The story so far:
My eyes stay shut but my ears start to pick up stirrings and movement, as if there was a hushed river somewhere near me. I know I had fallen to the floor and with Not-Susan close by, a butcher knife in hand.
The words stretch themselves into a hiss, dissolving into unintelligible whispers. A burning passion struggled to life in my chest, and a weight pressed on my lungs, making it difficult to breathe.
Why, I never thought you could do it... Hahaha, we're near the final act.
At the words, I wanted to sit up and spit in the speaker's face, erasing the smugness I could feel all over his voice. And at the same time sink back to this weightlessness, forgetting everything that I had let happen.
Let me see, you've got five points, and the last one a child under seven...
I don't want to listen anymore, but I can't escape the icy voice whispering in my consciousness. Points. The demonic preacher just called those unique lives points, as if this was an arcade game and he was the scorekeeper, beaming down on this protege who suddenly proved himself worthy.
Well Derek, just let me see. Two more, isn't it? Just two more.
Shut up, I thought ferociously. I can't let you bind me anymore.
She's close by. No, she won't kill you while you're lying down, foaming at the mouth and senseless with fear on the floor.
Shut up, shut up, shut up! I scream in my mind like a cornered teen-ager who knew nothing else to scream. The fire inside blazed indignantly. The pressure on my chest increased, and yet I still breathed. You're wrong. I'm not afraid.
Her, and that kid of yours jumping on the sofa. Tell me, what kind of pleasure do you get from killing your-
It was anger that burned inside me. The final fight in me.
-is that masochism? Or are we in the same league? Is that-
I can't choose flight anymore. The final effort of the hunted. Well, let's see. Yeah, let's.
-she's three steps away, what do you do when you're three steps away from a gurgling, bloody death, huh? what do you-
As I thought back to everything that happened, the burning inside me burst into another blaze and just when I thought my soul would burst open, my right toe twitched.
"Stop right there, you muddy devil! Not a step anymore!"
I gasped the words the same instant I opened my eyes and started upright, my hand inexplicably on the gun. Not-Susan stopped in her tracks, not five feet away from me. I can't hear Not-Megan. I struggled to get on my feet, my eyes still on Not-Susan. I can't see the butcher knife, only a momentary glint on my side.
Not-Susan attempted to sneer at me, but her eyes were dumbly confused,and I read something else that told me she could read something else in me, too. Her eyes were afraid.
"Drop the knife, demon."
She snickered at me, yet I could see her hand trembling. "Derek, I know you're disoriented, and what with that fall on the floor-"
"I said drop the knife. Now." She glared at me, defying my determination. As she opened her mouth to speak again, I spoke quietly.
" You and your fellow demons will not bind me anymore. You can only goad me to ruin, but I can turn away from you."
The knife clattered to the floor. I take a step forward.
"You are below me, under my feet, crushed under my step."
I bend down and pick the knife, during which Not-Susan stay rooted to the spot. I straightened up again, and took another step.
"What do you do when you're one step away from defeat?"
She looked at me, seemingly unable to look somewhere else. As I took the last step, her lip quivered and spoke for the last time.
"Honey, don't break my heart."
"You don't have a heart." The knife plunged into her empty chest, where no fire was burning within. She crumples and the knife falls to the floor, cutting through the muddiest smoke I ever saw. I turn my eyes to the sofa, but only the boy golem is there. I hear a whimper and see Not-Megan snivelling at the screen door, her hand on the knob and her big, empty eyes on me. I take a step towards her. A voice like from a hollow tomb, empty and furious, echo in the room.
"Nooo. Don't come near me." It only makes me angry, though my hackles rise in terror. It's not the voice of a child. I walk towards her.
"No, no, nooo-"
I smash her mouth and grasp her by the hair, and she quiets, powerless, only a defeated demon. I pull her up to her feet and open the door, my other hand still holding the gun.
"It's time for the final act, as your preacher so smugly say. Only one now. he would say, but I'm aiming for two with one stone."