Trail of Blood
She followed the nearly never-ending track, trudging through the snow with a trail of blood following loyally behind her. The young girl with moon-glow skin blended with the Wyoming winter, appearing frail and tiny beneath torn rags that provided scant warmth. Season’s wind lifted her long raven hair and battered her exposed flesh like the slaver master’s whip, but like the remembered whip she could not feel the cold. Neither her fingers nor her body trembled beneath the blizzard’s gusts.
A crimson stream seeped from an open hole where her left eye should be. The blood stained the front of her torn rags and whatever did not hit cloth showered the snow at her feet. Still, she toiled forward. Long hours passed by and the snowfall stacked high. After awhile, the girl clawed her way through the wintry sea just to find the railroad tracks before continuing forward again.
Night fell. There were shadowy silhouettes in the distant darkness. Lights. A town.
The girl’s endless march slowed. She staggered forward on unsteady legs, and fading awareness drifted into her single-eyed sight. Moments later, the girl crumpled beneath a sign:
Welcome to God’s Truth.
A womanly figure dressed in eternal darkness stood at the mouth of a small house.
The desert sun bore down on her hotter than the smoking revolver in her hand. Framed by light and cast in shadow, the raven-haired girl with the midnight black eye kicked open the previously locked door blocking her path. Her heel spurs clicked and rattled on the creaking floorboards as she vanished inside of the little house’s maw.
Much like her normal baby blue, there wasn’t much that her unnatural eye could see. The burning gold iris scanned over the nigh empty contents of the room. An unused fireplace; there wasn’t much need for it during the summer. She wandered over to the home’s recently slept in bed and placed her hand against the mattress. Her eye could see the colored heat still left over from the inhabitant’s nightly slumber fading away. Can you see anything, Adrian?
“No.” Adrian answered the voice in her head. “There’s nothing here, Father.”Keep looking. The Devil always lies, and what we see is not always what it seems.
Adrian moved away from the bed and turned her attention to scattered books along the wall. She picked one up that was titled ‘Of The Occult’, and then another ‘The Secrets of Demons and Devils’. She opened the book. There were shadows and voices whispering vile venom from the pages. Her iris glowed brighter, seeing tendrils of cloud-like darkness reaching out to her.
She slammed the book closed and tossed it away, stepping back from the hateful item.Ahhh, did I not tell you?
“I’m sorry, Father. I thought he was a good man, a man of God. I was wrong. There’s nothing but hate here, the devil’s work just as you said.”You are forgiven, child. I wanted you to see for yourself, and to see truth is never easy work. I am not happy for you to find such evil in a person you trusted.
“I will do what needs to be done.”Do you wish for me to be here when it is done? For strength?
“That won’t be necessary. I need to see him for what he is, and I need to pull the trigger. Alone.”And so shall ye see the truth, and may God’s light guide your hand.
“Thank you, Father.” She said and walked to one corner of the room where there was a rocking chair. Adrian dragged the seat to face the door she shot a hole in. A single dagger of light carved through, setting on her unnatural eye. She rocked steadily, her eye swaying back and forth in and out of the light’s touch.
When hooves clopped in the distance, Adrian popped open the cylinder of her six-shooter and emptied out the bullets. She slowly replaced them with new ones of glimmering silver, engraved with the holy cross. Adrian whispered a prayer and turned her revolver to the door when hooves had changed to footsteps.
Boots on wood, a slow creaking; the man stopped.
Adrian could make out his movements through the bullet hole, the feel of his gun’s barrel dragging against its leather holster, and an inevitable click of the cocked hammer. It was the conversation of guns, the conversation of killers. Adrian pulled back the hammer of her revolver in response. She waited, just like he waited. The air had gone quiet and there was nothing more than their slow and silent breathing.
Six holes burst through the wood in quick succession, six new daggers of light stabbing into Adrian’s body.
The man outside had reloaded quickly, then kicked open the door with violent force. He took aim for the fatal shot.
But, it was Adrian’s impossible swiftness that shot his gun free with a single pull of the trigger. The next ringing shot seared through the man’s kneecap, sending him to the ground crumpling in screaming pain. In a flash, the woman of eternal darkness moved like shadow and planted her boot to his chest. He grunted painfully down each wooden step from the force of impact, rolling in the dirt until he lied on his back with his badge glinting up at the woman’s face above him.
“Adrian?” He uttered with heavy, disbelieving breath.
“Marshall.” She stared down at him with contempt.
The Marshall lifted himself up on his elbows. “You should be dead. I shot you, I know I shot you.”
“You did. Six clean hits.” Adrian pulled at the buttons of her black coat, revealing the blood stained white undershirt. A crimson stain for each bullet marked the cloth. She continued and opened up the shirt, showing where her flesh healed itself, slowly pushing out the smoking bullets until they clattered to the ground.
The Marshall’s eyes widened.
Adrian re-buttoned herself, again shrouded in black.
“The Devil cannot harm a child of God. I am his warrior, his agent of the earth sent to cleanse the darkness.”
The Marshall shook his head. “I don’t know what you’re doing, or what you’re thinking Adrian, but you’re shooting the wrong guy.”
“The Devil always lies.”
“What? Adrian, listen to me! It’s me. I saved you from the snow, remember? You almost died seven years ago, lying out there alone.”
“The cold cannot harm me. You did not save me, only God can do that.”
“Adrian, please. I got you a home, the Church took you in; we’re friends for fuck’s sake! There’s weird shit goin’ on around here, I’ve been looking into those two murders and it… It was you?”
“And at last, he sees.”
“Why?” He asked, trying to grasp for an answer that made sense.
“It is my mission from God.” She pointed the barrel down at him. “It is my mission to cleanse the land with the blood of evil. The blood of demons.”
The Marshall puzzled over her words. “Is that what… I’m not a demon. You remember everything I’ve done for you. Would a demon help you to live? Would a demon be your friend? You once trusted me, so trust me one more time.”
Adrian tickled the trigger, brushing it with hesitant thought. Then, her eye burned, and she could see what the Marshall was. She could see his form of hatred, fire, and blood. “The Devil always lies.” She said.
The Marshall’s blood quieted the desert, and his demonic blood returned to Hell.
Adrian knelt next to his corpse and pulled up her sleeve revealing a bracelet of stone and ancient runes. There were six runes, and two already pulsated with a white glow. She whispered a chant. A ghostly pale orb emerged from the Marshall’s parted lips, apparently still shocked about the bullet in his head. When Adrian finished her chant, the sphere joined with her bracelet and caused a third rune to glow.
A damned beast must not settle upon the earth, it must be condemned by fire.
Adrian dragged his body back into the home, and set it ablaze. She watched quietly outside, observing the dancing of the flames, the snapping crackle of the wood, the roar of end, and the burning away of God’s truth.
The woman in black returned to town.
The doors of The Holy Church of God’s Truth opened, and the dark lady walked down the center aisle dividing the pews. Adrian turned her head to see the Sister in her nun’s clothes glaring at her. “Sister.” Adrian nodded to her in acknowledgement before carrying on to the whitewood altar decorated with crimson cloth covering with gold trimming.
At the center of the altar, the Father stood in white robes. His back was to her so all Adrian could see was his graying hair.
“I don’t think the Sister will ever like me.”
“She’s just not used to you yet. Is it done?” The Father said, his voice soft and kind. It was tender as it always had been from the first day he took her in.
She snorted. The Sister had been here as long as Adrian could remember her. If she wasn’t accustomed to Adrian’s presence yet, then she never would be. “It is.”
“Good, good.” The Father turned around, facing her with his warm smile. His face was ragged from difficult years, but his eyes betrayed a man who had not truly reached the age of the elderly.
The bloody western frontier and the many souls it had claimed wore on him, and Adrian could see it.
He wrapped a hand around the dangling white cross at his neck and toyed with it. “You have done more for the Lord than I could ever hope to achieve. Come.” The Father held out his hand. Adrian took it, and he pulled her into an embrace. “I am deeply sorry about the Marshall.”
His memory bothered her, but she brushed it away. “Don’t be, Father. He was a deceiver and no more. The less said about him, the better.” She pulled herself out of the hug.
“Your will be done… The demon’s soul?”
“Excellent. The time when we can drive the Devil out of the west forever shall soon be upon us. In truth-“
“What is it, my daughter? Does something trouble you?”
Adrian could still feel the Sister’s gaze stabbing into her. “It’s just…”
“Ah, I do believe I understand.” The Father slipped his hand into his robe, and retrieved a bible. “This is about your past.”
“What is it you wish to seek?”
“You said I came here, that I did not have an eye. I remember all of that. My eye was taken from me by some bandit on the road, I walked here and was brought here when I lost consciousness. You gave me this eye and told me I would see truth, and I have, I have seen the demon’s walk the earth.” Adrian pressed her hand to the eye and looked up at Jesus on the cross. “But, the eye has yet to show me where I’m from or who I am as you promised it would. Why does it not show me? Have I not proven myself to God?”
The Father placed a hand on her shoulder. “God does not answer in the ways we expect of him, for we can never understand a being of the infinite. He sees and he watches. He loves and he condemns and he forgives. When, or why, or how, or where, or who, or what… These questions are elusive, for only God can know the greatest of truths, only he can see what we cannot. We must simply have faith in the path he gives us.”
“But, if I don’t know who I am, or what I am, how can I know my path? Why is it that I am the only one who can wear this eye without dying?”
He laughed. “My sweet daughter, being chosen as a warrior of light is a gift. Not a curse. I know the burden of his divine sight must be heavy, and the answers so few, but you must trust. Trust in your faith. Do you believe you can do that?”
Adrian looked into his eyes, and his smile warmed her. “Yes, I believe I can.”
“Always remember to believe.” He opened his bible. “Think of James 1:6. ‘But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.’”
“I will not be like the wave.”
“That’s my girl. You are like the mountain, hard and sturdy, reaching to the heavens. And it is within your reach, for I believe the answers to your questions will come this very night. I know of the three final demons you must defeat.”
She felt new resolve and looked at him in expectation. “Who, Father? Who must I kill?”
“Listen close, this will be bloody work.”
Adrian of the black cloaked herself in night’s veil, watching quietly as a predator observes its prey. She knelt outside of the house’s rear lantern’s reach, remaining submerged in the shadows. Her hand idly played with her revolver in its holster, looking through the candle lit windows of the kitchen.
It was kitchen full of laughter. A mother and her two daughters played silly games, talking and giggling and smiling. The loving mother lost her husband one year ago amidst a lethal Wyoming winter, but she worked night and day to keep their house, working to retain a moment like this.
Death watched the mother and her daughters. There was evil behind those smiles. She knew it. Her faith guided her, and the darkness within them could not hide from Adrian’s divine sight.
Adrian pulled her revolver from the holster.
The smoke settled and only the woman in black remained standing. Her bracelet held six glowing runes. “It is over.” Adrian whispered.Yes! Return home, my daughter. Return home at last, and the light shall be revealed to you!
Adrian held her gaze on the bodies below her. One was tall, and two were little. She saw them for what they were, but their pale, dead, and bloodied fragility stuck to her. It was the fourth time she’d rinsed her hands in the kitchen’s sink. She stared at herself reflected in the window. “I’m… I’m coming home, Father.”
There came a knock at the door.
Her gaze turned sharply. She waited. Another series of knocking came. Adrian lifted her gun and walked through the blood on the floor sticking to the dark underside of her boots, leaving a trail of red behind her. Before she opened it, Adrian peered out the side window to see who stood there.
It was an elderly man. White hair, white beard, standing with the help of a cane.
Adrian turned the handle and pulled.
Nothingness turned to white, blinding light. Adrian couldn’t make out anything except distant shadowy fragments. She reached out, and blinked.
“It will take a moment to see again.” It was a stranger’s voice.
Adrian whipped her hand towards her side, desperately searching for her gun.
“That’s in safe hands. I will return it to you when you’re ready.”
She lunged out around her, trying to attack the source of speaking, but Adrian only struck air amidst her blindness. “Where are you, demon?”
“Demon? I think you have the wrong person, Adrian.”
“Yes, I know who you are. You’ve been rather busy. Impressive work, truly. I daresay there’s not a hand faster with a gun in the whole world.”
Again, Adrian flailed towards the sound but found nothing.
The old voice sighed. “We might get somewhere if you just sat quietly for a second or two and listened. How is your sight?”
The world around her became clearer. Adrian could see cacti and violet flowers resting atop beds of rock and gravel. Sagebrush dotted surreal white sand that formed a small coastline against a deep blue body of water.
“Now, if you would keep looking in your current direction, I need to-“
Adrian turned her head around and faced him; the old man.
The old man stroked his beard, but his eyes betrayed immense surprise. “Well, that’s unexpected.”
The woman in black charged him, but he dodged her reach. He weaved and ducked like he was formless, like water.
Adrian stopped, and gave up. “You don’t move like an old man.”
“That is because I’m not an old man. I am, however, old.” He chuckled. “And you, you are a strange one, Adrian, a strange one indeed.”
“Interesting choice of words, coming from you.”
The old man boomed with laughter. “Oh, so very true. I’m something of a puzzle, I must admit. Not, however, as much of a puzzle as you are.”
Adrian tilted her head curiously. “What do you mean?”
“For starters, you’re the first person to look at me straight on.”
“Is it unusual for people to look at you?”
“The ones who did burst into flame and died quite painfully.”
Adrian looked at her hands, her arms, her body.
“As you can see, you are not burning alive. Amazing, isn’t it? I’m astounded, and certainly confused.”
“You’re not the only one.”
“No, I suspected as much. I’d like to also add that your head hasn’t exploded from the sound of my voice.”
“Who are you?”
“Ahh, now that is the question, isn’t it?” The old man ambled over to the water with his walking stick. “You may call me, the Watcher.” He reached down to scoop up some water with his hand, and drank it. “From my title, I’m of no doubt that your superior intellect can grasp that I, well, I watch. I watch from up close, I watch from afar, I watch at medium distances and simply observe as things move and build and get destroyed. The more important question would be-“
“Why do you watch?”
He beamed happily. “I am fond of you, Adrian, I really am. There are few I can speak to like this. In fact, you are the only one.”
“Where is my gun?”
The Watcher frowned. “In a hurry to kill? I told you, Adrian. In time you will be given what is yours. When you are ready, that is.”
“And when will I be ready?”
“When you decide you are.”
“Unfortunately, being ready does not work in such a fashion. You cannot make it happen, it just happens and thus it is so.”
Adrian took in her surroundings again. There was an odd sense of serenity and silence. No wind. Just stillness, like the waters the Watcher had drank from. “You talk funny.”
“For a straight shooter like you, I suppose I do. But, I have my own questions. Who are you, Adrian?”
“I’m… Adrian. I live in a church, and I-“
“No.” The Watcher said. “Who are you?”
“I don’t know.”
“Neither do I. You are not of me, and you are not of him of the darkness.”
“Excuse me, just the mad ramblings of an old man.”
“But you’re not a man.”
“Quite true. And neither are you, I believe. Not human.”
She looked at her reflection in the water. “If I’m not human, then how do you explain my appearance?”
“Similar to a demon, is it not?”
Adrian glared at the Watcher. “How do you know about the demons?”
“I know many things. Especially what you see with that eye of yours.”
She forgot about her eye. Normally, Adrian could feel its cold burn inside of her head. But here, in this strange place, she felt nothing. Adrian reached out to touch that side of her face.
“Doesn’t burn anymore, does it?”
“How did you do that?”
“I know a thing or two about objects such as that one. A truth-seeing eye as the old world mage’s called it, an eye of God. There aren’t many left. That’s indeed a rare gift you have. With it, you can detect magic, and a person’s presence of past, present, and future. You can even detect the true nature of a person. Like, for example, your demons.”
Adrian nodded. “It has helped me see the truth.”
“The truth? So I see, that’s what you believe you’ve been seeing.”
“It is what I have been seeing. The eye, unlike the Devil, does not lie.”
The Watcher wore a sad smile. “I can show you who you are.”
Adrian perked up.
She appeared hesitant, focusing on him intently.
“What does your eye tell you?”
Adrian studied him but found no swirling darkness, no whirlwind of hatred, no demonic appearance. There was warmth, but she explored it no further because she sensed the reservoir went deeper than she could fathom. “You are what you seem to be.”
“Because I am. I am. I am what I am.”
The Watcher reached out with an open hand, and then guided it over the water. “You must walk in.”
She looked out at the impenetrable depths with trepidation.
“I cannot make you do it. It must be your own choice.”
Adrian waited no longer. She walked towards the deep dark pool and waded in. One step, and then the next; her dark cloak steadily became soaked. Forward into the still waters, she sank, and sank, and when her head submerged beneath the waters’ ceiling she found that she was completely dry.
She was walking through a nearby canyon, a road often travelled by the townspeople of God’s Truth. It was here that Adrian found she had no control of her body. The sensation of powerlessness overwhelmed her with fear.
A distant, unseen touch kept her warm. It shielded her from her own terror, and Adrian stayed true to the path. She recognized this day, this night. A cold sliver of moonlight shone on the trail, a trail where a loving husband and a loving wife walked each night in an act of marital bliss and ritual.
Adrian stepped in front of their path, and pulled out her gun. She couldn’t remember the Watcher having given it back, but this wasn’t the present, it was the past. Her heart knew what came next, knew what the training the Father had given her in preparation for this moment. Her first hunt, her first kill, her first demons.
She remembered what came next. The hideous roars of disgusting creatures of the Hell plain.
But, what she remembered, did not happen.
Husband and wife screamed in terror. They begged for mercy. They begged for their lives. She cried tears of genuine fear, and Adrian felt a shiver run through her spine. The husband comforted his wife. It was him that Adrian shot first, his blood splattering onto the moon-blanketed dirt. He gasped for breath, but his body soon went cold with death.
The wife shrieked. She tried to shake her husband back to life. She screamed out his name. She screamed at Adrian. Only silence, and the burning glow of her black eye responded.
Adrian made the screaming stop.
The woman in black felt herself trembling as her uncontrolled body moved to the rhythm of something not her own. She disappeared into the darkness, and re-appeared in the light of day by the home of the Marshall.
No, she tried to say but the words did not come. Instead, she relived the scene of investigating the Marshall’s home and the strange books he had been reading. The Marshall was following a lead, and that lead ended with a bullet to his head.
Before Adrian shot him, she remembered the Marshall’s caring face looking down at her with concern as he lifted her from the winter snow. He had braved the sharp winds for her, and delivered her to the church. The Marshall was always there, helping her, teaching her, and watching over her. He saved her from rough strangers, and saved her from herself one odd night where Adrian had overpowered two men and nearly killed them.
The Marshall always had been there, and his life was taken by the same gun he had gifted her.
No! The words would not come out still.
A mother’s voice, and children’s laughter burned her ears with shame. Laughter transformed into shrieks, and then changed into bloody silence and cold chill.
Adrian could still hear their innocent screams. The shrieking would not end, but soon she realized it wasn’t them; it was her. She had returned to the white sands, her fists slamming into the dirt with desperate fury. Sorrow consumed her heart and she could feel it ache everywhere on her body.
“And at last, you see.” The Watcher said.
She looked at him, tears fresh on her face. “I killed them.”
“They weren’t demons.”
“No, they were not.”
She wanted to believe the Watcher had shown her a lie, but Adrian sensed no deception. Adrian wished he were full of lies, for the truth stabbed into her like a shard of ice. And with one shard, came another. Wrath seeped into her vision, but it was her wrath just like the new feelings of regret had been her own. “The Father.” Adrian said.
“It would seem that your eye has been tampered with. Changed fundamentally by dark magic.”
Adrian stood up. She looked down at the pool, at her reflection. The woman in black grabbed her black eye and ripped it from the socket, sending a spray of blood out into the waters. She did not scream from pain, but Adrian did crush the eye inside of her unusually strong grip. Adrian scattered the black and gold dust of its remnants to the sand, watching the faint wisp of shadow fade from existence.
She walked past the Watcher, and kept on walking.
“Where are you going?”
Adrian found her revolver on a rock bed and picked it up. She continued forward.
The Watcher smiled. “You are ready.”
The Chosen Trail
Adrian returned, traveling upon a starlit road with a trail of blood following willfully behind her. Despite the summer season, an unusual formation of clouds began to darken the sky, and snow fell. The familiar cold of home whipped against her flesh, but she welcomed the bite.
She wandered the path on which she killed the husband and wife, remembering, watching, and listening to past death returning on the wind to haunt her; a haunting tune of ghosts in the breeze.
She visited the Marshall’s burnt home, his ashy grave. “Forgive me, Marshall.” Adrian whispered, standing witness to the destruction she wrought with her own hands. Her hand found a piece of charred wood, and she rubbed it lightly with her fingers. Adrian tossed the wood back to the rubble.
Three graves Adrian dug. Dug out behind the home of innocence. She sobbed quietly when she scrubbed the blood from the floorboards, and then dutifully placed the mother and her two daughters beneath the earth. She hummed and then sang a song of prayer, lifting their spirits from her bracelet, guiding their glowing souls to heaven just as she had done for the others murdered by her hand.
The bracelet was dead and gray, unstained by cruelty. She destroyed the evil thing and scattered its remnants to the fallen snow. Her finger brushed the grip of her revolver, idly pondering the truths of evil, the truths of God, the truths of redemption and decisions. A bullet could kill, a bullet could torture, and a bullet could solve violent discussion with a single shot. She used the gun for her answers, but Adrian never wondered whether unseen strings could manipulate her hand.
Adrian splintered the church doors open with tremendous force, sending wood fragments scattering against the floor. The darkness of the holy place greeted her with a lack of feeling. She was careful, stepping into the shadows, her eyes looking for any movements.
The Sister roared out from nowhere, and charged Adrian with a knife. She was quick. Adrian proved to be swifter, sending the nun’s brains splattering against the pews. Her body steamed where the silver bullet entered, and then caught fire. The flames ate away at the Sister until she was reduced to nothing more than blackened dust.
“Now, was that necessary?” The Father’s voice.
He sounded different to her now. The warmth of the church had vanished, and there was just nothingness, the void, and the absence of all feeling except hatred.
“Come out, you fucking coward.” Adrian growled.
“You think I’m hiding? How insulting.” From somewhere, he snapped his fingers. Candles burned with black fire, and the interior of the church glowed dully. The Father’s figure in black robes became apparent, silhouetted on the altar. “I would never fear you, Adrian. You are no more than a puppet. A puppet that has outlived its usefulness, unfortunately.”
“You’re a demon.”
“Yes, I’m happy you’ve finally figured it out. Brilliant of you, truly. It only took six deaths for you to figure that out.”
“The bracelet, I know. The eye as well, I assume. It is no matter, I will start over with six new souls” He sighed. “I really wish you would have worked out better. You were so good at listening, too!”
Adrian raised her revolver.
“Come now, do you really think that will work? Perhaps on a lesser beast like her.” The Father nodded to the Sister. “Human weapons are useless against me.”
“I’m not human.”
“I’ve decided that you are. Probably mage-borne, that’s how you could survive that trek in the snow with your eye cut out. Silly girl, you thought you were special all these years with what I’ve told you. Magic has guarded you, I have guarded you, but it and I will no longer.”
Adrian emptied the rest of her bullets in successive flashes. Each found their mark.
The Father theatrically staggered backwards. “You’ve shot me. You have killed me, Adrian. Why? Why? Why?” He laughed manically, showing his hideous teeth. Bright white, his charming smile turned demented with murderous intent. They turned gray with death, and his gums were infested with worms and snakes. His human flesh shed off him like a serpent, revealing a four-legged horror with a blood-dripping, skinless face. Broken fangs gnashed hungrily, starving for the taste of a human’s blood.
Frozen with terror, Adrian took a slow step backwards.
The Father let out a blood-curdling cry. “Too late to run!” And he cackled, charging at her with inhuman speed.
Adrian attempted to re-load her revolver, but he was on her too quickly. An overwhelming kick lifted her from the ground and sent her smashing into several rows of pews. The wood broke from her fall, and splinters gashed deeply into her skin. She suspected one of her ribs was broken, but already felt the healing process mend her bone. Adrian gasped for breath, and stood up. Her moment of reprieve was short lived. Demonic claws choked her neck, and lifted her several feet off the ground. The Father hurled her across the church, and her back hammered into the altar.
A normal person would have died from the severing of their spine caused by the force of impact. Adrian did not. She frantically searched for her revolver and saw it lying on the floor near the shattered pews. The Father came for her, and she reacted with a quick roll across the floor, going through his legs where he could not reach. Adrian bolted from the floor and dived towards her gun, retrieving it.
But, just as she snatched the grip, the Father crushed her stomach with another devastating blow that sent her sprawling and vomiting on the ground. She retched dryly when there was nothing left.
The Father laughed his inhuman laugh. “You’ve lasted longer than I thought. A powerful mage’s blood resides in your veins.” He sounded pleased, enjoying the fact he had someone he could toy with, that he had food to play with.
Adrian re-filled the cylinder with bullets, and turned to fire. She was too late. The Father grabbed her, and rammed her through the row of pews until he slammed her against the wall near the altar. Her revolver remained gripped between her fingers, but Adrian wasn’t able to take a shot.
The Father leaned his face close to hers. He hissed with laughter, and his serpentine tongue lapped over her face. “You taste delicious. I can smell your fear, can sense the blood inside of you.” It was almost like he was moaning with pleasure as he spoke. Maggots fell from his maw, landing on her neck. “This is the end, Adrian. You will see truth, at last.” He changed his voice to the gentle priestly tone she’d always remember. “The truth is end, the truth is Hell shall come to the earth, and you will be nothing more than food never knowing who you are, or where you came from. But my favorite is, I will truly enjoy your final screams.”
Adrian glared back at the Father. “There are only six things I trust.” She squirmed in his grasp, and in final desperation, dove her face to his arm and bit down into the deathly flesh. Blackened blood sprayed where Adrian tore away skin, and the Father relinquished his hold just enough. She reached out with her revolver and clubbed the side of his head. There was enough room to fire, and she emptied six shots into his face.
He roared in pain, feeling the burn of silver scalding inside of him. His claws released her, and Adrian rolled away from him to create distance.
The taste of his blood was intriguing to her tongue. She felt something inside of her, something that was always there. Adrian didn't know what it was, but the thing that was her did not ask her to know the answers.
The beast unleashed his fury. “Mercy is over!”
“Come and get me, you ugly cunt.”
The Father charged, and he stretched out the razor-like claws from his hand for a death blow.
Adrian raised her hand and caught the blade-like claws into her flesh. She did not flinch. The woman in black’s eyes glazed dark as midnight, and crushed the demon’s bones with her sudden grip.
The Father howled in stunned pain. “What are you?”
She laughed with an inhuman rage. The black fire of the candles blazed higher, catching curtains and wood, spreading flame throughout the church.
Their silhouetted shadows painted the wall of the church, and Adrian’s form changed. Her altered tone rose to a bestial growl. Adrian's bones snapped and her flesh broke.
Outside of the chapel, the Watcher watched. And, in this case, the Watcher listened. He listened to the Father’s harrowing shrieks and the splattering of blood.
Adrian tore the Father apart.
She did not know what she was, but she would find out. Not of darkness, not of light, but she would find out. Despite the begging screams, she didn’t answer with mercy; only blood. There was a time where she believed she knew what truth was. She would have to discover her own, and Adrian did not know whether the gun provided truth, or the one that carries it. But, the first reality she discovered was that of pain.
The Father’s screams were true.