Monday, September 4, 2017

Chapter 5: The Maw

The last chapter I'm posting for the book.


Purchase the book here.

Chapter 5: The Maw

An ax hit the door, only to get a clang as metal struck metal.
Marco grinned. “This is my room. I had certain…modifications…made after Nuala. Merle spent time on them while I was in the hospital. I think ahead.
The windows exploded as two people swung into the room. They landed on a rug, which disappeared out from under them as they fell through the floor, onto spikes in the room below.
The fake Yana’s eyes narrowed. “But you couldn’t have—”
Marco circled around the image, grinning like a death’s head. “We were counting on someone coming for me, and assumed we’d be spied on. Had you been smarter, you’d have seen that Merlin Kraft had a team of government contractors turn this into a kill zone.”
The door fell in, and it was followed by a dozen men, all of whom were armed with knives. Two of them had axes. They swarmed, taking up positions all around the room as Marco backed against the window, keeping the bed between him and them.
You have just been suckered.”
Marco smiled at them a moment longer, then gave them a wave with his fingers before he leaped back, and hit the windowsill. The impact caused him to flip backwards and out the window, grabbing the rappelling rope along the way.
As he controlled his descent with one hand, he pulled out a cell phone with the other and hit autodial 1.
The number was that of a beeper in his room, attached to a detonator… which was connect to large quantities of explosives under the floorboards.
Marco hit the ground before the fire burned away the rappelling cable. Imagine what would have happened had they tried me in the chem lab.
Yana” stood there, where the floor used to be, saying, “I hate him.”
The image stood gleaming and translucent in the night air, amid the debris and flaming wreckage where his room used to be.
Marco dove into the bushes, grabbing his gym bag filled with weapons. There wasn’t exactly anything he could do besides run very fast. Someone had to have heard that blast, though.
Marco heard something and glanced left across the great lawn of the campus. More minions were coming out from behind the building…how many, he couldn’t tell.
Well, this is bad.
Marco kept running, wondering why no one else had come out of the woodwork—security guards, students, that sort of thing. Thankfully, these are human minions, and not vampires, otherwise, I’d be food by now.
Marco slowed as he saw more shapes coming out of the dark ahead of him. They weren’t demonic-looking, so they were still killable. He drew two knives from his sleeves. He glanced back over his shoulder at the minions closing behind him.
This could be bad.
You killed my brother, da?” asked a deep voice.
Marco glanced over his other shoulder. It was a large vampire, back-lit by the fire of his dying room, easily 6’5”, perhaps even taller.
He looked even uglier than Mikhail the Bear.
The first shot slammed into the vampire’s head, and Marco expected his skull to explode into a million pieces. Instead, the vampire tottered a little. The bullet passing through the other side as though it cut through the brain and bone without actually punching a hole through it.
Well, that’s not good.
Marco did the math, and knew he was screwed. The sniper in place could wipe out the minions, but not the vampire. As far as his chances on taking out the target, knives couldn’t be thrown faster than a vampire could move, and he couldn’t grab another weapon fast enough without being rushed and crushed. There was only one option left…
Marco dropped the bag of weapons, and ran for the woods of Golden Gate Park.
Our Father, who art in Heaven…
The vampire’s laughter followed him, and the vamp was about to follow as well, when Marco whirled in mid-step and hurled a knife at his own bag.
The impact set off the nitroglycerin within. The nitroglycerin had been packed around a shell of wooden stakes, as well as knives. The contents became deadly shrapnel, killing minions all around, and turning the vampire into a pincushion without turning him to dust, driving him off his feet.
At least it’s winter break. No one else will be horribly murdered.
He dashed across the empty street, wondering exactly where everyone else in the area had gone—Answer, it’s a college area.
The park was within sight. There were enough trees in there to count simply as woods.
A minion leaped out from behind a tree, and Marco dove under the line of fire, and grabbed the gun with both hands. One hand clamped down around the muzzle, and the other around the back of the gun. He locked his arms straight above his head, and stood, raising the muzzle of the gun, and bending it back against the minion’s wrist. In the moment of surprise, he twisted the firearm out of the minion’s hands, jammed it under his chin, and pulled the trigger.
Marco was off and running before the body fell. He dashed for the tree line.
When he bowled over a pedestrian who came out of nowhere, he was about to apologize when he saw that she had a knife. “Damn it.”
The woman slashed for his ankles. He hopped over the knife and came down on the woman’s arm, shattering it. He shot her in the head, bent down and scooped down to grab her dagger.
Thanks. Needed this.”
As he straightened, a sharp noise cut the air. Marco barely raised his arm in time to block the coming blade. The dagger hit the gun, taking it out of his hand.
A newcomer, a large, wrestler-like attacker stood before him, and slashed again, this time backhanded. Someone came prepared. Marco leaned back, away from the slash, then pushed forward and jabbed his stake into the killer’s throat. Marco snatched his attacker’s knife away, then nodded at him.
Two metal daggers. Nice exchange rate.
He turned as another came for him, gun held high. Marco threw himself to one side, hurling the knife for the minion’s face—the knife missed and slammed into his chest, point first. The attacker fell forward as Marco swept up the gun in his right hand.
Marco caught motion out of the corner of his left eye, and he swung the left blade up in a backhand. His blade met the attacker’s wrist, opening the fingers holding the knife. At the same time, Marco’s right hand came up with the gun, and punched the minion in the throat with the muzzle. Then he fired.
Marco slid the blade away in the small of his back. His right hand scooped up the fallen knife as he charged deeper into the woods.
Come on, pal, you’ve taken out thousand-year-old vampires, you can take these twerps.
Marco tripped over a rock in time to avoid being decapitated. He thrust his knife at an ax-wielding minion, going right into his stomach as he fell. Marco landed on his shoulder and rolled, hurling the knife from his back out into the darkness. A figure toppled over, and he hoped he didn’t kill a pedestrian. Marco rolled back, grabbed the ax in his free hand, and rolled to his feet.
A knife wielder jumped in front of him, and Marco promptly slammed the butt of the ax into his face like a hammer-fist, then spun in order to give him the ax blade first. The knife man crumpled, showering blood on the way down.
Marco gunned down the next three minions who charged him, but missed the others. They grabbed his elbows and lifted him off the ground, one pulling away the gun.
Marco struggled a moment, but the lock was too strong on both ends. Unnaturally strong. Full blooded minions. Crap. I’m screwed.
Marco dropped the ax and threw his arms out to either side of him; while that wouldn’t shake them, it released the squirt guns in his sleeves. He fired into their faces, and they fell back in pain. He drew both squirt guns down upon the next minion charging in front of him, still firing.
The minions howled in pain as the hydrofluoric acid burned away their faces. They melted like theyd seen the business end of Spielberg's Ark of the Covenant.
Marco shook the squirt guns clear of any droplets and tucked the weapons away, grabbing the knives and the gun from the ground.
He straightened…ten more minions were in front of him, and he was certain that he didn’t have enough bullets.
How many losers can one vampire get to volunteer at a time?
Marco hurled one knife at them as he brought up the gun. The first three fell back as he shot them squarely in the head. The rest dodged with preternatural speed.
Come on, Merle, save my life.
Something slammed him, hard. He dropped the gun without resistance. He looked at his shoulder, only to find that he was bleeding. He flexed his hand and saw flash lights he knew werent there. His whole arm wasnt responding properly. There was movement, but it hurt like a bear.
Ah, damn.”
Marco slowly turned, only to have his knees buckle. He fell with his back to the tree, sliding to the ground.
A minion stood over him, gun in hand.
Marco snarled, and threw out his arm, throwing the squirt gun into his hand. “Die.”
His hand convulsed around the handle, spraying the minion over and over until it fell back, choking and gasping. He waited until it fell all the way back, and down to the ground before he stopped.
The vampire hunter checked the level of acid. He was out. I’m screwed.
Marco slowly pushed off the ground, onto his feet.
You really don’t know when to quit, do you?” said the Yana image standing before him. He could see the scenery right through the flat contours of Yanas lookalike image. Where was the vampire sending it from?
He straightened. “That’s something we have in common. Don’t you ever shut up?”
Yana” smiled. “I wasn’t prepared for your little bomb, but this will do for now. I have nothing but time on my hands.”
You don’t have actual hands… not in this form.”
An oversight.” It smiled. “On your part,” she added as even more men drifted all around “her,” converging on Marco. “These are my hands, and they’ll do quite well to shred you.”
He grimaced as he looked at the others. Let me think about this. I have one arm, my non-dominant one, outnumbered by ten to one, easily. “Right. Let’s do this.”
Marco grabbed a pen from his pocket with his left hand. With one quick move he broke left and rammed the pen into the nearest minion’s eye and into the brain. With a glance over his shoulder, he spotted another one coming for him. His right leg snapped out in a mule-kick, hitting that one in the throat.
With a ferocious growl, two minions had their heads cut off with the single silver swipe of a sword, and the sword ended up embedded in the sides of two others, pinning them to a tree before something leaped through the projected image and slammed into even more minions, slashing them mercilessly.
The cavalry had arrived.

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