Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Face of Death


She glared at the two stunned hunters ogling at the beast in front of them drenched in gore.
                “You have two choices, run, or fight.” She challenged, blood dripping from her blades, breathing heavily with a drunken fury. The mercenaries, not as foolish as their friend, took flight nanoseconds after she finished her sentence. “Smart choice.”
                She whipped the liquid from her swords before they collapsed back into her sheaths in a faint purple flash. Garrett was coughing as blood filled into his busted lung, spewing out liquid onto the concrete. She knelt down over to him and turned him over, sitting him up over her knees.
                “Can you still hear me,” She called out, producing several silver pellets from her belt. He nodded weakly. “Good. Don’t freak out.”
                He parted blood encrusted lips in a feeble attempt to ask what she meant, but no sound emitted. He started coughing again, and she turned his head over so he wouldn’t drown. She dropped the pills on top of him. With a few tiny clicks they sprouted legs, crawling about in circles all over his torso. He gasped and squirmed as they dove in and burrowed into his wounds. The creatures burst inside of him, creating metallic barriers covering the bullet holes and sealing off damaged tissue in his lungs, allowing him to breathe. The pain was too much for him to handle, and he promptly lost consciousness. Nara let out a sigh of relief.
                “Alright,” She assured. “We’re going to hang tight here a little while until I…figure…out…”
                She slowly turned her head around, surveying her surroundings with a look of dread. An eerie yet familiar silence pierced through the trees, like a vacuum bubble boring into her ears. A soft howling erupted, slowly growing in intensity.
                “Oh, fuck!” She blurted, definitely not what she needed right now. There was nowhere to hide in the flat plain of the ruined park. She listened to pinpoint the general direction of the noise, and hefted the unconscious Garrett over her shoulders.
                Six cloaked figures emerged from behind her, attempting to close in around her. Soulless and featureless, they levitated above the ground, the bottoms of their cloaks torn to shreds, fluttering about as an artificial breeze swirled between them. 
                “No, no, no, fuck, fuck, FUCK!” She launched herself up and bolted through the trees, adrenaline coursing through her as she fled from their pursuit. She knew she could keep the Enforcer’s off her tail alone, but having the kid in her hold made things increasingly complicated. He should not have fired that gun; it may have made matters worse for her.
                She ran through a mazeway of streets, but the cloaked beings tracked her every move. The farther she ran, the closer they were.
                She found herself face to face with a massive wall of brick. It was in poor shape, but it was an ideal condition for climbing, and potentially her only chance of escape. She shifted Garrett into a manageable position and began to frantically ascend the wall. She looked down and saw the figures staring up at her with empty faces. She steeled herself and quickened her pace, scaling the wall in impressive speed.
                She stopped mid stride as she heard a sharp THWACK, and an unknown force shoved her into the wall. She exclaimed in pain as she looked over her shoulder, a metal clawed hand buried deep into her skin. Her blood spurted forth as its grip tightened, digging down into her clavicle. She looked over to see the hand connected to a metallic rope, the chain sprouting from the arm of one of the hooded figures. The specter suddenly snapped its arm back, retracting the rope with a rhythmic whir.  Nara clawed at the concrete as she was pried off of the wall. She pulled Garrett in front of her, making sure he landed on top of her as they plummeted.
                She heard her back plates crack with an unsettling crunch as she landed, taking the brunt of the impact. She was forced to release her grasp of Garrett as the metallic rope coiled itself around her neck. She wheezed and gasped for air, trying in vain to claw the rope off of her. It relentlessly continued wrapping around her until her entire body was enveloped in a suffocating mechanical snake.  She strained and struggled to break free of her entrapment.
                Her attempts were cut short as blue fingers of lightning crawled all over her, forcing her to lay still, crying out in agony. She was dragged across the pavement to the feet of her captors.
                 So this is how I die, she thought bitterly.
                Two hooded figures glided over to Garrett’s body. They stood motionless for what seemed like an eternity, appearing to examine him without touching him.
                The wraith that held her leash lifted her from the ground, dangling her inches off the pavement like a piece of meat. She felt a slight release of pressure as the rope opened up a gap over her back, revealing the remnants of the bullet holes in her coat, the remainder of the exit wounds Garret had endured. One of the figures standing over Garrett returned to her, scrutinizing the visceral evidence.
                The coils snapped back shut over her, and she stifled a groan of pain. The inspecting figure fluttered back over to Garrett’s body, watching silently over him again. It stepped back, looking up at his comrade in silent approval, but Nara could not discern its motives through the veiled features of her captors.
                The second  figure knelt down and placed a sleeve over Garrett’s head, and flickers of white light spidered across the youth’s body, causing him to moan in relief, as if his grievous wounds troubled him no longer. A wave of panic washed over Nara as she witnessed the enigmatic ritual.
                Do they intend to keep us alive, she thought, hold us captive in a secret bunker deep in the Fringe? She has seen many horrid practices and procedures the biotech corporations were capable of inflicting on the innocent for the sake of "science," and it left her imagination fleeing to the darkest depths of her mind. She steeled herself once more in attempt to break free of her bonds, writhing and twisting her shoulders, but instead she choked on blood as the silver serpent squeezed her tighter, commanding her to remain still.
                The first figure moved back to Nara, inches away from her face, its head a featureless void of black. It stood there gazing onto her, its motives uncertain. Even though they appeared mechanical, she could sense life inside the robes, but of what origins she couldn’t tell. She glared at them, daring them to make their next move. The fear had left her; she no longer cared what happened next.  A beam of light emitted from the being’s face, blinding her as it made several passes over her features.
                It stepped away from her, the flickers of blue light passed by once more. She couldn't tell for certain, but she could have sworn she saw the creature cock its head to the side in confusion. The light scanned over her face several more times, and with each pass it shifted colors, from red, white, green, as if accessing multiple databases inside it's supernatural mind.
                The fuck, she thought. So her suspicions were true, they had no idea what she was. Her captor suddenly uncoiled the chain around her, dropping her messily on the ground. The claw released its grasp of her, tearing a chunk of flesh as it receded back into the figure’s cloak. She laid there in a shaking pool of sweat and blood as the robed figures withdrew, then vanished from the horizon.
                She forced herself to sit up; there was no time to be pondering. The kid’s life was still in danger, and it was miles until she could reach her home. She shakily stood up and walked over to him, but ended up sinking to her knees as fatigue overwhelmed her. She could feel her back screaming out at her, reminding her of the fall, the wound oozed out where the claw brutalized her shoulder. She could make the trip back, but she would be exposed to all the dangers of the streets, always anxious for a free meal.
                Her mind could not help but relive the moments just passed. That was a tremendously narrow escape, and she had no idea how the hell she got so lucky. The ghastly visage would haunt her for weeks. She considered hiding the event from Garrett, sparing him the tormenting details. She wasn’t sure how well he would handle it. For once in her life, she had to admit she needed help. She raised her communicator up with a trembling arm.
                “Sentinel,” She breathed. “I’m in trouble.”
                “Where are you? What happened?” He said.
                “I just witnessed the face of Death himself.” She managed before collapsing onto the pavement.
                “Nara!” The voice shouted from her wrist. “Hark! Get a transport squad over to Pyral Street in the Gorge. Now!”
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