Ice and Firepower.

The Dark God rose behind her, quietly building the fury it would unleash. Before the next pulse could pump through her heart she turned and rammed the Sword of Fire into the centre of his chest, thrusting it home with all the power of the Elementals. Surprise registered on his face as he looked down. In seconds, he exploded in a shower of sparks and oily flames, the Sword hanging suspended in the air until she reached for it and returned it to its scabbard.

“Helo down! Helo down!” the tinny voice yelled through the mic. “Helo One, reply! Helo One, assistance is inbound!” Helo One was far beyond the reach of any assistance now, as it’s dead and crumpled body fell in a fiery plume to the river below.

***

Crouched behind the emergency response vehicles one hundred metres from her, a highly trained marksman was completing the assembly of ‘Oliver,’ his favourite sniper rifle. He called it Oliver Untwist, because whoever was hit by what came out of the business end all of a sudden became graceful and fluid-like when Oliver came to visit.

He’d thought about using Oliver’s bigger and heftier cousin, ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’, but because of the tight space the girl was in he decided against it. If one went over the Cuckoo’s Nest, with the flick of a switch he could elevate the bullet spray by engaging ‘Full Retard’. However, because she was surrounded by bridge pylons and metal that could cause a ricochet he decided on the riskier single shot ‘Oliver’.

***

No one could make sense of her. They’d received a report of a woman walking toward the bridge carrying what appeared to be a grenade launcher, her sides bristling with guns and ammo. Two cars had intercepted her, calling on her to lay down. Instead, she unloaded two full clips from two very angry-sounding Colt 45s. They ducked, she dropped the guns and kept walking, and they recovered and made take-down shots. Unbelievably, she wasn’t taken down. She turned, looked at them for menacing seconds, and threw two grenades at them.

On the bridge she was exactly where she wanted to be, tucked into a small area that made assault on her difficult. She heard the shrill wails of the Dark God’s demons approaching. Good. She’d counted on it. Kill enough of them and the Dark God would be summoned; he was the real target.

She felt his presence, rising up behind her. She struck, and he fell in a ball of flames. The Sword of Fire had worked. Now it was time for it to work again. Swinging it around, she herself was spun as something impacted with the side of her head. He was gone; how could this have happened? And then her knowing told her. She swivelled at lightning speed and the Sword of Fire spoke again. Oliver and its owner would never untwist again.

***

Oliver’s owner, Braddon, could not believe what he’d just seen. He had a bead on her; she was locked in. He fired and she twisted slightly, but he got her. She should be down. The last thing he saw before the rocket-propelled grenade hit him was her face, her whole cheek torn and flapping at her chin.

They came at her from above, silently and on black ropes. She didn’t need to look; her senses were open and alive and she was, even in her weakening state, so much stronger than them. Just as he slid into final position and took the shot that would split her skull open, her consciousness leapt into him. In a split-second struggle he was too weak to win, she grabbed his consciousness and flung it into the dying body of the woman below. He would die trapped within the wreckage that was her body.

***

He silently slithered down the rope and to the ground, his head tilted to the side as he viewed her, as if wondering what she was. “Clean shot, Benchley,” one of his team called to him. He barely registered it. On the way back to the House he was quiet and pensive. They put it down to ‘first kill’ introspection and let him go home. Debriefing could wait. It was a clean kill, witnessed by many, and in extraordinary circumstances.

He went home, but he didn’t sleep. Instead, he sat in a comfortable chair, looking at a fixed point on a bare wall of no particular interest, and rocked gently for hours. As if pricked by a pin he leapt up and marched to his safe, twisting the tumblers until the door sprang open slightly. An avid collector, his arsenal resembled the moment before Armageddon began.

On the street now, and everything glowed greenly through the night vision that was behind his eyes. He knew where they were, and he was coming for them. The door disintegrated and he stepped through, only vaguely taking in the two bodies that were ruptured in the blast and fragmentation. Stepping over them, he went straight to their well-hidden stash and helped himself to their riches. Half a kilo of ‘ice’, the most malicious drug on the planet, was now his. He snorted it, ate it, and instantly felt the effects coursing through his blood. He became superhuman, an Elemental, in those following seconds.

He heard the Dark God rising and the wail of his demons getting closer. He smiled. There would always be at least one survivor of an ‘Encounter’, and no matter whose body it was, it would belong to him, and her, and all the others whose voices were inside his head. They now had the strength of ten, and they were growing with each kill.

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