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Service 18: Part 2

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Part Two. (Finally!)


The overpowering whiff of buffed linoleum betrayed the smell of decomposition in the back of the launderette. For a full five minutes of conciousness, first bleary, then more lucid, the driver slowly sniffed in the fumes. The effect was strangely reassuring, lino was another comfortable, ordinary thing that survived through this madness. He couldn't lie nose down on the floor for ever though, and rising just two inches off the ground the lino lost out to the rotten stench.

This time, he wouldn't pass out. He counted slowly to three. The old lady was still there, and so was the imp, but the man and the girl had gone, the latter clearly only freeing herself from the imp's arm with a good deal of pain and difficulty, such were the shreds of her clothes impaled on the spikes, and the little droplets of warm red blood that followed in pairs, like tiny footsteps, out into the front of the building. He moved with them, and was immediately aware of a change. It was dawn, early dawn, the very first light of the day.

There is something about dawn at 5am. It is like witnessing birth. The Day is a child, and like a child, time appears to move at a slower pace for it. Seconds become minutes, minutes become hours, and hours become their own days, like years of the life for The Day itself. Perhaps it is the gentle stillness that accompanies this hour; the fact that the streets are deserted from human business. But they had been deserted last night too, and the feeling was entirely different. A new calm enveloped the driver. His body's resources were waning, but the soul was rampant. Where were the others?

The girl lay in the foetal position in front of the large window by the door. The early blue light reaffirmed her youth, almost healing her spiritually. Her broken arm and her good arm had both been lascerated, and the top she wore was bloodstained and useless. A hot flush of anger burst upwards through the driver but he soon let it go: it would only diminish his energy still further. He gently brushed her hair back, so that he wouldn't wake her with a startle, and as she came to a breathtaking smile beamed back at him. For a good ten seconds, she had forgotten the nightmare was real, but one look at the door to the horrific scene and she burst into tears. The driver quickly moved over and shut it firmly, and looked at her deeply. He told her it was finished. She nodded slowly, and offered a slight smile as she wiped the tears away.

He helped her up. On the positive side the cuts she had looked worse than they were. They had all produced a scab and none were that deep. They would heal, possibly without any scarring at all. The main worry for the driver was her broken arm. She clearly no longer felt much pain from it, which gave him great concern. Could the break have been bad enough to cause nerve damage? Certainly all the surroundinmg tissue was badly swollen, and black and blue from bruising. Below the break, which he now thought consisted of maybe two or three individual fractures, the hand was a deep red colour. Blood was finding it tough to get back up. She must have her arm suspended, and properly strapped.

He led her outside. In the broken glass of the door, he caught his own reflection. He realised the gash on his own head needed antisceptic treatment too. It must have become infected on the launderette floor. Where was the man, and with him the shotgun? The answer was quick in coming. Just fifty yards up the road sat an old Dodge Viper, a classic car of the 90s. It was missing a wheel, and a few body panels. The other tryes were all flat, and the golden wheels were covered in verdigris. The red paint had faded badly in the sun, it was now a broken and patchy pale orange. The man was sat in the drivers seat, hands clasped firmly on the steering wheel, staring with a peculiar mixture of wonder and excitement at the dashboard. The shotgun lay on the bucket seat next to him, and with it two boxes full of shells. The driver was relieved. Morning was known to be a time when a large number of the monsters slept, and this was enough to take care of any straddlers.

He relaxed. The man opened the door and turned sideways to tell them about how he had once owned a similar breed of car, a 911. Older than this, mind you, and a lot less powerful. He was still nervous, twitching at the end of each sentence, but he was at last the better for not being able to get hold of any booze. The driver and the girl sat down in the road, and though he was concious of not stopping too long in the open, the driver somehow thought it necessary for all of them to hear of the man's tales of the old, great automobiles of the 20th century. The girl seemed almost happy.

The driver was about to regrettably suggest they move on and find an old pharmacy when he saw it. He didn't register it fully at first, he somehow rejected it. Against the rising sun, it looked like a caricature of a Baron of Hell, not at all like the real thing. Was he hallucinating?

The green ball of plasma moved so quickly he could hardly trace it. It hurtled into the tailight of the Viper, with a loud thud the glassfibre tail of the car crumpled up, fizzled, and began melting. The impact propelled the vehicle five feet forward and up onto the sidewalk, and the man fell out into the street. The girl let out a short scream, the man shouted an expletive, and the driver quickly got them all up on their feet and running full pace back down the road towards the wreckage of the tram. There was, however, a much bigger problem surrounding the wreckage. A number of Cacodemons were investigating the scene, attracted by the blood that laced the area. On seeing them the cyclops' eyes lit up, and so did their entire spherical bodies as the ignited acid balls shot out from five, six, or was it seven different beasts?

The driver wasn't going to count. Sideways. They ran sideways and into the nearest shop they could see. Fortunately, it was unlocked. He hurried them in as the floating, grinning monsters got nearer, levetating just a few feet off the sidewalk. It was a furniture store, and as they ran for cover behind a walnut sofa at the rear of the showroom they choked on the dust that had built up in the place. The driver peered out from behind the huge white leather-coated armrest. The Cacodemons were sniffing at the now bolted front door. As a rule, they are not creatures who employ brute strengh without provocation, as it requires a lot of energy to do so when you have no limbs. The door seemed an immovable obstruction to them, and with the scent gone and no injury makeing them blind with rage, they lost interest. They floated off back towards the wreckage, unable to see the connection.

He cursed himself out loud. How could he have got so complacent? And he realised something else with horror: the shotgun, and the shells, were still in the wrecked Viper.

He rushed upstairs and into another showroom, this time beds, with a bay window overlooking the street. Sure enough, through the grimey panes, he could see the Baron smashing the car up in a furore: it was full of scent but it didn't fight back when he slammed it, nor did it seem to be that easy to rip apart. The Baron wrenched off a piece of roof and attempted to eat it, clearly confused by the red colour. Angered by his inability to cleanly bite through it, he clamped it in his mouth and tore at it. The resulting howl shook the buildings. He had sliced his gums open on the shard. Red blood and another green substance dripped from his mouth. He kicked the car, brought his glowing green fists down on it, and growled. After five minutes, he retired exhausted and lay down in the road, clearly thinking he had 'killed' the car.

To all intents and purposes, he was right. The Viper was a crumpled mess, it's bodywork twisted and contorted, glass everywhere and the huge engine half ripped out. The roof had caved in, but there was still a pocket within the cabin. The shotgun and the shells may well have survived the onslaught.

The others joined him and saw the mess. The man said it was all his fault they had lost the gun, it was always his fault, everything was. The girl lay down on one of the beds and told him it wasn't, and asked rhetorically if they were ever going to get out of this place. The driver said nothing as he crouched by the window: a plan, a wild plan was already forming in his head. In his moment of anger at himself, he had suddenly remembered that there was a hospital in the next road down, past the Baron. He knew also there was no way out of the back of these stores. There were skylights onto the flat roofs, but there were twenty story buildings nearby, probably full of hellspawn, and they would be seen by almost every monster in town.

He told them their plan. The girl had a sad look on her face. At the age of ten or so things appear very black and white. She knew desperation was needed. The man scoffed, he was adamant it would fail. Suicide, he said. What a waste. The girl screamed at him to shut up and he kicked the bed and lay down on it. The driver told them to wait by the door, he'd do this alone. The man refused to come down with them, saying he'd take his chances. The girl told him to wait as he prepared to venture back outside. She kissed her hand and stamped his cheek with it, and he hugged her tight. No words, no tears as he left. There was nothing to say.

He shouted at the Baron but it didn't move. He moved a little closer and really let rip, but still nothing. He was just a few feet away now. He picked up a loose bit of tarmac and hurled it at him. It bounced off and nothing. He bit his lip. With his heart pumping and whole body trembling he brought his right foot back when he was just two feet from the beast...

stay tuned for part 3, which I promise will be the last part.

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More than a week ago, you promised that part two would be up the following day - you're late and behind schedule, I am dissapointed with you j/k

Great work - as I expected from an English A level student ;-)

stay tuned for part 3, which I promise will be the last part.

Last part comin' up so soon?

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/me is ashamed. I went on holiday unexpectedly, that was the cause of the delay..

yeah 3 parts is how this story is working out at now, which is fine as 3 parts is a nice enough format.

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pritch said:

/me is ashamed. I went on holiday unexpectedly, that was the cause of the delay..

yeah 3 parts is how this story is working out at now, which is fine as 3 parts is a nice enough format.

Heh, you ain't tellin' me that you take my li'l joke too serious are ya?
Yeah, I guess three parts is a nice formats - my multipart stories are all the lenght of a novel or something, takes forever to finish them. So far, I only have Evil Unleashed as a multipart story, but I'm on the brink of starting releasing chapters of my next, lenghty multipart story - Castle Wolfenstein.

Anyway, I hope you'll continue writing stories 'cuz your stories are great imo.

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