Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Full Wolf Moon-Part Eight

Cassandra made her way back to her bunk and packed quickly.  Her meager belongings barely filled a knapsack.  She pulled a cap down over her eyes and made her way towards the armoury.  She kept her head down and moved swiftly, taking advantage of the commotion of the  bug out to remain  unseen.  The room was empty, the weapons still in place.  She grabbed two hand guns, a shot gun and enough ammunition to take out a whole squad.  She thought about taking something larger, but didn't want to be hampered by too much weight.  She peeked out and found the coast was clear.  Her peripheral vision caught sight of something; grenades and explosives.  Impulsively she grabbed a handful, shoving them into her pack, making sure to include enough blasting caps.  Explosives were useless if you couldn't detonate them.  She checked her exit again,then walked purposely towards the door.  She was almost there when a voice called out from behind her.

"Halt!  Where do you think you're going?"

Cassandra fought the instinct to bolt.  She turned slowly, keeping her eyes down, her cap low over her face.  She kept her answers short.

"Orders are to bug out, Sir!"

She glanced up as Glover came towards her.  She tried to remain calm.  He looked her over, regarded the fire power she was carrying. He'd heard Pryor still hadn't returned, knew she was being blamed for it.  He also knew her future with the unit was dim .  Better for her to die on her feet than to live on her knees.

"Come with me."

Cassandra froze.  Her flight response flared, she felt her muscles begin to tense.  Glover grabbed her arm and pulled her forward.

"I said move."

Cassandra steeled herself for the assault that was certain to come.  Jeffries wouldn't wait for them to reestablish their new base; he'd slit her throat here and now.  She blindly followed Glover, only coming to her senses when she realized they were back in the armoury.  He pulled the shot gun off  her back and replaced it with a higher caliber weapon.  He inspected her knapsack, then looked up at her.

"There's no food. How far do you expect to get without provisions?"

Cassandra shook her head. Was this a trap?   Her gut  told her it wasn't.

"I only need to get back to town.  I figured I'd go back to the bar where I last saw Pryor and try to pick up his trail from there."

Glover nodded.

"Good enough place to start.  Then what?"

"If he's alive, help him finish the mission.  If  he's dead, finish it myself."

"Do you know the objective?"


"Disengage what?"

Cassandra started to answer, then realized she didn't know what for sure.  Glover looked pissed.

"You can't complete a mission if you don't know what it is."

He thought a moment.  Was there still a chance this cluster fuck could be saved?  He looked at the girl; what she lacked in intelligence she more than made up for in determination.  He cursed under his breath.

"Fuck it!  We're losing our window of opportunity.  Wait here until I come back.  Don't get caught.  I won't be able to save you.

Cassandra hid behind a locker of explosives and waited.  Glover returned, armed himself, and then motioned for her to follow him.  They made their way slowly across the camp, their journey tedious in their attempt to not draw attention to themselves in the midst of all the activity.  They reached the perimeter of the camp, picking up their pace in order to increase the distance between them and the camp.  The two of them moved at a fast march for several miles, reaching the edge of town within 45 minutes.  Glover motioned for them to ease up; it was almost Zero Nine Hundred, and the town was bustling.  Cassandra leaned against a wall, trying to stay upright.   Her initial burst of adrenaline had worn off, the fatigue she'd been fighting during her interrogation began to pull her down into an undertow of exhaustion.  She put her other arm out to brace herself against the wall, crashing instead into Glover's back.  He turned and grabbed her,  cursing as he steadied her, placing her down on the ground.

"When's the last time you slept?"

Cassandra bit her lip until she tasted blood in an attempt to revive herself.  She shook her head and took a deep breath.

"I'm fine. Don't worry about me."

Glover looked around for a place for them to hide.  He spied a small stable across the street; goats and chickens wandered around in front.  Above the stable was a small loft filled with hay and straw.  He pulled Cassandra to her feet, and steered her forward. He walked to the back of the stable, looking for an entrance to the loft.  There was a hole in the ceiling.  He pulled himself up, making sure they were alone.  He leaned back down and motioned for Cassandra to raise her arms above her head.  He pulled her up, and motioned to a pile of hay in the corner of the loft.

"Crawl in there and get some sleep.  I'm going to see what I can find out around town.  Where was the last place you saw Pryor?"

Cassandra struggled to remember where the bar was.  She felt dizzy and nauseous.

"A bar on Baker Street called the Limber Nymph.  A real slime hole.  I don't remember any nymphs, though."

Glover shook his head and pushed her into the hay, burying her deep within.  Minutes later she was fast asleep.  Glover sat and considered his next move. How were they going to find Pryor?    He concealed his weapon and pulled his hood up over his head.  He checked the stable, dropping to the floor. A goat bleated his disapproval at the intrusion.  Glover laughed, stroking the goat's head.

"Watch your tone, son.  People get mighty hungry at the end of the day."

He patted the goat's side, looked around, and slowly made his way into town.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Full Wolf Moon-Part Seven

"And then?"

Cassandra tried to keep her eyes open.  She'd been up all night, answering the same questions over and over again.  Yes, she gave him the message.  They'd been interrupted by an officer.  No, she didn't know if he'd been captured or had been able to carry out his orders. She'd been running too fast to escape the bar.  All she knew was she needed sleep.

The two men turned away and walked towards the window.  It was almost dawn.  She had returned a little after midnight; if Pryor had been successful in his mission he should have rendezvoused with them at O-four hundred. He was two hours late.

"Now what?"

Jeffries shrugged and lit a cigarette, exhaling smoke towards the window.  The first rays of sunlight were streaking across the horizon.  He held the pack out to Nolan; Nolan took one and let it hang out of the corner of his mouth.  Pryor knew that being captured wasn't an option; a cyanide capsule was.  It was more dangerous if he'd been compromised and unable to return to his barracks and complete the mission.  Jeffries took another drag off his cigarette, then walked back to the girl.  She was sitting in her chair, eyes closed, her breath rhythmic.   He stood behind her and stubbed out his cigarette on the back of her neck.  She jumped out of her seat, slapping her hand to her neck and wheeling around at her tormentor.  Jefferies regarded her impassively.

"I didn't give you permission to sleep Cassandra."

Cassandra stood her ground.  She was tired of being treated as a party favor passed around by
the senior members of the organization.  She glared at Jeffries, her hands balled up into fists.  Nolan laughed softly as he sauntered over.  Jeffies grabbed her by the hair, pulling her off her feet, until they were eye to eye.

"We may have been compromised.  Our whole organization may be in imminent danger of being wiped out, all because you were unable to deliver a simple message."

Cassandra grabbed at his hands above her head, her feet kicking the air.  She took a deep breath to keep her voice steady.

"I delivered the message.  Pryor said he needed more time.  He said you needed to be patient.  You needed to trust him."

Jeffries dropped her to the floor.  She was only good for one thing.  And there wasn't time for that now.  He looked over towards Nolan.

"Move out.  It's too dangerous to stay here.  We need to go deeper under ground until we find out exactly what's going on.  Get a team together and see what you can find out. And as for you . . ."

He bent down and pulled Cassandra to her knees, pressing her face hard against his crotch with one hand while the other held a large knife to her throat.  Cassandra fought the urge to bite him.

"You have only one purpose for this unit.  Don't ever forget it.  And don't ever think that will change.  You had your chance to be useful.  You blew it.  Get your rest; once we resettle, I throw you to the rest of the team.  For their enjoyment, and my amusement."

He threw her to the floor and left the room, his foot steps echoing down the hall.  Nolan knelt down next to her, drawing her close to him.

"Don't worry Cassandra.  I'll take care of you."

Nolan stuck his tongue in her mouth, his hands groping her breasts and between her legs.  He pushed her onto her stomach and pulled at her pants; she grimaced as he raped her, struggling not to cry out.  She wouldn't give him the satisfaction.  He finished (he was known as "Quick Shot" for reasons other than his marksmanship ), got dressed, then kicked her naked ass with his boot.  Cassandra lay there, trying to catch her breath and compose herself.  Nolan walked towards the door, calling over his shoulder.

"Thanks.  I hate to wait for  sloppy seconds."

Cassandra waited, listening to the sounds of the unit being mobilized.  She had to leave, now, while there was so much activity going on.  She wouldn't be missed; she'd strike out on her own, and track down Pryor by herself.  It would be a hardship, but it wouldn't be any worse than how she was surviving now.

She'd find Pryor, she'd make sure of it, if only to kick his ass for putting her in this predicament.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Full Wolf Moon-Part Six

"Why can't you just accept the facts?  They're right in front of you."

Right in front of you.

Right in front.

In front of you.

He was floating.  He was falling.  He was weightless, then solid as a rock. There was silence, then a wave of sound. Death had come in a matter of minutes, but for reasons he couldn't understand, Pryor still had some sense of consciousness.

His veins burned as fluid was pumped into them.  Why was he still able to feel?  Why couldn't he get her voice out of his head?  Her voice?  But she was dead.  So was he.

She was there.  She wasn't.  He thought he felt her hands on his body, her voice in his ear. The scent of a lavish meal wafted up his nostrils;  was he in Valhalla?  He followed the scent like a dog tracking prey, began to recognize voices and sounds as he stumbled towards a huge wooden door.  A gate?  He leaned his body against the massive oak and pushed; slowly the door gave way.  He found himself in a room of long tables covered in food and drink.  Venison, chicken, duck, steer; flagons of wine and beer and mead flowed like the tears of a betrayed woman.  She stood against the wall, a goblet encased in her hands.  He began to stumble towards her when a hand flashed in his face, baring his path.  Pryor looked to his left to see who dared to refuse him entrance. Heimdallr!

Pryor held his gaze.  He would not be denied tribute for battles bravely fought.  At last he could rest, at last they could be reunited.

Heimdallr stood impassively, his icy blue eyes judging Pryor and finding him wanting.  He spoke very softly, yet it seemed as if thunder filled the air.

"You do not belong here.  Your death was not achieved in battle.  You followed the path of the coward, taking your own life.  You have brought shame to your claim of warrior."

Pryor struggled to find his voice.  He would not be denied.

"I have fought many battles!  I have led men to victory!  I have earned my right to rest in this mighty hall and wait for my turn to battle in Ragnarok!"

"No.  Not yet.  You have not died a warrior's death.  Perhaps you never will."

Pryor's eyes widened; for the first time in his life, he felt fear.

Heimdallr's gaze drifted above Pryor's head, seeing into the future.

"You cannot die, Pryor.  You will be undead for all eternity."

Pryor began to scream as he was pulled  away from the doorway, away from her and honor and glory.  Again he felt the sensations of falling and flying, his arms and legs powerless.  He tossed and turned until he felt he was being twisted inside out.   Finally he felt a hard surface beneath him; his body recognized it as the slab he had been laying on in the charnal house.  He could make out the vague outline of wires and tubes as they dangled above him, and he began to recognize an abnormal thirst within his throat.

An abnormal thirst for blood.  Human blood.