Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Tale of Jack Martin - Part 5

Part 4:

The wave of energy threw all four of them back several feet. The demon stood there, his bulging arms at his hips, cackling maniacally.

"There is no hope...submit to my power and I shall make your deaths as painless as possible."

Jack felt nothing besides his heart beating in his chest.

Ugh...I think I broke a rib...

He glanced up, squinting his eyes as he did so. He saw the leader, standing above him, facing the demon. Locke and Dean lay in crumpled heaps besides Jack, blood dripping from their mouths. The leader himself was breathing heavily, barely able to stand. He looked hunched over, the confidence etched upon his face earlier gone. 

" are stronger than the others." The demon's eyebrows arched, his glowing eyes gazing intently at the man before him. 

"You cannot hope to face me alone. Feel my power."

The demon raised his arm, holding up his palm. A beam of green energy burst forth from the center of his hand, racing towards the leader. The leader raised his own hand in response, catching the energy. Sweat poured down his face, his nose crinkling and brow furrowing as he tried to contain the demon's assault.

" are strong...but you overestimate your capabilities."

The leader, under considerable duress, threw the energy back at his enemy, enhancing it with his own power. The bluish green ball of light raced towards the demon, blasting it directly in the chest. The impact caused a tremendous explosion that ripped through the compound, tossing the leader aside to the floor, and launching Jack, Locke, and Dean back at least another ten feet. Jack blacked out.

When he awoke, he weakly surveyed the battlefield. Locke and Dean had recovered, though looked far too physically beat-up to do anything useful against the demon or the invasion. Beside them lay the leader, barely conscious.

Locke motioned to Jack. "Come here child, we need help." Jack could hear the urgency in her voice, and so picked himself up, and painfully limped the small space dividing him and his trainer.

The leader looked to be in bad shape. His legs and arms twisted in impossible directions, his chest cavity had sunken in, and Jack thought he could see a rib or two puncturing the man's sleek outer attire. Blood poured from the sides of his mouth, and caked his haphazard hair. Despite this, he retained his consciousness. His eyes remained inquisitive, staring right at Jack.

"They...they were afraid to tell you this but...," he was interrupted by a cough. More blood. "Your potential is beyond...beyond anything we have..ev...ever seen. You are the one we have been looking for. Wi..with Locke...and...D-Dean to help will become a great member of our order. Take...this...."

His eyes rolled to the back of his head. He shook violently. Then, he was gone.

From his body emerged an energy, blue in color, much like what he had used against the demon. It hovered above him for a moment, then raced towards Jack, enveloping him.

"Ah! What is this?!"

Locke stared in amazement. " seems he's chosen to give you his remaining power...but for what?"

Dean, looking at something in the distance, answered the question. "For that."

The demon was alive. A sly smile on his face. His voice boomed towards them.

"Impressive display, for a human. But he was, in the end, weak. Much like the rest of you."

He raised his palm.

"NO!" Locke jumped up, ignoring the pain surging through her body. Clenching her hand in the air, she raised two rocky pillars up from the ground, sending them towards the demon.

He released the same green energy used earlier, easily demolishing Locke's projectiles.

"Manipulation of the Earth. How rudimentary." He held his fist up. Locke levitated in the air, against her will. She held her throat, choking. Dean's yellow eyes flashed with rage.

"You put her down!" He ran at the demon, moving so quickly that he blurred in and out of Jack's field of vision. He suddenly appeared just behind and to the right of the demon, launching a furious right hook. The demon flashed out of view for a brief moment. When he reappeared, he was facing Dean, holding his foe's extended arm in the air, chuckling.

"I always forget how slow you humans are." With an almost imperceptible flick of the wrist, he snapped Dean's forearm in two.

His scream could be heard for miles. Satisfied, the demon tossed him aside, turning his attention back to Locke, who was gathering strength for another attack. To Jack, she looked entirely spent, which was apparent both in her hollow expression and inability to gather a force powerful enough to affect the demon. Raising a fist, the demon picked her up with ease and threw her against the side of a nearby building.

Jack surveyed the field, panicking.

Locke...Dean...they're done for. What do I do?!

Then he remembered the power the leader had transferred to him upon his death. Jack focused, searching his mind for the locked door that held whatever it was that was bestowed to him. Much like he had earlier, he imagined finding this door, and opening it, releasing what was within. To his amazement, it resulted in a huge blast of yellow energy firing from his hand, which he wasn't prepared for in the least. In what can best be described as an act of friendly fire, Jack flew into the air, the blast from his own outburst propelling him. Strangely enough, the energy didn't damage him. Indeed, to Jack, it felt as though it were healing him, making him stronger.

He landed on both feet. Slowly and deliberately, he raised his head and glared at the demon.

I can do this.

"Oh, so the runt has some fight in him after all? This should be interesting." The demon raised his palm, and much as he did against the leader, sent green energy arcing towards Jack.

Not this time. 

Jack tapped into the energy used during his misfire. His hands glowed yellow. He reached up and caught the green energy in midair, inspecting it, and then throwing it off into the distance towards the invading forces, resulting in an explosion equivalent to some smaller air-to-surface missiles.  

The demon's expression was priceless. "You...that cannot...what?"

Jack's face beamed with a smile that could only come from being full of glee.

Not to buy into my own legend or anything, but I really am kind of awesome! Now...if I do this right...

He fired beams of energy at Locke and Dean, healing them back to full health.

There we go!

The two formerly downed companions rose, dusting themselves off and wiping the blood from their mouths.

"What you just did should not be possible." Locke stood there, stunned, as did Dean.

Jack broke the silence.

"Are you guys going to help me deal with this goon or not?" They both seemed slow to respond, but remembering the urgency of the situation, quickly nodded in approval.

"Follow my lead!"

Jack gathered his energy, at least half of it from what he could tell, and launched it at the demon. The beam must have moved at a speed imperceptible to his foe, as he just stood there incredulously while the attack rammed into him, hurling him backwards like a ragdoll. He continued flying backwards until Dean appeared behind him, swiftly launching a full-powered punch to the back of his skull. Jack heard an audible snap. As the demon switched course, now moving forwards, Locke launched another pillar of rock, this time shaped into what could best be described as an earthen javelin. It raced towards the enemy at breakneck speed, aimed directly at his chest. After a split second, it hit, tearing through the demon's flesh and destroying several vital organs.

The javelin, probably at the bidding of Locke's powers, remained embedded inside of the chest cavity. Jack delivered the final blow by facing the demon, now flying towards him, and launching one final blast of energy that terminated its inertia and tore away several layers of flesh, ripping off one of its horns and disfiguring its limbs. He hovered above the floor for a moment, possibly as a side effect of Locke's telekinesis, then dropped to the ground, hitting it with an crunch.

Jack, Locke, and Dean sauntered up to the corpse, inspecting their handiwork. The demon was in far worse shape than the leader had ever been.

Locke looked up to Jack.

"Those abilities...the leader's energy unlocked your potential. But the change was not permanent. How do you feel?"

Locke was right. Jack could feel that the powers allowing him to dismantle the demon were already receding, back into the obscure crevice in his mind from whence it came.

" felt like that power was could it be gone?"

Locke smiled.

"Child, that power is yours, but you were never meant to access it this early. That you controlled it with such ease,without damaging yourself or us, speaks to your natural talents. The leader's boon granted you temporary control over some of your potential."

Unusually quiet, Dean finally piped up. "Still think I could have taken him myself..."

Jack couldn't tell for sure, but he thought he saw Locke roll her eyes.

There's still the matter of the invading force...

"You are correct," replied Locke.

They surveyed the invasion and the battle surrounding it, still ongoing in spite of their meteoric confrontation with the demon. Though the soldiers no longer seemed to have as much of an edge as they used to with their general vanquished, they still held an immense numerical advantage over Jack's compatriots.

"So, any ideas?" asked Dean.

I can still feel some of that power in me...will it be enough? 

The trio stared ahead, unsure of what to do about the cataclysmic struggle raging before them.

A few paces away, the demon's corpse began to smolder, its latent energy enveloping its body, quickly turning it to ash.

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About The Author

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Nicholas Garcia (M.A.) is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Davis. He is also a Co-Founder of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies. Previously, he contributed to and the Davis Humanities Institute.