“Is this what you can do, as well?” Gayle asked, looking outside as the storm became worse. The fire that fell from the sky fell in droves now, as if the hells had opened above them. And Kopek was sure they had.
“No,” she replied, sitting up and surveying the damage to her trench coat. It was singed, but okay.
“I’m not t-tied to Hell anymore,” she continued trying to take deep breaths, “I can’t do even a fraction of what he can do. My power and thus my abilities pale in comparison to his.”
“Are you alright?” she asked, concern in her voice as she walked over to Kopek.
“Fine,” she replied, “Just recovering.”
“Get out!” one of the Northwest gang members screamed, holding up a gun, “All of you! Don’t bring that guy back in here!”
“I thought you were working with him,” Vassago said, sneering, “Suddenly scared, cowards?” The Northwest member took a step closer to him, holding the pistol to his forehead.
“Say that again, fucker!” Vassago growled.
“Point the gun at the real enemy!” he yelled. The man seemed intent on pulling the trigger when the gun turned to glass.
“Wha-!?” He dropped it, and it shattered. Lev was staring at them, hands slightly clenched as his eyes returned to their normal color.
“Just get out! Fucking freaks, every last one of you!!” Kopek rose to her feet, wincing as the pain in her chest intensified.
“You want a fight, huh?” she asked taking a menacing step forward, “Then fine, stupid fucking humans! Fight!!” Gayle frowned.
“But you’re hurt!” That didn’t stop the first gang member from throwing a punch Kopek’s way. She dodged it and landed a kick to his side. He went crashing to the ground, and she slammed her foot down on his leg, the resounding crack from the bone snapping audible to everyone in the room.
“Anyone else?” she said over the screams of the downed man, “No takers? I’m fucking surprised!” She paused, glaring at the remaining gang members before walking back to her corner and taking a seat. Her heart beat painfully in her chest, and she groaned. Whatever that beam was, it really did a number on her.
“Gratuitous violence, just your style,” Vassago said dryly. Kopek mumbled a reply not even she understood and rested her head on her knees. She really hated pain.
“Hey,” Gayle said, moving towards her again, “Are you going to be okay?”
“I’m going to be fine,” Kopek muttered.
The storm outside wasn’t letting up, though; she doubted it would until Baal made a reappearance. Which, if the sound of the wind was anything to go by, would probably be sooner rather than later.
“One way,” she spoke, “To stop an immortal demon is to find an immortal angel.”
“And how do you propose we do that? No one here has a connection to any angel, let alone an immortal one,” Vassago said, crossing his arms, “More than that, how do you expect to get them here? Why would an angel want to help us in the first place?” Kopek shrugged, regretting the action only moments later when pain spiked through her.
“Don’t ask me, I’m just telling you people how it goes.”
“Well…” Gayle said, trailing off for a moment, “Siruk knows angels, I think. He’s a mediator.”
“How do we get him here?” Vassago asked, and Gayle sighed.
“Someone would have to die.” Kopek looked at the Northwest members, which seemed to have grown from three to fifteen. They stood, sheet white and tense in their spots, disarmed and hopeless.
“Any takers?” she asked, and they said nothing. Of course.
“What about phones?” Vassago said, his voice deadpan.
“That would work, but there haven’t been satellites for at least three years.” His pride seemed to fall a bit at Kopek’s words.
“Wait…” but Gayle trailed off once again, and Kopek snarled.
“Spit it out! If you have an idea, we need to know because he’s going to be on us in at least five minutes!”
“Fine!” She jammed her hands in her pockets immediately searching. Kopek looked on with a detached interest, watching as she pulled out what appeared to be a page of a book.
“Okay, okay… You need to read this.” The page was extended out to her, and she took it. Kopek looked over the page, seeing familiar hieroglyphs.
“A spell? No one uses magic anymore, nothing like this. Besides I told you, I have barely any power left.”
“Well it’s worth a shot, right? If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.” Kopek sighed, focusing. She had a point, after all.
The spell called for the awakening of an inner self, something Kopek had never been good at, per say. But this spell was simple, and she was sure she could do it if she tried hard enough. Or the spell would backfire and something awful would happen. Still, the unknown was better than certain death.
She closed her eyes and took a breath, fighting to find the being that existed inside her. Past all the anger, and the hatred, and the voices that spoke sometimes, Kopek found it hiding. And without opening her eyes, she read the page.
A few seconds passed as she read the last word, and just as Baal’s form materialized outside the window, Siruk popped into existence mere steps away from them holding a tall staff made from what appeared to be bones.
“What’s going on?” he asked immediately, frowning. The window burst open, as did much of the wall that surrounded it, and Baal gave everyone sharp-toothed grin.
“You like being pests, don’t you? I was only going to fight Kopek, perhaps kill her, but you’ve made my job far harder. Now I have to kill all of you.” Siruk turned to see the horned demon and sighed.
“Goodness, what have you gotten into?” he asked, massaging the bridge of his nose.
“Someone new?” Baal said, and he seemed to recognize the staff, for he took a step back from the window.
“We’ve never met,” Siruk said with a tired smile, “But I’m sure you know my position.”
“I don’t acknowledge your ‘position’. It’s a waste of time and effort, really. Hell isn’t looking for peace.”
“If peace is what you think I do, you are sorely mistaken.” He tapped his staff on the floor, and bones materialized out of nowhere. They cracked and bent, flesh appearing on the form as it drew itself to its full height.
“I’m no peacekeeper. Now if you’ve come for a fight, you’ll have to deal with me as well as the others.” Baal seemed to measure Siruk’s threat for a moment before he grinned.
“You must be kidding me. A demon like myself against a human?”
“Not human, not entirely,” Siruk said, tilting his head a fraction, “You know of me, but you know nothing about me. How sad.”
“I know of that staff,” Baal growled out, “And I did not come here for talk. Get out here and fight me!” He flew back from the window, and Siruk looked at the others. Tapping his staff on the ground a few more times, more of the fleshy creatures were created, and he sighed.
“Great strategist,” he said, turning to Kopek in particular, “Ideas?” She stood, cracking her knuckles and ignoring the pain in her chest, which was thankfully less awful than it had been before.
“A few,” she said, “Wear him down enough that he gets tired. Beat him back in time for an angel to notice the disturbance. Find a way to kill an immortal being.”
“Whatever we do, we should do it fast,” Vassago said. Siruk nodded.
“Indeed.” He led his creatures outside, Gayle and Lev close behind. Kopek sighed.
“Hope you’re not the weak link now,” Vassago said, heading towards the door. She snorted.
“Please.” They walked outside to see the singed ground and Baal standing there, a grand smirk on his face.
“Clap, clap, clap, I’m impressed, Kopek. Most demons don’t make it past what I did to you.”
“Whatever that was,” she bit out, “You always bring something new, don’t you?”
“Of course,” he said, and quite suddenly, a large cracking sound was heard. Two gigantic, grotesque wings extended from his back, and he winced as they stretched. Kopek gaped.
“Like them?” he asked. Liked them? She envied them.
“Shut up and die a couple of times,” Kopek ground out, jumping towards him. He flew off effortlessly, and Vassago immediately sent thick black shadows his way. One snagged on his wing, but he sliced at it with a clawed hand.
The creatures Siruk had created suddenly sprouted fleshy wings, each of them flying up and towards Baal. The demon knocked one away with one of the gigantic horns, and it spiraled off. Another crashed right into him, tearing immediately at his wings. Siruk pointed his staff at the demon as he was distracted, shooting off a glowing red tether. It latched onto his leg and Baal went sailing to the ground, a cracking sound being heard as one of his wings was torn from his body. He hit the ground hard, but he stood quickly, bleeding black blood from the destroyed stump where his wing once was.
Gayle extended a hand and he froze in place, but it didn’t last for long. He shot a beam towards her, and Kopek barely knocked her out-of-the-way in time. They fell to the ground, Kopek feeling her chest protest, but the pain was receding.
“Destroy this fucker!” Vassago said, pulling the blackness towards Baal, who continued to slash at the shadows as well as the two flying creatures Siruk created. His remaining wing flapped uselessly, trying to free himself from the sludge that held him in place.
“Can’t,” Lev said, his soft voice barely heard above the cacophony, “He’ll just come back.” Gayle gasped as Kopek stood.
“Good thinking,” she said, only mildly surprised that he’d spoken. She ran towards Baal as he was distracted and landed a neck-snapping punch across his face. He reeled back, and one of the flying creatures ripped off his other wing. He roared now as Kopek landed blow after blow.
“You disgusting, arrogant, horrid son of a bitch!” Kopek screamed as she hit him again, the dark presence in the back of her mind was screaming for her to continue, enraging her further.
“Immortality can’t save you from the pain of death, you disgusting piece of shit.” And she continued to pound him into the earth to the sound of Their screams in the back of her head.
“Alright!” he garbled out as Kopek kicked one of his horns, snapping it, “Alright! You win. Stop!” She smirked, standing over his bloodied body.
“Next time don’t be so fucking arrogant,” she spat, “Now go running back to Hell, little boy.” He did just that, his body vanishing gradually. Once he was entirely gone, including the bloody wing bits that were flung across the makeshift battlefield, Kopek turned to the others.
“He’ll be back,” she said, “But at least for now we won’t have to worry about him.” Gayle immediately turned to Lev, speaking to him under her breath. He looked almost distressed for a moment, shaking his head. And as suddenly as their conversation had begun, it was cut short.
“Well we should get going,” Siruk said quickly, tapping one of the nearby creatures. It melted away, as did the other, “It’s been a long night.” Indeed, the sun was beginning to rise. The pain in Kopek’s chest was a memory now, the feeling of being rotted from the inside out now replaced with a need to kill. The need was so strong that she had to clench her fists in order to stop herself from doing something she might regret. It was Them, she could feel it. They pulsed underneath her consciousness, pulling and yearning for blood. The black ooze that was on her fingers from defeating Baal was not enough. No, she wanted red—
“Kopek? You look distressed,” Siruk said. Vassago snorted, but said nothing.
“Are you okay?” Gayle asked, ever the concerned woman. Kopek shrugged it off, feeling her heartbeat slow and the desire draining.
“Absolutely dandy,” she said, cracking her neck. The tension left her quickly, until she was calm. Those things would have to try again some other time.
Kopek knew she was unstable. She knew they would get her eventually. They always tried to make her angry, especially when she was in the middle of a fight. To take it one step further, to actually kill instead of viciously maim… And sometimes it was hard to stop at a broken bone. Sometimes, it was too difficult to stop herself from attacking first and asking questions later.
Yes, Kopek was hardly stable. But it didn’t matter. She would function and deal with the messes she made later on.
They parted then, each returning to their respective homes. And for once in her very long lifetime, Kopek fell onto her disgusting couch and dozed.