Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 09 - "The Building is Hungry!"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

Max at Chad's last stand

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy,Horror - Published: 2009-10-14 - Updated: 2009-10-14 - 862 words - Complete

In the room beyond where he found Chad’s remains, Max discovered that whole sections of those strange paper walls were torn open in a long sequence. Sliding door after door open, he followed a barely visible trail of blood that would have led to his father’s long-fallen friend, one that he could hardly track. Again, that unnerving impression that the wooden floors, even the paper walls, had somehow sucked up all the blood that should still be there with no one around to clean it up.

The trail came to a stop in a hangar, on an upper level catwalk. The ladder leading down to the lower level had been chopped down, as if with an energy blade. Below were the ruins of the ladder and several rag-clad skeletons. Every single one of them missing at least one limb.

Max could picture all of them shambling around down there, just like his friends from back in that grim alleyway…

For all those wounds, this must have been where Chad Owen made his last stand.

Where he made his last stand against the darkness… he could hear his mother’s voice whisper, like some kind of cryptic epitaph.

Deciding that he had investigated this matter far enough, and feeling no particular need to go down there, he crossed the catwalk to a door on the opposite end of it. Though that gruesome act must have taken place at least twenty years ago, even with his climbing skills he saw no readily available way to get back up here if anything was still lurking down there. Beyond the next door was another series of those long, winding hallways that seemed to connect everything in this disjointed maze.

It was a long, eerie walk that only further messed with his sense of direction.

He had been so on-edge about being attacked by more of those creatures, it was strange to pause at one point and finally notice that, the bite not withstanding, his leg was completely back to normal. Unfortunately, though the stun blow had numbed it first, the actual pain of being bitten was starting to bother him.

Eventually, he came out in a large, walled-in field, rank on rank of inscribed stones lining the breadth and depth of it.

Just like the Cyexian Graveyard in Kinsasha…

That brought to mind images of dazed, bloodied Cyexians shuffling around through the storm of that fateful night. Max suspected this place must have served a similar purpose; it was all too easy to picture dead-looking people stumbling around here.

He shunned that thought, deciding that he could do without it. After the spectacle in that hangar, he found it hard to shake the all-too-real image of Bandit’s mutilated remains turning up at every turn. It was all too easy to see Justin or Shades ending up like that, or even Kato and her companions, and he still couldn’t find his way back to the rooftops.

So lost was he in his worries that it was only after he had walked past the familiar black-and-white feline shape curled up between two of those gravestones that he recognized it for what it was. As Max ground to a perplexed halt, Bandit opened one eye at him. As the big cat stretched and stood up, Max simply stayed rooted in place in dumbfounded silence, blinking at the unexpected appearance of his old friend.

“Is it really you?…” Though not as tired as he was earlier, Max was still worried that this was all just a dream or something. Yet the relief at actually being able to reach out and touch his friend’s fur again dispelled all doubt. So heartening, giving him renewed hope for his other friends in spite of the horrors he had experienced. As his feline friend tackled him, he laughed, “I was afraid I’d never see you again!… How’d you get here?…”

Max abruptly wrestled himself to his feet in spite of their unexpected but welcome reunion, fearing that more of those twisted creatures may have followed Bandit here. He relaxed a little as it dawned on him that if Bandit caught even a whiff of that, there was no way he would just be lounging around like this. Bandit must surely be tired, too, but Max concluded that this must be a safe place.

At least as safe as any place seemed to be inside the Harken Building.

Max sat on a particularly stout stone, digging some snacks out of his bag. Shades had come up with some stuff that was suitable for Bandit as well, and he shared some with his companion as he tried to figure out what to do next. It had been so many years, and he had done a very thorough job of forgetting most of that unsettling account, but he was increasingly certain that if he could just remember one part, his mother’s words might just save their lives…

Hoping that Bandit would sense any danger from farther away than he could, and hopefully in time to evade it, Max turned his mind to trying to remember everything he could.
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