Once Dead OCT:
Chapter 2: Love Bites and Heart Burn
Sunset brought an end to the rainstorm, with skies cleared free of ominous dark clouds and gloom. The dying light of marigold rays slowly fades behind the mountains near the North West of the village. With its last moment of radiance, the sun soon disappeared as nightfall shadowed over the valley. The full moon was now above the world, shining down beautifully in silver light, surrounded with twinkling stars that glittered across the black sky.
Walker and Alphirra left their shelter when the rain stopped pattering on the rotting roof which had miraculously kept them dry. They were grateful that the thunderstorm decreased from the Woods of Death. Shadows cloaked everything in veil of black and grey, save only by a single golden flame emitting from Alphirra's hand. As for Walker, he did not need the light to see in the dark, easily moving around trees, branches, bushes and puddles. Below his knees his pants was soaked after walking through the undergrowth, legs stinging, he ignored it and his concern lingered on Alphirra. Like him, she was weak against water.
In a way he felt pleasant and less bitter having her by his side, holding his hand, it made him feel secure. If she get a simple scratch or a bruise, Walker wouldn't know how to keep himself calm. He'll worry and try to keep her safe, but in a place like this he wasn't sure if he was good enough to protect her. Walker didn't understand why he felt protective. Maybe he never had a reason to be in the past? Perhaps he has nothing to lose?
"Here, take this," he said, removing his denim jacket and giving it to Alphirra. "It will give you some protection from getting wet." Just before she takes it, he swiftly pulls the flower from the pocket and hides it behind his back.
"But Walker, wouldn't you be needing it more?" she asked.
"No worries, I'll be fine," he said, giving her a reassuring smile. "Oh! Here, I thought you might like this..."
As he reveals the ruby amaryllis, Alphirra covered her mouth. She did not expect him to be giving her a gift. Her heart melt when she takes it into her hand, gazing at the reddish-pink flower with a gentle smile. It has six large petals and they all held together in a white star pattern in the center.
"Walker, you shouldn't have...." Alphirra said softly, a rise of butterflies fluttered in her stomach. "I can't thank you enough....."
The incuvamp turn his eyes at the ground to hide his blush. This was a new feeling for him and one that he could never thought he'll experience. Being with her is all it takes to melt the icy barriers covering his lonely heart. Deep down he knows she is the one. The girl who can make his world turn upside.
"I never thought you would be the kind to give flowers," Alphirra teased, putting the ruby amaryllis behind over her ear.
Watching him turn his back, thinking she made him upset. there was a twinge of
guilt when he didn't reply. Shoving his hands in his jean pockets, Walker turned to Alphirra looking troubled. The crickets chirped in the background, making it difficult for him to think. How was he going to say this? Deep down inside there was a voice screaming for him to say something. It was scraping inside his gut, begging for him to tell her how he truly felt. Again with his heart beating hard, he was now losing his edge to speak. Taking a deep breath and sighed, rubbing the nape of his neck as he closed his eyes. Alphirra put on his jacket while waiting for him to speak. Then her eyebrows pulled together. Now she was worried. His shoulders tensed up.
"Have you ever been...." Suddenly he was more skittish and let the question glide off. "Never mind, it's not important."
"Walker, what's wrong?"
He shakes his head at himself in disappointment, sick to his stomach, before he realized that his behavior had probably gave her the wrong idea. All day he was feverish with a blushed face, sore joints and was still in heat. Embarrassing, right? Walker was not amused how much of a pain it is to tolerate these systems. There was no schedule when it was going to happen. Randomly coming whenever he's not ready. It must be his hormones making him attracted to Alphirra? Walker clenched his teeth at the thought. Hurt and confused, he turned to leave without answering.
"Walker? Are you alright?" she asked, following behind him. "You don't look too well. Do you need rest?"
He shrugged his shoulders at her and said,"I'll be okay."
The phoenix refused to stop and continue prying until all his patience withered, then he spun around and glared at Alphirra. "I AM IN HEAT, OKAY!? I HAVE TWO CURSES! THE INCUBUS AND VAMPIRE! IT MAKES ME HAVE THEIR SYMPTOMS! NOW STOP BOTHERING ME!" he snapped irritably.
She nearly jumped back, surprised at his unexpecting outburst.
"O-Oh, I didn't know-I'm sorry," she apologized, eyes downcast. "I shouldn't have pressed on, it was very rude of me."
Alphirra went the opposite direction, giving him space to calm down.
Walker stared, also shocked that he yelled at her. "Alphirra!" he said, pursuing after her. "Wait! I'm sorry! Please come back!"
The underbrush near them crackled loudly. They were walking back to the desolate cottage to find a giant, charred spider with a bloodshot eye hanging upside down on the ceiling. Its legs creaked and made clicking sounds as it crawled on the entwined branches, vines and cobwebs. Turning its angry, glowing eye left to right, right to left. Alphirra froze in her tracks, covering her mouth and stared at it, then turned away to return to the other path. Alphirra was pale, but well composed. She clenched her hand over the golden flame in her palm and smothered it. Her boots stepped lightly on the root-covered ground.
Crashing and stumbling through the thicket came Walker. In his blond hair there was a twig sticking out on the side. With bits of his clothing catching on bushes and tearing off a patch of his jeans as he staggered through the woods.
"Alphirra where are you?" He fell silent when he heard a loud creaking and clicking. When he quietly approached the abandon building, there is a red light shining down from above. A chill crawled up his spine and over his shoulders when he looked at the ceiling. Walker quickly went behind a tree, flattening his back against the trunk and held in his breath. The spider narrowed its eye and turned to where the incuvamp was hiding.
Oh God, oh God, don't find me, Walker thought, biting his lip.
Then the spider moved its attention to the left and bolted after the shadow darting in the midst of trees. As Alphirra's screams can be heard, Walker sprang out after the spider in startling speed and lashed forward. A golden light flashed ahead and a large flame ignited. Walker caught a glimpse of a bird flying out of the fire, weaving through the trees, flapping her wings as hard as she can.
"Hey! Leave her alone you fucking bastard!" Walker yelled as he ran pass the spider and turned to face it while running backwards, waving his arms trying to get its attention. "Hey asshole! I am the one you want! Come get me!"
The spider must have heard him because it turned its bloodshot eye down at Walker.
"That's right, prick," said Walker, his hands tensed in tight fists. "I'm right here."
The two locked eyes for almost five seconds and glared at each others. Then the spider screeched.
"COME GET ME!" Walker nearly ran into poison ivy when he turned and sprinted across the creek, ignoring the water burning his sensitive skin. "I hope you get far away as possible Alphirra, I don't know how long I can distract this monster."
Kyrran Serpentine did one last check to make sure all the avenues in the town was searched. He looked in his house, asked people questions and even put up a notice that three competitors had went mission. Still no luck. If only his nose had not lost its sense of smell, he would have found them hours ago. His mind was racing ahead, trying to figure out what other places he should inspect. The only place he could think of was the Woods of Death. Modecai was slumped in his seat, managing somehow to to look more bored than everyone else in the jeep. He had his head resting against his palm, staring out the open window as his messy hair blew back. Nevermore was sleeping on his lap, head tucked under his wing. It was quiet. Kyrran can only hear the engine humming and pebbles crumbling underneath the tire wheels. Spencer had not said a word since Mordecai had stopped talking, which was four hours ago.
Checking the time on his radio: 10:47 p.m. Kyrran glanced at the review mirror to see Spencer smiling at him.
"You do know that he may as well be considered dead," said Spencer, breaking the silence. "And as for your competitors, they might have already finished him off."
Kyrran was chilled at the thought of what could have happened to Walker. There was no telling what would happen to him if he was in the Woods of Death. A person like Walker wouldn't last very long being in a dangerous place full of magic and strong creatures. He doesn't have what it takes to survive there. Through Kyrran's eyes he can see Walker as a typical teenager. Young as fifteen years old. He felt responsible for him after accomplishing the first round. Much as he despised the incuvamp, he didn't want to leave him out there to get killed and carry on his own priorities winning the tournament. The dark shapes of trees on opposite side of the gravel road rush pass, full moon hanging high in the nighsky scattered with twinkling stars.
Lights flared ahead from beyond the grassland, in a far distant they could see the forest clearly.
"I don't know about you guys, but I am close to the end of my rope!" said Mordecai, switching the radio on and High Way to Hell by ACDC starts playing. "This is more like it!" Then he turns the volume high. Nevermore wakes up screaming, frantically fluttering his wings as he circles inside the jeep.
"Aaaaaaaahhh! What is that horrible sound!?" he yelled, now perching on top of Mordecai's head.
In the back seat Spencer looked out the window, hand covering his mouth, he wanted to laugh out loud at the Raven. Kyrran quickly turned the volume down and gave Mordecai the "You Jackass" look before he turn his attention back to the road. Seven feet from the headlights stood a white-tailed deer appeared, its black marbled eyes stared at the incoming jeep. Its didn't run out of the way as if its hooves were stuck on the ground.
"OH SHIT! IT'S A DEER!" Mordecai yelled.
Kyrran widen his eyes and quickly spin the wheel, all four of them screamed as the jeep did a sharp turn around the deer, almost hitting it with the bumper by a few inches. His eyes flickered about, searching for any unsuspecting animal, he let out a sigh of relief after he finally relaxed.
"Hahahaha....that was close," he chuckled nervously.
"Close? We almost fucking hit that God, damn animal!" Mordecai exclaimed.
Spencer burst out laughing. "Hahahahaha! Don't worry I am a mortician! If we did hit it, then I'll gladly take care of the body!"
"I think I am going to be sick-urp!" said Nevermore, falling off his perch and lands on Mordecai's lap. "C-can we stop? Just for a minute?"
In a corner of Kyrran's eye he spot a pale, ghostly figure moving across the grassy field and suddenly it appeared in front of the jeep. It flung itself at the windshield with a loud smack.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!" All four of them screamed.
It was one of those moments for Kyrran in his life when everything seem to move very slow. He recognize the white figure to be his opponent, Arc Inkline, who was now blocking his view on the other side of the window. Then there was something different about the doodle. It was like he replaced his original face; he has heart-shaped eyes and a wide goofy grin with drool dripping on the corner of his mouth. Kyrran half turned his head to the right, Mordecai on one side, holding Nevermore in his arms, and Spencer in the back seat, holding his bowler hat on his head, his pale face mixed with excitement and fear. Then reality starts to return to its normal pace again.
"My love! I have finally found you!" said Arc, his voice sounded clingy and high pitch. "I will never want to leave your side ever again!"
Kyrran blinked. How was he suppose to respond to this? Did the doodle made a mistake? No. His heart-shaped eyes was focosed only on him.
"What the hell!?" Mordecai yelled, glancing at Kyrran. "Do something, man!"
Before Kyrran could stop the jeep, something hard hit the front bumper and it went underneath, causing the vihicle to bounce twice as if it was riding over speed bumps.
"Oh God, what did I hit!?" Kyrran exclaimed, slamming his foot against the breaks. It screeched to a halt.
Arc rolled across the bonnet hood. "Whoa! My love!" he said, falling in front of the jeep and lands on the ground.
Kyrran scrambled out of his seat belt, open the door, and hurried to see what he had just hit. Under the moonlight he can see a mangled man laying face down in a muddy puddle. It look like he wore an expensive suit that a vampire from a romance novel would wear. Black coal hair and deathly pale skin. Slowly his hands raise behind his head, staring at the freshly killed carcass bleeding out.
"Oh god...I hit a man." He turned when he heard Mordecai running toward him with his raven perched on his shoulder, followed by Spencer.
When they gathered by the dead body, Kyrran did not expect any of them to find this humorous. The raven snickered, covering his beak under his beak while his companion laughed.
"Oh man, I can't believe you killed this son of a bitch!" Mordecai kicked the man's foot. "He's road kill now all thanks to you!" Spencer held his hand over his mouth, struggling to hold his laugh. The corner of Kyrran's mouth tugged as he gave a confused look at the three. Before he could asked, Mordecai explained to him that this carcass, Drake, is one fucked up monster. Kyrren felt his remorse fade as more details was told to him by Nevermore, who also had a grudge on this man. Spencer's smile went in a straight line, nodding in agreement with the bird.
"Ah, I see..." said Kyrran, folding his arms. "Then we should dispose of his body before anyone notice."
"Right! And we have a mortician here to help us!" Mordecai grinned and turned to Spencer, who was already pulling Drake off the side of the road by his ankles. "Looks like someone is commitment to his job," said Nevermore.
The tall grass part itself as he dragged the body, then stops for a minute to look at the others watching him. "Can you all at least help me instead of standing there," Spencer side, waving for them to come. "Hurry now, we don't got all night."
When Kyrran was halfway across the road, he had a gut feeling that something was coming, and turned in time to get tackled by a white blur. His back thudded against the hard ground, knocking the air out of him and he could barely breath from being held in Arc's arms.
"Kyrra, please don't you leave meeee!" he said, nuzzling against Kyrran's masked. "I love you too much! You are the only one who makes me want to fly!"
Everyone watched as the doodle babbled on as he cling on the blodrinker without acknowledging that he was having trouble breathing.
"Come my sweet flower, together we shall elope!"
"Don't be shy, I'll do everything I can to keep you safe!"
Kyrran quickly slips free from Arc's embrace, scrambling away and got on his feet to run behind Mordecai.
"Hey! I don't swing that way!" he said, peering behind his companion's shoulder. Then he remember about Walker and Alphirra that are still missing.
"Oh! Excuse me Arc, do you know where my partner might be?" he asked, trying to sound polite. But deep down he was harnessing his frustration and confusion of why he felt flustered being near the doodle. It made him sick to the stomach how wrong it was. Then he recalled the stupid heart on the letter, Arc's heart-shaped eyes, the Valentine's theme in town was enough to convince him what Story's wink was hinting. This round was about romance! How could he be so stupid not to notice!? He doesn't know what their main task was, because there was no information besides "Welcome to Round 2" on the paper. No details. Nothing. Then he could not help but smile when he realize Walker was designed for this genre.
"Ahh....Kyrran, I think your boyfriend is looking pissed off," said Mordecai, raising his eyebrow.
The white on the doodle was tainted red, shaking head to toe from rage and envy.
"Get away from him, he's mine!" he yelled. "I'll will not have any competition!" His arm morphed into a sharp blade and he points it at Mordecai. unsmiling, he swung it to his side with light glimming across the flat of the weapon. Kyrran shake his head and steps in front of his companion. So much for getting answers now.
"You must have mistaken," he said, placing his hand on his own chest. "We're not lovers and I am greatly sorry for your inconvience, because I don't swing that way my friend."
Arc stared at them in silence, slowly turning to Mordecai and back to Kyrran. The heart-shaped eyes cracked in half.
"If I can't have you, then no one else will!" Now he comes running towards them in a blink of an eye.
"Oh no you don't!" said Kyrran, shoving his hand into his bag and throws a vial filled with blue liquid on the ground. It smashes in front of the incoming Arc and it explodes in a flash of bright green light.
"Ah! I can't see!" The doodle blindly swung his sword. Kyrran shoved Mordecai aside as he moved back, dodging the wild fury of swipes that could end his life, and gasped when he seen a ball of white fluff parting from his hood. The blade had cut a strand of fur from his jacket. Kyrran's jaw muscles tighten, trying hard not to show that he was angry.
From the other side, Spencer yelled,"Morde! Can you give me a hand!? We're NPCs and in the rules we cannot interfere with the competitors!" Reluctanctly, Mordecai apologized to Kyrran before leaving to help Spencer get rid of the body. Nevermore on the other hand was going to watch while keeping perched on his friend's shoulder.
Though, of course, the blodrinker had no way of avoiding most of Arc's attack. Being in his human form he moved much slower. His blood sprayed from his arm when the blade slashed through his favorite jacket. Kyrran had counted it as his tenth cut he received, and he wasn't going get another one.
Arc ran around Kyrran, spotting an opening on his opponent's back, he bolt towards him. He was sure he will not miss, but his foot had sunk deep in the pot hole and got stuck in the mud, causing him to fall forward and faceplant in a puddle with a splash. Kyrran spun around, finding Arc laying emotionless in the brown water. He was sure this was a trick, so he kept a wary watch on his opponent when he pulled him out by his waist, holding him under his strong arm.
Kyrran glanced at the field where Spencer, Mordecai and Nevermore are returning after getting rid of the body. His green eye, tired, gazed down at the doodle hanging in his hold like a wet noodle as his sword melts back into a regular limb. The crickets chirped in the tall grass.
Then his ears picked up loud trees crashing near the town before a loud screech started, and Kyrran said, "God dammit, Walker." Quickly chucking Arc in the back seat, he could see a plain, white face missing a pair of heart-shaped eyes and a goofy smile. Opening the glove compartment, he takes out a black sharpie pen and shut the door close.
"You better think twice if you dare try being a turd again," said Kyrran, attempting to draw a face that look like from his the picture on the letter. The eyes was a little large but no one could tell, unless they are expert at noticing the difference.
"There, are you going to be nice?" The blodrinker put the cap back on the pen.
Arc looking confused and lost, he stares at Kyrran with a whole new expression that showed that he wasn't the crazed Cassonova.
"Alphirra! I hope she is not worried about me!" he exclaimed. "Mister, do you know where I am? I have to see my friend!"
Kyrran was thinking about Walker still being missing and was trying to figure out if Arc's friend had met him yet.
"You're outside of town, near the Woods of Death," he said softly, not meaning to sound tired. "I'll bring you back home to your companion if she is still there."
"What is companion?" The doodle tilt his head and was scratching his cheek.
"It means friend," said Kyrran, removing his gas mask and sighed. "Arc, what made you act different? I've notice that you changed when the drawings on your face washed off."
Then the doodle widen his eyes. "I'm sorry for all the trouble! I don't remember anything after having my face drawn by Eli and Illi this morning," he replied, turning away from at him for a moment. "Did I do all that to you?"
With his gas mask in his hand, Kyrran tapped on Arc's shoulder to get his attention and placed it on his face. "Nah, don't concern yourself about it. These little paper cuts are nothing to compared to the injuries I had in war from my story." He grinned. "Say, that mask looks nice on you kid. You can have it as a keepsake"
Arc looked up at him from his seat, lifting the mask and peered out underneath it. "Oh no! I can't keep it! Not after what I did!"
"It's all forgiven my friend," said Kyrran, smiling down at the doodle. "And please call me Kyrran." Dispite how tired he felt, he wasn't going to give up searching for Walker and Alphirra. Mordecai, Nevermore and Spencer came inside the jeep, settling themselves in their seat, they turned to Arc who was cheerfully smiling at them.
"Hi!" he greeted, giving a small wave. "I'm Arc Inkline! Um..I'm sorry for what happened."
"It's alright, mate," said Mordecai, putting on his seat belt. "You were not yourself. Today this round had gotten to everyone's head, so you may not be the only one."
Spencer sat down beside the doodle, crossing his leg, clasping his hands and resting them on his lap. "Well, apparently everyone is twitter -and has lost their heads. It is a surprise to see that Kyrran is not showing any symptoms." That was a lie. Kyrran did felt something for Arc, but he knows better it was the rules in the round was forcing him to have lovey-dovey feelings. He can only see the doodle as his younger brother. Nothing more.