The Fall, Part Six
30 May 1989
When the sheriff turned, I saw that his eyes were faintly glowing and more resembled those of a serpent than a man. He looked directly at me, and smiled with a mouth that seemed to be growing larger. I saw the fangs begin to appear from his upper jaw as he tossed the gun aside and lunged forward.
I dodged but he followed, his features slowly losing any semblance of humanity. He moved almost like a snake, weaving and bobbing with supernatural grace. I would punch, he would parry; he would lunge, I would just avoid it. I slipped back into the physical realm to gain traction and caught him with a right hook. As he recoiled, the cloaked figures saw their chance and dove at me with the knives. I slipped back into the spiritual and was knocked down by a strike to my leg from the sheriff. He bit down but I managed to get enough of my left arm into his mouth that the fangs just missed. I used the leverage I had to throw him to his back and roll onto him, and heard his ribs crack as my right fist made contact. He screamed, releasing my arm, and threw me hard through the ceiling. When I had passed through, I went physical again, crashing against the next ceiling but landing on the first floor instead of back in the basement.
Plaster rained down around me as I forced myself to my feet, and the few staff that were available screamed and ran. I knew my attackers would not wait very long for my return. The staff were almost certainly going to call for more police, if the sheriff hadn't already ensured he had backup. I clutched my bleeding arm; there was no venom in it, but the teeth were sharp enough to cause considerable damage. Before I got very far in leaving the scene, the sheriff bolted out of the basement door and pinned me against a wall. God, he was so much faster than I expected.
He bit hard into my shoulder and I screamed. While he was busy with that, however, I noticed a pail of water near me. I managed to reach it and mutter a quick prayer of blessing before dumping it over the both of us. Steam rose thick from his head as he let out an unearthly noise and released me. As he lay writhing on the floor, the holy water seared his scales, I knelt beside him and pressed my hand between his eyes, quickly performing an exorcism. If there was anything human left of him, it put up no resistance and I never saw it. What lay broken and burned under me when I stood was an avatar of whatever serpent spirit they revered. It was then that I heard the other figures ascending the basement stairs, so I turned immediately and ran back to my room. I grabbed my notes and my clothes and leapt from the window.
The world was beginning to grow fuzzy and spin. The venom was taking hold. I had to get just a little farther, just to where they wouldn't find me, just a little more. I tore through the woods, branches I couldn't see snapping or leaving small cuts across me as I fell through them. I couldn't wait any longer. I had no idea where I was or if it was enough, but I was running out of time. My vision was growing dim. I dropped all that I was carrying and allowed my glamour to drop. My body knew what to do if I just let it. My blood nearly boiled as it burned away the venom, and when it was all over, I collapsed.
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Evidence compiled for use during the trial of Father Benedict de Monte.
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