Chapter 73:

(Episode XIV) (Signs of the) Time (End)


Jackie’s nightmares were finally realized.

With Leslie in tow, they ran towards her house—her home she took for granted, and saw the door open and shouting coming out of it.

In that sweetspot of actual ability and siVis influence, she raced so fast towards her home, it took seconds.

“—It’s okay, please just get out of here, there’s nothing for you--!”

Jack was protecting a scrambling Dawn on the floor, trying to get away from the man before them.

A vagrant, dressed in destroyed heavy, dark clothes that might’ve been trashed even before the events of today. He was shaking, violently.

And then he began to glow.

His new senses told him that a someone was coming towards him, directly behind. Jackie got to see his gaunt, unshaven face. His eyes bugging out with the all too familiar ring dressing.


He grabbed his head, hunched over, screaming out and swung his arms.

Curved, bone-like projectiles shot out—spinning towards Jackie who effortlessly dodged out of the way.

But she glanced back, seeing Leslie in mid-dash, amidst of catching up—causing her own eyes to go wide.

She raced back, taking the hit for Leslie, just in the same moments of him noticing the bones coming for him, now seeing Jackie fall down to the ground.

“Jackson--!” his voice audibly trembling. “I told you—you could only tak---!”

He was being spread thin, his head jerked towards the screams from the house, seeing the bone man trying to walk in.

“LISTEN TO ME--!” Leslie yelled at the victim, which caused him to hunch over and look at Leslie, almost like a deer in headlights, but one badly infected by something ravaging their mind. “WE DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS—PLEASE, JUST CALM YOURSELF! DON’T MOVE—DON’T EVEN THINK!”

Jackie groaned, looking up to see Leslie raise his arms, to signal peace.


Jackie glanced back at the man, who just violently shook his head, and instantly shot back down. She had to act.

The bone man clutched at his head, twitched violently, and then screamed—jutting his upperbody upwards and soon, a spread of spinning bone boomerangs shot across the area.

Jackie forced herself up, crouching, before running full speed towards the bone man. Once again, she darted like a snake, avoiding the projectiles and staying low as she approached the broken man.

She tackled him without a second thought in her head, forcing him down on the ground as he screamed out in agony, writhing under her tight control.

He jerked, shouted—as if the man didn’t know any words.

Jackie was expecting some kind of piercing—some kind of retaliation, the other shoe to drop. If it meant taking the worse of what’s going to happen, away from these people, then she’ll stand there and take every blow. And she was determined to follow that promise, even as she falls apart.

But something equally worse happened.

Suddenly… The man just stopped. Stopped screaming. Stopped moving. Stopped breathing.

Jackie quickly got off of him, looking down scared. She didn’t notice Leslie come over, looking over the body.

“You didn’t do this,” Leslie assured. “Suddenly gaining siVis can cause someone to… You see, it’s such a high, that any as sudden lows can kill them. There was a chance of this happening if he calmed down on his own.”

Jackie heard him, but continued to look.

As his body began to turn a crystal-blue, cracking all over, before falling to pieces at places of his body.

Then, she looked towards the open door. Seeing a sadder sight.

Her father, rising up after shielding her mother, caused in deep gashes that started to cover him in blood. Dawn, as Jackie could see, was still grazed at places as the bones were wedged throughout the living room.

All of this. She done all of this, just to avoid something like this.

Putting the final ironic book-end to her pathetic, meaningless life.

In her depressed daze, she looked up to the darkening skies. She saw the visual static, making it’s way across slowly but surely. Reach, ever-present.

With that, she had her reason. Her reason from meaninglessness.

“Leslie,” Jackie said, her mouth dry—tone at a croak. “Promise me that you’ll take care of them.”

The young man just looked at her. With an intensity and purpose. “I have very right to shout right now and tell them what I think you’re going to do, to keep you safe.”

“Of course, you wouldn’t be a good nurse anymore if you didn’t.” She begun to walk off down the street, towards the city, towards certain chaos.

She wondered, briefly, about the others. She hoped with the last vestiges that remained that they’re safe and sound, getting their catharsis in the end. Despite their faults and despite themselves—they deserved a better world. Jackie knew now that she’s one of the thankless that has to hold it together when everyone else can’t at the moment.

In her thoughts of determined resignation, she didn’t notice her father behind her, and felt his grip tight on her wrist. Pulling her back with all of his might, and Jackie did not bulge.

“You---ARE NOT—walking into Hell all by yourself!”

And in a second later, he proceeded to gasp and immediately let go.

Puzzled, Jackie turned towards him and glanced down to her wrist.

Which too, started to crack.

With a heavy sigh, she looked towards her father, witnessing him with tears running down his face, and utterly scared.

“I’m walking into Hell? Dad, we’re already here. And it’s about time that someone’s willing to throw themselves into the flames so they can be stopped. I love you.”

And with that, she turned on her heels.

Marching toward, into a twisted Hell. A twisted Hell, that the meek are it’s only help.

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