Best I could tell, Mr. Jacob Meizel was going to collect his newspaper, prim and tidy at the end of his driveway. He took a long deep breath of the new morning air, enjoying his time as a free man, listening for the early morning calls of the American Robin. That's pretty much as far as he got. There were a few seconds of undecided standing about at the end of his driveway, turning to head back towards his house as I barreled into that man at full tilt. Swirling as something of a poltergeist, something of a regular spirit, I was too angry and wandering too close around blind rage to care. His slippers were left on the edge of the driveway as I punted his murdering self into the grass, following through as a full Colus spirit and pressing him heavy against the dirt with a delirious snarl. Even if he couldn't see me, I'm pretty sure I knocked his senses far past the end of this block, at least.
"YOU!" I snarled at him as the man writhed around in utter shock, trying to push himself back up, trying to see exactly who I was, trying to understand this situation at all. He'd hear me, though, I knew that for certain. "You murdering son of a bitch!" I dropped from the full Colus form, grabbing him by his dingy t-shirt, dragging his struggling self, and slammed him into the white Greek columns that held up his foyer. The older man gasped for air a few more times, still in complete shock.
"What...what's...." He looked around panicked, so i grabbed the side of his face and forced it to look me straight in the eye.
"You murdered a friend of mine. You may have escaped the legal system, but you're sure as hell not going to weasel out of what you did!" I said it loud enough for him to hear it, loud enough for any spirit or angel or anything in the mile area to hear it. I can bellow when need be, and i was using it now.
Jacob Meizel's eyes went wide, wriggling out of my grasp as he fell heavy onto the dirt. I stood there furiously, watching him desperately scoot away, getting some sort of satisfaction at watching him panic and shudder in fear. Scrambling back to his feet, he ducked completely around me, kicking up strands of grass as he blazed a streak into the lawn. Snarling, eyes tiny and consise, I watched him go, watched him partially slam the door close and shriek in terror inside. Heaving for breath, I calmly spotted his slippers, walking towards the end of the driveway on my own. I can't remember just how I was feeling, it was like a like swimming in a bowl of confetti, with each color representing an intense, unhappy emotion. They poked and struck me with such disarray, that the entire event felt like a muddy, gray slop of anger, being the most common emotion in the bunch.
Picking up those slippers, I made sure to hold them out in front of me, slowly ambling up the driveway. His face was plastered on the inside of his living room windows, watching this mysterious, floating set of slippers creep up the driveway. The closer I got, the louder I could hear him screech, sating at least a little of my utter need to show retribution to this murderous, sick person. But not by much. Standing in front of the door I let the slippers drop, storming through the oak to seethe angrily on his welcome mat. The cinematic terror was not lost on the old man, wailing out like a siren, curled up tiny on his couch, phone in hand.
"Don't....Don't hurt me...Please!" he held the phone out towards me like a cross, trying to ward me away. Wouldn't have worked either way.
"You beg for mercy after you've taken my friends life? Did Ian beg for his when you shot him dead?" I stormed closer, fists clenched up like I'd beat him to death. I was considering it. " What makes you think you deserve any sort of mercy after what you did? What entitles you to a fate better then what you chose for someone else?" I started to tear up, biting my lip and digging deeper to continue on. The man balled up tighter on the couch.
"What are you?!" He looked around my general area, still not getting the picture. I'd be happy to fill him in, popping into the poltergeist form for punctuation on the message. He didn't react that way, though. He un-curled from the couch, standing up straight and tall to look into my fire-burning eyes. Reaching out a hand to touch me, his face suddenly crinkled up in disgust." Oh.... you're just a woman..." Snarling again, i socked the old man across the face, sending him back to the couch in a heartbeat.
"I'm the person you're going to answer to for the murder of my friend." I hissed lowly, taking a step closer as the old man was finally catching the hint. "You killed him! You shot Ian Cadewin, Didn't you?" The old man kept his mouth shut, gingerly rubbing the side of his face . I didn't need him to answer, it was plain to see that he had, just by his stance, by his attitude, but the way his eyes darted at the ground in submission. I snorted another breath out in anger, sick of the dawdling, sick of avoiding the topic.
"Didn't you?!" I shouted louder as he kept his eyes averted. Fine. I didn't need for him to answer. But the old man surprised me.
"Yes. I shot and killed Ian Cadewin" he said quietly, seemingly less afraid, more sad. It took me off guard, seeing the full image for the first time. Of some old man, in some old house, cowering in terror and freely admitting his mistake. In the papers he came off as this pompous ass, happy about what he did, happy to cheat the system and flash that fact in everyone's face. I frowned, seething a little less, more confused. "I didn't mean to, though. I didn't do it on purpose." He spoke just above a whisper. I tried to figure it a ploy, a diversion, an act of self-pity in order for me to take less of a measure against him. Not that I was sure what I'd do anyways. Maybe I was figuring on just beating him up. Maybe I wanted him to turn himself in, something like that. But with each sentence he went on, it became more obvious that I needed to learn about what happened, learn about the situation. I stood a little taller, opened my hands up to lean away in confusion.
"How did you kill a man without doing it on purpose?" I whispered hoarsely, already feeling the Poltergeist clock start to tick down as the old man looked back up to me, then away quickly.
"There...there was a figure, I got scared." The old man looked around, worried, trying to piece the event together himself as he talked about it. "He was just standing there, gun in hand, watching me as I slept. " My ears swept back, confused. That didn't sound anything like the little boy I had looked after years ago. Didn't sound like anything he'd ever do.
"He was just standing there. I thought he was a burglar, I took the gun from the nightstand..." He kept rambling on, tearing up as he talked about it. I took a step back, baffled by the situation. This was....this.... there was something very different, very wrong here. He continued on, " I didn't mean to shoot him in the chest, I tried to aim for his leg, or his hand, I forget which. But my elbow caught on the bedsheets and I shot a lot higher then I meant to." I spoke words I never thought I'd have to.
"Ian was trying to kill you?" I shook my head, barely grasping reality, mind confused and blocked up by what I knew, and what had become. "Why? What motivation did he have for such a thing?" I quickly dropped out of the poltergeist form, stumbling around a little, bewildered. This was wrong, this wasn't real, this couldn't be the true story. But the old man's face told he he was speaking the truth, that he was was not proud about what he did. He continued on, even with my visual absence.
" I got in a car accident some years back, I was coming home from working a double shift, too tired. I didn't mean to hit them, I didn't mean to..." He stopped, hand plopped on the top of his head, feeling just the way I did. Watching his face, watching the reaction, the pieces fell together on their own.
"You killed her too." I said airily, popping back into the real world to make sure my words were heard. "You killed Amber Cadewin too?" The man looked back over to me quickly, before back away, nodding just barely. The rest of the world I stood on dropped out from under me as Meizel was quick to try and defend himself.
"I didn't know she died! I only knew that she'd been injured, that she was taken away by an ambulance. She died some weeks later in the hospital, it's their fault! It's their responsibility to keep people alive, it's not my fault! I'm not to blame for two deaths, I'm not the bad guy here, I'm not! I didn't know, I didn't..." He stopped, putting both hands over his mouth as he wheezed in panic, shaking badly as he tried to fight back. "And who are you? You think you can just come in here and ... and push me around, that you can blame me?" I grew angry again; before striking a similar chord in this whole mess. I suddenly saw the situation a lot clearer.
I only saw an old man, angry and confused, trying to shield himself from the blame of what he did, trying to rationalize it. I saw the torment he lived in most of the time, saw a slip of his true hell he lived in. He wasn't smug. Wasn't arrogant or proud of what he did; he was in hell. The real hell, something far more true and actual then the circus I ran below ground. I leaned heavy against the wall, trying to find a foothold somewhere.
"Nothing to say to that, huh? Ian was your friend? Were you a little hoodlum like he was?" the man bragged as I suddenly snarled.
"Cut the ego shit, old man." I looked back at him, back to seething. "I can turn into a big fucking monster, so don't push me." Taking a step closer, the old man fell back into the agreeable line, willing to divulge information in exchange for me not tearing him limb from limb.
" What do you mean hoodlum?" I continued on, eyes narrow.
"He was a bad egg! A bad seed. That kid had a record with the police a mile long." He started angry, nasty until I glared a little harder, the rest of the sentence ending up more like stated fact then opinion. The old man's voice slipped in volume, muttering the rest, "He was a resident trouble-maker for this town. "
"You think that had anything to do with you killing his mom?" I growled, expecting opposition. "You think there could be any possible relation between the events, you dumb shit?" The old man looked away, shaking his head quickly while still muttering under his breath, in another mindset, another memory.
"He said something, was whispering something when he stood there. I didn't realize it at the time what it was, I just heard something from the shadows" Jacob Meizel's eyes tracked back and forth, back to being scared and disbelieving. I leaned closer as the pause started to grow unbearable, waiting, waiting for a clue, a hint, waiting for information.
"AND?" I finally spit out, anxious. The old man looked away.
"He was apologizing, over and over again. He kept saying' I'm so sorry, please forgive me. '" My body froze up, weight of true emotion starting to weight down on me as he continued on, " When I finally turned on the light after everything had happened, there had been tears in his eyes."
My soul sunk deeper and deeper, pulling away from itself as sorrow and grief grew to be too much. I couldn't deal with this. I couldn't understand it, I didn't want to accept that it had happened. I wanted to keep on thinking that I could just meet up with him, that I'd find him in a different town, fine, healthy, happy to see me. Or that this was all just a horrible, poorly thought out dream brought on by stress. I just wanted something else. I didn't want it to end like this.
Looking at Meizel's eyes one more time, looking around the house, realizing the bedroom was just slightly off to my left, i needed to leave. I had more questions. I had more answers I needed. I just couldn't take it any longer. After everything, after the stress of yesterday, after the stress of this morning, after scouring that house from stem to stern for hours and hours, and after finally realizing that he'd been buried in the cemetery that I used to wander though, I couldn't do it. Things had collided too abruptly, had dropped the waking world around my feet in seconds. Looking around, dropping from the poltergeist form and straight into the Colus, I bolted. I didn't care where.
After spending at least half the day keeled over onto my side in a miscellaneous field, I came to two conclusions.
1. This sucked.
2. I should be able to find him again in my realm sometime soon. Most ghosts take around 3-4 years before they get to their senses, gain their awareness back, and start trying to do things on their own. Except for me and my sisters, being out of the loop, we could pretty much get our stuff back together pretty much immediately. But for everyone else, it was 3-4 years. That eased my mood slightly. Just slightly.
Immediately from Jacob Meizel's house, I wanted to check at the police station, wanted to make sure it was true; if he had a record with them, it should still be in their visible files. Except it wasn't. After a similar debacle with that computer system, and trying to scream at the administrative assistant to look up Ian Cadewin, I found his file. And the old man was correct. There were a lot of charges for theft, spitting on a police officer, panhandling; times spent in a juvenile corrections facility, the works. The image they had on file was a little jarring; a slightly older image, it looked like Raziel was on the screen. The similarity between the two gave me the chills. Except his hair was a sort of Blondish-brownish color, still had the thick eyebrows, with the nose and the chin a little differently. But everything else harped unusually close. Everything. The height and weight were similar, the sort of "i don't give a shit go ahead and take a picture" look was the same, everything. Like peering at a ghost. By a ghost. The irony wasn't lost on me.
Frowning , more depressed then before, I flew whatever way my body would carry me, landing and crumpling in a field somewhere nondescript, happy to spend the day there. Though with the coming of the night, with the list of things to do, I finally pulled myself back to my feet. I'd see him soon. That helped out a lot. If i apologized, if i cracked at it, worked hard to make sure he could see how horribly sorry i felt, it might work out. The fact that he didn't leave any sort of note, nothing like that, still worried me. But I'd see him soon.
Unless he went to heaven. Which it wouldn't be impossible for me to visit there, it'd just be filled with mass hysteria and pandemonium every time my lanky demon self would go strolling amongst the clouds. So him dying... was a devastating blow, I felt hopelessly empty because of that . But I'd see him again. That raised my spirits.
Ambling like a worn down workhorse, I fell back through the layers of hell, back towards the Moirae plot. There'd be some time between when he came back, which gave me time to resolve all my other issues, sort of like cleaning house and making everything was perfect for his arrival. I'd make sure that it was, I'd make everything perfect; as my guest of honor, he should feel cared for, even if I never bothered to drag my ass out of Greece/ Canada to do so when he was alive.
Flapping my wings haphazardly, I slowed down for a perfect landing at the end of the lot. The 'front yard' of the estate was rather huge, at last a couple dozen acres of flat, presentable rock with a few overhanging stalactites, surrounded by the river Styx, lighting up the whole cavern nicely. The outside was always more gloomy then the inside, and coming to land on the end now, I could see someone shoved all the dead bodies into the river, 'mowed the lawn' so to speak. The burned in red Colus patterns remained though, acting like fancy edging into our granite flooring.
I hit the ground, swaying down tiredly as I popped out of the Colus form, war mask already over my face to make the long trek back to the front door. I felt like I needed to assert my dominance over this patch of ground, needed to stride with my head held high, start to patch my cracked and disrupted career. The high-stepping prance stopped a few footsteps in, frowning. Perseus.
He wasn't doing anything, he was just waiting there, sword out, looking at the end of the lot. he didn't move, so for all I knew, he had slept there or something, waiting for me to come back to try and take my seat once again. Leaning a little from side to side, he didn't follow my moves. So i stood there, scratching my head, tilting it a little to the side. He was just standing there, in the middle of the plot- I'll give him the credit that he was trying this attack thing rather soon. That he didn't have any followers with him this time, just his assistant. I was kinda hoping he'd been wiped out with the first round, but I guess somewhere in that heap of injured souls, he was one of them.
But it hadn't even been 24 hours yet, and again he was ready to fight me. With a few annoyed breaths, I walked straight towards him, eyes flat. We were about fifty yards apart; as soon as he realized I was heading for him he stood up taller/woke up, bringing the sword back to point straight at my head. In retribution, I raised my right arm halfway, clenched my fist, and kept that pointed for his noggin. It was the only weapon I'd need against this sorry sack of annoyance and shame.
"Perseus wishes to fight you one on one. No tricks" The assistant said lowly as I kept walking for him at a relaxed pace, keeping my hand up. " So, no mass extinctions of your own people. Think you can gather enough dignity to keep from doing that?"
I didn't respond, didn't verbally fight back, didn't bother to pull the mask back from my face. I knew this opponent now, knew something of his fighting style. It was dull and simple, and easy to predict and return from. I didn't need the Colus for this. The assistant responded again, tone much higher, more worried.
"What do you have in your hand? What are you doing?" He turned back to his leader, whispering something at his mask as he quickly whispered something back. Rolling my eyes, I kept straight for them, only about twenty yards away now. I mean, he even saw when my hand was open, i didn't magically put something into my clenched fist. Idiot. "No tricks! Nothing like that! You promised!"
"I didn't promise shit." I said tiredly, still walking for them both as the assistant was visually worried, backing off. Perseus remained where he stood stubbornly, but I could see his heels raising off the ground, readying to jump back if need be. I clenched my hand a little tighter, trying to remember those lessons taught forever and a half ago; put pressure on your leading foot, keep your hands up, turn and twist your wrist before you hit the target. I smiled with nostalgia. Thankfully the only thing the two idiots saw were my eyes, squeezing tight like I was planning on disassembling them all over again. Which they both proved they could heal themselves, so i don't know why it was such a big problem to begin with.
"No tricks! This dual doesn't count if you pull tricks!"
"I didn't ask for a goddamn dual, you're just here on my front porch. " I spoke a little louder, just a few yards from them now. "You don't want 'tricks' then fucking leave. It's that simple" I kept my hand raised up, aiming for that stupid looking demon mask with the brightly painted teeth and fabricated horns. It was just creepy to look at. The assistant turned back to Perseus, shaking.
"Get it! Attack now before she does something!" He looked at me before back to him. I almost laughed as the demon mask was turned now, glaring back at the assistant, without eyes or any real emotion,he got the noisy little windbag to shut up immediately.
"Sorry my lord. Sorry." the assistant muttered under his breath, looking away. Something caught my eyes- a swatch of very dark, nearly black hair that was visible, just on the side of the mask. My suspicion was cranked up to 11 in a heartbeat.
The only person I knew like that was Paul. But...something told me it wasn't, I don't know if it was the stance, the fighting style, what it was. I had been incredibly close with the man for almost 700 years, i knew everything about him. And this guy just didn't have those qualities. Maybe it really was just some random demon, someone new. Or maybe Paul learned to walk like a gangly fighter, i don't know.
Resuming my trudging walk with my hand pre-locked back for a punch, Perseus faced back towards me, holding the sword higher up. I kept walking anyways. One step, just out of range, just in front of the sword. Take another step, and he suddenly struck like a blur. Stopping, looking to my hand, it suddenly dropped from my wrist in an incredibly clean cut. I'd be lying to say I wasn't just the tiniest bit impressed. For at least a few seconds.
"Maybe now you can see the power Perseus possesses, you corrupt dem--" I punched Perseus in the face with my bloody stump anyways, sending the little pest stumbling back and dropping his sword. Grinning, I walked away at my normal pace, not a bit faster then that as the Assistant dropped the rambling speech, rushing over to help his fallen master " Demon lord! Are you okay? Did she..." it sounded like more rustling, more scuffling as I turned slightly around, still walking ahead. I could see Perseus sort of punching the assistant, kicking him in the back as he tried to get back to his feet, rubbing the front of his mask like it was the actual forehead.
I rolled my eyes again.
"Go away." I growled back to them, shaking my hand out as it reformed everything as it had been, wiggling my fingers as the last bit of skin covered it all. I shook my head in disbelief all the way back to the estate.