February 25, 2013
When Jack asked, who was still with him, a moment of silence stretched long enough that he figured he’d be on his own, until Alex said, “I have to see this through.”
“I’m down for kicking their ass,” John said and then his body shivered in the near dark.
Jerry spoke up. “I don’t want to let my friends down, but I’d rather not join them either. Could we do this without walking through their front door?”
“I was hoping there was a way I could help, without leaving the car?” Andre asked.
“That’s a good idea,” Jack said while looking around. “Does anyone know how to hotwire a truck?”
* * *
Ten minutes later, Jack and his young allies had a plan of sorts. Alex and John were loaded up with weapons and flanked him on either side as he crept toward the plate glass window that ran along the side of the beauty shop. The upscale salon was located in the center of a strip mall which mostly hosted ‘For Rent’ signs in their windows. Jack had fought Xemmoni in some strange places, but seeing the large posters of perfectly trimmed super-models was something even he would not have suspected to be associated with horror and pain.
“All right,” Jack said under his breath. “Get ready. Screw this place!” His sledge hammer arced out and slammed the window. It exploded in a rain of shards. Jack had already started moving through the window before the glass had finished its decent. Alex and John hurried in after him smashing aside stray triangles of glass as they came.
Glass crunched under their boots as they found themselves moving through a salon that appeared to be as normal as any other. A check-in desk sat between twin passages that led back into the darkened building. For Jack however, the normalcy was dispelled by the red waves of malign evil that ebbed and flowed through the establishment like the clinging oil of a ruptured tanker.
Two figures emerged from a dark hallway that led past the rows of beauty products. Jack rushed forward, but then a curse erupted from his lips when a tall, metal covered man hammered him with an Agony Bestow. “Son of a…” escaped from his lips, before the waves of pain crippled him. He tried to remain on his feet, but they gave out on him. He could just make out that the man with the Templar was the teen’s friend, Matt, before the waves of red pain fogged his vision.
He was able to hear Alex cry out, “Get him out of here, John. I’ll take care of this traitor.”
“Terrific,” John grumbled as he began to pull Jack by the collar of his leather jacket. “That leaves me taking care of this guy while the big one comes after us. Jack, that freak is coming for us. Oh man, snap out of it. Jack, I’m going to need your help! Oh no!”
To be continued next Monday…
February 18, 2013
As the group jolted at the sound of Andre’s scream, for a moment, Jack stayed indecisive. To his left, Alex let out some screaming of his own as the Temple of Pain Agony Bestow tore through him. Before him that Templar bastard, Slick, looked like he might be preparing another Bestow, while the teen’s tall friend, Matt, had appeared to have joined the other side and ran back to the Temple of Pain to warn his new evil allies.
He pointed to their fleeing friend. “John, Joel, stop that guy! Jerry, check on Andre, I’ll take out this scum.”
“You won’t surprise me this time, Primus. With you gone, these teens will crumble like used toilet paper and leave us with a nice snack.”
“Soon you’ll be a snack for the worms,” Jack said, while rushing forward. His weapons supply have been whittled down over the last few days, but Alex had been considerate enough to loan Jack his father’s sledge hammer and it filled his hands as he raced toward the Templar.
Slick had other plans. The air burnt and rippled as a second Agony Bestow burst from the Xemmoni’s fingertips. Jack leaned into it and for once his blessing of Yig enabled him to power through the Bestow. When the Stalwart emerged on the other side of the hissing spell unharmed, Slick’s eyes grew large.
Jack didn’t hesitate. The sledge came around like a ballplayer’s bat and the head of the weapon took the Templar in the cheek. He screamed while spinning in a half circle. The man remained in a daze, but not for long, for Jack’s second blow took him on the top of the skull and that proved enough to drop the fiend. A final blow spread the Xemmoni’s face over the pavement.
As soon as the last blow landed, several things happened. Alex’s cries slowed when Slick’s demise canceled the effects of his spell. Jerry called out something about finding a body and Andre, who had witnessed Slick death, emptied his stomach over the icy pavement.
“One less demon lover for us to deal with.” Jack mumbled. Looking down the dark road, reveled so sign of John, Joel, or the man they had chased.
Jerry helped Alex to his feet. “We found Rick’s body over there, it wasn’t pretty.” Jack knew Alex would be confused after the dose of pure pain that he had received, but he also knew they had to move fast. If the Templars found out they were coming, they might slit the throats of their prisoners, that is, if they had any prisoners left. Either way, Jack intended to clean out the Temple before sun up.
“Come on, we need to keep going. Jerry, help Alex until his head clears.”
“I’m fine,” Alex said gruffly, as he drew a broad sword off his back. Looking down onto the mess that was once Slick, he added, “at least I’m doing a lot better than this puke.”
“I’m not sure I can handle all this,” Andre said, while wiping vomit off his chin.
Jack heard the sounds of running footsteps and turned to meet the potential threat, but it was John returning.
It took him a moment to fight through the panting, but he finally said, “Matt gutted Joel. He just fucking killed him. Our own friend. He came after me and I wasn’t sure what to do, so I ran.” He looked over at Alex. “How could I fight my own friend? How could he have done this to us?”
“It might not be his fault,” Jack said. “The Xemmoni are evil beyond human understanding and can easily suck victims into their worlds of darkness.” When none of the teens broke the building silence, Jack continued. “I know all of this is hard and you don’t have to come with me, but there could still be friends of yours alive in there and I intend to rescue them and stomp out this blight that is cursing your city. So… who’s still with me?”
To be continued next Monday…