At the Edge of All Things

Rough Night

Rough Night

The crowbar lands with enough force that BJ feels two ribs crack. Enough force to send him flying, even with his forces armor up to dampen the blow. Retaining enough sense to roll as he lands, he comes up gun in hand. Five shots ring out before the slide locks into the empty position. The five bullets having as much impact as the first twelve. The next crowbar swing comes down faster then the first but BJ avoids it. Ducking under it and sprinting to the other side of the room.

BJ reaches within himself and imagines the imago for celestial fire. But try as he might, it wouldn’t form. It would shift just outside of what it needed to be for the spell, and briefly the pain in BJ’s head became worse than the pain in his ribs. Staggering back enough to avoid the bull rush of the killer, but the follow up swing of the crowbar lands on his left arm and pain flares up his arm. Moving again and across the basement, putting the tub the hanging bodies are bleeding into between him and the killer.

Taking a breath BJ focuses again, this time reaching out to the electricity in the house, feeling the fuse box he begins to move around the tub, circling it with the monster, preparing the spell as he gets into position, reaching out and causing the electricity to skip the fuse box altogether and seek out the beast. Unlike the bullets, that hurts it. Outlining it in a flash, the crowbar hitting the ceiling as the seven foot killer lashes out with pain.
But the casting takes it’s toll on BJ as well. The pain in his temples flaring up and almost bringing him to his knees. But the rush of elation flowing through his system keeps him going. It can be hurt. And if it can be hurt then it likely can be killed. But the crowbar comes swinging again, smashing the small boy hanging lifelessly upside down aside like a curtain. BJ ducks under it, dropping the pistol and grabbing for the saber from it’s sheath.

Managing to raise up his left arm in a haze of pain, he gets the ring aimed at the monster. Reaching out through the ring he gives it a blast of celestial fire. The fire hitting the beasts overalls, the light from the fires making the shadows long, making it’s sloping brow and deep set eyes look that much more bestial. But the fire clearly hurts it, making it scream in pain again. Taking advantage of the killer’s stumble, BJ moves forward.

All of the guilt of the last week, all of the confusion, all of the regrets fade away. In this moment BJ understands the following. Before him stands a monster. A monster who is an enemy of humanity. BJ is an Arrow. His duty is to kill it. With that clarity it all clicks back into place for a moment. The spell imago forming without effort as he amplifies the force of his blow, the saber whistling as it bites into then through the hand holding the crowbar.
BJ lashes out again but the killer is quick, moving past BJ. Sticking it’s hand in the blood for a moment and withdrawing it. A glob of blood comes out with the stump, slowly forming a hand, regrowing before BJ’s eyes. Without hesitating BJ brings the sword down again at the monster’s neck, it’s attempt to ward off the blow with it’s arm failing to stop the blade but drawing enough force so the blade only bites into the neck.

Pushing away with force, BJ draws the blade back and brings it down again, biting in deeper into the monster’s neck. It’s own blood flowing into the blood it was covered in, the newer wet blood mixing with the darker dried blood as a third sword blow comes down on the thick neck, finally severing it. And it’s over. The monster stops moving.

Setting the saber down for a moment, BJ takes one of the road flares from his vest. Struggling to get the cap off one handed, he eventually gets it lit and tosses it onto the torso of the monsters body. Kicking the head over to it he focuses on the flame, coaxing it to burn hotter and hotter, the flame becoming white hot as he throws a second flare onto the body, burning it down to ashes.

Grimacing each time his chest heaves he looks over the scene, the old tub full of four people’s blood. The family hanging over it, empty of their lives. The ash pile that had been their killer. The low sound of the whimpering dog upstairs. BJ takes a moment to kneel, one hand coming up as he bows his head.

“Oh Heavenly Father, I know I have not been your best servant in my life. And of late I have managed to fall further from grace then before. But I ask of you that you please watch over the souls of those that died here. May you take the victims of this into your embrace so that they may find the mercy they were denied in this life. Tell them I am sorry for not being here in time. May you watch over the soul of the monster here, to make sure that it never harms another again. And may you guide me into finding your grace again. Amen.”

He picks up the saber before cleaning it off and sheathing it again. Adrenaline burning out in his system, feeling nothing but being exhaustion and pain. The black sheath tapping against his leg as he makes his way up the stairs. All of the lights on as if the family was home, the only sign of anything amiss is the sound of the dog whimpering. Finding it’s leash, BJ removes the baby gates keeping it in place.

“Come here boy, we are going to go somewhere safe now. It is okay, just come with me. The monster is dead.”

The dog looks up him and lets out a low, pitiful whine. Reaching in BJ clips the leash onto the dog, who gets up and begins walking with him as they walk out the door.
A few minutes later and BJ is home in the sanctum, trying to wash the blood off of his hands and clothing. Hoping to avoid waking Aurelia at 2 am. His left arm hanging uselessly isn’t helping very much. Sabrina enters the kitchen. She’s wearing pajamas and just blithely walks into the kitchen. Aurelia cast a little space sensory cantrip, like a mental doorbell, on her. Helps to keep her attentive. “Good evening, Mister Blackjack.” She ignores the dog.

Grimaces in pain. “Hello Sabrina. I did not mean to wake you.” Stopping and trying to figure out how to remove the vest with one hand.

“Can I assist you?”

“Yes, do you think you could work the straps on the left side? I think I can do the right.” Trying and awkwardly doing it. But is clearly in a fair amount of pain.

Sabrina kind of mechanically and awkwardly helps with the straps. “Is there anything else, sir?” With one arm manages to get it into the sink. “Yes, can you help with this t-shirt? Be careful lifting it up, I think my left arm is broken.” “Oh, should I get Sinon?” She lifts it up carefully. “I believe he is out tonight.”

Just then Aurelia walks down the stairs in a one piece nighty, bleary eyed.
“Sabrina what are you doing down… oh my god BJ? What happened? And why is she taking your shirt off? Sabrina why are you taking BJ’s shirt off?”

Raises his arm and gritting his teeth, the stabbing pain in his chest telling him “Yep, those are broken ribs”. “She’s taking off my shirt because I think my left arm is broken. And so I can’t.”

Sabrina says without looking away “He asked me to.”

The left side of his chest is forming an ugly bruise which cause a bunch of spidery scars to stand out. The tattoo on his back of the Jack of Space is turned to Aurelia. Aurelia grimaces “Oh god you look like shit BJ. I’ll get the first aid kit.”

“I feel rather like shit. Use the kit I keep downstairs. It should have some splints in it.” Finally sitting down in a chair, stroking the dogs head.
Sabrina just sort of hovers nearby.

As Aurelia comes back with the kit she asks “So what happened? And where’d you get the mutt?”

“I was keeping an eye on the neighborhood and felt a weird kind of magic. And I ran into some sort of massive brute doing some sort of magic powered by blood. It had killed a family of four.” Closes his eyes. “The dog was the only survivor. I could not just leave him there.”

“Shit… it? Like some kind of abyssal monster? what happened to it?”

“It as in it may have once been human but I am not sure that it was human anymore. Not abyssal. I know what that kind of taint feels like. And it is dead. It lost it’s head.” BJ attempts laugh at the joke but he’s rewarded with spasms of pain.

Aurelia cocks an eyebrow. “What do you mean once had been human?”
She then shakes her head. “No, never mind that now. You need medical attention. Where’s Sinon when you need him? And how am I supposed to bandage this up?”

Takes off the sheath and sets it aside. “Somethings are born human but lose their humanity along the way. Vampires for instance. Or someone who is ridden by some spirits too long. Tremere Liches. That spark of humanity is gone.” Grimaces again. “He is out tonight. Do you know how to set the splints and wrap my chest or do I need to talk you through it?” In pain, does his best not to make that sound condescending.

“Are you sure?”

Bandages and splints are applied, BJ manages to get his bloody pants in the pile of bloody clothing. Crashing on the couch in a pair of sweats The dog doesn’t leave his side and BJ is sure to set out water bowls and some meat for him. As the painkillers kicks in he realizes he doesn’t even know the dog’s name.

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MrAnthropy

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