Thursday, May 7, 2015
"Breath of the Undead" [PG-13] - 13/15
"BREATH OF THE UNDEAD"
The vampires attacked before Piper barely had time to blink. To her left, she saw Harry fend off a blond, female vampire. The latter grabbed him by the neck and opened her mouth, exposing fangs. Harry closed his eyes briefly before the vampire cried out in pain, clutched her head and released him. The redhead took the opportunity to drive a piece of wood into her heart.
Scott beheaded one male vampire, using his sword. Before a second one could attack, Master Chen drove a wooden stake through the vampire's heart. Piper sighed with relief. Three down and one . . .
"Oooof!" The sound came from the Charmed One's mouth, as a pair of strong hands shoved her against the wall. Within a matter of seconds, the fanged creature pounced upon her. Piper quickly flung out her hands and froze the vampire. Then she stabbed it with her own stake, causing it to disintegrate into a pile of dust.
Harry's voice cried out, "Piper! Look out! Behind you!"
The Charmed One whirled around. Her eyes widened at the sight of another vampire zooming toward her. And for some unexplainable reason, she found herself frozen on the spot.
Larson saw the blond-haired kid rush back inside the nightclub. The other kid, whom the warlock recognized as Curt Decker, found himself a captor of one of the vampires. Since the chiang shi had his back facing Larson, the latter could not determine whether or not he used to be Ronald Wong. The vampire lifted the human off the ground, amidst Decker's screams. The latter's cries soon became gurgles, as the vampire sucked out his breath. The warlock reached for Getz's sword. Before he could move, the vampire rose to the ground and flew away - much to Larson's consternation.
At that moment, a dark-suited man with chestnut-brown hair rose to his feet. He aimed his revolver at the remaining chiang-shi. "Hold it right there!" As the dark-suited man prepared to shoot, Larson removed his hand from the sword's hilt and grabbed his revolver. Swiftly, he aimed his gun at Mr. Dark Suit and pumped two bullets into the latter's forehead. The remaining vampire, whose face remained half-hidden by the shadows, stared at Larson.
Two figures appeared in the parking lot with their guns drawn. Larson recognized them from Getz's divination chalice as the pair who had entered his home. Resentful of their trespassing and determined to kill the remaining chiang shi on his own, the warlock aimed his revolver at the pair and began to squeeze the trigger.
Scott saw the vampire rush toward Piper before Harry did. As the latter cried out a warning, Scott picked up a wooden stick and hurled it at the attacking vampire. The stick thrust into the vampire's back with great force, causing the latter to disintegrate into a pile of dust.
Piper heaved a relieved sigh. Both Scott and Harry rushed to the beleaguered Charmed One's side. "Are you okay?" Scott demanded.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Piper replied.
Scott added, "Next time, try using your hands to blow up a vampire's head. Trust me, it will . . ."
Piper interrupted him with a gasp. "Mr. Chan!"
Scott whirled around and saw a female vampire grabbed the Taoist monk by the neck. He feverishly searched the ground for a wooden stake. By the time he spotted one, the female vampire had released Master Chan and was now desperately clutching her head, thanks to a telepathic attack by Harry. Scott picked up the stake and quickly plunged it into the vampire's back, vanquishing her immediately.
"Marcella!" The cry came from the dark-haired vampire with the Southern accent. He stared at the quartet of humans with furious, yellow eyes. Two of his remaining colleagues disappeared from sight, determined to survive the rest of the night. The Southern vamp rushed toward his nearest target - Master Chan - with a growl.
The Taoist priest let out a gasp before the vampire grabbed him by the shoulders. The Southern vampire bared his fangs. "Master Chan!" Scott cried out in horror. Before he could rescue the priest, Piper flung out her hands for a second time and decapitated the vampire's head with her molecular combustion ability. The vampire disintegrated into dust.
"Well done, Miss Halliwell," Master Chan declared breathlessly. He leaned back against the wall with a sigh. "Well done. Your intervention could not have come at a better time."
Piper responded with a modest shrug. "It was nothing. I just remembered Scott's advice about using my combustion power." Gunshots rang out. Her dark eyes widened with shock. "What the hell was that?" she demanded.
Scott replied grimly, "Gunshots. And they came from behind the building."
"The parking lot," Harry added.
"I think we've just found our missing Chinese vampires."
Harry started to walk away. "Let's go." He raced down the alley.
Scott exchanged brief glances with both Piper and Master Chan. The latter shook his head in mock disapproval. "Young men," he muttered. "Always in a hurry."
"I know what you mean," Piper commented with mock suffering. "And Wyatt isn't even a year old, yet." She allowed a knowing smile to touch her lips, as she, Master Chan and Scott followed Harry down the alley.
Darryl and Olivia appeared behind the nightclub in time to witness the blond-haired Larson's murder of FBI Special Agent Jay Ruhl. The agent dropped to the ground . . . dead. Then Larson whirled around and aimed his revolver at the police officers. Forgetting that Olivia had identified Larson as magically dangerous, Darryl whipped out his Glock pistol and shot the blond man twice - in the heart and in the forehead. Larson's body slumped to the ground.
Olivia anxiously cried out, "Darryl! The chiang shi!"
It did not take Darryl long to recognize Curt Decker as the corpse on the ground. After knowing the Halliwells' secret for four years, the police lieutenant thought he had seen just about every creature imaginable. But the pale-green figure in a red-and-gold Chinese robe took his breath away. Fortunately, not literally. The vampire kicked Decker's body aside and stared at the two partners. He growled something in Chinese.
"What did he say?" Darryl demanded.
Olivia replied in a shaky voice, "I think we're depriving him of victims."
The vampire glared at the pair. "Olivia," Darryl began, as anxiety crept into his voice.
The redhead glanced to her left. His eyes flashing red, the vampire rose from the ground and rushed toward the pair with claws and fangs exposed. Olivia shot out one hand and telekinetically flung the creature against a nearby, parked car. Darryl's relief did not last very long. The chiang shi rose up once more and let out a gust of breath. Darryl could not decide what was more horrifying - the vampire's fetid breath or being flung against the club's brick wall.
Then the chiang shi made its final attack. With claws extended, it zoomed toward Olivia. Darryl whipped out his pistol and shot the creature, hoping to give Olivia a distraction. It worked. Unfortunately, Darryl realized that he had attracted the vampire's attention.
The chiang shi immediately changed directions and flew straight toward the police lieutenant. Darryl froze in shock, anticipating the attack. The next few moments seemed like a scene from a STAR WARS movie. Olivia snatched up a sword that extended from a scabbard that hung from Larson's waist. With both hands gripping the sword's hilt, she executed a few moves and sliced off the vampire's two hands. The chiang shi stared at his stumps in shock before the sword's blade finally lopped off his head.
The sword fell from Olivia's grip and it clattered to the ground. Both she and Darryl stared breathlessly at the chiang shi's headless body, as it weaved for a few seconds before falling down. Darryl's body sagged with relief. Olivia finally glanced at him. "Thanks for the distraction," she said.
"Yeah," Darryl replied between gusts of breath. "Sure. But remind me never to do that again."
Olivia allowed herself a brief smile. Then she glanced up at the nightclub's building and frowned. "Oh shit," she muttered.
Darryl stared at her. "What?"
"Security camera. Above you." Darryl's eyes followed his partner's gaze. Sure enough, a security camera hovered above the club's back door. Olivia seared it with an intense stare before she looked away. "There. I had shut it . . ."
Four figures appeared in the parking lot. Their eyes drunk in the scene of blood, bodies and body parts. "Good grief!" Harry exclaimed. "What the hell is this? It looks like a blood bath around here!"
"Olivia killed a chiang shi," Darryl answered. He noticed the thick dust covering the newcomers' clothing. "What happened to you guys?"
Piper replied, "Vampires. Remember the ones from Golden Gate Park, a few nights ago? Well, we just ran into their friends around the corner." She paused and stared at the bodies on the ground. "Who are all these people?"
"Good question." A figure emerged from the building's right side. It was Cole. "What the hell happened?"
"Oh, nothing much," Olivia replied in a nonchalant manner. She and Cole exchanged a brief kiss. "Piper, Scott, Harry and Master Chan had a run-in with that vampire nest from two nights ago. Larson is dead, thanks to Darryl. I don't even know who had killed Alvarez, Ruhl and Decker. Probably our friendly neighborhood Chinese vampires. Except for Ruhl. Larson had killed him."
Darryl added, "And Olivia had killed one of the chiang shi. Chopped off his hands and head. Man! You should have seen her. She went all Jedi on the guy."
"Really?" Cole regarded his wife with admiring eyes.
Olivia blushed slightly. "It was nothing. Darryl had helped me distract him." She turned to face the Taoist priest. "I'm sorry you weren't able to use a Buddhist death prayer on him, Master Chan."
"No matter," Chan replied. "I can still use it on the other one."
Darryl frowned. "The other one?"
"Oh man!" Olivia slapped her forehead. "I forgot! There's still one other chiang shi out there! Darryl and I saw him fly away."
Harry added, "I think Ron is the one still missing." He pointed at the severed head on the ground. "Because I sure as hell don't know that joker." Everyone - except for Piper who kept her gaze averted - stared at the severed head. Darryl saw that it had belonged to a male from Southeast Asia.
"So, if Ron Wong is still alive," Scott began.
Alarm lit up both Piper and Harry's eyes. "Paige!" the latter cried out. "And Janet!"
Darryl frowned. "You think he might go after . . .?"
"I'm not going to wait and find out," Cole said. He stared at the Taoist priest. "Maybe we can finally put that death chant of yours to good use."
Olivia's former kung fu master nodded. Then Cole grabbed him by the arm and they teleported out of sight.
Ten minutes earlier, both Paige and Janet sat inside the latter's living room, watching television. Only neither woman seemed interested in the images that flickered on the screen.
A sigh left Janet's mouth. "Are you hungry? I realize that it's a little late for dinner, but I can still fix a snack or something." Recalling Harry's views on Janet's cooking, Paige hesitated. The other woman seemed to notice. "Or you can fix it."
"Um . . . do you have any microwave popcorn?" Paige asked.
Janet shrugged her shoulders. "Sure. Anything is better than sitting around, wondering what's going to happen to Ron. Or if he'll show up, again."
Paige tried to assure the other woman. "Don't worry. Hopefully, this will all be over by tonight." Janet's face became a mask. "I mean . . . Ron will . . ."
"I understand," Janet quietly added. Again, she sighed. "I don't know how you can deal with all of this supernatural crap. At least you're not a demon hunter or anything like that. A person would have to be a fool to deal with ghosts, demons and such on a daily basis." Paige remained silent, while Janet chuckled. "I guess you know that Harry hates the idea of being some kind of demon hunter. There was this one guy - an angel, or what Harry called a whitelighter - who used to bug him all the time about going after some demon, back in college."
Paige sighed. "That would be my brother-in-law . . . or former brother-in-law. Leo. He also used to be my whitelighter."
Janet's face turned pink with embarrassment. "Oh. Sorry. Um . . . I guess you must enjoy all of this. Hunting down demons. And killing them."
Recalling her near quarrel with Piper, Paige replied with brutal honesty. "Not really. Not anymore. But I don't have a choice. I'm a witch. It's my duty to protect the innocent."
"Really?" A frown appeared on Janet's forehead. "That's not what Harry told me. He said that although some witches do choose to be regular demon hunters, many others prefer to pursue other paths. Like spiritual guides, healers, environmentalists and teachers. So . . . I don't know. I guess I find it rather odd that you believe that you don't have a . . ." She paused, as her frown deepened. "Did you hear that?"
Paige shook her head. "I didn't hear anything." She stared at Janet. "You think that Ron's here?"
"I don't know." Janet stood up. "I just . . . Never mind."
"Even if Ron is here," Paige continued, "he can't get inside. We had put all of that rice around the house. Just as Scott had suggested."
Janet's frown remained fixed. "Still, I thought I had heard a thump. From upstairs."
The two women glanced at the staircase. Slowly, Paige rose to her feet. She grabbed a wooden stake from the coffee table. As she started toward the staircase, Janet began to follow. "Stay back," the Charmed One ordered. "I don't want you getting in his way." She paused. "Did you leave any of the upstairs windows opened, by any chance?"
"I don't think so," Janet replied. "And I'm still sticking near you. Once you're gone, I'll be screwed."
The pair slowly began to climb the staircase. Upon reaching the first landing, Paige glanced up. The sight that greeted her eyes filled her with horror. "Oh my God! Janet! Stay back!"
"I see him," the other woman said in a trembling voice. "It's Ron."
Sure enough, a figure in red and gold stood at the top of the staircase. Despite the robe, his green-tinged skin and long fingernails, Paige recognized the jovial host from a few nights ago. "Janet, let's get out of . . ." But as she reached for Janet's wrist, the other woman had already began to return downstairs. "Janet!"
The chiang shi, or Ron, rose into the air and sailed over Paige's head. He landed directly between the staircase and Janet. Realizing that the other woman was in danger of being paralyzed again, Paige orbed her to the foot of the staircase, right next to her. The Charmed One grabbed the other woman's hand. "Let's . . ." A fetid odor enveloped the two woman and it knocked them backward.
"Oh God," Janet moaned. "He's coming for us." The vampire had begun to glide toward the staircase.
Paige corrected the other woman, "Actually, he's coming for you. Look . . ." She broke off, as her eyes fell upon a pencil on the coffee table. In a desperate move, she orbed it into the chiang shi's torso. Unfortunately, the latter's thick robe prevented the pencil from complete penetration.
The chiang shi's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Oh shit," Paige murmured under her breath. She grabbed Janet's hand, as she prepared to orb the both of them out of harm's way. At that moment, two figures materialized into the foyer. Paige sighed with relief. With a wave of his hand, Cole sent the vampire flying back into a tall, grandfather clock. "Cole!" Paige literally sang with relief. She glanced at the other newcomer. "Mr. Chan? Where's Piper and the others?"
"They're back at the . . ." Cole began.
A second later, the chiang shi rose to his feet and released a gust of breath. Paige, along with the other three, went sprawling backward until they crashed against the coffee table and the sofa. Cole was the first to scramble to his feet. "Son of a bitch!" he muttered. Before he could retaliate, the chiang shi struck him with another gust of breath. To Paige's dismay, the half-demon's face began to turn a sickly green. Cole clutched desperately at his throat, emitting a gurgling sound.
"What's wrong with him?" Paige demanded.
A shocked Mister Chan muttered, "I believe that the chiang shi is killing him."
"What?" One finally gasp escaped from Cole's mouth. Then his body jerked slightly before it fell to the floor. One glance at the half-demon's pale countenance told Paige that he might be dead. "Oh my God!" she murmured. "Cole! Oh my God, he's dea . . ."
A loud gasp from Cole's body interrupted Paige. She, along with Janet, Mister Chan and the vampire, gasped in shock, as Cole struggled to his feet. Then he immediately waved one hand and the chiang shi froze right on the spot. "I've managed to slow him down," Cole said to the Taoist priest. "Now would be a good time to use that death chant." His voice sounded raspy.
Slowed down? Paige peered closely at the vampire. Sure enough, his body seemed to move at a millimeter per second.
The Taoist priest removed a slip of yellow paper from his jacket pocket. He stuck it on the vampire's forehead. "Thank goodness for post-its, heya?" Then he began to chant in a Chinese language. Once he finished, a greenish light infused the chiang shi. The latter's body convulsed for several seconds. As it dropped to the floor, a white light burst into a visual explosion.
The light finally dissipated, revealing Ronald Wong's body sprawled on the floor. A sob rose from Janet's throat. "Ron!" She broke free from Paige's grasp and rushed forward to kneel beside her former boyfriend. As she stroked his hair, she added, "Oh Ron!" before bursting into tears.
Paige and Cole exchanged uncomfortable looks. Ron's body had to be moved. They could not afford to allow the police to find it here. Questions would be raised. So, the Charmed One stepped forward. "Janet," she began gently. The other woman now cradled Ronald's head in her lap. Paige heaved a sigh. "Janet, we need to . . ."
"Not now," Janet replied in a tearful voice. "I can't . . ."
"Janet, please!" Paige's voice rang with desperation. "We need to move him."
Mister Chan sharply added, "Young lady! You can grieve for your young man, tomorrow. Right now, his body needs to be moved from here."
Paige took a few more steps forward. She touched Janet's shoulder. "Let him go, Jan. You can see him again. Later."
Wiping tears from her eyes, Janet slowly stood up. She turned away, as Cole approached Ron's body. He waved one hand over it. The body immediately disappeared. "There," he said in a voice that remained raspy. "He should be found by someone, tomorrow morning." Another sob tore from Janet's mouth. Cole regarded her with a helpless expression. "Sorry."
It seemed quite apparent to Paige that Janet needed to be alone. Ignoring the two men, she wrapped one arm around the sobbing woman's shoulders and led her upstairs, toward the privacy of the latter's bedroom.
END OF CHAPTER THIRTEEN