The three before me went down hard, but I didn’t get the chance to see if they were dead.  Their friend from down the alley came up fast behind me, grabbing at my gun arm.  I let him have the revolver.  After all, I came prepared.  He stumbled back when I let go of the gun as he tried to wrest it away.  I took the moment his confusion bought me to turn around, firing the second gun.  I had salvaged this handgun from the corpses of my enemies over the summer, and another just like it was still in one of the holsters under my coat.

            This gun was considerably more modern, and carried even more bullets than its predecessor.  Desert Eagle .50 was emblazoned along the side.  I had taught myself how to use these weapons quite proficiently in the woods over the summer, but never really understood much about what difference the calibre made.  After all, who was around to teach me the fine points of handguns?  All I knew was that it quite efficiently tore the demon’s head off.

            I picked up my revolver and replaced it in my coat.  Then I entered the darkened building from the side door my assailants had arrived from.  They had conveniently left it unlocked.  I crept down an empty hallway, lit with sporadic light bulbs on the ceiling.  Most of these had burned out.  My best guess was that they used these hallways on the edge of the building to walk between the storage rooms and offices and avoid the crowded dance floors on club nights.

            As I walked, I reflected on my experiences with these enemies, and tried to remember what Dorothy and Rebecca had told me months before.  I suspected that I was dealing with mainly low-level demons, the enforcers.  No matter how many I might clean out of this little enclave, I would have to keep my eyes open for clues as to the location of their superiors.  If there were any.

            As I walked down the shadowed hallway, stretching my hearing whenever I hit a patch with no light bulbs, I thought about all the action movies and comics I’d watched and read.  I remembered witty banter, and realized I wasn’t very good at it.  I don’t know how they made time during a fight.  I was too busy just moving, my instincts kicking in to help me survive.

            Case in point:  when a demon swiped at my head with a crowbar as I came through the door, I was fast enough to pull my head back.  I fired my gun through the door when he was stupid to grab the handle, pumping his stomach full of bullets.  He fell back on his knees, holding the wound, even though he wasn’t bleeding.  The impact was still felt. 

            This left him in a great position for a headshot as I kicked the door open, blowing his skull to smithereens.  I knew his friends were out there, in the vast open space, lurking.  I knew they wanted me to go out there, where I could be ambushed.

            So I waited in the hall, backing up several metres to watch the door.  I could feel my pulse pounding in my ears as sweat dripped down my temple, my breath coming fast.  Every cell of my body was flooded with adrenalin as I waited, coiled to spring, to fight.  I waited, fighting my own urge to get up and go out there guns blazing.  An action hero would.  But I suspected that was the stupidest thing to do.

            On an impulse, I drew the second gun from my coat.  A brief moment later, they opened the door and came through.  I fired at them, pumping off a barrage that tore into arms and legs, ribs and face.  It was eerie, as they screamed with rage but not pain.  I wondered why they were being so stupid to come through the door like lemmings.  Then I caught on.

            I turned suddenly and fired point blank at the demon behind me, the one smart enough to try to outflank me.  I took his head clean off with the impact of the blast, and then turned back to his friends.  They lay sprawled over the floor, trying to stand on broken legs.  I drew my sword from my back, hidden under the coat, and removed their heads with clean, efficient slices.  I dropped my two scavenged handguns, now empty of bullets.  I didn’t have any replacements, so I saw no point to keeping them.  This left me with only the Western pistol and the Eastern sword.

            I went through the door and into the club again, gun drawn, guessing that perhaps I would find more.  It seemed vacant, however.  I wandered past pillars and stacked chairs on tables, glancing up at the second floor.  It seemed I was alone. 

            Yeah, right.  Like it would ever be that easy.

            I kicked over a table and ducked behind it just as two demon gunmen popped up from behind the bar, opening up with automatic weapons.  Their bullets tore through the room, cracking through chairs and splintering tables.  I rolled from behind the overturned table to hide behind a pillar, breathing hard.  The roar of gunplay filled my ears along with the pounding of my own heart.

            I had often read that men with guns were overconfident, as if the metal death-bringers made them invincible.  I wondered if immortal demons were even more cocky, and if that would make them stupid.  I waited as they fired around the room, and heard the telltale click that signalled they were out of bullets.  They had both been dumb enough that neither one held any back in case I attacked.

            I turned from the pillar with a roar and jumped up on a table and leaped towards the bar, coming down on them as they frantically tried to reload their weapons.  I dropkicked one in the chest, slamming him into the shelves full of bottles behind the bar.  He crumpled through in a shower of wood and glass, while I turned towards his friend with a swift cut of my blade, removing his head before he could react.  His mouth still hung open in surprise as it rolled across the floor.

            His friend pulled himself up from the ground, stinking of the alcohol spilled on his clothes.  He swung a tall bottle of vodka like a club, trying to hit me.  I dodged backwards, then ducked under his next swipe.  He kept coming forward, snarling as he swung.  I back-pedaled and then rolled over the bar into the dance floor, amidst ruined furniture.  He jumped up and over the bar, coming down on the floor with a dramatic flair, growling.  I kicked a chair at him, and he went through it like it was made of paper, swinging and growling. 

            I dodged this way and that, evading his strikes with smooth precision.  It was almost like dancing.  Suddenly, the club lights came on, followed by the pounding beat of music.  I suppose someone hoped to distract me.  At that moment, I had spun behind my opponent, and we were almost standing back to back.  When the music hit with a sudden blare, I was too intent on my next move.  My opponent, however, hesitated for a split second, caught off guard.  I used that brief instant to spin the opposite direction with my sword extended, spinning so that I cut through his neck and removed his head.  I looked up to the balcony, where the DJ table was situated on the VIP floor.  A shadowed figure retreated into the dark.

            Before I could move to pursue, three demons entered the room from beyond the bar, presumably from the kitchen.  They carried kitchen knives as weapons, and ran towards me as a unit.  I figured I could stand my ground or run.  So I charged instead, running through the music with a roar of my own. 

            I slashed my sword through the air, forcing the trio to break apart.  One ducked under me, while the other two stepped to the sides.  At the same moment, I jumped into the air, kicking the one on the left in the face.  He spun into a pillar and bounced off as I came down hard on the one in the centre, slamming him into the floor.  I ducked under the slash from the one on the right, and put my sword through his stomach.  I drew it out and cut off his head as he held his guts in surprise.  I back-flipped off his friend and held my blade at the ready.

            Lights flickered through the air in different colours as the rhythm continued.   They came at me with their knives, and we danced a vicious ballet, sword and knives pirouetting, sashaying, cutting through the air with elegance and grace.  We dodged, we swayed, we rocked.  In the midst of these almost beautiful motions, I dropped to one knee in mid-beat, utterly still.  The flow that had possessed us, the rush of motion and beat, a rhythm of bodies, meant they each over-stepped when they found I was not standing to block their blows.  Off-balance, it was easy to slash my blade in a whirl as I stood, cutting through their wrists so hands and knives fell to the floor.  I whirled again and removed both heads in one efficient motion.

            Then, I went upstairs.

<<Previous   Next>>

Advertisements