Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Pallbearer: Harvests 4.5


"Misser Beast, are we gonna die?"
"Are you scared of death little one?"
"Uh-huh. I... I fink I killed somebody before. I didn't mean to."
"It's alright. I have too. But I meant to and that's worse."
"Who did you kill?"
"Lots of people. But a long time ago, I killed my brother. He.. he betrayed our friends. He betrayed me. I just wanted to stop him. To find out why. But..."
"Iss okay Misser Beast. I know. But.. you never answered me."

"Da. I know."

She knew the answer before she ever asked. She was a smart little girl.

Our fusillade smashed into the front lines of Mammon's shadow legion. They never slowed. More came, pouring out from the darknesses.

Mammon stroked his whiskers, unconcerned.

I knew him. I had seen him in the audience when I still played piano. Him and a thousand like him. Vermin in suits, paying attention to the symphony before them. Only paying attention to the disruption in makes in their lives. Fretting over whether or not a night of music would be enough to get their wives or lovers to forgive them their indiscretions... and allow them further room to be indiscrete.

They are the ones I hated most. The ones who wasted my music. Who wasted my time. Who wasted their lives.

The shadows were squealing, howling, rancid littles voices, saying the same thing over and over.

Legion Legion
Legion Legion
Legion Legion

I was not impressed with their lyrics. So we changed the beat.

Two small launchers rose from either side of each our turrets. I saw Mammon raise an eyebrow.


Streaks of missles erupted from the launchers, coursing through the ranks of the rats. With every target they caught, a hailstorm of liquid fire and blazing shrapnel whirled around them.

As the dust and flames settled, the horde reappeared, still and silent. Mammon stepped through their ranks, only twenty feet away.

"You won't understand will you? My friends aren't real. I'm not real. Nothing is real. They'll gut you and rape you and burn you and defile you. But they aren't real. No killing us today."

Legion Legion
Legion Legion
Legion Legion

"Now, my friends... destroy them."

Mammon began to melt back into the swarm of rats before he was jerked into the air by unseen hands.

"You're just a nasty little rat. Nasty and dirty and ugly little rat. Misser Griblin catches rats and lets 'em go where they won't bother us anymore."

Samson. Being boosted up onto me by her friends.

Mammon was choking out words, pawing at the invisible hands on his throat.


"You said you weren't real misser rat. But I gots a good imagination."

"H-hee-h-hee-hhheee... They're awake... now... Nothing... will... stop them..."

I lowered my turret and blew a hole in the floor.

"I think he's telling the truth Miss Samson. Don't... Don't kill him. You're too young to be killing. Just throw him away. We will bury that filthy little beast under the ground and he won't ever bother us again."

"But... but... his shadow ratses..."

"If he can't stop them Miss Samsom, it's up to us."

She nodded and turned to Mammon once more. The rat was still snickering behind its red eyes and black bow tie. He stopped when she jerked him eye to eye with her.

"You're a bad man misser rat. Go live with the other ratses."

And she spit it his eye before hurling him down the pit I had made. As the seething tide of rats surged forward, I blew apart the ceiling, closing off Mammon's hole.

The children. They were screaming as the rats came over us. We never stopped firing in the horde.

Legion Legion

In seven places, I felt myself being torn apart, hunks of steel skin ripped from my hide. Carved and strewn across the floor.

I felt rats being pulled from every one of my bodies, every part of me screaming out, begging for help.

Begging in silence.

I never asked for help. Never would. Not from children. Not from those needing protection.

But they helped regardless, hurling the rats away from us, keeping them at bay.

Pain. Skinned. Bare and empty.

"Miss Natty!"

The bug? Something leaping onto me, bashing, skewering rats.

"The kitty lady!"

Miss Erin? Alive? Alive. Shells bouncing off my hide as the rats were torn apart.

The walls... the walls were collapsing behind me.

St. George roared over me.

And all was dark.

I felt Erin's claws tracing me.

"They're gone. No lights, no shadows. J.. jesus Nikolas... You're... you're torn to pieces... Are you alright?"

"Da. Da. Just won't be leaving any time soon."

"I wouldn't be so sure of that Beast."

Pallbearer over me.

"Why's that little man?"

"I've brought you a present."

"A present?"

"Yeah, you'll just have to play headless horseman for awhile."

"Bah... I don't know how you expect me to work with such equipment."

"You're welcome."

A huge hand fell atop me. I poured myself into it and struggled to pull the rest of me from each of Der Kitten's tanks.

They were already gone, deleted. Ghosts on the ether.

Pieces of my orchestra were missing. It would take time to rebuild. Bah.

I strained and each system clicked on in this new container. Electrical cannons. Motor control. Gyro.




"My brother was in this. Where is he? I never told you why I wanted to find him. I need to know something. I need to know why he betrayed us at the wall."

"Nikolas... he's gone."

"I thought he dead before. He can't be. He was in this suit. He was..."

"He was a great many things. Including an excellent dancer. I made him a promise before he died. A promise concerning you. Now get moving. We still have a job to do."

My mind was scalped.
My tanks were gutted.
My brother was dead and buried.

And he wanted me to continue fighting for bloody fucking principal?

"C'mon Nikolas, do it for me. I think your new body's kind of cute."


Maybe principal wasn't so bad to fight for after all.

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