3.40 - Mall War

3.40 - Mall War

“Want a beer? You look like you could use one,” Vicky offers me one.

I initially decline but spot Destiny and decide to have one, “sure.”

“How you holdin’ up,” she asks between small sips.

“Like crap,” an honest answer.

“Well, you should feel like crap.”

“Okay, maybe I’ll just be leaving after all,” I could have gotten that from Destiny.

“No," she grabs my arm. “What I mean is, that you’re still good inside. You’ve still got a nice shiny aura around you. For gods’ sake, you watched a man die, then you killed a vamp. I know they’re dead, but they’re still people, or were. That’s two people.”

“Thanks. Have you always had an Irish accent?”

“Slight, my parents are from Ireland, it comes out when I’m drunk, or emotional. Immigrant parents and all that. If you laugh, I’ll have a tree spirit haunt you.”

“Nah, it’s kind of cute.”

“Careful now, your old half dead ball and chain might want a piece of my flesh if you keep talking that way. I don’t want to give it to her, at least not without a fight,” she finishes her beer and stands. “But if you ever want to get in touch with your spirit, or mine, call me. I’ll show you that you’re still a good man,” Vicky runs a finger up my arm before walking away.

Wait, does she like me? I kind of like her too. We’re both into computers, she can show me some really cool stuff. I didn’t even know about the Occult Web until she told me. A whole dark web, but for magic users and the supernatural. Crazy. I strap on my backpack and consider calling her later. Maybe she likes to play video games too.

In an instant, my whole world turns black and the only thing I can hear is the ringing in my ears penetrated only by a distant fire alarm. Something warm and wet lands on my face causing me to open up my eyes. I realize the chaos going on around me. Someone is attacking the Wererats, masks, big knives, guns, magic, anything that looks deadly. Someone blew a massive hole through the wall. The attackers are masked but some are vampires without a doubt, others seem mostly human but there are a few odd shapes here and there. A whip snaps violently in the air with no sound, drawing blood from a Wererat in the distance. That’s when I realize it was blood that dropped on my face. I didn’t get time to digest what I was witnessing or figure out if it was my blood or not before the whip was speeding towards me.

All the training with Destiny didn’t prepare me to dodge a whip. The whip slapped across my chest before I could get out of the way. The whip didn’t even cut through my shirt, but I could feel every inch of it pushing the air out of my chest. I can’t even scream out in pain. I just barely registered the pain of the first lash before the second comes. This time across my back. I try to summon my blades to fight back but the pain is too much for me to concentrate. All that training was worthless because I couldn’t take a hit.

Fuck training, on my hands and knees I just launched my body sideways at my attacker's feet. I managed to catch them off guard, losing their balance and coming to the floor with me. I just started to pound at the mask on their face as they tried pushing me away. Forgetting how to throw a punch I just pounded on them like a baby wanting more food until they stopped fighting.

Feeling my chest and back caused instant pain as I recognized the raised welts across my body. Standing up brought horror as my senses started to flood back at once. They hadn’t just attacked The Wererats. They attacked the entire mall. A second hole had been blasted through the wall opening up the den into the entire mall. Fighting is taking place throughout and things are not going well.

I need to get out of here is all I can think as I break into a full sprint. Almost as if blindsided by a truck I’m tossed aside and ragdolled to the floor. Standing above me in the same black jumpsuit and white ski mask as everyone else was the most gargantuan being I have ever recognized. That’s either a roided out human or an orc thrall, judging by the club, orc.

I’m fast enough to dodge a club, and even land some counter punches to the ribs. Punches that do absolutely nothing. It isn’t long before a frying pan sized hand knocks me back. Well, time to run. I can beat him in a foot race. I waste no time heading towards another exit with Big Angry behind me. I only turn when I hear the screams of someone behind me. I turn to realize it was no longer giving chase, instead it was actually pulling the arm off of one of The Wererats.

The acidic burn of stomach acid scratches my throat, and the bitter taste of half-digested food and beer fills my mouth as I puke right in the middle of a fight for life and death. I’m not sure if the tears come because of the lasting pain from my injuries, the puke or the hopelessness of my situation.

I don’t get the time to think as my shoulder is filled with an intense burning sensation that brings me to the ground. The pain is too much to take my hand off the wound and see what it was. I realize I’m shot, as a short man, who had removed his mask, stood over me with a gun in his hand aimed at my head. Mom is going to be disappointed. You would think she was Heather B the way she would yell for people to put the Glocks down at those rallies; still her son is now a victim of gun violence.

More blood lands on my face as a hand burst through his chest and he screams out in pain, trying to fight away from the clutches of death. As his body falls to the side, I realized it was Destiny who had saved me. She just stood there, covered in blood amidst the chaos. With everything going on she still found the time to look at me with anger, disgust, regret, I couldn’t really tell. I’ve never been great at reading facial expressions, but this one was difficult, complicated even.

“Stop lying around like a big pussy. Run, or die. Just hurry up and leave my life like always,” Destiny yelled at me over the fire alarm sound.

She took off at that crazy vampire speed, and I quickly lost track of her. Every now and then I would spot one of our attackers randomly dying or sent flying and would know it was her. She was taking out most of them while some of The Wererats were trying to take on the big one without much luck. Everyone was doing their part. Except me, I was running. Just like when I was a kid and Elias would fight my battles for me.

I focus for just a moment and gain access to my magic pocket. I toss in my bloody hoody and backpack that contains my laptop which is probably in a thousand pieces. I feel the handle of my blade materialize in my right hand. It all takes only a few seconds to transpire.

I spot a vampire drinking the blood of a fallen Wererate, no doubt drinking to heal an injury. I don’t hesitate in the run up or even as I lift the blade with my good arm. But before I can drop it, I hesitate. I think about Mercer, and the vampire I killed before. Vicky said I was still good but I didn’t feel that way anymore. The vampire realized what was happening and moved to the side. Faster than a regular person, but not the super speed Destiny moved with. I slip in the blood and fall with nothing to break my fall but the body of the dead Wererat. For a moment I looked into his dead eyes and saw terror still there. I rolled over and wildly swing at the vampire’s neck. He didn’t turn into dust either, just cold black blood silently dripping across the blade again. I stand and noticed the vampire’s leg was broken. That’s why I was able to get him by surprise.

I hear what sounds like a thunder clap that draws my attention. Off in the distance I’m witnessing as the big arm ripper from earlier is clashing with what appears to be a giant version of Jerry from the old Tom and Jerry cartoons. That’s when I remember Lynn is a wererat, an actual wererat. I thought she would be small, but she’s huge. She uses her claws to keep distance between them before diving in with her teeth. There’s no scream as she bites into the arm but there’s pain as it tries to fight her off. When she’s finally knocked away the arm of the jumpsuit is gone and mangled mess of blood, bone and white fur remain. Okay, so that isn’t an Orc and a werewolf wouldn’t need a club. What the hell is that?

A lot of attention has been drawn away from the battle. Most Wererats and thralls have stopped fighting to nurse their injuries and watch as Lynn takes on giant fur thing. The vampires are mostly being kept busy while fighting Destiny. She’s got the advantage on them in skill and ability, but they have the numbers. Still, there’s a few skirmishes taking place.

I do what I can, act as a distraction. I can’t fight at all in this condition, but I can be enough of a pain in the ass that The Wererats can get a few shots in. It isn’t long before I have four maybe five of them following me and picking off any of our lone attackers. Slowly we’re evening the field after the sneak attacks.

I slam my blade down onto the skull of another vampire feasting on a Wererat who was screaming out in pain. At least, I thought it was a vampire, until the warm red blood sprays and the bright brain matter sticks to my blade as the body falls to the ground.

“Good kill mate,” one of The Wererats says as they quickly move on.

Six, I’ve killed six vampires total, most were on their way out or were surprise attacks. But, just like that, I had killed my first human. I’m a murderer now, and didn’t even think twice about attacking. Is it self-defense? No, I wasn’t being attacked. But I saved someone else, she would have been saved by one of the others. I’m a killer. What do I do with the body? The vampires dispose of themselves. How do I get rid of a human body? Do I dump it in a river? Burn it?

A gurgled screeching sound brings me back to the fight. Lynn had just been sent crashing through the fountain. The mermaid statues spitting water had all ceased to exist and now a giant, but shrinking rat sat in their place. Soon there was no rat, just Lynn, naked and still willing to fight. A series of small explosions drew everyone’s attention upward. The opaque skylight had been cracked and was beginning to shatter into millions of tiny pieces and fall to the ground.

“Retreat,” one of our attackers yelled as they rushed for the doors.

As sunlight filtered in screams of vampires began to fill the mall. I had seen enough dead vampires now to believe it was a joke about some turning to dust in the sunlight. I guess I had never seen any in the sun before because they were starting to explode with a tiny popping sound. First those that were already dead. Then those who couldn’t get through the sealed doors. Slowly one by one the screams stopped as each vampire was left as nothing more than ashes to sweep up. Many of the thralls dropped, likely they were following their vampire masters to hell.

Some managed to flee after the big monster broke through one of the doors, the others were left unconscious where they were. Any other time the sun washing over me would be a real mood booster, but today it had done nothing but illuminate what we had been done in the dark. Nearly every inch of the mall showed some kind of damage, from smudged walls to shattered glass, small fires and the blood; there was so much blood. Then there’s me, wishing for a shower that I know could wash away the blood, sweat, tears and even brain matter that now stuck to my body. But a shower could never wash away what I had done here today.


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