King of Storms: Part 4

I got up anyway, putting my hand in a puddle of ketchup as I pushed off.

He drew his right hand back and took a step forward. “Don’t you listen?”

“He’s got a learning disability,” Cassie said.

She stood in the aisle between the freezers and the end of the shelving unit, sword in her right hand.

He turned toward her.

“The last Captain Commando didn’t have tits,” he said.

“But unlike you, he had pants.”

She swung the sword and cut, starting just above his belt and ending an inch below.

A hole gaped and I could see his underwear. Aside from a small nick just above his waist, Cassie’s cut went no deeper than the belt and his black jeans.

For the record, he wore briefs.

He looked down, eyes locked on the drips of blood. “Holy shit.”

“It can cut anything,” I said. “Anyway, we don’t have to fight. Surrender and I’m sure it’ll go a little better for you.”

“Fuck that — we’ve still got the hostages and if you come any closer, we’ll nuke ’em. Mackie?”

Something exploded and the shelving behind me ripped and cracked. Cans, both shattered and whole, hit me along with their contents. I stepped forward to steady myself and squashed a peach.

“You… Watch out or I’ll blow you up. And them. Right, Russ?”

I looked toward the source of the voice. Over on the left side of the store, across a vast sea of overpriced groceries and over the counter medicines, a thin man stood in front of the “Staff Only” doorway, the door shut behind him. He wore a button down shirt, a red tie, and, incongruously, big sunglasses. I pegged him as being in his early forties and wondered what his codename could be — the Accountant?

“You got it. Now you, girl, put down the sword and go out the front door.” Russ held his pants together with his left hand.

“You,” this was directed at me, “take off the jet pack.”

“You can’t control it without the suit,” I said.

“Take it off.” Russ pointed to the floor between us. “Do it or we’ll kill one of the hostages.”

“Fuck, no,” Cassie said.

“You’re not going to fit inside anyway,” I pointed out.

“Mackie, pull someone out. Let’s show these kids what brains look like.”

Mackie moved his left hand toward the doorknob, but he never made it.

Wood cracked and Haley’s claws came through the door behind him, grabbing him, and yanking him into the door. He flailed his arms wildly and explosions started all over.

Lights broke near the middle of the room, shattering and falling along with more tiles and metal from the drop ceiling. Glass refrigerator doors cracked and the milk, beer, pop and juice bottles broke open, spraying, bubbling, and dripping.

Shelves of food fell over. The windows in the front of the store shattered, the glass blasting outward into the parking lot.

Haley’s claws slid upward till she found his neck. I thought I saw the moment when the hidden claw pierced his throat.

Whether it was my imagination or not, he slumped down. When she let go of the body, he fell.

I can only assume that Cassie was looking at Haley too because I heard her grunt, turned to look at her, and realized that Russ had grabbed her sword hand.

I heard a cracking noise.

Her face whitened, but aside from the grunt, she didn’t say anything. She punched him in the face with her left hand.

He barely reacted, just pulled her hand away from the sword. It was a mangled mess with fingers pointing directions that they shouldn’t, and visible fragments of bone. Blood dripped from the sword’s hilt.

About the time it struck me that I should be doing something to stop this, he stepped back, giving the sword a practice slash in the air.

“Cuts anything?” He said. “How about armor?”

I snuck a look at Cassie. She held her broken hand against her stomach, smoothing it out with other hand. As horrible as it looked, it already looked better than it had a moment ago.

She caught my eye and we both backed up. If we’d learned anything from Lee, we’d learned not to stand too close to people who can cut you in half. She backed down the side aisle. I backed down the front aisle, trying to think what I could do now.

“That’s right,” he said, “run away.”

Cassie had gotten into the third aisle and started picking something off the floor.

He jumped up, leaping over me, and landing behind me. From the look on his face, his strength surprised him too.

It took him a moment to turn around. While he was doing it, I jumped away, landing next to the checkout counter and the body of the guy I’d punched. He was still unconscious and lying on the mat that operated the automatic door. The door began to shut, hummed again, and opened fully.

I turned around, getting into a martial arts stance without thinking about it. It wasn’t a useful reflex. Blocking Cassie’s sword with my arm would only result in amputation.

To my right, sitting on the checkout counter, the screen of the orange Michigan Lottery machine glowed.

I wondered what my chances of surviving the next few seconds were.

Sure, I could blast him with the sonics, but they worked better on objects that were basically one material. I had a better chance of breaking bones with them when they weren’t surrounded by skin and muscle. Hurting his ears with sound would work better if I had a good next step. It was, after all, basically a feint.

I had a few moves for disarming people, but none of them were guaranteed.

“He’s going down.” Cassie stood next to me with a mop in her left hand and some kind of cleaning liquid with a spray top in the other.

He walked toward us, holding the sword in front of him. “You’re my hostages now. Go with me out the back and I won’t kill anybody.”

He’d apparently decided to ignore the hole in his pants.

Pointing my arms toward his head, I hit him with the sonics.

While he cringed, Cassie stepped forward and sprayed him in the face.

The cleaning liquid smelled of citrus and ammonia.

15 thoughts on “King of Storms: Part 4”

  1. 1st!

    Whoa! This Waldbaum’s Rumble is INTENSE. And how about my girl Haley! Ripping people through doors like Freddy Krueger.

    And Cassie, taking a crushed hand like a champ.

    Uh, Jim, now you know Nick is my dude through and through, he’s gotta have a cool contribution in this fight (I know he dropped the first dude) but c’mon. The girls are having all the fun!

  2. I like how the heroes’ inexperience shows in stuff like stopping to look at what their teammates are doing. It gives a nice realistic flavour. Keep up the good work.

  3. Mazzon: Thanks. It’s always kind of bothered me to find characters getting powers and then suddenly becoming competent in ways unrelated to it.

    Eli: Ammonia in the eyes is nasty stuff. Fortunately it’s fairly diluted in many cleaning supplies (though not so diluted that it doesn’t hurt…).

  4. Aaah…. after three days of reading I’ve finally caught up… and find myself having to wait for the next installment like everyone else! Now I have to wait… darn it…

  5. Yeah, but being blinded even temporarily after receiving sonics to the nuts, means either Haley or Cassie can get a shot in — or Nick can blow the sword out of his hand. Good strategy.

  6. I imagine it won’t take long for Haley to finish bringing that door down… besides, her “beloved” is in danger. Gotta save him!

  7. @Jimney: Hey remember that scene from Aliens where the creature is attacking the girl and Sigourney Weaver comes out??

    Imagine Haley tear-assing into the aisle and yelling (in full Teen Wolf-mode, mind you) “Get away from him, you BITCH!”

    That would be too damn classic!

  8. Ach… never seen Aliens. But I can perfectly imagine the scene you’re describing! It might be great except… I’m not too sure it really fits Haley’s personality, like it’s not something she would do. More likely the guy would suddenly drop and she’s standing there behind him asking Nick if he’s okay.

  9. Ohh man Aliens that was a classic and one of only a few movies where the sequel is as good as (if not better than) the original.
    Though the previous sequels after were dog dodoo

  10. @Curve: Well, consider who directed the first two movies, Ridley Scott and James Cameron.

    Those two movies HAD to be badass.

    @Jimney: I get where you’re coming from. I’m sure our boy Jim, will have something even cooler. The scene you suggested does sound closer to Haley’s character.

  11. Writer’s first rule: give the protagonists a bad day.

    Using Cassie’s sword agaist her (and Nick)? Yeah. Score one for thoughful plot development. It had to happen, there was just no dodging that one.

  12. Interesting… didn’t think much about that. You’re right though… I like that development, it certainly is a departure from the usual “hero always wins” kind of thing where it’s pretty much an obvious and easy win.

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