Fade To Black Chapter 10
As cities continued to crumble all over the world, a new and emotionally damaging air arose to what survivors persevered over the wrath of the Shadow. A stench, as it were, gripping the wastelands of Old Earth. Many other species were quick to succum to the fetor of decay.
The decay of the World of Balance.
Oblivious to the last embattled group of Returners, Rivalin's faithful followers gathered from the war-torn vestiges of Kohilegen, Figaro castle, and South Figaro, united in their common interest to exact justice from those who had ostracized Gestahl. Unrelenting in their blood quest, the brothers of the Shadow would stop at nothing to satisfy the demands of their master.
"Did you guys hear something?" Setzer asked, turning his back on one of the Falcon's defunct engines.
"That was just me," Locke acknowledged, tapping his ratchet wrench against the metal cogwheels.
But Setzer wasn't convinced and pulled himself up from his work station, oil stained and blended with the perspiration of his brow.
"Banon, show Locke what's left to be done," he asked of the Returner leader. "I need to go and clear my head."
"Shouldn't take you that long," Locke scoffed, not ceasing his endeavors in repairing the Falcon.
Setzer gave the belligerent plunderer the finger, then exited the chamber of his airship. He had to say goodbye to Daryl.
The torches of the catacomb provided scarce illumination but Setzer preferred it that way. Darkness always made farewells that much more easier for him. What light existed seemed to dignify Daryl's final resting place. That much made him feel better.
He stod next to the silk-laden casket, unable to find the right words. He was never very good and expressing himself, but Daryl knew that and would have been expected to understand. Setzer tried his best nonetheless.
"Well, old friend, this is probably the last time we'll be seeing each other for a long time. But I promise that just as soon as all of this shadowy Rivalin propaganda is out of the way, I'll be back. I just need to find some inner peace. . ."
Frantically, he whipped his head to and fro about the crypt. He made out the vague feminine contours of the one who intruded on his privacy. But there were no female Returners amongst the whole lot of them.
"This room is off limits, save for myself!" Setzer protested, though he found the woman strangely alluring.
"Even for me?"
She stepped into the glimmer of the surrounding candelabras, garbed in a black sheet of satin strategically draped across her shapely body. Setzer gasped.
"Daryl?!" he cried.
His hands glid across the smooth lid of her coffin. The ebony veil was missing.
"You're not real. You can't be."
"You don't remember Gogo's involvement with the Returners? I'm sorry. I didn't mean to deceive you."
"You were Gogo the whole time?"
"Just hold me, Setzer. I've missed you so much."
As he did so, Daryl slipped out of her veil and wrapped it around her long-lost friend. As the two engaged in their hidden passioons, Setzer glanced over Daryl's shoulder and was befuddled to see that the real Gogo, whoo had been with the Returners below, was marching up the causeway of stairs.
"Wait a sec!" Setzer uttered. "If that's Gogo, then who are you?"
He faced the red-haired vixen sullenly, coming face-to-face with the blackened corpse of Daryl. Yellow eyes burned in her large yawning sockets, anger being her fuel to kill. She grabbed him and launched the hapless gambler through the air and into a wall-mounted torch. With Setzer rolling along the ground in agony, Gogo, blind as he was through his mask in the darkness, mimicked Daryl's attack precisely. It was somewhat more fatal on her part, her skin was exposed to the unforgiving flames which caught like fire to polyester. Gogo gathered up his/her friend, retreating to the stairs.
"Gogo, what's happening?" Setzer asked, his mind in no man's land.
"You don't wanna know," Gogo replied, turning back and seeing Daryl's eyes glow wickedly in the company of countless more slicing through the darkness.
A darkness soon to be destroyed by the light of hellfire.
"Locke!!! Banon!!!" Setzer screeched, racing down over the stairs and leaping onto the deck of the Falcon.
"Setzer? What's wrong? Gogo?" Banon requested.
"It's Rivalin," he responded, signaling up the stairway. "They've found us."
"Please tell me the Falcon's working," Setzer hollered, distraught beyond the realm of rational thought.
"It will be in a little while," Locke returned, starting up the newly conditioned controls at the helm.
"WE DON'T HAVE A LITTLE FUCKING WHILE!!!" howled Setzer.
The thunderous plodding of footsteps prompted the Returners into pulling out their weapons. The propellers of the Falcon began to spin but not fast enough. The Shadow warriors had begun their attack.
"Everybody down!" ordered the treasure hunter as a sea of razored halberds began zipping over the deck.
But it was of little effect. Setzer, Banon, Locke, and Gogo watched in both horror and sadness as the youthful Returners lost their lives at the hands of the Shadow. Several were still struggling to get aboard the airship as the swarms of undead beings cut them down. Javelins impaled themselves into one particular Returner on the Falcon who had a family and fiance to go home to. As he fought to pull them out of his torso, another one tore straight through the hull of the ship and broke repulsively into the young man's skull.
The Returner was killed instantly. He was not yet twenty years old.
Banon ran to him and got a harpoon through his shoulder. Setzer panicked and cowered into the hold below the deck. Gogo toiled over the hem. Locke couldn't even get to his mentor without becoming a pincushion of no less than three times below the waist and once in the arm. Miraculously, Gogo got the Falcon out through its tunnel, but all surviving Returners would be forever haunted by the faces of those familiar killers. Their being setting ablaze what what virtuous souls were left back at Daryl's tomb. Agonizing screams faded by both distance and death.
Not even the light of day could hope to alleviate such painful memories.
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