I walk on through the winding streets. I can see the White Tower ahead of me, a giant skyscraper, gleaming in the dark light. It's the largest modern building I've ever seen. If modern man had wanted a tower of Babel this would be it. Looks tall enough to scrap the roof of Hell. It's not clean, by any means. The lower floors are blackened from a fire. The winding streets are getting wider and there aren't as many people or cars. The air here seems to less sulfuric probably because I'm farther away from the flaming rivers. Souls look curiously at me as I pass but I ignore them. I feel renewed from my baptism in the heavenly sea. I'm probably glowing or something.
I know I need to get inside the White Tower before Ravelle does but I don't feel like I need to rush. If Ax was telling the truth I should have no problem getting inside. He had given me his finger and the key.
I wonder about Nick. He is probably on the mend and definitely in a safer place. It was a mistake thinking I could do this with help. I should have started out alone. I shake my head, tears springing into my eyes. Suddenly, I miss Mr. Gryphon like I've never missed him before. The pain makes me stop in my tracks on the sidewalk. I do wish he was here. We have been apart for far too long and I've been feeling his absence even in the real world. I square my shoulders and keep walking. I'm getting everything back, including him, even if the Boss unleashes Heaven's fury on me. Let him. He will find that I've still got some fight in me, and that I can be merciless.
I get closer to the White Tower. For such a huge building it looks empty. It's only two blocks away when I hear the alarms going off. A deafening, mechanical voice announces “There is a BREACH of the security code section 27(a)(5)(iv)! You will cease your activities immediately or risk being arrested. Once again, there is a 27(a)(5)(iv) security BREACH! You have been put on notice. You have been put on NOTICE!”
I turn just in time to see Ravelle in full battle angelic regalia, flying towards me with shield and sword drawn. She is beautiful and awful, the expression on her face enough to give anybody nightmares for the rest of their life. But not me. Not now. And not ever. I run as fast as I can the last two blocks. In a moment, Security will intercept her but I must get to the White Tower anyway. I'm a half a block away when I hear Ravelle scream, a high musical sound. The whooshing sound of her wings breaks past me but I don't look back. I reach the giant front glass doors, and only then do I turn to see the stunning scene of Ravelle in an airborne sword fight battle with five demons, also in full battle armor with swords and shields. I wonder when the last time that happened. Everything and everyone has stopped to watch the fight. As spectacular as it is, I don't hesitate. I remove Ax's severed pinkie and push the tip of it at the door sensor. The doors slide open without a sound and I run into the building.
The air is cold with the artificial blast of arctic air conditioning. I run to the elevator bank. No one seems to be around. I press the button as Ax told me, walk into the elevator, insert the tiny tarnished silver key, and press the top floor. As the elevator moves I heard the glass doors shatter. I hope I can make to the top of the building.
It takes forever to get to the top and as I'm passing the 275th floor, the elevator shudders then there's a jolt and the elevator stops. The power flickers and goes out. In a moment, the backup generators switch on bathing the elevator in dim light. I draw the sword and shove it into the doors, trying to pry them apart. There's a crashing sound below and I shove the sword to the side again. The doors part and I see the elevator is between floors. It's too high for me reach. I look around as the elevator rocks back and forth. It slips upwards a couple of feet but is still too high for me to reach.
“Damn you,” I mutter, then I shove the sword into the wall in front of me, and with some difficulty I start sawing away at the wall to the floor below. I tell myself I only have make a small opening. The sword has no trouble cutting through the wall but it's still awkward and time consuming. I make the opening big enough and as I start to crawl through, something lands on top of the elevator. I look up and then move as fast as I can, scrambling through the hole and falling six feet to the office floor. The elevator screeches and then falls as Ravelle cuts the steel cables holding it up.
I don't wait for the elevator to crash. Instead, I run to the stairs, running through the doors and take the stairs two at a time. I hear and feel the crash of the elevator slamming into the ground floor as the building trembles from impact. I know I can't run for very long and I'm running out of time. I think hard about what I can about that but can't think of anything else to do except keep going. I run and run passing the 284th floor. My legs are cramping but I keep going. When I pass the 298th floor I come to a stop, bending over and panting. Ravelle is standing in front of me. Her face, armor, and wings are stained with demon's black blood, the rotten smell is rising off her like black smoke. Her green eyes are sparkling with a sociopathic fire.
“It stops here, Miss Turtle. I've been sanctioned to use all means necessary. All means.” She holds out her sword towards me, still dripping with the stinking blood of the demons.
I say nothing, instead I reach into my backpack and draw out a 9mm, a smaller one. I don't bother aiming. She's only three feet away. I'm not trembling. I'm not even afraid like I was that one time when I stood at the firing range and held that loaded semi-automatic in my hand, forget which kind. It felt so heavy. Even with the headphones on, the sounds of the gunfire terrified me like nothing else. The acrid smell of the smoke seemed like smell of ruin to me. And I couldn't pull the trigger then. Instead I had to put the gun down and I cried much to the annoyance of the person who was with me. Not this time. This time I pull the trigger, concentrating on her face, once, twice and then again and again. The bullets pound through her beautiful face, ripping obscene holes in her perfect flesh. One of her eyes goes flying. I empty the magazine, reload, and keep firing. The sound echoes painfully in the white stairwell. Now she's on the ground, on all fours, crawling in my general direction. I back up until I can feel the wall and I keep firing at her head. Bits of bone, sweet scented amber liquid, flesh, and black hair are flying everywhere. I empty that magazine and reload a third. Her head is now a lump of torn apart flesh and bone, the white, wet of her skull gleams in the fluorescent lights. She grabs at me one more time and then collapses. I unsheathe Nick's sword and decapitate her again, then I kick her head down the stairs. I run into the next floor and press the button for the next elevator. I can't hear a damn thing.
Just a little more time. Just a little,” I mutter. The elevator door opens and once again I insert Ax's key and press the button for the top floor. I lean my head against the cold steel of the elevator walls because I'm suddenly shaking from having to shoot someone that many times especially someone who looks like a perfect version of me. I thought I was tougher than that, I need to steel myself because it's only going to get worse. I'm thinking this as I take several deep breaths and place my shaking hands on the elevator walls. Even if she is an angel and can't feel pain it's still difficult.
“What a fucking bitch, “ I mutter, hanging onto my anger for dear life. The elevator stops at the top floor and the doors open.