When Aaron comes to all he can feel is pain. Not the normal level he might expect after a couple days of drinking, but something far worse. It’s why he groans audibly and then tries to move.
However, immediately he feels a lack of response from his legs. It takes his pounding head a while to work through the fog and piece back together the events he experienced before he woke up here. As soon as he does slot everything into its proper place he understands entirely why his legs fail to respond in any meaningful way.
He still needs to know for sure though, and so takes the risk of looking down at them. It’s all the confirmation he needs that they’re broken. Especially, as they are laying at odd angles the sight of which nearly results in him spewing up the only thing actually in his body, liquid. Somehow he manages to stop himself and re-swallow what had been the contents of his stomach as he swiftly turns his head away. He succeeded in keeping his dignity this time but if he dares to look at the remains of his legs again he knows that outcome will be very different, of that he has no doubt. It’s why he instead scans the space around. And though he is intent on not getting a glimpse of his mangled legs again, he only know realises that he is perched atop a pile of debris in the middle of an otherwise empty warehouse.
In some ways he knows he should probably count himself lucky. He doesn’t feel it right now as he curses to himself while diving from pocket to pocket in search of his phone.
His first wave of phone seeking sees him come up empty handed, thus resulting in another round of expletives leaving his lips before he makes a renewed second attempt. This try lasts twice as long, but sees him rewarded when his deep probing fingers glance along the edges of the slate shaped mobile device. Several attempts later he manages to pull the device from his pocket only to deftly unlock its screen with much less issue.
The brightness of the display sears his eyes painfully in the moments before they succeed in adjusting to prevent any real lasting damage. Yet, the blow has already been dealt as the pounding in his head, that he had been attempting to ignore, seems to double in severity almost rendering him incapable of navigating to the dial menu and then over to contacts.
He berates himself for not having contacts listed as a separate icon on the phones home screen. But just as he begins to scroll through the countless numbers, most of which belong to booty calls or professional sex workers, something flashes past him. He doesn’t see it proper. Instead its motion was glimpsed from out the corner of his eye.
Aaron freezes as a swell of terror begins to rise from deep in his gut. The same gut that is a shredded and ruined mess, and the exact reason why he came crashing back down to Earth via a warehouse roof. That, however, has been forgotten by the God entirely for the time being.
Instead, no longer able to resist the urge, he dares to turn his head ever so slightly so he can peer in the direction of the movement he saw at the very periphery of his vision.
He finds nothing except empty warehouse. However, having remembered the last time this happened in the alley shortly before he found himself beset upon by a hooded figure, he feels the urge to call out, “Who’s there?”
He says nothing else and simply waits for a reply. The seconds tick by without a sound breaking the silence that hangs in the air. And with each passing moment Aaron feels more and more on edge. He knows for a fact that he didn’t imagine something flash by at the edge of his vision. Plus, it was too big to be a rat. At least he thinks it was. How he can be so sure he doesn’t know. It was only a fleeting glimpse. So short-lived that perhaps I shouldn’t be so convinced, he tells himself.
Then, all of a sudden his train of thought is shattered when he feels a presence. It’s much closer than he would like to admit, but undoubtedly real. It’s why he turns his head, rapidly. Part of him expects he’ll find nothing. That is until the phone is wrenched from between his fingers and then unceremoniously launched across the cavernous warehouse.
The phone covers a good eight metres before its altitude is completely lost and a corner of its rectangular shape is left to pitch sharply into the concrete floor. It bounces awkwardly back into the air at that point and then proceeds to flip, end over end, countless times until finally emitting a scrapping sound as it skitters yet further away.
The fate of the phone however is of little concern to Aaron who stares up at the hooded figure who is looming, quite literally, over him. Their face is obscured in shadow but their body language is menacing as the shoulders of their black robe rise and fall gently with each calm breath they take.
“Who are you?” Aaron manages, though his words are slurred and his vision is doubled as a result of his too fast whipping round of his head. It’s his own fault, as is his drunken state. Yet, he has no remorse for how he lives his life. Fear on the other hand, that he has copious amounts of right now.
He waits, but no reply from the hooded figure is forthcoming. It’s something Aaron realises after nearly a minute of silence has hung in the air.
Then, to his surprise, the figure does something that he never considered they might do, lower their hood.
The immobile God is astounded as his eyes come to gaze upon the face of a woman. The first thing he notes after that realisation is that her eyes are differing colours, not a pair like his own. Instead, one is blue and the other is green. They burn fiercely, while her green tinted long black hair flows elegantly down to around the same level as her navel.
Aaron has to admit that even in as unflattering apparel as she is adorned in she is beautiful with her fair skin and delicate facial features.
He does hope however that she won’t have noticed his careful slow movements, the ones that will lead to what he intends to be a retaliatory swipe.
After all, Aaron is no doubt that that this woman must be the same one that attacked him before. The one that inflicted the wounds across his midriff, which saw him in turn pass out and then come crashing down to where he now sits, with his legs useless and shattered.
He intends to repay her in kind for those actions and concludes that now is the perfect opportunity. So he lashes out, aiming for her legs, hoping to take them out from under her. If he succeeds they’ll be on an even footing. However, the woman simply hops over his swipe, which as a result misses entirely and leaves him open to a counterattack. The woman takes it and grabs a hold of Aaron’s right arm. He screams defiantly, but the woman ignores him as with a single clean movement she manages to rip the limb clean from his body.
Aaron howls in response. The pain is excruciating. He weaves and flails back and forth fighting to escape even though he can barely move. That’s why before long his futile attempts at retreat morph into curses against the woman and then finally an actual outburst of, “How is this possible?”
The severely wounded Gods voice is pained, broken and agonising. To the point that his words sound more like a distorted recording of background sounds rather than actual speech.
But the woman, understanding the Emperor of the Sky’s question, replies with an explanation. Not a direct response to his question, but with a statement that will make clear something it seems he has been unable to discern for himself thus far.
“I know your crimes Aaron, like I knew of Hayden’s.”
Her voice is soft but cold. If she were saying anything else Aaron might be inclined to call her tone sweet, but it is clear that there is no sweetness in this woman. She clearly only means him harm. That’s why his eyes go wide. So wide in fact they nearly bulge right out of his head in the moments before he begins to mutter unintelligibly to himself.
Thankfully, the rambling quickly coalesces into decipherable speech that sees him state, “Y-you are a God! Gods don’t attack each other. We’re a family.”
“I don’t want to be part of your family.” The woman replies with disdain. Her top lip curling slightly as she speaks.
Aaron raises his head to stare up into the woman’s eyes. He notes that she’s young, maybe mid-twenties at most. He hadn’t registered that before now and it makes him wonder whether he can use that to his advantage. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d tried it, or succeeded for that matter.
His hopes are quickly dashed though when the woman utters, “Unlike you, I never asked to be like this.”
Aaron’s face twists into a mask of confusion that sees him retort, “We all asked to be like this.”
The woman shakes her head slowly from side-to-side. Her face remaining expressionless as her hair tussles and sways back and forth because of the movement.
Aaron doesn’t understand as he feels blood running down his torso from the remains of the shoulder that his severed arm used to be jointed to.
His time might be short and the likelihood of survival may be slim but he refuses to give up. So with all the arrogance he can muster he exclaims, “I am the Emperor of the Sky. I am a God. You are scum. And I refuse to believe a single word that leaves your treacherous lips.”
The woman however doesn’t deliver the response he expects. Rather, she simply shrugs before announcing, “I’m Yelena, and I’m going to make sure you never hurt another soul ever again.”
Her tone shifts from informative to angry as she ends her statement speaking through gritted teeth. Then without warning she grabs a hold of Aaron’s sole remaining arm and then with a grunt of effort, and cries from Aaron, tears it from his body. It takes seconds to accomplish.
Aaron wails, curses, cries and whimpers in response, his voice cracking as he screams. Yet, the end result is the same as he soon comes to beg, “Mercy. Please.”
He wants the pain to stop. He can’t take it anymore. Death is one thing, but this is far worse. If this woman wants him dead then he will be soon. She can just walk away. Nature will do the rest. His wounds are too severe for even a man like him to survive them.
“I’ll give you mercy…” Yelena declares.
“Thank you. Thank. You.” Aaron says with gratitude as tears stream down his face.
“…the same kind of mercy you gave to each and every one of your victims.”
“NOOOOOOOOOO!” Aaron screeches as Yelena then tears off his mangled legs one by one before casting them aside, just like she did his arms when she’d plucked them from his body.
Somehow Aaron continues to scream. He’s close to death but Yelena isn’t done yet. He has to pay for what he’s done. For the pain he’s caused. For the lives he’s ruined. That’s why she clamps her hands on either side of his head and then starts to pull with all her might.
Aaron roars and bellows, his voice failing, as he attempts to resist the tearing he can feel until finally, nearly a minute later, his screeches are no more and his head his been wrenched from the remains of his body.
Yelena doesn’t look at the twisted expression on his face. Instead, she simply lets the head drop to the pile of debris, a wet squelch signifying the impact, while she turns, pulls up her hood and then finally strides off away from the gruesome scene.