Chapter 5: Episode 18- "Violet Ribbon"
“Hold on, Khali! I’m coming… I’m coming.” Felix called through the wispy white haze of the spirit world. Flashes of white and black sparked around him in shards as if the materially of the spirit world was fabric being constantly ripped apart. This was trippy, but Felix had walked among the devils long enough to know their world nearly as well as his own. He froze his mind, steeling every thought of weakness, doubt, and humanness: everything not focused on Khali was a distraction. The more he focused on his one goal, the more his spirit aligned with that goal; the more acute his spiritual awareness grew. He could see the violet ribbon of Khali’s essence, her spirit had taken a path through a side street, hurdled a grouping of crates in an alley, and headed into rundown access door to a disheveled building, looking to be on the verge of collapse.
Felix followed Khali’s essence through the opened door, barely clinging to the wall on stripped out hinges that threatened to break away from the doorframe at any moment. Felix stepped through the doorway, careful not to touch the door and risk it falling and alerting his prey that he was near. The dark room in which he found himself was glowing in the light of spiritual presence. The evil spirits used this room, their green essence like stains covered the room. Felix didn’t want to envision what they had done in this room but he could guess, his experience with the gruesome and indulgent creatures of evil still gave him nightmares. Humans were never meant to know what the demons did in the dark, just as gods were never meant to see what humans did in the dark. The purpose of shadows was hiding the evil nature of cruel and fallen beings. The spiritual and the physical, there was no difference.
Felix shook his head sharply, lagging, but trying desperately to block the thoughts and images from his mind, fighting to maintain his utter focus on Khali. He had not walked in the spirit world in many months and was losing his composure. All that mattered in this realm was entire concentration, meditation on a desired object.
“Khali, I’m coming. Just hold on. God, Khali hold on.” Felix panicked, which oddly helped clear his mental haze. And when everything cleared all that was left was Khali… all that remained was Khali: all the mattered was Khali. He had to find her, to get to her, to save her. It was more than he’d been able to do for the last 15 years, this felt like too little too late to redeem a lifetime of failure. Felix slayed the notion of the past. It was for redemption from the past that he sought to rescue his sister, but a love for the present and a hope for a future he’d thought would never be possible after what he’d done. Just as he’d been given another chance to be there for her, she had been stripped away from him again: torn out of his life like a page in an old book.
“Not this time.” There was a heat between Felix’s heated words forced through tightly clenched teeth. ‘You’re not taking her from me this time.” Come death itself, he would fight on and fight through whatever stood in his way.
The trail of essence disappeared into the floor where an open trapdoor welcomed Felix like an open grave. Even in the spirit world, Felix’s sense could smell the sent of decay and rot wafting from the underground. Felix didn’t hesitate but for a second before throwing himself and his flail down the hole in the floor and falling to a dirt tunnel floor only a few feet later. The tunnel wasn’t lit, but Felix didn’t need the aid of light in the spirit world. The smearing of foul spirit essence stained the walls and floor, even parts of the ceiling in the small tunnel. But even without sight, all Felix had to do was follow the scent of death and it would bring him to the his quarry.
Felix was on the hunt. His blood glowed blue as it pulsed through his veins, raging with energy and life. Taking the next steps in a hop, then changing gears to kick into a jog, he soon was in full sprint down the tunnel, chasing the thread of Khali’s essence, getting closer and closer each second: praying he would not be too late when he caught up with whatever dark being had taken her.
The scenery turned dark the further he transgressed into the domain of the dark things. The path seemed to go downward at a mad rate, until he felt as though he was headed straight into the depths of the earth itself: the heart of hell where the demons hide. Even for the white and black painted spirit world with its ever shifting, never stable or sustained visuals, dark and light flashes occurring by the second, Felix felt the atmosphere darken. Perhaps it was just a premonition or a sense of doubt, possibly fear, but though the light did not grow lighter nor the dark darker, Felix felt the presence of evil growing. It was as if the darkness was attempting to smother him. Smother? More like swallow whole.
Darkness was a ravenous savage, never satisfied, always seeking to prey on the weak, to feed on the feeble and trap them in its hopeless void. Felix would not be smothered, swallowed, or slowed in his resolve. Powering through the shroud of satan and weight of evil, Felix continued the downward plunge into the earth at full sprint. He was too frantic to feel tired or pressured. Too many concerns consumed his thoughts about Khali that he felt his focus fading and the ribbon of Khali’s essence snapping.
An eternity passed, —though time had lost it’s value in such a forsaken place as this— the wall tried to close in and suffocate Felix as if here in the heart of the earth, a mile beneath the surface, the world detested its human inhabitance and sought to consume them: turning them into more earth to grow its beloved trees and flowers: a plot to extinguish life to give life to other life.
Felix emerged from the tunnel into a large, flat floor of rocky earth with a spacious room: a cavernous room and welcome sight after the mile through the narrow tunnel. Felix felt like he could breath again, but the foul air of the underworld was no warm welcome to his lungs. In the spirit world he felt less and his sense perceived less stimuli from the physical world, as though he was vicariously living in his own body. The essence trail ended here, Felix gazed across the stone platform to see a netherform demon holding Khali in his outstretched arms, as a sacrifice prepared to offer.
The sight instantly sickened Felix, no doubt it was meant to. Demons relied on tactics such as fear and intimidation, they fed on weakness. Felix determined not show any weakness, not to let his guard down for a moment. Projecting more confidence than he felt, he allowed the flail to drop off his should with a clank of the chain. A flutter of nervous feelings turned his insides into mush. He internally shook the feelings off. Why was he nervous? He had faced the masters of these foul creatures. He was a demon hunter. This was nothing compared to many of his trails in the past.
“Go back to the depths, creature of the dark.” Felix spoke as he slowly approached the netherform. His tone was low and ominous but bore a commanding air that demanded respect. The demon stood, undaunted by this newcomer’s approach, simply holding out the sacrificial lamb: Khali, with untiring arms.
“So, you have come to die also.” The demon spoke with a tone of voice that sounded as if it had been through fire and smoke, wearied and haggard from ages of speechlessness. A guttural sound billowed from its throat as if protesting the use of human words.
“I have come to claim what is rightfully mine. My sister.” Felix’s voice broke as emotion burst through his facade of strength. He realized why he was nervous and worried over such a middling evil as this netherform demon: it was Khali. He was not afraid for himself, but for her. The demon sensed his weakness and laughed, growing stronger by the second.
“You think you are mighty but you are weak, small. Just an insect to be crushed.” The demon billowed, it’s voice coming from deep within itself and resounding through the cavernous room. “You too will die. Because you are weak, like her.” The demon held up Khali’s limp body for Felix to see and his heart dropped, but only for an instant. The sinking feeling soon turned to raw rage, boiling inside of his soul. Felix could not contain this burning rage for long.
“What is your name, creature.” Felix hissed, straining to hold back a wall of anger.
“Why would you desire to know my name?” The beast cackled a laugh through its crackly voice.
Felix’s eyes narrowed to slits. “So that I can tell your brothers who it was I killed.”