Hello everyone and welcome back from Christmas Vacation! I hope everyone had a great time. I went to a concert, almost lost my hearing, and ate the most delicious pork roast in the history of the universe. How about you?
Well, hopefully, you had a great time and were eagerly waiting for more Immortals! In celebration of the end of vacation, this post is a special one, being 2,000 words longer.
And now...OUR PROGRAM RESUMES!
Despite a year and half of imagination and speculation, Kendra had been not entirely sure how effective a saxophone would be as a weapon of war.
When the curved front of her sax slammed into one of the goons who was trying to kidnap her, sending his glasses and a few teeth flying into the air in a spray of shockingly red blood, Kendra realized just how effective it might be. Then, as the goon collapsed to the ground – his face lacerated in a few places, his jaw dangling and popped out of the sockets that normally held it in a way that made her feel perfectly queasy – she saw that while it might serve as a first strike weapon, there was no way that it’d work a second time: The saxophone’s thin metal had been dented, the valves broken and twisted and popped off their normal tracks, and the whole thing looked a bit like an aluminium bat after being used to knock a ball into space.
So, she threw the mangled wreck at the surprised goon to her left and took off to the right, while the goon on the ground made a noise between a groan, a whimper, and a barely restrained scream. Kendra felt sick, but her adrenaline was up and her feet seemed to fly across the AstroTurf as she made for a large circle, wanting to get around the goons and to the parking lot that bordered the other side of the football field.
Gunshots, she discovered five seconds later, were shockingly loud. Someone slapped her on the back so hard that she lost balance, staggering to one knee. She tried to stand, but found her legs didn’t want to work…and then pain exploded through her body. Her mouth opened and blood came rushing around her lips – an iron taste that seemed to dominate everything. Kendra fell to the ground, coughing, and trying to find the air to-
Gunshots, she knew, were shockingly loud. A bullet whiffed past Kendra’s ear and she gasped – shocked at the lack of pain and at how she could actually breathe now. Her body – her mind – carried the memories of the pain and her legs, for a moment, still wanted to collapse to the ground and writhe around a bit. Kendra shook her head, made herself take another step forward.
Another gunshot and this time, she spun around and collapsed to the ground, her teeth gritted against a scream that wanted to burn through her throat and fill the air. Her shoulder felt as if it had been dislocated, then dumped in napalm. She grabbed for it with her good hand, her fingers digging into her own flesh as she closed her eyes. Blood pump-
Another gunshot, and this time, it hit the ground beside Kendra’s left foot. She jerked said foot back and ignored the pain as she turned and ran as fast as she could, her feet pounding on the ground. There was no fifth…no…no third gunshot. The first two hadn’t happened. She just remembered them happening.
Instead, she heard a voice – one of the goons – snarling loud enough for her to ear over the wind in her ears and the pounding of her terrified heart: “The boss wants her alive, you f-“
She burst into the parking lot, running past one of the campus security officer who had been pulled over by the sounds of the fight. The officer tried to say something, but Kendra didn’t really have time. She ran up to the first car that she could find – a beat up Mom-mobile van that had been parked in the visitor’s parking slots that only let you stay for an hour or two. She grabbed the front door, tried the handle…
And it opened. Kendra grinned, then sat in the driver’s seat. She closed the door, looked up, then closed her eyes.
“Be there, be there, be there…” She whispered, focusing on the possibility that the woman or man who had owned this car, who had parked it and brought it here, had left a key in the sunflap. She reached up, opened the sunflap, and a laughed with the kind of hysterical relief that could only come from imminent death…as the keys for the car dropped into her lap. She picked it up, then heard a loud grunt and the faint crackling noise of a taser.
Kendra looked up through the window, her hand frozen around the keys, her knuckles while as she clutched them.
The three goons had gotten out of the football field. The one with the dislocated or broken jaw looked like he had taken serious painkillers and was leaning against his friend. Or maybe he was just that hardcore. The second one held a taser, which he’d used to knock the security officer down – a walkie talky sat next to the officer. Giving them time.
The third still had a gun.
It wasn’t aimed at Kendra. That would have been too easy.
It was jammed against Marshall’s head, and the saxophone section head looked like he wasn’t sure if he was going to be brave or break down blubbering. Kendra closed her eyes, then opened the car door and stood, her hands raised above her head. She didn’t need anyone to tell her what to do, not in this situation. The adrenaline burning through her ebbed back and for a moment, she just felt tired – the phantom pain of memory floated around her shoulder and back and lungs, as if it wanted her to still be bullet ridden and dying.
She sighed: “You know, you guys are assholes, right?”
“Well paid assholes, at least…” The man holding Marshal looked harried – as if he had never expected a simple job like this to be so difficult. He gestured with his hand and the second man hurried forward, still holding the taser.
“Whoa, don’t tase me!” Kendra said. “I’ll…just zipcuff me, okay!?”
The man, for a wonder, actually did that. His hands forced hers behind her back, zipped her cuffs, and then he kept his hands on her wrists, pushing her towards a car that had windows tinted into pure blackness.
“Let Marshal go, he doesn’t have anything to do with this!” Kendra said, noticing that Marshal hadn’t been let go, while the goon with the gun was still hurrying towards the car. They didn’t listen to her as they were jammed into the back of the car.
The back of the car was thick with the smell of fear – it felt like the kind of place that the goons used a lot for this kind of thing. The doors didn’t have handles on the inside, and the front of the car was separated from the back by a thick wall of glass and plastic.
Marshal slammed the back of his head into the chair, his eyes closed. “This is the last time I help you, Kendra!”
“That’s fine,” Kendra said, looking around, trying to will her hands to be free. The world seemed to become…fuzzy for a second. She was in the car and she was not in the car. Her memories remained clear, but she could see herself standing without zipcuffs, the goons glaring at her. But then she snapped back into the car fully.
Marshal, being mortal, didn’t notice.
The car took a gentle left turn, accelerated, then turned right, then slowly came to a stop. Kendra gulped, and then the doors opened. Two large, nasty looking guns – the kinds of guns that fired a lot of bullets very fast – aimed in through the two doors and a gruff voice she didn’t recognize from either of the goons spoke.
Kendra and Marshal shifted and got out of the car. It was harder than that might sound – hands were useful and zipcuffs didn’t help. When Kendra did stand, she saw that they had to have taken a pretty short trip down the Haveview express way and pulled off into the bit of the town that had handled manufacturing, before manufacturing had been picked up and sent overseas. Now, the factories and warehouses that had dominated this relatively small part of town were moldering and waiting for some bighuge corporation like Apple or Google to buy them and turn them into spas or something.
For the moment, they seemed like just about the perfect place to do something dastardly before the police showed up.
The goons had been joined by two other of the same cut and type – they were the two people with the fast-bullet-fire guns. But there was a sixth man.
The sixth man was absolutely terrifying. Kendra felt her knees go weak and her bladder try to escape by squeezing itself inside out. The man was easily six feet tall and broad shouldered, and while he wasn’t handsome – he was too jagged and square to be that – his face still bore an insane, focused charisma that almost knocked Kendra back. His eyes were filled with such intense passion and desire and other emotions that it made it seem like he was half a second away from completely losing every last little bit of his shit.
He wore a suit. It didn’t fit well.
“Kendra Watts!” He said, beaming at her as he spread his hands wide. “A pleasure to meet you!”
He stepped forward, grabbing her around the back and squeezing her tight enough to make her arms and ribs almost pop out of their sockets. She gritted her teeth.
He set her down, then said: “Men, cut her ties!”
He turned away, waking away from her – his hands clasped behind his back. One sleeve slid up as it strained against his elbow and she saw the black adder tattooed on his arm, coiling round to bite at his wrist.
The goons reacted instantly, and…Kendra could…actually kind of see why. Everything the man did was so sure, so self-confident, that you just started to move along with him without thinking about it.
With her hands free, she rubbed her wrists and – as if that had released an invisible gag around her mouth – spoke: “Let Marshal go! He has nothing to do with this!”
“Kendra, what is this?” Marshal hissed-asked.
“Uh-“ Kendra opened her mouth to explain. The man turned, beamed, and cut her off.
“Men, take him and dump him in the landfill, blindfolded and gagged. He’ll get out, but by then, this will all be over and done with. No?” He smiled.
The goons nodded. Marshal barely had time to make a loud ‘yip’ before the car squealed away, shooting out of the driveway of the abandoned factory. Before they had vanished, Kendra had noticed that the goon with the dislocated face…was fine.
She hadn’t even felt anything, but the man had fixed it. She gulped, trying to wet her throat so that she might be able to say something inspiring before she died.
“Ah, forgive me, my manners. I am Adder.” Adder bowed his head to her, almost courtly. Then, grinning, he said: “And I am here to offer you a chance to life that the others never would.”
“You see…” Adder reached up to his suit vest, drawing a long, thick cigar from it. “I believe you have been lied to, Kendra.”
“You know, I’d almost believe you if you hadn’t kidnapped you…” Kendra pointed out.
Adder smiled. “You were told that immortals change the world around them, no?” He asked, sliding the cigar into his mouth. He lit the tip – it was already cut, she noticed. He puffed, the smoke tingling in her nose.
Kendra sneezed, then – grudgingly – she nodded.
“What if I told you that Immortals do not change the world? What if…” He smiled. “There were many worlds. And we are all simply trying to prove ourselves to earn them? What if…the conflict was the true right path, and the friends you so eagerly keep are simply chaining every immortal in this purgatorial existence?”
“Extraordinary claims would…um…need evidence. Right?” Kendra bit her lip, feeling decidedly uneasy – though, to be fair, it was better than terrified.
Adder’s face split into a huge smile.
“Evidence I just so happen to have…come with me, Miss Watts!” He turned around, a streamer of smoke guiding Kendra as he walked towards the abandoned factory. “And let me remove the scales from your eyes and reveal…the true glory and terror of the universe you have stepped into.”
Then, smiling, he turned to face her.
“Or should I say…universes."
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