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Dex: The Protector
He stared down the empty neighborhood street in front of him. It was quiet, as the police cars and the paramedics had left hours ago. The time was slowly approaching 1 AM, but time was lost to him. He had failed. He had failed to save the one he loved, while only saving his own worthless, pathetic life. He looked up at the clear sky and breathed in the cool Portland air. Every breath he savored, because she couldn’t. He stared at the stars, because she couldn’t. He stood in the light of the full moon, because she couldn’t. He missed her already. Even though the paramedics had taken her to the morgue 2 hours ago, he missed her. Her dark hair, beautiful green eyes, and the laugh that could silence any cynic in a room.
“Dex,” Lucas said from behind him, resting his hand on his friend’s shoulder, “you ready to come in now?” Dex had always appreciated Lucas. Even more so now, for he was there when she was killed. He had to count on him. He was his friend. Sure, he never seemed to be able to keep up with their cross training while they fought demons together. But he was good with keeping them close. She would call him their “rock.”
He was thankful he was here, but still, Dex would not move. His tousled brown hair blew in the breeze, and he imagined it was her. He shivered.
“You didn’t fail, Dex,” Lucas said. Dex had already forgotten he was there. ”You can still fight this.”
Dex closed his eyes and looked up. ”What’s the point?” the words slipping from his mouth. He turned to face the burnt house, adjacent to his own, that once belonged to her.
“Erin would’ve wanted it,” Lucas tried empathizing with him. Dex just glared at him. “How could you say that?” he exploded, “My life, her life, none of us wanted this. Reed called it a ‘destiny,’ but do you think anyone one in their right mind would want what happened? Their death” They remained silent for a while.
“You’re right. It’s not something you or Erin would have wanted. Like you said, it’s destiny, and you have to live it. That’s why I’m here to stop you…” The end of his sentence trailed off, and Lucas’s whole body started morphing. His muscles becoming more prominent, his skin burning red, his teeth sharpening, horns growing from the top of his head, and his once kind eyes transforming into a portal to the endless pits of h*ll.
“Lu-Lucas?” Dex stammered as he stepped back at the sight of his best friend grown into a 12 foot tall demon. As a demon hunter, he had seen many demons of vast shapes an sizes. But none of them compared to what was right in front of him.
“I am no longer Lucas, that was my mortal form. I am now Loft bringer of fire.” Lucas- or rather- Loft, boomed.
In that second, all of Dex’s recreational demon hunting flashed. Each time, the situation the same. Reed, with his books, giving weak spots and nesting grounds, along with Mythology. Erin, with her trusty crossbow. And Dex, with the powers that seem to come effortlessly, and yet from nowhere in particular. And Lucas was always standing at the sidelines, as if waiting for something.
Dex lifted his eyes to look at who was once his friend. “Who are you?”
Dex managed to take a good look at the demon that was once his friend, and now confronted him. It was crouching, ready to attack, or to take its first blow. Dex wondered if his recreational demon hunting had prepared him enough for this.
Rage, fear, confusion, and determination welled up inside of him. Before he could think, a surge to agility he never knew he had, forced him towards not the Lucas, but toward his garage. Dex was leading himself straight for his weapons cabinet, with the beast right on his heels.
He swung towards the backyard, quickly slipping between the garage and the fence to get to the back door. Dex had to hurry, for Lucas would soon find a way to where he was. He located the weapons cabinet in the corner, but meanwhile his mind was telling him to reach for the box above it. He knew what was in that box. A sword Reed asked him to store for safekeeping. It had once belonged to a Protector, sworn to save the world from the fires of H*ll, and the evil demons who roamed the world above it. Dex was drawn to it, and as he removed it from the long box, lined in velvet to cushion the bejeweled hilt and glistening blade.
Dex balanced the weapon in his hand, with one hand on the hilt, and the other supporting the blade. He could feel a connection growing. As he wielded it, a full burst of bright light sprung from the blade. The sword told him to go back out, and slay the demon now circling the garage, waiting for this moment.
He ran out back to to the street, and another burst of speed, and a surge of strength, Dex jumped and soared until he was eye level with Loft. Loft tried grappling at him with his large claws, and managed to leave a gash on Dex’s right shoulder. Dex returned with a stab to the shoulder, and one to the abdomen as he returned back to the ground.
The battle continued, both struggling in pain from the wounds, but Dex more so than the demon. Dex was beaten down, and when he thought he could not go on any longer, the sword surged. The light from before shone, and he was lifted from his feet, and the blade sliced through the beast’s throat.
And the demon fell, and the light of the sword dimmed. He picked up the decapitated head, and the rest of the body disintegrated. He started hobbling down the road. He needed to find Reed.
Reed looked up from his book to see Dex crashing into the library. Yes it was the middle of the night, (or very early morning), but Reed lived here. Literally. While studying at Willamette, he rented an apartment right above. The gang would usually gather here to plan their next hunt in their recreational demon-hunting adventures. It was home. He was here all the time. So, naturally, this is the first place Dex would look for him.
The state Dex was in was much worse than he had seen him just hours before, or from any demon hunting adventure. His dark jeans were so torn, they looked store-bought and designer crafted. His shirt sleeve was soaked with blood seeping from a gash on his arm, and the rest of his shirt was splattered with Loft’s blood. Reed looked at the sword. The sword. He knew what Dex came to him for.
“Sit down, Dex.” he said, closing his book and bringing up another one, at least 5 inches thick. Where Reed was hiding that, Dex had no idea. Reed put the book to the side, which incited Dex to place the decapitated head between them on the table as he sat down, gripping the sword even tighter. “Let me explain. I didn’t want to tell you before, it was already too dangerous. But the first time we went out to the graveyard, remember that? I knew it had to be you. I’m not surprised it was you. You are the chosen one. The Protector.”
“So all that talk to destiny…”
“I’m sorry you had to find out this way,” Reed sighed, and opened the book, spraying flecks of dust everywhere. “The Protector is chosen every generation and is sworn to defend the mortal world against the sufferings of h*ll,” he read.
“That’s it?” Dex asked, face expressionless.
“Well, this book contains many accounts, records, training tips…” Reed continued on about the previous Protectors, destiny, the qualities of the sword. “Basically, you’re a superhero, man.” he looked up grinning, which passed when he realized Dex’s indifference. “I know this may be a lot to take in…” His words just became a distant hum in Dex’s ear. “Maybe you should sleep on it,” Reed said, waking Dex up from his trance.
“Sure, sure…” Dex stood up, as Reed’s eyes followed him. “Sleep on it.” He didn’t need to sleep on it. He had already decided. He walked out of the dark library, sword still in hand, glowing like a lightsaber. He looked out to the east to see the sun slowly peeking over the horizon.
He new this was his destiny. Nothing was going to get in his way. He was the Protector.