The Cycle of Axer Carrick
Part VI -- Cats Eyes
by Henry Wyckoff
December 1995


Chapter 30

Axer wiped the sweat off his face. It was pretty humid, but that wasn't why he was sweating. "I wonder if there's anything else we can do?"

Kate shook her head. "I don't think so. I don't know!" Tears fell from her eyes as she slumped against the wall. "I knew the end could come some day... but not like this!"

They stood atop a building neighboring their home. Their home had been destroyed by the mobs. The fires still burned. Axer saw the destruction, and couldn't hold back the tears himself. All those memories, lost in a flash of fire. Books, gifts, and trophies... all gone.

"I'M GOING TO KILL THEM!" Axer howled at the top of his voice.

"It's not over yet," said a smug voice behind him. A very familiar voice. "You still have your chance!"

Axer spun around and saw none other than Youlienou, the Invisible One that he'd talked to that night in the Raven, after having escaped from another one. "You wanted to take me on the field of battle -- well here's *your* chance!" He drew his glaive in a smooth and blurred motion, advancing on the Invisible One.

Kate's face became vampiric, her fangs shooting out with a snarl, and she approached as well, slowly and deliberately.

Side by side, Axer and Kate made quite a team, but Youlienou wasn't impressed. "Hold yer horses, buckaroos!" he drawled, holding out a remote control. "You don't know what the stakes are!" That made them pause. "Forgive the pun... I know about your visit to Surtur, as well as your interference. ...And you think your call solved the problem... Surpriiiize!" He reached from the shadows, pulling forth a head. "You probably don't know this, but it's the father of Detective Vetter. You know... old' Miss Perky! Well, I decided to do myself a favor!"

"What do you mean, favor?" snarled Axer.

"By making sure that the chain of communication was neatly cut -- now nobody who counts knows about this 'nuclear problem...'" Before Axer could move forward, he shook the signal, "Uh, uh, uhhh! This signal will detonate the weapons... I've had control all along, despite what Surtur thinks! If you want to stop a world war from starting, you play *MY* game!" He was grinning like a nervous maniac.

^^You'll give up the signal...^^ Kate tried to give him a mental push.

Youlienou laughed with true light-hearted glee, and stared back at Kate, ^^You'll stand perfectly still and be a good spectator!^^

Kate froze in place, her face frozen in tense shock.

"That's to ensure that we don't have any interruptions," he explained. "Now here's how it's going to be. We'll fight a duel to the death, much as you might kill another immortal in a formal duel. There's one catch, though."

"And that is?" Axer had to fight his urge to see if Kate was all right. His rage helped him to focus on Youlienou.

"We fight down there." He pointed down at the deserted street below, from the edge of the roof.

"That's no problem at all."

"Wait! You didn't ask how we get down there! Go on! Ask me!"

"All right, how do we get down there?"

"We jump!" Youlienou laughed. "We jump down, and *then* fight."

Axer looked at him as if he were crazy, but said, "As you wish, but we jump together."

"Certainly."

They jumped together, but Axer immediately knew that something was wrong when he realized that he was falling much faster. He heard a happy voice call from far above, "Silly man! You never asked me *how fast* we were supposed to jump down!"

Axer noticed that somehow, Youlienou was affecting his own fall without any strings, ropes, or jet-packs. //Anti-grav belt, perhaps?// His lights went out as he slammed into the broken concrete at terminal velocity.

He couldn't hear Youlienou mutter to himself, "So much potential... what a waste!"

* * *

Elsewhere in Toronto, LaCroix was pacing back and forth. "I've tasted the minds of strange men, but never any minds like these!"

"What do you mean?" Vachon was still quite shaken by all the recent events, and looked very subdued.

"They're all conflicting! Mulroney has one set of beliefs, and Schanke believes something totally different. It's as if the Invisible Ones are all individuals with different objectives... I don't think they agree on anything! Except..."

"WHAT??" Tracy and Vachon asked at once.

"They know that their fate hinges on three individuals..."

"WHO??"

"Axer Carrick... Coleen... and..." LaCroix shook his head.

"WHO???"

"...me..." he said weakly. "The whole time, I've been one of their experiments, and I didn't even know."

They stared at him in even more profound shock.

He paced back and forth, "It was all just a curious question of theirs... what happens if you make an immortal a vampire? They were also curious how you make a vampire an immortal, but they didn't know how to go about doing it, since you're born an immortal. They can alter humans to make them long- lived, but not immortal. ...Powys!"

"What about him?" asked Tracy.

"He'd know how to make sense out of all these thoughts in my head. Only I don't know where he is."

"How are the other two important?"

"Coleen is a threat because she's unpredictable. Axer Carrick is a threat because..." His eyes widened.

"YES??"

"He could lay waste to whole armies when he's provoked! THAT'S IT!"

"WHAT'S IT??" Vachon and Tracy were getting tired of his cryptic answers.

LaCroix vanished in a blur. Shrugging, Vachon followed him. That left Tracy all alone with Schanke. Sort of...

* * *

Youlienou gloated as he stood in front of Axer's broken body. Just about every bone was broken, and a slab of concrete punctured his ribs. Blood seeped through the broken concrete, infiltrating slowly into the packed, exposed earth.

"Do you know what your problem is, Axermanidas? You're too reckless! Just step back and exercise some caution, would be my advice -- but it's too late now, isn't it?"

"I don't think so, Youlienou."

The smug Invisible One wasn't so smug now. He spun around to find none other than LaCroix and Vachon approaching. "What is this?" he screeched. "Grand Central Station??" Then he did a double take. "How did you know my name?!"

LaCroix smiled, "I've developed a new taste for knowledge... I've learned to read the blood of Invisible Ones and absorb their life-force. You really did create a monster, you know!"

Youlienou didn't back up, though he was obviously quite frightened. "You have to kill me first!" he shrieked. Apparently he was the nervous type. His hands were shaking as he tried to draw a weapon.

LaCroix seemed to teleport, now holding both wrists. It was quite evident that Invisible Ones did feel pain. "My pleasure!"

But it seemed that there were even more interlopers. "Or pain!" A drifter emerged from the shadows, holding a black box. He twisted a few dials, making LaCroix and Vachon double over in agony, howling their lungs out. Youlienou backed away, brushing off his lapel with relief.

In the far distance, watching from the roof, a few feet away from Kate -- still frozen -- Powys sat, holding a pair of dice. "What do think, Kate? The coins say that we have yet another interloper... But who will it be?" Kate didn't answer. "So let the dice decide."

Cats eyes.

"Hmmph. I guess one must obey the law of chaos. Now, let's see what I do." Powys rolled cats eyes again. "Bloody hell!"

* * *

LaCroix and Vachon suddenly stopped screaming, on account of the fact that the black box inexplicably exploded, killing its user. But that didn't change the odds, because a van sped around a nearby corner, coming to a screeching halt. Out of the van emerged six masked men carrying crosses and squirt bottles.

The two vampires knew these men quite well. They looked at one another. "You first?"

A few feet away, Youlienou was backing up nervously, but suddenly stopped when a hand grasped his ankle. Looking down, he screamed in shock because Axer had woken up -- though most of his body had yet to heal. A quick twist, and Youlienou was sent to the ground, where he busted his knee and elbow on the edges of some broken concrete.

"AaaahhHH!" screamed the Invisible One, who was now on a more level playing field.

It was pretty ironic that not only would one of the 'final battles' be such a chaotic mess, but that the two key players would fight it on such bizarre terms: both with broken bodies, barely able to move, and swinging blades at one another in the same manner that a tired individual would try to turn off the morning alarm. It might have even been comical, had it been played out on a stage.

"I'll - umph - get you!" snarled Youlienou, almost sending his face into the ground as he tried to slam Axer with an over-exaggerated swing that missed.

Axer said nothing as his newly-healed leg sent a kick into Youlienou's face, scraping it a little. He scrambled up a little, blood still leaking out his wound. "Good night." He swung his glaive in a weak motion, almost decapitating him, but not quite. Axer collapsed from exhaustion, hitting his head on the concrete and knocking himself out.

Youlienou hit his head as well, finishing the motion. The Invisible One was now dead, and Axer wouldn't have to ask the inconvenient question of how he was supposed to get back to the top of the building and make sure the missile didn't get activated.

* * * *


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