CACKLEKINE by Emma Tobin
I sat down on a cracked dusty pew in the abandoned Church in Edenville and bent over to examine my shoes while fighting back tears. I watched with fascination as they dripped one by one onto the floor forming a small puddle. My headache drummed a heavy beat into my skull, duh – dum, duh – dum.
The sound of a giggle shattered the silence around me. It began low, just a chuckle, but quickly escalated into a hysterical cackling that bored into every crevice of my brain. I stood up slowly, backed down the aisle and scanned the rows of empty pews. The laugh stopped as I desperately searched the mouldy interior of the Church for the source.
“Sweet, oh sweet human blood”, a voice too close to my ear for comfort said lustfully.
“Who are you? My voice sounded strange to me, too low and faint.
“Don’t worry, it won’t hurt a bit” the voice said.
I spun around and stared into the cold, clear, blue eyes of a hideous ……..thing, crouched cat-like on a nearby pew. It was wearing a straightjacket, battered prison combat pants and sandals. Its jagged, yellow teeth gleamed in the sunlight that streamed through the stained-glasswindow, and blood dribbled from its chin.
“They thought they could keep me locked up”, it mumbled as it approached me. I stood there, just watching, not running like I should have. Its wicked eyes seemed to stare right into my soul. I tried to scream, but I could only manage a squeak as I crumpled onto the cold ground, sapped of all energy.
“They put me in this”, it squirmed in the straight- jacket, “but they underestimated my feet”. It showed me a sandaled foot, with long sharp toe nails that looked like blades.
Then it said, “Now I will feed on the bones, flesh and blood of a human”. A strange calm had descended around me and I watched with resignation as it lifted up my pale arm and bit into it. I screamed so loudly it flinched. I squirmed and lashed out at the elongated mass of shadows that my world had become. The only thing I saw clearly was the drips of blood that were escaping from its mouth as it sucked my blood.
Suddenly it jumped up and staggered away from me. My world came back into painful focus.
“You, you, you”…..it said over and over as it staggered to the door. It made it half way down the aisle before it collapsed. It shook, convulsions wrecked its body. Then it exploded and blood splashed the stained glass windows as bits of it fell around me like warm, sticky, confetti!
Next thing I was aware of was footsteps coming towards me. My vision was blurred but I could just make out four figures dressed in crimson garments walking in tight formation up the aisle.
As I watched, one broke off and ran towards me and I shied away when I saw the glint of the blade that he………no she, carried.
“Rayne, I think I will need your help with this one”, she shouted back to the group.
My vision finally cleared and I saw a boy break away and walk towards me. “Who are you?”, I asked, feeling dizzy as I spoke. He ignored me and reached out for my arm. I slapped his hands away, hissing angrily in a way I never realised I could. “Ssssh”, he said.
He knelt down and reached out to touch my arm. I looked up at him, transfixed by his eyes which were every colour of the rainbow. I felt myself going limp as his cold fingers probed my wound. “Lorenzo bit deep”, he said.
“Don’t dawdle, just get the poison out, preferably before the human dies”, a new voice says. I felt a stab of indignation - who was he to call me human, he was too, wasn’t he?
“I need to know the extent of her wounds before I heal them”, Rayne hissed. “ Why don’t you two go clean Lorenzo off the walls or something and leave this to me”
Rayne suddenly raised his hand and hissed – “I hear human police”.
“Great”, the wall cleaner said happily, “let’s leave her for them!”
“What?”, Rayne exclaimed angrily, “ Have you seen her cuts - they have Leecher poison in them. She is going blue”.
A pair of ice-cold hands lifted me from my pool of blood. I cried out in pain and a voice cooed in my ear – “It’s okay”. I felt myself losing consciousness. Who are these people, I wondered numbly. Who………..
It took a huge effort for me to open my eyes. Rayne was unwrapping a blood-stained bandage from my arm, which was a light shade of blue. Seeing my eyes open, he smiled tentatively at me. “I fixed you up, but your arm will be blue for a while”, he said as he finished dressing my wound.
“Where am I”, I asked.
“Cleo will explain everything - she is waiting for you at the fire, Rayne said. I noticed how cute he was.
Rayne lifted me and as he did, I looked up to the sun as it filtered through the canopy of leaves overhead.
Rayne set me down gently at a crackling fire and sat down at the opposite side of the fire.
A girl of about 16, was sitting at the fire. She had long blonde hair and blue eyes and she smiled at me when I looked at her. I guessed she must be Cleo.
Cleo turned to me: “I am sure you have a lot of questions”, she said.
I blurted my questions in quick succession:
“Where am I?
“What was that thing?
“Why did it explode?
“Who are you people?”
She didn’t flinch as she replied:
“We are in a forest just North of Edenville
“That THING was a Leecher.”
“Like a vampire”, I asked.
“No, a Leecher is mortal like us but it feeds on human flesh, blood and sometimes souls.”
“Souls!”, I exclaimed, “then how come I am not an empty shell. Did it not get my soul?”
“No, but it did get a good deal of your blood which is why you feel so weak”, she said.
She paused and locked eyes with Rayne, who shook his head. I wondered what was going on. That glance between them must have meant something.
Cleo spoke again. “As to who we are we are known as the 22nd Cell of the Metro Police. We have powers which have been handed down since the beginning of time”, she boasted.
“Oh, that’s er ….. nice”, I stammered.
Cleo gave me a withering look and said “and you Sasha Hope, are one of us”.
As she spoke a blinding light shone out from her eyes and two beams struck me, one on my forehead and one to my heart. I screamed in shock and pain and tried to roll out of the way but a strange sensation pulsed through my body, a feeling of immense power.
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN?”, I yelled!, “AND WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?
“You are a pure blood” Cleo said, “and that is why the Leecher exploded. They can’t withstand blood so powerful. You are bound to the Metro Police. You are one of us!”
I shocked her I think when I smiled and said: “When do I start?”