Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Danger is Not My Middle Name #17
Hands pulling at me.
Painful corners digging into my bones. Slow progress and the steady sound of “Thump Thump” that oddly enough was tied to the equally regular motion my head made as it jounced up and down. And then the dawning realization that it WAS my head, thumping over stairs.
Next came the sound of labored breathing.
I opened my eyes and saw a man’s face. Oddly familiar. I had seen it somewhere before. A racing magazine? Nah.
“You’re awake,” he whispered.
“Unnnghhh,” I responded.
“You fainted,” he said softly.
A surf of indignant sensation washed away the cobwebs.
“I did not,” I insisted.
A rough hand pressed to my mouth and suddenly his face was close to mine. Too close.
“Shhhhh,” he hissed. “You want to get both of us killed?”
Since it sounded like a rhetorical question I didn’t respond.
I looked closely into his face. Both heart and male orbs went into immediate panic mode as realization dawned. I was looking into the face of Gerald – Fitzroy! He was the man I had initially been hired to follow. He’d last been seen about to do mortal battle with the undead Stokers underneath the Unfinished Church in Bermuda. My partner, Jennifer had gone down to help him while I fled…oops…while I made a strategic retreat. Neither of them had been seen again.
I did my best to form a fist and drive it into his jaw. My body wasn’t quite ready to take orders yet, so instead of smacking him, my pinky finger embedded itself in his right nostril.
He looked understandably confused for a moment and then swatted my hand away.
“You’re an idiot,” he said.
“And you’re dead,” I responded.
“No I’m not,” he hissed, shaking me by the lapels for emphasis.
“You went to fight an army of the undead in Bermuda,” I said. “You’re toast. History.”
He shook me again. I was getting a little tired of this.
“We escaped,” he said.
My heart skipped a beat. Could Jennifer be alive?
He nodded curtly. “Jennifer is in the car. Waiting for this.”
He produced a small coin from his pocket. It was covered in ornate carvings. One side was gold and the other silver. I could feel power radiating from it.
My jaw dropped.
“And I have been waiting for you. You took long enough, by the way. We need to get out of here,” Fitzroy/Gerald/Whatever his name really was hissed. “Before they realize it’s gone.”
As if on cue there came a high keening wail from somewhere below us. It was inhuman and as it pitched up and down the scale, the emotion it carried moved from grief to fury.
Gerald looked at me, eyes wide with what could only be described as terror and scrambled up the stairs.
Heart pounding, I followed.
Then I heard the sound of claws scratching on stone. The keening wail had become a growl of animal fury. It, whatever it was, was coming up the stairs directly for us, coming fast, panting with the naked desire to rip…to rend…to tear. The doorway loomed in the distance…impossibly small and simply too far away.