Glitches Free Online Serial Novel


Chapter 35

“I’m the one he’s made a mockery of.”  At this he dropped the votes to the floor, stood up straight, and then waved with his index finger for Beatrice to clear out.  The other Elders walked together to the other side of the hotel room suite.

I kissed my hand and blew on it in Beatrice’s direction and then laughed a bit.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect but I wasn’t afraid for some reason.  I was about to tangle with one of the Elders.  I figured from what they’d said about the voting history that this had never happened before.  And boy did I love firsts.

Pyre stood on the other side of the couch staring at me with a look that could kill.  He was obviously extraordinarily mad right now.  I was going to have to use that to my advantage if it didn’t kill me first.  And then he ignited.  The brightness of it was startling.  I expected his clothes to burn off of him momentarily but they didn’t.

From the right, Vale declared, “Duel!” and then a tornado of fire and wind cycloned its way directly into my gut sending me cartwheeling into the wall across the room.  I heard Bea gasp at that.  I was just as surprised as she was.  ‘Wow.’ I thought as I tried to pick myself up off the ground as quickly as I could.  The fire cyclone was circling back for another pass.  I needed to do something and I needed to do it quickly.

I glitched.  And the fire kept coming.  I threw my mind harder against time and brought a steel wall of time down that held Pyre for about a half second and then he continued forward again unabated.  Ok, I needed a different plan I thought as the cyclone of heat and wind slammed into me again.  This time I jugged every thought I had and grabbed ahold of Pyre as we collided.  I saw the look on his face as the impact slammed into me and he was surprised.  Must have been the last thing he expected.  And then the two of went through the wall behind us and out into the hallway.

I was singed now, and could feel blisters forming on my arms inspite of my Juggernaut strength reserves that were protecting me.  I ghosted and ran back into the apartment as quickly as I could to find some other way to meet his challenge that was due to come immediately.  Pyre walked back into the apartment with a swagger and a bravado that was unmatched and unrivaled.  He knew that he had me where he wanted me.  And without warning he began blasting fireballs my direction.  I could tell he wasn’t really concentrating, just showing off really.  But even so I found them next to impossible to dodge, even in my invisible form.  He was just indiscriminately spraying.  And yet I found myself cowering behind the couch for a moment before I collected my resolve and picked myself up again.

This was starting to get on my nerves now.  And so I began rapidly hitting him with numerous attacks simultaneously.  I crashed his emotions with fear, not awaiting to see the results.  And then I attempted another glitch that he sidestepped once again.  Seconds later I picked up a table and hurled it with all of my might.  The table blew past the sound barrier and exploded against Pyre as he continued walking my direction.  I crashed his emotions again and then felt out his aura to seek out some sort of weakness there.  I saw nothing but steel walls and strength upon strength.

I had always been afraid of dying by fire.  Even as a small child I was deathly afraid of open flames at the most bizarre of situations.  And then I learned of monks who immolated themselves just to make a point. And it made me even more afraid.  This was probably the worst case scenario for me.  Of all the elements, fire was possibly the worst one for me to be tangling with.  Here in front of Beatrice?  I was going to die as a charred ember and it was going to hurt in ways I couldn’t even imagine.

And I’d like to think that my next few moves were brilliantly orchestrated, but they weren’t. It was just out of fear that I struck in a level of ferocity that I had never experienced before.  I began layering my glitches now.  Not single glitches but slices of slices one right after the other.  If I couldn’t hold a single glitch but for a half second or more, then what if I began thin-slicing my own glitches?  The thought was just a move of desperation – but it had surprising results.

The room began to take on a very definite strobe light stuttering effect.  Pyre’s movements halted and the jittered.  You could see the look on his face as he went from confidence to confusion.  I upped the tempo, strategically dropping the glitches faster and faster now as I began pouring on new glitches on top of one another faster and faster.

And then I began layering in Empath thrusts inside of each layer disparate thoughts that were as diametrically opposed to one another as I could.  Here an image of a beautiful field.  In the next glitch an image of that monk burning alive while sitting in the quad.  In the following glitch I perforated it with an image of a vision of the ocean crashing.  And in the next it was an image of the holocaust victims.  Sunshine, the killing fields, a beautiful picnic, a guillotine… the images came faster and faster as Pyre’s momentum came to a crashing stop. I could see that I was beginning to hurt him now.  Not physically.  But deeply and mentally.  Which was the best place to hit an Elder I was realizing.  Bypass the physical attacks and hit his mind as quickly as you could.  There was going to be no other way to survive this challenge.

And then Pyre threw his hands out wide and yelled as loud as he could.  A wave of compressed and heated air hit me like a hammer on an anvil.  I didn’t see that coming.  The other Elders and Beatrice recoiled as well as the blast blew through the tight space with such concussive force it blew the entire bay of windows out in a million shards.

“This was definitely getting interesting”, I thought to myself as I tucked and rolled with the wave and sprung back to my feet again like a boxer ready for the next assault.

And then Pyre spoke for the first time since we started.  “I’ve never seen anything like it.”  He shook his head as he walked my direction with a determination and resolve that was unmistakable.  He was a tiger circling in for his kill now.  What would it cost him to throw one or two compliments my way before he destroyed me?  “I’ve always found shifting to be one of the most expendable skills.  And yet you show me the potential for its power.  True genius.  I have whole sections of my brain that are still recoiling from that attack.  The dichotomy of life.  The sweet moments and the sheer terror of pain and chaos living so closely together in a symbiotic relationship that screams out at its confusion.”  He shook his head as he remembered the images.  “You are a beautiful specimen Benjamin.  And I’m realizing your are only now beginning to understand the beginnings of your potential.  No wonder the councils in Durango were scared stiff thinking about you.”

He continued coming.  I was locked in on his eyes.  And I couldn’t think of what to do next.  And that was when I realized he was goading me with pride.  He was bolstering my spirits.  Why?  He was complimenting me as he walked, and he was Emping my spirit with courage.  It made no sense.  Why would you do that in a duel?  Unless it was just to make me overly confident.  That’s it, he was getting me to do something stupid.  To attack.  And so I retreated as quickly as I could.

A laugh came loud and clear across the the room at that.  “You are very clever Benjamin.” And then he slid past a chair and continued moving forward.  I needed an idea, but I was gripped by fear all of a sudden.  He thought my thin-slicing clever for sure.  But he also deftly turned it aside as well. So he was complimenting my helplessness it would seem. What I needed right now was something audacious and unexpected.

With that I realized what I wanted to do. I figured this would either be an advantage me move, or me signing my own death warrant. Either way, it would get a response. And so I began snapping down glitches as fast as I could as I ghosted and ran across the room. I dove over the mini-bar and crashed into a roll and then was running again until I reach Myst. I had seen Pyre and Myst connecting more than the other two, and thought that maybe there might be something there? Regardless, I pulled up behind her and flipped a knife out from a nearby knife block. I caught eyes with Bea and even within my rapid glitching I saw that her eyes were pleading with me not to do this.

My glitches vanished seconds later. And then all manner of chaos broke loose. Pyre realized what I had done and began his tornado of fire routine up again. But then to my side I saw that Vale was coming unglued as well. He began shaking like his own miniature earthquake as he grew in size to that of an enormous Giant.

“Oh crap. This isn’t good.” I said to no one in particular.

“Yeah, this wasn’t one of your brighter moves wunderkind. Good luck.” Responded Myst with a laugh. As she chuckled she accidentally rubbed against the knife and drew blood. And this is where things went from really bad to astoundingly awful in seconds. Wisp cycloned over to Pyre and added more oxygen to his fire. And Vale quit being distracted and began literally tearing the roof down from over our heads. Soon we found ourselves staring out at the evening sky.
Vale grabbed me by the arm and pulled me away from Myst and chucked into a pillar at the other side of the suite. When I slammed to a stop I knew instantly that my back was broken. I saw it immediately. I jugged to keep from losing consciousness and even so my eyes dimmed and the light faded from the room.

‘No more’ I thought. “No more.” I said out loud. And then meteor of fire was the last thing I saw before my skin lit and the pain woke me to the reality of my situation and just how far this thing was going to go. I threw everything I could into my juggernaut, and found no more reserve awaiting me. I was dry. Completely tapped out.

The pain was destroying me and I needed to figure a way out of this mess quickly or else I wasn’t go to spend another moment with Bea. Searching the room I finally found her twisting away from car crash unfolding in front of her. And then Pyre’s face was in mine.

“You are doing well Ben. Doesn’t the darkness of death seem like a relief? I’d be happy to accommodate you in this one last request.” And then Pyre spun around and laughed to the other Elders.

“Bea? Please…?” I begged to the human torch standing over me.

“You want to see Beatrice before you join in the great beyond?” he asked, still facing away from me. He shrugged the question over to Vale. They didn’t see any problem in that. “Sure, and then you both will die together.”

Beatrice ran the length of the floor in a heartbeat. She picked my head up off the floor and cradled it in her lap. I couldn’t move at all. I was completely immobile from the pain and the destruction wrought on my poor body. Beatrice flashed a message into my mind, “Ben… one last miracle?” And then she said out loud, “You’ve always figured out a way. Please…” My eyes rolled back into my head searching for anything left. To let Bean down now was impossible. I had to find it in me, anything.

Myst, Pyre, Vale and Wisp walked up to us and surrounded us in a semi-circle. Wisp spoke first, “Is it me, or does this remind you of Michelangelo’s Pieta? Mary and the dying Christ? Quite touching really.”

Myst chuckled a bit at that, “Wisp. I have no idea what you are talking about.”

Wisp fired back, “The Pieta? Its only one of the most well known sculpture’s of all time. St. Peter’s Basilica much?”

Pyre laughed out loud at that now. “Girls? Seriously? Its just a sculpture. I don’t think its worth arguing about.”

Wisp almost cut Pyre in two with her gaze. “Only a sculpture? Seriously? Michelangelo? Just a sculpture? Are you insane? It’s the Madonna and child – only the child is dying. Its brilliant. The folds of Mary’s dress are some of the most beautiful carving done by human hands. The near naked Christ draped out across her lap recently pulled down from the cross.” She was in a huff now. “Why exactly do I have to be stuck with you artistic ingrates? Seriously.”

Vale pulled her close to try and comfort her. “I trust you Wisp. I’m sure its absolutely gorgeous. How about we finish this thing up and then we take a trip to see it. I’m up for it. I could use a diversion after all of this chaos.” Wisp smiled a bit at this. He was doing his best to calm her. And she appreciated it.

Pyre looked down at the two people on the ground in front of them. Beatrice was crying profusely, tears drenching Ben’s face. Ben was unresponsive now. His eyes were rolled up into his head. Pyre walked over to the couch and pulled out a long sword from his things lying there. The sword made a distinctive sound as it slid out from its case. Bea didn’t even respond to the coming threat. She continued watching Ben’s face, looking for some sign of life at all. Some movement that would mean her salvation.

“As it is written, let it be done.” Pyre said as he walked over to the couple. He received a nod from each of the three other Elders. And then he brought the sword up into a menacing lift over his head. Pyre swung the sword in an arc that would catch Bea in the neck, and flow through and connect to Ben next. Death would come instantaneously. As the blade continued its arc through the air Bea said one simple word, “No,” and then the blade swept through the couple. The blade stuck into the floor. And instead of copious quantities of blood spewing onto the hardwood, the visage of the couple began slip and curl into myst and fade into nothing. They were gone.


Derek drove the stolen Model T to the absolute brink. He was cursing the Elders for their choice of the 20’s once again. He needed to close the gap as fast as he could, he was quickly running out of time. He’d lead the whole of the Elder’s guards on a wild goose chase in order to get them as far away from the hotel as physically possible. But now he had doubled back and needed to get back to his friends as quickly as he could. Their time was quickly running out and he new that it was going to be tight no matter what he did.

As he drove into the back alley of the hotel he prayed a final prayer that he wasn’t too late. He ran up the back stairs two at a time. He double checked which floor he was on and then ran through the doorway and door the length of the hallway. He came to a suite at the end with the door closed. He knocked and seconds later Cat opened the door quietly.

“Anything?” Derek asked.

Cat whispered her response, “No. Nothing. Yet, anyway.” Her face looked doubtful.

“Where’s Sumner?”

Cat looked over to the kitchen where he was lying on the floor. Sumner was lying on his back on the floor, “I can’t deal with this stress. They are absolutely shredding him up there. There is no way he will come out of this alive. It isn’t happening.”

Cat took in her breath suddenly. “Oh no.” And then the building shook with the reverberations of some enormous concussion.

“What was it?” Sumner asked insistently. “What?!”

Cat shook her head. “That was Ben.”

Derek responded in shock. “THAT? Was Ben? The whole building shook Cat.” Cat began to cry in response.

Then Yolanda walked in out from a back room. “He’ll pull it off. He has to.” Derek gave Yolanda a nervous glance of acknowledgement. And then Yolanda asked Derek the obvious question, “Were you able to send them off in the wrong direction?” Derek nodded his response as he started chewing on a nail and looking up at the ceiling. “Alright, this is it. If this is going to work, it’ll happen soon. Get up Sumner. We are going to have to move quickly, and I’m not thinking Ben’s going to be able to help you much. You got this?”

Sumner nodded back at Yolanda and then asked Cat, “What is happening?”

“Ben just asked to see Beatrice. Here we go.” Sumner felt out their forms with his mind and then maneuvered to the spot. And then out of the blue Beatrice and Ben fell through the floor. Derek was there to help Ben catch the couple now.

Beatrice wiggled free first and got to her feet. “We have to go now. We need a healer immediately. He’s going to die if we don’t hurry.”

Sumner held Ben now. “Buddy? Talk to me. You there?”

Bea was upset now. “Sumner, he’s still up there. He doesn’t have the extra to talk to you. Trust me. He’s dying. We have to run… immediately.”

They were all scrambling for the hallway as quickly as they could then. Cat did a once over on the suite to make sure they hadn’t left any tell-tale sign of their being there. And then they were sprinting down the stairs as quickly as they could.

Yolanda said to no one in particular, “Hopefully Ben is able to convince them for a little while longer, we need as much time as we can to get as far away as possible.” They were climbing into the Ford now. Ben was laid out across laps as gently as possible. Derek climbed into the driver’s seat and started the car up. He revved the engine and then gunned it as quickly as he could for the street. And like that they were gone.

A minute later, Ben yelled out, “AHH!” and then his eyes opened. Beatrice was concerned at first he was dying. But then she saw a slight grin on his face. And then he coughed up a bit of blood.

“Quiet. Just stay still. We’ll get you to a healer soon enough. You were amazing back there. Exactly to plan. I had no idea you would pull it off though. I was more than a little concerned you died when you hit that pillar.” Tears were streaming down Beatrice’s face freely now.

Ben mustered up the strength to say, “You should have seen their faces.” He coughed again as he laughed at the image in his head. Derek kept driving as he continued to pour on the distance from the Elders.

Beatrice dropped her face to meet Ben’s and looked deeply into his eyes. She shook her head and gave him kiss that was for all time. Ben had no idea if he was going to survive the day, but all he knew was that he just bought himself enough time for at least one more kiss from the love of his life.

Derek grinned as he looked back at the kissing couple. As Beatrice sat back up he asked,

“Where to now?”

Yolanda smiled and answered on behalf of them all, “Get us out of this awful city.”