Oct 31, 2011

V Files: Chapter 9 - Ashes To Ashes

By Sama Khwaja

‘So that’s what I was? What I am?’ Destiny thought bitterly, her heart sinking fast to the pit of her stomach. She sighed and gazed out at the sprawling city of Torch from the church rooftop she was currently perched on.

She felt sick. Sick of all these horrible truths popping out of nowhere and sick of how those truths were messing with her head.

‘I’m not really human, am I?’ she realized miserably as she glanced at her hands. ‘Was I ever human? Or was I always an experiment?’

She clenched her hands into tight, angry fists. She hated this. But more than anything, she hated Alicia Crescent for doing this to her.

She wrapped her arms around her legs and buried her face in them, letting her hair sway forward to shut her off from the world. She wanted to forget everything: her name, her rank, Vice, River…

She quickly wiped out the image of River. She wanted to hit herself for coming here. This would be the first place River would come to look for her. Face it. She wanted him to find her. She was pathetic. She just couldn’t let go of him even though it would hurt them both.

‘Can I love someone one day, Ms. Crescent?’

The glowing field sways about her hypnotically. Destiny clutches her ball with pudgy fingers and gazes curiously at a tearful Alicia Crescent. Behind Destiny stands a figure swathed in dark shadows. The only thing visible about him are his piercing ice blue eyes that seem to be boring a hole into Alicia with their gaze.

‘No,’ Alicia chokes out in fright.

‘I…can’t?’ Destiny asks, hurt.

‘No, I mean,’ Alicia wipes away her tears and bends down to cradle Destiny’s face in her hands. She smiles affectionately at the innocent toddler. ‘Of course you can, honey. You can love anybody you want. Just make sure they love you back. Nothing is more special than having someone love you back.’




Destiny feels a sharp pinch at the nape of her neck. Like a mosquito bite. Her vision gets blurry. Alicia pulls away, tears refilling her eyes and some sort of sharp needle in her hand.

‘I’m so sorry.’

Destiny gasped and jolted out of the daydream. Though she wished she hadn’t. Her skin prickled as she saw she was surrounded by creeping and crawling GroundUnders in all directions. She held her breath as they staggered closer, their wheezing breathing heavy in the air.

‘Where is he? When is he? What is he?’ they whispered incessantly, their crimson eyes glittering menacingly.

Destiny hugged herself even tighter as though even their breath could harm her. One of them reached out to touch her but she scooted away. She literally felt the decay of their hands on her skin. It burned her.

‘We need him,’ one hissed close to her ear. ‘Bring him to us. It’s your destiny.’

Something snapped inside her and ignited a wild fire. Her eyes blazed.

‘Get away from me!’ she growled, venom dripping from each word. Without warning, she struck out a hand to grab one and flung him clean off the roof. The sudden violent action made the others snarl and move in for the kill but she was ready. Vice hadn’t trained her for nothing.

‘Don’t aim to destroy. Your purpose is to survive.’

As William’s advice echoed in her head, she breathed deeply to control the adrenaline coursing excitedly in her veins as she parried and attacked effortlessly. It was natural to fight when one felt that high but true strength was controlling that and using it wisely in order to emerge victorious.

As a GroundUnder leapt at her, she nimbly hopped onto its face and used it to propel herself out of the circle of attacking monsters. As soon as she was clear, she broke into a run, not stopping until she reached the front of the roof where a giant golden cross was mounted to face Torch.

While she recollected herself, her mind buzzed with possible escape routes. She needed to get out fast before those creatures overwhelmed her. Sure she was a strong fighter but not even she could fight off such a large number of GroundUnders.

That’s when she caught sight of a motorcycle approaching the church. Her eyes widened. It was River.

She forgot all about wishing he wouldn’t come looking for her. Right now, she was glad to have an escape route, even if it was him.

‘HEY!’ she shouted and waved frantically. Somehow, her voice carried down and he glanced up. She couldn’t discern his expression from this height but she knew he was shocked to find her there. That’s when he saw the broken body of a GroundUnder she had previously cast to the ground and he understood.

Whirring his bike up on its hind wheel, he burst into the church to make his way up to the roof as quickly as possible. Destiny didn’t bother trying to wonder how he was going to do it. If she could get up here without a ladder than he could surely bring his bike up if he wanted. She just hoped he’d hurry.

Suddenly, she felt something grab her forearm and yank her back. She choked back a gasp as she came face to face with a horrendous depiction of a rotting human face. Those demonic crimson eyes were like pits of hellfire. She actually felt like they were burning her up from the inside. She tried to look away but she couldn’t.

‘You will bring him to us,’ the monster whispered through a gash on that so-called face. ‘Because you can.’

Destiny could feel something burning inside her but she realized it wasn’t due to those fiery eyes piercing her with their gaze. It was something deep inside her, a power thrashing against some kind of cage. Even her eyes were stinging due to the heat within her.

Everything seemed to slow down; her breathing, her movements, her heartbeat. Even her vision was blurring due to a bright, white hot light creeping in from a corner. She felt like she no longer belonged to her body. Her hair, her ears, her clothes…she couldn’t feel anything anymore. Like she had gone numb.

This new feeling made her sensations tingle. It was amazing. But there was something…something holding her back. Like this wasn’t all this sensation could make her feel.

‘I have to let it out,’ she realized. The GroundUnder’s face had completely faded into the white light.

‘Didn’t I tell you,’ she heard herself snap angrily. ‘To get away from me?!’

And then, she dropped the barriers.


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