Title: Save My Soul
Word Count: 2865
Topic: T&B Anon Meme Prompt
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Tiger and Bunny. Tiger and Bunny belong to Sunrise and their respective creators.
"Hey, do you like cartoons?"
It was a simple question, that caught the nurse working at the reception desk a little off guard. She looked up from her paperwork when she caught the voice of a child amongst the everyday ruckus of the hospital that she worked in. She gazed across the hall and caught sight of a boy playing in his bed watching TV. If she remembered right, the boy's name was Tony. He had been a patient at her hospital for a little over a month. When she heard him speaking, the nurse thought that perhaps the boy's parents have returned for a visit. They were able to come often, if she remembered right Tony mentioned that they had to work hard in the city.
"Can I change the channel now, please?"
The nurse looked around curiously, it was then that she realized that she couldn't see anybody else in the room with him. Maybe he was actually talking to her? The nurse was about to reply but suddenly the child spoke up again.
"I know you like the news, but I'm a little bored. I'd like to see some cartoons, I can find some really good ones, it'll be fun!"
The nurse watched as the boy sat up in his bed. To her surprise he wasn't talking to her at all, instead he seemed to be talking to the empty visitors chair that sat next to his bed by the window. She was starting to get a little concerned for the boy.
"Tony?" She called to him from across the hall. "Who are you talking to? Is somebody there?"
Tony jumped a little, a bit surprised by the sudden question. He looked at the nurse and for a brief moment his eyes darted to the empty chair. He then answered quickly, "O-Oh, uh, nobody!"
The nurse gave a nod and smiled sadly before she turned her attention back to her paperwork. She felt bad for him, Tony must've been getting really lonely if he was resorting to making up imaginary friends.
Inside the room, Tony picked up the remote on his bed and started to flick through the channels. He was a little more mindful of the volume of his voice. "That was close I thought they noticed you. If they did, would that mean he would have to leave?"
"No, they can't see me, only certain people can." Said the gravelly voice of a man.
"It's kind of fun being the only one that can see you but I guess I can see why it's a little weird." Tony laughed when he looked back at the chair.
Seated in the chair was a tan skinned man. Tony would often catch himself gazing them and interest in all. His visitor wasn't young but at the same time he was an old either. He looked around the same age as his mom or dad, they probably would've liked him if they met him. He was also dressed in smart clothes, a little like ones that his dad once wore at his grandmother's funeral. The man also wore black pants and a gray vest over a lighter gray dress shirt with a long, black overcoat. Tony thought his visitor looked very cool, he almost reminded him of a superhero. Not like Superman, more like one of the darker superheroes that some of the bigger kids would talk about when they brought some of their comics to the playground. The man's hair was a dark reddish brown, it was long and wild but it was brushed back neatly, like his dad's would be for work. Resting on top of the man's head was a black newsboy cap that somehow seem to tie the look of the man's style together.
Tony never really understood why some boys liked having long hair like girls. However his friend was cool enough where Tony didn't mind. After all, he did visit him when he could and they would talk sometimes when his parents were stuck at work. His favorite feature about the seated man was his eyes. They were a bright amber color, it wasn't something that Tony had really seen before. But the man's eyes were warm and kind and something about them made him feel like things are going to be okay.
"By the way, Mr. Kotetsu, why can't anybody else see you?" Tony asked. He then looked a little excited. "Are you some sort of a ghost?"
Kotetsu looked a little lost on how to answer, he took a moment to think over the best way that he could explain it without scaring the kid. "I guess you could say I'm a ghost, I was alive once. But that was a real long time ago, kid. You could say that I'm sort of like a police officer for ghosts."
"So wait, you fight crime? For dead people? Then you really are like a superhero, huh?" Tony asked, his excitement grew a little more at the thought of knowing a real-life superhero. Or perhaps real-'dead' superhero was the better way of saying it. "That's so cool!"
Kotetsu couldn't help but smile, he rather liked visiting Tony. It was sure a surprise to him when he realized the kid could see him. However, the reason why was really troubling. As Kotetsu gazed at Tony, he could see something that the boy couldn't.
If Tony could see it, it would have looked like something was leaking from his chest. A light blue glowing vapor was the best way to describe it. It was the boy's soul and it was what attracted Kotetsu to begin with. Watching it stirred a carnal instinct and the man, it was a need to end the boy's life and take his soul. Tony didn't have that much longer and Kotetsu knew it but he still did his best to hold back on his instincts.
Kotetsu hated having to end the life of children, it hurt him deep inside. Instincts from a life long ago would often cry out in protest whenever he had to take the souls of children to the afterlife. However he couldn't fight it, it was his job as a Grim Reaper to collect souls and send them to where they needed to go.
Tony's case was a little strange though, it was very rare that people could see a Grim Reaper in this day and age. The world of the living and the world of lore had since separated themselves as humanity embraced science and technology, leaving behind the world of spirits and amazing creatures. The rules of life and death had changed since Kotetsu first took up the job. However, when strange cases like Tony's arose it left Kotetsu with a little more wiggle room to bend the rules without as many repercussions.
Tony's case was still up in the air as far as Kotetsu was concerned. He couldn't quite understand why the kid's soul was acting the way it was. Aside from that, Tony himself seemed to be fairly healthy. This 'mystery illness' that he contracted didn't seem to be something from the mortal realm. It meant that Kotetsu would have to investigate, which also meant Tony was off the chopping block for a while.
"So what kind of things do you fight?" Tony suddenly asked, breaking Kotetsu's chain of thought. "Are there villains or criminals that you have to catch?"
"Something like that, it's a little hard to explain. There's a lot that humans don't seem to remember." Kotetsu said with a nervous laugh. "But that doesn't mean that they forgot you..."
Tony frowned, not quite sure what to make of Kotetsu's answer. However he wasn't able to dwell on it as he suddenly noticed subtle changes in the air. Tony shivered a little as he pulled the blankets on his bed closer. It was suddenly awfully cold in the room, he could even see his breath. The lights above them flickered and fizzled, and frost started to appear on the window pane. Tony felt afraid, it felt like something was watching him and getting closer. He looked towards the door of his room, the nurse didn't seem to notice anything. Tony's head then snapped back and look towards Kotetsu.
"Mr. Kotetsu? What's happening?"
Kotetsu stood up from his seat, he felt his skin crawl with prickles of anticipation. That sudden carnal instinct returned, a low inhuman growl escaped him for the briefest moment. His eyes darted about the room and search for signs to show him what was approaching. Tony was a nice kid a but Kotetsu wasn't there for the conversation. The business of collecting souls wasn't always easy, sometimes there was competition. A weakened soul like Tony's that was so close to death had a nasty habit of attracting more unsavory creatures.
"M-Mr. Kotetsu..." Tony stuttered as he stared past Kotetsu and out the window. The poor boy was terrified, he could feel his heart start to hammer in his chest. He couldn't see what was coming but he could surely feel it. "There's something outside."
Kotetsu looked out the window, that strange growl returned and rumbled in his throat. He then held out his hand above his shadow, it twisted and morphed and from it emerged a large vicious looking weapon. It was a large scythe, the type that was an icon for his kind, wrapped around it was a long silver chain and a weight at the end.
A large, pale hand with elongated fingers slid its way up to the middle of the window and pressed against the pane. The glass screamed out a shrill squeal as the creature's black clawed nails dragged across it. Its flesh was grayish and pale, veins could be seen, some were even bulging out from the wrinkled leathery skin. The index finger of the hand started to lightly tap on the glass, pointing at the little boy that sat helplessly in his bed.
Kotetsu moved to right in front of the window and drew back his scythe. Without warning the hand on the windows suddenly phased right through the solid matter and wrapped itself tightly around Kotetsu's neck before he could attack. The hand then pulled on him quickly sending the old Grim Reaper forward to meeting solid matter with a loud 'thud'. It was almost a funny site seeing the man with half of his face squished against the glass of the window.
The loud sound of the window being hit did catch the attention of the nurse from across the hall. She looked up again and saw Tony looking right at the window, she couldn't see Kotetsu or the grotesque hand that was slowly trying to crush his throat.
"Sh-should I call for help?" Tony asked as he watched Kotetsu being slammed against the window again.
Before Kotetsu could even answer he suddenly phased through the window and was pulled outside of the room. He soon found himself quickly meeting with the pavement of a parking lot five stories below with a loud crunch. For a moment Kotetsu lied motionless, his body looking broken from the fall. Suddenly with a jerk and a flinch his body started to correct itself with audible pops and cracks from the joints and bones as they readjusted. Kotetsu forced himself to sit up and looked back towards the hospital building.
Clinging to the wall of the building was what one could simply call a monster. In truth it was a demon, creatures that feasted on souls. They could come in many shapes and forms and this one was thin and almost reptilian in build. Its skin was pale, almost an ashy gray, with the large bulging veins and a long lizard like tail. The demon seemed to forget all about Kotetsu and returned its attention to Tony in the hospital room.
Kotetsu forced himself up on his feet and lifted his scythe, the chain that was attached to it suddenly wriggled to life and launched itself at the demon. The chain coiled itself around the creature's torso and glowed as the silvery chain started to burn the demon's skin.
The demon whipped its head around and stared down at Kotetsu, it had no features on its face until it opened its jaws. The skin tore open revealing rows of sharp teeth that were more like jagged knives as it roared and hissed at the Grim Reaper. It then launched itself from the wall landing on the pavement below and started to charge.
Kotetsu dismissed the chain that coiled around the demon. He rolled out of the way of the creature as it stampeded past. Kotetsu managed to swing his scythe and nailed the beast in its side. He was then pulled along for the ride as the demon wailed and charged wildly whipping Kotetsu around like a ragdoll. The old Grim Reaper managed to kick off of the beast, tearing the hole he made in its side bigger.
The blood that seeped from the demon's wounds was black and thick like molasses. Kotetsu held his scythe at the ready, not fully sure just what it would do next. These demons were becoming more frequent in recent years. It was becoming a growing problem for the grim reapers as they tried to do their job. The demons were after the souls that they would collect and would devour them, snuffing them out from existence. The thought of that ugly bastard would be after Tony's soul made Kotetsu's skin crawl. The kid was so young, he didn't deserve a fate like that.
Luckily, despite the demon's size, it didn't seem like it was incredibly powerful. However even weak demons could have a few tricks up their sleeves. The creature hissed in a serpentine manner as it practically grinned at Kotetsu. Then without warning its tongue lashed out from its mouth like a frog's.
Kotetsu moved to block it but the creature was too fast. He felt a sharp pain just above his stomach. He looked down to find himself impaled, he looked up and was suddenly pulled towards the creature at a blinding speed. Only to be stopped when the creature held out its hand and gripped where Kotetsu's shoulder met his neck. The old Grim Reaper came to a violent stop meeting face-to-face with the demon and its rancid breath.
In desperation Kotetsu swung his scythe again only to find that his arms were starting to feel heavy, like a pair of lead weights. He looked down at the creature's tongue that still had him speared. It must've been dripping with some sort of venom. Kotetsu could feel himself losing control over his body as it began to slowly feel numb. The demon was a lot smarter than it appeared, it was truly a predator.
With one of its elongated fingers it mockingly tapped Kotetsu on the chest, right where the Grim Reaper's heart would've been. It knew exactly where to strike and what little goodies were hidden inside the body of its prey. The demon then pulled its arm back, readying itself to strike.
Kotetsu swallowed, though he couldn't quite feel it, he knew his body was trembling in fear. So it had all come to this? That thought along with a brief flash of memory was all he could think about. He had failed, not only Tony but also the people that he cherished most. They had waited for nothing.
Kotetsu clenched his eyes shut as the demon lunged its arm forward.
Suddenly there was the piercing sound of the gunshot from a distance. Kotetsu felt something fly right past his head and heard the snarls of the demon come to a sudden stop. The old Grim Reaper hesitated before he opened his eyes. When he finally did, he was greeted by the sight of a gunshot wound right in the middle of the beast's forehead. The body of the demon started to go limp the spear like tongue became flaccid and Kotetsu fell as the creature collapsed.
Still having a hard time moving, it took a lot of effort for Kotetsu to be able to crawl away from the demon's body. Not wanting to take any chances with the beast. The venom still flowed through his veins as he felt the numbness continue to seize his body. Kotetsu finally couldn't crawl anymore and lied on the pavement of the hospital's parking lot. He struggled to keep breathing, his eyes darted around looking for any other predator that might notice an injured old reaper like him. He would be easy prey.
The sound of footfalls approaching caught Kotetsu's attention. He tried to tighten his grip on his scythe and lift it to attack. However a boot suddenly landed on its handle and ended any attempt. Kotetsu tried to look up at the boot's owner but his vision was starting to blur out of focus. He could've sworn that he heard the figure talking to him but all sound was distorted. It sounded as if he were submerged underwater. Kotetsu's eyes ached and his eyelids felt all to heavy, he could feel himself slowly slip out of consciousness.
Was the guy saying something about wasting three minutes of someone's life?
-End of Chapter 1-