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Far frm Heaven
Sirens. Their blaring sound echoed throughout Haven City, breaking my mind into conciseness. This morning, like every other morning of my life, wasn’t like the familiar bright one that you know, with birds chirping, and that one beam of light hitting your face with just enough force to wake you from your dreams. Instead my world is the exact opposite. It’s dark and foreboding, with a sense that evil is lurking around every single street corner.
As I walked out in to the opening, the rank smell of the air brought my daydreaming mind crashing back down to reality. Haven City was a poor city, left half destroyed from the apocalypse. Every building there were ruins, broken and vine strewn, but it was all we had, and so we made them our homes. Once they were beautiful, but that was long before the war had ripped them to shreds like pieces of paper. The skies above us was a red canvas with black splashes of clouds thrown everywhere and anywhere. They weren’t storm clouds, no, they were naturally black, as if all the happiness that made them white and fluffy had been sucked out and replaced by the demons’ evil atmosphere. Haven City is far from its namesake, so much so the people nicknamed it, “Far from Haven City.”
Those people who lived there were the people that managed to survive the fight between heaven and h*ll. They were once proud beautiful people as the city once was before the day of reckoning. It was once said about these people that they had been the happiest people in the world. They had been ordinary people in an ordinary city, but none-the-less happy.
I don’t remember much of the war, I was born when it was still raging, and Haven City was still a haven. At this point in my life it was still under the control of the demons. No one in the city knew exactly who won the war, but here in the city the world looked as if H*ll had. So we all assume that in the end they won, and we were the last humans survivors in the world. Though my thoughts were different.
When my mind had finally taken grasp of reality and I could understand what was ensuing around me, I began to hate the city with so much intensity it was as if my mind would have exploded. I really did hate the place and my boring poor life. Everyday was a struggle to survive with the demons roaming around like they owned the place, which they sort of did. It was hard not to let it get to me, but if I did I would have let go and just given in. If I had I wouldn’t be able to tell this story now would I? Back then I still daydreamed about freedom, about how the city should really look, with beautiful architecture, and plants that didn’t try and eat you as you passed them.
As a part of my boring routine, I headed out the door on my way to what was left of the old high school. It was an ordinary school like any other, except for the giant gaping hole above our heads. You got used to it after a while. They still taught regular subjects like math and English, but in my view they should have taught us useful stuff, like how to fight back, or survival skills, but no, they taught us how to solve equations, when tomorrow, most us could be dead cause we didn’t know the difference between a kick and a punch.
In the middle of my usual daydream, that made the sights in front of me disappear, five masculine demons of a height of about six feet each walked up to me with dark scowls carved into their faces. They were bright red and human like in many ways; their bodies resembled our like mirrors, except for their skin color, tails, lack of genitalia, and claws that stretched out from their fingers ready to kill any thing in their reach. One in particular came up to me and crossed his arms.
In the clutches of my dream state still I hadn't noticed him. I bumped into the creature which caused me to shriek when I realized what happened.
“Well, well, well, what do we have here. Look boys it seems that we found breakfast,” he snarled, as the creepiest grin ever had rolled onto his face.
He walked around me investigating me as an animal would a fresh piece of meat. Each time he moved out of my view I was afraid he would pounce when I didn’t see it coming. Inside my heart started to pound fiercely as the thought of death rolled in to my thoughts.
“Awe, is someone nervous?” he said with a evil laugh following, his comrades echoing him. “you know I haven’t had a descent tasting human in a long time.You’ve all begun to rot from the air. You on the other hand look quite Delicious if I do say so myself.”
He then put his hand on my throat, wrapping his long finger around my head until I could hardly breathe, and the horrid stench that flowed from behind his lips made it even harder still. His smile grew and he gripped harder still as if he had wanted to pop the brain out of my head like a cork on a wine bottle.
His grip suddenly released enough to let air, and his breathe, rushing back in to my body. “Your no good dead,” he explained cold-heartedly.
“Yeah well I’m better off in your case!” I yelled kicking him in the face as I did. When his head smacked off the ground like a ping pong ball, I assumed he was dead. My body didn’t care cause his friends weren’t and it kick started and sent me running in the opposite direction as fast as a gazelle.
The first street corner I met I turned; adrenaline kept my speed going at max. I could hear the melodic thumping of the four demons that ran behind me. I turned yet another corner and then another. Soon enough it felt as if I had been in a labyrinth.
As I turned down a another corner, in my pathetic excuse to escape, I jumped in to a building that was more in ruins than a home. Dark purple plants obscured the faint light that existed. It shot into the room and made me afraid it would reveal my hiding place. In the quiet that came in that instant I could hear my heart beating frantically like it was an animal trapped in a cage. The worst thing was that I was sure they heard my heart too.
They passed the building sniffing me out with great detail. I ran out to the next building in an attempt to keep my self hidden. I repeated this until I felt way out of the demons scent and earshot. When I left the last building I hopped through the street was clear, except for a few tumble weeds rolling in the wind; nature’s trash.
A sigh of relief hit me as I turned my head. My school sat about a block from where I stood. I began to walk to it, but as I did a faint odor like rotten eggs filled the air, and instantly I knew what what was to come. The thought sent me running again like any other thought of danger does.
“Where are you going?” the demon said as he jumped out in front of me.
“Uh, no-nowhere,” I managed to stutter. The thoughts in my head caused me to swallow hard. “I thought you were dead,” I continued.
“No your little kick did nothing to me. I just thought it would be fun to chase you for a bit. There was never a chance of you out running me or my colleagues. By the way, you sound scared, what’s the matter? We’re all alone now. No one else but us is on stage. The first act is over, now on to the fight scene.” he uttered with what I had thought was a chuckle. A smile came over his face as he finished.
The first thought that came to my head was instinct. I kicked like a soccer player, right between his legs. There was a loud thud but no scream of pain. The look on his face let me know humans and demons aren’t built the same way; epic fail.
His first move was swipe of his hand to my stomach sending me flying like a horseshoe through the air. The sudden sensation forced a river of contents out of my stomach into the air. At the last drops of it came I began to cough violently. It was blood that came next, it covered the ground like it was a murder scene.
The only other thing I could do was to crawl feebly away in an attempt to get away to a real haven, unlike this story. If I didn’t get away at this point I was going to die. There was no way I could beat this demon and I was all alone.
“Had enough yet? You better not die on me. Humans are no good to me dead. I like my meat fresh and bloody.” he yelled out at me, strolling over to his prey; me.
Barely getting on to my feet, he hit me again. Smack! A blow to my stomach burst my stomach like a
balloon. Smack! Another one slammed into me crushing a lung like it was a piece of paper. Now I couldn’t breathe and blood had begun to once again pour from my mouth. At that point I was absolutely sure I was going to die. Nothing more would have pleased me. In fact I wished for it, more and more as he kept hitting me.
I spat a final drop of blood from my mouth and looked up from my knees at my killer. “Why? I asked, “Why me? What did I do?” With those words tears began to stream down my face burning my cheeks like it was lava. Instead of tears it was blood. It seemed every hit I took pushed the red ooze out of me like I was leaking every where.
“You want to know why? Why?” he said with his voice rising, “I am Beelzebub, the ruler of this city! I will do as I please! You are the only person that walks this city with out fear of us. I don’t like that one bit. You will know fear. As for my breakfast, you just happened to step in my way at the worst time possible. I’m hungry and you smell extraordinarily delicious for a human. That’s why. You won’t question my authority again.”
He picked my limp body up, holding me like a rag doll. As my limbs lifted off the ground I could feel the burning, of the breaks, exploding through my body like waves of intense heat. Every hurt, and I had no ability to move any muscle, most of which were probably torn in one way or another. It felt like my body was going to fall apart.
Then suddenly out of no where a man in red and black robes came running out from behind me. My view of the man became blurry as I began to pass out, but before I had I saw him pull out a long blade and ensue in a fight with my killer.
You know, I never really thought much of how I was going to die. I always assumed that the pollution or some freaky demon disease would end up killing me at a young age. I was never a really morbid person, I live my life carefree and most importantly drama free, so the thought stayed away from me like a wild animal, curious but cowardly.
I must be in heaven, I thought, I don’t know, maybe not. What did I ever do to get into heaven? Could this be H*ll? Nah, looks more like some sort of waiting room if ask me.
Two knocks then came to the door. I called to let whoever was there know they could come in, and an old man walked in with a silver tray in his hands; various foods lined on top.
“Ah, I see you are awake. Good to have you back in shape, that demon did a number on your body. You were technically dead over seven times until we managed to revive you each time. Luck must have been on our side.” he said as his face had lit up.
“Exactly how bad was I, and I in one piece still right?” I asked worried a limb or two would be missing.
“Yes, your in one piece,” he reassured me, “You were extremely bad though. He crushed most of your major organs, including a lung, your liver, stomach, and a kidney, broke about twenty bones, and left hundreds of cuts all across your body. We had to replace those organs with demon ones, which yes are are almost exactly alike, that we had in our labs for experiments. I have to say your very lucky to be alive.” So I still didn’t know if I would go to heaven or h*ll. I guess that’s a good thing, right?
“Is using those organs safe? What the h*ll did you use those for?” I screamed in fear.
“Calm down, young one. It is safe in every aspect. They are mostly human except for some minor details. Remember , most demons were once humans when they were ‘alive.’ The organs may cause some minor changes to your body, but nothing out of the ordinary.
“Changes? Like what!”
“Well, you will become stronger, a bit more violent at times, and may even grow demon features when you get extremely angry.”
“Oh, great. Way to make my PMS like a hundred time worse then it already is. Real smart. A girl is already bad enough once every month, but a half demon one. What idiot thought of that one.”
“We were only saving your life.”
“I know. Its just getting close to my time of the month. I’m getting cranky and I thought you’d like the heads up.”
“Oh, well thanks.”
“By the way who are you and where am I?”
“I am Sarutobi Sasuke, but you can call me Sarutobi sensei, or sensei for short. You are at my dojo. Here I will train you in the art of karate, and kendo, the art of sword fighting. This way you will never die by the hands of a demon, and so you can fulfill you dreams of gaining your freedom. Yes, I know all your secrets. You tend to talk in your sleep young one.”
“I do?” I asked. The realization of that made my stomach, well my new stomach, flip. He just nodded his head and said that training was to start in two more days when I was fully healed. I had been out for a week already but I still needed my bones and surgery scars to heal for a few more days.
Two days later, I awoke to find black and red robes, similar to the ones he wore when he fought my almost-killer, and a long bladed katana with my name etched into each side. I dressed and , too excited, picked up my katana without realizing it had no sheath and cut my hand on the blade.
“Lesson one; be careful and attentive to your surroundings.” Sensei said as he walked in to my room.
“You knew I was going to do that didn’t you? What was that for?” I questioned him in anger. Apparently he already forgot it was a bad timing to mess with me.
“That, as I said, was your first lesson. So yes I did do that on purpose.” He said with a small chuckle. “But enough talk. We must train if you are to make it to your freedom. First though, I must ask why do you want freedom so badly?”
“I hate this world. Its so boring; so dark. I want to live a happier and safer place. The world I live in is the same everyday and I’m sick of it. I’ve always had this feeling that something else amazing is out there waiting for me. I used to dream all about it when I was really young and those dreams really made me crave for freedom. I want people that I can be around that won’t always be so dramatic. I hate drama!” I explained.
“Very well, that seems appropriate.” he answered simply.
When we got outside, we entered a lush Japanese garden surrounded by bamboo fence. The sight was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. Flowers splashed colors I had never seen before against the brightest greens. Cherry blossoms bloomed in the back ground with leaves made of gold, and in the center of it all was a fountain that stood eight feet tall spraying water from an elegant dragon, making it seem as if he was letting pure happiness flow from his mouth.
“Wow,” that was all I could mutter. The sight caused my mouth to drop like I had seen a ghost.
“Glad you like it,” Sensei said from behind me, “This is where I will teach you what my sensei has taught me, and what he was taught by his sensei, and so on and so forth for over thousands of years. Though you are not here for a history lesson. You are here to learn to protect yourself. First you will learn how to fight with your body and mind, and not your katana. When you have mastered that we will add the blade into the equation.”
So I thrust my katana in to the soft ground next to me and readied myself to fight. Sarutobi walked up to me and bowed and then shifted slightly into a fighting position. The first attack came quickly and my feeble attempt to dodge his fist sent me stumbling on to my rear end. He helped me up and returned to his original position.
Again he attacked me, over and over until my butt was so red it was glowing by the time I hit my mattress at the end of that day. The next few days rolled on the same way, only each fight I gradually became better and better.
Clang! The loud metallic sound of two katanas bouncing off each other echoed through the garden like beats to a song. Even with Sarutobi and me fighting all the birds that lived in the garden stayed in place, undisturbed by the vibrations flowing through the air.
“Remember keep your stance solid and wide to keep your center of gravity low. This will make it harder for your opponent to knock you off your feet,” Sarutobi yelled out between strikes, “Alright. That’s enough. You did well, young one.”
“Uh, thanks.” I said, my face growing red with embarrassment.
Later that day I sat at the dining table out in the garden and thought of what training was up for the next morning. The excitement filled me so much it felt as if I was going to burst into a hundred pieces all at once. I decided to go to Sarutobi Sensei and ask him. It only took me a while to find him in his usual place of meditation under one of the golden cherry trees, blossoms falling like stars around us.
“Nothing.” was all he said.
“Nothing? What do you mean, nothing? Are we finally taking a break?” I questioned confused.
“No, we are not taking a break, Veronica. Your year long training is done. There is nothing for me to teach you. I trained you in fighting, both fist and sword, and I trained you to control your newly found demon abilities. That is all you need for your journey.” he said. It was the most serious thing he ever said to me, he had never used my name before.
“The one for freedom, remember?”
“Oh yeah, this whole time I’ve been here I totally forgot about that. I guess I feel more free here than anywhere else. Why can’t I just stay here with you?”
“Certain things have come up, and I would think it best that you go out on your own.”
“Do you really want to know?” I nodded my head as he asked. He hesitated before e answered. “I’m dying.”
“No! I won’t believe that!” I couldn’t look at him and I let my head fall into my hands, a waterfall of tears following.
“Well, that’s the truth. I am eighty eight.”
“Really that's it? I thought you were like a couple hundred years old. Don’t most sensei have like mystical old age?”
“No not all of them do. Its the long term effects of all the battles I’ve been in in my life and the wounds I have received in them. Plus old age has finally caught up with me”
“Oh, but what about this garden can't I stay here? I can take care of myself!”
“When I die this garden will as well.”
“I thought you just said your not mystical?”
“Yeah when it comes to how long I live! Now, back to the important stuff. Your freedom can still be achieved. All you have to do is look for the keys to the Gate of Armageddon.”
“What’s the Gate of Armageddon?”
It was a large gate that stood between what Sarutobi said was this place and another world that I would find my freedom within. It towered over a hundred feet tall, and had large splashes of blood and black paint all over it. Where I stood I could see the giant door that stood between me and freedom like a troll blocking his bridge. The door had three over sized key holes in it. That was my goal, find the demons that lived along the gate with the three keys, take the keys, somehow, and get back to this spot.
I looked both way, no clue of where to go, and out of my intuition, went right. After a short hour walk, I came up to a hut surrounded by a swamp. A bridge created a path across to the door way. As I crossed it the muck beneath me fizzed and bubbled like a cauldron of stew.
On the other side I heard voices behind the door and drew my katana in anticipation of a fight. The door opened up and out came three demons. The looks on their faces made me realize they knew I would be there.
I studied my opponents to see if I could find any weak points. None of them seemed to have any, but the third demon looked oddly familiar, like an old rival. I studied and studied him until it came to my head who he was.
“Do you recognize me yet, Veronica?” the way he said my name sent chills rushing up my spine like a cold draft, but it also sent anger burning through me; a wild fire of hate that sent me flying toward Beelzebub at a hundred miles an hour.
I swung my katana down attempting to slice him in half, but as it came close to him it hit something hard and sunk in deep. I looked up and saw that my katana hit his arm as he put it up to block. He threw me off sending me back over the swamp and in to a near by tree crushing it in to a million toothpicks.
I jumped back up, ducking as he threw my katana at me. My new found reflexes allowed me to catch my custom blade before it disappeared behind me. When I reached him he flung his arm out sending a blade thrusting out from within. Our blades clashed sending a splash of sparks every where. More followed over and over again in an epic fight. The other two attempted to join in but were no where near the skills that Beelzebub or me had. They were massacred by my blade as they tried to help their master.
One left, I thought, This shouldn't be too bad.
I was right. the battle went on easily from there. The memories of what he did to me sent anger pulsing like electricity through my body. Every slash cut deeper in to Beelzebub until his abdomen was bleeding a waterfall of blood. More and more the anger flowed and so did his blood.
Beelzebub finally fell to his knees, a fallen warrior. I put my hand up to his throat and pulled him up to my face.
“What’s it feel like to be on the short end of the stick, this time?” I said malevolently.
“Splendid.” he replied spitting in my face. That did it. The putrid smell burned my eyes and nose sending my anger too the next level.
I sheathed my katana and wiped off my face to stop the smell. Then I threw him into the air, sending a blast of energy after him. The energy ripped him into million of tiny blasts. Finally, he was officially dead.
I headed into the hut and discovered the keys. Then I headed back to the gate door and readied my self to open it, nervous to see what was on the other side. I walked up to it and put each key into their respective color coded slots. I was about to turn them when I felt the ground shake.
“You will go no further!” a deep menacing voice bellowed. I turned to see a large demon staring at me with great intensity.
“That’s what you think. No demon is a match for me. I’ll crush you with ease.” I threw back, so not in the mood for this guy’s cr*p.
“You mean like you did my son! I am not a demon. I am Lucifer, the devil. You are no match for me!” Lucifer screamed.
With that he sent bolts of lightning flying at me. I put my sword up, hitting each blast like a baseball. He sent them one after another, zapping my strength. A bolt finally got past my defenses shocking my whole body until I nearly collapsed. Lucifer then pulled his own katana out and ran at me with all his might. Each time he hit my katana, it felt as if someone was dropping boulders on me. The anger didn’t come to me like it had before. I had wasted too much energy in my last fight.
Lucifer then knocked me in the face and I dropped down to my knees. He unleashed a blast of energy sending me into the gate. I thought this was it. It seemed like I was meant to die, but as I felt death creeping up on me, a beam of light from above sent a surge of energy in to my body. I got up and sent a smile toward the devil. Then I flew at him and we clashed in a battle for hours.
Finally I thrust my sword down in to the fallen angel’s chest and he exploded in to a ball of burning ash. My holy energy was gone and body was beat. I couldn’t keep my eyes open for long, but before I blacked out I swore I saw Sarutobi walk up to me.
How did I get in a hospital? That was all I thought. I had no idea where I was when I awoke.
“I see your awake. How do you feel?” a nurse asked me as she strolled into my room.
“Okay, I guess. Nothing hurts. Where am I, and how did I get here?” I asked.
“Oh an old man brought you in said you were his granddaughter. I’m sorry to tell you this but he collapsed on the floor and died later in that bed over there,” she pointed to the bed next to me, “Your in New Haven City General Hospital. Your grandpa said your from the demon side of the world. Glad to see you made it out. No one ever has, your a miracle. By the way, I’m sorry about your grandpa,” with that she left.
He took the last of his energy to save me, to get me to my freedom. Which I finally had realized. I was finally free. Happiness flowed over me, warming me to the core. I’m free! So they were right all along. There is a different world, I thought. All I had to do was put my mind to it, and I could accomplish anything, and I did.