Disclaimer: Don't own MK. Don't want to. I just want the show back. Is that so much to ask?
Note: I was insane while writing this. Now, I don't mean, "oh, my God, those vertical blinds look tacky on horizontal window panes." No, I mean, "Your honor, we find the defendent guilty of being criminally insane." There's just too much I want to say but if you read this story, I probably won't have to do too much talking...to the sane. I may end up talking to a wall soon; that's where I get my best inspiration from. Oh, well, there was one thing I should mention. Sam, my chicka, is "loosely" based on Constantine. I should just put that out there so no one's anticipating Keanu to come stalking out of the woodwork.
Anyway, here's a dose of something not right.
A swift spring breeze coasted along the rocky coastline. It whispered something and echoed until it parted Sam's hair from her face. She breathed it in and let it out in a long, slow sigh.
Marock looked up from under her boot heel, eyes pleading, mouth running a mock. "No," he said. Her head cocked to the side while her finger clicked off the safety. Her foot dug under his chin and pushed even further. "No…. I'm being followed."
"You'll get to where you need to be," she said in her usual rasp. "But first, I have to know something."
He glanced down at the shaft of the pistol. "Don't even bother," he said. "The Daemons are coming. You don't have much time."
"You didn't give me that option," she said. Sam cocked her head, all pity and remorse lacking from her twitching smile. "What's in Kells?"
He pursed his lips.
She aimed the pistol up to his head and he followed it with his eyes. His arms could have snatched it easily. He just wasn't that type of Guardian, especially when Sam was holding the gun. He sighed. "There's nothing in Kells. It's the kingdom right next to it that's resonating evil."
"You'll have to fill me in. I'm a little behind on my history."
Marock said, "The castle is Temra. That's where Knox should be."
"Knox?" Sam frowned. "Why is he there? I thought you said he got himself busy running errands for his master?"
His face read a stiff determination to keep whatever emotions were coursing through him – embarrassment, hysteria, anger, just to name a few – and his forehead seemed ready to burst. It was with a fearless gaunt expression in which he clenched his jaw that kept him rigid, sane, even safe, for the shaft of the gun was just touching his chin, playing with the idea of going off in his face. He answered, though he kept digging his nails into the ground, tearing up the dirt. "I led him there. I didn't realize that he would know where to find the Pixie Compounds until you showed me that scroll. But as for the kingdom itself, it's run rampant with His influence."
"How many sentinels are guarding it?"
"At least fifty, sixty-thousand."
Sam raised her brow. Sixty thousand was one of the largest collective of sentinels residing in one place. It was also an indication that this kingdom of Temra could house the Headquarters. Finally, after twenty years of fulfilling this dark purpose, she had found the center, the so-called heart of the sentinel's connection between the mortal and immortal planes. If it were destroyed, if Temra was the Headquarters, it would leave just a scattered remain of sentinels roaming along the parallel universes and Sam would have the upper hand. However, Marock was a sentinel. It was always disturbing that he had been leading her to the miscellaneous outposts of his own kind, to tell her where it was she was supposed to send those damnable creatures back to their Divine Gates, and what's more, he never told her why. She had assumed once long ago that he had been just as vengeful as Lucifer had been; but revenge against whom?
She glanced around. Dusk was approaching quickly. "You don't have much time. What say both you and I meet elsewhere…like Kells."
"I'll have Ona take you. I can't." He glanced at her boot.
She did not relent, however. "You can go when I say you can. Now, before I do that, tell me, are there dragons in this place I'm going for my next mission?"
Marock slid a smile across his face. "You'll just have to find out when you get there." He paused, his smile fading. "Gabriel wishes you luck."
"I need no luck."
Marock groaned, understanding the statement implied though not said. "You just have no respect for the man. You've seen Him, you know where He lives and yet you still can't recognize Him in ordinary conversation."
"You act as though that renegade was God Himself," she chided. "It's been a long year," she said. "By the sound of it, we're going to have an even longer year."
"Yes…we are," said Marock.
She blinked down at him. "Who's following you?"
"Just some ticked demons," he shrugged.
"I thought you said 'Daemons,' as in Azreal and his posse." She lowered the gun towards his chest.
He breathed. "You can be sinfully intoxicating." He closed his eyes, feeling a hardness erupting in his temples, an anger blending with frustrating temptation that tossed and turned his insides.
Seeing that emotional damage had been done, Sam was persuaded to do more unto him. Because he deserved it. She stroked his humanized face with her finger, tracing an impenetrable line over his forehead. The pentagram seared as though it had been burned into his flesh. He groaned, gripping the ground with tremendous force and sending nearby rock formations to crumble. The crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean could be heard slapping up higher the rocky slope. Thick, black clouds darkened over the sea, heading towards the cliff's edge where they were. She deftly pulled her hand away. Leaning on her other leg, Sam hung her other hand over that leg and proceeded to glance over the brawny sentinel, a rising desire promulgating from head to toe. "I need to go home first," she said. "I forgot to grab something on my way out."
The sun's crest fell just below the western horizon and the man under her vanished, sending slimy green residue all over the ground where he once had lain.
Sam stood over the empty spot and bit her cheek. One last glace over the dark horizon brought a sense of nostalgia and as quickly as it came, she made it vanish, just like Marock. "Good luck," she sighed.
She kneeled down and dug her knees into the slime-drenched Earth, the presence of evil reigning all around her. She twitched and scratched her head, not able to be rid of that unease after falling to Hell and coming back again. More than anything, she wanted to lie down and let Fate decide where her soul should be put to rest. It didn't matter to her that God shunned her and Lucifer's talons were scraping through eons of dimensions to have her soul but it did matter that she would be sent to Hell on false accusations, accusations that were made by a sentinel, a guardian of the gateways to Hell and Heaven. That she had sworn a vow to: find the accuser. Still, in her search she had not found the sentinel who robbed her of a chance to prove her innocence.
"For Christ's sake," she moaned. "I'm only human."
"A human with wings? Who's so daft to believe that nonsense?"
"Hello, Ona," said Sam, glaring at the ground. She twitched as her back ached. 'Another sentinel,' she snarled.
"Feeling touchy today? Well, I'm not surprised. How long did you have them out for this time? Well, let's see. It must have been at least four, maybe even five and a half hours."
"Go curse yourself," Sam said. She stood and turned to look out over the town of blinking lights, alone, unburdened by anything, even the approaching storm, which threatened total annihilation. No one ever feared a storm here. All of the families came from a long family line of tortured villagers and plagued workers since the middle ages. In essence, they had more to fear than Mother Nature itself. Sam began to walk towards the town.
"But where are you going?"
"Having a drink. Is that a sin?" Sam stopped, slid her gun into its holster strapped to her thigh and dusted her pants.
Ona smiled. "You're a tease. I can't smite you. Only angels have that kind of skill, but it was sweet of you to think of me so highly."
Sam rolled her eyes. "The feeling's mutual."
She continued walking down the glen down the side of a green hillside when Ona jumped in front of her. "How 'bout a game before we leave? You'd like that, wouldn't you?"
However, Sam kept trudging down the hill, eyes fixed at the town's sleepy lights meters before her. She thought of what she needed and smiled.
"Oh, c'mon. You know it won't hurt."
"I am much too tired for this," sighed Sam. "The last time we played one of your games, Ona, it was a contest to see who could save the most civilians from being cast to the ground from the top of a building…in the time allotted. Need I remind you the temperament from your management that day?"
"They know me," she shrugged. "Besides, it wasn't like I was really condemning those poor saps to an early Fate. After all, I don't have that power either. Grim Reaper does and when have you seen him around here lately? Not since the days of the plague, I suspect. Oh, except for that one time Mr. Granger dozed off with too much morphine injections in his arm. Forgive me, I know not what I do."
"You're more of a menace to mortals than the actual devil Himself…and will you please keep your feet to the ground, Peter Pan. We don't want the grown-ups to see you." Sam twitched.
Ignoring Sam's plea, Ona jumped around in the air. "You still can't shake it, can you? The grudge? Ah, well, I suppose mortals have that drawback."
Sam paused in her step and closed her eyes. "What do you want?"
"I told you." Ona fluttered around Sam.
Shaking her head, Sam continued walking. "You're such a child."
"What? Can't a lonely sprite have it's kicks with the living every once in awhile, 'specially since I can't get any kicks whatsoever in my lower regions. I mean, look at me," she said, grabbing her belt and glaring down at her humanized body. "I'm a walking time bomb and I can't even detonate myself when I need to."
Sam cringed. "Stop, stop, just stop."
"Well it's true."
Minutes later, Sam was walking up the steps to her flat and came back outside an hour afterward, dressed differently in simple dark blue jeans and a thin vest. Ona was standing just outside the door, wings absent, arms crossed as she leaned against the doorframe. When she stepped outside, Sam zipped up the vest all the way to the top, threw on a black suit jacket and strolled right past the sentinel.
"We'll go back up the hill but down a little towards the wooded area. I don't want anyone to see us," said Sam.
Ona shrugged and followed.
At the top of the hill, Ona asked, "Can I come this time or are you just gonna punch me in the face again if I do?"
Sam thought. It never really mattered if the impish sentinel followed or not; however, there were always pros and cons to not having Ona around. Pro: undisturbed concentration. Con: not getting home for six months while being trapped on a parallel universe.
Sam shrugged. "Teleport me or just go home."
"Because I told you to."
"You're a simple creature with no hope of having a future so just do what I tell you and leave me alone."
"But I can still come right?"
Sam turned and faced Ona. She looked the she-creature dead in the eye. "It's always been your choice."
Ona frowned. "But…all those other times, you…."
"To where I'm going, Ona," interrupted Sam. "I need all the friends I can get."
The air suddenly seemed chilled and Sam's elevated sense of hearing could pick up the sounds of all the night animals scurrying in the nearby forests. Everything seemed to echo around her. She raised her ears as though attempting to pick up all the vibrations of catcalls and hooting owls.
Ona was smiling.
Sam sighed just as she felt her body jerk. Every fiber of her being seemed to pull apart and crash back together simultaneously while there was an organic energy source ripping her cells in two. She felt smaller, somehow, almost as though she had been shrinking but the feeling did not last much longer. By instinct, she closed her eyes, feeling herself grow taller, wider, heavier, weighed down by gravity. Fortunately, there was gravity. She wanted to talk but she could not feel her body. If she could look down, she would find that she had no body. But just as the ripping and the tearing seemed to reach its climax, Sam could begin to feel herself again. Still closing her eyes tight, Sam waited for the feeling to evaporate before she began to register that she was on solid ground, breathing air and hearing the sounds of creatures in the nighttime. She was here, home. But it wasn't home. It was her home a thousand years ago in another universe.
Sam, cautiously breathing, began to ease open her eyes and the rays of the morning sun felt new to her eyes. It burned them, stung them until her irises remembered to widen to let in all of the light. A few seconds travel across the dimensions was harrowing enough, but to have done this already many times before, the ware on her body was starting to take more of an effect. Where at first the feeling would rub away within seconds of arriving to her destination, now Sam felt as though she been whirled around in a revolving chair many hundreds of times.
She blinked, her body seeming like that of a newborn's and just as uncertain of the natural elements encasing her. An insect was touching her hand and she jumped, despite herself. Shaking it off, she sat up slowly, which all the same had caused an involuntary reaction in her system. She barely fell to her side just as she began vomiting.
An hour had passed by before she could stand on her feet.
"Ew," said a childish voice behind her. "You're acting human again."
Sam closed her eyes. The stench of her own bile sickened her again and she threw herself away, tumbling and grabbing the grass to keep from falling off of the earth. She gasped. "What year is it?" She asked in an attempt to keep her mind off of other things.
"Um…I think it's around 1348 A.D."
"Thanks," Sam said. She sat on her knees, inhaling and exhaling methodically. The sound of the ocean waves resonated above the cliffs and soothing though it was, Sam was on her feet as soon as she steadied her mind.
She cast a widespread glance across the distance. Once again she had been thrown across eons of time and was at a home that was totally different from anything else. She stood back. "There are trees."
"Humans haven't started the Industrial Revolution just yet."
"Be careful, Ona," Sam said. "You may know more about humans than I do." Her back was to Ona. She felt the inside of her mouth and spat out the disgusting taste.
"We're on a tight schedule," Ona said. She perked up. "D'you wanna see what your town looks like now? Oh, I love that game."
Sighing heavily meant one of two things to Ona. The first, and always assumed, was that Sam was a little angry and temperamental, as though awakened an hour before the alarm went off in the morning. The second, and prevented at all costs, was that Sam had been driven so far so quickly, she would not know what she would do for the next few days. "Rage is definitely not easily noticeable on you," said Ona.
"And diarrhea mouth seems to be your one virtue."
"Sorry. Was I speaking before thinking?"
"Is that a trick question?" Sam looked around her, noticed tiredly that the sleepy town that had once been was now absent. Trees shot out everywhere over the vast landscape. Her home was miles to the east and presumably empty. She shook her head, placed two arms on her hips and said, "You wouldn't suppose that there's a town entirely composed of just a pub and some inns at this time?"
"Why? Wanna make comradeship amongst the natives?"
"I wanna drink. I'm arid."
"I was thinking alcohol." Sam began to stroll down the glen as she had not more than two hours earlier towards the forests.
Ona, still hovering, lowered down to speak over Sam's shoulder. "And just how are you going to find a residential village around here without your wings? And look at you!"
Sam stopped dead in her tracks. At her sides, she was flexing her fists into tight balls and relaxing. "What?" she said through gritted teeth.
"Not even the proper attire you have on ya!"
"Well," Sam shrugged. "What do you want me to do about it? God, you are by far the worst time-traveling sentinel I've ever met in my life," Sam grumbled as she strode off down the hillside. "Marock wouldn't complain half as much as you."
"He could care less."
"Oh, I'm well aware of that," said Sam.
Ona remained silent for the remaining walk. However, as soon as Sam reached the skirt of the forest, where there was just a hint of negative energy feeding out into the land, as both Sam and Ona felt shivers running up and down their spines, Ona said, "I'm not the worst you've ever met. You haven't met us all." Though her face was innocent enough, she was serious and Sam recognized real fear in the sentinel's tone when she addressed her. "My only intention was to get you here. But it's not just a game anymore. You're heading towards some serious danger," Ona said with her eyes full of saddened truth. "I know you don't need it, but I'm going to help you in any way that I can."
"How generous of you," said Sam, not a trace of pity or anything else resembling emotion touching her face.
After a brief pause, Ona said, "There's a village that's only about twenty miles due east from here. The village is on the outskirts of a kingdom ruled by a man known as Chonchobar."
"That kingdom wouldn't happen to be the same one with all the bad guys now would it be?"
Ona shook her head. "No, that's Temra. This is Kells."
Sam blinked. "So, what is he, good, bad? Do I have to address him as 'sir' or do I walk right up to his door and ring the bell?"
Ona smiled. "They don't have bells, dingbat."
"I know." Sam looked away into the forest. "Twenty miles east, eh? Nah, not bad at all."
" 'Tis ne'er a lad o lassie to bring down this rovin'." Sam stepped into the forest and felt an immediate shock run through her body. She shivered but did not stop. Glancing over her shoulder, she said, "Please, be courteous. Don't introduce yourself to the mortals until I get there."
"We could just fly, you know," Ona whined.
"Nah," Sam said from within the tangling branches surrounding her. "It's just a forest."
"An enchanted forest."
"Same thing." And then, she had disappeared from view.