The nuns attack Mark and Mary for the greater good of the World.
The Devil's Pact
Chapter Twenty-Nine: The Greater Good
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“Mark is wrong for you!” Alice screamed at me. She looked crazed. Even when we fought back at the hotel room, she didn't look this insane. What was wrong with her? Why had she driven up here to begin with. Just an hour ago we were fighting back in that motel room. Why couldn't she just understand that I loved Mark not her.
“You have to leave, Alice,” I yelled back. I was starting to regret telling Alice that she could ignore my commands.
“Alice,” Mark said calmly as he stepped up beside me. Alice's hands moved, blurring as she reaching into her purse. She pulled something small and black out. What was it? Mark continued talking, “You have to understand...”
“Gun!” 63 shouted. 63 was right, there was a gun in Alice's hand. A small gun, the perfect thing to hide in a purse. What was she doing with that, I stupidly wondered as she leveled the gun at Mark's chest
The crack of Alice's gun drove all thoughts from my mind.
Mark grunted and I looked at my fiancee and my eyes widened in horror. Blood blossomed on Mark's chest, surprise painting his face, and he was falling back. Everything was going slow, like the action scene in a comic book movie. And Alice kept squeezing the trigger, her gun barking over and over and more and more blossoms of blood sprouted on Mark's torso. Someone shouted behind me, more guns were firing, and Alice was falling backwards, her own bloody blossoms opening on her breast.
Mark hit the ground with a thud. Everything was silent.
“Mark!” This couldn't be happening. I dropped to my knees. There was so much blood, blossoming red across Mark's shirt. No, this couldn't be happening. I pushed my hands down on one of the blossoms, the blood warm and sticky. I had to stop the bleeding. “Stay with me, Mark!” I begged, looking down at his ashen face.
His blue eyes found my face, his lips moved. He was trying to tell me something but only blood leaked out of his lips.
“Please, Mark!” I pleaded. “Help! Help!”
The bodyguards were swarming over to us, dropping down to help me put pressure on Mark's wounds. Chasity was standing nearby, shouting into her police radio. Mark's blood was warm on my hands and his eyes were closed. He was still breathing, but it was so shallow. This cannot be happening! Thamina appeared, shoving one of the guards out of her way. The Muslim slut was carrying her medical bag and she started treating Mark. She was an ER nurse, I remembered. She can save Mark.
“Ambulance is on the way, Mistress,” Chasity told me, placing a comforting hand on my shoulder. “Master will be fine.”
He would be fine, I lied to myself.
Thamina took a pair of scissors and quickly cut open Mark's shirt. His chest and stomach was covered in smears of bright blood. Thamina pulled out pressure bandages, ripping open the paper wrapping and deftly began patching Mark's wounds.
“Lift him up, I need to see if there are any exit wounds,” she calmly ordered. How could she be so calm, Mark was dying.
No, Mark was going to be okay. If I kept telling myself that, maybe it would be true. Mark was going to be okay. Mark was going to be okay. Oh, please, let my Mark be okay. I stroked his pale face and bent down and kissed his forehead. Stay with me Mark, please, please, please stay with me.
A tear ran hot down my cheek and splashed on his forehead.
“He still lives,” I said, watching Mark Glassner being worked on by the Arab woman. I floated with Gabriel in the Light, watching the Mortal world. “What does the future look like, Gabriel?”
“He may live long enough for outside interference,” Gabriel said, studying the threads. “Dispatch the Priestesses, Ramiel. We cannot let one of Lucifer's creatures interfere. The human's medical technology will keep Mark alive for hours, yet. Plenty of time for our fallen brother to save his life.”
“For the future,” I whispered sadly.
Theodora was waiting outside the boxy vehicle that contained her soldiers, standing with her fellow Priestesses; Isabella and Agnes. All three were wearing armor, the black vests that humans wore in this age to protect against their devastating weapons. Guns. There were no limits to human violence I had learned over the millennium. Or any limits on their inventiveness.
I touched her lightly, watched her shudder in pleasure. “Alice has failed. Send in your soldiers, Theodora.”
Fear clutched at my heart. Master lay dying on the ground. His killer lay dying a few yards past him, shot by the bodyguards on duty. My heart was hammering in my chest. Master couldn't die. He was so powerful. I felt like I was about to fall apart. My fear was threatening to drown me in despair.
No! You have to keep it together, Chasity. Master put you in charge of the bodyguards. You need to stay in control. You have the command here. Mistress is too distraught to give any orders. And Master... Master needs you to be strong. There is only you, Chasity. Master and Mistress are counting on you. So don't you dare let them down by giving into your weakness.
Keep it together, Chasity.
Thamina was working on Master, attaching an IV from her medical kit. Fiery-haired 63, one of the new bodyguards from Monday's recruitment was holding the IV, squeezing the bag to get more fluids back into Master. He had lost so much blood. I glanced over at Alice. 01 and 24 were attending to the woman, securing her gun and putting pressure on her gunshots. I was tempted to let the bitch bleed out, but that wasn't my call. That wasn't my training.
I scanned the neighborhood, looking for other threats. My slut-sisters; Alison, Desiree, April, Violet, Xiu, Korina, Lillian, and Sam watched anxiously from the porch. The reporter, Debra, that had been filming the house when Master was shot was was recording his dying. Jessica stood next to her arguing with the woman while her cameraman filmed Master's struggle for life. She shouldn't be filming Master like this, I thought with anger.
I started to move over to the reporter when my Nextel chirped. “22 to Chasity, we have unusual activity out here.”
I pulled out my Nextel and pushed the button. It chirped, connecting me to the network, and I asked, “What, 22?” 22 was one of the units guarding the entrance to the street.
“We have three SWAT vans incoming,” 22 answered.
I frowned. There was nothing on the police band about any SWAT units dispatched. Besides, no SWAT unit could respond this fast. Not ahead of any patrol unit. My stomach sank. “Chasity to all units, we are under attack!” My heart was hammering in my chest.
Gunfire barked from the entrance to the street where 22 and the three others guarded the entrance followed by a loud crash and then I could see the first SWAT van rounding the curve of the street, racing down towards us. Gunfire erupted all down the street as the bodyguards fired at the vans. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the reporter and Jessica dive for cover as the Cameraman knelt down and kept right on filming.
“Mistress!” I shouted, grabbing her shoulder. I had to get her to cover. We were too far from the house. The SWAT vans were screeching to a stop at the cul-de-sac. I quickly scanned the area. There was one of our patrol cars parked ten feet away and I grabbed Mistress and dragged her with me. Behind us, my slut-sisters were diving back into the house.
“Let me go!” Mistress shouted, struggling in my grip. “I need to stay with him.”
Master gave me orders, gave all of the bodyguards orders, if anything ever happened to Master, we had to save Mistress, even if that meant ignoring her orders. “Stay down, Mistress,” I shouted, pushing her down behind the rear tire, pining her with my knee and drawing my weapon.
I looked over the trunk of the squad car to see black-fatigued SWAT pouring out. Shit, they had MP5's. They were wearing body armor that would stop my 9 mm, so I aimed my gun at their legs or arms, and squeezed the trigger. Automatic gun fire erupted from the SWAT and I ducked as bullets raked the squad car. The side windows shattered and rained tempered glass down on Mary and myself. The tire we were hiding behind hissed as it deflated. Cordite burned my nose and stung my eyes and my ears rang from the gunshots.
I glanced back at Master. Thamina was still working on him and 63 still held the IV. Master was too hurt to be moved. The other bodyguards by the house were taking cover and returning fire. We needed heavier weapons. I wondered if there was an AR-15 in this car. Some officers had them. Since 9-11 it wasn't uncommon for even a patrol unit to have the civilian version of an M-16. I glanced inside the cop car I hid behind and all I saw was a riot shotgun. Another burst of fire raked the car and I huddled down atop Mistress.
My heart thudded with fear and only my training was keeping me going. Mistress was huddled in a ball on the ground, covering her head with her arms. I wanted to crawl up in a ball and join her, but I had a job to do. Master and Mistress needed me to be brave. I peaked out around the cop car's trunk and saw a Black woman wearing a vest crouching behind a van, barking orders at the SWAT officer.
She must be a nun, I realized. And these were the SWAT officer's from the raid two weeks ago. I knew enough about the magic to realize the nuns were controlling the SWAT officers. Without the nuns, we might just have a chance.
I grabbed my Nextel. “Chasity to all units, there are nuns commanding the SWAT. Aim for any women!” Then I pulled out my police radio. “1 David 324, Officers in distress, 2932 Mountain View Court!” I shouted. “Officers under attack from suspects posing as Pierce County SWAT. Suspects have heavy weapons and body armor! 1 David 324, 2932 Mountain View Court, over.”
“Copy that 1 David 324,” dispatch responded. “Sending all units to your location, 2932 Mountain View Court.”
I peaked out, looking for that Black woman. The SWAT officers were forming a circle, using their vehicles for cover as they fired at my women. One SWAT was down, clutching a leg. I saw the Black woman and I emptied my clip at her. Sparks glinted off the vehicle as my bullets struck around her and then she was down, one of my rounds catching her in the neck. Several of the SWAT officers suddenly looked dazed. One stood up from his cover and took a round in the shoulder, clutching is wound as he fell to the ground.
I swapped magazines and fired at another woman with sandy-blonde hair, but she ducked behind her vehicle. I adjusted my aim and emptied the rest of my clip at a SWAT officer, he staggered as my rounds caught him in his armor but he got back up. I ducked down, ejected the clip and pulled out my next clip. No, my last clip. I glanced over at Master and saw Thamina holding the IV in one hand and covering Master's body with her own. Next to them, 63 was slumped on the ground. I scanned the neighborhood and more of the bodyguard were down, slumped behind bushes, on porches, or behind their cars.
I could hear approaching sirens as backup was nearing. We just had to hold out a little longer. On the police radio, I could hear all the units that were responding to our location. A TAC alert had just been issued, and all the units in the County were descending on us. We just had to hold out a little longer.
The gunfire was dwindling. I wasn't the only one running out of ammo. I looked up to see three of the SWAT officers advancing and one nun. The lead two officers were holding riot shields and then the blonde nun and the other officer were huddled behind them. I unloaded my last clip at them, bullets ricocheting off the riot shields, trying to hit the unprotected side of the nun. Instead I hit one of the shield bearer in the knee. He screamed in pain and collapsed on the ground, exposing the nun.
The others returned fire at me and I ducked back down behind the cop car. I could hear the metallic tink of their bullets slamming into cop car around me. They were only a few feet away. I looked around. I was the only bodyguard still up in front of the house. I was the only one left to protect Master and Mistress.
And all I had was my TASER and my nightstick.
If I stunned the nun, maybe her control of the SWAT officers will be interrupted long enough. It was a long shot. And I couldn't hit her in the vest. I drew my TASER, released the safety. I would have to aim carefully to hit the gap between the front and back of her vest. I would be a sitting target. My bulletproof vest was in the house. At this range, there was no chance that they'd miss me.
I glanced at Mistress curled up on the ground. As a cop I swore an oath to serve and protect the innocent. I stood up and aimed, my heart pounding in my breast. I focused on the nun, ignoring the SWAT officer raising up his weapon. The laser sights of the TASER glowed red on the nun's side, at the vulnerable gap on her left side. I exhaled and squeezed the TASER's trigger as the muzzle of the MP5 flash and...
The blonde cop rose up from behind the squad car.
She was the one that killed Agnes, I realized. She was pointing something at me, not a gun. It was two thick and boxy to be a gun, and striped with yellow. You need to do something, Theodora, I thought, willing my legs to jump to the side. Everything was happening to fast, my body just refused to move. The blonde cop squeezed her finger and something flew at me trailing wires and I felt pain as it struck me in the side. Duncan fired his sub-machine gun and the blonde cop was cut down, falling back in a spray of red. I pulled a small, metal dart out of my side. A TASER I realized. But only one of the prongs hit me, the other stuck harmlessly in my vest.
Shots whizzed past me and Duncan was struck in the back of the neck, collapsing. More of those bodyguards were firing at us from behind. Some of them had their own machine guns. This entire attack was falling apart. I could hear the sirens approaching. More cops. We had to wrap this up, quickly.
I ducked behind the cop car as the woman with the rifle continued firing at us. Crouched at me feet was an auburn haired woman using the wheel of the cop car as cover. Her aura was red, the aura Warlock. Mark lay dead or dying on the ground, another Thrall was working on him, so this must be his lover.
I glanced back at Dennis and saw the blonde woman who shot the TAZER at me and I almost vomited. This was everything I feared would happen. She was a Thrall and clearly was dead, her black aura was gone. It had been so long since I looked at a person and not seen the aura. And she wasn't the only Thrall dead because of my actions. It was my duty to save, Thralls not kill them.
This is all for the Greater Good, Theodora. All for the Greater Good, I kept telling myself.
Then why did I feel so dirty?
I was about to order Dennis, my last SWAT officer, to shoot the female Warlock before we got overrun, when the Warlock looked up at me. She had deep green eyes and a freckled face. She was so familiar. An image swam up in my mind of a little girl laughing as I pushed her on the swing in the backyard of my old house, her auburn hair flowing behind her. That was in another lifetime, when I was Tiffany Sullivan, loving wife and mother of three.
A look of shock appeared on the Warlock's face. “Mother?” she asked, hesitantly.
Oh my god, it was her. My Mary. How could she be a Warlock? I didn't know what to say and then I saw anger burning in her emerald eyes. My daughter hated me, I realized. My thoughts were scattered. Ramiel and Gabriel must have known and they kept it from me. My daughter hated me. My daughter sold her soul to the devil. I was sent to kill my own daughter.
“Mother!” she snarled and leapt at me, her fingernails scratching at my face.
“Grab her,” I ordered at Dennis, trying to wrestle my daughter off my face.
The SWAT officer grabbed Mary, easily pulling her off me. Deinnis pulled her arms behind her back and quickly snapped plastic wrist ties about Mary's wrists, trapping her hands behind her back. Mary struggled like a wildcat, kicking and screaming at me. “You fucking bitch! You killed him! You fucking nun! You did something to Alice, too! I'll kill you, Mother!”
“Back to the van,” I ordered. Several of the Thralls were circling the around towards us, including the one with that big, ugly rifle that killed Duncan. Guilt shuddered through me, he was another one of my victims. We ran back to the van. Dennis threw Mary in the back and then raced up the side of the van for the driver seat. I jumped in after Mary. Something struck me in the back and I fell to the floor of the van. I felt like something punched me in the back. “Go, Dennis!” I screamed hoarsely as the bodyguard raced towards us.
I slipped my hand between my back and the vest. I found where I got shot but there was no blood, just a large bruise. The vest stopped the round. I sighed in relief, and sat up as the Dennis put the van into gear.
The van peeled out, clipping a cop car as Dennis took the turn around the cul-de-sac and then we were racing down the block. I saw Agnes lying dead in a pool of blood and Isabella slumped against the side of a car. Grief was threatening to overwhelm me. Guilt threatening to drown me. More bodies littered the neighborhood. More of my victims.
“I'll kill you, Mother!” Mary shouted from behind me.
The sirens were coming closer. I needed to do one more thing. I closed my eyes, concentrating on the SWAT van. I drew a deep breath and uttered a single word. “Cathar.” Energy rippled out of me, into the van. A prayer of invisibility, the final Prayer Ramiel taught me.
“Drive carefully,” I ordered Dennis. “No one can see us.”
I saw the muzzle of the MP5 flash and...I was standing in shadows. I blinked, looking around in confusion. Everywhere I looked was a gray-black mist of nothingness. I frowned, no there was something over there. People? Huddled in a circle, maybe. They were mere forms in the shadowy haze. Seeing nothing else here, I walked towards them.
What was going on? Where am I?
As I drew nearer, the huddled forms resolved into 05 and 78. And just beyond them were 63 and 22. My heart churned. I last saw 63 lying dead next to Master, her face ruined by the bullet that struck her. And 22 was at the entrance when the SWAT poured in. Dread nibbled at my heart. Was I dead? The flash of the MP5 filled my memory.
No, I could not be dead. Master and Mistress need me. They were under attack.
“Where are we?” I asked. They all turned to look at me. “63, you were shot. You looked dead?”
63 nodded sadly. “I protected Master,” she whispered, pushing her auburn hair back behind her shoulders.
“This must be a dream,” I protested. “I can't be...”
“Dead?” an ancient voice whispered from behind. “I am afraid you all are dead.”
I turned to see an old man, dressed in gray robes, almost invisible in the shadows. “I can't be dead,” I protested. “I have to save Mistress. She's under attack.”
“You died trying to save your Mistress, Chasity Sarah Vinter.” The man gave a tired smile.
“Who are you,” 05 asked.
“I am Virgil, Dove Tawny Atterberry,” Virgil answered, speaking 05's name. He paused, as if he expected us to know whom he was. Then he sighed. “Americans, none of you study the classics.” Virgil shook his head in disgust. “None of you even played that bastard video game? No, well, that's for the best. You are all dead and this is Limbo, or the Shadow. The closet part of the Abyss to the Mortal World.”
“The Abyss?” I asked, in confusion.
“Hell, Gehenna, Tartarus, Sheol,” Virgil answered. “The Abyss has been called by many names. You are here because Mark Glassner bound your souls to his. Here you shall await your Master's death, to spend eternity with him.” Virgil focused his eyes, like he was peering into the shadows.” I do not think you will have to wait long.”
I frowned, it was almost like he was seeing Master. I concentrated, picturing Master and I could see through shadows and there was Master still dying on the ground. I thought of Mistress and the vision blurred and there was Mistress, tied up in the back of a SWAT van snarling at the sandy-blonde nun.
I wanted to ask Virgil questions, but he was gone, faded back into the shadows. I took 63 and 05's hands, squeezing them and sat down. “We will be reunited with Master,” I said, reassuringly to my women. “We just have to wait.”
“Where are we?” a new voice asked in confusion.
I glanced over to see 34 appear. I held out my hand to her, letting go of 63's hand. “I have some sad news,” I told her as she squeezed between 63 and myself.
I was falling into darkness.
I was dying.
Alice shot me and I was dying.
I never thought that this is how it would end. Getting shot by a jealous woman so she could have my fiancee. Mary would be joining me, soon, I realized sadly. Mary wished for youth and health for as long as I lived. When I died, so would she. Regret blossomed in my heart. I would never get to see my child that grew in Korina's belly. I would never get to make a child with Mary. And I wanted so very much to marry my sweet filly. To watch her walk radiant down the aisle towards me in her wedding dress. I pictured her, dressed in white, a veil obscuring her pretty face, flowers in her hand. Her auburn hair would have been a splash of color against the purity of her dress. She would have been so beautiful.
“You can still see her, Mark,” a woman's voice floated out of the darkness. “You are not dead, yet.”