Mason approached the burnt out club from where the stage door used to be. He knew there was no sense going through the front door, Gilbert would see him immediately. No, he had his advantage, the element of surprise, and he had to use it wisely. Mason bit his lip as he thought of Belle, locked in and useless back at the apartment, but he shook himself. Focus, he told himself. I've got to get to Lucien and Gary, just like Belle said.
The stage door led to the same corridors as Twilight had run down during the Battle of the Bands so many months ago. These were the corridors that Mason took now, making his way softly and carefully to the stage.
Finding himself in the left wings of the stage, Mason cautiously looked around, out into the club. There were no curtains to hide behind; they had been completely destroyed by the fire. In the middle of the club, Mason saw a furious Gary, enclosed in a shimmering blue cage, almost as if it were made of fire. Hovering in the air, Lucien was trapped in an orange tinted bubble, his eyes watery. In front of them, Gilbert was striding up and down, boasting loudly and taunting them. Mason felt a pang of both sadness, but also hot anger inside him. This Gilbert thing ended tonight. Never again would he hurt Mason's friends.
Suddenly, Lucien appeared to catch a glimpse of Mason out of the corner of his eye. Mason quickly put a finger to his lips, showing that Lucien should pretend he wasn't there. With a tiny gesture, Lucien shook his head slowly, and mouthed the word 'no', while a single tear splashed down onto his cheek. However, this just made Mason more determined. As silently as he could, Mason slid out into the open, onto the stage and began to creep forward. Miraculously, Gilbert hadn't noticed. Mason shuffled to the edge of the stage, so he was positioned exactly behind Gilbert's back. Mason took a deep breath, then, with a shout, he lunged towards Gilbert.
It only took a few minutes for Belle to realise that she needed to stop this. Crying was not going to help anything. She needed to get out of this room and follow Mason, before he did anything stupid. Firmly, she rubbed her eyes so that the tears had gone and stood up. She looked around, hoping to see something that could help her. She grabbed a chair and tested its weight. It was quite heavy, and could damage the door enough to get it open.
Heaving the chair back over her shoulder, Belle thrust it forward into the wood of the door with all her strength. The force of the collision jarred all the way up to her shoulder, and the legs of the chair splintered and broke off. But still Belle tried to batter her way out and still the door didn't budge. After a while, once almost the entire chair had been destroyed, Belle inspected the damage done to the door. It was like it hadn't been touched. With a yell of frustration, Belle threw the remains of the chair onto the floor and tried to blink back the tears that threatened to rise up in her eyes.
Just then, a small sphere of white light floated through the ceiling and drifted around the room. Belle looked at it and sighed.
'This isn't the best time, Eric,' she told him miserably. Then suddenly she had a flash of inspiration. 'Eric!' she cried excitedly. 'When we first moved in, you made things move. So does that mean you can unlock doors?' The orb of light did not respond, instead it stayed still in mid air, looking at her blankly. 'The thing is,' Belle continued, 'I really need to get out of this room. It's an emergency!' Still, the orb did nothing. Belle turned to pleading. 'Please, I really need to get out of here!' she begged. 'They're all in danger, Mason, Gary and Lucien-'
Suddenly, Eric shot through the door with ease. Belle held her breath, then she heard the sound of the door unlocking. It swung open.
'Eric, thank you, thank you so much!' Belle shouted as she ran through the apartment to the front door. 'I wont forget this!' And she slammed the door behind her as she sprinted down the stairs and onto the street.
Mason landed with a crash, knocking both him and Gilbert to the floor. Gary gave a yell of surprise; he had not seen Mason on the stage. Mason and Gilbert rolled over on the floor, clutching onto each other, until Mason landed on top, straddling Gilbert and holding him down with one hand placed firmly on his chest.
'Vampire,' hissed Gilbert malevolently, glaring with narrowed eyes up into Mason's own, furious ones.
'Wizard,' Mason replied conversationally, and he let his fist fly into Gilbert's nose. There was a horrible, crunching sound and Gilbert screamed as blood spurted and ran down his face. Mason drew his fist back again, but Gilbert raised his hands and shot green bursts of energy from his fingertips. Mason was thrown backwards through the air, his arms flailing until he collided with the edge of the stage. He slid to the floor, groaning. From half closed eyes, he saw Gilbert straighten up, clutching at his broken nose and start to walk towards him. Gilbert started to laugh. But Mason wasn't defeated yet.
With a shout, Mason kicked his legs from under him and flipped himself up into an upward position. He flew at Gilbert, grabbing him firmly by the neck and pushing him up against a wall. Gilbert began to choke and wheeze. Mason gently prised some of his pale fingers away to bare the neck beneath them. He drew closer…
Suddenly he realised that Gilbert was making a strange noise. With a shock, he realised he was chuckling.
'You won't do it,' Gilbert whispered to him, grinning. 'You can't.'
'And why not?' Mason challenged him through clenched teeth.
'Because,' Gilbert explained calmly,' she wouldn't like it, would she?' Mason drew back for a second, staring at Gilbert. Gilbert took his opportunity, and threw Mason back for a few yards. Mason hesitated for a second and then tried to make his way forward, but found that he couldn't. His legs were rooted to the spot, as though his feet had been nailed down to the floor. He hissed angrily at Gilbert, who was standing, massaging his throat with one hand and wiping away the worst of the blood with his other.
'Well, you definitely put up the best fight, Mason,' Gilbert informed him coolly as he paced back and forth. 'Only one more to go now.'
Belle's footsteps resounded against the alley walls as she ran through the streets. The wind whipped through her hair, tearing at her clothes and her breath was coming quick and short through pursed lips. She could feel a stitch start to throb in the side of her stomach, but still she ran. She needed to get there, she needed to save Twilight.
She skidded round a corner and recognised the street she was in. It was only a few streets away from the club. She was so close! She continued to sprint through the roads desperately. She was almost there…
'Belle's not coming, Gilbert,' Mason spat at him. 'We were in the same room when you sent us those phone calls. She's not going to come. I made sure of that.'
Gilbert looked pained. 'She's not going to be here? But she was going to be the most fun one to kill!' He shrugged. 'Oh well. I can get her later, after I've dealt with you three.' Furiously, Mason tried to fight his way forward, but almost fell over because of the invisible constraints cementing him to the floor. Gilbert sighed. 'Oh, give it a rest Mason. Just accept it, you're going to die along with your friends here. And all you've really done is make sure that your guitarist dies a little later than you do.'
'You know what Gilbert?' Mason said loudly. 'I kind of need to thank you. Without you, I never would have realised something, and Belle might have been here with the rest of us. So, you can kill me, but it doesn't change the fact that you helped me. And I don't know if you can live with that,' he sneered. Gilbert's face turned red.
'Helped you did I?' he said angrily. 'Well, hopefully I can cancel out that good deed by making you suffer for the rest of eternity!' When Mason looked stunned, Gilbert laughed menacingly. 'Oh, did nobody mention that part to you? Basically, after you're dead, I'm sending your spirits to hell, just to make sure that your death isn't the end of the pain I owe you.'
'Gilbert, hang on, listen to me…' Lucien started, but Gilbert stopped him.
'The time for talking has gone!' Gilbert shouted at him. 'You had plenty of time to do that, didn't you, but you never thought to! You never thought, oh, I wonder how poor Gilbert's doing. No! You were too mixed up in your own, glamorous lives! And now it's too late.' He took a deep breath to steady himself, and then continued in a calmer tone. 'You know, if we're the only ones turning up, we may as well start,' he told them. 'Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin.'
Belle rounded another corner and gasped in joy. She could actually see the club! She was minutes away! She carried on running, praying with all her heart that it wasn't too late.
Gilbert raised his arms high and half closed his eyes. His face scrunched up with concentration, and he began to mutter under his breath, strange, incomprehensible sounds that seemed to be either no language, or a mix of every one. A colour began to glow from his fingertips, but what colour none of them was sure. Gradually, the glow became a cloud that floated gently from Gilbert's hands and sat hazily in the air.
Gilbert screwed his face up tighter as the blood drained away from him. His arms began to shake violently, and he staggered backwards, hitting the wall. Yet still he manipulated the cloud, and flashes of light started to appear from the centre. Horrified, Lucien, Gary and Mason watched as the bolts of light pushed the cloud, and indeed the actual air, apart. Purple beams pulsed through the rip, coloured with red tinges. The sound of distant thunder rumbled on, like angry roars of wild animals. The gates of hell had been opened.
Finally, Gilbert's arms dropped to his side and he began to slide down the wall, with shallow breaths and closed eyes. All the colour had gone from his face to the extent that it had turned grey. Gilbert lay still on the ground. The only indicator that he was still alive was through the gentle rise and fall of his chest as he breathed. The rip continued to blaze in the air next to him.
'I guess you're not as strong as you thought Gilbert,' Mason said quietly to him. 'You didn't have what it took to destroy us.'
Suddenly, Gilbert's eyes shot open. Not that they resembled Gilbert any more. All that had been human had been sucked away with his energy. These were animal eyes that glared, agonised and murderous at Mason now. Mason tried to take a step back, but his feet still refused to move. He stared petrified at Gilbert. Slowly, a stake climbed up in the air until it was chest level with Mason, where it hovered, ready for attack. Mason froze as he stared death in the face.
The door smashed open and the light of the moon poured into the club. Desperately, Belle began to run towards Mason, her feet beating themselves against the floor. With a last flick of his wrist, the stake soared through the air, on course to penetrate Mason's heart.
Mason felt a jolt go through him as he fell sideways, caused by Belle crashing into him. He landed on the ground with a thud, the floor grazing his hands as it scratched across them. Mason found he could move his feet, and he scrabble upward to look at Gilbert. Gilbert's hand sunk to the floor, and his head dropped forwards. Dead.
As life was extinguished in Gilbert, so was his work, Lucien dropped out of the sky as his orange sphere evaporated and Gary's cage disintegrated, freeing him. Most importantly, the rip in the air started to implode, the burst of light retracted and the cloud of gas was sucked in as the rip closed. The club was now empty, and still.
'We did it!' Gary shouted ecstatically. 'Gilbert's dead, and the hole's closed and we're free, and we can get out of here now and-'
'Belle,' Lucien said softly, looking in the opposite direction to the rest of them with wide eyes. Mason turned round, and then felt something very cold twist itself in the bottom of his gut. Belle looked at him, confused and swayed slightly where she stood. As if they were one, both Belle's and Mason's eyes travelled downwards to Belle's stomach, covered by her hands. From between her clutching, interlocking fingers, the wooden blade of the stake stuck protruding from her flesh.
Grasping the stake with one hand, Belle yanked it out, gasping in pain as she did so. She held on to the weapon for a moment, letting the blood trickle to the floor, then let it fall, where it landed with a clatter. Belle lifted her head again, to look into Mason's shocked dark eyes. Slowly, she took her hands away from her middle and gradually tried to reach for Mason, with bloody, dripping arms. Without a second's hesitation, Mason rushed to her, and caught as she sank to the floor. He cradled her in his arms, ignoring the large amount blood that was seeping out of her and spilling onto him.
'Belle,' he whispered, his voice breaking as tears escaped his eyes. 'Belle, please don't go. Please don't leave me.'
Belle's mouth opened. 'I had to come,' she breathed with difficulty. 'I had to come to tell you that…I love you too.' And she gave a faint smile. A diamond tear fell from Mason's eye as he leant forward and shaking, pressed his lips to her forehead. Belle's smile widened as her eyelids fluttered closed, and she grew limp in Mason's arms.