She turned to look at everyone and saw only blood. Everyone was alive, but they were all bleeding from cuts of glass along their exposed skin. Looking down at herself, Barbarella saw that some of the glass had cut the spaghetti straps of her dress. With determination, she stepped out of her hooker heels and her dress and stood along the edge of the room in only his underwear. He was John now.
Wiping his face with the back of his arm, he prepared to do battle. He looked at Justin and tried to convey all he could with his eyes. “I’m sorry.” John whispered. They were the first words he had spoken without a falsetto in over a year. He kept his voice low. The shadow man materialized in a cascade of broken glass. Shards that fell like shiny bits of sky. The door had burst open and he was here, the manifestation of her nightmares “I lost myself. I forgot who I was, who you were to me. Be happy, okay? Shane seems like a nice guy.”
Justin cried out and tried to grab his arm, to pull him back, but John would have none of it. Barbarella had been able to take this bastard before, Now it was time to see if John could take her.
“I told you before, shadow man. You won’t take what’s mine.”
When Oliver turned his gaze towards him, John knew he had only seconds to move, so he flew towards the monster, the one who had threatened what was his, what was their home. The instinct to fight came out natrally in him. It was how Barbarella had come out of him in the first place.
Instead of being a bitch for no good reason, now he had something to fight for. This man, this shadow meant business. He had to make sure that Justin was safe, that Shane and the others got out.
“Go to the tree, and for goodness sake, don’t look down. I’ve been watching the trees while everyone ignored Barbarella. All I can say is don’t look down.”
Going towards Oliver, John had only one intent in mind. That was to give the others time, the minutes they needed to get out alive. He wasn’t sure they all would, but he hoped that Justin was one of them.
“Come and get me, you piece of mother fucking, shadow loving shit.”
“Oh, what’s this? Throwing yourself on the knife for your friends? How very noble of you. John, you must have a lot to make up for. Well, if you insist. Who am I to step in the way of a move in the game?”
Oliver moved towards him. John told himself not to be afraid. He hoped he would be forgiven. He said to himself only once: “I’m sorry.”
He ran towards Oliver, not knowing what he would kill him with. Only knowing that he would die. To John’s surprise, Oliver held his arms out for him, ready to take him in a loving embrace. John tried to stop his momentum, but the shadows reached out for him, the shadows of those damn branches that would save the others would take him. He was okay with that, surprisingly enough. He was ready.
When he went to wrap his arms around Oliver, John met only shadow. He slipped into smoke and fog that faded. It was as if he was there one moment and gone the next. John stood there, stunned for a moment before he felt the first shadow slice into his abdomen. He screamed as blood began to flow out of him. The shadows were real and they were sharp as knifes.
His body became slick with more blood. He turned towards Justin and the others. He saw them sliding onto the branches. LaWanda was helping through the window. When Diane slipped through the glass, and then LaWanda, he knew that it was okay to let go now, that at least he made it, he had gave them the time they had needed. His life had a purpose after all and Justin was safe.
Another shadow rushed at his head, its blade slicing into his eyes, and his head, John let out a deep breath and let go.