With the greatest of determination she stood up and pulled the bell cord for the next stop. Raising her palms to chest level, she gritted her teeth, and whispered through her still smiling lips, “This nightmare will end!”
Before Pierre’s eyes, the young boy sitting in the corner suddenly stiffened. In a flash he turned into transparent glass and shattered. But the shards did not fall more than a couple centimetres before they flew through the air in a stream towards the front of the train car. There they spun horizontally in the shape of a narrow tube. Suddenly the pieces fused together into a long rod and rested in the hands of a dark silhouette that brightened to reveal the golden haired, frost clad angel.
“Found you!” The angel smiled as a scythe blade erupted out of the end of the crystal rod. She spun as a dervish would and glowed with sacred fire. She slowed her twirling rushed forward.
The paralysis that had gripped Pierre released and he scrambled away from her. He tripped, avoiding imminent decapitation and fell against the dark wall. He felt the wall stretch then snap. The entire structure he had been inside popped like a bubble and he found himself one again on the dark, featureless street of the strange city.
He did not have long to observe his surroundings as once again her heard the small feet of his attacker patter on the ground. He leapt forward, rolled and ran down the hill.
'I can’t keep up with him.' Océane groaned. She looked at her shoulder. 'Or maybe… I can!'
She placed her scythe blade against her shoulder and pulled forward, slicing her arm cleanly off. Her removed limb hit the ground stiffly and turned the color of molasses as it disintegrated into a puddle. The slimy substance then rose up in a twisted column and her shoulder stub leaked more of the strange fluid, joining with the puddle. She rolled her shoulder and flung her body forward causing the dark brown substance to fly towards Pierre like an unrolling carpet as it remained tethered to her shoulder. The brown slime split into four dark streams cruising in the air far above where the terrified man ran. Lines joined the four streams creating what looked like a slice of a spider web. Finally Océane rolled her shoulder viciously downwards. Her movement rand down the four intertwined strings, launching their tips downwards to Pierre, growing rapidly longer and larger.
As Océane wanted, they did not reach him, instead, like living eels connected by slimy, horizontal ropes of flesh, they hit the ground and slithered as if dancing through water. They wove around light posts, mailboxes, and buildings, leaping and ducking over one another, continuing to grow towards their target.
Pierre was not even looking where he was going when he ran into a wall. He found himself trapped in a dead end, surround by merciless black walls and a red sky above. He turned around to see that the way he came was blocked by the web-creature, it’s dripping brown mass raising its four “heads” as if they were conjoined cobras, ready to strike. His desperate eyes roved around, hoping that like before, there was some way out of this bizarre world. He wanted to plead, 'I don’t want to die!' But then he thought, 'But… am I already dead? Is this what hell is like?' Tears streamed down his face as he collapse to his knees.
'Papa… Why did you give up and leave me? I’m scared…'
He winced as the monster in front of him lurched forward a few metres. He saw its tail whip over its head and land in front of him, angel in tow. The creature shrunk into a small, tangled net draped around the angel’s feet, staining her pure white dress turning the hem and right side of the gown the colour of old blood as it writhed and wiggled from her severed shoulder.
The angel raised her crystal scythe and leaned it against her left shoulder casually. Her lips opened revealing beautiful, perfect teeth as she grinned at him. “So, Pierre, are you ready to accept your first, of many deaths to come?”
“Please, have mercy!” he wept, not even willing to raise his face from the dirt.
A knot tightened itself in Océane’s stomach as she frowned. 'This is not sweet… I hate this man, but I hate myself more for thinking I could relish this sight.' She looked away as she lowered the blade of her frozen scythe to the man’s neck. The man whimpered pitifully at the touch.
“Before I kill you once, I have two questions that I have been wanting answered; first, did you defile that woman before, or after you killed her?”
Pierre’s eyes widened in terrified revulsion. What is she saying!? It… “It was an accident!”
Océane ignored him and continued, “And secondly, were you, or were you not aware of the small child that witnessed you murdering his mother?”
“A-a--, a child? A child!” Pierre’s face was pure disbelief. He ran through his memory of the event, but it was mostly clouded with the effects of the copious amounts of alcohol he had drunk that night. All he could remember was the ribbon of red that ran from the heart of a beautiful body. For one of the few times in his life, he tried to see what had happened through another pair of eyes. What he saw, unleashed the long buried guilt of his actions. Pierre felt the pressure of the blade against his neck press harder. “No! Please!” he screamed. “I killed a woman, I really did, I took everything away from that child! But please, have mercy on me!”
He dared to look up at the face of the angel but instead found himself looking in the eyes of a police officer as she backed away from the prostrate man. He felt his arms tugged from behind and cuffs secured his wrists. He looked at the inside of the police station where he now found himself. He smiled as tears rolled down his face, happy to be alive and in such a warm and kind world compared to the one he had been torn into.
Lieutenant Porter walked over to Devareaux who now took a seat, shell-shocked. “You alright Sarah?”
“Eh? Oui, it’s fine, it’s not every day a murderer throws himself on the ground in front of you and pleads guilty. I’m a little stunned is all.”
Michael nodded. “It’s strange too, it was only yesterday that Océane pointed that man out as the guilty party in the cold case she was digging up.”
“He ran through the front doors as if he was being chased by a pack of wild dogs.” Sarah explained, taking another calming breath, but the air caught in her throat. “You don’t think--, the girl did something?”
Michael followed her gaze to the glass door absentmindedly. His mouth dropped in surprise as he could clearly make out a girl wearing the same school uniform Océane wore turning away from the station and limping down the sidewalk. 'Not a chance!'
“Excuse me Sarah, I’m going to have to take my break now.”
“Go for it.” She stared in wonderment as her co-worker dashed out of the door.
Océane wearily made her way back home as the sky darkened. She had exhausted all her ability to think after the intense mental strain of maintaining someone else’s nightmare. She wanted to smile, to confirm that she had accomplished something good, but nothing felt right. However, at the moment she was far too tired and emotionally drained to reason about anything.
She was so unaware of her surroundings, her whole focus was on putting one foot in front of the other, ignoring the important fact that the walk home was a fair distance. The first noise that brought her out of the daze was in was her own name.
“Océane! Hey, Océane!”
She did not even have to turn around to know it was Michael’s voice. No, he saw me! She stumbled forward as quickly as she could but only managed a hurried limp. She inwardly cursed the contraption that bound and supported her leg. However, she regretted her rude thoughts towards the inanimate object when her knee buckled and she began to topple forward.
She was tugged back by her hand, preventing her from smacking face first into the concrete.
“Océane!” Michael ordered as he pulled her up, “Wait! I just want to talk.”
Océane could not look at him. 'What can I say?'
“Listen, you are not in trouble, I just want to know how you are involved.” Michael insisted. “You didn’t endanger yourself, did you?”
She tried hard not to roll her eyes. 'I think “trouble” would be exactly the right word for what I would be in if he did know.'
Michael sighed as he looked at the still turned away Océane as she regained her own balance, though he did not release her hand. “Océane, whatever you did, no one else has to know if you don’t want them to. Please, something good happened today, I just need to know why and how.”
“C-could this wait for tomorrow?” she asked tiredly.
"You promise?" he pressed.
The policeman sighed in relief as he released her hand, glancing around at onlookers to reassure them nothing was going on. He had no wish to coerce her to talk and was glad she agreed so easily. “Come by the station at around noon. Would you like me to drive you home?”
At last she turned around and gently smiled with a nod. “Oui... et merci.”
The ride was silent and even when Océane got out in front of her family’s apartment building, she only barely whispered, “Bonsoir.”
Michael smiled and replied. “Are you sure you don’t need to talk now?”
For a moment, Océane felt like she was more of a co-worker, and less of a temporary intern, a notion she shrugged off as ridiculous. “Non, Inspecteur, I’m fine. We’ll talk tomorrow.”
She left him, and hurried up the stairway. Pausing at the door to her apartment, she readied herself when the door opened and she was met by the disapproving gaze of her mother.
“And where have you been?” her mother demanded. “We got a call that you skipped out on school.”
Normally Océane would panic and try to explain, but this time, she had an excuse that was well worth use. “Oh, I haven’t been up to much, just finished my free elective course, solved a cold case and spent time with the police. I will tell you all about it later, right now though, I need a nap.”
Mrs. Lafayette’s face was reduced to a blank stare as her daughter shuffled off to her room. It did not last long though.
“Pardon!?” she exclaimed as she marched after daughter.