Calvin Ring: The Sound of Darkness Chapter 3



I woke the next day in complete confusion with the girl sitting on my bed and looking down on me. The last memory I had was leaving the fortune teller’s shop and sending Amy on her way. I was sure thankful that she visited me during the day. I remembered the words of the fortune teller though. I was a mess for sure, a jumble of thoughts in my head.

“Hey, you okay?” Amy questioned. “Some run last night huh?”

“Sorry,” I said, “I don’t remember last night.”

“Is that how your magic works, you forget the next day. I know you have magic. I have magic too, just not that kind. By the way, the fortune teller is my mom. She called me and told me to watch out for you. Of course that’s what I have been doing anyway, watching out for you. She knew you would come and see her. Isn’t that strange?”

“You’ve been watching me?”

She nodded, pleased with herself, not knowing that she had just crushed me. “I guess I should have known.”

“Well,” she said, “I’m a seeress like my mother. It was her who began to see all the ripples, and she tracked them to you. After that she sent me here to watch over you, while your magic did whatever it was going to do. She didn’t know if it would be good or bad, so she wanted to be prepared for the worst if necessary. When I had not seen you for a few days I decided to drop by. I was worried about you.”

“Yeah, wouldn’t want me to die on your watch,” I said testily. “I should have known something was up, otherwise why would you be interested in someone like me.”

“What do you mean someone like you?” she asked.

“A nobody, a loser. I have zero friends, so I should have guessed.”

“Well maybe you have one friend now. You’re blowing it a bit out of proportion Calvin. My mother sent me to watch over you, that’s true. She is magically strong in her own way, but if something bad was going to happen, the Gypsy community she serves needed to know, needed to be able to plan. I enjoyed yesterday Calvin, I really did. I was happy to finally meet you. I’ve seen what you’ve been doing at night, in my own way. I don’t have a lot of friends either. We sort of keep to ourselves.”

“Yeah sure,” I said as I lay back down. I turned my back on her, and being the good seer that she was, she decided it was time to leave.

“I’ll be back later,” she suggested. “But think about it, I was honest with you about being sent to watch you, so why would I lie about the rest. It’s not good to keep secrets to yourself, to be alone and isolated. I feel for you and I would like to be your friend. It’s up to you though. I can help you understand what’s going on. I am sure it’s quite a shock. A lot of it I don’t understand myself.”

“Yeah,” I said, “I will think about it.”


I did think about it, a lot. I loved this girl, felt so close to her soul to soul and now I was learning that it was not what it seemed. Part of me shouted that nothing was ever what it seemed, so I should deal with it, move forward and welcome her into my life as a friend I desperately needed. I was bitter though and I spent the next week pouting about the injustice of it all. I should have known though because nothing good ever happens to me. Amy comes by every day, and I admit I am less than hospitable. I don’t trust her or any Gypsies. Why did any Gypsy have to be in my life anyway, including the ghost or spirit of my dead mother?  I was not going to do anything to any of them. I was harmless as I had always been. I did not understand what the big deal really was. Amy has tried explaining multiple times, but there really isn’t anything to explain. She was told to be my friend, to watch over me, as if I were a child. On top of everything I was being hunted. Every night since, I have gone out and every night there are demons around to some degree or another. They watch me, and I am sure are learning all about me, what I can do and what I can’t. They follow in my wake every night. Defiantly I sometimes challenge them and they go screaming into the night only to come back. They don’t seem to have any agenda, or maybe I just don’t understand.  Like Amy they watch, waiting for some hidden command and I don’t know what to do about them, but at least they don’t lie to me and pretend to be my friends.  Amy asks about them, asks about my safety. I no longer know though what safety means. Every night there are things for me to do, and lately every night seems to bring more death and chaos. I have been surrounded by it. I rescued people from a burning building only to find more that I could not get to in time. I wish I knew what was happening to me. I wish I didn’t have that ominous feeling that was only worse at night when I was so perceptive of things around me, that something was coming for me.

Death seems to come in many guises. When you live in the city, you just get used to it; crime, poverty, and disease just seem to take their merry toll. For the most part, normal people live their normal lives and just ignore the death around them. People learn to not frequent bad parts of town, and unless death touches them directly are ignorant of its dark passage through time, its weave and intercourse through the people around it. Yet, if you are not fearful of it, are willing to see it for what it is, death is just another thing. It is neither cruel nor sympathetic. Death is not good or bad. Occasionally death is just, but just as often it is random and takes the good over the bad with striking regularity. I have come to know death quite well and one could say that we are intimate strangers. Occasionally death uses me; uses me to mete out a little cruelty of my own. The difference is that I am anything but random, anything but nice and the good have little to fear from me. I am there on the horizon, coming when least expected but always at night, always sudden, a fleeting shadow, the sharp blade of a knife.

It seemed so odd at times for me, knowing that up until a few weeks before I was completely normal.  Well maybe not normal as I am quite unremarkable, unusually so, magically so.  Just a few months previous I had worried that I would never have any friends, and now I worry about someone who says she wants to be my friend.  While I had never had any friends before, I had grown accustomed to being alone in everything that I did. I now had watchers and one of them claimed to be my friend. I had gone from the guy that others pushed around to the guy that was a menacing presence that others had to watch out for. At least the chicks still laughed at me, at least the ones that saw me in the day. The ones who saw me at night, usually screamed loudest of all. I did know that everything I had thought I knew about my mother was all gone and I didn’t quite know what to think about it, or what she had done to me. I was kidding myself though and I knew it. I was one screwed up person, confused and feeling like I had nowhere to turn. The worst part was that it had been my silly idea to go see the Gypsies, only now I even wondered at that. Everyone seemed to have magic. I seemed to be in some sort of vortex, not of my own making, being controlled by the whims of others. I was getting tired of this lack of control and I needed for it to change, for me to get control of things. I just didn’t know how. Like most things of late in my life, I was beginning to believe that it would be my magic that would give me clarity, enable me to understand and control the world around me. This thought inspired me, and frightened me at the same time.

I wonder what exactly is my blessing, this magic of mine?  I wished that I knew. Amy’s mother, the fortune teller, had told me that my mother had enhanced my magic with her own to protect me. Yet, the logic of that was strange, as most of the things I had done in the last few weeks were not for my own protection but for the protection of others. I had thought about it a lot. Sometimes it seemed as if the nights were training me for something more dangerous in the future, perhaps to deal with those who hunted me, whoever they were. Again, there was that feeling that something was coming, and coming for me. There was my Grandfather and apparently there was at least one other, one who had sent a demon army to hound me. I was told they wanted to capture me, but demons didn’t seem geared much for capture. They were quite equipped for damaging me. My magic responds to need, the need of others and the need of myself at times. There is nothing I can do to prevent the change and certainly nothing that I can predict other than the pain and the confusion, although for the past few nights I have just sat on my balcony and watched the night. Every night I came out the putrid stench was there, communicating to me the needs of others, a sweet stench like spoiled garbage that compels me to act. Now, there were many and the smell permeates the night around me. I can hone in and follow a single strand never really knowing where it will lead. It’s so random though seemingly without any purpose. It made no sense if the magic was created for my protection.  I have learned to never anticipate what skills I might have at my disposal. Sometimes I am lightning fast, other times spectral in nature, or strong. I usually have incredible mind skills but every time I have anticipated having a certain skill set I am humbled by the nature of the gift, usually painfully. Was this my mother’s idea of protecting me, or some sort of cruel joke? It would figure though that magic used for good purpose on me, would go awry. All of that aside, I didn’t even know what had triggered the whole thing in the first place. Maybe, I never would. Could it be that my magic was enhanced to train me? It seemed it was, giving me more and more to work out every night, humbling me when I lost focus. I didn’t know anything about magic or anyone I trusted to tell me. I mean seriously, a few weeks ago I would have laughed at anyone who suggested that magic was real, so again it was not exactly like I could look in the yellow pages and find a sorcerer I could learn from. So maybe my magic was recognizing my own need that I needed guidance and learning of a craft in a world where there was no one to teach me. It was an intriguing thought, but who had time for intriguing thoughts.

I am in a different world at night, a world of shadow and much closer to the death that others just choose to ignore. I am intimate with the night, its caress like that of a lover at least what I imagine that would be like, having no experience. There are things in the dark, things that others don’t or can’t see. Some of these things are beyond your wildest imagination and others beyond your most frightening nightmare. Some of these things are beautiful and others comical, but most are best not thought about. There are almost always demons of various size and shape skulking about.  More than a few of these generally take a special interest in me, which only makes the change that comes over me more difficult; more curse than blessing. I know eventually I am going to have to do something about it or they will, but at least of late the demons have chosen to leave me alone. I also see my long dead mother at night, wandering in my periphery, a beautiful garishly dressed Gypsy woman, always smiling and always with me. I don’t know for sure, but she seems proud of me, which is good enough for me, but I would still have answers from her if I could. Again, that feeling that a showdown was coming at me, coming at me from multiple directions, or maybe that’s how it feels before the bottom really falls out of things. Maybe I was going mad.

As I said my basic skill set does not change. I have heightened senses, sight, sound, smell and touch. I also have incredible healing powers surviving everything thrown at me including gunshots which of course are still quite painful. When the sun comes up though, I am stuck with whatever residual wounds are left and unhealed. I have spent the day writhing and bleeding in bed, praying for the night. I also don’t remember the night before. It always works that way, never the night before but I can remember two nights previous. Because of this I jot down notes before dawn comes or tell Amy because she won’t leave me alone until I do. I need to do something about Amy, but just the thought of her makes me sad and confused. During the night I hear and see everything including things that happened years ago. I thrive off the resonance left behind from centuries of violence. It nurtures me like manna. These are the things I have learned but it sure doesn’t seem like a whole hell of a lot.

I seem to be particularly sensitive to sound. Have you ever had someone shout directly in your ear? Someone can shout a mile away and that’s the way it is for me. I have learned to filter some of this which has helped but sometimes it’s a beating. One night a woman screamed in such a way that surely I thought she must have been attacked. I sprinted miles to reach her only to find her standing on a chair screaming at a spider. I dispatched the spider and if she had a little floor damage as a result then that was the price to pay for the damage she inflicted on my ears. A car honking can make my whole body spasm at times. As I said though, filtering was something I had learned, something I was still trying to get better at. The results thus far were mixed but encouraging that it was possible. I sighed as I thought that it would be nice to have a guide book, or a set of instructions. If my own magic was training me, then it was leaving some important gaps I thought.

Several days had passed since the demons had nearly caught me at the bridge. I was out in the night, where the confusion was less and the danger more. I was walking about directionless when to my sudden discomfort I found my ears assaulted by the most brilliant of screeching. There was no way for me to even catch my breath as this wall of sound attacked my bearings. If you could magnify the sound of fingernails on a chalk board to ten or even a hundred times normal it still would be far short of what assailed me that night. I made it to my knees and put my hand to my ears. Now, so you might grasp how my senses work, merely putting cotton in my ears does not come close to filtering sound. It helps but not nearly as much as in my normal state.  I had some cotton wadded up in my coat pocket and I quickly stuffed it into my ears and I was able to filter some more through will alone. It was still excruciating, and a distraction. I stumbled about and leaned in a doorway. I wondered if I might be under some sort of attack, something new. I was so suspicious and paranoid of whatever was hunting me that naturally that was my first thought. I knew so little though of what had happened to me though and I knew that what I didn’t know could kill me.

The sheer noise of the screeching was disorienting. I recognized that it was not safe for me to be out and that I was going to be vulnerable. The shadows that were always about, flitting on my periphery were still there. Yet I could also see that something had them disturbed as well, and it seemed likely to me that it was the screeching they heard on the wind. It was the first bit of information that I was able to discern. Whatever the screeching was, it did not appear to be psychic in nature or directed just at me, but what did I know.  The second thought was I had no idea who was hunting me or what they would send. Acting cocky was not going to change that.  Yet for some reason it was encouraging knowing that the demons were so disturbed. Maybe they would be a lot less concerned with little old me, after all my nemesis was all teeth and claws, two things I hated more than anything else. I might have chosen to just go back to my apartment but Amy was back there and dealing with her was the last thing I needed. It was better to face the demons, the night and the awful screeching.

Amy had been my dream girl. Before the change, she was the highlight of my day, the girl I thought about constantly, the only girl to ever really notice me. She was that bright spot but I only ever saw her at the mailbox, where she would always wave to me. I never spoke with her, never wanted to destroy the illusion that she really liked me, I could think that she waved to me because she was interested and I was just too stupid to take advantage of it, but things like that never happened to me. Now that was all changed. It was hard for me to believe what she said since she had been placed there by sympathetic Gypsies, mostly her mom concerned with my well being or to ensure I didn’t destroy the world or something. Since learning this I have realized that she is just like all of the other girls, completely unconcerned with the likes of me. She makes the pain I go through nightly seem miniscule as nothing compares to how my dreams have been shattered. Since discovering this though, Amy has been there in my apartment most nights when I change and even occasionally when I get home. She is the worst kind of distraction, the worst kind of pain. I would rather be gunshot than see her daily, knowing I will never have her; knowing how much I love her. She is I think the coolest of all cools, the neatest chick going. I didn’t know anything though.

Now it was all I could do to concentrate on my surroundings. It was not too hard to concentrate and smell that clean scent that was Amy. I had caught myself before focusing more on her than what was going on in front of me, or around me. There were demons hunting me, and I was much more focused on Amy than anything with teeth and claws. Maybe that was my gift’s way of telling me that Amy was more dangerous. I felt let down by Amy and let down by myself for letting myself feel the way I did about her. Was I in love with Amy? Well how should I know? I have not even been on a date, ever. Not even ugly girls noticed me, and trust me even an ugly girl would be better than the loneliness I feel. You have no idea what it’s like to spend all of your life without a friend and if it wasn’t for my dad, I doubt I would have had any conversation at all growing up. So I wasn’t exactly out looking for rings, if that’s what you mean, but I also could not get her out of my thoughts, could not erase the feelings I had when she told me that she was a Gypsy. What kind of Gypsy named their daughter Amy Moonflower? And for that matter, what kind of Gypsy was a hippy anyway? So I turned on her, turned on her sometimes viciously. She never even attempted to explain herself, explain how she really felt about me, which only reinforced that I was just one more chore for her. I was a chore which no doubt kept her awake at night, waiting for me. She could not do the things that I could at night, but she understood a lot about what I was seeing. She was more mystic than witch or seeress, but seeress was what she called herself. I didn’t really know what to feel about her. I wanted to feel nothing, but so far that was not working out too well.

Meanwhile I had this horrible screeching which I could feel down to my feet. It was coursing through me, setting all of my nerve endings on fire, and I kid you not when I say that at that moment I would have preferred to have been shot in the head rather than hear that horrible screeching. It was my own nightmare. I searched for the source, sniffing the breeze and not getting a single clue. I struck out at a run, moving through blocks like a wraith, eating up chunks of ground with every step, but I was moving blindly. I was oblivious to anything around me, running, running trying to escape that screech or find its source and at that moment it did not matter which one it was. Then suddenly the screeching stopped, and I stood hunched over panting heavily. As usual, there was laughter around me, laughter directed at me. I was near the pier, the touristy section of San Francisco. I started walking, the laughter like daggers at my back but soon I was forgotten, and then the screeching started again. I had my bearings though and it seemed as if the source was near downtown, so I headed off. It was not easy to focus, between the screeching, the resulting disorientation and whispering thoughts of Amy it was all I could do to move in the right direction, but I was persistent if I was anything.

Downtown San Francisco was usually busy at night and it was no different that night. Sometimes at night I have difficulty determining what’s in the normal world and what’s in the shadow world that I also see within. There are for lack of a better word, ghosts or other worldly things. They are unlike my mother who appears much more real. Instead they are like wisps of smoke floating around. I have tried to touch them but they are so ephemeral, like a presence felt but not seen, like touching the night. They are oblivious to me though and it makes me wonder just what really happens to me after the change. Am I mad, trapped in some sort of false reality? No one else could see them, and these people walked around now unaware of the screeching that was driving me crazy. I feel like I am living sometimes in someone else’s stream of consciousness. I must have appeared near mad to the people walking about, holding my head and muttering to myself. I was too well dressed to be homeless so I had to be something else. Someone was bound to call the police on me.

When I saw her I was not quite sure. In fact I must have looked at her three or four times before I noticed something amiss. There was no special aura, or any coming into and out of focus. It was something different. She also did not appear to be the screaming shrew I thought I would find so it was easy to discount her. When I first saw her I saw a beautiful girl, the kind that would never notice me at all.  The second glance I gave her though indicated that she was a very old woman. Now time sometimes moves differently in my world, but it doesn’t move quite that strangely. So I suspected something was wrong so I made my way towards her, daring her to look at me. When she made eye contact it gave me a chill. Her gaze was direct and before my eyes she shimmered from young to old. Her eyes though were like dark coals, burrowing into me. Yet my eyes bore into her as well triggering my own need. She was the source of the screech and something about her triggered a memory of something I had read. She was a banshee or in my case a screaming banshee. I didn’t know how she had made it to the city. Her wail was for someone about to die and in a city that meant many possible candidates. I knew that with so much death around her that she must have been bewildered, and why her wail was so constant.  I willed her quiet. I have no way else to describe what I did like so many of my skills and occurrences at night. I just willed her to be quiet, to shut up and to give me some relief. I sat down tension draining from my body. I put my arm around her, and she laid her head on my shoulder. For a moment I could imagine what it felt like to have a girl friend but even I realized that a girl friend who is beautiful one moment and an old hag the next and sings about death all the time is just no good, not even for me. I mean I was desperate but she was half mad and not human so the relationship really had no future at all, as much as I thought it might.  After all, what would we talk about? So after sitting there for several moments comforting her, soothing the pain, I sent her on her way. It was strange for me, as I didn’t even know where she came from, and she couldn’t tell me. I communicated with her through my mind, calming her but telling her to go back and she did, wherever that was. I watched her walk into the darkness until that darkness grew misty and she became less visible finally disappearing altogether. It had been a strange night. As usual, I didn’t understand what had happened, or how I had accomplished what I had. I thought not for the first time that it was just one more reason to wake up unable to remember anything of the night before. Maybe it was my mind’s way of recovering. My ears needed recovery that was for sure. They echoed with pain, causing spasms in my head, like some strange seizure. I could almost feel myself twitching. I wasn’t even sure if this was something I could heal from, and so far I had healed from every wound imaginable.

I stood up and stretched and began walking the long way to my house. I could have gone hunting for something evil but I was exhausted. The screeching had worn me down and I was so relieved at it being gone that I decided a leisurely walk was in order. The bad guys could wait. So I walked and naturally my thoughts drifted to Amy. It was hard for me to not be disappointed. It was why I had never talked to her in the first place, because I did not want to be disappointed. I had just decided that talking to Amy would be a good thing, an opportunity to put all of my feelings right in front of her. Rejection could not be worse than what I was feeling at the moment. That’s when I noticed that I was not walking alone. The screeching had stopped but it had left me frazzled and unable to really focus which is naturally why I was thinking about Amy in the first place. The screeching was no longer bothering the demons either. There were not a lot and I was thankful that the screeching must have caused more than a few of them to go to ground, or wherever demons went when they were distressed. Maybe they had all gone to some demon bar. Still, there were enough of them and I was far enough away from home that getting away was not going to be easy. They were also really close. Losing a demon is not really that hard. They are not the brightest bulbs in the lamp and most of them were a few loads shy if you catch my meaning. Still though, these were close enough that I wasn’t going to be able to ditch them. I thought about trying to catch a cab but I was not even sure if a cabbie would see me, or if I could even find a cab. So I kept walking, searching for an answer. I was tired. You try walking around with a screaming banshee in your ear and see if it doesn’t make you tired.

They were not exactly herding me. They didn’t have to because even their dim witted minds could figure out that I was not going to get away. I tried to discern where I actually was, and was wondering how close to water I was. It seemed a very good idea to keep moving and they were quite content to let me, which only reinforced to me that whatever was about to happen, wasn’t going to be a warm fuzzy positive experience that I could reflect on later, and maybe get a laugh out of.  This was bad. Yet they seemed to be waiting on something, keeping close, surrounding me. Occasionally one would venture close enough and reach out and touch me, like they were counting coup. I was thinking that someone or something was about to lose a finger or two.  It didn’t matter what I did though, they were not really concerned with me getting away. I was in the bag, but they were still waiting for something.

I soon found out what they were waiting on. As I rounded a corner, there he was; the meanest ugliest demon of them all. He was my nemesis or at least that’s what I had named him, how I described him to Amy. I had nightmares, or daymares or whatever you would call bad dreams during the day about him. I had named him TC to myself, for teeth and claws. I had read somewhere that naming your fear was half the battle. It had not worked to date though. He was all teeth and claws though so the name at least seemed appropriate. He had more than the usual complement of arms, but how many I could not say because they constantly changed morphing here, and disappearing there. So while I could not tell how many arms he had, I did know that there were some really sharp claws on the end of them. He only had one mouth though, never changing, with long fangs and at least two rows of sharp little teeth.

I honestly could not tell you what came over me. Maybe it was the fact I was so exhausted from the screaming banshee, or maybe my obsession with Amy caused me to have a serious lapse in judgment. In hindsight it was probably due to the inescapable fact that once TC showed up the other demons began making their circle tighter and tighter, but whatever it was I decided it was a good time and place to make a stand. I have read accounts that Custer came to the same conclusion at Little Big Horn, trying to reach high ground, not knowing that the Indians were there too. I doubted that it would have mattered to Custer and whatever he was thinking; his plan had not worked out too well. Those boys down at the Alamo in Texas also didn’t fare too well. Naturally as soon as I stopped walking all those thoughts came crashing down on me.  The demons that were shadowing me just circled me which only made me think more about Custer. The circle broke and TC entered, clearly their champion. If demons were inclined to clap and cheer this would have been their moment. This was not going to be pretty but at the same time I wondered what my blessing might have in store for me and my nemesis. I needed something, and I felt it fire somewhere deep inside of me as if coiling itself for combat. I faced him squarely and began stepping to the side, looking for an opening, but he was big, I don’t say that lightly, as small as I am, big is still big.  Anything with that many teeth and claws was not going to be defensive so I guessed it was not going to give me long to think about it. Sometimes I hate it when I am right.

If anyone ever tells you that demons are slow hulking creatures, or you see them represented in movies that way, then send them my way and I will set them straight. TC closed so quickly that all I had a chance to do was raise my arm in some sort of half hearted defense. Naturally the arm gave his teeth a nice target and he grabbed me like a pit bull and slung me around a bit. After shaking me like a ragdoll he slung me into the nearest wall, hard enough that bricks fell on my head from somewhere. Demons weren’t too bright, who the hell had told me that? That circle of demons sure didn’t mind getting out of the way to let me hit that wall. They seemed plenty bright to me. Oh, this was not going well. I was barely to my feet when he was coming at me again and I decided that it would be best to not give him my arm again which was already dripping blood. I dodged his second charge, my gift coming to my rescue as it was no normal matador movement, but something quicker. I laughed when the demon hit the same brick wall head first that I had struck moments before. It was comical watching him stumble. I was hoping I could use that trick again but he turned and took a swipe at me with at least two of his many arms. One of them raked my face and the other my waist and I growled in response, something deep and primeval, surprising me with the violence behind it. He closed on me slowly taking swipes and I took a few at him too connecting with one. He was solid and whatever demons are made up of, something soft is not one of the ingredients. It was a losing battle for me. I couldn’t counter anything, couldn’t block enough because he just had too many arms. It would have been better had he punched me but he didn’t. Everything he did was a rake of claws and every one of them drew blood. I stood there shaking my hand as he came at me again and thought that I had probably broken it at sometime.  We exchanged a few more blows, but I have to tell you that claws against skin do a bit more damage than fists again demon hide. There was a lot of blood on the ground and I was strongly suspicious that it was mine. I thought long and hard for something that might work but he was not giving me a lot of time and the next thing I knew I was in some sort of demon bear hug, only his claws were sticking in my chest and I was pretty sure coming out through my back. I was briefly scared, not sure what would happen if a claw managed to pierce my heart. I had never had such a wound, although I had been shot in the chest with a shotgun before. I remembered the fortune teller telling me that the demons probably only wanted to capture me and take me back to their master, but this appeared very much like a killing to me, my own killing. Since he was squeezing the life out of me, I decided that it was not an opportune time to worry about such mundane matters. I kept feeling that need flare up, getting hotter and hotter, more intense, my adrenalin seeming to feed it. Yet it didn’t come to my rescue as if it were waiting on something, some sign from me. I was losing this fight and I just didn’t really have any ideas. The more I thought, the more it all slipped away from me.

In defense I reached up to that snout of his and began prying his jaws apart. He kept his grip on me though and I exerted a bit more pressure. He was in bad need of a serious breath mint but I could not let that deter me. So I kept prying his jaw apart further and further, his teeth glistening and sharp. I was almost thankful that it was his claws in me and not those teeth. My arm was still throbbing and dripping blood. In fact, I was pretty sure I was a bloody mess, and my clothes in tatters. Something had to give though. It was going to be the gift enhanced strength of my arms or his jaw and it was his jaw which finally lost. It snapped with a pop that sounded like the fourth of July. Okay, it wasn’t that loud but his scream when it popped rivaled the banshee and that was for sure. He let go and stumbled backwards reaching to his jaw with at least two of his arms. Then my gift took over. I was thinking how nice it would be to have a nice demon strength rope when one just appeared, right from my eyes. It was golden as it sailed through the air and I began waving my arms in direction twirling them like a lariat. He screamed louder when the golden threads hit him and his body steamed in response and I just kept it up, twirling and spinning wrapping him like yarn around and around. I didn’t stop until he resembled a large ball of twine and then I squeezed and squeezed, compacting him smaller and smaller with my mind until he was the size of a tennis ball. I laughed and bounced him on the ground. It was a dead bounce and I decided that I would have to do better next time. The other demons were howling looking for their friend, their champion and my nemesis. My need though was red hot and it was giving me a magic that is difficult to explain. I stood there a moment, panting, blood dripping from hundreds of punctures and deep tears. I looked as if I had been thrown through a plate glass window, or maybe worse. I stared hard at the circle of demons focusing on the four or five directly in my line of sight. I was unconcerned with what was going on behind me. Whatever TC’s defeat had done to them included mass confusion and lots of howling. My attention remained directly to my front staring down the demons as I walked towards them. They gave way, slowly, whimpering like defeated dogs, more afraid of me than anything. One was slow in moving and I turned on him, my eyes gazing as if they could burn a hole right through him. He whelped with pain and took off running, four or five others moving with him. I took the opportunity to escape, running for my life. I had no doubt that my nemesis had been the toughest the demons had that night but I doubted my ability to whip ten or twelve of them despite how powerful I felt. So I ran and I ran oblivious of my surroundings. Sometime later as I crossed the bay, I took the opportunity to throw my bouncing ball of twine as far into the ocean that I could. I thought that if he could get out of that, as much as demons hated water then more power to him.

I didn’t want to walk into my apartment through the front. I had no idea what time it was or who might be lurking about. The last thing I needed was to show up in tattered and ripped clothes dripping blood all over the carpets. Demon wounds must heal slower than normal wounds like gunshots, broken bones and bruises from the various bashings I have received but I could tell that the blood was flowing less freely, the pain more dull. I wondered for a moment if that meant that I was out of blood, and if that might explain why suddenly I didn’t have as much pain as before. Regardless, I was pretty sure that it was going to be a bad, pain filled day in which I spent the majority of it waiting for nightfall and hoping I didn’t die. It was times like these that I wished I trusted Amy a little better. Some tender loving care from the woman of your dreams was not a bad thing to wish for. I mean, really, when was something great going to happen to me? How much bad luck could one shrimpy Caucasian have? I approached my apartment from the back and was relieved to see all the lights were off, meaning that Amy was not there. I was relieved about this and also strangely disappointed. I ran up the wall and grabbed hold of the railing and swung myself over. I landed heavily and actually dropped to a knee. Oh, it was not going to be a fun day. I stumbled to the sliding door and opened it with difficulty. As I walked inside the cool breeze of the ceiling fan hit me and the coolness was a comfort for a brief moment until the chills hit. I slid to the floor leaving a smear of blood on the glass of the sliding door. It felt nice to be sitting, inside and marginally safe.

She was sitting in the dark. I had not noticed her. I laughed semi-hysterically, thinking that I should have known that she would be there.

“Tough night Gypsy Boy?” she asked.

“Well, there’s one fewer demon,” I said as I lost consciousness.

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