"Okay, it feels like four days have passed, Mr. Dillinger. Are you ready now?" Allendriel was reclining in his theatre chair, looking over me, and I felt like he was staring right through me. Diego had been staring at the remains of the scene in front of us, Tandamum's grave looking almost peaceful, and Sal was still unconscious. I was beginning to think something was wrong.
"Uh, yeah. I'm good to go. Diego?"
"Ready. Let's do this. I'm ready to get out of here." Allendriel sat up, locking the seat back, and clapped his hands, rubbing them together.
"Right!" he began, "One interesting subplot, coming up!" As he finished speaking, the ash tree shrunk until it disappeared down Tandamum's throat. He then, as though in a state of rewinding, got back up onto his feet in the exact manner that he fell. Being covered in small flowers and buds sort of took the edge off his evil, but only slightly, and when they disappeared, I saw a gleam of madness in his face I had missed the first time through.
His body eventually spit both Pacifi and Luma back out, and the latter began hopping around Tandamum, striking blows and throwing spells when openings were made. It looked incredibly bizarre to me, and I felt like I was losing my balance. Her bounces and movements seemed impossible given the speed and direction in which she moved.
It was then that I realized that the dialogue they shared was also being rewound. It sent chills down my spine, and looking at Diego, I could see he felt the same. I was fairly confident he was thinking back to our teenage years and playing records backwards. Every time, neither of us slept for four days afterward.
When the rewinding process finally finished, and "play" was pushed again, Tandamum was standing over Pacifi, laughing. I really didn't want to watch him destroy goodness again, but apparently this is where Allendriel's mysterious side-story takes place.
"So what are we looking for this time?" I asked.
"Watch Pacifi. She'll show you," responded our demonic tour guide. With that, he waved his hands and the picture distorted, and I vomited. It was some sort of non-Euclidean movement in which everything bent and warped around us, leaving us on the other side of the action. The wall at Pacifi's back had become like a viewscreen, little more than a foot in front of us.
The shaft of light speard Tandamum's shoulder, and he roared to the heavens. Luma landed nimbly once again, but my attention was brought back to the legless woman on the ground. She had her hands behind her back, and she was pricking her finger with what appeared to be a sharpened stone.
When she finally broke the skin, reaching blood, she worked more out of the wound and began tracing her fingers along the wall. On our side of the wall, it looked like a bizarre set of runes and hieroglyphs. Diego gasped.
"Luma taught her magick!"
"She must have. Heh, I guess that also further demonstrates the difference between Pacifi and Tandamum," I reasoned.
"Shut up and watch, you two." Allendriel sounded agitated. It was a brief, but sudden change in his demeanor, but even Diego could have noticed it.
"What's up, Allendriel?" I guess he did. Before Allendriel could answer, though, Sal disappeared in a enormous upward burst of air. All three of us shouted and stood. Pacifi, Tandamum, and Luma stopped moving.
"Where did he go, demon?" I yelled. "Where?" Before any of us knew what was going on, Diego was up in Allendriel's face, getting ready to inflict violence on his person. In response, the air temperature around us grew to a blistering heat.
"Sit. Watch. I'll return." Allendriel disappeared in a wisp of smoke. Meanwhile, Diego was screaming and hollering, and I just felt faint.
Burning, burning, burni-
"Jim, don't fall apart on me now!" Diego roared, smacking me across the face. "Sal's disappeared and goddamned Allendriel is making us watch Pacifi! Keep it together!" He not-so-calmly explained from so far away, at the end of a long tunnel. He smacked me again.
"Wake up! Come on, Jim! Don't do this to me now!" As he kept up the EMT's creed to a dying patient, I felt a coolness suddenly wash over me. It felt so amazing.
I don't know how much time passed, but when my orgasmic bliss ended, I noted three things. First, I needed to change my underwear, as 'orgasmic' wasn't hyperbole. Second, Diego was sitting in his own chair, two down from me. Finally, Pacifi was sitting between us, in Sal's seat.
I pulled myself up, and they both turned to me, concern plastered all over their faces. Pacifi spoke first.
"Oh, my dear James, brave warrior, seemingly insurmountable odds are ahead of you. It is already upon you. The child is taken, and the Fallen is losing his grip. It is up to the two of you to save them both. The evil in you is close to awakening, but you can fight it. The strength is inside of you." She smiled as she sat back. It was a warm smile, and it reminded me of how Tilly looked at me.
"Wh-what are we watching you for, Pacifi? Allendriel seems very interested in watching what you did behind your back while your pupil fought Tandamum." I still felt like all of my nerve endings were switched to the "pleasure" setting. It was going to suck when this ended.
"He wanted you to see my saving the planet, keeping good alive. I molded three clay figures and gave them more than just a little of my spark, saving only enough for my final measure." She looked a little sad at that, and it made me want to hold on to her and keep reassuring her of just how okay it was all going to be until I could no longer speak.
"Wait," began Diego, "Allendriel wanted us to see that so we...would...understand...that there is always a way to win, even if we may die?"
"More or less, my child," Pacifi responded before looking back on the battle. "Now, though, I shall send you back to where you came from, so that you may save the Fallen and the child."
"Can you not come with us?" I asked. "You don't have to die here!"
"Oh, but I do, James. I do. Always remember that Pacifi and Luma perished in the fight against evil, but you might survive your final encounter with it. Do not give up hope, my darling dears." She held both my hand and Diego's, and I felt a gentle warmth spread up my arm, as though it were carried in on a zephyr. I closed my eyes to appreciate it better, and when I opened them, Diego and I were back in our sitting room.
Or, what was left of it, rather.