January 21, 2013
This Serial Began on 9/13/12
As Jack Primus jogged away from the possessed high-rise, with his unconscious mother slung over his shoulder, the physical aftermath of his recent battles tore at his body. Limping over to an enclosed doorway, Jack laid his mother onto the brick floor and tried to wake her.
“Come on mom. Be okay. I’m sorry I was so late.”
Her face and lips had a bluish cast. “Damn, even if those ghosts, or demons, or whatever the hell they were, hadn’t nearly drained the life out of her, no one her age should be outside on such a frigid night. Ergg, no cell, no car. I hate to think what you would be saying to me through all this.”
Feeling he had no other option, Jack found a pay phone and dialed an ambulance. As he watched her being taken away from where he had hidden, he chided himself. “I might have to move up into the twenty first century one of these days.”
Looking around the quiet streets, he added, “And I’m probably ten miles from Alex and those other teens that were trying to help me. Who knows what trouble they might have gotten into trying to save their friends? And why the fuck am I always talking to myself? I need to get a life, or at least a friend. I miss Hannah and Ethan.”
Then it hit him that those teenagers had proved to be the closest things he’d had to friends and if he didn’t do something, they would all be tortured to death by the damned Temple of Pain. Ten miles isn’t that far, but with this leg, maybe I should risk calling a…
A mustang skidded to a stop before him.
Alex rode shotgun, he rolled down the window, but it was Jack that spoke first. “This is the second time that you found me in the middle of a vast city.”
“Yig provides,” the teenager said, while trying to manage a smile. His friends looked at him strange and there were a lot more to do so. Jack recognized John and Jerry, but two new young men also road in the cramped space.
“Hey Alex, who are these guys? I really don’t want any more of your friends hurt.”
“Hell, with that. We got another car full of my friends watching the place right now. These guys killed Rich for sure. Kidnapped Blake and maybe Eric. We’re going to bring the hammer down on these freaks, the only question is…are you coming with us?”
“Crap, of course I am, it’s just, damn it. Move the hell over and next time bring a bigger car.”
“We scouted out the area around the bar,” Alex said, once the car started moving. It took a while, but we found an old abandoned church that gave us the creeps by just looking at it. Inside the place was painted blood red. I didn’t see my friends, but I did see that crazy chick again. I think she’s their leader. I also think whatever is happening is happening in a basement. I looked for windows to a lower level, but when I didn’t find any, so I figured I should get you before we tried anything.”
“Wise move. I just hope your buddies are okay.”
“We heard some faint screams,” John said from behind the wheel. “They sounded like Blake’s. We need to help him right now.”
“Why can’t we just go to the police again?” One of the new teens said from the back.
“They would just end up killed,” Jack said. “Beside I try to steer clear of the boys in blue. They tend to ask a lot of questions when the bodies start piling up.”
“Bodies piling up…” The teen said with a tone bordering on shrill..
“Oh yeah,” Alex said. “This is Andre and Joel. They both agreed to help save Blake.”
“Alright, I guess, but just follow my lead when we get there. And stay behind me. I don’t want to lose any more of you guys. I just hope your friends are still safe and it’s too bad I couldn’t have healed up for a night before we went up against the Templars.”
His last statement silenced the men inside the car—the only sound became tires tearing down the icy road.
To be continued next Monday
January 14, 2013
Jack threw a chair through the window of his mother’s apartment. The exit was open, for all the good it would do him being on the eighth floor. The cold winter air attacked him at once and he saw that, unlike some Hollywood movie, nothing would help slow his fall onto the icy pavement below.
From outside of the apartment, fits of screaming mixed with incessant moaning as horrors he could only guess at, undulated toward him from both the stairway and the elevator shaft. In minutes they would be rushing into the apartment.
Turning back toward the window, he tried to review his limited options. There has to be some way out of here. The way down is blocked and I won’t be able to fight my way through with just a few daggers with my mother thrown over my shoulder. I might be able to become a snake and survive such a fall, but where would that leave my mother? She’d be worse off than before.
Despite the flapping and bubbling sounds of terror that drew ever nearer, his eyes scanned out the window while his brain tried to focus. Then he saw something. One of the buildings across the street was older and made from what appeared to be wood.
“This will be a long shot, but could be my only chance.” Then, calling on his most powerful spell of Yig, Jack began to Mold Nature. As first, nothing happened and he tried to focus past the caterwauling cries. A snap echoed through the cold night and then another. Soon boards broke apart. Nails flew as the building’s walls twisted and broke, only to entwine around each other making a splintered braid of tangled lumber.
Using every ounce of control he possessed, Jack formed a thick pillar of mangled wood and began to draw it up toward the window. Sweat poured off his brow and he dared not look to see how close the things from the basement were.
Below him, half the building tore away and continued to create the jagged mass that grew his way. It had already stretched over the street and reached toward his position, but remained easily forty feet short.
“Come on,” he whispered.
The Magickal construction drew closer, but so did the Xemmoni. With a crackling screech, the darkness poured into his mother’s apartment. He risked a look over his shoulder and wished that he hadn’t.
Dozens of foul beasts flooded into the apartment, like an exploding black spider. Specters mixed with decaying undead. Constructions made from corpses, and things more foul, wiggled and flapped. Ink black clouds filled with tortured, screaming faces flowed over the ceilings and floors. Jack wanted to scream, but didn’t have the time.
He lifted his mother’s limp body over his shoulder. He was going to rescue his mother’s friend when a ropey tendril, which may have been created out of various internal organs, wrapped around the woman’s waist. She awoke just in time to give a panicked cry as she was pulled back into the writhing black mass.
The women slowed the Xemmoni for a moment, but soon it reached for Jack and his mother. “Screw this,” he yelled and then after a few giant steps he flung himself out of the window. The pillar of lumber was still nearly twenty feet shy of the window, but he gave a mighty leap and, like a striking snake, the braid of lumber struck out toward him.
With a grunt, he slammed into the side of the makeshift structure and scrambled to not only get a hold, but keep a grip on his mother’s unconscious form. One hand held onto a warped two by six while the other clung to the back of his mother’s bathrobe. It started to tear.
“Damn it,” he cursed, but then pushed his mother into the pillar. Like loving children, the boards parted and then embraced her in a splintery hug. Jack willed the structure to take them to the ground, but before they had moved far, he heard a moaning from above.
Like a dripping black skull, the darkness followed them.
Still holding on with one hand, Jack filled his fingers with a throwing knife and tossed it at the horrid face of darkness. It burst like dispelled smoke, but then reformed. Jack had another throwing knife and this flew at the Xemmoni. Again it slowed the fiend, but the face reformed.
Jack had almost reached the ground. He growled and moved closer to his mother. He grabbing her shoulders and willed the pillar to release her. The pair plummeted the rest of the way to the ground. The impact jarred him, but the important thing was that his mother remained alight.
The face continued down toward them. “Screw with me, will you,” Jack yelled and then with a motion of his hand he sent the giant spike of lumber straight through the horror’s face. It screamed and large bags of black phlegm rained down on them.
Jack tossed his mother’s limp form over his shoulder and yelled after the retreating darkness. “I’ll be back for you, bastards.” Then, without a look back, he began to jog to the south.
To be continued next Monday…
January 7, 2013
Armed with only his daggers, Jack moved into the flickering darkness that claimed the eighth floor. Behind him, more flapping and lumbering noises ascended from below. He did his best to bar the door with an abandoned chair and then hurried on. He had never visited his mother in her current locale, but knew her apartment number and headed down the hallway toward where he hoped she would still be.
The walls looked wet and glistened with a black film. The throbbing tendrils he had seen in the stairwell were also visible here. They traveled along the walls, but as he looked closer, Jack discovered that each veinish tube exited out of one of the rooms.
“This whole place is screwed.” He wanted to check on the rooms he passed, but figured he’d save the bad news for his own flesh and blood. He made it to his mother’s room unopposed. “I almost feel like they want me to see this,” looking back the way he came, he added, “and be trapped.”
His mother’s door loomed before him like a tombstone. More of the thick grey veins could be seen creeping into the hallway from under the door.
Jack took a step back and kicked the wooden door into splinters. Inside, the place was a checker board of dark and darker. Shadows poured over the floor like spilled ink. He went in anyway. Flicking on his pen light, proved to be just enough illumination to keep him from tripping over tables full of tumbled bric-a-brac. Almost at once, he heard a shallow moaning coming from the living room. “Mom,” he whispered and his booted feet rushed him forward.
It was his mother, along with an older woman he had never met. They could have been sitting on the sofa watching television if it wasn’t for the fact that the room remained in solid darkness. Once he moved in closer, he heard labored breathing, but it least they still lived. More disturbing were the origins of the veins. They appeared to be attached to his mother and this other woman’s ankles.
Going to the window, he tore back the enclosing curtains. The shallow moonlight revealed the weeks of debris that had accumulated. “Oh mom, I’m so sorry,” he choked out. She moved and let out a groan, but didn’t revive.
“Well, screw this place,” Jack said, while drawing in closer to his mother. “I hope this doesn’t end up killing you, mom.” Then, with a powerful whack, Jack severed the foul ropey veins that were attached to his mother’s ankles.
She arched back and let loose a violent gasp, but Jack barely heard for as soon as he had cut the veins a loud wailing began. The angry caterwauling sounded like it came from the stairway he had so recently exited as well as the elevator shaft.
“Crap, mom, we need to get you out of here.”
“Jack, my baby, is that you? I must be dreaming.”
“No ma, it’s me and if this is a dream it would be the worst nightmare either of us has ever had.” He picked her up. He body felt dangerously light and her head rolled on a neck too weak to support it.
Moving to the window, he looked down. Eight floors separated him and the ground. Cursing his luck, he turned back toward the doorway, but from the sounds of it, twin streams of howling monstrosities already poured into the hallway from both ends.
“I was barely able to fight of one of those freaks and that was when I had all my weapons. Now with me having to protect you I…” Uncertainty claimed Jack as the hordes of horror flowed toward them.
To be continued next Monday…