[Rubber meets road. Horror comes home. In the previous section of Allen’s story, he met a couple of monsters and was attacked by a witch. With this section, it all goes to Hell. Read on and see what I mean! —RFY]
ALLEN TOMBES – FIRE FROM WATER (Chapter 14)
Allen grabbed his sword, Kitsle’s box, and his bag off the floor. “Just go! Out of the room!” he yelled. “We don’t know how long she’s going to be paralyzed.” Rose pushed her friends out the door. Allen followed, closing the door behind him.
“Kitsle?” he said, holding the box up to eye height. The panel clicked open and Kitsle’s sliver head poked out of the opening. “Can you block the door or electrify the doorknob or something so she can’t get out?”
The little head swiveled toward the door, looked it up and down, then nodded. It pointed a claw past Allen down the hall.
“Okay, I’ll go,” Allen said, and the bug hopped over to the doorknob. Allen saw the walls of the hallway glow bright yellow-green, as he raced after Rose and the other girls, who had already dashed down the stairs at the end of the hall.
“Allen, what was that thing?” Rose asked as he jumped down the last few steps at the bottom of the stairs.
“According to Chaz, he’s a sprite. At least I think it’s a ‘he.’ Is Kitsle a boys name?” A glittering flash flew down the stairs and landed on the box. It tapped the side panel and slipped inside.
“Oh, God,” the girl with purple hair wimpered.
“Jesus, Allen. What’s going on?” Rose asked.
“I don’t know, for sure, but I think our family is under attack,” he said. “I guess we know too much.” He put Kitsle’s box into his bag and zipped it most of the way closed, then set the bag carefully on the floor next to the couch.
“I don’t understand any of this. Why did Krystal go berserk?” Rose asked. Allen shrugged, then Rose’s eyes went wide. “Allen, where’s Mom?”
“Mom!?” he called loudly. “The kitchen still?”
Rose shoved her friends out of the way and dashed toward the kitchen. Allen followed. Rose pushed through the door.
Allen saw his Mom standing at the sink, unmoving, her hands resting on the edge of the counter. She appeared to be staring out the window over the sink.
“Mom, are you okay?” Rose said, timidly, and their mother shook, slightly. She turned to Rose and smiled.
“Hey, honey. Dinner’s not going to be ready for a bit, yet,” she said and turned away from the window. She took a timid step toward the fridge, then staggered.
“Mom!” Rose yelled, and reached out to catch her, but her mother caught herself before she fell.
“Huh,” she laughed. “Almost lost my balance. You know, it’s the damnedest thing. I thought I saw a huge dog in our backyard—then I spaced out.” She looked at the clock.
“Oh my God! Is it that late? I must have taken too long with the shopping! I haven’t even started dinner yet, and your father’s going to be home any minute! What happened to my afternoon?” She rushed over to the refrigerator and started putting ingredients on the counter for dinner.
“I think she’s okay,” Allen whispered to Rose.
“I’m going to check on Stacey and Angie,” Rose said.
“Two extra for dinner! Oh, Rose, why didn’t you tell me earlier!” their mother mumbled something to herself and set a pan full of ground beef on the stove.
Rose went out the door to the living room, leaving Allen and his Mom in the kitchen.
“I’m sorry, Mom,” Allen said. He was sorry for a number of things.
“Not your fault, hon’. You didn’t bring anyone extra over for dinner and not tell me. Oh, well. We’ll make do. Do you have any homework you need to get done?” she said.
“Not really,” Allen said, thinking that he didn’t know when he’d even be able to go to school again. He walked over to his mom and hugged her, then went back to the living room.
Stacey, the green haired girl, was sitting on the couch crying silently, dark lines from her mascara were drawn on her cheeks. Rose and Angie were standing by the window, talking. Allen heard a scream from upstairs. Krystal must have woken up and tried the doorknob. Allen’s chest began to burn, and he looked down at the charm around his neck. The eyes were glowing, brightly. He walked over to his bag and pulled the sword out. He felt the urge to unsheathe the blade and rush upstairs to fight, but fear got the better of him. He stared up at the ceiling where he imagined Krystal was trying to find a way out of his bedroom.
From behind the house, Allen heard a deep, savage yell, and nebulous, hissing screams. He shivered—the shadow creatures were back.
“What was that noise?” Stacey asked.
“I don’t know,” Rose said, then looked at Allen. His eyes were wide, but he didn’t answer. Telling them wouldn’t help; it would only terrify them more.
“There’s a car pulling up outside,” Angie said, looking out the front window. Allen’s father had parked in his usual space on the street, directly in front of the house. Allen rushed to the window.
His father stepped out of his car and closed the door. Almost immediately, the air around him began to swim, and Allen saw four Shadow creatures solidify in the street, mere feet from his father. His father, apparently unaware of the danger that hovered so near, took a few casual steps toward the house, whistling to himself and looking through a handful of papers.
“What are those things, Allen” Rose asked.
“What things?” Angie said. “Isn’t that your Dad?”
“Oh, God! DAD!” Allen yelled and dove for the door.
Rose watched out the window as one of the creatures floated up behind her father. It raised a dark, misty claw and thrust it through her father’s back, bloody nails suddenly bursting out of his chest.
Allen threw the door open and stepped out onto the walkway in time to see his father’s eyes go blank and his body begin to tremble all over. He fell to the ground, and a darkness, a rot, appearing first around the hole in his back, began to spread over his whole body. It grew towards his arms, legs, and head, melting his flesh, turning him into a smoky, shadowy mass, until the man who was Arthur Tombes, Allen’s father, became one of them.
There was a deep roar, like a mountain crumbling, as Haro galloped toward the smoky creatures in front of Allen’s house. His claws glowing bright red, Haro slashed in huge arcs, tearing through the Shadows, as they hissed and shrieked, then dissolved.
“You must get back in the house!” Haro bellowed, standing over a smoking pile of teeth and claws.
“My Dad…” Allen said, feeling dazed, lost.
“Now is not the time, child. More are coming. Back into the house,” Haro said this more softly, but
still with a massive rumble in his voice.
Allen backed to the door. Then, as Haro bounded for the side of the house, Allen slipped back inside.
ALLEN TOMBES – FIRE FROM WATER (Chapter 15)
“He’s gone,” Allen said, softly. “Dad’s gone.”
Stacey sat, panting, on the couch. Her face was slack, her eyes huge.
Rose and Angie continued watching out the window. Allen could hear Rose crying, but he was too much in shock himself to go over to her.
Angie turned to Allen, her face was a mask of confusion. She looked almost angry. “What just happened?” Angie said. “It looked like your Dad was having some kind of an attack, a seizure or something, then he fell on the ground and just…” she shook her head, “…and then he just vanished.”
“She didn’t see them,” Rose said, sniffing and wiping her dark tears from her cheeks.
“Most people can’t,” Allen said. “Dad couldn’t. He didn’t even realize he was in surrounded.”
“And what was that other thing, the monster that tore up those ghosts and then yelled at you?” Rose asked.
“That’s Haro. Chris sent him to guard the house,” Allen said. “He and his brother were disguised as dogs earlier, remember?” Allen wiped his own face with his left hand. His right still held his sword.
“Where is Chris? Why isn’t he here?” Rose said.
“I don’t know. I talked to him at Chaz’s shop, and he sent me home with Haro. He said he’d come here to get me in a few days.”
“Come get you? To take you where?” Rose asked.
Before he could answer, Stacey yelled, “What is that sound? What is that sound!?” Rose, Allen, and Angie all jumped. Stacey was staring at the ceiling.
Then Allen heard it, a chanting coming from above, growing louder every moment.
“It’s Krystal,” Rose said. “She’s up to something. I can’t make out the words. Angie, can you tell what she’s doing?”
Angie cocked her head to one side, listening to the sound, but shrugged her shoulders.
Suddenly their Mom pushed her head through the doorway from the kitchen, making everybody jump again. “Dinner’s going to be ready in just a few minutes. Better wash up. Is your father home yet? I thought I heard someone come in the front door.”
“No, he’s not home yet,” Allen said, sharing a look with Rose. He couldn’t tell her.
“Are you messing with that sword again!? I told you, it’s going back. Giving a fifteen year old a sword—what the Hell was Chaz thinking? And Rose, it sounds like you left your stereo on upstairs. Could you go turn it off?” she said, and disappeared back into the kitchen.
“Rose, what do we do about—about your stereo?” Allen asked, pointing at the ceiling.
“I don’t know. I’ve been studying with her for almost a year, and she’s always been so sweet—until she saw you.” Rose glanced at Allen’s necklace, the eyes still glowing red, and then at the sword in his hand. “This all seems so wrong,” she whispered.
There was a rumble all around the house, like a small earthquake, and the chanting from upstairs stopped. Allen walked towards the stairs. He heard a crazed cackle from above, then the sound of glass shattering.
“I think she’s out of the room,” Allen said. His throat felt too tight.
“Allen, I think the protective spell is gone,” Rose said. “I can’t feel it in the air anymore.”
“I can’t take any more of this!” Stacey yelled. She jumped off the couch, bolting for the door.
“Stacey! No!” Rose yelled.
Stacey pulled the door open, and Krystal appeared in the doorway. Her face and neck were dripping blood from several small cuts, but she was smiling a huge, evil grin again. Stacey was frozen, her mouth wide open and her hand still on the door handle. Krystal, her arm moving in a black blur, stabbed Stacey in the neck. She pulled the blade out, cocked her arm back, and then stabbed Stacey again, this time driving the blade into the girl’s chest.
Krystal shrieked with laughter as Stacey, her eyes still open, fell to the floor.
“Your protection spell is gone,” Krystal said, her voice suddenly calm and sweet again. She stepped over Stacey’s body. “They can get in now,” she said, still sweet, then her face contorted and she screamed, “And you’re all going to die!”
“Kitsle!” Allen yelled, panicking. But before the sprite appeared, Haro dove through the open front door and bashed Krystal with his huge claws. The witch was struck at chest height and flew sideways, slamming into the wall with a bone shattering crash. Her body fell to the floor in a shattered heap.
Rose and Angie both screamed.
“The house is surrounded,” Haro said. “Oro is dead. We must hold against the Shadows until your brother arrives with help. Haro whistled a strange, chirping sound, and Kitsle appeared from inside Allen’s bag. Haro clicked and popped in Kitsle’s language. Kitsle nodded and disappeared in a bright flash.
“I’ve sent the sprite to tell Christopher that our situation is urgent,” Haro said.
Allen heard glass breaking in the kitchen and his mother screamed.
“Mom!” he yelled and dashed toward the kitchen door, pulling his sword out of its sheath. The blade pulsed with a blue-green light.
He burst through the doorway and saw a shadow creature hovering over his mother, who was laying on the floor in a quickly growing pool of blood. Her face and chest were torn open, and blood dripped from the creature’s misty claws, but his mother’s body didn’t change into a Shadow as his father’s had.
Allen raised his sword and rushed at the creature as the Shadow’s dark, misty face turned toward him and smiled.
“The boy,” it hissed and seemed to laugh as Allen slashed through its head and chest with his glowing blade. The creature howled and gurgled, and then the Shadow’s flesh began to dissolve. The teeth and claws fell to the floor.
ALLEN TOMBES – FIRE FROM WATER (Chapter 16)
Haro charged through the kitchen door, tearing it from its hinges and tossing the useless wood out of his way. Rose followed immediately after and saw her mother lying on the floor. She knelt down next to her.
“Allen—she’s…” Rose sobbed.
Haro saw the remains of the Shadow melting on the floor and said, “You have destroyed a Shadow. I’m impressed, child.”
“Why didn’t she become one? Like Dad did?” Allen asked. Rose laid across her mother’s chest, weeping.
“Her family line,” Haro said, “cannot be corrupted by the Shadows’ influence. She was not able to see them, not everyone from her bloodline can, but all three of her children are able to, apparently. That is why the Shadows want your family destroyed, fewer eyes to watch them,” Haro said this with a snarl. It was obvious that he had nothing but contempt for the Shadow creatures.
Angie slowly stepped into the kitchen. “Oh my God,” she said, seeing Rose laying on her Mom. Her hands shook as she raised them up to her cheeks.
“More are approaching,” Haro said. His claws began to glow red again. Allen’s charm as well. The backdoor of the kitchen crashed open and the air swam with dark mist. Haro roared and dove into the swirling cloud, slashing with his great claws. Allen saw more shadowy forms pouring through the broken window over the sink and heard hissing from the living room. He raised his sword and stepped between his sister and the Shadows coming through the kitchen window and moving towards them.
“Leave us alone!” Allen yelled, fury in his face, and as he yelled, the blue-green light coming from his sword darkened. His eyes, even the whites, began to burn with a midnight blue flame, and his sword flashed with licks of dark blue fire. Rose looked up from her mother just as the room was filled with a blinding blue flash and a huge, bird-like form, its body smoldering with blue flame, appeared in front of Allen. The bird tore through the air, screaming with a deafening call, engulfing and destroying every Shadow in its path, blowing completely through the kitchen wall, and streaking outside into the backyard. Allen watched it incinerate the creatures massing there, then it flashed back through the kitchen, flew by Angie catching her hair on fire, and off into the living room, consuming the Shadows that had entered from the front as well. It then burst out the front door into the yard.
Rose, seeing Angie’s hair ablaze, leaped up and grabbed a hand towel off the counter to smother the flames. All of this happened so quickly that Allen was still holding his sword up as Rose patted the last of the sizzle from Angie’s hair. Allen, his saucer-sized eyes still burning dark blue, turned to Rose, as the fire bird came flying back around the house and reentered the kitchen through the hole where the wall used to be. Rose was holding Angie, and the two were pressed up against the cupboards, shielding themselves from the bird. Allen lowered his sword, and the blue flames slowly left his eyes. The smoldering bird hovered on wings of fire, staring at Allen.
Haro tore into the kitchen from the back of the house, then stopped abruptly. He saw the fire bird and his mouth opened in shock. He stuttered something to himself, then bowed, deeply, to the bird.
“My Lord,” Haro said, his eyes on the floor, “we thank you for your protection.”
The bird remained fixated on Allen for several seconds, then let out a sharp call, flapped its burning wings and vanished in a blue flash of flame.
The kitchen was silent for a few seconds, then Haro stood back up, although he was still hunched, gorilla-like, and shuffled over to Allen.
“Child, you are full of surprises,” he said, growling in a low way that Allen guessed was probably a laugh.
[See!? I told you! This was totally a “not messing around” section. Am I right? Suddenly, Allen and Rose have become orphans, Allen has shown himself to be something dark and dangerous, and we become acutely aware that Haro is a serious bad-ass… For those of you who haven’t read the first thirteen chapters of this wicked adventure, you can find them at the Primitive Patreon Page, where you can also contribute, if you like, to the creation of MORE stories like this one. Thanks for reading! Hopefully, I’ll get back to the regular schedule of one new section per week from here on out! —RFY]
—Richard F. Yates
(Commander in Cheap of The Primitive Entertainment Workshop)