We gather in Town Hall for the last survivor’s meeting that I will ever attend.
“Okay, so how do we plan to actually get Christy and Sid back into their prison?” Alisha queries. “Any ideas?”
I stay silent. I already know what my role will be, even though I don’t know exactly how things will play out.
Alisha glances around. “Alex? How about you?”
He shakes his head. “Sorry, I got nothing. I’ve never faced Christy in person before.”
“Ugh. Someone needs to offer an idea, you know!”
Sara raises her hand. “Dean told us to find Christy’s creator -- the one who started all of this. Finding that person is probably the only way we can stop this once and for all.”
“Well, did Dean detail how we might accomplish that task?” Alisha challenges.
“No,” Sara admits.
“It was a good idea, but we only have a few hours before we embark on our mission,” Alisha says. “There’s no way we can find the creator and convince him to help in the time frame we’ve been given. How about we focus on the task at hand?”
Unable to combat the logic, Sara sits back, her face sullen. Chris wraps his arm around her shoulder and whispers something in her ear.
“We would have to trick Christy somehow,” Alex interjects. “She’s expecting a full-on attack. We have to do something completely out-of-the-box.”
“I know!” Nidhi exclaims, sitting forward in her seat. “The thing Christy wants the most right now is the key, so we can use it as bait. When she’s off her guard, we can trap her in the Cosmo Prison.”
Alisha nods. “And Sid will try to get her out, because he knows the battle is lost without her strength.”
“Then, when he gets close enough, we can trap him, too!” Nidhi says excitedly.
“Excellent,” Alisha marvels. “Who has the key?”
Just then, Ramya bursts into the hall, her face flushed and tear-streaked.
Alisha shoots out of her chair. “Ramya! What is it?”
“Suchet,” the other girl responds, gasping and sobbing slightly. “He’s gone.”
We all look at each other, and I know what we’re all thinking.
He has the key.
“We have to go after him!” I shout. “What are you waiting for, guys? Run!”
But no one moves. The silence hangs in the air, making the atmosphere in the room grow heavy with dread.
Then, like a siren in the night, a scream pierces the silence.
I turn around slowly.
It came from Alisha.
Town Hall, the faces around me, everything vanishes into a miasma of darkness, as if a blanket had been thrown over my face. I scream for help, but no one comes.
The world around me starts to tilt erratically, lurching from this way to that way, and I collapse, my hands desperately scrabbling at the ground for something to hold on to. I’m going to fall, I’m going to die, I know it--
Suddenly, the pressure of the floor against my palms disappears, as well as all traces of gravity and movement. I’m simply floating in a great chasm of nothingness, and it’s almost worse than the tilting from before. Just as I’m about to scream again, the blank smokescreen lifts and dissolves into images. They swirl haphazardly like a monsoon wind, flashing and tumbling about until I’m dizzy from trying to focus on them. Finally, the swirling stops, and one image starts to enlarge and swallow the others. Peering into it, I make out a reddish light and a blurry shape. A tall, oblong thing.
As I strain my sight to see what it is, I find myself drifting towards the thing -- close enough for me to realize that it’s a him, not an it. A dark-haired, silver-eyed boy, standing near a roaring fire. As I get closer, I notice that the boy is chanting something.
“Veni ad me, et horror creaturae. Redde me tenebris et exsurge a, Seraphim ego mortis!”
The Latin words immediately translate themselves in my mind. Come to me, creatures of horror. Rise from the shadows and join me, for I am the Seraph of Death!”
As I watch, terrified, the shadows around him begin to twist into solid shapes. The creatures of horror.
Then, sensing my presence, the boy turns and focuses his silver eyes directly on mine.
And in that split-second, I figure it out.
I just watched the beginning of the Cosmo Prison, and this is the creator.
Seraphim Mortis, the Seraph of Death.