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


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

Justin's flight

Category: Fantasy - Rating: R - Genres: Fantasy,Horror,Sci-fi - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2009-11-17 - Updated: 2009-11-17 - 1550 words - Complete

Justin blinked up at the sky as he started to come around, crawling slowly to his feet.

And very glad, he concluded as he looked around, that the levels of this place were “stepped” as they were, for if it were much farther down, he doubted he’d even be able to get back up. Still it left him lying there for a couple minutes with a dull ringing in his ears, vaguely remembering a dazed dream of being impaled on the “line” running through the globe at the top of the mountain. A thought that snapped him wide awake.

Likely on some lingering reflex from the Harken Building, he reached into his pocket for that curious figurine from Obscura Antiques. Only to find it broken in half. Not liking this omen at all, he held up both pieces for a moment, seeing that not only was it cleanly broken, but for some reason, the break itself was slightly charred, and he wondered. That, and he was fairly certain that the runes that were inscribed upon it used to be carved just a tad deeper.

Lying on the rooftop next to him was a pool cue, and he stared warily at it as he struggled back to his feet, ready to dodge if it so much as twitched, noticing as he did so that he some kind of greenish chalky stuff on his hand, which he somehow picked up after reaching into his pocket. Just like the stuff that seemed to be on the tip of that stick.

Wondering what this could mean, and fearing that whatever power the figurine once possessed was used up— no longer able to protect him as he now suspected it had, in some way he didn’t quite grasp— he shoved the ruined talisman back in his pocket, relieved to still feel his coin in there as well, then resumed his retreat to the ship.

Just the realization that whatever it was that tried to kill him earlier had left him alone only left him feeling even more on edge. Fearing he might come under attack again any second, he decided to follow his standard procedure for this kind of situation: get while the gettin’s good. Pausing only briefly to wonder at how he still had his prize, he wiped congealed blood from his hands on the ruins of that chair that knocked him down earlier, then picked up his laser staff and started moving.

For now, at least, there was nothing to attack him the rest of the way to the ship, and he had come too far to surrender this treasure now. He just hoped Max and Shades made it back to the ship, because he had no interest in going back into this deathtrap. As long as the old man and the ship were okay, he would have a fast getaway, and anyone still not there when he made it would have to fend for themselves.

Yet, even as he tried to tell himself that it was nothing personal, just staying alive as he always had all these years, Shades’ words (Any friend of Max’s is a friend of mine…) slapped him in the face. Reminding him that Shades even went so far as to volunteer to go to Tranz-D in spite of Max’s warnings. Even dared to challenge the Harken Building.

Dammit… You piss me off even when you’re on my side.

To say nothing of Max, whom he was beginning to suspect actually trusted him with his life.

In the midst of his self-argument, Justin noticed that he had worked his way down onto one of the patio sets that dotted the steps of rooftops. Apparently, they had been wandering around this island longer than he originally thought, as it was already late afternoon going on evening, and one thing he knew for sure was that he didn’t want to fight that thing after dark. Even the question of whether to take the risk of going through, or taking the time to go around took a back seat to worrying about having to go back for anyone.

He got his answer when patio furniture started dancing around him. Whatever it was, it clearly wasn’t through with him yet. As the pieces circled in on him, and Justin resumed this deadly dance, he found it every bit as unreal as he had his first time around. Having had enough of this twisted game, he brandished his staff and went to work.

It didn’t take him long, though, to discover that this thing wasn’t fooling around anymore. This new barrage was fast and furious, and it took everything he had just to stay half a step ahead of it at every turn. And it wasn’t going to get any easier, either; every piece he chopped became two, and even though the pattern itself became simpler as it expanded, the less it mattered due to the sheer number of projectiles.

Sensing that he was about to be overwhelmed, Justin slashed his way out to the next level in a flurry of his own, deciding to just make a break for it. As he ran, a fragment of chair struck his leg, tripping him, and he rolled across the rooftop as more pieces came flying at him in rapid succession, striking hard enough to shatter them. The world spun, and before he could reorient himself, he tumbled right off the roof, hitting the level below hard enough to knock the wind out of him.

The first thing he saw, when the world stopped spinning, was that a folded-up table parasol stuck into the roof only a few feet away from him.

Though he could see that he was almost to the bottom, it was clear this flight to the ship would be a fight to the finish. As he bent over to pick up his laser staff, the parasol plucked itself out of the rooftop and swung at him. Before he could regain his feet, he was struck by both the object as well as cold rush of force, sending him staggering right onto one of the compound’s many skylights.

Which cracked, then collapsed under his feet, depositing him on a couch. He hit hard enough to knock the couch over, and someone tripped over it, landing right on top of him with an incoherent curse. And so Justin broke his fall, just as the couch broke his own.

“Shit!” Shades muttered as both of them struggled to their feet. “Oh, Justin! So, you’re still alive, I see. Nice of you to drop in.”

“No time to talk!” And Justin wasted none in his haste for the door. Which promptly slammed shut in their faces. “Run like hell!” Justin slashed with his staff, splitting the door in half. “It’s after us!”

“Yes, I know,” Shades said matter-of-factly. Now he was no longer so sure why the entity came after him if Justin was still alive, but he didn’t really feel like sticking around to ask the thing. “I’ve been thinkin’. Maybe if you were to put that coin back—”

“No way!” Justin charged and kicked the door down. “It’s mine!”

Shades shrugged and took off after him.

The last room offered no resistance, and so they tore out across the beach. Both were heartened to see Abu-Sharrah alive and well and standing on the deck of the Reflection, waving now that he saw them. As the old man went to start the engine, it gave them renewed hope for a clean getaway.

Still Shades looked back, half-expecting to see some big ugly monster come tearing out the front door or something. Instead, the skylights exploded upward in a fountain-spray of glass, going from front to back in fluid succession. Shades could have sworn he heard a frustrated-sounding primal scream from inside the house, echoing through his mind. A sound he would not soon forget.

Justin paid no heed to what lay behind him, only potential escape ahead.

Fortunately, for him, Shades kept sneaking peeks over his shoulder, for it was he who spotted that by-now all too familiar red dot on Justin’s back, shoving him to the ground just half a second before the shooting started.

“What the fuck is that!?” Justin screeched as they started running again, somehow managing even more haste than before.

“Shit! It’s got another one!?” Shades broke off to the left, since it couldn’t aim two ways at once. As he expected, the entity continued to gun for Justin, blowing away the Dominion Realty sign in the process. Whatever that thing was, it clearly wanted Justin— likely this Amulet, as well— with a vengeance.

For his part, Justin scrambled just as fast as he had for TSA soldiers taking pot-shots at him as a kid, and just as he jumped aboard the nearest boat for cover, the thing ran out of ammo. Shades didn’t delay in taking advantage of the break, veering back toward the docks, dismayed at his friend’s absence as he arrived. Once onboard, though, he turned his mind to how to warn Max about this mysterious enemy.

If he’s still alive, that is.
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