This one’s a lot longer than Day 1, but it’s a continuation. Enjoy!
Nephthys walked slowly across the blacktop, amongst carefree students running and playing. They wouldn’t be so carefree if they knew what was around them, she thought grimly. Angels and demons and hybrids. They wouldn’t sleep as easily as night.
But I’m not one to tell them that.
She kept walking, head down, hands tucked in her light blue jacket’s pockets. She began to block out the noise, walking back and forth across the length of the blacktop as kids raced and tossed balls around. She passed some girls playing Wall Ball with a worn-out tennis ball, and some more kids throwing a Frisbee around. A group of boys clustered around the only basketball hoop by the fence, tossing the faded orange basketball back and forth. She blocked out all the noise, everything that flew past her, tuning into the familiar buzz of noise-cancelling.
This is why she didn’t see it coming.
The basketball hit her in the side of her head, knocking her backward, as unprepared as she was for the hit. Her head hit the hard ground and she blacked out.
The boys rushed over, crowding around. One ran for a teacher while another knelt down beside her. “Is she alive?” the others asked as he grabbed her wrist. “Is she okay?”
The boy kneeling next to her checked her pulse. “Diantha’s alive,” he reported, and everyone let out a breath they hadn’t known they’d been holding.
By now pretty much everyone had clustered around, and a teacher was pushing through. “The nurse is coming,” he told them, trying to shoo them away. “You can go now.”
No one left.
Nephthys jerked awake suddenly, startling the boy kneeling next to her. She grabbed his arm to keep him from jumping away. “Arion. Tell Jason-” she coughed. “Tell Jason the thirteen statues…missing. The forest is dying.”
“What?” Arion’s face was a mask of confusion. “Diantha, you okay?”
“I’m not Diantha,” she whispered, then coughed again.
Arion frowned. “Of course you are. That’s how you introduced yourself on the first day of school.” He looked around for the nurse.
“I’m not,” Nephthys insisted. “They call me Nephthys.”
“Oh, where’s the nurse?” he groaned, hoping she would come quick, although, afterward, he wished she’d never have come.
The nurse pushed through the crowd. She was a woman, Arion estimated, to be in her late thirties, with straw-blond hair and kind hazel eyes. She bent over Nephthys, leaving Arion to back away as he shoved his shaking hands into his pockets to hide them.
While the nurse looked over Nephthys, who had blacked out again, Arion turned over the girl’s words in his mind. She’s probably just confused, Arion reasoned, but he knew something was up, given Nephthys’s mysterious behavior, how she had no contacts, and there was absolutely no background on her whatsoever. Whichever way he looked at it, it seemed like a story, but without the whole something’s fishy sense that the main character usually got (which made no sense in his opinion); in fact, it was more like a something is so obviously wrong sense.
Arion rejoined the crowd when he felt a little better, and he somehow managed to get back to the front. Nephthys was trying to avoid the nurse’s hands, and she scooted backwards, accidentally bumping into Arion’s legs, but she didn’t seem to notice.
“Calm down, honey dumpling,” the nurse crooned, trying to make Nephthys relax. “You’ll be fine if you let me take a look.”
“How could I be so foolish?” Nephthys moaned, backing up even more. “It was so obvious. Stay away!” She tried to stand up, falling back against Arion.
He caught her awkwardly and pushed her back up. She gave him a nod of thanks and held out her trembling hand, in which appeared a faintly glowing sword. It was plain, with a steel hilt and a long, thin diamond blade that refracted light in a million different ways, causing the glow.
The nurse shied away from it, then growled. “Oh, honey dumpling, you were always too evasive for most of us, but you have to admit, I had you for quite a while. Tracking the unmortal, indeed!”
Arion gaped as Nephthys stepped forward with her sword. “Begone, demon!” she snapped harshly.
The nurse laughed, throwing her white nurse coat to the ground. She began to grow, her skin turning darker and darker until it became a green almost like black. Huge wings sprouted from her back, nearly spanning the entire width of the blacktop. Her hair disappeared, and her eyes turned a deep blood-red. Her hands and feet elongated into sharp, curved talons that looked as if it could easily slice Nephthys’s sword to bits.
“You guessed correctly, little honey dumpling,” she rasped, the same words with a different voice that made Arion shudder. “I am the demon Lamia.”
Arion took a step back, realizing everyone else had already run. He quickly backed up to where the other students huddled by the door while the teachers called the police, leaving Nephthys to face the demon alone.
Nephthys’s vision swam, but she focused on Lamia, trying to keep her talking until she figured something out. “So how long have you been following me?”
Lamia rolled her eyes. “I’ve been here longer than you have, honey dumpling,” she drawled. “I was tracking a strong magical aura, which I assumed was that elven child I burned a few months ago, and after that his death aura. Never did I imagine it was the unmortal! You see, we all still believed he was a myth.”
Nephthys frowned. “Since you obviously know why I’m here, he’s not a myth.”
Lamia shook her clawed hands/feet, her talons pinching together. “They want you alive or dead, Nephthys, they don’t really care. Alive is better for your torture session, but death works too.” She grinned wickedly.
“I don’t think so.” Nephthys raised her sword, and Lamia hissed as the light bounced off.
“Too bright!” she hissed. “Why must you be so elaborate?”
In response, Nephthys leapt forward, her sword slashing in a wide arc. Lamia jerked backwards, but not before the blade caught the edge of her wing. Green blood dripped from the tear.
She screeched in pain and dove for Nephthys, cruel talons extended. She slashed at the girl, who blocked each strike with her sword. “Die already!”
“Never,” Nephthys snarled back, shoving her away.
Both were breathing heavily now. Lamia backed up, wings beating even harder, while Nephthys crouched on the ground, the brilliant sword raised above her head. “You will never catch me, Lamia,” she said. “I cannot die.”
“There is always a way,” Lamia countered, opening her mouth wide. “I doubt you are impervious to fire!” At this last word, a jet of orange flame burst from her mouth as her forked tongue flicked in and out, like a dragon.
Nephthys lowered her sword as her other arm came up. A shimmering blue surface flickered into existence, a translucent barrier between her and the fire. The fire pressed against it, trying to melt it, but it spread out and dissipated. Lamia gave up, defeated, and the barrier disappeared.
Nephthys took a step closer to the demon, who descended to the ground. Her sword was up; she was ready to finish her off. Suddenly, Lamia lurched upwards, knocking Nephthys to the ground hard. The sword skittered away, far out of Nephthys’s reach, but the girl didn’t even get up.
Arion made a split second decision as Lamia dropped down to grab Nephthys. He raced forward, snatching up the sword. It stung a little, and he almost dropped it, but he managed to hold on to it and swung it.
Lamia rose into the air again, cackling as she clutched something bloody in her claws. Arion didn’t look at Nephthys, fearing he’d be sick if he did, and held the sword up higher, trying to imitate Nephthys’s earlier movements.
The sword was heavy in his hands, and he had no idea how Nephthys, in the weakened state she’d been in, had been able to hold it up so long. This is why I wanted to take up fencing, he groaned to himself. I can’t even hold the sword.
Lamia cackled again. “So it’s you!” she rasped, pointing a crooked finger at him. “You’re the unmortal she’s been tracking for so long? You don’t look all that powerful.”
She drew closer. Faster than the eye could see, her arm darted out and she scored her claws down his arm. He dropped the sword and fell to his knees, clutching his arm, his left hand trying to stem the blood flow from the deep gash.
Lamia lifted her talons once more, ready to kill him, then froze. A horrified look came over her face, and she let out a wail before dissolving into the air, green blood staining the ground. “Jason!”
A teenager stood behind where the demon had just been. He had dark brown hair and even darker eyes. There were black smudges on his pale face and his expression was dead serious as he sheathed his extended sword, the one he’d stabbed Lamia with.
“Unmortal,” he said grimly. “We need to talk.”