Author’s note: If you haven’t read Arbatian Mental Institution, parts of this story may not make sense.
A tight spiral was drilled through her head with a steady stream of blood half circling her eyes, the remaining fluid dripped over her gaping mouth. Cold, glossy eyes roll to the side as she plunges to the ground. Shawna lays like a stiff porcelain doll resting on the floor, the last image that passed through her sight is a capture of Jenny screaming, although she couldn’t hear her. The bullet entered her brain and a fatal image was remembered momentarily.
Jenny falls to the ground scrambling to reach her. The guard previously holding her aims his gun to fire at Jasper, forgetting about his prisoner. In the stir of all the hostility he squeezes the trigger just as Jenny stands up. She stops in her tracks as a lump of her breast from the right side spurts out. Her lung begins to swell with fluid as the simple labor of breathing becomes difficult. Dropping to her knees, she allows Death’s grip to comfort her decrepit soul. Bony fingers reach out towards Shawna sliding through a puddle of blood. Within inches of contact she sighs her last breath, her eyes locked onto the frail child that never stood a chance in life.
Jasper releases his mixed emotions in a blend of tears and screams. His candle in the dark that lit the path to redemption was snuffed out in seconds. He strikes Rico in the chest with enough force to feel the brittle shatter of bones vibrate on his sole. Rico topples backwards rolling towards a wall, the uneven ground adds to his pain as bone slivers shift with each attempt to inhale.
Jasper runs to the trembling guard next who is turning away dropping his gun. Two feathered capes slither around his swollen body with pressure, in one swift move the wings retract. A skinned body tips over, raw meat and fat bounce in light jiggles as he lands. Shaking, he cries while mushy layers of flesh stick to points of the wings pointed inwards. Jasper turns towards the tender females, their bodies gaunt and bruised. Warm tears continue to fall to the ground escaping his cheeks. Gently he kneels next to them whispering, “I should have listened to him, I’m so sorry.”
Rico hacks up blood, sucking in air it feels like a sledgehammer is being rammed into his torso. Jasper grits his teeth at the show being put on, a failing attempt for pity.
“I see who you truly are demon, come out! You hide in a sack of meat and bone, I demand in the name of Jesus that you show yourself, Delkatov!”
Veins ripple down Rico’s throat as he unleashes a roar echoing through the building, brittle claws push out of his fingers as he pulls away skin revealing leather underneath. He rams the ground repeatedly cracking his skull until the bone fragments slide apart. A new one emerges from the blood like a newborn animal. Its eyelids stitched together with coiled barb-wire, two wet slits for a nose sniff the air as he raises himself towering over Jasper.
“Brother, its been too long. I wondered if we would encounter each other once more, yet here you stand with two dead whores before me.” Delkatov says.
“You’ve gone too far! Is this what you do now, possess people during your free time? How did you escape Hell, for what purpose do you rest on Earth?” Jasper yells. He begins to pull his shirt apart revealing faded pink scars across his belly and chest. Wings aim outwards, stretching and creaking themselves; with each move he made he could feel the last bit of his power diminish.
Delkatov smiles exposing slick fangs protruding from his red gums. “All will be revealed in time,” he whispers.
Dropping down he tramples towards Jasper, the floor rumbles as he spears into his direction. Jasper dives forward slamming into the beast. Both begin to swing and claw at each other rolling onto the floor. Delkatov bites down on one wing ripping it out in sloppy squirts, the wing breaks apart from his shoulder bone from a once merged piece becoming two. Jasper screams and begins to punch into his the throat and slab jaw, his fist turning red with blood from torn skin and exposed knuckles. Still he fought with all his might, despite his attacks being weak.
Claws begin to tear apart at his upper body causing his arms to block his now wet belly, blood spurts out from wide lacerations. Jasper’s wing covers his face and torso before thick flames spill out in heated spells. The burning sensation glows across the shield forcing heat to rub against his clenched face and sore chest. Delkatov is then flung off by heavy spiked feathers springing to the sky, causing him to crash through a brick wall.
Jasper staggers trying to shift balance to his feet, a sharp pain spirals down his back centering around the gash with broken bone sticking out. He limps towards the monster as his wing begins to lower and retract into his skin. Feelings intensify as his nerves thin out and come to a sense he’s never been familiar with, human pain. Pushing through, he continues to walk through the newly formed exit. Delkatov stands up extending his claws and gets ready to pounce when he stops, as if something grabbed his head and demanded him to focus. He sniffs the air and whispers something, Jasper could swear he heard “Princess”, but wasn’t sure. Delkatov roars and dives headfirst into the ground digging and burrowing leaving mounds of dirt in a large ring.
Delkatov pushes his head out of the hard soil, his senses were no longer locked, he could definitely smell what he’s been after. Crawling out, he’s greeted with fellow demons of his army, all in a crooked circle they stare at a mental asylum that he previously encountered at one point, before he bothered taking control of Rico’s body. Screaming together in victory, they all begin to run towards Arbatian Mental Institution.
Jasper heads back into the building dragging his tired feet. He drops down and slides his battered body towards the girls, picking each one up he holds them in one arm. Leaning his head back, his vision becomes distorted. He feels light headed, the body grows warm and everything feels okay again.
“I failed, but I tried. Do what you will…” He mutters in a low voice.
“Jasper…Jasper wake up.”
Jasper awakens to see a hand pressed against his icy forehead, volts of energy burst through his muscles and nerves almost sending him into a seizure. Bones snap back into place, blood dries up and his wings become fully restored. He inhales new life and jerks up, gasping for air like an almost drowned victim. Standing before him is his Commander from Heaven, although he is no longer dressed in simple garments of silk, but attire of armor.
Jasper sits up looking around in hopes it was a dream, yet Jenny and Shawna still rest their heads upon his lap. “It’s been a long while, I see you’ve been busy,” The Commander says. “And with your decisions made, things only turned for the worst. I tried to warn you.”
Jasper cautiously places their immobile heads onto the floor and stands up, glaring at the opposite angel he asks, “What do you want? Why didn’t you let me die Commander?”
He looks down at the girls and shakes his head. “I’ve observed from above, you never told them. Why not?”
“I thought I could make things better,” Jasper sighs heavily. “I didn’t know I would make things harder on them by trying.”
“You interfered with life, and with that ripple you changed the timeline.”
“Was I supposed to allow a sick child die? Stand on the sideline and wave goodbye? I couldn’t allow it.” Jasper looks to his calloused palms, thick pinkish mounds drive across, a reminder of his encounter with an angel he despised most; the Angel Of Death, the Grim Reaper.
“Back away b*****d!” Jasper yells. His palms wrap around a rusted blade thrusting into hard flesh, on the other end a yellow skull sticks its head through a balck hood.
“It’s the order of life, her time has come, accept it!” The Reaper yells.
Jasper pushes forward as blood leaks down his arms. “She’s a child! Why does she deserve this? What purpose does she partake in Heaven? It’s too soon!”
The Reaper presses forward with the sythe digging more into muscle, Jasper flinches but shows no remorse, no fear, no regret. The blade digs further in as he plants his feet into the ground pushing towards the cloaked skeleton. Just a few feet behind , Jenny stands over Shawna’s bed. Her hand caresses Shawna’s strangled hair, a smile never leaves the sick girl’s mouth. Looking to Shawna she whispers, “I love you.”
Jasper pushes harder, pleading with the Reaper who seems bound and determined to take a life, he yells, “Leave! I beg of you!”
The Reaper pulls the blade back, it slides out with blood dripping off the jagged edge of it. “Obviously you care for these, yet you show no worry of the consequences of your actions, I take away to keep balance in life. But, you will get your wish. She lives, for now.” The Reaper backs up as a dark cloud envelops around swallowing him into a void. In an instant he’s gone. Jasper turns to the young girls and stands over them, he feels he’s won this battle.
Days had passed and Jasper still clung to them with paranoia, every second he felt that the Reaper would sneak upon them to collect his toll when it was unexpected. It finally came, but not the way he was ready for.
“Mom!” Jenny yells. On the floor wriggling with junkie foam bubbling out of her lips, Jenny’s mom strains on the floor as the Reaper grips his hand onto her head, a sight only Jasper could see. It didn’t cross his mind that she would pay for his mistake. He runs forward and dives with a clenched fist, only he floats through a wall of reality and into Heaven. A angry angel stands before yelling at him, he had interrupted the order of life.
“Shawna was supposed to go, because of your selfishness she lived and now her mother has left. Do you know what that’s gonna do to the timeline?” Commander screams. Jasper stands up looking around, with little thought he swings making contact across his stubbled chin with a rock fist.
“I’d rather be forsaken.” Jasper says before turning around and walking off. Golden gates swing open as he willingly leaves and drops forward. Crashing into an abandoned town, he creates a sunken crater where he rested for longer than he could remember, hibernating almost. Waking up he staggers to his feet and begins to wander looking for his two girls, his reason for living, his life source.
“Jasper, all is forgiven. There are more important matters at stake, we need you, Heaven needs you.”
“My purpose lies with these two, I have no interest. You should’ve let me die.” Jasper grunts.
“Then we’ll compromise,” Commander says. He bends down placing two hands on the bodies. Shawna’s body swells with healthy amounts of muscle and clear skin, her sunken eyes tighten while her hair turns into a forest of silk. Bruises fade away, the cancer dissolves within replenishing her with a healthy vibrant being. Jenny mimics the process, her torn chest sinking back in forging flesh over her wound. Scars flatten out across her back turning back to normal.
“I can erase their memories, take away their hurt, plant new lives within. They’ll awaken with a memory of nothing before that was painful, but with it their memory of you will be lost as you were the cause of it all. I can do so, but I’ll need something from you in return.” Commander says. Jasper looks down at the healthy girls, the ones he tried so hard to save only to damn them personally. He stands up and replies, “If it means their happiness and well being, I’ll do anything you ask.”
The world distorts into a blurry image as if it was being smeared, everything comes back into focus as Jasper stands outside a house in a urban neighbourhood. A van pulls up a driveway coming to a stop, two girls step out. One blonde with pink highlights, she wore a sundress and sandals while turning around to wait, Jenny. Another girl steps out smiling widely towards the sky, it was Shawna. The driver door swings open as their mother gets out and says, “Dinner will be ready in thirty minutes girls.”
She steps inside leaving them alone, the girls lay down on the grass staring at the sky giggling, talking amongst themselves about school.
“They’re happy, and alive,” Jasper mutters through choked words. Tears escape the corners of his eyes before he swipes them away with a rough paw. “That they are, this is a new world for them, but it won’t be for long. Which is why I’ve come to ask for your help.” Commander says.
Half expecting a dreaded answer, Jasper asks, “What is it?”
“Your brother, Delkatov, has found the princess of Hell. As we speak, Princess Lola and her army are preparing. Hell has declared war.”
Jasper glances to the ground, his gut churns with worry and fear. “If I help fight, can this even be won?”
Commander smiles and nods his head. “We have something they won’t expect. Come, preparations are being made. Their safety, among countless others, depend on us. We cannot lose this war, it would mean the end of us, the end of humanity, the end of Jenny and Shawna.”
Jasper looks back one last time at the girls laughing and joking, his heart swells as he bends down pulling a folded picture out from his pocket. Placing it next to the mailbox he walks to his Commander, both of their wings shoot out as they ascend to the heavens. Delicately placed among a bushel of grass is a picture of Jenny, Shawna, and their mother. In the distance a twinkling light captured in the moment, possibly brushed off as bad lighting. But, in the eyes of any angel, their vision would see a forbidden layer revealed, a glimpse of their guardian angel Jasper protecting them from afar.
Thank you to everyone who read this, I hope you enjoyed.