Monday, 13 July 2015
The Oracle (part 3)
"Wait here." Kennedy commanded, chasing to the door before turning back. "On second thought, you better come with me. Quick, this way."
Delphine jumped up and hurried after him, chasing him into the hall and down the steps into the bar. The piano had stopped as had the hubbub of tavern life because the entire scene was abandoned. Drinks were left abandoned next to papers and still warm meals, smoking pipes and either jars of spit on the floor. Kennedy drew his gun and pulled his goggles over his eyes
"Where is everyone?" Asked Delphine.
"I'm unaware." Kennedy replied, heading towards the tavern's twin doors. He thought better of it and turned back, grabbing a sword from where it hung on the wall. "Toss me the bar cloth." He said and Delphine obliged. He wrapped it around the blade of the sword and then emptied a tankard of liver acid over it.
"What are you doing?" Delphine demanded, but watched in amazement as Kennedy pulled a pair of flints from his pocket and lit the bar cloth. Instantly in one hand, he held a flaming sword. "Right, now outside."
Kennedy kicked open the door and they raced out onto the streets of the small town. He kept his torch away from the buildings to his either side; the last thing he needed was to be blamed for the town burning down.
Far away, there was a deep howling. "Curses." Kennedy whispered. "The creatures must scent their stewing cousin."
"Is that a bad thing?" Delphine asked.
"Of course. Where is this church of which you spoke?"
"Back this way." She said, leading him back through the streets. The burning sword provided them adequate light against the darkening sky and soon they emerged in a clearing I which the church could be found. The last of the town's people was hurrying inside, and so Kennedy shouted in his deepest tone, "Shut that door and the church smoulders."
The doors waited open as they walked in. The bar maid was the first to see Kennedy and instantly barraged him with words. "You come to our town and bring such chaos with you. Perhaps if we threw you to the creatures they would leave us."
Angered calls of agreement bounced off the wooden walls. The townsfolk through their fist into the air and swore their compromise.
"That is not the wisest option." Kennedy announced, stamping out the flames of his burning sword. "The best solution would be to give me all your guns and ten minutes alone with those creatures."
"How would that in anyway be the wisest option?" Every person in the church cried with varying levels of curses.
"For I shall bring you their heads." Kennedy replied. "I slew two of their pack with my bare hands and a gun, ergo I shall be able to take all of them with the town's weapons."
The barmaid, who had elected herself the town's spoke person, turned to the townsfolk. "Who is willing to give the lone wanderer their weapon?"
One old man at the back of the hall raised his rifle into the air. With a voice old and crackly enough to remember grass, the old man spoke, "A gentleman should go to his death well armed."
"So it is, Ranger." The barmaid announced, passing Kennedy the rifle. "You shall now fall and our town will be returned to it's peace."
Kennedy slung the rifle over his back and lifted the sword. "I'll see you around, doll face." He turned to Delphine. "Stay in here, tell them nothing of your visions. I'll be back soon enough."
With that Kennedy walked towards the doors and left, out into the streets of the town. As he walked, he heard a sudden humming on his back. "Strange." He muttered, pulling the rifle from his back. Perhaps one of the bolts was loose. As he inspected it, he discovered that wasn't the case. "Damn." He whispered. The humming was the ignition of a small grenade hidden in the barrel. He dropped the gun and began to run away from it, but it detonated too quickly and he hit the ground with a thud. Seconds before he blacked out, he considered that he didn't feel very valiant at all.
Kennedy awoke to a whimpering to his side. He turned to inspect the noise and found the girl, Delphine, hanging by her arms from a large wooden cross. She'd lost the rags she'd been wearing before and was now hanging like a crucified newborn from a large crucifix, just slightly smaller than the one Kennedy hung from. He was still clothed, probably because he wasn't as pleasing to look at, but he did notice that his jacket had been ripped in several places where they'd nailed him to it. "What's the matter with you?" He asked.
"We're going to die."
"Congratulations." Kennedy replied. "That's a brilliant observation, or did the Gods make it for you?"
"You are a bitter man."
"I am dying man, it is to be expected. What happened?"
"They placed a bomb on you, to knock you out so they could do this. I think I heard them say they're sacrificing you."
"So that's why your religion is missing! They're worshipping those creatures now. Not surprising, mind. People will worship anything they're frightened by.”
In the distance, a creature's howl sliced through the night. Delphine's freezing skin rippled with goosebumps. "You're afraid?" Kennedy asked.
"We are to die."
"You should not be afraid of death. Soon you'll join your gods up in their heaven. Isn't that good?"
"It would be, except the visions of the Gods I keep aren’t enchanting.”
The howl grew louder, closer. Far off in the distance, the foot steps were growing nearer. And with them, so drew death. Kennedy cast his eyes across the cleared scape before them
and then saw something of use.
"Fantastic." He whispered. His sword, his revolver and his knife were placed on a table just out of the reach of his flailing legs. If he could get to them, he could defend himself.
"This crucifixes, what are they made from?" He demanded.
"Yew Wood, it is the strongest for miles. Petrified, they say." Delphine replied.
“Not encouraging.” Kennedy muttered, leaning as far as the nails stuck through his jacket would allow him. If he could keep going perhaps he could use his limited weight and gravity combined to break through? It was a long shot but surely worth a try.
With every gram of weight his skinny body possessed, he tried to lean further forwards. The nails ripping through his coat were strong, holding him in place almost unbelievably well. The more he struggled, the tighter the bolts became until he felt as if he couldn’t move. In the distance, the creatures were racing closer and closer, their footsteps louder and louder. Kennedy knew it was now or never. Break free this second or content yourself to die. Heaving with all his might, Kennedy leant forwards and roared with all the anger he could muster. Delphine, already crying with fear, let out a pathetic whimper as Kennedy hit the floor and rolled away from the crucifix. The dust on the floor rose in a cloud of anguish as he rolled across it and towards the table with his weapons. He knocked it and the sword fell to his side. As he picked it up, the creatures launched themselves into the urban clearing.
They were quick to jump upon him, fighting with each other to draw first blood. Kennedy took that honour, thrusting his sword forwards and bursting the first creature’s neck. The creature flailed backwards, gargling crimson juices from it’s monstrous mouth, and Kennedy took back his sword, swinging it out. He took one of the creature’s limbs which, at the time, had been trying to swipe away Kennedy’s face. It fell to the ground in a puddle of blood. It would be doing no more swiping.
Above the swirling chaos of Kennedy and the Creatures, the wind was picking up. It dragged at the clouds, pulling their long billowing forms into strange typhoon shoes, leaving a off white scar in the reddening skies. With the wind was brought that dust which had so painfully dealt with the woman by the stream. Kennedy, between swings of his sword, pulled his neckerchief and swimming goggles over his face and continued the fight.
A few of the less resistant creatures, the newer borns, had succumbed to the dust. They breathed it in through their cylindrical noses and then, a few moments later, choked it and a helping of blood back up. It was as if the creatures were young ones in a tavern, unable to keep their liquor and their food down. Kennedy’s sword left the creature’s entrails strewn across the floor in the same manner. When merely one remained, he left his sword in one carcass and ran towards the table for the gun and the knife.
His hands wrapped around them and he stashed the knife into his pocket, turning the gun on the remaining creature. It was no where to be seen. He glimpsed around, terrified of where it might be. No where to be seen at all and then he heard the pattering of it’s claw wielding feet against the floor. He turned just in time as it bombarded towards him, ploughing into him and knocking him to the floor. His thumb hurriedly fought with the hammer of the gun as the creature snapped at him. He cocked the gun and then aimed it up, tearing at the trigger with his index finger. They’d emptied the cartridge. The gun was useless.
Kennedy smashed it into the creature’s head, knocking him away. As it rolled away and recoiled to it’s feet, he took his knife and met the creature head on as it barged into him. The knife slid through it’s skull with all the ease of the forgotten sciences. The creature kept coming nonetheless, ploughing Kennedy through the table and to the floor. He was covered in dust and blood, splashed with guts. A myriad of dead creatures surrounded him and he smiled, tired.
Kennedy heaved himself up and then went over to the sword in the carcass’ throat, pulling it out and testing it’s weight. He made his way towards the crucifix to free Delphine. Once done, they’d go find the townsfolk and punish them and then finish his journey as the Gods demanded. He stopped in his tracks. The dust which had fallen had affected the wolves but not him due to his neckerchief and goggles. It had not been as kind to Delphine.
She hung limp from the crucifix with a vomit of blood down her chin, her rib cage opened up to reveal jagged fragments of bone. On the floor in front of her, in the middle of a puddle of blood, was her liver, heart and lungs. They were shredded to thin strips of material.
Lone wanderer, the God had named Kennedy. It seemed to him he was to stay that way.