Worst Case Scenario
February 24, 2014
Despite his reluctance, Jack decided to go with Bruin’s plan of letting Jack and the Dionysus worshippers try to rescue the healer Felix, while Bruin and Lanna attempted to destroy a Darcarre nest. They made it deep into Boston unopposed, but this also made sense for the Xemmoni no doubt wanted them as far into the city as possible before they set their trap. For the team would be kidding themselves if they didn’t admit there was a trap being set for them. The only questions would be if Felix still lived or if they would be able to live through it themselves.
The tension, in the new van Jack had purchased, lay thick and no one had spoken for so long that Phillip’s voice caused him to jerk the wheel. “It’ll be great to have a healer with us, if nothing else. All we need to do is be able to fight our way toward him and he’ll get us ready to fight our way out.”
“I just hope he still lives,” Cleo said, with less optimism in her voice.
Jack glanced at her in the rear view for a moment before saying, “Phillip’s right though. We have just one goal. Grab Felix and go.”
“What if he still refuses to leave with us?” Phillip asked.
“We just have to assume, by this point, he’s knows better. Even if he’s too scared to hit our enemies with us, we can still hide him in some hotel and use him as a healer after our conflicts.” They rode in silence for a while, but then Jack added, “And one more thing. I could care less about coordinating some attack with Bruin. If the Darcarre come at us and lighten his burden, so be it. But I’m not risking our safety to do anything other than rescue Felix.”
Soon they arrived at Felix’s home. It was lit up like the man expected company, and Phillip mumbled, “I hope all those lights are a good sign.”
“Or maybe he’s just trying to keep the Darcarre at bay,” Cleo said.
“Brace yourselves,” Jack said, through clenched teeth, seconds before he hopped the van over the curb, drove across the lawn, and pulled up next to the front steps.
Phillip jumped out of the van first. “So far so good. No sign of anything.”
As one, the trio raced up the steps. Cleo gazed in every direction. “Is it possible that there isn’t a trap set for us here?”
Before he answered, Jack reached for the doorknob. It proved to be unlocked. Looking back over his shoulder, “This is getting strange.”
Phillip’s voice dropped to a whisper as they shut the front door behind them. “His room is upstairs. He’s either there or in the library on this level.”
They checked the library, but found no signs on him. Phillip and Jack lead the way up the stairs while Cleo watched their backs. Approaching Felix’s bedroom, the Stalwarts drew weapons. Again the door was unlocked, Jack opened it, and the men rushed inside.
The sight before them caused even those veteran Stalwarts to draw back and gasp in horror. Felix floated in mid air like he had been crucified on an invisible cross. He moaned slightly, but gave no indication that he was aware of their presence. His naked body showed signs of horrible abuse. Bruises and angry red lacerations covered more parts of his body than not. Only the whites of his eyes were visible, but they only had just enough time to take this in before the healer exploded.
His very body became weapons and Phillip and Jack cried out as sharpened bones impaled them and viscera blinded their eyes. The men stumbled back into the hallway and struggled to wipe what was once Felix from their faces. Before this could happen, an insane laughter filled Jack’s veins with ice.
He’d heard that laugh before.
Jack looked on in horror as Vile Darken himself, both the Earth’s and Jack’s ultimate enemy, stood before him opposite of the stairs. His nemesis’ black sorcerer’s hat did little to contain Darken’s wild mane of unkempt hair. His goatee had become a raged beard since the last time Jack had confronted him, but insanity still burned behind his evil eyes. Tall ebony jack boots met a midnight blue uniform that made the foul villain look like some sort of space pirate. One hand clamped onto a smoking, black cutlass, while the other had Cleo’s body suspended by the neck so that her feet dangled a full foot of the floor.
“Ho, Jack Primus we meet once more, but then again, I’ve meet you so many times over across the Everywhere War, that such encounters tend to lose their uniqueness.”
“Let her go, you horrid freak,” Jack hissed. “Your battle is with me. Let’s finish this!”
“Jack,” Phillip said in a low voice. “Behind us.”
Jack took a second to discover that dozens of Xemmoni rushed into the house behind them. In seconds they would be heading up the stairs at their backs.
Vile’s voice drew Jack back to the dark villain. “I’m been enjoying causing people to explode latterly. You could say it’s my newest trick or perhaps hobby.”
Then, before Jack could do anything, Cleo exploded into a thousand gruesome pieces.
To be continued next Monday