The streets become venom at 3am, its bloodstream buzzing with a poison called addiction. But its not what you think, not for the man known as Mr. Holt. His blood on fire has nothing to do with Vodka mixed in cheap juice to a milky white, or Heroin injected lovingly into a bulging vein. He walks a straight line, and people move; people MORE than move, they scatter. Nathan's eyes drop like stone from his skull, a stare colder than dead. His massive hands make fists at his sides, gliding back and forth slow and smooth with each stride.
His high is partly rage. All natural. The buzz across his nerves is doubt. Pure emotion coursing him like some barbaric psycho-therapy technique.
Mr. Holt doesn't have a destination. This is rare for a man that lives life like a machine, driven by purpose, each move calculated. He is walking the streets just to be out in air, to feel the grip of life on all sides. Being in a room closed off by four blank walls.that can never sizzle with the same life as a downtown sidewalk. Each hour holds its own set of variables. At 3am, we're into the desperation minutes. The loneliest souls wander now, the most hideous minds spill from invisible cracks onto the cement and pavement. They crouch, clothes pulled tight around them, hats pulled low. Their eyes don't move, they shift. They fucking SHIFT.
Nathan Holt understands that most of them don't carry evil intent. Just the opposite, they carry the wicked aftermath of their lives, all the evil that has been inflicted ON them. Somehow, he feels closer to the people of this hour than the widths of daylight and early evening. He is bonded with these creatures of desperation, kin to the minutes between everyone else's reality.
He walks and walks until the first blink of sunlight taps his shoulder.
* * * * * *
"I don't think you should be here right now." Darren Matthews says this pressed against a brick wall, both Springfield 1911 Custom Loaded TRP-Pros gripped tightly. Sweat is beaded on his forehead, despite the forty degree temperature, despite the goosebumps raised on his skin. The sweat is a self-induced fever. Battle tends to boil blood, and he's still not accustomed to waging this war.
"Don't talk to me."
"Look, we've got at least a dozen innocents in there. You're somewhere off in rampage-ville."
Nathan steps forward, pulling his Colts from within his suit, "How many Abhorrents have YOU killed?"
Darren licks his lips, tasting salt, "None."
"Shut the fuck up. I'm here because you can't do this on your own."
"Just don't kill anybody."
Nathan pushes his weaponry to either side, leaning in close to Darren's face, "If people die, they die. In the end, extermination of Chromosome 13 is our objective." Even for Mr. Holt, this is a harsh statement.
Darren's eyes go big with anger, clouding the desperation sparked by an Abhorrent lurking just around the corner. Waiting for them to make a move.
Nathan drops down and lunges, driving his shoulder into Darren's chest. Air retreats from his compressed lungs, rendering his voice box useless, "Just stay out of it and let me do my job." And he's gone, turning a 360 around the corner, guns already coming to life. Matthews drops down to one knee sucking up bits of oxygen like needles of pain.
Mr. Holt never runs, his motion never suggests urgency. It is always fluid. A calm settles even as bullets begin to eject from gun barrels. This is a stroll in the park. This is a nap taken at noon, the shades pulled closed just enough to create a cool atmosphere. Nathan's face registers zero stress as he turns to face the definition of chaos.
The Abhorrent has people lined up like a shield, all of them stripped down to underwear and flesh, their close torn from them. Nathan registers instantly that this is new behavior. This is not something he has faced before. Random violence, yes, a mad kind of desire to kill; but never pre-planned strategy for a battle, not like this. Mr. Holt sees his bullets in slow motion, knowing he has brought death on these people.
For a heartbeat, his head lowers. His will backfires. The rage boiling along his internal framework cools as tensed muscles go lax.
It is all the full Burn Abhorrent needs. The wretched female form uses the falling bodies of the innocent to propel upward, shrieking toward Nathan with boney hands formed to fists. She impacts his chest with indescribable force.
And the giant falters, one of his Colts slipping from his grasp and hitting pavement with a sound like dead money.
The Abhorrent lands hard on knees, withered skin peeling away easily to leave trails of blood on black asphalt. She doesn't take notice.her smoked eyes are fixed on the Colt, mouth open in a kind of euphoric awe. A skeleton hand lashes out for the silver-plated steel, thin fingers wrapping around the gun's oversized handle.
Mr. Holt is hurtling backward, leg's buckling, oxygen sucked from his lungs by the Abhorrent's blow. His head impacts brick, dislodging several of them in a swirl of old mortar. He slips sideways, dropping on top of his left arm and the remaining Colt still loosely gripped in his hand. The world turns to blur, colors mesh, shapes dissolving to liquid. Nathan tries to speak, tries to say something that's been on his tongue ever since the black foam ball (see Volume #6) knocked him on his ass. His mouth refuses to form the words.
The Abhorrent lunges to Nathan's final resting place, lifting the Colt's barrel to his chest. Her head tilts slightly, like a child curious to see a parent's reaction.
Sometimes this is how it ends.sudden and fierce, with a roll of thunder. Then silence.