But not dead. How the hell would she kill it? She dared not let it go - she didn't know anything about it's abilities except it healed fast.
She pulled one of her snakes around. "Hey! Are you guys still sleeping?" Nothing. Great. Wait, she thought. What was it they said again? Something... I was their vessel? Are they the ones doing the magic shit or am I? It can't hurt to try, yeah? In the old movies it was the eyes that did, right? Okay...
She stared at the creatures face and then tried widening her eyes. Nothing. Then she tried the same thing with her hand on its face. Still nothing. She clawed his other eye out in spite.
"Hey, wait. Do I even need to do anything like that?" She grabbed his head and twisted hard, hearing it snap. "Hah! Killed you, fu..." It was still breathing. "Fucking... All right."
Victoria took a breath and looked around. Oddly enough, there was still nobody else on the road. She stared at the Trask. "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Change to stone... ummm... you must!" Nothing. "Goddammit! If you tell anyone about that one... Why am I even threatening you?"
She tried grabbing the creature and pulling its head off but even straining she couldn't do it. She tried all the childish magical incantations she could remember and nothing worked. She yelled, she screamed, she pleaded. Nothing. Then she watched in disbelief as its head reattached itself properly. Both eyes were whole again so she pulled them back out.
"What fucking pact? You lazy bastards." Victoria closed her eyes and breathed deeply. "Things. Whatever you things are. I was told we have a deal. I don't know what it is but I need you to keep your end of it. I need this to work. This thing wants to kill me and I don't want it to kill me. It's simple. Help me out here."
She opened her eyes again. Nothing. She frowned and almost started yelling except something moved at the corner of her eye. When she turned to look for it, it was gone. There again, at the corner of the other, something else small and moving. She turned again but nothing was there. She closed her eyes again. "All right. Hah hah. You've had your fun. Now I'm going to open my eyes in a few seconds. When I do, I expect to see something. Ready?"
She opened her eyes and they were there.
Small motes of light, everywhere. Floating lazily, shooting from one place to another, doing spirals around each other or just hovering in place. Little things of every color imaginable - brown, green, blue, grey, red... she couldn't keep track of them. Quite a few danced around her body but none of them touched the creature she was holding. Ones that got too close turned black and fizzled away. The world was full of shining lights. They danced away as she tried to grab one or two. She felt little tugs on her body as if tiny little hands were pulling gently on her skin.
"I... Okay, I wasn't expecting that. Thank you. No, really, thank you. Now the hard part. The next hard part. What do I do? I want to turn this thing to stone and my little helpers are useless. I..." She remembered the words. There was always a sacrifice. She grimaced and placed her hand on the creature. "Okay. Listen to me. Take what you need - just the bare minimum - and turn this fucking thing into stone. I... give myself to you."
At first there was nothing. Then, she felt her snakes stir. They made no sound but they rose up and arrayed themselves, facing the monster. Here and there gray and brown lights streamed toward her. A few at first and then more and more in a rush. They hovered in a huge makeshift ball of brown and gray. She stared at them.
"Do it." She said. She felt the pulse from her snakes and immediately wanted to sleep. She was suddenly so tired. Her head swayed but she kept herself up. The little lights streamed to the Trask. Haha! She thought. I did it! Score one for human...
Just at the last moment the lights diverted and flowed behind the creature. She cursed and turned to watch them. The broken stick was on its side close to the road. The little lights flooded it and Victoria watched one of the last two segments turn to stone. She wanted to cry in frustration. Now she noticed a thin light brown line between the creature and the stick. Little pockets of light traveled back and forth across the line.
She broke the thing's neck again and dropped him. When he didn't move, she went to the stick and picked it up. The line moved with the stick and stayed attached to the monster. When she tried breaking it, she could only break off the stone apart - the wooden part wouldn't even bend. Small sparks of light popped around the edge of the wood. They were smaller than the creatures floating around her and flashed brilliantly before vanishing again. She thought for a moment or two, winding and unwinding her tail to work the muscles out from holding the monster for so long.
The problem is, she thought, I think I can only do this once more before passing out. If I do it again, the stick takes the hit and I pass out. Then the monster kills me. I can't break the stick, so... I wonder...
Victoria brought the strange stick back over to the creature and stared at it. It was drooling again and one of its eyes was healed. She rubbed her side to feel the punctures and sore muscles. She looked at the stick, then at the creature again. At least she was prettier than it was. As she watched, it drew itself slowly into a ball.
"Damned if I do..." She jammed the stick in the empty eye socket. The creature jerked reflexively but made no other move. Victoria moved back, rearing up on her tail. "Okay, little ones. I'm going to do that again. I'd appreciate it if you can leave me enough to stay awake." She tried willing the gray and black lights to come forward. Again, she felt her snakes lift from her shoulders to glare at the monster on the ground.
"Hey, thing. I hope you're awake now. I hope you feel this. Well, shit. Actually I just hope it works. If it does then, good bye. I hope there's a hell for things like you." The snakes were dancing on her head, weaving a pattern. Gray and brown lights were gathering again, faster than last time.
"Hey, look at me. Maybe..." The pulse from the snakes dropped her to the ground. "Fuuuuuuuuuuu..." she coughed. Her body felt like it weighed tons. She could barely lift her head to look at the Trask.
The lights were flooding the stick. She held her breath as she watched. The monster's other eye twitched over to look at the lights and she was she sure heard it rumbling again.
"Work. Work, damn you." She whispered as her sweat and blood mixed with the dirt under her face.
The last piece of the stick turned gray and she almost lost hope until she saw the eye socket darken. And then the nose. It's mouth opened to scream or curse or do something but then froze, a rasping gasp escaping concrete gray lips.
Victoria smiled and started laughing.
Elizabeth woke naked on her hotel floor. Sunlight filtered through the window next to her. Her head was pounding and her tongue felt thick in her mouth. She choked and spit a thick wad of blood on the carpet next to her. She felt so cold.
Something was shrieking in her brain. She tried to cover her ears but it only helped a little bit. Nothing made sense to her. She rolled to her back and stared at the ceiling, trying to care about the noise. She could feel the nipples on her small breasts hardening in the cool air. She wanted to roll into the sun but she was tired, so tired. Her eyes closed and she slept again.
Voices woke her a short time later. Voices far too loud and some repetitive squeaky noise that sent shivers down her spine. She sat up and winced at the feeling in her stomach. She stared stupidly at the thick wiry black hair covering her pussy and her small, pointed breasts. Something was important about this but she couldn't understand what. She blinked and sat, staring. The voices were laughing. Loud. Too loud. Clanking, rubbing, metal grinding against metal or plastic until she couldn't take any more. Her head was killing her.
She stood and walked to the noise. She had to do something to make it stop. She swayed and bumped into the overturned desk, catching herself on its edge. The door to her room was slightly open. She focused on it. Wait, she thought. Where am I? This isn't home.
Realization hit her suddenly. She was in a hotel room. Her door was open. She was naked. Gasping, she rushed to her door just as it was being pushed open further.
"House cleaning!" A female voice called out. Elizabeth wanted to scream at the person. It sounded like the woman was standing at her shoulder with their mouth at her ear, yelling as loudly as she could. "Excuse me. House cleaning!"
Elizabeth got her hand on the door before it could be pushed open more. The voice on the other side gasped and the door stopped moving. "Ai! You scared me." The voice told her through the crack. "Do you need your room cleaned?"
"NO!" Elizabeth yelled and grimaced at the sound. "No, I'm... I'm fine. I don't... The room is fine." She peeked around the corner to look at the woman. "I just accidentally left the door open. Thank you, I'm fine."
The other woman, an older Mexican lady in a crisp white outfit, took a step back and raised a hand to her neck. "Mother of God! Please, are you okay?" Her eyes were wide and white.
"I'm fine, thank you. Just... just go. I'll leave a tip the next time. Tomorrow. Thank you." Elizabeth slammed the door shut and almost cried as the sound drilled into her ears. She latched the door and leaned against it with her eyes closed until she heard the woman leaving.
When she opened her eyes again she saw the trail of blood leading to the door.
She didn't understand at first. Of course there couldn't be any blood here. Of course it's not blood, she told herself. She looked at herself again. She was covered in blood. Panicking, she ran to the bathroom to look in the mirror. From head to toe she was nearly completely covered in blood. Her face was a terrible mask of red. No wonder the woman was terrified.
"Oh god. She's going to tell someone." Elizabeth said. Her voice trembled and sounded odd in her ears. She rushed back out and realized the room was in shambles. The bed was broken into pieces with the blanket, pillow and sheets shredded. The chairs and desk were wrecked with deep grooves cut into the top of the desk. On the floor next to the desk was a puddle of blood in the vague shape of a human -- much larger than she was but still human shaped. She walked to it unsteadily. A smaller spot of red was nearby and she knelt to look at it.
There was a very small white rod shaped thing and... and... She knelt closer, feeling waves of nausea nearly overpower her. There was a whole fingernail in the small pile of blood. She quickly checked her own fingers but she had all of her fingernails. It wasn't hers. The other thing... she touched it carefully. The other thing was a piece of bone. Her stomach heaved and she vomited again, covering the small pile of blood and part of the larger pile. She turned away from what came up.
She held her stomach and leaned against the wall. "I have to get out of her. They'll come. They'll come for me."
She suddenly heard laughter and some woman's squeal of delight. A man's voice. "Do...know... do to you..." It was twisted and broken but she heard parts. She couldn't tell where it came from. From somewhere else came the squawk of a radio with a voice she couldn't hear.
"FUCK YOU!" She screamed. "My life! Fuck you!" The clothes she wore to bed were in tatters on the floor around the desk. She found her suitcase under a piece of the bed and dug through frantically, putting on whatever she could find. She zipped up the suitcase and ran for the door, almost opening it before she remembered her face.
She dropped the suitcase and ran to the bathroom, scrubbing and washing until the sink water was a light pink rather than dark red. She had things between her teeth so she brushed with plain water to get rid of them. She ran out again and only barely remembered to grab her purse before leaving.
She heard two more radios and distinctly heard her room number among the chatter. It took two grabs to open the door. She ran into the hallway and stopped. There was a uniformed security guard at the far end of hallway holding a radio to his ear.
Elizabeth could hear the radio as if it was next to her own ear. "... advise caution. Occupant is described as behaving erratically and may be violent. Repeat..." There was an odd whine to the pitch of the voice on the radio. Elizabeth stopped, staring at the man. The guard stopped as well, staring at her.
"Ms... Ms. Mori?" He asked. "We'd like to have a word with... Wait!"
Elizabeth ran, pulling her suitcase behind her. She turned the corner for the stairs and her suitcase caught on the railing. She cursed and tugged but was still moving and almost fell down the stairs. She could hear the security guard running. She could actually hear his breathing and some other noise as well. She smelled sour sweat and putrid breath mints and knew it wasn't her. She screamed wordlessly and left the suitcase, bounding down the stairs. Her purse slammed against her side over and over.
"Stop! We just want to talk! Ms. Mori! Elizabeth! Stop!" The security guard called.
She ran on, skipping steps as fast as she dared. Reaching the bottom, she slammed the security door open and almost fell when the security alarm went off. She shielded her eyes against the sudden bright light and ran on, stumbling through a bush and out onto the sidewalk. The air outside smelled like chemicals and death.
She ran, the impact of her bare feet on the rough sidewalk sending small jolts of pain up her legs. People yelled out as she pushed them aside. One man cursed her. She picked random streets and alleys until she thought she lost the guard. He wouldn't leave the hotel, she told herself. He wouldn't. He's a hotel security guard, not a cop.
Her stomach ached from the running. She leaned against the wall of the alley, unsure of where she was. Sounds assaulted her but her mind was reeling from what happened so she didn't pay attention to them. A sharp pain on her foot caused her to look down. Her foot was bleeding into a puddle of black, oily water. She reached down and picked a large piece of glass out of the bottom of her foot. She wanted to scream again but tried to calm herself down.
"They have a copy of my license at the hotel. They know who I am. I need... I need..." She took a deep shuddering breath. "I need to get some different clothes and shoes and get cleaned up. Susan. Susan lives near here. She can help me." She dug through her purse until she found her cell phone. Miraculously, she still had half a charge on it. She quickly dialed her friend's number and prayed.
Five rings later, a voice greeted her. She hissed at how loud the volume was and held the phone away from her ear. "Susan? Susan, hi! It's Elizabeth. Yes, Lizzy. Right. Hi! No, I'm fine. Yeah. Yes. Look, I'm actually in town and... That's right. No, just last night. For work. Listen, could I stay with you tonight? We could... we could catch up? Really? Oh, thank you. No, I'll catch a taxi. I have your address in my phone. Thank you. I'll... I'll see you soon. Good bye!"
Elizabeth cried in relief. She leaned against the wall and held her stomach, sobbing at what had become of her life. When she was better, she wiped her eyes and looked around the alley. She spotted a dirty rag around a pipe and pulled it off to tie around her foot. It didn't seem to hurt unless she touched it. A quick look on the map program of her phone told her where the nearest cheap shoe store was. She peeked around the corner of the alley and slowly made her way there, thankfully just a few blocks away.
Slowly she became aware of the voices around her. She could hear people more easily than before. Conversations just two blocks away were clear. Further away she could hear bits and pieces as if whispered. Something was odd about the voices but she could still hear them. A police siren roared nearby and her heart almost stopped. She forced herself to keep walking.
The clerk in the shoe store frowned at her when she entered but Elizabeth ignored her. "I... I lost my shoes and hurt my foot. I just... I just need to pick up a new pair. I have money. I'm not... I'm not a homeless person. I have money." Her face flushed in shame.
A memory of her parents came to her while she walked to the women's section. "Don't embarrass us and don't embarrass yourself. Don't stand out. Don't attract attention. Don't bother making friends."
It had been her first day at her new high school - the third one so far. Her father had to move a lot for his job. At the last school, a girl she thought was her friend loaned her a skirt to wear at school. It was very short but her friend swore it would make her pretty - make the boys be interested in her. She believed her and wore it, wondering why later she heard other kids laughing. It wasn't until a teacher pulled her aside and told her the skirt was showing off her panties that she understood. Her "friend" had been laughing with everyone else. She was called into the principal's office and her parents had to pick her up. They moved soon after that.
Boys had never looked at her twice because she was so skinny and short. The one time she'd let a boy touch her, he'd bitten her lip trying to kiss her and laughed when he put his hand up her shirt. She ran from him but he told everyone that he'd fucked her and that she took it up the ass - begged to be fucked in the ass because her pussy was too loose. No girl talked to her after that and all the boys grinned at her and grabbed their crotches. She thought about killing herself but her family moved again a few weeks later.
Since then she'd kept to herself. She never really trusted anyone and never really made friends. She sat in the back, did her homework and never spoke to anyone. She did well enough in school and graduated from the local college with honors but nobody remembered her.
Don't embarrass yourself. Don't attract attention. Be quiet and good.
The clerk stood at the end of the aisle watching her as she looked for shoes. Elizabeth stole a glance at her and then bent back to the shoes. She found a pair of running shoes that looked reasonable and she grabbed a pair of white ankle socks to go with them.
She doesn't have to look at me like that, she thought. I have money. I told her that. I told her I have money. Why does she have to glare at me? I didn't do anything to her. I'm not a crazy... I'm not a crazy person. I don't know what happened but it wasn't me. I'll figure this out. It wasn't... Why is she staring at me?
She walked to the counter and put the shoes and socks in front of the clerk. The clerk said nothing but scanned both items. Her eyes are suspicious, Elizabeth thought. She thinks something is wrong. Does she know about me? No, she couldn't or she'd call the police. Stop looking at me like that. Stop... stop doing that.
"Thirty-two fify-three." The cashier told her. The words rang loudly and wrong in Elizabeth's ears. Full of scorn. Full of hate and pity. She glared at the cashier and then looked down. She doesn't have the right, she told herself. She can't judge me. She dug through her purse to find her wallet and handed the girl her debit card.
"Thank you." The girl said, disgust loud in her voice. She rang the purchase and gave the receipt and card back to Elizabeth. "Have a nice day." She said. The sarcasm dripped from her voice.
"I... You know what? Fuck you. FUCK YOU!" Elizabeth reached out and slapped the girl hard across the face. "I'm fucking sick and tired of you people. You don't fucking know me. You don't know anything about me!"