Friday, June 1, 2018

Microstory 855: Stab At It

When my family first moved to this town, and I started attending this school, I never thought I would be fighting off a demon within my first week, but that’s exactly what happened. People back home warned us that things were getting as bad ‘round these parts as they were where we had come from, but my parents didn’t want to hear it. Kansas City was overrun with the creatures, and they did not want to believe that a small quiet town like this could be anything like that. I tried to tell them that I had to learn to battle the darkness sooner or later, so they decided on the later option. I’ve been secretly training on my own, and I’ve not been happier I did than I am right now. Despite my parents’ beliefs, fate had other plans for me, and for this town. A mangle of nickels came into the school and started stepping on all the students’ toes. Since things were so bad in the big city, my old school had protocols for this sort of thing. Every student walks around with nickel mace, and every teacher is armed with banishing powder. This one horse town, however, is not so well-equipped. When the mangle came through, the demons spread out, but after I got started defending my classmates, they changed strategies, and ganged up on me. I punched and kicked at the evil little Hell minions, but they just kept coming. Somehow they contacted another mangle nearby, who quickly came in as reinforcements. By then, though, my peers realized that they were strong enough to fend off the beasts, and they came to my aid.

Pretty soon, all the demons were banished or unconscious; except for one. I don’t know what she was, but she was no nickel. She was as tall as a human; taller, even. She walked with a sense of purpose, an air of confidence, and the patience of a monk. The thing about battling demons in a school is that there aren’t very many good weapons around, so when she came after me, all I had to defend myself were a tin of pencils on the teacher’s desk. We wrestled for half a minute before I was in a good position to grab one of the pencils, and it took a little longer before I found a moment to take my opportunity to take her down. I stabbed her right in the heart, at least I thought I had. That was where humans kept their hearts, and so did nickels, but this thing seemed to be different. I pleaded for help from the few people still left in the room, but realized when I looked into their eyes that the only reason they hadn’t escaped with their friends was because they were experiencing the freeze acute stress response. So I was alone in this, and I had find a way to kill her, or she would kill me, and I would soon be fighting this war against the armies of darkness from a completely different front. I just kept stabbing her with pencils, trying to find the right spot. All the while she was cackling like a green-skinned witch, assured that I would never succeed. But then she changed. The more I hurt her, the less she fought me, and the softer she became. She even began to encourage me, and it was like she was doing absolutely everything she could to try to tell me where her heart was, but something was stopping her. Finally she got out two words, “it..moves.” The heart? Her heart moves around her body? If this was true then there would only be one way for me to find it. I would have to slow down, and listen carefully. I closed my eyes, and tuned out all the sounds around me, focusing only on the thump-thump-thump of the heart. I could hear it on the side of her neck, and before the side of her that didn’t want me to kill her stopped me, I took the last pencil from the desk, and jammed it right in the jugular. The demon shrieked in pain, and pushed me to the floor. The neck wound cracked wider, ultimately running all the way down her leg. Her gooey skin fell away from itself, and slinked down to the floor. The human girl now standing in her place took a desperate breath in, like she had just come up from the water. “Thank you,” she said. “Thank you for freeing me.”

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