Chapter 33 - Rythe: Fire and Shadows

I look over just in time to see Ci-Ci dive in front of Jonah, one of his hands piercing through her side as he drove her into the ground. Shit, I guess that means she’s out of the game. I rush the last few people out hoping he doesn’t see me and I can leave with them.

“Hey,” Jonah calls out, almost growling. “You hear me,” he keeps calling. A gust of wind makes me stumble.

“Are you talking to me?”

“You’re next. I already killed your girlfriend.”

“She’s not my girlfriend. You’re more my type. At least before you started looking like waling death,” witty banter, please save me.

“That’s good to hear, should make this easy. I’ve never killed a dark elf before,” He forces his face into a smile, almost as if the bones had to lock into place. “Don’t fight back, just let it happen.”

I throw my hands in front of my face and close my eyes as he rushes towards me. Fighting has never been a strength of mine. I keep expecting an impact, but I feel nothing. I open my eyes to darkness, more darkness than I’ve ever seen before. I can’t see anything at all. No, there’s a light. I make my way towards it. It’s a long walk before it gets big enough or me to check out. Just a hole, big enough for me to step through. Am I dead? Did he kill me that fast?

I step through the doorway and watch as Jonah crashes through the side of a food stand. I’m back where I was a few minutes ago, at least I think I am. I moved somehow, away from the danger. I make my move to check on Ci-Ci while Jonah is out of the way. Hopefully she’s alive.

It seems like a thin red film has covered her. Most likely blood, but she doesn’t respond to me. I don’t think she’s dead, she seems mostly alive at least. But she’s in no condition to fight Jonah, and I’m not a fighter. Jonah is climbing from his wreckage and it seems like I don’t have much of a choice.

I try to run and hide but he’s too fast. I don’t even feel the impact, but it becomes hard to breathe as he wraps his hands around my neck. The world goes black again. I can breathe again. Another pinhole, I follow it and walk through just like the last time. This time I’m behind Jonah as he stares at his hands in confusion. I use the moment to sneak away and hide in another food stand.

I know what’s going on here. Sometimes people are just born with too much magic. It happens to all different species. Children shooting lightning bolts. Teenage boys burning holes through prostitutes and barbecuing their abusive family members. All kinds of things happen. For these people it important that they learn to control their emotions from an early age. I was all messed up, so my magic didn’t show up like it normally would. Showed up during an emotional moment.

I did learn to use it when I was in college, but it was just too much to control. Flushing the decades’ worth of drugs out of my system probably brought it back. I’ve been moving through the shadows. I never learned that trick, has to be some kind of defense mechanism. I guess I have to fight back now, since that’s what my body wants. I remove my jacket, and fold it neatly. I’d just burn through it.

“Get out here and fight me you coward,” Jonah yells.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I hear you,” I step in front of him.

“There you are. I’ve had enough with your tricks.”

“Do you have a cigarette?”

“What?”

“Cigarette, I could use a smoke.”

“I don’t smoke,” I can’t tell if he’s annoyed or amused.

“That sucks, your sister flushed all of mine.”

“I’m not going to play your games.”

“Alright, let’s get this over with then. Do you want the chest or the head?”

“What?”

“Chest or the head.”

“I’m going to kill you,” Jonah starts to rush at me.

“I guess it’s the head then.”

I fling a left-handed fire ball at his head he dodges. I throw one with the right at his legs. Party trick, I earned a few beers in my dad with my aim. As few stick him, but he rubs them off. Maybe I’m just not hot enough. I make a run for it, zig zagging, making him work for it. Really would love if that shadow thing would kick in right about now.

I feel one of his bony elbows slam into my back and send me tumbling. For the best, I couldn’t have run much longer anyway. I throw my hands in front of me, and shoot a steady flame. He tries to walk through but it’s too hot. The more fear inside me, the hotter it burns. All of my emotions do it. That’s why I stay high, or at least had been. The flames are starting to toy with turning blue, it’s hot. It’s keeping him back. I can see he’s being burned. But he isn’t stopping. And I’m tired. I’m so tired.

I’m tired of always fighting. I’ve been fighting just to keep living for a long time. Unfortunately, it seems like my body has finally given out. The last of my fire burns out and I stare into the eyes of a burned and pissed off Jonah. Entire pieces of flesh have been burned from his torso and face, yet he still stands and inches towards me.

I just close my eyes, and accept it. I don’t have any energy to fight back at this point. Lore from my homeland says when you die your soul wanders Earth, unable to interact with anyone or anything until you have atoned for your sins. Eventually you’re able to ascend into the great desert and commune with all others. I wonder how long I’ll walk for. I’m not sure if I’ve been a good man or what qualifies being a good man. I really wish I had cigarette.

A hot and thick liquid lands on my face, bringing up some sensual memories. Not sur why that’s where my brain goes in death. A soft thud causes me to open my eyes. Ci-Ci stands before me, holding her side, a blade on her arm and Jonah’s decapitated body lies before me.

“I’m sorry, we’re even now,” Ci-Ci utters before collapsing next to him.

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