Reaper of Souls: A fantasy short story (6 page)

“We need to
hurry,” Helsing announced.  “Having me turn on you would be just his style.”

Reggie stared
at him with a look of horror.  He hurried her along the path and for the nearby
beach.  They ran along the sandy beach behind the fast moving Dylan-creature. 
Helsing suddenly slowed, clutched his head while swaying, and then collapsed to
his knees.  Reggie attempted to pull him to his feet.

“It’s just
another mile or two, Helsing.  You can fight it.”

He slowly shook
his head.  “You need to keep going.  Get as far away from me as possible.”

“I can’t leave
you like this,” she gasped.

“You have too. 
Your freedom depends on you getting that dagger to the castle.”

Dylan-creature
nervously paced before them.  His tail swished as if in panic.

Reggie suddenly
groaned with frustration.  “This isn’t fair.”

“You’re right,”
Kahn announced.  “It’s completely unfair.”

Reggie and
Helsing looked at Kahn, who casually leaned against a nearby tree.  He frowned
and shook his head while watching Helsing.  Dylan-creature darted behind Reggie
and hid.

She glared her
loathe for him.  “He’s your brother.  Look what you’re doing to him.  What kind
of monster are you?”

Kahn
straightened and appeared innocent.  “Not me.  I’m not the beast who bit him.” 
He sighed deeply.  “Sad, though.  That poison is lethal and the only antidote
is back a mile.”

“Poison?” she
gasped with horror.

Helsing
appeared equally surprised.

“You probably
saw some purple flowers growing on that ledge back there,” Kahn said.  “He’ll
need to ingest those within sixty minutes or he’s finished.  I can’t imagine
he’ll make it back that far in his condition.”

“You’d kill
your own brother?”

“Again, it
wasn’t me who bit him.”

Reggie knelt in
the sand alongside Helsing, who glared at Kahn.  “Can you use your powers to
get back there?”

He slowly shook
his head.  “No, I’m too weak.”

“You’d better
hurry, my dear,” Kahn teased with a mocking grin.  “You only have one hour to
return that dagger--unless you’re feeling sympathetic toward Helsing.”

Helsing glared
at his brother.  “She’s not that stupid, Kahn, and you wouldn’t be so bold as
to kill me.”

“Again--not
me,” Kahn said while smirking.

Reggie looked
back at Helsing with concern.  He met her gaze with a stern, serious look.

“Return that
dagger, Reggie,” he said firmly.  “Don’t worry about me.  Just go.”

She slowly
stood while studying Kahn’s mocking smile then looked back at Helsing.

Helsing glared
at her and sharply raised his brows.  “Take the dagger back
now
.”

She turned and
ran in the opposite direction for the antidote.  Helsing appeared horrified
while weakly attempting to stand.

“Reggie, no!”

Kahn laughed
and vanished.  Dylan-creature slid beneath Helsing’s hand and helped steady him
as he stood.  He leaned heavily on the creature and stumbled along the beach. 
It was nearly an hour later.  Reggie ran along the beach with a fistful of
purple flowers.  Helsing lie motionless on the sand while Dylan-creature lie
sadly at his side.  Reggie fell to her knees near him and extended the flowers.

“I got them,
Helsing,” she gasped while out of breath.  “You have to eat them--please.”

He weakly took
a flower and ate it.  A bright light approached them on the beach.  Helsing
stared with surprise, weakly lifted his head, and watched the light get
closer.  Reggie clutched the dagger and appeared concerned.  Dylan-creature
scurried behind Reggie and hid.  The light appeared in the form of a woman with
only light as her features.

“Mother?”
Helsing gasped.

“Yes, my son,”
his mother, Leola, replied.  “You’ve made your father and me very proud today. 
You took the final step toward securing your future as a Light Force by
willingly sacrificing your own life for another.  You will be joining us for
eternity.”

Helsing slowly
sat up with Reggie’s assistance and stared at the female light before them. 
“I’m honored, mother, but I can’t.”  He weakly pulled himself to his knees.  “I
have to deal with Kahn in the only way he’ll understand, which means I’ll have
to forfeit my rights to become a Light Force.  I’ll see him dead before I ever
allow him to harm Reggie.”

Leola suddenly
groaned.  “What did your brother do this time?”


K
ahn was casually seated in
an elegant chair in the hallway while watching the grandfather clock only
seconds away from noon.  Begley anxiously stood near the kitchen doorway and
stared at the front door with anticipation.  Chrissy peered over the second
floor railing near the stairs while wrenching her fingers together with her
attention on the door.  Kahn grinned while waiting for the minute hand to move
to its final position.  The front door suddenly opened to reveal Reggie with
the dagger in her hand.  Kahn stared at her with shock and bolted up from his
chair.  Begley and Chrissy appeared stunned while making their way closer then
abruptly stopped.

“That’s not
possible.  You couldn’t have made it back in time,” Kahn announced then turned
angry.  “You cheated!”

Reggie stood
calmly within the foyer and showed no emotion.  “There were no rules.  How
could I cheat?”

“Helsing
transported you here,” Kahn announced.  “He brought you back.  You needed to
come back on your own.”

“Helsing didn’t
transport me here,” she informed him while playing with the dagger.  “I came
back on my own.”

“That’s not
possible!  How could you have gotten here so fast?”

“If you must
know, I ran,” she replied while grinning.

“You let
Helsing die?” Kahn suddenly asked with surprise.

“No, he’ll be
along shortly.”

Kahn shook his
head with hostility.  Begley and Chrissy slowly closed in from both the hall
and the stairs to witness the scene.

“You couldn’t
have run that fast,” Kahn informed her.  “You cheated.  You lose!”

“I didn’t.  I
win,” she calmly announced.  “You’re the one who cheats.  Dylan told me about
his deal with you.  He pledged his life to you if you’d spare me from the fire
that killed our parents.  I wasn’t even aware I’d been home when it happened. 
Some sort of memory trick you used on me.  You saved me from the blaze when he
couldn’t reach me.”  Her eyes suddenly narrowed as she approached him.  “But
then he found out that you were responsible for starting the fire in the first
place.”  The look in her eyes was venomous.  She stood only a few feet away
from him and stared into his eyes with hatred.  “You killed my parents, you
son-of-a-bitch, just to claim my brother’s life for your pathetic kingdom. 
It’s over.  My brother and I will be leaving just as soon as he gets here.”

Reggie
carelessly tossed the dagger on the hall table near the stairs.  It clattered
against the marble top.  Chrissy paused on the last step, glanced at the
dagger, and then stared at Reggie.  Kahn paced before her and raised his brows
while mocking her with an evil smile. 

“He couldn’t
prove any of that and neither can you,” Kahn announced then shook his head. 
“You won’t be going anywhere.  You’ll take your rightful place by my side as
you were always meant to.  As for your brother, I’ll have his head mounted on
my wall.”

She stared at
him with surprise.  “This was never about Dylan, was it?  It was always about
me,” she suddenly gasped.  “You used Dylan to get to me, and I played right
into your evil plans.”

“Even if you
could prove that, there’s nothing you can do about it,” he announced.  “You’ll
be mine.  And if you’re thinking my brother will come to your rescue, think
again.  He can’t harm me or he’ll forfeit his right to become a Life Force.”

Kahn raised his
hand to Reggie with a threatening sneer.  A bolt shot from his hand toward
her.  Reggie defensively raised her own hand with a startled gasp and the bolt
of energy suddenly dissipated.  Kahn stared at her with astonishment.  Reggie
looked at her hand, flexed it, and grinned.

“That tingled,”
she said with a giggle

Chrissy and
Begley appeared almost as shocked as Kahn was.  Both were now only a few feet
away from the show.  The front door burst open to reveal a panting Dylan in
human form.  All eyes were upon him.

“Damn, I’m
really out of shape,” Dylan said while hunched over and clutching his knees.

“A steady diet
of Twinkies will do that,” Reggie casually replied.

“What’s going
on?” Kahn demanded.  “Who turned him back?”

Reggie looked
back at Kahn and grinned.  “It’s a funny story, although I’m not sure you’ll
find it all that amusing.”

Helsing half
fell through the open doorway, leaned his back to the wall while gasping, and
slid down the wall into a sitting position.  “I’ve decided I don’t care for
running,” he gasped.

Dylan continued
to breathe hard while holding his side.  “Join the club.”

Kahn stared at
Helsing then looked at Reggie as she approached him.  Her sly grin was enough
to rattle him.

“Helsing and I
were each granted one wish from your mother as a wedding present,” Reggie
informed him.

Kahn appeared
stunned and looked from Helsing to Reggie.  “Wedding present?  You and
Helsing?”

Helsing smiled
wearily and gave a tiny wave.  “My wish was for my powers to go to Reggie
temporarily for her own protection.”

“And my wish
was for all the people you’d enslaved to be returned to their mortal lives,”
Reggie announced.

“No, that’s not
possible,” Kahn protested then looked at Helsing.  “If you marry, you can’t be
a Light Force.”

“I’ve already
been chosen,” Helsing replied.  “My Light Force status takes effect after
Reggie’s tour of life ends.”

“Mother would
never interfere,” Kahn scoffed.  “This isn’t over!”

The female
light, Leola, appeared in the hallway.  Begley took Chrissy’s hand in his as
they moved closer together and watched the light.  Kahn appeared stunned.

“Mother?” he
gasped with surprise then turned angry.  “Mother, what’s the meaning of this? 
How could you interfere?”

“I’m sorry,
Kahn.  You abused your power,” Leola said.  “All the mortals you enslaved will
be returned to their world as they were.  I’m afraid your behavior calls for
severe punishment.  The council has agreed to strip your powers starting now. 
You will live your life as a mortal among mortals.  I hope you will learn from
your mistakes.”

Leola waved her
hand.  Vapors flooded from Kahn.  He suddenly grabbed onto the table for
support and looked at his mother.

“This isn’t
fair!”

“You know it
is,” Leola replied then vanished.

Helsing smiled
and pulled Reggie into his arms.

Dylan glared at
them.  “Can we go home now?” he demanded.

“Yes, I’d like
to see our mortal home,” Helsing announced cheerfully.

Chrissy and
Begley approached them while barely able to control their grins.  Chrissy
hugged Reggie.  “I can’t thank you enough for setting us free.”

“From both of
us,” Begley added.

“When you’re
ready to leave, meet the others on the beach,” Reggie said then smiled.  “Be
happy.”  She turned to Dylan and Helsing.  “This should be an interesting trip
with me driving.”

Dylan smirked
at Kahn in his weakened condition and gave him the finger.  Reggie waved her
hand and all three vanished.

Kahn frowned
with disgust.  “It’s not over; not by a long shot.”

He turned and
nearly collided with Chrissy.  Kahn gave her a stern, dirty look.  “My powers
will eventually be restored.”

Begley proudly
appeared behind Chrissy and placed his arm around her shoulder.  He gave her a
reassuring squeeze, kissed her on the cheek, and walked away from her.  Chrissy
stood proudly before Kahn and smiled as if the world was lifted from her
shoulders. 

“I never
thought this day would come, Kahn, but I’m glad this relationship can finally
be terminated,” she announced and sighed deeply.  “I hope there are no hard
feelings.”  Chrissy smiled sweetly and revealed the golden dagger in her hand
by her side.

Kahn appeared
horrified and let out a startled gasp.  She thrust the dagger upward into his
abdomen without emotion.  He suddenly cried out with pain, clutched the golden
dagger as she released it, and stared into Chrissy’s expressionless eyes. 
Begley and Chrissy watched with no reaction as Kahn collapsed to the floor. 
She turned to Begley and offered a tiny, pleased smile.  Begley took her hand
in his, suavely kissed it, and returned the smile.

“Now that
you’re officially a widow, can I call you?”

She sank into
his arms and clung to him.

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