Warriors of Honor – The Fire Sniper

(Author’s note: Here is what I hope to have as the start of a new weekly or bi-weekly series. Enjoy the first installment, the story of The Fire Sniper.)

 

Screaming. Blood curdling screams heard everywhere.

The central part of Tokyo has always had some sort of action. On this night, however, it had one of the worst scenes of depravity playing out in front of the flashing lights and glowing neon.

A horror in the form of a 12-year-old girl.

She shambled down the street, a feral grin on her face. People passing by would look down towards her, and quickly move out of her way. Occasionally, one of them would get too close, and the girl leaped at them, beating them down to the ground. She would crouch down by their ear and suck out the energy in their bodies, then steal their money.

The police couldn’t do anything about her. Physical confrontation left them injured, and tasers didn’t faze her a bit. Thinking that if they gave her room, she would leave peacefully; they did their best to keep the area cordoned off. They would move their human shield as the girl moved along. Unless one wanted to be a sacrifice for the hell-spawn, it would be a battle of attrition between her and them.

From a far rooftop, a pair of violet eyes scanned the entire scene. Seeing everything up to this point, her eyes dilated, focusing solely on the form of the possessed girl as it did it’s routine. The eyes were like that of a hunter, scanning and waiting for their prey. The hunter pulled her bow from her side, and did a quick lineup of the girl and the bow guide.

An arrow rested upon the bow guide, colored black with thin red bands upon its shaft. The hunter anchored herself into position and quickly checked her mark. The girl hadn’t moved in a little bit, so they would have to get things together quickly.

The hunter drew back the bow, the hood of the cloak the hunter wore moving back slightly to reveal long fire-red tresses falling to the side of her head. Her eyes fixed on the girl, who had just sat from feasting on another passerby.

“Soul Snipe,” she quietly called out, letting the string go, and the arrow flying.

It streaked through the air, passing through a myriad of clotheslines, tangled power lines, and other obstacles. People standing outside swore that they heard a bee buzzing by quickly. Even with all obstacles, the arrow’s aim was true.

The girl below had just finished taking a short rest after consuming a good amount of energy, and was about to move onward.

Suddenly, pain erupted through her mind. An inhuman scream blasted forth, as she stumbled forward and fell to her knees. The pain was sharp, but quickly started to die down. Her mind started adjusting back to looking for her next victim.

The arrow, imbedded in her left shoulder, started to glow. From a deep brick red to glowing crimson, the arrow lit up quickly. A sound, like the charging of a defibrilator, rang into the girl’s mind. She reached her arm back to grab the arrow.

Her eyes and mind went white with pain. The blood-curdling screams of the girl, mixed with the inhuman growling, caused the police officers in front of her to fall backwards and scurry back into a larger sized circle. She gripped her head, feeling as though she was being torn in two.

From behind her, the slow clopping of shoes started to invade the screams in her mind. As they slowly got more noticeable, the possessed girl turned around. She looked behind her, and saw the person making the sounds.

She looked no more than 15-years old. A black hood framed part of her face, connected to a black cloak that flowed behind her. She was clad in a red and orange pleated skirt, white leotard, and long, brick-red sleeves. Her fingerless gloves were designed with fire markings, the bright yellow and orange mixing with the reds and blending into the sleeves of her uniform. As she pushed the hood back, the wavy locks of red spilled down around her face. A pair of red reflective sunglasses obscured the young girl from seeing her eyes.

“Fire Sniper!” the girl rasped, her words sounding worse than inhuman.

“You will leave her,” Fire Sniper said, her words quiet yet with authority.

The girl cackled and jumped around, taunting her.

“You have no power over us! You have no power, period!”

Fire Sniper looked down, and shook her head. The stony look of her face soon carried a glower, and she finally kneeled down quickly.

“You’re trapped. Goodbye.”

She yanked the arrow out of the girl’s shoulder.

As the tip became exposed to the air, a roaring scream blasted the area. Black “mist” flowed from her mouth, nose, ears, and eyes. The arrow’s color grew in intensity, from the glowing crimson to a bright cherry red. The mist absorbed itself into the arrow, the arrow growing brighter and moving longer down the arrow’s shaft by the second.

The screams suddenly went silent. Everyone in the area stopped moving. No sound besides the background noise from the various shops and cars could be heard.

Fire sniper pulled out a metal cylinder from her pack, and placed the arrow into it. Flipping it back into her backpack, she clicked the side of her sunglasses.

“Quarry contained. Going home. See you tomorrow,” she reported.

“Sending EMTs now. We’ll debrief tomorrow,” the sound from her earpiece replied.

She looked at the girl, now splayed out on the ground. Quickly checking her pulse, she breathed a sigh of relief that it was still strong.

Before anyone could say anything to her, she ran from the scene, jumping upon the rooftops in a single bound, and hopping over the roofs of Tokyo.

=

With a quick kneeling landing, Fire Sniper found herself at the foot of a long set of stone stairs. She slowly climbed to a dirt path, which led to her small, ornately designed building within the grounds of a Shinto temple. Straddling the borders of two districts within the Minato City area, her home was a refuge from the business of the main streets and lights of the “Foreigner Part” of Tokyo.

She slid the screen door open, and walked in. Turning on the main hallway light, she smiled as she stepped up onto a middle step. Placing her large black duffel sack above her on the hallway floor, she turned towards the door and started to focus her breathing. She removed the cloak, and placed it atop the sack, and kept breathing steadily.

After a few seconds, the red of her shoulder-length red hair started to recede, the color bleeding out from it’s tips as it shortened. Her uniform started shifting colors, the red and orange fading into a darker, bluish color. The fingerless gloves retreated from her hands into the long sleeves of her shirt, sleeves that were puffing out and becoming more and more white. Her high-heeled boots slowly retreated down her leg, the heels becoming flatter and less noticeable.

It only took a few more seconds, and the Fire Sniper was nowhere to be found. In her place was a shorter, 14 year-old schoolgirl.

She sighed, and kicked off her shoes. Walking down the hallway into her room, she put down her duffel bag, and pulled out a smaller green backpack from it.

She dusted her blue and white school uniform off, preparing herself to study. She adjusted her round glasses, and sat down at her desk.

The phone rang.

“Imino Residence. Sayaka speaking. Whatcha’ need?” the girl formerly known as Fire Sniper said, loudly.

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Tradewinds

by Miles Rost

Salt and pepper.

The sands of the beach reminded Dennis of salt and pepper in his shakers at home. The fine and nearly bleached white of the sand mixed in contrast with the deep dark, almost charcoal-like black sand. Strewn in patterns like old growth tree rings, the sand was a testament to the changing of the tides.

Dennis had arrived at the beach a couple hours before sunset. He carefully laid his blanket atop the ebony and ivory sands, and pitched a bright, almost beanie-like umbrella next to him. A small, blue cooler lazed next to his arm, one side of the cooler open and displaying a tub full of nearly clear-blue ice and frosty bottles of his favorite beer. A cold bottle lay cradled in his left arm, like a newborn baby awaiting the full display of golden colored awesomeness inside it’s glass shell.

The hair on Dennis’s apple-shaped head was thinning. The years of work allowed the gray and white to start seeping in, dark wrinkles showing themselves like folds of clothing on his face. His face was leathery and aged, but he still showed the kindness in his eyes that he inherited from many generations of people. Capped off by a pair of dark blue wraparound sunglasses, his deep blue eyes pierced the skies and aimed straight for the sunset in the distance.

He shifted positions on his blanket, the white cotton of his t-shirt moving ever so slightly as he tried to relax.

The time was almost near, and as the warm trade winds came in from off the ocean, he focused on the gigantic orange orb of light and power in the far skies. Like a slow-motion play of a basketball as it approached the basket, the sun creeped towards the horizon. Dennis opened the top of the bottle of beer just as the bottom of the sun reached the horizon. He lifted the bottle upwards and flipped it, letting the light amber colored liquid flow from the bottle, into his mouth and the taste buds that awaited the moment. The sensation of cold quickly spread throughout his body as the sun continued to descend.

He looked out on the bay and saw a variety of different craft that , while playing many hours ago, were now focused on the spectacular display of light. The different colors of boats were no longer seen as the entirety of sky and sun were bathed in a deepening orange. By this time, the sun was already halfway below the horizon.

Dennis flipped the bottle again and took a long pull from it, letting the beer drain into his gullet. As he finished the bottle, he looked out at the sun. All but a sliver were gone. As the sun finally descended, he sat back and watched the last vestiges of sunlight disappear below the horizon. He sighed, knowing that the next one was merely 24 hours away.

He slowly packed up his things. Taking the bottle, he put it on the other side of his cooler and shut the lid. He picked up his blanket and folded it into very neat and tidy squares. He walked slowly up the path next to where he sat, and to his waiting car 25 feet away. Once he arrived at his car, he put everything into the trunk and pulled out a tuxedo. Attaching the tuxedo to the rear seat of his car, he got in and backed out. Taking one last look at the horizon, the orange color of the sky was starting to turn reddish and purplish.

He turned on his headlights, and didn’t look back for the rest of the night.