Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Hey all, Sorry for being late, I was in Chicago for a very fine wedding, congratulations Tom and Mia, and as a result I was a little late getting my poem for this week done. But here it is after a quick picture of the happy couple.
Heroes Never Change
He wore a helm of solid steel
A mithril sword upon his hip
A mighty steed his dearest friend
He rode to save the day
He wore a hat ten gallons large
A pearl handled colt upon his hip
A fine fast horse his greatest pal
He rode to save the day
He fought through bandits to save the girl
Battled furry monsters with powerful horns
He saved the village from the evil
And rode into the sunset alone
Hope you enjoyed it, once again we had a tie. I'm starting to think you've all organized and are trying for that just to make it harder on me. So how did I do, drop a comment below or head on over to facebook and post there while voting for next weeks topic.
Friday, October 26, 2012
Hey all, well what a long strange trip it has been. I've finished my final story for the month of October and my hasn't this been far more work than I expected. I intend to try this again at some point but right now I'm to embroiled in school to make this a weekly thing. If you're interested in seeing where this all began head to the Cul-De-Sac to Hell and see the teams first story.
Anyway, here's the final story of beasts, monsters, and the supernatural in Chicago.
Supernatural Weapons & Arcane Tactics
Supernatural Weapons & Arcane Tactics
Midnight in the Apocalypse Graveyard
Mike Litman had been wandering through the graveyard for twenty minutes using a flashlight that was flickering away the last bits of battery power while looking for landmarks when he heard the screams. Damnit, he was too late. He had his school bag packed full of everything the book said he’d need; holy water, a knife, two kinds of salt (he hadn’t been sure if he should use regular table salt or sea salt so had grabbed both boxes), candles, and of course all the scans he’d made of the book on his tablet before Jay had taken the Fides Mortuus. He was holding the book bag tightly as he ran through the graveyard toward the frightened screams of what he assumed were the cheerleaders.
He ran along, his shins complaining every time he found a small concrete bench or errant tombstone. He stumbled through the darkness the flashlight having finally given up when he made out a form in the night, he moved towards it until the full moon emerged from behind a cloud to let him see memorial of the little girl. He cursed and veered off to one side his windbreaker getting caught on passing branches as it flapped behind him. His unseeing jog through the graveyard came to a halt when he bounced off the side of an unseen mausoleum and landed face first in the mud.
He cursed to himself and tried to stand when the entire world seemed to erupt in brilliant white light. The heavenly glow covered the area flowing out from the center of the graveyard near the old crypts. His heart soared, one of the people he had called must have shown, he hadn’t been sure if they’d believe him. Hell, he hadn’t been sure he believed it, and he saw his neighbors dog come back and claw its way out of the grave in the back yard. But one of them must have come, he’d dug through the internet and phonebook looking for help; a TV schlock horror host, a retired actor from old B horror movies, a paranormal SWAT team, a couple of magicians, and even a wizard. He was pretty sure most of them wouldn’t be able to help, but maybe one of them was the real thing.
He was suddenly shook from his happy feeling by something moving up behind him. He didn’t see or hear anything, but that little voice that tells you someone’s behind you was screaming like it was being murdered. Mike turned slightly from his position in the grass and saw his first human zombie. The creature was dressed in what must have once been nice clothes. The remnants of a suit and tie draped from it’s body now covered in dirt. One of it’s hands caked with grave dirt from the dig reached for him with broken fingernails.
Mike turned on the grass and pushed away from the creature, back pedaling on all fours like a crab until he hit a surface too solid to move and climbed it to his feet. He felt hard cold marble beneath his fingers, and realized he was leaning against the mausoleum he’d hit a moment ago. Mike dug into his book bag still hanging off his shoulder and pulled out his dad’s 38. He fired three shots into the zombie, two hit in the chest and the third went wide. He’d never fired the gun before despite his dads offer to take him shooting. He’d always been attracted to more academic purists and quite frankly the gun had scared him. He would change that first thing in the morning, if he lived.
He could see a second zombie past the first, this one still climbing out of its grave. He reached into his book bag and drew the tablet out and thumbed the screensaver off. As the light flared up and illuminated the area he thumbed the page until he found the part he was looking for. He quickly started reading aloud the words they had used to stop the neighbors bull dog. As the words ran past his lips he could feel the rise of warmth in his belly. He concentrated on the feeling and it moved up his body through his chest and to his shoulders. It moved down his arm towards his hand and as the warmth reached his them he felt the zombies fingers grasp the front of his jacket and looked up to see its face approaching his neck. With a final push of desperation and terror he took his right hand, all warm and tingly, and shoved against the zombies chest. Flames wrapped around the place where he touched the zombie and launched it backwards away from him.
As the flaming body hurtled backwards Mike felt his other hand begin to burn and looked down to see the flaming remains of his computer tumble to the ground. Mike swore, “not again,” trying not to think of how his dad would react when a girl’s high-pitched scream echo through the grave yard. Shaken back to the situation at hand, he took off toward the center of the graveyard, hoping to find their saviors and tell them about the
other zombies. As he ran towards the area he and Jay had picked he saw other zombies rising from their resting places and those who had already escaped were headed in the same direction as him.
He came on the oldest area in the graveyard, the section that had been set up to contain Chicago’s founders, most of the locals didn’t even know it existed. It had been perfect little area and had every thing the book had wanted. It had all been hypothetical, at least at first. Mike wasn’t sure when Jay had decided to do it for real, to destroy the bullies, the jocks, the Betties, the kids who had made there lives hell since junior high. There was a point when Mike suspected Jay wanted to do it, but he never imagined he’d do it. Not until the phone call earlier that night.
Mike jumped the two foot wrought iron fence and jogged out looking for the heroes and found only chaos.
Several cheerleaders and a couple of jocks from the football team had been surrounded by zombies and were trying to push them back. A couple of the other kids were being eaten in various places amongst the crypts. Tony Durran, the captain of the team was holding a shovel and swinging it like a club to keep the zombies at bay. Ginger Meadows was using her lighter and hair spray as a flame thrower to set the zombies that got too close on fire as Tony pushed them back.
In the center of the area standing on a giant star shaped monument was Jay, wearing his favorite trench coat, the one his grandmother had gotten him. He was laughing and walking around waving one of his hands like he was conducting an orchestra. He had lit candles sitting on the ground next to the Fides Mortuus in the exact center of the star. His black hair, greasy with sweat, kept sticking to his glasses.
As one of the zombies got a hand inside Tony’s reach and scratched his arm Jay yelled out, “Hey Tony, tell me again how you can’t learn nothing useful in books.” Jay stopped moving to scream at the circle, “Tell me again how you’re going to get the football team to kick my ass. Well here’s my team Tony. Why don’t you kick theirs.”
One of the zombies reached in a grabbed at Ginger until Tony managed to push it back. “Hey Ginger, just tell him he’s gross and your too pretty to talk to someone like him. I’ll bet that’ll make him leave you alone.”
As one of the zombies finally made it all the way through Tony’s defensive swing and started grabbing at the cheerleaders inside Ginger shrieked and pushed one of the other girls, a new one named Tina Dowling towards its outstretched hands. Jay shrieked with laughter and began skipping around the circle again.
Mike dodged over to one side and hid behind a crypt and tried to think of what to do. Tina’s cries filled the air. The gun was useless in his hands, and the tablet was gone so he couldn’t help anyone that way. Tina screamed for help. If he could remember the words he could do something. Tina let out a wrenching shriek begging to be let go. If he could get to the other book he could do something. Tina began to sob, crying, “no,” over and over again. If only he could concentrate he could do something. Tina’s voice wracked with pain called out for someone to help her and then it was gone.
Mike’s whole body filled with warmth and he walked out into the clearing, flames danced around him as he walked into the zombie horde. Some of the beasts turned to face him and he reached out balls of flame the size of softballs leapt from his hands. Each ball slammed into a zombie setting it ablaze and launching it like a shooting star across the clearing. As he moved through the crowd zombies reached out to touch him and when they did their hands burst into flames. He swatted zombies aside as he walked, pushing them back as if they were nothing more than a beaded curtain in a doorway.
He heard Jay screaming in the distance, he sounded as if he were miles away, he was calling him a traitor. He reached the small weeping ball that was Tina. Her clothes were a tattered mass of bloody material and piece of exposed flesh were covered with claw and bite marks. He bent down and picked her up, clutching her against his chest, bloody tears streamed down here face. She was too weak to speak, he held her there and for a brief moment she looked up and locked eyes with him.
His world shifted ninety degrees and he knew everything she was or had been. He knew her hopes and goals, her fears and joys. She was a decent person, she wanted to be liked and was afraid that none of the other kids would. She loved art and music, she played the piano and painted badly. Her grandmother called her bobbin and she had cried for three days when she passed away. For a brief second in time it was like they were the same person, and in that second she ceased to be. Her body went limp in his arms as her spirit left it and he felt her become no more.
Mike stood there as the warmth drained from his body, his legs wobbled beneath him and he fell to his knees. He clutched Tina to him, if only he had reacted faster. She was gone and it was all his fault. His eyes blurred as he sat there holding her against him. He could hear something far away, but he wasn’t sure it mattered. He’d thought he was going to be the big hero and now a girl had died in his arms. He could hear thunder rolling in the distance and wasn’t sure if he could do anything now but die.
Something shook his shoulder. Poor Tina. Something shook him again. He paused for a moment and listened to the thunder, it was so close. Something hit him across the face and he jerked his head back and looked up as gun fire echoed around him. He looked up into the mirrored faceplate of Dr. Griffin Wells, the teams scout and forensics expert.
“Hey Romeo, snap out of it or you’re gonna die.” Wells turned and fired his sawn-off into a zombie that was coming up behind him.
“You slapped me.” Mike was still not sure exactly what was going on.
“No, I shot you.”
Captain Albert Card, the teams leader and sorcerer fired his shotgun past Wells head towards a crowd of zombies. “It was the only way to break you out of it. You were letting off a pillar of flame high enough to reroute air traffic.”
Wells finished loading his shotgun, “Hell of a flare.”
Mike’s head started to clear, he realized that he and the other teens were ringed in by five armed men standing in between them and the zombies. He also noted the three foot burnt out crater that he knelt in the middle of.
Off to one side Rabi Adam Stein, expert in religious studies and heavy weapons operator, was finished loading another drum into his assault shotgun. He strafed the gun slowly at chest height and the upper half of several zombies explode in a mist of bone and flesh. Mike recognized the sound the gun made as it fired as what he’d thought was thunder. As he knelt there getting his bearings, Adam finished the drum and ejected it to the ground with three other empty containers.
Mike stood, strength gradually returning to his legs as he figured out what was going on around him. These men must have been one of the groups he had called that evening when he figured out what Jay was going to do. He looked around in wonder as they cut a swath of destruction through the zombie army.
Blake Lagoona, trained in aquatic operations and a gifted sniper, was firing an automatic shotgun and slamming clip after clip home as zombies burst under the weight of his fire. As he reloaded a zombie got too close and Blake pushed him back before shoving the clip home and shooting the zombie in the face.
Mike turned to see the final member of the team. Douglas Wulf, close quarters fighter and wilderness survival expert, was swinging a fire axe like a barbarian from so many of the books Mike had read. He went forward with a ferocity and almost animal like brutality. Every time a zombie got to close Wulf tore into it attacking its head again and again, until there was nothing left but a stump of a body.
A bright glow from the back of each mans armor drew Mike’s attention. The team all had rows of white runes glowing so brightly that the air shimmered around them. Wulf’s armor had similar runes, but his also contained a row of smaller green ones the ringed his chest just under the other set.
As Mike turned he saw Jay, his oldest friend, laying on his side clutching his knee and screaming in pain. “Hi Jay,” he called, “what happened to your knee?”
“Are you sure this kids not stoned?” Wells called out as he fired his last few shots.
Adam’s gun stopped firing and he propped it up on his shoulder. “Well he sort of is. That much power running through a body is going to leave a person euphoric for a little while.” Adam turned and walked to Mike, “I can take her from you if you’d like. I only ask because eventually the euphoria and adrenalin are going to wear off and I’m not entirely certain you can lift her.”
Mike looked down and hadn’t even realized he was still carrying Tina. Once he saw the poor girl memories of the evening came flooding back and he started to fall.
* * *
Mike regained conscious sitting on the stone star in the center of the graveyard, the whole area had taken on an otherworldly quality as it was now lit by a series of magnesium road flares scattered around concrete. Jay was mumbling just a few feet away. “Handcuff me you rotten sons-a-bitches. I’ll show you all, you don’t get to mess with me. My minions will take over the world. I don’t care if you stopped me now, I’ll be back.”
Mike leaned forward. “Shut up Jay.” He looked down at his friend whose knee was freshly bandaged.
“Oh, it’s the traitor.”
“At least I’m not a killer. Those creatures killed people, they ate people while you laughed.” Mike looked around the area at the large circle made of chalk that Jay had drawn on the concrete, there was a smudge at one point where someone had visibly broken the circle.
“Those weren’t people, they were monsters. They laughed at us everyday, made our lives a living hell. I just showed them what it was to be us. I‘m glad their dead every asshole, bitch and whore.”
Mike kicked him in the bandage before he even realized he’d done it. As Jay howled in pain one of the men from earlier came over and introduced themselves and the other team members. The one called Wells was going over the last of the teens and bandaging up some of their wounds and making sure everyone was okay. He kept assuring them that bites don’t make zombies, that’s only in the movies. Blake was standing off to one side watching through a set of binoculars carefully scanning the graveyard. Wulf paced back and forth, smoking a cigarette. Adam was performing last rites for Tina and the other teens who hadn’t made it.
“Well, allow me to welcome you to the world of professional sorcery.” Albert began leading Mike a little way off.
Mike looked at him for a moment trying to decide if Albert was serious. “What do you mean?”
“You’re a wizard Mike.”
“I don’t feel like a wizard.”
“Most wizards don’t. On the upside it looks like your going to have some serious power at your disposal when you’ve trained a bit. Admittedly a lot of that was emotional, when someone dies while your looking directly at their soul, bad things happen. Also, you’re going to want to try really hard not to tell anybody about this, most of the world isn‘t as understanding as us.”
“Was it really that big?”
“Honestly, I’m kind of surprised there haven’t been any police by now. You lit up the night sky. I‘d bet it could be seen all the way to Millennium Park. It’ll be OK though, we have a friend who will make it look like a gas main exploded. That should explain the sixty foot pillar of flame.”
“What will happen to Jay?”
“He’ll go to the authorities.”
“Will the police be able to hold him.”
“He’s not going to the police. There are far better authorities for this sort of thing.”
“Once we get out of here, I’ll buy you a coffee and answer all your questions.”
They started to walk back towards the group. Once they got there, Adam was holding Wulf back from punching Jay. “You arrogant little jerk, shut up.”
“My army of undead minions will rise up again and smite all who oppose me. Even now as we approach the foretold hour I can feel the masses waking in every corner, every grave, and every lost crevice around the world.”
Albert moved forward and grabbed Jay by the front of his shirt and lifted him off the ground. “What do you mean, your army?”
“The, the spell I cast, it creates an army of the undead for the caster. It made them my minions. It was the spell.”
“I know the spell you were casting, I’ve seen it once before. The zombies aren’t the reason you cast the spell, they’re a side effect.”
“No their not, I cast the spell for the zombies, so I could make those stupid jerks and everyone like them pay for everything they’ve ever done.”
“Of good god. Just please have followed the directions. What kind of candles did you use?”
“Beeswax, of course.”
“What order did you light them in?”
“Compass; north, south, west, east.”
“When you painted the circle?”
“I started at north and went counter-clockwise. What do you think I am some sort of simpleton?” Jay began laughing at Albert.
“When you made the paint did you include crushed onyx?”
“What, why would I make the paint?”
“Oh. Well we’re doomed. What time is it?”
Blake quickly signaled something with his hands. Albert’s entire frame sagged against the star in the center of the area. Albert looked around the clearing at the various individuals gathered around him. He took in everyone’s looks of concern and terror and then looked straight up.
He stood quickly and began pacing, “Adam I need you consecrate the area. Do it up and make it stick.”
“You certain? You’ll be significantly weakened when I’m done.”
“I’m certain, this will be more helpful than me.” Albert seemed to pause as if unsure
“On it,” Adam grabbed a satchel nearby and set to work.
“Blake you’re going to be watching our flank to make sure something doesn’t happen while we’re prepping the area. If I’m right there are going to be more zombies, lots more zombies.”
Blake made a couple of quick motions with his hands then grabbed a gun and some binoculars and climbed to the top of a nearby crypt.
“Wulf. Wells. You two need to get these kids out of here.”
Wulf shot forward, “Whoa, Albert we are not splitting up. Just because we did it once and got away with it you think we can do it every time. We are staying here.”
“Oh, trust me, if I thought we could do this with what we have here I’d be all over fighting it out, but what’s coming we’re going to need every advantage we can get. Which means the truck. We need the truck. The sound system, the lights, ammo. Titanium shells will be best. Right now we’re mostly packing rock salt…”
Mike suddenly snapped his fingers, “That makes so much more sense.” He then became acutely aware of everyone looking at him. “Sorry.”
Albert collected his thoughts and started again. “We also need Mary. And these kids have got to get out of here. We can’t be keeping them safe, they’ll just get in the way. Except you.”
Mike stood there as Albert and the rest of the team turned to stare at him, “I’m sorry I interrupted.”
“Oh, for the love of…” Wells threw his hands in the air. “We’re not keeping you because you don’t know when to shut up. We’re keeping you because you were a miniature Pompeii for ten minutes. Let’s go Wulf. Everybody saddle up.” Wells grabbed his sawn-off and started to pick up the first aid kit. “This I’ll leave. Are we taking Lex Luthor or leaving him here to die.”
Wulf helped Ginger to her feet, “leave him.” They began to start off into the darkness when he called back to Albert, “We will discuss breaking rules when this is over with.”
After the group moved into the graveyard and out of sight Albert sagged to the ground. Mike barely had time to catch him, “you okay?”
“Adam’s working much faster than I thought. It’s cutting me off from, let’s just call it a power source.”
“Do you need to rest?”
“Yes, but we don’t have time.” Albert straightened himself and moved to the book on the central platform. “I’m going to need you to redraw and focus the circle, we broke it so nothing’s going to contain the creature that comes next.”
“OK.” Mike rooted around and found Jay’s bag of supplies and pulled several jars of Happy Time children’s craft paint from inside. Most were empty, having been used to draw the first circle and what was left wouldn’t be enough to cover the ground necessary to make a circle. Mike dug through the rest of the bag for the things Jay had brought. Several unopened scented candles, a silver knife from a table setting, and a bag of chicken bones with some of the deep fry breading still sticking to the ends.
Albert, looking over Mike’s shoulder, stared at Jay who was watching them with hatred in his eyes. “How did you not get your soul sucked straight into hell?” Jay laughed. He returned his attention to Mike, “so any idea how to proceed from here?”
“Well we need more paint, but I have no idea where to get it. Well if we could add to it.” Mike looked at the book and turned a couple of pages. “I got it.” Mike quickly grabbed his book bag and dug out the vials of holy water. He unscrewed the tops of the paint jars and poured his holy water into them and began sloshing the water from one Jar to another until he had two jars of watered down paint. “This should be enough. It won’t be as large but should still circle the area.”
“Excellent, go ahead.”
Mike moved away and using the large brush Jay had brought started painting a circle. Albert spoke up, “now while making the circle focus your will on what your doing. Concentrate on the circle and imagine putting yourself, your essence, your soul into it.”
Mike could feel the warmth returning and focused it to his hand as he moved the brush. With each stroke, he felt himself go into the paint a little more and when he came full circle and connected the line he felt a small locking sensation that came from deep down inside himself. He stood and turned to see Adam and Albert standing looking at his work.
Adam spoke first, “He’s pretty good at that.” Adam was standing facing away from Albert as he prepared the last of his equipment, a great purple sash made of linen hung over his shoulders, a yamaka resting on his head, and an ancient iron Star of David dangling out of the top of his blue turtle neck sweater.
“You’re a Rabi?”
“Yes. Do you need something?”
“I was hoping to confess before everything happens.”
“I can’t technically hear your confession, but if you want to talk to me about it I’ll listen. It may be helpful.”
Two gunshots echoed off the top of one of the crypts, and the three of them turned to see Blake fire a third shot before jumping down and jogging to them. He moved his hands gesturing towards the graveyard as he approached.
Albert braced himself and pumped his shotgun, “don’t call me boss. He says more zombies have entered the graveyard from three sides, possibly all four but the castle is in the way. They’re coming at a shamble but should be here soon.” Albert turned and handed a shotgun from the ground to Mike, “today, you get to learn how to kill zombies.”
“Shoot the head, right?”
Albert nodded, “close enough. Mostly it’s destroy the eyes and destroying the head does that.”
“Why the eyes?”
Albert handed over a bag of ammunition, “they’re the windows to the soul. Traditionally if you want to control a dead body you have to go in the way the soul left. It’s why most cultures put coins over the eyes. It had nothing to do with the boatman, it was all about not letting the dead rise. Silver works best, but any coin will do unless the necromancer is really powerful. Modern culture is pretty much the necromancy all you can eat buffet, because we don’t believe in silly superstitions any more.”
They gave Mike a quick lesson on how to load and fire a shot gun until Blake started shooting again. “If you can conjure any more fire save it till midnight and the big theatrics.” Adam pumped his gun once readying the chamber and then turned as the first zombies walked into the light from the flares.
Mike focused on his side of the clearing and fired hitting a zombie in the chest and pushing it backwards. It fell and began rising again a gaping hole blown through its chest. Mike fired again, aiming higher this time and blasted the head and a portion of the shoulders off of the creature. As more zombies came Mike fired again and again, reloaded and continued. Occasionally a zombie would reach the painted line and stop, is if pushing on an unseen wall. Mike could feel the pressure against the back of his mind as the beast tried to force its way in. It would only last moments before he or more often one of the others would quickly fire and remove the threat.
Adam had his combat shotgun slung over his shoulder and a spare drum of ammo laying on the platform in the center. He wielded a standard shotgun to hold the zombies back. In between gun shots Mike could hear him crying out in Hebrew. The words flowed over him and made their way inside his soul filling him with feelings of warmth and safety.
Jay lounged in the midst of the group on top of the star shaped platform in the center. As each zombie fell he laughed and mocked the four men as they stood against the undead tide. As the seconds passed into minutes and the bag of ammo hanging off Mike’s shoulder grew lighter Jay mocked his failing resources.
Then in an odd moment of stillness the air rung as the bells of Saint Gregory the Great began to toll. As they rang on the zombies halted their movement and rocked in place. As each bell tolled the cries of the dead roared back in answer. Jay rose to his feet in the middle of the platform and roared with laughter. “You know old man, there’s an excellent question you should have asked the boy?”
Albert turned towards the center and started reloading his shotgun. “Now would be an excellent time to get the big gun and if possible catch yourself on fire.”
Jay giggled, “did he add anything to the paint? Would have been a better question, then you might have learned he…”
“Added his own blood.” Albert shoved his shotgun into Jays stomach and pulled the trigger launching him up and over Adam and out of the circle. As Jay passed over the painted ring Mike felt a sharp pressure and then felt a sudden release as the circle broke. As Jay fell down into the horde of undead their arms reached up, caught him, and then they gently lowered Jay to the ground. The rest of the zombies walked towards Jay crowding in around him.
A bright white light shone up from the spot Jay disappeared into the horde and zombies walked into the light. More crowded in, long past the number that should have fit, as if they were passing into a pit. With each zombie that crossed into the light, the air grew more and more cold. Mike saw his breath hang in the air before him and wondered if the others were being effected the same way. As he look around he only saw the effect reflected in Adam, whose breath came in steady pulses, Albert stood holding his breath, and Blake was breathing through a respirator built into his suit that made a slight gurgling sound.
A great form began to rise up in the midst of the light and while Jays laughter grew in volume it and now seemed to be coming from somewhere up off the ground. The timber of his voice had changed, now a deep bass boomed like a drum. The church bells continued to toll and finally at the stroke of midnight the light exploded outward hurling three of the four men backward. Only Albert stood his ground.
Jay now stood before them thirty feet tall glowing with a brilliant white light that almost hurt the eyes. His body was beautiful, sculpted in the finest Greek tradition of rippling muscles and squared jaw. A golden toga now hung from his shoulder perfectly accentuating his massive legs and arms. His face was like Jays but now curly blonde locks framed cold sapphire eyes. The most notable feature were the two misshapen and long healed wing stumps protruding from behind his shoulders.
Jay leaned down until his face was only a few feet above Alberts who rose into the air until they were eye to eye. “So,” Jay’s voice echoed like a harp in a cave, “Impaler, we meet again after all these years. How long has it been? We do lose track in the darkness.”
“Hello Bel. That was a different lifetime. The man you knew died that night.”
“Oh, I imagine he wished he had.” Jay laughed, “or I suppose everyone else did. Tell me, did you save your kingdom?”
“You tell me. Now Adam.” Suddenly Albert dropped to the ground as Adam fired his combat shotgun into Jay’s chest. Jay staggered back under the onslaught a look of surprise on his face. After a few steps he backed into a large marble crypt knocking pieces of masonry away.
Jay pushed off and moved forward with surprising swiftness backhanding Adam across the clearing with a massive hand hurling him into a medium sized oak which split in half. “Ah, the Many. How are all of you doing?” Jay brought his hands up forming a single fist and slammed them down onto the earth. Adam rolled to one side allowing the fists to slam into the pavement leaving a huge crater where they impacted.
Adam stood and switched out the drum replacing it with his final cylinder, “How does it feel? Do you even remember what His love feels like?” Adam opened up with the gun again the rounds cutting into Jays forearm leaving a huge gash.
“How does it feel not having a soul?” Jay launched a second backhand at Adam who ducked under it only to be caught by the uppercut that followed in its wake launching him up and over the wrought iron fence.
Warmth filled Mike, it was coming easier now. He stepped forward and hurled the flames that gathered about his fists at Jay. Red welts appeared on his sides where the blasts hit him and quickly blackened. Jay roared in frustration as Albert leapt from the shadows and fired his shot gun only to back away into the mists that now formed around him. Blake took small steps constantly moving to keep Jay’s head in view, he had discarded his shotgun in favor of an HK assault rifle. Every round found its way into the side of Jay’s head. At first welts appeared but as he continued to fire he began to draw blood.
Jay turned on Blake and as the bullets hit and then began to tear into his face. Jay bellowed an odd gurgling noise that sounded oddly mocking. As he did he slammed his fists into the earth narrowly missing Blake. The shockwave knocked him off balance enough for Jay to pull his fists sideways and hurl Blake through the closed marble doors of a nearby crypt.
Jay grabbed a limb from the fallen tree and used it as a bat to catch Albert as he moved from the shadows with his shotgun. Albert lifted up off the ground and launched up into the sky. “Be gone Impaler, you’ve had your chance.”
Mike hurled more balls of flame at his old friend. Jay turned and rushed forward. “Ah the Traitor. Tell me boy, how does it feel to betray everything you’ve ever loved. Your parent’s, your family, and now your best friend. Do you think you can stop me? You couldn’t even save Tina.” Jay crouched down and screamed into Mike’s face.
The warmth in Mike’s body flickered and faded as he locked eyes with his childhood friend. “Your mother cries every night. Has your father ever really understood what sort of man you are? You destroyed your computer and stole his gun, can you really make up for that?”
Mike stared up at his old friend, he was right of course. Mike’s father would never forgive this, not this. What would he have left once he got home. Certainly his parents would throw him out and where would he go then? He pulled the 38 from his pocket, it still had three rounds in it. It would be so easy.
And yet something played at the back of his mind. He looked away into the distance and saw a bright light. Jay followed his gaze, “that’s right Mike, it’s the Lord and he’s calling you home.” Mike stared at the light as it grew, there was something about it that made him feel warm inside. Something that filled him with familiarity. “Just pull the trigger once and it will all be over. The pain will be gone.”
Mike thumbed the safety off and looked at his fathers gun. It would be so easy now. He cocked the hammer and started to raise the pistol to his head. “I’m sorry.”
Jay rocked backwards as Adam stepped into Mikes field of vision bringing both his fist across Jay’s jaw. Jay surprised by the sudden attack staggered back trying to raise his head and regain his footing. Adam moved in quickly swinging again and again at Jay pushing him back farther and farther from Mike. “Don’t listen son, it’s all a bunch of lies.”
Suddenly the bright light washed over him and music filled the air as the teams truck slammed through the wrought iron fence metal stakes tearing into its front, shredding the tires and wrenching the grill loose. The truck bounced off the pavement and slammed into Jay as he staggered backwards. Music filled the area blasting from the trucks sound system.
With the musical battle cry, “with the swords of a thousand men,” Wulf burst from the truck a knife in each hand white hot runes blazing away.
“Ah, the beast…” was as far as Jay got before Wulf pounced forward and drove both of his blades into the small of Jays back. Wulf then pulled one knife out and embedded it higher up Jays back next to his spine and in this way began to climb Jay aiming for his neck. Jay spun trying to dislodge the madman from his back as Wulf drew himself higher and higher. When Wulf finally reached the apex of his climb he let out a howl of rage and drove his knifes one at a time into Jays neck.
The back of the truck swung open and Wells stood awkwardly trying to keep his footing under the weight of a huge Gatling cannon. “Adam, come get Mary off my hands.”
Jay had finally managed to get his hands on Wulf and flipped him over slamming him down on a wrought fence driving some of the spiked poles up through his armor. He then spun on Wells as he handed the gun to Adam, “ah, the Madman. So what does it feel like to be a failure.”
Wells leaned to Adam who had taken Mary in one hand and was feeding a chain into the weapon, “What is he?”
“Thank you.” Wells cracked his neck and yelled at Jay, “all right, you wanna play. Let‘s play. Maybe if you weren’t some whiney failure of a revolutionary, whose biggest accomplishment was to get kicked out of the really good party. It’s been so long since you’ve felt God’s love you wouldn’t know it now if it bit you on the ass. The best part of this whole thing, is that the only reason you threw your little tantrum was because daddy loved us more. Looking at you and the stink of failure that wafts off of you like crap in a tornado makes me wish closing my eyes did anything. So tell me Nancy, how does it feel to be second best?”
Jay screamed in unholy rage, grabbed Wells, and slammed him into the truck again and again. The windshield buckled, glass and metal flew of in huge chunks, the headlights exploded out, and the music skipped. In a final swift burst of frustration Jay launched Wells into the night. As Jay bellowed into the darkness huge tears began streaming down his face. Mike slowly lowered the 38 and dropped it to the ground.
The mechanical whir of a small engine roared to life as Adam walked forward, his now loaded Gatling cannon braced against his hip and an ammo chain feeding into the gun from a green case slung over his other shoulder. Every bullet tore into Jay leaving huge rents as chunks of flesh, blood, and sinew were ripped free and sent spilling out behind him. Jay’s cries echoed out against the night as the bullets cut him down.
Mike felt the warmth slowly return as he watched Adam move forward and the music wash over him. He stepped forward his hands bursting into flames once more. He hurled the flames into his old friend as Jay’s body slowly fell away and his size reduced. He hurled flames at his old friend as the toga shifted into a once familiar trench coat. He hurled flames until the Gatling canon motor stopped and his friends black hair returned. He hurled flames until Adam touched him on the shoulder and moved him away from his old friend.
* * *
It was hours later when the a small hunched man in overalls arrived with a flatbed to take the truck away. The rest of the team had returned one by one from their various landing places through out the graveyard. Wulf had pulled himself from the wrought iron post and was doing pretty well. In fact if he hadn’t known any better Mike would swear nothing had happened to him at all. They’d had to go find Wells who’d broken a leg when he’d landed and help him back to the area. Blake had staggered out of the crypt shortly after the fight ended. He had been dazed but seemed no the worse for wear. Albert had walked back on his own and looked weak, almost exhausted. He’d climbed into the back of the truck and picked up a thermos from the back asking to be left alone for a while.
As the hunched man went about loading the truck onto the flat bed Mike stood around and talked to Adam, “so that was a fallen angel?”
“Yeah, not what you were expecting?”
“I always thought, you know forked tail and stuff.”
“Common misconception. Their punishment was to no longer bask in His love, misshapen and deformed is just something people decided had happened.”
“Why was he talking to us that way? Kept calling us, traitor, many, madman. He was talking about our failures?”
“If he can get someone to kill themselves in his name, it completes the ritual and his transformation to this world becomes permanent. They all have some sort of trigger like that. His was suicide.”
“Why did he call everybody what he called them anyway, I get why he called me traitor, but the many? The impaler?”
There was movement from the ground where the angel had been defeated. Jay stood up in the middle of the circle. He moved forward on shaky legs, his hands gripping the edge of the star shaped monument, “Mike?
Is that you?”
“Jay. You’re alive?” Mike jumped up and started to move towards his old friend when Albert stepped in-between them and plunged a wooden stake into Jay’s chest. For a long moment Jay stood there with a look of surprise on his face and then burst in to dust and separated on the wind.
“There are enough vampires in the world.” Albert turned faced Mike, “that’s why he called me impaler.”
A new voice drifted out of the darkness, “Really, because if I remember my history there was an entirely different reason for it.” A tall, lanky man in a duster walked into the clearing carrying a long wooden staff. “In the words of every English Bobbie ever, what’s all this then?”
Albert stepped away from Mike and leaned against the flatbed, “took you long enough to get here.”
“Traffic was terrible, there were zombies backing up the expressway. Thank you for your concern Mr. Bitey or do you prefer Count Bitey?”
“God, I hate you.”
Mike watched the exchange between the two men and asked, “who are you?”
Albert spoke up, “in the interest of a straight answer. He’s the man whose going to take you to the wizards for training.”
“But I thought…”
“I’m not the kind of training you need, I use a different power source than you. He’ll get you the training you need.”
“Can I still talk to you from time to time?”
“Certainly.” Albert placed his hand on Mike’s shoulder, “you’re a good kid and I’ll bet that one day you’ll do great things. Right now they need you and you need them. This’ll be the best for everyone.”
“If, if you say so.”
The hunched man approached and coughed politely, “a cab has been summoned for you and your compatriots sir, it should be at the castle out front soon. I’m ready to leave and with your permission I will take the truck back to the garage.”
“Certainly Jim, that would be fine We’ll be sending Wells with you since he won’t make it to the front on his leg. Drop him at Dr. Jack’s then bring the truck to the garage.”
As Adam walked by carrying him Wells nodded to the new man, “stretch.”
They watched the truck drive away and the rest of the team came over to say good bye to Mike. He shook each man’s hand before they headed off. He watched them go listening to Wulf and Albert talk about tweaking the runes on the armor for a better result.
Mike reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone to call home and sparks shot out of the key pad.
“Not another one.”
“We don’t get along very well with technology.” The new man placed his arm around Mike’s shoulder and started walking him towards the street. “Let me buy you a cup of coffee and I’ll tell you all about it."
I hope you all enjoyed it. If you get a chance head on over to facebook and tell me what you thought or just leave a comment below. Until next time, happy Halloween.
A slight edit here, we've continued the story of team and if you're interested in seeing their next adventure head on over to The Sorority Snow Bunnies on Death Mountain.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Right vs. Wrong
They battle every day
Through the gleaming glass towers of Metropolis
The farmers ethic vs. corporate greed
They match wits at night
In the dark twisted shadows of Gotham alleys
A child’s need for order vs. the chaos of the world
They test their strength
Across Gateway cities urban canvas of color and sound
A woman’s self reliance vs. using sex as her only asset
They face their foes
Through Coast City a testament to mans desire to rise again
Force of will vs. fear of failure
They meet in combat
Through the crowded, life teeming streets of Central City
The need of progress vs. the desire to go back
They clash like mighty armies
Through the undersea life filled plazas of Atlantis
Living with nature vs. ruling it
They have always meant more
Than people in colorful costumes
These are the heroes of my youth
Hey all, hope you enjoy the new poem a new topic vote is up on Facebook head on over and leave vote for next week or leave a comment about this poem, I'd love to hear the.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Extra-Life after action report
Well, as promised I'm back to give a more detailed report on the events of the day. I started at exactly 8:00 a.m. playing Ocrs Must Die 2 and eating a doughnut from the dozen I had picked up from Stan the Donut Man. I had decided it would be nice to have breakfast for everyone who came.
At about 8:20 my first guest arrived, Allison Duke, and she brought a dozen doughnuts from Bill’s doughnuts. We started with Castle Panic, a game of tower defense where you are the defenders of a castle besieged by orcs, goblins, and troll. Since it’s an easy game to add people to and plays well with two players I had it set up the night before to make sure we could play right as soon as people arrived. We did this for about an hour before my third guest arrived mid-game. Joe Herbert, also entering with a dozen doughnuts from Krisp Kreme, preceded his brother Mark, who did not bring doughnuts, by about ten minutes.
After two successful games the four of us switched to Smash Up until Allison’s husband John showed bearing Wendy’s. Smash up is a card game where you take two decks of cards representing different factions and shuffle them together and attempt to destroy bases better than the other players. The current games factions include; dinosaurs, Martians, ninjas, pirates, robots, tricksters, wizards, and zombies, so you can imagine how strange some of the combinations get. While finishing our game of Smash Up and discussing playing Risk: Legacy an old friend of mine I hadn’t seen in quite sometime, Scot Lane, arrived to great fan faire. Since there were six of us it was decided to put off playing Risk and instead play a game John had brought, Flash Point: Fire Rescue.
Flash Point is a co-operative game where you play firefighters attempting to save people from a burning building. It’s really hard, fire keeps popping up all over the board while your running in and out trying to save people. Everyone has a different roll on the squad that comes with it‘s own special rules, from the Fire Chief who can move other characters on his turn to the paramedic who can heal people in the building so they are easier to get in and out. It’s a tough, nearly impossible game where if anything goes wrong it does so in spades. Giant flaming spade that are twenty feet high. It’s a lot of fun, after we lost our first two games we still wanted to play again right away. We finally succeeded on our third game just after Joe left for work. To be fair, I’m not saying we won because Joe left, I’m just saying Joe left and we won. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
Dinner was finished, I had decided to make crock-pot chili and try something a little different. Have you ever made pulled pork in the crock-pot where you leave it in there with some liquid to cook for 8-10 hours and get all tender and fall apart? When you do that in chili it’s amazing. I hope to do it again someday but will need a bigger crock-pot.
Since there were once again five of us we played Risk: Legacy. Some people have commented on how they used to play Risk and thought it was interesting that we got to play that as well. This is not that Risk, the game comes with several packets that you don’t open until things happen during the game, some of which can’t happen until you’ve opened some of the packs. Certain events cause irreparable changes be made to the board. Cities are founded, countries are destroyed, and lands are irradiated. You literally rip cards in half because you will never use them again. It is one of the most amazing games I have ever played, makes you oddly giddy. Everyone who came yesterday played at least one game and has signed the board, I will be posting a picture later, not of the front of the board, the part we signed. No spoilers here.
As the games of Risk went on, a friend of mine names Keith Tyra showed up and sat in giving us the shortest ever game of Risk in History, 6 turns. My Niece, Molly and here father Mike Mayne showed up, I am going to have to get Molly to sign the board since she was nice enough to roll dice for me. They stayed long enough to drop some stuff off and then had to run.
A woman I used to work with, Amberly Hoffman showed up next and we discovered the small world principal still in action. It turns out that she and Mark knew each other from a job they both had but had no idea the three of us knew one another. After catching up we played a quick game of Dixit. Dixit is a game of deduction on empathy where you play cards with very beautiful art on them and try and guess whose is whose. It’s very fun, but as it was a bit past midnight we we’re getting confused and having a bit of trouble thinking.
We played another game of Risk so Amberly could sign the board.
Afterwards we tried a quick game of Descent which is a semi-cooperative dungeon delving adventure game. This was also one of John’s and sadly as he had been painting some of the figures and taken the monsters stat cards out of the box we had to cobble the figures stats together from memory, and the internet. We still had fun and the heroes managed to just beat the bad guys in the last turn of the game. And alas after a hard days work Amberly had to go.
Joe returned and we broke out a game called seven wonders and played a few games of this. Seven Wonders is a game where each player is a different ancient civilization attempting to build it’s own wonder of the world while also advancing it’s civilization. Everyone gets a hand of cards selects and plays one and then passes then rest to their neighbors. This continues for three rounds making the game not only, what you need to improve your nation but keeping your neighbor from getting what he needs. We finished three games and then sadly Scot had to go and bid us all a fond farewell.
We played a final game of Risk so Joe could sign the board. They’re becoming much more vicious and hard hitting.
We got out Smash up and played some more until Keith had to leave do to time and exhaustion. With just three of us left we decided to play Castle Panic and end the day the way we had started. In the last half hour I started to get a little fuzzy and fade in and out. In the end I made it the full 24 hours and we saved the castle. Most importantly we raised $270 for children’s miracle network.
I want to thank everyone who came and played; Allison Duke, Joe Herbert, Mark Herbert, John Duke, Keith Tyra, Scot Lane, Molly Mayne, and Amberly Hoffman. I’d also like to thank everyone who sponsored me; Alex Gifford, Scot Lane, Terri Furnas, Fred Mayne, Marianne Mayne, Adam Green, and Susan Thomas. Without you this wouldn’t have happened. I would also like to thank my Grandmother whose house we used for the event. Thanks again to everyone. It was a great day.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Greetings all, we've arrived at week three and story three. Once again we're following the adventures of the Paranormal S.W.A.T. if you'd like to see them from the beginning head back to Cul-De-Sac to Hell. This week we take a look at the idea that not all monsters are supernatural or strangers. Hope you enjoy it and remember to tune in next week for a more traditional story of monsters and beasts.
Supernatural Weapons & Arcane Tactics
Supernatural Weapons & Arcane Tactics
The Death Squad of Champaign County
It was an hour after sunset when the trucks headlights broke the thick fog that clung to the ground like a wet carpet. It was particularly dense this time of year as the temperature began to drop and the dense canopy from the forest blocked the little heat provided by the sun. The truck shuddered under the weight of it’s cargo as it bounced on the lip of the bridge over the river that nearly encircled the town. The truck slowed as it approached the massive protective barrier built around the town and passed through the huge stone gate before finally entering the town of Refuge.
Before the truck had even stopped Douglas Wulf, close quarters fighter and wilderness survival expert, jumped out and jogged the last few yards to the community square. People filed out of beautiful ranch homes and called out in excitement gathering around Wulf to pat him on the back and hug him. Cheerfully he returned the hugs and greetings, stopping to pat children on the head, and smiling at the faces of long missed friends.
“Hello brother,” a tall powerfully built man with long blond hair hanging loosely down his back waved as he walked towards the gathering. “It is good to have you home.”
“Joseph,“ Wulf broke away from the crowd and moved up the slight hill towards his brother where they hugged deeply for several seconds. “It is good to see you as well, I only wish it were under happier circumstances.”
“It is what it is.” Joseph nodded toward the rest of the team as they unloaded from the truck, “and why are they here?”
“Their my team.”
Joseph stepped away not taking his eyes off the others, “This is a community matter, we should deal with it ourselves.”
“No.” Wulf shook his head, “There’s a team of heavily armed killers coming here to murder every man, woman, and child. You call me and tell me this and think I’m not gonna bring the best people I know for this sort of thing. If you wanted this handled internally then you shouldn’t have called me.”
Captain Albert Card, the teams leader and sorcerer, approached the two men stretching his arms and wiping the sleep from his eyes. “Hello, Joseph. I’m glad we could come up and help.” He reached out his hand to take Josephs.
Placing his hands in his pockets, “it was unnecessary. We can deal with this problem ourselves.”
Albert pulled his hand back, “I have no doubt of that, but we need to know where these people came from and who gave them their information. Historically, you fine people don’t leave anyone in any kind of condition to answer these questions. Do you at least know why their here?”
“Yes, We know why their here, they did in fact announce their intentions. It was awful decent of them, they gave us twenty-four hours to repent our sins and give up witchcraft.”
Wulf let out a bark of laughter, “they think you’re witches?”
“Yes, it is very amusing.” Joseph smiled and joined Wulf in his laughter.
Albert turned toward the truck and started back, “God, I hate witch hunters.”
Dr. Griffin Wells, the teams scout and forensics expert, watched as Albert approached, “so what’s the word?”
“There‘s witch hunters in the mist, on the upside I’m pretty sure their cocky and self confident.”
“What makes you think that?”
“They’re not here yet. Seriously, if we we’re going after just a coven of witches, much less an entire community, you guys would have hit it long before now. You don’t go after witches at night? That and since their still not here I’m guessing they’re planning on hitting the community at midnight, so it’ll be more challenging or God help us honorable.”
Rabi Adam Stein, expert in religious studies and heavy weapons operator, stepped out of the back of the truck carrying an assault shotgun, “so these are just people?”
Wells looked into the back of the truck, “that means regular bullets. Do we have regular bullets?”
Adam ignored him, “Do you want to wait here and set up a perimeter?”
Albert looked around the town, “I’d rather not, there’s going to be to much collateral damage if we fight here. Ultimately, I’d like to take it to them.”
Adam began fastening his armor over his black turtleneck, “if we do in fact have to fight that makes sense, but how do we find them in between now and then?”
Albert looked over at the teams final member, who was throwing a ball with some of the local children. “I think we should send Blake.”
“Are you sure about that,” said Wells, “that’s a pretty big break of the ‘never split up’ rule. Plus if anyone was going do it, it should be me. I mean, I am the sneakiest bastard here.”
Albert sighed, “true to both, but with seventy-five percent of the terrain out there being rivers and ponds, I’m guessing it’ll be hard for you to find a path and with water it’s got to be Blake. As for splitting up, while that’s a great rule for the supernatural, these are a bunch of guys with guns and I don’t foresee them having the same response skill set. Plus their looking for witches, not us. I seriously doubt they will have prepared for us.”
Wells chuckled, “you want to cackle maniacally and hope for lightning?”
Adam reached into one of the drawers in the truck and pulled out a flare gun, “I’d at least give him this. If he gets into trouble he can signal for help.”
Albert took the flare gun and called Blake over. Blake Lagoona, trained in aquatic operations and a gifted sniper, tossed the ball back to one of the kids, waved and jogged back to the team. Using sign language he asked, (what do you need boss).
Albert quickly laid out the plan for him and handed Blake the flare gun. Giving him an hour and no more he sent Blake off. Blake jogged away and with a barley audible splash dove into the river and was gone.
After they watched him go Adam separated from Wells and Albert to let them plan the rest of the evening. He slowly walked over to were Wulf was leaning against a house watching some children play and leaned his seven foot frame against the wall, “you OK?”
“Yeah, it’s just been to long since I was back.”
“Other than two weeks ago?”
“No, I mean, I don’t know.”
“It’s OK, I understand, you haven’t spent any real time here since we formed the team. A long weekend every three weeks or so isn’t the same as a prolonged visit. Maybe next month, when the busy season passes, you can take a bit off and spend real time here?”
“I’d like that. I just miss this place so much. And it feels weird to be here now, like I’m a stranger in my own home. There’s new faces, I used to greet everyone who came here, and help with the transition. Plus with everything on the internet lately and all the increased activity out there.” Wulf made a vague motion with his hand in the direction of Chicago. “I just want a chance to be normal again.”
“To be fair, normal set sail on the five of us a long time ago.”
“Saying that, I’ll talk to Albert and make sure you get to spend real time here after the Halloween.”
* * *
Two hours later, the team was gathered in the woods just outside of a small camp full of men. With only a couple of hours till midnight Adam had convinced Albert to attempt to talk it out. “After all,” he had argued, “they think they’re hunting witches, if they find out the truth they may just leave.”
The camp itself was a small sparse affair, set up in a very military fashion with clean lines and minimal waste. As Albert approached the camp he noted no singing, which probably meant no alcohol. He had hoped for alcohol, it would have been a sign that they were armatures. There were fifteen men in the camp, at least that had been Blake’s best estimate without getting to close. They were clearly getting ready for a raid and each one moved with the precision born of routine, gathering gear, prepping weapons, and donning armor.
They had set up in what was now a fairly large clearing, maybe fifty feet across, and several recently removed trees spoke to just how they had gotten such a large perimeter. Several large halogen lights were pointed out into the new field and the hum of the generator that had led Blake to them whirred on. One side of the camp had backed up against a lake and several flat bottom fan boats stood at the ready, clearly their planned approach on Refuge.
Albert stood in the woods just outside of the light, and listened for the team to report they had arrived at their positions. Three good to go’s and a double click let him know everyone was in place. With that he gave a short count and called out, “Hey, you in the camp.”
Everyone immediately turned and began readying weapons, he could hear bolts being slammed closed and clips being driven home. The men he could make out from his hiding spot had begun focusing on the woods in all directions, though quite a few had discerned his location and were aiming weapons at his position.
“Hold your fire. I’m coming out to talk.” Albert with his hands up at his sides walked out of the woods and moved a few feet into the clearing. At this point he was an easy target, even if his armor hadn’t had the glowing white runes on it, but all he could do was wait until someone in charge said something.
Finally, a man in his mid thirties came out of a slightly larger tent in the middle of the camp. He took one last drag on a cigarette and blew out the smoke in a long slow inhale before flicking the butt off into the lake. “Stay ready men, but less not star’ shootin’ jus’ yet.” He moved to the edge of the camp and called out to Albert, “you wanna meet half way? Would tha’ be ecumenical to you?”
“That would be agreeable.”
“Very well. Now, I suppose I don’t have ta tell ya,” indicating the armed men around him, “I got a mess a guns trained on you. Just like I’m certain you got at least a couple trained on me.”
“I suppose not.”
Albert moved slowly towards his new opponent sizing him up as he went. Albert’s eyes flickered over the mans pearl handled revolver tucked loosely into a leather holster on his right hip. Military issue combat fatigues were neatly pressed and tucked fastidiously into the tops of his calf skin combat boots. Custom fit combat armor clung to his body but still allowed for a distinct swagger as he strolled easily across the field. Albert stopped short of the ten foot mark looking at the ornate iron crucifix that hung loosely from the mans neck.
With a slight bow the man said, “Colonel Darius Jacobs Winterhaven, at your service.”
“Albert Ulysses Card,” and returned the bow.
“Am I to assume ‘at this is about ‘at little town up ta rivah.?”
“Refuge. It is. I’d like to ask you to take a pass on this one and go away. Quite frankly, violence would be inconvenient tonight.”
“We gave ‘em the opportunity ta repent thay sins. Thay ‘ave chosen not to. If thay wish to keep witchcraft in thay ‘arts then I fear we ‘ave no choice but to cleanse ‘em.”
“I would accept that if it were true, hell we’d help, but they aren’t witches.”
Darius pulled a pack of cigarettes from his chest pocket, “Ya mind If’n I smoke?”
Darius tapped a long thin European cigarette from the pack and offered one to Albert who refused. After returning the pack he removed a silver lighter with an ornate cross on the side from the same pocket that lit with a dancing green flame. “A filthy habit, I should quit, but in this line a work it’s rarely the cigarettes tha’ kill ya.”
“To often that’s the truth. Did your lighter tell you what you needed to know?”
Darius chuckled, “I see your versed in tha tools of tha trade. It says you think your tellin’ tha truth. However, yull ‘ave ta forgive my doubt at your intentions, your runes do speak a differen’ story.”
“I’ve never claimed to be good. In fact, in our line of work, I often find the opposite to be far more useful.”
“You could repent. I’d be willlin’ and capable of hearin‘ ‘ur confession.”
“I’ll give you points for persistence. Sadly, I cannot be saved. I’ve spilled far to much blood, guilty and innocent, to ever be redeemed.”
“It sounds ta me like your punishin’ yourself. It is a choice I can respect even though I don‘t necessarily agree wit‘ it.” He took a long drag on the cigarette, “As to the residents of the town, we have iron clad proof that they is what we claim.”
“I want to be perfectly clear on this. You have proof their witches?” Albert locked eyes with Darius it was his most subtle trick and something he felt the men in camp wouldn‘t notice at this range. He held Darius’s attention keeping they’re eyes locked, the lighter conversation had been just enough of a distraction form him to pull off the mesmerism.
“Proof they witches, absolutely. We don’ jus’ wipe out whole villages cause we feel like it.”
“I’d love to see your proof.”
“See our proof, absolutely.” Darius yelled over his shoulder, “Johnson. Bring me the folder from my tent.”
A young man, somewhere in his early twenties, shouldered his weapon and jogged back into the large tent, after a few moments he jogged out to the middle of the clearing holding a think manila envelope. As he approached he held the file out to their Colonel who was about to grab it from him.
“Could he give me the file?”
“You the file, absolutely. Son take it over to ‘im.”
Johnson paused a moment, “yes sir,” then he walked over and handed the file to Albert.
“I don’t think we need anymore targets out here, I wouldn’t mind pausing while Mr. Johnson gets back to camp.”
“Back ta camp, absolutely. Johnson, get yourself under some cover.”
“Yes sir.” Johnson turned and jogged back to the barricade.
“You mind if I take a moment to look at this?”
“Look at it, absolutely.”
Albert quickly opened the file and began flipping pages, “So, I‘m guessing Johnson is reporting back that something’s wrong right now isn‘t he?.”
“Something wrong, absolutely.”
“I’m guessing your all programmed to use the word absolutely at the end of every sentence when hypnotized.”
“It’s a shame really, I like you and in another place and time I think we would have been friends.”
A low wumph echoed from the camp and Albert turned and ran for the woods as a tear gas canister slammed into Darius’s back, knocking him face first to the ground. Albert used the cover of the cloud to mask his movements as he ran for the lifesaving cover of the trees. Flares of light and noise exploded behind him as his own team began taking out the halogen lights illuminating the field. As he dove forward into the woods bullets ricocheting off his armor Wulf moved out of the darkness just a little way off to one side in a low crouch.
Wulf moved quickly across the field the red runes on his armor giving off little light through the cloud of teargas. When he ducked into the cloud, the Colonel was presumably back to camp with the rest of his men. Wulf sprawled on the ground listening to the shots coming from the woods on both sides easily able to recognize the HK assault rifles of Adam and Wells over the Remington’s used by the witch hunters.
After a few moments of intense fire everyone began to start reloading and waiting for someone to give up their position in the woods. Wulf took one deep breath and raised himself up on his knees and elbows. After a three count he charged into the camp and in a few short strides and one leap he was over the wall into the midst of their enemy.
He danced around, his twin knives flashing against the armor and flesh of the witch hunters. At first there was panic, how did he get there so quickly, none of them had prepared for this, they had come to fight witches, not commandos. Each of Wulf’s blades became less and less effective as the men switched from their rifles to the more personal weapons. They began to coordinate and push back, he felt a knife strike his arm and another blade dig into his leg. He began to falter and moaned into his ear piece, “anytime now.”
In answer Adam cried out, “grab dirt.”
Wulf stepped backwards away from his foes and with a quick movement dove over the barricade just as Adam began firing his automatic shotgun through the camp at waist height. Tents exploded and men screamed as the shells tore through armor and flesh. Adam slowly moved the weapon from right to left toward the lake cutting men down as he went. Under his breath he gave up a small prayer for each of their souls.
As his gun destroyed the camp Adam began walking, his dark imposing from moving slowly forward, he was death himself come on judgment day. Some men stood and tried to fire back but even as they raised their weapons he cut them down. Some men ran, and as they fled Adam watched as one lone man rifle in hand stood to defend his fallen friends.
Johnson stood readying his rifle, trying to grasp the trigger not realizing his arm was gone. Adam stepped over the barrier and took the gun from the young man.
“It’s all right son. You can rest now.”
Johnson began to cry, “I don’t want to be buried in a swamp. I wanna go home.”
“I promise, I’ll get you home.” Adam, lay the young man to the ground, closed his eyes, and waited for him to be gone.
Wells watched as two men came charging towards him in the dark, at the last minute he stepped out and prepared to fire his trusty sawn-off. As he pulled the trigger one of the men, higher ranking by the decorations on his shoulder grabbed the other and used his body as a shield. Both of Wells barrels emptied into the mans chest knocking him back into the officer.
The officer shoved the dead man forward, and drew a long thin rapier from his waist then moved towards Wells. Wells stepped to the dead body and grabbed a similar sword from it’s belt then holding his shotgun in his left hand and the sword in his right he began backing away. His feet stumbled over the roots and trees about him and the officer lunged, Wells barely deflecting the blade into his shoulder.
The officer pushed his advantage, stabbing into Wells leg forcing his to stagger off to one side. Wells swung the sword inexpertly in a wide stroke and the officer blocked the blade easily. Wells tried again and again each strike easily blocked by the officer. Wells lunged and the officer parried and brought the blade up and drove it into Wells side just under his armored vest. Wells staggered back, his breath coming in short labored gasps.
“Ah, my friend, you are pitiful.”
“Thanks, I practice.”
I have spent years training with a sword and you clearly have rarely, if ever held one. Do you really think you can beat me?”
“I don’t have to kill you. I just have to distract you long enough for my friend, the walking murder machine, to sneak up on you with his knives.”
The officer spun, his sword at the ready to block the strike from Wulf’s blades. As he turned Wells stepped forward and rammed his sword up into the mans back. As the last breath gurgled from his lips Wells laughed, “Seriously, you fell for look out behind you? God, your stupid.”
Off in the distance the last few men charged up the shore towards the airboats only to have them explode as they reached them. As they staggered backwards grasping at their heads to recover from the explosions Blake leapt up out of the lake, his assault riffle poised and ready. Several men realizing what had happened began grabbing weapons and preparing to defend themselves until Blake made it evident that he would shoot them. They each paused and, after a moment of indecision, dropped their guns.
* * *
In the end, sixteen men died and three were taken prisoner. As Adam and Albert searched the camp for information and ID’s they noticed a complete lack of the Colonel. Somehow in the midst of all the fighting he had managed to sneak away.
They had been searching for an hour when Joseph and a few men from the village had come up. Joseph greeted Wulf with a smile, “brother, it is good to see you have survived the evening. I see that you were successful.”
Wulf remained seated on the sandbags and looked at Joseph, “Yeah. We all did.”
“Of course, good news all around.”
Albert stepped forward holding a beat up file, “I was wondering when you’d show.”
Without taking his eyes off Joseph Wulf broke in, “if you don’t mind Al, I think I’ll handle this myself.”
Albert handed Wulf the folder and backed away slowly.
“Brother, what is the matter?”
“We found their information about the village, god bless armored foot lockers. Although, I’m guessing you’ll have a different opinion.” Wulf threw the file at Joseph. “This is all you, every piece of information is from you.”
“Brother, I don not know where you got your information, but…”
“Do you really think we’re that stupid. We’ve seen the website. You think we don’t know that exists? You think we haven’t seen the forum posts, Facebook page, and the editorials. Do you know Refuge is on a cult watch list?” Wulf jumped to his feet and began pacing. “You think I didn’t notice the two new faces?”
“I don not know…”
“The kid and the older guy who every fiber of his being screams PI. The kids depressed as hell, did you even talk to his parents, let him talk to his parents, explain what were trying to do here?”
“They would not understand.”
“Of course not, and what could possibly go wrong with that system. Oh, I know they hire a private investigator to find their son. That man looks afraid to breath out loud. I don’t think he’s slept in a week.”
“I handled it, he is in the community now, everything is going to be fine.”
“Yeah, because once the PI stops reporting in everyone’s gonna drop it. I mean it’s not like anyone’s gonna to call the cops.”
“You have been gone too long, you do not understand. You need to come home, then everything will be OK.”
“Is. Is that what this is all about? Getting me to come home?”
“Of course, now that you have seen the community is in danger you have to come home to help protect us. The outside world is no place for us, you should never have left. But that does not matter now, once we deal with these three and your team no one will bother us anymore. Even if they do we will simply handle it as we have been. They can join the community or they can die.”
Silence filled the clearing for a long moment until Wells broke it by audibly pumping his shotgun.
One of Josephs men turned to grin at Wells, “you think you can stop me little man?”
“You bet Sparky. Now you and Puddles sit before I rub your noses in it.”
Wulf stood in silence for a long time and starred at Joseph and the others. Slowly he sat back on the barrier starring at his brother. “Sixteen good men died tonight because you want me to come home?”
“They weren’t good men, they were hunters.”
“No, they were good men, they were just lied to. We’ve looked at your frame up, it’s absolute. Since their Colonel escaped I can only assume they’ll be more unless something is done about it.”
“As I said, we will handle it Brother.”
Wulf stood and in one smooth motion drew a knife from his waist, spun it upright, and drove it up under Josephs ribs into his heart. “You’ve handled enough brother.” As he slowly slid his brother to the ground he drew the blade and looked at the crimson runes dancing across the surface of the silver blade. It didn’t give him the reassurance he had hoped for.
* * *
Adam finished loading Johnson’s body into the coffin in the back of the truck while most of the team sat nearby and watched the mourners carry Josephs body away. The three prisoners had been locked in a small house on one side of the village for their own safety. Albert watched Wulf walk away from an excited young man and back towards the team. “What do you think he’ll do?”
Adam thought on it for a second, “what’s right.”
Wulf came to a stop a little way from the group, “Hey guys.”
Adam walked away and motioned for Wells and Blake to follow. Albert looked at Wulf, “kid looks happy.”
“Yeah, I told him to call his parents and invite them up here. They need to know what were doing and be walked through how this place works. Everybody here has the same disease, once we stop treating it as a greater than thou calling, everything should be fine.”
“So, you’re staying?”
“For a little while yeah. I looked at the books and Joseph has totally screwed this place up. There’s stuff we never found, he’s really made a mess of how this place looks from the outside.”
“What about the new guys?” Albert nodded to the house with the three witch hunters.
“I think I need to arrange a meeting with their superiors and try and figure out how to achieve a peace. I don’t want to keep going to war with these people, they‘re really good.”
“Well, if you need anything give us a call. We’re only two hours away, provided the expressway isn’t a parking lot.”
“So, your three hours away.” They laughed, longer than necessary. “There is something, the new tack armor you got worked up for me, could you send it up, I’ll try it out next week and see if it does what you say.”
“If you’re sure?”
“Next month is October and you seem to think you’re not gonna need me at full capacity plus a little extra for every night of the month?”
“Ok, we’ll send it up with the coffins and address for the men we killed. Adam is being insistent, apparently he made a promise.“
“Sound like him.”
“Anyway, I’ll see you in a couple weeks,” with that Albert climbed into the back of the truck, closed the door, and with three hours before sunrise they were gone.
Well I hope you enjoyed it. Head on over to facebook and let me know what you thought. And come back next week for...
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Hey all, I know it's a little late this week and I'm sorry for that. I hope you enjoy my poem about ghosts.
The Midnight Ball
Every night when cat howl greets the midnight tolls
The spirits waver in their cold lost homes beneath the earth
Rising up to a ghostly chorus that plays a forgotten tune
As the music takes them and faded memories of a life long gone
They twirl and whirl and spin and swoon about the stones
Each forgetting, if only for a little while, that it ended too soon
So what did you think? Leave a comment below or head on over to my facebook page and leave a comment there.
Friday, October 12, 2012
Well we have arrived at week 2 of October and here's my second story. The continuing adventures of our band of heroes introduced in the Paranormal S.W.A.T. and the Cul-de-sac to Hell. So let's see how they do facing a demon possessed rock band when some of the team are unavailable.
Supernatural Weapons & Arcane Tactics
The Heavy Metal Exorcism
SOLDIER FIELD IS PROUD TO PRESENT
TONIGHT FOR ONE SHOW ONLY
“Honestly, I expected something, I don’t know, clever.” Dr. Griffin Wells, the teams scout and forensics expert, turned to the others on the sidewalk, “they went with Beezle’s Band. It’s like they want us to know their from hell.”
Lieutenant Sarah Parker of the Chicago PD looked at him, “what were you expecting, Idle Hands?”
Wells thought about it for a second, “No, it’s probably taken.”
“If we’re done with the music critique,” asked Douglas Wulf, close quarters fighter and wilderness survival expert, as he stood in the back of the truck loading clips with green rings painted on them into his pistols. He then turned, faced out the back of the truck, and handed extra clips to Wells and Rabi Adam Stein, expert in religious studies and heavy weapons operator.
Adam took the rounds and went back to performing the last few steps of the ritual cleansing of his gear. Once he had finished he placed the purple linen sash, called a tallit, over his shoulders. He removed the Star of David from inside his blue turtle neck and let it dangle down the front of his chest, outside his armor. It was an old star, heavy and black, made from iron over two hundred years ago. He then took a large, and very old copy of the Torah from a special drawer lined with white felt in one of the cabinets, just inside the rear door. He placed the Torah carefully in a satchel with several glass vials filled with water. After he was finished he slung the satchel over his shoulder and secured it with a clip.
Sarah looked at the three assembled before her, “where’s the rest of the team?”
“We’ve left messages for Albert,” said Adam, “hopefully he’ll join us before to long but we can’t wait.” He glanced over at the setting sun, “we may have waited to long as it is. Once the sun sets they’ll be more powerful.”
“What about Blake?”
Adam pulled a micro headset out and handed it to Sarah who placed it in her ear. Then he held his hand up with three fingers extended. “How many fingers Blake?”
Blake Lagoona, the newest recruit trained in aquatic operations and a gifted sniper, was mute so the team had come up with an unique way of communicating and after a short pause they heard three clicks over the radio.
Adam smiled, “good to hear from you,” then to Sarah, “that’s the other reason we were late we had to drop him off, he’s over at One Museum Park so he could get up high enough to cover us.”
“OK,” Sarah said, “Sounds like we’re ready to head in.”
Wells turned to face her, “you’re adorable.”
“I’m not letting you guys go in alone. I’m going with you.”
Wulf looked down at her for a moment, “Ok.” he turned back into the truck and started rummaging through some of the lockers.
Adam turned to the back of the truck, “Wulf, you can’t be serious?”
“We’re down a man, we have extra vests, and a spare helmet. There’s a spare beanbag gun, and we have plenty of ammo. This is quicker than arguing, plus she’s just going to follow us in and this way she’ll have support, and equipment. What kind of gun do you use?”
It took Sarah a moment to realize the last comment was directed at her. “Glock 22 and I have my own vest.”
Wulf dropped out of the back of the truck with an arm load of gear, “and I’m sure it’s excellent protection against mobsters, bikers, and muggers.”
“Oh my,” said Wells.
Wulf held up one of their vests showing her the back which was inscribed with a series of glowing white runes. “The runes on this will protect you from far more than bullets.”
Sarah removed her police issue vest and put on the teams. She secured her holster on over the new vest and adjust the straps, then she hung a police issue baton from her belt. She quickly checked each piece of equipment to make sure she could draw her weapons smoothly.
“Speaking of bullets.” He handed her three clips of ammo for her glock with the green lines on them.
“Demons are pretty solid, you’ll need these. They’re Teflon and should punch a hole in their hides.”
Sarah took the clips, “Teflon bullets are illegal.” She ejected her own clip and placed the new clip in the gun making sure to chamber a round.
“Since we’re shooting demons not cops, I think you can give us a pass.” With a final movement he handed her a beanbag shotgun, “The first several people we’ll face will be mind controlled thralls, so we use these.”
Sarah’s phone rang and she pulled it from her pocket, looked at the screen. “Good it’s my contact in the stadium.”
Adam spun on her, “you’ve got a man in the stadium?”
“He’s in the control booth he can’t hear them.” She answered the phone with a crisp, “Parker.” She spoke quickly and quietly to the person on the other end and after a brief conversation she got a relieved look on her face. She turned to the team, “I think we’re OK guys, Ernie says the stadium’s being bathed in a Heavenly white light. So, this might not be what we thought.”
Wulf cursed grabbed Sarah’s phone and took of for Soldier Field at a dead run. Adam screamed, “let’s get in there,” then he and Wells turned, weapons in hand and took off just behind Wulf. Sarah paused only the barest flicker of a second before running after them while securing the loaner helmet into place, all the while trying to figure out exactly what was wrong.
Sarah caught up as they were passing through the front doors by the ticket counter. “I don’t understand. What’s the big deal?”
“Once your done get out.” Wulf hung up the phone and handed it back to Sarah. “White light was the Devils greatest trick.”
The team approached the first set of doors and fell into an easy pattern of covering each other as they went. “White light,” Adam began, “is evil. Most people think it’s Godly, but that’s the trick of it. White is cold, frozen, lifeless, empty it‘s the color of death. Red is the color of God and good. It’s love, lust, passion, it’s alive, vibrant.”
“But the Bible..”
“The Bible says Hell is the absence of God’s love. In hell you burn but are never consumed, only cold does that. The Devil convinced humanity, that white light is the color of God, Heaven, and purity. It’s the greatest lie he ever told.”
* * *
As they exited the locker room and approached the field they heard the sound of the band, but the crowd was frighteningly quiet. Wulf raised a hand to stop the group and looked back at Sarah, “we have a lot of rules that keep us alive and we don’t have time to go through them all. The one you must know, rule number one, we never split up. If you can’t see at least two other people, you’re out of position and you’re going to die. If you see something that needs handling, you let the team know and we all handle it. Splitting up is a death sentence. We clear?”
“Good, once we go out there we’re gonna face some thralls, until we get closer to the stage. At which point Blake will step in and take out the sound system. He’ll also cover us if necessary. Adam’s gonna exorcise the band, and the three of us will keep everything off of him. The roadies are going to be particularly nasty, since they’ve been exposed to the band the longest. Once the demons are pushed out of the band they’ll manifest and it’ll be up to us to take ‘em out. That’s when we go to the real weapons. On the plus side, your friend Ernie is actually gonna be real helpful once we hit the field.
“Everybody ready.” Once everyone had indicated they were ready, “Wells, call it when it’s clear.”
Wells hugged the wall to the end of the tunnel. Then looking out waited for a long moment. Sarah could feel her heart pounding as she always did in these situations. She heard Adam mumble, “Blake we’re going in. Two clicks.” and then the radio clicked twice in her ear.
Wells held up a hand with three fingers out stretched and everyone in the hall tensed. He slowly counted down, dropping one finger at every heartbeat. Two. One. Wells stepped forward into the light of the field and cried, “hike.”
They moved out onto the field, coming out near the end zone. The stadium, was filled to capacity and several hundred people stood quietly on the field swaying gently even though the loud music forcing it’s way off the stage was of an extreme tempo. The entire stadium was in fact bathed in what Sarah would have called a beautiful white light just twenty minutes ago. Beezle’s Band was set up in the far end zone, a massive stage surrounded by huge speakers was built up against the goal posts. All through the stadium signs of the band had taken over even most of the stadiums Bears logos had been covered by hanging banners of the various band members.
The team moved forward quickly, keeping their beanbag guns constantly tracking the nearby crowd in case something happened.
As they approached the twenty yard line, the stadium sound system, which apparently the band wasn’t using as part of the concert, kicked on. As they passed the thirty a new song began to fight against Maggot Mother, the bands newest hit. The forty yard line and the new song slowly began to grow in volume competing with the bands own music. Forty-five, the new song tickled the back of Sarah’s mind and she could almost identify it over Maggot Mother.
Sarah noticed that some of the nearby crowd was getting agitated, and as they passed the fifty yard line several audience members were beginning to look at them. The song on the PA reached a pitch comparable to the band as the first member of the audience turned to attack them and that’s when Sarah recognized the music. Ode to Joy caught up to Maggot Mother as a large man with a blue Mohawk turned and screamed at the team while charging forward. Wulf’s shotgun barked and the beanbag struck Mohawk in the face flipping him over backwards. Mohawk hung in the air for a long moment, the stadium paused as if holding it’s breath and then he slammed into the ground and the world exploded in rage.
Several members of the crowd let out a bestial, primal howl and started running towards the team. A gangly shirtless boy, no older than fifteen angled directly for Sarah, she planted her feet instinctively and put a bag in the boys stomach. The boys slight frame pulled up short and he gasped for breath as he staggered backwards. A woman pushed past him and charged the team, Wells gun fired past Sarah’s head catching the woman in the chest knocking her backwards into the boy.
They pressed on firing their shotguns at any one who got too close. They became a deadly dance of chaos and response. As they approached the forty more and more crowd began to move in on them, people were stepping on the fallen to reach the team. Some stumbled and in that moment of unexpected gravity a beanbag would catch them in the chest or gut and push them backwards.
At the thirty several more audience members than they could take individually started coming, Sarah had to aim her shots to put fallen targets in the way of approaching new ones. Still the screaming crowd came on.
When they reached the twenty she saw Adam’s gun click empty, so he threw it forward smashing an attacker in the face. Then as another approached he raised his huge foot and kicked one of the crowd in the chest shoving him backward and knocking him to the ground. He picked up one man in his massive hands and hurled into the crowd.
Wells had started using his gun as a club and was braining people who got to close. Sarah fired her last round as a huge man with a beer gut broke through the crowd and charged. Sadly the shot only staggered him and after taking a step backwards Beergut shook his head and finished his approach.
Sarah dropped the now empty shotgun and pulled the baton from her belt loop. Holding it with a practiced grip she changed her stance to give her a lower center of gravity and swung the stick up betweens Beergut’s leg knocking the momentum out of him and dropping him to his knees.
As the crowd began to overwhelm them and push them towards one another Adam called out, “I’m making a path, follow me.” With that he dropped his shoulder like a line backer and hurtled forward toward the end zone and the stage. Protecting the satchel the whole way as if it were the football that would win the big game he pushed through the crowd. With every step he knocked people out of his way, some got pushed to the side, some fell backwards landing on the ground where Adam promptly stepped on them.
The team fell in behind him racing to keep ahead of a crowd closing like the red sea after Moses lowered his arms. Something, someone clipped Sarah and she started to lose her balance. Wulf reached out with inhuman speed and half steadied half drug her the rest of the way. The whole time angry shouts and faces lunged at her from the crowd.
Suddenly they tumbled forward onto grass, the crowd behind them pushing up to the ten yard line but not past it. One man who’d gotten caught in front of Adam was now scrambling back over the line to be with the rest of the crowd. “Live weapons hot,” Wulf called out. Everyone started drawing their principal guns, Wells pausing only long enough to turn and hurl the Beanbag shotgun into the crowd, hitting a man in the front row in the face, splitting his nose open.
Adam drew the Torah from inside his satchel and opened to an old book mark in one smooth motion with the same sense of purpose Sarah used when pumping a shotgun. He started reading from the book in Hebrew holding his Star of David out in front of him. Though she’d never been particularly religious his words filled her with calm. His deep voice intoning words written thousands of years ago seemed to echo off the walls even louder than the music.
Sarah gripping her glock called to Wulf, “what about the crowd.”
“The compulsion that binds them to the band wont let them get any closer. We don’t have to worry about the crowd, we do have to worry about them,” he nodded forward to both sides of the stage where two groups of huge men with discolored skin carrying various large tools approached slowly trying to gauge the teams ability.
“Are these people?”
Wulf watched them approach, “not anymore, the skins not right, they’ve been corrupted to far.”
Wells nodded his head to the left, “check out shades.” He was indicating a large man, slightly taller than Adam, two small horns protruded from his temples and a trickle of blood down the side of his face showed they were a recent addition. A large tattoo ran down his left arm showing different odd symbols. “That tat marks him, he joined willingly.”
“That’s a masters mark,” said Wulf, “he probably summoned them. Wulf’s head quickly moved back and forth between the two groups slowly forming a circle around them. “Thirteen roadies. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we found the coven that summoned these bastards.”
One of the smaller roadies lunged forward, “good enough for me,” Wells yelled firing his sawn-off at the roadie, blowing a hole through his chest.
Suddenly, the field was bathed in sparks as one of the speakers exploded shaking the entire stage and the roadies swarmed the team. Sarah heard, Wulf’s twin pistols firing off to her side as she opened up with her glock. She fired with the kind of precision that’s born of hours on the firing range. Two shots center mass, next target. By the time they reached her she’d dropped three.
The first one to reach her hit her hard across the chest with a large chunk of piping. She fell backwards, even through the vest she stung with pain. He hit her again as she fell, she twisted her body to catch herself. Another speaker exploded as she hit the ground she felt a thick heavy hand fall on her back. The place it touched grew warm, and she heard her attacker let out a scream of agony. As the hand jerked away she stood herself up and turned to see her attacker backing up, his hand on fire.
She pulled her weapon up, held in both hands and put two in his chest. He fell backwards, the fire spreading from his hand to his clothes, filing the air with an acrid smoke. She was momentarily blinded as another speaker exploded. She blinked twice and her sight came clear in time to watch one of the roadies grappling with Wells. Wells held the roadie at bay with one hand, the creature clawing at his arm, as he shoved his sawn-off into the beasts neck and fired. The creatures body lurched backwards gripping Wells wrist as his head shot up into the air over the stage and through the goalposts. “And the kick is good.” Wells, pumped his fist into the air, except Sarah noticed that his arm ended at his sleeve. His hand was gone. She was about to scream when she realized there was no blood.
Her attention was drawn by Wulf who was going toe to toe with Shades, now the last standing roadie. Wulf had dropped his pistols and was dancing around his opponent with his two knives flashing in his hands. Shades stood and swiped at Wulf with his bare hands, now ending in long lethal looking claws. The claws hit Wulf’s sleeve and sparks danced off the armor. As Wulf dodged around his foe he lashed out, cutting him across the chest and arms.
As Sarah watched looking for an opening where she could help, she noticed Shades wounds healing nearly as quickly as Wulf made them. She started to step forward when Wells stepped in her path. Wulf slashed across Shades stomach with both blades and then dropped down and rolled between his legs. As he passed under Shades, Wells fired both barrels on the sawn-off. A huge rent appeared across Shades back and he staggered forward.
Wulf jumped up and slammed both of his knives into Shades neck. Then Wulf wrapped his legs around Shades mid section, shoving one of his feet into the hole in Shades back for leverage, Wulf twisted both knives. Shades let out a shriek of frustrated anger that faded to a soft gurgle as Wulf using every last ounce of his strength to sever the tendons in his neck, and kept cutting until his head fell backwards and to one side. As Shades fell backwards blood fountaining up from his neck Wulf loosened his legs and landed standing up, straddling the dead body. With a final burst of noise and light the last speaker exploded. With the bands playing barely audible from even eight yards away Sarah could still hear Ode to Joy and Adam’s prayer echoing through the stadium.
“Reload,” Wulf cried. Sarah moved to eject her clip and slam a new one home then she turned to help Wells with his. He stood having just finished adjusting the glove on his left hand and beginning to load new shells into the sawn-off. If she didn’t know any better she’d never be able to tell there wasn’t a hand there.
They finished loading their weapons and stepped forward towards Adam, moving in-between him and the stage. They waited, listening to his prayer drone on and the bands music began to falter. Small mistakes at first; a broken note, a missed change over, then the drummers sticks fell to the ground. The singer staggered, his arms going limp and the microphone slowly falling from his fingers.
Wulf flexed his shoulders to loosen them, “get ready.”
The guitarist was the last one to stop, the notes were off, his playing broken and tired. His pick tumbled from his fingers and he played on, blood beginning to cover his Gibson. Finally even that slowly halted, and he slid to his knees, the beloved guitar clutched to his chest. There was a long pause and Ode to Joy ended, and after a short pause, began looping back into existence.
Suddenly an explosion of white light caused the team to turn their heads and the forms of four demons bound up out of the band. Huge bat like wings unfolded as they began to move toward the sky. A sudden jerk and one of the beasts hurled backward into the stages backdrop. Adam dropped to on knee digging into his satchel and screamed, “Fire.”
The three of them opened up with their weapons, by unspoken agreement they each aimed for the one they lined up with. Sarah was targeting a particularly grotesque fat demon that had appeared over the bass player. His long wings and thick claws glistened with some sort of bluish ooze. Every shot she fired hit it in the chest and as the last bullet left her gun she ejected the clip with one hand while drawing up her final one with the other.
She slammed it home as the demon staggered on the stage near the bassist who and fallen unconscious to the floor. The demon tried to scream out, for a brief moment it locked eyes with her and she could see everything she could ever want; money, fame, love, her brother back, everything.
The demon reeled as a glass vial broke open on it’s chest. Sarah blinked paused the barest part of a second and then opened fire once again. She fired every shot hitting her target in the chest. She fired until the gun was empty, and kept on shooting, the slide pushed back, and the trigger wouldn’t squeeze anymore, and still she pulled on. Emotion coiled out of her and she screamed. Finally, in a fit of spent energy she took the gun and hurled it at the stage pelting the dissolving body of the demon that had tried to use her brothers death to woo her.
Suddenly Adam was there, he held her in his massive arms. “It’s going to be OK.” And she cried.
* * *
They stood outside the stadium near the tactical truck. They sat in the midst of a sea of police and rescue vehicles. Sarah looked around at people who she worked with on a regular basis. “What do we tell them?”
“We have a good friend in electronics, he make the roadies look like terrorists with a nerve agent by this time tomorrow.” Adam sipped at some horrible coffee, “Don’t tell them the truth, those that believe you will never admit it, and those that don’t will banish you to the bowels of the weird case files. You’ll be a crack pot for the rest of your days.”
“How do you do it? Deal with all of this?
“We’ve dealt with the supernatural longer than I care to think about.”
Blake walked up carrying a Barrette 50 caliber rifle over his shoulder and stowed it in the back of the truck, pausing only long enough to wave at Sarah.
Wulf walked up, “let’s head out before they start asking too many questions about exactly who the hell we are.”
Adam stood emptied his cup and walked to the front patting Sarah on the shoulder.
“See you doll face.” Wells started to pull himself up into the back of the truck.
Sarah looked at Wells, still in his tactical armor, helmet and all, even though Wulf and Adam had geared down. “Wells, I saw your hand in there.” the team froze.
Wells slowly turned to face her, “look it’s just that I…”
“It’s Ok, I don’t care that you have a prosthetic. I don’t know what happened that made you want to hide yourself, but you don’t have to hide who you are from me. I don’t care how bad you think it is.”
Wells knelt down so their faces were level. Sarah met the eyes of her reflection in the visor. “I appreciate that. Who knows, maybe some day I’ll show you what’s behind this face mask.” He touched his forehead to hers and put his hand on the back of her head. Then, he silently stood and closed to door.
So, there you go, I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any thoughts I'd love to hear them so head on over to facebook and leave a comment or put one up down below. If you enjoyed this one check out the teams next installment in Death Squads of Champaign County.