by Black Ice
To save us from the monsters of the dark, I became one.
|The warm breeze brushed through my midnight black hair, while moonlight danced among the buildings below. I stood atop my perch waiting, eyes focused on the people enjoying the night.
On this particular night, I was in France. Paris. Or to be more accurate, thousands of feet above it. I perched high atop the Eiffel Tower, watching the nightlife. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to have a good time like most American tourists on vacation. No, tonight I actually had to work. Lucky me.
According to intel, a Level-2 had somehow found its way undetected into the heart of Paris and was now wreaking havoc among honeymooners. This was a real problem seeing as how the last Level-2 destroyed most of Hong Kong, before I finally figured out how to kill it. That fight resulted in roughly eighty trillion dollars in damage, the largest cleanup expense for a single battle since I arrived at the I.B.S.A. I won’t hear the last of it.
As I continued to stare longingly at the streets below, my communicator began its familiar beep--three times in rapid succession. Agent Elliot. Sighing, I pressed a finger to my ear, activating the two-way. Almost immediately Agent Elliot’s scratchy voice came through.
“Where the hell are you? I thought I told you to stay with the Hov-jet.”
“Since when do I listen to what you say?”
In the background I heard something explode, followed by a series of rapid gunshots. “Listen here you ingrate. I’m your superior; it’s your duty to listen to me.”
More like my babysitter. “So, Ellie, is there some reason you called. Or is this another one of those team motivation calls that you suck at.”
Elliot cursed. “Why you little-”
“Elliot! Stop arguing like a little girl and get him down here already!” Agent Preston’s voice called out from the background.
Another explosion. And then the communicator went dead.
Suddenly an ear-piercing shriek erupted from the crowd below. People were fleeing in every direction, trampling one another as they tried to get away from something. Turning my head, I watched as a black figure slowly made its way through the crowd. It looked like a typical leopard one would see in a zoo, but with one minor difference: it had shadow-like tentacles coming from its body that consumed everything they touched. A shadow leopard. My target.
Smiling, I turned the communicator off. Tugging on my gloves, I began sprinting across the roof and launched myself off the edge. Vertigo. There’s nothing like it--The feeling of falling from thousands of feet without a parachute. Knowing you just did the stupidest thing ever. Nothing can compare, except maybe the rush you get from beating down monsters.
Time to go to work.
Carly felt like she had finally gone insane.
Only a few minutes ago she had watched as a large black cat-like creature devoured her boyfriend. It had appeared out of nowhere, crashing through the windshield of her car, and dragging a screaming Martin down a nearby alley. Aside from his guttural screams, his last words were about how much he loved her.
Tears streaming from her eyes, Carly joined the rest of the panicked crowd desperately trying to escape. An ear-piercing shriek rang in Carly’s ear as a woman was tackled to the ground by the creature. Shaking her head, Carly returned her gaze to those around her, trying to forget the woman. Better her than me, Carly thought.
Suddenly, a horrible grinding noise cut through the night. She jerked her head up, watching in horror as a nearby building started falling right toward her. A new wave of screaming could be heard as the crowd moved with renewed vigor.
The entire crowd was bathed in shadow, and Carly could hear her heartbeat growing louder with each step. She felt the building’s presence all around her; it was closing in. Carly held her breath as she neared the edge of the building’s reach. I’m going to make it!
Then a few steps from safety, someone pushed her from behind, knocking her to the ground. People rushed past her, ignoring the woman and even breaking one of her legs. The sound of the crowd died around her. Looking back, she watched as the building mowed down three unfortunate souls like her. She closed her eyes and prepared for the end.
Carly took a breath. And then another. And then she opened her eyes. She was still alive. How was she still alive? She looked around and saw quite a few other people who seemed to be asking themselves the same question. How had they survived?
Distracted by her thoughts, Carly was surprised when the ground behind her exploded, throwing her forward. She landed with a loud, CRACK. She had ended up on her broken leg. Breathing deeply, she turned her head back to where she had been sitting seconds ago.
It was the creature again! It had come back to finish the job! Finally realizing that she was about to meet the same fate as Martin, Carly screamed. She screamed long and hard as she watched the figure creep closer. So this was how it ended. Secretly, she was glad it was over.
“Hey. Who told you I was done kicking your butt?” A voice called from behind the creature.
She looked up and saw a young boy covered in dust climb out of the same hole the creature did. She blinked a few times, looking him over. He was a tad handsome, sporting an air of mystery. He wore a blue jacket, black pants, and black shoes; his short hair was also black and his purple eyes were as dark as the night. He looked like he had gotten into a fight with a pair of scissors and lost, badly. There were cuts all along his body, and his clothes were painted with blood. He was the most beautiful boy Carly had ever seen.
The creature stopped its advances and growled at the boy. It was then that Carly noticed that the creature was limping slightly and its tail was missing, severed at the flank. As Carly watched, the wound continued to leak black blood. The creature gave a loud roar and charged.
Carly watched as the creature closed in on the boy. She quietly pleaded with him to move out of the way, to do anything, but the boy just stood there like a statue--A car against a freight train.
“No!” Carly screamed as a white light engulfed the two.
Carly started crying again. Why did the boy not move? Did he not see the creature charging him like a wild bull? Did he think he could stop the creature? Why did someone have to die like that anyway?
“Hey, you alright?” A voice whispered from behind her, breaking her out of the trance. She turned to see the young man covered in viscera walking toward her.
Carly shrieked. She grabbed a nearby brick and threw it at the boy. “Monster!”
“Ow. Was that really necessary?” the boy asked, watching as she attempted to crawl away. Then he added, “I’m not a monster.”
Carly stopped. “Then how do you explain how you look?”
He shrugged. “Things happen.”
Carly looked at him; he seemed harmless enough, though he was covered in another creature’s guts. Maybe she could trust him.
He offered her a hand.
Smiling weakly, she accepted it.
She winced as she stood on her broken leg, the pain bringing tears to her eyes. But she ignored the pain as best she could, not wanting him to patronize her.
“So hero, you got a name?” Carly asked as they started walking.
“Hero? I’m not a hero.”
“You saved my life didn’t you?”
“Yeah, so? It’s my job.”
“Your job? What do you mean by that?”
The boy’s face grew dark. “It’s nothing.”
They stopped at an overturned car. With some reluctance, Carly allowed the boy to carry her over it. Then, they were off again.
“So what did happen back there?”
“What do you mean?”
“I saw that thing run you over. How did you survive?”
“You know, you’re really starting to get on my nerves.”
They had reached the main road, where emergency crews could be seen tending to the injured. Immediately, two paramedics rushed over to them with a stretcher.
“Just tell me your name,” Carly pleaded as she was strapped to the stretcher. “I want to thank you properly.”
He shook his head.
“I’ll tell you mine. It’s Carly.”
The boy shook his head, turning to leave. “You don’t want to know my name. Not after all I’ve done.”
And then he was gone.