O, Death: Part XIX

by Matt P.

No more surprises awaited them in the hallway between the stairs and the spooky door, not that it spared them much mental toil to have avoided it. It was still a terrifying walk down a crimson lit hallway in an abandoned Hospital infested by an insane death, after all—not a walk through the park by any means.

The door was fully open, and where before black mist and shadows had streamed out of it now it was clear. The room beyond had obviously been a boiler room once upon a time, an excessively large one for some reason. While it wasn’t in use it was still a hot and cramped room despite the size. It should have been dusty and disused, maybe filled with rats or the detritus of janitors past.

Instead it was filled with what looked like an altar made of stone and covered in what could only be animal bones. Some sort of scrawling language was etched on to every available surface of both the altar and the brick walls around it, glowing with a sullen redness that reminded Siobhan of the embers of an almost deceased fire. And resting in the center of the alter, nestled in the bones and in the middle of the runes like the place of honor on a mantel, was a crystal shard glowing with its own bright emerald glow. The rest of the room was splashed in blood and other things Siobhan didn’t want to think about.

“Oh shit, it’s an Oberon shard,” Siobhan cursed, beginning to walk across the room toward it quickly. The emerald shard represented a piece of the shattered power of Oberon, former High King of Faerie and victim of their father’s surprising ability to shank things. After the power had proven too much for him, and Walter had briefly died, Oberon’s power had shattered and scattered as green crystal shards. They had one, but they had suspected there were others—and there one was.

“Trap,” Antigone pointed out helpfully as they crossed to the middle of the room, fastidiously avoiding the blood on the ground as they made their way.

Siobhan raised an eyebrow, briefly looking back over her shoulder. “How can you tell?” She asked curiously, turning her eyes back to the alter as she stepped over what could only be described as a ‘gibbet’.

“Cause…” Antigone gestured around the horrific room they were doing their best to ignore the specifics of. “Trap.” She repeated for emphasis. Siobhan had to admit it was a good point. The Eisenhund was growling softly, a basso thunder like an oncoming storm, and that caused both girls to blink. “Why didn’t he lose his shit before, when demon mom showed up?” She asked, stroking the dog’s fur.

Siobhan shrugged. “Maybe it was an illusion. Or shielding itself somehow. Maybe whatever kind of evil spazoid she was isn’t detectable by Faerie dog. Maybe we took the brown acid and this has been a really unpleasant dream.” She shrugged, and they kept going across the room toward the altar. As they came closer it became apparent that there were people behind the altar: Two forms, a young man and a young woman in hospital gowns. Matthew and Natalie Morrison, unconscious and bound with strips of cloth to the altar like they were next up to be sacrificed.

“Oh shit, it’s Matty and Natty!” Antigone said, starting forward heedless of her previous comments. Siobhan kept a hold on her wrist and kept her back, giving her sister a significant glance.

“Trap,” Siobhan reminded with a little bit of a gesture. “They’re still breathing, let’s get to them carefully and get out before something happens.

“Too late,” a voice spoke from the shadows. Behind the altar two figures formed out of the darkness. One was cloaked in those shadows, unable to be seen except for the thin glowing length of what could only be some sort of magic sword that Siobhan thought was probably bullshit. The other was a woman, beautiful and cadaverous and whip-cord strong, who looked now only faintly like their mother.

Now the Eisenhund snarled, stepping forward and snapping his jaws, while Siobhan brought her sword up. “And the answer,” the woman continued as she and the death strode forward, “Is that was mostly in your head. If you had touched me, I would have stolen your souls.” The woman gave what might have been a smile in some universes, but was most definitely not in this one. “And the answer to what I am, is what you call a demon.” Now her ‘smile’ showed teeth—many more then there should have been, and all of them far sharper then they should have been.

Antigone took a step back even as the Eisenhund took another step forward. “Definitely feeling like I need to start carrying a gun or something…” She commented, looking around quickly for something she could use—but unless she was going to beat someone to death with a bone there wasn’t much she could do; and Siobhan didn’t think her sister was quite metal enough to kill someone with a stray femur.

“Get Matty and Natty. I’ll handle…death and the demon. Leave the dog,” Siobhan said, sounding far more confident then she felt. “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” The last comment drew what seemed to be a round of scowls from everyone except the wandering death, so Siobhan counted it as a victory. “What did Dad tell us he said at the Police Station?” Siobhan offered with a little bit of a smile, bringing her sword up in to a ready position. “Alright, boss fight—let’s do this.”