Chapter Four

Depression

"Blue are the words I say and what I think. Blue are the feelings that live inside me." - Eiffel 65, Blue ("Da Ba De")

No matter how hard I fought, the Workmen were always a step ahead of me, seeming to know my intentions before I did. I tried to make a break for it, but the Workmen were there with their guns and tazers. I stood no chance of escaping the holding cell they had placed Steve and I into. It was in this cell we would be transported to visit the witch, Isis, and it was there we would find our fates. Would she kill us and absorb our souls like so many others? Or would she attempt to convert us into Workers? I shuddered and repressed the thought. I'd rather die.

Of course, that's exactly what I was doing inside. Without Sarah, I was dying. The depression started off innocent enough, moping around the holding cell, silent and brooding. But then it got worse. I started to lose weight and my chest would send pains so sharp through me that I would literally double over and have tears streaming down my face. Steve tried to help, but to no avail. The depression had finally progressed to where I had a full-on heart attack, and the Workmen, probably under orders to keep me alive, revived me and then threw me back in the cell.

Now, as the holding cell was loaded onto the train that would carry us to the witches palace, I thought once more of Sarah and all the times we had shared. Again, my heart ached for her. Again, the pain shot from my chest in waves as I held back the tears.

I will see her again, I told myself. As the train rolled on and on throughout the decimated countryside, the only color a dull grey, my mind wandered aimlessly, avoiding the painful subjects and instead dwelling on escaping a fate worse than death, that of a Workman. I argued with Steve, things even got to a physical level and we both had to be tazed. Eventually we came up with a plan to escape. One problem: Getting out meant we had to get in first. So we were compliant and submissive on the way to the Valley of Souls, where Isis made her perch. We even let the Workmen usher us into the gates and down the halls into the holding cells, unmasked. So I memorized every weakness in the walls I could, intending to use them later to my advantage. Nothing like overconfident jailers to make your day a little easier.

After what seemed like hours, a Workman with grey hair and rugged features marched down into the hall and opened our cell, gun drawn.

"Get up, you lazy bastards."

We obediently complied, yet he still gutted me with the gun's barrel.

"Move it, filthy fucks."

I bit back a retort and kept Steve in line with a slight shake of my head. He held himself together. We were marched through the dank, moldy tunnels under the palace for eons and finally the way opened up. This place was crawling with Workmen. Our escape plan was still effective, though, and when I saw Steve glance in my direction, a worried look in his eyes, I simply nodded.

True to Workman form, the grey-haired creep bowed when he entered, exposing his neck. I drove my cuffed hands into the base of his skull and knocked him unconscious. No time to kill the ones who didn't die first off.

"NOW!" I roared my orders to Steve, who miraculously managed to side-step his bad luck and beat the living hell out of the nearest ten guards. Isis opened her mouth to cast a spell, and I threw a Workman at her. She toppled to the side and, after righting herself, she snapped her fingers three times. The things that came forward were definitely NOT human.

The squid-like lower half of these things were floating as though they were in water, and the brutish, muscular torso's were designed for one thing only: Mutilation. As the first of these aliens came at me, I pivoted and jumped on it's back. Boy was I shocked when, with a snap of it's neck, it's face flipped backwards to stare right at me with those piggish yellow eyes. It's second set of arms wove around my spine and squeezed tight. I punched again and again at the beasts face, and when that didn't work, I reached around it's neck and ripped the soft flesh I had spotted as the things face-flap flipped over. It screamed a piercing cry and toppled to the floor as green blood gushed out the rip I had made.

"Steve! Go for the front of the neck! Jump on it's back and wrap your arms around, then rip it's neck open!" I shouted the last instructions to Steve as another one of the aliens rushed me. This time, though, I pivoted and brought my fist crashing up underneath the face-sack, plowing my hand through the soft spot and killing the creature. I turned as Steve finished off his second beast.

"Let's get the fuck outta here!" I ran towards the door, and plowed past the Workmen gathered there with Steve's help. Any I didn't kill, Steve did. As we came to the first weak spot in the hallway walls, I jammed my shoulder through it and jumped through with Steve in pursuit. The tunnel we entered was vast, and as we listened, water could be heard rushing just ahead of us. I'd seen the waterfalls from the train, and I knew exactly how to get to them, mainly because the acoustics were so good down in the holding cells, if you catch my drift.

As I glanced behind myself, I saw Steve rushing up and several of the floating aliens following close behind. I turned and pumped my powerful legs like there was no tomorrow, because if I didn't there would more than likely NOT be a tomorrow, for me at least.

At the edge of the cliff, I said a small prayer to whoever the hell would be listening, and jumped. Steve jumped before myself, and I collided with him on impact. He grunted and was rendered unconscious. Unfortunately for him, those alien things could fly and swim! I dragged him to the edge of the next cliff, then used the current to drag him over with me. The second splash woke him up, sputtering and coughing.

"What the fuck happened?"

"Let's just say my weight falling onto your head from a point the size of my elbow doesn't exactly do you a world of good. Now SWIM!" With that, I let him go and surged forward in the rushing waters, Steve soon catching up. And then passing me. He'd never passed me before, but when I looked back, I too sped up.

"What the fuck are those things?!" Steve shouted between lungfuls of air.

"I don't know! Just shut up and swim because your life does depend on it!"

I never saw third drop into the tunnels. So needless to say, I had to get my breath on the way down. I didn't resurface, mainly because the current dragged me into a tube, and Steve into another. The tube was lit, and I realized it was the sewer line. I forced my bile down and propelled myself forward once more. I could feel the stirring of the water created by the squid-thing's stop and go motion. and I could tell it was getting closer. I didn't see the little red imp that darted past, nor did I know what happened after that, for I was propelled forward by a flash of light that caused the current to surge. I shot out of the tube and was airborne instantly.

Instead of crashing into the ground, like I supposed would happen, I merely floated to the ground, landing with a slight thud. A larger thump made me look left, to where Steve lay, unconscious. I had no idea what happened. I closed my eyes and tried to calm myself, unsuccessfully. What did the trick was a pair of soft lips on mine, followed by a voice that belonged to an angel.

"You gave me a right good heart attack there, love."

I opened my eyes to see Rachel grinning down at me. For a moment, I was to dazed to do anything, but then I pulled her down to me and kissed her hard on her lips. She started laughing and I sat up, holding her close.

"You act like you missed me," she said.

"Nah, just a bit." The look on her face told me my joke was accepted well. "Okay, so I wallowed in despair and even cried a bit." At that, her eyes lit up and she threw herself at my, shutting me up with a fierce kiss. A nasal and annoying voice separated us.

"Um, not to rain on your parade, but we are still in deep water. Might I suggest a transportation spell?" The little red winged thing was looking into the forest, where dogs could be heard baying and men were shouting. Rachel sat up and produced an ancient book, flipped through it's old and decaying pages, then pulled herself and I over to Steve. She read from the page and I saw the Workman that had transported us from the cell to Isis' hall step from the woods, weapon raised. His gun fired a moment too late, and his bullet hit dirt.

I was sucked into a suffocating vortex and then landed heavily on my ass with Rachel falling into my lap. Poor Crazy Steve landed full on his side, and still didn't wake up. The red thing landed on all fours and scampered over to me. I kind of cringe backwards. Seeing my reaction, the Imp stuck out his hand.

"The name's T'yer-Ivand Brelingan, Impish guide and servant to Mistress Rachel. And you are?" The little ugly creature named T'yer held his hand out farther, and I shook it's hand, thoroughly confused...

"Um, Thomas Yakovich. Um, I'm Rachel's partner." The imp's face lit up at my words.

"So that's why you two were sucking face so much. I get it. I was just..." Rachel cut the little man off with a wave of her hand.

"That is more than enough from you my young familiar." She turned and smiled at me. "He's just very curious, as are most familiars when it comes to their Master's lives."

I just stared in blank confusion. "Um, what?"

"I guess I should have told you from the start. I'm a sorceress in training. At least, I was. Now I'm on my own. Ty here is my familiar, as such, he is bound to serve me. I'm sorry I couldn't tell you sooner." I could tell by the look in her eyes she was sincerely apologetic. I nodded and stood up, then sat back down next to her.

"It doesn't matter to me who or what you are, just so long as you never leave me again."

Sarah smiled up at me, eyes glistening mischievously. "Oh, don't worry about that. We've got a good three, four months to make up for lost time, if you know what I mean." I leaned in and kissed her again. My life was complete again.

And then Steve woke up...

A/N: I know, I know, I know. It sucked face as much as they do. Sorry, but it's 4:48 in the morning, and I have to stay awake until My gram gets back. Just in case the dogs need to shit or something. So, if you see a ton of mistakes, point them out and I'll try to fix 'em! Thanx!