Beginning Near the End

It burned all the way up her chest as she coughed out. The brassy metallic taste of blood entrenched her mouth, so bitter and yet a moment before had been sweet. She spat out, unaware at how close her face was to the asphalt until her wet lip brushed against it, and she laid her cheek alongside it. Uncaring how filthy it was; right now all that mattered was the sudden shock of realising she was aware of herself again… in control for the moment, though her whole world was spinning.

But whose blood…? Her own…? It didn't taste like hers, or did it? She had tasted her own many times before… as well as many others, but she didn't keep track of whose tasted like what. This one tasted obscure and threatening. Maybe it was a mixture. She felt so cold and bare, the wind was surprisingly icy against her… but it was one of the few things she was aware of. Unfathomable pain joined it as she tried to move her arm, knuckles scraping across the coarse road as she found her hand too heavy and unresponsive to lift.

It was dark… it smelt of blood, gun powder… and demons.

Noises came to her then and the smear of two darker spots in her blurred gaze… feet. They walked over steadily to her, a voice… male. She couldn't make it out, but it was not pleased. Her left eye involuntarily blinked as she tried to look up to the dark form.

It's blood rolling down her cheek after its impact, quickly finding the corner of her mouth. That taste… it mingled with the rest, but it was definitely the same, only… fresh. She spat out again, feeling the agony of her lungs in every heavy breath. Not being able to hold her head any longer she let it push against the street again, and fell into a blissful nothingness.

But she remembered… just before that darkness. Cool and calm darkness, the burning taste and pain had all vanished within its depths. It had been his blood on her lips. Amidst the shots and bloodshed; she had been shot twice… and shot two, only injuring the other. Those three had only managed to plant on bullet into her though. Fleeing hadn't been as easy as she had hoped, with a bullet pierced in her one shoulder, and a child clinging to the other. The distant sounds of multiple motorcycles had been indistinguishable and she had stashed the child among old garbage bags.

"Don't move… no noise… just stay here."

With her acute ears she had tried to guess the number, but concentrating wasn't as easy as it should have been. Her whole chest ached along with her shoulder, and retrieving her guns from their holsters pulled at muscles she didn't even know were used for the simple act. She headed out into the street, anything to have pulled attention away from the right alleyway. She had almost made it to the other side before a motorcycle squealed around the nearby corner and cut off her pathway to the far alley. It had seemed like only moments later. That three more had shown up, and she lifted up her guns to either side.

"Where's the girl?"

"Don't know what you're talking about, boys."

Another spoke out, his voice had been crisp and clear, but dangerous with an uncommon instinctual manner to it, "I can smell her on you."

"Tch. Is that supposed to mean anything to me?" She had been able to tell, perhaps by gut feeling alone, that he was the dangerous one. Well… most, at least.

She rose up her good hand, and pulled the trigger without hesitation. She'd dealt with these ones trigger-happy friends already; she hadn't been ready to give them time to aim. In retrospect it had all become an adrenaline pumped dance, which was hard to decipher what came when since it was all done with. Only one bullet had managed to graze her arm. Then somehow, she had managed to get into a fist struggle with the man… no, the demon she had failed to wound with her first bullet. Demons weren't known for being slow or weak, and in her condition, she found herself on the ground far too quickly. The gunshots had ended, not surprising, they had needed information, and it didn't take the demon long to cram her against a brick wall. She had put up a decent fight for her wounds, though… black blood dripped down the skin under his nose, and she knew he'd have a good bruise on his stomach by morning.

A click, he dethroned a small handgun and put it to her forehead, other hand still pressing her to the wall. "Where the fuck is she!?" He bellowed out.

"Since you asked so nicely…" She had dared to chuckle between heavy breaths, before growling out, "I'll tell yah, when we meet in Hell."

He had snarled, and quickly pulled the gun from her head and pushed it to the far side of her stomach. Without any sort of pause, he had pulled the trigger. The pain shot through her in an instant, and her body reeled from the new source of torture, all the other throbbing fully at that point, but felt numbed in comparison. Panic, fear and excruciating pain overwhelmed her. The only thing she had managed to do was slump back on to the wall instead of forward on to him.

That had been when everything had become a blur, the slight feeling of a hand holding her up. He instructed someone, his arm's motion becoming indistinct. Gaze shifted, senses heightened, pain numbed. In the brief moment she had remaining, her eerie gaze had shifted to the alleyway. Stay hidden, kiddo… now, more than ever. She had hit the ground eventually, and sounds of surprise echoed through her mind. The dark no longer seemed so dark, and her movements though still pained were no longer hers. She had become witness to the will of instinct, vengeance and the utter fear that drove out in all of us strength. In those moments she had felt the drive of another being, the begging cries of its mind along with the urges and anger of its entire being.

It drove her to strike out, and with the power it had bestowed to her she lashed out for the demon's throat viciously. The first taste of his blood, before she had in her rage, blinded by headlights and sounds of shots, ran towards the only place worthy of protecting… the other alley. Focus and movement had become little of her direction, and she downed another man before pain struck through her again, in her hind she had been shot one final time. Shouts had cascaded the air, filling her mind with echoes. Only after having paced some odd steps, she then collapsed to the ground. It had all been a haze and vague impressions, which had seemed to last only moments, before she coughed out, and found herself cold on the ground.

The man… the noises… the pain. The fading of pain… the distorted memories… and finally darkness.

This… is her story…

Nicole Gagnon