Serial Saturday: Road Trip, Part 4

There was a scream from inside the diner, and Israel spun, groping for his keys as he stepped toward the Pontiac. He’d just shaken off the brass knuckles and gotten a hand into his pocket when the back of the car suddenly rose several inches as the hood dipped. He heard the sound of scraping and dimpling metal as something came up the hood and onto the roof, and he threw himself back. He cursed as he hit the ground and the car keys flew from his hand.

There was another scream, and a crash, from the diner as the thing landed on the trunk and paused. So there were at least two of them this time. He wondered if whatever was in the diner was the same as the thing that was crouching on his car. At least, he thought it was crouching. It was hard to tell with Old Ones, because the very way they stood or sat often seemed painful. It was painful to look at, anyway; just trying to perceive it in the uncertain light made him blink desperately as his mind rebelled against the impossible shape of the thing. It was heavy enough to be bowing in his trunk a bit, anyway, as it scanned the parking lot, making a weird gurgling noise.

It looked to have two legs and two arms, but as Israel watched, another limb snapped up from…somewhere, this one terminating in dozens of sharp digits that dripped some sort of viscous fluid. It came off the car in a motion that was terribly quick but also utterly without grace, and Israel saw what had caught its interest. The long-haired kid had finally managed to move, at exactly the wrong time. The Old One flickered past Israel in a way that hurt to watch, even though it was only there for a split second, chasing the kid like a hound after a rabbit. It covered the distance before he’d even fully turned to flee, and Israel saw a spray of blood, orange-brown in the light, as it hit him.

It continued hacking at the body as Israel scrambled to his feet, and he realized that Bryce really had sent the Gashers.

“Give me the words, Lucien,” he said as the thing kept at it, sending blood spraying across the asphalt. More screams sounded from the diner.

“Dammit, Lucien, give me the words!” he said, backing up a step. He risked a glance down, trying to find his keys. Sometimes Lucien didn’t give him the words, and if that happened this time the gun in the car was his only hope. He didn’t know if Lucien sometimes stayed quiet at inconvenient times because he simply didn’t know what to say, or if it was just a decision he made now and again.

Sometimes he thought Lucien was crazy, actually.

He looked around for the keys again, but his head snapped up at a gurgling noise. The Gasher had finished, and Israel went still. The big guy was about ten yards off, staring, with the length of chain dangling from his hand. The Gasher seemed to be looking at him and his chain, but as Israel watched it slowly turned. One of its stubby limbs, not the one with the sharp pieces but one that could almost be called normal, extended to point at Israel. It made the gurgling noise again as blood and oily liquid dripped from its blade arm, then it spun, too fast to see.

The big guy made one short squeak of a scream before it hit him and bore him to the ground.

“Dammit, Lucien,” Israel said, stumbling back a few steps and casting around desperately.

There was a clinking noise as the tow chain went flying through the air, still wrapped tightly around a severed arm. A moment later the Gasher turned, and looked at Israel again. It was hard to tell for sure, with the light the way it was, but Israel thought it was holding a bare femur in one of its more normal hands.

“So they can do that,” Israel said weakly. A glint on the ground caught his eye, but it was just his brass knuckles. The idea of using them against the Gasher made him laugh, and he thought he saw the thing’s head cock to one side at the sound.

Copyright © 2011 SM Williams

~ by smwilliams on April 30, 2011.