Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 29 Pt 1


Official Report
The Downing Building
New Hebron, California

When they emerged inside the void Sapphira, wasted no time unleashing a beam of energy at Chemosh. Though aware of Van den Broeke, he did not speak or acknowledge the other exemplar for fear of drawing attention on her. Amy had none of their abilities and had no way of defending herself. If he could keep the other occupied, perhaps he would spare her his wrath. Though a faint hope, it was all he had.

Chemosh’s form was bathed in light as the blast cascaded around her outstretched hands. She might have looked angelic if it hadn’t been for the malicious grin stretched across her face. Sapphira dropped his hands, letting the energy flicker and die. He pursed his lips and dove forward to dodge the other’s counterattack, but there was no way to avert or ward off what came next.

Color coalesced all around them, muted images sprang to life growing brighter and more vivid in seconds. Amy and Chemosh faded away. A city took form around them, and Sapphira swallowed hard as he came to recognize the images all around him. It was New Hebron where his daughter had died. He froze peering all around; the street was devoid of people or cars. Otherwise it was just as he remembered that fateful night.

Even in the dark, the shadows seemed bright compared to the emptiness of the void. He looked around and stopped. He locked his eyes on to the exact spot where it had happened. He furrowed his brows and stepped closer. As he did, an outline of a car and a pair of forms huddled on the ground took shape. They grew more vivid with each step and when Sapphira was close stopped dead in his tracks.

Not again.

He found what he expected, but it didn’t make it any easier. Hot tears stung his cheeks, and he tasted bile in his mouth. He gritted his teeth and looked down at his former self, clasping the dying form of Clara.

His past self wept and Sapphira did too. Sapphira sobbed, between breaths, but Everett cried making no sound. When Clara’s last breath escaped her lips, Everett looked up at his future self and glowered.

Sapphira took a step back, his breath catching in his throat as he eyed his other self between sobs.

“Look at you!” Everett screamed out at him. “Look at what you’ve become!”

Sapphira took another step back, but did not speak. Instead, he clenched bath fists at his side and watched his former self shake with rage.

“That monster killed our daughter, and you just let him go! How could you?!”

“I-I,” Sapphira sobbed and felt his eyes grow wide. “I thought that was what I wanted, but I’ve come to understand that it wasn’t right. That’s not who we are!”

“It’s not who you are! You weak, degenerate, twisted freak!” Everett scream, lurching to his feet, his bloodied form still dripping blood. “If only we’d been given powers before it was too late! I never would have gotten involved in all this namby-pamby nonsense.”

Sapphira stood there breathing in and out, trying to steady his breath. He let out a high-pitched scream and scowled at the old man. “You don’t understand a damn thing, old man, you’re angry and hurt, but that doesn’t excuse the hatred and bigotry you have spread. I’m ashamed of things I said and did when I was you!”

Sapphira screamed again, and his, or rather her, past self cackled and an all-too familiar inhuman grin spread over his face. “Oh Sapphira,” he asked. “Why so defensive?”

Sapphira threw both hands up projecting a wave of energy that sent the old man hurtling away. She spun around, expecting Chemosh to emerge, but instead silence followed. She heard soft, feminine laughter and turned back to his daughter’s corpse. The body had jerked sitting upright, and she leveled her cold dead eyes on him. Her face cracked into a grin and her lips parted revealing a double row of razor-sharp teeth.

Clara glanced down at her hands, cocking her head sideways as her fingernails extended outward becoming thicker and sharper. She lurched forward swiping at Sapphira and the exemplar lurched back as the other’s new claws raked the empty air.

The ground rumbled all around her and Sapphira jumped back as it cracked and gave way around him. A dozen or more forms emerged from the ground. Every creature was more misshapen and inhuman than the last. Each wore a grotesque version of a familiar face, his wife, his granddaughter, his parents, and a ten-year-old boy whose face he’d almost forgotten, his older brother who had died when he was still young.

Other faces from the past joined the mix, but the only one that produced a scream of terror belonged to the creature who resembled Amelia. Her face was a near perfect recreation, but that was the only resemblance. She leveled her blood-red eyes on Sapphira and grinned at her with a mouthful of fangs. This produced another scream from the exemplar. Though one of the most grotesque things she had ever laid eyes on, it was the fact that it looked on her with Amy’s eyes that so disturbed her.

Amy’s body was twisted and contorted into impossible proportions, but that wasn’t even the most appalling thing. One breast drooped from her chest, stretched and swollen and hung inches above the ground. The other half of her chest was flat and covered in grizzled hair. She had a complete vulva between her legs, but it squirted green cum on the ground with each new step.

Amy stretched its hands out, and Sapphira jerked away from them realizing as she did so that instead of fingers each digit resembled a penis, some circumcised and some not. The creature called out, but it spoke with such a strong slur, that Sapphira could make neither heads nor tales of what it said.

Sapphira heard a voice call out, but she couldn’t be sure to who it belonged. She spun around, a figure flickered into sight before her and disappeared again. She did not recognize the figure which had been faint, but she thought it might have been Amy. She called out her name, but received no answer.

The mock-Amy lurched forward backhanding her with one of her phallic hands and Sapphira jerked back, not quite avoiding the attack. Though she experienced no pain, the blow sent her reeling away into the chortling form of Barbara, her dead wife. She knew she was looking upon an illusion and that these creatures were not her loved ones, but despite this understand she did not attack.

The creature that resembled Barbara, lurched forward her clawed fingers raking the side of her breasts. Sapphira jerked away, avoiding another attack from her mother. She was maybe three feet up when something latched onto her ankle and was slammed back down to the ground. The exemplar never learned which of her attackers had been responsible before being buried under a writhing mass of misshapen figures. Her cries fell on deaf ears.

Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 29 Pt 2


Official Report
The Downing Building
New Hebron, California

For Amy, when the void evaporate a cityscape did not appear around her but rather a bedroom. She narrowed her eyes and glanced around as the room materialized around her. It looked familiar, but until it completed its manifestation, she did not know why.

Against the north wall rested a twin bed, made up with a set of well-worn Kim Possible sheets and matching bedspread, a cheap pre-fabricated chest of drawers sat opposite it and a misshapen beanbag chair rested against the wall near the door. Star Wars, Linkin Park The Strokes and about a half a dozen different cartoon posters adorned the walls. She knew them all well; the items had once adorned her childhood bedroom.

Given the choice Amy would have gone with much more feminine decor, but she’d been lucky to convince her parents just to let her have the Kim Possible bed set. When she still lived at home, she often imagined what her room might have looked like if allowed to decorate it as she pleased.

She’d always wanted lavender walls, and she imagined that she would have thrown up a few posters from her favorite pop artists. The rest wouldn’t have been too different, she’d never been much for ponies, princesses or the like. It would have been just feminine enough to show it belonged to a girl. Instead, she had woken up to a lie every single day of her young life.

The door creaked, and a figure stepped inside the room. At first his form was nothing more than a shadow, but as the man moved toward the agent, his features took form. It was her father, Mark van den Broeke.

She swallowed and looked up at him though above average her father was not so tall as to turn heads. This version of her father’s hair brushed against the seven-foot high ceiling, but that was not the only difference. Her father spent most of his free-time guzzling beer after beer. As a result his physique was soft and doughy, but the version of Mark van den Broeke that stepped into the room, had the body of an athlete.

“Just what the hell, do you think you’re doin’?” He threw his hands out toward her. He spoke with a slight slur as he so often did when he was drunk. Amelia stepped back remembering all the beatings she’d undergone at his hands. “Get out of that shit, right now you fuckin’ queer.”

Amy glanced down at herself and swallowed hard. Though her body had not changed from the one she’d worn since being pulled into Sapphira and Chemosh’s mental arena, she could not say the same for her clothing. She was wearing her sister’s prom dress, she had tried out many times in secret when she’d still been living at home. Though it had never been her style, it had always fascinated her, because of what it represented.

She balled her fists, at her side and glared up at her father between gritted teeth. She screamed out in defiance, but it was a futile effort. Hands reached out and grabbed her and he threw her against the wall. She threw out her hands and feet, clawing and kicking at her father, but her father’s arms just seemed to multiply, one latched around each of her wrists and ankles.

Another pair of arms, reached for the straps of the dress, pulling so hard he tore the fabric. “No son of mine is gonna wear a goddamned dress.”

As he pulled the dress away from her chest, her breasts seemed to deflate fading away as the garment came free. She screamed, but her father was too strong. With each centimeter he pulled it down her body, the more masculine her physique seemed to become.

“No!” Amy screamed out between gritted teeth. She knew what would happen if the dress came free and she could not allow it. That was when she remembered what Ashtar had said to her. She’d been so swept up in what she’d been seeing she had almost given herself over to the illusion.

She gritted her teeth, ignored the gigantic form of her father and screamed out for Sapphira. There was a flash. She was in the streets of New Hebron where Clara Stern had been murder. She could see the other exemplar, surrounded by dozens of misshapen figures, each more grotesque than the last. One wore her own face, and another wore Hailey’s, but the rest were strangers to the agent.

She opened her mouth to speak, but there was another flash and she was back in the room with her father. Amelia was no longer pinned against the wall, but stood on the other side of the room a few feet away. The agent glanced down at her chest, pulled the prom dress back up and let out a sign of relief as her breasts re-materialize under the surface of the fabric.

She gritted her teeth and concentrated on what she was wearing. The prom dress disappeared, and in its place materialized the same outfit she was wearing in the real world, black slacks, a blue blouse and her AEGIS jacket. A smile touched the corner of Amelia’s lips as she reached into her windbreaker and produced her pistol from within its holster.

Her father approached, his arms stretching out to unnatural proportions, reaching across the room toward her. Though the gun was a projection of her mind, it felt real enough. So, she opened fire. The bullet impacted him in the chest, and he let out a high-pitched screech. Her father lurched forward. Amy gritted her teeth, let out a scream of her own and unloaded the clip.

Her father, stood there peering down at the bloody mass on his chest, and glanced back up at Amy. He teetered on his feet, then fell face first to the ground. The agent moved toward the door but stopped dead in her tracks when another figure stepped into the doorway.

Amy, paused glanced at her gun and slipped it backed into the holster. Her mother hadn’t been there for her, but she couldn’t bring herself to attack her mother even an illusionary version of her. It was a realization that might have given her pause if Maggie van den Broeke hadn’t been smiling at her with a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth.

This time, Amy did not draw her weapon, but focused her will elsewhere. She already wasted enough time confronting her own demons. It was time to face a few of Sapphira’s.

Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 29 Pt 3


Official Report
The Downing Building
New Hebron, California

The world around Amy sputtered and flickered, dissolving like snow on a hot day. Her mother smiled, displaying her razor-sharp teeth, and waved before evaporating. Amy shuddered. The image was burned into her mind; it was the thing of nightmares, and she knew the creature would make an appearance in her dreams.

Amelia looked around and her breath catch in her throat. She was back on the street where she’d last seen Sapphira. A mass of misshapen bodies were writhing in a heap. The other exemplar was nowhere in sight, but Amy’s instinct told her where she could find her.

She lurched forward, grabbing at a limb with both arms, dug her feet in and tossed the creature over her shoulder. The creature screeched and wailed as its form dissolved into the air. She didn’t stop to marvel, but rather grabbed the next and flung it away. It too disintegrated. When she reached for a third, she gasped and jerked back.

A twisted version of her own face grinned up at her, but although disconcerting, that was not the worst feature of the creature. It was the body, a mash up of male and female dripping fluid from its privates and penises for fingers, that had elicited such a strong reaction.

From the moment she’d come out as transgender, people treated her like a freak. This creature was the visual manifestation of so many of the slurs and insults slung at her over the years.

Mock-Amy jerked to its feet, grinned with a mouthful of razor-sharp teeth and pounced at the agent. Amy dove sideways and slammed into the creature as it lurch into the space she’d just vacated. It stumbled to the ground and Amy gritted her teeth kicking it in the side as it stumbled to the ground. It howled, crying out in pain, but the agent did not relent.

She drew her gun and opened fire, but didn’t bother reloading. She didn’t need to. Her weapon was as much of an illusion as the creature. Her clip was full because she wanted it to be full.

The creature seemed immune to the conjured bullets. It didn’t even flinch when one of them struck dead center in its forehead. Amy backed away and slipped the gun back into its holster. She sensed that something had changed, but she did not muddle it over. Her duplicate jerked forward, and the agent slammed into it with her shoulder.

She might as well have run into a brick wall. Amy grunted and stumbled back staring at the creature with wide eyes. It grabbed out and latched its hands around her wrist. Amy jerked back, but her other self seemed to have developed super human strength. She kicked and clawed at it, but nothing she seemed to have any effect.

The monster laughed, a cackle which sounded similar to her own. It tugged on her wrist and Amy dug her heels in struggling to keep herself from being pulled forward, but her opponent was just too strong. The creature pulled her in and latched another hand around her free wrist. It grinned at her, displaying all its teeth then sank them into her shoulder.

Amy shrieked, her shoulder erupting with stabbing hot pain as her counterpart’s teeth ripped and shredded through her flesh. She renewed her struggle, but the creature only tightened its grip around her wrists. She kicked her captor, but it didn’t even so much as a grunt.

The creature lifted its jaws, Amy’s blood dripping and splattering on her shoulder and neck. Its mouth brush her ear, and it cackled again, this time sounding less than human.

Amy shivered, her mind racing as she felt the creatures breath on the back of her neck. If it killed her inside this conjured reality would she die? She’d faced death more than once, and she’d be lying if she said she didn’t fear it, but the thought of what Chemosh would do if left unopposed terrified her.

The creature’s grip was like iron and no amount of struggling would free her. The agent screamed out for help, but no aid came.

“You really think you can beat me, Amy? This isn’t your mind.” the creature said and bit into her shoulder again.

“No, it’s mine,” A voice spoke, and a figure emerged from out of street.

Sapphira stood between the creature and the agent. She looked worn, her clothing was tattered, her hair was a mess and scrapes and scratches covered her arms and legs, but to the agent’s eye she looked fierce. The other exemplar held her hand out, and Amy heard the creature gurgle. The monster’s grip around her wrist loosened, and the agent fell to her knees.

It screamed and Amy rolled away, gritting her teeth against the pain in her shoulder. She climbed to her feet and spun back around to face the creature, but it was already in its death throes. Sapphira clenched her open palm shut and in response its arms and legs jerking and contorting before plunging into its torso.

Faux-Amy emitted one more screech before the rest of its body, twisted and bent into itself. Before long, it faded into nothingness and leaving Amy and Sapphira standing in an empty street.

Amy glanced at her shoulder, though her flesh had mended, her clothes were still torn. She couldn’t say whether it was the work of the creature, Sapphira or her subconscious.

A long drawn out cackle echoed through the street, and both exemplars spun around seeking to find the source, but the laughter seemed to be coming from everywhere. A figure emerged from a side street, it was Chemosh.

The agent felt her breath catch in her throat, not at the sight of Chemosh, but at what followed. Hundred’s of figures came pouring out of the adjoining streets, every single one of them were Chemosh and they were all grinning.

‘This place is but an illusion, the only limits are those which you impose upon yourself.’

Ashtar’s words rang through Amy’s mind. It was that single sentence that had given her the foreknowledge to defeat the ghost of her father, escape her mother, and destroy two of the creatures that had been terrorizing Sapphira.

There was now an endless stream of Chemoshes pouring into the street from all directions. Amy hadn’t even bothered trying to count them, there were too many to even make an attempt. She wasn’t going down without a fight no matter how futile the attempt would be. Her heart hammering in her chest, she reached for her gun, but hesitated as the final words of Ashtar’s warning repeated in her mind.

‘Chemosh is powerful. He has lived for millennia, and there is no limit to his depravity. Though you hold power within your own mind, he will overcome you if you standalone. Only if the three of us merge our wills, shall we be successful.’

Amy furrowed her brows raised her weapon and opened fire on the flood of Chemoshes. Why had the once-goddess chosen such a strange way to phrase that last sentence? She hadn’t thought it over, but now faced with her own demise her mind had returned to the conversation in some hope she could unlock a secret meaning.

Where was Ashtar? If they must somehow join their wills why wasn’t she present? Realization struck the agent. Not once had Chemosh shown any sign he even knew the former goddess had left an imprint on Sapphira’s mind. She must have been hiding, but how then could they hope to defeat the once-god?

Realization struck, with the force of a physical blow. Amy dropped her gun and grabbed Sapphira by the shoulders and pulled the other woman close and locked her lips with her. She reached out, touching the other’s mind. Moments ago, she never would have ever made such an attempt, but Ashtar’s message had landed home. She had been imposing limits upon herself.

No more.

Understanding dawned in Sapphira’s mind. The other exemplar returned her kiss and a brilliant burst of light enveloped them. Nothing would ever be the same.