So the hordes of hell broke through into Earth for a moment and took over all levels of government. In one day everything went to hell. And now they're after a girl? And not just any girl. The girl. Jabber had always said there was no such thing as coincidences or luck. I guess this is what he meant.
I leapt from rooftop to rooftop, carrying the unconscious Noor wrapped in my long coat. Of course as soon as I’d seen her it had started to rain. Some things never change. It had been almost 3 years since I’d last seen her. I guess I should be thankful to the mask I’m wearing. It would be better for all if she didn’t know who I was… not after our last conversation.
“If that’s what you want” she had said. I remember the look on her face. The pain in her eyes.
“It was never a question of what I had wanted,” I whispered three years too late. She stirred; the sedative they had given her must be wearing off.
Settling down on top of an old industrial estate I laid her down carefully. Watching her. Unsure of what I was going to say. Then slowly those familiar brown eyes blinked open, adjusting to the light until they found me and she smiled. Blinking again her eyes shot wide open.
Suddenly, aware of where she was. Stumbling to her feet she glanced around trying to take in the scene.
“What? What’s going on? Who are you?” She stopped to glance at herself “and why am I all wet?” I couldn’t help but smile.
“This is a rescue, and I’m the rescuer. As for why you're wet” I gestured to the sky still smiling “it’s raining.”
“I can see that. But who are you?” a measure of calm returning to her voice.
“A more important question is why are the Red Guard after you?” I replied, not wanting to start out with a lie. Not that I could lie to her even if I had wanted to.
“That’s a long story.” She glanced around, taking in her surroundings.
“I’ve got time.”
“Why are we standing on a rooftop?” she asked, still as random as ever.
“Because all the streets are monitored by CCTV. So unless you want to return to the custody of your friends the Red Guard, it’s better if we stay out of sight,” I replied, as the rain began to pick up pace “and preferably indoors.”
“Hmmm,” she mused and then almost by some coincidence the rain stopped.
“Well that’s convenient. And you didn’t answer my question.”
“Neither did you,” she had noticed “besides I don’t have to tell you anything.”
“Hey I just saved your life at great personal risk to myself! I think that merits some answers.”
“I WAS KIDNAPPED! What do you want from me?” her temper flared.
“I just want to help. And the best way I can do that is if you tell me why they’re after you.”
She stared at me with a measure of fury in her eyes.
Finally as if some decision had been made she took a deep breath and calmed down. I was beginning to think she wasn’t going to answer when she finally spoke.
“I came here to get some answers from my Shaykh but I was too late... He was murdered just before I got here… I have no idea why or what any of this means. Next thing I know the Red Guard are throwing me into the back of a van.” She was editing.
“There’s something more, isn’t there?”
“I’m allowed my secrets. Besides I'm not saying anything more until you answer some questions too.” I didn’t like where this was going. I was going to have to be very careful about what I let slip.
“What would you like to know?”
"Who, or what are you?"
"Think of me as your personal Guardian Angel." I chuckled.
Her eyes widened by a fraction before she went bright red and looked away but said nothing. I could tell she was embarrassed and it was hard not to grin. The wind changed direction and I caught a whiff of her floral scent.
I paced around her "Do you remember how everything suddenly changed a few years ago? How government policy changed overnight and how they introduced the Red Guard, the curfews and how everything went from bad to worse."
Her forehead creased as if in confusion. I suddenly wondered if I had said something overly complicated.
“Yes, but what’s that got to do with anything?”
“Well the short version is, real evil crossed into our world and is constantly working to bring humanity to its knees,” I paused waiting for her reaction. When she said nothing I continued “And it’s my job to stop them.”
“So you chop up people with that sword?”
I laughed. "Not people, creatures from hell, this sword is made from a special metal. It contains a fragment from the Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) sword.”
“I thought that was in a museum somewhere in Turkey?”
“That’s just a replica. Anyway, the fragment from the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) sword combined with the special metal is what gives it its power and allows me to vanquish demons.”
She rolled her eyes. “Oh please, do you really expect me to believe that?”
“Well you met the Red Guard up close and personal and have seen what’s happening in the world, what do you think?”
“So what? You're like God’s little Power Ranger?” she didn’t get to finish. I spun around placing myself between her as a presence I had just felt loamed towards us. “What’s wrong?”
A huge familiar figure just leapt onto the rooftop. I couldn’t believe it, it was Slade.
“Aren’t you supposed to be dead?”
He smiled. “Well the thing about me is,” he stepped out of the shadows followed by five other clones of himself “there’s just a whole lot of me.”
The clones spread out as if stalking their prey into a corner. I took up a defensive position placing myself between Noor and the Slade clones. In absolute concentration I shadowed their footwork making sure they didn’t find a clear path through to Noor. They would come in hard and fast. Their plan was obvious. One or two would attack me while the others moved in to take Noor. Not gonna happen. Not today, not ever.
The Slade directly ahead leaned forward onto the balls of his feet as a snarl ripped from his lips. As he lunged forward I barely managed to twist away and smashed my fist into his skull and sent him flying. Another Slade screamed in rage and tried to grab me in a bear hug. I slammed my entire weight into a punch and hooked him right in the mouth sending him over the building edge. But the third Slade was already on me, this was his plan all along, no time to counter as he slammed his immense weight into me as we brawled. I brought up my arms to protect my head anticipating the hit.
There was a flash of light that hit Slade turning him into dust. I glanced in the direction the light had originated and there stood Noor with what looked like a glowing Bow made entirely of light? For a second I thought I must be seeing things, I blinked and the bow was still there. I realised that the ray of light that hit Slade must have been some sort of arrow?
“No time, watch out!” she screamed before firing another arrow past my left ear. I spun around in time to see more dust hit the floor. More and more Slade clones were coming onto the roof. I guess I had no choice. Drawing my sword, I swung it at the advancing Slades.
“DARK LIGHTENING!” A broad burst of lightening ripped across the roof taking out four Slades in one go. In that moment, I felt it drain my energy just a little. As swiftly as I could, I dashed across the roof as Noor fired off a few more arrows providing cover as the Slade Clones tried to dodge them. I knocked one right off the roof, and kicked another in the gut as he crumbled before me. Then in a swift motion I brought down my sword turning him into dust instantly. Finally there was but one Slade left, who had used the time I was fighting the others to generate a Shadow Ball the size of an immense boulder. He smiled as he released it towards us. It ripped up everything in its path in a wave of destruction.
I slammed my Demon Slayer into it, slowing it down as it continued to push towards Noor.
“NO!” I screamed, as I took my final stance and with a single thrust of my blade redirected the immense Shadow Ball into the sky where it exploded. A moment later, the night was once again quiet. It felt as if time had suddenly stood still. The final Slade had disappeared into the night as quickly as he had appeared. And for the moment we were safe.
A cool breeze blew across the rooftop and the moon perched high above peeked out from behind the clouds bathing the city in a white glow. Taking a deep breath I turned to Noor who was still standing there holding her light-bow as it slowly disappeared.
”What was that?”
She smiled “It’s why I came back to London and probably why the Red Guard are after me.” She waved her hand and a flower appeared made entirely of light. “I can make any shape I really want.” She waved her hand again and the flower turned into an apple of light.
“Like a machine gun?” I was actually impressed.
She laughed “nothing that complicated. Nothing that has moving parts anyway.” The apple disappeared.
I smiled “I see. Well I think this is making more and more sense. You’re a lot like me. You have a gift too.” She didn’t seem convinced or too delighted. Neither was I.
“Can I return it? It’s really not my colour.”
“It’s not that kind of gift.” I chuckled… seemed to be doing a lot of that lately. “They must have a tracker on you.” I mused already knowing the only answer available “that must be how the demon found us so quickly.”
She flinched at the word ‘demon’. "What do we do?"
“Well, I could operate on you and remove it,” her eyes shot wide open “but that could be messy, and time consuming. The other option however is I give you a little shock from my Demon Slayer sword frying the trackers circuitry. There shouldn’t be any real damage.”
“Fine... do it!” she held out her hand. I drew my Demon Slayer and the air instantly began to crackle with its power. Holding out the blade for her.
“One finger on the blade should do it but,” she didn’t let me finish. A little too eager she grabbed the blade and the current instantly threw her backwards. I had to reach out quickly and grab her before she was thrown from the roof! I sighed “reckless.” I could feel her heart beating, and her slow breath. Thankfully no permanent damage had been done, the shock must have simply knocked her out.
“Well can't leave you lying around here.” Reaching up to my mask, I activated the Angel Com system and radioed Sanctuary. After a moment a voice crackled over the radio.
“I’m headed to base... and I’m bringing a guest.” I added reluctantly.
“A guest? You've never brought anyone back before?”
“It’s the hijaabi... it’s Noor.” There was a silence for a moment.
“Still got a thing for this girl huh?” I could just hear the smile in her voice.
I sighed “that was a long time ago.”
“No not really.”
High above the city, two figures appear seemingly standing on nothing but mid air dressed completely in white. They stand watch, expressionless cloaked in a heavenly glow.
“His powers continue to grow.”
“Our orders are clear, we are not to interfere. This is his fight.”
“What about the girl? If they want her, she may pose a risk.”
“We can't risk exposure, let’s wait and see how it plays out.”
One of the most important realisations of life is that it’s a process. No one expects you to get it right from the start, but we must take heed; sins of the past cast long shadows.