Chapter Four: Showdown with Shrieker
Tatsuki ran, and the thing pursued. Suddenly something in her shrieked to duck, and she did just that. As she did, she felt the wind of something swooping over her. Looking up, she saw only a blur as something flew upward.
Turning the street, she sprinted, yet wherever she ran, she saw no one. Where was everyone? Out of the corner of her eyes, she caught sight of someone running as if on some instinct. Yet every one had veered away.
She had to get into public where there were other people.
"Come on, Tatsuki, keep running. Keep running," said Tatsuki.
"Oh, looking to make this a hunt are we?" said the voice. "That's fine by me."
Tatsuki rolled forward and felt something tear through her uniform from behind. She felt blood seep out of a shallow wound as she turned. A blur was coming toward her, but she rolled aside and got to her feet.
Tatsuki was very glad she had spent all that time training.
"Huh, so she can see me, huh?" said the voice. "Well then, this might be more fun than I expected."
"What is that thing?" though Tatsuki as narrowly dodged another strike that tore her skirt near the edge. "How is it talking? It must be one of those hollows. What do I do? Wait for Orihime to save me?
"No way, I don't know if she's ever going to get here. Which means... I've got to fight back."
The creature leaped forward, but this time Tatsuki was ready. Surging forward, she kicked it where its head might have been. The creature flinched and fell back, and what might have been an arm shifted to rub its chin. "Is that supposed to be an attack? There was no bite to it.
"Points for originality, schoolgirl, but mere mortals aren't any match for a hollow."
Then he surged forward, but now Tatsuki could see him better and rolled away. Dropping low, she completely evaded his claw as he crashed into a fence. The wood splintered and broke as he turned around like it was nothing onto a telephone pole.
"Spry one, aren't you?" asked the hollow, looking down at her.
"He moved when I kicked him," said Tatsuki. "It wasn't much, but I must have done something right.
"I just need more force."
Tatsuki backed against a nearby telephone pole, the beginnings of a plan on her mind. She had to time this right, and if she didn't, she was dead.
"No, please, don't kill me!" said Tatsuki. "I haven't done anything to you!"
"Yes, that's right, girl! Beg! It only makes what happens next that much better!" said the hollow. Then he surged toward her.
Tatsuki waited and, as he neared, surged aside.
The hollow smashed head into the telephone poll, catching itself on forearms. The pole splintered and sway. However, Tatsuki circled around and dropkicked him with all her might. It was just the push it needed, and it fell downward.
The hollow screamed, and Tatsuki saw the pole coming toward her, complete with live wires. Rushing away, Tatsuki saw it fall, even as wires broke loose and flew around. Now Tatsuki could see the hollow better, lying under the broken pole. It had a surreal, greenish quality to it and was rising up.
"Urg..." said the creature, rising up. "That... that hurt a lot."
The telephone pole was breaking apart, and Tatsuki knew she'd have no time to run at all from this thing. Then she saw a fire hydrant near her that the pole had smashed as it fell. Water was pooling outwards and soaking the entire street. The hollow was being soaked by it, but the wires weren't anywhere near.
Looking around, Tatsuki tried to find something she could push the wires with. Something which wouldn't conduct electricity. Then she saw her shoes, which had to have been made with rubber in the soles. Drawing off her sneakers, she raced toward the wire as the hollow almost pulled himself up.
Tatsuki only had one shot at this.
There was no way this was going to work.
Putting the rubber sole of her shoes against the electrical wire. Pressing them together like pincers and lifted them up. Stepping over another live wire, she flung the wire toward the water. As it hit, the electricity poured in. Sparks flew, and the hollow shrieked in agony.
Tatsuki didn't waste any time to see if she killed it.
She just ran.
The concrete on her feet hurt badly, and she took some time to put on her shoes. They'd increase her running speed anyway. Soon enough, she came into a place where plenty of people were walking around. Even as she did, however, she heard a howl of rage from far behind her. Instantly, the people seemed to find one reason or another to leave.
They all just filed out.
"Come on, this dive is boring; let's catch a movie later," said one.
It was like they knew the hollow was coming, but they didn't know they knew. Tatsuki knew she had to find another means of firepower and fast. Racing through the streets, she saw a gas station. From the looks of things, the fear of the hollow wasn't enough for people to abandon work.
Rushing toward the gas station, she suddenly had something inside her scream. Ducking and rolling away, she saw the hollow land where she'd been moments before. He was covered in burns and had a number of injuries on him. Only he wasn't dead and, if anything, looked amused.
"I gotta admit, you're making this fun girl," said the hollow. "I'm having way more fun than I did with the last three who tried to protect that little brat."
"What are you talking about?" asked Tatsuki. She needed to stall him.
"Heheheh, the bird you delivered to the soul reaper," said the hollow. "It's really a human soul. I took it and put it into the bird after I stabbed his mother to death. I was a serial killer and a damn good one, you see.
"Course, after my unfortunate demise, the options for hunting only got better." Serial killer? Had Kisuke said anything about hollows being people once?
"You were human once?!" asked Tatsuki, imagining a malformed and horrific giant of a man.
"You're out of the loop, aren't you," said Shrieker. "Tell you what, if you start running now, I think I'll give you a ten-second head start. I'll even kill you quick. I haven't had this kind of fun since I killed the brat's mother."
Tatsuki started running.
"1," said Shrieker. "2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8..."
She was nearly at the gas station now; the pump wasn't far.
"9, 10, ready or not, here I come!"
Tatsuki risked a glance back and saw green blurs surging turn her. Spinning around, she slashed two. They were cut down and fell to the ground, looking like frogs. Except inside their bodies were larva.
"Frogs?" asked Tatsuki.
And then the frogs exploded before her, and she fell back. A scorching pain hit her foot, and she saw blistering burns on it. Then she saw Shrieker flying above her with his talons upraised. "Like it? My explosive little friends are great fun at parties. Now run, little girl or I might just eat you up!"
Tatsuki forced herself to run.
It took everything she had, and it hurt with every move, but she did it. A primal part of her took over as she became completely focused. All she could think about was the plan. "Come on, come on!
"Think, Tatsuki, you can't let it end here! You can beat this guy; you just have to keep running!"
"What's the matter! Where's all that spirit! I'll be eating it all soon enough!" said the hollow behind it.
Tatsuki ducked behind the gas tanks as she heard him and the frogs landed. As they did, Tatsuki drew out her credit card and swiped it through the tank before picking premium. She hoped Mom didn't kill her for this. The frogs, however, retreated.
"Trying to trick me into blowing us both us, are we?" asked the hollow. "That's some pretty guts of yours. Can't wait to see what they look like!"
Tatsuki then realized her problem.
She didn't have matches. Sprinting toward the gas station, she darted through the glass doors. A look back saw the hollow circling around. "You really think something like a glass window is gonna stop me, schoolgirl!"
Tatsuki raced up to the cashier. "Excuse me, I need a lighter! Where are they?"
"On the front desk," said the guys. "That'll be-"
"Thanks!" said Tatsuki, before grabbing one and racing to the back door.
"Hey, you can't just leave without paying!" said the man.
"I'll pay you back! Busy!" said Tatsuki.
And then the front door was smashed open as the hollow rushed through it. Massive footprints were left on the ground as he landed. "Here's SHRIEKER!"
Tatsuki went out the back door, hoping the cashier would be alright. At the same time, she noted that he might distract Shrieker long enough for her to survive.
"What, backtracking already?" said Shrieker's voice. "You've got some legs at least; I think I'll take some time eating them! Maybe keep you alive so you can watch!"
Reaching the tank she'd purchased from, Tatsuki grabbed the fuel gun and turned it around. Pulling the trigger, she sprayed it in Shriekers face. He recoiled as the oil hit him and raised an arm. "You think that's gonna save you, kid?
"Don't get me wrong, this chase is getting me pumped. But I'm not a car."
The outline of Shrieker was being shown in broad daylight by Tatsuki's efforts.
Tatsuki flipped open the lighter and smiled.
"Oh," said Shrieker.
Tatsuki tossed the lighter at Shrieker, and the flame set him off. A moment later, the lighter exploded and Shrieker howled in agony as the oil on him caught fire. Raising the fuel gun, Tatsuki poured more and more oil onto the fire. Shrieker staggered backward, flailing in agony as the inferno grew.
And then Tatsuki realized he was about to hit one of the fuel tanks.
Throwing down the fuel gun, she sprinted, running for dear life. "...Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!"
And then the gas tanks exploded. Tatsuki was flung off her feet, hardly catching herself as she felt the heat on her back. Everything was a blur of white in her eyes, and her hearing echoed.
Rising up, Tatsuki turned and saw the blazing inferno. The wreckage was everywhere, and the smoke of the burning was rising to heaven. The gas station store itself was intact, with the cashier recording events with a smartphone.
"Did I... did I do it?" asked Tatsuki as she rose up. And then she realized she had. Before Tatsuki knew what was happening, she found she was laughing. So much for sheepdogs and wolves, Hat and Clogs. "I did it! I killed it!"
And then Shrieker stepped out of the flames.
"Oh," said Tatsuki.
Shrieker's entire body was covered in burns, his mask was cracked. His movements were laborious as he staggered forward, grasping for her. Tatsuki tried to pull herself up and found all her pains were now that much worse. Little by little, she forced herself to her feet as Shrieker staggered. Little flames were still on his body, but his red eyes were furious.
"Gotta admit..." said Shrieker, "that is some serious fire.
"But I'd say you're just about done."
Then he fell to one knee and gasped.
"You're not looking so good yourself," said Tatsuki, taking a stance.
"Well then..." Shrieker chuckled, "why don't we finish this?"
"Bring it on, hollow," said Tatsuki.
And then Orihime landed in front of her, wielding those two blades from behind. Her immense bosom bounced as her auburn-haired flew around her. "Tatsuki!"
"Orihime?" asked Tatsuki.
"What... what happened here?" asked Orihime. "Did... did this hollow do this?"
"Sort of," said Tatsuki.
"So, you do have a name," said Shrieker. "Hehe, looks like the Soul Reapers showed up to save you this time, Tatsuki. Just remember, I'll be back soon enough. Shrieker always gets his prey."
Suddenly, a blackness surrounded him, and he was fading into it.
"Orihime, stop him!" said Rukia.
Orihime hurled one of her blades at Shrieker, but he was gone before it passed through him. Circling back, Orihime caught it.
"He got away," said Rukia.
Orihime stared at Tatsuki. "Tatsuki, what happened here?"
Rukia stared. "I uh... I think I'm going to have to wipe a lot of memories."
Tatsuki wasn't inclined to care.
Kisuke Urahara didn't know anything.
And then, as if everything was catching up to her at once, Tatsuki fell forward. As she fell, Orihime caught her, and her vision went dark.
So, this chapter took a while for me to find the inspiration for.
Quick thing, if you want me to update this fanfic regularly, be sure to leave a review. The more reviews a fanfic I write gets, the more likely I am to update it.