May 8, 2022, 1:39:03 AM
Before either Catherine or Natsumi could say a word, Fujiwara-dono was gone. He hightailed it, floating fast away from them in the opposite direction of the monstrosity haunched on all fours in front of them.
Natsumi had a thought about the girl in front of her. She was a human once but somewhere between life and death, the girl had fallen into some kind of purgatory that left her stranded near the mortal realm and hungry for ghouls — at least that was Natsumi’s working theory. It could have also been some extra-dimensional creature that enjoyed to munch on undead souls and a graveyward was an all-you-can-eat buffet.
It didn’t really explain why her head was upside down from her body. Was she so twisted that she didn’t know top from bottom, left from right anymore?
To her left, Catherine gathered herself.
“Looks like we gotta fight!” Natsumi said once again leaning towards her frightful foe. “You ready for this?” She herself was not. Not at the crack of dawn after a long night of staking out the park. It was time to go home, but ghouls and demons didn’t run on a predictable clock.
“Mmhmm,” Catherine said snapping her whip behind her. She lowered her cap hiding her eyes and outstretched her left hand towards the enemy as if she were about to make another cheesy superheroic pronouncement. “Umm,” she said interrupting the boldness of her stance and cool demeanor. “But, what the heck is she doing?”
Natsumi’s entire attention was on Catherine, so much so, that she had taken her eyes off the ghoulish girl in front of her. With her focus renewed on her, she watched as the girl coughed and sputtered. It made all sorts of ghastly noises as she coiled back on her legs. Really, she looked more like a cat ready to spit up a hairball.
Hacking away, the ghoul shuttered and shook. Long, low croaking noises came from deep within her hollow body. The hacking continued. She raised up on her feet and lifted her belly into the air. From under the white cloth of her tattered gown, a green glow intensified. Her gut ballooned and a strong glow shined from underneath. From the empty eye sockets a green glow began to pierce the darkened holes, and the same from her mouth.
“Oh boy,” Natsumi said. “Those must be the souls upside-down head ingested.”
“So… it’s powering her up?”
“Yeah.” Natsumi shrugged. Sure, why not. That seemed like a likely thing that a bunch of ingested souls might do. She watched as a dribble of green ooze pooled in front of her, a small drizzle from a gap between her loosened and rotted front teeth.
The girl coughed and croaked until a plume of green and white light emanated from within her outwards into a cloud around her.
“Natsumi!” Catherine called. “This looks bad! This looks really bad!”
Natsumi steeled herself. “Yeah, I know. I can see that!”