Brock rounds the corner at top speed, stumbling as his foot catches a loose piece of gravel. He braces himself with both arms extended, his hands slamming onto the sidewalk. He quickly pulls himself back up and without hesitation, continues sprinting.
He hears the flurry of footsteps pounding behind him, the ragged breath from five different mouths. He turns back. And he sees them. One by one, rounding the corner, the antagonist of each of his five lives. His four former lives… and this current one.
The Red Knight, formerly Commander Gordon, but ever since he and his suit of armor were left for dead in the lake and the steel rusted to a brown-red color… he has been known as The Red Knight.
The River Nymph. Her lifeless, pale blue skin glistens with its moistness under the light of the sun. Her dark and dilated pupils fixate on Brock. She snarls as she runs, razor sharp teeth bared.
The Alien, dull green skin and bright orange eyes that looked eerily similar to that of human eyes. As it runs, the suction cup quality of its bare feet slap and pop on the sidewalk. Its long, slimy fingers slide past its own palms as its hands are clenched into fists.
Johnny Bello, the muscle for the Bello family of 107th street in East Harlem. The long arms of his dark suit extend past his hands but don’t cover the blades gripped in both of them.
And Trent. Trent Geiger. Elementary school bully. Middle school bully. High school bully. Majoring in terrorizing Brock. Even got a job at the same place as Brock and continued with the terrorizing into their adult years. Humiliating him at work, in front of women Brock was interested in. Trent. And his ugly face.
Brock turns forward just in time to see a fire hydrant directly in front of him. He hurtles clear over it and lands on his feet gracefully. He’s impressed with himself for a fleeting moment. Then, the realization that he’s impressed by his ability to run. To run away. Like he has done all his life.
Brock slows down. He spins around. His five demons are sprinting right towards him. Johnny Bello and Trent lagging behind. The Alien pulling ahead of the pack, its perfect form and muscles rippling with each slap of a foot on the pavement.
Brock reaches to the right side of his belt and unclips his blaster. He lifts it with his right hand. With his left hand, he presses the red button on the panel of his spacesuit just above his left collarbone. The blaster whirs on and a bright orange color glows from deep inside it.
He squeezes the trigger and a magnificent flame bursts from the barrel of the blaster. The flame extends across the sidewalk and engulfs The Alien. The flame overtakes its entire body and then— poof! Gone. As if never there.
Brock redirects the flame towards the rest of his demons. The Red Knight pulls his shield up high and blocks the flame. The fire dances across the shield and kisses the corners of it, never passing by the edges. The Red Knight stays safe behind his shield. Brock moves the flame towards the River Nymph. The flame wraps around her body and then quickly fizzles out. The fire dies in the presence of heavy moisture in the air.
Brock clicks the trigger repeatedly. Nothing. The blaster is out. The Red Knight lowers his shield and races towards Brock. Brock tosses his blaster aside and draws the rhenium rod from the left side of his belt. The Red Knight draws his sword and charges Brock.
Brock holds still. Calm. Unmoving. The Red Knight rushes him, hardly slowing. He closes in on Brock and swings his sword at Brock’s head. Brock ducks and as The Red Knight’s momentum has him clumsily stumbling to Brock’s right, Brock swings the rhenium rod at The Red Knight’s midsection.
Whack! And poof! Disappeared in a cloud of black dust.
The River Nymph quickly makes her move. Charging at Brock, claws extended from her blue fingers. Brock swings the rhenium rod at her midsection. The impact lifts her off the ground and rockets her across the street to the opposite sidewalk. She lands in a pile of dirty boxes. More black dust billows into the air.
Johnny Bello approaches Brock quickly, swinging two blades from either hand. Brock has hardly any time to react. He swings the rhenium rod up to block the knives. The blades of the knives clang against the rod and knock it free from Brock’s hands.
Johnny Bello lifts his arms in the air and plummets them down into Brock’s direction. Brock extends both arms up and catches Johnny Bello by both wrists. Brock holds his arms still. He squeezes as tightly as he can. So tightly, that Johnny Bello—poof! Disappears into black dust.
And then there’s Trent. Walking his cocky walk right up to Brock. Brock shudders in fear. Trent’s ugly face and intimidating stare sears into his soul.
Brock wants to run like he’s done a thousand times over five different lifetimes. But he doesn’t. If he wants to conquer his demons, he needs to stand up to his demons.
“You don’t scare me, Trent!” Brock yells with such a force that the soundwaves from his mouth shake Trent’s body and he quivers and then he explodes into a thick cloud of black dust.
Brock is breathing heavy. He’s done it. He’s conquered his demons.
Suddenly, Brock feels frigid, wet puddles in the small of his back. The coldness and wetness spreads. It feels sharp. It stings. Brock turns around to see The River Nymph staring directly into his eyes, her claws dug into his back.
Conquering his demons. Sure, Brock can do that. Conquering an actual demon. Clearly, that’s much more difficult.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Compelling and original writing
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