August 12, 2013
As Jack fell, he caught a glimpse of the top-hated carnie that kicked him back into the shambling horde of side show freaks. Strangely their bloated and mangled bodies protected him from greater damage. The one beneath him perished in a fit of snapping bones and jagged screams. Three others were knocked aside.
This gave him just enough time to get to his feet and yell, “You want me so bad, come on!”
Then his axe cut huge paths through the disfigured mass of freaks. Under normal circumstances, Jack would have felt pity for such tortured creatures, but regardless of their past state, the Xemmoni had corrupted their souls. It might not have been fair, but Jack knew that pain filled hearts became Darkened easier than most and the evil eyes that glared at him from forty skulls confirmed this.
Jack stepped into his wild swings and then drew back and braced himself. He tried to keep moving and the foe wouldn’t grow too thick, but within seconds he was forced back into the dead end. Bodies had already piled at his feet, but the horrid enemy came in waves. Elongated arms lost their hands and fat heads coved in odd growths were split in half. Hands, nails, claws, and ratty teeth tore at him. With most of his jacket already destroyed, he had only his hardened flesh of Yig to fall back on. So far it kept him alive, but the numbers grew overwhelming.
His eyes darted toward the opening he had carved overhead. So close, but it might has well been on the other side of this Yig-forsaken town. There was no way he could fight his way free of this press and make it up there without the freaks pulling him back down.
He braced a heel against the wall of the dead end, took a deep breath, and then roared. It was the roar of the savage fighting to keep from being devoured, the Viking storming the shores on an unknown land, the cave dweller defending his mate.
The freaks withdrew for a moment, but then the carnie’s voice shouted down. “At him, rend the flesh from his bones or his fate will be yours!”
Then they came.
Like a tidal wave of flesh, they descended at him. Midgets mixed with giants. Some had too few limbs, while others had twice the amount they should.
Jack unleashed with a primitive fury. His eyes glowed with the green of Yig while his axe ripped through them in bloody arcs. They fell by the half dozen, but still pressing in. Soon their blood painted his body. Drops of crimson flew from the ends of his hair and rolled down his arms in strings, which mixed with his own more often than not.
Still they came. A nightmare of mutated flesh. Mouths snapped where hands should be. Bodies seemed to flow and join together until he couldn’t be sure where one enemy started and another ended. All the while they hammered and gibbered, clutched and bit.
The sea of flesh parted to let a thundering form charge him. Big enough to be five men, the circus fat-man lurched toward him. Its blubber bounced in stench-ridden waves the size of his thigh. The foul head resting above the swollen form seemed overly small and insane laughter erupted from a mouth full of splintered teeth. Hands the size of baked turkeys slapped together, like they already anticipated tearing him apart. To be caught in those hands would mean his death.
Some times in life you have to do something stupid to stay alive.
Jack threw the axe at the thing’s head.
The move was so unexpected the fat-man had no chance to block the steel headed missile and the mighty axe split its skull. The pale mountain of obesity toppled backwards with a drawn out moan and killed four of his former allies when he crushed them flat.
Another oversized freak had been following the fat-man. This was a hairy giant that could have been mistaken for a Bigfoot. No clothes concealed the layers and layers of course matted hair that sprung from the towering figure’s form. Its gait and profile both had an apish feel, as thought this creature was a throwback to an earlier predecessor of man. This eight foot tall giant tore the axe out of his fallen friend with a roar and turned to face Jack.
But Jack was already moving.
Between the minions of freaks moving aside for the fat-man and then being either crushed or cut off from him but its colossal bunk, Jack had a few feet of clearance around him. Drawing his hand axe, he raced up onto the chest of the boated corpse and jumped onto the top of the maze’s wall he had so recently perched from. Losing his balance, he began to topple back toward the giant axe welder and his remaining freakish followers, but the hook of his hand axe lashed out and caught on the lip of the hole he had cut into the ceiling.
“Oh I don’t think so,” the carnie said and Jack heard boots thumping toward him. At the same time, he spotted something he hadn’t slowed down long enough to notice before.
From where he stayed perched, he could see the exit to the maze.
Behind him the hairy giant prepared a blow that would cut him in two, while above him the booted foot lined up to kick his hand axe away.
With a yell, Jack reversed the grip on his hand axe and sent it cutting into the carnie’s shin. This caused the bastard to scream as Jack flung himself over the wall—seconds before the Bigfoot’s axe cut through the air where he had been.
He hit the floor on the other side of the wall and sprinted toward the maze’s exit. The hairy freak and its foul fellows gave chase, but he found the exit and hurried through. After frantically searching for a door he could shut, but finding none, he raced forward. Jack quickly traveled past what he guessed was the empty freak show. Once through the cages and filthy display cases, he found a staircase in the back going up.
The undulating horde of flesh followed from behind while the carnie and other tribulations waited for him ahead.
Jack wiped the lingering blood from his eyes and pressed on.
To be continued next Monday
August 5, 2013
Jack grasped the shortened battle axe tighter as the Haunted Funhouse plunged into complete darkness. “Didn’t you already try this trick before,” Jack grumbled. He made it about eight more feet before his foot banged something painfully and he let out a string of curses.
“What’s that matter, has no one ever made it this far before? So now you gotta kill the lights so you can think of what to send at me next.”
It was so quiet his ears were ringing.
“Screw this,” he said and moved forward until he reached one of the walls of the maze. He had seen earlier that the walls didn’t reach the ceiling, but stopped a few feet shy of it. He went left while running his hand against the wall. As soon as he found a corner he leapt up and climbed on top of the wall. A little luck was with him for even in the darkness, he could tell he had found a place where the intersecting walls had formed a large.
Once he got himself situated on top of the wall, he took a deep breath, and then began to whack the ceiling overhead. It was made from some type of metal, which didn’t surprise him, but it only took three hits from the giant twin headed axe to create a gash large enough for a trickle of light to come through.
He kept at it until a voice echoed through the maze. “What are you doing?” The voice was shrill like a female hobbit that had just sucked in a mouth full of helium. “You aren’t playing by the rules. You are cheating!”
“We’ll hats off to me then. And… I make my own rules.”
There was a series of piping curses and then the patter of a dozen feet rushing toward him through the maze. Strangely the lights popped back on. Jack was half tempted to leap down and kill whatever might be racing at him, but it sounded like more had joined in the chase and he always preferred the high ground anyway.
They drew in close, but with the maze slowing them down, he might have a chance to make it through. The hole had several jagged strips of metal that reduced its size and Jack was forced to pause as he pulled these back.
He had just finished doing so and figured the opening was probably big enough for him to fit through when the first of his pursuers came into view and he wished they hadn’t
It was as if they had emptied out the freak house and sent them all his way. Things with matted flesh and coarse hair mixed with pale fish colored men with elongated arms and missing body parts. Things of indeterminate sex walked on their hands or dragged themselves along by any manner their mangled bodies would allow. Others were beastly things that could prove fierce combatants.
“Screw this,” Jack said again, and made for the hole, just as the lovecraftain horde poured into the hallway on which he perched. He was just climbing through when he heard laughter above him. He was just able to catch a glimpse of the thin man he had met outside of the ride, before a black boot sent him tumbling back into the gibbering freaks below.
To be continued next Monday