Friends into Enemies
August 6, 2012
Even as the rifle moved toward him, Jack was leaping to the side. His body’s impact into the deep snow sent waves of agony ripping through his broken arm. Things might have been over for him if the rifle hadn’t clicked dry. He remembered that Hank had been firing full out at the bear, so this wasn’t surprising. He just wished he knew what the hell was going on.
The limp faced Hank stared at the gun for a moment and then shifted his grip. Raising the weapon like an axe-man about to chop wood, he moved slowly toward Jack. Each footstep was deliberate, like a child learning to walk.
“I see you are no ordinary man, Mr. Primus. I smell the stench of Stalwart on you.” The voice felt as cold as the snow that surrounded him. Even though it still came from Hank’s body, it was distant and lifeless.
Jack got his feet under him, but stayed low, feigning that he remained on his knees in the deep snow. “What have you done with Hank?”
“You son of a bitch!”
Both his axe and war-dagger still jutted out from the dead bear. He had a few throwing knives. From the sounds of things, Hank’s gone, or at least what was once Hank is. I’ve seem enough insanity to guess that this is some kind of possession Xemmoni that is floating from body to body—killing as it goes. So if I kill Hank’s body, it will just possess something else, or even worse try to possess me!
After flowing the last ebbs of his Ki into his broken arm, Jack prepared his body. His arm still throbbed in pain, but he had taken the edge off, but this also left him without anything to fall back on. Hank was gone. Who knew what might be happening at the ranch. Most likely he was injured, nearly weaponless, and on his own.
What was once Hank came in to crash the rifle over his head. That was when Jack lunched himself up into a standing position while putting everything he had into the meanest right hook of his life. The heard Hank’s jaw bone snap and the man went flying off his feet to land on his back like he was trying to make a snow angel. Jack wasn’t sure if the thing had lost consciousness, but he didn’t wait around to see. He punched into his face again and again, despite how much pain this sent through his broken arm.
Standing back up, caused him to waver on his feet. Who knows, maybe there’s still a way to get the real Hank back. I doubt it, but I shouldn’t kill him anyway until I know for sure.
Jack dragged Hank’s body to a tree and secured his wrists together with the man’s shoelaces. He arranged it so they were lashed behind his back with the tree between them. After removing the man’s belt, he also tightened it around the tree and then slipped it over his neck. “That should hold you for a while. I’ll be back for you if you don’t freeze to death…” Jack stared down at the body of the man that had been so decent and honest. “Why am I always the one that lives, when all the good people I meet get killed?”
The eyes flicked open. The hollow voice sounded worse than before. No normal person would try to speak with a broken jaw, but such things as pain appeared to be ignored by these things.
“That will soon no longer be a worry, Stalwart. We Ravors work in teams of two. Have you forgotten about the one you knew as Ed? After he finishes off the ranch, he will come back for me and then we will take our time with you. Stalwart Baal is too sweet to just sip up at once. We’ll want to make it linger.”
Jack kicked the Xemmoni in the face and then, after grabbing his weapons out of the bear, he began his long walk back to the ranch.