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Stories from the Verse
Verse Three, Chapter One
Chapter 39: Hastings 14
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 38, Kondor 13
Lauren began to swing the disintegrator around toward the charging menace, and to focus her thought into it. At the same time she shouted the words which had stunned Jackson, "It is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment." She saw the shudder run through Gavin's body, but he was coming like a freight train to a grade crossing. The disintegrator fired, but before she had aimed it; a chunk of fire escape on one of the buildings dissolved. Before she could recover to try again, he plowed into her.
Lauren could not imagine that a car could have struck her with more force. But the hidden plate beneath her robes diffused the blow, and she threw herself into a backwards roll to absorb the impact. Using their combined momentum, she threw him through the air over her, and face down on the pavement. But as she continued rolling on to her feet, she had her back to him, and had dropped the staff a good several feet in front of herself.
She knew that he would hit her again, probably before she could even turn around; so she again attacked with her faith. "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Even as she was spitting out the last phrase, Gavin struck her, and knocked her forward; but he screamed in pain as he made contact. She wasn't winning yet, but she wasn't losing, either. Hearing him coming behind her, she cartwheeled out of the way, and he sailed past her. Now she went on the offensive.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," she declared, and in one motion pulled the kau sin ke from her belt and struck him with it. He fell back toward the street. She struck again, shouting, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." He was visibly weakened. "And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church." The barrage of Bible and faith coupled with blows of the weapon drove the vampire back into the street; he soon collapsed on the ground, but still attempted to grasp her with flailing claws.
Lauren had once read that the purpose of anger and rage was to battle evil. It had found its purpose here. She was furious, pumped with adrenaline, striking back with every ounce of anger she possessed. Seeing this demon in dead flesh on the ground, she wanted him finished. Pulling the psionic blaster from her belt, she aimed it at his right arm and drove her mental force through it, smashing the arm. The vampire howled in pain; she moved to its left arm. Again the force of the weapon crushed the limb, and the vampire could no longer claw at her armored legs. But he was not dead. She fired at one leg, and then the other. Finally she used the weapon to crush the creature's skull. It was finally enough. All that remained of the vampire collapsed in a pile of dust.
But there were sirens closing on her. Few people lived in these buildings, but she had been shouting, screaming almost; and Gavin had been screaming with almost unearthly horror and pain. Someone must have heard. She was bleeding, her robe tattered, her armor exposed--it was time to exit. She raced back into the alley to scoop up the fallen disintegrator, and with a leap and a lift, she rose into the air flying over the rooftops for home.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of the novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #33: Novel Struggles. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.
As to the old stories that have long been here: