Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Boy Named Nod: Walkabout Part 3

The Running of the Ooze

It’s hard not to get a little overconfident when you’ve never missed a target in your life. I mean, really, what is there to be afraid of if you aren’t being outnumbered? You can pick off whatever’s coming long before it gets to you. This time though, staring at the creature in front of me, and the coagulated vomit that it was composed of, I reckoned I might’ve bit off more than I could chew.

The dog-headed thing in front of me began to turn its body toward me. The bear body and cloven hooves twisted toward me, drippings plopping off of it with every step. Its tentacles continued to slither after the redhead. She was scurrying backwards but not fast enough. I let the twins start talking again and they blew apart the tentacles reaching for the damsel I was attempting to rescue. Unfortunately, she continued to scurry back in horror and not clamber to her feet.

“Miss, you may want to stop panicking and start running. Ah doubt this fine pile of filth will remain interested in me for long.”

“It won’t do her or you any good. I am known for my relentlessness. That is why she called me.”

“Don’t really care much about that. What people think of you is ya own business. Ah’m just here as a good Samaritan.”

I started firing again, aiming for its hooves. The twins bullets tore them apart, splattering the muck across the alleyway. The torso thumped onto the concrete and sprouted ten crab legs, picking itself back up. I fired the last two rounds in the twins into the dog-head’s eyes. Two furrows appeared where the bullets tore through and the dog head melted in on itself. The ooze reformed itself into the head of an owl and leered at me with festering eyes.

I flipped open the twins, dropped a moon clip in either of them, and snapped them back shut. The redhead was on her feet and backing down the alleyway headed towards the street. I charged towards where she was, firing randomly into the mass of noxious sewage. It gurgled a laugh that made my hair stand on end.

“Miss, ah do think we should be going.”

I grabbed the redhead by the elbow and started running. She was moving without hesitation now as we raced down the alleyway.

“It’s right. We can’t escape it. It’ll find me. That’s all it does.”

“Well that’s keen ma’am. But before we get into that any further, I believe introductions are in order.”

She stared at me in confusion as I scooped her up into my arms and continued racing down the alleyway.

“Mah names Trevor Wulf, bodyguard to one fine young gentleman named Nod. Ah was just on a bit of a walkabout when ah come across you and your friend back there. Now, if ah may be so bold, what is yoah name Miss?”

She blinked a couple more times as I hurtled an overturned burn barrel. The living heap of sewage was in pursuit, I could tell. My nose wasn’t letting me forget that it was there. From the scent, it had gone underground and was trying to beat me to my destination. Heh, if it only knew.

I didn’t have a destination yet.


“So, where ya from?”

“Excuse me?”

“What district?”

I jumped again, missing an old, snoring bum that smelled like dry urine. I cut to my right and continued running. The reeking monstrosity went the opposite direction when it hit the crossroads, and the smell started to fade. Miss Molly was staring at me still, trying to figure out just what I was doing.

“Normally, I’m up at Meddigo. I work at the Mayor’s office. I was just done here to… well…”

“Summon some sort of ugly to do a job for ya. Ah know how it goes. Mah family is one of the groups y’all tend to come to. We live out in Akarin. Well, from what ah understand, we own half of it now, but that doesn’t really matter. Now, mah self, ah was heading for this bar ah heard about. Supposed to be real nice. It’s called The Dreamtime. Care to join me for a drink?”

She started giggling nervously.

“Trevor, was it? I’d love to join you for a drink, but I don’t think we’ll be alive to have one. That’s a full-fledged demon I summoned. I can’t pronounce its name but you use a lot of x’s and y’s and q’s to spell it. It’s referred to as The Relentless. As you saw, it manifests itself in the waste products of humans. It can’t be stopped until its job is over.”

“Ah see. Well, being of the mercenary variety, ah have a little experience dealing with outwitting contracts. What exactly did you set it to do?”

“I’ve… been looking for a husband. And I have the ring I plan to give him. But every time I give them the ring, they turn out to be such bastards. Then, they run off and try to sell it or give it to someone else. The Relentless was supposed to fetch it for me. I never asked the price, never really cared. I mean, I work for Mayor Morelli. Cost isn’t really a problem.”

I dodged around an overturned dumpster and sniffed the air. It was getting close again.

“Ah don’t mean to pry my dear, but have you any suggestions on how to get rid of it?”

“That’s what I’m trying to say. It doesn’t go away until the job’s done or if it can’t be completed.”

“You didn’t mention getting paid.”

“If it receives payment, it escapes until someone particularly adept at exorcising demons comes across it. But, if I get the ring before then, it goes away and can’t come back. The demonologist Morelli had working for him was brilliant in the way he worded the spell.”

I dug in my heels and brought myself to a halt.

“What are you doing?”

“I’ve got a plan.”

Christ, it was close. I could smell the damn thing stinking from beneath the streets. It was underneath us again, pulsing, churning, looking for an exit. I aimed a little up the street and bounced a couple shots off a manhole cover with Morelli’s image on it. It got the idea and surged ahead. The manhole cover burst into the air, flipping over and over as the sewage demon flowed out of the sewer.

“Heads or tails? Heads, I win. Tails, you lose sumbitch.”

It grinned, forming ram horns and a dragon head out of the slime. I held both of the twins out and touched the triggers lightly.

“What are doing? Guns can’t stop it.”

“They can if ya aim where ah do.”

“Where are you aiming?”

“For yoah ring. I suggest puttin’ on yoah running shoes.”

Miss Molly blinked twice and I think she might’ve understood as I pulled the triggers. The twins barked and she bolted. The bullets punched through the center of the vomitous dragon head. I watched them punch through the thing’s grosteque body and burst from the other side. They connected with the brick wall behind it and dropped to the ground. Molly was most of the way past the thing when it realized what was happening. Its head merged back into the mass of putrescent filth and started back through the other side. I kept firing at the thing, every bullt spattering apart chunks of its makeshift body. Molly lunged for the wall and where the bullets were laying.

There was a hiss as the beast fell apart, popping and sizzling against the blacktop. Molly triumphantly held up one the bullets and grinned. The ring was snug around the bullet, glittering and gleaming. I looked down at the twins and smiled. Maybe never missing wasn’t so bad after all. The sewage formed a half-hearted arm and reached for my ankle before collapsing back into the puddle of lifeless ooze it had once been.

“So, Miss Molly, now that our odiferous friend is back to the pits of sulfuric hell where it belongs, will you have that drink with me?”

“I’d be delighted.”

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