The gun fired a piercing, white beam. It had to be too bright to watch normally, but through the gun’s vision, I could see it burn the creatures. They changed from standing into whitish-black charcoal in bare instants.
Chunks of the patio beneath them cracked and shattered from the heat, flying everywhere, pelting the windows, breaking a couple.
The frog-things made that mournful howl I remembered from when we were on the highway.
It seemed to come from everywhere though—all around the building, the bunch of apartments, the street below the highway, the Royal Thai Embassy behind us…
I could only wonder what the embassy staff made of it—if anyone was working this late.
I didn’t give that more than a second’s thought though.
The moment I stopped firing, Sam uncovered her eyes, saying, “What did you just do?”
“They were about to break into those condos over there. I stopped them.”
Sam began to open her mouth. I didn’t let her talk.
“They would have eaten the people inside.”
Sam stepped closer to the edge of the roof and looked down. “Crap. You did the right thing, but you know they’re coming up here now, right?”
Unless we got lucky and the light scared them away, and I wasn’t counting on that. No, Nick would be coming in ten minutes. We could hold them for ten minutes. It would take them that long just to climb the stairs.
Well, I hoped Nick would come in ten minutes. If he took twenty, we’d be screwed. Worse, what if he took forty?
Then everybody came up, all of them talking (”Did you do that?” “Why?” “Are they climbing the walls?” “This is SO crazy!”).
I couldn’t see in the dark, but the gun could. John’s jaw had dropped. His shoulders literally shook. It had to be fear, but it could have been a seizure.
Rod held up his hand. “Settle down everybody. It’s okay. I’ve been thinking, and I’ve got a backup plan. Red Hex has a magic pocket. It’s bigger inside than outside. If they come up here, and we can’t fight them off, all of you get in, and I’ll carry her down the slanted side of the building in Troll form.”
From the expression on Sam’s face, that was the first she’d heard of it.
“Let’s get over to the front of the building then.” He pointed. “Go on. Get moving.”
Once they were out of earshot, Sam said, “I don’t know if it works on people.”
Rod shrugged. “They calmed down. I can carry most of them in troll form anyway.”
“Most of them?” I asked.
“The Rocket ought to be here soon, right?”
We walked toward the front.
When I got up to the edge, I could see why Rod suggested it. Each balcony extended further out than the one above it. We could jump and drop until the final thirty foot drop to the ground.
Sure, that wouldn’t be fun, but if I had to, I could take that.
Below us, the frog-monsters gathered into a huge group and went straight for the entrance to the building.
I fired into the middle of them, widening the beam so I could hit more at once, and then raking it across the group.
It worked, but the screams wrenched at me. They sounded almost human.
I couldn’t let it bother me.
If they made it up here, they’d kill us. Maybe we’d come up with something, but the gun counted thousands of them on the streets in the neighborhood. If we had to fight, we’d never keep up with that.
The gun’s beam left charred remains, some creatures burned, but still alive.
It didn’t kill them all, but they stopped walking toward the front doors. The ones that could ran away from the light and the burning pain it gave.
A few of the former hostages cheered.
I wanted to shout at them. Aside from not helping my concentration, they couldn’t see what I saw.
“Hey!” Rod had gone back to where we’d been, and stood on the same side of the building as the condominiums. He waved me over.
I ran, stopping around ten feet from the edge.
“Look down,” Rod said.
As I did, lines shot into the air, sticking to the side of our building. The frog-monsters pulled themselves up, and they weren’t alone. More lines shot upward after the first group.
“What do you want to bet they’re all the way around the building?” Rod asked.