The Plummeting Ascension

Ch.7 Barron Symateures' Soap

     It had been three days since the showdown between the Barron and the Doctor. The baron still sat in the shadows of his bunk squishing gelatinous goop that he had collected in his hands over and over until it became more solid. It smelled terrible and looked disgusting, Julius wasn’t certain if it was the goop that was making him sick or the filthy black tar that was distilling in the toilet, but he felt terrible. The Barron had been making a certain thick liquid since the fight ended, it was almost ready and every question leveled in concern about it only ended in,

“Eet be dah good good dat yee need man. Dat wicked trash man docta be brewing some bad joo joo medicine’en he aint done wit us yet man! Dat fight bee a dirty one en he bee wanting everyone to suffa for eet man.” Julius couldn’t help but be curious as magic was so much more, and so much more terrifying than he had ever thought before!

“hey Symateure, what are you doing? And why must you do it in here?”

“yee need not ask scary questions eef yee no want scary answers, eet may save yeer life or mine someday. Let dat be enough to sate yee questions.” Julius looked disgruntled, but it kept the scary giant busy and whatever it was he was working with kept other prisoners away when they were in the prison yard. He had already been attacked a few times by prisoners jealous of his meal privileges and right to not be thrown in one of the copper rooms. People hatted Julius for his special treatment but couldn’t deny the kid had skills other people tried to channel outside of a room but could only muster half a bottle before passing out. Something about the copper rooms made it easier to channel and with Julius not needing the help he quickly gained a reputation as a prison powerhouse. Though Julius was known for helping people charge their power sells and was famous for giving away his meat rations to everyone else. He did get fresh fruits and vegetables but those he never gave away.

With Filipe released into the general populous things had become more complicated as he seemed to have his own special treatment deal set up with the higher ups. And ‘Flash Fry’ as he had been dubbed was on a killing streak with zero correctional retaliation by the guards. Six people fried in three months and forty others seriously burned but left alive. A dozen other random electrocutions and burns and scalding’s and poisonings had happened, but nothing could be confirmed as to what or who was behind those instances. There were seven random knifings that left more dead bodies in strange places across the prison with no one willing to claim them. All seven had been skinned and fat was removed from them, but no one was willing to speculate. Others who knew were too frightened to talk. Flash fry was a killing machine, and everyone knew he was untouchable, he could do anything in front of the guards and get away with it for some reason. That much was very widely talked about upon Julius’ return.

“hey, Symateure if you won’t tell me about the weird gloopy stuff, what are those rings you wear on a necklace chain? How did you even get them in the prison?” Symateure touched his necklace subconsciously and smiled.

“day be all dat remains of me heart before I went crazy yee see.” His massive white toothed grin could be seen through the shadows of his little corner as he held the rings up in the light, so Julius could get a better look. The rings jingled but not with a metallic sound, stone, or something Julius wasn’t sure of, but they were a beautiful set of pink and white swirling stone or maybe pearl? “when yee love someone wit all yee heart en soul and yee lose dem, yee lose da only part of dee world dat matters. Yee lose da best of yeer self man.”

“what happened?” Symateure flinched at that question.

“me don know man, me was far away sailin to Bermuda with a great sipment of grain to trade for rum en other goods when da ring came back ta me. It jus be showin up on my finger next to dis one en dat when I realized she had passed on man. Maybe pirates, maybe demon, maybe sickness all me know is dat she faded and da magic rings bound to one another return when one of da two people in love dies. She gone now en nothin me can do even her soul be unreachable for me. Lost it all even me mind man.” He shivered and went back to packing the goop. Julius didn’t know what to say. His mouth was still open, but no sound could eek out.

“yee catchin flies dat way man. Good protean if yee lackin eet though.” Julius closed his mouth and they both had a good chuckle with that.

“so, how did you manage to keep those rings with you in this prison?”

“yee be dippin into dem scary questions again man, beware, here der bee monsters.” He winked at Julius with those scary wide-open eyes who gulped and shook off all lingering thoughts.

Julius was about to say something else when a large shadow stepped into view and slammed a heavy combat boot into the bars to make sure their attention was all his. Symateure did not look up from his goopy project and Julius sighed,

“how many this time? You keep increasing the numbers hoping it’ll kill me but I’m not going to die from channeling Woe.”

“Woe just laughed, hell kid you’re already dead you just don’t know it yet. There are no bottles today the Doc has a special request to see you about. Get your ass up and put your hands out.” He held a set of shackles and waited for Julius to do as he was told. Symateure looked puzzled and had an air of caution about him now. Julius gave one last look at his cell mate to see that it was a bar of soap that had formed in the Barons hands. Thick heavy bar of lye and lard soap. Julius chuckled at the strange hobbies of his friend and shuffled off with Woe biting at his ankles the whole way.

“what no whipping today?” said a snide Julius knowing he would pay for that but the whip was starting to hurt less and less as he became more proficient in channeling, with the new strength found Julius was becoming more obnoxious by the day especially with Woe.

“not for you, there are six hundred inmates all vying for the title of king of mongoliods. Sadly, you’re not even in the running for that.”

“sounds like you’re starting to take a liking to me Woe.” A loud crack rang out and Julius flinched and grabbed the back of his neck which was now bleeding. “I stand corrected, you are a complete retard!” Julius shrugged

“I love you too Woe.” Woe roared in rage and slammed Julius’ head into the nearest wall, with a low sharp thud. Julius’ legs buckled, and he held himself up on the railing that lined the hallways until he could feel his toes again and started walking.

“the doc will ask, and you will say you tripped in those chains and fell down the stairs.” Julius smiled and choked back a laugh,

“he only hits me because he loves me Doctor!” Woe cocked his head to one side squinting his eyes for a moment in disbelief and wrinkling his nose as if horrified by this child’s attitude. Woe stifled a laugh just before wrapping his enormous callused hands around Julius’ small neck and choking him limp. Julius tried to fight back and wiggle free, but Woe only gripped tighter and squeezed harder until he was satisfied with Julius’ suffering. Julius tried to channel and heat up but every time he tried to heat up the Doctors voice could be heard saying “obedience is freedom” the voice echoed through all of his thoughts. “you have no power unless I grant it to you” Then his magic fizzled, and he knew he was in for it. Julius was done talking for the rest of the journey with one laughing voice from a nearby cell breaking the silence by shouting out “Masochist!” repeatedly and howling with glee as he pointed and mocked. Woe looked pleased with himself and seemed to be far less stressed after the uninterrupted abuse he dished out to Julius was complete.

Finally, the Doctors office was reached, and the door was wide open with the doctor reclining on his desk as if all was well in the world. Seeing Julius as bloodied and bruised as he was the Doctor glared at Woe and dismissed him. Julius took the opportunity to laugh knowing his last comment would haunt Woe as he left the room. The doctor motioned to a comfortable looking chair, but Julius just remained standing. The last seat he had taken from the Doctor had hooks and electrified barbs and was used to convince him that using his fire abilities to heat up anything not okayed by the doctor was evil and punishable by days of total agony.

“I have wonderful news for you Mr. Amaranth, your prison sentence has been diminished due to good behavior and newly uncovered evidence in the murder investigation showing that it was less your fault than originally thought.” Rage rose in Julius’ throat, but he dared not say anything to the Doc. After all, there was something far worse about the doctor than Woe.

“so, when do I get to leave?”

“soon, there is one last job we need you to do because of your natural regeneration rate you’re really the only one we can trust to do it and not get hurt.” Julius’ eyes narrowed.

“and if I refuse?”

“you can’t refuse, I still need to sign off on your good behavior reports.” A slight smile slid across the doctor’s face and he put his hands together tapping his fingers together in poised contemplation. Julius sighed heavily, still standing he folded his arms across his body.

“how do I know you’ll actually keep your word?” The doctor looked genuinely hurt by that question.

“dear boy, have I ever given you a reason to not trust my word? When I say I’ll do something, I’ll do it.” Julius shivered with the hidden tones and meanings in that statement knowing full well the depths of what the doctor will and won’t do.

“Fine, whats this last job?” Julius looked absolutely furious but didn’t let his voice reflect it even though his eyes betrayed him and revealed his rage to the world. The doctor leaned forward and gently interlocked his fingers together in a pensive gesture.

“I thought you’d never ask.” He said in a soft warm tone. Julius’ skin crawled with the way the doctor eyed him. The doctor was like a toxic centipede, creeping and crawling everywhere and causing searing pain whenever he drew his fangs and bit down on something.

“Your job is to use your abilities to fix the leaking pipes in the storage facilities where we keep all our extra salt stashes and meet. It is indeed a very expensive problem, salt is very precious as you know, and the prison is only granted so much funding for food per month.” Julius’ stomach twisted at the thought of the dried meats in the basement level of the prison.

“So why is that so dangerous?” Julius inquired with venom dripping from his words.

“well the water leaking is quite deep now and its near to an electrical generator that may be well… slightly malfunctioning due to the exposure to damp conditions.” He looked so matter of fact and Julius suspected him of downplaying the severity of the safety issues.

“fine, show me where to go.” The doctor stood from his chair and guided Julius towards a guard “fallow him and he will take you to where you need to be.” Julius nodded and fallowed the guard wearily. The guard took him through a labyrinth of hallways with multiple security doors and I.D. card scanners until they came to a set of stainless steel doors that lead down with ominous metal grating stares. The guard was courteous enough to go first clanging down the steps they both clung to the railing for safety. The stairs steps were deep and a few inches to short making the steep dissent hazardous at best. When the guard stopped on the second to last landing he turned to face Julius who was ready for a fight only to see the man gesture towards the shimmering submerged set of stairs leading to a large open warehouse beneath the prison. The area he walked down and waded into was huge and he could plainly see the problem once inside. Two large water mains were burst at the shutoff valve and at the pipes belly ten feet away. The standing water was about three feet deep and murky. Approaching the pipes burst It was then that he felt the tingling sensation and looked to see glowing coming from behind the pipes, a small transformer room with live conduit was humming and cracking loudly. It hissed, and a voice broke his concentration causing him to shout out in surprise.

“stay away from that room kid, just seal the holes in the pipes and come back up!” Julius looked around, the guard up above was leaning over the rails to get a view of the boy down below. This had Flash Fry written all over it. Getting closer to the pipes he felt a sharp pain nagging at his joints and teeth. It was poorly lit in here with half the lights working and all of them sparking and flickering. Placing his hand on the wall for balance he brushed the railing and Julius went flying into the water a few feet away blue sparks raining down around him. His ears rung and bled, and his body became instantly stiff as he fought to stand up. Catching his breath finally he looked around ready for anything but all he heard was the guard’s laughter. His hand ached and his head was now throbbing. But he was okay for the moment. Licking his lips, he realized the water was salty, really salty, so much so it was alarming. The murky water was probably close to 60/40 solution of water and salt. Maybe more, he held his breath and leaned back in the water. It was so salty he could float rather easily, and it was warm and smelled metallic.

Fearing the approaching ambush, he closed his eyes and tried to picture those eyes, the feelings she invoked in him, the hot burning desire to see the sun and sky again. He wanted to see that girl again more than anything. How and where he did not know but he would find her somehow. Those Royal Violet colored eyes pierced through the darkness of his despair again and that sweet voice, “I hope you are well, Julius.” Echoed through his mind and he blushed feeling the heat radiate through his body and up his rosy cheeks. Julius opened his eyes then to see himself glowing, in the reflection of the murky mirror like water. He could almost smell her minty breath as his temperature rose higher and higher. The water around him began to bubble and then came to a full-on boil. Steam filled the air as he swished this way and that, wading himself back to the pipe’s proximity.

The electric arching nipped at his body stinging but not crippling him like before. Everything he touched shot blue sparks into the air until he became hot enough to melt the electrified metal. The guard at the stairs turned his bare skin away from the heat waves and headed back up the stairs a ways to avoid getting scalded by Julius and all of his steam. The pipes were warm but strangely resistant to his burning touch. He focused even harder and cranked up the heat more pinching the metal like clay be began to slowly close the first gaping hole. It was a herculean effort with the water continuously spraying and cooling him down he was good and tired after the first hole was closed. There was still number two yet to go and he was starting to get cold. Julius closed his eyes again,

“where are you my muse? Where are you?”

“here, I’m right here!” Julius’ eyes popped open in a panic, he could have sworn her fingers had been running through his long black hair at that moment. And his fire burst again cranking up the heat even hotter than before. “Hotter, hotter, hotter!” Julius cried out, and the water skipped boiling and just started burning off around him as he moved. He could hear the guard with him shout something, but Julius couldn’t quite make it out. The hole in the pipe was closed very quickly and it wasn’t until Julius cooled down that he realized the water in the room was down to about six inches and the walls, ceiling, and floor were covered in a thick sheet of salt crystals. Even Julius was covered in salt that was plastered to his skin and cloths. He looked around the room, it was almost pretty, like fresh snow had fallen. It even crunched under his feet as he walked as if it was a fresh crisp winter frosting. The metal hand rails and staircase had a dull glow to them and the room seemed dreamy being bathed in heatwaves and mirage.


The guards passed by as always with a listless half-hearted mentality. Performing their duty of patrolling they returned to the break area to relax and chat with one another. Once the coast was clear the Barron leapt to the door with great enthusiasm. Sneering he waved his had in the direction of the boy’s bunk and the sheets rustled and a ghostly image of the boy lifted from the bed. Dead skin, hair, blood and sweat pealed away from the bed and stood before the Barron in an instant. The Barron then waved his hand once more and all the dead material that had come off the boy’s body condensed into a small sparrow and hopped along the ground cheerfully. “Dat be good, now take me to where the rest of you is located!” he spoke to the little flesh bird and it fluttered and took flight, darting out from the sell it fluttered in circles as it waited for its master to fallow. “No yee bee needin tah go forth dead of the jail. Go forth en hunt down that crazy rat, him who was responsible for yer early droppin out!” Seven haunting specters emerged from the toilet draining the pitch black liquid from the bowl, the spirits glowed then turned pitch as the liquid for a moment. “Yah, dat bee dah stuff yah bee needin tah keep you safe from the grip of dah big man pullin dah strings in here. Now go!” They darted through the air this way and that before disappearing. The hunt was on, “only attack when him bee usin dat lighting magic. When he does, absorb eet all en when yer strong enough. Kill da boy en eat whatever gaurds you can.”

The flesh on the Barrons’ hand split open and bone plating pushed its way through the skin to set on the surface of his hand like and armored glove. “I’m gon need ta bee careful wit how me use magic in dis prison, everyting me do be far more costly in here. It be a bit soona den I wanted for makin moves but eet cannot be helped. En witt dah big man in dah house now me not so certain me has enough strength for a toe tah toe match up. Eet gona get interesting in here now man!” He gripped the lock of the sell and crimped as hard as he could with a booming laugh. His muscles bulged and his veins throbbed through his skin but like clay the alloy squished and bent in his armored hand until it snapped, and the door shifted loose allowing the Barron to pull it free and walk out. With a smile he walked quickly to flash fry’s sell and stepped into the already open room. Chanting and pulling at the air he collected another large sum of hair and dead skin. As his fingers undulated the material packed into a doll like shape and once complete he whispered in the dolls ear. “ya magic no harm dem who hunt ya!” tossing it into the air it burst into white smoke and vanished. The flesh bird chirped and loop-de-looped overhead before it took off down a hall. The giant of a man smiled and with a hop and a skip began running off after it. “don worry boy, I find ya! Ya no been abandoned here yet!”

Running like a mad man, the giant shadow of a man leapt into the air and caught the upper sides of the walls close to the ceiling just in time for a set of doors to buzz and open, the security locks cleared the laches and the Barron dropped down like an anaconda from a tree onto unsuspecting prey below. Two loud snaps and some shortened muffled screams were all that could be heard as the guards passing by lay dead and limp in the giants arms. standing up and helping his news dolls to their feet he gently patted them on the heads and they moved on their own. Turning around just in time to catch the door before it closed the bodies held the doors open for their new master and he strutted through with wide toothy grin. The undead slaves fallowed him using their key cards and eyes to clear security locks and retina scanners for him.


Julius was exhausted he had never used his fire like that so intensely for such a duration before. Walking the hazardous metal stairway his shoes slowly melted fallowing the melted footsteps of the guard whom waited now at the top of the staircase looking furious with Julius. His boots had burned nearly through to his socks and steamed in the cool air of the above hallway. The golden eyed boy couldn’t have cared less at that moment as he walked past the guard without another word. The guard quickly regained his place at the lead and they traversed the maze of stainless steel and sterile white wash walls back tracking all the way to the Doctors main office once again. The Doctor was eating lunch when they barged in. Furious by the interruption he ate without saying a word as the guard gave him a full detailed debriefing on what had occurred. The doctor seemed highly uninterested in what the guard had to say and finished his meal with great enthusiasm making sure to wipe both sides of his mouth after he was finished gorging. The doctor pointed silently at a white plastic bag to one side of the door and Julius looked as if it were an undetected snake ready to bite.

“it’s yours, open it.” Julius looked from it to the doctor and back again before complying. He opened the parcel carefully with one eye closed in anticipation of pain and suffering to come. What he found though was quite the opposite. Soft, smooth, clean new cloths we folded and wrapped up very neatly. Julius pulled them out of the bag carefully and inspected them with a curious disbelief. “I assure you, Mr. Amaranth; they are safe and very much yours. My treat for good behavior.” Julius was stricken speechless. Afraid to speak and have any of this be revealed as a farce.

“tha… Thank you sir…” Julius stuttered and placed the cloths to the side. The crinkling of the packing paper was the only sound in the room. Along with the clothing was a small set of nice fresh smelling soaps and deodorant, nothing like the lye soap they were forced to use in general holding.

“go and get cleaned up, enjoy your last night in prison Mr. Amaranth, tomorrow you’re a free man, er… boy.” The doctor gave a halfhearted smile and began shuffling through paper work on his desk. When no one moved he moved his hand to dismiss the two statues in his office and the guard sprang to life grabbing Julius and moving him out with great haste.

“wait! Sir… may I please see my friends in the hospital wing before I go?” Julius looked genuinely worried.

“No boy, you may not.” The doctor said flatly without looking up from his paper stacks.

“but sir, please?”

“I said no!”

“but… why?” Julius was desperate, and the Doctor looked up with a menacing look.

“because they are both deceased.” The doctor said flatly with an almost venomous snap leaking out from behind his teeth. Julius felt as though he had been hit by a freight train, the guard led him away to go bathe and change.

Julius marched into the shower room in a haze, all of his friends had been murdered around him and there was nothing he could do to save any of them! Just like it had been with his mother, he was powerless, helpless, and at fault for the calamities that had befallen them all. The showers were all running, and the entire locker room was clouded and hazy with steam. Julius undressed without looking up or around and walked into the streams of water that would have ordinarily scalded normal people. However, the water felt cool on his skin, and even if the water had been boiling he may not have noticed at all in the wake of this new information regarding his friends.

The water hit his skin and ran down taking the superficial most layers of caked salt with it. Julius watched as the water ran down the drain almost sea green and grey with all the salt coming off of his skin and hair. A tiny bird darted to Julius and vanished unseen into the steam of the shower. Opening his eyes Julius was snapped back to his senses and reached for his soap only to realize he had left it with his cloths on a bench outside the shower room. He sighed heavily and began walking towards the shower room entrance when he felt a hot force engulf his body. Steam jettisoned itself in billows up his nose and in his eyes and ears Julius gagged and struggled but a massive hand made of steam held him tightly in place. Julius tried to scream but the steam prevented him from doing so, taking his breath away the steam choked him nearly unconscious but did not seem to have the desired effect as Filipe stepped out from behind a set of lockers with a twisted smile on his face.

“what’s the matter Julius? The shower too hot for you?” Julius just gasped for air though he himself was not burned. “did you know that unlike you I have three elements that come naturally to me. Wanna know what they are?” Julius struggled to get free from the solid hand holding him, trapping his arms and keeping him on his tippy toes. “first off I like steam, secondly…” a huge blue arching spark came forth from the tips of Julius’ finger tips a melodic humming filled the air with its almost cheerful tune. Though, the pain Julius felt as the bolts of electricity nipped at his appendages was not so cheerful. The bolts snapped out of the drain with plumes of steam and salt crystals came crawling out of the drain defying gravity. The slat on his skin began vibrating and cutting into Julius’ skin. “did you know that salt is extremely conductive? It will amplify naturally and since you’re wet and covered in slat, you’re so dead!” the blue sparks turned pink and all the lights and electrical sockets exploded as he drew as much power as he could all at once. Julius could barely see in the bright flash and when his eyes readjusted there were seven strange looking men standing with their backs to Julius.

They all glowed brightly with a haunting spectral blue green light, their skin translucent so that their skeletons could be seen glowing through the skin. The seven dead men that where mysteries, the ones rumored to have been skinned and defatted. They moaned and began walking in Flash Fries direction, he had a look of shock and panic painted across his face. He charged up again and let loose another massive bolt, and then another. As the room filled with electrical energy is dissipated immediately and the spectral men glowed brighter and brighter until they took a fully solid form all together. Their bones glowed through their now pink flushed flesh, their eyes deadly serious and devoid of all human emotion. Flash Fry tried everything the steam only made the seven wet and the salt burned and flushed their skin but was relatively ineffective. He screamed, “What are you monsters? What are you?”

“Yee not bee so bright, yee could have hurt dem wif yee salt had I not gotten hold of yee hair and flesh man. Now that I have something of yurs… yee ave no power dat I cannot controle!” Filipe backing away from the seven ghouls and bumped into something very big and solid. Something that laid large iron gripped hands on his shoulders and held tightly. Filipe looked up to see nostrils flaring like a race horse and bulging eyes, the eyes of a cold killer, an apex predator, the eyes of a dark giant. Filipe now very quiet began shaking in terror as the Barron pulled something out of a pillow case tied to his hip. Reaching his long arm out past Filipe he dropped a large rectangular bar of lye soap to the ground then grabbing Filipes chin, angled his head up so Symateure could look the boy in the eyes.

“what do you want from me?” Filipe had tears in his eyes as the dark giant looked back at him.

“the soap man…” Filipes eyes grew huge, “pick eet up…” Filipe closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “now!” he released Filipe and he shuffled closer to the soap with Symateure watching his every move. Finally, Filipe knelt down to pick up the soap and at that moment the Barron bolted, within a blink of an eye the Barron had planted a hard kick into Filipes tailbone with a snap. The force of the kick sent the boy flying into the wall, and he screamed and squirmed in agony as the Baron snapped his fingers and the seven ghouls descended upon the paralyzed boy. They all grabbed him and bit down on a different part, one biting his throat, two tearing at his stomach and the others, one on each arm and leg all drinking deeply of not blood but energy. Filipe screamed bloody murder and the seven fed upon him with great gusto, he could do nothing as they drained him and slowly his hair began turning shock white as his life force emptied from him. His bright stormy grey eyes dulled, and hazy silver rim appeared around his irises as if he were an elderly man. Rapidly thinning Filipe gasped and pleaded for it to stop but the Barron simply looked on silently waiting for the boy to fade away.

A loud whip crack cut the commotion and Symateure growled as his back arched in pain. The Barron turned like a feral wild cat and sprung at the source of his pain. Woe laughed as he dodged the Barons’ attack and flicked his whip again. The Baron caught the tip of the whip to Woes shock and pulled it taught. Suddenly it became a battle of strength as they commenced the tug of war. Woe laughed again with crazed enthusiasm,

“you know Symateure, I’ve been waiting for this moment. All the higher ups want you alive so that takes the fun out of it for me. But I’ll still enjoy mopping the floor with your broken bloody body!” Symateure chuckled at these hallow words.

“yee demons’ bee all alike, funny ting ees yee all underestimate yur opponents!” the Baron jerked the whip swiftly pulling Woe, whos grip remained intact, within arm’s reach. Symateure dropped the whip and went for Woes throat squeezing like a boa constrictor once his neck was trapped. Woe rolled his eyes and they turned bright red, he tried to break the Barons grip but it would not budge. Woes eyes flickered with fear as his face turned as red as his eyes.

“yee demons forget dat we humans are dee apex when we’re pissed off. Besides, the bones in me body are not all mine… some are of demons far stronger dan yee. Me a Necromancer remember?” Woe in full panic mode now sprouted thick barbed horns and a barbed tail. His skin was as black as night and his horse like main shimmered blood red. Bucking wildly the Baron laughed and crimped tighter. Woe dug his hooves into the tile floor with a tingling of shattered tile and using all his strength Woe pushed off and rammed Symateure into the nearby wall with a clatter of an entire walls worth of tile falling and shattering on the ground around them.

Symateure groaned and released Woe whom leapt out of arms reach and began whipping the Baron furiously. Like a machinegun the whips cracks rattled off one after another and the Baron furious, jumped into the air, tucked and rolled behind a set of benches which were cut in half by the demon’s wrath. Getting to his feet he began humming and snapping his fingers then slapping his hands against his bare skin in a strange musical pattern. The Baron was dancing to the beat of the cracking whip and his accompanying tune. With every dance step the bleeding Baron dodged and moved closer. Dodge, roll, dodge, snap-clap-crack, roll! Over and over again he moved with incredible speed until he was within melee range of Woe again. Taking to the floor the Baron spun on the top of his head sending rapid fire kicks and knees into Woes unsuspecting face. The Baron was on his feet again, dodging a punch! He threw a hard-hooking counter punch that took him into a one arm hand stand, as he spun with an instant and vicious knee to Woes face again. Woe roared with rage and struck back wildly but Symateure had found his groove and could not be touched. He dodged again and faked another hand stand, as Woe kicked out at a hand that was not there the Baron spiraled through the air landing a series of devastating kicks to Woes neck. Woe spit blood and fell to his knees.

Boom! A shotgun rang out taking the wind from the Baron sails. Three Guards rushed in and the Baron snapped his fingers again. The seven ghouls looked up and bolted for the guards who shot them with no effect. Symateure rolled behind a set of lockers as Woe took to his feet again. Blood from Symateure was everywhere, and Woe began walking towards the nearest puddle of it before it all burst into flames. Woe Roared again and looked around to see who had stolen his perfect opportunity. His eyes rested on a very naked and scared Julius whose hands still smoked.

“Tanx man! Yee bee a life sava afta all!” the Baron shouted at Julius and Woes unflinching eyes locked on his new target

“I’m not allowed to kill him, but you’re already dead boy. I’m going to see just how far the regeneration of yours will take you, will you break and go mad or will you simply become a slave to the pain?” Julius’ eyes went wide, and he stood up ready to fight. He focused on his fire again and just before it could ignite the doctors voice pushed its way in and his magic fizzled. Woe howled in laughter and charged the boy with long claws leading the way. Julius took a deep breath and at the last moment spun around dodging the killing blow Woes barbed tail flicked and Julius caught it in midair and bit down hard. Woe squirmed and wailed in pain, but it was cut short by the hard lift kick Julius delivered to Woes groin. The air left his lungs and he growled like a tiger backed in a corner. Woe slammed Julius’ head into the unbroken wall of tile in the shower room and raised his free hand to strike a killing blow on the defenseless boy.

Shotguns rang out and shattered tiles all around, pieces of tile clattered off of every surface in the locker room but still the sound of ripping Velcro was distinct. A flurry of curses and whimpering came from Woes mouth as Julius realized that the Baron had grabbed a handful of Woes armpit hair and yanked it all out by the roots, the ripping sound was worse than Julius thought it would be.

“Why! Why would you do that? What the hell?” Woe whimpered as blood came from his armpit. Then the realization that a necromancer now possessed his blood skin and hair hit Woe. Looking up from his wound he looked to see the Baron shaping a bar of soap to look like Woe within mere moments. The soap sort of turned to putty and magically took form as Symateures fingers wiggled about. When the soap doll took full form, it was a shockingly accurate rendition of Woes true form. Then as the Baron rubbed the fingers holding the hair together the hair braded itself into a tiny rope, and then tied itself into a hangman’s newsy. Before Woe could stop him the newsy was set around the dolls neck and the Baron had wiped some of his blood on the doll to complete the ritual.

“yee bee mine and mine yee are, cats’ eye, spirits eye, eye of dee storm, eye of da beyond, demon broken, abyssal third eye of the immortal closed, worship me en forget me not! Me will be yurs en yee can’t fight eet! Now kneel!” Woes eyes went blank and his body jerked unnaturally, Woe took a kneeling position like a windup toy jerking and sputtering with rusty springs. Julius was bleeding but not concerned with his injuries at the moment as he was too horrified by the Barons powers.

The Baron grunted as a bone clicked and slid out of his flesh, it was a rib bone, but the Baron pinched the edge as he pulled it free from his own flesh and running his fingertips tightly across the rib he made a razor sharp curved blade. Julius gasped as the Baron closed the distance again and held the blade to the sedated Woe. With a short breath Symateure looked at Julius unblinking and slit Woes throat clean threw. Black Ichor sprayed, and the stench of hot tar clouded the steamy shower rom. The Baron closed his eyes for a moment as a blue light came from the body and Woes spirit took form. Baron Symateure did not open his eyes just patted his chest where his heart was and said, “protect your master with all you’ve got, spirit armor come to me!” Woes image faded with a bow and the light engulfed the Baron body. He opened his eyes, and all was well again.

The guards cried out for help as they were mobbed by the ghouls. The Baron looked away from Julius as more guards charging into the room with guns leveled. Baron took a deep breath and looked for a moment, constipated, as he forced out hundreds of boney spines from underneath his flesh. The Baron stood there for a moment looking like a giant porcupine. Symateure was still bleeding from his gunshot wound, and Julius could see what looked like mercury oozing from both sides of the open hole in his stomach.

The sound of shotguns blasting everything like crazy drowned out all other sound and the Baron moved without noise pulling a handful of spines from his skin. The ghouls kept fighting until they were completely blown apart. Taking the opportunity to reload before the monsters could reform Julius heard the clatter of empty shells and bullet casings hit the cracked tile floors.

Tat, tat, smack, tat, tink, clink, tat! The boney spines swished through the air right past the guards unsuspecting heads imbedding deep into the broken walls and lockers next to them. The guards took cover, and all was quiet. Julius could hear his own breath and heartbeat like thunder quaking the world around him. There was a flash from a gun going off and the Baron laughed as a man screamed. A guard dropped to the floor his gun clattering alongside him. He writhed in pain holding his leg which had a boney spine sticking out of the thigh bone.

“Femoral Artery!” declared Symateure from somewhere in the dark flickering room.

“don’t pull it out!” one guard cried but it was too late the spine was too painful and the poor man pulled it out hoping to get some relief from the pain. Blood sprayed, and the screaming man started getting quieter.

“did ya know…” the Barons voice echoed in the room, “dat, in the Pacific Ocean der ees a fish known as da quillback rock fish… its spines venom ees a paralytic, eet effects the pulmonary and cardiac systems… and… it aggravates the nervous system making the wounds pure agony!”

“you bastard!” one of the guards cried and as the Baron crept along a shot rang out and he was the next to cried out.

“did you know, that this is an Iron Fist tactical shield breaker shotgun with a high capacity cylindrical magazine, it currently fires anti-demon and supernatural mercury rounds that stop regeneration!” the guard smiled and walking towards the still Baron he slid the shotgun slide down ejecting the spent shell. Before he could rechamber another one Symateure rolled out into the open and skidded on his back across the floor as threw three spines at the shocked guard.

“Right Atrium, left Atrium, Slide!” the Baron called out as all three spines hit the marks at once with a thud. One spine hit the carbon fiber slide of the gun locking it in place with the screech of bending metal as the barrel bent slightly from the supernatural impact. The other two hit just to the left of dead center piercing the guards’ heart in two distinct spots. The guard gurgled and collapsed his smile slowly fading. Four more shots rang out as the Baron took to his feet and darted past each of the guards,

Clink, clack, tink, tat! Three of the guards dodged one dropped his shotgun and screamed holding up a hand that was missing a trigger finger. The guards turned to look and Tink, tat, tat, clack! One guard yelped and fell to the ground,

“right and left popliteal arteries, c5 vertebra!” the Baron hissed through a smile that was ripe with pain. Blood ran quickly from the paralyzed guard, shadows flicked this way and that as the guards spread out keeping their backs against the wall. A massive shadow darted back past Julius who remained still and low to the ground.

“smart boy” a whisper came and went fast. Two guards saw the figure at the same time and as they pulled the trigger he ducked, and they shot each other, both hitting the wall with shattering tile a ‘tat, tat’ Fallowed hitting each between the eyes with a boney spine to make sure they were down for good. Blood billowed from huge 12 gage holes in their body armor. The room was silent once again. Two guards looked to each other and then to the door and one began retreating slowly.

Just then a crack rang out and the long-lost whip rapped around the shaft of one guards gun and pulled it forward and to the right shooting the guard closest to the door in the back of the head and blowing it clean off. The body hit with a thud and the last guard dropped gasping for breath.

“abdominal Aorta, Diaphragm.” Julius clambered to his feet as Symateure gasped and sputtered,

“Boy get outta ere! Eets up ta ya now man!” Julius came to a skidding halt at the Barons side.

“no, I can’t leave you!” sputtered Julius with tears in his eyes.

“yes, yee can boy, get dressed en go!” Symateure smiled his big toothy grin now stained with blood. Julius stunned could only gaze at his friend, a man now turning ashen as three gaping holes pulsed and spurted blood and mercury. Then, the Baron closed his eyes. Julius couldn’t take time to morn just yet everything was happening too fast and there would be more guards coming very soon. He shot to his feet and began to dress himself in a hurry, looking back and forth between the shower room and the door way littered with bleeding bodies. Julius’ mind was blank, and his body was numb as he stepped over the remains of Woe and his compatriots, where would he go? What would he do? How would he escape? Julius was in a fog and walked quickly but with no real purpose.

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