Serial Saturday: Road Trip, Part 25

He came in too fast for her, in the shape she was in, but she just managed to get the knife up, even if it wasn’t doing anything dangerous. It was enough to do something, though, with the Old One coming out in Laurent now. Laurent’s arms, somehow longer than they had been a minute ago, flailed at her, but his whole body twitched aside as he came close, and he he didn’t do much damage when he ran into her.

At least she didn’t think he had–it was hard to say with the way the pain shot through her abused body when he sent her staggering off. They were both lurching drunkenly around the clearing now, but as she watched JT could tell that he was getting steadier every second, as the Old One took firmer control. It was only after they’d been circling each other in a wobbly fashion for a few seconds, JT taking in new details of the way Laurent had changed, when she realized that she wasn’t holding the knife anymore.

Her gaze was still darting around the clearing, looking for the knife in the mud, when Laurent lunged again, a strange rattling growl coming from his mouth. She dodged to one side, too slowly, and felt an impact that spun her around as she fell to her hands and knees. She scrambled forward, hearing Laurent approaching behind her.

She grabbed Israel’s shotgun from the mud and spun, falling on her back with a new jolt of pain. For a second, it hurt so much that her vision washed out, then she fired as Laurent loomed over her. He staggered, and she pumped and fired again. He looked like a bloody ruin, but he was still on his feet. She pumped and fired again, hearing a click.

“Shit,” she muttered, and dropped the shotgun, then scooted back a few feet, trying to get some space. Laurent looked like he was shaking off the effects of two loads of buckshot. She looked around wildly for a few moments, tried to stand, and fell back in the mud as the horizon lurched around her again.

“Laurent!” came Israel’s voice. JT and whatever Laurent was becoming both turned to where Israel stood, leaning heavily against the cabin. Israel swallowed as Laurent’s gaze fell on him. “Tychyak-ctyal! Hrukch ah!” Israel shouted. Laurent staggered slightly, then began speaking in the Old Tongue himself. Blood sprayed from his mouth with every word as he took one step, then two, toward Israel.

Israel slipped and fell, holding his hands up in a useless warding gesture as he hit the ground. JT pushed herself back a few more feet as Israel released a whimpering noise. They were both just trying to get away from Laurent now, but neither of them could even stand. Laurent, on the other hand, didn’t even seem to be feeling the knife wound or the buckshot anymore. He looked taller and stronger than he had when they’d first arrived, despite the blood flowing from him. He spat two more words of Old Tongue at Israel, then turned back to JT.

For a moment, she thought he was just going to come at her again, then he grinned a wide, bloody grin, and reached into his pocket with fingers that seemed too long.

“No,” JT said, the word coming out as a breathy whisper as the flute appeared and he raised it to his mouth. “No.” She scrambled back a few more feet. Her fingers brushed against something in the mud. From the shape of it, it could have been nothing but a stick, but her hand knew better.

A lot of things went wrong in the next few seconds. The tomahawk was covered in mud, and it twisted in her hand as she brought it around. She lurched to one side as she tried to jump to her feet, and she fell again even as she threw.

But heard the loud crack as she sprawled in the mud, and when she craned her head up she saw that Laurent was only holding half the flute near his mouth now, and the expression on his face, what she could see of it around the tomahawk lodged in his head, was surprised. In the next moment, the skin and bone around the head of the tomahawk had begun to draw away from the weapon and disintegrate, and there wasn’t much expression, or face for that matter, to see.

Laurent dropped the broken flute, and for a moment he tottered, flailing at the weapon in his head, then he fell, and after a few jerks, lay still.

JT sat for a while, watching Laurent’s body. He didn’t move, although after a while Aya’Ilana had eaten away at enough of him that it fell free and dropped into the mud. The sun came out from behind the clouds and beat down on her head. The air was hazy, and it felt like steam was about to rise off everything around.

A movement caught her eye, and she looked over to see Israel heaving himself to his feet. He shambled over, reaching into his pocket. He sat heavily next to her, pulling out the keys to his car.

“You good to drive?” he asked.



Copyright © 2011 SM Williams

~ by smwilliams on September 24, 2011.