Chapter 22. Stay on the Green

<<Chapter 21    Game Night.   Chapter 23>>

It wasn’t pain that caused Jessy to stop before the wall of monster meat.

The drugs that he had been taking all day had effectively cut off the pain sensors in his brain. Every singly bone in his body could have been broken and he wouldn’t have felt anything.

It was knowing that A. He was carrying a fucking heavy elf, and B. That he was about as athletic as an 80-year old asthmatic.

Jessy put the exorcist down and vomited. He knew that he was probably damaged. He could feel no tiredness, no hunger, no thirst, but he knew. He checked his pulse, any faster and his chest would explode.

The priestess stepped back from the pool of vomit threatening to ruin her shoes, “That was incredible.” her smile disappeared as she noticed Jessy’s shallow breathing. “What’s wrong with you?”

Jessy looked down and noticed that he had pissed himself. He hadn’t felt a thing, which was very bad. Pain was the body’s way of telling you that something was wrong, without it and anything or everything could be busted.

He closed his eyes. Right now survival mattered. As long as he didn’t have internal damage the shitheads at the company could patch him up.

We need to get out of here.” Jessy said.

Behind them Sorie was running full sprint, that meant the fire things were close behind.

“You hid in the back of the cart like she did. Please tell me you didn’t use up your juice?” Jessy said.

Juice?” The exorcist said.

Mana. Magic. The bogie bogie.”

I am a priestess. Your very game says that I am but a conduit of my Goddess’ will.”

Yeah, I really don’t give a shit. Yes or no on super powers?” Jessy said.

The priestess averted her gaze, telling him everything.

Through some miracle Jessy managed to hold back the frustrated scream, “Is there anyone else that’s invisible and not completely useless? Anyone?” he turned to the priestess, “Was there any part of you that thought that we might need just a little bit of magic?”

The priestess did not feel that this impudent child was giving her the respect that she deserved, “I had my orders, you little shit.”

And I’ll give you some new orders. Get me from here to there, preferably without dying.” Jessy pointed from where he was standing to the opening in the dome.

Sorie was moments from reaching Jessy and his new friend, and behind the scholar was a sea of twisting, crawling madness. “Go, go, go.” Sorie called out, running on fear.

Jeey fled for the hole in the wall of demon corpses.

Trapped within the wall of meat, a shambling demon whose legs had been turned to stone, whipped it’s clawed hand out to grab at the passing meal.

The priestess unsheathed her axe from her back, and with a blood curdling roar she brought her weapon down upon the head of the demon.

The axe cut into the demon’s spine where it became loged. The demon howled in pain. There was a hissing sound as the monster’s skin and putrid blood sizzled like a sausage on a grill. The axe, obviously blessed by the exorcist’s order was like acid against the demon’s flesh.

The priestess raised her axe again, and with a grunt of effort brought it back down, cutting through the demon’s spine and into it’s throat. One more swing and the creature’s head slid across the ground.

Its body spasmed twice before it gave up on life.

Badb, curse this place.” the priestess said and spat upon the demon she had just slain.

Not while I’m still in it.” Jessy said.

Jessy took one step into the hole in the wall of corpses and stopped.

Past the wall of demon corpses was an area devoid of everything but a floor. There was no demon corpses, no hunks of meat, it was as barren as a dessert. There wasn’t even a single drop of blood to be seen, which immediately rang alarm bells in Jessy’s head.

The gaming department had two years to play in this place, allowing them to think of all kinds of sick and sadistic traps to deter the nastiest monsters they could come across.

Jessy pictured the floor sliding apart and all manner of guns and meat grinders popping up. A full blown obstacle course where only the strongest and most powerful could navigate.

Acting fast Jessy looked down at the floor. It was made from some sort of black material which he guessed was plastic. The only colour was a lime green line, four men wide that went straight from the hole in the wall to the exit.

What? What is it?” The priestess said. She kept up a good front but she was not able to hide back her anxiety.

Jessy glared at the expanse of land and didn’t trust it, “Stay on the green, don’t go near the edge.” Jessy said, deathly serious. He closed his eyes and as he lifted his foot he let out a prayer to a god he didn’t believe in.

It was generally recognised that even atheists let out some sort of prayer when they were about to leap into a possibly deadly situation. Even though you may not believe in a higher power didn’t mean that you couldn’t cover your basis.

Go,” Sorie shouted bumping into the priestess who nudged Jessy.

Thinking that he was cut in half Jessy let out a girlish scream. After finding out that he was not dead he cursed and ran.

Over the course of their escape the army of corrupted elementals had gathered a sizeable amount of forces. Each drop of fire that separated from the geyser became another independent entity that was looking for something to burn and feed on including one another.

With each step that Jessy and his allies took to escape the dome the elementals had gone from a rowdy mob into an angry swarm.

It was as if a great wave of shadows was being funnelled through the streets, a never ending flood of blackness eager to get outside and eat everything in its path.

Jessy and the two elves ran for the exit, pumping their legs furiously.

When the black fire hit the wall of monsters and demons there was an unholy scream and a burst of suffering.

It was as if a wave of misery had become a physical force. An overwhelming sensation of loss and pain that punched into you like an arrow.

Jessy and the two women fell over themselves.

When he fell the welding torch popped from Jessy’s pocket. The device slid away, and as it crossed the border between the green road and the black it was just gone. No blast of energy, no puff of smoke, one moment the welding torch was there and then it wasn’t.

Jessy would have cursed again but he had other problems.

Tears ran down his cheeks. Logically he knew that something was playing with his emotions and mind, but whatever was happening to him wasn’t playing by the rules of common sense.

If he could put it into words that another Earthling could understand, it was as if somebody had taken away his bipolar medication and he just found his girlfriend leaving him for an obese blogger.

He looked back.

The black fire was creeping over the meat wall but as the shadowy worms crossed over into the black zone they disappeared much like what happened to his welding touch. The traps seemed to be working. Except of course, for the line of green him and his acquaintances appeared to be sobbing on.

Jessy wanted to die and the two women he was with weren’t in much better condition. Sorie was laying in a fetal position and crying. The nun, however, appeared to be standing but it appeared as though she was trying to endure some kind of intense physical pain.

Anyone who has ever felt depression and survived knew that it wasn’t fun. It is a pain and agony that transcends flesh, it is the feeling of loss. It is not the absence of emotion but an avalanche of it. It is powerful enough that it can overwrite a person’s need for self-preservation and make them want to throw themselves off the tallest building.

In the face of all that despair Jessy felt incredibly small. What was the point of fighting? What was the meaning behind all that he had done? All of Jessy’s defeats, all of his failures were thrown down his throat and it festered inside of him.

He felt as if his mother had just tore his heart out and kicked his teeth in and he contemplated rolling over into the black.

Then he saw his drug watch.

He had used all of the battle enhancements drugs inside the watch. He was pretty sure that a drop of his blood would probably cause a rabbit to go into a rampage and brake stone bricks with its head. But that didn’t mean it was empty.

But it was risky. There was a difference between steroids and downing a bottle of happy pills. If he got the medication wrong or if this was some kind of trick, or if the drugs didn’t mix well, he was going to die.

Fuck it.” Jessy said and put his hand on his watch. He pushed the buttons until the watch’s interface read out HAPPY. Another button press and Jessy felt a pinch as a cocktail of antidepressants assaulted his already overloaded system.

It took a second but Jessy allowed himself to breath. It could have just been a placebo effect but the drugs were taking the edge off.

He looked back at his legs, neither of them were in moving. Either they were broken or he was paralysed. Typical. He thought. I want to fucking live and it looks like I cant move. That dick of a guidance councillor was right, I’m going to die a drugged up junkie in the middle of the street.

The stream of fire was closing in.

Having the feeling that he was embalmed in enough narcotics to kill five-and-a-half heavy metal bands, Jessy crawled on his elbows. He was so close to escaping, a two minute jog to freedom, that was it.

The exorcist, fighting the negative emotions, picked up the sobbing Sorie. The scholar couldn’t work up the energy to oppose the nun, her eyes were glazed over in utter defeat.

The silth exorcist looked down at Jessy like she was debating on how hard she could kick him without him dying, “Get on your feet.” she ordered.

Legs gone.” Jessy said, straining to gain ground.

The exorcist, looked down. The child could have left her to the fire and have already be far away from this evil place, yet he had come back for her and doing so it was very likely they all might die together.

The priestess closed her eyes, “Sisters. I beg you to give me strength. Goddess, forgive me, but I am not yet ready for the Green Lands.” with that she leaned down and picked Jessy up by his pants.

The journey continued a step at a time. The exorcist, weighed down by Jessy and Sorie as well as the black fire’s soul rending effect, could only stomp her way to the opening.

Jessy had to give her points for being a badass. Unable to help himself, Jessy vomited on the ground, spattering the nun’s shoes and his cheeks with bits of carrot, which was funny because he couldn’t remember when he last ate carrot.

Behind them the fire was slowly gaining speed.

Um. You might want to move it.” Jessy said, then he remembered that she had a good way of dumping some unneeded weight. “Not that you should drop me or anything. Just a bit of advice.”

The black fire was was crawling along the floor. It’s attempts of spreading out failed as firey strands touched the black ground.

Jessy didn’t want to die like this. Well, he didn’t want to die period but being dragged by an elven nun while a horde of fire monsters were on his ass didn’t sound like an dignified end. He wanted to die a rockstar’s death; in a dirty hotel room, drowning on his own vomit and having just had sex with a ton of air-head groupies.

The exorcist’s cheeks burned as she staggered forward, “Just a little bit more.” she said. They were so close now. The priestess could smell the grass and the rain. But it looked as though they were out of time.

Jessy’s face was close enough to the fire that he could see ice form on the ground behind them. He was also close enough to the fire that he could swear that he could see tiny faces within the blaze, all of them smiling at him. H really hoped that was the drugs fucking with him.

Out of nowhere, the exorcist tilted her body side ways.

Jessy’s head swung around and his nose almost brushed against the flames. His attempt at cursing failed as he spat vomit onto the black ground where it thankfully disappeared. “What the…” Jessy’s question was cut short when he heard the sound of gun fire.

The dark fire let out a scream and both Jessy and the nun glanced back to see the line of black fire go insane.

For some odd reason there were rabbit-sized balls of red fire scattered across the black inferno. These red flares strangely began to bite and chomp down onto their dark brethren. Jessy had no idea that their was racism in fire society, but as long there weren’t any white fire monsters wearing bed sheets, he wasn’t about to make much of an issue about it.

He giggled, “There goes the neighbour hood. Fight on hommies.” Jessy called to the black elementals.

The gun fire stopped abruptly as Huebsch, riding her terrifying and beautiful stag galloped through the portal and onto the green rode.

Jessy lot consciousness for a second, when he opened his eyes again Huebsch and her mount was standing right next to them.

“Chief Exorcist. It is good to see you.” The silth holding Jessy said.

Talk later.” Jessy said.

The priestess flung both Sorie and Jessy onto the back of the stag, while Huebsch held her holy symbol out towards both sets of fire.

Jessy’s nose scrunched against the stag’s flank, it smelled like you would expect a soggy deer to smell like. A few more hours out in the rain and he was sure fungus would be forming. “Go!” Jessy screamed through the beast’s ass cheek.

Huebsch squeezed her toned thighs and the stag gave a bellow as it ran for the opening. That was when Jessy lost consciousness a second time.

***

There was a sizzle in the air and the smell of burnt grapes. The dome’s surface grew hot and the holes in the building sparked as exotic power attempted to follow the path of least resistance.

Then it was gone.

There was a slight pull as the dome’s disappearance crated a vacuum, but it was nothing compared to the sight of seeing a huge city simply not be there.

The pillar of fire, which had been smiling at the insignificant bugs that kept harassing it twisted in confusion as it discovered that it had become separated from its true body. It was just a lowly pubic hair of a far greater being that was now gone from this plane of existence.

Its two eyes moved along its body to stare in horror at the two entities with glowing wings, the only two beings out of the swam of gnats that had caused it serious wounded.

The twin armoured and winged angles held up their swords. Behind their helmets their eyes glowed with the intensity of hope.

They swooped down at the pillar’s centre.

Mortal eyes turned away as the two lesser gods swooped down, in their hands were two swords that glowed with the radiance of ten million candles. The swords sank deep into the pillar of black fire.

Ripples of green, red, blue, and white flame ran up and down the stream of corrupted fire. There was a harsh scream, like a bucket of water meeting a small campfire only it was loud enough that the people on the ground and air held their ears.

The line of fire shrank and warped into a sphere of multicoloured flames.

The angles who were now on opposite sides of the turbulent sphere kept their swords inside the ball of swirling chaos, allowing their power and faith to bleed into the corruption.

That was when people on the ground remembered that they were holding guns.

Throughout the area that had been the dome, hundreds of firearms, wands, and holy relics were pointed at the big ball that was hanging in the air like a great big bullseye.

There was the sound of thunder and the crackle of energy as everyone fired their remaining bullets and charges at the huge ball which screamed again as it felt its skin being torn apart by some pissed off people.

Down on the ground, Jessy knew nothing of this, he was too busy throwing up. The mixture of drugs and being on a galloping buck, causing his stomach to bounce up and down like it was being repeatedly kicked.

He shivered and felt cold.

Huebsch finally stopped her escape from a city that no longer existed, she and her disciple stared upward in awe, their mouths hanging open as the sphere shrank under the barrage of firepower.

The sphere shrank to the size of two houses.

There was a flash of bright light and heat that swept across the area. Once again neither Jessy and Sorie knew nothing about this. One of them was puking his guts up and the other was crying like she just found out that she got a death sentence.

Something heavy hit the centre of the spot where the dome had been. The pillar of unholy death and the ball of fire was gone. The skies were clear, the clouds where their normal grey and it had stopped raining talking frogs.

For an entire five minutes there was silence. Those on the ground kept their weapons up and they scanned the area. Huebsch could tell that these people were experienced. In war There was no cheering, no cries of victory. They were waiting for the next threat to turn up.

Those who could fly were less disciplined. Most of them cheered and shouted, but some of them, the angles in particular were vigilant. They kept their guards up.

Then Sorie screamed.

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