Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 10 - "Reflection"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

Justin vs the entity

Category: Fantasy - Rating: R - Genres: Fantasy,Horror,Sci-fi - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2009-11-15 - Updated: 2009-11-15 - 1908 words - Complete

Justin was fast becoming very disappointed in this place, wondering if it was even worth the effort.

After leaving Max back on the mountaintop, he began working his way back down by a different route, checking rooms he had passed up on his way up, and this was at least the fifth kitchen he had found along the way. After digging through the drawers and compartments, most of them either empty, or else containing only mundane items of no use to him, in here he found the usual array of knives, forks, and other sharp objects. Including scalpels and other surgical implements that seemed horribly out of place in a kitchen. Along the way, he also encountered the occasional room that had been trashed like that first one, but no more exotic items.

This estate was not turning out to be the exciting treasure-trove he had hoped for.

Deciding that if he didn’t find anything in the next room, he was going downstairs to see what Shades had found, he strode into the next room. Now that he thought about it, according to many accounts, treasure vaults were often built into basements and cellars, and he wondered if that might be the real reason it was taking Shades so long to catch up with him. After all, lots of people claimed they had no interest in material wealth, but he found that line hard to swallow. The image of Shades stuffing his pockets with gold and jewels almost made him run back to the stairs in and of itself.

Then he relaxed, telling himself that if that bastard had found anything, Justin Black was gonna be the first to know about it. In the meantime, this room also turned out to be devoid of anything particularly valuable, so that made up his mind. Even as he wrapped up his search, he again tried to figure out how he was going to break it to Max when he left. After all, Max was the only real friend he had, and he found he seriously wanted to find a way to convince him to come with.

That, and his unfinished business with the Triad kept nagging at his mind, the idea that a solution to his problems could be found on this island, the answer hanging just out of reach—

As he left the room, he heard a clinking noise. So startled was he that he jumped into the next room, ducking around the corner as a butcher knife stuck into the wall, slashing his shoulder on its way.

Justin slammed the door behind him, the stray thought crossing his mind that NK-525 may have just saved his life— he was sure his reflexes weren’t quite that sharp before his fun stay in Tranz-D.

Hiding beside the door, both guns drawn, Justin waited to ambush his assailant when he came through. When nothing happened, he began to feel the sweat dripping between his shoulders, and he fought the impulse to just jump around the corner and start shooting. Just when he was about to risk a peek around the corner, he heard something that sounded like the drawing of a thousand swords, followed by a rapid barrage of thudding noises against the door.

Damn…” Justin breathed.

Seeing the tips and edges of every knife and otherwise sharp object in the kitchen buried at least a couple inches into the door, it only took him a second to figure out that if he hadn’t moved when he did, he would have ended up a human pincushion.

Even as he slid back along the wall to avoid any other projectiles his thus-far unseen assailant could hurl at him, the door swung all the way open, banging against the wall with a loud slam that made him jump in spite of himself. As the door swung slowly shut again, Justin had to bite back another exclamation of alarm at what he saw. The kitchen door itself, with all the knives and shit shoved through the paneling clear up to the hilt.

Justin made a quick but careful retreat to the next room. This time kneeling behind a tall, solid wood cabinet— more than capable of absorbing a rain of knives— again set to lay in wait until his attacker revealed himself. Again he waited through a silence that was almost deafening, and again his unseen foe refused to show himself. Behind Justin stood a tall halogen lamp, a variation on the many kinds he had seen throughout the estate, and he considered tipping it over with his foot, trick the other guy into showing his hand first…

But as he toyed with the idea, glancing at one of the few pictures in this place that wasn’t a landscape, still-life, or a cheesy Motivational piece that Shades would classify as the elevator music of visual art, showing pictures and sketches of his new coin— which, like a few others he had seen along the way, never imparted any additional info about it— always with the caption “Immortality” on it somewhere, the lamp fell. On him. He felt a draft, and even as he muttered about the fallen lamp blowing his cover, how a puff of air from nowhere could knock it over in the first place, he felt something wrap itself around his neck.

Justin still couldn’t figure out how anyone got behind him so fast, but it only took him a moment to realize that it was the lamp’s own electrical cord that was looped around his throat. The cord tightened, and he fumbled both guns even as he thrashed against an attacker he still couldn’t see, even out of the corner of his eye. And still couldn’t touch, in spite of jabbing with both elbows. Struggling for breath, he whipped out his laser staff and made one last, frantic counterattack, slicing behind his head as spots started dancing in front of his eyes.

The energy blade didn’t seem to hit anything, but the cable went slack and slipped from his neck as he scrambled away. As he snatched up both power pistols, he saw the severed cord hit the floor in three pieces, only one still attached to the lamp itself. Then he staggered back warily, knees so shaky they would barely support him, into the next room.

If he had this right, two different rooms had just tried to kill him. Whatever he was up against was clearly fighting dirty, and with powers he didn’t know the full extent of. After the TSA, after Pullman Island, after battling NK-525 and all of Tranz-D’s legion of technological terrors, not to mention after the Harken Building, Justin Black thought he knew all there was to know about fear. Apparently, there were still a couple chapters missing from his lessons.

Even as Justin reholstered his guns, forcing his legs to move, to run back to the ship, he felt a rush of cold air blow past him from behind. Before he could make anything of that, he found himself dodging flying dining room chairs. If not for Max’s training, he wasn’t so sure he would have been able to hack and slash his way out of that room.

Much to his dismay, though, the next room’s walls were practically bookshelves. He ran as fast as he could, but he only made it to the middle of the room before a swarm of books launched themselves at him. He was able to dodge the first few, but when they hit him in several places at once, the multiple blows were enough to knock him to his knees. As he skidded across the floor on hands and knees, nearly losing his grip on his staff, even more books dive-bombed him, emptying the shelves.

Justin scraped by only by curling into a ball.

Bruised and battered, he staggered back to his feet, crawling out of the pile of volumes as they started regrouping. It took an effort to start running again, but he wasn’t at all sure he could get back up from another bombardment like that. Before any such thing could befall him, he slammed the door behind him.

When he felt that same draft sweep past him yet again, he dived under the pool table in the middle of the room. Just in time, as the pictures came spinning off the walls at him. He waited while shards of glass sprinkled all around him. In the midst of all this, it began to dawn on him that as long as he was inside the house, this thing would hold the upper hand with a bottomless supply of crap to throw at him at every turn.

Taking note of the skylight in the middle of the room, Justin scrambled on top of the pool table. Quickly discovering what a mistake that was when billiard balls came hurtling at him in rapid succession, such that he was barely able to avoid them without falling off the table. The tiny wrecking-balls burying themselves in sheetrock and furniture alike.

Inspiration struck as the room’s lone chair flew at him. Sidestepping it at the last second, he grabbed ahold of it, swinging it onto a new course, hurling it upward on its own momentum. Which was enough to shatter the skylight, sending another shower of broken glass down on everything. Wasting no time, he ran the last couple steps and jumped, gasping both as he chinned up— a feat he could definitely not have performed prior to Max’s intensive training— as well as at the cuts the jagged glass made to his hands.

He was forced to ignore his injuries as the chair made another pass at him, and barely dodged in time to avoid getting knocked back down inside.

As he turned to continue his flight, that he finally had a clear path back to the ship was the last thing Justin remembered thinking before the half-ruined chair rose silently through the skylight yet again. That burst of cold air was the only warning he had before the chair smacked him across the back of the head. He stumbled forward, falling down to the next level to land in an unconscious heap.

The chair dropped to the rooftop, falling still. For a long moment, everything was seemed to come to a halt. Some seconds later, a pool cue floated up through the broken skylight, drifting over toward Justin’s limp form. That green-chalked tip prodding and probing the side of his jacket, where he had stashed the Amulet earlier—

A purple spark arced out, jumping from that same pocket to the cue stick, causing it to fall to the ground.

After a silent moment, the cue slowly rose up again, and resumed picking at Justin’s jacket. Until a second spark jumped from the unconscious young man again, causing the cue to crash to ground once more. The cue snatched itself up once again, making one last attempt to pry at the pocket where Justin kept the Amulet, again thwarted by that same unseen force, and this time, the cue simply stayed put where it landed.

And Justin was just left lying there, untouched.

Out of the way for the time being, even if the job remained unfinished, so for now it had other business, other people, to take care of.
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