Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Boy Named Nod: Walkabout Part 5

Full Circle

It’s easy to see why there are so many pyromaniacs in the world with how beautiful fire looks as it springs to life. It slips its thousand tongues around its prey, clutching so tightly. The lovers of the world wish they could cling so tightly to their beloveds. As the fire’s fuel dies, so does its passion, the flames flickering fervently. Its love is fleeting though, as soon it can find another who claims their heart. It leaps to its new prize with all the burning desire it can muster. The cycle continues ever onward until the flame has naught else to love, or until it is bested by those jealous of its passion.

The Twins cheered for the fires of love and put a bullet through each of the flamethrowers fuel tanks. Their half-human carriers writhed and screamed as the napalm hit the ignition flame at the end of the barrel. They flailed wildly, trying to put out the fire’s kisses as it spread up their arms, swallowing whole swathes of the flesh they hadn’t replaced with steel.

It seemed they were a bit shy. That didn’t stop the flames though, from throwing themselves across what little flesh they still had left.

As quickly as my bullets had cleared the distance between the Twin’s barrels and the flamethrowers’ tanks, Miss Molly cleared the distance between her and Una. Una’s silicon dreadlocks wrapped around the pair as Molly’s wings pushed them both through the double doors and out into the street.

I bolted after her, but skidded to a stop as I heard the bartender shouting for me.

“Take a couple of these burning bastards with you, will ya? I’m tired of refinishing this floor.”

I turned to look and Cain was pushing the burning hulks that had been the four Preachers towards the door, two per cue half. The flames were kissing the wood of his cue and caressing their way up his arms. The fire tried to spread further but both his arms and the cue resisted, staving off the flames’ lustful advances. His tattoo glowed golden and the characters seemed to melt together.

I knew what they said even though I couldn’t read them. They said “Protected.”

So much cooler than a damned gear brand over the eye.

I slid the Twins back into their holsters and jabbed a hand into the bundle of wires that had replaced two of the Preachers’ spines. With a tug, I ripped the wires free and pulled back, hauling them to the door. With a heave, I pulled them off the ground, treads and all, and swung them into a pair of lumbering White Guard.

The nearly fleshless White Guard hissed in annoyance as the Preachers crashed into them. They crushed them and tossed them aside. As their field of view was rid of the Preachers’ flaming wreackage, they were greeted with a hail of bullets. Their heads blew apart in sparking shrapnel.

That’s right. I had only ever been limited by Nod’s imagination. Now I was only limited by my own. I grinned broadly and switched targets.

Cain had finished shoving the other two Preachers out the door and used them as a stepping stool to lunge for the Seraphim circling above. Jet packs and bladed glider wings had kept the mechanical angels aloft. Chubby faces adorned each one, giggling happily as they cracked electro-whips from their airborne positions. They wouldn’t be aloft once Cain was done with them.
He grabbed hold of the nearest ones wing as lunged from the top of the burning Preachers. Cain drove the still blazing yet never receding end of a cue through the wing and ripped it apart. He rode the Seraphim as it screeched towards the ground. He tugged at the welded together jetpack on its back and tore it free.

They landed with the shrill squeal of metal following them. Cain put the end of a cue half through the wriggling spine at the base of its skull. As it stopped flailing, he lobbed the jetpack into the arms of a nearly all metal White Guard. It caught the jetpack in a gargantuan paw and looked it over with the single human eye lodged in his metallic skull.

I put a bullet through the jetpack and through its eye. I’m not sure whether the bullet or the explosion killed it, but I didn’t really care. It was a glowing pile of scrap, that’s what really mattered.

I glanced over at Miss Molly, to make sure she was okay. She was on top of Una, clawed hands wrapped tightly around her throat. The Disciple’s arms were pinned beneath her as she was pressed to the ground. Una’s hair tendrils were tight around Molly’s throat in return. They snarled at each other through scars of mouths and hissed like snakes. Molly began to slam Una’s head against the blacktop, the plasticine skin wrapping her skull scraping away with every thump. Una thrashed with legs, trying to get a knee up high enough to hit Molly’s back.

It was the best girlfight I had seen in years.

My attention found a new source as fire coursed up my arm. A Serephim’s electro whip was wrapped around my forearm, pumping its vicious voltage through me. I snarled and jerked down. The Seraphim hit the ground and I could hear its fake wings snap. It kicked up the power on its jet pack and tried to coast away along the ground. Two bullets kissed the back of its head and escorted the contents therein onto the sidewalk.

I turned back around to survey the damage and was pleased to note that it was down to a single White Guard and Una. Cain charged the White Guard, a snarl on his lips. He leapt through the air and drove either cue end through its rotoscoping eye sockets. Cain spun them like turning on a faucet and tore the White Guard’s head free. There was a shower of sparks and oil as it collapsed. He pulled his cues from its eyes and tapped them at the side of his shoes.

All that was left was Una and Molly. Molly’s grip was only getting tighter as she bashed Una’s head against the ground over and over again. The rear half of the Disciple’s skull had nearly flattened. Molly braced her feet against the ground and launched the pair of them into the air, her wings spreading wide, carrying them easily into the sky. That shouldn’t be right. Those wings wouldn’t work…

I smiled and laughed to myself. Just like it was impossible to hit everything you aimed at.

Screw the rules.

Molly screamed triumphantly in the crisp night air as she reached the peak of her ascent. She tore the silicon dreadlocks from Una’s skull and flung them across the night sky. Crying wildly, she dove towards the ground, releasing Una’s throat as they fell. The Disciple’s concubine squealed as she hit the unyielding asphalt and her synthetic skin burst apart, showering the concrete with blue-white sparks.

Molly fluttered over to me, landing close and with a toothy smile. I grinned back at her as we both shifted slowly back into the visage of normal humans.

“I suppose you two will be wanting your drinks on the house now.”

“Nah sir. I’m jes fine with paying. Wouldn’t be much of a way to treat this fine lady if’n I didn’t.”

Molly giggled and took me by the arm.

“My hero.”

Cain rolled his eyes and sauntered back in.

“You’ll have to wait until after I clean off The Walkabout. I didn’t make this cue so I could fight obnoxious cults with it. I made it so I could remember one of my homes and so I could play billiards.”

“Walkabout you say? That’s what I was heah on.”

“Did you meet yourself?”


“What’ll you do next?”

I looked over at Miss Molly’s sweet, wicked little face and turned back to Cain with a grin.

“I’m going to have to give you two a room as well? This just gets better and better.”

“Trevor! Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick about you, you twit! We’ve got a job all the way out to Gravesite and you’re off gallivanting about somewhere.”

“Sorry boss. Won’t happen again. Not foah awhile at least.”

Nod rolled his eyes.

“Whatever. Get ready. No time wasting.”

“Yes boss.”

“And what’s that on your hand?”

“Jus’ a little somethin’ foah safekeeping. The owner told me to keep it until she figured out where it belonged.”

“She? Oh Christ. Next thing I know, you and Mr. Jonathan will be taking your significant others out on double dates together. God my head hurts. Gregor! Get me a brandy!”

I grinned and spun the ring on my finger. It looked just fine where it was. With a little luck, it’d stay that way.

After all, I had no intention of being eaten by sewage any time real soon.

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