Twisted Realities (Part 3)
Hester was running again, but for a completely different reason.
She felt mildly satisfied after killing Raven, but only mildly. She knew that she would only feel true satisfaction when she’d watched Aster’s body evaporate, rendered lifeless at her hand. So far, her plan was going smoothly. Raven was out of the way, and Aster was following her blindly through the Greenwood. Hester knew the forest like the back of her hand, and it didn’t take much effort for her to find the nearest clearing.
Sunlight poured in, undisturbed by the trees, and Hester had to blink to let her eyes adjust. Looking back, she could see Aster doing the same at the edge of the clearing. Hester waited for Aster to adjust fully before drawing her second blade and examining the edge. It was only for show, but Hester was enjoying every moment of it.
“So the great Hester finally accepts a challenge.”
Aster’s voice was laced with barely concealed fear. Hester could see the terror glittering in her alternate’s eyes, and that made her smile wider. Aster may have been feeling lucky five seconds earlier, but Hester’s ridiculous confidence and sinister appearance obviously intimidated her.
Maybe, after today, people would learn not to underestimate her.
“So the great Aster finally managed to track me,” Hester said in reply to Aster’s remark.
“Cut to the point, Hester. We both know why we’re here.”
Hester’s smile widened even further.
“Then what are you waiting for?”
Aster hesitated a second longer. That second was enough to tell Hester that she had the higher power. Aster might have been fooling around, pretending to be epic, but she was just a normal teenage girl.
Aster’s attack was unexpected, yet Hester reacted smoothly, parrying with her own blade. The minutes blended together as they went back and forth, each dodging the other’s attacks. That is, until Hester decided that the time for games was over. She moved with force and speed Aster had not anticipated, driving her backwards. Fear clouded Aster’s eyes, and panic made her movements sloppy. A particularly swift combination of movements from Hester made her lose her balance. Aster let out a strangled cry as she fell, losing her grip on her blade.
Aster reached for her dagger, but Hester picked it up first, sheathing her own blade as she did so. Panic and cold combined was making Aster shiver uncontrollably, and Hester allowed herself a moment of satisfaction at the sight of her biggest rival lying helpless at her feet.
Then she knelt down, maintaining eye contact with Aster as she did so.
“Pathetic isn’t it? The great Aster being murdered by her own weapon.”
“Please…” Aster could barely get the words out.
But Hester was way too infuriated to even consider letting her alternate live. Ignoring Aster’s stuttered pleas, she brought the blade down, making a cut in Aster’s neck, just deep enough to injure the windpipe. Aster’s breathing instantly became laboured, and her pleas cut off.
Hester sat down next to Aster’s body and wiped the jewel drop of blood from the tip of the dagger, watching as Aster’s eyes slowly dimmed. Enjoying the sound of Aster’s strained breathing as she suffered the slow, painful death Hester had brought upon her. It took about five minutes for Aster’s body to evaporate completely, and Hester enjoyed every moment of it. With her biggest rival dead, she could go back to her usual life of crime. The very thought of murdering people without having to worry sent adrenaline rushing through her veins.
As she sat there, Hester couldn’t help but wonder how many clones would have to die before the peace-lovers realised that order could never be restored to Earth again. The virus was unstoppable, and there were no sane scientists left to come up with a cure. The alternates didn’t know how the virus had emerged, so they couldn’t kill it either. Hester didn’t try to stop the smile that stretched her lips as she thought of the life she would live, free to murder people as leisurely as she wished. Now that was the perfect life.
As she finally got up and made her way back, Hester had no regrets about how things had turned out.
After all, Earth was a lost cause.