Enia: This is the last chapter. I'm sorry. I've enjoyed the ride.
Samik glared at me when I returned, arms folded across his chest, brow furrowed down into a deep V shape, his toe tapping slightly on the pavement. When he caught sight of me, his displeasure deepened until a nearly palpable storm cloud buzzed around his scruffy, brown hair.
"Hello!" I called brightly, raising a hand in greeting.
"What the hell was that, Enia?" Samik demanded, striding towards me through the snow.
I sighed breezily and shoved a hand through my spikey hair. "I heard a tiny fairy calling my name on the wind, and I knew I had to follow it to fulfill my destiny," I answered.
William, David, and Minka all pinched the bridges of their noses or slapped their palms to their foreheads. Zeus's eyebrow cocked as identical grins spread across the faces of Teemo and Onyx. Arin simply sighed, and even Samik had to fight to keep a straight face, struggling to keep his angry mask firmly in place.
"It let me into Gargoland where I journeyed across the world, met fantastical creatures, and killed a lot of stuff," I continued. "I defeated an ancient evil that was trying to plunge the world into darkness, so happiness and cupcakes could return!"
I skipped across the slushy, icy ground and linked my arm through Samik's, popping up on my tip toes to peck him on the check. "So, how long was I gone?"
"About an hour," he answered and finally smiled at me, all the darkness dripping from his face like hot wax.
I folded the corners of my mouth down into a contemplative expression. "Huh, that's weird. I spent about a year there."
I finally got Samik to laugh. His head tilted back, and the sound joined the clouds in the sky. Together, we spun around and started heading back towards the library, our footsteps falling in sync. Teemo had my flamethrower on his back and was playing with it happily, sending bursts of fire into the sky and whooping outrageously. Onyx was holding my chainsaw, and I was a bit worried about that, but I figured it would be okay. Hopefully.
"Anything interesting happen while I was gone?" I asked.
Samik shrugged. "David almost killed Trouble."
"If somebody didn't, I was going to," I laughed.
As we approached the sleek, two-story building, something suddenly came crashing one of the upper level windows, sailing through the air and bouncing briefly off the top of the wall before smashing into the ground and shattering into thousands of pieces. I jumped, my fingers digging into Samik's arm.
A second later, a frying pan followed it, skittering across the street before us. A shocked and offended expression descended over Samik's face, and his mouth popped open. "Son of a bitch!" he yelled and began to move faster as a book nearly nailed Minka in the head, pulling a curse from between her lips.
"What the hell is going on in there?" I demanded hotly, storming towards the building.
Inside the library, there was chaos. The humans were pushing and shoving, all the while shouting angrily at each other. The tables were knocked over, and books were strewn across the ground, though some of them still flying through the air. Many weapons were drawn and waving in the air, and I knew without seeing who was right in the middle of it.
"We need to put a stop to this," I said. "I don't care what the hell started it, but it ends now."
Cracking their knuckles, William and David stepped forward, and I nodded to them to get started. David leapt towards the nearest gun-toting maniac and crashed straight into the woman, knocking her to the floor. The gun flew out of her hand when her wrist smacked the hardwood. David kicked the weapon away into the shadows and leapt onto the back of another human, snarling and clinging to the man's shoulders.
William ran at Trouble, who was shouting unintelligibly at the skirmishing humans, egging them on. William tapped him on the shoulder and slugged the man across the face when he turned around. Trouble went down like a sack of rotten tomatoes.
The rest of us advanced into the room, fanning out in every direction. "Arin," I said, "get up on a table and start shouting. Try to get people to calm down."
She nodded and jumped up onto the only table still on four legs. "Hey!"
She waved her hands over her head, but no one heard her or cared enough to listen.
I spotted someone raising their pistol to point it at a woman's chest. I rushed forward and kicked the weapon out of his hands with my booted foot. He yelped with pain, clutching his fingers. Another man stumbled past me with William hanging off his back, the werewolf's fingernails dug into the man's ears.
Onyx had someone in a headlock and was busy yelling, "Noogie!" as she ground her knuckles into the young man's skull. When I glanced around, I saw that Teemo had somehow gotten into a childish, slapping catfight with a seven-year-old girl. Minka had turned up the icy heat on her glare to one-thousand percent and had turned it onto a group of humans, forcing them to cower in a corner, while Zeus ran around the room and kicked people's legs out from under them.
I punched a man in the gut when he tried to tackle me and then flung him into a bookshelf, looking around wildly. We needed to get this under control, fast. I leapt forward and rolled across the ground in an epic fashion, scooping up an abandoned pistol. I pointed it at the ceiling, still on the floor, and gazed around the chaos for a moment. Then I pulled the trigger.
Worst. Fucking. Idea. Ever.
Startled by the blast, all the trigger-happy humans grabbed their guns and started shooting. All the sane ones hit the floor instantly as blood began to fly through the air, and people shrieked in pain. Bodies hit ground with weightless thumps. I rolled my eyes and thudded the heel of my palm against my forehead. I really was so dumb.
David leapt up onto the table with Arin, who was still waving her arms and yelling at the top of her lungs. There was blood dripped down his shirt, and I really didn't want to know where it'd come from. "Rawr!" he bellowed. His face held hints of the wolf inside him. It prowled around the edges of his teeth, in the curl of his brow, and the ferocious flash in his eyes. "I'm a zombie, and I'm going to eat you all if you don't shut the fuck up right now!"
The room fell silent as if someone had flipped a switch, and the people froze into statues. In the middle of it all, Teemo was shaking quietly with suppressed laughter, and he hid himself under a table. I found myself starting to smirk as well, and I had to turn around to keep it from showing. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw most of EZHF doing the same.
"Very good," David growled, and I heard his feet thump to the ground as he jumped down from the table.
"Okay," Arin said slowly, gathering her thoughts. "Someone want to tell me what the fuck's going on here?"
I turned back around to watch just in time to see a white-haired man point towards Trouble's prone form. "He started it."
"Could you people stop swearing?" a middle-aged woman asked, a young boy clutched to her chest. "There are small children in the room."
My eyebrow rocketed towards the ceiling. Seriously? That was what she was worried about?
"Oh, sorry," Arin said, sounding as if she didn't actually care. Onyx smirked across the room at me. "But seriously, what happened?"
The older man who'd snitched on Trouble shrugged. "Not sure, exactly. That man was yammering on about something or the other, I don't even know what. Someone started arguing with him, and the whole thing just sorta exploded."
"Of course it did," I sighed, pinching the bridge of my nose.
"Can I throw him out the window?" William asked eagerly.
I was tempted to agree. I really was. I felt the ache deep within my bones. But I knew the humans wouldn't like it. "No," I sighed. "Don't."
William huffed and folded his arms, and I shrugged apologetically. "So the next question is," the older man continued, "who fired the first shot?"
Every head revolved around the room, searching for the culprit. I assumed a look of innocence and unobtrusively dropped the pistol behind my back. Samik noticed – he noticed everything I did – and rolled his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose. "That doesn't matter now," he said to cover my ass. "What's done is done, and there's nothing we can do to change it."
I frowned at him. Wow, thanks for making me feel bad.
"And we need to find out who's dead or wounded," he finished, ignoring my hot glare.
The white-haired man nodded in agreement. "Alright. Good idea."
"Somebody smack Trouble and wake him up. I want to talk to him," I added.
"Who's Trouble?" the old man asked.
I pointed at the unconscious human on the floor. "That's what I call him."
The old man smirked. "That's a good name for him." He gestured at a nearby woman and then nodded towards Trouble's prone form. She took great pleasure in smacking him across the face, back and forth and back and forth. I stalked over and, as soon as he spluttered awake, grabbed his arm and yanked him to his feet roughly.
"Hey!" he protested, tugging weakly at my hand.
"Come with me," I snarled into his face, almost close enough to bite his nose off. "You and I are going to have a chitty-chat."
"Give him a smack for me, Enia!" Teemo called, cupping his hands around his mouth.
I raised a hand in acknowledgement. "Will do."
I dragged Trouble across the library unceremoniously, moving too fast for him to catch his balance and so forcing him to stumble along awkwardly behind me. "Let go of me!" he yelled.
I obliged him and threw him into into one of the empty offices. He hit his hip on the desk as he stumbled in and almost crashed to the floor. I stepped in after him, shutting the door ominously behind him. The lock clicked into place. When I turned around, he was pressed up against the far wall, a lamp held out before him. Its cord was still plugged into the wall even though the electricity had died out long ago. "Put that down," I ordered, rolling my eyes.
"Make me, bitch," he growled, somehow finding a smidgeon of courage.
I sighed, and when I blinked, a jolt of electricity jumped through the socket and gave Trouble a nasty shock that set his hair on end and sent a crackling, burning smell through the air. He yelped and dropped the lamp like it had turned into an eel, staring at me with absolute fright.
"What the hell was all that?" I demanded.
"Was all what?" he asked, bewildered.
I gestured behind me at the main room of the library where the dead were being rounded up and the wounded tended to. "Back there. Getting people to start trying to kill each other."
"It wasn't my fault," he answered quickly, defensively.
I laughed darkly, strolling deeper into the office, dragging the tip of my finger along the desk. "Yeah? Then who's was it? The Easter Bunny's? Or did the munchers get inside your head and start whispering?"
Trouble finally regained enough of a spine to to glare at me. He remained pressed against the wall, but he stood up straighter and stuck his chest out. "No. It was your fault."
I pulled back slightly. Okay, I hadn't seen that one coming. "What?" I yelled, some of my fierce, cold shell melting away. My fists clenched at my side, and I had to fight to keep the fire from igniting. "Don't you dare try to blame this on me, you bastard!"
"Maybe if you guys weren't such freaks, this wouldn't be a problem!"
"What the hell's that supposed to mean?" I stalked forward, moving silently across the floor in an unnatural way, heart aching to draw my sword and cut Trouble's head off with it.
He swiftly sidestepped me before I could get too close and skittered away, putting the desk between us. "I've heard your friends talking, you know, when they think we aren't listening. They talk down about us, using the word human like it's a bad thing. Like they're above us, or better than us. As if they aren't human."
His eyes were wild, bordering on maniac, a fevered light dancing within. He clutched a stapler in his hand, holding it out in front of him. I really hoped he would end up stapling his thumb. "I've seen things too," he continued, spit flying from his mouth. "Weird things. Your friend Teemo likes to play with fire, but he never has a lighter or matches. Your two scary friends always smell like dog. And–"
"Shut the fuck up," I snarled slowly, carefully, moving towards him again until I was close enough that he had to take a step back. I planted my hands on the desk and leaned forward, fixing him with my darkest glare. "Do you hear me? Shut the fuck up before I kill you."
Trouble's eyes glinted victoriously. "So I'm right then."
"I never said that. Do not put words in my mouth." Trouble pried his lips open to deliver some pithy reply, but I beat him to it. "Don't forget. You'd probably be dead if it weren't for us."
That shut him up. His mouth snapped closed like a sprung trap. I grinned maliciously. "That's right. And don't forget we can toss you out of here just as quickly as we brought you in."
"Look at you, getting all high and mighty," Trouble growled, lip curling. "Who do you think you are, God?"
"No," I snapped. Fuck, I wanted to throttle the man! "I'm the super angry bitch who can and will kick your ass if you keep annoying her!"
"Oh, I'm so scared," he sneered. He didn't move away from the wall.
I wasn't thinking anymore. I'd forgotten how, and I was ready to make the stupidest move ever and show this bastard just who he was dealing with. I was tired of this pretentious human, tired of hiding my powers, tired of trying to be a good person. I was ready to ruin everything we were trying to build in the library for one, quick flash of pleasure, damn the consequences.
But before I could, thankfully, someone in the main room screamed.
Instantly, I shoved myself away from the desk, forgetting about Trouble, and burst through the door, sword in hand without a thought. The room was locked in pandemonium, humans panicking, drawing weapons, trying to hide. EZHF was trying desperately to calm them down but without any success, their shouts futile.
"Enia!" Samik called, beckoning me over. "We've got a bit of a problem."
He stood by one of the broken windows that overlooked the street, and I ran over to him, elbowing a woman out of the way. "What?"
"Look," he said and stepped back so I could see.
I leaned on the windowsill as I peered out at the street. Immediately, I began to curse violently, mixing my Elvish with English.
At our doorstep was an army. The munchers blanketed the downtown area, stretching on and on endlessly, thousands of them. They pressed up against our wall, which was starting to crack in places from the various explosions and conflicts it had seen. The munchers in the back crushed into the ones closer to the front, grinding them to a grey, oozing pulp that mixed with the snow and the mud.
The stench that rose up from them like steam from overcooked soup was nearly unbearable, even though the thick concrete walls. It clogged everything, my nostrils, my mouth, my ears, even my pore, neglected pores.
At the army's back, floating high above the corpses ad partially hidden by the clouds, I thought I saw a deep, black shadow; proof that there was something sneaky at work in the apocalypse. But I didn't have time to worry about it right then. There were more pressing matters jamming themselves up my nose.
"Get the Molotov Cocktails!" I shouted to anyone who would listen, glad for once that we'd kept the bottle of booze for that crazy-ass party. "Then get up on the stable parts of the walls! Let's rain fire down on these bitches like there's no tomorrow!"
Some of the humans heard my command and jumped to obey while the rest continued to panic and run in useless circles.
"EZHF!" I continued, turning and striding through the bedlam as if none of it could touch me. "To me! We're going in!"
David caught my arm and spun me to a halt, blue eyes flashing. "There are too many of them to take on without using our powers."
"I know," I agreed, squeezing his hand. "Just try to be subtle."
He nodded thankfully and ran on ahead, eager to get a start on the bloodbath. The nine of us formed up and stalked down the stairs together, a calm portal in the rushing storm around us. "Is there a plan?" Teemo asked excitedly. He was practically bouncing three feet in the air with each step.
"Kill 'em all," I replied.
"Best plan ever!"
Onyx kicked the door open for us with a resounding crash, and immediately, we saw where we needed to attack first. Bits of the wall had already crumbled, and the munchers were trickling in in ones and twos and attacking any breathing thing they could find. At least three humans lay on the ground unmoving and being munched on. "Go!" I shouted, waving my arm forward, and we leapt into battle.
I vaulted up and over the munchers' heads and through one of the gaps in the wall, landing on top of a parked car. Instantly, I lost track of the others as they dispersed into the weaving and shifting crowd, and I drew my sword with a metallic ring. Flaming bottles rained down around us, exploding in bright bursts upon impact.
Munchers clawed at the smooth roof of my perch, so I turned my blade so the flat faced downwards in order to play a little Whack-A-Muncher. The rotting skulls split easily beneath my strength, and soon, the white plastic became an abstract painting of browns and reds.
The downed bodies began to pile up, forming a slippery ramp that the munchers could use to struggle up to my position. They would swamp me soon, I knew, so I leapt off the car, sweeping my sword in a glittering arc. Arms and hands flopped to the ground like fish from a net, but the munchers crowded in ever closer, ignoring their wounds. I needed more space.
I Flicked my finger at the nearest of them. The sudden blast and accompanying shock wave sent me flying over the heads of the munchers, flipping head over heels, and I crash-landed on the ground almost fifty feet away. My jacket got pulled up towards my head as I skidded across the street, and the loose gravel dug into the skin of my back, burning in pain. Groaning, I sat up. I was pretty sure my eyebrows were gone.
I clambered slowly to my feet, pressing my hands into my knees to force myself the rest of the way up. A muncher staggered up to me, and my sword darted out, impaling it. I cursed to myself. My little move hadn't really gotten me out of trouble. There were still munchers pressing in from every direction. I needed to do something, and I needed to do it fast.
The wall was ten feet to my right, and up above, the humans were still hurtling Molotov Cocktails down on the herd. I tracked a bottle's glittering arc, waiting until it landed, and then added to it with my powers. The fireball blew the munchers backwards, and the ones closest to the explosion vaporized instantly.
I sprinted through the hole it left and jumped onto the wall, seizing one of the dangling ropes. It was just high enough for me to be out of the reach of the grasping hands if I pulled my legs up to my hips. I began to run back and forth across the wall, supported by the rope, and began to attack, hacking and slashing down at the corpses' heads with my sword. Before long, I began to feel dizzy and a tiny bit nauseous.
Once again, the bodies piled up into giant humps, and I could no longer easily reach the still moving munchers. I let go of the rope and pushed off the wall, landing right next to the tag team of William and David. A muncher was clinging to William's back, chewing uselessly at his sturdy leather jacket, and decimated corpses littered the ground around them.
William roared angrily, and his form shivered. A giant, black wolf replaced the blonde-haired man, and the muncher lost its grip, slipping to the ground.
That was when the carnage really began. David howled and joined his friend in the rampage, transforming into a massive, white wolf. Together, they leapt into the mob of munchers, and body parts began to fly, accompanied by streamers of blackish blood. I dodged a shredded arm and an instant later was besieged by my own little army.
I fell into a trance and began to move like mercury through the munchers. I lunged for spot to spot, leaving behind donut shaped piles of corpses in my wake. The spaces between the staggering munchers grew wider and wider, and the ground was a carpet of blood and body parts. Smoking craters dotted the battlefield. And in the back of my mind, I thought, amazed, that we were actually going to win this thing.
Suddenly, a low wailing sound pierced the air. The same dark shadows from the beginning of the siege appeared again, creating a malevolent star around the crowd of munchers. I glanced up at them suspiciously, my spine and the hair on the back of my neck tingling from powerful magical aura that was making the air thrum.
Everything went dark for an instant. Perfectly dark. The kind of void that swallowed up everything. I cursed silently and tensed for an attack, but none came. A moment later, light returned to the world, and everything was exactly. Except that the munchers were all gone.
Literally gone. Disappeared in an instant. Nothing left to show they'd been there but for the slowly freezing pools of blood and a few severed hands. Even the piles of the dead were gone.
What. The. Fuck.
EZHF stood scattered across the battlefield, staring around them in confusion. William and David prowled on all fours, still in wolf form, and suddenly, a human scream split the eerie silence. I spun around instantly, searching for a threat, and saw that a woman was pointing at the two animals and bawling her head off. Trouble had also found his way out onto the wall, no doubt after all the danger had passed. "I knew you were all freaks!" he yelled.
I gave him the finger with both hands.
"Shit," William muttered, shifting back into human form. The rest of my friends made their way over, and we stood together, arms folded in the same way.
David winced, rubbing at the back of his head. "Sorry."
Trouble climbed awkwardly down from the wall and stalked towards us, yelling something incoherently. I crossed my arms and tapped my foot, rolling my eyes towards the sky. "I knew it!" He finally got close enough for us to understand his angry words. "I knew you were all freaks!"
"Why is that a bad thing?" Arin wondered to herself, and Teemo shrugged. He looped his arm around her shoulder, dripping broadsword in his other hand.
"Those boys are monsters!" Trouble ranted, spittle flying from his lips. "Demons! Sorcerers! They consort with the power of evil!"
"And saved your asses," I interrupted. "Without them, the library probably would've been overrun."
"Because they called upon the demons to whisk the zombies away. We all saw the sudden darkness, and when the lights came back, they were all gone!"
I pinched the bridge of my nose. Fuck, there was just no winning with that guy.
"Technically, you can't see darkness," Zeus mused, earning a glare from Trouble. She stuck her thumbs in her ears, wiggled her fingers, and poked her tongue out at him.
I glanced back at the library and saw that the majority of the humans were gathered on the wall, peering down at the scene unfolding before them. There was an angry buzz surrounding them, and they muttered amongst themselves, behind their hands. Some even had guns trained on us, on William and David.
"They need to leave," Trouble finished. I pulled myself back to the argument. Apparently, I'd missed the finale of his speech.
"No, they don't," I snarled.
William smirked, pleased. "Aw, Enia, you really do love me!"
That earned him a smack upside his pretentious wolfy face from me, a kick in the shin from Teemo, a stomp on the foot from Arin, and a smirk from Samik as his swift punishment.
"It's alright," David asked, stepping forward and silencing all of us. "William and I have been talking about this, actually." He looked over at me. "We were going to tell you when we officially decided. I've got some people I want to check on in Canada, and William thinks there'll be more action and less annoying people up there. We're okay leaving."
"Yeah," William agreed.
"Are you sure?" I asked. Both of them nodded. I shrugged and stuck out my hand. "Okay. Go and fight in Canada. Maybe we'll see each other again."
William shook with me first and waggled his eyebrows. "I certainly hope so." I crushed his fingers before letting go.
"Count on it," David said and leaned in to murmur in my ear. "Keep an eye out. There's something else at work here."
"Don't I know it," I agreed, sighed.
William and David stepped back, glaring at Trouble one last time (and Samik, as well, in William's case). They morphed into wolves just to scare the jumpy humans again. Trouble quickly stepped back, tripping over a dismembered arm. He landed hard on his ass and groaned in pain. I raised my hand in farewell to the werewolves. They howled in reply, turned tail, and ran off into the sunset even though it was only three o'clock.
I stepped over Trouble without giving him a second look, and EZHF filed after me. I glared up at the humans on the wall. "If anyone wants to leave, then get the hell out of here! If not, start helping clean up." No one moved, and I snarled under my breath. "NOW!"
The humans jumped to attention. Some did leave, quite a few actually. Trouble got up and scrambled away, yelling profanities back at us. Everyone who was left began to squeamishly pick up the body parts, piling them up to be burned.
I kept busy as best I could, though my mind pulsed with questions. Chief among them were those strange shadows. Who were they? What did they want and why? Something would have to be done about it. But what? How could we find them, and what if they staged another attack? One we weren't ready for.
Things had just gotten a lot more complicated.
Enia: Heh heh heh, I lied. J