Monday, July 23, 2012

Wither The Vain: Scavenger Hunt Part 6

Seventeen Dragon Scales

I stood in the pit beneath Meddigo Tower and smiled. The water coursed beneath me and through the water main that ran between my feet and up into the great reservoir that Morelli had commissioned. I wrapped my gnarled hand around the pipe leading into the reservoir and smiled as I felt the corruption flowing through the water within.

My lips split in a splintered smile. Let Wither try to top this. Already, the occupants of the tower would be growing ill and weak. I could just see Morelli’s office plants withering and turning black as they were watered in vain. Darling that image was, absolutely darling.

As I chuckled to myself, I wandered over to the rickety catwalk style stairs that lined the reservoir chamber. They reached up six stories to the first basement before an access door could be had back into the main portion of the building. I sauntered slowly up the steps, careful not to break them beneath me. I was halfway up when I voice called out to me.

“I knew you’d be hiding down here. When everyone started to get sick, The Scavenger knew you were behind it. They couldn’t figure out how though. The water tests don’t have any trace of your little gift in them.”

“They wouldn’t. What I do has nothing to do with living bacteria or chemical compositions.”

“I see. You just follow orders and induce rot. What a fascinating life you must lead, playing errand boy to Wither.”

I chuckled under my breath. It was the komodo dragon that had been with Boyd. How delightful. I had been intending to track him down regardless. Here he was presenting himself to me. How… quaint.

“You haven’t known our family long enough to get away with a comment like that.”

“I don’t intend to know you past this day.”

“Now that’s really a shame. I don’t even know your name.”

“You won’t be alive long enough for it to matter.”

He fell silent and I braced myself. He would be coming now.

It was from directly above. The monstrous komodo dragon dropped from two stories higher, arms outstretched to crush me. I held my own arms up, fingers branching out to catch him. He smashed into me and vines erupted from my arms, wrapping tight around him. Every vine sprouted hawthorns that wormed their way between the komodo’s scales. He simply squeezed and I felt a cracking four rings deep within me.

The walkway collapsed beneath us
, whimpering and squealing like so many others that had died before, and we fell. As we twisted and turned, our arms tightened around each other, crushing, squeezing. Each of us was fighting to choke the life from the other.

We hit the basement floor with a crack and he kicked himself free from me. We scrambled to either side of the reservoir and found our feet again. He wiped his mouth, watching me with his single eye.

“I will break even your splinters into splinters.”

I laughed. He was almost as vain as Wither, but not nearly as talented.

“Come and get some you scaly sonofabitch.”

He snarled and charged across the room, arms wide. I lashed a vine across his legs, cinching it tight. The komodo just kept moving, snapping the vine with ease. I stepped forward and swung for his stomach. My battering ram of an arm smashed into his stomach and I could hear the komodo gasp for air. That didn’t seem to stop him from wrapping an arm around my neck from behind and lifting me into the air.

Backwards he fell and slammed me against the cold, damp concrete. I felt myself crack and splinter apart. With a groan, I rocked myself forward, pulling him with me. I bucked forward flinging my nemesis back over my shoulder and against the side of the reservoir.

I got my fingers around his throat and began to slam his scaly head against the steely container. Thunk. And again. Thunk. And again. Crrrack. And again.

Gargling in pain through my fingers, the komodo brought both arms up behind me. He dug his claws into the back of my head and jerked back. I screamed, was screaming, as my head was being ripped off.

I planted a knee into his groin and felt his grip slacken slightly. I brought my arms up and slammed his away, his claws taking wooden chips out of my cheeks. He headbutted me in the nose and I laughed as his brow came away bloodied.

“Forehead’s are pretty tough on you humanoids huh? Too bad they aren’t nearly as tough when you compare them to oak.”

I slammed my forehead into his snout and heard bones splinter apart beneath his scales. The komodo slammed his claws into my chest and flung me backwards. I landed on my back and brought my feet up as he charged. His eye was wild and bloody foam flecked his shattered snout around the nostrils. I don’t think he even felt it as I sprouted a forest of branches from the soles of my feet and drove them into his chest.

Even skewered, the komodo kept coming, roaring in rage through punctured lungs. My legs creaked and groaned as he kept pushing forward… further… further… I let loose a roar of my own as I pushed him back, flinging him through the air.

The komodo collided with the water reservoir with an empty thud and fell to the floor, unmoving. I retracted the branches from my feet and lay where I had fallen, gasping for air.

“It took that much out of you to beat him? I’m disappointed.”

Miss Geri?

“I’m proud of him. It’s the first time in a long while he’s really done us proud, you know.”


My ghosts were back. How delightful.

“Ladies, regardless as to what you thought of my performance back there, I have to ask you to please keep it down for about an hour. I’m going to be trying to regrow half of my face and most of my back.”

I heard three sniffles, each one more indignant than the last.

“Come on now, don’t be like that. It isn’t fair of you to ask me to be good company at the same time I’m healing myself.”

“The Christoph I knew wouldn’t need to bother with regrowing himself. He’d march right back up those steps and starting beating on people again.”

“Miss Geri, I’m not even entirely sure how I’m going to reach those steps now that my friend over there and I smashed through most of them.”

“Doesn’t seem like that should be my problem.”

I sighed again. This would be a long hour.

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