The chilling wind whistled past Aviator as he hurtled through the air. The words and images from Bag Lady's newspaper still tumbled around his head, their shock still stinging within him. How could Kath be a villain...?
His trajectory took him straight to his apartment in Devil Heights and, as he neared, he slowed his flight. The window to his bedroom was still open and so he quickly darted inside. Even before his feet had touched down on the floor inside, he noticed that Kathleen was also in the room with an almost-full suitcase near her on the table in the corner.
"Kath, what...?" Rob began, looking from the woman to the things strewn across his bed.
Kathleen did not seem surprised, but turned in a graceful movement, shutting the suitcase as she did.
"Ah, the flying boy has returned", Kath purred, a slight smile playing on her lips. "And a little earlier than expected. A pity. I'd hoped to have been gone before you came back, to save any goodbyes".
She lifted up the case and began to make her way towards the door. Rob moved to the side to intercept her.
"Kath, I know who you are. That you're Fallen Angel. What are you doing? Where are you going?"
He was confused and a little angry, both with himself and the woman before him. Kath stopped and glanced up at Rob, her eyes blazing with harsh red light.
"So, Aviator", she said, stressing her knowledge of her companion's identity, "you've finally woken up and seen the news. Took you long enough. As to where I'm going, I would've thought it was obvious. I am leaving this place and rejoining my... other companions".
She took a step closer to the door but Rob stood his ground, blocking her. They were now no more than a foot from one another, each facing the other.
"You're Fallen Angel. You broke out of Dunwich. You're a goddamned supervillain, Kath!"
Kath tutted and waved a pale finger in the air.
"Kathleen Pendergast hasn't been around these parts for some time, my poor lovesick Robbie. Whereas my existence is eternal. Yes, I escaped from that confining dungeon you call Dunwich and away from that disgusting wretch of a man Dr Liefhouse. Just like I escaped an eternity before from Him above and his restrictive Commandments".
"But how can you be evil? Why did you do the things you've done? You were so lovely back at University. And I love you Ka..."
Kathleen's eyes blazed again as what appeared to be anger - or perhaps some other veiled emotion - boiled inside her.
"No, am I not evil. I am freedom and power. But Dr Liefhouse told me I was just Kathleen Pendergast. He said I was just some sort of mutant with meta-genetic abilities pretending to be what I was, deluding myself. He said I had psychological problems and that he could help me. But he was the deluded one. He restrained me, isolated me and tried to hurt me to get me to utter his petty lies. He was wrong. For I am one of the Fallen, using this woman's essence and form, here to free you mortals from the Almighty's unholy dictatorship".
"What are you on about?" Rob pleaded. What she was saying seemed like madness but all Rob wanted to do was hold and comfort her.
"You are controlled by the One above, Rob. You have no more freedom than an actor in one of your movies, following a preordained script. That is what you call ‘goodness’. And now Kathleen Pendergast is free from those chains. Instead, this body is mine. Being here was a pleasant distraction, my dear, but now darkness is coming and it is time for me to leave".
She took another small step closer to the doorway, now only inches from Rob, but Rob just held up his hand.
"I know that's you in there, Kath. You can't leave me. And you're wanted by the police. I won't let you leave. You need help".
He reached across to put his reassuring hand on her gentle shoulder. Just as he was about to touch her, Kathleen's eyes again glowed red as eternal fires flashed deep within them. A corona of suffocating, painful heat suddenly surrounded the woman. Rob quickly withdrew his hand.
"You are as bad as him. Get out of my way!" she sneered.
And, absently, she backhanded Rob across his surprised face.
If an express train had slammed into Rob, it would have hurt less. The slap hit Rob with so much force that he flew sidewards and smashed into the large refrigerator in the nearby kitchen area. With a groan, he tried to get up but his head was ringing and his body didn't seem to want to respond. Through blurred vision, he watched as Kathleen opened the door and began to head outside.
With what little strength he had, Rob stood up and called out weakly. "Kath...!", was all he could utter before the woman turned to face him.
"Goodbye Rob" she replied in return, her glowing eyes gazing deep into his soul.
Shapes seemed to spring up from the corners of his blurry vision - monstrous entities of darkness and fire. He tried to breathe, tried to move, but his mind felt separated from the rest of his body, which was held in some sort of stasis. His feeble heart inside the chest he could no longer feel flickered and then stopped.
For that long moment, all Rob could do was stare into those red, inhuman eyes. And as he gazed, he was sure he could see flaming wings grow behind his ex-lover's back and a fiery halo materialise above her head.
Then he blinked and she was gone.
Rob’s chilled blood began to beat again around his returned body. Crippling pain resurfaced, surging like an unstoppable tidal wave across the ocean of his fragile nervous system. Finally, the darkness that hovered around his sight's periphery took him as his eyes rolled back and he slumped to the floor unconscious.