13.8 What We Fight For

by Matt P.

Siobhan’s next attack was a flying elbow that took the woman in the stomach, and while it sent radiating waves of pain through her arm it also sent the blue-haired woman doubling over for a moment. Siobhan tried to keep seizing the momentum of the fight and brought her elbow up in a vicious uppercut that probably would have taken a human out of the fight. While there was a large crack, and the blue-haired woman stumbled back with a gasp of pain, Siobhan couldn’t be entirely certain the crack hadn’t been fron her own arm. Her fingers tingled, and the pain was intense—but she also knew that she had to press the fight or risk losing the woman.

She was stepping forward again when the blue-haired woman looked up, her eyes actually flashing ice blue as she apparently decided to join the fight in earnest. She came at Siobhan in a flash, and her knife-like sword flashed out. Siobhan cried out in pain as she felt slices to each of her arms, and then to each of her legs. She just couldn’t get her blocks out in time to keep the knife from scoring her, and the pain in her legs almost sent her stumbling to the ground. She backed away and found herself in a corner, eyes wide as she looked at the woman who had just drawn blood from all four of her limbs in less than four seconds.

“Ryan!” Antigone cried out, as Blueberry walked slowly toward Siobhan. The Faerie woman had regained a little of her smirk, although it was tempered by the fact that her jaw apparently still hurt. The bowie sized knife she held dripped a single drop of scarlet blood as it gleamed in the misty light coming from the doorway.

“Shit…” Ryan cursed, as he fired furiously and tried to get back to them. The firing stopped, and from the sounds of grunting and the meaty thunking sounds, it had turned in to hand to hand. “Coming!” Siobhan knew that he wouldn’t be there fast enough, from how close the blue-haired woman was getting to her.

Antigone started to come toward them, as did Monica and Lacey, but there was no time. The blue-haired woman was already advancing toward Siobhan too quickly. Siobhan did stumble to the ground now with a cry of fear as the blue-haired woman raised the blade as if to consider it, or worse to show it to her. “I don’t know how you got the juice to hit me, little girl, but I don’t tend to leave people alive who get the drop on me. Sorry.” The smirk on her face was not very sorry at all, and it stayed frozen on her face as she raised her knife-like sword above her head.

Siobhan saw the keen edge of that blade as it bega to come down to her, almost in slow motion. Her brain felt like it was firing a thousand times faster than normal, like she could think of a way out of any problem. But she couldn’t make her body move to match the speed of her thoughts, and she knew in a horrible way that the knife was going to kill her. It already had her blood on it, and the cascading fear spreading down her spine was sure it would be joined by a lot more far too soon.

She didn’t want to die. She had known that before, of course—she liked to wear skulls and joke about sleeping in coffins, but while she had certainly gone through a very dark time right after her mother disappeared she had never seriously considered death. That desperate desire to live spread through her like a warmth as she watched the knife coming down toward her. It would take her in the side of the neck. Carotid artery or jugular vein were what she knew the goals were, but those didn’t seen to matter because there was enough force coming at her to just about rip her head off.

The warmth kept spreading through her body, and it brought with it an almost electric tingling that shot through her limbs. It was the desire to move, to act, to force her limbs into action and protect her. At first she wondered if it was normal to feel that heat, that fiery and building tension, but then it started to grow too much. She felt for a moment like she was going to burst from within as the tip of the knife drew within a foot of her body. The blade had a chisel tip like a katana, and for an eternity that can’t have been more than half a heartbeat she focused on that.

Siobhan didn’t like killing, and she wasn’t even that fond of actual fighting. She had trained for years to be able to do it well, but that was as much about focusing her energy as the actual expectation that she would need to use it. She had felt the horror at what she had done a few moments ago, and she knew that she probably always would. Siobhan knew in that moment that was part of what had taken her father out of the military when he left, and why he had tried to find a different life. And in that moment she knew that part of what gave her strength, part of who she was, would always be the capacity to take a life and the horror at having to do it.

The electricity burned in every part of her, and she felt like she should glow with the fire burning in her core. The knife drew to within six inches of her body, and the dam broke within her.

**** ****

A thunderclap rolled through the room, a physical force that hit Antigone in the chest and knocked her to the ground. She landed on her ass and started to scramble, until she realized what she was seeing. Then she gasped.

The knife tha thad been about to kill her sister stopped in mid-air. It was only after a moment that Antigone realized it was because Siobhan had reached out at the very last minute and grabbed the blue-haired woman’s wrists, stopping her cold. No, that wasn’t right…she had grabbed the knife by the long handle! A second later she pivoted, yanking the woman off balance and pulling her forward into the space Siobhan had been in just a moment before. The knife actually drove deep in to the brick, but the blue-haired woman didn’t have any time to react. Siobhan was on her feet in an instant and continuing her pivot around in a full spin. As she brought her arms down they seemed to glow, and that glow went through the still shocked body of the blue-haired woman.

Blood and other things splattered horrifyingly on the ground, and Antigone gasped and gagged. The corpse of the blue-haired woman fell to the ground in two different pieces. What had been white hot light that seemed to be growing out of Siobhan’s hands had solidified into a sword made of the odd and gleaming silver material that Tania and Morgan’s were made of; except hers was three feet long and curved, like the swords that she had been trained with. The blood dripped off of it, running too quickly like it wanted to be off the metal.

Siobhan whipped the blade around, and all of a sudden there was a sheath on her hip that she lid it in to. She gave the horrifying corpse of the blue-haired woman a polite bow, as if this were just another match. Then she slumped, as if a great energy left her. “No one tries to kidnap my sister,” she said quietly, almost to herself. “Time to get the door closed, Annie.”

Antigone, her eyes locked on what the corpse of the blue-haired woman had left behind, rewarded her sister’s heroism by bending over and retching in the corner of the room, before she staggered back to the door. She screamed as she saw through the door, in the distance, an angry man without a horse charging toward her.