Day 10 – Chapter 9 – 12

            Drew had never actually seen one of them before.  He’d sensed them, sometimes heard them, but never seen one—they’d always been beyond his ability to see.  After seeing the creature once, he never wanted to see it again.  The black creature was nearly seven feet tall, cloaked in tattered shadows, but it had been crouched behind them when they’d turned, when they’d started to run, its ink wings half curled around its muscled form, two inch claws scraping against the concrete.  He’d never heard them make a sound like that before.
            The creature had actually left gouges in the pavement.  In a normal world, in the world they’d all known, that shouldn’t have been possible.
            As if the Grays didn’t tip us off to things being messed up something royal.
            Breath burned in his lungs as they ran.  We might be able to outrun it to the ward lines.  If we make it, we’ll be safe.  We just have to make it there.  They’d have to go the long way around, though.
            “Cut left,” he barked.
            “Little Mac’s faster!”  Carolyn shouted back.
            “You want to risk that?”  Drew asked.  “It’s not stable, if it’s even still there..”  He grasped for her arm and spun her to the left, toward the path that dipped between the library and a finger of the ravine that curled around half the Lakes plaza, ending just shy of the library.  Carolyn stumbled a few steps before she caught her balance again, running down into the dip and then up, toward the clocktower plaza beyond.  Drew pitched after her, J.T. bringing up the rear.
            Drew heard the beating of wings off to their right, over the tendril of the ravine on that side.  He looked up, seeing the dark shape not twenty feet above them—a second of the creatures to join the first already chasing them.
            They smell blood in the water.  Shit.  How many of them are going to show up?  A glance to the left answered his question.  At least two more.  Damn!
            Then Carolyn went down, catching her foot on a crack in the pavement.  Drew tumbled over her.  J.T. somehow managed to vault them both, stumbling a few steps after landing.  He scrambled back to pull both of them to their feet.
            The predators closed in on their prey.
            There were five of them, Drew realized—five of the ‘black winged things’ as Marin described them.  He’d only been this close once, just once, nine months ago with Thom and Marin, and he’d been certain then that they’d only narrowly escaped that encounter intact.  Marin said that pendant of hers was a small price to pay for our hides…but I’ve got nothing in this situation of equal protective quality.  He could taste his own fear, and the malice and hunger of the shadows beat against him, making his head throb with each heartbeat.  It was hard to breathe, facing that kind of hate.  Somewhere beneath the malice, though, there was joy mixed with their rage—the joy of the hunt, maybe.
            Or revenge.
            Revenge?  Revenge for what?  Drew swallowed, watching the circle close as he got his feet underneath him again.
            A strange, translucent white mist blew up around J.T., swirling briefly and dissipating rapidly.  Drew saw J.T. blink once, then twice, freezing in the process of pulling Carolyn upright.  His eyes widened.
            “Fuck,” he breathed.  “Those are some ugly bastards.”
            “You can see them?”  Drew asked without thinking as he made it to his feet and pressed closer to J.T. and Carolyn.  The five shadow creatures had encircled them and were easing closer, bloody, dark fangs gleaming in the sun.
            “Not until a second ago,” J.T. said, slowly looking around, wrapping one arm protectively against Carolyn and pulling her against his chest.  She didn’t protest, leaning against him and favoring a twisted ankle.  “Got any ideas?”
            I ran out of ideas once I realized there were five of them.  I don’t know what we can do—how can we fight these things?  Can we fight these things?  Drew shook his head slowly.  “No.  No, I think I’m fresh out.”
            “Great,” J.T. said grimly.  “Well, it was great knowing you two.”
            A shrieking rose, like the wind between the trees and buildings, but everything was still except for the three of them, except for the creatures coming at them.
            The lead creature dove toward them.
            Drew closed his eyes and prayed that it would be over quickly.

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1 Response to Day 10 – Chapter 9 – 12

  1. Erin M. Klitzke says:

    Someone a while back asked about an incident with these black winged beasties and Drew, Marin, and Thom that I explained happened well before the story began. Now you get to see them up-close and personal. So do Drew, J.T., and Carolyn, though I don’t think they’re much enjoying the experience.

    I apologize profusely for the site ugliness and anything weird that went on over the weekend. As you might’ve seen on the home page, my site was one of the ones affected by the timthumb.php vulnerability and was then compromised (I had the double whammy of a theme AND a plug-in affected), so I ended up doing a complete wipe of the WordPress installation and then a re-install. This, however, afforded me the opportunity to move everything over to a new, larger database (yay!). The site’s clean now, even if I have some theme redesigning to do slowly but surely.

    The Webfiction World podcast was wicked fun and the recording will probably be up on iTunes next week. It will probably be a very short episode, because as MCM said, he realized that “Anna comes up with most of the questions!” I felt so bad for him (a few friends who listened to the live cast said he sounded terrified). But it was fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    The poll was due to close today, and clearly the answer to “What gender should the first child born to the survivors be?” was without a doubt “Split the difference and go twins!” My dear readers who voted…you’re a little cruel. You’ll understand why later.

    Wednesday brings more of Carolyn, J.T., and Drew’s predicament (I checked this time, and that’s what it is for sure). Chapter 9 ended up coming in at 15 entries. Who knows how long 10’s going to be…

    I’ve got writing to do.

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