Stairwells, Shotguns, and The Thing That Should Not Be (Featuring Jack Primus)
April 22, 2013
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