Arc 2: Chapter 5: “I’m Okay!”

It has been a rainy day. It doesn’t usually rain in the month of March. Even if it does, it is not the type of rain that will cause the temperature to drop to 10-degree Celsius. So, the reason a rain like this happened is simple – Global Warming.

On this day that wasn’t supposed to be rainy, Gabriel Washington, a 26-year-old Hellfire of Vermillion, had made plans to meet up with his fiancé. Their engagement had happened out of the blue by the consent of their families and their wedding is due in six months. So, they don’t have much time aside from days like these when they could meet and get to know each other better. However, rain happened.

If that hadn’t already spoiled Gabriel’s mood, he then got a call from his boss, the Phoenix. Reid Vezalius Rosevelt told him to do a job to bring four people, four really important people, safely to him. While it’s reasonable that a job of this caliber can’t be given to anyone but some Hellfire, it still spoiled all of his plans for at least the next month.

Therefore, as one can assume, Gabriel Washington is not the best person to talk to as of right now.

“Hey you!”

And one can only wonder what is wrong with a guy who can’t understand that from the frowning face and furrowed eyebrows.

“Yes, you! Give me all the money that you have!”

A drunken man says so to Gabriel as he swings his knife in the air. While he is wearing formal clothes like that of a salesman, those clothes are torn and his rough-looking, unwashed face and hands don’t give off a very good first impression. Gabriel, knowing that theft and pick pocketing is common in dark alleys like the one he is in, especially when it is nighttime like right now, decides to ignore it and walk away but,

“Hey fucker, don’t you see this baby here!”

The drunken man says while pointing at his knife. This man is even unable to stand properly and if truth be told, he would miss 9 out of 10 times he swings that weapon. However, he is too drunk to realize something like that and Gabriel is too annoyed to care.

Gabriel: “If you want to die, keep at it.”

He speaks in a calm voice, which hides his inner hellfire.

Gabriel: “But if you want to live, walk away.”

He says without even bothering to look at the drunk man. The drunken man, on the other hand, gets agitated and swings his knife at whatever he can. The first strike – misses. The second strike – misses. The third strike – cuts off a piece of Gabriel’s retro suit and the fourth one cuts his classic-style trousers. The black colored clothes look inexplicably bad with the little bit of blood coming out and the sight of the man responsible for it starts to truly disgust Gabriel. Therefore,

Gabriel: “You asked for it!”

He replies in a calm, but far from collected, voice, as he brings his hand out of his suit’s lower pockets and picks up the drunken man from his collars.

Gabriel: “You want me to smoke out cash, do you?”

The 6’6 giant that is Gabriel picks up the 5’3 drunken man like he is picking up a puppy and starts dragging him inside the alley.

Gabriel: “Come with me and I’ll give you all the cash I have!”

He says in a calm voice of a demon that terrifies the drunken man and makes him want to run away as fast as he can.

Drunken Man: “No, let go! Let me go!”

Too bad for him, he’s too late.

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In the backside of a parking lot that is the entrance to an alley, a man in formal but torn clothes lays upside-down in a garbage bin. He is trying to move his legs in order to get out but has garbage bags all around him that make him unable to even turn the bin from his weight. Furthermore, those same garbage bags are probably suffocating him.

As a group of friends who have had their fill of late night partying cross by the place, out of the two men and three women, one woman sees this unsightly sight.

Woman: “Ew! What the heck is that!?”

As she asks so in exclamation, the group’s attention turns to the garbage bin and they curiously walk over to it. While two or three of them were reluctant at first, at the end of the day, they all reached the bin and saw the ugly appearance of an upside-down man in a garbage bin. It could even be called a humorous scene, albeit dark humor.

And seeing this scene of dark humor, the group of five who were in their phase of trying to defy the world and act tough, laugh, even if they didn’t actually felt any joy from seeing it. After they were done laughing though, they decided to pull the guy out of the bin to ease his suffering. The two boys pull him out directly by pulling his legs while the three girls pull the bin down and hold it in its place. Unlike what they expected though, they find the task of pulling the man out quite easy. But, for some reason, the man still keeps shaking his legs as if he can’t breathe. The two boys who had fallen backwards because of the impact of it and the three girls who had fallen forwards, all get up and take a look at the face of the poor man they just saved. But, they can’t see the face. They can see the still shaking legs and the waist and the stomach but, not the chest or the face. And seeing so,

“AAAAAHHHHHH!!!” “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!” “AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!”  “AAAAAAAHHH!!!” “AAAAAAAHHHH!!!”

-Echoes the cries of the five as they run away as fast as they can. As they try to run away though, one of the girls falls on the dustbin. Without even looking at anything, she gets up somehow and starts running again crying even louder than before because of the fear of something much more horrible being in the dustbin. And this ‘something much more horrible’, the hands, the chest and the face of the drunken man do fall out of the dustbin. Fortunately or unfortunately, no one was around to see the upper part and the expression of terror and regret at the man’s face as he died while his senses were still working. Such a simple thing the Hellfire did by severing half the mind (the part which controls the heart) and leaving the other as is after giving some extra energy to the limbs to keep them moving. However, this simple thing done by the Hellfire would be enough to bring terror to every man and woman in the city.

All of this began merely with an attempt at burglary. Rosevelt said that the foolishness of smart people causes for there to be disasters. Maybe this man too had been a smart or a capable individual in some field, just like how everyone is said to be.

*******************************

The Hellfire who just killed a man by splitting him into two halves now casually walks the street of the dark town, darkened more in the night, albeit saved a little by the moonlight. And just like this town, this man is also dark because of his past, darkened more because of his jobs in Vermillion, but there’s just that glimmer of moonlight that saves him. That moonlight is his family. He would never say it to their faces but he loves his parents and their brothers and sisters as well as his own brothers and sisters more than anything else. It’s a large family that values their traditions too much and as a result, things like deciding his engagement without his consent happens and it is not that surprising for him. To be honest, he never really cared about marriage. He knew someday his family would tell him to marry someone of their choice without even asking him first and he was ready for it. In fact, the fact that his family chose a woman for him means to him that woman is something special and so, he will wholeheartedly accept that relationship.

Therefore, he had decided that he’d meet with her a good number of times and get to know her better before they actually marry. However, now that the circumstances won’t let that happen, he at least needs to tell her all that truthfully, even if that means showing his fiancé how unreliable of a husband he might end up being.

Gabriel: “I hope she’s an understanding woman.”

He wishes while staring up at the moonlit sky as he stops next to her house. He prepares himself mentally by taking in a long breath and releasing it. And then, he rings the doorbell.

He waits for about a minute and then rings the doorbell again.

He again waits for a minute before ringing the doorbell.

Gabriel: “Didn’t expect my in-laws and fiancé to be a bunch of sloths.”

He remarks as he starts getting a little annoyed at the wait he is being put through. He has just taken his frustration out on a street-side burglar and had ended up becoming much calmer than he was before. Therefore, something like this doesn’t affect him too much. However, he does start wondering if everything is alright with his in-laws and his fiancé.

Gabriel: “Are they even at home?”

He asks himself a stupid question; stupid because the lights are clearly on, question because he is still starting to wonder about that.

Gabriel: “Tsk!”

He clicks his tongue in annoyance as he starts feeling a bit awry and anxious and finally ends up deciding to break-in.

Well, he doesn’t literally break-in because he just teleported himself inside the house but still, he went in quite uninvited. He can just hope that no one ends up seeing him as soon as he appears inside or he’ll have to readjust their memories. Fortunately for him, no one sees him. He can feel it with his aura-reading that no eyes are on him.

Gabriel: “That’s good!”

He remarks to himself and continues,

Gabriel: “Now, where are they?”

The one good thing he had found out from his aura-reading was that there were no eyes on him when he entered. However, one bad thing he found out was that no one was present in the house at all. But, if so, why are the lights on? Not even a burglar is present in the house. So, why the heck are the lights on?

He soon finds his answer as he keeps searching with his aura-reading. In the two-storey house filled with luxuries everywhere, there is only one room that was completely empty and looks dull compared to everywhere else in the entire house. This room is … the sight of a murder.

Gabriel: “The fuck!?”

He cannot see it but he senses the aura of death from that room. And because of that, he runs. He runs to the upper floor, where that room is.

*******************************

He has reached the room he felt an aura of death from. This is an empty room, which in itself is strange. And then there is the aura of death here even though there isn’t anything present in the room. These two things combined make the Hellfire cautious as he steps in the room with his psychic-barrier held up.

Gabriel: “Is anybody here?”

He asks. He asks, even though he can sense from the aura that no one is there. He asks, even though he knows that no reply will come. He still asks, just for the sake of easing his own anxiety. As far as his own safety goes, Gabriel doesn’t even feel the need to be cautious. But for those who are not strong, those who are in fact plainly weak, those like his family, his in-laws and his fiancé, are all people whose safety can make him worry.

Gabriel: “Where the hell are they?”

And so he finds himself getting anxious but is unable to calm down even knowing that it will affect him in a bad way.

Gabriel: “Tsk!”

He just keeps looking again and again at the different empty corners of that empty room. In the house filled with comfortable sofas and beds, this room doesn’t even have a wooden chair to sit on. In the house filled with brightly lit and fancy bulbs, this room doesn’t even have a mere tube light. In a house filled with money and prestige, this room doesn’t even have a life. Yet, it has death. How?

Gabriel: “Ah!”

He moves away in surprise when he realizes that he accidentally stepped on something. In his surprised and hurried getting away, he ends up losing his balance and falling on the ground. That causes his eyes to get on a lower altitude. And as he looks back at the room, and automatically is able to get a better view of the ceiling, his breath catches in his lungs and his voice stops coming out of his throat.

Gabriel: “…”

He stares at that scenery in idle shock and crooked silence with his mouth hung wide open and his eyes stretched wide.

Gabriel: “a … a …”

He tries to bring some voice out of his throat but it feels to him like something has been put in his wind pipe making him unable to breath, much less say anything. And so, he just keeps staring at the horror in front of him.

His mother-in-law, now hanged to the ceiling, missing both her arms and has her half her clothes torn apart.

His father-in-law, now hanged to the ceiling, missing both his legs and has cut marks on the rest of the body.

His brother-in-law, now hanged to the ceiling, missing his tongue and his nose and has markings left of flogging on his back.

His sister-in-law, now hanged to the ceiling, missing her forehead and the part above and has markings on both her sides as if she was crushed between two giant rocks and all her bones are now broken.

His uncle-in-law, now hanged to the ceiling, missing all his clothes and has iron rods put in and brought out through his feet and his palms.

His aunt-in-law, now hanged to the ceiling, missing both her ears as well as her eyes and has burn marks throughout her body.

The six in-laws that he had familiarized himself with were all there, in states that may have been better had he not been seen. The rest of the family that he didn’t even knew that well was also there, and in much more artistic fashion. Seeing that sight, how could he have any energy left at all in his body? He doesn’t. He has fallen on the floor and is lying in pure shock and horror, moving not one bit as he stares at that scenery.

Gabriel: “Who …”

Without even his knowledge or consent, a word escapes his mouth … and then escapes a sentence.

Gabriel: “Who … could have done … something like this?”

He asks to whom, he doesn’t know. He asks for what, he doesn’t know. He asks for whom, he doesn’t know. And yet,

With a dress pure black like that of a witch and an expression of a puppet with a smile, a woman with an oval face and downturned-brown-eyes and a caramel skin walks into the room with a knife in her hands and blood on her whole body as she says,

Woman: “I did this.”

He tilts her head like a child as she says so. Gabriel, looking at his fiancé, tries to stand up as fast as he can as he says in an anxious voice,

Gabriel: “Anna, are you alright?”

He asks Anna Chesham, his fiancée, such an obvious and stupid question. Obviously, the answer is no. But,

Anna: “Yes! I’m okay!”

She tilts her head to the right.

Anna: “Mom is dead! Dead is dead!”

She tilts her head to the left.

Anna: “Bro is dead! Sis is dead!”

She tilts her head to the right.

Anna: “Uncle is dead! Aunty is dead!”

She tilts her head to the left.

Anna: “And I’m okay!”

She says as she spreads her arms wide throwing the knife away without any aim and acting like a little girl.

Anna: “Mom dead, Dad dead!”

She starts once again, this time with her hands raised.

Gabriel: “No!”

Anna: “Bro dead, Sis dead!”

She tilts her head to the left.

Gabriel: “No! No! Please, stop!”

Anna: “Uncle dead, auntie dead!”

She tilts her head to the right.

Gabriel: “Please! For god’s sake, stop!”

Anna: “And I’m oookaay!!!”

She says as she jumps up trying to spread her arms even wider.

Gabriel: “NO! JUST STOP IT! GODDAMNIT! PLEASE, STOP IT!!!”

He shouts as he loses the strength in his legs and falls down again. No matter what he tries to do, he just can’t stand up.

Anna: “Hmm?”

Seeing that, Anna walks over to him, silently, solemnly, like a curious, little witch.

Anna: “Hey!”

She says as she puts her hand on his cheeks and makes him look directly at her eyes, which were in turn looking directly at him.

Anna: “I killed mom, I killed dad!”

She says without the smile, while tilting her head to the right. Gabriel is unable to speak anything.

Anna: “I killed bro, I killed sis!”

She tilts her head to the left. Gabriel can’t bring himself to say anything.

Anna: “I killed uncle, I killed aunt!”

She tilts her head to the right. Gabriel just plainly watches in despaired shock.

Anna: “And I’m okay!?”

This time, she tilts her head once again to the left and looks as if she is asking an actual question. But then suddenly,

Anna: “Yaaaaaay!!!”

She exclaims with a smile like that of a 5-year-old mischievous girl.

Anna: “I’m okay! You know why I okay?”

She says as she closes her eyes and asks him. He, involuntarily, shakes his head.

Anna: “I killed mom, I killed dad!”

She stays the same; Gabriel tilts his head to the left.

Anna: “I killed bro, I killed sis!”

She stays the same; Gabriel tilts his head to the right.

Anna: “I killed uncle, I killed aunt!”

She stays the same; Gabriel tilts his head to the left.

Anna: “And then you kill me!”

She stays the same; Gabriel tilts his head to the right.

Anna: “So I’m okay!”

She says and holds his right hand with both her hands and brings it to her chest. She then casually goes back to where she had thrown the knife, picks it up and comes back, all the while Gabriel’s hand remains in the position she had left it in.

Anna: “I’m okay!”

She says as she hands him the knife in a way that the surface of the knife is facing her. And then she distances herself from his hands.

Anna: “And now, I’m …”

She says as she runs right into the shine coming off the sharp object.

Anna: “OOOKKKAAAAAAYYYY!!!”

And her voice dissipates in the air, forever!

*******************************

His memory suddenly gains something. Gabriel’s mind all of a sudden comes to know how Sneha Stone’s aura is like. He realizes that Rosevelt has sent him the memory sample of when he met that Aural.

Gabriel: “That’s right; I have a job to do.”

He gets up, lifeless, ignoring the fact that a dead woman lays in his arms who ends up falling on the ground when he gets up. He walks forward in order to escape the room and steps on the body of the dead woman, but ends up slipping sideways because of it.

Gabriel: “What! Why … did that happen!?”

He wonders why such a thing happened and gets up. It was probably some big gravel or something that made him slip, he reasons. And in order to remove that gravel from his path, he kicks it.

He kicks Anna’s dead body on her legs, then her thighs, then her stomach, then her pelvis and keeps kicking until the dead body is completely out of his path. He then stops and ends up stumbling backwards.

As he stumbles, he realizes that there is no longer anything in his path, and so he starts walking towards the exit.

Gabriel: “Ha! Ha! Ha! HA! HA! HA!”

He laughs as if to mock the foolish gravel who thought it could come in his way, the way of the Hellfire named Gabriel Washington. He brazenly laughs even though he is unable to walk straight and ends up mimicking the street burglar he had met a while ago.

But he isn’t on a street, he is in a room. And that is why, being unable to walk straight makes him stumble and bump on a wall. And so he punches that wall as if he’s a drunk. But as he punches it, he sees something on it, some sort of paper. There is something written on the paper.

He picks it up, reads it and,

Gabriel: “Ha! Ha! Ha! HA! HA! HA!”

He laughs like a crazed drunk and throws the paper on the ground and leaves the room.

On that paper, he had just read,

“This crimson pool you see is just a warning! Next time, it’ll be a crimson sea!”

A message written in blood, and the writer gave his name as ‘Bronzer.’

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