Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Day Eight-Forty-Three: Save the day

Despite leading from the rear, Dragomir nearly lost his life when a hefty Non hefted a hefty rock a hefty half a kilometre in his direction. 

The rock appeared in the sky like a looming, yet almost peaceful, spectre. It arced up and over the battle below, spinning silently as it grew larger and larger. Dragomir lost all sense of the melee raging between zombies and Non as he watched the rock come, and he wondered if he should just remain where he was and let it squash him flat. That would be the simplest answer to all of his problems.

Dragomir’s body pushed that idea out of the way as it catapulted him aside, moments before the rock flattened the plateau where he’d been standing. The zombie commander who’d been standing with him, commenting gaily about the weather, had not been so lucky, and when Dragomir recovered himself he decided that it must be the zombie’s blood decorating his shoes.

Shielding his eyes from the sudden cloud of dust kicked up by the boulder’s landing, Dragomir watched the plateau drop away and form a simple cliff edge. With a simple exertion of willpower - a surprisingly small amount, considering - Dragomir pushed his near death out of his mind and hopped his way down the cliff, skipping from foothold to foothold with ease. He seldom had to put any thought into his Non-ness, these days - it just came naturally.

So long as he was careful, anyway. So long as he didn’t go too far, in front of too many people. A pair of armies certainly constituted a lot of bodies, but he figured - correctly - that the combatants on both sides were too busy to pay him any attention.

The battle was heating up on the ground. Though their numbers were considerable, the unarmed (sometimes literally) zombies were little match for the Non. The polite, civilized masses of stately undead did their best to swarm onto each Non, heedless of their un-lives, but the Non were either too quick, too large, or too well-organized to be overcome. Forming a compact phalanx and bolstered by considerable air support, the Non were swiftly retreating.

Sneering, Dragomir sought a hiding place behind some debris, kneeled, and pushed his backpack onto the ground. His diary hopped out, smiling widely and brandishing a quill in its mouth -

- and with it came a lithe, cautious rat. It peered at the battlefield, then looked to Dragomir. One of its eyes twitched, though Dragomir chalked the motion up to dust in the air.

“This is retarded,” Dragomir snarled, popping open the diary and setting it in front of the rat. “Retarded. All we’re doing is wasting zombies. Even I know that. Do you guys give even the slightest shit about winning?”

The rat watched Dragomir. He pointed at the open diary, expecting words to appear on the parchment. But the rat did not oblige, and in the end all they had was an an intense staring contest.

“You guys are real bitches, you know that?” Dragomir shook his head. “At least before you made sense. Now you act like you’re spiting me. Do you want me to lead your stupid war or not?”

The rat’s left ear pricked. It turned to look at the sky, its expression oddly dopey. Not animal-like, but.. absent.

Dragomir hissed. “Fuck me. I bet you guys aren’t even gonna get rid of this shit in me, are you? Seems like you can’t do anything right anymore - “

Dragomir was interrupted by an enormous boom that sounded far too close for comfort. The ground reverberated with an enormous impact, and Dragomir whipped around just in time to see an enormous, flying Non landing beside him, eclipsing him with its shadow. One of its wings was half gone, and it screeched a foul swear word as it dipped in to chomp Dragomir, its tone a mixture of pain, fury, and tactical triumph.

Dragomir swallowed. Tactical triumph? That’s an odd tone, innit? Oh well. Guess being eaten by a giant bird ain’t so bad. 

Knowing he didn’t have enough time to leap aside, Dragomir closed his eyes. He prayed that the Non would eat the rat, too. But it did not.

The Non’s chomp never landed. Instead, the inky bird reared back, the mixture of emotions in its scream replaced fully by pain as a lithe, hairy shape descended onto its neck. Another latched onto one of its wings, and another went for its stubby legs. It collapsed backward, writhing and shrieking as three full-grown werewolves tore it to pieces.

When Dragomir realized what had saved him, he didn’t feel terribly reassured. Not until he saw his daughter rushing past the fracas and into the greater battle, a chipped battle axe in one hand. She uttered no battle cry, but Dragomir knew that her appearance would nevertheless fill the enemy with dread. They had, after all, seen her in combat enough times.

They’re all dead, Dragomir thought. All of them. Every fucking one.

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