Death, Torture, and Revenge
December 3, 2012
This Serial Began on 9/13/12
Like a light being switched on, Jack started coming to. One second he was completely comatose, the next, his consciousness returned in a flood. The memory of the worse pain his life had yet endured lingered like an amputated limb and he struggled to take in where he had ended up.
And as his lower back banged into what might have been a street curb his first guess was—no were yet.
Someone dragged his body over brittle packed snow and it crunched against his ear. Jack braced himself to fight, even before his vision focused through the dissipating pain. But a voice hissed down at him that he recognized as Alex. “It’s me, keep quiet. I think we might have escaped them, but they’re close.”
“Let me go. I think I’m out of the range of their Bestows.” Alex complied and Jack stood up and took his surrounding, before hurrying Alex into the back of the house he found them in front of.
One of the bedroom lights illuminated the snow their boots tore through. Jack spotted a shed and headed toward it. Once inside, Alex flicked on his lighter and Jack was pleased to spy both a wood chopping axe and a sledge hammer. Keeping the sledge, he handed the axe to Alex.
“What about your friends?” he asked.
Alex looked like he was barely holding it together, and Jack cursed himself for allowing these teens to become involved with his running nightmare.
“Eric’s dad. I’m not sure about Rich, but he might be to. The only reason I had a chance to rescue you was that I wailed on the one that got Rich and the others were busy grabbing up Blake and the bodies. I think their leader is a woman.”
“I saw that too. And if she’s the one that hit me with that Agony Bestow, then yeah, she has to be the boss. “I’ve never been hit by anything that horrible before. I fought a few Templars down in New Orleans, but they were nothing like this.”
Alex tried to maintain his voice, but lost the battle when tears rolled down his face. “Crap, what are we going to do now?”
“First off, we need to get out of here and get you somewhere safe.”
“Screw that!” Alex said way too loud. “I want to help you. I’m not letting these scum bags get away with this.”
Jack stared at him in the shadowed darkness. “We’ll address that later. Right now we need to get out of this place. They could be looking for us and I think they might have a way to detect me, because that attack was way too convenient.”
“I think you might be right. She said something about using a Sensory, what did you call it, a Bestow?”
“Yeah. Bestows are the name of the spells the different races of Xemmoni use.”
“Wow, I have a lot to learn. But should I call John or something? He can borrow his brother’s car some times.”
“No, this place is too hot. I don’t want to risk any more of you. Come on, let’s just do this the old fashioned way.”
“You mean yard hop?” Alex managed a forced smile. “We drill each other on this all the time.”
“Good to know, now let’s go. If we can get to a store or something, I can call a cab.”
They hit a bar first and Jack suffered five worried minutes where he rushed to call up a cab, while the teen was required to hide outside with their weapons.
Eighty minutes later, Jack trudged through the hard snow back to the house the teens had made in the woods. Alex promised to not do anything without Jack’s approval, but the night still haunted the Stalwart.
How could I have let those kids get hurt—killed? How could I have been so selfish? I should have just waited, but my mother… Thoughts of his mother tumbled in on him. He had seen the tendrils of darkness clutching at the sky rise apartments before the attack. The Templars had claimed it was a new species of Xemmoni and he had little reason to doubt them.
Jack arrived at the dark frigid shack feeling lower and more worried than ever. Flinging the stove door open in disgust, he berated himself while he got the fire going. “What the hell was I thinking? I should have rescued my mother at once. Now, I’m not an inch closer to dong anything to help her and who knows if she’s okay or what might be happening to her?”
“Instead I get mixed up with a pack of Templars, who I didn’t need to fight in the first place, and end up getting some kids killed and even worse captured.” He’d seen one of their Temples of Pain before and groaned at the thought of Blake and maybe Rich being brought to such a place.
As the fire came to life, a string of foul curses escaped his lips and he slammed his fist into the log wall. The log snapped in half and fell away, instantly letting in a draft. “Great,” he muttered and opened a beer. Soon he sat by the fire and nursed his ale while feeding the blaze log after log. It was a merciful moment when he finally let sleep claim him.
To be continued next Monday