Janice watched, walked, and evaluated Eddie's stride as he came toward her through the rain. She could only make out the outline of his feet as walked toward her, still lit from the parking lights of her Nissan. She kept a mental count of his pace as she looked up to where his eyes should have been. No glow. She increased her own pace a bit, hoping that everything would work out as she had quickly planned. Too quickly, she added to herself. Timing would mean everything. Damn. He stopped short of her. She stopped also.
"I'm tired," yelled Eddie, "Let's just shake or whatever and get this show on the road, shall we?"
The moment of truth, so to speak, had come. She couldn't see his hand extended towards her, but she sensed it was there.
"Me too, Eddie," she replied as she exhaled all of the air in her lungs. Her original plan of attack had been to take Eddie on in full stride, with his forward momentum combining with her own.
'Oh well,' she thought to herself, 'Nothing else has went right today.'
As she took the deepest breath that she ever could remember, Eddie advanced one step closer. Janice did the same, concentrating on her next move as hard as she had ever thought about anything. They grabbed each other's hand.
Instantly Eddie felt that something was wrong, and he began too curse out loud for being so stupid just as Janice pulled him up to her face.
"Fuck you Eddie!" she screamed as she drove her right knee as hard as she could into his groin.
Eddie bowed over in the only reflex action that nature had allowed men to do in such a situation since the beginning of time. He managed to stumble back a step or two in self-defense, which he would soon regret.
"And the horse you road in on too!" She yelled as she kicked him square in the teeth.
Eddie flipped backward onto his back, howling in pain. He had one hand over his mouth and the other one was clutching his crotch. He rocked back and forth on the ground, mumbling something at her, but she couldn't make it out. Nevertheless, she was sure it wasn't anything that you would want to repeat in front of small children.
"Nice Michael Jackson imitation Eddie, but I wouldn't give up your day job if I were you," shouted Janice, as she lifted her right leg up high in the air.
"You fucking bitch!" Eddie managed to get out between gasps for air.
"I'd like to stay and talk, Eddie, but it's getting late," she yelled back at him. "So let's just call this good-bye. See you on the flip side, brother."
She brought her leg down as hard as she could, not really sure if she was planning to knock Eddie out, or really aiming to smash his nose cartilage up into his brain. As it turned out, she would never get to find out the answer to that question.
Much to her surprise, Eddie caught her ankle with his left hand, instantly stopping her forward motion and sending a jolting pain into her right knee. The pain quickly turned to agonizing torture as he twisted her leg to one side. She rolled with the twist to the best of her ability, finding herself now on the wet sand, wondering if he had broken her knee.
"You silly little bitch. Who in the hell do you think that you are? Did you think that you could just waltz in here and smack around a few people and everything would be over?" Eddie shouted into the wind.
Janice instinctively rolled several times to her right, away from her attacker. Every time her knee made contact with the ground a searing pain shot up into her upper leg. She still didn't know if it was broken, but all thoughts of getting up and running away were now out of the question. Busted knee or not, she told herself she had to get up. Eddie was busy trying to straighten himself out at the same time. They both managed to reach a standing position simultaneously, each gasping to catch their breath.
It was Eddie who tried to speak first. Realizing that he couldn't afford to waste his waning strength, he switched to mental transmitting mode, as he hobbled towards her.
'Well, well, little sister. I see you now for what you really are. We're not as far apart as you think, you and me. We’re just two different snakes in the grass, with a slightly different agenda. Fortunately, mine can wait. On the other hand, yours seems to be a little bit on the urgent side.'
Eddie closed the distance between them.
'You don't look so good, Janice. Are you sure you're up for this? Not that it matters any more.'
Janice found little solace in the fact that Eddie wanted to banter, but it did give her a chance to gather her strength again, at least, what was left. There was no time left to formulate a new plan. Hers had gone to hell in a hand basket, and she knew it.
'So Eddie, I'm curious. How'd you do Mrs. McNalley?'
Eddie had wanted to finish off this little episode with his sister as soon as possible, but the chance to expound on his use of the gift was too much to pass up. Besides, who else could he compare notes with?
'She was easy. She was halfway there already, considering her age and the situation at the time. I just squeezed her heart shut. A no-brainer, actually, although it had to be one of my finer accomplishments, I must admit.'
'How about the tornado, Eddie?'
'I was just a rookie then. No control. Kinda of like Jonathan… only stronger. Way stronger.'
'And Patti Warner?'
'She just didn't want to play, that's all. I didn't kill her. She did it herself.'
'You expect me to believe that?'
'Like I said, she just didn't want to play. All I did was try to get into her pants. She was so fucked up that I didn't even think she would notice. Nobody said she had to take her first swimming lesson in the Loup River just because of me. I would have been gentle.'
'Yeah, gentle has always been your strong suit, Eddie. What about this Luke Perry fellow?'
'He was a fool. Kind of liked him though, until he pulled that gun on me. Made a good bowl of chowder.'
Eddie shuddered from the cold, and it reminded him of a time long ago. A time of cold Midwest winters, where your hands would instantly bond to anything metal if you weren't wearing gloves. Where the blowing ice crystals from last week's snow would cause your eyes to water and your face to bleed. There would be no going back there for Edward Eugene Engelhart. Not now. Not ever.
'Time to say goodnight Janice, I'm tired of this game, and when Triple E don't want to play anymore, the game is over.'
Janice watched as his eyes began to glow again.
'Just one more thing, Eddie.'
'No,' he responded, eyes glowing ever brighter.
'Did you fuck me?'
Eddie was silent for a moment. Did she really not know?
'Like a dog in heat, missy.'
'What do you know, bitch. You where out cold!'
'Any girl would know if they had really been fucked, Eddie. I don't think you did! Better yet, I don't think you can!'
Janice wasn't sure what the hell she was doing, but if she wanted Eddie to get pissed off, it was working. The light from Eddie's eyes began to light up the entire area. She could only hope that it helped to drain his energy, but she feared that it was only building a surge so strong she wouldn't survive the onslaught. At least she would be able to see what was coming.
'You know Eddie, us girls had a nickname for you, and it wasn't Triple E. Wanna know what it was?'
'Not really, bitch. But you can scream it out as I rip off your head and fuck your throat from the back side!'
'Needle Dick the Bug Fucker!' she yelled as he began charging toward her.
He was upon her within a second, but she was ready. Janice fell with him, in a tumbling motion that sent them both rolling backward. She could feel the intense heat of his grip on her shoulders, as it burned through her soaked clothing. They catapulted over three times before she came to rest on top of him. She wasted no time.
She spread the wet fingers of her right hand barely apart, and then thrust them as hard as she could into his nostrils. When they came to a stop against his inner nasal passages, she pulled upwards until she felt the skin and cartilage of his nose give way.
Eddie began screaming at the top his lungs, his eyes so intense that she felt like she was a burger under the heat lamps at McDonalds.
The plume of red spray erupting from Eddie’s face briefly mesmerized her. When she pulled her hand back over her shoulder, his luminous red eyes added even more to the effect. But her training and instincts took over, and she countered by ramming her left fist into his trachea as hard as she could. She was sure she had hit him with enough force to crush it, yet Eddie began to howl as if all of the forces of evil had joined him in a chorus of agony.
Agony gave way to triumph, as Eddie bucked her like a Texas Longhorn in a rodeo, and now he was on top, blood flying across her face from where his nose had been.
"Nice try, you whore of a bitch!" he managed to rasp out, as he raised his hand to deal her what she knew would be the final blow.
"Nelson, you there?"
"Go ahead Bill. What do you got?"
"Nothing. There's only three campers and a fifth wheel here. All snug as bug in a rug."
"Look Mike. I don't even know what in the hell I'm looking for, but I know when I haven't found it, all right? Want me to roust them?"
"No. I'm almost to the jetty. Better back me up just in case."
"Roger that. On my way."
Janice watched in slow motion as Eddie's fist came swinging toward her. It was if she was watching the end of her life in a movie made of single frames.
Click. His hand was clenched high above his glowing red head. Part of her self was awash with a sense of failure, yet the rest of her had already begun to accept the joy of the peace that she hoped would follow.
Click. His fist was moving slowly downward, leaving an eerie red trail, as if it were a burning comet entering the earth's atmosphere. At least it would all be over.
Click. The meteor fist was halfway to impact, burning so brightly it had almost turned white. What would happen to the others now?
Click. The meteor was upon her, and she could feel the heat radiating from its knuckles. Goodnight Daddy.
Click. Another blur passing through the night sky, engulfing the meteor and taking it away to her left and out of her sight. Am I dreaming?
Click. The comet fist deflected to one side and burrowed into an explosion in the sand. Do I have another chance?
Click. The now buried comet with its black hair and tail of gray?
Janice rolled to her left just in time to see Eddie reel his hand out of the sand, with the German shepherd still attached to his wrist. Granite was shaking his head back and forth as if there were no tomorrow and Eddie's arm was the last bone on earth. Eddie tried to shake off the dog, but only added to the damage the canine teeth were doing to the flesh and tendons that made up his wrist.
He had been kicked in the crotch, punched in the throat, his nose was flapping in the wind, and some damn dog was trying to gnaw his hand off. Eddie reached a higher plane in the pain of reality. There would be no turning back.
"Enough!" he screamed aloud as he lifted his arm high into the air, with eighty pounds of German shepherd still hanging onto his wrist. He brought his arm down with the force of ten men, slamming the dog into the wet sand. Janice winced as she heard the snapping of bones and one short yelp.
"Your fucking mutt, I suppose!" screamed Eddie turning toward Janice.
She winced again at the sight of his ghastly face. Even though her entire world was awash in the red glow of Eddie's eyes, there was no mistaking the crimson flow of blood that ran from his nose and wrist. With each exhalation of breath, more of his life's fluid blew away in the darkness. For a moment she began to get a renewed sense of hope. Surely he must be weakening from all that had happened to him in the span of a few minutes?
To her surprise, he seemed to grow in strength, and size, and even brightness. She could now see the windswept blades of grass in the dunes behind him. Could it be possible?
"You better bet your ass it's possible, sweetheart. Eddie's back, and he's be-a-u-ti-ful!"
Janice began to crab backwards in the sand, trying to put some distance between herself and Eddie.
"You can't run from me, Janice. And you surely can't hide. But just to make things interesting, go ahead and try anyway. Just for me, the Triple E. Hey, I kinda like that! Just for me, the Triple E. Gotta nice ring to it, don't you think? Now move bitch!"
Janice tried her best to accommodate him, but found she could barely do more than crawl backward. Twice she tried to get up on her legs, but her knee was definitely out of commission.
'You don't want to do this, Eddie,' she transmitted in desperation, not having the strength to yell above the wind, and wondering how he was able to do so now.
"Don't I? Don't I? You don't know shit! Just shut the fuck up! I don't want to hear anything out of your pie hole except begging, sister! You ready to start begging?"
'For what? My life?' she asked. 'You took that away from me a long time ago, Eddie.'
"Triple E to you, bitch. It's Triple E from here on out. Triple E to you, and to every other son of a bitch I have the misfortune to run into. And you’re right, I took your life away from you, and I'm not going to give it back!"
Janice backed up further, and found her hand grasping a heavy water soaked piece of driftwood. In a final act of defiance she threw it at what was once Eddie with all of the remaining strength she had. He caught it with his bloodied arm, and then proceeded to take a bite out of it.
"Not bad, a little boardy, probably could use more salt," he said matter-of-factly as he threw the wood aside.
"I wish I could say I hate to tell you this, but I don't little sister. I'm gonna have to fuck you. Then fuck you over, fuck you up, and then fuck you to death. Does that work for you? I'd hate for you to leave this world never knowing what it's like to be fucked!"
'I rather die,' transmitted Janice.
"As you wish, sister, though it will have to be death by getting fucked, I'm afraid."
"I don't think so, Triple E!" came a voice from behind him.
Eddie spun around to meet his latest opponent, and then began to break out into laughter.
"Well, well. Look what the cat drug in. I'll be right with you Jonathan, as soon as I'm done with your sister," Eddie said.
"You're done now, Eddie!"
"Ooh, you're scaring me. What's that in your hand, Jonathan?"
"It's a pistol, Eddie."
"And I take it you're going to shoot me?" shouted Eddie.
"Only if I have to," Jonathan yelled back.
"Jonathan, put that toy down and go back to the car. I'll be there shortly."
"Let's both go back to the car, Eddie. We can leave, and go back to Olympia. We've got work to do, remember?"
"Too late for that now, Jonathan. Now go back to the car like a good little boy, and we'll talk later!" said Eddie as he turned back towards Janice.
"Eddie, you're fired!"
Eddie turned back around to face his brother. The aura around him doubled in intensity as if someone had poured gasoline on a fire. Janice could now see the edges of the surf line rolling onto the beach.
"Fired? Fired? You can't fire me, you silly fool! Without me, there is no you!"
"I'll take my chances, Eddie. Thanks just the same."
"I can see I'm going to have to teach you both a lesson before this night is over!" shouted Eddie as he headed towards his brother.
"Teach this, Eddie," muttered Jonathan, as he raised the pistol and fired.
"Got a visual, Preston. Looks like a fire on the beach."
"In this weather? You got to be kidding."
"The beach is lit up like a Christmas tree. Thirty-five to base; send all back-ups to the jetty at Fort Canby. Preston, I want you on my ass ASAP."
"Right behind you Mike."
"I think I have gun fire on the beach. Keep your head down on the way in, Bill."
"Wait for me to get there, Nelson."
Eddie spun sideways as the bullet impacted his shoulder, and had to sidestep to catch his balance. Strangely, he felt no pain from the projectile, yet he felt a sense of loss knowing that it was his brother who had shot him. While he hadn't exactly expected the torture he had received from Janice, at least he had recognized the motive behind it. But with Jonathan it was different. Didn't he realize what he had done for him? Evidently not, he answered himself.
Jonathan didn't feel he needed the Triple E anymore. No biggy. He didn't have much use for Jonathan anymore either. Things would never be the same, he realized, so he might as well take his solo act on the road. Of course, he would have to tie up several loose ends first. Fortunately, they were all presently within his reach. He began to concentrate on bending the barrel of Jonathan's pistol before turning back to face him.
"So, Jonathan. This is the thanks I get for all the years of service the Triple E gave you?" shouted Eddie.
"Spare me the spiel, Eddie, and just head for the car."
"Why? Are we going somewhere? I don't think so, brother of mine."
Jonathan looked past Eddie and saw the police car rolling toward where they were standing.
"You can go in my car, or you can go in theirs, Eddie. Makes no difference to me."
Eddie turned to see the approaching vehicle, and instantly recognized it for what it was.
"Looks like the cavalry has arrived. Too late for you and your sister though, I'm afraid," Eddie said as he picked up a large piece of driftwood. "I must be going now."
"Don't even think of leaving, Eddie. There's lots of questions needing answers and I don't plan on having to do it alone."
"I'm gonna take out that bitch of a sister you have, and then I'm out of here. As a final gesture of kindness, I'm telling you not to try and stop me Jonathan."
"Kindness? What would you know about that?" asked Jonathan incredulously.
Eddie turned away from his brother and started towards Janice. He heard the gun go off, and the scream that followed, as the pistol blew up in Jonathan's face.
"Silly fool," he muttered to himself, as he turned to crush the sibling who was no longer there.
With all that had been going on, Eddie had not once panicked. His newfound level of power was like an opiate that had over-ridden any pain. He felt invulnerable, even though he had been shot and a police car was parked just yards from where he was standing. Everything would work out in the end, but he had to finish off Janice before he left. Not only did she know too much, she was the one and only person he knew of that could some day be a threat to him on his own level.
"Where'd you crawl off to now, bitch?" he screamed as he jumped over the dune where she had been lying.
Nothing but sand.
He turned around, quickly looking to his left and right. Nothing but sand.