Author note: This chapter was perhaps as fun to write as the first. For those of you sad to see this story end, don't fret over it. I'll be witing more as I get "free time" when not at my new job. If you notice any technical errors, please notify me and I'll fix them ASAP. Same old stuff: Hellboy, Ab and B.P.R.D. are not mine, nor are the Donnelly's my creation. The clock was real (and actually haunted with duck spirits), the crazy old lady was real (and did live on a burial ground). The rest is my imagination.
Thanks for reading!
Ashes to Ashes
John threw his arms from the top of his head, toward the ground. The place lit with an orange glow, emanating from every skeleton. The glow was still and unmoving.
"Amun amun un ra jahkil un rajah." Suddenly, hundreds of dust piles lifted from the floor. Hellboy lifted the Samaritan and shot into him. The bullet scattered the dust from the center of the man, which replaced itself soon afterward. The dust continued to rise.
Hellboy drew a small stone carving from his belt, which was knocked from his had by the dust-man. The dust began to take shape, growing tall and forming into a dragon. The beast became flesh as it continued to grow larger. It screamed out, it's voice echoing in the underground cavern. John backed into the shadows, grinning.
"Nolem vitae alumin un kandah."
Hellboy looked at John, then felt himself being lifted from the ground. The dragon grasped his leg and threw him onto the floor. He felt his leather coat tear from it's talons shortly before he was once again in the air. His attempts to destroy the dragon were met with futility. Every shot from the Samaritan failed to do little but disturb the dust.
Abe rode to the Donnelly homestead as fast as the poor horse would carry him. The moonlight fell on the road softly, the mist mere tendrils of dampness at waist level that scattered as the horse passed through.
Abe dismounted at the homestead, leading the horse to the barn and tying it to a tree. The barn was the only original structure. He pulled an old book from his pack and began to read, in wait of the demon.
"…and a curse was placed on the family and their home. A pact, sealed by human blood, with the demon "Belihoj" was made to eliminate all traces of the family. The demon increased the hatred tenfold, consuming those who had summoned him and their families. The curse was soon lived out as the followers soon murdered the family. Through it all one piece of hatred remained, stolen by one of the followers as a memento of the grisly killings. Rather than return to hell, the demon became bound to it, as did his followers and their innocent families, until every soul bearing the name was cast from the earth."
Abe stared at the horse, which was now unusually silent. It didn't nibble the grass, nor did it pull its reins. It stood there, staring at him.
The dragon flung Hellboy onto the ground once more. Through the blood on his face, he spotted the stone carving and quickly grasped the relic into his left hand and began to speak in Lemuranian. The dragon screamed with agony as Hellboy spoke, grasping him tighter in it's claws. Hellboy could feel the air being squeezed from his chest as he continued the words.
The beast dropped him on the ground. Hellboy stood and approached the gray and shrunken dragon, which was quickly melting into dust.
"That's all for you, stinky." Hellboy twirled the figure around his finger, then placed it back in his belt. Free from the dragon's clasp, Hellboy stormed up to the dust-man and grasped him around the neck with the right hand of doom.
"You like that, John?" Hellboy gritted his teeth. "There's more where that came from."
"You can't destroy me, fool. I am as old as the sun itself."
"Wanna make a bet, Belihoj?" John struggled to escape Hellboy's grasp on his neck. There was no way to escape that right hand; he remained in flesh. Hellboy's fist began to lay repeated blows onto his face, smashing it into a bloody mess.
"You will never escape here, you will never destroy me." The demon choked on his blood, "all your efforts are futile." Hellboy did not loosen his grasp.
"Like hell." The Samaritan fired a single shot into the demon, one of holy water and clove leaves, instantly destroying him. Now there was only one thing left to do, destroy the clock from within. "Gonna be sore in the mornin'."
Hellboy drew two grenades from his belt and threw them into a pile of dry corpses. Hellboy ducked to avoid the flaming bones, which flew in all directions.
Abe continued to wait by the barn, his attentions on the fading stars and brightening sky. The only spirits here were of earth-men and owls. There was no evil here; the Donnelly's had found their rest. Perhaps he's come to the wrong place. The horse remained standing, dozing a few feet away.
"We'd better get going, boy. You should be at home in your stable." Abe mounted the horse and began to ride towards the van.
It was while crossing the cemetery that the horse began to grow weak. Abe looked down at the horse. It was getting thinner by the second, wasting away beneath him. Hair clumps began to fall from the steed, the saddle loosening and its breath becoming rough. Abe struggled to hold on as the horse refused to slow down. The horse began to falter in his steps without breaking speed. Abe felt himself hit the cold damp ground. He looked up to see the horse vanish in a flash of fire and smoke.
Abe walked up to the van to find Hellboy standing near a pile of ashes, smoking a cigar. He held a disc in his hand.
"What took you so long, Blue?" Hellboy tossed him the disc, which was actually a rusted clock face. The ashes were all that remained of the Donnelly clock. Within moments the ashes melted into dust, as did the clock face in Abe's hand, and blew away.
"Been practicing my equestrian skills." Abe reached for the water cooler in the cab of the van. "You?"
Hellboy removed his cigar and stepped away from the ashes, walking near Abe. "Just got back from visiting Johnny, or rather Belihoj." He took another puff and blew a few smoke rings into the twilight. "I think he's been taken care of. Think those families will be happy to find rest, too, after hanging around in that clock for the last hundred years or so."
Abe & Hellboy stared at the greenery around them, a morning which seemed a long time in coming.
"You will be doing the report on this, Red…"
Agent Barker arrived an hour later, sleepy-eyed and armed with "Tim Hortons" coffee and three dozen donuts. A grin from Hellboy was all he needed to know that everything had been taken care of. He passed the boxes to his colleagues and began the long trip back to Fairfield, Connecticut.
Hellboy gulped his coffee. "Really wish Liz had been down there with me, her fire would have been useful."
Abe quietly picked the rainbow sprinkles from the sugar-laden donut in his hand. "She and Roger needed some time together, Red. The Peru mission was a great time for them to work things out." Hellboy set his coffeecup down.
"Peru. Hmmm..." he reached into the carton with his right hand and pulled out a handful of donuts, Ï was told she quit."
Far away, near Eagle Lake…
Gladiolas, daisies and lupines of every colour covered the memorial leftfor Esther Williams. Her neighbors had been heartbroken at her death, especially the young children to whom she would spoil. Yet her greatest deed went unrecognized by all but two; this poor old woman had, in essence, saved an entire family from eternal damnation.
Esther's home, which had already started to fall apart, had burst into flame the night of her death. Strange lights and crazed animals were never reported in the area again. However, on the clearest of nights, passers by could sometimes hear the faint whisper of Native dancers singing to the Great Spirit.