RUINS, The Final Chapter
“Little girl if you wish to live, we need to work together.” The girl laughed, an eerie chilling noise, which sent icy spiders running up his spine. The girl drew her arm back to slice Ann’s throat, but Phillip was faster without thinking her tore the blooded butcher knife from his belt and tossed it point first. It took the girl in the center of her forehead, piercing her skull. With a confused expression, she stumbled back and the weapon tumbled out of her fingers.
Taking up the discarded dagger, Phillip began to cut Ann’s bounds. At the same time, he gently shook her. Eyes flashed open. “Oh God, are we still alive?”
“Not for long-“
“Phillip look out,” she suddenly screamed.
He had been expecting a hound, but certainly not the girl to be stabbing at him, with the very knife he had used to pierce her skull. He tried to move back, but the blade still caught him, tearing through his trench coat and into the flesh underneath.
“You little bitch,” Ann yelled and kicked the girl in the face. It was only then, that Phillip noticed that her wound was not bleeding. The girl had already been dead!
Behind him the door cracked loudly. “Take care of Polly Pockets,” he shouted, as he turned. The shotgun took out the first two hounds, but then only a dry click answered the pull of the trigger. Damn how was he going to get out of this one, he was thinking, as his eyes rested on his cutlass? He picked it up in his left hand, while his right readied the girl’s knife.
With an explosion of splintered wood, two hounds came charging in. Using years of practice, the dagger took one of the robotic beasts in the eye, while his cutlass, laid open the second with a spray of sparks.
More were coming, and that was when Ann tossed the girl into their midst. One snapped off her forearm and the girl stared at her stump in awe for a moment, then the rest began to tear her apart. Ann found a pistol somewhere and began to unload on the rending pack. She had bought him a few seconds, but he was still at a loss as to what to do with them.
Then he saw the fireplace. There was no wood stove and the brick chimney looked quiet wide. “Ann up the fireplace now!” A lesser woman might have been confused, but tossing her empty pistol away, Ann flew to the fireplace and began to climb up and was quickly devoured by the dark shaft.
The hounds had finished with the girl, but Phillip had another meal for them and shoved the limp form of Olden at them. He was already screaming, before Phillip had even started to climb. Phillip was forced to leave his cutlass, and now weaponless, began to climb after Ann. Decades of soot and ash stung him, making it hard to breath. Below him the first hound’s head peeked up, but for once their massive size worked against them, and he made it past the reach of their jaws.
The baying and snarling continued, as the hounds tore the house apart.
“Phillip it narrows near the top. I can’t get through.”
“Then we will have to stay here.”
“For how long?”
“Until they leave, now come on, let’s try to use my leatherman to take out some of these bricks so we will have a place to rest our feet.”
* * *
It seemed as though they would never leave. Hours must have passed, as their muscles begged for a release that would not come. Sometimes he did not think he was going to make it, but he was weaponless and knew in such a state he would be lucky to take out one hound.
If anything Ann faired worse, for she was still dazed from a blow to the head. Whatever came next, he would be facing weaponless and would only be able to use his wits to survive.
“I think they are leaving,” Ann whispered. Silently agreeing, he held his finger to his lips, as the sounds of shattering glass echoed up the chimney. He gave it another ten minutes, but then finally began to descend.
The hounds had torn to place up pretty good, televisions were smashed and the sofas were nothing but piles of torn wood and stuffing. “This is strange,” Phillip said, as he picked up his cutlass. “This whole place is completely trashed, but my sword barely has a scratch on it.”
Grabbing up the shotgun, Ann said, “yeah, this shotgun did not seem to be damaged either.”
A deep voice sounded behind them and as one they whipped around to face the massive Caradon Alaquist. He addressed them from the doorway. “These weapons are undamaged for I have trained my hounds to avoid damaging weapons. Stranded on this world of shit, I need whatever I can scavenge.”
It appeared that he spoke the truth for he had more human gear than anything else. His Velvo jacket, had been replaced with a simple hunters jacket, stuffed with shells. For weapons he had a large magnum, but unfortunately still retained his Caradon Spirit Dagger, which did not please Phillip at all, for her knew that taking even a scratch from such a weapon was enough to take a man out. The Caradon himself was a stocky giant of a man, being at least seven feet in height and as big around as an oil drum. He was as blonde as a Swedish baby and had what should have been an Angel’s face.
“I’m impressed that just the two of your were able to take out this catch of Nezzoroths. I appreciate you locating it for me, so many undesirables have been springing up from you kind, but I guess that should not be surprising.
“Will it surprise you when I blow off your head?” Ann said rushing forward. The Alaquist had his pistol pointing at her face.
“Actually it would, since that firearm is empty.”
Holding out his arm to stop her advance, Phillip used that as an excuse to back up a foot. “Well since we helped you out, a gentleman such as yourself will naturally be letting us go.”
“Nothing about me is gentle,” he snarled. “And I am afraid leaving is something I can not let you do, for Stalwart Baal is far too sweet. But tell me this, are there more of you around here?”
“Son of puss, prickless freak, I won’t tell you anything,” Ann screamed. Remembering that she had been a slave for a time, came back to Phillip. She had never spoken of her treatment, before she had escaped, but Phillip was piecing it together.
“Put a mussel on your bitch, Stalwart. We can do this the hard way, or the very very hard way and I will start with her, so you will have to watch.”
His cutlass rose and there was a sudden loud retort within the house, quickly followed by another. Two growing circles of purple stained the middle of the Caradon’s chest. Wide eyed he turned, ignoring the Stalwarts, as he lunged at a figure that had appeared behind him.
Rushing up he saw both figures hit the floor with the Alaquist on top. There was a foul screaming and Phillip saw that Carver was being carved. The two Xemmoni struggled doing insane amounts of damage to each other. Phillip moved in over them. Switching the grip on his cutlass he raised it like a nightstaker about to plunge a dagger into a vampire’s heart. Then with a shout, Phillip drove his weapon down so fiercely that it not only pierced the Alaquist, but also continued through until it struck Carver in the eye. Only removing the blade after he had twisted it in a full circle, he still decapitated them both for good measure.
Ann was already searching for bullets, her blood caked face along with the rest of her was covered in black ash and they both looked as bad as they felt. He handed her the mag, while his Desert eagle was returned to his holster. “Damn, where are the shotgun shells?” she said more to herself. “Oh wait, here are some rifle shells. Is that other gun still working?”
“I think that was what he shot the Alaquist with and-“ They heard the howling. Grabbing the box of shells from her hand, he yelled, “come on.”
Snatching up the rifle, he began to race up the stairs. She was yelling after him, but he just hoped she would keep up. Reaching the bathroom, he smashed the window, and hurried out onto the roof. It was step, but using his sword to help him balance, he was able to make it to the side of the roof that faced the advancing hounds.
Turning back to Ann, he smiled and said, “make yourself comfortable. Ninety bullets later, the ground beneath them was littered with thirty-five sparking hounds. Twisted pieces of metal poked through their engineered fur at odd angles. To the east dawn was just beginning to stain the skies a flowing red, reminding him of a freshly poured glass of Merlot.
“I guess that is that,” Phillip said, trying to get Ann to smile. “We took out an Alaquist, fifty hounds and a horrid nest of cannibalistic Xemmoni. Not bad for a night’s work.”
Ann’s eyes were to the western horizon. He knew she was thinking about home and the others. He watched her long chocolate hair blow in the gathering wind. The dust was beginning to stir.
“I would not blame you if you wanted to go back,” he said softly.
Turning towards him, “no, I don’t want to go back. These things just grow and become worse. I have the utmost respect for Alex and the rest of them, but they are just waiting for the cancers to grow. Someone has to take the fight to them. Every Alaquist,” the word was a curse, “we kill, each person we send heading back to the Devin brothers, it, well it makes a difference Phillip.” He saw that she was crying now.
Moving towards him, she took his hand into hers. “I really do love you Phillip, I think you are the bravest of them all.
“I love you too, Ann,” he said, squeezing her hand gently.
Rushing into his arms, she did not notice that his eyes were slowly leaking tears. Together they watched the dust paint the sunset and brilliant brown shrouded red.