Midnight by Sal
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MIDNIGHT


     There are two of them. White and blue. Light and dark wings. A perfect compliment. Perfect. They can't see me. I can see you, I want to whisper it, and smile stretched lips over teeth instead.
    The others are in my head. Echoing thoughts of feral happiness and giddy adrenaline. We are Blackbirds.
     Keep control, I remind them. Stay cool. Separate them. Separate the light and the dark and we will triumph.
     I want the light, someone whispers; to crush it, extinguish it, kill it. Echoes of me too.
Ha, I think. Moths to flame, I know. Take it. I have no need. The dark is mine.
     Dark is evil too, they whisper back. Dark like midnight.
     Midnight? I ask. Midnight! Death is midnight! It's not midnight you fools! It's not midnight!
     Screaming and cawing of blackbirds rises to fever pitch. Ancient superstitions and fear of death. Chorusing, cackling, it's not midnight, it's not midnight!
     I shut my eyes tight and scream inside.
     The One speaks, sibilant hiss. Enough, you insane imbeciles!
     We fall silent. Fluttering wings of fear and despise. Whispers even he can't hear. I smile again. Dark is mine, I remind them, and two others agree. Ours.
     They separate. This way - yes, yes, yes! I see him directly below, fifty feet between them, fifty feet below me. Perfect. We dive as one. A flock of birds protecting the nest from predators. Vicious attack.
     We make no sound, but they know. He knows. Calls out. His head is turning, arm coming up, even as I plow feet first into his side. He crashes to the floor and slides, rolls over and up, flits away. Ah, he's quick!  I follow, two companions flank him from opposite directions and he goes straight up.
     Images of the attack flash from each of us. They see me, my prey through my eyes. I see them bring down white wings, dirty white wings.
     Smash it! Kill it! Kill it fast! One of us begins shreiking, an ecstatic sound of hopping crows and joy.
    Hissing commands reach us. Fool - you fools! Control yourselves! You'll all die.
     We don't listen. Bloodlust consumes us. We crave bright red blood gushing from open throats. Yes, yes, let's see it... what's this? We've gone far down the corridor. The bend turns and my two comrades lay dead on the floor. Red pools of darkness seep from beneath them. I didn't feel them die. But I never feel any of them die. Why is that?
     I should just disappear. This is bad. He is waiting around the corner for me too. I feel it as easily as I see the bodies ahead of me. But he won't get away.
     I slip into the alcove of a doorway and wait.  I sing-song, I can wait all day. I have forever, what do you have? I taunt him, demanding he hear me. The others don't hear either. Too far away. Is that it? Far, far away, makes us dead? Ha! You'll die too. You'll die too. I chant it for long minutes of waiting and it pays. Barest metallic sound of a footstep. Controlled breath even as his lungs must be screaming for air. Ah, I know that feeling. I'm doing it too. He could be one of us. Easily one of us.
     A dark form creeps past like shadow, and I lunge!
     We're down; rolling and kicking and hating and surviving. He's good, but he'll die. Ha! Too bad for you, I think that. Too bad for you. I use the small hidden scythe curved over my hand and slash - A wing tip catches and tears, but there's no sound of ripping, only heavy breathing and grunts as he battles, and I know better than to speak. An open mouth is an opening for attack.
     I knee him hard in the groin, and then again, thrilling to the satisfying sound of air growling from his throat. Ha! And suddenly find myself flying through the air as he kicks me over his head.
     I'm on my back, a bug to be squashed. Move! Move quickly - I roll and see him scrambling up, half crouched and grabbing for purchase on the slick metal floors; oh yes, how yummy - he's coming for me.
    He swoops past as I dart to the left and too quick he's back around.
We circle each other. I won't be first. I won't do it. Why does he wait? Strike! Strike damn you! He smiles, ugly, feral, and knowing. He can't know.
     "You're one of us...," hissing sounds from my mouth. No! No, no, never speak. Unbidden from my lips,   "You can't -" There's fire inside my belly. A cable that runs from innards to hands: evil wire links us. He holds the gun steady, tugs on it, me, my insides. "Oh...  Oh..." They're falling out - slimey, stinky, worm-guts.
    Help me! I call the others. Answer me!
     He's smiling, reeling me in slowly.
     I hold on, hold the wire so my guts don't pull out... oh... it hurts. I can't stand, buckling knees on hard floor. That's my blood... Oh... my blood, my poison! Evil bastard... Oh, it hurts... I'm dizzy.
     His foot presses my shoulder, pushes me back, down. I'm falling, I'm falling! Fly! Help me! His face is next to mine. I see him now. He's not one of us. But he must be, all smiles that eat filth like us. But different. Deaf. He can't hear me. You'll die, I think it. You're going to die, come closer so I can kill you. I can reach you.
     He bats my hand away. "Die," he says, and rips the cable from inside me. It hurts! Pain like fire, like ants biting, like razors!
"You're insane." I stare through black fog tunnels. Ha! Like us. I smile. "Killer." I spit at him and feel it dribble down my cheek.
     He's grinning evil. Shiny glitter teeth through the dark. He points a finger at my head. "Bang, bang..."
      His voice turns to whispers and I can't hear him. Can't see him. I'm broken and fluttering, screaming. The others come for me, to fly me away, their glossy black wings the color of midnight.

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