Monday, July 16, 2012

Wither The Vain: Scavenger Hunt Part 5

One Fileted Fish

As I pushed open the swinging doors that led into the hospital and saw how many Judges there were in my way, I knew this was going to be one hell of a lot of fun. My hands had led me here, red and raw with hunger. They were eager to feed on the fish tonight. That was good. I was tired of being stuck in old man mode. I was tired of having to worry about this damn cataract. I wanted my black hair back. It would look good with that scar Thane had given me.

It was all upper class dining for my mitts tonight though. There would be none of that lower grade barracuda or garbage piranha. It would be high-grade help for certain. Without question there would be Crab and Manta guards, several of them armed with chloride rifles no doubt. Consular Mako was passing through here shortly and the security was to be as tight as possible. Mako was, after all, the highest-ranking Judge to set foot on land, let alone to enter Chrysalis Falls proper.

The hospital had been taken over by The Judges and was being used as a pit stop when funneling Judge V.I.P.s to visit people like Mayor Morelli. I cracked my knuckles and started running, my jacket flapping around me.

This would be fun.

As I passed the first pair of rooms in the all too antiseptic hallway, I saw my first target. A Crab stood with his claws crossed, a perpetual frown etched into his armor plating. He began clacking forward toward me, both claws dropping into snapping position. They clacked and snapped as the hunchback Judge scuttled forward. Behind him, the stainless steel doors of the elevator reflected two Manta Judges stepping out of the rooms behind me. Perfect.

I leapt into the air and landed on one of the Crab’s claws. He snapped at me with his other mottled red claw. It sheared the air where I had been as I went over top of him. The Mantas fired their rifles as I fell behind him. I heard the crystals crack through the Crab’s chest and thunk against the back of his carapace. He howled in agony as the water was sucked from his body. As he began to shrivel, I planted my hands against the backside of his carapace and let them feed.

The Crab didn’t have the time to shrivel before my hands had devoured him and turned him into a coal statue standing in front of me. I could hear the Mantas moving forward cautiously, rifles at the ready. I stabbed my fingers into the doors of the elevator and strained. They pulled apart as my hands happily fed the rest of my body the Crab’s life. My hair was nearly down to my shoulder blades again and it was the most beautiful shade of ebony I had ever seen.

I stepped into the elevator and ripped an aluminum hand rail off the inside. I turned back around, humming the horrid elevator music, and slammed the rail into the Crab’s remains. The Manta had closed to within ten feet. Their fleshy wings flapped in concern as their tails lashed back and forth. I charged forward, brandishing my new weapon with glee.

Both of them were crack shots and the dehydrating crystals burst straight through my chest and out the other side. The holes were healing, my eye clouding as I brought the rail down on the first Manta’s wrists. They snapped and his hands bent backwards to touch his arms. I spun and caught the barrel of the other’s rifle in my hand. He pulled the trigger as I bent the barrel upwards. His gun exploded in his hands, spraying him with the nasty chloride cocktail it compressed into crystals on every shot.

I swept the legs out from beneath the first Manta with my rail and as he hit the ground, my right hand found his left wrist and squeezed. He screamed as the life was sucked out of him until there were no vocal chords to scream with. I released him only after he had become a pile of ashes. The second Manta was thrashing on the ground, flesh withering where the chemicals had hit. I just grabbed an ankle and let my hand feed. His noise was bothering me.

I heard the elevator “ding” behind me and realized I had been lax in paying attention as was rewarded with several pissed off Eel driving a fist into my stomach. I dropped to my knees, the air being chased out by a fist wrapped in lightning. Goddamn Electric Eel. As I gasped, the Eel wasn’t wasting any time. She spun on her heel and brought her foot around to connect with my temple. I caught her ankle and clenched my teeth through the pain. Her eyes widened in horror as her lithe, slippery body began to crumble under my hand’s starving touch. As she fell apart into dust, I looked up and into the elevator car.

The shark was big. He was big enough to impress me and that actually meant something. I had seen Goliath and his brothers. I had fought Christoph. They were enormous, but always lacking something. Mako might not have been as tall as some of the giants I had killed, but he was thick. He stepped out of the elevator, bent nearly in two to fit, squeezing through the doors I had ruined minutes before. Clad in ceremonial golden armor, glinting in the cheap, antiseptic light of the hospital hallway, it was like imagining Caeser looking imperial coming out of a port-a-john.

They say sharks are perfect predators. They say that they are perfect, that they have barely needed to change much such the days of megalodon and other origins of the species. I cracked my knuckles and smiled; relishing how much fun this was going to be. Then, her movement betrayed her, just like she was indubitably there to betray me.


She put her hand on Mako’s chest and slopped around him. She wasn’t smiling today like she had at The Bastille. She was wearing a low cut, red, formal dress: one that made me curious just how close her and the fish were. Her hair was up in a bun and while it was as fiery as usual, her eyes were ice.

“You can’t have this one Eli.”

“Won’t even let him speak for himself?”

“He knows better by now. The Council has a treaty with The Judges. I work for them. Therefore, I can’t let you have him.”

“It’s not an option Delilah. He’s what I’m removing in order to remove The Scavenger. That takes precedence on a world scale, rather than on what the nasty parts of people’s fear tells them.”

“Eli, no.”

I stepped forward and Mako pushed his way past her.

“Eli! Stop this!”

“Not happening Delilah.”

“Fine then, if you’re so damn tough, have at him. Under one condition.”

“What’s that?”

“Give me one of your gloves.”

I grinned and tossed both of them to her, knowing full well she’d cut off my hands thirst. She went white and her mouth opened a little as the fire in my hands died.

“Is that all?”

“Eli… you can’t be serious. He’s not like Christoph was. He’ll tear you apart. You can’t be serious.”

Mako spoke for a change, a soft, hungry rumination from deep within his belly.

“His is. I am. We are.”

Then, he hit me.

I think he hit me anyway. That or a tidal wave. I’m not sure which. Something crashed into my jaw and threw me across the room. The bones in my jaw broke and six of my teeth came out. I started to choke on my lost teeth and coughed them out just in time to look up and see a gold-booted foot aimed at my head. I rolled aside and Mako’s foot connected with the wall instead.

I half hoped for a yipe of pain from the twelve foot tall shark but I was rewarded instead with the wall denting where his foot had landed. Mako raised his foot into the air. I scrabbled forward and his foot landed where my ribcage had been moments before. I planted my hands against the floor and flipped myself upwards.

Mako’s fist was already swinging to meet me. When it hit, I grabbed onto his fist and prayed for a soft landing. There wasn’t one. There was a wall instead. Thankfully, the drywall crumbled without much effort and I couldn’t feel anything break this time. I coughed up a mouthful of blood and it spattered across Mako’s face. He smiled and showed me his teeth. Every row of them. I looked behind me and saw the therapy pool.

Oh hell.

“Let’s go for a swim.”

He threw me and I hit the water, sinking like a stone. Think old man, think. Mako entered the water smoothly, gliding in after me. He had shed his golden armor and was now just a killing machine with teeth. I stopped trying to escape and balled my fists. Teeth. So many teeth. I kicked up just a little as Mako made his final thrust for me. As his jaws snapped to grab me, I planted a fist into the soft cartilage of his nose. He writhed in pain, jaws snapping angrily. I kicked off his snout and grabbed hold of him by the flapping gills on his neck.

Mako’s eyes widened and as I wrenched my hand free, tearing apart his gills. I could hear my hands cheering in vengeance. Mako gasped and struggled toward the surface. I grabbed him by the ankle and tugged him back down. He struggled wildly as I fought to hold him under.

When I came to the surface five minutes later, my lungs were waterlogged. My hair was whitening as they pumped the water back out through my pores and let me breathe like the living again. Delilah had dropped my gloves and was sitting in the middle of the floor shaking.

“There wasn’t anything you could do to stop me Delilah. Don’t take it to heart.”

She just rocked herself back and forth, staring at my gloves. I picked them up and tucked them back into my pocket. I grinned as the hunger came back into my hands. Now, just to take care of Mako’s corpse and all would be… well?

It was well. They weren’t interested in the room two walls over where a dead shark was floating belly-up. They were interested in the woman I had saved over two thousand years ago. They were as hungry for her as I was, but not for the same reason.


I wriggled my fingers.

“Eli… please…”

“Delilah… I have to. I have a job to do.”

My hands twitched violently, raw and pulsing.

I had a job to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment