Hero or Fool

April 25, 2011

As soon as I started heading toward the whimpers and screams, I knew I was an idiot. How could I be so stupid? Thousands could perish without me being here to stop the Darcarre and their Migo allies, but I was going to throw it all away because I couldn’t stand hearing these kids die, or was it that I couldn’t live with myself if Hannah knew that I had let them suffer?

Chicks, they always made you do stupid things.

The outrage against humanity wasn’t hard to spot. On the west side of the street a residential home had most of its roof torn away. The pieces of it littered the ground like it had been raining splinters and shingles.

The ebony forms of two Darcarre lingered outside in the front yard, like even their wickedness was not enough to allow them to witness what was going on inside. Over the house three Migo dripped some type of mucus, like spiders flinging webbing, onto the moaning forms that must have still been trapped inside.

Shifting my war hammer into my left hand, I readied a throwing knife and lunched it, just as I sprinted at the Darcarre. They turned in time for the dagger to take the one on the left. There was a hollow thud, when it imbedded in the center of his chest.

Then I was on the second one before they could react. My war hammer batted his head off his shoulders with a bone snapping bloody explosion. “Heal that you bastard,” I said through gritted teeth. “Don’t worry kids, I’m coming!”

The second Darcarre had yanked the dagger from his chest and had undoubtedly healed himself. But instead of fighting, he turned and tried to flee into the half ruined home.

He must have recognized me.

I crashed in after him. Stray boards shattered or were crushed underfoot with our passing. He was about to try to escape when my hammer took him in the side of the neck and he crumpled to the floor. I gave him a double tap, just to be sure.

Then the flutish singing of the Migo could be heard. One of their numbers was flying in toward me. On the floor three half cocooned children looked up at me with wide eyes.

A score of undulating tendencies poured out of is white bloated, maggot body.

It seemed almost curious. That would be short lived. Racing at top speed, I ran onto the top of the dining room table and then leapt into the air. The Migo chirped in fear. It knew it had gotten too close and that would also be its last thought, for my hammer crushed into a good foot of where its head would be, if it had one. The creature fell with me on top of it, smashing and hacking.

I managed to kill it, but then tentacles were all around me. Seconds later, my hammer was torn from my hands and tossed away, and then the mucus came. I tried to fight it, but there were still two of them and the wet webbing was too strong. 

Soon I was being mummified just as badly as the kids were. Some savior I turned out to be, I thought, as a stream of curses erupted from my lips. Minutes later the two Migo were lifting me and the children. It didn’t cheer me up at all knowing that I would finally be finding out where their base was.

 

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The day passed slowly, without much talking, but the night was worse. We remained within the claustrophobic motel room as planned. The real trouble started when the screaming began. Even worse were the cries for help echoing through the night.

The Migo were hunting.

My teeth were grinding so hard my head ached. Ethan flinched at each tortured yell. Before long, tears were streaming down Hannah’s face. She was pleading with her eyes and soon I was forced to look away.

A series of truly horrific screams tore into the night. “Those sound like children,” Ethan whispered.

I was clutching at the back of a wooden chair. Hannah addressed me. “Jack, we can’t just sit here, we have to do something. We can’t just let those beasts kill everyone who is left!”

The chair beneath me snapped, its back exploding into splinters.

“Damn it! You two stay here. Someone has to be able to burn those bastards out if I fail and it’s your spells that can do it, not mine.”

“Wait Jack, No!” Hannah cried.

She moved to go after me, as I grabbed up my weapons and headed toward the door, but Ethan held her arm. “No he’s right. One person will be able to hide with greater ease and we have to save ourselves to torch them tomorrow.” 

But I was already out the door and into dark night.

It was painfully easy to know which way to go. I headed toward the screams.

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“What’s wrong Jack,” Hannah almost whispered before laying her petite fingers across my shoulders. “I mean besides the obvious.”

Swiveling my chair, until I was facing her, I said, “I’ve been trying not to think about it, but I’m worried about Ellis and Kimberly. I have a vague hope that they maybe escaped with the Splinter Darcarre, although even that option isn’t particularly thrilling. But part of me wonders how any of them could escape so many Migo backed up by nearly a hundred members of the Dark Alliance.”

“They saved my life, Hannah…it’s just…”

“I know,” she said softly before embracing me in a long hug. As we held each other, I took in the dingy hotel we had claimed as our own. It wasn’t much, but since it bordered the edge of town, it hadn’t been covered with the Migo’s cementing slime. Apparently even their resources could be limited.

Our attempt at a tender moment was interrupted by Ethan bursting into the room. “Um, er, sorry… but night is going to fall soon and I was wondering what the game plan was.”

I took in the man in red with a sigh, and indicated a chair. Hannah took one too. “The game plan is…we wait.”

Hannah couldn’t conceal her gasp. “What to you mean? Couldn’t more people get hurt if we do nothing?”

“Without a doubt, but we have to face the facts. We would have a hard time taking on all the remaining members of the Dark Alliance. Remember the Darcarre are the only Xemmoni that can heal. Taking on a hundred Migo, well, that would be suicidal.”

“But what about Ellis and Kimberly? And all the people in this town. Couldn’t we try to save some of them?”

“Right now it’s too risky. If we die, they all die. I’m afraid, as much as we all hate it; we have to look at the big picture and how we will be able to do the most good.”

Ethan took a sip of some SKA Ale he had dug up. “I don’t hate it.”

“Well I do!” Hannah was almost in tears. “I never thought I’d see you let innocents die, Jack.”

“If giving my life would help them, then I would, but this is one case where it wouldn’t even matter. We have to stay hidden, because tonight we only have one goal.”

Ethan perked up. “Oh yeah, what’s that?”

 “We have to find out where they are nesting, because tomorrow I’m taking out the whole fucking swarm!”

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Not knowing what else to do, we headed toward Durango. We realized things were bad, long before we got there. Along the way, the small businesses were half destroyed. Shattered glass had been sprayed over the parking lots and many buildings had parts of their roofs torn open. Bodies littered the sidewalks and hung out of wrecked cars.

“Why isn’t the national guard here or something?” Hannah asked.

Turning, I saw that she was on the verge of tears. “Maybe they were sent, but this is one beast I’ve learned a bit about, mostly from Phillip Brownhurst, because my Bacchanalian friend really hates these bastards. Guns are almost useless against these offworld maggots. From what he told me, you really just have to hack them apart, although burning might work.”

Ethan leaned his head between their front seats. “So unless the army has a battle axe division, they have probably withdrawn.”

“My guess is they have written off this area,” I started. “Most likely, we’ve landed inside a quarantine.”

“Yep,” Ethan said nodding. “And they’re probably telling everyone that there’s an outbreak of Small Pox or something.”

Hannah covered her mouth as we drove by a splattered family. “This is so horrible, but there has to be some people here that survived.”

“There probably is and it will be our job to wax these pukes before they start searching for all those folks that are hiding.”

She only nodded and we rode in silence for a while, until Ethan said, “Hey look. Some people put up a fight over there.”

He was right. It appeared that a tow truck managed to crush a single Migo against a brick wall. For at the good it did him, though, for the roof was torn off the vehicle and the whole area was painted in blood. Not long thereafter, there was evidence of the military’s attempt to contain the problem and, from the looks of things, they faired no better than the civilians.

“Seems like nothing short of a nuke will be taking those screwballs out; at least as far as the US military goes.” Ethan said, sounding more sober than usual.

“Let’s just hope we aren’t in the middle of things when something like that goes down.” I said. “Alright get tight, we’re here.”

Hannah gasped and even Ethan fell silent. None of us had ever seen anything like what Durango had become.

The whole town was still. Nothing moved. Every building looked as though it had been covered with ice, but upon drawing nearer, we saw that it was instead some type on clinging grey mucus. It hung like a sick wet spider web, spanning between buildings and obstructing doors and windows.

“If there is anyone inside those buildings, they won’t be able to escape now,” Ethan said with a shiver.

“Most likely, they are saving the survivors for later.” I said.

“Charming,” Hannah added. She was trying to be brave, but this was the first time her face had betrayed fear.

“Alright people, listen up. We only have an hour or so before sunset and if these things are anything like the Darcarre than summoned them, then that is when they will stir. We need to find a good place to hide because we have some things to do.”

“Like what,” Ethan asked. “I hope you aren’t expecting us to fight all of them. 

“No, I have other plans. Now help me find somewhere to hide this van, preferably a place where we can see a good part of the town.”

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