seeming less intimidated.

 

“Riku…I’ve known you since middle school, what’s that, seven years?”

 

“…”

 

“I told you I’ll explain soon.”

 

“Yeah…”

 

Seth smiled and flicked his forehead. Riku’s eyes widened slightly and he stumbled back a bit. Selene watched the scene in marvel and cocked her head. Embry put her arms around their shoulders and tugged at their ears. “Can you morons quit sulking and hurry? I’m going to die of starvation!” her constant whining cracked a grin into Riku’s lips. Seth snicker and pulled her beanie over her head. Selene looked on with a gentle expression to match her smile, but hid her slight envy. She flushed red when a high pitched growl escaped from her tummy. Everyone looked at her. “Riku, she needs food. You’re a lousy guardian!” Seth joked. Riku gawked and flailed his arms around to be set free from his and Embry’s hold. “That has nothing to do with the job!” he exclaimed.

They finally entered the restaurant, immediately lining up to have their orders taken. After several long moments of arguing who would go first, Selene suddenly order hers. Once all orders were placed, another argument on who would willingly pay for everyone’s meal started. Again, Selene decided to pay it. She picked up her tray of food and walked to a table in the back corner of the fast food place. “You didn’t have to do that.” Riku sat next to her; across from them were Seth and Embry. Selene shook her head. “I just wanted to do something nice.”  She tilted her head and frowned, wondering if her did something bad, like a pouting kitten.  Embry eyed both of their trays.

“Boy…you demons sure eat a lot.” Selene whimpered and looked down in embarrassment. Riku sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. “We have a higher metabolism.” Selene answered shyly. Both her and Riku had at least three or four cheese burgers on their tray. Seth just had on big one with fries. Embry had just one lone burger. Riku had commented on her food amounts before, saying she eats like a bird. On the other hand, Seth ate like a human with half the metabolism the demons had.

“Say…It doesn’t bother you that I’m a demon?” Embry and Seth looked up from their eating. Embry shook her head. “Not really. You still seem like an idiot to me.” She said. Riku smiled and shook his head. “Agreed. As long as you are you, it doesn’t matter what you are.” Seth sipped on his drink. Riku nodded slowly and he grinned as he fit his second burger into his mouth. It didn’t take them long to finish. They walked out the door to have Seth put his arm around Riku. “You think you girls can get home ok? I gotta go explain to Riku here.” Selene and Embry nodded. Seth waited until the two of them were alone, Embry and Selene no longer within sight.

“Now then. Follow me.” He gestured forwards, turning around. Riku turned and gave him a confused look. “Explaining might work better if I show you.” Seth answered without even looking back behind him. Riku tilted his head and let out a gentle breath and followed him all the way at the edge of town, to a small department building, closely resembling a police department. Upon entry, it even reminded him of one on the inside as well. Papers stacked and flying, people bustling about. People in offices and on phones and computers. But the difference was police stations didn’t have guns and blades and all sorts of weapons in each personal space. Pictures of all sorts of strange, horrid creatures were pinned to a billboard.

“It’s about time.” A trail of cigarette smoke led the way to an office in the far corner. Cross had his legs up and boots on his desk, holding a paper in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Riku’s eyes widened and he backed away slightly. Someone complained about the stench of Cross’ cigarette, to which he held he had a window open. He growled and jabbed and rubbed his cigarette into the ash tray. He wore a long trench coat with a cow boy looking hat, attire Riku could never pictured him wearing. He waved air in front of him and wrinkled his nose, his more sensitive nose irritated from Cross’ cigarette. “Care to explain now?” Riku muttered. Seth looked over his should. “Oh right!” he cleared his throat and finished pulling on a pair of boots and a long black over coat, thinner compared to Cross’ heavier, tan one.

“This is the S.S.A., the Supernatural Security Agency. Lesser entities compared to Demons, Devils, Gods, and Angels run amuck. You know, like ghosts, werewolves, vampires and such. And when they cause trouble, we are sent to hunt them. Kind of like supernatural pest control.” Seth finished explaining. Riku couldn’t think of any words. He looked at his feet and rubbed his forehead with his palm. “And why does this have to do with me becoming a demon and a guardian?” he asked. “Because, these lesser forms of the supernatural will attack the one you protect, and since you are no longer a simple civilian, you are obligated to assist.” Cross added. Seth put his hand on Riku’s shoulder. “It’s time to wake up…and see the world for what it really is, Riku.” Riku looked up from staring at his shoes. His eyes were wide and shook with fear, confusion and regret.

“You’ll be assisting me in an exorcism of a ghost south of here.” Seth walked pass him and opened the door to exit and waited for Riku, who just stared into space, too choked up to move. Cross sighed and nudged him forwards and pushed him to the door. “You’re clothes are dark enough and you seem to move around good in them. Get going.” Cross snapped. Riku shook and startled upright and looked at him. Seth patted his shoulder and gave him a reassuring smile. What he would give to see Selene’s comforting smile at this moment. He watched Seth climb into a red convertible.

“When did you learn to drive?!” he exclaimed. Seth shrugged. “It comes with the job.” Riku cautiously opened the door and climbed into the passenger seat. Not knowing how often, or good he could drive, Riku was nervous as to whether this would be what kills him. Once they were finally driving on the road, Seth tossed a small hand book into his lap. Riku looked down and picked up and opened it, curiously skimming through the pages of pictures with monsters and words below. “That’s our hand book. Has everyone monster listed, what it is and how to kill it. Go ahead and try to find ‘poltergeist’.” Riku tilted his head and did as Seth told him. He eventually found it and began reading off the definition below the cringe worthy drawing above. “Umm…says that they are more active at night, hate iron and fire, and to kill a ghost you have to burn the remnants.” He cringed just from the thought of have to deal with a dead body, transparent or buried. Seth must have sensed his discomfort. He reached to the stereo and turned up the volume, the radio coming to life. He slid a CD in and hit the forward button a few times until the Ghost Busters theme song began playing.“How fitting…” Riku sighed. Seth laughed and playfully punched his arm. “It’s to get you pumped!”

“I don’t think I can get pumped from any of your music.” Riku recalled Seth’s odd taste in music all the way back when they first met in middle school. They were both in the detention office when Seth started playing a list of Lady Gaga. But just like how it affected him then, it did seem to lift his spirits a bit. Combined with the gentle cool breeze of the evening, he did manage to relax. Not long, hey pulled into a house that didn’t seem to be inhabited.

“We already told them to leave for us to get rid of the ghost.” Seth answered Riku’s mental question once they were out of the car. He held up and jingled the house key. Seth unlocked and door and instantly turned his flash light on. Riku declined one, as his eye sight was excellent in the dark. Upon entry, the scratched wooden floor beneath their feet creaked with almost every step. Holes and scratches and chips in the dark, olive green wall pain matched the ones on the dark maroon painted wood outside that build the house. It smelt of black coffee, with a hint of old lady perfume. Cabinets of fine china and tea cups with matching pots hid behind glass doors. Added by the floral design of the carpets and placemats, it was inferred this house was quite old, possibly around since the eighties. Riku always thought if the house was that old, or older, it was bound to be haunted by something. He fallowed Seth as he scanned the flash light around the house. “Unfortunately…the body was cremated. So there must be something else the spirit is attached to.” Seth said in a quiet voice, holding a gun in his free hand. “They also don’t like holy water, but neither do demons, so try to stay clear of the splash back.” Riku nodded and removed his sword from the carrying sleeve to be just a prepared. However, he wasn’t prepared enough for a vase to be thrown from the room beside them and into the wall between them. They whirled around to see a white mass slowly mesh into a distorted form that let out a loud shriek. Pictures fired from the walls and hit the walls and floors, Seth and Riku trying to avoid the shattered glass on the floor and flying through the air.

“Damn it! We need to find whatever it’s attached to!” Seth looked to Riku’s sword, which still had yet to be unsheathed to aid him. He rolled his eyes and groaned and grabbed Riku’s shoulder and pulled him over to him, away from the open. “Riku, the weapon you wield can slice spirits!” Seth announced. Riku looked at him, horror written plainly across his face. “What?!” Seth pulled them down under the table in the kitchen, the ceiling fan above them crashing down onto table. “We don’t have time, or an opening to find the remnant, but if you can get one clean swing in…” Riku looked at him with concern, then to the hovering white mass. He felt sick. Why did he have to? He knew holy water bullets would only stun it, going off of that handbook. He was too frightened to move. Being held up in home for so many years, and the introduction he gets upon venturing out is ghost slaying, shades, and becoming the guard of a demon princess! But he couldn’t let Seth lose faith in him. He wanted things to stay right, even if they are changing since Riku becoming a guardian. He lunged out from under the table and pulled his sword out from its sheathe, once again letting his demon blood boil and take over. Flames blinded the ghost to allow him to get behind it. But he froze upon seeing the spirit’s face, distorted with anger, fear, and a tragic bloodied expression, a fusion of emotions too powerful to avoid.

“Swing, Riku!” Seth shouted, still taking cover under the table. The ghost shrieked again, sounding pained and angry more up close. In fact, to Riku’s heightened hearing, faint words of mercy echoed from its throat. He fell to his knees and buckled over, feeling ill and hacking and coughing. The poltergeist seized the chance to levitated heavier objects, such as a chair. “Shit!” Seth slid into the entrance to the room and fire off several bullets, holy water erupting from the shells. The splash from release hit Riku. It was enough to get him back to his senses, letting out a pained shout, steam rising from his reddening skin where the water had hit. During the spirit’s confusing, Seth slid in and picked up Riku under his arm and bounded up the stairs and hid in the bathroom. Upon passing the pictures on the wall, Riku caught a glimpse of an old black and white photo of a woman who wore attire similar to that of the eighties, and similar to the ghost. Seth locked the door then slumped down against it and breathed heavily. Riku sat against the wall, hugging his knees and hiding his face.

“I’m sorry, Seth…I couldn’t do it…” Seth sighed. He filled his clip with new bullets and locked it in. “Were you scared?” he asked, filling a small paper cup with water and handed it to him. He shakily took it and drank it very slowly. He nodded. “Not only that…it still felt…human.” He peered into the water in the cup. Seth raised his eyebrow. “Human?” Riku nodded. “I don’t know if it’s because I’m a demon…but…it had a face. It looked…so angry and frustrated. But, so sad and lonely. It reminded me of everyday expression I see on people. To me, it felt as if I was going to exterminate an ordinary human…” tears fell from his eyes and he sniffed, the pit in his stomach growing, at the mere thought of killing a human being, regardless if that ghost was not. He felt useless. Perhaps he shouldn’t have committed to being a guardian. Being so scared and unwilling to slay the threat in front of him. Stepping into such a world, he thought he might as well die.

“When a sprit becomes malevolent like this one, it isn’t willingly. They still desire peace after passing. If you slay that mask that covers the true spirit, it will surely be grateful. Think of it as an imposter.” Seth rubbed the back of his head. Riku slowly peeked up from behind his knees. “I’m not asking you to save the world, Riku…I’m not asking you to suddenly take every monster on.” He picked up Riku’s sword beside him and put it in his hand, tightly gripping his fingers around it. “I’m saying, baby steps. Start small. Do what you can.” Riku wiped the tears from his eyes and stood up. He looked in the bathroom mirror, feeling resentment towards the face he bared. Eyes red and puffy, a look of depression and ugliness. He felt like he was back in kindergarten. “Ok…let’s go finish this now.” Seth smiled and gave him a wink and thumbs up.

Upon going down the stars stealthily, the poltergeist didn’t seem to be around. They cautiously approached the bottom of the stairs, scanning the flash light in every direction. Creaking came from the room, then away from them. A trap to lure their attention away. Seth picked up on it and shoved Riku forwards so he didn’t get crammed by the couch them pinned Seth to the wall, his gun sliding across the sleek wood flooring. “Seth!” the white mass slowly formed and hovered above the carpet and looming towards the trapped Seth. Riku seized the chance to raise his sword behind the spirit. It whisked back in a liquid like fluid motion and once again gazed at him. Riku cringed and closed his eyes. “Please, I’m sorry!” he swung his sword to the side, cleaving through. It felt like even though it was a ghost he was cutting, it was like a solid body, but sliced easily like melting butter. It shrieked and lit up in Riku’s flames. Within the flames, he could see the more humane form of the spirit. It was an older woman, perhaps in her early forties, before the flames evaporated into the air. The small embers seem to float up and up as if traveling to the heavens.  

“Umm, a little help please?” Seth continued his struggle from between the wall and couch. Riku sheathed his sword and helped move the couch away. He groaned and rubbed his ribs standing up and using Riku to balance himself. He helped him into the car before climbing into his own seat. The majority of the ride back was silent. “Riku, I didn’t think this would affect you this badly.” Seth broke the silence. Riku inhaled a shaky breath and shook his head. “Don’t be. You meant well. I’ve been locked away in solitude for long enough…If this is the world I live in, if this is my life now, I might as well get used to it.” Seth briefly looked at him before keeping his eyes on the road. He smiled and turned up the music, Katy Perry’s:Fire Work” Playing loudly, which etched a grin into Riku’s lips and he laughed softly along with Seth.

 

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