Serial Saturday: Road Trip, Part 22

The air seemed to be made of soup, between the cloying heat and the fuzz in her own head, but the shots finally spurred JT to heave herself unsteadily to her feet between the second and third shots. Not the best time to finally get off the floor, most likely, she realized as she swayed there for an instant. The shots were coming from one of the cloudy windows, its glass now hanging in shards, and as she watched Israel let out a cry and fell to the floor. Laurent spun and fired the shotgun at the window, blowing out the remaining glass, then dropped the weapon. She couldn’t understand why until she saw him pulling the flute from his pocket. She shouted wordlessly and started toward him, then changed her direction and staggered for the open door as he raised the artifact to his lips.

She caught a glimpse of Angela bursting through the door at the back of the room with a pistol as everything went to hell again.

The sound from the flute exploded in her brain again, and her hands came up to cover her ears as the room seemed to lurch and flip. She felt herself stumble and seemed to be falling for several seconds as pressure and slammed through her brain. She felt her knees hit the floor, then her elbows, which finally drove her hands away from her ears as she sprawled flat on the floor.

She could see the doorway in front of her, a bright blur in her vision, and she was making for it on her hands and knees a moment later without conscious thought. It seemed to take forever, but finally she was clambering over the wreckage of the door and falling out into the slackening rain.

Things hazed out for a while, and she discovered that she was lying on her back with her eyes shut tight. She opened them, then turned her head against the raindrops landing in her eyes. The motion brought Bryce into view. His eyes were open in the rain, but he was beyond caring. It looked like pretty much the full load of buckshot had caught him in the chest.

How long had she been lying in the mud next to a corpse? She jumped at the sound of a shotgun blast, simultaneous with a scream, from inside the cabin.

“Ah, fuck,” she said, almost a whine. It wasn’t fair, when all she wanted to do was lie in the mud for for six hours. It was too much, but she got a hand on the ground, tried to push herself up.

Israel came stumbling backwards out the door, and JT wondered how he could even be on his feet, after hearing the flute twice in such close succession. He fell just as she had the thought, dropping to his knees a few feet away and still looking up at the cabin. Laurent appeared in the doorway a moment later, shotgun in one hand and flute in the other. Blood was flowing freely down his face now, and soaking his ragged sweatshirt.

Laurent looked over at Bryce’s corpse and swore, then turned back to Israel, pointing the shotgun in his general direction.

“This is all screwed up, Israel,” he said. “It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. You were supposed to bring me another Old One to use, that’s all.” His voice was slurred, and more blood spattered from his mouth as he spoke.

“Just don’t play it again, Laurent,” Israel said. “We can work this out, get you an Old One somehow. Hell, you could have just asked, if I’d known you were alive. But don’t play it again, not now.”

Laurent cocked his head. “Why not?” he asked. “You seem to be getting used to it. You’re holding up better than most.” He glanced over at JT, who had just about managed to heave herself to a seated position. “For that matter, so is she. Who is she? Why did you even bring her along?”

“She has a reputation, Laurent,” Israel said quickly. “She has an Old Weapon, thought it might come in handy.”

Laurent’s gaze snapped back to JT. “She has what?”

“Oh, fuck,” JT said.

Copyright © 2011 SM Williams

~ by smwilliams on September 3, 2011.