Friday, February 20, 2015

Day Eight-Twenty-Three: Grim and Grisly

Daena was making another pass along Foregone’s northern wall by the time Logan and Fynn were within easy walking distance of one of the gates. His eyes still enhanced, though growing weaker with every second, Logan spotted streaks of blood on his mother’s determined face.

“Oh sweet gods,” Logan muttered, nevertheless mastering the immediate impulse to leap to her aid. He hunched behind a shed with Fynn, wincing as the werewolves dogging his mother stampeded past. “My… that’s my mom… we have to help her!”

Fynn cringed, but he nodded. “Y… yeah, absolutely… but… how, exactly…? That’s way too many werewolves, ’n… if we take one bite, like you say…”

“… then we’re screwed, yeah, I know.” Logan spat. “Fuck me, maybe leavin’ Eve behind wasn’t such a good idea.”

Daring a peek from his hiding place, Logan watched the stampede of werewolves round the walls of Foregone and, eventually, trickle away and disappear. Their ghostly howls chilled him even more than the weather, and he prayed that the blood on Daena’s face was theirs, not her own. Still, the pained wince on her face…

“What is she doing?” Fynn asked, once the bulk of the werewolves had rushed by. “Burning the city down? Can she do that?”

Hands clenching the hilt of his sword impulsively, Logan nodded. “I… guess? Can’t burn the walls, but the buildings should go up nice as you please. I guess she’d trying to corral ‘em, and… take ‘em out.”

Fynn gasped, seemingly shocked, but his horror turned into a confused frown. “But wait. There’re probably lotsa places they could go to avoid any fire. What good is that?”

Logan moved out of hiding. He watched as one last werewolf, a straggler with what appeared to be a bum leg, rounded the wall and disappeared. He looked up into the sky, noting the faint plumes of grey-black smoke curling up to join the whiter clouds above. The fire was not substantial, not yet, but the torch in his mother’s hand…

“She’s probably trying to smoke ‘em to death more ’n anything,” Logan said as Fynn joined him, crunching through the snow. “Get enough smoke in one place ’n just about anything’ll croak tryin’ to breathe. I can’t believe mom would resort to killin’ the things, but… well, hell, I dunno what she’s been through the last couple of months…”

Fynn shook his head. “What good is that? Smoke rises. It’ll go straight up ’n won’t bother the werewolves a bit, I’d think, ‘less she got them inside. Or maybe - “

A snarl cut off Fynn’s thought, and the pair whipped around just as a werewolf, apparently another straggler, leaped at them from atop the shed where they’d just been hiding. Logan impulsively rolled to one side, springing out of the snow to a safe distance away - and leaving Fynn, much slower Fynn, to be targeted by the werewolf. Logan’s mouth formed an ‘O’ of dismayed horror -

- and the werewolf, seeming to grin, fell on the oversized child - 

- only to rebound off of a shield of shimmering green. It coated Fynn like a second skin for a moment, then abruptly expanded outward, hurtling the werewolf into a snowbank. The beast roared its confusion, thrashing about impotently as it tried to extract itself from the snow. Logan used the opportunity to leap to its side, sword out, and cut its throat.

Fynn turned away from the sight of blood. Laughing hollowly to himself, he tapped on the inside of the shimmering barrier. It plinked loudly, as though made of glass. “I, uh… I… good thing I’m good at this buffing stuff, uh… eh…? Yeah…”

Cleaning his sword on a scrap of the werewolf’s remaining clothing, careful not to get any on himself, Logan scowled. “Yeah. Good thing. I’m, uh, sorry… about…”

Eyes on his feet, Fynn shut the barrier down, shivering at the distant howls of a thousand more werewolves on the move. “About what? You don’t need to be sorry…”

But Logan wasn’t focused on regrets anymore. Stepping away from the corpse of the werewolf, only vaguely aware that it was still twitching, he considered what he’d just heard. He’d always assumed - on the rare occasions that the topic presented itself - that Fynn’s barriers were a one-way street. Move through them one way, but not the other. The way he’d tapped on the barrier, however… the solid sound it had made - 

“How big can you make those things?” Logan snapped, an idea forming. A grim, grisly, potentially effective idea.

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