The Battle for New Millennium
Chapter 7: The Den of Tsu-Kata
Killian walked the devastated halls of the DPA. Death seemed to be coming in droves now that Kasayda Kiz had began her attack on New Millennium and The Post, and the cleverly named New Millennium Department of Paranormal Activity was no different. The difference was that this was where The Post was planning on defending the city in secret.
Killian was still healing from his fight with the demon atop an airplane at New Millennium Airport. Killian’s body would heal thanks to his demonic powers, but it would take time. He hadn’t been this injured since his rooftop battle with Nilas Nil over six months ago. At that time, he didn’t have the DPA or their headquarters to call home. He was forced to heal under some old heating equipment in the bowels of the city.
Gabriel Cogs sat looking at nothing in particular and becoming lost in his own thoughts. Thanks to Killian’s talent as a psychic, he was able to pick up on the stray thoughts. To Killian, the random thoughts of Gabriel Cogs sounded like screams in a church. Gabriel was in pain both physically and mentally. He had tried to save the lives of those in the DPA and failed. He had not fancied himself a hero at all but rose to the occasion only to be beaten into a heap of blood and metal. Killian knew it was a matter of time before the half-mechanized man would snap under the weight of his own self-pity and doubt.
“Mind some company?” Killian asked. He knew from the probe of Gabriel’s mind that asking this way would be the last likely to have Gabriel turn him away.
“Go ahead,” Gabriel said, not looking at Killian. Killian picked up that Gabriel didn’t trust him mush. Killian couldn’t blame him. There wasn’t many members of The Post that liked the fact that Jonah Judge had befriended a traitorous demon, even if he had helped saved New Millennium twice in one night.
“I know what you are planning,” Killian said. “I shall keep it to myself, but you really should talk to someone. You believe you are dying, and you plan to go out in some epic way. Sands or Bowman really should know about your heart. I know you do not speak to Jonah much, but he could help you ask well. The sword, Barachiel, can also heal those who had gathered around it.”
“You can peek into my mind, but you know nothing about me,” Gabriel said. “I’ve been dead for a while now. Ever since the accident. All The Post was able to do was prolong the inevitable. There is nothing anyone can do for me at this point.”
“We all die, Gabriel,” Killian said. “Some sooner than others, unfortunately. Have you thought about why your life was prolonged to begin with? Maybe there is something else you were meant for.”
“You sound like Archer Post the first time he found me doubting myself,” Gabriel said with a sigh.
“Do I?” Killian asked. “Archer Post put a piece of himself in my mind to train Jonah and help the rest of you. He’s probably starting to effect my personality.”
Gabriel laughed. “Now your gloomy and inspirational!”
Killian smiled. His white teeth looked bright behind his black face. “Once I leave you, Rock Judge will be here with a proposition for you. He will not offer it in my presence, so I will leave you now. I will not tell you what to do, but to do what he asks puts your life in mortal danger.”
“But is it the right thing to do?” Gabriel asked, hoping for Archer Post’s personality to peek through one last time.
“That is not for me to tell you,” Killian said. “You fought until you were nearly dead twice before, and I do not think you would turn down the chance to do it again. Behind all that armor and fake organs still beats the heart of a hero, and that heart is stronger than you give it credit for. I think you would fight until its last beat.”
Gabriel didn’t respond to Killian’s statement. He knew the demon was right, but he also feared what was coming. He had been acting as if he did not fear death, but he did. Gabriel looked up to say something else to Killian, but he was gone. Instead, Rock Judge was marching down the hall.
Gabriel got in his armor and got his weapons minutes after Rock Judge told him the plan. They believed they had pinpointed Tsu-Kata’s nest and wanted to raid it. Rather than go in there with a large group and draw attention to themselves, Rock took a small group of himself, Mona, three other members of the Wolves. Gabriel nearly asked why he wasn’t looking for Jonah as well, but decided not to bring it up. Something in Rock’s demeanor told him to avoid asking.
“We got word of some strange activity going in an abandoned apartment building,” Rock said. “There seems to be new plant life growing all around it. Lush greens and fresh water dripping out like we saw on 42nd Street.”
“She’s not exactly hiding,” Gabriel said thinking.
“Why would she?” Rock asked. “She’s in the East side of the city. Near the dregs and drug dealers. The police don’t go there unless they’re forced, and the local residents don’t call us in unless something serious is going on.”
“So how’d you find out about this?” Gabriel asked.
“The police got a ton of calls about missing people around the neighborhood,” Rock said grimly. “They called Willow at the DPA, and she called me. Willow believes that Tsu-Kata has been feeding.”
Gabriel walked through the apartment building with a surreal feeling in his mind. Rock was two floors below him doing the same with his rifle held out in front of him. The others that had come waited outside. Rock didn’t want to put anyone else’s life in danger. Except mine, Gabriel thought. He remembered fighting alongside Rock before, and wondered if there was some sort of trust between the two that he wasn’t aware of. Maybe Rock had some kind of “honor among warriors” mentality that he exercised when he went to the DPA to enlist Gabriel and nobody else. He wondered if he still used his human stomach if it would be churning about now.
The walls were covered in moss and vines. The floor was no longer wood or carpet. It was bright green grass. There was the fresh smell of rain in the air. Gabriel’s mind was put back decades earlier when he was a boy camping up North with his long-dead parents.
He focused his mind and scanned the halls the the doors that were left open. The eyes Dr. Sands had designed had night-vision, so he could see in the dark, but he saw nothing. He was surprised it took so long for someone to phone in about Tsu-Kata being in the building. Surely, she must have already been feeding on the people who lived hear for quite sometime. Gabriel wondered what went on in the building before Tsu-Kata came along to make nobody feel as if nothing was amiss.
The pain in Gabriel’s chest began to worsen, and he stopped to massage it. He realized that it was a wasted effort seeing as it was behind walls of armor and circuitry. He once again ignored the spreading pain and moved on, extremely aware that Tsu-Kata could be on him at any moment.
Mona and the three other members of The Wolves waited outside and waited to hear back from Rock. The four of them all had assault rifles ready and raised at the small, four floor apartment building. A small crowd was gathering behind them, but they were silent. Mona was getting ready to check in with Rock when something materialized in front of them.
There was a tall and slim demon standing in front of the steps to the building. Nobody saw where he came from or how he got there. He smiled a long grin of sharp teeth as the four guns were aimed directly at him. He wore a tattered gray cloak that lay on the ground around him.
“Put your hands on your head and get down on your knees, or we will open fire!” Mona shouted. Her voice had an authority to it that she doubted. She hadn’t been present at the airport to see the demon Rock had described, so this was her first time coming face to face with the evil The Post had warned about for so long.
“You have no authority over me, human!” the demon spat back, not losing his smile. “I am the guardian of Tsu-Kata, and I shall not let you interfere with her feeding when two tasty morsels have given themselves so willingly to her.”
She wanted them to come to her, Mona thought, her eyes widening in understanding. They were led to believe Tsu-Kata was here so that she may cut The Post’s numbers down some more. They must’ve thought they’d send Jonah in as well. This whole thing was a trap for him! Now she saw why Rock didn’t invite him along. He must have known all along and willingly took his cousin’s place.
You prideful idiot, Mona thought as she set her sight at the demon’s head. If you told him he would have known it was an obvious trap! We should have just leveled the damn building!
“Last chance!” Mona shouted, pushing her curses at Rock out of her mind.
The demon didn’t want for them to fire. He reached under his cloak and pulled out a long sword. He swung it around the back of his head and then towards the quartet. The blade moved like a ribbon, cutting through the rifles of the four men. “You are outmatched,” the demon said, his blade once again taking shape as solid strip of shining steel. “I was told to leave those who entered alone to be consumed by my mistress, but those who were outside are to be my feast. I shall save you for last, woman. Your kind always makes a fine dessert.”
The grinning demon licked his lips once with a long and pointed tonge and lunged at the four members of The Wolves.
Rock checked room after room of the building, but found nothing. No demon. No bodies. All that he cold find was more signs that Tsu-Kata had taken this building for her den. The soil indented and squished under his feet. He nearly tripped over a rock that had no business being in an apartment building. His mind was put back to the scene on 42nd Street after she had attacked. He knew if he looked long enough he would find the sack of people with their fluids sucked out as he did on that day as well. It was only a matter of time.
Rock looked down at this watch. It had been over five minutes since Mona checked in with an update. It was too long. “Mona,” Rock said, talking into the radio velcroed to his shoulder. “I’m still looking. What’s your status?” He only got static back. Whatever Tsu-Kata was doing must be blocking his radio ask well. Rock cursed under his breath and ventured on.
When Rock reached the end of the hall of the third floor he turned back and looked down the hall he just walked down. There was no sign of any recent activity other than the growth. He couldn’t contact Gabriel who should have been done faster than him, so he decided to leave and get a report in person from Mona. Hopefully, Gabriel would be outside waiting as well. He’d give the order to fly the choppers in and level the building before the police could get ahold of the scene and turn it into a circus. With luck, the demoness inside would be incinerated.
Rock took a step forward. His next one wasn’t so easy. Something had snagged his foot. He looked down, and saw a bright green and yellow vine curled around his black boot. He pulled hard with his leg, breaking the vine. He tried to move again, but this other leg was snagged this time. When he looked again he noticed the vine was curled up his leg up to his knee.
Rock turned as far as He could without falling over. He aimed his assault rifle into the ground and started firing into the grass and soil until his clip was empty. He reached to his belt to grab another clip, but a vine had caught his gun. The metal seemed to melt and transform into a long stick with white flowers coming from the sides. Rock threw his gun to the ground and pulled his knife from his vest pocket. He started slashing violently at the vines as they pulled him into the ground.
Mona tried to think quickly as the demon lunged at her, his ribbon-like sword was behind him. Only one of his feet were on the ground as he charged. Time seemed to slow as her mind panicked and tried to fight the urge to hide.
She noticed the form of the demon had come to a halt. He stood on one leg, his sword ready to strike. She thought for a moment that she had died and this was the afterlife.
“You are still alive,” a voice said from her side. She turned to see the form of the black demon known as Killian standing with his hand out in front of him. His palm faced the demon. “I have slowed him down, but I cannot stop him.” Mona looked again and did notice the sword moving very slowly.
Mona pulled her pistol from her holster and aimed it at the demon’s forehead. “I’ll put a bullet between his eyes,” she said.
“No!” Killian said. “This demon is fighting my mind control with everything he has. The shot to his head will snap him out of it. Once he is back in motion I do not know if I can stop him. He is extremely fast, and my body is still not fully healed.”
Mona looked in shock at the demon. She always assumed a bullet between the eyes would put any creature down. What the hell was she dealing with.
“What do we do?” Mona asked Killian.
Gabriel heard the long spray of gunfire from the floor below him and extended his sword. He pulsed his power through it and it glowed with the blueish-white glow that meant it was ready to cut through just about anything. He thought about running to the stairs to get down to the third floor, but decided on a more direct route.
Gabriel pointed his left hand at the ground and fired a plasma shot into the grass. Soil and dirt flew as he blasted three more times. He watched with horror as the ground seemed to begin to close back up. He began slashing wildly with his sword to get to the floor below. He began to get through when he was pulled back up and pinned against a wall.
“I wish you would not do that,” a small voice said in his ear. With growing horror, Gabriel noticed he was pinned to the wall that had been transformed into smooth rock. Cracks began to form in the rock, and more of the green and yellow vines began to wrap about his body and hold him against the rock. Gabriel tried to pull his sword hand away from his body.
“Do not struggle,” the voice said again, nearly whispering. “The more you fight, the tighter my vines will hold you.” The vines wrapped around Gabriel’s sword, turning it to nothing more than a wooden stick. Gabriel looked at the power indicator on his wrist. His power source was draining rapidly. He’d be able to recharge, but not if he lost is power this quickly. He wondered what kind of demonic magick was draining his energy so much.
“Who are you?” Gabriel asked. He had stopped struggling. He thought his power would drain slower if he didn’t fight the vines that bound his body and limbs to the rock wall.
The source of the voice grew closer. A young woman in a white and blue-trimmed kimono stood in front of him. Here long hair hid most of her face. She had a small pink slit for a mouth and a small nose. Her small mouth was curled in a smile. “I am Tsu-Kata,” she said. “Welcome to my den.”