It was dark, and not just because it was midnight. No, there was another kind of darkness around this place; a darkness that hovered like a deadly gas, permeating the building and the area around it. I didn’t want to be here, but someone had called me to this dingy roadside bar, so here I was.
Already I could feel the emotions from the people inside. They pummeled me like a sledge hammer—hate, anger, fear, but mostly rage. A blood-letting, overpowering, kill-everything-in-sight rage. It was cold, too…not the temperature, but the energies.
I shuddered, and pulled my energies closer to me as I tried my best to block out the overwhelming miasma of negativity that filled this place. Taking a couple of steps inside, I tried to figure out why I was there.
There were about 15 people standing along the walls staring at the three fighters in the middle of the room. The dress code seemed to be jeans and t-shirts, accessorized with biker logos, leather vests, and chains.
I noticed that several bodies already littered the floor, but whether they were dead or merely unconscious was a little more difficult to discern due to the overwhelming rage that filled the room. The source was a scruffy-looking young man over by the pool tables. Knife in one hand, and a broken pool cue in the other, he was holding off two others. A gun was on the floor, half under one of the pool tables near the body of a young woman.
I felt the brush of something even colder at my back, and when I turned around, I saw a tall biker standing behind me. He was dressed all in black leather with a chain wrapped around his waist, and another slung over his shoulder. The only face I saw was mine reflected in his black-visored helmet, but I knew it was Death, he just had that aura about him.
I heard the whooshing of air coming toward me, and a moment later a broken pool cue swept through where I was standing and collided with someone behind me. I spun around in time to see a guy in a red t-shirt collapse onto the dirty barroom floor his face an indistinguishable mess of blood and dirt.
A moment later, a shotgun blast filled the room, and suddenly there was silence. Yet the rage and hatred hadn’t diminished, and the source of those emotions was now stalking toward me. No…it took me a moment to realize, he was stalking towards Death.
I backed up, stepping gingerly around the body of the guy in the red t-shirt. As I repositioned myself, I heard an odd rumbling sound, and looked around for the source. When I finally realized that Death was laughing, I couldn’t stop the thought from forming, “…well, as long as he was enjoying himself.”
My attention was then taken by a young girl, maybe 19 or 20. She had moved away from the wall and was staring at the body under the pool table. I watched her face as recognition streamed across it. As she opened her mouth to scream, I grabbed her hand and planed her to a construct of the bar.
I left her sitting on the floor next to the construct of her body, as I felt the link to the real bar pull me back there. I popped back in and Death and the rage-filled biker were dancing around each other, each with a knife in one hand, and a rather odd-looking chain wrapped around their other wrists. I puzzled about it for a moment, until I realized that Death had locked them together because the young man still had no idea that the shotgun blast from a moment ago had literally torn him in two.
His rage so consumed him, that he would just keep fighting anyone and everyone he saw, and since the only people he could see, were me (and I certainly didn’t want to fight with him), anyone else who was dead, and Death…well, then Death it was.
Another young man was coming toward me now, and for a moment I nearly panicked. Then I realized that he was coming towards me because no one else could see him. He must have been the reason why I was pulled back here so strongly. I quickly grabbed his hand and planed him to the bar where the girl was.
Being in the construct greatly reduced the emotions I had been dealing with, and I released some of the tension that had wound itself around my own energies. As I checked on the young woman, I saw she was still hunched down next to the image of her body, but now I could feel waves of regret and remorse pouring off of her.
She knew she was dead, so now it was time to move her to a place where she could begin to deal with that information. I gently touched her shoulder and moved her to a construct of her childhood church. She wanted comforting and forgiveness, and she had always found them with her religion and her mother, so that’s what I gave her now.
Inside the church she found a construct of her mother, and her favorite pastor. And when I left, they were doing their best to console and comfort her.
Hoping a more neutral territory would make it much easier for the rage-filled biker to calm and perhaps come to terms with his situation, I hurried back to the real bar. Death and the knife-wielding biker were still paired off, and laughter and swearing filled the air. Death danced around the biker, causing the chains he wore to rattle, while they each swung at each other with their knives. Small cuts and slices decorated the biker’s arms, legs, torso, and face, yet Death was untouched.
I reached out and placed a hand on the biker’s shoulder, knowing that Death would follow. As we arrived, I quickly retreated, but it was if I hadn’t been there. His focus never left Death. The red energies around them buzzed like high tension wires, and sickened, I looked away.
The other young man I had left here was now sitting at one of the tables, his head and face buried in his hands. His energies and his posture told me he was ready, and a brief touch told me what to create. Within moments we were away from the bar and at the funeral home where his family was gathering. Though not entirely sorry for the life he had picked, he was sorry that he had hurt his family by not becoming the type of son they had wanted. Now, facing them (or rather their constructs), he had a chance to work things out. It was what he wanted, anyway.
Back at the bar, the rage still seethed around the room in a red and black swirl, filling the room like cigarette smoke, only more insidious and more dangerous. There was no telling how long they would keep fighting. As long as the biker continued to hoard his fears, angers, and jealousies, he would keep trying to fight Death or anyone else that crossed his path.
Shaking my head, I called in a guide to “baby sit”, and I planed home. There wasn’t anymore I could do. Now it was up to each of them to come to terms with where they were and what had happened to them.
As for me, I got out of bed, and drank a lot of hot cocoa. I just couldn’t seem to get warm, though it wasn’t my outsides that were cold. But I just kept seeing that sinuous snake of red and black energies and wondered how anyone could have that much hate and rage inside, and I would feel the coldness all over again.