Serial Saturday: The Figurine, Part 31

“What are those things, Quinn?” Gantry asked.

“Don’t know,” Jefferson replied, watching the creatures approach. They wore clothes, and had a little bit of hair and everything. There was something odd about the hands, and they hunched strangely, but that was it, beyond the feeling they gave off. “Something further along than these other folks, maybe?”

“Well, what do-” Gantry broke off as two of the creatures suddenly lunged into a run. He fired twice, hitting each of the things in the head. “You planning on goddamn joining in, here?” he asked as he took a step backward. Jefferson retreated with him, firing a shot at another of the things that had just started to move quicker.

The two began to move through the cedars, firing occasionally. Jefferson noted that the things they were shooting were showing an unsettling tendency to get up after they were put down, disappearing as they fell in the shadows only to appear again a few moments later, staggering toward them and ignoring their wounds.

“We’re getting herded, Gantry,” he said, glancing around. He could no longer see any of the flow of the townspeople heading toward water. They were getting to higher ground, though nowhere near a road from what he could tell.

“You got some way to get around these sons of bitches, you sing out,” Gantry replied, reloading his pistol.

“I’m just saying, I don’t think we want to end up wherever it is they’re pushing us,” Jefferson said. “Let’s try to get off that way.” He gestured to a rock outcrop. “Don’t know if these guys can climb.”

Gantry seemed to consider for a moment, then fired off a shot and shrugged. “Okay.”

Jefferson led the way toward the rocks, angling to his right. They both had to shoot several times as the things closed in, and Jefferson considered demanding his second pistol again. But there was no time. He fired again, hitting one thing in the face, then tripped another, just barely avoiding its strange, grasping hands as it fell. That made a gap, and both he and Gantry hustled over the uneven ground, stumbling several times.

Jefferson fired two more shots at the approaching things, emptying the Colt, then shoved it into his holster before turning and scrambling up the rock. The climb was not quite vertical, but he needed both hands to claw his way up. He could hear Gantry scrambling up the rock next to him. It was not a large cliff, just some big rocks jutting out of the ground, and it wouldn’t take long to work around it up the slope and reach the top by an easier route. Jefferson just hoped that the things following them wouldn’t think enough to get a head start, and getting to the top would give them some breathing room.

He heard Gantry curse and glanced over to see him kicking at something grabbing for him. Then then both made it up a few more feet, clearing the grasp of the things. They milled around at the base of the outcrop for a time, seeming not to quite know what to do. For a moment, as he neared the top, Jefferson thought they wouldn’t be able to make it after all. The last few feet were bare rock, with none of the dirt and roots he’d been using for handholds on the way up, and it went nearly vertical.

He groped blindly for a handhold for a few seconds, and nearly let out a scream as something grabbed his wrist. He yanked back and his feet came loose from their toehold. For a second he dangled, nothing but the grip on his wrist holding him from falling, then got his feet back into some kind of hold and looked up.

Clyburne smiled down at him from where he crouched at the top of the outcrop. “Come on up, Mr. Quinn,” he said, and pulled.


Copyright © 2012 SM Williams

~ by smwilliams on December 8, 2012.