April 29, 2013
As Jack raced up the last four flights of stairs, the undulating horror bubbled and screamed at him from a thousand mouths.
“Stalwart. You life is numbered in minutes, but your agony will last you lifetimes. I will digest you slowly, never allowing you to perish. Instead you will feast on nothing but pain until the stars fade from the sky.”
“Egoic much?” Jack panted as the turned another corner in the staircase. “We’ll see who lives to see the sunrise you slimy son of a bitch.”
It roared and redoubled its effects to catch him.
Despite this, Jack reached the roof well before it. Now what the hell am I going to do? The roof stretched out before him dark and flat. A few air conditioners and other machines dotted the ice covered surface at irregular intervals. He considered dumping one down the stairs, but it would only delay the inevitable and he needed to use his time more wisely. But to use it for what? Maybe I should have had a plan.
But even as he thought this, a plan started to form. Looking around, he assessed the roof. The western side had a sag where a huge amount of snow and ice had formed. On the lip of this ice was a large air conditioning unit. He sprinted toward it. Upon reaching it, he removed his sledge hammer and began to hit the supports on the side closer to the ice. They buckled. He whacked at the other side’s legs, just enough to break the bolts holding it to the roof.
He had just moved back to the legs in front when the monstrosity burst onto the roof. Forgoing his task, Jack quickly climbed to the top of the air conditioner. He shifted his hammer to his left hand and tossed throwing knives in rapid succession at the thousand limbed horror.
“Is this suppose to hurt as, a hundred mouths drooled and caterwauled at him. We suffer more injuries moving across a floor.”
“All the more reason to kill you,” Jack yelled, as he threw another throwing knife into the foul glob of flesh with a meaty plop.
Fury built within the thing and it raged with frenzied movements as it dragged, rolled, and pulled its huge form across the roof.
Jack threw his eighth and final knife at the monstrous Xemmoni and then leapt behind the air conditioner. A second later, he threw his back against the large machine. At first it wouldn’t move, but then the legs he had damaged on the other side buckled more. With a yell and a mighty push he toppled the thing over. It hit the roof with a mighty clang that sent a huge vibration through the structure.
“Fool, you didn’t even hit us. Now you will join us. Enjoy your last taste of clean air Stal-”
A huge cracking interrupted the insane babbling and its triumph turned to fear as the roof started to collapse. Knocking the machine over the weakened part of the roof proved enough to trigger a reaction. The old roof had never been designed to support the amount of weight the undulating horror had become, which Jack guessed must have weighed in the tons.
With a hundred screams the floor caved in beneath it, but its fall didn’t stop there. Floor after floor of the old apartment were smashed through and the gigantic mound of flesh kept falling.
There was a cracking beneath his feet and Jack quickly realized he was about to follow the horror in its plunge. With a yelp, he leapt for the lip of the roof just as the flooring under his feet tumbled away.
He clung on the edge as huge sections of the roof toppled into the giant hole. “Crew on that crap, you bastard.”
It took him a minute to find a safe place to stand, but once he did, Jack tore the backpack off his shoulders. More than half of his prepared Molotovs had shattered, but at least three were in one piece. He lit his oil soaked backpack and tossed it down the fissure through the apartment. The bellow that he heard when it struck the creature proved most satisfying.
Soon though, he had new problems. Not only was the thrashing monstrosity’s limbs weakening the structure, but the fire was quickly catching and soon he would be in the midst of an inferno. He circled the hole to the stairwell, but it was already too late. It was engulfed.
“Me and my bright ideas.”
Smoke began to billow out of the giant hole like the haunted high-rise had become a manmade volcano. “This sucks. Becoming a snake might help, but I still don’t think they could survive a twelve floor drop. Crap, crap, crap.”
Sunrise appeared to be an hour away, but some of the birds had already risen. Their chatter, a normal thing he had heard ten thousand times, felt so distance. It made him feel removed from the world. Trapped and alone.
Then a murder of crows flew toward the building. “Yig is the master of all animals. My patron blessed me with a Mold Nature spell. I’ve only used it on trees so far, but maybe…”
His fingers twisted into fists as the sparks flew around him. Focusing with every fiber of his being, Jack called out to the crow on the far right. Aid me. Please. In the name of the Earth, help me. They birds kept flying. Please, in Yig’s name.
A bird broke away from the pack and flew toward him. This had better work, Jack thought as he rapidly transformed into a small gopher snake. The bird landed and Jack entangled his serpentine body around the crow. It took off with a loud caw. It had trouble flying at first, but proved able to get Jack to the ground safely.
Its black pupils eyed him for a moment and then it took off with a flurry of wings.
After returning to his human form, Jack watched the building collapse in on itself as it became a true inferno. “I don’t think even that thing can survive in there.” He sighed. “I guess I can finally visit my mother now.”
A mustang pulled up in front of him. “Need a lift,” John said with a grin.
Alex leaned over. “Yeah and you might want to clean up some before you visit your mom, your a mess.”
Jack laughed and climbed into of the car behind the teens. “I sure hope you guys brought beer.” Alex handed him and cold one and Jack sunk back into the seat.
For the first times in months, he allowed himself to relax. Sure he wasn’t done with his work by any means. Vile Darken, his oldest and strongest enemy still needed to be dealt with, but for a moment, if only for his mom’s sake, he would allow himself a break.
As the vehicle left the burning structure in its rear view a pair of eyes watched them depart. “Impressive, Mr. Primus,” it whispered more to itself than the creature standing to its left. “You have some skill. I’ll let you bask in your glory just long enough to feel safe.” A cold cackle emitted from his dark form. “Yes, just long enough to feel safe. Then, spawn of Yig, we will come for you.”
Thank you for reading Jack’s newest Adventure Blood Fear
A new Adventure will begin next Monday
Jack charged up the filthy stairwell taking three steps at a time. Below him the chaotic jabbering of a hundred mouths grew in volume. He had only made it up another level before the monstrosity poured into the stairwell on the ground floor. He paused to look over the edge to see what followed him and wished he hadn’t.
A horrid mix of flesh and random body parts boiled together into a howling mess. Hundreds of bloated, non-blinking, hate filled eyes stared up at him. Drooling mouths muttered and wailed while everything from mismatched feet and hands, even faces, helped propel the horror up toward him.
“Crap, I should have burned the place. Too fucking late now,” he said as he redoubled his efforts to keep ahead of the thing, even if he knew he headed toward a dead end.
He had just turned around another flight of stairs when a new figure descended toward him. Vaguely female, the antler topped Xemmoni had a flowing dark skirt that trailed behind her. But what drew Jack’s attention was the large shotgun she held in one hand.
As the figure raised her gun, Jack dove to the side. A loud blast sounded as the buckshot roared over his head. A few stray pellets hit his shoulder, but between the thick leather jacket and his protection of Yig it caused little damage. Getting a foot under him, Jack dove forward as another blast just missed taking off his head. At all times he remained conscious that each second he was delayed gave the thing below a better chance of reaching him.
“Guns aren’t usually your kinda style,” Jack said as he hit the shotgun to the side with a one handed swing of his axe. A dagger had filled his left hand and he went in for a gut shot only to have the figure’s free hand shot forward and grab him by the neck. A second later he was being lifted off his feet.
The creature opened its mouth, but instead of a single speaker a jumbled mass of a thousand voices spewed forth. Somehow, over this insane caterwauling, several voices joined into a jagged union and bellowed. “Soon you life will be crushed and your soul will join the rest!”
“That’s all I needed to know,” Jack said and then hacked the figure in the side of her face with his axe.
The thing screeched and then hurled Jack down the stairs. His body didn’t stop until it smashed into the wall. Stars spun across his vision and he tried to fling the dagger at the creature, but it got batted away by the shotgun. She cocked the gun loudly and before Jack could recover, shot him in the center of the chest.
The impact sent him crashing back into the wall and turned his jacket into ribbons. If it wasn’t for the protection granted to him by his patron, Yig, his body would have followed suit. Instead, he struggled to draw breath into his punchered lungs as the thing drew closer. Below them both the jabbering monstrosity neared.
He waited until she came closer and then healed himself. She seemed to sense what he did and raised the shotgun, but this time Jack grabbed it with his free hand and kicked up with his boot. The unexpected blow proved enough to free it from her grip. He tossed the gun away as he brought the axe around in a long arc. The blade connected with her neck with a meaty whack. The figure stumbled and Jack stuck again and then again.
Its body collapsed once its head hit the floor, but to his horror, Jack saw that foul beast from the basement was already beginning to pool on the stairwell below him. Two things that looked like arms attached end to end lashed up at him. These grotesque appendages stretched over twenty feet in length and ended with a bloated hand. One grabbed his ankle and pulled him off his feet. A moment later, he was being dragged to the end of the stair. His axe went to chop it, but the second appendage grabbed it from his fist.
He continued to be dragged into the hundred mouth horror as the axe slammed into his head and shoulders. The blows were awkward, but still hurt like hell and didn’t make anything easier.
As he neared the edge of the stair, his groping hand landed on the shotgun. Without thinking, he aimed at the elongated arm that held him and shot it a foot below from where it held him. The arm severed and he pulled away just as the first frothing of foulness began to spill over the lip of the stairwell. Ignoring the blows from the axe that continued to rain down on his battered form, Jack hurried up the next flight of stairs. As soon as he was a floor higher, he turned and emptied the shotgun into the churning mass below.
Looking up, he guessed he had about four more flights to go. Without glancing back, he drew the sledge hammer off his back and headed for the roof of the haunted high rise.
To be continued next Monday
April 15, 2013
Jack arrived at the haunted high rise just as the sun had set. After checking his gear, he let his duffel bag ride on his right shoulder while his axe rested in a sling over his left. His new sledge filled his hands as he walked toward the front door like he owned the place.
The building groaned a warning, which sounded like a thousand dead souls trapped within dark coffins. When this was ignored, a frigid wind crashed against him. It slowed his pace only slightly and when he drew within twenty feet of the door, Jack pulled a Thor and sent the hammer flying at the glass.
A foot shy from contact, something deflected the blow, but this action also caused the wind to cease.
So their power isn’t unlimited and they need to focus on one thing at a time, he mused silently.
Then aloud he said, “What’s the matter? Scared of letting me in. I figured as much. I guess you creeps are smart enough to see your doom when it comes for you.”
A harsh series of rattling cries sounded. An angry scream followed and then the door slowly creaked open. Jack wasn’t sure if he should feel unnerved or pleased that he was able to manipulate them so easily. Either way, it didn’t deter him from snatching up his hammer and heading into the Stygian apartment.
Nothing opposed him for a few yards, but as he left the streets behind him, the doors slammed shut with a dull clang and what little light there had been was extinguished. He paused long enough to pull three flares out of his bag. One went into his jacket, next to his throwing knives, while the other two were lt. The first one he sent bouncing down the corridor, the second filled his left hand.
After throwing the duffle back over his shoulder, he froze. Not forty feet ahead of him, a young raven haired girl, in a dirty night robe, hovered near the ceiling. Her long black locks obscured her face and she wavered strangely, like her presence distorted normal reality.
“Making me fight little girls now,” Jack grumbled under his breath, but he found the sight foreboding enough that a big part of him struggled against leaving. I already rescued my mother… what do the rest of these people matter? Most likely they’re all already dead and corrupted. I should just leave…
“Screw you,” he growled. “Get out of my head!”
“Soon you will have no head,” the girl called down to him in a voice that sent shivers down his spine. “But first you will have no fingers, then no hands, then no legs.” She flew at him, moving quicker than he would have imagined. “And that’s when we’ll start to PLAY!”
“Fangs of Yig,” he yelled as he brought up his hammer. A different man might have held back against a young girl, but Jack new better and batted the apparition away from him with a mighty blow.
She collided against the stairs, but leapt onto all fours in moments. Like a crazy canine, she raced at him. “I’ll eat your soul. I’LL EAT YOUR SOUL!”
“You’ll eat this first,” Jack said, and then swung his hammer upward hitting her square in the jaw. A resounding crack echoed through the barren hallway as both the Xemmoni’s jaw and neck shattered.
She struggling despite her life ending injuries and manic fingers clawed his legs while the limp necked head flopped at him trying to land a bite.
“You pukes are sick,” he said through gritted teeth and set himself to breaking her body. Foul crunches and loud snapping filled his ears. At one point, the Xemmoni made her cry like the little girl she could have been, but that only made Jack swing his hammer harder so the wailing would stop. Soon, a crashed, but yet still flailing body moved under him.
“You bastards are going to pay long and hard for this.”
But then it started again. The rumbling he had heard before. Like thousands of severed body parts slapping against stone. It came from the basement. It came for him. The last time he had run, but he came here to finish this, but how could he hope to fight something so huge, so massive?
Every nerve told him to flee. Run to the street—forget he had ever heard of this place.
And turn to flee his did, but instead of running through the doors, he headed up the stairwell he had taken before.
If they want me, they’re going to have to earn it.
To be continued next Monday
April 8, 2013
Whether it was because of it being a school day or their involvement with funeral proceedings, neither Alex or any of his surviving friends visited him. Jack welcomed the rest and the healing. After being critically wounded for so long, taking short treks through the frozen woods without pain lancing through his every limb proved a welcome change. Food became a problem before long, but he was able to scrounge up a few forgotten cans of peas, which he cooked on the wood stove.
But guilt still dug at him from multiple fronts. Allowing so many of the teens that were helping him get killed was like a dagger through his heart. He tried to justify it by saying this was their city and he had only been helping them keep it safe, but such thoughts didn’t ease his emotional burden. Then there was his mother’s apartment, which was brimming with evil, that he was allowing to fester and most likely continue to eat at the souls of its residents. “Hell, I should be visiting my mom and by Yig’s fangs, I still need to return to Idaho and finish taking out the Vile Darken and the scum that got me involved in this whole mess.”
He sighed and figured since the haunted high rise had nearly gotten him killed last time that another day of rest wouldn’t hurt. As the fingers of the northern chill crept into his bones, he laid his weary body down for the night.
* * *
Part of him felt a certain relief when the hospital informed him that his mother wasn’t able to receive visitors. Her condition remained stable, but it was more of a mental issue than physical, which didn’t sound too good. He let them know he would try again and then returned to where his motorcycle was parked.
“Guess there’s nothing keeping me from heading there now,” he grumbled. He had slept in and realized the morning had already slipped away. Northern winters made for short days and he still had plenty to get done.
The one thing he did have going for him was a nearly infinitive bank roll. After a quick stop at the bank, he rented the biggest SUV he could find. Next stop was a hardware store. Here he bought a new axe and sledge hammer. Hand axes and extra knives went into a large baffle bag. He also bought a new leather back pack. and a length of rope. This last purchase reminded him of something and he made one last stop.
On the way to the motorcycle shop, he gazed toward the west. The sun was already slipping behind the buildings that lined the Saint Paul sky line. He took a chug of his monster-sized soda and squinted against the dying glare. “I guess it’s either go in at night or wait another day. Screw it! I’m sick of putting things off, that’s how people end up dying. I had better go in tonight.”
After buying the thickest leather jacket the place sold, he stepped back out into the cold. He pulled his new leather gloves tighter over his fists. He felt goofy wearing the leather biker chaps, but figured with his luck they wouldn’t survive the night anyway. The last hint of the sunset was long gone and darkness had claimed the land. A stiff wind dug daggers of cold into his body while he hurried to his rental.
One way or anything this will be finished tonight…
Find out how Jack’s Adventures Started Here!
April 1, 2013
Once again Jack woke up in the teenager’s Euclidian shack in the frozen swamp. At once, he realized that he might have awakened because his body had nearly frozen to death. A fire had been lit in the oil drum stove and extra fire wood had also been piled near its side, but the fire itself had burned down to glowing ruby coals.
Jack’s limbs protested and didn’t want to admit that he had regained consciousness. Every movement seemed to tear at his flesh and open his jagged wounds. His shoulders shivered so badly he almost couldn’t pick up the top log. He managed to throw the log into the pit of coals, which disturbed the red globes that stared at him like the face of a demon. He repeated the process, despite the pain, and a minute later, light flooded the frigid room as the logs burst into flame.
After wrapping the sleeping bag around his shoulders, he huddled closer to the fire. On a whim, he checked to see if his Ki had returned and when he discovered it had, he cursed himself for not using it to heal himself before.
An audible sigh escaped his lips, when the warmth of his healing powers flowed through his weary form. Seconds later, not only did his body stop shivering, but his warrior’s mind came into focus.
He attempted to push past the blur of the last battle. The Templar Queen had fallen. Hopefully the teens had burned the place to the ground. He groaned as he remembered how many of his young allies had paid the ultimate price. Who’s even left? He mused. Alex for sure. Probably John and hopefully Jerry, but that’s it.
Then he remembered his mother. He’d been able to rescue her form the possessed high rise, but what about the other residents? Compared to a whole building filled with some unknown race of Xemmoni scum, wiping out the Temple of Pain might end up being as hard as opening a second beer on a hot day.
At least my mom in safe, but how can I leave this city while such an evil lingers?
He sighed again, while tossed another log onto the already roaring fire. The room was finally beginning to warm and he let the heat soak into his tired muscles and wounds. I’ve been up for days, fighting battle after battle, it’s amazing I’m conscious at all. Hell, it’s amazing I’m alive.
Looking around, he tried to spy a note or some clue that Alex might have left for him, but couldn’t see anything. I wonder where they are and how they’re doing. Since they lost six of their friends, I can’t imagine they’re doing too well. Who even knows how long I’ve been asleep? They might be dealing with the cops and all kinds of crap.
With another groan, he laid back onto the cot. At least they’re safe and my mom is safe. I’m going to need to see her, but I think the teens have done enough. I should sneak away, so Alex and the others won’t insist on helping with the Darkened high rise. They have given enough, suffered enough.
Part of him thought that he should try to leave before Alex returned, but in his mangled and bloody state where could he go in the middle of the harsh northern winter? Soon, despite his wishes, sleep again claimed him, but this time he was plagued by nightmares. His body tossed and he never noticed the ice blue eyes that stared at him through the cracks in the western wall.