Christmas 2016

December 30, 2015:

A year from now, Constantine and Lillith battle Krampus. But for what?

Gotham Mall

Characters

NPCs: Krampus

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Time is a fickle thing; it often carries many faces like a clock on the wall, sands that fall through the tiny holes on the hour glass, often times judged by a makeshift dias that counts the moments until the very sun goes down or the curse of the wind in the way it blows or shadows upon the ground.

To the viewer, time could feel slow. Or it could feel like it hasn't passed at all. Often times it could even feel like it went too fast and a life passes within the blink of an eye.

But locked away, time is fickle and it is dangerous, even if time did not account to the current situation at hand but it's a steady reminder in the back of the minds of men that it is there..

..and it is slowly, running out.

12:00am.

The walls of the apartment lay barren; there wasn't much need for decoration save for the clock that hangs upon the wall, ticking away by the second she lays upon the couch attempting to sleep. A hand hangs low to brush along the wood-slatted floor, her eyes upon the television as she slowly swings her feet to press upon the ground. The apartment itself, it wasn't a mess, but pictures remained upon the coffee table of a man.. drawn in black and white but in which she sees is in color..

12:01am.

When you can't sleep, you need to clean. And when things needed cleaning, the first thing that was grabbed was something in front of you. The paper that has the mans face.. the dirty blonde man in a white shirt, black tie.. messy'ish hair.. a little easy on the eyes.. all bunched and bundled up within her hands, her finger laying upon the drawn out nose as her body grows eerily stiff, her breath drawing in shrill as ever as her head tosses back towards the sky…

A YEAR LATER:

"We don't have much time, John! We need to move now!"

Her gun was held close to her chest as she leaned in the doorway of the stone made construct. It had the feel of Stonehenge, the same magnetism, tugging and pulling at the soul yet the candles that burn around the altar kept the spirits at bay. For now. The howling winds outside of the construct carried the weight of the magic of it's caster, the growls and the snarls coming so close that the tug of her hair is felt right upon the tug of her scalp. "JOHN!"


"This is MUCH EASIER if someone's not bloody yelling at me!" John shouts back at Lillith, kneeling in the center of the construct. He looks a great deal more haggard than he had in the grainy old photos— bags under his eyes, sallow skin, a grim set to the jaw.

His old trenchcoat is cast aside, and he's in white shirtsleeves and a scraggly, badly draped black tie. He leans back and forth with frantic motions, fingers and wrists daubed in red as he paints whorling insignia and sigils atop deeply carved runes set in the sacrificial rock at the center of the stone structure.

Making it extremely surreal is that the construct is in the middle of the Gotham Mall, and the Christmas decorations haven't been taken down yet.


"If you hurry up, then I wouldn't have to YELL!" She screams back, ducking as a bench comes hurling their way. But the barrier surrounding the construct in the Gotham Mall halts it's trajectory to cause it to stand still. Lillith wisely backs away, gun close towards her breast, pointing and aiming towards the entrance with a slight tremble of her lip.

She looks back for just a moment, kneeling down towards one knee, preparing herself from the shit-storm that is soon to come if they haven't finished..

'Ooooh hollly niiight..' A ghostly voice haunts the ripple of the empty mall.. crackling off into the sound of a piano which plays the Christmas'y aria in the distance. Was she the only one who heard that?


"Was I the only one who heard that?" John demands, shouting over the whipping winds and the eerie melodies. "Blimey, got corked upside the head and now I'm dingum barney," he grumbles at himself, slapping more paint down. The runes are nearly wholly obliterated by the thick red paint, and John finally gets to his feet. "All right! I've stubbed out the runes— now bring me the sacrifice!" he says, beckoning Lillith. "If we don't complete the ritual now, then the Krampus will break through!" He picks up a wickedly serrated knife with a stone bill and rough leather-wrapped handle, gripping it so tight that corded tendons stand out in his skinny forearms.


Lillith heard it, but she didn't say that she's actually heard it. Instead, she slowly rises from her kneeled position, her jaw nearly slacked as her eyes grow vacant. She remembers that song, something from everyone's childhood, but a culling call as her gun drops to the ground with a loud clack through the howls. One foot steps forward, her fingers slowly slackening, but lifting as if she were puppeted into removing her protective gear from her chest with the start of a peel of her leather jacket from her shoulders. The sacrifice, a black puffin bird, lain live within the black bag struggling to break free. It squawks loudly, but it doesn't deter Lillith from the need of moving towards that barrier, for crossing it means that it has effectively been broken down.


John steps fast towards Lillith— and then he's sent flying violently aside by a whirlwind of motion. With a huff and a snort, the reindeer— the size of a Volkswagon Beetle, and with sharp, blood-drenched horns- stamps and faces down Lillith, glaring. And its red nose glows a sullen color. "Run! Carnivore!" John grunts, dragging himself behind some rocks and out of sight. The reindeer bares razor-sharp teeth at Lillith and paws the ground, growling.


Lillith snaps out of the culling call as soon as John steps forward, the blackness that nearly covers her eyes immediately fading away with a pinch as she gasps, turning with a snap and a duck to swipe up her pistol as the reindeer snaps with a stomp in front of her. "Oh.. shit!" He didn't have to tell her twice, she even leaves her flack jacket upon the ground, taking off with a scrape of her foot and a press of her gloved hand against the ground, gun hand drawing back to fire without looking to try to scramble behind the opposing rocks where John has placed himself. The song continues to play in the background, Lillith fighting that need to draw herself out into the open. "Do you hear it?" She screams out. She knew that the culling call was meant for John, but it tugged her instead. "You got a -real- knack of attracting the wrong kind of bitches John!"


"YES, I HEAR IT!" "Daffy bint, I'm drunk, not dead," John says, peering around the rock. He eyes the chase in progress, then aims his finger like he's pointing a gun. A glimmering crystal flickers from his fingertip and smacks into the ground at Lillith's heels, spreading sheets of ice in every direction. Lillith's bare inches ahead of it, but the reindeer goes down in a clatter of hooves, /hard/, and slams into a kiosk. "Short term solution, long term problem!" John reminds Lill. "Get the bird over here, now! Because Krampus is coming, with all eight of Rudolph's buddies!


There was a shock of light that flashes near Lillith, her eyes raising as the reindeer goes down in a crash. It was like a sick joke of the holiday, all just to attempt to murder the man who.. probably wasn't well liked by anyone. Certainly not well liked by Lillith. "Call me a daffy bint.. ONE MORE TIME!" She hollars out, ducking out from her space to dive, tuck and roll, one leg planted out in a fashion to bring her to a stop as she swipes the black bag of the puffin bird to toss towards Constantine. In the distance, the sound of thundering hooves seem to grow closer by the second, as if a herd of elephants were tracking in and approaching their destination… which.. could be true.


John grabs the bag like a man who's played a bit of rugby in his day, and dives for the altar. He looses the bag and grabs the bird by the neck, pulling it out. The puffin squawks and screams, and John picks up the stone knife. With a grimace, he kills the bird with one clean stroke of the blade. "Twyllg ga fanathrar, ypp awd drweggan," he mutters in a Gaelic tongue, spattering blood over the paint-mauled runes. The music swells as the doors to the mall burst inwards, sending glass and aluminum everywhere. Atop a blood-red sleigh stands a demonic figure fully eight feet tall, with goats hooves and horns, and burning red eyes. Either carnivorus reindeer pull him along. "You cannot stop the resurrection!" he howls, in barbaric tones.


Against the wall of the construct lies a bag; one that carried the paint and the items that they've needed for the ritual, not closely guarded but easily reached with a soldiers crawl to the wall and a press of her back against it. Her gloved hands search through the bag, drawing out the shotgun and the specialized shell, watching John's back as he snuffs the light from the puffin, cracking it in half to stuff the shells into the barrel. With a snap and a crack, she stands, leveling the shotgun towards.. "What.. the fuck.." Krampus? The stuff of nightmares, demon horns that curl around towards the back of his neck in a slight tickle, rattled red coat and claws as long as they were sharp. "Hey fuck face.." She calls out, typical bravado of a NYC cop.

*CLACK CLACK* BOOM! Mistletoe laced shells right to the face. Lillith's aim is unusually, and uncannily true.


Krampus screams and flies backwards, clutching his face as ruinous smoke billows from it. The preparations they'd made seem to work, as the smoke from the burning mistetoe sears the eyes of the reindeer and they panic. Dasher and Dancer take to the sky, the sled crashing around the interior of the mall quite violently. The center of the construct starts to burn with a turgid green light, sullen and angry, and the force of the power seems to be pulling Krampus and his reindeer towards it. "Don't let him recover!" John barks, desperately twisting his hands into claws to modify the runes on the fly.


*CLACK CLACK* *BOOM!*
*CLACK CLACK* *BOOM!*

"I KNOW GODDAMN IT." Lillith keeps her pace, drawing herself backwards as the magic efforts of Constantine seems to pull Krampus in. Little by little, step by step, she's soon touching shoulders with Constantine as she cracks the shotgun open again dropping in the last two shells with a snap and a crack and a rest the butt against her shoulder.. "I'M ALMOST OUT!" She hisses loudly. "I hope you have something else up your sleeve.." Cause if not? They're dead…


John slaps his hands together in a gesture of triumph and the portal flares to full force. Light explodes outwards, as if a tactile force, and sears the reindeers like they're ants burning a mangifying glass. They scream and howl in useless rage, burning in place and streaking about like a comet. Krampus turns to flee, burning as well, but to no avail— he scratches and tears at the floor but the inexplorable force of the construct pulls him into the green limned light, howling all the way. THe portal abruptly shuts with a short *phut* and a few sparks, leaving the Christmas display destroyed, tinny Muzak playing, and smouldering reindeer corpses on the ground.


It was all rather.. anti-climactic, but there was a certain rush to it that Lillith can't ignore. Whether she couldn't stand the man or not, she did vow to protect him whatever the cost. But it seemed.. he was probably protecting her in the same breath. Drunk or not. The man was truly terrifying. The shotgun falls to her side as she keeps her finger upon the trigger, ready to raise in a one armed shoot that wouldn't probably fell a foe, but maybe injure or stun. But it was over.. signified by the tiny floof of a puffin feather that slowly falls to the ground….

A YEAR AGO:

12:05am

Lillith draws in a shrill of a breath as she allows the pictures to fall to the ground, her features paling ever so slightly as she falls to her knees, her hand reaches out to press hard against the ground as the tears fall, the vision harsh to her senses, rocking her body into a hard swath of pain but she really, really doesn't know why.

The papers weren't touched again by her bare hands, pushed into a pile upon the floor by the tip of the remote as she draws herself to a stand.. staggering into the bedroom to crawl into the thickness of the sheets, wrapping herself up like a babe who needed comfort on this long and lonely night..

… and once she finally falls to sleep…

… a soft line draws itself within the mirror of her dresser.. softly cracking within the center to send a sprawl of a web of glass across it's expanse.

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